Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Richard Reiss off Dry Dock

The Richard Reiss, sporting a fresh coat of Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River paint, was pulled from the Bayship graving dock on a damp, foggy day Thursday, Dec. 30. The tugs Susan L., Jimmy L., William Selvick, Sharon Selvick and Escort II all were used. Ice around the shipyard was 6" to 8" thick in spots.

The Reiss was placed at berth 15 alongside the graving dock to await the arrival of the crew on Friday afternoon.

The James Barker is due at Bayship Saturday for a short dry-docking. It is expected the Reiss will use the Barker's ice track to depart the shipyard for Lake Michigan via Green Bay. The Reiss will make a few trips before laying up in Sarnia where a name change is anticipated this coming spring.

Pictures in News Gallery linked below

Reported by: Andy LaBorde and Wendell Wilke

Hornbeck barge tow reaches Marinette

The tow of the new Hornbeck barge arrived in Marinette Wednesday morning around 9 a.m. The tow departed Toledo, Ohio the afternoon of December 24. Manitowoc Marine Group owns both Toledo Shiprepair and Marinette Marine. The Toledo yard built the hull and has sent the new barge to Marinette for completion.

The tug Erika Kobasic cut a track in the ice on the Menominee River before the Mark Hannah and barge entered the river. The Erika reported ice up to 8 inches thick. The Erika then met the tow outside the piers and put on a line to the stern of the barge for the tow up river to the shipyard. The big tugs made it look easy and after flushing some ice the barge was quickly docked and the tugs departed the Menominee River. Erika Kobasic was coated in ice from her recent trip on Lake Superior to Munising.

The new Double-Hulled Tank Barge is being built for Hornbeck Offshore Services, Hornbeck is a leading transporter of petroleum products through their tug and tank barge segment serving the energy industry, primarily in the northeastern United States and Puerto Rico.

Pictures in News Gallery linked below

Reported by: Scott Best and Dick Lund

Seaway Closing

The Thalassa Desgagnes was the last eastbound freighter out of the Seaway on Wednesday. The tug Laprairie and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Martha L. Black were eastbound Thursday morning at St. Lambert. That was the last eastbound traffic.

The McLeary Spirit and William J. Moore got up to Cote Ste. Catherine Wednesday but were reportedly sent back as the barge was said to be overloaded. They were at Sec 106 Ultramar, Montreal unloading Wednesday.

The Peter R. Cresswell left Prescott Thursday morning and was westbound at Cape Vincent at 12:25. She was headed for the Welland Canal, transits of the Canal may be made by written agreement only up to Jan. 1. The Pineglen was westbound and at 12:30 was below the Iroquois Lock. She will be the last westbound vessel and last transit of the Seaway for the year.

The cement trade may continue for some time on Lake Ontario. The English River was westbound for Toronto, Stephen B. Roman is eastbound on her way to load at Picton.

Reported by: Ron Walsh

Manistee's Ice Continues to Cause Problems

The McKee Sons returned to Manistee Tuesday afternoon, after a difficult battle with ice in the port on Christmas evening. The vessel was again laden with western coal from South Chicago for the Tondu dock.

Warmer temperatures had thawed the majority of ice in the Manistee river, but ice in Manistee lake held fast. The vessel arrived at 3:30 p.m. and had no trouble with the Manistee River. Both bridges, which had been problem-plagued her last trip, opened with ease Tuesday. Brash ice near the Seng dock in Manistee harbor was thick, and the vessel was forced to back and ram once again. By 6:30 p.m., the vessel was behind the Morton Salt dock, still two miles from Tondu. The vessel reached Tondu at 7:30 p.m., four hours after entering the port. The trip usually takes an hour and a half.

The vessel was expected to depart in the early morning hours Wednesday, it is unknown if another back-to-back trip is expected. It is reported that three more coal cargoes are expected before winter lay-up.

Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

Parts of the Canadiana Head Home

Parts of the now scrapped Canadiana are about to come home to the yard in Buffalo where they were built.

The ship's 1,450 horsepower triple-expansion steam engine is sitting on the dock at a scrap yard in Port Colborne, Ontario after having been removed from the hulk of the former Crystal Beach passenger steamer. Dawes Marine Tug & Barge Co. will transport the engine here some time this coming spring. Other odd bits and pieces of the ship are finding their way back to the old American Shipbuilding Co. yard now owned by BIDCO Marine Services and located on Ganson St along the Buffalo River.

Parts include many ship fittings with the Buffalo Dry Dock name imprinted on them along with the eventual return of the Canadiana's pilothouse, now sitting off in the weeds at the nearby RCR Yachts marina across the City Ship Canal from BIDCO. Many of these artifacts will eventually be restored for possible display at the soon to be built Great Lakes Maritime Museum as part of the Bass Pro Shops redevelopment deal for the Inner Harbor area near the old Buffalo Memorial Auditorium.

Canadiana in 1959
Long term resting place at Ramey's Bend on the Welland Canal before scrapping.

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski

Great Lakes Captains Association to Host 2005 Industry Days Conference

The Great Lakes Captains Association will host Industry Days 2005 edition, January 19th through the 22nd, 2005, at the Holiday Inn, and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Traverse City, MI. The Great Lakes Science Association will also be in session during this time and will be joining us for Industry Days.

This year’s agenda includes “hands on” seminars, for Troubleshooting Electric Motors, Lubrication and Pumps & Valves. All three sessions will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at the Academy, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Cost for all three sessions is $40.00, including lunch. Thursday starts off with a seminar on System Security awareness for Passenger Vessel Personnel. This will also be held at the academy.

Room rates are very reasonable at $55.00 per night. The phone number, for reservations only, at the Holiday Inn is (800) 888-8020. Be sure to identify yourselves as attendees of GLCA Industry Days. The cost to attend all four days is $100.00. Industry Days only is $60.00.

For registration and Conference information, please contact Jack Cork at 906-632-3891, Fax: 906-632-0615, or, or Charlie Lampman at 906-635-0624, or

Reported by: Charlie Lampman

Best Wishes for the New Year

Happy Holidays to all, the web site has seen another year of phenomenal growth and we thank everyone for their hard work in contributing to the site and thank the regular viewers for their continued support.

We would also like to thank the volunteers who run and maintain this site. Through their countless hours of work this web site has survived and continued to grow.

The growth experienced over the past year has caused numerous problems with more people trying to view the site than our bandwidth can support. We are working on a solution and a group has generously volunteered to pay the almost $1,000 a month hosting fee. The hosting changes should take place in mid January and will provide enough bandwidth to support the millions of hits this site receives.

Lay-up List - News Photo Gallery Updated

Click to visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List

News Photo Gallery updated

Today in Great Lakes History - December 31

At 4 p.m. in 1895, the PURITON (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 172 foot, 289 gross tons, built in 1887, at Benton Harbor, Michigan) burned at the dock in Oak Hill (Manistee), Michigan. She was a total loss.

Upon suggestion from the U.S. Maritime Commission, surplus World War II cargo vessels, many of which had laid up on the James River, were made available for sale under the Great Lakes Vessel Sales Act of 1950 (enacted September 28, 1950) to be converted for Great Lakes use. The Act allowed Great Lakes fleets to purchase up to 10 surplus ships by December 31, 1951, and receive a 90% cost subsidy to convert and refurbish them for Lakes use. The first such conversion occurred when the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought the NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950.

The GEORGE M HUMPHREY was laid up for the last time at the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip at River Rouge, Michigan beginning December 31, 1983.

The QUEDOC (2) was laid up for the last time on December 31, 1984, at Toronto, Ontario along side the SENATOR OF CANADA.

On 31 December 1884, ADMIRAL (wooden propeller steam tug, 49 gross tons, built in 1883, at Chicago, Illinois) had her boiler explode in Chicago harbor. All four of the crew was killed.

In 1884, the PERE MARQUETTE NO 1 ran aground at Ludington, Michigan.

December 31, 1919 - The entire Ann Arbor carferry fleet was tied up in Frankfort, Michigan due to bad weather.

On 31 December 1889, H. M. Loud of Oscoda, Michigan sold the 551 ton wooden schooner ANGUS SMITH to Mitchell Brothers of Marine City, Michigan for $16,000. The vessel was built in 1871.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 30
On December 30, 1987, the THOMAS WILSON under tow in the North Atlantic heading to be scrapped, parted her towline and sunk near position 34.08'N by 61.35'12"W (approximately in line with Cape Hatteras, North Carolina) early the next day.

GEORGE M HUMPHREY (Hull#796) was launched December 30, 1926, for Kinsman Transit Co. at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. Renamed b.) CAPT JOHN ROEN in 1945, c.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1948 and d.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1958, scrapped at Taiwan in 1988.

The first steel carferry PERE MARQUETTE was launched in nearly completed form on December 30, 1896. The ship was built for the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad (predecessor to the Pere Marquette) and entered service just a few weeks later.

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

Coast Guard Begins Icebreaking in Northern Great Lakes

The Coast Guard started Operation Taconite Friday morning after colder than normal temperatures continued to increase ice formation in the northern great lakes region. 

 Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Mary’s River, and the Straits of Mackinac.  As a result of the operation the Captain of the Port may close or open channels, as ice conditions require. Due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross channel traffic (e.g. ferries), the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents who use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland. 

  Currently there are no channel closures, however the implementation of Operation Taconite will place some additional measures on shipping through the St. Mary’s River and Straits such as restricting tanker transits to daylight only with escorts, reducing speeds by 2 m.p.h. in various parts of the river, and placing additional reporting points throughout the operation’s area. 

  The Coast Guard would like to remind all recreational ice users that there are no channel closures at this time, and to plan their activity carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels.  Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of channel closures.

Ice is also causing problems in Western Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Numerous vessels have been delayed due to heavy ice in these areas.

Reported by: USCG and Barry Stevens

Grinch Spoils McKee Sons’ Christmas

Manistee did not have a nice Christmas present for the McKee Sons when the vessel entered port Christmas evening. The McKee Sons arrived at 7 PM, coming from South Chicago, Illinois' KCBX dock, laden with Western coal for the Tondu Dock. As the vessel attempted to negotiate the turn at the foot of Cherry St. 8 inch thick plate iced hampered the vessel's turn. After about a dozen attempts at backing and ramming, the vessel finally made the turn, and headed upriver.

As the vessel was motoring up the channel, it was informed that the CSX railroad bridge was having difficulty opening, and that the vessel would have to stop and wait while repairs were made. The McKee Sons stopped about 1,000 feet short of the Maple Street Bridge, and waited for 20 minutes as CSX workers completed repairs.

Ice between Maple St. and US-31 was around 4 inches thick, and made the sweeping turn to port between the bridges very difficult. The vessel was forced to back six times, carving off a sliver of ice each time, and turning the boat slightly.

At 11 p.m., over four hours into her trip, which should've taken only an hour and fifteen minutes, the vessel was only abeam of the Seng Stone Dock. The vessel finally reached the Tondu Dock in Filer City early on the morning of the 26th.

The vessel's trip out of Manistee was almost as bad as her entrance. While the track through Manistee Lake was still visible, and only slightly iced over, Manistee's two drawbridges were not cooperating. As the vessel was 500 ft. from the US-31 Bridge, a power failure forced the vessel to stop, as the bridge's gates would not go down. After 15 minutes, the problem was fixed, and the McKee Sons proceeded through the first bridge. It was then discovered, while the vessel was between the bridges, that the US-31 Bridge would not close, thus the Maple St. Bridge could not be open, as it would not allow emergency vehicles to travel from the north to south sides of town. The vessel was forced to wait between the two drawbridges for 45 minutes, as US-31's bridge would not close, and Maple Street would not open.

Finally, around 3 p.m. Sunday, Maple St. was able to open, but the North span could not be completely raised, thus leaving the McKee Sons with a much narrower opening. The trip from Maple Street to the lake was uneventful, and the vessel was outbound at the piers at 4 p.m., 21 hours after her arrival.

The McKee Sons departed for South Chicago, where it will load for Manistee again. The vessel was scheduled to arrive back at around 5 a.m. Tuesday with another load of coal for Tondu. The vessel will have three more loads for Manistee after Tuesday's trip, before the end of the season.

Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

Layup Roundup

The Paul H. Townsend arrived at the West Michigan Mart Dock in Muskegon on December 14, 2004 ending her season. (Reported by Herm Phillips)

The J.A.W. Iglehart arrived at the Milwaukee Lafarge terminal for winter lay up Monday night, December 27. This is the first time in memory that the Iglehart has laid up in Milwaukee. The traditional lay up dock for the Iglehart has always been Detroit. (Reported by Andy LaBorde)

For more Lay-up listings visit the 11th Annual Lay-Up List

Port Report

Reported by Al Miller
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. remained at the Duluth port terminal Wednesday morning (Dec. 22) undergoing repairs to its unloading boom. It was scheduled to load Dec. 23 at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Despite frigid weather that's rapidly making ice in the harbor, Twin Ports ore and coal docks have full schedules through the end of the year.

At the Duluth DMIR ore dock, vessels currently are scheduled through New Year's Eve. John G. Munson is due Dec. 24, Charles M. Beeghly on Dec. 25, Edwin H. Gott, Dec. 26, Halifax, Dec. 28, John J. Boland, Dec. 29, Mesabi Miner, Dec. 30, Paul R. Martin, Dec. 31, and Frontenac, Dec. 31.

Oglebay Norton was scheduled to load at BNSF ore dock in Superior on Wednesday, with Roger Blough due in the evening. That dock has vessels scheduled at least to the end of the year.

Midwest Energy Terminal was loading Indiana Harbor on Dec. 22 with Walter J. McCarthy Jr. due on Dec. 23. The dock has vessels scheduled through mid-January, with Mesabi Miner due Jan. 15 and then scheduled to arrive Jan. 19 with no further destination listed, indicating it may lay up at the dock.

Paul R. Tregurtha is remaining a coal workhorse to the end, with loads scheduled at SMET on Dec. 24, Dec. 30, Jan. 4 and Jan. 9.

Reported by Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore on a very frosty Sunday evening. The Herbert C. Jackson and H. Lee White arrived later that evening.

Reported by Ben and Chanda McClain
The past few days have been active with vessels coming and going in the area. Last Wednesday the Cuyahoga brought slag to Lafarge and unloaded it into a hopper while tied up at the coal dock. The Cuyahoga departed before 4pm.  

On Thursday an unknown tug/ barge was anchored in the bay waiting out the weather.

On Christmas Eve morning the Fred R. White Jr. attempted to come into port to deliver coal for the DPI factory but the ice was too thick in the channel and river. The White ended up leaving and unloading the cargo in the Soo. It is unknown if the coal will be hauled back by truck to Alpena.

On Sunday morning the J.A.W Iglehart came into port among ice and snow squalls. The tugboat Manitou assisted the Iglehart by breaking a path to Lafarge. The Manitou will be in the area to make sure the cement carriers get through the ice.  Monday morning saw the G.L  Ostrander barge Integrity load at Lafarge,  with the Steamer Alpena arriving by early afternoon to take on cargo for Whitefish, ON.

The Pathfinder and the Great Lakes Trader were loading at Stoneport on Sunday & Monday.

Reported by Todd Shorkey
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort & barge Great Lakes Trader were inbound for the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City late Friday afternoon. The Joyce L. left the notch and worked the entrance channel cutting a track before hooking up with the Great Lakes Trader for the inbound trip. The Tug Gregory J. Busch met up with the pair at the Essexville Range Lights to assist getting through the bridges and into the Wirt dock. At one point the Joyce L. was at full ahead and just making four knots. They were scheduled to lighter at Bay City and finish in Saginaw, but due to the ice they were talking about dropping the entire load in Bay City.

Port Huron
Reported by Jeff Gushman
On Tuesday the Arthur M. Anderson was downbound past the Blue Water bridges around 12:30 p.m. Algorail followed down at 1:30 p.m. The tug Anglian Lady and barge were secured at the Government Dock in Sarnia. Canadian Progress was secured at Lambton Power station unloading coal.

Coast Guard Transports Man From Vessel in Lake St. Clair

On Sunday morning the U.S. Coast Guard transported a crew member from the American Republic while it passed through Lake St. Clair.

Coast Guard Group Detroit received a call at 7 a.m. that Karem Kattar, 37, a crewmember aboard the motor vessel American Republic, was complaining of chest pains.

A rescue helicopter was launched from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit. Once on scene, a rescue swimmer was lowered to the deck of the vessel to assess Kattar.

