Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - December 31

Duluth - Sam Lapinski and B. J.
The Cason J Callaway arrived at Fraser Shipyards on Friday for bow thruster repairs. The John J. Boland arrived at the shipyard for work Friday afternoon. Callaway departed on Saturday to load at DMIR/CN Duluth while the Boland departed as well to turn around in the Duluth harbor to go into the drydock at Fraser Shipyards for work, but is not expected to lay up there. Boland is having repairs to both tailshaft seals.

Goderich - Wayne Brown
Saginaw was unloading at the Goderich Elevators on Sunday morning.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Wolverine and Michipicoten waited to load taconite.


Updates - December 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


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.

On 31 December 1891, the DEPERE (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 165’, 736 gt, built in 1875 at Manitowoc, WI) was sold by the Goodrich Transportation company to S. B. Grummond of Detroit for $9,000. She lasted until 1901 when a piston rod broke and pierced her hull. She sank in Lake Michigan off White Lake.

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.


Port Reports - December 30

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
McKeil's tugs Evans McKeil and Tony McKay departed after berthing the barge ATL 2701 on Friday. The McKeil tug Wyatt M. (ex-Progress) arrived in port the same day to handle barge movements at the new generating station.
Canadian Ranger arrived late on Wednesday and went into lay-up with a winter storage load of sugar at Pier 35.
Stephen B. Roman returned to service on Friday after a holiday break for the crew.

Marquette - Lee Rowe and Rod Burdick
Friday saw both the Michipicoten and the Herbert C Jackson at the ore dock waiting to load in Marquette.
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Kaye E. Barker arrived and waited to load taconite. Like other recent loadings, chutes were placed in each hatch. Wolverine was due later in the evening.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday evening saw the James Norris arrive in the harbour at 8 p.m. They had been unloading at Clarkson but with an east wind blowing it proved to be too much to continue so they headed to Hamilton to anchor. They finally departed at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon for Clarkson to finish unloading. The Montrealais departed Hamilton at 6 p.m. for the Port Weller Dry Dock.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer arrived Saturday afternoon and went to the Sifto Salt dock to load.

Ogdensburg - Ron Beaupre
Canadian Navigator was unloading salt at Ogdensburg late Saturday evening.


Updates - December 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 30

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

On 30 December 1915, the NYACK (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 231’, 1188 gt, built in 1878 at Buffalo, NY) was being prepared for winter layup at Muskegon, Michigan when she caught fire and was gutted. She was declared a total loss and abandoned, but her hull was resurrected in 1917 and converted to a barge by Reiboldt & Walter of Sturgeon Bay. She was finally scuttled in 1925

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

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

Data from: Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


St. Lawrence Seaway Closed

12/29 - The St. Lawrence Seaway closed Friday afternoon at the St. Lambert lock with the passage of Birchglen heading for Baltimore from Hamilton.

The last lockage was actually for four ships in the same lock, something very rare. Transiting together were the two tugs Ocean Golf and La Prairie with the icebreakers Martha L. Black and Tracy.

Last upbound vessel was Pineglen Wednesday at St. Lambert heading for Marinette from Contrecoeur. Last salty was Federal Weser Wednesday from Hamilton to Sorel-Tracy to top off.

At one stage she was behind the Egyptian vessel Ebn Al Waleed but somewhere along the way, the later overtook her.

Reported by René Beauchamp


Port Reports - December 29

Toledo - Bob Vincent
On the ore side of Toledo Docks on Saturday, the CSL Niagara had trouble unloading it's cargo of iron ore pellets. Some of the ore is frozen in the ship's cargo hold. It moved over to the opposite wall to let the Halifax come in to unload iron ore pellets from Quebec Cartier Mining Company (QCM).
The Voyageur Pioneer was unloading pig iron at the Midwest Terminal of Toledo International Dock.
On the coal side of Toledo Docks the next coal boat will be the John G. Munson, scheduled for Tuesday January 1, 2008 around 7 a.m. The Lee A. Tregurtha has been canceled for Friday.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Herbert C. Jackson and Michipicoten, sporting fresh paint, loaded taconite.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Early Friday morning the Algoisle arrived at 6 a.m. with iron ore for Dofasco. After unloading she will go to Pier 10 for winter lay up.  Canadian Prospector returned at 7 a.m. after cleaning her holds in Lake Ontario for winter lay up at Pier 12. Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 12:45 p.m. from Toronto for winter lay up at Pier 26N. Montrealais arrived at 5:30 p.m. with iron ore for Dofasco and after unloading will depart to the Port Weller Drydock at Lock 1 in the Welland Canal.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Late Friday afternoon in the Twin Ports found Cason J. Callaway in Fraser Shipyards with a wheeled crane working on the deck near the bow.
Elsewhere, John J. Boland was turning into St. Louis Bay with a GLT tug leading the way and Algosteel was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Port Colborne -
Windoc has been moved back to Wharf 17, the old Canada Furnace Dock. The D.C. Everest was moved across the canal to the former fuel dock on Friday. Car float Roanoke arrived November 18 and is berthed at Wharf 20 the Government Elevator presumably for IMS to scrap. The St. Marys Cement II with both Sea Eagle II and Petite Forte have been at Wharf 16 for almost a week possibly for repairs. St. Marys Cement II is reported to be headed to Toledo.

Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the Arthur M. Anderson loaded at Stoneport followed by the Canadian Transfer in the evening. In the early morning hours of Friday the Canadian Transfer departed the dock with the last load of the 2007 season.


Updates - December 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 29

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

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

Kinsman's new GEORGE M HUMPHREY was christened on December 29, 1926.

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - December 28

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Groupe Ocean tugs Jerry G. and Omni Richelieu arrived in port on Christmas Day to assist the Egyptian saltie Ebn El Waleed out of port. The saltie headed off the lakes and the tugs returned to Toronto.
English River pulled in early on Wednesday and departed Thursday down the lake.
Late on Wednesday the tugs Tony Mackay and Evans McKeil arrived in Toronto from Prescott where they picked up the barge ATL 2701, the former Irving Whale, bound for the new generating station with a cargo of pipe racks.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor the tug Victory and Barge Lewis J. Kuber was back at the ore dock for a load of taconite.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Late Wednesday evening the CSL Tadoussac departed at 8 p.m. for Windsor to load salt for Chicago. Thursday the John D Leitch departed at 11:15 a.m from Dofasco with oxides for Gary. Tug Tony McKay arrived at 4 p.m. from Toronto and went to Pier 14W. Atlantic Huron arrived at 5 p.m. with iron ore from Duluth for US Steel Canada. Her next port is Sandusky. Cuyahoga arrived at 5:30 p.m. with canola from Thunder Bay and went to winter lay up at Pier 12W, being used as storage for the winter.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Navigator was an overnight arrival and was loading Thursday morning at Sifto Salt with a light snow falling.
Agawa Canyon is under the spout at Sifto Salt loading on a clear, damp Friday morning.

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Edward L Ryerson continues to make trips between Escanaba and Indiana Harbor. She arrived in a snowstorm on Thursday, making a very slow and careful approach. The weather cleared later in the day as she was being loaded.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Mesabi Miner and Paul R. Tregurtha were lined up Wednesday evening at the Duluth port terminal while they waited for the loading berth at Midwest Energy Terminal. Mesabi Miner got the dock overnight and cleared Thursday morning, and the Tregurtha immediately took the dock to begin loading.
Indiana Harbor was at the port terminal to fuel Thursday morning. It had been scheduled to load at Midwest Energy Terminal but apparently was diverted to instead load taconite pellets at the BNSF ore dock in Superior.
During the morning Thursday, USCG Alder was breaking ice in the turning basin off the end of the CN/DMIR ore dock and in the turning basin off the port terminal.
Cason J. Callaway arrived at midday with stone for delivery to the Hallett 5 dock.

Calcite - Jim B.
The Port of Calcite ended their season late Wednesday evening when the Earl W. departed just before Midnight with the last load of the season.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Alpena backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at just after 3:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon, rafting next to the Integrity barge which occupies the dock space by the LaFarge silo and delivering dry cement.


Updates - December 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 28

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

On 28 December 1861, the schooner ISABELLA AINSLIE was carrying lumber on Lake Huron when she partially capsized in a storm and was driven ashore onto a rocky reef seven miles North of the Limestone Islands in Georgian Bay. Some hope was entertained that she would be released the following Spring. Her skipper asked that the bay where the boat went ashore be renamed "St. Margaret's Bay" in honor of his cool-headed wife, who was aboard at the time.

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.


New barge Houston arrives in New York

12/27 - New York City - The new Moran Barge "Houston" has made it to New York City.  The barge made headlines as she was cut loose from her tug Eileen Roerhig in heavy weather and was anchored by a Canadian Coast Guard Crew, via boat and helicopter. Eileen had her in push gear and was entering the Narrows around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

Reported by Brian Henesey


Port Reports - December 27

Hamilton - John McCreery and Eric Holmes
On Wednesday the Canadian Prospector arrived at 9 a.m. with iron ore from Port Cartier for Dofasco. After unloading the Prospector will clean her holds and then go the Pier 12 for winter lay up. The Canadian Olympic departed at 11 a.m. for the Welland Canal.
CSL Tadoussac arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore from Superior for US Steel Canada .Her next port will be Windsor.
Mississagi arrived at 12:30 p.m. with canola from Thunder Bay for Pier 12 where she will also lay up for the winter, in the same slip as Algobay.  John D Leitch arrived at 1:45 p.m. in ballast from Johnstown. She went to Dofasco to load oxides for Gary. CSL Assiniboine departed at 2 p.m. for the canal. Birchglen departed at 7 p.m. from Pier 26 with slag for Trois Rivieres Quebec.
Also in port are the tug Escorte at the Le Groupe Ocean dock along with the Jerry G and Omni Richelieu.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan Hannah arrived about 5 p.m. with a load of cement for the terminal in Ferrysburg. This is the last of our six docks to be open.

Marquette - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Lee A. Tregurtha loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor on a snowy Wednesday. During the first loading pass, chutes were placed into each hatch.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
At the CSX Coal Dock, Kaye E. Barker finished loading Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for the Algoma Steel plant at Sault Ste Marie Ontario. Next coal boat will the Lee A. Tregurtha due on Friday, in the early evening. The John G. Munson is due Monday December 31.
Due at Torco is the CSL Niagara on Thursday December 27 at 5 a.m. The Halifax is also due Thursday later in the day.


1929 Great Lakes freighter Calumet soon to be cut up for scrap
Lakes flagship of 1929 met a gust, hit wall in Cleveland

12/27 - Port Colborne, Ontario -- Killer and Cane, two menacing junkyard dogs, guard the gates to the afterlife for a Great Lakes freighter and regular Cleveland visitor called the Calumet.

For many of its 78 years, the 603-foot Calumet hauled iron ore for the steel that girded the United States' prosperity. It helped make the steel of the World War II victory effort, the steel of Buicks and bridges, and the steel bones of the nation's great skyscrapers.

In this windswept International Marine Salvage yard at the southern end of the Welland Canal, the Calumet will complete the cycle of its life. The 5,800-ton ship will become what it once hauled -- a raw material to be made into new steel. "She has finally come to the end of her useful life, and that's why she's here," said Wayne Elliott, who owns the salvage yard that Cane and Killer oversee.

The worn-out boat, owned by Avon Lake-based Grand River Navigation Co., was due for retirement late this winter, but the end came prematurely last month. On one of its 50 or so annual visits to Cleveland, the boat cracked into a concrete wall at the Cuyahoga River's mouth last month and split a side.

With so little time remaining in the shipping season, it was cost-prohibitive to do a full-fledged repair allowing the Calumet to reload with bulk cargo. So welders slapped on a patch secure enough to let the ship waddle up the lake on Nov. 18 to die in peace, or at least in pieces.

This month, a salvage crew hired by the Calumet's owners started stripping everything that may be useful to another ship or that has collectible or historical value. Soon, Elliott's sons and hired hands will attack the bulkheads, decks and hull with cutting torches, reducing the ship to recyclable rubble - 2-by-4-foot plates that can fit into the charge box of a steel mill's blast furnace.

As the Calumet dies, so too does another piece of the shipping heritage of the Great Lakes. For that reason alone, maritime buffs are morose. "It's heartbreaking," said Rex Cassidy, a boat buff from Brecksville. "To see it ripped apart like that is just sad. And seeing the history of these ships disappear is sad."

Each season from the 1920s through the 1960s, in the heyday of the region's heavy industry, 300 or more American and Canadian freighters worked the Great Lakes. They moved back and forth from ore mines to steel mills and from coal docks to limestone quarries, loading and unloading 100 million tons or more of commodities in each 10-month season.

With the Calumet's demise, fewer than 140 freighters remain. Those vessels, and the hundreds that have gone before them, draw a cult following of boat watchers to the water's edge, or onto the lakes themselves, to chase the great freighters and photograph them.

The self-proclaimed "boat nerds" write history books about the ships and fill Internet sites with shipping-world news and rumor. They track the big boats' movement through the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the five Great Lakes and collect freighter memorabilia like others collect Beanie Babies.

Even the midsized ships like the Calumet hold enough cargo to fill a train more than a mile long. The biggest - the 1,000-footers with 68,000-ton cargo holds - carry the equivalent of seven 100-car trains. The great ships' appeal is "almost magical," said George Wharton, a Canadian shipping historian who travels to Cleveland occasionally to see freighters.

"When you see one, it's just this awesome mass of power," said Wharton, of Strathroy, Ontario. "And when you envision what's inside and relate that to, say, your own body mass, it's just astronomical. And yet they go gliding by with hardly any noise at all.

"To me, these things all have a personality," he added. "Some logical person would say, 'It's only a hunk of steel.' But when you get all the elements of that hunk of steel and put them together, it takes on a personality." The Calumet, he said, was the "grandma" among lake boats, one that has seen it all. It has long been a favorite of his and many other boat watchers.

It plied the waters with a stately swagger. It slid from its construction berth in Detroit in 1929 four years after the William G. Mather, which still graces Cleveland's waterfront as a museum piece. The newcomer was one of the biggest and grandest lake freighters. It entered service as the flagship of the booming U.S. Steel Corp. fleet. At christening, the boat took the name Myron C. Taylor, honoring the company's newest board member, who went on to become U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive.

As flagship royalty, the Taylor had a unique profile: Other freighters' forward superstructures were two-deck affairs, with sleeping quarters below the pilothouse. But the Taylor sported an extra level of guest quarters just below the pilothouse, appointed with fine oak paneling and other luxuries.

Captains of industry and their friends and families enjoyed summertime pleasure cruises aboard the Taylor as it steamed from mines to mills and back, laden with 12,500 tons of bulk cargo - enough to fill 120 railroad cars.

But it was a Cinderella existence in reverse: Newer and better boats came along quickly. The Myron C. Taylor lost its flagship status in 1938 and went from being a princess to just another workaday servant.

In 1956, it drew attention by being one of the first ships retrofitted into a "self-unloader." Conveyor belts ran below the cavernous holds, feeding a 250-foot-long cargo-moving boom that could swing to either side. That let on-board crew members unload the ship without help from shore-side machinery or workers.

The ship survived World War II, staying on fresh water while German torpedoes sank fellow Great Lakes ships pressed into wartime service in the Atlantic Ocean. It survived the 1980s collapse of the rust belt economy, when other freighters were being towed by the threes to scrap yards in Asia. It survived collisions and mishaps. Yet it almost didn't survive the turn of the century. Its owners, now called the USS Great Lakes Fleet, were set to scrap the Taylor and two others.

A second life in a new century - Then, in 2001, Grand River Navigation bought the boat and repainted the maroon hulls gray. Grand River, an affiliate of a Canadian firm called Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., gave the Myron C. Taylor a new name: the Calumet. It operated for most of seven seasons under its new handle, mainly carrying limestone and doing the dirty work of hauling steel-eating salt from Cleveland's Cargill mines.

That's where it was headed on Nov. 15. The Calumet had just dropped a load of limestone at Ontario Stone Co. in Cleveland and had pulled back into the harbor to turn around and back up to Cargill's docks. A strong gust of wind blew the ship's starboard side into a concrete wall near the old Coast Guard station. That "allision" ended the ship's long career a couple months ahead of schedule.

Five days later it was moored in Port Colborne at the salvage yard of second-generation ship breaker Wayne Elliott, a Canadian married to a Clevelander.

A dozen or so yards north of the Calumet's bow, Elliott's crews have carved away all but some remnants of the bow of a freighter called the L. E. Block, which launched from Lorain five months before the Myron C. Taylor but was scrapped 18 months before. Nearby sits the beheaded and rusty Windoc, a freighter that died at the relatively young age of 32 when an errantly dropped lift bridge on the Welland Canal decapitated its stack and pilothouse in 2001.

Elliott expects the Calumet to yield 4,800 tons of steel and iron, give or take, by the time the four- to six-month scrapping process is done. That translates to gross revenue approaching $1 million, at $200 per ton. But from that, he must subtract the cost of buying the boat, removing and disposing "many tons" of asbestos and other hazardous materials according to regulations and paying the employees who deconstruct and market the ship.

One is soot-stained Jack Clark, whose hard job seems to have aged him a decade beyond his 58 years. Clark stood on frozen ground last week and turned the roar of a 5,000-degree oxyacetylene torch on slabs of the Block's hull. Under that heat, steel becomes as fluid as mercury, and Clark's cuts chewed storefront-size slices down to sizzling, smoking windshield-size bites. Front-end loaders soon would push those plates into garage-size piles.

To Clark, whose firefighter-like coat is flecked with burn holes, the ships that ply the Welland Canal waters 100 yards away hold no magic - only future carcasses full of work. "I'll see one go up the canal," Clark says with a raspy laugh, "and I'll say, 'Jeez - maybe I'll be around long enough for that one, eh?' "

Clark's boss, though, confesses to holding the great old ships in reverence even as he shreds them for a living. "I love them all - the old ships," said Elliott, a big man with a longish silver mane peeking out from his hard hat. "It gets in your blood."

He looked out the Calumet's pilothouse windows where the oak-spoked captain's wheel once stood, and he took a drag from a smoke. "Can you imagine 80 years ago, standing on this when it was brand new? There's a lot of history in these. "But all metal is infinitely recyclable," the pragmatic romantic said. "This may have been railway spikes in its last life. By next year, this could make 5,000 new cars."

That, in addition to the millions it already helped make.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Outlook good for Iron Range taconite plants

12/27 - Duluth - When dozens of domestic steel companies filed for bankruptcy about five years ago, the Northeastern Minnesota taconite plants that supply iron ore pellets to the mills suddenly became less-than-attractive properties.

LTV Steel Mining Co., which had operated since the early 1950s and produced more than 323 million tons of pellets, closed after LTV Steel Corp.’s bankruptcy. EVTAC Mining Co., which began production in 1965, shut down in 2002 under financial duress before reopening in 2003 under new ownership. Even North America’s largest taconite producer, U.S. Steel’s Minntac Mine, was put up for sale.

But the industry that built the Iron Range and remains a mainstay in the region’s economy has a far different outlook heading into 2008. Consolidation within the industry has made it stronger and less subject to economic swings. And a surging worldwide demand for iron ore has turned iron ore properties into valuable assets.

“There’s been so much change, not just in the last five years, but even in the last couple,” said Peter Kakela, a Michigan State University professor who tracks the iron ore industry. “You now have companies like Essar Steel buying steel producers like Algoma and a mini mill company like Steel Dynamics coming in to do an iron nugget plant. The whole groundwork has changed.”

Iron Range taconite plants are expected to produce about 37.6 million tons of iron ore pellets in 2007, said Robert Wagstrom, Minnesota Department of Revenue Minerals Tax Office engineering specialist. That’s a slight decrease from the 38.9 million tons produced in 2006. There are several reasons for the decline.

A water freeze-up at Hibbing Taconite early in 2007 shut down the taconite facility for about a month and cost that plant hundreds of thousands of production tons. One of five pellet production lines at Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron was idled for several months due to the rebuilding of blast furnaces and maintenance outages at other U.S. Steel facilities, which reduced demand, U.S. Steel spokesman John Armstrong said.

Barring unforeseen events, total 2008 production is projected to increase to about 38.5 million tons, Wagstrom said. Projections from plant owners for 2008 forecast all six facilities to be operating at or beyond designed capacity, said Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota.

“While there is talk that the U.S. economy is having a rough go right now to due to defaults on loans and a slow housing market, the rest of the world’s economy, specifically for iron ore, is strong,” Pagel said. “The global trend of a strong iron ore market, new mines being developed in Minnesota, employees being hired for those mines, and the hiring of new workers to replace those that built the Range and are now reaching retirement age, and the need for employees for all the vendors that serve the mines are all great signs for the Range and Duluth area economy.”

A major boost for industry in 2008 will come in the first quarter, when Cleveland-Cliffs’ Northshore Mining’s processing plant in Silver Bay restarts idled lines, an 800,000-ton boost to the facility’s annual capacity.

About 4,000 people work at Iron Range taconite mines. About another 14,000 work in spinoff jobs dependent on the mines. The industry pumps about $1.7 billion per year into the local, regional and state economy through payroll, purchases and taxes.

Explosive economic growth in developing countries such as China and India is driving global demand for the iron that is turned into steel to build bridges, roads, buildings, pipe, automobiles and appliances. While a ton of Iron Range iron ore pellets was worth a little more than $31 several years ago, the world price for a ton of pellets today is about $78, Kakela said. Because of the demand for iron ore, ownership of a taconite plant now is viewed as a huge asset, a far different mindset than five years ago.

