Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports -  December 31

Midland, Ont. - Barrie Examiner
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Samuel Risley was scheduled to arrive in Midland Bay at 3 p.m. Thursday. Later in the day, and into the evening, the vessel will be following Canada Steamship Line's Frontenac out of Midland Bay toward Hope Island.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
The CSL Tadoussac arrived at the Ironhead Shipyard for drydocking and is expected to spend the winter at Toledo. The CSX Coal Docks are now closed down for the season and will reopen late March 2011. the next scheduled ore boats due in at the Torco Ore Dock will be the Great Lakes Trader and Herbert C. Jackson on Sunday, John J. Boland Monday, the Buffalo on Tuesday Jan. 11, followed by the Great Lakes Trader on Thursday Jan. 13. The tug Cleveland remains in the small drydock at Ironhead Shipyard while the barge Cleveland Rocks is tied up in the small slip north of the drydock area.

Fairport Harbor, Ohio - Bob Hunter
Wednesday, Canadian Olympic arrived to load salt. She was still in port Thursday morning.

St. Catharines, Ont. - Al Howard
John B. Aird arrived at noon Thursday for drydocking at Seaway Marine, assisted by the McKeil tugs Vigilant 1 and Seahound.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Stephen B. Roman arrived with a load of cement Thursday evening.


Marine unit searching Lake Ontario

12/31 - Hamilton, Ont. - The Hamilton police marine unit and a military Hercules aircraft are searching Lake Ontario after a vessel sent a distress signal from about a quarter-mile out from Confederation Park.

Poor visibility is an issue, said police spokesperson Catherine Martin. It is unknown what problem, if any, the boat may be in. Toronto police marine unit has a boat in the water. Hamilton police marine unit are searching the shore.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre is heading up the search. They’re a government body in charge of coordinating search and rescue.

Hamilton Spectator


Updates -  December 31

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 31

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

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

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

At 4:00 p.m., 31 December 1895, the PURITAN (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 172 foot, 289 gross tons, built in 1887, at Benton Harbor, Michigan) burned at the dock in Oak Hill (Manistee), Michigan. She was a total loss.

Upon suggestion from the U.S. Maritime Commission, surplus World War II cargo vessels, many of which had laid up on the James River, were made available for sale under the Great Lakes Vessel Sales Act of 1950 (enacted September 28, 1950) to be converted for Great Lakes use. The Act allowed Great Lakes fleets to purchase up to 10 surplus ships by December 31, 1951, and receive a 90% cost subsidy to convert and refurbish them for Lakes use. The first such conversion occurred when the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co. of Cleveland, Ohio bought the NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950.

The GEORGE M. HUMPHREY of 1953 was laid up for the last time at the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip at River Rouge, Michigan, beginning December 31, 1983.

The QUEDOC, a.) NEW QUEDOC, was laid up for the last time on December 31, 1984, at Toronto, Ontario, alongside the SENATOR OF CANADA.

On 31 December 1884, ADMIRAL (wooden propeller steam tug, 49 gross tons, built in 1883, at Chicago, Illinois) had her boiler explode in Chicago harbor. All four of the crew was killed.

In 1884, the PERE MARQUETTE NO 1 ran aground at Ludington, Michigan.

December 31, 1919 - The entire Ann Arbor carferry fleet was tied up in Frankfort, Michigan due to bad weather.

On 31 December 1889, H. M. Loud of Oscoda, Michigan sold the 551-ton wooden schooner ANGUS SMITH to Mitchell Brothers of Marine City, Michigan, for $16,000. The vessel was built in 1871.

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


Port Reports -  December 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Manitowoc loaded ore Wednesday at the Upper Harbor on a rare, sunny December afternoon. Traffic is expected to be steady at the Upper Harbor ore dock until the Soo Locks close.

Menominee, Mich. - Scott Best
On Christmas Eve afternoon, the tugs Mary E Hannah and John M. Selvick brought the barge Lake Trader into Menominee with another load of windmills. The Mary E. was on the bow doing the towing and the John M. was in the notch of the Lake Trader as they entered the river. Ice wasn't a problem for them as they arrived, with recent traffic and moderating temperatures, only some ice above the Ogden Street Bridge was encountered, which the big tugs quickly broke up and flushed out to dock the barge. Both tugs departed Menominee Tuesday morning.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Wednesday, Pineglen arrived at Bay Shipbuilding for winter layup, arriving via the Bay of Green Bay around 9 a.m. She was assisted through the ice from Sherwood Point to the yard by Selvick Marine tugs Jimmy L. and Susan L. At the Selvick Marine dock, the inventory of tugs included Sharon M. Selvick, Cameron O., Jacquelyn Nicole, William C. Selvick, John M. Selvick and Mary E. Hannah. Mary E. Hannah departed the dock outbound for Lake Michigan around 10 a.m. heading southbound.

Midland, Ont. - Daniel Osborn and Wayne Bradley
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley arrived about an hour before the Frontenac to break a track into Midland Wednesday morning. Snowmobilers and a wolf stood by and watched the arrival. She was expected to finish Wednesday evening.

Fairport Harbor, Ohio - John Unterwagner
Canadian Olympic arrived in the Grand River early Wednesday afternoon. She docked at the Morton Salt dock and began taking on a cargo of salt. Loading continued into the late afternoon.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday, Robert S. Pierson arrived at 11 a.m. with a cargo of canola to be unloaded over the winter at Pier 11 W. Maritime Trader arrived at 4 p.m. from Sorel for winter lay-up at Pier 25S.

Seaway - Kent Malo
Atlantic Erie is poised to be the last commercial vessel using the Seaway downbound for 2010 season. She offloaded at Cote Ste Catherine wharf Tuesday, proceeded up the Seaway to Lac St Louis, turned 180 degrees, and headed back down the Seaway Wednesday morning. Atlantic Erie should clear the Seaway's St Lambert lock around noon, after which she will proceed to Sec M 4 Port of Montreal and lay- up. Two other vessels following the Atlantic Erie were the tug Laprairie, which was breaking ice, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Tracy, tending to navigational aids and ice breaking.


Speaker series at Door County Maritime Museum starts Jan. 6

12/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The Door County Maritime Museum will launch its Winter Speakers Series on Thursday, Jan. 6, at 7 p.m. at the museum in Sturgeon Bay. It will be the first of four programs extending to early April.

The first presentation is titled “Guardians of the Inland Sea: A Brief History of the United States Coast Guard on the Great Lakes” by the museum’s Executive Director Bob Desh. A retired Coast Guard captain, Desh is an enthusiastic Coast Guard historian.

“The Coast Guard is the most visible branch of the United States Armed Forces here on the Door Peninsula,” said Desh. “Door County is home to four active Coast Guard units and the public might be interested in just how the Coast Guard has developed such a significant presence on the Great Lakes.”

The series continues the first Thursday of the month in February and March. The program on Feb. 3 will be on Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilding company that now owns Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay and Marinette Marine in Marinette. A member of the Fincantieri management team will be at the museum to provide a profile on one of the world’s largest shipbuilding firms. Then, on March 3, Tim Sweet of the Friends of Plum & Pilot Islands will present a program on the group’s plans and progress for the historic lighthouses and life-saving station located on the two islands.

The series deviates off the Thursday schedule for its final program on Saturday, April 2, for a program by Dennis Hale about his remarkable rescued-at-sea ordeal. Hale was the only survivor of the ill-fated lake freighter Daniel J. Morrell, which sank in Lake Huron in 1966. He later authored the book “Sole Survivor.” Unlike the other programs in the series, tickets will be sold for Hale’s program. They will not go on sale until mid-March. More details on location and time will be released at a later date.

The first three programs will be held at the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay and admission is free. For more information visit


Updates -  December 30

News Photo Gallery with video of the Kaye E. Barker saluting
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 30

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

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

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

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


Great Lakes icebreakers have been busy

12/29 - Sarnia, Ont. - Lowell Dalgety is hopeful the ice in the St. Clair River doesn't get any worse than it is.

The Bluewater Ferry owner in Sombra was forced to close for extended periods last winter when the worst buildup of ice in 26 years clogged the vital waterway. Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers and U.S. cutters worked continuously to allow ships passage.

An accumulation of light ice between Lake St. Clair and Fawn Island has already impacted his business this winter, Dalgety said.

"When there's no ice at all we usually make three or four round trips an hour," he said. "But now we're down to probably two round trips an hour."

The ice is about what you'd expect this time of year, said Robert Gray, an operations officer with the Canadian Coast Guard. "There's a bit of brash ice flowing in the river but it's not really heavy," he said, noting the CCGS Samuel Risley easily went through it Tuesday.

"We had some problems about a week ago but it's tempered somewhat now," he said. Ice congestion in the lower part of the river had both Canadian and U.S. vessels at work.

Environment Canada is forecasting warmer temperatures and rain later this week that will melt much of what is in the water, he said. But Canadian icebreakers are still at work.

The CCGS Griffon is in the western basin of Lake Erie and the CCGS Samuel Risley was bound for Midland, Ont., escorting a ship filled with wheat. Gray said the U.S. has eight active vessels.

Meanwhile the summer shipping season is coming to a close, with the Welland Canal closing Dec. 31 and the Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canal following suit on Jan. 15.

Dalgety said he's keeping his fingers crossed for a favorable winter.

"We hope we don't have to stop but Mother Nature dictates what we do," he said. "If the wind goes north that will probably be doomsday for us because that will bring more ice out of the lake."

The Sarnia Observer


Muskegon anglers should beware of unsafe ice due to vessel traffic

12/29 - Muskegon, Mich. - The ice on Muskegon Lake could be too dangerous to fish on starting Wednesday. A 460-foot tug and barge will arrive in Muskegon and dock at the downtown Mart Dock around 4 p.m. Wednesday. The vessel will be breaking a path through the ice to get to the spot where it will dock.

After a similar event this past January, an ice fisherman drove his four-wheeler onto the open water. He was rescued by emergency crews using a hovercraft.



Aboard a cold Seaway ship with a sick crew

12/29 - Twenty-two Chinese seamen are resting up in Montreal after a harrowing Christmas journey through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew aboard the German-owned Hermann Schoening became violently ill after phosphine gas leaked into the living and working spaces. The gas is used regularly as a fumigant to kill pests in the cargo hold. The freighter is carrying 19,000 tons of midwestern corn bound for Algeria.

The crew was treated at a hospital in Ontario. But the ship then continued on with windows open to air out the gas.

Don Metzger piloted the freighter from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River to Massena. He’s been a Seaway pilot for more than 30 years. He told David Sommerstein he’s never seen anything like this happen before. Metzger says the crew was sick and cold, and unprepared for winter weather. Carolyn Osbourne of the Mariners House of Montreal says the crew spent yesterday recovering after being sickened by phosphine gas. She says they received a second hospital checkup, as well as warm coats, gloves, and Christmas gifts while in port. The ship was scheduled to resume its travels this morning.

An official with Transport Canada says the incident is under investigation. The shipowners could be fined if violations of the Canada Shipping Act are found. But the gas leak is so far being considered an anomaly.

North Country Public Radio


Port Reports -  December 29

St. Marys River - Roger LeLievre
Upbound traffic Wednesday included Joseph L. Block, American Republic, Saginaw (to Essar Steel) and American Mariner. The Frontenac, Philip R. Clarke and Kaministiqua were downbound. Manitowoc arrived and later departed upbound from Essar Steel. Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay were back in the Soo Wednesday night, while Katmai Bay remained in the lower river below Neebish Island to offer assistance if needed and maintain the vessel track in the ice. Both upbound and downbound traffic has been moving without difficulty.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were at the Lafarge dock on Christmas Day. They departed around noon on Sunday headed for lay-up in Milwaukee, Wis. Tuesday evening, Calumet arrived in the Thunder Bay River to unload a cargo of coal at the DPI Plant. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port Wednesday afternoon.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday Algosoo arrived at 9 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Canadian Olympic departed from Dofasco at 10:30 a.m. for Fairport. Algowood arrived at 12:30 with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco then will head to Port Colborne for winter layup. Cuyahoga departed at 2 p.m. to clean holds and arrived back in port for winter layup at Pier 25N.


Coast Guard issues warnings about Lake Superior ice

12/29 - Duluth, Minn. — A Coast Guard spokesman says winter enthusiasts are putting themselves at danger taking advantage of early ice buildup at a time that ships are still moving on the Great Lakes. Coast Guard cutters like the Duluth-based Alder are routinely cutting paths through the ice for ships -- creating open water not always obvious to people on the ice. Lake shipping continues on Lake Superior until at least mid-January, said Coast Guard Lt. Luke Sanders.

"The [Duluth] Aerial Lift Bridge closes on the 15th, but ships can still move in the harbor after that if they come into the Superior entry," he said.

Sanders said few people are venturing onto the Duluth-Superior harbor ice, although some have been setting up fishing shelters on ice near Superior, what the Coast Guard calls the front channel. Sanders said ice will be broken in the Duluth-Superior harbor until well into January.

"Even a few days after [the 15th] there may be some large ships laying up in the Duluth-Superior area," he said.

The Coast Guard has noticed people in close proximity to tracks cut into the ice for ships. Coast Guard responders also worry about warmer temperatures and rain forecast for later this week, conditions that can quickly deteriorate what ice is in place.

Minnesota Public Radio


Lake level continues to drop

12/29 - Grand Rapids, Mich. - The water level of Lake Michigan continues to drop. Lakes Michigan/Huron and Superior have dropped four inches since Nov. 24. Lake Michigan is now down 14 inches in the past year and is 20 inches below the century average. Lake Superior is down 9 inches in the last year and Lake Erie is down 7 inches in the past year. Only Lake Ontario has gained water – two inches – in the last 12 months.



Decrepit Boblo boat has a new mission for next generations

12/29 - Detroit, Mich. - Underneath the chipping paint and decaying wood found in a sitting room for women on the SS Columbia, Lori Feret points out the intricate murals of roses on the ceiling.

"The murals are so beautiful, I don't understand why they covered them with paint," Feret said. "There are so many beautiful areas on this boat."

As a local historian and a board member of the Friends of Belle Isle, Feret has spent years trying to save historical institutions throughout Detroit. "She's such a piece of history, and I hate to see her in this condition," Feret said of the Columbia.

But the Columbia is undergoing a $10-million face-lift and soon will leave the Detroit River for a new home in New York.

As a result of her love for the boat, Feret has been asking metro Detroiters to share their memories of the Columbia and her sister boat, the Ste. Claire. The two took generations of metro Detroiters to and from Boblo Island.

Feret of Madison Heights has organized several fund-raising cruises on the Detroit River, where people are recorded sharing their memories. The video is then posted on the SS Columbia Project's Web site.

"The Columbia represents a lot of history," said Richard Anderson, president of the New York-based SS Columbia Project. "She had a long good career and never lost a passenger."

Docked behind the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant in River Rouge, the SS Columbia sits in the Detroit River looking worn and tattered after nearly 20 years of abandonment.

The Columbia, which mostly is known for shuttling thousands daily in the summer over several decades to Boblo Island, is now the oldest surviving passenger steam vessel in the U.S.

The Columbia, at 108 years old, is undergoing a restoration. A New York-based nonprofit organization hopes to use the historical boat as a floating educational tool stationed in the Hudson River Valley.

"We want to use the boat to teach school kids and help revive a floating cultural center," said Richard Anderson, president of the nonprofit SS Columbia Project.

In late November, the SS Columbia Project hired Troy-based insurance restoration contractors Signal Building to stabilize the boat before transporting it next year to New York, where it will have more work done to restore it to its original condition.

Workers from Signal Building have spent days, mostly in temperatures below 30 degrees, adding plywood on top of the boat's rotting floorboards. The week before Christmas, the workers were enforcing the hurricane deck -- also known as the top of the boat.

"This boat was docked near where I lived, and I rode it many times as a kid," said Mike Prusky, a lead carpenter from Wyandotte. "I would prefer to see this boat in Detroit, but no one stepped up to the plate."

When Prusky and other contractors arrived to work on the boat, they had to be careful where they walked because the surface was so unstable.

"We are making it stable so you will be able to walk around, and we are cleaning it up," said Brent Dexter, 23, a laborer from Farmington Hills. "My mom and dad told me stories about the boat, and it's definitely one of the cooler projects we've worked on."

A dance floor in the center of the boat, which was often used during trips to Boblo, was the first to be built on a steam vessel in the U.S. The Columbia shuttled passengers to Boblo Island for 89 years.

Those who ventured to the amusement park may remember a second boat, the Columbia's smaller sister, the Ste. Claire. Both last were used to take visitors to Boblo in September 1991.

William Worden, head of the Columbia Steamer Foundation, tried to sell the Columbia in the early 2000s but had no takers.

The Ste. Claire sits behind the Columbia in the Detroit River. It is owned by Maximus Corp. and awaits restoration. It is slated to stay in Detroit.

The SS Columbia Project acquired the Colombia in May 2006 with the assistance of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since then, the organization has been raising money to restore the boat, and the project is to be done in several phases.

Project coordinators estimate the cost to restore the Columbia at $10 million.

Anderson said the boat will teach visitors about the environmental evolution of the steam vessel from originally burning coal and dumping sewage to eventually burning oil and disposing of human waste in a more environmentally friendly way.

The boat also is to incorporate other history lessons, including one about an African-American woman named Sarah Elizabeth Ray who was ordered to leave the boat in 1945 because of her skin color. The incident led to a civil rights lawsuit.

"It's beautiful because there are multiple ways in which the Columbia will serve the public," Anderson said. "She has a relationship with the environment because she has the ability to take people out of an urban area into nature."

Detroit Free Press


Steelmakers grapple with price-increase pressures

12/29 - London - Higher prices of key inputs such as iron ore and coking coal will force up steel prices in the coming year, but steelmakers may have difficulty passing on the full burden of the increases.

Robust demand from the automotive and machinery sectors will help producers pass on the increased costs, but with construction still lagging behind and concerns that China may further tighten its monetary policy amid concern over rising inflation, some steelmakers may find it hard to support higher prices to consumers throughout the entire year.

"Real demand continues to grow but at a slow pace. Due to the uncertainty over the 2011 economic picture, apparent market conditions are tough, which makes it a challenge to raise prices despite higher costs running through the business," said Aditya Mittal, chief financial officer of ArcelorMittal, earlier this month.

After idling capacity in the third quarter and yet more in the fourth, the world's largest steelmaker has been operating only 15 of its 25 European furnaces from December.

ArcelorMittal forecasts global steel demand to rise 6 percent year-on-year in 2011, compared with an expected 10 percent rise in 2010.

Steel prices have ticked higher in recent weeks, helped by customers buying ahead of an expected price rise in the first months of next year.

U.K.-based consultancy MEPS International Ltd. said end-user demand for steel has improved slightly, but it's still not very strong.

"Prices will rise," said MEPS analyst Kaye Ayub. "Iron ore prices are set to rise in the first quarter 2011 and scrap prices are up." In addition, she says inventories are low in developed markets so some restocking is expected.

Credit Suisse estimates that spot iron ore prices for import to China will average $149.91 a metric ton during the first quarter of 2011, up 8 percent from the $138.38/ton average in the fourth quarter of 2010.

"While mills can easily pass through higher input costs when end demand is strong, unfortunately the current environment is less supportive," said analyst Andrew Snowdowne in a UBS report.

"A raw material cost push should support higher steel prices into 2011," Mr. Snowdowne said. "However, we believe this rally is likely to be short lived. We expect that by the second quarter 2011, steel prices will peak at a level that will allow steel mills in 2011 to only generate a 'fair' profit margin."

Goldman Sachs too expects the cost push to fade later in the year.

"We continue to believe that absent any meaningful change in demand, aside from seasonal uptick in 1H-2011, the cost-push price increases may taper off as scrap moves down which is typical in spring months," Goldman Sachs said in a report.

Not all steel companies are gloomy. German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG said it's "cautiously optimistic" about 2011 demand.

"High quality steel will see stronger growth than commodity steel, which is predominantly used in the construction sector," where demand remains muted, said Chief Executive Ekkehard Schulz.

U.S. steelmaker Nucor Corp. said this month that in the last month it has been able to raise steel prices and is also hopeful for a better first quarter in terms of higher prices and volumes of steel sold.

Steel mills are still grappling with the change in iron ore pricing in April from a decades-old annual benchmark system to one based on spot prices and reviewed every three months. Steel companies, however, want to return to an annual pricing mechanism.

"I strongly advocate that the mining industry reflects on their short-term pricing policy and develops an option for us to buy a part of our volumes at annual prices," Michael Pfitzner, head of marketing and commercial coordination at ArcelorMittal, said. Iron ore miners, however, say they intend to stick to the new spot-based system.

Iron-ore prices should rise slightly in the first quarter 2011 and there should be some steel restocking pushing steel prices up, said Antonio Marcegaglia, chief executive of Italian steel processor Marcegaglia. He forecasts iron ore prices to stabilize later in the year and for there to be less speculative restocking.

But he said iron ore prices won't plummet, and China domestic steel consumption will grow albeit at a slower pace than the huge growth seen in the 2002-2008 period.

Chinese steel analyst Wu Wenzhang of SteelHome said he expects China's crude steel demand to rise 8 percent in 2011, or 50 million tons, to 650 million tons. He forecasts crude steel output in China, the biggest steelmaker, to rise 4.8 percent, or 30 million tons, to 660 million tons, while capacity will stand at 720 million tons by the end of 2010.

Wall Street Journal


Updates -  December 29

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Extra ice is nice for Great Lakes

12/28 - The headaches and hassles that have come with a colder than normal start to the winter could pay off for Great Lakes residents several months down the road.

Waterways in Michigan and other states around the region are icing up earlier than usual, and many areas are seeing above average snowfall — conditions that could result in higher lake levels this spring and summer. Frozen water and deep stores of snow typically lead to large amounts of runoff in the spring — runoff that causes water levels in the Great Lakes to rise.

And to many, the Great Lakes need a boost. For most of the last decade, lake levels have been below their historical averages, resulting in lost fishing grounds and changing shorelines.

But if the early cold season is an indication, that could change this summer.

"The bays, canals and marinas on Lake St. Clair are frozen over," said Lt. Brian Barlog with the Marine Division of the Macomb County Sheriff's Office. "We'vegot a good 2 to 4 inches of ice, but thereis still a lot of unsafe, open water on the lake."

Ice fisherman Tom Thomson, 31, of Shelby Township, said this year he started angling a few days earlier than usual.

