Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News


State grants $4 million for harbor work

2/29 - Madison – Two harbor projects are getting a helping hand from the state of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle Thursday morning announced $4 million in Wisconsin Harbor Assistance Program funding for projects on the Superior harbor. The program assists harbor communities on the Great Lakes and Mississippi River improve and maintain waterborne commerce. It helps fund port projects such as dock reconstruction, mooring replacement, dredging and construction of facilities to hold dredge materials.

“When you come to Superior Days you should always get something, and this is a big one,” Doyle told the Superior Days delegation. “I am pleased to announce that through the Harbor Assistance Program, we are providing the city of Superior with another $4 million to make improvements.

The city sought almost $2.6 million through the program to help CLM Corp. make dock wall repairs costing $3.2 million. The balance will be paid by CLM.

Wisconsin’s grant complements a $36 million expansion project that created a fifth kiln to manufacture lime products used in paper production, power plant pollution control, water and sewage treatment, steel production and ore processing. The privately-funded project got underway last year to meet a growing demand for the company’s product worldwide.

Cenex-Harvest States Grain Elevators. beneath the Blatnik Bridge, will receive a $1.7 million to repair dock walls. Superior applied for more almost $1.4 million in Harbor Assistance Program money to support the project. Overall, “this is $5 million of investment in our future. It’s a good thing for Superior,” said Port and Planning Director Jason Serck.

It’s no different from the city seeking and receiving grants to help Burlington Northern-Santa Fe in 2005 and Hallett Dock last year, he said. The $1.1 million grant for Burlington Northern-Santa Fe helped maintain the viability of the General Mills Elevator, one of the oldest grain facilities in the nation. The dock was in need of repair after it had been damaged by a ship in 2001.

Last year, the Harbor Assistance Program contributed $1.4 million to a $1.7 million dock stabilization and dredging project for Hallett Dock No. 8, after the company invested more than $2 million in other improvements to its facility in Superior.

“The Port of Superior is the Great Lakes largest harbor,” Doyle said. “It’s a critical part of Wisconsin’s and the Great Lakes area economy, supporting job growth throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.”

From the Superior Daily Telegram


Local governments pay $15B on Great Lakes protection

2/29 - Traverse City, Mich.  Local governments devote about $15 billion annually on Great Lakes environmental programs and the U.S. and Canadian governments isn’t paying their fair share, a new report says. The national governments need to step up and invest more in protecting and restoring the world’s largest surface freshwater system from sewage overflows, invasive species, toxic pollution and other problems, the report says.

“Our study shows that local governments are pulling their weight and more,” Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry said. By contrast, he added, the federal government has “a significant investment deficit.”

Released Wednesday in Washington, D.C., the study was conducted by the Great Lakes Commission and the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The commission represents governors, legislators and state agencies, while the cities group includes mayors and other local officials. The findings came from a 2006 survey in which 143 local governments in both countries participated.

By extrapolating to include all 688 local governments in the Great Lakes region, the report estimates their annual spending at $12 billion for water quality management. They spend about $3 billion more for related activities such as recycling and green space protection. The federal contribution is “not even close” to that amount, said David Ullrich, executive director of the cities group, acknowledging the federal total was unclear. “It’s been a very difficult number to get a handle on,” he said.

President Bush in 2004 ordered development of a strategy for protecting and restoring the lakes. Government agencies, Indian tribes and interest groups produced a wide-ranging plan that would cost about $20 billion. But advocates say Washington isn’t paying its fair share.

Bush’s proposed fiscal 2009 budget would cut spending for Great Lakes water quality by 16 percent from this year. It also would reduce by nearly one-fifth the region’s federal allocation for upgrading sewer systems. Nationwide, federal wastewater treatment assistance has fallen by nearly half since 2004. A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, the lead federal agency on Great Lakes programs, had no immediate reaction.

Advocates from the eight Great Lakes states are lobbying Congress this week to put more in the budget for region’s waters.

The Canadian government has committed $40 million over five years for areas of special concern in the Great Lakes but should do more, Toronto Mayor David Miller told the Canadian Press.

From WBAY-TV, Green Bay


Updates - February 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated. The pilothouse has been removed.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised. Read these before you submit News photos.


Salt in Short Supply

2/28 - Salt is in short supply in communities around the Great Lakes region, thanks to a tougher-than-usual winter. Municipalities are struggling to replenish depleted stockpiles, but demand is still outstripping supply. The need is so acute that two vessels - Algomarine and Canadian Olympic - have skipped winter lay- up and are continuing to operate, hauling salt from Goderich, Ont., to ports on Lake Michigan and Detroit.

Normally the difficult areas of ice are found at the Straits of Mackinac and off Goderich. This year the ice in the Calumet River is also becoming a problem.

Transits through the ice this season have been manageable thanks to the efforts of the U. S. and Canadian Coast Guards. In ice breaking operations the agencies work together to cover regions regardless of political lines. The Canadian Coast Guard ships Samuel Risley and Griffon, along with the U.S. Coast Guard's Mackinaw, Katmai Bay, Biscayne Bay, Neah Bay, Hollyhock and others have made short work of the ice, helping keep the salt moving.

The Great Lakes shipping season officially gets underway the third and fourth weeks of March, with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Soo Locks.


Port Report - February 28

Detour, MI - Cathy Kohring
The frozen St. Mary's River at DeTour was a busy place Wednesday. The Canadian Olympic came inbound around 11 p.m. presumably with a load of salt for the Sault. Shortly after that she passed the Algoeast was downbound and passed DeTour around noon. The Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay was also assisting in keeping the shipping channel open. There was an unidentified tug and barge stopped in the shipping channel for almost two days before it finally proceeded outbound DeTour around 9a.m. Wednesday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler and Jacob Smith
After a run down to Sarnia for fuel, Algomarine made her way into port on Wednesday afternoon. She was on the Sifto Salt dock at 2 p.m. She was assisted by USCGC Neah Bay(105), who had docked overnight, and the MacDonald Marine tugs. The outer harbour and channel are ice free at this point after some northeasterly breezes.

Toledo - Ron Piskor
On Saturday the Algosteel was moved from the dry dock at the Toledo Shipyard. Repairs were completed to her rudder and the vessel will winter in Toledo. Two G Tugs assisted the move into a river jammed with wind driven ice. The Algosteel was moved from the shipyard to her winter mooring at the Port Authority in Toledo.


Port of Oswego Authority plans $3 million project

2/28 - Oswego, NY - The Port of Oswego Authoritythe first U.S. port and first deep-water port on the Great Lakes from the St. Lawrence Seawayis planning a $3 million project in preparation for potential cargo-containers from the motor-vessel Emma Maersk, the largest container vessel in the world, according to Executive Director Jonathan Daniels.

“The Emma Maersk is 170,000 gross registered tonsor about 10 times the size of a typical vessel, tonnage-wise, that calls the Port of Oswego,” Daniels said during last month’s Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce meeting. “It is 397 meters or in excess of 1,200 feet in length. We’re looking at more than four football fields.”

The Emma Maerks can transport approximately 7,000 40-foot containers. “If you put it end-to-end, it carries 53 miles worth of containers,” Daniels noted. “That’s a lot of cargo in one single vessel.”

The vessel, which became operational in 2006, is the basis for a new $300 million container terminal that is being developed in the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia on Canada’s east coast. Construction of the new container terminal is expected to begin this year with completion estimated in 2010.

“Why is a $300 million project in eastern Canada important?” Daniels asked. “The container distribution will be by two ways. One is through the Canadian National Railroad System, which is a major east-west rail route from Halifax, Nova Scotia all the way to Vancouver. The other is a series of feeder ports in the Great Lakes.

“So, if you put those containers on small feeder vessels, move through the St. Lawrence, and into Lake Ontario, the first port of call when you enter the United States and Lake Ontario? Port of Oswego,” Daniels said. “What they are attempting to do right now is locate a terminal on each side of the Great Lakes. It’s early in their planning process, but that is what they are looking at right now. If prepared, the Post of Oswego may be able to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Daniels said that the current facility at the port is unable to handle containers. “If you throw 100, 200, 300 containers on the deck, even if you double and triple stack them, it takes up a lot of space,” he said. The proposed $3 million local project would consist of three phases, he said.

“A portion of it would occur on the existing port site as we enhance our security operations, build new road infrastructure,” said Daniels. “The second phase of it would be a combined road and rail improvement on the existing rail bed that is currently owned by CSX. The final component of that would be actually cutting down a portion of the site of the Fitzgibbons property, which is property owned by the port authority. We would cut that down, grade it, pave it, light it. That’s going to provide us close to an additional 14 to 15 acres. or almost double the amount of outside storage that the port currently possesses.”

The project, if completed, would also alleviate congestion of traffic coming from the port through the City of Oswego. “We’re in the early stages of this,” he said. “We have the assistance of Operation Oswego County. We have the assistance from Central New York Planning and Development. We are going to be bringing in a lot of partners associated with getting this project done.”

Daniels also noted that the port has completed several smaller projects, including a $1.1 million reconstruction project of one of its buildings and a $175,000 rehabilitation project on the west pier. “That had to occur because we were out of room (for our salt operation),” Daniels noted. “By moving it over there, it allowed us to bring in a brand new customer.”

The port has commenced engineering studies for the rehabilitation of its rail structure as well as a new maintenance facility.

The port has secured two new customersPerdue Farms, which will provide corn for the Northeast Biofuels plant in Volney, and Cargill, which brought in 45,000 tons of salt on a one-year contract. “We feel very confident that we’re going to see them in the future,” noted Daniels. Daniels added that the port is expected to receive $650,000 from the federal government to dredge the port.

“Nearly 120 vessels call on an annual basis and we move a little bit more than one million tons a year. We move products such as cement, corn, salt, windmillsa lot of people have run up against those. Eleven companies currently call the port home for at least a portion of their domestic and international shipping operations.”

In 2007, 7,100 trucks left the port. “About 125 people were employed at one point or another over the past year,” said Daniels. “That’s probably the figure that I am proudest of. We need to be an economic employment generator.”

Daniels, who once served as managing director of the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission and the Port of Greater Baton Rouge in Louisiana, stressed the importance of the port in the county’s economy.

“This port in Oswego is just as important as that port in Baton Rouge,” said Daniels. “The size and the complexity of the port really doesn’t matter.”

From the Valley News


Seaway Tolls frozen for three years

2/28 - Last week the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced a three-year toll freeze that, together with a revised tariff structure, that is expected to provide a significant boost to new business growth. With the goal of maximizing the volume of existing commodities, while at the same time attracting new cargoes to the Seaway / Great Lakes System, the new tolls structure underscores the commitment of the SLSMC and Transport Canada to increased use of the Seaway.

“By maintaining stable rates through the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons and by introducing targeted incentives, we are setting the stage for our stakeholders to aggressively seek new business in an era of escalating costs, and to advance their business plans with a greater degree of certainty” stated Dick Corfe, SLSMC President and CEO.