The American Republic was on its way to Cleveland when Kattar started to experience pains in his chest. He was transported to Selfridge Air National Guard Base, and then to Mt. Clemons General Hospital via EMS.

Kattar has been admitted to the hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.

10 days earlier Air Station Detroit dispatched a rescue helicopter at 10:55 p.m. on Dec. 16 to respond to a crewmember on the Charles M. Beeghly experiencing cardio-pulmonary problems off of Harbor Beach, Mich.

Thirty-five minutes after departing Air Station Detroit the rescue helicopter arrived on scene and hoisted two personnel off the vessel and transported them to the Port Huron hospital.

The rescue helicopter was crewed by LTJG Timothy Schmitz, LT Zachary Glass, AMT2 Ryan Curry, and AST1 Charles Wolfe.

Reported by: USCG

Photo Gallery

This Week's News Photo Gallery

Today in Great Lakes History - December 29

B F JONES (2) was launched December 29, 1906, as a.) GENERAL GARRETSON.

KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (1) was launched in 1906, as a.) WILLIAM B KERR (Hull#72) at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Weston Transit Co.

The GEORGE M HUMPHREY (1) was christened on December 29, 1926.

The GOLDEN HIND was laid up for the last time on December 29, 1985, at Toronto, Ontario.

On 29 December 1813, ARIEL (4-gun armed schooner, 112 tons, built in 1813, at Erie, Pennsylvania as part of Perry's fleet) ran aground in a squall at Black River (now Buffalo) and was burned by the British.

CAROLINE (wooden sidewheeler, 71 foot, 46 tons, built in 1822, at New York City, New York) was chartered to transport arms and munitions to Navy Island near Buffalo. On 29 December 1837, she was commandeered by about 60 Canadian rebels under the command of a Royal Navy officer at Schlosser on the Niagara River. In the fight that followed, she was set afire, abandoned and allowed to drift down the river. Some sources say that she went over the Falls. This incident caused hostile feelings along the U.S. northeastern frontier for many months.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 28
The HENRY FORD II was laid up in the Rouge Steel slip at Dearborn, Michigan on December 28, 1988.

On 28 December 1907, CALDERA (steel propeller freighter, 504 foot, 6328 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan.

On 28 December 1881, the steamer R J GORDON arrived in Port Huron from Marine City on her maiden voyage with a large number of passengers. She was powered with a steam engine with an 18" cylinder and 20" stroke. Her dimensions were 116 feet long with a 26 foot beam. She cost nearly $20,000 and was built to run between Algonac and Lexington.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 27
The SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) cleared the Welland Canal on Christmas night 1985, and finally anchored at Pointe aux Trembles near Montreal, Quebec on December 27th, awaiting another load of scrap. The SAVIC remained there the entire winter, because the underwriters ordered that her hull be re-enforced by welding straps to her stress points for her overseas journey.

The THOMAS LAMONT as a single tow arrived at Aliaga, Turkey on December 27, 1987, where she was scrapped. The LAMONT was one of the last bulkers that retained her telescoping hatch covers to the very end.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 26
In 1981, the steamer ENDERS M VOORHEES laid up for the last time at the Hallett Dock #5 in Duluth, Minnesota.

On 26 December 1916, the wreck of the wooden self-unloading freighter TOPEKA was leveled by dynamiting. She sank just off Windsor/Sandwich, Ontario in the Detroit River on 15 April 1916, in a collision with the small steamer CHRISTOPHER. Her machinery was removed prior to dynamiting.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 25
The E G GRACE carried 14,797 tons of taconite ore on her last trip out of Taconite Harbor, Minnesota bound for South Chicago, Illinois and then was laid up at Ashtabula, Ohio on December 25, 1976, with engine trouble which often plagued the six "Al" ships powered with Lentz-Poppet engines. The lay-up of the E G GRACE lasted until April, 1984 when she became the first Maritimer to be sold for scrap.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 24
December 24, 1969 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 made her last trip out of Ludington, Michigan pulled by 2 tugs. She was sold to Norfolk and Western Railway Company to be converted into a river ferry barge and renamed b.) ROANOKE by Nicholson’s Terminal & Dock Co. at Ecorse, Michigan.

On 24 December 1910, ALSAKA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 165 foot, 348 tons, built in 1878, at Detroit, Michigan as a.) ACORN) was sheltering from a storm a few miles from Tobermory, Ontario, when she caught fire from an overheated boiler and burned to a total loss. She was originally built as a sidewheel passenger vessel and when rebuilt in 1889, her engine went into the steamer FRANK E KIRBY.

On 24 December 1875, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels at winter lay-up at St. Clair, Michigan -- Scows: ANNA H MOORE, A MONROE, MYRTLE, CLIPPER VISION, J SNADERS and B MONROE; Steamers: BERTIE DAHLKE and HELEN; Schooners: JOHN RICE and M R GOFFE; Barges: MILLIN and JUSTIN R WHITING; Tug: C M FARRAR; and Dredge: H LIFIAN.

On Christmas Eve of 1979, while at her temporary dock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the steamer E M FORD sank when gale force winds forced her from her moorings and repeatedly slammed her bow into the dock facing. By Christmas morning her stern was settled on the bottom, her engine room flooded. Her storage cargo of powdered cement was partially flooded also. By afternoon, the proud steamer lay sunken at her dock. She stayed on the bottom for several weeks as crews had to remove a solid 3 feet of hardened cement and patch her holed bow. On January 20th, 1980, she was refloated and towed to Bay Shipbuilding where work began on rebuilding her.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 23
The IMPERIAL ST CLAIR was selected to participate in the three-year winter navigation experiment during which the Soo Locks remained open all year. On December 23, 1976, at the very onset, she ran aground entering ice-jammed Parry Sound on Georgian Bay in a blinding snow squall. One of her cargo tanks ruptured spilling 1,800 barrels of diesel oil.

The SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) was downbound past Detroit, Michigan December 23, 1985, by-passing a 15,000 ton load of scrap because of the lack of time to clear the Seaway.

CHARLES DICK was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario on December 23, 1976.

The SIR TREVOR DAWSON was laid up after the Great War until December 23, 1920, when she was sold to Pioneer Steamship Co. and renamed c) CHARLES L HUTCHINSON (3).

On 23 December 1905, JAMES B WOOD (steel propeller freighter, 514 foot, 7159 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. In 1913, she was renamed ARCTURUS.

On 23 December 1885, MARY MARTINI (wooden propeller passenger-package freight vessel, 85 foot, 91 gross tons, built in 1877, at W. Bay City, Michigan) stranded on Brule Point, 13 miles east of Grand Marais, Minnesota on Lake Superior in fair weather. A navigational error was blamed. She became a total loss but her passengers and crew were taken off by the Duluth tug T H CAMP.

In 1903, the PERE MARQUETTE 20 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage.

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

Boatnerd on Christmas Holiday


Happy holidays from all of us at We are taking a short Christmas break so we can spend these next few days with family and friends. The updates will resume next week. Please hold off on sending news and photos until Monday. Thanks for your support.

Roger, George and the crew


Mackinaw Construction Continues; Launch Set March 19


The new U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw  is rapidly taking shape along the Lake Michigan shoreline at Marinette, Wis., in preparation for the October date it will report for duty at Cheboygan, Mich., according to a recent story in the Cheboygan Daily Tribune.

The vessel  is currently hidden during construction inside a facility at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard on the Menominee River. The building measures more than 350 feet long and 250 feet wide, with a ceiling that is 60 feet high. The Mackinaw is being built in one of two 100-foot shipbuilding bays, the other occupied by a new Staten Island ferryboat that will be capable of carrying more than 4,000 passengers and 30 vehicles.

"Construction of the Mackinaw is right on schedule," verified Mike Hoard, program manager for the project. "We can work a predictable schedule indoors. It's what I would call a shirt-sleeve work environment, the temperature inside is always 60 degrees."

Hoard said the Mackinaw will be kept indoors until March 4. The actual launch set for March 19.

"Once it's outside, the pilot house will be erected, and the stack and mast are all put on," Hoard explained. "The ship will be about 90 percent completed for the launch."

Mrs. Jean Hastert, the sponsor for the new icebreaker, will christen the vessel at the launch ceremony. Mrs. Hastert is the wife of Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, R-Batavia, Ill. Following the launch, builder ship trials are scheduled for June 21 with a dry-dock session set for June 24 to correct problems and conduct more tests. Post acceptance trials are slated for Aug. 31 and the crew ramp-up is due for early October, 2005..

The new Mackinaw (WLBB-30) will take over the main dock space at the Coast Guard Moorings while the older version of the Mackinaw (WAGB-83) will move to a dock in the turning basin, awaiting its decommissioning following a winter of "training" her replacement. Then, WAGB-83 could be converted into a maritime museum with bed and breakfast capabilities and move to a new location.

In the meantime, both dock sites will receive repairs and upgrading to serve the vessels.

Reported by the Cheboygan Daily Tribune



Rochester Will Bid on Spirit of Ontario


The Rochester, N.Y., City Council gave its approval Tuesday night to turn the financially troubled private service into a publicly run operation, agreeing to create a nonprofit corporation to try to buy the troubled Spirit of Ontario high-speed ferry at an upcoming foreclosure auction. 

City officials now must scramble to create the corporation and appoint its board of directors before the court-ordered Feb. 28 auction. And there's no guarantee that the new corporation would be the successful bidder.

The Export Finance and Insurance Corp., an arm of the Australian government, has offered to loan the city up to $40 million to keep the ferry in Rochester, meaning no upfront public money would be needed to restart the service.

But there's still a risk for taxpayers because the city plans to guarantee the loan. Should the ferry flop again or if revenue doesn't meet expenses in any given year, taxpayers could end up footing the bill.

Reported by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Port Report


Port Huron

Reported by Jeff Gushman, Dave Wobser
On December 21st, Algocen passed beneath the twin spans of the Blue Water Bridges at 1930. She saluted in response to a boatnerd’s car horn and proceeded downriver. As of
22:10 Wednesday, the Algocen was stopped at Wharf 16 the R & P dock in the Welland. No ETD was given. She is bound for a Quebec port to unload, then she will be retired from service.


Reported by Al Miller

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. remained at the Duluth port terminal Wednesday morning undergoing repairs to its unloading boom. It was scheduled to load Dec. 23 at Midwest Energy Terminal. Despite frigid weather that's rapidly making ice in the harbor, Twin Ports ore and coal docks have full schedules through the end of the year.

At the Duluth DMIR ore dock, vessels currently are scheduled through New Year's Eve. John G. Munson is due Dec. 24, Charles M. Beeghly on Dec. 25, Edwin H. Gott, Dec. 26, Halifax, Dec. 28, John J. Boland, Dec. 29, Mesabi Miner, Dec. 30, Paul R. Martin, Dec. 31, and Frontenac, Dec. 31.

Oglebay Norton was scheduled to load at BNSF ore dock in Superior on Wednesday, with Roger Blough due in the evening. That dock has vessels scheduled at least to the end of the year.

Midwest Energy Terminal was loading Indiana Harbor on Dec. 22 with Walter J. McCarthy Jr. due on Dec. 23. The dock has vessels scheduled through mid-January, with Mesabi Miner due Jan. 15 and then scheduled to arrive Jan. 19 with no further destination listed, indicating it may lay up at the dock.

Paul R. Tregurtha is remaining a coal workhorse to the end, with loads scheduled at SMET on Dec. 24, Dec. 30, Jan. 4 and Jan. 9.

Sault Ste. Marie

Reported by Roger LeLievre
Wednesday evening was quiet on the St. Marys River, as snow squalls intermittently obscured landmarks and the remaining aids to navigation. The saltie BBC California left the Algoma Export Dock around 5:30 p.m., bound for the St. Lawrence Seaway. Her place was taken immediately by Algomarine. Mesabi Miner, wheelhouse decorated with colored lights and her unloading boom topped off with a Christmas tree, passed downbound around the same time. The tugs Reliance and Avenger IV were upbound in the lower river during the late evening as was the motor vessel Yankcanuck, likely bound for winter layup at her Sault, Ont., dock, and the John G. Munson. The Pineglen was inbound Isle Parisienne at 9:30 p.m., downbound for Quebec City. There is shore ice along the upper part of the river, but as yet no ice is blocking the ship channel. Subzero weather forecast for the next few nights may bring that situation to an end. Unlike recent years, there is more than a foot of snow on the ground at the Soo.


Reported by Luke Archer
In the afternoon hours of Dec. 21 the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Samuel Risley lead the way through the ice for the Cuyahoga. At the same time the tug Mark Hannah was entering the river covered in ice. A bit later the Algonova passed downbound with an icy bow.



Port Report



Reported by Ed Saliwonchyk
The Saginaw was in Owen Sound Tuesday morning unloading at the Great Lakes Grain Elevators. It is unusual to have a ship unloading here this late in the season.

At the same time, there have been one or two Algoma Marine ships in the harbor by this time for winter lay up. However, only the Chi Cheemaun is so far moored on the west wall of the inner harbor.

Saginaw unloading



Today in Great Lakes History 

December 22

The SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) finally arrived at Masan, South Korea December 22, 1986, for dismantling there which was completed in 1987.

DETROIT EDISON (2) grounded on Gray's Reef in northern Lake Michigan, December 22, 1980, inflicting heavy damage to 350 feet of her bottom.

The GORDON C LEITCH (1) was laid up on December 22, 1981, no longer economically able to compete and was used for grain storage at Toronto.

RAYMOND H REISS arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, Ontrio on December 22, 1980, for scrapping there.

LIGHTSHIP 103 was commissioned December 22, 1920.

On 22 December 1922, CORNELL (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 66 gross tons, built in 1888, at Buffalo, New York) foundered somewhere between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania while enroute to new owners in Syracuse, New York. She had a crew of 8. The weather was clear and mild with almost no wind. She had just been put back into service and inspected after several years of idleness. Her ice-encrusted lifeboat was found on 26 December, 25 miles east of Long Point, containing the frozen body of the fireman.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



J.W. Westcott Mailboat Enters Winter Layup


Monday marked the end of the 109th season of delivering "mail, by the pail" by the J. W. Westcott company.  Under the capable hands of Senior Captain Sam Buchanan, the mailboat J.W. Westcott II worked her way from the Westcott Dock in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge to the Gregory Boat Basin behind Belle Isle.  The boat had to fight its way through 4-6 inches of ice which has appeared on the Detroit River almost overnight. The last mail delivery was made to the M/V Algomarine, with earlier deliveries to the M/V Mississagi and the S/S Lee A. Tregurtha. The pilot boat Huron Maid also departed Detroit today bound for her lay up dock in Port Huron following the M/V Mississagi and M/V Roger Blough through the ice.

Westcott Capt. Sam Buchanan
Westcott tucked in for the winter

Passing Lee A Tregurtha
Federal Shimanto gave a hearty salute


Loan from Aussies May Save Spirit of Ontario Service


Australia wants to loan the city of Rochester $40 million to buy the idled Spirit of Ontario high-speed ferry that ran between Toronto and Rochester this summer before shutting down with debts of $1.7 million.

The Australian Export Finance and Insurance Corp. offered the city a $40 million line of credit to buy and relaunch the catamaran, according to a story in last Friday's Rochester Democrat and News.

The $42.5 million ferry, built in Perth, Australia, has been tied up since its private owner, Canadian American Transportation Systems, suspended twice-a-day roundtrip crossings to Toronto on Sept. 7.

The 284-foot-long, five-story-tall vessel, which can load 774 passengers and 220 cars, is being auctioned off Feb. 28 to repay creditors. The Australian agency, one of the ferry's main investors, wants the city to decide by Wednesday whether to accept its offer. The loan, carrying a 3.6 percent interest rate, would be paid back over 15 years.

Unable to woo private investors or establish a public authority that would sell government-backed bonds, the mayor proposed Friday creating a nonprofit corporation to buy the ferry and restart service in April.

Canadian American Transportation Systems blamed its financial woes on a string of mishaps and cross-border regulatory hurdles. More than $50 million in public funds were invested to build port terminals.

Reported by Joseph Woytta



Port Report


Reported by Cathy Kohring
At 2 p.m. Monday the Algocen passed downbound at DeTour for the last time. Her master thanked Soo Traffic for all its years of service as the vessel passed out of the system. The vessel will offload its grain cargo at a Seaway port. She has reportedly been sold to a New Jersey firm for temporary use as a spoils barge, after which the handsome lake is expected to be scrapped. The Algocen was expected at Port Huron around a.m. today, weather permitting.