"Where I fish on the lake typically freezes over in mid- to late December," he said. "It seems to have frozen over a little bit earlier this year."

According to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the cold end to 2010 is the result of two factors: La Nina, in which Pacific Ocean temperatures dip below normal by up to 5 degrees.

North Atlantic oscillation, in which changing pressures at sea level result in changes in winds blowing west.

"Individually, each of these factors can produce colder temperatures than normal in a region," said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist and physical oceanographer at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. "This year, they've come together."

Wang said the combination of factors will likely lead to heavy ice and a dense snowpack this year. While Metro Detroit missed the full power of early snowstorms this month, other areas were hit hard. Marquette, for example, normally has 57 inches of snow through Dec. 19. By that time this year, Marquette had received 60.4 inches.

But it is still early yet, and other indicators are less promising.

Precipitation levels in the Great Lakes so far this month are below average. Lake Superior has had only 40 percent of its typical precipitation, while Lakes Michigan and Huron have seen 66 percent and Lake Erie 93 percent. The only lake with above-average precipitation is Ontario, at 173 percent.

The early cold and potential for high lake levels next summer are something of a mixed bag for the shipping industry. Heavy ice can hamper shipping late in the year. Yet any additional gains in water levels allow shipping companies to add tons of cargo to their payloads, increasing profits.

"So far, we've been able to keep moving," said Glen Nekvasil, president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers' Association. That movement has been helped by nine U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking ships deployed around the Great Lakes this year.

Nekvasil said he has high hopes for the coming shipping year, particularly if the snow and ice that accumulates in the lakes over the next three months results in higher waters over the summer.

"Obviously, we want to carry as much cargo per trip as possible, so those higher levels help," he said. "But at the end of the day, the industry is still driven by demand."

The Detroit News


Updates -  December 28

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


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
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Manitowoc loaded ore and departed for Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Manitowoc, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is having a new 60-foot fisheries research vessel built at Burger Boat of Manitowoc, Wis. The award was given to Burger Boat last Jan. 30. This is the same company that built the present research vessel Barney Devine in 1937. The Barney Devine is scheduled to be retired. The new vessel is to be named R/V Coregonus and should be completed and in service this spring.

Huron, Ohio - Doug Kishman
The Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were assisted into port by the tug Manitou.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Sunday, the tug Washington broke ice for the departure of American Mariner between about 6 and 7 this evening. Mariner backed out while the tug ran around clearing the way.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday Mississagi departed at 7:30 a.m. with a cargo of slag. CSL Niagara arrived at 9:30 a.m. with a part cargo of coal from Nanticoke for US Steel and departed at 8:15 p.m. for Ashtabula. Canadian Provider arrived at 9 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Marys Cement II were also scheduled to arrive at 11 p.m.

Saturday, Hamilton Energy arrived at 9:45 a.m. from bunkering in Port Weller. Algomarine arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Next port of call is Goderich. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at noon with coal for US Steel. Her next port will be Port Weller. Quebecois departed at 3 p.m. for winter lay up in Toronto. Algolake arrived back in port at 4 p.m., after cleaning holds for winter lay-up, at Pier 12 N. Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 7:30 p.m. for winter lay up at Pier 26.

Friday, Quebecois arrived at noon with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Tug Avenger IV and barge PML 2501 departed at 1:30 p.m. for Sault Ste. Marie. Algolake arrived at 2 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco.

Thursday, Hamilton Energy departed at 5 a.m. to bunker the Mapleglen in Port Weller and arrived back in port at 1 p.m. J.W. Shelley arrived at 5:30 a.m. for Pier 25. Algorail arrived at noon for winter lay-up at Pier 23.Tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at noon for Montreal. Tug Avenger IV and barge PML 2501 arrived at 7 p.m. for Pier 23S.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman returned Sunday about 8 a.m. with a load of bulk cement for Essroc. The Roman spent Christmas Eve in Rochester on an earlier trip. She arrived Friday morning and left Rochester on Christmas morning to return to Picton for another load.


Updates -  December 27

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo 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.


McKee Sons refloated

12/26 - 3 p.m. -  Tug boats have freed this afternoon a freighter grounded since Friday as it hauled coal along the Detroit River. The McKee Sons ran aground near Grosse Ile as it tried to deliver coal to a DTE Energy Co. site in the Trenton channel.

The freighter was freed and towed to the dock around 2:45 p.m., said Coast Guard Justin Westmiller. Tug boats resumed their efforts today after a Christmas break, officials said. A total of seven tug boats worked to free the freighter. The ship is in good shape, Westmiller said.

Noon update - Carolyn Hoey, Patricia Hoey and Rebecca Lynn were on scene after departing the Rouge River about 9:30 a.m. The tug Avenger IV dropped their barge in Windsor and is downbound to assist. Also on scene were the Idaho, Wyoming, and Vermont.

Original report - Efforts to free a freighter stuck in the Detroit River were suspended Saturday because not enough crew members were available on Christmas to operate tugboats needed to dislodge it, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Justin Westmiller said.

Five tugboats momentarily dislodged the ship about 9 p.m. Friday from where the barge sat in mud in the Trenton Channel, about 18 miles south of Detroit. But as crews were twisting to get it maneuvered around, it got stuck again in the channel where rescuers are pulling against 3.5-knot currents, Westmiller said.

Two more tugboats are being brought from Ohio to try to help.

The lake freighter owned by Ohio-based Grand River Navigation is in good shape, and theres no threat to its crew, Westmiller said. The ship was headed to the Detroit Edison Pier when it got stuck about 3 a.m. Friday. Its less than 500 yards from its final destination, Westmiller said.

Grand River Navigation officials were expected to submit a detailed salvage plan for Coast Guard approval before renewing salvage efforts for the ship. It is not immediately known how much coal was onboard when it ran aground.

Refloating efforts are expecting to resume around 11 a.m.

Please send pictures to

Detroit Free Press


Crews continue to clean up contaminated ice after tugboat sank in Saginaw River

12/26 - Bangor Twp. - Environmental cleanup crews this week are expected to finish the removal of Saginaw River ice that was contaminated after a tugboat sank near Bay Aggregates in Bangor Township on Dec. 13.

Lt. Justin Westmiller of the U.S. Coast Guard Detroit said crews from Young’s Environmental Cleanup Inc. of Grand Rapids spent most of the week removing the ice that was contaminated when an estimated 800 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the 81-ton Ann Marie.

The ice removal will complete the cleanup phase, Westmiller said.

But the investigation to determine the cause of what sank the 65-foot tugboat, owned by Frankfort-based Luedtke Engineering Co., could take months, Westmiller added.

With the help of two cranes, a crew brought the tugboat back above water on Dec. 17.

Initial inspections have not revealed the cause of the sinking, Westmiller said.

“We’ve done an inspection of the internal structure and of the tug’s systems, but so far, haven’t found anything that would have sank it,” he said.

The tug remains in the water at Bay Aggregates where it was tied up for the winter after being used as part of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Saginaw River dredging project, Westmiller said.

The Bay City Times


Port Reports -  December 26

Detroit, Mich. - Ken Borg
Manistee was downbound the Detroit River after departing the Rouge River 12:06 p.m.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Saturday about 2 p.m. the Canadian Transfer was inside the Lorain harbor making her way through the ice, she was assisted by the tug Ohio. They cleared the Charles Berry Bridge at 2:26 p.m. and docked at the end of the 9th street to unload.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algoma's Tim S. Dool arrived in port late Wednesday and tied up for the winter at Pier 52. John B. Aird began unloading at Redpath early Thursday.


Leaked asphalt solidifies

12/26 - A gooey mess of liquid asphalt that leaked Wednesday from a ruptured storage tank beside Port Stanley harbour had solidified by Thursday. Residents saw no activity at the McAsphalt Industries plant from which a day earlier workers struggled to salvage the warm asphalt before it cooled and hardened.

We are looking for information, said Dan McNeil, a councillor for the Port Stanley ward of Central Elgin. I don't know how they are going to recover from this, he said, referring to estimates the loss of McAsphalt product topped $1 million.

He said the asphalt spill is about a metre deep and while kept in an emergency containment area, it came with two metres of the waters edge. McNeil said with the containment area now full, a rupture of any other nearby tank could be a catastrophe.

The London Free Press


Updates -  December 26

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 26

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

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

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


McKee Sons aground

12/25 - Grosse Ile, Mich. - 9 a.m. update -  Operations to free McKee Sons were suspended until Sunday morning, attempts were called off Friday night about 10:30 p.m.  The tugs have left the area, USCG reports that two more tugs will join the effort on Sunday with operations expected to start around 11 a.m.

McKee Sons remained aground in the same spot she has been in since early Friday morning. Five tugs were along side Friday but unsuccessful in pulling the tug and barge free. The 3600 HP Rebecca Lynn arrived on scene from Detroit to assist but the lines used in three different tow rigs were unable to hold up to the tug's 105,000 lbs. of pull and parted.  It may be necessary to lighter part of the cargo of coal if the tugs cannot pull the barge free Sunday.


St. Marys River delays

12/25 - Traffic is experiencing difficulty in ice in the lower St. Marys River Saturday morning. The downbound Burns Harbor is stopped at the upper end of Mud Lake with the Canadian Olympic stopped behind. Cutter Biscayne Bay is working in the cut to free the ship. Biscayne Bay will then head to the Neebish area to assist upbound traffic to the Soo. Downbound traffic above the locks will tie up at the lock piers.

Jerry Masson


Updates -  December 25

News Photo Gallery including video from the Rock Cut
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 25

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

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

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


McKee Sons aground

12/24 - Grosse Ile, Mich. - 4:30 p.m. Friday update - More help is on the way for the McKee Sons. “Currently, there are four tugboats trying to refloat the vessel, and a fifth one is being brought on scene to assist,” said Lt. Justin Westmiller, chief of the Sector Command Center and a public affairs officer for the Coast Guard. “It will take approximately 10,000 horsepower to unground it. We’re a little shy of that right now, so we are bringing in the heavy hitter."

DSCN2429.jpg (46246 bytes)
Friday afternoon aground against the downbound end of the Detroit Edison Turning basin with two Great lakes and two Gaelic tugs trying to pull her off. Bob Burns

The fifth tug is the 3,600 HP Rebecca Lynn who left her barge in the Rouge River to assist with refloating and should be on scene around 5 p.m. The other tugs on scene include Carolyn Hoey, Patricia Hoey, Wyoming and Idaho.

“If for some reason this fifth tug isn’t able to help us refloat it, we will ‘lighter’ the barge ­ take some coal off the barge so that it is lighter ­ but that is a secondary option,” Westmiller said. “Right now, we will use the five tugs to pull on it and see if we can’t break it free.”

Westmiller said there were no injuries reported on the McKee Son and that it was not blocking shipping traffic in the area. He also said: “We don’t know if there is any damage to the barge, but we will examine after we refloat it. There is no pollution or oil sheen or anything on the water right now. But we will reassess once we refloat it.”

The ship was fully loaded at the time it ran aground about 3:13 a.m., Westmiller said. He said he didn’t know how much coal the ship was carrying.

Noon update - The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons grounded in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel behind Grosse Ile early Friday morning. The pair arrived downbound entering the Trenton Channel about 1 a.m. and appeared to ground while turning about 3:15 a.m. below the Grosse Ile free bridge. The pair were headed to the Detroit Edison Wharf to unload coal and are aground on the southern edge of the navigable channel.

Tugs from Great Lakes Towing and Gaelic Tug Boat Co. were on scene working to the free the tug and barge.

Ken Borg and Detroit Free Press


Sailors sickened by rat poison return to ship

12/24 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Sixteen sailors treated in Niagara hospitals after they were overcome by fumes aboard a freighter on Lake Erie are back on their ship.

The sailors, all Chinese nationals working aboard the Hermann Schoening, an ocean-going Liberian-registered German bulk freighter loaded with grain, were brought ashore by emergency crews and hospitalized early Wednesday.

The ships crew became ill after phosphorous pellets used to fumigate grain the ship loaded in Milwaukee late last week somehow became moist, giving off phosphine gas that got into the ships ventilation system. The ship has since been ventilated.

Five sailors who remained aboard the ship which had to anchor just off Port Colborne were checked by Niagara paramedics. The ship was expected to resume its voyage to Montreal.

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  December 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor, Calumet and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived to load ore.

St. Marys River
Vessel traffic moved normally for the most part Thursday on the St. Marys River. The upbound Stewart J. Cort ran into difficulty in the early morning near Johnson's Point, on the east side of Neebish Island, however she received assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and was upbound past Nine Mile Point around 10 a.m. The Cort was followed closely by Cuyahoga, American Integrity and Arthur M. Anderson. James R. Barker was upbound later in the day, and Kaye E. Barker was off Lime Island at nightfall. Kaministiqua was upbound at DeTour around 11 p.m.

Downbound traffic during the day Thursday included Paul R. Tregurtha and Algobay. Tregurtha made it through Rock Cut ice without problems; the U.S.C.G. cutter Mackinaw was on hand in case she was needed. The cutter Katmai Bay was also busy in the lower river maintaining the ice track, and Biscayne Bay was doing the same above the locks. After the Paul R. made it safely through the Rock Cut, Mackinaw headed upbound to the Soo and moored at the Carbide Dock. John G. Munson and American Republic were expected downbound at the locks around midnight.

Escanaba, Mich. - Dick Lund
On Wednesday, Arthur M. Anderson was unloading coal at the C. Reiss Coal Co. dock in the afternoon. Also in port were Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore loading taconite at the CN Ore Dock. During the night, the vessel was joined by fleetmates James L. Kuber and tug Victory, which docked on the south side of the dock until the Lewis J. finished loading. After Lewis J. departed, the James L. backed out of the south slip and moved over to the north slip to begin loading. This may be her first visit to the CN Ore Dock.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The motor vessel Ojibway arrived early Wednesday evening off Bay Shipbuilding and held in the ice until Thursday morning. She was assisted by the tugs Mary Page Hannah, Jimmy L., Susan L., Cameron O. and Bayship into drydock at the yard.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Thursday, American Mariner was unloading grain at General Mills.


Storage tank ruptures in Port Stanley

12/24 - Port Stanley, Ont. - A storage tank ruptured at the McAsphalt Industries plant at Port Stanley harbor early Wednesday prompting a hurried cleanup to prevent the escaped material from hardening.

A company official said the leak of liquid asphalt is the first to occur on the site and was unexpected from the relatively new, thick-walled tank. Several tanks are located between the harbor along Kettle Creek and main beach.

"The safety containment system did its job," said McAsphalt spokesperson Joel Gardner, who was on scene from his Toronto office. He said no material left the site and Ontario's environment ministry was alerted to the spill and cleanup effort.

Gardner said the cause of the rupture was unknown and the cost won't be known until it is determined how much material can be salvaged with pumps and trucks before becoming hard. A company employee discovered the leak about 7 a.m., he said.

One villager said the goo that seeped from the tank was more than two feet deep.

The London Free Press


Great Lakes visitor Orna hijacked

12/24 - On Dec. 20, the saltie Orna, which was enroute Durban, Zhangzhou, was hijacked in the Indian Ocean, approximately 400 nautical miles North East of the Seychelles. The attack was launched from two attack skiffs, with pirates firing small arms and rocket propelled grenades at the merchant vessel. The vessel was stopped and boarded by at least four pirates. The crew is co-operating and no damage is reported. The number and nationalities of the crew yet unknown.

Orna: IMO 8312162, dwt 27915, built 1984, flag Panama. Registered owner, Sirago Shipmanagement Co.

Paul Beesley


News on break for Christmas holiday

12/24 - The BoatNerd News will not be updated on Friday & Saturday (except for emergency), due to the Christmas holiday. Your all-volunteer staff is taking the time off to be with family and friends.

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


Updates -  December 24

News Photo Gallery including video from the Rock Cut
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 24

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

December 24, 1969 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 made her last trip out of Ludington, Michigan, pulled by 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.


Rescuers aid saltwater vessel's crew after rat poison sickens crew

12/23 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Sixteen crew members had to be removed from a ship in Lake Erie after falling ill from potentially fatal gas vapors.

The men, believed to be Chinese sailors, were on the Liberian-registered vessel Hermann Schoening when they fell ill Tuesday. The men were removed from the ship by members of Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services and Fort Erie Fire Department using two tugs and two Zodiac boats as it sat in Lake Erie 3.7 nautical miles southwest of Port Colborne.

The initial report said as many as 21 crew members were ill, having difficulty breathing, vomiting and suffering from fatigue.

Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey and Fire Chief Tom Cartwright said rescue efforts got underway late Tuesday night after the city's fire service received a call from Health Canada about the ship.

"Transport Canada instructed the ship to anchor because the ship crew was too sick to dock," Badawey said early Wednesday.

The vessel was making its way toward the Welland Canal after leaving Milwaukee earlier this week. Badawey said when the ship left the U.S. port it was fumigated after taking on a load of grain.

A chemist who was sent to investigate by shipping agent Montreal-based Gibson Canadian & Global Agency Inc. determined it the crew was being exposed to phosphine gas. The grain that they were hauling had pellets inside that are used to kill rats. Those pellets somehow got wet, causing a gas. The ventilation system carried that gas throughout the ship, making most everyone on board the vessel sick.

"It got moist in some fashion and was being drawn into the ventilation system. It shouldn't have happened, but it did happen. They haven't been able to determine how it happened at this point," Cartwright said.

Cartwright said paramedics told him once exposure to the gas gets beyond 48 hours it could be life-threatening. There was no word on exactly how long the crew had been exposed to the gas. A gas meter was indicating 4 ppm in some of the rooms, which was the maximum that the gauge was calibrated for.

The last crew members reached shore shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday and was taken to hospital. The ship remains anchored.

Toronto Sun and WIVB


Port Reports -  December 23

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Traffic was moving normally Wednesday night after the combined efforts of two U.S. Coast Guard cutters and a Great Lakes Towing Co. tug managed to free the lake vessel Cedarglen from the ice-clogged West Neebish channel. Cedarglen ground to a halt around 9 p.m. Tuesday and was on her way again around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday.

It took the U.S.C.G. Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay, along with the tug Missouri, to work Cedarglen free. Meanwhile, the tug John Spence and her barge, as well as the shallow-draft Mississagi were allowed to head down the upbound east Neebish channel. Mackinaw remained in the lower river along with Biscayne Bay and Mobile Bay, to assist the downbound traffic that had been held up when the Cedarglen was beset. After Cedarglen was freed, BBC Jade and Cason J. Callaway made it through the Rock Cut without difficulty.

Other downbound traffic Wednesday night included Algomarine, Canadian Enterprise, Canadian Progress, Joseph H. Thompson and Richelieu. Upbounders Wednesday included Algosar, Charles M. Beeghly, Roger Blough, Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann and Sam Laud.

Huron, Ohio – Jim Spencer
Malcolm Marine’s tug Manitou slammed her way through as much as eight-inches of ice at midday Wednesday, opening the port of Huron, Ohio, and allowing the Herbert C. Jackson to deliver a load of Marquette iron ore to the infrequently utilized Huron Ore Dock. As the deeply-laden Interlake freighter worked her way through the broken ice and was snugged against the dock wall, Manitou put her lines on a dock opposite the ore dock to await the departure of the Jackson.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Radium Yellowknife arrived in port from Oshawa early Wednesday. In mid-afternoon, John B. Aird arrived and docked just to the west of Capt. Henry Jackman, which has been unloading raw sugar at Redpath since Sunday. English River came in on Sunday and has not unloaded or departed, so it may be done for the season.


Construction of DonJon Shipbuilding tugboat enters next phase

12/23 - Erie, Pa. - Workers at DonJon Shipbuilding & Repair moved its latest project out of dry dock and into Presque Isle Bay on Wednesday morning.

The process began early Wednesday when an ice-breaking tugboat opened up the waters beside the DonJon manufacturing facility on Erie's east bayfront.

Then the tugboat was floated into a slip on the west side of DonJon for final construction. In addition, DonJon general manager Ken Boothe Jr. said workers needed to make room in the dry dock for construction of a 740-foot companion barge that is to be pushed by the tug on the Great Lakes.

The 135-foot-long tug is named the Ken Boothe Sr., in honor of the former president of DonJon Shipbuilding and Repair, who died in June. The 10,500-horsepower vessel cost more than $20 million. It is scheduled to be completed by mid-February.

Go Erie


Coast Guard rescues 2 from ice in Little Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

12/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two people from an ice floe in Little Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Wednesday at about 3 a.m.

Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay received a report from local dispatch at about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday of a man and woman on a piece of ice about a half-mile offshore on the Green Bay side of Little Sturgeon Bay. Station crewmembers used a 22-foot airboat to bring the individuals safely to shore.

The two people were able to call 911 using a cell phone after wind pushed them offshore.

“The ice out there definitely isn’t stable,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Casey Garlow, coxswain of the 22-foot airboat. “All it takes is for the wind to shift and things can go really wrong out there.” Both people were reportedly in good condition.

The ice in the region has been reported to be about 12 inches thick.


Great Lakes Towing Company announces restructuring

12/23 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes Towing Company has announced a restructuring involving three members of its executive leadership team.

Joseph Starck Jr. will take over as President. Starck joined the company in 1991 and was most recently it’s Vice President – Engineering. Since April 2009, he has also been president of the company’s shipyard division, which operates under the name Great Lakes Shipyard. Starck has been leading all new construction and repair contracts for the company's shipyard business, and will now be responsible for all of the towing company’s tugboat and shipyard activities on the Great Lakes. Starck is a graduate of the State University of New York Maritime College, and has an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.

George Sogor was named Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer. Sogor has been with the towing company for nearly 25 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President – Finance and Administration. During his tenure, Sogor has prepared and managed many complex financings for the company and its related business units. He is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University, has an MBA from John Carroll University, and is a CPA.

Ronald Rasmus, who has been President of The Great Lakes Towing Company since 1983, will move to the position of Chairman. He will continue to serve as President of The Great Lakes Group, Inc. as well. Rasmus graduated from the State University of New York Maritime College and while on active duty in the Navy attended the Naval Postgraduate School and later George Washington University. He served as an officer on both merchant and naval vessels and retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain. This year Mr. Rasmus celebrated his 50th year in the marine transportation business.


Wisconsin DNR proposes modification of ballast rule

12/23 - As a consequence of a year-long feasibility study, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) proposed late Tuesday that its Vessel General Permit be modified to harmonize it with international ballast water discharge rules. The requirements become effective in 2012 for new ocean-going vessels and in 2014 for existing ocean-going vessels.

