Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Coast Guard rescues woman near lighthouse

11/30 - Sheboygan, Wis. - US. Coast Guard Station Sheboygan rescued a woman near a five-six-foot high jetty along the north side of the Sheboygan Lighthouse at approximately 4 p.m. Saturday.

"She was breathing, not responsive; we went wide open to bring her to shore," said Machinery Technician 2nd Class Nathan Williamsen, Station Sheboygan Officer-of-the-day. A 41-foot utility boat crew arrived on-scene within minutes to pluck the woman to safety from the waters near the jetty surrounded by rocks.

According to Williamsen, the water temperature was between 34-35 degrees, and the woman displayed signs of hypothermia upon transfer to medical personnel. The crew transferred her to awaiting Emergency Medical Services on shore, which took her to Memorial Hospital in Sheboygan, Wis.

The station initially received a call from the sheriff's department at approximately 3:45 p.m. Saturday reporting a woman seen in the water near the jetty wall.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - November 30

Buffalo - Dan Sweeley
The John J. Boland was unloading stone at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna, N.Y., Saturday morning.

Green Bay - Matthew Ludvigson
John G. Munson departed Green Bay, Wis., shortly after noon Saturday following a delivery of limestone.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
CCG Griffon arrived in port just after dark Saturday evening and berthed at the foot of Yonge Street.


Updates - November 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar

Squaw Island Lighthouse updated

Skillagalee Lighthouse updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ArcelorMittal trims planned layoffs by nearly 2,000

11/29 - Burns Harbor - The number of planned layoffs from ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor, Ind., steel mill will be reduced from more than 2,400 to fewer than 500 under an agreement between the company and the United Steelworkers. ArcelorMittal announced last week that it had notified the union about plans for an indefinite layoff of as many as 2,444 workers from the plant beginning in January. About 3,450 union employees work at the mill along Lake Michigan.

The new agreement reached Wednesday calls on the union to make "a sincere effort to get 490 hourly workers to accept a voluntary layoff," United Steelworkers Local 6787 President Paul Gipson said. ArcelorMittal said in a statement that it was pleased the agreement "substantially alleviates the number of work force reductions necessary at its Burns Harbor facility to address the unprecedented downturn in business, which is a direct result of the current extraordinary economic environment."

Some 1,750 workers at the mill are eligible to retire, and Gipson said he expected no shortage of volunteers for the layoffs. Any retirements will also count toward the 490 total. The company also can schedule 900 workers for 32 hours per week rather than 40 under the deal. The union also agreed to forgo overtime pay and cap an incentive program based on production during the layoff period. The company agreed not to employ outside contractors during the layoffs, not to transfer work to other plants and to
rescind the layoff notice it previously filed with the state.

"Everything considered, this is a good agreement," Gipson said. "It allows people to keep their jobs, and the plant and its operations won't be harmed."

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, announced Wednesday it is looking to cut 9,000 jobs through voluntary agreements, shedding around 3 percent of its global workforce in response to the economic downturn. The company said it was aiming to reduce costs by $1 billion. ArcelorMittal has some 326,000 employees in more than 60 countries.

From the South Bend Tribune


Marine Mart planned for December 13 at Grosse Pointe

11/29 - Detroit - The Maritime Auxiliary Group of the Detroit Historical Society is sponsoring the 27th annual Marine Mart at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial on Saturday, December 13. The mart will feature ship models, photos, brochures, artifacts, china, souvenirs, artwork, postcards, books and much more.

Early-bird admission (9:30 a.m.-10 a.m.) is $10. General admission (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) is $7.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Drive, in Grosse Pointe Farms, between Cadieux and Moross. For additional directions visit For more information visit, or call


Port Reports - November 29

Toronto - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
The cement carrier Stephen B. Roman was back in Toronto early Friday morning. Cuyahoga was also in port early Friday and unloaded at the salt dock. She departed just after 2 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin departed the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna, N.Y., on Thursday afternoon, with a destination of Nanticoke, Ont.


Remembering a tale of triumph, tragedy on Lake Superior

11/29 - Duluth - It was 50 years ago today, cold, and the big lake was smoking. "You could tell there was a nor¹wester gonna blow up," according to an account by Norwegian-born immigrant Helmer Aakvik, who was a commercial fisherman out of Hovland, Minn., for more than 60 years.

Aakvik remembered the day well. The 60-year-old fisherman set out in a wooden skiff that morning in 1958 to search for 26-year-old Carl Hammer, who hadn¹t returned from picking his father¹s herring nets. What happened next made Aakvik, who died in 1987 at age 90, a North Shore legend, though it brought years of sadness and loss to the Hammer family. Aakvik spent the next 28 hours battling 50 mph winds and 25-foot waves on the lake as ice built up on his skiff and froze his legs into place. His boat began to come apart, and Aakvik fought frozen gas lines and battering waves as the hours dragged on.

The fabled rescue attempt and Hammer¹s disappearance will be commemorated at 2 p.m. Saturday at the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum in Tofte, Minn.

Museum director Carrie McHugh said she wanted to commemorate not only Aakvik¹s bravery, but to "honor Carl Hammer and other fishermen, and to acknowledge the fact that being a commercial fisherman was dangerous," she said. Hammer had lived and worked near big bodies of water all his life, said his sister, Irene Malner. Carl Hammer had just returned from years serving with the U.S. Navy and working on Great Lakes ore boats. He and his new wife, who lived in Duluth, were home in Hovland for the Thanksgiving weekend. Carl went out early to tend to his father¹s nets, Malner said. Aakvik was working out of a next-door fish house.

Years later, Aakvik recorded an account of the experience, which was transcribed in the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum journal. "I don¹t remember if Nels sounded the alarm or if it was Don Palmer," Aakvik said. "It was about seven in the morning and the kid had gone out." Aakvik layered up with woolen clothes, rubber boots, a rubber suit and a sheepskin helmet, and set out with a rope, an axe and an old fish box. "The sea was building bigger and bigger the further out I got with that offshore wind," Aakvik said. ³I got maybe 10 miles in the shipping lanes, and a big ore boat went by. The seas were running so big I couldn¹t even glimpse the high land at
Hovland.² And he never caught a glimpse of Hammer. No trace of the young man was ever found.

Aakvik rode out that day, that night and the next morning in the stalled skiff. Though his clothes were sheathed in ice, Aakvik spent hours chopping ice off the boat and his own body. At one point he accidentally chopped a hole in his boot, letting some water seep in and freezing two of his toes. Those who knew Aakvik, including Hammer¹s family, weren¹t surprised that he went out to search. "That¹s Helmer," Malner said. She described Aakvik as a gruff but kind-hearted man. "He would think,"I¹ll fix this, I can do this.¹" Malner said. "He would help you at all costs."

The rescue attempt might have taken two lives but for pure luck on Aakvik¹s part. His motor had run out of gas, his hands were too frozen to grip the skiff¹s ores, and Aakvik was wondering just what he was going to do. And that¹s when the U.S. Coast Guard cutter that was out searching for both men literally ran into Aakvik¹s boat. "When we got back to the town dock there must have been a hundred people there," Aakvik said. "I said before I went out, 'Don¹t you worry, the old man will be back.' And Elmer Jackson, he comes up to me and says, "You are a man of your word, you came back." I couldn¹t do that no more. I was only 60 then."

Aakvik earned national media attention and recognition for the rescue attempt. But according to a family member, McHugh said, Aakvik "didn¹t really care for all the attention," she said. "He had saved four other people in his life, and it didn¹t seem right" to be praised for looking for a fisherman he couldn¹t find.

David Hammer of Duluth was 11 years old when his brother disappeared. "I remember standing on the dock, and looking out, that¹s all," David Hammer said. He plans to attend the event on Saturday. For years after Carl disappeared, Malner imagined him walking up the road to the family¹s house, or thought she saw him in a crowd. Their father never fished again, and their mother stood by their home¹s front window for days, watching for her son. And though she and her husband live in Grand Marais, Malner said she never liked Lake Superior after that day. "I don¹t trust it," she said. "But we think about [Carl¹s disappearance] a lot, especially when we go to Hovland."

From the Duluth News-Tribune


The last Georgian Bay light keeper
Memorial planned for Jack Vaughan in Tobermory Saturday

11/29 - Tobermory, Ont. - When Jack Vaughan retired from the Canadian Coast Guard¹s Georgian Bay lighthouse service in 1991, he mailed the master key to his regional head office in Parry Sound. They mailed it right back.

His widow, Tillie, has kept the key in a leather wallet, but she plans to return it to the coast guard now that her husband, 80, has died. He was the last keeper of the Cove Island light. The station is a familiar sight for travelers aboard the ferry Chi-Cheemaun as it plies the waters between Tobermory and South Baymouth. The lighthouse, built of stone in 1856 by the British colonial government, was one of the last three Great Lakes lights to have a resident keeper as automated equipment replaced humans in the remote and often lonely postings. The master key opens doors to all the lighthouses in Canada. That his bosses wanted Mr. Vaughan to have one implied permission
for him to be poking around lighthouses in his boat, as he often did during his retirement years, Tillie said. It also gave them someone to call in southern Georgian Bay to check on problems when coast guard personnel were assigned elsewhere.

A memorial event is planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at the Community Centre in Tobermory for Mr. Vaughan, who died accidentally Nov. 9 near his home in Lion¹s Head. He had suffered from heart disease and moved in 2003 with Tillie from their home in Tobermory to be near the village hospital. Mr. Vaughan was the son of a Port Burwell commercial fisherman and one of six brothers in the fishing trade. He moved to Tobermory in 1959 for a job aboard a Ransbury Fish Co. tug.

Mr. Vaughan eventually joined the coast guard¹s light service, work that took him away from home for long periods. They spoke daily by radio. During 22 years of lighthouse employment, Mr. Vaughan rescued two sailors he knew for sure. In an interview in 1991, he described his part in the rescue of two young men after their 18-foot sailboat ran on the rocks off Beckwith Island near Midland. Others weren¹t so fortunate. A sailboat wrecked off Cape Smith on Manitoulin Island after its three occupants ignored gale warnings and advice from Mr. Vaughan. Their drowned bodies were found later.

"I know the waters, pretty well every rock," Vaughan told reporter Pam Heaven in 1991. "The ones I don¹t know I haven¹t hit."

From the Owen Sound Sun Times


Updates - November 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar


Today in Great Lakes History - November 29

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


U.S. Steel announces temporary cuts as industry crisis worsens

11/28 - Hamilton, Ont. - U.S. Steel Canada is planning about 100 layoffs at its Lake Erie (Nanticoke) facility as the crisis in the steel industry worsens, union leaders say. The temporary cuts come on the heels of roughly 175 layoffs at the steelmaker's Hamilton operation, where the blast furnace was shut down due to slumping demand.

"We've been told to expect layoffs and the union is preparing for that," said Bill Ferguson, president of the United Steelworkers union at the Lake Erie plant. "They told us they're running different scenarios, but we should be prepared to see people go in December." Though no official notice has been issued to workers, many on the plant floor have already been notified of the cuts by their managers, he added.

U.S. Steel Canada employs about 1,100 workers at the Lake Erie plant in Nanticoke. It employs 1,700 workers in Hamilton. Both plants make steel using a blast furnace. Trevor Harris, a spokesperson for the firm, declined to comment on any potential layoffs.

Demand for steel has flatlined as orders dry up from key customers in the automotive, appliance and construction industries. Analysts expect the massive production slowdown in the sector to continue as the global financial meltdown unfolds. Although weekly production levels have not yet fallen to the 10-year lows last seen in 2001, they will likely reach this point shortly, according to Mike Willemse, a steel industry analyst for CIBC World Markets. In a note to investors, Willemse said steel production "could decline by as much as 50 per cent before stabilizing."

Steel giant ArcelorMittal has slashed global production by one-third, cutting output at Hamilton's Dofasco by 40 per cent through at least the rest of this year. The plant will shut down for two weeks at Christmas, with about 5,000 workers required to take unpaid leave or vacation. Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel has also slowed production. In addition to the Canadian cuts, it has laid off 500 workers at operations in the Pittsburgh area; northwest Indiana; Fairfield, Ala.; Ecorse and River Rouge, Mich.; and Granite City, Ill.

Analysts don't expect demand for steel to pick up until at least mid-2009 as customers work through their own inventory and scale back on production of cars and appliances.

From the Hamilton Spectator


Dredging on upper Saginaw River set to begin

11/28 - Bay City, Mich. - A dredging project for the upper Saginaw River is on track to begin next week, officials say.

Some equipment for the project already has arrived and was docked in Essexville, Mich., on Tuesday. Other equipment is held up in Harbor Beach and Port Huron due to weather conditions, said Tom Zatkovic, project manager for Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort.

The project will clear more than 200,000 cubic yards of silt that's built up in the navigational channel from Bay City south to Saginaw. The work is seen as key to preserving about 200 jobs tied to shipping in the area.

Shipping companies have had to lighten their loads in recent years due to low water levels and the shallow channel, driving up costs. Todd Shorkey, a Bay City man who reports area vessel passages for, said the number of ships using the Saginaw River has been declining for several years. As of Tuesday, there have been 198 passages this year. That's down from 241 at this time in 2007, 290 in 2006 and 317 in 2005. He attributes the drop to the economy, which has reduced the demand for stone products and other materials.

The official river shipping season traditionally ends on Dec. 15, when Bay City stops manning its bridges and only opens them for boats that provide 12 hours notice, Shorkey said.

Luedtke has been awarded a $1.9 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear the channel, which has been filling in for decades amid debate on constructing a site to house the spoils. The company plans to finish the upcoming work by January 2009, a Corps official said. A $5 million Dredged Material Disposal Facility has been built on the Bay-Saginaw County line, in Frankenlust and Zilwaukee townships, to hold 20 years worth of spoils for the upper Saginaw River. Dredging will be done about every two years.

Following complaints from local property owners, environmental groups and state regulators over the spoils site's integrity, the project is finally set to move forward, said Robert McCann, with the state Department of Environmental Quality in Lansing. The DEQ asked the Corps to install 14 wells to monitor possible leaks from the site, and those installations are complete, McCann said. "I believe that they've done everything they have to do up to this point," he said.

Jim Koski, Saginaw County public works commissioner, is looking forward to seeing the first mud scooped from the river after working on the project for years.
The start date has been delayed a couple of times in recent months. "We're looking at having some sort of celebration," Koski said.

From the Bay City Times


Sarnia expects full harbor

11/28 - Sarnia, Ont. - It will be another busy season for machining companies in Sarnia when the Great Lakes shipping season ends next month.

A full harbor is expected with ships occupying every berth, said Marten Vandenbroek, president of Central Machine and Marine. "We anticipate there's going to be a total of about 10 to 12 ships in here in berth for the winter, from early January until mid to late March," he said. Typically five or six vessels -- mostly tankers and bulk carriers -- berth at the Government Docks, two tie off at the Sidney Smith Dock and four more winter in the north slip, near Bridgeview Marina.

The last saltwater vessels depart from the Great Lakes by the first week of January, as the locks at the Welland Canal close between Dec. 29 and Dec. 31, said Sam Babisky, superintendent of operations with the Canadian Coast Guard. The locks in Sault Ste. Marie, which govern traffic in Lake Superior and the lower lakes, close by Jan. 15, he said.

"Once that's closed, it's the winter shipping season that starts up." That includes salt, coal and chemical shipments from Sarnia, which can make runs to ports in southern Michigan or southern Lake Erie up to 100 times in a winter season. "Which keeps the two Canadian icebreakers that are part of our Sarnia ice-breaking operation and the nine United States Coast Guard icebreakers busy all winter," Babisky said.

Lake St. Clair usually has an ice cover, he said, and although it's rare for Lake Huron to freeze over entirely the ice can build up. You never really know what's going to happen," he said.

Since Vandenbroek started up in business with Shelley Machine and Marine in 1973, he's seen the harbour full, or close to it, every year. "It's kind of a midpoint for a lot of the shipping companies because they can travel into the upper lakes from here without having to deal with locks," he said.

Vandenbroek has a hand in Central, Beasley and Insitu machining, and between the three he said there should be work on all the boats this season. "We do most of the work on board but some of the components come aboard to our plant at Central machine or Beasley machine and are refurbished there."

The business for machining, electrical, flooring, painting and sanding companies is a big deal, he said. Even restaurants and local businesses get a bit of a boost from engine room crews staying around two or three weeks past docking.

The locks in Sault Ste. Marie reopen by March 25 and at the Welland Canal between March 20 and April 1, ice depending.

From the Sarnia Observer


Port Reports - November 28

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
Charles M. Beeghly is at the shipyard for the winter. She is moored at the same location where the John Sherwin was, and will be repowered this winter. John Sherwin remains in the drydock for removal of her tail shaft.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Mary E. Hannah and her barge departed the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon. The Calumet was inbound Wednesday evening, calling on the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to unload. She was expected to be outbound late Wednesday or early Thursday. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were back again on Thursday carrying a split load. The pair stopped at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish thier unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The Moore and Kuber were expected to be outbound Friday morning.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes came through the Holland channel at about 5:30 Thanksgiving evening, then slowly proceeding through Lake Macatawa, arriving at the Verplank dock at about 7:30 to discharge it's cargo, reportedly asphalt sand.

Toronto - Frank Hood
Gadwall arrived at Redpath sugar on Wednesday. Stephen B. Roman departed Toronto overnight Wednesday to Thursday. English River arrived in Toronto early Thursday. Heavy lift ship Jumbo Vision is also in Toronto Harbour loading new locomotives.

Alpena and Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived at Lafarge Tuesday night and tied up at the coal dock for temporary lay-up. The tug Mark Hannah and a barge have been anchored out in the bay the past few days, likely waiting on the weather. The Samuel de Champlain was expected in port on Thanksgiving morning.
At Stoneport on Wednesday, strong winds kept the McKee Sons and Agawa Canyon anchored nearby. The tug Olive L. Moore/barge Lewis J. Kuber was able to dock and take on cargo.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Manistee came in at 2 a.m. Wednesday with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. She finished unloading about 5:30 a.m. and headed up river to pick up a load of sand from the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg and was gone by early afternoon.

Lackawanna - Dan Sweeley
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was tied up at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna, N.Y. by 10 a.m., Wednesday loading out blended coal for Hamilton.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Ojibway arrived in Owen Sound in light snow flurries approximately 1 p.m. Wednesday and was unloading wheat from Thunder Bay at the Great Lakes Grain Elevators.


Link to oilsands means another record for port

11/28 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - Another shipment, another record. After a 47-day voyage from Japan, the motor vessel Stellaprima arrived in Thunder Bay on Monday carrying four huge reactors each weighing more than 500 metric tons. They are bound for the Alberta oilsands.

The first reactor arrived in August and set a record for what was then the single largest piece of cargo handled by Thunder Bay‘s port. That reactor weighed 400 tonnes. The combined weight of the four reactors is 2,142.32 tonnes.

Roger Dudley, agent for Canada and the Great Lakes states for the ship‘s Dutch owners, said the reactors each perform a key oilsands production step, cracking heavy bitumen molecules by stripping off hydrogen, then reassembling the elements into premium refinery-ready light oil. Oilsands are deposits of bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil that must be rigorously treated to convert it into an upgraded crude oil before it can be used by refineries to produce gasoline and diesel fuels. Alberta‘s bitumen deposits were once known as tarsands but are now referred to as oilsands.

With shipments of grain and bulk cargo down, the new shipments show that the port is ideally suited for handling this type of cargo, said William Hryb, general manager of Lakehead Shipping Company Ltd. “We have proven again that Thunder Bay has the necessary expertise and excellent infrastructure at Keefer Terminal,” he said. “It clearly illustrates that we are a natural gateway and conduit to the oilsand developments in Alberta.”

The Stellaprima travelled across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal, north through the Caribbean and Atlantic Ocean and into the St. Lawrence Seaway. Going from Japan to Vancouver would have been shorter and less expensive, but West Coast ports are not an option for such shipments because there is not enough clearance to make it through the Rocky Mountains. Hryb said the reactors will be unloaded over three days starting today from the ship to reinforced CN Rail cars.

“Thunder Bay will be a valuable and strategic link to the long-range plans of energy companies who are developing petroleum resources in Canada‘s oilsands,” he said.

Tim Heney, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said the movement of the reactors through Thunder Bay is the start of something more important.

“This is a corridor to the oilsands formulated between us and CN Rail,” he said. “And, a lot of work has been done on that route to improve clearances to permit this kind of equipment to go through. And we‘re looking at, as this corridor gets going, the spinoffs that come from that, so it‘s actually quite important,” Heney said.

He predicted more shipments to Thunder Bay next year. “We‘re certainly going to be rolling after this one.”

From the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal


Coast Guard announces TWIC compliance date

11/28 - Cleveland - The U.S. Coast Guard announced that December 1, is the new compliance date for implementation of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) for owners and operators of facilities located within the U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Zones of Buffalo, N.Y., Duluth, Minn., Detroit and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. and Lake Michigan.

In accordance with the requirements of the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Security and Accountability for Every Port Act (SAFE Port Act), the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) serve as an identification card for all personnel requiring unescorted access to secure areas of MTSA regulated and facilities. To obtain a TWIC, an individual must successfully pass a security threat assessment conducted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The original October 31, 2008, compliance date for these facilities was extended due to a power outage at a Transportation Security Administration facility that has delayed the activation of some TWICs. TWIC activations nationwide have been rescheduled to begin again the week of November 10, 2008, at which point workers on the Great Lakes, and at ports with compliance dates on or before December 1, 2008, will be able to activate their TWICs. Activation for all other ports will be available nationwide later in November.

TWIC program pre-enrollment and status checks are still available nationwide and those workers requiring a TWIC are encouraged to enroll as soon as possible. The final compliance date for all licensed and documented merchant mariners and vessel operators who are required to have a TWIC remains April 15, 2009.

Updates on TWIC activation and rescheduling can be found at Additional information is available at

USCG News Release


 Port Authority chairman envisions vital waterfront development

11/28 - Cleveland - The catalyst for a Cleveland comeback lies where the city was born - at the gritty confluence of a river and a Great Lake, a port leader says.

State and local leaders must push for a multibillion-dollar injection of federal money to help move the port from east of the Cuyahoga River's mouth and make way for an "iconic" waterfront district, says lawyer Michael Wager, chairman of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. With the national and local economies mired in bad news, Wager floated an uplifting vision for lake- and riverfront development to a crowd of 100 at a City Club speech Tuesday.

Wager, a corporate finance expert at Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, knows there's skepticism about the port's grand plans. They include moving in phases to a manmade peninsula on Lake Erie, north of East 55th Street, starting within the next decade; developing an international trade district in a 1,000-acre industrial belt south of East 55th; and transforming the port's 100 acres west of Cleveland Browns Stadium into a landmark neighborhood that links directly with the Warehouse District.

City, county and business leaders say the port's move is a top priority. Still, "I know that some may dismiss this as mere fantasy, and not without justification," Wager said. "How many projects are hailed as the panacea and then fall short of our expectations - or just fail to materialize?" Wager said. "This can be different."

A number of factors work in favor of a new, larger port, Wager said. Worsening congestion around coastal ports means Great Lakes ports will see more shipments, particularly for container cargo, which the Cleveland port does not handle now. President-elect Barack Obama is talking about big investments in transportation to stimulate the economy. That bodes well for the port as a link between water, road and rail, as does Ohio's $1.57 billion economic stimulus plan, which will direct hundreds of millions of dollars into transportation-related projects, Wager noted.

The port will need massive amounts of cash to realize its plan. Building the base of a new port at East 55th -- with silt routinely dredged from the Cuyahoga River shipping channel -- will cost at least $200 million, with federal officials expected to pick up 70 percent, Wager said. Building new docks and warehouses, linking them with highways and rail, along with redeveloping the downtown site, means local leaders must push for several billion dollars in federal money, Wager said. He also talked of fast-tracking the project and vacating some port land by moving bulk shipping up the river.
Port President Adam Wasserman, who attended the City Club luncheon, said he could foresee public access to the lake on port land, and possibly a park, in five years. The port is working with the city to hire top-flight urban planners to begin detailing redevelopment of port land. Wager said the undertaking is a complex process. There's also opposition. A citizens committee reported this week that it has collected 500-plus signatures on a petition to preserve the state-run marina and lakefront parkland that would be displaced by the planned 200-acre port at East 55th.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Great Lakes books can make great Christmas gifts

Looking for the perfect gift for the Great Lakes freighter fan in your life? There are several new Great Lakes-related books that might just fit the bill.

Among them is the new hardcover book from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, “Great Lakes Engineering Works: The Shipyard and its Vessels,” that’s illustrated with more than 1,000 photographs, many of them rare, and paints a vivid history of this once bustling ship builder.

Other new books are “So Great A Storm,” by Kurt Brown, about the devastating storm of 1905; “Collision Under the Bridge,” by Jon Paul Michaels & Brent Michaels, a detailed look at the 1972 collision between the steamers Sidney E. Smith Jr. and Parker Evans; and “Lake Effect: A Deckhand's Journey on the Great Lakes Freighters” by Richard Hill, an often funny, insightful memoir that follows the author’s voyage of self-discovery aboard several Great Lakes vessels in the 1970s.