Algocen below the locks early Monday morning. (Photo by Ken Towne)


Reported by Lee Rowe
The Wilfred Sykes was due at Escanaba Monday night, the Joe Block on Wednesday and the Joseph H. Thompson on Thursday

Saginaw River

Reported by Todd Shorkey
There was plenty of action on the Saginaw River Monday with lots of movement and problems with the ice.

The tug Barbara Andrie and tank barge A-398 were inbound with a load of liquid asphalt for the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City.  The pair became stuck in the ice at buoy 23 and the Barbara Andrie came out of the notch and broke a track inbound to the Essexville range lights.  She returned to her barge and continued her trip inbound.  The tug and barge again became stuck at the Essexville ranges where the Barbara Andrie had stopped breaking her earlier track.  The pair then began backing and ramming until they were able to make the dock.

Following about an hour behind the tug and barge was the Algorail with a cargo for the GM Dock in Saginaw. The Algorail had little trouble coming in following the path of the Barbara Andrie, but once past the Bit-Mat dock, she decided that the ice was too thick to continue without icebreaking assistance.  Algorail tied up at the NorthStar dock to call the home office and await orders.  It was determined that it was best for the Algorail to turn in the basin between NorthStar and the Dow Chemical dock and depart the river, that is until Wirt Stone Docks offered to take the cargo at their Essexville Sand & Stone dock just down from NorthStar.  Once the details were taken care of she began unloading there.  Once finished, the plan was to get turned around and wait for the weather to improve before departing for the lake.  The Tug Gregory J. Busch, in the area for the American Republic, was going to stand by in case she in case assistance was needed.

The American Republic, who had been tied up at the Consumers Energy dock since Saturday night, had called for the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch upon the arrival of the tug departed Consumers and started outbound.  Even with the tug assistance, the trip was difficult as strong winds and shifting ice kept pushing the Republic outside of the channel.  

Tug Barbara Andrie inbound at USCG Station Saginaw River
Algorail inbound at the Front Range
Another view


Reported by Al Miller

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was docked at the Duluth port terminal Monday morning for repairs. It's due next to load at Midwest Energy Terminal. Elsewhere in port Monday, Pineglen was due to load at the Peavey elevator in Superior and CSL Tadoussac was due at BNSF ore dock.

The Duluth DMIR ore dock on Monday had vessels scheduled for the next week, including Cason J. Callaway on Dec. 21, Middletown, Dec. 21, John G. Munson, Dec. 23, Edwin H. Gott, Dec. 25, and Halifax, Dec. 28. However, temperatures are expected to remain near zero or below for the next several days, which will quickly build ice in the harbor. The ore dock tends to have ice problems in December, so this bout of low temperatures may bring its season to a quick end.

The Duluth dock's future looked grim last year after EVTAC closed and budget-conscious CN preparing to purchase the dock. But things look better now. EVTAC has reopened as United Taconite and is again shipping pellets through the ore dock. The dock also is handling a massive amount of limestone used by taconite plants to make flux pellets.

Midwest Energy Terminal is scheduled to load Indiana Harbor and Columbia Star on Dec. 21. The dock's last vessel scheduled to load currently is Mesabi Miner, due Jan. 6.

McCarthy headed for the shipyard (Photo by Glenn Blaskiewicz)


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 21

On 21 December 1901, the MUSKEGON (composite propeller carferry, 282 foot, 1938 gross tons, built in 1895, at Toledo, Ohio as SHENANGO NO 2) sank at Ludington, Michigan with a 10 foot crack on her starboard side.  She was raised a week later and repaired.

The 437-foot bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH was float launched December 21, 1968, at Lorain, Ohio, less ballast tanks because the existing dry dock wasn’t wide enough to accommodate her 105-foot width.

The WILLIAM G MATHER was laid up for the last time December 21, 1980, at the Hocking Valley coal dock at Toledo, Ohio.

AMOCO ILLINOIS was laid up for the last time at Bay City, Michigan on December 21, 1980.

HOCHELAGA (2) was laid up on December 21, 1981, for the last time at Cardinal, Ontario.

The OUTARDE (3) operated until December 21, 1983, when she was laid up for the last time at Toronto.

On 21 December 1891, the whaleback steamer CHARLES W WETMORE tied up at the dock at Everett, Washington, ending a voyage of 93 days that started in Philadelphia and went around the tip of South America.

On 21 December 1879, CITY OF TOLEDO (wooden propeller package freighter, 413 gross tons, built in 1865, at Ogdensburg, New York) was carrying winter provisions from Milwaukee to Ludington. In a white squall, she struck a reef and was stranded 7 miles north of Ludington, a few hundred yards from shore. Some of the crew made it to shore and sought help. The local Lifesaving Station was only in the planning stages, but a crew captain was on hand. He hastily assembled a volunteer lifesaving crew and over a five hour period, rescued all on board. None of the 24 person crew was lost.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Long-lost Benjamin Noble Wreck May Have Been Found

Five amateur shipwreck hunters say they discovered one of Lake Superior's most-sought-after wrecks: the Benjamin Noble.

In a story in the Dec. 19 Duluth News Tribune, team members said they located the wreck using towed submersible cameras on Oct. 31. The wreck is sitting in less than 400 feet of water several miles south of Two Harbors, Minn.

The 256-foot Benjamin Noble was carrying a large cargo of railroad rails to Superior when it sank in a severe spring storm on April 27, 1914. All 20 men aboard were lost. Debris from the vessel washed up along Duluth's Park Point, but the location of the ship's wreck has remained a tantalizing mystery ever since.

The wreck hunters were searching for the lost wooden steamer Robert Wallace when their cameras revealed the wreckage of a steel steamer. Sending a camera to view the ship's cargo hold revealed it was full of rails.

"It really is beat up," Ken Merryman, one of the wreck hunters, told the News Tribune. "It sank like a rock, and it was crushed when it hit bottom. It seems pretty obvious it was grossly overloaded."

Historical accounts of the Benjamin Noble's last trip generally agree the boat was dangerously overloaded.

Besides Merryman, the team consists of Jerry Eliason, Kraig Smith, Randy Beebe and Jarrod Eliason. They first revealed their find at the Gales of November shipwreck conference in Duluth in early November.

Last summer, the team members located the Noble; the Thomas Friant, a passenger steamer converted to a commercial fishing boat; and the Moonlight, a schooner.

Reported by Al Miller



Photo Gallery


Photo Gallery



Port Report



Reported by Scott Best
Sunday the MV Calumet made a surprise late season trip into Menominee with a load of coal for the Menominee Paper Co. coal dock. The Calumet spent all day unloading and departed just after 3 p.m. Cold weather made unloading difficult as temperatures did not get above 12 degrees all day.

Wide view unloading coal
Another view
Backing out between the piers.
Wide view departing


Reported by Ben and Chanda McClain
The steamer Alpena was anchored out in the bay on Sunday waiting for the winds to die down. The Alpena was able to come in during the afternoon to load cement.  An unknown vessel was also anchored in the bay Sunday evening. With the cold temperatures, ice has formed in the bay and river.

The G.L Ostrander/ barge Integrity is expected into port sometime on Monday. The J.A.W Iglehart took on cement at Lafarge on Friday and is making stops on the lower lakes. The Wolverine and Philip R. Clarke are on the schedule for Monday to load at Stoneport.

Kingston Area

Reported by Ron Walsh
There is still 24 hour navigation in the Seaway but a cold front has passed here, leaving some skim ice in the local bays. Ice has begun to form in the Wiley - Dondero and South Shore canals. The flash freeze warning here was a result of cold temp (-21 C) tonight, strong NW wind and a rapid temperature drop. The tugs Robinson Bay and Peformance are decommissioning aids to navigation in the upper Seaway. They have gone to Cape Vincent breakwall due to wind and visibility.

The John B. Aird was westbound on Lake Ontario for the Welland canal and they said it is their last trip for the year. They were at Sodus Point Line at 1510 and are following the north shore of the lake due to wind. The Flintersky was just entering the Seaway wstbound.

At this time the Thalassa, Petrolia and Amelia Desgagnes are all eastbound for the Seaway. Catherine Desgagnes is at Montreal and the Diamond Star is also eastbound, 1425 for Crossover Island.



Special Report: Jeff's Family Thanks ‘Nerds for Cards, Letters


Editor’s Note: Many visitors to this site have been following the recovery of a young Boatnerd named Jeff, who has been hospitalized since July with severe burns. Some readers have sent Jeff cards, letters and gifts. Here is a short letter and a photo from his family, sent along from Lighthouse Sherri.

“The Boatnerds have been so wonderful to Jeff. Their simple letters brightened many a gloomy day. Jeff was burned over 90 percent of his body back in July. He was airlifted to Blodgett Hospital in Grand Rapids. After several months of extreme medical procedures and many prayers, Jeff was moved to re-hab. He has more time in re-hab ahead of him. The miracle is that he will completely recover. It will be years but he has all of his necessary functions intact. We still cannot explain how his face was left un-touched.

Jeff's journey began with an experiment gone awry. Since an early age he has taken things apart and re-constructed the parts into working inventions. We nicknamed him the "fish" because if he is near any source of water he is in it. He designs "boats" and loves to tie "knots.” His wizardry is still intact and we know that this event will produce a positive outcome. Jeff says he will go on to help other kids with science. He is wise for 10.The experiment gone awry occurred in his back yard while "launching" a rocket. The rocket launched and ignited Jeff's clothing. We know he will still be curious now just more cautious.

Our family is forever grateful to all the nerds and sailors out there for there time spent helping Jeff. Although we are here on land we think of you all out there on the boats. God Bless you...(signed) Jeff's Family”

Jeff with Santa in the hospital



Today in Great Lakes History 

December 20

On 20 December 1944, the ice breaker MACKINAW (WAGB-83) was commissioned in the U. S. Coast Guard.

The SAMUEL MATHER (5) was towed from Ashtabula, Ohio on December 20, 1975, to Port Colborne, Ontario where her boilers were converted to oil-fired burners by Herb Fraser & Associates and renamed c.) JOAN M MC CULLOUGH.

Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC's scrapping process was completed in Superior, Wisconsin on December 20, 1985.

The CRISPIN OGLEBAY (1) hauled her last cargo, a load of salt, into Rochester, New York on December 20, 1973, and then was laid up at Kingston, Ontario for the winter.

The keel was laid for the PERE MARQUETTE 22 on December 20, 1923.

In 1910, the PERE MARQUETTE 18 (II) was launched at South Chicago. She was the only Great Lakes carferry to be built in Chicago.

December 20, 1979 - The Interstate Commerce Commission approved the termination of the C&O's Milwaukee run. C&O terminated the run the following year.

On 20 December 1867, ALIDA (wooden propeller packet/tug, 81foot, 58 gross tons, built in 1856, at Saginaw, Michigan) had her boiler explode in the Saginaw River. She caught fire and burned to a total loss. This little packet/tug was the only steamer to regularly venture up the Saginaw River beyond the mouth of the Flint River.

On 20 December 1873, the Great Western ferry MICHIGAN was finally launched at the Jenkins yard in Walkerville, Ontario. Her launching was originally scheduled for 18 December, but she stuck on the ways. She was built for use on the Detroit River and her dimensions were 282 feet x 72 foot 6 inch beam.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Spirit of America Launched Saturday at Marinette


The Staten Island Ferry Spirit of America was side-launched into the Menominee River at approximately 10:15 a.m. (CDT) on Saturday after a short pre-launch ceremony. A large crowd was on hand on both sides of the Menominee River to view the spectacle. The tugs Erika Kobasic and Escort assisted during the launch. This the third large ferry built at the Wisconsin yard for service in New York harbor.

Also in Marinette, the training vessel State of Michigan is at Marinette Marine having work done to make her more useful as a classroom ship.

Reported by Dick Lund, Lee Rowe

Spirit of America hits the water


Port Report



Reported by Andy Laborde
The Lake Express carferry maneuvered up the Milwaukee and Menomonee River to it's winter berth in the South Menomonee canal Friday, Dec. 17. Lake Express is the largest vessel in the South Menomonee canal since the days when the Soo River fleet called at the old Cargill elevator and the MV Nicolet delivered coal to the power plant. The slip is ice free due to the cooling water  discharged from the WE Energy power plant.

The Lake Express with the former Cargill grain elevator in the background.

Saginaw River

Reported by Todd Shorkey
The American Rebublic was inbound the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon. She called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The was expected to be outbound Saturday evening. This is the last load of the season for the Bay Aggregates Dock and with temperatures forecast in the negative numbers the next few nights, it may be one of the last cargos of the season for the Saginaw River.

Word from the captain of the American Republic was that they expected to be sailing until January 15th hauling ore after they take a load of coal to Munising.

American Republic inbound


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 19

The ASHLAND was launched December 19, 1942, as the L6-S-B1 class bulk carrier a.) CLARENCE B RANDALL (Hull#523) at Ashtabula, Ohio by Great Lakes Engineering Works. She laid up for the last time on the same day in 1979.

The ELMGLEN (2) ran aground December 19, 1989, near Johnson’s Point in the Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River. Downbound loaded with grain, she had been diverted to the Munuscong Channel because of difficulties encountered by her fleet mate BEECHGLEN in the ice clogged West Neebish Channel.

Because of the increased demand for iron ore during the Korean conflict more ships were needed and as a consequence the yards on the Great Lakes were operating at capacity. In December 1950, the Republic Steel Corp. bought 70% of Nicholson-Universal stock in order to purchase ships from the surplus fleet.

On 19 December 1927, ALEXANDRIA (wooden propeller freighter, 97 foot, 201 gross tons, built in 1902, at Chatham, New Brunswick) burned in the harbor of Little Current, Ontario off the Government Dock where her remains still lay.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Richard Reiss Enters Bayship Drydock


The 1943 built Maritime class vessel Richard Reiss entered the Bayship graving dock Friday morning, Dec. 17, for its five- year inspection. Assisting the Reiss into the graving dock were the Selvick Marine Towing tugs Sharon Selvick, William Selvick, Escort and Jimmy L. Weather permitting, the Reiss will receive the handsome paint scheme of the other boats in the Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River fleet. There has been no announcement from the company on a possible rename of the Reiss. The shipyard expects to complete the five-year before the end of December. The Reiss is expected to lay up in Sarnia this winter.

Reported by Andy Laborde

Inbound, Jimmy L approaches the Reiss to take the bow line.
Lining up for the graving dock.
The Sharon helps position the Reiss.
Reiss in the graving dock.
Escort II and other tugs heading back to the Selvick dock.



Spirit of Ontario Could be Headed for Auction Block


Canadian American Transportation Systems was been unable to come up with more than $30 million by Friday’s court-imposed deadline to save its high-speed ferry Spirit of Ontario from foreclosure. That, according to a story in Friday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, means lawyers will be in federal court in Rochester this afternoon to hammer out a foreclosure schedule, which may include setting a date to auction off the $42.5 million ship to repay creditors. 

The private ferry company shut down its service to Toronto without warning in early September because of money problems.

While the ship sits idle in the Genesee River, CATS is embroiled in a legal dispute that will likely end with the Rochester company no longer owning the vessel. Major creditors who helped finance the construction of the ship — including the Australian government and city of Rochester — have filed claims against the company to recover their investments.
It's unclear who will ultimately end up owning the ship, especially if it goes up for auction. CATS still owns the vessel and can work out a deal to sell it before an auction. The company has tried unsuccessfully to sell it to the city. There also are legal ways the Australian-built ship could be purchased in advance of a court-ordered sale.

Reported by Dan Rivers, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Port Report


Saginaw River

Reported by Todd Shorkey
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were outbound the Saginaw River Friday morning after unloading overnight in Saginaw.  The pair had arrived on Thursday with a split load for docks in Bay City & Saginaw.
Following not long after the Trader, the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge departed the Triple Clean dock in Essexville. They moved to the Essroc dock to make up for a tow and then departed for the lake.

On Thursday, the Saginaw River and Bay were free of ice, but overnight that changed.  The river was mostly frozen over Friday and the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort reported sheet ice on the bay all the way out to Light 12 of the Entrance Channel.


Reported by Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore in
Marquette on Friday. The John J. Boland came in light and, in an unusual move, left light. The American Republic and Middletown are due in this weekend.