When not fully loaded, commercial cargo ships must take on water (ballast) to maintain their stability. Once pumped on board, ballast water is stored in narrow cavities (ballast tanks) built into the hull of a ship. Ballast water pumped onboard in one port may inadvertently contain aquatic organisms that are then released when ballast is discharged in another port.

In February 2010, the state of Wisconsin began regulating the ballast water discharges of ocean-going commercial vessels in an effort to minimize the transfer of aquatic invasive species. These regulations require vessel operators to install environmental technology to clean or treat ballast water to achieve a specific water quality standard. Wisconsin’s standard was 100 times more stringent than that established by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations.

The shipping industry had objected to Wisconsin’s water quality standard, insisting that it was unachievable with current technology. As a consequence, the state launched a feasibility study to be concluded at the end of 2010.

The following determinations have been made as a result of that year-long process:
- Testing protocols are not available to verify compliance with Wisconsin’s standard.
- Treatment technologies to meet Wisconsin’s standard are not commercially available at this time.
- At this time it is not feasible to install the treatment technologies onboard vessels.
- Open-ocean salt water flushing has been proven to be effective in helping reduce the threat of aquatic non-indigenous species to U.S. waters. WDNR will retain this practice for the long term in an effort to better protect their waters.

“I commend the Department of Natural Resources for undertaking this study and proposing a change of regulations to reflect sound science,” said Jason Serck, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Port Association. “The proposed change will save Wisconsin jobs by harmonizing Wisconsin’s regulations with those of neighboring states.”

Marc Gagnon, Director of Government Affairs and Regulatory Compliance with Montreal-based Fednav Limited, one of the largest international marine bulk shipping companies in Canada, concurred. “The Wisconsin DNR’s recommendation to adopt the IMO ballast water treatment standards is most encouraging.”

Marine Delivers


So far, Port Huron’s maritime title is a bust

12/23 - Port Huron, Mich. - It doesn't take much to be "the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes." Fifty bucks to the state to retain the trademark rights is all Port Huron officials need.

The city likely will renew its claim to the premier maritime status. Results of a Blue Water Area Chamber of Commerce survey reflected the participation of nearly 30 percent of the organization's 350 members, with 55 percent of the respondents believing the title is a good idea. No one can blame city officials for thinking big. Port Huron's designation accents the positive. But questions remain about its effectiveness.

When Port Huron first secured the maritime title in 2005, legitimate questions were raised. The Great Lakes is a vast region with many communities that boast maritime activity.

Although Port Huron sees its share of Great Lakes freighters, and it is the starting place of the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race, the city's maritime preeminence is not something most other ports throughout the Great Lakes basin likely would concede. Duluth, Minn., for example, handles more shipping than any other Great Lakes port city.

Port Huron is many things, but the Great Lakes' maritime capital is a bit of an overreach. Nevertheless, Port Huron claimed the title and city officials seem determined to keep it.

"Other communities on the lakes have tried to get that designation, but we own it," said Port Huron City Manager Bruce Brown.

"It's ours. We are the only city that can declare itself the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes." Perhaps the biggest curiosity regarding Port Huron's maritime status is how little appears to have been done to capitalize on it.

When Port Huron artist and downtown business owner Jim Clary led the charge for Port Huron's maritime designation in 2002, he wanted the Downtown Development Authority to invest $60,000 to market the city under the title, but he later withdrew the proposal.

Since Port Huron captured the maritime designation the following year, little has been done to capitalize on it. Brown noted that other than some billboards on Interstates 94 and 96, the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes pretty much remains a secret.

There are far more viable ways to mine Port Huron's tourism potential, but the city's leaders seem focused on its maritime claim. If that's the way the city is to be seen, there must be a concerted effort to promote this image.

Brown said he will meet with chamber and DDA members to come up with better ways to exploit the trademark. If a viable strategy emerges, so much the better.

It might be that Port Huron's claim as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes has been so quiet that contenders to the title aren't aware the city owns it.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  December 23

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ice brings downbound St. Marys River traffic to a stop

12/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.4 p.m. update - The US. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw set the Cedarglen free from the Rock Cut at 3:45 p.m. with a call to waiting ships at the Soo locks to start warming up their engines. Two vessels will be allowed to proceed down the upbound channel with shallow drafts. Mackinaw will work in the ice to allow the balance of downbound ships to use the cut. After the cutter Mackinaw made a few passes through the narrows, the saltie BBC Jade headed downbound and passed through with no problems.

Noon update - Efforts Wednesday morning by the tug Missouri and the U.S.C.G. Biscayne Bay to free Cedarglen from the ice-packed Rock Cut were unsuccessful. The two worked in tandem from 8 am.- noon trying to release the vessel, which became stuck in the narrow waterway at about 9 p.m. Tuesday night. The U.S.C.G. cutter Mackinaw was expected on scene around 1 p.m. to lend her assistance. An effort was also made to secure the services of one to the more powerful Purvis Marine tugs from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., however the company had no tug available. Around lunchtime, during a break in the action, the Cedarglen's galley crew sent over sandwiches for the Missouri's three-man crew. Meanwhile, the list of downbound vessels unable to proceed until the Cedarglen is released keeps growing. In addition to Algomarine and Cason J. Callaway, which spent the night at the Soo Locks' pier, and BBC Jade, which is anchored above the Rock Cut, downbound traffic that will have to stop included Canadian Enterprise, Mississagi, Joseph H. Thompson and Richelieu. Upbound traffic is moving without difficulty. Charles M. Beeghly, Algosar and Roger Blough were all upbound in the river Wednesday morning.

Original Report - Ice battles began in earnest Tuesday in the St. Marys River. Around 9 p.m., the downbound Cedarglen reported it was stuck fast in the West Neebish Cut.

Around 10 p.m., the Great Lakes Towing tug Missouri, which was in the vicinity of the Rock Cut escorting the BBC Jade, headed down to try and help the Cedarglen, but as of midnight had been unable to free her. Speculation was the ice extends all the way the bottom of the channel.

The BBC Jade, which was following behind the Cedarglen, went to anchor above the Rock Cut, and Cason J. Callaway and Algomarine tied up at the Soo Locks until the channel can be cleared. Coast Guard assistance was expected at first light Wednesday.

Saginaw, which was downbound ahead of the Cedarglen, made it through the trouble spot a short time earlier, however she was in ballast, which may have made a difference. Cedarglen is loaded.

Upbound traffic appears to be moving without incident on the east side of Neebish Island.

BoatNerd Staff and Jerry Masson


Algoma Central will build four new lakers in China

12/22 - Algoma Central Corporation announced Wednesday that it has entered into a contract with Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries, a shipyard located in the Yangtze Delta area of China, for the construction of four new maximum St. Lawrence Seaway-sized dry bulk lake freighters. The contract also provides for the purchase of two additional vessels at the corporations option.

This construction project, in which the corporation expects to invest $205 million, provides for the construction of one gearless bulk freighter and three self-unloading bulk freighters. The first ship is expected to enter service in 2013 with the remaining ships to follow through mid-2014.

Upon their arrival, the vessels will be chartered to Seaway Marine Transport, which will deploy them in their dry bulk trade on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence waterway. These new vessels will replace existing ones that are approaching the end of their economic lives. Seaway Marine Transport, a partnership with an unrelated company, is the largest operator of dry-bulk vessels on the Waterway.

Algoma Central Corporation


Season winding down quickly for last salties

12/22 - Tuesday there were 14 salties on the Great Lakes – 11 downbounders and three still in port. The Chemtrans Elbe and Kasteelborg were downbound the Seaway. Three more were in Lake Ontario bound for Montreal. Clipper Mari, Federal Ems, and Federal Rideau. Still in Hamilton were the Federal Oshima loading grain and the MCT Altair. The port of Erie's last saltie was the Beluga Endurance with a load of locomotives for the UK. The Hermann Schoening was in Port Colborne anchorage bound for Montreal. Rested pilots arrived on the Miedwie, Nogat, and Transeagle, anchored in lower Lake Huron, and they proceeded downbound early Tuesday morning. Sichem Mumbai was due to depart Sarnia Tuesday afternoon but remained at her dock that night. The Soo Locks had its last saltie for the season Tuesday evening with the BBC Jade departing Algoma with steel. She is most likely the last saltie for the lakes unless the Sichem Mumbai remains at her dock when the BBC Jade passes Sarnia.

Matt Miner


Port Reports -  December 22

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Prentiss Brown with the barge St. Marys Conquest came in with the final load of the season this morning about 8. The tug detached from the barge and broke ice up the river and cleared the dock area. The two were seen back together at the dock unloading about 2:30 p.m.

Cleveland, Ohio - Mark Davies
Maumee returned to Cleveland Tuesday morning about 4 a.m. after spending several days anchored off shore. It is unknown when she was anchored off shore for so many days but they may have been cleaning out her holds after running the salt shuttle on the Cuyahoga River. She is also report to have suffered some type of crack in her hull.

Snell Lock - Walter Stateham and Kent Malo
Algosteel’s crew discovered a crack on the deck on Tuesday, exactly how long and where the damage is located is unknown at this time. The vessel reported the crack to the Seaway, the boat was stopped at the Snell Lock for inspection. She was eventually cleared to proceed upbound to her destination, Nanticoke. Algosteel was heading to Nanticoke to load slag for Cote St Catherines wharf, then proceed to the Port of Montreal Sec. 56 for long-term layup and possible scrapping.


Senate passes bill with $5 billion Marinette Marine contract

12/22 - A bill containing a Navy contract worth $5 billion to Marinette Marine cleared the Senate on Tuesday.

By a vote of 79-16, the U.S. Senate passed a short-term spending package to fund the federal government into January. The bill now goes to the House for a vote and then, if it passes, to President Obama.

Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin had attached new language for the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship contract to that bill. It would give a contract to Marinette Marine and also to Austal USA in Alabama for ten combat ships each.

Government leaders have said the five-year LCS contract could create 2,000 jobs at Marinette Marine and another 3,000 supporting jobs in the Marinette-Menominee area, and generate $2.6 billion for Wisconsin's economy.

"Marinette Marine has proven itself time and time again to be a top-of-the-line ship manufacturer, and I'm gratified that Wisconsin will play a large role in shipbuilding and protecting our troops," Senator Kohl said in a statement Tuesday.



Coast Guard ship moves to below Lock 1 Wednesday

12/22 - Port Weller, Ont. - A Canadian Coast Guard ship is scheduled to be towed from dry dock in Port Weller, now that its extensive refit is nearly finished. On Wednesday, the Cape Roger will be moved below Lock 1, where it will remain while a new galley and electrical work is completed, said John Dewar, vice-president of Upper Lakes Marine and Industrial Inc. said Tuesday.

"The work that needed to be done in the dry dock is finished, and we need to make room for some commercial vessels that are scheduled to arrive soon," he said.

The Cape Roger, built in 1977, arrived in October for a refit by Upper Lakes Marine's company Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. Dewar said the ship will be moved and will remain below Lock 1 until the shipping season opens. It's scheduled to go back into service in March.

It had to be moved from dry dock to make room for two lakers that are expected to arrive by the end of the month.

The electrical work on the Cape Roger will be done by Canal Marine and Industrial Inc., another Upper Lakes Marine company.

St. Catharines Standard


Cause of sunken tugboat in Saginaw River could take months to determine

12/22 - Bangor Twp., Mich. - The cause of what sank a tugboat in the Saginaw River last week may take months to determine, officials say.

A crew, with the help of two cranes, brought the tugboat, named Ann Marie, back above water level Friday night. Though an investigation as to what sank the ship, the cause could take months to determine, said Lt. Justin Westmiller of the U.S. Coast Guard Detroit.

Westmiller said it's common for such investigations to take that long. "There's a lot that goes into this process, so it's not uncommon for it to take a while to determine what exactly sank it," he said.

Environmental cleanup crews worked throughout the week to clean up the estimated 800 gallons of diesel fuel that leaked from the boat after it sank.

The Ann Marie was built in 1953 in Pensacola, Fla., by Smith Basin & Drydock. It was stationed at Bay Aggregates, 411 N. Tiernan Road in Bangor Township, and had been used as part of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Saginaw River dredging project. The boat was tied up for the winter when it sank, Westmiller said. No one was on the tug when it sank nor did it have any previous reported damage.

The Bay City Times


Keep staffing Canadian lighthouses, Senate panel says

12/22 - Canadian senators visited the Long Point lighthouse, on Twillingate Island, northeastern Newfoundland, in November. The senate committee recommends the federal government continue staffing lighthouses for now.

A Senate committee that travelled to two provinces to study lighthouse operations in the country is recommending Ottawa continue staffing the facilities for now.

The committee called for the Department of Fisheries to halt its lighthouse destaffing plan and suggests future staffing decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.

It says guidelines and consultations are needed to determine whether keepers should be maintained in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia.

Senator Bill Rompkey, chair of the committee, said they were unanimously recommending continued staffing after hearing overwhelming support for lighthouse personnel on both coasts.

"While not all lightstations have equal merit, a great number deserve a dedicated staff," he said in a statement. "An evaluation of which lighthouses should retain their lightkeepers, which ones could be destaffed, and even whether certain unstaffed lights merit restaffing, should be immediately done on a case-by-case basis."

The committee also recommends a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis be done on the full range of services provided by staffed lighthouses.

Fisheries Minister Gail Shea announced the review and stalled plans to remove lighthouse keepers amid fierce criticism last year, as some argued the move would cost lives at sea.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says there are 23 staffed lighthouses in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 27 in British Columbia.

The report is the first of two the committee is preparing on Canadian lighthouses. The committee is also studying the heritage preservation nature of lighthouses.



Updates -  December 22

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Fort Henry, J. B. Ford, Spruceglen and Chief Wawatam features
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 22

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

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

The GORDON C. LEITCH, no longer economically able to compete, was laid up on December 22, 1981, and was used for grain storage at Toronto.

RAYMOND H REISS arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, Ontario, on December 22, 1980, for scrapping there.

LIGHTSHIP 103 was commissioned December 22, 1920.

On 22 December 1922, CORNELL (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 66 gross tons, built in 1888, at Buffalo, New York) foundered somewhere between Cleveland and Erie, Pennsylvania while enroute to new owners in Syracuse, New York. She had a crew of 8. The weather was clear and mild with almost no wind. She had just been put back into service and inspected after several years of idleness. Her ice-encrusted lifeboat was found on 26 December, 25 miles east of Long Point, containing the frozen body of the fireman.

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


Port Reports - December 21

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Interlake fleet mates Herbert C. Jackson, Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha all arrived at the Upper Harbor Monday morning to load ore.  Tregurtha arrived last and went to anchor.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The 1945 built, former U.S. Army tugboat Mary E. Hannah, from Calumet River Fleeting, arrived on Sunday night to break ice and then escort the tug-barge John M. Selvick / Lake Trader out of Buffalo. The 149-foot Hannah went upriver to the old Republic Steel dock, where the pair were moored, at around 9 p.m. As of Monday, they had come down river yet and the barge was still not fully loaded with windmill tubes.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Monday, the tug Omni Richelieu departed at 8 a.m. for Clarkson and returned to port at 11 a.m. after helping the Clipper Mari. Algolake arrived at 8:30 a.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. Algolake departed at 7:30 p.m. for Sandusky. Kasteelborg departed at 7 p.m. with canola from Pier 25 for Haifa, Israel. Hamilton Energy departed at 8:30 p.m. for Port Weller to bunker the tug Victorious. Peter R Cresswell arrived at 8:45 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Her next port will be Windsor.


Ranger III Chief Engineer Edward Hickey retiring

12/31 - Edward A. (Mike) Hickey, Chief Engineer of the National Park Service’s pocket freighter Ranger III, at Isle Royale National Park, will retire Dec. 31 after more than 22 years of public and military service and 40+ years in the Great Lakes shipping industry.

Hickey spent most of his private sector career with the Ford Motor Company and also sailed with the Reiss and Interlake Steamship companies. While with Ford, Mike was Third Assistant Engineer onboard the William Clay Ford when, on Nov.10, 1975, the ship left safe anchorage behind Whitefish Point on Lake Superior and went out to search for survivors of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald.

After working for Interlake Steamship and in a stationary power plant position, Hickey joined the National Park Service as Chief Engineer of the Ranger. Over his NPS career, the Ranger made over 850 round-trips to Isle Royale National Park, logging over 137,000 miles. He also supervised four maintenance dry-dockings, including the 1998 main-engine replacement of the Ranger’s twin 40-year old Kahlenberg engines with new, EPA Tier II compliant, Caterpillar engines.

Isle Royale National Park


Author seeks photo for book cover

12/21 - Maritime author Wes Oleszewski is running a short term contest to provide a cover photo for his new book about Great Lakes shipwrecks. Most of the wrecks are described as pretty obscure.

Person wishing to submit photos for consideration should address them to Wes at  Submissions need to be received no later than January 5.

Person's entering must have own the rights to publish on all photos. Entries stating simply "see my flicker page" or other such directions will not be considered. Persons whose photos are selected will receive an autographed copy of the book and $50 US. Once the selection has been made, all submitted photos will be deleted and not retained by the author. Final judging will be done by Avery Color Studios.


Capt. Norman Ball passes

12/21 - Capt. Norman Ball passed away on Saturday, Dec. 18. Capt. Ball had a long-standing and successful career with the great lakes shipping industry. A veteran of World War II, Capt. Ball began his shipping career after the war, starting with his first job, aboard a ship owned by Hindman Transportation, from the harbor of Owen Sound, Ont.

Progressing through the ranks, as a young captain, he sailed the Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway with Westdale Shipping Ltd. as master of the Pinedale, Nordale and Erindale. Capt. Ball continued his connection with the shipping industry from the shore, retiring as Marine Superintendent with Parrish & Heimbecker.


Updates -  December 21

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


CTC No. 1 now owned by Grand River Navigation

12/2 - Grand River Navigation has purchased the long-idle cement storage vessel CTC No. 1, which was built in 1943 and last sailed in 1981.
The 620-foot-long vessel was built at Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Mich., for the U.S. Maritime Commission. She was launched under the name McIntyre, but was renamed Frank Purnell (i) for the Interlake Steamship Co. before entering service. She also sailed as Steelton (iii) for Bethlehem Steel (1964-1978) and Pioneer (iiii) for the Cleveland Cliffs fleet (1979-1981).
She was converted to a self-unloading cement storage and transfer barge for Cement Transit Co. in 1981, a role in which she served until 2009. CTC No. 1 is currently laid up at South Chicago, Ill.

A company spokesman said there are no immediate plans for their latest acquisition.

(See News Photo Gallery for history)


Closing dates announced for MacArthur, Poe locks

12/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. -  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced closing dates for the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie.
The Corps said in a release that the MacArthur lock will be operated as needed from today through Dec. 30 before closing for the winter.  It says the Poe lock will operate around the clock through Jan. 15.
“Our professional and dedicated Soo work force is committed to operating the locks as long as conditions permit and the need exists,” said Lt. Col. Michael Derosier, district engineer. “The locks are vital to the maritime industry as it serves its customers with the transport of raw materials and commodities.”
Soo News, Jerry Masson


Port Reports - December 20

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
With an earlier than expected approval of the salvage plan to raise the tug Ann-Marie, crews from Luedtke Engineering and Erickson's Crane and Rigging began the process of bringing her to the surface on Friday.  After being stabilized and raised above the surface, crews used pumps to remove water from the Ann-Marie.  She will remain at the Bay Aggregates slip while the US Coast Guard conducts its investigation into why the tug sank.
Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algowood, with the help of the Malcolm Marine tug Manitou, cleared Lorain harbor just after 3 p.m. Sunday.

Sarnia - Phil Nash
Michipicoten had her stack removed at the Government Dock on Friday and moved to the North Slip on Saturday. She is scheduled to receive a new engine over the winter.


 Visiting USCG Cutter has Facebook page

12/20 - Cleveland - Boat watchers can follow the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay during their Great Lakes deployment on Facebook. The site will be maintained by the crew of the ice breaker that is normally homeported in New London, Conn., which has been assigned temporarily to the Great Lakes. She arrived in Cleveland on December 10.

Click here to follow.


Updates -  December 20

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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.


Essar Steel Algoma Inc. to seek to vacate iron ore pricing arbitration decision

12/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Essar Steel Algoma Inc. has announced the decision of an arbitration panel in favor of Cliffs Mining Company, with respect to an iron ore pricing dispute between Essar Steel Algoma and Cleveland Cliffs.
Essar Steel Algoma intends to file a court application to vacate the award on the basis the arbitration panel exceeded its jurisdiction.
Under the award, the company’s “true-up payment,” representing the difference between amounts invoiced in 2010 to date and estimated amounts due under the award, would be approximately US $120 million.
The company had previously reported in its second quarter report that the true-up payment to September 30, 2010, could be as much as US $175 million.
Essar Steel Algoma does not expect to make any true-up  payments until the completion of its application to vacate the award.
Soo Today


 Port Reports – December 19

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Saturday, the tug Buckley (Kindra Lake Towing), pushing the barge CBC 4507, arrived off Bay Shipbuilding at 3:30 p.m. with the engines for Edwin H. Gott’s repowering.

St. Lawrence Seaway – Kent Malo
It was reported Friday, and confirmed by the master of the Capt Henry Jackman, that there was a large live seal on the ice at the turning basin # 1 below the Cote St Catherine lock some 600 feet inside the track toward land. Seals have been seen as far as Beauharnois, Que., in the past, however is uncommon to see seals in this vicinity. How it got to be in the Seaway is not known.


Updates -  December 19

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 19

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

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.


Port Reports – December 18

Lorain – Linda Seabold, Phil Leon
Algowood passed under the Charles Berry Bridge at 1800 Friday after spending the afternoon at anchor in the harbor awaiting a tug to break ice on the Black River (most of which was blown in off the lake earlier in the week, then frozen). She will be loading for Port Cartier, Que. Neah Bay had made a pass on the river earlier in the day, but it obviously wasn't enough to allow safe passage.
continued the latest of several salt shuttles from the Cargill dock on Friday. One more load was expected on Saturday, then the vessel will lay up for the winter at Cleveland. Maumee was originally scheduled to head to Sturgeon Bay and the BayShip yard for its five-year drydocking this month, however that trip has been canceled.