Of special interest is Chris Winters’ “Centennial: Steaming Through the American Century,” a hard-cover, coffee table-style book that serves as a vivid record of life aboard the steamer St. Marys Challenger as she approached the centennial anniversary of her maiden voyage in 2006.

For information on these and other books, visit the Great Lakes Book Shelf portion of this site, at (link).

Finally, Marine Publishing Co. has announced a holiday sale on its 2008 “Know Your Ships” boatwatching guide, which is now available for $12.95 from the Know Your Ships web site.


Updates - November 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar


Today in Great Lakes History - November 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Today in Great Lakes History - November 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday Holiday

The BoatNerd News will not be updated on Thursday (except for emergency), due to the American Thanksgiving Holiday.

Your all-volunteer staff is taking the day off to be with family and to give thanks for our many blessings.

The News will be updated, as usual, on Friday.


Foreign trade zone gives Duluth an edge

11/26 – Duluth - Tons of Japanese-made oil-processing equipment arrived in Duluth, Minn., this week, but as far as customs officials are concerned, the cargo still hasn’t technically entered the United States. That’s because it’s sitting on a portion of the Clure Marine Terminal federally designated as a foreign trade zone.

The Jumbo Vision, a Dutch-flagged heavy lift ship, arrived in the Twin Ports on Monday, carrying high-pressure vessels and other steel components for a multimillion-dollar facility that will extract petroleum from a tar-sands formation in Alberta. Lake Superior Warehousing Co. spent much of the past week unloading the ship and staging equipment in the foreign trade zone, where it can sit indefinitely without the shipper being required to pay so much as a dime in duties.

In the case of goods destined for Canada, shippers often can avoid paying U.S. duties altogether if they use a foreign trade zone, according to Steve Anderson, administrator of the Greater Metropolitan Foreign Trade Zone Commission in the Twin Cities. Jonathan Lamb, Lake Superior Warehousing’s operations manager, expects to sit on the equipment for six months to a year before shipping it on to its final destination.

Duluth last made use of its foreign trade zone designation in 1998, when the port received a load of Russian steel coil bound for Canada. Andy McDonough, business development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the U.S. Department of Commerce has designated more than 20 acres of local waterfront as a foreign trade zone. A few acres of land near Duluth International Airport also share the same federal designation.

Although seldom used, McDonough considers the foreign trade zone status one of the port’s competitive advantages, particularly when it comes to handling big-ticket equipment such as the recently arrived oil-processing gear. “That designation might have made the difference between them using our port or another,” McDonough said.

Lamb, too, believes the zone is advantageous for his company’s operations. “Having the foreign trade zone status is another tool in our toolbox, in terms of offering our clients different options,” he said.

Lamb said Duluth probably can improve how it markets its foreign trade zone. “I would think that our customers would want to use the zone more than once a decade,” he said. “I hope we will have more use for it than that in the future. But that probably means that between us and the port authority, there will need to be more education and marketing.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Welland Canal hydro project powers up

11/26 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The first canal power generator in the Garden City roared to life at the Welland Canal’s Lock 2 Thursday. A 22-tonne turbine was churning out almost two megawatts of green electricity by noon Thursday, enough to power 1,500 city homes.

"I'm so happy to see it working," said a grinning Tom Rankin, president of the St. Catharines company that teamed up with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. for the project. "I've been calling down here every day to see if they'd got it running."

The Lock 2 turbine is one of three hydro generators Rankin Construction is building on the Welland Canal. The Lock 1 turbine could go online as early as next week. The final power generator will be built at Lock 3 during the canal's winter shutdown.

Although one turbine is now producing electricity, it's still in "test-drive" mode, Rankin said. Steady power production isn't guaranteed until company engineers and Seaway and utility officials "work out the bugs," he added. The first two turbines will likely power up for good at a December ceremony. The hydro generator produces power by harnessing the excess water that normally falls 11 metres over the lock weirs.

Earlier this year, Rankin built a powerhouse and installed a turbine capable of using 20 cubic metres of water per second to make electricity. Engineers experimented with the generator's output Thursday, reaching 1.8 megawatts by late morning. Each generator will have a maximum output of 2.1 megawatts, or enough combined electricity to power 5,000 homes.

The entire project cost about $20 million. Rankin has a contract to sell the power to the province for 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. He also has a 25-year lease with the Seaway. Afterwards, the green power project becomes property of the canal corporation.

Rankin started working on the project three years ago. "I'm proud at how quickly it came together. The Seaway was there to help us through every challenge," said Rankin, who estimated similar projects can sometimes take a decade to plan and complete.

It's the first green-power project to come to fruition for Rankin, who is also partnering with Niagara Region on a five-turbine wind farm for Wainfleet. If the canal's new green power replaced an equivalent amount of coal-fired electricity, the project would reduce provincial carbon dioxide emissions by 38,900 tonnes. That's the equivalent of removing 8,420 passenger cars from the road.

From the St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports - November 26

Traverse City - James Shannahan
Tuesday afternoon the bulk cement carrier St. Marys Challenger was again seeking shelter from heavy weather on Lake Michigan by anchoring in Suttons Bay on Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was outbound early Tuesday morning from the Burroughs dock after unloading there overnight. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound early on Tuesday with a split load. The pair unloaded part of their cargo at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. The Moore and Kuber were outbound Tuesday evening. The Mary E. Hannah and her tank barge still had not departed the Dow Chemical dock as of Tuesday evening after arriving Monday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman returned to port at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The salty Cinnamon departed for the St. Lawrence River, with the assistance of two Group Ocean tugs Tuesday evening. The tugs returned to Hamilton.


Mackinaw chef back from Europe with gold medals

11/26 - Cheboygan, Mich. - Aboard the cutter Mackinaw, tradition has it that the crew enjoys the best meals in the U.S. Coast Guard. The tradition is even more deeply steeped now that Food Service Spec. Second Class Eddie Fuchs is back from Europe with his gold medals.

Many aboard the ship predicted that Fuchs would win any cooking competition he entered, and they were right. Fuchs has returned after competing in the World Culinary Olympics, held in Germany, with his reputation as a chef now elevated to a world-class level. “There were two of us from the Coast Guard who went along with the U.S. Army cooking team,” Fuchs said while the Mackinaw is temporarily in port between buoy-tending assignments. “We won two gold medals in our events.”

According to Fuchs, 10 military teams attended the event, held every four years. There were also 32 national cooking teams and a collection of youth teams.
“Opportunities like this to go overseas and getting to compete against the world’s best don’t happen too often,” he explained. “It was quite an honor to be asked by the Army to go with them and participate.” Maybe the Army asked him to go because they knew he would help them win.

The winning entries weren’t prepared in some state-of-the-art kitchen complete with a supply of gourmet foods at hand. Instead, Fuchs was forced to shop locally for his own food and ingredients, and prepared it under strict military conditions per his category’s rules. “We cooked in German-style mobile kitchen trailers like the Army uses all the time,” Fuchs said. “It was sort of like a forced diesel-burning pressure cooker. Then we had to shop for our own foods in German communities.”

One winning entry was a salad with a leaf bundle, served with seared tuna. The other was a main course of sage-infused turkey breast with trimmings that included Rhode Island Johnnycakes, sweet mashed potatoes and a chocolate mousse dessert. “It was a beautiful plate,” Fuchs admitted with a smile.

Onboard the Mackinaw, Fuchs is part of a team that includes Food Service Spec. First Class Patrick Rogers, Food Service Spec. Third Class Christopher Beck and Food Service Spec. Second Class Mike Marshall. All are involved in preparing the meals for the Mackinaw’s crew.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Public invited to annual Merritt Day celebration

11/26 - Welland, Ont. – To commemorate and celebrate the history of the Welland Canal and the legacy of William Hamilton Merritt, the public is invited to a formal celebration to be held at Welland Civic Square outside City Hall (Welland, Ont.) on Thursday, November 27 at 2 p.m.. Speakers will include Mayor Damian Goulborne, The Hon. Jim Bradley, Ontario’s Transportation Minister and Richard Corfe, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

The Welland Canals Foundation was formed in 1979 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first Welland Canal. It is a volunteer-based charitable organization which strives to promote the importance of the present and past Welland Canals, and to preserve their history and heritage.


Updates - November 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar


Updated Local Notice to Mariners

The USCG District Nine Local Notice to Mariners is now available for download at this link


Today in Great Lakes History - November 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HIRAM W. SIBLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 221 foot, 1,419 gross tons, built in 1890, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying 70,000 bushels of corn from Chicago for Detroit. On 26 Nov 1898, she stranded on the northwest corner of South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during blizzard. (Some sources say this occurred on 27 November.) The tugs PROTECTOR and SWEEPSTAKES were dispatched for assistance but the SIBLEY refloated 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.


Federal court upholds Michigan ballast water law

11/25 - Traverse City, Mich. — A federal appeals court Friday upheld a Michigan law designed to prevent oceangoing freight ships from bringing invasive species to the Great Lakes in their ballast water. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected a challenge to the statute filed by nine shipping companies and associations. They claimed the measure interferes with interstate commerce and is pre-empted by federal law.

Michigan requires saltwater ships to obtain a Department of Environmental Quality permit before calling at the state's ports. It certifies they either will not discharge ballast water or have onboard technology to kill live organisms in the water before it is dumped. Legislators enacted the law in 2005, frustrated with what they considered an inadequate federal response to the exotic species that have caused billions of dollars in damage to the Great Lakes economy.

"We're pleased that the court has upheld Michigan's contention that there is more that can be done to keep the invasives out," said Robert McCann, spokesman for the DEQ. "This is a big win for the Great Lakes." Messages seeking comment were left with shipping industry representatives.

At least 185 invasives have been detected in the lakes, most of which are believed to have arrived in ship ballast. They disrupt the ecosystem's natural balance by competing with native species for food and habitat. "The millions of people who depend on the Great Lakes deserve a solution to this serious problem to protect our drinking water, economy and way of life," said Marc Smith, state policy director for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office in Ann Arbor.

Ships fill their ballast tanks to improve stability in rough seas when traveling with little or no cargo. They dump the water — and whatever life forms it carries — after arriving in port to take on freight. U.S. and Canadian regulations have long required oceangoing vessels to dump ballast water at sea and fill their tanks with salt water before entering the Great Lakes. More recently, they have ordered ships to rinse tanks at sea even if they're carrying no ballast, in order to kill freshwater creatures lurking in residues.

Environmentalists say those measures are helpful but inadequate. They contend sterilizing water before release is the only way to ensure no live invader will escape. Michigan is the only Great Lakes state with its own ballast law. The DEQ has issued more than 100 permits to ships that promised not to discharge ballast in the state's waters.

In 2007, U.S. District Judge John Feikens in Detroit rejected the shipping industry's lawsuit seeking to nullify the law. Upholding Feikiens' ruling Friday, a unanimous three-judge appeals court panel said some of the plaintiffs had no standing to sue while the others' arguments were invalid. "Michigan, for undisputedly legitimate reasons, has enacted legislation of a type expressly contemplated by Congress," the panel said. "We have no basis to disrupt the result of those democratic processes."

In a separate development, a Wisconsin official said Friday the state would conduct a hearing on a proposed system for regulating ballast water discharges at its ports, which has been challenged by the National Wildlife Federation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to issue a Clean Water Act permit next month that simply would order ships to meet existing requirements for cleaning out ballast tanks. But the Great Lakes states are considering setting tougher standards under the act.

Most are leaning toward adopting International Maritime Organization standards that limit the number of live organisms in discharged water. Wisconsin in October formally proposed doing so. Although tougher than what EPA wants, Wisconsin's policy still would allow invasives to enter the lakes, the wildlife federation's Smith said. He urged the Great Lakes states to follow the lead of New York, which is developing a standard 1,000 times more stringent than the international one.

Wisconsin will hold a hearing on the issue early next year but considers the IMO standard the strongest that can be achieved with existing technology, said Todd Ambs, water division administrator for the Department of Natural Resources. "We'd like to have stronger standards but this is about what we can get in place right now," Ambs said. Shippers have complained the Wisconsin standards are too tough, he added.



Wind power is pushing Duluth port to a new age

11/25 - Duluth -- In 2005, a ship called the Bavaria arrived in Duluth-Superior from Europe with a visually stunning cargo the gritty taconite and coal port had never seen: gargantuan yet somehow slender blades, hubs and shafts meant for towering wind turbines.

Since then, America's increasing embrace of wind power has brought the port a windfall, with shipments surging to make the head of the Great Lakes a major funnel for turbines destined for the Upper Midwest and parts of Canada. Jason Paulson, operations manager for Lake Superior Warehousing Co., which transfers turbines from ships to specially designed semitrailer truck caravans, said the port is on track to handle a record 2,000 windmill components this year for several manufacturers, most bound for wind farms in Montana, Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota. Shipments of wind turbines through the port shot from 34,080 freight tons in 2005 to 307,000 freight tons last year.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported this year that transportation of wind turbines was the single largest factor in making fiscal year 2007 its most profitable. "The growth is explosive," Paulson said. "There were times this season when we were moving 12 windmills a day. It's become the major portion of our heavy-lift business."

Most components are imports from large manufacturers such as Siemens AG, a German conglomerate that this year shipped 76 turbines from its factory in Denmark through Duluth to a wind farm under construction in Adair, Iowa, west of Des Moines. The delivery required six ships and more than 500 semitrailer trucks. But the port also is seeing growth in exports of windmill components from companies such as LM Glasfiber, a Danish firm that shipped a load of turbine blades this year from its Grand Forks, N.D., factory to a wind farm in Brazil.

The U.S. wind energy industry is expected this year to increase its capacity a record 7,500 megawatts -- enough to power 2.2 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Much of that capacity, up from a record 5,249 megawatts in 2007, is being installed in the Midwest and Great Plains.

That gives Duluth-Superior, the world's most inland seaport, a distinct advantage. "We're blessed with being close to the wind fields," Paulson said. "But we're also building a reputation for handling these components. Montana and Oklahoma are getting into the sandbox of other ports, but developers are finding it more efficient to use this one."

One reason for that, he said, is a "giant team effort" by the port, trucking companies and the state to get the ungainly turbine components to their destinations. Anderson Trucking Service of St. Cloud has been a key member of that team and, like the port, has capitalized on being in the right place at the right time. The already large firm added a division -- ATS Wind Energy Services -- just to handle turbine component deliveries. The company says it has carried 35,000 loads of wind energy components so far.

Delivering the windmills also requires a lot of help and cooperation from the state, because state troopers are needed to escort loads, and the Department of Transportation [MnDOT] must issue permits and devise routes. A typical semitrailer truck is 75 feet long and has five axles. In comparison, the specially designed semitrailer set required to carry a windmill's nacelle -- the tubular generator made to mount horizontally on top of the tower -- is 200 feet long, with up to 21 axles.

"It's not like you're going to go straight down I-35 to get to Iowa; our overpasses aren't high enough," said Ted Coulianos, MnDOT's supervisor of permitting oversize and overweight loads. The Siemens generators that went from Duluth to Iowa were routed through St. Cloud and then south through New Ulm, to avoid troublesome overpasses, bridges and Twin Cities traffic.

Paulson said the convoys leaving Duluth all summer had at least six trucks, at least one state trooper vehicle, and escort or "pilot" vehicles at the front and rear, all in radio contact to coordinate stopping traffic at intersections and other tricky maneuvers.

Coulianos said that through the end of October, MnDOT issued a record 5,163 permits this year for oversize or overweight loads of wind tower components. The department had to create a three-person "wind team" just to handle the permits and plan the routes. "Economically, it's a boon, but it makes for a crazy quilt of shipments," Coulianos said. "The growth this year has been staggering, and we expect to have as much or more projects next year."

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune


Port Reports - November 25

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger was out bound in the Calumet River at 92nd Street Sunday morning, followed by Atlantic Huron, being towed backward at 100th Street.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
McKee Sons came in Monday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. Weather permitting, the Manistee was expected late Monday evening with a load of stone for Meekhof's E & M dock, also on Harbor Island. The Manistee is expected to then take out a load of sand from the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Mary E. Hannah and her tank barge called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City on Monday. Also inbound Monday evening was the Calumet, who headed upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Both vessels were expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning. The tug Manitou was back again Monday evening, this time dropping off a dump scow at the Essroc dock in preparation for upcoming dredging work on the Saginaw River. Once the barge was tied up, the Manitou was outbound, headed back to the lake.


Updates - November 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Grand Island North Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 25

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

In 1913, the schooner ROUSE SIMMONS, Captain August Schueneman, departed Thompson Harbor (Michigan) with a load of fresh cut Christmas trees bound for Chicago. Somewhere between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wis., 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.


Steelmaker warns of up to 2,444 layoffs

11/24 - Burns Harbor, IN - As many as 2,444 employees at Arcelor Mittal's steel plant could be laid off indefinitely in January, the company said. The company has notified the United Steelworkers and other stakeholders about the possibility of an "indefinite layoff" at the Porter County plant beginning in the second half of January, ArcelorMittal announced Friday.

The recent drop off in global steel production and the company's previously announced plan to reduce production in North American by 40 percent played into the decision, the company said. "Potential work force reductions are a direct result of the extraordinary economic environment we are facing, and the company hopes to return workers to their jobs as market conditions warrant," ArcelorMittal said in a statement.

Jim Robinson, director of United Steelworkers District 7, said the union is negotiating with ArcelorMittal to minimize the number of layoffs. Word of the potential layoffs had spread through the Burns Harbor plant over the past few days, Robinson said. Union leaders at the international level "certainly knew what was going on," Robinson said. "They see the fact there aren't any orders. We're not making a lot of steel."

The global economic downturn that prompted the cut in steel production calls for action by elected officials, Robinson said. "They need to step up to the plate and quit worrying about investment bankers and CEOs and start acting on behalf of average, middle-class American workers," Robinson said.

The Burns Harbor plant is located 10 miles east of Gary.

From the South Bend Tribune


Marinelink Explorer on the move

11/24 - Port Weller - The latest acquisition of Algoma/Upper Lakes, Marinelink Explorer, has departed the Seaway Marine Drydock and was seen upbound above Welland Canal Lock 3 Sunday under tow by the tugs Commodore Straits and Radium Yellowknife. It’s destination is unknown.

Reported by Alex Howard


Port Reports - November 24

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Gordy Garris
On Friday, the Algorail was inbound with a load of stone for the GM dock in Saginaw. The Algorail was finished unloading at 5 p.m. and went upriver to turn at the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw. Algorail was turned and back outbound for the lake at 6:45 p.m. Friday evening. Traffic remained active over the weekend as the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were outbound from the Saginaw River late Saturday evening after unloading at both the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks earlier in the day. The Manistee unloaded at the Sargent dock in Essexville early on Saturday, turned from the dock and waited for her fleetmate, Calumet, to pass inbound before heading outbound for the lake. Calumet continued upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw.
Sunday morning saw the Calumet outbound from the GM dock headed for the lake. She passed the inbound tug Manitou, pulling Luedtke Derrick Boat #16 and another barge, near the pump-out island. Manitou continued upriver and dropped off her barges at the Essroc dock in Essexville before heading back to the lake. The Agawa Canyon was inbound a few minutes later headed upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Agawa Canyon was expected to be outbound late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River went to anchor off Buffalo at 5 p.m. Sunday evening. She will be coming in at 6:30 a.m. on Monday.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Sunday, Catherine Desgagnes finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Docks late Sunday morning. The salt water vessel Garganey was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were at the B-P Dock. Spruceglen was at the Andersons "K" Elevator loading grain. The revised schedule for coal boats due in at the CSX Docks has the Arthur M. Anderson due in early Monday morning, H. Lee White due in Wednesday afternoon followed by Kaye E. Barker due in Saturday. The revised schedule for ore boats due in to the Torco Ore Dock has the John B. Aird and CSL Assiniboine due in Monday morning followed by the Algosteel due in Sunday.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon, Saginaw arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock and loaded taconite.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's Atlantic Huron arrived at the Beemsterboer in South Chicago Saturday afternoon to load petroleum coke. The Huron was scheduled to load 29,000 tons destined for Belladune.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning the tug Karen Andrie and barge departed in ballast at 7:30 am. for Sarnia. The Federal Katsura arrived at 1:15 p.m. with steel products from Antwerp, Germany. Her next port will be Cleveland with a part cargo. The Algomarine arrived at 7:30 p.m.

Cleveland - Bill Kloss
Saturday, Frontenac was at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal loading concentrate, and Maumee was unloading at Ontario Stone.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy was in port Sunday afternoon bunkering the salty Cinnamon at the Redpath slip. The megayacht Michaela Rose, which had been in port for the past week, departed down the lake Sunday evening.


Updates - November 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Grand Island North Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 24

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

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

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

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


Port Report - November 23

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Friday night saw an unusual visitor to the Shiras Dock in Marquette, the Michipicoten. This may be her first delivery to this dock.


Updates - November 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - Carl D. Bradley

Grand Island North Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The CSL NIAGARA a.) J. W. 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.


USS Freedom in Québec City for the weekend

11/22 - Norfolk, VA - The US Navy's newest warship, the USS Freedom, will stop for the week-end in the port of Quebec City from Nov 21 to 24, 2008. The ship will not be open to visitors. The ship was scheduled to dock at Pier 21 on Friday.

The first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), USS Freedom began her maiden voyage a week ago after being commissioned Nov. 8 in Milwaukee, Wis. Freedom is scheduled to make port calls throughout the Great Lakes area of the U.S. and Canada, and along the New England coastline in celebration of the new ship. The port visits include: Cleveland, Ohio; Buffalo N.Y.; Montreal, Québec; Québec City, Québec; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Boston, Mass.; and Annapolis, Md. The transit will conclude at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va., where the ship will undergo a year-long testing and evaluation.

The ship will be in Quebec City for the week-end from Nov 21-24 and will be leaving early Monday morning. She will not be open to visitors but the population is invited to appreciate this new ship at pier 21 in the port of

Quebec City.


Port Reports - November 22

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
Agawa Canyon was outbound from Saginaw early Friday evening after unloading during the day at the GM dock. On Thursday, the Manistee and the Manitowoc arrived together in the river. Manistee delivered a split load to the Wirt Stone Docks in Bay City and Saginaw while Manitowoc called at the Sargent dock in Essexville. Both vessels were outbound on Thursday evening.

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
On Friday afternoon, Rosaire A. Desgagnes was still unloading pig iron at Marinette Fuel & Dock when the saltwater vessel Spar Jade arrived. The Spar Jade anchored out in the bay of Green Bay off Menominee until the Desgagnes departed around 5 p.m. The Spar Jade, assisted by the "G" Tugs, Texas and Indiana, then headed into Marinette Fuel & Dock with another load of pig iron, and were alongside the craneship William H. Donner shortly after 7 p.m.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Friday, Spruceglen was at Andersons "K" Elevator loading grain. The salt water vessel Garganey was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Calumet was at the CSX Coal Dock loading coal and was expected to depart late Friday evening. CSL Niagara was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Friday evening bound for the CSX Coal Docks, she will follow the Calumet to load coal. The revised schedule for coal boats due in to the CSX Docks has the Catherine Desgagnes due in Saturday, followed by the Arthur M. Anderson due in late Sunday evening. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the John B. Aird and CSL Assiniboine due in Monday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Cinnamon is unloading at Redpath Sugar. English River is in at Lafarge. The megayacht Micheleana Rose has been in port at Pier 4 for the past week.


Updates - November 22

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 22

In 1947, the Canadian tanker BRUCE HUDSON broke down shortly after departing Port Stanley, Ont. 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.


Tension-filled day for Freedom's crew, Passing through Welland Canal

11/21 - Aboard USS Freedom - The crew knew this would be a tough day, perhaps one of the biggest challenges yet for the U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship. They were headed for Canada's Welland Canal, the narrow, man-made passageway between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It was the next leg of the ship's journey from its builder's yard in Wisconsin to the open ocean.

The Welland features eight locks that lower ships from Erie to Ontario. Heading from the south end and starting with Lock 8, the ship moved in the morning of Nov. 18 in frigid temperatures and passing snow showers with a slow deliberateness. Each lock was a major shiphandling challenge, with only about 6 feet to 8 feet between the ship's sides and the towering stone walls of the locks.

"We've got lots of time. We're in no hurry. We're going to do this right," Cmdr. Don Gabrielson, commanding officer of the Freedom, told his crew in the morning. The Canadians knew the challenges of the operation. "This ship has lots of angles, features that jut out at the walls," said master mariner Capt. Anil Soni of the Canadian government.

Soni had come aboard to inspect the ship for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. "It's going to be tough, but they're doing very well," he added. Soni pointed to a passing laker cargo ship, its flat sides streaked fore to aft with enormous scratches. The lakers hug the side of the locks, deliberately scraping the ships along one side to avoid banging into the other. "The cargo ships are built for these locks," he said.

But lock-hugging was not an option for the angled sides of the Freedom. The warship's crew rigged rubberized fenders over the ship's sides fore, aft and amidships. Perhaps as a harbinger of things to come, fenders were hung from the bridge wings that projected high over the ship's sides. "We'll need those," Gabrielson said after passing through the first, relatively low, lock. "Those locks up ahead will be higher than the ship," he cautioned.