A New Business Incentive Program targeted at carriers and shippers will allow for a 20% discount on cargo tolls over the course of three years for commodity / origin / destination combinations approved by the Corporation as “new business”. To be eligible, a carrier will have to submit to the SLSMC an application for the proposed cargo / origin / destination combination. Notably, all containerized cargo movements are eligible for the discount, from 2008 to 2012.

A Volume Rebate Incentive Program targeted at shippers has also been introduced. Offering a 10% reduction on cargo tolls applicable to incremental volumes meeting a set of criteria, this program is designed to stimulate movement of the Seaway’s traditional staple cargoes. Applicable criteria can be found within the full 2008 Schedule of Tolls.

To encourage smaller cargo vessels and shipments to come into the system, the Welland Canal lockage fees have been restructured, with a net benefit applicable to all vessels. The fixed charges per lock transit have been replaced with charges proportional to a vessel’s GRT. This change will benefit small and medium sized vessels. Larger vessels will benefit from a cap placed on the maximum charge per vessel.

In a bid to promote short sea shipping within the Seaway / Great Lakes System, the definition of domestic cargo now includes all movements between any combination of Canadian and American points within the Seaway / Great Lakes System. This will allow these intra-system movements to be subject to advantageous bulk rates.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp news release



Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Plans Ballast Controls

2/28 - Tired of waiting for Congress to enact ballast rules to prevent foreign species from invading the Great Lakes, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is moving toward writing its own rules to control what overseas ships are allowed to discharge into Lakes Superior and Michigan.

The department was prodded by conservationists who argued that the state had authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate ballast just like any other pollutant. The DNR started exploring the issue late last year and has come to the conclusion that existing law does, indeed, give it the authority to regulate those discharges. The next step is to do something about it.

"The department is evaluating regulatory options," the department wrote in a Feb. 11 memo in advance of Tuesday's Wisconsin Natural Resources Board meeting in Madison.

The Michigan legislature has already passed its own ballast bill, and other Great Lakes legislatures are considering similar moves. But Wisconsin DNR lawyers believe their agency can act without legislative action.

Congress has been considering a national bill to address the issue for several years, but Wisconsin conservationists and some legislators say it's time to act now to protect state waters in Lakes Superior and Michigan, and the thousands of inland lakes that can also be affected by what overseas ships bring into the region. The DNR said it does not expect Congress to pass a bill by year's end, and that is why it wants to start moving forward with its own rules

DNR staff said they didn't act earlier because it was not clear the state had the authority until a federal judge recently ruled in a California case that the Clean Water Act applies to ballast. The shipping industry also sued Michigan over its ballast law, but the case was thrown out last year.

In their memo to the resources board, staff said they would be working closely with colleagues in Minnesota, which is pursuing similar rules, to ensure that the regulations are compatible. Shipping advocates acknowledge there is a problem but say the best solution is one overarching federal law rather than a patchwork of potentially inconsistent state laws.

Wisconsin DNR officials also informed the Natural Resources Board that the agency is steaming ahead with a $6 million pilot program that would treat ballast water not on ships but in onshore wastewater facilities. DNR officials said that Gov. Jim Doyle identified $6 million that could be used for the Wisconsin ports in Milwaukee, Green Bay and Superior.

Roger Larson, deputy director of the DNR Bureau of Watershed Management, said Milwaukee would be used as a test of the technology, with treatment starting in the 2009 shipping season. The idea has support from former DNR Secretary George Meyer, now executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.

But Natural Resources Board Chairman Christine Thomas of Stevens Points said that if onshore ballast treatment is going to be explored, it should done at a gateway port to the Great Lakes. "Letting ships wander the length of the Great Lakes and then dealing with the problem in Duluth and Superior makes no sense to me," she said.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


2008 S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise Announced

On Saturday, May 31, 2008, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger.

Join us in traveling on the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, or go on the optional Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise aboard the Badger.

Lee Murdoch will be on board to offer entertainment both ways across the lake.

On Friday night, May 30, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form for the Badger Gathering, and all other BoatNerd events planned for this season.


Updates - February 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised. Read these before you submit News photos.


Today in Great Lakes History - February 28

The VENUS (steel propeller bulk freighter, 346 foot, 3719 gross tons) was launched on 28 February 1901, by the American Ship Building Company (Hull #307) at Lorain, Ohio for the Gilchrist Transportation Company, converted to a crane-ship in 1927. She was renamed b.) STEEL PRODUCTS in 1958, and lasted until 1961, when she was scrapped at Point Abino, Ontario, the spot where she has run aground and partially sunk while being towed for scrap..

The light house tender MARIGOLD (iron steamer, 150 foot, 454 gross tons, built in Wyandotte, Michigan) completed her sea trials on 28 February 1891. The contract price for building her was $77,000. After being fitted out, she was placed into service as the supply ship to the lighthouses in the Eleventh District, taking the place of the WARRINGTON. The MARIGOLD was sold in 1947, converted to a converted to dredge and renamed MISS MUDHEN II.

The railferry INCAN SUPERIOR (Hull#211) was launched February 28, 1974, at North Vancouver, British Columbia by Burrard Drydock Co. Ltd. She operated between Thunder Bay, Ontario and Superior , Wisconsin until 1992, when she left the Lakes for British Columbia, she was renamed b.) PRINCESS SUPERIOR in 1993.

OUTARDE (2) was launched February 28, 1906, as a.) ABRAHAM STEARN (Hull#513) at Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co..

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

Data from: Max Hanley, Dave Swayze, 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.


Updates - February 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.


Today in Great Lakes History - February 27

GOLDEN SABLE was launched February 27, 1930, as a.) ACADIALITE (Hull#170) at Haverton-Hill-on-Tees, United Kingdom by Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd..

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.


Port Report - February 26

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Olympic returned late Monday night after delivering a cargo of salt to Detroit. She backed in the channel and went to the Sifto Salt dock to load with the assistance of USCGC Neah Bay (105) and the MacDonald Marine tugs, .


Toledo Shipyard takes shape with marine firm at the helm

2/26 - Toledo - The biggest window in Tony LaMantia's new corner office overlooks the Toledo Shipyard's dry docks, where he can keep a watchful eye - if necessary - on the skilled tradesmen working on ships like the Canadian freighter Algosteel, which left town on Friday after more than a month of repairs.

From other windows facing the Maumee River, the Ironhead Marine Inc. president's new office commands views of downtown Toledo and bridges up and down the river.

At Ironhead's former headquarters in Erie Township, "I was looking out at cornfields. Here, I have a nice view of the Toledo skyline, the new 1-280 bridge, and the shipyard," Mr. LaMantia said last week while boxes stacked next to his desk awaited unpacking.

But to watch the goings-on in the crown jewel of his company's new headquarters, the high-bay fabrication shop, Mr. LaMantia has to leave his Maumee River panorama behind and walk down the stairs. The high-bay has no interior windows. There, Ironhead employees have started work on several ship-component fabrications, along with a heavy-industrial project for a railroad customer, even though, for ceremonial purposes, the building isn't even finished yet.

"We're still moving in," Mr. LaMantia said, "but it's getting better every day."

The 20,000-square-foot fabrication shop, with its 72-foot-high roof and 50-foot clearance under its traveling crane, is the first stage of what Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority officials hope will be a long-term revival for the port-owned Toledo Shipyard. A grand-opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

The modern, if plain-looking, building replaces a decrepit, decades-old machine-shop complex that was torn down shortly after Ironhead formally took over the shipyard operation in early 2006, replacing Manitowoc Marine Group, which opted out of its shipyard lease the previous fall.

But construction was delayed for nearly a year by funding problems, and the facility that has been built is only half the size of what the port authority initially planned. "We're waiting for the money to extend the building, and there is other infrastructure in the yard needing upgrades, including the docks, gates, and pumphouse," Mr. LaMantia said.

Nonetheless, he said, "the port authority has given me the opportunity to develop a new facility here, and we're one step closer to having a viable shipyard with these new facilities." "It looks great. It looks like it's going to be certainly a major upgrade from the antiquated facilities that used to be there," James Hartung, the port authority president who toured the high-bay shop last week, said afterward.

Ironhead's aggressive pursuit of business, Mr. Hartung said, "just bodes well for us. We're going to create a market presence in the [shipyard] industry." "What makes it look better is there's work going on inside it," agreed Warren McCrimmon, the port authority's seaport director.

The port authority, which paid for the $2 million structure from its own funds and county and federal grants and has leased it to Ironhead, continues to seek funding sources for its future expansion to 40,000 square feet, both port officials said.

The Algosteel, which came in for rudder and mechanical repairs along with topside work, was the first Canadian lake freighter to dry-dock in Toledo since 1999, Mr. LaMantia said. Overall, he said, "we're going to do about twice as much work this winter as we did last winter, which was twice as much again as we did the winter before."

While no ships from the domestic Great Lakes fleet are scheduled for five-year surveys or heavy repairs this winter, Mr. LaMantia said, "We see that as a growth opportunity. We've had some promising talks. We're hoping that the American fleets are going to support the shipyard also."

Ironhead's projects are keeping about 70 workers busy, split about evenly between the shipyard premises and a fabrication shop near the International Cargo Docks that the firm has leased for several years.

Ironhead started in Erie Township as a heavy-industrial fabricator, and Mr. LaMantia said he's continuing with non-maritime projects so that he's not dependent on the ship-repair sector.

But he remains optimistic that the shipyard can become involved in new vessel construction - particularly tugboats or barge sections - once the high-bay shop is built out to full size. "We're building into the marine work, and trying to maintain our industrial work," he said. "We want to keep a core group of guys working here."

From the Toledo Blade


Fraser Shipyards announces new management team

2/26 - Superior, WI - Fraser Shipyards Inc. Friday announced new hires and a promotion for key management positions. James Korthals has been hired as president and chief operating officer; Gene Walroos has been promoted to shipyard general manager, and Kevin Jones has been hired as director of operations of Northern Engineering Co.

Korthals came to Fraser in December after serving as president and chief executive officer of Cutler Magner Co., the lime and salt products manufacturer in Duluth. He also is a past chairman of Cutler Magner’s board. Korthals has 25 years’ experience managing the operations and production of large manufacturing facilities and mining companies across the country, including serving as a Great Lakes Port Facility Manager in Michigan.

Walroos was Fraser’s Shipyard superintendent prior to his promotion in December. He joined the company in 2003. His nearly 30-year career in the marine industry includes overseeing maintenance and repair operations for both deep-sea and inland-waters ships. Walroos was formerly school director of the American Maritime Officers’ School of Engineering and Navigation in Toledo, Ohio.

Jones came to Northern Engineering in January. He was previously with Cutler Magner Co., where he was plant manager of the company’s lime manufacturing facility in Superior. There he improved production line output and managed a $36 million capital expansion project. For the past 19 years, he has managed maintenance and production activities at a number of lime and cement manufacturing plants in the U.S.

“We are pleased to have such capable, experienced individuals on our management team,” said Todd Johnson, president and chairman of Reuben Johnson & Son Inc., parent company of Fraser Shipyards. “They will play a key role in expanding Fraser Shipyards’ and Northern Engineering’s services with a customer focus.”

