Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Southdown Conquest Waits

The barge Southdown Conquest and tug Mark Hannah remain tied up at the Southdown dock in Ferrysburg, MI. Having unloaded her cement cargo, the Conquest continues to await the arrival of the tug Susan W. Hannah, her normal tug. The Susan W. Hannah was expected to arrive on Monday but had not arrived as of Tuesday morning.

Reported by: David Swain

Toledo Update

The John J. Boland is sitting high in the Toledo Shiprepair drydock, the vessel is expected to come off the drydock in the next day or two. Once out of the dry dock she will go back to her lay-up berth at the old Interlake Iron dock, north of the shipyard.

The yard crew will then reset the blocks at the bottom of the dry dock for the next vessel, the Armco.

The tanker Gemini has been at the B-P Oil Dock for the past several days. It appears the tanker brought in a cargo to be unloaded, once unloaded she reloaded a different type of petroleum cargo and should be departing soon.

Reported by: Jim Hoffman

Return Trip for the Spence

The tug John Spence with the barge McAsphalt 401 is expected to make a return trip to Bay City Triple Clean Liquifuels Dock today. Last week the tug and barge visited the Saginaw River dock to unload, at that time she was escorted by the tug Manitou and Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley.

Pictures of the visit last week. Todd Shorkey
Close up at the dock.
Passing the Consumers Energy Plant as heavy snow starts to fall.
Approaching the Manitou at the Front Range Light.

Reported by: Dan McNeil

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Today in Great Lakes History - February 28

INCAN SUPERIOR was launched February 28, 1974

OUTARDE (2) was launched February 28, 1906 as a) ABRAHAM STEARN.

In 1929 the Grand Trunk carferry MADISON, inbound into Grand Haven in fog and ice, collided with the Army dredge General G.G. MEADE, berthed on the south bank of the river for the winter. Damage was minor.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

Fred R. White Loads for LTV

The Fred R. White was loading in Cleveland Monday as the vessel started her shuttle run from the Cleveland Bulk Terminal on Whiskey Island to LTV. The White is expected to make 8 trips before the begging of the normal season.

Pictures by TZ
Stern view at the dock.
Taconite is loaded.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Opening of the Seaway

The opening of the 2001 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times:
Montreal-Lake Ontario March 23, 2001 - 0800 hours (E.S.T.)
Welland Canal March 23, 2001 - 0800 hours (E.S.T.)
Vessel transits will be subject to weather and ice conditions. Navigation may be restricted to daylight hours in some areas until lighted navigation aids have been installed.

The Seaway entities also announce that, for the 2001 navigation season, the clearance date for the Montreal-Lake Ontario Section has been designated as 2400 hours December 20. The closing date will be no later than December 24, provided that weather and ice conditions permit.

The Soo Locks will open March 25.

Allowable Draft
In the Montreal Lake Ontario Section, the draft will be 79.2 dm (26’0”) until the South Shore Canal is ice free at which time the draft will be increased to 80 dm (26’3”), this will occur no later than April 15. Draft of 80 dm (26’3”) will be in effect in the Welland Canal for the full season.

Reported by: Ron Walsh

Last of the Sugar

The Canadian Mariner is under the rigs at Redpath Sugar in Toronto and will be unloaded this week. The Mariner holds the last storage cargo of sugar for the winter. When the Seaway opens next month, salties will be bringing in most of the sugar.

Reported by: Bill Bird

Escanaba Totals

Escanaba loaded 243 cargoes of taconite into 18 different vessels in 2000 and shipped over 7 million tons. By comparison, Escanaba loaded 247 vessels in 1999.

Vessel Name Visits
Joseph L. Block 69
Wilfred Sykes  66
Joseph H. Thompson  23
Great Lakes Trader  19
Lee A. Tregurtha  14
Charles M. Beeghly  9
Kaye E. Barker  8
Herbert C. Jackson  8
Reserve  5
Elton Hoyt 2nd  5
Mesabi Miner  4
James R. Barker  3
Columbia Star  3
Pathfinder  2
Buckeye  2
Oglebay Norton  1
Armco  1
Fred R. White Jr.  1

Reported by: Rod Burdick

More Bayship Pictures

Below are images of the Bay Shipbuilding lay-up fleet taken over the weekend.
Bow and stern, Jackson and Anderson rafted together.
Stern view of the Anderson.
Thousand footers, close up of the Presque Isle, Burns Harbor and Paul. R. Tregurtha.
American Mariner.
Panoramic of the Tregurtha.
Sam Laud.
Side view of the Sikes' pilot house.
Bow view.
Edward L. Ryerson.
Close up of her bow.
Close up of propeller and rudder.
View from across the river.
Selvick tug dock.
Detroit based U.S.C.G. Cutter Bristol Bay docked after towing the cutter Bramble.
Wide view as the sun sets.

Reported by: John Monefeldt

Shipwreck Quest 2001 An Evening Beneath The Inland Seas

Great Lakes historians and those who seek “ships gone missing” will gather in Holland on Saturday, March 17 for the 5th annual “Evening Beneath The Inland Seas” sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve.

Five exciting shipwreck programs will be presented including a documentary on the Titanic‘s relationship to the Great Lakes and a personal tour of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by a Michigan diver and videographer.

The proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will benefit “Shipwreck Quest 2001” an effort to locate shipwrecks and other activities of the non-profit Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve.

Doors will open at 7:00 PM at the historic Knickerbocker Theatre at 86 East 8th Street in downtown Holland where visitors will be treated to five separate multi-media presentations beginning at 7:30 PM. They include:
Final Port of Call - an award winning program which will set the scene for the evening.
The Titanic - Great Lakes Connections by Cris Kohl - This presentation highlights the connections the ship and its passengers had to the Great Lakes region and the impact this tragedy had on our local communities.
The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve by Ric Mixter -- Learn about the unusual historic and geological sites located in West Michigan’s own underwater preserve through the work of SWMUP volunteers.
The Edmund Fitzgerald by Ric Mixter -- Accompany Ric as he descends 550 feet below Lake Superior in a submersible to explore this famed shipwreck which claimed 29 lives in 1975.
Zion Mystery Shipwreck by Tony Kiefer - Discovered in 1998 just off shore from Zion, Illinois, this shallow shipwreck presents divers with an incredible journey of discovery as they attempt to identify it.

The program runs from 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM. Doors open at 7:00 PM. The cost is $8.00 for members, $10.00 in advance by March 9, or $12.00 at the door. Children 11 and under are $5. For more information call 616-494-3483 (days) or 616-842-6010 (evenings).

Today in Great Lakes History - February 27

GOLDEN SABLE was launched February 27, 1930 as a) ACADIALITE.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

Fred R. White Sails

The Fred R. White Jr. was on Lake Erie yesterday preparing to open the Cuyahoga River season. The White will make eight trips from the Cleveland Bulk Terminal on Whiskey Island to LTV's steel mill at the end of the commercially navigable section of the River.

Last year, the White opened the 2000 shipping season for iron ore began on Feb. 28 making the same run.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Sturgeon Bay Lay-up

Below are images of the Bay Shipbuilding lay-up fleet taken from the air on Friday.
Wide view of the ship yard and surrounding area.
Close up with the vessel names added.

Reported by: Orrin Royce

"Big 3" Trades Up 1 Percent In 2000

Shipments of iron ore, coal and stone from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports totaled 149,413,803 net tons during the 2000 navigation season, an increase of 1 percent compared to 1999. Shipments of the "Big 3" cargos stretched from March 13, 2000, when the first iron ore cargo was loaded at Escanaba, Michigan, until February 8, 2001, when the final coal cargo was loaded at Conneaut, Ohio.

Iron ore cargos decreased by 1 percent to 68.1 million net tons. Steel production actually increased in 2000, but the continued deluge of dumped foreign steel so reduced prices that 8 American steelmakers are currently in bankruptcy.

The Lakes coal trade increased 5.3 percent to 43.3 million net tons. That is the highest level since 1979 and reflects high demand for Lake Erie coal from Ontario Hydro.

The stone trade decreased 1 percent to 38.1 million tons.

All of these trades were impacted by the now 4-year decline in Great Lakes water levels. The top iron ore cargo loaded at a Lake Superior port last season was 58,017 gross tons (64,979 net tons). In 1997, the last year of high water, the largest iron ore cargo was 64,554 g.t. (72,300 n.t.). The 1,000-footers in the western coal trade at times last year were lightloading by nearly 10,000 tons compared to 1997.

Visit the Lake Carriers' Association home page for more details.

Earnings Down for Algoma

Algoma Central Corp posted disappointing results for 2000 because of problems with its domestic and ocean vessels. Algoma is the only publicly-traded Canadian shipping line on the Lakes but its performance is regarded as indicative of the other companies’ experiences. Net income for last year was reported to be C$2.2M down from C$7.4M in 1999.

President and CEO Peter Cresswell cited the unsatisfactory performance of some of the ships in the Marbulk fleet co-owned with Canada Steamship Lines, low water levels in the Great Lakes and continuing under-utilisation of its bulker fleet on the lakes.

Reported by: John Stark

Dive Attraction

Local government in Kewaunee County, WI. is considers a request to sink ferry in Lake Michigan to be used as a diving attraction according to the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram newspaper.

Two committees will review the proposal before it is presented to the Kewaunee County, WI. Board. The sinking is proposed by the Neptune's Nimrods Dive Club who would like local government to assume ownership once the vessel is sunk.

If approved the 72-year-old ferry Straits of Mackinac would be sunk near Algoma next spring to serve as both a recreational dive site and training ground for other divers. The unused ferry has been docked at Kewaunee for several years, reports the newspaper.

Reported by: Heidi Viar

Grants to help restore lighthouses

The Michigan Secretary of State announced last week that the Michigan Historical Center is awarding $115,000 in Michigan Lighthouse Assistance grants to eight lighthouse projects.

"We are the caretakers of vast historical resources scattered throughout our magnificent state and, therefore, we have an obligation to preserve them for generations to come," Secretary Candice S. Miller said.

"None of these are more captivating than Michigan's 124 lighthouses, which stand as picturesque reminders of our state's rich maritime history," said Secretary Miller. She added that "Lighthouses draw tourists from around the nation and the world, proving that history continues to play an important role in our state's development."

The lighthouses receiving Lighthouse Assistance grants are:

  • Presque Isle Lighthouse, Presque Isle Township ($15,000)
  • St. Helena Lighthouse, Great Lake Lighthouse Museum ($5,500)
  • Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum ($14,500)
  • Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, Mackinac State Historic Park ($20,000)
  • DeTour Reef Lighthouse, DeTour Reef Light Association ($20,000)
  • Crisp Point Lighthouse, Luce County EDC ($10,000)
  • Tawas Point Lighthouse, Michigan Department of Natural Resources ($20,000)
  • Point Betsie Lighthouse, Benzie County ($10,000)

    This marks the second year Michigan has offered grants for lighthouse restoration projects under the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program, which Secretary Miller established in 1999 with funding approved by the Michigan Legislature.

    Public and nonprofit organizations were eligible for the Lighthouse Assistance grants in amounts of up to $20,000 to pay for planning or restoration work. Grant recipients are required to provide a local match of 50 percent of the grant award.

    Reported by: Mike Flint

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    Today in Great Lakes History - February 26

    The completed hull of the BELLE RIVER (b) WALTER J. McCARTHY JR.) was floated off the ways February 26, 1977.

    JOSEPH L. BLOCK was launched February 26, 1976.

    On 26 February 1874, the tug WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE, Jr. was launched at Port Huron Dry Dock. Her dimensions were 151' overall, 25'6" beam, and 13' depth. Her machinery was built by Phillerick & Christy of Detroit and was shipped by rail to Port Huron. She cost $45,000. Her master builder was Alex Stewart.

    On 26 February 1876, the MARY BELL (iron propeller, 58', 34 gt, built in 1870 at Buffalo, NY) burned near Vicksburg, Michigan (.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Bramble Arrives

    The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble was secured at Berth #9, Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

    The Selvick tugs Jimmy L. and Susan L. towed the cutter in from Lake Michigan after relieving the Cutter Bristol Bay. The Bristol Bay made excellent time towing the Bramble from Cleveland. The Bramble has a shaft problem that requires work at the ship yard.

    Reported by: Orrin Royce

    Algoeast Arrives

    The Algoeast and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley were in Long Point Bay Saturday afternoon. The East was expected to arrive in Nanticoke at about 2:00 p.m. She was expected to make it into port before the area was hit by a major winter storm with high winds.

    The Algoeast reported some heavy going in ice just north and east of the Long Point light station. The ice field proved no match for the unstoppable Samuel Risley as she was seen in the lead at almost full speed.

    Reported by: Dave Otterman

    Toronto Update

    On Friday Canadian Prospector was turned around at the Redpath Sugar dock so that her bow now sits facing into the harbor.

    Construction has begun on a new steel upper deck on the excursion vessel Jaguar II.

    On Saturday the C. & C. Marine Services tug was at the Fire Department replacing the bubbler in the Wm. Lyon MacKenzie's slip.

    Reported by: Gerry O.

    Rouge Lay-up

    Docked for the winter at the Rouge Steel plant in Detroit are the Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker. The Detroit Fire Boat Curtis Randolph can be seen in front of the Kaye E. Barker.

    Barker and Randolph.
    Close up of the Lee A.

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 25

    CREEK TRANSPORT was launched this day in 1910 as a) SASKATOON (1).

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Armco Receives New Plating

    Crews working on the Armco in Toledo Thursday began the repair of sheet plating on the left forward side of the vessel. The plates were damaged last season at the Soo and the repairs involving cutting out a 12-foot by 6-foot section of the hull and fitting new plating. The repairs also appear to include an insert on one of the frames and a few vertical channel irons. The Armco is expected to enter the Toledo Shipyard dry dock for her 5 year inspection in the next two weeks.

