Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - December 31

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon came in early Friday morning and was loading at Sifto Salt.
Mississagi was next in around 1:00am Saturday, followed by Algorail around 8:30 am, both loading at Sifto.
Mark Hannah/Barge are at the new harbour dock discharging calcium.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River early Friday evening passing the Pump-Out Island at 6:30pm, headed for the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. After finished lightering there the pair headed upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish unloading Friday night. The pair completed their unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee early Saturday morning, turned around at the Sixth Street turning basin and were headed outbound around 7:00am. When the pair called the Liberty Bridge in Bay City, the pair found out that the bridge tender had to go downstairs to flip a switch. Moments later the bridge tender returned and tried repeatedly to open the Liberty Bridge but it wouldn't budge. The Moore's captain put the tug in full reverse, and dropped both front anchors to get the pair stopped about a hundred yards before the Liberty Bridge. The duo backed away from the Liberty bridge and spent the next hour treading water between the Veteran's Memorial and Liberty bridges waiting for the maintenance crew to repair the Liberty bridge. At 10:30am Saturday morning the Liberty bridge was able to open to allow the tug and barge to continue outbound for the lake.
The Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River late Saturday night passing the Pump-Out Island just before 11:00pm. She traveled upriver to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Calumet was expected to be outbound Sunday afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning had the Voyageur Independent arrive from Montreal at 10:30 pm. She went to Pier 14 for winter lay up.
Early Sunday morning (4:00am) the tug Petite Forte and barge St. Mary's Cement arrived in the harbor.


Updates - December 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 31

In 1905, the B F JONES (Hull#15), 530 x 56 x 31 with a capacity of 10,000 tons, slid down the ways at Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, MI. The JONES was built at a cost of $400,000 for Jones and Laughlin Steel. Declared a constructive total loss after a collision with the Str. CASON J CALLAWAY in the St. Marys River on August 21, 1955. Most of the hull was scrapped at Superior, Wisconsin in 1956. Part of the hull became the crane barge SSC-1. Her forward cabins and hatch crane and covers were installed on the Str. SPARKMAN D FOSTER.

In 1952, a total of 35 boats were laid up for the season at Cleveland. The WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, GEORGE STEPHENSON, and ANDREW S UPSON had storage cargoes of flax, the MICHAEL GALLACHER had a storage cargo of wheat, and the remaining 31 vessels were empty.

In 1941, at the close of the shipping season, the Great Lakes fleet consisted of 513 boats of U.S. Registry and 279 boats of Canadian Registry.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Truck Ferry Plans Inch Closer

12/20 - Oswego, NY - The idea of launching a truck ferry between between Oswego and Hamilton, Ontario, is inching toward reality and could materialize by 2008.

“We had a meeting two weeks ago with Marine Link (the company that would operate the proposed truck ferry), the Coast Guard, customs officials, and the Department of Homeland Security. This is a very feasible project, and likely to begin in 2008 if all goes well,” said Jim Cloonan, port operations manager in Oswego.

Although the proposed ferry is still in its early stages, progress has been made since August. In mid-December, the Port of Hamilton Authority spent $17.5 million to acquire adjacent Lake Ontario waterfront property to make way for a terminal for the proposed cross-lake truck ferry.

Bob Armstrong, head of Marine Link, said that things have gone past the planning stage and into the design portion of the project. “We're at the stage where we have designed the ship and have a route mapped out,” Armstrong said. Two ferries would make one round trip each day, Monday through Saturday along the 146-mile route, Armstrong said. According to Armstrong's estimates, it would take the ferry, carrying 100 to 120 trailers, approximately 12 hours to travel from Hamilton to Oswego.

While the route and the ship's design have already been made, Armstrong said that there are a few kinks, such as public policy issues, that need to be addressed before the service could begin. He explained that customs issues as well as harbor maintenance issues were currently being discussed with officials in Washington. “We're working with customs and Homeland Security right now,” Armstrong said. “We're going to lobby in February, and hopefully the necessary changes will be made to public policy.”

Despite minor policy issues, Armstrong was confident that the truck ferry service will launch within the next two years. “If we get those issues taken care of, we'll be up and running by the fall of 2007, or the spring of 2008,” Armstrong said.

Cloonan agreed, and said that “everyone is working very hard and we'll see this to fruition.” He noted that the economic impact of the truck ferry service would be significant. “We'll be able to employ more labor, more longshoremen, and it'll also help the hotels and businesses and other areas of the local economy,” Cloonan said.

Reported by Bill Edwards from the Oswego Palladium Times


Port Reports - December 30

Milwaukee - Jim Zeirke
Friday afternoon the Peter R. Cresswell delivered 26,800 tons of road salt to the bulk dock at the Port of Milwaukee. While entering the mooring basin the Cresswell had to maneuver around the barge Integrity and her tug the G.L. Oestrander which were tied up at the Heavy Lift for what appears to be winter lay up.
While the Cresswell delivered the salt, the Pathfinder and her tug, Dorothy Ann, backed in and tied up at the Greenfield Avenue coal dock. It appeared that she had a partial load of coal for the WE Energies facility.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John G. Munson loaded at the Norfolk Southern coal dock on Friday for Green Bay, Wisconsin.


Updates - December 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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, Brian Wroblewski, 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.


Better Weather Boosts November Iron Ore Trade on Lakes
Plunging Water Levels Take Toll on Loads

12/29 - Cleveland---Thanks to significantly fewer weather-related delays, the iron ore trade on the Great Lakes in November increased 16.4 percent compared to a year ago. However, the upturn does not reflect market conditions, but rather that high winds and storms kept the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet at anchor for more than 5,000 hours in November 2005.

The precipitous drop in water levels on Lake Superior again severely limited vessel loads in November. A 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker that was able to carry nearly 67,600 net tons of iron ore from a Lake Superior port to an Indiana steel mill in one trip in August saw its best load fall to
62,300 net tons in November.

If Great Lakes ports and waterways were dredged to allow the vessel to load to its full marks, its cargos would top 71,000 net tons each trip.
Smaller U.S.-Flag Lakers suffered similar fates in November. A vessel delivering iron ore from Lake Superior to an Ohio steelmaker had to trim more than 1,300 net tons off its top loads of just a few months ago.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 54.5 million net tons, an increase of 4.2 percent compared to both the same point in 2005 and the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Steel industry likely target for acquisitions

12/29 - TORONTO -- The global metals giants are hungry for acquisitions and Canada's steel industry will likely be "front and centre" as a wave of consolidation rolls on, observers say, a blockbuster deal that served up Dofasco in 2006 a hint of what's to come.

"Internationally, steel remains quite fragmented in terms of a large number of producers and I think through the course of '07 the theme of consolidation will remain front-and-centre and include the North American group," says John Hughes, an analyst with Desjardins Securities. "Just about anyone is a target -- even some of the smaller to intermediate producers. Anyone producing in the two to four-million tonne range could ultimately come into the crosshairs of some of the internationals worldwide."

As 2006 draws to a close, the fate of Hamilton's Dofasco, a major steel supplier to the North American auto industry, remains in limbo. Stelco and Algoma Steel are seen as prime takeover targets and the success of Ipsco is expected to draw interest from global players. This month, Toronto-based Harris Steel Group surprised many by announcing it was in talks to sell to an undisclosed buyer, rumoured to be Gerdau Ameristeel or U.S.-based Nucor.

Since the end of 2004, when steel prices hit all-time highs, the major global steel producers have been consolidating, with more merger and acquisition activity expected amid strong demand from China, which has been producing and consuming steel at a record pace. In recent months, however, demand for steel in North America has flagged due to reduced consumption by the auto sector -- especially after production cuts by the Big Three car makers -- as well as high inventory levels.

Still, many insiders believe the drop in prices won't have a big overall impact in 2007 and that next year will probably be slightly better than 2006. "There's a fair amount of consensus view that prices have already started slipping a little bit for the end of this year and are probably going to slip a little bit for quarter one," said James Forbes, global metals advisory leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "There's been a couple different adjustments for inventory levels and it's probably going to be a good year next year overall."

Hughes says the plate and tubular markets have the best outlook for 2007, with plate holding near US$750 a tonne. Charles Bradford, an industry analyst with New York's Soleil-Bradford Research, believes the outlook for steel is a bit dimmer, pegging a hot-roll coil at about US$450, below other estimates that see it hitting US$530.

Even if prices continue to drop, Forbes said, the consolidation binge has taken some poorer plants out of play and made companies stronger financially, as well as prompting them to better control raw materials sources.
The year opened with a bang, with venerable Dofasco gobbled up by Arcelor SA for $4.7 billion after the Luxembourg-based firm won a bidding war against German steel conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG. That didn't end the story and Dofasco still likely hasn't found its final buyer.

Arcelor eventually yielded to a US$31.9-billion offer from Mittal Steel Co. itself -- but not before locking Dofasco into an independent trust to prevent its sale, because it deems it a valuable entry to the North American market. Mittal has a deal to sell Dofasco to ThyssenKrupp, but cannot do it until the Dutch trust that now controls Dofasco is dissolved. "The push is to see Dofasco sold again and the momentum is moving in that direction," said Hughes.

From the London Ontario Free Press


November steel imports down, but 2006 still poised to set import record

12/29 - Duluth - Total steel imports into the United States in November were 3.3 million net tons, a 13 percent decline compared to November 2005, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Finished steel imports in November were 2.7 million net tons, a 10 percent decline compared to November 2005.

On a year-to-date basis, total steel imports are up 45 percent and finished steel imports 46 percent compared to 2005, poised to set a new all-time annual record, according to the AISI. Total imports would reach 46 million net tons and finished steel imports 36.5 million net tons, surpassing all-time records of 41.5 million net tons and 34.7 million net finished tons set in 1998, according to the AISI.

China in November for the fifth straight month was the single largest exporter of steel into the United States with 521,000 net tons. Steel imports from China in November were 274 percent higher than in November 2005 and at current levels, would exceed 5 million tons in 2006.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

12/11 - Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at Boatnerd World Headquarters in Port Huron.


Port Reports - December 29

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The American Courage loaded in the predawn hours Wednesday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock. Her next port of call was not known.

Cote. St. Catherines - Kent Malo
Nanticoke will be departing Cotr Ste Catherines Wharf at approximately 9:00pm Thursday for lay up in the Port of Montreal Sec 56-South,
Voyageur Independent will be leaving the elevator 4 at 9:00pm Thursday, for Hamilton Ontario.


Updates - December 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.

The 425-foot Finnish tanker KIISLA ran aground while transiting the North Entrance of Buffalo Harbor on the 29th of December, 1989. The ship was inbound with Xylene for the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda when it strayed from the navigation channel due to reduced visibility from heavy snow squalls and grounded near the #1 green buoy of the Black Rock Canal. She was towed off the rocks by tugboats from Buffalo and then tied up at the Burnette Trucking Dock (formerly the Pen Dixie Dock) on the Buffalo River for Coast Guard Inspection. A diver found a 47 inch X 5 inch crack below the waterline at the #1 ballast tank, with a large rock firmly wedged in the outer hull plating, but with no damage to the inner hull or cargo tanks. The ship was cleared to head back to Sarnia to off load her cargo before repairs could be made.

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, Brian Wroblewski, 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 28

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Monday, Algorail delivered salt to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor. Across the turning basin, Tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-410 unloaded fuel.
On Tuesday, American Mariner backed into the harbor, docked and unloaded at the WE Energies coal yard near Greenfield Avenue.
Tug Barbara Andrie and its barge A-390 delivered to the Jacobus liquid cargo terminal in the outer harbor.

Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday afternoon brought sunny skies along with vessel activity at Stoneport. The Philip R. Clarke finished loading and departed the dock, while the Agawa Canyon and McKee Sons waited nearby. The Canyon was next in line, and carefully approached the dock to tie up and begin loading.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber finished their unload overnight at the Wirt dock in Saginaw, turned and were outbound for the lake. The pair made a quick stop at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to take on fuel and then continued outbound passing through the Bay City Bridges around 2:30pm on Wednesday


Updates - December 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Calcite Closes for Season

12/27 - Rogers City - On December 23 the port of Calcite closed for another shipping season.

The tug Undaunted with barge Pere Marquette 41 departed with limestone around 7 p.m. headed for Verplank's dock in Muskegon.

Earlier in the day the American Fortitude had loaded and departed for Cleveland. She was scheduled to unload in Cleveland and then head for lay-up in Toledo.


Lightship to offer virtual museum tour

12/27 - Port Huron - Those with limited mobility or special needs will soon be able to better enjoy the Huron Lightship museum in Port Huron's Pine Grove Park.

The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, which raises money for the grounded ship, is giving the museum $4,000 for a high-definition, 37-inch monitor to be installed on the quarterdeck, or the ship's entryway. A taped tour of the ship will be played on the monitor for people who are physically unable to navigate some of the ship's small spaces and steep stairs, said Jerry Rome, the lightship's site manager.

The goal is to have the monitor, which has been ordered but not delivered, installed by the time the Port Huron Museum site reopens in April, Rome said. The ship closed for the season on Saturday.

Frank Frisk, a member of the marine society's board, said he was inspired to do something about the ship's accessibility problems about two years ago. "This way people with special needs will be able to see the inner workings of the ship and all the same things we see when we crawl though the boat," he said.

The taped tour to be played on the monitor was filmed by John Hill of Port Huron, a retired St. Clair County Community College TV and radio professor and the former voice of WPHM AM-1380. Hill taped Rome giving a tour of the ship while visiting for a segment of the DVD he created to help celebrate Port Huron's upcoming sesquicentennial.

Rome said the ship's volunteers also could use the new monitor to play the 150th anniversary film, other films or to show live underwater images. Acheson Ventures installed an underwater camera near the lightship earlier this year. Since November, live images from the camera have been piped onto a monitor in the ship's senior petty officer's quarters.

The entryway monitor could show underwater views and the pre-recorded tour simultaneously, Frisk said. There are many things that can be done with new technology while maintaining the ship's historic appeal, Rome said. "We want to do things that will make things more accessible for people without taking away from the 1970s history of the ship," Rome said.

Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the museum draws touring motor coach groups of senior citizens. She said the ship's new accessibility and features could help the bureau promote the spot. "The more we can offer to individuals, the better," she said.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


Port Reports - December 27

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday the Canadian Transfer departed at 10:00am to clean holds in the lake. They returned at 5:30pm going to Pier 26 for winter lay up.
The Algoisle departed at 12:30pm to clean holds in the lake. They returned at 7:30pm going to Pier 25 for winter lay up.
The BBC Ems departed at 5:30pm from Pier 26 after unloading windmills and headed down the lake.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday evening calling on the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to lighter. The pair then headed up to the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw to finish unloading. They were expected to be outbound on late Wednesday morning.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Peter R. Cresswell made an early Wednesday morning entry into port and is now loading at Sifto Salt.


Updates - December 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Historical Perspective - The Wiltranco
by Brian Wroblewski

12/27 - The concept of the lake freighter turned tug-barge is a fascinating subject that doesn't get much coverage in local Buffalo historical circles.

Back in 1962 the Wilson Marine Transit Company took on a project that in hindsight appeared to have been about 30 years ahead of its time. The aging 588-foot steamer HORACE S WILKINSON had run its course as a powered vessel. Having been built in 1917 she was mechanically worn out to the point that Wilson could no longer run her at a profit.

The company had been known for their forward thinking when it came to technology with many past ships having introduced firsts such as bow thrusters, radiotelephones, and one-piece hatch covers to the Great Lakes. Wilson decided at that time to try and convert the WILKINSON to a 535-foot prototype laker-tug-barge, which, if proven successful, would be copied throughout the fleet.

The ship's old superstructure was removed, a stern notch created for a push tug, and auxiliary power installed to run her deck equipment. The old engine room housed water pumps, electric generators, and an air compressor to run the deck winches. In the bow it had a 500hp diesel to run the bow thruster. The large tug BRIAN MCALLISTER was contracted to push her on the Great Lakes, and the combination went into service in June of 1963. The barge was then renamed WILTRANCO as an abbreviation of the Wilson Transit Company.

The first season ended uneventfully with the barge being sent to Buffalo with a grain storage cargo for the winter. At only 1,600 horsepower the MCALLISTER proved to be underpowered since she had trouble handling the WILTRANCO and was eventually returned to her owning company in favor of a new build tug called the FRANCIS A. SMALL. This tug was a better match for the WILTRANCO since she was rated near 3,000 HP but the barge had a mind of her own and proved to be even too much for the SMALL.

As far as handling the WILTRANCO, that seemed a mystery. Even with her adjustable skegs, the barge was a tough pusher. She also liked to wander all over the lake when being towed and the wires had to be kept short to maintain headway using all the tug's available power. When moving through Buffalo Harbor on her dedicated coal run from Toledo to Tonawanda, the SMALL would tow the barge, and have a G tug was on the stern, the reason was that they did not have the proper cables to rig up the SMALL in the notch.

On the way downbound in the Black Rock Canal, the SMALL and G tug would tie up the barge at the East wall before the lock. The SMALL and the G tug would then lock through together with out the barge. The barge winched itself into the lock for passage, when she reached the proper water level the lock gate would open and the SMALL would hook up on the bow of the barge. The G tug would wait until the barge cleared the lock gates and would get the stern towline on the fly.

They turned her around just at the red buoy abreast of Semet Solvay dock. She was docked pointing up river. There were a couple of plant employees waiting to help tie up, and there was a catwalk to land on across the mooring dolphins at the coal dock. The tug SMALL would tie up alongside the barge as she was worked over by the unloading rig. The overhead unloading crane was stationary, so they just shifted up and down the dock to be unloaded.

It took between 16 to 18 hours to unload. The unloader was a bridge type with a small cab with an operator inside that road on two rails under the tramway that extended over the barge. The small cab had a couple of spools of cable with a clam bucket to lift the coal to a conveyer belt that ran over River Road to a pile on Semet Solvay property.

The WILTRANCO's first major accident took place on June 30, 1967 while they were coming back to Buffalo loaded with coal for Semet Solvay. It was found that there was a hole in the WILTRANCO due to grounding on some unknown object and that she had been taking on water. The Captain beached the barge on the West side of canal just before Peace Bridge heading north. There, a salvage diver stuffed the hole with old bed mattresses and they proceeded to Semet Solvay to unload.

The tug-barge combination was doing pretty well until they lost the WILTRANCO on October 26, 1967, in some bad weather. By this time the SMALL had the proper cables rigged in the notch, and she was going out the North Entrance light. Bad weather kicked up the lake making the going rough, a cable parted and the barge broke loose from her tug. The WILTRANCO drifted, and ended up stuck on a shoal near Wanakah.

Wilson's insurance carrier wrote off the barge as a total loss. The tug SMALL ran out of work to do, was eventually sold off lakes, and then lost in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast. The WILTRANCO was salvaged by Clyde Van Enkevort and placed back in service after repairs were made in 1970. She was pushed by the tugs OLIVE L MOORE and LEE REUBEN before being taken out of service in 1973 for the last time. The barge was towed to Santander Spain for scrapping in September of 1973.

Hindsight is 20-20 but looking back on the WILTRANCO, some small improvements may have made her a more viable carrier for her timeframe. Even though modern tug-barge coupling technology was still years away, a few modifications may have helped the WILTRANCO.

A deeper notch and a better cable system might have given her push tugs a more secure connection at the stern of the barge. A higher horsepower tug with better cable handling equipment on deck right from the start may have given her more control over the barge.

A slightly larger crew of possibly 10 men instead of 8 may have lessened the workload and made her a more efficient carrier. All these factors have been worked out over the last 30 years resulting in the very successful articulated and integrated tug-barge units we have today based on almost the same concept as the WILTRANCO, but with a slight tweak here or there. Information from the lake operations of the WILTRANCO was eventually applied to Litton Industries Integrated Tug-Barge Unit PRESQUE ISLE, originally designed for operation by Wilson Marine Transit Company.

Many people have the impression that the WILTRANCO's short career was a disaster, and rumors of harsh conditions for the tug crew persist to this day. Most of this can be attributed to the fear of something new coming along since the tug-barge concept at that time was initially seen as a threat to lake sailors used to working on powered vessels.

Time has proven this untrue since there are currently a growing number of tug-barges in service with more on the way, but still peacefully co-existing with ships of all types on the Great Lakes and Ocean trades. Once seen as a failure, the WILTRANCO was a concept far ahead of its time that represented the look of things to come.


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.


Ocean Hercule tows Clipper Tobago to Montreal

12/26 - LeGroup Ocean Inc.'s tug Ocean Hercule departed Montreal Friday night for Hamilton Ontario and was due to arrive early Sunday. The tug will tow the tanker Clipper Tobago, who has serious engine problems, to Montreal before the Seaway closure.

The Clipper Tobago has a partial load of 3000 tonnes of tallow. This load requires a powerful tug to bring Clipper Tobago to Montreal.

A second tug is required for leaving Hamilton and when the tow arrives at Kingston to negotiate the final leg of the voyage to Montreal.

Reported by Kent Malo


Mac Lock Closed for Season, Reopens

12/26 - Update - Lockmaster announced today that the Mac lock will reopened today due to special permission. No word how long the lock will remain open. It could hinge on vessel traffic.

Christmas Day was a busy day for the lockmaster and crew, as ten up bounds and at least a dozen down bounds kept the Poe lock non stop for most of the day.

12/25 - The MacArthur Lock at Sault Ste. Marie is now closed for the current shipping season.

The Poe Lock will remain open for another 20 days until the normal closing date of January 15.


Port Reports - December 26

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Christmas Eve, Marquette was busy. Strong winds on eastern Lake Superior delayed vessel arrivals. Lee A. Tregurtha and Earl W. Oglebay loaded ore first while Kaye E. Barker and Herbert C. Jackson waited off the Upper Harbor breakwall for a clear dock.
Christmas day in Marquette, Herbert C. Jackson had a long delay but was loading taconite at sunset.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were outbound from the Bay Aggregates dock on Saturday after unloading there on Friday. The pair had spent the night at the dock after unloading due to high winds.
The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge were inbound Sunday morning calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. They were outbound from the Dow Chemical dock early Monday morning.
Christmas Day saw two passages on the Saginaw River as both the Wolverine and CSL Tadoussac called on the river. First in early Monday morning was the Wolverine, who unloaded at the Essroc stone dock in Essexville. She was outbound later in the morning, passing the inbound CSL Tadoussac, who also unloaded at Essroc, further up the dock at the domes. The Tadoussac was outbound later on Monday.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Christmas Eve had the Birchglen departing at 12:45 p.m. with slag from Pier 26 for Montreal.
The tug Ocean Hercule arrived at 3:30 p.m. and proceeded to Pier 12.
On Christmas Day, the Algoisle arrived at 12:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. After unloading she will winter at Pier 25. Tug Ocean Hercule towing the Clipper Tobago departed Pier 12 at 3:30 p.m.
The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 arrived at 9 p.m. with fuel oil for Pier 24. They have decided to stay in port until the 27th because of bad weather before heading to Sarnia.

Halifax - Mac MacKay
The ferry Spirit of Ontario 1 is due in Halifax at 8 p.m. local time December 26. The vessel stopped in Matane over Christmas day according to reports. On arrival in Halifax the ferry will tie up at the Halifax Shipyard.


Boatnerd Equipment Needs, Looking for Films

1. Betamax format deck
Boatnerd is in the process of converting old movies over to digital format. Our old Beta deck failed and we need a new one. If anyone would like to donate a working Betamax format deck we would appreciate it.

2. Server Rack
We are in need of a Sever Rack for one of our locations. Any size will work and we would prefer something that is enclosed with sides and doors.

3. Original 16mm shipping movies
Specifically looking for the Conversion of the Cliffs Victory, we have a copy but would prefer an original. These movies are something we would like to convert to digital (we can return the original) and make available to the BoatNerd viewers. If any individual or group has any shipping related films please contact us for details.

BoatNerd is a 501 (c) (3) non profit and items donated are normally tax deductible. We can make arrangements for shipping or pick up.

If you or your organization are able to help please e-mail


Updates - December 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Seneca Returned to Soo

12/25 - The Seneca was successfully raised and was floating on her own Saturday. There was no damage to the hull, the tug sunk due to water entering from waves breaking over the cabin and finding its way in from multiple sources.

The tug was towed to the Carbide Dock in the Soo Saturday evening around 6:30 p.m. The Seneca is expected to be moved to the MCM Shipyard where the damage to her machinery will be checked over before a decision will be made as to the final disposition.

The tug was pumped out and a trench was dug to deeper water to allow the Seneca to be pulled free.

Seneca under tow on Saturday


Today in Great Lakes History - December 24

In 1973, a crew man of the Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC fell overboard at 11:41 p.m. while the boat was at anchor off Stoneport. The FRONTENAC launched a lifeboat to search for the missing man. When the missing man could not be found and the lifeboat had trouble returning to the FRONTENAC, a distress call went out. The American Steamship Company steamer MC KEE SONS, Captain Robert J. Laughlin, responded and received a Citation of Merit for rescuing the six sailors in the lifeboat on Christmas morning.

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, ALASKA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 165 foot, 348 tons, built in 1879, at Detroit, Michigan) 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, her engine came from the JOHN SHERMAN of 1865 and went into the steamer FRANK E KIRBY of 1890.

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

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


Today in Great Lakes History - December 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.

The 421-foot lake tanker GEMINI spent the Christmas holiday of 1989 stuck in heavy pack ice 20 miles West of Buffalo. The ship had dropped off a load of fuel at Noco Oil in Tonawanda on Christmas Eve and was on her way toward Toledo when they ran into windrowed ice just outside the Buffalo Breakwall. The G-tug DELAWARE was sent from Buffalo to help and she managed to get the GEMINI moving again. The tanker was able to use her high horsepower and clipper bow to make it to a point about 10 miles off Port Colburne before becoming stuck fast, only a half mile from open water. The Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker GRIFFON was sent to help the GEMINI after breaking a track out of Port Colborne for the ALGORAIL. The GRIFFON arrived on scene with the GEMINI and had her out to open water on the evening of December 27th. An early cold snap and heavy snow fall were to blame for this and other ice trouble experienced by ships in Buffalo at the end of the 1989 season.