Reported by Al Miller
Ostkap was loading Friday at AGP elevator in Duluth. It is the last saltie of the season for the Twin Ports. Algocen arrived in port Thursday and docked at General Mills in Duluth. On Friday it was under the spouts at CHS (Harvest States) in Superior loading what may be its final cargo here. Herbert C. Jackson is expected in Saturday to load grain.

St Lawrence Seaway

The small motor vessel Yanckcanuck, which has spent the last several months working on Canada’s East Coast, is expected to sail soon from Montreal (where she arrived recently from Labrador) for winter layup at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.


Joseph H. Frantz, which had been scheduled to lay up at Toledo after discharging grain in Buffalo, will winter in Buffalo instead. The reason for the change is unknown.



Today in Great Lakes History 

December 18

On this date, the tug Sachem sank in Lake Erie off  Waverly Shoal with all hands on board.  The tug was later raised on October 22, 1951 and found to be in seaworthy condition. (Information from Roger Stahl who was her captain from 1952-1961.)

Canada Steamship Lines NANTICOKE (Hull#218) was launched December 18, 1979, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd..

The tug AMERICA freed the ore carrier IRVING S OLDS in 1956, after the OLDS grounded entering the River Raisin from Lake Erie. The OLDS stuck at a 45 degree angle to the channel, while entering for winter lay up.

Canada Steamship lines GEORGIAN BAY (Hull#149) was launched during a snow storm on December 18, 1953, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

The JOHN T HUTCHINSON was laid up for the last time December 18, 1981, at Cleveland, Ohio.

On December 18, 1921, gale force winds drove the CARMI A THOMPSON ashore at Buffalo, New York where she was laid up with grain for winter storage. She ended up wedged between the LOUIS W HILL and the MERTON E FARR. The THOMPSON was released on January 5, 1922, but required the replacement of 156 hull plates before her return to service.

The Goodrich Transit Co.’s ALABAMA (Hull#36) was launched in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. Reduced to a barge in 1961, the hull still resides in the Rouge River

On 18 December 1899, 115 (steel whaleback barge, 256 foot, 1169 gross tons, built in 1891, at Superior, Wisconsin) was carrying iron ore in a storm on Lake Huron when she broke from her tow steamer well out in the lake. She went ashore five days later at Pic Island off Thunder Bay, Ontario, and broke up. Her crew was thought to be lost, but they showed up days later after a long trek through the wilderness.

On 18 December 1959, BRIDGEBUILDER X (propeller tug, 71 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio) foundered in a storm while enroute from Sturgeon Bay to N. Fox Island on Lake Michigan. Two lives were lost. She had been built as the fish tug PITTSBURG. In 1939, she was converted to the excursion boat BIDE-A-WEE. Then she was converted to a construction tug for the building of the Mackinac Bridge and finally she was rebuilt in 1958 as a logging tug.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Richard Reiss Expected at BayShip Today for Drydocking


Reports indicate the Richard Reiss, which had one more cargo scheduled to Green Bay, will instead head directly for Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay for her regularly scheduled drydocking. During her stay she is expected to be fully painted in the colors of her owner, Lower Lakes Towing Co. She may also be renamed. The vessel was bought earlier this year from Oglebay Norton Marine. Her ETA for Bayship was not immediately known, although Thursday night or Friday morning is possible.

Reported by Jason Leino


Anxious Moments as Spruceglen Enters Drydock


Spruceglen arrived here early this morning and was helped into the fitout dock at Pascol Engineering around 9 a.m. by the tugs George N. Carleton and Robert John. Pascol workers were seen filling the dry dock at this time. Around 1:30 p.m. the dry dock gate was open and ready. The George N. Carleton started pulling Spruceglen back out away from the dock as the Robert John dragged along on the bow. As the Spruceglen cleared the dock end, Robert John pulled full steam ahead to stop the Spruceglen and began pulling her towards the dry dock. As Robert John reached the opening to the dry dock she slowed her engine and waited for the George N. Carleton to pull the boat to a slow. Something wasn't right, the Carleton wasn't pulling and the Spruceglen wasn't stopping. After a frantic few moments, the Carleton finally started pulling. After pulling from first one side and then to the other, the Spruceglen was brought under control about 30' short of running head-on into the dock. Lines were thrown down and the bow was brought back inline with the entrance and she was slowly pulled in.

(Photos will be in the next Gallery on Sunday night)

Reported by Rob Farrow


Port Report



Reported by Al Miller, Eric Holst

The last salties of the season were at Duluth on Wednesday. Ziemia Gornoslaska was loading at AGP while Ostkap was anchored on the lake waiting to load at AGP. A few lakers are expected to load grain cargoes, but grain tonnage for the season is expected to be disappointing.

The harbor was active Wednesday morning, with Indiana Harbor departing through the Duluth ship canal about 7:30 a.m. with coal from Midwest Energy Terminal. At the same time, Oglebay Norton was passing beneath the Blatnik Bridge on its way to Midwest Energy Terminal to load for Silver Bay.

With temperatures generally remaining below 32 degrees in recent days, Duluth-Superior habor is becoming covered with ice. Despite that, the ore, coal and stone docks are remaining busy. Midwest Energy Terminal is scheduled to load Paul R. Tregurtha on Jan. 9 – the latest load currently on the dock's schedule. The DMIR dock in Duluth has vessels scheduled through Dec. 27: American Mariner, Dec. 17; Charles M. Beeghly, Dec. 18; Armco, Dec. 20; Edwin H. Gott, Dec. 24; and James R. Barker, Dec. 27. However, the DMIR's sheltered location can leave it prone to ice problems in December, so late vessel trips are always questionable.

The Algocen sailed through the
Duluth piers late Thursday morning on what is likely her last visit to the upper lakes. She spent the day loading at General Mills A in Duluth, and was expected to shift today to Cenex Harvest-States in Superior to finish her load.  No departure time is scheduled yet, but if loading goes quickly the Algocen may depart as early as this afternoon.

The Ostkap was part of a busy afternoon at the Duluth entry Thursday. The Reserve started things off with a mid-afternoon departure, loaded with iron ore pellets from CN-Missabe #6. Out on Lake Superior the Reserve passed inbound fleetmate Oglebay Norton, on her way to Murphy Fuel and then Midwest Energy. Once the Norton passed AGP on Rice's Point the Liberian-registered Ziemia Gornoslaska backed out of AGP's slip, loaded with grain and assisted by a G-tug.  By this time the Ostkap had lifted anchor and followed the Norton into the harbor. The Ostkap was met by her own G-tug escort just inside the Duluth piers and made a hard turn to port so that she could pass the outbound Gornoslaska starboard-to-starboard.  As the Gornoslaska made her way out of the harbor, both G-tugs went to work spinning the Ostkap so that she could back into the AGP loading berth, a relatively rare maneuver.  Several minutes after her departure, the Gornoslaska passed the inbound Edwin H. Gott, which made a dusk arrival at the piers on her way to Murphy fuel and then BNSF #5 in Superior.

The Gott has an interesting trip ahead of her.  She will reportedly load an iron ore pellet cargo bound for Stelco's Hamilton, Ontario works. The Gott is too large to pass through the Welland Canal and therefore visit Hamilton herself, so she will meet two Canadian freighters on Lake Erie near Long Pointe, Ontario, and transfer the cargo to them for the final leg of its journey.

Today the Twin Ports are expecting the Burns Harbor, American Spirit, and Michipicoten at BNSF #5, and the Adam E. Cornelius for CN-Missabe #6.  The Herbert C. Jackson is due in port to load grain, likely wheat for Buffalo.  As of now she appears to be the last grain ship scheduled for the Twin Ports in what is shaping up to be the slowest shipping season for grain here since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Photos by Glenn Blaskiewicz
Ostkap arrives
Algocen loads


Reported by Jim Hoffman
The Canadian Transfer finished unloading potash at Andersons "K" Elevator and departed Wednesday morning with the "G" tug
Louisiana assisting her on her trip downriver. The salt water vessel Federal Hunter finished loading grain at the ADM/Countrymark Elevator and departed late Wednesday morning with the "G" tugs Idaho (bow) and Louisiana (stern) assisting her downriver to Lake Erie. The Canadian Navigator was at the Torco Ore Dock unloading ore, once finished she will proceed over to the CSX Docks to load coal. The Amelia Desgagnes remains at the old CSX Ore Dock waiting for the remainder of her coal cargo to arrive at the docksite. The CSL vessel Pineglen was at the Midwest Terminal Dock (ex T.W.I. Dock) it was unknown if she was loading or unloading a cargo.

At the Shipyard the tug Cheraw was tied up at the riverfront dock area of the yard. The Hornbeck oil barge still remains under construction in the large drydock. The casino boat Detroit Princess remains tied up at the old Interlake Dock just north of the yard.

The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the John G. Munson on Thursday, followed by the H. Lee White and Lee A. Tregurtha on Saturday. The next scheduled ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Atlantic Erie on Thursday. The next scheduled stone boats due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be the Capt. Henry Jackman on Saturday, followed by the Algorail on Monday (20 Dec.)


Reported by Lee Rowe
The Wolverine and Saginaw came into Marquette Tuesday evening but couldn't load until Wednesday.  The Wolverine began her load on a very chilly morning, but the Saginaw, because of the delay, cleaned out her holds and headed out for a different load to be replaced by the Michipicoten, which arrived Wednesday afternoon. The H. Lee White brought a load of stone to the lower harbor. On Thursday the Fred R. White Jr. arrived in Marquette for a load of ore. A storm moved in as she was loading.

Fred R. White, Jr. at the dock
White with a view of the incoming weather.



Today in Great Lakes History 

December 17

While breaking ice off Colchester Reef, Lake Erie on 17 December 1917, the HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2234 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wisconsin, formerly PILLSBURY) was in a collision with the MIDVALE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 8271 gross tons, built in 1917, at Ashtabula, Ohio).  The PILLSBURY sank in thirty feet of water 4 1/2 miles from Colchester Reef. Her crew walked across the ice to the MIDVALE.  The wreck was located on 24 April 1918, four miles from its original position, with seven feet of water over her and raised later that year to be repaired.

C L AUSTIN was launched December 17, 1910, as a.) WILLIS L KING (Hull#79) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

With an inexperienced Taiwanese crew, boiler problems and the collapse of Lock 7's west wall in the Welland Canal, the departure of SAVIC (CLIFFS VICTORY) was delayed until December 17, 1985, when she departed Chicago, Illinois under her own power.

Paterson’s NEW QUEDOC sank at her winter moorings at Midland, Ontario on December 17, 1961, with a load of storage grain. The sinking was caused by the automatic sea valves that were accidentally opened.

The ROGERS CITY (2) was laid up for the last time at Calcite, Michigan on December 17, 1981.

On December 17, 1955, in heavy fog, the B F AFFLECK collided head-on with her fleetmate HENRY PHIPPS in the Straits of Mackinac. Both vessels were damaged but were able to sail under their own power for repairs.

In 1905, the Anchor Line steamer JUNIATA was launched at the yards of the American Shipbuilding Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The JUNIATA was the first large passenger boat built in Cleveland since the NORTH LAND and NORTH WEST. Today the JUNIATA exists as the National Historic Landmark MILWAUKEE CLIPPER in Muskegon, Michigan.

On 17 December 1875, the steamboat JENNISON of Captain Ganoe's line which ran between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven burned at Grand Rapids. She was laid up for the winter just below the city on the Grand River. She was insured for $12,000.                                            

December 16

On 16 December 1922, the JOSHUA W RHODES (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4871 gross tons, built in 1906 at Lorain, Ohio) struck bottom in the middle of the St. Clair River abreast of Port Huron, Michigan.  Damages cost $6,179.32 to repair.

On December 16, 1966, while loading at Montreal, the CABOT, b.) CANADIAN EXPLORER rolled over on her side and sank with a loss of two lives. She was refloated on January 18, 1967.

In 1983, HILDA MARJANNE's forward section, which included a bow thruster, was moved to the building berth at Port Weller Dry Docks where it was joined to CHIMO's stern. The joined sections would later emerge from the dry dock as the b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

The IMPERIAL BEDFORD (Hull#666) was launched December 16,1968, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Co.

Canada Steamship lines J W MC GIFFIN (Hull#197) was launched December 16, 1971, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards.

The tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE departed light from Erie December 16,1973, on its maiden voyage bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. (This was the latest maiden voyage date at that time.) There the PRESQUE ISLE loaded 51,038 long tons of taconite pellets for delivery to Gary, Indiana. After this ice covered trip, the vessel returned to Erie for winter lay-up. The PRESQUE ISLE was the second thousand foot vessel on the Great Lakes (the Erie-built STEWART J CORT which came out in 1972, was the first) and was the last large vessel built at the Erie shipyard.

While in tandem tow on the way to scrapping with the former Ford Motor Co. steamer ROBERT S. MC NAMARA, the BUCKEYE MONITOR developed a crack in her deck amidships. The crack extended down her sides to below the waterline and she sank at 0145 hours on December 16, 1973, at position 43°30'N x 30°15'W in the North Atlantic.

BENSON FORD, a) RICHARD M MARSHALL made her last trip to the Rouge where she was laid up on December 16, 1984.

The PIC RIVER was the last to use the old Welland City Canal on December 16, 1972, as the new Welland by-pass opened the following spring.

WOLFE ISLANDER III arrived in Kingston, Ontario on December 16, 1975. Built in Thunder Bay, she would replace the older carferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA on the Kingston - Wolfe Island run.

The WILLIAM A IRVIN sustained bottom damage in Lake Erie and laid up December 16, 1978, at Duluth, Minnesota.

THOMAS WILSON operated until December 16, 1979, when she tied up at Toledo. During that final year, the vessel carried only thirty cargoes and all were ore.

On 16 December 1906, ADVENTURER (wooden propeller steam tug, 52 foot, built in 1895, at Two Harbors, Minnesota) broke her moorings and went adrift in a gale. She was driven ashore near Ontonagon, Michigan on Lake Superior and was pounded to pieces.

On 16 December 1954, the 259 foot bulk carrier BELVOIR was launched at the E. B. McGee Ltd. yard in Port Colborne, Ontario. She was built for the Beaconsfield Steamship Co. She sailed in the last years before the Seaway opened. During the winter of 1958-59, she was lengthened 90 feet at Montreal. She left the Lakes in 1968, and later sank in the Gulf of Honduras with the loss of 21 lives.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Johnson, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series and the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history


Spruceglen Heads for Drydock


CSL’s bulk carrier Spruceglen, which grounded in the lower St. Marys River at Johnsons Point Sunday, got underway Tuesday for Thunder Bay, where she reportedly will enter drydock for inspection and repairs. She spent Monday at the Carbide Dock in Sault Ste. Marie. There are no reports as yet on how extensive the damage may be.

Reported by Jerry Masson


Port Report



Reported by Matt Ruscher
The Joseph H. Frantz arrived at Buffalo at 2 p.m. Tuesday in a snowstorm on her last trip of the season. She will unload, then proceed to Toledo for winter layup.

Joseph H. Frantz passing Buffalo light
Tug Washington assists the Frantz
A seagull directs the operation as the Frantz passes
Niagara tugs Daniel Joncaire and Breaker with barge docked.



Reported by Lee Rowe
Michipicoten loaded ore at
Marquette and remained tied up on Monday due to strong winds and high waves on Lake Superior.  She was tied up closer to shore than usual and she was fully loaded. Charles M. Beeghly came in with a load of coal and began unloading Monday once the winds died down a little. She took on ore on Tuesday.

Michipicoten loaded with ore and tied to the dock, 12-13-04. Note the new fencing.
Charles M. Beeghly unloading coal.
Unwise photographer ignores the sign!



Today in Great Lakes History 

December 15

On 15 December 1902, the TIONESTA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 340 foot, 4329 gross tons) was launched at the Detroit Ship Building Company, Wyandotte, Michigan (Hull #150) for the Erie & Western Transportation Company (Anchor Line).  She was christened by Miss Marie B. Wetmore.  The vessel lasted until 1940, when she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

The ROBERT KOCH went hard aground
December 15, 1985, on Sheldon Point off Oswego, New York loaded with 2000 tons of cement when her towline parted from the tug R & L NO 1. Dragging her anchors in heavy weather, she fetched up on a rocky shelf in 16 feet of water 300 yards off shore.

The NORTHCLIFFE HALL (2) departed Kingston on December 15, 1974, headed for Colombia with a load of newsprint. She traded briefly in the Caribbean and then laid up at Houston, Texas, later to return to the lakes.

