Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Michipicoten grounds off Port Inland

11/30 - Port Inland - Friday morning the Michipicoten reported by the U.S. Coast Guard aground off Port Inland in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Michipicoten appeared to be just out of the channel, heading into the lake from port after loading on Thursday. Fleetmate Manistee arrived on scene and at 1:30 p.m. Friday was alongside the Michipicoten, perhaps taking on cargo to help refloat the vessel.

By mid-evening, Manistee had resumed her course to Brevort, Mich., while Michipicoten was eastbound in the Straits.

Dawn Roberts


CSL Assiniboine strikes channel buoy

11/30 - The CSL Assiniboine, on her way to Two Harbors, Minn., struck an underwater obstacle Friday morning. An investigation revealed that the ship’s prop had become fouled after striking a channel buoy that had somehow slipped beneath the water and went unseen.


Port Reports -  November 30

Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Michipicoten arrived at Port Inland on Wednesday and was expected to depart sometime in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. Due next at Port Inland will be the Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted on Sunday, December 1 in the early evening. Lewis J. Kuber is due on Monday, December 2 mid-afternoon to load.

Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Manitowoc loaded on Thanksgiving Day and was due to depart sometime in the early afternoon. Wilfred Sykes was due to arrive on Friday in the mid-afternoon to load. The Calumet will arrive on Monday, December 2 in the early afternoon.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Calumet loaded on Friday and was expected to depart around 11 a.m. Due to load next will be the H. Lee White on Saturday in the early morning at the South Dock. Lakes Contender is due on Sunday in the early morning for the North Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The next scheduled vessel is the Lewis J. Kuber on Saturday in the morning. On Sunday, Algoma Transport makes a rare visit in the early evening, followed by the Joseph H. Thompson also due in on Sunday in the late evening to load.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River early Friday morning, carrying a split cargo for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair were upbound in the ice that has formed on the Saginaw River, headed for Saginaw Wirt, around 9am Friday. The H. Lee White was inbound early in the afternoon Friday, bound for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Both the Moore-Kuber and H. Lee White were outbound Friday evening. The Sloman Hermes, with assistance from the tug Gregory J. Busch, entered the Saginaw River and called on the Port Fisher Fertilizer Dock in Bay City. This is only the second delivery to this dock by water. The Hermes was expected to be outbound sometime on Saturday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
American Mariner loaded at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday and they departed in the morning. Due next is the Algoma Olympic on Saturday in the morning followed by the Kaye E. Barker, arriving in the very late evening. Capt. Henry Jackman unloaded limestone on Friday at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. There are no other vessels scheduled for that dock. Vessels with iron ore cargoes for the Torco dock include CSL's Whitefish Bay on December 4 in the early morning, followed by the James R. Barker in the late afternoon. The Lakes Contender is due December 7 in the early evening and American Mariner is due on Sunday, December 8 in the morning. Three ASC fleetmates are still in long-term lay-up, the Adam E. Cornelius at Old Interlake Iron Dock while the American Fortitude and American Valor are at the Lakefront Docks.


In a year, two lakes’ water levels rise nearly a foot

11/30 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Lake Erie’s water level in October was 10 inches higher than in the previous October, recovering from the historic drop-off in 2012. The 10-inch rise is equivalent to the water volume in more than two million Olympic-size swimming pools.

Similarly, Lake Ontario’s water level gained nearly a foot between October 2012 and October 2013, and this month remains about three inches above the long-term water level average for November.

The increases are part of an overall rising trend in Great Lakes water levels this year, according to new data reported by federal scientists. An unusually wet spring this year accounted for the resurgence of water levels, which had receded to record lows last fall and winter, according to scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers.

But early forecasts indicate that water levels could recede again slightly heading into 2014.

Lake Erie, according to data ending in October, gained 10 inches of water from where the lake level was in October 2012. From December 2011 to October 2012, Lake Erie went through an unprecedented period in which its water level dropped for 10 consecutive months.

“That had never happened before in recorded history,” said Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist with the NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

Despite the recent rise, water levels still remain low for those who frequent the lakes. Scientists still experience difficulty launching their boat into the Black Rock Channel at SUNY Buffalo State’s Great Lakes Center.

“The level doesn’t look like it has gone up 10 inches, but then it was really low,” said Mark D. Clapsadl, the center’s field station manager. “It’s still an issue for us, still tricky to get a boat into the water from a trailer.”

Low water levels can adversely affect fish, primarily those that depend on nursing habitat along the shore, said Clapsadl, a fish biologist.

Low water levels occurred throughout the Great Lakes early this year for two reasons: a dearth of snowfall during the winter of 2011-12 followed by an early spring in 2012. A prolonged period of hot and dry weather brought widespread drought in the Midwest during that summer.

Forecasters project that lake levels will slide again during the next few months – as they normally do – because of the significant evaporation in the late fall and early winter months. When the evaporation of the lake waters exceeds the precipitation falling on them, simple mathematics dictates that water levels will drop.

Evaporation over the Great Lakes seems to concern scientists the most nowadays. The rate of evaporation in the basin has “accelerated over the past 15 years” since the El Niño effect kicked in around 1998.

Scientists think that El Niño, a climate pattern associated with warmer ocean water temperatures, has played a direct role in the “rapid acceleration of evaporation” on the lakes, along with the sudden decrease in winter ice cover and changes to lake water temperatures.

Reduced ice cover on the Great Lakes could be related to an overall change in climate, according to some scientists.

A team of scientists from the United States and Canada continues to research the relationship, if any, that ice cover plays in lake water evaporation.

Early findings suggest that warmer lake waters during the autumn months might lead to the accelerated evaporation with less evaporation during the winter months, with or without ice cover.

Lake Erie probably does evaporate as much as wider and deeper lakes such as Superior, Huron and Michigan because “it often freezes completely over in wintertime,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology branch chief for the Army Corps. The ice acts as a protective blanket for the waters underneath it, making evaporation close to zero.

That would help explain why Lake Erie hasn’t experienced the sustained and historic low water levels that have gripped the three larger Great Lakes to the west during the last decade.

Less evaporation from Lake Erie combined with larger amounts of rainfall and runoff into its watershed this year bolstered the lake’s “net basin supply,” Kompoltowicz said.

Lake Erie caught up to and briefly exceeded its long-term monthly average for July this past summer, when its water level was about 1.5 inches above average. Since that time, it has remained slightly above or at average.

Scientists discount the suggestion that massive water draws for municipal water supplies, bottled water or hydraulic fracturing operations have any significant effect on Great Lakes water levels. “Consumptive use diversions are very minuscule,” Kompoltowicz said.

Lake levels have consequences for marina operators, recreational boaters, property owners and especially commercial lake freighters that often have to adjust navigation routes or the size of their cargo depending on the depth of the water.

The average water level for Lake Erie this month is 570.82 feet above sea level, according to Army Corps figures. That is down about 3 inches from last month’s average, but almost right at the lake’s long-term November average of 570.83 feet for the recorded period between 1918 and 2012.

And it’s 5 inches above last November’s average.

Lake Ontario stood at 244.79 feet for the month’s average, about an inch less than October, but about 3 inches higher than the long-term average and almost 13 inches over last November, the Army Corps figures show.

Whether the lakes locally – and regionwide – continue to recover more water in 2014 remains to be seen. “The forecast part of this can change very quickly,” said Kompoltowicz.

Rich Davenport, a fisherman from North Tonawanda, said that he has noticed improving water levels in Lake Erie but that overall levels in the larger Great Lakes basin remain low.

“Things have gotten better in Lake Erie this year with the wetter weather,” he said.

The low water level may have improved fishing in the eastern part of Lake Erie by driving fish away from the vast blue-green algae blooms in the western part of the lake, according to Davenport, recording secretary of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs.

Buffalo News


End nears for former “Santa Claus” ship Algoma Quebecois

11/30 - Port Colborne, Ont. – The retired Canadian bulk carrier Algoma Quebecois arrived in Port Colborne under tow during the early hours of Nov. 21, 2013. The ship has been purchased by International Marine Salvage and will be dismantled for recycling at the company berth in the outer harbor.

This vessel was built in two pieces by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in Montreal. The stern was launched on Sept. 8, 1962, and the bow slid into the water on Nov. 10. The two sections were joined and the vessel was christened Quebecois on April 10, 1963. The 222.50-metre-long vessel was owned by Canadian General Electric but operated as part of the Papachristidis fleet. It worked in the Seaway ore and grain trades and routinely passed Port Colborne.

This ship joined Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972 and retained the same name. It could carry in the range of 24,800 tons of cargo at Seaway draft and was steam powered. There was accommodation for four passengers in addition to room for a crew of up to 40 sailors.

Quebecois ran aground on a mud bank at the entrance to Lake St. Clair after an electronic malfunction on Aug. 26, 1979, but was free in nine hours. It also got stuck on the St. Lawrence off Van Rensselaer Point on Nov. 12, 1982, but was released the next day. Neither accident resulted in serious damage.

For many years Quebecois was known as the Santa Claus Ship, as one of the crew enjoyed dressing up and bringing cheer to young and old as he traveled the lakes in December.

In later years, the vessel was known to carry cement clinker to Duluth and even brought a load of bauxite to Thorold that had been taken aboard from a deep-sea ship east of the Seaway.

When Upper Lakes sold their fleet in 2011, this ship joined the Algoma Central Corp. It was renamed Algoma Quebecois for its final season of 2012. The ship tied up at Hamilton in December 2012, towed to Toronto on June 12, 2013, and left there on Nov. 19 for its final voyage.

Skip Gillham - Niagara Leader


Seaway salties go for scrap

11/30 - Several saltwater vessels that traded in the Great Lakes/Seaway system at least once in their careers have been scrapped. The list includes Navigator M, more familiar to many as Pontokratis from 1981-2010; Tuscarora, which last visited in 2011 under that name but was familiar to many as the Rixta Oldendorff from 1986-05; Fesco Aleksandrov, the former Grigoriy Aleksandrov from 1986-2011 and last visited in 2007; and Caribbean Fidelity, a former Finnish tanker which was known as the Tavi from 1985-04 and Taviland from 2004-08. Asphodel, which last visited during the 2009 season, was familiar to boatwatchers with three different names, all of which visited the Great Lakes/Seaway. Asphodel was the Vamand Wave from 1985-07, Yamaska from 2007-09 and Asphodel from 2009-13. Mesamar, which never visited under that name, came inland as Polydefkis P from 1991-2010, has also been scrapped. Also scrapped is Jade Sky, which had three previous names in her career: Mary Anne 1985-93, Federal Vigra 1993-97 and Spar Garnet from 1997-11. The vessel last visited the Great Lakes/Seaway as Spar Garnet in 2008. Kai Shun, which last visited the Great Lakes/Seaway in 2007, has had many names in her career. She was known as the Radnik 1984-96, Grant Carrier 1996-2001, Chios Sailor 01-07, Elpida 2007-09. She last visited as Elpida in 2007. Before her last name, Kai Shun, she also carried the name Chios Voyager from 2009-11 but, never visited under that name. H. Pioneer, which also had many names in her career and was a regular trader has been scrapped. She made visits under the names Nosira Madeleine 1982-89 and Bella Dan 1989-93 but was more familiar to many as the Hope I from 1993-2002 and Hope from 2002-2007. Another name she carried was Dora from 2007-11, however, she never visited with that name.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #13 – Raleigh lost in Lake Erie on November 30, 1911

11/30 - The anchor of the wooden steamer Raleigh was recovered in July 1975 and is on display outside the Port Colborne Historical Museum, not far from Lock 8 of the Welland Canal.

The 235-foot-long vessel was on its last trip of the 1911 season and loaded with a cargo of pulpwood when it got into trouble. The rudder broke in heavy seas five miles east of Port Colborne, leaving the ship in danger. The crew took to the yawl boats but both capsized. Spectators waded into the lake and helped pull the sailors to safety.

There were three casualties. The cook and his wife perished trying to reach shore while the Chief Engineer, who had refused to leave the ship, was also lost.

Raleigh had been built at Cleveland in 1871 at a cost of $80,000 and barely survived a November gale crossing Lake Superior on November 17, 1886. The ship managed to have a 40-year career before breaking up 102 years ago today.

Skip Gillham


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.

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

On November 30, 1981, 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.

1905: The steel consort barge MADEIRA stranded at Split Rock, while under tow of the WILLIAM EDENBORN, broke in two and became a total loss.

1908: D.M. CLEMSON (i) disappeared on Lake Superior while upbound with a cargo of coal from Lorain to Superior. All 24 on board were lost and only 2 bodies were ever found.

1911: Three lives were lost when the wooden steamer RALEIGH sank off Port Colborne. The crew took to the yawl boats but these capsized. Spectators on shore helped pull the sailors to safety.

1922: MAPLEHURST foundered near the West Portage entry Lake Superior while upbound with coal. The captain sought shelter from a storm but the engine failed and the anchors did not hold. There were 11 casualties and the ship was a total loss.

1924: MAPLEDAWN was wrecked at Christian Island, Georgian Bay while downbound with barley. The hull was pounded and could only be salvaged in pieces for scrap about 1942.

1926: CITY OF BANGOR stranded on Keweenaw Point in a blizzard with zero visibility. The ship fell into the trough and was carried ashore. It could not be salvaged and the hull was cut up for scrap during World War II.

1943: RIVERTON, aground for two weeks at Lottie Wolf Shoal, Georgian Bay, was released and taken to Collingwood for repairs. It resumed sailing in 1944 as MOHAWK DEER.

1945: OUTARDE (i) sank at the Consul-Hall Coal Dock, Clayton, NY after being repeatedly pounded against the structure in a wild storm and holed by an underwater piece of steel. The ship was finally refloated on April 18, 1946.

1961: ALGOWAY (i) was damaged while shifting at Port Arthur when it hit a discarded underwater oxygen tank.

1987: A fire aboard the ULS self-unloader CANADIAN PIONEER at Nanticoke damaged the wiring under the control panel. The ship went to the Welland Dock for repairs and then left the Seaway for Sorel where it was reflagged Vanuatu and renamed b) PIONEER.

1997: The tug CAROLYN JO suffered a fire in the engine room off Snake Island, Lake Ontario, and had to be towed to Kingston. The ship is still sailing as d) SEAHOUND.

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


Michipicoten grounds off Port Inland

11/29 - Friday morning the Michipicoten was aground off Port Inland in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Michipicoten appeared to be aground just out of the channel heading into the lake from port after loading on Thursday. Fleet mate Manistee arrived off the port and at 1:30 p.m. was along side the Michipicoten likely taking on cargo to help refloat the vessel.

 Dawn Roberts


Port Reports -  November 29

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleetmates Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thanksgiving Day.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were inbound Thursday just before 5:30.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River left around 2:15 Thursday afternoon.


Port Authority board hears cruise pitch for Toledo

11/29 - Toledo, Ohio – The executive director of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition made good on a promise he made in October to visit Toledo and talk about how the city could position itself to be a port of call for a future Great Lakes cruise.

Stephen Burnett’s pitch on Tuesday to rejoin the coalition was made to 11 people inside the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority offices, four of them port board members and one of them Paul Toth, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority president and chief executive officer.

“We were a founding member, and we paid dues for nine years,” Mr. Toth told him.

The coalition exists to help its member communities become more attractive to cruise lines when they select ports of call.

Mr. Toth invited Mr. Burnett after The Blade published an article on Sept. 29 that stated the port authority had dropped out of the coalition as a budget-cutting move during the nation’s 2008 financial crisis.

Even now, Toledo’s dues would only be $3,750 a year — a fraction of the port authority’s multimillion-dollar operating budget and its $283,000 marketing budget — but Mr. Toth has said the agency was looking for places to cut because of the sour economy.

Port authority revenue declined more than $3.7 million annually between 2007 and 2013. That has reduced the port authority’s budget by 35 percent, which caused 25 staff positions to be eliminated — including 13 in airport operations this year, Mr. Toth said in his invitation.

Mr. Burnett said there are signs the industry is now experiencing a comeback.

No vote was taken, but those who heard Tuesday’s presentation seemed impressed by the possibilities. Mr. Burnett fielded several questions about how the cruise industry, with help from his group, coordinates trips at and between U.S. and Canadian ports. In some cases, the ships rent kayaks or bicycles to accommodate younger travelers, Mr. Burnett told them.

“I think it’s something we really need to take a hard look at,” Jerry Chabler, one of the port board members in attendance said after the meeting. “I felt a lot better about it. I think it’s something we need to pursue.”

Mr. Chabler said he expects the full board to consider rejoining the coalition at its December meeting.

Mr. Burnett, who drove about eight hours from his office in Kingston, Ont., gave an overview on Great Lakes cruising history and his perception of market trends that have infused new life into it. Six small cruise ships are expected to ply Great Lakes water next summer, marketed as luxury cruises to tourists in North America and abroad. Many of the tourists are expected to be from Europe, he said.

Great Lakes cruises usually take 100 to 400 people, with an average cost of $5,000 per person for a nine-day cruise. They are smaller and less expensive than Caribbean cruises, which may have 1,000 passengers, but they offer a mix of different sight-seeing opportunities — from moose to museums. They offer a slice of North America’s heartland, a taste of its big cities, and the allure of some small, charming towns, he said.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of. We have an excellent cruise product in the Great Lakes. It’s refreshing. It’s invigorating,” Mr. Burnett said.

When the Great Lakes had nine cruises about a decade ago, they were credited for generating an estimated $36.8 million for the region’s economy, he said.

During his presentation, Mr. Burnett laid out three examples of day-long side trips Toledo could offer if it ever became a port of call.

They included various combinations of shuttling tourists to sites such as the Toledo Museum of Art, Tony Packos, the Valentine Theatre, the Libbey Glass factory outlet, the Hollywood Casino, Real Seafood, Mancy's, and to a Toledo Mud Hens game at Fifth Third Field.

The packages would ideally be themed. One theme could be about architecture and include a visit to the Our Lady Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo’s Old West End. The cathedral has a five-star rating on

Another trip could emphasize history, with a trip to Fort Meigs, LaRoe’s restaurant in Grand Rapids, the remnants of the Miami and Erie Canal inside Providence Metropark, and the Ludwig Mill.

Officials would want to strike a balance between new development, shopping, historic, and outdoorsy themes, each of which draw different tourists, Mr. Burnett said.

He said the historic theme should not be overlooked. “Giving foreign visitors a window into why people came here and settled is extremely important,” he said.

Casinos, on the other hand, aren’t as important to some Europeans because many have access to them in their homeland. Europeans tend to be “sports crazy,” though, he said, and probably would get excited about a Mud Hens game if it doesn’t go too late into the night and conflict with the time they need to be back on their cruises, Mr. Burnett said.

He said Toledo should aggressively promote itself as a potential port of call to existing cruises now to better position itself for future cruises. The cruise industry tends to flock to established ports “like lemmings,” he said.

Toledo has not hosted cruise passengers for years.

Detroit has been “one of the hardest sells we’ve had,” Mr. Burnett said, alluding to the city’s reputation. But he said cruise passengers who have stopped there, especially from other countries, often remark how much they enjoyed it after seeing sights such as the Motown Museum, the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Greektown, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

“Detroit really, really delivers,” Mr. Burnett said. “As a destination for a short visit, they really have it.”

Incoming Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and outgoing Mayor Mike Bell have both said they support the general concept of marketing Toledo to the cruise industry.

Both have said they believe the Maumee River waterfront near downtown will play a key role if the city is to ever achieve the economic prosperity some envision.

Toledo Blade


Lookback #12 – Daniel J. Morrell sank in Lake Huron on November 29, 1966

11/29 - The ore carrier Daniel J. Morrell broke in two in a 60 m.p.h. gale on Lake Huron 47 years ago today. The 600-foot-long, 60-year-old vessel, went down in the lake off Harbor Beach, Michigan, while en route, in ballast, from Cleveland to Taconite Harbor.

The hull cracked at #11 hatch and broke up quickly. While several of the crew made it to the life rafts, only one man, Dennis Hale, survived the sinking after a harrowing ordeal drifting on the frigid lake. He was rescued alive close to 38 hours after the ship broke up. The other 28 sailors on board perished.

The two sections of the Daniel J. Morrell have been located on the bottom of the lake. They are about five miles apart and both are upright. The bow sank first with the clock having stopped at 0155 hours. The stern steamed on longer and apparently went down at 0328 hours.

The Daniel J. Morrell sailed for the Cambria Steamship Company under the management of Bethlehem Transportation. It had passed its five-year inspection in February 1966. A sister-ship, Edward Y. Townsend, also sustained a deck crack in the same storm but did not break up. It was condemned at Sault Ste. Marie and sold for scrap.

The Daniel J. Morrell had weathered many bad storms in the past. Its crew was the last to see the Adella Shores, lost with all hands on Lake Superior on April 30, 1909, and the last to see the Benjamin Noble, which disappeared in Lake Superior with all hands on April 28, 1914.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 29

In 1953, 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 towline 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.

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.

1902: The wooden bulk freighter CHARLES HEBARD (i) stranded on the Ontario shore of Lake Superior at Point Mamaise in a snowstorm. The hull broke up but all on board were rescued.

1950: ESSO ROCHESTER, a T-2 tanker, broke in two in heavy weather off Anticosti Island, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence while enroute, in ballast, from Montreal to Aruba. The two sections were taken in tow but the bow had to be cut loose in a storm on December 21, rolled over and was lost. The stern was taken to Newport News, VA and rebuilt. It was a Seaway trader in 1959 and scrapped at Onimichi, Japan, in July 1966.

1959: VILJA went aground in fog while outbound through the Brockville Narrows. The 14-year old ship was refloated on December 13 and had to spend the winter at Prescott. The Norwegian-flag freighter never returned inland and was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as c) SILVER HOPE in 1974.

1960: FRANCISCO MORAZON went aground on the rocks of South Manitou Island, Lake Michigan and the remains of the hull are still there.

1960: CATO II, a small survey vessel, was cut loose by vandals at Port Dalhousie, drifted with the current into Lake Ontario, and stranded on the rocks of the west pier off Port Weller. Despite gale force winds and cold, the hull was salvaged the next day. At last report, the ship was still intact and was owned by Seneca College of Toronto.

1964: The MARIA COSULICH was wrecked at the breakwall at Genoa, Italy, when the engine failed while outbound. The crew was saved but the vessel was a total loss. It had been built at Sturgeon Bay in 1943 as WILLIAM HOMAN.

1985: JALAGODAVARI sliced into the St. Louis road and rail bridge on the Seaway and navigation had to be suspended for seven days. The vessel was removed, taken to Montreal and arrested for damages. The ship was repaired and survived until scrapping as f) BLUE OCEAN in 2000-2001.

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


New Algoma Equinox takes shelter off Nova Scotia

11/28 - Algoma Equinox transited the Canso Canal on her delivery trip from China, but is now sheltering in the lee of Cape George, Nova Scotia, until a major storm passes. Then she will head across the Gulf to load her first cargo.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  November 28

Sandusky & Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Defiance and barge Ashtabula cleared the Sandusky harbor at mid-morning, bound for the Soo. The tug-barge loaded at the NS coal dock. Wednesday night, the Interlake fleet’s tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were expected to be alongside the LaFarge stone dock at Marblehead about midnight to begin loading aggregate.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner and English River were both in port Wednesday night.


Sherwin propeller installed at National Museum of the Great Lakes

11/28 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is pleased to announce the installation of the steamship John Sherwin’s propeller as one of its largest artifacts to go on display at the new museum in Toledo Ohio. The propeller weighs 22 tons and is approximately 22 feet in diameter. The propeller was put on permanent loan to the museum by the Interlake Steamship Co., which owns the boat.

The propeller was cast in Toledo in 1958, when the boat was built for the company at American Shipbuilding in Toledo. When it was cast it is believed to be the largest cast propeller ever built. Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes said he hopes the propeller, which is installed in front of the museum, will become a place where people from all over the world will be photographed. The propeller is also important because it represents one of about 25 artifacts that are detailed at part of the Toledo Trail a specialized tour that highlights artifacts and stories that are connected to Toledo’s history.

The installation of the propeller was made possible by a grant from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, which has been so critical in this project. The City of Toledo Department of Engineering Services managed the installation.


Republic Steel fires up new electric arc furnace

11/28 - Lorain, Ohio – Steel production once again is a hot ticket in South Lorain as Republic Steel has begun melting metal with the company’s new electric arc furnace.

Republic Steel announced Tuesday it has begun hot commissioning of the new furnace, an $85 million investment that is expected to create nearly 450 jobs in the next several years. The furnace will re-heat scrap metal to produce liquid steel.

The Canton-based company already has hired more than 300 workers for the startup and they completed the furnaces first heat Monday night, a Republic Steel spokesman said. The new electric arc furnace will provide more than 1 million tons of steel annually. At full capacity, the new electric arc furnace could melt up to 20 heats per day, said Chris Hoyt, director of sales for Republic Steel.

“It’s the first time in five years we’ve produced liquid steel there, so were pretty excited,” Hoyt said. The project ultimately could bring in more than $1 billion dollars in annual economic activity to Ohio, according to project plans. The existing 489 jobs in Lorain will be retained.

Republic Steel bills itself as the nations leading provider of special bar quality steel used in a variety of applications such as axles, drive shafts, suspension rods and other car parts, off-road vehicles and industrial equipment.

U.S. Steel - located next door to Republic - recently announced it would purchase most of the steel produced by the new furnace. Based on the size of the furnace, there are about 40 new jobs for workers handling scrap metal that goes into the furnace, a spokesman said.

The project was more than two years in the making, with Republic Steel announcing the new furnace in November 2011, the same year the company celebrated 125 years in business.

Morning Journal


Lookback #11 – William E. Corey stranded in Lake Superior on November 28, 1905

11/28 - Wild weather battered the Lake Superior region at the end of November 1905, and a number of ships became casualties 108 years ago. Among those damaged was the newly-built William E. Corey of the recently-created United States Steel fleet.

Named for the president of U.S. Steel and the largest ship on the Great Lakes when it was launched on June 24, 1905, William E. Corey stranded off the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior on Gull Island Reef on November 28, 1905. Salvagers were dispatched to get the company flagship removed from its perch before the onslaught of winter. The 158 workers succeeded in their efforts and the 569-foot-long bulk carrier was floating freely again on December 10.

William E. Corey was soon surpassed by larger ships but continued to haul cargoes for U.S. Steel until tying up at Duluth on June 20, 1960. It remained idle until a sale to Upper Lakes Shipping in July 1963 and the vessel returned to service the following month as Ridgetown.

The ship concentrated in the grain trade until tying up at Toronto on November 17, 1969. Since then it saw service off Nanticoke as a temporary breakwall from 1970 into 1973. Refloated, it was sunk again off the Credit River, west of Toronto, on June 21, 1974, and remains visible at that location 108 years after it was built at Chicago.

Skip Gillham


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 downbound 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 soon be renamed b) SEWELL AVERY.

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

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 November 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.

1918: The bow section of the former passenger steamer NORTH WEST sank in Lake Ontario. The ship had been cut in two for a tow out of the Great Lakes. The stern was later rebuilt as b) MAPLECOURT.

1923: LINDEN, a wooden bulk carrier, burned as a total loss in Tawas Bay.

1932: The Canadian freighter GEORGIAN stranded at Munising while downbound from Port Arthur to Detroit. The crew was rescued on December 3. The first salvage attempt failed on December 5 and the vessel was not released until May 1933.

1961: IQUITOS, enroute from Callao, Peru, to Manzanillo, Mexico, with fish meal, caught fire off the coast of Mexico and was abandoned by the crew. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes as a) RUTENFJELL in 1936 and returned on numerous occasions. It was back as b) POLYRIVER from 1951 to 1958. The abandoned IQUITOS drifted for months and was finally sunk by a U.S. destroyer as a hazard to navigation about 100 miles southeast of the Christmas Islands, on April 9, 1962.

1966: The Liberty ship TEGEAN ran aground on The Sisters rocks in fog south of Halifax while inbound for bunkers. All on board were saved by Coast Guard and Navy helicopters. The hull broke into 3 pieces and was dynamited by Navy divers as a hazard on December 16, 1966. The vessel had traded through the Seaway as b) ST. MALO in 1962.

1981: LONDON EARL went aground at Pointe aux Trembles while outbound from Thunder Bay to Hamburg, West Germany, with a cargo of wheat. Five tugs released the ship, with only minimal damage, on November 30. The vessel later returned through the Seaway as b) OLYMPIC LIBERTY beginning in 1983, as c) STABERG in 1990 and as d) ITHAKI in 1996. It was scrapped at Alang, India, in 2001.

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


Port Reports -  November 27

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River, Tuesday morning, delivering a split cargo for the Bay City and the Saginaw Wirt Stone Docks. After unloading, the Olive L. refueled at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee and then the pair departed for the lake late Tuesday afternoon.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula were loading Tuesday night at the NS coal dock. The barge discharged a cargo of stone earlier in the day in Cleveland.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner was unloading at General Mills Tuesday. The English River was approaching the Lake Ontario entrance to the Welland Canal with a destination of Buffalo. She is expected to arrive sometime Wednesday morning.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
The tug W.M. Twolan and barge were headed for Kingston Tuesday.


Maritime Speaker Series presents authors of new Great Lakes sailing book

11/27 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Life on the Great Lakes will be the topic as the Door County Maritime Museum presents the second of its five Maritime Speaker Series programs on Thursday evening, Dec. 5, at 7 pm at the Sturgeon Bay museum.

Captain Gary Schmidt partnered with Warren Gerds to author the recently released book “Real, Honest Sailing with a Great Lakes Captain.” Both will be on hand to discuss the book, Schmidt’s long tenure on the lakes and his ties to Sturgeon Bay. The book is going into its fourth printing since August.

Schmidt grew up in Sturgeon Bay, graduating from Sturgeon Bay High School in 1963. He has been a master of Great Lakes vessels for more than 40 years, most recently the tug-barge combination Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, which has ties to Sturgeon Bay. The Dorothy Ann was built at Bay Shipbuilding along with the conversion of the freighter J.L. Mauthe into the Pathfinder.

Capt. Schmidt will talk about the demands of maneuvering a vessel carrying mountains of iron ore and stone with a 7,000 horsepower engine. This is the fourth book for Gerds, who is the critic-at-large for the WFRV-TV in Green Bay after a long tenure as critic at the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

This presentation is being held in conjunction with the museum’s Merry-Time Festival of Trees celebration. While the series is offered free of charge, adults attending this pre-Christmas program must purchase a $5 raffle ticket that is used to win a decorated tree of their choice from the 32 on display in the museum. Each tree is sponsored by a local business or organization. Museum members are admitted free to the program.

All Speaker Series programs are on Thursday evenings. After the holidays, programs feature shipwright Keith Kollberg (Jan. 2); Mark Holey of the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (Feb. 6); and John Kaser, commanding officer of the United Sates Coast Guard Marine Inspection Detachment in Sturgeon Bay, on March 6.

All of the evening programs begin at 7 pm at the Door County Maritime Museums Sturgeon Bay location. visit for more information.


Cruise of a Lifetime raffle winners

11/27 - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA) Cruise of a Lifetime raffle drawing took place at the 26th annual Gales of November on Saturday, Nov.2 in Duluth, MN. The winners were Erik Raettig of Madison, Wisconsin and David T. Johnson of Marshall, Michigan.

In the summer of 2014, the two winners and their guests will enjoy a 5.5 day cruise on the 1,000 foot ore boat, the Edwin H. Gott. The cruise, which departs from Duluth or Two Harbors, includes accommodations in the owner’s quarters, stateroom and lounge, which overlook the ship’s deck. Winners will dine with the captain and are encouraged to tour the ship from the pilothouse to the engine room.

The Cruise of a Lifetime is made possible by a donation from Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes of Duluth, MN. Raffle sales go to help maintain and preserve the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in historic Canal Park.

