Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Algoma Progress ties up at Port Colborne scrap dock

12/31 - Waterfront reports indicate that when Algoma Central Corp’s Algoma Progress tied up Tuesday near the Marine Recycling Corp. (IMS) dock in Port Colborne, Ont., she had completed her last trip. Her last cargo was a load of coal loaded at Toledo for Hamilton. The 1968-built self-unloader had been expected to be retired at the end of the 2013 season but was activated this year due to unexpected tonnage demands. Although Algoma Central has made no official announcement, it is presumed the vessel will be scrapped in upcoming months.

 

Port Reports -  December 31

Whitefish Bay
Westerly gales and waves forecast to 18 feet have White fish Bay filled tonight with vessels anchoring in lee of Whitefish Point. Those waiting out the weather include the John J. Boland, Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Olive L. Moore, Ken Boothe Sr., American Century, Joseph L. Block and Algowood.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived at Lafarge on Christmas night. It was not known what kind of cargo was delivered. On Friday the Great Republic tied up at Lafarge and unloaded coal. Over the weekend, the Alpena and the tug G.L Ostrander with barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Alpena arrived on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning, calling on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Wednesday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The CSX Coal Dock is closed for the 2014 season, with the last vessel expected to have been the H. Lee White on Sunday in the late afternoon. The Midwest Terminal Stone Dock also closed for the season. At the Torco Dock, the Lewis J. Kuber is expected to arrive on Friday, January 2 in the early morning to unload iron ore. They will be the first vessel to arrive in Toledo for 2015. The James L. Kuber is due at the Torco Dock on Sunday, January 4 in the early afternoon. Manitowoc is due at Torco on Monday, January 5 in the late morning. Two vessels are due at Torco on Friday, January 9, with the Lewis J. Kuber due in the late morning, followed by the James L. Kuber in the late afternoon. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the Manitowoc and the tug Michigan / barge Great Lakes. American Valor near the Lakefront Docks still remains in long-term lay-up.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Monday night wdere upbounders Algoma Enterprise and Algoma Equinox both for Hamilton, Ont. Tuesday Sloman Hermes went down at 5:50am for Martas Finland, Tim S. Dool was up at 8:34am, Active at 9:04am for St. John, NB, Lake Ontario down at 10:28am for Montréal, QC, Algoma Harvester up at 10:30am for Hamilton, Ont., and Federal Kushiro down at 11:32am for Montréal, QC. Expected through late Tuesday night was Mississagi up for Sarnia, Ont.

 

Province seeks help from feds in Canadian Miner cleanup

12/31 - Main-A-Dieu, N.S. – In light of additional contaminants discovered during the cleanup of the former Great Lakes vessel Canadian Miner, the province is seeking more help from the federal government.

Geoff MacLellan, minister of transportation and public works, wants the feds to revisit the issue of the overall costs associated with the cleanup. He is also looking to the federal government for help with some of the logistics associated with the project.

The 12,000-tonne, 223-metre bulk carrier ran aground off Scatarie Island after a tow line snapped in rough seas during transit to Turkey from Montreal in September 2011. Scatarie Island is a provincially protected wilderness area and it is home to a lucrative fishery.

During her visit to North Sydney on Monday, federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said her department is aware of the new developments involving the MV Miner cleanup.

"I believe the minister (MacLellan) is going to be working with Gail Shea, the minister of fisheries and oceans, because of the coast guard aspects of the project. We are certainly aware of what is happening with the MV Miner, it is an issue we all take very seriously."

Raitt said the cleanup isn't an impediment to navigation so Transport Canada will not be involved.

"But when it comes to the environmental matters, certainly the coast guard and fisheries are involved. The federal fisheries minister has that file on her desk."

In November, word came that asbestos levels found on the derelict ship stranded off Cape Breton are almost five times more than estimated in federal reports. About 30,000 litres of diesel was also discovered aboard, when a study had indicated it had all been removed.

About 30 tonnes of asbestos was discovered aboard the vessel by the contractor, well in excess of the 6.6 tonnes of asbestos federal reports estimated to be on the ship.

The project was originally expected to cost $11.9 million.

Cape Breton Post

 

Lookback #409 – C.H. Houson blown from dock at Toronto on Dec. 31, 1937

The C.H. Houson was built at Wallsend, England, and launched on Jan. 25, 1929. The ship sailed for Canada in the spring as part of the Sarnia Steamship Co. of Capt. R. Scott Misener.

Designed for the old canal trades, the ship had an early problem, colliding with the collier Wabana off Cap Saumon in heavy fog on June 28, 1929. The investigation was critical of both captains for the accident.

A collision with the Sierra in Lake Erie on May 8, 1933 pushed the bow back two to three feet when the ships met in fog off Southeast Shoal.

The 259-foot-long bulk carrier was laid up at Toronto for the winter of 1937-1938 when it broke loose in the high winds that swept the region 77 years ago today. The C.H. Houson again sustained bow damage as a result of this storm.

Capt. Misener had this ship renamed Paul Manion in 1949 and it remained in service until the Seaway was opened in 1959. It was sold for scrap and broken up at Deseronto, Ont., by Crawford Metals in 1961.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 31

In 1905, 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, Mich. The JONES was built at a cost of $400,000 for Jones and Laughlin Steel. She was declared a constructive total loss after a collision with the CASON J. CALLAWAY in the St. Marys River on August 21, 1955. Most of the hull was scrapped at Superior, Wis., 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 (later CLIFFS VICTORY) on December 10, 1950.

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

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

On 31 December 1884, ADMIRAL (wooden propeller steam tug, 49 gross tons, built in 1883, at Chicago, Ill.) 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, Mich.

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

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

1905: The whaleback Barge 126 had left the Great Lakes earlier in the year and was renamed b) BADEN. It stranded at Buzzard's Bay, Mass., enroute from Newport News, Va., to New Bedford, Mass., with coal and was a total loss. The crew of six was also lost.

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

 

Shipping season: Recovery from slow start

12/30 - Duluth, Minn. – The last ocean-going cargo salty has left the Duluth-Superior Harbor, but the Great Lakes shipping season will continue into January.

And after a terribly slow start to the season because of a brutal 2014 winter than stayed around into spring with ice choking watery lanes, shipments have nearly caught up to 2013 levels. That includes iron ore pellets from the Iron Range.

“Higher water levels across the system this year helped tremendously in making up time and tonnage. Thousand-footers, for example, were able to load to another foot deeper draft allowing some 3,000 additional tons or iron ore or coal on every downbound delivery, said Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Vanta Coda.

A news release from the Port Authority points out that late-season shipping has not been significantly affected so far by the wintry weather.

“Freighters continue their end-of-season push to deliver iron ore to mills on the lower lakes to ensure sufficient inventories for steelmaking while locks are closed,” the release said.

In addition, coal, limestone, salt and other bulk commodities are being shipped ahead of the season’s closing.

Here are the 2014 shipping totals compared to 2013 with about four weeks still left in the season:

• Iron ore and concentrate tonnage: 2013: 10,775,883. 2014 so far: 10,514,527.

• Limestone: 2013: 3,007,670. 2014 so far: 3,213,875.

• Coal and Coke: 2013: 11,235,621. 2014 so far: 9,920,601.

• Bulk Grain: 2013: 264,773. 2014 so far: 141,480.

• Total Domestic Shipping: 2013: 26,100,062. 2014 so far: 24,397,453.

When Canadian exports or iron ore and concentrates are factored in, the total iron ore shipping through the Duluth-Superior Port is up through this year so far over 2013: 15,307,084 in 2014 so far compared to 14,479,788 in 2013.

Mesabi Daily News

 

Port Reports -  December 30

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson, Kaye E. Barker and Michipicoten visited the LS&I Upper Harbor ore dock on Monday.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
Tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest anchored Monday afternoon in Suttons Bay to wait for the dock at Charlevoix.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Monday Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Early Monday, Flintersky came down at 4:12am for Montréal, QC, Algorail was up at 4:31am for Sault St. Marie, Ont. and Federal EMS down at 5:55am for Montréal, QC. Later Monday the Sarah Desgagnes, waiting on a pilot time overnight in Prescott Anchorage, hove anchor and came down at 7:19am for Montréal, QC, Pineglen was up at 7:21am, Palmerton was down at 8:09am carrying 7 railroad locomotives loaded in Erie Pa. headed to Vale Mining in Brazil, CCG Griffon departed Prescott Base at 12:35am for Port Colborne, Ont., Algosoo up at 9:43am, Apollon down at 1:44am for Montréal, QC, and Mississagi down at 3:03pm.

Expected through Monday evening/night were Algoma Equinox and Algoma Enterprise both up for Hamilton, Ont., Active down for St. John, New Brunswick and Federal Kushiro down for Montréal, QC.

Expected to head up early Tuesday morning is Tim S. Dool.

 

Hornblower’s Inaugural season attracts 1.6 million people

12/30 - Niagara Falls, Ont. – It was a season of unknowns for Hornblower Niagara Cruises. It was also a season that turned out to exceed expectations, said general manager Mory DiMaurizio.

“It was a fantastic season,” he said. “No major incidents. No major concerns. And, the customer feedback was spectacular.”

An estimated 1.6 million people took a ride on one of Hornblower’s two catamarans this season.

“We surpassed all our budget targets,” DiMaurizio said. “We had great customer service index scores that far surpassed the benchmarks we set for ourselves.”

Hornblower operated two state-of-the-art catamarans - named Niagara Wonder and Niagara Thunder - in the Niagara River from May until late November.

DiMaurizio admits it was a challenge getting a new business up and running in a relatively short period of time.

“It wouldn’t be fair to say there’s never any hiccups,” he said. “We were really up against a whole bunch of unknowns so it really was an all hands on deck experience for everyone.”

The season began May 15, which was a little bit later than expected due to the amount of ice that had built up in the Niagara River.

On the other side of the coin, the inaugural season was extended to Nov. 30 due to favorable weather conditions.

Early morning cruises and evening fireworks cruises were a success as were private charters for corporate events and weddings. Hornblower plans to expand on those experiences next year.

“We’re not just about tour operations, we want to think of ourselves as much more than that,” DiMaurizio said.

Plans are underway to add amenities at the dock level next year including food and beverage facilities and live entertainment. They’re also looking at developing an education proponent for schools where students can learn about the lower Niagara gorge, hydroelectric power and the geological evolution of the Falls.

“This is not all about Hornblower Niagara Cruises,” he noted.

“We want to build on the experience as a destination for all the stakeholders. In extending the day and extending the season we bring in additional tourism dollars and that drives the economy and drives jobs so it’s good for everybody.”

Notable guests the first year included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, members of the Dutch royal family and a number of celebrities including actor Adam Sandler and comedian Rick Mercer.

Hornblower was awarded a 30-year, $500-million contract by the Niagara Parks Commission in 2012, beating out Maid of the Mist, which had been offering boat tours since 1846.

The Maid of the Mist continues to operate on the U.S. side of the river.

“The Maid of the Mist has been a fantastic boat tour operator for many, many years and we learned a lot from their operation,” DiMaurizio said. “We wish them well and we wish them all the successes.”

DiMaurizio said the relationship between the two companies was “very professional and very cordial” this season. “Safety is paramount and there was good communication between our captains in terms of vessel traffic plans on the water.”

Under the lease with Hornblower, Niagara Parks will receive a guaranteed payment of more than $60 million during the first five years. Revenue the parks commission will receive beyond those first five years depends on attendance.

Other than a late start due to the ice build up in the river, Niagara Parks chairwoman Janice Thomson said very few operational issues arose as Hornblower settled in to Niagara.

“In view of the very difficult ‘polar vortex’ and taking a very long-standing operation over in a few short months, the transition was exceptionally smooth,” she said.

The agencies also worked together at several trade shows in the U.S. to promote the new service.

Niagara Falls Review

 

Season extended for sections of the Seaway

12/30 - Mariners are advised that due to favorable conditions, the cut-off date for acceptance of vessel transits through the Montreal-Lake Ontario section under special agreement has been modified as follows:

• Any ship calling in downbound at CVC or upbound at CIP2 after 23:59 hours, December 24, 2014 but Before 16:00 hours December 30, 2014 may be accepted to transit the Montreal-Lake Ontario section, under special agreement.

• Any ship calling in downbound at CVC or upbound at CIP2 after 23:59 hours, December 29, 2014, but before 16:00 hours December 30, 2014 will be subject to the addendum to the special agreement for the Montreal-Lake Ontario section. As per Seaway Notice No 11 of 2014, vessels may be allowed to transit the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway up to 16:00 December 31st, 2014.

 

Lookback #408 – John J. Albright sold to Interlake Steamship Co. on Dec. 30, 1915

12/30 - It was 99 years ago today that the Cleveland Steamship Co., one of the Mitchell fleets, sold their 436-foot-long steamer John J. Albright to the Interlake Steamship Co. The vessel had been built by the American Shipbuilding Co. and launched for Mitchell at Cleveland on Nov. 3, 1900.

Following the sale to Interlake, they renamed this vessel b) Regulus and it served their interests until being resold to the Paterson Steamship Co. in 1926. Renamed c) Fort Willdoc, it sailed under their banner to the end of the 1964 season.

Fort Willdoc lost its rudder in a storm near Michipicoten Island, Lake Superior, in 1941. The stricken bulk carrier was spotted by the crew of the Louis W. Hill and towed to the safety of Sault Ste. Marie. The latter steamer still survives as the museum ship Valley Camp.

On April 6, 1949, Fort Willdoc and James E. McAlpine collided in Lake Superior above Whitefish Point and repairs cost close to $70,000 for the Canadian ship.

Fort Willdoc often carried grain for Paterson but in later years frequently handled coal from Lake Erie ports to Toronto. It made its last trip down the Welland Canal on this run on Dec. 2, 1964. After unloading, the ship sailed to Hamilton. It had been sold for scrap to Marine Salvage and resold to the Steel Company of Canada. The hull was broken up at Hamilton in 1965.

Skip Gillham

 

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 sank 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.

1981: VISHVA DHARMA came through the Seaway when new in 1970. The vessel was in a collision on this date with the ADMIRAL S. ALTINCAN and sustained damage to the forecastle and sides. The ship reached Istanbul, Turkey, enroute to Russia on January 7, 1982. The damage was repaired and it survived until scrapping at Bombay, India, in 1988.

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

 

Bad year for Cliffs gives way to uncertain future

12/29 - Duluth, Minn. – A bad year is nearly in the rear-view mirror for Cliffs Natural Resources, but the view through the windshield doesn’t look great, either.

The Cleveland-based mining company with a huge presence on Minnesota’s Iron Range has seen its stock value evaporate in 2014, the price for its iron ore halved and Wall Street confidence in its ability to thrive reach rock bottom.

How bad was 2014? In the past 12 months:
• Cliffs’ stock has fallen from $27 per share to about $6, and some analysts say it may go lower. That’s for a stock that hit $100 per share in 2011 and $75 as recently as 2012.

• Cliffs’ management team was ousted in late July when the company became the victim of a hostile takeover by the New York hedge fund Casablanca Capital. Casablanca, which called Cliffs’ old guard an “incompetent and entrenched” board that had “destroyed shareholder value” by expanding too fast and ringing up debt at the expense of profit, said it would downsize the company and sell off many or all of its foreign holdings.

• Cliffs permanently shuttered its Wabush iron ore mine and shipping facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador early in the year. Then in November it announced it was seeking “exit options” to shut down its Bloom Lake operations in Quebec if a buyer didn’t come forward. So far, no buyer has emerged, and the operations appear doomed, at least in the short run. Ironically, closing the plant will cost Cliffs millions more.

• Cliffs’ credit rating was dropped to junk status in October by Standard & Poor’s, and the company took a $5.7 billion write-down on its mining assets.

• Cliffs announced earlier this month that it would sell its struggling Logan County coal operations in West Virginia to Coronado Coal LLC for $175 million and use the money to help pay off some debt. Cliffs said it expected to write off a $425 million fourth-quarter loss on the sale.

Perhaps most dire for Cliffs, and a host of other mining companies, is that the price for the iron ore they produce has dropped from nearly $200 per ton a few years ago to less than $70 per ton today. That’s below what it costs some companies to operate, industry analysts note, and some Australian mines already are closing.

Cliffs’ situation is so dire that Credit Suisse analyst Nathan Littlewood last week downgraded its stock price estimate from $10 to just $1. Cliffs’ debt is just too high to overcome even with the new management team’s best intentions to shed debt and production costs, Littlewood wrote. Furthermore, he blamed rapid expansion plans in recent years — what Credit Suisse calls “a failed empire-building attempt by prior management” — for a mountain of debt that even the company’s new management remains unable to solve.

While Credit Suisse said they were impressed with moves by Cliffs’ new managers to shed costs, including jettisoning the Canadian ore and U.S. coal operations, “the downward pressure on iron ore prices” may be too much to overcome, especially for a company with $2.8 billion in debt. (The same report also predicted bleak times ahead for both Essar Steel and Magnetation, both of which are spending big money on new Iron Range facilities written on business plans with iron ore prices of $80 per ton or higher.)

Cliffs officials declined to comment for this story. But what happens in coming months will be big news for the 1,851 Cliffs employees on the Iron Range and thousands of people who own stock in the company that’s had a presence on the Iron Range for a century and has a $251 million annual payroll here.

The company owns and operates Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt and United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, as well as the Empire/Tilden operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It also is part owner and manager of Hibbing Taconite.

State Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, the Senate majority leader and a member of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, said Cliffs’ Minnesota operations appear to be weathering the storm so far. Indeed, all three plants are at or near production capacity. Northshore continues to advance a new, added-value iron pellet. United is ready to expand its mine pit into the next 25-year supply of ore. And the new management team in Cleveland insists it’s focusing on its U.S. operations going forward.

“If Cliffs was just a U.S. company we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But the global situation with iron ore is such that Cliffs is just getting hammered in Canada and Australia,” Bakk said. He noted that there’s an estimated 300 million tons of excess iron ore capacity globally with the retail price of iron ore now below Cliffs’ (and other producers) cost to mine the ore in some locations, let alone ship it.

Optimists say Minnesota taconite iron ore should maintain its value as long as U.S. steelmakers continue rolling out products for an expanding economy — things such as automobiles, refrigerators and girders for new buildings.

“Globally, the iron ore industry built up to feed China and India over the past 20 years and now those steel mills aren’t making as much steel, and there’s just too much iron ore out there,” Bakk noted. “But we have a pretty good situation in the Great Lakes, for Minnesota taconite, because no one can get ore to Great Lakes steel mills as cheaply as we can. That’s why Cliffs is looking pretty good as a Minnesota producer. They have contracts for everything they’re producing here.”

Still, state Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, also an IRRRB member, said the global glut of iron ore is bound to have reverberations in Minnesota.

“I think 2015 and 2016 are going to be very bad years for the iron ore business. There’s just too much supply and not enough demand and the falling price is going to kill some of the producers,” Anzelc said.

Cliffs has been especially hard-hit by the rapid free fall of iron ore prices because it has to sell everything it mines. Other Northland producers, such as U.S Steel’s Minntac and Keetac operations and ArcelorMittal’s Minorca mine, produce ore for the company’s own steel mills, so price fluctuations have little impact on the bottom line.

Even as the global market price drops, global mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are increasing capacity in an effort to push higher-cost competitors in Australia, Canada and maybe the U.S. to quit the game. It’s the same strategy OPEC is using to drive high-cost oil producers out of the market.

Both companies are moving ahead with iron ore mine expansions, even as the price of ore drops. And Australia’s giant Roy Hill mine, with an output of 50 million tons per year — more than all Minnesota production combined — is expected to come online in 2015, leading to an even larger oversupply and even lower prices.

Even India is increasing production of iron ore, with a state-owned mining company announcing earlier this month they will produce 10 million metric tons per year by the end of the decade.

Last week Australian government officials cut their iron ore price estimate for next year by 33 percent. The government is predicting an average of $63 per ton for 2015, down from the $94 it forecast in September and down from an average of $88 this year.

Some analysts are skeptical that Cliffs can weather the storm. Analysts with TheStreet.com on Monday rated Cliffs a “sell.”

“The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance,” the report noted.

Forbes predicted Cliffs’ problems earlier this year.

“In the context of the prevailing environment of low iron ore and coal prices, the company’s new management has an extremely tough job on its hands,” Forbes’ analysis noted on Sept. 30. Cliffs “will struggle to find buyers for its iron ore or coal assets, given oversupplied markets for both commodities and weak demand conditions. Further, the company may not realize the best value for its mining assets, even if some sales were to materialize.”

“With an oversupply situation and a low iron ore pricing environment expected to continue in 2015, the situation is looking grim at the moment for Cliffs,” the Forbes report concluded.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Canadian Coast Guard cleaning up spill after Chaulk Determination sinks

12/29 - Trois-Rivières , Que. – Pumping operations continue at the Trois-Rivières port after the tugboat Chaulk Determination sank on Friday, leaking fuel into the St. Lawrence River.

Government agencies have been on site since Friday afternoon, working to limit the damage caused by the leak.

The boat was holding 22 tonnes of fuel when it sank. Since then, workers have been trying to stop the leakage of the diesel into the water and remove the fuel already in the water.

Canadian Coast Guard spokesman Michel Plamondon told CBC/Radio-Canada that nine tonnes of diesel have been removed from the water since operations began.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada and the diving company Seamec are all part of the operation. The cleanup will take at least several days, said Plamondon. "The priority is really to conduct oil containment and recovery operations," he said. "We have no clue to how long it'll take to pick everything up."

Plamondon said the Coast Guard is working on a plan to get the ship back afloat. He said he believes that can be done by the end of December.

A spokesman for Quebec's environment ministry said the owner of the boat will foot the bill for the cleanup. However, Plamondon said the coast guard was called in when it was determined the company that owns Chaulk Determination could not afford to pay the bill.

According to Transport Canada’s website, Cai Marine Inc. owns Chaulk Determination. The business is registered in Moncton, N.B.

At this point, it's unclear how much it will cost, or who will pay the final tab.

The port authority in Trois-Rivières said the leak could have been avoided. Port authority president and CEO Gaétan Boivin said the owner of the boat had been notified several times about its precarious condition. He said the owner was warned it could sink if not cared for.

No one was on the boat, moored in the port for several weeks, when it sank.

The environment ministry is still investigating the cause of the sinking and spill.

CBC

 

Port Reports -  December 29

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The Port of Calcite loaded its last vessel for the 2014 shipping season on Saturday with the arrival of the Great Republic in the early morning. They departed during the afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled from Sunday-Tuesday. Due next will be the Philip R. Clarke on Wednesday in the early evening. Arthur M. Anderson will be the first vessel for 2015, arriving on January 1 in the early afternoon to load. Due on Friday, January 2, is the John G. Munson at noon. Rounding out the schedule will be the Philip R. Clarke, arriving on Saturday, January 3 in the mid-afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner, Jim Conlon
CSL Assiniboine arrived in Sturgeon Bay for winter layup on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. She joins her fleetmate CSL Laurentien, where both vessels will be repowered over the winter. Also arriving on Sunday morning was the tug Rebecca Lynn. On Sunday morning, the tug and CSL Assiniboine were in the graving dock, with CSL Laurentien docked in a slip.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Progress loaded at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday, while its fleetmate Algoma Olympic was tied-up at the CSX #2 wall awaiting the departure of the Progress. H. Lee White was also due at CSX on Sunday in the late afternoon. At the Torco Dock, the Whitefish Bay unloaded an iron ore cargo on Saturday. Also due at the Torco Dock will be the James L. Kuber on Monday in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the Hon. James L. Oberstar, due in on Tuesday in the early morning. The tug Barbara Andrie with a barge was also in port at the time of this report. American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Ships that passed through Saturday night were Thunder Bay up for Conneaut and Algoma Spirit up for Hamilton, Ont.

Ships that passed early Sunday morning, Adfines Sea down at 2:35am for Québec City, QC and Flinter America down at 3:44am for Québec City, QC.

Sunday, Baie St. Paul came down at 6:32am for Montréal, QC, Orla down at 11:11am for Montréal, QC, Federal Elbe down at 11:42am for Montréal, QC, Algoma Montrealais down at 12h27 with a load of grain from Thunder Bay for Baie Comeau, QC, Radcliffe R. Latimer down at 2:28pm for Côte Ste-Catherines, QC. and Sarah Desgagnes down into Prescott Anchorage at 4:23pm, reportedly awaiting a pilot time. She’s headed for Montréal, QC. Nothing was expected through Sunday night.

Early Monday morning, expected through was Algorail up for Sault St. Marie, Ont., Pineglen up for Toronto, Ont. and Flintersky down for Montréal, QC.

 

Lookback #407 – Agga wrecked off Sweden on Dec. 29, 1935.

The Norwegian freighter Agga was an occasional caller around the Great Lakes in the 1920s and 1930s. The ship had been launched at Bergen, Norway, on Dec. 1, 1905, and completed in January 1906. It served the Wm. Hansen fleet except for 1918-1919 when it was listed as owned by the British Government.

The London Times of Dec. 20, 1922, reported that the Agga , which had run aground 5 nautical miles south of Valencia, Spain, on Nov. 14, 1922, had been released the previous day of Dec. 19, 1922.

The 228.7 foot long by 35.1 feet wide Agga first came through the old St. Lawrence Canal system in 1923. The following year, on Oct. 27, 1924, it went aground off Cratser's Island, above Morrisburg. The vessel returned inland for grain in 1925 and got stuck a second time. The latter occasion was near Chimney Island some four miles below Prescott, Ontario, on Nov. 25.

In 1932, Agga sailed from Toledo for Rouen, France, and in 1933 was noted to have come to Chicago from Fowey, England. The next year shows a trip from Europe to Chicago and, on Nov. 1, 1934, Agga cleared South Haven, MI to head back overseas.

On Dec. 29, 1935, seventy-nine years ago today, this 1,105 gross ton freighter was traveling in ballast from Gdynia, Poland, to Stockholm, Sweden, when it was wrecked at Gunnorstenarne, Sweden.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 29

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Blue Phoenix I, Flinter America, Flintersky, Active and Sundaisy E.

 

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.

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.

1935: The Norwegian freighter AGGA came to the Great Lakes as early as 1923 and returned on several occasions until at least through 1934. It had gone aground in the St. Lawrence on October 27, 1924 and again on November 25, 1925. The 1905-vintage cargo carrier was wrecked on this date at Gunnorstenarne, Sweden.

1974: The Swedish freighter RAGNEBORG was newly built when it came to the Great Lakes in 1947 and was a regular inland trader through 1963. The vessel was sailing as c) CHAVIN when the engine broke down and it was towed into Puerto Cortes, (not sure if it was Costa Rica or Honduras), and beached. It never sailed again and was still there as late as 1978.

1979: A spark from a welder's torch spread from the conveyor belt and gutted the pilothouse and officer's quarters of the NICOLET at Toledo. The vessel was rebuilt with a new pilothouse at Lorain and returned to service on April 4, 1981.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 28

Erie, Pa. – Gene P
Manitowoc arrived in Erie harbor about 3 a.m. Saturday with a load of salt from Fairport. By 8 a.m. she was unloaded and leaving.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Prescott Friday 26 and early morning Saturday 27 were downbounds Claude A. Desgagnes, Federal Mattawa, Cedarglen, Heloise, Atlantic Erie, Spruceglen, Oakglen and Algoma Guardian. Upbounds were Algowood and Baie Comeau.

Saturday, Three Rivers came down at 5:47am for Montréal, QC, Robinson tug with buoy barge and tug Performance headed out of the Customs Dock at Ogdensburg, NY at 7:24am for work down River to Massena, NY. Federal Welland was down at 7:16am for Sorel, QC. CCGS Griffon departed Prescott base at 8:30am heading up River for nav aid from McNair Island, through the Brockville Narrows to Crossover. Bluebill came down at 10:15am for Montréal, QC, Thalassa Desgagnes down at 10:49am for Montréal, QC, MCT Stockhorn down at 11:07am for Montréal, QC, Maria Desgagnes down at 11:25am for Montréal, QC and Sundaisy E, down at 12:44pm also for Montréal, QC. The CCGS Griffon completed her duties for the day and reported secure at base at 3:04pm. Expected through Saturday night was Thunder Bay up for Conneaut and Algoma Spirit up for Hamilton, Ont.

Expected early Sunday morning were the downbounds Adfines Sea and Flinter America, both for Québec City, QC, and Federal Elbe for Montréal, QC

 

Lookback #406 – Olympic Mentor last out of the Seaway on Dec. 28, 1995

The Panamanian freighter Olympic Mentor was the last ship out of the Seaway 19 years ago today. The vessel had gone aground near Lachine, QC on its third trip inland for the year and salvage crews had to work quickly to free the vessel.

The lighter P.S. Barge No. 1 was brought alongside and removed enough grain to refloat Olympic Mentor. The Seaway was kept open to allow it to reach Montreal on Dec. 28, 1995.

Olympic Mentor first came to the Great Lakes as b) Patricia R. in 1984. It was renamed c) Olympic Mentor in 1988 and was a regular caller to our shores through the 2008 season. It carried a variety of cargoes during these years including steel, corn, wheat, sugar, building materials, manganese ore, canola meal, coke and calcium chloride.

The ship last appeared in the Seaway headed inbound on Nov. 6, 2010, going to Duluth. It was the second of two trips that year for the vessel.

It was sold and renamed d) Cornilios in April 2011 and has not been back on the Great Lakes. In Nov. 2012, it moved under the flag of Togo as e) AT 30. The ship had visited Russia, Spain, Syria, Lebanon and Malta in the late summer and fall of 2014 and was last noted having arrived at Tripoli, Lebanon, on Dec. 8, 2014. But, at 30 years of age, it may not be with us much longer.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 28

Lay-up list 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-inch cylinder and 20-inch 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.

1980: DUNAV reported taking water in heavy seas off Central Japan, enroute from Hamilton, Ontario, via Los Angeles, to Tsingtao, China, with steel and was never seen again. Thirty-one sailors perished.

1980: HOLMSIDE, a Seaway trader beginning in 1960, hit a jetty while inbound at Casablanca, Morocco, as b) CABINDA and sank in the outer harbor with the loss of 9 lives.

1980: The former PRINS ALEXANDER, a Seaway trader for the Oranje Lijn beginning in 1959, struck a reef off Shadwan Island as f) POLIAGOS and sank in the Gulf of Suez. It was loaded with bagged cement and enroute from Piraeus, Greece, to Giza, United Arab Republic.

2011: An arson fire gutted the former NORMAC, most recently a restaurant ship at St. Catharines.

2011: MISSISSIPPIBORG ran aground leaving Pictou, Nova Scotia, with paper, but was refloated on the high tide only to go aground again on a second try. It had been a Seaway trader in 2011.

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

 

Barge bumps downtown Sturgeon Bay bridge

12/27 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Maple-Oregon Street Bridge in downtown Sturgeon Bay remains open after the drawbridge was bumped by a barge being towed by two Selvick Marine Co. tugboats on Friday morning.

The Cameron O. and William Selvick were moving the barge Texas from the Bay Shipbuilding Co. at about 9 a.m. to the Centerpointe Yacht Services dock, where the approximately 700-foot-long vessel will be parked for the winter.

According to Mark Kantola, spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northeast Region, the front tug could not stop the barge's forward momentum, and it struck the Maple-Oregon Bridge going approximately 2 knots (2.3 mph).

The minor collision partially knocked down a pedestrian rail and caused cosmetic damage to the vessel's bow. DOT engineers inspected the damage and cleared the bridge for vehicular traffic.

The tugs sailed through the Michigan Street Bridge but never asked that the Maple-Oregon Bridge also be opened, Kantola said. The bridge tender started raising the bridge shortly before the bump occurred.

"Our guy started raising the bridge when he saw the collision was about to happen," Kantola said. "He must have seen it and said, 'Oh my God, we've got to raise this.'"

The DOT was arranging for a construction crew to repair the railing. A damage estimate was not available Friday, but Kantola said property damage to state-owned structures is typically the responsibility of the party causing the damage.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Tug sinks at Trois-Rivieres

12/27 - On Friday the laid-up tug Chaulk Determination (ex-Commodore Straits) partly sank at her berth in Trois-Rivieres, Que. Pollution was observed and a team of experts was dispatched to the scene.

Bruno Boissonneault, René Beauchamp

 

Delta Queen bill runs aground in Congress

12/27 - Washington, D.C. – Cincinnatians may want the historic Delta Queen boat back on the Ohio River, but the U.S. Coast Guard and two East Coast lawmakers do not.

In the closing days of the 113th Congress, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., successfully blocked efforts by Ohio lawmakers to get the paddle-wheeled vessel floating again.

Armed with stiff opposition from the Coast Guard, the two Senate Democrats killed legislation to exempt the Delta Queen from a 1966 safety law. Cardin and Blumenthal said the boat is a potential firetrap that could put passengers at risk and tarnish the entire paddlewheel cruise industry.

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said they worked until the final minutes of the just-closed Congress to address the concerns raised by Cardin and Blumenthal. They vowed to renew the fight next year. Blumenthal said they were just inches away from an agreement.

At issue is the 1966 Safety of Life at Seas Act, which bars wooden vessels such as the 88-room Delta Queen from carrying 50 or more passengers on overnight journeys. For years, Congress granted the Delta Queen an exemption, but lawmakers let it lapse in 2008 amid concerns about the boat's safety and disputes over union representation of the crew.

The Delta Queen is now moored in Chattanooga, Tenn., operating as a hotel. A group of investors led by Cornel Martin of New Orleans hopes to buy it, spruce it up and get it moving again.

Ohio lawmakers hope that if they can get the exemption renewed, the Delta Queen could operate out of Cincinnati - reviving a piece of the city's history and attracting tourists for journeys along the Ohio River.

Legislation to grant the Delta Queen a new 15-year exemption sailed through the House in September. In the Senate, several lawmakers objected to the proposal, saying the bill wouldn't do enough to make the boat safe.

So Portman and Brown added a provision requiring the boat's owners to make incremental structural changes to the vessel, reducing the fire risk over time. The owners would have to remove and replace at least 10 percent of non-fire-retardant material on the boat each year, with Coast Guard sign-off required on the plan.

"I don't see that there is any legitimate safety concern at this point," Portman said last week.

He hinted there was more at play in the bill's demise than passenger safety, saying he doesn't understand why the two opponents continued to block a vote on the bill after he and Brown agreed to add that provision.

But Blumenthal said the changes would be "much too slow" to ensure the safety of overnight passengers. After a Connecticut constituent died on a cruise ship, Blumenthal championed boat safety.

"This issue is a major one for me," said the former Connecticut attorney general.

Blumenthal noted that the Coast Guard supported his assessment. In a Dec. 11 letter to the senator, the Coast Guard said it "has consistently opposed any attempts to prolong the service of the Delta Queen."

The vessel "represents an unacceptable degree of fire safety risk to its passengers and crew because of its advanced age and the extensive use of combustible material in its construction," the Coast Guard letter states.

Sue Walitsky, a spokeswoman for Cardin, said if there was a fire on the Delta Queen during an overnight trip, it could harm the entire industry - including safer boats operating on the Mississippi River.

"There are other operators with safer vessels," she said. "If a major accident occurred on the Delta Queen, where the risk is far greater than on other modern paddle wheelers, the ripple effect it would have on the Mississippi paddle wheel cruising industry would be felt by all operators."

Supporters say they are not deterred.

"I fully intend to reintroduce legislation early next year to allow the Delta Queen to resume operations as an overnight passenger vessel," said Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, who championed the House version of the bill.

Blumenthal said a deal was in sight as the 113th Congress ended. He said he was working with Brown's office on an amendment to require the boat's owners to make structural changes to the vessel's most dangerous areas first, such as around the engine.

"I think we're very close to an agreement," he said.

Cincinatti.com

 

Lookback #405 - Former Seaway salty Banasol sank after collision on Dec. 27, 1976

Banasol was only a year old when it first came through the Seaway in 1967. The Liberian-registered bulk carrier had been built at Osaka, Japan, in 1966.

The vessel was 483 feet 11 inches long by 67 feet, 5 inches wide and able to carry 16,401 tons deadweight in the five cargo holds.

Banasol was sold and renamed Eastern Glory in 1971 and returned to the Great Lakes that year for Pedder Shipping Inc., still under the flag of Liberia.

The ship was resold to Mogul Lines Ltd. in 1974 and re-registered in India as Lok Prabha.

The former Seaway trader sank after a collision in the upper Bosporus on Dec. 27, 1976. Lok Prabha was on a voyage from Mormugao, India, to Eregli, Turkey, with a cargo of iron ore when it collided with the Matsesta six miles north or Istanbul, Turkey, 38 years ago today. Lok Prabha and broke in two and went down with the loss of one life.

Matsesta was a Russian flag freighter operating for USSR - Black Sea Shipping Co. It had been built at Gdansk, Poland, in 1964 but had not yet come to the Great Lakes. This changed in 1982 when the 508 foot, 8 inch long ship traded through the Seaway. This vessel was sold and registered in Malta as b) Iason in 1989 and arrived at Huangpu, China, for scrapping in December 1991.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 27

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.

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.

1985:The wooden sailing ship CIUDAD DE INCA sank in shallow water at Portsmouth, Ontario, during a snowstorm. The vessel was refloated January 10, 1986, with machinery but no structural damage. It had come inland for the Lake Ontario Tall Ships Extravaganza in 1984. Due to an earlier problem, it had to stay out of American waters where it was subject to an arrest warrant due to the sinking of the MARQUES, owned by the same company, in a Tall Ships race from Bermuda to Halifax.

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

 

Algoma Montrealais on final trip

Algoma-Montrealais-12-25-14RL.jpg (87185 bytes)12/26 - Soo Locks Algoma Montrealais locked downbound around noon Christmas day on her final trip down the lakes and Seaway. Algoma Central Corp. recently announced the 1962-built vessel, the last steam-powered laker flying the Canadian flag, will be retired at the end of this season. She was loaded with grain earlier this week at Thunder Bay and is bound for Baie Comeau, Que. Her winter layup port, as well as where she will eventually be dismantled, is at yet unknown.

 

Lookback #404 – Former Etrog wrecked near Singapore on Dec. 26, 1981

The Israeli freighter Etrog was built at Nantes, France, and completed for Zim Israel Navigation in April 1964. The 443 foot, 6 inch long refrigerated cargo vessel, equipped with six cargo holds and designed to Ice Class III specifications, made its first trip through the Seaway before the year was out.