From the Superior Daily Telegram


Lake Erie Completely Covered by Ice

2/26 - Erie, PA - Quietly, on Tuesday or Wednesday, the last open bit of Lake Erie froze over.

The lake is now completely covered by ice, according to the National Ice Center, an organization of scientists of the U.S. Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In the waters off Erie,PA more than half of the ice is 1 foot to 2 feet thick, said Ice Center analyst Christopher Szorc.

The freeze of 2008 came late, he said. "Two to three weeks later than normal," Szorc said. "Usually, the whole of Lake Erie would be ice-covered during the second week of February," Szorc said.

A frozen lake does not necessarily mean lake-effect snow has ended, said Dan Leins, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

"Lake-effect snow is still going to be a possibility even though the lake is frozen over, though it severely limits the intensity and the strength of it," he said.

From the Erie Times


Cleveland-Cliffs earnings drop

2/26 - Duluth - Despite a strong fourth quarter, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. announced that its earnings for 2007 dipped slightly from last year’s level. The mining company’s net income slipped 3.6 percent from $280.1 million in 2006 to $270 million in 2007.

But that decline had little to do with the performance of Cleveland-Cliffs’ taconite operations in the Northland. The company managed to boost its net production of pellets in the region from 17.9 million in 2006 to 19 million tons last year. That’s an overall output increase of 6.1 percent from the three mines it operates on the Range: Hibbing Taconite, Northshore Mine and United Taconite

Meanwhile, Cleveland-Cliffs’ profit margins from pellet sales have climbed, as well. The company reported that its per-ton profit margin rose 11.2 percent, from $16.08 per ton in 2006 to $17.88 per ton in 2007, not including freight or other reimbursements.

In light of the strong market for iron ore, Cleveland-Cliffs looks to boost production this year. The company aims to restart an idled pellet furnace at Northshore in March, boosting that facility’s annual production by 800,000 tons.

“In the fourth quarter, our North American Iron Ore team delivered a record performance,” said Joseph Carraba, Cleveland-Cliff’s chairman, president and CEO, in a statement issued on Thursday.

During the final three months of 2007, Cleveland-Cliffs reported net income of $93.7 million — up 33.9 percent from the $70 million earned during the same period in 2006.

The outlook for taconite pellets appears strong in the coming year. Cleveland-Cliffs estimates worldwide pellet prices will increase 65 percent in 2008.

The company’s performance was hindered a bit by its coal operations. In August, production at its Pinnacle Mine in West Virginia declined when workers encountered sandstone intrusions within the coal panel they were mining. As a result, Cleveland-Cliffs chose to move its longwall plow system to another panel, and it was unable to resume production until mid-October.

The company also has invested in initiatives and safety enhancements at its Oak Grove Mine in Alabama that have reduced production and cut into profit margins.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised. Read these before you submit News photos.


Today in Great Lakes History - February 26

The completed hull of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) was floated off the ways February 26, 1977, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. Renamed b.) WALTER J McCARTHY JR in 1990.

JOSEPH L BLOCK (Hull#715) was launched February 26, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp..

On 26 February 1874, the tug WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE JR was launched at Port Huron Dry Dock. Her dimensions were 151 feet overall, 25 foot 6 inches beam, and 13 foot 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 foot, 34 gross tons, built in 1870 at Buffalo, New York) 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.


Army Corps to dredge Ashtabula, Conneaut and Fairport harbors

2/25 - Ashtabula - A The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge three area harbors this year, said U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township.
In addition, the Corps garnered an additional $947,000 to finish the dredging in the Ashtabula harbor, and will be able to spend $777,000 to dredge the harbor in Conneaut, LaTourette said.

“This is great news for harbors in my district, and I’m just as pleased as can be,” LaTourette said. “I am so grateful to the Corps’ Buffalo District office for their assistance.” LaTourette said the unexpected funds were included in the massive budget bill signed into law on Dec. 26. The funding is set aside for Great Lakes commercial harbors and the Corps determined these projects deserved priority for funding, he said.

LaTourette said Corps’ officials told him Thursday morning that they will be able to dredge five areas within the Buffalo District — Ashtabula, Fairport Harbor, Conneaut, Huron and Oswego, N.Y. “Ashtabula harbor and Conneaut were initially the only northeast Ohio areas specifically designated for dredging funding in the budget,” he said. The $1 million boost in funding for dredging the Ashtabula harbor is in addition to the nearly $2.9 million secured in December, he said.

Funds will be used to complete the environmental dredging of the Ashtabula River and harbor, and do downstream dredging beyond the lift bridge. “We now have nearly $1 million extra to finish the job, and it means the Corps won’t have to shortchange another dredging project to help Ashtabula,” he said. “This is fantastic news for the community, and dredging should begin in April.”

Rick Brewer, River Partnership coordinator, said the funding was a very pleasant surprise and will keep the project on track. “The Corps had just negotiated a new contract (related to the project) and was coming up $900,000 short,” he said. “(The funding) rounds off what we needed to do.” The Corps also will spend $777,000 to dredge the harbor in Conneaut, with work slated to begin in mid-June.

The Corps will spend $900,000 dredging the Grand River in Fairport Harbor with work likely to begin in July, thanks to unanticipated dredging money slotted for the Corps’ Buffalo District office. “The Grand River area is prone to ice jams and flooding, and the river is often too shallow to navigate in the summer months,” LaTourette said. “I thank the Army Corps for making this area a priority, and I know officials in Grand River and Fairport Harbor will be elated.”

LaTourette said the Corps will determine the exact areas to dredge in the Grand River once soundings are done this spring to determine the river’s depth. The Corps will dredge in the commercial navigation areas of the river, he said.

From the Ashtabula Star Beacon


BoatNerd Gatherings

2/25 - It is not too early to plan now to attend several of the BoatNerd Gathering planned for this summer.

Reservations for the Badger BoatNerd Gathering are limited. Don't get left out.

See the Gathering page for details of all the BoatNerd Events.


Updates - February 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised. Read these before you submit News photos.


Today in Great Lakes History - February 25

CREEK TRANSPORT was launched this day in 1910, as a.) SASKATOON (1) (Hull#256) at Sunderland, England by Sunderland Shipbuilding Co.

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.


Port Report - February 24

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Olympic made her way into port on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon, with the assistance of the MacDonald Marine tugs. She will take on a load of salt at the Sifto salt dock.


Today in Great Lakes History - February 24

The Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s RICHARD V LINDABURY (Hull#783) was launched February 24, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. Purchased by S & E Shipping (Kinsman) in 1978, renamed b.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT (2). She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkay in 1988.

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 foot, built in 1895, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was on a voyage from Colon, Panama to Baltimore, Maryland, when she stranded and was wrecked 18 miles south of Cape Henry, Virginia.

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.


Port Report - February 23

Owen Sound - Ron Vanderburgh
Crews have been busy working on the Agawa Canyon, laid up in Owen Sound. The vessel has receiving a new self-unloading belt and is having some new hatch covers made.


Levels of lakes draw concern;
Huron and Michigan fall by one metre in 10 years

2/23 - Sarnia - Increasing evaporation rates may be responsible for an alarming drop in Great Lakes water levels, an expert says.

James Bruce made that revelation Thursday while speaking to the annual meeting of the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority. Bruce, the co-chairperson of the public interest advisory group for the International Upper Great Lakes Study, said lakes Huron and Michigan have fallen by a metre since 1997. In the last six months or so we've been pushing down towards the lowest levels ever recorded on Lake Huron, but we haven't actually set any records, he said.

In Lake Superior, meanwhile, levels did fall to the lowest point ever recorded before heavy snow last October brought them back above historic lows.

Some have blamed river dredging near the Blue Water Bridge for water level declines in the upper lakes, but Bruce says it's too soon to reach any conclusions. He said officials, who are currently studying the situation, may have the answer by this time next year. One possible culprit is climate change, he said.

There's been a huge increase in evaporation in the last three or four years of lakes Michigan and Huron, he said. Part the reason is the accumulative warming of surface waters the lakes. This means that winter, when most of the evaporation occurs, there's less ice cover.

It's the ice, he said, that traps water, preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere. Once water evaporates, can be lost to the region. The atmosphere is very mobile, Bruce said. What you evaporate here today will be over the Atlantic Ocean in two days. He also noted greenhouse gases are warming up the atmosphere. But reducing greenhouse gases will have to be global effort, he said.

Bruce cautioned that, This is not a final conclusion. We're still looking at the St. Clair River. However, immediate mitigation in the St. Clair, we think, is premature.

Dick Hibma, chairperson Conservation Ontario, a group that oversees the province's conservation authorities, said declining water levels are major concern to boaters, shipping companies and the operators of municipal water intakes, to name just a few groups.

From the Sarnia Observer


Some Steamship William B. Mather volunteers
disgruntled after Great Lakes Science Center merger
Science center has new vision of ship's role

2/23 - Cleveland - Sixteen months after the Great Lakes Science Center took the helm of the Steamship William G. Mather Museum, the ship's new owners are maneuvering along a new course. Initially, at least, the floating museum's voyage is proving a bit rocky: A post-merger culture clash with the new owners has some longtime Mather volunteers abandoning ship.

The science center has a grand vision for converting the 83-year-old retired freighter it acquired in October 2006 from a museum of lakes shipping to an interactive 618-foot-long wing of the parent institution. The Mather's new role will be a celebration of much broader connections between humans and the Great Lakes, said Bryan Kwapil, the science center's vice president of operations.

The transformation starts this spring, when work begins on a $2.7 million, glass-enclosed walkway connecting the shore-side science center to the acquisition moored 100 yards to the north. Then, in a year or so, the science center will launch a fund-raising campaign to pay for a host of new lakes-oriented exhibits, Kwapil said. The Mather will house those in the cavernous bulk-cargo holds that once carried 14,000 tons of iron ore per voyage.

"Our goal is to . . . use it to help the public understand their relationship to the lakes," Kwapil said. "You won't have to be a Great Lakes shipping enthusiast to go enjoy the Mather."

But some of those enthusiasts are longtime leaders of the Mather's crew of volunteers, and they are in mutiny. Some of the longest-serving volunteers say museum managers have hijacked not only their prized vessel but also their culture. A handful who collectively spent tens of thousands of weekend and evening hours there have quit in protest. By the time the ship's tourism season opens in May, all but a few of the 25 or so enthusiasts who have been most active in restoration and maintenance will have quit, said volunteer leader Bill Durica of Bay Village.

"If . . . they had deliberately set out to destroy the volunteer relationship, they couldn't have done a better job," said Durica, whose volunteerism started two years before the Mather opened as a museum in 1991.

The Harbor Heritage Society, a nonprofit organization that gave the freighter to the science center, tallied more than 250,000 hours of volunteer time and valued it at $2.7 million. Without that free support, the science center will ram into astronomical costs for upkeep, the disgruntled ex-volunteers believe. Then, they fear, the Mather may sink in rough fiscal waters and wind up being scrapped.