    Sharp Increase for St. Joseph

    The Lake Michigan port of St. Joe experienced a sharp increase in tonnage during the 2000 sailing season. The Herald-Palladium newspaper reports that tonnage delivered to the three commercial docks increased from 553,019 tons in 1999 to 770,189 tons last year. The paper reported that the 39.2 percent increase was due to demand for materials for a reconstruction project on Interstate 94 and sand shipments.

    The Lafarge dock in St. Joe received 212,344 tons of cement, the McCoy Docking Co. reported 217,030 tons of stone and 34,451 tons of road salt. Consumers Asphalt Co. in Benton Harbor received the most tonnage with 306,364 tons of stone and sand.

    A total of sixty-nine vessels visited the port in southwest Michigan during the 2000 season, up from 49 in 1999 and 59 in 1998. The total shipping tonnage for 2000 was reported to be the highest for the past six years.

    Reported by: Erdean Kelly

    Interesting facts about Twin Ports vessel traffic

    The latest edition of North Star Port, a magazine published by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, includes some interesting facts about Duluth-Superior vessel traffic:
    The Twin Ports' busiest docks in 2000:
  • Midwest Energy Terminal: 362 vessel visits
  • Clure Public Marine Terminal: 307 (includes 214 vessel visits to the Murphy Oil USA fueling terminal)
  • BNSF ore dock: 219
  • DMIR ore dock: 147

    Reported by: Al Miller

  • Today in Great Lakes History - February 24

    The KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (2) was launched February 24, 1923 as a) RICHARD V. LINDABURY.

    The founder of Arnold Transit Co., long-time ferry operators between Mackinac Island and the mainland, George T. Arnold filed the Articles of Association on Feb. 24, 1900.

    On 24 February 1920, TALLAC (formerly SIMON J. MURPHY and MELVILLE DOLLAR, steel propeller, 235', built in 1895 at W. Bay City, MI) was on a voyage from Colon, Panama to Baltimore, MD, when she stranded and was wrecked 18 miles south of Cape henry, VA.

    Data from: Roger LeLievre, 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
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Algoeast Loses Power

    Early Thursday afternoon the tanker Algoeast became stuck in ice 1 mile north of the Lake St. Clair Crib Light. As she became stuck she reported that she lost engine power and was pushed 200-300 feet outside the channel by the ice and possibly aground. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley quickly got underway from Sarnia to assist. The tanker is in ballast heading for Nanticoke, Ontario.

    She dropped anchor and waited for the Risley who arrived at 3:10 p.m. Sounding were done to determine if she was aground. It was determined she was not aground and shortly after 4:00 p.m. the Risley completed two passes by the Algoeast to move the ice. At 5:50 p.m. the East pulled up her anchor freed herself using her own power.

    Shortly after 6:00 p.m. the tanker was downbound at the Lake Clair Crib Light behind the Risley. The Risley was planning to take the East as far as the Detroit River Light. The East decided to anchor for the night in the Belle Island Anchorage off Detroit at 8:48 p.m. Once anchored, the Risley proceeded upbound to Sarnia to meet and escort the tanker Gemini downbound. The Algoeast will wait for daylight and for the Risley and Gemini to continue her trip.

    Reported by: Philip Nash and Ron Locke

    Late Fit Out for the Barker

    The Kaye E. Barker is expected to make a late start to the season due to problems in the steel industry and mounting losses at Rouge Steel. No specific date was giving for the late departure, this report comes a day after it was announced that fleet mate Elton Hoyt 2nd would not sail in 2001. Announcements of other vessels not sailing or departing late from other fleets are expected as these season draws closer. Record levels of unfairly traded steel imports, a slowing economy in the United States and Canada and low steel prices are to blame.

    John Spence Departs

    The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 completed unloading Thursday afternoon and departed the Triple Clean Liquifuels Dock in Essexville around 1:00 p.m. The tug and barge met up with the tug Manitou who had departed the Triple Clean Dock about an hour earlier to break up the ice that formed overnight in the shipping channel. The trio was outbound at the Saginaw River Front Range at 1:45 p.m.

    Close up at the dock.
    Passing the Consumers Energy Plant as heavy snow starts to fall.
    Approaching the Manitou at the Front Range Light.

    Reported by: Todd Shorkey

    Tug and Barge in Manistee

    The tug Doug McKeil and barge Ocean Hauler finally entered Manistee harbor on Thursday night after being tied to the North Pier head since last Friday. The duo had been waiting for repairs to the CSX Railroad Bridge that crosses the Manistee River. The bridge was unable to open due to the needed repairs. The tug and barge broke through heavy ice in Manistee Lake on its way to the General Chemical Dock, formerly AMBAR.

    This is the earliest visit to Manistee by a commercial vessel ever. The duo will be loading a cargo of calcium chloride for the General Chemical dock in Amherstburg, Ontario. The tug and barge should depart on Saturday evening if weather permits. The first freighter will be in Manistee on the first week of April.

    Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

    Alpena set to Depart

    After a brief lay up in Cleveland, the Alpena is scheduled to depart for her namesake port on March 1. She is due to stop in Detroit on her way up to unload about 600 tons of her remaining storage cargo. She will then load her first cargo of the new season in Alpena for Detroit. The J.A.W. Iglehart is expected to return to service on April 1.

    Reported by: Gary Schweitzer

    Shell Fuel Dock Repairs Underway

    Sarnia based Gordon's Marine has begun repairing the damaged Corunna fuel dock catwalk that was struck by the Kaye E. Barker in December. Equipment at the scene on the St. Clair River is the tug Menasha, workboat Duke, and a crane barge.

    Reported by: George Lee

    USS Winter Work

    The six vessels from USS Great Lakes Fleet that are laid up in Duluth-Superior this winter are undergoing substantial maintenance and upgrades.

    Major work includes:
    Roger Blough: Replace several plates damaged last fall at the Soo and paint hull.
    Edgar B. Speer: Main engines overhauled
    Edwin H. Gott: Main engines overhauled
    John G. Munson: In drydock at Fraser Shipyards undergoing 5-year inspection
    Philip R. Clarke: Replacement of more than 1,000 boiler tubes at an estimated cost of $500,000.
    Cason J. Callaway: Installation of new automated system to run its steam plant; boiler upgrade; and turbine blade refurbishing. Estimated cost is $3 million.

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 23

    The e) U.S.S. ROTARY (YO-148) was commissioned on February 23, 1943 at Sullivan's Dry Dock & Repair Co., Brooklyn, NY and assigned duty with the Service Force, Third Naval District, Atlantic Fleet. The tanker was renamed h) DETROIT early in 1955 and traded on the lakes until. Her partially dismantled hull was abandoned in 1985 in the back waters of Lake Calumet.

    On 23 February 1843, SANDUSKY (wooden side-wheeler, 148', 377 t, built in 1834 at Sandusky, OH) caught fire at her dock on Buffalo Creek in Buffalo, New York and burned to the hull. She was recovered, rebuilt as a 3-masted bark and lasted another two years.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Bramble Tow Update

    02/22: 8:30 a.m. updte
    The unusual tow of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble by the cutter Bristol Bay began late Wednesday. At 7:30 a.m. the tow was upbound at the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse entering Lake Huron. The Bramble has a shaft problem that requires work at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

    Reported by: Ed Moore Jr.

    Hoyt Will Sit Out 2001

    Crews working on the Elton Hoyt 2nd have been informed that the vessel will not sail in the 2001 season. The Hoyt is the first vessel to be known not to sail in the coming season. With record levels of unfairly traded steel imports, a slowing economy in the United States and Canada and low steel prices other vessels could join the Hoyt sitting out the season.

    Last summer the Hoyt began a series of occasional trips carrying grain from Duluth to Buffalo. The Herbert C. Jackson is expected to take her place in the grain trade in the 2001 season.

    Elton Hoyt 2nd heading to winter lay-up in January. Image by Don Coles

    John Spence Update

    The tug John Spence arrived Wednesday afternoon with a barge at the Triple Clean Liquifuels dock in Essexville. The tug and barge were escorted into the Saginaw River by the tug Manitou, which assisted with ice breaking. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley escorted the Spence and barge through the heavy ice in the Saginaw Bay.

    While recent warm weather has weakened the ice cover on the Saginaw River, the two vessels experienced some slow progress during the morning in thicker ice on the Saginaw Bay. The John Spence had been expected to arrive in the Saginaw River on Sunday, but the trip was apparently delayed several days by adverse weather.

    Radio traffic indicated that the vessel might be scheduled for a second trip into the Saginaw River this winter.

    Reported by: Stephen Hause and Pat Ruhland

    Conneaut Update

    Damage from Monday's belt fire at the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Co. upper coal facility in Conneaut is estimated at $1 million by fire officials. About 300 feet of belt burned plus damage to the coal car dumper. This should not affect storing coal or loading boats in a few weeks when the shipping season starts. The fire did not affect the lower coal facility where ships are loaded.

    Reported by: M. Smothers

    Two steelmakers post fourth-quarter losses

    Ispat International, owner of the Minorca taconite plant near Virginia, Minn., and Rouge Industries Inc., partial owner of EVTAC near Eveleth, Minn., have posted net losses for the final quarter of 2000.

    Ispat reported a loss of $14 million, or 12 cents per share; Rouge recorded a loss of $105 million, or $4.73 per share.

    The companies are not alone. Many steelmakers suffered losses during the final quarter of the year, including Bethlehem Steel Co., National Steel Corp. and U.S. Steel Group.

    Rouge, which owns 45 percent of EVTAC, finished the year $117.3 million in the red, despite sales of nearly $1.1 billion. Ispat, headquartered in Rotterdam, Netherlands, posted $99 million in net income on sales of $5.1 billion.

    Both companies were hit with unique expenses during 2000. Rouge attributes a fourth-quarter loss of $23.7 million to the 1999 explosion of a power house. It recouped $22.1 million from insurance. The company also took a noncash $63 million charge for the year as a reserve against deferred tax assets -- a move that allows the company to hedge against a continued downturn in the steel industry.

    Ispat paid $15.5 million in the final quarter of 2000 to settle a civil lawsuit with the state of Louisiana and $4 million because of work-force restructuring costs.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Thunder Bay Pictures

    Below are images taken last weekend at Pascol Engineering in Thunder Bay. Crews were moving some of the vessels in Thunder Bay's lay-up fleet. The Algorail was taken out of dry dock and left in the harbor while the Algosteel went into dry dock and the Canadian Navigator took its place at the lay by dock. The Algorail was then put into the space left by the Navigator between the dock and the Algoway. The tugs Peninsula and George N. Carleton participated.

    Algorail waits in the ice behind the Algoway.
    Tug George N. Carleton.
    Algosteel and Algorail.
    Tugs Peninsula and George N. Carleton working with the Algorail.
    Tug Peninsula on the stern of the Algorail.
    Carleton on the bow of the Algosteel.
    Tug Peninsula on the stern of the Algosteel.
    George N. Carleton flushes ice from the dry dock.
    Algosteel approaching the dry dock.
    Algosteel moved into the dry dock.

    Reported by: Rob Farrow

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 22

    February 22, 1925 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 7 made her maiden voyage.

    On 22 February 1878, the 156' wooden freighter ROBERT HOLLAND was purchased by Beatty & Co. of Sarnia for $20,000.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    John Spence Update

    After weather delays and a minor engine problem, the tug John Spence and barge got underway early Tuesday morning. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley is escorting the tug and barge to Saginaw where they are expected about 7:00 a.m. today. The barge's cargo of oil will be unloaded at Bay City Triple Clean fuels.

    Reported by: Dan McNeil and Roger Ritchie

    Season Opens for Grand Haven

    The Lake Michigan port of Grand Haven/Ferrysburg got off to another early start in the shipping season as the tug Mark Hannah and barge Southdown Conquest arrived Tuesday morning with a load of cement. The pair was expected to remain at the Southdown terminal for a day or two. The Conquest's usual mate, the tug Susan W. Hannah, is undergoing repairs and is scheduled to rejoin the barge in a few days.

    Reported by: David Swain

    Prospector Moved

    Tuesday the Canadian Prospector was shifted from Pier 51 to the Redpath Sugar dock in Toronto. Crews then began unloading her storage cargo of sugar. Each season a few vessels enter lay-up with a storage cargo of sugar that is used by Redpath over the winter.

    Bucket taking a 3 ton bite of sugar from the hold of the Canadian Voyager at the dock last month. Bill Bird

    Reported by: Gerry O.

    Unusual Tow

    An unusual tow will take place today as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay will be towing Cutter Bramble to the Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. The Bramble has a shaft problem that requires work at the ship yard. The tow will depart from Cleveland today.

    Reported by: Brian Kloosterman

    More Sturgeon Bay Lay-up Pictures

    Below are images of Sturgeon Bay's lay-up fleet taken on Monday.
    Sturgeon Bay's crowded lay-up fleet.
    Arthur M. Anderson, Herbert C. Jackson and Wilfred Sykes.
    Close up of the Anderson.
    Wilfred Sykes and bow of the Arthur M. Anderson.
    Bow view of the Herbert C. Jackson.
    Joseph L. Block in dry dock.
    Paul R. Tregurtha and Burns Harbor.
    Tug Dorothy Ann in the notch of the barge Pathfinder.
    Stern view of the American Mariner.
    The super structures of the Tregurtha and Burns Harbor tower over the ship yard.
    U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay.
    Edward L. Ryerson.
    Selvic tugs at their dock.
    Close up of tug Jimmy L.