On December 15, 1972, the GEORGIAN BAY was reported as the last ship to pass through the city of Welland as the new $8.3 million by-pass channel was to be ready for the beginning of the 1973 shipping season. (Actually two other ships, the TADOUSSAC and PIC RIVER, followed her through.)

The JOHN E F MISENER (2) was laid up for the last time on December 15, 1982, at Port McNicoll, Ontario.

JOE S MORROW (Hull#350) was launched December 15, 1906, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

The RED WING (2) was laid up for the last time at Toronto on December 15, 1984, due in part to the uneconomical operation of her steam turbine power plant.

The ROGERS CITY (2) cleared Lauzon, Quebec on December 15, 1987, in tow of the Maltese tug PHOCEEN on the first leg of her tow to the cutters torch.

On December 15, 1988, Purvis Marine's ANGLIAN LADY departed Mackinaw City with the CHIEF WAWATAM under tow, arriving at the Canadian Soo the next day. During the winter of 1988-89, Purvis removed items tagged by the State (including the pilot house) and began converting her into a barge.

On 15 December 1888, GEORGE W ROBY (wooden propeller, 281 foot, 1843 gross tons,) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#45).

Below is a winter lay-up list as published in the Port Huron Times on 15 December 1876.

December 14

On 14 December 1902, JOHN E HALL (wooden propeller freighter, 139 foot, 343 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was towing the barge JOHN R NOYES (wooden schooner, 137 foot, 333 gross tons, built in 1872 at Algonac, Michigan) on Lake Ontario when they were caught in a blizzard-gale.  After a day of struggling, the NOYES broke loose and drifted for two days before she went ashore and broke up near Lakeside, New York without loss of life.  The HALL tried to run for shelter but swamped and sank off Main Duck Island with the loss of the entire crew of nine.

December 14, 1984, the WILLIAM CLAY FORD (1) laid up for the final time at the Rouge Steel plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

The JIIMAAN was towed out of dry dock at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on December 14, 1992, by the tugs JAMES E MC GRATH and LAC VANCOUVER to the fitout dock for completion.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE was sold for scrap in 1988, and was towed up the Welland Canal on December 14, 1988, by the tugs THUNDER CAPE and MICHAEL D MISNER to Port Colborne, Ontario.

On December 14, 1926, the W E FITZGERALD was caught in heavy seas and suffered damaged frames and hull plating. Repairs consisted of replacing nearly 25,000 rivets and numerous hull plates.
The package freighter GEORGE N ORR, a recent war acquisition from the Canada Atlantic Transit Company was wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

On 14 December 1883, MARY ANN HULBERT (wooden schooner-barge, 62 gross tons, built in 1873, at Bayfield, Wisconsin) was carrying railroad workers and supplies in tow of the steamer KINCADINE in a storm on Lake Superior. She was sailing from Port Arthur for Michipicoten Island. The HULBERT was overwhelmed by the gale and foundered, The crew of five plus all 15 of the railroad workers were lost.
December 14, 1903 - The PERE MARQUETTE 20 left the shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio on her maiden voyage.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Spruceglen Aground in St. Marys River


UPDATE 11 a.m.  The Spruceglen was freed late Sunday night or early Monday morning. She was being escorted to Sault Ste. Marie for inspection by the tug Missouri.

ORIGINAL REPORT: The CSL bulker Spruceglen remained aground Sunday night in the lower St. Marys River near Johnson's Point. The bow is reportedly grounded, with the stern swinging partially across the narrow channel.

Heavy snow squalls in the area Sunday, which sent some vessels to anchor, may have be a factor in the grounding. No further information was available Sunday night.

Reported by Jerry Masson


Algocen May Be On Her Last Trip


Algoma Central’s 730-foot flatback bulker Algocen, built in 1968 at Collingwood Shipyards, may be on the verge of retirement. She is presently due at Duluth’s Cenex Harvest States Elevator #1 on Tuesday to load grain for a St. Lawrence Seaway port. Many boatwatchers believe this could be her final voyage to the upper lakes.

This is the second straight year that reports have circulated about Algocen’s imminent demise, but the fact that Algoma Central returned two long-idled bulkers to the line-up this year does not bode well for the handsome motor vessel. There has been no official announcement as yet about the Algocen's future.

Reported by Glenn Blaskiewicz, Jason Leslie

Algocen earlier this season (Rod Burdick)


Cleveland Shipping Up 30 Percent Over Last Year


Shipping tonnage is up at the Port of Cleveland and on the Great Lakes this year.

Shipping of materials such as iron ore, limestone, salt, cement and imported steel has increased 30 percent over last year at the Port of Cleveland, said Steven Pfeiffer, the port's maritime director.

"There's only one reason steel is moving through here like this," Pfeiffer told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "The economy's coming back. That's the indicator that the manufacturers are hard at work."

This year's shipping tonnage was more than in any of the last four years, Pfeiffer said. Projections from Port of Cleveland customers are that next year will be even higher, he said. Next year "is the strongest optimism that we've seen in five years," Pfeiffer said.

Reported by Cleveland Plain Dealer, Dan Rivers



Great Lakes Training Vessel To Get $3.7 Million in Improvements


When the Great Lakes Maritime Academy's training ship State of Michigan returns from a Wisconsin shipyard in May, it will have received $3.9 million in improvements.

The ship left Traverse City, Mich., Dec. 3 for a Marinette, Wis., where workers will increase its cabin space, convert an intelligence-gathering room to a classroom, expand its sewage holding tank capacity and install a water treatment system.

Most of the bill will be paid with a $3.7 million federal allocation awarded last year, according to a story in the Traverse City Record Eagle. The academy, part of Northwestern Michigan College, added $200,000 from a federally provided maintenance fund. The 224-foot, former Cold War spy ship was valued at $27 million when received two years ago. It was put in dry dock for maintenance and inspection last year at a cost of $370,000, academy superintendent John Tanner said.

Some 30,000 gallons of sewage capacity will be added to allow for longer trips. Currently, it holds 4,000 gallons of sewage, including water from laundry and showers. Cabin capacity will be doubled from 30 cadets to 60 cadets. Currently, there is no room for freshmen.

Reported by Jason Leslie, Traverse City Record Eagle



Port Report



Reported by Jim Hoffman
The saltwater vessel Federal Hunter was loading grain at the ADM/Countrymark Elevator. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was at Andersons "K" Elevator. Amelia Desgagnes was at the old ore dock at the CSX Docks waiting for her coal cargo to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Canadian Navigator was scheduled into the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore but presently is at anchor due to strong westerly gales and low water levels in the western basin of Lake Erie. Her eta for the Torco Dock is unknown at this time.

The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Coal Docks will be the Lee A. Tregurtha on Monday. The CSL Niagara are expected on Tuesday. The John G. Munson and Canadian Navigator should be in on Wednesday, with Lee A. Tregurtha on Friday, followed by the H. Lee White on Sunday (19 Dec.). The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Atlantic Erie on Thursday (16 Dec.), the  CSL Niagara on Saturday (25 Dec.), followed by the Atlantic Huron on Sunday (26 Dec.). The next scheduled vessel due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock at the CSX Docks will be the Capt. Henry Jackman on Saturday (18 Dec.). Note due to weather and dock delays this time of year ETAs may be delayed and sometimes vessels are substituted to load/unload cargoes that are scheduled at these facilities.

Reported by Al Miller

The Twin Ports received two late cement cargoes in recent days. On Friday, Algontario was unloading at St. Lawrence Cement. Alpena was in port Saturday morning to unload at the LaFarge terminal in Superior, then moved across the harbor to unload at the Duluth terminal. While the Alpena was unloading at the Superior terminal on Saturday, the Armco was just around the corner unloading at the CLM terminal. After unloading its cement cargo, the Algontario was anchored on Lake Superior on Saturday cleaning its holds. It was due next at the CHS terminal to load grain.


Reported by Scott Best
Saturday afternoon the Algorail paid a visit to Marinette with a load of salt for Marinette Fuel & Dock. This was the 5th load of salt this year for the dock which normally gets 2-3 loads a year. On November 25, the Algomarine unloaded salt in Marinette. The Algorail arrived around 2 p.m. and departed by 8PM. The Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 had been tied up at MF&D waiting out weather shifted out to anchor before the Algorail arrived and then quickly returned to the dock Saturday night once the Algorail departed.

Algorail, wide view with PM41-Undaunted at anchor.
Close up inside the piers.
Boom back on board ready to depart.


Photo Gallery


Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 13

The CANADIAN ENTERPRISE entered service for Upper Lakes Shippng Ltd. on December 13, 1979.

On December 13, 1989, Kinsman’s HENRY STEINBRENNER (4) was laid up at Toledo's Lakefront Dock.

The G A TOMLINSON (2) arrived under her own power at Triad Salvage Inc., Ashtabula, Ohio on December 13, 1979, to be scrapped.

The THOMAS WILSON ran aground in the St. Marys River on December 13, 1976. The accident required lightering before she would float free.

On 13 December 1872. the Port Huron Times added three vessels to those in winter lay-up at Port Huron: Steamer MARINE CITY, tug JOHN PRINDEVILLE, and wrecking tug RESCUE.

December 13, 1906 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 departed for Manitowoc, Wisconsin on her first trip.

In 1929, the Mc Louth Steamship Company filed a claim against the City of Port Huron for $687 because its sand sucker, the KALKASKA, was held up for 27-1/2 hours in the Black River because of an inability to open the north span of the Military Street Bridge.

On 13 December 1961, SWEDEN (formerly L C SMITH, steel propeller, 414 foot, 4702 gross tons, built in 1902, at W. Bay City, Michigan) arrived in tow at Savanna, Italy for scrapping.

December 12

On 12 December 1898, FANNY H (wooden propeller tug, 54 foot, 16 gross tons, built in 1890, at Bay City, Michigan) was sold by J. R. Hitchcock to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.  She underwent a major rebuild in 1908 when she was lengthened to 60’.

The push tug PRESQUE ISLE (2) was launched December 12, 1972, as (Hull #322) by the Halter Marine Services, Inc., New Orleans, Louisiana.

The SPINDLETOP e.) BADGER STATE was launched December 12, 1942, for the United States Maritime Commission.

The WHEAT KING returned to Port Weller Dry Docks on December 12, 1975, for lengthening to the maximum Seaway size of 730 feet overall for the iron ore and grain trade thus ending her salt water activities.

One unusual trip for the WOODLAND occurred when she arrived at Toronto, Ontario on December 12, 1987, to load a 155 foot, 135-ton self-unloading unit for delivery to the Verolme Shipyard in Brazil where the Govan-built Panamax bulk carrier CSL INNOVATOR was being converted to a self-unloader.

On Monday December 12, 1898, the AURORA was fast in the ice at Amherstburg, Ontario, when a watchman smelled smoke. The crew tried to put out the fire, but to no avail. They were taken off the burning vessel by the tug C A LORMAN. The ship burned to the water's edge.

On December 12, 1956, the once proud passenger vessels EASTERN STATES and GREATER DETROIT were taken out onto Lake St. Clair where they were set afire. All the superstructure was burned off and the hulls were taken to Hamilton, Ontario, where they were scrapped in 1957.

On 12 December 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels at winter lay-up at Sarnia, Ontario: Schooners: MARY E PEREW, KINGFISHER, UNADILLA, ONEONTA, AMERICAN, J G MASTEN, PELICAN, UNION, B ALLEN, and CAMDEN; Brigs: DAVID A WELLS, WAGONER, and FRANK D BARKER; Barks: C T MAPLE, EMALINE BATES, and D A VAN VALKENBURG; Steamer: MANITOBA.

On 12 December 1877, U.S. Marshall Matthews sold the boiler and machinery of the CITY OF PORT HURON at auction in Detroit, Michigan. Darius Cole submitted the winning bid of $1,000.

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



Restored Lake Huron Light to Open For Tours

The newly restored DeTour Reef Light is expected to open for tours in 2005.

Volunteers have raised money to pay for the two-year, $1 million restoration  of the light, located a mile off shore in northern Lake Huron. The lighthouse was built in 1931 atop a 60-foot-square concrete crib that sits on the reef. The light was declared surplus in 1997.

Volunteers have worked since 1998 to build a society and acquire donations and grant funding for programs to preserve the light.

Restoration began in 2002 and was completed in September. Additional work to be accomplished includes refurbishing of a barge to be used as a docking platform along with a ladder system for safe access to the lighthouse deck, outfitting the keeper's quarters with 1931 period furnishings, interpretative educational displays, fabrication and installation of the second deck crane, and other projects.



New Canadian Shipowners' Group Seeks Province's Help

The Ontario Marine Transportation Forum, a new industry group representing Canadian Great Lakes shipowners, plans to lobby Ontario's provincial government for aid to protect existing business and to support new ventures, according to a story in the Toronto Star.

"We look forward to working with ... the province to integrate our marine highways with the provincial road network," said Wayne Smith, vice president of marketing with Seaway Marine Transport, which operates 34 ships for two of the three major companies left in the industry — Toronto-based Upper Lakes Group Inc., and Algoma Central Corp., of St. Catharines.

There are "a bunch of serious issues ... that aren't going anywhere," Smith said. "Government understands ... but we're still waiting for definitive answers."

Part of the blame rests with the industry, officials admit.

"We've been too silent for too long," says John Greenway, Seaway's vice-president of operations. "The result is that most of our politicians and most of the public don't even know there's a Canadian marine industry."

The industry faces a long list of challenges, he said:

Cargo tonnages were dramatically down, until a slight increase this year. Important customers face uncertain futures. For example, ships will lose deliveries to Ontario Power Generation if the Ontario government keeps its promise to shut the province's coal-fired generating stations by 2007.

Canadian-owned ships must compete with ocean vessels registered in foreign countries. They operate cheaper because they can employ cut-price crews and have less stringent maintenance, safety and environmental standards.

Canada's lake fleet is aging. Most of the ships were built in the 1960s and '70s. Many have been extensively refurbished, but they're still less efficient than new models would be. New ships would be a great help, but the companies aren't making enough money to justify the $50 million or more each would cost.

Taxpayers subsidize land-based competitors by building and maintaining roads that transport trucks use. Ship owners must cover almost all the costs of operating the navigation system and ports, including dredging channels and icebreaking. Fees and tolls cost more than $50,000 per trip.

The shipowners claim several environmental advantages: For every tonne of cargo moved one kilometre, ships consume half the energy used by trains and one-tenth as much as trucks, says the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., which operates the Canadian side of the waterway. Ships also emit much less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and are involved in far fewer accidents and spills.

The new group wants Ottawa to pay for navigation services, as the U.S. government does, and to cover operating costs of the Seaway, in the same way governments maintain roads.

It's also trying to raise interest in a transportation system that would combine ships, trucks and possibly trains. One proposal: vessels to carry more than 100 trucks at a time across the lakes, allowing them to avoid crowded highways and clogged border crossings. One route might link Hamilton and Oswego, New York.



Corps to Focus River Dredging on Navigation Channel

The Corps of Engineers next summer will focus on dredging navigation channels in the St. Clair River, saying harbors in the Port Huron area don't need work right now, the Port Huron Times-Herald reported.

 A federal spending bill approved last month includes about $947,000 earmarked for dredging the channel in the St. Clair River and about $97,000 for work on the shipping channel through Lake St. Clair.

"They're (the commercial navigation channels) in pretty good shape overall, but there's selected areas where there's high spots," Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the Corps of Engineers' Detroit district office, told the newspaper.

The last dredging of local state-operated marinas was two summers ago, when the Corps of Engineers scooped out entrances to the harbors in Lexington and Port Sanilac. Dredging is planned next year for harbors in Caseville and Bayport.



Port Report


By Charlie Gibbons
The salty Antalina arrived early Thursday at Pier 51 to unload steel products. Later in the afternoon Hamilton Energy came over from Hamilton to bunker her. English River was in at the Lafarge dock.

The tug Vac and barges are still hauling dirt from the waterworks reconstruction project in the Beaches (about two stone throws from my house) to the Turning basin.


Today in Great Lakes History - December 11

On 11 December 2002, after last minute dredging operations were completed, Nadro Marine’s tugs SEAHOUND and VAC took the World War II Canadian Naval Tribal-class destroyer H.M.C.S. HAIDA from her mooring place at Toronto’s Ontario Place to Port Weller Dry Docks where a $3.5M refit was started in preparation for the vessel to start her new career as a museum ship in Hamilton, Ontario.

TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193) was launched December 11, 1968, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd..

The H LEE WHITE (2) collided with the Greek salty GEORGIOS on December 11, 1974, near St. Clair, Michigan and had to return to Nicholson's dock at Detroit, Michigan for inspection.

On December 11, 1979, while about 11 miles off Manitou Island near the Keweenaw Peninsula,the ASHLAND's engine stalled due to a faulty relay switch. Caught in heavy weather and wallowing in the wave troughs, she put out a distress call. True to Great Lakes tradition four vessels immediately came to her assistance: two thousand footers, LEWIS WILSON FOY and EDWIN H GOTT, along with WILLIS B BOYER and U.S.C.G. cutter MESQUITE.

WILLIAM CLAY FORD (1) loaded her last cargo at Duluth, Minnesota on December 11, 1984.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 passed down the Welland Canal ( loaded with remnants of Port Huron's Peerless Cement Dock) on December 11, 1974, towed by the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and DANIEL MC ALLISTER on the way to Sorel, Quebec where she was laid up.

The fishing boat LINDA E vanished on Lake Michigan along with its three crewmen on Dec. 11, 1998.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.’s. WHEAT KING was laid up for the last time December 11, 1981.

On 11 December 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels in winter lay-up in Port Huron:
Sailing Craft:
Sidewheel Steamers: 8TH OHIO, WYOMING (lighter).

On 11 December 1895, GEORGE W ADAMS (wooden schooner-barge, 231 foot, 1444 gross tons, built in 1875, at Toledo, Ohio) was in tow of the steamer CALEDONIA with a load of coal, bound from Cleveland for Chicago. Her hull was crushed by ice and she sank near Colchester Shoals on Lake Erie. A salvage operation on her the following summer was a failure.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Staten Island Ferry Resumes Trip

At 9:20 p.m. Thursday night the new Staten Island Ferry Sen. John J. Marchi departed Nicholsons Terminal in Detroit. The vessel spent just over a day at the dock undergoing repairs and replenishment.

The repairs were believed to have been to an engine, the ferry was escorted down the Detroit River on Wednesday by the tug Maine.

Please send pictures of the Marchi's trip off the lakes to

Picture by Bob Arnold
Downbound on the St. Clair River Wednesday.

Pictures by Dick Lund departing Marinette Marine on Dec. 7
Sen. John J. Marchi at Marinette Marine just prior to departure on Dec. 7
In the Menominee River with Basic Marine's tugs Krystal leading the tow and Erika Kobasic trailing
Close-up of the ferry
Close-up of the other end of the ferry
Side view
Passing Menominee North Pier Lighthouse on her way out to Green Bay

Port Report

Menominee/Marinette Port Report

By Dick Lund
The Menominee River has been a busy place this past two weeks. First was the Chios Pride grounding on an unmarked shoal near the mouth of the river on Nov. 29. She was freed on Dec. 1 and headed for Burns Harbor, Indiana the next night to offload some of her cargo of pig iron.

On Dec. 4 the Pere Marquette 41 arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of pig iron, and the Varnebank arrived with a load of pulp but had to wait out in the bay of Green Bay as she was loaded too deep (according to new regulations after the Chios Pride grounding).

Dec. 5 saw the Chios Pride return to unload pig iron at Marinette Fuel & Dock, the Great Lakes Maritime Academy's State of Michigan head up to Marinette Marine for repairs, and the Varnebank being off-loaded by a crane and barge in the bay and finally making her dock at a local warehouse around 4 p.m. Dec. 6 the Pere Marquette 41 returned to pick up a load of pig iron scale from Marinette Fuel & Dock.

The Amelia Desgagnes arrived off Menominee with a load of pig iron on Dec. 7, but had to wait for the Chios Pride to finish unloading, and the Varnebank was now loading pulp at a local warehouse. Also on Dec. 7, the new Staten Island Ferry Sen. John J. Marchi departed Marinette Marine headed for New York on her delivery run.

The Chios Pride departed on Dec. 8, and the Amelia Desgagnes took her place alongside the craneship William H. Donner at Marinette Fuel & Dock to begin unloading. On Dec. 9, the Amelia Desgagnes departed and the Varnebank moved up to the deep draft dock at the warehouse to finish loading.

Detroit Update

By Mike Nicholls
The J.A.W. Iglehart arrived at the new Lafarge Dock in Detroit, just above Zug Island, on Thursday morning and is the first vessel to unload there.
Bow view

Toledo News

By Jim Hoffman
The Algomarine was at the Kuhlman Dock unloading an oats cargo loaded at Thunder Bay, Ontario. Late Thursday morning the salt water vessel Federal Saguenay finished loading grain at the ADM/ Countrymark Elevator and departed under tow of the "G" tugs Idaho (bow) and Illinois (stern) and were downbound the Maumee River headed out to Lake Erie.

The CSL Niagara is due into the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore on Thursday evening. The tug Karen Andrie with her barge was at the Seneca Oil Dock unloading cargo.

At the shipyard, the David Z. Norton and the casino boat Detroit Princess are tied up at the old Interlake Iron Dock which is just north of the yard. The barge Cleveland Rocks remains tied up at the riverfront dock area of the yard. The new oil barge under construction remains in the large drydock while the tug Cheraw remains in the small drydock.

The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the CSL Niagara (she will be coming over from the Torco Ore Dock after unloading an ore cargo) and the Cason J. Callaway on Friday. The Amelia Desgagnes and Lee A. Tregurtha on Sunday. The CSL Laurentien on Monday, followed by the John J. Boland, John G. Munson, and Canadian Navigator on Tuesday.

The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Docks will be the Algosteel on Saturday. The Canadian Navigator on Monday, followed by the Atlantic Erie on Weds. The Capt. Henry Jackman is due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock tentatively on Thursday (16 Dec.)

The Courtney Burton remains in layup at the Lakefront Docks with no activity observed around the vessel.

Thursday evening the Montrealais came into The Andersons Kuhlman Facility. Cleveland Rocks departed the Toledo Shipyard. Tug-Cheraw lies alongside the short drydock. Detroit Princess and David Z. Norton are moored nearby. Rebecca Lynn and her barge are off-loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo. USCG 41480 is involved in a training exercise at Bayview Marina. The self-building crane by the main pylon project for the new high level I-280 bridge project is lit with Christmas lights.

Today in Great Lakes History - December 10

CEDARGLEN, a.) WILLIAM C ATWATER, loaded her last cargo at Thunder Bay, Ontario on December 10, 1984, carrying grain for Goderich, Ontario.

Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought the NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950. She would later become the CLIFFS VICTORY.

The IRVIN L CLYMER was laid up at Superior, Wisconsin on December 10, 1985, for two seasons before returning to service April 30, 1988.

An explosion occurred in the IMPERIAL LEDUC's, b.) NIPIGON BAY ) forward tanks on December 10, 1951. This happened while her crew was cleaning and butterworthing the tanks. Five crew members were injured with one eventually dying in the hospital. Multiple explosions caused extensive damage in excess of $500,000.

On December 10, 1905, the WILLIAM E COREY finally was pulled free and refloated after grounding on Gull Island Reef in the Apostle Islands in late November.

FRANK A SHERMAN laid up for the last time at Toronto, Ontario on December 10, 1981.

Donated by Cleveland-Cliffs to the Great Lakes Historical Society on December 10, 1987, the WILLIAM G MATHER was to become a museum ship at Cleveland's waterfront.

PAUL H CARNAHAN and her former fleet mate, GEORGE M HUMPHREY (2), arrived safely under tow at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on December 10, 1986, for scrapping.

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 December 1891, a fire started on MARY (2-mast wooden schooner, 84 foot, 87 gross tons, built in 1877, at Merriton, Ontario) when an oil stove in the kitchen exploded. The vessel was at anchor at Sarnia, Ontario and damage was estimated at $10,000. The CORISANE (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 137 foot, 292 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was tied up alongside MARY and she also caught fire but the flames were quickly extinguished. She was towed away from MARY by the ferry J C CLARK.

The PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground in 1893, north of Milwaukee. Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Staten Island Ferry Stops in Detroit

The new Staten Island Ferry Sen. John J. Marchi arrived at the St. Clair River Wednesday morning and spent the day transiting downbound. The vessel arrived off Detroit around 5:00 p.m. and stopped at Nicholsons Terminal below the Ambassador Bridge for repairs. It was originally reported to be stopping to pick up parts but remained at the dock on Thursday. It is unknown when the Marchi will resume the trip downbound.

The Sen. John J. Marchi was reported to be making an impressive speed of 19.5 mph on the open lake, this speed is faster than most freighters, however the ferry must run at reduced speed due to speed limits in the river system.

The Staten Island Advance Newspaper reports that the Sen. John J. Marchi is due in Providence, Rhode Island for testing and certification around December 17 and should arrive in New York late next month. The Marchi could enter service in March.

Please send pictures of the Marchi's trip off the lakes to

Reported by: Dave Gordon

Port Report

Alpena Report

By Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday evening an American Steamship vessel came into Lafarge to unload coal. Before midnight the G.L Ostrander/ barge Integrity arrived in port to load cement. The J.A.W Iglehart was next in line to take on cargo once the Integrity departed in the early morning hours on Wednesday. Both vessels were headed for Detroit.

The Steamer Alpena also came in on Wednesday afternoon.

The John G. Munson loaded at Stoneport on Wednesday after being delayed due to the nasty weather. The Pathfinder, Fred R. White Jr. and the Wilfred Sykes are on the schedule for Thursday.

At the Soo on Wednesday some of the downbound traffic included the Cason J. Calloway, Canadian Provider, Palessa, Cedarglen, and the Roger Blough.

Saginaw River

By Todd Shorkey and G. Garris
The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge were outbound the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon after unloading overnight at the Dow Chemical terminal in Bangor Township.

Inbound Wednesday morning was the Fred R. White, Jr. The White traveled all the way upriver to unload coal at the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton. She turned in the sixth street basin and then tied up briefly at the Burroughs dock in Zilawukee to wait for the upbound Wilfred Sykes to pass. Once clear, the Fred R. White continued outbound for the lake. This was her first visit to Saginaw since 2002.

The Wilfred Sykes was inbound Wednesday evening with a split cargo. She lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock and then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. The Sykes is expected to be outbound early Thursday morning.

Toledo News
The Federal Saguenay was unloading at ADM Elevators Wednesday. At ToledoShip Repair was the Corps of Engineers tug Cheraw which was moored at the end of the short drydock now flooded with gate open. The barge Cleveland Rocks still spans the mouth of the long drydock.

Detroit Princess lies just downstream of her with a small workboat (with scaffold) working about her hull. Detroit Princess is moored with her bow facing down river.

The David Z. Norton arrived and was moored awaiting her turn at the yard. Tug Muskegon, Jessica Joy, and Buxton II have departed from Bayview Marina near the Coast Guard Station.

NPR Show Friday Visits Lake Boat Galleys

The National Public Radio's program "Morning Edition" airing Friday (check your local NPR outlet for times) will include a special segment of its "Hidden Kitchens" feature called "Freighter Food: From the Galleys of the Great Lakes."

The program was produced with the help of Paula Mckenna (author of the “Ships of the Great Lakes Cookbook"), balladeer Lee Murdock, the Great Lakes Historical Society, Arlene Earl (the Flower Lady), the Inland Seas Maritime Museum, the "Know Your Ships" book, the Michigan Historical Society and others.
For information the series, go to

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Today in Great Lakes History - December 9

While tied up at Port Colborne, Ontario, waiting to discharge her cargo of grain, a northeast gale caused the water to lower three feet and left the EDWIN H OHL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 5141 gross tons, built in 1907, at Wyandotte, Michigan) on the bottom with a list of about one foot. The bottom plating was damaged and cost $3,460.19 to repair.

Cleveland Tankers JUPITER (Hull #227) was christened December 9, 1975, at Jennings, Louisiana by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

The JEAN PARISIEN left Quebec City on her maiden voyage December 9, 1977.

CLIFFS VICTORY ran aground December 9, 1976, near Johnson’s Point in the ice -laden Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River.

The FRANK C BALL, b.) J R SENSIBAR in 1930, c.) CONALLISON in 1981) was launched at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works as (Hull#14) on December 9, 1905.

The ARTHUR B HOMER was towed by the tugs THUNDER CAPE, ELMORE M MISNER and ATOMIC to Port Colborne, Ontario, December 9, 1986, and was scrapped there the following year.

HILDA MARJANNE was launched December 9, 1943, as a.) GRANDE RONDE (Hull#43) at Portland, Oregon by Kaiser Co., Inc.

The keel for Hall Corporation of Canada’s SHIERCLIFFE HALL (Hull #248) was laid on December 9, 1949, at Montreal, Quebec by Canadian Vickers Ltd.

On 9 December 1871, CHALLENGE (wooden schooner, 96 foot, 99 tons, built in 1853, at Rochester, New York) missed the piers at Sheboygan, Wisconsin in heavy weather, stove in some of her planking and sank. She was a particularly sleek craft, actually designed as a yacht and once owned by the U.S. Light House Service as a supply vessel.

On 9 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that "the old railroad ferry steamer UNION at Detroit is having machinery taken out and preparing to go into permanent retirement, or perhaps to serve as a floating dining room for railroad passengers."

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

Staten Island Ferry Heads for New York

3:30 p.m. Update
The new Staten Island Ferry Sen. John J. Marchi was one hour above the Blue Water Bridges at Port Huron on Wednesday morning. The ferry is expected off Detroit around 4:50 p.m. and will stop at Nicholsons Terminal below the Ambassador Bridge to pick up a part. The ferry is expected to dock at Nicholsons between 5:20 p.m. and 5:50 p.m.

The Sen. John J. Marchi was reported to be making a speed of 19.5 mph on the open lake and the ETA's may change due to her speed. This speed is faster than most freighters, however the ferry must run at reduced speed due to speed limits in the river system.

Original Report
Tuesday afternoon the new Staten Island Ferry Sen. John J. Marchi departed the ship yard at Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The new ferry is the second one to be completed by the ship yard. The vessel is expected to pass downbound off Detroit on Wednesday as part of the 2,725-mile journey to Staten Island.

A third and final Staten Island ferry, the Spirit of America, will be side-launched into the Menominee River on December 18 at Marinette Marine Corp. The company built the three 4,400-passenger ferries at a total cost of $120 million. Construction work will continue aboard the Spirit of America for several more months until it is ready to sail to New York Harbor.

The Staten Island Advance Newspaper reports that the Sen. John J. Marchi is due in Providence, Rhode Island for testing and certification around December 17 and should arrive in New York late next month. The Marchi could enter service in March.

The ferryboat Guy V. Molinari, which arrived in September, is scheduled to begin passenger service in January, after crews are trained in using the boat's new equipment.

Please send picture of the Marchi's trip off the lakes to

Reported by: Chris McDougal

Today in Great Lakes History - December 8

On 08 December 1917; DESMOND (wooden propeller sand-sucker, 149 foot, 456 gross tons, built in 1892, at Port Huron, Michigan) sprang a leak off Michigan City, Indiana during gale and then capsized within sight of the lighthouse at South Chicago, Illinois. Seven lives were lost. Six others were rescued by the tugs WILLIAM A FIELD, GARY and NORTH HARBOR.

The CANADIAN ENTERPRISE (Hull#65) was christened December 8, 1979, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

JAMES DAVIDSON was laid up for the last time on December 8, 1969, at Toledo, Ohio. The MERLE M MC CURDY collided with U.S. Steel’s PHILIP R CLARKE opposite Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan on Lake St. Clair, December 8, 1974.

On 8 December 1886, BELLE (2-mast wooden schooner, 61 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1866, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) burned while frozen in at anchor.

On 8 December 1854, WESTMORELAND (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 200 foot, 665 tons, built in 1853, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying supplies for Mackinac Island, including liquor and supposedly $100,000 in gold. She capsized in a storm due to the heavy seas and the weight of the thick ice on her superstructure. She sank in the Manitou Passage in Lake Michigan and dragged one of the loaded lifeboats down with her. 17 lives were lost. There were many attempts to find her and recover her valuable cargo, but her wreck wasn't found until 1874, twenty years after she sank.

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

For Sale Signs on John R. Emery, Willowglen, Teakglen


The sandsucker John R. Emery is reported for sale by Scruton Marine Services, price $63,000 (USD). Built in 1905 and last operated in 1999, she is laid up at Fairport, Ohio. The Emory, built as the Trenton, is 105-feet long. She sailed for Erie Sand Steamship Co. for many years, and is now owned by Osborne Materials Co., although it is not known if she ever saw service for that firm.

