Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Manistee strikes bridge on St. Joseph River

12/31 - St. Joseph, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard Sector Field Office, Grand Haven, Mich., responded to a bridge incident on the St. Joseph River which occurred shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday.

According to the Coast Guard, the motor vessel Manistee made contact with the CSX swing bridge. The Coast Guard contacted the owners of the bridge, who found evidence of damage to the bridge's fendering system. Structural engineers have determined that the bridge can safely carry rail traffic. The ship, which was empty, sustained only minor damage and was not taking on water. No pollution or injuries were reported.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

USCG News Release


Algomarine loses anchor in lower Lake Huron

12/31 – Sarnia, Ont. - Algomarine reported Tuesday morning that they had lost an anchor and length of chain in lower Lake Huron. The upbound vessel had gone to anchor Monday morning to wait out the high winds.

She apparently lost the anchor while raising it in preparation for getting underway. Shelly Marine was expected to retrieve the anchor from the lake.

Reported by Bob Hammond


Port Reports - December 31

Toledo - Bob Vincent
The CSX Presque Isle Coal Dock is closed for the season. The last three boats were CSL Assiniboine, McKee Sons and Philip R. Clarke. The Clarke was finished Sunday early morning.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algowood arrived Tuesday afternoon to load at Sifto Salt. She had been waiting out in the lake since Monday for traffic and weather.

Chicago - Dan
At 12:30 p.m. CST Tuesday, Manistee was inbound at the Calumet harbor breakwall, preparing to turn and back up the river to KCBX to load alongside the American Mariner, which arrived at KCBX after the short trip from Indiana Harbor.

Detroit River, Amherstburg Channel - Dave Cozens
The CCG Samuel Risley removed the remaining lighted buoys from the Amherstburg Channel and Ballards Reef Channel Tuesday afternoon and replaced them with the winter cans. Several of the buoys had been moved out of position by the recent ice flows creating a hazard to any traffic. Some were pushed to the center of the channel while others were 100ft or so out of the channel. Most of the buoys were previously removed in early December by the US Coast Guard, however, the quick flashers were left in place until today. During winter operations most upbound traffic and all downbound traffic use the man-made Livingstone Channel which is perfectly straight and has fixed buoys along its entire lenght, thus avoiding the 3 bends in the Amherstburg Channel.


State funds approved for Toledo Port project

12/31 – Columbus, Ohio - The Ohio Controlling Board approved $5 million in assistance for a project near Midwest Terminals, at the Port of Toledo last week. The state fund providing the money is set up to make potential manufacturing sites more attractive to prospective tenants to improve and develop an area.

Improvements at the site include removal of underwater structures, dredging along the dock face, creating at least 520 feet of dock face, creating at least 19 acres of dock and rail shipping space, and construction of at least 7,200 feet of rail line with eight switches on the project site.

From the Toledo Blade


Former Gaelic tug sold to Bahamas

12/31 - The tugboat Captain Diane (ex-Roger Stahl, ex-USCGC Kaw) has been sold. She was delivered to the new owners in Nassau, Bahamas in June, where she will perform ship assist and salvage duties. As the Stahl, she sailed for Gaelic Towing, which sold her in off lakes 2003.


BoatNerd says thanks to all, and Happy New Year

As we end the year 2008, the BoatNerd staff offers our sincere thanks to all the reporters, writers and photographers who have contributed to make this site a success.

In the past 12 months, we have posted 205 pages in the News Photo Gallery, which represents more than 8,200 individual pictures. The news channel is a popular feature that averages 15,000 unique page views every day.

None of this would be possible without all the people and organizations around the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway who have given of their time.

Remember, the Soo Locks are open for 15 more days, and will re-open in 85 days on March 25, 2009. Engineer's Day is only 177 days away - June 26, 2009. Make your plans now.


Updates - December 31

News Photo Gallery updated

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 SPARKMAN D. FOSTER.

In 1952, a total of 35 boats were laid up for the season at Cleveland. The WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, GEORGE STEPHENSON, and ANDREW S. UPSON had storage cargoes of flax, the MICHAEL GALLAGHER 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 PURITAN (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, alongside 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.


Near-record snowfall translates into higher Great Lakes water levels, officials say.

12/30 - Lakes Michigan and Huron are a foot higher than at this time a year ago, according to U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers officials in Detroit. Precipitation across the Great Lakes basin has been above average this month, Corps officials said in a weekly bulletin.

The Corps said Lake Superior is 3 inches higher than at this time in 2007, and Lakes Erie are Ontario and 2 inches and 7 inches higher, respectively.

Lakes Michigan-Huron and Superior are in their periods of seasonal decline. Michigan-Huron is expected to drop by an inch during the next month. But through April, Michigan-Huron and Superior are predicted to remain above their levels of a year ago, Corps officials said.

Water levels have reached historic lows on the lakes in recent years, which has forced marinas to conduct emergency dredging and freighters to lighten their loads.

The levels for Michigan-Huron and Superior are still below chart datum, a low-water benchmark used by boaters and shipping companies for navigation.

From The Bay City Times


St. Lawrence Seaway aims for tax change

12/30 - Ottawa - The United States St. Lawrence Seaway Administrator says his top priority in 2009 will be to convince Congress to drop the Harbor Maintenance Tax for short sea shipping.

Dropping the tax, imposed on shippers based on the value of goods imported through ports, "is essential for the promotion of short-sea shipping through the Great Lakes-Seaway system,” Collister "Terry" Johnson said in an interview with The Journal of Commerce.

“We hope the rhetoric heard so much about waterborne transportation assets being cheaper than other modes, helping the environment, taking trucks off the roads and cargo off the rails, will help to remove the HMT and other obstacles to short-sea shipping,” Johnson said.

The operators of the bi-national Seaway want to attract more shipping to key routes between the U.S. and Canada across the Great Lakes, as well as transshipping from Atlantic seaports to Montreal and through the Seaway to inland ports, but Johnson says the HMT is a significant obstacle.

Another change, Johnson says, would be to the U.S. Jones Act requiring coastal and other short-sea shipping to be operated by ships owned and crewed by Americans.

Similarly, Ottawa would have to end its 25-percent duty imposed on short-sea ships built outside of Canada.

The Seaway’s 2008 navigation season ends today at midnight on the Montreal-Lake Ontario section and Tuesday at midnight at the Welland Canal connecting Lakes Ontario and Erie. Final traffic figures for the year are not available, but to the end of November, after a slow start, the Seaway equaled or surpassed the 2007 year in all but grain shipments.

Through Nov. 30, traffic totaled 37.08 million metric tons, down from 39.178 million tons in 2007. The decline came mostly on sharply lower grain traffic, down to 6.6 million tons from 9.6 million tons.

Iron ore, coal and other bulk shipments were ahead of the previous season. General cargo fell to 1.8 million tons from 2.3 million tons, as fewer ships to take grain out meant fewer ships to bring steel and other cargo in.

From The Journal of Commerce Online


Update on Lake Superior outflow

12/30 - 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 56.2 thousand cubic feet per second for the month of January. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of January and is a decrease from the December outflow, which was 61.4 tcfs.

The January outflow will be released by discharging about 52.3 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 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 above their long-term averages. Lake Superior is currently 1 inch below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall in January. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 7 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-January level, but is 3 inches above the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell by 2 inches, while on average the level falls by 3 inches in December.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose by 2 inches this December, while on average the levels fall by 2 inches in December. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 13 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-January level, and is 13 inches higher than it was a year ago. Currently Lakes Michigan-Huron is at its chart datum level. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is also expected to decline in January. 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 at: this link

USACE News Release


Port Reports - December 30

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
By late Monday morning, Canadian Provider once again made the trip across to the Welland Canal after mechanical problems saw the Provider being towed back to Hamilton on Saturday. But this time high winds made the captain change plans and once again the Provider went back to the Burlington Bay anchorage, leaving not enough time to make it through the canal before closing Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. The Provider will winter in Hamilton now, instead of Sarnia.

Eastern Lake Ontario - Ron Walsh
Seneca was the last vessel eastbound at Cape Vincent, N.Y. She came from Thunder Bay and will go to Montreal and then Spain. The last westbound vessel is the CCGS Griffon which is now past Crossover Island. she will be heading for Lake Erie and her usual winter duties. The Canadian Navigator has left Bath heading for Toronto and the Peter R. Cresswell is heading for the Welland Canal from Bowmanville. The English River has left Bath for Toronto. Another gale warning was posted for Monday evening, with winds of 45 knots predicted.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
St. Clair arrived at Fraser Shipyards over the weekend for layup while Indiana Harbor laid up at the port terminal’s berth no. 1. Monday was a slow day in port, with CSL Niagara loading taconite pellets at BNSF and John B. Aird due late in the day to load at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Thunder Bay, Ont.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived in port Monday morning. The tug Manitou was out in the bay breaking ice in the channel to Lafarge and making sure the Innovation had no problems docking. The Innovation took on its last load of the season and was outbound by early afternoon heading for lay-up in Milwaukee, WI. The Manitou returned to its berth in the river and will head back to Port Huron once the weather improves.


Updates - December 30

News Photo Gallery updated

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.

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.


$1 bid could get buoy tender Hornbeam, built on Great Lakes

12/29 - The former U.S. Coast Guard 180-foot buoy tender Hornbeam (WLB 394), which was built in 1943 at Marine and Iron Shipbuilding Corporation, Duluth, Minn., is for sale at the Web site for $1 minimum bid.

In March and April 1944 Hornbeam served on the Great Lakes and was used for general Aids to Navigation work and ice-breaking. From August 1944 until the end of World War II in 1945, the cutter was assigned to the First CG District and stationed at Woods Hole, Mass. From April 29, 1977 Hornbeam was stationed at Cape May, N.J. In January and February 1994 Hornbeam, during a record cold spell, spent seven weeks breaking ice and installing ice buoys in the Delaware Bay and Delaware River. The vessel was decommissioned in September 1999.

Many similar 180-footers served on the Great Lakes, including the Bramble, now a marine museum at Port Huron, and the Sundew, serving a similar role at Duluth.

Reported by Frank Frisk


Port Reports - December 29

Marinette - Dick Lund
The barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted, assisted by the tug Erika Kobasic, arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock in Marinette, Wis., with a load of pig iron around 1:30 a.m. on Sunday. Sometime after docking, Undaunted backed out of the barge's notch and tied up well behind the barge. By early afternoon, the Undaunted pulled away from the dock and began breaking ice alongside the barge. She was soon joined by the Kobasic, which joined the effort for the better part of an hour before departing. The Undaunted slid back into the notch, and the vessels began backing out of the harbor around 3:15 p.m. The ice was still heavy enough that it took some maneuvering to finally get away from the dock. The vessel cleared Menominee North Pier Lighthouse about a half hour later. This is the 54th and final commercial vessel to unload in the ports of Menominee, Mich., and Marinette, Wis., by a total of 17 different vessels.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday, the Robert S Pierson arrived at 6 a.m. with a load of canola from Thunder Bay. She will winter at pier 11W. The Peter R Cresswell anchored in Burlington Bay during Saturday night waiting for more favorable weather. She proceeded to Bowmanville at 6 p.m. The Algosoo anchored in Burlington Bay at 8:30 a.m. as the wind gusts hit 110 km/hr ( 65 mph ) making the Burlington Lift Bridge inoperable. The winds subsided later in the day and she entered the harbour at 7 p.m. for winter lay up at Pier 10-5. The Canadian Progress arrived in the anchorage at 3:30 p.m. and entered the harbour at 7:30 p.m., going to Pier 26S for the winter.


Updates - December 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Lighthouse Gallery updated - Tri-Centennial Park and Crossover Island

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.


St. Clair River shipping not slowed by ice

12/28 – Sarnia, Ont. - There's little danger of ice clogging lower Lake Huron or the St. Clair River in the immediate future. So says Claude DiCaire, a senior ice forecaster with Environment Canada.

"There isn't that much ice in the southern part of Lake Huron or in the river itself," DiCaire said Friday. "It looks open right now. There's probably a little bit of ice on the coast to the north, but it's mostly new lake ice. That's all it is and it is very thin, below two inches of ice." Further north, ice could be two to six inches thick, but it is hugging the shoreline, he said.

There has been speculation that heavier than normal ice could form in the Great Lakes in 2009 because the winter has been colder than normal. In fact, parts of Lake Superior have been frozen over for weeks. But for the short term at least, it doesn't appear as if there will be major problems in local waterways, DiCaire said. "We have southwest winds today and more southwest winds tomorrow. That will keep it away from the southern part of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River."

Commercial fishing boats are still active in the lake and the Great Lakes shipping season isn't slated to end until the middle of January.

From the Sarnia Observer


Michigan wants Griffin shipwreck case dropped

12/28 - Detroit - The state of Michigan says it has seen no additional evidence to support a claim that a famous 17th century ship is buried in northern Lake Michigan. Divers at the site in October found nothing besides a timber protruding from the lake bottom, a piece of wood that was photographed in 2003 or 2004, Assistant Attorney General Louis Reinwasser said.

The disclosure was made in documents filed this week in federal court in Grand Rapids. A group called Great Lakes Exploration discovered the timber in 2001 and believes it may be the wreck of the Griffin, a vessel built by French explorer La Salle. It sank in 1679.

La Salle's other ship, La Belle, was discovered in the mid-1990s off the Texas coast. With approval from France, state archaeologists there recovered nearly 1 million artifacts, from human bones to muskets, and publicly displayed many of them. Great Lakes Exploration wants to be appointed custodian in the Michigan case. But the state is asking U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell to dismiss the lawsuit, saying it controls any shipwreck that is embedded and abandoned.

The precise location has not been publicly disclosed, but it's believed to be between Escanaba and the St. Martin Islands, near Wisconsin. Divers working on Oct. 21-22 "found nothing ... that could possibly be the remnants of a 17th century sailing vessel, with the exception of one wooden timber," Reinwasser said. In addition, an affidavit by state maritime archaeologist Wayne Lusardi was filed under seal.

An attorney for Great Lakes Exploration said divers from the group were not invited. "There's not just a piece of wood there. The wreck was scattered over time," Rick Robol said Friday. "Their arguments are not new." Reinwasser said federal law is clear: A shipwreck belongs to the state if the state shows it was abandoned and embedded in the lake bottom.

No one stepped forward after notices were published in The Grand Rapids Press and The Mining Journal in Marquette. But Robol said France has contacted the U.S. State Department about filing a claim. He said La Salle was sailing under the authority of a king.

From the Grand Rapids Press


Port Reports - December 28

Goderich - Dale Baechler
CSL Tadoussac had the fog horn blowing all day before coming into the inner harbor to lay up for the year. CGCC  Samuel Risley was in early in the morning to break up the channel and inner harbor. The MacDonald Marine tugs provided assistance turning and getting her to the dock. It was a very mild and foggy Saturday.

Detroit River, Amherstburg Channel - Dave Cozens
It was a Christmas Eve to remember. About 9 p.m., the Bob-lo Island ferry Ste. Claire V departed the Amherstburg dock with at least 6 vehicles aboard. The crossing, which usually takes about 10 minutes, is the only access for the residents living on the island. Due to heavy ice the ferry was unable to follow its normal route. Between 11 p.m. and midnight the ferry was stuck and trying to turn around about 1/4 mile down stream from the mainland dock and only 100 feet from the shore. A few hours later, and now Christmas Day, the ferry finally made it back to the main dock, unable to reach the island. Ferry service was suspended until the tug Barbara Andrie arrived to clear the ice, working the ice in the Amherstburg channel most of the afternoon. The ferry was finally able to reach the island about 6 p.m.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday at 10:30 a.m., the tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement arrived from Cleveland for winter lay-up at Pier 12E. Canadian Provider arrived at 12:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for Dofasco. Her next port is Sarnia for the winter. Pineglen arrived in ballast at 12:30 p.m. from Baie Comeau, Quebec, for winter lay-up at Pier 12E.
Saturday, the Canadian Progress arrived at 2:30 a.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco. After discharging her cargo she will winter at Pier 26S. Canadian Transfer arrived in ballast at 3:30 a.m. from Oswego for winter lay-up at pier 26N. The Hamilton Energy departed at 6 a.m. for Clarkson to bunker Canadian Enterprise and returned at 12:30 p.m. for winter lay-up at Pier 24. The tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Marys Cement II arrived at 9:30 a.m. for winter lay-up at Pier 12W. Algosoo departed at 12:30 p.m. to clean holds before returning to winter at Pier 10-5. Canadian Provider departed at 3 p.m. for Port Weller but went to anchor their with mechanical problems. The saltie Seneca departed in ballast at 4:30 p.m. from Pier 12W.The tugs Omni Richelieu and Wyatt M departed at 7:30 p.m. for Port Weller to tow the Canadian Provider back to Hamilton.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
USCGC Neah Bay departed through the North Entrance at 11:15 a.m. on Friday.


Updates - December 28

News Photo Gallery updated

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 1907, the CALDERA (steel propeller freighter, 504 foot, 6,328 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan.

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

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


Port Reports - December 27

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Duluth-Superior harbor was busy at dawn Friday as several vessels arrived within a short time. Among them was an Interlake 1,000-footer backing into Midwest Energy Terminal, with a G-tug standing by the dock to handle ice-breaking duties. Great Lakes Trader appeared to be pushing up the St. Louis River but was due at the CN/DMIR ore dock. Outside the harbor, the dim light made vessel identification difficult, but a classic laker that may have been Lee A. Tregurtha was slowly approaching the Duluth ship canal followed closely by a 1,000-footer. Another 1,000-footer that may have been Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was passing the pair outbound. Midwest Energy Terminal is scheduled to operate until Jan. 9, when James R. Barker is due to lay up there. For the first time in many years, lake ice is forming off the Twin Ports in December. In the past several years, lake ice hasn’t formed until relatively late in the winter, leading to a quick and easy spring breakup. However, this year’s early onset of cold and snow has resulted in ice forming for several miles off shore, although it is still relatively thin and poorly anchored to shore. When ice forms in December and remains throughout the winter, it often leads to difficult spring shipping conditions, such as windrows or ice packed tightly into the ship canal.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah came in late Christmas night with the last load for the year for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg, Mich. The pair were outbound opposite the U.S. Coast Guard Station at 2 p.m. Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
CSL Tadoussac departed the Essroc Dock in Essexville on Friday and was headed outbound for the lake during the early evening hours. She had the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch in the Saginaw River, and an escort by the Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker Samuel Risley, who led her out through the Saginaw Bay. The CSL Tadoussac had arrived on Wednesday to unload clinker. After the departure of the CSL Tadoussac, the Busch traveled back upriver to dock in Saginaw.


Updates - December 27

News Photo Gallery updated

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.

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.


Ice appears to be causing delays at Welland Lock 7

12/26 - 9:30 a.m. Update - Over night, Algosoo has moved from the SE wall of Lock 7, thru the lock to the NE wall, and Algosteel advanced from the Guard Gate to the SE approach wall of Lock 7. Canadian Provider has made the journey down to Lock One. Seahound remains above Lock 7 at the Guard Gate wall.

Original Article - At 10 p.m. Thursday, five vessels were delayed in the area of Lock 7 in the Welland Canal. The area had previously been reported to have problems with accumulated ice.

Algosoo, Algosteel, Canadian Provider and the tug Seahound were all downbound above the lock, while Peter R. Cresswell was upbound. Provider has been tied at the Southeast wall of Lock 7 for nearly six hours.

The Welland Canal portion of the Seaway is scheduled to close at 11:59 p.m. on Friday.


Coast Guard evacuates man off freighter

12/26 - Harbor Beach, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated a 48-year-old male from the American Integrity at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday due to a loss of consciousness.

"The assistant engineer found him in the engine room and he said he was feeling weak before he passed out," said Lt. j.g. Molly Kilduff, a command center operator for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland.

A Coast Guard Air Station Detroit HH-65C Dolphin helicopter airlifted him from the ship near Harbor Beach and transported him to awaiting Emergency Medical Services. He was taken to the Bad Axe, Mich., Hospital.

USCG News Release


U.S. Coast Guard launches Operation Coal Shovel

12/26 - Detroit - U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit launched icebreaking efforts known as Operation Coal Shovel along the Detroit River and western Lake Erie on Dec. 23.

Under the tactical command of Sector Detroit personnel, Operation Coal Shovel covers icebreaking operations in all of Lake Erie, the Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair River and a majority of Lake Huron.