Etrog was back for three more trips to the Great Lakes in 1965 but that may have been it for inland navigation. It was lengthened to 522 feet, 3 inches in 1971 and continued to serve Zim Israel until being sold to Laurel Navigation Inc. and registered in Panama during 1981.

Renamed b) Roga, the ship did not last long. The vessel was trading in the Far East when it stranded near Singapore on Magdalena Reef on Dec. 26, 1981. The 17-year- old freighter sustained heavy bottom damage 33-years ago today and, after being pulled free, arrived at Singapore Roads on Jan. 12, 1982.

Declared a total loss, Roga was sold to Singapore shipbreakers, delivered on May 26, 1982, and broken up by National Shipbreakers Pte. Ltd.

Skip Gillham

 

Port Reports -  December 26

Kingston, Ont. – Ron Walsh
The highest winds recorded Thursday were at 3 a.m. with gusts to 60 mph at 7:30 a.m. the Federal Mattawa and Claude A. Desgagnes were anchored in Prince Edward Bay. They were joined by Heloise at 10:15 a.m. All three were still there at 9:30 p.m. The Robert S. Pierson was eastbound, giving an ETA of 9:30 p.m. for False Duck Islands, with coke for Picton. She gave an ETA of mid night for Picton and 5 a.m. to depart for Coburg. English River departed Bath at 9 p.m. She said the wind was still gusting to 30 knots.

 

Updates -  December 26

Lay-up list updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 26

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

On 26 December 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.

1909: The former whaleback steamer COLGATE HOYT, operating on the East Coast since 1906, was wrecked as c) THURMOND in a storm at Tom's River Bay, NJ enroute from Newport News, VA to Portland, ME with a cargo of coal.

1973: The Liberian freighter ADELFOI, a Seaway caller in 1972 and 1973, was under tow on the St. Lawrence due to engine trouble. The ship broke loose and came ashore at St. Laurent, Ile d'Orleans and became a total loss. It was refloated on May 9, 1974, and eventually towed to Santander,Spain, for scrapping.

1982: BELMONA was newly built when it visited the Great Lakes in 1962. It sank as e) RHODIAN SAILOR south of Taiwan after the holds were flooded in a storm. The ship was carrying bagged cement and there was only one survivor.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 25

Erie, Pa. – Gene P.
The saltwater vessel Palmerton arrived in Erie on Tuesday morning to load 7 diesel locomotives made at GE in Erie. Presumably they are headed for Brazil. Wednesday morning there were 4 more to load at the Montfort Terminal. Thunderstorms and a high wind warning may slow the effort to load and leave.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday at 11 a.m. tugs Evens McKeil and Jarrett M towed the American Fortitude into Oswego harbor. The tugs then departed possibly leaving the Fortitude for winter lay-up.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Tuesday night, Tim S. Dool down for Baie Comeau, Algoma Olympic up for Hamilton, Ont.

Wednesday Vitosha came down at 5:47am for Lanoraie, QC. At 8:33am the CCGS Griffon departed Prescott Base heading down to work in Lake St. Lawrence, reporting 2 mile visibility in light rain. Adfines Star down at 9:59am for Montréal, QC, Isa down at 1:24pm for Montréal, QC, Sea Racer down at 2:32pm with a cargo of grain from Riverland Ag, Duluth for Annaba, DZ. The CCGS Griffon arrived back into Prescott Base at 3:00pm. The Federal Danube coming down went into Prescott Anchorage at 4:12pm.

Expected through Wednesday night were upbounders Everlast tug with Norman McLeod Barge, Cuyahoga, Algolake and Whitefish Bay for Toledo.

Early Christmas morning, expected through was Active up for Oshawa, Ont.

 

Senate blocks $300M funding for Great Lakes

12/25 - Largely lost in the flurry of 11th-hour activity on Capitol Hill before Congress adjourned last week was a major defeat for the Great Lakes due to Senate inaction.

Ongoing federal efforts to restore the Great Lakes’ water quality and natural habitat led to approval by the House of a series of $300 million annual allocations for the lakes.

But senators eager to end the lame duck session left town – and ended the 113th Congress – without addressing the issue.

The Senate approved a wide-ranging budget bill and renewed dozens of tax breaks in a late-night session before calling it quits. But the failure to approve funding for the Great Lakes was one of numerous items that were left on Congress’ plate, pushing them onto the agenda of the 114th Congress that convenes in January.

The Senate tried to pass the bill by a process known as unanimous consent after House passage was fairly simple – a voice vote, no roll call -- two weeks ago. But the Senate Republicans objected.

“It is extremely disappointing that Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would have paved the way for a long-term Great Lakes Restoration Initiative investment,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat who played a leading role in establishing the initiative as a member of the Senate Budget Committee.

“I will continue to lead efforts in the Senate to get the critical funding needed to advance the (GLRI’s) goals and priorities, which address serious challenges facing our Great Lakes and waterways.

The GLRI addresses numerous issues: cleaning up toxic hotspots; fighting aquatic invasive species, like the Asian carp; dredging shallow areas; restoring damaged shoreline; and addressing polluted rainwater runoff that contributes to beach closures and harmful algae blooms in the lakes.

“Unfortunately, we have not been the best stewards of these magnificent lakes, and we owe it to future generations to help assure they are preserved and protected,” said Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, at the time of the House vote. “One way to do that is through the continued funding and support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.”

The House measure went far beyond spending plans for 2015 –- it called for $300 million per year for the lakes through 2019.

Launched in 2010 through the support of the Obama administration, the GLRI has provided $1.6 billion over the past five years to the Great Lakes, which generate billions of dollars in economic activity. In recent years funding has hovered around $300 million.

For fiscal year 2015, the administration proposed $275 million but the higher figure was authorized by the House.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to use $500,000 of the allocation to continue work on Great Lakes Mississippi River Interbasin Study, which is looking at options to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from colonizing the Great Lakes through Chicago-area canals and waterways. The Corps was also in line for funding to deal with nutrients in Lake Erie, where a dangerous algae bloom closed down drinking water systems near Toledo last summer.

For the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the bill called for $25 million to control the sea lamprey population.

Oakland Press

 

St. Lawrence Seaway wharfage charges to increase

12/25 - The St. Lawrence Seaway wharfage charges have been revised for the 2015 navigation season. Effective with the commencement of the 2015 navigation season, Wharfage Charges will increase 2%. The revised tariff will be available on January 7th, 2015 at www.media-seaway.com/seaway_handbook/seaway-handbook-en/wharfage.pdf

 

Muskegon divers claim to find elusive "Le Griffon" shipwreck

12/25 - Muskegon, Mich. – Le Griffon, or the Griffin. It's considered to be the holy grail of all shipwrecks lost in the Great Lakes. For more than 300 years, many have searched for it, but since it sunk in 1679, it has decided it hasn't wanted to be found.

Until recently, according to some divers.

There are roughly 2,000 shipwrecks in Lake Michigan alone, but none have been more sought after than the Griffin. It was a French ship built by the explorer Le Salle.

The Griffin disappeared in northern Lake Michigan during a storm on its maiden voyage after leaving Green Bay, Wisconsin.

For at least 332 years it has stayed hidden in the deep, but Kevin Dykstra and Frederick Monroe say they believe they found it in 2011.

By accident.

Dykstra and Monroe set out on a diving expedition three years ago.

"We were literally in the water for a couple of hours when we got a hit on the sonar," said Dykstra, who dove the wreck in the 37-degree water. "When I was down there, I turned around and I was literally four feet from this shipwreck and I never saw it on my way down, so my return trip was quite fast."

Dykstra and Monroe say that if they had seen the same image on their sonar, they wouldn't have given it a second thought to dive down and investigate it because it was so small.

"It really wasn't until we got back to a computer and viewed the photos that I realized I very well could have been photographing the Griffin," added Dykstra.

Through extensive research, and consultations with experts, Dykstra and Monroe have concluded that they in fact found the Griffin.

"There's no cables, no cabin and no smokestacks," said Dykstra. "It almost looked like the empty hull of a large canoe, and there were no mechanical devices of any kind in the debris."

"We researched online to find a 17th-century French Griffin, and the one we came up with, I over-layed on top of the photo [I took of the Griffin carving on the front of the ship] and it was really impressive," said Dykstra. "So it's either a 100-to-1 odds that the front of the ship looks exactly like a griffin, and I don't know how that can happen by coincidence, and to know that the wood carvers that built the Griffin carved the likeness of a Griffin in the front of the ship, it kind of lends itself towards that."

For Dykstra and Monroe, finding the Griffin wasn't in their plans. In fact, both will tell you that the Griffin was the shipwreck that got in the way of what they were really searching for that day. "We were looking for $2 million dollars in gold bullion that is somewhere at the bottom of Lake Michigan," said Dykstra. "In the late 1800s, there were box cars crossing the Great Lakes, and some of those box cars were pushed off from car ferries that were hauling them to save the ferries in bad storms."

Dykstra and Monroe say $2 million of Confederate gold coins were being smuggled in one of those box cars that was shoved off the side of the ferry.

During other dives in the area, Dykstra and Monroe have seen broken box cars laying at the bottom of Lake Michigan. They both feel they're getting closer to solving a bigger mystery than the Griffin.

"We found the mystery ship, the Griffin; now we're going to find the gold, " said Monroe.

Dykstra and Monroe say that they waited three years to go public with their discovery of the Griffin because they wanted to contact as many experts as possible to review their pictures and video, and do enough research to make sure.

WZZM

 

Lookback #403 – Orsula aground near Cape Vincent, NY on Dec. 25, 2013

This time last year the Orsula celebrated Christmas aground off Tibbett's Point near Cape Vincent, NY. The 656 foot, 2 inch long bulk carrier landed on the rocks at 12.37 a.m. Perhaps the crew had been distracted by a sled pulled by flying reindeer but this cannot be verified.

The ship required assistance to be refloated and the barge Lambert Spirit came alongside to take off some of the cargo before it was released on Dec. 29. Orsula finally was able to clear the Seaway on Jan. 1, 2014, and this is the latest closing in the history of the waterway.

Orsula has been a regular trader to the Great Lakes. It was built at Shanghai, China, as Federal Calumet (ii) and delivered to Fednav under their Lake Ontario Inc. on June 28, 1996. The bulk carrier brought bauxite to Thorold on its first trip inland heading up bound through the Seaway on Sept. 3, 1996. After unloading, the vessel sailed to Duluth to load wheat.

On Dec. 14, 1996, the ship went aground at Port Cartier while departing after having “topped up” her cargo to saltwater draft following her second trip to the Great Lakes. Federal Calumet was headed for the anchorage in inclement weather when it hit bottom flooding a double bottom tank. Repairs were needed before the voyage could be completed.

Federal Calumet made three more Seaway transits in 1997 departing Thunder Bay on Nov. 6, with flax seed from Thunder Bay to Morocco. Later in the year it was sold to Atlanska Plovidba of Croatia, renamed Orsula at Antwerp, Belgium, and chartered back to Fednav.

Orsula made its first trip to the Great Lakes in April 1998 bringing overseas steel. It has been a regular inland caller over the years and had made a total of 40 trips through the Seaway to the end of 2013. The ship was back through the Seaway again in 2014 and we hope it has better luck this year than it did a year ago today.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 25

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.

1975: GEORGE M. CARL (ii), inbound at Toronto with a winter storage cargo of grain, missed the turn for the Western Gap and stranded in Humber Bay. Tugs pulled the ship free on December 27.

1981: The Halco tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT caught fire 200 miles east of Quebec City enroute from Montreal to the Magdalen Islands with 40,000 barrels of Bunker C. oil. The accommodation area was destroyed and 7 lives were lost. The ship was towed to Sept-Iles, unloaded and then to Montreal where it was declared a total loss. It later saw brief service as the barge b) SCURRY and went to Nigeria in 1992 as c) REMI.

1985: The former CLIFFS VICTORY passed down the Welland Canal as c) SAVIC, enroute to eventual scrapping in South Korea. It does not arrive there until Dec. 12, 1986.

2000: TWINSISTER had come to the Great Lakes in 1985. The vessel was reported to have caught fire in the engineroom as d) MELATI off Vung Tau, Vietnam, with the blaze spreading to the accommodation area. The listing freighter was abandoned by the 18-member crew and the ship was presumed to have sunk. It was located December 31 and found to have been looted by pirates. The ship arrived in Singapore, under tow, on January 4, 2001, and was apparently repaired, becoming e) WIN DUKE in 2003 and f) HAN LORD in 2006.

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

 

U.S.-flag lakes cargos up in November, but fleet still trails last year

12/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 9.3 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in November, an increase of 6.2 percent compared to a year ago. The total would have been higher, but there were a number of weather-related delays. In fact, the November float actually represents a decrease of nearly 18 percent compared to October’s volume.

Iron ore for the steel industry totaled 4.6 million tons in November, an increase of 22.4 percent compared to a year ago. That increase allowed the year-to-date total for iron ore to inch passed 2013’s end-of-November tally by 350,000 tons.

Coal cargos totaled 1.9 million tons, a decrease of 16.6 percent compared to a year ago. Limestone cargos registered a slight increase – 45,000 tons.

The fleet’s year-to-date total – 80.5 million tons – remains nearly 2 percent off last year’s pace. Despite higher water levels and the activation of three additional hulls, the U.S.-flag Lakes fleet has yet to fully overcome the cargo shortfalls suffered last winter and this spring when glacial ice packed the shipping lanes.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Seaway tolls to increase by 2.0% in 2015

12/24 - The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced a toll rate increase of 2.0% for the 2015 navigation season. The new revised tariff will be posted and available on the Seaway website on January 07, 2015.

The Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system supports over 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity per year. The SLSMC remains dedicated to promoting the economic and environmental benefits of marine transportation, attracting new cargoes to the Seaway, and leveraging technology to enhance the system’s performance.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

 

Port Reports -  December 24

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manitowoc departed in the late afternoon.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Tuesday, the English River unloaded cement.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Monday night was Algoma Discovery up for Hamilton, Ont. Early Tuesday morning was Pineglen down at 3:18 a.m. for Montréal, QC and Algoma Transport down at 4:43 a.m. for Cote St. Catherine, QC.

Tuesday Mapleglen came down at 6:10 a.m. for Montréal, QC., Evans McKeil tug up through at 7:26 a.m. ahead of the American Fortitude tow. The Salvor tugging the American Fortitude, assisted by Jarrett M came up at 7:44 a.m., Algosoo down at 7:55 a.m., Algoma Progress up at 8:20 a.m. for Hamilton, Ont., Cuyahoga down at 8:31 a.m. and Manitoba up at 8:35 a.m. for Thunder Bay, Ont. John B. Aird up at 11:09 a.m. for Burns Harbor, Puffin down at 11:29 a.m. for Québec City, QC, Yankee tug down at 12:10 p.m., Victorious tug with John J. Carrick barge up at 1:39 p.m., Fuldaborg down at 2:52 p.m. for Montréal, QC, Robinson Bay tug with buoy barge and Performance tug assisting down at 3:03 p.m. and into Ogdensburg, NY. reporting to be back in commission Boxing Day, CCGS Griffon up at 3:31 p.m. and into home port, CCG Base Prescott. She will depart Wednesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to work Lake St. Lawrence and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin came through at 4:44 p.m. for Québec, QC.

Expected Tuesday evening and night were the downbounders, Tim S. Dool for Baie St. Paul, Adfines Star for Montréal, QC, Vitosha for Lanoraie, QC and Isa for Montréal, QC.

Seaway
The American Fortitude tow passed Brockville Tuesday around 10:30 a.m. She was towed by the tug Salvor, and followed closely behind by the tug Jarrett M. The tug Evans McKeil had gone up before the tow by about half an hour. Following closely behind the tow, probably unable to pass until getting further through the Thousand Islands, were Algoma Progress and Manitoba.

 

Historic Port Sanilac lighthouse finds new owner

12/24 - Port Sanilac, Mich. – It took Jeff Shook more than a decade, but he finally got his lighthouse.

The Fenton resident and historic preservationist is the new owner of the iconic lighthouse and attached caretaker home in Port Sanilac.

"I've been interested in it for a long time," said Shook, the president of the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. "I had previously spoken with the owners about 10 years ago, and I kept in touch ever since."

Shook paid $855,000, but he has plans to renovate and preserve the light tower while keeping it as historically accurate as possible. He has no idea how much the renovations will cost.

"The lighthouse does need some TLC; it's got some spalling bricks on the outside," he said. "Basically the tower needs to be stripped of all of its paint, all the brick work needs to be looked at, and there's a lot of the putty glazing compound on the windows that have deteriorated."

Luckily, Shook, 43, is probably the best man for the job. Through the non-profit conservancy he founded, Shook has purchased and renovated lighthouses in Muskegon and Alpena, which has been turned over to a local preservationist group.

Lighthouses are in his blood.

Shook says his ancestors Peter and Catherine Shook were the first lighthouse keepers at Point Aux Barques in 1848. Peter Shook died a year later while sailing to Port Huron with a lighthouse inspector. He shipwrecked off the coast from Lexington, just south of Port Sanilac and decades before the federal government determined it was necessary to have a lighthouse there. Catherine Shook took over as lighthouse keeper, at a time when women typically wouldn't have been given the job.

Jeff Shook is passionate about preserving this part of Michigan history and his family's history. As for the Port Sanilac lighthouse, he's bought it for himself and all the renovation money will be coming out of his own pocket.

"The dwelling portion is structurally in good shape," he said. "My family and I are going to use it as a vacation home."

Unlike many lighthouses in Michigan, which are off the beaten path, this one is located in the heart of Port Sanilac, a village of about 620 people along Lake Huron that's located about 80 miles northeast of Detroit.

The lighthouse was established in 1886 after crews traveling the shipping lanes along the coast complained that the distance between the Fort Gratiot lighthouse and the Pointe aux Barques lighthouse in Port Hope was too far and had too shallow of water to safely navigate without another light in between.

A keeper took care of the light up until it was automated in 1924.

The beacon has been in use as a navigational aid since then, even though the General Services Administration decommissioned the lighthouse in 1928. That's when Ian Aronsson's grandfather Carl Rosenfield, founder of Carl's Chop House in Detroit, bought the property from the government for $4,000.

Aronsson and her husband Tim Conklin have owned the lighthouse since she inherited it in the 1990s. They used it as a weekend and summer home, taking the time to renovate the attached 2,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, 11/2-bath house.

They put the property up for sale a few years ago, trying to get around $1 million for it.

Last year, Conklin told The Detroit News the lighthouse was "a constant living history" for their family. Inside, it was like a time capsule, with family photos and mementos gathered over the years.

"We are very pleased that the Port Sanilac lighthouse has a new owner who shares our passion," the couple said in a message. "We know that Mr. Shook and his family will be excellent caretakers of this historic property."

Now Shook, his wife Lindsay and sons Ryan, 4, and Paxton, 1 , will be making their own memories there. And he's also planning to get the village involved.

Shook says he wants to open up the lighthouse to the public in some way. He says he's going to work with the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association to try to host tours a few times a year.

One major change that could be coming to the lighthouse is something Shook has no control over.

While the property and buildings are privately owned, the original Fresnel lens inside the lighthouse is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Over the past decade, the Coast Guard has been working to replace the antique lenses at lighthouses around the state with modern LED lights, which are easier to find parts for and to maintain.

Fresnel lenses are not common anymore, since so many of them were replaced or damaged and removed, says Wayne Kean, an environmental engineer at the Coast Guard's Civil Engineering Unit, based in Cleveland.

"Back when these lenses were first installed in the late 1800s, they had lighthouse keepers and their sole purpose was to care for these lenses and light the lamps," said Kean. "Once we started modernizing the lights, lighthouse keepers were out of a job and maintenance would only happen a couple times a year or when a mariner reported the light was out."

` There are just seven Fresnel lenses left intact in Michigan's 115 lighthouses, and the Port Sanilac lighthouse could be the the next to be replaced, he said. The Coast Guard and the state's Historic Preservation Office should soon sign an agreement to install LED lights and move Fresnel lens to the Sanilac County Historic Village and Museum. Although nothing is official, Kean said it would be beneficial because it would prevent the historic lens from deteriorating further.

"If we keep them in there, they continue to deteriorate. It takes away from future generations to look at and enjoy," said Kean. "We've made it our goal to preserve these historic lenses and put them places where can people can enjoy them as works of art."

Shook says he would be disappointed if the Fresnel lens was removed from his lighthouse.

"To me, it's nice to see the lens in the tower still in some limited areas in the state rather than having them 100 percent gone from every tower," he said. "It would be nice to see, on the shoreline of the lake, at least one or two that would still retain the lens just to portray the historic appearance of what a lighthouse should look like."

For now, Shook is focusing on what he can control: the condition of the lighthouse.

He's begun taking measurements and coming up with plans so he can submit them to the state. The lighthouse has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984, so any major renovations need to be approved first. Shook is also looking for any old photos of the lighthouse and any artifacts from the past. He hopes it will better help him preserve the history and tell the story of the lighthouse and the village it serves.

"I guess when you look at things in an overall perspective, a major portion of our country's growth took place because of shipping and marine waterways," said Shook. "These are some of our earliest historic structures. They've been around for a long time, and hopefully they'll be around even longer."

Detroit News

 

Lookback #402 – Tug G.W. Rogers sank at Albany, NY en route from lakes on Dec. 24, 1987

For many years the tug G.W. Rogers was very familiar around the lower Great Lakes. The vessel was owned by the Canadian Dredge and Dock Co. and was used in a variety of construction projects including the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The British built tug dated from 1919 and had originally served The Admiralty as West Hope. It was sold to private interests in 1921 becoming b) Ballindalloch in 1923 and then sailed to Canada for the Saint John Drydock and Shipbuilding Co. as c) Ocean Gull in 1924. It joined the Canadian Dredge Co. as d) G.W. Rogers in 1937.

The vessel towed some old lakers headed for scrapping and had the car ferries John A. McPhail and James W. Curran in tow when they got in trouble and sank in Lake Huron on May 9, 1964.

G.W. Rogers left the Great Lakes, reportedly bound for St. Martin, Netherlands Antilles, in Nov. 1987 and got as far as Albany, NY, before sinking there 27-years ago today. There was one report that the ship was refloated and scrapped at Albany but this was not the case. The hull was spotted at Liberty Park, NY, much the worse for wear, in October 1997 and there was a report that it later sank there but I have not been able to confirm its ultimate fate.

Skip Gillham

 

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 Co. 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, Mich., 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, Mich.

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, Ont., 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, Mich. -- 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 1979, while at her temporary dock in Milwaukee, Wis., 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.

1976: The former MARIA K., of 1956, visited the Seaway in 1963. It sustained a fire in the engine room as c) ASTYANAX at Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The vessel was loaded with cement and became a total loss. It was scuttled in the Atlantic south of Abidjan, on November 18, 1977, after the cargo had solidified.

1977: The West German freighter MAGDEBURG began visiting the Seaway in 1959 and had made 31 voyages inland to the end of 1967. It was sailing from Hull, England, and Antwerp, Belgium, for East Africa when it ran aground at Haisborough Sand in bad weather. The ship was refloated the same day but with serious damage. It was sold for scrap and dismantling began in May 1978.

1982: TUKWILA CHIEF came through the Seaway in 1982 after previous visits as a) ESTHER CHARLOTTE SCHULTE as early as 1962. Fire broke out on board, two days out of Souris, PEI, with a cargo of potatoes. The blaze spread through the cabins and the ship was gutted. One sailor was lost but the remainder was rescued. The ship was brought to Sydney and, on September 20, 1983, was towed out into the deep waters of the Atlantic and scuttled.

1983: The Welland Canal pilot boat CISCOE was enroute to Port Dover for the winter when it lost power in heavy seas. The GRIFFON took the small ship in tow but it flipped over, broke loose and eventually sank. The 2 members of the crew were saved.

1987: The tug G.W. ROGERS left the Great lakes in November 1987 but sank at Albany, on this date during the trip south to the Netherlands Antilles. While refloated, it never made it south and was noted at Liberty Park, New York, in October 1997.

1997: The barge DUPUIS No. 10, under tow of the tug TECHNO-ST. LAURENT, sank in Lake Erie while bound from Buffalo to the Welland Canal. There were no casualties.

1999: The BARDE TEAM, enroute from Singapore with steel pipes, began taking on water, developed a list and sank in the Indian Ocean. It first came through the Seaway in 1976 as a) SAMSON SCAN and returned under her final name in 1992.

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

 

Mailboat J.W. Westcott II enters winter layup

12/23 - Detroit, Mich. – Monday was the last day of service for the J.W. Westcott Company’s 2014 season. The J.W. Westcott II departed the Detroit dock for Gregory’s Marina behind Belle Isle and was pulled from the water for the winter. The Westcott Company’s back up mailboat the Joseph J. Hogan was laid up earlier in the month. Service returns in April 2015, ice permitting.

The pilot boat Huron Maid departed for Port Huron about 10 a.m., Pilots will now double up at other points with no service at Detroit.

Video of the last day

 

Duluth-Superior’s international shipping season ends as last saltie departs

12/23 - Duluth, Minn. – This past weekend signaled the beginning of the end of the 2014 shipping season, as the last oceangoing vessel to have called on the Port of Duluth-Superior this year departed just after midnight Friday, passing beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge at 12:26 a.m. Saturday.

The Palmerton had arrived earlier in the week to discharge project cargo at the Clure Public Marine Terminal in Duluth. The 436-foot, Antigua-flag Palmerton will be the last saltie of 2014 to make the full 2,342-mile transit of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system from the Head of the Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.

Both the Welland Canal, which connects Lakes Erie and Ontario, and locks on the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway are scheduled to close on Dec. 31.

Laker traffic, however, will continue on the Great Lakes for four more weeks as the Soo Locks won’t officially close to vessel traffic until midnight on January 15. Those locks are scheduled to reopen for the 2015 commercial navigation season on March 25.

Despite coming off the most brutal winter in decades to start the 2014 season and dealing with rail capacity issues, Great Lakes freighters have worked hard to make up for tonnage and transits lost in the ice-choked months of March and April. In fact, on many fronts, year-to-date shipments through the Port of Duluth-Superior have nearly caught up to where they were at this time last year – sitting at 32.4 million short tons through November. Shipments of iron ore (to domestic and Canadian steel mills) are up nearly 6 percent to 15.3 million short tons; and increases in commodities like limestone and salt plus general cargo shipments helped offset declines in coal and grain this season.

“Higher water levels across the system this year helped tremendously in making up time and tonnage. Thousand-footers, for example, were able to load to another foot deeper draft allowing some 3,000 additional tons of iron ore or coal on every downbound delivery,” noted Vanta Coda, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “General cargo shipments also ranked significantly higher than last year. By the time 2014 ends, we will have welcomed 14 vessels to the Clure Public Marine Terminal here in Duluth, nearly twice as many as last year, representing a tonnage increase of more than 200 percent.”

Although ice has already formed on Lake Superior and elsewhere in the system, shipping has not been significantly impacted so far this winter. Freighters continue their end-of-season push to deliver iron ore to mills on the Lower Lakes to ensure sufficient inventories for steelmaking while locks are closed … to build up stockpiles of coal at utility companies and other customers in that same region … and, on the inbound side, to ensure there are sufficient supplies of limestone, salt and other bulk commodities on the ground here in the Twin Ports to last until the locks reopen in March.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

U.S.-flag fleets to pump $75 million into Great Lakes shipyards this winter

12/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes vessel operators plan to spend $75 million this winter readying the fleet for the 2015 shipping season. One vessel is already in drydock undergoing the out-of-water hull inspection required by U.S. law every 5 years. The remainder of the fleet will arrive at their winter berths in early to mid-January.

The $75 million to be spent this winter comes on top of the nearly $6 million required in April and May to repair damages suffered trying to meet the needs of commerce when heavy ice blanketed the Lakes last winter and spring.

The work to be performed stretches from bow to stern. Main engines, which run virtually non-stop from spring fit-out to winter lay-up, will be overhauled. The largest engines on U.S.-flag lakers are capable of generating nearly 20,000 horsepower.

All the U.S.-flag lakers in service this year were self-unloaders and a number of conveyor belts that move the cargo from the holds to the unloading boom will be replaced.

Some cargo holds will be relined with plastic to facilitate the unloading of sticky cargos such as certain coals. One ship will have all 24 cargo hatch covers replaced for the first time since it’s christening in 1976. With the lakes being a freshwater environment, longevity is a hallmark of the fleet.

Navigation, fire fighting and lifesaving equipment will also be carefully checked and replaced or upgraded as necessary.

The major shipyards on the Lakes are located in Sturgeon Bay, Superior and Marinette, Wisconsin; Erie, Pennsylvania; and Toledo, Ohio. Smaller “top-side” repair operations are located in Cleveland, Ohio; Escanaba, Michigan; Buffalo, New York; and several cities in Michigan. The industry’s annual payroll for its 2,700 employees approaches $125 million and it is estimated that an additional $800,000 in economic activity is generated per vessel in the community in which it is wintering.

Maintaining the lakes fleet this winter will require precise planning and coordination by the shipyards. This is a very busy period for Great Lakes shipyards. Several yards are actively engaged in commercial and military construction. In fact, one yard has a 9-vessel backlog that extends into 2017.

Also in the offing are potential conversions of lakers to be fueled with LNG.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Port Reports -  December 23

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor found Herbert C. Jackson and John J. Boland at the ore dock. Adam E. Cornelius, on her first visit since December 2011, was at anchor waiting to load. On Sunday, Algosteel loaded ore on her second visit of the season.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled from Monday-Thursday. The next vessel due into will be the Great Republic, expected to arrive on Friday in the early morning for the South Dock. This may also be the final vessel for the 2014 shipping season.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel arrivals on Monday. Due in Tuesday will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the early morning. Manistee is due on Wednesday in the late morning. There is nothing scheduled for Thursday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory arrived at the Torco Dock in Toledo late on Sunday evening to unload iron ore. Also due at Torco will be the John J. Boland on Thursday in the morning, followed by the Adam E. Cornelius, due on Friday in the early morning. Due at the CSX Coal Dock was the James L. Kuber on Monday in the early morning. Joseph L. Block, making her first visit to Toledo since 1998, is now due at CSX on Tuesday in the early morning. Algoma Progress is due at CSX on Thursday in the late evening. Other vessels in port included the tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement, which were on their way out of Toledo at the time of this report after unloading cement at the St. Marys Cement Dock. The tug John Francis was also in port. Further upriver was CSL's Cedarglen, loading a grain cargo at one of the elevators.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner departed at 10 a.m. Monday for Lorain.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Sunday night the Radcliffe R. Latimer went up, Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge and Algoma Harvester were both down for Montréal, QC. Early Monday morning, Sloman Hermes went up and into Prescott Anchorage destined for Mississauga, Ont., Wilf Seymour tug with Alouette Spirit up for Oswego, NY, Zelada Desgagnés, out of Prescott Anchorage and down at 3:38am for Montréal, QC. Monday the Vega Desgagnés came out of Prescott Anchorage and down at 5:57am for Montréal, QC, Maria Desgagnés up at 5:48am for Sarnia, Ont. and Whistler down at 12:14pm for Montréal, QC. Monday night the Algoma Discovery was expected up for Hamilton, Ont.

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
The American Fortitude scrap tow will begin again Monday evening. But first the plan is to bring Salvor up through Snell and Eisenhower locks light tug. She will wait above the locks until Evans McKeil brings the American Fortitude up through both locks. Above Ike they will switch lead tugs again and Salvor will take her up the river. But first, we have Algoma Discovery up, Whistler down and John B. Aird up through both locks before the tow will move.

 

Water levels: Lakes Huron, Michigan unusually high

12/23 - Water levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan are bucking the seasonal trend by remaining high when they normally drop.

And there’s a decent chance they might remain at about these levels, something that hasn’t happened in years, until spring rain boosts their volume for next year.

Since record-keeping began a century ago, water levels in Lakes Michigan-Huron have risen in only seven years, said Derrick Beach, hydrology specialist with Environment Canada.

“It’s fairly rare to see that,” he said, noting the decline generally starts in late summer.

Only a few years ago, the lakes had lost so much water — less rainfall and more evaporation were among the reasons — that many people worried they were destined to remain low for the long haul.

But above-average rainfall and snowfall have fallen on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron (Michigan-Huron is considered one lake system) for about a year.

Water is flowing out of Superior into Michigan-Huron at 2,410 cubic metres/second, and that’s also making a big difference to lake levels, Beach said.

A few years ago, many lobbyists, especially hard-hit cottagers on Georgian Bay, said lake levels were so low that “speedbumps” should be built in the St. Clair River to keep water in Lake Huron a little longer during dry spells.

Even today’s higher lake levels suggest the same argument can be made to moderate water flows by building flexible underwater structures and covering the riverbed with rock rubble, said Mary Muter, Ontario Great Lakes section chair of Sierra Club Canada.

“Now, with above-average flows in the St. Clair River, we are concerned the erosion has accelerated,” she said.

While some locks moderate flows from Superior, Erie and Ontario, there’s nothing similar for Michigan-Huron, she said.

High levels are a boon for shipping. Low levels mean shippers can’t load boats with as much cargo, while there’s also concern valuable wetland habitat is lost.

Where They Are
Superior, Michigan-Huron and Erie had above-average lake levels in November. Lake Ontario had less rain this fall and dropped to below-average levels. Superior was 8 inces higher than average (and 11 inches higher than November 2013); Michigan-Huron was 7 inches higher than average (21 inches higher than last November); Erie was 6 inches higher than average (7 inches higher than last November); Ontario is 3 inches below average (6 inches lower than a year ago).

London Free Press

 

Lookback #401 – Tanker Chippewa closed the Seaway twice on Dec. 23

On two occasions, the last saltwater ship to depart the St. Lambert Lock for the season at Montreal was the tanker Chippewa. It was the final transit on Dec. 23, 1988, and repeated the feat four years later on Dec. 23, 1992.

For many years, this was a familiar trader in and out of the Great Lakes. It was launched at Shimonoseki, Japan, in October 1980 and completed as Suncor Chippewa in April 1981.

The 505 foot, 3 inch long tanker was owned by Toronto based Suncor Inc. and arrived there for ceremonies on May 29, 1981. While Canadian owned, the $18 million ship operated under the flag of Liberia.

Suncor Chippewa was designed to operate between Europe and Sarnia carrying chemicals and assorted refined petroleum products. It was a regular trader in and out of the Seaway system.

The ship was sold and renamed b) Chippewa in 1983 but its service changed very little. It retained Liberian registry and made between four and six voyages to the Great Lakes per year until 1994. The ship made its last trip inland through the Seaway on Dec. 14, 1994, bound for Detroit and Sarnia.

Chippewa was sold to The Shipping Corporation of India in 1995 and renamed c) Jhulelal. It spent another 10-years in saltwater service before being sold for scrap. The vessel was beached at Alang, India, as d) Lal on Aug. 24, 2004, and broken up after 23 years of service.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 23

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.

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.

1916: A.B. WOLVIN, a former Great Lakes bulk carrier that went to sea in 1911, sank in a gale on the Atlantic southeast of Bermuda. The crew of 26 were picked up by the BRAZIL, a two-year old Norwegian freighter.

1954: The former FEDERAL AMBASSADOR, while not a Great Lakes trader but once part of the Federal Commerce & Navigation of Montreal, foundered in the North Sea as c) GERDA TOFT

1963: The Greek passenger liner LAKONIA caught fire off Madeira with 1041 passengers and crew on board. While 132 lives were lost in the tragedy, another 470 were rescued by the freighters SALTA and MONTCALM. The latter was a regular Seaway trader beginning in 1960 and returned as b) CAPO SAN MARCO in 1971.

1986: MARINE COASTER, a Great Lakes visitor as e) EVA MARIE in the mid-1960s, was scuttled off Newfoundland.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 22

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday three vessels called at Lafarge. The Manistee arrived in the morning to unload. Later in the day the Alpena came in to load cement under the silos. The Calumet tied up at the Lafarge dock Friday night to unload coal. On Sunday the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port taking on cement.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
Early Saturday evening the tug Invincible came into Bay ship and tied up on the end of the pier next to the small dry dock. The tug left its barge McKee Sons in Muskegon before crossing the lake to the ship yard.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Defiance-Ashtabula departed for Sandusky around midnight Saturday night and the American Mariner came back in to unload more wheat at General Mills.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Saturday the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Spirit unloaded aluminum.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Saturday night were Adfines Sea, Salvor and Algoma Enterprise.

Early Saturday morning, Algowood came down at 3:02am for Becancour, QC and Chestnut came down through at 2:07am for Montreal, QC.

Saturday morning between approx 3:00am to 12-noon, the Federal Mirimichi, Fortunagracht, Birchglen, Algonova, Vega Desgagnes, Zelada Desgagnes and Delturva were all delayed at Prescott Anchorage above the CCG Base. The Federal Mirimichi came down at 11h52 for Montreal, QC, Fortunagracht down at 12:47pm for port of Gros Cacouna, QC., Birchglen down at 1:26pm for Quebec City, QC and Algonova at 2:08pm for Tracy, QC. The Federal Mirimichi, Fortunagracht and Algonova proceeded to Wilson Hill anchorage to await pilot time at Snell. The Vega Desgagnes and Delturva will remain at Prescott Anchorage also awaiting pilot times, and Zelada Desgagnes will wait in Prescott Anchorage until early Monday morning, coordinating with re-scheduling issues at the Port of Montreal.

Expected through Saturday night were the upbound Radcliffe R. Latimer, Sloman Hermes for Mississauga, Ont., Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge down for Montreal, QC., Wilf Seymour tug with Alouette Spirit barge for Oswego, NY, Puffin down for Quebec City, QC and Algoma Harvester down for Port Cartier, QC.

Early Monday morning, expected through is Maria Desgagnes up for Sarnia, Ont.

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
The American Fortitude tow left the upper wall of Beauharnois Lock at 4 p.m. Sunday upbound for Port Colborne, Ont. The lead tug is Salvor with Jarrett M on the tail. They were running at 6 knots.

 

Lookback #400 – Former Seaway trader Netanya aground off Cuba on Dec. 22, 1982

12/22 - Netanya began coming to the Great Lakes for the Zim Israel Line in 1960. The 361- foot-long general cargo carrier had been built at Lubeck, West Germany, and completed in March 1960.

The vessel had made 14 trips through the Seaway to the end of 1967 and continued to sail under the flag of Israel until sold and renamed Odette in 1978. It was sold again in 1980 becoming Krios under Greek registry and was wrecked 32 years ago today.