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, Brian Wroblewski, 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. History compiled by Mike Nicholls.


Christmas Break

Beginning Saturday at noon, the staff and crew of the BoatNerd.Com News will be taking a break for the Christmas holiday to spend time with family and friends. We will be back on the job on the 26th.

We will continue to monitor the news reports and will post any news of an urgent nature.

To all of our volunteers reporters, editors, and our many readers around the world, we wish you the very Merriest of Christmases, and thank you for your support all year long.

12/24 - The 8th Annual Holiday Card Gallery is now closed.  Thank you to all who submitted cards making this Gallery a success again this year.


New Navy Ship to be Commissioned in Milwaukee

12/23 - Washington, DC - Milwaukee beat out Chicago to commission the new Navy warship, Freedom, next year, the Navy announced Thursday.

"We're very happy," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in a telephone interview. "It's great for the city, and it's a victory for the whole state."

The selection was made by Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter after "a thorough analysis of the many factors involved in selecting a site," said Lt. Cmdr. John T. Schofield, a spokesman for the Secretary of the Navy's office, in a statement. Schofield added that although the ship won't be commissioned in Chicago, "we hope to have the ship make a port visit to Chicago before departing the Great Lakes for its homeport of San Diego."

The building of the ship in Marinette, Wis., is pretty much completed, with a few minor modifications to be made before the commissioning, which is expected to happen next summer. It was officially launched in September. The 377-foot, $300 million ship, whose speed can reach more than 40 knots, will be capable of missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief, according to the Navy.

The ship - the Navy's first littoral combat ship - was designed and built by a team led by Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin. The company says it will help the Navy defeat growing littoral, or close-to-shore, threats. The team includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox, ship builders Marinette Marine Corporation, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company, Inc. and Bollinger Shipyards.

"The commissioning of a ship is a significant event," Schofield said in a telephone interview. "The details of this particular commission have yet to be determined." Barrett said he expected the event to last close to a week. VISIT Milwaukee, which markets the area to tourists and planners of conventions and meetings, said it expects 5,000 people from across the country to attend.

"Milwaukee knows how to roll out the red carpet and throw a party for its guests," said the group's president and CEO, Doug Neilson. "This will be a great celebration and an honor for the city to host." The group has not yet calculated the economic impact of the event.

From the Belleville News Democrat


Ferry Awaits Sale in Nova Scotia Port

12/23 - Rochester - The ferry is gone. But it is not sold.

By Friday morning, the Spirit of Ontario likely completed the trip from the Port of Rochester to Cape Vincent and entered the St. Lawrence Seaway, leaving behind the Great Lakes en route to an eventual Atlantic voyage.

Mayor Robert Duffy, with ferry board approval, ordered the ship moved through the seaway on Thursday to a temporary stop in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Negotiations continue to close a $29.8 million sale to Euroferries Ltd., first announced in May. The British buyer has informed the city of a new wrinkle in its financing woes.

The hurried departure — which came with just four hours' notice — was dictated by weather and time, officials said. So two years, seven months and 25 days after hundreds gathered to greet the ferry's arrival, hundreds again lined the Genesee River channel to watch the ship slip into the darkness and disappear. The Spirit could reach Shelburne as early as Christmas Eve. "The vessel is not coming back," Duffy said, adding: "It was not our intention to move this quickly. ... I wish that we would have had the flexibility of more time."

Going into Thursday, the mayor said, officials thought they still had a few days, until the middle of next week, to finalize details, close the sale and give people ample notice of the ship's departure. But former ferry manager Bay Ferries Great Lakes LLC, which is transporting the ship, notified the city that the weather was right, and it would be best to move quickly.

Winds cannot exceed 15 knots while the ship is squeezing through the seaway, a portion of the trip estimated to take nearly 24 hours. The forecast calls for winds of 10 knots today, increasing to 20 knots by tonight. While the National Weather Service expects wind speeds to die down again next week, city officials said Bay Ferries was less certain. The seaway closes next Friday, and Duffy said the ship would not sell over the winter months if it were stuck on Lake Ontario. "We do not want to be boxed in with the seaway closing," Duffy said.

The ferry project was more than four years in the making, and one of the most anticipated projects in Rochester's recent history. City, state and federal governments chipped in millions of dollars to buy the ship and build the terminal. The ferry was viewed as an economic engine for the city's struggling economy. Instead, the Rochester-to-Toronto venture drove one operator out of business and lost the city more than $10 million in 10 months last year.

Duffy, who pulled the plug after taking office this year, described the ferry's final day as a scramble, marked by hours of meetings that concluded with the ferry board gathering in special session in a second-floor City Hall conference room. The board, which oversaw operations during 2005, needed less than 20 minutes before voting unanimously to send the ship on its way. Duffy said he later called former Mayor William A. Johnson Jr., who had championed the ferry idea, and left a message to inform him of the developments. Johnson did not return phone messages seeking comment. Others from the Johnson administration declined comment.

"It's a sad day for the city," said Bill Nojay, one of the ferry's harshest critics, "because (the ferry's departure) represents failure, and a fairly public and embarrassing failure." Nojay is former chairman of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, which at one time entertained the idea of assisting with the ferry service. With the ferry now departed, he said: "It's time for the city to pick itself back up and move forward."

That won't be possible just yet. The city still owns the ship and still is paying its expenses. City Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards, who is negotiating the sale, said the city only learned about four days ago of the Shelburne port, where expenses to dock the ship are much cheaper than at the city-owned Port of Rochester. He estimated berthing expenses at $300 a day, but the big savings comes from lesser staffing requirements, cutting those expenses — wages alone were $28,961 in October — by one-third.

Latest financial snag
Euroferries has committed to reimbursing the city $100,000 to cover costs in moving the ship. As with all previous agreements, no money has been exchanged and payment is not due until closing. Officials said Euroferries' latest financial snag, announced one day after the mayor said it appeared the company's finances were in order, involves a new requirement from the company's financiers, this dealing with how the vessel is owned and controlled. At least three other bidders still could step in if Euroferries fails to close on the deal.

"To Euroferries' credit, they have been the most persistent," Richards said. "(But) we have been roundly disappointed in them a number of times." City Councilman and ferry board member Dana Miller said he "would have preferred to have gotten all the details in place and completed the sale before moving the boat." But he was comfortable with Euroferries' commitment.

Back in Rochester, the empty port and terminal building are now ready for rebirth. In brief remarks to the crowd that gathered at the port to bid the vessel adieu, Duffy several times stated he was confident that the private sector would someday operate a smaller ferry here. "For anyone who thinks this is a loss, a step backward, it is not," Duffy said. "Better days are ahead. We'll get a boat back here."

The ferry's temporary home in Shelburne is considered a warm-water port, and Nova Scotia is home base for Bay Ferries. Additionally, Shelburne is a short distance from Halifax, where the ship can be dry docked if inspectors decide any repairs need to be made. Richards noted a crack in the hull that was patched last year and cleared inspection earlier this year when the ship initially was cleared to travel to Europe. He said it is not certain to pass the same inspection again.

Once in Shelburne, the four crewmembers who have watched over the ferry while docked at the Port of Rochester will be out of a job. "That's the life of a mariner," Richards said.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Slows Again In October
Vessels’ Capacity Utilization Rates Slipping Too

12/23 - Cleveland---Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes in October again dipped below their level of a year ago. Loadings totaled 5.6 million net tons, a decrease of 90,000 net tons. The October total also was more than 200,000 net tons off the month’s 5-year average.

While steel production has slowed, the dredging crisis and falling water levels again limited operators’ ability to load vessels to their designed draft. Illustrative of the problem are the iron ore cargos carried by a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker during October. Although the vessel is designed to carry more than 71,000 net tons of iron ore each trip, its first load of the month totaled only 64,105 net tons. With water levels on Lake Superior in a near freefall, its next load slipped to 63,745 net tons. The vessel’s third ore cargo plunged to 62,972 net tons. Its final load of the month, 62,603 net tons, represented only 88 percent of its rated capacity.

The vessel is in a dedicated trade route. All four cargos were taken on at the same loading port and discharged at the same receiving port. Falling water levels and lack of adequate dredging are to blame.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 48.9 million net tons, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to both the same point in 2005 and the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe.

More information is available at

Reported by: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - December 23

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday had the refueling ship Hamilton Energy depart at 8 a.m. and return from Toronto at 3 p.m. The Atlantic Huron departed Stelco at 3 p.m. heading to the Welland Canal. Atlantic Erie departed JRI Elevators ( Pier 25 ) at 4:30 p.m. with wheat for Halifax. Tug Evans McKeil and barge Labrador Spirit arrived at 6 p.m. going to Pier 12 with the barge and the tug going to Pier 15.
The BBC Ems arrived in Hamilton at 6:30 p.m. with windmills from Southampton England. Because of the poor weather unloading will become a problem with the Seaway closing shortly. They were heard discussing using the crew to unload the windmill blades and possibly taking the remaining parts back to Montreal to unload.
Bornholm arrived at 8 p.m. from Detroit in ballast. Her next port is Norway.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
Canadian Transport, a frequent sight in Sandusky Bay of late, loaded Friday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Hamilton.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Thursday, barge St. Mary's Conquest and its tug Susan Hannah arrived in Milwaukee and inched upriver to deliver cement at about 2 p.m.
On Friday, barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander arrived in the inner harbor at about 8:20 a.m., turned and docked at the Heavy Lift dock, north of its usual berth at LaFarge. At nightfall, Integrity appeared to be inactive.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. There pair were still at the dock as of 11 p.m. Friday night.

Goderich - Jacob Smith
On Saturday, Algorail came in and now it is loading at Sifto salt.


Updates - December 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Michigan ballast water law takes maiden voyage; has legal implications for other states

12/22 - For the first time, a state plans to regulate ballast water beyond national standards. On January 1, Michigan Senate Bill 332 goes into effect.

Although the new law has raised legal questions about a state's right to regulate international commerce and provoked criticism from the shipping industry, it is lauded by some as an important step towards curbing the movement of aquatic invasive species.

"Commerce on navigable waters is typically the domain of the federal government, not state government," said Dale Bergeron, Minnesota Sea Grant's maritime transportation extension educator. "I suspect that the new ballast water law, if it isn't defeated in a legal challenge, could deter shipping traffic from Michigan's ports."

The Michigan bill mandates that all ships with ballast tanks that have floated on salt water and then expect to use Michigan ports must either keep their ballast onboard or use a state-approved method to treat the aquatic life in outgoing water. To show their compliance, each vessel must carry a $150 annual ballast permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

"Similar ballast laws are being considered in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana," said Bergeron. "What happens with the Michigan law will likely impact what these states attempt."

Bergeron consulted with staff at the National Sea Grant Law Center in Mississippi to evaluate the rights of a state regulating shipping. They concluded that although states have a right to protect their waters, an international ballast water treaty, four Congressional bills, and several clauses in the U.S. Constitution could preempt Michigan's ballast water law. Since many fleet operators would need to install new equipment, retrofit existing infrastructure, and train personnel to comply, legal challenges may cite that Bill 332 damages international commerce.

The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards shoulder the burden of keeping aquatic invasive species out of the Great Lakes. They require ocean-going ships carrying ballast water to either exchange the water offshore, or keep it onboard. Of the roughly 500 ocean-going vessels entering the Great Lakes in a year, about 90 percent are exempt from these regulations because they are cargo-laden and report no ballast onboard (NOBOB). NOBOB vessels must submit ballast water reporting forms and are encouraged to flush their ballast tanks mid-ocean (swish and spit) but they may still carry residual water or sediments into the

Great Lakes.
By ratifying Bill 332 two years ago, Michigan legislators indicated dissatisfaction with the efficacy of mid-ocean ballast flushing and endorsed four ballast treatment systems considered experimental by many experts.

Among Michigan ports, Detroit and Menominee could be most affected by the new law since they handle the majority of saltwater ships in the state. However, the number of ships is very small since most of the salties on the Great Lakes are bound for Canadian ports and terminals in other states. To date, no shipping companies have applied for a Ballast Water Control General Permit from Michigan -- although there is still time, since the ocean-going shipping season doesn't begin until late March.

A virus responsible for massive fish die-offs in the Lower Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway has fueled additional ballast water discussions across the Great Lakes. In November, Michigan requested that the federal government order an emergency ban on freighters filling their ballast tanks in waters where the VHS virus has been found. Shipping industry representatives fear that such a ballast ban would cripple shipping within the Great Lakes.

A copy of the National Sea Grant Law Center's ballast water white paper is available online:



Duluth's "new" crib washes ashore

12/22 - Duluth - There's a new attraction on the Duluth waterfront. It washed ashore just after Thanksgiving. City officials are trying to figure out what to do with it. It's a giant structure, an impressive reminder of Duluth's industrial past. But it could also present a liability problem.

Lake Superior's notorious northeasterly winds pelted Duluth for several days in late November. One morning, people noticed a wooden structure about the size of a three-car garage wedged into a bed of gravel just below Duluth's Lakewalk.

Apparently the winds and waves ripped it loose from the bottom of the lake, just outside the Duluth harbor. It probably weighs 40 or 50 tons. But no one knows yet what will become of this gigantic relic. Or who will pay for dealing with it. The Coast Guard says it's onshore, so it's Duluth's responsibility. The city attorney is looking into the records to try to figure out who really owns this piece of land: the city, the state, or perhaps the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

In the meantime, the city is a bit nervous about what will happen if someone climbed on it and injured themselves. Already, daring teenagers make a habit of diving from the concrete box that sits at an odd angle in the water just off Canal Park. That's another remnant of Duluth's early harbor that Lake Superior turned into history.

And there's more history out there, according to City Gardener Tom Kasper. "People will see, when they're out here kayaking on clear calm day, you can actually see some of these structures still in the water," he says. "There's still stuff out there besides this." Kasper says with a laugh that a whole museum could float ashore.

Maybe next time, people will know what to do with it.

From Minnesota Public Radio


Historical society ensures Harrisville lighthouse will keep shining

12/22 - Harrisville, MI - There's some light at the end of the tunnel for an old Alcona County lighthouse in danger of being shut down.

The U.S. Coast Guard has agreed to keep the beacon at Sturgeon Point shining until a local historical group can take over operation of the 136-year-old tower and its Fresnel lens light. The Alcona Historical Society plans to operate the lighthouse as a private aide to navigation. ''We would maintain it, and the tower and the property would be owned by the state (of Michigan),'' said Gordon Bennett III, president of the Alcona Historical Society.

The Guard decided earlier this year that the lighthouse was obsolete and the agency planned to turn it off. That sparked protest from Bennett and others, who said the light still helped small boaters and that the lighthouse was a tourist attraction.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources owns the light keeper's residence and surrounding property at Sturgeon Point, which is located about fives miles north of Harrisville and 25 miles south of Alpena. The Alcona Historical Society acts as a caretaker of the property under a lease agreement with the state and the Coast Guard. Plans call for the state to assume ownership of the 70-foot light tower, then lease it for 25 years to the Historical Society, Bennett said. The society has applied to operate the lighthouse from April 1 to Nov. 1 each year, he said.

Doug Sharp, of the Coast Guard's Cleveland District Office, said there are a number of property transfer issues to resolve before anything will happen, such as a soil cleanup around the tower due to the presence of lead-paint chips. Those issues aren't expected to jeopardize the lighthouse's operation before it gets new owners, he said Monday. ''We will not turn off that light, however long it takes,'' Sharp said.

The Coast Guard hopes to have the tower in the hands of the state sometime next year. The Times could not reach a DNR spokesman for comment.

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - December 22

Duluth - Dusty Bjornstad
The Duluth Shipping News is reporting that the Wilfred Sykes is expected to make a rare trip to Duluth. The Sykes is expected to arrive Superior at 06:00, on Tuesday, for Burlington Northern to load taconite.

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
Late-season shipping continues on the Saginaw River with recent visits by Agawa Canyon and Wolverine to docks at Saginaw.
Agawa Canyon arrived in the river on Wednesday and delivered a split load to the Buena Vista Dock at Zilwaukee and the Valley Asphalt Dock adjacent to the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw.
As the Agawa Canyon was departing late Wednesday evening, the Wolverine was upbound for the Saginaw Rock Products dock at Saginaw, with the two ships meeting at the Burroughs dock near the I-75 bridge. Wolverine unloaded overnight and was outbound from Saginaw early Thursday afternoon.
Strong currents which had caused difficulty for several vessels in the past week have subsided, and both the Canyon and the Wolverine were able to complete their turns in the Sixth Street basin within about 30 minutes.

Detroit/Rouge River - Nathan Nietering & Mike Koprowicz
Thursday was a busy day in Detroit's Rouge River. The Algomarine unloading a cargo of salt above the National Gypsum dock, across from the old Peerless Cement Co beside the Conrail Bridge. G tug Wyoming was tied up nearby. Around 4:00pm, the tug Wyoming tied onto the stern of the Algomarine, and they departed their dock through the Jefferson Ave. and Shortcut bridges for the Detroit River. Following their departure, the river was clear for two Interlake boats.
The steamer Kaye E. Barker had passed the Lee A. Tregurtha while down bound in the Detroit River., and led their twinned procession up the river for the Severstal Mill. They passed the Fort Street Bridge around 5:45pm. It is unclear if they will both unload at the Severstal ore dock simultaneously, or if one will hold back and wait for the first to unload.
The Maumee was making the Windsor Southwest Sales stone dock to unload a cargo there.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine made an early Friday morning entry into port and is loading at Sifto Salt.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Clipper Tobago arrived at 3:15 pm Thursday. Maritime Trader departed JRI Elevators ( Pier 25 ) at 5:00pm. Atlantic Erie moved from the anchorage to take the Maritime Trader's spot at JRI. Ocean Group tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 5:30 pm. The Atlantic Huron arrived at 7:30 pm with coal for Stelco from Sandusky.
The tug Jane Ann IV escorted by the tug Seahound because of steering problems arrived at 8:00 pm and went to the Heddle Dry Dock.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Cuyahoga came in about 10:20 on Wednesday. It unloaded at the D&M dock on Harbor Island and backed out about 2:00 am.


Updates - December 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Westcott Lay-up Photo Gallery

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Rochester Ferry Leaving Tonight at 6:30

12/21 - 2:32 pm - Rochester, NY — The City of Rochester has been advised by Bayferries Inc. that, due to approaching unfavorable weather on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the departure of the ferry needs to occur today in order to assure the ship leaves Rochester before the closing of the Seaway. The City has set the tentative time of departure as 6:30pm tonight.

The City had hoped for more notice of departure for the ferry, but weather conditions dictate a departure today. The city's ferry board will meet at 3:30pm this afternoon, and Mayor Robert Duffy has scheduled a news conference for 4:00 p.m. Exactly what will be discussed remains unclear.

"There will be a ferry board meeting, to my understanding, this afternoon," City Councilman and ferry board president Benjamin Douglas said. "I'm not sure there is an agreement yet, but there are things to consider."

City Hall officials described developments with the high-speed ferry sale as minute-to-minute today. Mayor Robert Duffy has said the sale to British-buyer Euroferries Ltd. is nearly complete and an announcement on when the ferry will depart could come as early as today. Duffy announced in May that Euroferries would buy the ship for $29.8 million.

Douglas deferred further questions to the administration. Administration officials were in meetings and could not immediately be reached for comment. Asked to clarify, Douglas continued: "I'm not sure the agreement is what's on the docket at this point. I'm not saying it is bad news. It's just very touch and go."

"Everything is falling into place," the mayor said yesterday. The deal had yet to be completed and no money had changed hands as of Wednesday evening, causing Duffy to leave open the possibility the ship still could stay the winter. But he said Euroferries has resolved matters with its financier, finally clearing the hurdle that has kept the upstart British company from closing on the $29.8 million sale.

City officials also confirmed that they have a contingency plan to take the ship to the Port of Halifax, Nova Scotia, should the deal not close before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes Dec. 29.

The ferry sailed into Rochester two years ago, heralded as an economic engine for the city's struggling economy. The 774-passenger vessel was likened to a cruise ship. But delayed startups in 2004 and 2005, limited marketing and other problems plagued the Rochester-to-Toronto service. The city took over the vessel last year and lost more than $10 million in 10 months.

Duffy decided to shut down the operation shortly after taking office last January. He announced the sale to Euroferries in May. City officials have blamed Euroferries' delay in closing the sale on the company's dissatisfaction with lending terms.

Duffy said Wednesday that the total payment due the city hasn't changed significantly. In addition to the $29.8 million sale price, Euroferries had pledged to reimburse the city $6,000 a day, dating from June 1, for maintaining the ship at the Port of Rochester. But when Euroferries failed to close the deal, the city reopened the bidding, calling the maintenance agreement — now worth more than $1 million — into question.

If the city cannot close the sale before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes, the ship could head to Halifax, said city spokesman Gary Walker. "We're not going to take it there unless we have a financial commitment here," Walker said. "We have to have the finances in place, locked down before we move the boat. But we are open to closing the deal in a warm-weather port, if we have a deal, so we can beat the seaway closing."

Walker said the ferry has a full crew on board, has been fueled and other preparations are completed. U.S. Coast Guard inspectors are scheduled to arrive this morning. The Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, which must have a pilot onboard monitoring the ship because it still sails under the Bahamian flag, is planning to send that pilot to Rochester today as well.

All this is part of a sequence of things that need to happen before the ship can depart, and still requires a few days, Duffy said. He estimated the deal is 85 percent complete. Walker said the administration would take any final agreement back to the city's ferry board. The city also is considering some type of public event to mark the ship's departure.

From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


Last Saltie Leaves Thunder Bay

12/21 - Thunder Bay - The last saltwater ship of the year is set to sail from the Port of Thunder Bay Wednesday, marking the end of the 2006 saltwater shipping season. The Federal Asahi will be loaded with over 20,000 tons of potash and heading to Spain and Italy.

General Manager of the Lakehead Shipping William Hryb says although the Port of Thunder Bay has struggled in recent years, cargo totals have rebounded in the past two seasons. He says the warm weather is also providing a boost creating a longer shipping season.

''It's been a trend that's been developing over the last few years, where it's been...where the season has been starting a lot earlier and ending a lot later. This has to do with the climate changes in the world, I would say.''

Hryb says while the longer shipping season is beneficial, the extremely low water levels cause some concern, adding the next season should start around April, depending on the weather and cargo sales. Federal Asahi will set sail on Wednesday, with an IMAX film crew on board to record video for a piece on the Great Lakes.

From the Thunder Bay Source


Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Slips in September
Light Loading Still the Order of the Day

12/21 - Cleveland---With steel production slowing, demand for iron ore on the Great Lakes reacted accordingly in September. Shipments totaled 6 million net tons, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were, however, on par with the month’s 5-year average.

Lack of adequate dredging again affected the efficiency of iron ore deliveries on the Lakes in September. The largest iron ore cargo loaded during the month totaled less than 65,000 net tons. When high water levels offset the shortfall in dredging in the late 1990s, the same vessel was able to carry nearly 71,000 net tons of iron ore in a single trip.

High water levels are, however, no longer a factor. Lake Superior’s water level has been in a virtual free fall and verges on shattering record lows set in 1925. Water levels on the Lakes normally decline in the fall, but the plunge on Lake Superior is almost without precedent.

As of the end of September, the Lakes iron ore trade stood at 43.3 million net tons, an increase of 5 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the first three quarters.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Mail Boat Enters Lay-up - Will Return to Limited Service Thursday

12/21 -  Detroit - The J. W. Westcott Co. ended their 111th season on Wednesday with the lay-up of the Westcott Fleet. In an unusual turn of events the Westcott II will be returned to limited service to support the Zug Island Water Taxi.

First vessel in the Westcott fleet to head to lay-up was the Pilot Boat Huron Maid. It departed the Westcott dock for lay-up in Port Huron around noon after a pilot change on the saltie Sonja Maya. Next to depart was the J.W. Westcott II.

This year's trip to the lay-up dock was the most pleasant in recent memory with warm temperatures and an ice free river. Recent seasons have seen the Westcott battle heavy ice conditions as the mailboat made its way to the lay-up dock at Gregory's Marina behind Belle Isle.

The Westcott made the short trip with temperatures near 50 degrees under command of Capt. L. Tanner. The trip was uneventful and ice free until the mailboat reached Gregory's marina where they found light ice in the marina. The Westcott II was met by Gregory's employees ready to hoist the mailboat from the water.

The Westcott II was pulled from the water and was followed Wednesday evening by the back up mailboat Joseph J. Hogan which laid up in the basin at Gregory's Marina and will be pulled on Thursday.

In an unusual turn of events the Westcott II will be returning to the water to work the water taxi run between the Westcott dock and Zug Island until sometime in early 2007. The water taxi service transports crew members from freighter's unloading at Zug Island to the Westcott Co. dock below the Ambassador Bridge. The ice free river and number of vessel's scheduled to unload at Zug made the extended schedule possible.

Westcott Lay-up Photo Gallery


Last Section Lifted Into Place for New Toledo Bridge

12/21 - Toledo - After years of work, the Veterans' Glass City Skyway hit a major milestone on Wednesday. Crews lifted the last pre-cast concrete sections into place, connecting the two sides of the bridge for the first time.

At a construction cost of $220 million dollars, the Skyway is the largest single construction project in ODOT history. When completed, the cable-stayed, precuts segmental concrete bridge will carry six lanes of Interstate 280 across the Maumee River in Toledo. It replaces the Craig Memorial Bridge, one of the few remaining drawbridges in the U.S. interstate system.