Crew begin removal of sunken tugboat from Saginaw River Friday

12/18 - Bangor Twp., Mich. - Crew members began work to remove a sunken tugboat from the Saginaw River Friday, several days earlier than originally planned, officials said.

Lt. Justin Westmiller of the U.S. Coast Guard Detroit said the salvage plan to remove the tug, which sank in the river early Monday, gained approval earlier than expected. With the approval of the plan, crews were prepping to remove the tug Friday afternoon instead of Monday.

The salvage plan to remove the Luedtke Engineering-owned boat needed approval from the captain of port in Detroit, the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland and the Marine Center in Washington, D.C., Westmiller said.

As of 2:30 p.m. Friday, the crew members had stabilized the front of the tugboat and were expected to secure the rear of the boat within the next couple of hours, he said. A Luedtke-owned crane stationed on the dock and a crane owned by Grand Rapids-based Erickson's Crane & Rigging located on the shore will then slowly pull the boat above the water's surface, Westmiller said.

As the tugboat emerges from the water, the crew will use water pumps to remove water from the boat, he said. The cause of what sank the tug is still unknown. The Coast Guard will continue its investigation to determine a cause once the ship is removed from the river, Westmiller said.  

Bay City Times


Updates -  December 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - December 18

The 425-foot Finnish tanker KIISLA ran aground while transiting the North Entrance of Buffalo Harbor on the 29th of December, 1989. The ship was inbound with xylene for the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda when it strayed from the navigation channel due to reduced visibility from heavy snow squalls and grounded near the #1 green buoy of the Black Rock Canal. She was towed off the rocks by tugboats from Buffalo and then tied up at the Burnette Trucking Dock (formerly the Pen Dixie Dock) on the Buffalo River for Coast Guard Inspection. A diver found a 47 inch 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.


Port Reports – December 17

Duluth/Superior – Al Miller
Nogat was the last saltie of the season to arrive in the Twin Ports. On Thursday it was loading 12,000 tons of flax and wheat at the CHS elevator in Superior. Miedwe was still loading at the Peavey elevator. Elsewhere, Canadian Transfer was unloading salt at the Cutler-Magner dock in Duluth, Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and John G. Munson was loading at BNSF ore dock. Mesabi Miner and James R. Barker were expected later in the day for Midwest Energy Terminal while Roger Blough was expected overnight for the CN ore dock.

Cheboygan, Mich. - Jon Paul Michaels
WLBB-30 Mackinaw returned to its homeport of Cheboygan at dusk on Thursday. It had departed on Nov. 29 to deliver Christmas trees to needy families in Chicago, a tradition started by its predecessor, WAGB-83 Mackinaw. Next, she will participate in "Operation Fall Retrieve," to remove buoys. While in port, the Mackinaw will also provision and prepare for "Operation Taconite," which will provide ice-breaking services until the Great Lakes shipping season closes in January


 Busy saltie season at Twin Ports drawing to a close

12/17 - Duluth, Minn. - If you expected the usual three-blast salute from the saltwater freighter Nogat as it steamed under the Aerial Lift Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, Capt. Dariusz Nowicki apologizes for the unusual quiet. The horn was frozen shut.

“Everything was covered in ice crossing Lake Superior,” Nowicki said. “The crew worked all day today getting the ice off the hatch covers.” The crew estimated 100 metric tons of ice was on the 492-foot ship. That’s what happens to Lake Superior spray when the temperature hits 10 below zero.

Beyond the cold and early harbor ice, it’s been an uneventful ending to a hectic 2010 saltwater shipping season for the Twin Ports harbor.

Tugboats nudged the Nogat into the CHS Elevator in Superior at dusk Wednesday to take on about 12,000 tons of flax and wheat bound for Amsterdam. It was the last saltie into the Twin Ports and probably will be the last to leave, probably on Friday. The Welland Canal closes the day after Christmas. (Great Lakes freighters will keep going to mid-January.)

“We’ll be celebrating Christmas on the North Atlantic if all goes well,’’ Nowicki said.

The Nogat visit caps the busiest season for the harbor in many years, with overall traffic up 25 percent and grain shipments up 60 percent over last year, according to the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth, with well over 2 million tons of grain shipped out. That’s thanks to a bumper crop across America’s breadbasket farms and a crippling drought and wildfire season in Russia.

With no Russian grain on the market, the world has turned to the U.S. to fill the need, and bushels of it have moved through the Twin Ports. More salties have meant more work for everyone around the port, from tugboats, stevedores and longshoremen to pilots and suppliers.

“It’s been an incredible year, especially compared to 2008 and 2009 which were really down,” said Don Willecke, a 21-year veteran Great Lakes ship pilot who guides freighters in and out of the harbor. “It’s a shame someone else has to have a tragedy for us to have a good year. But it’s really helped business around here.”

That includes Ed and Jeanne Montgomery’s Sea Service LLC. They run the pilot boat Sea Bear, a husky 55-foot mini-tugboat that shuttles pilots like Willecke back and forth to salties anchored outside the harbor. “It’s not like the big years of the late 1990s. But it’s been a very good year,” said Ed Montgomery, a fourth- generation skipper who has been a pilot boat captain since 1993.

On Wednesday the Sea Bear made its 108th trip of the season when it brought Willecke from Lakehead Boat Basin out to the Nogat to guide the saltie into harbor. About six inches of harbor ice cracked into jagged shards as the Sea Bear motored out onto Lake Superior.

“Blessed calm seas. You guys lucked out,” Montgomery said as he throttled-back the big 500 horsepower diesel engine and touched the Sea Bear’s bow to the Nogat’s port side. “Trying to do this in 10 foot seas and ice is like a trapeze high wire act.”

Willecke wasn’t so lucky back in December 1999, when he slipped off an icy gangway and into the frigid waters of the big lake. It took 10 minutes for the Sea Bear crew to fish him out, and he was hypothermic when he arrived at the hospital. “It’s usually a pretty calm job. But this time of year can be interesting with the ice on the lake,” Willecke said.

Willecke’s home is in Traverse City, Mich., but this year he’s spent most of the season in Superior thanks to the increased saltie traffic. But as the salties head east and the Sea Bear and tugs hold up for winter, Willecke can go home, likely to return in late March or early April, depending on when the Great Lakes lose their ice.

But on Wednesday, Willecke was still busy doing his job, keeping foreign ships on the straight and narrow in the Twin Ports harbor. He was calling the shots as the Nogat was about halfway up the harbor channel on its way in as it approached the oncoming Croation saltie Orsula on its way out of port. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder had just passed by as well. The tugs North Dakota and North Carolina were busy pushing ice and pulling the salties in and out.

Then suddenly, without warning, the Nogat’s frozen horn, which failed to sound under the Aerial Bridge, let loose. It didn’t stop for about 60 seconds, possibly the longest continuous ship’s horn blast in recent Twin Ports history. An obviously embarrassed Nowicki frantically pushed buttons and radioed for technical support, but the deafening horn kept blasting until it seemed to slowly grow weak and finally die.

“Special entry for us!” Nowicki said with a smile. “The last ship in your port this year!”

Duluth News Tribune


Welland Canal to close Dec. 30

12/17 - Port Colborne, Ont. - St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. expects to end the shipping season with 35 million tonnes of cargo having moved through the system.

"That's about 18 percent more than last year," said communications officer Andrew Bogora. "The progress this year has been quite positive." Bogora said one of the reasons for the increase in cargo is due to grain being very strong this year. With droughts hitting parts of Eastern Europe and Asia, ocean traffic into the seaway system has been very strong.

A rebound in the steel industry has also helped, as more iron ore has been moved. "Iron ore is up about 49 percent compared to last year," he added.

Bogora said the Welland Canal will close to shipping, weather permitting, on Thursday, Dec. 30. "That's the final date for all ships. Salties have to clear Montreal by the 29th."

Bogora said there are no major projects planned for the winter season, just normal maintenance. Some bridges and various roads will be closed for a short period of time as work is carried out.

Bridges closures will take place at the Glendale Avenue bridge in St. Catharines, the Allanburg bridge, and the Clarence Street bridge in Port Colborne. The closures will last about two weeks and will affect vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Planned work will also impact portions of the Welland Canals Parkway road and bike path north of Lock 2, near Scott Street in St. Catharines, and at Lock 3 in the vicinity of the St. Catharines Museum.

The seaway corporation spends about $20 million each winter to carry out maintenance and improvements to the canal. The work ensures the canal continues to operate as a safe and efficient mode of transportation and provides economic support to Niagara contractors and suppliers.

Welland Tribune


Ice fishermen clear bay to let Algoway pass

12/17 - Saginaw, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard said a freighter made it out of the Saginaw River and into the bay Wednesday evening, wary to not disrupt the ice where dozens of fishing shanties have been set up.

The U.S. Coast Guard confirms the Algoway, a 650-foot freighter, was leaving the Essroc dock in Essexville when crew members became concerned about making the bay ice unstable for ice fishermen on the water. Ice fishermen were asked to leave the ice so that the ship could head to open water.

The Coast Guard said a tug accompanied the vessel and both blew their whistles in warning. Consumers Energy also used a loudspeaker system to verbally warn the fishermen. Authorities said all of the shanties and fishermen moved out of the ship's way without incident.


Coast Guard in full ice cutting operation, Twin Ports ice a foot thick

12/17 - Superior, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard continues to break ice, with the thickest ice in on the Great Lakes in Duluth-Superior harbor.

The 9th District Coast Guard has four cutters on the job. The Biscayne Bay of St. Ignace, Mich., and the Mobile Bay of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., are cutting through thinner ice in the St. Marys River which links Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes. Sector Sault Ste. Marie Vessel Traffic Services Director Mark Gill says the cutter Alder has just returned to its homeport of Superior-Duluth.

The cutter Katmai Bay is breaking ice to help move grain in Thunder Bay, Ont.

“The Alder was in Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. She was conducting her buoy operations. She completed that work. She helped us in the St. Marys River with some buoy work here and then Tuesday she left,” Gill explained.

Gill said making tracks for ships to follow is crucial during winter months when the Coast Guard switches from lighted buoys to reflective buoys. Vessel Traffic Watchstander Randy Elliott tracks the thickness of the ice in the harbors of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and the northern half of Lake Huron. Elliot said the thickest ice of all the Great Lakes is in the Superior-Duluth Harbor.

Gill said the ice is around two-four inches thick in Green Bay and the St. Marys River has ice around six-eight inches thick. The Superior-Duluth Harbor reports that ice is around a foot thick.



Demolition sought for section of grain elevator

12/17 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Owners of a grain elevator overlooking the Buffalo River will seek approval from the Buffalo Preservation Board today to demolish a portion of the century-old site.

Ontario Specialty Contracting, whose office is next to the GLF grain elevator at 339 Ganson St., said the partial demolition of the most dangerous structures — including one of the two groupings of silos as well as mixing and malting facilities — is needed to improve employee and public safety and allow the company to expand operations.

“We’ve had problems with people getting hurt from things blowing off the building. It’s been a problem since we’ve been here,” said company official Ronald A. Chapin. A larger, connected silo immediately to the east and owned by Great Lake Fishing is not on the company’s property and will be unaffected.

The GLF dates to 1908 and expanded after the Grange League Federation took it over to erect a feed mill in the late 1920s. A railroad-based elevator was added in 1941 to handle the increase in grain traffic.

The complex, which shut down in the mid-1970s, was acquired for about $90,000 by Ontario Specialty Contracting in October 2009, for the purpose of partial demolition, after the city and the property’s owner showed no inclination to deal with repeated building code violations, Chapin said.

“What is being torn down is not repairable,” he said. “The silos are caving in, externally and internally. The steel bands that hold the silos together are rotted through. It’s not possible to seal them up.”

Ontario Specialty Contracting also needs the space. The company employs about 100 people on-site and a few hundred at Western New York job sites. The new space would be used for the sales, rental and service of heavy equipment, and for an industrial product manufacturing and demonstration area.

Chapin said the roofs would be sealed on the remaining mixing and malting structures and, together with the silos, would remain as a grain elevator presence on the Buffalo River.

But how much of one — in a city with the largest collection of grain elevators in the world — may be determined by the Preservation Board when it takes up Ontario Specialty Contracting’s demolition request.

Buffalo News


Updates -  December 17

Weekly Website Updates
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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 Sector Detroit begins icebreaking operation early

12/16 - Detroit, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard commenced Operation Coal Shovel Wednesday after colder temperatures caused a rapid development of ice in the eastern Great Lakes.

Originally scheduled to begin Friday, Operation Coal Shovel is the ice breaking operation for the southern part of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair/Detroit River systems, and lakes Erie and Ontario.

As the 2010-2011 Operation Coal Shovel begins, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit and Canadian Coast Guard partners will continue their proactive attempts to identify declining waterway conditions and potentially hazardous ice conditions early. Sector Detroit provides command and control for Operation Coal Shovel, and may close or open the waterways as ice conditions dictate. Due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment and waterways, aids to navigation, the need for cross-channel ferry traffic, the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents who use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.

During the 2009-2010 ice season, Operation Coal Shovel managed ice breaking efforts during one of the worst ice conditions experienced on the St. Clair River since 1984. On three separate occurrences, ice jams created the potential for flood damage to the St. Clair River communities and disrupted the flow of maritime commerce. Coast Guard icebreakers worked to flush the ice down the river in order to mitigate the threat of flooding and property damage.

In carrying out the mission, U.S. and Canadian vessels coordinated and conducted over 1,500 hours of ice breaking in the eastern Great Lakes. These actions minimized the potential for residential flooding and quickly reopened the Great Lakes maritime transportation system for the movement of commercial vessels that had become beset in the ice, resulting in continued movement of more than 300,000 tons of vital cargo through the Detroit/St. Clair River system.

U.S. Coast Guard


Crew won't remove tugboat from Saginaw River until next week

12/16 - Bangor Twp., Mich. — The tugboat that sank in the Saginaw River earlier this week will remain in the frigid water until at least Monday while the salvage plan to remove the boat awaits approval, a U.S. Coast Guard official said.

Lt. Justin Westmiller, of the U.S. Coast Guard Detroit, said the plan needs to pass through approval from three entities before crews can start work to remove the boat, owned by Frankfort-based Luedtke Engineering Company. The salvage plan needs approval from the captain of port in Detroit, the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland and the Marine Center in Washington, D.C., Westmiller said.

The plan, he said, takes into account factors such as boat size, its position and the position of the crane that will remove it from the water. The cause of what sank the tug early Monday is still unknown.

The Bay City Times


Twin Ports, where the golden grain is piled high

12/16 - Duluth, Minn. - The bridge of the Federal Elbe rises five stories above the ship's deck, and there the captain scans the weather forecast for the North Atlantic, his destination when he leaves port.

Down on deck, a gang of Duluth longshoremen is shrouded in grain dust as two spouts gush wheat into the ship's cavernous hold at 2,500 tons per hour. The same sort of thing is happening at two other grain elevators across the bay in Superior, Wis., and three more ships are anchored outside the harbor, waiting their turn.

All is as it should be -- busy -- for a change.

After the two worst grain shipping seasons since Duluth-Superior opened to foreign commerce in 1959, the Twin Ports is enjoying a grain export surge this year, at least bringing business back to respectable levels. The port, the largest on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes, can largely thank its good fortune to a crop disaster in Russia, a major wheat exporter.

Through October, Twin Ports grain shipments bound for overseas markets already were 50 percent higher than they were for all of 2009. "When it's like this, everybody is feeling good," said Steve Sydow, a vessel agent for Daniel's Shipping Service, which tends to all of the Federal Elbe's needs when it's in Duluth, even arranging grocery deliveries. "That's how depressed it's been. We're happy to have normal."

Unfortunately, normal seems to get worse as each decade passes. Since the peak of the port's grain trade in the 1970s, annual average shipments have fallen each decade. Part of the problem in recent years is simply the weak economy. But long-term issues -- particularly the relatively uncompetitive position of Great Lakes ports vis-a-vis other U.S. ports -- continue to bedevil the Twin Ports' foreign trade.

The workhorse lakers that ferry iron ore and coal from Duluth-Superior to the lower Great Lakes have long accounted for most of the port's cargo tonnage. But the port's foreign commerce is rooted in the grain trade. And it's the "salties," like the Federal Elbe, that give Minnesota and Wisconsin a maritime window to the world, something no other states so far inland can claim.

The port's main grain is hard red spring wheat; North Dakota is by the far the nation's largest producer of it, and Minnesota usually ranks second or third. This year, U.S. hard red spring wheat production was up 6 percent over last year -- a nice crop.

Meanwhile, Canada, the world's second largest wheat exporter after the United States, struggled with bad weather in the spring, and lots of its wheat acreage didn't get planted -- a plus as far as U.S. exports go.

But the big story was a crippling drought in Russia, the world's third biggest wheat exporter. Russia banned wheat exports in August, and ports on the Great Lakes helped fill in the vacuum.

Grain moved out of Duluth- Superior to countries the port hadn't shipped to in years, Egypt and Turkey, for instance -- nations primarily served by Russia, said Ron Johnson, trade development director at the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth, a public agency.

While the St. Lawrence Seaway closes at the end of December, the Russian gap should remain when the port opens for business again in the spring. "I think it will continue because [Russia's leadership] has made it clear they will extend [the export ban] into next year," Johnson said.

A good chunk of Twin Ports grain shipments flows out on Canadian lake vessels, which sail in fresh water only. The lakers go up the St. Lawrence Seaway past Montreal, where they unload at export elevators, way stations for bigger saltwater vessels.

But the heart of the Twin Ports' grain trade beats in oceangoing ships like the Federal Elbe, which paid a visit in November.

Ships with the name "Federal" in them are frequent visitors in the Twin Ports; they're operated by Montreal-based Fednav Limited, the largest force in international shipping on the Great Lakes/Seaway system.

On a mild November day, the 656-foot-long Federal Elbe was docked at a Riverland Ag grain elevator in Duluth, taking on 22,000 metric tons of wheat bound for Antwerp, Belgium. Painted dark red with cream-colored trim -- Fednav's fleet colors -- the Elbe is a child in vessel terms, built in 2003.

As on most oceangoing ships, the Elbe's crew of 22 is a mix of nationalities, in this case Poles and Filipinos, with the latter making up the majority. The captain, Dariusz Malinowski of Szczecin, Poland, is making his second trip into the Great Lakes this year. In early April, the Elbe was the first saltie of the Twin Ports' shipping season, an event duly noted in local media and feted each year in a shipside ceremony with port officials.

Malinowski, 54, has sailed the Great Lakes for 25 years. "Thunder Bay, Chicago, Cleveland," he said, ticking off ports. "All the lakes I know." When the grain spouts shut down and the hatches are locked tight, he'll be off on a journey of about five days through the lakes and seaway, and another ten days across the Atlantic to Belgium.

Malinowski made sure before he departed to "make shopping," as he put it, heading up to Duluth's cluster of big-box retailers. Renato Comiso Jr., a 29-year-old third mate on the Elbe, made a retail run, too, he and some shipmates hopping on a shuttle van provided by the local seaman's mission.

Comiso went to Wal-Mart and Best Buy, but it was window shopping for him. "I have no money for the moment," he said. A resident of Manila, Comiso had just boarded the Elbe two weeks earlier after three months of vacation, and needs more work to build up some cash. He'll have plenty of time to do so since he'll be at sea for the next eight months.

The Federal Elbe is only the second ship to call at Riverland Ag's terminal in the past two years. The grain terminal is the port's fastest and most efficient, but an ownership change in 2008 changed the way it's operated.

Its former owner, Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant Cargill, had used it primarily as an export elevator, and for years it was one of the port's busiest grain terminals. But Cargill, perhaps signaling the Twin Ports' fading grain trade relevance, sold the elevator to Whitebox Advisors, a Minneapolis-based hedge fund.

"It was a real loss when Cargill pulled out and sold to a hedge fund," said Chuck Hilleren, owner of Guthrie Hubner, Duluth-Superior's oldest and largest vessel agency for saltwater ships.

Whitebox's business model called for the elevator to be primarily used for storage. Earlier this year, a Toronto-based investment firm bought the terminal from Whitebox, making it part of its Riverland Ag subsidiary. The business model hasn't changed, said Don Grambsch, Riverland's Minneapolis-based president.

Still, Grambsch said that when the export business is strong, Riverland will make "opportunistic" forays into that market, as it has this year.

A steep drop in steel imports has also hurt the Twin Ports' grain trade in recent years. The fate of grain exports is partly tied to steel imports because the latter provides ships with cargo to bring into the Great Lakes. It's "steel in, grain out," said the Port Authority's Johnson. Bringing an empty vessel into the Great Lakes is far less economic for a ship operator.

The steel woes are at least partly cyclical, a product of the weak economy. But several long-term problems vex the port, as can be seen in cargo data. Average annual grain shipments through Duluth-Superior for the decade ending 2009 were 3.3 million net tons, down 30 percent from the 1990s.

There's the seemingly eternal Great Lakes problem of ship size. The Seaway was built in 1959, but ships have gotten progressively bigger since then. Today's big grain carriers are too big for the seaway.

Even now, the Federal Elbe can't fully load in the Twin Ports; it has to top off at a grain elevator past Montreal. With 37,000 metric tons of capacity, it was about 60 percent full when it left Duluth; any more grain and it would have risked scraping bottom. The eight newest ships in Fednav's fleet have an average capacity of 55,000 metric tons. They don't work the Great Lakes.

"It costs more to ship wheat on a smaller ship than a larger ship," said Dave Torgerson, head of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers. Size breeds economies of scale.

Another woe: extra-long "unit trains" have for years made Gulf of Mexico ports attractive to Upper Midwest shippers. Railroads can be a cheaper option than sending grain through the seaway, and soybeans and corn grown in the Upper Midwest and exported to Europe typically flow through Louisiana ports, not the seaway.

The rise of genetically modified soybeans also has hurt the Twin Ports, say port and soybean industry officials. Europe is the Twin Ports' key market, yet many nations there oppose genetically modified food crops. "It's just about eliminated our [European] market for soybeans," said vessel agent Hilleren.

Indeed, the Twin Ports averaged 1.1 million tons of soybean exports annually between 1995 and 2002. But shipments quickly tapered off, and no soybeans have gone through the port since 2007. The port hasn't seen meaningful corn exports in almost a decade.

Still, there are bright spots in some niche foreign cargos. Over the past decade, the Twin Ports developed a growing trade in sugar beet pellets, detritus from western Minnesota sugar refineries that is processed into an animal feed product.

