Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - December 31

Port Colborne - Alex Howard
Lower Lakes vessel Mississagi was at wharf 12 loading stone, while the Algoma self-unloader Algosoo was waiting for the stone dock at Robin Hood mill at wharf 13. Also, the Peter R. Cresswell was up bound at lock 8 with a load of clinker. Petite Forte was in lay up at wharf 16, and cutting continues on the Joseph H. Frantz.

Port Weller - Eric Holmes
Canadian Transport is in the Port Weller Drydocks

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Stephen B. Roman departed it's holiday lay-in early this morning. The McKeil tug Progress and the Nadro tug Vigilant 1 have been placed in port for the winter movement of sugar storage cargoes.

Saturday should see the last of the yacht club workboats go into winter lay-up. The Royal Canadian Yacht Club's Elsie D. has been shuttling welders from the city to the island, where the venerable yacht club tender Hiawatha is having some of it's original 110-year old bottom plates replaced. The work was scheduled to be finished today.

The tug W. B. Indock has been hauled out at the Atlas crane for some repairs before it returns to work on the Humber Bay breakwall project.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
It turns out that the year end report was premature. The tug Gregory J. Busch traveled down the Saginaw River from her home dock in Carrollton on Friday to assist the inbound Frontenac if needed, but with nothing but open water around the Essroc dock in Essexville, the Frontenac had no problems getting tied up. After her unload, the Busch was to assist her in turning off the dock using the Bay Aggregates slip to back into. This is the same procedure used by the CSL Tadoussac last week. Under normal circumstances the CSL boats back a number of miles out into the Saginaw Bay before turning, but with the ice in the river and bay, this is not possible. The Frontenac should be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 31

At 4:00 p.m., 31 December 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 of 1953, 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, a.) NEW QUEDOC, 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.

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.


Oglebay Norton Continues to Consider Sale of Fleet

12/30 - On Wednesday Oglebay Norton announced the sale of O-N Minerals (St. Clair) Company to United States Lime & Minerals, Inc. In the press release the company confirmed that it has received numerous offers for its Great Lakes self-unloading vessels, but has not entered into an agreement for completion of a sale transaction at this time.

Michael D. Lundin, President and CEO of Oglebay Norton Company, noted, "We are committed to serving our customers by providing quality chemical limestone, lime and industrial sands; however, in order to do so, it is not necessary for the Company to own and operate Great Lakes vessels. If the Company is able to enter into a transaction which ensures a long-term contract for carrying our stone and provides value to our shareholders, we will likely complete a transaction with respect to our vessels."


Boblo Boat Ste. Claire Not abandoned

Contrary to past information, the steamer Ste. Claire has not been stranded in River Rouge. As one of the volunteers, we have been working to get it ready, the is owner making arrangements for insurance and towing, and waiting for the Columbia to be shrink wrapped. After all that is complete, it will be placed next to the Columbia for the winter.

Reported by Mike Benedict, Ste. Claire volunteer.


Port Reports - December 30

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The lineup continues as vessels wait for outgoing shipments of salt. The Algoway entered the new harbour very early Thursday morning and waited all day before backing over to the Sifto Salt dock at suppertime. It won't be long before a couple of winter boats take over the runs that will hopefully continue on into February.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Gordon C.Leitch has tied up at Pier 25 South for the winter. The Hamilton Energy will tie up at Pier 24 ,it's home base Provmar Terminals.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Bill Bedell
The Alpena was at the La Farge Elevator at noon Thursday.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
St. Clair arrived Bay Shipbuilding Co. for winter lay up on Thursday. She is the first active laker to arrive at the yard for lay up for this season.

Montreal - Sylvia Masson
Montrealais laid up for the winter in Montreal at Shed 30, arriving Thursday. Algoisle and Pineglen are expected Friday at the same place.

Saginaw River 2005 - Todd Shorkey
As the 2005 shipping season ends on the Saginaw River, local Boatnerds were treated to more boats than in the year prior and visits by vessels who seldom, if ever call on the Saginaw. The increase in traffic can at least be attributed to the low water levels and the poor condition of the shipping channel in the upper river. If dredging is not started on the upper river in the next few years, commercial traffic will no longer be able to make it up to the Saginaw area docks. Even in 2005, vessels had difficulties navigating some of the turns heading upriver and particularly turning in the Sixth Street Turning Basin in Saginaw. It will definitely be interesting to see what this winters shoaling brings for the start of the 2006 season.

In all, 346 passages were logged in 2005. The first being the tug Donald C Hannah on January 12th, and the last, the CSL Tadoussac on December 20th. Fifty two different vessels plied the water of the Saginaw River. The most frequent visitor was the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader logging 34 trips up the river. Other frequent visitors were the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons (22 trips), tug Rebecca Lynn (25 trips), and the CSL Tadoussac (19 trips).

Twenty different shipping companies were represented with Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation leading the way with 59 visits. They were followed by American Steamship Company at 50 visits, and Andrie Inc. with 42.

Twenty three docks saw deliveries with the busiest docks being the Wirt Stone docks in Bay City and Saginaw seeing 51 and 39 deliveries respectfully. Bay Aggregates in Bay City at 48 cargos, the Sargent dock in Essexville at 29 and the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City at 27 were the other top docks along the river.

There were a few unusual visitors in 2005 such as the tug William J. Moore & barge McCleary's Spirit, the tug Anglian Lady with barge PML 2105, and the University of Michigan research vessel Laurentian. Infrequent visitors such as the John J. Boland (1 visit), H. Lee White (1 visit), Frontenac (1 visit), and up to a few years ago Saginaw River workhorses the David Z. Norton and the Wolverine with 1 visit each. Absent from the Saginaw River in 2005 was the vessel named after the river itself, the Saginaw. Other vessels who usually make an appearance, but who were no shows in 2005 were the Herbert C. Jackson and American Mariner.

I would like to give a big thank you to fellow boatnerds Steve Hause, Gordy Garris and Lon Morgan with helping me to fill in the gaps in my shipping log when I missed something along the river. Without them, this information would not be as accurate or even available to share.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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: 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.


Port Reports - December 29

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Agawa Canyon came into port Wednesday afternoon, but had to head in to the new harbour to tie up and wait her turn at the Sifto Salt dock. The Canadian Navigator was still loading, however should be finished sometime in the evening, then the Canyon can back around and take her spot on the loading dock.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Mary's Cement II entered Hamilton Harbour, Wednesday, going to Pier 12 for winter lay up.

Algocape is at Pier 25 North for winter lay up as of Tuesday night.

Thunder Bay - Tom Stewart
Algontario laid up at the Keefer Terminal on Wednesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
WW II veteran Lee A. Tregurtha of Interlake's Lakes Shipping line made a rare visit to Milwaukee overnight Wednesday, delivering coal to the WE Energies Greenfield Avenue dock while rain fell in near-freezing temperatures. The Tregurtha is scheduled to be re-powered at Bay Shipbuilding during the upcoming winter lay-up period, with her steam turbines to be replaced with two Bergen diesels.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Marquette had a rare visitor at the WE coal unloader on Wednesday as the Cason J. Callaway came in with a load. The Kaye E. Barker took on a load of ore on Wednesday. The Charles M. Beeghly is expected on Thursday along with the James R. Barker with coal.

Prescott - Ron Beaupre
Wednesday night Algosoo arrived at Prescott Elevators with salt. She was followed down the river by Capt. Henry Jackman. The Jackman is unloading her cargo of salt at Ogdensburg.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 29

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

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

Kinsman's new GEORGE M HUMPHREY 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.

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.


Lansdowne takes on water, rests on bay floor

12/28 - Plans to make the Lansdowne into a floating restaurant sank months ago. Now the rusting railroad barge at the foot of the Sassafras Street Pier in Erie, Pennsylvania has sunk too. The 324-foot barge started to take on water Sunday afternoon, and now the entire hull and deck of the barge are underwater, partially resting in about 12 feet of water in Presque Isle Bay, said Eric Guerrein, Lakeshore Towing Services president.

Lakeshore had been hired by the barge's owner, Specialty Restaurants Corp. of Anaheim, Calif., to periodically inspect the barge. Lakeshore will send scuba divers to inspect the barge today to determine what caused it to sink. The crew will try to repair the vessel. But if it's damaged too extensively, the barge will have to be removed. "We don't know when we bring it up whether it will be seaworthy," Guerrein said.

U.S. Coast Guard crewmen have already investigated the Lansdowne to see if any pollutants were on board, such as oil or gas, Petty Officer Dustin Wells said. They found none, he said. "We're monitoring the situation," Wells said. "But for now, we're staying out of any salvage operation."

Specialty Restaurants had planned to turn the vessel -- in Erie since 1999 and docked at the pier since 2003 -- into a 22,000-square-foot restaurant that would have included an outdoor patio and two banquet rooms. But those plans fell through when Specialty did not secure funding. Even so, the barge didn't leave. Specialty officials told the Erie Times-News in September 2004 that the Lansdowne would depart in spring 2005 for Toronto, where it would become a restaurant. That never happened.

As a result, Specialty still pays the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority $1,000 a month rent to dock the barge at the Sassafras Street Pier. Specialty is current on its payments, Port Authority Executive Director Ray Schreckengost said. Specialty has been notified of the 121-year-old barge's condition and is making plans to remove it, Schreckengost said.

Even before the sinking, Specialty had been told it must move the barge out of Presque Isle Bay by March 1 because of the ongoing construction of the bayfront convention center. "We wrote them a letter,"Schreckengost said. "They know they have to have it out of there in March. But I don't know exactly what their plans are or how soon they plan to move. I assume they'll hire somebody to tow it away."

Guerrein said several different reasons are possible for the barge's sinking. When the bay froze earlier this month, the hull or another part of the vessel could have cracked and started leaking with the recent warmer temperatures, he said. Or the boat could have tipped to the north because of a strong southern wind this weekend, which causes the level of the bay to drop. That could have caused some of the openings below the deck to take on water.

"Once it starts, there's no way to stop it," Guerrein said. "Whatever happened to it must have been catastrophic." The heavy chains, which were placed on the barge to keep it docked at the pier, are now acting as a stabilizer, Guerrein said. Officials from Specialty Restaurants could not be reached for comment Monday. Guerrein said he talked to an owner of the company Sunday and was given the go-ahead to proceed with the salvage operation. "While we've got a little break in the weather here, we want to get that thing up," Guerrein said.

November 1999: The Lansdowne arrives in Erie.
March 2001: Specialty Restaurants Corp. of Anaheim, Calif., announces plans to convert the barge into a floating restaurant and banquet facility.
May 2002: Work begins on the restaurant; the barge is stripped down to its iron shell.
March 2003: After delays and a lack of funding, the project is abandoned.
December 2005: The Lansdowne sinks, with most of the vessel resting on the bottom of Presque Isle Bay.

Upcoming: Before the sinking, Specialty had been told it must move the barge out of Presque Isle Bay by March 1 because of the ongoing construction of the bay front convention center. It is not known yet whether the barge can be repaired.

Picture in Today's News Photo Gallery

Reported by the Erie Times-News


Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering Annual General Meeting

CIME has scheduled their annual meeting for Thursday, January 19, 2006, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Front Street, Toronto, ON.

The feature presentation will be made by Peter Cairns, President, Canadian Shipbuilding and Repair Assoc. entitled "Current Status of Shipbuilding and Repair in Canada".

Additional information and tickets are available from Albert Davies at Seaway Marine Transport, (905) 988-4344 phone or


Boatnerd Calendar of Events

The Boatnerd Calendar of Events has been started for 2006. If your organization would like to be listed, please use the handy form available on the Calendar of Events page. Click on the icon in the upper right corner, or send the information to


Port Reports - December 28

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
The CN ore dock in Duluth was busy Tuesday loading Great Lakes Trader and Halifax back to back. Great Lakes Trader departed the dock about 11:30 a.m. and passed the inbound Halifax in the Duluth Harbor turning basin a little after noon. Several days of mild weather, including temperatures sometimes nearing 40 degrees above zero, has left broken ice and patches of open water in frequently used channels, so the two vessels were able to easily give each other a wide berth while passing.

John B. Aird and John D. Leitch were both expected to arrive late in the evening for Midwest Energy Terminal. The coal dock has at least 15 more loads scheduled after the Aird and Leitch, with the last one currently the Paul R. Tregurtha on Jan. 11.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Canadian Navigator made an early Wednesday morning entry into the harbour. She is loading at the Sifto Salt dock.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug M. R. Kane arrived in Toronto Tuesday night and tied up at C & C Marine's yard. This morning it broke a channel in the Turning Basin through the ice down to the Toronto Drydock.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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, the CALDERA (steel propeller freighter, 504 foot, 6,328 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.

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.


Port Reports - December 27

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Dorothy Anne/Pathfinder loaded ore in Marquette on Monday. The Escanaba dock had a busy Christmas with the Joseph L. Block finishing on Christmas Eve and the Wilfred Sykes arriving Christmas Day.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Manistee was unloading sand at the sand pile on Furman Blvd. Saturday around noon.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The holiday weekend was dismal weather wise with rain and fog, but an active one with vessels in the area. On Christmas Eve the Cason J. Calloway loaded at Stoneport followed by the Lee A. Tregurtha. The Tregurtha was the last vessel of the 2005 season to load at the dock. It departed around 5:00 p.m. and was headed for Burns Harbor.

At Lafarge on Christmas Eve the McKee Sons/ tug Invincible made an unusual visit, being tied up at the coal dock and unloading product into the storage hopper. The McKee Sons departed sometime on Christmas morning. Around noon the G. L Ostrander/Integrity arrived in port to load cement. Later in the afternoon the Steamer Alpena came in and parked at the coal dock to wait for the departure of the Integrity. The Alpena is decorated nicely for the holidays with many Christmas lights.

Around 10:15 p.m. while the Alpena was under the silos, the Cuyahoga came into Lafarge and tied up at the coal dock. The Cuyahoga ( also sporting Christmas lights) swung its boom out and proceeded to unload cargo into the storage hopper.

Calcite also finished its 2005 season over the weekend with the Canadian Transfer, John G. Munson, and the Adam E. Cornelius being the last 3 vessels loaded.

Milwaukee - Bill Bedell
The Upper Lakes Shipping Calumet came to town on Christmas Day and unloaded salt for Cargill. In the afternoon one of her fleet mates the Maumee came in with another load of salt for Cargill.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Algosteel was loading Tuesday morning as the Christmas holidays were a busy time at the Sifto Salt mine. The harbour ice is still light at this time as the mild temperatures continue.


Coast Guard Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas and all through each state, Coast Guard families were starting to celebrate.
Just then from the White House came an urgent call, a crisis had arisen that would affect one and all.

In fact the State Department was in such a frantic, For Santa Claus had just Landed in the Atlantic!
It was foggy as ever; Rudolph had made a big blunder. Santa, sleigh, and eight reindeer were all going under.

Though the stockings were hung by the chimneys with care, Poor Santa was gurgling, "I'll never get there."
When what to his wondering eye should appear; but some Coast Guard Cutters with their rescue gear!

The officers and crew were so lively and quick; Sure was a lucky break for Good ole Saint Nick.
With a nod from the captain, they went right to work. Rudolph was embarrassed, He felt like a jerk.

Poor Santa was soggy, but as anyone could see, He was very grateful To the USCG!
And we heard him exclaim as they towed him from sight, "If it weren't for age and weight, I'd enlist tonight.

Author Unknown


Photo Gallery Updates - December 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 27

The SAVIC, b.) CLIFFS VICTORY cleared the Welland Canal on Christmas night 1985, and finally anchored at Pointe aux Trembles near Montreal, Quebec on December 27, 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 W 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.

Data from: 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.


Lansdowne Sunk at her Mooring

12/26 - Erie, PA - The barge Lansdowne located at the foot of Sassafrass Street, appears sunk. It is locked in the ice and the superstructure is above water. The two railroad cars located on the stern are partially submerged. The mooring chains appear to be intact. Evidently she is resting on the bottom. It is rumored to be the oldest barge (or steamer hull) located anywhere on the Great Lakes.


Why Shipping Matters

12/26 - During the 2004 shipping season, the Twin Ports (Duluth-Superior) handled more than 41 million metric tons of water-borne cargo. Most of that freight was carried by lakers to U.S. and Canadian destinations. In all, 17.5 million tons of taconite and 17.1 million tons of coal moved out of Duluth and Superior last shipping season.

The port handled just 2.6 million tons of grain during the 2004 season, much of it destined for markets abroad. It was the weakest year for grain shipments since the Seaway opened in 1959. Although final figures aren't available, 2005 grain shipments appear to be stronger.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority last conducted an economic impact study following the 2001 shipping season. That report indicated the port generated $210 million in business and 1,227 direct jobs. The study also found that another 766 people were indirectly employed because of port activities.

In 2001, overseas shipments accounted for about 7 percent of the cargo handled by the port, according to the Port Authority. The majority of that business was with customers in Europe and the Mediterranean.

Reported by the Duluth News Tribune


Welland Canal Still Moving Slowly

12/26 - 10:00 a.m. Update - Only seven vessels are presently in the Welland Canal. No one is waiting in the Port Colborne Anchorage. The only two vessels in the Port Weller Anchorage are down bounds waiting for pilots. The tug Glevevis continues to stationed in the canal to assist with any ice problems.

12/26 - Warmer temperatures over the Christmas weekend are allowing the canal to increase traffic flow but not without precautions and lots of work by the tugs contracted to assist with ice control. The 3 tugs are working 24 hours per day to move ice away from lock gates and to help move the ice into the locks to flush it.

The canal also has a number of air compressors working to create bubblers to prevent ice from jamming between the lock gates and the walls when the gates open.

There are 9 ships anchored at both ends of the canal and another 9 transiting today. Over 20 ships are listed on the Seaway site as in or expected at the canal before closing.

Yesterday the ships were brought as close to a lock as possible. Ice was then allowed into the lock and the gates closed. The ice was flushed down and the lock turned back. The ships also used their bow thrusters to keep ice from getting between the ship and the wall. Then the ship was allowed to enter the lock and be lowered. In this way the amount of ice in the lock with each ship was minimized. This is time consuming but minimized problems.

It's fascinating to watch and listen as the various parties work together to get traffic flowing again.

The temperature is expected to dip below freezing again by mid-week. With luck the ship backlog will be diminished and most of the ice currently in the canal will have been flushed through or melted by then.

The canal is scheduled to close for the season on December 30.

Reported by Paul Beesley


Port Reports - December 26

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River arrived Saturday night and Algosteel also departed Redpath before first light. Canadian Ranger came in at 2:00 p.m. and went into the Redpath slip to lay up for the winter. It is the last sugar storage cargo expected this season.

The tug M. R. Kane bound for Toronto was delayed by weather and had to put into Cobourg, Ont. It was expected to arrive late Saturday night.

On Saturday Agawa Canyon came to Kuhlman Corp. dock to off-load sand and Karen Andrie with a tanker barge off-loaded at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.

Seaway Sodus - Ron Walsh
As if the Seaway system didn't have enough problems, a 7:30 p.m. Saturday radio exchange between Seaway Sodus and the Federal Welland indicated that Iroquois lock had suspended navigation due to zero visibility. They further stated that there was zero visibility at Eisenhower Lock, visibility was diminishing fast at Snell Lock and visibility was reducing rapidly in the American Narrows section. It was also stated the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin would go to anchor for two days before traffic would clear enough that they could transit the Welland Canal.

Soo -
At noon Saturday, a tug pulling an unidentified Laker is heading through Whitefish Bay, down bound. The river was closed to traffic due to fog, but the tow just entered the bay from Superior.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
A very nicely decorated Capt. Henry Jackman was loading at Sifto Salt under a light drizzle on Christmas evening. With the mild temperatures, the snow and ice in the inner harbour are disappearing quickly.

Sault Ste. Marie -
Around 6:00 p.m. Saturday, the St. Mary's River was reopened to traffic as the down bound Edgar B. Speer and the Buffalo were tied up below the locks since this morning, and headed down bound for Lake Huron with the down bound Sarah Spencer/Jane Ann IV and the down bound Herbert C. Jackson waiting a short time behind them before following the two down bound. The river had been closed due to dense fog.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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.

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.


Welland Traffic Continues to be Slow

12/25 - 9:00 a.m. Update - Seventeen boats are in the Welland Canal or waiting their turn at either end. In the last 10 hours, five vessels have cleared the system and four new ones have taken a place in line. Seven down bounders are anchored off Port Colborne and three off Port Weller.

12/24 - 9:00 a.m. Update -  The number of boats in the canal or waiting to enter the canal has grown to 23 overnight. Several vessels have cleared the system, but addition ships have gotten in line. The current "last in line" is down bound BBC California. She is in the Port Colborne Anchorage with an estimated arrival at Lock 8 of December 31.

12/23 - 10:00 p.m. Update - Traffic is moving slowly in the canal. Twenty-One vessels are still in the canal system or waiting their turn in the anchorages off Port Colborne or Port Weller. The very last in line is apparently Michipicoten, anchored off Port Colborne, who has an estimated time of arrival for Lock 8 on December 30th.


Port Reports - December 25

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Courtney Burton ran into some ice problems on her way into Buffalo on Wednesday. The ship required ice breaker assistance to clear the Western end of Lake Erie and was delayed getting to Buffalo. The Burton came in with the tug Washington along side for ice breaking duty on Thursday night. The ship ran into some mud off the Frontier Elevator and had to power her way in due to low water. The Washington broke a track up the City Ship Canal and the natural flow of water flushed the channel mostly clear except for some light broken ice that remained by the next morning. Unloading took nearly 24 hours and the Burton did not depart until some time on Saturday morning.

The situation in the Welland Canal seems to be wearing on the ship crews. I overheard a vessel captain on the radio chewing on one of the Seaway dispatchers Saturday morning regarding vessel traffic movement (or lack there of ) through the Welland Canal for the last 2 days. He sounded like he was being jerked around about where, when, who, and how they would be allowed to move through the canal and the tension was showing. The Seaway people stayed professional on the radio and I bet they must be under a lot of pressure to get things going.


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.

Data from: 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


St. Marys River Traffic Stopped

12/24 - 9:00 a.m. - As of 9:00 a.m. the St. Marys River was closed due to dense fog. Two down bound vessels were tied below the locks


Welland Traffic Very Slow

12/24 - 9:00 a.m. Update -  The number of boats in the canal or waiting to enter the canal has grown to 23 overnight. Several vessels have cleared the system, but addition ships have gotten in line. The current "last in line" is down bound BBC California. She is in the Port Colborne Anchorage with an estimated arrival at Lock 8 of December 31.

12/23 - 10:00 p.m. Update - Traffic is moving slowly in the canal. Twenty-One vessels are still in the canal system or waiting their turn in the anchorages off Port Colborne or Port Weller. The very last in line is apparently Michipicoten, anchored off Port Colborne, who has an estimated time of arrival for Lock 8 on December 30th.


Ice-Rescue Draft Policy Emphasizes Education
Saving fishermen twice prompts plan

12/24 - Port Clinton - Seeking public and official input, Ottawa County Sheriff Robert Bratton presented a draft policy on ice rescue Wednesday night during a public session for emergency responders at the Ottawa County Courthouse here. "This is not a money maker," Sheriff Bratton said. "[And] we are not discouraging ice fishing. We are just trying to get it more organized. "What happened last [winter] with those guys going back on the ice was a disaster."

He was referring to the mass rescue Feb. 24 of ice fishermen from a floe in Lake Erie off Crane Creek State Park. Firefighters were hurt as they tried to rescue the fishermen, who were told to stay on shore but went back out in a boat to retrieve their belongings from the ice. The draft of the policy, tentatively scheduled to take effect Jan. 6, includes the following provisions:
● Persons rescued are identified for the purpose of inclusion in a sheriff's office database, which will become permanent.
● The names of those rescued from the ice are logged.
● Should those rescued require a second ice rescue, their attendance at an ice safety class is recommended.
● Should those same people be rescued a third time - or more - they will be assessed the cost of the rescue in civil court. The cost of U.S. Coast Guard assistance is not included because the Coast Guard officials have said they will not seek to recover rescue expenses no matter how many times they've rescued someone.
● If an individual attends the ice safety class, his or her name will be removed from the database.

The plan also focuses on the problem of rescue subjects attempting to return to the ice to salvage their equipment, risking their and their rescuers' lives again.
"Following rescue from the ice, individuals are advised that they're not to return to the ice," the draft plan says. "Should they choose to disregard this instruction, criminal arrest will ensue." Sheriff Bratton said those arrested will face such charges as disorderly conduct, misconduct during an emergency, or failure to comply with orders of a police officer.

According to the plan, recovery of equipment would be done by private contractors, with local law enforcement monitoring the area after the ice rescue.
"The problem is, people try to get back out on the ice to get their gear, and we have to go back and rescue them again. That's the most exasperating thing," Capt. Pat Chrysler, of the Put-in-Bay Volunteer Fire Department, said. He said that every time there is a rescue, "It's life or limb."

About 50 people attended the 90-minute meeting, mostly law enforcement and other first responders, and about 10 ice fishermen and area residents, who made remarks and asked questions as the sheriff delivered his presentation. Several of the fishermen and more than one law enforcement officer suggested that Sheriff Bratton count second or more rescues only if they occur within the same ice season, rather than keep a permanent tally. "I don't think that's right, to present me with a bill," said Ted Kaznoch, 72, of Marblehead, a retired factory worker who said he does not ice fish. "That's what I pay my taxes for. It's my tax dollars."

But other residents, including fishermen, were more supportive, at least of parts of the plan. "I think it's a good thing that they should have some educational course for ice fishermen," said Richard Galatocky, 62, a retired worker at the Sunoco Refinery in Oregon, who has ice-fished Lake Erie for 50 years. "Instead of arguing about who should be paying for rescue, a better solution would be education," Mr. Galatocky said. "Safety classes for ice fishermen would be beneficial - optional for anyone who buys an Ohio fishing license; mandatory for anyone rescued from the ice."

From the Toledo Blade


Port Reports - December 24

Sturgeon Bay - Karin Hankwitz
The Roger Blough was pulled out from the graving dock at Bay Ship in Sturgeon Bay WI by 3 tug boats (including the Jimmy L and the Mary Page Hannah) and 2 pilot boats starting at about 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday. She was tied up at the steel dock behind the Edward Ryerson. The Blough then departed Bay Ship at 12:20 a.m., headed out to the shipping channel into the bay of Green Bay. The Blough had been at Bay Ship for her 5-year survey.