Construction on the span has been going on for years now, causing traffic tie-ups on both sides of the river. Wednesday morning, crews lifted the last sections into place, connecting the spans. "Today we'll be grabbing two segments from below and raising them up into position. At that point, they'll find the stray. Next couple of weeks, put last ten inches of concrete in and you'll be able to walk right across it," said Mike Gramza, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

But was there a chance the two sides wouldn't meet? "Oh, they're gonna match. We have adjustments with these cable stays," said Jerome Laub, an ironworker. "Either that or we'll have a big speed bump."

Reported by Alan Baker from


Ports of Indiana backing IMAX film on Great Lakes

12/21 - Portage, IN -- The Indiana Port Commission has agreed to co-sponsor a new IMAX film on the Great Lakes. Members of the commission, the governing board for the Ports of Indiana, agreed to participate in the project and will have the right to host screenings of the large-format film, said spokesman Jody Peacock.

The film, currently in production by Science North Large Format Films of Sudbury, Ontario, and scheduled for release in spring 2008, will follow several interlocking stories, including that of maritime commerce and the ships that move cargo through the waterways.

Geography, ecology, science and history will be featured as well as information on the Americans and Canadians who live on the Great Lakes.

The 40-minute film will have an international release, with special emphasis placed on showing the movie on IMAX screens in the Great Lakes region, co-producer Paul Globus said. Producers have not yet decided whether to include footage of Indiana ports in the film, he said. But Ports of Indiana officials are optimistic the state will be featured in the film, Peacock said.

"Indiana does more oceangoing shipping than any other port on the Great Lakes, and we handle 15 percent of all U.S. steel trade," Peacock said. Officials hope to screen the film at a new IMAX theater in Portage, he said.

Reported by Angie Williams from WAVE-TV5


Port Reports - December 21

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River must have only brought in a partial load of cement last night because she was gone from Buffalo Harbor and already downbound in the Welland Canal Wednesday morning.
The American Fortitude was unloading at General Mills at 11 a.m. Wednesday, judging from her draft readings, she seemed to be down by the stern quite a bit, with what looked like about another half day's worth of work to do before she'll be ready to go.
The first 3 turbine bases have been erected at the Steel Winds site behind the old Bethlehem Coke Ovens in Lackawanna. A long crane boom, at least 200 feet high was positioning another tubular base section this morning. The windmills are going to have a huge footprint along the lakefront skyline once completed.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine entered the harbour sometime through the night and was loading at Sifto Salt on a cool, clear Wednesday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Tuesday evening John B. Aird from Algoma Marine was berthed at General Cargo Terminal 4 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, delivering salt.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
Vessel traffic into Sandusky Bay continues at an accelerated pace this week.
On Monday, the Atlantic Huron loaded at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Hamilton, Ont. She followed in the wake of the Canadian Progress and the Canadian Transport.
Loading Tuesday was the H. Lee White, which delivered its cargo of coal to the Rouge.
Wednesday morning, the Adam E. Cornelius departed amid bright sunshine and warming temperatures for Wyandotte, Mich., arriving about noon.
Posted for arrival over the next 48 hours are the Canadian Transport and the Buffalo.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Wednesday saw the Canadian Transport depart at 3:45 p.m. for Sandusky. The Jadestar arrived at 6 p.m. with a cargo of jet fuel. 
Hamilton Energy departed at 6 p.m. The tug Gerry G arrived at 8 p.m. for winter lay up.  Captain Henry Jackman departed at 8:15 p.m. for Windsor. James Norris arrived at 10 p.m. for winter lay up at Pier 10.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday at sunset, the Calumet carefully made its way into the mouth of the Thunder Bay River. It unloaded a cargo of salt from Goderich, ON. This will likely be the last load of the season at the Alpena Oil Dock. The Calumet departed around 10 p.m. and was headed for Calcite.
The tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Wednesday evening to take on cargo. The Samuel de Champlain was also expected in port later in the night.
Manistee finished loading and departed Stoneport at 10 am on Wednesday morning.

Grand Haven - Nathan Leindecker
On Wednesday around 1 p.m., the Wilfred Sykes came into Grand Haven bound for the Verplanks dock in Ferrysburg with a load of stone. She left around 4 p.m. backing down the Grand River.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The American Mariner brought coal to Marquette's WE Power Plant on Wednesday. No boats were expected for ore.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The CSX Coal and Ore Docks will be closing down for the season late next week. As of now the Cason J. Callaway is scheduled to be the last coal boat of the
season arriving on Saturday.
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin is scheduled to be the last ore boat of the season on Wednesday, December, subject to change due to
dock or weather delays.
The Goviken was the last saltwater vessel of the season, she loaded grain at the ADM Elevator she departed around December 16th.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Leader arrived during the night Wednesday and tied up for the season at Pier 52. She has a storage cargo of raw sugar aboard.
The salty Scoter finished unloading sugar at Redpath Wednesday afternoon, and was assisted out of the slip by the Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and Jerry G.
CSL Tadoussac arrived around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday and went down the Turning Basin to unload a cargo of salt.


Job Openings at The Great Lakes Towing Company

12/21 - Cleveland - The Great Lakes Towing Company is now accepting applications for both day and evening Operations Dispatchers. If interested, please download our standard application at our corporate website (, attach a resume, and submit to:
Edward C. Hertz, Operations Manager, The Great Lakes Towing Company, 4500 Division Avenue. Cleveland, Ohio 44102-2228, or Email:

Job Title: Dispatcher / Operations Coordinator - General Job Description:
Schedule and coordinate flow of work. Dispatch tugboats to guide ships entering or leaving port and to tow barges. Select and schedule crews for tugboats and barges. Maintains records and prepares bills for services. May notify captain of tugboat of order changes via telephone or radio. May dispatch crews to tugboats to respond to emergency requests from captain. Track company and crew performance activities, and safety statistics.

Representative Duties:
Schedules and coordinates flow of work based on customer orders, establishes priorities and availability of personnel, equipment, and resources. Ensure tugs and barges are properly crewed and operated. Maintain records and prepare bills for services. Develop and monitor procedures and programs to track company and crew activities.

Skills and Abilities:
Computer Skills: Word, Excel, Access, Web-based Knowledge of maritime industry.
Ability to deal with others using courtesy, tact, and good judgment.
Maintain the confidentiality of all sensitive communications.
Ability to understand and execute complex oral and written instructions.
Ability to work independently with minimal or no guidance.
Ability to get along with office staff and vessel crew members.

Equipment and Machinery Used:
Computer, Fax Machine, Copier, Telephone, Radio Telephone

Job Conditions:
Once training is completed scheduled dispatchers work twelve (12) hour shifts, 3.5 to 4 days per week. Day Operations Dispatchers work 0600-1800 and evening Operations Dispatchers work 1800-0600.

Work Experience, Education, and Training:
Maritime experience, military experience, dispatcher experience, and/or four-year college education or equivalent experience.


Updates - December 21

News Photo Gallery updated, and more News Photo Gallery updates

Westcott Lay-up Photo Gallery

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 21

In 1987, the ASHLAND and THOMAS WILSON departed Quebec bound for a Taiwanese scrapyard. The tow line parted on 12/30 and the THOMAS WILSON sank on 12/31 off the coast of North Carolina. The ASHLAND was found 300 miles off course on January 2 1988. Due to sustained damage, the ASHLAND was resold to Columbian shipbreakers where she arrived in critically leaking condition on February 5 1988.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Mackinaw's buoy season ends; bring on the ice

12/20 - Cheboygan - The buoy-tending season has ended for the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw. The ship returned to Cheboygan at 9:00 p.m. Saturday after a quick trip into Lake Michigan, following a week-long journey to Saginaw Bay in lower Lake Huron.

“We were only here for about five hours Thursday, just long enough to unload the buoys we brought back from Saginaw Bay,” said Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's skipper. “Then we headed right back out to work Gray's Reef Passage on Friday.”

The Mackinaw completed its first-ever buoy run and now awaits its debut as an ice cutter. “Our crew has taken a few days off,” Little continued. “We'll take on fuel and water and begin prepping for ice season, which isn't far away. It was important for us to be on time to be ready for ice season.”

Little said the time off will be good for his team, with no guarantees that they will be in port for the holidays. “They were so proud,” he said. “They worked incredibly hard. It's a coordinated effort with all the buoy-tenders. We teamed with Alder and Hollyhock.

The Mac's captain said the focus now changes to the ship's role as an icebreaker. “The air temperatures have been unseasonably warm, but the water temps are cold,” he explained. “It won't take much for there to be ice. There have already been some reports of ice along the shores of the St. Mary's River. I would expect that we'll be busy between Christmas and New Year's but we'll get underway when the ice starts.”

Little said he wants to get his crew into areas they may be working before the time actually comes to do the job. “It would be great to get our drills in and see some ice before we have to assist ships,” he said. “We'll be ready to go when we're needed.”

The Mackinaw's crew will be back to work today, unloading the buoy deck and storing the marks for work crews who will service them in preparation for their return to the lakes in the spring. “They will check the electronics, the solar panels and paint them,” Little said. “They'll be ready to go for us to put them back.”

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Slight Rise In Lakes Coal Trade In November
Increase Not In Line With Other Trades

12/20 - Cleveland—Coal shipments on the Great Lakes in November rose 200,000 net tons compared to a year ago, but the increase was surprisingly small given that heavy weather kept the U.S.-Flag fleet at anchor more than 5,000 hours in November 2005. Other trades’ November totals have represented significant increases over a year ago, but high inventories have generally dampened coal shipments on the Lakes this year. In fact, the November 2006 total is nearly 9 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

The dredging crisis continued to affect the efficiency of coal deliveries. The largest coal cargo shipped from Lake Superior through the Soo Locks was 64,256 net tons, or only 94 percent of the vessel’s rated capacity. The problem was also evident on the lower Lakes. A U.S.-Flag Laker that carried more than 16,000 net tons from a Lake Erie coal dock to a Canadian customer in November 2005 was only able to lift 14,900 net tons when making the same voyage this November.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 37.7 million net tons, a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to a year ago. Only two of the seven coal loading ports are outpacing their 2005 levels: Superior, Wisconsin, and Sandusky, Ohio. The coal trade is also slightly behind its 5-year
average for the January-November timeframe.

From the Lake Carriers’ Association


DM&IR pays fine for air pollution from taconite dust

12/20 - Duluth - The Duluth Missabe and Iron Range Railway Co. has paid a $58,000 civil penalty for alleged air quality violations for unhealthy dust levels at the railroad’s Duluth and Two Harbors taconite facilities.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced the fine Monday, saying the company, now owned by Canadian National Railway, also has agreed to upgrade dust control measures.

The DM&IR moves taconite pellets from three Iron Range plants to docks in Duluth and Two Harbors for loading and shipment on the Great Lakes. The PCA said pellets can generate dust during the loading and unloading of railcars and ships. Air quality monitors at the Duluth and Two Harbors facilities recorded eight air quality violations because of high dust levels during 2005 and the first seven months of 2006.

It’s the sixth time since 2000 that the company has paid fines for air pollution violations at the two facilities, PCA officials said. DM&IR officials in Duluth could not be reached Monday evening.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Scientists explore land bridge, petrified trees in Lake Huron

12/20 - Pontiac, MI — Scientists hope to learn more about what the Great Lakes’ shorelines looked like about 10,000 years ago.

They explored a limestone land bridge that went from Alpena, Mich., to Goderich, Ontario — a distance of about 125 miles — and an underwater forest of petrified trees in Lake Huron. The 2006 research, in which more than 500 dives were made, is the subject of a documentary film, “Great Lakes, Ancient Shores, Sinkholes.” It premiered recently at the Cranbrook Institute of Arts in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the Oakland (Mich.) Press reported in a story published Monday.

Another study is planned for 2007 and should result in a second film, “Great Lakes, Ancient Shores,” said Luke Clyburn, lieutenant commander of the Great Lakes Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps and a Great Lakes ship captain. “What we are learning about the Great Lakes of several thousand years ago may change the way we think of this area,” Clyburn said. Clyburn and other scientists have been filming in the Great Lakes for at least 25 years.

There is a petrified forest in 40 feet of water in Lake Huron about two miles offshore from Lexington, Mich., he said. Some of the trees have been carbon-dated to indicate they are 6,980 years old.

The Straits of Mackinac, a passage between lakes Michigan and Huron, have been spanned by the Mackinac Bridge since the mid-1950s but didn’t exist several thousand years ago, Clyburn said. “Lake Michigan was much higher than Lake Huron, and the two did not join as they do today at the straits,” he said. But water from Lake Michigan seeped underground toward Lake Huron and the two bodies of water eventually became connected.

Reported by Frank Frisk from the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 20

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The American Fortitude arrived off Buffalo at 6:17 p.m. Tuesday.
The tug Sandra Mary made up her tow with the Derrick Boat #1 and departed Buffalo for Port Colburn at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Her captain told the Seaway dispatcher that he did not want a ship inspector called to meet him at the Welland Canal at that time because he did not know exactly how long it would take him to tow the #1 across the lake. They eventually arrived off Port Colborne at 4:35 p.m. Tuesday evening and proceeded in. Another unknown tug and barge departed Buffalo, again for Port Colborne at 4:45 p.m. that evening. They were soon followed by the tug Carl M. and her barge at 5:35 p.m.. All the contractor work tug and barge traffic was ordered by the Seaway to take their tows to Wharf 19 West for Seaway inspection before they would be allowed to transit the Welland Canal.
The English River was in the Welland Canal on Tuesday and is headed for Buffalo after departing Port Colborne.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee came in early Tuesday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. As soon as it finished unloading, it backed down river to the Construction Aggregates dock to load sand for Cleveland.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Tuesday evening John B. Aird from Algoma Marine was berthed at General Cargo Terminal 4 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, delivering salt.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Scoter is unloading raw sugar at Redpath.
Algosteel sits at Pier 27 waiting for Scoter to finish unloading.
Canadian Miner arrived in port on Sunday with a storage load of sugar. It is berthed at Pier 35 south - her crew has gone home.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine entered the harbour sometime through the night and is now loading at Sifto Salt on a cool, clear Wednesday morning.


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

12/20 - Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (BoatNerd.Com) is offering the chance to to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail.


Updates - December 20

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


A Historical Look Back
by Brian Wroblewski

There's been some recent interest regarding the notorious Barge #45 that hit the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River years ago. Here's a short summary from newspaper reports of the day.

On August 7th, 1986 the tug Ruth B. entered the upper Niagara River downbound with the 175-foot deck barge #45. The Virginia based tug boat captain Ronald Blaha was unfamiliar with the Black Rock Canal and decided to try and run the river on his way to Tonawanda. While maneuvering to pass through one of the arches of the Peace Bridge, swift currents caused the barge to hit an abutment. During the collision the Ruth B. capsized and sank while the barge became wedged between the bottom of the river and the bridge abutment.

The Army Corps and Coast Guard declared the wreck a hazard to navigation on August 12th, opening the door for a salvage operation. Part of the barge was left sticking out of the water against the bridge with just enough surface area to attach cables so a contractor was selected to remove the barge that September.

Salvage operations began on December 1st, 1986 and things got off to a rough start right from the get go. The salvage company towed a 7,000 ton, 250-foot long, lattice framed lift barge out into the Niagara River and positioned it in the fast moving water above the wreck site. A cable being used between the barge and a tug boat snapped while the pair were maneuvering which resulted in the lift barge drifting downriver and hitting one of the steel archways of the Peace Bridge.

Rising water levels from the two barges in the river, combined with East blowing winds caused the lift rig of the barge to become stuck on the Peace Bridge's steel framework. A large Coast Guard Sea King helicopter was called in to overfly the scene and survey the damage to the bridge.

The Peace bridge was immediately closed to vehicle traffic which resulted in large volume back ups at the other area border crossings and major headaches for commuters. Heavy steel cables anchored to nearby bridge abutments on the East side of the bridge were then used to pull the barge free over the next few days.

Salvage operations of Barge #45 were not completed until late December 1986 and were witnessed by many area residents from the shoreside of Buffalo and Canada. The local news media had daily coverage of the events, promoting some local entrepreneurs to set up hot dog stands near the river, with one vendor even selling "Barge 45" T-shirts. The overall cost to the taxpayers was $5.5 million with a $7,000 return on investment for the scrap value of the #45.


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.


USCG Withdraws Great Lakes Live Fire Proposal

12/19 - Cleveland - The U.S. Coast Guard announced today its decision to withdraw the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish 34 safety zones for live-fire training on the Great Lakes. The decision follows internal review, meetings with many community leaders, as well as nine public meetings, and numerous comments from the public and their elected representatives.

"The Coast Guard appreciates the thoughtful comments we received and we will work with the public to ensure the Coast Guard can meet any threat to public safety or security. We are committed to addressing the concerns that training be safe, preserve the diverse uses of the Lakes, and protect the environment," said Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District.

"As a native son of the region I take the Coast Guard's role as guardians of the Great Lakes very seriously. The Great Lakes are one of the nation's most precious resources. The current NPRM is unsatisfactory and I will take the time to get this right.

We will not conduct live-fire training on the Great Lakes to satisfy non-emergency training requirements unless we publish a rule, and I intend to reconsider the number, frequency of use, and location of water training areas as well as other concerns raised by the public. I am also committed to pursuing environmentally-friendly alternatives to the lead ammunition we currently use."

USCG News Release


Fast ferry will leave on Thursday

12/19/06 - 1:00pm Update - The Coast Guard was scheduled to inspect the ferry at 9:00am Thursday morning. That inspection will last 3 to 4 hours and if it passes, the ferry can depart immediately after. We know that Bay Ferries has tentatively booked a seaway pilot for Thursday morning. The ferry needs a pilot on board to navigate the seaway. We also know that the city and Bay Ferries have made arrangements to allow the ferry through the seven locks of the seaway. Homeland security regulations reportedly prohibit the seaway from telling us when the ferry is scheduled to go through.

Wednesday, WHEC-TV10 cameras captured crews moving equipment and tools on board the ferry. This is equipment that has been in storage for almost a year. The city says this is part of its preparation work. Its goal is to have the ferry ready to leave once a deal is done. The city would not confirm the information that indicates the ferry is leaving the city Thursday.

WHEC-TV10 sources say the ferry will go through the seaway and end up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. That means the ferry will be out of the seaway before it closes on the 29th. The city did admit that it is prepared to finalize a deal with the ferry in a different port. WHEC-TV10 sources tell us that could happen in Halifax.
from WHEC-TV10

City official says deal near on sale of high-speed ferry

12/19 - Original Article - Rochester, NY - City of Rochester officials are "very, very close" to having a deal for the beleaguered high-speed ferry and said the ship could leave the Port of Rochester by the end of the week. That would give the ship time to get to another port before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes on Dec. 29.

Gary Walker, the city's director of communication, stressed that a deal has not been reached, but said the city was at a "very critical point with a single buyer" and said Euroferries Ltd., a British company, remained the front-running candidate. "The boat is not going to go anywhere until we have finances locked down, a deal that we can live with," Walker said. "This has not been a harsh winter, but we don't want to keep tempting fate. We need to move sooner rather than later. If we get a deal ... we have to be able to move the boat as soon as possible."

Walker said workers on Monday were placing on the ferry tools and equipment that had been removed when the ship was decommissioned earlier this year. Preparatory work will continue, including lining up crew members and pilotage and assuring that inspections are up-to-date, Walker said. "We're not going to be the entity to hold this up," he said. "What would be a disaster is if we got the financing in place but the boat can't go, for whatever reason."

The city has three options with the ferry, Walker said: A deal is worked out and the buyer moves the ship. The city gets a financing commitment and moves the ship to a warmer port while the final details are worked out. The ship remains at the Port of Rochester all winter. Walker said the city prefers either of the first two options but is prepared to keep the ship in Rochester during the winter, if necessary.

Mayor Robert Duffy announced in May that Euroferries was buying the ferry for $29.8 million. Officials said at the time that former ferry manager Bay Ferries would handle delivery. However, city officials later said that Austal Ltd., the ferry's Australian builder, might handle those duties.

Austal has been making repairs to the ship, city officials have said, after discovering a small, above-water crack in the ship's hull.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


U.S.-Flag Fleet Benefits From Calmer Seas In November
Weather Idled Fleet More Than 5,000 Hours A Year Ago

12/19 - Cleveland—U.S.-Flag fleets moved 10.6 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in November, an increase of 11 percent compared to a year ago. However, the increase is primarily the result of fewer weather-related delays. Storms and high winds kept the fleet at anchor more than 5,000 hours in November 2005.

The better measure is the comparison with the month’s 5-year average, and in that regard, this November was up 1.8 percent.

Despite the upturn in cargo movement, the dredging crisis continued to weigh heavily on the industry. Water levels are plunging on Lake Superior and loads reflected that. The largest coal cargo shipped from Lake Superior through the Soo Locks was 64,256 net tons, or only 94 percent of the vessel’s rated capacity. The iron ore trade from Lake Superior fared worse. The largest iron ore cargo in November totaled only 63,627 net tons.

Lack of adequate dredging impacted cargo movement throughout the system. For example, a U.S.-Flag Laker that carried more than 16,000 net tons from a Lake Erie coal dock to a Canadian customer in November 2005 was only able to lift 14,900 net tons when making the same voyage this November.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 99.7 million net tons, an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the same point in 2005. The U.S.-Flag float is 5.5 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

From Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports - December 19

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Coast Guard buoy tender replaced the buoys just inside the North entrance this am. The Coast Guard was celebrating at the base this morning by shooting many flares up into the sky. Some were very bright.
Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. the Alpena came through the North entrance with the New Jersey at her stern acting as a rudder, heading for LaFarge.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
This past weekend had Mississagi loading at Sifto Salt Saturday night, then shifting over to the new harbour dock for some reason.
Algorail was next in Sunday morning and Canadian Olympic early Monday morning.
Two early Tuesday morning visitors to Sifto Salt. First in was Calumet, who did a quick four and a half hour load, then Algoway who shifted over from the new harbour and is now loading.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday morning Agawa Canyon was delivering salt at the bulk cargo dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
On Monday afternoon American Victory entered the Milwaukee breakwater at about 2:30 p.m. and proceeded upriver to the WE Energies dock, where it unloaded coal.

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Cason J. Callaway made a rare trip to Escanaba for ore on Monday.
The tug Victory is in Escanaba tied up at the power plant near the ore dock.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
Sister ships Canadian Progress and Canadian Transport loaded at Sandusky's Norfolk Southern coal dock Sunday and Monday. Both sailed for Hamilton, Ont.
The Canadian Progress cleared Sandusky Bay Sunday afternoon and was followed about 24-hours later by the Canadian Transport.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Mississagi arrived in port around 7:15 a.m. on Monday with a load of salt from Goderich, ON. It added more onto the already large pile of salt at the Alpena Oil Dock. The Mississagi backed away from the dock before 11 a.m. to head out into the bay, and seems to be running well.
Later in the afternoon, fleetmate Cuyahoga was inbound for Lafarge. It tied up at the coal dock and swung out the boom into the storage hopper to unload cargo. The Cuyahoga is decorated with some Christmas lights.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River early Monday morning calling on the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City. She completed her unload during the afternoon, turned off the dock and was outbound for the lake. As the Calumet gave her security call outbound past the pump-out Island in the Saginaw Bay, she stated they would be conducting a fire boat drill.

Vessel Name Change - René Beauchamp
In the last week the chemical tanker Botany Treasure changed name and registry in the Port of Montreal. She was renamed Clipper Tobago and under that new name, she departed for Hamilton Sunday morning.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Federal Rhine departed at 3 p.m. The Quebecois arrived back in the harbor at 3:15 p.m. after cleaning holds in the lake and went to Pier 10 for winter lay up. Thalassa Desgagnes arrived at 6 p.m. with bunker from Quebec City. Her next port is Montreal.


Updates - December 19

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Coast Guard Suspends Work on Grounded Tug

12/18 - Grand Marais, MI – Operations for the tug Seneca were suspended Saturday night due to high winds and heavy sea states that were experienced on scene. Responders arrived safely in the Sault early Sunday morning.

With the limited time available on scene, responders were able to remove additional waste oil from the vessel, prior to departing for the Sault.

The Coast Guard has not given up on its attempt to free the tug Seneca; however, operations are limited to 24 hours of favorable weather conditions.

The Coast Guard will continue to assess the best possible strategy for removing the tug from the beach and will resume operations as soon as favorable weather conditions permit.

The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the situation and adjust actions accordingly.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - December 18

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The David Z. Norton came into port about 4:30 p.m. Sunday and proceeded bow first to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg where it unloaded slag. About an hour later the Wilfred Sykes backed in to the same dock, stern to stern with the Norton, and proceeded to unload stone. It is rare to have two boats at the same local dock. They made quite a sight silhouetted against the night sky.

Prescott - Ron Beaupre
Catherine Desgagnes departed Prescott Elevators Sunday morning at 11 a.m. after taking on a load of grain overnight.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Steve Hause
The Saginaw River continues to be a tough place to navigate as problems for vessels continue. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber departed the Saginaw Rock Products dock late Saturday night. It took the pair nearly three and a half hours to complete their turn at the Sixth Street Turning Basin due to unusually strong currents in the river. Once she finally made her turn and the pair was headed downriver, they experienced a problem near river buoys 45 & 46. It was reported to the Coast Guard that the Moore had lost rudder control. The Captain, with much seamanship and skill, was able to get the tug and barge into the Airport Turning Basin trying to keep from blocking the channel. As of 11 a.m. Sunday morning, the Moore and Kuber were still in the Airport Turning Basin making repairs. US Coast Guard Sector Detroit has been running a Notice to Mariners to use caution in that area of the Saginaw River due to the Moore & Kuber blocking the channel.