"With present ice conditions, we've decided to stand-up Operation Coal Shovel at the direction of Capt. Fred Midgette (Operation Coal Shovel Task Group Commander and the commanding officer of Sector Detroit) to facilitate the movement of commercial ship traffic," said Chief Warrant Officer Christopher Shultis, Sector Detroit, Aids to Navigation.

The Coast Guard advises all recreational ice users there are currently no channel closures. We also advise waterways users to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels.
Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of waterway closures.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - December 26

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Christmas Day at the Upper Harbor, Arthur M. Anderson unloaded Western coal from Superior into the Wisconsin Energy hopper. The visit was her second of the season.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch set out on a long journey early Wednesday morning, heading out from the Burroughs dock in Saginaw through the thick ice in the Saginaw River and out into Saginaw Bay to intercept the CSL Tadoussac. The Busch made the Essroc dock in Essexville, Mich., by daybreak and then headed out into the bay making Lights 7 & 8 by around 4 p.m. Reaching the CSL Tadoussac, the pair made it in to Essroc just before 11:30 p.m. Wednesday night. It was a long day for both crews fighting through pressure ridges and thick ice. CSL Tadoussac and tug Gregory J. Busch remained at the Essroc dock in Essexville as of 11:30 pm on Christmas day. It is unknown when the Tadoussac plans to depart.

Cleveland - Herm Phillips
Inland Lakes Management's steamer Alpena arrived in Cleveland early on the morning of Dec. 24 for winter lay-up.

Welland Canal - Eric Holmes
The James Norris is wintering at Wharf 12.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, the McKeil tugs Wyatt M and Florence M departed for Toronto at 12:30 p.m. The tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 1:30 p.m. from Clarkson. Halifax arrived in port at 3:30 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for U.S. Steel. After unloading, she was expected to depart for Montreal. Spruceglen arrived at 5 p.m. Heavy ice in the Welland Canal especially at Locks 7 and 8 has been causing major delays in shipping trying to exit the Seaway before closing.
Wednesday, Hamilton Energy arrived in port at 8 a.m. after bunkering Beluga Revolution in Burlington Bay. The Florence M arrived at 10:30 a.m. and went to Pier 14. She will be going back out later to try and retrieve a barge which broke loose in the recent bad weather and is anchored on the shoreline of Burlington beach. The Montrealais arrived at 4:30 p.m. and went to Dofasco with ore from Superior, Wis. After unloading she will spend the winter at Pier 25N. The tug Evans McKeil arrived at 7:30 p.m., leaving her barge in Port Colborne for the winter.


Work set for Welland Canal Bridge 21

12/26 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The Clarence Street Bridge will undergo major maintenance work between Jan. 5 and March 13. Preparatory work will begin Jan. 5, at which time the bridge will be open to pedestrians and vehicles.

A spokesperson for St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said the bridge will be closed from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9 while work is done to replace large buffers that serve as shock absorbers for the bridge. During this work, the bridge will be raised 2.4 to three metres. The bridge will be closed from 8 a. m. to 4:30 p. m. while this work is underway.

On Jan. 12, the Seaway intends to start replacing the bridge decking. This is expected to take until Feb. 20. The bridge will remain open to pedestrians only during this phase of the maintenance work.

A third capital project to replace a major component of the bridge's lift mechanism will lead to "intermittent closures" of Bridge 21 between Feb. 20 and March 13. During this phase of rehabilitation, the bridge may be raised for the entire day.

The Welland Canal is due to close Friday and reopen to ship traffic on March

From the Welland Tribune


Welland Canal Lock 8 being upgraded

12/26 - Welland, Ont. - The final two Welland Canal locks will be overhauled with hydraulic equipment after the waterway closes for the winter Tuesday. Lock 1 in Port Weller and Lock 8 in Port Colborne will be upgraded to hydraulic operations during the three-month shutdown in the final leg of a $25-million project.

"This work has been going on for four years now, so this is the last part of the conversion," said Jean Aubry- Morin, Niagara vice-president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

All ships must begin their last transits of the canal for the season by Boxing Day to ensure the canal meets its Dec. 30 closure deadline. The canal generally closes at the end of December unless mild conditions and high demand allow the seaway corporation to keep it open a few days into January. "We don't have such demand right now, with the economy as is," Aubry- Morin said.

The slumping global economy hasn't yet had a significant impact on shipping, but it has dropped off slightly, he said. As of Monday, 3,682 vessels had gone through the canal this year. That's a drop of about one per cent over 2007, but on par with 2006, Aubry-Morin said. "There is a weaker demand than you would see under normal conditions," he said.

In addition to completing its hydraulic conversion, the Seaway will upgrade the electrical and mechanical components of all eight locks and carry out regular maintenance. "Over time, the water is a very powerful instrument of erosion," Aubry-Morin said.

While the canal is closed, St. Catharines-based Rankin Renewable Power will begin construction of a two-megawatt hydro generator at Lock 3 in St. Catharines. The company completed two similar power plants at Locks 1 and 2 in November. The firm has a 25-year contract to run the hydro generators and sell the electricity to the province for 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. It also has a lease for the same length of time with the Seaway. Afterwards, the green power project becomes property of the canal corporation.

The canal is scheduled to reopen some time during the final week of March. Last winter, the Seaway was forced to keep the canal open three days longer than scheduled after fierce winds stranded several ships.

From the Welland Tribune


Updates - December 26

News Photo Gallery updated

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.


Today in Great Lakes History - December 26

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

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

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


Christmas Holiday

The BoatNerd News will not be updated on Thursday (except for emergency), due to the Christmas Holiday. Your all-volunteer staff is taking the day off to be with family and friends.

The News will be updated, as usual, on Friday.


Updates - December 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 24

In 1973, a crewman from the Cleveland Cliffs steamer FRONTENAC fell overboard at 11:41 p.m. while the boat was at anchor off Stoneport, Mich. The FRONTENAC launched a lifeboat to search for the missing man. When he 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.

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.


Seaway icebreaking operations about to begin

12/23 – Kingston, Ont. - The Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon is about to begin its ice-breaking operations along the St. Lawrence Seaway and recreational users of the river are urged to stay clear of the vessel's track.

In the coming days, the icebreaker will make its way through ice-covered sections of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River's main channel from the Welland Canal near St. Catharines to Prescott, Lake St. Francis and the Beauharnois Canal. The Griffon will be making its way to Kingston along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario en route to the Welland Canal between Christmas and New Year's. On Saturday, the Canadian icebreaker Griffon left Cornwall and headed for Montreal. After that, the vessel will turn around and head back west.

The ice-breaking operations of both Canada and the United States occur each year to ensure that the waters are free of ice until all ships are able to exit the system before it closes for the winter. For safety reasons, ice fishers, snowmobilers, cottagers and other recreational users of the ice are urged to remain well clear of the icebreaker's track.

The St. Lawrence Seaway ice forecast states that ice will form in Montreal during the third weekend of December and will spread westward to reach Cornwall about 10 days later. Ice will continue to spread up the river and will reach Lake Ontario during the first week of January. Ice is then expected to cover over mostly the entire length of the river during the third week of January. On Lake Ontario, patchy new ice will begin to form in the coastal area of the northeastern section late in December.

The Montreal to Lake Ontario section of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system is expected to close at midnight on Dec. 29, weather and operating conditions permitted. Vessels will be permitted to transit through the Welland Canal up to midnight on Dec. 30. The official closing date for the American side of the Sault Ste. Marie Locks is midnight on Jan. 15.

From the Kingston Whig


Port Reports - December 23

Alpena – Ben & Chanda McClain
Over the weekend both cement carriers were in port. The tug Manitou went out in the bay to clear ice in the channel and at the Lafarge slip for both vessels where needed so they would have no problems. Saturday night the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load for South Chicago. Alpena came in Sunday night but didn't load cement until Monday and is expected to head for Cleveland, likely for lay-up.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon arrived through the night Monday, greeted by a channel and inner harbour full of ice. She is under the spout loading at Sifto Salt on a cool Tuesday morning.

Kingston - Brian Johnson
The Christmas season has slowed tugboat traffic in Kingston. The tug Ecosse and barge have tied up for the season having delivered the last of eighty six wind turbines to Dawson Point on Wolfe Island from Ogdensburg, NY. Already 21 of these are up at the west end of the island. The tug Vigilant I and barge are alongside the Barrack Street dock for the holidays. The Lac Manitoba is also there for the time being. The tug Jarrett M departed Saturday for the Magdalene Islands in the gulf of St. Lawrence.
The Wolfe Island wind turbine project is being developed by Canadian Renewable Energy Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian hydro Developers Inc. on Wolfe Island, just south of Kingston.


Expansion of Seaway is unlikely, Corps says

12/23 - Toledo - A highly ambitious - and incredibly costly - plan to widen and deepen the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway likely will be shelved by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this spring. That's according to Dave Wright, the project manager for a financial supplement to a multimillion dollar federal Corps study that has been evolving since 1999.

Mr. Wright, assistant chief of the Corps' operations in Detroit, said the decision to halt any further consideration of such unprecedented dredging, blasting, and redesign of the shipping channel has been made internally. Barring any unforeseen developments, it will become official in early 2009 when the Corps releases the financial supplement to what is known as its reconnaissance study for the lakes, he said.

Widening and expanding the shipping channel would make the Port of Toledo and others across the Great Lakes region bigger players in the shipping industry, generating jobs and providing more economic stability for America's heartland. But it would cost untold billions of dollars and create myriad environmental issues. Even in 2003, officials - without having any real cost estimates developed - speculated that the type of widening and expansion of the system they envisioned would easily cost at least $10 billion, and likely more.

Just taking it to the point of having a precise feasibility study done would cost $20 million and take five to seven more years, according to estimates by Wayne Schloop when he was the Corps' project manager for the reconnaissance study. He is now the agency's operations director for the Detroit district. The Corps is shelving the plan before taking it to the feasibility stage because of the cost, the economy, and the environmental factors.

Dredging the channel to maintain its current minimum depths of 26 feet, 3 inches along the seaway and 25 feet, 5 inches in the lakes generates concerns among scientists about fish habitat in itself; going wider and deeper creates the potential for more harm. The Corps had been considering a 35-foot channel depth, one which would have required nearly 10 more feet of digging.

Frank Quinn, a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration hydrologist who has studied Great Lakes water levels since the 1960s, has said the wild card would be the astronomical cost of blasting through bedrock in the Detroit and St. Marys rivers. That itself would bring many more complex environmental issues to the table, officials have said.

The Corps has decided to recommend this spring that federal money be acquired to modernize Great Lakes ports and shipping channel locks, Mr. Wright said. The Corps maintains locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and upstate New York. "We're struggling right now just to maintain what we have and get enough funding to do that," Mr. Wright said.

A joint report released in the fall of 2007 that involved the collaboration of several U.S. and Canadian transportation agencies, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Environment Canada, reaffirmed the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway's importance. The report called the shipping channel "an incredibly valuable North American asset" that allows cargo to move far more efficiently than by rail or truck. It said the seaway has the potential to become more important in the emerging world economy without major harm to the environment if it is simply modernized.

It said an expansion of the system is not viable. "That took expansion off the table," Mr. Wright said.

The Corps also is faced with trying to adjust for the impacts of climate change years in advance. Scientists have said lake levels could drop three to five feet this century if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue to be released at today's pace. "We recognize it [as an issue], but there's little we can do about it," Mr. Wright said.

The Great Lakes navigation system has barely changed since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in the 1950s; no new locks have been built since 1969.

Environmentalists have feared that politicians would justify a need for the system's expansion, threatening progress the United States and Canada have made toward cleaning up the lakes with better sewage treatment and controls on industrial discharges since signing the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. If expansion is ever revisited, the project would take years.

Congress spent 20 years debating whether to help build the Welland Canal, the passageway through Ontario that ships use to bypass Niagara Falls. Once the project began in 1914, it took 17 years to construct.

From the Toledo Blade


Updates - December 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports December 22

Detroit River, Amherstburg Channel - Dave Cozens
High westerly winds dropped the water level of the lower Detroit River about three feet. Ice is forming rapidly with the cold snap. While most of the buoys were removed about two weeks ago, those marking the turns in the channel are still in place, but may be pulled within the next few days if the cold weather continues.

Port Huron - Frank Frisk
James R. Barker completed her downbound trek through lower Lake Huron past the four boats anchored to the east of buoys 7 and 8 due to high winds Sunday. Between late morning and early afternoon, Lee A Tregurtha, Montrealais, John D Leitch and the tanker Panam Flota went to anchor. Winds were recorded earlier today at 45 mph; at 8:20 p.m. they were still gusting just over 36 mph. Winds caused the water levels to drop to a minus 11.2 at Amherstburg through the day. The Barker was stopping at Recors Edison Plant in St Clair to discharge a load of coal.


EPA sets rules on ships' ballast-water dumps;
Critics say it’s not enough

12/22 - Traverse City, Mich. -- Commercial ships must dump ballast water at sea or rinse their tanks if empty under a new federal policy designed to prevent invasive foreign species from entering the Great Lakes and other U.S. waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency included the requirement in a general permit issued Thursday under a court order requiring it to regulate water discharges from ships to protect native ecosystems.

The permit had been scheduled to take effect Friday. But a federal judge in California postponed the date until Feb. 6, giving states more time to impose additional requirements for vessels operating in their waters.

The EPA previously exempted ballast and most other vessel discharges from regulation under the Clean Water Act. Environmental groups and a half-dozen states sued the agency over that policy because many invasive species are ferried to U.S. waters in ballast that oceangoing freighters release in domestic ports.

Global "hitchhikers" such as zebra mussels and freshwater ruffe fish out-compete native species for food, spread disease and cost the economy billions. In addition to ballast, the new EPA permit sets rules for 25 types of discharges from ships, such as oily bilge water and "gray water" from showers and sinks. It covers an estimated 61,000 domestic ships and 8,000 foreign-flagged vessels.

"This is a significant event in the history of the Clean Water Act," said Benjamin Grumbles, the EPA's assistant administrator for water. The agency has "delivered a protective and practical permit to protect the nation's waterways from ship-borne pollution and to avoid an environmental and economic shipwreck," he said.

Environmentalists complained that the agency had done little more than adopt a Coast Guard policy they consider insufficient. It requires transoceanic vessels to dump ballast water at least 200 miles from shore. Those carrying no ballast must rinse their tanks with saltwater, a process known as "swish and spit," to kill organisms lurking in residual puddles or mud.

Those are good first steps but don't prevent some invaders from slipping through, critics said. "This permit doesn't require ships to do anything more than they're already doing," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office. "So we'll continue to have the same invasions of exotic species that we did before."

Many states are using their authority under the Clean Water Act to make requirements exceeding those in the EPA permit for waters under their jurisdiction. In the Great Lakes region, five states -- Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Illinois -- are adopting an International Maritime Organization standard limiting the number of live organisms in discharged water.

From The Associated Press


Holiday Card Gallery

Today is the last day to submit your Holiday card for posting.


Updates - December 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 22

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

DETROIT EDISON grounded on Gray's Reef in northern Lake Michigan December 22, 1980, inflicting heavy damage to 350 feet of her bottom. She was later sold for scrap.

The GORDON C. LEITCH, no longer economically able to compete, was laid up on December 22, 1981, 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.


Port Reports - December 21

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause and Todd Shorkey
Commercial shipping traffic continues on the Saginaw River despite an early onset of winter. Algoway was outbound early Saturday morning after delivering another load of salt from Goderich to the Sargent Dock in Zilwaukee, Mich. The vessel was accompanied by the Saginaw-based tug Gregory J. Busch, which provided assistance by breaking a track through the ice. This was the Algoway's third visit with road salt in the past ten days. While outbound, the Algoway and Busch met the inbound Frontenac on the Saginaw Bay. Frontenac was bound for the Essroc dock in Essexville with a load of cement clinkers from Picton, Ont. This is believed to be the vessel's first visit to the Saginaw River this season. The Busch accompanied the ship into the river and broke out ice along the wharf to allow it to dock. Frontenac expected a six to seven hour unload before turning with assistance from the Busch and heading for the lake Saturday night.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The Saginaw finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Docks Saturday afternoon. H. Lee White departed from the Torco Ore Dock bound for the CSX Dock to load coal. Herbert C. Jackson is at CSX #2 Dock and is waiting to follow the H. Lee White loading coal. Maritime Trader finished loading grain and departed from the ADM Elevator and was outbound from Toledo Saturday afternoon under tow of the "G" tugs Nebraska and Idaho. Calumet finished loading grain at Andersons "E" Elevator and was outbound from Toledo very late Saturday afternoon. She is bound for Port Colborne, Ontario for layup with a winter storage cargo of corn for the Canada Starch Plant located there. Canadian Enterprise was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Saturday evening bound for the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has CSL Niagara due in Sunday evening, Lee A. Tregurtha due in Monday followed by the Cason J. Callaway on Wednesday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has Lee A. Tregurtha arriving Monday and H. Lee White due in Wednesday, followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Friday.

Soo - Roger LeLievre
Saturday morning dawned clear, with the temperature around -12. As the downbound Montrealais was leaving the Poe Lock around 9:30 a.m. she suffered a power blackout. A bow and stern anchor were dropped and the vessel was stopped until repairs could be made.
There was a great deal of traffic Saturday, with ice impeding vessels in the Lime Island area. The river is now iced all the way across. Down bounders included John D. Leitch, Algosar, John G. Munson, Tatjana, James R. Barker, Lee A. Tregurtha, Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Canadian Provider, Dobrush, Beluga Revolution and Paul R. Tregurtha. Roger Blough, Burns Harbor and Barbara Andrie were upbound.


Updates - December 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery 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 ship breakers where she arrived in critically leaking condition on February 5 1988.

On 21 December 1901, the MUSKEGON (composite propeller carferry, 282 foot, 1,938 gross tons, built in 1895, at Toledo, Ohio as SHENANGO NO 2) sank at Ludington, Michigan with a 10 foot crack on her starboard side. She was raised a week later and repaired.

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

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

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

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

The OUTARDE of 1906, operated until December 21, 1983, when she was laid up for the last time at Toronto.

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

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

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


Canada to provide C$380 million funding for Davie Yards

12/20 - Quebec City - The Davie Yards. Inc. shipyard near Quebec City is getting up to $380 million (Can.) in financing and guarantees from Ottawa to help the company complete an order for five ships for two buyers.

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day said Friday the contracts will help maintain 1,100 direct jobs and could add 500 new jobs to the Quebec City region.

The shipyard in Levis, across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City, is the largest in Canada.

Davie Yards Inc. announced last week it would shut its operations and lay off 1,100 employees until mid-January to preserve cash. Davie said its cash position had been hurt by its clients' inability to pay installments without having refund guarantees in place.

Davie's financial restructuring plan adopted in August consists of $60 million in price increases with existing customers, along with a $30-million financial injection from equity and debt sales.

The refinancing amount includes $12.7 million from Investissement Quebec and US$10 million from strategic investor Bergen Group of Norway for the 180-year-old shipyard.

Davie Yards CEO Steinar Kulen called the funding "the catalyst for us to complete our refinancing plan."

He said that Davie will start work immediately on the paperwork that needs to be prepared to be able to reopen the shipyard as soon as possible, which is subject to completion of all aspects of the refinancing plan.

Davie Yards Inc. is located in Levis, Que., on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River just opposite Quebec City. It was founded in 1825 by Captain Allison Davie, a builder of fully square-rigged sailing ships and river steamboats.

Source: Canadian Press


Port Reports – December 20

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Edwin H. Gott and the saltie Serena passed upbound Friday during daylight, and Indiana Harbor headed downbound. American Integrity was upbound in the lower river at 9 p.m. Ice continues to form quickly, although it has yet to pose difficulty for shipping.

Grand Haven – Dick Fox
Manistee came in today to pick up the final load for the season at the Construction Aggregates Dock in Ferrysburg, Mich. The vessel departed about 6 p.m. with a partial cargo due to difficulties loading due to weather conditions. The barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah left just before the Manistee, after being in port about 23 hours to unload.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was anchored off its namesake port Friday morning. Strong winds and blowing snow kept it at anchor until late afternoon when the Alpena was able to head into Lafarge. Also in the area Friday was the tugboat Manitou, doing icebreaking in the bay and in the channel to Lafarge. The Manitou tied up in the river during the evening.
Earlier in the week on Wednesday, the Calumet loaded the last cargo of the 2008 season at Stoneport dock.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Friday, H. Lee White was at the Torco Dock unloading ore. The Saginaw was loading coal at the CSX Docks. Maritime Trader arrived at the ADM Elevator to load grain early Friday afternoon and was expected to leave late Friday evening depending on the weather and the loading process. About 2 hours later, the Calumet arrived at the Andersons "E" Elevator to load grain and was expected to leave Saturday sometime.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the H. Lee White due in when the Saginaw finishes loading her coal cargo. The Herbert C. Jackson due in Saturday, CSL Niagara due in Sunday, Lee A. Tregurtha due in Monday followed by the Cason J. Callaway due in Tuesday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Canadian Enterprise due in Saturday followed by Lee A. Tregurtha due in Sunday.