Krios was on a voyage from Havana, Cuba, to Luanda, Angola, when it stranded off Diamond Point, Cuba. The hull was heavily damaged and the ship was declared a total loss.

Salvors took over the freighter and were able to refloat it. The vessel was sold to a Cuban firm for a planned return to service but the machinery was too badly damaged from its exposure to salt water. It seems that the ship saw some service as a barge, possibly under the name Ciego De Avila, but at this point it has become difficult to trace.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 22

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.

GORDON C. LEITCH (i), 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.

1978: MARTHA HINDMAN hit the breakwall while inbound with a winter storage cargo of grain at Goderich and tore open the hull on the starboard side. The vessel settled on the bottom but was patched, pumped out and unloaded. It returned to service in 1979 as LAC DES ILES.

1982: NETANYA began Great Lakes trading for the Zim Israel Navigation Co. in 1960. It went aground off Diamond Point, Cuba, as c) KRIOS and sustained heavy damage. It was taken over by salvors and, while refloated, only saw brief service as a barge before being dismantled.

2001: The former Fednav bulk carrier FEDERAL SKEENA (i), was too big for the Seaway. It had been sold and was sailing as c) CHRISTOPHER when it disappeared, with all 27 on board lost, in the Atlantic north of the Azores.

2004: CANADIAN PROVIDER hit the dock at Redpath Sugar in Toronto and both the vessel and structure were damaged. The ship was inactive in 2005 but returned to service in May 2006.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 21

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded on Saturday and was expected to depart around midnight. There is nothing scheduled from Sunday-Thursday. The next vessel to arrive at Calcite will be on Friday, December 26, when Great Republic returns during the early evening for the South Dock to load.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Saturday and was due to depart around 5:30 p.m. At anchor was the Calumet, expected to get the dock around 6 p.m. on Saturday following the departure of the Kuber. Due in on Sunday will be the Pathfinder, expected to arrive in the late afternoon to load. The Lewis J. Kuber is due back on Monday to load with no time given. There are no vessels scheduled for Tuesday. Due in on Wednesday and Christmas Eve is the Manistee. There are no vessels scheduled for Thursday and Christmas Day. Two vessels wrap up the schedule on Friday, December 26 with the Great Republic due in first in the morning, followed by the John G. Munson arriving in the late evening.

Muskegon, Mich. – Tyler Fairfield
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible arrived at the Mart dock at 4 a.m. Saturday after a trip from Erie, Pa. The tug left for Sturgeon Bay at 7:30 am, reportedly bound for Sturgeon Bay, while the McKee Sons will continue in layup.

Port Huron, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block, which normally spends almost all of its time in the Upper Great Lakes, particularly hauling iron ore from Lake Superior ports and Escanaba to Indiana Harbor and limestone on Lake Michigan, made a rare visit on Saturday to the lower Great Lakes. Saturday evening the Block was downbound entering the St. Clair River at 7 p.m. and was heading to Cleveland, Ohio with a load of pellets that loaded at Silver Bay, Minn. The ship was expected to arrive in Cleveland on Sunday morning. This is the Block's first trip to the lower Great Lakes since the 1998 season when she made trips to Ashtabula and Toledo with iron ore cargoes. After unloading in Cleveland, the Block was scheduled to load slag in Lorain, Ohio, for Burns Harbor, Ind. However, that trip has been cancelled and now the Block will head to Toledo and load coal at CSX, where it is due to arrive on Monday in the early afternoon. It is unknown if more trips are scheduled for the Block to lower lakes this season.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc arrived at the Torco Dock in Toledo on Saturday during the late afternoon to early evening to unload an iron ore cargo. Also due at Torco is the James L. Kuber on Sunday arriving in the late afternoon to the early evening. Due at the CSX Coal Dock to load will be the Manitowoc on Saturday in the late evening. James L. Kuber is due at CSX on Monday in the early morning. Also due at CSX on Monday is the Joseph L. Block, a rare visitor to the lower lakes, expected to arrive on Monday during the early afternoon. The last time that the Block visited Toledo was during the 1998 shipping season when she unloaded iron ore at the Torco Dock. American Valor remains in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels in port included the tug Paul L. Luedtke along with the tug Barbara Andrie and a barge. Further upriver at one of the grain elevators was the Claude A. Desgagnes loading a grain cargo.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga left the harbor at 12:25 Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The tug-barge Defiance-Ashtabula arrived from Cleveland with the second half of a split load of sand for Buffalo on Saturday. They went to anchor off the traffic buoy around 11 a.m. to wait for the American Mariner to finish up unloading a grain cargo that they had been working on at General Mills. The Mariner had been in town since around 11 p.m. on the 19th. They wrapped up at 3 p.m. and then backed out to the lake so the Defiance-Ashtabula could get in for the Sand Supply Landing on the City Ship Canal. The Mariner went to anchor off Buffalo while the Defiance brought her barge in for a quick unload of about nine hours. After they depart the Mariner will come back in to finish off their grain cargo at General Mills.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through the night Friday was Kaministiqua down for Sorel, QC and Ojibway up.

Through early Saturday morning was Duzjit Dignity down for Baltimore, Md., and Vitosha up at 3:01am for Port Weller, Ont. Also Saturday, we had Andean down at 5:29am for Montreal, QC., Sarah Desgagnes up at 6:00am for Sarnia, Ont., Ziemia Cieszynska down at 10:23am for Montreal, QC, Dimitrois K down at 1:18pm for Sorel, QC., HHL Mississippi down at 3:55pm for Sorel, QC., Evans McKeil tug down at 2:55pm for Quebec and Algolake down at 15h15pm for Montreal, QC. Expected through Saturday night were the Adfines Sea up for Clarkson, Salvor tug down for Quebec and Algoma Enterprise down for Port Cartier, QC.

Expected through early Sunday are Chestnut down to Montreal, QC., Algowood down to Becancour, QC and Federal Miramichi down for Montreal, QC.

Sorel-Tracy, Que. – René Beauchamp
The idled Phoenix Sun has had her name shorted to just Phoenix, possibly in preparation for a trip to an overseas scrapyard. Her port of registry Panama has also been painted out.

 

Rebirth of Highway H20: Quickest way to clean out Manitoba

12/21 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Inside the Thunder Bay, Ont. grain elevator of Richardson International — a castle-scale, century-old complex of poured concrete, ice cold on this December night — men bustle, preparing a load of Prairie grain. Amid a bewildering forest of belts and pipes and riveted boxes, silver cylinders spin great batches of wheat, separating out broken pieces and chaff.

The Kaministiqua is tied up adjacent to the elevator, here on the northwest shore of Lake Superior. It is named for the Kaministiquia River, which flows into Thunder Bay. The ship’s owner took out the third “i” because a 13-letter name is unlucky.

She is a 730-foot Great Lakes bulk carrier ship, a giant, rectangular tin can purpose-built in 1983 at Govan Shipbuilders in Glasgow, Scotland, to fit through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Longshoremen have worked all day to load her with 20,000 metric tonnes of western amber durum wheat, which arrived via Canadian Pacific Railway from Saskatchewan. The Kaministiqua is now waiting on 5,000 metric tonnes of Manitoba soybeans, coming in on the Canadian National Railway. That train is late, so sailors have time to go ashore for a drink … or two … before the ship sails to Sorel, Que., where the grain will be transferred to ocean freighters bound for Morocco where it will be used to make couscous.

In its heyday, circa 1983, Thunder Bay moved 18 million tonnes of grain. After the railways twinned their westward rails and sent more grain through Vancouver and Prince Rupert, B.C. this port dwindled.

Today, Thunder Bay is coming back. In 11 months to Nov. 30, the port has shipped 7.2 million metric tonnes of grain, a 56% increase over last year.

“The boys have just about had enough,” says Patrick “Paddy” Johnson, head of the Thunder Bay Grain Trimmers, the crews that load the ships. “Early January, we’ll still be loading some stragglers. We are more hopeful and excited than we were in quite a few years.”

Already 377 Canadian and foreign ships have docked here, up from 280 ships in the same period last year. With Prairie farmers producing record harvests and railways clogged with crude oil, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway are suddenly looking again like a relatively economic and efficient way to move bulk cargo to market.

“The railways were so far behind on their mandate,” says Gerry Heinrichs, the director of terminal operations for Richardson. “They say, ‘Oh, crap, let’s just keep pounding the grain to Thunder Bay, because that’s the quickest way to clean out Manitoba.’”

Such is the crush of ocean-bound “saltie” ships loading grain here that Mr. Heinrichs invented the Gerry Heinrichs International Culinary Award. At the end of the season, he presents the awards to the ship that serves him the most delicious lunch or dinner on board. “Now the agents make sure I get an invite,” he says. ‘Time for the Geritol generation to go’

SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 13:30. The MV Kaministiqua is cruising at 12 knots (about 22km/h), heading southwest on Lake Superior through Whitefish Bay. Having sailed from Thunder Bay 18 hours earlier, she is a few leagues from the spot where, as Gordon Lightfoot recounted, another laker, the Edmund Fitzgerald, sank in a gale in November 1975. Today sun pours into the bridge through dozens of windows that deckhand Clint Ford is polishing with Windex. The greatest of the Great Lakes is smooth, and the southern fried rock of the Allman Brothers Band fills the wheelhouse. Captain Cameron Misener is at the helm. For each of the past three days the captain has worn a new Allman Brothers t-shirt with his bushy white beard; he has seen the band in concert more than 200 times. Today, the captain announces, is Greg Allman’s birthday. “My hero. He’s 67.”

As the Kam, as the crew calls the ship, skims over the calm waters and through chunks of ice, she passes others: the Roger Blough, sailing for Two Harbors, Minn.; the Dutch-registered Vancouverborg; the Peter R. Cresswell of Algoma Central Corp. Capt. Misener goes out to the port bridge deck to offer a bow to the Cresswell’s captain, Peter Schultz, whom he calls, “the best captain on the Great Lakes.”

Capt. Misener was born in 1959, the year the royal yacht Britannia sailed up the St. Lawrence River carrying Queen Elizabeth II to inaugurate the St. Lawrence Seaway, one of the biggest civil engineering feats of the 20th century. Today the seaway feels in many ways as dated as the Allman Brothers, a relic whose hits are long past, quaint and passé. The Kaministiqua, too, is faded, its cabins lined with fake-wood paneling and furnished with knobby wood furniture suited to a ’70s rec room. Its plumbing is somewhat suspect. The linoleum is scuffed in the crew’s mess. And rust spreads on the smokestack, next to a huge painting of an aboriginal face inside a ship’s wheel — the logo of Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., the Kam’s fourth and current owner.

But a funny thing happened as Canada’s inland marine industry prepared to sail off into the sunset: it began roaring back to life. Colleges now can’t keep up with demand for crew from Canada’s ship fleets. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is spending $500-million over five years on new equipment and structural repairs. Great Lakes ship companies are spending $1-billion for 35 new vessels. And through all this renewal sails the Kam, an undermanned, dogged workhorse that so far has called on Thunder Bay 12 times this year.

“The Lower Lakes guys are the cowboys of the Great Lakes,” Mr. Heinrichs says, and he may not be far off. The Kaministiqua had trouble leaving Thunder Bay: the engine room accidentally started the motor full astern, rather than neutral, and the ship began sailing with two crew still ashore. In the wheelhouse, the captain punched the emergency stop button. The captain, angry and exasperated, heaped blame on his older crewmen, some in their senior years. “It’s time for the Geritol generation to go,” he thundered.

A fourth-generation sailor on the Great Lakes, Capt. Misener, 55, has seen Canada’s inland marine industry in its glory days. His grandfather, Robert Scott Misener, in 1912 founded what became Scott Misener Steamships, the largest fleet on the Great Lakes. Robert Misener built a hospital for Port Colborne, Ont. where his grandson was born.

Capt. Misener was 17 when he first sailed the lakes. At summer’s end his mother came to the Welland Canal as the ship entered a lock, and yelled, “Tell Cam to get off the boat and finish high school!” So he did.

Sailing has been hell on his personal life. He has survived three long-term relationships. “I left my first wife after 10 years, after her third affair,” he says. “I’ve been cleaned out twice. Never again.” Financially, he’s secure now: he holds over $1 million in stocks and mutual funds. “TD [stock] split last year,” he smiles. “I’m laughing.”

With his rock T-shirts and beard, he may look like a warmed-over hippie, but the crew call their captain a reliable and fair leader. “Nobody goes to bed wondering what’s going to happen,” says Daryl Bridle, a wheelsman.

Back in the St. Mary’s River, the ship winds past lighthouses and shoreline mansions. The captain talks of rock ‘n’ roll. “The only band I didn’t see was Zeppelin and The Who, and I had tickets for The Who but I couldn’t get there because I got shipped out.”

SUNDAY DEC. 7, 22:30 • In the buzzing control room below deck on the Kaministiqua, a telephone rings. Jessica Clement, the fourth engineer, dressed in once-brown overalls now painted in black grease, picks up and has a word with the bridge. She tears the wrapper off a pair of orange earplugs and jogs downstairs across a narrow steel gangway, past the engine to a big block of steel and pipes. She repeatedly pumps a yellow lever, the lube oil hand pump primer, to oil a generator’s bearings. The ship will arrive at a shoal in half an hour, and the third mate needs this so he can start up the steering motors.

Back in the control room, Ms. Clement calls back to the bridge. “Hey Jason, you’re good to go on that.” Fifty-thousand metric tonnes of steel and grain is pounding at 12 knots through Lake Erie in the pitch-black December night — and this slight, black-haired, 24-year-old woman from Timmins, Ont. is keeping it moving. “It’s kind of like Donkey Kong down here because there are only certain ways you can walk around all the machinery,” she explains, as she dunks a cookie into her chocolate milk.

Ms. Clement originally enrolled at Georgian College in Owen Sound, Ont. to study marine navigation. “I found it really dry studying stars,” she says, so she switched to become an engineer. Today she is the only woman in the engine room of a Lower Lakes ship. It isn’t easy being a woman in this world. Once, reporting for work in the engine room of another vessel, a senior officer assumed she was a prostitute and tried shooing her off. On the Kam, she seems to fit in well.

“I’ve always had a really good experience with this company,” she says. “It took me a long time to get used to being away from home and missing out on major life events. Now I like it. It’s something different every day.”

Lower Lakes Towing is a non-union shop. Algoma and Canada Steamship Lines pay benefits and provide uniforms. To attract talent, Lower Lakes pays well — and hires top-drawer cooks. Chef Tony Sorbara’s galley boasts bulk containers of 30 spices; on Dec. 7, for lunch, he serves carrot and ginger soup with seafood Alfredo or pasta carbonara with garlic bread. For supper, as the Kaministiqua glides towards the bright lights of Detroit, the crew sits down to beef tenderloin with tarragon mustard sauce and double-baked potatoes, stuffed with green onions, garlic, cheese and sour cream, plus tomatoes au gratin. For dessert: cream puffs made from scratch.

Lower Lakes asks its crews to work 40 days on, 20 days off, but it doesn’t always work out so neatly. While crossing Lake Huron, Conrad Seymour, the second mate, gets a call from the crewman who is supposed to relieve him. He isn’t going to make it. Mr. Seymour, who had already sailed 60 days, will miss Christmas with his three children. He is no longer with their mother.

From the captain down, almost everyone has at least one failed marriage. The chef tried marriage twice. On the plus side, “when you get off you don’t think about work at all for three weeks,” says Mr. Sorbara, who has become a shark at both poker and pool.

CSL and Algoma run ships with 20 crew. To cut costs, Lower Lakes sails the Kam with 14. (The Edmund Fitzgerald, a ship of about the same size, sailed with 29.) Second Mate Conrad Seymour updates the charts in the wheelhouse of the M/V Kaministiqua as the ship nears Sarnia.

“What we’re doing here [the staffing] I don’t agree with,” Capt. Misener says. “I think it’s dangerous and I think it’s ridiculous. The company thinks they are being innovative: ‘we can do it with less people.’ At whose expense? My engineer made a mistake [starting the motor in reverse, in Thunder Bay]. If he’d have had an assistant he would not have made that mistake.”

MONDAY, DEC. 8, 13:20 • The Kaministiqua ties up at Port Colborne, Ont. Five crew descend a ladder to the pier to take their leave. Five more climb aboard. Mr. Sorbara, the chef, is heading home to Guelph, Ont., to see his girlfriend. “That’s the best Christmas present ever,” he says. “Thank you, thank you, captain.” ‘On course for the future?’

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 08:16 • “Are they having trouble sucking on us, Jason?”

Wet snow falls heavily. The captain’s sardonic question crackles over a radio clipped to the fluorescent orange winter jacket of Jason Davenport, the third mate, standing near the bow of the Kaministiqua “downbound” in the Upper Beauharnois lock of the St. Lawrence Seaway, about 40 kilometres west of Montreal.

From the lock wall protrude three sets of two yellow steel arms equipped with square black suction rings, each the size of a coffee table. The arms move out from the lock wall to the hull of the ship, just above the waterline.

Most of the seaway belongs to the Government of Canada, which operates 13 locks to move a busy traffic of ships between the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes (Lake Superior is 183 metres above sea level). Since the seaway opened in 1959, when a ship arrives in a lock, deckhands have thrown cables to linesmen along the dock wall, to steady the ship as water rises or falls in the locks.

Over the past five years the federal Crown-owned Seaway management corporation has invested $25 million in “hands-free mooring” — a system of steel arms that attach to the ships to stabilize them in the locks. That’s the theory, anyway.

The new technology will “bring about increased operating efficiency,” promises the Seaway’s most recent corporate summary, “On Course for the Future.” The Seaway has budgeted $95-million in federal government money to make the change.

Today, at least, that future is not being friendly. At Beauharnois, Seaway staff radio the Kaministiqua: “Unit 2 is out of service.” Crewmembers resort to the old ways of steel cables. Shouting from the lock wall at Beauharnois, a Seaway employee explains, “We’re still putting the winter tires on them. The rubber on the winter version clings really well.”

Up on the bridge Capt. Misener is upset.

“Don’t tell me when I’m halfway in the lock that you’re going to tie up. We only had the two guys out there,” he says. “I had to scramble two deckhands out there.”

He calls the hands-free machines a waste of money. As we float by he points out the “disgraceful” crumbling, decaying lock walls at Beauharnois. Those battered walls, he says, are where the Seaway should invest. (On the two U.S. locks, Eisenhower and Snell, vertical bands of steel at about one-metre intervals protect the walls from ships’ hulls).

“Five years they have spent trying to get the bugs out of these suction cups,” the captain adds.

Speaking from Cornwall, Ont., Terence Bowles, chief executive of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, defends the investment in the technology, developed in New Zealand and used at iron ore ports in Australia and the Indian Ocean. Canada is the first country to try suction technology in locks.

“The cups that we use in 90% of the season work extremely well,” says Mr. Bowles. “In winter they become too hard. We need to have a softer kind of rubber compound. We are looking for an all-weather rubber seal.” Of the lock walls, he says, there is a program to keep them in condition. “We think we are up to date.”

Dan McCormick, 68, of Cape Breton Island, is first mate on the Kaministiqua and has sailed on the seaway for over 40 years. He thinks the waterway needs sailors in management.

“They have people working in there who have never sailed. How can they troubleshoot?”

The Seaway insists that of the 65 times the Kaministiqua traveled through various locks that use suction technology in 2014, the system failed only when a National Post reporter was on board.

“We are learning from our experiences, and we have put into place measures since your trip, to ensure that ships are processed more efficiently this month, during adverse weather conditions,” Seaway spokesman Andrew Bogora later said in a statement.

Tonnage through the Seaway has slipped in recent years. Even as it hiked tolls 2.5% in 2013, 2.5% in 2014 and 2% in 2015, the Seaway has lost money; it lost $3.7-million last year. “In the five-year plan [to 2018] we are going to cover our operating costs,” vows Mr. Bowles.

There is some reason for optimism. Right now the seaway is a busy place, with foreign and domestic ships still moving a lot of grain. Overall, traffic is up 5% this year over last year, much of it, apparently, part of this late-season rush. At 4 p.m. on Dec. 9, an announcement from the Seaway crackles over the radio: “There are right now 47 salt water vessels above the St. Lambert Locks. That is up from 22 last year. After today you are designated a wintering vessel. You are not guaranteed to get out of the system.”

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 15:18 • The Kaministiqua enters the St. Lambert lock, the easternmost lock on the river. It’s the day of the funeral of former Montreal Canadiens captain Jean Beliveau and the flags on the Seaway offices flutter at half-staff. Again, the hands-free mooring isn’t working. And the “self-spotting” system, a digital sign designed to tell the captain how far the ship is from the end of the lock, is also malfunctioning. After about 90 minutes in the lock, the Kam prepares to sail eastward.

But rush-hour Montreal traffic flows on the Victoria Bridge to the South Shore. And that bridge needs to rise for the Kam to sail. A voice from the Seaway control room crackles into the wheelhouse of the Kam: “Let’s hope the bridge works.”

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 10, 16:50 • In the St. Lambert locks, Carl Belley boards the Kaministiqua and climbs to the bridge. He is a pilot, a position made mandatory by the federal Pilotage Act: On the St. Lawrence River, these “pilots,” schooled in the shoals and conditions of the river, take control of every single ship sailing east of the seaway locks. Cpt. Misener calls them “pirates.”

“It bothers me that they make double what we do,” Cpt. Misener says. “And I have no power now to make any decisions.”

Many decision-makers in Canada’s maritime industry point to pilots as a pricey tradition that hampers competitiveness. Under one recent rule, if a ship is late more than three hours, the pilot’s association charges the owner $2,500. Pilots bill ship owners by the hour, even when the ship is anchored and the pilot’s asleep.

On the Kam, Mr. Belley the pilot peers out from the wheelhouse at the lock wall through a blizzard. Deckhands shovel thick-wet snow into the river. “We can’t even see the end of the wall,” the pilot announces. “This is not safe.” Once out of the locks, he orders the crew to anchor the Kam in the St. Lawrence River, just off the Port of Montreal. He heads down to a cabin and goes to sleep.

The captain is furious. “I bring a ship down the frickin’ St. Lawrence River in this weather and now I gotta frickin’ stop?” For every hour the ship is late arriving in Sorel, the Kam’s owners will pay $2,000 an hour.

For all the antiquated rules such as pilots, which add costs and slow ships, Canada’s inland marine industry keeps once again gathering steam nonetheless.

In 2010, the federal government removed a 25% tariff on building ships overseas for the Canadian fleet. Big owners including Canada Steamship Lines and FedNav, both based in Montreal, Algoma in St. Catharines, Ont. and Lower Lakes, among others, have in total ordered 35 ships, worth $1 billion, from shipbuilders in China. Three metres longer, a metre wider and about 25 cm deeper, they carry 1,000 tonnes more cargo, while consuming 45% less fuel.

On Dec. 13 the MV CSL St-Laurent, a brand-new bulk carrier, set sail from Yangfan shipyard on Zhoushan Island, China, en route to Canada, where she will fly the Canadian flag and operate in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. She should arrive in mid-February. She is the last of six Canadian-flagged lakers CSL has built since 2012.

“They are huge successes for us,” says Rod Jones, chief executive at CSL, a century-old private Montreal company owned by the family of former prime minister Paul Martin. “This year our fleet is absolutely fully booked. Everything is running flat out.”

Algoma has built three new lakers in China, and ordered five more. “We’re on a large fleet-renewal program,” says Greg Wight, chief executive at Algoma. “These ships go faster and consume less fuel. They are Canadian-flagged vessels with Canadian sailors.” Six ships it will keep; the other two it will operate on behalf of CWB, the former Canadian Wheat Board.

The Kam belongs to Lower Lakes, a company Captain Scott Bravener founded in Port Dover in 1994 with one tug and barge. He has grown the business to 16 ships: nine Canadian-flagged and six U.S.-flagged, which, along with grain, haul Ontario limestone into the Detroit river, Saskatchewan potash to Quebec for shipment to Europe, iron ore to Sault Ste. Marie, and road salt from Cleveland to Toronto. New York-based Rand Logistics bought Lower Lakes in 2006; the company trades thinly on NASDAQ. From a high of US$8.48 in mid-2012, shares have slid to close this week under US$4. Even so, Mr. Bravener is optimistic.

“It has been better in recent years,” says Capt. Bravener. “The steel industry is rebounding. We are holding our own.” Meanwhile the Ontario ports of Oshawa, Hamilton, Goderich and Thunder Bay are all investing in improved facilities.

One of the fleets’ biggest challenges is finding sailors. The Kam sailed with three officers in their late 60s.

“I don’t need the money,” says George Michailopoulos, chief engineer on the Kam, who has sailed for 40 years. “Scott [Bravener, the CEO] talked to me and said, ‘Come on George, give me a couple of years until I can find some young guys.’ The money is good.”

Quite so. Mr. Davenport, the third mate, enrolled in marine navigation at Georgian College in Owen Sound in 2011 after his first career as a financial analyst. He’s 31. Scholarships paid most of his tuition for three years of study. “It’s a six-figure job the day you walk out of college,” he says.

The marine industry is struggling to recruit enough sailors, says Colin MacNeil, marine programs co-ordinator at Georgian College.

“There are quality jobs that pay really, really well,” he says. But they are not for everyone. “Can you be away from friends and family for months on end?” he asks.

THURSDAY DEC. 11, 11:00 • The MV Tim S. Dool, a Saint John-built bulk carrier that belongs to Algoma, has sailed from the Richardson’s elevator in Sorel, opening up a spot for the Kam to unload. On shore, a payloader, typically used to move grain, pushes snow into the river. Using a swing boom, two sailors execute a kind of Tarzan move to land on the snowy dock.

They catch ropes and tie up the big old ship.

At the bow, the first mate, Mr. McCormick, can’t get his cigarette to light in the snow and wind; John Roe, a wheelsman, hands him his, already burning, and Mr. McCormick lights it off the glowing red end.

It’s the last trip through the seaway this year for the Kam. After six days sailing, it will hand off its grain to other ships here, who will take it to its final destination, Casablanca.

Mr. McCormick has made up his mind which holds will be unloaded first. With the ship having endured a week of late arrivals, malfunctioning infrastructure and expensive penalties, he’s not up for an argument. “We’re starting in two and five,” he says. “If they don’t like that, they can kiss off. That’s what she’s dipping: two and five.”

National Post

 

Lookback #399 – Former Col. Robert R. McCormick scuttled off Florida on Dec. 21, 1977

After a successful career on the Great Lakes, the 259-foot-long ship, that had been built at Newport, Monmouthshire, England, in 1955, as a) Manicouagan and then sailed as b) Col. Robert R. McCormick, met a sorry end on the Atlantic. It was scuttled and sunk 37 years ago today.

After leaving the lakes in 1967, the small bulk carrier departed Halifax as c) Montagu Bay on Dec. 16, 1967, and was used to carry South American bauxite to West Indies distribution centers.

It survived a fire in the engine room on the Berbice River at Everton, Guyana, on Dec. 7, 1968, as the blaze did little serious damage.

Montagu Bay came back to Canada and traveled inland as far as Montreal in 1969 but returned to the sea for the rest of its career. It was sold again and renamed d) Linda in 1977 but ran aground on Molasses Reef, off the Florida Keys, in May 1977. The ship was refloated and towed to Miami where it ran aground again blocking the channel.

The U.S. Coast Guard took over and had the ship refloated and unloaded. After no bond was posted, Linda was considered abandoned. As a result, it was towed about 16 miles out to sea off the Florida Coast and sunk via a charge of dynamite on Dec. 21, 1977.

This ship had been built for the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. and was commissioned on Aug. 1, 1955. It was able to carry 1,363 cords of pulpwood but also handled newsprint and bulk cargoes such as grain.

On June 30, 1958, the Col. Robert R. McCormick, was the last vessel to use the old canals before that area was flooded for the opening of the new American Locks at Massena, New York.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 21

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Dimitrios K, Duzgit Dignity, Sundaisy E, and Vitosha.

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 21

In 1987, 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.

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.

1908: The AMERICAN EAGLE burned at the dock in Toledo.

1963: The French freighter DOUALA foundered southwest of Newfoundland while enroute from Montreal to Bordeaux, France. The vessel had been a Seaway caller from 1961 to 1963. Twelve sailors died.

1977: The former COL. ROBERT R. McCORMICK was taken out to sea at Miami as d) LINDA and scuttled. The ship had run aground off the Florida Keys in May. Once released, it was brought to Miami, unloaded and then abandoned by the owners.

1989: The second ELMGLEN ran aground in the Middle Neebish Channel when ice forced the ship out of the channel. The damage was serious but the vessel's certificate was extended to June 1990 and then the ship was retired.

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

 

American Fortitude tow update

12/20 - The Ocean Ross Gaudreault departed Beauharnois downbound this afternoon, leaving the Jarrett M with the tow at the wall above lock 4. Evans McKeil is on her way down the river to pick up the tow. Good weather is forecast for the next two days, but lots of ships due to transit the Seaway too.

Ron Beaupre

 

CWB Marquis and CSL Welland transit Panama Canal

12/20 - CWB Marquis, the third of eight new Equinox-class ships built in China at the Nantong Heavy Industries Shipyard, transited the Panama Canal during the evening of December 16. CWB Marquis arrived at the Panama Canal from China on December 14 and went to anchor awaiting her turn to pass through the canal. That event took place on the evening of December 16 and by morning on December 17 the CWB Marquis was on the Atlantic side taking anchorage once again.

Meanwhile, another newly-built vessel from China, the CSL Welland, the first of two new Trillium-class bulk carriers built for Canada Steamship Lines at the Yangfan Shipyard in China, also arrived at the Panama Canal on December 16 to anchor and await its turn to transit. The vessel was given clearance in the evening of December 19.

CSL St-Laurent, a sister-ship and twin to the CSL Welland, was expected to arrive in Davao, Philippines, the morning of December 19 to take on fuel before proceeding across the Pacific Ocean and eventually arriving at the Panama Canal.

CWB Marquis is expected to tentatively arrive in Montreal about December 29, while the CSL Welland has a tentative date of arrival in Montreal on or about January 2. Both ships are expected to enter service in 2015 with the CWB Marquis owned by the CWB Inc., the former Canadian Wheat Board, managed and operated by Algoma Central Corporation. The vessel will be deployed mostly in the grain and iron ore trades. CSL Welland will be joining the Canada Steamship Lines fleet in 2015.

Denny Dushane

 

Port Reports -  December 20

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through Thursday evening and night were Sundaisy E up for Hamilton, Ont., and Pacific Huron with a cargo of grain from Duluth down for Gibraltar. Through early Friday morning the Victorious articulated push tug with the John J. Carrick down for Valleyfield, QC., Jana Desgagnes down at 02h54 for Montreal, QC., and Federal Rhine down at 03h38 for Trois-Rivieres, QC.

Friday the Federal Katsura was down at 9:03am for Montreal, QC, Mapleglen up at 10:38am for Ashtabula, Cedarglen at 1:05pm up for Toledo, Salvor tug with Lambert Spirit barge up at 2:20pm, CSL Niagara up at 2:54pm for Fairport, NY and Algoeast down at 4:11pm for Tracy, QC. Expected Friday night are Ojibway heading up and Kaministiqua down for Sorel, QC.

Expected early Saturday morning are Vitosha up to Port Weller and Duzgit Dignity down for Baltimore, Md.

 

Lookback #398 – Federal Kivalina stuck in ice at Lock 7, Welland Canal on Dec. 20, 2005

12/20 - It was nine years ago today that the Federal Kivalina, trying to make it out of the Seaway before the system closed for the 2005 season, got stuck in the ice at Lock 7 of the Welland Canal. Tugs were needed to free the 656-foot-long, 20,659 gross tons bulk carrier. Finally, the next day the ship was able to get in and out of the lock and made it to Montreal before the system closed on Dec. 29 with the passage of S. Pacific.

Federal Kivalina was built at Oshima, Japan, and was christened in a triple ceremony on April 4, 2000. The vessel was up bound in the Seaway for the first time on June 24, 2000, loaded with steel for Toronto. Four days later the ship traveled up the Welland Canal bound for Thunder Bay and a cargo of grain.

Later that summer, in August, the ship loaded wheat at the Hudson Bay port of Churchill, Manitoba, for Mexico. It has been a regular trader in and out of the Great Lakes most years and has made 33 trips inland to the end of 2013.

Federal Kivalina has experienced problems elsewhere. The ship went aground in the Magdalena River, Barranquilla, Colombia, on Aug. 9, 2007, while departing with 20,000 tons of coke for the Great Lakes. A steering problem resulted in the ship going out of the channel on this occasion.

Then, on Oct. 6, 2008, the vessel went aground near Kristiansund, Norway, in heavy weather and three tanks began leaking. There was damage to the water ballast tanks and to the bow while carrying 35,700 tons of aluminum oxide loaded in Brazil for Sunndalsora, Norway. About 3,500 tons had to be lightered to allow the ship to float free. Six tugs pulled the vessel free on Oct. 11, 2008.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 20

On 20 December 1944, the icebreaker 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 ended 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.

1963: CORFU ISLAND, a Seaway trader in 1959, was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Grindstone Light, Magdalen Island. The engine broke down in heavy weather but all on board were saved.

1965: CASABLANCA went aground at Santo Antao Island, Cape Verde, and became a total loss. The small Dutch freighter had been a pre-Seaway trader in 1957.

1973: A fire broke out in the accommodation area of the MEDATLANTIC while enroute from Valencia, Spain, to Casablanca, Morocco. There was extensive damage. The ship was declared a total loss and broken up. It had been a Great Lakes trader as a) HELGA SMITH and b) MICHIGAN and was last inland in 1961.

1975: CARITA drifted ashore on Cape Breton Island after a power failure two days earlier. All on board were saved but the hull broke into four pieces. It was outbound from Thunder Bay with a cargo of peas and oats for Port au Spain, Trinidad, on its only trip to the Great Lakes.

1976: MEDUSA CHALLENGER stranded in Lake St. Clair when winds and ice pushed the ship aground.

1979: FLORES, a pre-Seaway trader in 1958, was laid up at Baia, Italy, with collision damage when it got loose and went aground during a Dec. 20-21 overnight storm and became a total loss

1985: The former Israeli freighter NAHARIYA grounded off Darien Rock, Trinidad, as f) GUAICAMACUTO and sank enroute from Venezuela to El Salvador. The ship had first come through the Seaway in 1962.

1986: The former HARALD RINDE first traded through the Seaway in 1968. It dragged anchors off Istanbul and went aground on this date as e) YAVUZ SELIM. The ship capsized Dec. 31 and became a total loss.

2005: FEDERAL KIVALINA got stuck in the ice at Lock 7 while downbound and tugs were needed to free the ship the next day.

2010: ORNA was hijacked on the Indian Ocean and taken to Somalia for ransom. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) ST. CATHARINESS, b) ASIAN ERIE, c) HANDY LAKER, d) MOOR LAKER and e) ORNA. It was later set on fire by the pirates but eventually released when a ransom was paid. It was spotted anchored off Sharjah, on Nov. 20, 2012, and the after end appears to have been completely gutted by the blaze.

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

 

American Fortitude tow update

2/19 - The tow was been held at the wall above Beauharnoi since Wednesday night, apparently to let traffic flow normally. The Evans McKeil is now stationed at Cape Vincent waiting for the tow to arrive. It may be to take the tow across Lake Ontario and allow the Ocean Ross Gaudreault to return to Montreal.

Ron Beaupre

 

Lakes coal trade slows a bit in November

12/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2.6 million tons in November, a decrease of 3 percent from a year ago. Shipments were affected by weather-related delays.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.5 million tons, a slight decrease from a year ago. Loadings on Lake Michigan totaled 209,000 tons, a decrease of 33 percent compared to a year ago. Lake Erie was the one port range to register an increase. Loadings totaled 840,000 tons, an increase of 9 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 21.4 million tons, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to the same point last year. The deficit was much worse earlier in the season when heavy ice blanketed the Lakes. As April came to an end, shipments were down nearly 48 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

Green Bay shipping season continues smooth sailing

12/19 - Green Bay, Wis. – After the earliest end to the shipping season in Green Bay history last year, companies with docks along the Fox River are breathing a sigh of relief.

By early December last year, ships battled several inches of ice, and by December 15th, the shipping season ended. For an $88 million dollar a year industry, losing time ships can sail is costly.

“When the raw materials are delivered by ship, that’s the most cheapest way to transport them and it helps these companies weather the winter, whereas if they start running out of product mid-winter they have to then switch modes of transportation to truck or train which is at a higher cost to them,” says Dean Haen, Brown County Port Director.

Haen adds that some of that additional cost is ultimately passed on to the consumer.

But this year, it’s a much different scene on the Fox River with open water instead of ice. Cement supplier Lafarge is awaiting at least one more ship carrying 1,200 tons of cement, critical for its winter supply.

“That affects us in spring when they start road construction and building construction, there’s a tendency to be a shortage at that time of the year,” says terminal manager Jim Haese.

Port officials expect ships to sail into Green Bay through the end of the month, and maybe longer.

Each day will help make up for the headaches caused by last year’s frigid winter.

“We lost a month in the beginning of the year due to persistent ice conditions and us having a little bit more time at the end is welcomed,” says Haen.

WBAY

 

Port Reports -  December 19

Silver Bay, Minn.
Joseph L. Block will be making a rare trip to the lower lakes. She will load in Silver Bay for Cleveland and then backhaul a coal cargo from Toledo.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Fleetmates James L. Kuber and Manitowoc arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore on a sun-splashed Thursday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoma Enterprise arrived at 9:55 a.m. Thursday and headed to the Jonick dock.

Port Colborne, Ont. – John Kees
Algoway is at the Port Colborne Stone Dock, Wharf 12 on the Welland Canal for repair/replacement of its damaged unloading boom. The broken end of the boom is currently on the wharf. It looks as if it will be laying up there for the winter as it has many mooring lines and one of its anchors on the dock. At present no other ships are tied up in Port Colborne

Erie, Pa.
The McKee Sons and tug Invincible departed long term lay-up Tuesday with a reported destination of Muskegon. The pair had been in lay-up since December 2012.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was unloading at LaFarge Thursday morning. American Mariner was downbound on Lake Huron with an ETA for Buffalo of 11 p.m. Friday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through Wednesday night was Whitefish Bay heading down with a cargo of coal from Duluth for Quebec City and Lubie down for Montreal.