Also, Duluth's publicly owned marine terminal has developed into a hub for incoming and outgoing wind turbine equipment. Big blades, towers and generators come in by ship from Denmark, Germany and Spain and are loaded on trucks and trains bound for wind farms in places like Manitoba and Wyoming.

And the port can take this to heart: It should long remain essential for wheat growers in North Dakota and Minnesota, say growers' groups from both states.

"We certainly don't see Duluth-Superior going away," said Jim Peterson, marketing director for the North Dakota Wheat Commission. "It's still going to be a prime outlet for us in the future."

Minneapolis Star Tribune


Grain, steel shipments boost Port of Milwaukee

12/16 - Milwaukee, Wis. - The last oceangoing ship of the year heads out of the Port of Milwaukee this week, bound for Morocco with a load of soybeans, ending what's been a good shipping season - with total tonnage down but steel shipments surging from a year ago.

The port handled about 1.9 million metric tons of cargo through Nov. 1, compared with 2.4 million a year earlier. Most of the decline was blamed on fewer road-salt shipments, one of the port's largest commodities.

About 32 percent less salt was brought into the port this year, largely because of a surplus from 2009, said Eric Reinelt, Port of Milwaukee director.

The port had strong exports of grain and mining equipment and high imports of steel, according to Reinelt. It's had visits from 207 ships, up from 191 at this time last year.

"The good news is that anything related to the overall economic cycle did fairly well," Reinelt said. "Purchases of specialty steel products through the port, mostly from Europe, are up a whopping 50 percent over last year."

The city-run docks are expected to generate at least a $500,000 surplus this year, despite fewer salt shipments and the lack of a biodiesel refinery that was to have been built on Jones Island.

The refinery would have turned soybean oil into fuel suitable for diesel engines. It was supposed to be built near the wastewater treatment plant, and the port would benefit from leasing land to the refinery and handling fuel as liquid cargo.

"The biodiesel plant is on hold simply because the market isn't there for it yet," Reinelt said.

The port has made room for storage of wind-turbine blades, hoping to get more of that cargo business.

Earlier, Milwaukee's port and terminal operators lost millions in revenue and about 25 jobs because of state rules that clamped down on the shipment of wind-turbine components on Wisconsin highways. Caravans of the huge turbine parts were shipped through Duluth, Minn., and Beaumont, Texas, rather than Milwaukee.

But Wisconsin's highway rules have been relaxed, Reinelt said.

"Next year, our big marketing effort is going to be in wind-power products. I think next year, and in 2012, we should see that business come back," he said.

Also, the entrance ramp to Interstate-794 was widened this year so that trucks could get on the highway easier and not have to use city streets. That move was a huge improvement for the port and its terminal operators, Reinelt said.

Collectively, Great Lakes ports handle hundreds of millions of tons of cargo a year, including commodities such as salt, coal, steel, cement, iron ore, wood pulp, fuel oil and liquid asphalt.

Wisconsin's 15 commercial ports, including two on the Mississippi River, support more than 11,000 jobs, and are an indicator of the state's economy.

So far this year, more than 81 million net tons of cargo have been shipped on U.S. vessels on the Great Lakes, up 35 percent from a year earlier but 9 percent behind the five-year average, the Lake Carriers' Association said Tuesday.

Tonnage is up about 25 percent at the twin ports of Superior and Duluth, said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. Iron ore shipments through Duluth were up 69 percent for the first nine months of the year. Grain shipments were up 89 percent and were 15 percent over five-year averages.

"It's more of a return to normal," Ojard said. "The numbers reflect increases across the board. And if we are up 25 percent this year at the Twin Ports, I think everybody is sharing in some of that."

Grain shipments, primarily headed to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, surged in response to a shortage of grain from Russia and other countries this year.

"During a single week, we had 17 ships loading grain or at anchor waiting for a berth to open," Ojard said.

Milwukee Journal Sentinel


Port Reports -  December 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Wednesday morning included American Century loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Paul R. Tregurtha loading at CN ore dock. Salties loading grain included Miedwe at Peavey and Orsula at CHS. Nogat was anchored out on the lake waiting for a berth. John G. Munson was due later in the day to unload stone at the CLM dock in Superior and then shift to BNSF ore dock to load iron ore pellets. In Fraser Shipyards, the laid-up Adam E. Cornelius was shifted earlier in the week to make way for construction of additional dock wall.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On a frigid Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded western coal into the hopper.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch headed down the Saginaw River from her dock in Carrolton on Tuesday night, heading to assist the inbound Algoway make the North Star dock in Essexville. Ice conditions slowed the Algoway, but with the assistance from the Gregory J. Busch, she made the dock early Wednesday morning. After unloading through the afternoon, Algoway turned and began heading for the lake, again with assistance from the Busch. Algoway was delayed by ice fishermen who would not move from the area of the shipping channel. They eventually all moved to a safe distance and Algoway was able to head for the lake around 5:30 Wednesday afternoon.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann Pathfinder arrived in Lorain Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. and was at the Jonick’s dock just north of the Henderson Bridge.


Updates -  December 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 16

In 1949, the tow line between the tug JOHN ROEN III and the barge RESOLUTE parted in high seas and a quartering wind. The barge sank almost immediately when it struck the concrete piers at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Eleven crewmembers, 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.


Tug that sank in Saginaw River to remain submerged until Thursday

12/15 - Bay City, Mich. - Efforts to salvage a sunken tugboat continue, but a Coast Guard spokesman says the vessel is likely to remain beneath the icy depths of the Saginaw River until Thursday.

“They have to rig the vessel to be lifted out of the water,” said Coast Guard Lt. Justin Westmiller. “We will put divers back in the water to do the strapping and setting up and to put all the lifting gear on it Wednesday. That will take about a day. Thursday morning, we’ll lift it.”

The 81-ton tug Ann Marie sank late Sunday or early Monday behind Bay Aggregates, authorities said. As a result, about 800 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the river.

Wednesday’s work also will include clean-up.

“The (fuel) comes to the top and they will skim off what they can,” Westmiller said. The process involves vacuuming the surface and transferring the fuel into storage tanks until it can be disposed of properly.

He did not indicate where the disposal was likely to take place. About 350 gallons have been recovered so far. Booms are in place and the ice is helping contain the spill.

Divers on Tuesday plugged all of the vents. “The source of the leak has been secured and that’s a big step,” said Westmiller.

Investigators from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit won’t try to determine what caused the tug to sink until after it has been salvaged. Frankfort-based Luedtke Engineering owns the vessel that had been moored at the Bay Aggregates boat slip for the winter.

According to Times archives, Luedtke Engineering was awarded a $1.9 million contract in 2008 to dredge the upper Saginaw River. Grand Rapids-based Young’s Environmental Cleanup Inc. and Mt. Clemens-based HM Environmental Services are handling the cleanup.

Bay City Times


U.S.-Flag laker cargos slip in November

12/15 - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 8,964,128 net tons of cargo in November, a decrease of 5.5 percent from October, and a slight dip 53,965 tons compared to a year ago. The November float was also 8.3 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos in November increased 14.5 percent compared to a year ago, but coal loadings were down 11 percent. Limestone cargos decreased 10.7 percent.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos stand at 81,262,630 net tons, an increase of 34.6 percent compared to a year ago, but 9.4 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe. Iron ore cargos are up 84.7 percent. Coal is 2.2 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Limestone cargos are up 19.8 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Coast Guard icebreakers operating as 2010-2011 ice breaking season begins

12/15 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Ninth Coast Guard District is taking steps to safeguard the people and property of the Great Lakes as the 2010-2011 icebreaking season begins.

The two traditional Great Lakes icebreaking operations are Operation Taconite, which commenced on Dec. 6, and Operation Coal Shovel, which is scheduled to commence on Friday.

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. Operation 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.

The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice breaking operations for four basic purposes: search and rescue, urgent response to vessels, exigent community service requests, and the facilitation of navigation to meet the reasonable demands of commerce.

Exigent community service requests include flood control and opening channels to icebound communities or breaking ice for the ferries that serve them in order to ensure critical supplies of food or heating oil or access to medical assistance is maintained.

Operations Taconite and Coal Shovel ensure the most efficient movement of vessels through the entire Great Lakes region. Based on ice conditions, assets are dedicated to specific areas in coordination with our international partners and commercial ice breaking services.

To ensure the highest state of readiness and the Coast Guard’s ability to complete this critical mission, an additional icebreaker from the First Coast Guard District, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug, homeported in New London, Conn., has been temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region. Morro Bay will augment the other Coast Guard icebreakers that call the Great Lakes home.

Morro Bay arrived in Cleveland on Dec. 10.

“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.”


Port Reports -  December 15

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Dockworkers and sailors were keeping vessels moving in the Twin Ports on Tuesday despite below-zero temperatures. American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while Paul R. Tregurtha fueled and waited its turn at the Duluth Port Terminal. Indiana Harbor was due late in the day to follow the PRT into the coal dock. Orsula was loading grain at CHS terminal in Superior. It came in on the heels of the Heloise, which cleared port overnight Monday. John G. Munson is expected at the CLM dock in Superior. However, it anchored in Whitefish Bay on Monday to wait for weather so it had no estimate time of arrival for the Twin Ports.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
John J. Boland finally departed the Upper Harbor Tuesday afternoon after a lengthy weather delay. Saginaw arrived to load ore after the Boland's departure. Charles M. Beeghly was due later in the evening.

Detroit, Mich. - Sam Buchanan
The J.W. Westcott Co.'s back up mailboat, the Joseph J. Hogan, was laid up for the season on Tuesday at Gregory's Marina behind Belle Isle. The crew fought through ice 5-inches thick to reach the haul out dock. Regular mail service is expected to end on Thursday with the mailboat J.W. Westcott II  remaining on station to operate the company's water taxi service as long as ice allows. Continuous days of below freezing temperatures is allowing ice to rapidly develop across the region.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Monday the Herbert C Jackson was being towed in at about 6 p.m. for the ADM Standard Elevator.


Great Lakes Shipyard completes work on second Miller Boat Line ferry

12/15 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard has finished maintenance and repairs on Miller Boat Line’s ferry William Market for its U.S. Coast Guard five-year inspection. The work included repairing the ramp, installing hydraulic silencers, hull painting, blasting and painting ballast tanks, installing two new props and painting the upper deck. In addition, all the ferry’s exterior fiberglass bench seats were replaced with new aluminum bench seats.

William Market is an all-steel passenger and vehicle vessel built in 1993. She is 96 feet long and Coast Guard approved to carry 500 passengers. This is the second time this year Miller Boat Line, the vessel’s owner, has entrusted one of its vessels to Great Lakes Shipyard. Earlier this year Great Lakes Shipyard completed a 40 foot-long mid-body extension and repowering of the M/V Put-In-Bay.

The Great Lakes Shipyard’s order book now includes orders for construction of two new 70-foot aluminum research vessels for U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center, a new 3,200 h.p. HandySize tug, two floating restroom barges for the U.S. National Park Service and the drydocking of the USGS research vessels Grayling and Sturgeon. The yard just completed the delivery of two new barges for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be used on the Corp’s Upper Mississippi River Dam project.

Great Lakes Group


Updates -  December 15

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  December 15

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

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.

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 cutter’s 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.


Tug Ann Marie sinks in Saginaw Bay

12/14 - Saginaw, Mich. - Pollution investigators from Coast Guard Sector Detroit and firefighters from the Bay City, Mich. fire department were at the scene of a sunken tug boat below in ice in the Saginaw River Monday and are working with the tug company’s representatives to develop a salvage plan. Only the roof of the pilot house and mast are visible.

Representatives from Bay Aggregate found the 65-foot tug Ann Marie sunk at the company’s dock under a rainbow sheen at 8:15 a.m. The tug reportedly has about 2,500 gallons of diesel oil on board. The 1954-built tug is owned by Frankfort, Mich.-based Luedtke Engineering Co.

The cause of the sinking is unknown.


Port Reports -  December 14

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Wilfred Sykes spent most of Monday riding at anchor inside the breakwater in the Milwaukee Harbor, however she got underway for Escanaba Monday night.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Tim S. Dool was loading grain at Anderson's K Elevator. The tug Cleveland remains in drydock at Ironhead Shipyard and the barge Cleveland Rocks remains docked in the small slip north of the drydocks. Due to gale and storm warnings posted on all the Great Lakes, vessels are delayed arriving at this port. Tentative ETAs for boats due in at the CSX Docks has Calumet and Algolake due in Tuesday, John J. Boland and H. Lee White on Wednesday, James L. Kuber on Thursday followed by the Great Lakes Trader on Friday. The next ore boats scheduled into the Torco Dock will be the John J. Boland on Wednesday followed by CSL Assiniboine on Thursday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be John D. Leitch on Thursday.


Stabilization work begins on Boblo boat Columbia

12/14 - River Rouge, Mich. — At a time when most people are preparing for the holidays and bracing for winter, a group of workers is busily shoring up the old Boblo boat Columbia.

Outside the public’s view at the U.S. Steel-Great Lakes Works dock, insurance restoration contractors have been hired by a New York-based nonprofit organization to stabilize the 108-year-old vessel not only to prepare it for winter, but to get it ready for its eventual trip to the East Coast, where it will gain new life on the Hudson River.

The S.S. Columbia Project, dedicated to restoring the boat as an educational, cultural and heritage tourism resource, is taking its most visible action to date through the stabilization work, the last step before drydocking the boat and then towing it to New York.

The Columbia is a Detroit area icon, rich in history but badly neglected after it ended decades of service ferrying passengers back and forth to Boblo Island amusement park in the lower Detroit River. The Columbia and its sister, the Ste. Claire, were last used as Boblo boats in 1991, a couple of years before the amusement park shut down.

The boat’s former owner, the Columbia Steamer Foundation, headed by William Worden, tried unsuccessfully to sell the Columbia several years ago. The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy considered buying and restoring it, but rejected the idea as too expensive and not on its priority list of projects.

In 2006 the S.S. Columbia Project stepped in, buying the boat but unable to get it to New York until enough funds can be raised to stabilize it for transport. For the past four years the boat has seen little action, other than asbestos removal and some minor stabilization work, essentially enough to allow workers to board without falling through the floors.

The face of the S.S. Columbia Project is Richard Anderson, the group’s president. No one could be more pleased to see workers aboard the boat than Anderson. “These guys are doing historic work,” Anderson said during a recent trip to River Rouge. “It’s challenging to meet the needs of a 108-year-old

steamship.” Anderson was referring to the crew from Signal Building, restoration contractors based in Troy, with a Downriver office in Trenton. The work began Nov. 29 and is schedule to wrap up Dec. 22.

“Our work is to stabilize the ship,” said Ted Foster of Signal Building. “We’re putting some shoring in so that we don’t get further collapse.” Foster said the major part of the project involves covering areas of rotted wood with plywood, as well as installing a watertight membrane on the upper deck to prevent water penetration.”

Foster said he had hoped the project could have started earlier in the fall, when the weather was more conducive for this type of work, but that’s just the way things played out. Anderson said the delay was caused mostly by paperwork and approvals required of a nonprofit organization before work can begin.

“The paperwork aspect of getting a job organized and approved is much more complicated for a nonprofit like ourselves than it is for a private owner,” he said.

This is a special project for Foster, a Livonia resident who grew up in Taylor. As a child and even as an adult, he has memories of riding aboard the Columbia. “The last time I was on one of these boats (Columbia or Ste. Claire) was in the late ’80s,” Foster said. “The boats were still running at that time.”

As a company that specializes in insurance restoration work, Foster said his workers see a lot of things that are falling apart or decaying.

“We do catastrophe type work,” Foster said. “That’s why we have knowledge to do this work. The major obstacle (with the Columbia project) is that you have to shore up all the way to the top. To do that, you have to start at the bottom where the steel structure is.”

The unseasonably cold weather for this early in December hasn’t helped matters. A sign indicates there are to be no open flames, so heaters are out of the question. The company also was required to purchase marine insurance before it could do work on the boat.

Because of the boat’s poor condition, the public and news media have not been allowed on the Columbia for many years. Even now, there are areas that must be walked on carefully, for fear of falling through.

But as dilapidated as the boat has become, Anderson sees past it, to the beauty that lies below the surface. Underneath layers of flaking paint, beautiful ceiling murals have surfaced, harkening back to a bygone era.

While some people see only an old boat in its final stages of decay, Anderson sees a historic gem that should not be relegated to history books. He speaks in terms of reverence of Frank Kirby, the boat’s architect and engineering innovator; as well as Louis O. Keil, an artist, architect and designer who worked with Kirby.

“When it was built in 1902, Louis O. Keil made sure that the ship had a tremendous ‘wow’ factor,” Anderson said.

Pointing out the grand saloon, the area that was most prominent upon entering the main portion of the boat, Anderson showed where the designer had stained glass windows and overhead murals with gardens of flowers.

“It was very spectacular, but all that started to get modernized in the 20th century,” Anderson said. “When she’s restored, she will truly be a spectacular sight.”

While most Detroit area residents who lived here during the time the Columbia was in service remember it with nostalgia, it’s fair to say not many know of its historic significance. One of the key points Anderson highlights is the ballroom, the first of its kind for this type of ship. For that, he credits Kirby.

According to Anderson, Kirby designed the Columbia’s girder system, which allowed it to become the first steamship with a “proper ballroom.”

“If this ship would have been built earlier, it would have been supported by columns, which would have made a real dance floor impossible,” Anderson said. “It’s a beautiful arched system with circular insets that are strong, rigid and lightweight. It allowed for the span that we have here. The design was copied by steamboats in the U.S. for the following 25 years.”

Documentary filmmakers are scheduled to be on board the ship today and tomorrow to record the progress. Lisa Hagopian, who has videotaped area residents’ memories of the boats and Boblo Island, also will be on hand to take additional footage.

Anderson said onlookers are not allowed to go on board or on U.S. Steel property without permission.

However, those interested in having their Boblo boat memories recorded, or those with archival photographs of the Columbia they would like to share, can contact him at 1-917-532-4300. “This ship has important stories to tell about where we came from,” Anderson said.

The News Herald


Book puts spotlight on Port of Milwaukee

12/14 - Milwaukee, Wis. - If you've ever wondered about the giant mountains of salt that rise and then disappear on Jones Island each year, then Leah Dobkin has a book for you.

"Soul of a Port: The History and Evolution of the Port of Milwaukee" (The History Press, $19.99) is an enthusiastic look at one of Milwaukee's least-known fixtures. Dobkin's book, expanded from a 2007 Milwaukee magazine article, draws on many interviews with Port of Milwaukee workers, officials, vendors and customers, as well as archival research, and is strong on present-day photography.

Dobkin writes that almost one million tons of salt is annually delivered to the port on its way to making streets and highways in a 90-mile radius safe to drive in winter.


Updates -  December 14

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.


Gale warnings send much of fleet to shelter

12/13 - Gale warnings were posted Sunday on lakes Superior, Huron and Erie, and storm warnings were issued on Lake Michigan, sending many freighters to anchor.

Boats seeking shelter from Sunday’s storm included Burns Harbor in the upper St. Marys River above the locks off Bay Mills; Canadian Olympic, tied at the Soo Locks’ west pier; and Spruceglen, off Essar Steel in Sault Ste Marie, Ont. H. Lee White was anchored in Thunder Bay.

The lower St. Marys River north of DeTour Village resembled a parking lot Sunday night, with Montrealais, Charles M. Beeghly, Palabora, Federal Rideau, Jana, Michiganborg, Algoway, John G. Munson, St. Clair and Peter R. Cresswell all at anchor. Canadian Transfer, Joseph H. Thompson and Nogat were at anchor in northern Lake Huron off Saint Vital Bay, west of the entrance to the St. Marys River. Samuel de Champlain / barge Innovation, barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory and Catharine Desgagnes were behind Bois Blanc Island near the Straits of Mackinac, while CSL Tadoussac and Calumet were stopped in Thunder Bay near Alpena. Wilfred Sykes sought shelter off Milwaukee. Buffalo was anchored in western Lake Erie with the Kaye E. Barker and Manistee anchored off Point Pelee.

The temperature at the Soo late Sunday afternoon as 9 degrees and ice is expected to build quickly across the lakes, as a cold snap will keep temperatures below freezing for the next several days.

Lake Superior’s forecast called for north gales to 40 knots with heavy freezing spray Sunday, and waves 12 to 17 feet subsiding to 11 to 15 feet. The gales were expected to diminishing over night to 20 to 30 knots after midnight with waves subsiding to 10 to 14 feet.

Lake Michigan was under a storm warning Monday morning, with a heavy freezing spray warning in effect through Monday evening. Winds were expected to be north storm force to 55 knots. Waves 10 to 15 feet building to 18 to 22 feet Sunday afternoon. On Monday, north gales to 45 knots diminishing to gales to 35 knots and waves 15 to 20 feet subsiding to 10 to 14 feet. Monday night, north gales to 35 knots diminishing to 30 knots with heavy waves 10 to 14, feet subsiding to 7 to 10 feet.

Lake Huron was under a gale warning through Tuesday morning. Sunday the northeast winds were forecast to 30 knots with gusts to 40 knots and waves 7 to 10 feet. Maximum wave height was around 13 feet.

Lake Erie was under a gale warning late Sunday night through Tuesday morning. Sunday night, west winds 15 to 25 knots becoming northwest and increasing to gales to 35 knots after midnight. Waves 2 to 4 feet building to 10 to 12 feet. Monday, northwest gales to 35 knots, waves 10 to 13 feet. Tuesday, northwest gales to 35 knots diminishing to 15 to 25 knots in the afternoon. Waves 10 to 12 feet subsiding to 5 to 8 feet.


Coast Guard medevacs man from Algoway in St. Marys River

12/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, homeported in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., evacuated a 61-year-old crewmember from the Algoway in the St. Marys River just off De Tour Village, Mich., Sunday afternoon.

The man reportedly began experiencing high blood pressure and mild heart-attack symptoms Saturday evening, but took medication and believed the problem was under control. The crew of the Algoway, a 646-foot bulk freighter, contacted the Coast Guard again at about 4 p.m. Sunday when the man’s symptoms started to return.

“Instead of waiting until later when the weather was poor, as a precaution we decided to medevac him while we had a better weather window,” said James Barber, command duty officer of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, which oversaw the response.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, which was about a half-mile away assisting with aids-to-navigation and ice-breaking duties, transported the crewman to shore where he was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. He was reportedly in stable condition throughout the transport.

