Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Cutter Alder assumes role of Chicago's "Christmas Ship"

11/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder, acting as the “Christmas Ship," departed Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Tuesday morning and is scheduled to arrive at Chicago’s Navy Pier at 8:30 a.m. Friday for an annual event to distribute Christmas trees to deserving families on Saturday.

In conjunction with seasonal buoy retrieval operations in Lake Michigan, the crew of Alder will support the event this year, while the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which normally handles those duties, takes Mackinaw to a Wisconsin shipyard for repairs to a leaking bow-thruster.

The distribution of the holiday trees to trucks from community organizations will begin off the decks of the Alder on Saturday at 10 a.m., after the first three trees are given to three families during the brief public ceremony. Public tours of the CGC Alder will also be available on Saturday, from 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Alder will arrive loaded with Christmas trees purchased by Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee to be distributed to disadvantaged families throughout the Chicago area. The Alder’s reenactment continues a treasured part of Chicago’s maritime tradition. The Alder's crew is participating in the event while also performing their aids-to-navigation maintenance duties in southern Lake Michigan as part the 9th Coast Guard District's Operation Fall Retrieve.

The Rouse Simmons was the original “Christmas Ship” that came to Chicago with fresh evergreens and wreaths for holiday season during the early 1900’s. Rouse Simmons was a three-masted schooner and was recognized by the Christmas tree tied to its mast as it entered port. The Rouse Simmons was the principal means of bringing Christmas trees to Chicago for more than 30 years until, in 1912, the ship was lost off the coast of Wisconsin in Lake Michigan with all 17 men aboard.

The trees will be taken off the Alder by local youth volunteers, the Sea Cadets, Venture Crews, Sea Explorer Scouts and the Young Marines and loaded onto trucks for distribution by Ada S. McKinley Community Services. The Chicago's Christmas Ship Committee is comprised of and supported by all facets of the Chicago’s boating community: the International Shipmasters’ Association, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, US Navy League, Chicago yacht clubs, Friends of the Marine Community, Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Chicago Yachting Association.

Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee will also host educational programs for local area schools aboard the Alder. Children from the Chicago area will learn about the role of the Coast Guard, the “Christmas Ship” tradition, observe a Sea Partners ecology presentation and experience a ship tour by Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Alder’s arrival is a culmination of efforts by the committee, working together with the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Program, Chicago Navy Pier, private individuals, and the hard working generous boaters of the marine community to help make Christmas special for Chicago's families in need.


Heritage Marine renames newest tugboat

11/30 - A third tugboat, added to the Heritage Marine fleet of Two Harbors, Minn., last summer, has been renamed. The Helen H. is the former W. Douglas Masterson, built in Texas in 1967. She made her way via the Illinois waterway under her own power to Chicago and from there to the western end of Lake Superior. She joins the Nels J. and Edward H. in service at the head of the lakes.

North Star Port


Port Reports -  November 30

Calcite / Cedarville, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Lewis J. Kuber loaded at Calcite on Tuesday. The next boats aren’t due until Sunday, when Michipicoten, American Courage and James L. Kuber are scheduled to load. Calumet is due Dec. 5 and Manitowoc is due Dec. 6. Loading at Cedarville on Monday were Arthur M. Anderson and Wilfred Sykes. Robert S. Pierson is due Tuesday.

Manitowoc, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
With high winds prevailing, the port of Manitowoc had a flurry of action Tuesday. The tug Undaunted and loaded barge Pere Marquette 41 held the wall near the Budweiser elevator. Also up river was the tug Donald C., rafted alongside the barge AMC 300, at McMullen & Pitz Company dock. Further up river was the tug Zeus, alongside the barge AMC 100 being loaded with rock. In the outer harbor was the tug Miss K. working along the north piers.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived in Buffalo Tuesday morning to unload. They departed around 9:40 p.m. English River departed at 7:15 a.m.


Cutter Thunder Bay leaves Maine for journey to Great Lakes

11/30 - Rockland, Maine — A Rockland-based Coast Guard boat left the salty waters of Penobscot Bay for the Great Lakes on Tuesday. After they arrive in 13 days, the boat and its Maine crew will cut ice in the lakes through April.

“It takes all 18 of us [in the crew] to get there. It’s a pretty long deployment. It will be a lot of long days breaking ice,” said Lt. Jerry Smith before he motored off Tuesday morning. The cutter Thunder Bay will work to break thick ice so that cargo boats can make journeys through the lake.

Commerce across the lakes including large ships transporting heating oil, coal and other commodities in the winter. The Coast Guard helps keep the waterway clear and also helps the ships when they get stuck. The Thunder Bay is a large vessel, weighing in at 700 tons and measuring 140 feet long and 37 feet wide. “We’re wide and very heavy and the hull is designed to ride up on the ice and crush it,” Smith said.

The boat also has a special “bubbler” that pumps air under tough ice to help smash it.“It’s like when you were a kid and you tried to break ice with your foot. If the ice had air under it and it’s white, the ice breaks, versus black ice,” Smith said.

The bubbler adds the equivalent of an extra 1,000 horsepower, he said.

Thunder Bay has made the journey to the Great Lakes before, Smith said, but only in the spring and for just a few weeks. This 5-month deployment will be much longer, but the crew members will get to see their families for Christmas, Smith said. The members will alternate having time over the holidays to see their families, he said.

For the crew, which last April returned from a trip to Florida to help with the oil spill, this 1,700-nautical-mile trip is especially exciting — they will have navigated almost half the country with one boat in a year.

“That is not something these ships usually experience. It’s something these guys will remember for the rest of their lives.”

Bangor Daily News


Kamloops At last: unidentified sailors given memorial stone

11/30 - Thunder Bay Ont. – A December 8 service will be held to dedicate a memorial stone to four unidentified sailors buried at Riverside Cemetery. The four were part of the 21- member crew of the S.S. Kamloops that sank off Isle Royale on December 7, 1927. In all, nine bodies were found on the shore in the spring of 1928. It is presumed that the remaining 12 either went down with the ship or were washed out into the lake.

The Kamloops disappeared on the north shore of Isle Royale during a blizzard as she made her way to the Thunder Bay. In her hold were heavy papermaking machinery, candy and assorted household goods. There were large coils of wire on her deck.

The 250-foot Kamloops belonged to the Canada Steamship Lines, which purchased the burial plot for the four sailors in May 1928. No stone marked the site.

At the 2011 service CSL will keep its promise of 1928 to recognize the unidentified sailors with a stone marker. “We hope that the memorial stone dedicated to the four unidentified sailors will help bring some closure to a ship and crew whose memory will be forever honored at CSL,” said Rod Jones, President and CEO of CSL Group.

Although official closure will now be recognized, much of the mystery remains. In 1928 a note in a bottle washed up on the north shore Lake Superior. It gave the first hint about the tragic end of the Kamloops. In 1977 a team of divers found the wreck in 200 feet of water.


Updates -  November 30

News Photo Gallery


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.

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


New name registered for Lower Lakes Towing’s latest

11/29 - The Transport Canada Web site has been updated to reflect the new name of Lower Lakes Towing Co’s most recent purchase. The former saltwater vessel Tina Litrico, currently undergoing an off-lakes refit, has been registered at Nanticoke, Ont., as Tecumseh (official number 836045). The vessel was built in 1972 by Lockheed in Seattle. It is unknown whether she will make it to the Great Lakes before the shipping season on the Seaway ends.


Port Reports -  November 29

Stoneport, Mich. - Dan McNeil
John G. Munson was loading at Stoneport on Monday, followed by Great Republic and Algorail. Due Tuesday is Adam E. Cornelius followed by the Buffalo. Due Wednesday is the Joseph H. Thompson. Due Thursday is the Lewis J. Kuber. Algorail is due Friday. Due Saturday is Great Republic followed by Joseph H. Thompson and Algoma Navigator. Due Dec. 4 is Phillip R. Clarke

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Cuyahoga arrived at Lafarge Monday afternoon, unloading slag into the storage hopper.

Erie, Pa. – Mark Weltman
The tug Cleveland dropped the barge Cleveland Rocks at DonJon Shipyard Monday and then departed heading west for Cleveland, Ohio. The barge was purchased by Port City Marine in June of this season and the tug was under charter from Laken Shipping, the barge's prior owner. It is believed that the tug has been sold for off lakes use. The barge will be fitted with wing extensions to mate with the tug Bradshaw McKee's Bludworth attachment system. The Bradshaw McKee is the former Susan W. Hannah laid up in Muskegon, Mich.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
English River arrived Monday and was towed up the river stern first by the G tug Washington.


Repairs cancel Mackinaw’s annual Christmas Tree Ship voyage

11/29 - Cheboygan, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw’s long-awaited trip for repairs to a leaking bow-thruster will finally take place in about a week, the ship’s captain confirmed Friday. The giant icebreaking buoy tender is at last scheduled for drydock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wis. The Mac last visited Fraser in June 2009 when a leaking shaft seal in the starboard engine pod was repaired there.

The Mackinaw’s crew has been waiting for almost two months for the assignment, which now comes at an unfortunate time. The repair work will wipe out the traditional Christmas Tree Ship voyage to Chicago and will also mean that fall buoy retrievals will be done by other vessels.

“We’re disappointed,” Cmdr. Mike Davanzo said of missing out on the Christmas Tree Ship experience. “For a lot of us on the Mackinaw for the first time, it was our chance to do this. The cutter Alder will fill in.”

Davanzo said that other vessels will pitch in to get the work done usually handled by the Mackinaw. “The Alder will do the Mackinaw’s Lake Michigan buoys,” Davanzo explained. “Hollyhock will do the Straits buoys that we usually pick up. It’s a Coast Guard team effort to respond to our casualty.”

Davanzo said he will learn more about the repairs needed once the vessel is inspected in dry-dock. “Our goal is to get this fixed in time so that it doesn’t compromise our ability to handle the ice season,” added remarked.

Shipyards routinely schedule major contract work months in advance, and Davanzo said the Mackinaw’s repairs had to compete with lake freighters wanting work done prior to winter lay-up, plus scheduling availabilities of various shipyards. A government contract must be let to have the work scheduled, he added, adding to the delay.

Cheboygan Tribune


Rare submarine engines back in Cleveland

11/29 - Cleveland, Ohio – Two rare engines needed to complete the restoration of a Cleveland landmark are back in town where they were produced nearly 70 years ago. The team restoring the engines of the WW II submarine the U.S.S. Cod needs these scarce parts. They were recently hauled to Cleveland’s ArcelorMittal steel plant there they’ll be easily available to the Cod’s restoration team.



Updates -  November 29

Weekly Website Updates
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new photos in the Alabama, Thomas Wilson, Robert S. Pierson, Scott Misener and Chief Wawatam galleries.


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

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Philip R. Clarke anchored off Alpena Saturday night since the decision was made to wait until Sunday morning before entering the river. The Clarke made its way into the Thunder Bay River Sunday morning and tied up at the DPI plant to unload coal from Toledo. On Friday two cement carriers were in port. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge around 1 p.m. to load. Later in the afternoon, the Alpena waited in the bay until the Integrity departed before heading in to tie up under the silos.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Tugs M.R. Kane and Omni-Richelieu arrived in Oshawa Sunday. Also due to arrive was the saltie Lake Ontario.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed the Black Rock Canal Saturday, switched out of pushing gear, and headed for the North Entrance with the barge on the wire.

Hamilton, Ont. - Captain Clarence Vautier
The newly-renamed saltwater vessel Morholmen went up the Seaway as the C F Max; a name change was done at the Port of Hamilton last week.


Coast Guard crew honored for rescue during Goderich tornado

11/28 - Jason Johnson, a Commanding Officer with the Canadian Coast Guard, and his crew were honored last week for their work in the aftermath of a tornado that hit the Ontario town of Goderich in August. Johnson and three colleagues from the search-and-rescue vessel Cape Discovery received the Canadian Coast Guard Distinction Award for rescuing a stranded boater on Lake Huron.

The Coast Guard vessel had been knocked out of service when high winds brought power lines down on it, breaking the front port window and one antenna and ripping off a safety railing. Despite being pelted with golf ball-sized hail, the crew worked to clear away glass and shingles from their Zodiac boat, allowing two crew members to reach a six-metre boat that was caught in a heavy squall and taking on water between Goderich and Point Clark, 35 km north of the city.

Two crew members took the Zodiac and ventured into dangerous waters — waves were two to three metres high and winds were at 35 knots — and located the stranded boat and its sailor in the Port Albert area, 14 km north of Goderich. In the meantime, Johnson and another crewmember stayed on Cape Discovery to continue the cleanup.

"I think we handled it very well considering the very difficult circumstances," said Johnson in a release. "My crew showed excellent control and calmness throughout this disaster."

The Kingston Whig-Standard


Updates -  November 28

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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 honored 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 caused by an overheated stove in the ferry dock waiting room. The blaze started at 3 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.


Barge grounds on Lake Michigan near Sheboygan, Wis.

11/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. — Personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan are conducting an investigation after a barge being towed broke free and ran aground in Lake Michigan near the Sheboygan, Wis., breakwall.

The Coast Guard advises that people stand clear of the salvage area until the barge is free of the lake bottom.

The barge broke away from the tugboat Donald C during a routine transit toward Manitowoc, Wis., Thursday evening. The crew of the Donald C was unable to regain control of the barge because of rough seas and heavy winds.

Marine investigators from Sector Lake Michigan arrived on scene on Friday morning and are monitoring the situation until the barge can be re-floated and examined. The barge is reportedly carrying a cargo of rocks. There are no reports of pollution or environmental hazards.


Port Reports -  November 26

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Stephen B. Roman called on the Essroc Cement Dock in Essexville on Friday to unload. She was expected to be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning. The Roman's visit is the first commercial vessel passage since November 16th.


Seaway CEO buoyant about economic outlook

11/26 - The St. Lawrence Seaway could double the cargo tonnages it is carrying through its lock system while many highways and bridges are seriously congested and need heavy investment in new infrastructure, Terry Bowles, CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., said Thursday.

Marine transportation is the most fuel-efficient means of moving cargo, boasts the lowest available total greenhouse-gas emissions per tonne/kilometre, and offers a very low rate of spills and less noise than other modes, he told the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council in Montreal.

Total Seaway tonnage should hit 37 million tonnes in 2011, up two per cent over 2010 despite the U.S. and European economic problems, he said. The midterm goal is 40 million tonnes or the pre-2008 level, with a long-term goal of growing that further.

Four years of incentives, including frozen user tolls and new cargoes and routes, have added $12 million to annual revenue, said Bowles, a former CEO of the Iron Ore Co. of Canada, "and to build momentum, the Seaway is pinpointing specific overland freight movements that the marine mode may be able to capture."

He said most of the laker trade is in short sea shipping of bulk products. "For the non-traditional cargoes we hope to capture, including containers, we seek movements incorporating longer trading lanes over water where the marine mode offers a competitive advantage."

Project cargoes also are promising for future growth, including equipment for oilsands, wind energy and mining developments, Bowles said.

Improved draft will soon allow ships to carry more cargo per trip and "hands-free mooring" will reduce Seaway operating costs and attract ocean-going ships that have bypassed the system because of specific fittings needed for the locks.

The Great Lakes-Seaway maritime industry supports 225,000 Canadian and U.S. jobs, and generates $14.5 billion in salaries and wages annually, $34.6 billion in business revenues and $4.7 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes.

The Montreal Gazette


Bay Shipbuilding Co. starts 'employment ramp-up'

11/26 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Inside building 311 at Bay Shipbuilding Co., radiant blue-white light from welding torches stood in stark contrast to the subdued gray steel of the first of the two platform supply vessels under construction. The Sturgeon Bay shipbuilder is building the ships for New Orleans-based Tidewater Marine.

On Monday, the shipyard laid the keel on the first ship with the second keel laying expected in mid-December. The ships are expected to help bolster the work force at the shipyard, and company officials say the contract could help attract additional commercial business.

"We are on an employment ramp-up, bringing back union workers, and we will get to full union employment by late December or early January," said Gene Caldwell, vice president and general manager at Bay Shipbuilding Co.

Bay Shipbuilding is also a key facility for repair and overhaul of both massive and small ships conducting commercial business on the Great Lakes and is nearing winter lay-up, the yard's busiest time of year, when the fleet of freighters arrive for maintenance and overhaul.