Gales of November is an annual maritime benefit coordinated by LSMMA, a nonprofit organization established in 1973 to help support the Army Corps of Engineers Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center and to preserve the regions maritime history. LSMMA sponsors maritime-related educational and promotional programs and assists in the purchase of Visitor Center displays and exhibits. For more information visit


Lookback #10 – Judge Hart stranded in Lake Superior on November 27, 1942

11/27 - The canal-sized steamship Judge Hart stranded on Fitzsimmons Rock, Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior 71 years ago today. The 261-foot-long bulk carrier had loaded 101,500 bushels of grain at Port Arthur and was en route to Toronto.

The ship had gone to anchor off the Welcome Islands in 53 mile per hour winds but stranded by the bow at about 3.50 a.m. The captain kept the engine running to hold the vessel's position in the stormy weather. This enabled the crew to leave in the lifeboats and they were taken aboard fleetmate James B. Eads that was nearby riding out the same storm.

The last of the sailors left on November 28 and, when the engine stopped running, the Judge Hart slid back off the ledge, drifted and sank in deep water.

The hull was not seen again until 1990 when wreck hunters discovered it final resting place. The 1,729- gross-ton ship is at a depth of 150 feet and was in remarkable condition although the stack had tipped over.

Judge Hart was built at Cowes, England, Isle of Wight, and was the first of a series of 10 canal-sized ships launched for the Eastern Steamship Company. It entered the water on April 21, 1923, and sailed to Canada for work in the bulk trades through the old canal system. Judge Hart was sold to the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1936, a company known as Upper Lakes Shipping after 1959, and remained in service under its original name until being lost.

Skip Gillham


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 Waiska 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.

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.

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 crewmen. 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.

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, 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.

1905: LAFAYETTE stranded at Encampment Island, Lake Superior, broke in two and was a total loss. MANILA, its consort barge, also came ashore but was later salvaged.

1942: JUDGE HART stranded at Fitzsimmons Rock, Ashburton Bay, Lake Superior, enroute to Toronto with 101,500 bushels of grain. All on board were rescued and the ship later slid off the rocks, drifted and sank.

1981: LOUKIA, a Greek flag visitor to the Great Lakes in 1976, arrived at Monrovia, Liberia, as f) DESPOULA and was abandoned. The vessel was looted before being sold for scrap. On September 2, 1982, while under tow for Yugoslavia for dismantling, the vessel broke loose in heavy seas and grounded about 14 miles north of Monrovia.

2006: SPAR OPAL had mechanical problems and ran aground near the Iroquois Lock. It was released on November 29. It did not return through the Seaway in 2007 but was back for two final trips in 2008. The ship was renamed h) ARWAD PRINCESS in 2012 and re-registered in Belize.

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


Port Reports -  November 26

Cheboygan, Mich.
Members of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw began loading more than 1,200 Christmas trees onto the Mackinaw in its homeport of Cheboygan, Mich., Nov. 25, 2013. The Mackinaw will arrive in Chicago Dec. 6, where the trees will be unloaded to community organizations designated by the Chicago Christmas Ship Committee for distribution to deserving families.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River on Sunday, unloading at the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw. The pair was outbound later in the day. Monday saw the arrival of the Calumet, unloading a split cargo between the Burroughs North dock in Essexville and the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She turned of the Wirt dock in the Wirt basin and was outbound Monday night.The G.L. Ostrander - Integrity arrived at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville, early Monday morning, and were expected to be outbound by late evening or early Tuesday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner was at anchor at the traffic buoy Monday. Rebecca Lynn remained at the Noco pier in Tonawanda. The tug Paul Luedtke was tied up at the Visiting Ship's dock on the Buffalo River.

Kingston, Ont. – Ron Walsh
Ecosse departed Kingston at 7:40 p.m., light tug, via the Canadian Middle Channel. She gave an ETA for 11:10 for Quebec Head and a destination of Sorel.


Lookback No. 9 – Jablancia collided with Pierson Daughters on November 26, 1979

11/26 - The 622-foot-long Yugoslavian bulk carrier Jablancia was only a year old when it was in a collision with the Pierson Daughters 34 years ago today. The down bound freighter had loaded corn at Duluth and was bound for Antwerp, Belgium, and Hamburg, West Germany, to discharge.

Despite clear visibility, the two ships collided off Alexandria Bay, New York, on November 26, 1979, and Jablancia went aground on Broadway Shoal with a hole in the hull. The lighter Mapleheath took off some of the cargo and, once free, Jablancia proceeded to Montreal and then on the Lauzon, Quebec, for repairs.

Jablancia was a regular Seaway trader. It was sold and renamed Ellie in 1993 and back on the Great Lakes that year under Liberian registry. The ship usually carried steel or sugar when entering the Great Lakes and left with a variety of grains. Its last two trips were in 1999.

Another sale in 2001 brought a new name of Grain Trader under the flag of Malta and, while the ship visited Eastern Canada as such, it did not return inland.

It became Pine Trader with Panamanian registry in 2007. On May 18, 2009, the ship lost power east of Cape Agulhas, off the southern tip of South Africa, and the engine room flooded while en route to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, with a cargo of bagged rice.  After being declared a total loss, Pine Trader was sold to Indian shipbreakers. It arrived at Alang, under tow, on September 15, 2009, and was beached for dismantling on October 30.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  November 26

News Photo Gallery


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-long 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 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.

1924: The wooden steamer J.C. FORD was destroyed by a fire while on the St. Marys River near DeTour.

1940: The coal-laden CHEYENNE went aground in a storm near Port Colborne while enroute to Montreal. The ship was released on December 1. It last sailed as c) SORELDOC (ii) in 1965 before being scrapped at Hamilton.

1942: L.E. BLOCK went aground in the Straits of Mackinac during a snowstorm.

1951: JOHN H. PRICE was at Ste. Anne des Monts to load pulpwood when a storm swept the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The ship broke loose early the next day, drifted to shore and was pounded on the rocks. All on board were saved and the vessel was refloated May 30, 1952.

1964: The Norwegian tanker STOLT DAGALI, a Seaway caller as a) DAGALI in 1960-1962, was sliced in two by the passenger vessel SHALOM about 28 miles southeast of the Ambrose Channel Light Vessel. The stern of the tanker sank but the bow was rebuilt using the stern of the C.T. GODSTAD that had grounding damage. The rebuilt ship resumed sailing as STOLT LADY.

1979: Despite clear visibility, PIERSON DAUGHTERS and JABLANICA collided off Alexandria Bay, NY, and both ships were damaged. The latter went aground on Broadway Shoal and had to be lightered before being released. It was a regular Seaway trader and was also back as b) ELLIE beginning in 1993. The ship was scrapped at Alang, India, as d) PINE TRADER in 2009.

1981: EURO PRINCESS, a Seaway trader beginning in 1976, went aground in the Atlantic near Sable Island and the crew of 26 was airlifted to safety. Despite a cracked hull, the ship was refloated and was back on the Great Lakes as c) EUROPEGASUS in 1985 and survived until scrapping in India in 1997-1998.

2000: The former BALSA I, a Seaway trader beginning in 1981, reported taking water off Hainan Island in the South China Sea and sank. The crew was saved by a passing freighter.

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


Port Reports -  November 25

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara sailed from Sandusky Sunday afternoon. She was bound for Hamilton, Ont., the same port to which she was headed when she ran aground one week ago. Following the self-unloader from the NS coal dock, and the harbor, was the Manitowoc, which listed the Canadian Soo as her next port of call.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug-barge Rebecca Lynn - A-397 arrived on a bitterly cold Sunday around 11 a.m. They had just spent about a day transiting Lake Erie downbound from Detroit along the Canadian shore to stay in the lee of the mainland from a winter storm front that pushed in from the Arctic. causing up to 13-foot waves out in open waters. They switched out of towing gear while still out on the lake, notched the tug into the barge's stern, and then headed for the Black Rock Canal in push mode by noon. Once they were past the draw at the Ferry Street Bridge, the captain radioed for the CN Railroad's harbor draw to open, but a mechanical issue with that bridge caused a slight delay. A repair crew was sent to check on it and found that the airlines to the locking pins had frozen due to the 20-degree cold and would not retract. The mechanism was forced open manually with a come-along on both sides of the bridge while the tug-barge held position just off the Buffalo Sewer Authority dock. After about an hour and a half, the bridge finally opened. Rebecca Lynn proceeded to the Black Rock Lock and on to the Marathon Dock in Tonawanda to discharge a cargo of asphalt.

Port Dalhousie, Ont. - Skip Gillham
Ojibway anchored off Port Dalhousie due to high winds Saturday.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
Peter R. Cresswell has been anchored in Prince Edward Bay since Saturday afternoon. Radio traffic indicated that weather was the cause.


National Freight Advisory Committee endorses full use of Harbor Maintenance Tax

11/25 - The National Freight Advisory Committee has unanimously approved a recommendation to pass legislation that will ensure that the Harbor Maintenance Tax is utilized for its intended purpose – to keep the nation’s harbors and channels dredged and maintained at their maximum authorized depth for the safe shipping of commerce.

The resolution was championed by Paul C. LaMarre III, Executive Director of the Port of Monroe, Michigan.

The Harbor Maintenance Tax is a user fee collected by the U.S. Government to ensure the adequate maintenance and operations of the national waterway infrastructure. In recent years, more fees have been collected than expended and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund contains a surplus of $8.2 billion.

At the same time, there is a growing backlog of dredging needs throughout the nation’s harbors. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently reported that almost 30 percent of commercial vessel calls at U.S. ports are constrained due to inadequate channel depths. U.S. ports have expressed the need for a consistent dredging plan – which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The recommendation made by the Committee will go to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to present to the Obama Administration. This recommendation is consistent with President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.

The American Great Lakes Ports Association


Studies provide no certainty in Griffon shipwreck search

11/25 - Traverse City, Mich. – Five months after divers searched a remote section of Lake Michigan for a mysterious 17th century ship and retrieved a wooden slab the group leader believes is part of the vessel, it is still uncertain whether they are on the right track.

The object of the week-long mission in June was the Griffon, built by the legendary French explorer La Salle, which disappeared in 1679 with a six-member crew, becoming the oldest known shipwreck in the upper Great Lakes. The dive team dug a deep hole at the base of the nearly 20-foot-long timber, which was wedged vertically into the lake floor, hoping other wreckage was beneath. To their disappointment, they found nothing.

Since then, the beam has undergone a CT scan at a Michigan hospital. A wooden sliver has been sent to a Florida lab for carbon-14 analysis. Three French experts who participated in the expedition have completed a report. Others are in the works, as scientists who have examined the slab or data from the tests compile their findings. Thus far, most have declined to take a position on whether the Griffon has been found.

Based on the totality of the scientific results thus far, as well as historical research, to this point there are still two valid theories about the wooden beam, said Ken Vrana, who served as project manager for the expedition. It could be part of a ship, or a pound net stake an underwater fishing apparatus used in the Great Lakes in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Dean Anderson, Michigan’s state archaeologist, who has long been skeptical that the beam came from the Griffon, told The Associated Press last week he is convinced the latter alternative is correct. “I’m looking at the evidence and the evidence is pointing to a net stake,” Anderson said. “I’m not seeing any evidence of a vessel element here.”

That theory is hotly disputed by Steve Libert, president of Great Lakes Exploration Group, who has spent three decades and more than $1 million on his quest for the Griffon. He contends the slab is a bowsprit – a spur or pole that extends from a vessel’s stem – which broke off and was jammed into the lake bed as the ship sank during a violent storm.

“I am very confident that this piece is from the Griffon,” Libert said, “dismissing the net stake idea as “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of.”

His view is bolstered by findings of the French team, which included Michel L’Hour, director of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Research in the French Ministry of Culture and an authority on shipwrecks. Their report, which L’Hour shared with the AP, casts doubt on the stake theory, noting that the slab doesn’t have a sharp, pointed end typical of submerged stakes found elsewhere. Instead, it has a sloping beveled end similar to those of bowsprits of wrecked European vessels from the 16th and 17th centuries that have been recovered, the report says.

It draws no conclusion about whether the timber came from the Griffon but says it has other characteristics consistent with a bowsprit from the period, including its length. Additionally, it says the section of the timber that protruded from the lakebed appears to have eroded for one or several centuries.

In August, Libert arranged to have the slab x-rayed with a CT scan machine at Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord, hoping to obtain tree ring images that would determine its age. Only 29 rings were visible. Carol Griggs, a Cornell University expert in using ring patterns to date trees, said at least 50 were needed for an accurate measurement. So yet again, the results were inconclusive.

Libert also sent a sliver from the timbers interior to Beta Analytical Inc., a Miami company that performs carbon-14 tests on archaeological and geological artifacts. The results were similar to radiocarbon analysis performed on other pieces from the slab a decade ago. They found the wood could have originated from any of several periods between 1670 and 1950.

Darden Hood, the company’s president, said in an interview it could be misleading to narrow down the time range any further.

So the results are not in any way definitive, Hood said in a letter to Libert. They must be used as one line of evidence along with others to hopefully provide you with a solution.

But William Lovis, a Michigan State University anthropology professor who reviewed the findings at Anderson’s request, said a computer program that uses tree-ring data to refine carbon-14 test results indicates a greater likelihood that the timber came from the 1800s than the late 1600s. Vrana, the project manager, acknowledged that it does not appear that the timber may be as old as the Griffon.

Libert, however, said the carbon-14 findings support his position by failing to rule out that the beam dates from the 17th century. He said that fact, combined with other historical and archaeological data, makes a strong case that hes recovered the Griffon bowsprit and that other wreckage is waiting to be found in the same area. He plans to resume the search next spring.

“This would be probably the most important archaeological find in this country’s history,” he said.

Detroit News


Lookback #8 – Rouse Simmons, famed Christmas tree ship, sailed November 25, 1913

11/25 - The wooden schooner Rouse Simmons cleared Thompson Harbor, near Manistique, Mich., on November 25, 1913, loaded with Christmas trees for the Chicago market. The 45-year-old vessel was spotted several times in obvious distress on the stormy lake but it could not be reached for aid and disappeared with all hands, a total of 16 sailors, likely on November 26.

Area fisherman found spruce and balsam trees in their nets the following spring and some years later a wallet from one of the crewmen washed up on shore.

The hull of the 130-foot-long sailing ship was discovered by divers, apparently in 1971, and today the U.S. Coast Guard remembers the fabled “Christmas Tree Ship” by delivering trees to Chicago at this time of year.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  November 25

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the AK Brother, Bogdan, CL Hanse Gate, Clipper Gemini, Cornelia, Federal Polaris, Jette, Kristin Knutsen, Mehmet A, Mottler, Orla, Tiwala, Zealand Delilah.


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.

1904: B.W. BLANCHARD stranded near Alpena, MI and was wrecked. The ship had become unmanageable in heavy weather while enroute to Detroit with a cargo of lumber and was a total loss.

1908: NORTH STAR sank in Lake Huron off Port Sanilac after a collision with NORTHERN QUEEN. The accident occurred in dense fog and the ship went down quickly. All were saved.

1927: THOUSAND ISLANDER cleared Sarnia for Midland under tow of C.S.L. fleetmate COLLINGWOOD and they encountered heavy weather on Lake Huron. The ship was overwhelmed southeast of Thunder Bay Island and sank.

1950: The cargo of steel and package freight aboard the C.S.L. steamer WEYBURN shifted on Lake Ontario in a wild fall storm and the ship took on a precarious list and almost capsized. The ship was escorted to Toronto by RENVOYLE where the problem was corrected.

1971: The Greek freighter ESTIA sank on the Caribbean north of French Guiana after a violent engine room explosion. The ship was bound for Brazil with phosphates and all on board were saved. The vessel had been a Great Lakes visitor as MANCHESTER SPINNER beginning in 1963.

2003: The yacht ALISON LAKE, rebuilt at Toronto from the U.S. Coast Guard ship SAUK, hit a submerged object and sank in very deep water south of Key West, FL. All on board were rescued.

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


Coast Guard medevacs man in Straits of Mackinac

11/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – A Coast Guard boat crew medically evacuated a man Saturday afternoon from a commercial vessel in the Straits of Mackinac. His name was not released.

At 1 p.m., a search-and-rescue controller at the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste Marie, Mich., was contacted by the captain of the motor vessel Burns Harbor, a 1,000-foot ship owned by American Steamship Co., requesting assistance with the medical evacuation of a 37-year-old man. The man was reportedly suffering abdominal pains and had collapsed and lost consciousness for two minutes. After conferring with the on-duty flight surgeon, the ship was directed to make way for St. Ignace, Mich., where they would be met by a Coast Guard boat that would take the man to safety.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. the Burns Harbor, which had just passed west under the Mackinac Bridge, turned around and headed back east. After passing under the bridge, it turned north toward St. Igance, slowly approached Coast Guard Station St. Ignace and met up with the CG 45-foot RB-M. When the vessel got just off the station it turned sharply to the east and held its position, where it blocked the waves for the RB-M to remove the crewman. Weather at the time in Straits had winds gusting over 30 mph, temperatures in the teens and rough seas.

The rescue crew transferred the man to the rescue boat. The man was taken to the Coast Guard station where EMS transported him to the Mackinac Straits Rural Health Clinic in St. Ignace. The man was last known to be in stable condition.

USCG, Bob McGreevy


Port Reports -  November 24

Western Lake Erie - Jim Spencer
The National Weather Service posted gale warnings for Lakes Erie Huron and Michigan late Saturday, warning sailors to also be aware of impending snow squalls and freezing spray as northwest winds increased. As darkness fell across the Lake Erie islands, weather reports from the South Bass Island station had steady winds nearing 30 knots. Several freighters had gone to anchor near the Toledo Light several miles out in the lake southwest of Colchester, Ont. Several other vessels had gone on the hook in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior and a few had tucked themselves into the lee of land at the top of Lake Huron. Commercial traffic that continued to move on Lake Huron was generally hugging the Michigan shoreline.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara loaded Saturday at the NS coal dock for Hamilton, Ont., but she remained at the wharf Saturday night. The self-unloader had arrived off the Sandusky Pierhead Friday evening, but rather than risk another encounter with the shoals at the edges of the Mosely Channel, she went to anchor and did not enter the harbor until after daylight. It was just a week ago that Niagara was blown out of the channel by high winds. She wound up with her bow jammed into a mud bank and remained there until water pushed east by gale force winds subsided and water levels across the west end of Lake Erie returned to normal. Sitting behind the Niagara at the dock is the Manitowoc. She arrived during the day Saturday.

Kingston, Ont. – Ron Walsh
Radcliffe R. Latimer was due in Bath at 1500 Saturday. English River was due in Bath at 1600 and was expected to go to anchor. An urgent marine broadcast resulted in four people being rescued from the Adophus Reach by a local vessel. Their submerged, five-metre-long boat was reported to be drifting and a hazard to navigation. USCG Sector Buffalo broadcast a notice of a vessel with two people on board been reported adrift near Association Island in Henderson Harbor. The vessel received assistance shortly therafter. There was also a gale warning for Lake Ontario Sunday afternoon, with NW 35 knot winds also causing freezing spray.


Badger Captain Dean Hobbs remembered as “master” on the lakes, stellar man

11/24 - Ludington, Mich. – Senior Captain Dean Hobbs of Lake Michigan Carferry’s SS Badger wasn’t just a ship captain, he was one of the best there was.

Rear Admiral John Tanner, former superintendent of the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, said next month would have made 40 years that he knew Hobbs and that there wasn’t a better captain or better person around.

Hobbs, 59, died around 10 p.m. Thursday night after suffering a heart attack during a senior men’s league hockey game.

Tanner said he met Hobbs in 1973 when he was a ship’s officer and visited the GLMA to talk to a student group. In 1974, Tanner joined the faculty and he remained a faculty member through Hobbs’ graduation in 1976. They maintained a relationship over the years as Hobbs advanced his career as a mariner and Tanner advanced to take over one of only six mariners’ academies in the U.S.

Tanner and GLMA Director of Enrollment John Berck said Hobbs was a true mariner in every sense of the word.

From the academy he took a job with Amoco, which had three ships hauling petroleum products around the Great Lakes. He was a manager with the company.

Hobbs joined Lake Michigan Carferry in 1995, the same year that Tanner took over the GLMA.

“It was a perfect marriage,” Tanner said of Hobbs. “He was the right personality type at the right time in his life. Things line up in a person’s life and he enjoyed that immensely.”

Part of the job that Hobbs enjoyed most was telling people about his ship and the history of the Great Lakes. It was not uncommon to see him speaking with passengers on cross-lake trips.

“I can tell you he did that for people in all walks of life,” Tanner said. “Sometimes people will just talk to people who only benefit them. Dean talked to everybody. He talked to people he knew would never, ever help him, which is the definition of a true gift.”

Tanner said the Badger is an important vessel for a number of reasons.

“It has a historic value, it has a mystique about it — the general public loves that vessel — I can speak for people all through Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin. If it’s one of the 1,000-footers, they see that on the lake or maybe in the locks, but the Badger, what makes it so unique, is that the people who love ships can go aboard and touch it and talk to the captain as members of the general public and that’s where Dean was a master.”

Tanner said the GLMA’s school ship happened to be in Marinette, Wis., when Hobbs was getting ready to deliver a ferry bound for Staten Island, New York.

“Dean treated all the cadets to breakfast,” Tanner said. “Stuff that he did, things he didn’t have to do. Spending time with cadets who he didn’t have to, taking them to breakfast, for those 12 cadets it meant the world to them.”

Tanner said Hobbs never stopped giving back to the academy that taught him his skills. “He probably helped Great Lakes Maritime Academy more than any other graduate,” Tanner said. “Whatever I would ask, whether as a faculty member or a superintendent, he was there.”

Hobbs served as an adjunct instructor at the GLMA and was very engaged in the history of the industry.

“He paid attention to the history of the Badger and the history of the Great Lakes,” Tanner said. “In fact there’s an organization that goes back to 1886 called the International Shipmasters Association — he was grand president of that in 1999 or 2000. That’s a very prestigious title. Shipmasters from around Lakes elected him president which was a huge thing.”

Hobbs also helped establish a shipmasters lodge, No. 23, in Traverse City.

“He was just involved in so much. He did so much to help other people,” Tanner said. “He was a good shipmate aboard ship, he was a good captain but I know personally he helped so many mariners who needed a boost in their confidence and give them help in their lives.

“Life’s not fair. Somebody who did that should live a long life and Dean can’t, but Dean was there for people.”

Piloting a 410-foot vessel across Lake Michigan thousands of times is not the easy task that it may seem to observers. Tanner, who was third officer on the first 1,000-foot vessel on the Great Lakes, said people don’t understand the skill involved in bringing the SS Badger back and forth between Ludington and Manitowoc.

“The skills he had were world class,” Tanner said. “I was fortunate enough to be on the first 1,000-footer on the Great Lakes. I know the dynamics of ship handling of a lot of different vessels. When a ship doesn’t have a bow thruster, when they pivot on an anchor (like the Badger does), it’s world-class seamanship. It’s world class. There are very few people in the world who can do that, that’s how impressive it is, the handling of the Badger.”

Tanner said he had a group of mariners from Washington, D.C., on the Badger and they watched with mouths agape as the vessel was docked by pivoting on the anchor chain.

Hobbs had an unlimited tonnage master’s license and credentials for ocean-going vessels as well.

“He did work for the shipyard in Marinette on some government vessels, some very high-end navy vessels,” Tanner said.

“He was always there whenever we needed help with an academic program or volunteer opportunity,” GLMA’s Berck added. “I’ve known Captain Hobbs, Dean, for so many years. I loved Dean and it’s just such a shock. Our concerns are now with his wife, Brenda, and their children.”

Berck said it was a tradition to bring the new class of cadets down from the GLMA each year and cross the lake on the Badger, and Hobbs made it a special experience for them every time.

“Captain Hobbs would go out of his way with all these incoming cadets and give them all kinds of inside knowledge and speak with them,” Berck said. “We’re certainly going to miss him.

Hobbs was someone who cadets or instructors could reach out to with questions or for advice or help.

“He was really somebody who was always there as a liaison with the industry for the school,” Berck said. “He was proud of what happened for him here and the direction it took him in the industry but he was just a very humble fellow — as many successful people are. He was just a wonderful friend and supporter with the school.”

“He liked organizing things,” Tanner said. “He worked and dabbled and did all sorts of things.”

“He was very active in a lot of those things — he loved hockey. In fact, he helped set up a hockey game we held for years at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy between the cadets and the alumni. Dean was a goalie and he just loved that.”

Hobbs also arranged in May of 2003 to have the school’s ship meet the Badger for a salute between the ships outside Ludington’s harbor in 2003. He arranged it so the school ship’s first port of call on a trip around the lake that year was Ludington.

“I was very proud of that and so was Dean Hobbs,” Tanner said.

Berck said Hobbs was extremely knowledgeable and for years he tried to get him to write a book. He said he’ll be missed.

“It’s a close-knit, small industry and you won’t find anyone who doesn’t think he was one of the best captains in the industry but also one of the best people in the industry,” Berck said. “Forget the maritime, forget everything else, he was just a quality person who would do the heavy lifting behind the scenes for people he didn’t even know,” Berck said.

Ludington Daily News


Lookback #7: Kinsman Independent struck Superior shoal on November 24, 1990

11/24 - The Kinsman Independent was about 24 miles off course when it ran aground on a reef near the entrance to Siskiwat Bay, on the south side of Isle Royale, 23 years ago today. The ship sustained considerable hull damage but was released the next day, November 25, 1990.

The leaking, 38-year-old bulk carrier reached Thunder Bay and was repaired over the winter. This member of the Kinsman fleet had been built at Bay City, MI in 1952 and first sailed as Charles L. Hutchinson. It moved to the Ford fleet as Ernest R. Breech in 1962 and joined Kinsman as their third Kinsman Independent in 1988.

After being retired at Buffalo in December 2002, the vessel was sold for Canadian service and refitted in 2005 as Voyageur Independent. It joined Lower Lakes Towing and became Ojibway in 2008. The 642-foot, 3-inch-long freighter is now diesel powered and operates primarily in the grain trade around the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence.

Skip Gillham


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 just Dennis Hale as its 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, 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 snowstorm. Both vessels received such serious bow damage that they had to be beached near McGulpin Point west of Mackinaw City to avoid sinking.

ROSEMOUNT, stored with coal, 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.

1905: ARGO missed the entrance to the harbor at Holland, MI while inbound from Chicago and went aground. All on board, an estimated 72 passengers and crew, were rescued by breeches buoy in a very challenging task. The ship was salvaged in January 1906.

1938: The idle former passenger ship CITY OF BENTON HARBOR was gutted by a fire at Sturgeon Bay.

1970: C.W. CADWELL hit a submerged rock in the Niagara River near Queenston and was stranded.

1988: KATIA was abandoned off Nova Scotia, enroute from Brazil to Carleton, QC, and all 27 on board were taken off by rescue helicopter. Despite salvage efforts, the listing ship sank November 26. It had been through the Seaway earlier in 1987 after previous inland voyages as c) TIMI in 1978 and d) HAPPY MED in 1981.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Maritime community mourns loss of Badger’s popular captain

11/23 - Captain Dean Hobbs, senior captain of the carferry Badger and a well-known master mariner on the Great Lakes, passed away Thursday evening as a result of a heart attack while playing hockey.

The family of Captain Hobbs, which includes his wife Brenda, shared this statement Friday:

We are deeply saddened by the unexpected passing of our dear husband and dad, Captain Dean Hobbs. He died on Thursday evening, November 21, while enjoying a game of hockey, one of his favorite pastimes.

He knew the Great Lakes inside and out and took great pride in his job as a captain on the SS Badger and every ship he helmed. He was an exceptional friend, sailor, father and husband. … The lakes and our lives will not be the same without him and we will miss him forever.

At the time of his death he was secretary of International Shipmasters Association Lodge 23 in Traverse City. He served as ISMA Grand Lodge president in 1999.

Captain Hobbs was a graduate of, and an instructor at, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy and also held a bachelor’s degree from the Maine Maritime Academy. In 1976 he became the youngest licensed captain on the Great Lakes.

Besides his position on board the Badger, he was senior trial master for Marinette Marine Corporation, and assisted in the sea trails and delivery of many of its new vessels, including nearly 24 new U.S. Coast Guard cutters and several U.S. Navy Littoral combat ships.

He owned the sea trial and vessel delivery company, ABCD Marine LLC. One of his most recent projects was the delivery of the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) fishery research vessel Reuben Lasker.

Early in in his Great Lakes career, he sailed with and was in fleet operations for the Inland Steel and American Oil Co. (AMOCO) fleets. Captain Hobbs started working for Lake Michigan Carferry, the Badger’s owner, in 1995. He served as relief master of the tug Ken Boothe Sr. for the early part of the 2012 shipping season.

He graduated from Sault Area High School, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in 1972. He was a staunch supporter of the Boatnerd site and graciously welcomed many visitors to Badger’s pilothouse during the group’s annual Boatnerd crossing, and often led tours of the boat.

A statement Friday evening from Lake Michigan Carferry reads as follows: “Captain Hobbs was our Senior Captain for 17 years and took great pride in providing a safe and memorable experience for the passengers and crew aboard the S.S. Badger. His maritime knowledge, commanding presence and commitment to Lake Michigan Carferry Service will be profoundly missed.”

A funeral will be held sometime next week for close friends and family, and arrangements will be made for a larger maritime memorial service at the beginning of 2014, according to the family.


Port Reports -  November 23

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Talassa Desgagnes unloaded liquefied Asphalt overnight at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. She was outbound for the lake Friday morning. This was the first time since the Bit-Mat dock opened a number of years ago that product was brought in by a tanker, rather than a tug and tank barge combo. The tug Gregory J. Busch was inbound Friday afternoon for her home dock in Carrollton.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara went to anchor east of Kelleys Island rather than enter Sandusky Bay and proceed to the NS coal dock. The 739-foot self-unloader spent the better part of 48-hours with her bow stuck in the mud after being blown out of the 300-foot wide Mosely Channel last Sunday, while departing for Hamilton. Niagara was expected to move to the dock after daylight Saturday.


New tugs planned for Niagara River

11/23 - According to press reports, the New York Power Authority has commissioned Bristol Harbor Group of Bristol, R.I. to engineer, design and supervise the construction of two tugs. The vessels will be used to maintain ice booms located on the Niagara River near the Lake Erie outlet. The booms protect power installations from damage by winter ice. The new tugs will replace older boats.

Mac Mackay


Clayton man who grounded tug admits faking marine pilot license

11/23 - Syracuse, N.Y. – A Clayton man who grounded a tug boat in Lake Ontario last year has admitted using a fake merchant marine license to pilot the boat.

Mark Anselm, 37, pleaded guilty Friday n U.S. District Court to six felonies, including making false statements to the Coast Guard, using an altered merchant marine license, and aggravated identity theft.

Anselm admitted holding himself out as a licensed commercial ship pilot to marina owners, federal officials and potential employers in 2011 and 2012, when he had no such license.

Anselm had altered the licenses by substituting his name on them, federal prosecutors said. With the false licenses, he got jobs operating "various commercial ships" on Lake Ontario, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Coast Guard officials discovered Anselm's crimes after he grounded a tug boat in Canadian waters of Lake Ontario on June 19, 2012, prosecutors said. The agency's investigation into that mishap revealed "numerous instances" of Anselm holding himself out as a licensed merchant marine captain based on the forged licenses, prosecutors said.

Anselm faces up to 27 years in prison and a $1.5 million when U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby sentences him March 28.


Lookback #6 – Explosion and fire aboard Leapaul on November 23, 1962

11/23 - The West German freighter Leapaul was on its third trip to the Great Lakes for the 1962 season and was unloading at Toronto when steel rods penetrated drums of sodium nitrate. An explosion and fire followed but there were no injuries. The blaze was quickly extinguished leaving only minor damage.

Leapaul had been launched at Hamburg, West Germany, on April 30, 1958, and began Seaway trading on behalf of the Hamburg-Chicago Line the following year. The 400-foot long, 5,067 gross ton carrier made 28 transits into the lakes to the end of 1966 and was back four more times in 1967 as Spica.