“I think 2008 is going to be a good, solid year,” Kakela said. “Straight demand [domestic] is good and global demand is very good. Things are slowing down in Michigan as far as car production and parts, but the industry is recession-proof much more than it was in the past.”

Negotiations that will set 2008 world iron ore prices are under way. Industry analysts predict a 20 percent to 50 percent increase in per-ton prices. That could put a ton of pellets above $100 for the first time, making a ton of iron ore pellets worth more than a barrel of oil.

“Some are saying that the pricing could flatten out in the next two or three years due to increased capacity coming on stream,” Kakela said. “But I don’t think the big three iron ore producers, CVRD, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, are going to bring on so much capacity that it would bring down prices.”

Although mechanical or weather-related problems could slow production in 2008 at any of the Iron Range plants, the biggest wild card is expiring labor contracts. Contracts between the companies and Steelworkers at all the plants expire Sept. 1. Steelworkers leaders from across the nation were in Pittsburgh recently to begin laying out issues and negotiation strategy.

“People started to lay out plans for next year’s bargaining with Mittal, U.S. Steel and Cleveland-Cliffs, said Bob Bratulich, United Steelworkers District 11 president. “There weren’t a lot of specifics discussed, but the issues will include improved pensions, medical and wages. We will probably sit down another time or two and sort of draw up what our proposal will look like and what our demands are and then send a letter to Mittal and U.S. Steel and then sit down and begin talks. That could happen sooner rather than later.”

With steel companies reporting record revenues over the past two years, Steelworkers want to share in the good times. However, Bratulich said Steelworkers hope to avoid a strike. “We’re not looking for a labor dispute,” Bratulich said. “How the companies behave in bargaining will determine whether we have a fight or not. It’s not like any of them are in poverty. Nobody can claim they’re poor in this bargaining.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Historic Clipper going nowhere -- yet

12/27 - Muskegon - The anchor has been raised and the main gangplanks removed, but the group trying to move the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper to the downtown Muskegon Mart Dock won't be singing "Anchor's Aweigh" any time soon.

With winter here and most tugboats tucked away, officials with the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc. acknowledge the ship won't be moving to a new site before spring. Ray Hilt, president of the preservation group, had been hoping to move the ship from its present berth in Lakeside to West Michigan Dock & Market Corp. before the end of the year. "The old girl's ready to move," Hilt said. "Things simply took longer than we had hoped."

Hilt said the proposed move from the foot of McCracken Street to the downtown was slowed by federal and state permits and site plan approval by the city. Before the ship can be moved, the Mart Dock site must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After those permits are obtained, the group still needs approval by the U.S. Coast Guard to tow the ship downtown.

In addition, the city has to approve the site plan. Officials said that approval could come as early as Jan. 10, when the plan is scheduled for review by the city's planning commission. Hilt said all the required state and federal paperwork has been submitted.

In October, Clipper representatives announced they had finalized plans to move the Clipper to the Mart Dock, where it would be berthed behind another historic ship, LST-393. The site is where the Clipper was based when it offered Muskegon-to-Milwaukee service before being retired in 1970. Ever since the ship was towed into Muskegon on Dec. 2, 1997, it has been "temporarily" berthed at the former Grand Trunk Railroad docks, now owned by Andrie Inc. Hilt said that through the years, a number of sites for the ship have been considered, including an aborted effort to berth the ship at Hartshorn Marina.

To allow LST-393 and the Clipper to be in compliance, the waterfront marine zoning must be revised to allow for special use museums. Once that revision is made, Clipper officials can apply for a special use variance. Hilt said his group is anxious to move the ship downtown, where it will be more visible and accessible to the general public. He said the move will finally give the Clipper an address, a long-standing requirement for the preservation group to seek restoration grants.

The Milwaukee Clipper's roots trace back to the turn of the 20th century and the Erie & Western Transportation Corp., a steamship company owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It launched the Clipper, originally the steamship Juniata, in December 1904. The Juniata was launched eight years before the Titanic, and began regular service in May 1905. The ship sailed as the Juniata for 31 years, mostly between Buffalo, N.Y., and Duluth, Minn., before it was mothballed in 1937 because of its fire-prone wooden superstructure.

In 1940, the Muskegon-based Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Co. purchased the Juniata and converted it to the Milwaukee Clipper. The Clipper shuttled passengers and cargo from Muskegon to Milwaukee before it was retired in 1970. The Clipper remained berthed in Muskegon for eight years before it was sold and towed to Chicago's Navy Pier as a floating attraction. In 1990, the ship was purchased by the Hammond, Ind., Port Authority, which attempted to make it into a centerpiece attraction for its large Lake Michigan marina.

The Clipper was towed to Muskegon in late 1997 after being purchased by a nonprofit group now known as the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc. The ship has been listed on the National Register of Historic Sites since 1983 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

From the Grand Rapids Press


Updates - December 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 27

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

While returning to Chicago in heavy wind and high seas on 27 December 1985, the SEARCHER (steel propeller fish tug, 56’, 54 gt, built in 1946 at Manitowoc, WI) began taking water through her scuppers while underway. She waterlogged and foundered in 138 feet of water, 17 miles East of Chicago. Three crewmen were rescued by Coast Guard helicopter, but three others drowned.

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.


Port Reports - December 26

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The David Z was at Lafarge Saturday evening unloading product into the storage hopper. It departed in the early morning hours of Sunday.
Late Christmas Eve the Buffalo was seen backing into Lafarge where it tied up and unloaded coal throughout the night. Around 8 a.m. Christmas morning the Buffalo was outbound in the bay.
The Alpena remains at the old dock in temporary lay-up.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail, with the Christmas lights on, was sitting under the spout at the Sifto Salt dock on a nice, calm Christmas morning. There was no loading on Christmas, so the crew can enjoy their day off during the festive season.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Christmas afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Mesabi Miner unloaded coal, and Saginaw waited to load ore. Michipicoten arrived to load ore in the late evening.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday the Ocean Group tugs Omni Richelieu and Gerry G departed at 7 a.m. for Toronto and returned at 2 p.m. The tug Salvor and barge departed for the Welland Canal at 10 a.m. They were headed to Conneaut. The Canadian Olympic arrived at 9:30 p.m.


Robert Scott Pierson

December 26 - Robert Pierson passed suddenly on December 23 in his 71st year. Devoted father to Sarah, Martha and Alexandra. Proud grandfather of Pierson and Carder White. Loving partner to Sandra Mathies and dear friend to her sons John (Christel) and Marc. Father-in-law and friend to Matthew White and Edward Bases. Step son of Roy Carder, New Hampshire. Former husband of Judith Hendry (Pigott). Pre-deceased by brother Huge Hampton Weedon III, and recently by dear friend Joseph Robert. Born in New York City in 1936 to Inez (Misener) and John Beverley Pierson.

Bob attended Upper Canada College as a boarder for several years and attended the University of Western Ontario. Bob settled in Hamilton and began a career as a broker for E. A. Ames in Toronto.

While his first love was for family, he had a passion for his work in the shipping industry. He joined his family's business Misener Transportation and in 1975 Bob started his own company, The Soo River Company. Until his passing, he worked enthusiastically for Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation.

He dedicated himself annually to the Run for the cure in Port Colborne. Bob had a heart of gold and a spirit which touched countless people. He was taken too soon, but will be remembered fondly by many; including his cousins Scott Misener, Paul and Dossie Misener, Heather Logan and other Misener family members.

A memorial service will be held at Ridley College Chapel, St. Catharines at 11 a.m. Friday Dec. 28th with a reception to follow in the Great Hall. In lieu of flowers friends are encouraged to make a donation to Breast Cancer Support Services.


Updates - December 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 26

In 1981, the steamer ENDERS M VOORHEES laid up for the last time at the Hallett Dock #5 in Duluth, Minnesota.

On 26 December 1818, the DOLPHIN (wooden schooner, 24 t, built in 1817 at Sacket’s Harbor, NY) was crushed by the wind-driven ice in the harbor at Pultneyville, New York and sank.

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

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


Port Reports - December 25

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon the Frontenac arrived at 4:30 p.m. with iron ore from Superior.
Saturday the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived at 3:30 p.m. with iron ore for US Steel Canada from Toledo.
Thalassa Desgagnes arrived at 6 p.m. Sunday the John B Aird departed at 6:30 a.m. to clean holds in Lake Ontario and then proceed to Welland Wharf 10 for winter lay up.  Tug Salvor and barge arrived at 9:30 a.m. Thalassa Desgagnes departed at 11:30 a.m. for Montreal. The Canadian Progress departed at 3:30 p.m. and headed to Port Weller but returned to the Burlington Bay anchorage at 8:30 p.m. due to the very high winds. The winds were gusting from 98 to 128 km per hour (61 to 80 mph) at the Burlington Piers .
The Progress was joined in the anchorage by the John D. Leitch at 10 p.m. The James Norris also joined the other two ships in the anchorage sometime in the night. Three ships, Emerald Star, Jo Spirit and Federal Weser were all in the harbour waiting for the winds to die down.
On Monday the James Norris was in the Burlington Bay anchorage. The Emerald Star departed at 8 a.m. and the Federal Weser departed at 8:30 a.m. both bound for Cape Vincent to beat the 12 midnight deadline for being fined.
Canadian Progress hoisted anchor in the Burlington Bay anchorage and was on its way to Port Weller at 9 a.m. and onto Conneaut with slag. The CSL Laurentian departed at 11 a.m. for Duluth. The John D. Leitch finally hoisted anchor in the Burlington Bay anchorage at 2 p.m. and headed down Lake Ontario for Cape Vincent.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel finished unloading late Sunday and headed for the Welland Canal. Algocape was expected to arrive late Monday evening with a winter storage cargo of raw sugar from Quebec.
The ATL 2701 and Ocean Delta, bound for Toronto from Halifax, were stopped at Prescott elevator since Sunday. Ocean Hercule is no longer with the tow, and may have returned to Quebec. Groupe Ocean's LaPrairie was upbound in the Seaway Monday.

Soo - Roger LeLievre
Traffic was sparse at the Soo the day before Christmas, with the St. Clair, Roger Blough and Algowood downbound. The latter two vessels had to stop from mid-day until about 5 p.m., as water in the Rock Cut had fallen below navigable limits.
The Edwin H. Gott passed upbound, and the Michipicoten and Saginaw both arrived from Marquette to unload at Algoma Steel.


Cedarglen's spots floating corpse

12/25 - Monday afternoon the Baie Comeau bound Cedarglen came across a body in the water on Western end of Lake St Francois, near Summerstown, Ontario.  The corpse, dressed in a green fatigue suit, lay motionless. Cedarglen stopped and reported the finding to the Seaway giving them the latitude and longitude. Cedarglen then continued on her way downbound.

Reported by Kent Malo


Updates - December 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


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.

On 25 December 1849, the SISKAWIT (wooden schooner, 50 t, built in 1840) was sailing light on Lake Superior when a storm drove her onto a bar near the mouth of the Chocolay River, southeast of Marquette, Michigan where she was wrecked. Those aboard had “kidnapped” her and her cargo at L’Anse a few days earlier.

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.


Port Report - December 24

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wolverine delivered the last load of coal for this season to the Board of Light and Power's Sims plant on Harbor Island late Friday evening.


Updates - December 24

News Photo Gallery updated

And more News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


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 McKEE SONS, Captain Robert J. Laughlin, responded and received a Citation of Merit for rescuing the six sailors in the lifeboat on Christmas morning.

On 24 December 1898, the JOYS (wooden propeller freighter, 131’, 268 gt, built in 1884 at Milwaukee, WI) was sailing for Menominee, Michigan, she had hove to in the Sturgeon Bay Canal to shelter from a storm. Late that night she was discovered to be afire and her crew had to jump for it. She burned through her moorings and began to drift down the river, but was captured and towed back to her moorings, where she burned to a total loss. The hulk was later moved several times, ending up near the Leatham & Smith Dock at Sturgeon Bay. No lives were lost.

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.

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


Gale warnings across the lakes
Many boats going to anchor

12/23 - 10:00 p.m. Update - The group of boats anchored just above the Blue Water Bridges now includes Agawa Canyon, Atlantic Erie, Charles M. Beeghly, Canadian Transfer, Algorail, CSL Assiniboine, and Philip R. Clarke.

Behind Long Point on the north shore of Lake Erie are Canadian Olympic, Algomarine and Everlast/Norman McLeod. American Courage and American Century remain anchored behind Cedar Point off Sandusky.

In the Welland Canal, up bounder Rt. Hon. Paul R. Martin is tied above Lock 7, and Algosteel has stopped below Lock 2. Invincible/McKee Sons is temporarily stopped below Lock 8.

On Lake Superior, Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. and Mesabi Miner were anchored off the Superior entry to the Twin Ports, but have lifted anchor and are running northeast along the Lake Superior north shore.

The high winds have pushed the water to the other side of Lake Erie. By 10 p.m. the water gauge at Gibraltar, used to measure the level of the lower Detroit River,  was reporting  -22.6" below datum.  The Western basin of Lake Erie was at -45.8 inches below datum. These low water levels will force loaded vessels to anchor and wait for the levels to return before transiting the river system. Likewise, the water level in Saginaw Bay was reported at -45.2".

In the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Jade Star is east bound and going to anchor in the Carleton Island area. She has reported reported winds of 40 knots plus at her location. . The pilot wants to have the wind diminish and wait for daylight as lighted aids have been removed.

The west bound Capt. Henry Jackman was going to go to anchor east of Carleton Island at 10:30 p.m. because of weather. Winds of 25 knots plus were reported by the westbound Algocape near Maitland. Winds have been gale force at the Kingston airport for several hours and the temperature was dropping rapidly. Winds of 45 knots and waves of 16 feet were forecast for lake Ontario. Storm force winds were forecast from Cornwall to Montreal. The westbound Algocape was also going to anchor, she passed Crossover Island at 9:10 p.m.

The only eastbound traffic moving was the Thalassa Desgagnes, on Lake Ontario, she was due at Cape Vincent just after midnight. There was a flash freeze warning in effect in Kingston. Gale force winds are not supposed to decrease until late Monday. Rain was changing to snow and a snow squall warning was in effect.

As rain turned to snow Sunday at the Soo, several vessels swung at anchor waiting out a winter storm. Among those on the hook in the lower St. Marys River near Pipe Island were the American Fortitude, Voyageur Independent and John J. Boland, which all passed through the locks late Saturday evening, the David Z, which ducked into the river and went to anchor to wait out the storm on Sunday, and Kaye E. Barker, which locked down Sunday afternoon and stated her intention to anchor with the rest of the vessels at Pipe Island. Also downbound Sunday was the Indiana Harbor, while the Algolake passed upbound. Both the Saginaw and Michipicoten left Algoma Steel for Lake Superior ports.

Updates from Roger LeLievre, Ron Walsh and Frank Frisk

12/23 - 3 p.m. Update - Canadian Transfer has gone to anchor, joining four other vessels, just above Port Huron due to weather.

American Courage has joined American Century at anchor off Cedar Point. Canadian Olympic is riding out the winds behind Long Point in eastern Lake Erie.

Algoway is anchored between Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island, while Wolverine is anchored off St. Ignace, in upper Lake Huron.

On Lake Superior, Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. and Mesabi Miner are anchored off the Superior entry to the Twin Ports.

12/23 - Port Huron - Four vessels, Charles M Beeghly, Atlantic Erie, Buffalo and the Philip R Clarke are at anchorage in lower Lake Huron due to weather conditions. In addition, American Century has anchored in the lee of Cedar Point off Sandusky.

Gale warnings are in effect until 10 a.m. Monday. Weather forecasts for Sunday include Southeast winds 20-25 knots with gusts to 35 knots. Gales after 7 a.m. Mostly cloudy with rain showers during the morning, then scattered light snow showers. Waves 5-8 feet, building to 8-12 feet before noon, subsiding to 4-7 feet late.

For Sunday night, the forecast calls for Southwest winds to 30 knots with gusts to 40 knots. Gales in the early Monday morning. Partly cloudy during the evening, mostly cloudy overnight. Scattered snow showers during the evening, then numerous snow showers. Waves 4-7 feet.

Reported by Frank Frisk


Barge reported to have received ice damage

12/23 - On Thursday the Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest departed the St. Mary's Cement Dock in Green Bay at 5:30 a.m. headed for Chicago.

At 10:15 a.m., while breaking through ice up to 12 inches thick, the barge was reported to have been holed at the waterline on the starboard side of the bow. The crew reportedly deballasted to raise the hole out of the water.

The pair then proceeded to Bay shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wi., arriving there at 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon for repairs.

No further information is available at this time.


Cutter Neah Bay Heading for Seaway

12/23 - Cleveland - The Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay departed Friday to assist the Canadian Government with ice breaking operations in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The current conditions along the seaway are 8-10 inches of ice.

During a normal summer day, nine ships on average pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway. With the current ice conditions, no more than five ships are able to pass through daily.

The Neah Bay, homeported in Cleveland, is a 140-foot icebreaking tug. In addition to icebreaking, it is used for search and rescue, deployment of marine environmental protection equipment, and support for aids-to-navigation activities.

The Neah Bay should reach the St. Lawrence Seaway by Sunday afternoon to help with the movement of commerce

USCG News Release


Port Reports - December 23

Clarkson - Frank Hood
Clipper Leander has been docked at Petro Canada in Clarkson since at least Wednesday.

Soo – Roger LeLievre
The St. Marys River was busy Saturday, with traffic particularly heavy in and out of Algoma Steel. At one point or another, the Herbert C. Jackson, tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber and Saginaw were at the plant; the Cuyahoga departed the Algoma Export Dock around dinnertime, bound for Thunder Bay.
Other vessels included the upbound Sam Laud, Great Lakes Trader, Burns Harbor and Canadian Enterprise. Downbound traffic included the Edgar B. Speer, CSL Assiniboine, American Fortitude, Voyageur Independent, Paul L. Tregurtha and Canadian Ranger. The Voyageur Independent was decorated with all blue Christmas lights on the back part of the forward cabins. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was working buoys in the lower river.
Steady rain and fog Saturday did not seem to hamper vessel movements, although that could change Sunday as the rain turns to snow in the afternoon and the wind picks up to a forecast 30+ mph.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway, on Saturday and Agawa Canyon, who is still loading Sunday morning, were weekend visitors to the Sifto Salt dock. High winds, mild temperatures and rain all contributed to the Sunday weather forecast.


Coast Guard Completes Operation Autumn Retrieve

12/23 - Port Huron - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock was expected to retrieve the last two buoys in the U.S. Great Lakes' list of more than a thousand pulled buoys on Saturday. These buoys mark the completion of Operation Autumn Retrieve.

These two buoys are part of the Great Lakes Aids to Navigation system that is rotated twice a year as a measure to prevent damage from ice during the winter season.

Operation Autumn Retrieve, the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the U.S. Coast Guard, began on Oct. 14, with a goal of retrieving 1,289 navigational aids, and is scheduled to be completed Saturday. The aids, approximately half in the region, are taken out of service during the winter months due to decreased vessel traffic to minimize damage from ice and inclement weather.

To accomplish the aids to navigation mission, the Ninth Coast Guard District employed six Coast Guard cutters; five Aids to Navigations teams; five small boat stations with aids to navigation duties; the Lamplighters, civilian employees who manage the inland waters of Northern Minnesota; partners with the Canadian Coast Guard and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

The last two buoys are Buoy 1 and Buoy 11, located in the channel in Lake Huron Cut. They are lighted buoys that would be damaged by encroaching ice if they weren't rotated by a more durable buoy. Their replacements are the new Sabik buoys. Sabiks are designed to be durable enough to withstand ice yet stand out of the water just as high as the seasonal buoys

USCG News Release


A dozen lakers expected to winter in the Twin Ports

12/23 - Duluth - In January one dozen lakers are expected to tie up for the winter in the Twin Ports, injecting several million dollars into the local economy.

Typically, 10 to 13 vessels berth in Duluth or Superior during their off-season, said Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Lake carriers use winter layup as a time to tackle maintenance and make major repairs to their boats. It’s common for owners to invest $500,000 to $800,000 in a single vessel between January and late March, when another Great Lakes season will begin, weather permitting. The current season will draw to a close Jan. 15 with the scheduled winter closure of the Soo Locks.

Conservatively, fleet operators could be expected to spend $6 million over the next few months on boats tied up in the Twin Ports. But the true total investment will likely be much greater.

The Frontenac, a member of the Canada Steamship Co. fleet, is slated to go into drydock at Fraser Shipyards of Superior in January. And Shipyard Superintendent Gene Walroos said the Edward L. Ryerson may directly follow the Frontenac into drydock in the spring.

“It should be a pretty busy winter,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. He noted that the expense of dry docking a single vessel for work often exceeds $1 million, so Fraser could generate more than $2 million from just two of the 12 lakers that spend winter in the Twin Ports.

Of course, poor weather could change the layup outlook. In 2004, 13 boats were scheduled to spend winter in the Twin Ports, but only 10 of them made it, due to challenging ice conditions.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - December 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 23

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

On 23 December 1931, the dredge barge STEWART was destroyed by fire at Welland, Ontario

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.