    Reported by: Scott Best

    Toledo Lay-up

    Below are images of some of Toledo's lay-up fleet taken earlier in the month.
    Mesabi Miner at the TWI dock.
    The Miner is having highly skewed blades installed. In this image a small work boat is clearing ice from her stern.
    Close up of the Miner's stern.
    Close up of the Miner's propeller. (this will be replaced with the highly skewed type)
    Oglebay Norton at the TWI dock behind the Mesabi Miner.
    Work in the Oglebay Norton's bow thruster.
    Crews were busy painting the Norton's cargo holds.
    The departure board on the Norton.
    Columbia Star docked behind the Oglebay Norton.
    The St. Clair and Armco at CSX.
    Stern view of the St. Clair.
    St. Clair's propeller.
    Armco, stern view.
    George A. Stinson.
    Stern view of the American Republic.
    Close up of one of the Republic's Cort Nozzles and four rudders. With two engines that's eight rudders.
    The highly maneuverable Republic has two rudders positioned in front of each Cort Nozzle. these are used to maneuver the vessel when backing.
    Stern view of the tanker Gemini.
    Bow view of the Gemini and the stern of the Middletown.
    New steel is welded near the Gemini's bow.
    The deer living at the Torco Dock were more interested in us than the boats.
    Buckeye and Courtney Burton at the Torco dock.
    Stern view of the Burton.
    Bow view of the Wolverine docked behind the Burton.
    Stern view of the Wolverine.
    Close up of the propeller.
    Close up of the Wolverine's bow, Earl. W. Oglebay in the back ground.

    Reported by: N. Schultheiss

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 21

    The EDWIN H. GOTT arrived at Two Harbors (her first trip) February 21, 1979 with the loss of one of her two rudders during her transit of Lake Superior. Also the other rudder post was damaged. She was holed in her bow and some of her cargo hold plating ruptured as a result of frozen ballast tanks. Even the MACKINAW suffered damage to her port propeller shaft on the trip across frozen Lake Superior.

    The keel of the new bow section for the HILDA MARJANNE was laid on February 21, 1961 while at the same time the tanker hull forward of her engine room bulkhead was being cut away.

    On 21 February 1929, SAPPHO (wooden propeller passenger ferry, 107', 224 gt, built in 1883 at Wyandotte, MI) burned at her winter lay-up dock in Ecorse, Michigan. She had provided 46 years of service ferrying passengers across the Detroit River. She was neither repaired nor replaced since the Ambassador Bridge was nearing completion.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    John Spence heading for the Saginaw River

    The tug John Spence with a barge are expected to unload at Bay City Triple Clean fuels with #6 oil. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley will escort the tug and barge into dock as ice chokes the mouth of the Saginaw River. This is the first visit since December 28 when CSL's FRONTENAC called.

    The tug and barge were expected to arrive on Sunday afternoon but may have been delayed by weather.

    Reported by: Brian Ferguson and Dan McNeil

    Fire in Conneaut

    Monday afternoon an intense fire burned at the Pittsburgh & Conneaut Dock Co. upper coal facility. Coal from the dock was shipped late into the season to Ontario power stations.

    The fire started in a transport complex at the dock company's upper coal facility as crews were unloading western coal, a new type of coal for the facility. The complex is home to a massive machine that turns railroad coal cars upside down, discharging their contents into a pit.

    Equipment and personnel from three city fire stations and two neighboring communities were sent to the scene. The 60 firefighters spent about three hours fighting the fire.

    The fire burned a lengthy stretch of belts that move coal to storage piles at the dock, as well as a train dumper station and tower. "The whole complex was on fire," Fire Chief Bim Orrenmaa told the Star Beacon Newspaper. "The heat bent I-beams and burned belts, rollers and motors. I suspect there was a lot of damage."

    Reported by: M. Smothers

    U.S.-Flag Carriage Down 2.1 Percent In 2000

    U.S.-Flag lakers hauled 113.3 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo during the 2000 navigation season, a decrease of 2.1 percent compared to 1999. The decrease would have been more, but the 2000 season was one of the longest on record. It began on February 7, 2000 with the sailing of the cement carrier Southdown Conquest and ended 363 days later when the self-unloader Lee A. Tregurtha laid-up in River Rouge. In comparison, the 1999 dry-bulk shipping season stretched from February 22, 1999 to January 25, 2000, or 337 days.

    Iron ore for the steel industry remained the primary cargo for U.S.-Flag lakers. Shipments totaled 58.5 million tons, a slight decrease compared to 1999. There was a major fall-off in the Lorain/Cleveland shuttle, but that is not surprising - the shuttle feeds LTV Steel's Cleveland Works and that steel maker filed for bankruptcy in December following another year of unfair trade in steel. Nearly 38 million tons of foreign steel flooded the U.S. in 2000 and drove prices down to the point that LTV became the 14th American steel company to seek protection under the bankruptcy laws in the past three years.

    Coal cargos in U.S.-Flag lakers totaled 21.1 million tons, a decrease of 3.9 percent. Much of the decrease stems from increased rail deliveries of steam coal to a Michigan utility. The decrease would have been larger, but U.S-Flag lakers kept loading coal until February 3.

    The stone float in U.S. bottoms totaled 27.9 million tons, again a slight decrease.

    In addition to the above factors, all Great Lakes trades were affected by the continuing decline in water levels. At the beginning of the 2000 season, the 1,000-footers were losing nearly 10,000 tons per trip compared to the start of the 1997 campaign. Water levels began to fall in the summer of 1997 and have now reached their lowest levels in decades. Low water levels will continue to impact shipping in 2001.

    Click here for more details

    Reported by: Lake Carriers' Association

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 20

    On February 20, 1959, the Herbert C. Jackson was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan.

    The DES GROSEILLIERS was launched February 20, 1982.

    On 20 February 1903, G. WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller, 376', 3785 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, MI. She lasted until 1964 when she was scrapped by Lakehead Scrap metal Co. in Fort William, Ontario. The other names she had during her career were HENRY P. WERNER (1924), JOHN J. BOLAND (2)(1937), and ALGOWAY (1947).

    On 20 February 1903, G. WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller freighter, 376', 3785 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan. She was later named HENRY P. WERNER (1924), JOHN J. BOLAND (2)(1937) and ALGOWAY (1947). She lasted until 1964 when she was scrapped by Lakeland Scrap Metal Company in Fort William, Ontario.

    Data from: Jody Aho, 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
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Algoeast Returns to the Soo

    Sunday the tanker Algoeast docked in the Canadian Soo to discharge a petroleum cargo. The tanker arrived in the Soo harbor under escort of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay.

    Reported by: Brian Kloosterman and Lee Rowe

    New Poe Size Lock at the Soo

    Michigan Governor John Engler's intends to commit $5 million next year towards Michigan's share of a second Poe size lock to connect Lake Huron and Lake Superior. A major failure in the Poe Lock could have catastrophic results on the shipping industry. This lock is the only one capable of handling vessels over 730-feet, including the fleet of 13 thousand-foot vessels. If the Poe were to be taken out of service these giants would be left trapped above or below the locks.

    The federal government has put $1 million into planning this year. Lock advocates hope to see another $5 million in next year's federal budget and a commitment as early as the fall for the entire $225-million project.

    The federal government agreed to the need for a new lock way back in 1986, but progress has been slow. The federal OK requires a match from the Great Lakes states, which will be divvied up according to where the boats using the Soo load and unload. Michigan's share is second only to Minnesota's.

    The key point is that the new lock must match the Poe's dimensions, or boats will be built bigger to fit, and 30 years down the road the same issues will arise.

    Construction of a new lock will be an economic bonanza for the eastern Upper Peninsula. But the more important point is that after 30 years of 1,000-footers being launched, a backup lock has become essential.

    Reported by: Kirk Tews

    Integrity Enters Lay-up for a Second Time

    The tug Jacklyn M. and barge Integrity were expected to re-enter lay-up in Milwaukee on Sunday. The pair departed lay-up early in the month as demand for cement warranted their fit out. The tug and barge carried cement from Alpena to South Chicago. They are expected to remain in lay-up until early March.

    The pair first entered lay-up in Milwaukee on Jan. 7.

    Reported by: Robin Greathouse

    Toledo Activity

    Toledo's Hocking Valley Dock (Sunoco) saw activity over the weekend as a Hanna barge visited it. Two tugs accompanied the barge, the Mary Hanna and the James Hanna. The tugs and barge departed Sunday morning after loading a blend of heavy oils.

    Reported by: Scott Ousky

    Summer Cruises

    This summer 10,000 people are expected to cruise the Great Lakes on 56 sailings by six of the larger cruise ships, according to Cruising the Great Lakes.

    The Detroit Free Press reports that the number of people cruising this season will be more than triple the number who enjoyed cruising the lakes last season. Six years ago, lake-cruising passengers numbered only a few hundred.

    Ships new to the lakes this summer will be the Arcadia, based in Detroit-Windsor, a moderately priced ship that will complete 24 sailings. The recently built Cape May Light of Delta Queen Coastal will visit lakes Ontario and Erie for eight sailings.

    Familiar ships returning to the lakes will include the four-star c. Columbus, and the five-star French ship, Le Levant. The two will complete a total of 12 cruises. The Nantucket Clipper is expected for two cruises, and the Niagara Prince will travel through the lakes to Chicago, for eight trips around Lake Michigan and then return to its homeport in Rhode Island.

    The small cruise ship Georgian Clipper will run three, four and seven-night cruises of Lake Huron's Georgian Bay.

    For more information visit

    Reported by: Mike Flint

    Milwaukee Lay-up

    Below are recent images of Milwaukee's lay-up fleet.
    Bow view of the Paul H. Townsend. Chris Hecht
    Tug Presque Isle. Andy LaBorde
    Close up of the tug. Chris Hecht
    Paul H. Townsend and Stewart J. Cort. Andy LaBorde
    Close up of the Townsend's pilot house. David Borzymowski
    Close up of the Cort's pilot house. David Borzymowski
    Stern of the Cort and Townsend. David Borzymowski
    The Townsend at dock from the Cort. Chris Hecht
    Close up of the Southdown Challenger's pilot house. David Borzymowski
    Lake Guardian at dock. Chris Hecht
    Tug Edward E. Gillian III. Chris Hecht

    Weekly Updates

    The weekly updates have been uploaded.

    Click here for easy to navigate updates

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 19

    The b) TROY H. BROWNING (c. THOMAS F. PATTON) was towed from the James River with two other C4s, the LOUIS McHENRY HOWE (b. TOM M. GIRDLER) and MOUNT MANSFIELD (b. CHARLES M. WHITE), to the Maryland Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, MD, February 1951, to be converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier according to plans designed by J.J. Henry & Co., New York, NY.

    Wolf & Davidson of Milwaukee sold the JIM SHERIFFS (wooden propeller, 182', 634 gt, built in 1883 at Milwaukee, QI) to the Kelley Island Line on 19 February 1887.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Dry Docking in Sturgeon Bay

    A double docking took place on Thursday in the 1000-foot Graving dock at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. The Andrie barge A-390, pushed by the tug Rebecca Lynn entered into the forward end of dock for its 5 year survey. The tug returned to Berth #11 after bring the barge to the graving dock gate. The graving dock crew and the tug Bayship then placed the barge over the blocking.

    The Joseph Block was brought up to the gate by tugs from Selvick Marine and was placed over the blocking set for her in the graving dock.

    Both the barge A-390 and the Joseph Block were held in place with lines from the graving dock wall, as the dock was pumped out to allow both to rest on the blocking.

    The moves took place in late afternoon or evening. With out enough light to photograph, the following morning the images below were taken.

    Rebecca Lynn pushes the barge up to dock.
    In dock, shot down side wall of Graving dock.
    Another view.
    Bow of Barge A-390 and ice.
    Front end loader lowered into the dock to clear ice.
    In bottom of dock under bow of A-390.
    Rebecca Lynn at berth #11.
    Selvick tug and tug Bay Ship placing Hanna Barge 3601 next to berth #9 for bottom deicing prior to going into the Graving dock.

    Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 18

    IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR participated in an historic special convoy with DOAN TRANSPORT, which carried caustic soda, led by CCGS GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ont. on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ont. through Lake Superior ice as much as six feet thick, and at one point it took four days to travel 60 miles. The trip was initiated to supply residents of the Canadian Lakehead with 86,000 barrels of heating oil the reserves of which were becoming depleted due to severe weather that winter.

    The JOSEPH S. YOUNG (1) was towed to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River and arrived at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co., Manitowoc, WI on February 18, 1957 where her self unloading equipment was installed. This was the last large vessel to enter the Lakes via the Mississippi. She was the first of seven T2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service.

    The Murphy fleet was sold on 18 February 1886. The tugs GLADIATOR, KATE WILLIAMS and BALIZE went to Captain Maytham, the tug WILLIAM A. MOORE to Mr. Grummong, the schooner GERRIT SMITH to Captain John E. Winn, and the tug ANDREW J. SMITH to Mr. Preston Brady.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Tug and Barge in Manistee

    The tug Doug McKeil and barge Ocean Hauler arrived in Manistee early Friday morning. The duo was to head in to Manistee to load calcium chloride at the General Chemical (former Ambar) facility.

    The weather and wind were too rough for safe navigation, so the duo tied up to the North pier. This is the first time a vessel has done that since the USS Boulder in the early 90's, and the tug portion of the Presque Isle in the 80's. The tug and barge will make there way through the ice in Manistee Lake as soon as weather conditions allow the tug to switch to pushing mode.

    Reported by: Chris Franckowiak

    Toronto Harbor Update

    Ferry service to the Island continues with Ongiara to Ward's Island and Hanlan's Point, and Maple City servicing the Island airport.

    Conversion of the tug Glenmont is slowly moving forward. The new bulbous bow section has been started.

    The schooner Empire Sandy is having her below deck lounge and bar areas renovated.

    New concrete was being poured for the counter-weights on the Cherry Street Bridge Friday.

    Reported by: Gerry O.

    Raffle Winner

    It was 1965 when Herbert Carlson was last aboard a Great Lakes freighter, just before the Vietnam War prompted him to join the Navy. But Carlson, now a St. Paul police officer, held the lucky raffle ticket Wednesday and will get to spend 10 days on the Paul R. Tregurtha in June as a guest of the Interlake Steamship Co.