Saginaw River Update - Todd Shorkey
Sunday evening brought an inspection from the US Coast Guard and some difficulty turning in the Airport Turning Basin, but the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber were finally on their way out of the Saginaw River after a long two days of misfortune. The pair were outbound through the Bay City bridges after 8 p.m.
The Manistee arrived early Sunday morning to unload at the Sargent dock in Essexville. She completed her unload and was outbound Sunday afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday the saltie Daviken departed at 6:30 a.m. with soy beans from JRI Elevators at Pier 25 for Sorel Quebec. The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 arrived at 11 a.m. Tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 departed at 2:15 P.M. for Sault St. Marie Ontario. The tugs Glenevis and Paul E departed at 3 p.m. and were heading to Toronto to assist the Canadian Miner. Quebecois arrived at 5:30 p.m. going to Dofasco Dock 1 with iron ore pellets. Tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrived at 6:30 p.m.

Quebec City - Bruno Boissonneault
A sure sign of the end of the lake shipping season is the loading of the last loads of Sugar bound for winter storage to Toronto. This year the main loading port for imported cargoes of sugar shipped through lake vessels was Quebec City. Canadian Miner took her storage load and departed Quebec on Friday for Toronto.
Algosteel departed Quebec on Saturday also for Toronto and Sunday sees Canadian Leader loading and should leave this afternoon.
Canadian Leader's berth will be immediately taken by the awaiting Canadian Provider at Wolfe's Cove section 105. All but Algosteel's load will probably be discharged over the winter as the Redpath refinery's stock is used-up.
Deep sea ships started calling Quebec City this season at their maximum draught and would just lighter up in Quebec before proceeding up the seaway to Toronto to discharge. The raw sugar would be stockpiled on the dock and lake vessels would come and pick-up a load every now and then. This season Algosteel loaded 8 such cargo, Algosoo, Canadian Miner, Leader and Provider also loaded one load each.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Sunday evening tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation unloaded cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor.


Updates - December 18

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 18

In 1921, Ninety-four vessels were laid up at Buffalo with storage grain when a winter gale struck. The 96 mile-per-hour winds swept 21 vessels ashore and damaged 29 others. Three weeks were required to restore order to the Buffalo water front.

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, Russ Plumb, 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 17

Port Huron/Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Reports of Mississagi being laid up for the season appear to be premature. At 9:00pm Saturday she is up bound, in Lake Huron, above buoys 11 & 12.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Algontario departed for Thunder Bay on Friday.

South Chicago/Indiana Harbor - Steve B.
The south end of Lake Michigan was quite busy during the afternoon hours on Saturday. The St. Marys Challenger was spotted in the Calumet River off of 130th St, and appeared to be laid up.
Over at 106th St, the Philip R. Clarke was unloading stone at Marblehead, while on the other side of the channel the Cason Callaway was finishing up loading at Beemsterboer.
Out in the Lake, just off Calumet Harbor, the James Barker was seen heading towards Mittal. She "hung on the hook" for a couple hours while waiting for the Joseph Block to finish up at Mittal and depart.
Around 2:30pm, the Herbert C. Jackson arrived at Calumet Harbor, with the Wolverine arriving about 20 minutes later. Both were headed for KCBX. The Jackson went straight down the river while the Wolverine spun and received an assist from the G tug South Carolina.
By 3:30pm the Block was leaving Indiana Harbor making room for the Barker.
The Cason Callaway was in the river channel above Marblehead with the Philip Clarke in line behind her, waiting for the Jackson and Wolverine to clear before heading out to the lake.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River early Saturday morning. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The Moore & Kuber departed Saginaw Rock at 10:45pm Saturday to turn at Sixth street and head outbound for the lake.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Vega Desgagnes arrived at 11:00 am going to Pier 12 with diesel fuel.
The Cuyahoga departed at 2:00 pm for the Welland Canal.
The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 7:00 pm with a cargo of coal tar.


Updates - December 17

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Grounded Tug to be Returned to the Soo

12/16 - Grand Marais, Mi – The Coast Guard and environmental response contractors continue pollution response operations for the Tug Seneca.

Weather conditions, earlier this week, forced the Coast Guard and environmental response contractors to suspend pollution response operations for the Tug Seneca. During that period, pollution responders assessed the effectiveness of past actions and made preparations for future response operations.

Future operations will encompass four stages of action. The first stage calls for responders to access the interior of the vessel to safely remove as much product as possible. The second stage will assess the vessel's watertight integrity and ability to float.

During the third stage, a trench will be dug from the vessel to a water depth safe for re-floating. The fourth stage calls for the tug to be towed from its current location back to Sault Ste. Marie. Once the vessel arrives in the Sault, the vessel will be returned to the owner.

The current operational plan takes into consideration personnel safety and environmental concerns. The plan will reduce the amount of time personnel and equipment will operate in an exposed portion of Lake Superior. In addition, the removal of the tug will prevent further environmental concerns.

The Coast Guard and contractors will continue to monitor the situation and adjust actions accordingly.

USCG News Release


October's steel shipments slip slightly from last year

12/15 - Duluth - Steel shipments in October from U.S. mills slipped slightly compared to a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

U.S. steel mills in October shipped 8.7 million net tons, a 1.3 percent decline compared to 8.8 million net tons shipped in October 2005.

October shipments were 5.1 percent down from 9.1 million net tons shipped in September 2006.

On a year-to-date comparison, shipments in 2006 are up compared to 2005 to automobile manufacturers (4.2 percent); construction products (12 percent); oil and gas producers (11.5 percent); tool manufacturers (6.4 percent); and for electrical equipment (19.3 percent). Shipments are down to appliance, utensil and cutlery producers (5 percent).

From the Duluth News Tribune


Lake Superior slide brushes new record territory

12/16 - Detroit - November water levels on the three Upper Great Lakes continued to run from well below average to near-record territory, according to the Corps of Engineers. In its Monthly Bulletin of Lake Levels for the Great Lakes, the Corps said Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron were significantly below the seasonal average at the end of November.

The largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, fell a full 17 inches below its long-term average for the start of December - rivaling Lakes Huron and Michigan, which were 19 inches below their norm. While Lake Superior's water level has run below its average for several years, the Big Lake has been running six inches or less under the norm while Lakes Michigan and Huron flirted with two feet. That changed this summer and fall, when a continuing drought on the Lake Superior watershed drove water levels into the same range as the two Great Lakes below.

In November, for example, precipitation across the Lake Superior watershed was less than half its 100-year average. Corps hydrologists estimate that more water evaporated from Lake Superior than ran into it from tributary streams around its watershed. Over the last 12 months, the report said Lake Superior region rainfall has been just 83 percent of its 100-year average and was running a full 5.14 inches below average when December began.

Water levels on Lakes Huron and Michigan were still lower, compared to their historic averages, than Lake Superior in November. Rainfall levels around those lakes were less than half an inch below average. Over a 12-month period, rainfall in the watershed feeding Lakes Michigan and Huron was slightly higher than the long-term average, resulting in lake levels that are still low but falling at essentially the same rate as seasonal variations would predict.

The two lakes continue to run about one foot or slightly less above their long-term low levels, set in 1964.

Lake Superior, meanwhile fell to within a fraction of an inch of a new record low in October and repeated that reading in November. Record low water levels on Lake Superior for October, November and December were set in 1925. Falling more rapidly than the seasonal average predicts, Lake Superior began its steep slide in August and that decline has continued in each month since.

Most water level experts tie Great Lakes levels almost directly to rainfall over the respective watersheds. Evaporation and winter ice cover modify the rainfall relationship in different ways, changing the impact on lake levels that would be predicted by precipitation alone.

Lower water levels across most of the Great Lakes region complicate year-to-year adjustments by shoreline property owners and create lower draft limits on navigable waterways for commercial shipping.

Not all Great Lakes water bodies monitored by the Corps were nearly as low as the three Upper Great Lakes last month. Lake St. Clair ran just a few inches below its long-term average last month and both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario were appreciably above their long term averages, according to the Corps data.

From the Soo Evening News


Gull Rock, Manitou Island lighthouses receive grants

12/16 - Keweenaw County — Two Lake Superior lighthouses were among eight receiving $233,000 in grants from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program Tuesday.

The Gull Rock Lightkeepers received $40,000 for new roofs on the lighthouse and detached outhouse on the Gull Rock Lighthouse, while the Keweenaw Land Trust received $3,400 to repair and replace the Manitou Island Light Station’s fog signal building windows.

Money for the program, administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, is funded by proceeds from the sale of the “Save our Lights” license plate. To apply for the grant, groups must first raise 50 percent of the matching funds.

Gull Rock lighthouse, 15 miles east of Copper Harbor, was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

“We’re obviously elated,” said Gull Rock Lightkeepers Executive Director Peter Annin. “For more than a year now, we’ve been working on raising enough money to replace the roof, and this was really the cornerstone that we needed to pull the trigger on hiring a contractor to do the work on Gull Rock next year.”

The Lightkeepers spent spring and summer raising the necessary matching funds, including a $5,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which Annan said functioned as “a pump-priming grant that would spur on other donations.”

An additional $15,000 came in between May and August, including $10,000 from the National Architectural Trust. The rest came in from grassroots donations, which were concentrated in the Great Lakes regions, but came from as far away as Colorado and Florida.

“In the last 12 months, we’ve raised $60,000 for Gull Rock,” Annin said. “You’ve got this little lonely lighthouse that’s been neglected for the last several decades, and now this really symbolizes a major rebirth for one of the most picturesque lighthouses in all of the Great Lakes.”

U.P. Engineers & Architects is “90 percent” done with drawings and cost estimates for the work, Annin said. Those will be submitted to Gull Rock and the state in the coming weeks. Construction bids will probably take place this spring, with work beginning in late spring or early summer.

“It’s a start,” Annin said. “We have a lot of restoration work ahead of us, but it’s a great first step for Gull Rock and people who care about restoring lighthouses in the Great Lakes.”

Both Gull Rock and Manitou Island are getting their second grants through the program. Gull Rock received a $6,700 grant last year for plans and specifications for roof replacement and patching, while Manitou Island received a $10,400 award in 2004 for a condition assessment report. Manitou Island’s money this year will go towards the fog signal building, built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration. The grant will provide new windows, as well as removable protection for the windows, allowing them to breathe. The plywood casing previously over the windows had trapped moisture inside, destabilizing the building.

“It just covers the cost of transportation and buying materials to button that window up so it’s not exposed,” said Joe Kaplan of the Keweenaw Land Trust. “It’s a modest grant, but it’ll go a long way to help prevent any further deterioration of the building.”

Construction will take place between mid-May and September. As only one charter goes out to the island, trips will be coordinated with the Copper Country Audubon Society.

Work on the building will include replacing the drywall within the building with plaster, which will also improve ventilation.

Kaplan praised the Michigan Lighthouse Association for the program. “It’s a lifesaver for groups like us,” he said.

From the Daily Mining Gazette


Second DeTour Reef Light Deck Crane Project

12/16 - Drummond Island, MI - The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) has received a grant from the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program (MLAP) to replicate the second deck crane at the DeTour Reef Light. The $30,000 grant award for fiscal year 2007 requires matching funds of $15,000 from the DRLPS.

The first crane restoration which began in 1999 was funded by a similar grant thru MLAP and was the first restoration project undertaken by the DRLPS. The grant application to restore the deck crane on the lighthouse was submitted by Jeri Baron Feltner and was completed in August, 2001 by L&B Builders of Drummond Island. Chuck Feltner was project director.

Large pieces of the original crane and the builder’s plate were discovered underwater near the lighthouse by divers Mike Spears, Chris Pemberton, Garey Eilertson, and Dock Borth and were used in the construction of the first crane. DeTour High School students, along with their teachers Brian Nettleton and Russ Norris, assisted in computer design drawings of the crane.

The new second deck crane grant application was submitted by Clif Haley and the project director is Don Gries, both DRLPS volunteers. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2007. ”The DRLPS is excited to be able to restore the second deck crane. We are grateful for the MLAP funding and appreciate the support of the State Historic Preservation Office,” said Don.

MLAP, administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, is funded by proceeds from the sale of the State’s "Save our Lights" specialty license plates. Lighthouse grants are given to state and local governments or nonprofit organizations that are maintaining or restoring lighthouses. Recipients must provide 50 percent of the grant award as matching funds. Since the establishment of the program by the Michigan Legislature in 1999 to assist local groups in preserving and protecting lighthouses, more than $985,000 has been awarded. The grant program arose from a concern about the disposal of over two-thirds of the lighthouses in Michigan by the U.S. Coast Guard and was established to assist in the preservation, rehabilitation and protection of these lighthouses.

To learn more about the DeTour Reef Light organization visit


Port Reports - December 16

Calcite - Ben & Chanda McClain
CSL's Frontenac made a rare visit to Calcite on Friday. It backed in and docked around noon to take on cargo. The Frontenac had been anchored until the Pathfinder departed.

Ogdensburg - Ron Beaupre
Kapitonas A. Lucka is loading cargo at the Port of Ogdensburg on Friday afternoon.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Michipicoten arrived at Marquette Friday afternoon for a load of ore. Unseasonably warm weather has the area free of snow.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River with a split load on Thursday. She stopped at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to lighter before heading up to the Wirt dock in Saginaw to finish. Manistee turned in the Sixth Street turning basin with the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch and was outbound for the lake Friday afternoon.

Hamilton - Phil Nash & Eric Holmes
Algontario departed Hamilton on Friday for Thunder Bay.
The Halifax departed at 3:00 pm for Sept. Iles Quebec.
The Maritime Trader departed at 3:15 pm with wheat for Sorel Quebec.
The Montrealais departed Dofasco at 5:30 pm.
The refueling ship Hamilton Energy spent the afternoon out in the Burlington Bay anchorage bunkering the Brovig Fjord and them moved off of Oakville when that was completed to bunker the Emerald Star .

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Saturday American Mariner was delivering coal to the WE Energies Dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
Buoy tender Alder was berthed near the Coast Guard station, west of the ferry dock.


Updates - December 16

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 16

In 1949, the tow line between the tug JOHN ROEN III and the barge RESOLUTE parted in high seas and a quartering wind. The barge sank almost immediately when it struck the concrete piers at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Eleven crew members, including Captain Marc Roen, were safely taken off the barge without difficulty.

In 1973, the Litton Industries new 1000 foot tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE, Captain William E. Jeffrey, departed Erie, Pennsylvania on her maiden voyage. She loaded a record 51,038 tons of pellets at Two Harbors, unloaded at U.S. Steel Gary Works on December 26, and headed to Erie for layup.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Great Lakes Dossin Museum on Belle Isle Closing for Renovations

12/15 - Detroit - The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle is closing temporarily on Dec. 30 for a 12-week makeover.

Managed by the Detroit Historical Society, the maritime museum's $100,000 makeover will include new signage, lighting, carpeting, flooring, two new exhibits and upgrades to existing exhibits. Historical Society Executive Director, Bob Bury says the Historical Society raised the money for the renovations through fundraisers and public and private donations. Open in 1961, the last museum upgrade was over five years ago Bury says.

The museum, which is open on the weekends and by appointment only, holds exhibits on historical maritime-related artifacts, photographs and stories, such as the Edmund Fitzgerald, and is also used for special events, such as weddings and meetings. Bury says the museum may be utilized during the Detroit Indy Grand Prix that is coming back to Belle Isle next summer.

Bury hopes the makeover is not only a plus for the museum but for Belle Isle as well. "When the Detroit Historical Museum re-opened, a lot of people said they didn't know the cultural center was so nice," says Bury. "We hope people who come to Belle Isle will have the same experience."

People who have not been to Belle Isle in years or who have never been because of negative image of Detroit should come and see what the island as to offer, Bury says. "I often tell people that Belle Isle is cleaner than it ever has been and safer than it has ever been," he says.

The public will be treated to a free grand re-opening on March 24.

From the Detroit News


Port Reports - December 15

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Duluth and Superior were busy Thursday as vessels and crews enjoyed unseasonably mild weather. After last week’s cold snap froze the harbor, temperatures this week have climbed into the 30s each day, melting some harbor ice and allowing easy loading at a time of year when the temperature could easily be 50 degrees colder.
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal in the morning.
Mesabi Miner arrived later in the morning and stopped to fuel at the Murphy Oil terminal.
As the Miner left the fuel dock to proceed to the DMIR ore dock to load, its place was immediately taken by American Century, which arrived in port about noon. The Century was scheduled to load coal after the McCarthy departed.
Elsewhere, Goldeneye appeared to be loading bentonite at the Hallett dock and Federal Oshima was loading at the AGP elevator.
BBC France was expected to arrive late at night. It will dock at the port terminal to load an electrical module about the size of a house trailer that was made in Canada and is being shipped to Iceland. The module will ride as deck cargo.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
On Wednesday, the Steamer Halifax loaded at the dock, departing during the evening for Hamilton, Ont.
The John J. Boland motored along the inner channel in bright sunshine Thursday morning and began loading at the Norfolk Southern coal dock.

Thunder Bay - Andy Ellam
Boat watchers in Thunder Bay got a rare opportunity today to see something that doesn't happen more than once annually. The Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. boat Saginaw delivered limestone to the Bowater mill on the Kaministiquia River. Cutting through approximately six inches of ice and navigating the winding river, the Saginaw squeezed through the swing bridge downstream from the mill and struggled to negotiate the bend in the river hampered by the ice, finally arriving at the mill around 2:00 p.m. The tug Glenada came out to assist in breaking the ice near the mill and to help the boat to the dock. Many people were out filming the event.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity returned to service earlier in the week and has been delivering to various Lake Michigan ports. The Alpena was in port on Tuesday night and loaded for Green Bay. The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation is expected back from Saginaw sometime on Friday.
Stoneport has been a busy place, the Manistee was loading on Thursday morning. The John G. Munson was waiting at anchor and docked later in the day. The Olive Moore/barge Lewis J. Kuber and Kaye E. Barker are on schedule for Friday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon came into port through the night and is now loading at Sifto Salt Friday morning.


Updates - December 15

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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.


Tugboat Salvage on Hold

12/14 - Sault Ste. Marie - U.S. Coast Guard officials are watching the weather, waiting for their next window of opportunity to resume salvage operations on a grounded tug, located west of Crisp Point in Luce County. "The way the weather looks right now, it doesn't look like we'll be able to get out there for the next three or four days", William White, a public affairs officer with Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, said today.

Looking for calmer seas to continue their salvage efforts of the tugboat Seneca, Coast Guard-directed salvage crews were unable to do any work Tuesday because of weather-related concerns.

On Monday, the Coast Guard and environmental response contractors were able to safely remove an additional 15 percent of the environmental hazards from the tug, which was grounded after breaking away from another boat on December 3. So far, pollution response efforts have resulted in the removal of about 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel oil, 25 gallon of paint and 30 gallons of lube oil from the 94-foot Seneca, which is owned by the Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, Minn.

Bad weather Monday afternoon forced crews to suspend salvage efforts. Coast Guard officials said weather conditions exceeded safe operating capabilities of the spud barge, which is used to transfer product from the tug to the proper storage containers. Any continued efforts to retrieve additional petroleum product, under the current and forecasted weather conditions, would be considered hazardous to work crews and the barge, the Coast Guard said in a release late Monday.

The 88-foot tugboat Susan Hoey, which is also owned by the Zenith Tugboat Co., was attempting to tow the Seneca to Duluth when high seas pushed up by a sudden storm put the crew and both vessels in peril. Before reaching Grand Marais, the unmanned Seneca's tow rope was cut and the tugboat was set adrift. It was found east of Grand Marais the next day, grounded not far offshore in about 4 feet of silt.

The Coast Guard will continue to monitor the Seneca's status and assess the best course of action with regards to the vessel and the remaining petroleum products.

White said today that crews are not sure how much salvage work remains involving the Seneca.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Fewer Weather Delays Boost November Stone Trade
Fleet Lost More Than 5,000 Hours Last Year

12/14 - Cleveland - A comparatively calm November weather-wise allowed limestone shipments on the Great Lakes to soar by 28 percent compared to a year ago. The 4.1 million net tons shipped in November also represent an increase of 7.5 percent compared to the month's 5-year average.

The surge compared to a year ago is the result of fewer weather-related delays. U.S.-Flag Lakers were idled by storms and high winds for more than 5,000 hours in November 2005.

For the year, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 35.7 million net tons, a slight increase over the same point last year. Compared to the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe, 2006 shipments are up by 1.6 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Seaway Reports Increased Traffic and Volume

12/14 - St. Catharines - The St. Lawrence Seaway reported a 10% increase in cargoes traveling the Seaway between the Welland Canal and Montreal for the year-to-date ended November 30. A total of 42,780,000 tons moved through the canal in 2006, compared to 38,839,000 tons in 2005.

The largest increase was recorded in grain shipments which were up 22.5% to 10,302,000 tons. On the other hand, iron ore cargoes grew only 1% to 10,165,000 ton.

The number of Seaway transits increased by 6% for the period, from 3,959 in 2005 to 4,188 this year.


Milwaukee Port Closes in on Record Year Despite Neglect
Around Great Lakes, channels and breakwaters suffer maintenance delay

12/14 - Milwaukee - When the last oceangoing ship of the year steams out of the Port of Milwaukee this week, bound for northern Minnesota and Europe, it ought to be reason to celebrate. The port is poised to have a record year, handling 3.8 million tons of cargo from about 300 ships. But, like other Great Lakes ports, it is threatened by issues that could undermine the region's economic vitality.

Some ports have turned away heavily loaded vessels because the shipping channels were too shallow. That's bad for local economies that depend on ship-delivered cargo, and it puts additional strain on railroads and highways.

In Milwaukee, the Lake Michigan breakwater has deteriorated over time, raising concerns about its ability to protect the docks and lakefront developments such as the Milwaukee Art Museum. The breakwater is not in danger of collapsing, but some sections are in poor shape, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Other breakwaters on Lake Michigan have collapsed, resulting in emergency situations.

The Corps requested $1.7 million in federal money to dredge the port and make repairs on the breakwater. But the Bush administration cut that funding entirely, said Eric Reinelt, Port of Milwaukee director. That's a problem for the port and the lakefront, he said.

Green Bay's port needs about $5 million for dredging to restore the shipping channel to adequate depths. That's following about 10 years of abuse and neglect because of a lack of funding, according to port officials. "We are actually losing cargo as the result of our shallow channel conditions. A lot of our salt-water vessels are either having to come in with significantly lighter loads, or they're not coming here," said Dean Haen, Green Bay port manager.

Hundreds of millions of tons
Collectively, Great Lakes ports handle hundreds of millions of tons of cargo a year, including commodities such as salt, coal, steel, cement, iron ore, wood pulp, fuel oil and liquid asphalt. They also handle manufactured products such as wind turbines and mining machines.

Wisconsin's 15 commercial ports, including two on the Mississippi River, transport more than 44 million metric tons of cargo a year and support more than 11,000 jobs. At least 16 million tons of coal per year are loaded onto ships at Superior for delivery to eastern Great Lakes cities.

The ports are a leading indicator of the region's economy. Mostly, they've had a good year - with tonnage up at most locations not dependent on the automotive industry. "Compared with 2005, I think that we are holding our own," Reinelt said about Milwaukee. "And 2005 was our best year since 1970. To beat it would be astounding, but so far we are remarkably on track."
Among U.S. Great Lakes ports, Milwaukee ranks No. 5 for overall tonnage shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway. In terms of grain exports, Milwaukee ranks No. 3 behind Duluth, Minn., and Toledo, Ohio. The port also imports large amounts of concrete and steel used by area manufacturers and building contractors.

"We are a huge beneficiary of the Oak Creek power plant expansion," Reinelt said. "It's astounding where all of this stuff is coming from. We have gotten shipments from Vietnam, South America and Europe."

Great Lakes ports have benefited from a railroad car shortage that's diverted cargo their way. In Milwaukee, the shortage has resulted in several hundred thousand more tons of cargo over the last couple of years. "We picked up additional grain because the rail rates were higher this year," Reinelt said. "Another thing that's helped us is the barge rates on the Mississippi River are much higher. A lot of barges were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Freight rates went up after the hurricane and haven't come back down."

Green Bay's port has broken tonnage records the last three years. It will probably set another record this year with about 2.6 million tons of cargo handled. "It seems like everyone has had a fantastic year," said Haen, who also serves as president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association.

Putting off maintenance funding
State and local officials have pumped a lot of money into Green Bay's port, which is an important transportation hub for dozens of industries. But the federal government "is really letting down their end of the deal," Haen said, through inadequate funding for channel dredging. For every inch of water depth that a port loses, a ship must reduce its load by about 250 tons. That reduces the amount of tonnage a port handles.

"Absolutely we are concerned," said Lisa Marciniak, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "It's especially important now that Lake Superior levels are down 21 inches from average," she said. Deferred maintenance, such as dredging and repairs of breakwaters, gets more expensive over time. "There are problems that desperately need to be addressed. If you wait too long, things have to be replaced rather than repaired," said Aaron Ellis, spokesman for the American Association of Port Authorities.

Since Hurricane Katrina, much of the Army Corps' money for port dredging and maintenance has been funneled to the Gulf Coast for mopping up hurricane problems and protecting that shoreline. Projects such as Milwaukee's breakwater repairs won't get funded until some time in 2007 at the earliest, and even then the work would not begin until the following year.

"There's a huge battle going on with dredging and the Corps and the minuscule amount of money that the Bush administration has dedicated to these projects," Reinelt said. "We have made pleas to the government to get money reinstated, but it's very difficult."

The lack of funding for Great Lakes ports was an issue even before the hurricane, said John Jamian, who previously directed the U.S. Maritime Administration. "We have had difficulty getting Great Lakes issues raised to the top of the priority list," said Jamian, now president of the Seaway Great Lakes Trade Association, based in Detroit. "There's been a lot of federal money diverted to other things in the world. Everybody has been dealing with limited budgets," Jamian said.