"We're concerned about the future of the Mather," he added. "At some point, they may have a connector from the Great Lakes Science Center to Pier 32 and not have a Mather there." The Mather's 55-year ore-hauling career ended in 1980. The idled ship deteriorated in Toledo until Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. divested its shipping business in 1987 and donated the Mather to a nonprofit group to become a floating maritime museum. It opened alongside the East Ninth Street Pier in 1991 and moved to its current location behind the science center in 2005.

The volunteer enthusiasts - "boat nerds," they call themselves - stepped in well before the ship opened to visitors. They set about restoring the boat and its innards with absolute devotion to historical accuracy, and they scrounged authentic salvage parts from all over the Great Lakes basin. "We took a lot of pride in it," said Ed Gerber, a retired engineer from North Olmsted and a 19-year volunteer. "We beat our knuckles bloody, and it was fun."

In homage to that handiwork, a small but devout number of maritime buffs come from all over for a rare opportunity to board a ship that exemplifies the dwindling relics they ogle. Still, the Mather foundered financially. It attracted only about 20,000 visitors a year and depended on unpredictable grants for most of its $600,000 annual budget. The science center's budget in 2006 was 13 times larger, and the ship's board - including Durica - acknowledged that the merger that October was a rescue.

But he and Gerber believe the science center's staff should have "come in with hats in hands" to curry favor with the volunteers. Instead, science center staff told them to apply for the volunteer jobs they themselves had created and performed. "After 17 years, they were asking for references," Durica fumed. "It was an insult."

Ex-volunteer Rex Cassidy said that when the ship's paid staff of five was fired last summer, the volunteers learned it through a note left on their mess table. The final insult, said Cassidy, came when the science center announced it would close off the ship to volunteers as well as visitors at the end of the 2007 season. In November, Gerber decided he was being treated like a disposable docent. He quit. Others followed. "It's like, 'This is my boat, and you took it away from me,' " Gerber seethed recently.

Kwapil said the disgruntled who resigned are exaggerating the number of others leaving: Only five volunteers out of more than 100 have resigned, he said, and he expects few more to leave. Otherwise, though, Kwapil said he sees no need for a point-by-point rebuttal of the criticisms. He lauded the "marvelous job" volunteers have done and said he understands fears and culture clashes are inevitable when two institutions merge.

"Our goal is not to do a pristine restoration of the ship. That was the goal of those volunteers," the operations chief said. "We knew not all of the volunteers were going to be happy, because they were not going to have the same level of autonomy."

But more than a year of planning went into the merger, and the covered walkway is about to be built, Kwapil added. So "the idea that the Mather would be casually discarded just doesn't make sense." "These few individuals like to think they're the heart and soul of the Mather and the ship won't survive without them," Kwapil said. "Well, that ship's been here longer than any of us, and it'll be there long after we're all gone."

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates - February 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised


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, New York and assigned duty with the Service Force, Third Naval District, Atlantic Fleet. The tanker was built in 1915 at Chatham, England by Chatham Dock Yard Ltd. as a.) H.M.S. SERVITOR. Renamed b.) PULOE BRANI in 1922, brought to the Lakes and renamed c.) B B MC COLL in 1927, and d.) A J PATMORE in 1929. After her U.S. Naval Service ROTARY reverted to her previous name f.) A J PATMORE and then g.) PEGGY REINAUER in 1946. Renamed h.) DETROIT early in 1955, she traded on the lakes until 1975. Her partially dismantled hull was abandoned in 1985, in the back waters of Lake Calumet.

On 23 February 1843, SANDUSKY (wooden side-wheeler, 148 foot, 377 tons, built in 1834 at Sandusky, Ohio) 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.


Port Report - February 22

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine was able to make it to the Sifto Salt dock Wednesday night with the assistance of USCGC Hollyhock and the MacDonald Marine tugs. The Hollyhock had been working for the previous two days trying to free up the channel which is packed with heavy ice. Algomarine continued to loading Thursday morning.


Lack of dredging on Great Lakes threatens shipping

2/22 - Cleveland - A Great Lakes "dredging crisis," magnified over the last few years by falling lake water levels, is threatening vital international shipping and the overall health of the U.S. economy.

That's what federal officials and leaders of the association representing commercial shipping on the lakes told member companies and manufacturers Wednesday at an annual workshop in Cleveland. "Dredging of the Great Lakes system has been neglected to the point of collapse," said James Weakley, president of the Carriers Association and vice president of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. "We've watched federal funding decline, and it's been our wake-up call."

Glen Nekvasil, an official with the Carriers Association, said the depth of shipping lanes is everyone's concern. "It's a simple matter, really -- boats can't carry full loads and that costs everyone in the long run," Neksavil said.

"Not dredging the St. Mary's River -- although 800 miles from Cleveland -- can decrease the amount of ore that can be shipped from Duluth, Minn., which would increase the cost of iron ore used by Arcelor Mittal, which can then increase the cost of steel and finally the cost of your refrigerator."

Some Great Lakes carriers last year had to reduce their loads by 20 percent to pass through clogged channels, Neksavil said. He and other officials have become increasingly concerned in the last several years as boats have bottomed out in Lake Huron and as one Lake Erie port in New York was closed to shipping and another nearly followed.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials in charge of maintaining Great Lakes harbors confirmed Wednesday that Huron harbor on Ohio's western end of Lake Erie would have likely closed this year if not for a last-minute infusion of cash from the U.S. Congress in December. The eastern Lake Erie port of Dunkirk, N.Y., home to a coal-burning power plant that now gets coal by rail, closed indefinitely to shipping in 2005, said Kathy Griffin, chief of operations at the corps Buffalo District.

The carrier group is increasing lobbying efforts of Congress for dredging money across the lakes.

The late 2007 push allowed the Army corps to double the number of ports to be dredged this year, Weakley said, but only begins to address an accumulation of sediment in shipping lanes. Army Corps officials said it would take about $300 million over the next five years to eliminate that buildup. Weakley said that there is already money available to do that.

They said shipping taxes paid by the carriers bring in about $1.1 billion a year, but the corps only gets $700,000 annually for dredging, repairing bulkheads and large capital projects such as the planned reconstruction of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Opening of the 2008 Seaway Navigation Season
 and Maximum Allowable Drafts announced

2/22 - The opening of the 2008 St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times - Montreal / Lake Ontario March 22, 2008 - 0800 hours (D.S.T.) and Welland Canal March 20, 2008 - 0800 hours (D.S.T.).

Vessel transits will be subject to weather and ice conditions. Restrictions may apply in some areas until lighted navigation aids have been installed.

Sault Ste. Marie Locks and Canals United States Soo Locks will open March 25.

In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the allowable draft will be 80.0 dm (26' 3") until the South Shore Canal is ice-free or April 15th, whichever occurs first, at which time, if water levels are favorable, the draft will be increased to 80.8 dm (26' 6") for all vessels. In addition, there will be zero tolerance for ship's draft in excess of 80.8 dm (26' 6").

Mariners are reminded that for ships loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26' 3"), speeds will be monitored carefully between St. Lambert Lock and St. Nicolas Island.

In the Welland Canal, a maximum allowable draft of 80.8 dm (26' 6") will be in effect from the start of the navigation season for all vessels. In addition, there will be zero tolerance for vessel drafts in excess of 80.8 dm (26' 6''). Please note that, for vessels loaded to a draft greater than 80.0 dm (26' 3"), speeds will be monitored carefully between the upper entrance to Lock 7 and former Bridge 12 in order to reduce bank erosion in this area.

St. Lawrence Seaway News Release


Lightship engine turning

2/22 - Port Huron - The last auxiliary engine for the Huron Lightship, the last floating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, has just been completed. All auxiliary engines are ready for 'station call.'

The spotlight has been turned toward the main propulsion engines. The starboard main has had two complete revolutions, and it looks like the volunteers will be able to do a start-up before the tourist season starts on April 1st.

This means that the engine which has not run, nor turned, in 37 years may be able to be started start it without any rebuild work being needed. Work has been proceeding only for a few weeks, at 3 hours per week.

Volunteers have already begun work on the the Port main engine, which seems to be a little more 'stuck' than the starboard. The starboard engine had its exhaust pipe removed and received no damage from rainwater.


Cargill Limited looking for a docking pilot

2/22 - Cargill Limited is looking for a docking pilot. A docking pilot is described as a specialized navigator whose help is necessary to guide the ship entering and leaving the port.

Required Qualifications: - captain's licenses or all applicable certifications approved by the Canadian Coast Guard - Minimum 5 years experience in ship maneuvers - Bilingual (French and English).

Forward resume to the Operations Manager before February 29, 2008 Fax: (418) 294-2671 e-mail -  Mail : Route maritime, Baie-Comeau, QC, G4Z 2L6

From the Chronicle Herald


Updates - February 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Gallery is back Online

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

Gatherings page updated

Calendar of Events updated

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised


Today in Great Lakes History - February 22

On 22 February 1920, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2626 gross tons, built in 1909 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) ran aground on a concrete obstruction which was the foundation of the old water-intake crib in Lake Michigan off Belmont Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The SIDNEY O NEFF (wooden package freighter, 149 foot, 346 gross tons, built in 1890 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) took off the ALABAMA’s cargo and then harbor tugs pulled the ALABAMA free. Repairs to her hull took the rest of the winter and she didn’t return to service until May 1920.

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

On 22 February 1878, the 156 foot 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.


How to slow St. Clair flow still in question
$15-million study may never answer debate over dredging

2/21 - Detroit - Leaders of a $15-million study of lake levels in the upper Great Lakes -- Superior, Michigan, Huron -- and St. Clair said they're not yet sure whether the St. Clair River might need gates or weirs to halt its flow.

Eugene Stakhiv, one of the coleaders of the study, said laying data that show recent low levels on the lakes on top of historical data of low lake levels just before the Dust Bowl in the 1920s and 1930s, shows that the patterns are similar. What is different, Stakhiv said, is that evaporation and lack of ice on the lakes in winter are major contributors to the current low levels, while the historic lows mostly were due to a lack of precipitation.

About 80 people at a presentation in Grosse Pointe Farms on Tuesday night heard that the study won't be complete until June 2009. Even then, it still may not fully answer questions about whether low lake levels are caused by past dredging of the St. Clair River, as a Canadian homeowners group alleges, or what to do about it.

So far, data show the river is not eroding, which casts doubt on the theory. But some of those in the audience said they're worried about the lows.

Phillip Wehrmeister of Grosse Pointe Park said he has a boat on Lake St. Clair. "I want to know what they're going to do," he said. "Lake St. Clair is way far down." Others, such as Mike Simmons of Clinton Township, said they're concerned that some water may be being illegally diverted from the lakes.

The study leaders said they do not believe there are any such diversions. Legislation pending in the state Legislature, which all eight Great Lakes states have agreed to, would ban any future diversion from the lakes to other states.

"We must get that passed," said Kay Felt, a member of the public interest advisory group for the study and a resident of Grosse Pointe Shores.

From the Detroit Free Press


Seaway authority to release plan to adjust water levels

2/21 - St. Catharines - The bi-national commission that regulates the flow in the St. Lawrence Seaway is set to release a proposal next month to adjust water flow through Cornwall's Moses-Saunders Dam.