Early Thursday morning the Birchglen went up for Hamilton, Ont., and Thalassa Desgagnes went up at 02:51am for Sarnia, Ont. Barnacle went down at 6:35am destined for Kaliningrad, Russia. The Algoma Montrealais, what is very likely her final upbound before being retired, went up at 7:54am heading to Thunder Bay, Ont. Sten Bergen was up at 12h42. Performance tug went up at 1:43pm and Robinson Bay tug & barge up to Clayton, NY at 1:55pm. The Eider came down at 3:56pm for Les Escoumins, QC., and the Federal Yukina at 6:57pm down for Montreal, QC. Through Thursday evening and night expected through are Sundaisy E up for Hamilton, Ont., and Pacific Huron with a cargo of grain from Duluth down for Gibraltar.

Expected through early Friday morning are Victorious articulated push tug with John J. Carrick barge for Oshawa Ont., American Fortitude in tow of tug Ocean Ross Gaudreault, assisted by Jarrett M, up for Port Colborne, Ont., Mapleglen up for Ashtabula and Jana Desgagnes down for Montreal, QC.

 

Lookback #397 – Former Shura Kober sent out a distress call on Dec. 19, 1998, and then disappeared

12/19 - The Shura Kober was one of the many Soviet freighters to fly the “Hammer and Sickle” on the Great Lakes. The ship was built at Rostock, East Germany, in 1971 and made its first trip through the Seaway that year.

The 350-foot-long vessel operated for the Russian government for many years but, in the end, had several owners and four different names. It did not come back through the Seaway under any of the subsequent names.

It was renamed Albena in 1997, Peggy M. and then Marelie in 1998 but did not last long under the final name. The ship was trading on the Mediterranean when it sent out a distress signal on Dec. 19, 1998. That was the last that was heard from the Marelie. The 27-year-old vessel is believed to have gone down north of Cyprus and there were no survivors.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 19

On 20 December 1944, the icebreaker 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 ended 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.

1963: CORFU ISLAND, a Seaway trader in 1959, was wrecked in the Gulf of St. Lawrence at Grindstone Light, Magdalen Island. The engine broke down in heavy weather but all on board were saved.

1965: CASABLANCA went aground at Santo Antao Island, Cape Verde, and became a total loss. The small Dutch freighter had been a pre-Seaway trader in 1957.

1973: A fire broke out in the accommodation area of the MEDATLANTIC while enroute from Valencia, Spain, to Casablanca, Morocco. There was extensive damage. The ship was declared a total loss and broken up. It had been a Great Lakes trader as a) HELGA SMITH and b) MICHIGAN and was last inland in 1961.

1975: CARITA drifted ashore on Cape Breton Island after a power failure two days earlier. All on board were saved but the hull broke into four pieces. It was outbound from Thunder Bay with a cargo of peas and oats for Port au Spain, Trinidad, on its only trip to the Great Lakes.

1976: MEDUSA CHALLENGER stranded in Lake St. Clair when winds and ice pushed the ship aground.

1979: FLORES, a pre-Seaway trader in 1958, was laid up at Baia, Italy, with collision damage when it got loose and went aground during a Dec. 20-21 overnight storm and became a total loss

1985: The former Israeli freighter NAHARIYA grounded off Darien Rock, Trinidad, as f) GUAICAMACUTO and sank enroute from Venezuela to El Salvador. The ship had first come through the Seaway in 1962.

1986: The former HARALD RINDE first traded through the Seaway in 1968. It dragged anchors off Istanbul and went aground on this date as e) YAVUZ SELIM. The ship capsized Dec. 31 and became a total loss.

2005: FEDERAL KIVALINA got stuck in the ice at Lock 7 while downbound and tugs were needed to free the ship the next day.

2010: ORNA was hijacked on the Indian Ocean and taken to Somalia for ransom. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) ST. CATHARINESS, b) ASIAN ERIE, c) HANDY LAKER, d) MOOR LAKER and e) ORNA. It was later set on fire by the pirates but eventually released when a ransom was paid. It was spotted anchored off Sharjah, on Nov. 20, 2012, and the after end appears to have been completely gutted by the blaze.

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

 

American Fortitude tow heads for Port Colborne

12/18 - The American Fortitude scrap tow, that began in Toledo and was planned to end in Texas, will now be towed to Port Colborne. The tug Ocean Ross Gaudreault is leading the tow with Jarrett M acting as the trailing tug again. The tow departed the Cote Ste Catherine wharf Thursday morning at 8:45 a.m. and proceeded down to the turning basin below the lock.

The tow began from Toledo and was planned to end in Texas. The tow reportedly was denied clearance through the Seaway and is now heading back down for scrapping at International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne.

Ron Beaupre

 

CSL St-Laurent sets sail on maiden voyage, completing CSL’s Trillium Class

12/18 - Montreal, Que. – The second of Canada Steamship Lines’ two new Trillium Class Great Lakes bulk carriers, CSL St-Laurent, was delivered on Nov. 26 and set sail on her maiden voyage on Dec. 13. She departed at 20:00 CST from Yangfan shipyard on Zhoushan Island, China, en route to Canada where she is set to operate throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

The vessel is commanded by Captain Kevin Crouse and Chief Engineer Paul Beaudet, and is expected to take approximately 50-60 days to complete her voyage.

CSL St-Laurent marks the successful completion of CSL’s newbuild program, which began with the delivery in December 2012 of the award-winning Trillium Class self-unloading laker Baie St. Paul. Three other Trillium Class self-unloading Lakers have since been introduced to the Great Lakes fleet (Baie Comeau, Thunder Bay and Whitefish Bay), and two bulk carriers, CSL St-Laurent and her sister ship, CSL Welland, will both begin operating at the start of the 2015 season.

The Trillium Class newbuild program also oversaw the delivery of three Panamax self-unloaders for CSL Americas (Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin, CSL Tecumseh and CSL Tacoma) and two other vessels of the same class and design for Norway-based Torvald Klaveness.

“CSL St-Laurent is a huge milestone in CSL history. Her maiden voyage completes one of the greatest newbuild programs in CSL’s 100-year history – one that will bring significant competitive advantage to our customers for years to come. These ships are the result of a lot of hard work and dedication by a great many talented CSL employees,” said Louis Martel, President of Canada Steamship Lines.

CSL St-Laurent features an IMO Tier II compliant main engine as well as the latest environmental and safety technologies. Like all Trillium Class vessels, she will use less fuel, reduce emissions significantly, and provide overall operational efficiency to the benefit of customers and the environment alike.

The maiden voyages of CSL St-Laurent and CSL Welland have them on a course that will take the ships across the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal and up the east coast of North America to her new home in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

CSL

 

Cleveland budgets for 2015 port investments

12/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – The board of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority voted this week to accept an annual budget for 2015; it includes $20 million in capital investments to enhance maritime operations and sediment management.

“This budget allows the Port to continue investing in our strategic priorities in maritime, sustainability, river renewal, and development finance, while ensuring our overall financial stability,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO, Port of Cleveland.

The strength of the Port’s balance sheet also allows it to continue investing in its European liner service, Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), which was launched in April. The Port is expanding CEE service in 2015 to two sailings a month between Antwerp and Cleveland, as announced in September.

“Our experience and discussions with shippers revealed that it is critical we offer more frequent sailings to better serve the needs of those moving containerized freight into global markets,” said Friedman.

Port of Cleveland

 

Port Reports -  December 18

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel loadings Wednesday. Due in on Thursday will be the Cason J. Callaway arriving in the morning, followed by the Lewis J. Kuber at noon. John G. Munson is also due in on Thursday, arriving in the late afternoon. Due in on Friday will be the Calumet arriving in the early morning to load. There is nothing due on Saturday.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded on Wednesday and was due to depart around 1 p.m. Also due in on Wednesday was the Arthur M. Anderson, arriving in the late evening to load at the South Dock. Expected to arrive on Thursday will be the Joseph H. Thompson in the morning for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Due in on Sunday will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the early morning for the North Dock and the Philip R. Clarke, also in the early morning for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algosteel was expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock on Wednesday to load in the late morning, however, they were delayed by high winds and went to anchor in the Western end of Lake Erie to wait for the winds to subside. Philip R. Clarke was also expected to arrive and load at CSX on Wednesday in the early evening. The John J. Boland is due at CSX to load on Thursday in the early morning followed by the Saginaw also on Thursday in the early afternoon. The Midwest Terminal Stone Dock appears to be closed for the season as nothing is scheduled for that dock. Due at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore is the John J. Boland, arriving in the early evening on Wednesday. Manitowoc is due at Torco to unload iron ore on Thursday in the late evening. Other vessels in port included the tug John Francis, saltwater vessel Whistler and the tug Paul L. Luedtke.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Tuesday evening the Manitoba came down and into the Port of Johnstown to load soybeans.

Early Wednesday morning the Algoma Navigator went up for Burns Harbor at 3:36am, Claude A. Desgagnes up for Toledo at 4:05am and the Algonova up at 5 am. Later Wednesday the Algosar was up to Sarnia, Ont. at 6:40am, tug Jarrett M. at 12:35pm down to Quebec and Lugano down with a cargo of grain from Toledo for Quebec City, QC at 2:46pm. Manitoba departed Port of Johnstown down for Quebec at 4:32pm. Expected through Wednesday night was Lubie down for Montreal, QC. and Whitefish Bay with a cargo of coal from Duluth for Quebec City, QC.

Early Thursday morning expected through are the Birchglen up for Hamilton, Ont. and Thalassa Desgagnes up for Sarnia, Ont.

 

Seaway notice #23 – Ice boom, Melocheville Anchorage

12/18 - Mariners are advised that the ice booms in the Melocheville anchorage area of the Beauharnois Canal have been installed. Use of the anchorage is not recommended.

 

Lookback #396 – Carmi A. Thompson blown loose in gale force winds on Dec. 18, 1921

Gale-force winds pounded the eastern end of Lake Erie 93 years ago today. The shipping season was almost over and many vessels had tied up for the winter and their crews had gone home.

The bulk carrier Carmi A. Thompson was along those spending the winter at Buffalo and it broke loose in the storm of Dec. 18, 1921. The 550-foot-long vessel, a member of the Producers Steamship Co., was pulled from the dock and blown ashore wedged between the Merton E. Farr and Louis W. Hill.

The Carmi A. Thompson was not released until Jan. 5, 1922, and was found to have damaged 156 hull plates. These were repaired or replaced and the ship returned to service later in the year.

The vessel had been built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1917. It later joined the Midland Steamship Co. and traded on their behalf until sold to Comet Enterprises, part of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. in 1962. It was renamed Thorold the next year and served as the company flagship for a time.

A steering problem resulted in the Thorold hitting a wall In the Welland Canal in August 1971 and the ship received temporary repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks. It was retired at the end of the season and, following a sale to Marine Salvage for scrap, arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, on Dec. 18, 1971, 50 years to the day it ran into trouble at Buffalo.

Thorold was renamed Thoro, freeing the name for a new addition to the Q. & O. fleet, before it was broken up in 1972.

One of its foes of 1921, the Merton E. Farr, was later sold to Misener and sailed as their Nixon Berry from 1966 until scrapping at Vado, Italy, in 1970. The other, the Louis W. Hill, was a sister-ship to the Carmi A. Thompson. This vessel is still with us as the historic museum vessel Valley Camp at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Skip Gillham

 

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 Penn 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, 94 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 waterfront.

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 snowstorm on December 18, 1953, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

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.

1909: Ice punctured the hull of the F.A. MEYER, formerly the J. EMORY OWEN, on Lake Erie while enroute from Boyne City, Michigan, to Buffalo with a cargo of lumber. The crew was rescued by the sailors aboard MAPLETON.

1915: The canaller PRINCE RUPERT, requisitioned for World War 1 service, was lost at sea enroute from Newport News, Virginia, to Trinidad with a cargo of coal. It foundered P: 34.40 N / 74.45 W.

1932: A fire in the coal bunker of the BROWN BEAVER, laid up at Toronto with a winter storage cargo of wheat, brought the Toronto Fire Department to extinguish the blaze.

1947: The tug EMERSON was Hull 5 at the Collingwood shipyard and completed in 1903. The ship stranded at Punta Sardegna, in the Maddalena Archipelago, as f) GIULIANOVA. The hull broke in two January 8, 1948, and sank.

1950: The tug SACHEM sank in Lake Erie and all 12 on board were lost. The hull was later located, upright on the bottom. It was refloated October 22, 1951, reconditioned and returned to service. The ship became c) DEREK E. in 1990.

1962: RIDGEFIELD, a Liberty ship that visited the Great Lakes in 1961 and 1962, ran aground at the east end of Grand Cayman Island in ballast on a voyage from Maracaibo, Venezuela, to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The hull was never removed and visible for years.

1968: The Canadian Coast Guard vessel GRENVILLE was trapped in an ice flow and rammed against the St. Louis Bridge along the Seaway. The crew was removed safely by stepping on to the bridge before the ship sank. It had been retrieving buoys. The hull received considerable ice damage over the winter but was refloated in June 1969, towed to Sorel and scrapped.

1975: TECUN UMAN visited the Seaway in 1969. It disappeared without a trace in heavy seas 250 miles east of Savannah, Georgia, enroute from Mobile, Alabama, to Port Cartier, Quebec, as b) IMBROS. All 22 on board were lost.

1985: FEDERAL ST. LAURENT (ii) collided with the Mercier Bridge in the Seaway with minor damage to both the ship and the structure. The vessel was scrapped at Chittagong, Bangladesh, as c) DORA in 2003.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Dean J. Frazer, Russ Plumb, Brian Wroblewski, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Lakes limestone trade dips in November

12/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 2.7 million tons in November, a decrease of 4.4 percent compared to a year ago. Limestone cargos also trailed the month’s long-term average by 9.2 percent. The trade was impacted by weather in November, with many vessels anchoring or taking longer routes to avoid heavy weather.

Year-to-date the limestone trade stands at 25.7 million tons, a decrease of 2.4 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The gap has narrowed considerably since the spring when heavy ice delayed full-scale resumption of limestone loadings. At the end of April, shipments were down 54 percent. Even come the end of July the trade was 6 percent off last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Steel shipments into Port of Milwaukee approach pre-recession peak

12/17 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Steel shipments into the Port of Milwaukee have rebounded strongly this year, with tonnage hitting its second-highest level since 1970.

A mixture of coil, structural and plate steel now being unloaded off a ship called the Federal Mattawa will bring the port's steel imports for 2014 to 179,000 tons.

Steel imports peaked here in 2006, at 201,000 tons. They fell dramatically as the economy slid into recession, bottoming out at 61,000 tons in 2011.

With the recovery and increased manufacturing activity, imports have risen again. The most dramatic gains have come this year, with tonnage up about 60% from 2013.

The Federal Mattawa, which carried steel from Germany, Finland and the United Kingdom, will be the last ship bringing overseas cargo to Milwaukee before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for the season later this month.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Port Reports -  December 17

Erie, Pa. – Jeffery Benson
The barge McKee Sons / barge Invincible departed Erie Tuesday afternoon after spending nearly 2 years in layup. Waterfront reports indicate the McKee Sons will be taken to Muskegon, Mich., after which the tug will go to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. McKee Sons has been chartered for several years by Grand River Navigation, however it appears that arrangement is now at an end.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through town Monday evening and night were the Algoma Olympic for Baie Comeau, QC and the Thunder Bay for Quebec City, QC.

Early Tuesday morning the CSL Niagara went down for Quebec City, QC. Tuesday, Stella Polaris headed down for Montreal, QC at 7:09am and CSL’s Oakglen up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 10:16am, Nogat down for Montreal, QC at 11:09am, Ocean Laprairie tug for Quebec at 11:28am Vega Desgagnes up for Sarnia, Ont. at 12:19pm and the Flintersky up to Windsor, Ont. at 2:41pm. Expected through Tuesday night are the Kaministiqua up for Hamilton, Ont., and the Federal Saguenay down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC, and well as Manitoba heading down and presumably into Port of Johnston, Ont.

Expected through early Wednesday morning are all upbound, Algoma Navigator for Burns Harbor, Claude A. Desgagnes for Toledo and Algonova.

 

What to do with Marquette’s old ore dock?

12/17 - Marquette, Mich. – One of the big questions at the Marquette City Commission meeting on Monday was what to do with the old ore dock.

G.E.I. Consultants prepared and presented a report highlighting the current state of the ore dock, and some recommendations for its future. According to G.E.I. reps the ore dock is in great condition.

It was built in 1931, and ceased operations in the early '70s. Since then, despite foregoing routine maintenance, the ore dock is structurally sound.

Still, according to Mike Carpenter of G.E.I Consultants, "They would want to do a fair amount of restoration to the structure. Take care of all of those areas where the concrete's popped off, and where the reinforced steel is showing. The bumpers all around the perimeter of the structure are all deteriorating. Those should probably be replaced."

For the future recommendations include do nothing but start routine maintenance to prevent deterioration; update the structure and make it publicly accessible; or, have the city sell it or keep it for commercial or private use.

Right now the commission has not made a decision and plans to discuss the options in the future.

UpperMichiganSource.com

 

More cargo moving this year on the St. Lawrence Seaway

12/17 - Sarnia, Ont. – Strong grain and steel shipments fueled a 5% increase in cargo moving so far this year through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

That strong shipping season came during the first year Sarnia Harbour on the St. Clair River had been owned and operated by the city after it took over responsibility for the facility in March from Transport Canada.

"We've had a pretty good year, so far," said Peter Hungerford, the city's director of economic development and corporate planning. "We didn't have the benefit of a lot of detailed records from Transport Canada, in terms of past usage," he said. "But our sense is that we've had, I'll say, at lease an average year, if not better than average, in terms of the number of ships that we have coming in and out."

Approximately 30 ships have stopped at the Cargill grain elevators in Sarnia so far this year, he said.

Hungerford said the seaway reported 3,452 transits through its system through the end of November this year, compared to 3,511 during the same period in the previous shipping season. "But their general cargo is up, a lot," he said. "The liquid bulk was down, the dry bulk was up, the coal was down, the iron ore was down, the grain was up a lot."

Across the seaway, as of the end of November, grain shipments were up 44% over 2013. The seaway also says its overall cargo totals are expected to finish ahead of 2013, by the time the system is scheduled to close on New Year's Eve.

The seaway reported that nearly two million tonnes of new business helped offset decreases in iron ore and coal shipments this year. Salt shipments, for example, were up 47%. Construction and automotive manufacturing in Canada and U.S. is said to have help increase steel shipments by 80%.

Hungerford said Sarnia officials are also hopeful they'll see a good winter at the harbor that earns the city fees from the ships using the facility. "We've had a lot of interest from the shipping companies, making arrangements for ships to come in."

During a good year, eight to 10 ships spend the winter at Sarnia Harbor for repairs and maintenance, helping boost the local economy. But, how many ships end up in harbor each winter can be dictated by the weather, Hungerford said.

"They could plan on sending us 10 ships, but if they get caught somewhere by ice, we wouldn't get as many," he said. "But, we believe that we're going to have a full harbor. The North Slip, the Government Dock and the Sydney Smith Wharf will have ships."

Hungerford said Cargill has also taken ships at its docks, some winters. Sarnia Observer

 

Lookback #395 – Third Stadacona ran aground at Little Current on Dec. 17, 1977

There have been four ships named Stadacona in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet although only three have traded on the Great Lakes. The third Stadacona had loaded iron ore pellets at the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current when it ran aground 37 years ago today while departing the port.

Stadacona was stuck for several days, which is never a good thing this late in the year, before being refloated.

The vessel was built at Port Arthur, ON and launched as Thunder Bay on Aug 2, 1952. It served C.S.L. mainly on the upper lakes as a straight deck bulk carrier until the Seaway opened in 1959. The 663 foot, 3 inch long steamer was rebuilt as a self-unloader, back at Port Arthur, in 1968 and operated briefly before becoming Stadacona the next year.

Stadacona kept busy in the ore, coal and stone trades until tying up at Windsor on July 31, 1990. Following a sale for scrap, it departed under tow on Sept. 21, 1992, and eventually found its was to Zhangjiagang, China, arriving in tandem with the retired Whitefish Bay, in Feb. 1993.

Interestingly, the newly built Thunder Bay and Whitefish Bay left China for Great Lakes trading on behalf of Canada Steamship Lines 20 years after their namesakes arrived in the country to be dismantled.

Skip Gillham

 

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, Wis., 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, Mich., 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, Ont., 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, Mich., 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, Mich.

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.

1957: The Great Lakes-built LAKE HEMLOCK foundered in Long Island Sound.

1964: The former T-2 tanker GOOD HOPE, operating as a bulk carrier, ran aground in a blizzard at Ulak Island, in the Aleutians, as d) SAN PATRICK. The ship had loaded wheat and cattle feed at Vancouver for Yokohama, Japan, and all on board perished. It had been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1972: THOMAS SCHULTE began Great Lakes trading in 1957 and returned through the Seaway in 1959. It was sailing as c) CAPE SABLE when it sank with the loss of 13 lives in a gale 100 miles west of La Corunna, Spain. The vessel was enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Algiers, Algeria, with general cargo when it went down.

1977: STADACONA (iii) went aground after clearing the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current with a cargo of ore pellets. The ship was stuck for several days.

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

 

Congress offers strong support for Jones Act

12/16 - Washington, DC – The United States Congress last week enacted the strongest statement of support for the Jones Act and the American domestic maritime industry since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

The measure was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 3979), which noted that the national security benefits of the domestic maritime industry and the Jones act are “unquestioned.” The bill states that the Jones Act and the American domestic maritime industry are vital to “the national security and economic vitality of the United States and the efficient operation of the United States transportation system.” The legislation has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, and is expected to be signed into law by the President.

Sen. John McCain recently vowed to work to repeal the act.

“Today, Congress reaffirmed its support for the American domestic maritime industry, the Jones Act, and the critical role both play in the national security and economic vitality of our nation,” said American Maritime Partnership Chairman Tom Allegretti.

“It is hard to imagine a more emphatic and unambiguous statement of support for the Jones Act than this legislation. The fact that it originated from both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees is only further evidence of the national security benefits of the Act and the American domestic maritime industry. In fact, this is the strongest Congressional statement of support for the Jones Act since the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.”

The Congressional statement of support for the Jones Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act specifically states:

“The national security benefits of the domestic maritime industry are unquestioned as the Department of Defense depends on United States domestic trades’ fleet of container ships, roll-on/roll-off ships, and product tankers to carry military cargoes;

“The Department of Defense benefits from a robust commercial shipyard and ship repair industry and current growth in that sector is particularly important as Federal budget cuts may reduce the number of new constructed military vessels; and

“The domestic fleet is essential to national security and was a primary source of mariners needed to crew United States Government-owned sealift vessels activated from reserve status during Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in the period 2002 through 2010.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) recently noted the Jones Act contributions to America’s national security, saying “without the Jones Act, vessels and crews from foreign nations could move freely on U.S. waters, creating a more porous border, increasing possible security threats and introducing vessels and mariners who do not adhere to U.S. standards into the bloodstream of our nation.”

According to a report from the Lexington Institute, “Without the Jones Act, the Department of Homeland Security would be confronted by the difficult and very costly task of monitoring, regulating, and overseeing all foreign-controlled, foreign-crewed vessels in internal U.S. waters.”

American Maritime Partnership

 

Port Reports -  December 16

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Monday at the Upper Harbor found John J. Boland loading ore, Hon. James L. Oberstar unloading coal and Herbert C. Jackson and Michipicoten at anchor, waiting to load ore.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson loaded Monday and was due to depart around 11:30 a.m. Also due in on Monday was the Algorail, expected to arrive in the late evening to load. The Pathfinder is due in on Tuesday in the early evening to load. Due to arrive on Wednesday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon to load.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel arrivals on Monday. Due in on Tuesday will be the John G. Munson, arriving in the morning for the North Dock, followed by the Great Republic, also on Tuesday in the late afternoon, for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday. Also due at CSX was the Cason J. Callaway on Monday in the early afternoon to load. Philip R. Clarke is due at CSX on Wednesday in the morning, to be followed by the Algosteel also on Wednesday in the late morning. John J. Boland is also due at CSX on Wednesday in the early evening. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock and it appears that this dock is closed for the season. Due at the Torco Dock is the John J. Boland, arriving on Wednesday in the late morning to unload iron ore. The Manitowoc is due on Thursday in the late evening, followed by the James L. Kuber on Friday in the early morning. Lakes Contender rounds out the schedule, also arriving on Friday during the late morning at Torco to unload. Vessels in port at the time of this report included tug Paul L. Luedtke, tug John Francis, tug Barbara Andrie and a barge at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock along with the saltie Heloise. Cason J. Callaway was unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. Saginaw was also in port and may have been departing after unloading a grain cargo from Thunder Bay. Further upriver was the tug Karl E. Luedtke.

Precott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Sunday night the Vancouverborg, Mamry, Algoma Guardian, Federal Rhine and Algoma Montrealais all sailed through.

Early Monday morning, the Everlast tug with Norman McLeod barge and the Baie Comeau went through. Monday, Orla at 5:55am and Spruceglen at 7:52am both went up for Thunder Bay. The Juno came down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC at 2:49pm and the Baie St. Paul sailed through at 6:38pm heading up to Conneaut, Ohio. Expected through Monday evening and night are Algoma Olympic down for Baie Comeau, QC and Thunder Bay down for Quebec City, QU.

Early Tuesday morning expected through is CSL Niagara heading down to Quebec City, QC

 

National Museum heads toward 1,500 new members

12/16 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio has announced that 1,429 people joined the museum since its opening week in late April of this year.

To reach 1,500 new members by the end of the year, the museum is offering a special holiday package for subscribing members. In addition to the traditional benefits, new members will receive the museum’s complimentary 2015 Calendar, as well as a free signed and numbered lithographic print of Kinsman Independent, Kinsman Enterprise or the Joseph Frantz. The prints are by James Clary, who has been painting Great Lakes scenes for decades.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

 

Lookback #394 – Cabot rolled on its side and sank at Montreal on Dec. 16, 1966

The Cabot was a coastal freighter for the Clarke Transportation Co. and operated by Newfoundland Steamships between Montreal and Newfoundland. The ship had been built by Davie at Lauzon, in 1965 and rolled on its starboard side and sank while loading at Montreal on Dec. 16, 1966.

The 470 foot, 11 inch long vessel had just finished loading when it went over at 3 a.m., 48 years ago today. Two lives were lost and another nine on board received injuries.

Cabot was righted on Jan. 18, 1967, and repaired for a return to service. It last operated in the freight trade in 1982 and was laid up at Montreal and then Sorel before being sold to Upper Lakes Shipping.

ULS brought Cabot to Port Weller Dry Docks on May 17, 1983, where the forebody was cut off and towed to Port Maitland for scrap. The stern, with engine room and accommodations, was then joined to the forebody of Northern Venture to form Canadian Explorer. The latter was retired in Dec. 1997 and the stern from the Cabot was cut off in 1998 and joined to the Hamilton Transfer to form Canadian Transfer.

The latter vessel became a self-unloader in the U.L.S. fleet and then spent 2011 as Algoma Transfer before being retired at Goderich on Dec. 23. The ship remained idle there until departing under tow of the Leonard M. on May 22, 1914. It arrived at Port Colborne two days later for scrapping by International Marine Salvage, so after serving three ships, the last of the Cabot that survived the accident of 48 years ago today has been broken up.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

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.

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).

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 vessel 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.

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. and 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.

1939: GLITREFJELL was torpedoed and sunk in the North Sea by U-59 while sailing southwest of Norway. The vessel was newly built when it first came to the Great Lakes in 1934.

1941: The Norwegian freighter NIDARDAL, best remembered as LAKE GORIN, a World War One-class laker, foundered in the Atlantic P: 56.07 N / 21.00 W enroute from Freeport, Bahamas, to Manchester, England, with sulphur.

1962: ARISTOTELES of 1943 sank in the Atlantic 250 miles off Cape Vincent, Portugal, after developing leaks. The vessel, enroute from Detroit to Calcutta with steel, had first come inland in 1961. All on board were rescued by the Liberty ship HYDROUSSA, which had also been a Seaway trader in 1962.

1964: DONNACONA (ii) was disabled by a fire while downbound in Lake Huron and the forward cabin was burned out before a distress call could be sent. The ship was found, brought to safety and repaired.

1966: CABOT was loading at Montreal when the ship rolled on her side at Montreal and sank in 30 feet of water. Two lives were lost. It was righted on the bottom and refloated in January 1967 for a return to service. The stern of this vessel was cut off to help form CANADIAN EXPLORER in 1983 and has been part of ALGOMA TRANSFER since 1998.

1975: THORNHILL (i) went aground in the St. Marys River, was lightered and released.

1979: ARCHANGELOS ran aground in the St. Lawrence while outbound from the Great Lakes with a cargo of scrap. The ship was lightered and released December 21. It had to spend the winter in the harbor at Port Weller as it was too late to depart the Seaway that year.

1980: D.G. KERR (ii), enroute overseas to Spain for scrapping, was lost in the Atlantic, after it began leaking in bad weather.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.

 

Port Reports -  December 15

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel arrivals Sunday and none scheduled for Monday. Two vessels are due Tuesday for the North Dock. The John G. Munson arrives first in the early morning. The Great Republic is due in Tuesday at noon.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calumet loaded on Sunday and was expected to depart around 5 p.m. Two vessels are due in on Monday with the Joseph H. Thompson arriving first in the early morning followed by the Algorail during the late evening. The Pathfinder is due to arrive on Tuesday during the late evening. Due Wednesday will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. were expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore on Sunday during the late evening hours. Also due at Torco will be the John J. Boland expected to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon. There is nothing due or scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. This dock may also possibly be closed for the season. Due at the CSX Coal Dock is the H. Lee White expected to arrive on Monday in the early morning hours. Also due at CSX on Monday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the late morning hours. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the saltwater vessel Heloise of Panamanian flag at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Barbara Andrie with a barge was also at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The saltwater vessel Lugano from Switzerland arrived in port from Hamilton and headed upriver to load at one of the grain elevators. The tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port as was the Saginaw upriver unloading a grain cargo from Thunder Bay at one of the elevators. American Valor remains in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks.

Oshawa, Ont.
Reports indicate the saltwater vessel Lake Ontario could not enter Oshawa due to excess drafts for this time of the year. Currently anchored at Port Weller Amchorage. Emergency dredging has been mentioned. No word of Seaway inspection on vessel.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Saturday night and early Sunday morning the Algoma Progress went up and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin down to Port Cartier, QC and the Pineglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

Sunday Duzgit Dignity at 11:35am and Adfines Star at 1:46am both came up for Mississauga, Ont., and the Flinter America up for Toledo at 2:16pm. The Manitoba came up at 4:04pm for Thunder Bay, Ont. and Thalassa Desgagnes down for Montreal, QC at 4:21pm

Expected through Sunday evening and night are Vancouverborg down for Montreal, QC., Mamry with a load of grain from Duluth for Montreal, QC., Algoma Guardian up for Thunder Bay, Federal Rhine up for Hamilton, Ont. and Algoma Montrealais loaded with grain for Port Cartier, QC. The Montrealais will further load iron ore at Port Cartier destined for Defasco, Hamilton, Ont.

Early Monday morning expected through are the Everlast articulated push tug with Norman McLeod barge, Baie Comeau down to Quebec City, QC and the Spruceglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Santa Claus’ “existence in doubt”

12/15 - According to Lloyds Registry, Santa Claus is listed as “existence in doubt.” As a result, the former petroleum and chemical tanker was deleted from their listing on Sept. 6, 2011. The “jolly old” tanker was a Great Lakes and Seaway trader under four earlier names.

The vessel was built by Robb Caledon Shipbuilding at Dundee, Scotland. The 431 foot ton tanker was launched on Oct. 19, 1971, and completed as Jon Ramsoy for Norwegian flag service.

The vessel first appeared in the Seaway in 1974, perhaps on charter to the Hall Corporation, as the ice-strengthened tanker was purchased by them before the end of the year. It was registered in Canada under Scotia-Toronto Dominion Leasing on Oct. 9, 1974, as b) Doan Transport.

The ship spent its first winter carrying caustic soda from Texas to Port Alfred, Quebec. The following winter the ship returned to the Atlantic and operated between Montreal, Freeport, Bahamas, Beaumont, Texas, and Rotterdam, Holland, on behalf of Dow Chemical.

Doan Transport struck a swing bridge at Thunder Bay on Oct. 2, 1976, resulting in heavy damage to the structure but only minor damage to the ship.

During the experiment with all season navigation, Doan Transport carried cargoes to Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay in January and February 1977. When the Welland Canal opened for the season on April 4, 1977, Doan Transport was the first downbound customer.

The vessel continued Great Lakes and saltwater service but did have some engine trouble at Thunder Bay on Dec. 5, 1983, and had to leave the lakes under tow. It passed down the Welland Canal Dec. 11, 1983, between the tugs Salvage Monarch and Helen M. McAllister.

This was among the Halco tankers to be acquired by Enerchem Transport Inc. in 1986. The ship was renamed c) Enerchem Catalyst and remained active around the Seaway system. On Jan. 13, 1989, the vessel went aground near Round Island in the Straits of Mackinac and had to be lightered to Enerchem Refiner before it could be released.

Then, on Nov. 28, 1996, the vessel stranded near the breakwall while leaving Port Borden, Prince Edward Island. Enerchem Catalyst was in ballast and was pulled free by Irving Hemlock.

The vessel joined Algoma Tankers Ltd. In 1999 and was renamed d) Algocatalyst. It saw Great Lakes and St. Lawrence service but passed down the Welland Canal for the last time on April 25, 2004.

The ship was laid up at Sorel and sold becoming e) Catalyst but did not depart as such until Feb. 8. 2005.

After brief service, the ship was resold in 2006 and renamed f) Santa Claus. It was registered in the Comoros Islands and appears to have been in service around Nigeria. It was likely laid up for a time or perhaps unceremoniously broken up hence the decision, by Lloyds, to list Santa Claus as “existence in doubt.”

Skip Gillham

 

Lookback #393 – Former Alikrator caught fire off Spain on Dec. 15, 2008

The Greek freighter Alikrator was built at Sedota, Japan, and launched on March 31, 1982. The 567 foot, 7 inch long by 75 foot, 2 inch wide bulk carrier first came to the Great Lakes in August 1983 headed for Chicago before loading grain at Sarnia for the return voyage to the sea.

The ship was re-registered in Bahamas in 1996 and then sold and renamed Doxa, Cyprus flag, in 2002. As such, it never entered the Seaway.

A fire broke out in the accommodations area while the ship was moored in the Arousa Estuary, off Vilagarcia, Spain, eight years ago today. The crew evacuated but one member was lost and another eight sailors received injuries. Rescue vessels put out the fire.

Doxa was towed to Vilagarcia for inspection and the news was not good. Damage exceeded the insured value of the vessel so it was towed to Kynasoura, Greece, and laid up as a total loss.

Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, the ship's name was modified to become c) Ado and it was towed, as such, to Aliaga, arriving on June 29, 2009. The hull was broken up by Avsar Gemi Sokum Ltd. for recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

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. She spent the winter on the bottom but was released in July 1986 and taken to Contrecoeur, Quebec, for scrapping. The dismantling was finally completed at Levis, Quebec, in 1990-1991.

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, 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 of Michigan (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.

1915: The passenger and freight steamers MAJESTIC and SARONIC of Canada Steamship Lines caught fire and burned while laid up at Point Edward, Ontario.

1952: The three-masted barquentine CITY OF NEW YORK came to Chicago for the World's Fair in 1933 and was also on display at Cleveland while inland. The famous ship had been active in Antarctic exploration and the Arctic seal hunt. The shaft broke on this date in 1952 and the vessel stranded off Yarmouth, N.S. Released at the end of the month, the vessel caught fire and stranded again off Chebogue Point as a total loss.

1973: RICHARD REISS (ii) broke loose in a gale at Stoneport, Michigan, and went aground with heavy bottom damage. The ship was refloated, repaired at South Chicago, and returned to service in 1974. It has been sailing as d) MANISTEE since 2005.

1983: CARIBBEAN TRAILER spent much of the summer of 1983 operating between Windsor and Thunder Bay. It was outbound from the Great Lakes when it was caught pumping oil in the St. Lawrence. The vessel remained active on saltwater routes until arriving at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on August 29, 2009.

1987: The French bulk carrier PENMARCH began regular Seaway service when new in 1974. It was also back as b) PHILIPPI in 1985 and became c) MIMI M. in 1987. The ship was attacked by Iraqi aircraft December 15 and again on December 16, 1987. It reached Bushire, Iran, December 22 with heavy damage and was ultimately sold to shipbreakers in Pakistan.

2008: ALIKRATOR began Great Lakes trading in August 1983. It was moored in the estuary at Vilagarcia, Spain, as b) DOXA when a fire broke out in the accommodations area. One life was lost and another 8 sailors injured. The ship was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) ADO on June 29, 2009.

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

 

Port Reports -  December 14

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater
Beaver Island Ferry Emerald Isle departed Bay Shipbuilding for Lake Michigan on Saturday morning.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
The Algoma Harvester went up Friday night headed for Thunder Bay, ON. Through early Saturday morning the MCT Stockhorn up to Hamilton, Ont., Frontenac down and into the Port of Johnstown, Ont. to unload salt, Chestnut up to Hamilton, Ont., and Algoma Discovery down to Baie Comeau, QC. Saturday morning the Fortunagracht came up for Hamilton, Ont. at 6:08am, Jarrett M tug also up to Hamilton, Ont. at 06:26am, Algoma Spirit down for Baie Comeau, QC at 7:25am, Algoeast up to Nanticoke at 7:54am, Atlantic Huron down to Sydney, Australia at 9:43am, the Federal Schelde down to Quebec City, QC at 10:39am.

Through Saturday afternoon we had the John B. Aird down for Port Cartier, QC at 12h38, Ina down for Port Gent, Belgium at 2:40pm and the Vega Desgagnes down to Montréal, QC at 3:37pm. The Frontenac departed the Port of Johnstown in ballast up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 3:37pm, clearing town at 3:43pm. The Spartan tug and Spartan II barge headed up at 4:48pm to Chicago, Algonova down to Tracy, QC at 5:14pm, Algocanada up to Sarnia, Ont. at 5:21pm and the Ojibway came down at 5:53pm for Port Cartier, QC.

Expected through Saturday night are Algoma Progress down to Port Cartier, QC., and upbound Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin.

Early Sunday morning, expected to sail through is the Pineglen up to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Last survivor of Chicago’s 1915 Eastland disaster dies

12/14 - Chicago, Ill. – The last known survivor of the 1915 capsizing of the Eastland in the Chicago River that killed 844 people has died.