Kingston - Ron Walsh
The M. R. Kane was in Kingston overnight. The mild weather caused them to set an estimated time of departure of 12:30 a.m. for Toronto.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday Interlake/Lakes Shipping's Kaye E. Barker backed up to the WE Energies Greenfield Avenue dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor, and unloaded coal. The harbor has patches of ice, but regular boat and barge traffic have maintained channels, especially in Friday's warm sunny weather.

The Barker finished unloading and proceeded downriver and northbound on Lake Michigan at about 6:30 p.m.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
One of the Groupe Ocean tugs departed before first light Friday. Stephen B. Roman came in and went to anchor in the inner harbor - a rarity. The crew had already worked their way down the Welland Canal and needed some rest. The Roman went to the wall around 11 a.m. She will go into temporary lay-up for the holidays, but will be back out for a run or two before laying-up for the winter.

Radium Yellowknife came in around 1 p.m. and tied up at Pier 28 just west of the tug Salvage Monarch. The tugs/workboats involved in the Humber Bay breakwall project all came in in mid-afternoon and tied up. Work on the project has been suspended until  January 3, 2006.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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. She is currently in the Frog Pond in Toledo, Ohio.

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 side-wheel 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.

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


Today in Great Lakes History - 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, c.) CLIFFS VICTORY was down bound 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.

On 23 December 1905, JAMES B WOOD (steel propeller freighter, 514 foot, 7,159 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. In 1913, she was renamed b.) 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, 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.


Lower Detroit River Ice

12/23 - 12:20 p.m. Update - The Algosoo complete their trip up the Livingstone but the Calumet became stuck in the ice. The American Republic, Manistee and McKee Sons stopped in the channel south of the Risley and Calumet. The Risley worked to free the Calumet and was clear of the channel at 11:55 a.m. The Risley moved to the side of the channel allowing the Calumet to pass. The Neah Bay worked with the American Republic who cleared the channel about 12:15 p.m. The Risley then backed down the channel to assist the Manistee and McKee Sons.

Adding to the list of downbound vessels that will be waiting for the next convoy are the Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Agawa Canyon and Armco. They will follow the David Z. Norton, Maumee and BBC California downbound after 1:20 p.m.

Between ship's captains and the Coast Guard the convoy has agreed on the order of of transit. First will be the David Z. Norton, followed by the Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Maumee, BBC California, Agawa Canyon and Armco.

8:30 a.m. Update -Work continued over night with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley pulling an all-nighter. The Columbia Star was able to transit up bound through the heavy ice in the Livingstone Channel early Friday morning. It appears the Algonorth was then allowed to transit down bound. Temperatures have remained above freezing in the area preventing the refreezing of the ice.

About 8:30 a.m. the convoy of ships waiting on western Lake Erie in the East Outer Channel got underway. Slowly moving up bound through the Livingstone are the Algosoo, Calumet, American Republic and Manistee. The efforts of the Risley combined with the passage of the Columbia Star and moderate temperatures appears to have improved conditions in the channel.

The Risley was working below the Livingstone in the East Outer Channel escorting the barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible up bound.

Waiting to transit down bound are the David Z. Norton at the Ojibway Anchorage, the Maumee docked in Windsor and the  BBC California in the Belle Isle Anchorage.

Down bound Friday morning to assist in the ice breaking was the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay.


Welland Canal Traffic Resumes

12/23 - 5:00 p.m. Update - Traffic in the Welland Canal remains congested. Ten vessels are moving in the canal at various locations. Five more down bound boats are anchored outside Port Colborne, and another five off Port Weller. Some of them have been waiting since early Wednesday.

12/23 - Traffic has resumed in the Welland Canal, but the ice is proving a worthy adversary for the canal and its operators. The wind is also causing problems for ships trying to maneuver slowly in the canal.

Wind chill factors are affecting the crews on deck and handling lines ashore. The Captain of the Jackman has been told to wait on the wall for 15 minutes or so and he has ordered his line handlers on board and inside to avoid the wind chill.

Pilot boats at both ends of the canal are not going out onto the lakes because of wind and sea conditions.

In the flight locks all up bound traffic is now using the east side and all up bound traffic is using the west side. This is the reverse of normal operations but has been in effect for several weeks as the east side has problems with the restraints.

As of 10:00 a.m. Friday there were twelve up bounders in the canal or waiting to enter, and another nine vessels waiting to make the down bound passage.


Coast Guard Medivacs Crew member from Algorail

The Coast Guard medivaced a 53-year-old male from the Algorail about ten miles north of Marblehead at approximately 12:40 p.m. Monday. A Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Station Detroit hoisted the man who was suffering from chest pains. They transported him to Burke Lakefront Airport to awaiting Emergency Medical Services.


Hollyhock heads to Erie

The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock is scheduled to work on aids to navigation in the vicinity of Erie, Pennsylvania on Saturday evening. The Coast Guard warns with the Hollyhock's arrival it will cause the ice, normally used for recreational fishing, to become unstable and dangerous. The Coast Guard urges all fishermen to take all necessary precautions to ensure their safety.


G-Tugs Move Cleveland's West 3rd Street Bridge Span

12/23 - Thursday morning, three G-Tugs, the Iowa, the Mississippi, and the Rhode Island moved the Barge U-803 carrying the partially re-constructed West 3rd Street Bridge span from the Walsh Construction Dock located in the Old River Bed of the Cuyahoga River to the Lafarge Dock located further upriver on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland. The ocean-barge U-803, upon which the new bridge span, rode was shipped from New Orleans, La. last year.

As if it was routine the three tugs spun the Bridge Span at the N&S Drawbridge and maneuvered the Barge through the winding Cuyahoga. Lead by the Tug Mississippi, the Bridge topped with an American flag arrived at its destination at 1:45 p.m.

The bridge is scheduled to reopen in June replacing a span that bridge tenders called "Old Shaky." West 3rd street has been without a bridge since May 2004, since the old span was floated out.

Reported by Edward C. Hertz


BobLo Boat Ste. Claire now Apparently Stuck in River Rouge

12/23 - River Rouge, MI - The Ste. Claire, the vintage steamship that once was docked at the Lorain Port Authority's Black River Landing for about two years, is apparently in troubled water. The Ste. Claire is stuck in Michigan and is up for sale, said Al Poe of Lincoln Park, Mich., who said he is a member of the steamship's restoration team. The vintage steamship was built in 1910 and was used to transport passengers to the Boblo Island Amusement Park near Detroit until 1991. It is now stranded in the Detroit River at River Rouge, Mich., five miles south of downtown Detroit, where it has been since Nov. 1, Poe said. It needs to travel five miles down the river so it can docked at the Nicholson Dock next to its sister ship, the Columbia, said Poe. But its owners apparently don't have the money to pay a tugboat to take it there and are facing legal action in River Rouge, Poe said.

Poe said he is among several workers who are taking the Ste. Claire's owner, Diane Evon of Lakewood, to small claims court in River Rouge, seeking $3,000 they say Evon owes them for work they did on the boat. The number at the Westpark Gardens and Gifts shop on Warren Road in Fairview Park, which Evon owned, was disconnected when called by The Morning Journal. ''It's quite a predicament,'' Poe said. ''None of the tugboat captains will touch it to move it until they are paid. My concern is to get it off the river. A lot of people did work for the boat and were never paid for it, and we're trying to recoup some of our losses. The same thing happened in Lorain, but nobody stepped up to the plate.''

Evon paid $20,000 for the Ste. Claire in 2001, with hopes of restoring it to its original grandeur. She brought it to Lorain in the fall of 2003 and operated the haunted house ''Nautical Nightmare'' during the Halloween seasons. ''It came a long way when it was in Lorain,'' Poe said. ''The first year it was here, they raised $180,000 on it, and in 2004, they raised $210,000, but they didn't put any of that money back into restoring it.'' When Evon and her husband, John Belko, were moving the boat out of Lorain to take it to Windsor and the Detroit area for festivals, its departure was delayed by U.S. Customs because of a newly implemented law by U.S. Customs.

While it was docked at various festivals in Windsor and in Detroit, it brought in more than $300,000, Poe claimed. Evon and Belko couldn't be reached for comment. Evon and Belko paid the Lorain Port Authority $500 a month from April to September in 2004 and 2005 to keep it docked at the Black River Landing, and they were permitted to keep it docked for free the rest of the year, said Richard Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority.

Novak said yesterday that the Port Authority is not considering bringing the Ste. Claire back to the Port of Lorain and that he last spoke to the boat's owners on Aug. 1. ''It's unfortunate,'' Novak said of the Ste. Claire's situation. ''The owner's concept was very good of what they wanted to do with it, but it looks like they're not going to be able to complete it. But bring it back here? No, never".

From the Lorain Morning Journal


Steamship William G. Mather Museum at the Cleveland
Mid-America Sail & Power Boat Show
January 13-22, 2006

12/22 – Cleveland - The Steamship William G. Mather Museum will once again entertain and educate visitors January 13-22 at the 2006 Cleveland Mid-America Sail and Power Boat Show at the I-X Center. Visitors of all ages can try their hand at “Logos of the Lakes”, a memory game which educates visitors about the many companies that sail the Great Lakes delivering goods and cargo. Winners can choose a small prize from the Treasure Chest, and all players receive a discounted admission coupon to the Mather Museum.

The highlight of this year’s display will be “A Move in Pictures,” photographs of the Steamship William G. Mather Museum’s historic voyage last September to its new location just north of its programmatic partner, the Great Lakes Science Center. The “Lifeboat Theater” will show videos of the move, featuring spectacular views of the Mather, North Coast Harbor and Lake Erie. In addition, Mather volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the ship, provide first-hand accounts of life on the Lakes, and orient visitors to the Museum and its mission.

Visitors to the Mather Museum booth will also be able to pick up advance information about the upcoming Huntington Cleveland Harborfest Tall Ships Challenge® returning to Cleveland’s north coast July 12-16, 2006. See photos of the Tall Ships, learn about volunteer opportunities, and obtain information about Tall Ships ticket and merchandise sales.


Port Reports - December 23

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Sea Eagle II and her cement barge departed the harbor before first light Thursday.

Quebecois arrived in port with a storage load of raw sugar around 3:00 p.m. Algoville is expected in tonight.

Friday should see the first time arrivals of two tugs. Toronto Drydock Co.'s new tug M. R. Kane is currently nearing Kingston, and the tug Radium Yellowknife is down bound in the Welland Canal. Algosteel continues unloading at Redpath Sugar dock.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Algorail made her second trip into port this week early Friday morning. She was also in port on Wednesday, picking up loads at Sifto Salt. The ice was a little more jammed up in the inner harbour after a few days of westerly winds, but the turn went smoothly with the assistance of the MacDonald Marine tugs.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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, c.) CLIFFS VICTORY was down bound 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.

On 23 December 1905, JAMES B WOOD (steel propeller freighter, 514 foot, 7,159 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. In 1913, she was renamed b.) 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, 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.


Spruceglen Grounds in St. Lawrence

12/23 - Update - Spruceglen has been inspected and cleared to continue up the Seaway. At 10:00 a.m. Friday morning, she was near Crossover Island in the St. Lawrence River.

12/22 - 7:45 p.m. Update - Spruceglen has been freed with assistance from the tugs Robinson bay and Performance. She is in the Wilson Hill Anchorage awaiting inspection. There is no word on if there was any damage from the incident.

12/22 - 1 p.m.  - Spruceglen was reported aground above the Eisenhower lock at 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

The latest word is that Spruceglen lost power causing the grounding. Spruceglen will unballast the forward section and try to back off.

The tug Performance and Robinson Bay are sailing to the aid of the grounded Spruceglen above Eisenhower lock,


Lower Detroit River Jammed with Ice, Traffic Stopped on Western Lake Erie

12/22 - 10 p.m. - Detroit Update - Thursday evening the Samuel Risley was working to free the upbound Adam E. Cornelius from a position below the Livingstone Channel in the lower Detroit River. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley have been assisting the Cornelius since early Thursday afternoon. The Risley appears to be the only ice breaker working the area Thursday night.

The area causing the most trouble is referred to as the "dikes" and is at and below the end of the channel. The Livingstone Channel is a man made channel blasted from solid rock with stone dikes piled on each side of the channel. Each winter this area below the southern end of the channel can be problematic for ships transiting to or from the Livingstone Channel as all the ice cleared from the Livingstone flows south and fills the shallow areas surrounding the shipping channel below the dikes. With each ships transit the ice is chopped up and can take on the consistency of slush called "brash ice" filling the channel to the bottom.

At 9:15 p.m. the Risley was making good progress escorting the Cornelius upbound and requested other vessels waiting to transit downbound get underway. The Risley and Cornelius cleared the channel by 9:50 and the Cornelius continued upbound while the Risley turned downbound and held position above the Livingstone in preparation for the convoy of downbound ships. This delay had closed the lower Detroit River to downbound traffic and anchorages in the Detroit River have filled as ships wait to transit downbound.

Vessels will typically transit in the order that they went to anchor, however the Coast Guard will often request a specific order based on a ship's size and horsepower. The ships with higher horse power have an easier time getting through the ice and leave a wider track for the lower powered vessels. In some cases captains will allow other ships to move ahead in line because they know their ship will have an easier time in the ice following another.

The downbound convoy will be led by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley followed in order by the Spar Ruby,  Fred R. White Jr., Sam Laud and the Wolverine.

Canadian Transport downbound in the Livingstone in January, 2001 (the "dikes" area can be seen at and below where the sides of the channel end.
Aerial view of the vessel again stuck in the lower channel Don Coles
Chart of the area
Samuel Risley

Western Lake Erie 10 p.m. update- Traffic on Western Lake Erie is also suffering from delays caused by ice. The Algosoo and Columbia Star are stopped off the East Outer Channel, it is unclear if they are waiting for the downbound traffic to clear or if they are stuck in ice. 

The Calumet and American Republic are stopped south west of the Colchester Reef light, the Calumet reports they are beset in ice.

4:00 p.m. - Update - Ice jams are reported in the Livingston Channel of the Detroit River. The Livingstone Channel is normally used for downbound traffic, but is used for two-way traffic during the winter months.

Down bounders Wolverine and Spar Ruby have gone to anchor to wait for clearance to proceed. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Hollyhock and Neah Bay are working to clear the problem. Maumee was involved earlier, according to visual reports, but is now up past Grassy Island.


Welland Traffic Resumes

12/22 - 6 p.m. Update - The Welland is now up and running. The Kivalina is secured on the far south end of the west wall above Lock 7. The Radium Yellowknife was allowed to pass the Algolake between 6 and 7 to allow the lock to flush some ice down bound with the tug. Since then the Algolake has moved down into the Flight Locks. The tugs Bonnie B, Vac, and James McGrath are spread out along the canal to move ice as required. The temperature is now at or above freezing. Unfortunately there are now gale warnings on Lake Erie and the wind is blowing about 35 knots on western Lake Ontario.

4 p.m. Update - Some traffic is starting to move in the canal. Sarah Spencer has cleared Lock 3 down bound, and CSL Niagara is in the Flight Locks (4-5-6). Radium Yellowknife has cleared Lock 7, headed for Lock 6.

1 p.m. Update - It does not appear that traffic has yet resumed in the Welland Canal Thursday, but traffic may be starting to move shortly. Federal Kivaline has been backed out of Lock 7 and the John Spence has proceeded down bound. The Stephan B. Roman, which had been tied up in Port Colborne is approaching Lock 7. It may be that Roman's 56-foot beam could be a better candidate to make the next passage.

A total of 16 vessels are now delayed by the problems with Lock 7.

For the original article concerning the traffic jam that began on Tuesday, scroll down to 12/21. Pictures in the News Photo Gallery

7:30 a.m. Update - It does not appear that traffic has yet resumed in the Welland Canal Thursday morning. The Seaway system is showing the tug Bonnie B III in Lock Seven. The tug was up bound last night to break ice in the canal below Lock Seven.

Up bound vessels being delayed include CSL Niagara below Lock 3, Capt. Henry Jackman below Lock 2, Algomarine, John D. Leitch and Cuyahoga below Lock 1. Down bounders caught in the jam are Federal Kivaland and Algolake above Lock 7, and Algowood, Algoisle. Stephen B. Roman, Algoway and Petite Forte around Lock 8.

In the Port Colborne anchorage are Federal Welland, Federal Rhine, Federal St. Laurent, Pineglen and Canadian Transport.

For the original article concerning the traffic jam that began on Tuesday, scroll down to 12/21.

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery


Bay Ship Makes Ready for Winter Fleet

12/22 - As 2005 draws to a close, Great Lakes freighters are hurrying to make the last runs of the season. Their vast cargo holds brimming with iron ore, coal, cement and grain, most lakers will work until winter forces the closing Jan. 15 of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Cargo demand will then shift to Escanaba, Mich., allowing a few boats to ply the lower lakes a bit longer. By February, however, all the lake ships will be in annual winter lay up until March 25 when the Soo will reopen for the new season.

The onset of winter brings an extra bustle to Bay Shipbuilding Co., where the Sturgeon Bay shipyard is preparing to receive its share of the winter fleet. Most of the big ships will arrive by mid-January: In all, 16 lakers, a barge and a tug. The workload for the full-service shipyard, a subsidiary of the 103-year-old Manitowoc Company Inc., will be substantial during the lakers’ stay. “It will be controlled chaos,” said Todd Thayse, director of contract services at Bay Ship.

When the lakers arrive, their forward-end crews – the captains and mates – will spend a day or two on board, while engineers will spend roughly a week shutting the boats down for the winter. Then the entire crew will be off for 60 to 90 days, and the Bay Ship production teams will begin the vessels’ scheduled maintenance. “Most of the work is routine to some degree,” Thayse said. “We’ll do pipe repairs and certify fire systems, refurnish or fully remodel quarters, and overhaul hydraulic components. We also regularly do gearbox repairs, steel renewal, electronics retrofits, automation upgrades, painting, cleaning and yearly inspections throughout the winter.”

The lakers that need work come to Bay Ship because it is the largest shipyard on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, Thayse said, and it is the last shipyard to offer a full range of services. “We can handle all the jobs in-house,” he said. “The boats can’t come out of service during the sailing season unless there’s an emergency, so the work has to get done quickly during the winter.”

The close attention to scheduling is due to the size of the U.S. fleet, which at about 60 vessels is roughly half what it was 30 years ago, and the shortened winter layup, which used to run from October or November until April or May. Rather than having a hiatus of 120 to 160 days, the lakers are now out of service for just 70 to 75 days, roughly January to March. With fewer boats working to deliver product and less time to complete shipyard work, the pressure on everyone involved is significant to get the boats into top running order for the upcoming shipping season.

In addition to routine maintenance, this year’s winter workload will also include several unique projects. Bay Ship will be re-powering the steam-driven, 826-foot Lee A. Tregurtha with a diesel plant; the 1,013-foot Paul A. Tregurtha is scheduled to receive a new fuel purifications system, and several vessels need slow-plate renewals in their cargo holds. Bay Ship also will oversee six dry dockings in the 1,200-foot long graving dock to conduct mandated U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) surveys, which are scheduled every six years. With more than 15 freighters ranging from 630 to 1,000 feet in length, and admittedly tight parking space, Thayse said the process can be somewhat stressful.

“When we move boats around for dry docking, we usually have six or seven tugs working each vessel,” he said. “We also have people breaking, clearing and flushing ice.” With a smile, he added, “They’re long days when moves are taking place.”

The arrival of the 2005-2006 winter fleet is great news for Sturgeon Bay. First of all, Bay Ship has announced that it needs to add approximately 150 employees to its work force. “Due to some recently awarded contracts, our backload construction and repair jobs will last through spring 2008,” Thayse said. “We have a need for people – steel fitters, welders, pipefitters, marine electricians, machinists, men and women, all trades.”

In addition to the winter fleet, Bay Ship’s work force is busy with three new construction projects: vessel No. R760, a 14,000-ton, self-unloading cement barge for Southfield, Mich.-based American Transport Leasing; No. R761, a 140,000-barrel, double-hulled tank barge for Baltimore-based Vane Bunkering Line Inc.; and No. R762, an 80,000-barrel, double-hulled tank barge for Seattle-based Hartco Marine Inc. All three vessels will be delivered in 2006.

“We offer on-site training to our new employees,” Thayse said. “For the most part the work is not seasonal, and our starting pay ranges from $11.39 to $18.04 per hour.” The other good news brought to the community by the winter fleet is, as Thayse puts it, the lakers’ supporting cast. “For starters, each boat has a crew of 18 to 25 people who spend anywhere from a few days to a month in the area,” he said. “They book hotel rooms at the Holiday Motel, eat at restaurants and see movies. They go to the Nightingale, My Sister’s Café and Van’s. They keep Evenson Laundry & Dry Cleaners busy.” Other businesses support the boats themselves.

“Culligan Water Service is always down here, and trucks come from Econo Foods in the spring with groceries for provisioning,” he said. “Research has been done that shows dollars from shipyards turn over in the community four to five times, and it happens even more here because Door County is geographically isolated by Lake Michigan and Green Bay.” The dollars that ripple through the community also touch the hands of Bay Ship’s customers as well, who patronize local hotels and restaurants and travel with Babler’s Bus Service, based in Maplewood.

Then there is the lakers freighter fan club. A Web site dedicated to Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway shipping, located at, lists winter layup locations for all the lakers and allows enthusiasts to share photos and information. “It’s hard to document, but a lot of people who love the lakers do come to Sturgeon Bay to see the winter fleet in port,” Thayse said. “We see them standing in Sunset Park, at the duck pond or on Third Avenue. They hang on the fences. They take pictures. “There’s such a deep maritime heritage here,” he continued. “The fleet’s been coming here for years, and five lakers (of the 16 scheduled this winter) were built here - St. Clair, Buffalo, American Republic, Joseph L. Block and Edward L. Ryerson. A lot of people had fathers or grandfathers who worked on these boats.”

While some visitors may come to Door County with the specific hopes of seeing the fleet, others discover the lakers as wintertime tourists. “We point it out to visitors that the winter fleet is in, and we let people know if a ship is going through the bridge,” said Brian Kelsey, executive director of the Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society. “They get really excited, especially since we can give them a warm view from our observation area.” “The economic impact of the fleet to Sturgeon Bay is enormous,” Thayse concluded. “It’s a bridge to spring.”

Courtesy of the Door County Advocate


Last Saltwater Ships Outbound from Lake Superior

12/22 - Sault Ste. Marie - With the first of two season-ending deadlines rapidly approaching, saltwater shipping that filled the St. Marys River a few weeks ago was down to a trickle by early today. The Norwegian-registered Spar Opal was downbound for the Soo Locks on her last trip of the shipping season early today, leaving just the BBC California among saltwater ships on Lake Superior. The two ships are the last of a fleet of so-called ³salties² making deliberate haste to depart the St. Lawrence Seaway before it and the Welland Canal close off access to the Atlantic on Christmas Eve.

Don Willeke, president of the Western Great Lakes Pilots' Association, said the year-old BBC California will likely be the last of the saltwater ships to clear Lake Superior ports this season. BBC California was last reported alongside the McLean Export Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Willeke said some confusion about Seaway shutdown dates occurred late in the saltwater season, when officials waived late passage fees for Dec. 21-24, then said outbound ships had until Dec. 29 to clear the system without the substantial late passage fee. The closing date is still midnight on the 24th,² he said, acknowledging that the last day has grown somewhat spongy with the fee waiver offer.

However that may be, he said he knows of no other saltwater ships bound for Lake Superior ports to take on a quick last load in time to make it out of the Seaway before Dec. 29. Meanwhile, at the Soo Locks, acting Area Engineer Kevin Sprague said the MacArthur Lock will close for the shipping season early Christmas Day. The adjacent Poe Lock will remain open until its mandatory shutdown date on January 15. Great Lakes vessels are expected to call at Lake Superior ports through early January. Normally the last few loads of iron ore of the season are moved out of Escanaba after the Locks close.

A Coast Guard ice survey of the lower St. Marys River indicated moderate to low ice formation on channels as of Dec. 19. The latest available report indicates a stretch of fully-covered channel between Pt. Aux Frenes and Lime Island with 2-4 inches of broken plate ice and up to six inches of brash, or refrozen broken ice.
Essentially open water prevails from north of DeTour through the DeTour Passage. Above Lime Island to Neebish Island, the report indicates fast shore ice of one to two inches well in place but only about 20 percent ice coverage as of early this week. Shipping is moving relatively easily through what ice there is as of early today.

From the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - December 22

Milwaukee - Jim Zeirke
The Midwest Maritime Tug Leona B delivered an empty barge to the WE Energies Greenfield Ave. coal dock in Milwaukee on Wednesday 12/21. She makes two round-trips trips daily, Monday through Saturday to the Port Washington, WI power plant.

It appears that the J.A.W. Iglehart will be making the port of Milwaukee her winter home. She was docked in Milwaukee some distance back from the silo where the ILM boats normally unload. There was no activity around her on Wednesday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Correction to Wednesday morning's news report - It is not Petite Forte and barge in at Pier 35 south, but rather Sea Eagle II and barge. They do not appear to be unloading or under repair, so may be laying up here for the winter.

The inner harbor saw it's first coating of ice this morning, with about 80% of the harbor in a half inch thick sheet. Wind and waves had it broken up before noon and most of it pushed out of the harbor by the wind. The ferry Ongiara broke a path to Ward's Island and the fire tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie broke the rest.

Algosteel arrived early this morning with a load of raw sugar for Redpath, this is not a storage cargo, as they began unloading it into the hopper at Redpath in mid-afternoon.

The Nadro tug Vigilant 1 came in the East Gap around 9:30 a.m. with the barge OC 181 in tow. It went out the West Gap and dropped the barge off at the Humber Bay breakwall construction site, then the tug returned through the harbor solo and departed by way of the East Gap around 11 a.m.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Both the Charles M. Beeghley and the Dorothy Anne/Pathfinder loaded ore at Marquette on a snowy Wednesday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Courtney Burton is due in Buffalo sometime Thursday evening or early on Friday. She was currently downbound in the St. Claire River Wednesday evening.