Port Reports - December 22

Toronto - Clive Reddin & Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel was in Toronto harbour Friday, off loading at the Redpath plant.
Stephen B. Roman arrived Friday afternoon at the Essroc dock.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Kent Malo
The Atlantic Towing Limited barge ATL 2701 is up bound in the St Lawrence Seaway heading for Toronto, Ontario. On board the barge is a skeletal structure about 7-8 stories high, being attended by two Ocean Group tugs, Ocean Delta and Ocean Hercule. The latter will slip away from the tow at Cape Vincent, New York, and return to Sorel Quebec. The barge ATL 2701, was the former "Irving Whale" which went down in the Gulf of St Lawrence with 4297 long tons of Bunker-C, and 6800 litres of cargo heating fuel near Prince Edward Island September 7, 1970. The barge was raised 26 years later July 30, 1996. Concerns about fuel leaking from the barge brought about the raising of the Irving Whale, allegedly paid for by the Canadian Government. Still under Irving ownership, the barge was returned to the Owners, refurbished and used as a deck barge, with the cargo tanks being used for ballasting.
The Ocean Delta, will relieve the Purvis tug Reliance for the Winter, due to the on board electrical fire Reliance suffered this year.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Lee A. Tregurtha and Tug Victory/Barge Lewis J. Kuber loaded taconite. Victory/Kuber's visit was the fourth in a week.


Algonorth accident correction

12/22 - Toledo - On December 16, we reported the accident involving the Algonorth in Toledo. The article included a piece about a crew member on the Federal Pioneer who received a broken arm when the Algonorth swung in the river.

In fact, the injured crewman was aboard the Amelia Desgagnes.


Cleveland's port could move down the lake

12/22 - Cleveland - Friday morning, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is likely to make the decision of a lifetime -- naming a site in Lake Erie, north of East 55th Street, as its future home. But that doesn't mean the man-made, 200-acre peninsula will happen.

The city and the site's neighbors have yet to weigh in on whether the economic upside outweighs the port's intrusive presence -- possibly displacing a state-run marina, butting against nearby yacht clubs and parklands, obliterating favored fishing sites. But port officials say the site's cheek-by-jowl access to road and rail, and its potential to attract next-generation manufacturing nearby, make it the choice over seven other sites.

"The ability to excite investment and jobs right next to the [port] . . . is unique," says port authority President Adam Wasserman. The port and the Army Corps of Engineers, which would design and fill the site, are eager to move ahead.

The Corps sorely needs the site to deposit dredgings from the Cuyahoga River, which the corps must keep clear for commercial shipping.

Why move the port?
The port authority oversees shipping, loading and warehousing of steel coils and other bulk cargo on 80 acres between the Cuyahoga River and Cleveland Browns Stadium. It's prime land, especially in a city starved for lakefront development.

City leaders have long talked of moving the port, making way for cool waterside development like the kind that lure residents and tourists to downtowns in other Great Lakes cities, such as Chicago and Milwaukee. The city's waterfront master plan, adopted three years ago, added urgency to the debate.

It called for the port to move to man-made islands off the west break-wall, while current port land is transformed to a waterfront neighborhood.

In summer 2006, the port authority hired the URS Corp. to do an $850,000 relocation study, including sites around the west break-wall, Burke Lakefront Airport and upriver. Working with the city and port, the Corps of Engineers also began studying sites for disposal of dredged muck from the river. The corps needs a site for 20 years of dredging - a mass of muck that the port could use as a foundation for its new headquarters.

The hunt for a new home came to a halt early last year, after Wasserman's arrival as port president.

The economic development specialist brought a new perspective. Besides considering road and rail access - and room for berths, cranes, warehouses and outdoor storage - Wasserman looked for a site that could encourage nearby development of shipping-related business. The Army Corps of Engineers was not so smitten.

It had already dismissed the area as a new disposal dike, mainly because the uses didn't comply with the city's waterfront master plan, said Army Corps project manager Joshua Feldman. That plan calls for an expanded Gordon Park and enhanced state marina - a far cry from the big ships, cranes and traffic that will intrude on those assets, under the port's proposal.

The corps had focused on other sites, particularly a man-made island straddling the west break-wall, where the master plan envisioned a new port. Wasserman has said the west break-wall site is costlier to engineer, partly because of construction in deeper water north of the break-wall. Road and rail links by causeway would cost more, and truck traffic would be more disruptive, compared with the East 55th site, port officials said.

As with any big project, the challenges are myriad and complex at East 55th.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates - December 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated
(Note - The deadline has passed to have cards posted.)

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 22

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

On 22 December 1898, the T. M. MOORE (wooden propeller tug, 52’, 25 gt, built in 1883 at Buffalo, NY) stranded at Rattlesnake Island NW of Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie and then caught fire and was totally destroyed. No lives were lost.

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.


When Welland Canal closes, power work begins;
Turbines to be built beneath weirs at 3 locks

12/21 - St. Catharines - The Welland Canal is ready to close down - and then power up.

Weather permitting, the shipping canal should shut down for winter by midnight Dec. 27, said Michel Drolet, the Niagara region vice-president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority. The canal stayed open until Dec. 30 last year, but Drolet said this year has featured very icy conditions. (A vessel was stuck in the ice for 10 hours Tuesday in Port Colborne.)

The winter shutdown gives the Seaway time for repairs and construction on the 43-kilometre, eight-lock canal.

In January, it will also give Rankin Construction a chance to build hydro-generators along the canal in St. Catharines. "We're already getting a bit of prep work done," said owner Tom Rankin. "It's a pretty heavy schedule. We have two months to get a heck of a lot of work done."

Rankin's St. Catharines construction firm signed a $20-million lease agreement with the Seaway in June to install turbines under the weirs at locks 1, 2 and 3. Each two-megawatt turbine will use excess lock water that normally drops 11 metres over the weirs to produce electricity. At peak capacity, the turbines could power the equivalent of the amount used in a year by 5,000 homes.

If the hydro energy replaced an equivalent amount of coal-fired power, the project would reduce provincial carbon dioxide emissions by 38,900 tonnes. That's the equivalent of removing 8,420 passenger cars from the road.

Rankin said his company will work "furiously" during the winter shutdown to prepare for the first two turbines. Workers must build pump houses, excavate and pour concrete for water channels, and partially rebuild the existing weirs before the canal reopens in March. (Drolet said the canal doesn't have a set opening date, but usually aims for the third week of March.)

The first job is to build a construction road down to the weirs and repair any leaks, said Rankin. "We need as much of the water as possible (for the turbines)," he said. "Leaks mean lost water." The massive turbines should be installed at Lock 1 and 2 by June, with a third waiting until next winter. The first two turbines could be churning out power by September 2008.

Rankin is leasing land from the Seaway for 25 years, after which he'll turn over the generators to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. Over that term, he'll sell the water power into the provincial grid under Ontario's new Standard Offer Program.

Reported by Bill Bird from the St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports - December 21

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail was first in on a calm Wednesday evening, followed through the night by Maumee, who was still loading Thursday morning at Sifto Salt.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived off Buffalo Wednesday night around 10 p.m. and went to anchor waiting for better conditions to enter the harbor.
The American Mariner arrived for the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna around 11 p.m. Wednesday with stone.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Eider departed Toronto late Thursday night and headed down the lake.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement barge Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain arrived and turned in Milwaukee's inner harbor Wednesday morning, docking and delivering to LaFarge. Innovation departed onto Lake Michigan about 2 a.m. Thursday.
Wednesday afternoon, Agawa Canyon shifted from a berth at an outer harbor general cargo pier, to one at the bulk cargo facility on Jones Island in the inner harbor. Agawa Canyon finished unloading salt and departed about midnight Wednesday night.
Also Wednesday, cement barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander arrived in the inner harbor just after 8:00 p.m. Integrity docked near the heavy lift dock, north of its usual berth at the LaFarge silo. Integrity appeared idle on Thursday, suggesting its visit may be for a temporary lay-up.
Manistee arrived Thursday just before noon, bringing salt to the bulk cargo dock. She left Thursday evening.


Congress to debate Soo Locks expansion
Detroit Riverwalk upgrade also in bill

12/21 - Washington, DC - Congress is expected to begin debate in February on how it will fund a $342 million plan to expand the Soo Locks to better allow the largest freighters easier access to lower Great Lakes ports such as Detroit.

In November, lawmakers overrode President Bush's veto of a $23 billion water projects bill that authorized the lock project, which is expected to take 8 to 10 years to complete once money is allocated. The bill, which includes 900 projects nationwide, also authorizes a $3 million upgrade to the Detroit Riverwalk and $20 million for water quality improvements for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

Detroit's automotive industry relies on the raw materials shipped through the locks, as do the region's coal-fed power plants.

Currently, the 40-year-old Poe Lock handles all 1,000-foot freighters, which carry the bulk of the 60 million tons of iron ore and 42 million tons of coal that annually come across Lake Superior. The 1,200-foot Poe is the newest of the locks, which are federally owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The plan is to take two World War I-era locks, one of which is not used and the other rarely, and combine them into a single new lock that would be 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long. That would provide a redundancy capacity in case the Poe closed for repairs, malfunctions or sabotage. Industry and shipping companies have pushed for an expanded lock for years, but no one is reporting problems related to cargo delivered by freighter.

John Niemiec, the Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the locks replacement, said Congress could choose to allocate all the money up front or year by year. "We're kind of waiting for our higher headquarters to give us guidance," he said, adding that traffic through the other locks won't be affected during the project.
"If (the locks) were to shut down, those ships would not be able to transport cargo to the lower lakes from Lake Superior," he said.

Not everyone is sure the project will happen any time soon, especially because the current lock system has never failed and the new lock could be viewed as a luxury or insurance rather than a necessity.

"It's not a critically important project," said Roger LeLievre, vice president of Port Huron-based nonprofit Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping, a lakes traffic information organization. He is also editor and publisher of the annual Know Your Ships guidebook. “It would be nice if the money is there, and I am not against a new lock. However there are other pressing needs, such as dredging and fighting invasive species, to consider.”

Since 2008 is a presidential election year, it's possible the locks funding could get caught up in campaign rhetoric on unnecessary spending and by further resistance from the White House. "The president wants to hold the line on spending," said U.S. Rep Candice Miller, R-Mt. Clemens, who broke with the administration in voting to override the veto on the Water Resources Development Act. She also sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The best-case scenario would be that Congress approves locks funding this year and construction could begin in early 2009, Miller said. She believes the bipartisan support for the veto override could translate into faster movement on funding the project. "This was long overdue. This shipping has to move," she said.

Low water levels in the lakes and connecting waterways have had a more immediate impact on shipping than any concern over capacity at the locks. Shipping companies have had to reduce how much cargo each freighter carries per trip.

A typical 1,000-foot cargo vessel can transport 70,000 tons at a time, but loads are down about 8,000 tons per ship, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communication for the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers' Association. The trade group represents 18 U.S. vessel operators on the Great Lakes. Eight thousand tons of iron ore would produce enough steel to make 6,000 cars, Nekvasil said, and 8,000 tons of coal would fuel Detroit's electricity needs for three hours.

Ship owners complain the Corps of Engineers doesn't do enough dredging on the lakes, but corps officials say they do the dredging for which they get funding. No additional dredging beyond the $12 million worth done annually is planned for 2008. "The dredging crisis is the biggest issue on the Great Lakes," Nekvasil said.

The domestic vehicle industry, because of production cutbacks and an increasing dependence on foreign steel, hasn't felt any ill effects from the cargo cutbacks.

Detroit Edison gets 8 million to 9 million tons of low-sulfur coal from Montana and Wyoming shipped to Michigan through the locks, said Scott Simons, DTE's senior media relations representative. The shipping capacity cutbacks haven't affected operations, he added.

Both industries also can rely on rail transportation. "All our needs are being met to meet our customers' requirements," said Dawn Dayton, a spokeswoman for U.S. Steel's Great Lakes Works, which supplies steel to the Detroit 3, foreign carmakers and suppliers.

Still, the steel industry keeps a close eye on developments with the locks, Dayton said. "Transportation and logistics are always something we pay attention to."

Source: Crain's research


Further water level decline predicted

12/21 - The Army Corps of Engineers office in Detroit has predicted that water levels in Lake Michigan could decline six inches more than the normal seasonal decline this winter because of decreased precipitation and increased evaporation.

In addition, lake water levels are nearing record low levels, according to a report released last week by Army hydrologists.

Because they are connected, the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered one body. The Michigan/Huron basin last month continued its period of seasonal decline and reached a level about 25 inches below average.

Water levels in November were also about 10 inches below “chart datum,” meaning that the water is lower than the minimum level noted on nautical charts. Whenever water levels fall below the “chart datum,” mariners are cautioned to pay close attention to their vessels’ draft so as not to run aground.

Precipitation last month was about an inch below average. For the year, precipitation over the basin has been about 2.4 inches below average while evaporation has been above average, the Army report noted.

“Because of large differences between air and water temperature, the months of November and December on average have the largest evaporation rates,” the report stated.

Army predictions call for the lake level to fall to about 27 inches below the long term average level recorded between 1918 and 2006 this winter. Levels will likely be somewhere between nine and 15 inches below last year’s levels, the report said. Water levels are expected to remain below the chart datum through May 2008.

“If the lake experiences very dry conditions, water levels could approach record lows in the January through May timeframe,” Army hydrologists said.

From the Leelanau Enterprise


Great Lakes coal trade slips again in October
Ore trade up slightly
Dredging Crisis, Low Water Levels Slash Vessel Capacity

12/21 - Cleveland—Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3.8 million net tons in October, a decrease of 6.3 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of 10 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

The dredging crisis and low water levels were major contributors to the decreases.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 31.1 million tons, a decrease of 7.8 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are nearly 6.7 percent off the pace.

Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System totaled 5.7 million net tons in October, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 2.5 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

The increase would have been greater had vessels been able to carry full loads. One Lake Superior dock loaded 12 cargos into 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Lakers, the largest vessel class in service. The loads totaled 720,000 tons.

However, because of the prolonged dredging crisis and low water levels, those cargos actually only represented 89.3 percent of the vessels’ carrying capacity.

A Great Lakes Navigation System maintained to project dimensions would have allowed the vessels to carry more than 805,000 tons of iron ore in October.

For the year, the Great Lakes/Seaway iron ore trade stands at 47.2 million tons, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to the same point in 2006. However, in terms of the 5-year average for the January-October timeframe, the trade is down by two cargos in a 1,000-foot-long vessel.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Updates - December 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated
(Note - Today is the last day for Holiday Cards to be received.)

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 21

In 1987, the ASHLAND and THOMAS WILSON departed Quebec bound for a Taiwanese scrap yard. 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 1908, the AMERICAN EAGLE (wooden propeller passenger packet-tug, 105’, 161 gt, built in 1880 at Sandusky, OH) was destroyed by fire while she was in winter lay-up at Maumee, Ohio. No lives were lost.

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.


Sugar storage loads to Toronto ending for the year

12/20 - Quebec City - This is the time of the season where sugar storage loads are loaded in Quebec City for winter storage in Toronto.

Algocape was at section #105 in the port loading sugar and is expected to depart early Thursday morning. Canadian Leader was upbound from Port Cartier and was due to arrive in Quebec late Wednesday.

The last load will go in the Canadian Miner who is due at the St. Lambert Lock with a load of grain for Quebec City. After unloading the vessel will proceed to section #53 to take on a load for Toronto. This will close a busy season for sugar imports at the Port with Algosteel taking most loads again this year.


Port Reports - December 20

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Wednesday a Selvick tug assisted in placing the tug James A. Hannah and barge Hannah 5101 in the large graving dock. Later that morning the Selvick tug assisted the Reserve into the large graving dock. The Beaver Island Boat Co.'s carferry Emerald Isle was in the small graving dock .

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Wednesday noon American Steamship's John J. Boland was delivering coal to the WE Energies facility at the foot of Greenfield Avenue. The Boland departed onto Lake Michigan just after 4:00 p.m. Wednesday.
Agawa Canyon docked among the municipal general cargo piers in the outer harbor Wednesday afternoon, carrying a load of salt.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Victory left Marquette with a load of ore as the Charles M. Beeghly arrived on Wednesday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway loaded through the evening hours at Sifto Salt and departed at 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Algoway finished her unload at the North Star dock in Essexville on Tuesday, turned of the dock in the Essexville basin and was headed outbound for the lake.
CSL Tadoussac was inbound, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. The Tadoussac was expected to be outbound during the lake afternoon or early evening on Wednesday.

Al Miller - Twin Ports
With grain shipping now largely ended, much of the traffic in the Twin Ports is focusing on Midwest Energy Terminal, which will remain busy well into January. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Canadian Transport loaded there Tuesday and Paul R. Tregurtha was loading Wednesday morning with American Century due later in the day. A “warm spell” with temperatures in the 20s has eased some of the pressure from the ice. With a morning temperature of 31 degrees, the PRT’s track through the ice to the coal dock didn’t even freeze overnight.
Other traffic in port was the Stewart J. Cort loading taconite pellets at BNSF in Superior. Looks like Midwest Energy Terminal will remain active until mid-January, with Mesabi Miner currently scheduled to load the season’s last cargoes on Jan. 14 and 17 – both bound for Presque Isle near Marquette.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius departed Buffalo Harbor at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy returned to Toronto Wednesday afternoon with another cargo of bunker for the salty Eider. The Energy subsequently returned to Hamilton.


Buffalo ethanol plant gets green light from judge

12/20 - Buffalo, NY - Developers of an $80 million ethanol plant proposed for grain elevators that line Buffalo’s waterfront got the judicial green light Tuesday to go ahead with the project.

The plans for the plant — where corn would be processed into fuel — have been praised as a smart reuse of the long-vacant grain elevators and had won the backing of city leaders, including Mayor Byron W. Brown and eight out of nine Common Council members. But Old First Ward residents had sought an injunction against the plant, citing concerns about noise, unpleasant odors and the safety of living near a plant where 2.8 million gallons of flammable fuel would be stored.

Tuesday, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph G. Makowski dismissed the lawsuit brought by Maureen Cleary Schaeffer, Julie Mary Cleary and Kathleen M. Horrigan. He ruled that the Common Council, its Planning Board and the city Zoning Board of Appeals all acted properly in granting permits to RiverWright Energy LLC, developer of the plant.

Richard Smith III, chairman of River- Wright LLC, said the decision paves the way for the completion of financing on the project and will “get the ball rolling” on converting the old ConAgra/Maple Leaf Milling facility on Childs Street into an ethanol- processing facility.

Arthur J. Giacalone, the attorney for the Old First Ward residents, said he will have to “more closely review” Makowski’s detailed decision to determine grounds for a possible appeal. But Giacalone emphasized that he and his clients still believe the city “over-stepped” legal requirements. He insisted the project “doesn’t belong” within 400 feet of homes.

The court case, launched in May, cited safety and quality-of life issues in urging the city to conduct a more extensive environmental review of the project. Residents were especially worried about the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the plant, as well as during shipping. They also said the city didn’t look closely enough at potentially adverse impacts, including the potential for bad odors emanating from the fuel making process, rodents drawn to the corn and pollution to the neighborhood.

Before Smith left the courthouse, he emphasized that RiverWright Energy “went through all the proper protocols” to get the project moving.

An estimated 40 million bushels of corn is expected to be shipped by lake freighter every year to the plant, where it will be processed into ethanol. The fuel would then be transported by train to Albany.

Smith and his business partner, Kevin Townsell, hope to open the plant in May.

From the Buffalo News


Updates - December 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated
(Note - Friday, December 21 is the last day for Holiday Cards to be received.)

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 20

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

The b.) SAMUEL MATHER, a.) WILLIAM MC LAUGHLIN was towed from Ashtabula, Ohio on December 20, 1975, to Port Colborne, Ontario where her boilers were converted to oil-fired burners by Herb Fraser & Associates and renamed c.) JOAN M MC CULLOUGH (C.370162), renamed d.) BIRCHGLEN in 1982 and scrapped at Sydney, Nova Scotia in 1988.

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

The CRISPIN OGLEBAY of 1908, hauled her last cargo, a load of salt, into Rochester, New York on December 20, 1973, and then was laid up at Kingston, Ontario for the winter.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ice Stops Traffic in Port Colborne

12/19 - 6 a.m. Update - Traffic appears to be getting back to normal in the canal. Isadora is down bound between Locks 2 and 3. Montrealais is in the flight locks and Pineglen is following in Lock 7.

Previously stalled up bound traffic is also moving. Mississagi has cleared the Port Colborne piers, while Sea Eagle II/St. Marys Cement II is at Wharf 16 and Petite Forte/St. Marys Cement is in Lock 8.

12/18 - 11 p.m. Update - The Isadora is moving again. She is due to exit Lock 8 at 11:15 p.m.

12/18 - 9 p.m. Update - Winter’s icy grip slapped its hold on a Great Lakes transport vessel, tying up traffic on the Welland Canal on Tuesday.

The Isadora, a Limassol, Cyprus registered ship owned by Polish Steamship Co., became stuck in ice at Bridge 19A just outside of Lock 8 in Port Colborne. The ship became stuck at roughly 9 a.m. Tuesday and was still there as night fell.

The jackknife bridge, at Mellanby Avenue, in the heart of the city remained up throughout the day and into the evening as the ship’s crew, assisted by two tugs and staff from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., tried to free the Isadora. “We’re throwing everything we have at her,” said Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the Seaway Corp. “It was the ice conditions in the canal which caused this,” said Hodgson.

The Seaway was trucking in hot water on Tuesday night in an effort to wash down the ice gripping the downbound ship’s hull and free it.