It's not just a shipping issue. The coastal environment and communities could be threatened if breakwaters collapse during a storm. There also are shoreline erosion issues. "A lot of homes could be washed away in the lake," Jamian said.

Port directors want Congress to restore money for dredging and maintenance. Legislation that addresses waterway projects has been stalled or postponed for too long, Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) said Tuesday in a statement. "I would hope it will be among the first bills considered by the new Congress when it reconvenes in January so that we can get our ports the resources they need," Kohl wrote.

The last such legislation was passed in 2000. Now, there are dozens of projects waiting to be funded. "Further delays will cause economic harm and hardship for the nation," said Ellis, of the American Association of Port Authorities.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Hover-craft Lake Michigan vehicle could travel from Gary to Chicago in 15 minutes

12/14- Merillville - Gary Mayor Rudy Clay has an answer for commuters who are sick of Toll Road or Borman Expressway traffic: a water ride. A hovercraft floating over Lake Michigan from Gary's shores to Chicago's harbor would take 15 minutes and cost $7 per passenger, said John Ramirez, a Gary businessman. Clay said he wants to sign a contract with Ramirez by February to make that option available to Northwest Indiana residents.

It's an idea that crossed the desks of other Northwest Indiana mayors but never got off the ground. No contract has been signed with Ramirez, but the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed Tuesday that the process to certify such a vehicle for Lake Michigan has begun. "I think they're just beginning to do that," said Wayne Reed, a spokesman for the Coast Guard.

A proposal before Gary's Economic Development Corp. is also scheduled for the group's Monday meeting. "It would help economic development in downtown Gary," Clay said. Ramirez said he has been talking with multiple hovercraft manufacturers about the project.

However, he said he is likely to buy the vehicles from Atlas Hovercraft Inc., based in Green Cove Springs, Fla. A 42-passenger hovercraft, Ramirez said, would cost about $1.55 million. He said he wants to purchase the vehicle himself, using minority business loans and government grants. The city, in turn, would contract with him to provide the service.

Ramirez said Tuesday he could see the shuttles up and running as soon as June. "That's a long shot for us," Ramirez said. "We need to get all the approvals." Most hovercraft run on diesel fuel, Ramirez said, but some also run on bio-diesel. They float 8 feet above water or ice, and the noise of a modern passenger craft reaches about 75 decibels, Ramirez said.

Heavy city traffic can be as loud as 85 decibels, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Normal conversation is about 60 decibels.

Clay said the city is looking at two possible sites for hoverports in Gary. One would be the Lake Street Beach armory in Miller. Another is inside the U.S. Steel complex. The destination point being considered is Chicago's Navy Pier.

Joel Rodriguez, a special assistant to the mayor, said a hoverport in Miller would also mean educational and retail development. He said the city is working with Indiana University Northwest to create business incubators near the hoverport. "We have to make sure the community wants to have this," Rodriguez said.

George Rogge, president of the Miller Citizens Corp., said he thinks a hovercraft shuttle is a neat idea, but one that has been discussed for too long. "How do you take something seriously that you've heard about for so many years?" Rogge said.

Marilyn Krusas, the City Council representative from Miller, said she's heard no specific plans and does not think Gary is ready to start a shuttle service so quickly. "I can see that as something out there in the future," Krusas said.

The Gary Fire Department owned a hovercraft and used it for rescue operations in the early 1990s. Fire Chief Jeff Ward, a 37-year veteran of the department, said Tuesday he doesn't know what happened to it. "I don't know if we even have it anymore," Ward said.

Ramirez, who owns a business training company in Glen Park but lives in Hammond, said he wants to start his hovercraft operations in Gary because of the way the city reacted to his idea. "We'd like to start in Gary because of the good treatment," Ramirez said. However, he said, he'd eventually like to have hoverports all across the southern Lake Michigan shoreline, shuttling commuters into Chicago.

He's especially excited about the possibilities if Chicago becomes an Olympic city in 2016. "Eventually," Ramirez said, "we'll have six or seven sites."

From the Merrillville Post-Tribune


Port Reports - December 14

Wallaceburg - Al Mann
During Monday morning, the tug Radium Yellowknife and a loaded barge of corn departed Wallaceburg for Toledo. The Lambton Marine tug Tammy Lynn took a bow line from the barge and assisted while passing through the Walpole Island swing bridge. A fairly brisk breeze was blowing at the time but with the two tugs guiding the barge, a safe passage was not impeded.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Nanticoke was inbound at 11 a.m. on Wednesday morning with a southwesterly wind blowing. She was doing a partial unload/reload at the elevators before proceeding to the Seaway.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River late Tuesday. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before traveling up the Saginaw River to finish at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. When finished, they turned at the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw Wednesday afternoon, then met the inbound tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation near the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee.
The Champlain & Innovation were upbound to unload cement at the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton. The pair were expected to be outbound on Thursday.
Working aids to navigation on the inner Saginaw Bay on Tuesday was the USCGC Hollyhock. The USCGC Mackinaw was working in the outer area of Saginaw Bay. Both vessels were replacing lighted summer buoys with winter marks.

Huron - Jim Spencer
The Arthur M. Anderson steamed into the harbor late Wednesday and began unloading limestone, taken aboard at Stoneport, for Huron Lime Co.

Goderich - Wayne Brown
Nanticoke arrived just before noon on Wednesday. She unloaded part of her cargo of western wheat and then loaded corn. She departed early Thursday bound for Halifax, N.S.

Toledo -
Daviken was at ADM Elevators on loading. Her taking on grain has been delayed by rainy days. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was in at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.


Updates - December 14

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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 KINCARDINE 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.


Superior’s Gales Claim Duluth tug

12/13 - Duluth - With rough weather approaching, the U.S. Coast Guard was forced to temporarily call off cleanup efforts early Monday afternoon where a Duluth-based tugboat is beached about 21 miles east of Grand Marais, Mich.

Most potential contaminants have been removed from the tug Seneca, which belongs to Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth. Hazardous materials originally aboard the tug included about 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel, 45 gallons of lube oil, 25 gallons of waste oil and 30 gallons of paint. All but the lube oil have been removed, Lt. Jg. William White said.

The Seneca was being towed Dec. 2 from Sault Ste. Marie to Duluth by the Susan Hoey, the newest member of Zenith’s fleet, when a line failed in rough waters, setting the unpowered and crewless vessel adrift about 25 miles west of Whitefish Point. Franz VonRiedel, Zenith’s owner, said it appears the towline was severed by a piece of exposed metal.

Rather than attempt to recover the Seneca in dangerous. 10-foot seas, the Susan Hoey took refuge from the storm in Grand Marais, Mich. “We had a rough enough time with just our own tug that night getting into Grand Marais,” said VonRiedel, captain of the Susan Hoey that day. “The seas were climbing over the top of us and freezing instantly. We had literally zero visibility, the windows were all ice.”

Ted Wagner, the chief engineer aboard the Susan Hoey, said, “Franz is a hell of a boat handler. Not too many people could have done what he did that night.”  “It was a team effort,” Von Riedel said. “Wagner kept right on top of things down below in the engine room, and that’s not an easy job running the machinery when you’re takin’ 40-degree rolls.”

Von Riedel also expressed gratitude for the help of Coast Guard Auxiliary member Howard Baker, who was on the Grand Marais pier in the snowstorm with a hand-held radio guiding him into the harbor that day. “We couldn't even see the piers. We just suddenly felt the seas calm and knew we were safe. It was a great feeling to know we made it.” Wagner has worked the North Atlantic and all five Great Lakes, but said, “It’s always Superior that’s the most terrifying.”

The Seneca was spotted a couple of days later near its current resting place. The Susan Hoey was first on the scene but was unable to reach the tug because of shoals in the area. The 82-foot Susan Hoey draws 10-feet 7-inches the 94-foot Seneca draws 9 feet. The Seneca came to rest about 50 yards from shore in a remote area of Lake Superior.

VonRiedel said the tug will be a total loss because water and ice infiltrated the vessel’s internal systems, destroying them. The hull might be reused.

VonRiedel said the Seneca had been in good working order but was being towed by the Susan Hoey to conserve fuel. Both boats were headed to Duluth. Zenith bought the 56-year-old Susan Hoey in November to replace the 67-year old Seneca. While VonRiedel described the Seneca as a very sound, reliable boat, he said it was not built for Great Lakes use and would have required extensive structural work to improve its sight lines. Before the accident, he had been putting together a deal to sell the tug to a buyer in New Orleans.

The Seneca was Zenith’s first tug, when the company launched in 2001. “It’s sad to see her go. That boat has a lot of sentimental value to it,” VonRiedel said. “It was a great tug. It never once broke down on me, and it was by far the prettiest tug in our fleet.” Zenith now has three working tugs — the Susan Hoey, the Athena and the Sioux.

White said the Coast Guard will reassess recovery options after the weather system passes. With winter bearing down, White said, “It could be a difficult scenario. Lake Superior can be pretty rough at this time of year.”

Reported by Frank Frisk from the Duluth News Tribune


PM 41 Delayed in Holland

12/13 - Holland - A tug-barge that came into Holland Harbor last Tuesday is still trying to leave.
The captain of the tug-barge combination of Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 was in Holland to collect scrap metal from the Louis Padnos Iron & Metal Company on Wednesday. The crew was preparing to leave the same day, but high winds prolonged their stay, said Lt. Commander Joe Malinauska, an official with the Sector of Lake Michigan Coast Guard in Milwaukee.

The weather kept them in Holland Harbor until Sunday. The captain attempted to venture out of Holland Harbor at about 1:00 p.m. Sunday and the tug-barge got stuck.

"The Coast Guard is investigating this matter," to determine what happened to the vessel, Malinauska said.
The tug-barge made its way back to the Louis Padnos Iron & Metal Company and unloaded some of the metal load, Malinauska said.

Malinauska said according to information he received, the tug-barge was expected to leave Holland Monday afternoon. But on Monday evening, the tug-barge was docked near the Louis Padnos Iron & Metal Company.
Once the tug-barge leaves Holland, it will head back to Sault Ste. Marie, said Malinauska.

"This isn't a frequent occurrence," Malinauska said. Holland councilman and local shipping columnist Bob Vande Vusse said there could be a variety of reasons why the tug-barge got stuck Sunday. "The lake is at a low level," Vande Vusse named as one possibility.

Shoaling, a sand buildup on the channel bottom caused by wind-driven waves, could also have contributed to the ship getting stuck, said Vande Vusse.

On Oct. 18, 2003, a captain who was navigating the same tug-barge intentionally beached the it on a sandbar in Holland Harbor. The captain beached the vessel to wait for help from another tug boat to navigate the channel that leads to Lake Macatawa.

Reported by Marc Vander Meulen & Joe Taylor from the Holland Sentinel


Toledo Bridge Malfunction Delays Traffic

12/13 - Toledo - The Martin Luther King Bridge that carries Cherry Street auto traffic over the river is now back open.

The problem started Tuesday afternoon around 3:45 p.m. The drawbridge was opened in order to let a lake freighter pass through. While that process was going on, city crews say there was a power failure to the bridge's inner workings, and the bridge deck got stuck with one side still only 75% up.

The ship was able to stop before it hit the bridge. It waited until crews were able to get the bridge the rest of the way up during the 5 o'clock hour, then passed through on its way to the grain elevators upriver. Traffic was backed up through downtown Toledo, and also on the other bridges crossing the Maumee. It took crews another hour or so to get the bridge down using a hand-crank system. There's no word on when the electrical system to lift the bridge will be repaired.

According to a web page from the city of Toledo, nearly 40,000 vehicles and 100-150 pedestrians travel over the bridge each day. The original Cherry Street Bridge was opened to traffic in 1914, then renamed and dedicated as the city of Toledo's memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1988.

The city is now toward the end of a project to rehabilitate the bridge. Phase I, which is now complete, included the replacement of all 8 west approach spans over Water Street, rehabilitation of all 7 arch spans across the Maumee River, and replacement of the entire roadway. Workers also replaced sidewalks and concrete railings, and widened the roadway from 52' to 64'.

Phase II, which is happening right now, includes the replacement of the bascule lift spans, the installation of new mechanical and electrical controls, and the rebuilding the towers where bridge operators work. The project is expected to be finished in June of 2007.

Reported by Alan Baker for WTOL-TV


Port Reports - December 13

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Kapitonas A. Lucka departed Goderich at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday heading down the lake. After waiting all day Tuesday at anchor off Goderich piers, Maumee entered the harbour after the departures of Kapitonas A. Lucka and Canadian Navigator. Maumee loaded Tuesday night at Sifto Salt.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder was berthed near Station Milwaukee, just inboard of the fast ferry dock.


Updates - December 13

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 13

The CANADIAN ENTERPRISE entered service for Upper Lakes Shipping 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.


Algontario hits bottom in St. Lawrence

12/12 - 1:00pm Update - At 10:00 am Tuesday morning Algontario is underway upbound. No other information is available.

12/12 - Radio traffic Monday evening reported that the upbound Algontario touched bottom below the Cornwall/Massena Bridge.

She is secured at the lower approach wall at the Snell Lock and taking water into No. 1 tank forward. An inspection of the damage was underway at 9:00pm. Traffic has stopped due to this accident and fog.

Algocape is at anchor below Snell and Federal Yukon has gone into the Wilson Hill anchorage.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


Mackinaw Returns, Heads Back Out

12/12 - Cheboygan - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw returned to port shortly after 8:00 a.m. Friday, bearing a coating of ice on its bow and a foredeck filled to capacity with navigation buoys and associated hardware. “There are 80 tons of buoys on that deck,” Cmdr. John Little proudly exclaimed. “That is one of the largest buoy-deck loads you'll see. We had to load them in a very particular order because there's not a lot of room to move things around once you start loading them on.”

Among the collection the Mackinaw brought in were seven 12,000-pound buoys, biggest on the lakes, along with four 12,750-pound sinkers needing repair work. “No other ship in the Coast Guard can carry that much,” added Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dave Merrill, visiting to assist the ship's crew in deck training maneuvers.
Merrill is with the Mackinaw for the second time this fall, teaching the new “green hat” ship's personnel so they become certified and can become “blue hat” deck workers, wearing a higher-ranked helmet. “This is the week where it all clicked,” Merrill said of the round trip journey to Chicago.

The icebreaker arrived in Chicago on December 1, a day early because of 45-knot gales and high seas on Lake Michigan. The size of the crowd greeting the Mackinaw at the Navy Pier was hampered by the snowstorm that closed schools in Chicago, Little said. The Chicago Military Academy Band was on hand to play as the ship arrived and continued its performance on deck and in the warmer confines of the crew's mess.

“We spent six days in Chicago and offloaded the Christmas trees for the Salvation Army,” he continued. “We gave tours and many of our crewmembers enjoyed seeing the sights around town.” Little said that Mackinaw sailors took in a Chicago Blackhawks hockey game, saw the Chicago Bulls play basketball and visited many museums.

“I got to see the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum,” Little said. “I enjoyed it very much. I recall studying King Tut in high school and the exhibit was fascinating. The city was very accommodating to us and the crew really enjoyed it.” Then it was back to work, tending buoys.

“They (the crew) are in a buoy-tending mode right now,” Little said. “They're eager to do what they are trained to do.” The ship left Chicago and was immediately greeted by 30-knot winds from the south and wind chills near zero degrees, just in time to make decommissioning two buoys in southern Lake Michigan difficult.
“The crew really pitched in and worked hard,” Little said. “They've become a team and the spirit and teamwork is evident in the way they are doing their jobs. It's great.”

On the way back up the lake, the Mac passed over the site of the Rouse Simmons shipwreck near Two Rivers, Wis., the fabled Christmas Tree Ship that began the tradition carried on by the Mackinaw cutters in recent years. This trip was the first for the new Mackinaw in that role. “I made an announcement over the P.A. to the crew as to where we were,” Little explained. “I told them about the mission and how it was a mission of commerce, similar to what we do today to keep traffic moving despite icy conditions. I thought about that captain and what he must have faced that day.”

The Rouse Simmons, a sailing schooner, sank with all hands lost and a cargo of Christmas trees bound for Chicago.

Despite its heavy deck load, Little said the Mac handled well in heavy weather and was able to decommission four buoys near the Mackinac Bridge and replace them with winter marks on the way home. “We went through a pretty violent storm south of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and handled it very well,” he said. “We saw gale-force winds and lots of freezing spray. Our heated buoy-deck equipment worked well and made the mission possible. We couldn't have done without it.”

The ship is scheduled to leave today for Saginaw Bay and a week's worth of buoytending. Little expects to handle about 20 buoys in two trips south but knows that icebreaking work isn't far away. “Our crew is chomping at the bit to show off this ship's icebreaking capabilities,” he declared.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


19th century ship found in Lake Ontario

12/12 - A 19th-century commercial sailing ship, its twin masts still intact, sits upright in deep, frigid waters off the southern shore of Lake Ontario.

Shipwreck explorers Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville said they located the schooner Milan in summer 2005 about five miles off Point Breeze, 30 miles west of Rochester. They videotaped the 93-foot-long, square-stern vessel this year using an unmanned submersible built with the help of college students. "It's not unheard of to have well-preserved ships, but this one is in so good a shape," Scoville said Monday. "It almost looks like it could be floated" to the surface.

The Milan was hauling 1,000 barrels of salt when it sprung a leak and sank in October 1849. Its crew of nine clambered aboard a yawl and was rescued by a passing ship along with a Newfoundland dog. The animal was carried down with the sinking ship but then popped to the surface and swam to the yawl.

The ship sits evenly on the lake bed more than 200 feet down. Its masts extend 70 feet upward in a dark, almost oxygen-free setting. And while its rigging and sails have long since disintegrated, much else appears largely undamaged. Both anchors are firmly in place near the bow. The bowsprit — a large, tapered spar extending forward from the bow — is intact, as is the tiller, a large handle for turning the rudder.

"If a ship goes down in a big storm, it usually gets broken up," Scoville said. "If it goes down on a nice day, it usually breaks when it hits the bottom. This one looks like it just drifted down and set upon the bottom nice and easy. "At those depths, and the water being so cold, there's not a lot of oxygen" or light, he added. "It basically helps preserve the wood. If a shipwreck is in shallow, fresh water, the ice will get it or storms will beat it up."

Built in 1845, the Milan ferried corn, flour, wheat, salt and lumber to ports on lakes Ontario and Erie. It was sailing to Cleveland from Oswego, a port 80 miles east of Rochester, when crew members said they were awakened in the forecastle by splashing water, historical records show. The inflow was already 18 inches deep when they started pumping out. They removed salt bags from the forward hold and steered south in an effort to get to shore. But the ship ran into southerly winds, made little headway and was abandoned soon before it went under.

While hundreds of ships have been wrecked in Lake Ontario's harbors and along its shores, fewer than 200 have been lost in the lake, which is 800 feet deep in places, Scoville estimated. About 100 of those wrecks have already been found, many in or near the St. Lawrence Seaway, he said.

The Milan is "the oldest and the prettiest" of at least five wrecks that Scoville and Kennard, both electrical engineers and deep-water divers, have discovered since teaming up five years ago. They undertook months of historical research before announcing their find this month. "From the Niagara River up to the St. Lawrence, there's about a dozen that haven't been found that we think we are capable of finding," Scoville said. An obscure newspaper reference to the sinking got the pair started on the Milan's trail three years ago, and they used sonar equipment to finally locate it.

Because many Ontario shipwrecks lie in water too deep to dive safely, they enlisted a team of seniors at Rochester Institute of Technology last fall to help them build a remote-operated vehicle equipped with cameras to explore the Milan.

Most wrecks and their contents found on the American side of the lake belong to New York. "It would be illegal to take anything off the ship without a permit from the state," Scoville said.

From Yahoo News


Search for missing Canadian sailor called off

12/12 - Halifax -The search for Canadian Laura Gainey, who has been missing since a wave swept her off a tall ship Friday, was being called off, as of 6 p.m. ET.

The announcement was made by the U.S. Coast Guard at a press conference in Portsmouth, Va.
"They did find a few apparels, but they figure after 70 hours in the water … they won't find her alive," said Catherine Kovacs, a CBC reporter in Portsmouth.

The 25-year-old daughter of Montreal Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey was aboard the tall ship Picton Castle en route to Grenada when a rogue wave swept her into the Atlantic Ocean about 760 kilometres southeast of Cape Cod, Mass.

Kovacs said Gainey's family had been contacted, but she did not know where they were awaiting news.

An 'eager sailor'
A former shipmate of Gainey describes her as "an extremely enthusiastic and eager sailor." "She was always cheerful and upbeat, and a competent sailor," Kimberly Helms, who met Gainey in March 2006, told CBC Newsworld. "It was a joy to be her shipmate."

Helms said she always felt safe aboard the Picton Castle. "I have never ever been concerned for my own safety or that of my shipmates. I would say everybody on board knows what their job is during an emergency procedure," Helms said. "I don't think it was an issue of safety, I think it was a terrible accident."

Searched all weekend
A U.S. Coast Guard C-130 Hercules airplane and two ships searched overnight for Gainey, said Lieut. Martin Nosset of the U.S. Coast Guard. A Canadian C-130 Hercules, which shared search duties with the American aircraft, rejoined the search from Halifax early Monday.

As well, the Picton Castle and two merchant vessels were searching the area.

Gainey wasn't wearing a survival suit or life jacket when she was swept overboard, but she was wearing extra clothing and some foul weather gear. The U.S. Coast Guard estimated Gainey would be able to survive about 36 hours in the water before hypothermia set in, based on her age, her physical fitness and the water temperature.

'Unsure' why Gainey was on deck
Picton Castle Senior Captain Dan Moreland, who wasn't on the ship when Gainey was swept overboard, was in constant contact with the ship throughout the search. He said the crew isn't sure why Gainey, "a wonderful shipmate and well-loved crew member," was up on deck at the time because she wasn't on watch duty.

Moreland says it isn't unusual that she wasn't tied to the ship. "It's quite different than a small yacht where you wouldn't step on deck without being hooked in. It's a large vessel with very high rails that almost never gets water on deck."

Moreland said the wave was likely the result of several waves combining into a single wave as wind conditions shifted. "The whole deck filled up with water with this toppling wave," he said. He said Gainey likely wouldn't have seen the wave coming because that area of the ship was covered.

From CBC News


Port Reports - December 12

Buffalo - Rob Wolcott
It was a big day on Monday for Buffalo Boatwatchers with both the Herbert C. Jackson and the American Fortitude in port unloading grain. The Herbert C. Jackson was at the ADM elevator while the American Fortitude was at General Mills. Both boats arrived over the weekend, but were not able to make the elevators until late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Both continued unloading at 1:30 p.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Early morning boatwatchers on Monday saw Cason J. Callaway fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal after unloading up the river at the Reiss Inland dock. The Callaway was scheduled to proceed to Two Harbors to load a downbound cargo of taconite pellets.
Mesabi Miner was due at the Midwest Energy Terminal.
American Mariner and Adam E. Cornelius were both due at BNSF ore dock in Superior.
Last week’s below-freezing temperatures left the harbor covered with ice and even prompted a foray by the Coast Guard Cutter Alder. However, several days of mile temperatures and sunny skies has started melting that thin ice cover.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived overnight to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake Monday morning.


Updates - December 12

News Photo Gallery updated

BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Tickets on Sale

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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


Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

12/11 - Trips on working Great Lakes vessels such as the Paul R. Tregurtha or Lee A. Tregurtha are very hard to come by ­ but you and three of your lucky friends could soon be riding in style aboard one of those well-known lakers.

Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

Typically, Great Lakes vessels do not take passengers and such quarters are reserved for corporate guests. The only way for the general public to take a cruise on a working Great Lakes freighter is through a raffle such as this.

Departure port and dates will be coordinated with the winning ticket holder. To purchase a ticket aboard a commercial Great Lakes cruise ship like the C. Columbus, you can pay over $4,000 per person. This trip is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to cruise on a working freighter in the summer of 2007. The winner must be flexible concerning scheduling and port of departure/return and guests are required to adhere to all company polices and safety procedures.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket or $3 for $25 (Raffle tickets make GREAT stocking-stuffers for Christmas!)

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail.


Update to Tug Seneca Grounding

12/11 - Grand Marais, Mich – Coast Guard and environmental response contractors, working in concert with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority have spent the last two days mitigating environmental concerns that may be associated with the Tug Seneca.

Marine Pollution Control (MPC) has been contracted by the U.S. Coast Guard to provide a pollution response to the grounding of the Tug Seneca. The Coast Guard will maintain oversight of on-scene operations utilizing personnel from Coast Guard Sector Sault, the Atlantic Area Strike Team, Traverse City aircraft and the cutter Katmai Bay.

Pollution responders are coordinating efforts to expedite the safe removal of approximately 1,900 gallons of environmental hazards from the tug, including approximately 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel, 50 gallons of lube oil, 25 gallons of waste oil, and 30 gallons of paint. As of 6 p.m. Sunday evening more than 75 percent of the products have been successfully removed from the vessel and safely transferred to a near by barge.

Weather has been favorable thus far, and has allowed pollution responders the opportunity to mount an effective response in the containment and removal of any pollutants in this remote area of Lake Superior. Responders will work until late tonight to remove as much product as possible, before commencing operations early tomorrow.

Monday's operations call for the removal of any remaining environmental hazards prior to the arrival of the next weather front which is forecast to arrive in the area Monday evening.

From sootoday

Grounded Tugboat Leaking Oil

12/11 - Duluth - The Duluth-owned tugboat Seneca — grounded in Lake Superior near Grand Marais, Mich. — is leaking oil, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The tug became grounded December 2 after its tow line with the tug Hoey became disconnected. It’s grounded in an upright position, 20 miles east of Grand Marais.