Advanced marine simulation and research center
opens at Georgian College

12/20 - Owen Sound, Ont. — The most advanced marine simulation and research center in Canada officially opened last month at the Owen Sound Campus of Georgian College.

The $8-million center is the first of its kind in the country. It includes four state-of-the-art simulators of ship bridges and engine rooms with computer generation and projection, and a world-class full mission ship simulator, which features a 360-degree view of harbors and waterways around the world.

The Province of Ontario contributed $3.75 million to the project.

“We are thrilled to open this state-of-the-art center,” said Brian Tamblyn, president and chief executive officer of Georgian College. “This facility allows the college and the marine industry at large to keep up with the demand for highly trained marine professionals. With this facility, we can address the educational needs of an industry that contributes to our economy and quality of life. Previously, mariners had to travel out of Canada for some of this specialized training.”

Global marine traffic is expected to triple in the next 20 years, at the same time as a worldwide shortage of ship’s officers and seafarers is forecast. In the Great Lakes marine transportation industry alone, three-quarters of employees are set to retire in the near future, creating an estimated 1,500 job vacancies in Ontario.

Georgian College offers three-year co-op programs in marine engineering technology and marine navigation technology. Each program has been planned in cooperation with Transport Canada and marine industry partners. More information at

Source: Chamber of Marine Commerce (CDN)


Updates - December 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events 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, 81-foot, 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.


Coast Guard rescues lost hunter near Cheboygan

12/19 - Cheboygan, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City rescued a hunter from a wooded area southwest of Cheboygan Thursday at approximately 7 p.m.

The man, who was deer hunting and became lost, called 911 and reported his situation to the Cheboygan Sheriff's Dept. at approximately 5:30 p.m. The Sheriff's Dept. then called the Ninth Coast Guard District command center for help with the search.

The hunter was experiencing first-stage hypothermia when the HH-65 rescue helicopter crew spotted his signal and lifted him to safety. "We conducted a 130-foot hoist; we were able to find him because he was shining a flashlight," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Jones, Assistant Operations Officer, Air Station Traverse City. According to Jones, the hunter could not feel his own legs and was shivering uncontrollably.

The air crew transferred him to awaiting Emergency Medical Services in Cheboygan.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - December 19

Toronto - Dave Robinson
Algosteel was in port today. It looked like she was unloading sugar beets at the Redpath plant.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge St. Marys Conquest, with the tug Susan W. Hannah in the notch, came in at 7 p.m. Thursday everning with a load for the St. Mary's Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. It should be in port about 12 hours, weather permitting.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
No active vessels were observed Thursday at the various dock sites here. The revised schedule for coal boats due in at the CSX Docks has Saginaw, H. Lee White, and Herbert C. Jackson due in Friday, CSL Niagara due in Saturday followed by the Cason J. Callaway due in Sunday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has H. Lee White and Canadian Enterprise due in Friday, Lee A. Tregurtha due in Sunday followed by H. Lee White due in Christmas Eve.

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Vessel traffic Thursday included the Lee A. Tregurtha, upbound to Algoma Steel in the morning, and the Federal Manitou, downbound. The Tregurtha gave an ETD of 7 a.m. Friday, next port of call unknown. Philip R. Clarke passed upbound at the locks around suppertime and the American Mariner locked down. Late evening traffic in the river included the upbound Mesabi Miner, Canadian Transport and Edwin H. Gott. Ice is forming fast along the shoreline, in some locations extending out to the channel.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algoway was able to make her way into the Saginaw River and up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee early Friday morning with the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch.


Updates - December 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 19

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

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

Because of the increased demand for iron ore during the Korean conflict more ships were needed and as a consequence the yards on the Great Lakes were operating at capacity. In December 1950, the Republic Steel Corp. bought 70 percent 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.


Detroit mailboat lays up for winter

12/18 - Detroit - J. W. Westcott Co. laid up the mailboat J. W. Westcott II on Tuesday. Senior Capt. Len Tanner piloted the boat to the Gregory Boat Basin on Detroit's east side. The Huron Maid, used for Detroit pilot changes, was sailed up to Port Huron also on Tuesday, by Westcott Capt. Sam Buchanan and Capt. Joel Hepola.

This ends 134th season for the Westcott company.


Port Reports - December 18

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Tatjana, which likely will be the last saltie of the season to call at the Twin Ports, arrived early Wednesday to load at CHS grain terminal in Superior. A tug from Great Lakes Towing was clearing ice from the berth while the saltie was still on the lake. The berth had been vacated just the day before by the Federal Manitou. Elsewhere, a line was forming for the loader at Midwest Energy Terminal. American Mariner was loading early Wednesday with coal for Milwaukee while Kaye E. Barker fueled at the Murphy Oil terminal while waiting its turn to load with more coal for Taconite Harbor. Indiana Harbor, John D. Leitch and James R. Barker were scheduled to arrive Wednesday to load at the coal dock. Heavy-life saltie Beluga Revolution remained at the port terminal.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
Adam E. Cornelius is in winter lay-up at Torco Ore Dock along the old # 2 Lakefront coal machine wall. This is in the same slip where the ore boats unload, but on the opposite side or west side.

Sault Ste. Marie – Roger LeLievre
It was a slow day on the river Wednesday. J. W. Shelley and St. Clair passed downbound in the early morning, while Algoisle, Presque Isle and H. Lee White went down in the evening. There were no up bounders. Winterization work on the MacArthur Lock continued.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Wednesday afternoon was busy on the south end of Lake Michigan. The Manistee departed the Chicago Fuel Terminals dock around 1:20 p.m., loaded and outbound for the lake. At about the same time over at Indiana Harbor, the tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were arriving there with a destination of BP at Whiting. Waiting for it to clear was the Mesabi Miner which was ready to depart Mittal. The saltie Serena was still over tied up at the NASCO dock on the Calumet River, and the Algowood arrived at Calumet Harbor around 3:45 p.m. with a destination of the KCBX south dock.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway is still loading Thursday morning at Sifto Salt. Algomarine came in through the night and is tied up at the new harbour dock waiting.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman departed for Picton Wednesday afternoon. English River departed early Wednesday morning for Bath.


Updates - December 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events 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.

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.


Ships on the move, thanks to better weather

12/17 - Soo, Mich. - Most of the vessels that had anchored in Whitefish Bay awaiting better weather got underway Tuesday morning, as Monday’s brisk winds had moderated considerably. Those that had sought shelter in Thunder Bay were also on the move.

The USCG cutter Mackinaw was underway downbound from the Soo Coast Guard base just after 8 a.m. Tuesday, as was the CCG Samuel Risley. Temperatures just below zero caused a layer of sea smoke, which occurs when the water temperature is warmer than the air, to hover over the river. The USCG Buckthorn and Alder headed up through the Poe Lock to to continue aids-to-navigation removal; at 5 p.m. the Alder departed for Duluth, her home port.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers crews were busy winterizing the MacArthur Lock. By late morning Tuesday the Corps tug Owen M. Frederick was moving the gatelifter Paul Bunyan into the lower MacArthur Lock approach.

Other traffic Tuesday included the upbound Cason J. Callaway in the morning and the CSL Assiniboine in the late evening. The tugs Tenacious / Rochelle Kaye and barge left MCM Marine at mid-morning and headed downbound; other downbound traffic included Roger Blough, CSL Laurentien and Lake Michigan. The Federal Rhine departed the Algoma Export dock for the Seaway in the late evening.

Reported by Roger LeLievre


Marine traffic resumes in Beauharnois Canal

12/17 - St. Lambert, Quebec. - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation announced Tuesday morning that the Saint-Louis de Gonzague Bridge has been successfully raised to permit the resumption of vessel transits below its lift span. The bridge will continue to be closed to automobile traffic for the next few days as final repairs are completed.

A series of cables that were damaged on Dec. 12, due to heavy ice and snow precipitation have been replaced, permitting the span to be raised. Until final repairs are completed, the lift span will remain in the raised position. Automobile traffic should continue to take alternate routes, which include the Larocque Bridge in Valleyfield and the Melocheville Tunnel.

The SLSMC will make every effort to restore the bridge to full operation as soon as possible, and wishes to convey its appreciation to all local residents for their understanding.

SLSMC News Release


Coast Guard rescues ice fisherman who fell into icy waters

12/17 - St. Clair Shores, Mi - U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores rescued a 66-year-old male ice fisherman who fell off of a dock into waste-deep water one-half mile from the station near Miller Marina, Tuesday, at approximately 5:45 p.m.

"He was cold and wet, having trouble pulling himself out, so I got in the water and lifted his legs," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class John Milan. Milan and two of his crewmembers slid the man's legs in a thermal capsule and wrapped him in blankets to prevent hypothermia. Apparently, the man fell in the water from the dock after ice fishing and had been in the water for approximately 15 minutes.

With the station's number programmed in his cell phone, he called the station for help.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - December 17

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch headed out to the Saginaw Bay late Monday evening to assist Algoway into the Saginaw River and up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, Mich., to unload a cargo of salt. Problems getting the Liberty Bridge to open delayed the downbound passage of the Busch and upbound passage of the Algoway for a number of hours early Tuesday morning. Both vessels finally reached the Sargent dock around 7 a.m. Algoway was back outbound Tuesday night, unassisted, and was expected to be back again on Thursday with another cargo of salt.

Toronto - Frank Hood
Stephen B Roman was docked in Toronto Monday morning. English River left port over the weekend.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons, in port since Saturday, finally left the Power Plant dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven Monday when the winds diminished. The Wilfred Sykes backed in to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg with their final load for the season a 4 p.m. Tuesday. That leaves the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg open and the St. Mary's Cement Dock in Ferrysburg open. The port will see one or two more boats at most.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
A busy day at Sifto Salt began early Wednesday morning with the arrival of three boats. Canadian Transfer was first in and is currently under the spout. Agawa Canyon was waiting on the new harbour dock for her turn. Algoway was at anchor out in the lake and will come in when the Transfer leaves later Wednesday morning.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Tuesday afternoon found the weather delayed tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons at KCBX loading coal. The Manistee arrived in the Calumet River, in a heavy snow, around 2:45 p.m.. She was going to go all the way down past Cargill near Torrence Ave, turn, and then come back up the river for the Chicago Fuel Terminals dock. The saltie Serena was unloading at the NASCO dock at Iroquois Landing near 92nd St.

Toronto - Frank Hood
English River arrived back in Toronto on Tuesday.


Updates - December 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


St Louis Bridge on Seaway re-opens

12/16 - 9:15 a.m. Update - The St. Louis bridge was raised Tuesday morning and will remain in the open position for several days. Ships are starting to move through the span. The tug John Spence will be departing Valleyfield and the salty Laguna D will depart the upper wall at lock 4 for Valleyfield at 9:30 a.m.

Original Report - An attempt to raise the St. Louis Bridge on the St. Lawrence Seaway Monday evening failed. At 8:10 p.m. Monday, an announcement was made that the opening will be further delayed at least 12 hours. High winds may have contributed to the difficulties encountered by the maintenance crew working on the bridge repairs. Winds exceeding 50 knots have been causing problems all day.

Sixteen cables were replaced and the St Louis bridge was raised halfway and lowered again. More work has to be done, including welding. The repairs will continue but at a slower pace due to the winds associated with a cold front. The front will be pushing eastwards through the St Lawrence River valley.

Once the bridge is up, it will stay up for two days to verify the counter balances are structurally sound, according to the latest report from the Seaway. The St Louis bridge bridge will not be ready to raise before 8 or 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. In the meantime vessels are being moved to take positions below the up bound locks east of Beauharnois. Atlantic Erie has position herself at the lower wall at St. Lambert and Spruceglen is proceeding up the channel to station herself behind the Atlantic Erie.

A series of cables that lift the bridge were damaged on Friday, December 12, due to heavy ice and snow precipitation. 

Reported by Ron Beaupre and Kent Malo


Weather continues to slow vessel traffic around the lakes

12/16 - 9 a.m. Update - Most of the vessels that had anchored in Whitefish Bay awaiting better weather were in the process of getting underway Tuesday morning, as winds had dropped to 11 mph. The USCG cutter Mackinaw was underway downbound from the Soo Coast Guard base just after 8 a.m., as was the buoy tender Buckthorn. Temperatures just below zero are causing a layer of sea smoke, which occurs when the water temperature is warmer than the air, to hover over the river.

12/16 - Vessels in the St. Marys River hunkered down Monday for a blast of winter weather. With winds from the WSW at 20-30 mph and gusts forecast for 35-45 mph, Canadian Provider, H. Lee White, Joseph H. Thompson, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and John D. Leitch dropped the hook in Whitefish Bay Sunday. They were still there Monday, when they were joined by Indiana Harbor and the saltie Tatjana. Algomarine remained anchored at Sweets Point north of Detour.

Due to falling water levels in the Rock Cut, the CSL Tadoussac went to anchor near Nine Mine Point around noon Monday, however levels had rebounded enough that she was able to resume her trip around 7 p.m. The USCG vessels Alder and Mackinaw remained docked on the U.S. side of the river while the CCG Samuel Risley was docked on the Canadian side. Other traffic Monday morning included the upbound Montrealais. By late evening Monday, the Algosar was upbound in the lower river and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was headed downbound for the Soo Locks. Monday night's low at Sault Ste. Marie was predicted to be near zero, with -20 forecast for Duluth, meaning those cutters at the Sault might see some ice action soon.

The weather also caused several vessels to remain in port or seek shelter at Thunder Bay, Ont. The U.S.-flag St. Clair pulled in Sunday to wait out the winds, joining the J. W. Shelley, Algoisle and Robert S. Pierson on the hook. The Cason J. Callaway was also at anchor off Washington Island in Lake Michigan.

In addition, the Mackinaw Bridge was closed to trucks and trailers for nine hours Monday due to winds gusting over 50 mph.

Reported by Roger LeLievre


Congressman asks new Soo Lock be part of stimulus package

Dec. 15 – Washington, D.C. - U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) has written to and spoken with key House committee chairmen and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging that funding for construction of the new Soo Lock and an additional icebreaker for the Great Lakes be included in an economic stimulus package expected to be considered by Congress in January.

“Construction of the new Soo Lock and an additional icebreaker for the Great Lakes would spur economic activity in the entire Great Lakes region,” Stupak said. “Construction of the new Soo Lock would be the largest public works navigation project on the Great Lakes in a generation and would generate nearly $500 million annually in economic activity. An additional icebreaker would help ensure the movement of commerce across the Great Lakes through the winter months.”

President-elect Obama has asked Congress to have an economic stimulus package, including billions of dollars for infrastructure projects, ready to sign upon taking office on January 20, 2009. Obama has emphasized that projects should be “shovel ready,” with design, engineering and environmental studies complete, so construction can begin immediately.

“No project meets the definition of ‘shovel ready’ more than the replacement Soo Lock,” Stupak said. “Now that these steps are completed, the Army Corps has no more excuses and is ready to begin full construction as soon as federal funding is appropriated.”

Ice breaking capacity on the Great Lakes has dropped dramatically over the past few years. The Coast Guard Cutter Acacia was decommissioned on June 7, 2006 after 60 years of service. In addition, the Canadian government recently decommissioned two of its icebreakers without replacing them.

“Without a sufficient cutter presence, the island communities, businesses and individuals that rely on Great Lakes shipping are put at risk,” Stupak said. “It is important that we appropriate funding for a new Coast Guard cutter and ensure the Coast Guard can meet its operational responsibilities on the Great Lakes.”

Stupak noted that an additional cutter could quickly be built as the design and engineering plans are with Marinette Marine Corporation.

From Soo Today and Jerry Masson


Agreement means Wisconsin shipping can continue

Dec. 15 – Superior, Wis. - Wisconsin's shipping season will go on as normal as an eleventh hour action has prevented shipping from being stopped this Thursday.

The dispute over certifying Wisconsin's Clean Water Act plan with the United States Environmental Protection Agency threatened to shutdown shipping four weeks early during a critical time that would have stopped cargo such as coal and iron ore from getting to customers before the three month winter lay-off. It would have also prevented shipyards in Sturgeon Bay and Superior from getting ships during the winter months costing hundreds of jobs.

DNR spokesman Adam Collins says they still hope to enact stricter guidelines but needed to act now so they dropped a bureaucratic roadblock and sent the EPA the paperwork they needed, withdrawing their request for extension of the water quality certification plan.

"From the beginning with disagreed with the EPA assessment that federal enforcement could be taken or citzens could be brought in this matter. But our action today ensures that shipping will continue on the Great Lakes and Wisconsin. The shipping industry is vital to many local economies and the cargo includes necessities for all parts of the state."

Collins hopes to have an remaining challenges and conflicts worked out with the federal government and the Clean Water Act before the beginning of the 2009 shipping avoid any other threats to the shipping industry.

Reported by Business North


Port Reports - December 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
As the Twin Ports dug out of a weekend blizzard early Monday, the Roger Blough finally was able to leave port, departing the CN/DMIR ore dock. At the same time, Kaye E. Barker was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, American Integrity was arriving to take the coal dock after the Barker and Beluga Revolution remained at the port terminal. By midday, the Barker had left Midwest Energy Terminal and was stopped in the seldom-used anchored area inside the Duluth entry while John B. Aird was fueling and waiting for its turn at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Monday evening, Lee A. Tregurtha remained anchored in the western basin of Lake Erie due to gale force winds and low water conditions. It is unknown when she will arrive at the Torco Dock to unload ore. The tug Samuel D. Champlain with her barge Innovation departed from the Lafarge Cement Terminal Monday morning. Cuyahoga arrived at Andersons "E" Elevator Monday evening to load grain. The revised update for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Lee A. Tregurtha scheduled to load coal after she finishes unloading ore at the Torco Dock, H. Lee White and Saginaw due in Thursday followed by Herbert C. Jackson and CSL Niagara due in Friday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has Lee A. Tregurtha due in when the winds subside and the water levels return back to normal. H. Lee White is due in Wednesday evening followed by the Canadian Enterprise on Friday evening.


Updates - December 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery 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 1922, the JOSHUA W.RHODES (steel propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,871 gross tons, built in 1906, at Lorain, Ohio) struck bottom in the middle of the St. Clair River abreast of Port Huron, Michigan. Damages cost $6,179.32 to repair.

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

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

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

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

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

While in tandem tow on the way to scrapping with the former Ford Motor Co. steamer ROBERT S. McNAMARA, 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 Detroit’s Rouge River 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 30 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.


Cables broken on Seaway’s St. Louis bridge

12/15 - 8 p.m. update - The Seaway advised Monday evening that the work on the St Louis bridge has been delayed due to high winds. 16 cables were replaced and the bridge was raised halfway and lowered again, more work has to be done before the bridge can open. According to the latest report from the Seaway, the bridge will not be ready to raise before 8 a.m. Tuesday morning. Once the bridge is up, it will stay up for two days to verify the counter balances are structurally sound. Vessels were moving Monday evening to take positions below the upbound locks east of Beauharnois, Atlantic Erie has position herself lower wall at St Lambert and Spruceglen is proceeding up the channel to station herself behind the Atlantic Erie. 

2 p.m. update - Vessel movement has started in anticipation that the St Louis Bridge will be in full operation Monday evening, Frontenac has locked up at the Cote Ste Catherine's Lock 2 and is proceeding to the Beauharnois Lock 3. Also at Beauharnois is the at the Amelia Desgagnes which is positioned in Lock 4 and the Laguna D is at the upper lock wall of Lock 4, which will proceed to Valleyfield once the St. Louis bridge has been repaired. The Vega Desgagnes was proceeding into Lock 1 at St. Lambert, leaving the Maritime Trader and the Algonova at the lower lock wall at St. Lambert.

The bridge is being raised very slowly and will be left up once it has reached its highest point. Once the bridge has been raised the Laguna D has her pilot on board and will proceed to Valleyfield harbor.