Caldwell expects total employment at the yard will peak around 800 this winter — including 100 to 150 workers brought in to support the platform supply vessel projects. "The reason for a little bit of peak this year is because of our new construction," he said.

Bay Shipbuilding, which had about 250 workers in mid-November, is part of Fincantieri Marine Group, sharing the same owner as Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette and ACE Marine in Green Bay.

Fincantieri, an Italian company, has put about $100 million in capital improvements into the Sturgeon Bay and Marinette shipyards. A number of new and expanded buildings have been built on the yard's waterfront property.

The yard has purchased new production and transportation equipment and is upgrading its floating dry dock capabilities.

Caldwell said Bay Shipbuilding continues to seek other commercial work and the platform supply vessels have opened a new line of potential business.

"The PSVs, which are an offshoot of workboats and off-shore supply vessels, are growing as you go into deeper water and longer distances from shore to support these larger drilling rigs," he said. "Now they're going into some northern regions and that's where we came in with our expertise in ice class (vessels) and that was one of the interests that brought Tidewater to us."

Both PSVs under construction in Sturgeon Bay have the capability to operate in ice.

"It is something new for us, and I think it's the hot trend in the shipbuilding market right now," Caldwell said about the PSV class of ships. "There are quite a few of them in contract right now around the world."

Construction is one piece of the business mix at the shipyard, which will fill with massive freighters in for repair and maintenance in January.

Other freighters will come in for more extensive work including replacement of engines — work designed to not only increase the efficiency of the ship but to also reduce emissions — and replacement of steel parts in cargo holds.

Some of the ships serviced at Bay Shipbuilding were constructed there decades ago. Late last week, employees, bundled in heavy clothing to ward off the cold, worked in the open expanses of the yard and its dry docks on a number of vessels ranging from a cement-carrying tug and barge to one of the Washington Island ferries.

Caldwell said work supporting the Great Lakes fleet is the cornerstone of business at Bay Shipbuilding, but he also sees a future in new construction.

"We plan on signing some more contracts and putting the shipbuilding part back at Bay Shipbuilding," he said. "There is very much a commercial flavor to what we are looking at."

Potential markets range from ships designed for short sea shipping to dredging vessels and ships to specialty construction vessels to support the off-shore market.

"For 12 to 18 months the market was very slow, no one was contracting and now it has got some momentum," Caldwell said.

Green Bay Press-Gazette.


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

South Chicago, Ill. – Dan Fletcher
As the first lay-up of the year, St. Marys Challenger snaked up the Calumet River for her last trip of the season in the wee hours of the morning Nov. 24, headed for lay-up at the Sheds in Lake Calumet. She is slated for fit-out and sailing sometime in May 2012.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi brought a load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock early on Wednesday. Alpena loaded cement at Lafarge Wednesday night for Whitefish, Ont.


Marine industry executive Pat Manley passes away

11/25 - Pat Manley, who died Nov. 16, was well known and respected in the marine industry, beginning his career in 1955 at T.J. McCarthy Steamship Company in Cleveland Ohio. From 1961 to 1971 he worked for Wilson Marine Transit Company, when he left he was Vice President. Manley went on to Republic Steel/LTV Steel where he held a variety of positions, retiring as Director of Maritime, Terminal and Limestone Operations. Among many projects, Manley was responsible for the building and implementation of the Lorain Pellet Terminal, an iron ore bulk transshipment facility in Lorain, Ohio that was used primarily to transport ore from Lorain to Cleveland.


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 Schuenemann, 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 Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor and departed Wednesday afternoon.


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.


U.S.-Flag lakers' cargo up 3.2 percent in October

11/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 9.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in October, a weather-driven decrease of 3 percent compared to September, but an increase of 3.2 percent compared to a year ago. The October float was 5 percent below the month’s 5-year average, but the decrease partially reflects the significant weather-related delays the fleet experienced.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 12.8 percent compared to a year ago. Limestone cargos for construction, steel production, and environmental applications inched passed a year ago, but coal for power generation and steel production was down 10 percent.

Through October U.S.-flag cargos stand at 75 million tons, an increase of 3.8 percent compared to the same point in 2010. Iron ore has increased 10.6 percent and limestone cargos continue to advance beyond last years level, but coal is down by 6.8 percent. Compared to the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe, U.S.-flag cargos are down 2 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  November 23

Twin Ports – Al Miller
John G. Munson was unloading stone at Hallett Dock 8 in Superior on Tuesday morning while Great Lakes Trader loaded at the CN ore dock and Kasteelborg loaded at General Mills elevator in Duluth.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown were in port from last Tuesday morning, when she unloaded at the St. Marys Terminal in Ferrysburg and then awaited favorable weather, finally backing our early on the 21st. Wilfred Sykes came in early Tuesday morning with a load of slag for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It was seen backing out about 11:30 a.m.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Torben Hawksbridge
The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement II were in Owen Sound Tuesday, unloading at the cement terminal on the east side of the harbor.


Port creates jobs, economic boost

11/23 - Windsor, Ont. – Cargo shipments through the Port of Windsor generate $130.5 million of economic activity and almost 1,000 jobs across Ontario, according to a new study released Monday.

It was part of a wider study by Martin Associates that reported recently that the entire bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system and its more than 100 ports generate $34.6 billion in economic activity and 227,000 jobs across Canada and the United States.

"This study clearly illustrates the value of having the port in our city and region," said David Cree, president and CEO of the Windsor Port Authority. "Activity at the port generates significant employment, spending on goods and services and tax revenue for the local and national economies."

Of the 937 jobs created by the port, 506 are directly generated by marine cargo and vessel activity at the Windsor port. As a result of the economic activity generated by the people holding those jobs, another 224 indirect jobs were also created.

Combining the direct and indirect income impacts, the cargo handled at the port generated $42.4 million in wages and salaries as well as local consumption expenditures in the Great Lakes regional economy. The study's findings were based on 2010 data.

"The port also helps to attract and sustain business investment by supporting the operations of major companies like LaFarge Canada, Essroc, ADM Agri-Industries and Canadian Salt that depend on cost-efficient water-borne transportation to receive raw materials and to send out goods to their customers."

The Sterling Marine Fuels dock at the port has been operated by McAsphalt Industries for more than 20 years, and it recently underwent a $20 million expansion, funded by the federal government, Miller Paving and McAsphalt.

The enlarged dock can handle two vessels simultaneously, enabling cargo to be on-or off-loaded while ships also take on fuel. The dock handles approximately 500 ships per year, with expectation of that volume increasing to 700 ships in future marine seasons.

"The federal government, the port and its users have invested significantly in infrastructure to be able to fully realize the business opportunities that are on the horizon," said Cree. "Port activity now has the potential to grow significantly in the coming years, which will only generate further benefits for the city and the wider Essex region."

The Windsor Star


Milwaukee divers search for missing shipwrecks in Lake Michigan

11/23 - Milwaukee, Wis. – There are about 2,500 shipwrecks beneath the waves of Lake Michigan, and about 1,000 of them are still missing. The great lakes of the 1900s were the freeway system of that era. Now only a handful of groups are committed to discovering those wrecks, and solving the mysteries of what caused them to disappear.

Captain Jitka Hanakova and her crew on the Molly V are leading a chartered dive into Lake Michigan. She's taking divers seven miles northeast of Milwaukee to the watery tomb of the Milwaukee car ferry. Hanakova and her second-in-command Dave Sutton take divers 125 feet below the water's surface for an up close look at the wooden ship that sank back in 1929.

The crew of the Molly V are shipwreck hunters. To Hanakova and her crew the bottom of Lake Michigan is a museum, and it's shipwrecks the exhibits. Better preserved than most ocean wrecks, the intact pilot houses, port holes and propellers tell stories of the people who built Milwaukee.

Hanakova joined the elite underwater archaeologists by discovering the L.R. Doty, which was the largest wooden ship still missing in Lake Michigan.

Shipwreck hunting is more passion than profit. Chartered drives help cover the weeks spent pouring over historical records. Sutton says, "A lot of background work goes into locating a wreck. The divers on the water just think that it's easy. You come and find the buoy, snap on and jump in the water and go."

The Molly V recently began searching for one particular wreck they believe is somewhere near Milwaukee.

Brendan Baillod created the most comprehensive database of Lake Michigan wrecks. He's helping Hanakova and Sutton plot the location of the Alice C. Wilds, a lumber steamer missing since 1892. The Wilds had been traveling in foul weather when it crashed into another steamer.

Using 19th century shipping routes, Ballod maps the exact point where the two boats should have collided. Finding the Wilds could take one weekend or as long as a month. The crew will use new sonar equipment, which uses sound waves to capture images of the lake floor.

The Molly V is confident they'll find the Wilds, but they'll have to wait for calmer spring waters. Hanakova's crew is now equipped with new sonar technology that will allow them to uncover two to three wrecks every year.



BoatNerd Shirley McNeil passes away

11/23 - Long-time BoatNerd Shirley McNeil, from Saginaw, Mich., passed away Nov. 19. She, along with her husband Dick McNeil and two boys Mark and Richard, were boatwatchers along the Saginaw River and also frequent visitors to the Soo and Port Huron.


Updates -  November 23

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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

Menominee - Marinette – Scott Best
Monday afternoon Sedna Desgagnes arrived on her first-ever visit to Marinette with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. She was assisted into port by the Selvick Marine tugs Jimmy L and Jacquelyn Nicole. Arriving a few hours behind the Desgagnes were the tug Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41, also with a load of pig iron for MF&D. After unloading, PM-41 was expected to shift over to the K&K Docks in Menominee to load rock for the Chicago Marina project.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed Monday morning, they were in town at least six days.


Steamship group sets sights on saving old ship in Superior

11/22 - Duluth, Minn. – There is nothing unique about the laker J.B. Ford except that it is a survivor. The nonprofit Great Lakes Steamship Society wants to ensure that the 108-year-old ship laid up in Superior continues to survive.

“She is a historic survivor and an icon from our nation’s industrial history,” said Great Lakes Steamship Society founder Steve Haverty. “We’re hoping to make people aware that she is still there and that time is ticking away.”

The ship last sailed under it’s own power in 1985, but was used until a couple years ago as a cement storage barge. Haverty has talked to Lafarge North America, which owns the Ford. Craig Ryan, communications director for Lafarges Lakes and Seaway Business Unit, said it’s too early to say whether the company may turn the vessel over to the society. “We don’t really have a definitive plan for her quite yet,” he said. “Potentially we may continue to use her as floating storage.”

Preparing for when the Ford may become available, the society recently began raising money to obtain and restore it to a condition where it could be opened for public tours – a process Haverty estimates would cost $1.5 million to $2 million. Fundraising has been slow. “A lot of what we have run into is people didn’t even realize it was still around,” Haverty said.

The J.B. Ford is the most complete example of an early 20th-century Great Lakes freighter, Haverty said. She was built when wooden hulled sailing vessels were still in regular use on the lakes, he said. The J.B. Ford was launched as the Edwin F. Holmes in Lorain, Ohio, on Dec. 12, 1903. She is 440 feet long, with a beam of 50 feet, a depth of 28 feet and a capacity of 8,000 tons.

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

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

“She’s showing her age, but she’s by no means too far gone to be saved,” Haverty said.

Duluth News Tribune


Gas conversion study may help carferry Badger resolve coal ash issue

11/22 - Ludington, Mich. – The SS Badger could become the demonstration vessel for a pilot study proposed by the Wisconsin State Energy Office on the use of alternative fuels in marine applications.

According to an Oct. 24 letter the University of Wisconsin, Superior sent to the energy office, the Badger is being proposed as the vessel to use for studying the feasibility of using natural gas as a marine fuel for Great Lakes shipping. The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, based in Duluth/Superior, has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration for such a study.

The plan calls for also working with the European Union which, according to the letter, has embarked on a similar study. The Environmental Protection Agency is “aware of our research and supportive,” the letter from Richard D. Stewart, Ph.D., CTL states.

“Utilizing the SS Badger as our project’s demonstration model, we will be tying into Wisconsin-based facilities and engineering firms, along with the shipping route of the SS Badger between Ludington, MI, and Manitowoc, WI,” Stewart’s letter stated.

The university is seeking further grant support to leverage funds for the work.

“Our research, while focused on the Great Lakes, is intended to provide models and information that can be used nationally,” Stewart stated.

“We are pleased that the Great Lakes Maritime Institute and the Maritime Administration are making a strong investment in what many feel is the fuel of the future for the shipping industry,” Lynda Matson, LMC vice president of customer service, told the Ludington Daily News Friday. “We are extremely honored that the SS Badger was chosen for a pilot program to study the feasibility of natural gas. Switching to natural gas would make the SS Badger the greenest vessel operating on the Great Lakes.” “We look forward to working with the GLMI and the MA on this innovative project and making our commitment to switching to natural gas a reality.”

The coal-fired, steam-powered Badger is under an EPA order to quit discharging coal ash by the end of 2012. Lake Michigan Carferry has studied several options including storing ash on board for disposal on land, converting to diesel power and, most recently, using compressed or liquid natural gas as a fuel source, but that kind of conversion has not been done before on a coal-fired vessel. Lake Michigan Carferry, which owns the Badger, has asked for more time to develop a solution because of the unknowns with compressed natural gas.

In recent weeks, the Badger has again been in the news because of it seeking National Historic Landmark status and because of an amendment to the Coast Guard and transportation reauthorization bill approved this week by the U.S. House of Representatives that would give a ship with that status (or a nomination to the status) exemption from more stringent EPA rules regarding coal ash disposal.

Some, including Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, have contended that LMC is pursuing National Historic Landmark status just as a means to try to avoid the EPA deadline.

“We are absolutely pursuing conversion to natural gas,” Matson said earlier in the week. “Actually, our chief engineers are at a training school in Florida to be certified to handle natural gas. “The issue with natural gas is that we need more time (for infrastructure), which is why we are pursuing both the regulatory individual permit through EPA and the amendment.”

Historically, coal-powered ships discharged coal ash waste into the water as they sailed, or in port as the Ludington-based fleet once did. The EPA has continued to allow the Badger to discharge coal ash under stricter rules, requiring it to be several miles from shore and only while moving, but in 2008 the EPA — following a lawsuit unrelated to the Badger that resulted in the EPA having to control ship discharges by permit — ordered the company to find an alternative by the end of 2012.

LMC contends the coal ash it discharges is harmless, saying the mercury, lead, arsenic and selenium in the ash are at levels within the allowable limit. The EPA, reportedly, is questioning those tests.

The more coal the Badger burns, the more ash it makes and the more ash is discharged. Also a factor is the ash content of the coal itself because that can vary. A third variable is how efficient the Badger boilers burn the coal.

“We try to use as low-ash coal as we can (it needs a high BTU content as well), and we are constantly working to make our boilers as efficient as we can,” Matson said. “The figure is a calculation since you can’t actually weigh the hot coal ash in the bottom of the furnace. Based on the ash content of the coal we currently use, this year we discharged about 3.8 tons per day.”

LMC estimates it discharges about 509 tons of coal ash per season. When LMC submitted estimates to the EPA in 2008 it estimated the Badger would discharge 770 tons of coal ash a season. Matson said the number has been reduced because the ash content of the previous coal was higher and the Badger had a longer sailing season then.

Just how much mercury is discharged in that coal ash over a season?

“Less than a quarter of an ounce per year,” Matson said. “It is not detectable at point of discharge. This is also a mathematical calculation based on tests of the ash and multiplying by the amount of coal used.”

The 2008 EPA submission by LMC contains a higher number, .256 ounces per year, again because the season was longer and different coal was in use, Matson said.

“We are prepared to move forward with designing and getting approval of a conversion system to either liquefied natural gas or compressed natural gas, but until DTE constructs landside infrastructure to support that system. We can’t install it. It is sort of like buying an electric car before there is anywhere to plug it in,” Matson said.

DTE amortizes the cost of building infrastructure over the customers who use it. “We think we are the only ones that would use it right now, and we cannot afford to pay for that entire infrastructure. We think DTE is waiting for demand from a larger customer base,” Matson said.

Ludington Daily News


Purinton to speak at Maritime Museum

11/22 - Winter is rapidly approaching so it seems appropriate the Door County Maritime Museum’s 2011-2012 Speaker Series kicks off Tuesday night, Nov. 29, with Richard Purinton presenting a program centered on winters on Washington Island.