On Friday, the Coast Guard and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority discovered the oil leak.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, working with the Coast Guard and the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, has drafted a pollution response and salvage plan.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 11

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
The Algomarine was in Marinette, WI on Sunday with a late-season load of salt for Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. This is the fourth load of salt for the dock this year. The previous three loads were all brought in by the Algorail. This should wrap up the shipping season for Menominee & Marinette.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
It was moving day into Goderich Sunday morning. After waiting out strong southerly winds Saturday night, Kapitonas A. Lucka and Algosteel pulled anchor and proceeded inbound. Lucka will be loading at the elevator dock, the Steel at Sifto Salt.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The CSL Tadoussac departed from the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville around 7 a.m. Sunday morning, backed out of the river and turned around at Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel to head out bound for the lake.

The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were in bound the Saginaw River early Sunday morning with a split load for the Wirt Stone docks in Bay City & Saginaw. The pair were expected to be out bound the Saginaw River late Sunday evening.

The Algorail was inbound the Saginaw River early Sunday morning headed for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload salt from Goderich. She finished unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee at 2 p.m. and headed upstream to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around, with assistance from the tug Gregory J. Busch.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Saltie Isolda departed Milwaukee's harbor outbound onto Lake Michigan with the assistance of two G tugs around 11 a.m. Saturday.
Sunday small ocean vessel BBC France was backed into the slip at terminal 3 in Milwaukee's outer harbor.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
Delayed enroute from Nanticoke, Ont., for more than 48 hours by weather, the John B. Aird was loading Monday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock. Her next port will be Hamilton, Ont.


Updates - December 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


GLCA to Host 2007 Industry Days Conference

12/11 - The Great Lakes Captains Association will host Industry Days 2007, January 23rd through the 26th, 2007, at the Holiday Inn, and the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Traverse City, MI. The Great Lakes Association of Science Ships, (GLASS), will be joining us again this year for Industry Days.

The program begins with registration at noon Tuesday, January 23rd, with the first half day of training from 1:00 – 4:15 PM, at the Maritime Academy. The second half day will continue at 9:00 AM, Wednesday, and conclude at 12:15 PM. Sessions offered will include Radar Plotting (advanced), Drive Train Alignment, Diesel Engines Air Systems, Reading Electric Schematics, Shiphandling Simulation (advanced), Ship Stability Practical Examples (beginner), Installing 12 volt Systems, Shipboard Electrical Grounds (advanced), and Hydraulics-Changing Fluids (beginner). The training will be held concurrently and repeated each of the two days so you will be able to attend at least four of the ten classes offered. All training sessions will be held at the Academy, and will be included in your registration fee for the entire program including 2 breakfasts and 2 luncheons.

Room rates are $55.00  at the Holiday Inn is (800) 888-8020. The cost to attend all four days is $70.00.

For information contact Jack Cork  Jack Cork


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.


Seneca Salvage

12/10 - On Friday the U.S. Coast Guard flew over the grounded Tug Seneca, along with a Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) representative and determined that the tug was emitting an oil sheen.

Upon discovering the leak, the U.S. Coast Guard immediately engaged the vessel's owner [Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth] to ensure pollution response and salvage equipment would be available to deploy at the first weather-permitting opportunity. Upon learning the owner could not guarantee a timely response, the U.S. Coast Guard federal on-scene coordinator assumed the expense of removing the threat of pollution and engaged contractors to mount the appropriate response.

Late that afternoon, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and USCG approved the salvage plan to remove the Tug Seneca from the Lake Superior shore, with concurrence of the plan from CORA. The Tug Seneca remained grounded in an upright position, approximately 20 miles east of Grand Marais, Michigan.

On Saturday a salvage crew from Purvis Marine was onsite removing fuel and oil from the stranded tug.

The tug became grounded after its tow line with the Tug Hoey parted in the late evening of December 2, 2006. Inclement weather prevented the Tug Hoey and several U.S. Coast Guard assets from locating and reestablishing a tow with the Tug Seneca, prior to the vessel's grounding on December 4.

Reported by USCG


Tall Ship Crewmember Missing

12/10 - HALIFAX (CP) - The Montreal Canadiens hockey club is confirming that the woman swept off a Nova Scotia tall ship is the daughter of the club's executive vice president, Bob Gainey.

Laura Gainey, 25, was washed off a deck at the back of the vessel in a storm at 9:30 p.m. Friday. A search is continuing Sunday morning.

Dan Moreland, the senior captain of the Picton Castle, says she is a volunteer on the vessel who is known to be very fit, and is "a well loved crew member."

Meanwhile, the U.S. coast guard says the search for the woman is in a crucial stage this morning. Spokeswoman Faith Wisinski says aircraft resumed searching at first light and a U.S. coast guard vessel has searched through the night for Gainey. However, she says that as of 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Gainey has been in the water 30 hours.

Wisinski says the water is warm in the area, but it's expected hypothermia would normally take a person's life after 36 hours. Gainey isn't wearing a life-jacket.

Reported by Laurent Côté


Port Reports - December 10

Goderich - Dale Baechler & Jacob Smith
Friday morning, Algomarine was inbound to load at Sifto Salt.
In the early afternoon, Kapitonas A. Lucka had some engine issues and went to anchor just north of the breakwalls.
Algorail arrived later Friday night and also went to anchor just south of the breakwalls. On Saturday morning, Algorail pulled the hook and proceeded inbound. With strong winds blowing, she dropped both bow hooks upon entering the channel and went to do her turn in the inner harbour. Algorail was tied up at Sifto Salt at 10:30 am.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Ron Beaupre
Saturday morning, Spar Opal passed Mariatown downbound to Sorel at 10:20am. She passed this point upbound with cargo on November 14. Her engine failed on approach to the upper tie wall of Iroquois Lock at 8:40pm Nov. 27. The cross current pulled her out of the channel to run ashore on the shoal above the lock. At 3:30pm Nov. 29 tugs Ocean Bravo and Ocean Jupiter pulled her off the bank and over to the tie wall above the lock. After inspection she proceeded through the lock to secure at wharf QE7. While there the crew worked on painting the ship as they waited for parts to repair the air system which starts and shifts the main engine.

Port Colborne - Alex Howard
Shortly after 1:00pm Saturday afternoon, the Hong Kong registered National Honor departed wharf 16 in Port Colborne, after experiencing engine problems since Dec.5th. With assistance from Nadro Marine tug Vac, she backed up along the wall, then dropped a line to Vac to pull the bow away from the wall. National Honor is downbound in Welland Canal in ballast.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a rare, sunny December day, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore on Saturday afternoon. In a move reminiscent of the past, at the start of the load, dock workers had every other loading chute down into Tregurtha's holds.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Both the Herbert C. Jackson & the American Fortitude were waiting in Long Point Bay Saturday night before heading to Buffalo. They will probably head in some time Sunday.
Installation of the Niagara River Ice Boom by the New York State Power Authority tugs & barges has been underway this week.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Gordy Garris
On Saturday the Saginaw River was busy with 5 vessels inbound as well as the USCGC Hollyhock inbound. With 20+mph winds out of the southwest, the water levels in the Saginaw River dropped drastically during the day. The strong winds also created strong river currents causing trouble for vessels navigating the river. At one point during Saturday evening the water level dropped to a negative 15 below chart datum.
The Manistee departed from the Wirt Stone dock in Essexville at 7:15am Saturday morning and headed upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish unloading. She arrived at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee at 10:45am, finished unloading at 4:15pm Saturday afternoon and headed upriver to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around. Strong river currents in the Sixth Street turning basin caused her to work her way around in the turning basin for over an hour before finishing the turn at 6:45pm Saturday evening.
The Wolverine was inbound the Saginaw River early Saturday morning passing the Front Range Light at 7:45am headed for the GM dock in Saginaw to unload coal. The Wolverine arrived at the GM dock at 11:30am Saturday morning and finished unloading around 6:00pm but waited at the dock until 7:00pm for the Manistee to clear her outbound before heading upriver to the Sixth Street turning basin. The Wolverine also encountered strong river currents in the Sixth Street turning basin and took about one hour before finishing the turn at 8:15pm Saturday night.
The Maumee was inbound the Saginaw River early Saturday afternoon headed for the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. She turned at the Essexville turning basin at 4:30pm, and was outbound for the lake, passing the CSL Tadoussac who arrived at the Essroc dock around 5:00pm.
The tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw Bay early Saturday afternoon but went to anchor in the bay due to the water levels in the river. She is expected to head inbound when the water levels in the river rise.
The USCGC Hollyhock was inbound the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel early Saturday morning for aids to navigation. She worked during the morning and afternoon changing buoy markers with winter markers before docking at the Consumers Power Plant dock for the night around 6:00pm Saturday evening.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday had the Jade Star anchor off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte (Oakville) at 3:00 pm. The Maritime Trader departed JRI Elevators at Pier 25 in Hamilton at 5:00 pm.
Saturday the refuelling ship Hamilton Energy departed Hamilton at 7:00 am for Toronto and returned at 3:15 pm going to Pier 24.
The tug Sea Eagle II and barge St.Mary's Cement II arrived at 9:00am going to Pier 10. The Federal Margaree departed pier 14 at 2:00pm for the Welland Canal.
The Birchglen arrived at 3:30 pm with iron ore pellets from Pointe Noir Quebec.
The Jade Star continues to be anchored off the Petro Canada Piers.

Menominee/Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
The Algomarine anchored off shore Saturday night then backed up the Menominee river around 8:30am Sunday morning, with a load of coal for Menominee Paper.


Updates - December 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


Today in Great Lakes History - December 10

The steamer EDWARD Y TOWNSEND loaded the last cargo of ore for the 1942 season at Marquette.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Grounded Tug Seneca Worries Coast Guard, Tribes

12/9 - Deer Park, MI - Cast adrift in a sudden Lake Superior gale last Saturday, the 88-foot tug Seneca lies aground on the sandy bottom about 50 yards offshore of one of the more remote stretches of Superior shoreline, making for a thorny salvage job.

The old “Army” tug was being towed to Duluth by the former Gaelic Towing tug Susan Hoey as a “dead ship tow” when the storm overtook the two tugs late last week. After some time working in seas estimated at 16 feet, the towing line from Hoey apparently parted, leaving Seneca adrift on the open lake. Tossed heavily in the waves and rapidly icing, Susan Hoey made for the nearest refuge harbor, Grand Marais, leaving her tow to the mercy of the lake.

Now, nearly a week after Seneca was cast adrift, the grounded tug rests at a slight list just a short way off the sandy and remote shore about four miles east of Muskallonge Lake and nearby Deer Park. The tug's location is about 21 miles east of Grand Marais. The drifting tug was found by US Coast Guard crews after the Susan Hoey asked for help. Now comes the tricky part of pulling the grounded tug off her temporary perch at one of the stormiest times of the year on Lake Superior.

Seneca does not pose an immediate threat to water quality or the nearby beach, but the tug's fuel and lubricating oil carried aboard are a definite worry to the regional Indian fishing entity, the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority. Authority spokesman Mike Ripley said the tug carries about 1,900 gallons of diesel fuel which, if it escapes, will likely foul a stretch of “pristine beach” and important steelhead habitat off the nearby Two Hearted River.

The chances Seneca will become a pollution incident before the tug is refloated appear remote. Heavily built for heavy use in the US Army tug fleet, Seneca's thick steel hull is unlikely to be penetrated anytime soon on the sand and pebble bottom. A former crewman on the well-traveled tug indicated Seneca's fuel tanks are enclosed separate from the hull, further insulating the fuel aboard from lake waters.

Nonetheless, Cmdr. Stephenson said weather conditions and the advancing winter season make the stranded tug a matter of some concern to the Coast Guard. Speaking carefully, Stephenson said, “The Coast Guard is working closely with the tug owner and the state DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) to insure the environment is the primary concern in salvage of the tug.” Stephenson said a number of salvage options are possible in the tug's circumstances. “We are looking at every proposal and option presented. Nothing is off the table,” he said.

He said December weather and the tug's remote location complicate whatever salvage plan the various entities devise to get the tug off the sandbar. Laying in water a foot or so shallower than her nine-foot draft, the sizable tug appears to be vulnerable to another onshore gale, which could push her closer still to the shoreline. Chart depths show 28 feet of water a relatively short distance off on the lake side, but a crewman on the Hoey said that tug could not approach closer than 500 feet from the stranded tug.

Worried about a potential pollution problem, Ripley said the fishing authority is pressing to get the fuel and other oils off the tug as soon as possible. The tug's position is far enough from the nearest road to appear out of reach from the shore for oil recovery. The limited draft available alongside the tug may make an attempt to offload fuel to a tank barge a difficult proposition as well. The closest marine salvage contractor with sufficient tug and barge resources to attempt removal of the stranded tug is Purvis Marine Ltd. of Sault Ste. Marie.

Stevenson said Coast Guard officials have yet to decide whether to attempt to pull the tug off as is or undertake the tricky oil removal job with Seneca in place.

Whatever remedy the Coast Guard and assorted interested parties choose, it is likely to come sooner rather than later. A week-long thaw in the below-normal winter temperatures appears to favor an attempt in coming days. The southwest winds forecast to accompany the warming trend by Sunday also appear to be favorable for shallow-draft salvage vessels in the lee of the land.

Both tugs are owned by Zenith Tugboat Co. of Duluth, a small local line of four tugs.

Cmdr. Reed Stephenson, the marine safety officer for the Coast Guard's Sector Sault, is likewise concerned about the tug's status laying off the exposed beach.

From the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - December 9

Marquette - Rod Burdick
After weather delays, Kaye E. Barker and Michipicoten arrived in Marquette Friday evening. Barker unloaded coal, and Michipicoten loaded ore.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River Friday night calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Essexville to unload. She is expected to be outbound on Saturday.


Updates - December 9

Holiday Card Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

Special Close Out Sale on Boatnerd gear


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 JohnsonÕs 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.


Lost Passenger Ship, North American Located in Atlantic

12/8 - The Great Lakes passenger ship North American which sank in September of 1967 while on a voyage from Erie Pennsylvania to Newport News, Virginia has been found. A research team, this past July aboard Quest Marine’s R/V Quest, located the ship close to the edge of the continental shelf approximately 140 miles off the New England coast in 250 feet of water.

Considered the Queen of the Great Lakes, the SS North American was built in Ecorse Michigan, and launched January 16th 1913. Constructed for the Chicago Duluth and Georgian Bay Transit Company she was the first ship built anywhere exclusively for Cruising.

Her career on the Great Lakes spanned 51 years from 1913 to 1964. In 1967 the ship was sold to the Seafarers International Union for further use as a training ship.

The 280 ft., 2317 gross ton ship was being towed by the tug Michael McAllister to a shipyard for conversion to a training ship when it sank suddenly on the night of September 13, 1967. Swells from approaching Hurricane Doria proved too much for the aging ship and contributed to her loss. No one was injured in the sinking and the tug reached port safely.

Quest Marine’s research team led by Captain Eric Takakjian conducted three days of survey diving operations at the wreck site over the period 15-17 July 2006. Three dive teams of two divers each accomplished photographic and physical measurement documentation of the wreck.

Reported by the Marine Technology Reporter


Rochester Getting Ferry Ready to Go

12/8 - Rochester, NY - Builders of the high-speed ferry arrived a few days ago and are among those now working to prepare the ship for departure. But a top city official said that doesn't mean the sale is imminent. City Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards said preparations are motivated by the St. Lawrence Seaway's closure Dec. 29. Talks with three bidders continue.

"We know we have to be ready," Richards said, explaining there is a risk the ship might stay the winter but officials want to be prepared if it leaves. "We're trying to do more than one thing at once."

Mayor Robert Duffy announced in May that a British company, Euroferries Ltd., was buying the ferry for $29.8 million. Officials said at the time that former ferry manager Bay Ferries would handle delivery. However, Richards said Wednesday that Austal Ltd., the ferry's Australian builder, might handle those duties. Austal also is making repairs, city officials said, having discovered a small, above-water crack in the ship's hull.

City Councilman and ferry board president Benjamin Douglas said city officials are "fiercely trying to get this thing wrapped up." "They are well aware of the (seaway) deadline. ... ," he said. "At this point, we do still have to be patient."

Duffy has said Euroferries remains the front-runner to buy the ship.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Congress Approves Bill to Preserve Michigan Lighthouses

12/8 - Washington, DC - Congress approved a bill Wednesday to promote Michigan's lighthouses, creating partnerships to restore the beacons along the state's shoreline.

Michigan has more than 120 lighthouses, more than any state in the nation, nestled along the shores of the Great Lakes. The bill creates federal, state and local partnerships to restore the lighthouses and promote maritime culture in the region. These lighthouses are important reminders of the state's maritime prominence," said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, who sponsored the House bill. It was approved on a voice vote.

The legislation was written by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and passed the Senate earlier in the year. It requires the Interior Department to study ways to protect Michigan's lighthouses and boost tourism, including the creation of a Michigan Lighthouse Trail. Stabenow said the "new law will strengthen communities throughout Michigan by preserving our rich history and creating jobs for our future."

The agency is directed to identify funding sources for Michigan communities to preserve and restore their lighthouses. Funding levels would be approved through the appropriations process.

The bill next moves to President Bush for his signature.

From the Chicago Tribune


Port Reports - December 8

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Thursday tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation delivered cement to the LaFarge silo on Jones Island.
Across Milwaukee's inner harbor, Isolda continued loading grain at Nidera.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday the U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Hollyhock was out in the bay doing winter navigation work.
Thursday brought cold temperatures and snow showers, along with strong winds that delayed many vessels in the area.
When the skies cleared for a short time five vessels were anchored out in Thunder Bay off Alpena. The John G. Munson, American Republic, Frontenac, Maumee and tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber were all waiting out the weather.
Also staying tied up for weather at the Stoneport dock was the Cason J. Callaway.
The Alpena was expected to arrive at Lafarge late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Canadian Progress loaded overnight Wednesday at the Norfolk Southern coal dock. The vessel departed early Thursday for Hamilton, Ont. in squally weather. She was near Long Point late Thursday.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly remains tied up at the Marquette ore dock waiting out the weather on the lake.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw departed Owen Sound earlier today with a load of Ontario wheat destined for Toledo, Ohio.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Liberty Steamship's American Courage unloaded stone at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna on Thursday. She is the former Oglebay Norton Fred R White, Jr. This was the first time that I have heard of the Courage/White being in Buffalo for at least the last 25 years. Her fleetmate American Fortitude was due with grain for General Mills on Saturday.


Updates - December 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo 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.


Wallaceburg Barge Service Resumes

12/7 - Wallaceburg - After being assured bridge safety issues were fully addressed, Walpole Island First Nations officials allowed the Wallaceburg-Toledo barge service to resume. On December 3, the Radium Yellowknife and corn loaded barge BIG 549 departed Wallaceburg assisted by the Menasha Tug Co. vessel Duke (from Sarnia.)

On December 5, with assistance of the tug Menasha, the light barge BIG 506 was pushed by Radium Yellowknife to Wallaceburg where it will be loaded at the Bruinsma Dock with low grade corn. Outgoing trip (with the same two tugs) saw the loaded barge BIG 546 complete the Sydenham and Chenal Ecarte inland route for the approximate 18 hour trip to Toledo.

Now that the bridge hurdle has been overcome, service is expected to continue until freeze up.

Reported by Al Mann


A lake in decline

12/7 - Marquette - It may be snowing outside, but meteorologists say drier than normal conditions over much of the Upper Peninsula are expected to continue.

“We’re in a deficit for total precipitation,” said David Pearson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township. “Since June, every month has been in a deficit.” From June 1 through Oct. 31, the weather office in Negaunee Township was down a total of 6.6 inches of precipitation. Over the same period, the city of Marquette was down 5.7 inches; 1.2 inches lower than normal at the Houghton County Airport; 3.1 inches in Ironwood; 3.3 inches in Iron Mountain; and about a half inch down in Newberry.

So far this year, the Negaunee Township NWS office is down just a couple of inches below the normal snowfall total of 33.2 inches. Last year at this time, 46.6 inches of snow had already fallen.

All of the precipitation shortfalls are registering in much lower than usual river and stream heights and, although affected by a much larger set of variables, dramatically lower levels of Lake Superior. Currently, the largest of the Great Lakes is down 17 inches below its long-term average beginning of December level and 13 inches down from the level recorded last year at this time.

“The last time Lake Superior was this low at this time of year was in December 1925,” said Carl Woodruff, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are also down from previous years and averages for this time of year. The levels of these lakes are expected to continue to decline over the next several months.

Gates at the Soo Locks are set to allow 55,100 cubic feet per second of water flowing from Lake Superior to lakes Huron and Michigan for the month of December, the same outflow as last month.

This year’s June through October period in Marquette County was the second-driest behind a record set in 1976. The city of Marquette recorded its third-driest sequence over the same time period. Across Upper Michigan, low water levels have caused numerous problems from shallow waters for anglers and recreational boaters to a coal boat reducing shipments to the Smurfit Stone Container Dock, the Ontonagon area’s largest employer.

Michigan Department of Natural Resources Lake Superior Basin Coordinator Steve Scott in Newberry said low water levels can make winters more difficult for fish species, especially in smaller streams. “It’s natural for all streams to go through drought periods as well as high water periods,” Scott said. “What can be a problem is prolonged periods of drought lasting several months.”

In some cases in winter, streams can freeze from the bottom up developing what is called “anchor ice,” limiting life for fish and other organisms at the stream bottom. Brook trout are one of the cold water species susceptible to anchor ice and low stream level problems. Dry or flooding conditions may both be problems for fish laying eggs during spring or fall—the eggs may be washed away in floods or left high and dry in drought periods.

Low stream levels in summer give fish a smaller area to occupy and they concentrate in the remaining deep holes. These holes may be exploited if discovered by anglers. Lake Superior water levels dropping may also cause problems for fish using the lake’s limited shoal areas offshore. Some species using this ecosystem include walleye, bass, pike and salmon, in their juvenile stages of growth, Scott said.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Muskegon man converts 109-foot Freighter into home

12/7 - Muskegon - A 58-year-old architect and businessman plans to convert a 109-foot freighter that hauled gravel, sand and asphalt along the Norwegian coast into a live-on-board yacht.

Over the summer, owner Bob Norman and his crew of three brought the Italian-built Trieste across the North Atlantic from Bergen, Norway, to Canada. It's now docked at West Michigan Dock & Market Corp. in Muskegon. "It felt like being tossed around in a steel shoebox,” Norman told The Muskegon Chronicle for a recent story.

The conversion from a commercial coastal freighter into a personal yacht and floating home is expected to take a few years. Norman's background is as an industrialist, architect, oceangoing crewman, international business consultant, private pilot and recreational sailor. He says he's always had the idea to convert such a ship.

Norman traveled to Norway in April to take possession of the Trieste, which is made of riveted steel and named for the city in Italy where it was built in 1946. He spent a month and a half in Bergen preparing for the North Atlantic crossing.

Montague residents Roger Grasman, a retired commercial pilot, and Joel Mikealsen, who is in film and promotions work, helped Norman make the 13-day crossing. The captain of the ship was a hired seaman from Norway. "It was an experience, that's for sure,” said the 68-year-old Grasman. "I guess ignorance is bliss.”

Reported by Marc Vander Meulen from the Traverse City Record-Eagle


Port Reports - December 7, 2006

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ocean bulker Isolda shifted into Milwaukee's inner harbor Tuesday evening, and began loading at the Nidera grain elevator.
Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw was berthed Tuesday night outboard of the Lake Express in-season dock, and left early Wednesday.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John G. Munson, which loaded early Tuesday at the NS coal dock, for unknown reasons remained at the dock until Wednesday morning. She departed at mid-morning for Green Bay, Wisc.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly loaded ore on Wednesday, but then remained at the dock to wait out the weather.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Wednesday saw the Calumet completing her unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee and going up to turn at the Sixth Street Turning Basin. The current running in the river was still strong enough that the Calumet needed assistance from the tug Gregory J. Busch to complete her turn.
The Maumee was inbound, but tied up briefly until the downbound Calumet cleared. Maumee then proceeded upriver to lighter at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee before finishing her unload at the BVD dock in Saginaw.
Maumee was expected to be outbound Thursday morning.


Updates - December 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


100th Anniversary of Monarch Sinking

12/7 - On December 6, 1906 Northern Navigation's passenger and freight vessel Monarch departed Port Arthur for Sarnia heading to winter layup. About four hours after departure, facing heavy seas and snow squalls, the Monarch came to an abrupt stop at 9:30 pm.

About two miles west of Blake's Point the Monarch rammed into a rocky section of Isle Royale.

With the vessel in peril, John McCallum, from Wallaceburg, Ont., a passenger and brother of first mate Bert McCallum, had a rope tied around his waist and instructed crew members to swing him in pendulum motion until he could be dropped onto the rocky shoal.

Eventually successful, McCallum tied the line to a tree and because of his heroics, all but one aboard were rescued. For his remarkable efforts 100 years ago, John McCallum received several citations, rewards and newspaper recognition

A possible frozen compass was given as reason for the Monarch to be off course.

Reported by Al Mann


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 ToledoÕs 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 & BESSEMER 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.


Tug\Barge Aground in Saginaw River

12/6 - Saginaw - Shipping in the Saginaw River was blocked, early Wednesday, as a tug and barge combination ran aground while passing through the Lake States Railroad bridge.

The tug Olive-L-Moore and barge Lewis-J-Kuber were backing out to Saginaw Bay when southwesterly winds blowing at some 20-miles an hour created low water levels.

The tug and barge had delivered stone to the Sargent Dock in Essexville and Saginaw Rock Products in Zilwaukee. After having bow thruster problems and another ship had trouble turning around at the 6th Street turning basin, the Moore's captain decided to back down the river to the turning basin, south of Bay City.