There are reported to be 23 vessels delayed or stopped - 14 downbound and 9 upbound. Once traffic is moving again, officials expect it to take thirty to thirty six hours to clear up the backlog of ships.

Late Sunday night, eighteen vessels were still backed up as far as Montreal for upbound traffic, and beyond Ogdensburg, N.Y. for down bounders. Five were upbound and 13 are downbound, including eight in the Prescott Anchorage.

On Friday 16 cables on the St Louis bridge, which spans the Seaway below Valleyfield, Quebec, snapped. The St. Louis Bridge is a vertical lift structure, similar to those crossing the Welland Canal and Duluth Ship Canal. The cables had broken on the bridge at the same place and at the same time, the incident is still under investigation.

Reported by Kent Malo, Ron Walsh, Bill Bird, Mike Folsom and Ron Beaupre


Weather sends vessels to anchor near the Soo

12/15 - Noon Report - Vessels in the St. Marys River hunkered down Monday for a blast of winter weather. With winds from the WSW at 20-30 mph, and gusts forecast for 35-45 mph, Canadian Provider, H. Lee White, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and John D. Leitch went to anchor in Whitefish Bay Sunday, where they remain today. Algomarine is still anchored at Sweets Point north of Detour.

Due to falling water levels in the Rock Cut, the CSL Tadoussac indicated to Soo Traffic Monday morning it intended to go to anchor in Hay Lake. The USCG vessels Alder and Mackinaw remain docked on the U.S. side of the river while the CCG Samuel Risley is docked on the Canadian side. Other traffic Monday morning included the upbound Montrealais and the saltie Tatjana in the lower river.


Canadian government eyes shipbuilding as economic stimulus

Dec. 15 – Ottawa, Ont. – Part of the Conservative government's stimulus for the stumbling Canadian economy will be drawn from funds already earmarked for the construction of navy supply ships, patrol boats and icebreakers. But the plan hinges on the country's shipbuilders and trade unions setting aside their differences and sharing the billions of dollars worth of work, says Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

“There is enough work for the Canadian shipyards on both coasts and in Quebec to keep people employed, and to keep that sector of the economy going full-tilt,” Mr. MacKay said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I see this as being in keeping with economic stimulus and getting people to work. And there's enough work in these projects to get all of these shipyards humming again.”

Early in the new year, the federal government plans to convene a shipbuilding summit, involving National Defence, Industry Canada and Public Works and Government Services Canada, he said.

Mr. MacKay was asked whether the aim was to come up a continuous shipbuilding program, something the industry and unions have sought for decades. “It would be something like that,” he replied. Getting away from the cyclical boom and bust cycle would benefit the Canadian economy, and even without a formal continuous build program the federal government can “roll out these projects in a way that is it staggered” and predictable, said the minister.

Unlike the $3.3-billion lifeline being thrown to the country's troubled auto industry, the money for shipbuilding would come from already planned purchases in line with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's suggestion that economic help from the federal treasury would be limited.

But a retired commander of the Canadian navy said neither Ottawa nor the industry will be able to make the plan work without injecting some new money. Much of the complex expertise required to build warships has withered away since the last patrol frigate rolled off the skids and into the water in the mid-1990s, said former vice-admiral Bruce McLean. “The handful of shipbuilding companies that remain in the country have found other niches to keep themselves profitable,” he said.

On the West Coast shipyards are building cruise liners, while in the East, the industry has turned its attention to servicing the offshore oil and natural gas tenders. “To put the (naval) building capability back together again is going to require resources from the industry, resources from the government, and it definitely needs some sort of long-term strategic plan,” Mr. McLean said.

Public Works, the federal government's tendering arm, scuttled the $2.9-billion replacement process for the navy's supply ships last summer because the bids exceeded the Conservatives' budget envelope. A $340-million proposal to build 12 inshore patrol boats for the coast guard also went down with the Joint Support Ship program for the same reasons.

Officials pledged last fall to re-launch the initiatives as early as this winter, but gave no definitive schedule. It is more expensive to build ships here than it is overseas in such places as Korea and Europe, and Mr. MacKay said cost will be a factor in the talks next month.

“That's something that will be on the table when we have this discussion with shipbuilders. Their representatives and the unions will be involved in the discussion,” he said.
He hinted that the government has done its homework, examining how ships are built in industry-leading countries such as Norway.

The Conservatives have promised to build as many as eight Arctic offshore supply boats for the navy, replace the country's 12 patrol frigates, as well as modernize the fleet of medium and heavy icebreakers. Mr. McLean estimated the price tag for all of the ship construction that needs to be done over the next 25 years could run as high as $40 billion.

From The Globe and Mail


Port Reports - December 15

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Five vessels - Canadian Provider, Joseph H. Thompson, John D. Leitch, H. Lee White and Joyce L. VanEnkevort. -were at anchor above the locks Sunday night due to gale warnings on Lake Superior. The USCG icebreaker Mackinaw was at the Carbide Dock and the CCG’s Samuel Risley was tied up on the Canadian side. Federal Rhine was at the Algoma Export Dock and Algomarine was anchored off Sweets Point in the lower St. Marys River.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski and Dan Sweeley
Halifax was at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna, N.Y., on Sunday. Around 8 a.m. the captain of tug-barge Undaunted-PM41 called Seaway Long Point to let them know that he had gone to anchor in Buffalo Harbor to wait on weather. The pair were on their way down the lake to Wharf 17 on the Welland Canal but stormy conditions had them riding on the hook for the day. Later that evening, CSL Niagara showed up off Buffalo on her way into the Gateway docks but the captain decided to wait three miles out on the lake for the Halifax to clear port before coming in. The Undaunted was warming up her engines at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening so that the captain could shift her position inside the Buffalo anchorage and then shut down for the night. He will probably make his run for the canal on Monday morning, weather permitting. This is the first time that this tug-barge combo has been back to Buffalo since the TDX Gypsum dock on the City Ship Canal closed down about 10 years ago. It was also the first time that a large commercial vessel has used the Buffalo Outer Harbor Anchorage Area since the tug-barge W. N Twolan-McAllister 132 dropped her hook there in the fall of 2004. The Halifax was due to come out around 7 or 8 a.m. Monday, with the Niagara to come in and take her place for unloading and reloading operations.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
CSL Assiniboine departed U.S. Steel at 4:30 a.m. Sunday for Superior, Wis. James Norris departed the Burlington Bay anchorage at 8:30 a.m. for Clarkson, Ont., but returned to the anchorage at 6 p.m. due to the high winds. The tug Jarrett M departed for Kingston, Ont., at 4:30 p.m.

Sarnia - Barry Hiscocks
Ojibway arrived for lay up Saturday and tied up at the Government Dock in Sarnia, Ont.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Sunday, the tug Samuel De Champlain with the barge Innovation were at the Lafarge Dock unloading cement. Adam E. Cornelius was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Sunday evening for layup up. John J. Boland also arrived for winter layup Saturday morning. She went to the old Interlake Iron Dock just north of the Shipyard and tied up in front of the American Republic.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Lee A. Tregurtha due in Monday, Saginaw due in Thursday, and Herbert C. Jackson, Arthur M. Anderson and CSL Niagara due in Friday. Arthur M. Anderson on a return visit along with the Lee A. Tregurtha are due in Saturday followed by the H.Lee White on Sunday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Lee A. Tregurtha due in late Sunday evening but she may be delayed arriving here due to gale warnings and low water conditions on western Lake Erie at the present time. The H. Lee White is due in Tuesday. The Canadian Enterprise due in Friday followed by the Lee A. Tregurtha on Saturday.


Updates - December 15

News Photo Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events started

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 15

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

The ROBERT KOCH went hard aground December 15, 1985, on Sheldon Point off Oswego, New York, loaded with 2,000 tons of cement when her towline parted from the tug R & L NO 1. Dragging her anchors in heavy weather, she fetched up on a rocky shelf in 16 feet of water 300 yards off shore.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 15 December 1888, GEORGE W. ROBY (wooden propeller, 281 foot, 1,843 gross tons,) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was built by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#45).


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


Slumping steel market slashes November ore float on lakes

12/14 - Cleveland - With the nation’s steel mills cutting production and banking blast furnaces, iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes fell significantly in November. The trade totaled 4.9 million net tons, a decrease of 11 percent compared to both a year ago and November’s 5-year average.

Shipments will erode even further in December. Since mid-November, 10 U.S.-Flag lakers have laid up early, including a 1,000-footer that is dedicated to the iron ore trade. In total, 12 U.S.-flag lakers have been withdrawn from service, and at least two others are slated to end their seasons in the next few days.

The crisis in steel came on quickly. As a result, for the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade remains ahead of last year’s pace. Shipments through November stand at 56.2 million net tons, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is 5.9 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - December 14

Twin Ports - Al Miller
With ice covering the harbor and a winter storm looming on the horizon, the Duluth-Superior harbor was a busy place Saturday. At midday, Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay was breaking ice in the Front Channel after widening out the cut leading into St. Louis Bay. At the same time, Roger Blough was in the turning basin off the port terminal preparing to head into CN/DMIR ore dock and John G. Munson was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. Late in the afternoon, as snow began to fall, Beluga Revolution continued unloading at the port terminal, St. Clair was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and Kaye E. Barker was in the turning basin waiting to load the second of three cargoes it is carrying to the power plant at Taconite Harbor. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was at the Murphy Oil terminal also waiting for a turn at the coal dock.

Cleveland - Bill Kloss
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was loading concentrate ore at Cleveland Bulk Terminal and Cuyahoga was loading salt at Cargill on Saturday

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came in Saturday morning with the final load of coal for the season for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven, Mich.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
On Saturday, Halifax departed U.S. Steel at 12:30 p.m. for the Welland Canal. The Hamilton Energy departed at 2:15 p.m. for Port Weller to bunker the Atlantic Huron below Lock 1. The CSL Assininboine arrived at 6 p.m. with coal for U.S. Steel.

Marinette/Menominee - Scott Best
A very busy end of the week around Marinette and Menominee. Arriving early Friday morning was the Melissa Desgagnes at Marinette Fuel and Dock. By Friday around 8:30 p.m., the Agawa Canyon and Canadian Transfer arrived off Menominee and went to anchor to await the departure of Melissa Desgagnes. By 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning the Desgagnes departed and the Canadian Transfer was able to come in to unload its cargo of salt which was originally destined for Green Bay but heavy ice in lower Green Bay and a dropping water level forced them to abandon an attempt into Green Bay Friday afternoon. The Transfer departed MF&D by 8:30 Saturday, allowing the Agawa Canyon to come in with her cargo of salt. The Cason J. Callaway is going to try and make its way into Green Bay Saturday with a cargo of coal. Canadian Transfer reported ice over 12 inches in some places.


Mann Marine Collection donated to Sombra Museum

12/14 - Sombra, Ont. - An extensive collection of Great Lakes memorabilia was donated and officially and received by the Sombra, Ont. Museum during a Dec. 7 ceremony.

The collection was gathered by three generations of the Mann family of Wallaceburg. Frank Mann began the collection in the 1930's. It was continued by his son Alan and continued in the third generation by Blake Mann, son of Alan. The collection consists of nearly every hard cover Lakes book published over the past 50 years, Shipmasters directories from the early 20th century, Red Books, Greenwood directories and magazines.

Highlights of the collection includes hundreds of post cards of Great Lakes ships and over 100 passenger ship illustrated brochures (Northern Navigation, D&C, C&B, Georgian Bay Lines and more). There are many miscellaneous items on display including a life ring from the ill-fated Carl D. Bradley, collected a year prior to her sinking.

David Lee, president of the Sombra Township Museum Board, accepted the collection from the Mann family.


Updates - December 14

News Photo Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events started

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 14

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

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

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


Dredge stuck, work delayed on Saginaw River project

12/13 – Saginaw, Mich. - Engine problems on a dredge delayed the start-up of the $1.9 million project, said Tom Zatkovic, general superintendent of Luedtke Engineering Co. in Frankfort. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hired the west Michigan company to remove up to 200,000 cubic yards of silt along the upper river channel from Saginaw to Bay City.

But if the waterway ices over, it could mean several weeks more before the dredging starts, he said, possibly postponing work to spring. "If I knew what the weather was going to do, I could give you a definitive answer," Zatkovic said. "If temperatures stay cold and freezing, we probably won't start up until we see a break in the weather, which could be spring. If we get a warming trend, we're anxious to get it done, too."

The work, which would start at the Sixth Street turning basin near Saginaw, will have an immediate impact on the river and allow freighters to ply the waterway with heavier loads, said Webber, president and owner of Sargent Docks & Terminal Inc. "We're going to go from being one of the worst ports in the Great Lakes, draft wise, to one of the best," Webber said.

He hopes the dredging occurs soon to allow two more freighters to deliver road salt by January or February. The Saginaw County docks are an entranceway for salt deliveries to a third of Michigan, he said.

From the Saginaw News


Lackawanna, N.Y. steel mill to shut down

12/13 - Buffalo - The news came out on Mid-December that Arcelor-Mittal Steel had decided to shut down their remaining operations at the former Bethlehem Steel Lackawanna Plant by Spring of 2009. About 300 workers will be without a job if no buyers can be found for the Continuous Galvanizing Mill and the Cold Strip Mill. A sour economy and the high cost of fuel used to transport materials to and from Lackawanna were the reasons sighted for the closure.

These two mills survived the initial shut down of all hot side operations back in the 70’s and 80’s due to their profitable operation. Materials for the Lackawanna strip & galvanizing mills were once supplied by the fully integrated steel making facilities directly across Route 5, but has been coming from producers in other states for 25 years.

The only former Bethlehem property to still produce steel products will then be the Republic Engineered Technologies 13” Bar Mill. This last remaining link to the past employs a few hundred steel workers in a town that once held over 25,000 jobs in that sector alone, in addition to all the work created by the maritime shipping, railroad, trucking, and numerous related industries.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski


Port Reports - December 13

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
The Melissa Desgagnes paid a rare visit to Marinette Fuel & Dock on Friday, when it arrived in the wee hours of the morning with a load of pig iron. The last time this ship was in Marinette was in Aug. 2002.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Calumet came in Friday morning with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. The barge McKee Sons with her tug Invincible is expected with a load of coal Saturday. Manistee was expected to deliver a load to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg late Friday night and take a load out from Construction Aggregates, also in Ferrysburg on Saturday, weather permitting.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc arrived in the mouth of the Thunder Bay River around 2 a.m. Friday morning. It unloaded a cargo coal for the DPI Plant. Manitowoc departed before 11a.m. to head for Stoneport. The Samuel de Champlain/Innovation and the Alpena are both expected at Lafarge on Saturday.


Chemical tanker Stolt Aspiration sold

12/13 - According to the Equasis website, the chemical tanker Stolt Aspiration was sold earlier this year.

Aspiration was a very familiar vessel in the Seaway/Great Lakes from 1987, when she was built, up through 2004. She has been sold to Brazilian interests and renamed Castillo de Plasencia. A photo of that tanker graced the front cover of the annual publication Seaway Ships, 1987 edition, showing her entering the Seaway.

Reported by René Beauchamp


Shipwreck found in Lake Ontario

12/13 - Toronto - A pair of local shipwreck enthusiasts say they have discovered a 200-year-old dagger-board schooner about 10 miles offshore of Oak Orchard, Orleans County.

The ship — which had apparently been stripped of iron, anchors and even its cabin long before it sank — may have broken loose from moorings somewhere near Toronto while being converted for other uses sometime around the time of the War of 1812, said Jim Kennard of Perinton. "We don't believe it was scuttled, it wouldn't make sense to drag it out that far in the lake to scuttle it," he said. He said it's possible the ship was being converted to another type of sailing vessel or perhaps a barge when it broke free.

However, exploration partner Dan Scoville thinks the ship may have been under tow when it broke away and sank. "It's headed right down the shipping lanes and isn't at an odd angle," he said, adding that spotty records of ships from the early 19th century means it's likely the team will never know exactly how the 55-foot schooner settled in waters outside of Orleans County.

Kennard and Scoville, who recently moved from Greece to Texas, discovered the wreck in early September while conducting a deep water sonar survey in Lake Ontario. Using a remote operated vehicle designed and built by Scoville, the men deployed lights and multiple cameras to explore the shipwreck.

While so far unable to pin down the ship's origin or name, Kennard and Scoville have been in contact with the Great Lakes Historical Society and various maritime museums and historians about their find. "We are requesting anyone with information get in touch with us so we can further our understanding of this type of ship," said Kennard.

Dagger-board, or drop-keel, ships were used on Lake Ontario for only a short time in the early 1800s, said Kennard. The dagger board was a wooden plank that could be extended through the ship's keel in order to provide stability. The boards could be raised, allowing the ship to dock in shallow harbors. The ship found by Kennard and Scoville is the only dagger-board schooner known to be found in the Great Lakes.

The men —who together have located more than 200 shipwrecks — have had a good year finding wrecks. In May, they discovered a ship long thought to be the "Holy Grail" of shipwreck hunters, the HMS Ontario, a 22-gun British warship that sank in Lake Ontario during a 1780 storm. The Ontario is the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes and is the only British warship of that era still in existence.

Scoville said although he and Kennard have found the most sought-after shipwreck in the Great Lakes, their enthusiasm for the hunt hasn't diminished. "You can't ask for more than finding the Ontario, but there are other wrecks out there with interesting stories," he said. "And it's the background story that makes all of this so interesting."

From the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle


Updates - December 13

News Photo Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events started

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 13

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

On December 13, 1989, Kinsman’s HENRY STEINBRENNER, a.) WILLIAM A MC GONAGLE was laid up at Toledo's Lakefront Dock.

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

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

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

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

In 1929, the 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.


James R Barker at Carbide Dock

12/12 - 4:30 p.m. - Sault Ste. Marie - Late Friday morning, the up bound James R. Barker tied up at the Soo Carbide Dock. Word on the street is that she need repairs to one of the props. A crew from Wisconsin has been dispatched to do this repair.

As of 2:30 p.m., the bow is ballasted down, and the stern is high out of the water.


U.S. Coast Guard’s 2008-09 Operation Taconite begins

12/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Coast Guard commenced Operation Taconite Thursday morning in response to colder temperatures and the resultant ice growth in the Western Great Lakes Region.

Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac and Lake Michigan. As a result of the operation, certain waterways may close once due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross channel traffic (e.g. ferries), the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents who, in the course of their daily business, use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.

Initially, only one Coast Guard ice breaker will be assigned to Operation Taconite. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, from Sault Ste. Marie, has been ordered to make its way west toward Duluth, Minn., to provide ice breaking services while CGC Alder is away working aids to navigation. In the coming days and weeks additional Coast Guard ice breakers will join the operation.

Currently there are no channel closures. However the implementation of Operation Taconite does place additional measures on commercial shipping plying the western lakes, St. Mary’s River, and the Straits of Mackinac. These measures may include restricting tanker transits to daylight only in the presence of ice, reducing speeds by 2 miles per hour in various locations, and requiring additional voice and position reporting points throughout the operation’s area of responsibility. The Coast Guard would like to advise all recreational ice users there are currently no channel closures, and to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels. Recreational users and island residents should stay tuned to local media resources for the status of waterway closures.

USCG news release


Lakes coal surges in November; Western coal leads the way

12/12 – Cleveland, Ohio - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 4.1 million net tons in November, an increase of 21 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments were also up nearly 7 compared to the month’s 5-year average. Shipments of low-sulfur coal from Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, accounted for most of the increase.

Nonetheless, the dredging crisis continued to hamper shipments. Not one coal cargo topped 65,000 tons in November, and many were in the 63,000-ton range. If the Great Lakes were dredged to allow for full loads, some vessels would be carrying as much as 71,000 tons each trip, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it needs to remove 17 million cubic yards of sediment system-wide before vessels can utilize 100 percent of their rated capacity.

Restoring the Great Lakes navigation system to project dimensions will require more than $200 million from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. The fund has a surplus of nearly $5 billion, but recent administrations have not spent the tax-generated fund for its intended purpose, maintaining the nation’s deep-draft ports and waterways.

For the year, the Great Lakes coal trade stands at 36.1 million tons, an increase of 4.3 percent compared to a year ago. Year-to-date, however, the trade is slightly off its 5-year average.

More information is available at 

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Discharge regulations cause dispute
Shipping could come to a halt on Dec. 19

12/12 - Green Bay — A dispute over the state's process for establishing regulation of ballast and other water discharges from lake-going ships has several agencies and groups working to head off a scenario no one wants to see.

