Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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U.S.-Flag laker cargos up 8.5 percent in October

11/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 9,483,099 net tons of cargo in October, an increase of 1.2 percent over September, and an increase of 8.5 percent compared to a year ago. The October float was, however, 11.4 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos in October increased 34 percent compared to a year ago, but coal loadings were down 15.2 percent. Limestone cargos increased 11.3 percent.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos stand at 72,298,502 net tons, an increase of 40.8 percent compared to a year ago, but 9.5 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe. Iron ore cargos are up 99.6 percent. Coal is 4.1 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Limestone cargos are up 25 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  November 30

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Gordon C. Leitch arrived at the ADM Elevator to load grain late Monday afternoon. The tug Cleveland with the barge Cleveland Rocks remain at the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Barbara Andrie with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The tug Eagle Service with her barge were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw and John G. Munson on Thursday, the Manistee and Mississagi on Saturday followed by Algosoo, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, and H. Lee White on Sunday. The next scheduled ore boats due in at the Torco Dock will be CSL Laurentien on Wednesday and Algobay on Saturday followed by Atlantic Huron on Tuesday. The next scheduled stone boats due in at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Algosteel on Tuesday, Algorail on Saturday followed by Algomarine on Sunday. The saltwater vessels Jana and Bright Laker are scheduled to arrive at Toledo in the next several days.


Lake Superior drops 2 inches in November

11/30 - Duluth, Minn. - The level of Lake Superior dropped two inches in November — the usual decline for the month — as rain and snow across the lake’s watershed was below normal.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control today reported the big lake sits 13 inches below its long-term average for Dec. 1 and nine inches below the level one year ago.

Lake Superior usually rises from April to August and falls through winter until spring snowmelt and rains begin the cycle again. The lake was at its lowest level in more than 80 years in 2006 and 2007, rose to near normal in 2009 but has declined for most of 2010 to a level that could again be an issue for boat access and shipping.

Meanwhile, Lakes Huron-Michigan fell four inches in November, two inches more than usual. The lakes sit 17 inches below the long-term average and 13 inches below Dec. 1, 2009.

Duluth News Tribune


Lorain-Cleveland ferry's first full season is about learning, not profit, owner says

11/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - Operators of a fledgling ferry service out of Lorain know that wine and Cleveland Browns football are big draws. Cleveland on a Friday night isn't, at least not yet.

These are lessons learned by Put-in-Bay Boat Line Co. and the Lorain Port Authority, whose ferry partnership has completed one full season of excursions to Cleveland and the Lake Erie Islands, as well as cruises closer to home.

The service lost money, as expected, said Lance Woodworth, director of operations for Put-in-Bay Boat Line. The key now is aligning demand with destinations, which means fewer Friday night trips to Cleveland, Woodworth said.

The ferry company is known for the Jet Express service it operates from Port Clinton and Sandusky to the Lake Erie Islands.

Last year, the ferry company joined the Lorain Port Authority in buying a $1.7 million ferry -- most of it with federal stimulus dollars -- and launching a new service out of the Black River Landing.

Multiple destinations met with varying success. The Friday night cruise to Cleveland, at $28 per ticket, typically drew just seven or eight people to the 147-passenger ferry during the summer, Woodworth said.

The number rose if the Cleveland Indians were at home, Woodworth said, noting that a special Thursday night trip when the New York Yankees were in town drew about 80 passengers.

Woodworth said he wants to tie Friday excursions to the Indians or big events in the city.

Three Sunday trips hauling fans to Cleveland Browns home games were a smash -- so big, in fact, that Woodworth brought in a larger 220-passenger vessel. The ferry docked at North Coast Harbor, a short walk to the football stadium.

Far less popular were Saturday trips from Lorain to Put-in-Bay or Kelley's Island.

Those trips drew only 14 to 20 passengers, Novak said. The $58 ticket price for adults was twice what passengers paid from docks in Sandusky or Port Clinton, which are much closer to the islands.

The $58 ticket price will remain. But island excursions, like those to Cleveland, won't be as frequent next summer and will be tied to events that draw, Woodworth said.

The ferry service encountered strong demand for its family-oriented Sunday cruises, up the Black River and along the Lorain-area lakeshore.

Similar Wednesday night cruises, featuring wine tastings, regularly hit the 100-passenger limit, Woodworth said.

"This was a learning year," Woodworth said. "We wanted to see what works and we threw lots of stuff out there."

'You have to educate people'

The port authority believes the first year went well, despite weak demand for some trips.

"It's a new service, so you have to educate people that we're here," Novak said. "The special excursions worked well. It's going to take time to build the service up."

Cleveland boosters certainly want the ferry to keep visiting North Coast Harbor. It's the only lake-going ferry service that stops in Cleveland, where the lakefront remains an underused asset.

"It's a success anytime you can get people on the lake to use it as pleasure or transportation," said Tamera Brown, vice president of marketing for the Cleveland convention and visitors' bureau, known as Positively Cleveland!

North Coast Harbor will continue to lag in drawing ferries or other lakeside business until new activities fill the gaps between Browns Stadium, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Great Lakes Science Center, Brown said.

"There's no restaurants and not a lot programmed in the park there," Brown said of North Coast Harbor.

Future attractions and development, such as Cleveland's riverside casino, might spur ferry and cruise demand, officials said.

"The key," Woodworth said, "is to stay in the game and provide services the passengers want."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates -  November 30

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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 November 30, 1910, ATHABASCA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 263 foot, 1,774 gross tons, built in 1883, in Scotland) collided with the tug GENERAL near Lime Island in the St. Mary's River. As a result of the collision, the GENERAL sank. She was later recovered and rebuilt as a bulk freighter and lasted until she was broken up in 1948.

On 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.


Port Reports -  November 29

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, fleet mates Lee A. Tregurtha and Dorothy Ann / Pathfinder arrived and waited to load ore, as Michipicoten and Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore early in the day.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Sam Laud finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed Sunday afternoon. Catherine Desgagnes was loading coal at the CSX Docks. The tug Cleveland with the barge Cleveland Rocks remain at the Ironhead Shipyard. The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be Michipicoten on Wednesday, John G. Munson on Thursday, followed by Manistee and Mississagi on Saturday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Dock will be CSL Laurentien on Wednesday, followed by Algobay on Saturday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Algosteel on Tuesday. The grain trade at Toledo has slowed down where there were no vessels in port loading grain during the past week.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Sunday, the G-tug Ohio came down river from the old Republic Steel Dock to tie up at the Buffalo Fireboat slip. The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge arrived about 8 p.m.


Coast Guard evacuates residents from Beaver Island

11/29 - Beaver Island, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated an 89-year-old woman, a resident of Beaver Island, Mich., at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday.

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., launched a rescue crew after Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services contacted the Ninth District Command Center at about 12:50 a.m. and requested assistance. A nurse practitioner accompanied the flight crew during the medical evacuation.

The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to Charlevoix, Mich., where awaiting EMS transported her to a local hospital.

The air station returned to the island after Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services contacted the Ninth District Command Center at about 6:45 p.m. and requested assistance. A man was reportedly exhibiting symptoms of a heart attack.

An emergency medical technician from Beaver Island accompanied the flight crew during the medical evacuation. The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to Northern Michigan Regional Hospital in Petoskey, Mich.


Updates -  November 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


BoatNerd Requests Hardware Donations

11/29 - BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation, or individual, to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software. We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher, newer Macs, Laptops and any size LCD monitor. Also servers and video production equipment. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please contact us at


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. Marys 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.


Port Reports -  November 28

Menominee and Marinette - Scott Best
Saturday was a busy day along the waterfront in Menominee and Marinette. The Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted arrived in the early morning hours with another load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel and Dock. Dintelborg, which had been loading at KK in Menominee, was finally able to depart after being delayed for two days by wind and low water levels. Also departing Menominee after an extended stay was the tug Donald C and her two loaded rock barges.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sam Laud was anchored for weather off Alpena on Friday. On Saturday morning, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in the bay where they went to anchor also. The Laud left Saturday morning to continue downbound, while Innovation will remain offshore and load after the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity, which is expected to arrive at Lafarge on Sunday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
On Friday the tug Ohio was docked upstream from her barge CBC-1268 at the old Republic Steel Ore Dock on the Buffalo River. The barge looked to be fairly well loaded with windmill riser tubes at 7 a.m., however a fierce wind was whipping the lakefront into a frenzy and heavy breakers were pounding over the Buffalo Outer Harbor Seawall, which likely delayed their departure.

Port Dalhousie, Ont. - David Bull
Gale force winds gusting to more than 35 knots blew across the western end of Lake Ontario from Thursday to Saturday this week. Several vessels went to anchor and no ships were moving in the Welland Canal.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
The tug Commodore Straits and two "Big" grain barges have been moored in Kingston since 0122 last Sunday, waiting for weather. Their next destination was to be Oshawa for soybeans for Trois Rivieres. However, locals report they were partially escorted to the dock by the CCGS Griffon, with water in one of the barges that could not be pumped out. The tug is now separated from the barges and tied up in front of them.


Maumee takes refuge from storm in Grand Traverse Bay

11/28 - Traverse City, Mich. - A November gale forced crew members aboard one of the Great Lakes' oldest freighters to anchor in West Grand Traverse Bay.

The Maumee, a vessel that stretches more than 600 feet, took refuge on Friday off West End Beach in Traverse City, forced off Lake Michigan because of winds that neared 40 miles per hour and waves that swelled to about 15 feet.

"She's just anchored to get out of the weather," said Rick Turman, of Ohio-based Grand River Navigation Co. "The weather's playing havoc with all the boats over the Great Lakes." Grand River Navigation Co. owns the Maumee. The vessel will remain in West Grand Traverse Bay until high winds subside, Turman said.

About 20 crew members were aboard the Maumee Friday. Its next stop is Port Inland in the Upper Peninsula, where Turman said she is expected to take on a load of stone aggregate. The Maumee often transports limestone and coal, and took on just such a load Wednesday in Green Bay.

Strong winds and snow hit the region early Friday, and offered locals their first taste of winter weather. The National Weather Service station in Gaylord issued a gale warning for strong winds across parts of northwest Michigan that remains in effect until this morning.

"Operating a vessel in gale conditions requires experience and properly equipped vessels," the NWS warning states. "It is highly recommended that mariners without the proper experience seek safe harbor prior to the onset of gale conditions."

The freighter Edmund Fitzgerald sank 35 years ago in Lake Superior during a terrible November storm, an event that claimed its crew and forever cast the ore carrier into Great Lakes shipping lore.

Traverse City Record Eagle


Historic Sault Canada canal will be setting for competition

11/28 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site and Catalyst Fitness are co-hosting a unique challenge that is sure to give participants a good workout, while helping preserve a piece of Sault Ste. Marie’s heritage.

On Saturday, Dec. 4 at 10 a.m., on the grounds of the national historic site, competitors will turn a large T-shaped handle to crank open the canal’s upper valve. Spectators are invited to cheer on the teams of six as they complete as many revolutions as possible in a 10-minute interval. In the past, it has taken Parks Canada staff as long as six hours to open the valve. These teams will be challenged to complete the same job in less than three hours.

The turning of the valve is part of a preventative maintenance program and helps to preserve the Sault Canal’s historic machinery. Completed in 1895, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal was the longest lock in the world, and the first to be electrically operated. The penstock valve controls the flow of water to the powerhouse, where water turned the turbines that would generate the electricity used to power the lock.

Net News Ledger


Updates -  November 28

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 27

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.


Port Reports -  November 26

St. Marys River - Wendell Wilke
The former bumboat Kaner 1 from Duluth/Superior is now tied dockside at MCM Marine at Sault Ste. Marie. Her name has now been taken off the hull. Also on Tuesday, Sedna Desgagnes was at the Export Dock loading steel coils. With highs winds, the CSL Tadoussac went to the wall above the locks and the downbound Algoma Discovery (among others) went to anchor late Tuesday in the upper river. Algoma Discovery was underway early Wednesday morning. The only vessel passing down Tuesday was the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder. At times Tuesday the weather conditions presented an almost white out.

Weather again sent vessels to anchor Thanksgiving night, with American Republic, John G. Munson and Michipicoten on the hook in the lee of Whitefish Point. Sedna Desgagnes, which had been loading at the Essar Export Dock, departed Thursday night and her place was taken by the saltie Onego Ponza, which had been at anchor for several days in the lower river waiting for the dock.

Marinette, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Early this week, the saltie Dintelborg was offloading in Menominee, Mich., at the K&K Integrated Logistics dock. On the Marinette side, the future USS Fort Worth is in preparation on the launchways at Marinette Marine. A once-thriving commercial fishing fleet at Marinette looks bleak now as only the following fishing boats remain in the river: Pep, Carolyn, D&S and Joseph R. The following fishing boats are pulled out at the Harbor Town Marina: Art Swaer IV (all painted up) and Liberty. They will return to the water. The following are also pulled out and in dispair with no hope of returning to service soon: Norma Jean, Butchie-B., Melvin J., these are steel hulled boats, but the following, the Jos. Cayner, Sr., also pulled out, is badly detiorating as she is a wood hull fishing boat.


Updates -  November 26

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  November 25

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, Sam Laud made an uncommon visit to unload western coal from Superior. She moved to the Upper Harbor for ore after unloading.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet made the final delivery of coal for the 2010 season to the James DeYoung power plant in Holland Wednesday morning. It departed through the Holland channel at noon.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena arrived in port late Monday night to load cement. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity tied up at Lafarge overnight as well. The Integrity's next destination is Detroit. Alpena remained at Lafarge throughout Tuesday waiting for better weather conditions before it departed for South Chicago. Algorail was also anchored out in the bay on Tuesday. Buffalo also took shelter during the evening before continuing down the lake.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Indiana Harbor was inbound the Saginaw River on Tuesday, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. Once she was finished, she backed from the dock, out into the bay to turn near Light 12, and head for the lake.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
At 8:45 Wednesday morning, the G-tug Washington came down river to assist the tug Ohio and barge CBC-1268 to Republic to load windmill parts. At 6 p.m. the barge was well loaded and could depart Thursday morning. The Rebecca Lynn and barge departed the Black Rock Canal about 2 p.m. Manistee arrived at about noon for the Sand Supply Co. Landing on the City Ship Canal.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was in at Essroc overnight and departed early Wednesday afternoon. Canadian Olympic was in port Tuesday unloading raw sugar onto the dock at Pier 51 for Redpath. The Port Authority's derrick barge T.H.C. 50 and tug William Rest hauled out the island airport "Keep Out" buoys from the inner harbor, replacing them with the winter stake buoys.


Connecticut cutter Morro Bay headed to the Great Lakes

11/25 - New York. N.Y. - A Connecticut-based Coast Guard cutter is scheduled to deploy to the Great Lakes Nov. 29 to assist in the service's icebreaking mission there throughout the winter months.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, an 140-foot icebreaking tug, will arrive in the Great Lakes region a few weeks after it departs its homeport of New London, Conn.

While there, the crew will assist those of other Coast Guard icebreakers during Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the largest domestic ice breaking operations in the country. The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice breaking to aid in search and rescue and other emergency operations, mitigate flooding, and to meet the reasonable demands of commerce.

Ice breaking on the Great Lakes is vital to keeping shipping lanes open. Large quantities of steel, coal, heating oil and grain ships throughout the region, and Coast Guard ice breaking services enable these shippers to transport an average of $2 billion worth of cargo each year.

Coast Guard cutters from the Northeast and New England have successfully assisted with icebreaking in the Great Lakes for the past two winters - the cutter Penobscot Bay, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., during the 2009-10 winter and the cutter Thunder Bay, from Rockland, Maine, during the winter of 2008-09.

"Icebreaking in the Great Lakes region is a tremendously important annual mission for the Coast Guard, and we'll do all we can to keep the public safe and facilitate the flow of commerce," said Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. "We appreciate the Morro Bay's assistance, and look forward to working side-by-side with them and our Canadian counterparts."

While the crew of the Morro Bay is deployed to the Great Lakes, other cutter crews will cover their traditional area of responsibility if the need for icebreaking there arises.


Trees felled at Soo Locks park to make way for new visitor platform

11/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The recent tree removal at the Soo Locks park is just the first step as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins to implement its master plan for the property.

“We’re trying to bring the park back into its original design of the early 1940s for historical purposes,” said Area Engineer Kevin Sprague of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

As a result, approximately 150 trees will eventually be felled on the property, with Sprague explaining the work will come in phases. The first phase, already underway, calls for the removal of a couple dozen trees in the area of the visitor platforms and down around the fountain.

The tree removal at the visitor decks is being done in preparation for structural renovations overlooking the Soo Locks. The existing decks will be dismantled, to be replaced by a two-story platform, Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant, covered structure designed to facilitate viewing of the ships as they make their way through the locks. Nomad Construction won the bid for this project.

Sprague did indicate that many of the trees targeted for removal are being brought down due to old age and disease. He further added that the plans call for new trees to be planted in the affected locations.


Captain Peter Joseph Columbus passes away

11/25 - Captain Peter Joseph Columbus of Brights Grove, Ont., passed away Nov. 19 at the age of 74. In a career that spanned 48 years, he worked for Canadian Pacific, Upper Lakes Shipping, Northern Transportation, Canadian National, Misener Steamship, Sandrin Brothers tug Glenada, ABM Marine, Voyager Marine, McKeil Marine and, recently, McNally Marine. He has sailed the Great Lakes, the Mackenzie River, the Arctic, the east coast and overseas to Europe. He had extensive knowledge working especially with tugs and barges, and that experience will be missed by the marine industry.


Updates -  November 25

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports -  November 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded western coal into the hopper on her first visit of the season.

South Chicago, Ill. - Brian Z.
Lower Lakes' Calumet arrived at Chicago Fuels Terminal very early on Tuesday morning to load coal. The Calumet returned from Grand Haven after delivering her load there on Monday. Loading was completed around noon and Calumet departed for Holland, Michigan.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Great Lakes Towing tug Ohio and her barge were docked at the visiting ship's dock Tuesday. They had hoped to go up the river but were told the winds were too high to safely open the lift bridges. They expect to head up the river at first light Wednesday.


Decision soon on radioactive shipping cargo

11/24 - The debate about a Canadian power company's plan to ship 16 radioactive steam generators to Sweden via the Great Lakes could be coming to an end.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is expected to decide by mid-December whether Bruce Power will be allowed to move the generators. Some people monitoring the issue said a decision could by made by the end of the month.

Bruce Power's opponents are continuing to rally against the shipment, saying it would put the environment at risk. Last week, Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, issued a report indicating 90 percent of the radioactive material embedded in the generators is plutonium.

"It's one of the most toxic, man-made materials that we know," Edwards said.

John Peevers, a Bruce Power spokesman, said the company has been upfront about the plutonium. It was included in the information given to the safety commission for review, he said.

Bruce Power has repeatedly said the generators -- which the company wants to move so they can be recycled -- contain low-level radioactive waste and should not be a concern.

The generators, which are the size of schools buses, would be shipped from Bruce Power's plant about 155 miles northwest of Toronto. The generators would start the journey on Lake Huron and travel down the St. Clair River to Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the ocean to Sweden.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had a two-day hearing in late September to learn about Bruce Power's plan. Members had 30 days to make a decision but extended the deadline by a month to allow for additional analysis and to give opponents more time to have their voices heard.

Congresswoman Candice Miller had called for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to conduct its own review; a review has started.

If the Canadian commission approves Bruce Power's plan, the company also will have to get approval from the American agency.

Port Huron Times Herald


Manitowoc, Kenosha lighthouses are up for auction

11/24 - Milwaukee, Wis. - For those who always wanted to live in a lighthouse but were born a century too late, there's great news from the federal government. The feds are selling a couple of light stations in Wisconsin, and for the price of 10 or 25 grand, one could be yours.

Up for auction are the Manitowoc Breakwater Lighthouse and the Kenosha North Pierhead Light. But before any prospective lighthouse buyers get too excited, there are caveats.

The Coast Guard will have easements to get to the solar-powered lights for servicing every now and then. One of the light stations - Kenosha - really isn't livable since it's simply a round tower with a circular staircase inside. The lighthouse structures must be maintained, which could prove costly. The buyer of the Manitowoc light station must get a lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Also: There's no running water or power, aside from solar energy.

Still, the federal government hopes someone will think it's cool to own a light station and fork over the dough. The minimum bid for the two-story Manitowoc lighthouse, which has a basement, is $25,000, while the minimum bid for the Kenosha Light is $10,000. As of Monday there were no bids at the auction site - - for either property.

Who would buy a light station? And more important - why?

"You'd be surprised," said Arthur Ullenberg, realty specialist for the U.S. General Services Administration. "Those are probably one of the few federal assets we can always sell. There just seems to be a huge following for" lighthouses.

Indeed, a lighthouse sold for $225,000 this year in New York when someone snatched up the Latimer Reef Lighthouse, a cozy 1884 red and white light station on a rocky island near the Connecticut border.

An open house was held Saturday at the Manitowoc Lighthouse for anyone interested in buying it. The auction for the Kenosha light station is scheduled to close Dec. 2.

The reason why dozens of lighthouses have been sold or are on the block is that the Coast Guard no longer wants to pay to maintain them.

The Coast Guard has been selling off or handing over ownership of lighthouses much of this decade, spurred by the 2000 National Lighthouse Historic Preservation Act, which allows the agency to turn over the historic buildings to the U.S. National Park Service and publish their availability. Though most are acquired by nonprofit groups that must restore and maintain them under federal guidance, lighthouses that garner no interest are eventually auctioned. Prices have ranged from $2,000 to $500,000. No governments or nonprofit groups were interested in taking over the Kenosha and Manitowoc light stations. Ullenberg said the City of Kenosha and the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc each requested applications but ultimately decided not to acquire the structures.

The auction is for serious bidders only - folks must deposit $10,000 to bid on the Kenosha lighthouse and $15,000 to bid on the Manitowoc lighthouse and once someone jumps in, the bidding will go up in increments of $2,000 for Kenosha and $5,000 for Manitowoc.