Low water levels and swift currents prevented the combo from turning around by the James Clements Airport.

As the comb passed through the railroad bridge in Essexville, the barge and tug ran aground. The Saginaw-based tug Gregory Busch helped free the stuck vessel about 7:00am.

Reported by Bill Hewitt, News Radio 790, WSGN.


Troubled Tugboat Makes Way To Marquette

12/6 - Marquette - The tugboat that found itself buffeted by 16 foot waves a few days ago and lost another boat that it had been towing, visited Marquette's Lower Harbor Tuesday.

The Susan Hoey had been towing the Seneca when the Seneca broke loose. The Seneca is still stuck on a sandbar 22 miles east of Grand Marais. Coast Guard officials say they're waiting for a salvage plan from the tugboat company.

During the storm, the Susan Hoey was able to seek haven in Grand Marais harbor. The two men navigating the boat were not injured

Reported by WLUC-TV6 Marquette

Tug Adrift on Lake Superior

Original Report - 12/5 - Grand Marais, MI — U.S. Coast Guard personnel today were helping a tugboat captain recover another vessel it lost in high seas on Lake Superior Saturday. The Susan Hoey, an 88-foot-long tugboat, sought refuge in Grand Marais Harbor Saturday night after a storm with high seas forced the Minnesota-bound boat into port.

Captain Franz VonRiedel’s tugboat was towing a 94-foot tugboat called the Seneca, which was lost in the storm and was drifting toward Crisp Point Sunday.

“We located it at 8:30 this morning and we’re on our way to go get it,” VonRiedel said. Crew members from the Coast Guard boat Alder from Duluth, Minn., were helping the Susan Hoey’s crew today. The Seneca’s exact location was not known this morning, VonRiedel said.

On Saturday, the Susan Hoey, which was formerly owned by the Gaelic Tugboat Company, ran into a sudden storm that blew up on Lake Superior. The storm produced snow squalls and seas as high as 16 feet, causing ice to build up on the tug. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Member Howard Baker of Grand Marais guided the Susan Hoey through Grand Marais’ harbor due to the poor visibility from the ice-encased shroud of the captain’s pilot house.

The tugboat arrived in Grand Marais at midnight Saturday, with the Seneca adrift in the storm. First-mate Ted Wagner said almost an inch of ice built up on both tugs before the Seneca broke away. As VonRiedel’s tug crested a wave, the Seneca’s bow would plunge, almost completely submerging its tow line. Then the bow of VonRiedel’s tug would dip below the waves as the Seneca would bob up.

The seas frightened the crew members, Wagner said. “I was afraid the windows were going to break. I thought were going to capsize," he said. “I’ve never been so terrified in my life.”

Grand Marais Harbor is the only port of refuge between Munising and Whitefish Point.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


New Cargo Could Change Shipping on the Lakes

12/6 - Duluth - Many more types of cargo will be moving on the Great Lakes in the future, if Adolph Ojard’s crystal ball can be trusted. As executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Ojard foresees a day when the lakes will relieve more of the pressure placed on railroads and highways.

But it probably will take big investments in facilities and new ships to make Ojard’s dream a reality.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has begun to study how the vacant Garfield Pier might be turned into a freight-handling facility. The pier was home to a Cargill grain elevator that was demolished, leaving the port with a 28-acre clean canvas for development.

Access to the property will improve with the completion of the Helberg Drive corridor this summer. The $6 million project includes building a heavy-haul road skirted by new tracks for the Canadian Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads. “Helberg Drive could serve as a timely catalyst for making development possible,” said Jim Sharrow, the Port Authority’s facilities manager.

Last week, the Port Authority’s board of commissioners unanimously voted to authorize the expenditure of up to $78,000 to study how best to use Garfield Pier. Duluth’s waterfront could be getting much busier, thanks to a few recent developments:

Enbridge Energy expects to begin construction of a new pipeline in 2007 that could result in the import of about 1,400 miles of 3-foot-diameter pipe, possibly by ship. Minnesota Steel Industries plans to open a steel mill near Nashwauk, which is expected to produce 1.2 million tons of slab steel by 2009 and perhaps twice that by 2012.

The Port Authority plans to study other facilities as it searches for ideas on how to configure Garfield. Ojard pointed to a fully automated facility in Hamilton, Ontario, as being of special interest. There, all the cargo is positioned for the next day’s shipments in the middle of the night, when off-peak electrical rates make the work less expensive.

Ojard said Duluth has an immediate need for more cargo-staging area. He gave as an example to the time this year when Duluth received three vessels in a row delivering wind power equipment. “We were plugged with the scheduling of three ships this year. We simply need more lay-down area,” he said.

“We want every project to flow,” said Denise McDougall, warehouse coordinator at Lake Superior Warehousing Co. “We don’t want to hinder anyone, so the more space we have, the better. “The more word gets out that Duluth is a place that can handle these kinds of special cargo, the more business we’ll see,” she said.

Ojard said it would make sense for Minnesota Steel to ship its steel slab out of Duluth, as many U.S. and Canadian mills on the Great Lakes have excess rolling capacity, creating a ready market for the product. However, Ojard said that most vessels on the Great Lakes appear poorly suited to haul slab steel. He said new ships would be needed to make such a venture work.

When it comes to moving bulk cargos — such as taconite, coal or limestone — carriers on the Great Lakes are second to none. But most of the vessels in the U.S. Great Lakes fleet are so tailored to the task of transporting bulk commodities that they make poor platforms for moving other goods.

Ojard remains hopeful maritime operators will recognize the opportunity to move new types of cargo on the Great Lakes and will respond by building more flexible vessels. The scene won’t change overnight, however. It typically takes three to five years to build a ship.

Still, Ojard remains excited by the prospect of a new breed of ship appearing on the Great Lakes. “This could be the biggest thing since the opening of the Seaway,” he said. “In a way, we could be going back to another era,” Ojard said, pointing out that until the 1950s break-bulk, or general cargo, vessels were common on the Great Lakes. “We could be going back to the future to try to take advantage of the efficiencies of water.”
Shipping freight by water generally costs about one-tenth what it would to transport it by truck and one-half what it would to move it by train.

“The Great Lakes are an underutilized transportation resource, without question,” said Richard Stewart, director of the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Transportation and Logistics Research Center.

Meanwhile, the need for alternatives to trucks and trains is becoming more evident, he said. “The cumulative effects of rising energy prices, infrastructure costs and delays have all driven up the expense of land-based transportation. And there’s every indication the trend will continue,” he said. “Developing water links could help provide some relief.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Beached Timber may be from Train Trestle

12/6 - Duluth - Officials in Duluth are trying to figure out what to do with a large timber crib that washed ashore from Lake Superior this week. Historians think the wooden object is about 130 years old. The believe it came from the ruins of a 19th century grain elevator and the rail lines that served it. During that era, several grain elevators were constructed in Lake Superior, but they all were destroyed by fire in the 1880s.

Wreckage from the elevators still periodically surface in Lake Superior, but officials say the piece that washed up along Duluth's Lake Walk this week is the biggest ever. Tom Kasper, a maintenance supervisor with the Lake Walk, said it's about 70 feet long by 30 feet across and about 5 to 8 feet high.

"The Coast Guard, as well as a couple historians, think it's part of an old train trestle from the 1870s that's been sitting on the bottom of the lake," Kasper said.

He said the Coast Guard has offered to provide a chain that would allow city officials to anchor it in place and leave it for historical study. "Whether or not that happens, I don't know," Kasper said. But, he said, officials will need to find some way to at least temporarily anchor the object while they decide what to do with it.

"If it were to free itself and get out into the shipping channel, it could severely damage even a 1,000-foot boat," Kasper said.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press


Port Reports - December 6

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway entered the channel at 9:30 am Tuesday morning, dropped the hook and proceeded to the inner harbour to do the turn. With a stiff westerly breeze blowing, she is loading at Sifto Salt.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Susan Hoey arrived in Marquette Monday night coated with ice. After an inspection by the USCG and a time of breaking the ice off, she departed for the Keweenaw on her way to Duluth.
The Lee A. Tregurtha arrived for a load of ore.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday, U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw entered the Milwaukee breakwater at about 3 PM, as part of its late fall aids to navigation tour.
Saltwater vessel Isolda continued unloading steel at Terminal 2 in the outer harbor.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John G. Munson was loading early Tuesday at Sandusky's Norfolk Southern coal dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
A strong current in the Saginaw River, caused by recent heavy rains, caused a lot of headaches and concerns today. First, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber finished lightering at the Sargent dock in Essexville Monday night, then waited a few hours for the current to let up. The pair then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock. They were followed up the river by the Algorail, who called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload salt.
Both vessels completed their unloads, but the Kuber had to repair a problem with their bow thruster, so the Algorail took the first crack at turning at Sixth Street with the strong current. It took a while, but she eventually made the turn with the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch. Algorail proceeded slowly downriver then stopped briefly in the area of the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to kill some time. This was due to the rush hour "bridge hours" that were in effect in Bay City closing the bridges until 5:30pm. Seeing what the Algorail went through at Sixth Street, the Moore & Kuber decided to back out of the river, down to the Airport Turning Basin in Bay City to try and make their turn. They were not successful and continued backing outbound.
To make matters worse, Liberty bridge in Bay City had a mechanical problem and could not open for the Algorail. Stuck between Vet's and Liberty bridges, the Captain of the Algorail skillfully held station, fighting the strong current, until the problem was resolved and the bridge opened. Finally, the Calumet was inbound at this time and stopped at the Essexville Sand & Stone dock to allow the Algorail to pass downbound. The Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber stopped at the old Bay Aggregates dock in Downtown Bay City to allow the Calumet to pass upbound on her way to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload, then continued backing out of the river to the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake.


A few workers remain to take care of Rochester ship

12/6 - Rochester, NY - A slice of sun emerges from the clouds at 7:15 a.m. Seagulls circle and swoop and scavenge for breakfast in a barren parking lot. In the calm waters nearby lies a sleeping giant.

At this hour on the nearly five-story, 1,400-ton catamaran known as the fast ferry, it's usually just Frank Cranmer and the birds. Today, though, Cranmer has visitors of the human kind, and he's grateful for the company. “It's something to do,” says the chief engineer, one of four engineers retained by Rochester Ferry Co. to watch over the ship until it is sold and delivered.

When that day will come is unclear. The original deadline by which the city was to sell the ferry has long gone, and winter — along with the scheduled closing of the St. Lawrence Seaway, through which the ferry would have to exit — is fast approaching. So for now, Cranmer and his colleagues hold vigil, working 12-hour shifts, two weeks at a time, on a ship that goes nowhere.

The engineers — who are employed by Rochester Ferry Co. and managed by Bay Ferries Great Lakes LLC, the company hired by the city to operate the ship — keep opposite schedules. Theirs is solitary, at times stultifying, work. “You wanna see what we do?” asks a puzzled Cranmer.

What they do — check ropes to make sure they're taut, mind monitors, change light bulbs, peer down hatches for signs the ship might be sinking or burning and keep a log of all the above — is perhaps not as interesting as how several of them live, or where: in dormitories in the link building, between the terminal and the ship. The rooms, once offices, were converted to sleeping quarters last year when the city let a lease expire on a house it had rented for the ferry's out-of-town employees.

‘A very lonely life'
Relatively few Rochesterians got the chance to ride the ferry. Many fewer know there are people still working on it, let alone living next to it.

A glimpse into that life reveals a fairly stark existence. The kitchen, a former break room, is a study in bachelorism, with little more to it than a mini-fridge, an electric hot plate and several boxes of macaroni and cheese. The only human touch in Cranmer's room, where he doesn't have so much as a picture of his teenage daughters, are the push pins someone arranged in a smiley face on the blank bulletin board above his bed.

Signs of life are even scarcer on the ship, where the engineers spend the bulk of their time. With the floors covered with protective paper and nothing but air filling the rows of plush blue seats, the place is downright ghostly. It's rather like gazing upon a sunken wreck: You can't help but feel the presence of spirits — and the occasional creaking of the ship's aluminum body only heightens the effect.

“I guess at night, it might spook you out,” Cranmer says. Living and working on a ship is, “in general, a very lonely life,” says Larry Dickens, who was second-in-command on the ferry for two seasons and recently wrote a book, “Gone With the Breeze: A True Story About the Spirit of the Ontario I,” which he describes as part tribute to the crew, part memoir and part history. These days, e-mail and digital cameras make it easier to stay in touch, Dickens says. But for the most part, “you have to be used to a solitary life while you're out there.”

Most of the marine crew members that Dickens knows are married men with children who typically go to sea for one to four months at a time — a long slog, but Dickens notes that whatever difficulties that schedule might pose are offset by the fact that crews earn a paid vacation day for every day of work, in addition to their one- to four-month furloughs.

They're paid handsomely, too. “You're looking at six figures for the chief officer and captains on deep-sea commercial ships,” Dickens says. “Chief engineers do quite well, in the low six figures.” And they get to see the world.

Still, Dickens says, “you get tired of it after 27 years. That's why I was so attracted to the ferry.” “It was kind of a dream situation. Here's a shipping company dropping in my backyard,” says Dickens, who lives in South Bristol. “I'd never driven to work before. To sleep at home — just throw the keys on the chart table and go home — is totally unheard of in typical maritime careers. But like most dreams, sometimes, they're just too good to be true.”

‘She just wants to run'
If life at sea seems a strange way to make a living, life aboard a dead ship is even stranger. “I've been on a dead ship once before, and I vowed never to do it again,” Dickens says. “You want to be moving. You want to be doing something. You want to see a ship that's full of life, not just some hulk that's sitting there. “Life in the link building can't be too much fun,” he adds. “It's not like you can bring a date back without everyone in the world seeing it.”

Three of the engineers, including Cranmer, of New Jersey, stay there. The fourth, a local man who lives in Greece, doesn't need to. Cranmer, who is separated from his wife, says he enjoys the solitude. He's been working on ships most of his 58 years.

He joined the ferry crew in July 2005, when it was still in operation. Today, he spends much of his time reading and leafing through maritime magazines. But he's getting restless, like the ship he's grown so fond of. “She just wants to run,” he says. “It isn't right. Working vessels are made to be working.”

The last time the engineers took the ferry out was April, for two sea trials requested by a potential buyer of the ship. About the most exciting thing that happens now is on Fridays, when the engineer on duty starts the engines. There are four of them — massive things with a combined 44,000 horsepower — but since the ship must stay put, the most exciting thing about the engines seems to be that they're loud. “You have to wear ear protection when you're in there,” Cranmer says, pointing to the engine room.

There are greater advantages, though, to working on the ferry. It has a nice movie theater, which beats the old TV in the link building. (“I wish we had cable,” Cranmer says. “All we have is rabbit ears.”) And it affords fabulous views — including one of the Hojack swing bridge, another lifeless relic. On nice days, Cranmer might lower the ramp to the car deck and enjoy the breeze.

Cranmer also looks forward to sightings of the Steven B. Roman, a ship that brings cement from a manufacturing plant in Picton, Ontario. He notes such things in the ship's log, a spiral-bound notebook. An early entry reads: “On 1/10 learned that vessel service would not resume on 3/31/06 as planned. City of Rochester will not operate vessel anymore and plans to sell vessel.”

Nearly a year has gone by, and hopes that the ferry might go before then are fading. A stack of air mattresses, for the crew that finally delivers the ship, waits in the children's play area. A washing machine intended for that voyage also sits idle. Cranmer bides his time. “To go on like this, where it's just perpetuity, it's tough,” he says. “Everybody's disappointed.”

From the Ithica NY Journal


Vacant Bay City Site Possibly a Marine Museum

12/6 - Bay City, MI - Leaders are wondering whether a museum complex could anchor an aging riverfront. Bay City may include a maritime heritage center at its vacant Uptown at RiversEdge site, building on the success of recent Tall Ship festivals here.

Supporters include city leaders, Midland's Dow Corning Corp., the Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and Bay Future, a public-private economic development group.
The proponents presented their concept, patterned after an attraction at Mystic Seaport, Conn., to several city commissioners last week. Shirley Roberts, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, described the center as an "edutainment" complex that would make the city a destination place for local and Great Lakes maritime culture.

The idea means setting aside about 8.5 acres of the 48-acre Uptown site along the Saginaw River for a maritime heritage center run by a nonprofit group. Commissioners decided to place two resolutions on the agenda for their Monday regular meeting. The resolutions would support further research into the plan and a public-private partnership to help split up, market and sell the remaining land to developers.

"I see this as a new beginning for this project," said Commissioner Kathleen Newsham. The effort, with private sponsorships, possibly would acquire a tall ship for the attraction. Bay City already has two Appledore schooners operated by the nonprofit BaySail. "The possibilities are endless," Roberts said.

Commissioners split on the idea, with several concerned that the nonprofit aspect of the development would not bring in tax money the city sorely needs to operate and upgrade its aging infrastructure. Uptown is a former industrial site. "Our ship has a hole in it, and we need to fix that hole," said Commissioner M.J. Gorney.

But proponents said the idea is to create a destination that will attract private-sector companies that would develop housing, restaurants and offices nearby, bringing in tax money. On the agenda next to the center: a "higher quality" seasonal marina with floating docks and other amenities.

Mayor Michael J. Buda said the plan gives the project direction and is better than letting the site sit dormant for another 20 to 30 years while arguing about it. Roberts said Bay City was the only port on the tall ships festival circuit that made money this year. About 100,000 people attended July 20-23. The festival netted a profit of about $264,000 split among BaySail, the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association and the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The event also generated about $6.3 million in area sales, Roberts said.

She and other project boosters visited Mystic Seaport in October. Besides the Connecticut attraction, there is another similar attraction in Washington state. There's nothing similar in the Midwest, Roberts said. Dow Corning spokeswoman Mary Lou Benecke said that with the commission's blessing, supporters will research the concept, seek corporate sponsors and report back to the commission.

Steve Black, deputy city manager, said private developers have said the maritime center idea is worth exploring. But even if the idea takes hold, there still are expensive obstacles to developing the site. Phil Newton, acting director of the city-owned electric utility, said the city needs up to $4.8 million to rebuild a distribution substation behind City Hall, move a switching station next to the substation and realign towers or bury wires that now impede the site's development potential.

But Black said having a plan for the site also allows city officials to apply for state and federal grants for everything from upgrading the electrical infrastructure to cleaning up historical environmental contamination on the site and developing the marina.

From the Bay City Times


Boatnerd Logos for Christmas

Just in time for Christmas stocking stuffing, Boatnerd has added embroidered cloth logo patches to go along with the Boatnerd logo bumper stickers and window clingers. The new patches measure 3.5" wide and 3" high. They are perfect for sewing on to your own jacket, shirt, or whatever you want to wear it on.

Boatnerd also offers high quality vinyl bumper stickers and static-cling interior window decals.

Click here for all the ordering information.

All proceeds from the logo sales help support this website and the annual Boatnerd Gatherings.


Updates - December 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo 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. McGregor 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.


Tug Adrift on Lake Superior

12/5 - Grand Marais, MI — U.S. Coast Guard personnel today were helping a tugboat captain recover another vessel it lost in high seas on Lake Superior Saturday. The Susan Hoey, an 88-foot-long tugboat, sought refuge in Grand Marais Harbor Saturday night after a storm with high seas forced the Minnesota-bound boat into port.

Captain Franz VonRiedel’s tugboat was towing a 94-foot tugboat called the Seneca, which was lost in the storm and was drifting toward Crisp Point Sunday.

“We located it at 8:30 this morning and we’re on our way to go get it,” VonRiedel said. Crew members from the Coast Guard boat Alder from Duluth, Minn., were helping the Susan Hoey’s crew today. The Seneca’s exact location was not known this morning, VonRiedel said.

On Saturday, the Susan Hoey, which was formerly owned by the Gaelic Tugboat Company, ran into a sudden storm that blew up on Lake Superior. The storm produced snow squalls and seas as high as 16 feet, causing ice to build up on the tug. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Member Howard Baker of Grand Marais guided the Susan Hoey through Grand Marais’ harbor due to the poor visibility from the ice-encased shroud of the captain’s pilot house.

The tugboat arrived in Grand Marais at midnight Saturday, with the Seneca adrift in the storm. First-mate Ted Wagner said almost an inch of ice built up on both tugs before the Seneca broke away. As VonRiedel’s tug crested a wave, the Seneca’s bow would plunge, almost completely submerging its tow line. Then the bow of VonRiedel’s tug would dip below the waves as the Seneca would bob up.

The seas frightened the crew members, Wagner said. “I was afraid the windows were going to break. I thought were going to capsize," he said. “I’ve never been so terrified in my life.”

Grand Marais Harbor is the only port of refuge between Munising and Whitefish Point.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Lake Superior Near Record-Low Levels

12/5- Minneapolis-St. Paul - Lake Superior has dropped nearly a foot this year to its lowest late-autumn water level in eight decades, a startling decline that is raising worries about shipping, shorelines and fish populations. The rapid fall of the world's broadest freshwater lake is largely the result of six months of regional drought, authorities say.

For shipping, an economic force in Duluth and Superior, Wis., the drop means freighters carrying iron ore, coal and limestone are loading less in order to navigate locks, channels and harbors. Ken Gerasimos, port captain for Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes Inc., which has eight freighters sailing the Great Lakes out of Duluth, said that with less cargo on board, boat operators have to charge more to some customers. "You and I pay for that," he said. "That coal goes to heat homes," he said. "The iron ore goes into Tonka toys and automobiles."

On the North Shore, the combination of receding lake water and little runoff has allowed sandbars to form in the mouths of small feeder streams, cutting off trout and salmon from spawning beds and possibly reducing future populations, said Don Schreiner, area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota DNR.

At the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, some docks are now sitting so high above the water that they're going to be fitted with extra guards next spring to keep boats from sliding under them. Park officials are also considering dredging some bays ahead of schedule to maintain boat access; dredging might also be needed to help ferries navigate between Bayfield, Wis., and Madeline Island, said Bayfield Mayor Larry MacDonald. "We're seeing sandbars we haven't seen in a long time," MacDonald said.

Decline may continue
Fluctuations are normal for the Great Lakes; Lake Superior has varied 4 feet in more than a century of record-keeping, and oscillates 1 foot in a normal year. What has stunned observers this year is that instead of rising through the spring and summer, as is customary, the lake fell from near normal in spring to almost a foot below normal in fall, brushing the November low set in 1925.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts it will drop another 3 inches in the next three weeks. Minnesota state climatologist Jim Zandlo, who's been studying the lake as part of ongoing North Shore snow research, says it will drop 5 inches or more by the end of February. That means levels will continue to hug the monthly record lows set in the winter of 1925-26, in the dry years that preceded the Dust Bowl.

The main cause? The extreme shortage of rainfall across the Lake Superior basin since May, Zandlo said. Much of the lake's watershed has been ranked in "extreme" drought, the next-to-worst category, by the National Drought Mitigation Center for much of the last six months. Areas of northern Minnesota have been at or near all-time rainfall lows since mid-May.

While farmers had surprisingly good harvests, that was attributed to moisture in the soil from 2005. And though other effects of the drought may have appeared minimal, the drop of Lake Superior puts an exclamation point on it. "For it to go down that fast on Superior is a strong indicator that this is a very extreme drought," Zandlo said.

Without rain falling, the lake is more vulnerable to evaporation. Because of its size, the lake rarely takes on significant ice cover, freezing over perhaps once a decade and then for only short periods. The surface's contact with cold air, which is drier than summer air, causes the lake to lose more water to evaporation in the winter than in the summer. Minnesota's inland lakes will stop losing volume as soon as they freeze, Zandlo notes.

If the drought extends into spring, Lake Superior could drop below its lowest recorded level.

Is it global warming?
Several people interviewed for this article, without being asked, made a connection between the drought's impact on Lake Superior's level and global warming. The drought has been extremely sudden, however, and global warming scholars don't agree on whether climate trends for the Great Lakes region are moving drier or wetter, or to a troublesome alteration between extremes.

"The jury's out," said Lucinda Johnson, associate director of the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Long-term lower levels on Lake Superior, as on any lake, would be a problem for shorelines, where vegetation might change and then be disrupted by a quick rise, and where people might be tempted to build new structures, Johnson said. She and others said that wetlands, like those along the south shore, would lose water, reducing habitat for wildlife and underwater organisms, and eliminating the water-filtration role that wetlands play.

"If this trend continues, that's going to be of great concern," said Bob Krunemaker, superintendent of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

From the Star-Tribune


Port Reports - December 5

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail came into port through the night and was loading at Sifto Salt on a very cold Monday morning.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Sunday afternoon Calumet backed downriver to depart after delivering salt to Jones Island in Milwaukee at about 2:30 p.m. She was replaced by fleet mate Maumee which arrived on a similar errand at about 3:30 p.m.
Since noon Sunday FedNav's Federal Hunter left General Cargo Pier #2 in the outer harbor, while the Calumet departed the inner harbor after discharging its load of salt.
Remaining in the harbor was Algoma Central's Algowood at the Nidera Elevator. Arriving in the harbor in the last day is Polsteam's Isolda, which assumed the dockage vacated by the Federal Hunter.
On Monday Isolda (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) from Polsteam was delivering steel using shoreside cranes at terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw arrived with a load of grain from Thunder Bay around noon on Monday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Vessel traffic resumed on the Saginaw River after a stretch of six days with no activity. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River passing the Front Range around 1:30 Monday afternoon. The pair called on the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload.


Boatnerd Holiday Card Gallery

Nautical-themed Christmas cards have long been a tradition among Great Lakes boat watchers. Once again, Boatnerd is pleased to present a gallery of seasonal sentiments.

You may send a scan of your card to with HOLIDAY CARD GALLERY in the subject line.

To have your card included:
Please mail cards to: HOLIDAY CARD GALLERY, 317 S. Division St. #8, Ann
Arbor, MI 48104

Cards must be received by Dec. 24 to be included.
Happy Holidays.