Temperatures in Port Colborne were actually rising as the sun set last night, hitting 2C at 5 p.m., according to Environment Canada’s website. The overnight low was expected to drop back to freezing and today’s temperatures are predicted to go to plus-3, according to the site.

“This is a bit of a surprise actually,” said Hodgson of the day-long battle to free the laker. “We went in and flushed out the lock before bringing her in there,” he said. “We didn’t even have her in before she got stuck.” Hodgson said the Seaway was “confident” the ship would be freed soon.

Two tugs – the Lac Manitoba and the Vigilant I, both owned by Nadro Marine – were trying to assist the locked in ship. The Vigilant I was trying to pull the Isadora back away from Bridge 19A the way it came, while the Lac Manitoba was washing water on its side to free the Isadora from the ice. The trucked in hot water was to be sprayed from the east side of the canal where the ice blockage is located onto the downbound ship.

With the Isadora stuck, upbound and downbound traffic remained stalled in the canal. Downbound ships waiting behind the laker included the Pineglen and the Montrealais, while the Algonorth, Petite Forte/St. Marys Cement and Canadian Progress were waiting to continue their upbound voyage. Also up bound in the system were Sea Eagle II/St. Marys Cement II and Mississagi. Both are due at Lock 8 during Tuesday night..

Hodgson said the Seaway had planned to keep the canal open until Dec. 30 this year, the same date as last season. “I don’t know if the weather will allow us to do that now,” he said. The Seaway has remained in contact with the shipping industry, while keeping a weather eye on conditions, but Tuesday’s situation came unexpectedly. While temperatures are expected to moderate over the next few days, Hodgson said that may not be enough to keep the canal open. “It may not help us,” he said.

Reported by Dave Johnson, Welland Tribune


Icebreakers prep for ice season
Katmai Bay dispatched to assist a freighter beset in 16 inches of ice

12/19 - Upper Great Lakes - With ice forming at a rate that suggests the first “normal” winter shipping season in several years, Coast Guard officials have icebreakers working in disparate locations this week.

At Base Sault, Coast Guard official Mark Gill said ice continues to build rapidly on the lower St. Marys River but shipping has not been impeded significantly just yet. He said the outlook for a cold December suggests icebreakers will be busy on the St. Marys by the time the holidays roll around.

For now, two Bay-Class tugs, Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay are working the ice in largely unfamiliar waters at Thunder Bay, Ont. and at Serpent Harbor, Ont. located at the northern end of Georgian Bay. Biscayne Bay, based at St. Ignace, has been working at Duluth-Superior then nearby Thunder Bay while the Duluth-based tender-breaker USCGC Alder was off about her buoy tending duties.

With Alder back in Duluth, he said Biscayne Bay will be recalled about midweek, when the Canadian icebreaker-tender Samuel Risley returns to Lake Superior from pinch-hitting duties on the Detroit River.

Katmai Bay, meanwhile, was dispatched to Georgian Bay to assist the cargo vessel Canadian Olympic, reportedly beset in solid plate ice 16 inches thick at Serpent Harbor, Ont. Katmai Bay will return to her normal ice station on the St. Marys once Canadian Olympic completes here season-ending trip into Serpent Bay and clears for the open lake.

The two tugs are expected to turn their attention to the rapidly freezing St. Marys later this week, where they will likely remain for the balance of the shipping season.

Gill said ice is tightening up significantly in the current run of freezing weather on Munuscong Bay (also called “Mud Lake”) and both channels leading around Neebish Island. He said no ships have been halted by the building ice in the channels around Neebish but considerable strengthening has been reported between Winter Point and Moon Island at the southern end of Neebish.

One hundred percent ice coverage now extends from Winter Point to Pt. Aux Frenes, near Lime Island. That ice has been on for at least a week and has been thickening appreciably of late, he said.

While primary attention of the Coast Guard's “Operation Taconite” is currently focused on the greater Munuscong Bay area, Gill said ice has also formed to about two inches on the Middle Neebish Channel north of the island at from 9 Mile Pt. to the West Neebish Channel on the downbound side.

While ice coverage remains partial to the north of Neebish Island he indicated the Coast Guard is anxious to have the two Bay Class tugs available for lower river duty this week.

Farther upstream, Gill said some ice is forming in the bays of the upper St. Marys and Whitefish Bay but not to the point where icebreaking help will be needed soon. He said USCGC Mackinaw, which is normally assigned to that stretch of channel, is currently gearing up for icebreaking service after completing seasonal buoy tending duties on Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Mackinaw will soon be available for icebreaking but Gill said he does not anticipate needing the larger icebreaker on the St. Marys River until the first of the year or so. The shipping season will then be in its final two weeks on Lake Superior, as the Soo Locks are scheduled to close for the season on Jan. 15.

Gill said an integrated icebreaking arrangement with the Canadian Coast Guard is making the assignment of ‘breakers throughout the region considerably easier than in the past. “It's easier to move around .... it streamlines our resources,” he said of the integrated approach. In general, he said Canadian icebreakers will be working Thunder Bay and lower Great Lakes channels while the U.S. Coast Guard is taking on the western Great Lakes.

Noting a preference for the smaller Bay-Class tugs on the often difficult ice in the lower St. Marys, Gill said a third Bay-Class tug, Mobile Bay, may be called in later to assist the two other tugs to take up station there.

He said at present the ice is presenting problems at isolated locations and has not been difficult on principal upbound and downbound shipping channels. That may change in the coming week, however, and Gill voiced some concern about forming ice on western Lake Erie and the ice-prone Livingston Channel connecting the Detroit River with Lake Erie.

By Jack Story for the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - December 19

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Eider arrived in port overnight and was berthed at Redpath by Groupe Ocean's tugs, which departed for Hamilton when they were done. Hamilton Energy came in just before noon to bunker the Eider. Egyptian saltie Ebn Al Waleed is still at Pier 51 unloading. Algosteel was expected in Tuesday evening with sugar for Redpath.
The Port Authority tug Wm. Rest was out with their derrick barge T.H.C. 50 lifting buoys in the harbor.
Soderholm Construction Co. are still working on retaining wall reconstruction at the foot of Spadina Ave.
At Toronto Drydock the local local tour boats Island Princess, Harbour Star, Sea Voyager, St. Marie I, Sora and a pleasure craft went on the dry dock.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius was still unloading at General Mills at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening. There was a slight build up of ice in the City Ship Canal over the last few cold nights. The American Fortitude may have cut herself a track to get in on Sunday and the Cornelius must have widened it when she arrived on Monday. There was a lot of plowed up ice around her bow stem. The Fortitude departed General Mills around 6 p.m. on Monday night and passed the inbound Adam E Cornelius out near the Traffic Buoy. The Cornelius came in and took her place at around 8 p.m.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena returned to its namesake port Monday afternoon after delivering to Whitefish, ON. Tuesday night. The Alpena was decorated with Christmas lights and tied up in the old slip between the loading and coal docks, in a temporary lay-up.
During the night on Monday the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge.  Tuesday morning the G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity made its way in to load for Milwaukee.


Steel shipments stall

12/19 - Duluth - Steel mills in the United States in October shipped 9.2 million net tons of steel, a 5.9 percent decline compared to a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

In October 2006, 8.7 million net tons were shipped. October 2007 shipments were up compared to September 2007, according to the association.

On a year-to-date basis, shipments are down to service centers and steel distributors by 10.5 percent; construction and contractors' products by 3.1 percent; and oil and gas production by 7.9 percent. Steel shipments to automobile manufacturers are the same volume as last year.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Museum may anchor in Port Clinton

12/19 - Port Clinton, OH - The Port Clinton waterfront may be changing as soon as this coming spring.

The Last Patrol Inc., a Swanton-based nonprofit organization, and the city of Port Clinton are working together to establish a "floating museum" on the shoreline, according to John Nowakowski of the group. The organization presented its plans to City Council in October and recently took measurements near Water Works park to be sure the depth of the water can accommodate the proposed project.

The partnership might bring naval vessels and other equipment to the city, Nowakowski said. "It's almost a foregone conclusion that Port Clinton will be the home for the museum," he said. Outgoing Mayor Tom Brown is working to secure sponsorship for the project.

"From what the mayor's telling us and everybody involved so far, it's almost a definite. They want it there and we're happy to be there," Nowakowski said. "He's helping us to find funding to cover the cost of getting the ships towed in."

If the project proceeds, Nowakowski said the first ship might be in local waters by spring. "Two of the ships are in real good shape," he said. The organizer said the first boat is likely to be the "LSM 45," also called a "landing ship-medium." The second boat will probably be the Coast Guard cutter Storis, he said.

Nowakowski said the group and the city may try to procure more ships, which would be in dry dock for repairs and refurbishment while the waterfront development progresses. "As the piers are ready, the ships will be able to come," he said. "We're trying to work it both at the same time." The end product would be "a museum on the lake side of the marina of the new waterfront development," he said.

His plans are contingent upon funding from sponsors, Nowakowski said. "Mayor Brown has already spoken with Senator (George) Voinovich and Congresswoman (Marcy) Kaptur, and they're going to be helping, hopefully." Brown confirmed he is looking for government money for the project. "That's the next important step, and I have to go to Washington, D.C., right after the first of the year to check on our funding" he said. "We'll know more about it in January."

"We've got some promises that look real good," Brown said. "I think it's very likely. ... We're pretty confident we're going to see at least one of these crafts here this spring."

From the Port Clinton News-Herald


Updates - December 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated
(Note - Friday, December 21 is the last day for Holiday Cards to be received.)

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 19

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

On 19 December 1871, the HERCULES (wooden side-wheel tug and freighter, 172’, 331 gt, built in 1858 at Garden Island, ON) was destroyed by fire while lying to at the Calvin Shipyard in Garden Island, Ontario, along side of the steamer HIGHLANDER. One life was lost between the two vessels.

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.


Lower St. Lawrence Seaway shut down by winter storm

12/18 - Monday morning shipping is slowly returning to normal after a severe winter storm passed through the area over the weekend.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon is breaking ice in the area of Eisenhower and Snell locks while the Federal Ems, downbound, and Federal Weser, upbound wait for this operation to be completed.

The Federal Weser was entering Eisenhower. The Keizersborg waited out the storm on the wall above Iroquois Lock with the Melissa Desgagnés right behind her and the Spruceglen secured below the lock.

Up the river, the tugs Barbara Andrie with barge A390, and Tony MacKay with barge Sault Au Cochon waited out the storm at Ogdensburg wharf and Prescott Elevators respectively. They have both departed up the river.

The ice in the Seaway is being broken in the South Shore Canal by the tug Ocean Gulf and the CCGS Tracy is now working in the area as well, lifting buoys. The tug La Prairie is working in the Beauharnois Locks area.

The removal of navigation aids is underway throughout the system with Robinson Bay working in the Thousand Islands area with tug Performance assisting. Once CCGS Griffon is finished at Ike, she will proceed to lift buoys below Cornwall.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


New barge Houston reported adrift

12/18 - 8 a.m. Update - Three Coast Guard crewmen were able to board the barge Houston, adrift Monday in St. George's Bay off the southwest coast of Cape Breton Island. They succeeded in letting go both of the barge's anchors and bringing the vessel's drift to a halt.

However conditions were so rough that they could not re-board their boat, and a helicopter was brought in to evacuate them.

Original Article - 12/18 - Cape Breton Island - The barge Houston is reported to be adrift in St. George's Bay. The new barge is en route from builders on the Great Lakes to the east coast and was in tow of the tug Eileen M. Roehrig.

St. George's Bay, in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence is to the west of the Canso Strait, separating mainland Nova Scotia from Cape Breton Island.

A major storm has just passed though the area but high winds, high seas and low temperatures persist.

The Canadian Coast Guard ships Edward Cornwallis and Terry Fox are reported to be on scene.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


Port Reports - December 18

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Amelia Desgagnes waited patiently out in the bay of Green Bay Monday as the Reserve was towed out of Menominee on its way to Sturgeon Bay and a date with the shipyard. Once the Reserve cleared the piers and was turned around, they headed in to Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of pig iron.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon entered the inner harbour to do the turn at 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon. It was filled with slush ice but the MacDonald Marine tugs were able to get her around. She was on the Sifto Salt dock and loading at 2:30 p.m.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday morning had the James Norris depart Burlington Bay at 5:30 a.m. after riding out the snow storm that struck the area. Canadian Progress arrived at 8 a.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco and departed at 6:30 p.m. for Toledo.
The Wolverine departed Stelco at 10:45 a.m. for Ashtabula. Tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 departed at 12:30 p.m. from Pier 26.  Tug Gerry G arrived at 1p.m. The tug Everlast and barge Norman MacLeod departed Pier 23 at 1 p.m.for Detroit. The tug Evans McKeil and Wyatt M arrived with the Heddle Marine Drydock at 3:30 p.m. they went to Pier 10.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
At 1 p.m. Sunday the Selvick Marine tugs had the Michipicoten out of dry dock and at the wall facing north towards Green Bay waters for her departure. At noon Monday Selvick Marine tugs had the Reserve in tow from Menominee and were headed for Bay Shipbuilding for her dry docking for further underwater conversion work. She will be dry docked on Wednesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Maumee called on the Saginaw River early Sunday morning stopping at the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. Monday evening, the Algoway called on the North Star dock in Essexville. she was expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning.


Maritime artifacts formerly on Willis B. Boyer need a new berth
Ship director puts collection ashore

12/18 - Toledo - The S.S. Willis B. Boyer museum ship may have had one of its better admissions seasons in recent years during 2007, but the ship models and other memorabilia once displayed there by a local historical group weren't along for the voyage.

Instead, the Western Lake Erie Historical Society is looking for a new home - preferably a cheap one, and at the least, one that's more convenient for public access than its current quarters in the former DeVilbiss plant on Phillips Avenue. "We've got a large collection here, and we need a lot of space," said Howard Pinkley, head of the historical society's board of trustees, said while surveying the exhibits stored in what is now the I-75 Business Park. "This is not the proper location. We've got to get on a first-floor level where we can get some visitors in and don't have to worry about stairs, or elevators that don't always work."

For years after a local group saved the Boyer from being scrapped, then sold the vessel to the city of Toledo, the historical society displayed its ship models, books, and collections of lanterns, life rings, and old outboard motors on board. But after Paul LaMarre III became the museum ship's executive director, he decided it was time for the Western Lake Erie Historical Society to go ashore.

"It was a collection of maritime material, rather than pertinent maritime artifacts," said Mr. LaMarre, who was hired by the city of Toledo last year and is on the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's payroll this year as it negotiates a takeover of the Boyer from the cash-strapped city. Mr. LaMarre said he is "trying to create an experience" through which Boyer visitors learn what shipboard life was like during the vessel's heyday.

Exhibits now on display aboard the Boyer "are all pertinent to the history of the Boyer," he said. "We're trying to create a personal attachment to the vessel."

Mr. LaMarre added that the historical society hastened its eviction by insisting on receiving 50 cents from every visitor admission to the Boyer, which charges $6 per person with discounts for children and seniors. "The Boyer cannot afford to give away a single cent from our incoming revenue," Mr. LaMarre said. Artifacts now on board are on free loan from the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio, he said.

About 5,300 people visited the Boyer during 2007, more than twice its admissions in 2006, Mr. LaMarre said. The Boyer was the beneficiary of a stepped-up publicity campaign, in which The Blade participated, after the city announced it no longer would support the vessel financially after June. So far, however, the ship remains city property even though the port authority has assumed its management.

Originally named Col. James M. Schoonmaker, the vessel was renamed Willis B. Boyer late in its career. It was the Great Lakes' largest ship for nearly three years after launching in 1911. The Boyer sailed until 1980, when its then-owner, Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Co., laid it up on a Toledo wharf.

Bob Brooks, who is leading the Western Lake Erie group's search for a new home, questioned Mr. LaMarre's wisdom in evicting its exhibits. "That was the dumbest thing they ever did. Now people go in there and they say there's nothing to see," Mr. Brooks said.

But Mr. LaMarre said the Boyer itself is "the exhibit people come to see," not "a collection of miscellaneous items brought from miscellaneous donors." And he challenged as "extremely uneducated" Mr. Brooks' assertion that the Boyer is in "such decrepit condition" that it ought to be sold for scrap at current high scrap-metal prices, and the proceeds used to obtain a smaller historic vessel that could be used for harbor tours.

"She actually is in better shape than some of the ships still sailing the Great Lakes today," Mr. LaMarre said, citing the results of a hull survey conducted during mid-2006. Leaking rivets are typical for vessels of the Boyer's vintage, he said, and "all of our hull thicknesses are appropriate for our purposes."

Mr. Pinkley said the main thing he's concerned about is finding a new place for his society's exhibits - perhaps one in Point Place or the Marina District that would have a maritime setting and be convenient for public visitors. But so far, he said, "We've looked at about four places, and we couldn't afford the rent. In brief, we're looking for a sugar daddy to help us along."

The museum's current quarters have been paid for with donations from the American Legion, Mr. Pinkley said, and the group has enough money to pay for a move if the right destination can be found.

From the Toledo Blade


Updates - December 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 18

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 18 December 1909, the F. A. MEYER (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 256’, 1740 gt, built in 1888 at Wyandotte, MI, formerly J. EMORY OWEN) carrying lumber on Lake Erie when she got trapped in the ice off Port Colborne, Ontario. Her hull was crushed by ice in this early freeze. She sank and was a total loss. No lives were lost.

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, Brian Wroblewski, 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.


Reserve Heads for Bay Ship

12/17 - Monday about 10 a.m. the Reserve departed the KK Integrated Logistics dock in Menominee, MI under tow to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. The Selvick tug Jimmy L was on the bow and William C. Selvick on the stern. At 3 p.m. the tow entered the ice field in Green Bay and by 3:45 were beset in ice. The Jimmy L. disconnected from the bow and began breaking a track into Bay Ship. The tug Suzan L. took over on the bow and the tow proceeded through the ice.

The tow arrived at Bay Ship about 7 p.m. the Reserve will be secured before entering the dry dock on Wednesday.

The entire shell and frame of the barge's notch were completed by crews at the KK dock in Menominee. Dry docking was necessary to remove the remains of the stern inside and aft of notch. Dry dock work is expected to take less than two weeks, the Reserve will be towed back to Menominee where the conversion will be completed with a possible first trip taking place at the end of March.

Reported by Scott Tomlinson


Port Reports - December 17

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Shortly after noon Saturday the Egyptian cargo vessel Ebn Al Waleed and two Groupe Ocean tugs arrived. After berthing the steel laden freighter at Pier 51, the tugs went into the Redpath slip where they tied up for the night. A nasty snow storm kept the tugs in port on Sunday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation departed at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The American Fortitude picked up anchors and was inbound at 1:50 p.m. Sunday to General Mills. She made Buffalo Saturday night, but had to wait out the night due to low water levels in Buffalo Harbor caused by high winds. She gave her call at 2 p.m. and entered the harbor. This has been the second time the American Fortitude has made a call to Buffalo this year. Last time was in September. This run is usually filled by the Adam E. Cornelius which is also due to load for Buffalo in the next few days.

Green Bay - Scott Best
Sunday afternoon was busy in Green Bay. At 1 p.m., the Earl W was departing the Fox River at the downtown bridges, after unloading its cargo of coal at the Georgia Pacific plant up river.
At the same time the Cason J. Callaway which arrived early Sunday was unloading coal at the Fox River Dock.
The Algorail and Agawa Canyon are both due this week with salt for the Fox River dock.


2008 Marine Calendars for sale

12/10 - Many boat watchers have inquired about marine calendars. Two of the best are available here in the Great Lakes area.

The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has produced their annual calendar, this year featuring the photography of Skip Meier. The calendar includes 14 full-color photos plus 4 bonus photos. Calendars are free to members. details at: this link

Shiphotos has announced the release of their 2008 calendars. These calendars feature the photography of Paul Beesley and ships seen in the Welland Canal and history of shipping on the Great Lakes. There are 10 different versions for 2008, including 2 for Algoma and 2 for Fednav. To see the calendars please click here


BoatNerd Clothing Clearance Sale

Force-5 Trading, the official supplier of BoatNerd gear, has announced a year-end clearance of marine-related and BoatNerd logo gear.

Click here for a complete list of available merchandise.


Updates - December 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events for 2008 updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 17

While breaking ice off Colchester Reef, Lake Erie on 17 December 1917, the HENRY CORT (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Superior, Wisconsin, formerly a.) PILLSBURY) was in a collision with the MIDVALE (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 8,271 gross tons, built in 1917, at Ashtabula, Ohio). The PILLSBURY sank in thirty feet of water 4 1/2 miles from Colchester Reef. Her crew walked across the ice to the MIDVALE. The wreck was located on 24 April 1918, four miles from its original position, with seven feet of water over her and raised later that year to be repaired.

On 17 December 1885 (some reports give the date as 05 December 1885), the ORPHAN BOY (wooden 3-mast schooner, 144’, 366 gt, built in 1862 at Black River [Lorain], OH as a bark) was making a late season run with a load of lumber on Lake Michigan when she was driven ashore at Big Sable Point by a powerful gale and was quickly pounded to pieces. All 12 onboard were lost.

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


Ship spills diesel fuel into the Maumee

12/16 - Toledo - 10 a.m. Update - About 100 cleanup-crew workers and authorities spent much of yesterday attempting to contain and sop up 3,300 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Maumee River when a Canadian ship full of grain struck a Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority dock Friday night.

The Algonorth punctured its hull about 9 p.m. when the stern hit the Midwest Marine Terminal dock as the ship was attempting to leave, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and company officials. Two fuel tanks about 10 feet above the water line ruptured, the Coast Guard said.

