Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Great Lakes-built Ambassador Drydocked at Halifax

Ambassador (formerly Algosea, Ambassador and Canadian Ambassador, built at Port Weller in 1983, arrived in Halifax Feb. 28 and entered the floating drydock for unspecified repairs.

The vessel is operated by in saltwater service by Marbulk Shipping Inc., and managed by CSL International.

Reported by: Mac Mackay

Algoma Central Blames Taxes for Lack of Profit

Algoma Central Corp. is blaming increases in Ontario corporate income taxes for wiping out much of its fourth-quarter profit, according to a recent story in the Toronto Star.

The company, which operates a fleet of vessels mainly within the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway and on Canada's East Coast, said it made only $36,000, or one cent a share, in the three-month period ended Dec. 31. That compares with a $11.7-million, $3.02-a-share profit made in the same 2002 quarter.

Quarterly revenue was essentially flat, totaling $89.7 million, up slightly from $89.5 million in the previous year. But the company also recorded $5.8 million in income tax adjustments and $1.2 million in income tax expenses on an unrealized foreign exchange gain that were not included in income. The balance of the difference results from increased operating costs and reduced operating days for its bulk cargo and tanker fleets.

Ontario's Liberal government increased the provincial corporate income tax rate from 12.5 per cent to 14 per cent effective Jan. 1, and deferred future corporate tax rate decreases that had been announced by the former Conservative government. For 2003, the company had a profit of $11.7 million, or $3.02 per share, on revenue of $279 million. In 2002, Algoma Central made $22.2 million, or $5.71 per share, on revenue of $281.9 million.

Algoma said its full-year profits would have amounted to $17.5 million without the provincial tax changes.

Reported by: Bill Bird

Winter Leaves Stockpiles Depleted at Marinette

As one of the more severe winters in recent years comes to a close it has left a large dent in stockpiles at local docks. Marinette Fuel & Dock which last season received one its largest stockpiles of salt, has shipped out nearly all of its salt by the end of February. Pig iron stock piles are also very low with some pig iron having to be railed in this winter to meet the demands of local foundries.

Across the river at Menominee Paper Co. the coal pile is getting low after a cold winter.

On March 15, the Ogden Street Bridge over the Menominee River will close for a little over a month for repairs and maintenance. The closure will mostly effect vehicle traffic but for a period of about two weeks will also be closed to vessel traffic.

The next Staten Island Ferry is expected to be launched the first week of May according to Marinette Marine. An exact date and time will be reported when the information becomes available.

Reported by: Scott Best

Icebreaking Underway at Buffalo

Last Friday morning the Buffalo fire tug Edward M. Cotter was busy breaking ice in the Buffalo River. She headed for lake around 10 a.m., and the turned around, heading up river as far as the CSX Main Line River Bridge before turning around to head back to the fire boat dock.

Cotter breaks ice on the Buffalo River at Hamburg Street.
Waiting for the shipping season to start: rail action at International Bridge, coming in from Canada over the Niagara River

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski

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, Steve Haverty, 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

Oglebay Norton Delisted from Nasdaq

Oglebay Norton Co .of Cleveland got permission Feb. 25 from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware to borrow up to $40 million to keep itself running while it reorganizes its finances.

The company said the money will allow it to continue shipping to customers and to pay employees, according to an article last week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Oglebay Norton's Marine Services Division operates a fleet of 11 vessels on the Great Lakes.

Oglebay also announced that its shares would be delisted from the Nasdaq stock market at the beginning of business March 3. The Cleveland- based company last Monday voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors while it reorganizes its finances.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

Federal Rhine downbound off Verchères from Montréal , Feb.18.
Tuvaq dounbound off Sorel-Tracy from Montréal to Halifax, Feb.19.
Tuvaq passing anchored Taxiarchis Sierra off Sorel-Tracy, Feb.19.
Cyprus flag bulker Taxiarchis Sierra (built 1985) at anchor off Sorel-Tracy awaiting a berth at Contrecoeur no.1 to unload. Feb.19.
Newly-built Finnish flag tanker Purha downbound off Verchères from Montréal. This is her 2nd trip to Montréal so far this winter. Feb.23.
Algocatalyst upbound off Verchères from Sorel-Tracy to Montréal, Feb.23.
Canada Maritime's newly built behemoth Canmar Venture downbound off Verchères from Montréal. Feb.23.
Montreal Senator shown downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.23.
Stern view
Italian built and owned chemical tanker Crystal Rubino shown while upbound off Verchères for Montréal, Feb.24.
British owned (BP) tanker Baltic Commodore (built in 2003) shown while downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.24.
Stern view

Reported by: Marc Piché

Today in Great Lakes History - February 27

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

Data from: Steve Haverty, 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

Sturgeon Bay Lay-up

James Barker and Ryerson
Another stern shot
James Barker prop and rudder. A bubbler is keeping the water open.
Ryerson stern
Tug John Purves
Arthur Anderson in lay-up. Note the small Bay Ship tug docked nearby.

Reported by Lee Rowe and Bill Rowe

New Ferry

Last summer the new ice breaking car ferry Arni Richter was placed into service across Death's Door at the tip of the Door Peninsula on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. The images below show her crossing the Door and into the harbor at Northport. Plum Island is in the background.

Arni Richter at Northport Dock

Reported by: Gerry Banks

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

Muskegon Readies for Arrival of Fast Ferry

Ground was broken Feb. 19 in Muskegon for the home of the new, high-speed ferry Lake Express, which is expected to begin its runs in June. Construction includes the estimated $1.6 million cross-lake ferry terminal, dock, vehicle ramp, shoreline improvements and dredging a 12-foot-deep shipping channel for the 192-foot ferry.

The Lake Express decision to locate the dock in Lakeside at Great Lakes Marina instead of downtown was a controversial move.

Supporters of a downtown site said the ferry dock was a significant lost opportunity for the city. But Lake Express' David Lubar told the Muskegon Chronicle last week that negotiations with the owners of the downtown Mart Dock were not successful and Great Lakes provided the best deal and location for the ship's operation.

Great Lakes partners John Bultema and George Bailey "rose to the occasion at the 23rd hour twice to provide an alternative site," Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington said at the groundbreaking.

Originally the cost was estimated at $1.2 million, but several things have changed, Bultema said. Great Lakes Marina had considered putting the ferry on the far west end of its recreational marina site, using an existing boat sales and maintenance building for the terminal.

When Great Lakes officials found out how large and powerful the Lake Express jet boat will be, it was decided that the ferry dock needed to be separated from the marina. Bultema said the change meant increased costs, with the need for a new building, extension of sewer and water service and new roads and parking areas. In addition, the equipment on the rear of the pontoons of the Lake Express catamaran, now being built in Mobile, Ala., changed to increase the draft by 2 additional feet. That will mean the boat channel and dock area will need to be dredged further at greater expense, Bultema said.

Local and state tourism developers are excited about the new business that is expected to be generated by the ferry, scheduled to start service June 1. Lake Express estimates that the new service at a minimum will bring 75,000 new visitors through Muskegon, generating $30 million in new tourism business for the state, Lubar said.

Interior image

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

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

Transport Desgagnes Adds Another Vessel

The Finnish-flag Camilla is the latest entry into the Canadian Transport Desgagnes fleet. The vessel has been renamed Camilla Desgagnes. A ro-ro cargo ship with two side doors, she has been used to mainly carry newsprint. Built in Germany 22 years ago, she is rated at 10,085 GRT.

On Jan.23, 2003, according to the April 2003 edition of Marine News, Camilla experienced an engine breakdown south-east off Newfoundland. The weather steadily detoriated and the crew of 16 were lifted off by helicopter and taken to St.John s, Nfld. Subsequently taken in tow 4 days later by the tugs Kigoria and Ryan Leet bound for St.Johns, the tow arrived on Feb 12, 2003. She had been on passage from Dalhousie for the U.K. with newsprint.

As of Feb.13, she was in dry dock at St.Johns undergoing repairs. She is expected to operate mostly on Canada's East coast.

Reported by: Rene Beauchamp and Jimmy Sprunt

Great Lakes Temperatures, Ice Conditions Moderate

On Lake Superior, temperatures are forecast to be above normal for the rest of the month of February. Ice growth is predicted to slow down especially in the western section of the lake.

For Lake Huron, temperatures are expected to be slightly above normal for the last half of February. No change is forecast for ice growth.

Lake Erie temperatures are also forecast to be above normal for the second half of February. Ice in the western portion of the lake is expected to break up first and spread eastward during the period. Some open water leads should develop in the western portion of the Western Basin.

Temperatures on Lake Ontario are predicted to be near to slightly above normal during the last half of February. The narrow bands of ice along the north and south shores is expected to melt during the next two weeks.

On Lake Michigan, temperatures are forecast to be near to above normal during the last two weeks of February. Some of the consolidated ice in northern Green Bay will continue to break up during the period however the extent will remain the same by the end of the month.

The large area of consolidated ice in the Straits of Mackinac may begin to show signs of break-up by the end of the month.

Reported by: USCG

John G Munson Lay-Up

Mid January the Indiana Harbor, Roger Blough, and John G Munson all came into lay-up the same day. The G tug North Dakota was breaking ice at Fraser shipyard in Superior, WI for the arrival of the Munson and the G tug Kentucky was breaking ice with the Coast Guard Cutter Sundew in the main channel.

When the Munson arrived at Fraser the North Dakota flushed ice away from between the ship and shore. The tug would start at the bow and use the wash from it's propeller to clear and area for the Munson. It worked its way from bow to stern half a dozen times. In-between trips the Munson would power up and move closer to the shore.

John G Munson arriving at the Duluth ship canal.
Passing the Indiana Harbor, Roger Blough, and tug Kentucky.
Approaching Fraser shipyard very slowly.
Passing beneath the Blatnik Bridge aka "The High Bridge".
At the Fraser shipyards.
Munson with the tug North Dakota flushing ice.
Powering up to move closer to shore as the tug comes around for another pass.
Tug North Dakota Breaking Ice before the arrival of the Munson.
The tug kindly stopped for this picture and to wait for the Munson to pass.

Reported by: Brian Peterson

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

Oglebay Norton Co. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Oglebay Norton Company announced today that the company and its wholly owned subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Operations will continue uninterrupted. Among the company's holdings are Oglebay Norton Marine Services, a fleet of Great Lakes self-unloaders based in Cleveland.

"For months we have been engaged in discussions to determine the best way to restructure while preserving the greatest value for all stakeholders," ONCO president and CEO said. "We ultimately concluded that it was not possible to adequately restructure our long-term debt outside of court protection. Filing for chapter 11 became the only viable option to complete the restructuring plan and preserve the value of the businesses.

"We intend to continue operations without interruption and fulfill our commitments to our employees, retirees and customers during the reorganization process. Our goal is to emerge from court protection as rapidly as possible with a new capital structure that will enable us to move forward on our strategic plan for the company."

While the company is in chapter 11, investments in its securities will be highly speculative. Shares of the company's common stock will likely have little or no value, and it is anticipated that Company shares may be delisted from trading on the NASDAQ.

Lundin said the company intends to continue to pursue the strategic operating plan it put in place over the last two years but has been unable to execute fully due to the financial issues it has faced.