Marine Mart this Saturday

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute is sponsoring their annual Marine Mart on Saturday, December 9, from 10:00 am to 3:00pm, at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Drive, Grosse Pointe Farms, MI.

 Note New Location! Admission-$5.00 adults, children under 12 free.

Click here for more information


Updates - December 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 05

In 1927, the ALTADOC crashed on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when her steering gear parted during a Lake Superior storm. The machinery and pilot house of the wreck were recovered in 1928. The pilot house was eventually refurbished in 1942 and opened as the Worlds Smallest Hotel in Copper Harbor, Michigan. The owners resided in the Captains Quarters, a gift shop was set up in the Chart Room, a guest lounge was set up in the Wheelhouse, and there were two rooms for guests.

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 , Russ Plumb, 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.


Doctor plans to restore the Ste. Claire

12/4 - Detroit - Dr. Ron Kattoo's childhood was filled with sun-soaked trips to historic Boblo Island, where he spent summers dancing, picnicking and riding on roller coasters with friends and family. Since the Canadian-owned amusement park shut down 13 years ago, Kattoo, a hard-charging doctor at Henry Ford Hospital, has followed every development regarding the island and the magnificent steamboats that transported him there.

The 100-year-old vessels that chugged up and down the Detroit River to the island south of Grosse Ile have exchanged hands numerous times since they were built.

Today, a New York investor owns the Columbia. The Ste. Claire is in the process of landing in Kattoo's hands for restoration and use for dining, parties and cruises. It's a dream he's had since he saw the boats in 2004 sitting in a shipyard in Lorraine, Ohio -- where they had been deteriorating since they were retired when the island park closed to the public in 1993. The island is now home to a luxury condo project.

"I'm sure it will make a lot of money," Kattoo said. "But it's more than that. I want to bring the Boblo boat back to Detroit, where it belongs and where people will enjoy it the most." Kattoo, associate director of Henry Ford's intensive care unit, and his Maximus Corp. -- which he formed with friends Stephen Najor and Nicole Orow -- are in the final stages of acquiring the boat from Diane Evon.

Neither party is disclosing how much the boat cost. Evon and her former husband, John Belko, paid $21,000 for it in September 2001. The Cleveland couple spent $600,000 in restorations. They've run the boat as a haunted house while it was docked in a Toledo shipyard.

Kattoo's chance to buy the Boblo boat came this summer, after the couple divorced. Evon, who acquired the boat in the settlement, was running out of money and time to dedicate to the project. "I couldn't move the project forward aggressively on my own," Evon said from her Cleveland home. "I also wanted someone who wanted to see her restored for her historical value," she said about the 200-foot Ste. Claire, which was built in 1910 and holds 2,416 people. "Someone who had an emotional connection was absolutely critical to me. Ron has that."

Kattoo had been preparing for this. He befriended Evon when he saw the boats in 2004. When she offered to sell the Ste. Claire, he phoned his wife, Danielle, 30, and his friends, Najor and Orow. Let's do it, they all said. That reaction is typical of people who know Kattoo.

At 39, he is in charge of one of Henry Ford Hospital's most demanding departments. Kattoo, married for three years and with a 10-month-old son, just finished a book titled "Critical Care Made Ridiculously Simple." He's a member of Independence Township's volunteer fire department. Several years ago, the Bloomfield Hills resident survived a bout with bladder cancer and lost a kidney because of the treatment. "He has amazing ideas and achieves what he sets out to do," said his wife, Danielle. "He really doesn't stop. That's why I fell in love with him."

His drive comes from a deep place, she said. "His mother died of cancer when he was 16 and then he had cancer," she said. "He worked really hard to get where he is right now. And I think he wants our son to be financially secure." On any given day, Kattoo is handling blueprints and paperwork for the Coast Guard or other government agencies that must approve any work to be done to the historic boat. "I think working in an ICU allows you to handle many complicated situations," he said. "You're handling 30 patients at once, and there are so many things that are out of your control. It makes a project like this seem relatively simple."

Kattoo already has taken over the project. He and his business partners ran the Nautical Nightmare haunted house this fall. When that shut down, he started lining up architects and contractors to get his fantasy boat going. He has been making trips to Toledo before storing the boat for the winter, prepping it for the construction that starts this spring. This all happens between long hours at the hospital, managing a household and being a father and husband.

Kattoo's plans for the boat, which he expects to complete by the spring of 2008, are grand. He will keep the haunted house as an annual fall event. He is also restoring the boat into a sparkly floating fantasyland of restaurants, clubs, movie theaters and bars. He will rent it out for proms, weddings and private parties. He will revive the moonlight cruises.

According to his business plan, the main deck will have four private suites available for rent. The second deck will have a ballroom; the third, restaurants. The outer deck will have open-air seating, a bar and an outdoor theater. Somewhere, the boat will have a museum that highlights its history. Kattoo said he plans to finance the project with his and his partners' money. He's also seeking investors and sponsors. Because of the boat's historic status, he's applying for restoration grants, private support and venture capital.

Kattoo's priority is to move the boat to Detroit as soon as possible, so Detroiters can benefit from the work generated by the boat's restoration. He's looking for a place to dock it. "No matter where this ship is docked, people who come across it recognize it and tell me their stories," said Kattoo. "They'll say, 'This is where I had my first kiss,' or 'Some of the best times of my life were spent on this boat.' "

"Some people go into medicine for the money. Others do it for a more altruistic reason -- helping people. I see this very much as the same thing. This is my way to give something back and make people happy."

From the Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - December 4

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday the saltie Agena departed at 6 a.m.
The Halifax departed at 6:30 a.m. after being bunkered by the Hamilton Energy in the Lake Ontario anchorage near the Burlington Piers. Atlantic Huron was also bunkered in the anchorage and departed at 10 a.m. Canadian Provider arrived at 9:30 a.m. with iron ore for Dofasco.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
At noon on Sunday the John J. Boland had departed Milwaukee, it had delivered coal to WE Energies Saturday.
The Federal Hunter remained at General Cargo Pier #2 and Algowood at the Nidera Elevator.
On Sunday at 7 a.m. the Calumet entered the inner harbor and began unloading salt at the bulk cargo dock.

Menominee/Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
On Sunday the Varnebank Left the K & K Dock, turned itself around in river, and left around 4 p.m. local time.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
CSL Assiniboine arrived at Sandusky's Norfolk Southern coal dock late Saturday night, following several delays due to the latest round of stormy weather. Assiniboine departed Sunday for an unnamed Canadian port, perhaps Hamilton, Ont., where steel making furnaces consume huge amounts of Sandusky shipped coal each year.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible was loading Saturday at KCBX Terminals. The first cold weather and snow of the season slowed loading operations. The cargo of 17,000 tons of petroleum coke was loaded aboard at 9:30 pm. McKee Sons was bound for Carmeuse Lime.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
A confirmed Seiche condition existed on Lake Erie on Friday night. Gale force winds, gusting as strong 67 miles per hour, were recorded in Buffalo that night. Constant direction changes by the strong wind caused the lake to peak above the 8 foot flood stage in Buffalo Harbor at 9 feet 7 inches. This combined with wave action hitting as high as 15 to 20 feet, along with a 2 inch rainfall resulted in flooding along the lakefront, Erie Basin, and Buffalo River.


Updates - December 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 04

In 1947, the EMORY L FORD, Captain William J. Lane, departed the Great Northern Elevator in Superior, Wisconsin with the most valuable cargo of grain shipped on the Great Lakes. The shipment, valued at more than $3,000,000 consisted of 337,049 bushes of flax valued at $7.00 a bushel and 140,000 bushels of wheat.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Buffalo Niagara has two sites in the running for a new state plant

12/3 - Buffalo - In less than three weeks, Gov. George E. Pataki will announce where to build a billion-dollar power plant.

The project is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs for up to four years and about 140 permanent jobs. It's a titanic economic decision, and the good news for the Buffalo Niagara region is that two of the five sites being considered across the state are here.

With so much at stake, the competition between the local plants - NRG Energy's Huntley Station in the Town of Tonawanda and AES Corp.'s Somerset plant in Barker - has been fierce. "This has the potential to revitalize not only Niagara County, but the entire upstate region," said Jon Reimann, the project manager for AES' Somerset proposal.

Supporters of the Huntely Station site have the same view. "This project is critical, not only for Western New York, but all of New York State," said State Sen. Mary Lou Rath, R-Amherst. "It's critical for economic development in Erie County.

The winner will receive a long-term contract to sell the plant's power, about 700 megawatts, to the New York Power Authority - a key step needed to secure financing. The winning bidder also will be in line for lucrative incentives, including Empire Zone benefits, up to $1 billion in tax-exempt financing and, depending on the site, brownfield cleanup tax credits.

Two in competition
While three other sites are in the running, State Sen. George D. Maziarz said he thinks the competition boils down to the two area plants. "I just haven't seen anything [from the other bidders]," said Maziarz, R-Newfane, who is backing the AES bid.

Pataki is expected to announce at least one winning bid, and possibly more, Dec. 19, following a review of the proposals by the New York Power Authority, said Eileen M. Natoli, the Pataki administration official who is coordinating the clean-coal initiative.

While the Huntley and Somerset proposals would use different technologies to reduce harmful emissions from their coal-fired power plants, supporters of both projects tout many of the same benefits. Each says its plant would be a new source of reliable electricity from a fuel source that is affordable and in plentiful supply in the United States. Both claim their plant should help stabilize electricity prices in the state and reduce dependence on natural gas as the fuel used to generate the largest share of New York's electricity.

They also tout the spin-off benefits that could be reaped by businesses that can use the byproducts from the anti-pollution efforts, ranging from sulfur and carbon dioxide to the heat and steam generated by the power plant's boilers.

One of the proposals competing against the Western New York bids comes from AES itself. The Virginia-based power plant operator also is proposing a 500-megawatt clean-coal facility at its closed Jennison coal-burning plant in Bainbridge, Chenango County. (A megawatt is about the amount of energy it takes to power 1,000 homes). "We believe New York needs more than one site," Reimann said.

The New York Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, warned this summer that the state needs 2,250 megawatts of additional generating capacity by 2015 to meet the growing demand for electricity. The other bidders have been more low-key, and the state has declined to release information about the bids.

A spokesman for Competitive Power Ventures, a Maryland-based power generation development company that is the asset manager for the natural gas-fired Athens Generating Station in Greene County, south of Albany, declined to discuss the firm's proposal. Competitive Power Ventures is backed by major investments from financial firms Warburg Pincus and ArcLight Capital Partners.

The other bidder, Empire Synfuel, a Syracuse-based venture that was formed this fall, has not disclosed any details about its proposal, and company officials could not be reached to comment.

Backers of both the Huntley and Somerset proposals also have been lining up political, labor and business support for their projects.

Next generation
NRG's plan would build a 680-megawatt clean-coal-powered plant next to the Huntley Station facility, where four of its six generating units are being shut down to reduce harmful emissions under a 2005 settlement with the state. "This is the route to the next generation for the Huntley Station," said Caroline Angoorly, an NRG vice president of development.

NRG's $1.5 billion plan would more than double the Huntley Station's generating capacity to 1,010 megawatts and secure the plant's 141 existing jobs. "It's the perfect situation," said David Falletta, president of Local 97, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, which represents workers at the Huntley Station. "Local 97 needs those jobs."

The Huntley expansion would use Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle technology. That process feeds coal into a gasification unit, where heat and pressure are used to convert the coal into combustible gas. That gas then is cleaned to remove sulfur and other contaminants before it is burned in a turbine, which then spins a generator.

NRG says the technology offers a potentially cost-effective way to capture the plant's carbon dioxide emissions, which New York will begin restricting in 2009. AES says its Somerset plans also can be adapted to capture carbon dioxide.

But what it does with the carbon dioxide afterward remains an unanswered question. That concerns local environmental activist Walter Simpson, a spokesman for the local chapter of the Sierra Club and the Western New York Climate Action Coalition. "We should be moving aggressively to meet our energy needs through a combination of energy conservation and efficiency and the rapid development of renewable energy resources like wind, biomass and solar - all of which are carbon-free."

Side benefits
The $1.2 billion AES project in Somerset also would offer spin-off benefits for nearby businesses, including the use of steam and heat generated by the plant, Reimann said. And AES is offering to set aside 5 megawatts of the new plant's output to be used by the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency as an economic development incentive to spur additional business growth.

AES is proposing to add 675 megawatts of additional generating capacity to the Somerset plant. The company said its proposal would use a pulverized-coal generating system that operates at higher temperatures and pressures than conventional units. That allows the plant to reduce emissions while also increasing its efficiency. Scrubbers can further reduce emissions, and Reimann said the plant can be adapted to capture up to 92 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces once a viable way to store the gas is found.

From the Buffalo News


Port Reports - December 3

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
High winds on Friday night caused a crane boom to tip over into the Buffalo River from a barge moored near the BIDCO Dock. The Firetug Edward M. Cotter was overheard talking to the Buffalo Coast Guard base around 8:00pm about the situation. The crane boom was partially obstructing the navigation channel above the Michigan St. Bridge and vessels were advised to use caution while transiting the area.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday had the Maria Desgagnes anchor in Lake Ontario 4 miles east of the Burlington Piers due to high winds. The James Norris arrived at 3:00pm. and went to the Hamilton anchorage to wait for the winds to die down. The Jade Star arrived at 8:00pm and anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte ( Oakville ).
Saturday saw the Canadian Leader depart Dofasco at 9:30 a.m.
The Maria Desgagnes lifted anchor off the Petro Canada Piers and moved to within one mile of the Burlington Piers to wait for bunkering from the Hamilton Energy at 11:00am. She returned to the Petro Canada Piers at 5:00pm where she then docked.
The Ocean Group tug Omni Richileau departed at 5:00pm for Clarkson. The saltie Kapatonis A Lucka arrived at 5:00pm going to Pier 12 west.
The Canadian Olympic departed at 5:30 pm from Dofasco.
The James Norris departed the Hamilton anchorage at 6:30 p.m. heading to St. Lawrence Cement in Clarkson.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Saturday afternoon at 1:30pm the Wolverine paid a visit at the mouth of Thunder Bay River. It tied up at the DPI dock and unloaded coal for the factory.
At Stoneport on Saturday fleetmate David Z. Norton was loading.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
As of early Saturday afternoon, FedNav's Federal Hunter was at Municipal Pier #2 in the outer harbor.
Algowood was loading at the Nidera elevator and the John J. Boland was discharging coal at WE Energies Greenfield Avenue dock.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
A piece of Duluth's maritime heritage surfaced recently when a timber crib from the city's old Lake Superior waterfront washed ashore near downtown.
The crib is about 60 feet long and 25 feet wide. It's made of sawn timbers that are about 12 inches square. They are notched to fit together, and then held together by iron spikes and wooden pegs. It has a slight fishy smell from being under water for 130-odd years but the timbers are sound with no sign at all of rot or decay. The crib washed ashore right below the Vietnam Memorial on Duluth's Lakewalk. It's partially ashore so visitors can walk up to it and look inside. Before the Duluth ship canal was dug, the city's harbor was the corner of Lake Superior, protected by a breakwall that rested on timber cribs. A grain elevator and freight shed were located on the lake front and were served by railroad tracks that ran along the water. The Coast Guard speculated in the newspaper that the crib once supported the railroad tracks, but it also could have come from the old breakwall.


Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 03

In 1918, the forward end of the former Pittsburgh steamer MANOLA sank during a gale on Lake Ontario. The after end received a new forward end and sailed for several years as the MAPLEDAWN.

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 Ð 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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Port of Buffalo sees Big Rise in Cargo

12/2 - Buffalo - Shipping isn't the economic mainstay it used to be, but the Port of Buffalo in Lackawanna is seeing a dramatic rise in cargo - which quadrupled to 200,000 metric tons last year - bringing recognition from Washington. "Growing transportation in Buffalo is providing jobs and opportunities and, more important, supporting our national economy," said Maria Cino, deputy secretary, U.S. Transportation Department.

Cino visited Lackawanna on Thursday to present an award for increased tonnage to the port's private-sector operator, Gateway Trade Center Inc., a unit of Buffalo Crushed Stone. The award from the department's St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. recognizes fast-growing ports.

Some 45 ships entered the port's 4,000-foot-long slip at the former Bethlehem Steel site near the foot of Tifft Street last year. Most unloaded dry bulk cargo, leaving barn-sized mounds of coal, limestone, gravel and road salt standing beside the water, to continue their trips by train or truck.

Ships from other Great Lakes ports in Michigan and Ohio mingled with ocean-going freighters. Huge turbine blades for a wind farm going up along the Lake Erie shoreline arrived from Brazil, while parts for an industrial metal-stamping press came from Europe.

The Lackawanna facility is benefiting from overflow at busier ports, said Steven B. Detwiler, president of Gateway owner Buffalo Crushed Stone. "We're not so busy, we're able to turn them around quicker," he said.

 The freight hub is on track to double last year's cargo total this shipping season. In addition, the port operator has in recent years invested in a 230 ton-capacity crane that can straddle a ship's cargo hold, accommodating larger shipments. Coal bound for Stelco's mill in Hamilton, Ont., made up most of last year's increase, Detwiler said. Shiploads of coal from the Western U.S. mixed with rail deliveries from Pennsylvania at the 150-acre terminal, then are shipped to the steel maker via the Welland Canal.

The Port of Buffalo operates as a public freight terminal under regulation from the Transportation Department and Department of Homeland Security, Detwiler said. The Army Corps of Engineers maintains the breakwater, which shelters boats, and keeps the channel dreged to 27 feet, the maximum draft of vessels on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The port traffic is separate from shipping at other, nonpublic waterfront facilities in Buffalo, which handle grain and other cargo for companies such as General Mills. The port operations employ 15 people, Gateway officials said. Freight handling activities support 500 direct jobs and another 1,000 jobs indirectly at users of the cargo, Cino said.

From the Buffalo News


Boatnerd Logos for Christmas

Just in time for Christmas stocking stuffing, Boatnerd has added embroidered cloth logo patches to go along with the Boatnerd logo bumper stickers and window clingers.

The new patches measure 3.5" wide and 3" high. They are perfect for sewing on to your own jacket, shirt, or whatever you want to wear it on.

Click here for all the ordering information.

All proceeds from the logo sales help support this website and the annual Boatnerd Gatherings.


Port Reports - December 2

Goderich - Dale Baechler & Jacob Smith
On a rainy and very windy Friday afternoon the Canadian Enterprise backed in the channel and was on the Sifto Salt dock at 2:15 p.m.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
As the first Winter snow storm hit the area shipping came to a halt Friday because of high winds, snow and the NW winds causing the Fox River to rise 20 inches. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived around midnight and had finished off loading stone by daylight. Because of the weather they remained dockside at Western Lime awaiting weather.
The Manistee had given a security call around 9 a.m. but after talking with the Olive L. Moore stayed out in Lower Green Bay waters. The Manistee was loaded with coal for Georgia Pacific.

Menominee /Marinette - Stephen P. Neal
Varnebank (saltie) was in bound to K & K warehousing Friday at around 3:00pm.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic on the Saginaw River has been non-existent the past four days with no vessels calling on the docks along her banks. For the month of November, traffic was up by 8 vessels over last year with 35 this year compared to 27 in 2005.
For the year overall, vessel passages are down. In 2005 there were 323 passages, compared to only 293 so far in 2006. A decrease of 30 vessel passages.
The tug Olive L Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber are tied with the Manistee for the vessel with the most visits so far in 2006 each with 17. The CSL Tadoussac is next with 16.
The fleet with the most visits is by far Lower Lakes/Grand River with 65. Next is American Steamship with 37 followed by Andrie Inc. at 27.


Updates - December 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 02

On this day in 1942, the Tug ADMIRAL and tanker-barge CLEVCO encountered a late season blizzard on Lake Erie. The ADMIRAL sank approximately 10 miles off Avon Point, Ohio with a loss of 11. The CLEVCO sank 30 hours later off Euclid Beach with a loss of 19.

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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Two Ships Aground at Iroquois Update

12/1 - St. Lawrence Seaway - Wednesday night, Spar Opal was moved down through Iroquois Lock to the south east tie wall. This allowed navigation to resume again as ships had to wait at anchor until the divers were out of the water.

Thursday morning at 08:20am Golden Eye was pulled off the south shore with the combined effort of Ocean Hercule, Ocean Jupiter and Ocean Bravo. The reason she went back ashore yesterday was a towline that snapped.

Once she was released she went up to the Iroquois Lock and the three tugs have cleared downbound for Montreal.

Golden eye was en route to Oshawa, and Spar Opal was down bound when the mishap occurred.

Reported by Ron Beaupre and Kent Malo


Wallaceburg Barge Service Halted

12/1- Wallaceburg - Until bridge safety issues are addressed, Walpole Island First Nation council will not allow the new tug and barge service to Wallaceburg continue on its Chenal Ecarte waterway route.

Protective bridge dolphins were damaged a few years ago and not replaced thus leaving the swing bridge between Walpole Island and the mainland vulnerable to damage in case of collision.

In the meantime, the tug Radium Yellowknife and two loaded barges (Big 546 and 549) are moored in Wallaceburg awaiting further developments. The service, under Norlake Transportation Co., transporting agricultural products between Wallaceburg and Toledo had just recently started.

Reported by Al Mann


Bustling Toledo Port Reflects Jump in Shipping Traffic

12/1 - Toledo - Despite one of its three primary grain elevators being closed for repair for most of the year, grain business at the Port of Toledo is up more than 50 percent this year, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority statistics show. With that elevator - heavily damaged by a July 1, 2005 explosion and fire - having reopened recently and shippers rushing to get cargoes through the St. Lawrence Seaway before it closes for the winter, expect more river traffic through Toledo's two drawbridges during the coming weeks.

Ships were lined up yesterday at the Port of Toledo general cargo docks near the foot of Front Street. One was unloading coated steel pipe from Germany for a natural-gas pipeline linking Colorado and Ohio; another was delivering sugar from Brazil, while a third was readying to load outbound grain there. The pipe is a cargo new this year to Toledo's port, while sugar traffic has doubled this year after debuting on the local waterfront last year. And throughout the general cargo facility are remnants of other recent shipments that have been unloaded there but not yet delivered to their destinations: aluminum ingots, titanium bars, bundled lumber, and bagged calcium nitrate, just to name a few.

"Some of our commodities are down, but we've been able to more than make that up by diversifying," said Jason Lowery, the director of business development for Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the stevedore that operates the port authority-owned docks. The company expects to handle about 660,000 tons of cargo this year, up 22 percent from last year's 540,000 tons.

About 20 percent of that is the pipe and other "project cargo" that in years past likely would have used other ports or other means of transportation. Such cargo includes cranes barged out to a cement plant in Alpena, Mich., steam towers brought in for the Campbell Soup plant in Napoleon, and an industrial kettle that was assembled on the Toledo dock and then barged to a Cleveland steel mill.

The abundance at the general cargo dock and the robust volume at the elevators are not unrelated, port officials said yesterday. Because Midwest's aggressive marketing since it took over the dock operation in October, 2004, has brought in an increasing flow of imported freight, there are more ships available to take out local grain. Any time a ship can unload one cargo and reload at the same port, the ship operator realizes an economic bonus and can offer a better rate, seaport Director Warren McCrimmon said.

Through October, the local elevators shipped out 1,577,144 tons of grain, up from 1,028,085 tons during the same period last year. The recent steady flow of ships on the Maumee portends a continuation of that increase.

"Work hours are up big-time in the whole port, and in the grain elevators, especially. They're doing a very good job getting ships in here," said Dick Gabel, vice president of the International Longshoremen's Association. For the first time in recent memory, Mr. Gabel said, the stevedores recently have been hiring laborers right off the street, instead of strictly through the union hall, because of manpower needs.

Toledo's port is poised to take advantage of increasing local availability of distiller's dried grain, a byproduct of ethanol production that can be used for livestock feed, Mr. Lowery said. Joe Cappel, the port authority's seaport marketing representative, said discussions are under way with potential manufactured-goods shippers too.

From the Toledo Blade


Steel Imports Troubling American Steel Officials

12/1- Duluth - Total steel imports in October were 3.8 million net tons, a two percent decline from September, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Of the 3.8 million net tons, 3 million net tons were finished steel. However, year-to-date totals for finished and unfinished steel are up 45 and 46 percent, according to the AISI.

For the full year, total steel imports into the United States could reach an all-time record 46.5 million net tons, including a record 36.8 million net tons of finished steel. In 1998, record steel imports of 41.5 million net tons and 34.7 million net tons were set.

Asian countries that have a history of unfair trading, including Thailand, China, and South Korea, have this year been among the largest steel exporters to the United States, according to an AISI news release.

China in October was the single largest exporter of steel to the United States with 596,000 net tons. Chinese steel imports were 338 percent higher in October 2006 than October 2005. For the full year, steel imports from China are projected to exceed 5 million tons.

Steel imports from Russia are up 106 percent compared to last year.

The surge of steel imports is not in the best long-term interest of the world trade system or market-based American steel producers, said Andrew Sharkey III, an AISI official. Trade laws need to be strictly enforced to protect the American steel industry, workers, and suppliers, said Louis Schorsch, AISI chairman.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Report - December 1

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Wednesday, Agawa Canyon left early after unloading salt overnight at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in the inner harbor.
On Thursday, saltie Federal Hunter (reg. Hong Kong) was docked bow-in along the north side of Terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, unloading steel products from Europe.
Overnight, fleet-mate Federal Yukon shifted to the south side of the same terminal 2, where it also is delivering steel.


Updates - December 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 01

In 1940, the Columbia Transportation steamer CARROLLTON laid up in the Cuyahoga River with a storage load of 75,000 bushels of potatoes.

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, Russ Plumb, 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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