No land is included because the lighthouses are located on breakwaters owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ullenberg said it's likely purchasers also would have to negotiate a variety of permits from each locality depending on what the buyer wanted to do with it. He didn't know if the buyers would be charged property taxes.

Albatross or jewel, it all depends on the outlook of prospective buyers.

The brick red Kenosha North Pierhead Light was built in 1906, though a navigational aid of one kind or another has been at the spot since before the Civil War. Whoever nabs it must park his or her vehicle at Simmons Park and walk out on the long pier.

The white Manitowoc Lighthouse dates from 1918 and looks like a square wedding cake. The cast iron lantern room at the top still sports its original fifth order Fresnel lens keeping watch over the Manitowoc River.

If the lighthouses don't sell, the government will likely put them up for sale again another time, Ullenberg said. And if they do sell, owning a lighthouse is certainly an icebreaker at parties.

"These people like to be on the water," Ullenberg said of lighthouse buyers. "You do get a great view."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates -  November 24

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated

If anyone captured pictures of the Edwin H. Gott arriving at Sturgeon Bay please send to the News at

Service update - we will be moving mail servers Thursday, if you have trouble reaching the site please try again on Friday.


BoatNerd Requests Hardware Donations

11/24 - BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation, or individual, to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software. We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher, newer Macs, Laptops and any size LCD monitor. Also servers and video production equipment. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please contact us at


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. She now sails at OJIBWAY.

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 Reports -  November 23

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet came in Monday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island. It is scheduled to return with the last load for the season on Friday.

South Chicago, Ill. - Dan Fletcher
Sunday, St. Marys Challenger was at the breakwall at 5:30 p.m. but had to wait for nearly an hour for the NS RR to lift due to traffic and work on the bridge. She finally cleared 100th Street around 7:30 p.m. on her way to Lake Calumet to unload. Monday she was outbound on her way to the lake for her last trip of the season. She cleared the 100th Street bridge at 4:50 p.m. and the 92nd Street bridge at 5:15 p.m. on her way to open water. She's due to return late on Wednesday for layup to end her 2010 shipping season.


Employment peaking at Great Lakes shipyards

11/23 - Washington, D.C. - The 1,000-foot-long Great Lakes freighter Edwin H. Gott was expected to arrive at Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Monday, marking the beginning of the busiest time of year for Great Lakes shipyards. This project and other annual winter maintenance work on U.S.-flag Great Lakes ships will provide jobs for more than 1,200 men and women at U.S. shipyards around the Great Lakes.

The Gott, one of the largest U.S.-flag vessels working the Great Lakes, is having new engines installed this winter that will increase its fuel efficiency and significantly reduce its air emissions. The vessel, built in Sturgeon Bay in 1978, carries iron ore from the “Twin Ports” of Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Two Harbors, Minn., to Gary, Ind., Detroit, Mich., and Conneaut, Ohio, as well as Nanticoke in Ont., Canada. A full load on a ship this size, 70,000 tons when water levels permit, will keep a major steel mill in operation for more than 4 days.

There are three large shipyards and several “top-side” repair facilities on the Great Lakes. Bay Shipbuilding Company is located in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and its winter workforce tops 750. Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair in Erie, Pa., ups its workforce to more than 140 from December to April. Employment at Fraser Shipyards, Inc, in Superior, Wis., grows to more than 200 during the winter. These three yards alone generate an annual payroll of nearly $50 million.

Smaller shipyards and repair facilities are located throughout the Great Lakes. Toledo, Ohio, is home to H. Hansen Industries and IronHead Marine. Cleveland, Ohio, hosts Cleveland Shiprepair Co. and Great Lakes Shipyard. Basic Marine is based in Escanaba, Mich. Other support services are available in Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago, Muskegon, Mich., Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Milwaukee.

The U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet numbers approximately 70 large self-propelled vessels and integrated tug/barge units. In a strong economy, these vessels can carry upwards of 120 million tons of dry- and liquid-bulk products and generate more than 1,600 shipboard and shoreside jobs. Since vessels operate 24/7, it actually requires more than 2,200 mariners to keep the fleet sailing from late March until late December or early January.

When these vessels arrive at their winter berths, they are often returning to the very place they were built. Under U.S. maritime law, the Jones Act to be specific, vessels that transport cargo between U.S. ports must be built in the United States, as well as owned by U.S. citizens and crewed with American mariners.

“Maintaining and modernizing American domestic vessels is a real economic driver in communities with shipyards and repair facilities,” said Mark Ruge, counsel for Maritime Cabotage Task Force. “On the Great Lakes, it has been estimated that a wintering vessel generates at least $800,000 in economic benefits to the community.”

Two other U.S.-flag lakers have been repowered in recent years. In addition to the one repowering scheduled for this winter, new generators will be installed on some vessels, and a mid-sized ship will have its steam turbine rebuilt.

Other projects for this coming winter include renewing steel in cargo holds and overhauling bow thrusters. Bow thrusters jet water in either direction and allow vessels to better maneuver in confined waters.

Unloading system conveyor belts will be replaced on several vessels. Virtually every U.S.-flag laker is capable of discharging cargo without any assistance from shoreside personnel or equipment. The cost savings are but one benefit. With self-unloading vessels, virtually any waterfront property can become a working dock.

Most of these projects will not be performed in drydock. However, a number of U.S.-flag lakers will be placed in drydock so the U.S. Coast Guard can sound the hull during an internal and external stem-to-stern inspection of the vessel.

When the U.S.-flag Lakes fleet returns to service next spring, a new vessel will continue to take shape at the Donjon yard in Erie, Pa. The yard is building a 740-foot-long self-unloading barge that will be coupled with a tug also under construction there. As construction of the barge ramps up to full speed, employment at the yard will reach 200.

Raw materials dominate the Jones Act trades on the Great Lakes. Iron ore for the steel industry can top 50 million tons. Coal for power generation can total more than 27 million tons. Limestone cargos for the construction and steel industries can approach 30 million tons. Other cargos include cement for the construction industry, salt to de-ice wintry roads, industrial sand, asphalt, and light fuel and heating oils.

Maritime Cabotage Task Force


Rouge River around Fordson Island set for cleanup

11/23 - Detroit, Mich. - An area of the Rouge River that's been used as a dumping ground will be cleaned up.

A community meeting was planned for Monday evening in Detroit to discuss the upcoming Fordson Island Oxbow Restoration and Debris Removal Program. The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority in August was awarded a $150,000 grant for the project. It's part of a larger plan to restore Fordson Island and the Oxbow channel around the island.

Fordson Island was created in 1917 by dredging and other work along the river by Ford Motor Co. The Oxbow channel contains some of the only natural shoreline left in the area.

Chicago Tribune


Plan keeps three ferry companies running to Mackinac Island

11/23 - Mackinac Island - Mackinac Island's City Council today approved a compromise proposal that would keep all three ferry companies in service for two more years, but at least two firms are not happy about it.

Mayor Margaret Doud's plan to offer two-year contracts instead of the traditional 20-year agreements will give the island more time to decide whether to let Arnold Transit Co., Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry and Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry continue competing or limit routes to Arnold and Star Line while effectively putting Shepler's out of business.

"It's going to give the city much more time to really study the issues and look and see what is the best transportation system for the island," Doud said.

Arnold had proposed an exclusive 20-year joint operating agreement with Star Line in exchange for a $2 reduction in a round-trip fare. Shepler's had lobbied for keeping all three ferries in competition.

The council ended up rejecting the competing plans for now and adopting Doud's compromise at a special Monday morning council session. Officials for both Arnold and Shepler's expressed concerns about the island's undisclosed conditions attached to the agreements.

"I have no idea what they have in mind," Arnold owner Jim Wynn said about the council. "It's hard to make a decision without information. It all depends on what the terms and conditions are."

Wynn, who purchased the company from the Brown family this summer, predicted his plan will ultimately prevail.

Shepler's vice president and co-owner, Chris Shepler, said he is relieved to get a two-year extension but worries the island will gain too much control of the ferry company's operations under the new agreements.

"I'm ecstatic that we can run, but I don't know what conditions we are going to be running under," Chris Shepler said. "They will tell us what we are going to charge for tickets. They will tell us what they are going to charge us in franchise fees. They will tell us when we can run, what our schedule will be. I don't know how you can run a company when the government is telling you how to run it."

Star Line has stayed in the background of the debate, saying it would only go along with Arnold's proposal if the council accepted it. The company also submitted a separate one-page proposal that the island rejected.

The council's decision also lets the island defend itself from a pending lawsuit by Shepler's that alleges the city government and Arnold are conspiring to end its operation and effectively cost the jobs of its 150 employees.

Detroit News


Updates -  November 23

Weekly Website Updates


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


Port Reports -  November 22

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
The BigLift vessels Tramper and vessel Pangani were loading Bucyrus mining equipment Sunday.


Marinette Marine Corp. littoral combat ship deal with Navy likely

11/22 - De Pere, Wis. — Congress is likely to approve a wording change allowing the U.S. Navy to move forward with a plan to buy littoral combat ships from two builders, including Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette.

The change could be approved within two weeks, Marinette Marine CEO and President Richard McCreary told business leaders this week at the CEO Breakfast and Strategy Series at St. Norbert College.

"We have a lot of political support," he told the group. "We believe this will get done because it's truly a language change, it's not new money … but again, it's a work in progress."

McCreary spoke to participants at the breakfast about the economic impact of government contracts, as well as the process of securing those deals — a process that can take years and lots of money.

He pointed to a pending military contract for the Ship-To-Shore Connector, a craft designed to quickly move equipment — such as an M1 main battle tank — to a beachhead.

Marinette Marine has partnered with several companies, including Boeing, to bid on the Ship-To-Shore Connector, which is intended to replace an older air-cushioned landing craft.

"These (contracts) have very long gestation periods," McCreary said. "I've been working on this program for three years and have $1.5 million invested in this program, and the request for a proposal from the government will not be issued until after Thanksgiving.

"That's the kind of lead time you have to be prepared to invest in to win a program like this," he said.

If realized, the Ship-To-Shore Connector contract could be worth $4.5 billion and see the production of 72 vessels.

The littoral combat ship program moved back into the limelight earlier this month when the U.S. Navy put forth a plan to buy 20 ships of two different designs with the work split between Marinette Marine, which is working with Lockheed Martin, and an Alabama yard that is contracted with Austal USA.

Lockheed Martin and Austal USA have proposed and built competing designs of the littoral combat ship. As recently as late summer, it was expected the Navy would select only one of the designs in a winner-take-all competition, but a review of the proposals from both companies indicated the Navy could purchase both designs without allocating more funding for the program.

The ships have been capped at $480 million each.

The dual purchase option still needs congressional approval by the middle of December, something some lawmakers said they expect will happen.

If it doesn't, the Navy will select a single supplier.

The contract would mean thousands of new jobs at both shipyards, including Marinette Marine, which could see employment double to about 2,000 workers as the program picks up steam in the coming years.

It also would provide work for suppliers throughout Wisconsin and Michigan, which make up about 60 percent of suppliers in the LCS program, to the tune of about 5,500 jobs.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


BoatNerd, Great Lakes t-shirts now on sale

11/22 - Two new t-shirts celebrating BoatNerds and the Great Lakes are now available, with a portion of the purchase price benefiting The shirts, which have been designed and produced by the publisher of “Know Your Ships,” were a huge hit at BoatNerd gatherings earlier this year.

Click here to order


Updates -  November 22

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports -  November 21

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Edwin H. Gott is expected to arrive at BayShip on Monday and enter the graving dock, where she will be repowered over the winter.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Saturday found Manistee departing the Chicago Fuel Terminal dock before 8 a.m. On her way down the Calumet River to Lake Michigan she passed the John D. Leitch loading at Beemsterboer at 106th Street, and she also passed Spruceglen loading at KCBX. With the assistance of the tug Colorado on her stern, she made it to the lake around 9:30 a.m.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Vessel activity over the last four days included the Alpena loading cement on Wednesday and the tug G.L Ostrander with barge Integrity in port on Thursday. Calumet was at Lafarge on Friday morning. The tug Nickelena along with some equipment on a barge were anchored out in the bay on Saturday, likely waiting for better weather conditions. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were expected in around 11 p.m. on Saturday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader called on the Saginaw River on Friday, traveling up to the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. After unloading, the pair backed out of the river and into the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake. This was the first trip of the season for the Joyce L and Trader to the Saginaw River. Manitowoc was back again on Friday, this time calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. She was outbound for the lake early Saturday morning.

Sault au Cochon - Mac Mackay
The barge Sault au Cochon is still aground off Pictou, Nova Scotia. According to news reports most of the fuel on board has either been removed or sealed in the barge's tanks. A jack up barge left Sorel Saturday and should arrive early next week. It will be used to remove the remaining pulpwood from the barge. When that is done, refloating of the barge may take place as early as next weekend. Meanwhile work continues to recover the 3,000 cords of wood that washed off the barge when in ran aground in a storm on November 10.


USCGC Hollyhock open for tours

11/21 - On Monday and Tuesday, the Hollyhock will be open for tours at its Port Huron dock. The public is welcome. Tours hours both days are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Updates -  November 21

News Photo Gallery with video
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 21

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.

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.


Port Reports -  November 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Despite storm warnings on Lake Superior, H. Lee White arrived early Friday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Michipicoten and Kaye E. Barker departed with ore during the overnight.

St. Marys River
Stormy weather on Lake Superior has sent Presque Isle and Stewart J. Cort to anchor off Whitefish Point. Lee A. Tregurtha and Paul R. Tregurtha dropped the hook off of Bay Mills.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
On Friday, the tug Mary E. Hannah and barge A-410 were at the face of the Fox River Dock holding for weather at the North Bay Marina. Two more finished 45-foot Coast Guard boats built by Ace Marine are in final fitout and trials. They are 45644 (hailing port: Mayport) and 45642 (hailing port: New Orleans).

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday, the saltie Ruddy departed Pier 26 at 3:30 p.m. The tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie departed at 4 p.m. for Clakson to help the Oriental Protea dock. They returned to port at 8:45 p.m. John B. Aird arrived at 4 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco. Tim S. Dool departed Dofasco at 5 p.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast. Quebecois arrived at 5:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Point Noire. Canadian Coast Guard ship Caribou Isle arrived at 6 p.m. for the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington. Kaministiqua also arrived at 6 p.m. in ballast for Pier 10. Federal Ems arrived at 9 p.m. with steel products for Pier 14W. The tug Salvor and barge Niagara Spirit arrived at 9:30 p.m. from Long Pond, N.L., for Pier 12N.


Grain export shipping on upswing in Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway ports

11/20 - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Friday announced a sharp rise in grain exports through the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2010. With an increase of nearly 23 percent through October over 2009 levels, nearly 1.9 million metric tons of U.S. grain have moved through the waterway this year. Overall, St. Lawrence Seaway traffic is up 17 percent in 2010 compared to 2009.

“This significant boom in grain exports is good news for the U.S. economy and emphasizes the value of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Seaway is an important economic engine, serving as a direct link from our agricultural heartland to U.S. ports and international customers.”

“Vessel traffic this fall is robust in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, as ships are busy carrying almost two million tons of U.S. wheat, corn and soybeans to export markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa,” added Collister Johnson, Jr., Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “We are encouraged by what we are seeing with heightened grain shipments through the Lakes and the Seaway and have every reason to believe that the remainder of the season will be just as strong.”

This increase is partly attributed to Russia’s ban on grain exports that began in August due to drought conditions. Russia has announced keeping the ban in place through the end of this year. As a result, markets in Europe and North Africa have looked to North American grain farmers to satisfy their demand for grain. Furthermore, the U.S. has produced bumper grain crops this season that have been harvested earlier than in past years.

In particular, the ports of Duluth, Minn., Milwaukee, Wis., and Toledo, Ohio are realizing sizable increases in vessel traffic and tonnage. The grain surge is likely to remain at the forefront of the strong postings for Great Lakes ports for the final months of the Seaway’s shipping season.


Numbers on the rise at the Port of Toledo

11/20 - Toledo, Ohio - Commerce is of course what drives the economy and there are signs locally that the re-bound is beginning. The port of Toledo moves millions of dollars worth of cargo every month and the numbers are on the way up.

The amount of cargo coming through the Port of Toledo is up double digits so far this year and port leaders say the number could go even higher because they're expecting a strong finish in 2010.

Millions of dollars worth of things like iron ore, coal and grain are shipped in and out of the port of Toledo on freighters every year. And while 2009 was a down year, the numbers are heading back up.

"The port is up about 20 percent from this time last year and it's mainly due to the increases in the export of coal and inbound iron ore, and those are leading indicators the economy is turning around, said Joe Cappel, director of cargo development.

The amount of international cargo coming to Toledo was way down last year. That has since changed and that means more jobs. Often they are brining in overseas cargo and them loading grain for export; more ships mean more trucks and rail activity at the port and more longshoremen moving material within the port.

"We've gone from a weak dollar to a strong dollar and back to weaker so we see our export business balance out on our import business. This year the import side was stronger but the way we're set up bodes well for Toledo. We have a nice balance of import/export,” added Paul Toth of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

There have also been new construction jobs at the port. "All summer long we've been preparing the infrastructure, the roads, and the railways and acquiring new handling equipment which will allow us to operate more efficiently. So all those projects generate significant jobs and economic impact," he said.

The port is getting ready to go through an economic impact study that will spell out just how many jobs are connected to the port and how much of an economic impact the port has on the community. The last study put the numbers at about a thousand jobs with several hundred million in economic impact. Port leaders think those numbers were conservative. The new numbers are expected next summer.



Seaway traffic surge good for business

11/20 - Port Colborne, Ont. — With an increase in cargo moving through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal, two local companies have seen their business also increase.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. reported that shipments reached 27.1 million tonnes from March 25 to Oct. 31, an increase of 17.5 percent over the same period in 2009.

With all of the ships moving through the system, Vance Badawey said the family-run George Badawey Marine Food Supply business is up about 60 percent compared to last year.

Badawey Marine has regular customers in the shipping industry and has added some new customers this year. Badawey said the company doesn't talk about its customers in the industry, but its primary product is food for ships that pass through the system.

Over at West Pier Marine and Industrial Supply Inc., vice-president Rick Huneault said 2010 has been significantly better than 2009.

"We've seen a marked difference from last year," he said, adding 2009 was one of the worst years the company has seen.

West Pier offers marine services such as spill containment, marine paint and chemicals, ropes, rigging and accessories, safety wear and marine lubricants.

Huneault said while the company is not at the point it was a few years ago, it did see a 20 percent increase in business this year on the marine side. He expected to see more business before the shipping season ends in late December of this year.

"There's still a lot of product to be moved before the seaway closes."

In addition to serving domestic shipping companies, Huneault said West Pier, through its company Montreal Boatmen, looks after foreign ships in the Montreal area. He said there's been an increase in foreign ships coming through the Montreal area and locally as well.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the seaway, said more foreign ships are coming into the seaway system this year, which accounts for an increase in the amount of transits being made.

"We've seen a return in project- based shipping through wind turbines coming into the system. There was a dramatic decline in that area last year, but it has returned to 2008 levels."

A rebound in the steel industry has been good for the seaway system. Hodgson said inbound steel shipments via foreign ships, or salties as they're called, has increased as well. "It's had a direct impact on our business."

Iron ore shipments to the end of October are up 52 percent over the same time period last year. "Coal is up about 21 percent," Hodgson said. "Grain, overall, is up 4 percent over last year and we've seen a big increase in grain shipments. It's up 22 percent to date over last year."

He said there's been a big demand for U.S. grain and a lot more salties are moving through the system to pick up grain in U.S. ports, typically in the Lake Superior area.

At the end of October last year, ships made a total of 2,788 transits through the seaway. In the same time period this year, there have been 2,894 vessel transits.

"We expect to see that trend continue," said Hogdson.

He said the seaway finished the 2009 shipping season with a total of 31 million tonnes moved through the system and projected by the end of the season this year, that figure will be about 35 million tonnes.

Welland Tribune


Doing right by the Great Lakes

11/20 - Few people realize how dependent this zone is on the 130 freighters, tugs and barges that ply the waters of the Great Lakes. Take them away and the economy in this part of the world would grind to a halt.

Yet many in the neighbourhood don't even know that the Great Lakes shipping industry exists. In fact, it only seems to make the news when something goes wrong. The industry wants to change that.

" Shipping by water is by far the most environmentally friendly means of transportation there is," says Capt. Scott Bravener, president of Lower Lakes Towing in Port Dover. " But what most people hear about our industry is in a negative vein. Most people have a negative view of us. They hear only of the spills, the Exxon Valdez. We haven't done a very good job of publicizing what we do."

The industry hopes to turn that around with initiatives such as Marine Delivers and Green Marine. Marine Delivers is a new campaign designed to educate the public on the environmental and economic contribution Great Lakes shipping makes to the wider economy. Green Delivers is a program that challenges the shipping industry to exceed the environmental performance expected of it by government regulators.

It is not a hard sell. Environmentally-friendly ships are outfitted with the latest, most efficient technology. They tend to be faster, stronger and less expensive to operate than their antiquated cousins.

The S. S. Michipicoten — one of 12 vessels in the Lower Lakes fleet — is a case in point. The freighter was built in 1952 and is primarily used to ship iron ore to Essar Steel. The Michipicoten is one of the last steam-powered boats on the Great Lakes. It uses bunker crude as a fuel source. Following a $15-million retrofit this winter in Sarnia, the Michipicoten will emerge lighter and faster with two diesel engines, each generating 4,000 horsepower. When it re-launches in the spring, the Michipicoten will be capable of delivering more freight in less time, making the boat more profitable. And given that it is no longer burning bunker crude, it will be cleaner.

The Michipicoten will also be fitted with technology designed to remove sulphur dioxide, the key ingredient in acid rain, and nitrogen dioxide, a key ingredient in smog, from its emissions. As a bonus, the boat will be easier to staff.