The plan is likely to affect levels in many parts of the waterway. There are three potential schemes under consideration, but the preferred option suggests allowing greater variations in water levels, as was the case before the Seaway opened almost 50 years ago. "It would allow the system to return to its normal ebbs and flows," said Greg McGillis, a spokesman for the International Joint Commission, the independent body that regulates the seaway.

The preferred plan has environmental benefits, encouraging the return of wetlands and wildlife populations, he said. It could also affect power production, tourism, recreational boating, water supplies and commercial navigation. But meetings on the issue in Ontario have only attracted 30 or 40 people, while in the U.S., crowds of 300 or 400 have gathered to debate the options, Mr. McGillis said.

The plan has not attracted much controversy in Eastern Ontario, but it has raised questions in Montreal, where low water levels might affect the Port of Montreal, and around Rochester, New York, where high water levels could increase the risk of flooding for landowners on the south shore of Lake Ontario.

There are about 100 homeowners on the south shore who face the risk of flooding, said Mr. McGillis. While waters will rise just as much on Canadian shorelines, there is less risk of flooding because Canadian homeowners followed the setback guidelines more closely. "The laws exist in the U.S. They have been resolutely ignored," he said.

Changing water levels have also been flagged as a potential problem by the busy Port of Montreal, which has recurring problems with low water levels. Last September, the International Joint Commission authorized a gradual release of water from the Great Lakes through the dam at Cornwall.

The aim of the five-year study that produced the plan was to correct, as much as possible, the wrongs of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a massive engineering project that was officially opened in 1959, said Mr. McGillis.

The waterway enables vessels to sail from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Duluth, Minnesota, and makes it possible to inexpensively transport bulky cargo. But it also changed habitat for waterfowl, fish, vegetation and other parts of the ecosystem because the engineered waterway did not have the same extremes of high and low water as the natural system.

After the proposal is released on March 31, the IJC plans to hold 10 meetings in towns and cities in various parts of the seaway system on both sides of the border, said Mr. McGillis. Dates and places are to be announced after the plan is released.

From The Ottawa Citizen


Sunken treasures

2/21 - Milwaukee - Take an underwater video tour of the steamer SS Wisconsin as it lies today near Kenosha's shoreline. Learn about its colorful history and how it served in New York Harbor as a convalescent ship for the U.S. Army during World War I before returning to Wisconsin waters, where it sunk in 1929.

Hear about an old wooden schooner that has possible connections to the Underground Railroad. It was discovered off the shores of a Lake Michigan beach, and experts believe it was used to transport fugitive slaves to Canada during the 1800s.

And not to be overlooked is the famous Rouse Simmons shipwreck, which rests 165 feet below the surface of Lake Michigan, 12 miles northeast of Two Rivers. The three-masted schooner -- known as the "Christmas tree ship" -- was built in Milwaukee in 1868. It was used to carry pine trees for holiday decorating from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to the docks of Chicago. All 16 crew members went down with the ship and perished on a blustery November day in 1912 when a storm overpowered them.

Those are among the stories of shipwreck dives and discoveries that will be shared March 7-8 during the 2008 Ghost Ships Festival in Milwaukee.

"Three-quarters of our population in Wisconsin live along the shorelines of Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, but very few people understand the importance of shipping here and how Wisconsin was built as a maritime state," says Keith Meverden, a nautical archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society.

That strong maritime influence is evident in the design of our state flag, he says. In addition to the flag's sailor and anchor, for example, there's also an arm holding a caulking mallet, which is a tool used in ship construction. "Milwaukee was a huge port, and still is," says Tamara Thomsen, a historic preservation specialist with the Historical Society. She also scuba dives and is a technical diving instructor.

Last year, Thomsen and Meverden went down hundreds of feet into Lake Michigan to document and chart numerous shipwrecks. Beneath Wisconsin waters lies an entire ghost town of sunken schooners, steamers and tankers, many of which date back to the mid-1800s. In fact, experts estimate that the remains of more than 750 vessels dot the bottom of Wisconsin waters. "We know the locations of only about 150 of those shipwrecks, so there are still plenty out there that need to be discovered," Meverden says.

And with the availability of side-scan sonar and other advances in technology, it's predicted that more underwater discoveries will be made in years to come.

Most of the shipwrecks are wooden commercial ships from the 19th century, and while they may be perfectly preserved beneath the waters, they would deteriorate very quickly if they were raised to the surface. "This happened in the late 1960s when the Alvin Clark was brought up from the waters of Green Bay near Chambers Island," Meverden says. "Once it started drying out, the Alvin Clark started shrinking and cracking. It literally turned to dust within 20 years because they were unable to preserve the ship quick enough."

Current federal and state legislation, for the most part, prevents the raising of old shipwrecks. In 1987 the federal government passed a law, the Abandoned Shipwrecks Act, which regulates underwater archaeology sites.

"Chicago was the greatest lumber port of all time, and a lot of ships wrecked along our shorelines getting to and from Chicago in the late 1800s," Thomsen says. "We certainly have a large distribution of shipwrecks here. There are clusters of shipwrecks around Milwaukee, for example, as well as in Door County, where there's a narrowing of passages near a chain of islands." Particularly hazardous for vessels, historically, is what's known as "Death's Door" passage near Washington Island.

"Interest in maritime history is growing," Thomsen says. "People want to be connected with their past, and they come from around the world to see and dive the many shipwrecks in Wisconsin waters. "Even the Wisconsin Department of Tourism has jumped on the shipwreck bandwagon," she says. "An entire page on its Web site is devoted to popular shipwrecks."

To explore some of the wrecks, people don't necessarily need to be able to scuba dive. Some wrecks are in such shallow water that even snorkelers can view them.

From the Madison Capital Times


Great Lakes ballast law gets favorable hearing

2/21 - St. Paul - Minnesota legislators have taken their first look at a proposed law to regulate when and how ships dump ballast water into Lake Superior — a law that could be the toughest on the Great Lakes.

Members of the House Game, Fish and Forestry Division, as well as Minnesota Pollution Control Agency officials, found plenty of places they would like to tweak the proposal, but lawmakers appeared to agree that the concept to prevent invasive species and diseases was acceptable. No vote was taken Monday night.

The bill by Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, would require a permit before ships could dump ballast water into Lake Superior and require ship operators to meet specific standards about how to ensure no dangerous organisms are in the discharged water. The bill primarily is aimed at stopping the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, a disease that affects 28 fish species and is spreading from the eastern Great Lakes toward Lake Superior. No VHS has been found in Lake Superior fish.

The MPCA on Friday announced plans to establish regulations that could be similar to the Hansen bill, although details are to be worked out. Public hearings in MPCA offices are planned for the afternoon of March 3 in St. Paul and morning of March 4 in Duluth. MPCA Assistant Commissioner Paul Eger said he agrees with many committee members that federal regulations would be best, but if they don’t come about the agency wants to have state rules ready by Oct. 1.

The Twin Ports have far more ballast discharges than other Great Lakes ports. Duluth environmentalist David Zentner said private ships should not abuse Lake Superior water. “We want these ships to meet their responsibilities,” he said. “They are using a common resource.” “The federal performance has been so pathetic that the state needs to act,” he said.

Adolph Ojard of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority said he prefers the solution come from Washington. With ships moving from state to state, and even country to country, it is impossible for a state to adequately regulate ballast actions, he said. But he did not close the door to the industry working with Minnesota. “What we do here is going to have a large impact on the port and north Minnesota,” he said.

Ojard said there is no proof a ship’s ballast brought VHS into the Great Lakes. “We are not the bad boy on VHS,” he said.

Ballast is water that empty or nearly empty ships take on to maintain stability as they travel from port to port.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Report - February 21

Windsor - Dave Cozens
The Canadian Coast Guard Samuel Risley was docked in Windsor loading galley supplies on Wednesday. She was one block west of the Casino. The tug Cleveland with a barge was loading salt at Windsor Salt.


Updates - February 21

News Photo Gallery updated

The popular Public Gallery is back Online  Our thanks to the development team lead by Walter Macomber for their efforts in up grading the gallery and importing the 70,000 images.

Click here to order BoatNerd Freighter trip raffle tickets.

Gatherings page updated

Calendar of Events updated

News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised


Today in Great Lakes History - February 21

The EDWIN H GOTT arrived at Two Harbors. Minnesota (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.

At Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. 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 foot, 224 gross tons, built in 1883 at Wyandotte, Michigan) 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.


Desgagnés acquires new Tanker

2/20 - Quebec - Groupe Desgagnés announced Tuesday the acquisition of a new vessel from the shipowners and builders Besiktas Shipping Group. The vessel is a double-hull oil and chemical tanker of 18,000 mt deadweight, 482 feet in length, 73 feet wide and draft of 31 feet.

The tanker was launched a few months ago at the Gisan Shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey. She is rated Ice Class 1A and is fitted with a MAK-7M43, 7,000 kW (9,385 BHP) engine, enabling her to achieve a working speed of 15 knots. She is also equipped with a 740 kW (1,006 BHP) bow thruster.

The vessel's 14 tanks and two slop tanks, of a combined capacity of 20,617 mt at 98%, allows her to take onboard up to 14 different products with a loading capacity rate reaching 3,600 m3/h for a homogeneous product. Fitted with an inert gas system of 3,200 m3/h, she is equipped with 14 pumps of 380 m3/h, amongst which six (6) can be used simultaneously to reach an unloading capacity rate of 2,280 m3/h.

"The ship will be delivered to us in Europe at the end of April 2008, where she will trade in international waters. She will be returning to Quebec City by the end of May, where she will undergo some refitting; she will then be renamed and receive her Canadian Flag registration, to then resume service by mid-June" declared Mr. Louis-Marie Beaulieu, the majority shareholder of Desgagnés.

This ship will be named the Sarah Desgagnes. The vessel is named after Sarah Desjardins, niece and godchild of Louis-Marie Beaulieu and his spouse Johane Desjardins.

Desgagnés, through its subsidiary Petro-Nav inc., is the only oil and chemical products marine carrier based in the province of Quebec and, with its long-term contracts with Petro-Canada, Shell and Ultramar, is one of the largest in Canada. It is in fact Petro-Nav that will be ensuring the commercialization of the Sarah Desgagnés. She will be trading mainly in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Canadian Arctic and the East coasts of Canada and the United States.

Mr. Beaulieu reported that "this tanker was more specifically purchased as a solution to Ultramar's production increase and to its transportation requirements between Lévis and Montreal, to which it will mainly be assigned until the construction of the pipeline planned by Ultramar".

27 direct new jobs have been created by this addition to the fleet, on top of the indirect jobs and economic spin-offs that will also be generated by the acquisition. He mentioned that this investment of almost $50 million follows that of nearly $40 million made last July for the purchase of the new cargo ship Rosaire A. Desgagnés, and is part of Desgagnés' fleet rejuvenation plan which began several years ago and will continue over the months and years to come.