This initial program will provide an excellent holiday shopping opportunity with the museum’s gift shop open for business and a book signing opportunity with the evening’s featured speaker.

Purinton, who serves as the CEO for the family-run Washington Island Ferry Line, is an award-winning author, having penned three books related to the Island. His book “Over and Back A History of Transportation to Washington Island” earned an Award of Merit from the Wisconsin Historical Society after being released in 1991. More recently he authored “Words on Water – A Ferryman’s Journal” in 2009 and last year “Bridges Are Still News – Island Essays, Poems and Photos” was released.

Purinton was born and raised in Sturgeon Bay, graduating from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1965. Like his father Harry, Purinton is an active sailor. He honed his sailing skills as a crew member for Pat Haggerty’s Palmer Johnson sloop, Bay Bea. Purinton graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Journalism degree in 1970 before entering the United States Navy.

He began working as deckhand for his father-in-law Arnie Richter’s Washington Island Ferry Line in 1974. Purinton has held various positions with the ferry line including general manager and president, a position currently held by his son Hoyt. As CEO, Purinton said has had more time to pursue side interests and writing projects.

The Speaker Series continues the first three Thursdays in January, February and March with programs relating to repowering of a 1,000-foot ore carrier; an update on work at Bay Shipbuilding; and the War of 1812 and its impact on the Great Lakes. The series concludes on Thursday, March 29, with a program on the museum’s popular boat building program. All of the programs begin at 7 p.m. at the Sturgeon Bay museum. They are free of charge and open to the public with donations appreciated.

For more information contact the Museum at 920-743-5958 or visit

Door County Maritime Museum


Updates -  November 22

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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

Muskegon, Mich. - Greg Barber
Just before 1 p.m. Sunday, James Norris made a very rare visit to Muskegon. The Norris had been at anchor in southern Lake Michigan waiting out the weather the last two days.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived in port around noon on Friday and loaded cement for Superior, Wis. The tug Michigan and tanker Great Lakes were anchored off Alpena Saturday night and part of Sunday. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity tied up at Lafarge Sunday morning to take on cement.

Detroit, Mich. - Ken Borg
Kaye E. Barker was inbound on the Rouge River Sunday. After unloading at Severstal steel in Dearborn she was headed back to Marquette. The tug Patricia Hoey with fuel barge Marysville fueled the Barker during its Detroit stop.


Updates -  November 21

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.

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

In 1924, 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

Midland and Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Midland: CCGS Cove Isle arrived in Midland Friday and is currently at the town docks. Oshawa: The tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick arrived in Oshawa Saturday. Their previous location was Toronto, Ont.


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.


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.


Coast Guard medevacs Alpena man from tugboat in Lake Michigan

11/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – A U.S. Coast Guard boat crew from Station Milwaukee medically evacuated an Alpena, Mich., man who was experiencing difficulty breathing and numbness of his arm aboard a tugboat in Lake Michigan early Thursday morning.

The captain aboard the Undaunted requested a medevac for the 39-year-old man at about 2 a.m. CST Thursday, reporting the crewman had been experiencing the symptoms on and off for about a week, and the symptoms were getting worse. A Coast Guard flight surgeon, who makes the ultimate determination on what warrants emergency transport, was contacted and briefed and authorized the medevac.

A boat crew from Station Milwaukee launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat – Medium at 2:25 a.m. and arrived on scene with the tugboat about 16 miles east of Milwaukee at 3:05 a.m. The boat crew embarked the man and transported him to Station Milwaukee where he was met by awaiting EMS for further transport to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. The man's name was not being released, and his current condition is unknown.


Port Reports -  November 18

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manistee called on the Saginaw River on Wednesday, unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Once finished, she turned and was outbound for the lake early Thursday morning.


Steel plant to fire up 450 jobs in Lorain

11/18 - Lorain, Ohio – Republic Steel plans to invest $85.2 million and create about 450 jobs here, three years after shutting its blast furnace and cutting 700 jobs.

An expected boom in the oil and gas industry, coupled with a rebound in the auto industry, is feeding a mini-resurgence in northeast Ohio's steel industry with Republic, U.S. Steel, Timken Co., and V&M Star all making major investments

With Gov. John Kasich standing at his side, Republic President and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Vigil, said, "It was easy to chose Lorain, Ohio, over other locations in the United States and other parts of the world."

The investment will go toward building an electric arc furnace at the plant that will melt scrap metal, effectively recycling it into fresh steel. The plant hasn't made its own steel since 2008. The Lorain plant has been processing steel that Republic made in an electric furnace in Canton. About 200 of the people who lost jobs in Lorain in 2008 took positions in Canton.

Mr. Vigil said several of Republic's existing customers -- automakers, machinery companies, and construction companies -- have steadily increased orders, but expected growth in the oil-and-gas industry was a major driver for the decision to expand in Lorain.

It's not the only steel company hoping to benefit from gas exploration. Its immediate neighbor, U.S. Steel, is spending $100 million to expand its Lorain plant to make pipes for oil and gas production.

Oil and gas companies are rushing to Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to try to tap shale gas -- natural gas trapped in shale. Energy companies pump high-pressure fluid into wells to break up the shale, releasing the gas -- a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

At an oil and gas conference in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, U.S. Steel Chairman and Chief Executive John Surma said, "Increased development of North American shale resources and our customers' growing need for heat-treated [oil and gas tubing] contributed heavily to our decision last year to construct a new" portion to its plant in Lorain.

Larry Wickstrom, chief geologist at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said last month that very conservative estimates show Ohio's shale gas could produce the equivalent of 2 billion barrels of oil.


Big boat writers share wealth of knowledge at Port Huron's Authorama

11/18 - St. Clair, Mich. – Anyone with curiosity, a healthy interest or an addiction to the Great Lakes will want to attend the Authorama at the Maritime Center in Port Huron this weekend. The public event will feature Dennis Hale, author of "Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor" and only survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell Great Lakes freighter, as well as Roger LeLievre, author of "Know Your Ships."

Other authors will also take part.

"Roger has been an editor and publisher with the Ann Arbor News and his book is the bible about the Great Lakes that everyone has in their pilot cab," said event organizer Frank Frisk. The Authorama will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron. Admission is free.

Frisk, of Marysville, is a Maritime Consultant to the Great Lakes Maritime Center and started the Authorama event four years ago. He decided it would be a great way for people interested in books and videos about the Great Lakes to stop in and shop for items in one place. "I was thinking they can do one-stop shopping and get a chance to meet and greet some of the authors and directors of these things," Frisk said.

The Authorama event has welcomed as many as 35 vendors and experts to the Maritime Center the weekend before Thanksgiving. A couple of years ago the crowds were slimmer due to inclement weather but for boating enthusiasts the drive is worth the trip.

"I've had some come from Marquette and Wisconsin but then if the weather is bad they can't make it," Frisk said. "But the people involved with sailing on the Great Lakes are like gypsies, don't know where they're going to be so they are invited, of course, but I don't hold them to it."

Frisk knows quite a bit about the topic himself having sailed on the Great Lakes for a decade for the Interlake Steamship Company. Retired from a career as a logistics manager for a local brewery, Frisk then joined the crew of the Steamship Kaye E Barker. He said he spent most of his time on board in the galley as a second cook and one stint included 306 days on the water.

"That's when I got a chance to meet a lot of these people including the lone survivor of the Daniel J Morrell who I've been friends with now for 25 years," Frisk said. "His name is Dennis Hale and he's written several books about it."

Beyond sailing the Great Lakes, Frisk also launched a career as a photojournalist in 1970 capturing photographs of ships and lighthouses across the area.

Photography and boat watching are also things LeLievre, of Ann Arbor, counts among his many interests. Once he left the 30-year career with the Ann Arbor News after the paper closed in 2009, he took on a full-time post at his family's firm, "Marine Publishing Company" that has been publishing "Know Your Ships" annually since 1959.

A field guide to boats and boat watching on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, LeLievre said the book, which includes 168 pages for 2011, contains all the pertinent information that even the arm chair boating enthusiast can enjoy.

"It lists all the ships and when you see one going by you look at its name and just look up where it came from, who owns it and how much cargo it's hauling," LeLievre said. "The book was originally founded for people living along the water and now it's like a yearbook that's updated each year."

As Frisk's co-pilot in planning the Authorama since 2008, LeLievre thinks it's been a great way for the authors to meet the public and share their stories and work. He said the turnout has been good and steady plus visitors can gaze out at the boats going by from nearby Vantage Point. "Some people do like just come in and look at the boats and talk about the boats," LeLievre said. "And at the Maritime Center anytime, there are always people around who are willing to talk about boats."

For more information about the event call (810) 488-2944. The Maritime Center is located at 51 Water Street in Port Huron.

The Voice


Marine Mart Saturday at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial

11/18 - Detroit – The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group presents its annual Marine Mart on Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m.

The annual Marine Mart is a flea market designed for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features great holiday shopping and shiploads of nautical items and treasures including the following: lighthouse prints, nautical stipple ink prints, original and acrylic prints, unique nautical gifts, hand painted Christmas ornaments with Michigan lighthouses, postcards, magazines, china, souvenirs, clocks, marine art, nautical charts, maritime artifacts, boat items, nautical artifacts, nautical photographs, woodworking, lithographs, brochures, acrylic paintings, out-of-print Great Lakes books, ship models and much, much more.

All tickets are available at the door. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m. and is $10 for adults. General admission begins at 10 a.m. and is $7 for adults. Children ages 12 and under are free. For more information, please call (313) 833-0158 or visit


Canoes to giant ore carriers: Great Lakes shipping the subject of Nov. 17 talk

11/18 - At the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., George Ryan, retired president of the Lake Carriers' Association, and Rob Catalano, former deputy director of the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum, will take you time-travelling through the history of our Great Lake.

Titled “500 Years in 50 Minutes: Brief History of Great Lakes Shipping,” they will use images, stories and models courtesy of the Great Lakes Historical Society to regale you with fascinating facts about how shipping has evolved since Native American times. Sail through the War of 1812, drop anchor in the 20th century and discover what’s in store for the future!


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 was 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. - Rod Burdick
Despite gale warnings on Lake Superior, Saginaw arrived and loaded ore Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Wednesday the Alpena arrived in Green Bay on a windy afternoon and was assisted up to Lafarge by the tug Texas. Once Alpena had cleared the Tower Drive Bridge (I-43), Catherine Desgagnes departed the Fox River Dock slip, where it had been unloading pig iron.


October tonnage numbers remain steady at U.S. ports

11/17 - Washington, D.C. – U.S. ports continued to post positive tonnage numbers in October. The Seaway’s year-to-date total cargo shipments from March 22 to October 31 were 29 million metric tons, up 2 percent from the same period last year.

“With just two months left in the 2011 navigation season, the Seaway is on track to meet its projected seven percent improvement over last year’s tonnage performance,” says Rebecca Spruill, Director of Trade Development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “General cargoes like steel slabs and coils and wind turbine components are posting solid increases, while we’re moving nearly a million tons more of petroleum products than last season.”

In early October, 18,000 metric tons of hot-rolled steel coils produced at ArcelorMittal’s Burns Harbor facility in Indiana were delivered to the Republic of Macedonia. “Northwest Indiana is the richest steel-producing region in the world and being able to access world markets through our port is vital for ArcelorMittal and many other companies,” said Peter Laman, port director of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

He added, “This is the first substantial steel export from the port since 2008. Year-to-date steel shipments through the port are up more than 20 percent over last year, with 2011 on target for having the highest steel shipments since 2007. Whether it’s bringing in raw materials or shipping out finished products, steel companies can substantially reduce their logistics costs by shipping through our port.”

The Toledo Port Authority was another Great Lakes port registering tonnage increases. “Through the month of October, seaport cargo tonnage remained nearly 4 percent ahead of the same period in 2010 with increases in all major cargo categories (petroleum products, general cargo, and iron ore), with the exception of coal and grain. Through October, the port handled 9.2 million short tons and 13 more vessels than at the same point in 2010. The month finished strong as grain began to pick up due to the fall harvest,” explained Joseph Cappel, director of cargo development at the Port.

Diversification has been a critical component to growing port commerce during difficult economic times. “The Port of Green Bay has historically been a leading indicator of regional fiscal conditions in Wisconsin,” said Dean R. Haen, port manager. “The fact that the port has seen a 26 percent increase in tonnage from 2010 to 2011 is a positive sign for the port and our regional economy.” One port tenant, US Venture, continues to be the main driver in increased tonnage and ship arrivals in 2011. They teamed with Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation and invested in opening an inactive port terminal last year, which amidst tough economic conditions, is now paying dividends. October tonnage increases for coal for power generation were up 15 percent year-to-date, while the construction industry demand for cement rose 11 percent from the same time last year. The 69 percent year-to-date increase in gypsum handled by the port was for industrial use.

St. Lawrence Seaway shipments of petroleum products and salt continued up at 90 percent and 33 percent respectively compared to October 2010. Coal shipments totaled 62,000 metric tons in October, a two percent increase from the same month last year. Year-to-date scrap metal and coke shipments saw double digit increases for October 2011. Other general cargo like wind turbine components, increased 31 percent over last year.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway maritime industry supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, and annually generates $14.1 billion in salary and wages, $33.5 billion in business revenue, and $4.6 billion in federal, state/provincial and local taxes. North American farmers, steel producers, construction firms, food manufacturers, and power generators depend on the 164 million metric tons of essential raw materials and finished products that are moved annually on the system. This vital trade corridor saves companies $3.6 billion per year in transportation costs compared to the next least-costly land-based alternative.

Marine Delivers


St. Lawrence Seaway busier than last year

11/17 - Montreal, Que. – The economy may be slowing, but cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 22 last to Oct. 31 were 29 million tonnes, up two per cent from a year earlier.

The strongest gains came from Canadian grain shipments, up 15 per cent to 4.7 million tonnes, and shipments of petroleum products, up 90 per cent to 2 million tonnes. Iron ore was down 17 per cent to 7 million tonnes.

Coal shipments, almost 3 million tonnes, has been helped by the choice of the Seaway as the best shipping route to export low-sulphur U.S. coal to European markets.

The Montreal Gazette


Lake Express makes it through engine malfunctions to plan 2012 sailing season

11/17 - Muskegon, Mich. – Enduring more than a month of lost business because of engine failures, Lake Express officials ended their eighth sailing season looking forward to a new year.

The Muskegon-to-Milwaukee high-speed ferry service will work on customer service, small changes to its sailing schedule and an overhaul of pricing and marketing heading into spring in 2012, according to company President Ken Szallai.

What is sure is that Lake Express will have a ninth season and Muskegon will take a more important role in the Lake Michigan ferry service, Szallai said.

“We'll be back next year,” Szallai said, adding that the 2012 sailing season could begin April 27 and continue through Nov. 2. Exact dates and schedules are still to be determined.

Lake Express skeptics wonder how the ferry service is doing in light of the start this year that was delayed three weeks due to engine problems.

Those engine problems arose again July 23, and repairs kept the Lake Express on its Milwaukee dock until Aug. 7 during the height of its summer season when it operates three round trips a day between the two port cities.

Lake Express does not divulge financial results or passenger counts for competitive reasons. Also operating on Lake Michigan is the historic SS Badger, the Ludington-to-Manitowoc service of the Lake Michigan Carferry.

“It was a good year, but obviously we had two engine malfunctions that took us out more than 30 days,” Szallai said. “That hurts in a seasonal business. We've put that behind us, but we are concerned on how it discomforted our riders.”

Szallai said the Lake Express has four diesel engines, two of which were rebuilt over the last winter. The malfunctions occurred in those two engines, which have been replaced, he said.

If it were not for the shutdowns, Lake Express was having an “improving season,” Szallai said. The catamaran, water-jet-powered boat that carries 250 passengers and 46 vehicles will receive normal winter maintenance, with its next five-year out-of-the-water ship survey due after the 2012 sailing season, he said.

“We are certainly going over a major review of our marketing program and there will be changes coming that will benefit our customers,” Szallai said. “We will be doing more outreach on the Michigan side. We have quality employees in Michigan, second to none.”

Lake Express hired former Muskegon County tourism manager Jill Emery in August. As the company's Michigan manager of marketing and sales, Emery will be the face of the company on this side of the lake, Szallai said.