    The company donated the trip to the International Ship Masters' Association and the money from the raffle will be used to offset the cost of a recent ISMA convention in Duluth.

    Carlson said his wife, Linda, would join him and he was ecstatic about winning on Valentine's Day. Carlson has entered several drawings to win a lake cruise but wasn't successful until Wednesday.

    A uniformed Captain Ray Skelton, National Grand Lodge President of the International Ship Masters' Association, drew the winning ticket at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board room.

    The ISMA Twin Ports Lodge #12 would like to thank all who purchased tickets. Thanks also to The Interlake Steamship Company, Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping, Duluth Shipping News and the Duluth Visitors and Convention Bureau web sites.

    Picture of Captain Ray Skelton (left) preparing to draw the ticket with assistance from Captain Ed Montgomery.

    For your chance to win a trip on a Great Lakes freighter click here.

    Reported by: Capt. Ed Montgomery

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 17

    In heavy weather on February 17, 1981 the WITSUPPLY (b. TRANSTREAM) foundered in the Caribbean Sea off Cabo de la Vela, Colombia. She was being towed to the scrap yard at Cartagena, Columbia when she sank.

    February 17, 1977 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41, shortly after departing Ludington encountered a heavy ridge of ice that snapped all the blades off her starboard propeller. One of the blades ripped a hole two feet long by three inches wide which caused the 41 to take on water, but pumps were able to keep her afloat. SPARTAN came out to free her but also became mired in the ice. On February 18 the cutter MACKINAW freed them.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Algowest Enters Lay-up

    The Algowest arrived for winter lay-up in Owen Sound yesterday. She arrived dockside about 9:00 p.m. and tied up north of cement silos on east wall.

    She turned in open waters about half a mile out and backed into the harbor. A bit of frozen pack ice at the mouth of the harbor was easily navigated but solid ice between and to the south of the Agawa Canyon and Mapleglen required a few runs to make it to her winter berth. The movement is the latest tie-up for Owen Sound in recent memory.

    Reported by: Peter Bowers

    More Conversions

    The expected conversion of the Atlantic Huron next winter appears to have been pushed back to the winter of 2002/2003. Port Weller Dry Docks is expected to rebuild the center section of Atlantic Huron to a width of 78-feet. This conversion will be different than the forebody replacement of the Louis R. Desmarais. The original hull will be used in the widening but retain the unloading gear, this will increase the cargo capacity by about a 1000 tons.

    Next winter the Canadian Olympic is expected to enter the dry dock where crews will install a new center section widening the vessel to 78-feet, similar to current Tadoussac project.

    Reported by: Roger Tottman

    Welland Canal Update

    Winter work continues at a fast pace on the Welland Canal as well as to the winter lay-up fleet in Port Colborne and Port Weller Dry Docks.

    At Port Weller Dry Docks work on the former Louis R. Desmarais and Tadoussac is progressing rapidly. The transition section of the new hull on the former Desmarais is now attached to the stern and welding of the two sections has begun. The stern is now almost completely repainted. Finish welding aboard the new hull is mostly completed and is receiving paint along the welds. The Tadoussac is coming along nicely. New sections of her hull are already being moved into place. Wednesday her port bow was beginning to be painted red.

    Work the canal its self is moving at a rapid pace. There appears to be many structural upgrades taking place, with many lock sills being renewed, particularly in the Flight Locks and Lock 8.

    The winter lay-up fleet in Port Colborne is, for the most part, receiving a lot of work. The Halifax seems to be undergoing engine room work, it also looks as if she is receiving some propeller or rudder work. The Canadian Enterprise appears to be having her cargo holds sandblasted and the Canadian Olympic is receiving a fresh coat of paint. The Canadian Progress, docked at wharf 18.3 is also receiving some work. The CSL Niagara is sitting idle with very little work apparent from the exterior.

    The stern section of the former CSL vessel Tarantau has almost been entirely scrapped. For boatwatchers wishing to take pictures of the vessel it would be a good idea to do it soon, as she is slowly disappearing into history.

    Click here for images of the work at Port Weller Dry Docks.

    Reported by: Jason Junge

    Integrity Update

    The tug Jacklyn M. and barge Integrity continue carrying cement to South Chicago. The pair are scheduled to load in Alpena tonight and then re-enter lay-up until early March.

    The pair first entered lay-up in Milwaukee on Jan. 7.

    Reported by: Robin Greathouse

    Toledo Report

    The John J. Boland remains in drydock at the Toledo ship yard undergoing survey and miscellaneous repairs. The Armco is expected to be the next vessel to enter dry dock for survey and repairs.

    The tanker Gemini had activity aboard the vessel. There was quite a bit of smoke coming out of her stack, this may be a sign that she may be sailing soon if needed in the petroleum trades.

    The Maumee River and Bay are virtually ice free. The recent warm spell, heavy rains, and high winds have broken up and melted the ice in the area.

    Reported by: Jim Hoffman

    Seaway News

    Thursday morning an unusual tow left Montreal for Section 5 at Sorel. The tug Bonnie B. III towed the floating crane VM/S Hercules. The tug Bonnie B. III has been in lay-up at Montreal since Dec. 22. The tug arrived from Hamilton and has not been painted in McKeil Marine colors. McKeil acquired the Bonnie B. III and sister tug Carrol C. I in June 2000 from interests in Newfoundland.

    The Petrolia Desgagnés returned to service Wednesday going to the nearby Hydro-Quebec dock at Tracy to load for the Ultramar dock in the Port of Quebec. The vessel had entered lay-up in Sorel on Jan. 31 along side the Manitoulin. As the Desgagnés depart it was replaced the same day by Algocatalyst.

    Reported by: René Beauchamp

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 16

    The EDWIN H. GOTT sailed on her maiden voyage February 16, 1979 in ballast from Milwaukee, bound for Two Harbors, MN. This was the first maiden voyage of a laker ever in mid-winter. She was in convoy with three of her fleetmates; CASON J. CALLAWAY, PHILIP R. CLARKE and JOHN G. MUNSON, each needing assistance from the U.S.C.G. MACKINAW to break through heavy ice 12 to 14 inches thick the length of Lake Superior. The GOTT took part in a test project, primarily by U.S. Steel, to determine the feasibility of year around navigation.

    The JAMES E. FERRIS was launched February 16, 1910 as the ONTARIO (4).

    On February 16, 1977 a four hour fire caused major damage to the crews' forward quarters aboard the W.W. HOLLOWAY while at American Ship Building's Chicago yard.

    February 16, 1939 - The state ferry CHIEF WAWATAM was fast in the ice in the Straits of Mackinac. She freed herself the next day and proceeded to St. Ignace.

    The little tug JAMES ANDERSON burned on Long Lake near Alpena, Michigan on the morning of 16 February 1883. Arson was suspected.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Minntac to reopen production line, return to full capacity

    In a rare bit of good news for the Great Lakes iron ore industry, U.S. Steel's Minntac Mine announced two moves that will significantly increase its production of taconite pellets. However, company officials warned that production levels still depend on the uncertain future of the steel industry and the nation's economy.

    Minntac, located near Mountain Iron, Minn., will resume operation Monday of a taconite pellet production line that's been idle since November. The plant's Line 3 accounts for 12 percent -- or about 650,000 tons -- of the Minntac's annual production.

    In addition, Minntac will turn on the pre-heat burners of its largest production lines. The burners were turned off this winter to cut the use of increasingly costly natural gas. Turning the burners back on will increase production on the lines.

    At full capacity, Minntac operates five pellet production lines, capable of producing more than 16 million tons of taconite pellets per year. It ships most of its pellets through Two Harbors aboard vessels of USS Great Lakes Fleet. It also ships some pellets by rail to Utah.

    "We will be at full production,'' Manager Jim Swearingen told the Duluth News Tribune. "But we are still concerned about the import situation and the overall economy."

    Restarting the line and increasing production rates on Minntac's other production lines means Minntac is expected to produce about 13.6 million tons of taconite pellets this year, Swearingen said.

    Some productions lines will be shut down for maintenance during the year, and Line 3 is scheduled to shut down during the summer. Employment at Minntac -- North America's largest taconite plant -- will remain at about 1,400 hourly workers.

    The news from Minntac is one of the few positive signs coming from the Iron Range taconite industry in months. The industry has been hit hard by the closing of LTV Steel Mining Co. in Hoyt Lakes, a six-week shutdown at Hibbing Taconite Co. and financial problems at EVTAC Mining Co.

    Mike Dixon, a USX spokesman in Pittsburgh, told the News Tribune that some steel industry analysts believe steel prices have hit bottom and may soon rebound. Several domestic steel producers, including U.S. Steel, recently raised prices on steel products. USX is the parent company of U.S. Steel.

    "We think the market may have possibly bottomed out," Dixon said. "We think we may be starting to see signs of recovery."

    However, both Swearingen and Dixon warned that the domestic steel industry and Iron Range taconite producers are far from being out of danger.

    "I don't see any reason for great optimism," said Swearingen. "We're kind of at the bottom of the trough and trying to come out of it."

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Jackman Delayed by Ice

    The Capt. Henry Jackman ran into heavy ice on Lake St. Clair Thursday as the vessel sailed from Detroit to Sarnia for lay-up. Early Thursday morning the Jackman backed down Lake St. Clair when it became clear the vessel could not make it across the lake with out icebreaker assistance.

    The Jackman anchor in the Belle Isle Anchorage and waited for the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley to arrive from Sarnia. The Risley was expected to escort the Jackman to Sarnia for lay-up, they were due to arrive Thursday afternoon.

    The Algowest finished unloading in Ashtabula, Ohio and was upbound for lay-up in Owen Sound Thursday. The West is scheduled to fuel in Sarnia early this morning and arrive in Owen Sound early Friday morning.

    Reported by: Philip Nash

    Algoeast at the Soo

    Thursday the Algoma tanker Algoeast departed the former Government dock in the Canadian Soo after discharging her petroleum cargo. The tanker arrived in the Soo harbor at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday evening under escort of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay.

    Reported by: Jerry Masson

    Seaway News

    On Sunday vessels operated by Fednav of Montreal were working in several St. Lawrence River ports. Federal Fuji was at Quebec City, Federal Franklin was at Sorel, Federal Agno and Lake Erie were at Trois-Rivières, Federal Yukon and Federal Hudson were in Montreal, Federal Saguenay was at Baie Comeau. In addition, Federal Baffin was upbound in the Cabot Strait for Baie Comeau and Federal Oshima was upbound in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for Montreal.

    Beginning her winter lay up in Montreal was Sauniere on Feb. 2 at section 25 after delivering a cargo of salt the previous day. Arriving at Sorel on Jan. 31 was Petrolia Desgagnés tying up alongside Manitoulin at section 17. A visit to Sorel on Feb. 11 revealed that no work seems to be done on Manitoulin so it is doubtful she will return to service in the spring for another season.

    Expected to arrive in Montreal on Feb. 16 will be the very recently built Wolgastern owned by Rigel Shipping of Bremen, Germany. At 14,331 gross tons, she will be the largest of their tankers to ever dock in Montreal. There are rumors that Rigel Shipping will reflag another of their chemical tankers to the Canadian flag but nothing official was released yet. Other rumors include that the Algoscotia will be offered for sale in a few weeks.

    The G.T.S. Katie is currently under tow of Simoon with a destination in India where she will not be broken up but rather will have new engines installed to replace the present ones which are not economical to operate.

    Reported by: René Beauchamp

    Hamilton Lay-up

    Crews are busy in Hamilton preparing the port's lay-up fleet for the coming season.

    The tug Everlast is being prepared to push her new barge this spring.
    Serviceman arrives at the big tug.
    Looking past the Everlast at the Sea Eagle II.
    Everlast looking past Heddle Marine's small floating dry dock
    The McKeil Marine Docks.
    The barge St. Marys Cement III in the Heddle Marine floating dry dock.
    The notch of the barge St. Marys Cement III.
    Zebra Mussel on the Sea Eagle II.
    Close up of the Sea Eagle's propeller.

    Boatnerd Quiz

    To help pass the time until the locks open we have add a new Boatnerd Quiz. 22 new questions.
    Click here for the quiz

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 15

    In 1961 the D.G. KERR (b. HARRY R. JONES) arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland where she was cut up for scrap the same year.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Algoma Update

    The final vessels running in the late season salt trade will be entering lay-up in the next 2 days. The Capt. Henry Jackman unloaded in Detroit Tuesday and departed late that night for lay-up in Sarnia.

    While the Jackman was sailing for the Rouge, fleet mate Algowest had finished loading salt in Windsor and departed downbound for Ashtabula, Ohio. The West was expected to arrive late last night and begin unloading. Once unloaded, the Algowest will sail upbound for lay-up in Owen Sound, Ontario.

    Reported by: Philip Nash

    A Job Well Done

    The Gaelic Tugboat Company tugs Patricia Hoey and William Hoey assisted the Capt. Henry Jackman into the Rouge River Osborne salt dock just after noon on the 13th. The Tug Patricia Hoey later assisted the Jackman out of the river as it sails for lay-up.

    The Jackman concluded Gaelic's 2000 ship assist season. The Company has begun a quick but extensive maintenance program.

    The Tug Susan Hoey is presently on Nicholson’s Drydock in Ecorse, MI. undergoing a propeller change along with sandblasting and fresh coat of paint. The Tug Carolyn Hoey will follow to repair the damage to her rudder caused by this winter's harsh ice. All the tugs undergo a full machinery inspection every spring, before being dispatched to their assigned ports.

    The Tug Roger Stahl is expected to depart Ashtabula after breaking ice for the Algowest this morning.

    Gaelic heard from several of the masters complimenting the tug and its crew for their "professionalism and experience." Capt. Jim Ryerse and his crew departed Detroit for Ashtabula on Jan 1st.