A crewman on a vessel at the same berth, the Federal Pioneer, was treated for a broken arm. He was hit by a rope that snapped when churning water from the Algonorth stressed ropes holding the Federal Pioneer to the pier, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Richard Minnich said.

The river was closed until noon yesterday, delaying two vessels. The Federal Pioneer was held up from leaving the docks and the Cuyahoga, which was headed to Toledo for a load of grain, was delayed in arriving.

The spill of 3,100 gallons of light diesel and 200 gallons of blended fuel was the largest fuel spill in the Maumee River in years, officials said. But it could have been much worse. The spill accounted for less than 1 percent of the fuel on the ship, said Capt. John Greenway, vice president of operations for Seaway Marine Transport, also of St. Catharines, which manages the Algonorth.

And winds helped cleanup crews by blowing some of the fuel to the shore at the Midwest Terminal, off Front Street. There, workers attempted to suck up the fuel with vacuum trucks and sop it up with large absorbent pads. "We'll do as much as we can to collect as much as we can," said Mike Gerber, emergency response coordinator for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Much of the rest of the fuel, which spread over about a square mile, should evaporate, official said. Unlike some other fuels, diesel fuel floats. That makes it easier to clean up and allows it to evaporate. The cost of the cleanup is to be borne by Seaway. "The company will stand behind all of the cleanup," Captain Greenway said. "We certainly won't be walking away from it."

A helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and boats from Coast Guard Station Toledo were used to track the fuel as the currents moved it. There were no reports yesterday of wildlife fouled or damage to environmentally sensitive areas, Mr. Gerber said.

An investigation, which is expected to take months, will be conducted before U.S. government officials decide whether to file charges, Capt. Patrick Brennan of the Coast Guard's Sector Detroit said.

Captain Greenway said a combination of water levels, wind, and current caused the Algonorth's captain "some maneuvering difficulties." He declined to name the captain but said he "has had many years' experience." The current was thought to be about 1 knot.

The Algonorth, which was launched in 1970, is in Toledo an average of two to three times a year, Captain Greenway said.

It arrived late last week with a crew of 21 to pick up grain from The Andersons Inc. The vessel was to start on its way Friday night to Port Cartier, Que., on the St. Lawrence River, where its shipment is to be loaded onto a larger vessel. Yesterday, however, the Algonorth remained in the Maumee River awaiting repairs.

This wasn't the first time the Algonorth ran into trouble in the Maumee River in Toledo. Fifteen years ago, the ship ran aground after it rammed another ship and a railroad bridge as it left the Cargill Inc. docks loaded with grain. The Algonorth was caught by currents and swung sideways into another ship docked at The Andersons on Nov. 14, 1992. It then hit the Conrail bridge, backing up train traffic for miles. It took 25 hours to free the grounded ship. Damage to the two ships and the bridge was estimated at $300,000.

From the Toledo Blade

USCG continues response to Maumee River fuel-oil spill

Previous Report - 12/16 - Toledo, Ohio -- Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Toledo, Environmental Services and oil spill response contractors continue to respond to an approximate 3,300-gallon fuel-oil spill in the Maumee River.

The Algonorth was departing the Midwest Marine Terminal Friday evening when the vessel's stern contacted the dock, rupturing two fuel tanks approximately 10 feet above the water line.

The Coast Guard and clean-up contractors deployed approximately 2,400-feet of containment material in the vicinity of the spill. An additional 1,600-feet is available but is not needed, since most of the spill will have evaporated or dissipated by now making it unrecoverable.

After an approximate 14-hour river closure, the Captain of the Port opened the river just after noon Saturday. Four commercial vessels were delayed due to the closure. The Coast Guard and other response agencies Stopped operations for the evening and will resume on Sunday morning.

BP Oil, Sun Oil and the Northern Ohio and Michigan Aid consortium provided additional resources to the response. Boats from Coast Guard Station Toledo and an HH-65 helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit provided surface and aerial patrols to search for possible impacted areas.

Algonorth was carrying grain and getting underway for a St. Lawrence River port when the incident occurred.

The cause of the incident remains under investigation

USCG Ninth District News Release


Port Reports - December 16

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest arrived Saturday morning with a load for the St. Mary's terminal in Ferrysburg.

Lake Erie South Shore - Bob Hunter
The Clipper Tobago was loading biofuel on Saturday in Erie, Pa. The Federal Kumano was in Ashtabula, Oh.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Samuel D. Champlain and barge Innovation were docked at the LaFarge Plant on Ganson St. Saturday morning at 7 a.m. She arrived overnight from Cleveland with a split load of cement. The large tug and barge combo barely fit along the wall at LaFarge. The trees along the bank of the river just downstream from the dock were just about hanging over the stern of the tug and the bow towers over the railing at the Ohio St. Bridge when viewed as a passing motorist over the span.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Lee A Tregurtha loaded ore in Marquette on Friday, then remained at the dock. Saturday saw the barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce VanEnkevort unloading stone at the Shiras Dock.


Updates - December 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events for 2008 updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


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.

On 16 December 1905, the KNIGHT TEMPLAR (wooden 3-mast schooner, 136’, 290 gt, built in 1865 at Oswego, NY) was sailing on Lake Huron when she was overwhelmed by a storm and driven into shallow water near Alpena, Michigan where she was abandoned and broke up. No lives were lost.

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, Captain William E. Jeffrey, 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.


Maumee River Closed after Fuel Spill

12/15 - 12:50 p.m. Update - The river was reopened at noon on Saturday, the Cuyahoga reported that they were pulling the anchor and heading up the Maumee River.

Original Report - 12/15 - Toledo, Oh - Saturday morning the Maumee River remained closed after a fuel spill occurred Friday night around 9 p.m., it is unknown when the river will reopen.

Friday night the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo responded to a fuel-oil spill of approximately 2,500 gallons from the Algonorth. The Algonorth departed the Midwest Terminal with a load of grain when the incident occurred, the vessel was headed to Port Cartier in Quebec. Coast Guard and clean-up contractors deployed approximately 4,000 feet of containment boom in the area. The cause of the incident is under investigation.

The Algonorth returned to the dock and remained there Saturday morning. One crewman was taken to a hospital, apparently suffering a broken arm. He was in good condition, the Coast Guard said.

The Cuyahoga was anchored outside the river at the outer buoys waiting for the river to reopen, they are headed to Cargil (the former Anderson E dock).

From USCG and the Toledo Blade


Closing of the Seaway

12/15 -
Montreal-Lake Ontario Section -
all vessels must be clear of this section by 11:59 p.m. on December 29.
Welland Canal - The Welland Canal will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on December 26. Vessels will be allowed to transit the Welland Canal up to 11:59 p.m. on December 30 if weather and operating conditions permitting.
Soo Locks - Midnight on January 15, 2008.

At midnight December 13, the number of ocean vessels above St. Lambert was 18 as compared to 29 in 2006. Above Port Weller the number was 10 as compared to 18 in 2006.


Coast Guard to begin removing lake buoys in Eastern Lake Erie

12/15 - Buffalo - The Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock will have its work cut out for it when it arrives in eastern Lake Erie near Buffalo Saturday afternoon. Its assignment: Pull up all the navigational buoys along the shore from Seneca Shoal, just west of Buffalo Small Boat Harbor, to Erie, Pa.

It will take three or four days for the Port Huron based Hollyhock to complete its mission, depending on ice conditions and the weather, which is expected to turn nasty late Saturday and Sunday. This will be the final stage of Operation Autumn Retrieve, the Coast Guard’s largest domestic buoy operation, which takes 1,289 navigational aids out of the water for the winter.

From the Buffalo News


Port Reports - December 15

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Mesabi Miner arrived in Duluth early Friday morning to load at the CN/DMIR ore dock.
Philip R. Clarke arrived later to unload at one of the Hallett docks, and American Integrity was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Isadora was loading at AGP grain elevator in Duluth. It apparently will be the last saltie of the season for the Twin Ports.

Toronto Correction - Jeff Hubbell
The barge that arrived on Wednesday was out of Hamilton, not Halifax, and was towed in by the tug Evans McKeil.
The tugs Ocean Ranger and Ocean Foxtrot and the barge ATL 2701 are expected to arrive from Halifax in a few more days. There has been some confusion on the timing.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
On Friday, the tugs Evans McKeil and Wyatt M. brought in one of Heddle Marine Services floating drydocks with a large piece of equipment on it for the new generating station in the Turning Basin.
Also in port Friday, the tug Petite Forte at Pier 51; departing around 8:30 p.m., and a rare visit from Agawa Canyon, in with salt, and expected to depart before morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The USCGC Hollyhock arrived around noon on Friday.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday morning the James Norris departed the Burlington Bay anchorage at 8 a.m. for Clarkson. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore for Stelco.  The saltie SCL Bern arrived at 10:30 a.m. and went to Pier 14. The Hamilton Energy arrived at 12 noon from Clarkson. Tug Everlast and barge Norman MacLeod arrived at 1:30 p.m. going to Columbia Chemicals. Halifax arrived in the Burlington Bay anchorage at 1:30 p.m. The Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 4:30 p.m. with iron ore from Duluth for Stelco. Agawa Canyon is hugging the south shore of Lake Ontario waiting for the wind to die down before proceeding to Toronto. Hamilton Energy departed at 5 p.m. to refuel the Halifax. The CSL Tadoussac departed at 5:30 p.m. for Picton.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Maumee was outbound the Saginaw River Friday afternoon after arriving overnight to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the John G. Munson was loading at Stoneport. The Great Lakes Trader followed the Munson and loaded on into Friday. Cold weather is making the loading process take longer.
Thursday night the Manistee brought in another load salt for the Alpena Oil dock. During the night it headed to Stoneport where it took on cargo Friday.
The Alpena was anchored out in the bay Friday morning, waiting for the winds to subside before entering port. Later in the afternoon it was at Lafarge under the silos.


Coast Guard gets help from friends to exchange buoys in Saginaw Bay

12/15 - Bay City, MI - The local Saginaw River U.S. Coast Guard station was given a little help collecting buoys near the mouth of the Saginaw Bay and along the river this week after an unexpected break aboard their buoy-tending vessel.

The Port Huron Coast Guard's 225-foot cutter, the Hollyhock, was able to lend the local station some assistance when a component underneath the Saginaw River Coast Guard's 42-foot vessel - used to exchange buoys in the fall and spring - was damaged by ice, Chief Petty Officer Exor Padro said.

The fall process involves exchanging 11-foot, lighted buoys with smaller, damage-resistant ones to withstand the icy winter conditions. The swap is necessary to prevent damage to the larger buoys, which are more costly to replace than the smaller ones, Padro said.

''We were working the ones out in the bay, and due to the early onset of the ice ... (it) damaged the chain guards,'' he said. Without the guard, the chain that keeps the buoys in place runs the risk of being sucked in by the propeller as the buoys are being exchanged, he said.

''The boat itself is OK, but you can't continue to work the buoys without the chain guards.''

Due to the Hollyhock's size, it finished exchanging more than 20 buoys in three-days earlier this week. The cutter, which usually collects buoys in the Saginaw Bay area and other places on the Great Lakes, was on route from the Straits of Mackinaw to Lake Erie.

But when stations in one area are unable to collect all their designated buoys in the fall, it's not uncommon for a visiting vessel to pick up the slack, said the Hollyhock's operations officer Christopher Jasnoch. ''We help each other out as far as collecting buoys,'' he said. ''When something goes wrong, someone's ship breaks, we try to take on whatever needs to be done.''

And in the fall, when ice starts to form, it's especially difficult to get to the buoys out of the ice, Jasnoch said. With some of the Saginaw River buoys, the help of an airboat was needed to dislodge them from the ice.

The Saginaw River Coast Guard station's recently damaged boat is primarily used to retrieve and exchange the buoys twice a year, Padro said. No other Coast Guard operations - including search and rescue - are hindered by the break. The boat should be repaired before the end of the year, though the boat will not be needed until spring, he said.

From the Bay City Times


Plans in works to create reef with sunken warship in eastern Ontario

12/14 - Plans will be unveiled to sink an old navy warship in the St. Lawrence River to create an artificial reef for diving enthusiasts.

The Eastern Ontario Artificial Reef Association says it hopes to sink the decommissioned HMCS Terra Nova by late 2009. The proposed site is in the 1,000 Islands region near Gananoque, Ont., east of Kingston. The precise site will be revealed later.

The association says a reef created by the sunken ship will attract some 10,000 recreational scuba divers to the region in the first year. It also says sinking the warship will

relieve pressure on historic wooden wrecks in the area that are quickly deteriorating.

HMCS Terra Nova served during the cold war as an antisubmarine warfare destroyer escort and shadowed numerous Soviet submarines patrolling the eastern seaboard of North America.

HMCS Terra Nova is a Canadian Restigouche-class destroyer escort. She was built in 1959. She underwent two refits, one in 1968 bringing her up to the Improved RESTIGOUCHE (IRE) class, and one more in 1984 bringing her up to the DELEX Restigouche Class. She was further upgraded and served in the 1991 Gulf War, where she led all Coalition ships in numbers of suspect ships boarded.

Although the oldest of the three Canadian vessels in the Gulf during the 1991 war, Terra Nova was probably the most heavily armed -- Harpoon missiles, which she had never been designed to carry, had been hastily installed before sailing.

Terra Nova was paid off on 11 July 1997. Like all Cold War-era Canadian destroyers, she is named for a river, in this case the Terra Nova River in Newfoundland. The name of the river, in turn, comes from the Latin for Newfoundland. Uniquely among the Restigouche class, HMCS Terra Nova was the first to bear that name, although there was an earlier civilian ship Terra Nova, famed for her scientific exploration to Antarctica. Both the river and the Antarctic (as symbolized by a penguin) feature on the ship's badge of HMCS Terra Nova.

Terra Nova was the last of her class to be in service. After being paid off she appeared, cast as an American destroyer, in the movie K-19: The Widowmaker.

Source : The Canadian Press


Updates - December 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events for 2008 updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 15

On 15 December 1902, the TIONESTA (steel propeller passenger steamer, 340 foot, 4,329 gross tons) was launched at the Detroit Ship Building Company, Wyandotte, Michigan (Hull #150) for the Erie & Western Transportation Company (Anchor Line). She was christened by Miss Marie B. Wetmore. The vessel lasted until 1940, when she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

On 15 December 1830, the EMILY (wooden 2-mast schooner, 54’, 34 t, built in 1826) was wrecked in a gale in Lake St. Clair. Only 7 of the 12 onboard were able to make it to a nearby island, but they could do nothing to save the remaining crew. This is one of earliest commercial losses recorded on Lake St. Clair. This may also be the vessel that inspired the poem "The Loss of the Jules LaPlante".

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.


Sandbars choking off Grand Haven shipping

12/14 - Muskegon - A shoal that caused a Canadian freighter to run aground at the Grand Haven channel a week ago is severely restricting shipping, including shipments of coal for the power plant and road salt.

The shoal, a series of sandbars developing because of prevailing winds and waves coupled with low lake levels, is forcing captains to assess whether to make end-of-season shipments to Grand Haven, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Brad Hinken of Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee said Monday. "Mariners bringing cargo to Grand Haven know what the depths are and will have to make a decision on how much cargo they can bring in," he said.

Freighters have been forced to reduce their loads to make it through the channel. Some are avoiding the channel completely.

Grand Haven's shoal is expected to have an impact the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power, which had been anticipating two more coal shipments this month. Jon Hofman, BLP spokesman, said the shipments were designed to bolster coal reserve supplies. Hofman said problems at the harbor will eliminate one 14,500-ton coal shipment. The one remaining shipment will be a "reduced load."

Even though the utility will not have the reserve capacity it would like to have for winter, he said there is enough coal to keep the Sims III Power Plant operating. If coal supplies drop, the BLP has the option of purchasing electricity. It also has a standby diesel generating facility that is used during peak demands in the summer.

The truncated shipping season also will have an impact on reserve levels of road salt, according to Nathan Gates, who works in sales and logistics with Verplank Trucking Co. in Grand Haven. The company was expecting late-season shipments of salt and aggregate materials. He suspects most ships will avoid Grand Haven because they would have to carry lighter loads and it's not worth the time, effort or expense to run a ship at partial capacity. "The problem is whether it's cost-effective," he said. "When you have to come in under capacity, then everyone is looking at costs."

Gates said the road salt cargo was to be used to bolster reserve supplies for the Ottawa County Road Commission. If the area has a normal winter, there are ample supplies, he said. If winter conditions are severe and deplete supplies, there are other stockpiles of salt in West Michigan that can be tapped. Gates said the year has been a challenge to shipping because of low water levels. He said the shoaling at Grand Haven comes just as the shipping season is winding down.

Even though the Coast Guard has the option of closing ports for "specific safety concerns," Hinken said the situation in Grand Haven does not warrant such a drastic measure. "Right now, the Coast Guard has no intention of closing the port," he said. "It really is not called for in this case. The mariners are keeping a close eye on soundings and depths to make sure their boats are drafted to what is appropriate."

A week ago, the 620-foot-long freighter Mississagi, carrying a load of limestone, ran aground at the entrance to Grand Haven channel. The freighter was stuck for about two hours before the crew was able to back the ship off the shoal by shifting its load. It was the first time in 10 years a freighter had been stuck in the Grand Haven Channel because of shoaling due to strong winds and low lake levels.

The freighter had been attempting to deliver the limestone to Meekhoff Lakeside Dock in Grand Haven when it ran aground. Once the ship was free, it took a detour to Muskegon where it unloaded a portion of its cargo before returning to Grand Haven to make its delivery to the Meekhoff dock on Harbor Island.

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials, entrance depths in the Grand Haven Channel have been reduced to an estimated 19 feet. As is done every year, the channel entrance was dredged this spring to 23 feet. But low water levels and prevailing winds and currents have impeded shipping at many West Michigan ports,

In Muskegon, several ships became stuck this year. Shoaling, however, is a bigger problem for smaller harbors like Grand Haven and Holland because of their narrow entrances. The Corps conducted a survey of Holland's harbor in October and found a five-foot shoal had developed. A few weeks later, the shoal had increased to seven feet.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports - December 14

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber was anchored north of the breakwall off Presque Isle Park. The pair were waiting to load ore after Mesabi Miner finished unloading coal. The visit was Kuber's first to Marquette since operating as the Buckeye.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Manistee loaded all night at the Sifto Salt dock and departed on a clear, cool Thursday morning at 8 a.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Paul R. Tregurtha was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal on Thursday morning and departed the Duluth entry about noon.
Adam E. Cornelius was loading at General Mills S elevator in Superior and Rosarie Desgagnes was putting in a rare Twin Ports appearance to load at the Peavey elevator in Superior.
Isadora was loading at AGP elevator in Duluth. Most of the harbor is covered with ice but ship passages and ice breaking have left broken ice and some open patches in the channels and turns. Water on Lake Superior remains open.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tugs Ocean Delta and Ocean Foxtrot which left Halifax last week with the barge ATL 2701 arrived in Toronto, Wednesday afternoon. The barge is the former Irving Whale, which spent 26 years on the bottom of the Gulf of St. Lawrence (1970 to 1996. It was raised at a cost of $30 million to Canadian taxpayers and given back to Irving. The barge is carrying two large pipe racks for the new Toronto waterfront generating station.


Gear problems shut down windmills in Lackawanna
Complicated repairs of turbines expected to take several months

12/14 - Buffalo - The giant blades on the turbines in the Steel Winds wind farm in Lackawanna haven’t been turning lately — but not for lack of wind.

ClipperWind, the manufacturer, and UPC Wind and BQ Energy, wind farm developers, reported that a problem is forcing them to replace the gearboxes on all eight windmills. That will entail removing the rotor and all three blades — each longer than the wing of a Boeing 747.

The windmills — officially called “Liberty 2.5 Megawatt wind turbines” — are the first of their kind to be used commercially. They brought national attention to Lackawanna for its creative reuse of an abandoned industrial site. The state-of-the-art turbines are so new that ClipperWind had anticipated a need for some tweaking here and there. But resolving the problem has been more difficult than expected.

“This one’s a pain because you need a big crane,” acknowledged Bob Gates, ClipperWind senior vice president. The work is expected to take several months, Gates said. “We happen to have had the bad luck of building [Steel Winds] in the winter, and retrofitting it in high winds and cold weather doesn’t speed up the work,” he said.

The gearbox problem initially was noticed in August when highly sensitive sensors on one turbine activated. Engineers quickly discovered that a tooth on one of the four gears in the box had broken. After testing, engineers realized that, because of unclear assembly instructions, the gears’ timing was off, causing them to operate unevenly. Inspections found the same problem, in varying degrees of severity, on all seven of the other turbines on the site.

Liberty turbines in Iowa and Minnesota have developed the same problems, which also will require repairs.

This week, a massive crane arrived at the former Bethlehem Steel site to begin removing the blades and rotor from the massive towers. While the gear boxes are being replaced, Gates said a reinforcing bond will be applied to the fiberglass blades to prevent any major damage from tiny cracks that have developed on some.

Michael Alvarez, executive vice president and chief operating officer of UPC Wind, said the gear box issue has left him disappointed but not disheartened. “For a couple of months, we were receiving great performance,” Alvarez said of the turbines. Technical problems, he added, are “in the nature of these sorts of projects.” “ClipperWind is stepping up and replacing the gear boxes. . . . It’s definitely not irreparable.”