The ship went on to have a total of six names and was also operated under the flags of Greece, Singapore, Cyprus and Lebanon. The vessel was sold to Pakistani shipbreakers as Phoebus in 1984. It arrived at Gadani Beach on March 10, 1984, and was soon dismantled.

Skip Gillham


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 DeTour, 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.

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.

1901: QUITO stranded off Lorain, Ohio, and broke up in a Lake Erie storm. All on board were saved.

1902: SILVANUS J. MACY was last observed battling heavy seas in Lake Erie off Port Burwell. The coal laden, wooden steamer was lost with all hands.

1936: A fire at Portsmouth, Ontario, just west of Kingston, destroyed several idle wooden steamers including the SIMON LANGELL and PALM BAY. Their remains were towed into Lake Ontario and scuttled in 1937.

1961: AMVRAKIKOS ran aground on Pancake Shoal, Lake Superior, on its first and only visit to the Great Lakes. This World War Two vintage Liberty ship was refloated on November 26, loaded scrap steel at Toledo for Japan and was the last saltwater ship of the 1961 season to depart the St. Lawrence Seaway.

1997: AN TAI, an SD 14 cargo carrier registered in Belize, began to list and then the hull cracked at the dock in Port Klang, Malaysia. The ship sank at the wharf the next day. The vessel had visited the Great Lakes, first as a) LONDON GRENADIER in 1972 and again as b) FIRST JAY in 1979. Subsequent salvage efforts failed and the hull was cut into sections, taken out to sea, and dumped in a fish breeding grounds.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Marquette, Ohio - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived and loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The pilothouse was carefully hoisted off the St. Marys Challenger on Wednesday and placed on the dock at Bay Shipbuilding. There's no word on where the structure will ultimately end up. The stack was removed on Thursday. The 107-year-old former steamer is undergoing conversion to a barge this winter.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Thalassa Desgagnes arrived on the Saginaw River Thursday morning. She initially turned in the Essexville basin and was off the Port Fisher Fertilizer dock. She is now backed into the slip at Bay Aggregates in Bay City.

Owen Sound, Ont. - Shane Ruther
Mississagi arrived Wednesday to unloaded 11,000 tons of road salt from Goderich.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
The saltwater vessels Three Rivers and Wicko are unloading cargo at the Midwest Overseas Terminal Dock. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes is at the B-P Dock. The tug Petite Forte with the barge St. Marys Cement is unloading cement at the St. Marys Cement Dock. The tanker Algosea is in drydock at Ironhead Shipyard. Whitefish Bay is loading grain at Andersons K Elevator. Cedarglen is at Andersons E. Elevator. Capt. Henry Jackman is at anchor at the western end of Lake Erie. She may have a cargo of potash to unload at Andersons K. Elevator. The saltwater vessel Drawsko is also at anchor at the western end of Lake Erie waiting for dock space at Toledo. The next vessels due in at the CSX Coal Docks will be the Robert S. Pierson on Friday, H. Lee White on Saturday, James L. Kuber on Tuesday, Saginaw on Wednesday, Lakes Contender on Thanksgiving Day, and Kaye E. Barker on Friday. The next scheduled ore boats due in at the Torco Ore Dock will be Whitefish Bay on Monday, 2 Dec. followed by the Atlantic Erie, James R. Barker and Lakes Contender on Wednesday, 4 Dec.

Sandusky & Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Michipicoten loaded Thursday at the NS coal dock in Sandusky. She was expected to sail late in the day for the Canadian Soo. The self-unloader arrived shortly after midnight Wednesday. At Marblehead, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder sailed shortly before noon for Cleveland. Thursday afternoon, the tug John Francis was at the dock with an unnamed barge. The Lafarge Quarry crew was loading the barge with stone destined for an unspecified lakeshore construction project.

Port Colborne, Ont.
Algomas Quebecois arrived Thursday morning at the Marine Recycling Corp. scrapyard. The Molly M. 1 was on the bow, with Seahound and Vac on the stern.

Sorel, Que.
Reports indicate that idle Phoenix Sun has been sold to Goldrich Waters International Shipping of Hong Kong. It is not known if the new owner tends to run the saltwater-built vessel (formerly Sagittarius and VSL Centurion), or send her for scrap. Fleetmate Phoenix Star was scrapped earlier this year in a Toledo drydock.


Port of Cleveland’s express ocean freight service to Europe begins in spring

11/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland-Europe Express freight shipping service between Cleveland Harbor and Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway will begin in Spring 2014, according to a charter agreement with The Spliethoff Group approved by The Port of Cleveland Board of Directors on November 21.

The Cleveland-Europe Express Ocean Freight Service will be the only regular, scheduled international container service on the Great Lakes. The fuel-efficient, multi-purpose ships will also have room for non-containerized cargoes.

William Friedman, president & CEO of the Port of Cleveland, said that the service will be the fastest and greenest route between Europe and North America’s heartland, allowing regional companies to ship their goods up to four days faster than using water, rail, and truck routes via the U.S. East Coast ports.

“This service will offer Ohio exporters a faster, more cost-effective and greener solution to get their goods to global markets,” Friedman said. “The Cleveland-Europe Express can handle roughly 10-15% of Ohio’s trade with Europe.”

The decision by the Port’s Board of Directors comes at a time when cargo coming through the Port is on the increase. General cargo moving through the Port of Cleveland in October was up 20% compared to October 2012 and, year to date, is more than 20% ahead of the port’s 2012 tonnage level. The port is on pace to have its highest annual tonnage level since the 2008 calendar year.

Jay Foran, senior vice president of Business Attraction for Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO), said that scheduled, direct cargo ship service from Cleveland to northern Europe would be a significant addition to the business case for attracting companies to Northeast Ohio. “It also is vitally important to the companies that are here and the overall growth of our region because it will encourage higher levels of trade between Northeast Ohio and the rest of the world,” Foran said.

Initially, the Cleveland-Europe Express will have one vessel call per month in Cleveland and one in a major port in Europe, still to be determined. The port’s goal is to offer customers the best option for door-to-door cargo movement. The agreement with the Spliethoff Group allows the port to add a second ship, allowing for a vessel in port every two weeks, as demand rises. The Spliethoff Group owns and operates a fleet of about 100 multi-purpose, heavy-lift, and ro-ro vessels ranging in size from 9,500 to 21,000 tons, all of which sail under the Dutch flag.

Bart Peters, manager of The Spliethoff Group’s America Service, said that the agreement with the Port of Cleveland allows the company to better serve the North Atlantic trade lane. “Providing scheduled, reliable capacity to the America’s industrial heartland via the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway routing will enable shippers to connect more efficiently to the European continent,” Peters said.

Marc Krantz, chairman of the Port of Cleveland Board, said direct route export and import service to Europe will help the Northeast Ohio region and the Midwest compete globally by connecting businesses to world markets. “We also expect there to be a lot of indirect benefit to companies who service the Port as a result of increased cargo coming through Cleveland Harbor,” Krantz said.

Steve Wharton, Operations Manager at The Lubrizol Corporation, is supportive of the Cleveland-Europe Express, explaining that having a direct shipping option to Europe will increase the company’s competitiveness. “This, in turn, produces the opportunity to invest more dollars into the local economy, reduce our inventory carrying costs by using this faster shipping option, and reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.

For more information, visit


Coast Guard set to load more than 1,200 Christmas trees onto Mackinaw for transit to Chicago

11/22 - Cheboygan, Mich. – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is scheduled to load 1,220 Christmas trees onto the ship at its homeport of Cheboygan, Mich., on Nov. 25, in preparation for the 2013 Christmas Ship celebration.

The trees will be transported to Chicago where they will be offloaded on the morning of Dec.7 following a public ceremony at Navy Pier. The trees will be given to nonprofit organizations, selected by members of the Chicago maritime community, then given to deserving families.

The journey and ceremony honors the traditions of the Rouse Simmons, the original Christmas Ship, which sank between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wis. on Nov. 23, 1912 in a storm during its annual transit from northern Wisconsin to Chicago.

The trip coincides with the Mackinaws annual seasonal buoy operations in southern Lake Michigan in support of Operation Fall Retrieve, the nations largest domestic aids to navigation recovery operation. During the transit to Chicago, the crew of the Mackinaw will conduct a wreath laying ceremony near the wreck of the Rouse Simmons to honor the ship and its crew.

“The crew and I are looking forward in participating in this years event.” We feel it’s an extremely worthwhile cause,” said Cmdr. Michael Davanzo, the ships commanding officer.


Authorama returns to Port Huron’s Maritime Center Saturday

11/22 - Port Huron, Mich. - – The 8th Annual Marine Authorama will be held from 10 a.m. to 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;" authors Wayne “Skip” Kadar and T.J. Gaffney, David Gagnon and Michael M. Dixon (“When Detroit Rode the Waves”), David G. Brown (“White Hurricane”), Ashley Briston ("Titanic"), Tim Juhl (Out Of The Blue Productions), Art Woodford ("Tashmoo") and more.

Videographer/glass worker Ed Spicuzza will also be on hand and, as a special treat, Great Lakes singer-songwriter Dan Hall will be playing his guitar selling his maritime CDs and book.

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.


Lookback # 5 – Frontenac wrecked on Nov. 22, 1979

11/22 - The second Frontenac to sail in the Cleveland-Cliffs fleet was wrecked while inbound at Silver Bay 34 years ago today. The 603-foot, 9-inch long bulk carrier was due to pick up a cargo of iron ore when the accident occurred.

The 56-year-old freighter struck Pellet Shoal resulting in major damage to the hull. There was also a fear of pollution and experts were brought in to drain off most of the Bunker C fuel oil.

Frontenac was refloated on Nov. 24 but was heavily damaged. It sailed to Superior on its own power but an examination determined that the ship was not worth the cost of repair and best suited for scrap.

Pilothouse equipment was carefully removed and taken to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy at Traverse City, Mich. The pilothouse itself was delivered by barge to Two Harbors and donated to the Lake County Historical Society, while the bow thruster was removed for installation in the Irvin L. Clymer.

Frontenac remained idle at Superior until it was dismantled there in 1985.

Skip Gillham


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

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.

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 - 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."

1878: The wooden passenger and freight steamer WAUBUNO was lost with all hands, 14 crew and 10 passengers, on Georgian Bay.

1898: ARTHUR ORR went aground on Isle Royale when the steering gear failed in a severe storm. It was later released and survived until scrapping at Hamilton in 1947-1948.

1898: S.S. CURRY was leaking badly after it struck a reef off Duck Island, Lake Huron.

1906: J.H. JONES, en route from Owen Sound to Lions Head, was lost with all hands. The wooden passenger and freight steamer went down in 60 mph winds.

1907: Fire broke out aboard the wooden freighter LIZZIE MADDEN shortly after clearing Bay City for Little Current. The crew was rescued by the LANGELL BOYS. The burning hull drifted ashore on Little Charity Island in Saginaw Bay and was a total loss.

1911: JOLIET sank in the St. Clair River following a collision with the HENRY PHIPPS. It had been anchored due to fog when hit and all on board were saved. The remains were dynamited as a hazard to navigation.

1919: The wooden steamer MYRON sank off Crisp Point, Lake Superior and 17 crew were lost.

1950: The former Canada Steamship Lines canaller MAPLETON was destroyed at the Port of Suez, Egypt as b) EASTERN MED when a fire broke out while loading oil drums. The remains of the ship were scrapped.

1975: PIERSON DAUGHTERS hit bottom off North Colban Island in the St. Lawrence and had to go to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs after unloading the cargo of iron ore at Conneaut.

1988: The Dutch flag freighter POOLSTER first came through the Seaway in 1969. It suffered an engineroom fire off Kuwait as e) ATLANTIC REEFER while bound for Dubai on this date. The badly damaged ship was towed to Sharjah and then sold for scrap. It was renamed f) VOYAGER I for the trip to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, and the vessel arrived April 4, 1989, for dismantling.

1998: SPAR OPAL went aground inside the breakwall at Port Colborne due to high winds and was released by the tugs UNDAUNTED and WELLAND. The ship had also been a Seaway trader beginning in 1984 as a) LAKE SHIDAKA, in 1991 as b) CONSENSUS ATLANTIC, and in 1992 as c) FEDERAL MATANE (i). It began Great Lakes service as e) SPAR OPAL in 1997.

2000: PRINSES IRENE of the Oranje Lijn made 16 trips into the Great Lakes, with passengers and freight, from 1959 through 1963. The vessel was observed beached at Jakarta, Indonesia, as c) TANJUNG OSINA on this date and appeared to be badly rusted and burned out. The hull was later reported to have been broken up.

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


Quebecois tow update

11/21 - About 3 p.m. Wednesday, the tug Molly M 1 pulled the Algoma Quebecois out of Lock 2 of the Welland Canal. The tow was expected pass the moored Spruceglen, and move up to the wall below Lock 3. The CSL Niagara would then be released from lock and pass the dead ship tow. However the Algoma Quebecois seemed to not be ready to go to scrap, and was trying to drift to the west side of the channel. Then the Homer Street Bridge malfunctioned and the tow was allowed to rest on the west bank until the bridge was fixed. The tow stayed there until CSL Niagara was released from the lock and passed the tow. This gave the tow a straight shot at Lock 3. The tugs Lac Manitoba and Seahound were on the stern of the tow. At 11:30 p.m., the tow was between Allanburg and Port Robinson.

Ron Walsh


Port Reports -  November 21

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River on Wednesday, carrying a split cargo for the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City and the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. They pair was expected to be back outbound late in the evening or early Thursday morning.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and Barge Pathfinder arrived at the Lafarge quarry stone dock late Wednesday night. Loading was expected to continue until at least noon Thursday.


Great Lakes levels recover from record lows after wet year

11/21 - Detroit, Mich. – A snowy winter and wet spring and summer led to an almost unprecedented recovery of Great Lakes levels this year, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said Wednesday.

But because they were at or near record lows, several of the lakes continue to have below-average water levels even after the recovery.

“That’s going to continue to affect Great Lakes shipping, shoreline property owners, marina owners and the recreational boater,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, watershed hydrology branch chief of the Army Corps’ Detroit district.

Dan Mishler noticed the difference this year. Mishler is president of the Lake Charlevoix Association for shoreline owners and other enthusiasts of the northern Michigan Lake connected to Lake Michigan.

“The water dropped dramatically about this time a year ago, and it stayed down throughout the winter,” he said. “It did not do that this year.”

Several marinas had to dredge, and many were forced to install much longer docks to use their boats, Mishler said. The dredging in particular concerns him.

“Michigan doesn’t have a really clean past,” he said. “The three cities on Lake Charlevoix (Boyne City, Charlevoix and East Jordan) all have industrial pasts, and when they dredge, I worry about what they are stirring up.”

The walleye and perch fishing on Lake St. Clair and western Lake Erie late last year was “absolutely excellent,” said charter fisherman Bruce Curtis, who represents that region for the Michigan Charter Boat Association.

But lower water levels meant “some marinas suffered,” he said. Those that didn’t dredge soon enough or deep enough lost bigger boats to other, deeper-channel marinas that could better accommodate them, he said.

Great Lakes levels typically get whatever rise they will have in a normal year during snowmelt and spring rains, a period from late winter to early summer. Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are connected at the Straits of Mackinac, had a nearly 20-inch rise from late February to early June in 2013, compared with just a 4-inch seasonal rise the year before, Kompoltowicz said. The average seasonal rise from late winter to early summer is closer to a foot, he said.

“Going back to 1918, the seasonal rises on Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan and Huron were in the top percentages of seasonal rises ever recorded” this year, Kompoltowicz said.

The better-but-not-normal lake level theme played out across the Great Lakes basin:

■ Lakes Michigan and Huron remain 17 inches below their long-term average as of the end of October but are up 11 inches from this time a year ago.

■ Lake Superior is 2 inches below its long-term average but up 13 inches from its levels of a year ago.

■ Lake St. Clair is 6 inches below its long-term average but up nearly 10 inches from a year ago.

■ Lake Erie is near its long-term average and up nearly 10 inches from this time last year.

■ Lake Ontario is also near average and up about a foot from the previous year.

Precipitation levels are only part of the equation, said Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. How much evaporation occurs in the summer is also key to lake levels, he said.

“Right now, we are in a period, since an El Niño period in the late 1990s, of exceptionally high evaporation,” he said. El Niño refers to a pattern of extended warming of the Pacific Ocean that leads to climate changes across the globe.

The forecast over the next six months calls for Lake Superior to remain 2 to 3 inches below its long-term average, but a foot or more above its levels of a year ago.

“With a wet winter, mean monthly Lake Superior water levels could rise above their long-term average, which would be the first time in 14 years that has occurred,” Kompoltowicz said.

The six-month forecast calls for water levels about a foot above those of a year ago on Lakes Michigan and Huron.

“Even with very dry conditions, we don’t see any further threat for record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron,” Kompoltowicz said.

Lake Erie is expected to remain near its long-term average and 4 to 5 inches above its levels of last year, he said. Lake Ontario is projected at about 10 inches above its levels of the previous year over the next six months.

Kompoltowicz noted the difficulty in even short-term projections of lake depths.

“At the end of 2012, we were projecting several months in a row of record-low water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron,” he said. “That ended with only a two-month stretch, and Lakes Michigan and Huron then rose very quickly.

“Something could change to make these forecasts complete busts.”

Detroit Free Press


Steel production dips by 5,000 tons in Great Lakes states

11/21 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region dipped slightly to 668,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production slipped by about 5,000 tons, or about 0.7 percent, from the week prior. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area. Production in the Southern District was estimated at 655,000 tons, up from 615,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.86 million tons, which was up from 1.83 the week prior.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.5 percent last week, up from 76.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 70.1 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 75.5 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 85 million tons of steel this year, down 1.8 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 86.6 million tons of steel by Nov. 16, 2012.

In September, U.S. steel mill shipped 7.8 million net tons, a 5.6 percent decrease from a month earlier but an 8.9 percent increase from the same period last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Year-to-date shipments over the first nine months were down 2.4 percent. Shipments of hot-dipped galvanized products, hot-rolled sheet and cold-rolled sheet all declined last month.

Northwest Indiana Times


Lookback # 4: Bannockburn went missing on November 21, 1902

11/21 - The Bannockburn, the legendary “Flying Dutchman” of Lake Superior, disappeared with all hands 111 years ago today. The ship had loaded 85,000 bushels of grain at Port Arthur destined for Midland but was lost without a trace.

The nine-year old steamer had been built at Middlesborough, England, and crossed the Atlantic to join the Montreal Transportation Co. in 1893. While a good carrier for the canal grain trades, Bannockburn had its share of misfortune with groundings in 1897, 1900 and 1901.

No one knows what caused the ship to disappear. Some speculated there was a boiler explosion, others that it hit bottom and sank in rough seas, and some pondered that the machinery went through the bottom of the hull.

Reports circulated that the 245-foot-long vessel was aground on or near Michipicoten Island but this only raised unfounded hope for relatives of the missing sailors.

Folklore suggested that the ship has been spotted riding the waves of Lake Superior on dark and stormy nights but apparently all that has even been found was an oar that washed up on the Michigan side of the lake.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  November 21

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.

1883: The boiler exploded aboard the salvage tug ERIE BELLE while working to free the schooner J.N. CARTER in the Kincardine area of Lake Huron. The former was wrecked but the boiler is still on what has become known as “Old Boiler Beach”.

1902: BANNOCKBURN disappeared on Lake Superior without a trace. Its final resting place has never been found.

1906: The wooden steamer RESOLUTE anchored off the Eastern Gap at Toronto to ride out a storm but the wind switched battering the vessel until it sank. The hull was salvaged in October 1907 and rebuilt as the JOHN ROLPH.

1936: HIBOU was lost in Owen Sound Bay within two miles of the dock and seven perished. The hull was refloated in 1942.

1941: HENRY C. DARYAW, requisitioned for war and on its delivery voyage stranded on rocks in the Brockville Narrows, rolled over and slid off into deep water and sank. It was to have been used on the east coast as a tender for ocean ships. One life was lost.

1957: MONTFAUCON was built at Wyandotte, MI in 1920 and later operated on the Great Lakes as b) E.M. BUNCE. It was at Naples, Italy, as g) ANNA MARIA IEVOLI when an internal explosion caused damage that led to the ship being scrapped.

1959: MOSES GAY was built at Duluth in 1943. It was severely damaged as e) HEANGURA in a storm at Ostra Kvarken, Sweden, and went aground. While salvaged, the ship was tied up at Turku, Finland, and sold for scrap in January 1960.

1961: The British freighter RAPALLO was anchored at Istanbul, Turkey, when struck and damaged by two different freighters, both out of control due to high winds. The vessel was repaired and began Seaway trading in 1963 for the Ellerman Wilson Line.

1961: The former Paterson canaller GANANDOC left the Great Lakes as b) SUGARLAND in October 1961. It had a brief career in the south and went aground at Arcas Reef, Bay of Campeche, while inbound for Coatzacoalcos, Mexico with 2,877 tons of phosphoric rock from Tampa. The ship was abandoned on November 26 as a total loss.

1962: BRO, a Norwegian pre-Seaway visitor as early as 1953, was abandoned by the crew after taking a severe list en route from Seville, Spain, to Rotterdam, Netherlands. The ship was taken in tow, reached Lisbon, Portugal, and was repaired.

1982: CAPTAIN PANAGOS D.P. went aground at Farasan Island in the Red Sea en route from Trois Rivieres, QC to Bandar Abbas, Iran. Fire broke out in the engine room and the ship was gutted. The hull was refloated and was noted lying off Qatar “derelict” in December 1986 and finally scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as c) JENNY in 1988. The vessel first came through the Seaway as PANAGOS D. PATERAS in 1977 and returned as CAPTAIN PANAGOS D.P. in 1980.

1994: The Russian freighter FASTOV, upbound for Green Bay with pulpwood on its first trip to the Great Lakes, lost power and struck the Shell dock at Corunna, ON, resulting in considerable damage to the structure. The vessel returned inland as d) EVANGELOS in 1999 and was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, as f) JONA in 2011.

2007: The engine aboard the Lake Erie passenger ship JIIMAAN became disabled after the vessel snagged a fish net off Kingsville and the vessel grounded briefly.

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


Algoma Quebecois heads for Port Colborne and scrap

11/20 - The scrap yard bound Algoma Quebecois left Toronto around 2 p.m. Tuesday bound for the Marine Recycling Corp. dock at Port Colborne, Ont. The tug Seahound was on the stern and the tug Lac Manitoba was on the bow. The weather was good, with sunny skies and a helpful northerly tailwind. Somewhere in the Welland Canal the tow will pass the downbound Algoma Montrealais, the Algoma Quebecois’ sister ship and now the last operating Canadian-flag steamer.

Charlie Gibbons and Jens Juhl


Port Reports -  November 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After several days of inactivity due to weather, Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived and loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Tuesday.

Tuesday the backlog of storm-delayed ships transiting Soo Locks was growing longer as night approached. The locks were busy most of the day, but later vessels started to double up until there was no pier room left and waiting times to lock through were three-four hours.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Late Tuesday morning the American Century arrived at the front range of the Saginaw River. She called on the Consumers Energy Dock in Essexville, unloading her cargo of coal through the day. The American Century was expected to back from the dock, turn at Light 12 and be outbound for the lake, late Tuesday evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson came into Lorain Tuesday around 06:30 and was unloading by the Henderson Bridge. After she was done there, she dropped another load around the railroad bridge near the concrete plant. She cleared the Charles Berry Bridge shortly before 4 p.m. and headed out into Lake Erie.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula were loading Tuesday at the NS coal dock night. Meantime, CSL Niagara - freed from her out-of-channel escapade of Sunday which ended overnight Monday when the water level of Lake Erie returned to normal - is due to arrive in Hamilton at mid-day Wednesday. The self-unloader was off Westfield, New York Tuesday night.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and Jens Juhl
Mariposa Belle has been sold by Mariposa Cruise Lines to Niagara Whirlpool Jet Boat, to begin lower Niagara River Cruises next season. Galcon Construction is busy with their new pusher tug David G., named for David Gallaghree, deceased son of Galcon's owner. As well, Capt. Doug Prothero has added the twin-masted schooner Mist Of Avalon to his Toronto fleet. The vessel arrived in Toronto a few weeks ago and is rafted to Doug's larger schooner Caledonia. The handysize bulker Mottler arrived at Redpath Monday evening and is discharging Costa Rican sugar out of the forward holds.


Man dies after being run over by forklift at Detroit Marine Terminal

11/20 - Detroit, Mich. – A 62-year-old man was killed Tuesday at the Port of Detroit Marine Terminal after a co-worker accidentally struck him with a forklift, police said.

Rescuers were called to the scene near Jefferson and Scotten at 8:50 a.m. after the forklift ran the man over, Detroit Police Officer Adam Madera said. He was guiding the driver of the forklift, who apparently lost sight of him. Madera said the investigation is being handled as an accident.

Known as the Nicholson Terminal and Dock, the marine cargo handling facility employs about 50 people, said Rhonda Burke, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Department of Labor, which oversees the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that regulates workplace conditions.

OSHA has visited the facility 28 times over the past 40 years, records show. The most recent was in May 2009, but no citations were issued. OSHA investigated a 2004 fatality and issued eight citations.

The Detroit News


Lookback No. 3 – Roy A. Jodrey stranded Nov. 20, 1974

11/20 - Roy A. Jodrey, a self-unloader in the Algoma Central fleet, was up bound from Sept Iles, Quebec, and en route to Detroit with a cargo of iron ore, when it stranded on Pullman Shoal, off Wellesley Island, in the St. Lawrence 39 years ago today.

The nine-year old freighter stayed aground long enough for all on board to get away safely. Then, in the early hours of November 21, the ship slipped back off its perch and disappeared into deep water. Any hope for salvage was determined to be too difficult due to the location, the current and the damage.

Roy A. Jodrey was built as Hull 186 at Collingwood, and had been launched on September 9, 1965. The 640 foot, 6 inch long, diesel-powered vessel entered service on November 11, 1965, bound for Calcite, Mich., to take on a cargo of stone for Sault Ste. Marie.

The ship handled a variety of stone, coal and iron ore for Algoma's customers in its brief career.

Skip Gillham


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.

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 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.

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

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

On 20 November 1880, BAY CITY (wooden barge, 199 foot, 480 tons, built in 1852, at Trenton, Michigan as the sidewheeler FOREST CITY) was carrying coal when she was cast adrift east of Erie, Pennsylvania by the steamer JAMES P. DONALDSON in a storm. She was driven ashore and wrecked. Her crew was saved by the U.S. Lifesaving Service using breeches' buoy. November 20, 1898. ANN ARBOR #3 left Cleveland, Ohio for Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

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

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

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

On Saturday morning, 20 Nov. 1999, Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wisconsin, launched the 175-foot Coast Guard Cutter HENRY BLAKE. The BLAKE was one of the "Keeper" Class Coastal Class Buoy Tenders. Each ship in the "Keeper" class is named after a famous American lighthouse keeper. 1917: JOHAN MJELDE, built at Cleveland in 1916, was sailing as b) STORO when captured by the German submarine U-151 near the Azores and, after 22 tons of copper were removed, the ship was scuttled on November 26.

1920: J.H. SHEADLE ran aground on the rocks at Marquette when the steering failed while backing from the dock. The ship was badly damaged. It last sailed in 1979 as e) PIERSON INDEPENDENT.

1943: The former LAKE FINNEY, later a Pre-Seaway trader in the 1930s as SANTA EULALIA, was torpedoed and sunk by British forces as the enemy ship c) POLCEVERA off Carlovassi, Italy.

1966: The Liberty ship MOUNT EVANS made two trips through the Seaway in 1961. It stranded off Mapingil, Philippines as h) EASTERN ARGO on this date in 1966. The hull was refloated with damage and then towed to Taiwan for scrapping in 1967.

1990: GINA, a Lebanese freighter, began leaking at Varna, Bulgaria. The ship was later taken to Piraeus, Greece, and laid up. The superstructure was removed and installed on a fire damaged vessel while the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1991 and dismantled. GINA had been a Great Lakes trader as a) MARCOSSA-I in 1972

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


CSL Niagara Refloated

11/19 - Sandusky, Ohio10 a.m. update - The grounded CSL Niagara was freed from the muddy bottom at Sandusky overnight and resumed her voyage to Hamilton, Ont. The freeing of the 739-foot self-unloader came as gale force westerly winds over Lake Erie eased and water the storm had pushed toward Buffalo returned to the Western Basin. The higher water level combined with the assist of the tug Ohio ended the two day saga, officials said.

Her refloating ended planning by the vessels owners, Great Lakes Towing Co. and the Coast Guard for the partial removal of cargo from the Niagara. The plan was never implemented, although Great Lakes Towing had organized a flotilla that had expected to leave its Cleveland yard Tuesday morning.

Freeing of the Niagara allowed the Herbert C. Jackson to sail from the NorfolkSouthern coal dock for Detroit. Both vessels had loaded Saturday night and Sunday, but the blocking of the channel to Lake Erie had prevented the Jackson's departure.

A spokesman for the Coast Guard Marine Safety office in Toledo said Tuesday that an inspection of the Niagara would occur in Hamilton, following discharge of her 30,000 metric ton cargo of coal. The return of normal Lake Erie water levels across the western half of Lake Erie also cleared the way for vessels which had remained anchored to resume their trips.

Original Report: The self-unloader CSL Niagara remained aground at Sandusky Monday night, and the Coast Guard said a plan to lighter at least part of the 30,000 metric ton cargo of coal was being formulated.

The tug Ohio continued its work to free the 739-foot freighter, but the day-long effort had not produced any results, officials said.

Niagara's owners, Canada Steamship Lines, hired three tugs to work on the project, the Toledo-based Coast Guard Marine Safety office said. As a self-unloader, Niagara will be able to utilize her own gear to put all or part of the cargo onto another vessel.

Great Lakes Towing Co. was expected to handle most of the effort; the company was reportedly preparing equipment at its Cleveland yard Monday night.

Niagara went aground Sunday morning when she veered out of the 27-foot deep dredged channel and struck the two to five-foot sidewall.

Meantime, low water levels on Lake Erie forced freighters, which went to anchor Sunday, to remain where they were Monday. Gale force westerly winds shoved water from the Western basin toward Buffalo and weathermen said only diminishing winds will alter the low water issue. The wind speed is predicted to begin dropping Tuesday, forecasters said.

Jim Spencer


Port Reports -  November 19

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula unloaded coal at Lafarge on Friday. Over the weekend, the Alpena and Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation loaded cement at Lafarge. Gale and storm warnings for Lake Huron had three vessels anchored out in the bay on Monday. Fleetmates American Mariner and American Spirit were on the hook as well as Robert S. Pierson.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Stormy weather has delayed Algoma Quebecois’ last voyage to the boneyard at Port Colborne, Ont. This past Saturday workers were removing items from the engine room using the side door and a deck hoisting crane. Intermittent overboard discharge indicated that the last of the ballast water was being pumped out. The vessel is now in light draft with the bowthruster tunnel completely above the water up forward and the top half of the prop exposed aft.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
The strongest wind gusts at Kingston airport were 51 mph Monday morning. Maria Desgagnes was anchored in Prince Edward Bay and the Cedarglen was anchored near Carelton Island due to weather.


For Lake Superior wreck hunters, discovery of historic tugboat was serendipity

11/19 - Duluth, Minn. – A pair of Lake Superior shipwreck hunters got slightly lost earlier this year while out on the water. But, oh, what they found.

David Shepherd and Rob Valley, who live in Thunder Bay, Ont., say they made an unplanned discovery of a sunken vessel that all evidence suggests is a tugboat called the Mary Ann, scuttled more than 75 years ago. It’s a boat perhaps somewhat unremarkable if not for the fact that in 1867 it became the first vessel registered in the then-new Dominion of Canada.

“It took our breath away,” Shepherd said of the realization of what they found. “It was overwhelming, the significance of it. It’s not just a scuttled boat. It’s the first ship (registered) in Canada that wasn’t a naval vessel.”