With its head office in Quebec, Desgagnés is a conglomerate that has, since the 19th Century, specialized in marine carriage and transportation of liquid and solid bulk, general cargo and also passengers. With gross receipts approximating $160 million and over 800 employees in peak season, its activities also extend to marine vessel repairs and maintenance, as much as to rental and operation of heavy machinery. The Enterprise owns and operates a fleet of 16 motor vessels, with an overall deadweight of almost 165,000 mt; they cover the St. Lawrence River Network & the Great Lakes, the Canadian Eastern Arctic, the East coasts of Canada and the United States, as well as the seas worldwide.


Port Reports - February 20

Goderich - Dale Baechler
USCGC Hollyhock arrived in port around 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon for ice breaking duties in advance of the expected arrival of Algomarine. Ice conditions are heavy in port with steady westerly breezes.

Amherstburg - Dave Cozens
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley passed Amherstburg Tuesday morning, upbound , in the Livingston Channel.


Updates - February 20

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 20

On February 20, 1959, Interlake Steamship Co.’s HERBERT C JACKSON (Hull#302) was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan.

The Canadian Coast Guard Icebreaker DES GROSEILLIERS (Hull#68) was launched February 20, 1982, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

On 20 February 1903, G WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller, 376 foot, 3785 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull#608). She lasted until 1964, when she was scrapped by Lakehead Scrap Metal Co. at Fort William, Ontario. The other names she had during her career were HENRY P WERNER (1924), JOHN J BOLAND (2) (1937), and ALGOWAY (1947).

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.


Port Report - February 19

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Canadian Olympic backed into the channel on Monday morning, at 8 a.m. with the assistance of Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon and the MacDonald Marine tugs. The ice jammed up very heavy by the time she got into the Sifto Salt dock area but finally made it at 11:45 a.m.
A correction to the Saturday's report, the latest arrival was the Peter R. Cresswell on February 21, 2006.


2008 Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise Announced

On Saturday, May 31, 2008, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry Badger.

Join us in traveling on the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, OR go on the optional Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise aboard the Badger.

Lee Murdoch will be on board to offer entertainment both ways across the lake.

On Friday night, May 30, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.


Updates - February 19

News Photo Gallery updated


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 MC HENRY HOWE, b.) TOM M GIRDLER and MOUNT MANSFIELD, b.) CHARLES M. WHITE, to the Maryland Dry Dock Co., Baltimore, Maryland, February 1951, to be converted to a Great Lakes bulk carrier according to plans designed by J.J. Henry & Co., New York, New York.

Wolf & Davidson of Milwaukee sold the JIM SHERIFFS (wooden propeller, 182 foot, 634 gross tons, built in 1883 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to 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.


Lake Michigan harbors to be dredged in April

2/18 - Holland - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, awarded contracts to The King Company of Holland to dredge Grand Haven and Holland harbors.

The contract to dredge Grand Haven and Holland harbors is worth about $546,000. This work includes the removal of 76,000 cubic yards of material from the navigation channels in Grand Haven and Holland. Dredging should begin in April and finish in May.

The Holland Board of Public Works relies on coal that comes by freighter from April through December, said BPW spokeswoman Andree Keneau. "We need to have the harbor open. The alternative to shipping coal would be expensive," she said. The BPW receives between 10 to 15 loads of coal per year, averaging between 10,000 to 12,000 tons per shipment.

Severe shoaling could hinder deliveries late in the year. Shoaling -- shifting sand caused by northwest winds and underwater currents -- starts in the fall and makes the waterway too shallow for some ships.

The Mississagi, a 620-foot Canadian ship hauling limestone, got stuck on a shoal for about two hours in early December at the entrance to the Grand Haven channel. It was the first time in a decade a freighter had run aground in the channel because of shoaling from strong winds and low water. Several ships have been stuck this year in Muskegon.

A survey of Holland's harbor in October found a 5-foot shoal, which a few weeks later had increased to 7 feet. The combination of low water levels and a struggling economy made for a slower-than-average season for Holland in 2007.

There were 38 commercial deliveries and one outbound shipment on eight different vessels. That compares to 49 in 2006 and an average of 65 per year in the five previous years.

Some of the commercial docks in Holland were impacted and hoped to get more shipments last year when the shoaling became a problem, said Bob VandeVusse, who writes a shipping column for The Sentinel. "(With dredging) the shipping season can get off to a fairly normal start," VandeVusse said.

The King Company also received a contract to dredge the Detroit River worth almost $840,000. The work includes the removal of 232,000 cubic yards of material from the Detroit River navigation channel. Dredging should begin in June and finish in August.

The Detroit District traditionally dredges the Detroit River, Grand Haven and Holland harbors every one to two years. The sites were last dredged in 2007.

From the Holland Sentinel


Port Reports - February 18

Amherstburg - D. Cozens
The Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffin returned to the Amherstburg Coast Guard Base, located on the lower Detroit River, Saturday afternoon. She departed Sunday morning, heading downbound to Lake Erie.


New Prizes added to the BoatNerd Raffle

2/18 - Two new prizes have been added to the BoatNerd Raffle: a round trip for two including auto aboard the carferry Badger donated by the Lake Michigan Carferry and Tours of the DeTour Reef Lighthouse courtesy the Detour Reef Light Preservation Society.

Other prizes include: a trip for four aboard the legendary Great Lakes steamboat Edward L. Ryerson, a port hole from the Calumet courtesy International Marine Salvage, a cruise aboard the Huron Lady II, sightseeing cruises of Duluth-Superior aboard the Vista Fleet, tickets for Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River, passes aboard the Keweenaw Star for a sunset cruise, and round trip tickets to Beaver Island.

All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Funds raised will be used to pay the charges associated with running such a busy site. Fund-raising raffles are our only method of support; without the raffle BoatNerd.Com would be forced to discontinue this free web site.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 7, 2008 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters at Vantage Point, in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 14 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron. Tickets are currently at the printer and will begin mailing in late February.

State of Michigan Raffle License # R95375


Lake St. Clair & River Cruise & BoatNerd Gathering planned

2/18 - On May 25, an all day cruise leaving Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit and traveling up to the Blue Water Bridges, aboard the Diamond Belle,  will be co-sponsored by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and

The trip includes a continental breakfast and deli lunch on board, and a buffet dinner at the historic St. Clair Inn. This is a great opportunity to see all the sights along the waterway between Detroit and Port Huron.

Tickets are $90.00 per person and reservations are required. Click here for details and a reservation form.   Don't be left out, call today.


Updates - February 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated


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 C.C.G.S. GRIFFON arriving at Thunder Bay, Ontario. on February 18, 1977. The journey took one week from Sarnia, Ontario 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, Wisconsin 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 T-2 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. Grummond, 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.


Two hurt in fire aboard barge

2/17 - Boston - A Coast Guard aircrew is en route to medivac two injured crewmembers from a tug and barge that caught fire about 20 miles off the coast of Rockland, Maine, Thursday night.

Two crewmembers on the tug Everlast were injured when a fire broke out around 9:15p.m., in the boiler room aboard the barge.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a radio call from the crew of the Everlast, a 108-foot Canadian tug, requesting medical transport for the two injured crewmembers. A rescue helicopter from Air Station Cape Cod is scheduled to arrive on scene around 11 p.m., to hoist the injured crewmembers and transfer them to an area hospital.

The fire has been isolated and is under control. Wind gusts are up to 20 miles per hour with sea swells around six feet.

“The crew of the Everlast had a radio on board the vessel and were able to call for help when they needed assistance,” said Petty Officer First Class Robert Duncan, an operation unit controller at Sector Northern New England.

USCG News Release


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.


Cargo demand increasing as capacity drops

2/16 - Duluth - Shippers could face a daunting situation next month when the Soo Locks open and lakers commence a new season.

“As I look at all the tons to be moved next year, I frankly don’t know if the U.S. carrier fleet has enough capacity to handle that,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Superior Seaway Authority. At a time when cargo demands appear likely to increase, capacity has shrunk. Falling water levels on the Great Lakes are forcing lakers to load lighter than they had in the past.

The U.S. fleet also will be without one of its largest workhorses come the start of the new shipping season. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. would be lucky to resume service by May, because the 1,000-foot laker is undergoing extensive engine and hull repairs after a January collision with a piece of submerged concrete at Hallett Dock in Superior. Add to the picture thousands more tons of cargo waiting to be shipped, and you have trouble.

Ojard noted that unusually large quantities of taconite pellets already sit piled on the ground near the Canadian National/DM&IR ore docks in Duluth, waiting to be shipped. In 2008, Northshore Mining Co. expects to boost its output 800,000 tons from last year’s level, and Midwest Energy Resources could ship up to an additional 1 million tons of coal out of its Superior terminal. Other projects in development could add to the demand for laker capacity. US Steel recently unveiled plans to expand its production at Keetac by 3.6 million tons.

In light of all this activity, Ojard said maritime interests probably will respond to a unique business opportunity. “In four to six months, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a new 1,000-footer is being built,” he said, quickly adding: “We could even see two 1,000-footers.”

There hasn’t been a new ship in the Great Lakes cargo fleet in more than 20 years. But Mark Barker, vice president of Interlake Steamship Co., a Great Lakes carrier, doesn’t rule out the possibility of new ship construction in the near future. “I think the opportunity might present itself,” he said. “But to get a new vessel would require a long-term contract that would allow you to make the large financial commitment involved.”

Although Barker said he hasn’t received any quotes, he predicted a new 1,000-footer would cost “well over $100 million” to build. Because most of the nation’s shipyards already are quite busy, he said building a new laker would require significant lead time, as well. “I think it would probably take a year or two to get a unit, if you were lucky.”

There’s also the challenge of determining whether the current demand for lakers will hold. Barker pointed out that if water levels rebound and the current fleet of Great Lakes vessels can again load full, it would add the equivalent of a 1,000-footer to the U.S. fleet’s capacity.

Perhaps even more important than water levels is the health of the steel industry. “There’s a lot of risk to building a new vessel,” Barker said. “This business has cycles. Just three to four years ago, we had a 1,000-footer laid up because there wasn’t enough work.”

Aside from talk of more 1,000-foot lakers, Ojard said the Great Lakes also could see a new class of ship being built to handle the output from a proposed steel slab mill near Nashwauk. Essar Global Ltd. aims to produce about 6 million tons of slab steel at the plant each year.

Last year, Essar bought Algoma Steel Inc., a steelmaker with operations in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and Ojard said that within four months, the company increased the mill’s capacity by 20 percent. He noted that Essar now is working to bring an additional furnace online in Sault Ste. Marie, potentially creating additional demand for taconite pellets.

Should Essar choose to ship steel slabs from its proposed Minnesota mill by water, it could lead to the construction of still more lakers, but most likely an entirely different type of craft than the bulk freighters that now predominate. “It’s going to take a ship of a different design that would be able to also handle containers, pulp and all kinds of things we haven’t seen before,” Ojard said.

Bill Kron, the Port Authority’s president, said he’s excited by what he sees as the verge of a coming economic boom. “They’re talking about recession in the rest of the nation, but it seems that here, things are just ready to explode,” he said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - February 16

Port Colborne -
Cutting has resumed on the stern of the Windoc. The ship has been ballasted down at the bow to raise the stern and crews of International Marine Salvage have resumed the cutting of the stern just above the waterline. The heavy assembly for the prop was being removed Friday afternoon.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine, with the assistance of USCGC Bristol Bay and the MacDonald Marine tugs, turned out in the lake and backed down the channel to the Sifto Salt dock Friday morning. She began coming in at 8 a.m. and was on the dock with the spout out at 10 a.m.