Commenting on previously announced plans to sell the company's mica and lime operations, Lundin said management is in active discussions to sell the mica operations. However, he said the company has chosen to cease its efforts to sell its lime operations as nearly all of the potential new equity investors and new lenders have indicated that they want the company to retain the lime business.

A number of factors led to the filing. Beginning in 1998, Oglebay Norton incurred significant debt in connection with a series of acquisitions. These acquisitions, which transitioned Oglebay Norton into a diversified industrial minerals company, also resulted in a highly leveraged balance sheet. When the U.S. economy slipped into recession in 2001, the debt became an increasing financial burden. Over the past three years, the company has been impacted particularly by the decline of the nation's integrated steel industry, rising energy costs and adverse market conditions in commercial and residential building materials. Together, these factors resulted in decreased demand for limestone and mica from the Company's quarries and for the services of its Great Lakes fleet.

Despite ongoing efforts to cut costs, the company suffered operating losses of $18.8 million in 2001, $6.6 million in 2002, and $31 million in 2003. The continuing losses aggravated the already significant debt load. As of Dec. 31, 2003, the company had approximately $422 million in outstanding funded debt on 2003 sales and operating revenues of $404 million.

"We had hoped to achieve an out-of-court financial restructuring, but even with the best efforts of all parties, that proved impossible to do," said Lundin. "We now must complete the process under court protection."

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Rex Cassidy

Soo Locks to Tighten Security as Terror Threat Tops Tourism

11 a.m. Update
Please hold off sending a letter to your Senator about the proposed changes at the Soo Locks. We have received word from the Corps offices in Detroit and the Soo that the plans are being reviewed, possibly to be more visitor friendly. Additional information will be posted on this News Page as it is received. The review may take a couple of weeks. Thank you all for your cooperation. Dave Wobser

Original Report
New fences, Plexiglas-enclosed viewing platforms and closed-circuit cameras will be among $5 million worth of new security measures being installed at the Soo Locks this season under the guise of terror prevention.

In a meeting hosted last week by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Area Engineer Stanley Jacek and project engineers from the Detroit District Corps office outlined new security precautions being constructed at the Soo Locks and Canal Park.

Project engineer John Niemiec said that the chain link fence running along the MacArthur Lock will be replaced with a 7-foot wrought iron fence similar to the present fence along the Portage Avenue/Water Street perimeter of the Canal Park. The new fence is intended to slow down intruders who may try to scale the fence to enter the locks area and gain access to passing vessels. The fence will be a major obstruction to viewing by the more than 500,000 visitors who annually come to the Soo. The new wrought iron fence will extend from the far west end of the West Pier to the east end of the Corps Mooring Basin near Brady Park.

A second part of the project will enclose three sides of the three visitor viewing stands with Plexiglas, which will stop the conversations between visitors and ships' crews and also make photography considerably more difficult. Corps security experts believe the Plexiglas will stop people from throwing anything onto the boats in the locks.

Bollards and cables, similar to old-style highway guard rails, will be installed inside the present perimeter wrought iron fence. This is intended to keep bombers from driving through the fence to get to the locks. Other security enhancements include additional closed-circuit camera, motion detectors inside the fences and increased lighting. The lighting will be increased by changing the present high-pressure sodium fixtures with metal-halite lamps.

More than 20 representatives of the Soo Locks Visitors Center Association, the Lockside District-Portage Street merchants, and Soo Locks Tour Boats attended the meeting along with Soo Mayor Anthony Bosbous and City Manager Spencer Nebel. Most of those in attendance said that the new fencing and Plexiglas were unnecessary and would prove to be a deterrent to visitors enjoyment of the locks.

Niemiec explained the process whereby the security enhancements were designed. An evaluation of the risk factors at the Soo Locks was done by the Corps in January, 2002. Three items were considered the likelihood of attack, the consequences of an attack and the security system effectiveness. He noted that some 300 Corps projects around the country are considered critical, and the Soo Canal falls in the top 50.

The work is scheduled to be finished by this June.

Jacek also said that there should no change in the hours of the Visitors Center, and Engineer's Day 2004 will go on as planned. He noted that Engineer's day 2003 drew the one of the largest crowds ever, and no problems were noted.

Many of those in attendance, at last week's meeting, took exception to the proposed security changes and expressed opinions that the fence and Plexiglas would only harm tourism and do nothing to increase security above the present level. Tour boat operators indicated that they are knee- deep in establishing security procedures for their fleet to comply with new USCG security regulations and that the most obvious threat to the locks would be from a waterborne attack, not from the visitors to Canal Park.

Reported by: Dave Wobser

Stinson to be Renamed American Spirit

American Steamship Company's George A. Stinson will be renamed American Spirit sometime between now and fit-out. The 1,004-footer is currently in winter lay-up at Bay Ship in Sturgeon Bay.

The vessel was originally named after the former chairman of the board of National Steel Corp., for which the Stinson hauled pellets. National Steel was bought out by U.S. Steel last year. The vessel spent most of the 2003 laid up at Superior, Wis., but fit out in the fall to haul taconite to U.S. Steel's Zug Island facility at Detroit.

Pictures and information on the Stinson.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Cliffs agrees to sell former LTV Mining property

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has agreed to sell the former LTV Steel Mining Co. property near Hoyt Lakes, Minn., to Polymet Mining Corp., a Vancouver-based metals developer.

The deal includes the crushing, concentrating and warehouse facilities at the former LTV Steel Mining Co. Polymet will pay Cliffs $500,000 to maintain the facilities while Polymet develops a feasibility study over the next three years.

Polymet hopes to develop an 800-million-ton low-grade deposit of copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, cobalt, gold and silver. The deposit, called the Northmet project, is about five miles south of Babbitt, Minn.

"We've been looking to work with a party to redeploy those assets in a copper-nickel project, and we are excited about the Polymet project," Cliffs Inc. spokesman Dana Byrne told the Duluth News Tribune.

The price for the former LTV crusher, concentrator, warehouses and shop facilities was not announced. As part of the deal, Polymet also will gain access to roads, tailings disposal, water, electricity, rail service and offices at the former taconite plant near Hoyt Lakes.

Reported by: Al Miller

Canada Senator Update

Repairs to the Canada Senator's main engine were completed over the weekend. The ship sailed from Quebec harbor about 5 a.m. Sunday morning westbound for Montreal Gateway. She was expected in Montreal late Sunday afternoon.

Reported by: F. Frechette

Palmer Johnson Back on its Feet After Bankruptcy

Palmer Johnson, builder of luxury yachts in Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., has emerged from its recent bankruptcy. As reported in a recent edition of the Door County Advocate, the formal transfer of assets to British investor Timur Mohamed will take place later this month.

When the company went into bankruptcy last March, there were five unfinished yachts in the yard. Three of those were completed by a reduced work force, and the other two are nearing completion and will be ready for launch this spring when weather permits. In addition, PJ just began construction on a new yacht and expects to start another one soon. It is estimated that these projects will keep 150-160 workers employed.

Reported by: Ham Rutledge

Picture Guide Lines

The guide to sending in pictures has been updated. These guide lines ensure that images sent in are quickly processed and proper credit is given. Click here to view.

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

Algoma Tanker Launched in China

Algoma's Tankers' new oil/chemical tanker was launched last fall at the Shanghai Jiangnan Shipyard, one of the oldest shipyards in China. The 488-foot vessel, meant primarily for service on Canada's East Coast, carries the name Algoscotia. She is scheduled to join the fleet this spring, at which time the company's Algofax is expected to be retired.

This is the second tanker to bear the name for Algoma. The first now sails for McKeil as Capt. Ralph Tucker.

Algoscotia launching.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre, Jimmy Sprunt

St. Lawrence Seaway, Soo Locks Openings Set

The opening dates for the St. Lawrence Seaway have been released by the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority.

The opening of the 2004 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times:
Seaway ­ Montreal / Lake Ontario March 25 - 0800 hours (E.S.T.)
Welland Canal March 23 - 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 Soo Locks are scheduled to open at midnight March 25.

Reported by: Ron Walsh and Roger LeLievre

Container ship Canada Senator towed to Quebec City

The Liberian Flagged Canada Senator (Senator Lines) en route to Montreal from the French Mediterranean port of Fos sur Mer, experienced serious engine problems early last week as it entered the Lower St. Lawrence River.

Two powerful Groupe Ocean tugs were dispatched to rendezvous with the Canada Senator. First, the Tug Ocean Fox Trot met the crippled ship off Rimouski and was later joined near the entrance of the Saguenay River (Ile Blanche-White Island reef) by the Ocean Delta to assist in towing the Canada Senator ''deadship'' to Quebec City.

The CCGS icebreaker George R Pearkes stationed in the Saguenay River escorted the tugs and ship to Quebec City as heavy ice floes were present in the area. The CCGS Pierre Radisson took over once in the Quebec City area.

The Canada Senator finally docked in Quebec City at the Anse-aux-Foulons Terminal late on the afternoon of February 17.

It was found that serious problems relating to the main engine were the result of faulty lubrication pumps. Ship authorities in consultation with Canadian Coast Guard officials in Quebec City mainly Ice Operations had first projected to tow the Canada Senator ''deadship'' to Montreal to off-load its containers and proceed with the required repairs.

A tentative departure was planned for Thursday noon (Feb 19) but severe ice conditions observed between Grondines and Quebec City represented a hazard for the tow to proceed safely to Montreal.

It was finally decided that the repairs would be performed in Quebec City.

It is unknown when the Canada Senator will sail solo to Montreal harbor to deliver its cargo of containers. Repairs are expected to take several days.

Canada Senator in Quebec City Feb. 18.
Another view.

Reported by: Frederick Fréchette

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

Spirit of Ontario Embarks on Trip from Australia; Bahamas Registry Questioned

The twin-hull Spirit of Ontario ferry - sailing under what may be a temporary name and slated to offer service regularly between Toronto and Rochester, N.Y. - left Australia last Tuesday for a six-week voyage across the Pacific.

The ferry will transit the Panama Canal, the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lake Ontario before arriving in Rochester in early April to begin crew training and other preparations, according to the Canadian Press.

Service is expected to begin in May. The ship is designed to accommodate about 750 walk-on passengers, and up to 220 cars and 10 trucks and buses. Early test runs indicate the vessel will be able to make the trip across Lake Ontario at about two hours and 15 minutes.

A contest held earlier this month to name the ferry drew nearly 25,000 entries including Torro, Torch, Torchester, Rocco and Roctor.

Although the vessel has yet to arrive in North America, it is already generating controversy. Although it is owned by an American company, Spirit of Ontario will fly the flag of the Bahamas, which is raising concerns about safety. Shipping companies are required to register their vessels in the United States only when ships travel between U.S. ports. If the ship sails to a foreign port, in this case Toronto, the vessel can be registered outside the United States.

Registering in the United States ­ with its more extensive regulatory process and tougher standards ­ would have delayed the launch of the ship, according to its operator, Canadian American Transportation Systems. A company representative said CATS may seek to register the ship in the United States in the future.

Foreign registration, while commonplace in the international shipping business, raises questions about how closely the United States will be able to monitor safety, environmental and labor issues on the ferry. But the company, and some shipping experts, say the benefits, if any, are minimal in this case. The U.S. Coast Guard will inspect the ship. CATS plans to hire all U.S. citizens for its professional crew and staff. The ship, which uses water jets to propel itself, was constructed to pose no environmental problems, CATS says.