At the heart of the issue is the possibility that ships operating in Wisconsin waters could be open to litigation from environmental groups and citizens or enforcement of federal rules for discharges "incidental to the normal operation of a vessel" beginning Dec. 19. That possibility is offered in a Nov. 20 letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from the director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That raised the possibility shipping to the state could come to a halt in Wisconsin next week.

"Obviously, we want the ships to keep coming … (but) there has to be some kind of resolution. Otherwise, on the 19th any vessel discharge is a violation of the Clean Water Act," said Glen Nekvasil with the Ohio-based Lake Carriers' Association. "Come Dec. 19, no vessels will enter Wisconsin waters, which means all that western coal out of Superior will stop along with all that salt this still needs to go to Wisconsin."

Todd Ambs, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Water Division administrator, said this issue has flared up over the federal agency's interpretation of the state's processes for dealing with contested cases and can't issue a Clean Water Act permit in Wisconsin waters. "We're pushing hard (on a resolution). There's absolutely no way we're going to allow shipping to come to a halt in Wisconsin," he said. "We're working on issues that have been raised by the two parties in the contested case hearing, and we've been working with EPA on the nature of the possible enforcement problems that they allude to in their letter."

Those contesting the state's regulations are the Lake Carriers Association and the National Wildlife Federation. "We don't believe there is much of any exposure on this from an enforcement standpoint," Ambs said. Both the Lake Carriers Association and the National Wildlife Federation said talks with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were ongoing Thursday.

The state told interested parties the procedural process of certification was going to get resolved by the spring 2009 shipping season. "We never expected anybody would threaten there was some sort of enforcement action that could be taken the remainder of this shipping season," Ambs said.

Regardless, the letter from the Environmental Protection Agency has sent waves through the shipping community. A halt of ships could end the shipping season to Green Bay by a few weeks, said Dean Haen, port director. "We're expecting six more salt vessels and something like five coal vessels, so we've got a busy port, yet," he said Thursday. "A mistake has been made between the DNR and EPA on this issue, and it needs to be resolved."

Discharges range from ballast to water used for cooling engines, Nekvasil said. "Since this is about more than just ballast, it means vessels can't even go to Sturgeon Bay to lay up," he said, shortly before noon Thursday. "There are discussions ongoing, but there is no resolution right now."

News that a resolution could be in the works comes as a sign of hope for vessel operators on the lakes.

At Ludington, Mich.-based Pere Marquette Shipping, the prospect of suspending operations to Wisconsin is very real. Mark Mather, administrator at the company, said he received word a resolution was in the works Wednesday afternoon. "There's relief because the implications were wide-ranging," he said. Staff at the S.S. Badger have also been watching the situation unfold. Their car ferry service runs from Ludington to Manitowoc.

"We believe the issue between the Wisconsin DNR and the EPA has the potential to affect all large commercial vessels operating in Wisconsin waters, including the S.S. Badger," the company said in a statement sent to the Press-Gazette Thursday. "This is an important issue, and we hope the situation can be resolved soon."

The Lake Carriers Association has contended the discharge rules are unnecessary since the Great Lakes fleet doesn't leave the Great Lakes and the water is not a vector of invasive species that aren't already found in the lakes. They've also cited the cost and use of water treatment systems on lake-going ships as impractical. "Our ships never leave the Great Lakes so they don't introduce non-indigenous species," Nekvasil said. "Our ballast water only contains what's in the lakes."

Ambs said there's a less of a vector with ships on the lakes, but interlake travel can speed up the process by which some species move from lake to lake. The goal of state regulations, he said, is to mitigate the threat of invasive species with as little impact on Great Lakes shipping as possible. Wisconsin's regulations would require ships to meet disinfection protocols for new vessels by 2012 and existing ships by 2016, said Ambs, who pointed out Minnesota and Illinois are doing the same thing.

"What we've said (to contesting parties) is regardless of what you think of the merits of our certification, your concerns are related to either 2012 or 2016, and we ought to be able to figure out a way to say: 'Let's hold those concerns for another day and get us to the end of the shipping season,'" he said. "I don't think anybody wants to have this impact on shipping.

"We will get it resolved," Ambs said.

From the Manitowoc Herald Times


Port Reports - December 12

Menominee - Scott Best and Dick Lund
Thursday morning the tug Victory and barge James L Kuber arrived for winter layup, along with the Olive L Moore and barge Lewis J Kuber. The Lewis J Kuber backed in first, followed by the James L Kuber. Both vessels worked their way to the dock in about 4 inches of ice above the Ogden Street Bridge. By late morning both vessels were tied up at the K&K dock in Menominee, Mich. The Olive L. Moore was expected to head for Escanaba Thursday afternoon for a short dry-dock stay and should return to KK West Dock in about a week.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk
Saginaw, a regular visitor, made her first visit to Owen Sound since being repowered on Thursday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth early Thursday to load at CN/DMIR with pellets for Nanticoke. American Spirit was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding down the Front Channel to lay up at the Lakehead Pipeline dock. Kwintebank was loading at General Mills in Duluth while Loireborg was anchored out on the lake waiting for the same berth. A classic laker, visible only as a silhouette off in the “sea smoke” rising off the lake, was slowly proceeding down the lake from the waters off Superior Entry – it may have been Arthur M. Anderson waiting for the dock at Two Harbors.

Buffalo - Dan Sweeley
Adam E. Cornelius continued to unload at General Mills elevator. Alpena was at LaFarge Thursday morning. The Halifax arrived light at Lackawanna at noon to load blended coal.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The John J. Boland finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed Thursday afternoon. Shortly afterward the Herbert C. Jackson shifted over to the CSX Docks to load coal. The Maumee finished unloading salt at the A.R.M.S. Dock and departed late Thursday afternoon. The Tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 were at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Cuyahoga was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Thursday evening, unknown which dock she was bound for. The tug Petite Forte with the barge St. Marys Cement are due in Friday morning for the St. Marys Cement Plant.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Robert S. Pierson due in Thursday evening followed by Adam E. Cornelius and Algosoo on Friday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Docks has the John D. Leitch due in Friday afternoon.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Cason J. Callaway was backing inbound on the Calumet River Thursday morning at 95th St. at 10:30 a.m., destined for KCBX to load coal for Green Bay. The ATB Samuel de Champlain/Innovation was heard departing LaFarge at 130th St. at 12:10 p.m. for the lake. The Joseph L. Block was inbound at Indiana Harbor around 11:30 a.m. for Mittal Steel.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algoway was outbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday evening after unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee.


Updates - December 12

News Photo Gallery updated

2009 Calendar of Events started

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber - Updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery 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

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius arrived at 7 a.m. Wednesday with a load for General Mills.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon entered the inner harbour at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, did the turn, then went to the Sifto Salt dock to load. She was on the dock at 7:45 a.m.


Welland Canal power generators online

12/11 - St. Catharines, Ont. - It's truly a powerful sight. Every second, up to 18 tonnes of water roar over the Lock 1 and 2 weirs on the Welland Canal.

With a flick of a switch Monday, that water power turned into electrical power - enough to cover the energy needs of 3,300 households. "We're making green money and green energy here," said Richard Corfe, president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. "The more use we can get out of our water, the better." Corfe and more than a dozen other tuque-wearing officials braved the cold Monday morning to watch the formal opening of a two megawatt hydro generator at Lock 2. An identical 22-tonne turbine also powered up at Lock 1.

St. Catharines-based Rankin Renewable Power spent most of 2008 building the two power stations under mist from the thundering weir water. When the canal shuts down for winter in January, workers will begin work on the final generator at Lock 3, company president Tom Rankin said. "As soon as the ships stop, we get started," said an excited Rankin, who has a 25-year contract to run the power stations and sell the electricity to the province for 11 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Rankin showed off the Lock 2 generator Monday, cranking up energy production from zero to two megawatts as municipal and Seaway officials toured the new powerhouse. A grinning Larry Malone stared at the station like a proud parent. Malone, who recently retired as the Seaway's power manager, first pitched the idea of new canal hydro generation four years ago.

The canal has produced enough power to cover its own operations for decades at an older hydro station at the flight locks in Thorold. Malone saw the potential to make power for the public, too. "We had all this water running down and out of the canal ... totally going to waste," he said. "I knew we could make better use of it, and now it's happening. Holy cow, I'm happy."

The hydro plants produce power by harnessing water not used to pass ships through the locks. Together, the three completed hydro generators can churn out six megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 5,000 households. If you include the Seaway's hydro station in the mix, the canal is on track to generate up to 12 megawatts of green electricity. More could be on the way, too. New Seaway power manager Scott Frick said Lock 8 is also a candidate for a canal power project.

From the St. Catharines Standard


Port of Montreal not feeling impact of slowing global economy

12/11 – Montreal, Q.C. – The global economy might be slowing down and with it international trade, but so far it is having little effect on the Port of Montreal – one of the main North American gateways for goods transiting Eastern Canada and the U.S. Midwest.

Container traffic is particularly strong: Preliminary data compiled by the Washington-based American Association of Port Authorities show that for the first eight months of this year, container traffic through Montreal grew 10.1 per cent from a year earlier. Not only is the port thriving, it is upgrading and expanding its facilities for anticipated growth, having launched a $2.5-billion infrastructure project – Vision 2020 – that will unfold over the next 12 years with a goal, among others, of tripling the port's container capacity to the equivalent of 4.5 million 20-foot container units.

“We're running out of space,” says Patrice Pelletier, president and chief executive officer of the Montreal Port Authority (MPA). “The effects of the economic downturn could impact us in 2009, but these downturns are always cyclical and we want to be ready when the markets start coming back. “We have to keep looking ahead,” he adds. “This is a long-term project. Let's face it, people aren't going to stop eating or buying things that they need for the house.”

The port, which is open year-round, sprawls along 25 kilometers of Montreal's waterfront. The downtown complex comprises four container terminals, 15 transit sheds for non-containerized general cargo (steel, forest products, food) and dry bulk (fertilizer, sugar, copper, road salt), storage space for 15 million barrels of liquid bulk (petroleum products) and a terminal capable of holding 260,000 tonnes of grain.

Vision 2020 is being implemented in four phases, of which the first is already under way. The first two will streamline and reorganize existing infrastructure – remodeling old buildings, utilizing empty parking lots, converting underutilized spaces into container terminals and so on. Phases 3 and 4 will see the building of new terminals, either in Montreal East or at Contrecoeur, 40 kilometers down the St. Lawrence Seaway, to expand container capacity. The exact location and financing are yet to be worked out.

According to Mr. Pelletier, part of the $2.5-billion financing will come from the private sector, as well as the port's own reserves, with $450-million to $650-million expected to be provided by the federal government. He points out that infrastructure projects of this size are typically financed over many years and thus have little exposure to short-term fluctuations in the market. “We're taking an attitude of prudent optimism,” Mr. Pelletier says. “We know that we must build on the essential infrastructure because it's important for the future development of Canada, not just Montreal.”

Once completed in 2020, the port's makeover is expected to create 41,000 jobs and generate $3.4-billion in revenue, officials say. That doesn't include construction: Phases 1, 2 and 3 alone are expected to generate $740-million in gross domestic product and 10,000 jobs, they say. The port's activities and related spinoffs already account for 18,200 jobs, either directly or indirectly across the country; in 2007, MPA's profit was $8.4-million on operating revenue of $81.7-million.

Contributing to the Port of Montreal's profit is revenue from the cruise industry. Part of the port complex includes Alexandra Pier, a cruise ship terminal, which, along with the rest of the port, is slated for redevelopment. The berths are close to downtown and cruise passengers can walk into the heart of Old Montreal with its many tourist attractions, but the MPA, taking its cue from other cruise destinations, want them to linger and spend money in the port area.

At present, there is little to induce anybody to hang around the terminal buildings, which are basically a couple of unprepossessing sheds. Future plans under Vision 2020, however, include constructing a modern recreational and tourism complex with boutiques, restaurants, entertainment venues and the like, to create an attractive destination both for out-of-towners and for local residents.

Determining the exact footprint of that area of the waterfront will be decided in 2009, according to Mr. Pelletier. The timing is good. Cruise traffic along the St. Lawrence River is growing. This year, 25 cruise ships carrying 32,100 passengers called at the port, and based on forward bookings, 2,000 more passengers are scheduled to arrive in 2009. The revamped Alexandra Pier is expected to attract many thousands more.

In the meantime, while the Port of Montreal is enjoying a bumper year, cargo shipments might slow in 2009. Fluctuations in the rates of exchange between the Canadian dollar and other currencies affect the levels of international trade. Moreover, there tends to be a delayed reaction to the ups and downs of an economy and the flow of goods.

“In our business, there's often a time lag between supply and demand,” explains Serge Dubreuil, president of Logistec Stevedoring Inc., one of the largest cargo-handling companies at the Port of Montreal. “We've noticed a drop, for example, in the export of recycled paper. It was going to China to be turned into packaging but now that the demand for Chinese-made goods has weakened, the demand for the paper has gone down as well.”

“That being said, we've picked up business from other regions of the world, such as South America, where some economies are still growing and, right now, our cargo terminals are at capacity. “From our point of view, an expansion to the port is well overdue. We have to look ahead, well beyond what is happening right now.”

From The Toronto Globe and Mail


Port Stanley residents harbor new hopes

12/11 - Port Stanley, Ont. – Residents have new hope for the village's neglected harbor.

To combat economic woes, the federal and provincial governments plan to pump billions of dollars into public works. At the same time, there's newfound local determination to resolve the problem of ownership of the best harbour on Lake Erie's north shore. "Until the harbor issue is resolved, we can't go ahead," said Ben Veel, a local resident.

He was among about 120 residents who gathered last week to hear an update on 12 years of going-nowhere talks between the municipality of Central Elgin and Transport Canada. Those negotiations have been veiled in secrecy demanded by federal officials anxious to divest themselves of the once-bustling port that is now clogged with silt. "I want to see the harbour situation settled," said Veel. "Money is available, but you need to know how to access it."

He credits Dan McNeil, a retired Canadian rear admiral, with exposing federal intentions by uncovering hundreds of documents under access freedom-of-information law. And he thinks port activist McNeil can help access government money. "We appreciate Dan McNeil taking an interest," Veel said of the man who told residents the negotiations are useless and should be replaced with new ones that include Elgin County and the province. That's because of high costs associated with environmental issues in the former commercial harbor with contaminated soil and sediments.

The harbor hasn't been dredged in years and its commercial viability has ended, frustrating users, developers and Americans with plans for cross-lake ferry service from Cleveland. McNeil has estimated it could cost $30 million to remediate the harbor area based on a similar harbour cleanup at Victoria, B.C. He said it's essential the province come to the table in Port Stanley because the issue has regional economic impact if it becomes a ferry terminal, transport node, border crossing and tourist magnet.

"The Ontario government must be involved," McNeil said. But so far, it has stood back despite environmental concerns Transport Canada seems unwilling to address. "Nobody will invest here in the current circumstances," he said. He hopes a citizens' group will put together a plan to take to Queen's Park to access not only federal money, but also provincial funds. "We need informed citizens to develop proposals for the conditions of success" to transfer the harbour to local hands, he said.

From the London Free Press


Marine Mart planned for December 13 at Grosse Pointe

The Maritime Auxiliary Group of the Detroit Historical Society is sponsoring the 27th annual Marine Mart at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial on Saturday, December 13. The mart will feature ship models, photos, brochures, artifacts, china, souvenirs, artwork, postcards, books and much more.

Early-bird admission (9:30 a.m.-10 a.m.) is $10. General admission (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) is $7.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Drive, in Grosse Pointe Farms, between Cadieux and Moross. For additional directions visit  For more information visit,  or call 313-833-1980.


Updates - December 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber - Updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery 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.

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 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.


Wisconsin Shipping Could End Dec 19

12/10 - A disagreement between Wisconsin and the federal government over how to regulate ballast water has left Great Lakes ship owners facing possible legal action if they enter Badger State ports after Dec. 19.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says a new Environmental Protection Agency pollution discharge permit for ships isn’t good enough to protect the state’s waters from invasive species carried in ship ballast tanks. Instead, the DNR has developed new guidelines that mirror water quality regulations adopted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in September, requiring all ship owners to treat ballast to kill invasive species by 2016.

“We thought it was important to make a statement at this time to show we are serious about this issue,’’ said Roger Larson, deputy director of the DNR’s watershed management division. “We’re saying that we think ballast treatment is necessary down the line to fully protect Wisconsin waters.’’ Because Wisconsin didn’t certify the federal permit rules, both the Lakes Carriers Association and National Wildlife Federation filed for a contested case hearing with the DNR. But that won’t happen until January.

In the meantime, there’s no federal permit allowing ships to discharge any pollutants into Wisconsin waters. “Until Wisconsin provides or waives certification and EPA issues a permit for Wisconsin, any discharges that are incidental to the normal operation of a vessel will be in violation” of the federal Clean Water Act, wrote Timothy Henry, acting director of the EPA’s water division in Chicago, in a Nov. 20 letter to Wisconsin DNR. “Citizen suits and enforcement actions could be taken against any vessel owner or operator who discharges a pollutant to navigable waters without a NPDES permit.’’ While Larson noted the EPA has no field staff to enforce the permit rule, the Coast Guard could take action based on existing laws and environmental groups could take civil action under the Clean Water Act.

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said no ship owner will take the chance of violating a federal law. He said the effect could stifle coal shipments from Superior’s Midwest Energy Terminal and iron ore shipments out of the city’s Burlington Northern taconite dock. The ruling also could prevent Great Lakes boats from spending the winter in Superior where they often undergo maintenance and repairs to prepare for the next shipping season. “It would prevent any boat from laying up at Fraser Shipyards. They have to empty their ballast so they don’t freeze, and they clearly can’t do that under this letter,’’ Ojard said.

“I would think they (EPA and DNR) should be able to work things out before then. This seems like some sort of bureaucratic brinksmanship.’’ Glen Nekvasil, vice president for corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association that represents U.S. owners of Great Lakes freighters, said the situation could “shut down Great Lakes shipping in Wisconsin after midnight on Dec. 19.’’ “It’s not just a ballast issue. It’s engine cooling water and everything else. … Our lakers couldn’t enter any Wisconsin ports under this situation after midnight on Dec. 19,’’ he said.

Nekvasil said his group has appealed to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle to urge the DNR to certify the federal rules for now and resolve other issues later. “We hope we can still work this out by the 19th,’’ he said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Half- billion dollar project could be largest on Great Lakes in a generation

12/10 - Toledo, Ohio – Congress is considering the possible funding of the construction of a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, a half-billion dollar undertaking that would rank as the largest navigation infrastructure project on the Great Lakes in a generation. Construction of a new lock at the Soo would bring up to 250 jobs annually to northern Michigan and continue for a decade. Estimated cost of the lock is about $475 million. One economist has likened the economic impact of lock construction to opening an automobile plant in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Funding could come either through a massive stimulus bill or appropriations bills that will be considered by Congress as early as January. The new lock has been in the planning stage for two decades, but now is ready to move forward once funding is secured.

“The need for a second Poe-sized lock is critical,” said Patrick J. O’Hern, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), and Vice President and General Manager of Bay Shipbuilding Company. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers the Soo Locks the single point of failure that could bring Great Lakes shipping to a standstill. The new lock was first authorized more than 20 years ago. America has waited too long for this project to move forward. The time is now.”

The Soo Locks connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. The locks handle more than 80 million tons of iron ore, coal, grain, and other cargos each year. The benefits of Great Lakes shipping are extraordinary for raw materials-dependent industries across the region and nation. By one estimate, shipping via the Lakes annually saves customers $3.6 billion compared to the next least-expensive transportation mode.

“The reason the need is so critical is vessels that are restricted to the Poe Lock represent nearly 70 percent of U.S.-flag carrying capacity on the Great Lakes,” said Donald Cree, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and National Vice President, Great Lakes, for American Maritime Officers. “If the Poe Lock is incapacitated for a lengthy period of time, America’s steel mills won’t have access to Minnesota and Michigan iron ore. Great Lakes power plants won’t be able to receive clean-burning, low-sulfur coal. The entire American economy is at risk.”

The new lock has been authorized at full Federal expense. Groundbreaking could begin immediately. At the peak of construction, 250 workers will be on the job. Nearly one out of every four dollars spent on the project will wind up as regional incomes in an area where $20,000 a year is considered a good-paying job.

“This lock is about much more than keeping cargo moving on the Great Lakes,” said James H.I. Weakley, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has determined that Great Lakes shipping saves its customers $3.6 billion a year when compared to the next least-costly land-based mode of transportation. Those savings keep Americans employed and American industries competitive. The new lock will be a boon to consumers and employers alike.”