    Gaelic Tugboat Company would like to thank its employees, customers, and the crews of the vessels we assisted to help make this harsh winter a tolerable one. A "JOB WELL DONE"

    Reported by: William A. Hoey IV, Gaelic Tugboat Company

    Preparing the Dry Dock

    Crews at Bay Ship have been busy preparing the large Graving Dock for the dry docking of the Joseph L. Block. Once the dry dock is drained crews move the giant blocks that will support the incoming ship. Crews normally work off the blue prints of a ship to get the blocks placed in the exact spot. A misplaced block could punch holes in the bottom of the ship.

    Graving dock being pumped out.
    Empty dock.
    Over head crane pulling blocks.
    View from the gate at the end of the dry dock.
    Dock Master Doug Welch talking with his lead man on the bottom of dock.

    Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

    Ice Breaking on the River Rasin

    On Sunday the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay conducted flood control ice breaking on the River Raisin in Monroe, MI.

    The Bristol Bay coming up the River Raisin from Lake Erie. The buildings on the right are the Monroe Detroit Edison Plant.
    Close up of the Bristol Bay. Note just in front of the pilot house you can see reporters from Channel 24 in Toledo, OH who were aboard doing a story.
    Bristol Bay entering the turning basin at the Port of Monroe Michigan.
    Heading for the river channel, exiting the turning basin. Buildings on the right are the Ford Motor Co. Monroe Plant.

    Reported by: Dean J. Frazer

    Sarnia Lay-up

    Vessels in Sarnia's lay-up fleet are in various stages of winter work. In the North Slip the three USS boats have the American flag flying off their sterns and appear to have had no work done to them. Rumors have the sale of these ships to Grand River Navigation still in the works with a final sale in the next few weeks.

    The Algolake appeared to have some type of cargo hold work going on with new gate sections installed. Two sections were brought in by truck and there were two large cranes lowering the sections through the hatch openings. There was also a large roll of a new unloading belt waiting to be installed.

    Below are images taken on Monday
    Bow view of Algolake.
    A section of the new cargo hold arrives by truck.
    Lowered into the cargo hold.
    Algonova at the Sidney E. Smith Dock.
    Black and white view of the Calcite II, Myron C. Taylor and George A. Sloan.
    Cuyahoga waits for the Spring.

    Reported by: Matt Miner

    Love Those Ships? Win A Trip

    What cruise destination is nearly impossible to get, worth over $4,000, can be won with a raffle ticket and will be drawn on Valentines Day? The Twin Ports Ship Masters Lodge 2001 Great Lakes ship trip! The ships trip raffle was created to help defray the cost of hosting the Ship Masters National Convention, recently held in Duluth.

    A cruise on a working Great Lakes Freighter is all but impossible to attain. This special trip, complete with the near legendary food, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience normally reserved only for special guests of shipping company executives and their largest customers. However, in a special event recently, a Great Lakes freighter trip was auctioned off for over $4,000 on the's internet auction site.

    A uniformed Captain Ray Skelton, National Grand Lodge President of the International Ship Masters Association, will draw the four (4) lucky winners from the hundreds of raffle tickets sold in the last six months. Captain Ed Montgomery and other Ship Master members will be present as well. This drawing will be at 2:00 PM Wednesday, February 14th at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Board room.

    The actual trip will be on the "Queen Of The Lakes", the 1,013 foot "Paul R. Tregurtha". The Master of the vessel is former Duluthian, Captain Mitch Hallin, and the ship is owned by Interlake Steamship Company of Cleveland.

    The "Paul R. Tregurtha" is a frequent visitor to the port of Duluth-Superior and the trip will be likely departing Duluth Superior, in June. She will be down bound toward the lower Great Lakes and the trip will last up to 10 days, depending on the ships actual working orders at the time of the trip.

    For more information, click here to visit the Raffle's Web Site.

    Or contact Capt. Ed Montgomery at 715/392-6287 or

    Bradshaw McKee

    Bradshaw C. McKee passed away Friday in Grosse Pointe, MI at age 75. He was chairman of Sand Products Corporation. Sand Products mines and distributes sand in various port on the Great Lakes, with the main loading dock in Brevort, MI in the Upper Peninsula.

    Mr. McKee was instrumental in the conversions of both the Aquarama and Milwaukee Clipper as well as the Joseph H. Thompson and McKee Sons. He was one of the original "McKee Sons" that the ship was named for.

    He is survived by his wife Caroline, sons Max, John and Patrick, daughter Eula Marie Benson, a sister and brother and 3 grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for later this spring in Brevort.

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 14

    The MESABI MINER was launched on this day in 1977 becoming the fourth thousand foot bulk carrier on the Great Lakes and Interlake's second. She had been built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970 at a cost of $45.1 million.

    Ford Motor Co., looking to expand its fleet, purchased the JOSEPH S. WOOD on February 14, 1966 for $4.3 million

    On February 14, 1973 the LEADALE's forward cabins burned during winter lay-up at Hamilton, Ont. and were later repaired.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Algoma Update

    The Algowest passed downbound Monday sailing for the Ojibway Salt Dock in Windsor. The West will load salt for Ashtabula, Ohio. The west is scheduled to unload her cargo at Chicago on Friday.

    The Capt. Henry Jackman was loading salt in Goderich and expected to depart Monday afternoon. She will also head downbound for a dock in Detroit.

    Reported by: Philip Nash, Rob Cioletti and William Jenuwine

    Twin Ports coal tops iron ore for first time since 1932

    For only the second time in more than a century, coal has eclipsed iron ore as the No. 1 cargo through the Port of Duluth-Superior, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority announced last week.

    Spurred by another record-setting year at the Midwest Energy Resources Co. (MERC) dock in Superior, the port handled 15.04 million metric tons of coal compared with 14.7 million metric tons of iron ore pellets shipped via the DM&IR Ore Docks in Duluth and the BNSF Ore Docks in Superior.

    MERC moved 14.9 million metric tons in 2000 while inbound coal through other facilities added 70,250 tons to the overall total.

    The Port Authority reported that iron ore was first shipped through Duluth-Superior in 1892 and became the port's dominant cargo in 1895. Since then, the only prior year it had not been the principal cargo was 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression.

    The leading cargo in 1932, the Port Authority said, was also coal, but all of the port's coal at that time was inbound. Outbound low-sulfur coal from Montana and Wyoming began in 1976 with the opening of the MERC facility while inbound coal-which often exceeded 10 million tons a year in the 1920's-has steadily declined to an average of less than 100,000 tons annually.

    This was the seventh consecutive year that MERC has broken the port's coal-handling record. Of its nearly 15 million tons handled this past season, 11.8 million tons were shipped to other U.S. ports while 3.2 million tons moved to Canada.

    All Duluth-Superior cargo in 2000 totaled 37.4 million metric tons, a five percent decrease from 1999's total of 39.5 million and four percent below the port's five-year average.

    Reduced iron ore demand and a drop in Great Lakes water levels held domestic cargoes at 25.7 million tons, a six percent decrease from last year's 27.3 million tons. Despite strong western coal shipments to Canada, all international commerce reached 11.7 million tons, three percent below last year's record volume for international trade of 12.1 million tons. Duluth-Superior's previous international trade record stood at 11.8 million tons in 1978.

    Low water levels in Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan had a major negative impact on most cargo categories, the Port Authority reported. Most ships were unable to load to maximum Great Lakes drafts because of depth restrictions in lakes' connecting channels.

    Following coal and iron ore among Duluth-Superior's leading cargoes was bulk grain at 4.4 million tons.

    Twin Ports 2000 shipping activity began with the March 16 departure of Interlake Steamship Company's Paul R. Tregurtha from MERC with 58,000 metric tons of coal destined for Marquette, Mich. Bethlehem Steel Corporation's Stewart J. Cort opened the port's 2000 Great Lakes commercial navigation season, arriving March 26 at Superior's Burlington Northern Santa Fe taconite facility for 49,300 metric tons of iron ore destined for Burns Harbor, Ind.

    The port's 2000 St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season officially opened April 3 with the arrival of the Greek vessel Morias at Duluth's Cargill Inc. grain facility for about 16,000 metric tons of corn for Tunisia.

    Algoma Central Corporation's bulk carrier Algosound closed the port's St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season with her December 18 departure from Superior's General Mills and Cenex Harvest States grain facilities with 23,392 metric tons of soybeans destined for Port Cartier, Quebec.

    Duluth-Superior's last outbound cargo vessel of the season was Upper Lakes Group, Inc.'s, Canadian Olympic that departed January 5 from MERC with about 25,000 metric tons of coal destined for Ontario.

    The port's last vessel movement of the season occurred January 13 with the arrival of USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc.'s Philip R. Clarke for winter berthing at Superior's Fraser Shipyards, Inc. Her arrival brought the total number of vessels wintering in the port to 14.

    Total vessel arrivals for the season of 1,107 showed a decrease of 15 from last year. There were 620 U.S.-flag, 302 Canadian-flag and 185 overseas vessels visiting the port.

    Reported by: the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Al Miller

    Ferry runs last trip

    The Madeline Island Ferry Lines ferry "Island Queen" completed operations for the season last week. The ferry, which runs the 2.5 mile route from Bayfield, Wisconsin to Madeline Island in Lake Superior's Apostle Islands, made two round trips Saturday to carry the La Pointe postmaster and mail with the final trip scheduled for 4:00 PM from Bayfield. This was the latest date for the last trip before ice-up since the "El Nino" winter of 1997-98 when the ferry ran through the winter.

    The 200 or so residence of Madeline Island will now have to rely on an ice road connection to the mainland at Bayfield. Snowmobile traffic has been steady for several weeks. In the last week the maintenance crew from the Town of La Pointe used pickup trucks to set a line of used Christmas trees to mark the trail from the Island to Bayfield. Trucks from the contract road plower, Nelson Construction of La Pointe, were also on the ice last week opening a trail and then clearing additional snow.

    Although ice conditions are generally safe, a chronic crack just off the shore from Bayfield has kept traffic from having a complete path from shore to shore. A pickup truck crossing from Bayfield fell into the crack last week. The driver escaped with only wet feet.

    Normally the period between ferry travel and auto traffic lasts several weeks with transportation provided by "wind-sled", a hybrid boat with an airplane propeller. This winter will see the unusual jump direct from ferry to car travel. No one, including the windsled operator, objects to not having to ride the very noisy, very bumpy, and very cold windsled.

    Click here for more information on windsleds.

    Reported by: T.W.Eldred

    Weekly Updates

    The weekly updates have been uploaded. In addition to the normal Photo Gallery updates, new this week are updates to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Files. More than 1000 pieces of new information including nearly 50 entirely new entries. On the Great Lakes Book Shelf are the new publications: "Seaway Ships 2000", "The Arteries of Commerce" and "Mail by the Pail." Something for everyone to help pass the time until the locks open.

    Click here for easy to navigate updates

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 13

    The POINTE NOIRE was launched February 13, 1926 as a) SAMUEL MATHER (4).

    February 13, 1897 - The PERE MARQUETTE (later named PERE MARQUETTE 15) arrived in Ludington on her maiden voyage. Captain Joseph "Joe" Russell in command.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Computer in Dry Dock

    A small crash in my main computer kept me from uploading the Monday's regular updates. All news stories for Feb. 12 were added to the Feb. 13 news. I have a large number of pictures I will be adding during the week. Thank you for you patience.

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 12

    RED WING (2) was launched February 12, 1944 as a) BOUNDBROOK.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Tregurtha Moved

    Saturday morning the Paul R. Tregurtha was floated out of the thousand foot dry dock at Bay shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI. after Repairs to her hull and 5 year survey were completed. She is now ready to start the 2001 shipping season for The Interlake Steamship Co. Her tentative Departure date is March 18. This move will raft together three 1000-footers at one berth.

    Pulled from the dry dock.
    Tregurtha as she slips out of dock.
    Selvick tugs flushing ice away from graving dock's gate.
    Opening gate on the graving dock.
    Tugs working brash ice allowing Tregurtha to move.
    Selvick tugs pulling Tregurtha in to Berth 15.
    Another view.
    Tregurtha and Burns Harbor stern shot.
    Empty Graving Dock, being pumped out for reblocking for Joseph L. Block.
    After Fridays ice storm, all ships decks and hatches are covered with 1/2" to 3/4" of ice.

    Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

    Norgoma Vandals Apprehended

    The young people who broke 85 windows and numerous deck lights on the museum ship Norgoma last fall were turned in by their peers. The ship is on display at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It is hoped they will be dealt with accordingly. Ontario has a new Parental Responsibility Law that may be effective in providing restitution.

    Several local business owners generously contributed to repair the damage.

    Reported by: George Lee

    Liberty Ship John W. Brown Featured in Television Show

    The Liberty Ship John W. Brown will appear in the television show "Haven" tonight. The show appears to have many scenes aboard and from a distance of the Brown, including fly overs of planes from the World War II era. The filming was done when the Brown visited the lakes this past summer in Toronto. CBS will air the show at 9:00 p.m. EST tonight and 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.

    Click here for more information.

    Reported by: Gerry Ouderkirk and Tom Moriarty

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 11

    The E.B. BARBER was launched in 1953 at Port Arthur, Ont.

    The NIXON BERRY was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap on in 1970, she was the former MERTON E. FARR.

    BEN W. CALVIN was launched in 1911.

    The keel was laid for the ROY A. JODREY on February 11, 1965.

    IMPERIAL CORNWALL was retired on February 11, 1971.

    Albert Edgar Goodrich, the founder of the Goodrich Steamboat Line, was born in Hamburg, NY, near Buffalo on 11 February 1826.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Transport Unloads

    Friday the Canadian Transport unloaded 29,000 tons of coal at Ontario Hydro’s power plant in Nanticoke, Ontario. This was the final load of coal for the 2000 - 2001 season and brought an end to the late season coal run on Lake Erie.