The foreign registration is also raising some eyebrows because federal, state and city governments involved have pumped millions of dollars into the project. The state of New York provided $14 million to help construct the $42.5 million ship, which was built by Austral Ships in western Australia. And $19 million alone has been spent building a ferry terminal at the Port of Rochester. The Toronto Port Authority is spending $8 million (Canadian) to build a ferry terminal in Toronto.

CATS says it selected the Bahamas because it is considered one of the more reputable registries and includes other high-speed ferries as well as major cruise lines that sail out of Miami.

Ed Welch, legislative director of the Washington, D.C.-based Passenger Vessel Association, said people shouldn't worry about safety because the Coast Guard will inspect the ship and CATS has worked closely with the federal agency. The Coast Guard already has traveled to Australia for a preliminary inspection and will conduct a final inspection when the ship arrives in Rochester in early April.

Image of the new ferry.
Spirit of Ontario website.

Reported by: Ron Beaupre, Roger LeLievre and Ron Walsh

Cotter Breaking Ice

The Buffalo Firetug Cotter was out breaking ice on Friday morning. She was inbound at the Buffalo River Entrance Channel near the lighthouse at 11:30 a.m.

Sources indicate a late March or early April start for product deliveries at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna. Those cargoes may be the first for the entire port for the start of the season.

Reported by:

Two sinkings at Toronto

The McNally Construction Co. tug R.C.L. 11 sank at Pier 52 Thursday night. Divers and cranes were working on it Friday. As well, a large wooden yacht sank at Pier 4 overnight, and an attempt was being made to raise it.

In other news, the ferry Ongiara, which has been iced in for several weeks, will resume service Monday when McKeil Work Boats' harbor tugs will break a channel to the island. Island residents have been bussed across the runways at the island airport and have been using the airport ferry Maple City since the harbor iced over.

Reported by: Art Church

Workboat Report

A report from the Dominion Shipyard on the East Branch of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia finds several vessels with Great Lakes connections.

Dominion has been awarded the contract to convert two former Erie Canal tank barges. BAY TRADER 195 (formerly the ALBANY SEARS) is in the yard now and undergoing conversion to a deck barge.

The Cleveland-based YTB tug MENOMINEE and LT tug SALERNO are in storage, as is the YP 678, a Sturgeon Bay-built wooden patrol boat. The 678 had sunk last month and was raised by Dominion. She is powered by twin 12-71 Detroits.

Dominion was also awarded the cleaning and machinery removal of the Duluth-built WW-II era buoy tender SPAR. The SPAR is owned by the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation and is part of a fund raising effort. Her engines will be used to repower a large push boat in the oil trade. For more information on this vessel, see Northeastern's website:

Recently stripped by Dominion Marine are the scrap tugs VINCENT TURECAMO, KINGS POINT, GEORGIA MORAN and fish boat LADY DEE. Several more are in the yard awaiting their fate.

The Spar sitting between the NOAA R/V Ferrel and tanker Bay Trader 195.
Classic rounded stern.
Crane rig in place and ready to pull the engines.
Burning out the side frames of the engine bed.
The Manitowoc 4000 crane has the first one on the hook and is beginning to make the lift.
Guiding the main up 4 stories, through a carefully cut vertical "tunnel".
Tight squeeze.
No. 2 main engine, an EMD 8-645E6.
Spar's generators were set on the back deck of the Ferrel while the mains were removed.
What was once the buoy deck is now the "garbage deck". What you see there is the interior of the tug Kings Point.
Kings Point gutted and sitting in the back basin awaiting her fate. Only last spring this tug was in beautiful shape and docking ships in Philly.
Dominion tug Rusty Pusher is used for shuffling boats around the yard.
Former Army tug GETTSBURG LT-1972 in lay-up.
The LT's have their original machinery still in tact and were used up until a year ago.
Large 3-chime horn up on the mast.
Georgia Moran
Vintage towboat Mustang.
Sitting together, laid-up.
LT tug Salerno.
Bay Trader 195
Unusual form of bragging.
The Dominion yacht club... well, sort of.

Reported by: Franz VonRiedel

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

Work on New Soo Lock is Moving Ahead

Detroit District Corps of Engineer representative John Niemiec said last week that work on the new lock at the Soo was proceeding. Some $2 million was appropriated for this fiscal year and work includes a ³limited re-evaluation of the existing report.² The Corps is working with the Great Lakes Commission, which will be the local sponsor, to coordinate funding from the eight Great Lakes states that would benefit from the project. The state's shares will be based on the annual tonnage each state ships through the locks.

The present design calls for using the north wall of the Sabin Lock, widening and deepening the Sabin and filling the present Davis Lock. It is possible that cofferdam contracts could be let in 2005. Additional work will involve deepening the approaches to the new lock. No completion date was given.

Reported by: Dave Wobser

Lake Erie Ice Rescue

Two Air Station Detroit HH-65 helicopters were back out over Lake Erie Thursday to rescue ice fisherman stranded on the lake. This was the second rescue in two days.

The helicopter hoisted six people from an ice floe approximately two miles north of Marblehead, OH in western Lake Erie. A shoreside reporting source reported seeing people out on the ice to Station Marblehead which was unable able to launch their boat due to the lake ice and the location was too far offshore for an ice skiff rescue.

Two of the eight people walked ashore while the HH65s returned the remaining six to a nearby state park in good condition.

Reported by: USCG

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

TUVAQ upbound off Varennes for Montréal, Feb. 8.
Two views of bulker WOODY shown in ballast while downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.12.

Early morning view of OOCL CANADA upbound off Verchères for Montréal, Feb. 15.
Quite a difference in size as the largest vessel on this part of the river meets a diminutive tanker off Verchères on a very cold morning, Feb. 15.
SICHEM PADUA shown while downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.15.
Ships that keep the Port of Montréal busy in winter such as the Canada Maritime container ship CANMAR HONOUR shown downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.15.

Reported by: Marc Piché

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

PBS "History Detectives" tackle mystery of Lake Superior landing craft

  A production crew from the Public Broadcasting Service series "History Detectives" recently visited Bayfield, Wis., as part of an episode aimed at uncovering the history of a World War II-vintage landing craft believed to have been part of the huge Normandy invasion fleet.

The Outer Island, believed to have originally been LCT 103, is still used as a workboat around Bayfield. LCTs -- the designation stands for Landing Craft - Tank -- were large, shallow-draft craft designed to landing heavy vehicles such as tanks on invasion beaches. The vessel was built for the Navy, which later sold it to a furniture company, which then sold it to Bayfield businessman Ed Erickson. It's now owned by Ken Dobson and berthed at the former Erickson Marina in Bayfield.

The television series attempts to clarify the hazy history of buildings and objects. The show's producers selected the Outer Island "case" from among 6,000 suggestions sent in by viewers.

Producer Annie Wong told the Ashland Daily News that researchers using the vessel's hull number are trying to pin down the Outer Island's full story. She said the Outer Island is believed to be the only craft of its class still in active operation out of the 1,500 built during the war.

"Part of our quest is to work out if this is actually an LCT," series producer Graham Judd told the newspaper. "Our quest will take us to an LCT expert in Washington D.C. He will be looking at photographs to authenticate it. We will also be going to various archives in D.C., trying to work out where it came from, and then if that's successful, we will try to work out where it was used."

One problem is that there are very few identifying features on the boat itself. "There is very little to go on, the only clues we have are this rumor that it was called LCT 103, and that it was bought by the Lullaby Furniture company," Judd said.

Wong said she cannot reveal what the researchers have learned. "You are going to have to tune in, in June to your local PBS station," she said. "It will definitely be worth it. We are very pleased with what we have found out."

The program airs Monday nights through the summer on PBS.

Reported by: Al Miller

Ice Rescue off Point Pelee

Crews from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit rescued four people from a drifting ice floe one and a half miles west of Pelee Point, Ontario Wednesday. The four were part of a group of 20 ice fishing when the ice they were on began to float off into Lake Erie when the ice around them developed a crack.

Viewing the crack, 16 of the 20 people were able to escape the ice using ATV's and snowmobiles, leaving four people behind on the quickly separating ice.

A helicopter from Air Station Detroit hoisted the remaining four people, saving them from the dangers of unstable ice and the cold water. One helicopter from Air Station traverse City and three from Air Station Detroit were launched due to the original estimate of 20 people stranded on the ice.

Reported by: USCG

Ludington and Manistee Activity

At least one local fish tug was active in Ludington last weekend, while modifications are being made to the stern of the Badger. It appears a portion of the passenger deck is being enclosed, and gangways may have been added on the sides of the car deck as well.

In Manistee, the Evans McKeil is keeping the ice broken in the harbor for occasional brine tankers. The City of Milwaukee is being repainted in what looks to be a very dark green, almost black. A Luedtke dredge was at the new home for the City of Milwaukee.

R.C. Anderson working through ice in Ludington.
Fishtugs in Ludington. Believed to be L to R - Judy (trap net), R.C. Anderson (gill net), Cierra (trap net) and Dolores (gill net) behind.
Stern on Badger showing new window frames.
Badger. Note the gangway on the car deck. Unclear if this is new or permanent.
PM 41/Undaunted
Evans McKeil in Manistee
City of Milwaukee being painted.
City of Milwaukee stern view.

Reported by: Tom Hynes

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

Nanticoke Plant Called Ontario's Biggest Polluter

The Nanticoke power generating station, a huge coal-fired power plant on Lake Erie's north shore, is Ontario's largest source of air pollution particles that cause summertime haze and respiratory damage, a recent study reported.

The study, by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, says that in 2002 the station led the province in emissions of particulate matter, the nearly invisible particles of soot that are considered the most damaging component of air pollution. Also that year, the station's total output of mercury reached its highest level ever reported, and much of the heavy metal was added to a landfill at the site.

Most of the plant's emissions are carried on prevailing winds to Toronto, other parts of Southern Ontario, and parts of New York state.

"Nanticoke is a major public health threat," said Jack Gibbons, spokesman for the alliance, an organization backed by municipal, public health and environmental groups.

The provincial government owns the station through Ontario Power Generation, which defended its record, saying the plant's emissions comply with government standards. "Nanticoke not only meets, but betters in most cases all of the regulatory requirements that we have for the plant," said John Earl, an Ontario Power spokesman.

Canada's new government has promised to shut the Nanticoke station in three years, even though it is the source of about 10 per cent of Ontario's electricity.

The Nanticoke facility receives most of its coal by lake freighter. From the Canadian fleets to U.S. thousand-footers it is an important destination for the ships operating in the coal trade.