U.S. Coast Guard


Port Reports -  December 13

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, John J. Boland, which appeared loaded, was secured at the ore dock waiting for winds to subside on Lake Superior.

Menominee and Marinette - Scott Best
Saturday was busy in Menominee and Marinette despite a massive winter storm that was slamming the area. The tug Ohio waited outside the Menominee breakwall early Saturday morning with her barge CBC 1268 loaded with wind-turbine towers; the Selvick tug Jimmy L met them at first light and the pair briefly docked behind the Donner at Marinette Fuel and Dock. After a broken tow line forced them to abort a bridge passage, a successful passage was made a short time later. After the Ohio and her barge were docked, Selvick's Susan L joined the Jimmy L and they moved the LCS 3 (USS Fort Worth) at Marinette Marine to make room for the former railroad car float Manitowoc to be docked at the shipyard. Once the Manitowoc was secured at the shipyard, Jimmy L and Susan L departed into a very rough Green Bay for the trip back to Sturgeon Bay.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Sunday was a dark and stormy day in Milwaukee. Wilfred Sykes was anchored off port, Coast Guard Station Milwaukee pulled its two rapid response boats up on land. Waves from the storm rolled over the breakwater on the south end of the harbor at the South Shore Marina.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Saturday morning the barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain were in port loading at Lafarge. The Coast Guard vessel Hollyhock was out in the bay, likely doing winter buoy work. Calumet arrived at Lafarge during the evening with a load of coal. CSL Tadoussac anchored out in the bay during the night due to weather conditions. Calumet also remained in the area on Sunday.


Interest grows in Green Marine program

12/13 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Mayor Vance Badawey is pleased to hear a Great Lakes cities group has joined the Green Marine shipping program.

"It's great news," Badawey said. "Green Marine is an in initiative taken by the marine industry to ensure sustainability and good environmental performance."

Meeting in Ottawa, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative endorsed the program and agreed Friday to become an official supporter. Green Marine is a bi-national, voluntary program that aims to improve participants' environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance.

It introduces best practices, reduction targets and new technologies to improve participants' records in a number of areas including invasive species, air emissions and greenhouse gases, cargo residues, oily waters, conflicts of use within ports and environmental leadership.

David Bolduc, executive director of Green Marine, said Friday's endorsement will foster further communication between the marine shipping industry and cities and communities around the Great Lakes. It would also aid in his efforts to recruit participants.

"We have over 100 industry participants, partners and supporters and we are now working to extend that participation even further throughout the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system and beyond.

"This endorsement further enhances the credibility of the program. We have already had federal and provincial governments as supporters."

Badawey said the marine industry "is already environmentally friendly." Green Marine, which began in 2008, will ensure the industry sustains its environmental measures.

Port Colborne is working closely with the industry to follow the program while it plans for a mixed use of lands along the canal, particularly on the east side, Badawey said.

Welland Tribune


Passenger on storm-tossed Clelia II describes 'terrifying' ordeal

12/13 - The cruise ship damaged by massive waves this week while returning from Antarctica has made it back to its home port of Ushuaia, Argentina, and first-hand accounts describing a "terrifying" ordeal have begun to emerge.

One of the 88 passengers on board the storm-tossed Clelia II, Frank Dougherty, tells the Philadelphia Daily News today he thought he was going to die as the ship fought through monster waves in the Drake Passage that reached 30 to 40 feet high. "I thought this was it," Dougherty, a former Daily News writer, told the news outlet in a phone call from Ushuaia. "I never came so close to cashing it in."

One huge wave smashed a railing into the ship's bridge, knocking out all communication, including radar, Dougherty tells the Daily News. The vessel was "violently shaking and twisting," he says, noting the wind was gusting up to 100 miles per hour.

Dougherty told the news outlet he began imagining that if the ship went down, "they'd never find the bodies. You couldn't even think about putting out lifeboats in that sea."

The Clelia II which was a familiar sight on the Great Lakes this past summer reached Ushuaia late Thursday -- a day and a half behind schedule.

In a statement, the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators says a large wave that broke the ship's starboard bridge window and doused electrical circuitry was the cause of widely reported propulsion problems on the ship (the video above, filmed by another expedition ship in the area and distributed by the Associated Press, shows the Clelia II struggling with high seas during the incident).

"This caused a temporary loss of communications and affected engine performance," the statement says. "Both engines remained operational and speed was reduced."

The association says no passengers on the ship were injured during the incident, although a bridge officer knocked down by the wave that broke through the bridge window sustained minor injuries. The vessel, operated by New York-based Travel Dynamics International and owned by Helios Shipping Greece, will be inspected for damage in Ushuaia. The next voyage on the vessel scheduled to begin this week has been canceled.

USA Today


Updates -  December 13

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery including new HD videos
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Fort Henry feature
Lay-up list updated
Discussion Boards updated


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.


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.


Casino boat passes downbound

12/11 - The Empress Casino Passed under the Blue Water Bridges about 9:30 a.m. Friday.

The original Empress Casino, a fixture in Hammond, Ind. since 1996, is out on the open waters as it makes its way to its new owners, possibly located halfway around the world.

Harrah's Entertainment, Horseshoe's parent company, sold the riverboat to a company in India for an undisclosed sum, Dan Nita, senior vice president and general manager for Horseshoe Hammond Casino, said Wednesday.

Nita did not know if the vessel was bound for India or if it would continue to be used as a gambling boat once it reaches its final destination.

"It's on Lake Huron now and from there it's going to Montreal," Nita said of the boat, one of the first to operate as a gaming boat in Northwest Indiana in the mid-1990s when they were first allowed by state law.

The original boat had 35,000 square feet of gaming space and accommodated 2,683 passengers, according to a third year evaluation of the boat.

A fourth deck was added in the second year, which brought the capacity of crew and passengers to 3,240 and gaming square footage to 42,573, the report added.

It was replaced in 2008 by a much larger boat with more than 100,000 square feet of gambling space.

Post Tribune and John Rigney


Connecticut-based Coast Guard cutter arrives in Cleveland

12/11 - Cleveland, Ohio Connecticut-based Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay arrived in Cleveland today to assist in the service's icebreaking mission in the Great Lakes throughout the winter months.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay, a 140-foot ice breaking tug, departed its homeport of New London, Conn., Nov. 29, 2010.

While in the Great Lakes, the crew will assist those of other Coast Guard icebreakers during Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the largest domestic ice breaking operations in the country. The Coast Guard conducts domestic ice breaking to aid in search and rescue and other emergency operations, mitigate flooding, and to meet the reasonable demands of commerce.

Ice breaking on the Great Lakes is vital to keeping shipping lanes open. Large quantities of steel, coal, heating oil and grain ships throughout the region, and Coast Guard ice breaking services enable these shippers to transport an average of $2 billion worth of cargo each year.

Coast Guard cutters from the Northeast and New England have successfully assisted with icebreaking in the Great Lakes for the past two winters - the cutter Penobscot Bay, homeported in Bayonne, N.J., during the 2009-10 winter and the cutter Thunder Bay, from Rockland, Maine, during the winter of 2008-09.

"It was a great trip, and we're happy to have arrived here in Cleveland," said Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Wyatt, commanding officer of Morro Bay. "We look forward to assisting the Coast Guard's ice breaking mission, to safeguard the people of the Great Lakes and keep commerce moving. We are ready to go anywhere our services are needed."

While the crew of the Morro Bay is deployed to the Great Lakes, other cutter crews will cover their traditional area of responsibility if the need for icebreaking there arises.


Barge that ran aground to be scrapped

12/11 - The owners of a barge that lost a large load of pulp logs when it ran aground in the Northumberland Strait off northern Nova Scotia last month have decided to scrap the barge, CBC News has learned.

"The cost to repair the vessel is more than it's worth," said Blair McKeil, president of McKeil Marine, the company that supplied the barge to transport the wood from Quebec to Abercrombie, N.S.

The 100-metre Sault au Cochon barge has been tied up in Pictou harbour since being refloated from a sand bar nearly three weeks after it ran aground.

Heavy rains and wind caused a tow line between the barge and the tugboat Florence M to snap on Nov. 10, causing the barge to take on water and dump much of its 6,400 tonnes of pulp logs and machinery.

McKeil said divers for the company have been examining the hull and assessing the damage since it was towed to Pictou.

"The damage is much worse at this time than originally believed," McKeil said Thursday in an interview from the company's headquarters in Hamilton, Ont.

McKeil said the barge will remain tied up until the new year. The company is now looking for a scrapyard to send the barge.

CBC News


Radioactive shipment across Great Lakes delayed

12/11 - A Canadian electric power company is postponing a shipment of 16 old generators with radioactive contents across three of the Great Lakes but remains committed to the plan, despite claims by environmentalists that it's too risky, a spokesman said Thursday.

Bruce Power Inc. is awaiting a licence from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to send the generators, each the size of a school bus, to a recycling plant in Sweden aboard a 118-metre cargo vessel. It would depart from a port in Owen Sound, Ont., on Lake Huron, and traverse Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, plus the St. Lawrence River, before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

The company hoped the shipment would take place this fall. But the onset of winter weather means it's no longer safe, so it will be put off until spring, spokesman John Peevers said.

"The window for this year has closed," he said.

Critics said they hoped the delay would buy time for them to build their case against the shipment, which also would need permission from the U.S. Department of Transportation because the vessel would at times pass through U.S. territory. They are pushing the Canadian commission to conduct a more comprehensive review than has been undertaken thus far.

"We're confident … that the merits of the project will not stand and that it will be permanently stopped," said Michael Keegan, spokesman for the Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes.

Groups representing environmentalists, Great Lakes cities and American Indian tribes in both Canada and the U.S. are fighting the plan, saying an accident could contaminate the lakes with radiation. Keegan said even if that doesn't happen, the shipment could set a precedent that eventually would turn the lakes into a highway for nuclear cargo.

Each of the 90-tonne generators has about 4,200 metal tubes that contained hot water, which created steam that powered electricity-producing turbines. Thirty-two of the boilers were taken out of service in the 1990s.

Bruce Power last year awarded a $37-million contract to Studsvik, a Swedish company, to melt down the generators and sell the metal as scrap. About 90 per cent of the material can be recycled; the rest will be too radioactive and will be returned for permanent storage.

The company plans two shipments of 16 generators each.

Bruce Power said each generator has less than 30 grams of radioactive material and would be welded shut to prevent leaks.

"We really do believe that this is the right thing to do," Peevers said. "We're reducing our environmental footprint; we believe it's a safe project. We'll continue to plan and hopefully deliver it."

Staff at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has recommended approval. After a hearing in late September, the panel took additional public comments until Nov. 22.

If the commission follows its usual timetable, it should reach a decision by the end of this month but might take longer, spokesman Aurele Gervais said.

The Canadian Press


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


Great Lakes coal trade up slightly in November

12/10 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3,326,594 net tons in November, a virtual repeat of October, and a slight increase 88,000 tons compared to a year ago. However, loadings were down 9.5 percent compared to November’s 5-year average.

Shipments from Lake Superior were essentially unchanged from a year ago, but 9 percent off the month’s 5-year average. Loadings in Chicago too were little changed from a year ago, and two boatloads off the month’s 5-year average. The coal trade out of Lake Erie largely mirrored a year ago, but was 10 percent off November’s 5-year average.

Year-to-date coal shipments stand at 29 million tons, an increase of 5.3 percent compared to a year ago. However, through November, loadings are more than 17 percent (6 million tons) off the 5-year average.

Lake Carriers' Association


Coast Guard icebreakers to transit Keweenaw Waterway

12/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Two U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers are scheduled to transit the Keweenaw Waterway, near Houghton and Hancock, Mich., in the next 24-48 hours in order to conduct ice breaking operations in western Lake Superior.

Those who recreate on the ice are reminded to plan their activities carefully, use caution, and stay clear of the shipping channels during these days.

The Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay is scheduled to transit first, followed by the Cutter Biscayne Bay.

The commercial shipping industry has requested icebreaking assistance for the harbors of Duluth, Minn., Superior, Wis., and Thunder Bay, Ont. The winter storms forecasted for Lake Superior make an open-water transit unsafe. To minimize the impact these transits have on the region’s developing ice, the two cutters will proceed at minimum safe speed.


Research vessel Sturgeon arrives at Great Lakes Shipyard for repairs

12/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard will perform repairs, haul out and drydocking as necessary to the U.S. Geological Survey research vessel Sturgeon under a fleet maintenance contract with the Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor, Mich., of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

The 105 foot-long Sturgeon was built in 1974 and is home-ported in Cheboygan, Mich. Sturgeon is the Center's second largest vessel with great geographic range and advanced scientific abilities. The primary mission of the R/V Sturgeon is to support fisheries related science in Lake Michigan using state-of-the-art electronic technology and traditional sampling gear such as bottom and mid-water trawls and gillnets.

Great Lakes Group


Port Reports -  December 10

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessels in the Twin Ports early Thursday were going about their business amid steady snow and six to eight inches of ice on the harbor. Traffic included Herbert C. Jackson arriving at CHS 2 for grain, Roger Blough loading pellets at BNSF ore dock in Superior, Arthur M. Anderson departing the CN ore dock and Beluga Endurance unloading wind turbines. Vessels expected later in the day included Mapleglen and John J. Boland, both for Midwest Energy Terminal, and salties Heloise and Munteborg, both for grain.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After several days of inactivity due to weather delays, the Upper Harbor Ore Dock loaded three vessels in 24 hours. Joseph H. Thompson was first late Wednesday evening, while fleet mates Lee A. Tregurtha and Pathfinder followed on Thursday.

Menominee, Mich. - Dick Lund
Manistee arrived at Menominee Paper Co. sometime after 9 p.m. on Wednesday. The ship was carrying the paper company's third load of coal this season. The other two loads were delivered by Lower Lakes' Maumee.

Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the CSL Tadoussac was loading at Stoneport. The Tadoussac is an unusual visitor but is on the schedule to return.


November Seaway cargo shipments up 28 percent

12/10 - Washington, D.C. - The St. Lawrence Seaway has reported a significant rise in iron ore, coal and grain shipments as it enters the final stretch of the shipping season.

Total cargo shipments in November jumped by 28 percent to 4.8 million metric tons compared to the same period last year, with some sections of the Seaway seeing the highest number of ship transits for this time of the year in more than a decade.

Year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period between March 31 and November 30 were 31.9 million metric tons, up 19 percent compared to 2009. The Seaway expects that figure will hit 35 million metric tons before the shipping season concludes at the end of the month.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway saw more than 407 ship transits in November the highest number for that month in 12 years as ships brought iron ore and other cargo into the Toronto/Hamilton area and vessels transited through the system with U.S. and Canadian grain destined for overseas markets.

“The double-digit tonnage increases we saw in November confirm that an economic rebound from a deep recession is underway,” said Rebecca McGill, Director of Trade Development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

The North American steel industry is faring much better than last year with strong numbers reported for iron ore, coal, coke and limestone cargoes, while U.S. grain exports are having their best season in more than a decade.

In November, coal shipments were up 92 percent to 481,000 metric tons compared to the same month in 2009. Coke, which is used as a fuel in blast furnaces during the manufacture of steel, was up 28 percent to 130,000 metric tons. Iron ore shipments remained strong during the month, up 25 percent at 981,000 metric tons. Total grain shipments increased by 29 percent in November to 1.8 million metric tons compared to 2009.

Year-to-date figures showed iron ore shipments up 49 percent to 8.9 million metric tons, while grain had increased by 9 percent to 7.8 million metric tons compared to 2009.

“The Great Lakes ports of Burns Harbor, Indiana and Duluth, Minnesota are regularly seeing ships loaded with wind components as the tonnage for this fast-growing renewable energy industry has more than quadrupled in the Great Lakes Seaway System for 2010 over the preceding year,” McGill added.

“We’ve seen significant increases in coal, grain and steel movements during 2010, said Peter Laman, port director for the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. “But our biggest increase is in project cargo shipments which are 10 times last years totals. This was driven by a few large tank and wind farm construction projects, including one that brought in 11 ships of windmill components. We also had our first exports of U.S. manufactured windmills, which were shipped to Nova Scotia.”

The Port of Oswego received three large shipments of aluminum from Sept Iles in November alone. Jonathan Daniels, executive director of the port said. “Those shipments accounted for nearly double the amount of aluminum we usually move through our port. We serve as a distribution center for four companies and the aluminum will be used by the food and beverage industry, and in the manufacture of automobiles and appliances a positive economic indicator.”

Marine Delivers


Troubled cruise ship sailed Great Lakes in 2010

12/10 - The disabled Antarctica ship Clelia II, which limped back toward port in Argentina Thursday after encountering severe weather 500 miles off the coast, is the same ship that cruised the Great Lakes this past summer and fall.

Michiganders may have spotted the Clelia II, which was used by the Great Lakes Cruise Company on its Toronto to Duluth cruises, the most recent of which was in mid September. Clelia II's route took it through Lake Erie, up the Detroit River, through Lake Huron, stopping in Mackinac Island and through the Soo Locks.

That route was bucolic compared to the ship's Antarctic encounters this week, when 35-foot waves and 55-m.p.h. winds hit Clelia in the Drake Passage, rocking the ship, breaking a window and affecting the electrical system, disabling an engine.

No one was hurt, but it had to limp back to port in Ushuaia, Argentina. A reported 88 passengers, all Americans, are aboard.

The Clelia II is a luxury small ship, completely refitted in 2009. Its hull is specially reinforced against ice so it is capable of withstanding rough Antarctic trips. It has all suites, teak floors and a spa.

Chris Conlin, vice president of Conlin Travel in Ann Arbor, which owns Great Lakes Cruising, said he was surprised to see the familiar ship on TV news reports. Although the ship's name was not first mentioned, "I knew it was the Clelia II," he said Thursday.

The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators said the ship was safely enroute back to port today. Most of the way back it was accompanied by another Antarctic ship, the National Geographic Explorer.

The Clelia II is not scheduled to cruise the Great Lakes in 2011, as another ship, the MV Columbus, returns to the lakes instead, Conlin said.

Detroit Free Press


Updates -  December 10

News Photo Gallery


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.

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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up 8.6 percent in November

12/9 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5,370,949 net tons in November, an increase of 6.8 percent over October, and an improvement of nearly 9 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were also slightly ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

November loadings at U.S. Great Lakes ports increased 10 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports along the Seaway were off by a fraction.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 49.4 million tons, an increase of 76 percent compared to the same point last year. However, the end-of-November total is still 2.3 percent off the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 77 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports are 67 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  December 9

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet was expected at 5:30 Wednesday evening with the final load of coal for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island. At this time no further boats are expected for the season.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation took on cement at Lafarge on Wednesday. They departed in the afternoon heading for Whitefish, Ont. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible arrived in port Wednesday night to unload coal at Lafarge. The G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are due in Thursday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived on the Saginaw Bay on Monday, but went to anchor due to strong winds and unfavorable weather conditions. Wednesday morning, she tried her luck and started to make her way to the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. The McCarthy made it to just above the Front Range before becoming wedged in the ice and became unable to turn. The tug Karl E. Luedtke, in the area working on a dredging project, came to her aid and quickly freed the 1000-foot vessel. The McCarthy Jr. reached the Consumers dock and was unloading late Wednesday morning.
The U.S.C.G. cutter Hollyhock was also on the Saginaw Bay, working aids to navigation, placing winter marks in the entrance channel. Hollyhock also assisted the McCarthy Wednesday evening by breaking up the ice so she could maneuver as she backed from the Consumers dock and out into the Saginaw Bay to turn at Light 12.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
About 9:35 a.m. the Federal Welland moved away from the Jonick Dock with tug assistance. She cleared the outer harbor light at 10:17 a.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Whistler is in at Redpath Sugar unloading. James Norris came in late Tuesday and tied up at Pier 35, possibly for winter lay-up. English River also arrived in late Tuesday. The Port Authority's tug William Rest and crane barge T.H.C. 50 pulled the navigation buoys from Humber Bay Tuesday. As well, their island airport ferry Marilyn Bell 1 was withdrawn from service for routine maintenance. The back- up ferry David Hornell VC took its place on the short trip to the island.


Cruise ship that visited Great Lakes limping to port near Argentina

12/9 - Buenos Aires - Officials say an Antarctic cruise ship with 160 passengers aboard lost an engine in high seas, but is limping safely to its scheduled port.

The Argentine Navy says the Clelia II is heading for the port of Ushuia at the extreme south of the country at 4 knots (about 5 mph). It says all passengers are safe, and it is being accompanied by an Argentine naval vessel.

The 2,420-ton ship declared an emergency on Tuesday when it was northeast of the Shetland Islands and about 500 miles from Ushuaia. A nearly 30-foot wave damaged one of the ship's engines, causing an electrical outage that reduced power to the ship. The ship was also being battered by 50 mph winds.

Crews were later able to fix the problem, according to the Herald Sun.

This latest incident happened nearly a year after the ship hit rocks while preparing for a passenger landing at an island in the Antarctic Peninsula, according to MarineLog.

The ship set out from Ushuaia on Nov. 30 and was scheduled to return on Wednesday.

Clelia II has visited the Great Lakes several times in recent seasons.

Videos from Youtube: video 1 - video 2


Buoy to test wind energy off Muskegon

12/9 - Muskegon, Mich. - The first floating buoy to test offshore wind energy in Lake Michigan is planned for six miles off the Muskegon shoreline next spring.

A federal grant helped fund the $3.7 million project spearheaded by Grand Valley State University’s Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center in Muskegon.

The initial plan for the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Assessment Project was to provide a demonstration wind turbine on Muskegon Lake. But it was cost prohibitive and not as practical as a floating buoy that could collect test data in different locations on the lake, MAREC officials said.

MAREC has received two bids on construction and deployment of the wind testing buoy. A decision on the bids is expected this month as project officials work to get the needed federal and state permits to allow the large buoy in the lake.

MAREC officials put together the initial $3.7 million in funding for the buoy and wind testing equipment. The effort began with a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Energy budget “earmark” through Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland.

MAREC officials brought in the University of Michigan’s Phoenix Energy Institute and the Michigan Public Service Commission. The final piece of the funding puzzle comes from Wisconsin Energy — the public utility interested in Lake Michigan wind development.

Private developer plans flop
Back in April, MAREC and its wind test platform partners sought a private developer to help finance, design and build the research platform. Adequate interest never surfaced, according to MAREC Director Arn Boezaart.