And it was a discovery that wouldn’t have happened if not for a slight mistake. Shepherd and Valley went out on Lake Superior in early July to calibrate their sonar gear on a known wreck near the Welcome Islands, about five miles offshore from the city of Thunder Bay. They thought they’d be testing their gear on a wreck called the Grey Oak.

“We wanted to see what a certain-sized ship looked like on our equipment,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd and Valley didn’t know it at the time, but they were off on some of the landmarks used to locate the Grey Oak. They started up their sonar and quickly located a sunken vessel. Only it was not the Grey Oak.

That realization came a few weeks later when the duo decided to return to the ship, which was supposed to rest at a depth of 90-110 feet; they hadn’t checked the depth on sonar on that initial visit. After entering the water, Shepherd recalled, “within 55 feet, (I) see a shipwreck. … That’s when the alarm bells went off, that this isn’t supposed to be here. That’s when we realized we’ve got a brand-new shipwreck.”

“When (Shepherd) came back up, it was like he’d seen a ghost,” Valley said. “He said, ‘This is not the ship. We’ve found a new one.’ ”

Parts of the main cabin and bridge were gone, but there were cabins and artifacts at the vessel’s stern ¬ bunks, cabinets, cans and bottles, some wood debris. The ship rests in between 55 and 70 feet of water.

With video footage and notes in hand, Shepherd and Valley started researching the sunken ship. They consulted with local diving and wreck experts including Ryan LeBlanc of Thunder Bay. They made return visits to the ship to collect more video and measurements.

What they found ¬ the ship’s size, construction materials, the lines of its bow and keel, the configuration of the scuppers used to clear water from the deck ¬ all matches up with the Mary Ann.

“The evidence is all pointing to it being the Mary Ann,” Shepherd said. “Looking at all the available information, it matches.”

The 78-foot tug’s full name is Mary Ann of Dunnville, ¬Dunnville being a community in southern Ontario near Lake Erie, where the tug was built. According to the 1997 book “The Welland Canals and Their Communities” by John N. Jackson, the Mary Ann’s first owner was a successful businessman named Lachlan McCallum, and it was the first ship registered in Canada after the nation was formed in 1867.

McCallum was a senator in Ontario, and a history of the ship printed in the Port Arthur (Ontario) News-Chronicle in 1944 reported that Mary Ann was the name of one of his daughters. Port Arthur later combined with Fort William to form the present-day city of Thunder Bay, often referred to as the Lakehead.

“It was at the Lakehead … where the Mary Ann spent most of her long life” after being acquired by new owners and brought to Port Arthur in the early 1880s, the 1944 article reported. The tug also served as an excursion boat, with an awning over the afterdeck and with a brass band aboard on at least one occasion.

“It is on record also that the Mary Ann was chartered to carry fish from Port Arthur to Duluth after the regular closing of the navigation season,” the 1944 article reported.

The Mary Ann later was converted to a barge, Valley and Shepherd found in their research. After a few more years of service, it was abandoned and allowed to sink at a dock.

It was long thought that the Mary Ann was one of nearly three dozen derelict vessels hauled away from docks in 1936 and scuttled in hundreds of feet of water far out in Thunder Bay, in what became known as the “Graveyard of Ships.” But the recent discovery puts the Mary Ann about 10 miles away from the “graveyard.”

“That the biggest mystery,” Shepherd said. “Obviously they dropped a ship far away from where it was supposed to be.”

Shepherd and Valley want to help ensure the Mary Ann and its artifacts are protected by forming a local chapter of the Ontario Underwater Council, a group that aims to promote scuba diving and protect underwater resources. “There are some artifacts on it that we’d like to see stay there,” Valley said.

The pair also want to return to the Mary Ann next season to keep surveying the wreck and better document what’s there. “We’re looking at the video and drawing up plans,” Shepherd said.

And there are other wrecks they’re searching for in Thunder Bay and along Ontario’s rocky north shore of Lake Superior. This winter, though, they’ll be reflecting on their luck in finding a humble tug with a unique place in history.

“To find (a wreck) is a feat in itself. To screw up and find another one is incredible,” Shepherd said. “I went out and bought a lottery ticket.”

Duluth News Tribune


Lookback: Nordmeer stranded Nov. 19, 1966

11/19 - It was 47 years ago today that the West German freighter NORDMEER, caught by high winds and snow, strayed out of the shipping lane and stranded on Thunder Bay Shoals, 12 miles east of Alpena, MI.

The 470-foot, 8-inch long vessel was loaded with steel coils for Chicago when the voyage came to an abrupt end. There were 43 sailors on board the 12-year old general cargo carrier, and all were rescued. The last eight were removed by a USCG helicopter as the SAMUEL MATHER stood by.

The ship settled in 22 feet of water and the remains are still there. Salvage proved to be impossible although the cargo was removed and purchased from the underwriters. The fuel was also safely removed although there was a minor spill before this could be accomplished.

The final resting place of NORDMEER has been visited over the years and there have been arson fires from time to time. Ice has shifted the hull and, after close to half a century, its condition has deteriorated until there is little left above the surface.

The 8,683 gross ton freighter was built at Flensburg, West Germany, and launched on July 10, 1954. NORDMEER was on its first trip to the Great Lakes when it landed on the shoal.

Skip Gillham


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 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. 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.

1904: PHILIP MINCH caught fire 8 miles off Marblehead, Ohio, and sank in the navigation channel. All on board got off safely and rowed to Sandusky in the lifeboat. The remains were dynamited in 1906.

1914: C.F. CURTIS foundered in Lake Superior, 7 miles east of Grand Marais, with the loss of 14 lives. The towing barges ANNIE PETERSON and SHELDON E. MARVIN also went down after the trio ran into high winds and snow.

1956: The year old West German freighter WOLFGANG RUSS was beached in the St. Lawrence near Ile d'Orleans after a collision with the Cunard Line vessel ASIA. The former was inbound for Sorel and had to lightered and taken to Lauzon for repairs to the large hole in the side of the hull. The vessel began Great Lakes visits with the opening of the Seaway in 1959 and made 28 inland trips to the end of 1967. It arrived off Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping as b) KOTRONAS BEACH on Feb. 4, 1980.

1977: The Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader FRONTENAC grounded off Grassy Island in the St. Lawrence and about 5,000 tons of ore had to be lightered to the SAGUENAY to float free.

1979: The Liberian freighter DANILA was damaged when it struck the west pier while inbound at Port Weller in fog. The vessel first visited the Seaway as a) MAERSK CAPTAIN in 1976 and was back as b) DANILA in 1979. The ship was scrapped at Alang, India, as d) JAY BHAVANI in 1991-1992.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.



CSL Niagara grounds off Sandusky

11/18 - 11 a.m. update - The CSL Niagara remains aground off Sandusky Monday morning and it is not clear whether the use of additional tugs, or diminishing winds would be the foundation of plans to re-float the Niagara. The Great Lakes Towing Co. tug Ohio arrived alongside the stranded vessel late Sunday, but was not able to pull the freighter back into the channel. Niagara was laying less than a mile from the Lake Erie end of the channel and was said by the Coast Guard to be blocking about one-quarter of the 27-foot deep channel. Hampering the re-floating of Niagara was the continuing gale, which had pushed water from the western basin of the lake toward Buffalo. The water level of Western Lake Erie dropped to 25-inches below low water datum early Monday morning. At the same time, the water level at Buffalo was reported to be 80-inches above low water datum.

The Hamilton bound vessel veered out of the channel while leaving Sandusky Sunday morning. Attempts during the day by the Niagara to free herself proved futile.

Original Report - The CSL Niagara remained aground Sunday night in the dredged channel leading into Sandusky Bay. According to the U. S. Coast Guard, the Hamilton bound vessel went out of the channel while leaving the port Sunday morning.

At midnight Sunday, the Great Lakes Towing Co. tug Ohio had a line aboard the Niagara and the effort to return the 37,000 freighter to the channel was continuing. The Ohio arrived from Cleveland at about the same time that a severe thunderstorm accompanied by heavy gusts of wind in to 50 mile per hour range hit the area.

Niagara loaded coal overnight Saturday at the NorfolkSouthern dock and had nearly managed to reach the outer end of the dredged channel when for reasons not yet clear, she veered to port and drove her bow into the western side of the channel.

The Mosley channel carries a chart depth of 27-feet. Outside the channel, the depth shrinks to 20-24-feet.

Only one freighter is believed to have been delayed by the Niagara careening into the shoal. The Herbert C. Jackson had spend Sunday loading at the NS coal dock and was to sail for Detroit, but the growing gale force westerly winds have largely stalled all maritime traffic on western Lake Erie by pushing much of the water toward Buffalo.

Jim Spencer


High winds slow Great Lakes shipping

11/18 - Stormy fall weather prompted severe weather warnings for the Great Lakes, sending many vessels to shelter. The National Weather Service was warning of possible Lake Michigan waves greater than 12 feet Sunday evening as a storm system that sparked an outbreak of tornados moved eastward through Michigan. Waves on Lake Superior could reach as high as 22 feet.

On Lake Michigan, Manitowoc was on the hook off Milwaukee, while Kaye E. Barker and Cason J. Callaway were on the hook at the southern end of the lake. Wilfred Sykes and Lee A. Tregurtha waited out the weather docked at Indiana Harbor. Hon. James L. Oberstar and Capt. Henry Jackman were anchored in the lee of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Stewart J. Cort, USCG Mackinaw and Samuel de Champlain sheltered north of St. Ignace. Michipicoten and the tug Anglian Lady and her barge were anchored north of DeTour. Victory and her barge, American Century and Defiance with her barge were at the southern end of Lake Huron.

Other vessels were hugging the north shore of Lake Superior behind Isle Royale. On Lake Erie, the Edwin H. Gott was anchored in the lee of Kelleys Island as the wind began to swing further into the west. East of Colchester Reef, the saltie Federal Seto was anchored, as were the Algosteel and Spruceglen. The saltie Three Rivers as well as the lakers Roger Blough, Kaministiqua and the tug-barge Joseph H. Thompson were in the lee of the land east of Sandusky.


Quebec funds efforts by RER Hydro, Boeing to build river turbine farm

11/18 - Becancor, Q.C. – The Quebec government is helping to bankroll a $130-million project by RER Hydro, Hydro-Quebec and Boeing to generate clean energy on the St. Lawrence River in what officials say would be the world’s largest river-generated turbine farm.

The three-phase project could eventually culminate in nine megawatts of renewable power being generated in Montreal from 46 riverbed turbines, with installation beginning in 2016.

The province could contribute up to a maximum of $85 million in equity and loans. That’s on top of the $3 million it has already provided RER Hydro Inc. for its initial $230-million prototype testing phase that lasted three years.

Quebec, which is a leader in production of hydroelectricity, hopes that the technology will take off and support the manufacture of about 500 turbines annually and some 600 direct and indirect jobs at RER Hydro’s plant in Becancour, near Trois-Rivieres.

Premier Pauline Marois said at the plant’s official opening on Monday that the government is actively helping new industries that hold promise for the Quebec economy, such as its strategy to support the electrification of transportation.

“Our participation in this partnership agreement will promote the development of the industrial sector of turbines, which has great economic potential for Quebec, particularly because of the significant export opportunities,” Marois said, while also stressing the job creation potential of the project.

The technology has global market potential and could supply electricity to isolated communities in Northern Quebec not currently connected to the provincial power grid.

The second phase of the project, estimated to cost $51.5 million, would install and test six turbines generating three-quarters of a megawatt of power near the Pont de la Concorde bridge near the Montreal Casino on Ste Helen’s Island. About 25 jobs would be created in Becancour and Montreal. It would mark the first commercial sale of RER Hydro’s technology.

If results are successful, about $81 million would be spent to install a demonstration fleet of 40 turbines beginning in 2016. That would create 90 direct jobs and 80 indirect jobs from various suppliers.

Unlike dams, the “hydrokinetic” turbines generate clean power without disrupting the river flow or the natural habitat of fish or other marine life, said RER Hydro CEO Imad Hamad. “This new industry will help to further transform Quebec’s natural resources for the benefit of Quebecers,” Hamad said.

The Canadian Press


Great Lakes Shipyard commissions new cutting machine

11/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has announced the installation of a new state-of-the-art plasma cutting machine, the Plate Pro Extreme 3100.

The addition of this cutting table expands the range of services available to its customers and greatly improves the efficiency of Great Lakes Shipyard operations, while also enhancing the quality and precision of the work being produced. Bringing this capability in-house allows the shipyard to make more of its own parts without relying on outside vendors or subcontractors.

An American-made product of Koike Aronson Inc./Ransome, the plasma burn table is an automated dual side drive, plasma cutting machine that utilizes the latest technologies to provide speed, accuracy, versatility, and durability in thermal cutting. The machine has the capability to burn plate up to 6-inches thick with a table capacity for plates of up to 10-feet wide by 20-feet long.

Welders, engineers, and management personnel received operational and safety training on the Plate Pro Extreme 3100, and the new cutting machine is now in service and available to provide support to the Shipyard and its customers.


Group to share plan for weather buoy in Lake Erie

11/18 - Erie, Pa. - A buoy to be deployed in Lake Erie off the Pennsylvania shore will help inform and protect people who play and work here. "It will be important for boaters, anglers," said Jeanette Schnars, Regional Science Consortium executive director. "We even have interest from people who collect beach glass."

The consortium received a $100,000 grant from the Great Lakes Observing Systems to purchase the buoy and deploy it in spring 2014. Schnars said it will be the only weather buoy in the Pennsylvania waters of Lake Erie.

Schnars said there are no weather buoys on Lake Erie between those at Sandusky, Ohio, and Buffalo. That absence of data can pose a threat to boaters and others because conditions here can vary from what is reported by the National Weather Service in Cleveland and Buffalo.

In her grant application, Schnars wrote that "by providing the necessary data required for accurate forecasts for this region," the buoy could help reduce "the loss of life and negative impacts caused by coastal storms."

The new buoy will mean that conditions for the lake waters in the Erie area will no longer have to be predicted based on readings from Ohio or New York, Schnars said.

The buoy, which will rise about 5 feet out of the water, will be located 5 nautical miles offshore in 45 feet of water each year between mid-May and Nov. 1, Schnars said. She said the buoy will be removed in winter because it could be damaged by ice.

A video camera on the buoy will take visual images of the lake. Every 20 minutes, the system will collect meteorological data including wave height and period, wind speed and direction, water temperature, and air temperature and pressure.

"It will feed directly into the National Weather Service," Schnars said.

She said the information can be used for weather forecasts and warnings. It also will be available to the public on the website of the consortium.

Schnars said out-of-town boaters and beachgoers will be able to check lake conditions before making the drive to Erie. She said the information also will benefit locals who use the lake and beaches for recreation and people who make a living on the water, such as charter boat captains.

Groups that support the buoy include the Pennsylvania Lake Erie Charter Captain Association and the S.O.N.S. of Lake Erie fishing club, Schnars said.

Erie Times News


St. Marys Challenger 's last trip

Photographer / author Chris Winters was aboard the St. Marys Challenger on her last trip last week from Chicago to Sturgeon Bay, Wis., where the 107-year-old cement carrier will be converted to a barge. He has shared some of his images at the link below. If they look like they should be in a book, that's not surprising. Winters is author of "Centennial: Steaming Though the American Century," written about the vessel.

Click here to view the special gallery


Updates -  November 18

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A terrible storm swept the Lakes in mid-November 1886. On 18-19 November of that year, The Port Huron Times listed the vessels that were known to have foundered in that storm. Here is the list as it appeared on 18 November 1886. "The barge CHARLES HINCKLEY is ashore near Alpena. The schooner P S MARCH is ashore at St. Ignace. She will probably go to pieces. The schooner THOMAS P. SHELDON is ashore about 10 miles north of Alpena. The crew 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.

1911: TURRET CAPE stranded near Cove Island, Lake Huron and was not released until 1912. It last sailed as c) WALTER INKSTER and was scrapped at Port Dalhousie in 1959.

1926: The passenger and freight carrier MONTREAL was built at Toronto in 1902. It caught fire and burned near St. Joseph de Sorel in the St. Lawrence River while operating late season in a freight only capacity. The superstructure was destroyed and the vessel was beached. Five deckhands, believed trapped in the bow area, died.

1958: CARL D. BRADLEY sank in Lake Michigan with the loss of 33 lives.

1970: SILLERY, a Canadian freighter that operated on the St. Lawrence, was heavily damaged aft due to an engineroom fire while enroute from Sept-Iles to Montreal. The ship was a total loss. The bow was later removed and transplanted to sistership CACOUNA which received collision damage on July 6, 1971. The latter was later lost on Lake Michigan as c) JENNIFER on December 1, 1974.

2006: JOHN G. MUNSON hit the Shell Fuel Dock at Corunna and knocked about 200 feet of the structure into the St. Clair River.

Data from: Skip Gilham, 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

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tanker Hellespont Charger was at VT Venture in Green Bay to off-load and then to reload, so she is expected to be in port for approximately four days.

South Lake Michigan - Matt M
On Friday evening, the Hon. James Oberstar and Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at Arcelor Mittal's Indiana Harbor facility. A short time later CSL's Spruceglen departed KCBX south with a load of petcoke. She passed the Federal Margaree and Erieborg both unloading at Iroquois Landing. After the Spruceglen departed, Lafarge's G.L. Ostrander/Integrity transited the river. Saturday morning, H. Lee White and Cason J. Callaway were loading at the two KCBX facilities on the Calumet River and the Kaye E. Barker waited on the hook for dock space at Indiana Harbor. Lee A. Tregurtha was reported to have lost power while departing Friday evening. She was towed back to Arcelor Mittal Dock 2.

Sandusky & Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Robert S. Pierson loaded Saturday at the Lafarge quarry dock in downtown Marblehead. She sailed for an unknown Canadian port. At Sandusky, Herbert C. Jackson and CSL Niagara swept into the bay during the late afternoon and were at the NS coal dock. The Niagara was loading for Hamilton and the Jackson was to follow under the loading chute. The Jackson is to sail for Detroit, according to her AIS.


Ex-fireboat new tug for Willy’s

11/17 - Willy's Contracting Co. Inc. of Southampton, Ont., registered the tug Howard W. Fitzpatrick in Sarnia on November 8. Formerly Fireboat Number One at Massport Logan airport in Boston, the boat was acquired during the summer. It was built in 1971 by the Grafton Boat Co of Grafton IL, with a 6,000 gpm pumping capacity. It is a twin-screw vessel of 700 bhp and has been measured at 103.52 gross tons. Its new Canadian official number is 837808.

Mac Mackay


St. Lawrence Seaway plans gateway incentive tool

11/17 - Toronto, Ont. – The 9th annual HWY H20 Conference launched November 13 in Toronto, featuring presentations from marine industry speakers over a two-day session aimed at examining cargo trends, business growth, and challenges to the marine sector, especially within the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway system.

In his opening remarks, Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said the Seaway is doing its part to increase shipping through the system.

“It’s crucial that our locks and structures operate around the clock. A lot of work has gone into keeping the system in order-$265 million was invested over the last five years with plans to increase our yearly investment to $400 million per year,” he said.

The US side is matching efforts with its own infrastructure plans and investment funds, resulting in 99 % plus availability within the Seaway system.

“Fleet renewal is also taking place-33 new vessels were recently put into operation by shippers in the system. In the Seaway itself, we’re looking to bring a lot more automation via remote mooring-each of our locks will be equipped with three automated, remote mooring units. Along with improved productivity, the removal of line handling creates a safer environment and enables access for more and more vessels,” said Bowles.

“With continued innovation we will be able to attract more cargo and to adapt to the changes we are seeing in the marketplace,” he added.

Bruce Hodgson, Director of Market Development, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, provided an overview of activity on the Seaway as of the end of October, 2013.

Canadian grain experienced a slow start with the harvest being some four weeks’ behind schedule and resulting in that cargo being 11 % below last year’s levels. US grain also did not experience a good year in 2012 because of drought, resulting in lower cargo levels this year.

While exports in iron ore have been good, these are not as high as last year, coming in at 12 % below last year’s levels.

“Liquid bulk continues to be our good news story-we’re 10 % ahead of the same period last year. We’re seeing a balancing of inventories between the refiners. We expect that activity to continue to the end of the year,” said Hodgson, adding the Seaway remains optimistic and looks forward to continuing operations into the end of December as needed.

In terms of new business incentives they continue and are being well received, added Hodgson.

“We are looking at other gateways and will be announcing a gateway incentive tool to entice cargo into the system,” he said.

New business generated $3.4 million dollars at the end October, 2013, and the Seaway expects to exceed its revenue objectives by the end of the year.

“Our new business incentives are giving us excellent results. We see crude oil as a potential moving forward but the biggest challenge we face right now is infrastructure within the Great Lakes,” he said.

Canadian Transportation and Logistics


Lookback: Fednav ship Caribbean Trader had Canadian connections

11/17 - In 2012, there were 36 different “Federal” ships that came through the Seaway. They were either owned or operated by Fednav of Montreal were most are easily distinguished by their “Federal” names and bright red hulls. One of the earliest Fednav ships was the Federal Trader. It served the company from 1947 to 1951.

At 100 metres in length, it was too large to enter the Great Lakes in the pre-Seaway era and was operated on coastal routes, often going south to West Indies destinations.

On April 16, 1950, Federal Trader lost power off Maritime Canada and drifted for 19 hours coming perilously close to the infamous Sable Island. Bound for St. John’s and a cargo of newsprint, the ship was rescued by another freighter and then the tug Foundation Vera.

Federal Trader had been built at Lauzon, Quebec, and launched as Lansdowne Park on April 15, 1943. It carried war cargoes for the Government of Canada before being sold in 1947. Resold in 1951, it later sailed as Provincial Trader and then as Gander and Atlawill before becoming Caribbean Trader in 1958.

The latter made one trip to the Great Lakes in 1959.

During the evening of July 5-6, 1963, the ship ran aground on Alacran Reef, about 100 km north of Progresso, Mexico, while travelling in ballast to Tampa, Florida. Salvage was considered impossible and the hull was abandoned.

Skip Gillham, Niagara This Week


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.

1902: The wooden steamer ROBERT WALLACE sank 13 miles out of Two Harbors while towing the barge ASHLAND.

1922: CITY OF DRESDEN was anchored off Long Point due to high winds and some of the cargo was thrown overboard. The ship beached on the west side of Long Point and broke up as a total loss. One sailor perished.

1922: MALTON went aground on Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario and was stuck until November 30.

1936: The steering cable of the SIDNEY E. SMITH gave way entering the harbor at Fairport, Ohio, and the ship stranded on the break wall. While released on November 22, the heavily damaged vessel was broken up for scrap the following year.

1939: VARDEFJELL, which inaugurated regular Great Lakes service for the Fjell Line in 1932, was torpedoed and sunk as b) KAUNAS 6.5 miles WNW of Noord Harbor, N. Hinder Light, River Schelde.

1996: SEADANIEL went aground at Duluth due to high winds after the anchors dragged. The ship was released, undamaged, by tugs. It last visited the Great Lakes in November 1998 and arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on May 5, 1999.

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


Coast Guard’s Operation Fall Retrieve in full swing

11/16 - Cleveland, Ohio – Units from around the Coast Guard 9th District continue work on their annual retrieval of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway System seasonal aids to navigation, the largest domestic ATON recovery operation in the U.S.

Operation Fall Retrieve, which affects lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons, began in mid October with a goal of retrieving 1,278 navigational aids.

The operation is scheduled to be completed by Dec. 28. As of Thursday, 527 of the 1,278 aids have been decommissioned for the season.



Closing dates announced for Seaway, Soo Locks

11/16 - The St. Lawrence Seaway has announced the dates for its annual winter closing.

Any transit of the Montreal Lake Ontario section of the Seaway after 23:59 hours, December 24, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement (arrangements to be made at the St. Lambert office). Irrespective of operating conditions, in the Montreal- Lake Ontario section of the Seaway, all vessels must be clear of this section at 23:59 hours on December 30.

The Welland Canal will remain open until 23:59 hours on December 26. Any transits of the Welland Canal after 23:59 hours, December 26, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement (arrangements to be made at St. Catharines office). Vessels will be allowed to transit the Welland Canal up to 19:30 hours on December 31, weather and operating conditions permitting.

The corporations have decided to waive the operational surcharges on December 21, 22, 23 and 24.

The official closing date for the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is 2400 hours January 15, 2014.

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

St. Lawrence Seaway


Shipments up 16 percent at Port of Indiana Burns Harbor

11/16 - Shipments rose 16 percent at the Port of Indiana Burns Harbor in October, the sixth straight month tonnage has increased.

The port, which is in Portage on Lake Michigan's southern shore, notably received a cargo shipment of 29 distillery tanks from Antwerp, Belgium last month. The beer-brewing equipment was bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago.

But most of the increase for the month could be chalked up to steel and raw materials the mills need, said Rick Heimann, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

"An increase in coke, steel, and steel-related products as well as limestone are among this month's drivers," Heimann said.

Tonnage shipped through the deepwater port also increased 16 percent in September. The port has been bustling despite a 7 percent decline in year-to-date cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

"With 35 million tons of maritime shipments being handled along Indiana's coastline by an extensive logistical network and infrastructure, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is well positioned to serve customers throughout the Midwest," Heimann said. "We truly appreciate all the companies that have trusted us with their business, which has allowed us to experience the volume growth over the last six months."

Overall, shipments through the Great Lakes dropped to 28 million tons between March 22 to Oct. 31, which is down from 31 tons over the same period last year. Most types of cargo were down for the month.

The steel industry drove increased tonnage for the port in Porter County, but iron ore shipments were down 12.5 percent overall for the month and coal declined by 3 percent. Both are main ingredients used in steelmaking.

"The seaway's principal commodities – iron ore, coal and grain – helped move the scales in the right direction for cargo tonnage handled on the Great Lakes-Seaway System," said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. "Although the bi-national waterway figures are still below last year's levels, we're seeing solid evidence that the final two months of the 2013 navigation season will be extremely busy for our shipping industry."

North West Indiana Times


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.

1901: The wooden freighter ELFIN-MERE was damaged by fire at Green Bay after a lamp exploded in the engineroom. The crew got away safely although an engineer was burned. The vessel was rebuilt the following year and returned to service in 1903 as b) CHARLES B. PACKARD.

1908: PASCAL P. PRATT was carrying anthracite coal from Buffalo to Milwaukee when it caught fire in the engineroom off Long Point, Lake Erie. The blaze spread quickly and the wooden vessel was beached. All of the crew got away safely. The hull burned to the waterline and the remains sank.

1923: GLENSTRIVEN, loaded with 160,000 bushels of oats, was wrecked at Cove Island, Georgian Bay in wind and fog. The vessel was enroute to Midland and was salvaged December 5 by the Reid Wrecking Co. The damage was too severe to repair and the hull was scrapped at Collingwood in 1924.

1927: JOLLY INEZ stranded at Saddlebag Island in the False Detour Channel and was abandoned.

1964: THOMAS F. COLE and INVEREWE collided in heavy fog off the southern end of Pipe Island in the St. Marys River. Both ships were repaired but the latter was later lost as d) THEOKEETOR off Mexico following another collision on June 20, 1973.

1965: The LAWRENCECLIFFE HALL sank in the St. Lawrence after an early morning collision with the SUNEK off Ile d'Orleans. The former, a laker in the Halco fleet, rolled on its side but all on board were saved. The ship was refloated in March 1966, repaired and returned to service. It later sailed as DAVID K. GARDINER and CANADIAN VENTURE before scrapping at Alang, India, in 2005. SUNEK received bow damage but this was repaired and this ship was scrapped at Barcelona, Spain, as b) NOTOS in 1979.

1967: CALIFORNIA SUN, a Liberty ship, made one trip through the Seaway in 1966. It suffered an engineroom explosion off Nicobar Island on the Indian Ocean and was gutted. The abandoned ship was taken in tow by JALARAJAN, a familiar Seaway salty, and delivered to the Seychelles.

1978: MONT ST. MARTIN was battered by a storm on Lake Erie and escorted to Southeast Shoal area by the STEELTON.

1978: NYX visited the Great Lakes in 1958 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. It sustained severe fire damage at Sidon, Lebanon, as c) DOMINION TRADER. It was subsequently blown aground by strong winds November 30-December 1 and broke in two.

1979: ALDORA dragged anchor while off Port Weller and was blown aground, only to be freed the same day. This ship was scrapped at Vado, Italy, in 1985-1986.

1979: SARONIC SEA was also anchored off Port Weller when it dragged anchor and stranded at the foot of Geneva Street in St. Catharines. The hull was not refloated until December 6. The ship had first visited the Great Lakes as RAVNANGER in 1964 and was later a victim of the war between Iran and Iraq, being shelled with mortar fire at Basrah on September 25, 1980.

1986: CARINA, an SD-14, first came through the Seaway in 1969. It was abandoned by the crew as d) HYMETUS when the hull cracked in heavy weather 180 miles SSE of Hong Kong while enroute to Shanghai, with steel. The ship sank the next day in the South China Sea.

2009: CSL ASSINIBOINE went aground near Cardinal. It had to be lightered and was released on November 21.

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


General cargo shipments keep U.S. Great Lakes ports busy

11/15 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 22 to October 31 were 28 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2012. With only two months left in the shipping season, U.S. ports are hustling to move as much cargo as possible.

“The Seaway’s principal commodities – iron ore, coal and grain – helped move the scales in the right direction for cargo tonnage handled on the Great Lakes-Seaway System,” said Rebecca Spruill, Director of Trade Development at the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Although the bi-national waterway figures are still below last year’s levels, we’re seeing solid evidence that the final two months of the 2013 navigation season will be extremely busy for our shipping industry.”

For the second consecutive month, the Port of Cleveland reported a significant increase in general cargo tonnage. The increase for the month was up 20 percent (50,100 metric tons) compared to October 2012. To date, the Port has moved 307,000 metric tons of cargo through its general cargo operation. This represents more than a 20 percent increase over the 2012 annual tonnage level, when the Port moved 250,000 metric tons across its docks.

“This growth shows that there is a higher demand for steel in Northeast Ohio, and it indicates significant growth in the manufacturing sector,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port. “Waterborne shipping is the most cost effective means of freight transportation, and the Port of Cleveland is an important link to get our local manufacturers the supplies they need to produce their products.”

David Gutheil, vice president of Maritime & Logistics, added that the increased demand for steel from local processors and manufacturers, along with new business that continues to move through the Port has led to the increase. “We expect a very strong finish to the 2013 shipping season, which could produce our highest annual tonnage level since the 2008 calendar year.”

The Port of Duluth set a record in October with a special heavy-lift cargo. On October 14, the Port received four German-built electrical transformers, each weighing close to 300 tons, headed for Alberta, Canada as part of a major power transmission line project that will run from north of Edmonton to south of Calgary. This was the third of four shipments aboard Hansa Heavy Lift vessels from Antwerp. As with the previous shipments, this one included multiple crates of smaller components. The last shipment is scheduled to arrive at the end of November – bringing to 16 the total number of transformers discharged, along with nearly 500 crates, at the Port’s only breakbulk terminal.

Lake Superior Warehousing Co. operates the terminal and its crews have been responsible for handling this series of shipments. “The Port Authority here in Duluth has created one of North America’s highest caliber breakbulk terminals, one specifically engineered for large capacity jobs and multimodal connectivity,” said Jonathan Lamb, Lake Superior Warehousing Co. president.

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor saw a 16 percent increase in total tonnage through the month of October marking the sixth consecutive month of increased shipments for the port this year.

“An increase in coke, steel and steel-related products as well as limestone are among this month’s drivers,” said Rick Heimann, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. “Additionally, the port received a project cargo shipment of 29 distillery tanks carried by a charter vessel out of Antwerp and bound for a brewery expansion in Chicago.”

"With 35 million tons of maritime shipments being handled along Indiana’s coastline by an extensive logistical network and infrastructure, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is well positioned to serve customers throughout the Midwest,” said Heimann. “We truly appreciate all the companies that have trusted us with their business which has allowed us to experience the volume growth over the last six months.”