Updates - February 16

News Photo Gallery updated


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, Minnesota. 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.C. 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) (Hull#71) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

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.


Port Report - February 15

Toronto - Clive Reddin & John
Stephen B. Roman entered Toronto Harbour Thursday afternoon and moored unassisted. This would be the first official laker into Toronto this year.


Airboats pluck two snowmobilers from Lake Superior near Bayfield

2/15 - Duluth - Two snowmobilers were rescued from near Stockton Island Wednesday morning after they broke through two inches of newly formed, snow-covered Lake Superior ice.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, its Bayfield station and the Apostle Islands National Park Service received a call from the Ashland County Dispatch Center at 8:29 a.m. that a 67-year-old man had gone through the ice near Stockton Island‘s Quarry Bay.

Three airboats – one from the NPS and Coast Guard, and one each from the La Pointe and Ashland fire departments – were dispatched, as was a Coast Guard helicopter from Traverse City, Mich. The first rescuers arriving on the scene found that two snowmobilers had gone through the ice. Both victims had pulled themselves from the water, but were suffering from mild hypothermia. The La Pointe Fire Department airboat transported the victims to Ashland Fire and Emergency Medical Services at Roy's Point.

The NPS and Coast Guard determined that the accident happened outside of the park boundaries, and the investigation was turned over to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit in Duluth. Authorities remind people to be careful when they venture onto the ice.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated                


Today in Great Lakes History - February 15

In 1961, the HARRY R JONES, a.) D G KERR 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.


Rand Acquires River Class Boats, Repowers Saginaw,
Retires Oldest Vessel from U.S. Fleet

2/14 -  Rand Logistics Inc., the parent company of Lower Lakes Towing, Grand River Navigation and Lower Lakes Transportation announced Monday that Grand River Navigation, has exercised its option to purchase three vessels from Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship ("WMS"), the David Z., the Earl W. and the Wolverine, for an all-in cost of approximately $20 million in cash. The Wolverine has subsequently been sold to Lower Lakes Towing for Canadian registry and deployment.

Lower Lakes Transportation, had been operating the vessels under a long term charter agreement with WMS since August 1, 2006. The time charter agreement provided Rand the option of purchasing the vessels at any time during the charter period.

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand, said, "By purchasing the three vessels, we will be able to eliminate both the operating and accounting complexities associated with the time charter. This acquisition represents a significant opportunity for future profit growth through the elimination of duplicate overhead and the full integration of the vessels into Rand's fleet, resulting in more cost efficient operations. By consolidating the results of these vessels we are able to present a more transparent financial picture for our business by eliminating the Variable Interest Entity reporting line from our income statements."

Also announced on Monday was the repowering of the Saginaw with a new highly automated emissions compliant power plant.

The project, estimated to cost approximately $13 million, is expected to generate an annual mid-teens return and will be completed in April 2008, at which time the vessel will be fully operational. The repowering is expected to improve operating margins due to an increase in speed and a reduction in fuel consumption, labor, maintenance and other operating costs.

Additionally, Rand has decided to permanently retire the Calumet, the oldest and smallest vessel in its fleet. The capital investment required to enable the vessel to generate a satisfactory rate of return over the next five years was not justifiable. The removal of the Calumet from the U.S. market, combined with the acquired WMS vessels to Canadian registry, will reduce U.S. Great Lakes shipping capacity by 3 million tons. The retirement of the Calumet will not have a material impact on Rand's cash flow.

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand, said, "The Canadian vessel upgrade will significantly improve the vessel's performance and boost its margin contribution to our overall results. This vessel will be better equipped to service our strong customer base in a more efficient and timely manner. We could not justify the costs necessary to extend the life of the Calumet, which is the oldest vessel in our fleet with the least amount of carrying capacity. We believe despite removing capacity from the market, we will be able to continue servicing our network of blue-chip customers without a significant impact to our results or operations. We continue to operate in an environment where freight demand significantly exceeds capacity, and we are well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity to further grow our business."

Reported by: Rand Logistics, Inc.


Port Report - February 14

Sarnia - Barry Hiscock
CN Railroad shunted the new Saginaw engine up the Point Edward spur to Cargill at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday evening.


Minnesota agency suggests ballast cleanup

2/14 - Duluth - The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is developing a new regulation to ban ships from releasing untreated ballast into the Minnesota waters of Lake Superior and its harbors.

The regulation would require discharge permits for all ships with ballast, starting Oct. 1, under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. It would be Minnesota’s first attempt at regulating ballast water and makes it the second Great Lakes state after Michigan to take ballast action to this level.

The new rule is an effort to keep invasive species out of Lake Superior and would set a mandated threshold of how clean ballast water must be before it can be released into Minnesota ports.

Unlike Michigan’s law that applies only to a few oceangoing vessels, the Minnesota rule is expected to apply to lakers and salties, said Jeff Stollenwerk, PCA supervisor of industrial water quality permits.

The state permits issued in October are expected to allow several years for new treatment technology to be perfected and installed on ships. Exactly how much time the industry gets before being required to treat ballast to a specific standard — killing most or all organisms down to a certain microscopic size — will be a key point as the regulation is opened to public comments.

Stollenwerk said the PCA’s decision to regulate ballast is based on a 2005 court order by a federal judge in California. The judge ruled that the exemption to the Clean Water Act that has been offered the shipping industry for decades is illegal and that the Environmental Protection Agency must begin regulating discharges from ships as water pollution starting Sept. 30, 2008. “We feel we are required to permit vessel discharges come Oct. 1 based on that decision," Stollenwerk told the News Tribune.

PCA officials have let shipping and port officials know the permits are coming. The rules will be considered law of the state and could be punishable by civil and criminal penalties. Requiring NPDES permits for ballast discharges will not require action by the state legislature, Stollenwerk said, although minor changes in state rules are needed.

The Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior receives by far the most ballast discharge of any Great Lakes port, amounts estimated to equal all other ports combined. That’s because so many oceangoing ships come here without cargo and full of ballast before taking on taconite, coal and grain. The Twin Ports is the nation’s busiest inland port with 1,231 visits last year, including 138 salties.

The news of state regulation was praised by environmental and conservation leaders, although some bristled at the prospect of waiting years before ballast treatment is actually required.

“You have to believe that they are serious about this, that it’s not just window dressing,’’ said Henry Van-Offelen, exotic species expert for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. “But waiting unit October isn’t a viable option. We can’t miss another entire shipping season. ... And waiting for years and years before they actually enforce anything, before there’s any actual treatment, that’s a crime. They can start with something right now, even if it isn’t perfect, and ramp it up when the technology gets better."

But Minnesota officials cite a California Lands Commission report for that state’s Legislature, released in December, which shows ship-board ballast water treatment systems still aren’t completely successful at killing all kinds of exotic species. That study suggested delaying state ballast water rules until 2013.

The entire state effort could be for naught if Congress and President Bush agree on a ballast water regulation in coming months. A House ballast water bill could pass later this month and would prohibit states from taking their own action. Congressional action has been promised, but never taken, in past years.

Industry officials oppose state ballast laws, saying a single, federal standard should be adopted to avoid confusing regulation changes from port to port across state lines. They also say that there is no proven, on-board ballast treatment system ready to install and that there is no established treatment standard to strive for.

“We support the legislation moving in Congress right now so we can avoid having different regulations’’ in every state’s ports, said Steve Fisher, executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association.

Fisher said his group also opposes any effort to require lakers to treat ballast, noting that they are designed to release water at too many locations on the ship to practically treat the discharge. While salties may have two discharge points, 1,000-foot lakers have as many as 18, Fisher said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated                


Today in Great Lakes History - February 14

The MESABI MINER (Hull#906) was launched on this day in 1977, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. 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, Ontario 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.


Port Reports - February 13

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Olympic, assisted by USCGC Bristol Bay and the MacDonald Marine tugs, began her journey into the channel at 10 p.m. Monday night. The icebreaking continued until 4 a.m. Tuesday with the Olympic getting a single wire on the outer dolphins. Everything came to a standstill at that point and the crews went to bed. At 10 a.m. icebreaking commenced again and continued all afternoon. By 5 p.m. the Olympic appeared to be secured to the Sifto Salt dock.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ice-covered and almost ghostly in steady snow and limited visibility, the Joseph L. Block arrived Tuesday noon in Milwaukee's inner harbor for lay-up from its usual Lake Michigan iron ore run. By Tuesday night Block was idle, moored with anchor down along the west wall of the inner harbor basin, just south of the Nidera Grain elevator.


CSL Laurentian named most decorative ship

2/13 - Thorold, Ont. - Ships plying the waters of the Welland Canal during the holiday season have been taking on a more festive glow in recent years and the efforts of their crews to decorate them for their last journeys through the canal before it is closed for the season are not going unrewarded.

A jury of Thorold area residents, assembled by the Friends of Lock Seven and Seaway Marine Transport, has chosen the CSL Laurentian, a Canadian Steamship Lines vessel, as the winner of its 2007 Best Decorated Ship contest.

"The entire ship, from bow to stern, was lit, including the boom that had ornate white twinkling lights and a lit motorized polar bear," said Thorold Tourism director Terry Dow of the CSL Laurentian. "The ship was very impressive as it traversed the Welland Canal four times through the month of December."

Dow congratulated the crew of the 740-foot ship for "decorating it beautifully for the season."

For their efforts, crew members will be presented a trophy named after Thorold resident Marghery Ritchie, who has written books and articles about the history of the Welland Canal, at a dinner to be held this month.

The best decorated ship contest was first launched three years ago.

From Niagara This Week


1869 Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast for sale

2/13 - Jacobsville, MI - List on Craig's List is a lighthouse Bed and Breakfast on Lake Superior in Michigan. Traditional Lighthouse with Keepers House built in 1869 attached to the conical Light Tower. Jacobsville is located near the lower entrance to the Portage River from Keweenaw Bay.

This property is situated on Keweenaw Bay with 360 feet of lake shore, also a porch and deck to enjoy the view. This large bay, off the east side of Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula, has a breathtaking view 6 1/2 miles across the bay to the Huron Mountains and the historic Henry Ford town of Pequaming.

This is a remote area as all lighthouse's usually are. There is a white sand beach that can be walked to and a public boat ramp about 1 1/2 miles away.

There are 5 rooms with possible expansion to 9 rooms, set on approximately 2.1 acres, with 5 buildings (main house and tower with 3 rental rooms in original house), Oil House, Shop Building with heat and Toilet facilities, 2 car garage (was original barn) with storage upstairs. New rental building with 2-3 rental rooms. Deck down by lake. Square footage 4,336. Acreage appx. 2.1.


Yeast could be the key to ending lake invaders

2/13 - Troy, MI - A Michigan company says it thinks it may have a promising solution to fight a huge Great Lakes problem -- invasive species dumped from the ballast of oceangoing ships.