"Steam technology is becoming obsolete," Bravener said. "It's becoming difficult to find people who are qualified to run it."

Many of the boats plying the Great Lakes are older than they appear. Well-built ships last for decades so long as they stay in fresh water. Freighters serving saltwater ports eventually rust. The oldest boat in the Lower Lakes fleet — the Maumee — was built in 1929. The old steamer has since been retrofitted with diesel engines. Bravener noted that the cement company Lafarge only recently retired a boat that was built around 1900.

Tillsonburg News


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.


Port Reports -  November 19

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound the Saginaw River early Thursday morning, traveling upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw. A few hours behind were the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, headed for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. Both vessels completed their unloads and were outbound for the lake Thursday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug John M Selvick departed the old Republic Dock at about 4:30 p.m. By 5:10 they had cleared both rail bridges and were making their way toward Ohio Street. Selvick was pushing Lake Trader and being assisted by the tug Washington.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Redhead was in at Redpath Sugar unloading.


Coast Guard crewmen injured as small boat rolls 90 degrees during training mission

11/19 - Cleveland, Ohio - Two Coast Guard 47-foot Motor Life Boats (MLB)s were underway on Lake Ontario for heavy weather training when one of the vessels rolled more than 90 degrees about a half mile north of Oswego Harbor Wednesday.

Following the accident at about 3:30 p.m., the vessel was driven back to the station, where the crewmembers were evaluated by emergency medical services.

Of the five crewmembers, two were taken to local hospitals via ambulance while the rest were evaluated and released. One crewmember sustained a head wound and was admitted to Upstate Medical University, a trauma center in Syracuse, N.Y., where he remains for observations. Another crewmember sustained a shoulder injury, was transported to Oswego Hospital and was released Wednesday evening.

The 47-foot MLB was underway on Lake Ontario with an additional Station Oswego MLB for heavy weather training necessary to qualify members for heavy weather responses and was underway for about 30 minutes when the accident occurred.

The weather when the vessels departed the station was reported to be 30-mph wind gusts and 12-14 foot waves, both within the MLB's operating parameters of 30-foot waves and 57-mph winds.

The extent of the boat’s damage and the cause of the accident are under investigation.

The station has an additional 47-foot MLB and a 25-foot response boat to respond to maritime threats and emergencies.

“An accident of this nature shows the great danger that our Coast Guard men and women endure every day to safeguard the people of the Great Lakes," said Capt. Robert Burchell, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y., Station Oswego's parent command. "We're all praying for their speedy recovery."


Great Lakes AuthoRama Saturday at Maritime Center in Port Huron

11/19 - The 2nd annual Great Lakes AuthoRama, Saturday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, will feature a number of well-known maritime authors, divers, and video producers.

Among those scheduled to attend are Dennis Hale, sole survivor of the Great Lakes freighter Daniel J. Morrell; Skip Kadar, author of “Great Lakes Serial Killers”; Roger LeLievre, author of “Know Your Ships”; Valerie vanHeist, Great Lakes research diver, author, and video producer; Paul Beesley, Canadian calendar publisher; Andrew Torrence, author of “M/V Algoport”; Marti Weir, author of “Where the Freighters Go”; Rich HIll, author of “Lake Effect”; Chris Winters, author of “Centennial”; Wayne Sapulski, author of “Lighthouses of Lake Michigan”; and Mark Thompson, author of “A Sailor's Logbook.”

Books and DVDs will be available for purchase and signing at the event, which carries no admission charge.


Updates -  November 19

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 19

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

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

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

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

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

The Kinsman Transit Co.'s steamer MERLE M. 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.


Port Reports -  November 18

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Salties dominated Twin Ports traffic Wednesday, with S.E. Verdant unloading wind turbine assemblies at the Duluth port terminal, Zelada Desgagnes loading at General Mills in Duluth, Olympic Mentor loading at Peavey in Superior, and Rebecca and Perelik loading at CHS terminal in Superior. Calliroe Patronicola and Dongeburg were anchored out on the lake waiting for berths.

Marinette, Wis. - Dick Lund
Marinette Marine began the process of walking out their latest build, USS Fort Worth (LCS-3), to the launch area on Wednesday Nov. 17. Launch is scheduled for Saturday Dec. 4, 2010 (ceremonies usually begin at 11 a.m. CST). This is the second such vessel to be built by the shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy. USS Freedom (LCS-1) was launched on Sept. 23, 2006. The company is hoping to build 10 more of these vessels for the Navy over the next few years.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet delivered a load of stone to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg on Tuesday, arriving at 4:30 p.m. and leaving later that evening.

Montreal, QC. - Kent Malo
 High winds in the South shore canal above Montreal were delaying vessels transiting the Beauharnois and Cote Ste Catherines locks. Winds, with gusts up to 40 knots, prompted the Seaway to close that section of the Seaway at  9 p.m. Wednesday.


Loads of salt headed for the United Kingdom from Goderich

11/18 - Goderich, Ont. - The Flevoborg was one of three ships that loaded with salt in Goderich Harbor and headed for the United Kingdom.

The waterways on Lake Huron and around Goderich Harbor have been very busy; it has been reported on website that at total of 27 boats visited Goderich Harbor during the month of October to take on loads of salt, grain and soybeans for various destinations.

Also of interest, three ocean-going vessels of the Netherlands Wagenborg line visited port to take on salt destined for the United Kingdom.

Compass Minerals, owners of the Goderich Sifto Salt Mine, also have a salt mine in the United Kingdom and Kelly Barton, of Compass in Kansas City said that given the severity of the past two winters in the UK, the government reached out to get additional salt for the upcoming winter.

Sifto Salt is supplying 90,000 metric tons of rock salt to the Ministry of Transport in the UK.

Goderich Signal Star


Bay City Tall Ships Celebration loses to Chicago, anticipates to host in 2013

11/18 - Bay City, Mich. — There’s a rivalry brewing between Bay City and Chicago when it comes to hosting a fleet of tall ships and the competition could continue in 2013.

On Tuesday, the American Sail Training Association announced Chicago as its 2010 Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge Port of the Year, marking the second time the Windy City has defeated Bay City for the title.

Chicago also topped Bay City for the honor in 2003. Bay City was named Port of the Year in 2001 and 2006.

“We’re pretty proud of Bay City, and when you consider the competition, we performed very well,” said Shirley Roberts, event coordinator for Bay City’s Tall Ship Celebration, which took place July 15-18.

Other port cities competing for Port of the Year honors this year were Toronto, Cleveland, Green Bay, Wis., and Duluth, Minn.

Judges made their decision based on all aspects of each community’s event, including financial performance, economic impact, marketing and crew surveys.

It is estimated that more than $10 million was generated for Bay City-area businesses as the result of this year’s Tall Ship Celebration. While it didn’t win Port of the Year, Bay City did win an award for best event management and marketing, said Roberts.

A bigger victory may be coming in three years.

At the conclusion of the ASTA conference — held Monday and Tuesday in Long Beach, Calif. — Roberts learned that Bay City has been penciled in as a port city for the 2013 Tall Ships Challenge, the annual race sponsored by the Rhode Island-based organization.

2013 is the next time a fleet of tall ships will sail in the Great Lakes.

Cities that win Port of the Year are guaranteed a chance to host the fleet the next time around.

Earlier this year, Roberts said it was important for Bay City to win Port of the Year this year because in 2013, the theme of the Tall Ships Challenge is the War of 1812 — a topic that Roberts says is difficult to connect to Bay City history.

“Bay City has had little, or no involvement in that event,” said Roberts. “It’s possible, and we’ll look for ways to tie it in, but we are pleased to report that Bay City is tentatively in for 2013.”

Roberts said nothing is official yet but she anticipates both Bay City and Chicago will welcome the tall ships in three years.

And Port of the Year honors will again be the goal, she said. “We have to win it back in 2013.”

The Bay City Times


Could the historic Delta Queen steamboat make a comeback?

11/18 - Cincinatti, Ohio - Could the famed Delta Queen steamboat be heading back to the waters of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers?

That's the idea, says a group called Save the Delta Queen 2010, which announced today it plans to buy the historic riverboat from its current owner, Ambassadors International, and put it back into operation.

Long beloved by riverboat fans, the 84-year-old Delta Queen was forced to stop cruising America's waterways in November 2008 after its 40-year Congressional exemption from a fire safety rule expired. It since has been operating as a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Ambassadors International always has said it was looking for a buyer who is committed to returning the vessel to the water. The lease the company signed in 2009 with a Chattanooga entrepreneur to operate the Delta Queen as a hotel required the ship's priceless wooden and brass interior as well as its machinery to be left intact so the vessel can someday return to cruising.

Built in 1926, the 174-passenger Delta Queen was the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America's inland waterways, and it hearkened back to a bygone era with stately wooden cabins and hardwood-paneled public rooms.

In its announcement, Save the Delta Queen 2010 says Ambassadors International has been soliciting bids from potential buyers, and Save the Delta Queen 2010 has responded. It didn't say whether the group had made an official offer for the vessel, had a definitive agreement to buy it or how it planned to comply with the fire safety rules that forced the ship's retirement from active cruising in 2008.

A recent story in the Chattanooga Times Free Press said the vessel was being listed for sale for $4.75 million.

Save the Delta Queen 2010 says it is being spearheaded by Robert Rintz, a former Louisiana State tourism director and former senior vice president for sales and marketing at the Delta Queen Steamboat Company.

"The Delta Queen is the last remaining example of the hundreds of steamboats that once traversed our heartland, weaving our nation together in the process," Rintz says in a statement. "We intend to make her live again so that future generations have the chance to travel on this quintessentially American treasure.

The Associated Press


Updates -  November 18

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 18

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

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

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

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

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 snowstorm 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.


Port Reports -  November 17

Marquette, Mich. - Burdick
Tuesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded western coal from Superior into the hopper, and Michipicoten loaded ore after a fast turn around from Essar Algoma.

Menominee, Mich. - Scott Best
Tuesday the Tug Ohio and her barge loaded with more wind turbine towers arrived in Menominee. The Tug Ohio was assisted into port by the Selvick Marine tug William C, they combo turned around in old Ansul turning basin and then dock at KK in Menominee. After assisting docking the Ohio at K&K the William C departed the Menominee River for Sturgeon Bay. The Ohio and her barge should depart sometime on Wednesday. Also on Thursday or Friday the USS Fort Worth is scheduled to be moved to the launchways at Marinette Marine Co in preparation for a December 4 launching.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
Capt. Henry Jackman was inbound shortly after noon Tuesday heading for Fox River Dock with salt from Goderich.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 delivered a cargo of trap rock to the Verplank dock in Holland Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Owen Sound, Ont. - Jim Hoffman and Erich Zuschlag
Upper Lakes Shipping's Gordon C. Leitch arrived overnight Monday in ballast to load grain at the Great Lakes Grain elevator. She is not a regular visitor here. The 730' ships rarely visit the elevator as the draft available here (approx. 22') makes them somewhat uneconomical compared to the smaller ships like the Robert S. Pierson, which was here last week. The Leitch is a straight-decker so she will be in for several days. Expect Thursday night or Friday departure. Destination is unknown at this time.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber, called on the Saginaw River Sunday with a split cargo. The pair lightered at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City, before heading upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore & Kuber were outbound later in the evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Cuyahoga finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed early Tuesday morning. Charles M. Beeghly shifted over from the CSX #2 Dock to load coal and was expected to depart later in the evening. Manitowoc arrived at the CSX #2 Dock during the mid morning and will follow the Beeghly loading coal. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie with her barge were at the old Interlake Iron Dock. The Detroit Princess and the tug Cleveland remain in drydock while the barge Cleveland Rocks is docked in the small slip near the drydock area. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday, Herbert C. Jackson and Saginaw on Friday, Robert S. Pierson on Saturday followed by the H. Lee White, Calumet and Manitowoc on Sunday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Dock will be the CSL Niagara on Thursday followed by the H. Lee White and CSL Assiniboine on Sunday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be the Canadian Navigator on Wednesday. There were no vessels in port loading grain.


Seaway closing dates announced

Montreal-Lake Ontario Section
• The Corporations have decided to waive the operational surcharges on Dec. 21, 22, 23 and 24.
• Any transit of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway after 23:59 hours, Dec. 24, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement.
• 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 Dec. 29.

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

Sault Ste. Marie Locks
The official closing date for the Soo Locks is 2400 hours Jan. 15, 2011.

Ports East of Montreal
Vessel owners and operators are advised that there are a number of ports east of the Seaway (St. Lambert Lock) on the St. Lawrence River that remain open to navigation during the winter months.


Five Wisconsin shipwrecks may get protected status

11/17 - Milwaukee, Wis. - At 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 22, 1929, as the S.S. Milwaukee car ferry was caught in a ferocious gale, the ship's purser wrote this note and tucked it into a watertight case: “The ship is taking on water fast. We have turned around and headed for Milwaukee. Pumps are working but the sea gate is bent and won't keep water out. (Crew compartment) is flooded. Seas are tremendous. Things look bad.”

By the time the note was found, the ship's purser and the rest of his shipmates were already dead. A few members of the crew - some accounts say 52 died on the S.S. Milwaukee, others say it was 47 - managed to escape the 338-foot-long car ferry before it plunged to the bottom of Lake Michigan, along with its cargo of rail cars carrying bathtubs, automobiles, lumber, barley, canned peas and salt.

Four crewmembers fled in one of the lifeboats but it wasn't a refuge, only another vessel of death. Their bodies were found in the lifeboat four days after the ferry foundered.

Now a popular wreck for scuba divers, the car ferry sits in 90 to 120 feet of water three miles northeast of Atwater Beach. For non-divers, though, it's hard to picture just what the wreck looks like or its historical significance in a time when railroads often moved rail cars by water to avoid crowded rail yards.

Soon, though, the S.S. Milwaukee will be more accessible, not just to divers but to those who won't need a tank of compressed air to see the shipwreck.

Starting next summer archaeologists will survey and document the S.S. Milwaukee and four other Lake Michigan shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters through a federal grant awarded this month to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Chosen because they represent a cross section of historically significant vessels, the shipwrecks are near Milwaukee, Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay.

"Part of what we were looking for were five shipwrecks that are already popular with people," said Jim Draeger, deputy state historic preservation officer. "They're all ones that are pretty intact and have good archaeological potential."

The $170,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration Transportation Enhancement program will pay for digital photo mosaics, sketches and measurements, photos, site plans and historic research. Digital photo mosaics illustrate the wreck as it now looks by piecing together hundreds of photos taken by scuba divers. Divers will measure and sketch the wreck, said Draeger.

The archaeological surveys and documentation will be used to nominate the five wrecks to the National Register of Historic Places, which will give them additional legal protection. Buoys will be placed at each site so dive boats can safely moor without harming the shipwreck.

Along with the S.S. Milwaukee, these ships will be surveyed:

• EMBA, an early self-loading vessel scuttled in 1932 about six miles northeast of Milwaukee's main harbor;
• Floretta, an iron ore schooner wrecked off Manitowoc in 1885;
• America, a three-masted freight boat that sank near Kewaunee in 1880;
• Lakeland, an iron steamer loaded with new autos lost off Sturgeon Bay in 1924.

Jerry Guyer has dived on the S.S. Milwaukee for years. He takes many customers to the wreck through his work as owner of Pirate's Cove Dive Shop in Milwaukee and captain of the Lender scuba charter boat. Among the popular sights are the wheel house, which lies on the lake bottom near the wreck, as well as the twisted storm gate that many believe led to the demise of the Milwaukee. Some have speculated that the rail cars broke free and crashed against the gate, allowing water to flow in.

While the S.S. Milwaukee used to be a challenging dive for those who wanted to penetrate the wreck and swim inside to see the rail cars and cargo, it's now very difficult because the ship is starting to break apart. Until a few years ago divers could see two intact 1920s automobiles, but now the vehicles have been reduced to piles of car parts.

"It was fairly intact until the last 10 years. It's been breaking apart. The decks and bilges have all collapsed. It's not what it once was," said Guyer. "Because of its depth, it's a shorter dive than some of the other (wrecks.) Its size makes it pretty hard to see on any one dive, so a lot of people ask to go back and make several dives."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Notice to Shipping

2010 - Notice to Shipping # 31 Montreal / Lake Ontario Section
Work is presently underway on the Jacques-Cartier bridge support protection walls on both sides of the navigation channel, above calling-in point N° 2. This work will be ongoing until December 17, 2010.  Scaffolding, which will not be affected by waves, will be installed on the sides of both walls. In certain areas, the scaffolding could extend up to one metre from the side wall that is parallel to the channel.  Workers that will work from this scaffolding will have to leave the scaffolding when ships pass.

2010 - Notice to Shipping # 32 Montreal / Lake Ontario Section
Replacement of the emergency wharf at CPR bridge - South Shore canal
Work to replace the emergency wharf above the CPR bridge will begin within the next few weeks. The work will be ongoing for a period of 2 weeks during which time the emergency wharf will not be available. During this period, Mariners are asked to transit the area at a reduced speed. The Operations Control centre will notify you of the situation.


Updates -  November 17

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 17

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

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

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

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

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

The propeller JOHN STUART burned about two miles from Sebawaing, 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.


Port Reports -  November 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports early Monday included Algocape, ready to load at CHS elevator in Superior, and Federal Elbe ready to load at the former Cargill B1 elevator in Duluth. The Federal Elbe is the second vessel to load this season at the elevator following its several-year hiatus from loading ships. Salties Olympic Mentor, Rebecca and Calliroe Patronicola were anchored out on the lake waiting for grain berths. Elsewhere in port, Canadian Progress was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Burns Harbor was loading at BNSF ore dock in Superior. The grain trade is picking up again as the season nears its end. Several more salties are expected to arrive in port this week.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Monday morning at the Upper Harbor Ore Dock, Michipicoten loaded and departed. Charles M. Beeghly, Kaye E. Barker, Saginaw and Michipicoten ll loaded ore during a wintry weekend.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Monday morning Polsteam’s Isolda was at the Port of Milwaukee South Pier #1.


Great Lakes Shipyard begins drydocking, repairs of Miller Boat Line ferry

11/16 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Shipyard recently drydocked the ferry William Market to begin maintenance and repairs for its U.S. Coast Guard five-year inspection. The work will include routine cleaning and painting, hull inspection, valve overhauls and steering system modifications. In addition to this, all of the ferry’s exterior fiberglass bench seats are being replaced with new aluminum bench seats. This is the second time this year Miller Boat Line, the vessel’s owner, has entrusted one of its vessels to Great Lakes Shipyard. Earlier this year Great Lakes Shipyard completed a 40 ft. long mid-body extension and repowering of the Put-In-Bay.

“We did a great job for Miller Boat Line on the Put-In-Bay and we are happy they have returned as a satisfied customer with another one of their vessels,” Joe Craine, the yard’s general manager, said.

Great Lakes Group


Ray of light in steel sector: German buyer firing up two shuttered U.S. Steel mills

11/16 - Hamilton, Ont. - Two Hamilton steel mills, and more than 100 jobs, shut down by U.S. Steel are being brought back to life by a new owner. The revival follows the closing of a deal to sell the mills to a German company that plans to have them turning out steel for auto parts and the mining and construction industries early next year.

“We are already warming up the furnace and we plan to start producing test runs of steel by December,” said Thomas Fetzer, president of Max Aicher (North America) Inc. “We need some production this year.”

Aicher became the official owner of the former Stelco bar and bloom mills on Friday, a little more than six months after announcing a deal to buy them from U.S. Steel. Terms of that transaction were not released.

Fetzer said up to 110 U.S. Steel employees who had recall rights to jobs in the bar and bloom mills have been given the chance to work for the new owner. The company is also hiring for “white-collar” positions in accounting, human resources and other fields, with more jobs to come as the mills moves into full production.

“We are going to need more people as we grow up,” Fetzer said.

About 70 of the workers moving into jobs with the Aicher Group will be coming from the ranks of those locked out by U.S. Steel earlier this month in a dispute over pensions. Exact details of how many will move to the news positions and when are still being worked out with Local 1005 of the United Steelworkers. The balance of the workforce will be salaried staff.

When the mills were closed by U.S. Steel in January 2009 they employed 300.

Formally called the No. 1 bar mill and No. 3 bloom and billet mill at U.S. Steel Canada’s Burlington Street complex, the factories had been offered for sale by Stelco in 2007, just after the company emerged from bankruptcy protection and then-CEO Rodney Mott was getting Stelco ready for sale. The Aicher Group expressed interest in the mills back then, but a deal was never completed.

Aicher’s new Hamilton plants will mark the company’s debut as a steel processor in North America. It already commands about 20 per cent of Europe’s market for automotive steel. The plants will be used to process steel purchased from Canadian suppliers. Aicher’s signature products are threaded steel rods used in concrete construction, mining and auto products such as axles, connecting rods, gears and stabilizers.

Fetzer said the company intends to focus on the value-added end of the market.

“We are not focused on producing a huge amount of tons,” he said. “We are going to focus on the value-added steel for auto parts, mining machine parts and the construction industry.”

Local 1005 president Rolf Gerstenberger said he welcomed the Aicher purchase as a badly needed injection of new jobs.

“It looks like Max Aicher has a real plan for running those mills,” he said. “U.S. Steel didn’t do bar products and had no interest in that business. The immediate thing Aicher is going to do is try to get some of the old customers back.”

Wayne Marston, MP for Hamilton East–Stoney Creek, was excited by the news but couldn’t help but see an irony in one foreign company buying Hamilton steel mills and shutting them down while another offshore investor brings new life to the same factories.

“The Germans are known around the world for making quality steel so it’s important that they’ve looked at Hamilton and seen a viable operation here,” he said. “We’re just not used to getting good news about Hamilton steel lately. I hope this is a sign of more good things to come.”

Max Aicher (North America) Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Max Aicher GmbH & Co. KG of Germany. Based in Freilassing, Germany, east of Munich, the company has interests in real estate, construction, steel and waste recycling.