Alvarez added that the turbines were under warranty and that ClipperWind is covering the costs of all repairs, as well as some of the revenue UPC Wind will lose while the turbines are not operating.

From the Buffalo News


BoatNerd Clothing Clearance Sale

Force-5 Trading, the official supplier of BoatNerd gear, has announced a year-end clearance of marine-related logo gear.

Click here for a complete list of available merchandise.


Updates - December 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 14

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

On 14 December 1856, the CORNELIA (wooden 2-mast schooner, 97’, 125 t, built in 1851 at Ohio City) was carrying corn and freestone (a type of limestone) on Lake Ontario. As she was nearing Toronto in the last stage of a voyage from Cleveland, a gale overwhelmed her, destroyed her sails and sent her ashore. Her crew was able to evacuate in her small boat with the help of local fishermen.

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

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

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

On December 14, 1926, the W E FITZGERALD was caught in heavy seas and suffered damaged frames and hull plating. Repairs consisted of replacing nearly 25,000 rivets and numerous hull plates.

The package freighter GEORGE N ORR, a recent war acquisition from the Canada Atlantic Transit Company is wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

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

December 14, 1903 - The PERE MARQUETTE 20 left the shipyard in Cleveland, Ohio on her maiden voyage.

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


Company says Range metals deposits could be world's third-largest

12/13 - Duluth - A Franconia Minerals Corp. drilling program at Birch Lake near Babbitt has revealed what's believed to be the world's third-largest unexploited copper-nickel and platinum group resource, according to company officials. Test results from a series of drill holes have further defined the thickness and grade of copper, nickel, and platinum group mineralization in northern and western portions of the deposit, according to Franconia Minerals news release.

Estimates are that deposits in the area contain 307 million tons of inferred mineral resources, including 100.4 million tons at Birch Lake, 83 million tons at Franconia's nearby Maturi deposit, and 124.4 million tons at its Spruce Road resource. An inferred mineral resource is a deposit for which geological evidence and limited sampling supports certain characteristics.

A preliminary economic assessment shows that the company's Birch Lake and Maturi deposits near Babbitt over a 26-year mine life, could each year produce 74 million pounds of copper, 19 million pounds of nickel, 2.9 million pounds of cobalt, 68,000 ounces of palladium, 33,000 ounces of platinum, and 7,400 ounces of gold.

Franconia Minerals, of Spokane, Wash., is seeking to develop a copper-nickel and platinum group metals mine and processing facility at the site.

About 83 percent of an 18-hole, 63,000-foot drilling program at Birch Lake is complete along with about 60 percent of the drill hole results, according to the company. Exploratory drilling at Birch Lake is expected to be complete in January, according to Brian Gavin, Franconia president and CEO.

Two drill rigs would then move to the Maturi property, where the company has received U.S. Forest Service approval to drill.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 13

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Mesabi Miner arrived in Marquette Wednesday with coal. Her stern was brightly lit with Christmas lights. The Algoway came in later for ore.

Milwaukee - Jim Zeirke
On Wednesday afternoon, while the American Victory was unloading coal at the Greenfield Avenue coal dock, the tug/barge Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Integrity entered the inner harbor and headed to the bulk dock.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail, with Christmas lights turned on, was loading at Sifto Salt on a nice cool Wednesday morning.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain and Tom Train
Wednesday morning the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was in port loading at Lafarge. By early afternoon the Innovation was outbound in the bay, heading for Detroit.
Also arriving around 1 p.m. was the Manistee with another load of salt for the Alpena Oil dock. Once a crew change was done the Manistee began unloading. Around 4:30 p.m. the boom was brought in and it was backing out of the river by sunset.


Updates - December 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 13

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

On 13 December 1915, the C. M. BOWMAN (wooden propeller freighter, 92’, 88 gt, built in 1897 at Saugeen, ON) was blown ashore by a storm at Vail's Point in Georgian Bay where she later burned.

On December 13, 1989, Kinsman's HENRY STEINBRENNER, a.) WILLIAM A McGONAGLE 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 McLouth 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.


Security at Milwaukee Port expanding
Workers must receive new federal ID cards to enter some areas

12/12 - Milwaukee - Dock workers, truck drivers and others who work at certain parts of the Port of Milwaukee must start lining up for new federal identification this week. It is part of a requirement meant to better secure the nation's ports after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

To get into secure areas of the port, workers will need the high-tech cards with their photos, fingerprints and other information embedded inside. "It makes it clear who can go into the facility, who has access and who doesn't," said Cmdr. Richard Reinemann of the U.S. Coast Guard, which will check the new IDs, called the Transportation Worker Identification Credential.

Security at ports was beefed up after the terrorist attacks, he said, but currently workers must show only driver's licenses or similar identification to get into secure areas. There have been no known security breaches in Milwaukee or at the other ports on Lake Michigan, Reinemann said. "There are potential threats to security that we check out all the time," he said. "They all turned out to be legitimate activities."

On Wednesday, the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration will start processing port workers at an office on Milwaukee's south side. The workers will be fingerprinted and photographed and pay $132 for the identification cards, which are good for five years. A background check will be done, and the worker must come back a week or so later to pick up the ID.

But the scanners that will read the new IDs aren't in place and haven't even been ordered yet.

A union official representing truckers said he is all for security but thinks employers should pay the cost and the card readers should be in place before cards are issued. "The cards aren't going to be much good if there aren't scanners to read them," said Tom Millonzi, secretary treasurer of Local 200 of the Teamsters union.

Officials said there will be a benefit because workers will get background checks. The scanners will provide the next level of security when they are in place, they said. Enrollment in the program began Oct. 16 in Delaware. Ultimately, 147 sites will process more than 1 million workers through the rest of 2007 and 2008.

In Milwaukee, about half of the 350 people who work in Jones Island are expected to need IDs along with potentially hundreds of truck drivers, said Eric Reinelt, director of the Port of Milwaukee.

Having the ID will allow a person to have unescorted access to secure areas of the port, Reinemann said. Those without IDs will still be able to go there but only with an escort. Even someone with an ID won't be allowed to go anywhere without a reason, he said. "Just because you have (an ID) doesn't mean free access," he said.

No date has been set for when the IDs will be required, but there will be 90 days' notice, Reinemann said.

Reported by Jim Zeirke from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates - December 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


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.


Port Reports - December 11

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrived at the BP Tank Facility at dawn Monday morning with a load of gasoline from Whiting, Indiana.
USCGC Mackinaw arrived at her berth after dark, returning from delivering Christmas trees to Chicago, buoy retrieval and light ice breaking duties.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a frigid Monday morning at the Upper Harbor, Algoway made a second straight trip to the ore dock and loaded taconite.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Mississagi arrived over night and was loading Monday morning at the Sifto Salt dock.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday brought another nighttime visitor to the river. The Mississagi arrived around 7pm and tied up at the Alpena Oil dock to unload salt. It was a calm and clear evening.
At Stoneport on Monday the Arthur M. Anderson took on cargo.
Fleetmate Cason J. Calloway was expected to load after the Anderson sometime overnight.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock was busy on Monday removing the lighted buoys the Saginaw River channel and replacing them with winter marks. After making her first trip through the Bay City drawbridges, she continued working her way upriver through the day, finally stopping for the night at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee.
The Manistee was inbound Monday evening with a split load. She stopped at the Bay City Wirt dock to lighter and was to travel upriver to finish her unload at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. Manistee was expected to be outbound on Tuesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Barge Sarah Spencer and tug Jane Ann IV delivered salt to the dock surface at slip #1 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Monday.
St. Mary's Challenger steamed into Milwaukee's inner harbor during the noon hour Monday, bringing cement to its Kinnickinnic River silo. Challenger backed downriver and departed onto Lake Michigan at midnight.
Barge Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain arrived just behind Challenger at about 1:00 p.m., turning and docking at LaFarge on Jones Island.
Algocape finished loading grain and departed onto the Lake for a St. Lawrence River port at 10:15 p.m. with the help of two G-tugs. Magdalena Green then backed northward, shifting position along the west inner harbor wall to replace Algocape at the Nidera elevator.


Updates - December 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated


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.

On 11 December 1927, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter CRAWFORD (WPC-134) (steel propeller coast guard cutter, 125’, 220 t, built in 1927 at Camden, NJ) rescued the crew from the ALTADOC (steel propeller bulk freighter, 356’, 3871 gt, built in 1901 at W. Bay City, MI, formerly LAKE SHORE & INDUS) which had grounded and broke in two near Copper Harbor, Michigan on 08 December 1927.

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.


Lake Erie Biofuels plans first delivery of product from Erie plant

12/10 - Erie, PA - Lake Erie Biofuels will soon have its first shipment out of the Port of Erie.

The Clipper Tobago was to arrive here sometime late Friday or Saturday to load the biofuel, said Bill Krats, manager of O-N Minerals. O-N runs the Mountfort Terminal where ships unload at the Port of Erie. Krats said he did not have further details, other than it is the first shipment to go out from Erie. Officials of Erie Management Group, which owns the plant, could not be reached for comment.

Raymond Schreckengost, executive director of the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, said the authority has been working with the company to do shipments through the port. "They are going to do a lot of business in Europe" through the port, he said.

Schreckengost said he is working to upgrade the rail facilities to the marine terminal because of increased traffic, including the rail cars loaded with the biodiesel. The biofuels plant, on the former International Paper Co. property on East Lake Road, began operations in October.

The $60 million plant is expected to produce 136,000 gallons of biodiesel a day, or more than 45 million gallons a year. It uses soybean oils to produce biodiesel, which is mixed with petroleum diesel in a blend that can contain between 5 percent to 20 percent biodiesel.

The opening of the plant was surrounded by uncertainty in the industry as other, smaller Pennsylvania producers have said they need more financial incentives and tax breaks to keep up with producers from other states. Concerns have also been raised about the impact of the rising costs of soybeans. But Lake Erie Biofuels officials have pointed to the size of their operation as Pennsylvania's first large-scale biodiesel facility.

Nationwide, biodiesel production has soared from just 25 million gallons in 2004 to 250 million gallons in 2006.



Port Reports - December 10

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was in quite early Sunday morning at the Essroc dock. Cuyahoga came in with salt in mid-afternoon. Both vessels were expected to depart Sunday.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Sunday at the Upper Harbor, Wolverine visited the ore dock for the third time in December and loaded taconite. She is shuttling between Marquette and Algoma Steel

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algocape, with one G tug assisting, backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor during the noon hour Saturday, docking at Nidera to load grain.
Also Saturday, an Andrie tug and fuel barge brought a delivery to the inner harbor tank farm just north of the UW-Milwaukee Water Institute.
Ocean bulker Magdalena Green, which struck a bridge piling (due to bow thruster malfunction) while departing Marinette-Menominee Saturday, arrived in Milwaukee after 9:00 a.m. Sunday with one G tug assisting, berthing at the inner harbor wall just south of Algocape and waiting for space at the Nidera elevator.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Manistee arrived in Alpena around 11 p.m. Saturday night. It carefully entered the river and tied up at the Alpena Oil dock. The Manistee unloaded a cargo of road salt. The dock was empty as all of the salt had been hauled away by trucks to various locations. Before 3 a.m. on Sunday the Manistee was backing out of the river and was heading to Stoneport next. Some Christmas lights were seen on the stern accommodations.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday morning the CSL Laurentian departed Stelco at 7:30 am. for Conneaut. Tug Bagotville and barge arrived at 2 p.m. Algowood departed Pier 12 at 2 p.m. with a part cargo of potash for Contrecoeur. The Emerald Star departed Pier 26 at 2:15 p.m. for the canal. Tug Wyatt M departed at 4 pm. Thalassa Desgagnes arrived at 6:30 p.m. for Pier 26. Her next port is Montreal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Manitou made another quick stop on the Saginaw River around 4 a.m. Sunday morning to pick up the last two barges for Luedtke Engineering that did not head out with the tow that left late Saturday night. The Manitou had led the first group through the ice then handed to tow over to the tug Kurt Luedtke before returning for the last two barges. The Luedtke group was bound for Cleveland.
The Mississagi was inbound Sunday morning going upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Once finished, she turned at Sixth Street and was outbound late Sunday afternoon.
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock returned to the Saginaw River on Sunday. She had placed winter marks in the Saginaw Bay last week and is now back for a few days to work the Saginaw River. The will be Hollyhock's first ever trip up the Saginaw River as the river buoys are usually handled by crews from USCG Station Saginaw River and their smaller buoy tending boat.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Maumee arrived in Menominee shortly before midnight on Sunday with a load of coal for Menominee Paper Co. They had a bit of ice to contend with, but didn't seem to have any problems moving into position to unload. This load was originally supposed to be carried by the Calumet; but the accident that ended her career forced Lower Lakes to arrange for another ship to handle the load. This is the Maumee's second trip to Menominee Paper Co. with coal this year.


Iron Range is preparing for a boom

12/10 - Duluth - As the Iron Range taconite industry expanded in the early 1970s, a temporary trailer park for hundreds of construction workers sprung up on the St. Louis County Fairgrounds in Hibbing. Workers had to move their trailers for a week to make way for the county fair before rolling them back onto the fairgrounds. A similar scene is about to be played out again as the Iron Range braces for the biggest construction boom in more than 30 years.

Minnesota Steel’s steel mill, Mesabi Nugget’s iron nugget plant and PolyMet Mining Corp’s proposed copper, nickel and precious metals mine are alone projected to require 3,400 construction workers and about 1,300 permanent employees. A $200 million Minnesota Power environmental control improvement project at its Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset over the next three years will require up to 800 construction workers. Excelsior Energy’s proposed coal gasification power plant would need about 1,000 construction and 150 to 300 permanent workers.

“We are at a place in time where there’s potential for several large-scale projects to happen,” said Sandy Layman, Iron Range Resources commissioner. “I don’t think we’ve had this kind of investment since several of the taconite plants were built. It’s not only the dollar amount that’s unusual and historically important, but it’s also that these projects are higher value.”

The flood of construction, permanent and spin-off workers would alter economics, education, health, housing, civics, crime, transportation and ethnic diversity within a region that has a 100-year history of being a melting pot of people.

“After 27 years of economic depression, we will become the jewel of the steel industry in the Western Hemisphere,” said former state Sen. Ron Dicklich, now a consultant for Itasca County on the $1.6 billion Minnesota Steel project near Nashwauk. “We’ve always been a mining camp up here, and we have been treated like a mining camp. But now you’re going to have a large corporation located in our area. Just having a foreign owner [Essar Steel of India] here is going to be a big cultural change.”

Iron Range Response Team
Iron Range Resources is leading the Range Readiness Initiative, a coordinated regional effort to address the issues. “We are well-poised,” Layman said. “Our approach is to have a regional response and to prepare the region for the potential growth that could happen.”

A leadership team includes IRR Board members, U.S. Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, state Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Dan McElroy, Northeast Higher Education District President Joe Sertich, Dicklich and the chairs of the Itasca and St. Louis county boards.

An 18-member strategy team and separate projects, work force, housing, community resources and readiness teams also are in place. An Itasca Community Readiness Committee and East Range Readiness Committee have held meetings with developers and the public to understand and discuss the issues.

“I just sense the momentum and the activity surrounding it already,” said Randy Lasky, a Range Readiness Initiative facilitator and president of Northspan Group Inc., a Duluth-based private nonprofit business and community development agency. “Everybody is looking at doing things from developing sites for trailers to planning for the impact of having 2,000 construction workers here. It will have a huge impact.”

“We have to do a better job than we did in the 1970s when we had some workers living in tents,” Sertich said. “We have to do a better job in managing and preparing for it rather than reacting to it after the fact.”

For 2008, Iron Range Resources allocated $6 million for public works projects in Iron Range communities to help build water, sewer, roads and other infrastructure needed to support a population spurt. Plans are under way to provide space for about 700 mobile homes on the western Iron Range, Dicklich said.

To build the massive Minnesota Steel project, which will include a new iron ore mine and direct-reduced iron and slab steelmaking facilities, a 30-month construction period is projected.

“This is the reopening of the western Mesabi,” said state Sen. Tom Saxhaug, DFL-Grand Rapids. “We all know the Mesabi and we all know the different ethnic groups that were here before. It’s going to bring a few social problems, but it also means that we will get to show off this part of the country and some of them will stay. Traditionally what’s happened is that some of the construction workers become your permanent workers.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Help Wanted - Shore Manager

12/10 - Canadian flagged Great Lakes self-unloading dry bulk carrier is looking for a Shore Manager to support a vessel from a shore-based position in regard to all aspects of government agency compliance, port entrance, Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and ABS/Lloyds Register. This will include all aspects of repair, refit, annual and special survey, fueling, stores, and capacity improvements. You will assist the Marketing/Sales Director with an operating budget that supports revenue opportunities for maximizing rate of return.

Job responsibilities will include recruiting new crew members as needed, facilitate training, and develop existing crew members to assure competitive performance aboard the vessel. Organize and arrange all crew member travel, develop and review operating budgets and systems regarding routine and scheduled maintenance, inventories, class compliance, to assure full operating capability of the vessel. Secure, oversee, supervise and cost account all refit and lay-up needs as they may occur. Data entry of all pertinent data, such as payroll, purchase orders, sailing status, and any other administrative requirements. Experience with managing business, administration and support is a plus. If interested, please send your resume to


Boatnerd Logos for sale

Just in time for Christmas, a new order of BoatNerd logos has arrived. They make great stocking stuffers for your favorite Boatnerd.

For your vehicle we have 4" x 4" bumper stickers or interior window clingers. For your jacket, cap or shirt we have 3.25" x 3' sew-on cloth patches.

Let your Boatnerd show his/her colors and meet other people of similar interest. All proceeds go to support this site and help keep us online.

To order these items, click here for order form and pricing. BoatNerd logos are also available at Vantage Point in Port Huron.


Today in Great Lakes History - December 10

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

On 10 December 1899, a bottle with a note in it was picked up on the beach near Port Colborne, Ontario. The note in the bottle had writing on both sides of the paper. On one side was “Expect to go down any minute. Capt. McClory. Goodbye.” This was the skipper of the NIAGARA (wooden propeller freighter, 136’, 468 t, built in 1875 at St. Catharine’s, ON) which was lost five days earlier. (See the entry on 05 December.) On the other side of the paper was written “Steamer Niagara foundered about three miles from Port Maitland.” All 17 onboard were lost.

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.


Magdalena Green strikes Ogden St Bridge

12/9 - Menominee - Saturday morning the salty Magdalena Green struck the Ogden Street bridge on the Menominee River while departing.

The Magdalena Green attempted to depart Friday afternoon around 3 p.m., however a problem with the bow thruster prevented them from leaving, the tug Indiana was to assist. A second tug, the Texas was called in for the tow Saturday morning due to the bow thruster being out of service.

The stern of the Magdalena Green struck the northwest bridge piling dolphin as they were being towed stern first down the icy Menominee River. The bridge piling cluster damaged today was the same one that was destroyed and rebuild after it was hit in July 2005 by the tow of US Navy INLS units from Marinette Marine.

An estimate of damage was not available today but officials from the State of WI who maintain the bridge will inspect it this week. The Magdalena Green departed for Milwaukee to load grain while the Texas and Indiana returned to Green Bay. (Pictures in the News Photo Gallery.)

Reported by Scott Best


Port Reports - December 9

Cleveland - Martin McGuan
The Cuyahoga loaded at Cargill Salt on Saturday morning and headed for Toronto.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Petite Forte and barge St. Mary's Cement have been anchored in the harbor since early Saturday morning.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning the Canadian Miner departed Dofasco at 7:30 a.m. for the canal.
The Algonorth arrived at 10:15 a.m., and the Pineglen arrived at 10:45 a.m., both with iron ore for Dofasco.
The Emerald Star arrived at 6 p.m. and went to Pier 26.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Manistee arrived through the night and was loading at Sifto Salt on Saturday morning. She departed the dock at 12:30 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius departed on Friday night bound for Marblehead, OH.
At 7 a.m. Saturday, the English River came through the North Entrance with the G tug Washington on her stern, turning her around for stern-first trip up the River. Reasonably strong Northwest winds must be making the job
more difficult.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The CSL Tadoussac was outbound from the Essroc dock in Essexville Friday afternoon. She backed from the dock and out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake.
On Saturday, the tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson were back on the Saginaw River with another split load. The pair lightered at an unusual dock for them, the Essroc dock in Essexville, before heading upriver to finish her unload at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The Thompson's were outbound late Saturday evening, turning at Sixth Street before heading outbound.
The tug Manitou arrived Saturday night and spent just enough time on the river to hook up to and head a tow of Luedtke dredging equipment out of the Saginaw and through the ice which extends almost to Gravelly Shoal. The tug Kurt Luedtke assisted by taking up a position at the stern on the tow to push the group of barges.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Navigator backed into the channel early Sunday morning and was loading at 7:30 a.m. on the Sifto Salt dock.


Duc d' Orleans lift delayed

12/9 - Sarnia - The operation to lift the Duc d' Orleans onto dry land failed Saturday afternoon when it turned out the Duc was heavier than expected.

It was reported were that she was 30 tonnes over weight and they will have to bring in a larger crane to complete the lift onto the newly constructed cribbing nearby.

The former St. Clair River tour boat is scheduled for a major restoration to her WWII original configuration.

Reported by Peter Bowers


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.