That was indeed the case as the ship descended down Lock 7, the second lock of the day. Deckhands fore and aft raised and lowered the fenders to keep them in the most protective spot, and soon the bridge windows were filled with nothing but the sight of the sides of the lock and its massive steel gate. Gabrielson flitted from one side of the ship to the other, calling out the distance between the ship and the walls and calmly encouraging his crew.

Several times the Freedom bumped into the walls, but the fenders held and there was no damage - at least to the ship, if not the fenders. "You've got it; you're doing fine," Gabrielson told the crew. The bridge watch stifled the urge to breathe a sigh of relief as they made it through Lock 7, knowing that the toughest challenge was coming up. Locks 6, 5 and 4 were grouped together, back to back, and it would take nearly two hours just to get through that bunch.

Lock 6 went by almost routinely. Then in Lock 5, things got a bit rougher. "Come to port," Capt. Dan Hobbs, a private consultant, told the escorting tug Ohio, which was guiding the LCS in the lock. But the Ohio was coming right. "You're going to starboard - come to port," Hobbs said. But the Ohio continued to pull the Freedom the wrong way.

Out on the port side, the Freedom's bridge wing came into contact with an oaken lock gate. The fender hanging off the bridge wing got caught and, as the tug kept pulling the wrong way, the fender rope tore off a small railing. The wing itself pranged into the stone wall, punching a small hole in the structure and leaving some scratches and dents. But the damage to the ship's pride might have been greater.

"It'll take a bit of work; we'll have to fix it up," Gabrielson said afterward of the damage. "But we can't look back. We've got more to do." And Freedom pushed on. It would take nearly 10 hours to make it through the Welland, and the crew was only halfway there.

From Defense News


Port Reports - November 21

Buffalo - Rob Wolcott and Dan Sweeley
There was a unusual visitor to Buffalo Thursday in the form of the barge McKee Sons and her Tug Invincible. They were docked at the Sand Supply Co. dock making a late season call with sand for the upcoming winter. She arrived just past midnight on Wednesday night.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Canadian Navigator finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed late Thursday afternoon. The salt water vessel Garganey was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Calumet and CSL Niagara due in Friday, Catherine Desgagnes due in Saturday followed by the Arthur M. Anderson due in Sunday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the Adam E. Cornelius due in late Thursday evening followed by John B. Aird and CSL Assiniboine due in Monday.


World shipping industry struggles to stay afloat as trade dips

11/21 - With commentators now referring to the present situation in the shipping sector as a "slump," it has been a pessimistic week for the (global) industry. The online Journal of Commerce reports that container ship charter rates are now in "freefall" with fears of ship owner bankruptcies and ocean carriers cutting or suspending services because of significant drops in cargo volumes.

Furthermore, weak freight rates, plus a glut in idle tonnage due to falling chartering activities, is adding to the downward spiral that has yet to bottom out. For instance, a 2,750 TEU, gearless sub-Panamax vessel now commands $14,000 per day, down from $19,500 in September and $26,292 in 2007 (figures from Fairplay, quoting Clarksons).

The financial institution Exim India has described the outlook for India as "bleak" with rates falling by around 40 per cent since July and the Times of India reported that large shipping lines operating between India, Europe and the US say freight rates have dropped to $700 from $1,000 per TEU and to $1,600 from $1,900 per FEU. The Times also describes the fall of between 15 to 37 per cent in shipping stock prices between June and October.

The newspaper also cited fears that the large number of newbuildings for Indian operators that are scheduled to be launched in 2009 will have an adverse effect with shipping lines unable to recover costs unless there is a significant upturn in rates.

Those carriers that are concerned with a single activity are seen as most vulnerable, particularly the container and bulker sectors. Where companies have diversified, the outlook is slightly better due to mixed interests across container, tanker and offshore business. Major shipping indexes are also reinforcing the gloom with the Baltic Dry Index, a gauge of demand for bulk shipping, plunging by 91 per cent this year and the US Cass Freight Index of Shipments falling 16.9 per cent in October compared to the same period one year ago. This fall followed in the footsteps of a previous 16.6-per cent decline in September.

Lloyds List describes container outlook as "bleak" with profits taking a nosedive even before the full impact of the downturn is felt. The journal quoted that Evergreen Marine has reported that third-quarter profits were down 94 per cent year on year, and that a number of smaller carriers have already gone bankrupt with many likely to struggle, compared to larger container shipping lines who should fare better with reliance on reserves built up during boom years, but there are still said to be rumors that one or two might be over-stretched.

There are some positive factors that will help to counter, but not equalize, the negative trends. These include the fact that many new buildings have been ordered against long-term charters, but with the integrity of those long-term charters being less secure now, some would argue that this isn't such a positive factor. However, as long as the dollar recovers in value there is some reprieve, at least, from extreme gloom and, of course, falling oil prices are good news.

From Gulfnews


Ship sinking plan not off shoals yet

11/21 - Brockville, Ont. - A provincial Ministry of Natural Resources official says it’s premature to suggest there’s clear sailing for plans to sink a 2,800-ton warship in the St. Lawrence River.

Jim Fraser, MNR area supervisor in Kemptville, said Monday that concern over the artificial reef project’s impact on the river’s fish habitat is just one of several regulatory hurdles still in the way. “We’re trying to work proactively with the proponent, but there’s a number of hoops still to go through,” said Fraser.

His comments follow remarks at a city council meeting last week by a Brockville and District Tourism Advisory Committee member indicating approvals were close at hand. “Everything looks good, we’re looking at … perhaps the sinking going forward perhaps after Labor Day. It’s amazing news,” committee member Laura Good told councillors.

She was referring to plans by the Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association (EOARA) to purchase the decommissioned HMCS Terra Nova, a 372-foot anti-submarine destroyer escort built in 1956. The EOARA is seeking approval to sink the warship in 130 feet of water in the St. Lawrence about four kilometres east of Brown’s Bay. The $2-million project has the support of municipal, provincial and federal politicians who are eager to reap its economic benefits.

While Fraser said there are still several approvals required, the major unresolved question is clearly what impact scuttling the massive warship will have on the sturgeon population. Fraser said the MNR asked EOARA representatives in an earlier meeting to explore alternative locations. Meanwhile, if the sturgeon issue is resolved, two less-difficult issues remain to be settled with the ministry, said Fraser.

Those are determining who owns the section of riverbed – almost certainly the Crown, said Fraser – and whether there are existing tenures or leases in place for submarine telephone or hydro cables. When those title searches are complete, he said a tenure agreement would have to be drafted with EOARA. And Fraser noted those are just the hurdles the project faces with MNR. Other ministries will require proof the ship has been stripped of any potential contaminants, while an environmental assessment, possibly including public consultation, is also required.

From the Brockville Recorder and Times


Updates - November 21

News Photo Gallery updated

New book The Great Lakes Engineering Works, the Shipyard and its Vessels

Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Coast Guard evacuates man off Mackinac Island

11/20 - St. Ignace - The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated a man off Mackinac Island, Mich., Wednesday, at approximately 1:30 p.m.

Coast Guard Station St. Ignace received a call from a physician at the Mackinac Island Medical Center at approximately 1:15 p.m. The physician requested assistance with transporting a possible stroke victim to a local hospital on the mainland. St. Ignace launched a 47-foot motor life boat and recovered the 59-year-old man at 1:26 p.m.

He was transported to the Coast Guard Station were an awaiting Emergency Medical Services ambulance transported him to an area hospital. "We provide assistance to people in need of medical attention when they are isolated from proper medical facilities on shore," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Miranda Yarger, coxswain of the 47-foot motor life boat.


U.S.-flag cargo movement on Lakes slows a bit in October

11/20 - Cleveland - The U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet hauled 11.1 million net tons of cargo in October, a slight decrease from both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

The downturn in steel production did not translate into a drop in iron ore cargos in October. Loadings in U.S. bottoms actually increased by 160,000 net tons. However, five U.S.-flag lakers are now laid-up for the year, primarily because of the slowdown at the nation’s steel mills.

The dredging crisis also impacted cargo totals. With the water level on Lake Superior receding, the largest vessels were trimming some 2,000 tons off their loads compared to just a month ago. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers needs to remove 17 million cubic yards of sediment from ports throughout the system, but Federal funding remains inadequate. Restoring the Great Lakes navigation system to project dimensions would provide a real economic stimulus to the economy at no additional cost to the taxpayer or Federal government. The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) that pays for dredging with taxes on waterborne commerce has a surplus of nearly $5 billion.

The Lakes dredging crisis could be solved with an allocation of about $230 million, or less than 5 percent of the surplus in the HMTF.

For the year, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 85.2 million net tons, a slight increase (200,000 net tons) compared to a year ago, but down about 1 percent (or 800,000 net tons) from the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Port Reports - November 20

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was inbound late Tuesday night, headed upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. She was outbound Wednesday morning after unloading overnight.

Suttons Bay - James Shannahan
A vessel believed to St. Marys Challenger was avoiding the weather on Lake Michigan by taking shelter in Suttons Bay (Grand Traverse Bay) on Tuesday evening.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday two of the cement carriers were in port at Lafarge. The G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity and the Alpena. Around noon on a cold and snowy Wednesday the Manistee arrived in the Thunder Bay RIver and tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock. The Manistee unloaded a cargo of road salt.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Wednesday morning found fleet mates on the Calumet River. The Philip R. Clarke was tied up at the KCBX south dock at 10:15 a.m. Over at Beemsterboer at 106th St., the Clarke's fleetmate, the Arthur M. Anderson was tied up.


Film crew on hand as biofuels plant readies large shipment

11/20 - Erie, PA - Lake Erie Biofuels is ready to ship another 600,000 gallons of biodiesel overseas from the Port of Erie this week, and the local company also is getting some new attention. The biodiesel plant made history earlier this month when a jet used its fuel to complete the first biodiesel-powered flight across the U.S.

This week, film crews from the National Broadcast Group are visiting the plant to get material for Shades of Green, a documentary that is to be shown on the Discovery Channel in February. "They chose us because of the unique facility we have here," said Lake Erie Biofuels laboratory manager Glenn Green. The local plant has the ability to use not only soybean oil to make biodiesel, but also other vegetable oils, discarded restaurant grease, chicken fat, beef tallow and other materials, and get consistent quality results.

The biodiesel to be loaded in a freighter bound for Europe this week, for example, was made from canola oil, said company Chief Financial Officer Chris Peterson. The company doesn't often use canola oil because it is more expensive than soybean oil and is in more direct competition with uses for human food products. But it has better properties for winter biodiesel use. Its usual feed stock -- soybean oil -- on the other hand, is a byproduct of crushing soybeans for the soymeal that goes into human and animal food products, Peterson said. "Until the biodiesel industry came about, it was a waste product for them to a certain extent."

Lake Erie Biofuels has a capacity to produce 45 million gallons of biodiesel a year. It has been operating at 60 to 70 percent after running at 90 percent for most of the summer, Peterson said. Nationwide, the biodiesel industry operated at about 20 percent capacity in 2007, Peterson said.
European exports have pumped up the local plant's production, taking about 80 percent of the biodiesel it produces. But local officials hope that will change. Federal requirements for petroleum companies to mix at least 500 million gallons of renewable fuels into their diesel and heating oil are expected to increase demand for biodiesel in 2009. Plus states, such as Pennsylvania, will require a 2 percent blend of biodiesel into heating oil and diesel fuel once infrastructure for the new fuel is in place.

Peterson said the goal of Lake Erie Biofuels has always been to supply biodiesel for heating oil and diesel fuel for the Northeast part of the country. "That was our intended market from day one," he said. "What we hope to do is wean off the European exports in the next 12 to 18 months. We project instead of exporting 80 percent, to maybe get that down to 50 percent over the next 12 to 18 months."

From the Erie Times-News


Seaway to have a more Italian flavor

11/20 - St. Catharines - The St. Lawrence Seaway hopes to receive more vessels originating from Italy in the future after signing a cooperative partnership recently.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. personnel from Canada and U. S. had met with counterparts from Italian ports of Genoa, La Spezia and Savona. "It will strengthen the mutual understanding and friendship between our ports as well as promote trade and maritime business and the growth of our respective economies," said Seaway president and CEO Richard Corfe.

Cooperation will included discussions on expanding marine transportation and trade, exchanging data and information, and joint communications on ways to improve port management and economic development. The Seaway delegation visited Turkey for similar talks last week

From The Cornwall Standard Freeholder


Indian warship takes out pirate mother ship

11/20 - The Indian Navy Talwar-class frigate INS Tabar has "completely destroyed" a Somali pirate mother ship.

The frigate, which is currently in the Gulf of Aden for Anti-Piracy Surveillance and Patrol Operations, encountered a pirate vessel, 285 nautical miles South West of Salalah (Oman) on the evening of November 18 with two speed boats in tow. This vessel was similar in description to a "mother vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins.

INS Tabar closed the vessel and asked it to stop for investigation. "On repeated calls," says a statement from India's Ministry of Defense," the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship if it closed her. Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar.

On being fired upon, INS Tabar retaliated in self defense and opened fire on the mother vessel. According to one Indian media report, INS Tabar, which is also equipped with the Israeli Barak missiles, opened up with its medium machine gun, a closing-in weapon capable of firing 4,500-5,000 rounds per minute.

As a result of the firing by INS Tabar, fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel. Almost simultaneously, two speed boats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness.

An Indian media report quotes a senior navy source as saying that the warship used heavy guns to "completely destroy" the pirate vessel. "From what we see in photographs the pirate vessel is completely destroyed," the officer said. Since deployment, INS Tabar has successfully escorted 35 ships, including a number of foreign-flagged vessels, through the Gulf of Aden, and on November 11 foiled two near simultaneous hijack attempts, one on an Indian ship and the other on a Saudi vessel

From Marine Log magazine


Town seeks solutions to shallow harbor

11/20 - Cobourg - The town is considering buying its own dredging machinery to maintain the depth of the harbor at Cobourg, Ont.

"It would be a godsend to the marina," Councillor Bob Spooner, coordinator of parks and recreation, told council at the Nov. 10 meeting. By the end of 2007 sailing season, the harbor entrance was only five feet deep. The harbor needs to be at least seven feet deep for power boats and sailboats to navigate through. It has been dredged three times in the last four years. In the spring of 2006, the harbor was made 16 feet deep, at a cost of about $80,000.

Council set aside $250,000 in the 2008 budget for the harbor dredging work. The harbor mouth was dredged to 14 feet deep early in the 2008 boating season. "It's not holding up very well, it's filling in," said Spooner. "In the harbor itself, it's not filling in as quickly." The problem is being blamed on the frequent rainstorms and high winds of the summer season. The sand filling in the harbor is thought to be coming all the way from the Scarborough bluffs, said Spooner.

Last fall, Cobourg council approved a $19,750 initial study on how to keep the harbor waters at a proper depth. Hall Coastal Canada Ltd., a Kingston engineering firm, was hired to study the depth problem and come up with possible solutions. Spooner said if the town does buy dredging equipment, the cost could be off-set by renting it out to other Lake Ontario harbours that are facing similar problems.

The parks and recreation department is still researching the possibility of Cobourg owning its own marina dredging equipment, Spooner said. A staff report will have to come before council before buying any equipment. "We're confident if we did this purchase it would resolve the issue," said Spooner.

From the Cobourg Northumberland News


Author to sign copies of St. Marys Challenger book in Port Huron Saturday

11/20- Port Huron - Great Lakes author/photographer Christopher Winters will be on hand to autograph copies of his new hardcover book "Centennial: Steaming Through the American Century" at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The book documents life aboard the 102-year-old steamer St. Marys Challenger as she approached the centennial anniversary of her maiden voyage in 2006, and also explores the long history of this amazing vessel. Copies of the illustrated coffee-table style book will be available at the signing.

As an added bonus, Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of the annual boat watching guide "Know Your Ships" will also be on hand with a limited supply of the 2008 issue. Anyone buying Winters' book can also purchase an autographed copy of "Know Your Ships" for $12 (regular price, $16.95).

The Great Lakes Maritime Center is located on the St. Clair River, where it intersects with the Black River.


Updates - November 20

News Photo Gallery updated

New book The Great Lakes Engineering Works, the Shipyard and its Vessels


Today in Great Lakes History - November 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


After three tugs and 12,500 nautical miles, Algobay arrives in China

11/19 - Ship brokers Marcon International report on their website that Algoma Central Corp.’s Algobay arrived in China September 10 after a 12,500 nautical mile tow involving three different tugs. Marcon arranged for the towing, although they do not name the tugs involved.

The tow commenced on May 25 from Montreal to Gibraltar through the Suez Canal, Red Sea, Indian Ocean and finally arriving at the Changjiangkou buoy off Shanghai to await pilots, escort tugs and clearance up the Yangtze River. After a short delay, the ship was towed the 100 miles upriver under the Jiangyin Suspension Bridge, one of the longest span suspension bridges in the world.

The major rebuild, to be completed by December 2009, will also involve a repowering of the 1978 built self-unloader. For more see

Reported by Mac MacKay


Port Reports - November 19

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic Tuesday morning in the Twin Ports included Walter J. McCarthy Jr. loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while the James R. Barker fueled at the Murphy Oil terminal and awaited its turn at the coal dock. Just ahead of the Barker, the heavy-life vessel Jumbo Vision was unloading a reactor for the oil sands project in western Canada. Later in the day Paul R. Tregurtha was scheduled to arrive for Midwest Energy Terminal.

Marquette - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Tuesday afternoon, Adam E. Cornelius visited Marquette for the first time this season and loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She finished her unload of Sugar Stone, turned off the dock, and was outbound for the lake during the early afternoon. A few hours later, the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge departed the Bit-Mat dock after unloading there overnight and into the morning.

Marinette - Scott Best
Tuesday morning, the Rosaire A Desgagnes arrived in Marinette, Wis., on its first-ever visit to this port. The Desgagnes tied up along the Donner at Marinette Fuel & Dock to unload a cargo of pig iron. Most pig iron delivered to Marinette over the past 10-12 years has been handled by fleet mate Catherine Desgagnes.

Sarnia -
The McNally Marine tug Bagotville, with tow McNally Derrick #1, was downbound under the Bluewater Bridge, Sarnia, enroute to the Government Dock.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Robert S. Pierson was at the CSX Docks loading coal. The salt water vessel Garganey was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 were at the B-P Dock loading cargo.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the CSL Niagara, Catharine Desgagnes, Calumet and the Arthur M. Anderson due in Friday followed by the Herbert C. Jackson on Saturday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Canadian Navigator and Adam E. Cornelius due in Thursday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee came in light this morning to pick up a load of sand from the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg, Mich. It is expected to deliver the its cargo down the lake and return for another load or two yet this week.


U.S. Coast Guard begins Operation Big Tow

11/19 - Cleveland – The Ninth Coast Guard District will begin Operation Big Tow within the Great Lakes area to ensure commercial tugs are compliant with rules, regulations and licensing procedures.

The Coast Guard is conducting Operation Big Tow as a continuous safety message to the maritime industry community.

The intent of this operation is strictly a marine safety focused operation being conducted to ensure that individuals operating Uninspected Towing Vessel (UTVs) are properly licensed.

A Marine Safety Alert message was released in September 2008 by the Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship in Washington, D.C. in response to a recent collision between a cargo vessel and a loaded oil barge in the Mississippi River. The collision resulted in more than 282,000 gallons of #6 fuel oil spilling into the river. The Maritime Safety Alert was released strongly reminding the towing industry of its responsibility to properly man their vessels with adequate numbers of qualified and licensed crewmembers. The preliminary investigation into that collision incident revealed that the crewmember operating the vessel at the time of the casualty was not authorized to independently operate the tug.

The Coast Guard will primarily be checking licenses to ensure vessel operators are properly licensed for their respective vessel's size, type, and route. The Coast Guard will look for opportunities to work with industry and UTV operators to conduct boardings and examinations at locks and dams, while vessels are tied up pier side or through other methods that facilitate the flow of commerce while allowing the Coast Guard to check licenses and conduct safety checks. All of our personnel have been ordered to conduct their operations with the utmost level of professionalism and respect.

The Coast Guard is committed to improving towing vessel safety throughout the entire maritime transportation system. Our proactive communications efforts are designed to increase awareness of the Coast Guard's regulatory authorities and to encourage owners and operators of UTVs to self-correct any issues with license compliance and safety issues.

USCG News Release


Cliffs-Alpha merger is off

11/19 - Duluth - Cliffs Natural Resources has ditched plans to aggressively expand into the coal business.

The manager of three Iron Range taconite mines announced Monday that it no longer aims to purchase Alpha Natural Resources of Abingdon, Va., the nation’s largest supplier of Appalachian metallurgical coal to the steel industry. Cliffs, based in Cleveland, is the largest supplier of iron ore pellets in the nation.

It first unveiled plans to acquire Alpha in mid-July as part of a cash-and-stock deal then valued at about $10 billion. In the meantime, however, Cliffs’ stock has tumbled from $111.46 per share to $19.65 — about 18 percent of its original value. Had the acquisition occurred with Cliffs trading at Monday’s price, the original $10 billion deal would have been worth less than one-third its original value. Alpha’s stock has been beaten up badly, as well, dropping from $104.93 on the date the original deal was made public to $24.90 at the close of trading Monday.

The proposed Alpha buyout quickly met with opposition from the figurehead of Cliff’s largest single shareholder — Phil Falcone, senior managing director of Harbinger Capital Management Partners. A Chisholm native, Falcone was a vocal critic of the deal, suggesting that Cliffs would do better to put itself on the market than to buy Alpha. Falcone sought shareholder permission for Harbinger to take a larger interest in the company, giving it enough control to effectively block the deal.

His overtures were ultimately rejected, but shareholder opposition to the acquisition continued to dog Cliffs. “They needed two-thirds of shareholders to vote in favor of the deal, and that was highly unlikely,” said Tony Robson, a steel analyst with BMO Capital Markets. Even before the nation’s financial markets went haywire, Robson said many shareholders were uneasy about an acquisition that stood to de-emphasize Cliffs’ long-standing focus on iron ore. Cliffs manages nine iron ore facilities, including three in Minnesota: United Taconite, Northshore and Hibbing Taconite.

Robson said the recent economic downturn has made the acquisition an even tougher sell, however. Sensing shareholder unrest, Cliffs recently pushed back a vote on the proposed acquisition from November to December. Alpha objected to the delay and filed a suit against Cliffs. On Monday, the two companies announced a settlement of all outstanding litigation and the termination of the merger agreement. But Cliffs will need to pay Alpha $70 million to get off the hook. To put that figure in perspective, Cliffs profits for the first nine months of this year were about $462 million.

Spokesmen from both companies did not return phone calls from the News Tribune late Monday afternoon. If the two had merged, they would have become one of the largest U.S. mining companies, with iron ore facilities and more than 60 coal mines in North America, South America and Australia.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Contractors waiting to wade into water work;
Turbines still a distant possibility

11/19 - Wisconsin could become the go-to place for Great Lakes wind turbine construction, but the possibility is too remote for contractors to take it seriously. Ted Smith, president of Marine Tech LLC, Duluth, Minn., said he sees wind turbines and towers headed toward land projects, but before contractors build towers in water, they will need answers about permitting, transmission lines and cost.

Smith said he would consider pursuing the market once those questions are answered, but it’s too early to think about it now. “I think there’s going to have to be a lot of places on land where you can’t put them anymore before you put them on the Great Lakes,” he said.

A report from the group Wind on the Water laid out a list of necessities — including bigger barges and the right skill sets — for contractors to build turbines and towers in the lakes.

If the projects materialize and the state moves forward, Wisconsin companies could build the barges and supply the construction crews for all of the Great Lakes, said Richard Stewart, co-director of the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. It would be a lost opportunity if companies aren’t prepared when Great Lakes wind projects become reality, he said.

Edward E. Gillen Co., a Milwaukee marine contractor, probably has the barges and cranes to build turbines within a mile of the shoreline, said President Richard Zirbel. But it’s a whole different animal when the projects are farther offshore because there will be more stress on the towers, requiring different equipment and construction gear, he said. “Our company would be interested if there is any utility or company that is seriously considering doing it,” Zirbel said. “The reality part is, I think it is very unlikely that somebody is going to be able to do that in the near future.”

The tricky part is deciding when to invest in the training and equipment for large offshore projects, Stewart said. But, like a highway project, it will take years of engineering and permitting work between a project’s announcement and actual construction, so companies will have time to prepare.

“Even if we said we’d do it tomorrow,” Stewart said, “from a construction point of view, it isn’t like we have a company on standby that knows how to do them.” The Great Lakes has a large fleet of barges (PDF) to haul freight, but nothing designed to handle a crane that could lift large turbine components, Stewart said. Those barges take between one and four years to build.

That leaves two questions: Who owns the barges? Who operates them? “Could a construction company own a ship or the barges? Absolutely,” Stewart said. “The only thing that prevents people from owning things is money.”

Companies, potentially marine contractors, must develop the skills necessary to build turbines on water, he said. It could be done through partnerships with firms experienced with wind turbines. “They certainly could have people who do set up a branch of their company to do things like that,” Stewart said, “so long as the contract is big enough to warrant the investment.”

Should those contracts start to emerge, Smith said he would consider getting into the business. “Sure, we would chase anything,” he said. “We would look at anything at least once. I don’t know any businessman that wouldn’t.”