Blooms are large blocks of steel that are then rolled into billets used to produce wire rod, bars and seamless pipe.

Hamilton Spectator


Great Lakes Towing barges windmill towers to Menominee

11/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes Towing Company has been contracted by KK Integrated Logistics for the barge shipment of windmill towers from Buffalo, N.Y. to Menominee, Mich.

The towing company’s tug Ohio arrived in Buffalo on Nov. 7, where 22 windmill towers were loaded onto the barge CBC1268. The tug and barge departed Buffalo on Nov. 12 bound for Menominee. The voyage from Buffalo to Menominee was expected to take about four days. This is the first of what is expected to be four shipments of windmill towers.

Heavy lift shipping is a very specialized trade often involving the waterborne transportation of extremely heavy and voluminous loads.

Cargoes may range from components for power generation and distribution, such as boilers, turbines, generators, transformers, to large quantities of project cargoes as break bulk required for the construction of industrial plants or facilities.

Great Lakes Group


Rising water levels could affect life on lake

11/16 - Port Huron, Mich. - If the average water level of Lake Huron rose by 4 inches, what would it mean for cottage owners, boaters and other interests?

What if the lake rose 20 inches? What might it mean in a gale with 20-foot waves crashing ashore?

These are among the questions the Upper Great Lakes Study Board hopes to answer with a $17.5 million inquiry. The International Joint Commission, created as part of a 1909 treaty between Canada and the United States, is financing the research.

In the past 150 years, water levels on the Great Lakes have been affected by diversions, dredging, mining and other human activity. No one questions this, but there is a fierce debate over what, if any, remedies are required.

In the strictest sense, lakes Huron and Michigan are a single body of water. Chicago and Port Huron share the same elevation above sea level. The five-mile-wide Straits of Mackinac connect the two basins. Water drawn from one lake affects the level of the other.

Huron-Michigan's natural outlet is the St. Clair River, which drops five feet over its 40-mile course. Its average flow of 182,000 cubic feet per second is greater than the Mississippi River at St. Louis.

Georgian Bay Forever, which seeks to protect the quality of life on the bay's "Thirty Thousand Islands," commissioned engineering studies of the St. Clair River. It linked human activity, primarily dredging in the 1980s, with an increase in the river's flow of as much as 20,000 cfs.

To put that in perspective, the added flow would be the equivalent of a Colorado River in its natural state.

Not everyone agrees. IJC-sponsored research suggests dredging has increased the St. Clair River's flow by about 1 percent, or perhaps 2,000 cfs.

Huron-Michigan's level also is affected by man-made diversions such as the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, which opened in 1900. By the 1920s, the diversion of water from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River watershed had reached 10,000 cfs, or about 6.5 billion gallons per day.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1967 capped the Chicago diversion at 2.068 billion gallons per day. Michigan and several other states are suing to seal the canals as a way of slowing the spread of Asian carp and other invasive species.

If the Chicago diversion is plugged, or if the St. Clair River is restored to a more natural flow, average water levels on Lake Huron-Michigan could rise by as much as 20 inches.

Results from the new study are expected by early 2012.

Port Huron Times Herald


Source of oil slick in Detroit River near Windsor a mystery

11/16 - Lasalle, Ont. - A kilometre-long mystery slick spotted on the Detroit River Saturday had the Ministry of the Environment hunting for its source over the weekend.

The silvery sheen was discovered off Fighting Island early Saturday, but ministry spokeswoman Kate Jordan said it had broken up by 2:45 p.m. A ministry staffer remained on the scene trying to discover where the slick came from.

"It was undetermined what the source was," Jordan said. It's unclear if the product was hazardous.

Jordan said it broke up quickly due to air and water currents and its low volume -- only about 30 litres -- compared to the river's.

"It looks like we have some petrol product," Ken Cooper, senior response officer with the Canadian Coast Guard, told The Star earlier.

He said it likely wasn't gasoline and probably didn't come from a personal watercraft. He said the substance formed a film-like slick, more than a kilometre long and 100 metres wide.

Cooper said wind and water patterns were gradually pushing the substance into the weeds around Turkey Island, where LaSalle firefighters on the scene could not reach it by boat. Turkey Island is a 39-acre island off the southeastern tip of Fighting Island.

He said the Coast Guard didn't have the equipment to pick up such a sheen but was working to make sure the leak wasn't continuous.

The LaSalle fire department alerted the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, which then notified the Coast Guard and Environment Canada.

Jordan said officials at the Amherstburg water treatment plant were also notified and advised to monitor intakes.

The Windsor Star


Surveillance system credited in St. Clair River smuggling arrests

11/16 - Harrison Township, Mich. - Immigration and customs enforcement agents are investigating three separate incidents of illegal immigrant smuggling on the St. Clair River this month, officials said today.

Customs and Border Protection agents were able to detect the activities with its $20 million high-tech surveillance system, which went into operation along the St. Clair River this year.

In the most recent case, agents using the system tracked a small boat entering U.S. waters in Algonac at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday. The vessel docked in the city's downtown area and three people got off and ran across M-29, according to Andrew Patterson, a Border Patrol agent spokesman.

Agents responded and were able to arrest all three subjects, he said.

In the second case, which happened this past Saturday, agents watched a subject being dropped off by a boat near a restaurant in Algonac.

Officers arrived on the scene and arrested the man, who turned out to be an illegal alien who had been previously deported. Agents in nearby Clay Township stopped the vehicle suspected of being involved in the smuggling attempt and found several thousand dollars in Canadian currency on the driver, Patterson said.

And the first incident occurred on Oct. 16 when agents spotted a suspicious vessel traversing U.S. waters in Clay Township in St. Clair County, he said.

Agents also received information about a vehicle that appeared to be waiting for the vessel in the area.

The officers found the vehicle, pulled it over and discovered one of the men in the car was an illegal immigrant. They also recovered $56,000 in U.S. currency, four stolen handguns and an assortment of jewelry after a search of the vehicle, Patterson said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency calls the technology it uses to monitor the U.S. border along the St. Clair River its Remote Video Surveillance System.

The system consists of a network of cameras and 11 towers along the river and was designed to help the agency fight terrorism, combat drug trafficking and keep illegal immigrants and contraband out of the country. Each tower has four cameras, two for monitoring the border during the day and two for nighttime hours.

Detroit News


Welland’s Feeder Canal stories told

11/16 - Welland, Ont. - It started in 1982 with a Grade 7-8 class project at nearby Welland South Public School. The students studied the Welland Canal, its Feeder Canal and the location of a lock at Broadway and Prince Charles Dr. that linked the two.

Then they wondered, why Welland didn't turn it into historic site as was done to similar canal features in St. Catharines and Port Colborne.

They sent off a letter to the body that then controlled the old canal, suggesting a historical project. At the time, they didn't get a reply to their letter . "It took awhile," their teacher Terry Hughes said Thursday, "but the students deserve credit for getting this work started."

The retired teacher and local historian was a part of a group who unveiled six plaques around the partially unearthed lock.

The plaques were produced and erected by Welland Recreational Canal Corp., which now controls the old canal. They outline the history of the Feeder Canal, which fed water from the Grand River at Dunnville to the first versions of the Welland Canal. They touch on its origins, economic effects on Welland, the Junction village around it, the Raceway link to the Welland River, eight bridges at Broadway and the decline of the feeder canal.

"It's the canal corporation's first historical project," said its executive director, Stephen Fischer. "It was fascinating," he said. "We learned a lot doing the research such as the stories of the bridges."

It took about eight months to research material and produce the plaques, he said.

"We had a lot of help from the Welland museum, Welland Heritage and the library while Terry Hughes helped us with the writing," Fischer said.

The project that included excavation, landscaping, research and plaques cost about $50,000, he said.

The Feeder Canal location is along the west-side canal trail and is popular with cyclists, joggers and walks.

Hughes, who has nurtured the feeder lock project since his students turned into advocates for it, said about two-thirds of the lock remains buried. Excavating more of it could see a deterioration of its cut stone walls and could disrupt underground electrical, water and other services.

What he would like to see someday is a tracing of the lock so visitors could understand its size, he said. The lock and the ponds that served it affected the location of Broadway bridges. The recreation trail crosses it in the same location as a swing bridge that once crossed it.

Welland Tribune


Great Lakes/Seaway Review seeks advertising account manager

11/16 - Do you love the Great Lakes/Seaway System? Do you love professional sales and partnership development? Do you have a solid business-to-business sales record? You might be perfect for an Account Manager position with Great Lakes/Seaway Review. Full or part-time relationship development and advertising sales. Retirees welcome. Contact Michelle Cortright, Publisher, Great Lakes/Seaway Review,


Updates -  November 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  November 15

South Chicago, Illinois - Brian Z.
A busy day for South Chicago on Saturday found Philip R. Clarke at KCBX Terminals loading coal. Lower Lakes' Calumet followed the Clarke, loading another coal cargo for Green Bay. At North American Salt, Algorail was discharging salt to silo storage. Early afternoon, St. Marys Challenger made her way upriver to unload at Lafarge.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River on Friday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. After unloading, they departed the slip and headed for the lake. Manitowoc was also inbound on Friday, calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was outbound early Saturday morning. Algoway was inbound Saturday morning, also calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was expected to be outbound late Saturday night. The tug Kurt Luedtke was inbound on Saturday with a pair of barges for the upcoming dredging on the Lower Saginaw River dredging project.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Pineglen finished loading grain at Anderson's K Elevator and departed late Saturday afternoon. American Mariner was loading coal at the CSX Docks. Capt. Henry Jackman was at the Midwest Stone Dock unloading stone. The saltwater vessel SE Verdant was unloading windmill parts at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. At Ironhead Shipyard, the passenger boat Detroit Princess was in the large drydock while the tug Cleveland was in the small drydock. The barge Cleveland Rocks was docked in the small slip near the drydock area. The next coal boats scheduled into the CSX Docks will be the return of American Mariner, followed by Arthur M. Anderson on Sunday, with Pathfinder, Cuyahoga and Charles M. Beeghly due on Monday, Manitowoc and H. Lee White on Tuesday followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be CSL Niagara on Thursday followed by CSL Assiniboine on Saturday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Canadian Navigator on Tuesday followed by Capt. Henry Jackman on Friday.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Algoma Spirit is scheduled to sail again on Sunday morning November 14.


Overseas demand for crops spurs surge in St. Lawrence Seaway traffic

11/15 - Hamilton, Ont. - A new grain handling operation in the Port of Hamilton is one of the sparks in a traffic boom on the St. Lawrence Seaway this year.

Figures for October show a 67 per cent rise in grain shipments over the same month last year. Much of that traffic flowed through the new Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. operation in Hamilton.

In a news release, P&H vice-president Rob Bryson said international demand for Canadian soybeans and wheat is behind the rise.

“Despite the strong Canadian dollar and higher grain prices, there is really strong international demand for soybeans, corn and soft wheat out of Eastern Canada, and we anticipate that this is going to continue in November and December,” he said.

Part of the demand for Canadian grain is being driven by droughts in Eastern Europe and Asia that have affected grain crops around the world, while Canada’s growing season was blessed with good weather.

“Normally we export soybeans from Eastern Canada, but this year corn exports are also particularly strong. We had the perfect weather and season for corn. The quality and yields are tremendous,” Bryson said. “The terminals along the St. Lawrence are jammed full of corn, soybeans and wheat. We can’t move it fast enough.”

Marine Delivers, an industry trade association, said total year-to-date shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway reached 27.1 million tonnes from March 25 to October 31, an increase of 17.5 per cent over the same period in 2009.

Shipments of iron were up 52 per cent to 7.9 million tonnes compared with last year, while total grain shipments increased by 4 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes.

The Hamilton Spectator


New Mackinac ferry proposal may hit some snags

11/15 - St. Ignace, Mich. - One of the primary promises of those trying to gain the sole ferry franchise to Mackinac Island may run into snags.

Operators of Northern Ferry, a merger of the current Arnold Line and Star Line ferries, have said they would run year-round service to the island -- operating every other day during the coldest winter months, when ice that can be 3 feet thick in the Straits of Mackinac would need to be broken up.

Northern Ferry hopes to be the island's sole ferry operator in the spring.

However, the U.S. Coast Guard said last week that it has no plans to alter its usual ice-breaking schedule and open the Straits for ferry traffic.

"Where the ferry has been operating has not been our priority area," said Cmdr. Kevin Dunn, chief of waterways management for the U.S. Coast Guard's Ninth Sector, which includes the Great Lakes.

Jim Wynn, the owner of Northern Ferry, told the Mackinac Island City Council on Oct. 20 that he expected the Coast Guard to cut the ice, based on a conversation with Chief Mark Gill, the sector commander in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Coast Guard prioritizes ice cutting on a Tier 1 to Tier 4 system, with Tier 1 being the highest priority. The Straits are in the Tier 3 and Tier 4 range, Dunn said.

"Based on our prioritization system, we wouldn't necessarily be able to support a regularly scheduled run, because our icebreakers may be needed in other places," Dunn said. "We would help when we could, but in order to guarantee a schedule, they would have to rely on commercial ice breakers."

A spokeswoman for Wynn said he still plans year-round service. He has priced ice-breaking boats and would buy or lease one if the island grants him the sole ferry franchise, spokeswoman Laura Daien said.

If other ferries are operating, Daien said, Wynn would not acquire an ice-breaking boat.

Shepler's Ferry, the island's third ferry company, is still waiting to hear whether the island government will grant it a franchise to continue operating to the island next spring, when Northern Ferry expects to begin its consolidated line.

Shepler's is suing the new ferry company and the City of Mackinac Island for creating a monopoly. Northern Ferry claims its sole ferry service would fall into the category of a regulated utility, not a monopoly.

Detroit Free Press


Updates -  November 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery I and News Photo Gallery II
Discussion Boards updated
Historical Perspective Galleries updated: Amasa Stone, Ben W. Calvin, Raymond H. Reiss, Spruceglen, J.B. Ford, Daniel J. Morrell, Chief Wawatam


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.


Port Reports -  November 14

St. Marys River - Scott McLellan
On Friday, an overnight fog caused 10 upbound ships to be delayed in the St. Marys River. At Detour Friday morning were Sam Laud, Charles M. Beeghly, Cason J. Callaway, Algocape, Lee A. Tregurtha, Algomarine and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. Algolake was first to anchor in Mud Lake about 2:30 a.m. American Century was tied to pier below Poe Lock. At 9 a.m., conditions had improved and Soo Traffic called ships to let them go as soon as they were ready, giving the order based on the order they arrived.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet came in about 4:30 Friday with a load of dolomite for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It was still unloading at 7:30 p.m.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Buffalo arrived Friday at 9:19 a.m. sailing behind the power plant. At 11:29 a.m. she was docked south of the Henderson Bridge, boom out and unloading. She called the Charles Berry Bridge at 18:04 p.m. her way out into Lake Erie.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W. and Richard Szczepaniec
The windmill barge CB-1268 was towed out of the Buffalo River by the tugs Washington and Ohio around noon on Friday. The parts are made in Canada, trucked through Buffalo to a location on the Buffalo River. There are 22 sections on the barge. The crew paused just beyond the USS Little Rock to double check the lashings. They were headed for Michigan and expected to return in 10 days. They plan at least 4 more trips this year. American Mariner was in unloading grain at the General Mills Frontier Elevator on Thursday.


Union attempts to block barge carrying parts for windmill farm

11/14 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Local ironworkers took to the Buffalo River on Friday to protest a barge carrying windmill parts built by “non-union workers” from “out-of-town companies,” union officials reported.

According to initial reports from the U. S. Coast Guard, six watercraft manned by protesters from Buffalo Ironworkers Local 6 were blocking passage of the tugboats Ohio and Washington, which were pushing windmill parts bound for installation south of Rochester.

Coast Guard and Erie County Sheriff’s Office officials dispatched response boats to the area. By the time authorities arrived, Coast Guard officials said late Friday, the blockade had ended and the cargo was passing freely.

Thomas Halligan, president of the Ironworkers local, said Friday’s activities on the water extended the union’s daily picket outside the former Republic Steel site to draw attention to out-of-state companies using non-union work for projects in New York State.

“It’s everybody but New York,” Halligan said. “These companies are coming out of Texas and North Dakota. They’re stealing our local jobs.”

Halligan said the parts built by out-of-state companies were being shipped from the old Republic Steel site to a windmill farm near Dansville.

Coast Guard officials said any blockade violated federal law because out-of-state workers were operating the tugs.

Friday’s incident apparently involved no violence, and no arrests were made.

Hiring out-of-state, nonunion workers is a hot-button issue for local union shops, often triggering protests.

A few years ago, several of the area’s building trade unions, including the Ironworkers, protested the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s hiring an out-of-state, non-union contractor for work at the Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Buffalo News


Heaviest dimensional cargo via CP rail moves west from Duluth to Canada

11/14 - Duluth, Minn. - Last week marked a milestone in project cargo movement at the Head of the Lakes as crews handled the heaviest Canadian Pacific (CP) direct, single-line rail move from the Port of Duluth-Superior to western Canada.

Two, 300-ton dimensional transformers arrived at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth on Friday, Nov. 5. Both units were manufactured in Germany and shipped from Rotterdam aboard the BigLift freighter Tracer, along with multiple crates of accessories. Crews from Lake Superior Warehousing Co. discharged the high/wide/ heavy cargo directly onto specialized railcars waiting dockside.

One of those specialized cars, a brand new 20-axle railcar managed by SRT, was just recently introduced into American service. A train comprised of this car and eight others (including a 16-axle railcar) left Duluth Tuesday and is making its way along a 1,200-mile CP clearance route northwest to Lethbridge, Alberta, where the transformers will be installed and eventually power the Montana Alberta Tie Line the first international merchant transmission line in North America.

When fully operational next year, the 214-mile transmission line will interconnect the electricity markets of Alberta and Montana, said Paul Kos, Director of Engineering for Montana Alberta Tie Ltd, opening up a huge potential for development in renewable energy projects in both countries. MATL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tonbridge Power, Inc., headquartered in Toronto.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Carp could enter Lake Erie from Maumee or Cuyahoga, Army engineers say

11/14 - Toledo, Ohio - Asian carp could be threatening Lake Erie sooner than later -- but through the back door.

That's the conclusion of a new study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, even as officials affirm that the route through the Chicago Sanitary system -- the front door in the Asian carp war -- remains the greater concern.

In that scenario, the greatly feared invasive fish would breach an electric barrier, get into Lake Michigan and down to the lower lakes.

Although the public knows the big fish mostly because they jump violently, almost comically, out of the water when startled, they are also invasive species that usually overwhelm native sport fish like perch and walleye.

But there is increasing anxiety that the voracious carp -- which consumes plankton that other fish now eat and grows up to 80 pounds or more -- could find other watery ways into paths into Lake Erie. The lake is considered the most vulnerable because its western basin is both shallower and warmer than the other lakes.

To do that, the carp would have to make it up into streams that connect to the Ohio or Mississippi -- and then cross over the divide and into the Lake Erie watershed, most likely in times of flooding.

Certainly, the species has done it before: The native Asian fish was brought to America decades ago to essentially clean the algae out of ponds in southern states, but broke out into nearby rivers -- eventually the Mississippi -- during heavy floods and worked its way north toward the Great Lakes.

Now, the Army Corps has identified 36 locations along the division of the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds (in addition to Chicago) -- which could "establish a hydraulic connection in the right weather."

About half of those possible pathways are of enough concern to study further, and fewer than six are of the gravest concern, said John Goss, director of Asian Carp for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

The top two have Ohio connections.

The most likely courses for a back-door entry into Lake Erie are through the Maumee River (from the Wabash River in Indiana) near Toledo or the Ohio and Erie Canal (from Long Lake in Summit County), according to the Army Corps report. The threat that carp could cross into the lakes from those sites was deemed "acute" by the Army Corps.

The report also identifies more than a half-dozen other less likely, but still possible, spots for carp crossings in the state where the Great Lakes watershed intersects the Ohio River watershed.

"These are the areas where we need to focus our study so that we aren't outflanked by the Asian carp," Goss said by telephone from a news conference in Chicago on Tuesday.

Goss and Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody, an Army Corp engineer, presented the study Tuesday. They also laid out a $25 million, five-year plan to study further how to stop not only Asian carp, but dozens of other invasive species from going either direction -- from the river system into the lakes or from the lakes into the rivers.

Go to to read the 217-page study, which encompasses parts of 17 states, including the eight states that touch on the Great Lakes.

The primary focus of the continued study will be on Chicago waterways, because that's where canals provide a direct connection between the two basins, officials said.

An Ohio carp expert agreed -- and was suspect of the government spending too much time studying other pathways.

"The single biggest threat is the Chicago Sanitary Canal and there needs to be a permanent physical, and ecological separation of the canal from Lake Michigan -- that's it," said David Kelch of Ohio Sea Grant.

A judge in U.S. District Court in Chicago is currently considering doing just that at the request of a number of Great Lakes states, including Ohio -- permanently closing off Lake Michigan from the Chicago river system with physical barriers. As of now, only an underwater "electric fence" is in place in the Chicago canal to try to stave off the invasion.

The migration of carp into the lakes from sites other than Chicago is not a certainty, however.

For one, rivers in Ohio and in other Great Lakes states, may be too cold for carp to thrive, however, said Eugene Braig, assistant director at Ohio State University's Stone Lab.

"But that connection of the Wabash to the Maumee is of the most concern," he said. "That's an experiment I don't think we want to see played out."

Still, officials aren't taking any chances: Construction crews in Indiana in late October finished installing a nearly 1,200-foot-long fence designed to prevent carp from getting out of the Wabash River, into the nearby Eagle Marsh and then into the Maumee.

An 8-foot-tall chain-link fence was erected at Eagle Marsh near Fort Wayne.

Secondly, dams in rivers in Ohio and elsewhere -- often derided by ecologists as damaging to rivers because they prevent fish migrations -- may actually provide the best hope for keeping carp from getting into Lake Erie from the rivers,

"Those dams could make a difference," Maj. Gen Peabody said. "That's something we need more information on because they could hold the line for a while."