In addition to the uptick in general cargo traffic at the ports, U.S. grain remained a bright spot for the month. Nearly one million metric tons of U.S. grain moved through the System, representing a 6 percent increase year-to-date over 2012. Overall, cargo categories were down. As noted above, steel is driving tonnage for some U.S. ports, but iron ore shipments remained down in October by 12.5 while coal shipments rose 3 percent. Within the dry bulk category, scrap metal was up 49 percent. The liquid bulk category posted a10 percent jump over the same time in 2012.

Marine Delivers


Port Reports -  November 15

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River on Thursday, carrying a split cargo for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair was expected to be outbound late Thursday night. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock was busy working Aids To Navigation during the day Thursday, placing winter buoys in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The Seawaymax bulker Eider departed Wednesday morning after taking only three days to discharge its cargo of sugar. With the upcoming drydocking of Ongiara, the William Inglis is maintaining a pedestrian-only service to the Toronto Islands. Vehicles have to use the TPA airport ferry. This can sometimes require a bit of a wait as the m/v Marilyn Bell’s capacity is often maxed out with trucks delivering construction material for the tunnel project and Porter Airlines’ park and fly customers.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Thursday the tanker Thalassa Desgagnes offloaded fuel oil.


Port of Green Bay year-to-date tonnage running 11 percent ahead of 2012

11/15 - The Port of Green Bay has seen some up and down numbers through the fall, and it’s overall tonnage for the season got a boost last month.

The port handled 396,775 tons of cargo in October, more than double the October 2012 total of 197,670 tons, according to a monthly report from the Brown County Port & Resource Recovery Department.

Inbound shipments of coal, limestone and salt topped the cargo list at 123,251, 197,743 and 31,724 tons, respectively.

Through the end of October, the port has handled 1.7 million tons of cargo, 11 percent more than last year when the total was a little less than 1.6 million tons.

The Ohio-based Lake Carriers Association indicated it is also seeing increases in the amount of limestone moved last month — attributable in part to the weather.

“One factor behind the increases was better weather this October,” one of its monthly reports stated. “Last year U.S.-flag lakers collectively lost about 2,000 steaming hours in October waiting out the heavy weather after Hurricane Sandy.”

Around the Great Lakes, ships moved 3.6 million tons of limestone last month, up more than 23 percent from October 2012, according to the LCA. October’s figure outpaced the five-year average for limestone shipments.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Sea Cadet vessel Grayfox is staying in Port Huron

11/15 - Port Huron, Mich. – The Sea Cadet vessel Grayfox - a decommissioned U.S. Navy torpedo retriever - has been placed under management of a board of governance, following the death earlier this year of the ship’s captain, Bill Barnhardt.

Sea Cadets resumed training at the beginning of November and will continue into the foreseeable future, said Jim Semerad, chairman for the board of governance.

Semerad said the board has been trying to determine the ship’s future leadership and management, as well as its function in the community. The ship is assessed every four to five years to see if it still is seaworthy, Semerad said. The conclusion was that the ship has at least 15 years of useful life, Semerad said.

The Grayfox was brought from Jacksonville, Fla., to Port Huron in 1997 by Barnhardt, Semerad and others. The ship, at the south end of the Blue Water River Walk along the St. Clair River, functions as a training platform for the U.S. Navy Sea Cadets a program for teenagers ages 13 to 17 who participate in leadership and seamanship training.

The ship also is used for Canadian Sea Cadets, Boy Scouts, training for U.S. Navy Reserve and the Michigan Navy Recruiting District and Coast Guard operations in the area.

“It’s very unique to the Great Lakes and it does keep with the character of the Great Lakes,” Semerad said. “Everybody from Toledo to Traverse City wants to see the ship continue, and they see it as something special here on the Great Lakes.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Wind Howls in Straits of Mackinac

11/15 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – Travelers crossing the Mackinac Bridge between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas Thursday were urged to take extra caution because of high wind speeds in the Straits. Several Great Lakes freighters went to anchor Wednesday night and Thursday at various locations because of the high winds.

Those with "high profile" vehicles are asked to wait for an escort before crossing, according to a statement posted on the Mackinaw Bridge Authority's website. These vehicles include pick-up trucks with campers; cars with small boats, bicycles or luggage attached to the roof; Ryder of U-Haul trucks; any vehicle pulling a boat; semi-tractors with enclosed trailers and all trailers with side walls over two feet in height.

Bridge authority staff was stationed at both ends of the bridge to provide instructions on how and when to cross.



Battle of the North Atlantic was close to home

11/15 - The Battle of the St. Lawrence involved a number of submarine actions around the lower St. Lawrence River and the entire Gulf down as far as the Strait of Belle Isle.

During this time German U-boats sank a total of 44 ships in Canadian waters. They attacked seven convoys, sank 20 merchantmen, a loaded troopship, and two Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warships. One of these warships was the corvette HMCS Shawinigan.

The most tragic sinking as far as domestic impact was concerned, was the sinking of the Sydney to Port aux Basques passenger ferry SS Caribou by U Boat-69 on the night of October 13/14, 1942. Escorting the Caribou on this trip was the RCN minesweeper, HMCS Grandmere. Of the 237 people aboard the Caribou when she left North Sydney, 136 had perished, including 10 children. Fifty seven were military personnel and 49 were civilians. Of the 46-man Newfoundland crew, only 15 remained.

As bodies were recovered, the burials started. The Channel/Port aux Basques area was the worst hit as many crewmembers of the Caribou were local men. 21 were loss in total. A funeral on October 18 for six victims was attended by hundreds of mourners, and a procession that followed the bodies to the grave sites reportedly measured two kilometres long. The Burgeo took over the Caribou's former route after the sinking.

For this reason the citizens of Channel and Port Aux Basques can sympathise with another tragic loss close to our shore - the 91 lives lost on the HMCS Shawinigan. On November 24, 1944, she was attacked and sank by a German U-Boat.

Shawinigan and the US Coast Guard cutter Sassafras were ordered to escort the ferry Burgeo from Sydney, Nova Scotia to Port aux Basques. Since the tragic loss of the ferry Caribou, ferries on this route were always escorted. The three ships made an uneventful crossing to Port aux Basques on November 24, at which time Shawinigan detached to continue antisubmarine patrols in the area. She was scheduled to rendezvous with the Burgeo the following morning for the return to Cape Breton. But the corvette never made it.

Around midnight, the German U-boat 1228 spotted the Shawinigan and a torpedo was fired. Four minutes later the ship disappeared in a plume of water and a shower of sparks. She sunk, with all hands lost. HMCS Shawinigan was one of the Canadian warships lost with all hands. Her final resting place is just offshore within sight of Channel Head Lighthouse.

The Gulf News


Annual Dossin Marine Mart in Grosse Point Saturday

11/15 - The Dossin Maritime Group will hold its annual Marine Mart on Saturday from 10 a.m. 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive (between Cadieux and Moross) in Grosse Pointe Farms. Early bird admission begins at 9:30 a.m.

The annual Marine Mart is for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features great holiday shopping and shiploads of nautical items and treasures including lighthouse prints, nautical 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 more.

In addition to the other dealers, Roger LeLievre will be on hand with the Marine Historical Society of Detroit 2014 calendars as well as Boatnerd t-shirts and caps.


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 15

In 1883, the schooner E. FITZGERALD, Captain Daniel Lanigan, went ashore and was completely covered with ice. The crew of six 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 built, 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, 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.

1901: The consort barge JOHN SMEATON broke loose of the steamer HARVARD and came ashore on the rocks off Au Train, Mich., and rested in 4 feet of water. The crew was safe and the ship released at the end of the month by Reid Wrecking and went to Superior for repairs.

1909: The Canadian freighter OTTAWA foundered stern first off Passage Isle, Lake Superior when the cargo of grain shifted. The crew, while they suffered terribly, were able to reach the safety of Keweenaw Point in the lifeboats after 12 hours on the open lake in wild seas.

1915: A. McVITTIE took out the gate at Lock 12 of the Third Welland Canal leading to a washout.

1919: J.S. CROUSE was enroute from Glen Haven to Traverse City when fire was discovered around the stack. The blaze spread quickly. The ship burned to the water line and sank in Sleeping Bear Bay, Lake Michigan.

1920: The wooden hulled steamer MAPLEGULF broke her back in a Lake Ontario storm. It was considered beyond economical repair and beached at Kingston.

1931: A storm forced the wooden passenger and freight steamer WINONA back to Spragge, Ontario, and the next day the ship was found to be on fire over the boiler. The vessel was towed from the dock to protect a pile of lumber and it became a total loss.

1952: The newly-built tanker B.A. PEERLESS lost power and went aground below the Detroit River Light. It was refloated on November 17.

1975: The ocean tanker GATUN LOCKS made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. The vessel was lying at Piraeus Roads, Greece, as c) SUNARUSSA when it was gutted by a fire. The hull was sold for scrap in 1977 and broken up at Laurion, Greece, beginning on April 26, 1977.

1981: ALFRED was gutted by a fire off Benghazi, Libya, after the blaze broke out in the engineroom. The hull was scuttled 100 miles out in the Mediterranean on November 24. The ship had been on the Great Lakes earlier in the year and first traveled inland as a) ALFRED REHDER in 1972.

1994: The Turkish freighter FIRAT was blown ashore at Port Everglades, FL by Hurricane Gordon when the anchors failed to hold. The ship was a beach attraction until lightered and released on November 26. FIRAT first came through the Seaway in 1990 and was scrapped at Alang, India, in 1997, after sailing 27 years under the same name.

2007: CALUMET was damaged when it struck a wall at Cleveland while moving to the salt dock. It was sold for scrap and departed for Port Colborne two days later.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Algoma Quebecois scrap tow expected this week

11/14 - Algoma Quebecois, laid up in Toronto, will be towed to Port Colborne for scrapping Friday. The Marine Recycling Corp. banner was spotted hanging below the wheelhouse Wednesday and the anchors have been raised in their pockets. Algoma Quebecois was built by Canadian Vickers in 1963 for the Papachristidis fleet as Quebecois. She also operated for Upper Lakes Shipping and was owned most recently by Algoma Central. Her scrapping leaves her sistership, Algoma Montrealais, as the last steamer operating under the Canadian flag.


Great Lakes coal trade up slightly in October

11/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.8 million tons in October, an increase of 92,000 tons compared to a year ago. Shipments were up 135,000 tons compared to September.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.7 million tons, a slight increase (54,000 tons) compared to a year ago. Coal transshipped from Superior, Wisconsin, to Quebec City, for loading into oceangoing colliers totaled 122,000 tons. Exports to Europe from Superior total 1,376,000 tons through October. In 2012, Superiors overseas exports totaled 1,173,000 tons through October.

Loadings in Chicago totaled 412,000 tons, an increase of 50 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Erie ports totaled 690,000 tons, a decrease of 12.6 percent compared to a year ago. Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 19.8 million tons, a decrease of 2.2 percent compared to a year ago.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  November 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded coal and Michipicoten loaded ore on Wednesday at the Upper Harbor.

Escanaba, Mich. – Tom Hynes
On Tuesday, MCM Marine had the following dredging equipment docked at the Escanaba Municipal Marina: tug Drummond Islander II, suction dredge Arthur J, workboat Tammy, and an unidentified crane barge. Basic Marine, as always, had an eclectic collection of vessels on display, many being longtime residents of Escanaba. Seen in the water were the deck barge BMI 192, which was unloading equipment near the sheriff’s office, and the tugs Erika Kobasic, Sea Chief, Marin, Danicia, and the former Holly Marine Towing tug Holly Ann. All appear inactive except the Erika Kobasic. The Sea Chief is without a stack and likely without an engine. The original Fairbanks Morse engine and stack are on display at the U.P. State fairgrounds across town. They were donated to the U.P. Steam & Gas Association by Basic Marine several years ago. On land at Basic Marine could be seen the fireboat Joseph Medill, research vessels Siscowet and Lake Explorer, and the former Beaver Island fuel barge Oil Queen. Undoubtedly there are more vessels in the yard, hidden from public view. At the T.D. Vinette yard could be seen the wooden hulled, steel clad gill net fish tug Jane which is in storage on dry land. The Mesabi Miner was loading ore and although not ship-related, the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad’s locomotive dead line remains fully intact and worth viewing, with 12 Baldwin switchers /road switchers, 3 EMD SD-9s, and two F7s in public view.

Suttons Bay, Wis. - Al Miller
USCGC Mackinaw was southbound in upper Grand Traverse Bay on Wednesday afternoon, apparently en route to work aids to navigation in the bay.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, the Presque Isle is expected to arrive in the early morning on Thursday. Lewis J. Kuber is due on Sunday very late during the evening. Wilfred Sykes is also due at Cedarville arriving in the late morning Tuesday, November 19.

At Port Inland, three vessels will be arriving on Friday, with the Manitowoc arriving first in the early afternoon along with the Wilfred Sykes. The Great Lakes Trader is also due on Friday in the early evening. Due Saturday in the early morning is the Arthur M. Anderson and the Manistee is also due on Saturday in the early afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Due on Thursday in the early evening is the Philip R. Clarke. Two vessels are due to load on Friday with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving in the morning and the Joseph H. Thompson in the early afternoon. The Pathfinder is expected to arrive on Saturday in the morning to load. Two more vessels are scheduled to load on Sunday, with the Philip R. Clarke returning to load in the early afternoon followed by the Lewis J. Kuber. There are three vessels schedule to load on Monday, with the Arthur M. and Herbert C. Jackson due during the morning and the Joseph H. Thompson arriving in the late afternoon on Monday.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Presque Isle arrived early on Wednesday morning to load at the South Dock. It is believed that this may be her first visit of 2013 to Calcite. Also expected to arrive on Wednesday was the James L. Kuber in the late evening. Arrivals for Thursday include Mississagi in the late afternoon for the North Dock and, on Friday, Great Republic in the morning for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Saturday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Catherine Desgagnes was due to load coal on Wednesday at the CSX Dock however, the #4 coal loading machine had to re-dump some of the coal that was frozen in the cars. This procedure was expected to take upwards of about two hours. Following the Catherine Desgagnes, the next vessel due at the CSX Coal Dock is the American Mariner, expected to arrive early on Friday morning. The John D. Leitch is also due on Friday in the early morning. Due on Saturday is the James L. Kuber, arriving in the morning. The Robert S. Pierson is due on Thursday, November 21 in the morning and the H. Lee White is due on Saturday, November 23 arriving in the early evening. Due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with limestone is the Capt. Henry Jackman on Friday, November 22 in the morning. Vessels due at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the John D. Leitch on Thursday in the late afternoon hours and the Lakes Contender on Sunday in the early morning hours. CSL's Whitefish Bay is due on Wednesday, November 20 in the early afternoon and following is the H. Lee White on Saturday, November 23 in the morning. Rounding out the schedule is the Atlantic Erie due on Saturday, November 30 just after midnight. Two other vessels were in port at the time of this report with the Atlantic Erie at the Midwest Terminal International Dock loading pet coke and the tanker Algosea at the Ironhead Shipyard Drydock. The Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude and American Valor still remain at lay-up in Toledo at their respective docks.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algosoo went to anchor at about 10 Wednesday night just east of the Sandusky Pierhead Light. NOAA has issued a Low Water Warning and a Gale Warning with Southwest Winds of 30 knots or more. She was reportedly enroute from Sarnia to Baie Comeau, with a cargo of soybeans.

Seaway - Ron Walsh
Seaway Iroquois radio reported Wednesday evening that Sarah Desgagnes had a mechanical breakdown and was waiting for a tug to arrive to assist her. She was anchored in the shipping channel of the American Narrows a short distance below Alexandria Bay. Traffic was not restricted as there is room to pass in the immediate area. At 10:15 p.m. she got underway with the tug Bowditch, and has an eta of 11:45 p.m. for Bartlet Point, where she is going to turn and head back down the Seaway.


Fish tug report from Lake Michigan’s Northern shore

11/14 - Fairport, Michigan, near the south end of the Garden Peninsula, remains an active fishing village. Seen in the water Tuesday were three gill net tugs (Morning Star, Independents and one unidentified), and three trap net boats (Amanda, Fin and one unidentified). On shore were the trap net Martha Jean, an unidentified gill net boat, and the open, landing craft-style boat Flash II. Like many fishing villages, the town is also a haven for old single-axle gasoline-engined trucks, which are used to store and haul nets. At least nine older Fords and Chevys were seen.

In Manistique, three gill net tugs were docked: the Pep, Shelly and J.R. Jensen. Naubinway had at least eight fish tugs at dock, with the gill netters Leland La Fond and Trio at the public marina, while over at the fishery were three gill net boats (Maddie P, Ida S and one unidentified) plus three trap net boats (Cierra and two unidentified boats.) St. Ignace had two trap net boats at dock but their names could not be seen. Also at St. Ignace was the tour boat Isle Royale Queen III, out of the water on blocks at the shipyard.

Tom Hynes


Military drone crashes in Lake Ontario; remains unrecovered

11/14 - C Recovery efforts for the MQ-9 Reaper drone that crashed into Lake Ontario Tuesday afternoon have not resumed, according to military sources.

The MQ-9 Reaper, operated by the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard based in Syracuse, went down in military airspace about 20 miles northeast of the Port of Oswego around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Air Guard officials said at a media briefing Wednesday evening. It look off from the airfield at Fort Drum.

The drone was not carrying weapons and no one was hurt, according to military officials.

The U.S. Coast Guard was conducting the search for the aircraft, which has a 66-foot wingspan and weighs four tons, but did not locate it before the search was called off due to weather and darkness.

A boat from Station Oswego and a Helicopter from Station Buffalo took part in the recovery efforts. The search will resume in the morning, though the time was not specified at the briefing.

"I think it’s a combination of parts floating and parts not floating. We’ll see what actually does float and come up on shore,” Col. Greg Semmel, commander of the 174th Attack Wing said.

An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

"Safety is our number one priority at this point, so we’re going to let that investigative team do their job, and as we come up with the results of what happened with the airplane, we’ll make it even safer before we proceed,” Semmel said.

There were two drones involved in the training exercise and the mission was going normally until the crash, according to Semmel. They had been in the air for three hours before the accident.



Obituary: Capt Pat Owens

11/14 - Capt. Pat Owens passed away on Tuesday evening, November 12, following a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 85.

In June 1945, at age 16, Captain Owens began his marine career as a deckhand, boarding Interlake Steamship's Adriatic in the middle of the night from the ferry in St. Clair, never realizing he was embarking on a career that would last 46 years. In fact, the only diversion from his sailing career was a three-year hitch in the U.S. Army after he was drafted in 1950.

In 1965 he moved to Ford Motor Company as third mate and continued to rise through the ranks to Captain, retiring in 1992. Even after his retirement, he continued occasionally working relief jobs for Interlake Steamship Company and with Malcolm Marine Company.

During the 2002 ISMA Grand Lodge convention, Nelson, representing Detroit Lodge No. 7, was elected to the office of Grand Lodge President. He also served the Grand Lodge as vice chairman of the Navigation, Engineering, and Legislative Committee for many years. In addition to ISMA, he was a member of St. Christopher Catholic Church in Marysville, and the Knights of Columbus Marysville Council #9526.

He was born October 9, 1928 in Mt. Clemens, Michigan to the late Mike and Mary Owens. He married Elizabeth McCartney in June of 1956, a year and a half after he met her. She died November 27, 1998.

Visitation will be 2-4 and 6-9 p.m. Thursday, November 14 at the Pollock-Randall Funeral Home in Port Huron. On Friday, November 15, he will lie in state from 10:30 a.m. until the time of the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. at St. Christopher Catholic Church. The Rev. Frederick Bodde will officiate.


Updates -  November 14

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 14

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.

1922: The composite hulled freighter JOS. L. SIMPSON was upbound on Lake Ontario from Ogdensburg to Milwaukee when it stranded at Tibbett's Point. The repair bill was close to $12,000 but the vessel returned to service and last operated in 1957 as YANKCANUCK (i).

1933: The wheat laden D.E. CALLENDAR stranded in Lake Erie off Long Point and was a total loss. The hull was salvaged in 1934 and laid up at Toledo. It was taken to New Orleans during World War Two for reconstruction as a barge but the change was never registered and the hull was likely scrapped.

1933: The wooden tug FLORENCE sank off False Duck Island in a storm that brought snow, high winds and waves on Lake Ontario. All 7 on board were saved and taken aboard the barge PETER G. CAMPBELL.

1943: RIVERTON stranded at Lottie Wolf Shoal, Georgian Bay and declared a total loss. Later salvaged and repaired, it returned to service as MOHAWK DEER.

1960: ISLAND KING II was destroyed by a fire while laid up for the winter at Lachine, QC. The vessel had been built as DALHOUSIE CITY and operated across western Lake Ontario between Toronto and St. Catharines from 1911 until the end of the 1949 season before being sold and moving to Montreal.

1966: The Liberian freighter FREIDA went aground at Poe's Reef, Lake Huron, and had to be lightered by MAITLAND NO. 1. The ocean ship began Great Lakes terading as c) SEAWAY STAR in 1960 and returned as d) DEALMOUTH in 1962 and as e) FREIDA earlier in 1966.

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


Port Reports -  November 13

Erie, Pa. - Gene Polaski
Frontenac left Erie Tuesday morning in ballast after spending several weeks in drydock at Don Jon shipyard for her five-year inspection. She headed for Ashtabula, Ohio to pick up coal.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Saginaw was still unloading at the ADM Standard Elevator Tuesday evening.

St. Catharines, Ont. - Mac Mackay
Hornblower Canada Co. of Niagara Falls, Ont., registered Hornblower Guardian in St. Catharines on November 4. The 37.63 gross ton aluminum-hulled boat is newly built by All American Marine Inc. of Belligham, Wa. It measures 68 feet x 16 feet x 7.5 feet. The twin screw tour boat’s official number is 837802.

Panama Canal
On Tuesday night, the new Algoma Equinox was transiting the Panama Canal on her delivery trip from China.


Lookback: The story of the Jupiter, 'The Ghost Ship' of the Great Lakes

11/13 - The Muskegon Chronicle Nov. 8, 1947 -  Ghost Ship Wins Battle With Lake

After 18 tense, drama packed hours of battling 30-foot high waves and 55 mph winds, the 28-man crew of the freighter Jupiter, out of Cleveland, was believed out of danger off Bortle’s landing, 3 miles north of Pentwater this afternoon.

The Jupiter came into the news when she sailed the Great Lakes with a non-union crew, apparently not putting in at any port. The boat, owned by the Jupiter Steamship Co. of Cleveland, sailed from Detroit with a non-union crew after union crewmen walked off during the seaman’s strike. She became known as the “Ghost Ship” when she sailed for weeks without a word being heard from her.

On Friday, she left Manistee loaded light with a gross tonnage of 3,179; a factor which the Coast Guard believes kept her from going aground off Pentwater. Trouble developed Friday evening in a pressure cylinder, slowing the ship’s progress and making steering impossible.

With diminished wind and less dangerous waves today, the freighter awaited the arrival of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw which left Cheboygan Friday night, one of several ships which rushed to the rescue at the first call for help sent out at 7:25 p.m. Friday by the Jupiter’s captain: “We are 7 miles south of Little Point Sable. Our engine is broken and there is not much steerage. Request Coast Guard cutter assistance as soon as possible.”

That was the signal that alerted Coast Guard stations all along the Lake Michigan shore as well as other lake boats. The Muskegon Coast Guard sent a crew of auxiliaries, under MMM1/c Ray Sweet, to Pentwater with a beach cart and a throwing gun.

The captain and crew experienced a night of terror as they were tossed helplessly by the wind on the high sea. Unable to make steerage, they were too far out to make anchorage. As they drifted closer to shore about 8 a.m. the anchor was dropped and it held, eliminating much of the danger.

With the wind still strong and the waves so high that the ship was hidden from shore observers much of the time, the captain sent a pitiful appeal at 7 p.m.: “I don’t think we can hang on 30 minutes. Please won’t you send some help!”

The message might have been a routine call for help had not the captain’s voice expressed the terror that was in his heart and those of all the men in his crew of 28. It was an appeal which touched even veterans of the Coast Guard, men who had heard calls for assistance many times.

“It was the way the captain said it and the touching appeal in his voice which made the message so pitiful,” said Chief George Piotrowski, of the Muskegon Coast Guard, who was on the ship-to-shore phone all night.

The 185-foot Coast Guard cutter Sundew, which arrived shortly after 10 a.m., today, put a line aboard the Jupiter at noon and started to tow her away from shore. The Sundew, one of the smaller cutters on the lake, dashed to the side of the stricken freighter from St. Joseph, which she left last midnight. When the Mackinaw catches up, the tow to Chicago will start.

The Captain of the Jupiter expressed a desire to await the arrival of the Mackinaw, a 300-foot cutter, more powerful and faster. He wished to have the faster boat tow him to Chicago where he was bound with a load of rock salt taken on at Manistee. The captain indicated the can stand the trip to Chicago before being taken to drydock at Manitowoc for repairs.

When the captain phoned and said he desired to wait for the Mackinaw, his voice then was devoid of its quality of pity and “he seemed almost cheerful,” Piotrowski said.

Standing by also were the Pere Marquette carferries, the No. 21 and the City of Saginaw, both out of Ludington. The Saginaw set out shortly before midnight and was able to come within 200 feet of the stricken freighter, but was unable to pass a line. The carferry was forced to return to port when Seaman Frank Polasch, one of her crew, sustained chest injuries as he and other crewmen made heroic attempts to get a line to the Jupiter. He was taken to the Paulina Stearns Hospital, at Ludington.

Ship’s officers said the seaman was injured when he was hurled against an oil tank as he was attempting to lower the stern gate of the carferry, to get the line through. As he fell, a large can of oil hit him in the chest. Several other crewmen were slightly injured and they continued for three hours in their efforts to get a line to the Jupiter before turning back to take Polasch to the hospital.

Coast Guards are reported aboard the No. 21 ready to assist should an emergency arise.

With the vessel still awaiting towing to Chicago, assistance was still available, even though apparent danger was past. It was indicated the Coast Guard will be recalled as soon as the freighter resumes her trip to Chicago under tow.

Days after the Jupiter’s ordeal, Capt. Floyd Dossett claimed “The ship never was in real danger of sinking.” The Chronicle begged to differ, “His appealing messages on the ship-to-shore phone as he sought assistance Friday night and Saturday morning indicated he didn’t feel that way during the storm.”

His crew was certainly scared to death. Chief Mate Robert Portenien of Erie, Pa., said, “There wasn’t a man aboard who wasn’t thinking of the William B. Davock.” In 1940, seven years before almost to the day, the Davock had gone down with all hands in the same ship’s graveyard that nearly claimed the Jupiter.

The Mackinaw towed the Jupiter to Milwaukee where the balky cylinder which started the whole mess was repaired. The Jupiter sailed for Chicago a few days later.

John Polasch was not the only crewman aboard the City of Saginaw who was serious injured during the carferry’s heroic attempts to answer Dossett’s frantic calls for help. Keith Haley was also badly injured. Others hurt were First Mate Roy D. Thompson and William Rebeske.

Built by the American Shipbuilding Co. for Gilchrist Transportation Co. and launched in 1901, the Jupiter was later sold to Cargo Carriers, Inc. (Cargill Grain Co.) before being scrapped in the late 1950s.



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 (later LAKE WABUSH and 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.

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.

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

In 1984, 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.

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.

An 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.

1909: The steamers CHARLES WESTON and WARD AMES collided in lower Whitefish Bay. The former, which had been at anchor waiting to head downbound through the Soo Locks, ran for shore but settled on the bottom. The ship was saved, repaired and last sailed as c) SAUCON for Bethlehem Transportation before being scrapped at Hamilton, ON in 1950.

1909: JAMES H. HOYT went aground on a reef about two miles off the northeast corner of Outer Island after the engine was disabled in a snowstorm. The vessel was refloated November 29 and later became the BRICOLDOC.

1929: BRITON was wrecked in Lake Erie off Point Abino. The stranded vessel was battered for two days before being abandoned as a total loss.

1934: WILLIAM A. REISS (i) stranded off Sheboygan while inbound with 7025 tons of coal from Toledo. The ship was refloated November 17 with heavy damage and considered a total loss.

1942: H.M. PELLATT, a former Great Lakes canal freighter, was sailing as f) SCILLIN under the flag of Italy, when it was hit by gunfire from the British submarine H.M.S. PROTEUS while 9 miles off Kuriat, Tunisia, and sank.

1956: The downbound and grain-laden GEORGE HINDMAN and the upbound MANCHESTER EXPLORER collided in fog on the St. Lawrence above Lachine and both ships were damaged.

1958: LUNAN, a Pre-Seaway trader on the Great Lakes, sustained major bottom damage in a grounding on the St. Lawrence near Murray Bay. The ship was refloated, towed to Lauzon for repairs and it returned to service as b) MARIDAN C. in 1959.

1967: SANTA REGINA, the first American saltwater vessel to use the St. Lawrence Seaway, put into San Francisco with boiler problems and machinery damage while headed from Los Angeles to Saigon, South Vietnam as f) NORBERTO CAPAY. The vessel was sold at auction and towed to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping in 1969.

1971: The small St. Lawrence freighter C. DE BAILLON, better known as a) DONNACONA NO. 2 and b) MIRON C., went aground at Mont Louis and was a total loss.

1975: There was a boiler explosion on the Egyptian freighter CLEOPATRA after leaving Hartlepool, England, for Alexandria, Egypt, and 8 crewmen were severely injured with at least one fatality. The former Victory Ship first traveled through the Seaway in 1963. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in 1981.

1976: OCEAN SOVEREIGN lost steering at Sault Ste. Marie and was wedged into the wall at the Soo Locks. The rudder was damaged and the Greek saltie had to be towed to Lauzon, Quebec, for repairs. The vessel initially traded inland as a) BOLNES in 1970 and returned as b) OCEAN SOVEREIGN for the first time in 1973. It was scrapped at Ulsan, South Korea, as d) MARIA JOSE after being blown aground from the anchorage during Typhoon Vera on September 27, 1986.

1979: A steering failure put VANDOC aground at Harvey Island in the Brockville Narrows. The vessel spent time at Port Weller Dry Docks after being released.

1996: JOLLITY reported it was taking water in the engine room (Pos: 17.47 N / 119.20 E). The ship was was taken in tow two days later and reached Hong Kong on November 18. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, in 1999.

1997: ARCADIA BERLIN visited the Great Lakes in 1971 when it was a year old. The ship was carrying bagged cement and sailing as f) ALLISSA when it collided with and sank the Ukrainian vessel SMENA off Yangon, Myanmar. The former was apparently laid up with collision damage and scrapped at Alang, India, in 1998.

2002: WILFRED SYKES was inbound with a cargo of limestone when it went aground in Muskegon Lake. Some of the cargo was lightered to PERE MARQUETTE 41 and the stranded ship was pulled free.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 12

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Tom Hynes and Wendell Wilke
Sturgeon Bay - The St. Marys Challenger arrived in Sturgeon Bay in the early afternoon Monday via the canal and tied up at Bay Shipbuilding Berth 4 in heavy winds with the assistance of the Selvick tug Jimmy L. She is expected to be converted to a barge this winter. Also at Bay Shipbuilding were Tidewater's new platform supply vessel Miss Marilene Tide, the Isle Royale ferry Ranger III in the small graving dock, and the Chicago Water System's tug James J. Versluis, which from a distance, appeared to have fresh paint. From the public street, the large graving dock appeared to be empty.

Menominee, Mich.- Tom Hynes
Cutting continues on the former Ann Arbor Railroad car ferry Viking. The vessel has several floodlights onboard and torch cutting was ongoing well after dark. Most or all of the superstructure has been removed above the boat deck, and the stern half of the hull has been cut down to just above the main (train) deck.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson came into Lorain Sunday about 10 p.m. and departed Monday about 7:15 a.m.

Seaway - Mac Mackay
A Canadian coasting license has been granted to Petro-Nav to use the Cypriot tanker Nordisle for six trips between Sarnia and Oakville and Montreal and Oakville between November 4 and 30. She has already made the first trip and is on her way back up on the second trip.