Meanwhile, a company called Archem Process Equipment Ltd., London, Ont., is advertising the decommissioned lakers Willowglen and Teakglen for sale on its website. The vessels, owned by Goderich Elevators Ltd., have most recently been used for grain storage at Goderich, Ont. Archem’s website does not name a price but says “They can be towed for use as barges, they can be salvaged for the metal content or maybe you need them for your feature film. They are big and they float, use your imagination.

The steamer Willowglen, built in 1943 as Lehigh for Bethlehem Steel, also operated under the name Joseph X. Robert (1981-’82). She last sailed in 1992. Teakglen, built in 1967 and diesel-powered, sailed most of her career as Mantadoc for N.M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. She was sold to Canada Steamship Lines in 2002. She only made one trip under her current name before becoming a storage vessel.

Photos by Roger LeLievre
John R. Emery unloading at Erie, Pa., in 1995.
Mantadoc on Engineers Day 2001.
Teakglen passes Port Huron on her only trip, 10/2/02.
Teakglen, Willowglen at Goderich this past summer.


United Taconite Restarts Production Line


United Taconite in Eveleth, Minn., on Sunday began producing taconite pellets on its Line 1, which had been idle for five years. Restarting the line will increase the plant's production by about 1 million tons a year. Getting it started again cost $23 million.

Owners Cleveland-Cliffs and Laiwu Steel started up the dormant production line to meet some of the current demand for taconite by domestic and foreign steelmakers. The startup will add up to 51 jobs to the plant and mean more work for railroads, docks and Great Lakes ships.

The refurbished lines means United Taconite can produce 5.3 million tons of pellets a year. If the plant produces that much next year, it would be the facility's highest year of output since 1981, when it produced 5.8 million tons as Eveleth Mines.

Reported by Al Miller


Sale of Port Stanley Harbor Prompts Concern


Port Stanley, Ont., residents are worried their waterfront could end up being controlled by foreign interests, since Transport Canada has edged closer to selling Port Stanley harbor to the highest bidder, possibly Americans or Europeans investing in a ferry.

Transport Canada this fall announced its intention to auction the harbor in a letter to parties that had expressed interest in buying it. The prospect of Canada's deepest Lake Erie harbor being sold to foreigners has angered locals, who have  tried to buy and operate it through a non-profit company.

The fear may be unfounded. Transport Canada has offered to bargain with Elgin County and the municipality of Central Elgin before it resorts to a public auction. Such negotiations four years ago failed when Ottawa wouldn't pay enough to subsidize the money-losing harbor, however this time a ferry initiative could make a difference.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has teamed up with a Dutch ferry company, Royal Wagenborg, to try to shuttle both passengers and cargo across the lake.

The Cleveland port has spent $1 million US on a feasibility study and expects to get $36 million over the next six years once the U.S. Congress passes its transportation bill this spring. The Cleveland study projects the venture would pay $375,000 a year, to use the Port Stanley harbor.

Reported by Jason Leslie



Port Report



Reported by Al Miller
The stone and taconite docks were busy in the Twin Ports on Monday. Charles M. Beeghly was loading at the DMIR ore dock while the Adam E. Cornelius waited for its turn to load. Cason J. Callaway arrived amid the morning snow, proceeding up St. Louis Bay to the C. Reiss Inland dock to unload stone. Once finished, it was expected to come back down the bay to fuel at the Murphy Oil dock, then proceed down the Front Channel to Superior to load at the BNSF ore dock. Once the Callaway was done at Reiss, the Herbert C. Jackson was expected to weigh anchor and proceed to Reiss to unload stone. Once finished, it will proceed to Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal for Marquette.

The only action at the grain elevators was Yarmouth, completing its load at CHS in Superior. A few more salties are due in port yet this season.

With temperatures now remaining below zero much of the time, Duluth-Superior harbor has begun to freeze over. So far it has been thin enough and broken up often enough not to cause any apparent problems. Lake Superior remains free of ice in this area.


Reported by Kevin Davis
Saturday, the day of the annual Dossin Marine Museum Marine Mart, traffic included Richard Reiss, tied up at the AJAX dock in the Rouge River. The Joe Thompson was loading salt in the Rouge River. Upbound was the Canadian Provider, David Z. Norton, and the Peter R. Creswell. Downbound was the Federal Seto.

Green Bay

Reported by Wendell Wilke
Sunday the saltie Kwintebank was unloading at K&K Warehouse and the John G. Munson was off-loading coal at Fox River Dock.



Holiday Tips from


Look for annual holiday gift deals in the Where to Buy section.

The Annual Holiday Card Gallery and Winter Lay-up List will be added later in the month. To send scans of your holiday card Click here

By mail to:
Holiday Card Gallery
C/O Roger LeLievre
317 S. Division St. #8
Ann Arbor, MI. 48104

Please send you card by December 15. Last year we had several arrive during the holiday rush and it was impossible to post them  


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 07

On 07 December 1893, the hull of the burned steamer MASCOTTE (steel ferry, 103 foot, 137 gross tons, built in 1885, at Wyandotte, Michigan) was towed from New Baltimore to Detroit by the tug LORMAN for repairs.  She was rebuilt and put back in service.  She went through nine owners in a career which finally ended with another fire in Chicago in 1934.

On December 7, 1969, the TEXACO CHIEF (2) collided with the Canadian bulker PETITE HERMINE near Prescott, Ontario and suffered light damage.  The a.) TEXACO CHIEF was renamed b.) A G FARQUHARSON in 1987, and sails today as c.) ALGONOVA, renamed in 1998.

In 1990, the ENERCHEM LAKER was sold to Environment Protection Services, Inc., Panama and departed Montreal on December 7, 1990, for off Lakes service with the new name d) RECOVERY VIII.  Built for Hall Corp. of Canada as a.) ROCKCLIFFE HALL, converted to a tanker renamed b.) ISLAND TRANSPORT in 1985, and c.) ENERCHEM LAKER in 1986.  Renamed e.) MORGAN TRADER in 1993, and currently serves as a bunkering tanker in Suez, Egypt as f.) ANNA II, renamed in 1997.

The LEADALE (2) sank in the Welland Canal on December 7, 1982, and was declared a constructive total loss.

The GEORGE R FINK (2), under tow, arrived at Gandia, Spain prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

W W HOLLOWAY was laid up December 7, 1981, for the last time in Toledo’s Frog Pond.

On December 7, 1932, the MARQUIS ROEN caught fire at Meacher's dock at Bay City, and before the fire was brought under control, the cabins and after end were destroyed.

Captain John Roen of the Roen Steamship Co. died on December 7, 1970.

On December 7, 1906, the R.L IRELAND stranded on Gull Island in the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior.

PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR (Hull#398) was launched December 7, 1912, for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

The steel side-wheel passenger steamer EASTERN STATES (Hull#144) was launched on December 7, 1901, by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company for the Detroit and Buffalo Steamship Company.

The railcar ferry ANN ARBOR NO 2 was launched on December 7, 1892.

In 1906, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 arrived Frankfort on her maiden voyage.

December 7, 1909 - MARQUETTE & BESEMER NO 2 (1) foundered in Lake Erie with a loss of all hands.

On 7 December 1894, KEWEENAW (steel steamer, 291 foot, 2511 gross tons, built in 1891, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was seen groping toward the coast of the State of Washington in a severe gale. With distress signals flying, she put back to sea and foundered. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #73) for salt water service. Built in two pieces, she was towed down the St. Lawrence and reassembled at Montreal.

On 7 December 1866, M BALLARD (2-mast wooden schooner, 116 foot, 288 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was lost with all hands in a storm on Lake Ontario.

The wooden propeller bulk freighter MORLEY was launched at Marine City on 7 December 1878. She was on the stocks for two years and was built for the Morley Brothers and Hill. She was a double decker with side arches between decks with iron straps. She also had iron trusses running through the center. Her boiler was on the main deck and she had the engine from the tug WM PRINGLE. She had three spars, a centerboard, and could carry 45,000 bushels of grain.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



Photo Gallery


Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 06

On 06 December 1886, C. Mc Elroy purchased the steamer CHARLIE LIKEN for use as a ferry at St. Clair, Michigan,  to replace the burned CLARA.

In 1988, Canada Steamship Lines HON PAUL MARTIN was renamed b.) ATLANTIC ERIE.

American Steamship Co.’s H LEE WHITE (Hull #711) was launched December 6, 1973, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co.

The CONSUMERS POWER (3) was laid up for the last time at Erie, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1985.

On December 6, 1988, an arsonist set fire to the after end of the FORT CHAMBLY while she was laid up at Ojibway Slip in Windsor, Ontario.

The GOLDEN HIND was launched at Collingwood, Ontario on December 6, 1951, as a.) IMPERIAL WOODBEND (Hull #147).

N.M. Paterson & Sons LAWRENDOC (Hull #174) was launched December 6, 1961, at the Collingwood Shipyards.

On December 6, 1909, while upbound at "Mud" Lake on the St. Marys River in a blinding snowstorm, the HARRY A BERWIND collided with the loaded HENRY STEINBRENNER (1) which received a 70 foot wide hole on her starboard side and sank up to her cabins.

On 6 December 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that the Port Huron Dry Dock Co. had been declared bankrupt and Mr. John Johnston had been appointed assignee of the company by the U.S. District Court.

The OCONTO grounded near Charity Island in Saginaw Bay on 6 December 1885. The passengers and crew were saved. She was built at Manitowoc in 1872, by Rand & Co. and owned by Capt. Gregory W. Mc Gregor and Rensselaer Van Sycle. She was later recovered but only lasted until July 1886, when she went down in the St. Lawrence River with a valuable cargo of merchandise. Although several attempts were made to recover her, she remains on the bottom and is a frequent charter dive target to this day.

December 05

On 05 December 1897, the GEORGE W MORLEY (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 193 foot, 1045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was sailing light from Milwaukee to Chicago when a fire started near her propeller shaft.  It blazed up too quickly for the engineer to put it out and before he could get the fire pump started, the flames drove on deck.  The firemen were kept at their posts as the vessel was steered to shore.  She sank 100 yards off Greenwood Avenue, Evanston, Illinois.  Luckily no lives were lost.   The vessel’s engine was recovered in October 1898

Tanker SATURN (Hull #218) was launched in 1973, for Cleveland Tankers at Jennings, Louisiana by S.B.A. Shipyards, Inc.

SIR JAMES DUNN (Hull #109) was launched in 1951, for Canada Steamship Lines at Port Arthur, Ontario by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

The keel was laid for the E G GRACE on December 5, 1942. This was the last of the six ships built by AmShip in the L6-S-A1 class for the United States Maritime Commission and was traded to the Interlake Steamship Company in exchange for older tonnage. She would later become the first of the "Maritime Class" vessels to go for scrap in 1984.

On 5 December 1874, the steam barge MILAN was scheduled to be hauled ashore at Port Huron to replace her "Mississippi wheel" with a propeller.

The wooden 100 foot schooner BRILLIANT was close to Sheboygan, Wisconsin on 5 December 1857, where she was scheduled to pick up a load of lumber when she went on a reef close to shore and sank. No lives were lost.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history



New Staten Island Ferry Launching Set for Dec. 18 


The ferry Spirit of America, the last of the three new vessels set to enter the Staten Island Ferry fleet, will be side-launched at Manitowoc Marine on Dec. 18, according to Martin Lakes, vice president and general manager of Marinette Marine Corp.
Previously it was announced the ferry would be called The September 11.

Meanwhile, the ferry John J. Marchi, which was launched in May, is preparing for departure Sunday or Monday from Marinette to begin a month-long, 2,725-mile journey to Staten Island.

Lakes said the Marchi was expected to stay ahead of icy seasonal weather that can shut down marine traffic across the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

"I would not worry about freeze until after Christmas and we should be well over there by then," he told the Staten Island Advance newspaper.

The Marchi could enter service in March. The ferry Guy V. Molinari, which arrived in September, is scheduled to begin passenger service in January, after crews are trained in using the boat's new equipment.

Reported by The Staten Island Advance


Marine Mart on Detroit's Belle Isle Saturday 


The annual Great Lakes Maritime Institute Marine Mart will be held today at the Casino on Belle Isle in Detroit from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The casino is not a gambling establishment but used a meeting point for individuals and groups. It is located in view of the shipping channel near the entrance of the island just east of the Scott Fountain. The Marine Mart features more than 30 dealers selling books, photographs, postcards, artwork and artifacts.

Reported by Al Jackman


Today in Great Lakes History 

December 04

On 04 December 1891, the side-wheel wooden passenger steamer JEANIE, owned by John Craig & Sons, caught fire at the Craig & Sons shipyard in Toledo, Ohio and burned to the water’s edge.  She was valued at $25,000 and insured for $10,000.

ALGOSOO (2) was the last ship built on the Lakes with the traditional fore and aft cabins, her maiden voyage took place today in 1974.

The IMPERIAL QUEBEC entered service on December 4, 1957.

LIGHTSHIP 103 completed her sea trials December 4, 1920.

At 0210 hours on December 4, 1989, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE ran aground in 12 feet of water at a point one-quarter nautical mile off Keweenaw Point. After a struggle to save the ship, the 53 persons aboard abandoned ship at 0830 hours and boarded the Indian salty MANGAL DESAI which was standing by.

On 4 December 1873, a gale struck Saginaw Bay while the CITY OF DETROIT of 1866, was carrying 8,000 bushels of wheat, package freight and 26 crew and passengers. She was also towing the barge GUIDING STAR. The barge was cut loose in the heavy seas at 3:30 a.m. and about 7:00 a.m. the CITY OF DETROIT sank. Captain Morris Barrett of the GUIDING STAR saw three of the CITY OF DETROIT's crew in one lifeboat and only one in another lifeboat. The CITY OF DETROIT went down stern first and the passengers and crew were seen grouped together on and about the pilothouse. Capt. Barrett and his crew of seven then abandoned GUIDING STAR. They arrived at Port Elgin, Ontario on 6 December in their yawl with their feet fully frozen. The barge was later found and towed in by the tug PRINDEVILLE.

On 4 December 1838, THAMES (wooden passenger/package-freight side-wheeler, 80 foot, 160 tons, built in 1833, at Chatham, Ontario) was burned at her dock in Windsor, Ontario by Canadian "patriots" during a raid on Windsor involving more than 500 armed men.

The M/V EMERALD ISLE completed her maiden voyage from Beaver Island to Charlevoix on December 4, 1997. Her first cargo included a few cars and 400 passengers. EMERALD ISLE replaced BEAVER ISLANDER as the main ferry on the 32 mile run.

December 03

On 03 December 1881, the DE PERE (wooden propeller, 736 tons, built in 1875, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was caught in a severe south-west gale and blizzard on Lake Michigan.  She was driven ashore near Two Rivers, Wisconsin.  All efforts to free her failed, so she was left to winter where she lay.  In April 1882, she was pulled free by the Goodrich tug ARCTIC and towed to Manitowoc for repairs.  Little damage was found and she was back in service quickly.

On 03 December 1891, the OGEMAW (wooden propeller freighter, 167 foot, 624 gross tons, built in 1881, at St. Clair, Michigan) sprang a leak on Big Bay de Noc and sank. Her decks and cabins were blown off as she sank in 11 fathoms of water, 1 1/2 miles northwest of Burnt Bluff.  Her crew was rescued by her consorts MAXWELL and TILDEN. Although the vessel was removed from enrollment as a total loss, she was later raised, rebuilt, and re-documented in 1894.  However, 03 December was a fateful date for this steamer because on that date in 1922, she burned 1 1/2 miles below Grand Point, near Harsens Island, on the St. Clair River – this time to a total and final loss.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.’s  CANADIAN AMBASSADOR (Hull#70) was launched December 3, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd..

ROBERT W STEWART, b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN in 1962) was launched in 1927, at Lorain, Ohio (Hull#802).by Amsrican Ship Building Co.

In 1909, the LE GRAND S DEGRAFF collided with the steamer HARVARD while downbound in the Detroit River in fog.

The IRVING S OLDS was laid up for the final time on December 3, 1981, at the Hallett Dock #5, Duluth, Minnesota, due to market conditions and her inability to compete with the 60,000 ton carrying capacity of the self-unloading thousand foot bulk freighters.