Updates -  November 14

Discussion Boards 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.


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.


Algoisle scrap tow arrives in Turkey

11/12 - The retired Algoma Central bulk carrier Algoisle has arrived at Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping. She made port sometime Thursday afternoon under tow of the tug Ionion Pelagos. The tow took some 40 days to transit from Montreal, Que., to Aliaga.

Kent Malo


McKeil barge Sault au Cochon grounds in high winds

11/12 - Halifax, N.S. - The barge Sault au Cochon remains aground on a sandbar in the Northumberland Strait on Thursday. The barge was loaded with wood and in tow of the tug Florence M, when it broke its tow line Wednesday in high winds and seas, and drifted ashore.

It has since been swept by waves and much of its cargo has drifted into the entrance of Pictou Harbour. Several barrels of fuel were also swept overboard, but some have been recovered. Although there is fuel aboard the barge, there have been no leaks reported. High winds persisted on Thursday, delaying efforts to recover the cargo and refloat the barge.

The tug Florence M is now sitting in Pictou, as is the barge Jean Raymond. All are owned by McKeil Marine. The barge Sault au Cochon was built in Port Weller, and the tug Florence M is the former Point Vibert and Foundation Vibert, built in 1961 in England.

Mac Mackay


Great Lakes coal trade down 10.3 percent in October

11/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3,351,835 net tons in October, a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to September, and a drop of 10.3 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the month’s 5-year average, loadings were down even more, 16.1 percent.

Shipments from Lake Superior fell 19 percent from a year ago and were also 15 percent off the month’s 5-year average. Loadings in Chicago increased by a couple boatloads compared to a year ago, but were 22 percent below the month’s 5-year average. While the coal trade out of Lake Erie was basically unchanged from a year ago, loadings were 16 percent off October’s 5-year average.

Year-to-date coal shipments stand at 25.7 million tons, an increase of 5.7 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings through October are more than 18 percent (5.8 million tons) off the 5-year average.

Lake Carriers' Association


Great Lakes Shipyard completes set of barges for Corps of Engineers

11/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland has completed construction and delivery of two new barges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The barges will be used to perform critical maintenance and inspections of lock and dam facilities on the upper Mississippi River lock and dam section. One of the barges will service Lock and Dam 16 in Illinois City, Ill., while the other one will service Lock and Dam 18 in Gladstone, Ill.

Current work under contract in the shipyard includes dry-docking and repairs on the ferry William Market, new construction of two sets of sectional floating restroom Barges for the National Park Service, and the construction of two new 70-foot aluminum research vessels for U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Great Lakes Group


Port Reports -  November 12

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Arthur M. Anderson was unloading coal at C. Reiss Coal Co. most of Thursday.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons made its second visit in as many days. This time it delivered a load of coal to the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It came in early Thursday morning and at 2 p.m. was seen out in Lake Michigan heading north.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. arrived on the Saginaw River overnight Wednesday, calling on the Consumer’s Energy dock in Essexville to unload. She was back outbound for the lake on Thursday morning.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Buffalo arrived about 2 a.m. Thursday in Lorain harbor; she was believed to have been at the Jonick Dock due to the moisture evaporation rising from the gravel piles this morning. She cleared the Charles Berry Bridge at 10:48 a.m. and cleared the final harbor light at 11:04 a.m., heading northeast out into the lake at 11:10 a.m.


Seaway cargo shipments up 17.5 percent thanks to surge in iron ore, coal and grain exports

11/12 - Washington, D.C. - Cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway continue to show improvement as the current season comes to an end. An increase in Canadian exports of grains out of Ontario and Quebec, along with demand for construction materials and general cargo shipments boosted October’s numbers.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that total year-to-date shipments reached 27.1 million metric tons through October 31, an increase of 17.5 percent over the same period in 2009. Year-to-date shipments of iron ore for 2010 were up 52.6 percent to 7.9 million metric tons compared to last year, while coal tonnage has increased by 22 percent to 2.8 million metric tons. Total grain shipments have increased by 4 percent to 5.9 million metric tons.

Bulk materials, which include among other items construction materials such as stone, cement and gypsum, increased by 11 percent to 1.5 million metric tons in October compared to the same month in 2009. General cargo (which is comprised of steel slabs, coils and project cargo like wind power components) rose by 27 percent compared to the same month in 2009.

These upward trends are reflected in U.S. port activities. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority reported overall tonnage up 20 percent over the 2009 season led by a nearly 46 percent increase in iron ore and a 27 percent increase in coal shipments.

“The Port of Toledo has had a much stronger season this year over last and we continue to anticipate a strong finish to this season,” said Paul L. Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Midwest Terminals of Toledo, our general cargo facility, unloaded project cargo for Toledo’s BP Husky refinery this season and will be managing the delivery of wind turbines this week. Unique cargo like this is exactly why we added twin Liebherr Mobile Harbor Cranes to the equipment roster at the Port of Toledo.”

“The new cranes performed well on their first run unloading bulk fertilizer earlier this summer. The LMH 280s average around 40 swings per hour, over twice the production that could be achieved with the Port’s older equipment,” added Joseph Cappel, Director of Cargo Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Over the winter, spreader bars and grapples will arrive, enabling the cranes to handle pig iron, project cargo, containers and other products.

Bruce Hodgson, director of marketing for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: “Shipment numbers are continuing to remain strong month-to-month, indicating that the season will finish well ahead of 2009. The world demand for grains out of the U.S. and now more recently from Ontario and Quebec has been a great boost for Seaway traffic and really shows how vital this transportation corridor is to respond to sudden changes in global markets.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway waterway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes. This vital trade corridor delivers approximately $3.6 billion in annual cost savings compared to the next least expensive mode of commercial transportation. This provides a competitive advantage for the North American manufacturing, construction, energy and agri-food sectors.


Seaway losing friends in D.C.3: Great Lakes supporters retiring, lose elections

11/12 - Washington, D.C. - Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the Ohio Democrat who raised eyebrows along the St. Lawrence River last year when she appeared to advocate for expanded shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway, soon may have a greater voice on the Great Lakes.

Mrs. Kaptur could emerge as one of Congress's leaders on Great Lakes transportation issues following the ouster of Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., on Election Day. Mr. Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was the most prominent among several senior lawmakers from the Great Lakes who either lost Nov. 2 or are retiring.

"It's a huge loss for the Great Lakes," said Mark Ruge, a lawyer and lobbyist who represents Great Lakes and Seaway pilots, among other groups with ties to the system. "He was the greatest possible advocate you could have."

What set Mr. Oberstar apart, Mr. Ruge said, was that he understood not only shipping a key interest in his district around Duluth but also environmental concerns that dominate in places such as Northern New York.

In Mr. Oberstar, advocates for shipping or the environment found a lawmaker who was well familiar with the inland waterway; he had visited the locks in Massena and had a good relationship with Canadian Seaway interests as well, owing in part perhaps to his command of French.

He was too pro-shipping for environmental groups such as Save the River, Clayton, which fought against navigation studies that it feared would lead to winter shipping or bigger locks studies that Mr. Oberstar vigorously supported. But he also was an early ally in the fight against invasive species, said Jennifer J. Caddick, executive director of Save the River.

"He gave the hardest push we'd seen in quite a while," she said.

Officials from the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. never had to face questions about where the Seaway is or bring maps when visiting with Mr. Oberstar, which has happened in other congressional offices, said Nancy Alcalde, director of government relations for the Seaway Corp.

He was instrumental in securing tens of millions of dollars to repair and upgrade Seaway locks and other equipment during the past two years, Ms. Alcalde said. The Seaway's asset renewal program required help from other lawmakers as well, to ensure full funding, but Mr. Oberstar was the first to take it seriously and include it an annual bill outlining water resources and development programs, she said.

Mr. Oberstar came to Congress in 1975 after 12 years on the staff of Rep. John Blatnik, D-Minn., who was chairman of the Public Works Committee, the precursor to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Mr. Blatnik, who retired and endorsed Mr. Oberstar to replace him, helped craft legislation to create the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s.

Mr. Oberstar is not the only lawmaker with Seaway interests who is leaving. Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., an advocate for ships' pilots and the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is retiring after four decades representing the district next to Mr. Oberstar's.

Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., the first member of Congress to introduce legislation banning oil and gas drilling under the Great Lakes, is retiring. So is Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., a leader in Great Lakes protection. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, a Great Lakes advocate on the other side of the Capitol, is retiring, too.

All of those lawmakers are being replaced by people who will have to take an interest in Great Lakes issues, said Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association. But whether they take a passing or direct interest or their staffs do remains to be seen.

"I think all the Great Lakes groups, shipping and environmental, are going to have to work a little bit harder," Mr. Fisher said. "We'll have to educate new members. We will have to do more coordinating."

On the other hand, Mr. Fisher said, new lawmakers are often hungrier and have more energy than long-timers, and they may be eager to take on Great Lakes causes. All the same, they may be looking toward Capitol Hill veterans for direction.

That's where Ms. Kaptur comes in. Representing the port of Toledo, which is one of the biggest on the lakes, she could emerge as a leader on transportation issues even though she will serve in the minority, Mr. Fisher said.

Last year, Mrs. Kaptur secured a provision in a House energy and climate bill that could have led to creation of $3.5 billion power marketing agency for the Great Lakes. She had advocated for the Seaway Corp. to take on that role, figuring the agency could use revenue from renewable energy projects to pay for "modernization and advancement" of the Seaway.

It did not become law, but the provision raised objections from Save the River, which feared it could be a back-door route to expanding the Seaway, which the group has said poses great environmental risk along the riverfront. Mrs. Kaptur never said she wanted to expand the Seaway, although in an interview with the Watertown Daily Times at the time, she said she wasn't familiar with environmental objections to doing so.

Another potential leader is Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., who has a background in recreational boating. Her family owned a marina and one of her hobbies is racing sailboats. She will begin her fifth term in Congress in January and serves on the Transportation Committee.

Watertown Daily Times


Susan Bennett: Hard times, greater costs; it's hard to keep Bramble

11/12 - “Please allow me to clarify some points regarding the Port Huron Museum's possible sale of the decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble.

This was not a decision that came easily to the members of the Port Huron Museum Board of Trustees last December. We were entrusted with this great ship, and we tried many programs and events to make it a viable part of our museum system and our entire community.

Through the past seven years the Bramble has been in our care, it has lost significant money, despite the efforts of many supporters. If there were a way other than listing the ship for sale, we would have done that.

The expenses for the ship are stable at $100,000 per year. The bulk of that cost ($65,000) is for insurance and utilities.

Any cost-cutting that could be done was instituted in the past several years. This included cutting hours of operation and reducing contracted fees. For fiscal year 2010, which ended Sept. 30, the Port Huron Museum took in approximately $38,000 in income for the Bramble. It is simple math to calculate the losses.

This includes our popular Bramble Overnight program, which saw 1,200 people spend the night on the ship on 48 different dates. Residents of Oakland and Macomb counties accounted for 79 percent of the bookings. In contrast, visitors from St. Clair County comprised 6 percent.

From those numbers, you can see the Bramble drew visitors who shopped, dined and played in Port Huron.

Without help from Acheson Ventures, the ship never could have operated as a museum ship in Port Huron. Acheson Ventures was instrumental in having the ship stay here after it was decommissioned and has been supportive ever since.

Acheson Ventures offered free dock space, technical assistance, and generous financial support that continue through today. The Port Huron Museum is grateful for that assistance.

The past few years have been tough on all businesses and individuals. Funding and grants for nonprofit entities such as the Port Huron Museum fell to only 10 percent of the dollars it earned six years ago.

During the last calendar year, the museum cut its overall expenses by 20 percent -- more than $100,000, while remaining true to our mission as a historic and cultural center. The "perfect storm" -- a bad economy, declining funding and income, and higher utility and insurance fees -- caused consecutive, significant losses for the Bramble. We cannot operate a business like this.

Unlike our other sites, the Bramble was generously gifted to the museum, and is not a city- or county-owned property. We do not have a millage from which to draw. We are entirely dependent on grants, donations, sponsors, admissions, and membership fees for our survival.

The Bramble's income is not even covering 50 percent of its own expenses.

Stewardship of our collection is a matter we take very seriously. If we are unable to keep or maintain an item, we do our best to find a place where it will be important to an individual or organization.

This could be a painting that does not fulfill our mission statement, or a retired Coast Guard vessel we simply cannot afford. It is our hope that one day the Bramble will go on to "another life" as a tourist attraction or research ship. We wish it could be ours, but it cannot be under current conditions.

We appreciate the community's disappointment regarding this decision and the passion shown for the Bramble. We share both feelings.

Meanwhile, it is "business as usual" on the ship. We are booking Overnights, tours and even a few holiday parties.

We will continue to search for funding and sponsors. If we get an offer, we will (sadly) sell the Bramble.

(The author of this article is executive director of the Port Huron Museum).

Port Huron Time Herald


WWII-era fighter raised from bottom of Lake Michigan

11/12 - Waukegan, Ill. – Lt. J.J. Manley’s report from the USS Wolverine on Saturday, June 12, 1943, included mostly routine information, such as a notation that the freshwater tank was filled and secured at 1635 hours.

But the routine was broken at 1725: “F-21 crashed over port beam into water. Pilot, Ensign C.H. Johnson, recovered by crash (crew), sustaining only superficial cuts. Plane sunk in 220 feet of water.”

And that was where Johnson’s F4U-1 Corsair would remain, largely preserved by the cold, fresh water of Lake Michigan, until Monday morning, when workers for Florida-based A&T Recovery hoisted it onto a dock at Larsen Marine Service.

Dripping with water and decorated with mussels and weeds, the fighter plane was placed next to its tail assembly, which had been ripped off during that ill-fated training exercise 67 years ago.

The first to climb back aboard was Chuck Greenhill of Mettawa, an Army veteran and military aircraft collector who helped finance the recovery mission — the 31st World War II aircraft pulled from the big lake by A&T in recent years.

Greenhill said he sponsored the project because he feels the Birdcage Corsair — so named for its latticed canopy — is a rare find among the different warbirds that were used in training missions out of Glenview Naval Air Station during World War II.

“It’s a very significant airplane, because it represents an era in American history when we were training pilots for overseas duty,” Greenhill said. “Not only did they train the pilots, but the air crews as well. They did thousands and thousands of pilots and crews that way.”

By salvaging the plane for display at the National Navy Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., Greenhill said “people can show their kids and grandkids what commitment and dedication there was in World War II toward winning this fight.”

The process of bringing the Corsair home involved diving some 270 feet below the surface at a point about 35 miles off Highland Park. Keith Pearson, a recovery engineer for A&T, said there are still multiple wrecked or discarded planes from the war years, and “the ice-cold fresh water they’re sitting in is good for storage, (but) the ravages of the lake will eventually take care of them, and they will be no more.”

The Corsair, with its distinct gull-wing shape, is a relatively rare artifact for Lake Michigan because most of the aircraft used for training out of Glenview were Dauntless dive-bombers, which have also been salvaged at Larsen Marine.

Pearson said the Corsair’s powerful engine forced designers to move the cockpit toward the back of the aircraft, meaning a pilot would be “looking at the engine, instead of the carrier he wanted to land on.”

In 24-year-old Carl Harold Johnson’s case, a post-accident report noted that “(the) pilot made a normal approach but lost sight of the signal officer and decided to take a wave-off, but the plane had settled, and as he applied the throttle, (a tailhook wire) pulled the hook assembly out of the plane.”

The report added that after the Corsair left the deck off the port side of the training carrier, it “remained afloat long enough to allow the pilot to get clear.”

Though he came away from the accident intact and earned his carrier qualification, Johnson would not survive his resulting wartime service. He was killed on Thanksgiving Day 1944 in a two-aircraft collision over Hawaii.

Chicago Sun Times


Anchor moved out of main channel on Lake St-Francis below St-Zotique anchorage

11/12 - Seaway Notice To Shipping # 30 reports a stern anchor has been moved out of the main channel. Anchor position is now 200 feet north of buoy D6. Conditions imposed in Notice to Shipping #27 are no longer applicable. Speed for this region is as per published in Seaway handbook.


Updates -  November 12

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports -  November 11

Menominee, Mich. - Dick Lund and Scott Best
The 112-yr.-old tug, John M. Selvick, arrived back in Menominee with the barge Lake Trader, loaded with more wind turbine tower sections, late Wednesday morning. Another Selvick tug, Jacquelyn Nicole, met the pair out in the bay of Green Bay around noontime. Unlike the tower sections that arrived via ship earlier in the year, this load (the first of several such loads) arrived by barge from an eastern lower Great Lakes port. The actual number of these loads to arrive in Menominee yet this year may be determined by how long the Great Lakes remain navigable with the approaching winter's ice.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Robert S. Pierson was unloading grain at the Kraft Foods Elevator. The tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks are at the Ironhead Shipyard. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Robert S. Pierson on Thursday, American Mariner on Saturday followed by Arthur M. Anderson, American Mariner and Cuyahoga on Sunday. There are no ore boats scheduled into the Torco Ore Dock until late next week. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be the Capt. Henry Jackman on Friday. The next scheduled grain boat will be Pineglen, due in very early Thursday morning for the Anderson's K Elevator.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Wednesday around 11:30 a.m. the tug Danial Joncaire brought the crane barge HavsuII out of the Buffalo River. Both the Ohio Street and Michigan Avenue lift bridges were partially opened to allow the passing. Tuesday, the Great Lakes Group tug Ohio arrived and is docked at the old Republic site.


Coast Guard begins nation's largest buoy retrieval operation

11/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – In anticipation of the coming ice season and to ensure the safety of vessels transiting the Great Lakes Basin, the Ninth Coast Guard District has begun its annual retrieval of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System seasonal aids to navigation, the largest domestic aids to navigation recovery operation in the United States.

Operation Fall Retrieve, which includes lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons, commenced Oct. 14, with a goal of retrieving 1,264 navigational aids, and should be completed by Dec. 28. The aids, approximately half in the region, are taken out of service during the winter months due to decreased vessel traffic and to minimize damage from ice and severe weather.

The Ninth Coast Guard District's aids to navigation system facilitates safe and efficient maritime activity in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region by marking safe passage for domestic, international, commercial and recreational vessel traffic. The Coast Guard manages 2,599 federal aids in the region.

The waters of the United States and its territories are marked to assist navigation by the U.S. Aids-to-Navigation System. This system employs a simple arrangement of colors, shapes, numbers and light characteristics to mark navigable channels, waterways and obstructions adjacent to them.

To accomplish the aids to navigation mission, the Ninth Coast Guard District employs six Coast Guard cutters, five Aids-to-Navigation Teams; five small boat stations with aids-to-navigation duties; the Lamplighters, civilian employees who manage the inland waters of Northern Minnesota; and Canadian Coast Guard partners and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

In addition, the Ninth District Coast Guard Auxiliary helps inspect approximately 3,000 privately-owned aids to navigation in the region.


Shipwreck washes ashore at dunes after recent storms

11/11 - Glen Arbor, Mich. — Beachcombing is one of Sue Frye's hobbies. She and her husband, Jim, often walk a remote stretch of beach near Lake Michigan's Sleeping Bear Point and clear it of debris.

The couple, of Traverse City, decided to hike it on Halloween, after days of high winds snapped trees and cut power to thousands of residents, knowing the gusts likely stirred something loose. When they reached the spot where the Dune Climb trail meets the water, Frye spotted a large wooden object in the sand. It looked like the hull of a ship, and it hadn't been there before.

"It looked so ancient," said Frye, who captured the image with her cell-phone camera. "Figured it must have been washed up from the deep."

The wreckage is similar to two ships lost in the Manitou Passage about 150 years ago, but local maritime experts said a positive identification might be impossible.

Frye sent her image to Kerry Kelly, chairman of Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, who visited the site and contacted Great Lakes historians. The relic is about 16 feet wide and 40 feet long, Kelly said.

Additional wreckage washed up earlier, about a mile from the Fryes' discovery, but it is unknown whether the two are related. Both pieces can be found by hiking the Dune Climb to where it meets Lake Michigan, or by walking about two and a half miles along the beach from the Maritime Museum in Glen Haven.

"It is huge, and it is heavy, and it is out of the water," Kelly said. "Those winds must have been blowing out there."

The most recent shipwreck appears to be a propeller-driven steamer, not a schooner, said Laura Quackenbush, museum technician with Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The ship piece offers evidence it was constructed to accommodate the weight of a boiler and steam system, Quackenbush said.

She contacted Steve Harold, director of the Manistee County Historical Museum, who said the shipwreck could be that of the St. Nicholas or the General Taylor — both lost during fall months in the mid-19th century.

The St. Nicholas carried wheat when it started to leak and became stranded in Sleeping Bear Bay in November 1857. The General Taylor was stranded in October 1862 near Sleeping Bear Point.

Both ships were wrecked near where the wooden hull washed ashore, said Harold, author of "Shipwrecks of the Sleeping Bear." Determining its identity will be harder, since wood can float for miles and no name or serial numbers were recovered.

"The chances are better than 50-50 that this is an early propeller vessel," he said. "Those are the most logical choices, but there's no proof."

High winds and waves can disturb objects resting on the lake floor, Harold said. Because of ships' size, it is hard to stop them once they're in motion.

Frye knows the Great Lakes are powerful, but she still is awed that the piece washed ashore. "You can't even imagine what it took to push that up there," she said. "It's incredible what that lake can do."

Traverse City Record Eagle


Seaway Notice To Shipping

11/11 - Revised - Vessel Self Spotting Systems – Canadian deep locks from Montreal to Lake Ontario: Testing and evaluation of the vessel self-spotting system has resulted in positive feedback and has proven that the system is ready to be put into operation. Therefore, mariners are advised that the self -spotting system will be utilized for qualified vessels in the Canadian deep locks from Montreal to Lake Ontario. The lock operators will continue to provide the final mooring position via radio communication on initial contact and, if qualified, the captain/pilot shall rely on the vessel self spotting system for position information. For non-qualified vessels, verbal instructions via radio will be provided as per established procedures. Mariners should be aware that if the system does not respond as expected during a lockage, the lock operators will provide spotting instructions as required.