“We're recommitting to the state of Michigan and to the city of Muskegon,” Szallai said.

Of the company's 85 employees during the sailing season, 25 are in the Muskegon terminal, adjacent to the Great Lakes Marina on the south shore of Muskegon Lake in the city of Muskegon's Lakeside business district. Employee customer service training will begin with the Muskegon staff and then be replicated in Milwaukee, Emery said.

“The Muskegon terminal staff is phenomenal, with a great team mentality,” said Emery, who will head the customer service training with her background in the hotel and hospitality industry.

Muskegon Chronicle


Explorers find buried historical treasure in Lake Erie

11/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Deep in the waters of Lake Erie, buried in the silt and sediment lies a perfectly preserved maritime treasure -- a fully intact brigantine. The double-masted, solid wood vessel was a favorite among both pirates and other hearty seafaring folk.

"It would've been used for delivering goods and passengers," said David VanZandt of Cleveland Underwater Explorers, Inc.

But a disastrous September night in 1864 doomed the mighty vessel to a watery grave, along with all but one of the souls on board. Her name is the Sultan, and for 147 years she's been hidden in plain view just off the shoreline in Euclid in 45 feet of water.

VanZandt and his team with the Cleveland Underwater Explorers, Inc. first learned of the shipwreck four years ago but only recently located her. "This is a big lake, thousands of square miles of water," said VanZandt. "You could spend a lifetime and not find a wreck."

He and his team have found several by researching old newspapers and archives, but there are more to locate. Although thousands of ships have wrecked on Lake Erie and 500 sank, only half of those have been discovered.

"Probably the greatest number of shipwrecks are on Lake Erie because it's so shallow," said VanZandt. What makes searching for the shipwrecks so challenging is also what makes Lake Erie so deadly.

The Sultan sailed during an extremely dangerous time before the creation of the National Weather Service and when the Cleveland Harbor was a very busy port. The Sultan had dropped off her passengers and was heading to Buffalo, transporting 200 tons of grindstones. A young captain named Nelson Webster was piloting the ship.

"The older captains said you shouldn't be going out on the lake," said VanZandt. "It was blowing almost a gale out of the NW." Despite the warnings, Webster and a crew of 7 men headed out to sea and very quickly ran into trouble. The ship bottomed out on a sand bar and was being battered by the rough waves when she suddenly lurched to the side and sank not far from Euclid beach.

"It had to be a dismal fate when you're out on this 127 foot boat and you know you've got no possibility of rescue," said VanZandt. The weather was too harsh for any rescue attempts. Two crew members tried to make it to shore in the lifeboat. "They got half-way to shore and that's the last they saw of them," said VanZandt.

The rest of the men, including the captain, lashed themselves to the masts. Webster could see his home in Euclid as he clung to the mast. The ship sank around 3 p.m. and by 3 a.m. the next day, all but one of the men was washed away by the violent waves. The first mate, Eleazer Spear, survived by jumping onto the deck of a passing steamer.

Archeologists would need permission from both the state and Army Corps of Engineers to excavate. But VanZandt and his team have no plans to bring her up. They say finding the Sultan is treasure enough. "These ships are time capsules. They represent Cleveland's history in 1864 when this ship went down," he said.

Fox 8 News


Updates -  November 17

News Photo Gallery


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.


Iron ore trade up 13 percent in October

11/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5.7 million tons in October, a decrease of 11 percent from September, but an increase of 13 percent compared to a year ago.

October loadings also were up 7.2 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.1 million tons, an increase of 18 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings at Canadian ports slipped 16.3 percent from a year ago.

Through October the iron ore trade stands at 48.8 million tons, an increase of nearly 11 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Shipments from U.S. ports are up 12.4 percent compared to a year ago and 14.6 percent ahead of their 5-year average. Loadings at Canadian ports are basically tied with last year, but 14.7 percent below the 5-year average for the January-September timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Ballast regulations, S.S. Badger exemption pass U.S. House vote

11/16 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House has approved legislation that would establish a national standard for cleaning ship ballast water to kill aquatic invasive species, but environmentalists say the legislation is too weak to prevent new foreign species from invading the Great Lakes.

The ballast water language was included in a measure that would authorize the U.S. Coast Guard through 2014, providing some $26 billion dollars in funding to keep the service afloat over the next three years. The legislation, which was passed on a voice vote, now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

The ballast water provision would override stricter tribal, state and federal regulations, allowing ships on the lakes to comply with a single national standard rather than having to accommodate a patchwork of more than two dozen tribal and state rules as they move through the Great Lakes waters. Enactment of this legislation would preempt efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard to impose tougher national ballast water rules.

Under the bill, the federal government would adopt the International Maritime Organization's proposed standard, which would require vessel operators to install technology to limit the number of live organisms in their ballast water.

Attempts to remove the ballast water provision during a Nov. 4 House debate on the bill failed on a mostly partyline vote, although both Republican and Democratic members of Congress from Michigan voted unanimously to kill the proposed national standard. Environmentalists charge that members of Congress are sacrificing the health of the Great Lakes to protect the financial interests of the shipping industry.

Shipping companies say in a time of economic peril, Congress should protect critical industries, including shipping. They say laws like the one enacted in New York would likely close the St. Lawrence Seaway to ship traffic because meeting its tough ballast water standard would be nearly impossible. New York ballast water rules, which take effect in 2013, set live-organism limits that are far stiffer for existing and new ships than anything contemplated by the federal government.

Some 65 percent of the 185 invasive species in the Great Lakes are thought to have come through ballast water exchanges over the last few decades, scientists estimate.

The Coast Guard bill also includes a provision to allow the Ludington cross-lake car ferry, the S.S. Badger, to continue its daily operations after 2012. The Lake Michigan Carferry Co., which has operated the steamship ferry for nearly six decades, was given special permission by the EPA in 2011 and 2012 to continue dumping its coal ash into Lake Michigan. That special rule was slated to expire after 2012, but this bill would allow the Badger's dumping to continue for the life of the vessel.

IPR News


Port Reports -  November 16

Saginaw River -Todd Shorkey
Algorail and James Norris were both outbound late Monday night, early Tuesday morning, headed for the lake after unloading at Saginaw area docks. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Tuesday morning, calling on the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The pair was outbound Tuesday evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Manitowoc was unloading sand on the City Ship Canal at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Adam E. Cornelius was at Gateway Metroport and the Rebecca Lynn with barge A-397 were at the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Evans McKeil with the barge Metis arrived in Rochester Tuesday morning with a load of bulk cement for Essroc.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
CCGS Isle Rouge arrived in Toronto Monday. The tall ship Challenge arrived in her home port of Toronto Tuesday, returning from her visit to Hamilton, Ont. La Prairie and Omni-Richelieu repositioned Apollon at the Redpath docks Tuesday. Cuyahoga arrived Monday and departed Tuesday.


Authorama will return to Maritime Center Saturday

11/16 - Port Huron, Mich. - The 3rd Annual Marine Authorama will be held from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich. Featured at the public event will be Dennis Hale, author of "Shipwrecked: Reflections of the Sole Survivor" and only survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell freighter disaster; Roger LeLievre, author of "Know Your Ships;" a representative for Robert McGreevy, author of "Lost Legends of the Lakes;" Dick Wicklund, co-author of "The Kinsman Lines;" Wayne Kadar, author of "Great Lakes Serial Killers" and Paul Beesley, marine photographer, author, and maker of marine calendars. All will have copies of their publications for sale. Also, BoatNerd gear, such as hats and T-shirts, will be on sale, as well as a variety of books and DVDs. Admission is free.


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.


Great Lakes coal trade down almost 10 percent in October

11/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 3 million net tons in October, a decrease of nearly 11 percent compared to September, and a drop of 9.6 percent compared to a year ago. The trade slumped even more 20.7 percent when compared to the 5-year average for October.

Loadings at Lake Superior ports fell to 1.5 million tons, a decrease of 21.6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Michigan terminals rose 40 percent for the second straight month. Loadings at Lake Erie docks were essentially on par with a year ago.

Year-to-date, the coal trade stands at 22.1 million tons, a decrease of 14.1 percent compared to a year ago, and even more, 25.4 percent, when compared to the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  November 15

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
James Norris was joined by Algorail out on Saginaw Bay Sunday night. The pair was able to come off the hook Monday morning and finally head up the Saginaw River to unload. James Norris came in first and called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Algorail was not far behind, and traveled all of the way up river to the Sixth Street Turning Basin to unload at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. Both vessels were expected to be outbound late Monday evening.


U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble continues to sit idle, cost money

11/15 - Port Huron, Mich. – The decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble is steering uncharted waters.

The Bramble, commissioned in 1944, is owned by the Port Huron Museum, which received the ship after it was decommissioned in 2003. The museum's board of trustees decided in December 2009 to sell the ship. Since then, the museum has received three offers, said Susan Bennett, executive director of the Port Huron Museum.

One of the offers was about 15 percent of the $300,000 asking price. The other was about half and the most recent offer, which came in August was close to the full price. Unfortunately, financing fell through for the person who made the third offer, she said.

The ship has been closed since Aug. 17, but continues to cost the museum money for insurance and utilities, Bennett said. Still, having the ship closed will cost the museum less than having it opened, she said.

Utilities totaled about $60,000 last year and are expected to be less because things that were never shut down have been turned off, she said. An open ship costs $25,000 a year for insurance, but a closed ship with no one on it will cost $12,000, said Bennett.

"We have no plans to reopen," she said. "We're securing it as best we can."

Last year, the Bramble made about $40,000, which was considered a good year.

At this point, the museum's only option to get rid of the ship would be to scrap it, but Bennett said that is something officials do not want to do. "We can't afford it indefinitely, but at some point, we're going to have to pull the trigger.”

With the weather cooling down, Bennett said the museum has missed the window to have the ship towed anywhere and doesn't think anything will happen with it until spring. In the meantime, plans are in the works for overnight events at the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.

"We hope to pick up the slack from what we're losing on the Bramble," she said. No official date has been set for when the lighthouse will be open, but Bennett said it could be as early as next spring or summer.

Port Huron Times Herald


More Michigan voyages ahead; 13 cruises to visit new Detroit dock

11/15 - Detroit. Mich. – In cruising circles, Michigan is an exotic destination. Starting next year, the state will be visited 23 times by cruise ships whose itineraries showcase the glorious Great Lakes – yep, those lakes we take for granted.

A new, 138-passenger vessel, the MV Yorktown, will sail new Michigan-friendly itineraries next year, along with the 100-passenger ships Grande Mariner and Niagara Prince. Thirteen of the cruises will start, end or stop at downtown Detroit's new public dock and terminal that opened this year. That's up from two cruises this past summer.

Other Michigan spots the ships will visit in 2012 are Wyandotte, Holland, Beaver Island, the Soo, Manistee, Saugatuck, Mackinac Island, Whitefish Point, Houghton, Munising and Charlevoix.

It is fantastic news for Michigan tourism, and could mean an influx of more than 2,500 tourists to visit our shores.

"What's terrific about the new dock and Detroit is the proximity to the upper part of the Great Lakes," said Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Company in Ann Arbor, which markets the cruises. "I believe the new port in Detroit is the reason the Yorktown is sailing out of Detroit and not Windsor or Toronto."

Travelers are intrigued by the wilds of Michigan, the legendary shores of Gitche Gumee, the quaint American villages. Great Lakes cruises attract mostly foreign tourists and folks who have already been just about everywhere else.

"They are typically seasoned travelers with a minimum of 10 previous cruises under their belt," Conlin said. "It is more of a 'bucket list' travel item."

Because the Great Lakes are marketed as a high-end destination like Antarctica or the Mediterranean, the cruises on the new, 138-passenger MV Yorktown and 100-passenger Grande Mariner, which will sail to Michigan ports in 2012, are not cheap. The $2,500-$9,000-per-person cost includes lodging, on-ship meals, tours and excursions, an educational program, taxes and gratuities. The new 2012 itinerary just came out, so it's unclear how fast it is selling, but one cruise – "North America's Enchanted Seaway" set for Sept. 8-15 – has already sold out.

The Yorktown is operated by Travel Dynamics International in New York, which specializes in small-ship tours all over the world.

"Having Detroit serve as Travel Dynamics' logistical hub for its Great Lakes itineraries is a significant win for the region," said W. Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. As more tourists embark on cruises from Detroit, it should boost the local economy, he said, and "in future years we hope to play an even greater role in the re-emerging Great Lakes cruise industry."

A $21.5-million dock, officially named the Detroit Public Dock and Terminal, was financed by the federal government and opened in June.

At the time, critics doubted it would be used much. However, the quick upswing from two to 13 cruise stops in just one year proves a couple of factors are already working in its favor. First, it is close to a major international airport (Detroit Metro) and it is hours, not days, away from the highlights of the Great Lakes.

"Leaving from the dock in Detroit allows ships to reach the upper part of the Great Lakes quicker," Conlin said. "Our market research and past passenger comments tell us that Great Lakes passengers are taking our cruises because of the scenic beauty of the upper Great Lakes. That's what they want to see, and they want to spend as much time as possible up there."

The Yorktown is new to the Great Lakes. Another ship, the Grande Mariner, was here last year and has the distinction of being the first cruise ship to stop at the new Detroit port this past summer. In 2012, the Niagara Prince will pick up two cruises at the end of the season.

The MV Columbus, which sailed the last few years in the Great Lakes but docked in Windsor instead of Detroit, will not be on the lakes in 2012.

Even armchair travelers who cannot afford to hop aboard the ships can enjoy the itineraries at Through the eyes of tourists, the Great Lakes seem shiny and exciting, quaint and exotic.

"Venture through Lake Superior to revel in the pristine beauty of the Apostle Islands and the Keewenaw Peninsula," the brochure says. "Visit the delightful town of Saugatuck, nestled along Lake Michigan's great sand dunes..."

Don't you want to go?

Detroit Free Press


Historical Society presents program on sunken freighter, annual memorial service

11/15 - Bay City, Mich. – The sinking of the Great Lakes freighter Carl D. Bradley is the topic when the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society meets at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Historical Museum of Bay County, 321 Washington Ave.

The public also is invited to attend the group's annual memorial service honoring Bay County-area sailors who died on the Great Lakes. The service begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Waterfall Park in downtown Bay City.

Between the two events, the exhibit "The Bridges of Bay County: Spanning the Centuries" will be open at the museum. The exhibit features artifacts from the collection of the SRMHS. Also open will be the newly updated Kantzler Maritime Gallery on the museum's second floor.

Booth Mid-Michigan


Updates -  November 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.


Fatal accident aboard the St. Marys Challenger

11/14 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The fatal accident Saturday on a ship docked in Milwaukee involved a 60-year-old Superior man whose arm was severed at the shoulder after it got caught in a moving conveyor belt, according to a report released Sunday. The St. Mary's Challenger was docked at the lakefront when the accident happened around 9:15 p.m.

According to a preliminary investigation report by the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office, Ronald L. Hackensmith was working alone by the conveyor belt three decks below the main deck when the accident occurred.

Investigators listed the suggested manner of death as an accident, but they aren't sure how it happened.

The ship logs show there was a hydraulic oil leak and that Hackensmith had asked other crew members to shut down the engine and restart it. After one round of shutting down and restarting, Hackensmith again requested a shutdown. The log didn't show him requesting another start-up, but the engine was restarted and was running when the injury occurred, the preliminary report states.

A dishwasher on the ship two decks above the conveyor area first heard Hackensmith screaming and came to help.

Deckhands told investigators that the conveyor belt, which is 782 feet long and moves at 520 feet per minute, would sometimes slip if there was too much concrete on the belt.

"The belt would have to be adjusted if this were the case," the medical examiner's report states.

The ship, built in 1905, carried more than 9,000 tons of cement and has 25 crewmembers, according to the report.

The Milwaukee Police Department, the fire department, U.S. Coast Guard and officers from the Department of Homeland Security responded to the accident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also called to the scene.

Milwaukee police are still investigating, and investigators at the medical examiner's office have yet to conduct an autopsy and finish their report.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Port Reports -  November 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Algosoo loaded ore for the seventh time this season, and USCGC Alder worked aids to navigation.