“The Lakes had a preview of the disaster that awaits us if the Poe Lock fails just a couple months ago,” said John D. Baker, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and President of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council. “A mechanical failure closed the Poe Lock for a brief period and three vessels had to go to anchor. An entire industry was crossing its fingers. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was able to resume lock operations quickly, but we can’t bank on that always being the case. Congress must include a second Poe-sized lock in any economic stimulus package or an appropriations bill.”

GLMTF was founded in Toledo, Ohio, in 1992 to promote domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. With more than 80 member companies and organizations, it is the largest coalition to ever speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing U.S.-Flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards, and other Great Lakes interests. Its goals include restoring adequate funding for dredging of Great Lakes deep-draft ports and waterways, construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; protecting the nation’s cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.

From the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Port Reports - December 10

Toronto - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman departed Toronto Tuesday Morning. English River has been docked in Toronto for over a week.

Duluth/Superior - Al Miller
Indiana Harbor pulled away from Midwest Energy Terminal about 7:30 a.m. bound for Nanticoke Wednesday morning. American Integrity was sitting a boat-length away waiting to take the dock to load for St. Clair. Nearby, the Irma was loading grain at CHS 1. At BNSF, CSL Assiniboine was loading while Capt. Henry Jackman waited for the dock out on the lake off Superior Entry. Much of Duluth-Superior harbor is covered by ice now, but vessels appear to have no trouble opening lanes and maneuvering.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Dorothy Ann with her barge, Pathfinder, were inbound the Saginaw River on a snowy Tuesday morning. The pair called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload and were then back outbound for the lake Tuesday evening.


Freighters wait out last week’s storm on Saginaw Bay

12/10 - Bay City, Mich. - Residents from AuGres to Caseville may have done a double take when they looked out on Saginaw Bay last Friday, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials. About 10 freighters were anchored in the bay, seeking shelter, due to high waves in Lake Huron, according to Coast Guard officials.

Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ''were calling for 18-foot waves out on Lake Huron,'' said Petty Officer Travis W. Ruterbusch of the U.S. Coast Guard's Saginaw River Station in Hampton Township. ''There were some really nasty swells out in Lake Huron on the weekend,'' Ruterbusch said.

The idle freighters prompted some to call the Coast Guard. ''A gentleman living along Oak Point, in Huron County, called us Friday afternoon and wondered what was going on,'' Ruterbusch said. ''Several of the freighters stayed in the Bay overnight on Friday and left in the morning on Saturday.''

Southwest winds on Friday night at East Tawas were from 22 to 34 mph, according to Mike Boguth of the National Weather Service office at Gaylord.

From the Bay City Times


Cruise ship will evacuate to avoid pirate attack

12/10 – Berlin, Germany – A German cruise ship (c. Columbus) plans to evacuate passengers in Yemen and fly them to the next port of call Wednesday to avoid any possible encounters with pirates off the coast of lawless Somalia. Several other cruise operators said Tuesday they were also shifting or canceling tours that would have taken clients past Somalia, as nations and companies around the world debated how to confront the piracy dominating the Gulf of Aden.

The European Union said its anti-piracy mission would station armed guards on vulnerable cargo ships — the first such deployment of military personnel during international anti-piracy operations in the crucial waterway. But that deployment would not cover cruise ships, and at least two companies have already altered or canceled routes that would have brought passengers within the reach of pirates.

The M/S c. Columbus, on an around-the-world trip that began in Italy, will drop off its 246 passengers Wednesday at the Yemeni port of Hodeidah before sailing through the gulf, the Hapag-Lloyd cruise company said. Passengers will take a charter flight to Dubai and spend three days at a five-star hotel waiting to rejoin the 150-meter (490-foot) vessel in Oman's port of Salalah for the remainder of the trip. The Hamburg-based company called the shift a "precautionary measure."

The Columbus has been a frequent visitor to the Great Lakes in recent years.

Piracy has become rampant off the Somali coast, and recently pirates have begun targeting cruise liners as well as commercial vessels. On Nov. 30, pirates fired upon the M/S Nautica — a cruise liner carrying 650 passengers and 400 crew — but the massive ship outran its assailants. Other ships have not been so lucky.

Pirates have attacked 32 vessels and hijacked 12 of them since NATO deployed a four-vessel flotilla in the region Oct. 24 to escort cargo ships and conduct anti-piracy patrols. Ships still being held for huge ransoms include a Saudi oil tanker carrying $100 million in crude and a Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and heavy weapons. Hapag-Lloyd decided on the detour for its passengers after the German government denied the company's request for a security escort through the gulf, company spokesman Rainer Mueller said. "We won't travel through the Gulf of Aden with passengers" as long as the German Foreign Ministry's travel warning is in effect, Mueller said.

Another German cruise ship operator, Stuttgart-based Hansa Touristik, canceled a trip that would have brought the M/S Arion through the Gulf on Dec. 27, company spokeswoman Birgit Kelern said. Directors of a third German cruise company, the Bremen-based Plantours & Partner, were meeting with ship captains in Venice, Italy to decide whether to go ahead with a trip through the gulf. Passengers will learn Wednesday whether the M/S Vistamar will set sail Dec. 16 as planned, spokeswoman Sandra Marnen said.

A U.S. Navy official said while the danger of a pirate attack was significant, it was not advising ships to avoid transiting the gulf. "We are advising all ships to transit through the international traffic corridor within the Gulf of Aden," said Lt. Nathan Christensen, a Bahrain-based spokesman for the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, referring to a security corridor patrolled by the international coalition since August. Some 21,000 ships a year — or more than 50 a day — cross the Gulf of Aden, which links the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal and the Red Sea to the Indian Ocean.

From Yahoo News


Updates - December 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber - Updated

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATLANTIC (formerly MANITOULIN, wooden propeller passenger/package freight, 147 foot, 683 gross tons, built in 1880, at Owen Sound, Ontario) was bound for Byng Inlet with lumber camp supplies when she was caught in a storm and grounded in the lee of Pancake Island in Georgian Bay. Her cargo and aft cabin were thrown overboard to lighten her, but she caught fire and was destroyed. Her passengers and crew took to her boats and survived.

On 10 December 1891, a fire started on MARY (2-mast wooden schooner, 84 foot, 87 gross tons, built in 1877, at Merriton, Ontario) when an oil stove in the kitchen exploded. The vessel was at anchor at Sarnia, Ontario and damage was estimated at $10,000.

The CORISANE (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 137 foot, 292 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was tied up alongside MARY and she also caught fire but the flames were quickly extinguished. She was towed away from MARY by the ferry J C CLARK.

The PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground in 1893, north of Milwaukee.

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


Installation of Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom begins

12/9 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Lake Erie’s temperature at Buffalo has reached 39 degrees, meaning it’s cold enough to begin installing the spans of the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom, according to the International Joint Commission’s International Niagara Board of Control.

The ice boom has been installed each winter since 1964 near the outlet of Lake Erie to reduce the amount of ice entering the Niagara River. It minimizes ice jams in the river, which could damage shoreline property, while maintaining the water flow that supports hydro-electric power. The strings of spans have been removed from their onshore storage area and placed inside the Buffalo Harbor breakwall. Next, the junction plates the spans are attached to will be raised from the lakebed and secured to the surface using flotation barrels.

After that, the boom’s 22 spans will be attached to the junction plates. Installation of the barrels and boom spans typically takes six to seven days, unless there are high winds. Placement of the spans may begin when the Lake Erie water temperature at Buffalo reaches 39 degrees or Dec. 16, whichever comes first. Lake Erie hit 39 degrees Dec. 9 last year.

Stretching 1.7 miles from Buffalo Harbor to near the Canadian shore, the ice boom strengthens the natural ice arch that forms almost every year. The boom has substantially reduced the severity, number and duration of ice runs from Lake Erie into the Niagara River.

Severe storms with westerly winds may overcome the stability of the ice arch and force large masses of ice against the boom. The boom is designed so that when this occurs, the boom submerges and allows the ice to override it until the pressure is relieved. Once the storm subsides, the boom resurfaces and restrains ice that would otherwise flow down the river. The boom does not hamper the flow of water out of the lake into the Niagara River.

Each of the boom’s 22 spans consists of a series of up to 11 floating steel pontoons anchored to the lake bottom at 400-foot intervals by 2.5 inch steel cables. Each pontoon is 30 inches in diameter and 30 feet long.

From the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal


Port Reports - December 9

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes came in Sunday with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg, Mich., and departed after unloading. She lightered in Muskegon late Friday and waited for weather until Sunday. St. Marys Challenger finally left some time late Saturday or early Sunday after waiting weather for a week.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Five vessels were around the South Chicago/Indiana Harbor area late Monday morning. The Kwintebank was seen unloading at the North American Dock at Iroquois Landing at 10:30am. The John G. Munson was unloading stone at Carmeuse at the old Marblehead dock. The American Mariner was taking on a load of coal at the KCBX south dock for Milwaukee, and finished up around 12:15pm. She departed for the lake at 12:20.
Over at Indiana Harbor, the Joseph L. Block was waiting in the basin for the Burns Harbor to depart Mittal dock 7H. The Burns Harbor departed around noon for the lake.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday morning, the John J. Boland and the Manitowoc were anchored out in the bay waiting out the weather. Sunday night the Alpena arrived at Lafarge followed by the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation on Monday morning.


Congress letting anti-invader ballast bill die

12/9 - Washington, D.C. - Federal legislation that would require ocean freighters to disinfect ballast water before entering the Great Lakes will die at the end of the month, forcing lawmakers back to square one next year on the politically divisive issue.

The U.S. House of Representatives in April passed legislation requiring all transoceanic freighters to sanitize ballast tanks before entering U.S. waters. It would have required all freighters by 2015 to install treatment systems capable of killing all living organisms in ballast tanks, including pathogens. But the legislation ran into a brick wall in the U.S. Senate. Critics blocked a vote on the legislation because it contained a pre-emption clause that would have prevented individual states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from adopting tougher ballast treatment standards.

The bill officially will die when the current congressional session ends Dec. 31. Congress is expected to revisit the ballast water treatment legislation next year, but some officials familiar with the negotiations predicted the proposed treatment rules will remain paralyzed by politics. "I'm pretty pessimistic about the chances of Congress passing national ballast water treatment legislation," said Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association. "I think the House of Representatives will pass the legislation but I don't think it will pass the Senate. I haven't seen any change in the political dynamics."

The federal legislation was the most comprehensive effort to stem the flow of invasive species sneaking into the Great Lakes in the ballast tanks of transoceanic freighters. Foreign ships have imported more than 60 invasive species into the lakes since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959. Those species cause an estimated $200 million damage annually in the lakes.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, said he is optimistic that Congress and the administration of president-elect Barack Obama will pass federal ballast water treatment standards. "Invasive species are one of the greatest economic and environmental threats to the region because once introduced, they are nearly impossible to eliminate," Hoekstra said.

Jennifer Nalbone, campaign director for the environmental advocacy group Great Lakes United, said Congress made significant progress this year on ballast treatment standards. "Everyone wants to see this problem solved, and there is enough common ground that we should be able to solve this in the next session of Congress," Nalbone said. "It's clear that we need a strong national ballast treatment standard and a timeline for implementation -- we have to get treatment systems on ships."

New invasive species are currently being discovered in the lakes at the rate of one every seven months.

The U.S. and Canada recently adopted rules requiring every transoceanic freighter destined for the Great Lakes to flush ballast tanks with sea water before entering the St. Lawrence River. Studies have shown that procedure reduces the number of viable organisms in the tanks by 95 percent. Treatment systems that use filtration, chemicals, heat and pressure chambers can kill an even greater percentage of organisms and pathogens in ballast water.

Michigan and several other states have adopted their own ballast water regulations, creating a variety of rules. The shipping industry wants a single national standard to avoid creating confusion and logistical problems for shippers. Fisher said he believes states like Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio -- where most transoceanic ships discharge ballast water -- are on the right track in developing treatment standards. Those states recently adopted similar regulations based on ballast treatment standards proposed by the International Maritime Organization.

Given the recent state laws passed in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio, Fisher said it is likely all ocean freighters plying the Great Lakes will be required to have ballast treatment systems on board by 2016.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Updates - December 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Weekly updates

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Duluth leaders make pitch for federal stimulus

12/8 - Duluth - During a visit to Duluth Sunday morning, Sen. Amy Klobuchar encountered no shortage of ideas on how the federal government could stimulate the Northland’s economy.

“I want to make sure we’re not just focused on Wall Street but on Main Street and northern Minnesota as well,” Klobuchar said. She predicted Mayor Don Ness no doubt had some suggestions. “I have a list,” Ness said.

He suggested the federal government help people improve the energy efficiency of older homes in the community, generating work and reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign energy. Ness also asked for federal support of efforts to make infrastructure improvements that could protect the health of Lake Superior. The wish list didn’t end there.

Bill Kron, president of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, asked for help working to redevelop the former U.S. Steel property in Morgan Park. “It’s the largest brownfield site in the state, with a huge potential to bring in jobs,” he said. Gaining control of the US Steel site could make it possible for Duluth to go after large industrial developments that the city would otherwise be poorly positioned to pursue, said Andy McDonough, the Port Authority’s business development director. He suggested, for instance, that the former steel plant property could be attractive to a wind turbine manufacturer, as many of these operations require large areas to lay down product awaiting shipment.

McDonough also said the authority is looking to invest $15 million to $20 million for roadways and other improvements that could support a transloading facility. Such an operation also could offer beneficial support to developments on the Iron Range, including plans for the state’s first slab steel mill.
The Duluth International Airport wants its slice of the pie, too. Brian Ryks, the airport authority’s executive director, said that over the next 12 years, the airport needs to make about $126 million in improvements. He pointed out that plans are already on the table for a new $65 million airport terminal, a project that could create more then 300 construction jobs. “We’re in a position where we’re ready to go,” Ryks told Klobuchar. For its part, Ryks noted that Lake Superior College is laying plans for a $2.8 million Center for Advanced Aviation on airport authority property.

Ted Smith, president of Marine Tech LLC, a Duluth dock maintenance and dredging contractor, asked Klobuchar to support funding for a new lock in Sault Ste. Marie. He pointed out that if anything happened to the Poe Lock there presently, about 70 percent of the laker traffic on Lake Superior would grind to a halt, hurting port operations and Iron Range mines, alike.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - December 8

Toronto - David Robinson
Both the Stephen B. Roman and the English River were in port today at the cement docks, a very cold and blustery day on the harbour.

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
Late-season traffic on the Saginaw River remains steady, with two commercial vessels arriving on Sunday afternoon. Algoway entered the river first, after waiting at anchor on the Saginaw Bay overnight, followed by the tug Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber. Algoway broke through about three inches of fresh ice on its way up to the Buena Vista Dock with a load from Meldrum Bay, Ontario. Moore-Kuber stopped at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City and is expected to continue up to the Wirt dock in Saginaw later.
Luedtke Engineering has begun the long-awaited dredging project for the upper Saginaw River, with the equipment working this weekend near Cheboyganing Creek.


Marine Mart planned for December 13 at Grosse Pointe

11/29 - Detroit - The Maritime Auxiliary Group of the Detroit Historical Society is sponsoring the 27th annual Marine Mart at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial on Saturday, December 13. The mart will feature ship models, photos, brochures, artifacts, china, souvenirs, artwork, postcards, books and much more.

Early-bird admission (9:30 a.m.-10 a.m.) is $10. General admission (10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) is $7.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Drive, in Grosse Pointe Farms, between Cadieux and Moross. For additional directions visit For more information visit, or call


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.

Electronic submissions are preferred. You may send your photo card to with Holiday Card Gallery in the subject line. If you are unable to send electronically, you may mail your card to: Holiday Card Gallery, 317 S. Division St. #8, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. They will be scanned and posted as time permits.

Cards must be received no later than Dec. 22 to be included.


BoatNerd requests hardware donations

BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer, network and video hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation or individual to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software.

We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher ( mostly computers made after 2001) and any size LCD monitor. We could also use small form factor PC's with any speed processor , an LCD projector, servers, network switches and video switcher. No printers please. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please visit


Updates - December 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Weekly updates

New book The Great Lakes Engineering Works, the Shipyard and its Vessels

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 08

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

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

JAMES DAVIDSON was laid up for the last time on December 8, 1969, at Toledo, Ohio.

The MERLE M. 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.


Saginaw River dredging begins

12/7 - Saginaw, Mich. - Dredges this weekend will start clearing a path through the silt-clogged Saginaw River and dump the first spoils at a site environmentalists fought to prevent from opening, a Saginaw County official says.

Dredging will start at the Sixth Street turning basin near Saginaw and could continue along the upper Saginaw River channel to Bay City until the waterway freezes, said County Public Works Commissioner James A. Koski. The massive project will remove an estimated 200,000 cubic yards of silt that accumulated over the years, forcing shippers to lighten loads or to avoid the river altogether. Hopes are high that the work will lift the economic tide to businesses that employ about 200 workers along the waterway, Koski said. "It's one of the busiest ports on the Great Lakes," he said. "Now we can work on development. We have something to market now."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has hired Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort to complete the $1.9 million project. The Saginaw News could not immediately reach William Webber, a spokesman for the Saginaw River Alliance, a coalition of dock owners who have advocated dredging and contributed money to clear the river.

Dredging plans and the fight to open the Dredge Material Disposal Facility on Melbourne straddling the borders of Bay and Saginaw counties have stretched over seven years, Koski said. "I never doubted we could get it done, but I will be extremely happy to see it happen for a lot of good reasons," he said.

One group isn't cheering, however. The Lone Tree Council, a Bay City-based environmental group, has battled in court against opening the controversial $5 million materials disposal site because of concerns it could leak toxic river spoils, and other issues. "It's from our perspective extremely disappointing," Chairman Terry R. Miller said. The group has exhausted its legal challenges, he said. While the environmentalists haven't opposed dredging, they believe other brownfield sites were better suited. "We're just making problems for the future now," he said.

Koski dismissed the fears. "They're the only ones that question it," he said. "No experts have questioned it. It's gone through the courts. The more I know about it, the more I know it's safe." The state Department of Environmental Quality had pressed for a "slurry wall" to line the giant disposal site as an extra measure of security, said agency spokesman Robert McCann. But when funding fell through, it settled for installing more groundwater monitoring wells, he said.

Koski said the slurry wall wasn't needed. The site has a 100-foot-thick clay barrier underneath the soil. The locations of porous sand spots don't pose a threat for contamination to leak out, he said. Barriers underneath the dikes stretch six to eight feet below the surface.

Authorities could expand the site one day, he added. "When they're almost full, they usually build the dikes bigger rather than go to another location," he said. "It's going to outlast me, I know that. I'll never see it full." The site is designed to hold 20 years of dredged material. Dredging could take place every two years.

From the Saginaw News


Ships get into the Christmas spirit

12/7 - Thorold, Ont. - The Best Decorated Ship contest along the Welland Canal is back again this year and captains and crews are feeling more in the Christmas spirit -- and more competitive -- than ever.

For the month of December, residents will be able to see the ships passing through the Welland Canal adorned with strings of lights, moving reindeers and other Christmas decorations. "They look really nice," said Terry Dow, director of Tourism Services for the city of Thorold. "Especially at nighttime." She said they usually get 15 to 20 ships participating in the contest and the captains get very competitive. The contest, which is in its fifth year, rewards the best decorated ship with the Margery Ritchie Trophy at the annual Shipmasters Dinner in February.

Dow said the ships are judged as they move along locks four, five, six and seven. Judging, however, is done in January by the Friends of Lock 7, a group of 10 volunteers who inform thousands of visitors to Thorold about the ships and the city. She said the event became a contest because the captains used to decorate their ships but were never acknowledged for it. Margery Ritchie, the woman for whom the trophy is named, once lived along the canal, said Dow, and it was she who suggested the idea of a contest.

Dow said most of the captains and crew work right through the holidays so decorating the ships keeps their mind off their families. "It keeps them busy and in the Christmas spirit," said Dow. "And everyone gets competitive."

From Niagara This Week


Port Report - December 7

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manitowoc was inbound early Saturday with a split load for the Wirt docks in Bay City and Saginaw. She finished her unload and was outbound from Saginaw Saturday night.


Updates - December 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 07

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 7, 1909 - MARQUETTE & 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.