    Transport unloading Friday.
    Loading the cargo Thursday in Conneaut, Ohio.
    Bow view.
    Close up of superstructure.
    Close up of stern.
    Gaelic Tugboat Co. tug Roger Stahl on hand to assist.

    Coast Guard Rescues Survivors

    Coast Guard units and a Canadian Forces aircraft were deployed late Thursday to search for a missing twin-engine private airplane near Beaver Island and to rescue survivors from the crash site on the island, authorities said Friday.

    The chartered plane left Chicago's Midway Airport with six people aboard and crash-landed on a bluff about one mile west of Beaver Island's airport. Coast Guard helicopters airlifted four survivors, three of whom were children, to the airport in Charlevoix about 30 miles away, according to Sgt. George Lasater of the Charlevoix County Sheriff's Department.

    "They did find the aircraft wreckage 1 mile west of the airport on a bluff," said Coast Guard spokesman Paul Roszkowski in Cleveland. The 4 survivors waited in the wreckage for 15 hours before being rescued. The pilot and co-pilot were killed in the crash.

    Coast Guard ships searched through the night after the plane disappeared. The plane's last contact was at 6:20 p.m. EST Thursday. At that time, it was 10 to 15 miles from Beaver Island, Mich., where the family has a house, Coast Guard Chief Adam Wine said from Cleveland.

    Poor visibility, fog, freezing rain and snow had hindered launching the Coast Guard's two helicopters and a Canadian Forces C-130 airplane early this morning, Wine said.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Departure Schedule

    American Steamship Company
    Sam Laud 3/28/01      
    Buffalo 3/28/01
    American Mariner 3/28/01
    Central Marine Logistics
    Wilfred Sykes  3/13/01
    Joseph Block  3/15/01
    Bethlehem Steel Corporation
    Burns Harbor 3/24/01
    The Interlake Steamship Company
    Paul R. Tregurtha                 3/18/01
    Tug Dorothy Ann and Barge Pathfinder  4/1/01
    Herbert C. Jackson 3/24/01
    Arthur M. Anderson 3/24/01
    United State Steel - Great Lakes Fleet
    Arthur M. Anderson 3/24/01
    Presque Isle  3/24/01

    Departure dates are tentative and may change at any time.

    Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 10

    UHLMANN BROTHERS (2) was launched February 10, 1906 as a) LOFTUS CUDDY

    The MARKHAM (Twin Screw Hopper Suction Dredge ) was delivered February 10, 1960 to the Army Corps of Engineers at Cleveland, OH.

    In 1998 the Ludington Daily News reported that a private investment group (later identified as Hydrolink) was planning to start cross-lake ferry service from Muskegon, MI to Milwaukee, WI running two high-speed ferries.

    On 10 February 1890, NYANZA (wooden propeller, 280', 1888 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, MI. She was build by F. W. Wheeler (hull #63). In 1917, she was renamed LANDBO.

    On 10 February 1890, NYANZA (wooden propeller freighter, 280', 1888 gt) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (hull #63) in W. Bay City, Michigan. In 1916, she was renamed LANDBO and she lasted until abandoned in 1920.

    Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Welders Torch Starts Fire

    Twenty fire fighters were called to the Atlantic Huron Thursday when a welder's torch was believed to ignite one of her conveyor belts. The fire started shortly after 9:00 a.m. as crews performed winter work worked on the vessel in the Halifax Shipyard dry dock.

    The extent of damage to the Huron is unknown but there were no reported injuries. Fire fighters were quoted as saying "it wasn't a big fire."

    Reported by: Paul Beesley

    Shipping Season Ends for Lake Erie

    The 2000 Great Lakes shipping season ended Thursday when the Canadian Transport loaded 29,000 tons of coal at the Pittsburgh & Conneaut dock in Conneaut, Ohio. The cargo was then delivered to Ontario Hydro’s power plant in Nanticoke, Ontario. The Transport made 85 trips this year and carried approximately 2,225,000 MT of cargo.

    Two vessels remain sailing, the Algowest and Capt. Henry Jackman continue to work the salt trade. The vessels have been loading salt in Goderich and on the Detroit River for delivery to Lake Michigan Ports.

    Reported by: Lake Carriers' Association

    Fred R. White Scheduled to Sail

    The Fred R. White Jr. is scheduled to open the Cuyahoga River season with the first of eight trips from the Cleveland Bulk Terminal on Whiskey Island to LTV's steel mill at the end of the commercially-navigable section of the River. The shuttle is expected to begin Feb. 26.

    Last year, the White opened the 2000 shipping season for iron ore began on Feb. 28 making the same run.

    Coast Guard Icebreakers Save Shipping Season

    Winter ice operations on Lake Erie ended for the 2000 season with the Canadian Transport taking the final load.

    “Ice conditions were horrendous from early December on,” said George J. Ryan, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, the trade association representing the major U.S.-Flag Lakes lines. “At times, the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers and western Lake Erie basin were clogged with brash ice going down 15 feet. Even the high-powered, ice-strengthened lakers that operate at the beginning and end of the season could not have proceeded without the icebreaking assistance provided by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards. We and our customers, the region’s steel mills and power plants, are indebted to the two Coast Guards, for without their assistance, stockpiles of iron ore and coal would be insufficient to meet the needs of commerce until the Lakes reopen in early March.”

    Equally important, Ryan noted that the harsh winter means it will not be easy to resume navigation in early March. “Once shipping ceases, the ice fields strengthen, so both Coast Guards will have their hands full when the dry-bulk trades resume early next month.”

    Ironically, the 2000 navigation began early because of the mild winter of 1999/2000. “The 2000 shipping season for dry-bulk cargos started on February 7 when the cement carrier Southdown Conquest began operations,” Ryan explained. “The Lake Erie coal trade resumed in earnest on March 3. That is certainly the earliest start-up in many, many years.”

    Nature was not so accommodating at the end of the season. Much colder temperatures thought the Great Lakes basin produced significant ice formations. However, because of the importance of Great Lakes shipping, both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards maintain extensive icebreaking assets and so-called “extended season” iron ore cargos (cargos loaded after December 15) totaled 4.3 million net tons. Coal loadings at Lake Erie ports between January 1 and February 7 topped 1.4 million net tons.

    Looking forward to the 2001 season, Ryan stressed that skyrocketing natural gas prices will continue to drive demand for Lake Erie coal. “We’ve every expectation that coal will start moving in early March. The iron ore trade traditionally resumes out of Escanaba, Michigan, in the second week of March, so within a month or so, a good number of U.S. and Canadian lakers will be back in service.”

    Ryan expressed concern about the availability of U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking assets when shipping starts up again next month. “The U.S. Coast Guard is dealing with aging infrastructure when it comes to its icebreaking assets. The cutter Mackinaw, the largest icebreaker stationed on the Great Lakes, was built in 1944 and had one engine out this entire ice season. Also, one of the 140-foot-long icebreaking buoytenders experienced a long downtime due to mechanical failures, and a sistership was out of service for a lesser period of time. Only the skill and dedication of Coast Guard crews enabled them to overcome these obstacles. We are advised that all assets will be ready in March, but we can only hope these aging engine rooms can continue to operate in heavy ice conditions.”

    Also adding to the Coast Guard’s burden is the early opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway is scheduled to open on March 23 and the low-powered salt water vessels will need assistance. “Canada should assign additional icebreaking assets from other regions to meet the needs of the deep sea trades,” Ryan counseled. “Otherwise, there may be delays in deliveries of iron ore and coal to American steel mills and power plants. The U.S. Coast Guard has no other assets it can deploy on the Lakes.”

    Ryan expressed hope that contracting for a heavy icebreaker to replace the aging Mackinaw will proceed on schedule. “Funds have been approved and authorized to build a multi-purpose vessel with heavy icebreaking capabilities. The contract should be awarded prior to September 2001. The Great Lakes Icebreaking Buoytender (GLIB) should be in service by 2006 at the latest, but Congress must keep this project on track.”

    Reported by: Lake Carriers' Association

    Chinese bulk carrier stuck in ice on St. Lawrence River

    The Chinese bulk carrier Taiancheng (Panama flagged) could not beat the ice floes and a strong St. Lawrence ebb tide current under the Quebec bridges early Wednesday morning west of Quebec City. The ship in ballast sailing westbound for Sorel, after several unsuccessful attempts and even with the assistance of the Coast Guard icebreaker Des Groseilliers, the crew gave up the fight and returned to Quebec City to await the flood tide in early afternoon. The St. Lawrence River shapes into a funnel in this part of the channel under the two side by side bridges that creates pressure and is difficult for a ship in ballast plying against the current.

    In the late 70's on a freezing December morning, the 5,000 tons Greek bulk carrier Athanasia Cominos westbound for Montreal and also in ballast got stuck in ice on the St. Lawrence and drifted under the north span of the old Quebec Bridge shaving-off the amidships wheelhouse, Captain’s cabin, radar and radio array and finally damaging the ship’s aft funnel. Damage was estimated in the millions and the bridge was closed to automobile and train traffic for 14 hours pending bridge inspection. The Bridge was found safe but some steel components had to be replaced.

    Reported by: Frederick Frechette

    New Feature

    Ride along for winter ice operations with the Unstoppable Samuel Risley. We take you inside icebreaking with over 150 new pictures and video clips.

    Click here to view

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 09

    EAGLESCLIFFE, loaded with 3,500 tons of grain, sank two miles east of Galveston, TX on February 9, 1983 after the hull had fractured from a grounding the previous day. She began taking on water in her forward end en route to Galveston. To save her the captain ran her into shallow water where she settled on the bottom in 20 feet of water with her bridge and boat deck above water. All 16 crewmembers and one dog were rescued.

    The ALEXANDER LESLIE was launched February 9, 1901 as a) J.T. HUTCHINSON

    The HOMER D. WILLIAMS suffered extensive fire damage to her side plating and forward lower cabins during her lay-up at Toledo, OH on February 9, 1971.

    February 9, 1995 - The founder of Lake Michigan Carferry, Charles Conrad, died at the age of 77.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Integrity Sailing

    This week the tug Jacklyn M. and barge Integrity were making an unusual early season run to South Chicago. The barge unloaded part of its cement cargo at Milwaukee and then departed late Monday to finish unloading in Waukegan. The tug and barge may make another trip to Alpena to load.

    The pair entered lay-up in Milwaukee on Jan. 7.

    Reported by: Robin Greathouse

    Algoma Update

    The Algowest loaded salt at the Ojibway Salt Dock in Windsor on Wednesday. The west is scheduled to unload her cargo at Chicago on Friday.

    After unloading her next trip will be to Owen Sound, Ontario for lay-up or back to Windsor to load salt.

    The Capt. Henry Jackman was sailing upbound on Lake Huron last night also heading for Chicago with salt. The Jackman is expected to arrive this evening.

    Reported by: Philip Nash and Ron Locke

    Ship Masters' Convention Concluded

    The 111th International Ship Masters' Association Grand Lodge convention held in Duluth-Superior concluded Sunday and was deemed a very successful event. Many Ship Master's, Industry Executives and Coast Guard personnel, along with their spouses and friends, attended the four days of meetings, meals and day trips. While important Grand Lodge work and planning was completed, there was plenty of fun and entertainment during the lunches, dinners, Grand Ball and theme party.

    Mr. Davis Helberg, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority Emceed many events and highlights included speeches by Captain Mark Miller, 9th District Aids To Navigation; Mr. Adolph Ojard, General Manager, U.S.S./Great Lakes Fleet and by newly installed Grand Lodge President, Capt. Ray Skelton. Capt. Skelton is Environmental & Government Affairs Director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

    As is tradition, the high point for the convention was the full dress Grand Ball and Dinner, held in the new Duluth Entertainment Convention Center's Harborside Ballroom. The excellent food was surpassed only by the spectacular harbor and Aerial Bridge view. Special touches such as the accurately detailed Aerial Bridge / Duluth Piers ballroom entry through which over 200 attendees passed, to the four foot sparkling I.S.M.A. logo ice carving, the evening was an elegant good time.

    The members I.S.M.A. Twin Ports Lodge #12, it's Convention Committee and the cities of Duluth and Superior would like to thank all who visited and hope to see you again.

    More information on the International Ship Masters' Association

    Reported by: Capt. Ed Montgomery

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 08

    While in lay-up on February 8, 1984, a fire broke out in the WILLIAM G. MATHER's after accommodations killing a vagrant from Salt Lake City, Utah who had started the fire that caused considerable damage to the galley.

    On 8 February 1902, ETRURIA (steel propeller freighter, 414', 4653 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, MI. She was built for the Hawgood Transit Company of Cleveland but only lasted three years. She sank in 1905 after colliding with the steamer AMASA STONE in the fog off Presque Isle Light in Lake Huron.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Tregurtha Arrives for Lay-up

    The Lee A. Tregurtha complete her Lake Erie coal shuttle Monday morning and entered lay-up at the Rouge Steel Plant in Detroit shortly after noon. The Tregurtha began working the late season coal shuttle from Ohio to Nanticoke in mid-January and was expected to enter lay-up last month. Demand for coal at the Ontario Hydro power plant in Nanticoke has kept a few vessels running late into the season.

    Reported by: Dave Wobser

    Lake Superior continues to drop

    Lake Superior is now 14 inches below its long-term average for February -- its lowest level at this time of year since 1926, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

    A year ago the lake was 7 inches below its long-term average for February. The following navigation season, Great Lakes freighters had to reduce the size of iron ore and coal cargoes they loaded at Lake Superior ports. For instance, 1,000-footers that can carry up to 65,000 tons of cargo in recent seasons have been forced to run 8,000 to 10,000 tons below capacity. In addition, low water levels combined with adverse winds forced vessels in the St. Marys River to halt several times during the season when they could not safely transit the river.