Atlantic Erie completed coal loading operations in Lackawanna around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon but did not depart for Nanticoke until the evening due to weather. The ship cleared the Buffalo Piers around 5:00 p.m.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock departed Buffalo for Erie, PA Wednesday morning around 10:00 a.m.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 22

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

DETROIT EDISON 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 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, Ontario 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


Welland Traffic Delayed by Ice in Lock Seven
Traffic Backing up at Both Ends

12/21 - 9:00 p.m. Update - Late Tuesday afternoon, the saltie Federal Kivalina was approaching Lock 7 of the Welland Canal down bound. Because of a prolonged cold spell there has been considerable ice growth in the canal. The tug Seahound was sent into Lock 7 ahead of the Kivalina to break up the ice in the lock ahead of the ship. The Seahound was to lock down with the ship. The Kivalina made her approach and became stuck about half way into the lock. Many attempts were made to move the Kivalina without success. The Seahound, still in Lock 7 also continued to work ahead of the ship.

Because Lock 7 is not twinned other traffic was brought to a standstill throughout the system. The tug Vac was sent down the canal from Port Colborne to assist the Federal Kivalina to move from Lock 7. She spent many hours breaking the ice above the lock and trying to flush it upstream to clear the way for the Kivalina. The St Lawrence Seaway brought in all kinds of heavy equipment to try and loosen the grip of the ice on the Federal Kivalina. On the west side access by equipment is difficult but a back hoe with a jack-hammer attached worked at the ice. On the east side of the canal a variety of heavy equipment was utilized.

As the night progressed this broken ice would consolidate (freeze together) and it would also freeze to the side of the ship thus preventing any motion. The ship does not have a coating of special "ice" paint that would allow it to slide easier through ice. Ice, especially with some snow on it, sticks like glue to the steel on a ship's side.

Kivalina had her engine going astern anAeAerialnches pulling aft on mooring lines. This failed to budge the ship. The cavalry arrives in the guise of the John Spence. The Spence was down bound with her barge and the Seaway arranged for her to help. She secured her barge astern of the Algolake, turned in the Canal below the Algolake and backed down toward the Kivalina to hook up a tow line.

The crew of the Spence reached out with a boathook to grab the lines lowered from the stern of the Kivalina. Two lines were passed and both were used during the various attempts to free the ship. While this work was going on the heavy equipment on the east side of the lock continued to work on the ice.

The John Spence paid out some tow line and took up the slack. Once all is ready they increased power. The John Spence pulled ahead while the Kivalina had her engine astern. Despite a number of efforts over several hours the Kivalina did not move.

Meanwhile, the pilots that were to take the Kivalina from Port Weller across Lake Ontario and down the Seaway arrived to see what was happening. They have been waiting for the best part of 20 hours by now. After several attempts to pull the Kivalina out of the lock the Spence shortened the tow. This did not work either.

However, something eventually worked as about 6:15 p.m. Seaway Welland announced that the Federal Kivalina had been freed from the ice and removed from Lock 7. The Vac and Seahound were grooming the ice in and around the lock. Additionally a small tug is up bound from Port Weller to break a track up to the foot of Lock 7. Traffic is expected to start moving again somewhere between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Thursday. A picture story of the days events is posted in the News Photo Gallery .

In addition, the tug Bonnie B is up bound from Port Weller to break a track in the ice that has formed from Lock 1 to the bottom of Lock 7. CSL Niagara is one of the ships waiting for an up bound passage. With her wider and longer forebody she might have some difficulty. Of course, with the ice and cold temperatures all the ships in the canal may encounter some difficulty throughout their lock transits.

An unnamed Seaway source stated that down bound traffic would be given priority once shipping moves again. It is also rumored that both sides of the flight locks will be used for down bound traffic.

12/21 - 4:00 p.m. Update -The traffic backup has extended into Lake Erie. Pineglen went to anchor in the Long Point Anchorage around 2:30 p.m. and will be joined shortly by Canadian Olympic.

Original Article - 12/21 - Noon - The Federal Kivalina attempted to get into Lock 7 Tuesday afternoon, at 3:00 p.m., and was unable to because of ice. The tug Seahound was assisting to no avail. This morning the Kivalina is reported as still being above the escarpment. CSL Niagara cleared Lock 1 up bound about 1700 yesterday and is still reported below Lock 3. There are 11 ships scheduled to transit today and at least 3 more tomorrow.

As of 1:00 p.m., the down bound Algowood, Algoisle, Stephan B. Roman and Petite Forte were stopped at Port Colborne. Federal Welland has been anchored in the Port Colborne anchorage since 10:30 Wednesday morning.  Algolake was stopped above Lock Seven. Federal Kivalina was still above Lock 7. The up bound Capt. Henry Jackman was below Lock Two. Algomarine and John D. Leitch were both tied up below Lock One.

Reported by Paul Beesley and the Boatnerd staff



Weather Delays Costly For U.S.-Flag Lakes Fleet In November
Fleet At Anchor More Than 5,000 Hours

12/21 - Cleveland - A stormy November took its toll on the movement of dry-bulk cargos on the Great Lakes in U.S.-Flag vessels. With 60 vessels idled more than 5,000 hours during the month, the major U.S.-Flag carriers moved only 9.5 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in November, a drop of 16 percent compared to a year ago.

Even when weighed against the month’s 5-year average, the November 2005 float was more than 11 percent off the pace.

The iron ore trade suffered the greatest decline in November. Loadings fell more than 21 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. While weather delays were the primary cause for the slump, the trade was further impacted by a lengthy repair on a 1,000-foot long U.S.-Flag Laker dedicated to moving iron ore.

Limestone shipments did not fare much better, slipping 18 and 14 percent respectively compared to a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

Only coal loadings even approached last November’s level.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage on the Great Lakes stands at 98.4 million tons, a decrease of 3.3 percent compared to the same point in 2004, but slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Reported by the Lake Carriers Association


Suspended Mackinaw Skipper Departs Ship
Triner says he cannot be here while investigation of accident is conducted

12/21 - Cheboygan - Officially, Capt. Donald Triner is a captain without a ship. His command temporarily suspended Thursday by U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Robert Papp Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, Triner departed the vessel Sunday after celebrating the arrival of the new icebreaker at ceremonies and a gala reception in Cheboygan. His whereabouts, for now, are unknown. “There has to be an investigation, and I can't be here when it's going on,” Triner said before departing. “There's really nothing else about the issue that I can say.”

However, he is not a captain without a crew. Triner's crew said plenty at the reception, greeting their captain's introduction - formally worded as “representing the new Mackinaw” versus calling him the commanding officer, which he technically is not at the moment - with resounding applause. It is apparent that the new Mac's crew is fiercely loyal to the man who hand-picked nearly all of them for duty aboard the 240-foot ship that will take over June 9 as the new “Queen of the Great Lakes” following he decommissioning of the original Mackinaw, scheduled for the same day. Most of the crewmembers have served under Triner's command at other assignments or knew him from training at Cape May, N.J., where he served in addition to piloting other ships.

The prevalent opinion among local Coast Guard retirees, sailors and other dignitaries present at Saturday's festivities is that it would be highly unusual for a commanding officer to return to his same ship following an incident such as the one in Grand Haven, even if he were to be cleared of any wrongdoing. However, the same wisdom also points to the huge investment the Coast Guard has made in Triner, sending him to nearly two years of schooling specifically to operate this particular vessel, including training in Europe and other far-reaching situations for study of icebreaking with the Mackinaw's power plant, computer systems and revolutionary azipod propeller-pods. He is obviously married to his ship, and a positive outcome could reverse conventional protocol in this case.

The damage to the Mackinaw was hurriedly cleaned, scraped and repainted in Grand Haven and when the ship arrived in Cheboygan, the dent was barely noticeable. Ninth Coast Guard District spokesman Chief Petty Officer Jeff Hall told the Grand Haven Tribune that Coast Guard officials from Cleveland are investigating the incident that caused a 10-foot hole in the southern breakwall at Grand Haven. The impact damaged part of its interlock system, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the pier. The impact also caused substantial damage to the ship's bow, and possibly other areas, Hall said.

“We have naval engineers still looking at the ship. They'll be looking at how far back energy was dispersed through the vessel,” Hall said, explaining that engineers will be investigating every confined space throughout the vessel that could have been affected by the crash. “Our primary concern is getting a good look at the structuring,” Hall noted.

In the interim, Executive Officer Nathan Podoll is in charge as the Mackinaw enters a “Charley” period for maintenance. No movement of the ship is scheduled until early January. Captain Michael Hudson, who was officially the Mac's commanding officer during the trip to Cheboygan, has returned to his duties and has left Cheboygan.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Port Reports - December 21

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
The Twin Ports' saltwater shipping season closed early Monday when the Federal St. Laurent departed for Finland. The British West Indies-flagged vessel left port after loading 3,000 metric tons of durum wheat and 19,000 tons soybeans at AGP in Duluth. The St. Laurent's sister vessel, the Federal Rhine, also was in port last weekend. It sailed for Venezuela Sunday after loading 22,000 metric tons of spring wheat at CHS in Superior.

Algonorth continued to load at the CHS elevator on Tuesday morning. It was expected to depart later in the day, making it the last grain ship of the season.

The latest trips scheduled for Midwest Energy Terminal are Jan. 1 for the Oglebay Norton to load for St. Clair, Mich., and Kaye E. Barker to load Jan. 2 for Marquette, Mich.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Paul R. Tregurtha brought a load of coal to Marquette's WE Power Plant on Monday.

Escanaba is seeing both the Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes coming regularly for ore after a relatively quiet summer and fall.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Toronto Drydock Co. has purchased the Tanac class tug M. R. Kane from Urgence Marine of Montreal. The tug is currently in transit for Toronto.

Work on the Humber Bay breakwall project has been suspended until after holidays.

The first of the winter lay-up sugar storage vessel arrived in port Monday when Canadian Miner went to the wall at Pier 51 north. Quebecois is expected to arrive today. Petite Forte and her cement barge were in port under the Atlas crane at Pier 35 south yesterday. English River arrived on Monday and departed around 9 a.m. Tuesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Tuesday, the tug Gregory J. Busch was down bound in the Saginaw River from her dock in Carrollton to assist the inbound CSL Tadoussac. The Busch broke up the ice around the Essroc dock in Essexville and in the Bay Aggregates slip across the river in Bay City. She then helped push the Tadoussac to the dock for her unload. As a thanks for the assist, the Captain of the CSL Tadoussac had dinners from the galley lowered down to the crew of the tug.

The Gregory J. Busch was waiting at the Bay Aggregates dock for the Tadoussac to unload and was then to assist her in turning around off the Essroc dock to head for the lake. The departure was to be shortly after midnight.

Belleville, Ontario - Carl Roy
On Monday the Tug A.L.Kilally arrived in Belleville, Ontario on the north shore of Lake Ontario. The tug will be used to keep the Moria River flowing at its mouth this winter where the river empties into the Bay of Quinte. Ice has been problematic and the city has used backhoes to breakup the blockage at great expense. The Tug operators stated that this operation could be done by tug boat cheaper than by backhoes. The Moria River flows through the business section of Belleville and any back up of Ice and water causes major problems to the basements of the buildings along the Moira river.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 21

On 21 December 1901, the MUSKEGON (composite propeller carferry, 282 foot, 1,938 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.

CSL's HOCHELAGA was laid up on December 21, 1981, for the last time at Cardinal, Ontario.

The OUTARDE of 1906, 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.



Boatnerd Tops 8 Million

12/20 - Monday evening over 8,000,000 visits had been recorded to the main page of the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping home page. The counter was started as the page was launched in 1995.

The eight millionth visitor was Daniel Kostrubiec.

It is interesting to note that the first month the page was live in 1995, 590 visits were recorded. Today the main page (not counting individual pages or users that enter by book mark) receives an average of 167,000 user sessions each month. The site represents a huge time commitment by the staff of volunteers and we would like to thank to all the viewers and contributors for making the web site what it is today.



Oswego Port's Focus on Jobs, Not Profit

12/20 - Oswego Port Authority administrators are a little surprised that to find themselves defending their work during what they're calling the best business they've had in five years. Port director Thomas McAuslan and manager James Cloonan responded this weekend to a recently published report on their operations with a year-end review. The purpose of the port, a not-for-profit public authority begun by New York State, is not to make money, they said, but to compliment the local economy. “We're not in the business of competing with the private sector,” Cloonan said. “In fact, we defer to the private sector.”

Last year, there were 129 cargo ships that entered the Oswego port district, said McAuslan, not one. That number includes ships from the U.S. and Canada, which aren't called “international” in port records because they're part of the Great Lakes region. Canadian ships typically come from Thunder Bay on Lake Superior and Picton, Ontario. Right now they don't get ships from either Toronto or Hamilton, which are home to the two biggest Canadian ports on Lake Ontario. Last year, just one ship out of 129 came from outside the U.S. and Canada, they said. This year the port had 17 international ships due to incoming windmill parts for the Tug Hill wind farm, which came from locations in Europe and Vietnam, in addition to normal trade bringing thousands of tons of soy beans, salt and cement through Oswego.

The port currently carries roughly $4 million in debt that was $5 million when the port authority was created in the late 1950s, McAuslan said. That debt is owed to New York State, which willingly began the debt when it took the port out of city hands and made it a state authority almost 60 years ago. McAuslan said the debt doesn't hurt the port at all. The current agreement he said, calls for the $4 million debt to be paid off in small increments that won't be finished for about 80 years. “We can't pay it off and the state doesn't expect it to be paid off,” said McAuslan. “Our repayment agreement calls for $50,000 a year to be paid off.”

The port sustains itself each year without operating on a deficit or benefiting from a yearly state subsidy, they said. What the state occasionally provides, he said, are state grants from infrastructure improvements. “We pay our own way with the exception of some of the infrastructure,” said McAuslan, “and we've done a lot of the infrastructure on our own funds.” “Sometimes you don't get anything. It depends on what's available,” Cloonan said. “The grants that are available we do pursue.”

This is year was the best they've had since 1999-2000, McAuslan said, when they had “so much salt, we didn't know what to do with it.” The port expects to receive 8,000 tons of salt today, McAuslan said, and 12,000 tons of asphalt tomorrow. But, he said, world markets change, and the port is always competing with truck and railroad transportation. In the meantime, the port also has to provide support for the H. Lee White Marine Museum and Oswego Maritime Foundation. “We'd like to make enough money if we could to do all the things we'd like to,” said McAuslan. “But, in fact, I don't know of any ports that make enough money so that they don't have to have some help.”

From the Palladium Times



Port Reports

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock arrived in Buffalo on the Sunday evening. She was heading to the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna when the captain of the H. Lee White called on the radio. After learning of the White's planned departure, the captain of the Hollyhock decided to stay clear of the South Entrance and possibly find another dock to secure at for the night. Monday morning, the HOLLYHOCK working the Summer and Winter buoys off Buffalo Harbor. She then came in to dock at the old Buffalo Port Terminal Slip "A" at 1:00 p.m. That may be the dock she's using while in town instead of Gateway. She may be a little too deep of draft to park herself in the slip at the Coast Guard Base.

Atlantic Erie called Seaway Long point at 8:00 p.m. Monday night and told the dispatcher that he was pulling up the hook and departing the Port Colborne Anchorage and that it would take him 3 hours to reach the anchorage inside Long Point Bay. It is suspected that he is hiding from the wind before heading into Lackawanna.

The Hollyhock in the Buffalo River near the Naval Park around 10:00 a.m. Monday morning. She is moving all around throughout the day to pick up bouys.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
A late Monday morning tour of the harbor revealed that the Federal Welland had finished loading wheat at the Nidera elevator and departed sometime in the last 22 hours. Aside from some barge movement in the inner harbor, no other activity was noted.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 b.) SAMUEL MATHER, a.) WILLIAM MC LAUGHLIN 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 (C.370162), renamed d.) BIRCHGLEN in 1982 and scrapped at Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1988.

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

The CRISPIN OGLEBAY of 1908, 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 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.



New Mackinaw Arrives in Cheboygan

12/19 - The new Mackinaw (WLBB-30) arrived at Cheboygan on Saturday, as scheduled, passing the old Mackinaw (WAGB-83) in the Cheboygan River at 11:45 a.m. On the west side of the river hundreds of residents greeted the new vessel with cheers and waved American flags. Additional onlookers, dignitaries, and the Cheboygan High School band greeted from the decks of Mackinaw 83. After a brief ceremony, a parade was held to the city park where a key to the city was given to the crew. An open house of both Mackinaws was held in the afternoon followed by a reception similar to the one held 61 years ago when Mackinaw 83 came to town.

First hand report by Fred and Kathleen Stone


New Mac Arrives in Cheboygan

12/19 - Cheboygan - In a historic day that brought goose bumps to many - if the 27-degree temperatures plus wind chill hadn't already - the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived in the Cheboygan River to the delight of crowds that gathered along the shoreline and on the original icebreaker Mackinaw's decks. Sirens blared from fire-engines parked on the west side of the channel, motorists watching from their vehicles honked horns and throngs who lined the route along the river waved American flags and cheered the city's newest residents and their families. As the ship approached the dock, the Cheboygan Area High School Marching Band repeatedly played the Coast Guard's theme song “Semper Paratus” with a zeal that created an indelible image for all who were there. “It's one of those very significant days that we'll never forget,” assured Mayor James Muschell, onboard the original Mackinaw with other dignitaries, “something that our city can be proud of.”

The vessel appeared through snow showers at 10:40 a.m., with leaden-gray skies replicating very much the same scene that took place Dec. 30, 1944 when the first Mackinaw arrived here. An hour later, the ship was in the turning basin, its powerful engines and bow thrusters pushing it sideways through a thin layer of ice towards a stern-to-the-river mooring in an increasingly brisk southwest breeze. “What better way to greet the newest, greatest icebreaker on the Great Lakes than to do it on a cold, snowy day in Cheboygan,” remarked Cmdr. Joseph C. McGuiness of the original Mackinaw during the brief ceremony held on his ship's fantail deck. “It's the Mackinaw legacy. Our tradition is very apparent.”

Capt. Donald Triner of the new Mackinaw was next to speak and drew a historic link in his speech by reprising some words spoken by Cmdr. Edwin Roland nearly 61 years ago when the 1944 Mackinaw arrived. “We of the new ice crusher Mackinaw count ourselves particularly fortunate that the ship on which we serve will have for its homeport the city of Cheboygan,” Triner said, the vapor from his breath disappearing in the wind. “You people of Cheboygan have been generous beyond all just expectations in your reception of my officers and crew. We have continued a bond between these ships and the city that will exist no matter how far from homeport our operations take us or what challenges we face. Thank you, and semper paratus.”

The words were met by cheers and shouts, with applause being muffled by the clapping of mostly gloved hands. Triner was the lone representative of the new ship to walk the short distance to the old Mackinaw's deck, painstakingly shoveled clear of snow by the crew.

Both ships formed parade units that marched through the downtown area to Washington Park where Triner was given the symbolic key to the city by Muschell. State Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, and State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire, spoke before the group dispersed to a gala welcoming reception at the Gold Dust Ballroom.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Officials Laud New Ship's Presence

12/19 - Cheboygan - City, county and U.S. Coast Guard officials lauded the Saturday arrival of the new Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw as the beginning of a new era for Cheboygan as the homeport of the ship. “It's a great event,” summarized Larry Otto, executive officer on the original Mackinaw from 1968 to 1971. Otto drove from his home in Ann Arbor for the occasion. “It's wonderful to celebrate the arrival of the new ship and to visit the old one.”

Cmdr. Joe McGuiness said his crew welcomes the new ship even though they still have one more season of icebreaking ahead before decommissioning June 9, the day the new Mackinaw will be commissioned. “I think there's a lot of excitement in the air,” McGuiness said. “The presence of the new doesn't detract from the old. To see the legacy live on is far better than to see the legacy sail on to a scrap yard.”

Several politicians spoke at ceremonies in Washington Park, where Mayor James Muschell presented 2005 Mackinaw Capt. Don Triner with the symbolic key to the city. Triner was also congratulated by Cheboygan County Commissioners' Chairman Herb Makima, State Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, and State Rep. Kevin Elsenheimer, R-Bellaire. “Our town has had a long, outstanding relationship with the Coast Guard and it's been an important economic factor in our community as well,” Muschell said. “I missed the opportunity to be here in 1944 for the original Mackinaw's arrival because I was vacationing in Europe with General Patton.”

Muschell was a prisoner of war in Germany then. “If you look at the implications of the Coast Guard being here, it's critical,” said Allen. “When you consider our post-9/11 world and our upper Great Lakes being protected, absolutely so. And with fuel costs rising it's even more important to keep our shipping lanes open. “Many Coast Guard families have become important parts of the community,” Allen continued. “They are part of the churches and civic groups and many have retired here.” Elsenheimer was impressed by the turnout for the ship's arrival and credited the local citizenry. “This is a great day for Cheboygan,” Elsenheimer declared. “I was on the other side of the river before I came here and I think the entire community is here. It's a historic day and they want to be a part of it.”

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune



Port Huron Depot to Become Information Station
Vantage Point building will offer history of Great Lakes

12/19 - Jim and Judy Malenich visited Vantage Point in Port Huron several times during the summer and fall. The Croswell couple loves to watch the freighters from the site and eventually hopes to do some fishing in the St. Clair River. "It's just beautiful down there," Judy Malenich said. "It's just a nice added feature for the city." And Vantage Point soon will have another feature for area residents to enjoy. Work is under way on the train depot, which owner Acheson Ventures plans to turn into a high-tech stop for information about the Great Lakes.

"The Depot," as it's being called now, dates back to the early 1900s. It most recently was used as an office by CSX Transportation, which sold the land to Acheson Ventures in June 2003. Acheson Ventures spokesman Paul Maxwell said The Depot's exterior will be restored to its early-1900s condition, while the interior will be completely redone. Company officials declined to give a cost for the project, which is expected to be completed in early April.

Rich Engle, Acheson Ventures vice president, said the development company has bought special software that will tell the story of the Great Lakes in a technologically advanced way. Highlights will include virtual experiences and video information. "Nothing has been finalized," Engle said. "But we're looking to present a lot of information about the Great Lakes in a unique way."

The Malenich family plans to visit The Depot when it opens. "My husband loves history," Judy Malenich said. "And this is just something else people can utilize when they go down there."

Developing the Point
In May, Acheson Ventures officials unveiled plans for Vantage Point, the area at the north end of Desmond Landing where the Black and St. Clair rivers meet. Desmond Landing is Acheson Ventures' 77-acre redevelopment project along the St. Clair River. The Vantage Point site also includes Web site's office and the Maritime Center, where construction is supposed to wrap up by the end of the month.

"For 150 years, the public has had no access to the water here," Maxwell said. "But with the railroad out of here, we're trying to give the public that access and make it a great place for them to be." Acheson Ventures also has put in a temporary extension of Court Street to get people down to the Vantage Point area and formed a security team to keep an eye on things throughout Desmond Landing.

Denise Gordon owns the Copper Lantern on Military Street, just west of the Vantage Point development. Gordon said developing the site is a plus for area businesses because more people will come downtown. "We've already seen more traffic on this side of the bridge, which is a really good thing," Gordon said. "We're excited about what's going on over there because it should mean good things for the city and the businesses."



Port Reports - December 19

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Capt. Henry Jackman arrived with a cargo of salt late Saturday.

At Toronto Drydock the tour boats Klancy II, Island Princess and Harbour Star went on the drydock for the winter along with the tug Patricia D.I, the schooner Wild Irish Rose and the drydock's workboat 007.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Federal Welland continued to load grain at the Nidera Elevator mid-day Sunday. One suspects that her departure is imminent and that she will close the ocean vessel shipping season in Milwaukee, what with the Seaway closing on 24 December.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Herbert C. Jackson departed with one tug at 12:30 p.m. on the Saturday.

CSL Niagara was headed for the Gateway Metroport Terminal to load coal, with an arrival time of 5:00 p.m. She was decked out in Christmas lights and looked awesome.

Atlantic Erie is scheduled to arrive at 7:00 a.m. on Monday to load coal.

The New York State Power Authority tugs Breaker and Daniel Joncarie were moored to the dock at the Connecting Terminal Elevator on the Buffalo River on Saturday. They must be in town from Niagara Falls to move the work barges and log sections back and forth between the Harbor and the Lake Front for the Niagara River Ice Boom.

Local government officials and the NYSPA recently inked a deal for the Buffalo area to receive nearly $279 million over the next 50 years. This money is to be used on improvements to the waterfront and overseen by a new state development agency. The NYSPA is seeking approval for their relicensing agreement with the Federal government and needs to please local communities impacted by their electricity generating operations in the Western New York area.

Peace Bridge officials have selected their final plan for a new bridge. A companion span, two tower, cable stayed design won out and the project is finally expected to move towards the funding acquisition phase in 2006.

Local Representative Brian Higgans has begun the legal moves to push the State of New York into doing a study examining alternatives for the Buffalo Skyway Bridge. This is just the first step of the replacement process but must be completed before any action can be taken to actually tear the Skyway down, or build anything new.

St. Lawrence River - Wayne Clifford
Chios Sailor hit the restraint boom down bound in the Cote St Catherine lock and is stuck in the lock. Shipping will be stopped until Midnight or later. At 7:30 p.m. the down bound CSL Assiniboine and Maritime Trader were anchored in the Pointe-Fortier Anchorage above Cote St. Catherine. By 11:30 p.m. two more vessels had gone to anchor in the same position.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Vessel activity finally picked up on Sunday morning with the G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity arriving in port to load cement.

The Ostrander departed after noon and was outbound in the bay where it passed the inbound J.A.W Iglehart. The Iglehart tied up under the silos around 2pm. The bay has ice and snow along the shore that can change daily, but the channel into Lafarge remains passable .

The Steamer Alpena is expected to return early on Monday morning to take on cargo.

The John G. Munson was loading at Stoneport on Sunday.

The Pathfinder is scheduled to unload cargo on Monday at the dock after the departure of the Munson.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 ran aground December 19, 1989, near Johnson’s Point in the Munuscong Channel of the St. Marys River. Down bound, 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, Ontario) 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.


Boatnerd Heading for 8 Million

The counter on the main page is expected to top 8,000,000 visitors sometime late this week. (the counter is located at the bottom of the main page at This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visits in October 2000, two million in November 2001, three million in September, 2002, four million in June, 2003, five million in February, 2004, six million in October, 2004, seven million in June, 2005.

Please email if you are the 8 millionth visitor. Please do not reload the page repeatedly, server logs will be used to confirm who the visitor was.



Winter Lay-ups Fast Approaching

12/18 -  With winter lay-ups for 2005/06 fast approaching, our annual winter lay-up list can now be viewed by clicking the appropriate thumb-nail under the "Special Features" section of the Home Page.