By Sean Ryan for the Daily Reporter


Updates - November 19

News Photo Gallery updated

New book The Great Lakes Engineering Works, the Shipyard and its Vessels

Weekly updates


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. McCURDY 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. Six of the seven 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.


New Canfornav ship sails into Thunder Bay

11/18 - Thunder Bay - A new ship is sailing the Great Lakes this week, and shipping officials call that good news for both the industry and the city. The Cyprus-flagged motor vessel Blacky is being loaded with canola at Thunder Bay, Ont.’s Viterra elevator, and will make its way to Mexico where the shipment will be turned into canola oil.

Lake Superior Shipping ship agent Sandy Henderson said Blacky is the first of 14 ships to be built in China by Montreal-based Canfornav Inc. He said it is a good sign that new ships are being built. Henderson also said that the ship was built three months ago, and can carry up to 28,000 tonnes of cargo. As for the kind of cargo the ship can carry, Henderson said anything from grain to steel. But with the depth limitations in the Great Lakes, it cannot carry more than 20,000 tonnes out of Thunder Bay. The Blacky will arrive in Mexico in about two weeks.

From Thunder Bays' Source


Freedom departs Buffalo

11/18 - Buffalo - The USS Freedom departed Buffalo shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning escorted by two tugs. USS Freedom is sailing off the lakes for Norfolk , Va., and a five-month Post Delivery Availability. Final acceptance trials are set for next May, then the ship will leave for Florida and ultimately its home port in San Diego.

The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisc., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II.

Reported by Brian W.


New Seawall for Cobb

11/18 - Muskegon, Mi - Consumers Energy Co. is investing $11 million in the docking facility that accommodates 1,000-foot coal freighters at Muskegon's B.C. Cobb generating plant and benefiting several local companies at the same time.

Great Lakes Dock & Materials will be the prime contractor on the project that calls for replacement of 1,800 feet of seawall. Other local firms working on the job will be Jackson-Merkey Contractors, Northshore Construction Co. and Verplank Trucking.

"It's great that Consumers did that," said Great Lakes Dock's Joe Bailey, adding that he will be using local suppliers wherever possible.

The project has received permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It will involve placing 2.7 acres of fill outward from the existing seawall and construction of a new seawall.

In the process, it will eliminate 11 large round "docking cells," several of which already have been removed due to deterioration. The existing seawall, which has been in place since the 1940s, also has deteriorated. "There are places in the steel with holes big enough to put your arm through," said Consumers Energy Public Affairs Director Dennis McKee.

The new seawall will consist of 52-inch-wide steel sections running 70 feet into the ground. McKee said contractors expect to have the job 95 percent completed by March 1, in time for the first spring coal shipments.

"The seawall replacement project is necessary for our continued operation of the Cobb plant," said Plant Manager Tom Gesinski. "The coal is used to generate the steam necessary to operate the machinery that makes electricity."

The Cobb plant consists of two coal-burning units each capable of generating 160 megawatts, and three natural gas-fired turbine generators that can each produce 60 megawatts.

As one condition of its permits, Consumers Energy will be required to mitigate any impact the seawall project may have on aquatic life in the area. It will create new bottom-land habitat on its property between the middle and south branches of the Muskegon River. The utility also will create a second wetland habitat on its electric transmission right of way adjacent to the Muskegon State Game Area.

Reported by Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports - November 18

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge A-410 were inbound the Saginaw River Monday morning calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. Once the pair made the dock, across the river, the CSL Tadoussac began backing out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake after unloading overnight at the Essrock dock in Essexville. Also outbound on Monday was the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity. The tug and barge had unloaded overnight at the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Monday morning the H. Lee White finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Dock. Late Monday afternoon the Calumet arrived at the CSX Docks to load coal, she is expected to depart Monday evening. The Charles M. Beeghly finished unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock and departed Monday afternoon. The salt water vessel Garganey was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 were at the B-P Dock. The Manistee was at the A.R.M.S. Dock unloading salt. The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Robert S. Pierson due in Tuesday evening followed by the CSL Niagara, Catherine Desgagnes, and Calumet due in Friday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Adam E. Cornelius and the Canadian Navigator due in Friday. The Michipicoten was inbound the Toledo Ship channel late Monday evening bound for the Midwest Terminal Stone dock to unload stone.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Thunder Cape departed Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters at 11 a.m. Monday for Cobourg.  Captain Henry Jackman arrived in Hamilton at noon with sand for Pier 23 from Brevport and Chicago. The Robert S Pierson departed at 12:15 p.m. in ballast for Toledo. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon and the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Shark arrived in Burlington at 2:30 p.m. heading to CCIW.


Coast Guard responds to oil spill in Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee

11/18 - Milwukee - The Coast Guard is responding to an oil spill on the Kinnickinnic River that happened about 3 p.m. Monday near Skipper Buds Marina. A crane that was attempting to lift a yacht out of the water tumbled into the river and a portion of its fuel contents spilled after the fall.

A Coast Guard Station Milwaukee 25-foot response boat was dispatched to the scene, and the spill was contained by oil boom. Coast Guard responders from Sector Lake Michigan estimate a spill potential of 250 gallons, (90 from the yacht and 160 from the crane.)

"After ensuring the safety of the people involved in this incident, our attention turns to minimizing the environmental impacts" said Cmdr. Joe Malinauskas, Chief of Response for Sector Lake Michigan, "We are very pleased with the rapid and effective response by both Skipper Buds and CG Enterprises."

Most of the fuel remains in the submerged tanks. The Coast Guard is investigating the reasons for the spill, and is making certain that the oil is removed from the water.

The Coast Guard oversees the investigation of and response to pollution threats on the navigable waters, maintains a cadre of highly trained pollution investigators and responders. They will provide oversight of the oil spill response personnel and equipment that is being mobilized to the scene.

The crane was owned and operated by CG Enterprises of Milwaukee and no injuries were reported.

Reported by USCG


Updates - November 18

News Photo Gallery updated

New book The Great Lakes Engineering Works, the Shipyard and its Vessels

Weekly updates


Carl D. Bradley Tragedy Remembered 50 Years Later

On this day 50 years ago shortly after 5:30 pm the Carl D. Bradley broadcast this distress signal “Mayday! Mayday! This is the Carl D. Bradley. Our position is approximately twelve miles southwest of Gull Island. We are in serious trouble! We’re breaking up!” Built in 1927 by American Ship Building Co. in Lorain, OH, the 638 foot self-unloading freighter that was known as the “Queen of the Lakes” when launched was now caught in the middle of a Lake Michigan November Gale that was generating winds up to 60 mph. The Carl D. Bradley had departed Buffington, Indiana in ballast the day before and was bound for the Port of Calcite, MI to lay up for the winter. In that gale 50 years ago the ship broke in two amidships and sank in a matter of minutes. Of the 35 crewmen on board only 2 survived.

Twenty-three of those lost made their homes in Rogers City. To say the town devastated was an understatement. Today, the people of Rogers City will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bradley’s loss. The centerpiece for the commemoration will be the recently recovered bell from the vessel. Last summer, divers removed the bell and replaced it with a replica engraved with the names of the entire crew to serve as a memorial marker to those lost. The original bell was returned to Rogers City and restored. It is displayed in a place of honor at the Great Lakes Lore Museum there, where it has remained silent for the last year. Tuesday evening, it will be rung once for each of the crewmembers. The first to ring it will be Frank Mays, the sole remaining survivor.

Great Lakes Shipping Profiles has also released two versions of Carl D. Bradley prints. The ship is depicted as she would have looked in the late 1950’s shortly before the tragic wreck. Click here to view.

Reported by John Belliveau and Bob Vandevusse from the Holland Sentinel



11/18  - On July 12, 2007, six-year-old Reading Beardslee and her seven-year-old sibling Jasper launched a toy canoe into the St. Mary's River.

The launch of the tiny vessel, dubbed Paddle-to-the-Sea, took place about halfway between De Tour, Michigan and Drummond Island.

Inscribed on the bottom of Paddle-to-the-Sea was the family name, their phone number and a message stating: "Please put me back in the water. I am Paddle-to-the-Sea."

Over the following year, the little boat carved by the Beardslee family travelled down the St. Marys' River and into Lake Michigan, before hitting shore at White Lake - 220 miles from the launch point. There, it was discovered by Doddin Applegate this past September, who contacted the Beardslee family.

Doddin and Brooks Applegate will fix up the canoe over the winter and re-launch it next spring.

News of the discovery proved exciting to Reading and Jasper, who had sought to re-create the adventure of Paddle-to-the-Sea - Holling Clancy Holling's 1941 illustrated book for children. The book tells the story of an indian boy who releases a hand-carved canoe with his tribal colors into Lake Nipigon and describes the canoe's journey from Lake Nipigon to Lake Superior, over to the St. Lawrence and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Reported by Soo Today from the White Lake Beacon


Today in Great Lakes History - November 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Freedom arrives in Buffalo

11/17 - Buffalo - The USS Freedom arrived about 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The tugs Washington, New Jersey, and Shenandoah were alongside to assist her into the North Pier - Visiting Ship's Dock. She was secure by 4:30 and the colors were struck at 4:32 p.m.. She will be open for tours on Monday afternoon from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and will depart for the Welland Canal on Tuesday morning. Freedom departed Cleveland about 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

Reported by Brian W.


Steel industry woes continue, layoffs mount

11/17 - One Hamilton steelmaker is laying off workers and another will shut down over Christmas, sending more than 5,000 workers home, as the global financial crisis continues to batter the steel industry.

U.S. Steel Canada is temporarily laying off 175 employees at its Hamilton plant as it extends the shutdown of its blast furnace.

In addition to the staff reductions in Canada, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel is laying off 500 workers at facilities in the Pittsburgh area, northwest Indiana, Fairfield, Ala., Ecorse and River Rouge, Mich., and Granite City, Ill.

And ArcelorMittal Dofasco will halt all steelmaking for two weeks at Christmas, taking the unprecedented step of asking all unessential workers to take vacation or unpaid leaves.

Steelmakers have been pummeled by the global economic slowdown and a steep slide in orders from key customers, including automakers.

"The volatility in this market is just unprecedented. I¹ve never seen demand this bad," said Larry Meyer, a spokesperson for ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

Laid-off workers at U.S. Steel Canada will not be called back until the Hamilton blast furnace,  the heart of the plant's steelmaking operations, is brought back to life following a shutdown that started late last month, said Rolf Gerstenberger, president of the United Steelworkers union at the plant.

Though tentative plans had called for the furnace to be restarted in mid-December, the shutdown is now expected to extend into the new year. The union was told to expect another 32 layoffs in the next two to three weeks, Gerstenberger said.

No layoffs have occurred at U.S. Steel Canada's Lake Erie operation in Nanticoke, where the blast furnace has been shut down for a week for repairs, said Bill Ferguson, union president at the facility. The Lake Erie plant employs 1,200 people.

The downturn marks a sharp reversal of fortune for the steel sector. Driven by strong demand during the summer, both U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal pumped out steel at record rates and saw profits soar in the second and third quarters. Workers at the former Stelco took home thousands of dollars in production bonuses.

But as the global economy slumps, demand for the steel used in cars and appliances has plummeted and customers are struggling to secure credit.

"Who'd have thought six months ago this would happen?" said Mike Doyle, an employee at U.S. Steel Canada.

Reported by: Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - November 17

South Chicago - Brian Z. and Steve B.
The Joseph L. Block was loading coal at KCBX Terminals on the Calumet River Saturday. The Block arrived from Indiana Harbor after unloading ore pellets. Loading was completed at midnight, with the Block taking on 23,000 tons of coal destined for Escanaba, MI. Sunday afternoon found three boats on the Calumet River.  At the North American dock at Iroquois Landing, the Rosaire A. Desgagnes was unloading at the PI Plant. Around 4 p.m. the Manitowoc finished unloading and backed out of the river and into the bay.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sam Laud was at Lafarge on Saturday. On Sunday the Manitowoc brought a load of coal to the DPI Plant. Around 4 p.m. the Manitowoc finished unloading and backed out of the river and into the bay.

Saginaw - Stephen Hause
The tug Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber delivered a split load on Friday to the Wirt Stone Docks at Bay City and Saginaw. The pair arrived early in the morning and outbound from Saginaw late in the afternoon. CSL Tadoussac was at the Essroc dock in Essexville on Sunday to unload cement clinkers. On Sunday evening, the tug G.L. Ostrander with barge Integrity was inbound for the LaFarge terminal at Saginaw.


Updates - November 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Weekly updates


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 NorwellÕs wharf where she burned and sank.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Coast Guard evacuates crewman from Griffon

11/16 - Rochester - The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a 45-year-old male from the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Griffon at approximately 8:20 p.m. due to lower back pain Saturday.

A Coast Guard Station Rochester 47-foot motor life boat crew and the Cutter Griffon crew established an underway position approximately 2 nautical miles offshore of Rochester to transfer the crewman to the small boat.

The U.S. Coast Guard Station Rochester crew then transported him to Emergency Medical Services at Station Rochester and he was taken to a local hospital.


USS Freedom breaks speed record

11/16 - Cleveland - The USS Freedom is reported to have broken a speed record on her trip off the lakes. The Navy's newest ship made a high speed run across Lake Erie Friday morning, possibly breaking a previous Navy speed record on the lake held by the Heavy Cruiser USS Macon from 1959.

The Freedom was on her way down from Port Huron and headed for Cleveland when the order was given to increase to full military power. The ship’s gas turbines were spun up and she planed out at 44 Knots, nearly 50 MPH. The last Navy ship to even come close to that figure was the USS Macon CA #132 at 27 Knots while upbound on the lake during the Summer of 1959.

Freedom is on her delivery trip off the lakes from her builder in Wisconsin. She remained in Cleveland late Saturday night, Freedom's next destination was expected to be Buffalo scheduled for arrival on Saturday.

Reported by Brian W.


Port Reports - November 16

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons entered the pier heads at 9 p.m. on Friday with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.  At 11:30 a.m. Saturday the tug and barge remained in the middle of the river opposite the plant, it appeared that unloading had not yet begin.


New York Canals close for season

11/16 - Albany - New York's canal system is closing for the winter Friday following a season that saw a sharp decline in traffic. For the year, recreational, commercial and tour vessels had passed through canal locks 113,368 times.

That's down 21.7 percent from 144,743 "lockings" last year, according to the state Canal Corp., which runs the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals. Canal managers attribute the overall decline mostly to a decrease in recreational boaters, who make up the majority of canal users. Lock 32 in Pittsford had 2,279 lockings this year, an 11 percent decrease compared to the 2,564 lockings last year.

While recreational traffic declined, canal managers say the number of commercial shipments rose to 58, from just 17 last year. "That was a silver lining this year," said Carmella Mantello, state canal director.  The commercial traffic included oversized cargo such as cranes, electric turbines and generators that are easier to ship by water than highway, she said. Last week, turbines and generators that were stripped from shuttered central New York power plants began moving by barge to the port of Albany, where they will be loaded onto ships bound for Pakistan.

Mantello said high fuel prices and companies looking for more environmentally friendly modes of shipping also helped boost commercial shipping this year.

Canal boosters say they're optimistic that freight shipping will continue to rise, but they acknowledge that the volume is unlikely to return to historic levels. Their focus over the past decade has been on marketing the canals as tourist attractions and trying to lure pleasure boaters to canal communities and pouring millions into developing trails and other waterfront amenities.  But the canals are funded mostly with highway tolls collected by the New York state Thruway, which has been struggling with its own budget shortfalls.

As a result, the Canal Corp.'s capital budget — which typically is around $30 million — has been trimmed to $20 million, and managers are only doing safety-related projects during the offseason, Mantello said. The two main projects being done this winter and spring are reconstruction — including replacing the steel gates — of Lock 6 on the Erie Canal in Waterford and Lock 5 on the Oswego Canal in Minetto, Mantello said.

Reported by: Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and The Associated Press


Updates - November 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


In total, Lakes coal trade steady in October

11/15 - Cleveland - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 4 million net tons in October, the same as a year before. However, certain segments of the trade performed better than others. Loadings at Lake Superior terminals rose 13 percent. Shipments from Lake Erie docks, on the other hand, fell 20 percent.

With water levels receding, the impacts of the dredging crisis were again very pronounced. Only one coal cargo that transited the St. Marys River, that connects Lake Superior to the lower Lakes, topped 66,000 net tons, and that occurred early in the month. By the end of October, the largest cargo moving through the connecting channels was only 65,184 net tons. In periods of high water, vessels have carried loads of nearly 71,000 net tons.

For the year, the Great Lakes coal trade stands at 32 million tons, a slight increase compared to a year ago. Year-to-date, the trade is 3 percent off its 5-year average.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association 


Seaway posts closing dates of the 2008 Season

11/15 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Mariners are reminded that there is always a possibility that severe climatic conditions may occur during the closing period. Should this happen, there is a chance that the dates outlined below, for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section or the Welland Canal, may not be met.

Closing Dates:
Montreal-Lake Ontario Section
- Irrespective of operating conditions, in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway, all vessels must be clear of this section at 23:59 hours on December 29. The Corporations have decided to waive the operational surcharges on December 21 - 24. Any transit of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway after 23:59 hours, December 24, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement.

Welland Canal - Vessels will be allowed to transit the Welland Canal up to 23:59 hours on December 30, weather and operating conditions permitting. The Welland Canal will remain open until 23:59 hours on December 26. Any transits of the Welland Canal after 23:59 hours, December 26, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement.

Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canal (United States) - The official closing date for the Sault Ste. Marie Locks is 2400 hours January 15, 2009.


Port Reports - November 15

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Friday morning, Maumee delivered a partial load of salt to the A.R.M.S. Dock, then proceeded upriver to the Kuhlman Dock to unload the remaining salt cargo. The Maumee finished unloading and was outbound from Toledo late Friday afternoon. The saltwater tanker Zeynep-A arrived at Andersons "K" Elevator late Friday morning to unload liquid fertilizer. The Zeynep-A will be at this dock site through Saturday depending on the unloading process. The tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 were at the B-P Dock loading cargo. The Algomarine is due in late Friday evening to unload a cargo of oats. Unknown which dock site she was bound for.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Manitowoc and H. Lee White due in Saturday morning, Herbert C. Jackson, Adam E. Cornelius, and Calumet due in Sunday followed by the Robert S. Pierson on Tuesday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has he Charles M. Beeghly due in Sunday afternoon followed by Canadian Navigator on Wednesday. Gale warnings are forecasted for all of Lake Erie for Saturday and Sunday, which may delay vessels arriving at this port.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the upper harbor, Arthur M. Anderson visited for the first time this season and unloaded coal into the hopper. After loading taconite Thursday evening the Charles M. Beeghly remained at the ore dock on what could be her last trip to Marquette as a steamer. Michipicoten waited off the Upper Harbor for a clear dock.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port Thursday night loading for Milwaukee. The Cuyahoga arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 10 a.m. on Friday. It unloaded a cargo of road salt from Goderich, ON. It was a fast unload and the Cuyahoga departed the river by 1 p.m.


Working the waters, Second Mate Has Experience

11/15 - The waters are calm at night, the moon glows against the shoreline and on the bridge of a Great Lakes freighter is the second mate on the overnight watch. Michael Rodaway, second mate of the the Kaministiqua (named after a river in Thunder Bay, Ontario), knows all too well what those nights look like as he travels the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway transporting iron ore and grain.

Not every night can be so calm and just this past week the crew of the Kaministiqua experienced just the opposite. The climate is changing in the Great Lakes region and with change comes strong winds. Gale winds creating seven to ten foot waves on the Lakes caused many Great Lake freighters to stop for safety reasons and drop the 'hook.' "The old saying is "grumble you may, but go you must". You do your best to keep going so long as it's safe. Once you're about to cross the line you drop the hook and wait it out until conditions improve," said Rodaway.

While passing through the American Narrows on the St. Lawrence River just outside Alexandria Bay, New York, on October 28, as they headed for Quebec City in the darkness of night, they were confronted by less than routine winds and heavy snowfall. "Visibility was three-quarters of a mile in the American Narrows down to a half mile in the Brockville Narrows. We had to drop the hook just below Maitland."

However, for Rodaway there is no place he'd rather be during the fall season, despite the conditions. The fall colors decorate the shoreline along the St. Lawrence. Bright orange and yellow leaves, bare tree limbs and blue skies make for unique views this time of year. "Most areas are nice for one reason or another. But I'd say my two at the top would be from Cape Vincent to Montreal and below (East) of Escoumins Pilot Station on the St. Lawrence River."

When the crew isn't taking it all in, they are finding other ways to pass the time. Eating, sleeping and drinking cups and cups of coffee fill their schedules away from the bridge or deck of the massive ship. From time to time they will enjoy a movie or listen to the marine radio to poke fun at other ship pilots trying to pronounce Kaministiqua (Kam-in-ist-ikwa). Rodaway has been doing this long enough to know the best ways to make time pass on the ship. For the last 26 years he has had a 'dream job.'

At the age of fifteen Rodaway grew passionate for the marine field. After sailing on tall ships with Tallship Adventures in Toronto, he was able to gain experience in leadership and teamwork skills at a very young age. Michael, to this day, speaks highly of his time with Tallship Adventures. "Though most don't become Professional Mariners, they (students) all come away as better citizens. However, it has been a good source over the years of a steady stream of those who find the maritime life exciting & challenging," he said.

The skills he gained from his time with Tallship Adventures would help lead him to the bridge of a Great Lakes freighter after stops on research vessels, high speed ferries and a brief stint in the ‘90s as a cadet on the ship for which he now keeps the charts.

"I keep all of the charts and publications up to date. I program the courses in the ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) and plot them on the paper charts. I maintain all the instruments on the bridge. I'm also the Vessel Security Officer, which adds a lot more paper work to the job thanks to 9/11." When Rodaway isn't stuck pencil pushing he can be found on the bridge or deck standing watch. Two four-hour shifts each day from noon to 4 p.m. and then again from midnight to 4 a.m. He lists a typical day in three different forms.

There is loading or unloading in port, which consists of a lot of standing around or running about the deck. Another is Canal and Seaway passage where not only sightseeing is done, but also ensuring the ship gets in and out of the locks safely as well as piloting during the Mate sections of the Seaway. The third is what is referred to as 'deep sea watches.' The wide open waters of the Great Lakes where navigation consists of starring off at the horizon where all you can see is more water. "Deep sea watches are always enjoyable and good for catching up on the paper work," according to Rodaway.

As the shipping season comes to a close, deep sea watches and paperwork will become less and less. Each day winter lay-ups are being called for unexpectedly due to the economy and cargo shortages. However, the Kaministiqua is planning to make runs until mid-January. Hopefully, the 41 year old Rodaway and crew can make it at least another two weeks on their $400 worth of coffee beans before they return to port in Quebec City.

By Michael Folsom, from the Thousand Island Sun


Updates - November 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


On board the U.S. Navy's newest ship, USS Freedom

11/14 - Port Huron - One of the Navy's newest ships paid an unscheduled visit this week to the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron. The USS Freedom docked at the St. Clair River terminal about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and left Wednesday evening. On Thursday night, the vessel was docked in Cleveland.

The ship, the first built as part of the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship program, stopped in Port Huron to make repairs to a diesel engine and some generators, said Navy Lt. j.g. Colby Drake, who is on board. The ship also refueled. Commissioned on Saturday in Milwaukee, Wis., the Freedom is bound for Little Creek, Va., where it will undergo some of a litany of tests planned in the next few years. Once the testing is done, the ship, which will be based in San Diego, will be ready for deployment.

With a length of 379 feet and a draft of 13 feet, the Freedom is much smaller than other Navy ships and is designed for the speed and maneuverability required for littoral, or coastal, combat. Before the Freedom was built, the shallowest draft on a Navy ship was about 20 feet, Drake said. The Freedom was built in Marinette, Wisc., by the same company that built the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock stationed in Port Huron.

Navy Times reporter Phil Ewing was on board Freedom and has been writing about the experience in his Reporter's Notebook blog. The following comments are excerpts from Ewing's blog:

"Nothing on a ship's maiden voyage goes exactly as planned. After our fish-terrorizing run up Lake Michigan yesterday, and our transit through the Straits of Mackinaw, the Freedom came to a stop and launched a small boat to pick up a part it missed in Milwaukee," Ewing wrote Tuesday. "After a sleepless night of strange ship noises and the clanking of out-of-sight machinery, I woke up to learn the part we'd brought aboard -- something to do with our Inmarsat satellite antenna -- didn't work. What's more, the ship had used up much more of its fuel than expected during our full-CODAG run. What's more than that, a valve on the port diesel engine was cracked; the Freedom could still run both its diesels, but the engineers recommended babying the port engine until we could get a replacement valve.

... But the hiccups were just getting started. After another stroll through the multi-mission area with the XO, Cmdr. Kris Doyle, a voice came over the 1MC announcing that three of the ship's generators were offline. A lube oil leak meant the ship could only run one of its four diesel motors that deliver the 'hotel load' powering our lights, the sensors, the networks, everything. The Freedom secured electricity in all 'non-essential spaces,' meaning we're using flashlights in our cabins and there were no soft drinks for lunch today in the mess.

