Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Algobay enters lay-up in Maine

12/31 - Algoma Central Marine’s Algobay ended her long journey from China on Tuesday when she docked at the Maine State Pier in Portland, Maine, on Tuesday. The ship’s operators will pay the city a total of $90,000 to keep the ship at the mostly vacant terminal until April 20, a city spokeswoman said.

Algobay underwent a major refit in China, where her forebody was replaced and machinery was upgraded. The vessel is expected to resume her trip into the Seaway when navigation opens in the spring.

Maine Today


Port Reports - December 31

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Five vessels were in Marquette Wednesday afternoon waiting to load ore. Lee A. Tregurtha and Charles M. Beeghly were at the Upper Harbor ore dock. Manitowoc and McKee Sons sat at anchor off the Upper Harbor while Mississagi was anchored off the Lower Harbor breakwall.

St. Marys River
The shipping season at the Soo is winding down, with just 15 more days to go before the Soo Locks close. Upbound traffic Wednesday included Canadian Navigator in the morning, Burns Harbor at mid-day and American Century reporting at DeTour around 8:30 p.m. In addition, Mesabi Miner was headed from the Straits toward DeTour at the same time. American Republic passed downbound in the late morning, followed by the tugs Avenger IV and Anglian Lady with their respective barges. The USCG Mobile Bay was doing track maintenance near Lime Island for much of the day, as ice in some areas is already several inches thick.

Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. - Wendell Wilke
Wilfred Sykes entered lay-up at Bay Ship Building before daylight Wednesday morning. She entered the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal around 4 a.m., arriving at the yard shortly before daylight.

Amherstburg, Ont. – D. Cozens
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffin stopped for about two hours Wednesday afternoon at the Amherstburg Coast Guard Base on the lower Detroit River. She then continued on her upbound journey heading to Windsor.

Toronto, Ont. – Charlie Gibbons
The tugs Wyatt M. and Seahound arrived in port early Wednesday morning and berthed at Pier 35. They will likely remain for the winter to shift the sugar storage vessels in and out of Redpath.

Rochester, New York - Tom
Stephen B. Roman departed from Rochester Wednesday morning. Due to ice in the upper turning basin, the Roman could not turn and had to back down the river, through the bridges and out to the lake.


Updates - December 31

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated - please send updates to


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.


Tough shipping season ends for St. Lawrence Seaway

12/30 - The last vessel to pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 2009 shipping season cleared the Eisenhower Lock on Monday night, marking the end of one of the worst seasons on record.

The St. Lawrence River section of the Seaway up to the port of Montreal will close to all ships just before midnight tonight.

The Welland Canal section, which includes eight Canadian locks connecting lakes Erie and Ontario to bypass Niagara Falls, must be cleared of ships by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

As of Monday night, there were five ships remaining in the Seaway system — four headed upbound, into the Great Lakes, and one downbound toward Toronto. All five ships are Canadian.

The last of the four upbound ships to pass through Massena, the J.W. Shelley, left the Eisenhower Lock on Monday evening headed for Lake Ontario.

The Canadian Enterprise entered the first lock of Welland Canal on Monday afternoon, while the John B. Aird was halfway through the Welland locks. Both ships were bound for Lake Erie and points farther upbound. The final upbound ship, the Salvor, was preparing to dock at Wharf 16, Port Colborne, Ontario, at the southernmost end of the Welland Canal.

The sole downbound vessel, the tug Seahound, left Port Weller, Ontario, on Tuesday, headed down Lake Ontario to Toronto.

The Seaway marked its 50th anniversary this summer with a huge celebration at the Eisenhower Locks, which drew dignitaries from Washington, D.C., Albany and nearby Great Lakes states. But a downturn in the economy has had a huge impact on shipping in the Canadian-U.S. waterway.

Both the number of ships passing through the Seaway and the total amount of cargo shipped through the system in 2009 were dramatically lower than previous years.

Seaway officials have reported total transits decreased by 17 percent, from nearly 4,000 to about 3,000, from 2008 to 2009. During that same period, the amount of cargo sent through the system dropped 28.3 percent, from more than 37 million tons to about 27 million tons.

Now, Seaway workers in the Massena area will begin annual winter maintenance, which will bring them through to the opening of the 2010 shipping season.

In the coming weeks, the Eisenhower and Snell locks will be drained and cleaned. Invasive species such as zebra mussels will be removed from the lock interiors and deteriorating sections of concrete will be drilled out and replaced.

An official reopening date has not yet been posted, but the Seaway traditionally resumes operations in late February or March.

Watertown Daily Times


Canal season ends Wednesday with fewer vessel transits

12/30 - Port Colborne, Ont. – The Welland Canal closes for all traffic at midnight Wednesday, capping a season that saw fewer vessels transit the waterway. As of Nov. 30, transits had dropped to 2,497 in 2009 from 3,244 for the same period in 2008, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. reported. Total cargo weight dropped to 23,313 tonnes, down from 30,931 tonnes moved last year.

Fewer tonnes of iron ore, coal, bulk products and general cargo were shipped through the canal, while 6,672 tonnes of grain moved this year, up from 6,103 tonnes in 2008.

The canal "closed" on Dec. 26, but since then certain vessels have been permitted to transit through the Welland Canal until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night, weather and operating conditions permitting.

A 2010 opening date has not been set and is subject to weather conditions and construction.

West Pier Marine and Industrial Supply Inc. provides ships such things as toilet paper, engine parts and other needed goods save food and fuel. Vice-president Rick Huneault said the marine side of his business is down this year because fewer vessels travelled the canal. "We're not so much dependent on tonnage — ships usually consume the same amount of material."

West Pier's land-based Shell lubricant business helped offset the loss on the marine side of the business.  "Overall business has done reasonably well despite the drop," Huneault said.  The Port Colborne business is looking forward to an economic rebound in 2010, he said, believing "the worst is over."

Despite the drop in ships and cargo, Dave Marsland, general manager of Allied Marine & Industrial, said 2009 was a good year for his West Street business. "It's been a very, very funny year. The best year on record."  Allied's full-time crew of 48 kept busy on the Canadian Transfer, the Canadian Provider and the Marine Link Explorer. In January, February and March work employed up to 156 people.

Marsland expected six boats to dock along the canal this winter and believes his staff will work on at least four of them — completing engine overhauls, installing new sewage systems, performing general repairs and maintenance, and welding.

As for next year, Marsland said it's hard to predict how much work will come Allied's way. "Out of 36 ships that usually sail, we're down to 25 vessels. We do know there won't be as much work."

Meanwhile, the marine food supply business has also been down, said Vance Badawey of George Badawey Marine Food Supply. To compensate for low sales, the family business diversified to provide food to other distributors. "As for 2010 it's hard to say now. It depends on cargo ships we deal with," Badawey said. Still, the family is no stranger to fluctuating economies. "We've been in business since 1922. We've had ups and downs through the years. This year in particular was challenging."

Welland Tribune


Port Reports - December 30

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
After a long delay, Saginaw loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor Tuesday afternoon. Afternoon arrivals included McKee Sons, which briefly stopped at the ore dock and then went to anchor, and Lee A. Tregurtha, which waited to load ore.

St. Marys River
Traffic Tuesday resembled an American Steamship Lines' convention, with the downbound Sam Laud and John J. Boland as well as the upbound American Mariner and American Spirit all in the river during daylight hours. Other traffic included Algosar and James R. Barker, which were downbound past DeTour in the early morning, as well as Mississagi and Saginaw, which were downbound late in the evening for Essar Algoma. Algomarine was inbound at DeTour just before midnight.

Hamilton, Ont. - John McCreery
Rt. Hon Paul J. Martin arrived at the Burlington piers at 2.30 p.m. Tuesday with ore from Nanticoke. After delivery to Stelco she was outbound in ballast at 9.30 in the evening and making a return to Nanticoke, which suggests another ore run. Later, J. W. Shelley arrived at the piers at 4p.m. in ballast from Port Cartier. When the Port authority was notified that she was heading to Richardson her name disappeared from the list of vessels in port but she is here and perhaps for the winter. Meanwhile Algosoo is in the canal and expected to arrive in Hamilton the morning of the 30th.


CSL’s Atlantic Huron not sold for scrap

12/30 - Noon update - Canada Steamship Lines reports that the Atlantic Huron is not being sold for scrap and is continuing to service within their fleet.

Original report:
European sources report the sale for scrap of Canada Steamship Lines’ 1984-built self-unloader Atlantic Huron to Chinese ship breakers for $310 / LDT. The news comes as something of a surprise, since the vessel received an extensive refit in 1997, however much of her career has been spent on saltwater, which can shorten a vessel’s lifespan considerably.

Launched October 18, 1983 as Prairie Harvest, the vessel was built as a Caribbean Class bulk freighter by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., Collingwood, Ont. The vessel remained active in various Seaway trades until late 1988 when she arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ont., for conversion to a self-unloader. In 1994, the Atlantic Huron was renamed Melvin H. Baker II, honoring one of the founders of the National Gypsum Co. as a result of a new contract obtained by CSL to carry gypsum products from Halifax, NS to various American east coast ports. After the 1997 refit, in the of Atlantic Huron name was restored.

Atlantic Huron is currently laid up at Halifax.


Updates - December 30

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated - please send updates to


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.


Port Reports - December 29

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel action Monday morning included Edwin H. Gott loading taconite pellets at the CN Duluth ore dock. Presque Isle was anchored on the lake awaiting its turn at the CN Two Harbors dock. (Vessels facing long waits for the Two Harbors dock often anchor in the shallower, more sheltered waters off Duluth.) John G. Munson was the first active vessel of the season to enter layup in the Twin Ports. It originally arrived in port late on the afternoon of Dec. 23 but apparently had to make another short trip before returning Dec. 27 to tie up at the dock for the winter. Vessel traffic likely will end Jan. 10, when James R. Barker is scheduled to lay up at Midwest Energy Terminal. Until then, the Barker has two more cargoes scheduled to load at the terminal, and several other vessels also are scheduled to load there. According to its website, Midwest Energy Terminal will end the calendar year having transshipped about 18.1 million tons of coal. That would be the terminals lowest annual transshipment tonnage since 2003 but still its seventh-highest mark since the dock opened in 1976 – not bad considering the economy.

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Ian Wellesley
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Kamtai Bay has been in Thunder Bay since before Christmas at the Coast Guard Base. The Katmai Bay is a 140 foot Bay-class Icebreaking tug home ported at the U.S. Coast Guard Sector in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Strong winds and snow made for little movement at the Marquette ore dock as Mississagi began her load and Saginaw waited.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic on a cold, blustery Monday included Algosar – which stopped to unload at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – as well as H. Lee White, Indiana Harbor and Ojibway. Roger Blough was downbound at mid-day. Manitowoc spent the day anchored for weather above the locks in Goulais Bay and was eventually joined by the White and Ojibway in the late evening. Canadian Progress rode on the hook in the lower river north of DeTour as winds gusted from the north at 20-25 mph. James R. Barker reported in at Ile Parisienne downbound just before midnight.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were dockside at Noble Petro Dock (former U.S. Oil) at the mouth of the Fox River Monday. They appeared to be awaiting weather conditions and then were to head to Bay Shipbuilding.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port at Lafarge on Monday. They departed before nightfall and then anchored out in the bay along with American Mariner to wait out the weather.


Levels of Great Lakes continue to rise

12/29 - Detroit, Mich. – The finish line for 2009 is looking like a wet one, and that's good news for the Great Lakes as water levels continue a two-year rebound.

The latest data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers show the Michigan-Huron lake system and Lake Superior are between 5 and 9 inches above levels from one year ago. Lake Erie is also up, sitting an inch above last year's level.

Other lakes are also in the ballpark, with Lake St. Clair an inch below last year's levels and Lake Ontario 3 inches below. Added precipitation through the remainder of December will only improve the Army Corps' outlook for the warmer months of 2010.

That means boating season will likely begin with the lakes maintaining their levels from 2009. For many, that's welcome news since the lakes' depth consistently decreased for the first seven years of the decade.

In the summer of 2007, Lake Superior reached a record low, and many living in the region believed those waters might never rise again.

According to Army Corps data, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan/Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Superior ended November within inches of historical levels for this time of year. And Lake St. Clair is slightly above its historical level.

"If we have good ice cover on the Great Lakes and get a lot of snow in the Upper Peninsula this winter, I have no doubt that by spring that the water levels will be back to where they used to be," said Doug Martz, the St. Clair Channel keeper.

The Detroit News


Server outage

12/29 - We will be performing maintenance at one of our server locations Tuesday and some feature may not be available at times. The outage is expected affect the Public Gallery and scanners.


Updates - December 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery Gallery


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.


Cutter Mackinaw gearing up for icebreaking season

12/28 - Cheboygan, Mich. - With temperatures falling and ice beginning to form in the Straits of Mackinac, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw is preparing for the 2009-10 icebreaking season.

The 240-foot vessel returned to its mooring at Cheboygan, Mich., about a week ago after sailing up the St. Marys River to survey channels, islands and passageways it will navigate when solid ice forms.

The Mackinaw is one of eight Coast Guard icebreakers dedicated to keeping shipping lanes clear in coordination with commercial shipping interests and the Canadian government.

The cutters engaged in Operation Taconite will break ice in lakes Superior and Michigan, northern Lake Huron, the St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac between lakes Michigan and Huron.

Chicago Tribune


Port Reports - December 28

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Manitowoc loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor Sunday afternoon while Mississagi and Saginaw continued to wait for ore loads. Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in the morning and anchored off the Upper Harbor breakwall waiting to load ore.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic included Charles M. Beeghly, headed from Algoma to Marquette at mid-day, and Kaministiqua, in the lower river at 10 a.m. Downbound were Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, Algosoo, American Century and Mesabi Miner.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday James Norris arrived at 8 a.m. for winter layup at Pier 10-5.The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 9 a.m. for Port Weller but returned 15 minutes later when they decided the swells were too big. Canadian Transport departed at 10:30 a.m. from Dofasco. The American Mariner arrived at 9 pm. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. Saturday CSL Tadoussac arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets for US Steel from Duluth. Algosteel departed at 2:15 p.m. from Dofasco in ballast for Oshawa. Sunday Robert S Pierson arrived at 6 a.m. with a load of canola to be discharged over the winter at Pier 11W. Hamilton Energy arrived at 11:15 a.m. from Port Weller. Cuyahoga departed at 11:15 from US Steel for Ashtabula. Algomarine departed at 12 noon for Thunder Bay. Canadian Transport arrived at 2 pm. with coal for Dofasco. Her next port will be Windsor. Capt. Henry Jackman arrived at 6 p.m. for winter lay-up at Pier 10-7. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit arrived at 7 p.m. Later on Sunday evening, John B. Aird and Canadian Enterprise were expected in port.


May 2010 lighthouse and freighter cruise

12/28 - BoatNerd and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association have joined with Keweenaw Excursions to organize the first lighthouse/freighter chasing event of 2010. This unusual trip will take place from May 19 to May 21.

The fun will begin and end in Sault Ste. Marie, and features a two-day cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star which will travel from Marquette across Lake Superior, down the St. Marys River, overnight in the Soo, continue down thru the Rock Cut, DeTour, and across the top of Lake Huron. The cruise will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and sail down Lake Michigan to Charlevoix. The boat will provide photo opportunities at 20 lighthouses and all the vessels in the busy shipping lanes along the way.

Due to bus availability, this event is limited to the first 46 people who make reservations. Make yours today. Click here for details.


Updates - December 28

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - December 28

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

On 28 December 1907, CALDERA (steel propeller freighter, 504 foot, 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.


Port Reports - December 27

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
The Upper Harbor was busy again on Saturday. Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore and departed in the morning. Manitowoc moved from anchorage and took Jackson's spot at the ore dock. In the afternoon, Mississagi and Saginaw waited at anchor while Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder loaded ore.

St. Marys River -
Traffic was slow the day after Christmas. The tug Evans McKeil and Niagara Spirit, delayed by weather since Dec. 24, headed downbound around noon. USCG Biscayne Bay passed upbound around dinnertime, followed shortly after by Presque Isle. Lee A. Tregurtha finished unloading at Essar Algoma and departed for Marquette around 8 p.m. Herbert C. Jackson was downbound at the locks around 10 p.m. and American Republic was upbound above Lime Island. Quebecois was inbound at DeTour at 11 p.m., with Invincible and McKee Sons behind them on a one-hour pre-call.

Hamilton, Ont. – Brian Kay
American Mariner made a rare trip through the Welland Canal Friday, she arrived in Hamilton and unloaded. Mariner departed early Saturday morning and was upbound at Port Colborne Saturday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Provider did not arrive on Friday as expected. She came in early Christmas Day. The tugs Evans McKeil and Eccose with the barge Lambert Spirit came in for shelter from the Christmas day storm and tied up at Polson Street pier.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Atlantic Huron arrived on Christmas day and soon went into layup. She has extra lines out and her anchors have been lowered to the bottom. She is ballasted down aft, with her bow thruster almost clear of the water forward.


Updates - December 27

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery Gallery


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.


St. Lawrence Seaway faces slow climb back

12/26 - Ottawa, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway’s 50th anniversary celebrations this year were overshadowed by one of the worst years for traffic in the waterway’s history, and Richard Corfe sees only slow recovery next year and beyond.

By the close of the shipping season on Dec. 24, traffic through the Seaway will be about 30 million metric tons, 25 percent less than than 2008’s 40 million tons, the president of Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. said in an interview with The Journal of Commerce.

“In our 50th anniversary year, we’ve done some good celebrating but the traffic level has been a disappointment,” Corfe said. “The 30 million tons will be our lowest cargo level since 1961 or 1962.”

Traffic should increase 8 to 10 percent next year, to perhaps 33 million tons, he said.

The Seaway’s problems are largely tied to steel-related bulk products, iron ore and coal and coke, which are down about 50 percent combined from 2008 as Canadian and American steel plants shut down their furnaces.

“It’s going to be a slow climb back,” Corfe said. “Our concern is that these traditional cargoes, particularly iron ore and coal, are going to be slow-recovering cargoes and ultimately may never come back.”

Corfe believes North American car buying, after getting a lift from the U.S. Cash-for-Clunkers program, is likely “to flatten through the first part of 2010 anyway,” hitting steel production. Longer term, he cited consolidation for big steel and automakers and changing production patterns — with less occurring around the Great Lakes — as detrimental to Seaway shipping.