Updates -  November 11

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards 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 its 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 pilothouse, 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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up 30 percent in October

11/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5,026,477 net tons in October, a 6.1-percent decrease compared to September, but a 30.5-percent improvement over a year ago. Even so, loadings were still 8.6 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

October loadings at U.S. Great Lakes ports increased 28.3 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports along the Seaway were up 46 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 44 million tons, an increase of 90 percent compared to the same point last year. However, the end-of-October total is still 2.5 percent off the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 92 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports are 81 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  November 10

St. Marys River
Traffic was unusually slow Tuesday, with only two vessels passing during daylight. Birchglen was downbound in the lower river in the morning and American Spirit was upbound in mid-afternoon. Traffic picked up after dark, with Mesabi Miner and Montrealais upbound and Paul R. Tregurtha, followed by Presque Isle and American Republic, downbound.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons docked at Verplank's facility in Ferrysburg about 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound Tuesday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. Once finished, she departed the slip and was outbound for the lake during the afternoon. The tug Ann Marie returned to the Saginaw River on Monday with additional dredging equipment and was moving equipment between the Essroc dock and confined disposal island on Tuesday.

Vessel traffic on the Saginaw River was down for both the month and the year as of the end of October. There were 19 vessel passages in October as compared to 22 during the same time period last season. For the year to date, there have been 127 commercial vessel passages as compared to 141 during the same time frame last season.


Casino company proposes narrowing Cuyahoga River

11/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Dan Gilbert's casino company would like to narrow the Cuyahoga River channel behind Tower City Center to make room for more parking and a buffer space for the $600 million casino complex they plan to build there.

But the proposal by casino developer Rock Ventures to claim about 29 feet of the channel across 686 feet of its property would require an act of Congress, officials said Monday.

"This navigation channel was established by an act of Congress," said Bruce Sanders, a spokesman with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo district office, which has jurisdiction over the matter. "It would take an act of Congress to modify it, that is to make it narrow."

"Right now we don't even have an application," Sanders added.

The casino to be built behind Tower City, slated to open in 2013, is one of four Ohio voters approved. Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert controls the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos; Penn National Gaming -- a Pennsylvania-based gaming company -- has the Columbus and Toledo sites.

Jennifer Kulczycki, a spokeswoman for Gilbert's Rock Ventures, described an Oct. 21 meeting her company had with state and federal officials as "preliminary discussions."

"We did have discussions with the Army Corps about some concepts that would allow us to have parking underneath the casino structure as to not interrupt the nice view of the casino from the street," Kulczycki said.

"We haven't made any decisions yet," she added. "We would certainly work with the right community stakeholders to make sure that it's safe."

But at the meeting last month, Rock Ventures presented schematics for narrowing the channel along the 16-acre site it bought in August from Tower City Enterprises. In addition to providing parking, the extension of the bulkhead into the river channel would provide a buffer for the casino complex, which at points comes within feet of the river wall.

The property hugs what's known as "collision bend," a treacherous, 180-degree turn in the Cuyahoga River.

"Some of the vessels that use the channel come within 30 feet of the bulkhead right now," said Alan Sisselman, who oversees Ohio permit applications for the Army Corps. "You can do the math. You take away 28 feet and you're down to two feet."

It's the math that has Glen Nekvasil and the Lake Carrier's Association concerned. Nekvasil, vice president for communication for the Cleveland-based nonprofit, said that even now, under ideal conditions, navigating the twists and turns of the river is difficult.

Companies in the steel, construction and fuel industries rely on the channel. The smallest vessel making the journey is 620 feet long, while the largest is 711 feet -- 3 feet taller than the Terminal Tower if stood upright on its stern.

"The problem is that conditions are rarely perfect and ships don't run on rails," said Nekvasil, whose group represents the 18 companies that operate American-flagged ships on the Great Lakes. "It's quite a challenge to get a ship up and down that river." A spokeswoman for ArcelorMittal, the largest company up river, said the steelmaker was reviewing the proposal to make sure ships could continue to efficiently transport materials to its operations and other businesses.

ArcelorMittal's Cleveland operations is one of the largest steel makers in the United States, producing 3.8 million tons of raw steel annually and employing about 1,500 people. The plant is located on 950 acres on the Cuyahoga River in facilities that once were home to LTV and Republic Steel plants.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Ceremonies around the Great Lakes mark 35th anniversary of Fitzgerald's loss

11/10 - A number of memorials around the Great Lakes today and later this week will remember the Edmund Fitzgerald, lost with all hands 35 years ago with all hands in a violent Lake Superior gale.

In Detroit, the annual Lost Mariners Remembrance will be held from 6-8 p.m. tonight at Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle. This year's remembrance will focus on the Lady Elgin, which sunk after being rammed by a schooner on Lake Michigan in the early morning hours of Sept. 8, 1860. It was the worst maritime tragedy on the open waters of the Great Lakes. Event highlights will include a lantern vigil at the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald anchor, ballads performed by Lee Murdock, a color guard escort of a memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by a flotilla of Great Lakes vessels with 19 international military, maritime, and community agencies participating, and a special program with author Valerie van Heest. For more information visit In addition, the event will be made available as a live webcast for those unable to attend in person Click here to view.

In River Rouge, Mich., near where the Fitzgerald was launched in 1959, a ceremony is set for 6-8 p.m. tonight near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse at Belanger Park. Several speakers will give their memories of the ship, including people who helped construct it and relatives of some of the deceased crewmen. Earlier in the day, an Edmund Fitzgerald open house will be held from 3- 5 p.m. at the River Rouge Historical Museum. For more information on either event contact Dolores Swekel at 313-842-7822.

At Whitefish Point, near where the Fitzgerald went down, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum will offer its annual memorial service beginning at 7 p.m. tonight in the Shipwreck Museum building. Public seating will begin no earlier than 6:30 pm on a first-come, first-served basis. This year's Fitzgerald service will be conducted by the Rev. Richard Ingalls, Jr., rector of the Mariner's Church in Detroit. As described in Gordon Lightfoot's song, it was the Rev. Ingalls fathers who rang the bell "29 times for each man on the Edmund Fitzgerald." The public is invited to attend the service, which includes music, reflections, and a Call to the Last Watch Ceremony during which the bell is tolled for each crew member, plus a 30th ring to remember all mariners lost on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum will be open on Wednesday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The Shipwreck Coast Museum Store will be open that day from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Standard museum admission rates apply; admission to the Fitzgerald service is free. For more information, call the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at 888-492-3747.

Cadets from the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City will honor the memory of cadet David Weiss, lost on Fitzgerald, in ceremonies Wednesday at noon in the courtyard of the academy. The memorial will also pay tribute to all mariners lost on the Great Lakes or ocean. As they have for a number of years, some academy cadets will leave after the ceremony and drive to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point to again honor their lost comrade.

In Duluth/Superior, annual Gales of November activities begin on Friday at Grandmas Sports Garden with a joint luncheon with the Duluth-Superior Propeller Club. The keynote speaker, Pat Labadie, former Museum Director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, will present "Shedding New Light on Maritime History." Various area tour options follow lunch and the day concludes with an reception, sponsored by Lake Superior Magazine, at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Canal Park. Events on Saturday, Nov. 13, all held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center, begin at 8:30 a.m. The day is filled with maritime-related educational breakout presentations, a mini trade show, silent auction, and an opportunity to enter a raffle with a chance to win a trip on a Great Lakes freighter. The raffle drawing will take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Gales of November closing on Saturday. Tickets to Gales of November are required. Immediate details and registration information can be found at

In Rogers City, Mich., the Rogers City Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum will honor fallen sailors throughout November at bell tolling memorials. Members of the community and families of the deceased will gather to remember the shipwrecks of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Carl D. Bradley and Daniel J. Morrell. The bell tolling service for each shipwreck will take place at 2 p.m. on the closest Saturday to the date of the actual wreck. The tolling for the Edmund Fitzgerald will be Nov. 13, Nov. 20 for the Carl D. Bradley and Nov. 27 for the Daniel J. Morrell.

Finally, in the Port Huron area, the Friends of the St. Clair County Library will present "The Edmund Fitzgerald Investigations," a documentary on the Fitzgerald, on Nov. 19 at the St. Clair County Auditorium.
Hosting will be former Great Lakes sailor Frank Frisk and Historian/Videographer Ric Mixter. The documentary is the only one of its kind to include video footage from all of the ship's expeditions including some never-seen-before footage from the CURV III mission, which was used to first explore the wreck site in 1976. The 60-minute piece will feature the history of the boat including footage of its building and its launch near Detroit. Interviews with former crew members and U.S. Coast Guard investigators will also be included.
Admission is free, and registration is required for the event. To reserve a spot, contact (810) 984-2406


Lighthouse keeper passes away

11/10 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Ethel Williamson, an irrepressible family matriarch with a yen for story-telling, has died at age 103.

Williamson led a rich life as a former lighthouse keeper in Port Weller, Ont. She was also an accomplished writer and devoted amateur radio operator. She passed away at Niagara Ina Grafton Gage Village after a decline following complications from a stroke.

"She had an absolutely indomitable spirit," said her grandson, St. Catharines city Councillor Bruce Williamson. "She was a perfect grandmother for us, she was very inspiring," he said. "You'd go for a visit with her and get this dose of her positive energy. You always felt better after you spoke to her than when you went in."

Williamson was born in England and immigrated to St. Catharines with her family in 1911. She married her husband Cyril in the late 1920s. The couple lived at the lighthouse for 25 years. There, Williamson learned Morse code and earned her radio operator's license -- one of the first women in Canada to do so. She had also been a published author of short stories and articles and penned books that include “A Light on the Seaway,” published in 1972, about her family's life at the Port Weller lighthouse.

In July 2005, she christened the new Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Storm at the Port Weller Coast Guard Station -- the site of her family's old lighthouse.

St. Catharines Standard


Updates -  November 10

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated: J.B. Ford, Ben W. Calvin, Black River, E.B. Barber and Cliffs Victory
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards 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, Michigan, at position 47 0'N by 85 7'W in Canadian waters.

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

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

The ROBERT C. STANLEY, in her first season of operation, on November 10, 1943 during a Lake Superior storm, 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 November 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.


Windoc hull headed for Port Colborne

11/9 - The former N.M. Paterson & Sons bulk carrier Windoc, infamous for her career-ending encounter with the Allenburg Bridge on the Welland Canal on Aug. 11, 2001, left Toronto late Monday afternoon under tow of the tugs Jarret M, Seahound, and Lac Manitoba.

The tow was off the Port Weller entrance to the Welland Canal at 9:45 p.m., bound for the International Marine Salvage dock in Port Colborne, Ont. Her eventual disposition is unknown, although waterfront watchers assume she will be scrapped.

After the accident, which resulted in a fire that destroyed the vessel’s aft end, she was converted to a barge but never saw service in that capacity. Paterson claimed that the accident effectively forced it out of the shipping business. Paterson's remaining four ships were sold in 2002 ending their long history of shipping on the lakes and Seaway.

The Windoc has most recently been jointly owned by Algoma Central Marine and Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.


Port Reports -  November 9

Milwaukee, Wis - Jason Heindel
USCG WLBB-30 Mackinaw was moored Monday at the rear of the Lake Express Ferry Terminal pier, adjacent to USCG Sector Lake Michigan Station Milwaukee.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
English River arrived at about 4:30 p.m. The tug Washington was on hand to provide the assist. As of 5:30 p.m., the Martin was still backed in at Gateway loading. Manistee was unloading sand Monday morning at the sand dock on the City Ship Canal. She left around 11:30 a.m.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Algoma Spirit sailed from Halifax Monday morning bound for Port Cartier. However by mid-afternoon she was back alongside at pier 25.


U.S. Steel locks out workers at Hamilton plant

11/9 - Hamilton, Ont. - Picket lines at Hamilton’s U.S. Steel Canada plant were calm Monday after some 900 workers were locked out by the steelmaker on Sunday.

“There don’t appear to be any issues down there at the moment,” said Hamilton police media officer Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings.

U.S. Steel Canada locked its gates Sunday after a “full and final” offer that involved radical changes to workers’ retirement plans. Collings said Hamilton police’s key labour relations specialist, who is a civilian, is at the plant’s gates to help monitor picketing.

This is the first time U.S. Steel, formerly Stelco, has locked out workers. Talks between the steelmaker and United Steelworkers Local 1005 hit a major impasse over the company’s demands to close the employee defined benefit pension plan to new employees, who would go onto a defined contributions pension plan. U.S. Steel’s pension plans are about $1.2 billion short of covering all top-up obligations.

Hamilton Spectator


Low Great Lakes levels prompt new call for action

11/9 - Detroit, Mich. - The U.S.-Canadian body overseeing Great Lakes issues could take engineering steps to raise the levels of the Lake Michigan/Lake Huron system to offset nearly a decade of water loss. But steps taken to help one area of the Great Lakes would likely impact the others, creating the potential for a tug of war over water resources within the region.

The International Joint Commission has commissioned a study of options to address water problems in Lakes Michigan and Huron, where levels have fluctuated from a few inches to more than a foot below the lakes' historical average since the late-1990s. If implemented, however, those actions would likely have a trickle-down effect on levels in the lower Great Lakes and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers as well. That may not be welcome news in some areas already experiencing problems of their own.

For more than a decade, John Milbourne has run Michigan Sport Fishing charter service out of the Luna Pier Harbor Club on Lake Erie. And last summer, the fickle waters of the lake finally caught up with him.

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes and subject to drastic changes anytime powerful winds come in from the west. Those winds can push the water miles from shore, leaving boats high and dry. It happened last summer when Milbourne was out chasing walleye with clients.

After finding a deep-water marina to put in, he had to call a friend to come and pick up his passengers. Restricting the flow of water out of Lakes Michigan and Huron, he said, would not only make a repeat of last summer's misadventure more likely, but it would also impact the entire lake system to the south.

"I have family members with docks on Lake St. Clair that used to be 20 feet long, but are now more than 100 feet long because of lower waters," he said. Decreasing the water coming into Lake St. Clair, he added, would only make that situation worse.

"We shouldn't mess with Mother Nature," Milbourne said. "We should let her take care of herself. She does a pretty good job."

For years, International Joint Commission officials have resisted calls — particularly from conservation groups in Ontario's Georgian Bay — for action. In June, Michigan environmentalist Lana Pollack became commission chair and, within four months, the new study had been approved.

The Canadian groups believe that human activities — particularly dredging in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers over the last century — are a contributing factor to the water loss. It's a hotly contested theory, and both sides have produced scientific studies supporting their theories.

Some contend the water loss may simply be a product of Mother Nature running its course. As severe weather was transforming the nation's prairies and farmland into the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, it also was helping lower water levels in the Great Lakes. From 1931 into the early 1940s, the lakes measured consistently lower than normal averages.

They eventually rebounded, rising back to normal by the mid-1940s, thanks to changes in weather patterns. A similar pattern occurred in the 1960s. Yet David Sweetnam, executive director of Georgian Bay Forever, said the last decade represents the longest stretch in which Lake Huron has remained below its historical average.

Regardless of why the water levels have dipped, the loss has resulted in disappearing wetlands, receding shorelines and drastic changes in Georgian Bay residents' ability to enjoy Lake Huron.

"We have islands here in the bay — they used to be separated by water and now they're connected," Sweetnam said. "In places that are susceptible to low waters, we've had 10 years of no water. All of the species in those wetlands are now living in completely different environments."

Water loss on both sides of the lake affects everything from businesses like shipping and fishing to property values and recreation.

In Lakeport, along the shore of Lake Huron, Diane Moger said the water loss of the last decade has been something of a mixed blessing. Receding waters have left 30 to 40 extra feet of beach in front of her home. At the same time, some boat hoists on other area properties now hang over dry land.

In October, commission officials called for a scientific evaluation of several options for raising Michigan/Huron levels, and their potential impact:

• Taking no action and allowing the levels to remain where they are.
• Raising Michigan/Huron by 4 inches — to the level in place before U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the St. Clair River in 1962.
• Raising Michigan/Huron by 10 inches — to the pre-1960 level.
• Raising Michigan/Huron by 15 inches — the level seen in the early 1900s.

Should researchers recommend corrective action, it would take several years for any proposal to work through the approval processes in both countries. Any work would likely be jointly funded by the United States and Canada, according to John Nevin, a spokesman for the International Joint Commission.

Any action taken to raise levels in the Lake Michigan/Huron system would most likely be taken near the mouth of the St. Clair River, where water flows south from Port Huron into Lake St. Clair. But any steps to bolster the lakes' levels will likely drop others — a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Early projections on raising Lakes Michigan and Huron by 20 inches show Lake Erie's level dropping immediately by just under an inch and taking more than a decade to recover.

Conservation groups in Ohio have been keeping a watch on IJC. What's good for people in one area of the Great Lakes, they said, may not be good for others.

"We're very concerned about what the IJC will decide to do and how it moves forward," said Kristy Meyer, director of agricultural and clean water programs for the Ohio Environmental Council. "People here understand concerns along Lake Huron about property values and how people there enjoy their quality of life. And by no means do we want to see that diminished. But don't take steps that will diminish ours."

John Nevin, spokesman for the commission, said the study should be completed next spring and will be released for comment.

"Part of our standard operating procedure is to look at what this could mean to all interests: navigation, coastal property owners, etc.," he said. "We'll look at what it means to both the upstream and downstream interests. If we can find some structure for the St. Clair River to hold water back and raise Lake Michigan/Huron, that will make somebody happy, but you may wind up with others who aren't so happy. And we'll take all that into consideration."

Meyer said before the commission considers an engineering solution, remedies should be tried like wetlands restoration, requiring more environmentally friendly guidelines for development and encouraging use of rain gardens and bioswales.

Milbourne, whose charter business could be impacted by the commission decision, said he can see both sides of the issue.

"I just hope there are people out there smarter than me to figure out the right move," he said.

The Detroit News


Updates -  November 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 9

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 transcribed by his great grandson Hugh Mc Nichol. John was working on the steamer E.L. WALLACE of the Dearborn 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.


Mystery, debate still surround sinking of Edmund Fitzgerald

11/8 - Detroit, Mich. - Great Lakes explorer Frederick Shannon retired from diving about five years ago because of declining health.

The 64-year-old former police officer, who lives near Flint, Mich., is best known for his explorations of the wreckage of the sunken freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald. He spent about $75,000 to lease a two-man submarine to make seven dives into Lake Superior in July 1994.

Many family members of the 29 crewmembers lost when the ship sank on Nov. 10, 1975, were unhappy when he ventured to the wreck site. They were even more upset when he announced that a body could be seen and that he intended to release photos showing the discovery.

Shannon further angered many family members in 1995 when he sued to prevent the removal of the Fitzgerald's bell so it could be placed on display at the shipwreck museum in Whitefish Point in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He lost the suit.

As the 35th anniversary of the Fitzgerald's sinking approaches Wednesday, Shannon says he now has a better appreciation for the pain felt by the crew's relatives.

"If removing the bell from the Fitzgerald brought solace to the families, I'm all for it," he says. "I think they needed a physical thing for closure, and what better than the heart of the ship, which was the bell."

The Edmund Fitzgerald's wreckage sits 530 feet below Lake Superior's surface. There are two large, intact sections at either end, but the middle was broken into pieces. The ship sank during a storm about 17 miles from Whitefish Point.

It's one of thousands of shipwrecks that dot the Great Lakes, but it's easily the most famous, thanks in large part to Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 ballad, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

It's not clear why the big ship sank as it traveled from Superior, Wis., on its way to Zug Island near Detroit with a load of taconite pellets, or iron ore.

Theories on the sinking's cause abound. The uncertainty even prompted Lightfoot to alter his lyrics slightly this year after watching a documentary on the accident that suggested a rogue wave was to blame. Lightfoot eliminated a reference to a hatchway failure and the suggestion of human error.

One thing is clear: The storm that battered the Fitzgerald was a monster, whipping the 729-foot freighter with hurricane-force winds and massive waves. Tom Farnquist, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in Whitefish Point, says he has heard blame cast on everything, including giant waves, UFOs and sabotage.

"I still can't come up with a smoking gun," he says. "It's still a mystery."

Shannon believes structural failure was the cause. "It had a lengthy record of maintenance issues," he says of the ship. "There's a lot of conjecture about its seaworthiness."

Shannon and Farnquist are among the few divers who have seen the Fitzgerald wreckage. The number is likely to remain small because authorities in Canada have placed strict protections over the site to limit access. Although the official record lists the Fitzgerald's resting place in Canadian waters, Shannon contends part of the wreckage is in the USA.

Ruth Hudson lost her 22-year-old son, Bruce, in the wreck. Hudson, who lives near Cleveland, says she prefers to celebrate the lives of the men who died. She says her son was on a break from his journalism studies at Ohio State University when he took a deckhand job on the Fitzgerald. She says Bruce had a great personality, played guitar and loved life.

Hudson, who plans to attend a memorial service in Whitefish Point this year, doesn't know why the ship sank and would rather not talk about it.

"It doesn't really matter now because you can't bring them back," she says.

Jon Soyring of Green Bay lost his uncle, Oliver "Buck" Champeau, an engineer on the freighter. Soyring says he has turned from a detractor to a supporter of Shannon, who he says got a bad rap.

"The media slammed him as the Prince of Darkness because he found a body and photographed it," Soyring says of Shannon. "You have to tell the story, and the body is part of it."

Soyring says the body was an important find because it indicates crewmembers knew the ship was in trouble before it sank, raising doubts about claims that the ship sank suddenly. He says he believes the ship broke apart on the surface because of structural problems. Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  November 8

St. Marys River
Sunday’s downbound traffic included Mapleglen, Roger Blough, John G. Munson, Arthur M. Anderson, Tracer, Quebecois and Stewart J. Cort. Upbounders included Burns Harbor, Calliroe Patronicola and Algosar.