Reported by: Ron LaDue

Sarnia Lay-up

Sidney E. Smith Dock - Algorail
Government Dock - McKeil Marine tug Tony Mackay; Agawa Canyon, Algoway
Cargill Dock - McKeil tanker Capt. Ralph Tucker; Cuyahoga, Saginaw
Bow view through the haze of the Nanticoke and Algosteel.
bow of the Nanticoke. Note the bow thruster tunnel at ice level behind the ropes and cables.
Hatch crane on the deck of the Nanticoke.
Nanticoke in the North Slip with the Algosteel rafted to her.
Saginaw all boarded up for the winter.
The Saginaw at Cargill with the Cuyahoga rafted to her. A fairly good size comparison of the two boats.
Capt. Ralph Tucker tucked tightly into the corner of the Cargill Dock.
Capt. Ralph's ice-breaking bow.
A look at the aft side of Nanticoke's cort nozzle.
The forward side of the cort nozzle.
Close-up of the prop on the Maumee.
Maumee and Calumet.
Bow of the Josh II, rafted to Mar-Vel-Ann.
Stern of the Mar-Vel-Ann showing her doors.
Bow look at the fish tug Mar-Vel-Ann.
The small tug Gordon's
Stern view of the Menasha from the end of the slip.
Tug Menasha from Gov't Dock.
Stern of the Macassa Bay.
Bow View of the tour boat Macassa Bay.
Sterns of the two Algoma boats. Note the differences that keep them from being twin sisters.
Bow shot of the Agawa Canyon at Gov't Dock with Algoway rafted to her.
Bow view of the Tony Mackay.
Josh II's stern.

Reported by: Gordon Williams

Montreal Lay-up

Algocen's engine room showing her four fairbanks diesels
Algocen's clean and spacious galley.
Algocen's, large lube oil tanks in the engine room.
Algocen's hold with work going on the tank tops.
Canada Maritime's Canmar Pride being unloaded of containers, when reloaded she will head for Thamesport, United kingdom.
CSL's Ferbec having some repairs done on the port bow.

Reported by: Kent Malo

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

Traverse City Traffic

Monday the tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrive in Traverse City to unload. She departed on Tuesday. She didn't appear to have any trouble getting in as most of the bay is ice free.

Reported by: Dan McNeil

Lay-up Departure

ALGOCATALYST sailed from lay-up in Halifax on the morning of February 16. She had been laid up since December 13.

Reported by: Mac Mackay

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

Ferry Ready to Sail for Lake Ontario

The new Lake Ontario ferry, Spirit of Ontario, is expected to leave the builder’s yard in Australia this week on its trip halfway around the world to Rochester, New York.

The high-speed ferry, built by Austal Ships, is expected to arrive in Rochester around April 1, depending on weather. It could leave Fremantle, Australia, as early as Sunday, according to an article in the Rochester Chronicle and Democrat Newspaper.

The ship, which will cruise several times a day between Rochester and Toronto starting at the end of April, will travel to Rochester via the Pacific Ocean and the Panama Canal. The ferry might stop in Washington, D.C., for a promotional event in late March.

Reported by: Tom Brewer

Great Lakes Trader Enters Lay-up

The barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce Van Enkevort appear to be readying for lay-up in Escanaba Sunday. The tug and barge was alongside the Joseph Thompson/Jr.

The Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort at the dock.
Bow riding high on the Great Lakes Trader.
Great Lakes Trader and Joseph Thompson.
Joseph Thompson, Jr., Great Lakes Trader, Joseph Thompson.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Tug Manitou Testing water

The tug Manitou has been working in lower Lake St. Clair for over a week taking water samples.

The tug is working from Windsor and moving up to lower Lake St. Clair to take water samples. The water samples are being tested for chemicals after last week's chemical spill in the St. Clair River. The samples are taken above the Detroit River where there are a number of city water intakes that are used to provide drinking water for much of the region

Reported by: Chris Hiller

Block final ship to lay-up in Sturgeon Bay

The Joseph L. Block was the final ship to arrive for lay-up in Sturgeon Bay last Wednesday around 6 p.m. The Block spent the night in mid-channel off its slip at Bay Ship and was escorted into the slip next to fleet mate Wilfred Sykes the next morning by the Selvick tugs Susan L and Jimmy L.

This year Sturgeon Bay is housing a total of 15 vessels including the Edward L. Ryerson.

Pictures by Jason Leino
Joseph L. Block and fleet mate Wilfred Sykes
View head on at Bay Ship
Another view
Close up of the Wilfred Sykes
Tour boat Fred A Busse at its dock
James R. Barker and Edward L. Ryerson rafted together
Bows of the Ryerson and Barker
Sterns of the Ryerson and Barker
Selvick tugs Jimmy L. and Susan L. return to their dock
Wide View of the Ryerson and James R. Barker
Joseph L. Block and Wilfred Sykes from the other side of the channel
Fleetmates Charles M. Beeghly and Lee A. Tregurtha
Variety of fleets and vessels at Bay Ship
Oglebay Norton and George A. Stinson at Bay Ship

C. H. Rutledge Ryerson and James R. Barker.

Reported by: Jason Leino

Small Boat Operator Wanted

The National Parks Service is currently looking to fill a vacancy for a Small Craft Operator. This is a permanent subject-to-furlough position. Tug boat and fuel barge operations are involved working between Houghton, Mich. and Isle Royal in Lake Superior.

Salary range is $19.32 to $22.53 USD hourly. Informational contact is provided in the vacancy announcement, along with primary position duties.

Visit and search for announcement # ISRO-DEU-04-20

Reported by: J. Callahan

Off Season Weekly Edition & E-mail Outage

The News Page is switching to a weekly format for the off season. Updates will be added on Mondays with any significant breaking news added as it happens.

I am rebuilding my home computer this week and will not have access for part of the week. Any e-mail sent will be held on the server until I get back online but I may be slow to respond.

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 fleet mates; 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

Detroit Traffic

Capt. Ralph Tucker after unloading brine in Amherstburg on 1/16/04
Tug Shannon with the Cuyahoga in the background on 1/24/04
Cedarglen in layup at the ADM dock in Windsor on 1/24/04
USCGC Neah Bay after escorting the Salvor & Tony Mackay from Courtright on 2/4/04
Tug Tony Mackay leading the way after assisting the Salvor on 2/4/04
Tug Salvor & barge KTC 115 delivering brine to Amherstburg
CCGS Griffon coming down . . .
then going back up in escort of the tanker Gemini on 2/4/04
Tanker Gemini on her way to Manistee, Michigan
Underground Railroad Memorial in Hart Plaza in Detroit. Ed Dwight sculpted this moving Memorial to the Cities of Detroit and Windsor, as well as to the State of Michigan and the Province of Ontario’s’ links in the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was a network through which slaves in America sought their freedom in Canada and elsewhere. The Memorial shows a railroad “conductor” and nine slaves preparing to take a boat across the Detroit River into Canada, where the slaves would be free. A complementary sculpture on the Canadian side of the river shows a Canadian Underground Railroad representative welcoming a male slave giving thanks and a female slave holding a baby. It also shows a small slave girl looking back toward the American side.
Front of the Memorial
Plaque describing the Underground Railroad
Many symbols of freedom (USCGC Neah Bay is on the left, USCGC Mackinaw is on the right in Dieppe Park in Windsor)
Sun sets over the Ambassador Bridge

Reported by: Angie Williams

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

Friday the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter Samuel Risley was working in the lower St. Clair River. The tugs Salvor and Tony Mackay pushing the barge KTC 115 upbound at the entrance of the St. Clair Cut became stuck in heavy ice. With the combined power of both tugs pushing on the barge it wouldn’t move.

A call for assistance was radioed. Responding was the Risley. Upon arrival the Risley passed the convoy then backed to the bow of the barge. Using her strong propeller wash the Risley had the ice moved and the convoy was on there way with one attempt. The Risley then lead tug and barge convoy to open waters north of Harsens Island.

Risley on scene.
Working on the bow.
Another view.

Reported by: Don Coles

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

Superior seeks to help grain elevator

Government and industry are teaming up in Superior in an attempt to help one of the nation's oldest operating grain elevators.

The city of Superior, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and General Mills are joining forces to try to maintain the viability of the grain elevator operated by General Mills.

Superior city councilors recently adopted a harbor development statement of intent, which establishes the city's priorities for harbor improvements for three years. The city also is seeking a state grant that could help BNSF and General Mills pay for a $1.3 million project to rebuild the elevator's dock face, which dates to 1900.

If approved, the company would pay about $269,600 and the grant would pay the remaining 80 percent of project costs.

The General Mills grain facility is one of the largest grain-handling facilities in the Twin Ports with a working capacity of 13 million bushels. About 27 people work at the elevator, which for the past several years has loaded the Kinsman fleet's ship.

Reported by: Al Miller

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

Superior Departs Lay-up

Atlantic Superior left layup in Halifax on February 8 and loaded at National Gypsum. It took until February 10 to complete loading and she sailed that evening. The Superior experienced engine troubles off Halifax. For a time she was drifting without power, but was able to make it back into port early February 11. She was able to sail again that evening.

Reported by: Mac MacKay

Tug and Barge Activity

The McKeil Marine tug John Spence departed her lay up berth in Sarnia last Wednesday along with her barge, the McAsphalt 401. The pair proceeded downriver to the Sunoco upper dock. The tug and barge are scheduled to load for the DTE Marysville, MI. facility just across the St. Clair River. The John Spence has been in lay up since late December.

Meanwhile further down the river in Courtright,ON., the barge KTC 115 was loading at the brine dock for General Chemical in Amherstburg,ON. The barge is being pushed by the tug Salvor and escorted by the tug Tony MacKay. Both tugs have made trips up to Sarnia in the last couple of days to resupply and take on fresh water.

Reported by: Barry Hiscocks

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

Lakers Reach Alang

02/11 Breaking News
The scrap tow of the Seaway Queen and Oakglen ended Wednesday with their safe arrival in Alang, India.

In October, 2003 the Oakglen was towed from Montreal by the tugs Seaways 5 and Lac Vancouver. The Oakglen was paired with the Seaway Queen at Quebec City, where the two tows were joined as one pulled by the tug Seaways 5 for their trip to the scrap yard.

The tow took a Southerly route rounding the Cape of Good Hope to escape the rough weather the North Atlantic dishes out that time of year. The tug Seaways 2 with the Mapleglen in tow reportedly took a severe beating in October transiting the North Atlantic. A towing company spokesperson reported it is more economical going this route with the two vessels in tow, the Suez Canal will only allow one vessel per transit.

The trip was not with out incident. The Seaway Queen experienced flooding after rounding Cape Town, South Africa. Her rivets started to pop and faced the threat of sinking. The tug Seaways 5 is a large salvage tug and carries heavy duty salvage pumps. These pumps kept the Seaway Queen afloat until her arrival in Alang.

The electric and diesel pumps were first used every 2 or 3 days as the Seaway Queen began leaking. The Seaways 5 would tie up alongside the Seaway Queen, spend a few hours pump out the water, shoring the vessel and then resume the voyage . The final week of the tow pumping was going on around the clock with a crew staying on board the Seaway Queen .

The trip from Dubai to Montreal to Alang took 165 days.

The next round of scrap tows are expected to begin with the tug Seaways 2 departing Montreal with the Algosound on May 4,2004. Seaways 2 is the tug that towed the Mapleglen to Alang last year.

Reported by: Kent Malo

Port Alfred, Quebec Update

February 10 saw a good deal of activity at Port Alfred. The Birchglen depart and two FedNav ships arrived. Federal Fuji arrive first and Federal Franklin arrive later that day Alex

Federal Fuji assisted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Martha L. Black.
Another view.
Federal Franklin.
Another view.

Reported by: A. Simard

US Army Corps Of Engineers Awards Ryba Marine Construction Co. Contractor of the Year

A Cheboygan, Michigan marine construction company was recently honored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a job completed on a Lake Superior harbor.