For the Seaway to remain viable, it must diversify from the usual 90 to 95 percent emphasis on bulk shipping “to more of a 75 percent to 25 percent split,” Corfe said. The Canadian and U.S. Seaway administrations are encouraging more project shipping by barges — such as heavy wind generation equipment into the U.S. Midwest and oil-processing equipment for the Alberta tar sands — and more breakbulk and containerized shipping.

Like U.S. Administrator Collister Johnson Jr., Corfe sees prospects for short-sea shipping, especially in light of the new ship-barge service started between the Port of Hamilton, Ontario, and Montreal. He says Hamilton’s lead has sparked talks with some U.S. ports — Cleveland, Toledo and others on “potential start-up movements” of a similar nature.

Canadian Seaway tolls — the U.S. charges no tolls at its two locks — will be frozen for the 2010 season, for the third consecutive year, Corfe said, and a 20 percent discount on tolls will continue for new cargoes, new shipping line entrants and new destinations, he said.

The Journal of Commerce Online


Port Reports - December 26

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Mississagi arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock Christmas Eve afternoon to load taconite. She has only visited Marquette several times in Lower Lakes colors.

St. Marys River
Lee A. Tregurtha spent most of Christmas Day tied to the Soo Locks’ northwest pier waiting for Michipicoten finish unloading and depart Essar Algoma. Michipicoten left upbound for Thunder Bay in the early evening, allowing the Lee A. to move across the canal. Saginaw was also at Essar Friday, and the loaded tug Evans McKeil and barge Niagara Spirit remained tied up on the Canadian side below the locks waiting for weather. Elsewhere in the river, several vessels rode at anchor due to high winds. John J. Boland and Sam Laud were anchored in the upper river, while Canadian Transfer, Burns Harbor and Algosar were stopped above DeTour. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and H. Lee White were tucked in west of Mackinaw City. As midnight approached, Indiana Harbor was downbound above the locks, while James R. Barker was upbound near Mission Point. American Spirit also passed downbound at mid-day.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Wroblewski
The Luedtke dredge operations stopped for the holiday, their equipment was secured at the Cargill Pool Terminal Pier on Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning the pump out barge Lucille T had been moved over to the Connecting Terminal Elevator dock on the Buffalo River, positioned right behind the New York State Power Authority's equipment that is currently tied up there for the Ice Boom Installation Job. The rest of Luedtke's vessels were still at the Cargill as of Thursday afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Montrealais has laid up with a sugar storage cargo at Pier 35; Tim S. Dool laid up at Pier 52 with a storage cargo of sugar earlier in the week. English River and Stephen B. Roman were in port Thursday. Bluebill was still unloading sugar at Redpath Thursday afternoon. Canadian Provider was expected to arrive Friday with a storage load of sugar.


Group: Closing waterways will hurt area

12/26 - Slamming Lake Michigan's gates to keep out Asian carp could put 400 or more jobs in jeopardy and severely impact the area's economy, environment and quality of life.

The American Waterways Operators, the national trade association for the U.S. tugboat and barge industry, released statistics Wednesday detailing the impact a lock closure proposed by Michigan officials would have on area businesses and the economy.

"The actions of Illinois and federal authorities have not been enough to assure us the Lakes are safe," Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said in a news conference earlier this week. "That's why the waterways must be shut down until we are assured that Michigan will be protected."

Michigan's lawsuit asks the U.S. Supreme Court to immediately close the O'Brien Lock and Dam in the Calumet-Sag Channel and the Chicago Controlling Works, a stopgap measure aimed at keeping the fish at bay.

The O'Brien Locks are about a mile away from the lake. The Chicago Controlling Works is actually the Harbor Lock just south of Navy Pier, which links the main branch of the Chicago River to the lakefront.

The Michigan lawsuit also asks the court to permanently close the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, a man-made link between the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes, that runs through Will County.

This move is supported by some environmental groups and opposed by groups such as the AWO.

Asian carp threat
Recent DNA tests revealed the dreaded bighead and silver varieties of Asian carp may have found their way north of electronic barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in Romeoville. The barriers were supposed to stop them, but their DNA has been found within 6 miles of Lake Michigan.

Earlier this month, officials poisoned a 6-mile stretch of the canal near Romeoville to kill off the carp while the electric barrier was down for maintenance.

Just one Asian carp body was found after the poisoning, discovered Dec. 3 just above the Lockport Lock and Dam, south of the electric barrier. Subsequent netting operations closer to Chicago failed to net an Asian carp.

The invasive species could devastate the Great Lakes' $4.5 billion commercial and sports industry. The fish can grow to 100 pounds and eat 40 percent of their body weight daily, starving native game fish.

Cost of closure
"Barges transport millions of dollars worth of essential goods and commodities," said Lynn Muench, spokesman for the AWO.

Commodities transported by barge include millions of tons of coal for area power plants, such as Midwest Generation.

Since barging is the most economical form of freight transportation, transferring these commodities to rails or trucks would increase costs, with the burden falling on area industries and consumers, according to an informal survey of Chicago-area businesses conducted by the AWO.

Barge transportation is the most environmentally friendly mode of freight transportation, the survey said. Taking to the rails and highways would result in polluted air and damage to overcrowded highways.

The economic price for barge companies would be significant, AWO found. Moved through local waterways, petroleum products net $17.5 million per year; Road salt, ethanol, fertilizer, steel and coal from Lemont yield an annual average of $16 million; and sand and limestone coming through Lockport adds $4.9 million in yearly revenues.

Customers that would be affected by the proposed closings include Midwest Generation with plants in Romeoville and Joliet; Oxbow Midwest in Lemont; Aspen Valley Landscape Supply in Homer Glen; Citgo Petroleum in Lemont; and Ozinga in Plainfield.

Other information released by the AWO includes:

• Forty rail cars or 60 trucks would be needed to haul the amount of material on a single barge.
• Ozinga officials said using trucks instead of barges would raise the cost of concrete 20 percent to 30 percent and result in job losses.


Updates - December 26

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 26

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

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

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

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


Today in Great Lakes History - December 25

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

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

Data from: Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - December 24

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth early Wednesday to fuel and then load at the CN ore dock with pellets destined for Gary. The ore dock has been busy this week, hosting several vessels Tuesday and with Algosoo expected on Wednesday. John G. Munson was due to unload at the Graymont dock (formerly CLM in Superior) on Wednesday before proceeding to the Duluth port terminal on Thursday for winter layup.

St. Marys River
Traffic late Wednesday included the downbound Presque Isle, Canadian Olympic, Calumet, H. Lee White and Adam E. Cornelius. Upbound were Mississagi and American Integrity.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Wednesday the tug Michigan and her barge Great Lakes arrived in Green Bay, paying a rare late season visit. The combo, which was once a frequent visitor, is believed to be making its first trip in many years to Green Bay. They were assisted in through the ice in lower Green Bay and into the dock by the G tug Indiana. They are unloading near the mouth of the Fox River at the Noble Petro Dock, which is the former U.S. Oil dock. This is the first cargo received by ship at that terminal this season.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Bluebill arrived at Redpath over the weekend.

Kingston, Ont. - Brian Johnson
Wolfe Islander III departed Hamilton for Kingston Sunday Dec. 20, arriving that night around 11 p.m. She went back into service on the Kingston to Wolfe Island run on Monday around noon. The ferry Frontenac II returned to her regular run between Amherst Island and Millhaven, Ont. also on Monday. The Quinte Loyalist which had been on the Amherst Island run returned to Glenora. Wolfe Islander III had been at Heddle Marine drydock in Hamilton since mid October for some modifications during her five-year inspection.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Atlantic Huron is due Christmas morning.


News on break for Christmas holiday

12/24 - The BoatNerd News will not be updated on Friday (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 Saturday.


Updates - December 24

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated - please send updates to


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 two tugs. She was sold to Norfolk and Western Railway Company to be converted into a river ferry barge and renamed b.) ROANOKE by Nicholson’s Terminal & Dock Co. at Ecorse, Michigan.

On 24 December 1910, 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.


Port Reports - December 23

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a long delay, Charles M. Beeghly loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor Tuesday morning. Adam E. Cornelius arrived in the early afternoon to load ore. The visit was her second in a week.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Cuyahoga was in overnight dropped salt off in the Ship Channel. She departed just after 9 a.m. Tuesday. Tim S. Dool tied up at Pier 52 Tuesday morning. This is her first visit to Toronto under this name.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
This is the second year that the season has ended in December instead of carrying over into January. The combination of bad weather and the economic situation ended the season early this year, as it did last year. For the record shipping activity for the last several years was:
Season Received - Shipped - # Boats
2002/2003 - 74   - 0  - 26
2003/2004 - 86   - 13 - 24
2004/2005 - 126 - 16 - 22
2005/2006 - 112 - 13 - 20
2006/2007 - 89  - 14 - 15
2007/2008 - 81  - 14 - 17
2008/2009 - 85  - 6 - 16
2009/2010 - 62  - 9 - 15

The 15 boats included:
Agawa Canyon
Lewis J. Kuber and Olive Moore
St. Marys Challenger (completing its 103rd year)
Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest
Invincible and McKee Sons
Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41
Robert S. Pierson
Wilfred Sykes

The most frequent visitor was the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41, with 16 visits followed by the Manistee with 10.


EPA rules finalized

12/23 - Washington, D.C. - The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday finalized sweeping new air emission regulations for large ships in U.S. waters, including a temporary exemption for 13 U.S.-Flag steamships on the Great Lakes as part of a legislative compromise brokered by Representatives Dave Obey and Jim Oberstar.

The compromise between officials from EPA, Rep. Obey, Rep. Oberstar, and others in the Great Lakes delegation, addressed a defect in the EPAs original proposed rule. The compromise will save tens of thousands of jobs in the Great Lakes mining, steel, and shipping industries, while maintaining unprecedented new air quality requirements for the region.

In August, the EPA first proposed regulations to control emissions from large oceangoing vessels, and also extended those requirements to Great Lakes vessels. One provision would have required the 13 U.S.-Flag steamships on the Lakes to burn distillate fuel, something that cannot be done safely on a steamship.

Without this exemption, the regulation would have eliminated those 13 vessels by 2012. Those vessels represent 25 percent of the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet that moves iron ore and other raw materials to steel mills, power plants, manufacturers, and others in the Midwest. Seven Canadian steamships also would have been impacted by the rule.

In addition to the steamship exemption, the new air regulations provide some flexibility in their application to another 13 U.S. and 53 Canadian diesel-powered vessels. They, like thousands of other ships that call on the U.S., which otherwise will be required to switch to low-sulfur fuel by 2012 and then to ultra low-sulfur fuel in 2015.

American manufacturers, shippers, and others remain highly concerned that the additional costs associated with the new air requirements will render Great Lakes industries uncompetitive and open the door to unnecessary foreign imports. Under the EPA regulations,some Great Lakes vessels fuel costs could increase by 70 percent based on historical numbers, potentially impacting their economic viability and eventually costing Great Lakes consumers more than $100 million in additional fuel costs per year. However, in the report accompanying the legislation, Congress, calling for an economic impact study, stated the EPA should provide a waiver in cases where fuel was not available or upon a showing of serious economic hardship. Some oil refiners doubt the required fuel for lakers will even be available at any cost.

Oceangoing vessels trading to the Lakes will also see their fuel costs increase, as they will have to burn the lower sulfur fuel the entire time, two weeks or more, that they are on the Lakes, whereas deep-sea vessels calling on coastal ports will only be in U.S. waters for a few days.

This really was only superficially about Great Lakes shipping, said James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, and President of Lake Carriers Association. This was about protecting family- sustaining jobs from regulations that had no basis in fact. Had the regulations been finalized as originally proposed misapplying regulations designed for oceangoing vessels to lakers we would have lost jobs on the Lakes, the mines and quarries, the steel mills, and all the other industries that depend on waterborne commerce.

Weakley noted that loss of carrying capacity on the Lakes can have only one of two results. There will be either a modal shift or a source shift. A modal shift means ship-borne cargos go to trains and trucks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently determined that ships produce 70 percent less carbon dioxide than trains and 90 percent less than trucks.

We all want clean air, said Pat OHern, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF, and Vice President and General Manager of Bay Shipbuilding Company. Congressmen Obey and Oberstar are renowned for their commitment to the environment. They would not have championed Great Lakes shipping if this temporary exemption posed any threat to public health.

U.S.-Flag Great Lakes operators have modernized the engines on their vessels. In the past two years, two steamships have been converted to diesels. A vessel that burns intermediate fuel entered a shipyard last month to have new engines installed. Another Great Lakes operator is seeking a Federal grant to help with the cost of repowering one of its intermediate-fuel vessels. Another company is using a Federal grant to assist in replacing generators. The EPA, through the finalized rule and other programs, continues to promote the upgrade of these and other transportation engines to more modern and cleaner power plants. With another worldwide fuel standard coming into play in 2020, the greenest form of transportation will continue to reduce its carbon footprint. The EPAs final rule gives the carriers time to adapt and provides incentives to do so sooner.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Final voyage for Captain John's?

12/23- Toronto - Floating eatery for sale: Younger blood sought to 'make it into a hotel, a lounge, even a casino' In an ideal world, Captain John Letnik's retirement would involve simply pulling up anchor, starting the motor and steering into the sunset aboard the M.S. Jadran, the cruise-ship-turned-restaurant that has been a fixture on the city's lakeshore for decades.

But for Letnik, owner of Captain John's restaurant at the foot of Yonge St., the reality is more grounded. After lengthy deliberations, Letnik has put his prized ship up for sale for $1.5 million. The online listing seeks someone willing to buy "one of Toronto's historic icons" and then some. "The boat needs a little bit of upgrading. And it needs younger blood," said Letnik, 72, sitting in the dining hall of his ship.

"More than half the ship is still empty. There is a lot of potential here for a young person," he said. "They can make it into a hotel, a lounge, or even a casino. We need more attraction down here."

After nearly 40 years, it took months of pondering for Letnik to let go of the boat that became a major tourist attraction in the city."It was a difficult decision because this is my life," he said. "But you have to be realistic. I don't have anyone to carry it on."

Letnik first opened the floating restaurant in 1969 on a defunct island ferry called the S.S. Normac. In 1981, the ferry sank after being struck by the municipally owned Trillium ferry. He sought damages from the city and was compensated.

Letnik had bought the M.S. Jadran, a former Adriatic cruise ship, from the Yugoslav government for $1 million and sailed it to Toronto in 1975 with 16 crew members. When the Normac sank, he reopened the restaurant on the new ship.

There were times years ago, Letnik recalled, when the lineup for a seat for lunch or dinner was out the door. These days, empty tables are plentiful. Patrons are harder to come by.

His tax battle with the city is also ongoing. Earlier this year, Letnik's lawyers argued the ship didn't rest on a foundation and couldn't be assessed. A judge ruled that since the ship had been moored to the shore since 1975, it could be taxed. Letnik attempted to appeal the ruling, but was denied. He plans to meet with assessment officials early next year.

Despite such woes, Letnik is in no rush to sell. The restaurant is still open and going forth with weddings booked for next summer.

"It's not going to be an overnight sale. It's going to be a while to find a proper person. Because it's a ship, it's not a building.

"They have to know how to look after it."

Toronto Star


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.


Lakes limestone trade plummets to lowest level since 1984

12/22 - The Great Lakes limestone trade has closed for the year and the 2009 total is the lowest since 1984. U.S. and Canadian ports shipped 23.5 million net tons of limestone in 2009. That is the lowest total since the recession year 1984 when shipments totaled only 23,156,860 tons.

The 2009 total also represents a decrease of 27.4 percent compared to 2008. The trade was nearly 36 percent below its 5-year average.

A major portion of the limestone shipped on the Lakes is aggregate for the construction industry. Efforts to stimulate the economy have yet to translate into aggregate-intensive projects. Lakes-shipping quarries also supply U.S. and Canadian steelmakers with fluxstone that is used as a purifying agent in the steelmaking process. Although some blast furnaces have been restarted, the industry is still only operating at about 65 percent of its capacity.

Lake Carriers' Association


New Jersey-based Coast Guard Cutter to arrive in Cleveland today

12/22 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay is scheduled to arrive at the Cleveland Moorings at approximately 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Penobscot Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., will be temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region to augment the eight other icebreakers that call the Great Lakes home.

Penobscot Bays deployment here will ensure the Coast Guards ability to facilitate the movement of vessels, meet the reasonable demands of commerce on the Great Lakes and assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with flood mitigation.


Last salties headed off the lakes

12/22 - Federal Pendant passed downbound at Port Huron late Monday morning making her the last salt water vessel of the year to clear the upper lakes. The Federal Pendant cleared the Soo Sunday after loading. BBC Italy was also downbound about a half hour ahead of the Pendant.

On Monday there were still seven salties above Port Weller. The Lake Ontario to Montreal section of the Seaway closes on Dec. 24 and the Welland Canal will close on Dec. 26.

Bill Simpson and Matt Miner


Algobay returning from China

12/22 - On Monday evening the Algobay was entering the Gatun Locks of the Panama Canal. Algobay is returning from a conversion in China.

Andy Torrence


Port Reports - December 23

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
After a long wait the Robert S. Pierson finally got to load ore Monday. She finished loading and quickly departed the dock in a small snowstorm. The Charles M. Beeghly tied up at the dock after the Pathfinder departed and waited for her load.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Manistee arrived at Bay Shipbuilding at 8 a.m. Monday and was assisted into the graving dock by the tug Bayship and Selvick tugs Sharon M. Selvick, Susan L. and Steven Selvick.

Iroquois Lock - Dave Bessant
Monday evening the Agawa Canyon was downbound through the Iroquois Lock. She is reported to be heading to Montreal for long term lay-up.


Superior secures $2 million for Fraser Shipyards expansion

12/22 - The city of Superior will get $2 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation to assist with the expansion and improvement of Fraser Shipyards.

The money was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was signed into law Wednesday by President Obama. Fraser is embarking on a three-phase, $10 million-plus expansion that will add or improve on 100 acres of sheet piling at its existing docking facility to enable it to work on more vessels.