(Photographer) Rob and I were talking with Chief Boatswain's Mate Trevor Davis in the waterborne mission area -- the stern section where the Freedom will launch and recover its unmanned watercraft -- when the skipper, Cmdr. Don Gabrielson, walked down the ladder. Our itinerary was changing, he said. We would dock at Port Huron, Mich., just inside the northern mouth of the St. Clair River, to pick up parts and refuel. This would add about a 12-hour delay to our trip."

While the cold gray steel body of the Freedom may leave a little to be desired in beauty, the ship's presence drew hundreds to the Seaway Terminal. "Port Huronites are evidently avid ship-watchers, and apparently word had spread about the odd-looking boat coming down the river," Ewing noted. "A crowd had formed in the parking lot near the pier where we tied up. A truck-mounted crane was pulling through the barricades. Policemen were setting up a cordon around the dock."

The inside of the ship, however, sounds much more impressive.

"When sailors do have down time, the Freedom has the nicest accommodations in the Navy for a ship this size. Rob and I saw them last night when we were hanging out in an enlisted berthing space with some engineers -- who were extremely cool, by the way, about showing us their stuff and being patient with Rob's TV camera. (Nobody likes dealing with reporters, and I don't blame them.) The sailors have roomy racks, with enough space to sit up and use a laptop computer, as well as their own head, shower and sink. The berthing space also has its own plasma TV, which we learned displays Dallas Cowboys football games," Ewing wrote Wednesday.

"We saw the ship's gym, which is a dedicated space, unlike the makeshift workout rooms on many surface ships. It doubles as the barber shop. We also saw the crew's lounge, which, for my money, is the nicest relaxation area on board the Freedom. It has a full rack of consumer-electronics goodies bolted to the deck, including a giant Sony Bravia plasma-screen TV; an XBox360; a Blu-Ray DVD player; and surround sound, complete with stereo speakers wired above the overhead pipes and cables. A retired sailor in Milwaukee with consumer electronics connections donated all the gear, we learned: the crew got the XBox; the chief's mess got a PlayStation 3; and the wardroom has a Nintendo Wii."

Reporter's Blog including virtual tours of the ship

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


Great Lakes Iron Ore Dips in October

11/14 - Cleveland - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5.7 million net tons in October, a slight decrease from both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. Shipments from Canadian Seaway ports reacted much quicker to the downturn in steel production, falling some 32 percent from a year ago. U.S. ports actually outperformed a year ago, but shipments did start to fall off in the final week of October.

For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 51.2 million net tons, an increase of 8 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

However, the capacity utilization rate in the steel industry has fallen to 65 percent and steel mill shipments are now below last year’s year-to-date level, so whether the increase in iron ore can be maintained remains to be seen.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association 


Port Reports - November 14

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 were at the B-P Dock loading cargo on Thursday. The Saginaw finished unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock Thursday evening and shifted over to the CSX Coal Dock to load coal. American Valor arrived in Toledo late Thursday afternoon and proceeded over to the CSX #1 Dock for layup. Toledo now has three boats in layup at this port: American Fortitude, American Republic, and American Valor.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Manitowoc and H. Lee White due in Saturday, and Herbert C. Jackson, Adam E. Cornelius, and Calumet due in Sunday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Charles M. Beeghly due in Sunday followed by the Canadian Navigator on Wednesday. Algomarine is due in late Friday or Saturday with a load of oats that was loaded at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes came in around midnight Wednesday night with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It was outbound at 8 am.


Reliving the White Hurricane of 1913
Late fall storms occur when warm air collides with cold, setting off a weather bomb

11/14 - More than 60 years before the gales of November sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior, a storm of far greater power swept across the Great Lakes, killing 250 people and sinking a dozen "unsinkable" ships.

So while Gordon Lightfoot's song made the 1976 saga of the "Fitz" famous, the storm and that wreck are merely a footnote in the annals of wild Great Lake weather. The monster of them all remains the White Hurricane of 1913, a storm that raged for four days in early November over a land mass the size of western Europe.

Wind gusts on lakes hit 144 km/h. Waves peaked at 10.5 metres. The tragedy highlighted the inadequacies of weather forecasting. At the time, storm warnings consisted of flags at strategic points along the lake. "What a four days they were," says White Hurricane author David Brown. "A dozen modern steamships were sunk, another score were battered into submission or cast ashore. Perhaps 250 or more sailors died in those hurricane-force winds; we don't really know."

In Toronto on Friday, Nov. 7, there was little hint of the trouble to come. It was an unusually warm and windy late fall day, although by then an Arctic blast was already licking at the western edges of Lake Superior. As that cold air flowed southeast through the weekend, it picked up moisture over Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron and became more powerful.

By Sunday, Toronto's rain was turning to sleet, but to the west, the cold air had created a November gale. When it collided with a warm front from south of the lakes, moving quickly north, it triggered a weather bomb.

"It was a classic late fall storm, the kind you get every 10 to 20 years," says Chris Scott, a meteorologist with the Weather Network. "You start with cold air, fuel it with warm air from the lakes and sometimes you get monstrous systems. "Once you get 100 km/h winds blowing for nine to 10 hours, watch out. It's like you've wound up a top, and until it spins itself out there's nothing to move it."

In Toronto, the sleet became driving snow Sunday afternoon, bringing down trees and power lines, and slowing rail and road traffic to a halt. Lake freighters were strung out in a long line, making their last runs of the season. Fully laden and now coated with ice from the spray, they lay dangerously deep in the water. Unable to see, unable to communicate and not sure where they were, many had trouble climbing the steep waves, particularly on Lake Huron. Some broke in half, others rolled over and sank, dozens more were driven aground.

The townspeople of Goderich went to church on a clear, cold Sunday morning and emerged in a whiteout. Some told the Star they heard the wailing of a ship's siren that afternoon – later thought to be a 250-foot freighter the Wexford – but nothing could be seen. Monday and Tuesday, bodies were washing ashore in Goderich, and Annie Gordon, a young woman who had recently moved to Toronto, asked the Star for any help it could give in finding out what had happened to her brother Orrin, 16, who was aboard the Wexford.

The Star learned the ship had left Fort William (now Thunder Bay) for Toronto on Thursday with 96,000 bushels of wheat. She had survived the first northerly gale and passed through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday. Sunday morning, she was sighted north of Goderich. Then she vanished. Orrin Gordon was not among the five sailors wearing cork life jackets with "Wexford" stenciled on them who were found on the beach between Goderich and Grand Bend. Nothing more of him is known. (The Wexford was found by an angler in 2000 about 50 km south of Goderich, upright and preserved on the bottom of Lake Huron.)

The storm was followed by blue skies and mild temperatures. By the end of the week, the snow was gone and it was 10 degrees above normal for the rest of the month. Roses bloomed and trees budded.

Meteorologist Scott says that is a typical November pattern – bouts of cold air, followed by mild air until, by December, winter finally wins. He expects the rest of this month to be about normal. No gales, not too cold, too hot, not too windy.

But as he admits: "It's always tricky to forecast in November."

What happened to the Wexford?

The Wexford left Fort William on Thursday, Nov. 6, 1913, for Toronto. She sailed the length of Lake Superior, passed through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie and was last seen the morning of Nov. 9, northwest of Goderich, halfway down Lake Huron.

In August 2000, Donald Chalmers was trolling for salmon near Grand Bend, about 50 kilometres south of Goderich. His fish finder was reading a steady 23 metres (75 ft.) when it jumped to 20 metres (65 ft.) for some distance before falling back. Curious, Chalmers retraced his steps. The same thing happened, and he snagged his fishing gear on something.

The retired Ford employee was also a scuba diver, so he returned some weeks later with friends. They found the Wexford upright and beautifully preserved on the bottom. The Ontario government has since declared it a heritage site and surveyed and mapped the boat.

From the Toronto Star


Updates - November 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Cleveland 1872 Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


E. M. Ford tow update

11/13 - 4 p.m. update - The tow of the E. M. Ford departed the anchorage in the lower St. Marys River about 8 a.m. Avenger IV is the lead tug with the W. I. Scott Purvis on the stern. The tow reached the Purvis Dock below the locks about 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The Ford will eventually be moved to a location above the locks for scrapping.

Original Report - On Wednesday the tug Avenger IV stopped above Detour, Mi in Potagannissing Bay and the tow went to anchor. The tug W. I. Scott Purvis met the tow about 9 p.m. to assist in the move upriver.


USS Freedom downbound

11/13 - 10 a.m. update - The USS Freedom entered Cleveland shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday and headed for the Port of Cleveland docks. The ship is scheduled into Buffalo on Nov. 15 from Cleveland.

The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisc., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II. She will be home ported at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., as part of the Pacific Fleet.


Port Reports - November 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Arthur M. Anderson arrived in the Twin Ports late Tuesday afternoon to begin a busy port visit that includes one of the shortest cargo hauls on the lakes. The Anderson arrived with stone to unload at the Hallett 5 dock. It then loaded at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal to be unloaded Wednesday about a mile away at the CLM dock, where it is used in making lime. The dock has no rail access or unloading equipment in the area it uses for coal storage. After that, the Anderson was due to return to Midwest Energy Terminal to load for the power plant in Marquette. Meanwhile, James R. Barker arrived early Wednesday to load at Midwest Energy Terminal.
This season’s saltwater traffic has been unusually slow, and the usually busy fall has seen relatively few salties. However, several are due in the next few days to load grain, including BBC Maine (arriving with wind turbines), Iryda, and Vlistborg. Heavy-lift vessel Jumbo Vision is due this weekend with a reactor for the Canadian oil sands region. The item may be stored in Duluth until its needed in Canada.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the American Victory pulled into Fraser Shipyards in Superior, apparently for winter layup. The vessel was moving into the yard's "frog pond" that in the past has been used for vessel storage rather than repairs.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Stephen Hause
The Cuyahoga was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning with a split load. She dropped part of her cargo at the Buena Vista Dock, then moved upriver to the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton to finish. She was back outbound Wednesday evening, and met fleetmate Calumet, which was inbound Wednesday night headed upriver to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Following the Calumet inbound was the American Courage, which was headed to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. Both the Calumet and American Courage were expected to be outbound early Thursday morning.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
American Republic is out of the drydock at the Toledo shipyard. American Fortitude has arrived for early winter layup.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a rainy Wednesday at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore, and Cason J. Callaway made a rare visit to unload coal into the hopper. Callaway last visited in May to load ore.
Rochester, NY - Tom
Stephen B. Roman arrived at Essroc's Terminal in Rochester, N.Y. about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.


Updates - November 13

News Photo Gallery updated
and more News Photo Gallery updates

Cleveland 1872 Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 13

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

ARAB (2-mast wooden schooner, 100 foot, 158 tons, built in 1854, at Buffalo, New York) 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 scrap, and is still there.

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

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

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

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

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


E. M. Ford tow Update

11/12 - 5 p.m. - The scrap tow of the E. M. Ford proceeded through the night entered the St. Marys River at 2 p.m.

The tug Avenger IV stopped above Detour, Mi in Potagannissing Bay and the tow went to anchor. They are likely waiting for a daylight passage through the river and will be met by a second tug on Thursday morning.  The Ford will be towed to a scrapping area above the Soo Locks.


USS Freedom update

11/12 - 9 p.m. - The USS Freedom stopped overnight Tuesday at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron. She is expected to depart Port Huron at 10 p.m. Wednesday night for Cleveland.

USS Freedom is expected to make stops in Cleveland and Buffalo on her trip off the lakes. The ship was scheduled into Buffalo on Nov. 15 from Cleveland.

The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisc., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II. She will be home ported at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., as part of the Pacific Fleet.


Conversion, repowering of John Sherwin delayed due to economy

11/12 - Cleveland - The repowering and conversion of a Great Lakes freighter taken out of long-term storage this summer and towed to Sturgeon Bay has been put on hold as its owners wait to see what happens with the economy.

Interlake Steamship Co. President Mark Barker said Monday that work on the 806-foot John Sherwin has been put on hold. "Right now, the demand for steel has dropped considerably globally and steel companies are shutting down capacity to deal with that," he said. "That's got everyone pausing a little bit to see if this is a short-term realigning of inventory or if this is the global economy coming to a stop."

Barker said work on the ship - plans of which called for adding new engines and converting the 50-year-old ship to a self-unloader - had been under way, though not a lot of that work had been planned for this winter. "We're going to put the work on hold and see what the economy does," he said.

While numbers aren’t known, Boilermakers Local 449 President Mark Heimbecher said the hold on work is expected to have an impact on employment levels at the yard. He said Bay Shipbuilding is actively looking for additional work to fill the void left by the hold on the Sherwin. "It did change the work outlook at the shipyard because that was a fairly sizable job, and it's going to impact some members," Heimbecher said.

Pat O'Hern, vice president and general manager of Bay Shipbuilding Co., said they are working on securing additional projects for the yard and expect winter lay-up to be early this year as shipments on lake slow down due with the economy. "While we're going to lose the Sherwin for the last six weeks of work, we're going to gain some work from the fleet coming in earlier and we hope to replace the Sherwin with another lay-up boat that has a rather large amount of steel work on it," he said. O'Hern said they expect to be hiring people for winter work.

Bay Shipbuilding is also adding new engines to another of Interlake's vessels, the Charles M. Beeghly. That work is expected to go forward, Barker said.

He expects the Sherwin to remain in, or around, Sturgeon Bay. The Sherwin had been in lay-up since 1981 until an Interlake customer told the company they were looking for additional capacity. Bay Shipbuilding had about 700 employees at the yard earlier this fall.

"We're just taking some time to evaluate this with the diligence it needs," Barker said. "I don't think anyone knows what's going on with the economy right now."

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette

Editor's Note: The vessel was towed to Sturgeon Bay in late August and work on the conversion began shortly thereafter. The Sherwin was built in 1958 at the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio. She was lengthened in 1973. The vessel has been laid up as surplus tonnage since 1981, but saw some use as a grain storage hull near Chicago recently.


E. M. Ford, oldest freighter on Great Lakes, heads to the scrap yard

11/12 - Bay City - Attempts to save the historic, 428-foot-long vessel E. M. Ford, or at least parts of it, in the Bay City area, have failed. The vessel started its final journey Tuesday morning from the Saginaw River to the Purvis Marine scrap yard in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

"This is an extremely tragic loss," said Don Morin, a representative from the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society in Bay City. "We had been keeping our eye on the ship for the last decade knowing that someday it might become available, but ... we weren't on the list that received notification that it would be available to a museum group."

The E. M. Ford was built in 1898 and is the oldest freighter in the Great Lakes. It was a bulk ore carrier before it was converted to a self-unloading cement powder carrier for the LaFarge North America Cement Plant in Saginaw County's Carrollton Township - but has been mainly empty for a few years. "Apparently it hasn't held any cement for quite some time though," said Don Comtois, president of the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society. "Of course with the economy down they don't need it anymore and it becomes a liability instead of an asset for a company."

Morin said operating marine museums were told by LaFarge of plans to scrap the freighter or give it to a museum. But the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society - which does not have an operating museum - didn't find out about the boat's availability until two weeks before the one-year deadline. The E. M. Ford, or parts of it, could have made a nice addition to a proposed Bay City Maritime Heritage Center. Such a center has been planned for the Uptown at Rivers Edge property, although it is still in the preliminary stages.

"We knew the group in Alpena, the NOAA (Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary), wanted the engine ... and we would have taken the pilot house, but by the time we got back with LaFarge, the contract had already been signed for it to be scrapped."

Comtois, a longtime admirer of the E. M. Ford, said his favorite part of the historic freighter is the pilot house - which is unlike any other pilot house on the Great Lakes. The Ford's pilot house is among the biggest, with three stories housing steering quarters, captains quarters and guest quarters, according to Morin. "It had a very tall pilot house compared to other Great Lakes boats," said Comtois. "It had guest quarters, its own galley forward (dinette area), patio doors ... it was a pretty little boat."

The engine the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary had its eye on was a 1,500-horsepower, quadruple-expansion steam engine, very similar to the engine used in the Titanic and White Star Line. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Saginaw River Marine Historical Society will most likely try to work out a deal with the Purvis Marine scrap yard once the freighter gets there, but Morin isn't hopeful. He believes the legal contracts for the deal won't allow the boat to come back onto U.S. waters.

"It's too bad though," he said. "Either the ship, or at least a couple of artifacts, would have been a good starting point to get the community rallied around (raising awareness for the Bay City Maritime Heritage Center)." Comtois believes that if people would have known sooner about the fate of the E. M. Ford, there may have been a way to save it.

"The E. M. Ford ... has been a familiar site on the Saginaw River for at least 30-40 years," he said. "It's just sad to see a piece of history go, it's something that can never be reproduced. "When anything of historical value is lost, we feel kind of sad about it. But that happens, unfortunately."

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - November 12

Twin Ports - Al Miller
In the Twin Ports early Tuesday, Edgar B. Speer was loading at CN/DMIR ore dock, American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and saltie Kom was loading at HSC grain terminal. Indiana Harbor was waiting to load at Midwest Energy Terminal and H. Lee White was proceeding down the Front Channel to the BNSF ore dock to load.

Goderich - David Cooper
Canadian Transfer arrived late Tuesday morning. With the help of the McDonald Marine tugs, she nosed in and turned around in the harbour and settled in to load salt at the Sifto salt mine. The weather was windy and the water rough but caused no problems.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Weather delays created heavy traffic at Marquette's harbors on Tuesday. In the morning, Kaye E. Barker unloaded coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock. Tug/Barge Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader, which waited at the Upper Harbor ore dock in the morning for the Barker to finish her unload, unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor in the afternoon. At the Upper Harbor ore dock, Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in the morning to unload coal, and Herbert C. Jackson arrived around noon to load taconite. After unloading coal at the Lower Harbor, Kaye E. Barker docked behind the Jackson waiting for the Tregurtha to finish her unload.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The American Fortitude arrived at Toledo Tuesday morning at the old Lakefront Coal Dock for layup. This slip is located just to the south of the Torco Ore Dock and north of the CSX Coal Docks. The Atlantic Erie finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed Tuesday morning. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived at the Torco Dock shortly after the Erie left. The Martin was expected to finish unloading ore Tuesday evening. The tug Samuel De Champlain with the cement barge Innovation finished unloading cement at the Lafarge Dock and departed Tuesday afternoon. The Algosoo arrived at the CSX Docks to load coal Tuesday evening.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Philip R. Clarke and Atlantic Huron due in Wednesday followed by the Saginaw and American Mariner due in Thursday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Docks has the Charles M. Beeghly due in Saturday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and the tug Olive L. Moore came in after dark Monday night with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. They were gone before dawn.


Updates - November 12

News Photo Gallery updated

and more News Photo Gallery

Cleveland 1872 Light updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


E. M. Ford tow update

11/11 - Saginaw River - Shortly before noon on Tuesday the tugs Avenger IV and Gregory J. Busch got underway towing the E. M. Ford from her long time dock on the Saginaw River to Sault Ste. Marie where she will be scrapped.

By 2:30 p.m. the tow had cleared the Saginaw River and was proceeding northwest in Saginaw Bay at 5.5 mph.


Port Reports - November 11

Hamilton - John McCreery
The Jo Spirit arrived off the Burlington Canal Piers at 11 a.m. Monday, coming from San Juan Puerto Rico with a cargo of rum. She headed to Pier 26 in the East Port and was met and assisted to the dock by the tug LaPrairie. Her next port of call will be Hamburg, Germany. Shortly after her arrival, the tanker Vega Desgagnes departed port downbound in the Seaway.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sam Laud unloaded at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City on Saturday. She was back outbound later in the day, and returned with another load on Monday.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The tug Salvor with the barge Lambert Spirit finished loading coal at the CSX Dock and departed Monday morning. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes finished loading cargo at the B-P Dock and departed Monday morning. Robert S. Pierson finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed late Monday afternoon. CSL Niagara left her anchorage and was proceeding inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Monday evening bound for the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore. The American Fortitude and Atlantic Erie still remained anchored in Western Lake Erie northeast of the Toledo Ship Channel. When the Niagara finishes unloading ore the Atlantic Erie will then proceed inbound for the Torco Ore Dock. It is assumed American Fortitude will be inbound Toledo early Tuesday morning bound for her layup dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Dock has the Philip R. Clarke due in Tuesday, Atlantic Huron due in Wednesday followed by the Saginaw, American Mariner, and Algosoo due in Thursday. The Calumet that was supposed to be due in Thursday has been cancelled out.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the CSL Niagara due in late Monday evening followed by the Atlantic Erie and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin due in Tuesday.


Memorial service planned in Port Huron

11/11 - Port Huron - A memorial service will be held at The Great Lakes Maritime Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. Titled “The Gales of November,” it will honor all those lost on the Great Lakes. Music will be provided by Port Huron High School’s Brass Ensemble.

Among ships sunk during the month of November are the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior 33 years ago on Nov. 10, 1975; the Carl D. Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan 50 years ago on Nov. 18, 1958; the Daniel J. Morrell, which sank in Lake Huron 43 years ago on Nov. 29, 1966; and the Regina, lost on Lake Huron in Great Storm of 1913.

Great Lakes Maritime Centers Operations Manager Peter Werle will give a brief history of each ship, followed by a bell tolled for each. The event is free and the public is welcome to attend.

The Great Lakes Maritime Center is located at the junction of the Black River and St. Clair River in Port Huron. Details: 810-985-4817.


Wolfe Island Wind farm project set to deliver power by spring

11/11 - Wolf Island - Just after Thanksgiving, specialists from countries including Canada, Norway, and Australia laid approximately 8,000 metres of submarine electrical cable to connect Ontario’s Wolfe Island Wind Farm Project to the mainland.

The installation of the cable, believed to be the world’s first designed to carry 230 kilovolts under water, is a significant step in the activation of 86 wind turbines on the island, located directly opposite the City of Kingston at the entrance to the St. Lawrence River. The $450-million turbine project began construction in the summer, and is being developed by the Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.

Supplies are being transported to island via barge, with construction materials shipped from Kingston, and turbine parts shipped from Ogdensburg, New York, where they arrived from Denmark. “The barges are our lifeline, bringing workers, cement and rebar to the island every day,” says Mike Jablonicky, Site Supervisor for the project. A temporary batch plant has been constructed on the island to supply ready-mixed concrete to pour the huge bases required to anchor the turbines. Fresh water is drawn from Lake Ontario to complete the mix.

When complete, each unit will stand 125 metres tall, including the length of the extended blades. Construction of the wind-driven units is being done in phases, with bases constructed at a measured pace ahead of turbines, and access roads constructed ahead of bases. “We’ve completed 19 bases and have just finished installing the first turbine,” says Jablonicky.

The St. Lawrence could freeze by Christmas, but the project will be well supplied by that time to continue full-scale construction throughout the winter, including completion of the facility’s electrical sub-station. “We’ll continue to erect turbines over the coming months and we expect to generate our first wind power by late winter, or as soon as Mother Nature allows,” says Jablonicky.

When the project is completed, it will have the capacity to deliver 197.8 megawatts of electricity to the mainland.

From Daily Commercial News


Updates - November 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Cleveland 1872 Light updated

Charity Island Light page updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 11

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

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

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

Also: PERE MARQUETTE 21: Blown into a piling at Ludington, no damage, captained by Arthur Altschwager. She had 5 passengers aboard.
CITY OF SAGINAW 31: Arrived Milwaukee 6 hours late with over a foot of water in her hull. The wireless aerial was missing and her seagate was smashed by the waves. She was captained by Ed Cronberg.

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

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

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

The SINALOA had taken on a load of sand near Green Island and was heading for Chicago through Death's Door on Wisconsin's Door Peninsula when the November 11th Armistice Day storm of 1940, struck in upper Lake Michigan. During the storm the SINALOA lost her rudder. The anchor was dropped but her anchor cable parted. In this helpless condition she ran aground at Sac Bay on Michigan's Garden Peninsula. Fortunately the stricken vessel was close to shore where the Coast Guard was able to rescue the entire crew. Declared a constructive total loss, her owner collected the insurance and forfeited the vessel to the Roen Salvage Co.
ANNA C MINCH: Sank South of Pentwater with a loss of 24 lives.

WILLIAM B DAVOCK: of the Interlake fleet, Capt. Charles W. Allen, sank in 215 of water off Pentwater, Michigan. There were no survivors among the crew of 33.
The fishing tugs INDIAN and RICHARD H: Lost with all hands off South Haven, Michigan.

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

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

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

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

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

On 11 Nov 1999, the Maltese flag bulk carrier ALCOR was examined by personnel from Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, a salvage company and the vessel's owners in hopes of forming a plan to save the vessel. She ran aground on a sand bar off the eastern tip of d'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 Desgagnes finally refloated the ALCOR on 05 Dec 1999, after part of the cargo of clinker had been removed. The ship was then towed to Quebec City. Later, it was reported that Groupe Desgagnes purchased the ALCOR from its Greek owners.

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

Tuesday, November 11, 1913:
I got up at 12 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.


Tug Avenger IV headed for Saginaw for possible E. M. Ford tow

11/10 - 4:00 p.m. Update - The Avenger IV arrived at the LaFarge dock around 10:30 a.m. Monday, and work began immediately to prepare the Ford for towing. The crew of the Avenger proceeded to weld two towing eyes to the bow, and an air compressor is on the Ford's deck. The compressor was tested, and will be used to operate the steam winches to release the shore lines and raise the anchors. Best estimates are that the tow will depart early Tuesday morning, although high winds could alter the estimate. A trailing tug will needed in the river, to guide the tow, until they reaches Saginaw Bay. The Gregory J. Busch is in the area. Pictures in the News Photo Gallery .