Ryba Marine Construction Co. was awarded the Civil Works Construction Contractor of the Year for 2002, and just recently received . Several companies were nominated from the immense Great Lakes & Ohio River Division for this award, but Ryba Marine was chosen because of the outstanding work Ryba did repairing the East and West Pier at Ontonagon Harbor, Michigan.

According to Alvin Klein, an administrative contracting officer for the Corps, Ryba's overall work was "outstanding."

He noted occasions where Ryba workers found deficiencies in the existing structure, notified authorities and corrected them in a timely manner, and another incident where a Ryba worker discovered a "bad weld" on some of the fabricated steel which made up the breakwall into Lake Superior.

"This ultimately resulted in all welds on the fabricated steel being re-welded," said Klein.

Despite some of the difficulties workers faced with this project, it was finished six months ahead of schedule.

The Ontonagon Harbor was in serious disrepair after years of beating in Lake Superior storms. Ryba President Tom Morrish said that the existing sheet piling that lined the harbor's breakwall was failing.

Klein noted that work on the harbor included removal of existing sheet piling with support steel, removal of timber crib structures, removal and replacement of existing tie-rods, construction of a rubblemound breakwater and relocating of the existing stone.

Ryba workers also installed a U.S. Coast Guard navigation light.

Klein credited Ryba workers for an "outstanding" performance for both safety and timeliness. In his nomination for Contractor of the Year, he stated "The contractor and all personnel were outstanding to work with on this project..."

He said that any and all issues, questions or disputes were brought to the attention of the appropriate parties.

"All were resolved in a highly professional, timely and courteous manner. All employees involved in this project were highly skilled, conscientious and safety minded, resulting in a high quality project brought to completion ahead of schedule and on budget."

Morrish said that Ryba employs about 40 people during the summer season, most of whom are from the Cheboygan area.

"We have exceptionally high-quality personnel who know the importance of completing a project on time and within budget," said Morrish. "Out employees are our most valuable resource."

He noted that the following people played a special role in making this project happen: Project managers Ralph Farver II and Zachary Morrish, project superintendent Jeff Armstrong and project foreman Jason Wait.

"We are most appreciative of this recognition and honor bestowed on this company," said Tom Morrish. "The cooperation on the part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Duluth Area Office was exemplary. The degree of success would have been difficult to achieve without the Corps help. The project was destined to succeed when everyone was willing to work together," he finished.

Ryba Marine has developed into a full service Marine Company that has been operating for more than 20 years, said Tom Morrish.

"We work on the entire Great Lakes basin and are now capable of doing everything marine based from transportation, design, pile driving, barging, and foundations," he explained. "People don't' realize what a large company we are. Although we employ a small number of people, we are one of the largest marine contractors in the great lakes region."

The Great Lakes and Ohio River Division coverage includes all of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and portions of Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Reported by: Barbara L. Brewster

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

Sarnia Lay-up

John Meyland
Calumet and Maumee at the North Slip.
Charles M. Beeghly proceeds upbound into Lake Huron after blowing a formal salute while passing under the Blue Water Bridges.
Great Lakes Trader passes some of the Sarnia lay-up fleet.

Algoway, stern view.
Barge McAsphalt 401, showing the rear notch for the tug.
Algoway And Agawa Canyon.
Stern view.
Algosteel And Nanticoke, stern view.
Algorail, aft cabins.
Maumee & Calumet, aft cabins
Nanticoke And Algosteel, bow view.

Raffle Winners

Below are the results of the International Ship Masters' Association North East Michigan Lodge Freighter Trip Raffle. The lodge would like to thank all those who supported the organization in this raffle.

1st Place, Trip for 4 an Oglebay Norton vessel - Richard Kuehne from Marietta Ga. *Ticket purchased through this web site
2nd Place trip for 2 an Oglebay Norton vessel - Kelly Allison from Grand Rapids, MN
3rd Place, $500. 00 - David Baake from Wonewoc, Wi *Ticket purchased through this web site
4th place, $250.00 - Jim Valasek from Flushing, MI *Ticket purchased through this web site
5th place, $100.00 - Roger Combs from Warren, MI. *Ticket purchased through this web site

Didn't have the winning tickets? The Port Huron Lodge is offering a chance to win a trip on an Interlake Steamship Co. Vessel. Click here for details

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 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.

In 1975, a fire onboard the CRISPIN OGLEBAY caused $100,000 damage to the conveyor and tunnel while she was laid-up at Toledo.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, 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

Alder Launched

On Saturday Marinette Marine side launched the U. S. Coast Guard cutter Alder.

Alder is the last of the fleet of 16 Juniper B-class, 225-foot sea-going buoy tenders, to be built at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard. The Coast Guard's Buoy Tender Replacement Project, a major acquisition to replace the WW II era 180-foot buoy tenders, began in 1996 when the Cutter Juniper was commissioned.

Marinette Marine also built fourteen 175-foot Keeper Class coastal buoy tenders for the Coast Guard. In October 2001 they were awarded the contract to build an icebreaker to replace the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw.

Mrs. Judith Hull was the ship’s sponsor and christen the vessel as Coast Guard Cutter Alder, breaking a bottle of champagne across its bow sending it sliding into the water.

With a crew of six officers and 34 enlisted personnel, the Alder is scheduled to be delivered to the Coast Guard Sept. 2 and should arrive in Duluth, Minn., the cutter’s homeport, later in the month. Alder is powered by two Caterpillar diesel engines enabling it to reach speeds of 15 knots as well as break through 14 inches of ice. In addition, it is equipped with an oil spill recovery system and some of the latest technology that includes state of the art navigation, communication and security systems.

Principal Characteristics
Full Load Draft.....................13'
Buoy Deck Area..............2875 sq. ft
Crew:...............................6 Officers, 34 Enlisted
Main Engines....................2 x CAT 3608 (Low Emission) 3100 Bhp @ 900 rpm
Reduction Gear/Prop.........Singleshaft, 10 ft diameter, Bird Johnson Controllable Pitch propeller
Crane...............................20 ton hydraulic 60 ft boom
Machinery Plant................Automated control w/ dynamic positioning and FDDI network

Ready for the launch.
Sliding into the water.
Just after entering the water.

Reported by: Wendell Wilke

Griffon Heads for Lay-up

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was crossing Lake Erie Sunday heading for lay-up in Amherstburg.

The Griffon was pulled out of lay-up last month as the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was tasked with recovering a downed plane on Lake Erie.

That recovery operation ended and the Risley is now available for ice breaking on the lower lakes.

Reported by: Chris Hessman

Sykes heading for lay-up

The Wilfred Sykes was expected to enter lay-up in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday or Monday. The Sykes has been running a late season on Lake Michigan supplying the steel mills on southern Lake Michigan with pellets.

Fleet mate Joseph L. Block is expected to enter lay-up later this week.

Reported by: Joe Granger

Birchglen Working

The Birchglen continues to keep busy while many of her fleet mates are in lay-up. On Sunday she remained in Port Alfred, Quebec after arriving in late January with a cargo loaded in Brazil. The Birchglen has been trading on the Atlantic since the Seaway's closing.

In Port Alfred.
Another view.

Reported by: A. Simard

Will you be 5 Million?

The counter on the main page will top 5,000,000 some time this week. Be sure to check the number as you log onto the Home Page. This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visits in October 2000, two million in November 2001, three million in September, 2002 and four million in June, 2003.

Please e-mail if you are the 5 millionth visitor. The five millionth visitor will be verified by checking the server log, please do not repeatedly reload the page.

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. The fire was started by a spark from welding that caused the tarpaulins stored in the hold to catch fire.

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

In 1899, JOHN V. MORAN (wooden propeller package freighter, 214', 1350 gt, built in 1888 at W. Bay City, MI) was cut by the ice and developed a severe leak during a mid-winter run on Lake Michigan. The iron passenger/package freight steamer NAOMI rescued the crew from the sinking vessel. The MORAN was last seen on the afternoon of 12 February 1899, drifting with the ice about 20 miles off Muskegon, Michigan. She was a combination bulk and package freighter with hatches in her flanks as well as on her deck.

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

This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

Ice Rescue on Lake Erie

Six people were lifted to safety Thursday night after they were left stranded on the ice near Catawba Island, Ohio.

The initial report, via cell phone, was received at 6:45 p.m. by Coast Guard Station Marblehead, Ohio, stating several people were caught out on the ice three miles west of Catawba, unable to return to shore due to an un-crossable break in the ice.

Coast Guard personnel from Station Marblehead and a helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit responded to the caller’s position. The helicopter crew made three trips to safely lift the six people and take them to the Port Clinton, Ohio airport. All six were in good condition.

Fisherman are reminded once again with warming temperatures and strong wind, ice can separate leaving them stranded on without any means to get back to shore. This is the third time in as many weeks that cellular phones have been used to notify the Coast Guard of people in distress on breakaway ice.

Reported by: U.S.C.G.

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

Marinette Prepares for Alder Launch

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay and the tug Erika Kobasic arrived in Marinette Friday afternoon, one day later than planned. The Erika Kobasic had some difficulty leaving Escanaba in heavy ice on Thursday. The Mobile Bay diverted from Marinette to Escanaba to assist them. The Mobile Bay arrived first with the Erika Kobasic trailing her by about a half hour. The tugs are in Marinette to break the ice in front of Marinette Marine in preparation for Saturday's launch of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder.

The Mobile Bay proceeded through the river with no apparent problems, but stopped short of Marinette Marine for a short time. There were two ice fishermen on the ice who did not move though they were less than 50 feet from the ice breaker.

The Mobile Bay continued on past them without incident.

The launch of the Alder is set for 10 a.m. Saturday.

USCG Alder on the ways
Another view
Two Bald eagles watch the proceedings
USCG Mobile Bay inside the piers
Approaching the Ogden Street Bridge
Stern view heading up river
Approaching fisherman
Fisherman don't seem to notice.
Erika Kobasic along side the Mobile Bay

Reported by: Dick Lund and Scott Best

Port Colborne Lay-up Fleet

The Port Colborne lay up fleet was completed early on Thursday when the Canadian Transport arrived at 4 a.m. to lay up at wharf 18-3. She was escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley. The pair had trouble several times in the ice.

Favorable wind conditions helped the Risley open the track and the tug Sea Hound assisted in the harbor. The John D. Leitch arrived late afternoon Thursday and made slow progress through the ice to tie up at wharf 18-1.

In Nanticoke the Canadian Olympic has entered lay-up ending the Lake Erie Coal shuttle from Ohio ports to Nanticoke. It was deemed to heavy to continue the coal trade. The Samuel Risley remained in Port Colborne Friday morning.