Accurate updating of this feature relies on you, our viewers.  Please submit your updates to the address.  Kindly include with the vessel name, her lay-up port, date of lay-up and, if possible, the dock location as well.

Remember, the accuracy of our list depends on you!

2005/06 Winter Lay-up List


Pewabic Exhibit finds Home
at Alpena's Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center

12/17 - Alpena, MI - A life-sized model of the Pewabic shipwreck's hull has been moved to its new home at a recently opened center highlighting the maritime heritage of the Great Lakes region. The hull replica and other artifacts, which are part of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve's exhibits, were moved last week to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center.

Sanctuary education coordinator Cathy Green said exhibits will have about ten times more space in their new home. The hull was moved from its previous location at the federal building. "The way we have it set up, you walk into the ship itself," Green told The Alpena News. "As you come into the Pewabic, it's as if you're stepping into the ship as a passenger. And then as you walk through it, it kind of turns into a shipwreck, and is kind of a mock-up of what you see today."

The wooden passenger and package freighter carrier Pewabic sank in August 1865 on Thunder Bay following a collision with sister ship Meteor. Artifacts and plaques that chronicle the history of the Pewabic also are part of the exhibit. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is aimed at showcasing the area's nautical history and drawing visitors from across the country. It opened in September in Alpena's historical downtown. The center is part of Preserve America, a White House initiative that encourages community efforts to preserve local cultural and natural heritage.

Reported by Frank Frisk from the MacComb Daily Online


Port Reports - December 18

Wendell Wilke - Algoma, WI
The fish tug C. W. Bohman has been sold by Mark Warecki, Door County, WI to Andrew LaFond, Jr. of Algoma, WI. The C. W. Bohman was originally built in Algoma by Charles "Chuck" Bohman and Mike Bohman of Algoma in 1980. Her original owner, "Chuck" Bohman operated her out of Algoma a number of years, then sold her to Mike LeClair, Door County, WI. Her operated her a number of years, until the boat became involved in illegal proceedings and was seized by the State of Michigan DNR. In 1997 at auction, the C. W. BOHMAN was purchased by Mark Warecki. He owned her until now selling her to LaFond. So she has now come back home to Algoma. Andrew LaFond, Jr. also owns and operates the Oliver H. Smith from Algoma. She was former owned by the late Leif Weborg, whom went down on the ill-fated Linda E. with his crew 12/11/1998.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
On Saturday afternoon, the Federal Welland continued to load grain at Nidera.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Niagara completed her coal loading operations at the Gateway Terminal this morning. Her captain called the H. Lee White who was on the way to Buffalo at 9:00 a.m. The two captains exchanged arrival and departure information along with Christmas greetings and made their arrangements to pass off Buffalo Harbor. The Niagara departed Gateway Metroport and passes the inbound White near the Traffic Buoy around 10:00 a.m. The WHITE came in the South Entrance and took the dock from Niagara to begin unloading Pet Coke around 11:00 a.m. while the Niagara headed off towards the Welland Canal on her way to Hamilton.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 Capt. Roger Stahl who commanded her 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 Ojibway Slip in Windsor, Ontario.

On 18 December 1899, 115 (steel whaleback barge, 256 foot, 1,169 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


Work Underway on 1st Phase of Toledo Marina District
180 boat slips, ship terminal, connecting road are planned

Stacks of steel I-beams near the shuttered Acme power plant attest to the beginning of something Toledo residents have looked forward to for five years - actual construction in the Marina District.

William Carroll, the city's director of economic and community development, yesterday showed off the early stages of $7.6-million worth of construction on a public marina, a passenger ship terminal, and a new road. Mr. Carroll said contractors are driving steel pilings up to 40 feet in the ground to construct a retaining wall for the marina that will have 180 boat slips, and is tentatively called the Glass City Marina. The marina is in an inlet located just north of the former Acme power plant. The city is paying the $3 million cost of the marina, with the help of a $226,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority is developing the terminal, which will serve Great Lakes cruise ships. The $3 million is supported by a $2.4 million grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. The terminal will have a U.S. Customs office, shops, a restaurant, and amenities for boaters tying up in the adjacent marina, such as shower and restroom facilities, swimming pool, and playground. Mr. Carroll said Toledo currently has no full-service public marina.

The third project is the $2.6-million Marina Drive, which will connect the marina and terminal to Front Street, and is being paid for by the city. Toledo Councilman Frank Szollosi, chairman of council's economic development committee, said the facilities are set to open in mid-2007. "This is the beginning of the construction and development phase of the Marina District versus the remediation phase," he said.

The Marina District is located on the Maumee River between the Martin Luther King, Jr., and I-280 bridges. The work that began in the last week is the publicly funded part of the project. Columbus developer Pizzuti Cos. has unveiled a plan for developing the rest of the 125-acre project with housing, retailers, restaurants, an ice rink, and an amphitheater, but has not yet announced any deals.

From the Toledo Blade



Port Reports - December 17

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Glenevis departed with the barge OC 181 for the canal. The Works Department tug Ned Hanlan II was hauled out for the season at the Port Authority yard in the Keating Channel on Tuesday.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Federal Welland continues to load grain on Friday at the Nidera Elevator. No other ships appear to be in the harbor at the time.

Port Austin -
On Thursday it was reported that two vessels had anchored off Michigan's thumb because of weather. In fact the vessels were waiting for traffic to clear in the Saginaw River, according to Coast Guard sources.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Two vessels called on Saginaw River ports Friday. The Maumee traveled upriver during the morning to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee, while the American Republic called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The Republic was outbound Friday afternoon while the Maumee was outbound during the evening hours.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Herbert C Jackson was swinging her boom up to the ADM Standard Elevator's unloading hopper at 10:00 a.m. Friday morning. One of the G-tugs was tying up at her dock around the same time so the ship must have just arrived within the hour.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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, 2,234 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wisconsin, formerly a.) PILLSBURY) was in a collision with the MIDVALE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 8,271 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 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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, , Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, 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


Mail Boat Enters Lay-up

12/16 -  The J.W. Westcott Company ended their 110th season on Thursday. Heavy ice in the Detroit River sent the fleet to lay-up a day earlier than expected.

Crews departed the station on Thursday afternoon with the mail boat J.W. Westcott leading the way for the back up mail boat Joseph J. Hogan. The crew reports the trip took two hours and the boats experienced heavy areas of ice, with pressure ridges estimated be be a foot thick.

Both boats made it to the dock at Gregory's Marina behind Belle Isle early Thursday afternoon where they will spend the winter out of the water.


New Mackinaw Commanding Officer Temporarily Relieved of Command

12/16 -  Rear Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr., Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, has temporarily relieved Captain Donald Triner of command of the new Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw.

The temporary relief is in reaction to the December 12 collision of new Mackinaw with the south break wall at Grand Haven, Mich. An investigation is currently underway to determine the facts surrounding the incident. Damage to the ship consists of an approximately eight-foot by three-foot dent in the starboard bow of the ship, and a segment of the break wall may require repairs. Estimated cost of repairs to both the ship and break wall are unavailable at this time.

Captain Michael Hudson, Chief of the Ninth District Waterways Management division, is currently in command of new Mackinaw. The ship is scheduled to depart Grand Haven, Mich., today and will arrive at its homeport of Cheboygan, Mich., on Saturday December 17 as scheduled.

Reported by USCG


Coast Guard Officials Continue to Investigate
Mackinaw's Crash into Grand Haven Breakwall

12/16 - Grand Haven, MI - Officials hope the investigation regarding the Coast Guard's newest cutter, the Mackinaw, which crashed into a Grand Haven breakwall Monday, does not hinder the ship's voyage to Cheboygan this weekend. "It is our hope right now that the Mackinaw reaches its home port in Cheboygan for a homecoming celebration Saturday," Ninth Coast Guard District spokesman Chief Petty Officer Jeff Hall said Wednesday. "The city has set up a reception for the new boat and its crew."

Coast Guard officials from the Ninth District in Cleveland are investigating the crash that caused a 10-foot hole in the southern breakwall, damaging part of its interlock system, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the pier. The impact also caused substantial damage to the ship's bow, and possibly other areas, Hall said. "We have naval engineers still looking at the ship. ... They'll be looking at how far back energy was dispersed through the vessel," Hall said, explaining that engineers will be investigating every confined space throughout the vessel that could have been affected by the crash. "Our primary concern is getting a good look at the structuring."

The naval engineers have been surveying the ship's damage, and could have a damage estimate by today, Hall said. They'll also be looking at the status of the 240-foot-long cutter and whether it is safe to operate. "The investigation is ongoing and it probably will be for quite some time," he said. Coast Guard officials are also considering whether to launch divers to look at the ship's hull below the water line.

If the new Mackinaw is to reach Cheboygan by Saturday, it would need to leave Grand Haven's port Friday, Hall said. Officials hope to reach a decision later today. The Mackinaw, which was scheduled to depart Grand Haven at noon Tuesday, was also scheduled to stop in Sault St. Marie and Rogers City prior to its final destination in Cheboygan. However, those stops have been canceled. "I believe they have canceled those stops since they'll be in Grand Haven longer," Hall said.

From the Grand Haven Tribune


Band Plays Key Role in Welcoming Cutter
Musicians will perform as ship arrives, in parade and at afternoon reception

12/16 - Cheboygan, MI - Approximately 90 members of the Cheboygan Area High School Marching Band will firmly establish their place in the city's history with a defined presence in the welcoming ceremony, parade and reception for the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw on Saturday. The CAHS musicians will serve as the centerpiece for most of the activities associated with the arrival of the new icebreaker, providing everything from fanfare while playing on the old Mackinaw's fantail deck to “Semper Paratus” and “God Bless America.” The Jazz Band will also play in the parade and at the welcoming reception.

The band will assemble Saturday morning at the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings in anticipation of the arrival of the new Mackinaw, due to enter the Cheboygan River at 11 a.m. They will perform from the deck of the original Mackinaw as crowds watch the arrival and docking of the ship from across the river at the Cheboygan County Marina and boat launch area. “We want to mirror what was done 61 years ago as closely as possible,” McCauslin continued. “The focus will be on the new cutter and crew.”

The parade will begin at 12:45 p.m., led by a color guard provided by the Cheboygan unit of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Parade units from the 1944 Mackinaw and the 2005 Mackinaw will also be represented, led by McGuiness and Triner. At Washington Park, the parade will disperse.

Free tours of both ships will then be offered from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. A gala reception at the Gold Dust Ballroom will cap off the day's celebration from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. with the CAHS Jazz Band entertaining.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Ship Damages Duluth Crane Pegged for Upgrades

12/16 - Duluth - Two gantry cranes used to unload ships in Duluth are on tap to receive new operating cabs, electrical controls and fresh coats of paint at a combined cost of about $1.5 million. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority's board of commissioners approved the work Wednesday. But before the Port Authority can deal with the wear and tear of 47 years of service on the cranes, it will need to deal with some more recent damage. On Friday, the same day that bids were opened for the cranes' overhaul, the Victoriaborg, a Dutch-flagged vessel, struck one of the units, pushing it 8 feet down the dock at Clure Marine Terminal.

Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, characterized damage from the accident as minor and estimated repairs would probably run in the neighborhood of $10,000. After the incident, Sharrow received a letter of understanding from Johnson Killen & Seiler, a law firm representing the ship's owner, Wagenborg Shipping B.V. It indicates the company will accept responsibility for the damage. The Victoriaborg was breaking ice at the dock alongside the cranes when the mishap occurred. The ship was coming in at an angle, and Sharrow said the sweep of its bow caught the crane.

This year has been unfortunate for Wagenborg. On Aug. 24, another member of the fleet, the M/V Vlieborg, was preparing to leave Duluth when it struck a wall of the Duluth-Superior Harbor ship canal, damaging it and startling tourists on the walkway near the Aerial Lift Bridge. A U.S. Coast Guard report indicated that a failure of the steering system probably caused the crew to temporarily lose control of the ship's rudder. Wagenborg and its insurer also accepted responsibility for repairing damage related to that accident. Despite the spate of incidents this year, Sharrow said, "We have Wagenborg ships in this port almost every week. They're very responsible operators."

As for the major updating of the gantry cranes' electrical systems and controls, that work probably will commence this winter and be completed sometime in 2007. On Wednesday, Port Authority commissioners unanimously authorized staff to proceed with the project. Lakehead Constructors Inc. of Superior probably will head up the work. The firm was the lowest apparent qualified bidder on the project with an offer to complete the work for slightly more than $1.5 million. However, commissioners held the door open to consider one other bid submitted by Superior Crane Corp. of Hugo, Minn. That bid was not opened because the company does not appear to have attended a mandatory pre-bid meeting. If the company can show that it was represented at one of these meetings, the Port Authority will open Superior Crane's bid and weigh it against Lakehead's.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 16

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Tug Glenevis returned to port late last night from the canal, stopping along the way to pick up a barge from the Humber Bay breakwall construction project. Persenk finished unloading at Redpath and was assisted out by the Groupe Ocean tugs. She is down bound around Kingston at the time of this report.

Four ULS vessels are expected to arrive shortly with sugar storage cargoes. They are rumoured to be Canadian Leader, Canadian Miner, Canadian Ranger, and Quebecois. Canadian Transport may also winter here.

Muskegon - Jonathon Roblin
Paul H. Townsend arrived Tuesday for winter layup at the Mart Dock in Muskegon.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 16

On 16 December 1922, the JOSHUA W RHODES (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,871 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.

Litton Industries tug/barge PRESQUE ISLE departed light from Erie, Pennsylvania on 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 car ferries 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.

The Maritimer 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.


Other U.S. Cities Eyeing Ferries
Erie, Cleveland and Grand River, Ohio,
are undeterred by Rochester's losses

12/15 - Toronto - As the high-speed Rochester-to-Toronto ferry calls it a season, having lost millions of dollars and thousands of riders to a rough year, three other Great Lakes communities are getting set to launch their own Canada-bound vessels. But Rochester City Council is vowing the 80-kilometre-an-hour catamaran will be back in the spring, despite going more than $5-million in the red from startup and operating costs since the U.S. city bought it in February. Council accepted the recommendation of the Canadian operator of the ferry, Bay Ferries Ltd., which advised that services be stopped as of two days ago because fewer than 100 passengers were boarding sailings in the past two months. The 774-seat, five-storey vessel was scheduled to run until Dec. 31.

Despite the financial woes of the Rochester ferry, which can skip across Lake Ontario to Toronto in 2½ hours, several other U.S. communities on Lake Erie are eyeing ferry routes to Ontario destinations. Cleveland, which has $6-million in federal money for the construction of a terminal, is looking to service a route to Port Stanley, while Grand River, Ohio, hopes to shuttle to and from Port Burwell.

Port Dover would be the daily destination of a 250-passenger ferry from Erie, Pa.. However, it will launch a trial 50-passenger, high-speed vessel next summer at a cost of $900,000 to get some of the kinks out, including customs and cost-recovery, the executive director of Erie's port authority said yesterday. Ray Shreckengost commented that a lot of the problems that Rochester experienced were because "they never went in and sorted those things out ahead of time and wound up with problems at the end. We're hoping we don't make the same mistakes."

He said the goal is to boost the town's economy by taking 1,000 new people to the downtown core a day. "Right now, those people are driving by Erie on I-90 (U.S. Interstate 90) and they're not stopping in the town and they're not spending any money here. We want to capture them and bring them into town."

Reported by Bill Blair from the Toronto Globe and Mail


Port Reports - December 15

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Canadian Transfer departed early Wednesday morning with a load from Sifto Salt. The harbour has been quiet the last couple of days and a very thin coating of ice has formed in the inner basin.
The Peter R. Cresswell entered the harbour early Wednesday afternoon, turned in the inner basin and took up a position on the Sifto Salt dock

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Courtney Burton called Seaway Longpoint at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday. The Captain stated that he was departing the Buffalo piers, was in ballast, and headed to Superior, Wisconsin.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
Earl W. Oglebay on Dec. 13 became the first of an anticipated 12 boats to lay up in the Twin Ports this winter when it entered the large drydock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
On Wednesday, the Federal Welland was loading at the Nidera Elevator, while the Alpena was at the LaFarge facility.

Port Austin
A freighter was anchored off Port Austin Wednesday evening due to gale force winds and warnings.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Invincible & barge McKee Sons was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She was to unload her entire cargo there, turn from the dock, and be outbound for the lake later on Wednesday.

The tug Joe Thompson & barge Joseph H. Thompson, who had lightered overnight at the Sargent dock in Essexville continued upriver to Saginaw early Wednesday morning to finish her unload. The pair encountered difficult ice conditions on their trip reporting they were having problems making the turns. The Captain on the Thompson stated he had to make four attempts to get through the airport turn. The Thompson is expected to be outbound late on Wednesday.

Kingston Area - Ron Walsh
Winter is surely here as the CCGC Cape Hearne ended SAR standby duty, in Kingston, at noon Monday. The CCGC Cape Hearne and the CCGC Cape Mercy were in Prescott Monday night and back in Kingston Tuesday night. They are assisting with a Coast Guard task and departed Kingston at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. Plans are for them to go to Coburg today and arrive at Burlington on Thursday.

The ex- CCGC Bittern returned to Kingston at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday. She had to have some ice broken for her so she could get into Kingston inner harbour and be taken to Metalcraft Marine for refit work over the winter.. The vessel was built at Canada Dredge and Dock and it seems fitting she should continue duty here in some capacity.

The Seaway was shut down in various areas Tuesday and Wednesday morning due to heavy sea smoke. Vessels were starting to move again at 10:45 a.m.

The old tug A. L. Kilally has been purchased and is undergoing a quick 5-year inspection at the Davis Drydock. The vessel is out of the water but should be back in before the weekend. She is supposedly going to be used to break ice in the mouth of the Moira River, in Belleville. The tug was originally built in 1942. They carried out a radio check on Tuesday.

The inner harbour has a variety of vessels tied up for the winter. The Island Belle, Island Star, Island Queen and Papoose III from Kingston and the Islands Boatline, The Senator from Ottawa, the Georgian Clipper and the Canadian Empress are tied up awating the spring tourist season. The brigantine St. Lawrence II is wintering in Portsmouth Harbour and has been decorated with lights for the season. She makes an impressive sight with a small Christmas tree on her after mast.

Ice is 2to 3 inches thick in the harbour while it is 5 to 6 inches thick in the inner harbour area and bays. even the ice broken by the coast guard cutters was refrozen this morning and had to be re-broken for them to leave.

Duluth and Superior - Al Miller
As the Duluth region endured the second day of heavy snowfall Thursday morning, three salties were at elevator berths in the Twin Ports. Anja was at CHS in Superior, Federal Kivalina was at AGP and Cinnamon remained at Cargill B1, both in Duluth.

Across the harbor, Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. Canadian Olympic was due later in the day. Midwest Energy Terminal’s schedule currently shows 22 loads remaining this season, with the latest set for Jan. 2. According to the terminal’s website, as of Dec. 13 it had shipped 19.6 million tons of coal in 2005 (by calendar year, including the end of the 2004-2005 shipping season), easily breaking last year’s record tonnage of 18.8 million tons.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 15

On 15 December 1902, the TIONESTA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 340 foot, 4,329 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 2,000 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 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, a.) SCOTT MISENER, 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 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 self-unloader ROGERS CITY 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, 1,843 gross tons,) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#45).


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.



Changing of the Guard Cutter
New Mackinaw coming to Cheboygan

12/14 - Cheboygan - A bitter wind blew off Lake Huron into the faces of seamen Sean Smith and Ben Gjerstad on the deck of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw. It was 15 degrees outside as the men worked to break inches-thick ice off the deck and push it into the Cheboygan River, and prepared the ship for an expected onslaught of visitors this weekend.Spectators will gather at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cheboygan County Marina to watch a historic event - the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw will pull into home port and dock next to the older icebreaker bearing the same name.

The older ship arrived for the first time in Cheboygan nearly 61 years ago, on Dec. 30, 1944, and is scheduled to be decommissioned in June 2006. The celebration planned for Saturday is intended to re-create what happened when "Old Big Mac" first arrived in Cheboygan, said retiree Ed Pyrzynski, former master chief of the boat. "It's almost a duplicate of what happened here many years ago," Pyrzynski said.

"The Gold Dust Ballroom is still here, the new ship has the same name and it's coming to the same port. We thought it was a perfect opportunity to relive history," said Al Dos Santos, one of the organizers. "The history of the old ship and the new ship will come together."

The new Mackinaw is about 50 feet shorter than the older ship and is capable of more than just breaking ice in the Great Lakes. It can also service buoys, respond to oil spill situations and perform search and rescue missions. The older Mackinaw was the most powerful and capable icebreaker in the world when it was launched, but is now in its twilight of useful service with its outdated systems and single-mission capability, officials said. "The sheer size of it is what gets people. It's so long and it's so wide," said Ensign Elizabeth Newton, public affairs officer for the older Mackinaw.

Local officials hope to turn the older ship into a maritime museum in Cheboygan once it's decommissioned. They await final approval of the project in Washington, D.C. "I think Cheboygan deserves the ship for many reasons, mostly for history and education," Pyrzynski said. The maritime museum will require about $3.5 million to complete, said Mike Grisdale, executive director of the Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce. Officials are applying for government and corporate grants, he said.

Saturday's welcome ceremony will be at the U.S. Coast Guard moorings, followed by a parade to Washington Park. Free tours of both ships will be given by retired crew members between 2 and 4 p.m. and visitors are encouraged to dress warmly.

A reception with crew members of both ships will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Gold Dust Ballroom and $25 tickets are still available. Proceeds will benefit the Mackinaw Crew Morale Fund in Cheboygan.

For more information about Saturday's events, call (231) 627-7183.


Dow razing portions of Ludington plant
Landmark, 250-foot stack, lime plant among portions coming down

12/14 - The landscape around Pere Marquette Lake will be changing, and several longtime landmarks will be demolished and turned into open space. Dow Chemical is in the process of demolishing most of the obsolete magnesium hydroxide and lime kiln operation at the Ludington location. Although the work began in the fall, the demolition might not be noticeable until this week when the most obvious aspect of the project is scheduled to take place, according to Dow demolition project manager Steven Jones. This phase includes the removal of the 250-foot-high lime kiln stack, a long-time landmark for fishermen and boaters on Lake Michigan.

The razing of the stack will be completed sometime this week and is being handled by Bierlein, a Midland-based demolition company. The project calls for the stack to be felled by dynamite. It should drop just to the north of the old conveyor system near the Pere Marquette lakeshore, according to Jones. After the demolition is scheduled to be complete in May, Jones said the company plans to install beautification mounds near the shore and to plant grass and possibly wildflowers between the plant and the water. Parts of the space inside the mound will be left with ground and stone cover.

“This operation made lime that was then used in the magnesium hydroxide plant,” Jones said. “It was shut down when we started buying our lime about five years ago, and shut down the magnesium plant.” The magnesium plant fed the now-closed Harbison-Walker plant.

Many of the big tanks and the A-frame building also will be removed. Jones said the demolition is part of a fast-paced plan to improve the aesthetics of the Dow Ludington plant. “This is a relatively recent decision,” Jones said. “We decided to pursue this in June, and we made the decision in August. This is a chance to clean up the legacy of stuff that isn’t going to be used anymore. It’s going to be a nice thing for the visual look of the plant. We’re going to try to make things look better, and we’re excited to see things cleaned up.” Much of the facility to be torn down dates back to the 1940s, Jones said, who was quick to note that the changes will not have any affect on the 150 current Dow employees.

Without the stack, S.S. Badger Capt. Dean Hobbs said he’ll have to find another pilotage mark when bringing the ship into port. “It’s going to be a big change to the landscape of Ludington,” Hobbs said. “You can see the stack nearly 20 miles out in the lake. It’s one of the first features of Ludington we see.” Hobbs said he often used the stack as a bearing point since it lines up with the stack on the S.S. Spartan and helps him mark the middle of the channel when he’s bringing the Badger to dock. “We’ll have to look for other identifying marks,” Hobbs said.

From the Ludington Daily News


Port Reports - December 14

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Tuesday the Manistee was unloading at the Sand Supply Co. Landing on the now frozen Buffalo Ship Canal. Herbert C. Jackson and Courtney Burton both are loading for grain deliveries to the Buffalo later this week

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
On Tuesday, the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder barge were in the harbor discharging coal at the WE Energies dock.

Toledo -
On Monday, Charles M. Beeghly was taking on a load of coal at the CSX RR Docks. Ziemia Tarnowska of Polish Steamship Co. was at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International. Isa, also of Polish Steamship Co. was moored but not loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.

On Tuesday the Isa moved over to ADM Elevators and was loading.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City Tuesday afternoon to unload. She is expected to be outbound early Wednesday.

The tug Joe Thompson and barge Joseph H. Thompson were inbound at the Saginaw River Front Range around 11:30 Tuesday night calling on the Sargent dock in Essexville.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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.

On December 14, 1984, the WILLIAM CLAY FORD 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 is 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.


New Mackinaw Hits Wall in Grand Haven

12/13 - From the Muskegon Chronicle -The crew of the new U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw left a bigger impression on the city of Grand Haven Monday afternoon than it would have liked. With residents huddled in cars to watch the arrival of Coast Guard's newest icebreaker for a first-time stopover in Grand Haven, the Mackinaw rammed a section of the boardwalk leading to the south pier as it entered Grand Haven Channel.

The impact left a scar of red paint, ruptured the boardwalk seawall and created a visible dent on the Mackinaw's starboard bow. City officials said the seawall must be repaired quickly, but costs are not yet known. The ship continued to the city's government basin for an overnight stay and ship tours today. Capt. Donald Triner said damage to the $90 million ship appeared to be minimal and there were no crew injuries.

Triner said the steering problem was the result of working with a new ship and a crew member moving the wrong controls. He said a junior officer was at the helm at the time. "Any mishap is a series of steps you could have done better," he said. "The bottom line is no one got hurt, damage looks to be very minimal. It was a result of inexperience with the control systems."

Still, Triner was able to joke about the incident to a delegation of Grand Haven officials who welcomed the ship. "I really wanted to make a big bang on the city of Grand Haven, but not in this way," he said. The ship struck the seawall about 50 yards east of the south pier. Grand Haven Public Works Director Chuck Nowak said the impact breached the metal seawall, resulting in fairly rapid erosion along the boardwalk.