Earlier this year, the city got $3.7 million for the first phase of the project through the State Harbor Assistance Program, which required a 20 percent match from Fraser. Fraser Shipyards has been building and repairing vessels for nearly 120 years with both dry dock and floating repair facilities. It employs up to 125 people during the winter and has 30 full-time employees during the shipping season. The planned expansion could mean as many as 100 additional jobs at the facility.

The bill also included $450,000 for the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute. Established by the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2004, the institute does research related to economically and environmentally sustainable maritime commerce on the Great Lakes.

Superior Telegram


Updates - December 22

Lay-up list updated
News Photo Gallery


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.


Drop in tonnage from 2008 makes a bad year for Seaway

12/21 - Massena, N.Y. - Based on at least one key measure, this is the worst season ever for the St. Lawrence Seaway.

"It's definitely one of the worst in the history of the Seaway, as a function of the economy," Seaway spokeswoman Nancy T. Alcalde said. "Based on a pure year-on-year percent tonnage drop, this would be the worst year."

There are several different ways to look at shipping data to determine what "the worst" means, however.

This year, the amount of cargo that floated up and down the Seaway dropped 28.3 percent, according to the most current numbers released at the end of November. Total tonnage dropped from more than 37 million tons to about 27 million tons.

But in terms of raw tonnage numbers, 1974 was the worst dip, with a drop of more than 13.5 million tons from 1973 levels, Ms. Alcalde said. Those numbers represent a 20 percent drop.

This is the third year in a row that traffic has dropped on the St. Lawrence Seaway. In 2008, the beginning of the current recession took a toll on manufacturing and the auto industry; two of the Seaway's biggest customers. In 2007, a drop in water levels meant ships had to lighten their loads to make the trip.

In 2009, the total number of transits dropped 17 percent, from nearly 4,000 to just more than 3,000.

Ms. Alcalde said there still is hope the number of ships sailing the river might rebound before the end of the season on Dec. 29.

"It looks like there's an uptick of ships even now going through," she said, though she did not provide any data. "We're staying on top of it."

In recent months, the channel has seen the traditional increase as a result of grain harvests being shipped. Compared to last year, there is more than 7 percent more grain being transported on the St. Lawrence, from 6.7 million tons to 7.2 million, according to the November numbers.

After the season closes, Seaway officials will spend the winter months doing further analysis of what this season's decline means for the shipping channel.

"I'm not an economist, but I think reports are that we're coming out of (the recession) and next year will be better," Ms. Alcalde said.

Watertown Daily Times


Four of Five Great Lakes on the rise

12/21 - The levels of four Great Lakes are higher than a year ago and all except Lake Ontario should start next year's recreational boating season at or above last year's levels, according to two reports this month.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are predicted to be slightly above last year's levels to start this coming May, while Superior, St. Clair and Erie are expected to be about the same as last year, according to a six-month outlook issued this month by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Actual levels will depend in part on precipitation and how much of the lakes' surface freezes over this winter, a factor that limits water loss by evaporation.

Recent cold air has allowed ice to form on many protected areas of the lakes, according to the Corps report issued Thursday.

This week, Huron and Michigan are 10 inches above last year, Superior is up 4 inches, and Erie and St. Clair are both 1 inch higher. Lake Ontario is 1 inch below last year, the report says.

The Great Lakes gradually have been recovering toward long-term averages after near-historic low levels in the middle part of the decade.

Surface levels can have a significant impact on the cost of Great Lakes shipping -- higher levels mean freighters can carry heavier loads. And shifts of just a few inches can mean changes of hundreds of feet on shoreline property and affect recreational boaters and tourism.

The Detroit News


Port Reports - December 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper, and Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder prepared to load ore after a long delay. Robert S. Pierson, which has been in port since Friday afternoon, and Charles M. Beeghly were at anchor waiting to load ore.

Brockville, Ont. - Dave Bessant
USCG Cutter Penobscot Bay passed Brockville Sunday afternoon. The cutter is expected to pass through the Welland Canal Monday and arrive in Cleveland Tuesday. The cutter, based out of New Jersey, will spend the winter on the Great Lakes to assist in ice breaking.


Updates - December 21

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.


Port Reports - December 20

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
When the Herbert C. Jackson finished loading, the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder backed into the south side of the dock, an unusual move. Both the Lee A. Tregurtha and Pathfinder waited to load while the Robert S. Pierson waited in the harbor.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Algoway departed the Lafarge dock around 4 p.m. on Saturday. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected to return on Sunday morning.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel arrived in port overnight and began unloading into the hopper at Redpath Sugar Saturday. English River was in port on Friday.

Quebec City - Bruno Boissonneault
A sure sign of winter is the mountains of sugar in Quebec City's Anse au Foulon are now bare and dwindling fast as lakers line-up to take their storage loads to Toronto's Redpath Sugar. Last week part of the pile was loaded into the Algosteel but another load was delivered by a Canfornav vessel. On Saturday morning the Tim S. Dool was docked and loading. Still awaiting in the river are Canadian Provider and Montrealais, both due in Quebec City on December 20. Loading usually takes 48-64 hours providing there is no snow.


Updates - December 20

News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 5)
Lay-up list updated
2010 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.


Toledo port board OKs plan to establish maritime museum

12/19 - Toledo, Ohio - Plans to move the Great Lakes Historical Society's museum from Vermilion to Toledo took another step forward Thursday when the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's board of directors approved a "memorandum of understanding" about a lease for space in the port-owned Toledo Maritime Center.

Also during its meeting yesterday, the port board elected Opie Rollison as its new chairman, succeeding William Carroll, who stepped down after two years in that position. Mr. Rollison had been vice chairman, a post now to be held by Michael Frank.

The board approved the historical society agreement without opposition. Board member Lloyd Jacobs was absent.

The agreement allows the historical society to occupy 12,278 square feet at the maritime center for just $1 per year plus half of all ticket revenue exceeding $700,000 in a given year for an initial term of 25 years.

But during the first five years, the society also agrees to reimburse the salary of the port authority's manager of maritime affairs, currently about $52,000, while allowing that person to conduct port authority business for at least 25 percent of his or her workday, and to assume responsibility for the maritime center's operating costs of about $35,000 per year.

The society will take over maintenance and management of the Willis B. Boyer museum ship as well, as soon as the port authority renegotiates its operating agreement with Boyer/Riverfront Inc. and the museum ship is moved from its current International Park location to a slip next to the maritime center.

The agreement also commits the historical society to marketing the maritime center to potential operators of ferry service, the official purpose for which the port authority obtained federal grants covering $2.6 million of the building's $3.2 million cost.

While Paul C. LaMarre III, the port authority's manager of maritime affairs, said he believes funding is in place for the $350,000 cost of dry-docking the Boyer and cosmetically restoring it to its original appearance and name, the $1.5 million estimated cost of dredging the maritime center slip that the Boyer would occupy remains unfunded.

Having the museum agreement in place, however, should provide "a solid foundation upon which to build the rest of the project," Mr. LaMarre said.

Both he and Mr. Gilchrist said the ideal time for opening the relocated museum and the restored, relocated museum ship would be May, 2011, in time to celebrate the June 1, 2011, centennial of the Schoonmaker/Boyer's christening and launch as the then-largest bulk freighter in the world.

Mr. Rollison, who becomes the port authority's chairman after a decade as a port director, said his top priority after taking office will be overseeing completion of the agency's new strategic plan, "which will drive our initiatives" after that.

Mr. Carroll, meanwhile, said the main achievement of his two years as chairman was leading the port authority "through a tumultuous time" during which the agency received several major grants for modernizing the Port of Toledo while weathering plunging passenger business at Toledo Express Airport.

Mr. Carroll was the port board's spokesman when it fired President James Hartung on Aug. 1, 2008, for "inappropriate conduct with a vendor," and was personally named as a co-defendant in a defamation lawsuit subsequently filed by that vendor, Kathy Teigland. The lawsuit remains pending.

Toledo Blade


Donjon announces creation of shipbuilding and repair on Lake Erie

12/19 - Hillside, NJ - Donjon Marine, Co., Inc., a global marine services provider based in New Jersey, has announced the creation of Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair, LLC (“DSR”).

Through an agreement with the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority and the acquisition of the assets of the former Erie Shipbuilding, LLC, DSR will engage in shipbuilding and repair on its 44-acre site on Lake Erie, Pa. The acquisition adds shipbuilding and repair to Donjon’s existing spectrum of marine services, including dredging, salvage, heavy lift and towing.

DSR’s facility, equipped with a 1,250 feet by 120 feet by 22 feet dry dock, is the largest shipyard of its kind on the Great Lakes. The facility includes 4,000 feet of pier space and more than 200,000 square feet of production area, with fully enclosed fabrication and assembly buildings housing fully automated cutting, fabrication and coating equipment sufficient to build and maintain everything from deck barges to ocean-going ships.

DSR presents the opportunity to build on the wealth of manufacturing expertise available in the Erie area. “Donjon is pleased that our expansion into shipbuilding in Erie will bring additional jobs to the area and we look forward to share our continued growth and success through DSR,” said Donjon President and CEO Mr. J. Arnold Witte.


Departure of Duluth-Superior’s last saltie of the season delayed

12/19 - Duluth, Minn - The BBC Italy, the port’s last saltie of the season did not depart Thurdsay evening as was originally anticipated due to a crane failure onboard the vessel that has delayed grain loading. Repairs were made and she departed about 9 p.m. Friday night.

The Antigua/Barbuda-flag vessel had arrived at Duluth’s Clure Public Marine Terminal on Sunday morning to discharge wind turbine components (nacelles and hubs) from Denmark and Spain, after which she moved to berth #1 at Superior’s CHS grain elevator to load nearly 5,800 metric tons of flax bound for Ghent, Belgium.

According to local vessel agent Guthrie Hubner, if weather conditions stay favorable, she should arrive at the Welland Canal by late on Dec. 21 and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway two days later, just a week ahead of the Seaway’s official year-end closing.

Unfortunately, another saltie headed for the Twin Ports a sister ship, the BBC Spain was delayed leaving Europe and has been diverted to Texas to discharge her cargo as she would have been unable to complete the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway transit before the close of this year’s navigation season.

Several lakers will continue hauling bulk cargo on four of the five Great Lakes for the next few weeks as the locks at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, won’t officially close until January 15, 2010. Ten of the U.S.-flag lake carriers are currently scheduled to layup for the winter in Duluth-Superior.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Feds and local officials search ore ship at Marquette

12/19 - Marquette, Mich. - Federal agents and Marquette City Police were at the Presque Isle Ore Dock in Marquette's Upper Harbor Thursday afternoon.

They boarded the ore boat Adam E. Cornelius. Sources say they were apparently looking for drugs, but no arrests were made.According to those on a second boat on the south side of the ore dock, the Cornelius was apparently coming from Canada.

Customs and border patrol officials with Homeland Security in Sault Ste. Marie declined comment on the situation.

Marquette City Police had its K-9 unit onboard the ore boat as well.

TV 6


Port Reports - December 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
The Upper Harbor was busy again Friday afternoon. Three Interlake vessels were secured at the ore dock. Herbert C. Jackson was waiting to load on the south side while Lee A. Tregurtha and tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder shared the north side. Robert S. Pierson arrived before sunset and docked behind the Jackson.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben and Chanda McClain
Late Thursday night Algoway arrived at Lafarge. This was a rare trip for the vessel as it was unloading bauxite into the storage hopper. The cargo was not unloading well and Algoway moved farther up the dock to unload the rest of the bauxite near the coal piles on Friday. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation anchored out in the bay on Friday to wait until there was enough room to make it into the slip. Champlain loaded cement for Whitefish, Ont., during the evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Worbrowski
Friday the tug Kurt Luedtke was shuffling her scows at the Cargil Pier at 10 a.m. They appeared to have arrived from a cross-lake tow, since the #16 dredge rig was still in the Outer Harbor Anchorage with the spuds down while the Kurt was moving everything around. Later that morning she went back out to the harbor and picked up the #16 to dock her across the end of the pier at the Cargil Elevator. Their pump out barge Lucille T was already in place at the Army Corps Disposal Pond at Stony Point. They appeared to be setting up to do some dredging.

The New York State Power Authority tug Breaker was busy at the North Entrance, taking 1,000 foot strings of the Niagara River Ice Boom out to her derrick barge in the mouth of the Niagara River Friday morning.

The G-tug Washington went on a bridge inspection mission for the CSX Railroad Friday morning as well. They departed the tug dock around 10:30 a.m. and broke ice all the way up to the CSX CP1 Draw Bridge (New York Central River Bridge) to allow a pair of inspectors or engineers to photograph part of the span. They seemed to be concentrating on the South West bridge pier and fendering as they were crawling all over it and taking pictures for about a half hour before heading back downriver.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Algocape arrived Friday for lay-up at 4:30 p.m. She is tied up at Pier 10-9 behind Canadian Leader.

Kingston, Ont. – Ron Walsh
After more than three weeks in port, Radium Yellowknife has departed Kingston, heading for Port Weller.

Port Cartier
Canadian Provider was expected to arrive Friday at Port Cartier to discharge her load of grain from Thunder Bay. She will then depart upbound for Quebec City in ballast for a load of sugar bound for Toronto. She is due to arrive in Toronto Dec. 26 where she will layup for the winter.


City of Rochester’s ill-fated ferry company nearly dissolved

12/19 - Rochester, N.Y. – Members of the city's ferry board met briefly Thursday to terminate a lease with the Toronto Port Authority with a $90,000 settlement, and to dissolve the Rochester Ferry Co. "I would ask if there is any other business coming from this ferry board," said Benjamin Douglas, the former City Council member who served as board president, "but we don't exist anymore."

City Council still must finalize the dissolution of the ferry board, an action likely to happen in the next couple of months.

The Toronto terminal lease was a 14-year, $250,000-a-year agreement that would have run through 2019. It was the lone unsolved issue of a failed Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service, which Mayor Robert Duffy shut down after taking office in 2006. The city, through the RFC, stopped making payments on the lease at the end of last year.

City Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards said the city agreed to pay the authority the $84,000 left in RFC's bank account, and the $6,000 it had on deposit to pay Canadian taxes.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - December 19

News Photo Gallery


BoatNerd requests hardware donations

12/19 -   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 camera/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


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.

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.


E.M. Ford on the move at the Soo

12/18 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The former ILM cement carrier E.M. Ford was towed upbound through the Poe Lock Thursday afternoon by tugs from Purvis Marine. The likely destination was the Purvis facility above the locks where the Ford will eventually be scrapped.


Last saltie of the season scheduled to depart Duluth-Superior Thursday night

12/18 - Duluth, Minn. – Despite bitterly cold weather and ice in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the BBC Italy was scheduled to depart Duluth-Superior at approximately 8 p.m. Thursday night, making her the last saltie of the season to leave this port.

The Antigua/Barbuda-flag vessel had arrived at Duluth’s Clure Public Marine Terminal on Sunday morning to discharge wind turbine components (nacelles and hubs) from Denmark and Spain, after which she moved to berth #1 at Superior’s CHS grain elevator to load nearly 5,800 metric tons of flax bound for Ghent, Belgium.

According to local vessel agent Guthrie Hubner, if the vessel departs on schedule and weather conditions stay favorable, she should arrive at the Welland Canal by midday Dec. 21 and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway two days later – just a week ahead of the Seaway’s official year-end closing.

Unfortunately, another saltie headed for the Twin Ports – a sister ship, the BBC Spain – was delayed leaving Europe and has been diverted to Texas to discharge her cargo as she would have been unable to complete the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway transit before the close of this year’s navigation season.

Several “lakers” will continue hauling bulk cargo on four of the five Great Lakes for the next few weeks as the locks at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan won’t officially close until January 15, 2010. Ten of the U.S.-flag lake carriers are currently scheduled to layup for the winter in Duluth-Superior.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


U.S.-Flag lakes float tops 9 million tons for first time this year in November

12/18 - The U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet hauled more than 9 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo in November. That’s the first month this year that cargos totaled more than 9 million tons in a single month.

The November float is a small increase over the previous month 3 percent but significantly higher than earlier this year. In May, for example, U.S.-Flag cargos totaled only 7.1 million tons.

The 3.6 million tons of iron ore hauled in November are the fleet’s best total for that commodity so far this year and reflect rising demand for steel. Limestone recorded its second-best month of the year. However, the last stone cargo of the year was loaded on December 16, an early close for that trade.

Coal loadings were down 16 percent compared to a year ago, primarily because of slowdown in shipments of western coal out of Superior, Wisconsin.

Through November, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 60,352,716 tons, a decrease of approximately 36.6 percent compared to a year ago. The U.S.-Flag float is 38.4 percent off the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay to arrive in Cleveland

12/18 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay is scheduled to arrive here at approximately 7:30 a.m. December 22. Penobscot Bay will moor at the U.S. Coast Guard's Cleveland Moorings.

Penobscot Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., will be temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region to augment the eight other icebreaking cutters that call the Great Lakes home.

Penobscot Bay’s deployment here will ensure the Coast Guard’s ability to facilitate the movement of vessels on the Great Lakes, meet the reasonable demands of commerce on the Great Lakes and, when requested, assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with flood mitigation.


Port Reports - December 18

Twin Ports – Al Miller
BBC Italy was expected to depart Duluth-Superior on Thursday evening, making it the Twin Ports last saltie of the season. The ship arrived in port last Sunday to unload wind turbine nacelles and hubs at the Duluth Port Terminal. It then shifted to the CHS terminal in Superior to load 5,800 metric tons of flax destined for Ghent, Belgium. Elsewhere in port, American Century departed from Midwest Energy Terminal with coal. Early in the morning, Edgar B. Speer was anchored out on the lake waiting for the dock in Two Harbors while Manitowoc was anchored out waiting for the CN Dock in Duluth. Quebecois was expected late at night to load at CN Duluth.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor, Robert S. Pierson departed after loading ore, and Herbert C. Jackson arrived from Superior to unload coal into the hopper. Adam E. Cornelius was due to load ore later in the afternoon.