MAREC and the funding partners took a new look at their budget and the opportunities for collecting test data on the lake. The buoy idea was put in a new request for proposals sent to buoy manufacturers earlier this month.

“This will give us in-the-water, real-time data using the most advanced wind testing equipment,” Boezaart said. “We don’t have this kind of data right now.”

The plan is to put the buoy on Lake Michigan for nine to 10 months. The initial concept was a research platform in the lake that would survive winter ice flows but it did not fit into the researcher’s budget, Boezaart said.

The buoy would survive the winter, but the test equipment would likely be ruined under the strain of ice, Boezaart said. All of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather and wave buoys come out of the water each winter.

The initial research plan is for three years, moving the buoy to collect data from different parts of the lake.

In addition to the Muskegon location, the second testing area will be on the “mid-lake plateau,” a shallow area in the middle of Lake Michigan just south of a line from Grand Haven to Milwaukee. Wisconsin Energy is interested in wind data from that location, Boezaart said.

The third location would be determined by GVSU and University of Michigan researchers after the results of the first two years are analyzed. GVSU would own the buoy and after three years would determine how it could further lake research going forward.

The buoy would be equipped with advanced “LIDAR” technology. The “light detecting and ranging” device is an optical sensing technology that can measure winds simultaneously at various heights.

“This would be able to provide ‘bankable’ results for those that would look at investing in offshore wind,” Boezaart said.

For the two or three winter months that data would not be collected on the water, researchers could make estimations based on wind data being collected onshore under a state wind testing program. Michigan State Police communication towers along the Lake Michigan shoreline have also been equipped with wind anemometers. These test sites could give scientists a fairly accurate picture of the winter winds on the lake when the other nine months of lake data are correlated to the shoreline wind speeds.

Along with analyzing the two bids for the wind test buoy, MAREC officials continue to work on securing an environmental permit from the federal government. That environmental approval is needed before federal money may be spent on manufacturing the buoy.

Muskegon Chronicle


An early Erie Canal boat found buried in New York river

12/9 - Fulton, N.Y. — Underwater explorers have discovered an early version of a 19th-century Erie Canal boat buried beneath the Oswego River in central New York.

Barely six inches of the 78-foot-long boat is visible above the mucky silt of the riverbed midway between Syracuse and Lake Ontario.

Veteran explorers Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski used high-resolution, side-scan sonar technology to locate the boat in October. They believe it's the oldest Erie Canal wreck discovered so far. Its length suggests it plied the canal sometime between 1830 and 1850 when boats that size were common.

Since 1970, Kennard has helped find more than 20 wrecks in the Great Lakes and about 180 others in Lake Champlain, New York's Finger Lakes and the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

Associated Press


Updates -  December 9

News Photo Gallery


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.


Weather, water woes ease – vessels underway

12/8 - 1 p.m. Update – Most vessels that had been at anchor or tied up around the Great Lakes due to weather conditions were on the move again Wednesday morning as winds dropped and water levels returned to normal. At the Soo, the Burns Harbor led a parade of 10 vessels downbound through the system.

Original report - A one-two punch of high wind and low water levels has delayed traffic around the Great Lakes.

As of Thursday evening, John G. Munson and Arthur M. Anderson were tucked behind Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Barbro, Algoway, Federal Kivalina, Indiana Harbor, American Integrity, Joseph H. Thompson, Sam Laud and Quebecois were at anchor in Whitefish Bay, the Jana was in Goulais Bay, and Canadian Transport and John B. Aird were on the hook in the upper St. Marys River. Saginaw was stopped in the Canadian Channel in the upper St. Marys River. Burns Harbor continues to wait at the Soo Locks west pier for water levels to come up in the Rock Cut. In the lower river, the tug Evans McKeil and her tow, Horseshoe Casino, as well as the saltie Munteborg were anchored above DeTour Village. Philip R. Clarke and Undaunted sought shelter north of St. Ignace.

In the lower lakes, five vessels were at anchor in Thunder Bay (off Alpena) due to weather conditions. American Republic, Cason J. Callaway and Buffalo were on the hook in the bay on Monday; CSL Tadoussac and Algolake joined them on Tuesday. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was anchored in Saginaw Bay Tuesday, Capt. Henry Jackman and Canadian Transfer were moored at Sarnia, and American Century was in the Belle Isle anchorage at Detroit. Michipicoten was stopped near Cedar Point in Lake Erie, while Maumee was at anchor off Colchester in western Lake Erie.

BoatNerd staff; Ben & Chanda McClain


Port Reports -  December 8

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports grain traffic is seeing a late-season surge, with several salties loading or due to load at elevators later this week. On Tuesday, Eemsborg was finishing its load at General Mills in Duluth while Isa was topping off at CHS in Superior. Both were expected to depart Tuesday. Elsewhere in port, Mesabi Miner loaded at CN ore dock, Paul R. Tregurtha was due later in the day at Midwest Energy Terminal and Arthur M. Anderson was due in the evening to unload at Hallett 5. It will shift to the CN ore dock when finished to load iron ore pellets.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
At 4:30 p.m. the tugs Breaker and Joncaire were inside the wall near the North Entrance to the Outer Harbor. They had a section of ice boom with them and it appeared they might be staging the sections there after towing them out of the river.


Thorold contest seeks Best Decorated Ship for holidays

12/8 - Thorold, Ont. – During December, ships passing through the Welland Canal have been decked out for the holidays as a part of Thorold's Sixth Annual Best Decorated Ship Contest.

The annual contest, according to Terry Dow, director of tourism for the City of Thorold, has gained in popularity and competitiveness. "Captains of the ships that ply our Great Lakes have been gearing up for this year's competition," said Dow.

Shipping companies such as Algoma Central Marine, Lower Lakes Shipping and Canada Steamship Lines have been notified of this year's contest and start date.

"We invite you to bring your family to the Welland Canal and watch the beautifully decorated and illuminated ships climb the escarpment," said Dow. "The Welland Canal is already a spectacular site during the evening hours and with the ships decorated for Christmas, your visit will be even more enhanced and breathtaking,

Thorold Tourism's Lock 7 Complex has a detailed schedule of the ships arrival into the lock. Guests to the canal are encouraged to call the complex to find out the best times to head to view the ships. Thorold Tourism's Lock 7 Complex can be reached at 905-680-9477.

Judging is done in January by the "Friends of Lock 7," a group of 10 volunteers who give hundreds of hours of their time yearly to inform thousands of visitors to Thorold about the ships and the city. The Captain of the winning ship will be presented the "Margery Ritchie" trophy at the Annual Shipmasters Dinner held in February.

Thorold News


Public not happy with Soo Locks park tree removal

12/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Public furor over the wholesale removal of trees from the Soo Locks park — and the perception the public was not privy to the plans beforehand — spilled over Monday night into the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission meeting, where U.S. Army Corps of Engineers area engineer Kevin Sprague was on hand to better explain the Corps' reasoning and plan.

"There was a breakdown in coordination between the city and the Corps of Engineers," Sault resident Marsha Michaud said to Sprague and the commission. "The plan should have been carefully studied ... and obviously it was not," adding the Corps should have spread out the cutting of trees throughout the park instead of taking down entire sections at once.

The tree removal, according to Sprague and plans posted on the Corps' website (, is part of a master plan intended to increase security and restore the park more in line with the park's original plan from the 1940s.

The plan was originally presented to the commission in March. The tree removal, along with the demolition of the current observation decks, the replacement of the chain link fence on the park's northern boundary with black wrought iron fencing, and the construction of a new observation deck, are all part of a 20-year master plan developed by the corps. In the plan, the trees that are cut down will eventually be replaced with those by with a higher canopy to establish better sight lines and to increase tree diversity within the parks.

But despite Sprague's insistence that "there will be no wholesale removal of 150 trees at one time ... this is a long-range plan," the sight of trees going down from one end of the park to the other was shocking to many residents.

"Even though it's federal property, the people here feel an ownership of the park," Commissioner Marilyn Burton said. "They want to have some input. For heaven's sake, involve the public. I know there are people here upset about not having input."

The city's tree committee was apparently not consulted for the plan, but steps were taken to seek the committee's input for the rest of the tree removal and replanting.

According to the master plan, of the 212 trees in Soo Locks Park, 110 are scheduled to be removed, though Sprague said after replanting there would actually be more trees in the park than before.

Currently, 55 percent of the trees in the park are sugar maple, a fact that concerns the Corps. There are also 21 green ash trees, most of which have been infected with Emerald Ash Borer and will be cut down.

"We need a better mix of trees, so, God forbid we have a sugar maple disease come through, we don't lose 55 percent of our trees.

"A majority of our tree problems are because of overcrowding, no pruning, and a lack of mulch rings."

Soo Evening News


Seaway issues first message for the closing the 2010 navigation season

12/8 - In an effort to help Seaway users plan vessel transits throughout the remainder of the navigation season, the St. Lawrence Seaway has issued its first radio message for the closing the 2010 navigation season. Messages will be issued Monday through Friday. As the need arises, weekends will be included.

Mariners are advised that the Montreal-Lake Ontario and Welland Canal drafts outlined in Seaway Notice 1 of 2010 remain in effect until the end of the navigation season.

It is important for mariners to note that any vessel which enters the Seaway upbound at CIP2 after 2359 hours on Dec. 9 shall be designated a wintering vessel in accordance with all the terms outlined in Seaway Notice No. 12 of 2010.

At midnight Dec. 6, the number of ocean vessels above St. Lambert was 42 as compared to 15 in 2009. Above Port Weller the number was 29 as compared to 12 in 2009.

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

The next radio message will be issued Wednesday, Dec. 8.


Annual Marine Mart this Saturday in Grosse Pointe

12/8 - Shop for Great Lakes and nautical-themed gifts at the 29th annual Marine Mart, sponsored by the Dossin Museum, Saturday at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for early bird admission and $7 for 10 a.m. (children 12 and under are free). Expect books, photos, ship models, artifacts, china, souvenirs, post cards, models and more. The Grosse Pointe War Memorial is located at 32 Lakeshore Drive in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Call (313) 833-7938 for details.


Updates -  December 8

News Photo Gallery


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.


Coast Guard begins ice breaking operations in western Great Lakes

12/7 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard commenced Operation Taconite Monday afternoon in response to colder temperatures and the resultant ice growth in the western Great Lakes region.

Operation Taconite is the Coast Guard’s largest domestic icebreaking operation, encompassing Lake Superior, St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac, and northern Lake Huron.

As a result of the operation, certain waterways may close once due consideration is given to the protection of the marine environment, waterway improvements, aids to navigation, the need for cross-channel traffic (e.g. ferries), the availability of icebreakers, and the safety of the island residents, who in the course of their daily business use naturally formed ice bridges for transportation to and from the mainland.

Initially, only one Coast Guard icebreaker will be assigned to Operation Taconite. Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay, homeported in Sault Sainte Marie, has been ordered to make its way west towards Duluth, Minn., to provide ice breaking services while Coast Guard Cutter Alder is underway working aids to navigation. Additional Coast Guard ice breakers will join the operation in the coming days and weeks.

Currently, there are no channel closures. However, the implementation of Operation Taconite does place additional measures on commercial shipping plying the western lakes, St. Mary’s River and the Straits of Mackinac. These measures include restricting tanker transits to daylight only in the presence of ice, reducing speeds by two miles per hour in various locations, and requiring additional voice and position reporting points throughout the operation’s area of responsibility.

The Coast Guard would like to advise all recreational ice users there are currently no channel closures, and to plan their activities carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels.


Lakes limestone trade down almost 6 percent in November

12/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 2.9 million net tons in November, a decrease of 16 percent compared to October, and a drop of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. The trade was down even more 17.5 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports were down 190,000 tons compared to a year ago. Canadian docks registered a marginal increase 12,000 tons – or one cargo in a 600-foot-long vessel.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 26.8 million net tons, an increase of 18 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 14.8 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-November timeframe. Loadings at U.S. ports are up 20 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks are 10.2 percent ahead of last year’s pace.


Drummond Islander IV assists Spar Jade with rescue efforts

12/7 - Eastern Upper Peninsula - November 21, what began as a routine day at work for Captain Rockie Taghon and deckhand James Geyer, both veteran employees of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA), turned into a race against time and a matter of life or death when an incident occurred during their watch on the Drummond Islander IV ferry.

Capt. Taghon, 57, was contacted at approximately 8:30 a.m. by a DeTour pilot boat crewmember who was forwarding a request for assistance with an emergency onboard the downbound vessel Spar Jade which was several miles upstream in the lower St. Marys River.

There had been a fire in a crew cabin onboard the Norwegian-flagged vessel that had an unconscious victim onboard who was suffering severe smoke inhalation.

At that point, another key element in the response was beginning as Crew Chief Candy Postula and her EMS team from the DeTour Village Ambulance Corp prepared to respond. They would go onboard with Drummond Islander IV to maximize the response time in regard to treatment and transportation.

With Taghon communicating with the captain of Spar Jade, and Nick Brady (who works for the DeTour pilot boat) communicating with DeTour EMS, the most efficient logistics of evacuating and transporting the victim were rapidly completed.

By 9:05 a.m., Captain Taghon had Drummond Islander IV positioned alongside the downbound and lee side of the Spar Jade to facilitate the safest and fastest opportunity for the emergency responders to work. By 9:20 a.m., with the victim safely transferred from the Spar Jade to the upper deck of the Drummond Islander IV, then down the stairwell to the waiting ambulance, Taghon and Geyer landed the ferry at the mainland ferry dock (DeTour). The victim was immediately transported to War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie.

It is expected that the victim will make a full recovery, however he remained unconscious at least during the ambulance trip and it has been reported that he would only have survived a very short length of time had he not arrived at the hospital when he did. This is in large part due to Capt. Taghon, his deckhand James Geyer, combined with the efforts of Candy Postula and her dedicated crew. As of Dec. 1, the victim was well enough to be discharged from the hospital and was awaiting an airline ticket back to his native India so that he can eventually return to work. The Spar Jade is currently making its way out the St. Lawrence Seaway with its load of grain destined for India as well.

The Soo Evening News


High tech naval ship launched in Marinette

12/7 - Marinette, Wis. – A grand celebration marked the launch of the nation’s 3rd Littoral Combat Ship, built by Marinette Marine. The LCS Fort Worth splashed down in the Menominee River Saturday morning with local, state and national dignitaries marking the occasion.

The ship’s sponsor, Congresswoman Kay Granger from Texas, performed the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle across Fort Worth’s bow. She talked about the launch, a sight very few people ever get to see. “It was wonderful. It was particularly good and exciting because of the side launch. This is the only place they do that.”

The vessel’s side launch allows it to essentially be dropped directly into the water.

The LCS is a new generation of Navy ship. The speedy vessel allows the military to easily switch out weapon systems in just a matter of days, a bonus in an age where weapons technology is rapidly updated.

Wisconsin Radio Network


Updates -  December 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards 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 that 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 c.) ALGONOVA (i) 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.


Icebreakers ready for the winter

12/6 - If the U.S. Coast Guard's ice breakers are on the way, can another bitter Great Lakes winter be far behind?

The USCG's Morro Bay left its home port in New London, Conn., last Monday and is due to arrive in the Great Lakes in the next week. The 140-foot vessel will work with nine other Coast Guard cutters and Canadian Coast Guard ships to keep the Great Lakes shipping lanes open this winter, in the biggest annual ice-breaking mission in the country.

Breaking up the ice is crucial to the economy of Michigan and the nation because an estimated $2 billion in cargo moves through the region's waterways every year, including steel, coal, heating oil and grain.

Coast Guard ice breakers stationed outside the lakes have helped on the Great Lakes for the past two years. The New Jersey-based cutter Penobscot Bay spent last winter on the lakes and the Thunder Bay cutter from Maine was stationed here in the winter of 2008-09.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  December 6

Soo - Jerry Masson
Windy conditions and low water readings sent the Burns Harbor to tie up at the Soo locks with John B Aird on the hook in Wiskey Bay in the upper river. Lower pool readings was minus 17 inches, Rock Cut was minus 13 inches. USCG Alder was at Lime Island with tug Evans McKeil and barge anchored in Potts Bay. Upbound traffic included Arthur M Anderson, Paul R Tregurtha and Edgar B Speer.

Detour, Mich. - Cathy Kohring
The tug Evans McKeil arrived in the lower St. Marys River off DeTour Saturday due to the winds on Lake Huron. If the weather cooperates they are supposed to haul anchor on Tuesday. The Horseshoe Casino came from Chicago area and is being towed to India, not for scrap but reportedly to be used as a floating Casino.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Algobay was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock Sunday. The Algorail finished unloading stone at the Midwest Stone Dock and departed Sunday afternoon. Joseph H. Thompson finished unloading her cargo at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock and departed Sunday afternoon. Canadian Progress was loading coal at the CSX Docks. The tug Eagle Service with her barge were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Cleveland with her barge remain at the Ironhead Shipyard. Tug Barbara Andrie with her barge were at the Hocking Valley Dock. Bright Laker was loading grain at Anderson's K Elevator. She will be the last salt water vessel to load grain at Toledo for the 2010 season. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the H. Lee White, Manistee, and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Monday. The Cuyahoga on Wednesday followed by the Canadian Progress and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday. The next scheduled ore boats due in at the Torco Dock will be the Joseph H. Thompson and Lee A. Tregurtha on Friday followed by the Atlantic Huron and John J. Boland on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Manistee finished unloading at the Sand Supply Landing around 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. She was towed out of the Buffalo Ship Canal by the tug Washington and had to squeeze past the American Mariner at the General Mills Frontier Elevator at about 3:30 p.m. The Mariner pulled her unloading boom away from the hopper and moved about 100 feet North to allow for more room in the canal for the tow to pass by. The tug was constantly working the stern of the Manistee back and forth while they came alongside. The canal was even more restricted due to the small pleasure boat docks that had not yet been removed by the marina across from General Mills. The tow passed and the Manistee was Westbound on the lake by 5 p.m. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin also departed bound for Toledo with a partial load of coal from the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna.
The G-tug Washington made an attempt to transit upriver through the CSX bridges on Friday but was delayed due to the heavy snow load on both lift spans at CP-1 (River Bridge) and CP Draw. The span at CP-1 only went up about 20 feet. The Washington's mast may have touched the bridge. CP Draw was no better and only went up about four inches, not enough for the tug to clear through. The Washington stood by waiting for CSX to clear the snow off the spans, but they decided to head back downriver around noon. The English River arrived at around 11 p.m. that night. She was towed up the Buffalo River stern first by the G-Tug Washington for the Ganson St. plant.
After delays due to high wind, strong currents, and then a massive snow storm, the tug Ohio and barge CBC-1268 was able to depart Republic Steel under tow of the G-tug Washington at 4 a.m. Saturday. Earlier that day the snow was so bad that the CSX Railroad had to bring out their “Snow Jet” from Frontier Yard to blast and melt the snow off of their draw bridges to allow it to raise for the passage of the vessels.

Hamilton, Ont. - Ted Wilush
Algoma Spirit arrived off Hamilton Sunday, she anchored out in the lake after what appeared to be an aborted canal transit. When she does enter the harbor, she will go to pier 25 to load grain.


Ferry proposal on thin ice if scant interest in Ontario

12/6 - Cleveland interests are still assessing whether there is enough interest on the north shore of Lake Erie to warrant a cross-lake ferry.

Officials with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority have retained a consultant to test the ferry waters in places like Port Stanley and Port Burwell and should know by February if it is worth proceeding.

“It takes two to tango here,” Port Authority chief executive William Freedman concedes.

“If there is no partner on the other side we would take a pass,” he said, noting he expects to join consultant Stuart Theis in contacting governments on the Ontario side of the lake.

Theis was retained under a $19,500 contract to revisit a possible ferry plan as the port authority seeks to develop new business. But his work was delayed by municipal elections in Ontario.

“I still think the potential to find users is there,” Friedman told The Free Press.

The port boss conceded freight and trucking are a key requirement in any ferry business plan and he is mindful some folks in Port Stanley don’t want it to become a trucking terminal.

“We are open-minded,” he said. “We certainly wouldn’t go forward if a community said no.”

Friedman said aside from Port Stanley, Port Burwell “is on the list” of potential ports of call on the Ontario side.

Port Burwell recently took a tourism prize from Port Stanley when the Elgin Military Museum decided to locate the decommissioned submarine Ojibwa there amidst municipal indifference in Port Stanley. The cold-war area boat and museum is forecast to draw as many as 100,000 visitors a year.

Interests in Cleveland promoted a cross-lake ferry several years ago but that plan died when the port authority became embroiled in a plan to relocate its harbour eastward along the Ohio city’s waterfront. But that plan died and port officials are taking another look at a ferry service.

Several Ohio proponents of ferries to Ontario note the daily trade of $88 million between the midwest state and Canada’s manufacturing heartland. They argue a ferry would reduce fuel consumption and speed border crossings.

Despite millions poured into harbour improvements on the American side of the lake by the U.S. federal government, Ontario ports remain in need of dredging. And Port Stanley has also been preoccupied with years of harbour ownership talks.

The federal government finally off-loaded the port on Central Elgin in September and has promised to clean it up.

The London Free Press


USS Edson may be brought to Saginaw River

12/6 - Bay City, Mich. - A seven year battle to bring a piece of U.S. history to the Bay City waterfront is moving forward.

The Saginaw Valley Ship Museum Committee has been working to bring the USS Edson to the Saginaw River.

The destroyer was commissioned in 1958.

They hope to make it a floating museum open to the public.

The Bay City Times reports one of the last hurdles the group needs to clear is approval from the EPA.

After that, it needs to be cleared by the Secretary of the Navy.

If everything stays on course, an official said the ship could make its way into Bay City's port by spring.



BoatNerd Requests Hardware Donations

11/29 - BoatNerd is requesting donations of used computer 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, newer Macs, Laptops and any size LCD monitor. Also servers and video production equipment. 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 contact us at


Updates -  December 6

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards 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.


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.


Port Reports -  December 4

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River early Thursday morning with a split cargo. The pair lightered at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to finish. Maumee was inbound late Thursday, headed to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. The Moore and Kuber were outbound for the lake early Friday morning after Maumee cleared them at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Maumee was outbound Friday afternoon. Robert S. Pierson called on the Saginaw River Friday afternoon, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was expected to be outbound late Friday evening. This was the first trip of the season to the Saginaw River for the Pierson.