On 3 December 1872, the officers and crew of the schooner E KANTER arrived home in Detroit, Michigan. They reported that their vessel was driven ashore near Leland, Michigan in Lake Michigan on 26 November and was broken up by the waves.

On 3 December 1850, HENRY CLAY (2-mast wooden brig, 87 foot, 163 tons, built in 1842, at Huron, Ohio) was driven ashore at Point Nipigon in the Straits of Mackinac. She suffered little damage, but she was high and dry and unsalvageable. Her crew and passengers were picked up by the passing steamer TROY.

Back during the rough days of November on the lakes, the crews of the Imperial Oil Tankers, would wet the tablecloths in the mess rooms, to keep their plates, glasses and silverware from sliding off the tables.

December 02

On 02 December 1857, the NAPOLEON (wooden propeller, 92 foot, 181 tons, built in 1845, at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan as a schooner) went to the assistance of the schooner DREADNAUGHT.  In the rescue attempt, the NAPOLEON bent her rudder and disabled her engine.  Helpless, she went on a reef off Saugeen, Ontario and was pounded to pieces.  Her engine, boiler and gear were salvaged in the Autumn of 1858, and sold at Detroit, Michigan.

On 02 December 1856, the NAPOLEON (wooden side-wheel steamer, 110 foot, built in 1853 at Hamilton, Ontario) was driven ashore on the Western edge of Burlington Bay near Hamilton, Ontario in a gale.  Later the wreck burned to a total loss.

Hall Corporation of Canada’s OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull#667) was launched December 2, 1968, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

The GEORGE R FINK (2), b) - ERNEST T WEIR (1). under tow passed Gibraltar on December 2, 1973, and arrived at Gandia, Spain prior to December 7, 1973, for scrapping.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull#810) was launched in1937, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The NIPIGON BAY last ran in 1982, and was laid up at Montreal on December 2nd.

December 2, 1975, the brand new carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III sailed into Kingston from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The new 55 car ferry would replace the older ferries WOLFE ISLANDER and UPPER CANADA.

On 2 December 1874, the steam barge GERMANIA was launched at King's yard in Marine City, Michigan. The Port Huron Times of 4 December 1874, reported that she "is probably the cheapest boat ever built in Marine City, wages and material, iron, etc. being very low." This was due to the nation just recovering from the "Panic of 1873". The vessel's dimensions were 144 feet overall x 56 feet 2 inches x 11 feet 9 inches.

On 2 December 1832, the wooden schooner CAROLINE was carrying dry goods worth more than $30,000 from Oswego to Ogdensburg, New York in a violent storm. She capsized and sank off Ducks Island on Lake Ontario with the loss of one life. Five survived in the yawl and made it to the island in 6 hours. After much suffering from the cold and snow, they were rescued by the schooner HURON.

Duluth - December 2, 1950 - In the early part of this week there were as many as 41 Great Lakes vessels lined up in the Duluth-Superior harbor awaiting their turn to take on their cargoes of iron ore. Freezing temperatures prevailed at the Head of the Lakes and ore steaming operations permitted loading only of about ten boats per day.

December 01

On 01 December 1884, the N BOUTIN (wooden propeller tug, 68 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1882 at Buffalo, New York) sank in ten feet of water near Washburn, Wisconsin.  Newspaper reports stated that she was leaking badly and was run toward shore to beach her but no details are given regarding the cause of the leak.  She was recovered and repaired.

On December 1, 1974, the Canadian motor vessel JENNIFER foundered on Lake Michigan in a storm. Her steel cargo apparently shifted and she foundered 24 miles southwest of Charlevoix, Michigan. The JENNIFER went to the bottom in water too deep for any salvage attempt.

The FRED G HARTWELL, the last boat built for the Franklin Steamship Co., was delivered to her owners on December 1, 1922, but her maiden voyage didn't occur until early 1923, because of unfavorable weather conditions.

The SASKATOON’s ownership was transferred to the Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal on December 1, 1913, when the company was formed and all six vessels of the Merchants Mutual Line were absorbed by CSL in 1914.

The HUDSON TRANSPORT was put up for sale by Marine Salvage in December 1982.

On December 1, 1934, the United States Coast Guard cutter ESCANABA was involved in the rescue of the crew of the whaleback HENRY CORT off the piers at Muskegon, Michigan.

On 1 December 1875, BRIDGEWATER (3-mast wooden schooner, 706 tons, built in 1866, at Buffalo, New York as a bark) grounded on Waugoshance Point in the Straits of Mackinac. She was released fairly quickly and then was towed to Buffalo, New York for repairs. In Buffalo, she was gutted by fire. In 1880-82, the propeller KEYSTONE was built on her hull.

In 1909, the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO  2 (1) sank on Lake Erie, 31 lives were lost.

December 1, 1985 - The SPARTAN broke loose from her moorings at Ludington in a storm and ended up near Buttersville Island. She was pulled off on December 5, by the Canonie tugs SOUTH HAVEN and MUSKEGON with the help of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41. It took about 10 hours.

On 1 December 1875, the Port Huron Times reported: "The schooner MARY E PEREW went ashore in the Straits of Mackinac and by the brave efforts of the people on shore, her crew was rescued from perishing in the cold. Her decks were completely covered with ice and the seas were breaking over her. The vessel has a large hole in her bottom made by a rock that came through her. She will prove a total loss." On 7 December 1875, that newspaper reported that MARY E PEREW had been raised by a wrecker and would be repaired.

On 1 December 1882, DAVID M FOSTER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 121 foot, 251 tons, built in 1863, at Port Burwell, Ontario as a bark) was carrying lumber from Toronto to Oswego, New York in a storm. She was picked up by a harbor tug outside of Oswego for a tow into the harbor, but the tow line broke. The FOSTER went bows-on into the breakwater. She was holed and sank. No lives were lost. Her loss was valued at $3,300.

On 01 December 1934, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA (WPG-64) (165 foot, 718 gross tons, built in 1932, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was involved in the rescue of the crew of the whaleback HENRY CORT off the piers at Muskegon, Michigan; also that winter, she delivered food to the residents of Beaver Island, who were isolated due to the bad weather.

The SULLIVAN BROTHERS (steel straight-deck bulk freighter, 430 foot, 4897 gross tons, built in 1901, at Chicago, Illinois as FREDERICK B WELLS) grounded at Vidal Shoal on Tuesday evening, 01 Dec 1953. She was loaded with grain and rested on solid rock. She was recovered.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history .



Weather Channel Shows “Christmas Tree Ship” Story


The Weather Channel will present a historical docudrama, "The Christmas Tree Ship: A Holiday Storm Story," through the month of December that includes footage shot aboard the USCG Mackinaw during last year's voyage to Chicago to deliver Christmas trees to the needy. Specific show times are: 6 p.m. today; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday; 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday; 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dec. 24, and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Dec. 30.

Reported by Jason Leslie


Port Report



Reported by Jim Hoffman
The saltwater vessel Batur-V remains at the Andersons "E" Elevator. The Canadian Ranger was loading grain at the ADM/Countrymark Elevator. The

Richard Reiss was at the Kuhlman Dock unloading cargo. The Atlantic Erie was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock. Mississagi was at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock unloading stone, when finished at this docksite she will proceed upriver to the Kuhlman Dock and will follow the Richard Reiss to finish unloading the remainder of her stone cargo. The salt water vessel Kwintebank, the tug Barbara Andrie with her barge, and the tug Evans Mckiel with the barge Labrador Spirit were at the Midwest Terminal Dock (ex T.W.I. Dock). The Charles M. Beeghly is due into the CSX Coal Docks to load coal on Thursday evening.

At the Shipyard the barge Cleveland Rocks remains tied up at the riverfront dock area. The new oil barge under construction remains in the large drydock. The casino boat Detroit Princess remains tied up at the old Interlake Iron Dock just north of the yard.

The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Phillip R. Clarke and Lee A. Tregurtha on Tuesday (7 Dec.). The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock complex will be the Atlantic Huron on Friday, the Atlantic Superior on Saturday, the Algosteel on Tuesday, followed by the CSL Niagara on Thursday (9 Dec.).

Sturgeon Bay

Reported by Wendell Wilke
The tug Heide Moran arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Co. Thursday. She will take the barge New Hampshire to her off-lakes owners early next week.



Chios Pride Freed From Sandbar at Menominee


The saltie Chios Pride, grounded outside Menominee since Monday, was finally freed on Wednesday morning. She immediately went to anchor about a mile or two offshore. The grounding was most likely caused by getting too close to the edge of the dredged channel near the mouth of the Menominee River.

Chios Pride’s cargo of pig iron was loaded in Itaqui, Brazil, between Nov. 8 and Nov. 10. The destination of the ship, which was carrying 16,651 gross tons, is the Marinette Fuel and Dock in Marinette.

Reported by Dick Lund


Port Report



Reported by Al Miller

Joseph H. Frantz was in port Wednesday to load at Cenex Harvest States elevator berth 1. Across the harbor, the heavy-lift vessel Daniella was docked by the derrick cranes at the Duluth port terminal to unload what appeared to be just one large reactor vessel similar to those unloaded in recent years to transport to the oil shale fields of Alberta. The vessel, which resembles a giant Thermos bottle, was being welded to a special railroad flatcar for transport.

Elsewhere, as the sun tried to break through in the afternoon, it momentarily spotlighted the Michipicoten, which was anchored off Superior Entry, apparently waiting for the BNSF ore dock. A 1,000-footer was anchored out another mile or so.

J.B. Ford was returned to drydock in Fraser Shipyards during Thanksgiving Week and has remained there since. No word on its problem.


Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain
Over the past few days, vessels have been coming into Lafarge to load cement or deliver coal. The David Z. Norton brought coal on Monday and was heading out into the bay by 1pm.  

On Tuesday afternoon the G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity took on a load of cement, followed by the Alpena late in the evening.

Wednesday the Buffalo came into port around 1 p.m. and tied up at the coal dock to unload.
The J.A.W. Iglehart also arrived by 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday after delivering cargo on Lake Superior.
The McKee Sons, Cason J. Callaway and the Great Lakes Trader are on the schedule to load at Stoneport for Thursday.


Very low water levels in Toledo due to high winds. Batur V is at The Anderson’s Erwin Facility being off-loaded by clamshell crane. She has a combination corn dregs and water in her holds that must be cleaned out prior to loading clean cargo. Canadian Ranger is loading at ADM Elevators. Cuyahoga is loading at Anderson’s Kuhlman Facility. Tug Cheraw is in the short drydock, while the barge-Cleveland Rocks is still lying alongside the long drydock with work being done on her stern area). Detroit Princess remains just downstream of her in the Toledo Shipyard area. Kwintebank of Wagenborg Shipping and Evans McKeil with a barge are at Midwest Terminals. Mississagi is unloading at the CSX Stone Dock.


Reported by Charlie Gibbons
The salty IRMA is unloading at the Redpath Sugar dock. The tug Vac and a small sand laden barge arrived in port Tuesday afternoon. They have been unloading sand at the base of the Turning Basin for the past week, along with the McKeil barge La Malbaie.

Sturgeon Bay

Reported by Wendell Wilke

As of Wednesday, Bay Shipbuilding had the following in the yard: Tug Jane Ann IV and Sarah Spencer. The tug is on the drydock. The USCG Hollyhock was expected to arrive overnight for drydocking. The tug James A. Hannah is dockside, as is theformer Washington Island Voyageur, now owned by Shoreline Marine, Chicago. The Edward L. Ryerson remains in indefinite layup in the south yard.

Saginaw River

Reported by Gordy Garris
The Joseph H. Thompson was inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday afternoon. She lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing up river to complete unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Thompson was expected to be outbound the Saginaw River late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

The Mckee Sons and the tug Invincible were inbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday morning. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before proceeding up river to complete unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock. The Mckee Sons was downbound at the I-75 bridge in Zilwaukee at 7 p.m.



Efforts to Free Chios Pride Prove Unsuccessful


The saltwater vessel Chios Pride remained aground off Menominee Tuesday night. Efforts to free the vessel began early Tuesday morning but were not successful. The Basic Marine tug Jimmy L was standing by all night with Chios Pride, per U.S. Coast Guard order. Other tugs involved are the William C Selvick, Jimmy L and Erika K.

Basic Marine tugs will also be helping the Sen. John J Marchi go out on trials at 0630 Wednesday at Sturgeon Bay.

Reported by Scott Best

Aground off Menominee with Jimmy L standing by
Close up
Side view late in afternoon



Welland Canal 175th Anniversary Marked Tuesday


Ten-month navigation on the Seaway is just one option to making the waterway more viable according to Richard Corfe, president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. Corfe was speaking Tuesday morning during ceremonies at Lock 3 marking the 175th anniversary of the opening of the first Welland Canal in 1829.

Since 1959 the length of the shipping season has already been extended by 40 days.

According to Corfe, short sea shipping is another solution - moving freight short distances by water around congested areas and bottlenecks bringing people who live around the Great Lakes added benefits. "Over the years we chased the smaller vessels out of the system" said Corfe.  "Now we need them back."

He announced creation of the Ontario Marine Transportation Forum, bringing together many facets of the marine industry with the provincial government to encourage use of marine transportation in Ontario. The Forum would also advise on policy to support marine requirements in the province.

Tonnage through the Seaway exceeded 33 million tonnes by the end of October, an increase of more than 2 million tonnes from the same period last year. In the late ‘70s, 60 to 70 million tonnes of cargo passed through the Seaway annually.

As part of yesterday’s festivities the motor vessel Canadian Navigator was stopped at Lock 3 with presentations made to captain Mark Young and chief engineer Lloyd Burton. That was followed by a luncheon featuring guest speaker Dr. Vivian Nelles, a professor of Canadian history at McMaster University at Hamilton.

In the afternoon there was a re-enactment of the turning of the sod for the first canal on Nov. 30th, 1824 at Allanburg, followed by a memorial service in Welland for those who lost their lives during construction of the four Welland Canals. Nov. 30th was also proclaimed William Hamilton Merritt Day in honour of the St. Catharines merchant who was the driving force behind the first Welland Canal.     

Reported by Bill Bird



Marine Mart in Detroit On Saturday 


The annual Great Lakes Maritime Institute Marine Mart will be held this Saturday at the Casino on Belle Isle in Detroit from 10 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

The casino is not a gambling establishment but used a meeting point for individuals and groups. It is located in view of the shipping channel near the entrance of the island just east of the Scott Fountain. The Marine Mart features dealers selling books, photographs, postcards, artwork and artifacts.

Reported by Al Jackman



Barge Sinks in Straits of Mackinac


The sinking of a 32-foot barge in the Straits of Mackinac has prompted an investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

The barge had been used for dock work and transporting construction materials to a remote area in the Les Cheneaux Islands. At the time of the sinking, the vessel was en route to St. Ignace for a routine inspection with the 26-foot Grafton, a former Isle Royale National Park Service craft, propelling the barge.

Boatswain's Mate Third Class John Sadler of the U.S. Coast Guard said it was his understanding the high waves had simply washed over the low-sided barge causing it to sink. There were no injuries associated with the mishap.The Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians assisted in the removal of the barge from the Straits of Mackinac.

Reports indicate the barge is the property of Les Cheneaux Dock and Dredge of Hessel.

Reported by Cathy Kohring, Soo Evening News



Steamship William G. Mather Strung With Holiday Lights


Cleveland’s landmark museum ship William G. Mather is showing its holiday spirit.

Not only are the railings and masts of the Mather strung with hundreds of lights, so is the lifeline, a long steel cable running the length of the Mather’s 500-foot long main deck. Following a Great Lakes tradition, a Christmas tree is also perched atop the Mather’s six-story tall pilot house to bring good luck for the coming year.

The museum may be closed for the season, but it's still very visible. The lights shine nightly from Nov. 27 - Jan. 6 at Cleveland's North Coast Harbor. For more information, visit

Reported by Rob Catalano, Mather Museum



Port Report


Sturgeon Bay

Reported by Wendell Wilke
The new tug/barge Capt. Hagen/Key West, building for the saltwater firm Penn-Maritime, were out on trials Tuesday. It is expected they will leave the lakes before the end of the year.


Reported by Lee Rowe
Monday was a busy day in Marquette. The Herbert C. Jackson came in for ore while fleetmate Charles M. Beeghly brought coal and then took on ore. The H. Lee White brought stone to the lower harbor and the Wolverine came in and anchored in the harbor to wait her turn at the ore dock.



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