Reported by: Dan Tracy

Coast Guard Supporters Depart Duluth

The idea was hatched over lunch last October by two Duluth-Superior Pilot Boat Captains. Wishing to show support for the U.S. Coast Guard, they were considering making the 7 hour drive to Marinette, Wisconsin, in February to witness the launch of the U.S.C.G. Cutter "ALDER" (WLB-16). They mentioned it to a couple people, who told more and soon the word spread enthusiastically throughout the Twin Ports marine community. Soon, the local Ship Masters Lodge, Lake Superior Marine Museum, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Duluth-Superior Harbor Club and the Twin Ports Chapter of the Propeller Club signed on in support. Then late in October, a good friend of the area maritime community suddenly passed away. Tim Slattery, a renown marine photographer died in a tragic boating accident, but doing what he loved, capturing stunning and beautiful pictures of Great Lakes ships and the waterfront. There was no doubt Tim would have been in Marinette to record and witness the launch of the new cutter to replace Duluth's venerable "Sundew". In a gesture to honor his memory, it was agreed to call the bus trip the "Tim Slattery Memorial Tour". Between 100 and 200 well wishers shall remember Tim and welcome the first new cutter built for the Port of Duluth-Superior in over 60 years. Late Friday, two or possibly three full size Motor Coaches will arrive in Marinette from the Twin Ports to enjoy Saturday morning’s ceremony and launch.

Reported by: Capt. Edward Montgomery

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

Tanker Saamis Adventurer downbound off Verchères from Montréal to Québec City on Feb.1 with a cargo of 10,000 tons of methanol.
Stern view
Woody (the former NST Challenge) upbound off Verchères to Montréal berth 42, Feb.1.
Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Martha L. Black upbound off Verchères to deicing spar buoys along the main ship channel. Due to the recent deep freeze, many buoys became covered with ice which either tilted them severely or submerged them due to the added weight, Feb.1.
Another view
Kapitonas Marcinkus shown downbound off Verchères from Montréal with a load of grain, Feb.3.
Another view
Cast Prominence (the former Canmar Courage) downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.5.
OOCL Belgium downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb.5.
Chemical tanker Sichem Pandora (the former Sichem Malene) upbound off Verchères to Montréal berth 94, Feb.5.

Reported by: Marc Piché

Today in Great Lakes History - February 07

The HURON (4) was launched February 7, 1914

In 1973 the ENDERS M. VOORHEES closed the Soo Locks downbound.

In 1974 the ROGER BLOUGH closed the Poe Lock after she locking down-bound for Gary, Indiana.

Data from: Joe Barr, Brian Bernard, 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

Cliffs takes financial hit but expects better 2004

Cleveland-Cliffs reported that it lost $32.7 million in 2003, but company officials said strong market conditions promise improvement for this year.

Cliffs lost money in the fourth quarter even as its mines increased production of taconite pellets. Fourth-quarter results were affected by a $6 million loss for a kiln shutdown at the Tilden Mine in Michigan, a $2.5 million charge for employee restructuring, and a $4.9 million accrual for stock-based compensation.

Despite its 2003 loss, Cliffs did considerably better than in 2002, when it lost $188.3 million.

Pellet production at the six Cliffs-managed North American mines is projected to be strong this year, said Chairman and CEO John Brinzo.

Domestic iron ore and steel markets are strong and global demand for iron ore is high. Improved steel prices and solid steel demand should translate into domestic steelmakers operating at capacity, Cliffs officials said.

"We are excited about 2004," Brinzo said. "After three years of dealing with virtually the complete restructuring of our customer base, and remaking our company into a merchant mining company, we are at a point where our actions and a much stronger steel industry are expected to improve profitability for Cliffs.

"We are starting 2004 with a substantially improved balance sheet and a full order book," he said. "Thus, our prospects for this year are solid. We still need to work to increase profit margins and improve the competitive position of our mines."

Cliffs said all its Minnesota mining operations -- Hibbing Taconite Co., United Taconite and Northshore Mining Co. -- are expected to operate at capacity this year. These plants ship their pellets aboard Great Lakes vessels loading at Superior, Duluth, Two Harbors and Silver Bay.

Hibbing Taconite produced 8 million tons in 2003 compared with 7.7 million in 2002; Northshore Mining Co. production was 4.8 million tons compared with 4.2 million tons in 2002; and United Taconite produced about 800,000 tons after starting up in December.

In Upper Michigan, the Empire Mine produced 5.2 million tons in 2003 compared to 3.6 million a year earlier. A cracked kiln ring at the Tilden Mine cost the company $6 million to repair and dropped production by about 300,000 tons. The mine, which is expected to resume production in mid-February, finished the year producing 7 million tons versus 7.9 million in 2002.

Pellet sales in 2004 are expected to total 22 million tons, a 15-percent increase compared with 2003.

Reported by: Al Miller

Icebreaking Onboard the Griffon

Below are recent images taken aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon

Salvor assisting the Saginaw at the St Clair Cut-off, January 30. The Saginaw was light and this made it difficult for her to move through the heavy ice in this area.
Saginaw at full power behind CCGS Griffon in the St Clair cut-off. The Salvor was also assisting with the transit of the Saginaw.
Salvor and Tony McKay pushing a barge full of brine at Southeast Bend, St Clair river. Both tugs were required to move the barge or the transit would not have been allowed. January 30.
Close-up of the Salvor and Tony McKay. It’s an odd arrangement. January 30.
Algoeast upbound in the St Clair. January 31. She was being escorted by the Neah Bay.
James A Hannah caught in the heavy ridging off Conneaut, February 1. The Hannah had been stuck here for 2 days. This ice had been driven in by the wind and made passage into the harbor nearly impossible. The Mackinaw had been unable to get through the ridging.
The Griffon managed to get into Conneaut by backing through the heavy ridging. Not quite that simple though. First the Griffon worked in farther east then moved parallel to the shore to get to the James A Hannah. This took a mere 15 hours – to go about 1000 feet! Each time the Griffon moved back in the track to take another run at the ridge this slush filled the hole. Eventually the slush fills the hole to the bottom of the lake and is like trying to drive a ship through oatmeal. In this photo you can see how the slush takes the form of the Griffon bow and will not even collapse when the ship backs away.
Canadian Olympic inside Conneaut harbor with a full load of coal waiting to get out and proceed to Nanticoke. February 2. By this time the Griffon was inside the harbor and had freed the Hannah. Now the Griffon was trying to back out through the heavy ridging to allow the Olympic to leave. It took another 12 hours to cut a new track outbound. The Olympic could not follow the convoluted track the Griffon had cut to get into the harbor. The new track also filled with slush. The Mackinaw returned late in the day to help get the slush out of the track. The Griffon would get stuck for an hour or two in the slush, and when the Mac arrived she also freed the Griffon, although the latter was able to back up, just not move ahead. Near midnight the wind shifted to the south and blew the ice and slush away. While this was happening the Mac ran the track, all 600 feet of it, several times to make the slush move faster. About 2 AM the Olympic was free and heading across the lake with the Griffon while the Mac took the James A Hannah towards Ashtabula to free the John D Leitch.
February 3. Canadian Olympic arriving in Nanticoke to unload coal and lay up. The coal-burning power plant in the background.
Samuel Risley in the middle of Lake Erie. We had made a materiel transfer. February 3.
Neah Bay and Salvor and entourage downbound at Southeast Bend, St Clair River February 4. This was to have been the Griffon’s escort but she was unable to turn in the river due to the heavy ice and fast current. The current sets the ship onto the downbound side of the ice and prevents the Captain from getting the bow or stern into this ice. The Griffon eventually turned around at Willow Point.

Reported by: Paul Beesley

Mather Museum Seeks Volunteer Tour Guides, Speakers, and Educators For 14th Season

Represent Cleveland's exciting lakefront to kids, tourists, and fellow greater Clevelanders by joining the best volunteer crew on Lake Erie. The Steamship William G. Mather Museum at Cleveland’s North Coast Harbor is seeking enthusiastic and well-spoken individuals to become part of their Education Crew for the start of their 14th season as a floating maritime museum. Free training is provided and no prior knowledge of Great Lakes Shipping is required, although helpful.

Volunteer tour guides navigate the 618-foot flagship freighter's decks and steep ladders while guiding groups of visitors on an exciting trip through the ship's 55-year history as a working ore boat. Opportunities are available to work with children's groups, bus tours, and senior groups, as well as taking programs to area schools, civic groups, and other organizations like Cleveland Metroparks and the Great Lakes Science Center.

New education volunteers may register for spring training (March 22, 27, and April 3) to prepare for the Museum's opening on May 1st, however there are opportunities to join the volunteer crew mid-season. Training is conducted from 8:30 am ­ 2:30 pm at the Coast Guard Club next to the Mather on East Ninth Street and onboard the ship itself. Trainee volunteer tour guides (called "docents") receive a free Docent Manual and/or CD, plus get hands-on training with a seasoned mentor. Morning sessions with refreshments are in the heated Coast Guard Club, with lunch and afternoon sessions onboard.

Topics include: Mather & Great Lakes Shipping History, Education Techniques (Guided & Station Tours), Serving the Public, General Guidelines & Safety, and Conducting Special Tours & Activities. Each session will include a tour of the Mather with new docents leading tours on the last day. For those who like to surf the net, an on-line manual is available through the Mather's volunteer Yahoo group.

To register or for more information, contact Rob Catalano, Deputy Director, at 216-574-9053 or e-mail: You can also find out more general information on the Mather at its award-winning website:

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Today in Great Lakes History - February 06

The LORNA P. was damaged by fire ignited by a welder's torch on February 6, 1974.

ALVA C. DINKEY was launched February 6, 1909

The HALLFAX was launched February 6, 1962

On February 6, 1904 the PERE MARQUETTE 19 went aground on Fox Point, WI approaching Milwaukee, WI in fog. Engulfed in ice and fog, she quickly filled with water.

On 6 February 1952, LIMESTONE (steel propeller tug, 87'10") was launched at Bay City, MI. She was built by Defoe (hull #423) for Michigan Limestone & Chemical Company. Later she was sold to U.S. Steel and in 1983 to Gaelic Tugboat Co. who renamed her WICKLOW. She is currently owned by Great Lakes Towing who named her North Carolina.

On 06 February 1885, Capt. William Bridges of Bay City and A. C. McLean of East Saginaw purchased the steamer D. W. POWERS (wooden propeller freighter, 140', 303 gt, built in 1871 at Marine City, MI) for the lumber trade. This vessel had an interesting rebuild history. In 1895, she was rebuilt as a schooner-barge in Detroit, then in 1898, she was again rebuilt as a propeller driven steamer. She lasted until 1910 when she was abandoned.

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

Alder Prepared for Launch

The USCG Alder (WLB-16 Duluth) is being prepared for launching on Saturday morning at Marinette Marine Co. The main mast and stack were put on early this week. On Thursday the powerful ice breaking tug Erika Kobasic is expected to arrive on the Menominee River from Escanaba to break and flush ice.

Last year the Mobile Bay assisted the Kobasic during a winter launch, its unclear if the Mobile Bay will assist this weekend.

The Alder is the final vessel in the "Juniper Class" cutter that have been built at Marinette Marine. The next two launchings scheduled at Marinette Marine will be in May and November of 2004 and will be the remaining two Staten Island Ferries.

The USCG Sequoia (WLB 15-Guam) and Staten Island Ferry Guy M Molinari are currently docked at MMC undergoing finishing touches and trials in the spring. A replacement for the USCG Mackinaw is scheduled to be launched in early 2005.

Alder is scheduled to be delivered in September and while the vessel she is replacing, the Sundew will be decommissioned in late May.

At Marinette Marine with stack and mast added this week.
Wide view of Marinette Marine with Sequoia visible.
Another view of Alder being prepared for launch.