The Great Storm of 1913 sunk 12 big ships on the Great Lakes

11/12 - Ottawa, Ont. – One hundred years last Saturday, Dancing Jimmy Owen – he loved the dance halls – steered his 160-metre, steel-hulled freighter out of a Michigan harbour and into oblivion. The night and the thick snow quickly hid his ship, the Henry B. Smith, as the Great Storm of 1913 tore into the Great Lakes.

Capt. Owen should never have left port, but he had been behind schedule all summer and fall, and the ship’s owners were in a hurry to deliver the season’s last cargo of iron ore.

Like the Edmund Fitzgerald six decades later, the Smith simply vanished into a November gale; its final resting place a mystery until this year, when searchers found it split in two in 163 metres of water just a few kilometres from port.

It was one of 12 ships that sank with their entire crews that weekend in the Great Lakes, in the greatest shipping disaster in the lakes’ history. Many more were beached or destroyed.

Americans today call it the White Hurricane, Canadians the Great Storm, Black Friday or other local names.

It forced Canada and the U.S. to design safer ships, to put wireless on board, and to put greater effort into understanding storms. Yet outside a few communities beside the lakes, the tragedy of Nov. 8, 9 and 10, 1913, is barely remembered in Canada today.

Like many captains that day, Dancing Jimmy ignored the gale warnings displayed with flags in every port.

The storm had whipped up Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie and dumped up to 50 centimetres of snow, but the captain saw the weather improving and ordered his ship loaded in the port of Marquette. It was what sailors later called “a sucker hole” in the storm, a temporary slackening. Harbor officials urged him to stay put.

The winds blew at a sustained 110 km/h that day, gusting to hurricane force in places — 127 km/h in Cleveland, 130 in Buffalo, 140 beside Lake Huron.

As darkness fell, the Henry B. Smith left port. The crew hadn’t even had time to secure the hatches on deck, designed to keep water from spilling into the hull. The waves were higher than the ship.

As it disappeared from the view of land, the Smith turned to port — left — when the normal course would have been a starboard turn. Historians think Owen realized his mistake and was trying to head for safety. None of the crew survived and few bodies were even found.

The Smith and the others sunk that day were monster ships, most more than 120 metres long. In the days before trucking they were the main way to transport heavy goods such as ore, lumber, coal and wheat between western provinces and states and the cities and factories of Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, with rail links to eastern cities and trade with Europe.

Yet one storm overwhelmed them that weekend, most of them on Lake Huron but also on Superior, Michigan and Erie. The lakes haven’t had such a storm in recorded history. Not even Hurricane Hazel did so much damage. What happened?

“There were two storms,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada.

The forecast saw one coming: a typical stormy November day coming with northwest winds from the Prairies. But a storm that had moved from Texas to Virginia joined it. Such storms typically blow away over the Atlantic but this one, like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, turned left instead and went inland.

“What happened was the storm from the south,” Phillips said. “It did the most unthinkable thing. It changed direction. That’s when hell broke loose. It was a weather bomb. It just exploded. No one would have thought that this storm would behave unlike all its brothers and sisters in the past.

“The wave heights were 10, 11 metres and there was no lull, just boom, boom, boom. The pressure on the hulls must have been incredible.”

Ships that had been hugging the west shores of lakes to shelter from a west wind were now exposed to a howling wind and big waves from the northeast. The sucker hole also fooled them: “They were seduced. It was like a sneak attack; nobody could see it coming.”

Spray froze where it hit, coating the ships with hundreds of tonnes of ice that made them top-heavy. And without wireless communication, the ships never got weather warnings.

The Charles S. Price, a 150-metre coal carrier, was found upside-down in Lake Huron near Sarnia. Canada’s largest freighter, the brand new James Carruthers — the crew complained paint was still sticky — also disappeared in Lake Huron but has never been found. The sister-ships Argus and Hydrus vanished with everyone aboard. So did the Wexford, the Regina — on and on, most with crews of 20 or more.

More than 250 crewmen died, though crew lists were often incomplete and some feel the total was close to 300. Bodies were washing up all along the frozen shorelines of the lakes, many in useless life jackets. On the Canadian side of Lake Huron, searchers were paid $10 per body found.

Witnesses left many accounts.

Aboard the George C. Crawford in Lake Huron, Capt. Walter Iler watched waves crash over his deck and down through a broken skylight into the engine room, ship’s galley and crew’s sleeping rooms. As he turned south for shelter he passed the ore carrier Argus going north. A moment later “the Argus seemed to crumple like an eggshell. Then she was gone.”

The 22 crewmen on the L. C. Waldo tied themselves to the rigging after their ship ran onto rocks in Lake Superior. They waited, coated in ice, until a lifeboat from shore rescued them all the next day.

The Port Huron Times-Herald wrote of a wreck near Sarnia: “The fact that the huge vessel is lying bottom up, eight miles out in the storm-swept lake has convinced local mariners that the crew had practically no chance to escape.” It took a diver to read the ship’s name, Charles S. Price.

The Manitoulin Expositor reminds us of smaller dramas, like this story of six survivors trapped all day and night on a wooden schooner aground near Manitoulin Island: “Capt. McKinnon is 67 years of age and has been sailing 44 years and says it was the worst storm that he ever encountered and was master of 30 years and never before had an accident of this kind. All are thankful that the entire crew were saved and the schooner and cargo of lumber are not a total loss.

“Before leaving the wrecked schooner, Mrs. Fitzgerald suggested that they have a little breakfast, so they gathered up some broken boards that were floating around and by pouring on coal oil were able to make a fire and boil a cup of coffee. The Captain says this with bread that was floating around the cabin made the best breakfast that he had ever eaten.”

In Goderich, Ont., a harbour town that was the centre for recovery efforts and for the inquiry that followed, townspeople are marking this anniversary with a book, a play and other events.

“It warrants a place in the history books and unfortunately it hasn’t found it,” said Paul Carroll of Goderich. He’s a historian and author of a book on the 1913 wreck of the Wexford, a freighter carrying steel rails, in Lake Huron.

“The Great Lakes have become our back door,” he says. But they and their ports were once the main route that allowed Canada to stretch west, and fighting storms was the price travellers paid.

Dancing Jimmy Owen’s body was never found. The ship’s owners, the Acme Transit Company of Cleveland, got an insurance payment of $335,000.

Ottawa Citizen


Updates -  November 12

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Avonborg, Exeborg, Federal Agno, Federal Asahi, and Federal Mattawa.


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 12

In 1920, 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 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, 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, 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, PANAY, upbound 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.

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 snowstorm, the tug got lost and the towline 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.

1881: BRUNSWICK sank in Lake Erie after a collision with the CARLINGFORD. The wooden hulled, coal-laden steamer, made a run for the American shore but the effort fell short. Three lives were lost.

1914: The wooden steamer COLONIAL began to leak on Lake Erie and was beached in Rondeau Bay only to be pounded to pieces by gale force winds. All on board were rescued.

1967: The Swedish freighter TORSHOLM began visiting the Great Lakes as early as 1953. The ship was enroute from the Seaway to Stockholm when it ran aground near Uto, Sweden, and became a total loss.

1968: CLARA CLAUSEN, a Danish freighter, ran aground at Les Escoumins on the St. Lawrence and was abandoned. After being salvaged, the vessel came to the Great Lakes in 1970 and was rebuilt at Kingston as ATLANTEAN.

1974: BELVOIR (ii), enroute from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, to Corpus Christi, Texas, with a load of ore concentrates, struck a submerged object in the Gulf of Honduras and sank. Only 4 crew members are rescued while the other 21 were presumed lost.

1980: The former Lake Michigan rail car ferry PERE MARQUETTE 21 left the Great Lakes in 1974. It was lost on this date as the barge d) CONSOLIDATOR. It was hit by Hurricane Jean off the coast of Honduras while carrying a load of truck trailers.

2005: SPAN TERZA, an Italian freighter, first came through the Seaway in 1977 and returned as b) ANANGEL HORIZON in 1983. It was damaged on this date as d) SALAM 4 in a collision near Dondra Head, Sri Lanka, with SHANGHAI PRIDE and had to go to Colombo for assessment. The ship was repaired and eventually scrapped as e) ALINA at Xinhui, China, in 2009.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Last trip ending today for St. Marys Challenger

11/11 - 10 a.m. update - St. Marys Challenger is expected to arrive at Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay at 12:30 today.

Original report - St. Marys Challenger is expected to arrive under her own steam sometime today at Bay Shipbuilding Co. at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., to be converted to a barge. She made her final run up Lake Michigan Sunday.

Fittingly, her final passage from the Calumet River as a self-powered vessel was delayed by a malfunctioning bridge. When the vessel was known as Medusa Challenger, Chicago auto traffic was often delayed as she passed through malfunctioning bridges. At 5 p.m. Sunday, the St. Marys Challenger was approaching Lake Michigan after a delay waiting for the Nickel Plate Bridge near Torrence Avenue to open. The bridge was stuck in the down position.

The Challenger departed her unloading dock on the Calumet River at noon CST Sunday. The historic steamer made one stop in the Calumet at 106th Street to drop off cargo gear before proceeding out of the river on its voyage to Sturgeon Bay. The St. Marys Challenger arrived at the South Chicago Terminal in Lake Calumet shortly before midnight Friday.


Port Reports -  November 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor, Kaye E. Barker loaded ore and Cason J. Callaway waited at anchor for weather.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chandra McClain
On Thursday, the tug Manitou tied up in the river to wait for better weather. It left early Friday morning to pick up a barge in Hessel, Mich. Also in port on Friday were the Alpena and the G.L Ostrander / barge Integrity; both vessels loaded cement at Lafarge. On Sunday, Mississagi was anchored off Alpena, likely waiting out the windy weather.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manistee called on the Saginaw River early Saturday morning, traveling up to the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The tug Spartan and barge Spartan II were also inbound, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. Manistee was outbound late Saturday night, while Spartan - Spartan II were outbound Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening, Saginaw departed the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and headed for the lake. Saginaw was brought into the Saginaw River on Wednesday, towed by the tug Manitou. With repairs completed, Saginaw was on her way to her original destination.

Detroit, Mich. - Ken Borg
Roger Blough spent most of Sunday anchored in the Belle Isle anchorage. Water levels returned to normal Sunday evening and the Blough got underway downbound.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Cuyahoga loaded Sunday at The Lafarge stone dock. She sailed for Toledo.


Lawsuit filed over KCBX petcoke piles along Calumet River

11/11 - Chicago, Ill. – Along the banks of Chicago’s Calumet River, growing piles of black dust up to five stories high a byproduct of oil refining called petcoke have sparked two lawsuits that allege the towering mounds pose grave threats to the environment and people of the city’s Southeast side.

The granular, coal-like material -- a carbon-rich residue from crude oil refining called petroleum coke, but often referred to as petcoke -- is used as an industrial fuel and has long been stored in open lots in Midwestern cities.

There is little U.S. market for petcoke because it burns dirty, producing more emissions than coal. But as refineries across the country have begun processing more heavy, carbon-rich crude oil from Canada’s oil sands fields, they have likewise been producing more petcoke. And though American entrepreneurs, led by the Koch brothers, have discovered a booming market for petcoke in China, the piles have grown larger.

Now residents of Chicago fear a repeat of what happened this summer in Detroit, when a high wind caught a mountain of petcoke on the lakefront and created a swirling tornado-shaped black cloud that stretched to the sky and blew into Ontario. The cloud made the national news in Canada.

The mountain that unleashed the cloud was owned by Koch Carbon, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. The resulting outcry reportedly led the company to relocate the pile to Ohio.

The mountains in Chicago are owned by a different Koch Industries subsidiary, KCBX, which now faces lawsuits from the Illinois attorney general, who is alleging violations of the states Environmental Protection Act, and neighbors of the petcoke piles. The residents of the South Deering and East Side neighborhoods are seeking damages in a class-action lawsuit for alleged harm to property and health. Both lawsuits also seek force the companies involved in storage and moving the petcoke to put in measures to control the dust that residents say has become a constant nuisance.

There will be a growing amount of petcoke that is coming to these areas, said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. To the extent that there is already a problem, there is grave concern that there will be a much larger problem very soon.

The AGs suit, filed this week, alleges that the company failed to control dust on its storage site, which it said at times held as much as 350,000 tons of petcoke in piles up to 60 feet high. When the dust blows into the nearby neighborhoods, including two schools and a park within a mile, it gets into peoples eyes, is inhaled and coats peoples homes...threatening human health, the complaint states. Inhaling petcoke dust could potentially cause serious health problems, it adds, including asthma and other respiratory problems.

The suit is seeking civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the state environmental law, and $10,000 for each day of the violation.

KCBX has not responded to the lawsuits and did not reply to an NBC News request for comment on them.

The clashes over the petcoke piles in the Midwest are the latest example of the wide-reaching consequences of the North American energy boom, which can impact municipalities in unexpected ways.

While the U.S. is now producing more domestic high quality, "sweet light" crude oil than at any time in the past 20 years, several large Midwest refineries have recently switched to processing lower-grade, heavy crude from Canadas oil sand fields. Transportation bottlenecks that crimp the movement of Canadian crude from the oil sands to refineries have created a glut of the tarry crude, pushing down prices.

To take advantage of the supply, refineries on the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest have altered their operations increasing the size of coker units that break carbon away from lighter materials used in gas and diesel to process the Canadian crude, which produces more petcoke than almost any other type of oil.

“More and more heavy crude is available in their neighborhood,” Rob Smith, a managing director at PFC Energy, a consulting group that specializes in the oil and gas industry, said of the refineries. “The more coking capacity you have, the more petcoke there will be.”

While petcoke can also be used as industrial fuel, along with or instead of coal, there is little domestic demand for it because it produces increased greenhouse gas emissions when burned. That means most of it is exported, but only after being collected in massive piles and then transported to ports.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set rules that apply to controlling dust from petcoke, but it has not sought to regulate it as a hazardous substance.

Petroleum industry safety guidelines recommend that it be stored to avoid generating heavy concentrations of airborne, finely-ground petroleum coke dust (and) accumulations of finely ground dust on surfaces of equipment or buildings."

Last winter, Marathon Oil completed a $2.2 billion upgrade to its Detroit refinery, which included a near doubling of its coking capacity. By spring, Detroiters were protesting the mountains of black pebbly material rising up along the waterfront.

In August the city cited the company that owns the storage facility for violating city regulations and barred storage of petcoke at the riverside site. Koch Industries later reportedly moved the pile to a site in Toledo, Ohio, according to the Detroit Free Press. A spokesman for the Koch Companies Public Sector did not respond to NBC News requests for comment about the move.

Koch Industries is also the parent company of KCBX, which owns the controversial petcoke piles in Chicago. The Koch family is known for its generous financial support for conservative and libertarian causes and active opposition to environmental regulations.

Chicago’s petcoke comes from a refinery in Whiting, Ind., which is poised to bring online what owner BP (formerly British Petroleum) says is the country’s second-largest coker by the end of the year. The refinery has long processed some heavy crude, but will now devote itself to refining product from the Canadian oil sands. The $3.8 million expansion will increase petcoke production from 600,000 tons per year to 2.2 million, according to a company spokesman.

Petcoke is used by some U.S. industries, notably in making steel and aluminum. But most of the fuel-grade product being produced by the Midwest refineries is eventually exported to China and other Asian countries. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show petcoke exports to China have hit record levels since 2011.

Some environmental groups worry that rock-bottom prices for petcoke will prompt power plants here to make use of it despite the higher emissions.

“They have to dump it in the market cheap,” said Lorne Stockman, author of a critical report on petcoke for the environmental group Oil Change International. “Not all of the U.S. production could be used here, but all of BP Whiting and Marathons production could be soaked up in the Midwest.”

DTE Energy, a Detroit-based energy company, has experimented with using petcoke in an industrial fuel mix to reduce energy costs, according to its website. A power plant in Nova Scotia, Canada, has also made use of some of the coke once piled in Detroit, the New York Times reported last summer.

For Chicago residents, broader concerns about petcoke take a backseat to those close to home. Terms of BPs Clean Air Act permit and a federal legal settlement require the oil company keep the petcoke walled in while on the refinery property, but no such regulations exist for areas where it is stored before being moved to market.

Complaints to the Illinois EPA about the massive mounds of petcoke along the Calumet River increased markedly in December, when KCBX, the Koch subsidiary, acquired the riverfront terminal from DTE Energy, which previously held the contract to move the petcoke from BPs Whiting refinery, according to the lawsuit filed by the state attorney general.

KCBX is in the process of upgrading the terminal, Paul Baltzer, spokesman for its parent company, Koch Companies Public Sector, said in an email statement.

“We are in the final stages of constructing more than $10 million in upgrades, including improvements to the sites dust suppression capabilities,” said Baltzer.

In an emailed statement, a spokesman for BP said the company has been told by KCBX that they are in compliance with Illinois regulations.

Methods of controlling dust with water sprayers have long been in place in California and the Gulf coasts, but rules in Midwestern states are generally less strict. That puts neighbors of the petcoke mounds at risk, said Tom Zimmerman, a lawyer representing residents in the Chicago class-action lawsuit. “This dust is blowing all throughout the neighborhood,” he said of his clients. “There’s nowhere to go, unless they want to be prisoners within their own homes.”

NBC News


Shipwreck recovery will be part of Fox River dredging operation in Green Bay

11/11 - Green Bay, Wis. – The recovery of five sunken 19th century vessels in Green Bay over the next several days will provide plenty of romanticism but no gold bullion and only limited stores of local history, members of the salvage team say.

The boats are little more than “debris with a name,” said Paul Olander, operations manager for J.F. Brennan Co. Inc., which is dredging contaminated sediment from the bottom of the Fox River.

The five vessels are tugboats and barges either intentionally sunk or allowed to sink decades ago after outliving their useful working life, said Richard Feeney of Tetra Tech, which contracts with Brennan for the Fox River cleanup. Now they’re in the way of the sediment cleanup.

The five vessels are all in a cluster behind Tetra Tech, 1611 State St., just north of the southernmost Canadian National Rail Road bridge over Green Bay’s portion of the Fox.

The presence of the wrecks came as no surprise to Tetra Tech and Brennan, hired by area paper companies to clean polychlorinated biphenyls from the river. The bow of one of the boats sticks up out of the water some 13 feet, and the other vessels break the surface whenever water levels recede.

But dredging companies couldn’t just haul the submerged ships out of the area. The site has been nominated to the National Registry of Historic Places, which means Brennan workers need federal permission to do anything there.

“We have a responsibility on the river to do archaeological searches for anything with possible historic value,” Feeney said.

But engineers and dredgers are ill-equipped to determine historic value, so Tetra Tech hired Dolan Research Inc., a maritime archaeological consulting company out of Pennsylvania. That company, through the use of high-tech seismic and magnetic measuring equipment, came up with specific data about the size, shape and exact locations of the five vessels, at least one of which had deteriorated to such a point that it could not definitely be identified as a vessel as opposed to part of a dock.

The company also researched local and regional maritime records, newspaper articles and other sources, including “Wild Gales and Tattered Sails,” by local author Paul Creviere.

Local historians have long identified two of the abandoned vessels as the tug boats Bob Teed and Satisfaction. The two tugs both were built in the 1800s and eventually owned by Waterways Engineering Corp. of Green Bay, which used them for several years before stripping them of their useful gear and leaving them to sink in the 1940s.

Local folklore has it that the Bob Teed is the one sticking up out of the water, and the Satisfaction lies just north of the Bob Teed. Dolan Research isn’t so sure. Both those vessels definitely had been docked in the area in the 1940s, but their dimensions as determined by Dolan don’t exactly match what maritime records say they should. While it’s possible they were modified at some point in their lives to meet the different dimensions, Dolan thinks the vessel sticking out of the water might actually be the CW Kraft, built in 1920 but possibly scuttled on site in the 1940s.

If that’s the case, it’s possible the neighboring vessel is actually the Teed rather than the Satisfaction, Dolan’s research says. But that doesn’t explain what happened to the Satisfaction.

Of the three remaining wrecks, two appear to be old barges and another consists of wood rubble, which may be its own deteriorated barge or have come off one of the other nearby wrecks.

Whatever it is, none of it is intact enough to provide clues to the vessels’ true identities or even general archeological information that isn’t readily available elsewhere, research shows.

“Even if you could remove it, it wouldn’t be intact, it’s so deteriorated,” Olander said. “And it’s contaminated.”

Leaving the stuff at the bottom of the river would prevent environmental cleanup, and recovering it is pretty much out of the question, so Tetra Tech has pitched a different idea: Photograph the more recognizable pieces, compile existing photographs and information about the early days in the Green Bay area’s shipping industry and construct a story board for display at the Neville Public Museum.

The wreckage itself will be landfilled.

The State Historical Society, Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considered the plan and approved it.

Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group, an archeological and historical services company based in Jackson, Mich., will begin that work after Brennan raises the wreckage.

Under an agreement with the state and federal governments, Commonwealth is required to take numerous photographs of specified size and pixels per inch, extensively label each of them and build a 2-by-3-foot interpretative display addressing the style and significance of the vessels. The agreement spells out other requirements for recording and archiving information about the vessels, all of which must be completed within 60 days of the raising of the vessels.

Brennan will complete its last full day of dredging for the season at the end of next week, after which it expects to start bringing up the wrecks.

It’s not the first time that PCB cleanup uncovered an artifact shrouded in mystery from the Fox River’s floor.

Last year, workers measuring bottom depths using sonar stumbled across a car in 18 feet of water off the end of Cherry Street in downtown Green Bay. It turned out to be a 1975 Plymouth Valiant with Minnesota plates, stolen from a man who left it running outside a tavern in 1979. The vehicle had been put in drive and a tire iron placed to hold down the gas pedal to make the car drive itself into the river, police later determined.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Updates -  November 11

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Fuji, Eriebor, and Hellespont Charger.


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 car deck 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.

1940: The famous Armistice Day storm claims the ANNA C. MINCH, WILLIAM B. DAVOCK and NOVADOC (ii), on Lake Michigan and leaves CITY OF FLINT 32 and SINALOA aground and damaged.

1946: The former Canada Steamship lines bulk canaller LANARK was scuttled off the coast of Ireland with a load of World War Two bombs.

1977: The 380-foot, 8-inch long West German freighter GLORIA made 4 visits to the Great Lakes in 1959-1960. It went aground on the Adriatic at Sestrice Island as d) ARISTOTELES. While the 25-year old hull was refloated, it was declared a total loss and towed to Split, Yugoslavia, for scrapping.

1980: The DINIE S. suffered an engineroom fire at Palermo, Italy and became a total loss. The ship had visited the Seaway as a) CATHERINE SARTORI (1959-1967) and b) CURSA (1967) and was sailing under a seventh name. It was scrapped at Palermo in 1985

1980: CITY OF LICHFIELD stranded near Antalya, Turkey, while leaving the anchorage in heavy weather as c) CITY OF LEEDS. The ship was refloated but never sailed again and was eventually scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 1984. The ship had visited the Great Lakes in 1964.

1995: JAMES NORRIS was loading stone at Colborne, ON when the wind changed leaving the hull exposed to the gale. The ship was repeatedly pounded against the dock until it settled on the bottom. Subsequent hull repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks resulted in the port side being all welded while the starboard remained riveted.

1995: The Cuban freighter AREITO had a mechanical problem in the St. Lambert Lock and had to be towed back to Montreal for repairs. This SD-14 class vessel was scrapped at Alang, India, as e) DUNLIN in 2001.

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


St. Marys Challenger on final run before barge conversion

11/10 - 5 p.m. update - At 5 p.m. the St. Marys Challenger was approaching Lake Michigan after a delay waiting for the Nickel Plate Bridge near Torrence Avenue to open. The bridge was stuck in the down position.

9:30 a.m. update - The Challenger is expected to depart a Noon CST today. The historic steamer will make one stop in the Calumet at 106th Street to drop off cargo gear, before proceeding out of the Calumet River on its voyage to Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

Original Report- Chicago, Ill. - After weeks of speculation, the oldest freighter on the Great Lakes and one with a special place in Chicago history is unloading its last load of cement, before steaming to Sturgeon Bay, Wis., to be transformed into a barge.

The St. Marys Challenger, arrived at the South Chicago Terminal in Lake Calumet shortly before midnight Friday.

A number of the ships fans and she has many lined bridges along the Calumet River to get late-night photos of the 551-foot-long freighter close-up. The enthusiasts came from as far away as Massachusetts and New York.

Were talking about a ship that was built before the Titanic, said Richard Jenkins, of Lawrence, Mass., who chased the Challenger from Chicago to Michigan and back.

He said the Challenger is the last active U.S. flag freighter built before World War II, and at 107 years, one of the oldest operating ships in the world, which he credited to the fact that for most of her career, she worked on the Great Lakes and not in salt water.

The powdered cement delivery, which continued until late Saturday afternoon, marked the conclusion of a second career for the freighter, one which began when she was rebuilt for the cement-hauling trade in 1967-68.

She earned a spot in Chicago infamy between 1968 and 1979, when she unloaded regularly at the old Penn Dixie pier on Goose Island. Routinely, bridges that opened as wide as possible to allow her through would become stuck in the up position in her wake.

The Challenger remains the longest ship ever to traverse the Chicago River.

One sailor who worked aboard the Challenger for five years in the 1970s said he was hard-pressed to remember any trip in which at least one bridge leaf did not become stuck.

Beginning in 1979 and continuing until Saturday, the ships southern port of call was Lake Calumet, although she also made regular stops in Milwaukee and several other Wisconsin ports, depending on the transportation needs of her owner.

Those who spoke with the crew said the mood on board has become increasingly somber in the past few weeks, as speculation grew about the future of the ship, which is due for a mandatory five-year federal inspection.

Although the Challenger's owner said it was trying to decide between re-engining the ship, the last oil-burning steamship on the Great Lakes, with a new diesel engine and transforming it into a barge, others said the decision was made some time ago and already has a tug waiting in Muskegon, Mich., to begin its pushing chores.

The Chicago History Museum is among those hoping to obtain a piece of the ship as it is transformed. Some ship enthusiasts said they understand the dollars-and-cents decision that had to be made, but Jenkins said they should leave the ship as she is.

The Challenger’s departure was delayed Saturday due to weather. It looks like there may be a window early Sunday afternoon, please check back for updates.



Port Reports -  November 10

Toronto, Ont.
Rider was unloading sugar at Redpath Saturday.

Rochester, NY - Tom Brewer
The Stephen B. Roman arrived in Rochester Saturday morning.


Deadliest Great Lakes storm credited with safety, communications, forecasting improvements

11/10 - The storm raged for nearly a week, but Nov. 9 was by far the deadliest day.

Wind speeds up to 90 mph created waves 35 feet high. Cities, including Cleveland, shut down as more than 2 feet of snow fell. Great Lakes freighters were tossed like toy boats, with large ships overturned on four of the five Great Lakes including eight on Lake Huron alone.

It wasnt just another November gale that raged 100 years ago today, but a storm with hurricane-force winds and blizzard snowfall.

All told, the White Hurricane of 1913 claimed more lives nearly 250 than all other Great Lakes disasters combined. A dozen boats were lost, and another 31 were grounded or damaged. The storm caused the equivalent of $118 million in damage in todays dollars to freighters and cargo alone, not counting damage on shore.

Could a storm cause such calamity on the Great Lakes again?

Not likely, experts say, considering modern weather forecasting and maritime communications. The public, let alone ships captains, has access to more-accurate forecasts days in advance. In fact, the 1913 storm is credited with spurring maritime and weather service officials to develop better port structures, better safety features on boats, better communications and better forecasting for the Great Lakes region.

They had ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship radio available, but most of the companies didnt have them; they didnt see any use for them. The one company that did have them in, the Shanango Line, didnt lose a boat because they all stayed where they were and sat it out, said Michael Schumacher, author of the recently published book Novembers Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913. The weather forecasting they did have was archaic it all came out of the Washington, D.C., office based on the local weather stations reporting in each day. And what they did have for forecasts, many captains didnt pay attention to. But you can bet that, after this storm, they did figure out a way to get better forecasts and you can bet the captains did pay attention.

Even the type of steel used to make ships has changed since then. Ships at that time used a type of steel in their hulls that became brittle at temperatures below 33 degrees, probably contributing to their destruction amid high winds and waves. Since the 1940s ships have been made of a much more resilient steel.

According to Schumacher, the 562-foot passenger ship Huronic left Sault Ste. Marie in 80-degree weather but was caught in the brunt of the storm on Lake Superior. The Huronic survived, as did its passengers, but only after a close call near Whitefish Point.

Snow and sleet blinded us, Huronic passenger James B. Potter said in an interview a few weeks after the storm, recounted in Schumachers book. The docks and the engine room were solid ice. The ship was an iceberg. The wind blew 80 miles per hour and the snow striking the pitching vessel froze as it struck. The ship tossed and lurched and creaked and trembled. It was a terrible sea, a wicked sea, such as I never saw before. Inside the ship, men were thrown like toys and furniture was broken to bits.

How could such a thing happen on a (expletive) lake? Potter wondered.

Quite easily, and not that infrequently, it turns out. While the loss of property and life on the lakes is far less likely now, the weather phenomenon that occurred a century ago can and still does happen, and most often at this time of year.

In this case, two low-pressure systems converged over the Great Lakes and became an extratropical cyclone fueled in part by the lakes still relatively warm waters. The first low struck Lake Superior on Nov. 7 and moved slowly across the region through Nov. 11. Deceptive lulls in the storm, before the second low-pressure system arrived from the southeast, probably contributed to the peril as some ships ventured out from safe harbor.

The rapid drop in pressure and increase in wind speed spurred what forecasters called a weather bomb.

This situation, two low-pressure systems sort of coming together to have a combined impact, happens fairly often, especially at these transition times of year, the fall and spring, said Carol Christenson, warning coordination meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Duluth. We get these big fall storms, the November gales, because we have such a difference in temperature between air masses. We have warm air to the south and cold arctic air coming in from the north. We get the strongest winds when we have the largest temperature differences.

Those strong winds create big waves and heavy lake-enhanced snows, the hallmarks of Great Lakes storms.

The 1913 storms impact on Duluth and the North Shore was limited because the strongest winds were from the northwest, hitting only 60 mph here. Areas at the south ends of the lakes, where the wind had more chance to build big waves, were hit the hardest.

As far as storm impact on our area, the 1913 storm wasn’t even close to the Mataafa storm (November 1905) or the Fitzgerald storm (Nov. 11, 1975) or even the Halloween Blizzard (1991) or 2007 March Monster, Christianson said. They set up differently and their centers hit different areas but the thing they all had in common was they came in the seasonal transition period.

Schumacher, however, said the 1913 storm appears to have had unique qualities, including a sudden and unexpected wind increase on Nov. 9 and then hurricane-force winds coming out of multiple directions northwest, north and northeast. And the second low-pressure system from the south moved so fast, between daily forecasts, that no one in harms way knew it was headed north and west into the Great Lakes.

It switched so fast, they had waves coming from multiple directions. They call it confused seas, Schumacher said. And then those sustained winds lasted so long, 16 hours in some cases, that the waves just kept building and building on the southern ends of the lakes. Some of the people at the time said they had never seen that happen before or since.

The 1913 storm has kept many of its victims hidden, unfound in the century since the waves subsided. But just this past May, a group of shipwreck hunters with Northland ties found a previously undiscovered wreck sitting largely intact amid a spilled load of U.P. iron ore in about 535 feet of water offshore from Marquette. It turned out to be the 525-foot Henry B. Smith that had gone down with all 25 crewmen in the 1913 storm.

Of all the boats that went down, there wasnt one survivor. Not one, Schumacher noted. Most of the boats simply flipped over and sank. The guys didnt have a chance. That tells you what kind of fury that storm had."

Duluth News Tribune


Victims of 1913 storm remembered in Port Huron

11/10 - Port Huron, Mich. – Kevin Hayes came from St. Johns to visit his brother, Larry, in Port Huron and remember their great-uncle, George Hayes.