    Western Lake Superior has experienced three consecutive mild winters. This winter brought severe cold in December but relatively mild weather in January. Snowfall is slightly below average. The waters off Duluth, which would be covered with ice during a normal winter, have been open most of the time. Northern Wisconsin and parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula have received heavy snowfall, but much of it has been lake effect snow, which consists mostly of moisture evaporated from the lake -- a process that further lowers the water level.

    John Love, a physical scientist with the Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, told the Duluth News Tribune that a return to normal water levels on Lake Superior is several years away.

    "It has taken us three years to get to this point and it would take three years of solid snowfall winters with moderate summer temperatures and regular spring rains to bring the lake back to normal," Love said.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    G.T.S. Katie Departs

    Finally departing Montreal for a scrap yard in China was G.T.S. Katie on Jan. 29 under tow of Groupe Ocean tugs Ocean Delta and Ocean Foxtrot. Later on in the Strait of Cabot, the deep sea tug Simoon took over the tow. The vessel had been under arrest in Montreal since August 2000 and had been sold at auction in December.

    Vessels sold to be broken up according to the January edition of "Marine News" were the following ones. All of them completed at least one trip to Great Lakes ports over the years under one of their names. Sold to be broken up at Alang, India were Alfa I that transited the Seaway as Susanne Reith, Apj Anand and Rattana Naree as Constantino.

    Sold to breakers at Mumbai, India was the 36L type Eodor that plied the Seaway as Almut Bornhofen. In Sept. 2000, reported sold to Chinese breakers was China Bright which called to Great Lakes ports as Island Sun and Gang Cheng which came as Ion.

    The Manila Spirit, a self-unloading cement carrier grounded on January 11, 2000 during a typhoon while on passage from Manila to Hualien. She subsequently broke up and sank. This vessel, then a general cargo had transited the Seaway in August 1984 bound for Detroit under her original name of Oxford. In 1989, she had been converted into a cement carrier.

    Reported by: René Beauchamp

    Today in Great Lakes History - January 07

    On January 7, 1970 the e) ONG., former CONGAR (1) had her Canadian registry closed .The tanker had been sold for use as a water tender at Antigua in the Lesser Antilles.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Update Delay

    Tuesday's news page was not available online. All news stories for Feb. 6 were added to the Feb. 7 news.

    Today in Great Lakes History - January 06

    While undertow heading for scrap, the HARRY R. JONES went aground at Androsan, Scotland on January 6, 1961 and it wasn't until February 15, that she arrived at her final port of Troon, Scotland.

    January 6, 1999 - The Dow Chemical plant in Ludington announced a plan to close their lime plant, eliminating the need for Great Lakes freighter to deliver limestone.

    CHARLES L. HUTCHINSON (steel propeller freighter, 642', 11,073 gt) was launched at the Defoe Shipbuilding Company (hull #422) in Bay City, Michigan on 6 February 1952. She's the largest vessel ever launched in the Saginaw River Valley. She was built for the Pioneer Steamship Company, sold to the Ford Motor Company and renamed ERNEST R. BREECH, then sold to the Kinsman Line and renamed KINSMAN INDEPENDENT.

    Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Anderson Arrives for Lay-up

    Sunday morning the Arthur M. Anderson arrived at Bay Ship in Sturgeon Bay, for winter lay-up. The Anderson is the last ship to arrive for winter lay-up. This brings the final total to Sixteen ships and barges at Bay Ship for winter lay-up.

    Approaching the Michigan St. Bridge. Chris Hecht
    Close up of the pilot house. Chris Hecht
    Close up passing through the bridge. Chris Hecht
    Heading to the ship yard. Chris Hecht
    Selvick tugs breaking and flushing ice in berth #2. Vic DeLarwelle
    Backing into the slip. Chris Hecht
    Backing in. Vic DeLarwelle
    Sliding by Herbert C. Jackson. Vic DeLarwelle
    Selvick Tug flushing ice from between Jackson and Anderson. Vic DeLarwelle
    Close up. Vic DeLarwelle
    Anderson being rafted to Jackson. Vic DeLarwelle
    Walk way is lowered from the engine room. Vic DeLarwelle
    The Edward L. Ryerson in lay-up. Chris Hecht

    Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle and Chris Hecht

    Tregurtha Expected for Lay-up

    The Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to enter lay-up today in Detroit after an extended season. The Tregurtha began working the late season coal shuttle from Ohio to Nanticoke in mid-January and was expected to enter lay-up last month. Demand for coal at the Ontario Hydro power plant in Nanticoke has kept a few vessels running late into the season. The Lee A. Tregurtha will lay-up at Rouge Steel.

    Reported by: Dave Wobser

    Algoma Shuffle

    Friday was busy day for vessels in the Algoma fleet at Pascol Engineering in Thunder Bay as the tugs Peninsula and George N. Carleton moved three vessels. The Algoway was removed from Pascol's drydock and was left in the ice behind U.G.G. "A" Elevator. The Algorail was moved from Pascol's Fitout Dock and placed on Pascol's Drydock for repairs. Her move was followed by moving the Algosteel from the Shearleg Dock to the Fitout Dock. After that the Algoway was moved from behind elevator and placed at Pascol's Shearleg Dock beside Canadian Navigator.

    Reported by: Ron Konkol

    Cleveland-Cliffs Reports Results for 2000

    Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. reported strong financial results for 2000 despite a sharp downturn in the nation’s steel industry during the year’s final months. It also said it would attempt to cut costs to weather what’s expected to be a slow first half for 2001. Cliffs is North America’s largest producer of taconite pellets, so its financial health has a major impact on Great Lakes shipping. It manages the Empire and Tilden mines in Michigan; Hibbing Taconite and Northshore Mining in Minnesota; and the Wabush mine in Quebec. Cliffs mines ship pellets through Marquette, Mich., Silver Bay, Minn., and Superior, Wis.

    Cliffs Inc reported on Jan. 31 that its year 2000 net income of $18.1 million, or $1.73 per diluted share. In 1999, net income was $4.8 million, or $.43 per diluted share. However, these results were tempered when results for the fourth quarter of 2000 fell below those for the same period in 1999.

    Results for 2000 improved over those of the previous year primarily because of significant production curtailments in 1999 and higher pellet sales volume in 2000. Partly offsetting was a higher loss in 2000 from Cliffs and Associates Limited (CAL), the reduced iron facility in Trinidad and Tobago.

    John S. Brinzo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said "Slowing economies in the U.S. and Canada and the high volume of unfairly traded steel imports into both countries had a devastating impact on the operating rates at Cliffs' steel company customers in the fourth quarter. The reduction in raw steel output caused our pellet sales to decline at a precipitous rate in the quarter and our year-end inventory to increase to 3.3 million tons."

    Highlights for 2000 iron ore production included:

  • Pellet sales were 10.4 million tons for the full year 2000 versus 8.9 million tons in 1999. The unusually low shipment volume in 1999 was largely due to blast furnace outages at Rouge Industries and Weirton Steel.
  • Pellet sales of 2.6 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2000 were 1.3 million tons below the same period in 1999.
  • Iron ore pellet production at Cliffs-managed mines set a record, with 41 million tons produced in 2000 versus 36.2 million tons in 1999. Cliffs' share of full year production was 11.8 million tons in 2000 versus 8.8 million tons in 1999.
  • The Tilden Mine suspended production for three weeks in November 2000 to accommodate reduced pellet requirements at Algoma Steel Inc., a 45-percent owner of Tilden. Notwithstanding the reduced production in the fourth quarter, Tilden's full year output of 7.2 million tons was the highest since 1980.

    Year 2001 Outlook

  • Business conditions in the iron and steel industry are expected to remain difficult through at least the first half of 2001. Given the harsh environment confronting the Company's steel company partners and customers, there is significant uncertainty regarding Cliffs' pellet sales volume in 2001 and production levels at managed mines. While production plans continue to be under review due to the business situation, production cuts have been announced at the Hibbing and Northshore mines.
  • Losses from CAL are expected to be lower in 2001, but first half losses will be greater than 2000. Modifications to the Trinidad plant are on schedule and on budget and are expected to permit a restart of the plant in February. CIRCAL(TM) briquettes produced last summer were trial tested in two U.S. electric furnaces. The trials demonstrated the high quality of CIRCAL(TM) briquettes. The marketing effort for 2001 is proceeding, but pricing for all metallics in the U.S. remains extremely weak.

    Brinzo said, "Cliffs is focused on taking decisive actions to reduce its cost structure, strengthen its competitiveness and ensure that the Company remains well positioned during this very challenging period. While we plan to reduce our pellet inventory this year, which will improve cash flow, profitability will be adversely impacted due to idle expense associated with production curtailments at several mines. To partially mitigate the adverse impact of the production curtailments, we have intensified our company-wide cost reduction efforts."

    Reported by: Al Miller

  • Today in Great Lakes History - February 05

    The ASHLAND in a critically leaking condition barely made Mamonel Colombia on February 5, 1988 where she was scrapped.

    February 5, 1870 - Captain William H. LeFleur of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet, know as "the Bear" was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    On February 5, 1976 the carferry WOLFE ISLANDER III was inaugurated into service between Kingston and Wolfe Island Ontario. The Minister of Transportation, the Honourable James Snow, headed the list of officials attending the ceremony. Speakers included Keith Norton, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, Wolfe Island Reeve Timothy D. O'Shea and Mayor George Speal of Kingston. Later that night, two blocks over, a Kingston resident noticed the captain turning off the running lights of the 'ol WOLFE ISLANDER as she joined her already winterized sister, the UPPER CANADA.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Rail Deliveries

    Local media in Marquette reported that the shipping industry would keep a close eye on rail deliveries of taconite to the Soo. This report comes after Algoma steel announced last week that they plan to increase their rail deliveries from the Tilden Mine in Marquette County to the mill in Sault Ste Marie, Ont. At this time, no one believes that rail shipments will overtake vessel shipments.

    It is important to that for the past few winters, rail shipments to Algoma from Tilden averaged 300,000 to 400,000 tons per year. This year, shipments will be about 1.4 million tons. Algoma stated several reasons for increasing their rail shipments including cost effectiveness and pellet quality. It will be interesting to see how this decision effects the number of ore boats from Canada visiting Marquette in the upcoming season.

    Reported by: Art Pickering

    Welland Canal Update

    Late in December of 2000 crews at the International Marine Salvage scrap yard in the outer harbor at Port Colborne stopped cutting on the former H.M. Griffith hull at the south end of their yard and started work on CSL's former self-unloader, Tarantau. By the middle of January just over half of her stern accommodations section had been cut away and cutting had begun in the upper aft section of her engine room. By the middle of last week very little above main deck level remained of her stern and the engine room was cut wide open exposing her former power plant. No doubt dismantling of Tarantau will progress quickly as crews need to make room for the Louis R. Desmarais hull which will be arriving at their yard in late March or early April.

    The J.W. McGiffin hull was the first former Canada Steamship Lines hull to arrive at IMS in 1999 however she was not completely dismantled. The bottom 15 feet of the hull was left intact, sunk in place, filled with gravel and was used as a dock. Through the latter months of 2000 though, it was dug out, pulled ashore and cut up as the rest of the hull had been. The H.M. Griffith hull, 2nd of CSL's former hulls to be sent for scrapping, is alongside J.W. McGiffin's remains and it has been cut down to the water level up to around the #3 hold area while much of #1 hold and her bow remains intact.

    Work on Canada Steamship Lines' newest Seaway-Max bulk carrier is progressing at Port Weller Drydocks while the widening of Tadoussac is being done right alongside. Late in December the unloading boom was removed from the Louis R. Desmarais and placed alongside the drydock so that the old hull could be floated out and the new hull which was built through 2000 could be floated into the drydock to take its' place. Finish welding aboard the new hull is now nearly complete and some of her deck machinery is already being replaced. On the 1st her hatch crane was re-installed and her foremast will be lifted aboard soon.

    From the road adjacent to the drydock is does not look like the hull is welded to the stern yet but only inches separate the two sections. No new name is visible on the ship's stern yet.

    Large hull sections have been removed from Tadoussac's hull since her arrival at Port Weller in December of 2000. The sections of hull which were to have been placed inside the holds of the Louis R. Desmarais hull currently resting on the bottom of the canal adjacent to the drydocks are instead being cut up in an area behind the drydock's main assembly building. The scrap metal is being taken away by truck for recycling.

    When Tadoussac is complete she will look like the Algoville with her hull bulging out 1 foot on each side about half way between her deck and her bottom. The interior of her cargo holds is being re-built. and her 2 longitudinal unloading belts running beneath her holds will be replaced by 1 larger one. It also seems that some major work is being done in her engine room as there is quite a large hole cut in her transom giving access to all her interior machinery.

    Both ships will likely be ready to re-enter service shortly after the 2001 shipping season opens along the Welland Canal on March 23.

    For viewers of the Welland Canal Archive (The website with the canal transit reports) the site name has been changed and registered as Over 200 new pictures have been added to the archives. Most of them are contained within the U.S. Great Lakes fleet listings and are presented by the courtesy of Jim Hoffman.

    Reported by: Jeff Cameron

    New Cruise Ship on the Lakes

    This year, Great Lakes Cruises Inc of Waukesha, Wisconsin, has made arrangements to charter the 5,113-ton Arcadia from Attika Shipping of Greece, for two years of cruising on the Great Lakes of North America. She will commence her 2001 Great Lakes season on 12th June in Toronto, and thereafter will sail from Windsor, Ontario, on 3, 4- and 7-day cruises to all the Great Lakes, with calls scheduled for both large cities and wilderness ports, in a season which runs through October.

    On her way to the Great Lakes, the Arcadia will offer two special voyages that will call in the Port of London. This ship is small enough to be able to navigate the Thames, so that boarding and disembarkation can be done over Tower Pier in London.