Reported by: Scott Best

New luxury ship to cruise Great Lakes, several familiar vessels scheduled to return

A new German luxury ship plans to join the Great Lakes cruising market this year, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The 337-foot Orion is designed to carry 106 guests in 53 staterooms and suites. Each cabin has a living room or sitting area, television with DVD player, CD player, Internet access, minifridge and marble bath.

The Orion is scheduled to make seven sailings from Montreal to Chicago or the reverse from June through September. The seven-day trips will include stops at Niagara Falls, Windsor, Manitoulin Island, Whitefish Point and Mackinac Island.

On each trip, experts will lecture on topics such as geology, wildlife and history. Inflatable boats will enable passengers to explore areas inaccessible to the ship.

Several other cruise ships plan to return to the lakes next season. They include:
--The 473-foot, 423-passenger Columbus will have three sailings in September - Toronto to Chicago, Chicago to Sarnia, and Sarnia to Milwaukee.

--The 328-foot French luxury yacht Le Levant will sail between Toronto and Chicago from May until mid-October. Stops include Windsor, Tobermory and Georgian Bay, Ontario; and Mackinac Island and Grand Haven, Mich.

--The 207-foot American ship Nantucket Clipper is scheduled to make an eight-day Lake Huron cruise and a 10-day Lake Erie and Lake Huron cruise.

--Grande Mariner and Niagara Prince, both just under 200 feet, are scheduled to make six-night Lake Michigan cruises beginning and ending at Chicago and including stops at Holland, Manistee, Mackinac Island, Sturgeon Bay and Milwaukee. They also are expected to make 10-night Lake Superior tours run between Chicago and Duluth, and include a visit to the Apostle Islands. Fifteen-night cruises will cover lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior as well as canals in New York and the Hudson River.

Interior view.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Detroit River Traffic

Wednesday evening the McKeil tugs Salvor and Tony McKay arrived at General Chemical in Amherstburg about 6:30 p.m. with a barge loaded with brine. Due to ice conditions they backed into the dock from upstream.

The tugs and barge were escorted across Lake St. Clair by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay. The Neah Bay ended the escort in open water at the southern end of Lake St. Clair. The Neah Bay tied up for the night in Windsor.

Following the escort was the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon. The Griffon also planned to stop at Windsor but instead turned to head upbound to escort the Gemini.

Upbound escorting the Gemini from Lake Erie was the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. The Mackinaw handed off the Gemini to the Griffon and stopped for the night in Windsor, docked behind the Neah Bay. Late Wednesday night the Griffon returned downbound for her base in Amherstburg.

Reported by: David Cozens and Joe Provost

Land Lubber Series

As part of its free, off-season "Land Lubber" series, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum brings a historic slide presentation to Cleveland Metroparks' beautiful Canal Way Center. in Cuyahoga Heights, on Wednesday, February 25 at 7 p.m. "Great Lakes Shipping Families" tells the story of the wealthy shipping dynasties that developed in the late 1800s to make Cleveland a major Great Lakes industrial port. Large sums of this fortune were given back to the city for philanthropy that continues to this day.

Water dramatically establishes the top and bottom of the state of Ohio. The southern border, the Ohio River, was always significant in developing that end of the state. Cleveland played a major role in making the most of the much vaster Lake Erie border. Familiar Cleveland names like Mather, Hanna, Rockefeller, Norton and Bradlee not only made their wealth in Great Lakes shipping, but continue to enrich the city with their philanthropy. William G. Mather himself was an early president of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Holly Holcombe, executive director of Harbor Heritage Society, which runs the Mather, will deliver the hour-long presentation. Call 216-574-9053 or visit for more information.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

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

Icebreaker Shuffle

Ice breakers in the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards were in motion Tuesday changing their area of operations.

The Canadian Olympic arrived in Nanticoke Tuesday morning escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon. After delivering the Olympic into Nanticoke the Griffon turned and headed upbound for the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was heading downbound for Nanticoke and will take over escort duties on the Lake Erie Coal Run. The Risley was recently release from her recovery mission of a downed plane on Lake Erie.

Tuesday evening the John D. Leitch and the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw were several miles out in Long Point Bay making very slow progress towards Nanticoke.

As the Leitch proceeded to Nanticoke the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw headed west with a final destination of her home port, Cheboygan, Michigan. The Mackinaw is expected to return to her duties on the upper lakes working the Straights of Mackinaw.

Each season the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards work together to cover various areas of the lakes offering the best possible icebreaking services regardless of borders.

Reported by: Lynda Otterman

St. Clair River News

The auto ferry connecting Harsens Island to the Algonac, Michigan dock stopped running Monday due to ice conditions in the North Channel. Residents of the Island are awaiting the arrival of a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker on Wednesday to help break a path in ice.

Late Monday night the Samuel Risley was escorting the upbound tugs Salvor and Tony Mackay with barge KTC 115, when the ice broke lose in the main river and clogged the channel, stopping the ferry.

On Saturday the U.S. Boarder Patrol and Coast Guard along with local authorities went out on ice in the old South Channel off Harsens Island and picked up a 40 pound bag of marijuana. Its valued street value was reported to be at least $100,000. The bag had been sitting on the ice in the river for almost three weeks. The bag was spotted by the U.S. Coast Guard who then contacted other authorities to help pick it up. Taking part in the effort were helicopters and a hovercraft.

Reported by: David Maize

Escanaba Still Shipping

The Wilfred Sykes arrived on a bright sunny Tuesday for a load of ore. The Joseph H. Thompson is laid up in Escanaba.

Joseph Thompson tied up at the dock.
Tug Joseph Thompson Jr.
Icy bow of the Thompson
Wilfred Sykes approaching Escanaba. Note the ice shanty in the distance.
Sykes bow pushing through the ice.
Sykes passing ice shanties
Wide view
Stern churning through the ice
Passing the Escanaba harbor light
Approaching dock through brash ice.
"Powering" for the turn.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

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.

On 04 February 1870, the Port Huron Weekly Times reported that “a Montreal company has purchased all the standing timber on Walpole Island Indian Reservation [on the St. Clair River…] A large force of men are employed in hewing, cutting and delivering the same on the banks of the river in readiness for shipment… The proceeds of the sale of timber on Walpole Island will probably amount to $18,000 to $20,000, to be distributed among the Indians of the island to improve their farms.”

In 1977 the ROGER BLOUGH arrived at the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain, Ohio for winter layup and a 5-year hull inspection. She had departed South Chicago after unloading on Jan 25th and the trip took days due to weather and heavy ice.

Data from: Max Hanley, Brian Bernard, 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

Griffon Works in Conneaut

On Monday the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was battling the ice off Conneaut, Ohio's harbor. The Griffon was working to free the Canadian Olympic which is loaded for Nanticoke but trapped in the ice choked harbor.

The Olympic has been stuck in port since Friday night. There has been no word on whether coal loading operations will continue from Conneaut. As of Sunday there were a number of shuttles scheduled between Conneaut and Nanticoke.

Monday night the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrived in port after the Griffon called for assistance. The Griffon had become stuck in the ice field and the Mackinaw worked to help her break free.

The narrow entrance to the harbor can become blocked as wind pushes ice into the break wall opening. As the ice pressure grows the channel can quickly fill as ice is piled on top of it self filling the entrance many feet below the water's surface. These conditions can quickly be reversed if the wind cooperates.

Last January the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw became stuck for a short time trying to open the harbor for the Capt. Henry Jackman. The Jackman was trying to enter the port loaded with salt. After spending a day trying to break into the harbor the ice pressure was determined to be too great and the Jackman headed to Detroit to unload.

At that time continued winds from the north had packed the entrance with a large ice field and the winds did not abate.

Canadian Olympic locked in the harbor.
Griffon arrives.

Reported by: Brad Webster

Amherstburg Activity

Monday the tug Salvor was upbound on the Detroit River pushing the barge KTC 115. The tug Tony McKay was following and expected to assist with ice breaking on Lake Erie. The tugs and barge were upbound from General Chemical in Amherstburg heading for the Courtright Brine Dock.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was docked at Dieppe Park in Windsor after finishing her recovery mission on Lake Erie. She departed early afternoon to head upbound and escort the tugs and barge.

Friday evening the McKeil tugs Salvor & Tony McKay docked at General Chemical in Amherstburg with a barge load of brine. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon returned to the Amherstburg base Friday evening for a very short stay. She departed upbound about two hours later.

Tugs Jerry G & Keewatin also arrived Friday night and remain docked at Boblo Island's mainland dock. The Boblo Island ferry, Courtney O continues to run from Amherstburg to the Island.

Reported by: Dave Cozens

Coast Guard hovercraft joins effort to clear river ice north of Montreal

A Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft joined ice-clearing operations on two rivers north of Montreal Sunday after thick ice caused flooding that forced the evacuation of dozens of residents. Ice, more than 1 meter (3.2 feet) thick, caused water levels to rise during the week on Riviere-des-prairies, between Montreal and Laval, as well as the Mille-iles River, north of Laval.

Twenty-three Laval families were forced out of flooded homes over the past two weeks. A number residents in the Laval-des-rapides and Ste-Dorothee districts have pumped water from basements and erected flood barriers.

Barges and mechanical shovels were cutting through the ice on Riviere-des-prairies Sunday and officials said water levels on the river had dropped over the weekend.

CP Rail commuter-train service to Blainville, north of Montreal, could be disrupted Monday as a result of the flooding. Ice-clearing operations on the rivers were expected to continue until at least Tuesday.

Reported by: Brian Harrison

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.

On 03 February 1899, the steamer GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller freighter, 182', 977 gt, built in 1895 at Marine City, MI) burned while laid up near Montreal, P.Q. She had just been taken from the Great Lakes by her new owners, the Manhattan Transportation Company, for the Atlantic coastal coal trade, The loss was valued at $50,000 and was fully covered by insurance. The vessel was repaired and lasted until 1906 when she was lost near Cape Henry, Virginia.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes

North Cracks

How cold is it at Thunder Bay? Cold enough to crack the hull of Algoma Central Marine's Algonorth, dry docked at Pascol Engineering.

According to shipyard officials, the crack was caused by a quick drop in temperature and wind chills that felt like -52 C (-61.6 F) early on January 22. The steel expanded, contracted and eventually cracked.

For the three weeks prior to the cracking, the Algonorth had undergone maintenance work, including welding, while in dry dock in the city. After finishing a welding job on the hull at 4 p.m. Wednesday, workers returned Thursday morning and discovered a crack more than six meters (19.6 feet) long.

It is believed that the extremely cold temperatures combined with the usual stressing of the vessel in a pumped out condition was the primary cause. The incident is similar to one last March during which the Upper Lakes Group's self-unloader Canadian Transfer also cracked during extreme cold.

Reported by: Tom Stewart

1,000 barrels of flammable chemicals leaking into St. Clair River

About 250,000 liters of highly volatile chemicals were leaking into the St. Clair River south of Sarnia, Canadian Ministry of Environment officials said Sunday.

The leak, from an Imperial Oil plant in the area known as Chemical Valley, was reported around 5:30 Sunday morning.