Desgagnés adds three Rigel tankers to fleet

12/6 - Quebec, Q.C. - Groupe Desgagnés officially announced Friday the acquisition, by its subsidiary Transport Desgagnés Inc., of three Canadian flagged double-hull oil and chemical tankers. These ships have been chartered since 1998 from Ultramar by Petro-Nav, a Groupe Desgagnés subsidiary, and are operated by Rigel Shipping Canada on behalf of the previous German owners' representatives, Rigel Schiffahrts GmbH.

Brian Ritchie, President of Rigel Shipping Canada, stated that "the transfer of ownership of the Diamond Star, Emerald Star and Jade Star to Transport Desgagnés will ensure the continued employment of our dedicated shipboard personnel for many years to come.” The ships' operations will continue to be managed by Rigel Shipping Canada until mid-April 2009.

Louis-Marie Beaulieu, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Desgagnés, said operations for these three ships represent over 100 permanent jobs. "Ownership of these vessels greatly strengthens the position of Desgagnés as a leading carrier of petroleum products in Canada", added Beaulieu.

Desgagnés, through its subsidiary Petro-Nav inc., is the only oil and chemical products marine carrier based in the province of Quebec and, with its long-term contracts with Petro-Canada, Shell and Ultramar, is one of the largest in Canada. It is Petro-Nav that will be ensuring the commercialization of the three vessels, which will be trading mainly in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Canadian Arctic and the East coasts of Canada and the United States.

Beaulieu also declared being "quite pleased that, despite the financial crisis and the very difficult economic situation, Groupe Desgagnés was able to realize this $45 million transaction that adds to the $250 million in investments already engaged by the company".

Canada News Wire press release


Cliffs Natural Resources plans up to 350 layoffs
 at Michigan's Upper Peninsula mines

12/6 - The Cleveland-based company Cliffs Natural Resources said Thursday it plans to scale back iron ore production at its Empire and Tilden mines because of the sluggish economy. Production at the mines is expected to decline from more than 12 million tons of iron ore pellets this year to about 6.7 million tons in 2009.

The company also will delay its previously announced expansion of its Empire pit operations until iron ore and steel markets improve. The potential of layoffs first was posted by the company in November. The Tilden and Empire mines employ roughly 1,600 people.

Corporate news release


Port Reports - December 6

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Friday on the Saginaw River saw the Calumet outbound from the Saginaw Wirt dock during a very cold morning with ice on the Saginaw River. The tug Kurt Luedtke was busy taking equipment from the Essroc dock in Essexville up to Saginaw in preparation for the start of the dredging of the upper Saginaw River. Dredging is scheduled to begin as early as Saturday morning. The USCG Cutter Hollyhock and USCG Station Saginaw River's 49' footer 49422 were busy working aids to navigation on the river and bay.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Canadian Navigator finished unloading ore at the Torco Ore dock and departed Friday morning. Herbert C. Jackson finished loading coal at the CSX Docks at departed late Friday afternoon. Federal Mattawa finished unloading cargo at the Midwest Terminal Dock and departed Friday evening. The Karen Andrie with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The Agawa Canyon was at the Kuhlman Dock unloading salt.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the H. Lee white due in Saturday, Atlantic Huron due in Monday afternoon followed by the Herbert C. Jackson, H. Lee White, Adam E. Cornelius, and Philip R. Clarke due in Thursday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder due in Saturday morning, Atlantic Huron due in Monday morning followed by the H. Lee White, Kaye E. Barker, and John D. Leitch due in Thursday.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's Rt. Hon. Paul Martin was loading petroleum coke on Thursday at KCBX Terminals. The Martin arrived early morning and loaded 30,000 tons, destined for Picton, Ontario, after discharging road salt at the Morton Dock. Maumee was outbound on Thursday after loading at Chicago Fuels Terminal. Later in the evening, the Alpena was outbound after discharging at Lake Calumet. After the Alpena cleared the Calumet River, Lower Lakes' McKee Sons headed in to the Beemsterboer Dock to load petcoke. Loading was completed on Friday morning.


Updates - December 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 06

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The OCONTO grounded near Charity Island in Saginaw Bay on 6 December 1885. The passengers and crew were saved. She was built at Manitowoc in 1872, by Rand & Co. and owned by Capt. Gregory W. McGregor and Rensselaer VanSycle. 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.


Mackinaw resumes "Christmas Tree Ship" duties

12/5 - Chicago - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) will arrive here Friday with a delivery of 1,000 Christmas trees that will be provided to needy families at Navy Pier downtown during a public ceremony Saturday at 10 a.m.

Mackinaw (WLBB-30) is in her third year as the Christmas Tree Ship, continuing the tradition of its predecessor (WAGB-83), which resurrected the tradition of the Christmas Tree Ship in 2000. The crew of the Mackinaw hauls a load of trees from the woods of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin for distribution to more than a thousand disadvantaged Chicago-area families.

On behalf of the Ada S. McKinley Community Services, Inc., volunteers from the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets, Young Marines and the Sea Explorer Scouts will assist the Mackinaw crew with the offloading ceremony. The Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, which purchased the trees, represents diverse aspects of the Chicago boating community such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, International Shipmaster's Association and the Chicago Yachting Association.

The original Christmas Tree Ship, the Rouse Simmons, started the tradition in 1896, when Captain Herman Scheunemann docked his tree-laden schooner on the riverbank near the Clark Street bridge.

The Christmas Tree Ship festivities will commence Saturday with a welcoming ceremony at 8 a.m., followed by the Mackinaw hosting school children for tours and nautical history lessons. The tree presentation will take place at 10 a.m. Following the ceremony, the Mackinaw will be available for tours from 1-5 p.m.

Prior to arriving in Chicago, the Mackinaw removed seasonal aids-to-navigation in Lake Michigan to prevent damage from ice and severe weather for Operation Fall Retrieve, which is the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the United States.

USCG news release


Port Report - December 5

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River late Wednesday night with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Inbound early Thursday morning was the Manitowoc, who also delivered a split load, unloading at the Sargent docks in Essexville and Zilwaukee. Both vessels were outbound Thursday evening.
The tug Manitou delivered more dredging equipment for Luedtke Engineering, stopping at the Essroc dock. The tug Kurt Luedtke also arrived on the Saginaw River and started moving equipment up to the upper river to begin dredging operations there. The dredging will continue until ice stops the operation, with dredging beginning again in the spring. The Manitou planned on spending Thursday night at the Essroc dock.
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock has been busy working aids to navigation on the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel. The Calumet was inbound Thursday night with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. She was expected to be outbound Friday morning.


Port potential seen in Welland Canal system

12/5 - St. Catharines, Ont. - If it looks like a port and acts like a port, then a port the Welland Canal should be. Such is the sentiment of the Welland Canals Foundation and mayors in Niagara's canal cities. Problem is, no one has ever deemed the channel as such.

"The Welland Canal and all the assets that surround the Welland Canal have all the characteristics of a port but ... we aren't actually seen as a port," said John Armstrong of OEB Enterprise, the canal foundation's secretariat. "We're seen as a dock here or some marine services along the canal." But if all goes according to the foundation's plan, that could change as early as next March.

That's when it hopes to officially launch the Ports Niagara Project, a marketing effort to let the world know what the cities along the canal and Niagara have to offer as a multi-modal transportation hub. Armstrong said marketing the area as a port will attract marine business and other industries -- new or relocated -- looking for port facilities. "It puts Niagara from a positioning standpoint into the game with Great Lakes ports. We'll be able to vie for businesses that are actually looking for port facilities," Armstrong said.

It has the potential to be an easy sell, St. Catharines Mayor Brian Mc- Mullan said. In a time when transportation costs are eating up companies' bottom lines, moving goods on water is more cost-effective. It's also greener given the need for fewer trucks on the road to move items, Thorold Mayor Henry D'Angela said.

The Ports Niagara Project has been bandied about for the past eight years. The idea was resurrected a year and a half ago with more fervor by mayors in Niagara's canal cities -- St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland and Port Colborne -- as an economic development project.

Given the downward spiral of the local economy, finally making the Ports Niagara Project a reality is even more crucial, McMullan said. "Anything we can do to create jobs and make Niagara a hub for industry, for transportation and for distribution is critical to our future," he said. "We're blessed with having a unique asset in the Welland Canal and it's a matter of trying to better utilize that."

To help, Armstrong is presenting the idea to the four canal city councils and asking them to chip in money to start the first phase of the project: an inventory of all the features along the channel and the creation of a website that will show business the services located along the canal. Armstrong would like to see the website launched by the time the canal reopens for the new shipping season in March.

The money will also be spent creating a port sales kit that municipalities or the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. can use to woo business to the area. So far, Thorold has pledged $5,000 and the Region $15,000. Armstrong will be asking for $10,000 from St. Catharines. The Seaway and Niagara Economic Development Corp. will be asked to contribute, too.

"It's going to be money well spent," D'Angela said.

From the St. Catharines Standard


Citizens push for control of Port Stanley harbor

12/5 - Port Stanley, Ont. - Port Stanley residents gathered Thursday night to consider how to break a long-standing political logjam and wrest its harbor from federal hands. The Port Stanley Think Tank is pushing to end a source of local aggravation and get local control of the village's greatest asset.

Transport Canada wants to divest itself of the harbor it has allowed to clog with silt, making it unsuitable for anything except fishing tugs. But after years of high-level talks in secrecy, fed-up local residents are taking action. "This is a huge issue locally," said Andrew Hibbert, a member of the think tank who organized the meeting. "It's a critical issue and it's been very frustrating to people in the village."

He said private interests are reluctant to make plans with the future of the port so uncertain. Investors on the American side of Lake Erie have talked about cross-lake ferries, but the state of the harbor is so bad and ownership issues so confused they've had to shelve their plans.

Retired Canadian rear admiral Dan McNeil, who has waged a battle to uncover federal plans and the physical state of the harbor, will address the meeting and suggest a path forward. McNeil said he believes the current talks should be abandoned and a new course of consultation initiated among the Municipality of Central Elgin, Elgin County, Transport Canada and the province. Also needed is a viable plan to fix environmental contamination.
"We're going to develop some proposals," McNeil said, adding he hopes the community gathering will be the first step in a successful bid to resolve the issue of ownership. The alternative is to see the harbor decline further under federal control.

McNeil said he learned MP Joe Preston had persuaded Transport Canada to dredge the harbor last spring, but enactment of the Clean Water Act by the Ontario government was one of the reasons that was scuttled. Ontario's new law would forbid the former practice of disposing contaminated harbor sediment offshore.

From the London Free Press


Updates - December 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Joyce L Loses Two Rudders in St. Marys River

12/4 - Sault Ste. Marie - The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort lost two of her four rudders Monday while upbound in the St. Mary’s River. The Joyce L. pushes the barge Great Lakes Trader. The tug was reported to have lost the rudders in the area of Lime Island in the lower St. Marys River. The tug docked with its barge at the Carbide Dock in the Soo about 5:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber arrived in the St. Marys River and docked at Drummond Island. The tug Victory left the barge at Drummond Island and proceeded light tug to the Carbide Dock. Once on scene the tug Victory took up position in the barge Great Lakes Trader’s notch and took the barge down river. The Joyce L. proceeded downbound light tug but was not attached to the barge.

The tugs and barge stopped above Detour, MI in the lower St. Marys River and switched positions, with the tug Victory returning to her barge at Drummond Island. Joyce L. rejoined the barge Great Lakes Trader and headed westbound for repairs. The Joyce L also lost two rudders in 2006.


Duluth port movements off 2 percent through October

12/4 - Duluth, Minn. – Tonnage figures through the end of October have just been released and, looking at the big picture, shipments through the Port of Duluth-Superior were lagging just two percent behind last year’s totals, according to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

The good news: Coal transport and project cargo continued strong. Coal tonnage was up over eight percent thanks to a record-setting pace at Midwest Energy Resources Co. Through October, MERC had loaded vessels with upwards of 17 million tons of coal through its Superior facility (Note: Coal tonnage topped 20 million by the end of November – 2.3 million tons ahead of last year). Project cargo shipments at the Clure Public Marine Terminal continued strong. By year’s end, the port will have handled over 2,000 wind turbine components (i.e. close to 305,000 freight tons of towers, blades, nacelles, hubs and spinners). Transshipment of heavy-lift project cargo for Canadian tar sands projects also remains strong.

The not-so-good news: Grain shipments are down 60 percent – due to the availability of bumper crops of wheat worldwide. The port’s seen a comparable drop in overseas vessel traffic – just 53 salties since April. Iron ore shipments through the Port slowed in October, off three percent by month’s end. However, with the precipitous drop in the steel industry worldwide, taconite production is taking a beating in these final weeks of 2008. “We anticipate a dramatic drop in tonnage through year-end and well into 2009,” said Adolph Ojard, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “We’ve seen these sectors decline in step with steep downturns in stock markets and falling commodity prices worldwide. We expect the market to undergo continued corrections for some time to come.”

Ojard added that the port has seen cycles like these in the past and expects tonnages to rebound by late next year. He pointed out that the multi-modal Port of Duluth-Superior – with direct access to water, rail and truck transport – is strategically positioned to respond quickly to shifts in commodity movement in the months ahead.

Vessel arrivals through October totaled 913; that included 628 U.S.-flagged, 232 Canadian-flagged and 53 overseas vessels.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority news release


Lakes stone trade down 6 percent in November

12/4 – Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.5 million net tons in November, a decrease of 6 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. Demand is waning in light of the deteriorating economy.

However, lack of adequate dredging impacted those stone cargos that did move in November. A large U.S.-flag tug/barge unit that has carried nearly 35,000 net tons of
stone in a single trip averaged only 31,101 net tons over the four cargos it carried this November.

For the year, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 31.8 million net tons, a slight decrease compared to the same point in 2007, but more than 2.7 million net tons behind the 5-year average for the January-November time frame.

Lake Carriers' Association news release


Port Report - December 4

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Wednesday, the salt water vessel Federal Mattawa, and the tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506, were at the Midwest Terminals Dock. The tug Karen Andrie with her barge was at the new Seneca Oil Dock, which is located north of the Ironhead Shipyard.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Herbert C. Jackson due in Friday, John J. Boland due in Sunday followed by the Atlantic Huron due in Monday. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has Algosteel due in late Wednesday evening but may be delayed due to low water levels in the western basin of Lake Erie. Halifax is due in Thursday morning followed by the Canadian Navigator on Friday.
There are four ASC vessels presently in layup at Toledo. They are American Fortitude, American Valor, American Courage and American Republic. Several more ASC vessels are due in port for layup soon.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Wednesday morning, the Lee A. Tregurtha was backing under 95th St bridge at 10 a.m., outbound for the lake after loading coal at KCBX. Waiting in Calumet Harbor for the Tregurtha to clear the river was the Philip R. Clarke. After clearing the Lee A. Tregurtha, the Clarke spun and then backed upriver for KCBX, arriving there around noon.

Toronto - Frank Hood
Gadwall departed Toronto just before 8 a.m. on Wednesday


University study looks at boosting Green Bay port's freight capacity
Possibility of intermodal terminal goes under review

12/4 - Green Bay, Wis. - Staff and students at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay over the next two years will study the feasibility of developing an intermodal terminal with access to the Port of Green Bay.

The university, in conjunction with the port, said Tuesday it secured a $55,000 research grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute to look into the possibility of building a terminal to move large metal containers by ship, truck and rail. "There is a real possibility that container shipping … will make economic sense as part of a rail/highway/seaway network," said Fritz Erickson, dean of professional and graduate studies at UW-Green Bay. "If this is indeed the case, the Port of Green Bay could be very well positioned, and one possible outcome is the creation of … an intermodal terminal in the Port of Green Bay."

The study — using surveys, research and interviews — is funded for one year by the renewable grant, according to a news release from the university. Areas to be surveyed include:

Identifying products or commodities that may be suited to containerized transport via the Great Lakes.
Looking at the viability of connecting Great Lakes container operations through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Identifying shipper requirements and interest in shifting to marine service.
Determining if there's enough volume to support an intermodal terminal in the port, and its possible size, location and requirements.

Port Director Dean Haen said the port has some assets already in place that could be utilized for such a facility. "That Fox River clean-up facility is being built as a port property. It's going to be used for six years during the dredging, then there's no intended use after that," he said. "There is a 27-acre site when it's constructed; what's it's future? Maybe somehow that can play a part in this." Other properties in the port are also suited for intermodal operations, Haen said.

If a terminal moves forward, it could mean additional jobs and boost the roughly $76 million impact the port has on the community and the 600 jobs it supports, community and port leaders said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

The study comes as a Canadian company is in the process of developing a deepwater container terminal and logistics park on the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia. Plans call for the $300 million Melford International Terminal to be opened by 2011. "We saw this new port being built and (asked) how can people along the Great Lakes take advantage of it?" said Don McCartney, senior lecturer in marketing and business administration at UW-Green Bay. "I thought this would be a perfect location to be a central port for people in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, that they can either ship out of here or have (products) shipped to them."

Both Haen and McCartney said they have no expectations about the ultimate outcome of the study. "We're not looking to come up with a yes answer," Haen said. "You'd hate to build a multimillion facility and then for it to not work. You've got to go into it unbiased and asking 'Will this really work?'"

McCartney said a meeting earlier in the year with more than 30 shippers and area businesses indicated this is an idea that could have traction. "The amount of freight it could bring into the seaway is just huge compared to what we're getting presently and then it would have to be distributed from here," via rail or truck, he said.

In the mix is an idea called short sea shipping in which intermodal containers are moved between ports on the Great Lakes by ships operating on a ferry-like schedule. Part of the rationale behind the proposal is offering shippers a complimentary route to rail and roadway traffic. The concept has been used in Europe and there are signs of it gaining some foothold in the U.S. market.
Before the idea becomes a reality, however, Congress must pass a waiver that would keep ships from getting taxed each time they enter a port. That measure is pending.

On Monday, a new container-on-barge service between Norfolk and Richmond, Va., that may help mitigate the impacts of road congestion while reducing air emissions, began operation. The 64 Express began service this week and offers regular weekly service, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

It's a type of service the Maritime Administration "hopes to replicate elsewhere around the country as it implements a new 'America's Marine Highway Program' that calls for the Department of Transportation to designate and support specific Marine Highway corridors and projects."

From the Green Bay Post-Gazette


Cleveland port officials ready to start planning for relocation

12/4 – Cleveland, Ohio - By next fall, port leaders want a master plan showing how the port's gritty expanse can transform into an attractive maritime neighborhood.

Port staffers told members of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board Tuesday that they are ready to solicit a planning consultant and financial adviser to chart the long-term redevelopment of the land west of Cleveland Browns Stadium. That redevelopment is expected to unfold over the next five to 20 years. The plan calls for moving docks and warehouses from 100 acres near the stadium to a new home - a 200-acre peninsula at East 55th Street in Lake Erie.

The port's move, expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, is projected to begin in eight to 10 years, if financing falls in place and multiple agencies approve. It's not too early, port officials said, to craft the vision for a vibrant neighborhood on vacated port land. Cleveland sorely needs waterfront living downtown, the kind that is popular in Great Lakes cities like Milwaukee, Chicago and Toronto. "If done correctly, we can have something that really draws people to this special place," said board member John Carney, a downtown developer.

The port expects to work jointly with city planners, while engaging county and business leaders and the community on what they would like along the river and lake edge. The city's waterfront plan, approved four years ago, calls for a mix of waterfront access, marinas, parks, dwellings and commerce, in a neighborhood called "Port Square." To begin detailing the vision, the port's 2009 budget includes $400,000 for a planning and development consultant and $300,000 for a financial adviser.

So far, the port has identified six financial firms that could advise on land values and development options, such as selling or leasing the property, said Eric Johnson, the port's new real estate director. The port identified 24 planning and development firms with waterfront experience that could be solicited, Johnson said. The board hopes to select the firms by late February and have a final plan by next September.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


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.

Electronic submissions are preferred. You may send your photo card to with Holiday Card Gallery in the subject line. If you are unable to send electronically, you may mail your card to: Holiday Card Gallery, 317 S. Division St. #8, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. They will be scanned and posted as time permits.

Cards must be received no later than Dec. 22 to be included.


BoatNerd requests hardware donations

BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer, network and video hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation or individual to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software.

We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher ( mostly computers made after 2001) and any size LCD monitor. We could also use small form factor PC's with any speed processor , an LCD projector, servers, network switches and video switcher. No printers please. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please visit


Updates - December 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Holiday Card Gallery now on line


Today in Great Lakes History - December 04

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

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

Algoma Central Marine's ALGOSOO was the last ship built on the Lakes with the traditional fore and aft cabins, her maiden voyage took place today in 1974.