On 09 December 1928, the Pigeon Timber Company’s ANNA RUTH (propeller tug and packet, 27 t, built in 1920 at Sturgeon Bay, WI, formerly AMERICAN FAVORITE) was sailing on Lake Superior loaded with fuel and supplies for a lumber camp when fire broke out. She burned to a total loss in Pringle's Bay at Edward Island near Thunder Bay, Ontario. No lives were lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Duc d' Orleans preparing for restoration

12/8 - Sarnia - The retired St. Clair River tour boat Duc d' Orleans was moved from the dock it has used for the past several years to the North Slip with the help of Tug Menasha on Friday. She is scheduled to be pulled out of the water Saturday to begin an extensive restoration project

A group is reported to be restoring the vessel back to its original military build. The ship was originally built in the Sarnia area for the WW II war effort.  After restoration to her original configuration, she will be donated to the Sarnia Sea Cadets use as a training ship.

Reported by Frank Frisk


Coast Guard icebreaker waits at Isle Royale

12/8 - Duluth - On Friday the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay was near Isle Royale, waiting for a weather window to traverse Lake Superior on a trip to Duluth.

“They will probably wait for a North-Northwest wind and hug the coast, in hopes of getting a lee,” Lt. Caren C. Damon, incident management division officer for the Coast Guard’s Sault Ste. Marie sector said Friday morning. The Biscayne Bay was originally scheduled to arrive in Duluth Thursday to handle ice breaking duties in western Lake Superior while the Duluth-based Alder is removing navigational aides in preparation for winter.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 8, 2007

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Peter R. Creswell was in at the salt dock discharging Friday afternoon.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E Cornelius was unloading at General Mills at 11 a.m. Friday. The river was starting to ice up around her so she's been in for a day or so and was expected to depart Friday evening. The English River was inbound at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon when they decided to cancel the tow and go back out to the lake due to wind. They were not sure when they would make it in. The G tug that he ordered then headed back to their dock. The English River then went to anchor off the Traffic Buoy for the time being.
The BIDCO Shipyard property (formerly Buffalo Dry Dock) has been sold to a new owner. This was the apparent reason for the removal of the railcar float Lansdowne two weeks ago. There were new signs on the fence with the
name "Man 'O Trees" and a lot of construction equipment sitting in the parking lot. There was also a lot of crushed stone laying around, but not much is known about the new owner or any plans for the property.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived in Marquette on a bright and cold Friday along with a very unusual visitor to the dock, the Algoway.

Alpena and Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday morning the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock was working on navigation buoys out in the bay. In the early morning hours on Thursday the tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port at Lafarge.
The Buffalo slowly made its way into the mouth of the Thunder Bay River Thursday night, breaking through ice. Once the Buffalo was tied up it unloaded coal at the DPI Plant. Around 9:30 Friday morning it departed from the river and backed out into the bay.

Later in the afternoon the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load product. It also encountered ice on its way in and at the dock which made maneuvering difficult. The Steamer Alpena was inbound Friday night once the Innovation cleared. It is expected to load for Superior, WI.

At Stoneport on Friday the tug and barge Joseph H. Thompson took on cargo.
The Canadian Transfer waited at anchor nearby for its turn to load next.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Amid “sea smoke” caused by frigid temperatures, the Federal Kushiro arrived in Duluth early Friday. It was en route to the CHS 1 grain berth in Superior, where a tug from Great Lakes Towing was busy clearing ice.
Not far away, American Century – with a icy bow – was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Paul R. Tregurtha and Indiana Harbor were both due at the terminal later in the day.


Help Wanted - Shore Manager

12/6 - Canadian flagged Great Lakes self-unloading dry bulk carrier is looking for a Shore Manager to support a vessel from a shore-based position in regard to all aspects of government agency compliance, port entrance, Homeland Security, US Coast Guard, Transport Canada, and ABS/Lloyds Register. This will include all aspects of repair, refit, annual and special survey, fueling, stores, and capacity improvements. You will assist the Marketing/Sales Director with an operating budget that supports revenue opportunities for maximizing rate of return.

Job responsibilities will include recruiting new crew members as needed, facilitate training, and develop existing crew members to assure competitive performance aboard the vessel. Organize and arrange all crew member travel, develop and review operating budgets and systems regarding routine and scheduled maintenance, inventories, class compliance, to assure full operating capability of the vessel. Secure, oversee, supervise and cost account all refit and lay-up needs as they may occur. Data entry of all pertinent data, such as payroll, purchase orders, sailing status, and any other administrative requirements. Experience with managing business, administration and support is a plus. If interested, please send your resume to


Updates - December 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated

Calumet history page 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.

On 08 December 1927, in a blizzard on Lake Superior, the ALTADOC (steel propeller bulk freighter, 356’, 3871 gt, built in 1901 at W. Bay City, MI, formerly LAKE SHORE & INDUS) had her wheel chains part and she went aground near Copper Harbor, Michigan. She broke in two and was finished off by fire in her coal bunker. The vessel was abandoned in place; in 1942, she was cut up for scrap. Her pilot house was used as a gift shop/2-room hotel at Copper Harbor until it burned in 1987.

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 McCURDY 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.


James Norris to be refit

12/7 - The James Norris is beginning a $14m rebuilding project that will include engine replacement and hull restoration. It is estimated that this will give the vessel another 15 years of service life.

Once complete, the vessel will re-enter service with ULS and the "Oldest" laker in the ULS Fleet will see many more years of service.

Reported by Stephen James


Port Reports - December 7

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Cuyahoga was in around 11 a.m. Thursday, unloaded salt, and departed at 2:30 p.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Wilfred Sykes was wedged with its bow in the southernmost corner of Milwaukee's inner harbor basin on Thursday, offloading cement clinker into a hopper at the St. Mary's plant.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
With a long stretch of below-freezing days and several substantial snows, Duluth-Superior harbor is largely covered by ice. Tracks remain open to the main docks and down the front channel. On Thursday morning, John B. Aird was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while Orna was at CHS 1 grain elevator.
In Duluth, Beluga Energy was at AGP grain elevator, where it had arrived late Wednesday afternoon with assistance from tugs.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson called on the Saginaw River Wednesday night with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville and then continued upriver to finish unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee Thursday morning. The Thompsons were downbound for the lake early Thursday afternoon, creating a track through ice on the river that is 2" to 4" thick.
Late Thursday evening, the CSL Tadoussac was inbound headed for the Essroc dock in Essexville. She is expected to be outbound Friday morning.

Owen Sound/Cove Island - Peter Bowers
Canadian Coast Guard Ship Cove Isle arrived Thursday possibly to begin lifting buoys.


Longshoreman's leg severed

12/7 - Becancour, Quebec - During last Monday's snowstorm a longshoreman, age 26, was waiting on the dock to cast off a ship, when suddenly the taut line he was to remove, parted, severing the mans leg.

The mans leg was cast into the water, which Police divers have yet to locate.


Updates - December 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Holiday Card Gallery Updated

Lay Up List Updated

Calumet history page Updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 07

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

On 07 December 1910, the LELAND (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 148’, 366 gt, built in 1873 at New Jerusalem, OH) burned at the dock at Huron, Ohio. Some sources say she was recovered, rebuilt and later abandoned at Marine City or Detroit, Michigan, while others say she was abandoned at Huron, Ohio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The railcar ferry ANN ARBOR NO 2 (Hull#56), was launched on December 7, 1892 at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Ship Building Co. Sold in 1914 and cut down to a barge, renamed b.) WHALE in 1916, abandoned in 1927.

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

December 7, 1909 - MARQUETTE & 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.


Great Lakes/Seaway ore trade off 4.5 % in August

12/6 - Cleveland---Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system totaled 6.2 million net tons in August, a decrease of 4.5 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings trailed the 5-year average for August by 91,000 tons.

The dredging crisis and falling water levels were a significant factor in the decreases. The largest iron ore cargo loaded during the month was only 64,895 tons. Even the month’s top load meant the vessel was using only 95 percent of its carrying capacity.

While the St. Marys River is generally the determining factor for draft for most vessels in the iron ore trade, lack of adequate dredging in a major industrial river further negated the efficiencies of waterborne commerce. A vessel that could have delivered 175,000 tons of iron ore in August to a riverfront steel mill was only able to carry 155,000 tons.

For the year, the Great Lakes/Seaway iron ore trade stands at 35.5 million tons, a decrease of 4.9 percent compared to the same point in 2006, but slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the January-August timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Low water may cut short shipping season at Grand Haven

12/6 - Grand Haven — Low water levels in Lake Michigan may help bring an early end to the shipping season at Grand Haven Harbor.

The Mississagi, a 620-foot Canadian ship hauling limestone, got stuck on a shoal for about two hours Tuesday at the entrance to the Grand Haven channel. It was the first time in a decade a freighter had run aground in the channel because of shoaling from strong winds and low water. Several ships have been stuck this year in nearby Muskegon.

Crew members eventually freed the Mississagi by shifting its load. The ship then detoured to Muskegon, where it unloaded part of its cargo before returning to Grand Haven.

The channel entrance is dredged yearly to 23 feet but because of shoaling now is at about 19 feet, said Dave Foster, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Michigan Area Office. Ships like the Mississagi typically have a draft of about 20 feet, Foster told The Muskegon Chronicle.

The shoaling probably will hamper shipping until the channel can be dredged out next spring. Shipping into Grand Haven typically ends in December once the channel freezes. Foster said shoaling is a problem in the winter for most Lake Michigan harbors on the eastern shore because of strong prevailing winds and wave action.

Lower water levels also play a role. Lakes Michigan and Huron are almost 2 feet below average and experiencing their seasonal decline, the Grand Haven Tribune reported With or without shoals, low water forces cargo ships to carry lighter loads, resulting in higher costs for their customers.

A survey of Holland’s harbor in October found a 5-foot shoal, which a few weeks later had increased to 7 feet. “Think of it as a snowdrift,” Foster said. “They develop that quickly, and there’s nothing that can be done until spring.” If shoaling remains a problem in Grand Haven, the U.S. Coast Guard will have to decide whether to close the harbor to shipping, Foster said.

From the Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - December 6

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoport made a rare trip into the harbour Tuesday evening. She loaded at Sifto Salt Wednesday morning and was expected to finish by noon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
With the cold temperatures, ice continues to build on the Saginaw River and Bay. The US Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock completed aids to navigation work on the Saginaw River Entrance Channel on Tuesday and was due to be outbound late in the afternoon for her next tasking. USCG Station Saginaw River's 47' ATON boat was busy on Wednesday working on removing river buoys and replacing them with winter marks.
The tugs Kurt Luedtke and Gretchen Luedtke on Wednesday were busy removing equipment from the confined disposal island near the mouth of the Saginaw River as ice conditions have made it near impossible for dredging operations to continue.
The tug Mark Hannah and barge 6301 were inbound for the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City Wednesday morning. The pair completed their unload and were outbound for the lake around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Escanaba -
Winter lay-up has been delayed for the Edward L. Ryerson. Ship fans were surprised Tuesday when the upbound Edward L. Ryerson did a U-turn in the lower St. Marys River and headed back downbound. The Ryerson had been anchored for weather off Alpena Monday night and was headed for winter lay-up in Superior, Wis., when she was ordered to steam to Escanaba and load taconite for Mittal's steel works at Indiana Harbor. She was at the Escanaba dock Wednesday. There may be several of these hauls before the season ends.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Wednesday afternoon had the tug LaPrairie departing at 3 p.m. The tug Annie M Dean and work barge arrived from Bronte at 4:30 p.m. Tug Lac Manitoba and barge arrived at 5:30 p.m.The John D Leitch arrived at 6 p.m. with iron ore from Port Cartier for Stelco. After discharging the Leitch will shift to Dofasco to load bauxite for Burns Harbour. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin departed Stelco at 6:30 p.m. for Conneaut.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
The tugs Ocean Delta II and Ocean Foxtrot are leaving Halifax Harbour Wednesday evening, with the barge ATL 2701. Ocean Delta is towing the barge and Ocean Foxtrot escorting. The destination is Toronto, and the ETA is December 12. Loaded aboard the barge are two giant pipe racks, fabricated by Aecon-Fabco on the Dartmouth side of the harbour. The pipe racks are destined for a power plant development on the Toronto waterfront.
The two Ocean Group tugs are on charter to Atlantic Towing. The barge ATL 2701 may be better known by its original name - Irving Whale. The barge, built in 1966, sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 1970. Its cargo of bunker C continued to seep out until the government raised the barge in 1996. Atlantic Towing (part of the Irving Oil group) reconditioned it further use.

Marquette - Lee Rowe and Rod Burdick
Cold and blustery Lake Effect weather in Marquette sometimes hid both the Herbert C Jackson and the Wolverine from view as they were loading ore at the dock on Wednesday.

Lorain - Jim Bobel
The American Valor arrived in Lorain Wednesday with a load of taconite for the steel mills.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement barge St. Marys Conquest and its tug Susan W. Hannah arrived in Milwaukee and transited the Kinnickinnic River up to its terminal just after 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, delivering dry cement.


Lake levels nearing records lows

12/6 - Muskegon - Lakes Michigan and Huron are nearing record low water levels and some experts believe it's just a matter of time before they dip below that dubious mark.

Water levels in Michigan and Huron, which are technically one lake, briefly dropped dipped below the record low on Sunday, according to federal monitoring data. That reading, from one gauge on Lake Huron, was not a record because it has not been sustained over a one-month period -- yet. "The one-day reading was significant because it shows we are close to breaking the record," said Cynthia Sellinger, a hydrologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Lower lake levels widen beaches but hurt the shipping industry by forcing freighters to lighten their loads to avoid running aground. Plunging lake levels can also parch coastal wetlands that support fish and wildlife. "One of our researchers studying wetlands around lakes Michigan and Huron has seen four of the six wetlands he monitors around Saginaw Bay dry up," said Alan Steinman, director of Grand Valley State University's Annis Water Resources Center. "Those wetlands are now dry lands." Lower water levels in Lake Michigan will likely have similar effects on some wetlands along the lower Grand River, parts of Muskegon Lake and White Lake and Pentwater Lake, Steinman said.

Low lake levels caused problems for some freighters trying to get into Muskegon Lake this summer; some ships had to lighten their loads by 15 percent to avoid running aground. The Mona Lake channel also dried up twice this year as Lake Michigan's water level continued its steady descent.

Current water levels in Michigan and Huron are about 3.5 inches above the record low water levels recorded in 1964, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. But there are indications water levels in the lakes, which have dropped nearly four feet since 1998 and are 26 inches below their long term average, will continue to fall.

In November, the volume of precipitation falling on lakes Michigan and Huron broke a record low established in 1908, according to Corps of Engineers data. There was more water evaporating from the two lakes in November than there was precipitation going into the lakes. In effect, we took water out of the lakes," said Carl Woodruff, a hydraulic engineer at the Corps' Detroit office.

In an average November, precipitation enters lakes Michigan and Huron at a rate of 1,111 cubic meters per second. Last month, the lakes suffered a net loss as water evaporated from the lakes at a rate of 3,230 cubic meters per second, according to Corps data. That lack of water helped drive a six-inch drop in water levels in Michigan and Huron, which was three times more than the normal decline for November, the Corps of Engineers reported.

Great Lakes water levels go down every fall, rise in the spring and fluctuate in longer cycles spanning roughly 30 years. But water levels in lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior have been dropping steadily over the past decade. Lake Superior in October dipped below its record low water level, recorded in 1926. The big question is whether a drop in Great Lakes water levels that began in 1998 is part of natural, long-term, fluctuation or due to other factors.

A 1962 dredging project in the St. Clair River, which effectively created a bigger drain hole for lakes Michigan and Huron, could be one factor driving the lakes toward record lows. A recent study concluded that dredging project lowered water levels in Michigan and Huron by at least 15 inches. Global climate change also has been cited as the cause of shorter winters and less winter ice cover on the Great Lakes. Less ice cover allows evaporation to pull more water out of the lakes during the winter.

About 31 percent of the water lost from lakes Michigan and Huron is due to evaporation; the rest flows down the St. Clair River and into Lake Erie, according to Corps data. "Most people don't want to hear this in the winter, but we really need cold weather and ice" to shield the Great Lakes against excessive evaporation, Sellinger said

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Cleveland-Cliffs announces $18 million land sale to Mesabi Nugget

12/6 - Duluth - Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. will sell portions of its Cliffs Erie LLC site near Hoyt Lakes to Mesabi Nugget Delaware LLC for $18 million, Cleveland-Cliffs officials announced Monday.

The sale includes Mesabi Nugget assuming certain environmental and reclamation liabilities, according to a Cleveland-Cliffs news release. Also included in the sale are ownership and leaseholder interests that include mineral and surface rights.

Mesabi Nugget Delaware plans to built the world's first commercial iron nugget plant at the site. The Cliffs Erie site was formerly known as LTV Steel Mining Co., an Iron Range taconite plant managed by Cleveland-Cliffs. LTV Steel Mining Co. closed in 2001 following the bankruptcy of LTV Steel Corp.

Iron nuggets produced at a Mesabi Nugget plant at Hoyt Lakes would feed a Steel Dynamics steelmaking mill in Butler, Ind. The nuggets, containing about 97 percent iron, could also feed foundries.

Steel Dynamics would own and operate the iron nugget plant.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Update on Lake Superior outflow
Record low monthly supply to Lakes Michigan-Huron

12/6 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,650 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (58.3 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month December.

This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of December and is an increase from the November outflow, which was 1,570 m3/s (55.4 tcfs). The December outflow will be released by discharging about 1,538 m3/s (54.3 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron basins were well below the long-term averages for November, and the supply to the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin was a new record minimum for the month of November [-3,230 m3/s (-114.1 tcfs), while the previous record was set in 1908 at -2,850 m3/s (-100.6 tcfs), and the long-term average November supply is 1,110 m3/s (39.2 tcfs); negative values mean that evaporation from the lake exceeded the precipitation and runoff to the lake].

Lake Superior is currently 4 cm (2 inches) below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall slightly in December, and Lakes Michigan-Huron are also expected to decline. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 29 cm (11 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-December level, and 14 cm (6 inches) above the level recorded a year ago.

This past month the level of Lake Superior fell 6 cm (2 inches), while on average the level falls by 5 cm (2 inches) in November. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron declined by 14 cm (6 inches) this November, while on average these lakes decline by 5 cm (2 inches) in November. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 67 cm (26 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-December level, and is 26 cm (10 inches) lower than it was a year ago, and 30 cm (12 inches) below chart datum.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Additional information can be found on at this link or here

USACE News Release


Coast Guard boss gets used to cold

12/6 - Sault Ste Marie - On board as the commander of Sector Sault since July, Capt. Mark Huebschman acknowledged he's still getting used to the cold after transferring in from the relatively balmy climate of Seattle, Washington. A native of Sheboygan, Wisc., Huebschman has been away from Great Lakes winters just long enough to need a refresher course in the hard season on freshwater.

Huebschman and family have some domestic acclimating to do as well. In his last assignment, the Huebschman family lived at the Alki Point Lighthouse, smack on the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, the entrance to Puget Sound. The view is not quite the same at Sector Sault's new base housing development near Sherman Park.

Asked about the ongoing re-appraisal of the Coast Guard's Marine Safety operations, (now called the “Prevention Department”), Huebschman said he does not expect big changes in the local inspection unit. The Marine Safety unit at sector Sault is important to regional passenger ferry, public transit ferry and smaller freight and other smaller craft operators across the Eastern U.P. and northern lower Michigan.

He said Marine Safety operations nationwide are under considerable scrutiny nationwide. By some accounts, the specialist unit has declined in its level of expertise in the wake of new Coast Guard emphasis on homeland security. In response to complaints from the marine industry, one congressman has proposed that the Marine Safety unit be removed from the Coast Guard and relocated in the Department of Transportation.

Coast Guard officials are resisting that bureaucratic switch, claiming that Marine Safety and homeland security duties are complementary roles within the same organization. Nonetheless Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen has suggested that more use of permanent civilian manpower be made in Marine Safety units nationwide to retain a level of continuity in the specialty unit.

Capt. Huebschman said he does not see the local unit changing markedly, however the nationwide review comes out. In an interview last week, he said he thinks Adm. Allen's insistence that the unit stay with the Coast Guard will prevail. He added that resort to civilian marine inspectors drawn from retired Coast Guard inspectors may well come to Sector Sault in the future. In his view, a civilian core for the vessel inspection unit would retain a higher level of expertise and local familiarity than is possible under the current system of military personnel rotation.

Among the specialties hard for the Coast Guard to maintain within the inspection unit are keeping people familiar with knowledge of steam powerplants at Great Lakes posts. He noted that freshwater shipping is the last bastion of steam navigation, requiring that inspectors keep up on their boilers, turbines and even reciprocating engines to deal with those steamers still working the Lakes. “There are some valid concerns about marine safety expertise,” Huebschman said.

As he looks over his relatively new command, Huebschman said one of the challenges at Sector Sault will be finding space for a substantially larger crew. With a crew that now numbers more than 200 people, working space is now at a premium at Sault Base on Water Street.

Huebschman, a civil engineer by training, said he is looking at ways of squeezing more usable space out of the cramped Base Sault property. One possible alternative he is reviewing is replacing the current “buoy building” at the base with a three-story structure to accommodate a much-larger Sector staff. That project is some distance off in the slow-paced process of approval, funding and design. Nearer at hand he said is a new Coast Guard station at Marquette. Huebschman said he is crossing his fingers that federal funding will come along in the next fiscal year for the Marquette station.