Suttons Bay - James Shannahan
The McKeil Marine barge Niagara Spirit and tug John Spence were in Suttons Bay Sunday waiting for weather.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Sunday morning, carrying a split cargo. The pair stopped at the Bay City Wirt Stone dock to drop part of their cargo, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock. The Moore - Kuber were outbound for the lake Sunday night. James Norris was anchored out in the Saginaw Bay early Sunday morning waiting for better weather before coming into the Saginaw River. She was still out there late Sunday night. The wind has been out of the south at 22 knots, gusting to 31.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W. and Rob Wolcott
Herbert C. Jackson arrived Saturday night. She departed ADM around 5:30 p.m. with assistance from the tug Washington.

Toronto – Andre Blanchard
Saturday the USCGC Hollyhock (WLB-214) arrived in Toronto. She remained in port until Sunday. The saltie Apollon arrived on Friday, and was berthed at berth 273 (Redpath Sugar).


Help for Grand Marais break wall trapped in limbo

11/14 - Grand Marais, Mich. – For decades, tiny Grand Marais in the Upper Peninsula asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild a break wall crucial to the local economy of boating and fishing.

"The corps always told us when they get the money, they'll fix this," Jack Hubbard, supervisor of surrounding Burt Township, said.

This year, Grand Marais got the money. First, it won $40,000 in February as top prize in a Reader's Digest contest. Then U.P. officials got state lawmakers to vote $5 million for the project in May.

But corps officials said they couldn't start unless the money was turned over to them -- something state and township officials wouldn't do.

Even to hire their own contractor, the Yoopers needed the Corps' permission. And the Corps has yet to grant it.

Now, state and local leaders fear the delay will mean losing an additional $1.6 million in federal money earmarked for the project.

Many politicians have met with and written to the Corps for years over the handling of Grand Marais' harbor. And Attorney General Bill Schuette castigated the Corps in September for what he said was a tardy corps study of the Asian carp threat, calling for legislation to force the corps to speed up its study of the carp by three years.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has pushed for five years to get the corps to fix the harbor in Grand Marais. Levin's Nov. 3 letter to the commander of the corps in Detroit said Levin, after touring the harbor in late October, wondered why the corps could not provide its written assurance that a harbor break wall would be built in 2012, now that the majority of funding has been provided by the State of Michigan.

That's an assurance that Grand Marais residents and their local leaders have requested for half a century. Now, with $5 million in state funding approved in May and $1.6 million in federal funding available from a 2008 corps allocation, the continuing delay has observers exasperated.

"I think all of us are surprised that, after the funding has finally been identified for this project, it still isn't getting done," said Levin's Upper Peninsula representative Amy Berglund in Escanaba.

The Detroit spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers said that the corps would answer Levin, but would not make its reply public.

Officials with the corps in Detroit said that, since state funding became available to pay for most of the project, they're committing to seeing that it gets done. But they said first they must follow numerous federal regulations, civil engineering standards and environmental rules, and that the latest plan for the breakwater requires fresh analysis before the corps can issue an approval -- even though the corps has studied the project for decades and given previous approvals.

Grand Marais officials have said they'd bid out the project themselves and build it without the corps, using only the state allocation. Still, the corps must give its approval to anything built in the harbor, said Army officials who cited federal law.

"Everybody here is keeping a finger on the pulse of Grand Marais," the Corps Detroit commander, Lt. Col. Michael Derosier, said. Derosier said the project had been approved "as far back as at least 2002" but then "there was no money to build it." With funding finally available, the corps is conducting a fresh review of design and environmental impacts, he said. On Nov. 4, the corps sent the plans to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its review, expected to take from 30 to 90 days, corps spokeswoman Lynn Duerod said.

Similar time-consuming studies by the military's builders of big civil-engineering projects were targeted Sept. 26 by Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and 16 other state attorneys general. They asked congressional leaders to force the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to slash three years from its study of the Asian carp threat, scheduled to end in 2015 when many experts say the carp will be in the Great Lakes. Schuette has said that federal legislation should "force the Army Corps" to speed up its response.

"This is similar to the problems they're having in Grand Marais with the corps," said state Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, who represents the Upper Peninsula.

"The Army Corps is demanding to do it their way without explaining that it will cause delays that will probably kill the project," Casperson said.

Losing the break wall's rocky shield meant that decades of wave action washed sand into the harbor, which once averaged 50 feet deep and was fit for big ships, now shrunk to less than half its original depth, he said. Water depths are getting so shallow that the Grand Marais harbor might be off-limits to some boaters as soon as 2013, environmental consultants have said.

For more than half a century, Grand Marais has asked the corps to address the harbor break wall, built in the 1890s, badly deteriorated by the 1950s and long since pounded into oblivion by Lake Superior, Hubbard said.

Going back decades, communications about the harbor have included sharply worded letters exchanged by officials, public prayer meetings beside the harbor and even through a tongue-in-cheek act of civil disobedience in 1977, when locals and tourists dumped hundreds of Pet Rocks into the Grand Marais harbor, taunting the corps to fix its break wall with pieces of granite.

Detroit Free Press


'Gales of November' ceremony honors those who lost their lives on the Great Lakes

11/14 - Port Huron, Mich. – A brass ship's bell tolled seven times Saturday for the mariners and others who have lost their lives on the Great Lakes and connecting waters during the month of November.

"It means something, that they are never forgotten," said McKahla Breck, 16, of Algonac, a seaman apprentice with the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets. "All of the hard work and dedication means something."

The Sea Cadets and others gathered Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron for a short "Gales of November" ceremony.

“This is to honor all those who have lost their lives in November on the Great Lakes," said Peter Werle, operations manager at the Great Lakes Maritime Center. "It's a perilous time to be a sailor, it's a perilous time for the ships."

A short list of maritime disasters on the Great Lakes during the month includes the "White Hurricane," a huge storm from Nov. 7-11, 1913, that claimed 12 ships, including eight in Lake Huron, and at least 255 sailors; the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell on Nov. 29, 1966, in Lake Huron resulting in the loss of 28 of 29 crew members; and the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald on Nov. 10, 1975, in Lake Superior with the loss of all 29 crew members.

"Every sea captain I've talked to is amazed at how fast and how violent storms form on the Great Lakes," Werle said. Bill Barnhardt, captain of the Grayfox training ship manned by the Sea Cadets, said the young people are eager to participate in the ceremony.

"They volunteer, they want to do it," he said. "We're not just pushing Navy – we're pushing maritime. We want to give them as much maritime experience as possible."

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  November 14

Weekly Website Updates


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 crewmembers.

On November 14, 1934, the WILLIAM A. REISS grounded off Sheboygan and 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 three survivors were rescued by three 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 snowstorm 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.


Updates -  November 13

News Photo Gallery


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.


Port Reports -  November 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Friday morning at the harbors in Marquette, Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor while John J. Boland unloaded western coal at the Lower Harbor.


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

Green Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke
Algoma Transfer arrived at Fox River Dock, Green Bay, WI around noon with salt. Also in port from Wednesday was the tug Prentiss Brown and barge off-loading at St. Marys Cement.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Thursday evening, with a split load. The pair stopped at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to drop part of their cargo, then continued upriver to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw to finish unloading. They were expected to be outbound on Friday.


St. Catharines firm lands $5.2 million in ship winch deals

11/11 - They're complex stove-sized winches specifically used to tie off vessels sailing the St. Lawrence Seaway. And for a Chinese shipyard making lakers for Canada Steamship Lines, nobody does it better than Dilts Piston Hydraulics in St. Catharines.

The result is more than $4 million worth of contracts to build 24 of the "collomatic" winches. The deal was announced Wednesday at Dilts' Cushman Rd. facility. The deliveries are for Chengxi Shipyard Company Ltd., one of China's largest shipbuilding and repair facilities.

Dilts president Ian Hill also announced two contracts for winch rebuilds for St. Catharines' Algoma Central Corp. and Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. in Port Dover worth a total of more than $1.2 million.

The new business adds eight jobs for a total of 30 workers at the Dilts shop, which specializes in hydraulic systems and marine mooring winches.

"These new contracts have our facility growing," said Hill, 38, who only 4 1/2 years ago was hired as a Dilts service technician as employee No. 16. Just over a year ago, Hill took over as owner and president. The economic climate then was very tough for the 23-year-old firm.

"At that time, the automotive sector had near vanished, the industry in Niagara was at an all-time low. And the shipping sector was in a if-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it mode." The firm's employees were in rotating four-day work weeks. Things have since changed dramatically for the company, he said.

Factoring into this was a federal government decision in late 2010 to remove a 25% import duty for Canadian shipping companies on imported general cargo vessels and tankers.

"It actually worked out to our benefit," Hill said. "The CSL may not have had the ships built without a better price attached to it."

Niagara Industrial Association chair Bryan Webb said at Wednesday's announcement the deal is proof manufacturing isn't dead in Niagara. He said the new wave of manufacturing in Niagara involves niche, and added-value components and products.

Dilts will work with a number of association members to fulfill the contracts, including Girotti Machine and West Pier Marine and Industrial Supply Inc. The winch deliveries to China should start in mid-January and be complete by the summer, with the rebuilds happening over the winter.

The Standard


Freighters have new place to fuel up

11/11 - Windsor, Ont. – Windsor can now boast it has the biggest service station on the Great Lakes.

With more than $20 million in new investment — $10.1 million of it from Ottawa’s infrastructure stimulus fund — a shipping facility in the city’s west side has become the place for freighters to fuel up as they traverse the Great Lakes, said John Carrick, president of McAsphalt Industries Ltd.

McAsphalt and its Sterling Fuels division, as well as their partner, The Miller Group, which together form the Windsor Port Authority’s largest tenant, hosted a grand opening Wednesday to showcase their new facilities for handling petroleum products and aggregate materials.

An extended dock can easily handle the biggest, 1,000-foot Great Lakes freighters, and cargo can now be on- or off-loaded while the ships take on fuel.

A commercial freighter can take on 400,000 litres of fuel in a single stop at the pumps, with the bill reaching upwards of $250,000, said Peter Kelly, vice-president and general manager of Sterling Marine Fuels.

He said marine fuel prices for freighters are set in New York and are “pretty similar” whether it’s sold in a Canadian or American port.

“Well over 100 million litres a year is sold here,” said Kelly. About 30 giant storage tanks located along Russell Street between Sandwich Street and the Detroit River hold a million barrels (160 million litres) of diesel, bunker fuel and other fossil-fuel liquids, including asphalt stored in massive heated tanks.

“These are the types of things Windsor needs,” Sterling Fuels facility manager Tom Telega told guests on a tour of the improved facilities, including new warehouse, cargo handling facilities and storage amenities. Telega said the company has doubled its former complement of 15 employees, and Kelly added it’s always on the lookout for good workers in such areas as loading, scales, warehouse and driving.

Even with the economic downturn, Kelly said the company is handling 500 ships a year, with expectations of that volume now increasing to 700 during the typical late March to January marine season.

Carrick thanked Essex MP Jeff Watson, representing Ottawa at the open house, for helping obtain federal funds. Because of the recession, he said the company would otherwise have been forced to shelve its upgrade plans.

After more than three years of preparation, the facility is now ready for a number of big projects, including the multibillion-dollar Windsor-Essex Parkway, which alone will require “millions of tonnes” of crushed stone and other aggregate, said Kelly.

Charles Pingle, chairman of the Windsor Port Authority Board, said the expanded marine facility is just one of several projects the authority is involved in to help give a “kick-up” to Windsor’s economy.

“It looks like the future will be very rosy,” said Pingle.

The Windsor Star


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 McNichol. John was working on an unknown vessel during the Storm of 1913. The boat was captained by John McAlpine 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.


Port Reports -  November 10

Gladstone and Escanaba, Mich. - Lee Rowe
On Wednesday, Mississagi was unloading salt in Gladstone. American Spirit was loading at Escanaba.

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
At 6:30 Wednesday morning, the saltie Chesnut was still anchored about 2 nautical miles down river from Alexandria Bay, N.Y. Radio traffic said she was disabled, however at 06:45 she turned and headed down river.


Lost Mariners program to be webcast from Belle Isle

11/10 - Detroit will honor all sailors lost on the Great Lakes during a Lost Mariners program on Thursday, November 10 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Marine artist and historian Robert McGreevy will discuss the sidewheel steamer Key Stone State, once the second largest passenger vessel on the Great Lakes. The steamer and its entire crew were tragically lost exactly 150 years ago on November 10, 1861 on its way to be outfitted for Civil War service. Other highlights include a performance by Lee Murdock, Great Lakes balladeer; an Honor Guard escort of a memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by the Honor Flotilla of Great Lakes vessels; and a lantern vigil at the Edmund Fitzgerald anchor. It has been 36 years since the Fitzgerald and her crew of 29 men were lost in one of the worst storms in three decades. The event will also be webcast online. Click here for details


Door County Maritime Museum winter speaker series

11/10 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum has announced its 2011-2012 Maritime Speaker Series program, which will get underway Tuesday Nov. 29, and continue with Thursday evening programs running periodically January through March. .

The Nov. 29 program will provide an excellent holiday shopping opportunity with the museum’s gift shop open for business and a book signing opportunity with the evenings featured speaker Richard Purinton. Purinton, who serves as the CEO for the family-run Washington Island Ferry Line, will present a program about life on Washington Island during the winter. An award-winning author, Purinton’s “Over and Back: A History of Transportation to Washington Island” earned an Award of Merit from the Wisconsin Historical Society after being released in 1991. More recently he authored “Words on Water: A Ferryman’s Journal” in 2009, and last year “Bridges Are Still News: Island Essays, Poems and Photos” was released. .

Programs will follow the first three Thursdays in January, February and March. On Thursday, Jan. 5, Ken Westcar will explain the work that went into the repowering of the 1,000-ft. ore carrier Edwin H. Gott at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. Bay Shipbuilding retains center stage on Thursday, Feb. 2, when company personnel will be on hand to update the public on the activities going on at the yard. With 2012 being the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Bob Desh will present a program on the wars impact on the Great Lakes on Thursday, March 2. The series concludes on Thursday, March 29, with a program on the museum’s hugely popular boatbuilding program. .

All programs begin at 7 p.m. at the Sturgeon Bay museum. They are free of charge and open to the public with donations appreciated. For more information contact the museum at 920-743-5958 or visit


Updates -  November 10

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new photos in the City of Munising gallery.


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.


Port Reports -  November 9

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Kaye E Barker was loading ore on a calm Tuesday evening in Marquette.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River Monday afternoon, headed upriver to unload at a Saginaw area dock. The pair was back outbound for the lake Tuesday morning. The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload Tuesday morning. They were expected to be outbound on Wednesday.

Conneaut, Ohio – Tom Heagerty
There has been quite a bit of activity at the port of Conneaut lately. There have been several 1,000 footers that have been discharging their loads on the dock instead of into the hopper for conveyer transfer to the upper storage facility. Then the pellets are loaded onto smaller ships by small dockside conveyers. Algomarine, CSL Tadoussac and Great Republic are some of those that have loaded lately. Also, Algowood unloaded a cargo of slag.

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
Tuesday evening the Canfornav ship Chestnut was forced to anchor in the middle of the channel about 2 nautical miles down river from Alexandria Bay, N.Y. A few hours later a pilot boat arrived alongside from Cape Vincent. The ship did not block the channel and a few ships did pass by Chestnut.


House says states can’t regulate ballast

11/9 - Washington D.C. — New York’s strict new standards for keeping invasive species out of ships’ ballast on the St. Lawrence Seaway took a hit in Congress, and probably won’t get a second chance on Capitol Hill, a congressional source said Monday.

The House handily defeated a measure by Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Long Island, that could have cleared the way for states to adopt ballast standards stricter than federal rules. A spokesman for Mr. Bishop said it is unlikely, given that defeat, that the Senate would take up the issue.

As of Monday, said the spokesman, Oliver Longfellow, the congressman’s office was not aware of any senator prepared to carry the issue on the other side of the Capitol. That means the regulation of ballast water will probably fall to negotiations between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and New York state, as well as other Great Lakes states and Canada.

The mostly party-line vote was on an amendment Mr. Bishop offered to a bill authorizing Coast Guard and maritime programs. A final version will be determined by a House-Senate conference committee. A few Republicans voted for Mr. Bishop’s proposal, including Rep. Christopher P. Gibson, R-Kinderhook, essentially backing up the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which had adopted the tough regulations.