11/10 - The Purvis Marine tug Avenger IV was downbound on Lake Huron Sunday afternoon with a listed destination of Saginaw, Mich. It is anticipated that the Avenger IV is headed to pick up the surplus cement storage vessel E. M. Ford and tow her to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where the 1898-built vessel will likely be scrapped.

No departure time for the tow is known and will depend on weather.


Remembrance for Fitzgerald, Bradley Monday in Detroit

11/10 - Detroit - The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Great Lakes Maritime Auxiliary will host its annual remembrance for sailors lost on the inland seas Monday at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle. The cost of admission is $5 for Detroit Historical Society and Maritime Auxiliary Group members and $10 for guests. For details visit . In addition, the event will be made available as a free live webcast at this link for those unable to attend.

The event includes U.S. Coast Guard, Rev. Richard Ingalls from Detroit’s Old Mariners Church, music by Lee Murdock, the laying of a wreath on the Detroit River in memory of all mariners lost on Great Lakes on 33rd anniversary of Fitzgerald’s loss. In addition, this year’s event will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the loss of the self-unloading steamer Carl D. Bradley, which sank in Lake Michigan during a fierce storm on November 18, 1958 killing all but two of its crew of 35 – most of whom hailed from the northern Michigan port of Rogers City.


Port Reports - November 10

Lake Michigan - Scott Best
The boats of Lower Lakes Towing Co. were busy visiting Lake Michigan ports on Sunday morning. In Menominee, the Maumee delivered a load of coal for Menominee Paper Co. In Green Bay the Manitowoc was unloading a cargo of coal at the Georgia Pacific plant all the way up the Fox River. And in Manitowoc, the Saginaw was unloading barley at the Bud elevator along the river front downtown.

Toledo – Jim Hoffman
The tug Salvor with the barge Lambert Spirit were at the CSX Docks Sunday waiting to load coal. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes were at the B-P Dock. The Manistee finished unloading salt at the A.R.M.S. Dock and departed Sunday morning. The American Fortitude, Atlantic Erie, and CSL Niagara were anchored in western Lake Erie northeast of the Toledo Ship Channel waiting for the strong westerly winds to subside and water levels to begin rising before they can enter Toledo. The Fortitude is going in for layup, the Erie and Niagara are both bound for the Torco Ore Docks to unload ore. It is unknown when these vessels will arrive at Toledo.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Dock has the Robert S. Pierson and Philip R. Clarke due in Monday, Atlantic Huron due in Wednesday, followed by the Calumet, Saginaw, American Mariner, and Algosoo due in Thursday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Atlantic Erie and CSL Niagara arriving when the weather improves, followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Tuesday.


USS Freedom commissioned in Milwaukee; port tours scheduled

11/10 - Milwaukee - The crew of USS Freedom (LCS 1) ushered in a new era in naval warfare, Nov. 8 as the ship was brought to life at Milwaukee's Veterans Park before a crowd of nearly 10,000.

The ship was officially placed in commission by Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, who remarked the Navy was commissioning not just Freedom but a new class of naval war ships.

"In this platform we are making the right investments in our future security and in our prosperity," Winter said. "For those of you who will have the privilege of serving in Freedom you will play a leading role in protecting our nation's interest and in ensuring stability of the global economy. You will also be called upon to serve in a ship whose namesake defines the very aspirations of the American people and of people the world over."

Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead, said Freedom will never have a more important crew than its first one, for they are the ones that set the tone and standards that will endure.

Freedom also represents a new concept in how and where the Navy is going to operate in executing the Maritime Strategy. "USS Freedom will sail as an instrument of that strategy. Hers will be the march of the mind, with the spear and the shield, she will proclaim and insure the freedom of the seas and the freedom of the nation," Roughead said.

Freedom is an innovative combatant designed to operate quickly in shallow water environments to counter challenging threats in coastal regions, specifically mines, submarines and fast surface craft.

The first ensign flown over the ship had previously been flown over Baghdad. After its ceremonial unfurling, it was hauled down and presented to the ship's sponsor, Birgit Smith, in honor of her late husband's sacrifice in defense of freedom. Smith is the wife of Army Sgt. First Class Paul Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the first in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Clutching the American flag and flanked by the ship's two commanding officers and two senior enlisted leaders, Smith tearfully gave the order to the crew of Freedom, "man our ship and bring her to life."

Freedom is the first of two LCS sea frames being produced. Freedom will be manned by one of two rotational crews, blue and gold, similar to the rotational crews assigned to Trident submarines. The crews will be augmented by one of three mission package crews during focused mission assignments.

The 378-foot Freedom was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wisc., and was the first naval vessel to be built and commissioned on the Great Lakes since World War II. She will be home ported at Naval Base San Diego, Calif., as part of the Pacific Fleet.

USS Freedom will make stops in Cleveland and Buffalo on her trip off the lakes. The ship will arrive at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park from Cleveland late on Nov. 15. Dockside viewing and limited tours will be conducted Nov. 16-17, before the multipurpose vessel shoves off for Montreal. Those scheduled to get tours include youth Sea Cadets, students from the Buffalo Maritime Charter School and local dignitaries. There also will be limited opportunities for public tours of the ship.


Steel slowdown will hurt shipping on Great Lakes

11/10 - Gary, Ind. - With the economy as a whole slowing down - and the steel industry in particular - shipping along the Great Lakes could be in for a rough season. While tonnage moving through the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor has been strong in 2008, up 9.5 percent in the first nine months versus the same period last year, prospects for the near future aren't looking so bright.

"The outlook is not rosy," said Ports of Indiana spokesman Jody Peacock. "The bottom is falling out of steel. In the future we could see a downturn (in tonnage)."

The port is insulated somewhat from declines in any particular area of the economy since the goods that pass through it are from a wide range of sectors, including agriculture and construction. In fact, limestone, used in pollution control equipment and elsewhere, has been the biggest commodity passing through the port this year.

Jim Sheppard, senior director of commercial operations for Indiana Harbor Belt, a short-line railroad that operates between O'Hare International Airport and the Burns Harbor port, said he's noticed a throttling back. "We have seen a softening in the market occurring over the past four to six weeks compared to the year prior," he said. "Definitely we've had a little bit of a slowdown."

In its quarterly financial report released this week, ArcelorMittal said it plans to cut steel production by 30 percent, but didn't specify which mills would see those cuts. The international steel conglomerate operates two mills in Northwest Indiana, one in Burns Harbor and one in East Chicago.

"We've seen a stagnation locally, but we haven't seen it at the rate they're predicting (internationally)," Sheppard said.

That slowdown is already evident at Burns Harbor. Steel shipments in and out of the port are down 4.6 percent this year from 2007. "When the economy is in a downturn, the (steel) inventories that have been built up won't be used, so (the mills) won't be replenishing those inventories," said Peacock.

The drop-off in steel tonnage particularly affects employment at the port. When a steel ship docks at the port, it takes a whole gang of longshoremen to unload it. When a ship comes in loaded with limestone, it takes one person to oversee the self-unloading process. Local 1969 of the International Longshoreman Association, the union representing dock workers at the Burns Harbor port, has seen about half as much work this year than during a typical year.

Longshoreman work on a daily contract basis. Companies put in a request to the union for the number of workers they'll need the next day. At the end of that day, those workers are essentially laid off.

Ian Hirt, general manager for Fedmar International, which operates four shipping berths at Burns Harbor, said their orders for longshoreman labor have been down. "Yeah, definitely. ... The number of guys we order out has been low this year," he said.

Hirt said 75 percent of the company's business is in imported steel. When the domestic steel business was strong in the first half of the year, a weak dollar and high shipping costs kept imports expensive, so business struggled. Now that the dollar has gained strength and imports are cheaper, the economy has tanked, demand has fallen and business still struggles.

Another complicating factor is steel prices have seen wild fluctuations this year, much like the price of gasoline. And now that prices are fast declining, steel users are tempted to sit back and see how far they fall before buying.

"All the companies are slow and with the market it's a slow year. The way steel is running, everybody's holding on. Nobody wants to do anything," said Richard Ponda, business agent for the longshoreman's Local 1969.

From the Gary Post Tribune


BoatNerd Caribbean mid-winter gathering planned

Boatnerd is cooperating in organizing a mid-winter gathering for seven days and nights aboard the brand new passenger liner Eurodam on a round trip Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Fla., leaving February 14, 2009. The ship calls at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay.

Prices per person, double occupancy: Inside cabin $886; Obstructed view Outside $986; Verandah cabin $1,136, including port charges, taxes, fuel supplement, and insurance. This space is very limited, and will sell out quickly. To book, call Katy toll free at 877-886-7447 or email


Updates - November 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Charity Island Light page updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 10, 1972, in the vicinity of the entrance to the East Outer Channel near Amherstburg, Ontario the UNITED STATES GYPSUM collided with her towing tug MAINE and as a result her bow was punctured. The GYPSUM was beached to prevent sinking.

Pittsburgh Steamship's 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.


Port Report - November 9

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Saturday, Canadian Navigator was at the Torco Dock unloading ore. The Adam E. Cornelius was at the CSX Dock loading coal. CSL Laurentien was at the Midwest Terminal Dock loading cargo. The tug Salvor, with the barge Lambert Spirit, and the tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes were also at the Midwest Terminal dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the tug Salvor with the barge Lambert Spirit due in late Saturday evening, Robert S. Pierson and Philip R. Clarke due in Monday, Atlantic Huron due in Tuesday followed by the Calumet, American Mariner, and Algosoo due in Thursday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Docks has Atlantic Erie and CSL Niagara due in Sunday followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin due in Tuesday.
The American Fortitude departed from Cleveland, Ohio late Saturday afternoon and may be bound for Toledo, Ohio for layup.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning the ships were on the move again after heavy fog delayed many of them in the Welland Canal and western Lake Ontario on Friday. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 arrived in Hamilton at 9 a.m. with coal tar. Algosoo departed Dofasco's coal dock at 10 a.m. for Sandusky. Halifax departed the US Steel coal dock at 10:30 a.m. for the canal. The Hamilton Energy arrived at 10:45 a.m. from Port Weller after bunkering the John B Aird. Maria Desgagnes departed Pier 11 at 10:45 a.m. and headed down the lake. The tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 departed Pier 11E at 11 a.m. for the canal.


Updates - November 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Charity Island Light page updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 9 November 1923, AZTEC (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 180 foot, 835 gross tons, built in 1889, at Marine City, Michigan) was destroyed by fire at her home port of Marine City. The wreck lay in the Belle River until dynamited in the 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.


More ships may be leaded to early layup due to economy

11/8 - The effects of the economic downturn and resultant slowdown in the steel industry are continuing to be felt in the Great Lakes shipping industry.

Reports indicate three vessels – American Valor, American Victory and American Fortitude – are on their last trips before laying up. Layup locations have not been announced. In addition, the American Republic laid up at Toledo at the end of October and the Edward L. Ryerson entered layup at Superior this week.

“I would not be surprised if some more vessels lay up early this year,” Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, a trade organization representing operators of U.S. vessels in the St. Lawrence Seaway System, told the Superior Evening Telegram.

He noted that if steel producers and taconite mining operations continue to throttle back production, boats will have fewer iron pellets to haul.


NOAA installs local weather equipment on Saginaw Bay

11/8 – Bay City - Boaters, anglers and others interested in weather on Saginaw Bay may want to check out a new marine observation platform. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently installed weather equipment on Saginaw Bay Light No. 1, a navigational light near the Saginaw River mouth.

The equipment, accessible online, provides real-time weather information for the inner bay and has been operational since mid-October. Previously, weather information has come from an observation platform on the Gravelly Shoal Light in the outer bay east of Au Gres.

The new inner bay equipment will allow people to get more accurate weather data and the National Weather Service to produce more accurate forecasts and warnings, said Rich Pollman, a meteorologist in White Lake.

To access the weather information, go online to, click on the map and find "SBLM4."

From the Bay City Times


Buffalo is port of call for new warship

11/8 - Buffalo - Residents of the Buffalo Niagara region will soon get a rare chance for an up-close view of a new U.S. Navy warship when it docks here for three days. The USS Freedom, the first in a new class of warships, will arrive at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park from Cleveland late on Nov. 15. Dockside viewing and limited tours will be conducted Nov. 16-17, before the multipurpose vessel shoves off for Montreal.

Unlike more traditional Navy ships with a primary mission, this new class of vessel, known as an LCS, or Littoral Combat Ship, can respond to threats near shore and at sea, including attacking submarines and neutralizing mines. It also can attack fast-moving surface boats.

Patrick W. Welch, Erie County director of veterans services, said there will be a special ceremony at noon Nov. 16 to introduce the 60-member crew to Western New Yorkers. Welch said the ship has not even officially joined the Navy’s fleet in Norfolk, Va. It was built in Wisconsin.

Those scheduled to get tours include youth Sea Cadets, students from the Buffalo Maritime Charter School and local dignitaries. There also will be limited opportunities for public tours of the ship. “One of the things the crew specifically requested when it comes to Buffalo is a trip to the Anchor Bar, so we are going to be setting that up,” Welch said. “We’re also working with the Buffalo Bills to see if we can get tickets to take some of the crew” to the game Monday night. Bus tours to take crew members to Niagara Falls and other points of local interest also are being arranged.

From the Buffalo News


Port Report - November 8

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algoway was inbound on Thursday, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville to unload. She was back outbound for the lake early Friday morning.


Updates - November 8

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 08

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

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

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

The Great Lakes Engineering Works built steamer STADACONA of 1909, renamed b.) W. H. McGEAN in 1920, was renamed c.) ROBERT S. McNAMARA by its new owner Ford Motor Company's Marine Division on November 8, 1962. The McNAMARA 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 in 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.


Strong year for the St. Lawrence Seaway, but concerns ahead

11/7 - St. Catharines - It's been happy sailing so far this year for the St. Lawrence Seaway and several of its largest stakeholders. But with financial markets in upheaval, storm clouds loom ahead, says Jean Aubry-Morin, Niagara acting vice-president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Aubry-Morin echoed the observations of others by describing Seaway business as full-throttle this season. "It was exceptionally good," he said. It was so robust, in fact, that it compares to 2006, which saw the most traffic in years.

A blip in 2008 was a potential labor dispute with 445 Canadian Auto Workers employees, which stalled shipping for two weeks in advance of a possible strike and Seaway closure. The Seaway and the CAW locals ultimately ratified three, three-year contracts in October.

Recent economic turmoil has produced a "slight weakening of activity," Aubry-Morin added. Grain deliveries are also down sharply and ocean vessel traffic is off slightly this year, he said. "But if you compound all that together ... you have a very good year," he said. "For the future ... we anticipate the 2009 season will reflect the volatility and difficult times we're seeing in the last quarter this year."

It's been a stellar season, agrees Allister Paterson, the president and chief executive officer of St. Catharines-based Seaway Marine Transport. The firm manages 35 ships -- most of them self-unloaders -- which traverse anywhere from Thunder Bay to Newfoundland. "We've had an exceptionally busy season," Paterson said. "We've had every vessel in the fleet running full-out all year."

However, tough financial times have created a "definite softening in the marketplace," he said. Much of the strength in Great Lakes traffic this year came from the steel industry, he added. "And that (sector) is leading the softening heading into next year. "I would say next year is going to be a guarded year, but things can change quickly."

Meanwhile, St. Catharines' shipyard has radically changed its focus to become a more flexible manufacturer. That approach is working well, said John Dewar, vice-president of strategic services for Upper Lakes Marine and Industrial Inc., which is the parent company of Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. in Port Weller. Seaway Marine is the successor company to the Port Weller Dry Docks, which was part of Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. and purchased by Upper Lakes Group in 2007.

Port Weller was long known for its ship overhauling, repairing, and in its earlier years, shipbuilding. "It's the old story -- if you've only got a hammer, everything looks like a nail," Dewar said. "But shipbuilding is a sporadic activity. "There is an aging fleet, which means there hasn't been a lot of shipbuilding contracts (from) Great Lakes operators for the last several years, for a whole variety of economic reasons.

"The key is to diversify and not be entirely dependent on just one thing." The business model in St. Catharines focuses on making large steel structures. The yard is currently building cranes and other components. It could eventually construct large pieces for the energy sector. "We're starting to bring new work here," Dewar said. "We're expecting some modest, but steady growth in that direction."

It also hasn't abandoned ship work-- the yard is now upgrading the roll-on, roll-off (container/cargo) ship, MarineLink Explorer. "We're still actively pursuing shipbuilding contracts," Dewar added. "There's a role for us to play in fleet renewal, somewhere."

CAW national representative Mike Menicanin takes a longer view and thinks Seaway shipping and infrastructure need more investment. Menicanin's locals represent jobs that include operations, supervisory, and maintenance positions. He said for starters, there's been a dearth of qualified workers in many shipping positions, including captains, mates and engineers.

"We also need to invest in new vessels and in modernizing the fleet," he said. And that modernization should go beyond moving traditional goods like iron ore and coal. New business could include manufactured products and vehicles, which are usually shipped by rail or truck, he said. Ferries that move commercial trucks and containers are other possibilities.

Aubry-Morin agrees that finding fresh opportunities in cargo deliveries is key to a changing marketplace. "Bulk cargo and main cargo will be more volatile than it was before," he said. That means the Seaway and its partners will have to "use other cargo to be able to make up the difference."

Because of an aging Great Lakes fleet and the need to modernize or replace those ships, government support for fleet renewal and Canadian ship building is vital, Menicanin added. "It would be great to see them build vessels (again) in Port Weller," he said. "Something's going to have to happen, because our shipping fleet's not going to last forever."

From the St. Catharines Standard


October limestone report shows increase

11/7 - Cleveland - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.2 million net tons in October, an increase of 15 percent compared to a year ago, and only slightly behind the month’s 5-year average.

Had vessels been able to carry full loads, the 5-year average would have been easily achieved, but lack of dredging system wide again plagued the trade. One U.S.-Flag laker saw its loads differ by as much as 3,600 net tons because of inadequate dredging of the channel in a receiving port.

For the year, the Lakes stone trade stands at 28.4 million net tons, a slight increase over the same point in 2007, but still nearly 2.5 million net tons behind the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Old book sheds new light on Great Lakes shipping history

11/7 - Windsor - An archivist who was digging through old documents in the basement of a Harrow, Ont., church says she has unearthed a 19th century ledger that provides a rare glimpse into Great Lakes shipping history. "It was as I went through the book and went closer to the back ... I realized this was something unbelievable and exceptional," Debra Majer said Wednesday.

The Catholic diocese of London, Ont., archivist was holding a treasure trove: a ledger dating to the 1800s with hundreds of names of ships' captains and vessels with the dates they sailed and their fates. She held 255 pages detailing brigs, tugs and steamships that sailed the Great Lakes.

She knew she'd found something unique when she saw a list of steamboats lost since 1857. At the bottom was a legend identifying how the ship was lost, whether it was foundered, run ashore, burnt, sunk by collision, exploded, sunk by ice, capsized or dismantled. One vessel is recorded as the Phoenix, 1846 with a dot to indicate it was burnt.

Pasted over shipping statistics were clippings from Detroit newspapers dating between 1860 and 1900 and a clue to the meticulous author - an obituary for Robert C. Teuton, a Detroit businessman who died at age 57 on April 29, 1900. The obit says Teuton was a senior partner in a grocer and ship supply house until an explosion wrecked that business at Woodbridge and Second streets and the partners went into the freight-carrying business on the Great Lakes.

Majer said she believes Teuton and/or a family member may have kept the ledger, since the date of the marriage and death of his only son Walter and the address of Walter's wife Catherine is handwritten in the back. The last date on the back cover, March 11, 1942, appears to be the date of Catherine's death.

Even if Majer is right, it's not clear why Teuton would have kept such vast and precise records that predated him. And how did it end up in a church basement? Majer doesn't know. What's clear is it's an "exceptional find."

It didn't make sense for the ledger, found in August at St. Anthony's church in Harrow, to be kept by the Catholic diocese of London. It was Majer's job to find a suitable home and she will donate the book today to the Marsh Historical Collection in Amherstburg. Collection resource manager Jennifer MacLeod, who has only seen the book once, said Great Lakes history buffs are "dying" to see it.

"A lot of the information appeared to be from the 1850s and 1860s which is even before the (Amherstburg) Echo started, which makes it that much more valuable for us because it's a time period that we may not have that much documentation on otherwise."

The archives are based on the collection of the late John and Helen Marsh, a brother and sister team who owned the Amherstburg Echo until 1980. The Marsh collection includes the Amherstburg Echo newspaper files dating back to 1874, more than 4,000 photographs and more than 1,000 local family files. The collection also has Great Lakes artifacts including the large steering wheel from the steamer Alaska, which was purchased by a coal company in 1912.

From the Windsor Star


Port Report - November 7

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Algosteel finished unloading ore and departed from the Torco Dock late Thursday afternoon. The Philip R. Clarke was at the Midwest Terminal Dock to load cargo. When finished unloading, the Clarke will then proceed over to the CSX Docks to load coal. The tug Wilf Seymour with her barge were also at the Midwest Terminal Dock unloading cargo. The tug Petite Forte with the barge St. Marys Cement was at the St. Marys Cement Dock unloading cement. The Atlantic Huron was working her way into the Toledo Ship Channel late Thursday evening bound for the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore when finished unloading ore the Huron will then proceed over to the CSX Docks and will follow the Philip R. Clarke to load coal.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Philip R. Clarke and Atlantic Huron due in Friday morning, Adam E. Cornelius due in Saturday morning, the tug Salvor with the barge Lambert Spirit due in Sunday morning followed by the Robert S. Pierson and Philip R. Clarke due in Monday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Atlantic Huron due in late Thursday evening followed by the CSL Laurentien and Canadian Navigator due in Friday.


Steel-mill mama
In her 26th year at plant, 82-year-old grandma shows no sign of retiring

11/7 - Mansfield, Ohio -- Unemployment led Bonnie Rooks to the local steel mill at 56, an age when most in the gritty industry begin looking forward to retirement. She'd been laid off from the Mansfield Tire & Rubber Co. plant for several years when the mill offered what she describes as a "nasty, old, dirty job" as a laborer.

That was in 1983. But the ups and downs of factory work haven't changed much: Rooks learned last week that she's one of about 400 employees at the AK Steel plant in Mansfield who will sit idle until after Christmas in the latest round of layoffs. "We just don't know what's going to happen," said Rooks, who is scheduled to work her last shift for a while on Saturday. "I'm hoping that the bottom doesn't fall out."

At 82, Rooks is the oldest active employee among those in AK Steel's seven U.S. plants. Others have worked for the company longer, but no one is older. She plans to use the layoff to hunker down in a back room at the VFW post and write her autobiography. Rooks already has a title in mind: I'm Steel Here.

Back when she started at the mill, her male co-workers teased her about her age. "They used to come out and watch me if I was lifting somethin' heavy to see how I'd done," Rooks said, laughing at the memory. "But I showed 'em." She quickly learned that her new line of work required muscle and thick skin.

Toughness is an attribute she takes pride in. It's something she's carried with her since growing up on her parents' farm in Illinois during the Great Depression. Her career has encompassed working on the 'brick gang,' which required hauling 80-pound bags of mortar and 40-pound bricks that are used to reline the mill's furnaces. She spent time pulling spikes and laying ties for the 9 miles of railroad track once operated by the mill.

During a lockout of union workers in 1999, Rooks traveled to rallies across the U.S., earning the nickname "Mother Jones" after the famous labor-union activist. These days, Rooks still clocks 40 hours a week on a rotating swing-shift schedule. She does a range of jobs, such as janitorial work and extinguishing grease fires in the hot-strip production area where steel slabs roll out of a furnace at 2,200 degrees.

Rooks might be an anomaly in her field, but she represents a trend in Ohio's labor force. A state study determined that the participation rate for workers 65 or older rose from 11.6 percent in 1996 to 14 percent in 2006 and is expected to continue rising. "She's become somewhat of a celebrity in terms of work ethic," said Alan McCoy, vice president of government and public relations for AK Steel, which has its headquarters in West Chester near Cincinnati. Several state and national newspapers have told her story in recent years.

But some co-workers resent Rooks' celebrity status and think it's time for her to retire, said Ron Davis, Rooks' friend and president of United Steelworkers Local 169, the mill's union. "A lot of people are jealous," Davis said. "Her 15 minutes of fame has lasted longer than theirs."

What they might not know, he said, is what motivates Rooks to keep working. She says she enjoys her job and prefers keeping busy to "looking at four walls every day." More importantly, her paycheck helps support her 20-year-old grandson and youngest daughter, 44-year-old Alesia Litteral, who worked 20 years at the steel mill before an accident there in 1995 left her disabled.

If Rooks plans to retire in the near future, she hasn't told her employer, her closest friends or even her family. "I don't even think about it," she said.

From the Columbus Dispatch


Merritt Day event planned for Welland Canal

11/7 - Welland, Ont. - "Tip your Hat to the Man who Shaped Niagara" is the title of this year's Merritt Day event in Welland, Ontario.