Green Bay and Washington Island, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
With the season winding down only the carferry Washington (Washington Island Ferry Line) was making scheduled limited trips from Northport to Detroit Harbor on Washington Island. Only a few fish tugs remain in Jackson Harbor now, the C&R, the Seadiver and the recently renovated classic fish tug Welcome, which was built in 1926. Most recently she had been pulled out for a number of years, until being renovated by her owner Ken Koyen and placed back in the water. As of Sunday, Manitowoc finished unloading coal at Georgia Pacific at noon and was outbound in the Fox River early afternoon for Green Bay.

Marinette, Wis. - Scott Best
Zelada Desgagnes arrived on its first ever trip to Marinette Sunday morning with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. Desgagnes backed in through the piers to the Donner stern first with no tug assistance. After a partial unload in Marinette the vessel was scheduled to finish unloading Monday morning in Green Bay at the Fox River Dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Blacky is in at Redpath Sugar awaiting unloading.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Algoma Spirit is due to sail from Halifax Monday morning, Nov. 8. This will be her first trip under the Canadian flag.


Rogers City Great Lakes Lore Museum to host annual bell tolling

11/8 - Rogers City, Mich. - The Rogers City Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum will honor fallen sailors throughout November at bell tolling memorials. Members of the community and families of the deceased will gather to remember the shipwrecks of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Carl D. Bradley and Daniel J. Morrell.

"The bell tolling ceremony is for the crew members that perished on the shipwrecks," said David Erickson, museum president and director. Erickson is one of seven survivors left from the Cedarville shipwreck, which is honored in May. He said all who have attended the annual event enjoy the history.

"We're all about remembering the men that gave their lives on the lake in shipwrecks," he said.

Brass replica bells and a bell that was recovered in 2007 from the Carl D. Bradley will be tolled inside the museum, and Erickson said volunteers from the audience are usually asked to participate.

The bell tolling service for each shipwreck will take place at 2 p.m. on the closest Saturday to the date of the actual wreck. The tolling for the Edmund Fitzgerald will be Nov. 13, Nov. 20 for the Carl D. Bradley and Nov. 27 for the Daniel J. Morrell.

"Tolling the bell is similar to the Army or the Navy doing a salute with a rifle. We toll the bells for a fallen sailor," Erickson said.

The event begins with a welcome from Rogers City Mayor Beach Hall and an invocation from a local minister. After the ceremony, the museum is open for tours. Visitors who tour the museum most likely will be guided by a retired member of Great Lakes shipping, Erickson said.

"We are the only museum on the Great Lakes that honors the men and women that worked the lake," Erickson said.

The lone survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell, Dennis Hale, will be present at the wreck's ceremony to give a description of the night of the wreck, and he will be signing copies of his book, "Sole Survivor."


Updates -  November 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 8

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.



Canadian Leader towed from Hamilton to scrapyard

11/7 - Hamilton, Ont. - The retired steamer Canadian Leader left Hamilton, Ont., around 2: 30 p.m. Saturday under tow of the tugs Seahound, Lac Manitoba and Jarret M., bound for the IMS scrapyard at Port Colborne, where the Leader is expected to be cut up. At 8 p.m. the tow was off the Port Weller entrance to the Welland Canal.

Canadian Leader was built at Collingwood Shipyards in 1967 for the Papachristidis Company. Originally named Feux-Follets, she was the last steam-powered vessel built for Great Lakes/Seaway service. She was bought by Upper Lakes Shipping and given her present name in 1972.

Eric Holmes


Port Reports -  November 7

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic on a sunny fall Saturday included Charles M. Beeghly, Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann, Paul R. Tregurtha, Birchglen, Lee A. Tregurtha and Herbert C. Jackson. Downbound were John J. Boland, Robert S. Pierson, Peter R. Cresswell, Algoma Guardian, Cuyahoga, American Spirit, Irma and Rega. Federal Mackinac remained at the Export Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and the saltie Rebecca was still at anchor in the lower St. Marys River.

Grand Traverse Bay
The tug Undaunted and barge PM 41 sought shelter in Northport Bay off Grand Traverse Bay Friday and left some time after dark.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
H. Lee White finished loading coal at the CSX Dock and departed Saturday afternoon. Kaye E. Barker was due in Saturday evening to load coal at the CSX Docks. CSL Laurentien arrived at Anderson's K Elevator late Saturday afternoon to load grain. The tug John Spence with her barge departed from the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock Saturday evening. The tug Freedom Service with the barge Energy 11103 were unloading cargo at the Hocking Valley Dock. The tug Cleveland remains in drydock at the Ironhead Shipyard while the barge Cleveland Rocks is moored in the small slip just north of the drydock area. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the John B. Aird and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Sunday followed by the John J. Boland and the barge Niagara Spirit on Monday. There are no ore boats scheduled into the Torco Ore Dock until Mid November. The next scheduled stone boat due into the Midwest Stone Dock will be Capt. Henry Jackman on Tuesday. Detroit Princess is moored at the City Docks. They had evening cruises scheduled for Friday and Saturday evenings along the Maumee River. It is unknown if they will stay in Toledo for another week or return back to Detroit in the next several days.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug John M Selvick and barge Lake Trader departed the Republic Steel dock on the Buffalo River at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday with the G-tug Washington. They cleared through the CSX bridges by 8:30 a.m. headed downbound. The G-tug Ohio is expected this week to take out the barge CBC-1268. The tug Capt. Bud Bisso appears to have been in town to drop off the barge CBC-1268 for a charter to Great Lakes Towing; the tug appears to have left town after dropping it off earlier this week.


Updates -  November 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 7

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.


Soo Locks to get new observation deck, fencing

11/6 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has awarded a contract for installation of a new observation deck and fencing at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

The improvements are part of the Soo Locks Facilities Master Plan, a long-range strategy for preserving the historic character and natural beauty of the Soo Locks and for promoting sustainable development on the site.

The $2 million contract was awarded to Nomad Construction Inc., of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., a small business. Nomad will demolish an existing concrete-and-steel observation deck overlooking the locks, construct a new one, and replace the chain link fence along the northern boundary of the Upper and Lower Canal Parks with a black wrought iron fence. The new deck will have two elevated viewing platforms, new light fixtures, and a ramp to the lower level for increased accessibility.

“These improvements will help us maintain the beauty, functionality, and historical significance of the Soo Locks,” said Lt. Col. Michael Derosier, district engineer. “Thousands of people enjoy visiting the Soo Locks, which is a National Historic Landmark. I am pleased we will help preserve this unique attraction. It is hands down the best place to observe Great Lakes shipping and learn about one of the nation’s vital transportation industries.”

The Soo Locks Facilities Master Plan includes improvements to the property adjacent to the Soo Locks. Visitors gather there to view ships, learn about the history of the locks, and visit three parks: the Upper Canal, Lower Canal, and Brady Park. Several architecturally unique buildings are among the 75 structures on the site. The Corps did not indicate whether two smaller viewing platforms at either end of the MacArthur Lock would be renovated, or even remain open to the public.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, maintains a navigation system of 95 harbors, including the Great Lakes Connecting Channels that join lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie.


Fishing tug accused of ramming government vessel is caught

11/6 - Port Huron, Mich. — A fishing tug accused of ramming a U.S. law enforcement vessel last year has been arrested on the St. Clair River.

Border authorities say an off-duty officer noticed a fishing trawler, the Josh II, heading north on the river Thursday. A helicopter tracked the trawler until it was trapped by an island near Port Huron. That's when a U.S. vessel moved in and stopped the Josh II from returning to Canadian waters.

Authorities say John Liddle has been wanted since the Josh II rammed a government vessel about a year ago and dashed back to the Canadian side. Liddle appeared in federal court in Detroit on Friday. It was not known if he has a lawyer.

The back of the boat shows the Josh II is from Chatham, Ont.

Chicago Tribune


Indian tribe acquires land in Port Huron; no word yet on plans

11/6 - Port Huron, Mich. - Officials are tight-lipped about what the Bay Mills Indian Community plans to do in Port Huron, but records confirm the tribe has acquired property in the city from Acheson Ventures.

County records show the tribe, based in Brimley in the Upper Peninsula's Chippewa County, acquired property at 1300 Military St., the site of the former post office, on Wednesday. It was the same day the tribe opened a new gaming center in Vanderbilt amid claims of illegality.

County records show the parcel was transferred Wednesday for $100,000. It's not clear how much property has been bought. County records show the only property owned by Bay Mills in St. Clair County is the Military Street location.

Records show the property is nearly 16.5 acres in size, but the post office parcel occupies about an acre. The records also indicate the property includes different lots, but it's unclear where those are situated.

Randy Fernandez, city assessor, said Thursday that his office was not aware of the tribe's acquisition and he did not know the boundaries of the parcel.

City Manager Bruce Brown said he was told the property was about 22 acres in size and includes the post office and an undeveloped portion of waterfront property along Desmond Landing.

Bay Mills has a history of courting the city and trying to bring a casino and resort to the area.

"We're just continuing to work on the project there, like we have for the last 15 years," said Mike Malik, who has worked to develop a casino in Port Huron. He said there was "nothing imminent" happening with the project. Malik referred further questions to the tribe.

An Acheson Ventures spokeswoman also referred all questions to Bay Mills.

Jeff Parker, the tribal chairman, could not be reached for comment Thursday. Vicki Newland, Bay Mills Gaming Commission administrator, referred questions to the tribe communications department. She said the commission has received no plans in regard to a casino in Port Huron. Allyn Cameron, Bay Mills spokesman, could not be reached for comment. A call to the Bureau of Indian Affairs was not returned.

Brown said he does not know exactly what will happen with the site but hopes to meet with other officials in the near future to discuss plans.

"I'm not a casino expert or an expert on what's involved," Brown said. "I know it's been going on since long before I got here, (but) if they've gone ahead and purchased the land, it would be my guess the process is working well, but I don't know that."

Randy Maiers, Community Foundation of St. Clair County president, said he was happy to hear the Bay Mills Indian Community has acquired property in Port Huron. He said the foundation would be willing to adapt its plans to construct a river walk along the waterfront to account for any development.

The waterfront property known as Desmond Landing has some plans taking shape, but officials said whatever Bay Mills has planned would not be a problem.

Acheson Ventures has offered to give the foundation a strip of land along Desmond Landing as well as five acres that include the Great Lakes Maritime Center. Maiers said the deed for the river walk property will change hands after a design is finalized in the next few weeks. The river walk is estimated to cost about $1.3 million.

Maiers said he didn't know what Bay Mills has planned for the property and is looking forward to finding out. He said a casino and river walk would complement one another.

Brown said plans for an aquarium attraction also wouldn't be disturbed.

"It will have an impact because they may be occupying the same site, but the aquarium would very much be a part of whatever goes down there," he said.

In the spring, the City Council approved a one-year contract to develop an aquarium with Marinescape Ecoaquariums. The city agreed to pay the New Zealand company $100,000 to complete a feasibility study.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  November 6

Rochester, N.Y. - Jake VanReenen
Stephen B. Roman was outbound the Genesee River at 8 a.m.


BoatNerd Requests Hardware Donations

11/6 - BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation, or individual, to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software. We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher and any size LCD monitor. Also servers and video production equipment. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please contact us at


Updates -  November 6

Historical Perspective Gallery J. B. Ford gallery updated
Lewis G. Harriman Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 6

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.

On November 6, 1897, the Minnesota Steamship boat 'MARIPOSA' (steel, 348', 2898 gross tons, built in 1892, Globe Iron Works, Cleveland, Ohio) under the command of Capt. Frank Root, rescued the two remaining survivors of the wreck of the package freighter 'IDAHO' (wooden package freighter, 220', 915 gross tons, built in 1863, Peck & Masters, Cleveland, Ohio.) off Long Point, Ontario on Lake Erie. The MARIPOSA'S First Mate, Capt. Myron K. Chamberlain had sighted the two Idaho survivors clinging to the 100' spar of the sunken IDAHO. Gale winds and seas of 12'-15' overtook the IDAHO taking with it to their deaths 19 crewmen including Captain Alexander Gillies. "In what is considered one of the greatest accomplishments of ship handling and rescue by a major Great Lakes vessel", Capt. Root and his crewmen were able to turn the MARIPOSA around ("rolling her rails under") three times in the midst of a gale, bringing their vessel right up to the spar where IDAHO Second Mate Louis LaForce Jr. and Deckhand William Gill were pulled "half dead" on board the MARIPOSA by the officers and deck crew. Both LaForce & Gill recovered. An appreciative City of Buffalo, (hometown to most of the IDAHO crew), and the Minnesota Steamship Company awarded Capt. Root a gold watch, and instructed him to award his first mate and chief engineer each an extra month's pay, and the MARIPOSA crew each an extra half month's pay for a job well done.

At 10 p.m. on November 6, 1975 the newly refurbished sidewheel ferry Trillium was towed from the drydock at Ramey's Bend, Ontario, down the Welland Canal by the Canada Dredge & Dock tugs G. W. Rogers and Bagotville, arriving at Toronto on early on a foggy November 7.

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.


Canadian Prospector tow arrives at Aliaga

11/5 - The retired laker Canadian Prospector, which left Montreal under tow on Oct. 1, has arrived safely at Aliaga, Turkey. The former member of the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet was towed into Aliaga and beached on Nov. 3.


Port Reports -  November 5

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Thursday included Tracer, Island Skipper, G.L. Ostrander/Integrity and Quebecois. Downbounders included American Century, Indiana Harbor, American Integrity, Buffalo, Algowood, Beluga Fraternity, Kaye E. Barker and CSL Assiniboine. The saltie Rebecca anchored in the lower St. Marys above DeTour.

Marinette, Wis.- Scott Best
Very early Thursday morning, Catherine Desgagnes arrived in Marinette to finish unloading a cargo of pig iron; Marinette was her third stop, having already delivered to South Chicago and Green Bay before finishing in Marinette. By late Thursday afternoon she was ready to depart and the Selvick tug Jacquelyn Nicole arrived from Sturgeon Bay to assist in turning around in the harbor against a stiff wind. The Jacquelyn Nicole stayed in Menominee overnight due to wind and waves on Green Bay.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday, Mississagi returned with its second load of salt for the week. It arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock before 1 p.m. and began unloading once the boom was in position over the salt pile. Mississagi departed by 3 p.m., headed to Drummond Island.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the river on Wednesday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The Luedtke tug Ann Marie arrived on the Saginaw with dredging equipment on Wednesday also. Thursday saw the arrival of Calumet, with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. She was outbound Thursday evening. Algorail was also inbound, calling on the GM dock in Saginaw. Thursday also saw a very interesting arrival in the tug Evans McKeil and cement barge Metis, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. Essroc is normally serviced by Canada Steamship Lines vessels delivering clinker. A new cement powder unloading system was installed at Essroc over the summer and the McKeil-Metis delivery was the first for this new unloading point.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
CSL Niagara was at Anderson's K Elevator finishing loading grain and was expected to depart late Thursday evening. Detroit Princess is at the City Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie with her barge completed their second transfer of cargo from the barge Energy 11103 and are presently at the Hocking Valley Dock unloading this cargo. The tug Cleveland with the barge Cleveland Rocks remain at Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The tug Freedom Service and barge Energy 11103 were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was at the CSX Docks loading coal. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw and H. Lee White on Friday followed by Kaye E. Barker, barge Niagara Spirit, and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Saturday. There are no ore boats scheduled into the Torco Ore Dock until mid November. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Capt. Henry Jackman on Monday.


Tug moves pieces for Alcoa

11/5 - Cleveland, Ohio - UTC Overseas, Inc. has contracted The Great Lakes Towing Company to assist in the shipment of 11 press pieces, weighing over 2,100 metric tons, for Alcoa.

The Great Lakes Towing Company's tug Superior retrieved two barges from Erie, Pa. The barges were transported by the tug Superior to the Port of Cleveland, where they met the heavy lift vessel Tracer, operated by BigLift. The 11 pieces were loaded onto the barges directly from the Tracer and transported by the tug Superior to the DiGeronimo Dock on the upper Cuyahoga River, where the pieces will be unloaded to trucks and transferred to Alcoa’s warehouse. Unloading is expected to be complete by Nov. 5. The Great Lakes Group


Study of Erie port shipping under way

11/5 - Erie, Pa. - Martin Associates, the consulting firm hired by the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority to conduct the study, has started its analysis and begun to interview companies about their shipping needs and methods, said Jeffrey Sweeney, a project manager with the Lancaster-based company.

The aim is to identify the type of cargo that is and is not coming through the port, find companies that could be using the port for transport, and increase traffic through the port, Sweeney said.

He declined to discuss any results of the cargo analysis so far or name companies the firm has interviewed or will interview. "We're trying to ultimately maximize what the port can do in terms of bringing in cargo," Sweeney said.

Martin Associates also is working with another consulting firm -- Vickerman & Associates, of Williamsburg, Va. -- that is studying the port's facilities and any infrastructure changes that might be needed to increase port business.

The $300,000 project, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, is expected to be done in February.

Ray Schreckengost, executive director of the Port Authority, said the port needs the study to keep up with a changing marketplace.

"What you used to do two years ago doesn't work anymore," Schreckengost said. "You need to continue to update your plans. We're wanting to look at what cargos are available, what do we need to handle them, and how can we get them to come through the port."

John Elliott, chief executive of the Economic Development Corp. of Erie County, said the port's study is "very complementary" to the Inland Port Project, an effort by the Economic Development Corp. to establish a 200-acre business park focused on the distribution, transportation and warehousing of goods.

The project likely will cost more than $50 million in public and private funds and is expected to include multiple sites. Erie County government has provided $3 million toward the project.

The EDC and the Port Authority each have agreed to share their respective research and survey results, as part of a cooperation agreement, Elliott said.

The EDC has received nearly 200 responses to an online survey of shippers, Elliott said. More than 100 of those have indicated that they are moving a large volume of goods over large distances, he said.

"We're having companies provide information on what commodities they're moving, how far they're moving, what ports they're using, and what mode of transportation they're using," Elliott said. "We're identifying patterns in what's moving in and out of our region so we can develop improved facilities or partnerships to make those movements more efficiently, more reliably or less expensively." The Inland Port Project has largely focused on shipping by rail -- a necessary option when ice closes the St. Lawrence Seaway to shipping for several months every year.

"If we want to develop a comprehensive support system for local industry, you have to have both rail and ships as options," Elliott said.

Erie Times


Detroit Princess riverboat giving tours on Maumee

11/5 - Toledo, Ohio - The Detroit Princess riverboat has made its way south for the weekend. The boat usually takes passengers on elegant cruises along the Detroit River, but it is docked for a few days at International Park in downtown Toledo by the Willis B. Boyer.

There are several cruises scheduled to head down the Maumee. Friday is a Motown cruise for $40 that includes a steak and salmon dinner. Saturday is a party cruise with 107.3 The Juice and a guest rapper. That costs $20.



Marinette Marine could build more Navy ships

11/5 - Marinette, Wis. — Marinette Marine Corp. may build 10 Littoral Combat Ships, U.S. Sen. Jeff Session, R-Ala., said Wednesday.

Sessions, a senior member on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, said the U.S. Navy would like to purchase 10 each of two competing designs. Ten would be built in Mobile, Ala., and 10 in Marinette.

Because of strong competition and price reductions, the order can be doubled without new appropriations, Session said.

A Lockheed Martin-led team that included Marinette Marine built LCS-1, the USS Freedom, and LCS-3, named the Fort Worth, is under construction and is expected to be launched Dec. 4.

Austal Ltd. of Mobile built LCS-2, USS Independence, and received a contract for LCS-4.

The original 10-ship contract was worth about $4.8 billion and could support 6,500 direct and indirect jobs in Wisconsin and Michigan, Marinette Marine has said.

Green Bay Press Gazette


$75M in bonds OK’d for U.S. Steel Lorain expansion

11/5 - Elyria, Ohio - Lorain County commissioners announced Wednesday that they were authorizing the Lorain County Port Authority to issue $75 mil¬lion in recovery zone bonds to U.S. Steel for the planned expansion of its Lorain facility.

The expansion is projected to create about 80 jobs and preserve 508 others.

It includes the design and installation of machinery to heat, treat and finish tubing and casing products for the exploration for natural gas. The company is moving this proj¬ect from Texas because of area demand for the products.

Lorain County administrator James Cordes said many of the jobs are trade jobs that have been so hard to come by in recent years.

“When you’re out of work, the unemployment rate in your eyes is 100 percent,” he said.

The issue will go to public hearing sometime in the next few weeks, he said, and will be ready for the Lorain County Port Authority by the end of the year.

The work of securing the bonds has been continuing since July, Cordes said.

Recovery zone bonds are a lower-cost way to finance pub¬lic and private projects in eco¬nomically struggling areas or areas with high unemploy¬ment. Allocations are set to expire at the end of this year.

Initially, the commissioners began working on getting about $45 million in recovery zone bonds. The state granted $40 million. Then, U.S. Steel came back and said it needed more, so the commissioners, along with local representa¬tives, went back to the state and secured another $35 mil¬lion.

“This was the only project (Lorain County) was asking for,” Cordes said. Almost 60 other projects around the state were up for allocations, he said.



Man gets 2 years for faking his own death

11/5 - A Michigan businessman who faked his death in Lake Superior to escape financial pressures was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday.

Officials say in May 2008 Mike Gokey of Marquette, Mich., launched a kayak into Lake Superior with a life jacket and a paddle. He then sent a distress call to the Coast Guard. The U.S. Coast Guard launched an extensive and expensive search for him, including coast guard boats and helicopters. Just hours later Gokey was found, alive, in Iowa.

When authorities found him in Iowa they charge him with false distress, which he plead guilty to in August.

During his trial prosecutors revealed changes Gokey had made to his life insurance policies, increasing two of them from $100,000 to $300,000. The Federal Court found him guilty of intent to defraud insurance companies and sentenced him to two years in Federal Prison, with three years of supervised release following the prison term.