Detroit River – Brian Kline
Frontenac spent part of Wednesday stuck behind Peche Island off Windsor at the head of the Detroit River. The vessel was reported to have become stuck in the muddy bottom while negotiating the narrow channel leading to the aggregate dock Wednesday afternoon about 3:20 p.m. She was freed around 2:15 a.m. Thursday morning by the tugs Evans McKeil and Joyce L. Van Enkevort, which dropped its barge Great Lakes Trader in the Belle Isle anchorage. The tug Patricia Hoey headed for the scene but turned back to her Detroit dock after Frontenac was freed. The Frontenac finished unloading and departed downbound about 7 p.m. Thursday.


Another step closer for the USS Edson coming to Bay City

12/18 - The Battleship Wisconsin found its official home in Norfolk, Va. on Dec. 14, which means the USS Edson is the Navy’s next priority, according to officials working to bring the destroyer to Bay City.

“That’s been holding us up,” said Dick Janke, the museum committee director, on the Wisconsin’s arrival in Norfolk. Many things, including getting rid of toxic chemicals on the 1950s-era, retired destroyer, have prevented it from making the trip to Bay City.

Janke said the Navy will break for the holiday season and get back to work on bringing the Edson starting Jan. 4. The ship’s arrival has been delayed several times before, however.

For the city of Norfolk, it took several years worth of negotiations and planning to bring the battleship to town. The city set aside $6.2 million for the project. The Virginia-Pilot reported the deck of the Wisconsin is available to tour for now, and the rest of the ship will open for tours in the spring.

The Bay City Times


U.S. Coast Guard units in Grand Haven support U.S. Marine Corp's Toys for Tots

12/18 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard in Grand Haven is supporting the U.S. Marine Corps's local Toys for Tots campaign Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Sector Field Office, located at 650 Harbor Dr., adjacent to Escanaba Park.

The Tri-Cities public is invited to come and fill up the boat with new, wrapped toys to be distributed to local less fortunate children who would otherwise not receive any gifts for Christmas. On display at the Coast Guard office will be a 25 foot Response Boat Small (RB-S).

Uniformed Coast Guard and Marine Corps personnel will be present to meet and greet the public and accept the donated toys.

Grand Haven Coast Guard's intent is to provide military personnel support to the Marine Corps's Toys for Tots campaign. The hope is Coast Guard participation will add traction to the local citizen's volunteerism/giving spirit. More important, it as a way to support children who would otherwise not receive a gift this Christmas.


Freight traffic past Port Huron down for 2009

12/18 - Port Huron, Mich. – The number of freighters motoring past the Blue Water Area fell off this shipping season, and the reasons provide a snapshot of the state of Michigan's economy.

Capt. Dan Gallagher, president of the Port Huron-based Lakes Pilots Association, said the group had 40 percent fewer trips during the shipping season that is coming to a close. The decrease largely is because of a decline in the shipment of essential commodities such as iron ore, grain and coal, products used in many state industries.

"It's been a tough year altogether," Gallagher said. "We're hanging on."

The Lakes Pilots Association members are captains for foreign freighters as they travel through the St. Clair River and toward the Atlantic Ocean. The association employs 10 pilots and about 10 support staff.

Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents 16 companies with about 65 ships on the Great Lakes, said shipments of core products all are down.

Shipments of iron ore, which is used to make steel, is down 50 percent; limestone, used for construction such as road projects, is down about 30 percent; and coal, which is used for heating, also is down, Nekvasil said.

He said about eight freighters in his complement didn't sail this year for lack of shipments. Other vessels were in service for only a handful of shipments and then laid up again."It has been a difficult year," he said. "We haven't been buying cars, washing machines and refrigerators.

"Ships meet demand for cargo," he added. "They don't generate demand for cargo."

The St. Lawrence Seaway is closing Dec. 29, Gallagher said. The Soo Locks are set to close in mid-January. That means the season nearly is over, which might not be bad news.

Nekvasil and Gallagher say there are indications shipping could improve next year. "It is going to be an increase next year for sure," Gallagher said.

Gallagher said that because credit markets are starting to loosen, the ability to import and export goods such as grain, corn and soybeans will increase. That, he said, will increase the traffic for the pilots association.

"It is all about credit," he said. "A load of these products are millions of dollars, and everything is run by credit."

Nekvasil said because he belongs to a trade organization, he is not allowed to predict next summer's success. But, he said: "If the steel industry begins to rebound, that will bring some boats out. If the construction industry, if the stimulus dollars mean we are repairing highways and fixing bridges, that will increase the demand for limestone."

The shipping industry also attracts people to Vantage Point, the headquarters for The building, which sits along the St. Clair River, attracts many people who gather to watch freighters pass.

Vantage Point’s Frank Frisk said despite "a very, very slow year" for shipping, visitors to the center were steady. He said the poor economy is keeping people closer to home, driving in business from metro Detroit.

"Actually, it has been good for Port Huron to bring some of these people into town," he said. "Every day in the mornings, it is a packed house."

Port Huron Times Herald


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 by 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.

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.


Lakes coal loadings slip 20 percent in November

12/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3.2 million net tons in November, a decrease of 20.5 percent compared to the previous month, and 15.6 percent below the level of a year ago.

Only two ports, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and Toledo, Ohio, exceeded their total of a year ago. The biggest fall-off came in loadings of western coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal (SMET) in Superior, Wisconsin. Shipments were down nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago. While there were some vessel availability issues, SMET, and the other coal-loading facilities, continue to be impacted by generally low demand from utilities.

Year-to-date, coal shipments stand at 27.5 million tons, a decrease of 23.7 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is 25 percent off the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


No injuries, minimal damage in Coast Guard cutter fire

12/17 - Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. – No one was injured and it was extinguished quickly, but there was a fire aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay on Tuesday. It happened around 10:30 a.m. while the ship was docked near Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay. Captain Vasili Tasikas says the fire started on the exterior of the stack when crews fired up one of the ship's two boilers. Tasikas says they're pretty sure what the cause was.

Tasikas says he was proud of the crew. He says "they knew exactly what to do" and put the fire out in a matter of minutes. He says the upper part of the stack sustained "minimal cosmetic paint damage."

Tasikas says there's always a bit of residual oil build-up in that location and called the fire an "anomaly." Even so, he says they may be reviewing their practices for cleaning the stack after long periods of idling.

Door County Daily News


Port Reports - December 17

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Two Lower Lakes Towing vessels visited the Upper Harbor on Wednesday. Michipicoten loaded ore and departed in the morning, and Robert S. Pierson arrived to load ore in the afternoon.

Escanaba, Mich. – Dick Lund
The ore dock at Escanaba was a busy place on Wednesday with three vessels in port. Walter J. McCarthy was at the north side of the dock loading, Joseph L. Block was waiting its turn at the south side of the dock, and Wilfred Sykes was anchored out in Little Bay de Noc waiting for the McCarthy to depart so it could move into the north side of the dock. Also in port was Joseph H. Thompson and Joseph H. Thompson in winter lay-up at the C. Reiss (north) Dock.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
Vlistborg departed KK Integrated Logistics East Dock around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. After it departed, James L. Kuber and tug Victory cast off from it their s temporary lay-up position alongside fleetmate, Lewis J. Kuber, and moved down to the KK East Dock where the duo will spend the winter.

Holland, Mich. - Dale Rosema and Bob VandeVusse
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 made a late season call at Holland, coming through the channel at about 4 p.m. Wednesday. They easily broke through the thin ice on Lake Macatawa and proceeded to the Padnos dock to take on a cargo of metal for recycling.


Climate change blamed for Great Lakes decline

12/17 - Toronto, Ont. – The water levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have been falling steadily compared with those on Lake Erie, and no one knew why.

But a major report financed by the U.S. and Canadian governments suggests an answer: The fingerprints of climate change are starting to be found in the Great Lakes, the world's largest body of fresh water, causing a discernible drop in their levels.

The report, released Tuesday, estimated that Lake Huron and Lake Michigan have fallen about a quarter metre relative to Lake Erie since the early 1960s, with 40 to 74 per cent of the reduction due to recent changes in precipitation patterns and temperatures.

The alteration in climate is “the most significant factor” in the water level drop and “could be a more substantive issue for the future on the Great Lakes,” said Ted Yuzyk, Canadian co-chair of the International Upper Great Lakes Study Board, which compiled the report.

Previous studies have projected a decline in the amount of water in the Great Lakes due to climate change, but the board is the first to suggest the trend is already happening.

The fall in water levels is attributed to such factors as less precipitation and the persistent, long-term decline in the lakes' ice cover each winter.

The report said generally drier weather and drought-like conditions from 1998 to 2008 in the central part of North America led to a drop of about 20 per cent in the quantity of water flowing into Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, compared with the average since 1948.

The two lakes depend on precipitation and run-off for about three-quarters of their inflow. The other quarter comes from Lake Superior, whose outflow can be partly regulated. Lake Erie, by contrast, receives nearly 80 per cent of its supplies from Lake Huron, so it hasn't been influenced as dramatically by the reduction in precipitation.

The finding that climate change is already undermining the Great Lakes is politically sensitive. The board has written to the Canadian and U.S. governments to see whether it is within its mandate to study ways to hold back some of the water in Lakes Huron and Michigan to maintain their size in the face of global warming. Mr. Yuzyk said the clarification is still being assessed.

The board was assembled by the International Joint Commission, a bi-national U.S. and Canadian organization that monitors boundary waters the two countries share.

The concerns about Lake Huron and Lake Michigan levels arose in 2005, when a Canadian environmental organization, Georgian Bay Forever, said levels were diminishing because dredging of the St. Clair River in the 1960s allowed more water to drain from the lakes. The river, which runs by the Ontario community of Sarnia, drains the two lakes and ultimately flows into Lake Erie, leading to worries that the Great Lakes had sprung a leak.

But the report said that while the riverbed experienced some erosion in the 1980s, it now appears to be stable. In addition, it said a small part of the observed water level changes were due to the way land around the Great Lakes is rebounding from the melting of glaciers that covered the area during the last ice age.

While most of the world's attention on disappearing ice has focused on the Arctic, the trend is also happening on the Great Lakes. The report said that in the past 36 winters, three of the four smallest ice covers on Lakes Huron, Michigan, Erie and Superior occurred from 1998 to 2008.

Less ice leads to increased heat input from sunlight, higher winds around the water and more evaporation, contributing to lower water levels.

The report involved more than 100 scientists and engineers and a budget estimated at $4-million.

The Globe and Mail


Split Rock Lighthouse on North Shore to celebrate 100th birthday

12/17 - Two Harbors, Minn. – A mighty and fatal 1905 gale over western Lake Superior spurred the construction of Split Rock Lighthouse overlooking one of the world’s most dangerous stretches of water. On July 31, 1910, after five years of arduous labor constructing the edifice atop a 130-foot sheer rock cliff, the now world-famous North Shore landmark first sent its powerful beam out across the water.

The Minnesota Historical Society is getting ready to celebrate the centennial of Split Rock Lighthouse in 2010.

Restored to its early-20th century splendor, it is one of America’s best-preserved lighthouses. Special activities and events will be offered throughout the year, along with the popular destination’s regular programming.

More than 120,000 visitors a year tour the lighthouse and keeper’s home, climb the lighthouse tower to see the original, still operational French bivalve lens, and take their own shots of one of the most photographed sites in the country. “For many who visit Split Rock Lighthouse this is their first view of Lake Superior,” says Lee Radzak, the historic site’s manager and modern-day keeper. “Seeing the endless horizon from the top of the lighthouse and the great ships far out on the sparkling water, just as the early keepers saw them, is an experience many people never forget.”

Kick off Split Rock Lighthouse’s 100th birthday at a special event at the lighthouse on Friday, Jan. 8 to introduce art, collectibles, souvenirs and other items all designed to spotlight the centennial celebration and provide lasting mementos of the occasion. The event begins at 2 p.m. The event is free but state park admission is required.

Split Rock Lighthouse operated from 1910 until 1969. The lighthouse commands a panoramic view of Lake Superior from the 130-foot cliff from which it stands on. Built after a 1905 fierce storm that sank one ship nearby and more than 30 others on Lake Superior. Superior is the most unpredictable, deepest, and coldest of the Great Lakes.

Visitors can view films and exhibits about the lighthouse and the big lakes storms and shipwrecks. The history center’s superb displays, exhibits, and video presentations showcase the evolution of the lighthouse.

Home Town Source


Arni Richter's legacy lives on at Washington Island

12/17 - As a young man, Arni J. Richter made a promise to make crossing Death's Door a safe passage for his community and its many visitors.

After spending close to seven decades working successfully to fulfill that promise, Richter died Sunday at his home on Washington Island, where he lived all of his 98 years.

Those who didn't know the man may know the ferry named after him that was built and designed in Sturgeon Bay. The 104-foot ferry had an icebreaking hull designed by Timothy Graul Marine Design and built by Bay Shipbuilding.

Christened by Richter in Sturgeon Bay in May 2003, it allowed the ferry to break through the ice and carry passengers and products between the mainland and Washington Island during the winter and complete a long-ago promise Richter made to his wife and island residents to make winter crossings safer and more reliable.

It came about at least, in part, due to a tragic event in March 1935, when five young island basketball players failed to return in a Model A Ford from a game in Ellison Bay. At that time, crossing the water passage between Washington Island and the mainland of Door County in vehicles was common practice.

When the car did not return, Arni Richter was part of a search party that looked for the five missing men one of them was the brother of his fiancee, Mary Cornell.

The searchers followed tire tracks that ended in broken ice cakes in the middle of Death's Door. Four of the bodies were still in the vehicle when they later found it, and funerals were held at the Island Lutheran Church.

"Arni had made trips with a horse and sleigh and had numerous encounters with ice too thin," said Dick Purinton, Richter's son-in-law and president of the Washington Island Ferry. "He was no stranger to that peril, but it brought a real urgency to improve safety. It translated to better service for the island."

Richter's other dream was for safe harbor on the mainland, and in 1994, he learned about a Department of Transportation grant to help develop the harbor at Northport. What visitors now find at Northport is the reality that Richter worked to build.

His legacy lives on, Purinton said, in a general business philosophy of the Washington Island Ferry Line, to do the right thing for the island community. Arni Richter and his father, Carl Richter, purchased the Washington Island Ferry in 1940. The third-generation ownership by Purinton, an island resident with ties in the community, he said, is a personal responsibility to the community an absentee owner could not give. The winter ferry schedule, for example, in itself is not a profitable venture but is subsidized by summer travel.

Another example of the importance of family ties happened in October 1960, when a Swedish freighter hit the Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay. The accident instantly turned most of Door County into an island, with the only bridge between southern and northern Door out of commission. After some initial panic, the mayor of Sturgeon Bay met with the city attorney, a brother-in-law of Arni Richter, who called Richter for help.

Richter rounded up as many people as possible and left Washington Island to run ferries 24 hours a day, seven days a week, getting people and vehicles across the canal in Sturgeon Bay. Some dubbed the city dock "Richter's Landing." The Door County Advocate's headline was "Little Island Helps Big Island."

Originally, Richter wanted to be a farmer, Purinton said, not a ferryman.

"When he was a boy, he delivered ice to the island store with a horse and sleigh and had his heart set on farming," he said. "But his dad was a commercial fisherman, and he was always good with figures. He was extremely smart and sociable. He was at ease around the governor and people from all walks of life. I don't know that he ever graduated from school, but he kept up with the Wall Street Journal and the general news of the day."

Even though Richter became successful in business, he told Purinton he was the only one of five children in his family who stayed on Washington Island "because he couldn't do anything else."

His pride in his own heritage led him recognize the Icelandic immigrants of Door County: He named another one of his ferries the "Eyrarbakki" after a coastal village in Iceland. Richter's grandparents were from Iceland, and he often returned to visit. His influence lives on in Door County Scandinavian festivals and places he helped build through his charitable donations, such as the island's Trueblood Performing Arts Center.

"He is an icon, for sure," said Washington Island Chairman Tim Jessen. "He was a shrewd businessman, frugal in his own way, but generous. He was a charter member of the Lions Club and the fire department he was one of the last ones alive."

Jessen said Richter cared for many of the island's sick people, providing free ferry rides for those traveling to Sturgeon Bay or Green Bay for radiation or cancer treatment. He also would give free ferry rides to children.

He donated so many things and did so much for the community that Jessen said, "I wouldn't know where to begin. He was always around for people."

A land developer as well, Richter donated 178 acres to the Door County Land Trust, Jessen said, with a large piece of land west of the ferry dock remaining in its natural state as a result.

Richter's own words from "Over and Back," a pictorial history compiled by Purinton, describe the ferryman's perspective on his life:

"I have no regrets," Richter said. "Looking back, it's been an interesting life and rewarding too. It makes one feel good to do some of the other things, which improve living here overall."

Services for Richter will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Trinity Lutheran Church on Washington Island.

Door County Advocate / Green Bay Press Gazette


Updates - December 17

News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 4)


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.


Coast Guard prepares for 2009-2010 icebreaking season

12/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Ninth Coast Guard District is preparing for the 2009-2010 icebreaking season in the Great Lakes.

Coast Guard icebreaking operations are designed to facilitate the movement of commercial vessels to meet the reasonable demands of commerce on the Great Lakes and to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with flood mitigation.

The Coast Guard conducts two major operations: Taconite and Coal Shovel. These operations ensure the most efficient movement of vessels through the entire Great Lakes region.

Operation Taconite, under the control of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron.

Coal Shovel, under the control of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit, encompasses southern Lake Huron, St. Clair/Detroit River systems, and Lakes Erie and Ontario, and includes the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Based on ice conditions, assets are dedicated to specific areas in coordination with our international partners and commercial icebreaking services.

To ensure the highest state of readiness and the Coast Guards ability to complete this critical mission, an additional icebreaker from the First Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., will be temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region. Penobscot Bay will augment the other eight Coast Guard icebreakers that call the Great Lakes home.

Penobscot Bay is scheduled to arrive on December 22.

“We are taking all steps necessary to ensure we are ready to provide the best level of service and keep the fleet moving through the ice,” said Cmdr. Kevin Dunn, Chief of Waterways Management for the Ninth Coast Guard District. “We are ready to respond to emergencies and provide assistance to those who may be effected by ice or flooding.”

U.S. Coast Guard


Port Reports - December 16

Twin Ports – Al Miller
BBC Italy was unloading windmill turbine parts at the Duluth port terminal Tuesday while Kaministiqua remained at the CHS grain terminal in Superior. Herbert C. Jackson was expected in later in the day to unload and then shift late at night to Midwest Energy Terminal to load. Edwin H. Gott was expected in later in the day to load taconite pellets at CN Duluth. USCGC Alder has been out this week breaking ice in the main channels. With temperatures in single digits, ice is thickening rapidly. Tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader departed Fraser Shipyards over the weekend.