On November 27 at 2 p.m., the Welland Canals Foundation, in partnership with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Company and the City of Welland, will be celebrating William Hamilton Merritt Day. The event commemorates the 179th anniversary of the first vessel passing through the first Welland Canal.

Guest speakers will include senior representatives of the Great Lakes marine industry and government elected officials. The event will be held at the Welland Civic Square (City Hall) in Welland, Ont.


Updates - November 7

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 07

On 07 November 1871, M COURTRIGHT (wooden schooner, 276 tons, built in 1856, at Erie, Pennsylvania) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She struck bottom after her anchor dragged. She then became waterlogged. The crew abandoned in the yawl. The vessel went ashore several miles south of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The revenue cutter ANDREW JOHNSON tried in vain to pull her free but couldn't. The COURTRIGHT broke up a few days later.

On 7 November 1852, ST LOUIS (wooden side-wheeler, 190 foot, 618 tons, built in 1844, at Perrysburg, Ohio) was carrying railroad cars when she capsized and sank in a gale off Kelley's Island on Lake Erie. She was owned by Beer & Samuel Ward.

On 07 Nov 1906, the Grand Trunk carferry GRAND HAVEN (steel carferry, 306 foot, 2,320 gross tons built in 1903, at Toledo, Ohio) was put up for sale at a receiver's auction when the Grand Trunk Car Ferry Line defaulted on it's bonds. It was purchased by a new Grand Trunk subsidiary, the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company. This vessel had a long career both on the Lakes and in the Caribbean. She was finally scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario in 1970.

The T-2 converted laker HILDA MARJANNE's 1961, German-built hull forward of the engine room, minus her pilot house, was towed by the tugs G W ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE to Port Weller Dry Docks arriving there on November 7, 1983. This section was to become part of the CANADIAN RANGER.

On November 7, 1989, the SAMUEL MATHER, a.) HENRY FORD II, was moved to Toledo's C & O Frog Pond on her way to the cutter's torch.

The ARTHUR B HOMER (Hull#303), was launched November 7, 1959, for the Bethlehem Steel Corp., Cleveland, Ohio. She was the last ship built by Great Lakes Engineering at River Rouge, Michigan.

In 1902, the BRANSFORD rammed and sank the tug RECORD with a loss of a tug crewman in the Portage Lake Ship Canal in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. Renamed b.) JOHN H MC GEAN in 1916, and c.) CLIFFORD F HOOD in 1943. The HOOD was scrapped in Bilbao, Spain in 1974.

On November 7, 1913, the storm responsible for sinking or damaging more vessels than any other began a six-day assault on the Great Lakes. The "Big Blow" of 1913, struck Lake Superior on November 7 and reached Lake Michigan by November 8, where the Pittsburgh Steamship Company vessel CLARENCE A BLACK was severely damaged by the waves at the dock in Gary, Indiana.

On 7 November 1893, ALBANY (steel propeller package freighter, 267 foot, 1,918 gross tons, built in 1884, at Wyandotte, Michigan) collided with the iron freighter PHILADELPHIA in a thick fog. PHILADELPHIA took ALBANY in tow to try to save her, but she sank a few miles off Pointe aux Barques, Michigan. Her crew transferred to PHILADELPHIA, but they soon had to abandon her too since she also sank. 8 lives were lost, presumably when one of the lifeboats was run down by the still running, but abandoned, PHILADELPHIA.

On 7 November 1865, LILY DANCEY (2-mast wooden schooner, 92 foot, 132 gross tons built in 1856, at Goderich, Ontario) was carrying grain in a gale on Lake Huron when she was driven ashore near Port Elgin or Kincardine, Ontario. Her cargo was later recovered, but the schooner broke up by 27 November of that year.

The CITY OF FLINT 32 ran aground at Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1947.

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


Coast Guard transports ill man from fishing boat

11/6 - Cleveland - U. S. Coast Guard Station Marblehead medically evacuated a 64-year-old male experiencing symptoms of faint from a 70-foot fishing vessel just east of Pelee Island at approximately 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

"He was having shortness of breath, looked kind of clammy -- so we took him in," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Christopher Channels.

Channels and his 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) crew transferred the man to awaiting Emergency Medial Services on shore in Kingville, Ontario.

The man was in stable condition upon transfer to a hospital in Leamington, Ontario.


Port Reports - November 6

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday brought two visitors to Lafarge. The Buffalo backed into the slip stern first during the afternoon to tie up and unload coal. Also in port under the silos were the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Wednesday, the tug Wilf Seymour with her barge was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Algosteel was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Philip R. Clarke and Atlantic Huron due in Friday, Adam E. Cornelius due in Saturday, the tug Salvor with the barge Lambert Spirit due in Sunday followed by the Robert S. Pierson due in Monday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Atlantic Huron due in Thursday evening, CSL Laurentien and Canadian Navigator due in Friday followed by the CSL Niagara on Sunday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
John J. Boland departed from the WE Energies yard at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor just after 8 a.m. Saturday, after delivering coal. St. Marys Conquest and its Hannah tug departed from its Kinnickinnic River terminal after 1:00 p.m. Saturday, proceeding northbound on Lake Michigan.
Sunday morning at 10:15 a security call was heard from U.S.S. Freedom, LCS 1, arriving in Milwaukee for its commissioning Nov. 8. Assisted by tugs, U.S.S. Freedom docked at Veteran's Park in the outer harbor, greeted by U.S. Coast Guard craft maintaining a security zone, and a Milwaukee fireboat sending plumes of water skyward.
Cement carrier Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander left the LaFarge silo in Milwaukee's inner harbor just after 8 a.m. Monday for Lake Michigan. The Lake Express ferry, its annual season concluded, arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor just after the noon hour on Wednesday. Lake Express docks for winter lay-up in the Menomonee River near the Valley Electric Power plant.


Updated Local Notice to Mariners

The USCG District Nine Local Notice to Mariners is now available for download at this link.


Updates - November 6

News Photo Gallery updated

New - 2008 Lay Up List updated

Weekly Updates added

Historical Perspective Gallery updated - Carl D. Bradley featured


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), carrying 1,600 tamarac railroad ties to Toledo, sank in 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 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 by Pittsburgh Steamships' RICHARD TRIMBLE.

On 06 Nov 1985, Desguaces Heme began scrapping the LEON FALK, JR. in Gijon, Spain. This vessel was built in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1945, as the tanker a.) WINTER HILL, (504 foot, 10,534 gross tons) and then was converted to a 710 foot, 12,501 gross ton bulk freighter in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1960-61.

On 6 November 1872, the wooden propeller tug MILDRED, while towing a vessel out of Alpena, Michigan, had her engine fail. Soon she was in trouble and sank. The crew was saved.

On 6 November 1827, ANN (wooden schooner, 53 foot, 58 tons, built in 1819, or 1821, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying salt, general merchandise and passengers when she was driven ashore on Long Point almost opposite Erie, Pennsylvania. 7 Lives were lost, including 5 passengers. 6 survived.

In 1912, the Pere Marquette Railroad announced plans to build a new roundhouse at Ludington, Michigan. It still stands today.

On 6 November 1874, The Port Huron Times listed the following vessels lost in the month of October and in the first week of November of that year: Propellers - BROOKLYN, FRANKFORT, NEW YORK; tug DOUGLAS; schooners - CITY OF PAINSVILLE, WANDERER, PREBLE, THOS S MOTT; and barges - CLIFTON and SHERMAN.

On 6 November 1883, GUIDING STAR (3-mast wooden schooner, 139 foot, 324 tons, built in 1869, at Oswego, New York) was carrying coal to Milwaukee in fog when she went ashore 12 miles north of Milwaukee. Four of the crew made it to shore in the yawl, but it was wrecked in the process. The rest of the crew was finally rescued by the Milwaukee Lifesavers.

Crews began painting the hull of the SAGINAW (formerly JOHN J. BOLAND) in the colors of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. (gray) on 06 Nov 1999, at Sarnia, Ontario. The vessel had recently been purchased from American Steamship Co. Inside the vessel, crews were gutting the living quarters to remove asbestos and add fire proof walls and new flooring. The engine room equipment and the unloading gear were also refurbished.

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


Ryerson may continue season

11/5 - The Edward L. Ryerson arrived for an early winter layup at Fraser Shipyards Tuesday, but its owner, Central Marine Logistics, remained in discussions with a potential client that could provide additional work for the vessel.

If its season has drawn to a close, the Ryerson will be the second laker to call it quits well before the Jan. 15 closure of the Soo Locks. The American Republic tied up last Friday in Toledo. American Steamship Co. also is rumored to be considering an early layup of the American Victory in the Twin Ports, but the company was unprepared to comment on the matter when contacted today.

Reported by: Duluth News Tribune


Oswego seeks money for port

11/5 - The Port of Oswego is asking New York state to help pay the cost of building a container port that could spark an economic boom in the area.

Port officials are hoping to get some money for the $4.5 million project from the Renew and Rebuild New York Transportation Bond Act, said port director Jonathan Daniels.

Port officials recently applied for the money but have yet to hear the container operation will receive state backing, Daniels said.

Several port and local officials met Monday with representatives of Melford International Terminal, which is building a 1,500-acre container port along the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia. The strait links the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Atlantic Ocean.

That link will open up the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes to container shipping. Container shipping - using standardized cargo boxes that can be transferred from ship to truck or train - is the most widely used type of shipping in the world. Traditionally, Great Lakes ports have been used for shipping bulk materials such as grain, iron ore or cement.

Last month, Seaway officials said Oswego, because of its location, is the only American port on Lake Ontario being considered for the container operation. "You can buy equipment, you can build terminals, but you can't buy geography," Daniels said.  In addition to highways and railroad connections, the port is connected to the state's 524-mile canal system.

The local container operation would be located on 15 acres of port-owned land east of the current terminal, Daniels said. Having a container operation in Oswego would reduce overseas shipping costs to Central New York manufacturers that currently send their goods overland to container ports in the New York City area and other East Coast ports, said Richie Mann, Melford's vice president of marketing.

East Coast container ports are nearing their freight handling capacities, Mann said.

"There's a growing trend of more and more imports coming into the U.S. from the east," Mann said.

The Melford port will be operational by 2011, Mann said.

"2011 is a perfect planning window for us," Daniels said.

Besides the shipping business, container ports also attract warehouses, assembly plants and other factories, Mann said.

Although the container terminal in Oswego would be coordinated with the Melford port, Melford will have no financial stake in the Oswego operation, Mann said.

Port officials in Oswego will have to line up their own clients and do their own marketing, Mann said.

Syracuse Online


Layoffs averted at UTac mine; employee hours cut instead

11/5 - The company notified the state that, without reduced hours, it stood to lay off up to 49 people initially and another 19 people in three months.

Layoffs at United Taconite’s operations in Forbes and Eveleth have been averted, at least for now. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., UTac’s owner, unveiled a compromise deal Monday with United Steelworkers Local 6860, which represents most of the 516 people employed at the mine. Last week, Cliffs announced plans to cut production at UTac and Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt by a combined 300,000 tons of pellets per month. That represents a reduction in output of more than 30 percent for the two mines.

Rather than resort to layoffs, the company and union agreed that hourly workers at United Taconite would switch to a 32- versus a 40-hour work week for a three-month period, beginning Nov. 9.

At the end of those three months, Cliffs will re-evaluate the situation. The company has already filed paperwork notifying the state of Minnesota that, without reduced hours, it stood to lay off up to 49 people initially and another 19 people in three months’ time.

Cliffs is still developing a staffing plan at Northshore, where 561 people work, according to Maureen Talarico, a company spokeswoman. She said there have been no layoffs yet at Northshore, the only non-union mine on Minnesota’s Iron Range. But Cliffs has tried to eliminate all overtime and contract work at the mine.

“We’re still in the process of analyzing where we’re at,” said Talarico, pledging: “We will work as hard as we can to not have layoffs.”

Reacting to steelmakers’ reduced demand for iron ore pellets in a beleaguered economy, Cliffs has ratcheted down its mine production, and Talarico said the company will need to adjust to market conditions as they continually evolve.

Two furnaces at Northshore and one at UTac have been idled. Cliffs CEO Joe Carrabba said the affected Northshore lines had the highest production costs in the company.

Meanwhile, one furnace at United Taconite will temporarily cease production, and Carrabba said it was due for significant maintenance at any rate.

Reported by: Duluth News Tribune


U.S. Coast Guard's newest aircraft visit Cleveland

11/5 - Cleveland - The U.S. Coast Guard's newest aircraft, the HC-144A Ocean Sentry, landed at the Burke Lakefront Airport on Monday. The medium-range surveillance aircraft is in the Great Lakes Region to conduct operational testing.

The HC-144A, part of the Coast Guard's Deepwater Major Acquisition Program, will replace the Service's aging fleet of HU-25 Falcon jets. The fixed-wing turbo prop aircraft will perform various missions including maritime patrols, law enforcement, search and rescue, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport.

Previously delivered HC-144A aircraft already have proven their capabilities in the field. During a routine training flight on Feb. 20, 2008, an HC-144A was diverted to assist with a search-and-rescue mission following the collision of two Air Force F-15 aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico. The HC-144A quickly became the on-scene rescue coordinator and successfully led a multi-agency rescue mission, which included assets from the Coast Guard, the Department of Defense, and civilian partners.

The HC-144A also provided invaluable reconnaissance capabilities during the Midwestern floods on June 19, 2008, when it assisted Coast Guard and local government officials in determining where response and recovery resources should be utilized in the ongoing flood relief efforts. In both cases, the HC-144A's range, loitering capability, endurance, and passenger capacity met the requirements of the mission, demonstrating that the HC-144A is well-matched to the multi-mission Coast Guard it will serve.

Reported by: USCG


Port Reports - November 5

Twin Ports  - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson arrived in Fraser Shipyards shortly after noon Tuesday for layup. Elsewhere, Algowood was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal at midday while Canadian Olympic fueled and waited its turn at the coal dock. Earlier in the day, tug Mark Hannah and barge were at Hallett 8 in Superior to unload.

Holland Report - Bob VandeVusse
On Monday a Coast Guard ANT vessel was decommissioning lighted buoys on Lake Macatawa. Tuesday morning the Manistee arrived at about 8 a.m. and proceeded to the James DeYoung power plant to deliver the final load of coal for the season. It departed in the afternoon.


Ship getting fixes ordered by Transport Canada

11/5 - A Liberian-registered bulk carrier is in Halifax undergoing repairs ordered by Transport Canada after it was battered by a fierce North Atlantic storm last week.

Antarios Breeze, a 24-year-old, Green-owned vessel, limped into Halifax with serious structural damage and its 24 Philippine crew members appear to be lucky to be alive. There had been concerns for the safety of the ship and crew before it even left on the Atlantic crossing.

The ship, owned by Antarios Maritime Co. Ltd. according to an Internet site, was on its way from Norway to Churchill, Man., on Hudson’s Bay to load grain when it encountered the storm near Greenland. It also suffered damage to a turbocharger and, running on reduced power, made its way to Halifax.

However, before the storm forced the ship into Halifax, the International Transport Workers’ Federation had reports that there were safety concerns about the vessel and had requested that Transport Canada workers carry out an inspection in Churchill.

Transport Canada inspectors examined the ship in Halifax and, after discovering the storm damage and other infractions, ordered the repairs to be done before it is allowed to leave. That work is expected to be completed this weekend.  Gerard Bradbury, a federation inspector, said Monday he had received e-mails from a family member of one of the crewmen worried about the safety of the crew and the vessel’s condition.

Mr. Bradbury said the vessel did not have proper provisions for the trip and when he boarded the vessel last week, he said the crew was "basically boiling water." He said he believed if it had to go through another storm, there was a good chance it "would have gone down." A spokesman for F.K. Warren, the agent for the vessel in Halifax, said the agency was not in a position to speak for the owner.

Reported by: The Halifax Herald


Updates - November 5

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 5

At 2:00 a.m. on 05 November 1884, the steamer GRACE GRUMMOND (iron side-wheel excursion steamer, 138 foot, 250 tons, built in 1856, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as the survey steamer JEFFERSON DAVIS, specifically for the survey of the Great Lakes) burned at Grand Haven, Michigan. Her cargo of apples, pears and potatoes was also destroyed. No lives were lost. After the fire she was towed to Chicago to lay up until it was decided what to do with her. It is not known if she ever operated as a steamer again, but in 1887, she was rebuilt as a schooner at Milwaukee. She was one of the only sizable iron-hulled schooners ever used on the lakes. In 1904, as a tow-barge, she was sold Canadian and renamed BALTIC (C.116760). She was later used as a breakwater at Clear Creek, Ontario and was finally scrapped in 1939.

On 05 November 1852, BUCKEYE STATE (3-mast wooden bark, 132 foot, 310 tons, built in 1852, at Black River, Ohio) stranded off S. Milwaukee Point on Lake Michigan in a storm and was then broken up by waves. This was her first year of operation and she had been in service less than three months.

The LOUIS R DESMARAIS cleared Owen Sound, Ontario on her maiden voyage November 5, 1977, bound for Thunder Bay, Ontario. to load 27,117 gross tons of iron ore for Stelco at Hamilton, Ontario. Her forward end was replaced at Port Weller in 2001, and renamed b.) CSL LAURENTIEN.

On her final trip, the IRVIN L CLYMER passed up bound at the Soo on November 5, 1990, and arrived at Duluth two days later to unload limestone at the Hallet Dock #5 after which she moved to her final lay-up berth at Fraser's shipyard and tied up blowing one last three long and two short salute from her whistle. In 1993, she was sold to Azcon Corp. of Duluth, Minnesota for scrapping.

The GRAND HAVEN was raised on November 5, 1969, from the Old River Bed where she sank on September 19, 1969. She was raised for scrapping.

Mr. J. W. Isherwood visited the Great Lakes Engineering Works ship yard on November 5, 1910, and personally inspected the hull which was being built according to his patented design. This vessel, the WILLIAM P PALMER was the first vessel on the Great Lakes built to the Isherwood system of longitudinal framing.

On 05 Nov 1917, a foggy and rainy day, the JAMES S DUNHAM (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,795 gross tons, built in 1906, at W. Bay City, Michigan) sank in a collision with the steamer ROBERT FULTON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 424 foot, 4,219 gross tons, built 1896, at Wyandotte, Michigan) just below Grassy Island on the Detroit River. Repairs for both vessels totaled $125,000.

On 5 November 1896, ACADIA (iron-framed wooden propeller, 176 foot, built in 1867, at Hamilton, Ontario) was driven ashore and broke up in a gale near the mouth of the Michipicoten River in Lake Superior. her crew made it to shore and five of them spent more than a week trying to make it to the Soo.

The Port Huron Times of 5 November 1878: "The schooner J P MARCH is reported lost with all on board. She was lost at Little Traverse Bay on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. The MARCH was a three masted schooner and was owned by Benton & Pierce of Chicago."

On 5 November 1838, TOLEDO (2-mast wooden schooner, 98 foot, 215 tons, built in 1836, at Buffalo) was carrying dry goods valued at more than $100,000 up-bound on Lake Erie when she was driven ashore by a gale a half mile east of the mouth of the Grand River. She broke in two. No lives were lost.

On 5 November 1869, TITAN (wooden schooner, 132 foot, 361 gross tons, built in 1856, at Oswego, New York) was carrying 17,500 bushels of wheat on Lake Michigan in a terrific gale. She was driven toward shore. Her anchors were dropped as she came close in and they held for about an hour. However, the ship finally dragged ashore, losing both of her masts and breaking up as she struck. Of the nine on board, only one survived and that one was found crawling along the beach in a dazed state. When she was new, TITAN broke the record by completing the trip from Chicago to Oswego in only 8 days and 4 hours. Her record only lasted one day since the schooner SURPRISE broke it by 6 hours the following day.

In the summer of 1875, the propeller EAST ran down and sank the tug JOE MAC, not even pausing to save her crew from drowning. The following winter Messrs. Seymour & Co., owners of the JOE MAC, obtained a judgment in a U.S. Court against the owners of the EAST. Since the EAST was a Canadian vessel, they were unable to seize her because the judgment could only be effected in American waters. On Sunday morning, 05 Nov 1876, the steam tug SEYMOUR, with a United States Marshal and posse on board, proceeded up to Allen's (presumably at Ogdensburg, New York), and there lay in wait for the EAST, which went up by the Crossover light channel into American waters. The SEYMOUR ran out and captured the vessel and brought her to Averell's wharf in U.S. waters to await justice.

CALCITE II arrived in Sarnia at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, 05 Nov. 2000, for lay-up. After leaving Cleveland the previous day, she anchored in Western Lake Erie, so she could arrive at the North Slip in Sarnia when shore side personnel would be on-hand to assist. A chartered bus from Rogers City left about noon to take many of the crew home. Around 4:10 p.m., the down bound MYRON C TAYLOR passed her fleetmate CALCITE II, perhaps for the last time in USS Great Lakes Fleet colors, and she blew her sister an extended 3 long and 2 short master salute. The TAYLOR was bound for Cleveland with a load of stone.

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


Layup comes early for the Edward L. Ryerson

11/4 - When the steamer Edward L. Ryerson arrives at her winter layup dock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wis., Tuesday, she will become the second U.S. flagged laker to tie up early.

The premature end to the Ryerson's season, a good portion of which was spent hauling pellets to Hamilton, Ont., came as steel mills around the lakes and internationally are idling blast furnaces and cutting back production in the wake of the continued global economic slump. The Ryerson had previously been scheduled to run into mid-December carrying taconite from Superior to Lorain, Ohio.

In a situation such as this, furloughed crewmembers with sufficient seniority may be able to find positions on a fleet's other vessels. Others can report their availability to their union and may find jobs as reliefs with other fleets. Some will just head home.

It is unknown what the 2009 season will hold for the Ryerson; her future will depend on an improvement in demand for the steel industry. Prior to an unexpected fitout in 2006, the Ryerson had been idled for eight years and it was widely believed at the time the vessel was permanently sidelined because she is not a self-unloader. In the past few years, the 1960-built Ryerson has become a favorite of boatwatchers, thanks to her stylish lines and booming whistles.

The American Republic also laid up early; she tied up at Toledo at the end of October. Speculation around the lakes suggests other vessels may call it quits soon, sending some crews home in time for Christmas. The locks at Sault Ste. Marie are scheduled to close Jan. 15.


Naming Ceremony at the Port of Montreal

11/4 - Montreal based shipping company, Canfornav Inc., today held a naming ceremony Monday for its new vessel, the Blacky, a Huron Type bulk carrier designed to navigate the Great Lakes.

The 30,795 metric ton deadweight tonnage vessel arrived on its maiden voyage from China, en route to the Great Lakes. The Blacky is the first of 16 vessels being built at various shipyards in China, including six at Shanhaiguan Shipyard.

It also signals the launch of the Canfornav program to replace its fleet with vessels built to offer the latest in design and technology. This means open hatch flexible ships equipped with fast moving 30 MT cranes fitted with bow thrusters. "We are proud of these next generation ships that will serve our customers even better in the St. Lawrence, on the Great Lakes and at sea," stated Canfornav President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Hagn.

During the ceremony, Patrice M. Pelletier, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Montreal Port Authority, gave a lithograph to the ship sponsor, Ms. Jocelyne Bourassa, to the captain of the Blacky, Volodymyr Kudashkin, and to the president of Canfornav, Michael Hagn. Mr. Pelletier took the opportunity to congratulate Captain Kudashkin and the top management of Canfornav on their company's dynamism. "The efficiency of your services and our port jointly contribute to the international reputation of the St. Lawrence as a competitive and efficient trade corridor, well positioned to access markets in North America's industrial heartland," he said.


Port Reports - November 4

South Chicago - Steve B.
The saltie Virginiaborg was still unloading at the NASCO dock at Iroquois Landing on Monday. The Manistee was at KCBX south dock at 11:30 a.m. with the boom partially raised and the coal loading chute up. The Philip R. Clarke was inbound for KCBX at the Calumet River entrance at about 2:30 p.m.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday night the Alpena was under the silos at Lafarge taking on cargo for Detroit. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port loading cement Monday night. Poor visibility from dense fog delayed its departure. The research vessel Grayling was tied up in the river Monday night.


Update on Lake Superior outflow

11/4 - This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron basins were below their long-term averages. Lake Superior is currently three inches above its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall in November. This level is about nine inches below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, but is two inches above the level recorded a year ago. The October level of Lake Superior fell by four inches, while on average the level falls by one inch in October.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron fell by five inches in October, while on average the level falls by three inches in October. Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 15 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, and is eight inches higher than it was a year ago, and one inch above chart datum. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is also expected to decline in November.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,700 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (60.0 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of November.

This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of October and is a decrease from the October outflow, which was 2,250 m3/s (72.4 tcfs).

The November outflow will be released by discharging about 1,580 m3/s (55.8 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 centimetres, or about eight inches each).

There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

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

More information


Service set for Great Lakes historian Daniel C. McCormick

11/4 - A memorial service will be held this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Sacred Heart church on Main Street in Massena, N.Y. for Daniel C. McCormick, Great Lakes author and marine historian, who died last Thursday. He was 81.