George Hayes, who never married and never had children, perished aboard the freighter Argus 100 years ago during the Great Storm of 1913.

“George has been part of our family lore my entire life,” Kevin Hayes said.

A large crowd, including family members of some of the approximately 250 sailors who died during the storm, gathered north of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron on a bleak and windy Saturday to dedicate a memorial to the Great Storm.

“It’s in a great spot with the other markers and the bridges,” said local diver Wayne Brusate, who salvaged from the St. Clair River the 4,000-pound propeller blade that comprises the memorial. “When the storm was blowing, this was kind of a focal point.

“If they could have made it to the river, they would have been safe.”

Winds on Saturday were gusting to 35 mph, as if commemorating the peak of the storm 100 years ago when winds blew at hurricane force — greater than 74 mph — for about 12 hours.

On Lake Huron, which caught the full brunt of the White Hurricane’s fury, eight large ships went to the bottom of the lake with all of their crews.

The Rev. Tom Seppo, who was clad in the vestments of an Episcopalian priest of the early 20th century, intoned the verses of the hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” which traditionally is associated with mariners.

“Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!”

Artist and diver Greg Lashbrook worked on the memorial.

“I’m really pleased to be a part of it and honored they would allow me to work on it,” he said.

“I think it’s great for Port Huron and the museum to have more artifacts by the river.”

The Port Huron Museum has been marking the centennial of the Great Storm with numerous events, including Saturday’s dedication, which was followed by a dinner and program at the Hilton DoubleTree.

Local diver and historian Brian Martin said the ceremony and the events marking the 100 anniversary of the Great Storm are the culmination of a five-year journey to get the area to take ownership of a large part of its history.

“To me, it’s a community taking possession of its history,” he said. “Forever after this day, they can celebrate this storm and its remembrance.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Remain Risky Places to Work

11/10 - November 10th marks the 38th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald and the 100th anniversary of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. As historians and boat watchers commemorate the lives lost in these two tragic events, it should be remembered that the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River remain risky places for maritime employees to work. Weather is just one of the risks that mariners experience. The following list is a compilation of contemporary fatal accidents that have been reported on the news page of this site. This list is by no means complete and excludes recreational diving accidents, aviation accidents, and naturally caused deaths onboard ships. It also does not include recreational boating accidents unless they involved a commercial vessel.

The education and training that todays mariners receive, along with the modern equipment and communication gear available to them has undoubtedly reduced the number of on-the- job injuries and fatalities. But it must be remembered that even minor incidents can turn into serious situations when the nearest hospital or fire station are miles and hours away.

Additional information is available regarding most of these incidents in the Boatnerd News Archives, accessible at the bottom of this page.

March 28, 1995 A bridge crane operator was killed at Dofasco Steel in Hamilton when the crane collapsed. The bridge crane was used to unload ships not equipped with self-unloading equipment.

June 10, 1995 One worker was killed at Port Weller Dry Dock when a 19,000 pound plate fell.

July 22, 1997 An 84 year old passenger died on the car ferry Badger when the Pullman-style bunk she was sleeping in flipped up and trapped her against the wall of her cabin.

Oct. 23, 1997 Six sailors were missing after the MV Vanessa sank 400 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia. Nine were rescued.

Dec. 11, 1998 Three commercial fishermen were missing with the fish tug Linda E on Lake Michigan. It was later determined that the fish tug was run over and sunk by the tug Michigan and tank Barge Great Lakes.

Sept. 22, 1999 One crewmember was killed on the Lok Maheshwari by a snapped cable while the vessel was tying up for inspection below Lock 1 at the Welland Canal.

June 16, 2000 Two schoolchildren drowned when the glass-bottom tour boat True North II sank off Tobermory. 18 others on board were able to swim to shore.

July 28, 2000 A crewman from John J. Boland fell overboard and drowned in the St. Marys River. The body was recovered several days later.

November 2000 A crewmember fails to return to his ship, the Ziemia Chemielska, in Duluth. His body was recovered in the harbor the next spring and drowning was ruled the cause of death.

Mar. 23, 2001 Two U.S. Coast Guard crewmembers died when their rigid inflatable patrol craft capsized about 3 miles off the mouth of the Niagara River in Lake Ontario. Two other crewmembers were rescued.

Oct. 23, 2001 Two crewmembers die when the mailboat J.W. Westcott II sinks in the Detroit River. Two pilots onboard are rescued by the tug Stormont.

Nov. 23, 2001 A crewmember apparently fell overboard and drowned while boarding a tug at Bay Shipbuilding in Surgeon Bay. The Chicago-based tug was undergoing repairs at the shipyard.

July 16, 2002 A crewman was reported missing off the salty Kent after he lost his footing and fell off the ship near Vercheres, Quebec.

Dec. 3, 2002 A crewman fell overboard from the Scan Trader near Petite Riviere St-Francois. He was de-icing hatch covers when he lost his footing and fell overboard. Despite having Canadian Coast Guard aircraft in the immediate vicinity, the crewman was not located.

May 6, 2003 An engineer was fatally injured while working on the hydrofoil Seaflight II in Toronto.

Dec. 9, 2003 Three crewmen died when the heavy lift ship MV Stellamare capsized and sank in the port of Albany while loading cargo. At least 6 other crewmen were rescued from the Hudson River.

Jan. 19, 2005 A tankerman was killed by the explosion of the tank barge EMC 423 in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. He was apparently using an open flame to heat up a cargo offloading pump which ignited vapors from the petroleum based cargo.

Aug. 11, 2005 A crewman on the tugboat Kurt R. Luedtke was stuck in the head by a broken cable and killed on Lake Erie, off Huron, Ohio.

Aug. 22, 2005 Six Turkish sailors jumped from the moving MV Imbat near Champlain, Que in an apparent attempt to seek asylum in Canada. Only three men made it to shore. Two additional crewmembers had previously abandoned the ship in Sorel while it was loading.

Oct. 2, 2005 Twenty passengers were killed when the tour boat Ethan Allen capsized on Lake George in New York. 27 other passengers and the boats captain survived. The passengers were part of a senior citizen tour group from Trenton, Michigan.

Oct. 8, 2005 A charter boat captain and one of his passengers drowned after their boat capsized in a whirlpool on the lower Niagara River. Another passenger was rescued.

June 29, 2006 A crewman from the Calumet was electrocuted on board the vessel off Cleveland. A second crewmember was injured attempting to pull his crewmate away from the power source.

Dec. 9, 2006 A crewmember of the Nova Scota-based tall ship Picton Castle was swept overboard in a gale about 500 miles off Cape Cod.

Mar. 13, 2007 A crane operator was killed when the crane he was operating collapsed and fell into an adjacent graving dock at Port Weller Dry Docks.

July 27, 2007 A sailor received fatal injuries in a conveyor belt accident aboard the Algomarine near Valleyfield, Quebec.

July 29, 2007 A swimmer was reported killed after being sucked into the propeller wash of a passing vessel near Beauharnois Locks.

Sept. 3, 2007 The crew of the tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks discover debris lodged between the tug and barge that is later determined to be part of a missing 21 foot fishing boat. Three fishermen on the small craft were reported missing. It is unclear of the small craft was wrecked by the barge, or if the barge ran over wreckage from a prior accident or capsizing.

Oct. 4, 2007 A passenger fell off the bow of the tour boat Keweenaw Star and was killed after being run over by the boat just west of the Houghton-Hancock lift bridge.

Oct. 8, 2007 A crew member collapsed and fell unconscious while climbing out of a cargo hold on the Tadoussac at a dock in Essexville. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital after being removed from the hold. The ship was unloading cement clinker.

Oct. 21, 2007 One man died when the 45 foot tug Aletha B. capsized and sank off Byng Inlet, Ontario. Three others were able to swim to an aluminum boat the tug had been towing.

Jan. 31, 2008 Two crewmembers died when the tug Checkmate III suddenly took on water and sank near Baccalieu Island, Newfoundland. Investigators later said failure of their survival suits contributed to their deaths.

May 24, 2008 A 38 foot power boat carrying five people crashed into a 120 foot barge in Belvidere Bay on Lake St. Clair at about 11 pm. Three died. The barge was lit with two amber construction-style lights and had been moored at the same location for several months.

Oct. 31, 2008 A crewmember was killed on the Algoisle when a cable snapped while the vessel was loading ore in Havre St. Pierre, Que. The accident happened about 3:45 am.

Aug. 8, 2010 A crewman on the Stewart J. Cort was fatally injured in a conveyor belt accident near the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. Three crewmembers were doing repairs when the accident occurred.

Oct. 20, 2010 A crewmember from the Canadian Provider was reported missing as the vessel crossed Lake Ontario. The man was last seen at 4 am and was reported missing about 1:30 pm. The Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards called off the joint search for the man after covering 3,150 square miles over 25 hours.

Dec. 1, 2010 A worker at the BNSF taconite facility at Allouez (Superior), WI was killed by a conveyor belt accident. Several miles of conveyors are used at this facility to transport ore from the rail yards to the ship loading dock.

(Fortunately the following incident did not result in any fatalities.)

Dec. 21, 2010 Sixteen crew members had to be removed from the vessel Hermann Schoening, which anchored off Port Colborne after the crew fell seriously ill from potentially fatal gas vapors. The ship loaded grain in Milwaukee and was in route to Montreal when the crew was sickened by phosphine gas. The gas was generated by rat poison pellets placed within the grain cargo. Fortunately the effects were short lived. The entire crew was able to return to the ship within a few days, after repairs were made to the ships ventilation system.

June 18, 2011 A search was called off for a missing sailor from the Alaskaborg, south of Newfoundland. The ship was en route from Baie Comeau to Tilbury, UK.

Aug. 21, 2011 A worker was killed at the Sifto salt mine at Goderich when the mine and the town were hit by a F3 level tornado. The worker, who was operating the shiploader , was the only fatality. There was also significant damage to the mine and the town. The Algoma Navigator was receiving a load of salt when the tornado struck.

Nov. 12, 2011 A crewmember on the St. Marys Challenger was killed when he was caught in a moving conveyor belt. The ship was docked in Milwaukee and he was undertaking repairs on the conveyor.

Jan. 13, 2012 The president of the board of directors for the museum ship City of Milwaukee apparently drowned after falling off the retired USCGC Acacia in Manistee. According to coworkers, the man went to check on the museum ships after finishing his job at a local railroad. Due to an anticipated snow storm, it was believed he decided to spend the night on the ships rather than return to his home in Muskegon. Based on footprints in the snow, it is believed he fell while trying to jump from the Acacia to the adjacent dock.

March 28, 2012 The chief engineer of the tug Patrice McAllister died in a Toronto hospital from injuries he received the previous day when the tugboat caught fire while transiting Lake Ontario. The tug, formerly named Cleveland, had been reconditioned over the previous winter in Toledo and was en route to new owners in New York City. The chief engineer had worked on the tug for numerous years and agreed to work the delivery trip to the east coast.

Sept. 23, 2012 A crewmember of the Umiavut was found dead in his cabin and the death was ruled a homicide. The ship was en route from Nunavut to Montreal. An investigation was conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while the ship was at anchor at Blanc Sablon, Que. No arrests were made and the vessel continued its trip to Montreal.

Dec. 1, 2012 A man was killed in an industrial mishap aboard the Tecumseh in Thunder Bay. The incident occurred about 2 am.

Nov. 3, 2013 A crewmember of the tug Undaunted died in an accident aboard the barge P.M. 41 off Ludington. It apparently involved the unloading conveyor on the barge. The barge was carrying fly ash from Muskegon to Charlevoix.

Tom Hynes


Lost Mariners Remembrance webcast tonight at 6 p.m.

11/10 - This annual program remembering lost mariners of the Great Lakes will be highlighted with “November’s Fury”, a presentation by Michael Schumacher.

• Performance by Lee Murdock, Great Lakes balladeer
• Honor Guard escort of the memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by the Honor Flotilla of Great Lakes vessels
• Lantern vigil at the Edmund Fitzgerald anchor

Click here to view this free webcast


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.

1900: The iron package freighter ARABIAN went aground 8 miles west of Whitefish Point, Lake Superior due to heavy weather. The ship was salvaged with only minor damage. It was later part of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet and was broken up about 1939.

1903: The passenger and freight steamer ATLANTIC was destroyed by a fire on Georgian Bay enroute to Parry Sound. The blaze apparently started in the cargo of hay that had become soaked with coal oil while riding out a late fall storm off Spruce Island west of its destination.

1922: Fleetmates GLENMAVIS and GLENCLOVA were in a collision at Montreal. Both were repaired and remained as part of the Great Lakes fleet for years as ACADIAN and GEORGE HINDMAN (ii) respectively. 1936: SIR WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN was upbound in Lake Huron and ran into a fall storm that damaged 62 automobiles as part of the deckload of new Packard & Chrysler cars.

1968: MANTADOC and FRANCOIS L.D. collided in heavy fog on the Seaway and sustained considerable bow damage. Both were repaired and the former still sails as d) MANITOBA while the latter was scrapped at Alang, India, as b) CINTA in 1987.

1989: ELPIS, Freedom Class deep sea freighter, first came through the Seaway in 1978. It raised considerable ire after stranding on a coral reef off Key Largo, FL while carrying sugar to Mexico. When it was refloated on November 12, the ship was seized by U.S. Marshals until assessment of the damage to the delicate coral reef could be made. The ship was later released and survived further trading until being scrapped at Alang, India, as c) CITY OF HOUSTON, in 2001.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


St. Marys Challenger on final trip before shipyard


11/9 - 10:30 p.m. The St. Marys Challenger will not depart Chicago tonight due to weather. Looks like a window early Sunday afternoon, please check back for updates.

7 p.m. Update The St. Marys Challenger is scheduled to leave South Chicago at 8 p.m. this evening, weather permitting. Should weather delay the departure, they will leave at first light Sunday morning.

2 p.m. update - The St Marys Challenger arrived in South Chicago late Friday night for what is scheduled to be her final trip in and out of Chicago/ Calumet Harbor for 2013. She was expected to leave Calumet Harbor early Sunday. No official announcements have been made, but the 107-year old vessel is expected to be converted to a barge over the winter.


Port Reports -  November 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lakes Contender loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Friday.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Leonard M and its barge loaded Friday at the Lafarge stone dock. The Cuyahoga was expected to begin loading Friday night following departure of the tug and consort.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Friday the Stephen B. Roman and English River offloaded cement.


Sculpture remembering ships, sailors lost in Great Storm dedicated at Goderich

11/9 - Goderich, Ont. – Appropriately blustery winds and grey skies greeted around 50 people gathered Friday morning at Lighthouse Park for the unveiling of a sculpture paying tribute to the ships and men lost in the Great Storm of 1913.

The sculpture in steel – based on the lost steamer James Carruthers – depicts the forward end of a vessel being overwhelmed by waves. It was designed by Keith Holman of Goderich.

The stone for the base was salvaged from the 1878-vintage Victoria Street United Church in Goderich, which was brought down by a tornado in 2011.

Capt. David MacAdam welcomed the attendees and introduced several industry and government officials who each made brief remarks. Music was provided by the Celtic Blue Highlanders.

The day continued with the job fair and trade show “Careers on the Water,” at the Royal Canadian Legion Headquarters and the Knights of Columbus Hall. Representatives of Algoma Central Marine, McKeil Marine, International Shipmasters Association, Georgian College, Macdonald Marine, Know Your Ships, BoatNerd and many others were on hand.

Shipwreck survivor Dennis Hale, shipwreck diver Dave Trotter and shipwreck videographer Ric Mixter all spoke. Great Lakes troubadours Lee Murdock and David MacAdam also performed.

The job fair and trade show continues from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday.

Know Your Ships


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.

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 26 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.


St. Marys Challenger on final trip before shipyard

11/8 - The St Marys Challenger left Charlevoix, Mich., Thursday with what may be her final load as a steamer and heading down Lake Michigan for what is scheduled to be her final trip in and out of Chicago/ Calumet Harbor for 2013. Her current ETA would put her in the area Friday around 8 p.m. Check for updates. She is expected to leave Calumet Harbor early Sunday. No official announcements have been made, but the 107-year old vessel is expected to be converted to a barge over the winter.


Port Reports -  November 8

Montreal, QC – Ron Walsh
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is deploying a team of investigators to Montreal, Quebec, to assess damage to the Claude A. Desgagnes. The vessel struck the approach wall above the Iroquois Lock Wednesday, and was expected to arrive in Montreal around midnight Thursday. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence. She is loaded with grain from Hamilton for a port in Ireland.

Grondines, QC.
Wednesday, the scrapyard-bound Saguenay reported having lost its propulsion due to main engine fuel supply problem, on the St. Lawrence River off Grondines, QC. The vessel had to anchor for repairs. She is headed for Aliaga, Turkey.


Lake Superior inches toward its long-term average level

11/8 - Lake Superior’s long, slow move back toward long-term average water levels continued in October, with the big lake 3 inches below its long-term mark for Nov. 1. The lake is 11 inches above its Nov. 1, 2012, level.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control said water supply to the lake was above average for the month but that the lake dropped about 2 inches in October, a little more than the usual 1-inch drop for the month.

Lakes Huron-Michigan continue to inch closer to normal, too. The lakes went down 2 inches in

October, a month they usually drop 3 inches. The lakes are 11 inches higher than they were on Nov. 1, 2012, and are 16 inches below the long-term average for this time of year.

Duluth News Tribune


Steel production rises by 24,000 tons in Great Lakes states

11/8 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region rose to 647,000 tons in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate.

Production increased by about 24,000 tons, or about 3.8 percent, from the week prior, marking the first increase in three weeks. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District was estimated at 643,000 tons, down from 665,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.83 million tons, up from 1.81 million tons a week prior.

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 76.5 percent last week, up from 75.8 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 68.6 percent at the same time last year.

So far this year, domestic steel producers have had a capacity utilization rate of 77.2 percent, which is up from 76.1 percent during the same period in 2012.

Domestic mills have produced an estimated 81.3 million tons of steel this year, down 2.1 percent from the same period last year. The mills had made about 83.1 million tons of steel by Nov. 2, 2012.

Steel imports declined by 4.1 percent in September, as compared to August, according to the American Institute for International Steel.

"Steel imports declined in September, reflecting the generally sluggish economy as coincident imports from our NAFTA partners led the decline in imports from August," said David Phelps, AIIS president.

Imports were down by 7 percent during the first nine months of 2013, as compared to the same period last year.

"The U.S. economy remains in a weakened condition at the end of the third quarter as reflected in the lower level of steel imports in 2013," he said. "Recent price increases across especially flat-rolled product lines have improved domestic mill conditions and import ordering, but the improvement is probably more inventory-related than reflective of an improvement in underlying demand. Until non-residential construction demand improves significantly, there appears little reason to conclude that the steel market will return to healthy levels of domestic shipments and imports."

Northwest Indiana Times


Annual Lost Mariners Remembrance in Detroit on November 10

11/8 - Detroit, Mich. – The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group hosts its annual remembrance for sailors lost on the inland seas Saturday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum.

This annual program remembering lost mariners of the Great Lakes will be highlighted by Michael Schumacher, author of numerous historical books, including “Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and the forthcoming “November’s Fury,” an account of the Great Storm of 1913. His presentation will focus on the worst maritime disaster to ever hit the Great Lakes, during which over a dozen large freighters foundered and over 200 lives were lost.

A lantern vigil at the Edmund Fitzgerald anchor begins the night, followed by a performance by Lee Murdock, Great Lakes balladeer, and an Honor Guard escort of the memorial wreath to the Detroit River for receipt by the Honor Flotilla of Great Lakes vessels.

Admission is $5 for Society/Dossin Maritime Group members, $10 for guests and $25 for a family of up to six people. For more information or reservations, call (313) 833-1801 or visit our website at

In addition, the event will be made available as a live webcast at for those unable to attend in person.


Updates -  November 8

News Photo Gallery


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.

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.

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.

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. as "The Class of 1906."

On 08 Nov 1986, 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 is now the CANADIAN TRANSFER.)

1981: EMERALD, the former LACHINEDOC, sank in the Persian Gulf during heavy weather while carrying steel mesh and aggregates. Nine members of the crew were missing while another three were rescued.

2007: SPIRIT OF NANTUCKET, the former NANTUCKET CLIPPER, struck an uncharted object in the Intercoastal Waterway and had to be beached. The ship was repaired at Norfolk, VA and resumed its journey to the Pacific for a new career as an Alaska cruise ship after earlier Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and East Coast service.

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


Claude A. Desgagnes damaged in Seaway

11/7 - Wednesday night the Claude A. Desgagnes lost control while downbound approaching the upper tie wall above Iroquois Lock. She hit hard with the stern, opening up the hull into the engine room. This event halted downbound ships which are going to anchor near Prescott.

Ron Beaupre


CSL's Saguenay headed to the shipbreakers

11/7 - The Canada Steamship Lines' bulk carrier Saguenay departed layup at Montreal Wednesday morning with an AIS destination listed as Aliaga, Turkey, and most likely the infamous scrapyard there. Her arrival date was listed as Nov. 28. Saguenay was built in 1981 and is the ex-Federal Thames and Lake Superior. Her fleetmate Richelieu arrived at the Aliaga scrapyard earlier this year.

Know Your Ships


Port Reports -  November 7

Indiana Harbor and Buffington - Matt M.
Wednesday evening Interlake's Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at Indiana Harbor. Following the Tregurtha down Lake Michigan, Great Lakes Fleet's Cason J. Calloway called on the Carmeuse Dock in Buffington.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at Lafarge on Wednesday loading cement. The Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. It unloaded salt from Goderich, Ont. The Mississagi departed the river around 9 p.m.


Disabled Saginaw arrives in Bay City for repairs

11/7 - The tug Manitou was inbound for the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon towing the Saginaw dead ship. Saginaw experienced mechanical issues and was towed to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City for repairs. The captain of tug Manitou effortlessly maneuvered Saginaw into the narrow slip at Bay Aggregates around 2 p.m. It is hoped she will be repaired and headed for the lakes before the weekend is over. Saginaw has a cargo of wheat on board.

Todd Shorkey


Lakes limestone trade up more than 23 percent in October

11/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.6 million tons in October, an increase of 23.3 percent compared to a year ago. The October total was also slightly ahead of the month’s 5-year average, and 4.7 percent above Septembers total of 3,475,702 tons.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 3.2 million tons, an increase of 29 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian quarries dipped slightly to 449,000 tons.

One factor behind the increases was better weather this October. Last year U.S.-flag lakers collectively lost about 2,000 steaming hours in October waiting out the heavy weather after Hurricane Sandy.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 23.5 million tons, an increase of a few boatloads compared to a year ago, but still 5 percent below the long-term average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Goderich the place to be this weekend for Great Storm of 1913 remembrance

11/7 - Goderich, Ont. – The Lake Huron port city of Goderich, Ont., will be the place to be this week as it remembers and honors the sailors and ships lost 100 years ago in the Great Storm of 1913.

This three-day tempest wrought havoc, and brought a legacy of death and destruction to the shores of the upper Great Lakes, in particular Lake Huron. It was an event that affected the lives of hundreds of families and friends in communities around the lakes.

Goderich’s commemorative efforts acknowledge the lives and ships lost in the disaster, in which 19 ships were either total or constructive losses and over 270 lives were lost. Most of the losses occurred on Lake Huron, and many of the bodies and much of the wreckage came ashore in the Goderich area.

One of those vessels, the Wexford, was lost just shy of Goderich harbor, and it is her likeness that appears on many of the remembrance’s literature.

On Thursday night, diver-videographer will offer a program at the Huron County Museum. Opening ceremonies will be held Friday morning that include the unveiling of a new monument, followed by a two-day Marine Job Fair and Trade show. Special guests include shipwreck survivor Dennis Hale, wreck divers Dave Trotter and Cris Kohl and more, singer-songwriters Lee Murdock and David Macadam and more. The play “White Hurricane” will also be presented.

On Sunday at 2 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church Goderich, a Memorial Service will be held for those lost in the Great Storm. Please arrive early to hear the Goderich Laketown band, which will be playing 25 minutes before the service begins.


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 its 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.

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, 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.

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

1885: ALGOMA hit Greenstone Rock off Isle Royale, Lake Superior and became a total loss. There were 46 casualties and only 16 on board were saved.

1887: OSCEOLA ran aground on Flat Rock Reef, Saginaw Bay, and all on board were rescued. The ship was abandoned as a total loss in December but refloated in the spring of 1888 and rebuilt.

1910: WASAGA caught fire and burned off Copper Harbor while seeking shelter in a storm, but all on board survived.

1921: ARAGON stranded off Salmon Point, Lake Ontario. It was released the following year but declared a total loss. The hull was sold and rebuilt and last sailed as BAYANNA in 1962.

1921: The wooden schooner barge MARY E. McLAUCHLAN sank in a storm on Nipigon Bay, Lake Superior.

1947: WILLIAM C. WARREN ran aground near Presque Isle Point, Lake Huron, while downbound with grain and had to be abandoned to the underwriters. It was not released until the following year.

1969: The Norwegian tanker CATE BROVIG hit the wall while upbound at the Eisenhower Lock and had a hole punched in the hull. The vessel was headed for Duluth. The ship first came inland in 1959 and was scrapped at Split, Yugoslavia as c) STAVROS T. in 1976.

1974: IRIS had come to the Great Lakes in 1969 and 1971. It sank as d) EUROPEAN PERSISTENCE while 510 miles southeast of Bermuda after developing leaks while enroute from Tampa to Venice. All on board were rescued.

1991: The former Swedish freighter FALKON, a first time Seaway trader in 1984, sank as c) APPOLONIA FAITH off the southwest coast of Sardinia while traveling from Valencia, Spain, to Piraeus, Greece. Two lives were lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up almost 10 percent in October

11/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 6 million tons in October, an increase of 9.6 percent compared to a year ago. The October ore float was also 8.8 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average, but trailed September by about 3 percent.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.3 million tons, an increase of almost 16 percent compared to a year ago. The October total included 183,000 tons shipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing vessels and delivery overseas. Year-to-date overseas exports from U.S. Great Lakes ports total 2,516,000 tons. Through October of last year, overseas exports from U.S. ports totaled 3,470,000 tons.

Shipments from Canadian ports to Great Lakes destinations totaled 659,000 tons in October, a decrease of nearly 31 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 47.6 million tons, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are 2.8 percent below the long-term average for the January-October timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  November 6

Alpena, Mich.
Tuesday the Saginaw suffered a main engine turbocharger failure on Lake Huron off Alpena. The vessel anchored off Thunder Bay Island and waited for the tug Manitou to assist. Late Tuesday the tow was downbound off Harrisville and appeared to be on a course heading for the Saginaw River.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
American Century arrived on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning to unload coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She backed from the dock during the late afternoon, turned at Light 12 and was headed outbound for the lake. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were also inbound on Tuesday, heading upbound for Zilwaukee. The pair was outbound from the Burroughs dock early in the evening.

Just to add more information about the visit from the saltie Elevit: Sunday, while she was tied up at the Dow Chemical dock, she was actually unloading her cargo to a new fertilizer facility. Known as the Port Fisher Fertilizer Dock, this was the first cargo delivered there by water instead of rail. Fisher is also the parent company of the Bay Aggregates dock, which is located right next to the new fertilizer facility. There is another cargo expected during November.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Calumet loaded overnight Monday at the NS coal dock and sailed for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday.


Heavy October rain could help Lake Michigan and Lake Huron continue to rise

11/6 - Heavy October rain could help Lake Michigan and Lake Huron continue to rise toward the long-term average water level. Lake Michigan - Huron is still 15 inches below the long-term average, but is 11 inches higher than this time last year. Slowly the lake level is increasing. The lake levels will likely fall over the next four months. This is a normal cycle. If the lakes don't fall as much as normal this winter, the lakes are set up to be higher next summer than this summer.

Northern and western Michigan had heavy rainfall in October. The areas with the heaviest rainfall were from the Mackinac Bridge to Charlevoix, Gaylord, and Traverse City. Gaylord had its fifth wettest October. Another area of heavy rain fell in the far southwest corner of the Lower Peninsula.

All of this rain can help Lake Michigan - Huron not fall as much as usual in November. That is how the lakes may gain water levels - by not falling as much as usual.

On Lake Michigan – Huron, the projected low water level in February is expected to be 11 inches above the low water level this past winter. The above normal rainfall on the Lake Michigan - Huron drainage basin over the past eight months is the main reason for rising water levels.

Lake Michigan - Huron seems to be gaining a few inches of water each season since we turned wet last spring. If the wetter than normal weather continues, we could see Lake Michigan - Huron within six inches of the long-term average in a year or two.



Miller Boat Lines’ ferry South Bass at Great Lakes Shipyard

11/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – Miller Boat Lines’ ferry South Bass is receiving aroutine five-year drydocking and USCG inspection at Great Lakes Shipyard. The vessel was hauled out using the Marine Travelift, and the work will be completed in two to three weeks.

This marks the first time Great Lakes Shipyard has performed work on the South Bass. Since 2010, repairs have been performed on all of the other ferries in the Miller Boat Line fleet, including routine five-year drydockings and inspections of the Islander and William Market, as well as the 2010 fabrication and installation of a 40-foot mid-body extension, main engine repower, and steering system upgrades on the Put-In-Bay.

To learn more, visit


Lost Mariners Remembrance Program Sunday in Detroit

11/6 - Detroit, Mich. – Sunday is the annual Lost Mariners Remembrance Program at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle beginning at 6 p.m. Since this is the anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, its lost crew will be recognized. However the main feature of the program this year will be The Great Storm of 1913. This was the worst storm ever on the Great lakes. It lasted three days and when it was over there were over 40 freighters destroyed, nine of which sank with a total loss of crew. Over 250 mariners lost their lives. They will be recognized with an Honor Wreath, an Honor Guard from many maritime agencies and an Honor Flotilla. There are about 30 international agencies that participate in this program. There will be ballads, blessings, bagpipes, bugles, boats and a featured speaker, Michael Schumacher. He has recently released a book chronicling the storm, titled “November’s Fury.”

Tickets are $10 and should be purchased/reserved ahead, as it has been sold out in recent years. Contact the Detroit Historical Society at 313-833-1801.


Book tells 1913 storm stories from family members

11/6 - Goderich, Ont. – Kathy Pletsch started out as a volunteer for the committee of the Great Storm of 1913 Remembrance Committee in Goderich, Ont., but will end her time with the group as a published author.

Pletsch told the stories of people who endured the storm 100 years ago based on accounts of living family members in “Dear Ella, ... I hope she is not like this in the fall.”

“It’s the people’s stories that are so interesting and so fascinating,” Pletsch said. “The stories are powerful enough that I hope they speak for themselves.”

About 20 families are featured in the book, mostly Canadian families but three or four are Americans.

Some of the stories were easy to tell because families saved and passed down tales and documents about their loved ones. Others were more difficult: Pletsch tracked down one family based on a signature in a guest book that read, “My brother died in this storm.”

“It’s so much, and it’s so interesting,” she said. “They each have a different story, and that’s what I couldn’t get over.”

But it meant more for Pletsch as she found out she also is a descendent of a person who died in the storm — she’s the great-grandniece of Capt. James Owen of the Henry B. Smith, which went down off Marquette in Lake Superior.

She said she found out about the connection about five years ago.

“My great-granduncle is an interesting story, and a lot is written about him because he was a colorful character,” Pletsch said.

He had actually taken the ship into the storm because there was a lull in the weather, and he thought it was safe to go out, she said.

“He was called Dancing Jimmy Owen or Laughing Jimmy Owen because he liked going to the dance halls,” Pletsch said.

He lived in Cleveland and Bay City at one point, but was from Ontario, she said. He didn’t have any children, but Pletsch said she has an uncle who was born a week after the storm, and he was named James, too.

With the Henry B. Smith just found in May, she said she hopes to learn more.