The IMPERIAL QUEBEC entered service on December 4, 1957. Renamed b.) SIBYL W in 1987, and c.) PANAMA TRADER in 1992. Scrapped in Mexico in 1997.

LIGHTSHIP 103 completed her sea trials December 4, 1920.

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

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

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

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

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


U. S. Steel plans to idle Detroit plant, other facilities

12/3 - Pittsburgh, Pa. – United States Steel Corporation announced Tuesday that it will take further steps to consolidate operations by temporarily idling certain facilities in response to market conditions.

The facilities to be idled over the next several weeks are: Keetac, an iron ore mining and pelletizing facility in Keewatin, Minn.; Great Lakes Works near Detroit, Mich.; and Granite City Works near St. Louis, Mo. Approximately 3,500 employees will be affected.

U. S. Steel plans to temporarily concentrate production at Mon Valley Works near Pittsburgh, Pa.; Gary Works in Gary, Ind.; Fairfield Works near Birmingham, Ala.; and Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ontario.

"We believe that our difficult decision to temporarily consolidate our production is a necessary response to current market conditions," said U. S. Steel Chairman and CEO John Surma.

USS Corp. Press Release


Hamilton port tries short sea shipping

12/3 – Hamilton, Ont. - Last Friday, a barge left the harbor and hopes are high it will usher in a new era for Hamilton's port.

The vessel will be loaded with 68 containers of scrap metal from Sunrise Metals, eventually bound for India by way of Montreal. It's the port's first foray into short sea shipping. The tongue-twister means using inland waterways to ship freight, bypassing roads and rail.

"We've invested a significant amount of time with a number of port partners over the past two months making this long-discussed concept a reality with this trial shipment," said HPA CEO Bruce Wood. "Making this specialized type of service an important piece of the port's traffic connecting to Canada's East Coast ports is a central part of our overall Hamilton Port Authority strategy."

He says the North American shipping industry has been talking about containerized shipping for years. A few attempts have failed. While Great Lakes ports bring in bulk commodities by ship every day, the "concept of moving consumer goods in containers just never took off," said Wood. In Europe, short sea shipping accounts for about 40 per cent of goods movement. Advocates say it relieves congestion on highways, cuts air pollution and is cheaper than building new roads or rail links. The Canadian federal government and U.S. president-elect Barack Obama have endorsed short sea shipping.

"We are very pleased to see the development of this trial feeder service from the port of Hamilton," said Richard Corfe, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation CEO. "It is a positive sign for short sea shipping on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and demonstrates the viability of moving containers via the waterway."

About half a million containers arrive in Halifax and Montreal each year and are then off-loaded to travel west by train or truck. If the Hamilton port can grow a container service, it would mean a big injection of investment in piers, equipment and jobs, says Wood. The key is building a consistent customer base.

Sunrise Metals president Amandeep Singh Kaloti hopes that will happen. Right now, he has empty containers sent from Toronto. They're loaded in Hamilton and then sent by rail to Montreal or Halifax where they are loaded on an ocean-bound ship. He says he would "definitely save money" by only shipping by water. Hamilton is in a strategic location and the port is really good. There is no reason why this can't happen in Hamilton," he said.

Kaloti pushed for the trial run out of Hamilton this fall, hoping regular shipments can be rolled out next year. "I'm very hopeful next year we can do it weekly or biweekly."

From the Hamilton Spectator


Algoma Steel may use Soo Carbide Dock

12/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The waterfront was the focus of much discussion Monday evening as the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission looked to the future at Monday’s session.

The action which poses the most potential for controversy centers around a request from Algoma Steel to utilize the Carbide Dock to store iron ore pellets. A similar proposal failed to muster commission support earlier this year, when residents of a nearby condominium rallied against the package - citing concerns of dust, noise and road damage.

The new proposal, however, seems to eliminate many of the aspects the residents found unappealing. The iron ore would be shipped from Marquette in late December and January, unloaded on the Carbide Dock and remain there until needed sometime in the spring. The trucking aspect will be eliminated as ships will be employed to ferry the pellets from their storage location to the opposite side of the river.

The benefit to the city under this proposal comes in the form of docking and shipping fees. Docking would be calculated at 45 cents a a ton with an additional 15 cents a ton collected on a monthly basis for storage — totaling somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000 according to preliminary estimates. All of the collected revenues would be placed into a special fund which has been established for refurbishing and repairing the existing dock.

The commission, presumably anticipating the adjacent residents would have many questions regarding the operation, will schedule a meeting of the involved parties to address any potential concerns. The meeting’s exact time and location had not yet been established, but it appears as though the commission wishes to hold it before making a decision at its Dec. 15 session

From the Soo Evening News


Seaway traffic down for year through November

12/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Cargo passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway is down 207,000 tons (5 percent) through November for the year to date compared to 2007.

The Montreal/Lake Ontario section traffic was off 190,000 tons (7 percent) and the Welland Canal sector saw 128,000 (3.8 percent) less tonnage.

From the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System


Port Reports - December 3

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. the saltie Calliroe Patronicola arrived in the harbor.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
High winds caused three Interlake ships go to anchor after arriving in Marquette's harbor on Tuesday. The Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder arrived first and anchored, followed by the Herbert C Jackson and then the Kaye E Barker. The Barker quickly pulled anchor when the wind slightly abated and moved to the south side of the ore dock, later joined by the Jackson. The Pathfinder went to the Shiras Dock after dark.

Hamilton - John McCreery
Hamilton harbour is not so busy these days due to the economic downturn. The Calliroe Patronicola arrived on Tuesday from Vishakhapatnum, a port on the Bay of Bengal on the east coast of India. Her cargo is steel products and she proceeded to pier 12 assisted by the tugs Omni Richelieu and Escorte. Opposite her at pier 14 was the tug Evans McKeil and a barge loaded with containers, part of the Short Sea Shipping being introduced to the port.


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.

Electronic submissions are preferred. You may send your photo card to with Holiday Card Gallery in the subject line. If you are unable to send electronically, you may mail your card to: Holiday Card Gallery, 317 S. Division St. #8, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. They will be scanned and posted as time permits.

Cards must be received no later than Dec. 22 to be included.


Two-person lockage procedures at Welland Lock 8

12/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Mariners are advised that as of December 2, 2008, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation will be conducting tests using revised two-person lockage procedures at Lock 8. Vessels will be invited to participate in these trials.

Mooring wires will be secured in the same order as outlined in the current procedures. Pilots / Masters are asked to convey any comments they have to the lock crew who will record them.

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System news release


Update on Lake Superior outflow

12/3 - Cleveland - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,740 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (61.4 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of 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 1,700 m3/s (60.0 tcfs).

The December outflow will be released by discharging about 1,624 m3/s (57.4 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 below their long-term averages. Lake Superior is currently 4 cm (2 inches) above its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall in December. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 21 cm (8 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-December level, but is 8 cm (3 inches) above the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell by 4
cm (2 inches), while on average the level falls by 5 cm (2 inches) in November.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron fell by 8 cm (3 inches) this November, while on average the level falls by 4 cm (2 inches) in November. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 42 cm (16 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-December level, and is 24 cm (9 inches) higher than it was a
year ago, and 5 cm (2 inches) below chart datum. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is also expected to decline in December.

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

Additional information can be found on the Internet at: or, at

USACE News Release


Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 03

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Shippers call on Ottawa to more forcefully reject N.Y. ballast rules

12/2- Watertown, N.Y. - Canadian shippers say New York's pending rules governing their ballast water will make shipping in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River impossible.

The Canadian Shipowners Association and the Shipping Federation of Canada want Ottawa to more forcefully object to the new rules. The rules mean that a Canadian ship leaving the Great Lakes to pick up cargo on the St. Lawrence River would first have to sail out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence to exchange ballast water, adding days onto the trip, according to the president of the CSA.

The Canadian counsels in New York and Buffalo have asked Governor David A. Paterson to amend the regulations to protect Canadian shippers. The rules are set to take effect December 19.

From WWTI-TV Watertown, N.Y.


Port Report - December 2

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday afternoon the Group Ocean tugs Escorte and Omni Richelieu departed the harbour at 2 p.m. for Clarkson to help the Clipper Loyalty dock at Petro Canada. They returned to Hamilton at 8 p.m. Robert S. Pierson departed at 2:30 p.m. for Marblehead, Ohio. James Norris arrived in the Burlington Bay anchorage at 3 p.m. to wait out the high winds. Canadian Enterprise arrived at 9 p.m. in the Burlington Bay anchorage for bunkering by the Hamilton Energy.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Maumee (loaded) and the St. Mary's Challenger (unloaded) remain in port Monday evening awaiting weather. Omitted from yesterdays report was the arrival and departure overnight on Saturday of the Calumet with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island. This required the Maumee to move temporarily to the Construction Aggregates dock to continue repairs and then return to finish unloading before going upriver to take on a load of sand.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Cuyahoga and the tug Mark Hannah were anchored off Alpena Sunday night in strong winds and heavy snow. Monday afternoon Cuyahoga made its way into the Thunder Bay River to unload salt at the Alpena Oil dock. This should be the last load of salt, as the dock is full. Over at Lafarge on Monday, the Alpena moved from its lay-up berth to load cement under the silos for Milwaukee.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Jumbo Vision departed late Sunday and head down the lake. English River was in port Monday.


Establishing a future vision for the Welland Canal

12/1 - Welland, Ont. - In honour of the 179th anniversary of the first vessel passing through the first Welland Canal, the city tipped its hat to the man who shaped Niagara - William Hamilton Merritt. Merritt planned and built the Welland Canal in the 1820s to bypass the barrier of Niagara Falls and link the Upper and Lower Great Lakes.

For William Hamilton Merritt Day, a cool, quick outdoor ceremony was hosted behind Welland Civic Square yesterday with representatives from cities along the canal, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., Niagara Region, the Ministry of Transportation and St. Catharines public relations firm OEB Enterprises. "Welland seems to have the piece without all the drama," Mayor Damian Goulbourne said of the canal. "But we still have a lot of pride ... we still look at it the way William Hamilton Merritt did decades ago as a real resource."

Welland is still where rail and water meet, he said. But while the working canal no longer passes through the downtown, Welland still recognizes its value locally, regionally and even globally. "Many things have changed since the time of Merritt," said St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. president and CEO Richard Corfe, adding that many things have changed even in the past few years with regard to the canal.

Over the past five years, the seaway authority has been working hard to establish a future vision, to make it the system of choice and has looked at ways to lift its profile, he said. It's a changing economy, changing environment and time for the seaway to lead the way, he said. "We have to move forward together," said Corfe, adding that it's important to "embrace trends" including those pertaining to the environment.

The seaway has looked at its tariffs, incentives to bring in new business and new agreements to ensure a sustainable future. Corfe said there needs to be more investment in the seaway system, which is something the Canadian and U. S. governments have come to the table to discuss, as both countries look at its potential for the next 50 years. "The investment would pale in comparison to the benefits that can come if we do this right," said Corfe.

There is opportunity, he said, to look at bringing in new cargo and using the waterway to help alleviate road congestion. To sustain the system requires bringing in the right partners, using technology to bringing prices down and working with government. "We have to lead change as we move forward," he said

From the Welland Tribune


Kingston man will be part of team that will explore shipwreck

12/1 - Kingston, Ont. - Jonathan Moore is continuing work that started a century ago, when Kingstonians first became interested in what rests beneath the surface of Lake Ontario. An underwater archeologist with Parks Canada, Moore, who is from Kingston, will be here next year as part of a federal government expedition to determine what ship lies out in the waters just off Kingston - a ship that the local dive community knows simply at "Guenter's wreck."

Some believe it is HMS Montreal, an War of 1812 ship. "That's a potential identity," said Moore. "We have no real archeological evidence that it is HMS Montreal." The final resting place of the Montreal has never been found. The survey next year, which will involve local volunteer divers, could answer that question, or at least identify the wreck that Parks Canada first started investigating in 2002.

Recently, Moore talked about the wreck and Parks Canada's plans to survey it during a talk he gave at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes. The talk coincided with the launch of a new book on shipwrecks from the War of 1812 that Moore wrote and published with the Cataraqui Archaeological Research Foundation. The book describes the history of the warships built in Kingston during the War of 1812 and details their underwater remains, with pictures and graphics for divers and non-divers alike.

"What we'd like to be able to do as underwater archeologists is to pull the water away," Moore said. "Not everyone can dive and get out there."

To date, Parks Canada has been able to identify three ships in the waters off Kingston as those built during the historic war, including HMS St. Lawrence, which was the largest wooden sailing warship on the Great Lakes during the war and carried 102 guns.

Some ships built at the Kingston Naval Dockyards during the war were not scuttled after peace with the Americans, Moore said. It is a local myth that still perpetuates itself, he said. The British removed anything of value from the ships and then sold them when they became a hazard in Navy Bay, which lies between Royal Military College and Fort Henry.

The first searches of the wrecks in the waters off Kingston took place in the early 1900s, Moore said. More detailed searches took place in the late 1930s, marking the first time Canadians made a concerted effort to search for underwater wrecks, Moore said. Work the 1950s as Richard Preston used old and new techniques to identify shipwrecks and debunking myths, such as the Montreal being in Deadman's Bay, Moore said.

The survey next year, Moore said, should clarify the mystery around Guenter's wreck. The length of Guenter's wreck makes it similar in length to three other ships that haven't been found, Moore said. There are also no cannonballs on the wreck, he said. "There are far too many unknowns at this stage," Moore said. "Identification of shipwrecks is a very tricky undertaking."

Divers from Parks Canada and local volunteers will survey the wreck to photograph, measure and document the remains. Findings will be matched against historical records of HMS Montreal and other ships to see if once and for all Guenter's wreck has a name. Moore said volunteer divers are being organized through Preserve Our Wrecks Kingston, which can be found online at

From The Kingston Whig Standard


Updates - December 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Weekly updates are ready

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar


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 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.


Delay extended for underwater power turbines

12/1 – Watertown, N.Y. - Plans to install underwater turbines to generate power from currents in the St. Lawrence River have been pushed back until August.

Originally, two test "dummy" turbines were going to be put in place in April outside Cornwall, Ont., but the Ontario Ministry of Transportation requested that the company, Verdant Power Canada, delay plans to accommodate a 30-day public comment period. Migratory fish populations in late spring and early summer have extended that delay until August. "Because this has never been done before, Transportation wanted a public comment period," said Trey Taylor, Verdant's president. "So the first phase has been stretched out."

The first phase includes the dummy turbines and environmental studies to be done before and after the turbines have been installed in the river. Once the studies have been completed, with the help of officials from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation, real turbines will be installed in the river. They will be installed in groups that will generate approximately 5 megawatts of energy each. Verdant officials estimate that the currents in the St. Lawrence River outside of Cornwall will generate 15 megawatts, enough to power 1,100 houses.

Verdant has a similar power project in the East River in New York City, where the company is based. Those turbines, however, are less advanced than the ones that will be put in the St. Lawrence. Because of the difference in the projects, Verdant officials are taking the extra time before the dummy turbines are installed in the St. Lawrence to study the potential environmental effects. "We're all still walking around kicking the tires on this one," Mr. Taylor said. "We're getting off to a slower start and getting the process worked out here."

The project will not affect shipping along the river because boats with deeper drafts are sent to the Seaway, which is south of where the turbines will be. The turbines will sit 10 feet under the surface of the water and be marked by buoys to warn recreational boaters.

Eventually, underwater turbines may spread to other parts of the St. Lawrence, Mr. Taylor said. "We thought we'd try to get it right on the Canadian side and then possibly bring it over," he said

From the Watertown Daily Times


Port Reports - December 1

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon the saltie Athanasios G. Collitisis departed at 2:30 p.m. The tug Ecosse departed at 4:30 p.m. for Clarkson. The Maria Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 5:30 p.m. The Maritime Trader arrived at 7:30 p.m. for Pier 25. On Saturday the tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 departed at 8 a.m. for the canal. The CCGC Griffon departed Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters at 8:15 a.m. The Maritime Trader departed at 4:15 p.m. On Sunday afternoon the saltie Flinterspirit departed at 2 p.m. with steel pipes for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
American Courage came in Saturday for winter lay-up around 3 p.m. The vessel is at CSX Presque Isle Coal Dock No. 2 wall, all the way up in the corner. It is across the slip from Midwest Stone Dock.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee came in with a load of stone for Meekhof's dock on Harbor Island early Saturday morning. She remained there until Sunday mid-morning, then traveled upriver to take on a load of sand from the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg, Mich. The St. Marys Challenger came in early Sunday morning passing the Maumee on its way upriver to the St. Mary's Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. Both vessels were still at their respective docks Sunday afternoon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Manitou called on the Essroc dock in Essexville late on Saturday. She delivered more equipment for the upcoming Saginaw River dredging project and then departed for the lake shortly after.
On Sunday, the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay City Wirt Dock to unload. The pair is expected to be outbound early Monday morning if they drop the entire load in Bay City. A split load to again will put them outbound late on Monday.

Calumet - Tom Milton
Calumet was at Beemsterboer sag and ballast dock (Calumet River, Chicago) Sunday evening.


BoatNerd requests hardware donations

BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer, network and video hardware and LCD monitors. This is a good opportunity for a corporation or individual to recycle equipment while receiving a tax credit by donating to our 501 (c) (3) non profit organization.

We would be happy to pick up and wipe the data on any donated machines to DOD standards and we have our own licensed software.

We would like any equipment starting with a Pentium 4 level processor or higher ( mostly computers made after 2001) and any size LCD monitor. We could also use small form factor PC's with any speed processor , an LCD projector, servers, network switches and video switcher. No printers please. This equipment is used to support various features of the site and also placed in regional museums as kiosk type displays.

If you have equipment to donate or if your company has a recycling program please visit


Toledoan built career as lake ship engineer

12/1 - Toledo - Bernard "Mickey" McBride, who sailed on Great Lakes freighters for nearly 40 years, most of them as a ship's engineer, died Tuesday in his South Toledo home at age 79 of cancer.

Mrs. McBride, his wife of 45 years, said her husband already was a sailor when she met him while working as a clerk at Leo Marks Jewelers in Toledo. He was paying for a gift he'd bought for another woman, she recalled, but that relationship was failing and he promised to return in a month and ask her out on a date.

Because she had a cousin whose husband sailed the lakes, Mrs. McBride said she had a pretty good idea of what to expect as a sailor's wife. And immediately after the wedding, Mr. McBride's ship's regular run was hauling coal out of Toledo, so he was in town every four days even during shipping season. But eventually the ship's assignment changed, and she found herself driving to places like St. Clair, Mich., Cleveland, and Buffalo to meet her husband during port calls.

A Bowling Green native, Mr. McBride completed school through the eighth grade, then enlisted in the Navy at age 17, just after World War II. After his naval discharge, he found night-shift factory work in Sandusky, but after one particular day on the beach at Cedar Point, he decided not to go to work and went to a Sandusky bar instead. There he ran into someone looking for engine-room labor on an American Steamship Co. freighter.

He worked his way up through the ranks, obtaining an engineering license and becoming ship's engineer for a succession of vessels, including the John J. Boland, the Detroit Edison, the McKee Sons, and the American Mariner, his wife said. As a ship's officer, Mr. McBride had his own stateroom on board and had the privilege of having his wife aboard for 15 days during the shipping season.

"I went through the Soo Locks, and the Welland Canal to Oswego," she said. "Just being out there on the water was so nice - especially the beautiful, dark, starry skies at night. And when we got to port, if he didn't have to work or could find somebody to work for him, we'd go in town and have dinner, see a movie, maybe go shopping."

After his 1995 retirement, Mr. McBride kept himself busy, first assisting with a local tree-trimming business and then as a plumber's helper, his wife said. "He had to work, which was good for him, because it kept his mind busy and gave him extra spending money," she said, adding that he also took on a lot of home repair projects. But he never regretted leaving the sailing life, Mrs. McBride said: "He walked off the ship on New Year's Eve and he never looked back."

Funeral services were held on Saturday. Tributes may be made to the American Cancer Society or Zion Lutheran Church, Toledo.

From the Toledo Blade


Updates - December 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery - E. B. Barber

Lay Up List updated

Weekly updates are ready

Preview the 2009 MHSD Shipping Calendar

Squaw Island Lighthouse updated

Skillagalee Lighthouse 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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