Marion A. Eichholz, 102, formerly of Berwyn, Illinois, died Nov. 24, according to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society and her death notice.

Eichholz turned 3 a week before she boarded the SS Eastland on July 24, 1915, with her mother and father for Western Electric Co.’s annual employee outing to Michigan City, Indiana.

The vessel rolled to its port side around 7:30 a.m. on the rainy morning with an estimated 2,500 people aboard and its bowline still tied to the wharf between Clark and LaSalle streets.

In the end, 22 entire families were among the 844 who died.

Though just a toddler, Eichholz recalled some vivid memories of the day in an account published on the historical society’s website:

“My mom … and my dad … were seated on the upper deck, and I was standing by mom’s chair. Suddenly, the boat listed and I fell against the railing. Mom pulled me back to her side.

“People began to panic, and women were running and screaming. Dad picked me up in his arms, stood on the railing, and jumped into the river,” she said in the account.

Her mother was thrown a rope after going into the water while still seated in the boat, she said.

“I remember Dad swimming with me in one arm. I was crying, and my strap slippers were dangling from my ankles. We were picked up by a tugboat and brought to shore,” she said in the account.

Eichholz is survived by a sister and seven nieces and nephews, according to her death notice.

Chicago Tribune

 

Lookback #392 – Winnipeg aground in Detroit River on Dec. 14, 1992

The last trip of the 1992 season for the Winnipeg was interrupted on Dec. 14, 1992, when the ship went aground in the Detroit River. The vessel was down bound with a cargo of grain but it stranded 22 years ago today.

The ship required considerable assistance to float free and this involved lightering some of the cargo and the use of tugs. The vessel was released from its perch on Dec. 18, reloaded and cleared to proceed. When it finally departed the St. Lambert Lock at Montreal on Dec. 22, it proved to be the last ship of the season down bound in the Seaway.

Winnipeg was not a stranger to trouble under its previous name of Cartiercliffe Hall and later as Algontario. It had caught fire and burned off Copper Harbor, Lake Superior, with the loss of seven lives on June 5, 1979, and, during repairs at Collingwood, a shipyard accident left one worker dead and another injured.

Later, as Algontario, the ship grounded at Johnson's Point in the St. Mary's River while up bound with cement on the first trip of the 1999 season and was laid up for five years before being repaired. The ship put in another five years of trading before tying up at Toronto on July 4, 1999.

It moved again, under tow, on May 25, 2011 and this time the final destination was the scrapyard at Aliaga, Turkey. Algontario arrived there Aug. 5, 2011, and was soon broken up for recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

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, 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.

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, 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.

1977: SILVER FIR, outbound from Great Lakes on her only trip inland, went aground at Squaw Island, near Cornwall and was released two days later.

1991: The small tug HAMP THOMAS sank off Cleveland while towing a barge. They were mauled by 12-foot waves but the barge and a second tug, PADDY MILES, survived as did all of the crew.

1997: CANADIAN EXPLORER of Upper Lakes Shipping and the ISLAND SKIPPER collided in the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois with minor damage. The former reached Hamilton and was retired. The latter was repaired and resumed service. It revisited the Great Lakes as late as 2010.

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

 

Great Lakes levels now above average

12/13 - Traverse City, Mich. – Scientists say the longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it's uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend.

The slump began in the late 1990s. It continued for 15 years, culminating early last year when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set low-water records. Since then, levels have sharply rebounded.

In September, the levels of all five of the Great Lakes were above average for the first time since the drop-off began, said Drew Gronewold of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Between January 2013 and this November, Lake Superior rose 2.3 feet, while Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 3.2 feet.

Gronewold and Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the recovery is due primarily to heavy rain and snowfall in the region over the past two years.

Associated Press

 

CSL St-Laurent readies for long journey home to Canada

12/13 - The CSL St-Laurent, the second of two Trillium Class bulk carriers built for Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) in China, is preparing for its long trip home to Canada. The vessel has an ETA for Davao, Philippines of December 19 at 8 a.m. where they will take on fuel. Once the vessel departs from China it is expected to take 50 to 60 days to cross the Pacific Ocean and transit the Panama Canal before they arrive in Canada. Meanwhile, sistership and fleetmate CSL Welland departed on its maiden voyage November 5 and is nearing the Panama Canal. They are still in the Pacific Ocean and off of South America and should be reaching the Panama Canal possibly within the next few days to as much as a week.

Denny Dushane

 

Saltie ship, cargo in Green Bay port draws onlookers

12/13 - Green Bay, Wis. – A major employer in the Green Bay area got an early Christmas present Thursday. But what the roughly 200-ton item is, and how it got here, is what has some people very excited.

Like retired truck driver Tom Mileski.

“Something like that comes in, I’m driving by it, ‘Oooh!’ I was going over (Interstate) 43 and I looked down the river, ‘Oooh, that looks a little different down there,’” said Mileski, who likes to take photos, especially of ships.

The Port of Green Bay isn’t new to the shipping industry. But this ocean-going heavy cargo vessel – known as a ‘saltie’ – measures in at about 436 ft. long, which, believe it or not, is actually on the smaller side compared to its larger, fresh water bulk cargo brethren.

“Well, it’s different,” Mileski said of the MV Palmerton, owned by Germany-based Combi Lift, “I’m kind of curious about where they come from.”

The Palmerton’s last port of call was in St. Catherine, Ontario. But what it’s carrying is what has Scott Best snapping away pictures across from KK Logistics, as the Antigua-Barbuda-flagged ship docked on the Fox River Thursday morning.

“It’s a unique cargo and a unique ship, that’s for sure,” said Best, who often shares the photos he takes through Facebook and online websites, one called boatnerd.com. “This is definitely something unique for the Port of Green Bay.”

“It takes a lot to transport something that is nearly 200 tons and is basically the size of a three story house,” said Mike Kawleski.

“So it didn’t come from Amazon?” asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston. “Amazon doesn’t ship this one free,” Kawleski said, smiling.

Kawleski is the public affairs manager with the Georgia-Pacific in Green Bay.

The special cargo on the Palmerton is a natural gas boiler, made for the paper company. Kawleski says the boiler is a small (albeit large) part of the 95-year-old mill’s $80-million upgrade project. Georgia-Pacific says the boiler will produce steam for manufacturing, as well as electricity and help cut emissions by up to 80-percent.

“The original plan was to have the boiler offloaded (further up river) right at the Georgia-Pacific Broadway mill,” said Kawleski, “But the ship is a little too (wide) to get through the last bridge.”

Kawleski says the originally planned work-around was to have the ship deliver the boiler to a terminal just north of the problem bridge, but KK Logistics (about 2 miles downriver from the plant) was chosen at the last moment.

Kawleski says the boiler will be loaded on to a barge and shipped up the river to the mill on Friday.

Fox 11

 

Port Reports -  December 13

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the Great Republic brought a load of coal to Lafarge. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was in port on Thursday, waiting to load cement. Also on Thursday the Kaye E. Barker and tug/barge Joseph H. Thompson were anchored in the bay, likely due to weather. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Friday afternoon to load cement.

Calcite, Mich.
There were no vessel loadings at Calcite on Friday and nothing is due in until Tuesday, December 16, with early morning arrivals by the Great Republic and John G. Munson.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann were expected to arrive in the late evening hours on Friday to load. There are three vessels expected to arrive on Saturday with the Cason J. Callaway due in the early afternoon followed by evening arrivals of the Manistee and Calumet. Due to arrive on Sunday will be the Joseph H. Thompson in the late evening. The Algorail is due to arrive on Monday at noon and rounding out the schedule and due to arrive on Tuesday is the Pathfinder in the late evening.

Erie, Pa.
The USCG Hollyhock was in Erie Friday tending buoys. The tug Yankee was remodeled at DonJon shipyard and is undergoing sea trials in Lake Erie off of the Erie channel. At least 7 new GE locomotives are on the pier of Montfort terminal awaiting a saltie to take them presumably to Africa where other shipments have already gone. The McKee Sons is thought to be leaving within a week for Muskegon, Mich., after spending two years at dockside in Erie.

Toledo, Ohio
James L. Kuber arrived at the Torco Dock early on Friday morning to unload an iron ore cargo. Due next at Torco will be the Lewis J. Kuber on Saturday in the late afternoon. The Lakes Contender is due to arrive at the Torco Dock on Sunday in the late afternoon. Adam E. Cornelius is due at Torco on Monday in the late afternoon. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. The James L. Kuber was due at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Friday in the early afternoon. They are also due to load again at CSX on Saturday in the early evening. Also due at CSX will be the H. Lee White on Sunday in the early evening. Due at CSX on Monday will be the Cason J. Callaway in the late morning hours to load. The American Valor remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Vessels in port included the tug Paul L. Luedtke working off of Toledo, and the tug Barbara Andrie with a barge. Algoma Olympic was upriver at one of the Toledo Docks.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through town Thursday night and early Friday morning was the Heloise up to Toledo, Ohio, and downbounders Oakglen to Montreal, QC and the articulated push tug Everlast with Norman McLeod barge to Quebec.

Friday, Tim S. Dool came up for Thunder Bay, Ont. at 8:07am, Cedarglen down at 8:29am followed by the Wilf Seymour tug with Alouette Spirit barge at 8:51am for Quebec City, QC. The Erieborg came down with a load of grain from Duluth for Montréal, QC at 9:29am. The CCGS Griffon departed Prescott Base at 10h00 headed east to Cornwall to deice buoys. The Catherine Desgagnes came down for Long Point at 11:17am and M/V Lake Ontario for Hamilton, Ont. at 4:10pm.

Expected Friday night was the Algoma Harvester up for Thunder Bay, Ont. and MCT Stockhorn up to Hamilton, Ont. Expected early Saturday are the Chestnut up to Hamilton, Algoma Discovery down to Baie Comeau, QC., the Frontenac down and into the Port of Johnston, Ont., and Fortunagracht up to Hamilton, Ont.

 

Lookback #391 – Canadian Enterprise sailed on maiden voyage on Dec. 13, 1979

12/13 - Despite the lateness in the season, Upper Lakes Shipping wanted to get their newly-built Canadian Enterprise some cargoes, so it sailed on its maiden voyage 35 years ago today. The vessel departed Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines and headed up bound through the Welland Canal for Conneaut, Ohio, to load coal.

This was the second new, Seaway-sized self-unloader to join U.L.S. from the Port Weller shipyard in 1979. In April, the Canadian Transport had also been completed for the company.

The 730-foot-long Canadian Enterprise has been active throughout the Seaway system and is often in the coal trade. On July 10, 1988, the ship loaded coal at Superior, Wis., and became the first Canadian ship to load such a cargo at that location.

Then, on May 7, 1998, the ship took on a record 32,366 tons of rock salt at Goderich, ON for Milwaukee. It also made the news on March 3, 2000 loading coal at Ashtabula, Ohio, for the short run across Lake Erie to Nanticoke, Ont. It was thought to be the earliest start of the season for the trans-Lake Erie coal trade.

Since 2011, this ship has sailed for the Algoma Central Corp. and was renamed Algoma Enterprise for the start of the 2012 season.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 13

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, 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.

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, 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.

1977: SILVER FIR, outbound from Great Lakes on her only trip inland, went aground at Squaw Island, near Cornwall and was released two days later.

1991: The small tug HAMP THOMAS sank off Cleveland while towing a barge. They were mauled by 12-foot waves but the barge and a second tug, PADDY MILES, survived as did all of the crew.

1997: CANADIAN EXPLORER of Upper Lakes Shipping and the ISLAND SKIPPER collided in the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois with minor damage. The former reached Hamilton and was retired. The latter was repaired and resumed service. It revisited the Great Lakes as late as 2010.

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

 

Lakes ore trade finally shakes off last winter, in November

12/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 5.9 million tons in November, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. That increase finally pushed the year-to-date total ahead of 2013’s pace. Through November, shipments stand at 53,249,990 tons, an increase of 86,721 tons.

While the increase is minute, the achievement is huge. The winter of 2013/2014 was the most brutal in decades. The U.S. Coast Guard started breaking ice on December 6, the earliest on record. Iron ore shipments slipped 20 percent in December and then plunged 37 percent in January. A few cargos moved in February, but one voyage that should have taken 50 hours stretched 10 days.

Ice conditions worsened in March, and when the first convoy left Duluth/Superior at the western end of Lake Superior, one vessel had to return to port to repair ice damage. For the other two vessels, what should have been a 62-hour voyage to Gary, Indiana, proved to be an 11-day endurance contest. Although some iron ore was able to move out of Escanaba, Michigan, the trade’s March total was 43 percent behind a year ago.

There was little relief in April. The U.S. and Canadian coast guards had to convoy vessels across Lake Superior until May 2. It wasn’t until April 13 that a vessel was able to enter Marquette Harbor and load ore. As April came to an end, the Lakes iron ore trade totaled just 6.2 million tons, a decrease of 43 percent compared to the same point in 2013. Even at the end of June, iron ore cargos were still down by 17 percent. Between May and September, three U.S.-flag lakers that had not been scheduled to operate this season were activated to help narrow the gap in iron ore and other cargos.

Although ice has formed on Lake Superior and elsewhere two weeks earlier than last year, shipping has yet to be significantly impacted. Once vessels need assistance, the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards will initiate icebreaking. Operation Taconite supports the movement of iron ore to steelmakers and western coal to utilities. Operation Coal Shovel keeps coal moving from lower Lakes ports.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Great Lakes water level slump over, future unclear

12/12 - Traverse City, Mich. – Scientists say the longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it’s uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend.

The slump began in the late 1990s. It continued for 15 years, culminating early last year when Lake Michigan and Lake Huron set low-water records. Since then, levels have sharply rebounded.

In September, the levels of all five of the Great Lakes were above average for the first time since the drop-off began, said Drew Gronewold of the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

Between January 2013 and this November, Lake Superior rose 2.3 feet, while Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 3.2 feet.

Gronewold and Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the recovery is due primarily to heavy rain and snowfall in the region over the past two years.

They predict that levels will remain above normal for the next six months on all the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario, which may be a couple of inches below normal.

Beyond that, “it becomes difficult for us to predict whether or not water levels might drop again, stay at this level or go higher,” Gronewold said.

The recovery is good news for commercial shippers, recreational boaters and others who have had to worry about running around in harbors and shallow channels.

But Kompoltowicz says some owners of shoreline property are concerned about erosion.

Detroit News

 

Full steam ahead at Essar Steel Minnesota site

12/12 - Now that financing has been secured, it's full steam ahead for Essar Steel Minnesota. Eyewitness News took a tour of the construction site in Nashwauk on Thursday. It's been more than two years since we've been there.

CEO and President Madhu Vuppuluri was one of our guides. He told us that around 300 contractors and Essar Steel employees are working to put up the massive steel buildings and pour concrete.

"We have some crews working six days a week, and 10 hours a day," he said. It will ramp up to 700-800 workers. And they have one of the biggest cranes in the United States on site.

It's an aggressive schedule, because they want to have taconite pellets rolling off the line by the end of 2015.

Work had slowed on the project site after August of 2012. For 26 months, the company worked on securing the last piece of financing they needed, for the $1.8 billion dollar venture.

Vuppuluri said that Essar Global, their parent company, made a significant investment of around $800 million. The rest was from investors like a group of Indian banks, and most recently, North American financial institutions.

A great deal of the equipment needed to run the mine is already in storage. And most of the concrete foundations have been poured. Based on their internal timeline, Vuppuluri said that they are actually ahead of schedule.

When we asked him about the capacity of iron ore out there now compared to demand, and how their operation will fit in, he said that the 7 million tons produced at Essar each year will replace the tonnage that will be lost when the Empire Mine in Michigan closes.

Also, he acknowledged the low price of iron ore right now. "We are a long term player. We are still fully committed to this project. And we are confident we will definitely come out a winner, by virtue of technology and operating cost."

Vuppuluri said they will be the most environmentally-friendly taconite plant, because of the new technology they are using. Many of the buildings and equipment will also be bigger than the current plants.

The plan is to transport the Essar pellets from the site to the Twin Ports, and then ship them to Canada and Chicago.

Some contractors had experienced delays in payments to the tune of millions of dollars. But Essar said that all contractors on site are current with payments.

WDIO

 

Port Reports -  December 12

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Thursday at the Upper Harbor found Herbert C. Jackson loading ore, Presque Isle unloading coal and Lakes Contender at anchor waiting to load.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cuyahoga loaded on Thursday and was expected to depart around 6 p.m. Also due in on Thursday was the Joseph H. Thompson at noon. There are no vessels scheduled for Friday. On Saturday, four vessels are due to arrive with the Pathfinder arriving first in the early morning to load followed by Cason J. Callaway, Manistee and Calumet.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke loaded on Thursday and was expected to depart around 6 p.m. There are no vessels scheduled from Friday-Sunday. Great Republic is due to arrive on Monday in the late evening for the North Dock and the John G. Munson is due in on Tuesday in the early morning for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory are expected to arrive during the morning hours on Friday to unload iron ore at the Torco Dock. Making a rare visit to Toledo and the Torco Dock is the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore, due with an iron ore cargo on Saturday in the early morning. The barge Lakes Contender and the tug Ken Boothe Sr. are due at the Torco Dock to unload an iron ore cargo on Sunday in the early morning hours followed by the Adam E. Cornelius at noon. There is nothing scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Due at the CSX Coal Dock to load will be the James L. Kuber on Friday in the late morning; they are due to return to load on Saturday in the late afternoon. H. Lee White rounds out the CSX Coal Dock lineup, arriving on Sunday in the late evening to load. American Valor remains in long-term layup near the Lakefront Docks. Vessels in port at the time of this report included the John J. Boland, tug Barbara Andrie with a barge, Algoma Olympic and the Algomarine.

Rochester, N.Y. – Billy Allen
The Stephen B. Roman traveled up the river surrounded by a winter scene as it made its way to Lake Ontario at 3 p.m. on Thursday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
On Thursday the Algoma Equinox passed down to Port Cartier, QC at 9:02am, Whistler up to Toronto, Ont. at 11:17am, Algoma Hansa up to Oakville, Ont. at 11:54am, Stella Polaris up to Thunder Bay, Ont. at 2:23pm, Federal Mayumi down to Quebec City, QC at 2:38pm and Federal Kumano down to Montréal, QC at 5:06pm Expected through Thursday night is the upbound Heloise headed to Toledo, Ohio and Oakglen coming down. Early Friday morning, expected through are the articulated push tug Everlast with Norman McLeod Barge down to Quebec and the upbound Tim S. Dool headed to Thunder Bay, Ont.

 

Golden commodity: Road salt price skyrockets

12/12 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Scrambling to cope with tight supplies, private snow-removal contractors are paying soaring prices for road salt, and even commissioning oceangoing ships to ferry it to the Port of Milwaukee from as far away as Africa. The harsh winter of 2013-'14 all but exhausted the mountains of salt that had been stockpiled for use in clearing ice and snow from roads and parking lots in the region and beyond, contractors say.

Typically, there are still supplies left when spring arrives. Not so this past year.

"We and our customers started with essentially zero inventory," said Tara Hart, spokeswoman for Compass Minerals International Inc., one of the country's largest salt producers.

And with the big producers strapped for salt, their first obligation is to fill contracts with cities, counties and states, said Joe Kassander, vice president of Birchwood Snow & Landscape Contractors Inc., a Milwaukee firm that clears the lots at shopping centers and big-box stores across the state.

"So," Kassander said, "guys like me fly to Morocco, try to find salt and get it shipped back to Wisconsin."

Literally. Birchwood had little choice. The company clears some 35 million square feet of pavement for customers such as Home Depot, Woodman's, Kmart and Best Buy, typically on multiyear contracts, and knew it wouldn't be getting its usual supplies.

"Telling them we don't have salt is not acceptable," Kassander said.

He traveled to Morocco in July, checked the salt mined by a company called JMS and found it a little unusual — it's light brown — but more than acceptable.

He agreed to buy 26,000 tons and arranged to have it transported to Milwaukee on a Jamaican-flagged ship, the Puffin. The cost: $3.9 million. That works out to $150 a ton. Last year, Birchwood bought salt for $63 a ton.

And the Puffin, which arrived on Sept. 25, was only the first of three salt-laden vessels to dock here. Another major contractor, The MCR Group LLC, took deliveries from Venezuela in November and from Egypt this month.

Like Kassander, MCR owner Matt Ryan was boxed in by the shortage of salt from the usual suppliers.

"I might have got none," Ryan said. "It would have been very difficult." So he contracted for delivery of a total of 37,000 tons from Venezuela and Egypt, some of which he is selling to other contractors.

Ryan, Kassander and others said they knew of no overseas salt shipments landing in Milwaukee before. "Never," said Jim Bernhardt, owner of Metropolitan Maintenance & Landscaping Inc., West Allis.

Nor has Bernhardt, who has been in the business for 27 years, ever seen prices at their current levels — $125 to $200 a ton. "That's if you can find it," said Matt Stano, owner of Stano Landscaping Inc., Milwaukee.

Commercial customers can look for higher prices too. Last year Stano paid $65 to $75 a ton. This year, he said, he's paying twice that amount for some of the salt MCR bought in Egypt. "Our customers are going to have to pony up," he said.

The winter of 2013-'14 and its now notorious "polar vortex" socked much of the U.S. with extensive snow and cold. Milwaukee was in the middle of the mess, with the 10th-coldest winter on record and nearly 55 inches of snow — almost 20 above average.

"Contractors expect to go salting 30 times a year," Kassander said. "Last year we went salting 51 times." That sort of activity leveled the piles of stored salt and paved the way for this season's shortages.

Stano said the main suppliers — Compass, Morton Salt Inc. and Cargill Inc. — sliced allotments to private contractors by 50% or more.

Morton and Cargill didn't directly respond to inquiries about allotments for private contractors.

Hart, of Compass, said the company is "meeting all of our contractual obligations ... It may be less than what they got last year, but all of our customers from last year are getting something from us."

Much of the salt used here comes from underground mines in Ontario and Ohio. But more imports from overseas could be on the horizon.

"I think this is how it's going to be for awhile," Kassander said.

Ryan sees a need for a secondary salt market in Milwaukee and already is laying plans to do further importing. In the meantime, he and others are marveling at unprecedented price levels.

"The stuff is like gold," Ryan said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Deep-water port under development in Escanaba

12/12 - Escanaba, Mich. – Basic Marine has begun the development of Escanaba's north shore, which will become the home of a new deep-water port.

"The final plan is to be a deep water port, that's the objective of this whole thing. Initially, what we're striving to do is do ship repair," Lyle Berro, business development manager for Basic Marine, told the Daily Press of Escanaba. "This will be the only facility on the upper Great Lakes ... that will be able to take a loaded ore freighter and have it be able to come in and have repairs done on it."

To bring the company's plan to fruition, the property's shoreline needed to be dredged to allow ships access to the docks and pier being built. For a fully-loaded carrier to dock, the lake bottom needed to be dredged to around 26 feet.

Dredging the lake has produced large piles of sand on the shoreline, as well as large piles of wood debris from the original merchant dock that was built in the 1840s.

"This is the original merchant dock for Escanaba. The reason Escanaba is here is because of this lake frontage right here that we're working on," said Berro.

The new structures — a large stretch of concrete dock and the extension of a 450-foot pier to construct a 1,200-foot pier — will have their own effect for commerce and shipping even though the ships that dock in the deep water port will not be picking up or dropping off cargo.

"They'll tie up here in the winter time and once the shipping season starts again they'll be closer to the earliest opening ore shipping port on the Great Lakes, right here in Escanaba," explained Berro. "Basic Marine also has Basic Towing and they also have an icebreaking service and they'll be able to get the ships out into the bay, break ice up to the dock, and start the shipping season that much earlier because the ships will be right here."

In the beginning, Basic Marine will be able to host two or three ships, but eventually the goal is to have as many as 10 ships docked over the winter receiving repairs. Each ship will have it’s own work crew to ensure that the ship is ready when the shipping season opens in the spring.

"With ship repair winter tie up here, every ship will require between 20 and 50 skilled trades laborer people — welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, engineers — all kinds of skilled trades will be needed to do winter tie-up repairs," said Berro.

Berro also noted other industries such as machine shops and welding supply companies will benefit from the repairs being done at the new dock. Hotels, retailers, and restaurants could benefit from the people who come in with the ships when they arrive at the port.

"The economic impact once this is up and running will be immense," said Berro.

Associated Press

 

Port of Green Bay recovers after frigid start

12/12 - Green Bay, Wis. – Despite a late start due to ice, the Port of Green Bay has cleared a cargo figure it uses to mark a “good” year. Through the end of November, the port has handled 2 million tons of cargo, despite a harsh winter that left the Great Lakes frozen into the early weeks of the shipping season.

While cargo numbers for November were down about 24,500 tons from the same time last year, the year-to-date total crossed the 2 million mark, sitting at roughly 2.1 million tons.

“If we end up up for the year, we did it with about a month shorter shipping season because of the persistent ice conditions that existed last spring,” said Dean Haen, director of Brown County Port and Resource Recovery.

The 2013 cargo total for the port was about 2.2 million tons.

Increased exports of sand and petroleum products have offset decreases in the coal and cement coming into the port. Salt, liquid asphalt, and limestone imports helped bolster 2014 figures.

ACE Marine in Green Bay is manufacturing aluminum pieces for the Littoral Combat Ship program in Marinette and shipping them via barge from the port. ACE and Marinette Marine Corp. are both owned by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri.

More unusual cargo was expected to move through the port this week the delivery of a 200-ton natural gas boiler to the Georgia-Pacific’s Broadway Mill, located adjacent to the Fox River. The boiler was made in Canada and shipped to Green Bay on the 436-foot cargo ship Palmerton. An online ship-tracking website indicated the ship could be in Green Bay today.

The St. Lawrence Seaway said Tuesday its also expects its cargo levels to finish ahead of 2013 thanks to increases in grain and steel shipments.

“Renewed construction activity and automotive manufacturing lifted steel shipments by 80 percent to 2.2 million metric tons this season with ports including Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee and Cleveland all benefiting from the increase,” a monthly report stated.

Through the end of November, the seaway has handled 34.6 million tons of cargo, up about 5 percent from the same time last year.

The Great Lakes shipping season generally concludes in December, and Haen said matching last year’s cargo total isn’t out of the question, but it may be close.

“We’ve got ships moving and we’ve got a stretch of warm weather forecast ... so we should get to a normal closure time of Christmas,” he said.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

More Seaway saltie renames

12/12 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed, with each having made at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during their careers. BBC Shanghai, which made its first and only visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system in 2005, is now the Island Trader of Antigua/Barbuda. The tanker Clipper Kylie, which made its one and only visit inland during the 2007 season, is now the Fortune Jiwon of South Korean flag. Ditte Theresa, another tanker, which visited for the only time in 2003, is now the Bomar Sedna of Malta. The Italian-flagged Domenico Ievoli, another tanker, which came inland for the first and only time in 2005, is now the Medkem Two of Italy. Edgar Lehmann, which came inland for its only visit in 2009, is now the Annetta of Malta. The tanker Ternen, which came inland in 2011 for its only visit, is now the Atlantic Wind of Gibraltar. Ruth Schulte, which last visited in 2011 on its only inland visit, is now the Peninsula VIII of Isle of Man flag. This vessel carried the name Swartberg until November 2006, but later was renamed Clipper Tasmania from 2006-10. It also came inland under that name.

Denny Dushane

 

Lookback #390 – Sir James Dunn aground near Thousand Islands Bridge on Dec. 12, 1972

12/12 - The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier Sir James Dunn was on a late season run through the Seaway when it went aground in the vicinity of the Thousand Islands Bridge on Dec. 12, 1972. The grain-laden steamer was soon released and cleared the waterway with time to spare.

Sir James Dunn was a product of the Port Arthur shipyard and it was launched on Dec. 5, 1951. The vessel was christened by Lady Dunn and joined the C.S.L. fleet on May 1, 1952. The 663 foot, 3 inch long bulk carrier was soon at work on the upper lakes carrying iron ore and coal to Sault Ste. Marie and grain. Once the Seaway opened in 1959, the ship also made occasion trips to the St. Lawrence.

On another occasion, on Aug. 21, 1980, the ship went aground near Champlain, QC and had to go to Montreal for inspection. Then, on April 10, 1981, it got stuck below the Soo Locks but was released the next day.

Sir James Dunn last sailed in 1982 and tied up at Midland on Dec. 22. It remained idle until towed to Toronto in November 1988 for load soybeans for winter storage. It left there, also under tow, in August 1989 and reached Sorel on Aug. 11. From there the ship departed for Aliaga, Turkey, in tandem with her old running mate Georgian Bay, on Aug. 26, 1989.

The pair was delayed when the Sir James Dunn broke loose off the Azores and finally arrived at the scrap yard on Nov. 16, 1989. There the dismantling of the hull proceeded quickly.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

SPINDLETOP, e.) BADGER STATE was launched December 12, 1942, for the United States Maritime Commission.

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, but was salvaged and rebuilt as a barge.

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.

1898: The wooden passenger and freight carrier SOO CITY sank at the dock in Holland, Mi after bucking ice while inbound.

1925: SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY stranded on a rocky shoal inside the breakwall at Fairport, Ohio. Hull repairs were listed at over $18,000.

1966: AMBROSE SHEA, a new Canadian carferry, was hit by a flash fire while under construction by Marine Industries Ltd. at Sorel, Quebec, and sustained over $1 million in damage. Completion of the vessel was delayed by 3 months before it could enter service between North Sydney, NS and Argentia, Newfoundland. The ship arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as d) ERG on June 22, 2000.

1972: SIR JAMES DUNN went aground in the St. Lawrence near the Thousand Islands Bridge while enroute to Sorel with grain.

1990: CLIPPER MAJESTIC was abandoned by the crew due to an engineroom fire off the coast of Peru. The vessel had been through the Seaway as a) MILOS ISLAND in 1981, MAJESTIC in 1989 and was renamed c) CLIPPER MAJESTIC at Toronto that fall. The damaged ship was towed to Callao, Peru, on December 13, 1990, and repaired. It also traded inland as d) MILLENIUM MAJESTIC in 1999 and was scrapped at Alang, India, as e) MYRA in 2012.

2009: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier SPRUCEGLEN (ii) went aground near Sault Ste. Marie and had to go to Thunder Bay for repairs.

2010: The tug ANN MARIE sank in the Saginaw River while tied up for the winter. It was salvaged a few days later.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Gordon Shaw, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Seaway benefits from boost in grain, steel

12/11 - St. Catharines, Ont. St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments are expected to top 2013's totals, powered by a grain exports and steel imports surge.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation reports its total shipments reached 34.6 million tonnes from March 25 to Nov. 30.

That's up 5% over the same period last year, and it's anticipated the full season will surpass last year's by a similar margin.

Bruce Hodgson, St. Lawrence Seaway director of market development, said a brutal winter meant the loss of about four shipping weeks due to drawn-out ice conditions.

"But then we rebounded, with grain continuing to be strong," he said. "And we expect it should remain strong until the end of the season."

Hodgson said the grain crop last year was a record one, with a "huge amount of carryover that was left in the system."

"And it was decent quality ... so once we got rid of the ice, we had a very strong start."

Grain shipments in Canada and the U.S. to Nov. 30 were at 10.1 million tonnes, up 44% over 2013. That's the most Canadian grain shipped through the Seaway for that period in 13 years.

Exports of grain through ports like Hamilton and Port Colborne are also significantly up this fall.

Meanwhile, boosted activity in construction and automotive manufacturing in Canada and the U.S. pushed up steel shipments by 80% this season to 2.2 million tonnes.

"Steel has been strong," said Hodgson. "The U.S. economy has shown good signs of recovery and a big part of what's driving our iron and steel is the auto sector, which continues to be strong."

The Seaway says nearly 2 million tonnes of new business also helped offset decreases that otherwise took place in iron ore and coal shipments this year.

"This certainly (positively) impacts our tolls and revenue," Hodgson said. 'And we are seeing next year continue to be strong for the iron and steel business."

The St. Lawrence Seaway is slated to close this year on New Year's Eve at 4 p.m. and is expected to re-open sometime in mid-to-late March. Last year's close took place on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Great Lakes steel production shoots up by 18,000 tons

12/11 - Raw steel production soared to 673,000 tons in the Great Lakes region last week, after a three-week surge sputtered out the previous week.

U.S. steel production increased by 2.2 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Local production rose by 18,000 tons, or about 2.7 percent. Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District, typically the nation's second biggest steel-producing region, rose to 640,000 tons, up from 634,000 tons the previous week.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.877 million tons, up from 1.835 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 78 percent last week, up from 76.3 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 74.6 percent a year earlier.

U.S. mills shipped 8.5 million net tons in October, a 1.6 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Domestic steelmakers have been losing ground all year to imports, which captured 30 percent of the market share last month, according to U.S. Commerce Department data.

A World Trade Organization ruling may affect America's ability to restrict the flood of imports. An appellate body sided with India on a case on whether the United States can assess the impact of both dumped and subsidized imports when determining the injury inflicted on U.S. steelmakers.

"The WTO decision today significantly weakens the effectiveness of U.S. trade laws. U.S. law expressly requires the ITC to cumulate dumped and subsidized imports when they are under simultaneous investigations," President and CEO Thomas Gibson said.

"The WTO Appellate Body has once again created an obligation not agreed to by our trade negotiators, and this ruling will make it very difficult for domestic industries to obtain an effective remedy when facing both dumped and subsidized imports at the same time. This ruling is very detrimental to steel businesses and workers who continue to battle a flood of dumped and subsidized imports coming into this country unfairly — and at record levels."

NWI Times

 

Port Reports -  December 11

Ship movements – Andre Blanchard
Ships currently in Hamilton, ON
Lugano - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7.
Wilfred M. Cohen - Tug - arrived Dec 8
Andean - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec. 6


Ships recently departed from Hamilton, ON
Spruceglen - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 for Quebec, QC
Algoma Olympic - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9.

Ships expected in Hamilton, ON
Sundaisy E - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 10
Ojibway - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 11
Peter R. Cresswell- Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec 12

Ships Expected in Oakville, ON
Algoma Hansa - ETA: Dec 11 - Due to depart Quebec on Dec 9

Ships expected in Toronto, ON
Mr. Joe - Tug - ETA: Dec. 11
Whistler - Bulk Carrier - ETA: Dec. 11

Ships currently in Thunder Bay, ON
Algoma Montrealais - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 5.
Zelada Desgagnes - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8
Tecumseh - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 9
Federal Ems - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7

Ships recently departed from Thunder Bay, ON
USCGC Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) - Icebreaking Tug - departed Dec. 9
Algoma Spirit - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 for Baie Comeau, QC
Ina - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Vancouverborg - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9

Ships Expected in Thunder Bay, ON
Nogat - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
Federal Elbe - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10.
Federal Yukina - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
American Mariner - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Dimitrios K - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Algosea - Tanker - due Dec 11
Algosoo - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 11
Algomarine - Bulk Carrier - due Jan 5

Ships currently in Trois-Rivieres, QC
Sundaisy E- Bulk Carrier - arrived on Dec 9 (passing through to Hamilton, ON)
Zeus I - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 9
Chestnut - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 7
Melissa Desgagnes - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8
Federal Rhine - Bulk Carrier - arrived Dec 8.

Ships recently departed from Trois-Rivieres, QC
Algowood - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Kom - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (leaving Great Lakes and Seaway)
Salarium - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9
Federal Skeena - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (leaving Great Lakes and Seaway)
Milan Express - Container Ship - departed Dec (passing through to Montreal, QC)
Algoma Navigator - Bulk Carrier - departed Dec 9 (passing through to Contrecoeur, QC)

Ships expected in Trois-Rivieres, QC
Australiaborg - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 10
Spartan/Spartan II - Tug and Barge - due Dec 10
MCT Stockhorn - Tanker - due Dec 12
Ultra Esterhazy - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 12
Lowlands Opal - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 15
Black Forest - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 18
Flevoborg - Bulk Carrier - due Dec 26

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Tuesday evening, Thalassa Desgagnes went up to Nanticoke, Ont., Kaministiqua down to Sorel, QC and the Shoveler headed up to Toledo.

Early Wednesday morning, Spruceglen went down to Quebec City, QC. Wednesday the Birchglen sailed down to Baie Comeau, QC at 4:46am, Algowood was upbound at 6:18am followed by the Ojibway headed up to Hamilton, Ont. at 6:50am. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin came down through at 10h15. Canadian Coast Guard Ship, Griffon arrived into home Port of Prescott at 11:17am and was secure in port at 11:27am. Iryda came down at 13h58, John D. Leitch was up to Burns Harbor at 6:05pm and Salarium came up and into the Port of Johnstown, 6:23pm. Algoeast headed down to Tracy, QC cleared town at 7:12pm

Expected through early Thursday morning, are Whistler up to Toronto, Ont. and Algoma Hansa to Oakville, Ont.

 

Traffic warning issued for Gladstone

12/11 - Commercial vessel traffic will be utilizing the port of Gladstone, Mich., beginning Saturday. The Tug Defiance with barge Ashtabula are expected to transit into and out of Little Bay De Noc December 13 through the 18th.

The Coast Guard is warning recreational users of the ice to use caution near the ice, and stay away from shipping channels and the charted Lake Carriers Association (LCA) track lines.

USCG

 

Cannon found in Detroit River going on display

12/11 - Detroit, Mich. – An 18th century British cannon that was found in the Detroit River in 2011 is going on display this weekend following a three-year restoration.

An event is planned Wednesday afternoon where the cannon will be shown to media. It will be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.

Detroit police divers found the cannon during a training exercise in July 2011. It was pulled out of the water a few months later.

The cannon was located 20 feet underwater behind downtown's Cobo Center. The Detroit Historical Society says that based markings on the cannon it was made in East Sussex, England, in the mid-1740s. It was embossed with the crest of King George II.

The Detroit Historical Society says the cannon likely was used in various conflicts before being moved to Fort Lernoult in Detroit. When the British abandoned Detroit in 1796 the society says the cannon probably ended up in the river after soldiers were ordered to destroy some weapons.

Several other cannons have been found in the same area of the river.

Detroit Historical Society Senior Curator Joel Stone and a team at the society's Collections Resource Center were key in the restoration project. Work on the cannon started in 2013 at the Cranbrook Institute of Science in suburban Detroit, where it was displayed for special exhibit.