12/13 - More from the Grand Haven Tribune - Capt. Don Triner may be feeling like the guy who drove his new sports car out of the dealership lot only to crush its fender on the way home. However, Triner's "dream car" is a 240-foot-long, $82 million ship. He commands the Coast Guard's newest cutter, the Mackinaw, which embarked on its maiden "shakedown cruise" of the Great Lakes less than a week ago — and received its first scar Monday afternoon when it struck Grand Haven's south pier.

Rear Adm. Robert Papp Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District that includes Lake Michigan operations, said an investigation will be conducted into the incident. Triner said this morning that the cutter and its crew of around 50 would be in Grand Haven's port past its scheduled noon departure today as he waited on a Coast Guard investigator to arrive and examine the damage. "I'm not at liberty to say anything about it as I am part of the investigation," the captain added.

No one on board the cutter or on shore was injured in the mishap, which occurred shortly after 4:15 p.m. The Coast Guard reports there was only minor damage to the ship's hull. Triner is no rookie at the helm — he graduated from the Coast Guard Academy 21 years ago and he's commanded four other Coast Guard vessels, including the cutters Point Monroe and Red Cedar.

The Coast Guard took possession of the Mackinaw on Nov. 16 from the Marinette, Wis., shipyard where it was built. It began transiting Lake Michigan on an "area familiarization cruise" Dec. 10 on its way to its home port in Cheboygan, where it is scheduled to arrive this weekend and take over for the 61-year-old original Mackinaw by next summer.

For an Aug. 26 story in the Cheboygan News, Triner was quoted as saying the Mackinaw would only leave the Menominee River shipyard where it was built when all of the cutter's systems were thoroughly "checked out, tweaked, repaired or replaced as needed by the companies who designed and built them. The ship is required to work perfectly before the Coast Guard will accept delivery." Those sea-worthy tests were extended by several weeks and delayed the Coast Guard taking possession of the cutter by a month. "It's like a factory-warranty situation on a new car," Triner told the Cheboygan News. "Anything that needs to be done will be done by the dealer right on their lot before we drive it away."

Ted Holle of Ferrysburg, a regular pier walker, said he had no idea the new Mackinaw was arriving in Grand Haven on Monday afternoon when he was out for a stroll. Holle was walking near the point where the ship hit the pier, and his first thought was that the ship's crew "was just showing off," suspecting the Mackinaw would maneuver in the channel, reverse direction and back the rest of the way in. "Something didn't work," Holle said.

Tom O'Bryan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Grand Haven Area Office said this morning that he also believes the mishap was the result of a malfunction of the ship's mechanics. The pier structure is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers, and O'Bryan said the cutter ripped open about a 10-foot stretch of the pier, damaging part of its interlock system. "That not only affects the integrity of the structure, but allows material inside the pier to be lost into the channel," he said, explaining that refilling the interlock with new material will add to the repair costs. "I can't believe the repair will be much less than $100,000, but we'll have to analyze the extent of the damage further."

Brian Elias of Grand Haven Township was parked in the lot across from Butch's Beach Burritos to watch the Mackinaw's arrival through binoculars. Elias said he's been a boater for a lot of years and "something obviously went wrong" for the Mac to bang into the pier. His first impression was that the Mac was going to turn around in mid-channel and back up to its tie-up point adjacent to Escanaba Park. Elias said it looked like there was turbulence at the front of the ship just before the crash, as though a thruster had begun to churn the water. The new Mackinaw's equipment includes special propulsion units with a 500-hp bow thruster designed to provide "unparalleled maneuverability," the Coast Guard has said.

Tribune photographer Andy Loree was snapping pictures from the Lighthouse Connector Park along Harbor Drive when the Mackinaw came from the south and slowed as it entered the channel. "The ship came to almost a halt, and a person watching beside me expressed his desire for the ship to move along as he was getting cold." Loree said. "The Mac started moving again, making an arc toward the south pier from the north side of the channel. Several people around me commented that the captain must be planning to turn the ship around mid-channel and then back into his tie-up at Escanaba Park." It was shortly after that that Loree and others watching the ship heard a loud "boom" as the Mackinaw hit the south pier.

The Mackinaw was open for public tours for two hours this morning, as had been planned, said Lt. Craig Lawrance of Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven. Its departure time from Grand Haven for its next scheduled stop at Sault Ste. Marie was unknown by press time.

Video from WZZM

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery

Reported by Dale Rosema and Edie Northfield


Ferry Season Ends for Great Lakes
Rochester ship last to tie up Monday
Lake Michigan runs halted in October

12/13 - The high-speed ferry's scheduled sailing today is the last of the season — not just for Rochester, but for any ferry crossing the Great Lakes. Manager Bay Ferries will bring the ship's schedule in line with the other two Great Lakes ferry operations next year, running March 31 through Oct. 29. Thus, today's could be the last December ferry ride across the inland seas for some time.

"The ferries that have operated in the past generally go from the first of May until the beginning or middle of October," said Ken Szallai, president of Lake Express, which runs between Milwaukee, Wis., and Muskegon, Mich. "I do believe that there is a November market here. The surveying that we have done has indicated that there is. ... What we have is a perception problem, or deficit."

Like the operators of Rochester's ferry, Szallai had planned to continue service on Lake Michigan until Dec. 31, but sales fell off sharply after October. The S.S. Badger, which crosses Lake Michigan between Manitowoc, Wis., and Ludington, Mich., shut down Oct. 16. Szallai is in his second year. He said his staff will redouble efforts next year and try to push on into November. Changing people's perception, he said, "comes down to getting the word out that you will be operating, that you can keep a manageable schedule."

In Rochester, manager Bay Ferries adjusted its schedule in midseason three times this year. Citing several weeks of falling sales, Bay Ferries announced last week that it would stop sailing after today. No more than 40 people were booked on any of its remaining trips. "If the ferry is running, there will be people," said Pat Maheswaran, 63, of Toronto, who boarded the ship Sunday afternoon instead of having her children split the drive to get her home. Her son lives in Rochester, her daughter in Toronto. "You can't rely on it (the ferry)," she said. "People don't know when it is running, when it is not running."

Lake Express will begin next season April 29. The private operation has a 192-foot, 250-passenger ship that can carry 46 automobiles. Szallai said the ship carried 100,000 riders its first year and gained 10 percent to 15 percent this season. Rochester's ferry is 284 feet long and can carry 774 passengers. It carried 73,231 riders in its first three months.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Port Reports - December 13

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River was at Lafarge Monday morning with the Iglehart sitting off Buffalo on the hook around 10:00 a.m. By 2:00 p.m. the English River was in the Welland Canal and the Iglehart was docked at Lafarge.

The Atlantic Erie is due in Friday, and the CSL Niagara is due Saturday, both to take on a load of coal.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Contrary to the Monday report, the Roger Blough is in for drydocking and then will return to service. It will lay up in Duluth as Fraser Shipyard has work contract scheduled.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman departed during the night. The tug John Spence and McAsphalt barge were tied up at Pier 52 Monday morning. They departed around noon, just after the arrival of Hamilton Energy, which went to Redpath Sugar to bunker the salty Persenk.

The tug Kenteau is in port assisting with the new dock facing project at the foot of John Street. The tug Diver III is also working that project and it is still hauling construction supplies and equipment to Mugg's Island for rebuilding the Island Yacht Club's clubhouse. Work has begun as well, on replacing the damaged roof of the Queen City Yacht Club, which suffered a minor fire early this season.

"The Cat" made it's final appearance for the season. The Rochester/Toronto ferry service has been terminated for the year.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Manitou, after escorting the G.L. Ostrander/Integrity upriver to the Lafarge dock in Carrollton Sunday night, was outbound Monday morning passing through the Lafayette Bridge around 8:30am.

The tug G.L. Ostrander & barge Integrity were also outbound Monday morning a few hours later.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
Earl W. Oglebay was unloading stone at CLM dock in Superior early Tuesday. When finished, it reportedly will lay up at Fraser Shipyards. Elsewhere Tuesday, Victoria was loading at CHS #2 and CSL Assiniboine was at the Peavey elevator.

Monday was a busy day in the Twin Ports, with Herbert C. Jackson arriving in mid-morning to load grain at CHS and clearing the same day. Edgar B. Speer was docked at the port authority’s Garfield dock undergoing repairs. It was under way again late in the afternoon, receiving tug assistance to turn and head up to the CN ore dock.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 13

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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, a.) WILLIAM A MC GONAGLE was laid up at Toledo's Lakefront Dock.

The G A TOMLINSON, a.) D O MILLS, 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, a.) 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.

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


Port Reports - December 12

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Republic finally made it into the Saginaw River Sunday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The Republic, with the help of the tug Manitou made the dock around 8:00 a.m. She had been anchored out in the Saginaw Bay since late Friday. The American Republic was outbound Friday afternoon.

The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge departed the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City after the American Republic had entered the slip at Bay Aggregates. She had also arrived on Friday.

Sunday night saw the tug G.L. Ostrander & barge Integrity inbound for the LaFarge dock in Carrollton to unload. She waited briefly outside lights 1 & 2 for the out bound American Republic to clear before continuing inbound. The pair was expected to be outbound late on Monday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Bulgarian salty Persenk arrived during the night and was assisted into the Redpath slip by the Groupe Ocean tugs Jerry G, and Omni Richeliue. Later in the day the cement ship Stephen B. Roman came into post for the Essroc dock.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke, Darren __ and Paul Graf
Both the new cement barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain came out of drydock on Sunday.

The Roger Blough came in stern first and tied up against the steel dock that runs parallel with the canal. The Blough will be brought into the large graving dock Monday night or Tuesday morning for her 5 Year survey. She is expected to return to service after the survey and eventually lay-up for the winter in Duluth.

At the old stone quarry north of Sturgeon Bay, an on-going project is taking place where the former quarry area and recently a park area is being renovated into a marina area with launching slips. American Marine Contractors have their tug Defiance along with stone barges and a dredge working on the project. Their tug Alice E. was berthed at Bay Shipbuilding on Sunday.

Southern Lake Michigan - Tom Milton
The "saltie" Federal Nakagawa was unloading steel coils at Federal Marine Terminals in Indiana Harbor. No other ships in Indiana or Buffington harbors in Indiana. The Calumet River had only barge traffic, no ships from Lake Michigan to Lake Calumet.

Rochester - David Hunter
U.S. Coast Guard station Rochester received its new Station mascot on Friday. He is a 1-1/2 year old chocolate lab. He will be on the CG boats and at the station serving as a proud member of team Coast Guard. He visited the Rochester Fast ferry terminal on Sunday morning with Santa for a Christmas party for children with disabilities where he was introduced to the community as the newest member where he was received by all.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
As of noon on Sunday, the Federal Elbe had departed the Nidera elevator. The Bavaria had also left the Heavy Lift Dock. It was reported that the Kaye E. Barker had been in the harbor sometime in last 12-16 hours discharging coal at the WE Energies dock. It, too, was gone.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 12

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Today in Great Lakes History - 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 feet.

The push tug PRESQUE ISLE 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 seriesThis is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.



John D. Leitch Holed

Update - Sunday, 8:00 a.m. - Leitch is continuing her voyage down bound. She is approaching the Cite Ste. Catherine Lock.

12/11 - Saturday evening the down bound John D. Leitch touched bottom in the Copelands Cut above Eisenhower Lock. She is taking on some water and is being held for inspection on the approach wall above the lock.

At 8:45 p.m., divers are down looking at the damage. Traffic is not being held up.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


Great Lakes Maritime Institute Bell Auction Results

On December 10 bids from across the region were counted with the auction reaching a high bid of $9,100.
The auction drew serious bidders from all over Michigan and Ohio. During the auction bidders learned about judging bell quality and about the ship City of Cleveland III. They learned the history of its collision and ultimate demise and heard the story of the Great Lake Erie Steamboat Race.

The bidding was serious and competitive. When the final bell rang the high bid was $9,100.00.

It was won by the Cleveland law firm of Bashein & Bashein. Their plan is to donate the bell to the William G. Mather Marine Museum on the Cleveland waterfront for general public viewing.

Click here for more information on the City of Cleveland Bell Auction


Port Reports - December 11

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
As of Friday, at Bay Ship Building the new cement barge building is anticipated to come out of the graving dock on Sunday. She now has her hull painted and the name Innovation has been put on the bow. The tug to mate up with her, the Samuel de Champlain (ex Norfolk) has her new name on.

South bound through the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel by mid afternoon was the new USCGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30) heading for Manitowoc.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Groupe Ocean tugs Jerry G. and Omni Richelieu arrived in port early Saturday morning and berthed at Redpath. A sugar ship is expected soon, but is probably delayed by today's gale force winds.

The charter boat Jubillee Queen was out this afternoon, and Capt. Matthew Flinders is chartered for this evening.

Rochester - David Hunter
The Escosse was outbound Saturday at 3:50 p.m. headed for Prescott with the dead tug in tow with an ETA for Prescott of midnight.

Milwaukee - Bill Bedell
Saturday morning there were two lakers quite a way past the breakwater. One appeared to be the Alpena leaving. The other I never did find out about.

The Federal Elba was sitting at the Nidera grain elevator but no Nidera people were there.

The Kaye E Barker was unloading coal at the Greenfield dock for Kinder Morgan.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 11

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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 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 loaded her last cargo at Duluth, Minnesota on December 11, 1984.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 passed down the Welland Canal (loaded with the 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 December 11, 1998.

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


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.


Ice Advice, Through Thick and Thin

12/10 - HOUGHTON LAKE -- After a week of nighttime temperatures in the single digits or even below zero, ice fishermen are beginning to make their way onto lakes around northern Michigan. And while there's a lot of truth to the saying "early ice is the best ice" in terms of fishing success, fishermen should be extremely cautious. All lakes don't freeze over to the same thickness at the same time; the ice on one part of a lake may not be safe while the ice 100 yards away will support a group of fishermen.

Jeff Dow works at Lyman's on the Lake Resort in Houghton Lake, always one of the first to produce safe ice for angling. "People have been going out on the lake for the past two or three days," he said Thursday. "We've got four to six inches of ice on most of the lake. But you have to be real careful, especially around the creek mouths. There's still some open water where streams come in." Dow said he has heard good reports from people who have fished through the ice for pike and walleyes but hasn't heard much yet about perch and other panfish.

Lyman's rents ice fishing shanties, but they're still sitting on shore. "We aren't putting them out this weekend, but the way things look, I'll check the ice on Monday, and I think we'll get them out by next weekend," Dow said.

Anglers also were venturing out cautiously on parts of Saginaw Bay, but Dan Chimelak, owner of Lakeside Fishing Shop in St. Clair Shores, said Lake St. Clair ice angling is still limited to the shallower canals. "A lot of guys are punching a hole through the ice and then fishing from a dock or seawall," he said. "That's a safe way to do it, but once you get the fish through the hole, you have to get it up four or five feet to land it."

I walked onto the ice in front of our house on Lake Margrethe near Grayling on Tuesday and was stunned to find snowmobile tracks. The ice was only about three inches thick, but some imbecile apparently figured that was enough to support 600-700 pounds of snow machine and rider. That amount of ice will support a sled -- as long as it's moving at high speed. But if something ever makes the sled slow down, or it hits a thin spot where a creek flows under the ice, running a snow machine on early ice is a recipe for disaster.

The state Department of Natural Resources no longer produces a chart that shows what it considers safe ice for various activities. That's because there is no such thing as safe ice. My personal standard is that I won't walk on the ice until it is four inches thick. I'll run a snow machine on the ice at six inches, and while a lot of people say that eight inches is more than enough to support a truck, you won't see my pickup out there.

From the Detroit Free Press


Ontario Power Supply Tight Without Coal, Energy Insiders say

12/10 - Ontario's decision to close all of its coal plants will leave electricity supply so tight that every new generation project must be completed on time in the next two years to avoid power shortages, sources said today. A day before the Ontario Power Authority releases a crucial report outlining the province's future electricity supply needs, industry insiders were expecting the report to reveal a supply crunch that leaves little wiggle room to avoid shortages as coal plants close.

The Ontario government has promised to close its four remaining coal-fired plants in a move to reduce air pollution. The Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Lambton stations are scheduled to close by the end of 2007, while Nanticoke — often dubbed Ontario's worst polluter — won't be fully shut down until early 2009. Over the next 18 months, eight of 10 renewable generation projects are expected to become available, including 300 MW of wind generation. Also, 117 MW of gas-fired generation and 100 MW from nuclear unit improvements are expected to become available. If these and other projects avoid delays, they should fill the gap from lost coal plants until about 2013.

However, sources say the report will warn that the projects must be completed on time if the government wants to stick to its decision to close coal plants that currently make up 17 per cent of Ontario's electricity supply, and avoid supply shortages at the same time. In particular, the coal closures will make it "urgent" that Ontario come up with 600 MW of power before the summer of 2007 for the Greater Toronto Area, the region at most risk of brownouts and blackouts, observers say.

Sources told The Canadian Press that the report will support nuclear power projects and back the province's move to close coal facilities, despite the efforts of business groups lobbying the province to reconsider due to concerns about shortages. Various business groups argue that the Dalton McGuinty government — which has already taken heat for delaying the closure of its last coal plant by a year — has ruled out coal even though other jurisdictions are considering clean coal technology as a strong and affordable supply option. "They should never have backed themselves into a corner with this issue," one source said of McGuinty's election promise to close coal plants. "We're talking about one-fifth of the province's power. Did they even study this?"

According to today's Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Energy has signed a deal to build a $950-million US prototype for a new generation of coal-fired power plants that would remove pollutants and produce both hydrogen and electricity. And a report in the Regina Leader-Post suggests SaskPower is considering construction of a $1.5-billion clean-coal plant, dubbed the first of its kind in Canada.

It's expected the OPA's report will include 10 and 20-year scenarios that recommend expansion of nuclear power, which currently accounts for nearly half of Ontario's power supply. The province has already given Bruce Power the go-ahead to refurbish units at its Kincardine nuclear station and sources say an expansion of the Darlington nuclear facility east of Toronto is in the works. The province is also looking at increasing reliance on natural gas — an expensive commodity for consumers, warns the Association of Major Power Consumers in Ontario.

AMPCO predicted today that the province will be so reliant on natural gas, and forced to import so much electricity by 2008 to avoid shortages, that consumers will have to pay $3 billion more a year starting in 2009 to cover the costs. "All we're asking is that any future supply decisions be open to all potential sources of electricity supply," said AMPCO president Adam White in calling for the province to reconsider its position on coal. "If any source can meet environmental standards, then it should be considered. The stakes are too high to be limiting our options."

From the Toronto Star


Slim Traffic Ended Lake Ontario Ferry Runs
40 or fewer riders booked for any remaining sailings

With no more than 40 people booked on any of the high-speed ferry's remaining sailings, manager Bay Ferries said it was time to dock the 774-passenger ship for the winter. Ridership began a steady, downward trend several weeks ago, said Don Cormier, vice president for operations and safety with Bay Ferries.

Four sailings this past weekend numbered 100 or less, he said, contributing to a decision to limit next year's season to March 31 through Oct. 29. "We would like to have been carrying a couple hundred per sailing," Cormier said. "That would have indicated some (winter) demand for the product and may have justified sustaining it and building the traffic."

With ferry service shutting down for the season on Monday, instead of Dec. 31 as planned, the focus now turns to next year; to City Hall and Mayor William A. Johnson Jr.'s legislation, expected next week, seeking approval for additional financing to aid ferry operations. The city backed a $40 million loan, created Rochester Ferry Co. to oversee operations and bought the ship last February. Rochester Ferry then hired Bay Ferries Great Lakes to manage the ship. Facing public skepticism after the previous owner abruptly halted service in fall 2004, officials struggled to build ridership and revenue with limited marketing and a delayed, midseason start.

Rochester Ferry has exhausted most if not all of an $8 million reserve. Johnson is expected to submit his legislation by Thursday, when City Council committees gather in advance of the full council's Dec. 20 meeting. City Councilman Tim Mains, who has been briefed on the 2006 ferry budget, said this week he would not be surprised if the mayor's request is for $10 million. "It's a Band-Aid on a serious financial wound," said Daniel Tessoni, assistant professor in accounting at Rochester Institute of Technology. "As a creditor, my credit is guaranteed by a taxing authority. But it doesn't imply somehow that the underlying fast ferry company is going to have the ability ... to meet the new payment schedule."


State: Nugent Sand Responsible for its own Problem

12/10 - If you create a problem, it's your responsibility to fix it without creating another one. That was the overriding message delivered Wednesday when Michigan's top environmental official denied Nugent Sand Co.'s proposal to build a 600-foot pipeline through a 4,000-year-old Lake Michigan dune.

Nugent was seeking a state permit to build the pipeline so it could discharge 8 million gallons per day of treated wastewater from its sand-cleaning process into Lake Michigan. Company officials said they needed the pipeline to lower the water level in a manmade lake Nugent created at its mining site; the company wants to build 65 homes around the lake in a development called Dune Harbor. Nugent officials said they were surprised when the water level in the man-made lake rose six feet after mining ceased on the south portion of its 440-acre site.

Steven Chester, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and a Muskegon area native, called the company's alleged surprise a "red herring." "Beneath Dune Harbor's position that the higher lake level was unexpected lies the tacit acknowledgment that it failed to monitor the rising lake level," Chester said in his ruling. "There is no excuse for this surprise. "Given the history of annual fluctuations (in water levels), given the importance of lake levels to its (development) plans, given the ease of observing the lake level, how Dune Harbor could fail to notice a six-foot increase in the lake level is hard to fathom," Chester said.

Nugent owner Bob Chandonnet declined to comment on Chester's order. Chandonnet said he wanted to thoroughly review the order before commenting on it. Nugent could appeal Chester's ruling in circuit court. Environmental activists praised Chester's decision.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Gulag, Ohio : When Lake Erie Freezes, Kelleys Island Fends for Itself.

12/10 - On an island, winter’s arrival is abrupt. It begins the moment the ferry can no longer break through the ice to reach the mainland, the moment the residents are cut off from the rest of the world until the spring thaw. There is little warning. On Kelley's Island, the largest American-owned island in Lake Erie, the moment may come in the form of a call from the skipper of the Shirley-Irene (the ferry that shuttles people to Marblehead and back) to Rob Watkins at the Island Market. The skipper will advise Watkins to pass word along that the ice is thick and time is short. Anyone who wants off better leave now.

From his post at the Island Market, the town’s grocery and video store, Watkins meets new customers each year who have romantic notions about hunkering down for the winter. More times than not, he watches these idealists through his bay windows sneak off on the ferry just before Christmas. The man laughs and pulls distractedly at his gray beard. “It takes a certain, I don’t want to say mindset; attitude maybe, perspective,” says Watkins. “If you’re the type that has to go to the mall and McDonald’s [pronounced MacDonald’s] and that stuff is a big part of your life, you’re not going to be comfortable here.”

At Campbell Cottage Bed and Breakfast, June Campbell makes preparations for her annual exodus. Draining pipes. Filling toilet traps with antifreeze. Calling in the final meter readings. She’s stayed through before but prefers to winter at her son’s home in Daytona Beach. “I tell people there’s more to do in life than watch the ice,” she says. Don’t knock it, says Chris Yako, who runs Cricket Lodge B&B. She plans to stay on Kelley's Island throughout the gulag months as she has for 11 years. “It’s beautiful, watching the ice coming in and out. You’ll get mountains of blue ice pushed up on the shore overnight.”

The best way to survive on Kelley's Island is to know what you’re in for. Watkins slams a photograph onto the counter with obvious admiration. It shows a man wrapped in flannel at the wheel of some metal amalgamation pushed along by a 10-foot-tall fan. “For my own personal use, I have a hovercraft to bring freight over from the mainland,” he says. “The staples — milk, eggs, produce. They bring the bread over in the plane.” He never takes passengers. Too much liability. “It’s like riding down ice on a toboggan at 30 miles an hour.”

Around the corner from Watkins’ store is the Village Pump, which stays open until Christmas Eve, serving battered perch and plenty of Brandy Alexanders to locals. Gary Finger runs the place with his wife and a brawny bartender named Chicago. He stays through to make repairs to his restaurant and knows a rookie islander when he sees one. “It’s cute to watch the new people see the snow flying in,” he says. “They talk a good line, but they’ll get scared. It gets pretty crazy around that last ferry.”

Sometimes, people discover too late the meaning of the word marooned. Finger recalls the powerful Nor’easter that swept in during the millennial New Year’s party, stranding several families. “About 20 cars got stuck here. One guy had a rental. One family brought a U-Haul truck over to move some furniture. Couldn’t get it off until March. Leases ran out on some of the cars while they were here. People on this side had cars stuck on the mainland. Everyone had to drive some other person’s car to get around that winter.”

There is only one way off the island once the lake freezes: airplane. And that’s only if it’s not snowing heavily and there’s no fog. On a calm day, it’s a bumpy ride. Once the island is truly isolated and the Shirley-Irene is parked at the dock across the way, the community fends for itself. They know how to take care of their own. On Sundays, the VFW center on Division Street opens up for a potluck dinner. The high school library loans out its stock of newly published bodice-rippers. And the two cops that constitute the police department begin to make daily trips around the island, checking the empty places for weather damage.

It’s Jamie Frohne’s first year staying, through. He’s one of the two officers who split 24-hour shifts protecting the hundred or so residents that opt to live here year-round. His wife has a job on the mainland and will most likely stay on Marblehead. These days, Frohne sends house-check forms to elderly residents so he knows whom to visit when things get rough. “The electric goes out a lot in the winter,” says Frohne. “You have to find someone with a wood-burning stove or fireplace to keep warm.” Frohne is fresh out of the academy, and sounds a little nervous. There are EMTs on the island, and life-flight service when emergencies occur, but he is unsure just what awaits him as December wanes.

The frozen lake creates new dangers. As Lake Erie freezes, ice-fishing shanties are erected between Kelley’s Island and Catawba Island across the reach. Sometimes the fishermen are a little too eager to get started. Steve Turner, retired schoolteacher from Steubenville, rescued a couple of them during his first winter in 2000. “It was a cold, cold night,” Turner recalls, “About 15 degrees and the wind was blowing. My wife and I were sitting in the living room and we heard somebody pounding on the door. Opened the door and there were these two fellas standing there. Hardly looked human.” The men were covered in a sheet of ice. Visiting from Wisconsin, the fishermen were riding an ATV to a shanty when they hit a patch of soft ice and plunged into the lake. Luckily, they managed to pull themselves out, but the ATV disappeared under the water. “Here’s the funny thing,” says Turner. “The ATV washed up later that summer in Ashtabula. There’s a fair amount of current in this lake. It’s really just a big river.”