Speaking of his post-graduate engineering training, he said, “An engineering background comes in handy.” Not the least of those advantages is his thorough understanding of the Coast Guard's system for funding and building new facilities and renovation of older ones. A former staff officer in the Coast Guard, Huebschman said he prefers his current duties on the operational side.

Other changes he will oversee from his post on Water Street include an expansion in Sector Sault's responsibility for “Operation Taconite,” the Coast Guard's icebreaking responsibility. Starting this year, the Sault-based “sector” will take on icebreaking direction for all of Lake Michigan in addition to northern Lake Huron, eastern Lake Superior and the St. Marys River.

He described the Coast Guard's more intensive security apparatus on the St. Marys, the Straits and connecting waterways as “.... pretty routine,” after six years of homeland security emphasis. Huebschman said the substantially upgraded Sault Station operation (the local unit's small boat contingent) may be in line for one of the new-generation of 41-foot Coast Guard patrol vessels currently in the early production process.

More immediately Huebschman is thinking about that cold weather and his first season at the helm for ice time on freshwater. Unlike recent winters, the early set of the weather makes it look like there will be an ice season this time around, starting as early as the holidays.

From the Soo Evening News


Free program at Vantage Point

12/6 - Port Huron - - The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society will present the program, "A Great Lakes Album: Ships in Season on the Great Lakes," with Bob Campbell, at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 8, 2007, at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron, Michigan.

This program is free and open to the public. Join us for the premier of this new DVD, which includes the sound of steam whistles of many of our past and present Great Lakes Ships!


Updates - December 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery Updated

Calumet history page 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.

On 06 December 1914, the NAVAJO (wooden propeller “rabbit” freighter, 109’, 145 gt, built in 1895 at Kingston, ON, formerly KING BEN, rebuilt in 1896 and in 1905.) was driven ashore on the south side of Main Duck Island on Lake Ontario by a storm. She had been trying to free the stranded steamer CEYLON. No lives were lost.

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

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

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

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

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

On December 6, 1909, while up bound at "Mud" Lake on the St. Marys River in a blinding snow storm, the HARRY A BERWIND collided with the loaded HENRY STEINBRENNER of 1901, which received a 70 foot wide hole on her starboard side and sank up to her cabins.

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

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

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


Sand Bar Stops Mississagi at Grand Haven

12/5 - Grand Haven - A 620-foot freighter bound for Meekhof's dock in Ferrysburg ran aground on a newly formed sand bar as it entered the Grand Haven pier head at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Early in the afternoon, the freighter rocked back and forth in order to free itself from a shoal that developed in the channel at the pier head. By 1:45 p.m., it was free and backed out onto Lake Michigan.

According to Dave Meekhof, the Mississagi was bringing in a load of gravel stone and had a 20-foot 2-inch draft.

Tom O'Bryan of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Grand Haven said the channel is supposed to have a 23-foot depth, but the high winds of the past week have likely created a shoal at the pier head, resulting in much less depth.

Meekhof said the freighter would likely go to Muskegon and unload between 500 and 1,000 tons of its stone cargo, then try again to navigate into the Grand Haven port with about a 19-foot draft.

Mississagi did proceed to Muskegon, lightered, and returned to deliver its load to the D & M dock on Harbor Island about 8pm.

Reported by Bob Vande Vusse from the Grand Haven Tribune and Dick Fox


Port Reports - December 5

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Several vessels from Great Lakes Fleet were affected by weather on the lower lakes Monday. Presque Isle anchored in Thunder Bay waiting to proceed to Two Harbors.
Arthur M. Anderson was anchored in the Straits of Mackinac before proceeding to Stoneport.
Cason J. Callaway remained in Toledo waiting for the weather to clear before going to Green Bay.
Philip R. Clarke anchored off Alpena en route to Meldrum Bay, and John G. Munson was anchored off Gary waiting for the dock there.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday, there were vessels anchored off Alpena due to high winds. The Algoway was seen for a brief period during the afternoon among snow showers and strong winds that limited view out on the lake. The Philip R. Clarke and Edward L. Ryerson were also on the hook. Tuesday morning the McKee Sons was seen with the Ryerson and Clarke. By mid-morning the vessels were underway to their next destinations.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge on Tuesday after waiting out the weather in the Straits of Mackinac. It took on cargo that is bound for Detroit. Around 6:30 p.m. the Steamer Alpena came in and tied up at the loading dock.
The Arthur M. Anderson finally made it to the Stoneport dock around 4:30pm on Tuesday after lengthy weather delays. The Great Lakes Trader is expected to load after the Anderson on Wednesday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement barge Integrity and tug G.L. Ostrander arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor about 5:30 a.m. Monday, turning and delivering a load to LaFarge on Jones Island. Integrity departed onto Lake Michigan at 6:45 p.m.

Also Monday, Agawa Canyon backed upriver to the bulk cargo dock in the inner harbor at about 11:00 p.m., bringing a partial load of salt. Agawa Canyon left just before 6:00 a.m. Tuesday.

John J. Boland delivered coal to the WE Energies yard at Greenfield Avenue in the inner harbor Tuesday. Boland entered and departed without backing either way because it turned in the inner harbor basin, a maneuver rarely attempted by vessels of Boland's size (680') in this port. Boland departed onto Lake Michigan in blowing snow at about 9:30 p.m.


Icebreaking begins on Lake Superior

12/5 - Duluth - The Coast Guard vessel Biscayne Bay is on its way to Duluth from St. Ignace, Mich., to help with the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation.

"Operation Taconite" began Monday morning. The operation’s aim is to lengthen the shipping season on Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. The Biscayne Bay will break ice in the Twin Ports area while the Coast Guard cutter Alder completes the seasonal navigation work.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - December 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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 1899, the NIAGARA (wooden propeller freighter, 136’, 468 t, built in 1875 at St. Catharine’s, ON) was carrying 3.4 million shingles from Parry Sound to Buffalo, New York when she foundered in a gale east of Long Point on Lake Erie. She apparently broke up before she sank. Large pieces of wreckage were strewn along the Canadian coast from Port Maitland to Port Colborne. Ontario. All 17 onboard were lost.

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.


The Mather goes dry for the winter

12/4 - Cleveland - The museum ship William G. Mather's aft end now sits much higher in Cleveland's Dock 32. The gain in height is due to the pumping out of the museum ship's ballast tanks.

When the Mather opened to the public in 1991, it was located at the East 9th Street pier, virtually on the runways of Cleveland's Burke airport. The Mather was ballasted so she would draw about 15 feet of water at her aft end insure enough clearance for air traffic. Additionally, the boat's aft mast was cut in half per FAA directions and an imaginary line was placed 3-4 feet over the remaining section of mast. If the boat drifted up over the line, more ballast had to be added to weigh her down.

The Mather was towed to Dock 32 in September of 2005. Its new location sits about 800 feet west from 9th street and hence further from Burke. Seeing no more need to be so low in the water, the Mather's new owner, the Great Lakes Science Center, decided to have her ballast tanks pumped out.

Doing so accomplishes three goals. The long-term preservation of the boat is made a bit easier (permanent storage of ballast water hastens degradation of the tanks). Winter gas bills are a thing of the past since the boat no longer needs to run its Columbia boiler in the cold weather to keep its plumbing from bursting (a ruptured ballast manifold line would have been bad to say the least).  A shipkeeper and his or her salary is no longer needed to watch over the boiler.

The visual impact of the boat's rise is another benefit. Her propeller is now half-exposed when in the past only a tip of one her five blades could be seen. The vessel simply looks a lot bigger with that much of the hull out of the water. A new era has begun in the life of the Mather.


Port Reports - December 4

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algosoo arrived in port Sunday and tied up at Pier 52. She has a cargo of raw sugar aboard for Redpath. This is the first time Algosoo has been used for this service, normally done by Algosteel.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Saltwater bulker Federal Ems unloaded steel products at terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor on Sunday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
As the Seaway season nears its end, Twin Ports elevators and docks were busy with salties Monday morning. Beluga Energy was docked at port terminal berth 1 while BBC Ontario was in the same berth by the dockside cranes loading wind turbine blades.
Federal Hunter was loading at AGP elevator in Duluth while Federal Asahi was at CHS elevator in Superior. Maritime Trader was loading at the Peavey elevator.
St. Clair and James R. Barker were due later in the day to load at Midwest Energy Terminal.


Updates - December 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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 1896, the CHINA, a wooden paddle wheel canal boat reportedly built in 1830 as a Hudson River steamer, fell to pieces while being hoisted into a drydock at Chicago, Illinois. She came to the Lakes in 1891.

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.


Port Reports - December 3

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
The Kaye E Barker loaded taconite at Marquette on Sunday, left the harbor, then returned and tied up because of weather on the lake.
The H Lee White came in to load, and also decided to remain at the dock.

Lorain - L. Seabold
Ice on the railroad bridge over the Black River delayed the American Mariner's unloading stone in Lorain on Saturday. Freezing rain got on the mechanism and the bridge could not be lifted until crewmen came out early Sunday morning. The Mariner waited out the delay in the river next to where the old pellet terminal was. She completed unload and left Lorain at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Edward L. Ryerson left Lorain for the last time this season on Sunday at 2 p.m. after unloading taconite at Jonick Dock.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday had the Hamilton Energy departing at 6:30 a.m. and was headed to Toronto for bunkering and returned at 3 p.m. The James Norris arrived at the Burlington Bay anchorage at 7:30 a.m. to wait out the inclement weather before heading to Clarkson.
Canadian Enterprise arrived at 8:30 a.m. with coal for Dofasco from Sandusky. Her next port is Windsor. Montrealais departed at 2 p.m. to clean her holds and then will proceed to Clarkson to load cement. Wyatt M and barge arrived at 4 p.m. and the Kathryn Spirit arrived at 7 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons called on the Bay City Wirt dock Sunday afternoon to unload. The pair finished up by Sunday night and rather than turning in the basin at the end of the Wirt dock, they backed from the dock through Independence Bridge and out for the lake.

The USCG Cutter Hollyhock arrived on the Saginaw Bay on Saturday to begin removing the lighted summer buoys and replacing them with winter marks. She continued her work on Sunday and should be around for a few more days.


Seaway strives to stay afloat
Aging shipping route needs billions in repairs, study says

12/3 - The St. Lawrence Seaway has been open for almost a half century, and it is going to take a boatload of cash to keep the Great Lakes' aged navigational link to the world open for another 50 years.

A study released this week by the U.S. and Canadian governments says the Seaway needs about $2.45 billion in repairs and maintenance over the next four decades. The jointly owned system of locks and channels creates a 2,400-mile-long shipping route between Duluth and the Atlantic Ocean.

Conservation groups are suspicious. They believe the Army Corps of Engineers has been too fixed on managing the Great Lakes as a nautical highway instead of a one-in-the-world natural resource that holds about 20% of the Earth's fresh surface water. The big lakes are ailing, and the oceangoing ships traveling up and down the Seaway have something to do with it.

The original Seaway, not including the Soo Locks on Lake Superior and the Niagara Falls-bypassing Welland Canal, cost about $3 billion in today's dollars when it opened in 1959. It never lived up to expectations in terms of overseas cargo, and it has been blamed for exposing the Great Lakes to untold damage in the form of such invasive species as the zebra mussel.

But the locks and channels have also proved valuable as a link between ports within the Great Lakes region, and federal transportation officials appear ready to spend what it will take to keep open a system that today operates at about 50% capacity.

"We are committed to ensuring that this vital trade corridor remains a safe, reliable and efficient component of our continent's transportation system," U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters said after Monday's release of the approximately $20 million study, the cost of which was split by the U.S. and Canada.

Others are dubious that $20 million worth of new information is contained in a document that took nearly four years to complete. "I wouldn't say it's completely useless, but it's pretty darn close," said Rick Spencer of the National Wildlife Federation.

The future of the Seaway has indeed become a touchy subject for many members of the Great Lakes conservation community. They point to oceangoing boats' history of discharging noxious cargoes in the form of invasive species at Great Lakes ports. This "biological pollution" has been blamed for squeezing out native fish populations, fouling prime beaches with blankets of rotting algae and even spawning botulism outbreaks that have killed thousand of birds.

The shipping industry acknowledges the invasive species problem and is working on ballast water treatment systems that kill unwanted organisms before they get a chance to jump ship. Legislation requiring such systems is pending in Congress, but it has been that way for several years.

Meanwhile, a new invasive species is discovered in the Great Lakes, on average, about every six months, and science shows that in recent decades the overwhelming majority of those invaders have arrived aboard foreign vessels.

Little boats vs. big boats
Conservationists skeptical about the value of overseas traffic in the Great Lakes point to a 2005 study funded by Chicago's Joyce Foundation that pegged the transportation savings tied to oceangoing traffic in the Great Lakes at about $55 million a year. At the same time, the dollar costs of just the pipe-clogging zebra mussel since the Caspian Sea native was first discovered in the Great Lakes two decades ago has been estimated at about $2 billion.

A separate study released by the Army Corps this summer, meanwhile, revealed that recreational boating on the Great Lakes drives almost $16 billion in yearly spending on boats and related activities. The U.S. Seaway operators commissioned their own study several years ago that shows commercial navigation on the Great Lakes and Seaway generates $3.4 billion in revenue a year. But an overwhelming majority of that business is strictly regional; only about 7% of Great Lakes shipping involves foreign vessels, according to another Army Corps study completed in 2003.

The new study released this week looks at how to enhance that business by better managing the Seaway to meet future transportation needs.

"We're trying to understand in the next 50 years who will use this system, what kind of ships will transit the system and what will be the pressures on the system," said Marc Fortin of Transportation Canada. The Army Corps' David Wright said traffic projections for the next half century call for "slow but steady increases" in cargo flows. He said one key to the Seaway's future is to use it to alleviate pressure on highways and railways.

"The study shows there are some potential niche markets that are starting to evolve," Wright said. One area the study looks at is the concept called shortsea shipping, which involves transferring shipping containers from bigger vessels at Eastern ports and hauling them into the region on smaller Seaway vessels.

"That is where our future is," said Dean Haen, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association. "We're going to need to be a viable mode of transportation to reduce congestion on roads and rails."

Build a bigger Seaway?
The 2003 Army Corps study looked at the prospects of expanding the Seaway locks so they can handle today's super-sized freighters.

The problem, according to the Army Corps at the time, is the existing Seaway locks are too small to handle most of the world's modern shipping fleet. Build bigger locks, the Army Corps reasoned, and bigger ships would start showing up. Estimated cost: roughly $10 billion.

Conservationists howled at the idea of a project they said would open the lakes to more unwanted invaders on a gamble they think likely would not pay off. Even if lock size were not an issue, they argued, the Seaway has always been hampered by the fact that it closes each winter due to ice. That is a significant obstacle to shippers who need year-round service.

The Corps backed away from its expansion plan and headed off on this new study with Canada to evaluate what it will take to keep the Seaway operating until 2050 in its existing configuration. "If the locks are falling apart, which they are, and they want to keep the Seaway open, rebuild it in its existing size," said Spencer of the National Wildlife Federation. "But don't just keep doing these studies over and over again."

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Boatnerd Holiday Card Gallery

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

You may send your photo card to with Holiday Card Gallery in the subject line. Or, you may mail your card to: Holiday Card Gallery, 317 S. Division St. #8, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Cards must be received no later than Dec. 21 to be included.


2008 Calendar of Events

The Boatnerd staff has started putting together the 2008 Calendar of Events.

If your organization is scheduling events that are of interest to the Boatnerd community, go to the Calendar of Events, and click on the "Click here to add your event" button. The 2008 Calendar will appear near the end of December, and is constantly updated during the year.


Book Cover Photo Contest

Great Lakes author Wes Oleszewski and his publisher, Avery Color Studios, are looking for a dramatic and original photo of a Great Lakes vessel to be on the cover of Wes' next book which will be released in the spring. The shot must be an original image and the person submitting it must have the rights to the photo.

All images must be sent by e-mail to no later than midnight on December 7.


Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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 03 December 1916, the Goodrich Line’s CAROLINA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 220, 1304 gt, built in 1892 at Philadelphia, PA, formerly HARTFORD, TERRY, & CHARLES H. HACKLEY, rebuilt in 1901) was making her last trip of the season when she encountered a blinding snow storm on Lake Michigan. Just after dark, she plowed onto a reef off Stony Creek and started to sink. The ship’s fires were put out as the water rose. The Canal and the Kewaunee Lifesaving crews got the passengers and crew off the stricken vessel and tugs tried to pull the vessel free. Finally the tug FAVORITE freed her and towed her to Manitowoc, Wisconsin for repairs.

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.


Owen Sound security tightened

12/2 - Owen Sound - Even Owen Sound is not immune to security upgrades mandated by Transport Canada. In the last week, new poles for fencing has been installed at the gates to the Miller Cement silos across to the harbour wall. So far nothing has been installed north of this.

The dock area to the north was most recently used to off-load windmill parts for two wind farm projects. Prior to that salt and potash were off-loaded at the north end of the property and until 1972, coal. The City of Owen Sound has stated they would like to see the marine use of this area increased

To complicate matters further a new multimillion dollar office building for the Grey County Health Unit has been built adjacent to the dock area. It will be interesting to see how this northern area will be fenced and how office space and marine shipping will co-exist.

Reported by Peter Bowers


Port Reports - December 2

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Stephen Hause
The David Z. arrived on the Saginaw River traveling up to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was back down bound Saturday morning passing through Bay City around 1 p.m. Shelf ice that was begining to form along the banks of the river was quickly broken up by the wash from the passing vessel.
In a rare visit, the Nanticoke called on the Essroc dock in Essexville Saturday morning. She encountered some difficult conditions when she departed and requested the assistance of the tug Kurt Luedtke to help turn her, while taking advantage of the Bay Aggregates slip across from the Essroc dock. With the push from the tug, the Nanticoke was able to turn and head for the lake Saturday evening.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee arrived about 1 p.m. Saturday with a load of sand from Brevort for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday was a busy day at the Upper and Lower Harbors. At the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly unloaded coal, and tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded ore. Wolverine arrived and anchored off the Upper Harbor. Wolverine's visit was her first since changing ownership and repainting.
At the Lower Harbor, H. Lee White unloaded stone.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The tug Lac Manitoba departed at 6:30 a.m. for Bronte and returned to Hamilton at 2:30 p.m. Montrealais arrived at 3 p.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 5 p.m. with iron ore for Stelco. Canadian Ranger arrived in Burlington Bay at 5:15 pm. for bunkering from the Hamilton Energy who arrived shortly afterwards. They both departed at 7 p.m. The Ranger headed to the Welland Canal and Energy back to Pier 24.
The Canadian Prospector arrived at 6 pm. and the Spruceglen departed at 6:30 p.m. from Pier 12.


Updates - December 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery


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.


New security gates in Hamilton

12/1 - Hamilton, Ont. - The new security gates at various locations around Hamilton Harbour are now installed and are being tested. The electrical contractor has been working long hours and weekends to finish on time.  The lighting standards, and some control boxes, were lifted by a local crane last week.

These gates will eliminate any access to the harbour for photo opportunities. In the end the Burlington ship canal will also be off limits to the public. These security measures have been mandated by Transport Canada and are part of the security measures now installed at the Welland Canal.

Reported by Wally Wallace


Port Reports - December 1

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
The tug Victory with barge Lewis J. Kuber was outbound from Saginaw early Friday morning after unloading overnight at the Wirt Stone Dock in Zilwaukee. The vessel arrived in the Saginaw River on Thursday to deliver a split load to the Wirt docks at Bay City and Zilwaukee.

Sandusky -
On Thursday evening, Algowood, Canadian Enterprise and Atlantic Erie were all anchored off Sandusky, sheltered by the Marblehead Peninsula from the strong west winds. Atlantic Erie remained there on Friday evening.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Amanda, a small general-cargo salty registered in the Netherland Antilles, entered the Milwaukee breakwater just after 3 p.m. Friday, then turned without tugs and backed into a general cargo slip in the outer harbor.

Long Point Bay - Dave Otterman
At 5 p.m. Friday evening, the Canadian Enterprise was entering Long Point Bay Lake Erie. About 12 ships are visible from Port Dover riding out the latest of several gales to hit eastern Lake Erie. With the Enterprise are: William J Moore and barge, St. Clair, Algolake, Cuyahoga, Isolda, Algoport, Canadian Provider, CSL Tadoussac, James. R. Barker, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin along with a Desgagnes tanker and possibly an Algoma tanker. The dazzling display of lights seen from Main Street Port Dover between squalls is lending to the spirit of the Season.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
The Saginaw finished unloading at the Great Lakes Elevator her load of 13,151.495 MT of wheat at 1:40 p.m. Friday and left shortly after.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Dongeborg finally made it to its dock after spending more than 10 days at anchor in the bay of Green Bay. The ship spent over a week anchored near Chambers Island before moving up to the Menominee Anchorage on Thursday. But, the ship was destined to spend another night out in the bay due to low water levels in the Menominee River. On Friday morning, the old railroad carfloat, Manitowoc, was towed out to the Dongeborg by the Selvick tugs, Jimmy L and William C. Selvick. They removed bales of wood pulp from the holds of the Dongeborg out in the bay for the next 5 - 6 hours before leaving the ship to head back into port. Once the Manitowoc was docked at KK Integrated Logistics' West Dock, the Jimmy L headed back out to assist the Dongeborg into port due to strong winds. The ship finally made it to the KK Integrated Logistics' East Dock slightly after 3:30 p.m. CDT.


Updates - December 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion 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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