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is open Saturdays and Sundays at Belle Isle, an island park in the Detroit River. Admission is free.

Detroit Free Press

 

Two men hijack fishing boat to slip into United States

12/11 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The search continued Wednesday for two young men who hijacked a fishing boat on Lake Ontario in order to enter the United States from Canada Tuesday afternoon.

One of the men spoke only French and the other spoke both French and English, with a New Jersey accent, said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Michael Zimmerman.

A father and son said the men approached them at the Queenston, Ont. docks and offered to pay $200 to be taken out fishing. The father was unable to go out, but his 17-year-old son, who captained the boat, told Niagara County sheriff’s deputies that he took the two men late Tuesday morning for a day of fishing on Lake Ontario.

He said after about two hours on the water, they appeared to lose interest in fishing and offered to pay more to get closer to the U.S. side in order to take pictures. When they got closer, the teen said man with the New Jersey accent threatened him with a knife and told him to drop them off in the United States, according to the Niagara County sheriff’s report.

The captain brought the boat to shore near Fort Niagara and the two men fled on foot.

They are described as being in their mid-20s. The French-speaking man was about 6 feet tall and 175 pounds and wearing a bright blue coat and white winter hat. The other was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and 200 pounds, with black hair and a short trimmed beard, wearing a black sweater, track pants and white Nikes.

Niagara County Chief Deputy Steven Preisch said Wednesday that his department and Border Patrol had extra units searching for the two men. He added that Lewiston-Porter Central School was in lockdown and restricted outdoor recess.

According to the Coast Guard, the teenager piloting the boat cooperated with the demands and took the men to shore near Four Mile Creek State Park in New York.

Both men had phones and began making calls as they fled the scene on foot.

The teen went to Station Niagara and reported the hijacking. Coast Guard crews completed a shoreline search with no sightings.

A resident in the 500 block of Lake Road told deputies that he had seen the two men in his backyard at the same time. The resident asked the men if they were OK and they held up their phones saying, “We’re all set.”

Zimmerman said Border Patrol’s Integrated Border Enforcement Team has been deployed since the incident is a crossborder crime. It includes Border Patrol, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the U.S. Coast Guard, the officers at the ports and Homeland Security.

“For Buffalo-sector all of our border is a water border,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve seen boats come across, rafts come across, kayaks, canoes, pretty much anything that you can come across the water on. This is a little more uncommon because of the way they crossed.”

He said at this point they don’t know why the men crossed.

“There is always a concern for safety when someone enters the country illegally. But most of the time the goal of that incursion is to get to some location for whatever so the danger to the immediate public is fairly minimal,” Zimmerman said.

Once Coast Guard investigators gathered all the information and evidence they needed, they took the young captain and his vessel back to Queenston.

Anyone with information or who might have seen the men is asked to call 911, or Border Patrol at 1-800-331-0353 or their local police agencies.

Buffalo News

 

U.S. House OKs $300 million a year for Great Lakes

12/11 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House passed a bill Tuesday authorizing $300 million a year to be spent over the next five years on water quality efforts in the Great Lakes states.

The legislation, co-sponsored by several members of Michigan's congressional delegation, now goes to the U.S. Senate in the hopes it will be passed before year's end.

The measure doesn't guarantee funding for what's known as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, but at least provides a congressional authorization which members of the appropriations committee can use to justify including that spending in future appropriations bills.

Over the last five years, Congress has provided a total of $1.6 billion for the initiative, which helps to pay for water cleanup efforts in the Great Lakes states, preventing and controlling invasive species, reducing runoff and restoring habitats.

Detroit Free Press

 

Lookback #389 – Clayton closed the old St. Lawrence Canals for the season on Dec. 11, 1954

12/11 - In less than five years the St. Lawrence Seaway would be open but, in the interim, the old St. Lawrence Canals were very busy. With smaller locks and narrower channels, the system was often choked with ice by early December. The 1954 season ended 60 years ago today with the upbound passage of the Clayton.

Clayton would only sail for another four years. It tied up at Ogdensburg, N.Y. with storage grain at the end of 1958 and was there when sold to Marine Salvage. Steam was raised for the trip to Port Colborne and it arrived there at noon on May 14, 1959.

This was one of several redundant Misener canallers tied up at Port Colborne and in 1960 it was broken up for scrap at Ramey's Bend.

Clayton had been built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson and launched as the first Farrandoc in May 1929. It crossed the Atlantic for service in the Paterson fleet and worked on their behalf until 1942. The ship was requisitioned by the United States Maritime Commission on Dec. 24, 1942, and delivered at Mobile, Alabama.

Farrandoc carried bauxite ore on behalf of the Alcoa Steamship Co., with registry in Panama, and then went overseas to serve the British Ministry of War Transport.

It was sold to Capt. Scott Misener late in 1946 and renamed Clayton in 1947.

Skip Gillham

 

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 1,000 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 1872, the Port Huron Times listed the following vessels in winter lay-up in Port Huron: Sailing Craft: A H MOSS, FOREST HUNTER. MARY E PEREW, SEA BIRD, REINDEER, T S SKINNER, L W PERRY, ADAIN, LITTLE NELLIE, MAGGIE, PRINCE ALFRED, CAPE HORM, KITTIE, JOHNSON (wrecker), CHRISTIANA, HOWE, C G MEISEL, AUNT RUTH, W R HANNA, IRONSIDES, GOLDEN FLEECE, JOHN L GROSS, WARRINGTON, ANGLO SAXON, MOORE, LADY ESSEX, ANNIE, FORWARDER (sunk), GROTON, NORTHWEST, FRED H MORSE, GEM OF THE LAKES, D J AUSTIN, CZAR, JAMAICA, ANNIE (scow), AND HATTIE. Side wheel Steamers: 8TH OHIO, WYOMING (lighter). Propeller Steam Barges: W E WETMORE, SANILAC, CITY OF DETROIT. Tugs: KATE MOFFAT, TAWAS, HITTIE HOYT, FRANK MOFFAT, J H MARTIN, JOHN PRIDGEON, BROCKWAY, GLADIATOR, CORAL, GRACE DORNER (small passenger vessel), AND C M FARRAR.

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.

1911: A fire broke out in a wooden grain elevator at Owen Sound. The KEEWATIN was moored nearby for the winter but not yet locked in ice. The ship was moved to safety but the elevator was destroyed.

1963: MANCOX went aground in Lake St. Clair, near Peche Island, enroute from Sault Ste. Marie to River Rouge.

1984: The Yugoslavian freighter BEOGRAD, outbound in the Seaway with soybeans for Brazil, collided with the FEDERAL DANUBE at anchor near Montreal and had to be beached. The hull was refloated and arrived at Montreal for repairs on December 27. It was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as b) MURIEL in 1999. FEDERAL DANUBE (i) now operates for Canada Steamship Lines as c) OAKGLEN (iii).

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

 

“Remarkable” year of grain and steel boosts Seaway season

12/10 - With just one month left of the season, St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments are expected to finish ahead of 2013 after a remarkable year of grain exports and steel imports.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, total cargo shipments reached 34.6 million metric tons for the period from March 25 to November 30 — up 5 percent over the same period last year. Seaway management expects the season will close ahead of last year by a similar margin.

Grain shipments (Canadian and U.S.) tallied 10.1 million metric tons, up 44 percent over 2013. The vast majority of that uplift has come from record Canadian crops, but U.S. grain to date is also up by 30 percent. Grain shipments through the Port of Toledo have been at their highest level in four years.

Renewed construction activity and automotive manufacturing lifted steel shipments by 80 percent to 2.2 million metric tons this season with ports including Detroit, Toledo, Milwaukee and Cleveland all benefitting from the increase.

Nearly 2 million metric tons of new business also helped to offset decreases in iron ore and coal shipments this year. Close to a fifth of that total has been salt imports heading to destinations such as Detroit, Toledo and Milwaukee. These have been supplementing a huge demand by cities, towns, businesses, schools and hospitals for road salt from domestic mines. Salt shipments are up by 47 percent to 3 million metric tons.

Chamber of Marine Commerce

 

Sundaisy E freed from St. Lawrence River grounding

12/10 - Quebec City, Que. – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is deploying a team of investigators to Batiscan, Que., where the bulk carrier Sundaisy E ran aground Monday on the St. Lawrence River. The TSB will gather information and assess the occurrence. The vessel – which may have lost power due to a generator failure – was refloated Tuesday with the help of the tug Ocean Bravo, after which they were heading for a Trois-Rivieres anchorage. Sundaisy E was headed for Hamilton, Ont.

Canada NewsWire

 

McKeil Marine names newest tug

12/10 - Tim McKeil is the name selected for the latest tug to join the McKeil Marine fleet. Built in 1991 in Japan, the 4800 bhp tug was originally named Pannawonica 1. It was recently delivered from Australia via South Africa, to Sydney, Nova Scotia. It was registered in St. John's, Newfoundland December 9 as Tim McKeil.

Mac Mackay

 

Toledo river drawbridge opened for ship last week; now it's stuck in up position

12/10 - Toledo, Ohio – Officials in Toledo are trying to lower a river bridge that's stuck in the up position for the second time in a week.

The Martin Luther King Memorial drawbridge got stuck last Tuesday. Then it happened again Friday after it partially opened for a ship. It was still stuck open Monday.

WTVG-TV in Toledo reports that crews are dealing with electrical and mechanical issues as they try to figure out what happened.

The city says an electrical component that needs to be replaced wasn't immediately available, and a clutch may also have to be replaced.

The bridge, which sits over the Maumee River, first opened to traffic in 1914.

WTVG-TV

 

Steel shipments surge through the St. Lawrence Seaway trade corridor

12/10 - Washington, D.C. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date cargo shipments of 35 million metric tons moved through the system for the period March 28 to November 30. Total cargo volume is up 5 percent due predominantly to formidable tonnage of steel, salt, and grain shipments.

“Steel, salt, and grain tonnage numbers registered double digit increases (80, 48, and 44 percent, respectively) over last year’s performance,” said Administrator Betty Sutton of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Solid cargo improvement, continued infrastructure investments, and start-up of the first foreign liner service to a U.S. Great Lakes port in two decades (Spliethoff’s Cleveland Europe Express) are just three highlights in a season that has us optimistic about our System’s future.”

“The story in Milwaukee is steel,” said Paul Vornholt, Port of Milwaukee Acting Director. “November continued a year-long trend that has the Port of Milwaukee logging one of its highest tonnages of steel in recent decades. Among the factors affecting steel volumes are global and regional economic conditions, reliability, efficiency of delivering steel through the Seaway, and cost-effective port operations.”

Shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor are projected to exceed last year’s total by over 25 percent, with a steady stream of vessels scheduled through the end of the year. “If this pace continues, the port’s annual shipments could challenge the all-time record set in 1994,” said Jody Peacock, vice president for the Ports of Indiana. “We’re seeing major increases in our highest volume cargoes and steel is leading the way, up more than 100 percent year-to-date versus 2013. Grain and salt shipments are also more than double last year’s total, while limestone and project cargoes are on the rise as well.”

Also in November, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled an unusual project cargo shipment that included a fuel processing unit and heavy-haul trailer that weighed a combined 885,000 pounds. The large unit was unloaded at the port’s RO-RO (roll-on, roll-off) dock and had to be transported at night with a police escort over a pre-certified highway route to an Ohio refinery.

Despite some weather related delays, positive momentum continued into November at the Port of Toledo. Overseas salt, steel, and pig iron arrived on a parade of Polsteam, Canfornav and Flinter vessels at Midwest Terminals. Some of those vessels traveled just up the Maumee River to re-load Toledo soybeans for direct export. Shipments of corn and soybeans from ADM and The Andersons were also loaded onto lake vessels for export to Canada where some grain was then trans-shipped for overseas destinations. “I believe it’s fair to say that manufacturing has rebounded in the Toledo Region and industry is taking advantage of the Port for direct access to international suppliers of steel and raw materials,” said Joe Cappel, Director of Cargo Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “The combination of a strong demand for steel and aluminum, a good grain harvest and the opening of our new Ironville Terminal have been a recipe for success this season.”

Weather was also a factor at the Port of Oswego Authority in November. “While there were some delays, the port continues to be on target with aluminum shipments,” said Zelko Kirincich, Port Executive Director and CEO. “We received three shipments of aluminum on McKeil barges totaling 20,228 MT and we expect a peak in December as the season comes to a close.”

“In November, the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority handled 42,437 tons of material including steel and aluminum, said Executive Director John Loftus. “This is a nearly 7 percent increase over November 2013 and yet another example of southeast Michigan’s industrial growth and sustainability.”

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

 

Port Reports -  December 10

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded at the South Dock in Calcite on Tuesday and was expected to depart around 7 a.m. Due on Wednesday is the Philip R. Clarke arriving in the late evening for the South Dock. There is nothing scheduled from December 11-14.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Three vessels were scheduled on Tuesday, with the John G. Munson arriving first in the morning followed later in the day with the Great Republic in the late afternoon. Herbert C. Jackson is also due on Tuesday in the late evening. Two vessels are due in on Wednesday, with the Cuyahoga arriving first in the morning followed by the Pathfinder in the evening. Joseph H. Thompson will round out the schedule on Thursday arriving in the morning to load. There is nothing scheduled on Friday.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The tug G.L. Ostrander and the cement barge Integrity were inbound on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning. The pair called on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville to unload. They were expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway was expected to arrive in Toledo to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday in the late evening hours. Also due at CSX is the 1,000 footer Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which is due on Wednesday in the morning. The James L. Kuber has two trips scheduled at CSX, with the first one on Thursday in the late afternoon followed by a return on Friday in the late evening to load. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Due at the Torco Dock is the John J. Boland on Wednesday in the early morning followed by the James L. Kuber on Thursday in the morning. Due in on Friday is the Lewis J. Kuber, arriving during the late afternoon. American Valor remains in layup near the Lakefront Docks. Several other vessels were in port at the time of this report, among them USCG Bristol Bay doing work in Toledo along with the tug Barbara Andrie and a barge. Tug Paul L. Luedtke was also in port as was the salty Federal Schelde from Barbados further upriver at one of the grain elevators. Tug Wilf Seymour along with its barge Alouette Spirit were also upriver at one of the Toledo docks. Tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender departed Toledo early in the morning Tuesday after unloading iron ore at Torco. Entering port was the tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement for the St. Marys Cement Dock in Toledo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Lower Lakes Towing's articulated tug-barge Defiance-Ashtabula arrived with a load of sand out of Brevort, Mich., at 11 a.m. Tuesday for the Sand Supply Wharf on the City Ship Canal. They met a small Sevenson push tug and barge in the Buffalo River Entrance Channel, and the two sets of vessels passed their respective ways with no problems around 11:30. The Defiance-Ashtabula unloaded sand until 7 p.m. and then backed out for the lake, clearing the Buffalo breakwall around 8:15 p.m.

Ship Movements - Montreal to Great Lakes and Seaway ports – Andre Blanchard
Ships in Montreal then moving on to the Great Lakes/Seaway
Algoma Harvester - ETD: Dec 9, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Algoma Guardian - ETD: Dec 12, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Adriaticborg - ETD: Dec 9, then on to Baie-Comeau, QC
Americaborg - ETD: Dec 11, then on to Sorel, QC

Ships expected in Montreal then moving on to the Great Lakes/Seaway
Duzgit Dignity - ETA: Dec 13, then on to Mississauga, ON
MCT Stockhorn - ETA: Dec 11, then on to Hamilton, ON
Algoeast - ETA: Dec 11, then on to Sarnia, ON
Pineglen - ETA: Dec 12, then on to Thunder Bay, ON
Oakglen - ETA: Dec 12, then on to Windsor, ON
Adfines Star - ETA: Dec 9, then on to Mississauga, ON

 

Two former Wagenborg vessels renamed

12/10 - Two former Wagenborg vessels, each making at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. Markborg, which carried that name from 1997-2002 before being renamed MSC Suomi from 2002-2004, is now sailing as the Bozok of Cook Islands registry. From 2004-14 the vessel reverted back to its original name of Markborg. She first came inland in 1997 and last visited as such in 2009. Her Wagenborg fleetmate Drecthborg, which first came inland in 2006 and last visited in 2011, now sails as the Svetlana of Malta registry. Prior to her rename, it held the name of Drecthborg until July 2000, at that time becoming the MSC Skaw from 2000-2002. It reverted back to Drecthborg from 2002-2003, before becoming the Normed Rotterdam from 2003-2005. At that time it took back the name of Drecthborg, and held that name from 2005 until 2014.

Denny Dushane

 

Coast Guard to clean, paint, repair lighthouse near Cheboygan

12/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard is proposing to conduct repairs on an active aid to navigation located near Cheboygan, Mich., and is inviting the public to comment on the undertaking.

The ATON is the 14-foot Shoal Light, located in a narrow strait between Bois Blanc Island and Cheboygan.

Coast Guard crewmembers will conduct work that includes repairing or replacing hinges on warped shutters; repairing or replacing glass stops with new fasteners; cleaning and repainting the interior of the lighthouse and lantern room in the current color scheme; repairing glass and glazing; cleaning vents and installing new screens; and repainting the exterior of the lighthouse in the current color scheme.

The lighthouse was last repaired and repainted in 2002 by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. These repairs will not directly or indirectly alter any of the characteristics of the historic property.

USCG

 

Lookback #388 – John D. Leitch hit bottom above Eisenhower Lock on Dec. 10, 2005

The John D. Leitch is still an active traveler around the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence as part of the Algoma Central Corp. fleet. It has only had a few incidents since it was built by Port Weller Dry Docks in 1967.

Completed as Canadian Century for Upper Lakes Shipping, the 730-foot-long by 75-foot-wide self-unloader was designed to carry coal to Ontario Hydro's steam generated power plants. It had a single cargo hold for easier cleaning.

During the first year, Canadian Century delivered 1.7 millions tons of coal. As the years passed it carried other commodities including grain and taconite ore and set several cargo records.

The ship was given a new loop-belt unloading system in 1975-1976 after the original bucket elevator system was damaged. Then, in 2001-2002, the Canadian Century returned to Port Weller Dry Docks where it was widened to 78 feet increasing trip capacity by 1,450 tons of cargo. It resumed service as the John D. Leitch, honoring the long time owner and President of the Upper Lakes fleet.

It was nine years ago today, on Dec. 10, 2005, that the John D. Leitch hit bottom above the Eisenhower Lock while traveling downbound. The hull was opened and the leaking vessel was delayed for seven hours for temporary repairs before it was cleared to proceed.

In 2011, with the sale of the Upper Lakes fleet, the John D. Leitch joined the Algoma Central Corp. While most of the ships involved in the transaction were given new names, the John D. Leitch continues to serve Algoma with the name unchanged.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 10

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Americaborg, Deltuva, Florijngracht, Fuldaborg, Lugano, and Palmerton  

 

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 NOTRE DAME VICTORY on December 10, 1950. She would later become b.) CLIFFS VICTORY.

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

On December 10, 1905, 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.

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

1922: The wooden freighter JAMES DEMPSEY, built in 1883 as a) JIM SHERIFFS, was destroyed by a fire at Manistee, MI.

1963: The Canadian coastal freighter SAINTE ADRESSE went on the rocks off Escoumins, QC and was leaking in high winds while on a voyage from Montreal to Sept-Iles. Local residents helped lighter the cargo of beer and ale. The remains of the hull were visible at low water for several years.

1975: PAUL THAYER went aground in Lake Erie off Pelee Island. It was lightered to WOLVERINE and released Dec. 12 with extensive damage.

1994: The Maltese registered YIANNIS Z. entered Chaguaramas, Trinidad and Tobago, in leaking condition after apparently hitting bottom while enroute from Manzanillo, Cuba, to Peru. The ship was arrested for non-payment of the crew. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 1970 as a) MATIJA GUBEC. The hull was sold at public auction on August 28, 1997, and apparently partially dismantled to become a barge. It was noted sinking at its moorings on October 14, 2006, under the name f) KELLYS MARK and subsequent fate is unknown.

2005: JOHN D. LEITCH hit bottom above the Eisenhower Lock and began leaking.

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

 

Lubie crewmember dies after fall into Lake Huron

12/9 - St. Ignace, Mich. – The Coast Guard recovered a 55 year-old Polish man from Lake Huron late Sunday morning, after the crew of the motor vessel Lubie, a 622-foot Bahamian-flagged bulk carrier, reported him missing. The man's name is not being released.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., a search and rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie received a telephone call from someone aboard the motor vessel Lubie, reporting a crewmember was missing and may have fallen overboard. At the time of notification the Lubie was underway roughly 10 miles northeast of Rogers City, Michigan, travelling from Marinette, Wisconsin, to Windsor, Ontario.

The crew last saw the man about one hour before notifying Sector Sault Ste. Marie. He was last seen before going to work on deck wearing blue coveralls or a blue jumpsuit.

Watchstanders at Sector Sault Ste. Marie immediately issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a crew aboard a 45-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, Michigan, and a crew aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan. The crew of the freighter also reversed course and began searching their previous track line. More than two hours later, the Lubie crew reported spotting the man face down in the water.

The Coast Guard response boat crew recovered the man, who was unconscious and unresponsive, and transferred him to awaiting EMTs at Station St. Ignace. He was declared deceased by local medical authorities. A local medical examiner is performing an autopsy.

The water temperature was approximately 39 degrees Fahrenheit. The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the accident.

USCG

 

Poe Lock sets a tonnage record

12/9 - Soo Locks - The Poe Lock set a tonnage record on Nov. 21. In a 24-hour period, 17 boats carried 545,520 net tons through the lock that day. It would take at least 21,820 semi-trucks to carry this much cargo.

USACE

 

Mackinac Island company to build new $3.8M ferryboat

12/9 - Onaway, Mich. – A company that provides ferry service to Mackinac Island is having an 85-foot, 281-passenger vessel added to its fleet, company executives said.

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry planned to announce the $3.8 million project Monday, describing the watercraft as the first ferryboat known to have been constructed in Michigan. The work will take place at Moran Iron Works in Onaway.

“The idea of building a climate-controlled ferry for our customers right here in Michigan — instead of sending the work elsewhere — really appealed to us,” said Bill Shepler, CEO of the ferry company.

The vessel will be christened “Miss Margy,” after Shepler’s mother. It is scheduled for completion in time to begin hauling passengers between the mainland and the resort island next July.

The keel will be laid in mid-January and the hull completed over the next four months, after which the craft will be launched in Rogers City and taken to the Shepler’s facility in Mackinaw City for seat installation and painting.

Miss Margy will feature an air-conditioned cabin and a ventilation system to remove condensation from windows, providing a better view during bad weather. It will have a top speed of about 40 mph.

“An all-aluminum hull, three of the most modern and powerful marine engines on the Great Lakes, along with the most advanced cabin comforts, make this project sophisticated and challenging,” said Tom Moran, CEO of Moran Iron Works.

Shepler’s is one of three companies providing Mackinac Island service. Its fleet already includes five passenger ferries and a cargo vessel.

Moran and Shepler’s previously have worked together on modifications of two vessels, but this will be their first ferry building venture. Ferries usually are constructed in shipbuilding centers such as Louisiana or Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

“But for this project, we liked the idea of watching it being built and having a say in how it was being built,” Shepler said.

Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports -  December 9

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Ashtabula - Defiance was rounding Point Pelee Monday and on her way to the Sand Supply Wharf on the City Ship Canal. They should be arriving around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through town Sunday night and early Monday morning were Tim S. Dool, Kom and Brant. Monday upbounds Algoma Olympic sailed through to Hamilton, Ont. at 04h52, HHL Mississippi at 4:59am to Chicago and Algonova tanker at 6:11am. The Flinterstar came down at 6:20am. The downbound Americaborg, heading through to Sorel, QC at 10:40am met up with the upbound Whitefish Bay just above the Ogdensburg/Prescott Bridge at 10:25am heading to Duluth to load coal. The Blue Phoenix sailed down to Les Escoumines, QC at 2:50pm and Mottler down to Montréal, QC at 6:07pm. Monday evening, expected through is Algoma Transport up to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Expected early Tuesday morning is the Elbeborg down to Montréal, QC.

 

Charting a course for Canadian Miner cleanup

12/9 - Sydney, N.S. – The province should have soon have a better idea what the discovery of additional contaminants aboard the former Canadian Miner could mean for the timeline and budget of its cleanup.

Geoff MacLellan, minister of Transportation and Public Works, said officials planned a meeting between contractor RJ MacIsaac Construction of Antigonish and Nova Scotia Lands should clarify where things stand.

Last month, word came that asbestos levels found on the derelict ship stranded off Cape Breton are almost five times more than estimated in federal reports. About 30,000 litres of diesel was also discovered aboard, when a study had indicated it had all been removed.

“That final conversation still hasn’t taken place, so we’re proceeding as planned at this point,” MacLellan said.

About 30 tonnes of asbestos was discovered aboard the vessel by the contractor, well in excess of the 6.6 tonnes of asbestos federal reports estimated to be on the ship.

The project was originally expected to cost $11.9 million.

It’s also expected that weather conditions could play a factor in whether costs and timelines can be met.

The 12,000-tonne, 223-metre bulk carrier ran aground on Scatarie Island after a tow line snapped in rough seas during transit to Turkey from Montreal in September 2011. Scatarie Island is a provincially protected wilderness area and it is home to a lucrative fishery.

Although progress has generally been good, the schedule of completing the salvage has been affected by the complications.

“The contractor … has had some major productivity in terms of where they’ve been working around the engine room in the aft section of the vessel, so that’s been 90 per cent removed to this point, and they’re now cutting the vessel into large pieces and they’ll pull the pieces on the shoreline so that they ensure safer cutting,” MacLellan said. “Things are moving as planned.”

The federal government has stated the ship isn't blocking navigation and it doesn’t contain any pollutants. It has said the responsibility to remove the Miner lies with its owner, Arvina Navigation.

MacLellan said he has renewed efforts to have Ottawa — including Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and the Department of Environment — revisit the issue of costs associated with the Miner removal in light of the additional contaminants discovered.

“We’re eagerly awaiting feedback from the feds and we truly hope that given the circumstances they’ll help us out, not only with some of the logistics for the cleanup but certainly with the overall cost,” MacLellan said.

Cape Breton Post

 

Obituary: Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh

12/9 - Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., passed away at his home on Dec. 5.

On the night of November 10, 1975, Capt. Hobaugh deployed his command – the 180 foot bouy tender Woodrush – from the port of Duluth in search of the Edmund Fitzgerald, which had gone missing on Lake Superior in hurricane force winds. It took him 24 hours to fight his way all the way across the lake to the last reported location of the Fitz. In his later years, Capt. Hobaugh oversaw the Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie.

Arrangements are incomplete at this time, but will be announced by C.S. Mulder Funeral Home and Cremation Services.

 

Lookback #387 Kingdoc released from grounding at Pugwash, Nova Scotia on Dec. 9, 1980

The second Kingdoc, a coastal freighter in the Paterson fleet, combined freshwater with saltwater trading. The 315 foot long freighter was equally at home in both locales.

On the lakes, the ship might have newsprint, coal, salt, grain and even some iron ore on board. It had been built at Lauzon, QC in 1963 and came up bound through the Welland Canal for the first time on Sept. 23 with a cargo of newsprint loaded at Port Alfred, QC for Detroit.

The ship also spent at least part of one summer in the Arctic resupply run carrying goods to otherwise isolated communities in their very short shipping season.

Kingdoc came to Pugwash, NS to load road salt in Dec. 1980.¦nbsp; The ship was stuck until released 34 years ago today and needed the help of the tugs Point Valiant and Irving Birch.

Kingdoc tied up at Thunder Bay on Dec. 5, 1986. It was reactivated in 1988 and came down the Welland Canal for the last time carrying grain to Sorel on April 25, 1988.

At Sorel, the ship was refitted as Norstar and departed with pig iron for Genoa, Italy, on May 1, 1988. It was sold and renamed Lucky Star in 1990, Carolina F. in 1995 and Blue Moon in 1997. The vessel was listed as “surveys overdue, class suspended” on Nov. 18, 1997, and then “class withdrawn” on Dec. 16, 1998, before a final report of being “broken up” at an undisclosed location.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

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.

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."

1910: JOHN SHARPLES of the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co., stranded on Galops Island in the St. Lawrence due to low visibility. The vessel was holed fore and aft and not released until April 1911 with the help of the tug HECLA.

1943: SARNIAN, the first member of what became the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet, stranded on Pointe Isabelle Reef, Lake Superior, while downbound with 162,489 bushels of barley. The vessel was not refloated until July 24, 1944, and never sailed again.

1956: FORT HENRY, a package freighter for Canada Steamship Lines, hit Canoe Rocks approaching the Canadian Lakehead, cutting open the hull. It reached the dock safely, quickly unloaded, and went to the Port Arthur shipyard for repairs.

1968: NORTH CAROLINA lost power and sank in Lake Erie five miles west of Fairport, Ohio, in rough weather. The U.S. Coast Guard rescued the three-member crew. The hull went down in about 30 feet of water and is a popular dive attraction.

1980: The salt-laden KINGDOC (ii) was released by the tugs POINT VALIANT and IRVING BIRCH after an earlier grounding at Pugwash, NS

1983: The saltwater ship d) IAPETOS was struck by Iraqi gunners in the Khor Musa Channel about 30-40 miles from Bandar Khomeini, Iran. It was abandoned and struck again by a missile and bombs on March 29, 1984. The vessel began Seaway service as a) JAROSA in 1965 and returned as b) IVORY STAR in 1973 and c) TURICUM in 1975. It was refloated about 1984 and scrapped at Sitalpur, Bangladesh.

2001: The former HAND LOONG, a Seaway trader beginning in 1977, sank as b) UNA in the Black Sea off Sinop, Turkey, enroute from Algeria to Romania with 11,000 tons of iron ore. Seventeen sailors were rescued but one was missing and presumed lost.

2003: STELLAMARE capsized on the Hudson River at Albany, N.Y., while loading turbines. The cargo shifted and three members of the crew were lost. The ship was righted, refloated and repaired as c) NANDALINA S. It was broken up for scrap at Aliaga, Turkey, as d) DOUAA A. in 2011. This heavy-lift freighter first came through the Seaway in 1989 and returned inland from time to time.

2011: VSL CENTURION lost its stern anchor while downbound in the Welland Canal at Port Colborne. Shipping was held up until it was found. The ship first visited the Seaway as a) SAGITARRIUS in 1990 and became d) PHOENIX SUN in 2012.

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

 

CWB Marquis delivery voyage update

12/8 - On her delivery voyage, the CWB Marquis departed from Nantong, China, at 0720 hours November 4, and arrived into Davao, Philippines, on November 10, to fuel before crossing the Pacific. With fueling complete, she departed from Davao on November 11 in clear weather.

The ship is currently at 3/4 of the way across the Pacific Ocean, and crossed the International Date Line on Sunday, November 23 at 5:11 am. Following convention, the date was reversed one full day, so that the new date and time were 5:11 hours on Saturday, November 22. The crew got to relive the trip by one more day, and have two Saturdays in a row.

The ship is due into Balboa, Panama on December 14, and expects to make the passage northbound through to the Atlantic Ocean on the evening of December 15. Clearing the Panama Canal on December 16, she is due into Canada on or around the December 29.

The ship is the first of two vessels owned by The Canadian Wheat Board, and managed by Algoma Central Corporation. The second ship, the CWB Strongfield, will depart from China in the spring of 2015.

Capt. Seann O’Donoughue

 

Port Reports -  December 8

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Sunday at the Upper Harbor found John J. Boland and Michipicoten at the LS&I Upper Harbor ore dock and Tug and Barge Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder at anchor, loaded with coal for the hopper.

St. Marys River – Tom Lindholm
On Saturday, between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Federal EMS, Peter Cresswell, American Courage, Vancouverborg, Pacific Huron and Michipicoten were all upbound. Downbound traffic included Pineglen, Joseph L. Block and Kaministiqua. Algosar was unloading and due to leave around 3 p.m.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
Tug Prentiss Brown and barge Conquest tucked into Suttons Bay to anchor Sunday night, apparently because the loading berth at Charlevoix was occupied.

Lorain, Ohio
Saginaw was in port Sunday, departing at 8:30 a.m., headed east. Algorail departed early Sunday morning, after being in port the previous day.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner arrived over the weekend with grain. As she was entering, the New York State Power Authority tug Breaker was heading out of the Buffalo River Entrance Channel with a 500-foot section of the Niagara River ice boom.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through Saturday night and early Sunday morning, Vega Desgagnes and Lugano, both up to Hamilton, Ont.; Esta Desgagnes down to Montreal, QC; Thunder Bay up to Duluth, Algoeast up to Nanticoke, Ont.; and Algoma Hansa down to Quebec City, QC.

Sunday, Sarah Desgagnes came down at 5:49 am heading to Quebec and the Evans McKeil tug came up at 6:38am. At 8:09 am the Federal Rideau came down headed to Sorel, QC. The Federal Kushiro came up at 12:17pm and then downbounders, Manitoba at 1:08 pm, Mapleglen at 1:44 pm headed to Baie Comeau, QC, and, Salvor tug with Lambert Spirit heading to Cornwall, Ont. at 2 p.m.

Sunday evening, Isolda was through to Montreal, QC and Algoma Navigator to Valleyfield, QC. Sunday night, expected through are downbounders, Federal Kivalina to Montreal, QC., Tim S. Dool and Brant to Kaliningrad, Russia.

Early Monday morning, expected through are upbounders Algoma Olympic to Hamilton, Ont.; HHL Mississippi to Chicago and Algonova. Kom is expected down headed for Gilbraltar.

 

U.S. Steel to restart Hamilton coke ovens

12/8 - Toronto, Ont. – U.S. Steel Canada will restart its idled Hamilton coke ovens and bring 77 workers back from layoff. The company sought emergency court permission to fire up the oven Friday, saying it had a chance to sell coke from Hamilton to its American parent.

"This is a positive for a bunch of reasons," company lawyer Paul Steep said in a brief hearing in Toronto.

"It will help the company's cash flow, it will bring workers back and having it operating will make a sale easier."

Hamilton's coke ovens, in which coal is baked to remove impurities before being mixed with iron ore to make steel, were put into "hot idle" at the end of October after the company said it didn't need their production any longer.

During November, however, the company and chief restructuring officer Bill Aziz started negotiating with another steelmaker over the possibility of selling coke from Hamilton.

They eventually decided against selling a crucial raw material to a competitor and found a new customer — U. S. Steel Canada's American parent firm.

In addition to creating revenue for the former Stelco plant, the company said in its motion to the court that having the ovens working would make it easier to sell the battery.

Justice Geoffrey Morawetz was told the motion for permission to restart the coke battery was brought as an emergency because the company must first stockpile coal and that has to be done before the Great Lakes freeze for the winter and the Welland Canal closes.

Adding extra urgency, the company said, was a ship carrying 30,000 tonnes of coal bound for the Lake Erie plant that could be redirected to Hamilton if permission was given Friday.

The company said keeping the Hamilton oven in "hot idle" — still being fed fuel so it could be brought back into production — costs $1.5 million a month. If a stream of revenue could be created to offset that cost the company would benefit and the oven itself would be kept healthy, possibly making it more appealing to a buyer.

Some buyers, the company added, are already "kicking the tires" of the coke plant.

"A conversion arrangement that keeps the HW Coke Plant in operation is expected to enhance any sale process by providing demonstrated operating performance and skilled and experienced staff, eliminating start-up costs and potentially, if desired by a buyer, providing existing customers for the coke output," the company said.

Allowing the oven to go cold, the company said, could make it impossible to sell because of the cost of restarting it.

The motion was not opposed.

U. S. Steel Canada sought creditor protection in September citing years of continued losses and the crippling cost of fully funding its pension plans.

It recently won court approval to start assessing its pension plans to determine just how under-funded they are.

If the company closes without enough money in the pension plans to meet future obligations, retirees could have their pensions cut by enough to eliminate the shortfall.

The company has also been given permission to look for a buyer or new investor for the Hamilton and Nanticoke plants.

Hamilton Spectator

 

Georgian College scholarship winner named

12/8 - Tim Westmorland, a 3rd year Navigation Cadet, at Georgian College Great Lakes International Marine Training and Research Centre, is the recipient of the G.O. Bough 2014, Scholarship, presented by the Canadian Company of Master Mariners. He is presently on a 60-day trans-Pacific delivery voyage from Nantong China to Montreal, Canada, via the Panama Canal, on board the CWB Marquis, Canada’s newest St. Lawrence Seaway-Max ship.

Capt. Seann O’Donoughue

 

Lookback #386 – Merle M. McCurdy in collision while being overtaken in Lake St. Clair on Dec. 8, 1974

The only time I saw the Merle M. McCurdy underway was up bound at Point Edward on Aug. 24, 1980. The vessel was in a real battle with the current as it laboriously tried to reach Lake Huron. Finally it hit the open water and headed north for another load of grain.

The Merle M. McCurdy operated until Nov. 19, 1985, when the 601 foot long steamer tied up at Buffalo, NY. The ship had spent its final years working in the Kinsman fleet after service United States Steel as William B. Dickson from 1910, when it was completed at Ecorse, MI, until 1968 when it was sold while laid up at Lorain, Ohio. The bulk carrier had been there since Nov. 16, 1960, when it ended its sailing days for the “Steel Trust”.

My next glimpse of the Merle M. McCurdy was at Ashtabula, Ohio, on Dec. 30, 1987. The ship had arrived there under tow of the tug Ohio on Dec. 14, 1987, and was being readied for dismantling.

However, the plan was changed and the vintage steamer was resold to International Marine Salvage of Port Colborne and I made the trip to see it there on July 18, 1988. It had arrived under tow of the Glenevis, assisted by Michael D. Misner, on June 11. The dismantling of the hull had begun on July 13 and the work then proceeded quickly. Soon the vessel's steel was being fed to a blast furnace for recycling.

The ship had a generally profitable and uneventful career. An exception was 40-years ago today when the Merle M. McCurdy, down bound in Lake St. Clair and about opposite Grosse Pointe Farms, was overtaken from behind by her former U.S. Steel running mate Philip R. Clarke. The latter was also down bound and loaded at the time. It was estimated that repairs to the Merle M. McCurdy would cost $250,000. This work was done and gave the vessel an additional 11-years of service.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

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.

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 cargo. Some reports indicate the wreck was found in 1874, however it was not discovered until 2010 by Ross Richardson.

1876: IRA CHAFFE was driven ashore in a severe snowstorm near the Chocolay River, Lake Superior, near Munising. All on board were saved and the ship was eventually released.