Each year, the two dozen students that make up the Kelley's Island school system celebrate the end of their isolation with a dance at the Village Pump at the end of February. Weather permitting, pizza is flown in from the mainland. Later, the older teens and parents have a steak dinner. “After the winter, everyone’s ready to do something like that,” says Gary Finger. “Pantries are running low by the end. It’s the perfect time for a steak.” In early March, the ice will float away again. The Shirley-Irene will return to Kelley's Island, bearing supplies and anxious relatives. Eventually the tourists and summer folk will come too, and the real community of winter survivors will retreat to their positions of service, wishing for those silent months to return. But for now, Kelley's Island is theirs.

From the Cleveland Free Times


Port Reports - December 10

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge were inbound late Friday afternoon calling on the Dow Chemical Dock in Bay City. They are expected to be outbound during the day Saturday.

The American Republic was also inbound on the Saginaw Bay, but anchored out a few miles from the Entrance Channel due to high winds and a low water level.

The USCGC Hollyhock was also talking to the tug Manitou out on the Saginaw Bay, but no security call was heard and it was not seen on the Saginaw River as of 7:30 p.m.

Rochester - Jason LaDue
To comment further on David Hunter's report yesterday about the tug Ecosse in Rochester. Nadro Marine's tug, Ecosse is presently in Rochester with the Doc Morin (Ex. Seven Sisters, Cathy McAllister). Presumably waiting for weather.

South Chicago - Tom Milton
Algosoo at Beemsterboer loading stone (slag)?

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Thursday Petite Forte and barge departed early. Thursday late Canadian Transport was in with a load of salt. She was gone by Friday morning. "The Cat" was in and out both days.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Mesabi Miner came in to Marquette with a load of coal at sunrise on a frosty Friday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Governor of New York State George Patacki and the Mayor of Buffalo Tony Masiello were present at the H-O Oats Elevator on Thursday morning for a ceremony to mark the start of demolition on the milling block. Seneca Nation of Indian's president Barry Shneider announced the name of the casino set to rise on the former industrial property off Michigan St. The name Seneca Nation Buffalo Creek Casino harkens back to the days that the native Indians once used this area as a hunting and fishing ground. Ownership of the land was transferred back to the Senecas a few weeks ago for the first time in 167 years and despite preservationist protest, demolition of the mill building is now underway.

The entire project seems like a missed opportunity to me. Like it or not, good or bad, the casino is coming to downtown Buffalo. That said, I personally feel it's a shame that they couldn't use the elevator for their hotel similar to the one that was converted in Akron, Ohio. That would have been a great way to blend the old with the new while maintaining some form of historic interpretation of industrial architecture with a modern usage.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 b.) 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, 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.


Search Suspended for Missing Sail Boaters

12/9 - As of Thursday the search for the overdue boaters has been suspended indefinitely. Police are asking that residents with waterfront properties continue to check the shoreline for any evidence that may wash up onto shore that could possibly assist in locating the three missing people. The Canadian Coast Guard and the O.P.P. will continue to conduct periodic air patrols of the area over the next several months.

Original Article - Tuesday, December 6 - Ontario Provincial Police, Elgin County detachment were conducting a search for three overdue boaters on Lake Erie between Port Bruce and Port Stanley. On Monday morning Police were notified that three people left the Port Bruce area aboard a sail boat heading to Port Stanley. As of Tuesday morning the boat and occupants have failed to return to shore.

The overdue boaters are identified as Joni Zavitz, Thomas Voros and Csaba (Frank) Guylas. They were last seen by a family member on Sunday afternoon in Port Bruce with plans to sail from Port Bruce to Port Stanley. The vessel they were sailing is described as an 18 foot white over black single mast sailboat with the name "Easter" displayed on the stern.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel, helicopter and Hercules aircraft along with an O.P.P. vessel and helicopter conducted a search of the Lake Erie area on Monday with out success. Search efforts continued on Tuesday with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard and the O.P.P. The Canadian Coast Guard had dedicated a 47 foot search vessel, a Hercules aircraft, and two Griffon helicopters. The United States Coast Guard had dedicated a 47 foot search vessel, and a helicopter. The O.P.P. had also dedicated a 24 foot search vessel and a helicopter. Tuesdays search was expanded from Port Stanley to Long Point from the Canadian north shore of Lake Erie to the south shore of the United States.


Ferry to Ice Cold-Weather Runs
For 2006-07 winter season, ship may be headed south

12/9 - Rochester, NY - The proposed 2006 schedule for the high-speed ferry announced Tuesday would eliminate all winter sailings between Rochester and Toronto to open opportunities to send the ship to a sunnier port in the off-season. Officials from Bay Ferries Great Lakes said next season would begin March 31 and run through the end of October. Plans had been to suspend service only during January and February. The current schedule finishes this season Dec. 31, but officials declined to confirm that date Tuesday.

Bay Ferries' announcement comes as Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. is drafting legislation to ensure there is enough money to support another season. City Council was briefed on options in private sessions last week, and City Councilman Tim Mains said Monday that he would not be surprised if the request is for an additional $10 million to keep the ship afloat. "We learned about this business as we got into it," said City Councilman Benjamin Douglas, who also serves as president of the Rochester Ferry Co. "At this point, that (seven-month schedule) is the most profitable ridership plan." The city backed a $40 million loan, created Rochester Ferry Co. and bought the ferry in February for $32 million. Rochester Ferry hired Bay Ferries to manage the ship.

Most of reserve gone
Rochester Ferry burned through most if not all of an $8 million reserve in its first partial season, with revenue and ridership suffering from a delayed midseason startup June 30 and little advertising. Through Sept. 30, the ship had recorded 98,656 passengers when combining people traveling to and from the Port of Rochester. Nearly half of that ridership total is from August. Douglas said there has been no discussion of sending the ship south this winter. After next season, however, the ship could travel to another port, in the Caribbean or the Bahamas, to bring in much-needed revenue, said Don Cormier, vice president of operations for Bay Ferries. A specific winter location has not been determined.

The plan is similar to what Bay Ferries does with its other high-speed ferry. That ship runs between Bar Harbor, Maine, and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, from the end of May to the end of October, then provides service based in Port of Spain, for the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. If the ferry were leased for winter use, the option would bring in additional money for Rochester Ferry, officials said, but any negotiated deal would have to spell out liability for damage.

"We have always been successful in placing our other vessel in the off-season, and we believe that there is a realistic chance that we can place this vessel," Cormier said. "We have to follow a business plan that works." Getting to another season, however, will depend largely on what happens this month and on whether the 2006 business plan, budget and supporting information that city leaders put forward will go far enough and be complete enough to satisfy the City Council.

A new marketing plan, with demand-based pricing and an emphasis on package deals and tour buses, is being developed for next year. Bay Ferries surveyed riders last month, and 95 percent responded that they were likely to take the ferry again.

City Council wary
City Councilman Wade Norwood said the plan cannot be simply more marketing, more money. He wants to see a significant change in the direction and structure of the business plan. City Councilman Bill Pritchard agreed and said he wants less involvement by city employees, with more business professionals on the board. "We have got to get out of this operation from A to Z," Pritchard said, adding that he is only beginning to learn how much time City Hall is investing in operations he thought were Bay Ferries' responsibility. "This is no way to run a business."

Douglas said Rochester Ferry might release additional information this week but the bulk of the details would come next week. Mayor Johnson is expected to submit his ferry financing legislation next week as well, past the normal deadline to get on the agenda for City Council's final meeting, Dec. 20. The legislation, therefore, would require a "statement of necessity," something of a formality but indicating the matter is time-sensitive and cannot be delayed into the new year and a new administration. The hurry-up nature of recent weeks is unsettling for some. Mains said his questions about present operations went unanswered during last week's briefing, and he plans to ask the mayor: "If this (additional financing) is so necessary, what took you so long and what difference will three weeks make?"

A lot of questions
Councilman-elect Dana Miller said he and other councilors-elect should be briefed on ferry details, a courtesy extended to Mayor-elect Robert Duffy. As for the prospect of the exiting City Council signing up for a sizable financial fix? "My thought is that if we were talking about a few million, then it probably is appropriate for the current council (to act). But if we're at $10 million or more," Miller said, "it would be more appropriate for the new administration to really take a look at this, be briefed on it and understand it, then make a decision." Duffy has declined to discuss prospects for the ferry until he takes office. For now, he said only, "I have a lot of questions — a lot."

Details of next year's schedule have not been set. But Cormier said there would be 500 sailings in the 2006 season and it would include increased services and packages for major events in both cities. "We missed out on a lot of opportunities because we started late," he said. "We will have a full season to take advantage of those marketing opportunities." The ferry originally was pitched as a year-round floating bridge between the two cities. It was reduced to a 10-month schedule earlier this year. Cormier said the plan has the approval of Rochester Ferry.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Stay Off Water, Boaters Urged

12/9 - Cold can kill in ways even experienced boaters can't imagine. That makes it easy for the commander of London's Power and Sail Squadron to offer blunt advice to boaters. "It is not safe to be on the water this time of the year," Paul Neve said yesterday as the search continued for three boaters who went missing Sunday after leaving Port Bruce. Even pulling a boat out of the water can be dangerous, he said. "Do not go out on the water."

Aside from the dangers of hypothermia and sudden winds and waves on Lake Erie, boaters face another risk -- the increasing fragility of fiberglass vessels in cold water. "Fiberglass becomes extremely brittle," Neve noted. That can lead to breaking equipment or even cracks in the hull. "You are picking up speed and you are exerting pressure on the hull. All it takes is hitting a floating log."

With air temperatures around freezing and Lake Erie surface temperatures around 4 C, it doesn't take much exposure for hypothermia to set in. "Minutes," said Neve, when asked how long a boater would survive in the water. "It is extremely cold out there. Survival on the water this time of year is very, very minimal." Someone dumped in the cold water could die in seconds because of what's known as a gasp reflex, said Nicholas Marcil, a boating safety officer with Transport Canada. "It can kill you right away." The gasp reflex can kill at any time of year, but the shock of cold water can induce it more readily, he said. Submerged in cold water, a person will try to quickly breathe or cough, and fill their lungs with water.

Transport Canada does not tell people to avoid going on the water this time of year, but warns they must prepare for disaster, Marcil said. "Some people do go out and do it safely. You have to assess the conditions before you go out." This time of year, hypothermia can set in from cold air, spray or water. Transport Canada advises boaters to wear personal flotation devices at all times and survival suits this time of year. Boaters must also make sure they have all proper safety equipment, such as noise makers like whistles. "You can't give a call for help when you are hypothermic, " Marcil said.

Boaters should leave a sail plan with an expected arrival time with someone on shore. And they should bring extra clothing and sleeping bags or blankets to warm anyone who does get wet or cold.

From the London Free Press



Port Reports - December 9

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River was busy on Wednesday with 5 vessels. First was the CSL Tadoussac departing from the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville at 7:50 a.m. backing down river to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel to turn around and head outbound for the lake. She completed the turn and was outbound past the inbound Calumet who had waited for her to turn at Light 12.

The Calumet was headed to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. She finished her unload around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and headed up river to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn. She completed her turn around and was down bound for the lake finally at 9:15 p.m. She cleared outbound at the I-75 bridge in Zilwaukee at 10:00 p.m. Wednesday evening, headed out bound for the lake.

The American Republic finished her overnight unload at the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton at 1:00 p.m.  Wednesday afternoon after arriving in the Saginaw River late Tuesday evening. She headed up river to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin to turn. She had finally finished the turn around and was headed outbound for the lake by 2:30 p.m. and was outbound past the I-75 bridge in Zilwaukee by 2:45 p.m. headed out bound for the lake.

Inbound Wednesday was the tug Gregory J. Busch pushing a deck barge headed up river to Carrollton. She stopped at the Consumers Power dock to let the outbound American Republic pass before continuing. She stopped at the Essroc Cement Terminal to wait for daybreak before heading upriver to unload at the BMT Rock Sales dock in Carrollton. The Republic kept in contact with the Gregory J. Busch acquiring assistance with ice breaking when she returns later in the week.

Last inbound was the USCGC Hollyhock performing buoy collecting duties and ice breaking duties in the Saginaw Bay/River area.

On Thursday, the tug Gregory J. Busch departed the Essroc dock in Essexville where she had spent the night and traveled upriver to her dock in Carrollton.

The USCG Cutter Hollyhock along with the AToN vessel 41422 from Station Saginaw River continued placing winter marks in the Entrance Channel.

The Canadian Transfer was inbound on Thursday, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville to unload. She reported difficulty in making the dock due to the ice and requested the Hollyhock to come upriver to break out the Essexville turning basin. Rather than the Hollyhock coming upriver, the tug Gregory J. Busch returned back downriver to break out the basin and assist the Transfer in getting turned for the lake. The Canadian Transfer was outbound for the lake late Thursday night.

Indiana Harbor - Tom Milton
Stewart J Cort was unloading ore at Mittal steel dock. Canadian Transfer unloading salt at Frick terminals. The salties ISA and Cinnamon were unloading steel coils at Federal Marine Terminals.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
As of noon on Thursday, the only two ships noted in the harbor were the Federal Elbe, which remained at the Nidera Elevator, and the Bavaria, which continued at the Heavy Lift dock.

Lorain - Jason Pecora
Thursday the Federal St Laurent made a trip to Lorain's Black River . Last week the Federal Danube unloaded the first shipment of Coke to the Jonick Dock , and now followed by the St Laurent that makes 2 loads this month . Unloading day and night, Lorain was expected to get 4-8 inches of snow Thursday night, making the already slow process of unloading even more troublesome.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in Marquette Thursday for ore. A building is being constructed underneath the ore dock trestle which will hold power for the air doors that will be installed on the south side of the dock. These doors will negate the need for pin knockers on that side of the dock. Different types of air doors were tested
at the dock earlier in the year.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday about 9:00 p.m. the Fred R. White Jr. arrived at Lafarge to unload coal. It departed on Wednesday morning, bound for Stoneport to take on cargo.

The G. L. Ostrander/ barge Integrity was in port early Thursday morning, followed by the Steamer Alpena later on. The Alpena took on cargo for Milwaukee.

The J. A. W. Iglehart is expected to return late Friday night or Saturday morning.

The Joseph H. Thompson was loading at Stoneport on Thursday and the Pathfinder was next in line for Friday.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
After enjoying numerous mild Decembers in recent years, vessel operators are encountering old-fashioned December ice in the Twin Ports. After nearly two weeks of temperatures below freezing – and often dropping into single digits at night – blue ice already is 7 inches thick in spots and thicker in areas of brash ice. Tugs already have been called out to assist ships by breaking ice.

On Friday morning, boat watchers saw the unusual site of the Courtney Burton loading grain at CHS elevator in Superior. Not far away, the barge tied up at the Duluth port terminal is the Great Lakes Trader. Its tug, the Joyce VanEnkevort is unloading fuel before it can enter the dry dock in Fraser Shipyards, apparently to undergo propeller repairs.

Despite the lateness of the season, major Twin Ports docks remain busy. Midwest Energy Terminal is scheduled to load Oglebay Norton Saturday and Mesabi Miner and Paul R. Tregurtha on Sunday. Vessels currently are scheduled to load at the terminal as late as Jan. 3. The “CN Ports of Duluth and Two Harbors” (formerly known as the DMIR ore docks) both have a steady stream of vessels scheduled to load next week.

According to Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet vessel schedule, the Roger Blough was scheduled to arrive in Sturgeon Bay shipyard on Friday to undergo its five-year inspection.

One of the old ship’s pilothouses that for years served as a souvenir shop on Superior’s Barkers Island dropped from view last summer when the island’s “Whaleback Wharf” – a small stretch of shops that turned into a dismal failure – was razed to make way for redevelopment. The pilothouse recently resurfaced at the Bridgeview Motor Inn at the foot of the Blatnik Bridge in Superior. It appears the pilothouse will become part of the motel’s redesigned entryway

Rochester - David Hunter
The tug Ecosse was inbound Rochester around noon, Friday for bad weather on Lake Ontario. Her departure is unknown at this time.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 09

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


Idea Floated for Swap of Ships' Bells

12/8 - Erie, Pennsylvania - Mac McAdams swears he's not trying to create hostile relations between Ohio and Pennsylvania maritime enthusiasts. The Great Lakes Maritime Institute volunteer just wants maritime artifacts to end up where they're best suited, he said. And at the same time, he wants his organization, which supports the Detroit Dossin Great Lakes Museum, to make some money.

So he's proposing that the Erie Maritime Museum make a bid for the 600-pound bell from the ship named the City of Cleveland III. The Great Lakes Maritime Institute is auctioning the bell Saturday. The bidding will start at $2,000.  Why would Erie want the bell from a ship named for its big-city neighbor to the west?

Because the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio - about 40 miles west of Cleveland - has the bell from the ship City of Erie. McAdams is hopeful that the Erie and Vermilion museums can switch bells, giving each city the bell inscribed with the name of its city. "Then the bells would be where they are supposed to be, "McAdams said.

Not so fast, said Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society. He said his organization isn't interested in giving up its bell. The City of Erie bell has a place of prominence outside the front door of his Vermilion museum, near the shore of Lake Erie, he said. Visitors can ring the bell as they enter. "Certain things are sacred cows that don't move," he said. "People love this bell."

The City of Erie bell, which also weighs about 600 pounds, has a fascinating past of romance and races, making it an invaluable addition to his museum's collection, Gillcrist said. The Erie was known for carrying newlyweds from Cleveland, Buffalo and Erie to Niagara Falls. Her nickname was the Honeymoon Special. Built in 1898, the Erie was recognized as the fastest boat on the Great Lakes.

That is, until Detroit's White Star Line built its flagship, the lake steamer Tashmoo, in 1900. Its owners claimed it was faster. A race was arranged between the two ships. It became the talk of the town, and 20,000 people showed up to watch the ships race away from Cleveland. In the end, the City of Erie won the race by 45 seconds. "It was the biggest news on the Great Lakes," Gillcrist said. "That's why the City of Erie has a more compelling history to it."

In comparison, the City of Cleveland III's history is tame. Built in 1907, she sailed between Cleveland and Detroit until June 26, 1950, when a freighter collided with her in an early morning fog near Harbor Beach, Mich. Four passengers died. The Cleveland was able to proceed to Detroit after the crash, but she never sailed with passengers again. In 1956, the ship was scrapped in Buffalo. But it's likely that her 600-pound bell was sold before she left Detroit. That's because it ended up in the backyard of a suburban Detroit house and sat there until just a few weeks ago, when Mac McAdams' group moved it.

"We got a call from a little old lady selling her house," McAdams said. "She said there was a bell in the backyard that her husband had put there more than 50 years ago and she wanted to know if we'd be interested in it. We were." McAdams sent some exploratory e-mails about his idea for a trade to Gillcrist and the Erie Maritime Museum. He hasn't had much of a response, he said.

Mark Weber, the Erie Maritime Museum's director of education and curator, said the museum simply doesn't have the funds to acquire the bell. Weber said he would like to have either bell in the Erie collection. "We would love to have one of the bells," he said. "In the grand scheme of things, it would be kind of poetic to have the bells in the appropriately named cities - but the museum in Vermilion may not want to do that."

Gillcrist said he would like to have the Cleveland's bell in the Vermilion museum, and will inspect it this week when he's in Detroit on other business. But he said the whole issue will likely be moot. "When you have nonprofits with shallow pockets competing with private collectors with deep pockets, the private collectors usually win," he said. "Someone might give it to us or Erie on loan, but it will likely be owned by a private collector. It's a wonderful collection piece to have."

From the Erie Times-News

Click here for more information on the City of Cleveland Bell Auction


Port Reports - December 8

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
A local waterfront landmark is set to be demolished on the morning of December 8. The wrecking ball is due to start swinging at 10:30 a.m. on the H-O Oats mill building to make way for the Seneca Nation of Indian's downtown Buffalo casino development. The property was first used for oat production operations starting in 1893 with the milling block being constructed in 1912. The concrete silo section of the building was built in 1931 to add capacity to wooden and steel bins that were already in use at that time. Oat production lasted until 1983 and then a fire gutted part of the closed facility in 1987. The elevator's roof top head house was partially dismantled about five years ago and the entire structure has been under threat of demolition ever since. The building was surveyed for the Historic American Engineering Record in the 1990's and was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The distinctive concrete silos bearing the familiar "H-O OATS" name over downtown will be dropped with implosion charges some time after the outbuildings are cleared from the site by conventional means.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort brought a load of stone to Marquette's Shiras dock on Wednesday but left without taking on ore. The Lee A. Tregurtha is expected Thursday morning, weather permitting.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Tuesday evening, U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw and Federal Kivalina departed. That night Oglebay Norton's Middletown arrived late, discharging salt at the bulk cargo dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor.

Wednesday, the saltie Irma from the Polsteam line was at Terminal 2 at Milwaukee's outer harbor piers, unloading steel. Federal Elbe continues at Nidera, loading grain. Bavaria continues at the Heavy Lift dock, loading crane equipment from P & H.

On Wednesday Federal Nakagawa was in at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International with her aft main hatches open being off-loaded. Michipicoten was taking on coal at the CSX RR Docks. The elevators were quiet.

Toronto - Charlie Gibons
Tuesday the Petite Forte and St. Mary's cement barge sought sheltering at Pier 52 due to high winds.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River has been active the past few days with visits from the CSL Tadoussac, American Republic, Calumet, Tug Gregory J. Busch and USCG Cutter Hollyhock.

The CSL Tadoussac called on the Essroc dock in Essexville on Tuesday to unload, she backed from the dock Wednesday morning and out to light twelve to turn while the inbound Calumet waited outside the Entrance channel for her turn and clear outbound. The Calumet, in bound Wednesday morning, called on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload, she was turned and outbound for the lake Wednesday evening.

Also inbound on Tuesday was the American Republic who unloaded at the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton. When finished she turned at the Sixth Street basin, but it was a lengthy turn as the rapidly thickening ice in the turning basin and river made the turn very difficult. The Republic was outbound late Wednesday afternoon.

Inbound Wednesday evening was the local tug Gregory J. Busch pushing a deck barge. She stopped at the Consumers Energy dock to let the American Republic pass, then moved up to the Essroc dock to tie up for the evening and await daylight before making the trip to her dock in Carrollton. The American Republic contacted the Busch to inquire about icebreaking services later in the week when she returns.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock is also now in the Saginaw Bay area due to begin AToN work placing winter markers in the Saginaw Bay and River.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 08

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


Three Missing on Lake Erie

12/7 - Ontario Provincial Police, Elgin County detachment are conducting a search for three overdue boaters on Lake Erie between Port Bruce and Port Stanley. On Monday morning Police were notified that three people left the Port Bruce area aboard a sail boat heading to Port Stanley. As of this morning the boat and occupants have failed to return to shore.

The overdue boaters were last seen by a family member on Sunday afternoon in Port Bruce with plans to sail from Port Bruce to Port Stanley. The vessel they were sailing is described as an 18 foot white over black single mast sailboat.

A Canadian Coast Guard vessel, helicopter and Hercules aircraft along with an O.P.P. vessel and helicopter conducted a search of the Lake Erie on Monday with out success.

Search efforts were continuing Tuesday with the assistance of the Canadian Coast Guard, United States Coast Guard and the O.P.P. The Canadian Coast Guard has dedicated a 47 foot search vessel, a Hercules aircraft, and a Griffon helicopter. The United States Coast Guard has dedicated a 47 foot search vessel, and a helicopter. The O.P.P. have also dedicated a 24 foot search vessel and a helicopter. Today's search has been expanded from Port Stanley to Long Point from the Canadian north shore of Lake Erie to the south shore of the United States.

If anyone has seen or spoken to the these individuals since Sunday afternoon please call the Ontario Provincial Police at 888-310-1122.


Cutter Mackinaw Open House

12/7 - Marinette, Wisconsin - The crew of the Coast Guard’s newest cutter, Mackinaw, is scheduled to host a community open house on December 7 from 12 to 5 p.m. at the K&K Warehouse pier in Menominee, Michigan.

The open house is to show the Coast Guard’s appreciation to the communities of Marinette and Menominee. The people of these two towns have shown continuous and outstanding support of the Coast Guard during the building of more than 30 cutters at Marinette Marine Corporation.

During the open house, the older Mackinaw is also scheduled to be available for tours. All residents of Marinette and Menominee are invited to come and enjoy a tour of the ships. Admission to the open house is free.

Due to security requirements, no backpacks, large purses or similar bags will be allowed onboard. Additionally, all purses brought on board are subject to search. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Mackinaw is the 31st Coast Guard cutter to be built by the Marinette Marine Corporation. Each of these 31 crews has assembled in a local facility while training and preparing to take control of their ship. In the intervening time between arrival and departure, each crewmember has been supported by and welcomed into the Marinette and Menominee communities.


New Mackinaw Homeward Bound

12/7 - The Coast Guard's newest cutter, the Mackinaw (WLBB-30), is scheduled to sail into its homeport of Cheboygan, Michigan for the first time December 17.

Mackinaw is a one-of-a-kind 240-foot icebreaker and buoy tender, built at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard. This is the 31st ship to be built for the Coast Guard by Marinette Marine as part of the Coast Guard's Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Project. This is a major acquisition to replace the WW II era CGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83), began in 2001 when the contract was awarded to Marinette Marine.

Mackinaw is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation and engineering systems that allow it to conduct all of its primary missions of Maritime Homeland Security, Ice Breaking, Aids to Navigation, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection, and Search and Rescue.

Commanding Officer, Capt. Don Triner, accepted the cutter on behalf of the Coast Guard November 17. Since then, Mackinaw has remained at her berth at the Marinette Marine pier, carrying out necessary crew training and equipment outfitting.

Mackinaw’s homeport arrival is scheduled for the morning of December 17, but actual arrival will depend on weather and operational commitments. Following its departure from Marinette, Wisconsin, Mackinaw will make a series of overnight stops as part of crew training and deployment before proceeding to Cheboygan. Due to the training nature of the deployment, the ship will not be open for tours. The schedule of these stops is as follows:
Dec 8 – Green Bay, WI
Dec 9 – Manitowoc, WI
Dec 10 – Milwaukee, WI
Dec 11 – Chicago, IL
Dec 12 – Grand Haven, MI
Dec 14-15 – Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Dec 16 – Rogers City, MI


Coast Guard Boards Canadian Vessel Fishing Illegally

12/7 - Lake Huron – U.S. Coast Guard units in partnership with Michigan Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian authorities from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources interdicted a Canadian fishing boat found to be illegally fishing in U.S. waters on November 29 and 30, approximately 25 miles east of Harbor Beach, MI on the U.S.-Canadian border.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock spotted the Canadian-flagged commercial fishing boat L & R setting nets approximately 200 yards inside U.S. waters. The Hollyhock then coordinated surveillance of the nets and boat with Coast Guard helicopters from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit.