    The first 11-night cruise leaves Athens for London, on 14th May, calling at Malta, Tunis, Cartagena, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Vigo and St Malo before arriving in the Pool of London. Cruise-only fares for the Athens to London voyage start at $1,180 for an inside cabin $1,760 for an outside cabin, fares per person in double occupancy, although sharing will be possible.

    The second 17-night voyage leaves London for Toronto on 26th May, via Leith, Lerwick, Thorshavn, Reykjavik, Narsaussuaq, St Anthony and the Gulf and River St Lawrence to Gaspe, Quebec, Montreal, the St Lawrence Seaway and Thousand Islands. Cruise-only fares for the London to Toronto voyage begin at $1,865 for an inside cabin or $2,760 for an outside cabin, again per person in double occupancy. A 3-day extension is also available through to Detroit.

    Special fares are also available to book the full 28-night voyage from Athens to Toronto (from $2,945 per person inside and $4,365 outside) and also to add on a three-day voyage from Toronto through the Welland Canal and Lake Erie to Detroit.

    The Arcadia is a bright little ship, and has been decorated in rather tasteful manner by M&A Katzourakis, better known for their work on the Celebrity fleet as well as with Orient Lines. She features six grades of accommodation, with a high proportion of outside cabins (106 out of 130) and two promenade decks, one of which completely encircles the ship. Although able to carry well over 300 passengers, Arcadia's intake will be limited to 224 guests, and special welcome packs, bathrobes and umbrellas will be new features introduced by Great Lakes Cruises. The ship serves the traditional morning bouillon and afternoon tea, and will also offer a program of guest lecturers on history, geology and photography.

    Picture of the Arcadia under way. This picture was taken before the color blue was add to her hull.

    For more information visit the Cruise People Ltd web site

    Lay-Offs for Cliffs

    Last week Cleveland Cliffs announced they would have to lay-off a number of employees due to the market demands for ore around the country. Affected will be about 30 administrative staff that were notified on Thursday. The company owns a percentage of the Empire Iron Ore Mine in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

    Cleveland Cliffs was quick to note that this is not a prelude to a massive layoff or closure that many of the local residents expected later this year. Though shipments of ore from Marquette this past season were up, final reports revealed a decrease across the entire ore industry.

    Reported by: Art Pickering and Gary Gustafson

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 04

    The two sections of the a) WILLIAM J. DE LANCEY (b PAUL R. TREGURTHA) were joined at Lorain and float-launched on February 4, 1981 as Hull #909.

    February 4, 1904 - Captain Russell of the PERE MARQUETTE 17 reported that Lake Michigan was frozen all the way to Manitowoc.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Tug Triton in Cleveland

    The G tug Triton was busy Friday pushing the barge McAsphalt 401 up the Cuyahoga River to the LTV dock. The Triton was assisted by the G tug Idaho towing on the bow. Stern view on the river.
    Close up of the Triton.
    Idaho leads.

    Reported by: The Great Lakes Towing Company

    Barge’s owner denies blame in Linda E. sinking

    B.P. Amoco, owner of the tug-barge that the U.S. Coast Guard says struck and sank the fish tug Linda E., denies that its vessel is to blame, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, B.P. Amoco denied that either the barge or its tug ever hit the fishing boat. B.P. Amoco also asked the court to rule that the company is not liable and did not cause the accident.

    The Linda E. sank Dec. 11, 1998, off Port Washington, Wis. The Coast Guard determined the fish tug was struck by the barge Great Lakes, which was being pushed by the tug Michigan - a combination known as an integrated tug-barge or ITB.

    Lost were Linda E. Capt. Leif Weborg and crewmen Scott Matta and Warren Olson.

    "BP Amoco Corporation has denied and continues to deny that any of those on board the ITB was negligent or violated any of the statutes in any of the respects alleged in the Matta and Weborg complaints and has denied and continues to deny that any collision occurred between the ITB and the Linda E.," B.P. Amoco’s attorney stated in the complaint.

    "At all material times, the master of the ITB, Keith Grady, and the junior officer of the ITB, Scott Gorney, were keeping careful lookout both visually and by radar in conditions of daylight and good visibility on their respective watches, and neither saw the Linda E. or experienced any sensation that would suggest a collision had occurred," the complaint said.

    The Coast Guard is seeking to revoke the licenses of Grady and Gorney. The Coast Guard says both men violated the navigation rules that require them to "keep a good lookout" and to "use all available means to avoid collision."

    At the time of the Linda E.'s sinking, both the tug and barge were owned by Coastwise Trading Co., which was in turn owned by Amoco Corp. The barge was going from Cheboygan, Mich., to an oil refinery in Whitfield, Ind.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 03

    In 1960 the Ludington Daily News reported that the S.S. AVALON, formerly the S.S. VIRGINIA, had been sold to Everett J. Stotts of Artesia, Calif.

    Data from: Max Hanley

    Algoma to Use Rail

    Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie, Ont. announced Wednesday that they will now receive as much as half of all ore shipments by rail. Working with Cleveland Cliffs, LS&I Railroad, and Central Wisconsin Railroad, shipments of ore to the mill will increase to a daily run from the mines in Marquette County. Central Wisconsin Railroad will make the 18-19 hours trip via Escanaba, Michigan.

    Algoma officials stated that receiving daily ore shipments via rail will provide them a better quality of ore due to less handling and the ore will be use shortly after arrive at the mill in the Soo.

    Providing more ore via rail may have an impact on Canadian vessels visiting Marquette during the upcoming shipping season.

    In the 2000-2001 season the Canadian Transfer made a regular run between Marquette and Algoma Steel. She loaded in Marquette 114 times in 2000 taking just over 13,000 tons a trip to Algoma Steel at the Soo. She carried about 1.5 millions tons or 20% of Marquette's total tonnage.

    Reported by: Art Pickering

    Families veto raising sunken Linda E

    The families of three fishermen who died when the Linda E. sank in Lake Michigan have decided they do not want to raise the commercial fishing boat, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

    Family members met last weekend in Oshkosh, Wis., and decided, at least for now, that it would be better to leave the men's remains in the vessel at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

    Captain Leif Weborg, 61, Scott Matta, 32, and Warren Olson Jr., 44, died when the fishing boat sank Dec. 11, 1998, off Port Washington.

    "The fact that two of the three men were really men of the lake -- Scott perhaps not as much as the other two," said Craig Svoboda, stepson of Weborg, "I don't want to speak for the Olson family, but some of his children have said that if he were to pass away, he would want to be cremated and have his ashes scattered on the lake. My dad is pretty much the same way."

    The decision to raise the 42-foot boat rests with the families of the three men. The Coast Guard has concluded its investigation into the sinking and determined it was rammed by a barge, which almost immediately capsized the Linda E.

    It's likely Weborg, Matta and Olson were inside the boat, cleaning fish, and did not see the barge. Weborg had phoned Smith Brothers Food Service in Port Washington the morning of the day they disappeared to report that the crew would be delivering 1,000 pounds of chub. They were never heard from again.

    The fate of the Linda E. was a mystery for more than a year until a Navy ship found it last June in 260 feet of water 7 miles southeast of Port Washington.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Lee A. Unloads

    Thursday the Lee A. Tregurtha was unloading coal in Nanticoke. The Tregurtha began working the late season coal shuttle from Ohio to Nanticoke in mid-January and was expected to enter lay-up early this month. Demand for coal at the Ontario Hydro power plant in Nanticoke has kept a few vessels running late into the season. The Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to lay-up in Detroit at Rouge Steel.

    Bow view unloading at the Nanticoke East Dock.
    Stern view.
    Close up of the pilot house. Noticeably absent from the pilothouse are the battle ribbons the vessel earned as a tanker in World War II.

    Reported by: Dave Otterman

    Anderson on Last Trip

    The Arthur M. Anderson is on its final trip of the season carrying a load of coal to from Conneaut, OH. to Courtright, Ont. At 1:00 a.m. the vessel was upbound at the St. Clair Crib Light heading for the Lambton power station. The Anderson is expected to finish unloading Friday afternoon and arrive for lay-up at Bay Ship in Sturgeon Bay, WI. on Sunday morning.

    Cleveland Update

    The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay was berthed at the 9th District headquarters Thursday morning. Wednesday the Biscayne Bay worked with commercial tugs and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley assisting three vessels into Conneaut and Ashtabula.

    Another Coast Guard vessel was berthed at the lakefront docks Thursday, possibly the Bramble in for repairs as reported yesterday.

    The cement carrier Alpena is having work done on its self unloading equipment during lay-up. A large crane was moving some machinery into position above the unloading gear Thursday morning.

    Reported by: Rex Cassidy

    Welland Canal Update

    Work continues at a fast pace in the Welland Canal. Port Weller Dry Docks is busy with the conversion of the former Louis R. Desmarais to a SeawayMax laker and the widening and modification of the Tadoussac. No new name has been announced for the former Desmarais and is expected to remain secret until this spring.

    Out side Port Weller Dry Docks, the canal has been drained between Locks 1 and 2 for maintenance and repairs. The former forebody of the Desmarais rests on the bottom at the fit out wall.

    Port Weller Dry Docks with an empty canal.
    The former hull of the Desmarais rests on the bottom.
    Close up of the hull.
    Bridge 1 and Lock 1.
    Looking down the canal to Lock 2.

    Reported by: Jason Junge

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 02

    On February 2, 1981 ARTHUR SIMARD grounded in the St. Lawrence River on her way from Montreal to Sept Iles, Que. with a cargo of diesel oil and suffered extensive bottom damage.

    The SAMUEL MATHER (6) (a) PILOT KNOB (1) had her keel laid February 2, 1942.

    February 2, 1939 - The CHIEF WAWATAM went to the shipyard to have a new forward shaft and propeller placed.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

    Jackman Stopped by Ice

    Wednesday the Capt. Henry Jackman departed the Rouge River in Detroit and sailed upbound for Goderich, Ont. Heavy ice in lower Lake St. Clair stopped the Jackman.

    Last night the vessel reported it was stopped near Light 1 due to a large sheet of plate ice moving across channel. At 8:00 p.m. the Jackman had turned to head for the Belle Island anchorage, unable to get through the ice. The vessel was expected to wait in the anchorage for Mackinaw who is expected to escort the tug John Spence upbound in this morning.

    Once underway the Jackman will stop for fuel at Sarnia and then sail for Goderich to load salt for Chicago.

    Reported by: Philip Nash

    Coal Run

    Wednesday morning the Arthur M. Anderson was sailing for Lake Erie after unloading at the Lambton Power Station in Courtright, Ont. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw escorted her. The Anderson is scheduled to take her final load from Conneaut, OH. to Lambton and then sail for Sturgeon Bay, WI. and winter lay-up

    The Canadian Transport is expected to make a final trip to the Lambton Power Station and then three trips on the Lake Erie coal run to Nanticoke.

    Pictures from the WDIV Detroit Web Cam
    The Mackinaw heading downbound Wednesday afternoon.
    Bow of the Anderson slips into view.

    Reported by: Dave Wobser

    Bethlehem to Sell Share of Hibbing

    Bethlehem Steel said Jan. 31 that it wants to sell its share of Hibbing Taconite Co., a major producer of taconite pellets located near Hibbing, Minn., a Duluth TV station reported.

    Bethlehem owns 70 percent of Hibbing Taconite, while Cleveland-Cliffs and Stelco each own about 15 percent. Officials of Bethlehem reportedly announced they intention to sell during a conference call with executives of Cliffs and Stelco.

    According to the TV report, Bethlehem plans to sell three properties in an attempt to return to its core business of making steel.

    Hibbing Taconite ships pellets through the BNSF ore dock in Superior aboard its vessels Burns Harbor and Stewart J. Cort.

    Reported by: Al Miller

    Toledo Update

    On Tuesday the John J. Boland entered the Toledo Ship Repair drydock for survey and miscellaneous repairs. She will be on the dry dock for several weeks. The "G" tugs Illinois and Louisiana assisted the Boland into the drydock.

    The barge Kellstone I was finally removed from the small drydock at the shipyard. The barge with the tugs Frank Palladino and James Palladino were scheduled to depart Wednesday morning for Sandusky, Oh. for winter lay-up. In November the tug James Palladino and barge were departing the Kelley's Island Stone Dock on their third voyage together hauling limestone to Cleveland. The barge ran aground about five hundred feet off the dock, causing damage. The barge arrived for repairs later in the month but crews at the shipyard were not able to refloat the barge due to low water levels.

    There has been no tug and barge traffic into Toledo during the past week to load petroleum cargoes. It appears that Toledo's tug and barge traffic may be finished for the season and will start again in March.

    Reported by: Jim Hoffman

    Griffon Calls it a Season

    The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon entered lay-up in Amherstburg, Ont. on Wednesday after a busy winter of ice breaking. The vessel reported that they expected to remain in winter lay-up until March 15.

    The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay will take over the Griffon's ice breaking duties in the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers.

    Reported by: Dave Wobser

    Today in Great Lakes History - February 01

    On February 1, 1990 the MESQUITE was officially decommissioned.

    In February 1951 the b) CHARLES M. WHITE was towed from the James River with two other C4s, LOUIS McHENRY HOWE and SCOTT E. LAND, to the Maryland Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, MD to be converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier according to plans designed by J.J. Henry & Co., New York, NY.

    The steamer R. J. GORDON was sold to M. K. Muir of Detroit on 1 February 1883.

    In 1904 the ANN ARBOR NO. 1 found the rest of the fleet stuck in the ice outside Manitowoc. She made several attempts to break them loose, she became stuck there herself with the others for 29 days.

    In 1917 the ANN ARBOR NO. 6 (later ARTHUR K. ATKINSON) arrived Frankfort on her maiden voyage. The entire town turned out to welcome her.

    On 1 February 1886, Captain Henry Hackett died in Amherstburg, Ontario at the age of 65. He and his brother, J. H. Hackett, organized the Northwestern Transportation Company in 1869.

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

    This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history
    Please e-mail if you would like to contribute a significant event in Great Lakes history

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