Marquette , Mich. - Rod Burdick
John J. Boland unloaded western coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock Monday evening. She was waiting to load taconite Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory arrived off Menominee late Monday night. After spending the night in the bay of Green Bay, the pair came through the Ogden Street Bridge shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday. They were heading for KK Integrated Logistics for winter lay-up. Usually James L. Kuber spends the winter at the KK East Dock, while Lewis J. Kuber spends the winter at the KK West Dock. However Vlistborg was still at KK East Dock continuing to load pulp, so James L. Kuber backed up the Menominee River and was rafted outside Lewis J. Kuber at the west dock. The tug Olive L. Moore had already been detached from the Lewis J. Kuber and was a short distance behind the barge. Once Vlistborg departs, James L. Kuber should take its place at the east dock.

Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. – Brad Jackson
Cason J. Callaway arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Tuesday for lay-up and repairs. Callaway was reported to have suffered a crack in an aft ballast tank last week while downbound on Lake Huron. The vessel was temporarily repaired to finish a last trip to unload her cargo before entering the shipyard.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sam Laud arrived at Lafarge on Sunday morning and unloaded coal throughout the day. On Monday night, Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up under the silos at Lafarge to take on cement. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity followed its fleetmate at the dock early Tuesday morning.
Stoneport visitors on Sunday were Mississagi and Manistee. McKee Sons loaded at the dock on Monday with the Frontenac at anchor nearby. Strong winds and snow showers affected the area and kept the Frontenac at anchor overnight. It made the dock on Tuesday morning. Mississagi will load after the Frontenac Tuesday night and be the last vessel of the season at Stoneport.


St. Clair River study: Lake Huron no longer losing water

12/16 - Port Huron, Mich. – A panel of scientists and engineers is disagreeing with a Canadian group that says Lakes Michigan and Huron are losing billions of gallons of water daily because of navigational dredging.

The panel issued its final report Tuesday. It was appointed by the International Joint Commission, which advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on matters affecting the Great Lakes.

Georgian Bay Forever contends dredging of the St. Clair River during the 1960s has increased water flow from Lake Huron to Lake Erie, causing levels on Huron and Michigan to drop.

The group wants structures placed in the St. Clair River to limit the amount of water leaving Lake Huron.

But the government panel says that’s not needed because Lake Huron is no longer losing unnaturally high volumes of water.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - December 16

News Photo Gallery


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, 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. 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, 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.


U.S. Coast Guard begins breaking ice

12/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Colder temperatures and the resulting development of ice in the Great Lakes shipping channels prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to commence Operation Taconite on Sunday afternoon.

The icebreaking operation encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan and the northern portion of Lake Huron. Initially only one Coast Guard ice breaker, the Alder out of Duluth, Minn., will be the only vessel involved establishing tracks through the rapidly building ice from Duluth on into Superior Wisc. The Coast Guard has indicated that additional ice breakers will join the operation in the coming weeks and days to keep shipping traffic moving throughout the region.

The Coast Guard announced that there are currently no channel closures. However, the implementation of Operation Taconite does place additional restriction on commercial shipping in the western lakes, St. Marys River and the Straits of Mackinac. Those restrictions may include limiting travel to daylight hours in the presence of ice, reduced speeds, and additional voice and reporting points in certain areas.

The Coast Guard will keep the shipping channels open through mid-January to allow commercial traffic to move throughout the Great Lakes. Additional ice breaking activities will be conducted throughout the winter as the Coast Guard keeps the channel open for certain vessels that make deliveries throughout the year.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News


Port Reports - December 15

Escanaba, Mich. – Bill Wilford
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was inbound to Escanaba on a rare trip Monday night. McCarthy is expect to take the load to Indiana Harbor.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore arrived at KK Integrated Logistics West Dock in Menominee for winter lay-up Monday morning. James L. Kuber and tug Victory arrived late on Monday night and anchored of Menominee.  They were expected to enter port in the morning for lay-up.


Washinton Island ferry owner Arni J. Richter dies

12/15 - Washington Island, Wisc. – Arni Jacob Richter, 98, of Washington Island, died at his home Sunday morning, Dec. 13. He was an island resident his entire life, where he was notably engaged in the ferry transportation service.

On April 11, 1940, Arni and his father, Carl, purchased two wooden ferries from Captain William Jepson. This began a close association with the daily ferry business as a captain and company president that continued through his retirement in 2001. One notable occasion was in October 1960, when the only bridge in Sturgeon Bay was rendered inoperable by a collision from the foreign freighter, Carlsholm. Within hours, Arni Richter dispatched two ferries to help keep traffic moving from the east to west sides of Sturgeon Bay, with the resulting Door County Advocate headline: "Little Island Helps Big Island."

In May 2003, the island's newest and largest and most powerful all-season ferry, Arni J. Richter, was christened in his honor.

His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church on Washington Island, Thursday, December 17th. Online condolences may be registered at


Updates - December 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 4)


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). Below is a winter lay-up list as published in the Port Huron Times on 15 December 1876.At Port Huron -- Steam barges: ABERCORN, BIRKHEAD, BAY CITY, H D COFFINBURY, WILLIAM COWIE, N K FAIRBANK, GERMANIA, GEORGE KING, V H KETCHUM, MARY MILL, MARY PRINGLE, E W POWERS, D F ROSE, SALINA, TEMPEST. Propellers: CITY OF NEW BALTIMORE. Tug: CORA B Schooners and Barges: T Y AVERY, BUCKEYE STATE, GEORGE W BISSEL, KATIE BRAINARD, D K CLINT, DAYTON, S GARDNER, A GEBHART, C G KING, T G LESTER, MARINE CITY, H R NEWCOMB, J H RUTTER, REINDEER, C SPADEMAN, SAGINAW, ST JOSEPH, TAYLOR, TROY, C L YOUNG, YANKEE. At Marysville -- D G WILLIAMS, 7 tow barges, JUPITER, and LEADER.

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


Sure sign of winter – Operation Taconite begins

12/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Colder temperatures have meant ice build up on the Great Lakes, and Sunday the U.S. Coast Guard began ice breaking operations in Western Lake Superior.

Operation Taconite got underway Sunday afternoon, initially breaking up ice at ports in Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin.

In the coming days and weeks, more icebreakers will join in the operation.


Port Reports - December 14

Marquette, Mich. - Lee Rowe
Sunday afternoon the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder and Michipicoten loaded ore in Marquette. Saturday night was busy for Marquette's harbor as the Saginaw and Lee A Tregurtha loaded at the dock while the Charles M Beeghly and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder waited in the harbor.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
Vlistborg arrived in Menominee, Mich., at daybreak on Saturday. The vessel is in port to pick up a load of pulp at KK Integrated Logistics. After proceeding through the Ogden Street bridge, the ship headed for the turning basin further up the Menominee River beyond the KK dock. As it approached it through the ice, the ship stopped, as there was too much ice to attempt the turn. Vlistborg then backed downriver and jockeyed its way through the ice to reach the KK East Dock later in the morning. This is the third saltie to load pulp at KK this year. Amalia and Vaasaborg were the two previous vessels.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Wroblewski
Athanasios G. Callitsis arrived off Buffalo at about 1:45 p.m. Sunday and then went to anchor just outside the harbor. She will wait until Monday morning to come in, presumably for the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna. Adam E. Cornelius remained at General Mills Sunday afternoon and the pump barge Lucille T remained docked at the West Shore Coal Wharf (Sand Products) in the City Ship Canal.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock completed her buoy operations off Buffalo and was headed towards Dunkirk at 11:32 a.m.


Updates - December 14

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 4)


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, was wrecked off Savage Point, Prince Edward Island, on December 14, 1917. She was enroute to New York City with a load of hay.

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

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

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


Weather breaks, shipping resumes

12/13 - Saturday morning the winds and waves that had plagued most of the Great Lakes for several days subsided enough to let shipping resume.

The large number of ships anchored in Whitefish Bay cleared out about 7 a.m. Saturday, creating a traffic jam around Whitefish Point. The ships anchored in the lower St. Marys River also cleared out, including the Cason J. Callaway. Callaway stopped for a time in the Straits of Mackinac on a trip to Gary, Ind. Her destination was originally Conneaut, Ohio. The Callaway was reported to have suffered some type of damage while downbound last week.


Port Reports - December 13

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saginaw arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore Saturday afternoon. Charles M. Beeghly arrived after the Saginaw but went to anchor off the Upper Harbor presumably to wait for another vessel to load first, due to weather delays.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came into Lafarge Friday morning and loaded cement for Detroit. Manistee remained at anchor out in the bay on Friday. Saturday morning Manistee arrived at Lafarge to unload coal. Also in port on Saturday morning was a rare visitor- the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair made their way into the Thunder Bay River and tied up at the DPI Plant to unload coal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius was inbound at the traffic buoy at 3:13 p.m.


Updates - December 13

News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 4)


Today in Great Lakes History - December 13

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.


Lakes coal loadings slip 25 percent in November

12/12 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3 million net tons in November, a decrease of 19 percent compared to the previous month, and 25 percent below the level of a year ago.

Only one port, Thunder Bay, Ontario, exceeded its total of a year ago. Toledo, Ohio, was essentially on pace with a year ago, but all other ports saw their shipments drop.

The biggest fall-off came in loadings of western coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal (SMET) in Superior, Wisconsin. Shipments were down nearly 30 percent compared to a year ago. While there were some vessel availability issues, SMET, and the other coal-loading facilities, continue to be impacted by generally low demand from utilities.

Year-to-date, coal shipments stand at 27.3 million tons, a decrease of 24 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is 25.5 percent off the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn medevacs crewman

12/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Buckthorn medically evacuated a 41-year-old male mariner experiencing pain and numbness in his left arm off the 698-foot Canadian laker, Michipicoten, offshore from Waiska Bay Friday at approximately 9 a.m.

"We were making preparations to do ATON [Aids to Navigation] when we received a call from VTS [Vessel Traffic Services] to medevac a crewman from the Michipicoten," said Chief Warrant Officer Scott Walker, commanding officer of the Buckthorn. "He had good vitals, and our corpsman gave him oxygen."

Walker and his 100-foot inland buoytender crew transferred the man safely to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the MacArthur Lock.

The Buckthorn completed a safe medevac in two to three-foot seas and winds of 30 knots.

Prior to the call for help, the crew was gearing up to remove buoys from Middle Neebish Channel for Operation Fall Retrieve, which is the largest domestic buoy recovery operation in the United States.

Built in 1964, the Buckthorn conducts the Aids to Navigation mission for the St. Marys River's 123 lighted buoys, 16 ranges and 71 shoreside lights, including 39 Canadian buoys.


Port Reports - December 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
James R. Barker unloaded coal into the Upper Harbor hopper on a frigid Friday and departed during the evening. After loading ore late Thursday evening, Calumet anchored off the Upper Harbor and remained at anchor Friday evening waiting for winds to calm on Lake Superior. Calumet last visited Marquette in March of 2008.

St. Marys River
Edwin H. Gott departed the anchorage above Detour Friday downbound. American Republic followed shortly after also downbound. In an unusual move, the Gott headed west to the Mackinac Island area (a few miles east of the Island) before turning and heading east on the downbound course for Detroit. The Gott grounded earlier in the week and is loaded for Detroit.

Canadian Enterprise, Cason J. Callaway and Roger Blough remained anchored above Detour. About 5:30 p.m. the Drummond Islander III car ferry went upbound from its Detour dock and was alongside the Cason J. Callaway for about an hour before returning to Detour. The Drummond Islander IV was providing service between Drummond Island and Detour. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw was stopped at Lime Island for the night.

Several vessels were at anchor in the upper river above the locks Friday night waiting for better weather on Lake Superior. John J. Boland, American Integrity, BBC Italy, Charles M. Beeghly and Virginiaborg were in the lee of Whitefish Point, while Lee A. Tregurtha, Michipicoten and Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder were on the hook off Bay Mills.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug Kurt R Luedtke and the dredge rig Lucile were tied up at the old West Shore Coal Wharf on the Buffalo Ship Canal Friday afternoon. It is unknown if they were seeking shelter from the wind and heavy seas on Lake Erie or if they were in town for dredge work.


Seaway figures on cargo, river transit drop for year

12/12 - Massena, N.Y. — Traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway continues to be lower than in years past.

Total cargo has dropped 28 percent this year, from around 38 million tons to 27 million tons, and the total number of transits up and down the river is 17 percent lower than at this time last year, dropping from 3,914 to 3,242.

The decline in iron ore cargoes has been especially dramatic, from 11.3 m tonnes as of 30 November to 6.0m tonnes by the end of last month.

The numbers have rebounded slightly in recent months because of increases in grain shipments, grain increased from 6.8m tonnes to 7.25m tonnes. The shipping season will end at the end of the month.

Watertown Daily Times


May 2010 lighthouse and freighter cruise announced

12/12 - BoatNerd and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association have joined with Keweenaw Excursions to organize the first lighthouse/freighter chasing event of 2010. This unusual trip will take place from May 19 to May 21.

The fun will begin and end in Sault Ste. Marie, and features a two-day cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star which will travel from Marquette across Lake Superior, down the St. Marys River, overnight in the Soo, continue down thru the Rock Cut, DeTour, and across the top of Lake Huron. The cruise will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and sail down Lake Michigan to Charlevoix. The boat will provide photo opportunities at 20 lighthouses and all the vessels in the busy shipping lanes along the way.

Due to bus availability, this event is limited to the first 46 people who make reservations. Make yours today. Click here for details.


Santa Claus is coming by tug

12/12 - Santa Claus will be making a return visit to the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay this year to gather gift requests from area children. He will welcome children aboard the Tug John Purves, the Museums 90-year-old in-water exhibit, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12.

Santa will arrive at the Museum on board a Coast Guard boat, said Bob Desh, the Museums executive director. At least that's the plan, provided ice doesn't prevent it like it did last year.

Once on board the 149-foot vessel, Santa will eagerly accept childrens Christmas wishes. However, due to the cramped conditions on the vessel, only two adults will be permitted to escort the children. While they wait, children will be entertained by holiday videos in the Museums Reddin Bridge Room.

There is no cost for visiting Santa, but donations will be appreciated. Click here for details


Annual Marine Mart today

12/12 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit Historical Society’s Dossin Maritime Group presents its annual Marine Mart Saturday, December 12th from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Dr. in Grosse Pointe Farms.

The annual Marine Mart is a flea market for Great Lakes enthusiasts. It features holiday shopping with more than 40 exhibitors and shiploads of nautical items and treasures.

Tickets are available to purchase in advance by calling (313) 833-1980. Early admission at 9 a.m. is $10 for adults. General admission at the door is $7 for adults at the door and free for children 12 and under.

For more information visit and click on “Upcoming Events and Programs.”


Oscar Rosso dies; was active in Detroit Shipmasters lodge

12/12 - Oscar Rosso of Detroit died December 10 due to congestive heart failure. He was 81 years old. Active in marine-related events in the Detroit area, he was one of the senior members of International Shipmasters Association Detroit Lodge 7, joining some 46 years ago.

He and his wife Pat were dedicated supporters of the lodge. At the time of his death, Oscar was serving as lodge Warden, and also served on the Board of Governors as well as the Convention Committee. He will be greatly missed.

Visitation for Oscar Rosso will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, December 13 at the Howe-Peterson Funeral Home, 22546 Michigan Avenue (1/2 Mile East of Telegraph) in Dearborn.

Funeral Mass 11 a.m. (Instate at 10:30 a.m.) Monday, December 14 at Most Holy Trinity Church, 1050 Porter St. (at 6th St.), in Detroit's Corktown Neighborhood.


Updates - December 12

News Photo Gallery
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.


Traffic begins to move

12/11 - Some of the vessel traffic that had been delayed Tuesday and Wednesday began to move Thursday as weather that brought high winds and blowing snow to the Great Lakes region eased a little. However many vessels remained at anchor awaiting further improvement.

On the St. Marys River, the grounded 1,000-footer Edwin H. Gott, which had been blocking the downbound channel near Moon Island in the lower river, was released early Thursday morning, allowing the downbound Canadian Progress, Maritime Trader and Tim S. Dool, delayed by the incident, to get underway. In addition, Frontenac departed Whitefish Bay and headed downbound, while Calumet and Algosar departed their anchorage in Goulais Bay, above the locks, and resumed their upbound trips. Calumet was loading in Marquette Thursday night, while Lee A. Tregurtha, which is also Marquette-bound, remained at anchor above the locks, where BBC Italy was also on the hook.

Late Thursday the Gott, along with Charles M. Beeghly, Canadian Enterprise, Cason J. Callaway and American Republic, were anchored in the lower river north of DeTour.

Above Port Huron, the tug Victory and her barge James L. Kuber, along with the saltie Antikeri and Algosteel were at anchor. In Western Lake Erie, Algosoo and Algoeast dropped the hook off Toledo Thurday, while James Norris and tug Everlast and barge anchored off Sandusky.

Weather conditions are expected to moderate by the weekend.


November best month for lakes ore so far this year

12/11 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes reached their highest level so far this year in November. The trade totaled 4.6 million net tons, an increase of 27 percent over the preceding month.

The upturn reflects higher operating rates at the nations steel mills that, in turn, have required the sailing of some U.S.-Flag lakers that had been idled. The most recent reactivation was on November 25 when the American Republic returned to service. The vessel was designed specifically to shuttle iron ore on the twisting Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.

Comparisons with a year ago and the months 5-year average illustrate the depth of this recession. November loadings were 6 percent off the pace of a year ago, and nearly 14 percent behind the months 5-year average.