On the morning of November 30 Coast Guard Members from Station Harbor Beach, MI conducted a boarding of the L & R, the first boarding of a Canadian fishing vessel in U.S. Waters in recent memory. A “haul back” of the nets from U.S. waters was witnessed and documented by both U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian authorities.

A case package is being forwarded to both U.S. and Canadian authorities for action.


Great Lakes Limestone Trade Hammered By Delays In November

12/7 - Cleveland - Stormy weather took a toll on Great Lakes shipping in November. Weather-related delays were so extensive that just two of the 12 major U.S.-Flag operators lost the equivalent of 106 sailing days during the month. When the survey of the industry is complete, it is likely the fleet was idled for the equivalent of several hundred sailing days during the month.

The limestone trade was not immune to the weather problems in November. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled only 3.2 million tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to a year ago. Even when weighed against the months 5-year average, shipments fell by more than 19 percent.

On a year-to-date basis, the 35.4 million tons loaded trail 2004 by 7 percent. However, the 2005 end-of-November total is slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

Reported by the Lakes Carriers Association


Hamonic Builders Plate Stays in Lambton County

12/7 - The brass builders plate from the Northern Navigation passenger steamer Hamonic was purchased at a recent auction by the Lambton Heritage Museum at Grand Bend, Ontario in Lambton County. The plate, the highlight item at a recent marine auction near Wallaceburg, Ontatio sold for $4000 and is now included in a marine display at the Museum.

The Hamonic, built in 1909 at Collingwood, burned at the Northern Navigation dock July 17, 1945. Due to quick action by Capt Horace Beaton who moved his ship away from the burning dock and a crane operator Elmer Kleinsmith who lifted passengers from the deck with a clam bucket, there was no loss of life.

The present casino (located at Point Edward in Lambton County) is at the site of the mishap.

Reported by Al Mann


Property Owner Loses Appeal in Coal Dust Dispute with MWE

12/7 - Wausau, WI. - A northern Wisconsin landowner failed to persuade a state appeals court Tuesday that a coal-shipping company should be placed under tighter pollution controls. The 3rd District Court of Appeals upheld a Douglas County judge's decision that Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior is not a coal processing plant subject to the higher standards. According to court records, Midwest Energy operates a plant in St. Louis Bay that receives coal by rail from Western states and then loads it onto ships and trucks for hauling to customers.

Midwest Energy, which has run the plant since 1976, applied to the state Department of Natural Resources in 2001 for a new permit to increase the volume of coal shipped each year from 18 million tons to 25 1/2 million tons, and the agency granted it, court records said. Gordon Oftedahl, who owns land near the plant that must deal with coal dust, objected. After a two-week hearing, an administrative law judge found the plant was subject to the higher pollution standards because there is significant breakage of coal when the shipments are dumped and screened over a grate, making it a coal processing plant.

Midwest Energy appealed, and Judge George Glonek overturned the administrative ruling. In upholding that decision Tuesday, the three-judge appeals court said the administrative law judge failed to follow state law and apply the "technical, peculiar definition of breaking and screening" in deciding whether Midwest Energy operated a coal processing plant. "Midwest does not separate coal by size because the coal arrives mostly resized to 2 inches," the panel said. "Because Midwest neither screens nor breaks coal, it is not a coal preparation plant."

From the Associated Press


Port Reports - December 7

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Arthur M. Anderson cleared Sandusky Monday evening with a cargo of coal for Green Bay.

Loading Tuesday at Lake Erie Dock for Green Bay was the John G. Munson, while laying astern at the dock for the Munson to clear was the Adam E. Cornelius. The next port of call for the Cornelius was not known

Thanks to sharply colder night-time temperatures, ice has begun to form in protected areas of Sandusky Bay. The main portions of the bay and Lake Erie remain ice free.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
As of 2:00 PM, Tuesday, the Bavaria remained at the Heavy Lift dock, while the Federal Kivalina remained at the Municipal Dock unloading steel at Terminal 2. New traffic in the harbor included the Federal Elbe, loading grain at Nidera, and the G.L. Ostrander/Integrity, which was at the LaFarge dock.

Tuesday, legendary WW II-vintage U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw was berthed just east of the Lake Express ferry dock, near Coast Guard Station Milwaukee. Mackinaw looked terrific, with holiday wreath secured below its pilothouse windows, and its red paint gleaming.

Also Tuesday, saltie Federal Elbe (reg. Limassol) loaded at Nidera Grain in the inner harbor. Saltie Bavaria continued at the Heavy Lift dock, loading a mining crane manufactured locally by P & H. One of the Andrie line tugs, gleaming with a coating of ice, could be seen approaching the Milwaukee breakwater piers with a fuel barge at about 3:00 PM.

St. Mary's Challenger, which arrived Sunday night and had been reported to be in port for winter lay up, departed Monday.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly loaded ore on a very frosty Tuesday. The Herbert C. Jackson unloaded at the Shiras dock and then moved to the upper harbor for ore.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Saginaw River saw two inbound vessels Tuesday evening. First was the CSL Tadoussac calling on the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville. She finished unloading at 7:15 a.m. Wednesday, but stayed briefly at the Essroc dock for 35 minutes to let the outbound American Republic to pass before she backed downriver to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel, turned, and was headed outbound for the lake.

Next inbound Tuesday evening, was the American Republic. She was headed all the way upriver to unload coal from Toledo, OH at the Saginaw Asphalt dock in Carrollton. She finished her unload around 5:30 a.m. and headed up river to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn. She turned and was down bound for the lake by 5:45 a.m. She passed through the Downtown Bay city bridges by 6:30 a.m. and was out bound past the Front Range by 7:30 a.m. Friday morning.


Bell Auction Ends Saturday

12/7 - The very rare auction of a 98 year old, 600 pound bell from the over night passenger steamer City of Cleveland ends this Saturday at the Dossin Museum in Detroit.

This bell was cast in 1907 at the Buckeye Bell Foundry by the E.W. VanDuzen Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, one of the largest bell producers in the U.S. It was installed on the sidewheel overnight passenger steamer City Of Cleveland built by the Detroit Ship Building Co. in Wyandotte, Michigan in 1907. She was one of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. fleet.

The bell was donated to the museum for use in fund raising. The bidding will be concluded at about noon on Saturday, December 10 at the Dossin Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit, Mich.

Click here for more information


Photo Gallery Updates - December 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 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, a.) JOHN A KLING sank in the Welland Canal on December 7, 1982, and was declared a constructive total loss.

The GEORGE R FINK, 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 (Hull#56), was launched on December 7, 1892 at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Ship Building Co. Sold in 1914 and cut down to a barge, renamed b.) WHALE in 1916, abandoned in 1927.

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

December 7, 1909 - MARQUETTE & BESEMER NO 2 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.


Buckeye Arrives in Erie; Joseph H. Thompson Jr. Also Expected
Ship Comes in for New Company

12/6 - The tug Olive L. Moore brought more than a 698-foot-long Buckeye to Erie on Sunday. The arrival of the tug and barge means work at what the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority's director said could one day be a major employer. And interviews for some of those jobs begin this week. "That's just the beginning," Ray Schreckengost said Sunday after the Olive L. Moore towed the Buckeye to Erie Shipbuilding LLC.

The tug and barge are the first vessels brought to Erie by the new shipbuilder that took over the former Metro Machine building on the bay front east of Blasco Memorial Library. The port authority, which owns the shipyard at the foot of Holland Street, awarded a lease this year to Erie Shipbuilding, which is a joint venture of Van Enkevort Tug & Barge and K&K Warehousing. The work the company already had lined up was one of the features that convinced the port authority to choose Erie Shipbuilding. "They appeared to be a very strong and very real company," Schreckengost said.

The shipbuilder's first job will be to convert the Buckeye into an articulated tug barge, said John Chapman, vice president of operations and director of engineering for the company. He said the Buckeye's stern will be cut off and reconfigured so the 138-foot-long Olive L. Moore will fit into the barge. That will allow them to operate as a single unit, Chapman said. The tug towed the barge to Erie from Toledo, arriving Sunday morning. The vessels are expected to be back in service together in the Great Lakes bulk cargo trade, hauling iron ore and limestone, by the beginning of May and possibly sooner, Chapman said.

Another Great Lakes tug, the Joseph H. Thompson Jr., is due at Erie Shipbuilding by the end of this month. Chapman said the tug will come in for re-powering or a new engine and drive system.

Erie Shipbuilding also is committed to building barges and tugs. Chapman said the new company, which has eight employees now, will be interviewing this week to fill jobs created by the Buckeye's arrival. "We're glad to finally see it here so we can get to work on what we're really here for," he said. Erie Shipbuilding is expected to create 200 jobs within its first year, Chapman said.

Schreckengost said other port directors envy what Erie now has. "They would kill for this type of business," he said. "They would die to have it in their port."

From the Erie Times News - submitted by John Michael


U.S. Cities Aim to Launch Ferries to Canada
Survival of ventures from Cleveland, Grand River and Erie, Pa., up for debate

12/6 - At this rate, Lake Erie may contain more high-speed ferries than walleye. No fewer than three cities hope to launch U.S.-to-Canada ferry operations within a year:

• Cleveland is eyeing a route from North Coast Harbor to Port Stanley, Ontario.
• Grand River, near Painesville, will be the southern terminus for a Canadian company that will shuttle back and forth to Port Burwell, Ontario.
• Erie, Pa., is gunning for three ferry operations involving two Canadian ports.

Whether any of these operations can sustain themselves financially is a topic of debate, given the track record of Rochester, N.Y. Same principle, different lake: Rochester has been ferrying people and vehicles back and forth over Lake Ontario -- and taking on red ink faster than the bilge pumps can handle it.

A private company launched a Rochester-to-Toronto run in June 2004 -- and shut it down three months later after running up $1.7 million in debt. The city took over the operation this year, vowing to make it self-sufficient. By September, with ridership far lower than anticipated, it had already lost $4.2 million.

What makes the others think they can succeed when Rochester is struggling? ``They didn't do their due diligence,'' said Ray Shreckengost, executive director of the Erie Port Authority. ``They didn't take care of the problems that exist with Canadian and U.S. laws.'' Shreckengost said none of the ventures will be economically sound unless quirks in the law can be changed. For instance, he said, American ferry passengers must pay a customs tax to Canada -- something that is not required if they arrive in Canada by driving a car across a bridge (although bridge tolls are not uncommon). Ferries transporting trucks across the lake also would be hit with additional charges they would not incur if they arrived by highway, he said.

Big plans in Erie
Assuming those concerns can be addressed, Shreckengost said, Erie would launch a 50-passenger, high-speed ferry to Port Dover, Ontario, next spring. A couple of years later, Erie would add a 250-passenger, 46-car ferry, again heading for Port Dover. And sometime in between, he said, a privately financed ferry capable of hauling 120 tractor-trailer rigs would be introduced, running between Erie and Nanticoke (about 10 miles east of Port Dover).

Erie has already spent a small fortune on the concept. Since 1995, at least $4.5 million in federal, state and local money has been funneled into feasibility studies and dock improvements designed specifically for ferries. Erie and Rochester are 160 miles apart and would not be in direct competition. Ditto for Erie and Grand River, which are more than 80 miles apart. But Grand River and Cleveland are a mere 28 miles apart. From many points in Northeast Ohio, choosing which ferry to take would be a tossup.

From downtown Akron, for instance, Cleveland is about 40 miles and Grand River is about 50. What's more, the Grand River location, just east of Mentor Headlands Beach State Park, is a lot closer to Canada. In exchange for 10 more miles of driving, you could cross the lake in an hour less -- about 2 hours, 15 minutes.

Cleveland's plans
Cleveland comes into the game well-armed financially, packing $6 million in federal money for construction of a terminal near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Although Cleveland officials would like to launch passenger and vehicle service by spring, they have encountered so much red tape on the Canadian side that the debut probably won't come before 2007.

Part of the theory behind these ventures is that they will give local tourism a big boost. But if Rochester is any indication, that may be overly optimistic: About 70 percent of the travelers have begun their round trips on the American side.

Yet another fleet of boats may be zooming part of the way to Canada. The city of Lorain is spending $600,000 to study a plan to ferry passengers to the Lake Erie Islands. That plan would face competition, too, from long-standing ferry operations at Sandusky and the Marblehead Peninsula.

From the Akron Beacon-Journal


Tug Ohio to Return to Cleveland from Chicago

12/6 - At the start of the 2007 Navigation Season (Around April 1-May 1), the Great Lakes Towing Company will be repositioning the light Tug Ohio from Chicago, Illinois to Cleveland, Ohio. They are willing to provide a very favorable rate for anyone interested in moving equipment in that direction.

For more information please contact Ed Hertz at the Towing Company at or call 216-621-4854 ext 137.

Reported by Edward Hertz


Titantic May Have Broken into Three Parts

12/6 - Associated Press reports a new study by researchers that they discovered two large pieces of Titantic's hull on the ocean floor suggesting that the luxury liner sank faster than previously thought. The hull pieces were a crucial part of the ship's structure and make up a bottom section of the vessel that was missing when the wreck was located in 1985.

After the bottom section of the hull broke free, the bow and stern split, said Roger Long, a naval architect who analyzed the find. The stern, which was still buoyant and filled with survivors, likely plunged toward the ocean floor minutes later.

The newly found hull sections, located about a third of a mile from the stern of the wreck, were examined during an expedition in August sponsored by the History Channel. Yesterday Titanic experts met at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to discuss their analysis of the find for a documentary to be aired February 26.

The sections, both once a single section and were found in good condition. The missing sections were thought to have been fragmented into hundreds of small pieces.

Reported by Kermit Ball


Port Reports - December 6

Rochester - David Hunter
Monday, the fast Ferry Spirit of Ontario I was out bound Rochester bound for Toronto with 45 passenger 9 cars and 19 crew

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet called on the Bay City Wirt dock just before 9:00 p.m. Monday evening for a complete unload. She is expected to be out bound Tuesday morning.

At 10:40 p.m., the tug William J. Moore gave a security call that she was departing the Ashland-Marathon dock in Bay City with a loaded tank barge and was outbound for the lake. This is very unusual in that vessels normally deliver cargos to this dock, not load there. This is also the first vessel for all of 2005 to call on this dock.

Erie, PA - Roman Kloeker
The former Oglebay Norton steamer Buckeye arrived in Erie over the weekend under the tow of the tug Olive L. Moore. The classic vessel is docked at the Erie Shipbuilding/Van Enkevort facility. It is believed that the self-unloader will be converted to a barge.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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 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 the tanker 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 up bound at "Mud" Lake on the St. Marys River in a blinding snow storm, the HARRY A BERWIND collided with the loaded HENRY STEINBRENNER of 1901, 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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, 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


Failed Gates at Welland Canal Lock One Delays Traffic

12/5 - 10:40 p.m. - CSL Niagara has been released from Lock and is out in Lake Ontario. However, there are two up bound vessels tied up below Lock One that are not moving. A down bound saltie in Lock Two is moving.

Original Article - 12/5 - 6:00 p.m. - The Welland Canal is reported to be having a problem at Lock One. It appears that the gates will not close.

As recently as 4:30 p.m. a crane was attempting to fix the problem.

CSL Niagara has been in the lock since 7:03 a.m. Monday morning. At least eight other vessels are affected by the delay, and are backed up as far as Lake Ontario to the north, and Lock 5 to the south.

Reported by Gord Etheridge


Shipping Season Winding Down

12/5 - Forty-One days until the Soo Locks are closed for the winter (January 15, 2006).

110 days until the Soo Locks are open for the 2006 shipping season (March 25, 2006).

209 days until Engineers Day at the Soo Locks! (June 30, 2006).


Port Reports - December 5

Milwaukee - Paul M. Erspamer & John N. Vogel
Sunday evening veteran cement steamer St. Mary's Challenger inched its way up the Kinnickinnic River in Milwaukee to its berth, reportedly to begin winter lay up.

Also Sunday evening saltie Federal Kivalina (reg. Hong Kong) was at Terminal 2 in the outer harbor, unloading. Saltie Bavaria reg. St. John's) shifted to the Heavy Lift dock in the inner harbor.

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder (225 ft., Juniper Class, based in Duluth) remained in port, berthed at Coast Guard Station Milwaukee.

Recently, catamaran cross-lake ferry Lake Express has shifted from its pier in the outer harbor, to a berth in the canal off the Menominee River, adjacent to the WE Energies Valley power plant. Federal EPA vessel Lake Guardian has returned to its berth near the Un. of Wis. Sea Grant site near Greenfield Ave.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River finished unloading and departed during the early morning hours. James Norris came in with a load of salt and departed around 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. The patrol boat CCG Simmonds came in around 6:00 p.m.

Rochester - David Hunter
The Stephen B Roman was outbound shortly after 1:00 p.m. Sunday. They sounded five short blasts at the people from RYC racing sail boats in the Navigable Channel.

Duluth - Chris Mazzella
On Saturday, things where slow in Duluth. Only four vessels in port. Isadora and Canadian Miner, loading grain at CHS. The Algolake loading at Midwest energy terminal and the Antikeri anchored of the Duluth piers, waiting to load grain at CHS 1 after the Canadian Miner.

Lorain - Jason Pecora
The Federal Danube entered Lorain's Black River for the Jonick Dock to unload Coke early Monday morning . The Vessel was supposed to leave out Friday morning, but was delayed . The coke on the vessel was bound for the steel plant up river , but due to the height of the ship it couldn't make it under the 21st bridge. The coke had to be unloaded at the Jonic dock and be trucked to the steel mill .


Photo Gallery Updates - December 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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.


Mittal says W.Va. Plant Will Not Make Steel Again

12/4 - Historically high production costs, an inconvenient location, and old, inefficient facilities have apparently dimmed hopes of revitalizing a West Virginia steel mill that once employed about 13,000 people and now has just 1,300 union workers. Mittal Steel Co., the world's biggest steelmaker, idled the one remaining blast furnace at its Weirton division over the summer, laying off 750 workers for what the Independent Steelworkers Union hoped would be a temporary wait for business to pick up. But late Tuesday, Mittal told the union that that furnace would remain cold and that as many as 800 jobs would be permanently cut.

"This was a very difficult decision, since the Independent Steelworkers Union and all employees have worked so hard to beat the odds trying to maintain steelmaking at Weirton," said Louis L. Schorsch, chief executive officer of Mittal Steel USA. "However, the structural disadvantages of Weirton for these processes entail costs that are too high to support competitive downstream facilities." In the Philadelphia area, the steel producer has factories in Coatesville and Conshohocken.

Industry analyst Michael Locker, president of New York-based Locker Associates Inc., said the small blast furnace and the steelmaking capabilities Mittal had elsewhere combined to seal Weirton's fate. "The negative of the consolidation process is that you have a comparison going on of plants... within the Mittal family," Locker said. "If they come out on the short end of the stick, they can't justify standing alone - even with all the hopes of cost reduction and efforts by the union, which were mighty.

Analyst Charles Bradford of Bradford Research-Soleil Securities Corp. in New York, sees Mittal's flexibility as a benefit of the industry's global consolidation. When there is softness in the market, you close the high-cost ones first," he said.

Mittal, based in the Netherlands, took control of Weirton in April through a $4.5 billion purchase of former owner International Steel Group of Richfield, Ohio. ISG had won a bidding war for Weirton, the nation's No. 2 tin producer, in Bankruptcy Court in 2004.

Reported by Jim Mihalek from the Philadelphia Inquirer


Both Mackinaws to be open for tours in Menominee, MI on Dec. 7

12/4 - The old Mackinaw (WAGB-83) will also be in Menominee and open for tours on that same day as the new Mackinaw ((WLBB-30) during the same hours - 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. 

The old Mackinaw will be moored at the Menominee North Pier Lighthouse pier, while the new Mackinaw will be up-river at the K&K Warehouse Dock,  as was mentioned in the 12/2 News Channel article.

Reported by Dick Lund


Port Reports - December 4

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tour boat Empress of Canada was re-floated at Toronto Drydock Friday afternoon. Friday evening saw three charter boats - Northern Spirit 1, Jubilee Queen and Klancy II - out to watch the fireworks off Ontario Place, as the Cavalcade of Lights kicked in.

English River arrived at 3:00 p.m. for Lafarge. Four charter vessels were out for Christmas theme cruises. More fireworks off Ontario Place for the Cavalcade of Lights festivities. The River Gambler, which went to Ontario Place in November, has been chartered as a floating bar for the duration of this event.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Thursday night, the salty Bavaria (reg. Germany) backed into the slip at terminal 3 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, and prepared to unload.

Saturday the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Alder was at Milwaukee, making its late-season tour of navigational aids.

Leaving the harbor entrance just minutes ahead of Alder was Polsteam's Ziemia Cieszynska (reg. Liberia) which had delivered steel to the municipal terminal.

Also in port Saturday was tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity, bringing cement to the LaFarge dock in the inner harbor.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River was busy on Thursday with five vessels inbound, calling on several different docks along the banks of the river to unload. First inbound was the Mississagi, who lightered at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to complete unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The Mississagi arrived at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to unload around 8:30am. She finished by 2:30pm and headed upriver to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin. She completed the turn and was down bound past the I-75 Bridge in Zilwaukee by 3:15pm. The Mississagi cleared through the Downtown Bay City bridges just minutes before the 4:30 - 5:30pm bridge hours went into effect.

Mississagi's fleetmate, Cuyahoga, was inbound just a few hours behind the Mississagi, Thursday morning, calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. The Cuyahoga finished her unload there around 3:00 p.m. and waited a short time at the dock for the down bound Mississagi to pass, before the Cuyahoga headed upriver to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin. She battled the strong river currents in the Sixth Street turning basin before she completed her turn and was headed down bound for the lake by 9:45 p.m. Thursday evening.

Thursday evening saw three inbound vessels, the Buffalo, the Alpena, and the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge. Arriving first was the Buffalo who called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload. The Buffalo completed her unload and backed out of the slip, turned and was outbound for the lake around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning.

Inbound minutes behind the Buffalo, was the Alpena, she was headed up river to unload at the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal. She slowed at the Front Range to let the Buffalo back into the Bay Aggregates Slip. Once clear, the Alpena headed upriver, but stopped briefly at the Dow Chemical dock to let the outbound Cuyahoga pass. The Alpena completed her unload at the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal around 8:30 p.m. Friday evening and headed upriver to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin. She completed her turn and was down bound for the lake by 9:20 p.m. Friday evening

Last inbound on Thursday night, was the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Essexville to unload. The Bay Aggregates dock which shares the slip with the Bit-Mat dock, the pair decided to wait until the Buffalo finished her unload and cleared outbound. Once clear, the pair made the slip and began their unload. They were expected to be outbound late Friday evening.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


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.

Algoma Central Marine's ALGOSOO 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. Renamed b.) SIBYL W in 1987, and c.) PANAMA TRADER in 1992. Scrapped in Mexico in 1997.

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 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.

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


Port Reports - December 3

Stephania I has been loading grain at ADM Elevators and will be finished soon. CSL Niagara is at the Andersons Kuhlman Facility loading and will remain there tomorrow. No traffic has been at The Andersons Erwin Facility by I-75 Bridge since the fire.

Alpena Area - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday afternoon (11/30) the John G. Munson was loading at Calcite. Later in the evening before 6pm the Maumee arrived, carefully backing in next to the Munson.

On Thursday morning the Steamer Alpena was in port loading cargo for Saginaw. It departed before 3:00 p.m. among heavy snow showers. Once the Alpena cleared the channel the G. L. Ostrander/ barge Integrity headed into Lafarge.

On Friday the U.S Coast Guard Buoy Tender Hollyhock was seen out in the bay off Alpena.
The Fred R. White Jr. was scheduled to load at Stoneport late Friday night followed by the Dorothy Ann/ Pathfinder on Saturday.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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 the American Ship Building Co.

In 1909, the LE GRAND S DEGRAFF collided with the steamer HARVARD while down bound 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.

1898, PACIFIC (wooden propeller passenger/package freighter, 179 foot. 918 gross tons, built in 1883, at Owen Sound, Ontario) caught fire at the Grand Trunk dock at Collingwood, Ontario. She burned to a shell despite a concerted effort to save her. She was later towed out into Georgian Bay and scuttled.

On 3 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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ron LaDue, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, 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.


Marinette Marine Delivers New Mackinaw
Open House Scheduled for December 7th

12/2 - Marinette, WI – The U.S. Coast Guard officially accepted the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) on November 18. This marked the first day the ship's crew took responsibility for the cutter, and the cutter was placed into a temporary “In-Commission Special” status. It was launched into the Menominee River at Marinette Marine Corporation April 2 and has since been undergoing outfitting and sea trials. The cutter's official commissioning is tentatively scheduled to take place at her homeport of Cheboygan, Mich., June 9, 2006.

The ceremony took place onboard the cutter. Richard McCreary, Vice President and General Manager of Marinette Marine Corporation, presented the cutter to Cmdr. Jim Knight, Commanding Officer of the Project Resident Office, who received the cutter on behalf of the Coast Guard. The responsibility of the cutter was then transferred to the Commanding Officer of Mackinaw, Capt. Donald Triner along with the crew of 10 officers and 46 enlisted who became the “Plankowners” of the new vessel.

Mackinaw will remain dockside in Marinette for several weeks while the crew trains aboard the cutter and outfits it with necessary equipment. Prior to departure, Mackinaw will be holding an open house as a gesture of appreciation to the residents of Marinette and Menominee for supporting all 31 Coast Guard crews. The event will be held Dec 7th from 12 to 5 pm, at the K & K Warehouse pier in Menominee, and all residents of Marinette and Menominee are invited to come and enjoy the ship.

Mackinaw is a one-of-a-kind 240-foot icebreaker and buoy tender, built at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard. The Coast Guard's Great Lakes Icebreaker Replacement Project, a major acquisition to replace the WW II-era CGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83), began in 2001 when the contract was awarded to Marinette Marine. Mackinaw is the 31st ship to be built for the Coast Guard by Marinette Marine. The ship’s primary missions are: Maritime Homeland Security, Ice Breaking, Aids to Navigation, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection, and Search and Rescue.