Downstream communities were advised to shut down their water intake systems, because the chemicals could make their way into the water supply. The ministry said communities on the U.S. side of the river, which were closer to the spill, would see traces of the chemicals Sunday afternoon but Canadian municipalities likely wouldn't see the effects until Sunday night. Methyl-ethyl ketone and methyl-isobutyl ketone, the chemicals released into the river, are used in the manufacturing of lubricating oil. While the plume was flowing downriver, the water supplies for communities along the St. Clair were not said to be in immediate danger. While the material itself is flammable, cold temperatures should help keep that risk to a minimum.

The ministry said it had testers in the area to collect water samples and had launched an investigation into how the spill happened.

Reported by: Brian Harrison and Roger LeLievre

Saginaw Reaches Lay-up

After spending much of Saturday battling ice, the Saginaw reached her Lay-up dock in Sarnia about 4 p.m. The continued having difficulty through much of the St. Clair River and even in Sarnia's harbor.

The Saginaw was escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon and tug Salvor. It took just over 24 Hours from Light X-32 in northern Lake St. Clair to Marine City. The Saginaw is docked at the West end of the Cargill dock and the Cuyahoga is rafted to her. The Cuyahoga had been previously positioned at the East end of the Cargill Dock.

Pictures by Rich Kelly Saginaw heading for the Cargill Dock
Working hard to break the ice in the slip
Combined lay-up images

Pictures taken Saturday by Duane Upton
Saginaw upbound
Stern view
Griffon upbound
Tony McKay
Bristol Bay escort the Algoeast
Stern view

Reported by: Jamie Kerwin

USCG Alder "Walked" Out

Marinette Marine moved the USCG Alder out to the launch area this weekend in preparation for its February 7 launch. Marinette Marine is a busy place these days with the USCG Alder ready for launch, the Staten Island Ferry Guy V. Molinari and USCG Sequoia already in the water and the newest Staten Island Ferry under construction being prepared for launch within the next couple months. Ice-breaking operations should take place toward the end of this coming week. Ice must be broken and then "flushed" from the launch area prior to launch.

Wide view showing all 4 ships
Close-up of the newest Staten Island Ferry under construction
Left to right - USCG Sequoia, USCG Alder, Staten Island Ferry Guy V. Molinari (also the tug "Escort")
USCG Alder on the ways
USCG Sequoia in the water
USCG Alder and USCG Sequoia

Reported by: Dick Lund

Ground Breaking Ceremonies

Ground breaking ceremonies are to take place Tuesday for Milwaukee's new $3.5 million high speed ferry terminal. The dock will be located just north of the Milwaukee Coast Guard station on S. Lincoln Memorial Dr. Service is scheduled to begin June 1.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

St. Marys River Traffic

Sunday morning at 9 a.m. the Algonova headed up the St. Marys River to the Soo bringing fuel oil with it. On Friday the Biscayne Bay passed down the river and spent the night at DeTour and went back up Saturday, thereby opening the shipping channel for her.

Upbound heading to the Soo.
Algonova shares the ice with some snowmobiliers

Reported by: Cathy Kohring

Milwaukee Update

Despite the near record cold temperatures of the past week there is still activity in the Port of Milwaukee. The Harbor Seagull, has done track maintenance throughout the week to keep a channel open for the local fish tugs. The Ruffy Kadinger has had to release its coal barge at times to break ice as it makes its way to the We Energy generating plant in the Menomonee River Valley.

The John M. Selvick under the command of its namesake, arrived early Saturday morning with three grain barges. Ice along the Nidera grain elevator made docking the barges somewhat of a challenge. Still the John M was underway "on the push" outbound for Chicago by 3 p.m.

Ruffy Kadinger at the forks of the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers.
The coal shuttle makes their way through the Plankington RR bridge.
John M. Selvick shifts a loaded grain barge at the Nidera Elevator.
John M on the push outbound for the lake.
Captain John M. Selvick

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

Toronto Update

With the severe winter experienced over the region, the Toronto Harbor is completely iced in. Most seasons the Fireboat William Lyon Mackenzie is used to break ice in these conditions but it is out of service having a major refit. With most Lakers moored in Toronto loaded with sugar it will be interesting to watch the when these Lakers will be moved to the Redpath dock when needed.

Algobay moored in the Shipping Channel in long term lay-up having been moved from the turning basin last fall
Algoville moored at Pier 52 loaded with sugar.
Canadian Mariner & Barge Laviolette moored at Marine Terminal 35 both loaded with sugar
English River Moored at the Polson St. Slip
Canadian Ranger Moored at Pier 52 loaded with sugar, head to head with the Algoville
"nadian" Venture Moored at Marine Terminal 35 on long-term lay-up awaiting its fate
Gordon C Leitch Moored at the Redpath slip waiting for its cargo to be off loaded.
Glen Levis & Atomic Moored on the south side of the Ship Channel at the Cherry St. Bridge.
Lac Manitoba moored astern of Atomic & Glen Levis
Montrealais Moored at Pier 52 loaded with sugar

Reported by: Murray Smith

Winter Work Warms New Gradel Tugs at Toledo

Even though frigid weather has the Maumee River locked tight, workers from the Geo. Gradel Co. are busy doing winter maintenance and preparing the company's two newest tugs, Josephine and John Francis, for the upcoming season.

Both tugs were brought in from saltwater this past summer through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Josephine, built in the Netherlands in 1954, is 87 feet long and is powered by a 500 hp Weerkspoor diesel driving a single propeller. Christened Glaucus, she came into the lakes as Sea Diver II before being renamed Josephine. The twin-screw John Francis, built in 1965, has 1,800 hp. She formerly sailed as Dad and Creole Eagle.

The Geo. Gradel Co., founded in 1903, also operates the tugs Pioneerland, Timberland, Prairieland and Mona Lisa. The tugs Mighty Jake, Might Jessie, Mighty John III and Mighty James, as well as the self-propelled push barge Mighty Mike, are all named present-day Gradel grandchilden. The fleet also includes a variety of spud barges, deck barges, dump and flat scores, and the drill boat TNT.

Josephine at the dock.
Josephine's engine.
Crew members Nate Reinbold (left) and Dale Kiellor work in the warm engine room.
Josephine's beautiful wooden wheel.
Aft part of Josephine's wheelhouse.
Nameboard proudly states Josephine's name and home port.
Josephine's bell reveals her original name.
Crew lounge and dining room on the Josephine.
John Francis at the dock.
Wheelhouse of the John Francis.
Crew berth, John Francis.
Front of the wheelhouse.
Nate Reinbold (left) and Mark Gradel in the John Francis' pilothouse.
Push barge Mighty Mike.
Mighty Jake iced in, with John Francis astern.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Toledo Lay-Up

View down the main deck of the Buffalo from the pilothouse.
Adam E. Cornelius from the stern of the Buffalo.
Another view.
View of the "Highly Skewed" propeller blades used on some ships. These have been proven to reduce vibration and cavitation making it more comfortable for the crew, as well as increasing speed, power and saving fuel. They are also known as "Banana Blades"
The normal propeller blades of the Wolverine.
An unusual view from the center of the bow of the Buffalo looking straight down.
Another view of the Buffalo
Stern View of Buffalo
Looking up at the Pilothouse from the main deck on the Buffalo.
Nameboard and Smokestack
Courtney Burton awaiting her fate at the Lakefront Docks.
H. Lee White Columbia Star through the cranes at the TWI dock.

Reported by: Tyler Brown and Kevin Davis

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

Montreal Senator ( the former Cast Power recently renamed) downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Jan.24, 2004.
Another view
A wide view of the dock area of Verchères on a cold blustery day with private vehicles and ice fishermen on the 3 foot thick ice cover and with Montreal Senator in the background, Jan.24.
Newly-built Finnish flag tanker Purha shown while downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Jan.28.
Another view

Reported by: Marc Piché

Port Everglades, Florida

The port has been quite busy, generally there is something moving in the harbor at all times. Pictures from January 23.

Caronia, last of the British built liners being supplied for a 34 day South American voyage. Her last visit to Port Everglades will be in march for a voyage to Southampton where she will be turned over to new owners.
Olympia Voyager, a two year old vessel under arrest in bankruptcy has now been moved to Miami to be auctioned off.
Another view of Olympia Voyager.
Container ship CSCL Tianjin entering the harbor.
Regal Empress and Sun Princess bound for sea.
Mega yacht with it's helicopter lifting off its deck.
Handsome wooden yacht inbound the port.
Ro-Ro Stena Timer inbound.
Wooden fishing vessel Papas Pride.
Holland America Liner Zuiderdam outbound for sea.
Containership SCAV Atlanta inbound.
Yacht Turmoil on Drydock.
Seven Seas Navigator is converted from a Russian supply vessel.

Reported by: Bill Hoey

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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

Oglebay Norton warns bankruptcy possible, Crews Explore Employee Buy Out

Oglebay Norton announced Friday that it might not be able to accomplish restructuring goals without bankruptcy.

Michael D. Lundin, president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement Friday the company has sufficient liquidity to continue operation but is unable to make an interest payment due Monday on senior subordinated 10 percent notes that mature in 2009.

"This situation does not affect our ability to pay our employees or vendors or serve our customers," Lundin said.

Oglebay Norton shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market closed Friday up 8 cents, or nearly 2 percent, to $4.18, continuing a substantial price recovery from a low point of $1.10 on Aug. 13. The company's warning Friday came about two hours after the market's closing.

Oglebay Norton's statement said that if it seeks protection from creditors through bankruptcy, its common stock "will likely have little or no value."

The company also said its management and its financial and legal advisors are in discussion with its banks and note holders.

The company has reported its 2003 financial results through nine months. In that period, it had an operating loss of about $2.4 million compared with operating income of $31.5 million in the same period of 2002. Net loss for the first nine months of 2003 was $23.3 million, or $4.57 per share, compared with net income of $74,000, 1 cent per share, the first nine months in 2002.

Oglebay Norton had its beginnings as an iron ore company to 1854. In 1890 it took over the management and operation of John D. Rockefeller's iron ore properties in Minnesota. The firm of Tuttle, Oglebay and Company was dissolved on May 1, 1890, and it was succeeded by the partnership of Oglebay, Norton and Company.

Oglebay Norton mines, processes, transports and sells industrial minerals and aggregates through its three business segments: Great Lakes Minerals, Global Stone and Performance Minerals.

Great Lakes Minerals mines and distributes limestone and also operates a fleet of self-unloading vessels on the Great Lakes. Those 13 vessels transport limestone, coal and iron ore.

Global Stone mines and processes limestone and manufactures lime at seven U.S. locations.

Performance Minerals mines and processes industrial sands and mica.

Oglebay, saddled with debt, has been trying to sell pieces of its business to pay lenders and restructure its operations.

An news report by the Associated Press reports that merchant seamen aboard Oglebay Norton ships are investigating whether they can buy the marine services division of the company.

Robert Woodman, president of the employee group and a second mate on the Fred R. White Jr., said in a statement that the association has not made a formal bid but expressed its interest and asked to be included in anything that happens to the unit.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Tim & Karen Zehe

Escanaba Update

The Wilfred Sykes and Joseph L. Block both came into Escanaba to load ore on Saturday. The Great Lakes Trader is expected on Sunday. The Joseph Thompson is laid up in Escanaba. Schedules subject to change.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

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.

In 1972 the ENDERS M. VOORHEES locked through the Poe Lock downbound, closing the Soo Locks for the season.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Brian Bernard, 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

News Archive - August 1996 to present

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