For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 27.5 million tons, a decrease of 50.1 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease is only slightly less when compared to the trades 5-year average for the January-November timeframe 49.3 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - December 11

Stone Port, Mich. – Dan McNeil
A mechanical breakdown caused a delay in loading the Manitowoc, which was at the dock. At anchor was McKee Sons. Due Saturday is the Mississagi, on Monday Frontenac is due in, followed by a return of Mississagi on Wednesday. All dates are tentative and can change with dock and weather conditions.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Dorthy Ann and barge Pathfinder were anchored off Alpena Thursday morning waiting on the weather. They left sometime during the day. Later in the afternoon, Manistee was anchored in the bay waiting for winds to die down before proceeding into Lafarge. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation joined the Manistee out in the bay Thursday night. Both vessels will probably come into port sometime overnight.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
Peter R. Cresswell is still anchored in Prince Edward Bay, joined by J. W. Shelley and Ojibway. Radio conversation indicated the Cresswell has been dragged one mile since she anchored 24 hours ago. The other vessel said she has been dragged a quarter mile since she arrived a few hours ago. According to the forecasts they don't expect to raise anchor until Saturday morning. The local ferries are still tied up due to weather. Winds were forecast for 40 knots Thursday night and waves of 17 feet were predicted. The Kingston airport is showing gusts of 43 mph. Federal Mass is anchored at Carelton Island, below Cape Vincent.


Vessel captain honors radio personality felled by H1N1

12/11 - Kahnawake, QC – Captain Joseph Pero of the motor vessel CSL Niagara was facing wind gusts of up to 35 knots as he was making his way along the Seaway toward Kahnawake last Friday – his heart going out to the family of the late Jesse Deer, a pain the veteran captain knew only to well.

He lost his son Jeffrey in 2007 who, like Jesse Deer, was about to turn 24 years of age.

“This news hit close to home and I knew that if I could somehow reach out to this family and community in some small way, I would,” said Pero, who hails from a small Mi’Kmaq Village in Little Bras d’Or, Nova Scotia.

Deer worked as a radio co-host and a television reporter and also wrote a newspaper column in which he talked about his struggles with his weight and diabetes. He was also active in a community project that is looking at the future of Kahnawake, the Mohawk territory just south of Montreal.

Pero, a veteran seaman, has been sailing through the area for the past 35 years, 29 of those years under the flag of Canada Steamship Lines, and has been in regular email contact with nautical enthusiast Kent Malo since early November.

It was during one morning’s river passage that brought their paths together.

Malo and a small group of people were out enjoying the morning air on the deck of the Water Drum restaurant that borders the Seaway. “We tipped our coffee cups and exchanged greetings simply to say hello,” said Pero.

“The following trip, Kent came down to the Cote Ste Catharine’s lock where we got to meet each other face to face at my gangway, shake hands and we exchanged flags. It is good medicine for both sides. This was the first opportunity I had actually met someone face to face.”

It was Malo who told the captain about the loss of Jesse Deer and the effect his passing had on the entire community.

“I asked Kent to let the family know, that when they hear my vessel’s whistle sound one-long and two short blasts on passing the community, they should know that someone on the river is thinking of them and their son Jesse.”

Community members waiting at the Moose Lodge where the life of Jesse Deer was being celebrated thought they had missed the ship but Pero came through with a salute of one long, and two short blasts.

“The sound of my vessel’s horn will continue to let the people know that there is someone on the river who continues to think of the family, friends and neighbors and of their son Jesse,” Pero said.

The Eastern Door


Updates - December 11

Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 3)


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


Tugs free Gott as storm sends vessels to shelter

12/10 - A late fall storm with snow and winds gusting to 50 mph in some areas brought traffic on much of the Great Lakes to a standstill Wednesday. Meanwhile, the St. Marys River was closed to downbound traffic Wednesday as tugs worked to free the 1,000-foot vessel Edwin H. Gott, which agrounded in the lower St. Marys River in the vicinity of Moon Island (at the southern tip of Neebish Island).

The Gott ran aground about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday; winds may have been a factor in the grounding. The Purvis Marine tugs Avenger IV and Anglian Lady arrived on the scene late Wednesday afternoon, as did Great Lakes Towing's tugs Missouri and Florida, however efforts to free the Gott were unsuccessful as of late Wednesday night. According to Soo Traffic, the Gott is blocking the channel and no downbound traffic is being allowed past the site. Canadian Progress, Tim S. Dool and Maritime Trader all tied up in the vicinity of the Soo Locks until the channel is reopened.

Water levels in the St. Marys River dropped 11 inches between 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, when the Gott grounded, and 3 p.m. this afternoon, making a difficult job even harder for the tugs.

The tugs worked through out the night and at 5:15 a.m. pulled the Gott back into the channel as the water level reached + 5.5 inches. The Gott continued downbound with the Anglian Lady and anchored near Sweets Point off Detour to await inspection.

The downbound back log of traffic at the Soo is expected to clear throughout the morning. The Maritime Trader entered the MacArthur Lock about 6 a.m.

High winds and blowing snow have also forced many vessels to seek shelter. Calumet and Algosar were anchored in Goulais Bay above the locks Wednesday, Lee A. Tregurtha was anchored off Bay Mills, while American Republic, American Century BBC Italy and Atlantic Huron were waiting on weather in the lower St. Marys River. Cason J. Callaway locked down at the Soo Tuesday, clearing Detour into Lake Huron downbound about 3 p.m., however in an unusual move she returned upbound at 5 p.m. to head for anchorage in the lower river where she remained Wednesday. Samuel de Champlain, Charles M. Beeghly, Manistee and John G. Munson were on the hook in the Straits area.

Other traffic in the St. Marys River Wednesday afternoon included the upbound USCG Mackinaw, headed for the Carbide Dock, and the upbound CSL Laurentien, which tied up on the locks’ northwest pier waiting for better weather.


More on Paul R. Tregurtha’s new engine delivery

12/10 - The Great Lakes Towing Company tug Ohio and barge Milwaukee loaded two 207,500 lb engines in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and transported them to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The engines originated from Antwerp, Belgium, and were brought to Milwaukee via the saltie Federal Hunter. The MAK 6M43 C Diesel Engines weigh 207,500 lbs each and are each 26-05 x 09-07 x 17-01. The engines were offloaded on December 6 in Sturgeon Bay and are for the Paul R. Tregurtha of The Interlake Steamship Company.

Great Lakes Group


Lakes limestone trade down 11 percent in November

12/10 - Shipments of limestone from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports totaled 3.1 million net tons in November, a decrease of 11 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were down even more compared to the month’s 5-year average: 17.3 percent.

The slump is entirely related to market conditions. Unlike many Novembers, vessels did not experience significant weather-related delays. For example, in November 2005, U.S.-Flag lakers were idled more than 5,000 hours by storms.

For the year, the Great Lakes limestone trade stands at 22.7 million tons, a decrease of 28.5 percent compared to the same point last year. Stone cargos are 34.2 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - December 10

Owen Sound, Ont. – Mike
Tuesday evening the barge St. Marys Cement and tug Sea Eagle II docked at the Miller cement silo in Owen Sound. This is the first cement delivery in several years.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
On Monday, the USCG Cutter Hollyhock was working aids to navigation in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel, removing lighted summer buoys and replacing them with winter marks. Also on Monday, Indiana Harbor called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She completed her unload and backed from the dock later in the day.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
Peter R. Cresswell has gone to anchor in Prince Edward Bay due to weather. Two local ferries , the Quinte Loyalist, substituting on the Amherst Island run, and the Frontenac Howe Islander, have tied up due to weather. The tug Radium Yellowknife has been tied up in Kingston for six days. Stephen B. Roman is in Picton. Winds were rising and are predicted to be 45 knots by Thursday morning. Waves on eastern Lake Ontario are forecast at 6 metres, 20 feet, by morning.


New Jersey based cutter heading to the Great Lakes

12/10 - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Penobscot Bay has been deployed to assist with seasonal ice breaking operations on the Great Lakes. The Penobscot Bay’s 19-member crew, from Bayonne, New Jersey, will be based out of Cleveland.

On Wednesday they were traveling along the west coast in the Gulf of Maine, heading for the Seaway.


Marinette Marine to build Alaska region research vessel

12/10 - Fairbanks, Alaska – More than three decades ago, marine scientists in the United States first identified the need for a research vessel capable of bringing scientists to Alaska’s icy northern waters.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has announced its intent to award a $123 million contract that will meet that need. The university has selected Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wis. to build the 254-foot Alaska Region Research Vessel.

When complete, the vessel will be one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world and will be capable of breaking ice up to 2.5 feet thick. According to project leaders, the ARRV’s home port will be in Alaska, most likely at UAF's Seward Marine Center.

"Ocean scientists need this ice-capable vessel now, more than ever before, to study the changes occurring in arctic waters," says Denis Wiesenburg, a co-principal investigator on the project and the dean of the UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

The $123 million for the ship construction contract is funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The total cost for the project is $200 million.

"In the short term, constructing this world-class research vessel will create American jobs to help our nation pull out of the current recession," said Sen. Mark Begich. "The University of Alaska has dreamed of having a new research vessel for decades and I am thrilled to see work will soon get underway through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Once complete, the ARRV will be a state-of-the-art platform to conduct the scientific research necessary for Alaskans to understand the challenges we’re feeling from climate change and its implications on the changing arctic environment."

The vessel will be owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by UAF as part of the U.S. academic research fleet. It will be used by scientists in the U.S. and international oceanographic community through the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System. The vessel was designed by The Glosten Associates, a marine architecture firm in Seattle.

After the ship has been completed, the crew will take the vessel from the shipyard through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway transit system and the Panama Canal to Alaska in 2013. While in transit, scientists and crewmembers will test the scientific components of the ship in preparation for unrestricted science operations beginning in 2014.

"I have been working on the Alaska Region Research Vessel project for quite a while and am pleased to see it advance to the next phase with the shipyard contract," said Sen. Lisa Murkowski. "This world-class ice-capable research ship will support critical science in the Arctic as well as the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, where the marine ecosystems support the nation's most productive fisheries. I commend the National Science Foundation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks for their efforts to make this project a reality."

In addition to its ice-breaking capabilities, the ARRV will allow researchers to collect sediment samples directly from the seafloor, host remotely operated vehicles, use a flexible suite of winches to raise and lower scientific equipment, and conduct surveys throughout the water column and sea bottom using an extensive set of research instrumentation.

The ship will be able to transmit real-time information directly to classrooms all over the world. The vessel design strives to have the lowest possible environmental impact, including a low underwater-radiated noise signature for marine mammal and fisheries work. The ARRV will have accommodations for up to 26 scientists and students at a time, including those with disabilities.

"This project is something I have worked on for many years with Sen. Stevens," said Rep. Don Young. "It is an extremely important vessel for Alaska, not only because of the jobs it will create, but because of the opportunity that will come from it. The United States is an arctic nation because of Alaska and Alaska will provide the gateway to our nation's future. We have the opportunity now to address the prospects of industry years down the road and how we can use changing arctic conditions to our advantage, and the Alaska Region Research Vessel is going to help put us at the forefront of those changes."


Updates - December 10

Holiday Card Gallery updated (page 2)
Historical Perspective Gallery Chief Wawatam (page 5) 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.


Fall storm sends vessels to shelter

12/9 - A late fall storm with snow and winds gusting to 50 mph in some areas was expected to strike the Great Lakes Tuesday night and Wednesday.

As of late Tuesday night, American Mariner and Samuel de Champlain were in the lee of Mackinac Island, while Robert S. Pierson was tucked away on the eastern side of St. Joseph Island. Cason J. Callaway, American Republic and American Century were waiting on weather in the lower St. Marys River, while Algosar and Lee A. Tregurtha were anchored above the Soo Locks.

As of 3:30 p.m.,four tugs were headed downbound from Sault Ste. Marie to assist the 1,000-footer Edwin H. Gott, which is aground in the lower St. Marys River in the vicinity of Moon Island (at the southern tip of Neebish Island). The Gott ran aground about 3:20 a.m. while downbound in the river, winds may have been a factor in the grounding. The Purvis Marine tugs Avenger IV and Anglian Lady were expected on the scene around 4 p.m., with Great Lakes Towing's tugs Missouri and Florida also underway downbound. According to Soo Traffic, the Gott is blocking the channel and no downbound traffic is being allowed past the site. At mid-day, Canadian Progress and Tim S. Dool were waiting at the locks with Maritime Trader expected to join them in the early evening.

Water levels in the St. Marys River dropped 11 inches between 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, when the Gott grounded, and 3 p.m. this afternoon making a difficult job even harder for the tugs.

High winds and blowing snow have forced many vessels to seek shelter. Calumet and Algosar were anchored in Goulais Bay above the locks, the Lee A. Tregurtha was anchored off Bay Mills, while American Republic and American Century were waiting on weather in the lower St. Marys River. Cason J. Callaway was at anchor above DeTour. The Callaway locked down at the Soo Tuesday, clearing Detour into Lake Huron downbound about 3 p.m. In an unusual move she returned upbound at 5 p.m. to head for anchorage in the lower river where she remained Wednesday. Samuel de Champlain, Charles M. Beeghly, Manistee, John G. Munson and American Mariner are on the hook in the Straits area.

Other traffic in the St. Marys River Wednesday afternoon included the upbound USCG Mackinaw, headed for the Carbide Dock, and the upbound CSL Laurentien.


Port Reports - December 9

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The integrated tug-barge Great Lakes Trader was in Fraser Shipyards on Monday and Tuesday. The tug appeared to be in drydock while the barge was tied up in the yard reportedly for a five- year survey. Elsewhere Tuesday morning, Mesabi Miner was completing its load at Midwest Energy Terminal while fleetmate James R. Barker waited nearby for its place at the dock immediately after the Miner departed. The Virginiaborg was loading grain at General Mills elevator in Duluth.


Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup finishes operation on Cal-Sag Channel

12/9 - Chicago, Ill. – The Asian Carp Rapid Response Workgroup has completed fishing operations near the T.J. O’Brien Lock in an attempt to locate Asian carp after eDNA sampling in the area tested positive for the invasive species. The workgroup used commercial fishermen and federal fisheries personnel to deploy nearly 3,000 yards of fishing nets along a 5.5-mile stretch of the Cal-Sag Channel. While the nets were successful in collecting more than 800 fish, no Asian carp were found. The catch included more than 700 common carp and 10 other species.

The fishing operations that began on Dec. 1, wrapped up late yesterday, Dec. 7. On Monday evening, the U.S. Coast Guard reopened the Cal-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River to vessel traffic.

While the fishing operations and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal rotenone application have thus far confirmed just one Bighead Asian carp, the workgroup expects their work to continue for some time.

eDNA is serving its purpose as an early warning system and suggests that Asian carp may have reached the Cal-Sag Channel. Based on recent sampling and the fish collection efforts there, the workgroup believes that if Asian carp are present, their numbers are likely very small. The workgroup and its partners are committed to remaining vigilant in the future and exploring all options available to prevent the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes.

Among the next steps already underway to prevent the spread of the destructive fish to the Great Lakes:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other partners will evaluate the week’s efforts and develop options for additional carp population assessment and control in the Cal-Sag Channel and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will continue their eDNA sampling effort with the University of Notre Dame
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are focused on addressing potential bypass issues (along the Des Plaines River, I&M Canal, Grand Calumet and Little Calumet River), the interbasin study and expedited construction of barrier IIB
The Rapid Response Workgroup partners are evaluating a range of additional options and consequences for Asian carp prevention management strategies in the waterways—and potentially, further into the Great Lakes


Updates - December 9

News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Gallery Imperial Windsor updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


New engines arrive for the Paul R. Tregurtha

12/8 - Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. – On Sunday morning, the new engines for the Paul R. Tregurtha arrived at Bay Shipbuilding on the barge Milwaukee, under tow from the tug Ohio. The tow cleared Milwaukee around 7 p.m. Saturday evening and were inbound the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal by 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

The engines were delivered last week by the saltie Federal Hunter in Milwaukee.

Wendell Wilke


Seaway releases closing information

12/8 - In a Seaway Radio Message notice issued Monday by the organization noted that any vessel which enters the Seaway upbound at CIP2 after 2359 hrs on December 9th shall be designated a wintering vessel

The water temperature at St. Lambert was 5.1 degrees Celsius. Last year’s temperature was 2.7 degrees Celsius. The 10-year average is 2.2 degrees Celsius.

At midnight December 6, the number of ocean vessels above St. Lambert was 15 as compared to 26 in 2008. Above Port Weller the number was 12 as compared to 17 in 2008.

The Prescott/Ogdensburg ice boom opening has been reduced to 600m and is indicated by quick flashing green and red buoys.

Mariners are advised that the implementation of the power to length ratio restrictions and minimum draft requirements, scheduled for December 7, are postponed until further notice.

The section of the Seaway from Lake Ontario to Montreal will close Dec. 29. The Welland Canal will close Dec. 30 and the Soo Locks will close January 15.


Port Reports - December 8

Stoneport , Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Loading Monday were Algorail, Manitowoc and Agawa Canyon. Other expected traffic: Tuesday Calumet, Wednesday Manistee, Manitowoc and Thursday Mississagi.

Seaway - Ron Beaupre
The Spring Breeze I lost power Sunday afternoon while downbound in the Seaway passing Bradford’s Point. She drifted into the Wilson Hill Anchorage where both anchors were dropped. Unfortunately, the anchor chains crossed as the ship turned in the current. Once the engine power was restored, several maneuvers worked the anchors free. The tug Performance brought an inspector out to the anchorage in the evening. Spring Breeze I cleared the anchorage at 21:50.


Study closes in on causes of corrosion in Duluth-Superior Harbor

12/8 - Duluth, Minn. – What do the Twin Ports waterfront locations of Oliver Bridge, Midwest Energy Resources Co. and the former Cutler-Magner Co. lime plant have in common?

All three sites have corrosion eating their steel pilings in the Duluth-Superior Harbor or St. Louis River, according to a recently published journal study from researchers who have examined the spots for two years.

“This is a newly discovered combination of factors that lead to corrosion,” said Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Brenda Little, lead scientist and an author of the study, described this corrosion as the result of bacteria in the water meeting steel pilings to form a tubercle or small lump on the steel. The lump limits oxygen and allows copper traces in the water to meet the steel. Contact between the two metals results in the steel dissolving, she said in a presentation last week to the Harbor Technical Advisory Committee in Superior.

“At all three locations you see the tubercles, and they are in all cases related to corrosion,” Little said. “Whatever is happening is happening at all three locations.”

The sampling of decaying steel could be an indication of a larger corrosion problem in the harbor. With about 70,000 feet of steel submerged in Lake Superior, corrosion could be an estimated $300 million problem to fix, Sharrow said.