The principal characteristics of Mackinaw are: Length: 240 ft, Beam: 58.5 ft, Draft: 16 ft, and Displacement: 3,500 Long Tons. The major equipment components aboard Mackinaw are: 3 Caterpillar 3612 diesel generator sets providing a total of 9390 KW for propulsion and ship’s service; two Azipod azimuthing propulsion units capable of combined 9,200 shaft horsepower; a bow thruster which provides 500 horsepower; in addition to one 20 Ton hydraulic 60 foot telescoping beam Appleton Crane

Pictures of the new Mackinaw


Traffic, Pilot Shortage Causes Salties to Stack Up

12/2 - The anchorage areas of the Detroit River and above Port Huron have become parking lots lately for the saltwater ships calling on the Great Lakes, thanks to a high volume of ships rushing to make their final trips before the closing of the Seaway a few weeks from now.

Thursday night the BBC England and Federal Mackinac were anchored above Port Huron while the Jana and Vancouverborg were anchored in the Detroit River.

The foreign-flag ships are required to carry a local pilot when transiting the system. A large number of salties has caused a shortage of pilots. The pilots take the ship to the anchorage and then depart via the pilot boats. As soon as another pilot is available that pilot is brought out to the ship and it can continue on.

Although historically saltwater ships have sometimes been stranded in the Great Lakes for the winter, that has not happened in at least a decade.

Reported by Sam Buchanan


Low Water Level Forecast- Lake Erie

12/2 - Thursday evening the National Weather Service in Cleveland warned that water levels in the western basin of Lake Erie are expected to drop to below the critical mark for navigation. Water Levels are expected to be one-foot below the critical mark for safe navigation by Friday morning.

A gale warning was posted earlier in the day for Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. The extended outlook is for a stormy weekend on the lake.

Reported by Jim Spencer


Alabama Hull Towed to LaSalle

12/2 - On Tuesday November 29, the barge Alabama was towed to LaSalle, Ontario by Dean Construction Co. who had purchased the derelict hull this past fall. The former 250-foot Goodrich Transit Co. passenger vessel was built in Manitowoc in 1910 and served many owners over the years including the Georgian Bay Line. The vessel languished in Holland, Mich. for several years before being cut down to a barge in 1961. The historic hull awaits an uncertain future.

Reported by Al Mann


Closing Dates of the Seaway 2005 Navigation Season Outlined

12/2 - Mariners are reminded that there is always a possibility that severe climatic conditions may occur during the closing period. Should this happen, there is a chance that the dates outlined below, for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section or the Welland Canal, may not be met. Scheduled Closing Dates:

Montreal-Lake Ontario Section
Any transit of the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway after 23:59 hours, December 24, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement. Arrangements are to be made at our St. Lambert office.

Irrespective of operating conditions, in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway, all vessels must be clear of this section at 23:59 hours on December 29th.

Welland Canal
The closing of the Welland Canal is scheduled to take place at 23:59 hours on December 26th.
Any transits of the Welland Canal after 23:59 hours, December 26th, if permitted, will be subject to prior written agreement. Arrangements are to be made at our St. Catharines office.
Vessels will be allowed to transit the Welland Canal up to 23:59 hours on December 30th, weather and operating conditions permitting.

Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canal (United States)
The official closing date for the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is 2400 hours January 15, 2006.

Reported by Ron Walsh


Authors Defend Study on Great Lakes Shipping Value
Two found relatively low benefit from overseas vessels

12/2 - Chicago - The emerging debate about the future of overseas ships plying the Great Lakes took center stage on the shore of Lake Michigan on Wednesday. Authors of a controversial study that puts the value of overseas ships operating in the Great Lakes at $55 million a year appeared before an independent panel of transportation experts at the Shedd Aquarium to defend their work.

That $55 million figure is important because many argue that the economic benefits of overseas shipping in the Great Lakes is a pittance compared with the ecological and economic costs wrought by shipborne invasive species.
One estimate, for example, puts the total cost of the zebra mussels alone over the past 20 years at about $2 billion.
While that peer review process continues today, early indications are that the study, though not perfect, essentially holds water.

"I think you've done a real good piece of work here," panel member Ken Casavant, an agriculture economist from Washington State University, told the study authors toward the end of the session."You did about as well as you could with the amount of money you have," added panel member Phillip Baumel, a retired Iowa State University economics professor.

The study, conducted by two Michigan transportation experts and funded by a $60,000 grant from Chicago's Joyce Foundation, is controversial because it challenges the conventional wisdom that overseas shipping in the Great Lakes is a critical - if not indispensable - component of the regional economy.It's expected to factor into an emerging debate about whether there is a place for overseas freighters in the Great Lakes if ship operators can't figure out how to stop discharging contaminated ballast water, the primary means by which invasive species are arriving.
The study was conducted by John Taylor, an associate transportation professor at Michigan's Grand Valley State University, and Michigan transportation consultant James Roach.

The two reached their $54.9 million transportation cost savings figure by identifying precisely what overseas cargo moves on the lakes, and then working with freight companies to figure how much it would cost to move that cargo into and out of the region by other means, such as truck, train or barge.Taylor cautions that their $54.9 million figure is merely a "snapshot" of the overseas ships' value because freight costs can swing significantly in a matter of months. But he said it is a good ballpark estimate of the industry's value, in terms of transportation cost savings.

Not everybody was thrilled by the results of the study. Steven Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association, said the study is simplistic in terms of quantifying the value of overseas ships in the Great Lakes. "It's more than just these numbers. It's the ability to have the option of delivering products to foreign markets cost-effectively," Fisher said, adding that having that option is a factor in drawing more manufacturers into the region.
Another issue Fisher raised is the fact that the authors linked their cost-savings numbers to studies that show the cost of invasive species in the lakes ranges into the billions of dollars. While work has been done estimating the costs of individual species, such as the zebra mussel, the reality is nobody has ever come up with a good number for the total cost of the more than 182 non-native species now living in the lakes.

Fisher told Taylor he should have steered away from comparing shipping's value to the invasive species' costs. "Your work would have been stronger had you not shown a bias in a particular debate going on in the region right now," he said. "In a way, you sully your data and your work by framing it into one specific debate that's going on." Study author Taylor was unapologetic. "I'd suggest that it is important in a study of this type to provide perspective," he said after the panel session ended. Taylor added that he has never advocated shutting the Seaway down to overseas traffic.

Conservationists, however, say an honest discussion about the value - and future - of overseas shipping in the Great Lakes is long overdue. "The problem with the overseas shipping industry is its fear of ideas," Cameron Davis, executive director of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, said on the eve of the panel discussion. "Let's take a look at what the study says and use it to help guide policy in the region." But it's likely that not everybody wants that debate. Not everybody even wanted Wednesday's panel review to take place.

"We find it inappropriate that there will be a public peer review with the press invited prior to publishing and without making the study available to the public," Helen Brohl, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipping Association, wrote in a letter Monday to the Joyce Foundation. Brohl went on to ask that Wednesday's panel review be canceled until her organization was given a chance to read the report and consult with transportation experts. "I find it incredibly inappropriate to go public when it's not even available to the public to (review) at this point," Brohl said in an interview Tuesday.

But the panel organizers said that was the precise purpose of Wednesday's session - to present the findings publicly and allow the public, including the shipping industry, to quiz the study authors on their findings and the methods they used to determine them. Panel members on Wednesday, meanwhile, found that study to be lacking in some areas, particularly in terms of how shipping costs for some specific cargoes were determined, but they said the work likely will have some validity in the public policy arena. "This is going to be useful. No question about it," Casavant said.

The panel convenes in private this morning and is expected to complete a report on its evaluation later in the day.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Museum Planned for Old Boathouse

12/2 - Eagle Harbor, MI - The former home of the men who patrolled the turbulent waters of Lake Superior will be converted into a permanent memorial to their work. The Keweenaw County Historical Society is creating a museum dedicated to the United States Life Saving Service, as well as its successor, the U.S. Coast Guard. It is planned to open in 2008. It will be located in the boathouse of the former Eagle Harbor Station - the last vestige of the former Coast Guard site that closed in 1954.

Opening a museum made sense, said David Thomas, president of the Keweenaw County Historical Society. The Eagle Harbor Lighthouse has ties to the Coast Guard and the Life Savings Service dating back more than a century, and the Keweenaw has a long maritime history beyond that. "It seemed like a natural fit for us," Thomas said.
After several years of discussions, the society finally received permission to use the boathouse from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which was using the building as a storage facility for Ft. Wilkins.

Among the attractions will be a 36-foot U.S. Army Corps of Engineers motor lifeboat formerly used at Coast Guard Station Portage, as well as a 26-foot surfboat used on Lake Superior around 1900.
"It's in miraculous condition," Thomas said.
Some rehab work still needs to be done on both boats prior to the 2008 opening, while other exhibits also need to be developed and installed. Other artifacts are still welcomed, as are other contributions. Donors who give more than $100 to the Life Saving Museum will receive copies of the Fred Stonehouse book "Wreck Ashore: U.S. Life-Saving Service - Legendary Heroes of the Great Lakes."

An anonymous donor recently agreed to match up to $20,000 in donations. "Whenever we seem to get in a bind, bingo, something shows up," Thomas said. "We feel blessed."

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Port Report - December 2

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Two fleet mates from Lower Lakes Towing called on the Saginaw River Thursday morning. The Mississagi was in first, lightering at Bay City Wirt, then going upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. A few hours later, the Cuyahoga was inbound for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. The Mississagi turned at Sixth Street and was outbound mid-afternoon, while the Cuyahoga was expected to be outbound later in the evening.

The shipping traffic continued Thursday night as the Buffalo, Alpena, and Rebecca Lynn were all inbound. The Buffalo called on the Bay Aggregates dock around 11:30 a.m. Thursday night and was expecting a five hour unload before departing early Friday morning.

The Alpena was inbound for the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton to unload. She slowed briefly to allow the Buffalo to back into the Bay Aggregate slip and then waited briefly near the Dow Chemical dock for the down bound Cuyahoga to pass before continuing upriver to LaFarge. The Alpena was expected to be outbound late Friday.

The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were inbound for the Bit-Mat dock, which shares the slip with Bay Aggregates. Since the Buffalo was already in the slip, the Rebecca Lynn decided to wait until the Buffalo departed before going in to unload and tied up at the Essroc dock.

Port Colborne - Herb
Scrapping has begun in earnest on the Joseph H. Frantz with the stern deck cabins beginning to disappear. Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted delivered gypsum to Wharf 17 again overnight but are now tied up this morning at Wharf 16, perhaps awaiting weather.

A regular parade of down bound salties continues with several having to wait for pilots in the anchorage in Lake Erie.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Two ships were in the harbor Thursday. The Calumet was docked adjacent to the Advance Boiler facility, although the purpose of its visit was unknown.

The American Mariner was discharging coal for the WE Energies plant.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
The end-of-the-season grain rush is under way as cold temperatures are covering much of Duluth-Superior harbor with ice.

On Friday morning, CHS terminal in Superior was completing the loading of Utviken at the gallery and Federal Seto at Berth 2. Cedarglen was loading at the nearby Peavey Connors Point elevator. Anchored on the lake were Canadian Miner and Antikeri, both bound for the CHS elevator. At least 10 more salties are expected before the end of the season to load grain.

Elsewhere Friday, Courtney Burton was due to load pellets at the DMIR dock in Duluth and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was due at Midwest Energy Terminal to load the first of four scheduled December cargoes of coal for St. Clair, Mich.

Marquette is expected receive some interesting visitors this month. Herbert C. Jackson is scheduled to load coal in Superior on Dec. 5 and 9 destined for Marquette. Kaye E. Barker also is expected to haul a load of coal there after loading in Superior on Dec. 11.

A stretch of below-freezing temperatures has left much of the harbor covered with a thin layer of ice. So far, this hasn’t appeared to cause any problems, but the forecast for the next several days calls for low overnight temperatures.



Photo Gallery Updates - December 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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, b) ERNEST T WEIR 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.

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



Divers Discover Holy Grail' of Lake Erie Shipwrecks

12/1 - Cleveland - In the dark and drizzle of June 20, 1868, two ships off the shore of Lorain were on course to pass in the night. The Cortland, carrying iron ore, was sailing from the west for Cleveland. The passenger steamer Morning Star had left Cleveland bound for Detroit.

Around midnight, a crewman on the Cortland told the first mate to clean the dimming green oil lantern so the approaching steamer would see them. The mate took down the lantern, and the night grew darker.
Twenty minutes passed, and still the lantern was not returned. Suddenly, the crewman saw the Morning Star heading right for them and ran to the bell. His warning came too late. The ships collided, sinking both and killing 38 people. Only the Morning Star was recovered.

Now, nearly 140 years later, a dive team believes it has discovered the Cortland, bell and all. "We are thrilled that they have found this wreck," said Georgann Wachter, a diver from Avon Lake. She and her husband, Michael, have written three books about Lake Erie shipwrecks.

The lake is full of sunken ships, between 1,500 and 3,000, Wachter said. Only about 400 have been found, and not all of those have been identified. The Cortland is among the most coveted. The ship was only a year old when it sank, and the 173-foot, three-masted bark was one of the largest sailing vessels on the Great Lakes. The accident was Page One news across the Great Lakes as bodies washed ashore for weeks.

"It's probably the most historically significant wreck in the Cleveland area," said Kevin Magee of Cleveland Underwater Explorers, an informal dive team that goes by the name CLUE. The other members are David VanZandt and Jim Paskert. The Cortland had been on CLUE's wish list for three years. When the divers did find the ship this summer, they practically stumbled upon it.

Paskert, who no longer dives, passed along coordinates from his old records, not remembering why he had written them down. Magee and VanZandt found a wreck in 60 feet of water using side scan sonar imaging, but the water was too rough to dive that day to identify the ship. The next day, July 31, VanZandt and another diver inspected the wreck. They suspected it might be the Cortland, and each dive reinforced their suspicion.

On the fifth dive, they found the bell. The fact the bell was still on the ship meant the vessel was more than likely an untouched wreck and that they were the first to see it in nearly 140 years. Rigging, anchors and masts were salvaged from the Cortland within weeks of the collision, but the ship was never raised and details about its location were lost over time.

The CLUE divers say a number of facts have convinced them of their find. Along with the bell, the divers found a carved figure extending from the front of the ship. Figureheads were rare at the time, but the Cortland had one. The anchors are missing, and the chain appears to have been cut, which is consistent with a salvage operation.

One detail that is carefully guarded is the location of the wreck. Although federal and state laws prohibit the removal of artifacts without a permit, the men worry that the bell and other items could fall into the wrong hands. Carrie Sowden, of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center, is applying for a salvage permit. The plan is to remove the bell and figurehead in the spring, then conserve and display the items at the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, home to the shipwreck center.

The divers also want to complete a survey of the site, which means that an announcement of the Cortland's location likely is a couple of years off. Once the coordinates are released, divers will have another destination on Lake Erie. And they will come, said Sowden, who dived on the wreck with VanZandt that first day. "There are all sorts of Holy Grails," Sowden said. "This is definitely one of them for the state of Ohio."

Reported by Mike Brookins from the Cleveland Plain Dealer


AFDS Coke Plant gets water quality permit

12/1 - Toledo - The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has issued a water quality permit to U.S. Coking Group, which will allow the company to proceed with plans to construct its FDS Coke Plant along Lake Erie's Maumee Bay. In issuing the permit, Ohio EPA officials said that about 50 people attended a public hearing Oct. 4 in Oregon. Among their concerns was how storm water runoff would be handled during the construction phase and after the facility is built.

The Ohio EPA said the company plans to construct a berm around the 40-acre construction site and, during construction, runoff will be directed to sediment settling traps prior to discharge. After the plant's construction, storm water runoff will be directed to retention basins. The facility also will be designed to recycle storm water through industrial processes. The basins will not discharge into Duck Creek, Otter Creek, Maumee Bay, or other wetlands on the site. Excess storm water can be discharged into sanitary sewers to be treated in the Toledo waste water treatment system.

Ohio law requires that anyone who wants to discharge dredged or fill material into isolated wetlands first obtain a permit. The Ohio EPA review is to determine if the proposal complies with state water quality standards. Issuance of the permit can be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission. Appeals must be filed with the Ohio EPA within 30 days of the permit's issuance.

From the Toledo Blade


Au Train River Mouth Clog Worries Residents

12/1 - AuTrain - Some riverfront residents are keeping an eye on the AuTrain River, hoping conditions that allowed the mouth of the stream to clog nearly shut in recent days don't reoccur. "People's homes were on the brink of being flood over their basements and crawlspaces," said Alger County Emergency Management Coordinator Rebecca Wilder.

A buildup of sand and ice at the river mouth was slowly backing up the river prior to the recent Thanksgiving holiday storm, which only made the situation worse. Strong winds blowing across a beach that juts parallel to the course of the river near the mouth, drifted sands into the water, making the river only a few inches deep just upstream from where it dumps into Lake Superior.

Resident Judy Henricksen, who lives a good distance upstream from the river mouth, said the level of the river rose dramatically after the holiday storm, which packed strong, consistent winds. "The storm came and the water got higher and higher and higher," Henricksen said. "By the time Friday came, the wind died down and my pump was going, constantly." On Saturday, residents living along the river began to find water inching closer to their homes and seeping into their basements.

"I had water over my dock," said resident Nancy Ford-Cihak. "It was probably a foot to two feet higher than I've ever had it in the four years I've lived here." Ultimately, Cihak's crawlspace would fill with water about 8 inches deep. Henricksen had water close to the top of a beach wall and water seeped into her basement late Saturday morning. "Saturday morning, I had no water, by the afternoon, I had two inches," Henricksen said. Local officials were contacted as the stream kept rising. "It was going up at the rate of half-an-inch-per-hour," said AuTrain Township Supervisor Judy Graves.

Cihak said watching the rising waters was unsettling. "It was uncomfortable," she said. Some residents were concerned fencing erected in recent weeks to protect newly planted beach dune grasses was directing sand into the river, causing it to back up. Alger County Road Commission Engineer-Manager Robert Lindbeck said the flooding was caused by sands near the river mouth and not upstream where the beach grass was planted to stabilize sands that blow across M-28. "It was not directly related to the snow fence," Lindbeck said. "The damming was at the river mouth and not at the snow fence area."

While road commission and Michigan Department of Transportation officials agreed the problem was outside their jurisdictions, Graves and Wilder gained verbal approvals to have the river mouth dug out from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. AuTrain Township officials approved funding the cost of the operation. Dean Seaberg of Seaberg Contracting Inc. in Munising ultimately moved a shovel into place at the river mouth Saturday afternoon and worked for a little more than an hour to free the river jam.
Once sand was removed, the river cut deep into its banks, widening the outflow area and flushing a long sand plume into Lake Superior. Residents were relieved to see the river level drop substantially.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Brave New Highway
Coming soon: The microwavable road?

12/1 - About three years ago, engineer David Hopstock was mulling ways to boost the sagging fortunes of Minnesota's Iron Range. The Roseville-based consultant had no ideas about how to improve the market for taconite pellets, the range's main export. But that wasn't what interested him. He was looking for potential uses for taconite tailings, the waste material left behind in staggering quantities by taconite production.

Hopstock, who has a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering, knew that the tailings contained a high percentage of a mineral called magnetite. From his days working at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, he also recalled that magnetite is an exceptionally good absorber of microwave radiation. That's what triggered his eureka moment. If the tailings were mixed with asphalt, Hopstock speculates, a powerful microwave generator might then be applied to the road surface. That could have a handful of practical applications. In cold, icy weather, for instance, a microwave-emitting device hitched to a plow truck could be used to deice the road, thereby eliminating the need for salt or other corrosive and environmentally hazardous chemical treatments. Even if it proved impractical or too expensive for large stretches of road, he says, it might be very useful for bridge decks and runways.

Because taconite tailings are easily heated with a microwave, Hopstock theorizes, a pothole patch made with tailings would work much better than the current "throw and go" pothole repair technique. And in any weather, Hopstock thinks, the paving of new roads might be vastly improved through the use of a microwave, since it is critical that asphalt temperatures be maintained within certain parameters to set properly.

Will it work? Hopstock has yet to conduct a field trial, because he hasn't been able to get adequate funding. But his small-scale experiments--kitchen scale, in fact--have yielded some promising results. In one such trial, Hopstock filled a Styrofoam cup with magnetite-rich epoxy, then covered it with water and put it in a freezer. After a hard layer of ice formed over the epoxy, Hopstock placed the container in a standard-sized microwave oven and zapped it. Within a matter of seconds, he noted, the epoxy had absorbed enough heat that the ice ceased to adhere to the surface. "I think that demonstrated, well, that it's not a totally wacky idea," Hopstock says with a laugh.

With such results in hand, dramatized by a detailed Power Point presentation, Hopstock and research colleague Larry Zanko floated their proposed technology at a seminar hosted by the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies. Erland Lukanen, the director of the Pavement Research Institute at the U, says he was intrigued by the potential, especially the pothole patching application. The chief issue, Lukanen says, is economic. It's not just an issue of equipping highway trucks with giant microwaves. Because bulk materials are expensive to transport, he explains, most aggregate comes from local quarries. For any projects outside the Iron Range, that raises the question: Would any city or state agency be willing to pay the extra freight to haul taconite tailings from northeast Minnesota? Probably not, in the near future. But as the Twin Cities metro area continues to grow, Lukanen notes, it has become more difficult to develop new quarries, which may mean the economic equation will shift.

Hopstock and Zanko's proposal for the tailings is not without critics. At the Center for Transportation Studies seminar, two old lions of Minnesota's environmental movement--retired federal judge Miles Lord and former Minnesota Pollution Control Agency chief Grant Merritt--raised objections based on the possible health risks. Both Lord and Merritt are concerned because some taconite tailings are known to contain asbestos and asbestos-like fibers. Those fibers, they fear, may be related to the elevated levels of a rare but deadly cancer called mesothelioma on the Iron Range.

From 1988 to 1999, according to a 2003 Minnesota Department of Health study, there were 81 identified cases of mesothelioma among residents of northeastern Minnesota, nearly double the expected rate. For that reason alone, Merritt contends, any use of taconite tailings in highways should be subjected to a full environmental review.
Lord, who issued the landmark 1974 ruling that prohibited the dumping of taconite tailings into Lake Superior, takes a more conspiratorial view. The use of taconite tailings on highways, Lord contends, represents "a deliberate attempt by the taconite industry and its owners, 'Big Steel,' to spread deadly particles on Minnesota highways, thereby making it difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint the cause of cancer deaths on the Iron Range because cancer will occur throughout the state of Minnesota."

In Zanko's view, such claims are both needlessly inflammatory and "pretty much a red herring." He points out that the Department of Health study concluded that higher levels of mesothelioma on the Range were most likely the result of exposure to commercial asbestos, not taconite dust. A fellow at the University of Minnesota-Duluth's Natural Resources Research Institute, Zanko further notes that tailings have been used in road construction in northeast Minnesota for decades, without apparent ill effect. (And, he adds, highway engineers like using the tailings because they are very durable and have superior friction characteristics).

Zanko further points out that there is no proposal to use tailings from the eastern part of the Iron Range, where the asbestos-like fibers have been identified in taconite. The geology of five pits from the western part of the Range, he says, is markedly different. Examination of the tailings from that region has not revealed any significant levels of asbestos-like fibers. None of this satisfies Miles Lord. He counters that the MDH taconite dust study was sharply criticized by some scientists for its methodology and conclusions. Additionally, Lord notes, at least one EPA scientist has gone on record stating that the testing of the western range for asbestos has been inadequate.

Beyond any environmental concerns, it remains an open question whether Hopstock and Zanko's dream of microwavable roads will come to fruition. The pair is hoping to receive as much as $1.6 million to fund a three-year research project, but the money has yet to come through. Says Hopstock: "This has all been done on a shoestring, so until we get more funding to do a field test, we won't be able to demonstrate feasibility."

From City Pages Online News of the Twin Cities


Port Reports - December 1

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
It was a tug boat day in Toronto on Tuesday. Groupe Ocean's Omni Richelieu and Jerry G. came in from Hamilton to assist the salty Rega into the Redpath Sugar slip.

The Soderholm tug Diver III took the C & C Marine spud barge Rock Prince over to the Island Yacht Club with a load of construction equipment aboard.

The Port Authority tug Brutus 1 was out pulling up the Sunfish Cut buoys, and the Works Dept. tug was busy pulling the summer buoys for Centre Island and replacing them with the winter ice markers.

The fire tug was out as well, making a run to the International Ferry Terminal just after "The Cat" arrived.

Sometime during the late evening Stephen B. Roman returned to port with another load of cement for Essroc, and CCG Griffon came in and tied up at the Queen Elizabeth terminal.

The tug Radium Yellowknife, which has been chartered for the new Humber Bay breakwall project, arrived in Port Colborne this morning. It will be dry docked at Ramey's Bend before proceeding to Toronto.

ULS will have four vessels in port with sugar storage cargoes this winter. Canadian Transport will also lay up in Toronto, so as to get an early spring start for Port Weller Drydock for her inspection. Rumor has it that Canadian Provider will follow the Transport into Port Weller.

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause, Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw two vessels inbound on Tuesday and a Coast Guard rescue was preformed in the upper river. First inbound was the Agawa Canyon early Tuesday morning hauling a load of salt from Goderich for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She completed her unload there around 2:30 p.m. and headed up river for the Sixth Street turning Basin to turn. She was down bound from the Sixth Street turning Basin by 4:30 p.m. and headed out for the lake.

Also inbound on Tuesday morning was the tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload. They were headed outbound for the lake around 11:00 p.m. Tuesday night.

Just after 2:30 p.m. the USCG Station Saginaw River had reported a rescue taking place in the upper river. At least three Coast Guard rescue vessels were sent, along with a Coast Guard helicopter. The Coast Guard started a search and rescue in the river around the I-75 bridge. Within an hour a body was recovered by divers and flown south by Coast Guard helicopter. At the same time, the Agawa Canyon had just turned in the Sixth Street turning Basin and had cleared out bound without any delays on her way to the lake.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Laurentien was due in Buffalo's Gateway Terminal at 1200 hrs, Wednesday, to take on approximately 33,000 tons of coal.


Photo Gallery Updates - December 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Christmas Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - 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 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 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, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, 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



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