Rep. William L. Owens, D-Plattsburgh, said he would have voted for it. He missed Friday’s session to attend the change of command ceremony at Fort Drum.

“It’s a balancing act,” Mr. Owens said in a telephone interview, referring to environmental and commercial interests along the inland shipping route. “There’s not going to be a perfect resolution.” New York’s rules haven’t taken effect, as shipping interests say they cannot meet the standard with currently available technology. The Cuomo administration has shown some sympathy for that argument, putting off the rules’ enforcement while federal officials craft a new standard. New York’s rules in effect become those for the entire system because ships cannot enter the Seaway without passing through New York.

Mr. Bishop said during floor debate that his measure would only give states the right to petition the EPA for tougher standards within state waters, which the federal agency could either accept or deny. But critics said it would allow states to ban the release of ballast entirely, effectively shutting down shipping in certain areas.

Ships take on ballast to achieve balance in the water. When released, it can transport foreign creatures into the water. Federal rules require ballast exchange at sea, but ballast tanks are never completely free of organisms, scientists say.

Environmental groups such as Save the River, in Clayton, have argued for on-board ballast treatment systems. But ship builders are reluctant to go forward with plans until a reliable federal standard is in place, shipping groups say.

Mr. Bishop, too, believes in a federal standard, his spokesman said. But the congressman also believes states should be able to set rules for ships in their own waters, he said.

Mr. Owens said he believes the federal government, not the state, should have jurisdiction over ballast regulation on the Seaway — and that treaties with Canada must be respected as well. Any regulation by New York that hurts Canadian commerce would probably lead Ottawa to seek redress, he said.

Save the River is pushing lawmakers to vote against the Coast Guard bill next week because of the ballast issue, said the group’s executive director, Jennifer Caddick.

Watertown Daily Times


HGVSU wind buoy performing well on Lake Michigan after rough-water weekend

11/9 - Muskegon, Mich. - Lake Michigan waters provided Grand Valley State University's wind assessment buoy a challenging welcome. The eight-ton, 10-by-20-foot floating research platform was towed out Friday afternoon to a location in Lake Michigan four miles off the shoreline from Nugent Sand, just south of the Muskegon pierheads.

Arn Boezaart — director of GVSU's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon — said conditions were perfect for Muskegon-based Andrie Inc. to deploy the unit.

But sunny skies and flat waters gave way to a big blow off Lake Michigan this weekend. Designed for ocean conditions, the research buoy withstood 10-foot waves and up to 40 mph winds on the lake, Boezaart said.

“The research platform is working perfectly,” Boezaart said, explaining that wind information now is being transmitted to lead researchers at GVSU and the University of Michigan. “It is performing well.” The high-tech, laser-based wind instruments will give researchers the first comprehensive look at the quality of winds on Lake Michigan. The wind data will inform developers, investors and regulators as to the potential of commercial wind turbine installations on the lake.

However, the wind research platform's future is uncertain. The $3.3 million effort to construct and deploy the buoy and to support the next three years of Lake Michigan research has hit a financial snag.

Lake researchers learned in September that the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on a funding source through the Michigan Public Service Commission. The court ruling immediately ended a $1.3 million state grant to have been used for research activities.

Other project sources of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the University of Michigan and Wisconsin Energy paid for the construction and deployment of the platform manufactured by AXYS Technologies of British Columbia, Canada.

The research platform will remain in Lake Michigan offshore from Muskegon until around mid-December when it will be brought back into Muskegon Lake and stored at Andrie's Grand Trunk Dock for the winter. The buoy would withstand ice conditions on the lake but the sensitive wind instruments would likely be damaged over the winter months, Boezaart said.

When funding was available, plans were for the buoy to be redeployed early next spring 36 miles off shore from just north of Muskegon along a lake bottom ridge on the Michigan side of the Wisconsin state line.

The state funding was lost when the court ruled that the state's Public Service Commission did not have the authority to raise the research dollars through a surcharge on Consumers Energy and DTE Energy customers in the state.

“As for Jan. 1, we will be out of business until we can secure funding for research in 2012 and 2013,” Boezaart said. The Michigan Legislature is having hearings on the funding issue this week and there is the possibility that those dollars and the electric bill surcharge could be reinstated.

Meanwhile, lake research partners GVSU and the University of Michigan will seek new funding from both North America and Europe as wind development companies seek the most advanced offshore wind information, Boezaart said.

“No one else is out there right now collecting this kind of wind data,” Boezaart said of the research platform. “Right now, it's one of a kind.”

Muskegon Chronicle


LSMMA Announces Cruise of a Lifetime raffle winners

11/9 - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association Cruise of a Lifetime raffle drawing took place at the 24th annual Gales of November on Saturday in Duluth. The winners were Kathrine Gray of White Bear Lake, Minn., and Eric Peterson of Jacksonville, Fla. In the summer of 2012, the two winners and their guests will enjoy a 5.5 day cruise on the 1,000 foot ore boat, the Edwin H. Gott. Raffle sales go to help maintain and preserve the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in historic Canal Park.


Betty Sagon-King

11/9 - Betty Sagon-King of Thorold, Ont., passed away on Sunday Nov. 6. Betty and her husband Alf, who survives, were well known to ship enthusiasts in the pre-BoatNerd era. She was 88 and the couple had been married for 64 years. They usually travelled together when he was taking boat pictures around the Welland Canal or farther afield. Her funeral was Nov. 8.


Updates -  November 9

News Photo Gallery


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.


Lakes limestone trade up 8.5 percent in October

11/8 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,755,344 net tons in October, an increase of 6 percent over September, and an increase of 8.5 percent compared to a year ago. October loadings also inched passed the 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. quarries increased 8.2 percent compared to a year ago and beat the month’s 5-year average by 75,000 tons. Loadings at Canadian quarries rose by 10.3 percent compared to a year ago, but remained under October’s 5-year average.

Through October the Lakes limestone trade stands at 23.4 million tons, a slight decrease - 2.1 percent - compared to the same point in 2010, but a drop of 11 percent compared to the 5-year average for the for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Badger ferry owners seek landmark status for coal-burning ship

11/8 - Facing a deadline to stop dumping toxic coal ash into Lake Michigan, owners of the last coal-powered steamship on the Great Lakes are pushing for it to join Mount Vernon, Lincoln's Tomb and Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthplace as a protected national historic landmark.

Even if the Badger fails to make the list of the nation's historic and cultural treasures, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may be unable to force the aging coal burner to eliminate the nearly 4 tons of waste it dumps in the lake every time it sails. An amendment added to a budget bill by Republican congressmen from Michigan and Wisconsin would prevent the EPA from imposing more stringent pollution limits on any ship that is "on, or nominated for inclusion on" the list of landmarks.

In documents obtained by the Tribune, the car ferry's owners plead for the National Park Service to grant the Badger special protection from the EPA, which in 2008 gave them four years to find a solution to the ship's pollution problems.

"This designation could play a critical role in the survival of this one-of-a-kind historical asset," Bob Manglitz, president and chief executive of the Lake Michigan Car Ferry Service, the Badger's owner, wrote in a letter to the Park Service. Landmark status, Manglitz wrote, would be "invaluable" during negotiations with the EPA about a new Clean Water Act permit for the ship.

In their application for landmark status, the Badger's owners say the ship's "historic propulsion system" is "under threat" by the EPA.

It describes the Badger as "the final stage of development of the Great Lakes rail and auto passenger ferry," making it worthy for protection as an example of once-innovative technology to move goods across the nation. Its massive coal-fired boilers were the last of their kind built for U.S. ships, according to documents filed with the Park Service.

Converting the ship from coal to oil "would destroy part of the historic coal-delivery system and significantly increase operating costs," the application states. Adding diesel engines would leave "the historic machinery intact but unused."

Most existing maritime national historic landmarks are museum exhibits, including the Cobia, a World War II submarine docked in Manitowoc, Wis.; the Potomac, a yacht used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and the Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine.

The Park Service already has cleared the ferry for consideration by a federal advisory panel that meets Tuesday in Washington. The panel is reviewing about a dozen other properties, including a 19th century Boston church, a Native American village in Iowa and a disabled veterans home in Ohio.

If the advisory committee approves the Badger's nomination, it will be sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for a final decision.

Company officials did not return calls or emails from the Tribune. Backers of the Badger have organized a public relations campaign that portrays the ship as a nostalgic vacation shortcut across Lake Michigan and cites the ferry's role in promoting tourism and its 250 full-time and seasonal jobs, most of which are held by high school and college students.

The Badger's coal-burning technology was becoming obsolete when the 410-foot ferry began operating on Lake Michigan. By the time it started carrying freight cars for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1953, dozens of other coal-burning ships were being retired or converted to cleaner-burning diesel fuel. Consolidation of railroads and skyrocketing operating costs forced other Great Lakes ferries to shut down during the 1970s.

Based on its 134-day operating schedule, the ship discharges about 509 tons of coal ash each year as it travels between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. By contrast, all 125 freighters plying the Great Lakes collectively dump about 89 tons of coal, limestone and iron waste into the lake annually, according to U.S. Coast Guard records.

On Friday, Republican Reps. Bill Huizenga and Dan Benishek, of Michigan, and Tom Petri, of Wisconsin, added an amendment to the U.S. Coast Guard budget that would shield the Badger from EPA scrutiny. It doesn't mention the ferry by name, but the Badger is the only vessel that fits the criteria outlined in the measure pending on the House floor.

"This is a stunning example of special interest legislation flying under the radar," said Thomas Cmar, an attorney in the Midwest office of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Exempting the Badger by law or designating it as a national landmark could be its latest pass from environmental laws that other ships, including a competing car ferry that runs between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich., have complied with for years.

Investors who saved the Badger from the scrap yard in the 1980s won special exemptions from Michigan and Wisconsin air quality laws that kept the ferry's noxious coal smoke legal while other polluters cleaned up. A permit issued by the EPA in 2008 gave its current owners four years to clean up the ship's water pollution, by overhauling its engines or storing its coal ash for safe disposal onshore.

After vowing to find a solution, the owners have been seeking an exemption from the Clean Water Act that would delay a fix until at least 2017.

The move to secure landmark status comes less than a year after the Badger's owners unsuccessfully sought a $14 million federal stimulus grant to convert the ferry to diesel. More recently, they have urged the EPA to give them more time to study whether the ship can be fueled by natural gas, a switch the Badger's owners and backers say would make it the "greenest" commercial vessel on the Great Lakes.

Such a project appears to be far from reality. During the summer, brochures handed out on board the Badger and at community festivals proclaimed that DTE Energy, a Michigan utility, had approached the ferry's owners about overhauling the ship.

"They were quick to announce our participation," said John Austerberry, a DTE spokesman. "But we are not in any kind of agreement with the Badger and are not involved in any project with them."

Chicago Tribune


Port Reports -  November 8

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in port Sunday afternoon to load cement. Calumet was at Lafarge Monday morning unloading coal.

Cedarville-Stoneport – Dan McNeil
The only vessel due into Cedarville the next few days will be Wednesday when Adam E. Cornelius comes in. Loading at Calcite on Monday weere the James Kuber and Cason J. Callaway. On Wednesday, Manitowoc and American Courage will load. Due to load November 12 are Great Lakes Trader and American Courage. Loading at Stoneport Monday was the Manitowoc. At anchor waiting for her to depart was the Lewis J. Kuber. Due Tuesday is the Arthur M. Anderson followed by the Lewis J.Kuber. Joseph H. Thompson and the Buffalo are scheduled for Wednesday.


Detroit riverboat cancels Ohio cruise after ruckus

11/8 - Toledo, Ohio – A riverboat from Detroit cut short a weekend visit to Ohio because of trouble on board one of its nighttime party cruises.

The Detroit Princess says on its Facebook page that a handful of its Toledo customers did not respect other passengers or the staff and crew Friday night. So, the riverboat canceled another cruise scheduled for Saturday night and went home.

People who were on board the boat Friday told WTVG-TV that dozens of partygoers started fighting and causing a scene. Detroit Princess says a few "bad apples" ruined it for everyone.

Passengers booked on Saturday's cruise are being offered refunds or admission to one of the riverboat's Detroit dinner cruises.

Associated Press


Fort Gratiot Lighthouse work goes on

11/8 - Port Huron, Mich. – Restoration of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is on track. New red brick has replaced nearly 50 feet of brick from 1829 on the tower, said Josh Fletcher, superintendent for National Restoration. On Friday, crews replaced the mortar between yellow bricks dating back to 1862 on the service building at the lighthouse's base.

Fletcher said he expected much of the work will be done within the next couple of weeks.

Dennis Delor of St. Clair County Parks and Recreation said he was pleased with the progress. "We're on schedule with things," Delor said. "There haven't been any major surprises." The lighthouse hasn't had a major overhaul since 1862, Delor said.

When the work is complete, people will notice a difference in how the lighthouse looks, Delor said. The lighthouse's masonry will be painted white, and its metal will be a charcoal gray. "It will look like it did in the 1930s," he said.

Crews still need to replace a window and door on the service building. The building's roof will be replaced with a red tin, fish scale roof. Minor foundation work also is needed.

National Restoration, based in Keego Harbor, has a $332,900 contract with the city of Port Huron to overhaul the lighthouse. Quinn Evans Architects of Ann Arbor -- the company that made design plans for the work -- will be paid $41,000 as a restoration consultant. The city is paying for the lighthouse restoration with grant money and matching funds.

People already are keeping an eye on the lighthouse's progress, Delor said. "I'm sure with its completion, there's going to be a lot of renewed interest in it.”

Mark Brochu, director of St. Clair County Parks and Recreation, said the light station will be open to tourists by the end of May. The site includes the lighthouse, a duplex light keeper's dwelling, a fog signal building, a single light keeper's dwelling, a former Coast Guard building and a three-bay garage.

St. Clair County acquired the deed for the property from the federal government in September 2010. The city has been cooperating with the county to restore buildings at the light station.

St. Clair County commissioners awarded a contract Oct. 5 to Renaissance Restorations of Birmingham. The contractor will replace a roof on the equipment building, as well as make masonry repairs to the fog signal building's chimney and repair the building's roof, Brochu said.

The equipment building work will cost $39,375. Repairs to the fog signal building will cost $13,380. If a full roof replacement is needed on the fog signal building, that cost could increase to $24,170, Brochu said. The county has $40,000 in state grant funds and another $20,000 donation from the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light for the project.

Renaissance Restorations hopes to begin work on the site within the next two weeks, Brochu said. Work on both buildings could be wrapped up by mid-December, depending on weather conditions.

Port Huron Times Herald


Fishing for a living in Detroit

11/8 - People still cast a rod into the Detroit River today and might pull out a walleye, muskie or bass. But the fish population is a small fraction of what it was in the 19th century, when fisheries flourished all along the river and were considered among the most lucrative in the Great Lakes.

Perch, pike, pickerel, sturgeon, whitefish, lake herring, muskie, walleye, trout — all were at one time abundant in the Detroit River and Detroiters went to great lengths to bring them in. In 1872, Detroit ranked second only to Chicago, hauling in more than 3.4 million pounds of Great Lakes fresh fish — mostly whitefish and herring.

Click here for the full story from the Detroit News 


31st annual Marine Mart on Nov. 19 at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial

11/8 - Detroit – The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group presents its annual Marine Mart on Saturday, November 19 from 10 a.m. 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m.

The annual Marine Mart is a flea market designed for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features great holiday shopping and shiploads of nautical items and treasures including the following: lighthouse prints, nautical stipple ink prints, original and acrylic prints, unique nautical gifts, hand painted Christmas ornaments with Michigan lighthouses, postcards, magazines, china, souvenirs, clocks, marine art, nautical charts, maritime artifacts, boat items, nautical artifacts, nautical photographs, woodworking, lithographs, brochures, acrylic paintings, out-of-print Great Lakes books, ship models and much, much more.

All tickets are available at the door. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m. and is $10 for adults. General admission begins at 10 a.m. and is $7 for adults. Children ages 12 and under are free. For more information, please call (313) 833-0158 or visit


Memorial services on anniversary of Fitzgerald sinking

11/8 - It has been 36 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald and her crew of 29 men were lost in one of the worst storms in three decades. Several upcoming programs around the lakes will commemorate the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald with all hands in 1975: Here are some of them.