He was named Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit in 1981. He co-authored, with Skip Gillam, the recently released book "Pre-Seaway Salties 1850-1958."

Reported by Ron Beaupre


November 10 Remembrance Programs

11/4 - Many groups are holding programs around the lakes marking the November 10 loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Visit the calendar of events for a listing.

In Detroit, the Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Great Lakes Maritime Auxiliary will host its annual remembrance for sailors November 10 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. For more information visit BoatNerd will be supporting this event by helping to offer a live webcast for those unable to attend in person.


St. Marys Challenger, new book, subject of news video

11/4 - The St. Marys Challenger isn't the fastest ship on the Great Lakes or the biggest, but it does hold the title of oldest. Documentary photographer Chris Winters had the opportunity to photograph the ship in the years leading up to its centennial season, and wrote a book about it – "Centennial: Steaming through the American Century."

TV 9&10 News in Northern Michigan interviewed Winters recently about the ship and the book, and featured many of his pictures: Click here to view. To order the book click here


Updates - November 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Weekly Updates added

Historical Perspective Gallery updated - Carl D. Bradley featured


Today in Great Lakes History - November 4

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 “steam barge”.

On 4 November 1875, SWAN (wooden propeller tug, 11 gross tons, built in 1862, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire while lying out in the Saginaw River near East Saginaw. She was abandoned by the crew and burned to the water’s edge.

The JOSEPH G BUTLER JR (steel bulk freighter, 525 foot, 6,588 gross tons) was launched on 04 Nov 1905, at Lorain, Ohio for the Tonopah Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.). She lasted until 1971, when she was stripped of her cabins and scuttled, along with HENRY R PLATT JR, at Steel Co. of Canada plant, Burlington Bay, Hamilton, Ontario, as breakwater and fill.

The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was registered at Toronto, Ontario on 04 Nov 1977, but didn't enter service until the spring of 1978, because of mechanical difficulties during her sea trials.

On 04 Nov, 1986, the TEXACO CHIEF was renamed A G FARQUHARSON. She was renamed c.) ALGONOVA in 1998.

CALCITE II departed Cleveland at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, 04 Nov 2000, on her last trip for USS Great Lakes Fleet. She sailed up bound for Sarnia, Ontario where she spent the winter in lay-up. Grand River Transportation had entered into a sale agreement with USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. for the purchase of the CALCITE II, GEORGE A SLOAN and MYRON C TAYLOR. Built as the WILLIAM G CLYDE in 1929, CALCITE II sails today as the c.) MAUMEE.

HERON BAY proceeded under her own power to Lauzon, Quebec for her final lay-up on November 4, 1978.

CSL's, NIPIGON BAY was launched November 4, 1950.

The CHARLES L HUTCHINSON developed a sizable leak and almost sank November 4, 1925, during her tow to Superior after she struck a reef a few nights before.

The ROBERT C STANLEY's keel was laid November 4, 1942.

UNITED STATES GYPSUM of 1910, grounded at Toledo, Ohio on November 4, 1972, resulting in damage totaling $125,000. Her propeller was removed and the rudder shaft was locked in position to finish the season as a manned barge on the coal run from Toledo to Detroit, Michigan.

The JOSEPH H THOMPSON became not only the largest vessel on the Great Lakes but also the longest dry bulk cargo vessel in the world when it entered service on November 4, 1952, departing Chicago on its first trip.

Setting the stage for the fateful storm which followed less than a week later which sank the EDMUND FITZGERALD, many locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin were setting all-time record high temperatures for the month of November during the period of November 4-6, 1975. Grand Marais, Minnesota reached 67 degrees on November 5 and Superior reached 74 degrees on November 6, both all-time records for the month. Many other notable Great Lakes storms, including the Armistice Day storm of 1940, and the storm that sank the HENRY STEINBRENNER in 1953, were proceeded by record-setting warm weather.

On 4 November 1877, MARY BOOTH (wooden scow-schooner, 132 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying maple lumber in a storm in Lake Michigan. She became waterlogged but her crew doggedly clung to her until she appeared ready to turn turtle. Then her crew abandoned her and she rolled over. She drifted in the lake for several days. The crew landed at White Lake, Michigan and they were near death.

The Port Huron Times of 4 November 1878: "The propeller CITY OF MONTREAL is believed to have gone down on Lake Michigan on Friday [1 NOV 1878]. The schooner LIVELY, laden with coal for Bay City, is reported ashore 6 miles above Sand Beach, having gone on at 12 o'clock Sunday night [3 NOV 1878]. The schooner WOODRUFF, ashore at Whitehall, is a total loss. Two men were drowned, one died from injuries received, and Capt. Lingham was saved. The tugs E M PECK and MYSTIC, which went from the Sault to the assistance of the propeller QUEBEC, were wrecked near where she lies, one being on the beach and the other sunk below her decks. Both crews were rescued and were taken to St. Joseph Island."

On 4 November 1856, J W BROOKS (wooden propeller, 136 foot, 322 tons, built in 1851, at Detroit) was carrying provisions and copper ingots to Ogdensburg, New York in a storm when she foundered on Lake Ontario, 8 miles northeast of False Ducks Light. Estimates of the loss of lives range from 22 to 50. In July 1857, she was partially raised and some of her cargo was recovered. She only had a five year career, but besides this final incident, she had her share of disasters. In July 1855, she had a boiler explosion and in May of that same year, she sank in Canadian waters.

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


Tug & Barge Aground

11/3 - Detroit - 1:50 p.m. Update - The William J. Moore and barge McClearys Spirit were pulled free around 1:20 p.m. The tug and barge backed up and entered the East Outer Channel and proceeded downbound for Montreal. The tug reported they were proceeding slowly and were sounding the barge's tanks to look for damage, at last report no damage had been found.

11 a.m. update - Tug William J. Moore & barge McClearys Spirit grounded Sunday evening about 5:15 p.m. a short distance north east of the Detroit River Light, where the Detroit River meets Lake Erie. The tug and barge were downbound and grounded in the entrance to the West Outer Channel, they appear to be blocking the channel.

This channel is used by downbound vessels heading to Toledo, a vessel bound for Montreal would use the East Outer Channel to head east across Lake Erie. The position in the entrance to the West Outer Channel suggests that the tug lost power or steering.

The pair remained aground late Monday morning with the tugs Superior, Wyoming and Carolyn Hoey on scene to assist in pulling the tug and barge free.

McClearys Spirit is loaded with 3.9 million gallons of gasoline from the Shell Corunna dock on the St. Clair River. They departed that dock Sunday morning.

The cause for the grounding is unknown, there were no reports of damage or cargo leaking. The lake bottom in the area is clay, this can cause a suction effect making a vessel more difficult to pull free but typically does not compromise a vessel's hull.


USS Freedom in Milwaukee

11/3 - Milwaukee - The USS Freedom was expected to arrive in Milwaukee on Sunday to begin a weeklong celebration before it's commissioned for duty.

The ship is the first of its kind built for the U.S. Navy. The Littoral Combat Ship is small, very fast and maneuverable and helps naval forces with threats like surface craft, submarines and mines.

The USS Freedom is arriving from Marinette Marine Corporation, where she was built. The USS Freedom will be the first U.S. Navy ship ever commissioned in Milwaukee at a ceremony on November 8. Navy Secretary Donald Winter will speak at the commissioning event.

Following the commissioning, the USS Freedom will leave for Norfolk , Va., and a five-month Post Delivery Availability. Final acceptance trials are set for next May, then the ship will leave for Florida and ultimately its home port in San Diego.

From the Chicago Tribune


Port Reports - November 3

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland at about 1 a.m. Sunday and delivered stone to the Verplank dock. She departed around 5:00 a.m.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Bluewing was assisted into the Redpath Sugar slip Saturday morning by Group Ocean's tugs from Hamilton. The tugs then returned to Hamilton.


Updates - November 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery updated - Carl D. Bradley featured


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 barges 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.

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.


Mittal Steel to idle Cleveland plant

11/2 - Cleveland - Officials at Cleveland's Mittal Steel announced on Friday that the plant will be idled because of effects from the slumping economy.

The plant, which employs 1,400 people, will not be laying off people at this time, although they are offering voluntary layoffs. Because of the uncertainty of the future, they do not know if there will eventually be layoffs.

Mittal Steel is one of the world's most productive integrated steel plants, and it went from its best third quarter ever to having no orders, a sign of the economic climate.

From NewsNet5


Port Reports - November 2

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
John B. Aird was in late Friday with salt.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Shipping on the Saginaw River continued on a downward trend for the month of October, as well as the year. There were 21 commercial deliveries to the Saginaw River in October, down by nine from the same period last year and down twelve for the four year average. For the year-to-date thru October, shipments are down by 42 from the same period in 2007 and a huge difference of 120 as compared to 2005. On the four year average, the number of commercial vessel passages is down by 61 trips so far in 2008.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports on Saturday included Edwin H. Gott departing BNSF ore dock in early afternoon, Birchglen loading at CHS grain terminal, and a steady line of vessels for Midwest Energy Terminal: American Integrity departed late afternoon, to be followed into the berth immediately by Walter J. McCarthy Jr. while Paul R. Tregurtha was inbound on the horizon.

Southern Lake Michigan - Dan Fletcher
As of 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, the Cason J. Callaway was backing down the river just clearing the 92nd Street bridge. The St. Mary's Challenger was in Lake Calumet at St. Mary's Cement, the Virginiaborg was at Nasco, and the Canadian Transport had just cleared the Calumet River heading North having been at Morton Salt. American Victory and Joe Block were in Indian Harbor, Manitowoc and John D. Leitch were in Burns Harbor and finally, the Burns Harbor, Edgar B. Speer, and Algowood were all just a few miles off-shore all heading North.


Port corrosion creates business opportunity

11/2 - Duluth - New corrosion-resistant coatings might play a key role in prolonging the life of the steel pilings that gird docks throughout the Twin Ports. But how do you paint under water?

Ted Smith, president of Marine Tech LLC in Duluth, has the answer. He recently spent $200,000 to build two coffer dams — 20-foot-long, 6-foot-wide and 20-foot-deep watertight chambers that clamp onto the side of a dock. Workers pump the coffer dry after it is attached and then begin work on a dock’s steel pilings. Each coffer must be built tough enough to withstand the force of the water around it — about 1,000 pounds per square foot, by Smith’s calculations.

Affixing a coffer dam to a dock is no small feat, either. Smith said the dams are subject to about 110,000 pounds of uplift, so the attachment points must be secure.

Marine Tech has deployed its coffer dams to help in a $2 million effort to extend the life of the Cenex Harvest States grain terminal in Superior. About 50 percent of that money will go for new steel and the other half will cover the cost of painting 1,200 linear feet of dock with a corrosion-resistant coating to a depth of about 11 feet. This is the zone where mysterious corrosion problems have emerged in recent years.

The epoxy-based coating Smith and his crew are using for the job is rugged stuff. He claims that even a cutting torch won’t go through it, and he’s confident it will withstand the gnashing ice of the Twin Ports for at least 20 years. But such coatings don’t come cheaply. The one Marine Tech is using costs $150 a gallon, and one gallon covers only 50 to 60 square feet. To make the two-part coating flow, it must be heated, and Smith’s firm recently bought a $50,000 specialized rig to apply the epoxy.

Smith is confident his investments in the sprayer system and coffer dams will pay off, given the pervasive corrosion problems facing Twin Ports dock owners.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said. Though applying coatings can be expensive, it’s still an attractive option, said Chad Scott, a principal partner of AMI Consulting Engineers P.A. of Duluth. He said coatings usually run about 20 percent of the cost of replacing steel pilings and can buy dock owners 20 years of time. “I think that right now, coatings are our best remediation option for steel pilings in the harbor,” Scott said. “It’s a good way to slow or even stop corrosion.”

The problem with many coating solutions, however, is they can be subject to scratching, particularly in heavy ice conditions; and, once metal is exposed, blistering and failure could ensue, said Randall Hicks, a University of Minnesota Duluth professor who is researching the corrosion. “Applying a surface coating doesn’t really solve the problem,” Hicks said, stressing the need to truly understand the cause of the damage so that it can be addressed.

In light of the deteriorating condition of many Twin Ports docks, however, Scott said: “I don’t think we have five to 10 years to study this before we begin remediation efforts.” Scott is eager to see the results of testing that will occur this year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to apply nine different coating materials to ice-exposed pilings for side-by-side comparisons this winter. “A lot of these coatings have never really been tested in an ice zone,” Scott said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Smitherman rejects Nanticoke nuclear plant plan

11/2 - Toronto - Ontario's energy and infrastructure minister poured cold water today on the idea of building a nuclear plant in Nanticoke along the shoreline of Lake Erie, calling a plan announced by Bruce Power a tactic aimed at forcing the government's hand.

"I want to make very clear that this is an unsolicited action on the part of a private interest. We didn't solicit it, we don't endorse it, tacitly or otherwise," said George Smitherman in an interview. "It's designed to influence government policy."

Privately owned Bruce Power, which already operates six Candu reactors at nuclear facilities near Kincardine, confirmed today a story first reported in the Toronto Star that it wants to build a new plant near the existing Nanticoke coal-fired generating station in the Haldimand-Norfolk region. The plant would consist of two nuclear reactors capable of generating between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of electricity. The company said it filed an application Friday for a site preparation license from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and will move forward with an environmental assessment that's likely to take three years.

"Bruce Power will use the (environmental assessment) as a planning tool to weigh the merits of building a clean energy hub on approximately 800 hectares within the Haldimand Industrial Park," the Tiverton, Ont.-based company said. It has negotiated an option for the land from owner U.S. Steel Canada Inc., formerly Stelco Inc. "Although this is a major step forward, we will not make a decision to proceed with a project until we have consulted thoroughly with the people of Haldimand-Norfolk and have significantly progressed the EA," said Bruce Power president and chief executive Duncan Hawthorne.

The company, citing research out of Trent University, said a nuclear plant in the region would create 1,000 new jobs and contribute $550 million a year to the local economy during construction. The plan has support from the mayors of Haldimand and Norfolk and both communities' town councils. Local MP Diane Finley, federal minister of human resources and skills development, also backs the new plant along with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the Canadian Nuclear Workers Council.

The McGuinty government has consistently said it will only build a new nuclear plant in a community that already has one. Earlier this year it chose Ontario Power Generation's Darlington site as the location of a new plant, and a process is underway to select a reactor technology. But proponents say Haldimand county would be an ideal location for a second plant because of its willing community and access to high-voltage transmission lines after the massive Nanticoke coal plant, which employs about 600 workers, is shut down in 2014.

Smitherman, however, said Ontario already has its hands full with projects in the works. "I remain singularly unconvinced that there is the capacity to build new nuclear at Nanticoke while we still have very ambitious plans for a new build at Darlington and tonnes of refurbishment work (at older nuclear facilities)," he said. "We couldn't do it if we wanted to."

Bruce Power is a joint venture of Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corp., TransCanada Corp. of Calgary, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and other partners.

From the Toronto Star


Updates - November 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery updated - Carl D. Bradley featured


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.


One dead, one injured on Algoisle

11/1 - Havre St. Pierre, Que. - One man is dead and another injured after a mooring cable snapped on Algoisle while the vessel was being loaded with iron ore at Havre St. Pierre on the north shore of Quebec.

The deceased is from Montreal while the injured man is from the borough of Verdun. Allister Paterson, president and CEO of Seaway Marine Transport, says grief counselors and accident investigators have been sent to the site.

Algoisle was loading ore for Sorel, Quebec when the accident happened about 3:45 Friday morning.

From CBC Radio Quebec


Great Lakes Historical Society Discovers Lake Erie Shipwrecks

11/1 - Lake Erie -- The Great Lakes Historical Society announced today the discovery of the Riverside and a largely buried wreck that might be the Plymouth. Both wrecks were discovered in a cooperative effort between the Society and the Cleveland Underwater Explorers.

The Black Friday storm of 1893 was horrific. On October 13th, the three masted schooner "Riverside" headed out from the quarry dock at Kelly's Island loaded with 670 tons of stone. The sailboat disappeared in 20-foot waves. 125 years later, underwater explorers David VanZandt and Tom Kowalczyk found the "Riverside" sitting on the bottom of the lake in 80 feet of water. Tom Kowalczyk said, "As it started to take shape on the sonar display and define itself, I said 'Dave, we got it. This is it.'"

Despite challenging visibility, the two were able to dive on the wreck several times. They could see the windlass used to bring up the big anchors. The fore mast was just a stub, with the rest ripped away in the storm. There were pad eyes for the rigging staring out from the bottom of the lake. "All the deck hardware is still there, David VanZandt said. "The rigging is still there, and it's in pristine condition."

Christopher Gillcrist, the Executive Director for the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion said, "People forget that the Great Lakes are as bad as any ocean on earth. The waves might not get as big as the North Atlantic, but they come quickly and they can overwhelm a boat just as easily." A few miles away, the team also found the schooner, "Plymouth," buried under three feet of mud. The 101-foot sailboat had been rammed by the steamer, "Northern Indiana" on June 22, 1852.

Experts say 300 wrecks have already been found in Lake Erie with another 500 still missing. The team from Cleveland Underwater Explorers plans to return to the hunt next summer. Said Kowalczyk, "We're eager to get out there and say this is the time and this is the one. We're going to go out and find that another shipwreck next year."

From the Chronicle Telegram and WKYC-TV


Port Reports - November 1

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber and the Indiana Harbor were visitors Friday to the Saginaw River. The Moore/Kuber delivered a split load to the Wirt Stone Docks in Bay City and Saginaw. The Indiana Harbor delivered coal to the Consumers Energy plant at Essexville. Both vessels were expected to depart Friday evening.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The salt water vessel Starlight departed from the Midwest Terminal Dock Friday afternoon. Saltie Whistler was at the Midwest Terminal dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the H. Lee White and Kaye E. Barker both due in late Saturday evening, The McKee Sons Sunday evening, Robert S. Pierson early Tuesday morning, Philip R. Clarke late Wednesday evening followed by the Atlantic Huron and H. Lee White due in Thursday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Algosteel due in Tuesday afternoon, Atlantic Huron, CSL Laurentien, and Canadian Navigator due in Thursday followed by the CSL Niagara on Saturday.


Great Lakes eyed for offshore wind farms

11/1 - Traverse City. - Government regulators are bracing for an expected wave of proposals for offshore power generation in a region that never seems to run short of wind.

Despite its allure as a plentiful source of clean energy, they say, offshore wind power could affect the aquatic environment and commerce. State and federal officials are taking initial steps toward writing rules, as conservation activists watch closely.

Insiders reported on the situation this week during the International Submerged Lands Management Conference in Traverse City. They said anchoring large wind farms on Great Lakes bottomlands would have implications for commercial and recreational navigation, water quality, fish habitat and even flight patterns for birds and aircraft.

Wind power developers are wondering what kinds of regulatory hurdles they will encounter once they propose offshore projects, said John Cherry, a University of Michigan researcher studying the subject for the Great Lakes Commission.

"It's an unknown, so there's a huge amount of risk," Cherry said. "Everybody would like to be the second program to do it. The first will be a regulatory trailblazer."

Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Ireland have installed offshore turbines, and Germany has approved nearly two dozen projects expected to go online soon. Denmark's largest wind farm has 80 turbines roughly 120 feet high, planted 8 to 12 miles off the coast.

The U.S. has no offshore wind production, although projects are in the works for Atlantic waters off Texas, Delaware, New Jersey and Rhode Island. A feasibility study is under way for a possible wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland.

A Michigan State University study released this month said Michigan's portion of the Great Lakes could produce nearly 322,000 megawatts of power from wind a huge sum equal to roughly one-third of all electricity now generated nationwide. Harnessing that much power would require placing nearly 100,000 turbines in the lakes, a remote prospect. Still, the study illustrated wind power's considerable potential for the region.

"There is interest in the Great Lakes, and I know some companies are looking there," Laurie Jodziewicz, manager of siteing policy for the American Wind Energy Association, said in a phone interview. The lakes would present unique challenges, such as ice cover in winter, she said. Developers also worry about excessive regulatory hoops with eight states and two Canadian provinces having jurisdiction. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also might get involved.

Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality processed a mock application earlier this year, said Tom Graf, a specialist in the Land and Water Management Division. Officials concluded legislation might be needed to deal with questions such as where turbines could be placed and leasing rates for use of Great Lakes bottomlands. "We may find we don't have the authority to address a lot of these issues," Graf said.

The Great Lakes states have a solid legal basis for imposing tough regulation of offshore wind energy, said Chris Shafer, a professor with the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law in Lansing. It's rooted in the doctrine that Great Lakes bottomlands are held in trust for the citizens.

He urged the states to get started on designating sites that would be off-limits to turbines, such as shipping lanes, bird migration corridors and fish spawning sites. Michigan's Institute for Fisheries Research is developing a system to identify such locations, analyst Minako Kimura said. The states also should require companies to pay a fair market value for use of public resources, Shafer said. "It's entirely too easy to consider that a free resource that should be provided to the energy industry," he said.



Nanticoke eyed as site for nuclear power plant

11/1 - An Ontario Nuclear power-plant operator intends to build a new nuclear plant in Nanticoke, next to the massive coal-fired generating station that's slated for shutdown in 2014 according to the Toronto Star.

Duncan Hawthorne, president and chief executive officer of Bruce Power, is expected to announce at an event near Nanticoke, along the north shore of Lake Erie, that his company is seeking a site preparation licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The application would start an approvals process likely to take five years before construction can begin. "I can't provide you with any details at this time," said company spokesperson Steve Cannon.

There's no guarantee such a plant will get built. The Ministry of Energy recently selected Darlington as the site of the province's newest nuclear plant in 20 years, to be operated by Ontario Power Generation. Bruce Power lost its bid to construct and operate that first plant next to its existing facilities near Kincardine. Sources say Hawthorne is betting that the province will need more reactors.

Industry experts say Nanticoke is considered an ideal site for a nuclear plant because of its location, lakeside access and ample access to high-voltage transmission lines.

The community is also used to having a power plant in its backyard and is worried about the loss of 600 jobs after the coal plant is shut down though there would likely be a five-year gap between the shutdown of the coal plant and the first operation of a nuclear plant.

Hawthorne has spent two years courting the small communities in the region. In February, Norfolk and Haldimand counties sent letters to Premier Dalton McGuinty asking for the go-ahead to file for a site application, which triggers an environmental assessment.

From the Toronto Star


Updates - November 1

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - November 01

The LEHIGH, Captain Edward P. Fitch in command, cleared the Great Lakes Engineering Works yard at River Rouge, Michigan, to begin her maiden trip on this day in 1943. The LEHIGH was one of two Maritimers (the other was the STEELTON) acquired by Bethlehem Steel Corp. as part of a government program to upgrade and increase the capacity of the Great Lakes fleet during World War II. Bethlehem exchanged three older vessels, the JOHNSTOWN of of 1905, the SAUCON, and the CORNWALL, plus cash for the two Maritimers.

On 01 November 1880, NINA BAILEY (wooden schooner, 30 tons, built in 1873, at Ludington, Michigan) filled with water and went out of control in a storm on Lake Michigan. She struck the North Pier at St. Joseph, Michigan and capsized. Her crew climbed up on her keel and were rescued by the Lifesaving Service. The vessel later broke up in the waves.

The Grand Trunk Western Railway was granted permission by the Interstate Commerce Commission on November 1, 1978, to discontinue its Lake Michigan service between Muskegon, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The MAITLAND NO 1 made her maiden voyage on November 1, 1916, from Ashtabula, Ohio to Port Maitland, Ontario, transporting rail cars with coal for the steel mills at Hamilton, Ontario.

The SCOTT MISENER of 1954, returned to service in the grain trade on November 1, 1986, after a 3 year lay-up

On 1 November 1917, ALVA B (wooden steam tug, 74 foot, 84 gross tons, built in 1890, at Buffalo, New York) apparently mistook amusement park lights for the harbor markers at Avon Lake, Ohio during a storm. She struck bottom in the shallows and was destroyed by waves.

On 1 November 1862, BLACK HAWK (wooden brig, 138 foot, 385 tons, built in 1854, at Ohio City, Ohio) was carrying 19,000 bushels of corn and some stained glass when a gale drove her ashore and wrecked her near Point Betsie. In 1858, this vessel had sailed from Detroit, Michigan to Liverpool, England and back.

On 1 Nov 1862, CHIEF JUSTICE MARSHALL (2-mast wooden schooner, 105 foot, 182 tons, built in 1830, at Cape Vincent, New York) was driven aground between Dunkirk and Barcelona, New York during a storm. All hands were lost and the vessel was a total loss.

The Mackinac Bridge was opened to traffic on 01 November 1957.

The CITY OF MILWAUKEE (steel propeller carferry, 347 foot, 2,988 gross tons, built in 1931, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) made her last run for Grand Trunk's rail car ferry service on 01 November 1978. In the fall of 1978, after termination of Grand Trunk's carferry service, she was then chartered to Ann Arbor Railroad. She is currently a museum ship at Manistee, Michigan.

Port Maitland Shipbreaking Ltd. began scrapping P & H Shipping's f.) ELMGLEN on 01 November 1984. She had a long career, being built in 1909, at Ecorse, Michigan as the a.) SHENANGO (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot. 8,047 gross tons).

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

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