“We characterize that as the problem or the risk — the risk of doing nothing is the failure of all of the steel in the harbor,” Sharrow said.

The new corrosion study answered some unknowns, but many questions remain.

Further research between Little’s team at the Naval Research Laboratory at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and Randall Hicks of the University of Minnesota Duluth will include a finer microscopic look at how the tubercles or lumps work.

“They will use some specialized equipment that goes in millimeter by millimeter and unpeels these cells and looks at the conditions,” Sharrow said. “They will see exactly what is present through the cell down to the surface of the steel and looking at cells of different ages.”

Another research goal will be to measure the corrosion’s scope. Tests are planned to gauge the level of steel corrosion near Duluth in Lake Superior, as well as port towns such as Two Harbors and Ashland.

To find the best way to fight the corrosion, eight different coatings were applied at Cenex Harvest States near the Blatnik Bridge in Superior.

“They are keeping close track of the actual performance of these coatings,” Sharrow said, adding that other facilities also have coated their docks.

Sharrow said the theory is that corrosion began in the 1970s when the shipping industry stopped dumping into the harbor.

“What we believe is that the water in the harbor was what I’ll describe as toxic,” Sharrow said. “It was toxic to the bacteria and they couldn’t get colonized.”

When dumping ceased, Sharrow said, more oxygen entered the water, creating the environment suitable for bacteria.

“It started with the cleanup,” Sharrow said. “If you look at 50-year-old steel and you look at some 100-year-old steel in the harbor, it looks surprisingly similar. If this had been going on for 100 years, the 100-year-old steel wouldn’t exist anymore. We believe if you look at steel that is less than 40 years old the corrosion is proportional to its age.”

Research suggests that corrosion in the harbor has been exacerbated by ice scraping up against the impacted steel, Little said. The ice scouring breaks the tubercle, exposing the iron to the copper and causing another peak in corrosion, she said, “and this cycle is repeated over and over again.”

But corrosion isn’t exclusive to the Twin Ports, Little said, and her research didn’t explore whether levels of copper were especially high in Lake Superior.

“Corrosion of steel pilings is an international problem,” she said.

Duluth News Tribune


Submersible will help explore Kingston-area wrecks

12/8 - Kingston, Ont. – A Kingston diving company will be exploring the many wrecks in the Kingston area in a custom-made submersible next year.

Deep/Quest 2 Expeditions, which is working with PBS's Watertown affiliate to produce a series of 13 half-hour episodes that follow Kenn Feigelman and his crew as they explore shipwrecks, sea animals and the marine ecosystem, will soon be taking delivery of a sophisticated new submersible to better explore the lakebed and the many wrecks that lie on it.

Built by Bruce Plasyzk of Illinois, the subs will allow two divers to explore wrecks for much longer than they would by diving in a regular manner. Cameras will be mounted on the submersible to film all the while they are in the water.

It is not a pressurized dry sub, but rather a wet sub, in which divers wear their regular scuba gear.

"It can go as deep as the divers can normally go, but the advantage to a wet sub is that it is powered by electric motors, so the divers can take it easy and not tire themselves out underwater," Feigelman said.

"They can also stay underwater pretty much as long as they'd like because they can carry air and other supplies with them."

When the sub arrives in Kingston, it will be put on display at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes for the public to see up close prior to being put in the water.

It doesn't yet have a name, but Feigelman says the custom-built submersible is unlike the traditional mini-subs.

"It doesn't look like a sub at all," he said.

"It looks more like a flat bat wing than a sub. It almost looks like an underwater stealth fighter."

The first episode of the series on which Feigelman is working will concentrate on the so-called Marysburgh Vortex, an area between South Marysburgh, Amherst Island and Kingston.

It has been called the Great Lakes' Bermuda Triangle for the number of ships that have been lost there over the years and is a popular area for divers to explore the wrecks, both historic and modern.

"There are about 450 shipwrecks in the Marysburgh Vortex," said Feigelman, saying his documentary would feature sunken craft ranging from three-masted sailing ships to some modern vessels.

One of the things the submersible will be used for next year is to search for a Second World War-era plane of which fishermen reported pulling up pieces during the year.

It could be a Harvard trainer, but no one is really sure where it came from. Feigelman is anxious to locate and then explore the plane if it is down there.

Kingston Whig Standard


Environmentalists, shippers criticize ballast plan

12/8 - Traverse City, Mich. - A government plan to prevent foreign species carried in ship ballast tanks from invading seacoasts, the Great Lakes and inland waterways is riddled with loopholes and would take effect too slowly, environmentalists say.

Shipping companies, meanwhile, contend the regulations proposed by the U.S. Coast Guard would make costly and unreasonable demands while adding to a confusing patchwork of federal and state requirements for handling ballast water.

Environmentalists have long demanded a crackdown on the dumping of ballast — millions of gallons of water and muck that ships carry to help keep them stable in rough seas. The soupy mixtures often harbor microorganisms, fish and other aquatic life scooped up in overseas ports.

When discharged in U.S. waters, the foreigners often multiply and overrun native species, doing vast ecological and economic damage. Dealing with shipborne invaders such as zebra mussels is believed to cost more than $200 million per year in the Great Lakes region.

In recent years, the U.S. and Canadian governments ordered oceangoing ships to exchange ballast water or rinse empty tanks at sea to try to kill or wash out invaders.

The Coast Guard regulations would go further by limiting the number of invasive organisms in ballast water released in U.S. territory. Ships would have to install devices to kill most — if not all — organisms.

Initially, the limit would follow a formula used by the International Maritime Commission and some states but considered weak by many environmentalists. By 2016, the standard would be similar to California's, which is considered 1,000 times more stringent than the international commission's.

Environmental groups said the phase-in period is too long and disputed industry contentions that shippers can't move faster because technology is still under development or too expensive and cumbersome.

They also criticized a provision that could postpone the deadline for years if the Coast Guard decides it isn't workable.

"That's potentially a huge loophole that could delay implementation indefinitely," said Jennifer Nalbone of Great Lakes United, a U.S.-Canadian advocacy group.

"We know there are systems that meet the standard right now, and every year we wait is a gamble that more invasive species will get through."

The Coast Guard should defer to the Environmental Protection Agency, which is reconsidering permit requirements for ballast and other ship discharges set by the Bush administration in 2008, said Nina Bell, director of Northwest Environmental Advocates in Portland, Ore.

"The Coast Guard isn't drawing a line in the sand and ordering the shipping industry to protect our waters," Bell said. "They're saying maybe they will, maybe they won't, they'll figure it out as they go."

Shippers said they understood ballast treatment requirements were necessary but called for one national standard that would pre-empt state rules and others.

Requiring companies to install one system to satisfy interim requirements and another later would be unfair, said Doug Schneider, a vice president of the World Shipping Council.

The American Waterways Operators, a trade association, said the rules would require tugboat, towboat and barge operators to buy "extremely expensive ballast water treatment systems that have never, to our knowledge, been deployed effectively or even tested on such vessels."

Cargo haulers that operate only on the Great Lakes said they shouldn't have to sterilize ballast because they don't bring invaders to U.S. waters.

"Once an exotic gets established in the lakes, it's here to stay whether or not it gets into our ballast tanks," said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association.

The Associated Press


Updates - December 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Gallery Imperial Windsor updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 8

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

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

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

The MERLE M. 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.


Port Reports - December 7

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saginaw loaded ore, and James R. Barker unloaded coal Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor.

Stone Port, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Joseph H. Thompson was loading Sunday. Due Monday are Algorail, Agawa Canyon and Manitowoc. Expected Tuesday is the Calumet and Thursday the Mississagi.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Saturday saw the return of the tug Joseph H. Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson to the Bay City Wirt Stone dock. After unloading sugar stone there on Wednesday, the pair was back again with another load for the growing pile. They were outbound later in the day. On Sunday, Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River with a split load. Just like on Thursday, the pair lightered at Bay City Wirt before heading upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore and Kuber turned Sunday night and were heading outbound for the lake.

The number of commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River for the month of November totaled just 17. This is down eight passages from 2008. For the year to date, there have been 158 commercial vessel passages as compared to 201 in 2008, for a decrease of 43 over the same time period.
If you look at these numbers as compared to the five year average, November shows a decrease of 9 passages over the average of 26. Looking at the year to date, you see a decrease of 86 based on the five year average of 244.
The biggest difference appears when you compare 2005 against 2009, for a decrease of 165 vessel passages.


Updates - December 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Holiday Card Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 7

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.


Port Reports - December 6

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The St. Marys Conquest with tug Prentiss Brown in the notch arrived at 1 p.m. Saturday with the last load of the season for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. Only two of area docks remain open. Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg may get one more boat and the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island may get one or two more coal boats. So far this season this port has received 60 cargos and shipped nine on 19 different boats. This will be the lowest activity since the writer began tracking eight years ago.

South Chicago - Brian Z
American Steamship's H. Lee White was loading a petroleum coke cargo at Chicago Fuels Terminal on a brisk, but sunny Friday afternoon. The White arrived just ahead of Lower Lakes' Manistee and was destined for Lackawanna, N.Y. Manistee took the White's place at the dock on Saturday morning to load coal for Grand Haven, Mich.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore, with the Lewis J. Kuber, called on the Saginaw River Thursday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt Dock before heading upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore and Kuber then turned at Sixth Street and were outbound for the lake.

Toronto Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel was unloading sugar at Redpath on Friday, and the English River was at Lafarge.


Single Asian carp found in Chicago-area fish kill

12/6 - Lockport, Ill. — Wildlife officials discovered a single Asian carp Thursday in a canal leading to Lake Michigan, the nearest the destructive species has come to the Great Lakes, Illinois environmental officials said.

Environmentalists fear that if the silver or bighead species of giant Asian carp reach the lakes they could starve out native fish species and devastate a $7 billion-a-year fishing industry.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials found the 22-inch immature specimen among tens of thousands of dead fish identified in a fish kill operation in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, about 40 miles from Lake Michigan, said John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

"Asian carp are indeed knocking on the door of the Great Lakes," Rogner said "This is the closest to Lake Michigan that an actual Asian carp body has been found."

Tens of thousands of other species of fish, from gizzard shad to drum, floated to the surface of the waterway Thursday after authorities dumped more than 2,000 gallons of toxins into a nearly six-mile stretch of the waterway the evening before.

The toxins were dumped while an electrical barrier normally used to prevent any Asian carp from the Great Lakes was turned off for maintenance. The kill operation — which will require the removal of an estimated 200,000 pounds of dead fish to a landfill — began Wednesday and was expected to last until Saturday.

The Asian carp — which can grow to 4 feet — were imported by Southern fish farms but escaped into the Mississippi River in large numbers during flooding in the 1990s and have been making their way northward ever since. No Asian carp have yet been found in Lake Michigan.

Concern about the silver or bighead species of Asian carp led to calls even before Thursday to close the waterway connecting the lakes to the Mississippi — an unprecedented step that could disrupt the movement of millions of tons of coal, grain and other goods.

The electrical barrier, installed in 2002 to repel fish with non-lethal jolts, had been thought to be the only thing standing between the carp and Lake Michigan. Officials said two weeks ago that DNA from Asian carp had been found between the barrier and a lock near the lake.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and five environmental groups have threatened to sue the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to force it to temporarily shut three shipping locks near Chicago because of evidence the Asian carp may have breached the electrical barrier. The agency has said it would consider all options but would not close the locks without first studying the possible effects.

Associated Press


Updates - December 6

Holiday Card Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Gallery new feature for December, the Imperial Windsor
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 6

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.


Port Reports - December 5

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunrise on Friday found two vessels at the Upper Harbor ore dock. John J. Boland loaded taconite for the first time this season while Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded limestone into the hopper.

Milwaukee, Wis. - John Monefeldt
On Thursday night, the G tug Ohio was tied up next to the G tug Wisconsin directly south of the bow of the Stewart J. Cort. The H. Lee White arrived at around 5:30 p.m. CST with a load of coal for the Greenfield Coal Dock. The barge St. Marys Conquest and her tug the Prentiss Brown spent Thursday tied up in front of their terminal but were gone Friday morning. On Friday morning, the Midwest Maritime tug Leona B. was tied up next to the G tug Ohio.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
Friday American Spirit was unloading at Cleveland Bulk Terminal, Calumet remained in port at Ontario Stone and fleet mate Maumee arrived about 6 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson was unloading at the ADM Standard Elevator Friday morning. Heavy wind was causing large breakers to crash over the Outer Harbor Seawall around 11 a.m.


Port of Oswego expansion contingent on financing

12/5 - A multi-million 15-acre expansion at the Port of Oswego could allow the facility to enhance its ability to engage in container shipment.

Oswego would be the first inbound port from the St. Lawrence for containers, which would be a significant opportunity for the inbound and export exchange for many companies.

“We’re still working on securing funding for the project, which of course is probably the biggest hurdle,” said port executive director Jonathan Daniels.

“We’re working with both state and federal authorities for the help to locate funding for the project,” he said. The price tag is approximately $3.5 million, which Daniels said in the world of port development, is not a lot of money.

“Certainly though, we understand it’s a significant price tag with the situation the state and federal governments are in right now with depleted funding available,” he said.

“It’s a long process, and anytime you try to secure that amount of funding, it’s going to be a long and oftentimes onerous process,” Daniels noted.

He said there are “several iterations of applications and programs that we’re trying to secure funding from.”

“Regardless of whether the container project is initiated in eastern Canada, which was one of the triggers we were looking at early on, it doesn’t really matter whether that occurs or not. We need the additional space now with the projects we’re looking at in 2010 and in the future,” he said.

He said windmill projects are going to surface and that appears to be long term for the port. “With that, there’s a significant stress on land infrastructure,” he added.

Daniels said the port has handled projects in the past, but it has put a premium on space and a “crunch on being able to handle any other cargos.”

“We must be able to have that 15 acres available,” he said.

Daniels said the Oswego port is a container port now, with the exception of missing several pieces of equipment.

“But if you throw all the potential projects in the mix, something’s going to have to give,” he said.

“Our job is to make sure nothing gives and we can leverage use of the facility to such an extent that we’re able to handle all the shipping activity projected not only next year but in the future,” he said.

Daniels characterized the expansion of the port as “not a very difficult project. It’s primarily a site work project with rail and roadway construction.”

He said it’s difficult to project the number of full-time jobs the project will create.

“We are not a liner port. As a ship comes in, there’s storage and staging. It’s unfair to say 100 jobs because that would be overkill, but it certainly would add additional shifts to our work schedule,” he said.

Daniels said design and engineering needs to occur, which will take a significant amount of time.

“Best case scenario is that something could be done in 2010 or 2011, which is an accelerated time frame,” he said.

“We may hear in the next few months that there is funding or funding may not come about until late next year or 2011. It is financing dependent.”

The ‘transportation mesh’
In what Daniels described as a phenomenon worldwide, site development is occurring in and around what he terms a “transportation mesh” which gives manufacturers the opportunity to have access to all modes of transportation within close proximity.

While expansion opportunities have to be explored, Daniels said Oswego is in a good position being that it features a deep-draft sea port, an active rail line, access to state Routes 481 and 104 which connect to an interstate system, and access to a commercial and general aviation airport within close proximity.

“As we’re developing that package and trying to entice companies to look at Oswego as an area which to establish shop, or in getting companies that are already in the county to look at expansion possibilities, we have to make sure to properly package our transportation and site development assets,” he said.

There are two other construction projects happening at the port as well.

The Oswego Marina wall remediation project has been funded and a contract awarded.

Workers were expected on site in mid-December and the project is on a tight timeline being that boats go back in the water in April.

The port is also going through a dock replacement program, which will include some utility improvement at the International Marina.

Between the two projects, the port will be investing approximately $2 million over the winter.

In regards to the break wall and arrowhead protecting the harbor, the port is working with a federal delegation led by Sen. Charles Schumer, who has submitted a request for $4 million for wall rehabilitation.

Already secured is $300,000 for the design and engineering associated with the rehab project.

“Ultimately, we need additional funds to be able to affect any type of construction,” he said.

Daniels characterized it as a safety and security measure, not only for the port but for recreational activity within the harbor.

Significant breaches cause the flow of water and sediment into the harbor, which in turn cause wave action “that should not be there,” Daniels noted.

Daniels said in 2008, every port on the Great Lakes saw a downturn.

“Some of the staples we saw in the past like salt went by the wayside, but we did everything we could to get new cargoes and new shippers coming,” he said.

In 2008, the port had two agricultural barges that went for export. In 2009, that number will probably be in the mid-to-upper 20s.

Marine activity concludes at the end of December and resumes in mid-March.

Oswego County Business


USCG cutter Mesquite sunk 20 years ago on Lake Superior

12/5 - During its service on the Great Lakes, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mesquite regularly tended to the buoys that help watercraft avoid navigational hazards.

But 20 years ago, on Friday, Dec. 4, the 180-foot-vessel – which had been using Charlevoix as its home port for nearly a decade – fell victim to one of those underwater hazards itself.

In early December 1989, the Mesquite was working buoys on Lake Superior – a territory normally handled by the Duluth, Minn.-based Coast Guard tender Sundew, which was in drydock for maintenance at the time.

Shortly after 2 a.m. on Dec. 4, the Mesquite ran aground off Keweenaw Point in the same shallow waters marked by a seasonal buoy that the crew had just retrieved.

With the hull breached, water began penetrating the ship’s lower reaches immediately. The ship continued pounding against the shoal on which it was lodged.

After attempting for several hours to free the vessel and control damage, the crew of 53 abandoned ship.

“We had done everything we could possibly do at that point,” said Mark Simmons, who was a chief boatswain’s mate on the Mesquite at the time of the grounding and now lives near Petoskey.

Two small boats carried aboard the Mesquite were used in shuttling the crew to the Mengal Desai, an Indian-flagged freighter bound for Duluth that had been asked to stand by.

Three Mesquite crew members who’d been injured during the ordeal that morning were airlifted from the freighter to a hospital in Hancock.

Following the crew’s abandonment, rough weather further damaged the Mesquite, and it was then declared unsalvageable. In mid-1990, the ship was deliberately sunk in about 120 feet of water off the coast of the Keweenaw Peninsula, and now is one of numerous wrecks that serve as diving attractions as part of the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve.