Detroit, Mich. – Honor sailors lost on the Great Lakes during a Lost Mariners program on Thursday, November 10 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Marine artist and historian Robert McGreevy will discuss the sidewheel steamer Key Stone State, once the second largest passenger vessel on the Great Lakes. The steamer and its entire crew were tragically lost exactly 150 years ago on November 10, 1861 on its way to be outfitted for Civil War service. Other highlights include a performance by Lee Murdock, Great Lakes balladeer; an Honor Guard escort of a memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by the Honor Flotilla of Great Lakes vessels; and a lantern vigil at the Edmund Fitzgerald anchor. Seating is limited and advance registration is requested. The event will be also be webcast online. Click here for details

River Rouge, Mich. – A memorial service for the men lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald will be held on November 10 at Dr. Henri Belanger Park in River Rouge, Mi. The service will be held near the Mariners Memorial Lighthouse beginning at 6 p.m. A tug will be on hand to take out a wreath to be placed on the river. The service will feature a plaque presentation, bell ringing, lantern lighting, and refreshments will be served.

Whitefish Point, Mich. – The public is invited to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum on Thursday, November 10 for the 16th annual Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service. The service begins at 7 p.m. Each year, in honor of the Fitzgerald crew, the bell is uncovered and rung 29 times during a “Call to the Last Watch Ceremony.” The 30th ring is for all mariners lost on the Great Lakes. Special guest speaker this year will be Dennis Hale, shipwreck survivor and author. Hale was sole survivor of the November 1966 sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell, and will reflect on the Edmund Fitzgerald and his thoughts upon learning of its sinking. Music will be provided by Mike Fornes and his Gordon Lightfoot tribute band, “Whispers of the North.” The Shipwreck Museum gallery and theater will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a fee; admission to the ceremony is free. Reserved seating is provided for family members and bell ringers. General admission to the memorial service will begin at 6:30 p.m. First come first seating will be provided. Refreshments will be served following the ceremony. For more information click here

Two Harbors, Minn. – Every year on November 10, the navigational beacon at Split Rock Lighthouse, decommissioned in 1969, is lit in memory of the 29 men lost aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald and all the other vessels lost on the Great Lakes. A film about the Fitzgerald will be shown in the Visitor Center theater continuously throughout the afternoon. The lighthouse and the fog signal building will be open from noon to 6 p.m. The lighthouse will close temporarily at 4:30 p.m. while the names of the 29 lost crew members are read to the tolling of a ship’s bell. Following the ceremony, the beacon will be lit and the tower once again opened for visitors to tour. This is the only opportunity each year when visitors can climb to the top of the tower and see the beacon lit and revolving. For more information click here.


Updates -  November 8

Weekly Website Updates


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.


Miner salvage could mean new industry

11/7 - Sydney, N.S. – Removing the former Canadian Miner from shoals off Scatarie Island could be a boon to a developing partnership between Laurentian Energy and Marine Recycling Corp. of Port Colborne, Ont.

“We had been looking at recycling the Miner here at Sydport and had been in discussions with the salvage company, but that was before it started breaking up into a lot of pieces,” said Dennis Lanoe, CEO of Laurentian Energy. “If it was floatable we could bring it here. I don’t know what it is going to look like in the spring because throughout the winter it is going to get torn up even more.”

The best-case scenario for Laurentian at this point would for the ship to be cut into three or four big pieces and brought to Sydport for recycling. Currently, the company has no experience in this area. That’s where Marine Recycling Corp. would come in.

Laurentian has been working with Marine Recycling Corp. founder and director of business development Wayne Elliott to try to develop a ship recycling partnership at Sydport for the past six years.

“We have salvaged shipwrecks before, so sure, if the opportunity comes we may have our hat in the ring for that,” said Elliott. “But more vessels for recycling at Sydport is what we are looking at.”

In particular, he was referencing the $25-billion contract to build Canada’s newest fleet of warships.

Recycling the vessels the new ships will replace could create up to 50 long-term jobs at Sydport, he said. “There will be equipment and lots of training and certification for the various types of work that we do, from asbestos abatement to liquid waste handling, torch cutting, machine operation and general labour.”

As of Thursday a spokesperson for the provincial government said no contract for the removal of the Miner had been awarded. That’s something that might be addressed in the spring. Lanoe said if there is a competitive bidding process, they would be interested in pursuing the contract.

“We were hoping we might have gotten those (Marine Atlantic) ferries before they were shipped to India but that didn’t happen. There’s a huge potential here for developing a new industry of ship recycling at Sydport.”

Cape Breton Post


Port Reports -  November 7

Green Bay – Scott Best and Matt Ludvigson
Sunday afternoon just before dark, James Norris arrived in Green Bay with a load of salt for the Fox River Dock. The Norris, which arrived overnight Saturday into Sunday, spent most of the day waiting out weather in the bay above the Green Bay entrance light. The tug Texas assisted the Norris into the slip. Algoma Transfer also unloaded salt at the same dock late Friday evening. Also in port at LaFarge Cement was the Innovation and Samuel de Champlain.

Stoneport and Calcite - Dan McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Saturday was the Joseph H. Thompson. Waiting at anchor was the Algorail, expected to load after the Thompson. Due on Sunday was the Herbert C. Jackson followed by Lewis J. Kuber. Due for Monday is the Manitowoc followed by the Buffalo. Loading at Calcite Saturday was John G. Munson and Arthur M. Anderson. Due for Monday is the John J. Boland, James L. Kuber and Calumet.


BoatNerd baseball caps, shirts for toddlers are now available

11/7 - The popular BoatNerd design, available on t-shirts since last summer, has been extended to baseball caps. In addition a new, "Little BoatNerds" t-shirt is now in stock for toddlers, designed by Michigan artist Kay Winter. Both items, at a sale price for the holidays, are available at this link. A portion of the payment for BoatNerd-branded items goes to support the BoatNerd Web site.


Updates -  November 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the City of Munising gallery


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. Eight 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.


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.


U.S. House action gives hope for Badger carferry service beyond 2012

11/5 - Washington, D.C. — The Ludington cross-lake ferry S.S. Badger may face a brighter future because of a congressional amendment passed Friday.

The Badger, owned by the Lake Michigan Carferry Co., operated during the 2011 sailing season under a special Environmental Protection Agency rule allowing it to continue dumping its coal ash into Lake Michigan. That special rule is set to expire at the end of 2012, threatening future operations of the vessel, which travels between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis.

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved an amendment to the proposed Coast Guard Authorization Bill that would allow the Badger to continue operating as is for the life of the vessel. The amendment was co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland; Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls; and Tom Petri, R-Manitowoc, Wis.

Huizenga said the amendment is an example of getting rid of federal government regulations that threaten small business. Benishek said it's a way to block “overzealous” federal regulations from threatening the Badger.

“Without the certainty provided by this amendment, the Badger could very easily be forced off the Great Lakes at the end of 2012,” Huizenga said on the House floor. “With an annual economic impact of roughly $35 million for our two small port cities both in Wisconsin and in Michigan, keeping the Badger operational is absolutely vital to our communities.”

“The Badger represents both a part of Michigan maritime history and an important economic resource for the state,” Benishek said. “I certainly want to see the Great Lakes clean and protected, but at the same time I believe it's essential we defend this historical treasure and the 200 people it employs.”

A news release issued by Petri on Friday notes the historic Badger is believed to be the last coal-powered steamship in the U.S.

“The discharges are tested regularly by an independent EPA certified laboratory,” Petri stated. “The tests have confirmed that the coal ash lacks the presence of anything at or near levels that would qualify as hazardous under any law,” he stated.

“Even so, the Badger owners have been trying to identify an affordable alternative to coal,” Petri noted.

“Natural gas has possibilities, but in any case, they need more time. The amendment would allow the Badger to continue operating under the current regulatory regime.”

The Coast Guard authorization bill, with the amendment, still needs approval of the U.S. House and Senate, along with the president's signature, before it becomes law. Huizenga's office expects the bill to be considered by the House during the week of Nov. 14.

Lynda Matson, vice president of customer service and marketing for Lake Michigan Carferry, issued a statement crediting the congressmen for their work on the issue.

“On behalf of our company, communities and advocates, we are deeply grateful to Congressman Huizenga and Congressman Benishek for their assistance,” Matson said. “They’re true champions of the Badger.”

Ludington business and civic leaders contend that the Badger is a driver of the area's tourism industry, contributing millions of dollars to the local economy. They even started a campaign earlier this year called S.O.S. Badger in an attempt to raise awareness about the potential shutdown of the service.

The 410-foot Badger has a 58-year history in Ludington.

Muskegon Chronicle and Manitowoc Herald Times


Port Reports -  November 5

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Three vessels called at Lafarge on Friday. Early in the morning the Alpena was in port loading cement for South Chicago. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived later in the day and tied up under the silos. The Manitowoc unloaded a cargo of coal at the Lafarge dock.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Thursday saw the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber call on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to unload. Once the pair had finished, they traveled upriver to turn at the Airport Turning Basin, then headed back through Bay City and out to the lake. The tug Spartan, with tank barge Spartan II called on the Dow Chemical Oxy Dock in Bay City on Thursday. The pair unloaded overnight and departed for the lake Friday morning. This was the tug’s first visit to the Saginaw River since being renamed from the Mark Hannah. Algorail was inbound Friday afternoon, headed for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was expected to be outbound Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived Friday for the Sand Supply Corp. landing at about 1:30 p.m. They will be departing some time overnight.


House prepares to vote on ship ballast standard

11/5 - Traverse City, Mich. - Environmentalists tried to rally opposition Thursday to a proposed national policy for cleansing ship ballast water to kill invasive species, contending it is too weak and would pre-empt stronger state and federal rules.

The U.S. House was expected to vote as early as Friday on the measure, which comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release its own regulations of ship ballast — a leading culprit in the spread of invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes and ocean coastal waters.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank LoBiondo, a New Jersey Republican, the bill would adopt a standard proposed by the International Maritime Organization limiting the number of live organisms that would be permitted in ballast water. Vessel operators would have to install technology to meet the standard.

The shipping industry has pushed for a single nationwide policy, saying the current patchwork of more than two-dozen state and tribal regulatory systems is unworkable because vessels move constantly from one jurisdiction to another.

Great Lakes shippers are particularly unhappy about New York rules that set live-organism limits 100 times tougher for existing ships than those under the international standard. For newly built ships, New York's standards would be 1,000 times stronger. State officials have postponed the effective date to 2013, giving shippers more time to comply.

The industry says technology to meet the New York requirements doesn't exist. Shippers say the state's strict limits could close the Great Lakes to oceangoing vessels, since they must pass through New York waters to reach the rest of the system.

"While individual state standards and those set by the Clean Water Act function well for factories that are fixed in one location, it simply does not work for vessels engaged in interstate or international commerce," LoBiondo said.

Environmental groups said the bill would prevent EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard, which is also developing ballast rules, from imposing standards tough enough to make sure no more exotic species reach the Great Lakes. About two-thirds of the 185 invasive species in the lakes are believed to have arrived in ballast water. They've done billions in damages and are implicated in a variety of ecological problems, from runaway algae blooms to a shortage of plankton crucial for the aquatic food web.

"This bill is designed to keep the shipping industry off the hook and violates states' right to protect their waters from invasive species," said Marc Smith, senior policy manager for the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office.

The measure would allow EPA to strengthen the federal standard beginning in 2016, or earlier if a state requests it, according to LoBiondo's office.

But the wildlife group said the bill would make it "difficult, if not impossible, to add new protections, even if the EPA and other agencies determine that the (international) standard is not doing the job."

Associated Press


Updates -  November 5

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the City of Munising and Amoco Illinois galleries


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 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.


Port Reports -  November 4

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Just before sunrise Thursday in the Twin Ports, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was motoring through Duluth harbor on its way to the Midwest Energy Terminal to load. Presque Isle was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding to the CN ore dock to unload limestone. Once finished, it was expected to load taconite pellets there for its downbound voyage. Adriaticborg was at the Duluth port terminal to unload wind turbine components while on the other side of the terminal the Quebecois was at St. Lawrence Cement unloading cement.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Cuyahoga departed the ADM elevator Thursday at about 11:30 a.m. Toward the end of the offload there was a great deal of radio chatter back and forth asking them to slow down, as they were offloading faster than the elevator could handle. Once the offload was complete there was a very brief delay to correct a problem with a sticking hatch. Once that was corrected, the unloading boom was lowered and they departed unassisted. Aside from some time spent negotiating the turn at Ohio Street their passage down the river went relatively quickly. Cuyahoga was in the open water of lake by about 1 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. – Frank Hood
John D. Leitch was in Toronto overnight Thursday with a load of salt.


Pilot project seeks uses for dredge soil from Twin Ports

11/4 - Duluth, Minn. – A pilot project testing the use of materials dredged from shipping channels to treat alkaline storm water at the former Atlas Cement site near Morgan Park could lead to new markets for the material, extending the life of Erie Pier.

“We need to develop a market for 40,000 yards-plus a year of these materials or we are going to be forced to close Erie Pier eventually and establish a new dredged material reception site, which no one in the harbor wants to see,” said Duluth Seaway Port Authority facilities manager James Sharrow.

The Port Authority owns the 80-acre Erie Pier site, which receives materials dredged from 19 miles of shipping channels in the Twin Ports. Unless uses are found for all of the dredged materials, the facility could reach its full capacity in four or five years.

About 100,000 cubic yards of materials are dredged each year. Some is used to replace sand washed away from Park Point’s beaches. An average of 80,000 yards of material is brought to Erie annually, where it is separated into sand and “fines,” which contain clay and organic material. The materials are routinely tested to make sure they’re safe.

The Port Authority has little problem finding markets for the 20,000 to 30,000 yards of sand dredged annually. Getting rid of the fines is more difficult. “There’s over 2 million yards of this soil at Erie now,” Sharrow said.

Last year, U.S. Steel took 30,000 yards of fines to buffer alkaline soils at Keetac Mine. But transportation costs limit their feasible use to projects near the Twin Ports. That is why, Sharrow said, the U.S. Corps of Engineers contacted the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute to develop local uses for the fines through a $140,000 study.

“We need on-the-ground demonstrations that the material is useful,” NRRI geologist Marsha Patlke said.

The study’s first project used 700 yards of fines to restore a construction site at Superior’s Moccasin Mike landfill. The project’s partners hope Superior decides to use more fines as areas of the landfill are closed and capped, Patlke said.

The second project will test the fines’ ability to buffer alkaline waters at the Atlas site. The property is owned by the Duluth Economic Development Agency, which is trying to develop the area. However, dust from the cement plant changed the pH levels of the soil.

Duluth News Tribune


Lake Superior below long-time averages

11/4 - Sault Ste Marie, Ont. – The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic meters per second (m3 /s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of November, effective November 3, 2011. This is the same as the October outflow. This outflow is as prescribed by Plan 1977-A.

The November outflow will be released by discharging about 1,454 m3 /s (51.3 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys Rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 centimeters (cm), or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate No. 1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supply to the Lake Superior basin was below normal and that to the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin was above normal. Lake Superior is currently 2 cm (1 inches) below chart datum level.

The level of Lake Superior is expected to decline slightly in November. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 31 cm (12 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, and is 2 cm (1 inch) higher than the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell 5 cm (2 inches), while on average it falls 4 cm (2 inches) in October. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron fell 2 cm (1 inch), while on average it falls 7 cm (3 inches) in October. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 32 cm (13 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-November level, and is 7 cm (3 inches) lower than it was a year ago. Currently Lakes Michigan-Huron is 8 cm (3 inches) above its chart datum level.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to decline in November. The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.


Iron ore collapse seen ending most profitable shipping in a year

11/4 - Worldwide steelmaker demand for iron ore, the biggest source of cargoes for commodity carriers, is weakening, threatening to end the most profitable shipping rates in almost a year.

Ore stockpiles at ports in China, the largest user, already expanded to within 3.6 percent of a record, according to Antaike Information Development, a Beijing-based researcher. Chinese steelmaking is near the least profitable in almost three years, data compiled by Bloomberg Industries show. Iron-ore swaps, traded by brokers and used to bet on future costs, show no price rebound until at least 2013, according to Clarkson Securities Ltd., a unit of the world’s biggest shipbroker.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, and Angang Steel Co. are among producers that idled furnaces as slowing global growth drove benchmark prices for the metal down 15 percent since March. For capesizes, vessels hauling about 80 percent of seaborne iron ore, that means a 40 percent drop in rates in the next quarter, according to Pareto Securities AS.