While she is a descendent, Pletsch said she doesn’t relate to his story as much as she did to others such as the sailor whose child was born 10 days after he died or the bottle that washed ashore three years later with a message in it to a sailor’s mother telling her he was sorry and he wished he could see her again.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  November 6

News Photo Gallery


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 tamarack railroad ties to Toledo, sank in Lake Huron in a snowstorm. 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). s the sun set 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 snowstorm. 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 towed to safety by Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s 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 fireproof 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.

1918: CHESTER A. CONGDON cleared Fort William with grain and stranded on Canoe Rock, Isle Royale in rough weather and poor visibility. The crew was rescued but the ship broke up and was listed as the first $1 million dollar loss in Great Lakes’ history.

1928: A.W. THOMPSON served as a Great Lakes consort barge before going to the Atlantic in 1918. The vessel foundered 60 miles south of Brunswick, GA, enroute from Wilmington, DE to a Gulf of Mexico port.

1968: OAK HILL visited the Great Lakes for seven trips in 1961-1962. It arrived at Singapore under tow as c) AGENOR on this date with leaking in the engine room while on a delivery trip to Chinese shipbreakers at Whampoa. The vessel was resold for scrapping in Singapore.

1969: REINHART LORENZ RUSS made 22 trips through the Seaway from 1960 through 1966. It sank as b) NAIS one mile off Raffles Light, Singapore, after a collision with the Norwegian tanker BERGEBRAGD (68/80,003) and one life was lost.

1981: LA LOMA, an early and frequent Seaway trader, arrived at Cape Town, South Africa, with hull damage as e) AEGEAN SUN. The ship was traveling from China to Abidjan, Ivory Coast. It was assessed as beyond economical repair and laid up at Mombasa. The vessel was eventually sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and arrived at Gadani Beach under tow on April 18, 1985, for dismantling.

1983: EVA MARIA C., a Seaway caller in 1976, developed leaks as c) LAGADA BEACH and sank about 200 miles northeast of Aden. The vessel was enroute to Bandar Abbas, Iran, with iron and steel products.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  November 5

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived at the Upper Harbor Monday afternoon to load ore.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Herbert C. Jackson loaded overnight Sunday at the NS coal dock and sailed early Monday for Detroit.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee arrived at the LaFarge stone dock on the Marblehead Peninsula late Monday night to begin loading aggregate.

Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
A Stoneport-loaded cargo of Michigan limestone began spilling onto the dock at the Huron Lime Co. Monday night, following arrival of the Philip R. Clarke.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Capt. Henry Jackman departed Lackawanna for Sault Ste. Marie at 7 p.m. They were in port to unload at the south end of the Gateway Metroport Main Dock.


Pere Marquette 41 crewman dies in conveyor system accident

11/5 - Ludington, Mich. – Michael Douglas, 37, of Pentwater, died in a work accident Sunday aboard Pere Marquette Shipping Co.’s barge Pere Marquette 41.

The tug-barge (tug Undaunted and barge P.M. 41) was in Lake Michigan heading north about 11:45 a.m. when a call went out to the U.S. Coast Guard as a notification an employee had died in a conveyor belt accident on deck.

“A crew member reported he was deceased,” said Command Duty Officer Charles Wolfson of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan out of Wisconsin, which handled the communication with the ship and is among the departments investigating the incident.

The vessel had been en route from Muskegon to Charlevoix delivering white ash and was south of Ludington when the call came in. The tug-barge docked in Ludington, its home port, about 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Pere Marquette Shipping Company shared these thoughts about Douglas.

"We are deeply saddened to report that an accident took place aboard the Pere Marquette 41, Sunday, Nov. 3 resulting in the death of respected crew member, Michael Douglas, also known as 'Tall Mike' to his friends and ship mates aboard the Undaunted.

"Michael was a devoted family man who always missed his family while at sea, but sailed as a means to provide for them. Michael worked for Pere Marquette since 2006 and served as equipment mechanic for more than four years. He was a great employee and supportive shipmate.

"He was an avid outdoor sportsman and a particularly gifted fisherman, and shared those skills with his wife and children.

"Mike was a valued member of the crew and was highly respected by everyone on board. In the simple yet meaningful expression of those who go down to the sea in ships, 'he was a good shipmate' and will be sorely missed.”

The Michigan State Police Hart Post, Ludington Police Department, Ludington Fire Department and Life EMS were among the departments involved. The victim services units for both the Mason and Oceana county sheriff’s offices helped as well, being there for the crew and helping with notifying family members.

The state police handled the police investigation, but Sgt. Ron Nelson, who was at the scene along with trooper Dan Thomas, said it was a group effort.

“The Ludington Police Department, Ludington Fire Department, Life EMS were all a big help to us,” Nelson said.

“We were there to determine what happened, to document the scene and to confirm this was an accident,” he said. “We believe it’s just a tragic accident.”

P.M. Shipping Co. began in 1997, founded by the owners of Lake Michigan Carferry. The company carries bulk materials on the Great Lakes and markets itself as being able to get into ports other vessels can’t due to its size and maneuverability. The tug-barge carries aggregates, steel, iron, stone, equipment and more.

Ludington Daily News


Dedication of Sailors Memorial in Port Huron this Saturday

11/5 - Port Huron, Mich. – A monument to the Great Storm of 1913 and all people lost at sea is about to become a permanent fixture in Port Huron. The nearly seven-foot memorial will be dedicated Saturday, Nov. 9, “which is the 100th anniversary of when the storm was at its very worst.”

Wayne Brusate, a local diver and chief of the St. Clair County Sheriff Dive Team, said an engraved seven-foot, 3.5-ton bronze propeller blade will be installed north of Flag Plaza near the Blue Water Bridge. The monument will provide the area with a remembrance of the power of a Great Lakes storm.

“Port Huron lost a lot of people in the storm,” Brusate said. “It was kind of the center of attention on the U.S. side. I think it’s only appropriate we have something remembering the storm and a memorial for everyone lost at sea.”

Brusate found the bronze propeller blade 15 years ago while diving beneath the Blue Water Bridge. He offered to use it as the focal point for the memorial when he and the museum started working on the initiative in the early summer.

“While it was the museum’s vision to have some kind of marker, working with Wayne and Donna on this was the perfect partnership,” said Susan Bennett, executive director for the Port Huron Museum. “There is the lake where it all happened right behind you. I think it will be very meaningful, very impactful.

“Part of the museum’s mission — and some other groups in town as well — is to maintain and foster our maritime heritage.”

The efforts to remember the lost also extend to a marker at the Common Grounds at Lakeside Cemetery.

The initiative stems from an investigation into a body that washed up on Marysville shores in 1914. People at the time were quite sure the body was one of the people lost in the Storm of 1913, but were unable to identify the sailor, Bennett said.

Researching county records, Brusate, Dave Bennis and Sue Child discovered the sailor’s unmarked gravesite resides in the Common Grounds, or paupers’ field, in Lakeside Cemetery.

Brusate wanted “to put some kind of a marker in the cemetery for the unknown sailor,” he said.

“He purchased a granite marker that is part of the museum exhibit right now, and when the exhibit closes in January, it will be moved to Lakeside Cemetery,” Bennett said.

The ceremony will be followed by social hour, dinner and silent auction at the new Doubletree Hilton, on the St. Clair River. Period dress is optional, Bennett said.

Tickets are $45 and are available at the Port Huron Museum Carnegie Center or by phone at 810-982-0891.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  November 5

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  November 5

At 2 a.m. 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.

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 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.

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 downbound 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.

1885: The Canadian Pacific passenger and freight steamer ALGOMA cleared Owen Sound on its final trip with 11 passengers and headed for the Canadian Lakehead.

1897: IDAHO departed Buffalo and was caught in a wild storm on Lake Erie. The wooden passenger and freight carrier fell into the trough and only two survived. They had climbed the mast and were plucked from the crow's nest the next morning in a heroic effort by the crew of the MARIPOSA.

1940: SPARTA was wrecked near the Pictured Rocks after stranding on a reef in a heavy gale. The hull was abandoned on November 11 but salvaged in 1941 and never repaired.

1957: The Finnish freighter KORSO struck a drifting World War Two mine off Cape Mondjego, Portugal, and sank as a belated casualty of the conflict. The vessel had been built at Kingston, ON in 1942 as H.M.C.S. IRONBOUND and converted for mercantile use in 1948.

1962: EDWIN REITH, a West German salty, grounded near Tibbetts Point, Lake Ontario, and had to be lightered to P.S. BARGE NO. 1. It was released and came to Toronto to unload on November 14.

1967: The Canadian laker MOHAWK DEER, enroute to La Spezia, Italy, for scrapping, ran aground in the Gulf of Genoa near Portofino, Italy, and sank the next day.

1987: CATHARINA WIARDS sank in the Red Sea as d) TRADER after the engine room flooded during a voyage from Augusta, Italy, to China. The vessel was a year old when it came through the Seaway for the first time in 1970.

1991: OLYMPIC PEACE, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1976, arrived at Piraeus, Greece, with damage to the main engine cooling system as c) FREE PEACE. It was later seized by Banco-Hellenique and sold at auction. The ship was scrapped in China during 1994 as e) PATMOS I.

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


Port Reports -  November 4

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River welcomed its first salt water vessel in four years on Sunday morning with the arrival of the tanker Elevit. Assisted by the tug Gregory J. Busch, Elevit called on the Dow Chemical dock in Essexville. Alpena was inbound Sunday evening, calling on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexvillle to unload. Both vessels were expected to be outbound on Monday.

The last saltie to visit the Saginaw River was the Oxl Lotus, on July 5, 2009. She didn't actually make it to the river, but rather anchored out in Saginaw Bay, with the tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC 2004 making seven trips between the her and the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload the cargo. Before that, the Onego Merchant was the last saltie to actually travel up the Saginaw River, arriving on June 22, 2006 to unload totes of granulated sugar at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee for Michigan Sugar Company.

Point Edward, Ont. - Marc Dease
Sunday the Baie St. Paul was in the north slip at Point Edward flying the blue/white Alpha signal flag indicating there were divers down. She has a noticeable dent on her starboard side about 150 feet from her bow, which may or may not be the reason for her visit to Point Edward.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway came into Lorain around midnight Sunday and docked an unloaded at Jonick’s docks by the railroad bridge. She left at 10:42 a.m.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The 620-foot Manistee was loading on Sunday at the Lafarge stone dock. She sailed late for Ashtabula.


For second month, Port of Cleveland has significant increase in cargo tonnage

11/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – General cargo moving through the Port of Cleveland in October was up 20 percent compared to October 2012 and is more than 20 percent ahead of the Port’s 2012 tonnage level. The port is on pace to have its highest annual tonnage level since the 2008 calendar year.

“This growth shows that there is a higher demand for steel in Northeast Ohio – and it indicates significant growth in the manufacturing sector,” says Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port of Cleveland. “Waterborne shipping is the most cost effective means of freight transportation, and the Port of Cleveland is an important link to get our local manufacturers the supplies they need to produce their products.”

In October, the port had 50,110 metric tons move across its docks, compared to 40,027 metric tons in October 2012. This year, the port has already moved 614 million pounds (307,000 tons) of cargo through its general cargo operation. This is more than a 20 percent increase over 2012, when the port of Cleveland moved 500 million pounds (250,000 tons) across its docks.

The Port of Cleveland spurs job creation and helps the region compete globally by connecting local businesses to world markets through the most cost-effective method of freight transportation in the region. The port, and its terminal operator, Federal Marine Terminals, provide customers all-water access to and from international markets as the closest major port on the Great Lakes to the St. Lawrence Seaway.

David Gutheil, vice president of Maritime & Logistics at the port, said that increased demand for steel from local processors and manufacturers, along with new business that continues to move across our docks has led to the increase.

“We expect a very strong finish to the 2013 shipping season, which could produce our highest tonnage levels since the 2008 calendar year,” Gutheil said.


Maid of the Mist lifted into its newly-built U.S. dry dock Thursday

11/4 - Niagara Falls, N.Y. – The Maid of The Mist has plucked its tourist-toting vessels from the waters of the of the Niagara Gorge and placed them on their newly-built dry dock on the former Schoellkopf Power Station site, a punctuation mark for the iconic attraction to a task that has been marred by controversy.

Maid owners and employees stood alongside state and city officials, the construction workers that have been working around the clock to complete the new dry dock and members of the press watching as the Maid of the Mist VII was hoisted out of the water, her sister ship the Maid of the Mist VI waiting patiently in the rushing waters of the lower Niagara, as the ship was gently placed onto wood blocks to rest for the winter.

Maid of the Mist owner James Glynn, smiling as the boat came to rest, said his company and its contractors on the job, LP Ciminelli, accomplished "what we set out to do" Thursday morning.

"It's very gratifying that we're here and everything's in place," Glynn said. "We'll be ready to start in the spring from the American side."

The Maid of the Mist, which has operated tour boats at the base of the Falls since 1846 and been owned by the Glynn family since 1971, lost its contract with the Niagara Parks Commission, the provincial agency that runs the parks system in Ontario, re-opened the Glynn's contract to bidding in 2009, the result of lawsuits and public scrutiny of the company's no-bid contract.

The Maid was outbid by Hornblower Cruises and Entertainment, a California-based cruise operator, and lost its storage facilities located on the Canadian side of the gorge along with the right to operate in Ontario. Hornblower gains rights to the site at the beginning of 2014.

With no storage facilities on the American side of the gorge, the company was in danger of losing its ability to operate the attraction.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined the Glynn's in announcing an amendment to the Maid's existing 40-year contract — inked in 2002 — that would see the state take in an additional $105 million over the course of agreement and see the Maid spend an additional $32 million to convert the historic Schoellkopf Power Station site into a dry dock facility for the boats and "enhance" the historic aspects of the site to create another attraction for visitors.

The company and several state agencies have faced a series of lawsuits from Hornblower, seeking to reopen the Maid's no-bid contract on the American side, and from the Niagara Preservation Coalition, a preservation group seeking to stop the Maid and the state from altering the historic site, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in February after a push from state officials for the designation.

In addition, the Niagara Preservation Coalition accused the Maid, the Cuomo administration and a variety of state and federal agencies of rushing through environmental review processes to meet the deadline and appease the politically connected Glynn's in court documents.

The Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Commission, the city's designated preservation board, also raised concerns this summer when they felt they were being shut out from the site and information regarding the state's plans for the historic aspects of the former power plant, which broke away from the gorge and tumbled into the Niagara in June 1956.

The commission is now working with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York Power Authority and Preservation Buffalo Niagara to formulate a plan for interpretive elements on the site.

Niagara Gazette


Stepping out for the St. Clair River

11/4 - Port Huron, Mich. – Randy Maiers had that happy and proud look you most often see in a delivery room.

“It’s hard to put into words,” said Maiers, as he stood on the newly-paved surface of the Blue Water River Walk. “I think our partners and donors would express this — how gratifying it is to be part of planning something changing this stretch of shoreline and making such a difference.

“We’re changing 100 years of abuse on this shoreline,” he said. “It’s exceeding anyone’s expectations.”

Maiers is the executive director of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, which instead of an annual dinner, had a barbecue on Wednesday near the river walk’s newly reconstructed railroad ferry dock.

“A year from now, people are just going to be amazed when they enjoy this whole experience,” he said.

The foundation and St. Clair County are partners in the $6 million development along the St. Clair River shoreline south of the Black River. The river walk is restoring about 4,300 feet of the shoreline while also opening it the public. The paving was completed on Monday.

“It’s bringing back people to the shoreline and giving them lots of opportunities to get next to the water,” said Suzan Campbell of the Lansing-based Michigan Natural Features Inventory. She and Phyllis Higman, also of MNFI, conducted a stewardship workshop at the Great Lakes Maritime Center before the Community Foundation event. About 40 people attended the workshop.

“This is an amazing restoration that is bringing back a piece of our natural heritage that has been long gone,” Higman said. “It’s ecologically important, but it’s also a place for people to come to enjoy.”

Campbell said she was encouraged by the turnout at the workshop. “This is really an effort to bring back waterfront for the community,” she said. “Doing something like this requires a tremendous amount of stewardship on the part of the community.”

People who came to the workshop or the barbecue strolled along the paved walkway, looking at new plantings and landscaping and some of the structures built on the waterfront.

An outdoor classroom features large limestone blocks stair-stepping down to a shallow lagoon; the old railroad ferry dock floored with Brazilian walnut attracted diners enjoying the pleasant, for October, temperatures along the river.

Campbell told people at the workshop she hoped to create a corps of volunteer stewards for the river walk’s natural features.

“There are such awesome volunteers in this building talking about ships out on the river, we thought it would be nice to have volunteers out on the river walk during special events showing people where the turtles and frogs are,” she said.

The area, which for much of Port Huron’s history has been industrial with rail yards and other facilities, before European settlement was a natural community called lakeplain prairie, similar to much of Algonac State Park.

Lakeplain prairie occurs on the glacial lakeplains of the Great Lakes and is found in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and southern Ontario. Only about 1 percent of the original community remains, according to the MNFI.

“The attention to detail on this project has been remarkable,” Campbell said. “When I look at what has been done to this site, I would expect things (animal and plant species) to start turning up.”

She said trumpeter swans, common terns and loons already have been seen along the river walk property. “They are all threatened species that are turning up in downtown Port Huron,’ she said. “I think we can improve the number of species that are out there.”

Penny Peck, of Port Huron Township, said the improvements have been a long time coming. She started the Blue Water Land Conservancy in 1996 with a goal of acquiring the property so it could be restored and opened to public use.

The conservancy now is part of the Blue Water Land Trust, a subsidiary of the Community Foundation. The land trust owns the property.

“This is what we wanted to do with the land conservancy, and we couldn’t,” Peck said. “We were too small. None of it would have happened without Jim Acheson.”

Acheson donated the property to the land trust.

Peck said she was “thrilled — the land conservancy was all about returning quality land to the public.

“We had to turn this back into quality land. It’s coming together, faster than any of us had ever imagined.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  November 4

News Photo 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 Abino 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.

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.

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, TEXACO CHIEF was renamed A.G. FARQUHARSON. She was renamed c.) ALGONOVA (i) 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 upbound 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.

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.

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.

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 that followed less than a week later that 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 AMOCO WISCONSIN near Lee Point in Traverse Bay. Engineer William Stephan was lost.

1891: The iron freighter NORTH, which had become the first ocean ship to be cut in two and brought to the Great Lakes, arrived at Collingwood to be rebuilt as b) CAMPANA for the passenger & freight trades on the upper lakes.

1898: The wooden passenger and freight steamer PACIFIC burned at the Grand Trunk Railway dock in Collingwood along with the freight sheds and their contents. The blaze had begun the previous evening and roared for hours. The vessel was valued at $65,000.

1959: WESTRIVER arrived at Halifax for repairs after an earlier engine room explosion on Lake Superior had left the ship with significant damage.

1967: PEARL LIGHT, a World War II Empire ship, came through the Seaway for one trip in 1965. It was wrecked off Vietnam as g) HABIB MARIKAR while enroute from Dalian, China, to Chittagong, Bangladesh, with bagged cement. One life was lost.

1972: INLAND TRANSPORT went aground off Garden Island Bank, near Little Current, Manitoulin Island, and received major hull damage that led to the retirement of that Halco tanker after one more trip.

1991: CARLI METZ struck the wall below Lock 2 of the Welland Canal and the vessel had to go to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs. It had been inbound for the first time earlier in the year and returned in 1992. It was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, as d) METZ ITALIA in 2001.

1993: ZIEMIA ZAMOJSKA, while under tow, struck the raised 106th Street Bridge on the Calumet River at Chicago resulting in damage to the structure and traffic problems. The corn-laden vessel received a hole in the port bow, which was repaired at Montreal.

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


Thunder Bay Bridge open to rail; vessels can still load grain

11/3 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - The James Street Swing Bridge is now open to rail traffic. CN Rail, which owns the bridge, reopened it for trains early Friday morning. The bridge, however, remains closed to vehicle traffic.

CN Rail regional manager Lindsay Fedchyshyn said examiners have concluded their inspections, and made repairs to the ties and supports impacted by Tuesday evening’s fire.

“We wouldn’t have resumed train traffic if we weren’t 100 per cent confident in our engineering,” Fedchyshyn said. As for vehicular traffic, that is still a little ways off.

Fedchyshyn said the company can only attest to the rail section, and has hired a structural consulting expert to examine the road. That expert began an evaluation Thursday night, and she said a conditioning report is not expected back until the middle of next week.

The bridge, which links the city to the Fort William First Nation, has been closed since being engulfed by flames shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday. However, the impact for at least one area business is not as bad as it could have been.

Superior Elevators general manager Darin D’Aleo said the fire happened during a lull period, and impacts of the temporary loss of the bridge have been minimal. D’Aleo added next week is scheduled to be a busy time for the company and they are happy to see the transportation resume.

“We’re happy as clams right now,” he said. “The rail traffic is going to come in, and we have vessels that are going to be taking grain away so it’s a perfect situation.”

The port’s grain elevators rely on rail cars to deliver grain on a frequent basis.

"Well all the grain that comes into the terminal comes in by rail," said Paul Kennedy, manager of Mission Terminal. "So we would be effectively cut off from our supply."

Management at the nearby Cargill elevator shares Kennedy's concerns. More grain is enroute to that elevator, coming in by rail.

A spokesperson for Cargill said using trucks to bypass the James Street swing bridge is not an idea solution, as the facility is not set up to handle truck traffic.

TB News Watch and CBC News


Port Reports -  November 3

South Chicago -
A busy few days along the Calumet River saw the Manitowoc load coal for Holland, Michigan, and return again early Friday morning to load for Green Bay at KCBX. Following the Manitowoc late Friday night was the Ken Boothe, Jr. / Lakes Contender to load Western coal for Cobb station in Muskegon. The Oakglen arrived Saturday morning for a split load at Beemsterboer dock, finishing at KCBX North.

Sandusky & Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Friday night the Manistee loaded at the Lafarge stone dock in downtown Marblehead. In nearby Sandusky, CSL Assiniboine arrived at the NS coal dock and began loading. She sailed Saturday afternoon for Hamilton, Ont. Replacing the Assiniboine under the coal loading chute was the Michipicoten, which was loading Saturday night for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., amid rain and raw, breezy conditions left as Friday's gale force winds continued to diminish and the low pressure center pulled away from Lake Erie. The storm had forced most vessels to seek shelter and pushed lake water eastward, making navigation difficult as a result of the shoaling in the West end of the lake and at the mouth of the Detroit River.


Updates -  November 3

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Atlanticborg, AS Omaria, Avonborg, BBC Fuji, BBC Wisconsin, Elevit, Exeborg, Federal Katsura, Nordisle, and Sichem Dubai.


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 barge’s bow, was run over and sunk. Three lives were lost.

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 eight miles south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin and sank. Ten or 11 of the 18 on board lost their lives. Within a few days, only her arches were visible above the water.

Dismantling of the H. C. HEIMBECKER began on 03 Nov 1981, by Triad Salvage Company at Ashtabula, Ohio, and was completed the following year. This vessel was originally named GEORGE W. PERKINS (steel bulk freighter, 556 foot, 6,553 gross tons, built in 1905, at Superior, Wisconsin.)

1928: CANADIAN TRADER was Hull 39 of the Port Arthur shipyard. Following a sale to Japanese interests, the ship departed Seattle on this date in 1928 on its delivery voyage, still as c) GUILDA SCUDERI, and was never seen again.

1953: The tug J.A. CORNETT went hard aground about seven miles north of Clayton, NY and was leaking badly. The vessel was eventually refloated and survived at Port Dover, ON at least as recently as 2011. It has been laid up there since 1992 and is now in derelict condition.

1965: The tug MISEFORD was towing the barge CHARLES W. JOHNSON when they were caught in a storm on the St. Marys River. The tug was pulled over on her side and rested on the bottom. MISEFORD was salvaged in the spring of 1966 and remains in service in 2012 as a harbor tug at Thunder Bay, Ont.

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


Port Reports -  November 2

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
At the end of October, there were 13 commercial vessel deliveries on the Saginaw River. This was down by one as compared to last year and represented the fewest deliveries October over the past five years. The five-year average is 17. For the year to date, there have been 113 commercial vessel deliveries, up three from the same period in 2012. The five-year average for this date is 120 vessel deliveries.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived in Lorain around 11:30 a.m. Friday.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Robert S. Pierson was at anchor in Lake Ontario on the south shore off Irondequoit Friday.


Goderich plans events Nov. 9-10 to mark the Great Storm of 1913

11/2 - Goderich, Ont. – The Port of Goderich and Lake Huron shore communities are honoring the lost souls and ships of “The Great Storm 1913” with several remembrance activities Nov. 8, 9 and 10. A permanent memorial is also being built, for which donations are being accepted.

Museums along the lakeshore communities will host special displays. Art galleries in Goderich will present special exhibitions. And the Goderich Little Theatre will mount the musical drama “November 9, 1913: The Great Storm,” written and directed by Warren Robinson, with production and music by Eleanor Robinson. See a preview of the play here:

The Goderich activities will also include a exhibition combining heritage and education displays with a marine trade show and job fair exhibition called “Careers on the Water and More.”

Participation has been confirmed by major partners in the marine shipping industry as well as marine heritage and education groups from across the Great Lakes basin. The Georgian College International Marine Training Program will be a major player with their on-site simulators, as will the International Shipmasters Association. Government agencies including the Canadian Coast Guard & Hydrographic Services are expected to be present.

There will also be special commemorative ceremonies at the memorial plaque overlooking Goderich Harbor, at the plot for the unknown “Sailors” in Maitland Cemetery, Goderich, and the unveiling of a special permanent memorial sculpture on a bluff overlooking the lake.

For details and times, consult


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.

H.C. HEIMBECKER proceeded under her own power to Ashtabula, Ohio, for scrapping, arriving there November 2, 1981.

On November 2, 1948, 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.

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.

1912: JUNO, which had lost the barge P.B. LOCKE the previous day on Lake Ontario, arrived safely at Cobourg and then sank at the dock.

1923: The wooden steamer WESEE caught fire in Lake Erie off Middle Bass Island and burned as a total loss. The crew took to the yawl boats and all were saved.

1956: The former schooner J.T. WING, which had operated as a museum at Belle Isle in Detroit until condemned due to rotting timbers, was burned.

1981: FROSSO K., an SD 14 ocean freighter, suffered an engine room fire enroute from Vancouver to Japan. The ship was towed back to Vancouver November 15 and repaired. It first came through the Seaway in 1974 and arrived at Cartagena, Columbia, under tow, for scrapping on February 15, 1995, as e) MAMER.

1981: The West German freighter POSEIDON first came through the Seaway in 1962 and became a regular inland trader. It was abandoned, in leaking condition on this date, as e) VIKI K. in the Red Sea. There was some suspicion that the vessel was scuttled as part of an insurance fraud.

1988: PETER MISENER struck a shoal while upbound in the Saguenay River for Port Alfred with coke. There was major damage and the ship went to Montreal for repairs.

2001: AUDACIOUS stranded at Keleman Island, Indonesia, but was refloated two days later. The damage was severe and the vessel was laid up at Singapore and then sold to shipbreakers. The ship arrived at Alang, India, to be broken up, on April 27, 2002. The ship visited the Great Lakes as a) WELSH VOYAGER in 1977, and returned as b) LONDON VOYAGER in 1982 and c) OLYMPIC LEADER in 1983. It made its first inland voyage as d) AUDACIOUS in 1996 and its final call in 2000.

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


Port Reports -  November 1

Munising, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sam Laud unloaded coal for Neenah Paper on Wednesday.

Straits of Mackinac
Arthur M. Anderson anchored for weather Thursday night in the lee of the Upper Michigan shoreline north of St. Ignace. Strong southwest winds are expected Friday.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, the next vessel to load will be the Wilfred Sykes, due in on Saturday in the early morning. The Joseph L. Block is due to arrive on Wednesday in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the Lewis J. Kuber due on Sunday, November 10 in the early morning. Vessel arrivals are subject to change due to weather.

At Port Inland, the next vessel due to load will be the Arthur M. Anderson due on Saturday in the early morning. Wilfred Sykes is also due in on Saturday in the evening to load. Rounding out the schedule will be the Manitowoc due on Sunday in the early afternoon. Vessel arrivals are subject to change due to weather.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Michipicoten loaded a limestone cargo on a very windy and rainy Halloween. It was expected to depart at 5 p.m. Also arriving on Halloween was the Lewis J. Kuber in the early afternoon. The Kuber went to anchor and was expected to get a dock around 6 p.m. Also expected in the late evening on Halloween was the James L. Kuber. The weekend lineup for loading is subject to change due to weather. Vessels due to load on Friday include Arthur M. Anderson in the morning followed by the Joseph H. Thompson and Pathfinder in the early afternoon. Due on Saturday is the Kaye E. Barker in the mid-afternoon and rounding out the schedule is the Philip R. Clarke on Sunday in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The next vessel due to load will be the Buffalo due in on Friday in the early afternoon for the North Dock. Vessel arrivals are subject to change due to weather. There are no vessels scheduled for Saturday. The Buffalo returns to load on Sunday in the early afternoon at the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Monday. The Arthur M. Anderson is due to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon for the South Dock, and rounding out the schedule is the James L. Kuber due on Wednesday very early in the morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The H. Lee White was expected to load at the CSX Coal Dock in the early evening on Halloween. Following is American Courage, due on Friday late in the evening. The H. Lee White returns to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday in the morning. Following will be the James L. Kuber due on Sunday in the morning and the Algoma Transport, due to arrive on Wednesday, November 6 in the early morning. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessel arrivals for the Torco Dock include CSL's Whitefish Bay on Wednesday, November 6 in the early evening. There are four vessels due at the Torco Dock on Friday, November 8. Due first is Algoma Navigator in the early morning followed by the Atlantic Erie. Due in later in the early afternoon is Algoma Progress, and Lakes Contender is also due in the late afternoon. John D. Leitch rounds out the schedule and is due at the Torco Dock on Wednesday, November 13 late in the evening. Tecumseh was also in Toledo upriver loading a grain cargo at one of the grain elevators at the time of this report.

Rochester, N.Y. - J Testa
Robert S. Pierson was anchored all Thursday afternoon in Lake Ontario, off Rochester pier.


Updates -  November 1

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 was 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.

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.

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).

1907: WILLIAM A. REIS settled on the bottom of the St. Clair River following a collision with the MONROE C. SMITH. It was finally refloated for good on December 7 after several earlier efforts were short lived. The former last sailed as SASKADOC in 1966.

1908: TELEGRAM, a wooden passenger and freight carrier, stranded at Horse Island, Rattlesnake Harbour, Georgian Bay. The ship caught fire when the stove upset and the vessel was a total loss. All on board were rescued.

1912: The barge P.B. LOCKE, under tow of the JUNO, was lost in a storm on Lake Ontario enroute from Pointe Anne to Toronto.

1921: The Canadian wooden freighter CANOBIE, a) IRON KING received major storm damage on Lake Erie and arrived at Erie, Pa., in a leaking condition. The ship was stripped of valuable parts and abandoned. It later caught fire and subsequently scuttled about 2 miles offshore.

1924: GLENLYON stranded at Menagerie Island, Siskiwit Bay, Lake Superior while enroute to Port Colborne with 150,000 bushels of wheat. It had been seeking shelter in a storm but grounded as a total loss and then sank over the winter. All on board were saved.

1929: KEYSTATE and the schooner MAGGIE L. collided in the St. Lawrence near Clayton, NY, and the latter was lost.

1956: JAMES B. EADS and fleetmate GREY BEAVER were in a collision in western Lake Ontario and both received bow damage.

1965: High winds blew the Taiwanese freighter KALLY aground on a mud bank at Essexville, MI while inbound to load a cargo of scrap. The ship was released the next day.

2000: The Panamanian freighter OXFORD was only two years old when it came through the Seaway in November 1984. It got caught in typhoon Xangsene, as d) MANILA SPIRIT, on this date in 2000. The ship, still flagged in Panama, was driven aground and then sank off Hualien, Taiwan. One crewman was apparently able to swim to shore but the other 23 sailors were missing and presumed lost.

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


News Archive - August 1996 to present

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