1909: Fire broke out in the hold of the CLARION off Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie. Six sailors who huddled on the stern were picked up in a daring rescue by the LEONARD C. HANNA the next day. Another 14 were lost when their lifeboat was swept away in the storm and one more perished when he went into the hold to fight the fire.

1909: W.C. RICHARDSON stranded on Waverley Shoal, 2 miles west of Buffalo. A storm had prevented entrance to Buffalo and the ship was riding out the weather on the lake. The hull had to by dynamited as a navigational hazard when salvage efforts failed. Five lives were lost.

1927: ALTADOC (i) stranded on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when the steering failed while upbound, in ballast, for Fort William. The hull could not be salvaged and it was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1927: LAMBTON stranded on Parisienne Shoal, Lake Superior, with the loss of 2 lives. The engine was removed for the FERNIE and the hull salvaged in 1928 for further work as the barge c) SALVUS.

1963: FORT ALBANY sank in the St. Lawrence off Lanorie after a collision with the PROCYON, and five members of the crew were lost. Heavy fog persisted at the time. The hull was refloated in June 1964, taken to Sorel, and scrapped.

1971: HARMATTAN was attacked with missiles and gunfire by Indian Naval units south of Karachi, Pakistan, and heavily damaged. Seven sailors were killed and the ship was abandoned. It arrived at Karachi March 2, 1972, and was scrapped. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971.

1982: The Liberian freighter GENIE came through the Seaway in 1972. It was badly damaged by an explosion and fire on this date while laid up the Seychelles Islands. The hull was taken to Karachi, Pakistan, and scrapped in 1985.

1983: AKTION, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1970, was laid up at Piraeus, Greece, as e) ELISA when fire broke out and the vessel was heavily damaged aft. The hull was towed into Aliaga, Turkey, in October 1984, and broken up for scrap.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.

 

Last year's thick ice coverage not expected this winter

12/7 - Sarnia, Ont. – After a record-breaking 2013-2014, ice conditions in the Lake Huron and the rest of the Great Lakes are forecast to return to normal this winter. Earlier this week, ice forecasters in Canada and the U.S. issued their seasonal outlook for winter 2014-2015 on the Great Lakes.

"Last year was a record for ice coverage," said Scott Weese, senior ice forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service.

"Lake Huron was at 100% coverage late in the season, but this year we're not expecting ice coverage to be as extensive."

Near normal temperatures are expected over Lake Huron this year between December and February, resulting in the forecast of near normal ice conditions on Huron, and other Great Lakes, according to Weese.

The forecast is a joint effort with the National Ice Centre in the U.S.

Cold temperatures and static weather patterns were the drivers of last year's experience with ice on the lakes, Weese said.

Ice shut down ferry service on the St. Clair River for an extended period, and backed up the start of the 2014 shipping season by a month.

"We had a persistent cold winter," Weese said. "We just didn't have any significant breaks in the cold pattern."

This year, the forecast is for moderation and variability in winter temperatures.

"We'll see cold outbreaks followed by warmer outbreaks, as we have in the past few weeks," Weese said. "That kind of variability tends to lead into a normal ice season."

The December forecast for the southern and eastern shore of Lake Huron is for generally open water with isolated patches of new ice forming along the shores near the end of the month.

Huron, Erie and Superior reached near 100% ice coverage last winter, Weese said.

Conditions over the season broke an ice record dating back to the winter of 1976-77, he said.

The shipping industry and coast guards in Canada and the U.S. are among those who make use of the forecasts and other information provided by the Canadian Ice Service.

Sarnia Observer

 

Lake Superior water level above long-term average

12/7 - Ironwood, Mich. – Lake Superior continues to rise, as above average precipitation has returned the level above long-term averages.

The lake continued its trend of above-normal water levels in November, although it dropped a typical 2 inches for the month. That's average for November, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The lake remained around 9 inches above its level of a year ago, thanks in large part to 11 straight months of above-normal water supply to the lake from increased precipitation and run-off, combined with low evaporation.

Lakes Michigan-Huron remained steady in November. The Dec. 1 level of the lakes is 7 inches above the long-term average and 21 inches higher than it was last year on Dec. 1.

The upper Great Lakes usually rise from April to August, then generally drop from September through March.

International Lake Superior Board of Control officials have been releasing more water than normal from Lake Superior to reduce potential high water problems in spring. Officials said the lake will probably drop, as normal, until spring.

At the end of October, the water level of Lake Superior was 10 to 11 inches higher than in October 2013 and 8 to 9 inches above the long-term normal.

Lake Superior stood at 602.74 feet above sea level on Oct. 31, 2014, compared to 602.65 feet at the start of the month and 601.86 a year ago.

The October high was 603.38 in 1985, while the low was 600.72 in 1925.

The National Weather Service office in Marquette said Lake Michigan and Lake Huron levels were above average in October for the first time since late 1998.

"Even though water levels typically fall slowly in October, above normal precipitation across the upper Great Lakes and surrounding areas the last couple of months has contributed to greater run-off," said Kevin Crupi, of the weather service's Marquette office.

Ironwood Daily Globe

 

Port Reports -  December 7

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algorail was in port on Saturday, unloading at the Jonick dock.

Buffalo. N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner pulled in and tied up to unload wheat at the Frontier Elevator at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The tug Sharon M I departed the Gateway Metroport terminal in Lackawanna around 7a.m. Friday.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Friday night the upbound Andean went through heading to Hamilton. The upbound Cedarglen sailed through at 3:29am headed to Sarnia, and Cuyahoga at 3:46am headed to Hamilton. At 4:02pm the Algoma Progress sailed up, also headed to Hamilton, meeting the Florijngracht coming down to Matan - Gaspé at 4:07pm. Baie St. Paul, loaded with 28,000 tonnes of soybean from Port of Johnstown, Ont., departed at 4:25pm, headed up below Windmill Point to make a turn, and head back down to Quebec City. Expected Saturday evening and night are the downbounders Esta Desgagnes and Atlantic Power, both to Montreal. Three upbound ships were delayed below Snell Lock throughout the day. Vega Desgagnes and Lugano both to Hamilton, Ont. and CSL’s Thunder Bay heading to Duluth, are expect through Saturday night as well. Early Sunday morning the Algoeast is expected to come up to Nanticoke. Manitoba is expected down from Hamilton into the Port of Johnstown Monday.

 

Obituary: Captain Bruce M. Hudec

12/7 - Captain Bruce M. Hudec passed away Friday morning, December 5. He helmed the Goodtime II and the Goodtime III sightseeing passenger vessels of Cleveland, Ohio. He saw several million passengers up and down the Cuyahoga River during his more than 43 years of tenure with the Goodtime Cruise Line, and worked tirelessly to preserve the history of the lake and river front.

He was a raconteur, artist, historian, and friend to all. He will be missed and fondly remembered by an immense family that includes fellow Great Lakes captains, crew, bridge operators, innumerable passengers, and countless others who had the privilege of crossing paths with him.

Calling Hours are at Jakubs & Son Funeral Home; 936 E 185th St, Cleveland, OH 44119. Tuesday, December 9 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. with a Memorial Service immediately following. A Cremation Burial will be at 3 p.m. Friday, December 12 at Riverside Cemetery, 3607 Pearl Rd, Cleveland, OH 44109.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Euclid Animal Shelter, 25100 Lakeland Blvd. Euclid, Ohio 44132.

 

Lookback #385 – Easthampton was the last saltie out of the Seaway for the season on Dec. 7, 1962

The former T-2 tanker Easthampton had only recently been converted to a bulk carrier at the time it entered the Seaway late in the 1962 season. The work, which also involved lengthening the steamer, was carried out at Emden, West Germany.

The vessel had been a product of the Sun Shipbuilding Co. and it was launched at Chester, Pa., as James Island on April 4, 1944. It was able to assist the war effort as a fuel carrier for a little over a year before the hard-earned peace was established.

In the postwar era, the ship was sold to J.M. Carras Inc. and renamed Alexandra in 1945 and became Amanda in 1955. It sailed as an American flag tanker under the first name but was registered in Liberia under the latter. The same flag was retained when it became Lyra in 1961.

The vessel returned to American registry as Easthampton in 1962 and rebuilt as a bulk carrier. While on the lakes, the vessel took on a cargo of arms and heavy equipment for India and managed to leave just before the Seaway system closed for the year. This was the latest closing of the system in this the fourth year of operation.

Easthampton was sold and renamed Merrimac in 1965 but that ship did not enter the Great Lakes until 1978. It was sold to shipbreakers in Bangladesh in 1982 and arrived at Chittagong for dismantling on Dec. 10 of that year. The then 39-year-old vessel was broken up in 1983 by Gumti Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

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.

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 saltwater 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.

1909: MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO. 2 disappeared with all hands in the overnight hours of December 7-8 while crossing Lake Erie from Conneaut to Port Stanley with 30 loaded railway cars. The hull has never been located.

1912: The whaleback BARGE 134 was operating on the East Coast as b) BANGOR when it stranded and broke up near Hampton Roads, Va. The hull was salvaged by blasting and dredging in 1975.

1917: SIMCOE, of the Canadian Department of Marine & Fisheries, left the Great Lakes earlier in the fall for new work on the Bay of Fundy. It sent out an S.O.S. that it was sinking in heavy seas and the ship was never seen again. The only trace was a lifering that came ashore at Sable Island. There were 44 on board.

1927: KAMLOOPS, inbound for the Canadian Lakehead, disappeared with all hands overnight December 6-7. The hull was finally found by divers off 12 O'Clock Point, Isle Royale, in 1977.

1927: AGAWA stranded on Advance Reef, Georgian Bay along the south shore of Manitoulin Island. It spent the winter aground and was not released until Nay 16, 1928. The hull had been declared a total loss but was rebuilt at Collingwood as the ROBERT P. DURHAM and then later sailed as c) HERON BAY (i).

1927: The first MARTIAN went aground off Hare Island, Lake Superior and was not released until December 14.

1929: ULVA sank in the ice at Port Colborne but was raised, refitted and returned to service in 1930. The British built freighter operated between Maritime Canada and the Great Lakes until about 1939. It was torpedoed and sunk by U-60 northwest of Ireland on September 3, 1940.

1941: The tanker MAKAWELI was reported to be anchored at Pearl Harbor during the infamous Japanese attack and damaged. The ship was built at Ashtabula as COWEE in 1919 and returned to the Great Lakes for Lakeland Tankers in 1946.

1967: FIR HILL, a Seaway trader in 1961, went aground off Yasuoka, Japan, as d) UNIVERSAL CRUSADER. It was lightered and released but sold for scrap and broken up at Hirao, Japan, in 1968. 1969: The bulk carrier PETITE HERMINE and TEXACO CHIEF (ii) collided in fog near Prescott and both ships had slight damage. The former became c) CANADIAN HUNTER while the latter last operated on the lakes as c) ALGONOVA (i).

1976: The Liberian flag bulk carrier UNIMAR grounded leaving Thunder Bay with a cargo of grain and was not released until December 15.

1976: HARRY L. ALLEN of the Kinsman fleet went aground in Lake St. Clair, near St. Clair, Mich., and was held fast in the ice before being freed by tugs.

1982: LEADALE (ii) finished unloading salt at Thorold and backed into a concrete dolphin while departing the dock. A hole was punched in the hull and the ship sank while trying to get back to the dock. LEADALE was refloated December 19, towed to Port Colborne and scrapped by Marine Salvage in 1983. 1983: UNISOL had been docked at Chandler, Que., to load newsprint but left to ride out an approaching storm after being pounded against the dock. The ship ran aground while outbound and the crew was saved by a Canadian Forces helicopter. The vessel, noted as the first Peruvian flag freighter to transit the Seaway earlier that year, broke up in the storm.

1983: The Norwegian freighter WOODVILLE began visiting the Great Lakes in 1962. It ran aground near Palau Mungging, Malaysia, enroute from Bangkok, Thailand, to Malacca, Malaysia, as d) PETER RICH and was abandoned as a total loss.

1989: CAPITAINE TORRES, enroute from the Great Lakes, got caught in a vicious storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence on December 7-8 after the cargo shifted. All 23 on board were lost when the ship went down.

2005: ZIEMIA LODZKA collided with and sank the VERTIGO in shallow water in the Great Belt off Denmark. All were saved. The former began Great Lake trading in 1992.

2010: The passenger ship CLELIA II, a Great Lakes visitor in 2009, was hit by a monstrous wave in the Antarctic Ocean smashing the pilothouse window and damaging electronic equipment. The vessel made Ushusia, Argentina, safely and only one member of the crew had a minor injury.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.

 

Eileen McAllister Departs without American Fortitude

12/6 - The tug Eileen McAllister, which had been waiting at Quebec City for the American Fortitude to arrive, has departed the port Saturday morning, light tug, heading down the St. Lawrence. Meanwhile the tow remains secured at the Cote Ste Catherine wharf and is now listed on the Montreal Harbour website to arrive there today.

Ron Beaupre

 

Senator John McCain vows repeal of Jones Act

12/6 - Washington, D.C. – Senator John McCain said a more than 90-year-old law that requires ships servicing coastal ports and the Great Lakes to be built and crewed by U.S. citizens will be repealed sooner or later if lawmakers keep fighting the trade restriction.

Oil refiners, and many manufacturers and state governments oppose the Jones Act, saying the requirement increases costs by blocking shipping by cheaper foreign-built and foreign-flagged vessels.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a rare waiver of the act in 2012 when superstorm Sandy led to fuel shortages at gas stations on the East Coast, allowing foreign vessels to bring fuel from Gulf Coast refiners. But the act has been blamed for causing bottlenecks, including a shortage of rock salt for New Jersey roads during a recent severe winter storm.

McCain, an Arizona Republican and the incoming chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, estimates that consumers could save about $1 billion annually if the Jones Act was lifted. He introduced a bill in 2010 to repeal it but estimated soon after that he probably only had about 20 votes in the 100-member chamber.

He said despite tough opposition, it is a fight that he will win one day. “It’s one of these things you just propose amendments to bills and encourage hearings and sooner or later the dam breaks,” McCain said after a speech at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

“But I have to tell you … the power of this maritime lobby is as powerful as anybody or any organization I have run up against in my political career. All I can do is appeal to the patron saint of lost causes and keep pressing and pressing and sooner or later you have to succeed,” he said.

Supporters of the Jones Act say it promotes jobs in domestic shipbuilding and that it has wide support in Congress because workers in all 50 U.S. states make components for those vessels.

Reuters

 

Port Reports -  December 6

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Lakes Contender arrived at LS&I on Friday and waited to load ore.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Thursday. American Courage was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Friday in the late morning to load. Rounding out the schedule will be the Manitowoc, which is expected to arrive on Saturday in the early morning.

Port Inland – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader loaded on Thursday. This was to be final vessel at Port Inland for the 2014 shipping season.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled for loading until Monday, when the Calumet is due in the early morning for the North Dock. John G. Munson rounds out the schedule, arriving also on Monday in the late evening for the South Dock.

Stoneport – Denny Dushane
There were no vessel loadings on Friday. Due in on Saturday will be the Lewis J. Kuber arriving in the early morning to load. Mississagi is also due in on Saturday in the early evening to load. Rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph H. Thompson arriving on Sunday at noon. There are no vessels scheduled on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Algosoo
Arrived in Toledo on Friday in the early morning for the CSX Coal Dock to load. Also due at CSX will be the Cason J. Callaway on Monday in the late evening. The 1,000 footer Walter J. McCarthy Jr., making a very rare visit, is also due at CSX to load on Monday during the late evening. Adam E. Cornelius is due at CSX on Tuesday in the early morning. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, tug Victory with barge James L. Kuber unloaded an iron ore cargo on Friday. Lee A. Tregurtha was also due to unload at Torco on Friday in the late morning. Due in on Monday for Torco will be the Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr., arriving during the early morning. Rounding out the schedule will be the John J. Boland arriving at Torco on Tuesday in the early morning. American Valor still remains in long-term lay-up near the Lakefront Docks. Other vessels in port included the saltwater vessel Federal Rideau of Hong Kong flag, departing Toledo after loading a cargo at one of the grain elevators, the tug Paul L. Luedtke was working off of Toledo and the tug Mary E. Hannah. CSL's Birchglen also arrived on Friday to load grain at one of the elevators upriver.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Thursday night the bulk carriers Manitoba and Tecumseh sailed through, both to Thunder Bay. Friday was quiet with 2 downbounders, Thalassa Desgagnes at 10:06 am and Whitefish Bay at 11:19 am, both to Quebec. Expected Friday night is the upbound Andean headed to Hamilton. Baie St. Paul continues to load soybean at the Port with an estimate departure late Friday or early Saturday morning. Early Saturday morning the upbound Cedarglen to Sarnia, and Cuyahoga to Hamilton, are expected to sail through.

 

Algoma Montrealais: The story behind the steamer

12/6 - As noted yesterday in the Boatnerd report, the Algoma Central Corp., in its Bear Facts newsletter for December, has indicated that this is the final year of sailing for Algoma Montrealais. At 9 p.m. on Dec. 5, the vessel arrived load at Thunder Bay. According to her captain, as long as the Seaway traffic keeps moving the last trip will be Thunder Bay to Trois Rivieres around Christmas.

Montrealais, the last steam powered laker in the Canadian Great Lakes fleet, has sailed the inland seas for 52 years. The ship was built at two locations in 1962. The 230-foot-long bow was a product of the George T. Davis & Sons shipyard in Lauzon, Que., and was constructed there as Hull 77. The 500 foot long stern was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd. as Hull 278 at Montreal and launched on Oct. 19, 1961. The bow slid into the water six days later on Oct. 25.

The two sections were joined on the Champlain Drydock over the winter and the completed ship was christened at Montreal on April 12, 1962. The vessel was originally to be named Montrealer and the stern was launched as such but, in the end, the name became Montrealais.

The vessel was part of the Papchristidis fleet. It was built with financial assistance from Hiram Walker, a Canadian distiller, and was originally owned by Canadian Vickers Ltd. The vessel was listed under Eastern Lake Carriers, a subsidiary of the Papachristidis Company in 1965.

The 730-foot-long by 75-foot-wide bulk carrier was upbound past Detroit on her maiden voyage on April 30, 1962. The ship had a 9000 shp Canadian General-Electric steam turbine engine with two, oil-fired, Babcock-Wilcox water tube boilers. Tonnage was registered at 17,647 gross and 12,759 net with a capacity of 26,700 tons depending on draft limitations.

The Papachristidis fleet sold its remaining five bulk carriers to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972 and Montrealais, and running mate Quebecois, served that company until their fleet was sold to Algoma Central Corp. in 2011.

Montrealais saw regular service throughout the Great Lakes and Seaway system. It was active in the ore and grain trades from the inland ports to the St. Lawrence but also carried bulk cement, particularly in her later years.

On June 25, 1980, Montrealais and Algobay were in a head-on collision in the St. Clair River during heavy fog and both ships received extensive bow damage. Montrealais was repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks.

Then, on Oct. 21, 1993, the ship was hit by a sudden storm on Lake Michigan while out bound from delivering a cargo of ore to Burns Harbor, Ind. Work on cleaning the holds was still underway in preparation for loading grain and five of the heavy steel hatch covers, stacked on deck, were washed overboard. There was also damage on deck, but the ship was soon back in service with borrowed hatch covers from the then-idle Lemoyne (ii).

The return to service was short-lived, as Montrealais hit bottom in the Welland Canal above Bridge 10 while up bound on Nov. 26-27 and sustained serious bottom damage that needed repairs.

On March 30, 2009, Montrealais opened the Welland Canal up bound on the 50th Anniversary season of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The event was celebrated in a ceremony at the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3 as the vessel passed through.

Following the disbanding of the historic Upper Lakes Shipping fleet in 2011, Montrealais joined another, more than century old company, the Algoma Central Corp. It operated under her original name for that season but became Algoma Montrealais in 2012.

Some feared that the ship would be retired after the 2013 season, however she was reactivated part way into 2014. But with more new ships headed to the Great Lakes to service Algoma and the Canadian Wheat Board, this aging veteran bulk carrier is no longer needed. After delivering a cargo of cement to Duluth, the vessel sailed to Thunder Bay to load what is expected to be a final cargo of grain.

Ship-watchers along the lakes may want to be alert to the down bound voyage as this is likely to be the last time we see a big Canadian laker steam by.

Skip Gillham

 

Seaway saltie renames

12/6 - The following four saltwater vessels have been renamed. Each has made one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system in their careers. Cleanthes is now the Mallia of Sierra Leone registry. This vessel may be more familiar to many as the one-time Greek-flagged Olympic Miracle, a name it carried from 1984-2011 and under which it last visited in 2010. It carried the name of Cleanthes from 2011-14, however, it never came inland with that name. Persenk, which first came inland in 1999 and last visited in 2009, is now the Osman Gazi of Malta. Two former vessels from the Intersee Schiffahrt fleet from Germany have also been renamed. The Leandra, which came inland in 2010, is now the Thorco Cobra of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Rebecca, which first came inland in 2006 and last visited during the 2010, season is now the Freya also of Antigua/Barbuda registry.

Denny Dushane

 

Seaway saltie scrappings

12/6 - The following four saltwater visitors have been scrapped, with each one making at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during their careers. Ak Brother, of Panamanian registry, which visited once during the 2013 shipping season, has been scrapped. This vessel may be more familiar as the Greek-flagged Calliroe Patronicola, which first came inland in 1985, the year she was built, and last visited with that name in 2011 before being renamed. Sakhalin, which never came inland with that name, has also been scrapped. This vessel was the former Polsteam carrier Ziemia Zamojska, which first came inland in 1985, a year after she was built, and last visited in 2007. Elminda, another vessel that did not come inland with this name, has been scrapped. It was also a former Polsteam vessel, Ziemia Tarnowska, which first came inland in 1985 a year after she was built. It carried that name from 1984-2013, before being renamed Lord G, a name it carried from 2013-2014 before being renamed Elminda. Danica, another vessel that did not come inland with this name, has been scrapped. This vessel is more familiar to many as the Mljet, which first visited in 1984, just two years after she was built. It carried that name from 1982-2008 before being renamed.

Denny Dushane

 

New Saltwater Visitors

12/6 - As of Dec. 1, the total number of new saltwater vessels making their first visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system during the 2014 shipping season totaled 48 vessels, based on transits of the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. The list includes: Adfines Sea, Adfines Star, Albanyborg, Ara Rotterdam, Atlantic Power, BBC Chile, BBC Kibo, BBC Switzerland, BBC Xingang, Beatrix, Charlotte C, Diana, Dimitrios K, Deltuva, Duzgit, Endeavour, Ebony Ray, Edzard Schulte, Fairchem Yuka, Fionia Swan, Flinter America, Floragracht, Fortunagracht, Fritz, Harbour Krystal, HHL Elbe, Kirkeholmen, Larsholmen, Lokholmen, MCT Breithorn, Merwedegracht, Morgenstond I, Nilufer Sultan, Nordic Mari, Olza, Pacific Dawn, Peter Ronna, Pochard S, Prosna, Reestborg, Reggeborg, Sea Racer, Selandia Swan, Skawa, Songa Challenge, Songa Peace, Sten Bergen, Tina Theresa and Transhawk. Since Dec. 1, one other vessel has been added to the list of newcomers – the Florijngracht – which transited the Seaway on Dec. 3. At least two more newcomers are expected in December – the Duzgit Dignity, a tanker from Turkey built in 2014, and the Sundaisy E, a cargo carrier from Italy.

Denny Dushane

 

Lookback #384 – Former Laban Howes abandoned south of Spain after cargo shifted on Dec. 6, 1961

The Laban Howes was built at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and completed in April 1943 for the U.S. War Shipping Administration. It departed the Great Lakes, likely in April, for trading under charter to the British Ministry of War Transport.

The 258-foot, 10-inch-long steamship could carry 2,800 tons of cargo and operated with a crew of 23. It worked to help win the war and was sold to the British Ministry of War Transport on April 1, 1947.

The ship was resold to the Head Line for 40,000 pounds on Oct. 28, 1949, and renamed Kinsale Head. While the Head Line sent some ships to the Great Lakes in the pre-Seaway era, Kinsale Head remained on saltwater.

It was registered in Honduras as Tela in 1953 and later moved under the flag of Panama. The ship was sold again in 1960 and sailed briefly as Mariangela B. until being abandoned by the crew 53 years ago today The ship was carrying zinc on a trip from Sardinia to Calais, France, when the cargo shifted off Cabo Palos, Spain.

A Spanish salvage tug arrived on Dec. 8 and took the listing freighter to Cartagena. From there it was sold to Italian shipbreakers and it arrived at La Spezia, under tow, on May 25, 1962. It was broken up there by Cantieri del Golfo S.p.A. beginning in July 1962.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 6

On 06 December 1886, C. McElroy 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.

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 FORT CHAMBLY while she was laid up at Ojibway Slip in Windsor, Ontario.

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 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.

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.

1906: MONARCH, carrying a cargo of bagged flour, struck Blake Point, Isle Royale and broke in two. The stern sank in deep water and the survivors huddled on shore. They were spotted the next day by the passing steamer EDMONTON who had help sent out from Port Arthur. Only one life was lost.

1906: R.L. IRELAND went aground off the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior, while loaded with coal. Some of the crew rowed a lifeboat to Bayfield for help. The vessel was salvaged and last sailed as c) ONTADOC (i)in 1970.

1909: BADGER STATE caught fire at Marine City, drifted downstream and stranded off Fawn Island. The hull burned to the waterline. 1910: DUNELM went aground on Isle Royale while downbound with grain for Montreal. It was salvaged on December 21 and taken to Port Arthur for repairs.

1917: TUSCARORA, recently cut in two, towed through the Welland and St. Lawrence Canals, and rejoined at Montreal, sank with the loss of all hands off Cape Breton Island on the delivery voyage to the East Coast.

1924: MIDLAND PRINCE was swept onto a reef while under tow in the outer harbor at Port Colborne and sank the tugs JOSEPH H. and HOME RULE in the process. The laker was released the next day but the tugs were a total loss.

1961: The listing freighter MARIANGELA B. was abandoned on the Mediterranean south of Formentera, Spain, after the cargo of zinc shifted in a storm. The vessel was towed to Cartagena, Spain, on December 8 but soon sold to Italian shipbreakers for dismantling at La Spezia in 1962. The vessel had been built at Sturgeon Bay as LABAN HOWES in 1943.

1977: The passenger ship ROYAL CLIPPER caught fire in the engine room at Montreal. After five hours, the ship rolled on its side and sank. It was salvaged in 1982, towed to Port Maitland, and scrapped during 1984-1986.

1992: WILLIAM R. ROESCH was inbound at Holland, Mich., with a cargo of slag when it went aground. The ship was stuck for two hours.

2001: NANCY MELISSA visited the Great Lakes in 1980. It began taking water as e) EMRE BAY in the Ionian Sea and the crew abandoned the ship. The grain laden vessel was taken in tow to safety but was later sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as f) RESBE on April 9, 2003.

2002: SAGINAW sustained rudder damage while backing away at Thorold and had to go to Hamilton for repairs.

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

 

It’s official: Algoma Montrealais to be retired at end of season

12/5 - According to the winter edition of Bear Facts, the Algoma Central Corp. employee newsletter, the 1962-built laker Algoma Montrealais will be retired at the end of the 2014 shipping season. She is Canada’s last steam-powered laker. The article did not mention whether the vessel will be scrapped overseas or at the scrapping dock at Port Colborne, Ont., where her sister vessel, Algoma Quebecois, met her end earlier this year. On Thursday, the vessel was departing Duluth/Superior for the last time headed to Thunder Bay for a grain cargo.

Read the issue here

 

 

Port Reports -  December 5

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Ships expected in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algoma Montrealais and Algoma Equinox - Dec 5
Federal Ems and Vancouverborg - Dec 6
Algoma Discovery , Oakglen, John B. Aird Algoma Spirit Dec 7

Ships in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Pineglen and Kaministiqua arrived Dec 4.
Ina - Arrived Dec 3.
Federal Kumano - Arrived Dec 2.
Zelada Desgagnes

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
The Samuel de Champlain and the CSL Laurentien are both in the large drydock at Bayship. The Champlain is getting underwater work and the Laurentien is getting new tail shaft and blades in preparation for installation of new MAK engines. The Beaver Island ferry Emerald Isle is in the small drydock having some routine work done.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Sharon M I was docked Thursday at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman departed Rochester early Thursday afternoon bound for Picton, Ont.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne N. Crack
Through Wednesday evening and night, the upbound Algoma Discovery at 6:47pm to Thunder Bay, Ont., and Florijngracht to Hamilton, Ont. Downbound John D. Leitch to Baie Comeau, QC., and Victorious articulated push tug with John J. Carrick barge to Montreal, QC all went through town. Thursday the Algonova went down through at 3:05am heading to Tracy, QC., the downbound Torrent heading to Quebec City, QC at 7:04, the articulated push tug Wilf Seymour with Alouette Spirit barge up through at 7:12 for Oswego, N.Y., and CSL Niagara up to Sandusky, Ohio at 7:38am. The Federal Mattawa came up at 8:57am headed to Burns Harbor, Indiana. Radcliffe R. Latimer headed up to Clarkson at 12:43 and downbounders Algolake to Tracy, QC at 1:00pm and Ojibway at 3:16pm. Upbound at 4:49pm the Americaborg sailed through headed to Hamilton, Ont. Expected to sail through Thursday night are the upbounders Manitoba and Tecumseh both headed to Thunder Bay, Ont. Expected to depart Friday morning is the Baie St. Paul, from the Port of Johnstown with a 25 tonne load of soybean for Quebec City, Quebec.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
The tug Eileen McAllister is tied up in Quebec City, giving a destination of Brownsville. This is the tug that will take over the American Fortitude scrap tow to Texas. There have been high winds all over eastern Canada for the last two days, so the tow has been delayed.

 

Large abstract sculpture of historic schooner planned for downtown Muskegon

12/5 - Muskegon, Mich. – A historic schooner that was the pride of Muskegon and later destroyed far from home for the amusement of others will rise again in the form of an abstract sculpture.

The schooner Lyman M. Davis will be memorialized with the sculpture planned for the traffic circle on Terrace Point Drive near downtown. The site is near where the Davis was built in 1872, one of very few ships ever built in Muskegon.

John Hermanson, whose grandfather was a captain of the Davis, is spearheading the effort to add another sculpture to the downtown area. The 33-foot abstract piece will be made of stainless steel that will just "gleam like crazy," Hermanson said. Its form will mimic the sails of the two-masted fore-and-aft schooner.

The sculpture will be the first public outdoor sculpture in Muskegon to pay homage to the city's maritime history. The schooner was built to ferry lumber from the Mason Lumber Company to Chicago following the great fire of October 1871.

So it was somewhat ironic, and certainly tragic to the people of Muskegon, when the schooner was burned in an intentionally set fire to entertain visitors at a Toronto amusement park in 1934.

"It was a very, very serious tragedy," Hermanson said. "At the time, there were a lot of people who knew it was going to happen, and who just couldn't stop it. It's very sad."

Hermanson is working to raise $144,000 in private funds for the sculpture, and has already raised $88,000. The hope is to have the sculpture erected in the spring of 2016. The traffic circle where it will be located is adjacent to The Lake House Waterfront Grille and Shoreline Inn as well as at the entrance to the Terrace Point Landing residential development and Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center.

The sculpture, which has been two years in the planning, will be created by Steve Peterson, a Cedar Springs artist. Story boards nearby will tell the story of the Lyman M. Mason.

Following the Chicago fire, there was an urgent need for lumber to rebuild the city. Lyman Mason and Charles Davis, owners of the Mason Lumber Company, commissioned the construction of the schooner at the end of Pine Street near the current Muskegon Fire Department downtown station and Hot Rod Harley Davidson on Terrace Street.

At the time, the shore of Muskegon Lake came up roughly where Western Avenue is, Hermanson said. "It was very unusual it was built here," he said.

The sailing ship made its first trip to Chicago in the spring of 1873, and made as many as three round trips per week, according to Hermanson. An image of the Lyman M. Davis sailing in the Muskegon Channel is one of the iconic images from the "romantic" era of Muskegon's commercial sailing history.

"It turned out to be the fastest schooner ever in the Great Lakes, and there were over 1,000 schooners on the lake at one time," Hermanson said. The Davis even beat the steamer George C. Markham in an 1887 race across Lake Michigan, according to Hermanson.

Hermanson, a self-described "boat freak," said he grew up with stories about the Lyman M. Davis and for several years had mulled over the idea of a public sculpture of the schooner.

When he brought the idea to the Downtown Muskegon Public Arts Committee, it was greeted with enthusiasm, said Chris McGuigan, president of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, one of the founders of the committee.

"The committee is excited about the sculpture because it connects us to our maritime history, it's a beautiful sculpture and because of its setting and its visibility," McGuigan said.

The schooner Lyman M. Davis was sold in 1912 by then owner William Brinen, who later tried and failed to repurchase his beloved ship from the new owners, who were brothers from Ontario. The Davis continued sailing the Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario into the 1930s.

In 1933, the owner of the Sunnyside Amusement Park in Toronto purchased the Davis and decided to burn the historic schooner and charge visitors to watch its fiery death. A last-minute effort by Muskegon residents to save the Davis was too little too late.

On June 29, 1934, the schooner went down in flames after its rigging was filled with bombs and rockets and oil poured on the decks and dynamite used as a final blow, according to historical accounts. Its wreck remains upright in 148 feet of water about a mile off shore from Toronto. Divers continue to visit its remains.

M Live

 

Lookback #383 – Advance ran aground off Manitoulin Island on Dec. 5, 1927

The wooden steamer Advance had been built by Louis Shickluna at St. Catharines in 1884. Originally the Sir S.L. Tilley, the ship was used in the package freight and bulk trades but burned to the waterline off Cleveland on Aug. 26, 1899. While rebuilt, it burned again to the main deck at Sault Ste. Marie when the cargo of coal caught fire on Oct. 25, 1903.

The ship was rebuilt at Kingston and lengthened to 175 feet joining the Montreal Transportation Co. in 1904. It was rebuilt again in 1913 and converted to a bulk carrier. The vessel came under the operation of Canada Steamship Lines in 1916 but was tied up in 1921.

The ship was idle at Port Dalhousie in the mid-1920s but sold to W. Bingley & Son Ltd. for work in the coal trade to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario ports. However, Advance was on Georgian Bay when it went aground 87 years ago today. Although salvaged, the ship was laid up at Cornwall and never sailed again.

This was one of the numerous ships idled due to the Depression that never resumed trading. In time, the Advance was stripped of useful equipment. It was then towed down the St. Lawrence and discarded below Cornwall where the hull was allowed to rot.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 5

In 1927, ALTADOC crashed on the rocks of the Keweenaw Peninsula when her steering gear parted during a Lake Superior storm. The machinery and pilothouse of the wreck were recovered in 1928. The pilothouse 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.

1909: HENRY STEINBRENNER (i) sank in a snowstorm on Mud Lake following a collision with the HARRY A. BERWIND. The superstructure remained above water and the ship was later refloated and repaired.

1927: The wooden steamer ADVANCE went aground off Manitoulin Island and two sailors were lost. The ship was salvaged but tied up at Cornwall later in the month and never operated again.

1935: The lumber carrier SWIFT caught fire at Sturgeon Bay and was a total loss. The remains were scrapped in 1936.

1935: The 65-year old wooden tug LUCKNOW burned outside the harbor at Midland and the ship was beached as a total loss.

1952: The wooden tug GARGANTUA departed Collingwood under tow and sought shelter from a storm early the next day behind Cabot Head. The ship was scuttled to avoid the rocky shore with the main part of the hull above water. The intent was to refloat the vessel in 1953 but it was abandoned instead.

1964: FAYETTE BROWN, enroute to Bilbao, Spain, for scrap, broke loose of the tug BARENTSZ ZEE in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and drifted aground on the south shore of Anticosti Island. Salvage efforts were not successful and the remains of the hull, now broken into many pieces, are still there.

1971: VENUS CHALLENGER was sunk by a missile in the India-Pakistan war while 26 miles south of Karachi. The ship broke in two and sank in 8 minutes. All 33 on board were lost. The vessel was completely darkened and going at 16 knots when hit. The ship had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1971 and as b) PLEIAS in 1968.

1976: TATIANA L. and RALPH MISENER sustained minor damage from a collision in the St. Lawrence. The former was scrapped at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as c) LUCKY LADY in 2009, while the latter arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling as c) DON in September 2012.

1987: The CASON foundered off Punta Rostro, Spain, enroute from Hamburg to Shanghai, due to heavy weather. There were 8 survivors but another 23 sailors perished. There were explosions and fires in deck containers and the hull broke in two during a salvage effort in May 1988. The ship had come through the Seaway as b) WOLFGANG RUSS in 1978 and FINN LEONHARDT in 1979.

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

 

Great Lakes ice season to be near normal

12/4 - It's going to be a near-normal ice season for the Great Lakes, according to the Canadian Ice Service. Scott Weese, a senior ice forecaster, says this season's ice forecast is based on the temperatures expected in the Great Lakes regions.

"At this point we have seen an early start to the season with some colder weather that's broken out across the region. So we've seen an advanced development of ice but that has slowed in the last few weeks with some warmer temperatures," Weese said.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the ice formation on Lake Superior last month was the earliest ever recorded on any of the Great Lakes since records started being kept more than 40 years ago.

But that should slow, Weese said. "The long-term outlook does suggest that too that temperatures are going to be near normal or slightly above normal. So we don't expect the really aggressive development of the ice this year," Weese said.

Last season, a maximum ice coverage of 92.2 per cent across all Great Lakes was recorded in early March. That was the second-highest ice cover ever recorded on the Great Lakes. The largest ice cover for the Great Lakes occurred during the winter of 1978-79, when 95 per cent of the Lakes were frozen in mid-February.

Weese doesn't expect the same this season.

"It's a forecast that is substantially lower than last year's but it does sit in the normal range from our historical climatology, our climatology starts from 1972-1973," Weese said.

Last year's record ice stranded boats and had icebreakers in Canadian and U.S. waters working overtime into the spring.

CBC

 

As 2014 winds down, no sign water levels won’t keep rising in new year

12/4 - Manitoulin Island, Ont. – According to Environment Canada’s latest installment of the publication LEVELnews, with the exception of Lake Ontario, water levels of all the Great Lakes remained above average in October.