A Coast Guard formal board investigation said the immediate cause of the vessel’s grounding was failure by the officer of the deck and the commanding officer to properly carry out and supervise standard navigational practices while operating in unfamiliar waters at night. Investigations led to punishments for Mesquite’s captain Richard Lynch, engineering officer James Thanasiu and Susan Subocz, the officer on deck at the time of the grounding.

Looking back, several who served on the Mesquite don’t tend to place blame for the grounding in specific hands.

“It takes more than one person to ground a ship,” said John Kramer, a former Mesquite crew member who now lives in Wolverine. “The captain is ultimately in charge.”

At the same time, “I had nothing but good to say about the captain,” he added.

Simmons, too, noted that he respected the captain, and that he believes the officer on deck took unnecessary heat for the incident.

“She was a great lady,” he said, adding that the crew also was contending with unfavorable weather on the morning of the grounding.

Kramer noted that the Mesquite was covering waters normally handled by another vessel that December, and that crew fatigue perhaps was at play on the morning of the grounding.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is how many hours you work when you’re on a ship like that,” he said.

When the Mesquite went out of service, the Coast Guard’s fleet of seagoing buoy tenders on the Great Lakes was reduced from five to four.

One of those remaining, the Acacia, was reassigned from Grand Haven to Charlevoix. She remained there until her 2006 decommissioning.

The Mesquite’s story has been told in at least one book and one television documentary. Still, to Kramer, “it is odd how many people who are familiar with the lakes and are on the lakes every year are unfamiliar with the Mesquite and what happened.”

Kramer, who was assigned to five different units during his 9 1/2 years in the Coast Guard, added: “(The Mesquite) was the best unit I ever served on, and (its crew was the) best group of people I ever served with.”

Petoskey News-Review


Memorial service Dec. 12 for Owen Sound’s Captain Turner

12/5 - Captain Robert Walter Henry Turner, 95, of Owen Sound, Ont., passed away Wednesday December 2.

A memorial service for Captain Turner will be held in the Chapel of the Brian E. Wood Funeral Home in Owen Sound on Saturday, December 12 at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior to service.


Today in Great Lakes History - December 5

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.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw continues Christmas Ship tradition

12/4 - Chicago, Ill. – The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB 30), acting as the “Christmas Tree Ship”, is scheduled to arrive at Chicago’s Navy Pier for a two-day event, starting Friday, Dec. 4 at 8 a.m. to distribute Christmas trees to more than a thousand families in need.

The distribution of the holiday trees to trucks from community organizations will begin off the decks of “Chicago’s Christmas Ship” on Saturday, December 5, 2009 at 10 a.m., after the first three trees are given to three families during the brief public ceremony.

Tours of the USCGC Mackinaw will also be available on Dec. 4 - 5 from 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

The Mackinaw will arrive loaded with 1,500 Christmas trees purchased by Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee to be distributed to disadvantaged families throughout the Chicago area. The Mackinaw’s reenactment continues a treasured part of Chicago’s maritime tradition.

The Rouse Simmons was the original “Christmas Tree Ship” that came to Chicago with fresh evergreens and wreaths for holiday season during the early 1900s. Rouse Simmons was a three- masted schooner and was recognized by the Christmas tree tied to her mast as she entered port. The Simmons was the principal means of bringing Christmas trees to Chicago for over 30 years.

Chicago’s boating community reenactment of the olden days of the Rouse Simmons landing in Chicago is now portrayed by the Mackinaw. The trees will be taken off the Mackinaw by local youth volunteers, the Sea Cadets, Venture Crews, Sea Explorer Scouts and the Young Marines and loaded onto trucks for distribution by Ada S. McKinley Community Services.

The "Chicago's Christmas Ship" Committee is comprised of and supported by all facets of the Chicago’s boating community: The International Shipmasters’ Association, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, US Navy League, Chicago yacht clubs, Friends of the Marine Community, Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Chicago Yachting Association.

Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee will also host educational programs for local area schools aboard the Mackinaw. More than 300 children from the Chicago area will learn about the role of the Coast Guard, the “Christmas Tree Ship” tradition, observe a Sea Partners ecology presentation and experience a ship tour by Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Mackinaw replaced the original icebreaker, which served the Great Lakes since 1944, and was donated for use as a maritime museum located in Mackinaw City, Mich. This ship, which is home to a crew of 60, was built in Marinette, Wisconsin and commissioned in June 2006. It is one of the Coast Guard’s most technologically advanced multi-missioned cutters. In addition to its primary ice breaking and aids to navigation missions, the Mackinaw also performs search and rescue and maritime law enforcement.

The Mackinaw’s arrival is a culmination of efforts by the Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee, working together with the Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Sea Partners Program, Chicago Navy Pier, private individuals, and the hard working generous boaters of the marine community to help make Christmas special for Chicago's families in need.


Anniversary of Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 sinking marked

12/4 - Port Stanley, Ont. – Just as Port Stanley is about to close the book on its rich maritime history, residents are about to mark one of its saddest pages.

Saturday, the 100th anniversary of what is believed to have been the largest loss of life associated with the once-bustling port is being marked. A memorial service and presentation marking the anniversary is being mounted by Heritage Port, the Port Stanley Historical Society.

On Dec. 7, 1909, the 338-foot (110-metre) Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 steamship went down in Lake Erie while on its way to Port Stanley.

Loaded with 30 rail cars of coal from Pennsylvania intended to heat Ontario homes, the Conneaut, Ohio-based ship foundered in a violent storm. All 32 aboard the four-year-old steamer perished, among them eight from Southwestern Ontario. The death toll included one passenger.

The ship, considered large for its time, had left Conneaut at 10:30 a.m. and was due to arrive in Port Stanley about 4 p.m.

Andrew Hibbert, editor of the Lake Erie Beacon in Port Stanley and a self-described "marine heritage nut," said the ship is believed to have gone down in deep water off Long Point, but it has never been found.

In its short lifespan, the ship made daily trips to Port Stanley and had close connections to local residents.

Eight of the crew members were from London, St. Thomas, Port Stanley, Simcoe and Courtright. The rest of crew and officers, including skipper Robert McLeod, were from the U.S., mainly Conneaut.

A cook from London and a crew member from St. Thomas missed the fatal trip.

Only 14 bodies were recovered from the lake, nine of them found along the American shore, frozen in a lifeboat. The body of first-mate John McLeod, brother of the skipper, was not located until the following spring in the ice of the Niagara River.

Hibbert, co-ordinator of the event, which includes displays and may include an appearance by descendants of the McLeods, said this is the first time such an event from Port Stanley's maritime heritage has been marked this way.

"This was such a huge commercial port in its day," he said.

But today, the harbour is choked with silt and commercial traffic no longer calls.

"It's dwindled now to virtually nothing," Hibbert said. "A lot of this has to do with harbour divestiture (from the federal government to Central Elgin in ongoing talks). And of course, Transport Canada hasn't dredged the harbour for many, many years."

The memorial to the ill-fated steamer comes a few weeks after Central Elgin adopted a post-divestiture plan in which the harbour would change its focus from commercial shipping to a more recreational use with limited dredging.

Ironically, Port Stanley, the only deepwater port on the north shore of Lake Erie with a long marine legacy, is remembering its past while planning a ship-free future.


Santa to sail into Port Colborne on Saturday

12/4 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Santa Claus will sprinkle Christmas cheer along the Welland Canal Saturday as he arrives in Port Colborne via boat.

Jolly Old St. Nick will sail up the canal Saturday afternoon before docking on the west wall just south of the Harbourmaster's House on West St., at the end of Charlotte Street, sometime between 1 p. m. and 1:30 p. m.

His arrival will be celebrated with a performance by McKay Public School choir, who will serenade the big man in the red suit.

Santa will then take a stroll down West Street, greeting boys and girls of all ages on his way to Santa's Studio, at 6 Clarence Street.

The studio will be open from 1:30 p. m. to 3 p. m. for patrons to enjoy complimentary fair trade hot chocolate provided by Ten Thousand Villages. Children will be provided goodie bags courtesy of various downtown businesses. They can have their photo taken with Santa by professional photographer Precious LaPlante for $5.

Photos will be available for pick up at the studio between 6 p. m. and 6:30 p. m.

Santa's arrival Saturday will come just in time for him to lead the final float of the annual Santa Claus parade, which begins at 6:30 p. m.

Close to 50 entries have already been received for the parade, said acting events manager, Allaina Kane of Port Colborne Economic Development Corp.

Along with dozens of participating community groups, this year's parade will feature the award-winning West Seneca West Marching Band.

"They love coming and we just adore having them," Kane said about the 44-member band. The parade will also feature The Misty Kids from the Niagara Falls Winter Festival of Lights, St. John Ambulance therapy dogs, Port Colborne air cadets and Port Colborne Lions.

"Port Colborne prides itself on community spirit," Kane said, adding she expects the streets to be lined with smiling faces for the parade on Saturday.

Welland Tribune


BoatNerd holiday card gallery

12/4 - 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 sent by regular mail must be received no later than Dec. 19 to be included.


Updates - December 4

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - December 4

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 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.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to deliver Christmas trees, host tours

12/3 - Chicago, Ill. - Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will be arriving at Chicago's Navy Pier on Friday at 8 a.m. with a delivery of Christmas trees that will be distributed to more than 1,000 needy families.

A ceremony welcoming the Mackinaw will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday near the "Captain at the Helm" statue south of the pier entrance.

The ceremony includes presentation of colors by a Sea Cadet Color Guard and a memorial wreath laying ceremony commemorating the merchant marine officers lost on the Great Lakes. The high point of the ceremony is a scheduled fly-over by a Coast Guard helicopter (HH-65 Dolphin) carrying a memorial wreath to be placed on the waves near the Chicago lighthouse.

Three families, representing the more than 1,000 deserving families who will be given trees this year, will be present to receive the first Christmas trees.

Guest speakers include: Capt. George Lisner, member of the Christmas Ship Executive Committee, Cmdr. Scott Smith, Commanding Officer of U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw and Capt. Luann Barndt, Sector Lake Michigan Commander and Chicago's Captain of the Port.

Honored Guests include: Col. Vincent Quarles, Chicago District Army Corps of Engineers, and Lt. Peter J. Piaza, Commanding Officer, Marine and Helicopter Unit, Chicago Police Department.

Public tours of the Mackinaw will be provided on Friday and Saturday from 1:30 - 5 p.m. Mackinaw expects to depart Chicago on Sunday.



Port Reports - December 3

Stoneport, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Lewis J.Kuber was loading Wednesday and will be followed by Sam Laud, McKee Sons, Manitowoc. Other scheduled traffic includes Joseph H. Thompson on Thursday followed Friday by McKee Sons, Lewis J. Kuber, Algorail and Cason J. Callaway. Saturday the Joseph H. Thompson and Manistee on Sunday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Joe Thompson with the barge Joseph H. Thompson called on the Saginaw River Wednesday. The pair stopped at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to unload. They were expected to be outbound late Wednesday or Early Thursday morning. This is the first visit of 2009 for the Thompsons to the Saginaw River.


St. Clair River study under way

12/3 - Sarnia, Ont. - It will be June before a consultant's report offers recommendations to clean up decades-old mercury on the bottom of the St. Clair River.

Environ, an international consulting agency, was recently given the job of evaluating how best clean up contamination near the Suncor Energy site, Shell docks and Guthrie Park.

Options may include dredging, vacuuming, capping or simply leaving it alone.

Mercury in other parts of the river has been buried in sediment from years past and is no longer dangerous, said Darrell Randell, president of Friends of the St. Clair.

"Some of the mercury has settled so far down into the sediment I think that, because it's really heavy, it won't pose a threat anymore," he said.

When the report is released there will be public consultation before a decision is reached, said Rick Battson, communications director with the St. Clair Conservation Authority.

"Right now they're laying the ground work to determine what are going to be the options for dealing with the three areas that are left," he said.

According to an environmental report commissioned by the St. Clair River Sediment Technical Committee, the mercury might be impacting redhorse suckers, which eat bottom-dwelling worms, and northern pike, which eat the suckers.

Delisting the river as an area of concern under the Canada- US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement is the ultimate goal of the project and its contributors.

A decision on how to proceed is expected next year and work, Randell hopes, will begin by 2011.

"It's just one more issue that still remains to be addressed," he said.

The Sarnia Observer


Poison planned to keep Asian carp from Great Lakes

12/3 - Chicago — Illinois environmental officials will dump a toxic chemical into a nearly 6-mile stretch of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Wednesday to keep the voracious Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes while an electrical barrier is turned off for maintenance.

The fish, which can grow to 4 feet long and 100 pounds and are known to leap from the water at the sound of passing motors, have been found within a few miles of Lake Michigan and there is evidence they might have breached the barrier, designed to repel them with a non-lethal jolt.

Environmentalists fear the fish, which consume up to 40 percent of their body weight daily in plankton, would starve out smaller and less aggressive competitors and possibly lead to the collapse of the Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing industry.

The fish toxin rotenone will be spread Wednesday evening near Lockport, Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Stacey Solano said. After about eight hours, crews will use large cranes with nets to scoop up an estimated 200,000 pounds of dead fish, she said.

The carcasses will be disposed of in a landfill, Solano said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to perform the maintenance on the barrier.

"We just want to make sure that there is no possible way that Asian carp can breach the barrier while it's down for maintenance," Solano said. "That's the main objective of this operation."

Environmental groups say they support the operation but are urging federal officials to close three locks in the Chicago area that lead to Lake Michigan until they can determine a permanent solution.

"If there ever is a last ditch effort, this is it," said Joel Brammeier, acting president of the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes. "Everybody I talk to I tell them we have to close those locks."

Corps of Engineers and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said they are considering every alternative, but have not made a decision on closing the locks.

Asian carp escaped from Southern fish farms into the Mississippi River during 1990s flooding and have been migrating northward since.

Last month, officials announced that DNA samples of the Asian carp recently were found between the barrier and Lake Michigan, although the fish had yet to be spotted in the area.

Aside from decimating species prized by anglers and commercial fishers, Asian carp are known to leap from the water at the sound of passing motors and sometimes collide with boaters.

Early Wednesday, the DNR will remove and relocate any sport fish from the canal so they are not harmed by the rotenone, Solano said. She estimated the cost of the operation at between $1 million and $2 million.

Solano said the rotenone should naturally dissipate after it is spread, but the department will spread another chemical to help accelerate that process. Rotenone has been used for 40 years in Illinois, and "if used properly there should be no affect to humans or other wildlife," she said.

The Associated Press


Updates - December 3

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - December 3

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.


Port Reports - December 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock Tuesday afternoon, the first day of December.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Monday afternoon to take on cement. Tuesday night Sam Laud unloaded coal at Lafarge. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Wednesday morning. Tuesday visitors at Stoneport included John G. Munson, which departed around 3 p.m., and Lee A. Tregurtha, which tied up once the dock was clear.

Lorain, Ohio - Linda S.
Canadian Transfer was unloading Tuesday afternoon at Black River salt dock.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
American Republic was loading at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal Tuesday.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom
Stephen B. Roman arrived at the Essroc Dock in Rochester early Tuesday morning.

Montreal, Q.C. - Simon Fulleringer
About 7:20 a.m., the downbound tug Vigilant I and barge Big 551 grounded above the entrance to the South Shore Canal near Montreal. At 9:15 a.m. the barge was across the current and the tug was maneuvering independently, attempting to dislodge it. The barge appeared to be stuck outside the channel on the north side and did not block traffic in the area.


Updates - December 2

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - December 2

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.


A heavy lift for Detroit’s Gaelic Towing

12/1 - Detroit, Mich. – Five heavy oversize items arrived in Detroit for the new Marathon Refinery aboard the BBC Australia recently. Since the water was too shallow at the delivery dock, the items were loaded aboard Gaelic's barges by the ship’s heavy lift cranes. The tug Patricia Hoey moved the barges from along side the ship to the delivery dock where shoreside cranes unloaded the barges. The items averaged a weight of 83 tons each. This was a week long activity Nov 18-24. Nov 24. The BBC Australia was at Nicholson's dock in Ecorse.


New tug Ocean Georgie Bain joins Ocean Group

12/1 - Quebec City, QC - Ocean Group recently christened its newest tug, Ocean Georgie Bain, built by Ocean Industries Inc. located at Isle-aux-Coudres, a subsidiary of Ocean Group Inc.

The new tug is named after Mrs. Georgette Hebert-Bain, mother of Ocean Group’s President and CEO, Mr. Gordon Bain.

This state-of-the-art tug is propelled by two Z-Drive type azimuthing propellers and boasts, among other technical enhancements, a firefighting (FI-FI) system and all necessary elements to offer safe and efficient services.

The Ocean Georgie Bain will be operating in the Port of Montreal as part of the daily harbor towing activities. She will also be solicited for escort services, short and long distance towing, as well as salvage and wreck removal operations. If needed, any one of the 21 automated tugs in Ocean’s fleet can be deployed to any port served by the Company.

The Ocean Georgie Bain is the fifth of eight tugs intended to join Ocean’s fleet in four years, following the Ocean K. Rusby in 2005, the Ocean Raymond Lemay and the Ocean Henry Bain in 2007, and the Ocean Bertrand Jeansonne in July 2009.

The christening ceremony of the Ocean Georgie Bain, during which the traditional bottle of champagne was broken by her godmother Mrs. Jo-Ann Bain, took place today November 27 at Ocean Group’s headquarters located in the Port of Québec.


Port Reports - December 1

Stoneport , Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Great Lakes Trader, which loaded Monday night, was expected to depart about 2300. John G. Munson was waiting at anchor. Due Tuesday was Lee A. Tregurtha, Joseph H. Thompson and Lewis J. Kuber. On Wednesday, Sam Laud, McKee Sons and Manitowoc are due, followed by American Republic and Cason J. Callaway on Thursday. Friday, Lewis J. Kuber and Algorail were in port, followed Saturday by Agawa Canyon.

Goderich, Ont.
Quebecois and Canadian Transfer both arrived in Goderich on Sunday, Quebecois for the grain elevators and Transfer for the salt dock.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River on Monday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Essexville Sargent dock, before heading upriver towards Saginaw to finish unloading.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Sunday English River arrived at 10:30 p.m. and was due to depart Monday afternoon from Lafarge Cement.


Updates - December 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - December 1

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.

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.


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