“The decline we have seen in both iron-ore and steel prices is a sign of slower demand in China,” said Martin Korsvold, an analyst at Pareto Securities in Oslo, whose recommendations on shipping companies have returned 13 percent in the past year. “It’s a very stark indicator of what’s going to happen for capesizes.” Maritime Routes

The slump in dry bulk is also hitting tankers and container lines. Returns on the largest oil carriers are at minus $769 a day, compared with the $29,800 Frontline Ltd., the biggest operator, says it needs to break even. An index reflecting charges for six types of containers fell 37 percent since the start of April, a gauge from the Hamburg Shipbrokers’ Association shows.

The Bloomberg Dry Bulk Shipping Pureplay Index retreated 34 percent this year, and 11 of its 14 companies will report lower earnings or losses in 2011, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show. The MSCI All-Country World Index of equities fell 5.6 percent.

Benchmark iron-ore prices at the Chinese port of Tianjin fell 35 percent to $118.40 a metric ton since Sept. 7, according to The Steel Index Ltd., which publishes data on the cost of steel, ore and scrap metal.

Shipping companies are counting on developing markets to shore up demand and reduce the glut. The International Monetary Fund is anticipating growth of 6.1 percent in those countries next year, compared with 1.9 percent in advanced economies. China, the world’s biggest steelmaking nation, will expand 9 percent, more than twice the predicted 4 percent gain for the world, the Washington-based group estimates.

Developing economies will account for 73 percent of steel demand next year, compared with 61 percent in 2007, the World Steel Association forecast Oct. 12. Global usage will probably expand 5.4 percent in 2012, against 6.5 percent this year, the Brussels-based group said. Consumption contracted in 2008 and 2009 amid the worst global recession since World War II.

Bloomberg News


Air Station Traverse City crewmember recipient of lifesaving medal

11/4 - Traverse City, Mich.- — Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas McArthur, an aviation survival technician at Air Station Traverse City is recipient of the Silver Lifesaving Medal. McArthur, a native of Dunwoody, Ga., and a 2007 graduate of the Greater Atlanta Christian School, is credited with saving 12 lives from violent riptides at Frankfort Beach in Frankfort, Mich., on Aug. 15, 2010. At the time, McArthur was assigned to Coast Guard Station Frankfort and rescued the dozen swimmers while off-duty.

He was also recognized by the National Capitol Area Council Boy Scouts of America at their annual Scouting Salutes the Military event in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 27. A lifelong member of the scouting community, McArthur earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2006.

For his heroism, as well as his many accomplishments, McArthur was named the Coast Guard's Shipmate of the Week.

According to Title 14 of US Code, which establishes Coast Guard lifesaving authorities, the Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medals may be awarded by the commandant of the Coast Guard to any person who "rescues or endeavors to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of the water."


Lake Superior lighthouse photo contest has a healthy goal

11/4 - Duluth, Minn. – Do you have photos of your favorite Lake Superior lighthouses? Photographers can help someone recover quicker from surgery, earn recognition for their favorite lighthouses and get a prize to boot.

Essentia Health and Lake Superior Magazine have teamed up to find 11 top-notch Lake Superior lighthouse photos to use in a special joint replacement rehabilitation program that will begin at Essentia Health - St. Mary’s Medical Center in January.

During the program, recovering patients will “walk” around Lake Superior, using lighthouse waypoints to meet personal rehabilitation goals. Photos of the lighthouses will be used, along with information about the lights, on a chart to indicate a patient’s progress. Good photographs are needed to use with the recovery program.

From now until November 20, photographers can enter the contest by uploading images of Lake Superior lighthouses via Lake Superior Magazine’s website. Entries are limited to three photos of any one lighthouse, but photographers may enter as many different Lake Superior lighthouses as they like.

Judges will choose 11 of the photos to be reproduced in various ways for the rehabilitation program.

Photographers chosen will be given credit for use of their photographs and will receive a one-year subscription to Lake Superior Magazine, a 2012 Lake Superior Mini Calendar, a Lake Superior Magazine Lake-and Lighthouse Travel Mug and an Essentia-branded polar fleece throw.

Deadline is November 20 and winners will be announced by November 30. Details and rules can be found here.

Lake Superior Magazine


Updates -  November 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the City of Munising gallery


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 is awaiting scrapping as 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

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wednesday the Mississagi came in with a load of stone for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It departed and was seen out in the lake heading northwest.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Cuyahoga arrived in for Buffalo from the Welland Canal Wednesday night. At 9:45 p.m. they were being towed up the Buffalo River stern first to the ADM Standard Elevator.


Updates -  November 3

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new feature in the Historical Perspectives Gallery for November - City of Munising


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

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Monday, Olive L. Moore – Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The pair was outbound early Tuesday morning.

For October, there were 15 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River. This is down by four compared to October 2010. For the year to date, there have been 115 passages. This is down by six passages from the same period last year. Looking at the five-year average, October is down six from the average of 21. For the year to date, 2011 is down 39 from the five-year average of 154.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Tuesday night the Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 were headed out of the Black Rock Canal, near the entrance channel.


Local officials advocating for more harbor dredging funds

11/2 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Grand Haven’s harbor is important to the area’s economy, and local officials were at a Michigan Port Collaborative meeting in Lansing recently to speak up about keeping it and all of the state’s harbors passable.

“The Michigan Port Collaborative has focused its efforts on being the united voice for Michigan ports,” said Marci Cisneros, a member of the Michigan Port Collaborative Board and executive director of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Our goal is to secure funds for dredging and port infrastructure repairs and maintenance.”

According to Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis, with funding issues on the horizon, Grand Haven will be one of the sole recipients of dredging funding in 2012. “After that, we’re probably all done,” he said.

Cisneros said funds for dredging harbors should come from the $1.3 billion collected annually from the federal Harbor Maintenance Fund.

“Unfortunately, only about $750 million of those dollars get allocated to the nation’s ports each year — that’s a problem,” Cisneros said. “Protecting those funds for their intended use is our first step — getting Michigan ports the funds we need to stay operable is our second.”

Without these funds, there would be problems for places along the Great Lakes that rely on water for transport of goods and services.

The lack of a passable shipping channel would have big problems for industry, as well as the Board of Light & Power’s Sims plant on Harbor Island, McGinnis said. One cargo vessel delivering coal to the BLP plant equals about 225 rail cars and 870 trucks.

Grand Haven Tribune


New littoral combat ship a 'dream' in sea trials

11/2 - Marinette, Wis. – The future USS Fort Worth recently completed its first set of sea trials on Lake Michigan, the first time the fast-moving littoral combat ship went full power on the open water.

The $480 million ship, the first naval combatant ever named for Fort Worth and only the third in a new class of vessels, was christened in December at the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyards in northern Wisconsin. Since then, it has been undergoing further work and testing, almost all of it dockside until this month, when the ship began its first round of operational testing from lead contractor Lockheed Martin.

According to one of two men who will take command of the ship next year, the sea trials went swimmingly. "She drives like a dream," said Cmdr. Randy Blankenship, who will command one of two crews that will staff the ship. "Without disclosing her speed, it was the fastest I've ever gone on a Navy ship."

Speed is a major ingredient of the littoral combat ship, a much smaller class of warfighter designed after 9-11 for flexibility, agility and shallow water close to coasts. Navy officials have said the ship's 100,000 horsepower can move it in excess of 40 knots, significantly faster than destroyers.

Conceived by former Navy Secretary Gordon England and a former chief of naval operations, Adm. Vern Clark, littoral combat ships are a major departure from the custom of building a deep-water ship around a weapon system. Instead, littoral ships are designed for multiple missions with varying mission packages that can be moved on and off quickly.

The Navy has committed to buying 20 more of the ships through 2015 with an eye toward a total purchase of 55. Half of the first 20 are to be built by a Lockheed Martin team and half from a team led by General Dynamics. The ships are radically different designs, though.

The future USS Fort Worth -- it cannot be formally called that until it is commissioned in September -- underwent a full series of tests this month in Green Bay, Wis., and Lake Michigan. All the mechanical, support, communications, radar and power systems were tested, including everything but live weapons fire, said Joe North, vice president of littoral ship systems for Lockheed Martin.

"It would be kind of like if someone built you a new race car and you take it out to see if everything is working the way it is supposed to," North said. Other than minor issues involving a few failed parts, the tests showed that the ship is ready, North said. "The speeds we saw were better than what we anticipated."

The USS Freedom, the first Lockheed Martin version, developed a crack in its hull on its first deployment, but officials said it was a welding problem, not a design flaw. The USS Independence, the first General Dynamics version of the littoral ship, has come under greater scrutiny by congressional critics because of significant corrosion problems with its hull.

Blankenship described the testing as "aggressive" and "fun."

"I'm very confident we're going to be sailing it on the Menominee River next spring," Blankenship said of the river that leads into Green Bay from the shipyards.

The 389-foot-long ship will undergo another round of tests in late November and is scheduled to be transferred to Navy custody in February. Blankenship's crew will take the ship out the St. Lawrence River in June, head into the Atlantic Ocean and around to the Gulf of Mexico for the Sept. 22 commissioning in Galveston.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Ferries sold for scrap

11/2 - Port Aux Basques – The Caribou and the Joseph and Clara Smallwood were often parked side-by-side at Marine Atlantic terminals on both sides of the Cabot Strait. Now they are side-by-side on the beach at Alang, India. Ships brought to Alang are dismantled for scrap metal and parts.

Alang has a reputation for practices that are environmentally unsound because shipbreaking is done on the beach instead of in a drydock where spills can be contained. Worker safety has also been questioned. The 2004 National Film Board documentary “Shipbreakers” documents the living conditions of the workers.

The ship tracking website now lists both ferries as “broken up.” Previously, they were listed as “to be broken up.” The ferries were sold by Marine Atlantic to separate buyers in August. The Caribou was sold to Comrie Ltd. of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, while the Smallwood was sold to Merrion Navigation S.A. of the Marshall Islands. However, both ferries are now owned by Best Oasis Ltd. of India, according to online ship registries and that company’s website.

Marine Atlantic spokesperson Tara Laing said the Crown corporation knew there was a possibility the ships would be broken up for scrap after they were sold. “The buyers’ plans were to explore options to sell the vessels for trading purposes and if they were not successful then they would recycle them,” wrote Laing in an email.

She said one condition of sale included a commitment that if either buyer decided to recycle the vessels, it would be done at a yard with full green recycling facilities in compliance with IMO guidelines.

Cape Breton Post


“The Trip of a Lifetime” – only 96 hours left

11/2 - Vermilion, Ohio – Christopher Gillcrist has been making phone calls. He’s been calling past participants in the Great Lakes Historical Society’s freighter trip raffles to make sure they have received their brochure for the Luck of the Lakes Raffle that will award four trips on Great Lakes freighters plus cash prizes on November 5 in Toledo.

“I have made nearly a hundred phone calls these past two weeks. Certainly, many people have said that they can’t participate this year in the raffle. However, not one person has said they don’t want to go on a freighter trip,” the director of the Great Lakes Historical Society said. In fact, according to Gillcrist, many of those buying raffle tickets have been lucky enough to win a trip during their lifetime.

“It gets difficult making these calls because people want to describe the trip or trips they have been on over the years in great detail. I like hearing the stories but I have to make a certain number of calls each day before our raffle and sometimes their stories take 20 to 30 minutes!”

One common thread that unites all of those stories, according to Gillcrist, is that those who have had the opportunity to experience a freighter trip describe it as a trip of a lifetime.

The Great Lakes Historical Society and the Steamship Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship will raffle off four trips aboard Great Lakes freighters on November 5 at the Toledo Club in Toledo Ohio. Winners need not be present. To purchase a raffle ticket (call by Friday!) phone 440-967-3467 extension 6, or use the form provided on BoatNerd. Tickets are $100 each.

As of October 31, less than 850 tickets had been sold.

Raffle ticket purchases that use the mail must be received at PO Box 435 Vermilion Ohio 44089 by Saturday noon to insure their inclusion in the raffle


Updates -  November 2

News Photo Gallery


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 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 lifeboat 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.

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


Port Reports -  November 1

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Capt. Henry Jackman arrived Halloween afternoon at the Upper Harbor on her fourth visit of the season, to load ore for Quebec City.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn - A397 tug-barge were still at the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda Monday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Salvage Monarch has changed ownership. It was recently purchased by Toronto Drydock Company and is currently at the drydock being refurbished.


Cliff collapse causes mudslide at Wisconsin power plant

11/1 - Milwaukee, Wis. - A section of cliff the size of a football field gave way Monday at a power plant in southeastern Wisconsin, creating a mudslide that sent a pickup truck and other equipment tumbling into Lake Michigan and swept several construction trailers toward the beach.

No injuries or power disruptions were reported, but the U.S. Coast Guard sent rescue boats as a precaution. Officials were conducting an environmental assessment of the situation after finding an oil-like sheen on the water.

"It's most likely fuel, whether gasoline, diesel fuel or hydraulic fluid," said Tom Rosendich, the acting fire chief in the Milwaukee suburb of Oak Creek. "Without guessing, I can't tell you what the quantity is. Whether it's 50 gallons to 1,000 gallons it's hard to say."

The collapse occurred on the southern part of the large We Energies complex in Oak Creek. It happened about 11 a.m. near the older power facilities of the coal-fired power plant, close to where pollution-control equipment is being installed.

Utility spokesman Brian Manthey said all employees were accounted for, including We Energies workers and about 250 contractors. Manthey said the debris that tumbled into the water included a pickup truck, several pieces of dredging equipment and trailers filled with tools. He said the incident occurred in an area used for staging, where there usually aren't more than a dozen people.

"We're incredibly fortunate there were no injuries," Manthey said. "That's quite a positive when you realize what happened to the embankment."

WTMJ-AM reported that the U.S. Coast Guard sent rescue boats to assist with the situation. The Coast Guard didn't immediately return a call for comment Monday from The Associated Press. We Energies officials said they were trying to determine why the bluff gave way, but weather wasn't believed to be a factor.

Spontaneous mudslides that are weather-related generally happen when an area gets 4 to 6 inches of rain in a short time, perhaps leading to flash floods, said Mark Gehring, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Southeast Wisconsin hasn't gotten anywhere near that volume, he said.

There were only 1.63 inches of rain in October, almost 1 inch below normal, he said. Another half an inch of rain was forecast to fall on Wednesday.

The Oak Creek power plant occupies more than 400 acres of land on the Lake Michigan shore. It burns about 5,000 to 10,000 tons of coal per day, according to a We Energies fact sheet posted online last year.



Diver finds, documents 3 Lake Michigan shipwrecks

11/1 - Traverse City, Mich. - Ross Richardson could have removed some of the artifacts from three shipwrecks he found not far from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in West Michigan. Instead, the diver from Benzie County's Lake Ann in the northwest corner of Michigan's Lower Peninsula left them in Lake Michigan.

"My trophies are the stories, the videos and the photos I can share with people," he told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Saturday.

Richardson decided to search that part of Lake Michigan -- about 135 miles north of Grand Rapids -- after a piece of wreckage washed ashore last year. Using side-scan sonar, Richardson found what he sought in about 25 feet of water, a quarter-mile offshore. Diving there over the summer, he claims to be the first to document the wrecks.

"It's a very remote area, and there's not a lot of boat traffic," he told the newspaper. "Someone might have seen them over the years, but they've never been documented."

Richardson estimated that the wrecks may date to the second half of the 19th century. One could have been a steam-powered ship. The other two appear to have been sailing vessels. One of the ships has numerous artifacts.

"We think it's great that he's bringing this information to light," Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore deputy superintendent Tom Ulrich said. "Our experience has been that the divers and snorkelers who dive these wrecks are often their ... fiercest protectors."

Richardson is working with officials to identify the wrecks, and hopes to help in their preservation and promotion. "I approach it from the point of view of what I want to look at, and that's what I like to share," he said.

Last year, he discovered the Westmoreland in Lake Michigan near the Leelanau Peninsula. The 200-foot steamer sank during a storm in 1854. Richardson has not said much about the Westmoreland's exact location because he doesn't want other divers to remove artifacts from the steamer.

Traverse City Record-Eagle


Updates -  November 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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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