“Generally wet conditions continued and water supplies to each of the lake’s basins were near or above average in October,” the publication states. “As a result, water levels have yet to begin their seasonal decline on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron.

Lake Michigan-Huron’s mean level in October was 11 cm above average, the highest mean level recorded since 1998, and up 53 cm from last year.

“Lake Michigan-Huron continued to rise with above-average inflows from Lake Superior combined with above-average water supplies resulting in the lake level rising by two cm, when on average it falls by seven cm,” the report states. Levels of all the Great Lakes remained above last year’s levels at the beginning of November, with the exception of Lake Ontario, which is currently 10 cm below where it was last year at this time.

Lake Michigan-Huron’s beginning-of-November level was 15 cm above average, 55 cm higher than last year and the highest beginning-of-November level since 1997,” LEVELnews continues. Higher beginning-of-November values have been recorded on Lake Michigan-Huron 35 times since 1918.

Depending on the level of ice cover for Lake Huron this winter, Islanders could conceivably see this trend of rising water levels continue into the spring.

Manitoulin Expositor

 

Deep water port, docks under development at Escanaba

12/4 - Escanaba, Mich. – Basic Marine has begun the development of Escanaba's north shore, which will become the home of a new deep water port.

"The final plan is to be a deep water port, that's the objective of this whole thing. Initially, what we're striving to do is do ship repair," said Lyle Berro, business development manager for Basic Marine. "This will be the only facility on the upper Great Lakes ... that will be able to take a loaded ore freighter and have it be able to come in and have repairs done on it."

To bring the company's plan to fruition, the property's shoreline need to be dredged to allow ships access to the docks and pier being built. For a fully-loaded carrier to dock, the lake bottom needed to be dredged to around 26 feet.

The barge used to dredge the lake bottom along Escanaba’s north shore sits docked Monday morning. Dredging is a major part of Basic Marine’s plan to develop the area into a deepwater port where fully-loaded ships can be repaired.

Dredging the lake has produced large piles of sand on the shoreline, as well as large piles of wood debris from the original merchant dock that was built in the 1840s.

"This is the original merchant dock for Escanaba. The reason Escanaba is here is because of this lake frontage right here that we're working on," said Berro.

The new structures - a large stretch of concrete dock and the extension of a 450-foot pier to construct a 1,200-foot pier - will have their own effect for commerce and shipping even though the ships that dock in the deep water port will not be picking up or dropping off cargo.

"They'll tie up here in the winter time and once the shipping season starts again they'll be closer to the earliest opening ore shipping port on the Great Lakes, right here in Escanaba," explained Berro. "Basic Marine also has Basic Towing and they also have an icebreaking service and they'll be able to get the ships out into the bay, break ice up to the dock, and start the shipping season that much earlier because the ships will be right here."

In the beginning, Basic Marine will be able to host two or three ships, but eventually the goal is to have as many as 10 ships docked over the winter receiving repairs. Each ship will have it’s own work crew to ensure that the ship is ready when the shipping season opens in the spring.

"With ship repair winter tie up here, every ship will require between 20 and 50 skilled trades laborer people - welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, engineers - all kinds of skilled trades will be needed to do winter tie-up repairs," said Berro.

Berro also noted other industries such as machine shops and welding supply companies will benefit from the repairs being done at the new dock. Hotels, retailers, and restaurants could benefit from the people who come in with the ships when they arrive at the port.

"The economic impact once this is up and running will be immense," said Berro.

The timeline for the project's completion is dependent on weather conditions, but Basic Marine hopes to have the piles of dredged sand off the shoreline by the spring. Once the dredging is completed, the company will bring in infrastructure like heavy electrical, natural gas, and air lines. Water, wastewater, and storm sewer capabilities will need to be brought in by the City of Escanaba.

"It's a big project," said Berro.

Escanaba Daily Press

 

Lake Erie temperature at end of November coldest in decades

12/4 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Lake Erie’s water temperature at the end of November fell to 40 degrees. That’s the coldest Nov. 30 reading in Buffalo since 1976, when the lake temperature was 38 degrees.

Anyone old enough to remember November 1976 needs no further reminder of what happened the following January. The lake froze, and sustained winds during the Blizzard of ’77 blew 3 feet of accumulated snow off the ice and dumped it across the Niagara Frontier.

Great Lakes scientists say it’s too early to tell if the lake’s present condition will lead to that kind of snow catastrophe this winter.

Until the lake freezes, there’s always a chance for lake-effect snow. But as the water turns colder, there’s less chance for a repeat of the heavy lake-effect snowfall that hit the area a couple of weeks ago.

“It really depends on what happens now and over the next few weeks or month,” said Eric J. Anderson, a forecaster at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Anderson said the cooling of the lake was speeded up by to the polar blast that recently dumped more than 7 feet of snow recently in some communities. “The lake is primed,” Anderson said. “If the air temperature drops, the lake is ready to freeze.”

But could that spell trouble, too?

Buffalonians know as well as anyone that a frozen lake can be a blessing – there’s no more lake-effect snow.

“Once you seal it – once the water is not liquid – that cuts the evaporation” and with it the lake-effect snow, said George A. Leshkevich, a Great Lakes ice scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Last winter, ice covered 92.5 percent of the Great Lakes – the most since 1979.

As of the middle of November, ice was already forming in some of the northern bays of Lake Superior. “It’s the earliest our office has on record for ice,” Anderson said.

Anderson called the early onset of ice “symptomatic” of a “cold year” over the Great Lakes.

A brutally cold winter, the late arrival of spring and a cool summer over the region kept lake temperatures – including Lake Erie – lower than usual this year. A warm autumn tempered those readings, at least until the arctic blast last month.

“Water temperatures on Lake Erie right now are very similar to what they were a year ago today,” Anderson said.

Last year, the Nov. 30 water temperature of Lake Erie in Buffalo was 41 degrees, and ice began forming on the lake during the second week in December. By Dec. 12 – after an arctic blast and round of lake-effect snow – about 10 percent of Lake Erie was already covered in ice.

Forecasters expect the same conditions could occur this month and continue through the winter.

“The ice cover in Lake Erie will be similar to last year,” said Jia Wang, an ice and climate forecaster at the Great Lakes laboratory.

As of Tuesday, there was no sign of ice on the lake. When it does appear, it will likely show up first near Toledo and along the Canadian shore near Long Point, Ont.

“The shallow areas are going to get that formation first,” Anderson said.

The Buffalo office of the National Weather Service takes Lake Erie’s daily temperature at a 30-foot depth at the city’s water treatment plant, near where the lake spills into the Niagara River.

Tuesday’s reading remained at 40 degrees, but there’s a 14-degree spread on the thermometer between the western part of the lake and its deepest point between Long Point, Ont., and Erie, Pa.

Scientists said the temperature was at a lake-low 34 degrees in shallow areas near Toledo and 38 degrees near the islands off of Ohio’s shore. Surface temperatures on the deeper eastern end of the lake near Buffalo ranged from 42 degrees to 44 degrees with the lake’s deepest waters still at 46 degrees to 48 degrees.

So, there’s still a ways to go before the lake freezes, ending the lake-effect threat.

“The lake freezing is what would end it,” said Jeff Wood, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Buffalo. Anderson said, “Even if you start now, you’re really not going to start to shut the system down for another three weeks or so.”

Over the last 30 years, the average date when the lake freezes is Jan. 21, the weather service said.

If warmer water is the key to lake-effect snow, will the colder water knock down the ferocity of any more lake-effect storms?

The simple answer is yes. Scientists said the wider the spread between the temperatures of the air and the water, the more evaporation occurs and thus greater lake-effect snow.

“As the water temperature falls, then the difference between the two is lessened,” Leshkevich said. “The possibility of evaporation is going to be reduced.”

On Nov. 18 – well into the first of the two big lake-effect storms last month – Lake Erie’s temperature was 48 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

The air temperature at the surface of the water then was about 24 degrees. At 5,000 feet above the lake, it was 5 degrees. At 20,000 feet it was minus 44.

Mix in the west wind, and it all turned into snowfall rates of up to 5 inches an hour.

“The lake was still quite warm and you had an awfully cold air mass aloft,” Wood said.

Buffalo News

 

Port Reports -  December 4

Alpena, Mich. – From Ben & Chanda McClain
Manistee brought coal to Lafarge on Sunday. The Sam Laud arrived in the river at the DPI dock late Sunday night. It unloaded coal and left early Monday morning. On Tuesday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was loading cement at Lafarge.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Upbound through the night Tuesday and early morning Wednesday were the Algoma Spirit to Hamilton, Nickelena tug with BM209 barge and Algowood to Baie Comeau, Q.C. Wednesday, the upbound Baie Comeau sailed through at 3:36am headed to Conneaut. Later, the downbounders Maria Desgagnes at 5:58am and Thunder Bay at 6:32am, both headed to Quebec City, cleared town. The upbounders Apollon headed to Sault Ste. Marie at 9:52am, Claude A. Desgagnes to Toledo at 12 pm. Baie St. Paul came up and into the Port of Johnstown at 2:15pm. Ebroborg came down at 4:04pm headed for Ravenna, Italy, and up came Bluebill at 4:18pm headed to Burns Harbor. The downbound Algolake followed at 4:39pm for Quebec City, and the downbound Cuyahoga came by at 5:56pm. Through Wednesday evening and night, the upbound Algoma Discovery to Thunder Bay, and Florijngracht to Hamilton, are expected. Downbound John D. Leith to Baie Comeau, and Victorious tug with John J. Carrick barge to Montreal are also expected.

Ship Movements in Quebec/Montreal to Great Lakes – Andre Blanchard
Ships in Quebec then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Tecumseh - ETD: Dec 3 for Toledo, OH Ships expected in Quebec then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Acadian - ETA: Dec 4, then on to Montreal, QC
Vega Desgagnes - ETA: Dec 4, then on to Hamilton, ON
Thunder Bay - ETA: Dec 5, then on to Superior, WI
Whistler - ETA: Dec 5, then on to Toronto, ON
High Nefeli - ETA: Dec 7, then on to Montreal, QC
Prisco Elizaveta - ETA: Dec 7, then on to Montreal, QC

Ships in Montreal then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Bremen: ETD: Not yet available, but will be heading to Sorel, QC

Ships expected in Montreal then moving on to Great Lakes/Seaway
Sundaisy E: ETA: Dec 6 then on to Hamilton, ON
Cuyahogoa: ETA: Dec 4 then on to Hamilton, ON

 

Lookback #382 - Nakwa River suffered extensive fire damage at Montreal on Dec. 4, 1966

A number of ships came to the Great Lakes from Ghana in the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Most had names that ended in “River” while others had a name ending in “Lagoon.” These vessels were part of the Black Star Line.

Nakwa River was built by Barclay Curle & Co. and launched at Glasgow, Scotland, on Jan. 15, 1965. It was completed in May and spent its first year in ocean trading.

The 454-foot, 6-inch-long by 62-foot, 8-inch-wide general cargo carrier was diesel- powered and able to handle up to 7,750 tons of freight.

On Dec. 4, 1966, 48 years ago today, a fire broke out aboard Nakwa River while the vessel was approaching Montreal. The ship docked with the fire underway and local firefighters help extinguish the blaze. The duration of the fire resulted in extensive damage but this was repairable as the ship was not yet two years old.

Nakwa River had been a Seaway trader earlier in 1966 and returned after the repairs had been completed. The ship continued in company service until tying up at Hamburg, West Germany, on Feb. 4, 1982.

The Black Star Line was having economic difficulties and eventually declared bankruptcy. Most of their vessels never sailed again and Nakwa River was sold to Spanish shipbreakers to help satisfy the company creditors.

On April 10, 1984, Nakwa River was towed into Santander, Spain, were it was broken up by Desbar.

Skip Gillham

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 4

In 1947, 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 million, 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.

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 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 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.

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.

1920: The first RENVOYLE went to saltwater for war service in 1915. It foundered in shallow water on this date in the Bay of Biscay in 1920. Salvage attempts failed. The hull was broken up by the elements and part was scrapped on site.

1951: CAPTAIN C.D. SECORD was disabled and under tow of the SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY when it broke loose in a storm off Isle Royale. The ship was retrieved by U.S.C.G. WOODRUSH and taken to safety and eventually to Port Arthur for repairs.

1966: NAKWA RIVER sustained extensive fire damage at Montreal. The flames broke out while outbound from the Great Lakes.

1986: AMERICAN REPUBLIC was blown on the breakwall at Lorain, Ohio, and received a five-foot gash on the side about 15 feet above the waterline.

1990: IONIA caught fire in the engine room about 90 miles south of Puerto Rico while enroute from Tampa to Chittagong, Bangladesh. The damage was not repaired and the hull was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, as f) ONIA in 1991 and scrapped. The vessel began Seaway service in 1971 as the British flag freighter ZINNIA, returned as b) TIMUR SWIFT in 1983 and as d) ZENOVIA in 1985.

1992: ZEUSPLEIN caught fire in the bridge at Campana, Argentina, and became a total loss. The vessel was sold to shipbreakers in India and arrived for scrapping on June 1, 1993. It had first traveled the Seaway as a) ZEUS in 1972 and had been rebuilt as a container ship in 1983.

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

 

Crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw assists boater in distress

12/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A boat crew from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw came to the aid of a boater in distress on Lake Michigan Tuesday.

At about 11:25 a.m., a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie command center received a call over channel 16 from the owner of a 16-foot commercial fishing vessel stating his boat was disabled and adrift about three miles northwest of Cross Village, Mich. The owner, a 34-year-old man, stated the boat was also taking on a small amount of water.

Sector Sault Ste. Marie issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and launched a boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, which trailered their small boat to the location shore side. The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, which was conducting aids to navigation operations about 20 miles from the scene, was diverted. In addition, a Tribal Conservation officer was dispatched to the area shore side.

At about 1:30 p.m., the Mackinaw arrived on scene, and shortly after a boat crew was launched aboard the cutter's small boat. The crew took the man and his disabled vessel in side tow to the Cross Village Boat Ramp where Station St. Ignace and Tribal Conservation personnel assisted the man and his vessel.

USCG

 

Port Reports -  December 3

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning, calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. After unloading, the pair was outbound for the lake, reaching the Saginaw Bay late in the afternoon. For the month of November, there were 13 commercial vessel deliveries to docks along the Saginaw River. This is down seven deliveries from November 2013, when there were 20. It is also three deliveries below the five-year average of 16. For the year to date, there have been 105 commercial deliveries on the Saginaw River. This is 28 fewer than the same time period in 2013 and 21 fewer than the five year average of 126 over the same time period.

Thessalon, Ont.
Algoway’s unloading boom collapsed while unloading Nov 28. Photos show the boom broken in two places. As of Tuesday night, AIS had her remaining at Thessalon.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Tuesday, Stephen B. Roman was unloading cement. Prescott Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Very early Tuesday morning the Eeborg cleared Prescott, heading to Montreal. Tuesday morning the heavy lift vessel Palmerton was headed up to Port Weller at 5:17am. The downbound Bluewing sailed through to Montreal at 9:51pm and the upbound Federal Katsura went by headed to Windsor at 10:09am. Tuesday afternoon downbound traffic included Algoma Transport to Becancour at 12:03pm, Wigeon to Montreal at 1:07pm and the Flinter America at 1:47. Expected Tuesday evening are the downbound Algoma Spirit to Hamilton and the upbound tug Nickelena and barge BM209. Expected early Wednesday morning are the upbounders Baie Comeau to Conneaut, Apollon to Sault St. Marie, Ont., and the downbound Algowood to Baie Comeau.

 

Mackinaw continues Christmas tree tradition at Chicago this weekend

12/3 - Chicago, Ill. – The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, serving once again as this year’s “Christmas Ship” and loaded with more than 1,200 Christmas trees, is returning to Chicago for a two-day event re-enacting what was an annual Chicago tradition in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

A welcoming for the Mackinaw, by the Chicago Christmas Ship Committee, is scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m. Chicago Fire and Police Department boats will be part of the welcome as live music is performed dockside by the Hubbard High School Band. Members of the Mackinaw’s crew and volunteers from Chicago’s boating community will begin decorating the ship Friday morning for the “Chicago’s Christmas Ship” event.

Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee will also host educational programs aboard the Mackinaw and at the Columbia Yacht Club on Friday for students from Goodwin Elementary School in Cicero and Queen of All Saints School in Chicago. More than 150 students will learn about the role of the Coast Guard, the “Christmas Ship” tradition, observe a Sea Partners ecology presentation and experience a ship tour by the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The Christmas trees, purchased by Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee, will be offloaded Saturday morning by members of the Coast Guard and local youth volunteers including the Sea Cadets, Venture Crews, Sea Scouts and the Young Marines, following a brief, public ceremony beginning at 10 a.m.

The ceremony will take place at the west end of Navy Pier near the Captain at the Helm statue and will include the Lincolnway Central High School Air Force JROTC Color Guard and Drill Team, and the Taft High School Choir. The ceremony will conclude with the first tree being presented to a representative family. The remaining trees will be loaded onto trucks for distribution by 17 local community organizations to more than 1,200 deserving families throughout Chicago.

The Mackinaw’s reenactment continues a treasured piece of Chicago’s maritime tradition. Herman Schuenemann was the captain of the original Christmas Ship. He came to Chicago from Michigan for more than 30 years with fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season during the late 1800s and early 1900s. On Nov. 23, 1912, Captain Schuenemann was at the helm of the fabled Christmas Ship, the Rouse Simmons. On that day while transiting from Michigan, Captain Schuenemann and the Rouse Simmons was lost in a storm and sank with a crew of 16 between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

During its transit to Chicago this year, the crew of the Mackinaw will hold a solemn tribute and drop a wreath into the waters near the resting place of the Rouse Simmons, which was located in 1971.

Chicago’s boating community has been re-enacting the days of the Rouse Simmons landing in Chicago for the past 14 years. The Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee is composed of, and supported by, many facets of Chicago’s boating community including the International Shipmasters’ Association, Chicago Marine Heritage Society, the Navy League of the United States, Chicago yacht clubs, Friends of the Marine Community, the Chicago Yachting Association, the Cruise Ship Mystic Blue and others. Navy Pier hosts the event, while staff lends support to this ongoing tradition.

Free, public tours of the Mackinaw will be available Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

USCG

 

Lookback #381 – Saltvik last salty out of the Seaway on Dec. 3, 1959

The St. Lawrence Seaway had opened the Great Lakes to larger ocean going ships on April 25, 1959, and the very successful first season ended for overseas callers on Dec. 3, 1959. It is interesting that the last ship to depart the Seaway in its first year of operation, like the first one to come in, had been a pre-Seaway era trader to the freshwater lakes.

Saltvik hailed from Norway and had made three trips to our shores in 1959. The vessel had been built as Lysaker V. at Porsgrunn, Norway, in 1936. The ship came inland with pulpwood in 1939 and left with grain. It survived the rigors of World War Two and was back through the old locks and canals in 1951 and 1952.

It was sold and renamed Kya in 1953 and again came to the Great Lakes. Sold again to A.C. Olsen in 1958, it became Saltvik in time for another trip to the lakes.

It was 55 years ago today, that Saltvik departed the Seaway as the last ocean traveler of the year. The ship was back one last time in 1960 and spent the rest of its life on saltwater. The ship was sold and renamed Ramsvik in 1963, became a lighter at Oslo in 1967 and then cut down to a barge in 1973. It is difficult to determine what happened next.

Skip Gillham

 

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

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.

1909: BARGE 101, a whaleback built on the Great Lakes in 1888, sank off Seal Island, Maine enroute from Boston to Halifax with coal tar. The crew of seven was lost.

1942: Yesterday and today the tug ADMIRAL and petroleum barge CLEVECO were lost with all hands off Euclid Beach, Ohio. A total of 32 sailors perished.

1954: The tug ROUILLE sank off Cape Smoky, NS with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel was built in 1929 as Hull 83 at the Collingwood Shipyard and had been on the lakes earlier in the year.

1959: THEODORUS A., seized earlier on Lake St. Clair due to debts, went aground twice while under tow to be unloaded. The vessel was released and spent the winter on the lakes. The crew was sent home.

1963: LIONEL and MANCHESTER MERCHANT collided at the entrance to the Seaway. The former caught fire and was beached at Ronde Island with heavy damage. It was rebuilt at Drammen, Norway, in 1964, returned inland as b) SKAGATIND in 1965 and was scrapped following another fire as e) ALECOS in 1982.

1967: TORONTO CITY, a Seaway trader from 1959 through 1962, went aground near the Elbe I Light enroute from Rostock, Germany, to Rotterdam, Holland, as d) EMMANUEL M. The crew was rescued and the ship was refloated July 7, 1970, sold for scrap, and broken up at Hamburg, Germany.

1985: An engine room fire broke out aboard the SKRADIN at Augusta, Italy, and the ship was a total loss. It had been a Seaway trader as b) BALTIC WASA beginning in 1971 and first returned under the current name in 1976. The damaged vessel was quickly sold for scrap and arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, December 28, 1985, for dismantling.

1987: The former Straits of Mackinac passenger and auto ferry VACATIONLAND sank off Oregon while under tow for scrapping in the Far East.

1993: HOPE I was seriously damaged when it hit bottom east of Quebec City. The ship had traded inland as a) NOSIRA MADELEINE beginning in 1983 and had returned as b) HOPE I earlier in 1993. It was repaired at Lauzon and continued Great Lakes service through 2002. The bulk carrier was back as c) HOPE in 2004.

1995: The former Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RIMOUSKI, renamed b) CANADIAN HARVEST, broke in two 114 miles NE of Sable Island while under tow for scrapping in India. The stern sank first. The bow was released two days later and was also lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.

 

Michigan’s early snow and lake ice suggests difficult winter

12/2 - Detroit, Mich. – An almost incomprehensible first seasonal snowfall of more than 7 feet brought Buffalo, N.Y., to a near-standstill. But Michigan also is struggling with its own snowy, frigid November blast — particularly the Upper Peninsula.

The heavy, early, record-breaking snowfall — up to nearly 5 feet in parts of the U.P. — not only thwarted the firearm deer hunt that is so economically vital to many small U.P. communities, but it portends a third straight difficult winter for a deer population already significantly damaged by the past two brutal winters.

And after a near-record 92% ice cover over all the Great Lakes last winter, three of the lakes — Superior, Michigan and Huron — already had ice forming as of Nov. 18, the earliest ice cover has started on all three lakes in at least 40 years. That could make for another struggle for freighters hauling fuel, minerals and products on the waters.

The National Weather Service station at Marquette said the two-day snowfall Nov. 10-11 was the highest ever for the region that early. Munising topped its 103-year-old November snowfall record of 40.7 inches with more than half the month to go, meteorologist Don Rolfson said. Marquette also buried its previous snowfall record of 48.9 inches, topping 50.8 inches on Tuesday with snow in the forecast through the rest of the week. Ironwood also was on track to break its November snowfall record.

What's causing the huge dumping of snow in the U.P. — and elsewhere in Michigan — is the same thing causing it in Buffalo: A "system snow" that turned into a heavy, continued, lake-effect snow, Rolfson said. Cold air passes over the relatively warmer Great Lakes and acts like a snow-making machine.

"The water temperatures on Lake Superior are somewhat below normal," he said. "But we've been getting such unseasonably cold air, we're getting the lake-effect snow despite the lake being colder."

It's unusual for cold air masses coming south from the Arctic to be so cold and so persistent at this time of year, Rolfson said.

It's the same factor causing the early lake ice. The Canadian Ice Service recorded ice on Lake Superior near Thunder Bay on Nov. 15. That's the earliest recording on record going back at least 42 years, said service senior ice forecaster Jason Ross. It's also 10 days earlier than first-ice reports from last winter — which by later in the winter approached a record ice cover over all the Great Lakes of 92%.

Ice was on both the northern and southern shores of Lake Superior last week; on Green Bay and the northern tip of Lake Michigan; along the St. Mary's River and Georgian Bay in northern Lake Huron, and even on southern Saginaw Bay along Michigan's Thumb.

"It's very early," said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. "Last winter was so cold, the water was still cold, and that combined with a polar vortex (of frigid air) coming down."

That elicits a grimace from Great Lakes freight haulers.

"It suggests this will be another tough winter for us," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, a trade organization for freighters.

Barges waiting in lines to follow icebreakers last winter caused many shipments to be delayed by days or even weeks. Association officials have met this month with the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards in preparation, Nekvasil said.

"They know we still have a lot of cargo to move," he said. "It could be a tough go, but if all the icebreakers are ready to go, we should be able to get the job done."

Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports -  December 2

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Through the night Sunday, upbounders Ojibway, Catherine Desgagnes to Toledo, Maria Desgagnes to Hamilton, and the downbounders Cedarglen to Baie Comeau, and Olza to Montreal, all sailed past town. Early Monday morning, the CSL Niagara went down to Baie Comeau. Monday the Federal Schelde sailed up through at 4:54 am and into Prescott anchorage on her way to Hamilton to await safe positioning for meeting with American Fortitude in tow downbound. She was underway at 8:50 am. Mapleglen came up and through to Sarnia at 6:32 am. Downbounders Mitiq to Greenore, Ireland, at 6:51; Federal Hudson for Quebec City at 7 am; and the Manitoba at 8:45 am sailed through. The upbound Isa was through at 10:43 am headed to Sault St. Marie, Ont.; and the downbounders Finnborg headed for Tilbury, Great Britain, at 12:35pm, Larsholmen to Montreal at 3:36 pm and the Algoma Progress to Cowes, Great Britain, at 6:48 pm.

The American Fortitude in tow of Evans McKeil with Jarrett M tug assisting passed through at 12:30 pm on her final voyage through as they make their way to Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping. Expected early Tuesday morning are the downbound Eeborg to Montreal and the upbound heavy lift vessel Palmerton headed to the dock below Lock 1 in Port Weller to pick up a boiler.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
Le Groupe Ocean of Quebec City has renamed four of the BIG barges acquired earlier in the year when Distribution Grands Lacs wound up operations. Ocean Big 5, 6, 7 and 8 were respectively Big 503, 546, 9708B and 9917B. They had previously renamed four barges Ocean Big 1, 2, 3 and 4 but have renamed them again Big 4, 1, 2 and 3.

 

NMU grant will bring two new buoys to Lake Superior

12/2 - Marquette, Mich. – A new grant has been awarded to NMU to establish a coastal hazard observing system on a portion of Lake Superior. The grant will help fund deploying and monitoring two buoys that will measure wave height, water temperature, and wave activity among other things. One buoy will be placed near Pictured Rocks, while the other will be portable and will be placed in areas from Marquette to Whitefish Point. Sunday evening, a forum was held to inform the public on what the project is about and to gather input from the community as well.

"At some point in the future we're going to probably need support to keep it running in 5, 10, 15 years into the future, so we would like to get the community on board using it now so they see the utility of using it and can help fund us in the future," said Norma Froelich, Lead Investigator NMU’s Coastal Hazard Observing System.

The forums are expected to be a regular occurrence every month. The next one is this Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at Falling Rock Cafe in Munising.

UpperMichigansSource.com

 

Duluth Seaway Port Authority names new CFO

12/2 - Duluth, Minn. – The Duluth Seaway Port Authority has named a new Chief Financial Officer – just the third CFO in its history. Kevin Beardsley joins the staff on Dec. 1, 2014, bringing with him 20 years of experience in accounting, taxation, financial management and strategic planning. Beardsley succeeds John Kubow, who is retiring after a 28-year career with the Port Authority.

A Two Harbors native, Beardsley, a CPA, has directed the financial operations of a handful of dynamic organizations in this region. His early experience as credit manager at a vehicle dealership in Two Harbors (Benna Ford) led to a position as controller for Flatwater Fleet, Inc., a family-owned, international manufacturing company based in Saginaw, Minn., that designs custom drill rig support trucks. He returned to work in Two Harbors in 2000 to become office manager for Cooperative Light and Power, overseeing its financial operations and strategic planning for six years. Most recently, Beardsley has been part of the management team at Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior, Wis., serving as the company’s manager of financial services since 2008.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

Lookback #380 – Pearl Asia stranded off the Welland Canal on Dec. 2, 1976

The Liberian freighter Pearl Asia began Seaway service in 1971 but had been inland earlier under its original name of Crystal Crown.

The 460-foot, 10-inch-long bulk carrier had been built at Middlesborough, England, and launched on Sept. 21, 1956. It was completed the following January and entered service for the Sugar Line often trading between the Caribbean and England.

Crystal Crown began coming through the Seaway in 1960 and had made 13 trips into the Great Lakes to the end of 1967. It was sold in 1970 to the Good Hope Shipping Co. and registered under the flag of Liberia as Pearl Asia.

The grounding of 38 years ago today required help from the crane-equipped lighter Mapleheath and some of the cargo of bauxite, consigned to Thorold, had to be removed before tugs could pull the freighter free on Dec. 5. Despite the late season delay, Pearl Asia made it back to the sea before the deep freeze penetrated the inland lakes and rivers.

The vessel found bottom again off Quebec City on Aug. 14, 1977, and required a stay on the drydock at Baltimore to repair the damage.

Pearl Asia arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on July 9, 1979, and was broken up for scrap by the Nan Long Steel and Iron Co.

Skip Gillham

 

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.

Hall Corporation of Canada’s OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull # 667) was launched December 2, 1968, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.

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.

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 10 boats per day.

1964: The anchors of AGIOS NICOLAOS II dragged in a storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the ship drifted aground at Sea-Cow Head, near Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The ship was released and towed to Halifax but not repaired. It had first come through the Seaway as a) ALKAID in 1961 and made one trip inland as b) AGIOS NICOLAOS II in 1964. Following a sale for scrap, the ship arrived at Bilbao, Spain, under tow of the tug PRAIA DE ADRAGA, on April 2, 1965.

1967: The tanker LUBROLAKE and tug IRVING BEECH were blown aground on Cape Breton Island, near New Waterford, NS at a site called the No. 12 Stone Dump. Both ships were abandoned and broken up to the waterline there at a later date.

1976: PEARL ASIA went aground off Port Weller while waiting clearance to head upbound to Thorold with a cargo of bauxite. After being lightered to MAPLEHEATH, the vessel was pulled free. It had begun Seaway trading as a) CRYSTAL CROWN in 1960 and first returned as b) PEARL ASIA in 1971.

1977: KEFALONIA SKY arrived at New Orleans with engine trouble that was later deemed beyond economic repair. The vessel was sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas, in 1978. It had first visited the Seaway as NIEUWE TONGE in 1960 and returned as b) AMSTELDIEP in 1963.

2006: The tug SENECA broke loose of the SUSAN B. HOEY on Lake Superior and was blown aground 21 miles east of Grand Marais, Mich. It was refloated on Dec. 23 and taken to Sault Ste. Marie for assessment.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Canadian Navigator is on her way to Buffalo. At 9 am Sunday she was by Point Peele eastbound with an ETA of Monday morning. Rebecca Lynn - A-397 was eastbound out of Cleveland for Tonawanda with an ETA of Monday morning as well.

Prescott, Ont. – Joanne N. Crack
Saturday evening and overnight upbound traffic included Atlantic Erie to South Chicago, Pineglen to Thunder Bay, Federal Elbe to Hamilton, Federal Miramichi to Cleveland. Downbounders included Strandja to Falmouth, Jamaica, Victoriaborg for Montréal, and upbound Algomarine out of Johnstown to Nanticoke.

Early Sunday morning the upbound Sedna Desgagnes sailed through, along with the upbound Fuldaborg and downbound Baie Comeau, headed to Quebec City.

Upbound Sunday were Algoma Equinox at 6:29am to Hamilton, downbound Federal Mackinac at 7:55am and downbound Baie St. Paul at 10:08am both to Montreal. The Federal Mackinac will continue on to Vera Cruz, Mexico. Esta Desgagnes came up through at 11:22am for Oakville, and the Sarah Desgagnes to Clarkson at 1:15pm.

Expected through Sunday night are the upbound Ojibway, Catherine Desgagnes to Toledo, Maria Desgagnes to Hamilton, and the downbound Cedarglen to Baie Comeau and Olza to Montreal.

Expected early Monday are the downbound CSL Niagara to Baie Comeau, Federal Hudson to Quebec City and Eeborg for Montreal. The upbound Federal Schelde to Hamilton, Mapleglen to Sarnia, and Isa to Sault St. Marie are also expected to through.

Due through Prescott, Ont. early Monday is the 62-year-old American Fortitude, heading for scrapping in Brownsville, Texas. The American Steamship Co. self-unloader departed Toledo, Ohio under tow of the tug Evans McKeil on Nov. 26, 2014 with the tug Jarrett M assisting. The ship, launched 19 November 1952 has sat idle since tying up on Nov. 11, 2008.

 

Salties with Seaway ties sold for scrap

12/1 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the December 2014 issue.

Demolitions: Alma Agri, a chemical/products tanker that dates from 1995, was sold to Indian shipbreakers and arrived at Alang on Aug. 6, 2014. Dismantling began three days later by the Shree Ram Group Inc. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 2011 as e) Chem Pollux and had seven names in its 19 years of trading.

Eltem arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on Sept. 4, 2013. It was built in 1970 and visited the Great Lakes for the first time as a) Brinknes in 1971 and returned as c) Fossnes in 1977 and d) Akranes in 1981. The latter will be remembered for a grounding near Wellesley Island, in the St. Lawrence on Dec. 12, 1984. It had been sailing under as g) Eltem since 2004. Over the years it had been registered in Germany, Liberia, Norway, Iceland, Cyprus, Georgia, Comoros and Panama.

He Feng was sold to Chinese shipbreakers and arrived at Jingjiang, Jiangsu, on Aug. 11, 2013, for dismantling by Jingjiang Taihe Shipbreaking Co. The SD-14 was built as a) Good Faith by Austin & Pickersgill at Southwick, UK in 1979 and first came through the Seaway in 1987. It has been sailing under Panamanian registry as g) He Feng since 2008.

The chemical tanker Napht Al Yemen 19 was built in 1985 and initially operated under the flag of the U.S.S.R. as a) Bolshevik Kamo. It was registered in Malta as b) Kobuleti in 1993 and brought jet fuel to Hamilton on its first trip inland in June 1995 before loading tallow at Detroit. The vessel was back as d) Alioth Star in 2002 and, as recently as August 2005, made a trip to Oakville. It was sold and registered in Panama as e) Napht Al Yemen 19 later in 2005 and arrived at Gadani Beach as such. Scrapping got underway on Aug. 20, 2014.

Serenade first came through the Seaway in 1972, the year it was built, as a) Otto Porr. The vessel was sailing as b) Negah when it returned in 1980, as c) Danae for an inland visit in 1985 and as e) Serenade when it returned with aluminum for Chicago in 1994. It departed with 2,000 tons of grain for Ireland. The ship was back in 1996 calling at Detroit, Duluth and Thunder Bay. It was registered in Italy when it arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on July 23, 2014, and work got underway on August 11.

Spirit arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for dismantling on Aug. 12, 2014. This cargo carrier had come through the Seaway with sugar for Toronto on Dec. 8, 1990, as b) Albonica. The 25-year-old vessel was sailing under a seventh name of Spirit when it reached the scrapyard.

Topaz II arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on Aug. 16, 2014, and scrapping got underway right away. The ship had been built at Nagoya, Japan, as a) Aran in 1980 and came through the Seaway for the first time in 1982. As c) Sea Patron, the vessel lost steering in the Bosporus on Feb. 17, 2003, and rammed a floating restaurant, went aground and damaged a parked car while carrying 15,000 tons of fertilizer. The ship was repaired and sailing under her fifth name when she arrived at the scrapyard.

Lakes Related: Cebu was sold by Oceanex Canada Ltd. to Indian shipbreakers and arrived at Alang on Aug. 4, 2014. Dismantling got underway by Honey Ship Breaking Pvt. Ltd. on Aug. 13. This ship spent most of its life on the St. Lawrence operating in the container trade between Montreal and Cornerbrook as a) Cavallo and b) Cabot for a variety of interests.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham

 

Lookback #379 – Arie H. aground near Snell Lock on Dec. 1, 1960

There was a good reason why the Liberty ship Arie H. was the last saltwater ship of the 1960 season to clear the St. Lawrence Seaway. The waterway closed earlier in those days and the 15-year-old freighter was racing to leave the inland system when it went aground in the area of the Snell Lock on Dec. 1, 1960.

The stuck ship, on its only trip to the Great Lakes, was soon refloated and Arie H. managed to be the last out of the waterway, clearing on Dec. 2.

Arie H. had been built at New Orleans, La., as Roy K. Johnson. The 441 foot 6 inch long vessel was completed in February 1945 but the war was almost over. Beginning in 1946, the vessel worked for the Alcoa Steamship Co. but was laid up at Beaumont, Texas, in Nov. 1948.

It was sold and renamed on several occasions before becoming e) Arie H., Liberian registry, in 1960. After the misadventures of 54 years ago today, the ship remained in saltwater service. It became f) Aristea in 1962 and g) Beata in 1966. It went aground again inbound at Veracruz, Mexico, while inbound from Beaumont, Texas, on Sept. 17, 1966, but was released the same day.

Beata was sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers and arrived at Kaohsiung on May 26, 1968, for dismantling and recycling.

Skip Gillham

 

Updates -  December 1

News Photo Gallery
 

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  December 1

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

On 01 December 1884, the N BOUTIN (wooden propeller tug, 68 foot, 46 gross tons, built in 1882, at Buffalo, New York) sank in ten feet of water near Washburn, Wisconsin. Newspaper reports stated that she was leaking badly and was run toward shore to beach her but no details are given regarding the cause of the leak. She was recovered and repaired.

On December 1, 1974, the Canadian motor vessel JENNIFER foundered on Lake Michigan in a storm. Her steel cargo apparently shifted and she foundered 24 miles southwest of Charlevoix, Michigan. The JENNIFER went to the bottom in water too deep for any salvage attempt.

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 - 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 towline 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.

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.

1934: The whaleback steamer HENRY CORT hit the north pier at Muskegon, MI and was wrecked. All on board were saved but one rescuer perished when the U.S.C.G. surfboat overturned. HENRY CORT was cut up for scrap on location during World War Two.

1961: The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller ELGIN struck the Charelvoix Bridge on the Lachine Canal when the structure did not open properly due to a faulty bridge mechanism. The waterway was closed for several days but the ship was not damaged.

1961: ARIE H., a Liberian flagged Liberty ship, went aground near the Snell Lock but was refloated and, the following day, departed the Seaway as the last oceangoing ship of the season.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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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