Court rules Chicago shipping locks will stay open

12/4 - Chicago, Ill. - A federal judge has ruled against five states that wanted to close shipping locks in the Chicago area to keep Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow says while the potential harm from the carp could be great, there wasn't enough evidence to prove harm was imminent.

Josh Mogerman is with the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. He says he's not surprised at the ruling against the states, which were looking for the two main locks on the Chicago waterway system to be closed, to create a barrier separating the Mississippi River system from Lake Michigan.

“And unfortunately the locks aren't designed for that,” says Mogerman. “They're leaky and allow a fair amount of water to move through, and in the end, probably wouldn't work as a very effective carp barrier."

Wisconsin and four other states argued the region's multi-billion dollar fishing industry could be in danger if the carp reach the Great Lakes. The Wisconsin Attorney General's office says they're "deeply disappointed" by the decision, and are considering their options.

Superior Telegram


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.


Port Reports -  December 3

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tug Mary E. Hannah with the barge A-410 were off loading at their dock in the Lower Fox River (across the slip from LaFarge) Thursday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday afternoon the tug Tenacious left the river and headed out into the lake. The Manitowoc arrived at Lafarge around 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday to unload coal at Lafarge. By 8 p.m. the unloading was finished and it departed the dock. Thursday night the Calumet made its way into the river to unload coal from Sandusky, Ohio for the Decorative Panels International Plant. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected at Lafarge early Friday morning to load cement.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Saginaw was loading coal at the CSX Docks and was expected to depart late Thursday afternoon. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Cason J. Callaway and Manistee on Saturday, Algosoo and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Sunday followed by H. Lee White on Monday. The next scheduled ore boats due in at the Torco Dock will be CSL Laurentien, presently at anchor in western Lake Erie due to low water conditions in the Toledo Ship Channel. There is no ETA at this time. Algobay is due on Saturday followed by Atlantic Huron on Tuesday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Algorail on Saturday.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw continues Christmas Ship tradition

12/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – 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 at 8 a.m. to distribute Christmas trees to more than a thousand deserving families.

The distribution of the holiday trees to trucks from community organizations will begin off the decks of “Chicago’s Christmas Ship,” the USCGC Mackinaw, on Saturday 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. 3 - 4 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. It was on such a run that she foundered with all hands in 1913.

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, Wis., 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.


U.S. Geological survey research vessel arrives Great Lakes Shipyard for repairs

12/3 - Cleveland, Ohio - Great Lakes Shipyard, in Cleveland, will perform repairs, haul out and drydocking to the U.S. Geological Survey research vessel Grayling under a Fleet Maintenance Contract with the Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor, Mich., of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

The 75 foot- long Grayling was built in 1977 and is home-ported in Cheboygan, Mich. Grayling is the Center's third largest vessel with great geographic range and advanced scientific abilities. Nearly all of the fish population and habitat research in Lake Huron is conducted aboard this research vessel.

Grayling is also used in fish population assessment in eastern Lake Superior. As the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding about natural resource conditions, issues, and problems.

Great Lakes Group


Updates -  December 3

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


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 southwest 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.

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 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

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River Monday afternoon carrying a split cargo. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt Stone dock before continuing upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore and Kuber then turned at Sixth Street and were outbound for the lake early Tuesday morning.

Commercial shipping traffic on the Saginaw River remained stable in November, logging 17 deliveries to local docks. This is the same number recorded over the month of November 2009. For the year to date, there have been 138 deliveries, down 20 from the same period last season. Looking at longer-term numbers, the 17 passages in November are eight less than the six year average of 25. For the season to date, the 138 deliveries are down 89 from the six-year average of 227.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Mckee Sons left Marblehead around 8:30 last night and arrived in Lorain under darkness. She was spotted this morning south of the Henderson Bridge, boom extended and unloading. She departed Lorain about 11 a.m.


Great Lakes shipping ahead of 2009 pace

12/2 - Green Bay, Wis. - Cargo numbers on the Great Lakes continue to show improvement over the rough of 2009, but they still lag behind the five-year average, according to a monthly report from the Lake Carriers Association.

The Ohio-based organization reports U.S.-flag freighters carried 9.5 million tons of cargo in October, a 1.2 percent increase from September and an 8.5 percent increase from October 2009.

While both those numbers are up, October still was about 11.4 percent below the five-year average for the month, according to the report.

"Iron ore cargos in October increased 34 percent compared to a year ago, but coal loadings were down 15.2 percent," according to the report. "Limestone cargos increased 11.3 percent."

At Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay, Chief Financial Officer Dave Nelson said 2010 has been an average year for the business for shipments of calcium carbonate.

"If you go back over a five-year average, it's been a pretty normal year for us," he said Tuesday. "As a whole, it's really been pretty flat over the last three to five years."

Nelson said Great Lakes Calcium — and other businesses — backed off inventory levels during the depths of the recession in late 2008 and 2009, but those inventory levels have been replenished to normal this year.

"In 2011, I think it's going to pick up a little bit," he said. "So, a slight increase from that historical average."

Great Lakes Calcium received about 250,000 tons of product this year, and one more ship is expected to arrive in port in the next month, Nelson said.

December usually marks the end of the shipping season on the Great Lakes.

The Port of Green Bay saw a spike in shipments at the close of 2009 and in early 2010, but then saw numbers trail off.

In October, the port brought in 153,800 tons of cargo, compared with 327,773 in October 2009, according to monthly statistics from the port.

Overall numbers through October (1.35 million tons) are trailing 2009 (1.5 million tons) by about 8 percent.

Like the Lake Carriers Association, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. continues to see improvement in shipment numbers through the end of October.

"Shipment numbers are continuing to remain strong month-to-month, indicating that the season will finish well ahead of 2009," Bruce Hodgson, director of marketing for the seaway, stated in a press release. "The world demand for grains out of the U.S. and now more recently from Ontario and Quebec has been a great boost for Seaway traffic."

In its monthly report, the corporation reported that total year-to-date shipments reached 27.1 million metric tons through Oct. 31, an increase of 17.5 percent over the same period in 2009.

So far this year, U.S. freighters carried 72.2 million tons of cargo on the Great Lakes, nearly 41 percent more than at the same point last year, according to the Lake Carriers Association.

Like the monthly numbers, the year-to-date total is still behind the five-year average, by 9.5 percent, according to the report.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Flats group proposes straightening the Cuyahoga River for Cleveland casino

12/2 - Cleveland, Ohio - The idea of straightening the Cuyahoga River to allow freighters to bypass Collision Bend has been discussed for more than 100 years, but a local community development group believes the age-old plan might give Dan Gilbert the extra room he wants to build his Cleveland casino.

Digging a new river channel across the neck of Collision Bend would create an island out of the jutting piece of land and allow large ships carrying iron ore and limestone to bypass the 16-acre site where Gilbert plans to build the Casino.

The Cleveland site hugs Collision Bend, a particularly tortuous stretch of the river named because of occasional accidents.

Tom Newman, executive director of Flats Oxbow Association, said the plan would give Gilbert extra space along the river for parking, and even a marina, beneath the $600 million casino. Flats Oxbow is a community development group representing businesses and residents in the Flats.

Newman said his group presented the idea at a recent meeting with about 40 people representing the shipping industry, the businesses located along with river and Rock Ventures, the partnership building the Cleveland casino.

"It solves a lot of issues," Newman said. "It would save at least an hour for freighters going up and down the river, bringing goods in and out."

"You'd be able to have a marina because you wouldn't have freighters to contend with."

The casino to be built behind Tower City, slated to open in 2013, is one of four approved by Ohio voters.

Cleveland Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert controls the Cleveland and Cincinnati casinos, and Penn National Gaming - a Pennsylvania-based gaming company - has the Columbus and Toledo sites.

An early vision for the casino shows a chic riverfront facility wrapped with upscale shops, large-scale video screens and restaurants.

But a big design issue looms: Rock Ventures officials would like to extend the bulkhead at the bend into the river by an average of 29 feet to make room for a seven-level parking garage with 5,000 spaces.

Jennifer Kulczycki, a spokeswoman for Rock Ventures, said she was unaware of the proposal to straighten the river and couldn't comment on it.

The idea is far-fetched to some, ironic to others. The word Cuyahoga means "crooked" to the Indians who settled the area. But it has come and gone since the Army Corps first brought it up in the 1800s. Most recently, in 1991, the Corps proposed doing a feasibility study on digging the new river channel, a project that became known as the Scranton Road cut.

The Corps labeled the project as a "must" study, but it didn't move forward because of a lack of local interest, according to news stories. Money also was obstacle.

Not counting the cost of acquiring the property, the new 200-foot wide channel was estimated to cost up to $23 million in 1991. Today, after adjusting for inflation, that would be as much as $37 million.

That also doesn't include the cost of building a bridge to make the new island useable.

Bruce Sanders, a spokesman for the Army Corps, said that Congress would have to authorize digging a new channel. Congress would also have to approve moving the bulkheads into the river as Rock Ventures has proposed. The Corps oversees the operation of the river channel.

Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carrier's Association, said his members were aware of the proposal, but that it is not a part of a plan they are about to present to Rock Ventures. The association represents the 18 companies that operate American-flagged ships on the Great Lakes.

"It's not where we're going," Nekvasil said, though he declined to reveal details.

"We're looking at ways that would allow the casino to go where it wants and allow our vessels to continue to navigate safely and efficiently.

"Basically, it boils down to if they're going to take some room for the casino, we have to find some room to maneuver in other areas of Collision Bend."

Cleveland Plain Dealer


New representatives emphasize spending cuts

12/2 - Duluth, Minn. – Incoming Republican U.S. Reps. Chip Cravaack and Sean Duffy met in Duluth Tuesday for a briefing on Great Lakes, port and shipping issues.

Both GOP freshmen are replacing high-profile, senior congressional Democrats whose districts are bounded by the states' border - Jim Oberstar lost his seat to Cravaack in Minnesota's 8th district, and David Obey retired from Wisconsin's 7th District.

Cravaack and Duffy held a brief news conference that provided few specifics about their positions - beyond the need to rein in federal spending.

Port authority officials outlined a host of issues facing the Great Lakes' and its economy - from environmental protection to infrastructure improvements to mining. They are expensive issues that could consume a lot of federal dollars - and therefore trouble the two conservative incoming House members, who campaigned on a platform of curbing federal spending.

The federal government is responsible for dredging harbors like Duluth-Superior, and has invested millions of dollars in port improvements. A new shipping lock planned to accommodate the largest lake ships at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan could cost an estimated $500 million, but that project is currently on hold for lack of funding.

Cravaack sounded supportive, but stopped far short of committing to support federal spending on improvements like that.

"That's one thing we're learning about just today. We know that infrastructure is aging, and that's something we definitely have to take a look at, that can promote the economy on the Great Lakes," Cravaack said.

In some cases, supporting shipping can be at odds with supporting the environment. For example, it could cost ship owners millions of dollars to retrofit their fleets to meet stringent new ballast water regulations in the coming years.

Similarly, Cravaack met recently with officials from PolyMet Mining, and came away voicing support for the copper-nickel mining project on Minnesota's Iron Range and the jobs it would create.

Opponents of the mine worry about sulfide pollution. Cravaack expressed a need for balance. "The balance of forces ... between the economy, the environment; trying to do what's best for our districts; and trying to get the best possible scenario, where we all can benefit and move forward in getting this great economy going once again in this area," Cravaack said.

Wisconsin's Sean Duffy had a similar sentiment.

"I think there's a balance," Duffy said. "A lot of times folks might see as a competing interest between the economy and the environment. And I think both can be successful and both can accomplish their goals."

But what came out most clearly was each candidate's commitment to curtail federal spending. Duffy said he campaigned to turn back federal non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels. Cravaack suggested a need for even more aggressive cutting.

"It's a good start. There's more to be done. Much more to be done," he said.

Cravaack did not rule out pushing for cuts to projects already in the works. Cravaack hinted as much shortly after the election, showing little interest in a recreational trail that would connect two established trails on either side of Duluth.

"I just spoke with Mayor Ness this morning about these issues, and again, this is something we're going to have to take a look at," said Cravaack. "Is it a need or a want, and can we afford it? That truly is the bottom line."

Cravaack said the port visit is part of an effort to get out and see what people in the district need from Congress. He said he needs to learn what's essential - but the right money has to go to the right projects.

"I was in the military during the Clinton administration, and remember we right-sized the military?" said Cravaack. "I think it's time that we right size the federal government as well, and this is something we need to take a look at. We have to rein in spending. We cannot spend more than we take in."

Cravaack said it will be late December before he knows which committees he'll be assigned in the U.S. House. He said he hopes to be seated on several panels: Energy and Commerce, Transportation and Infrastructure's Aviation Subcommittee, and Armed Forces and Intelligence.

House committee appointments could be made by Christmas.

Minnesota Public Radio


Coast Guard rescues lost hunter in Saginaw

12/2 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S. Coast Guard crewmembers hoisted a disoriented hunter to safety after he lost his way while duck hunting in a southern Saginaw, Mich., marsh at about 9:10 p.m., Tuesday.

A Coast Guard rescue crew from Air Station Detroit launched aboard an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, and crewmembers from Station Tawas, Mich., drove to the area in an automobile to try to locate the hunter after he placed a distress call via cell phone at about 6:10 p.m.

“Our crew located the man and he was okay,” said Lt. Tasha Hood, co-pilot aboard the rescue helicopter. “We just wanted to make sure we got him to shore before it turned into something worse.”


Grand Haven Coast Guardsmen to support Marine Corps Toys for Tots event

12/2 - Grand Haven, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard personnel from Sector Field Office and Electronic Support Detachment Grand Haven are scheduled support the U.S. Marine Corps’ annual Toys for Tots campaign, beginning Friday at noon.

Uniformed Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel will accept unwrapped new toys in the Starbucks parking lot on the corner of US-31 and Jackson Street Friday afternoon from noon until 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.

“Grand Haven Coast Guard personnel are treated like family by the citizens of the tri-cities area,” said Lt. Ben Russell, executive officer of Sector Field Office Grand Haven. “By supporting the Marine Corps’ storied community service campaign, we hope to build momentum for the event in order to provide local, less fortunate children with toys and hopefully deliver some joy during the holidays.”

Leading the event is the Grand Haven Chief Petty Officers Association, a Coast Guard group composed of local, active-duty, reserve and retired chief petty officers whose mission is to support citizens and military members of the local community through outreach and volunteer efforts.

“As Coast Guard chief petty officers, we do our best to demonstrate to junior Coast Guard members the value of community outreach initiatives,” said Chief Petty Officer Thomas Hemminger, of Sector Field Office Grand Haven. “We are truly honored the Marine Corps has accepted our assistance with their great cause.”


Worker killed in accident at BNSF taconite facility

12/2 - Superior, Wis. - A 43-year-old man was killed in an industrial accident at the BNSF Railway taconite facility in the Allouez neighborhood of Superior Wednesday morning.

Kelly Yadon of Superior, who had worked at BNSF Railway for five year, was fatally injured about 6:30 a.m.

“Kelly was an integral part of our team here in Allouez,” Pete Hamell, superintendent of operations, said in a news release. “We are all deeply saddened by this loss.”

Yadon is survived by two adult sons and several siblings and family members.

“We are very saddened by this, and our deepest sympathies go out” to Yadon’s family, friends and co-workers, BNSF regional spokeswoman Amy McBeth said.

Emergency workers were dispatched to the taconite facility at 3701 Itasca St. at 6:28 a.m.

“When my crews arrived, they found the patient pinned between two steel beams beside a conveyer belt,” Superior Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Edwards said. “They ended up using equipment to cut the man out from under the beam and then proceeded to perform CPR.”

Efforts to revive Yadon failed, however, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Superior Police Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and investigators from BNSF headquarters will investigate the accident. The Superior Police Department and Douglas County Medical Examiner's Office will assist with any requests from those agencies.

Superior Telegram


Santa Claus is coming to town – on a tug

12/2 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Santa Claus is coming back to town. The jolly gent 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 museum's 91-year-old in-water exhibit, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11.

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

"The Coast Guard and Santa have a special relationship during the holidays," said Desh, a retired Coast Guard Captain. "We feel fortunate to be able to share in that tradition."

Once on board the 149-foot vessel, Santa will accept children's 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 museum's Reddin Bridge Room.

For more information on Santa's visit


Updates -  December 2

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


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.


Port Reports -  December 1

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Ryba Marine tug Tenacious was tied up in the river Monday night and remained there on Tuesday. A barge was anchored out in the bay on Monday, and later the Purvis Marine tugs Avenger IV and W.I Scott Purvis were around it. The trio waited offshore throughout the day on Tuesday.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Algosteel finished unloading stone at the Midwest Stone Dock and departed Tuesday morning bound for Marblehead, Ohio. The saltwater vessel Jana and the tug Eagle Service with her barge were at the Midwest Terminals Overseas Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie with her barge were at the B-P Dock. The tug Cleveland with her barge Cleveland Rocks remain at the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement II were at the St. Marys Cement Dock unloading cement. Gordon C. Leitch was loading grain at the ADM Elevator. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw on Thursday, Arthur M. Anderson on Friday, Manistee on Saturday, followed by Algosoo, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and H. Lee White on Sunday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Dock will be the CSL Laurentien on Wednesday followed by Algobay on Saturday. The next scheduled stone boat due in at the Midwest Stone Dock will be Algorail on Saturday.

Pictou, Nova Scotia - Mac Mackay
With the aid of three tugs and a floating crane, the McKeil barge Sault au Cochon was refloated early on Tuesday morning. It had been aground for nearly three weeks off Pictou, Nova Scota, when its tow line parted during a storm. The barge had been bound for Pictou from Anticosti Island in tow of the tug Florence M with a load of pulpwood. Much of that load was swept off the barge by high seas and has washed ashore along a 20-mile stretch of coastline. Recovery efforts are expected to take several months. Sault au Cochon was berthed in Pictou Tuesday morning for a damage survey.


Federal rules urged for ballast regulation

12/1 - Lansing, Mich. - Several years after Michigan and other Great Lakes states imposed tougher regulations on ships, there’s still a call by environmental groups, biologists and shippers for federal rules.

State standards for ballast developed piecemeal, and Carl Lindquist, the executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Trust based in Marquette, Mich., said they were a step in the right direction. But ballast water is still carrying invasive species, he said.

“The current policy, while well-intended, is not comprehensive enough to address the issue,” said Lindquist. “The bottom line is that oceangoing ships continue to introduce invasive species into the Great Lakes ecosystem.”

A 2002 Michigan law required all vessels to report whether they’re following the best practices determined by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) to minimize the spread of invaders. Approved techniques include filtration, application of biocides or ultraviolet light, and heating methods.

Then in 2008, Michigan imposed additional regulations. They required all ships coming from the Atlantic Ocean and docking in the state to get a permit proving that treatment techniques were used at each port where they discharged ballast water. Violations carry a penalty of as much as $25,000 per day.

Ships use water for stability when they are light or have no cargo. When ships load cargo, that water is pumped out, possibly releasing foreign plants, animals and microorganisms.

Scientists say that ballast water is the main source of aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Because many of those aliens have no natural predators in the Great Lakes, they colonize and flourish, forcing out native species. The zebra mussel, round goby, spiny water flea and Eurasian ruffe are among the most ecologically and economically harmful invasive species brought into the lakes through ballast water, according to the DNRE.

A leading industry group, the Lake Carrier’s Association, says oceangoing vessels bring in invasive species, but Glen Nekvasil, the vice president of corporate communications for the association, said environmental organizations have been pushing non-oceangoing vessels, or lakers, to treat their ballast the same way.

Nekvasil said only oceangoing ships bring in invasive species, so treating ballast of lakers won’t stop their spread.

Linquist, of the Superior Watershed Partnership, said although lakers aren’t to blame for introducing invasive species, they can speed their spread “exponentially” by transporting them from lake to lake. Lindquist acknowledged that recreational and fishing boats also spread invaders but said the shipping industry should set the example.

Nekvasil said that while some treatment systems have been approved, most are compatible only with oceangoing vessels.

“Our ships are in and out of port in 10 hours or less, and the treatment systems are for ships in port for a day and a half,” Nekvasil said, “It would fail on our ships.”

Lakers aren’t required to treat ballast water before dumping it in ports. They must, however, report whether they discharged water using techniques recommended by the DNRE.

Despite disagreements about how much state regulations protect the lakes, interest groups agree that a federal standard is needed. The Lake Carrier Association’s Nekvasil said it’s difficult for shippers to comply with each state’s separate standards.

“We have to do this in Michigan, that in Wisconsin and something else in Minnesota,” Nekvasil said.

South Bend Tribune


Morro Bay on the way for Great Lakes icebreaking duty

12/1 - New London, Conn. - The Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay homeported in New London, Conn., left Monday for the winter, its assignment to break ice in the Great Lakes.

Each winter, Coast Guard ships convene at the Great Lakes for the country's largest domestic ice-breaking operations. From the northeast, the Cutter Penobscot Bay, of New Jersey, traveled there last winter and the Cutter Thunder Bay, of Maine, went the year before.

"It's our turn," Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Wyatt, commanding officer of the Cutter Morro Bay, said Monday as the 140-foot cutter began the trip from New London. The crew's goal, he said, is to "keep the waterways moving so if a vessel needs to get by with cargo, they can."

An average $2 billion worth of cargo, including steel, coal, heating oil and grain ship throughout the Great Lakes region each year, according to the Coast Guard.

The Morro Bay can maintain 3 knots in 2 feet of ice. But the crew can also back the cutter up and ram it into the ice to get through thicker pieces, Wyatt said.

"When ice is moving because of the wind or currents, it tends to build up," he said. "If that refreezes, it can be several feet thick. On paper, we can't handle that much ice but in reality, if we back up to get a running start, we can make it through."

For the past two years, there has not been ice near Nantucket or in the Cape Cod Canal or Cape Cod Bay, the area that the Morro Bay is responsible for, Wyatt said. So the crew traveled to New York and Maine to break ice in rivers there.

Other cutters will cover the Morro Bay's area if the need for ice-breaking arises there this winter. Seventeen people are assigned to the Morro Bay but the cutter usually carries about 20, including a few who are temporarily assigned.

Wyatt expects the cutter to return home in April or early May. Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, said he appreciates the Morro Bay's assistance and looks forward to working with the crew.


Updates -  December 1

News Photo Gallery
Discussion Boards updated


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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