A fine of $250,000 has been waived however, Gokey has been ordered to pay $57,000 in restitution to the government for their 2008 search efforts. Associated Press


Lost Mariners Weekend starts with Saturday program

11/5 - Detroit, Mich. - On Saturday, the Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group is presenting a special, daylong symposium in honor of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum’s 50th anniversary.

The symposium focuses on the sidewheel steamer Lady Elgin, which sunk after being rammed by the schooner Augusta on Lake Michigan in the early morning hours of Sept. 8, 1860. Resulting in the loss of over 300 lives, it was the worst maritime tragedy on the open waters of the Great Lakes.

Speakers will include maritime historian Pat Labadie; Brendon Baillod, historian and president of the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeological Association; and Sharon Cook, a descendant of both one survivor and two victims of the Lady Elgin sinking who has participated in dives down to the wreck site. Also participating will be Valerie van Heest introducing her recently published book on this tragedy, Robert McGreevy introducing his new paintings of the Lady Elgin, and performer Lee Murdock.

11:30 – Lee Murdock
12: 15 – Program Intro – Mac McAdam
12:20 – Valerie Van Heest
12:30 – Pat Labadie
1:15 – Brendon Baillod
2:00 – Break
2:15 – Rev. Innes, Mariners Church
2:20 – Sharon Cook
3:05 – Round Table Discussion including Bob McGreevy, Pat Labadie, Brendon Baillod, Sharon Cook, Valerie Van Heest with moderator Joel Stone
3:30 – End of Program

Tickets are $5 per person and are payable at the door on a first-come first-served basis. Click here to buy tickets or call (313) 833-1801.

If you are outside the Detroit area the event will be webcast at this link


Updates -  November 5

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
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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 shipyard 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 shoreside 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.


Lakes limestone trade up 4.6 percent in October

11/4 - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,460,337 net tons in October, a virtual repeat of September, and 4.6 percent better than a year ago. However, the trade was down 11.1 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports were up 235,000 tons compared to a year ago. However, shipments from Canadian docks fell by 84,000 tons.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 23.9 million net tons, an increase of 21.7 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 14.5 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe. Loadings at U.S. ports are up 24.7 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks are 11.2 percent ahead of last years pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  November 4

St. Mary River
Wednesday brought rain, and plenty of traffic to the St. Mary River. Upbound traffic included John G Munson, Kaye E. Barker (from Essar Steel), Mapleglen (at anchor Wednesday night behind Whitefish Point), Rega, American Spirit, Arthur M. Anderson, Roger Blough and Algoma Guaradian. Downbound traffic included American Republic, Edwin H. Gott, Canadian Olympic, H. Lee White, Algoma Discovery, Saginaw, Lee A. Tregurtha, Canadian Progress, Victoriaborg and Beluga Faculty. Cuyahoga and the saltie Tracer were at anchor above DeTour.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
Wednesday was another busy day in the Port of Green Bay. Cason J Callaway arrived around 11 a.m. and headed up the Fox River to C. Reiss to unload her cargo of coal. After the Callaway had passed up river, the tug Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest departed the St. Marys Cement dock, backing up river to the Fox River dock slip to turn around and head up the bay. In the slip at Fox River Dock, Catherine Desgagnes was unloading a cargo of pig iron.


Lake Superior falling farther below average

11/4 - Duluth, Minn. - The level of Lake Superior dropped 3 inches in October, a month the lake usually declines by 1 inch, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

Lake Superior sits 13 inches below its Nov. 1 average and 8 inches below the level recorded one year ago. Rainfall over most of the lake’s watershed was well below normal for October.

Lake Superior will continue its seasonal decline into April, when it will begin to rise again, although the lake’s trend for 2010 has been moving lower than normal.

The levels of Lakes Huron-Michigan dropped 5 inches in October, more than the usual 3-inch drop, and the lakes sit 16 inches below normal and a foot below the Nov. 1, 2009, level.

Duluth News Tribune


Commission responds to concerns about Great Lakes levels

11/4 - Collingwood, Ont. - The International Joint Commission (IJC) has directed the Upper Great Lakes Study Board to explore what the effects would be of raising the average levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron.

The IJC directive asks the Study Board to undertake an exploratory investigation of how raising the Lakes Michigan and Huron water-level regimes by different amounts would affect interests on the Great Lakes system from Lake Superior to the St. Lawrence River.

The move is a direct response to comments received during IJC public hearings last March about a Study Board report dealing with the St. Clair River's impact on water levels of the Upper Great Lakes. The report recommended that measures to remediate the increased conveyance, or water-carrying capacity, of the river "not be undertaken at this time."

Public reaction at the IJC hearings-including the one in North Simcoe was critical of the Study Board's recommendation.

Mary Muter, a long-time proponent about matters affecting Georgian Bay, described the IJC decision as "huge"

When contacted for comment Muter said she could no longer speak as the Georgian Bay Baykeeper because she had recently been removed from that role, but would be happy to speak as an interested citizen.

"They have told the Study Board to look at raising Michigan Huron levels by zero, 10,25,40 and 50 centimetres. This is huge for them."

The IJC was created in 1909 under the terms of the Boundary Waters Treaty to deal with issues affecting the many rivers and lakes whose boundaries are shared by Canada and the United States.

The Study Board report, Impacts on Upper Great Lakes Water Levels: St. Clair River concluded the first phase of a study of the upper Great Lakes.

It examined the physical changes in the St. Clair River since 1962 and recommended no action at this time. It also recommends that mitigation measures in the St. Clair River be examined as part of the comprehensive assessment of the future effects of climate change in the second phase of the study.

The Study Board also recommended that over the long term the governments of Canada and the U.S. under-take cooperative efforts to improve the monitoring and analysis of Great Lakes water supplies and connecting channel flows.

In addition, the Commission provided guidance to the Study Board on three important matters raised in its 7th Progress Report, directing them to:

* propose one alternative to the existing regulation plan based on its scientific investigations and extensive public input;

* establish a legal rationale for selecting a future regulation plan that allows for the possibility of new physical conditions under a changing climate; and,

* investigate and recommend institutional mechanisms for the management of water resources through one or more management boards in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System.

The study will continue to examine whether the IJC Order of Approval and plan for regulating Lake Superior out-flows should be modified to address the changing climate and the evolving needs of users on lakes Superior, Huron, Michigan and Erie.

The final report of the Study Board on the entire study is expected to be completed and submitted to the IJC by early 2012.

The$17.5-million, jointly-funded study is being conducted by the bi-national, independent International Upper Great Lakes Study Board at the request of the IJC under the authority of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909.

Collingwood Enterprise Bulletin


Updates -  November 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery J. B. Ford gallery updated
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.

In 1980 the tug Lauren Castle sank while towing the SS Amoco Wisconsin near Lee Point in Traverse Bay. Engineer William Stephan lost and never recovered.

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



Port Reports -  November 3

St. Marys River
Tuesday’s upbound traffic included Richelieu, Irma and John J. Boland. Algosar and Kaye E. Barker were headed up in the lower river as midnight approached. Passing downbound were Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Puffin, Frontenac, John B. Aird, Charles M. Beeghly, Paul R. Tregurtha and Federal Hunter. Federal Mackinac remained at the Export Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Monday the tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest were unloading at the St. Marys Cement dock all day. Manistee was unloading at Georgia Pacific, and departed around 2 p.m. heading into the bay of Green Bay. Around noon, Catherine Desgagnes was inbound for Fox River dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Calumet was inbound Tuesday morning, headed upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. Once finished, she turned at Sixth Street and was outbound for the lake later in the evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
CSL Laurentien was at the CSX Docks waiting for her coal cargo to arrive, and was expected to load Wednesday morning. The tug Freedom Service with the barge Energy 11103 were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie and her barge finished transferring cargo from the barge Energy 11103 and proceeded to the Hocking Valley Dock to unload this cargo. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks were at the Ironhead Shipyard. Algomarine was unloading a cargo of oats at the A.R.M.S. Dock. The tug G.L. Ostrander with the barge Integrity were unloading cement at the Lafarge Dock. The passenger vessel Detroit Princess is docked at the City Docks several hundred feet north of the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the American Mariner on Wednesday, the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday followed by H. Lee White and Saginaw on Friday. There are no ore boats scheduled into the Torco Ore Docks until mid November. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Capt. Henry Jackman on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson came in about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. She was assisted by a G tug at 6:45 for the trip up river to the ADM Standard Elevator. American Mariner was at Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna that morning. On Monday the tug John M. Selvick and barge Lake Trader arrived at 7 p.m. to load windmill parts at the old Republic Steel Ore Dock on the Buffalo River. They went up some time in the evening, just after dark. Tug Capt. Bud Bisso and barge CBC 1268 arrived at 2:30 p.m. and were towed up the Buffalo River by the tug Washington. A long delay at the CSX CP-1 drawbridge (New York Central River Bridge) held them up until 5:30 p.m., when they finally made it up to the Republic dock.


Great Lakes Shipyard completes 5-year drydocking, repairs of Goodtime I

11/3 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, undocked the cruise boat Goodtime I after completion of maintenance and repairs and for its U.S. Coast Guard five-year inspection. The work included routine cleaning and painting, hull inspection valve inspection and steering inspection. “It was a good old fashion haircut and shave to keep the Goodtime I in top condition for safe and dependable cruises over the next five years,” Joe Craine, the yard’s general manager, said.

The Goodtime I, owned by Lake Erie Island Cruises, LLC, Sandusky, Ohio, is an all-steel passenger vessel, 117 feet long and Coast Guard approved to carry 355 passengers. It is home-ported in Sandusky, Ohio, where it departs daily to the most well known islands in Lake Erie, South Bass Island (Put-In-Bay) and Kelley’s Island. It also sails from Sandusky on daytime island hopping, sunset and specialty cruises.

Current work under contract in the shipyard includes drydocking and repairs on the ferry William Market, new construction of two work barges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, new construction of two sets of sectional floating restrooms for the National Park Service, and the construction of two new 70-foot aluminum research vessels for U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center.

Click here for more information

Great Lakes Group


Port Huron museum looks to sell ex-USCG Bramble

11/3 - Port Huron Mich. - A piece of Blue Water Area maritime history could be on the move. Someone interested in buying the decommissioned Coast Guard cutter Bramble is expected to take a look at the ship as early as this week, Port Huron Museum officials said.

"It's very bittersweet," Susan Bennett, the museum's director said about selling the vessel. "We hope it can go on to have another life."

Bennett declined to say who is interested in buying the ship. It is listed with Marcon International, Inc. -- a ship broker and marine consultant -- for $300,000. Bennett called the potential buyer "an experienced researcher, looking for funding."

The Bramble, Bennett said, plays an important role in the community. But it costs the museum $50,000 a year in utility bills, and selling tickets for special events on board doesn't cover the bill, she said.

The Coast Guard decommissioned the Bramble in 2003, and state officials approved giving the ship, which at the time was valued at nearly $2 million, to the museum. The ship was commissioned in 1944 and started working on the Great Lakes in 1962. It was moored in Port Huron in 1975.

"We hoped to receive some grants and have multiple uses for it, but it just hasn't happened," Bennett said. "It is just a very expensive way to run a tourist attraction."

Mike Popelka, who manages the Bramble for the museum, is hoping the ship doesn't sell. "It would be sad for me," said Popelka, who worked as a cook on the ship for nearly five years. "A lot of people don't realize how historic she really is."

Local youth groups often rent the Bramble for overnight stays. Popelka said he's never sure what might be the ship's last special event.

"It's always in the back on my mind," he said. "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it."

Port Huron Times Herald


Lake Express ferry evokes memories in Kewaunee

11/3 - Kewaunee, Wis. - When the Lake Express ferry pulled into Kewaunee harbor Monday morning, it evoked memories of days when a car or railcar ferry was a more common sight in this Lake Michigan port.

Monday's stop by the ferry was part of a training excursion for the crew members as the ship retraced the old Kewaunee-to-Frankfort, Mich., route.

"I grew up in Green Bay and spent time in the summer in Kewaunee so I remember those old ships," said Aaron Schultz, director of sales and marketing with Lake Express.

Monday's training which helps younger crews move up with licensing and keep their skills current took the high-speed auto ferry from Milwaukee to Manitowoc, Kewaunee, Algoma and Frankfort before returning to Milwaukee.

"This was really an opportunity for us to train crew members in unfamiliar ports and get them used to plotting voyages and making these trips," said Shultz who was on board the ferry Monday. "We're also able to get off that normal track we take every day between Milwaukee and Muskegon (Mich.) and see some new things, check out some other ports and make that historic route."

The Kewaunee visit was brief, with the ferry entering the harbor before doing a 180-degree turn near the Tug Ludington and setting course back into Lake Michigan.

A trio of volunteers on the Ludington, Ron Pelnar, Herman Draeger and Robert Witkowski, watched from the tethered tug as the ferry left Kewaunee's harbor.

"It was fun to see it come in here because we use to see car ferries come in here all the time," Pelnar said. It's been about 20 years since he saw the last one. "It'd be nice if we had a car ferry like that coming in here," he added.

Lake Michigan Carferry Service operates the S.S. Badger between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich.

Schultz said Lake Express continues to look for other opportunities in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.

"We're always looking at adding routes and adding ships and a lot of our off-season is spent on 'What do we do next?'" he said. "The concept is very viable and people need to get from one side of the lake to the other.

"There's a lot of interest in bringing the ships back to Lake Michigan and we look at it all the time," Schultz said. "A lot of these ideas are nothing new. These routes have been used for 100 years."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Baby in the river? Hoax caller to Coast Guard is shipped to prison

11/3 - Detroit, Mich. - A 19-year-old Detroiter is going to prison for 18 months for making a hoax distress call to the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced today.

Andre D. Cheatom was sentenced in federal court in Detroit today, and ordered to pay $14,302 in restitution for “knowingly and willfully” causing the Coast Guard to try to save lives and property when no help was needed, McQuade said.

According to a court affidavit, on July 6, 2009, at 7:23 p.m., Cheatom made a phony 911 call, using his girlfriend’s cellphone. In the call, he stated, “I threw the baby and the mother into the Detroit River. You can find them under Princess,” according to court records.

When authorities called back, a woman laughed and hung up, records showed. The call, meanwhile, led to a one-hour search near the Detroit Princess cruise boat, which cost the Coast Guard $14,302, according to the affidavit.

A witness led authorities to Cheatom, who several days later admitted that he made the phony call because he was “bored and drunk,” according to the affidavit. Cheatom also was sentenced to three years of supervised release after his prison sentence.

"When members of the Coast Guard respond to a hoax call, they are diverted from people in actual distress," McQuade said. "We take a hard line on these cases because we want to deter people from making hoax calls."

Added Captain Stephen Torpy, chief of incident management for the Ninth Coast Guard District, "This conviction demonstrates the lengths we will go to ensure those who make hoax calls are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Detroit Free Press


Coast Guard announces temporary vessel traffic restrictions on Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal

11/3 - Chicago, Ill. – The Coast Guard announces temporary waterway restrictions for vessel traffic on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Nov. 3-5 from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. from mile-marker 296.1-296.7.

These vessel traffic restrictions are necessary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue construction of the electric dispersal barrier in effort to prevent the passage of Asian carp into the Great Lakes.

To support these actions, the U.S. Coast Guard will activate a safety zone on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Vessel traffic will not be permitted to transit through the zone during periods of work. However, every effort will be made to allow vessels to transit when work is no longer taking place.


Shipwreck survivor Dennis Hale to speak in Bay City

11/3 - The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society presents "An Evening with Dennis Hale" on Nov. 20 in Bay City, Mich. Dennis was the only survivor (28 shipmates died) of the Daniel J. Morrell, a freighter that broke in two and sank in Lake Huron off of Michigan's Thumb on Nov. 29, 1966. Dennis endured 38 hours on a life raft after the boat went down. The evening will begin with 30 minutes of maritime music by Hoolie, an internationally-acclaimed trio that specializes in maritime music, songs and stories of the Great Lakes. More information


Updates -  November 3

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery J. B. Ford gallery updated
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 3

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.)

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


Port Reports -  November 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Monday morning Robert S. Pierson arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Algoma, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The Muskegon-to-Milwaukee car ferry Lake Express came up along the shoreline of Wisconsin Monday and made an appearance off Algoma harbor. The stop was to build interest in a proposed Algoma, Wisconsin-to-Frankfort, Michigan, carferry service. The proposed ferry would be the same size as the Lake Express.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The barge St. Marys conquest with tug Prentiss Brown in the notch finally left the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg this morning. The pair was in port for a week waiting weather.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 12:30 p.m. on Monday. After the lines were secured, the self-unloader was positioned to discharge salt onto the existing pile that was getting low. Mississagi finished unloading and backed out of the river around 4 p.m. Canadian Transfer was loading at Stoneport on Monday and departed around 5:30 p.m.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Calumet finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Docks on Monday morning. Kaye E. Barker departed the Torco Dock after unloading her ore cargo and arrived at the CSX Dock to load coal. She was expected to finish loading coal and depart late Monday afternoon.
The tug Freedom Service with the barge Energy 11103 arrived at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock Monday. The tug Barbara Andrie with her barge were tied up alongside the Energy 11103 at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock for the cargo transfer.
The passenger boat Detroit Princess was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Monday afternoon bound for the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Cleveland with the barge Cleveland Rocks remain at the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Rebecca Lynn with her barge were inbound Toledo Ship Channel Monday evening. The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Pathfinder and CSL Laurentien on Tuesday followed by Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and American Mariner on Wednesday. There are no ore boats scheduled into the Torco Ore Dock for the next two weeks. The next scheduled stone boat due into the Midwest Stone Dock will be the Capt. Henry Jackman on Sunday. There were no vessels loading grain at Toledo.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Maritime Trader departed Pier 25 at 11 a.m. with a cargo of corn. Hamilton Energy arrived at 12:30 p.m. after bunkering in Port Weller. CSL Niagara departed US Steel at 1:30 p.m. for Toledo. Algoma Guardian departed Pier 26 at 3:30 p.m. for Thunder Bay. Quebecois arrived at 5:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Algosoo arrived at 8 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco.

Scrap tows - Kent Malo
Sunday evening the tug Simoon and the Canadian Prospector were about to enter the Sea Of Crete, arrival at Aliaga, Turkey is Nov. 3. The tug Ionion Pelagos and the Algoisle were expected to arrive at Aliaga Nov. 12.


Shipping on Saginaw River down 57 percent since 2005; experts hopeful for future

11/2 - Bay City, Mich. — Although commercial shipping traffic on the Great Lakes is up, freighter activity on the Saginaw River continued a downward trend this year. The Great Lakes Bay Region’s economy may be to blame.

Since 2005, Saginaw River shipping has declined by about 57 percent — from 256 vessels in 2005 to 111 vessels this year — according to Todd Shorkey of, a website that keeps tabs on Great Lakes shipping.

“It’s been pretty slow — there have only been 100 or so vessel passages — down from last year and way below the five-year average,” said Shorkey, adding he thought this year’s shipping was going to increase on the Saginaw River, as it did on the Great Lakes.

Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents U.S.-flagged vessel operators on the Great Lakes, said more demand for cargo moved by ship resulted in a 48 percent increase in activity this year from 2009.

“This year we have seen an improvement in all of the major cargos,” said Nekvasil, adding iron ore shipping is up 102 percent compared to last year.

William G. Webber, former owner of the Sargent Docks and Terminal Inc., signed an agreement in December to turn over the Sargent docks in Essexville and Saginaw to Lafarge North America Inc., a subsidiary of the Lafarge Group, a world leader in building materials.

The sale was a hopeful economic boost for shipping on the Saginaw River that has not fully panned out, according to officials.

“Ships do not generate demand for cargo; they meet demand,” Nekvasil said. “You do not load cargo and carry it around in hopes somebody’s going to want it.”

Webber, who also is president of the Saginaw River Alliance — a group of 22 companies that use the waterway to move materials — said the economy of the Great Lakes Bay Region directly impacts the shipping industry.

“I think the economy is the first thing that’s dictating the lower volumes,” said Webber, adding shipping on the Saginaw River is poised to increase with recent dredging.

A federally funded, $4.3 million dredging project planned on the Upper Saginaw River and the entrance to the Saginaw Bay is continuing. It will allow for a wider variety of industries to ship on the Saginaw River.

“We’re working hard to bring new business to the (Saginaw River),” Webber said. “We’re able to compete. We just need some more business to come our way.”

Maintenance dredging began on the Upper Saginaw River last year, from Bay City south to Saginaw, and spoils were piled at a newly constructed Dredged Material Disposal Facility on the Bay-Saginaw County line.

Shorkey said he expects traffic on the Saginaw River to increase in 2011

What was shipped on the river in September:
9 cargos of aggregate
5 cargos of coal
1 cargo of liquid calcium chloride
1 cargo of heavy oil

The Bay City Times


Updates -  November 2

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
News Photo Gallery II
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 2

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.


Port Reports -  November 1

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Saturday with a split cargo. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Early Sunday morning saw the arrival of the Cuyahoga and her fleetmate Manitowoc. Cuyahoga stopped at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City before heading upriver for the Buena Vista dock. Manitowoc called on the Bay City Wirt dock, then continued upriver for the Saginaw Wirt dock. Manitowoc lead the convoy up the river with Cuyahoga about a half mile behind. Once both were secure at their upper river docks to unload, the Moore-Kuber headed downbound from the 6th Street turning basin and outbound for the lake, passing the Cuyahoga and Manitowoc just above I-75.


Updates -  November 1

Mail outage
Our mail server was down Sunday afternoon night. Please resend any mail that was returned as undeliverable.

Historical Perspective Gallery
The popular Historical Perspectives returns with a new gallery for November featuring the J. B. Ford.
Also updated are the following galleries: Ben W. Calvin, Raymond H. Reiss, Daniel J. Morrell, Heron Bay, Henry Ford II, Cliffs Victory and Reiss Brothers.  

Weekly Website Updates
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 1

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 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.


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