EcologiQ, a Troy firm, hopes a tiny form of yeast it has patented can rid ships of dangerous invasive organisms that lurk in their ballast tanks by starving them of oxygen.

When ships travel without cargo, they take on water for stability. When they take on cargo, they discharge the water from their tanks. Ballast water often contains bacteria, viruses and the adult and larval stages of plants and animals. Those originating in freshwater in places such as eastern Europe's Black Sea could survive and proliferate once released in the Great Lakes, causing serious harm.

For example, invasive zebra and quagga mussels and round gobies, have led to a chain reaction producing botulism that has killed more than 50,000 waterfowl in three of the Great Lakes since 1999. Zebra mussels also have clogged water intake pipes throughout the Great Lakes and cost communities millions to clear away.

The new product, BallaClean, works by removing the oxygen in a closed space or body of water and suffocating live organisms that could turn into unwanted invaders once released into the Great Lakes. The company is testing the product in hopes of getting it certified in various countries.

The firm says it offers a smaller, simpler and cheaper solution for shippers than other methods on the market. Environment Canada has tested BallaClean and found that it does not harm the environment. The tiny yeast replicates repeatedly until all the oxygen is removed from the water it's in, said Dr. Robert Bilkovski, a former Henry Ford Hospital emergency room physician and vice president of the company. Once it has killed other organisms, the yeast goes dormant. When it's released from the tank into a lake, it becomes harmless fish food, Bilkovski said.

More than 100 invaders have been introduced into the Great Lakes over the last century. Many were first found in Michigan where ships discharged ballast.

By 2016, the International Maritime Organization could require all ships to install treatment systems to disinfect their ballast water, but the treaty still must be ratified by dozens of countries. Environmental groups say 2016 is too late.

Now, ships either swish saltwater through their tanks to kill freshwater organisms or dump their ballast water in the ocean before entering the Great Lakes. Either method can leave tiny creatures in the sediment in the tanks. Scientists say treatment is the only real solution to stop future invaders.

Bills before Congress would require tougher standards and a speedier timetable for ships entering U.S. ports. But so far, the legislation hasn't passed, partly because of lobbying from the shipping industry, which says the measures are too costly. The State of Michigan has required ballast water treatment since last year, but since no other states do, it doesn't solve the problem.

Bilkovski said EcologiQ plans to request approval for BallaClean from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "If it's something we can demonstrate works and is effective, it's something we can work with," said MDEQ spokesman Bob McCann. Four other treatment methods already are approved by the state, said Roger Eberhardt with the DEQ's Office of the Great Lakes. Competition to come up with systems to treat ballast water is fierce.

Some remedies in the works or already developed use chemicals, filtration, deoxygenation by injecting a gas, ozone, irradiation or ultrasound to zap critters in ballast. Many have restraints, such as cost, size or an inability to kill all types of organisms.

Bilkovski said his firm works to balance ecology with economics. "We think we have the best product," he said. Bilkovski also said he is proud that a local company is working on the problem. "How great would it be to say 'We've got a Michigan company helping with this'?" he said.

From the Detroit Free Press


Updates - February 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated                


Today in Great Lakes History - February 13

The POINTE NOIRE was launched February 13, 1926, as a.) SAMUEL MATHER (4) (Hull#792) at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co.

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.


Great Lakes Cruising Takes Bruising

2/12 - Duluth - The Twin Ports will welcome a new cruise ship in 2009, when Travel Dynamics International aims to launch regular service between Duluth and Toronto.

But the Duluth Seaway Port Authority wants to take steps to ensure clear sailing for the new service. That includes figuring out a way for passengers to enter the United States by water with a minimum amount of inconvenience, despite mounting efforts to better secure the nation’s borders.

A few weeks ago, Travel Dynamics, based in New York City, announced its acquisition of a 50-suite, 100-passenger cruise ship called the Clelia II. This year, the 290-foot vessel will be refurbished and its hull will be upgraded to ice-class standards for future cruise service in Antarctica and the Arctic. During the summer and early fall of 2009, however, the Clelia II is destined to make 14 voyages between Duluth and Toronto. The cruise will be sold as a seven-day, one-way service.

The Clelia II, a 100-passenger cruise ship recently purchased by Travel Dynamics International of New York City, is scheduled to begin regular service between Duluth and Toronto in 2009. Peter Passi Archive Tickets won’t come cheap. Passage on the ship begins at $5,600 per person and can cost up to $10,700 for a penthouse suite. That price includes food, drink, shore excursions and other programming.

“Like all our trips, it will have an educational theme. We will explore the area’s geology, its environmental aspects, the War of 1812 and other historic events,” said George Papagapitos, Travel Dynamics’ co-founder.

In order to pull off the new service, however, the Twin Ports will need to work through some details with Homeland Security officials. “We need to have an open dialog with U.S. Customs and the Border Patrol,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “Without jeopardizing security, they may be able to make some minor accommodations that will allow us to grow this industry.”

Security Objections
Ojard said he wants to avoid any repeat of problems the MV Columbus encountered in September. That German cruise ship had planned to deliver its passengers to a final destination in Chicago as part of a Great Lakes tour, but Homeland Security officials rejected the itinerary, saying the city lacked a marine terminal with appropriate security and screening facilities to receive foreign travelers. Efforts to reroute the vessel to Milwaukee or Duluth met with the same objection.

The Columbus’ agent, InterShip Inc., was informed that only a registered US-VISIT facility complete with baggage screening equipment, biometric controls and a host of other security features could receive the ship. But not one terminal on the Great Lakes qualifies as a US-VISIT facility.

Ultimately, passengers aboard the Columbus were forced to load into lifeboats bound for Canada while their vessel was anchored in the St. Marys River. The cruise line operator, Hapag-Lloyd, then chartered a bus to pick up the passengers and drive them to an established border crossing, where travelers could clear customs before resuming their trip to Chicago.

“It was nuts,” Ojard said. “They lost an entire day just to clear customs, and people could have been seriously hurt using lifeboats. It was not well-thought-out. But no one would make any accommodations.”

Nascent Industry Takes Hist
Ojard said the ordeal was disheartening not only for passengers but for all those who have worked diligently to promote Great Lakes cruising in recent years. The Columbus has scheduled no return trips to the Great Lakes in 2008 or 2009. However, Sebastian Ahren, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, said the decision to cruise elsewhere wasn’t driven primarily by border difficulties.

“Our decision not to cruise the Great Lakes this year or next year was purely based on the water level,” he said in a written statement. “Although we had to face some incidents concerning embarkments and border control, this was not swinging the decision. We will have a close look on the natural and administrative development, but we don’t count out offering cruises on the Lakes in some years again.”

The 400-passenger Columbus was designed especially to operate on the Great Lakes and navigate its system of locks. Cindy Tanenbaum, a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd expects the ship will return if water levels rebound. “Our Great Lakes cruises have been very popular,” she said. “They always sell out.”

Additional Complications
Chris Conlin, president of Great Lakes Cruise Co., an Ann Arbor, Mich., company that books cruises aboard a fleet of several ships, including the Columbus, remains upbeat about the future of the industry but acknowledged that security concerns since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have complicated nondomestic cruise operations. He said constantly changing rules have added to the confusion.

“I would hope there would be great cooperation between the ports and Homeland Security to anticipate travelers and set up appropriate security and clearing processes. … The cruise industry represents valuable economic development. So it makes sense to work these kinds of details out in advance and communicate them widely,” Conlin said.

Federal Flexibility
Ojard said the Duluth Seaway Port Authority has discussed its situation with receptive congressional representatives. Staff members of Sen. Norm Coleman said he is already exploring the issue.

“The development of a cruise industry on the Great Lakes could have a positive economic impact on Duluth. I have communicated the concerns of the Port Authority to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and will continue to work with both parties to see that an agreement on a customs clearance process can be reached,” Coleman said.

Likewise, Rep. Jim Oberstar also is prepared to enter the fray. “It’s not an acceptable situation if we have people who are interested in operating a cruise service out of Duluth but can’t because of problems with Homeland Security,” said John Schadl, a spokesman for Oberstar. He said Oberstar considers the issue a priority and will definitely look into the matter.

“If we’re capable of handling international arrivals five miles away [at Duluth International Airport], why can’t we down the hill?” Schadl asked. He said federal agencies should be flexible enough to handle the arrival of relatively small groups by ship. Schadl said Oberstar will look into obtaining any additional tools or resources, within reason, that are needed to handle the job.

Ojard noted that the relatively small volume of cruise traffic the Twin Ports expects to handle would make it hard to justify sinking $3 million to $4 million into a new passenger terminal. Erie, Pa., recently invested $4.7 million to build a marine passenger terminal. Meanwhile Toledo and Detroit are constructing facilities as well.

Even without a new terminal, Papagapitos remains confident it will be possible to operate a cruise service between Duluth and Toronto. “The issue of security is here to stay with us. But if we plan in advance, I think proper arrangements can be made,” he said.

Papagapitos envisions the Duluth-Toronto trip becoming a staple of Great Lakes cruising. “We view ourselves as a long-term player on the Great Lakes,” he said. “If the authorities help us have a successful operation and if they don’t make unreasonable requests, I see us offering this service every summer for years to come.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History - February 12

RED WING (2) was launched February 12, 1944, as a.) BOUNDBROOK (Hull#335) at Chester, Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.

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.


Edward L. Ryerson Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

2/11 - Through the generosity of Central Marine Logistics Inc., BoatNerd is offering the chance to win a trip for four aboard the legendary Great Lakes steamboat Edward L. Ryerson during the 2008 sailing season. This once-in-a-lifetime trip is the Grand Prize for BoatNerd's 2008 raffle and fundraising event.

All proceeds from the raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online Inc., the non-profit 501(C)(3) support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Funds raised will be used to pay the charges associated with running such a busy site. Fund-raising raffles are our only method of support; without the raffle BoatNerd.Com would be forced to discontinue this free web site.

Other prizes include: a port hole from the Calumet courtesy International Marine Salvage, a cruise aboard the Huron Lady II, sightseeing cruises of Duluth-Superior aboard the Vista Fleet, tickets for Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River, passes aboard the Keweenaw Star for a sunset cruise, and round trip tickets to Beaver Island.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 7, 2008 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters at Vantage Point, in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 14 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron. Tickets are currently at the printer and will begin mailing in late February.

State of Michigan Raffle License # R95375


103-year-old Aerial Lift Bridge is getting makeover in Duluth

2/11 - Duluth - Despite winter blasts of Arctic cold and wind, the task of sandblasting and painting Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge is on schedule.

“They are moving right along — so far, so good,” Lift Bridge Supervisor Ryan Beamer said Thursday afternoon. Foot and vehicle traffic across the bridge was reduced to one sidewalk and one lane of traffic in January to allow for the $2 million renovation. Workers will continue sandblasting and painting the bridge’s lift span truss and end towers into late March. A major portion of the bridge’s lake side and north of the pilot house is completed, Beamer said.

On Thursday, workers with the project’s main contractor — Rainbow Inc., of the Twin Cities — finished enclosing the bridge’s lakeside lift span truss in a cocoon of tarps, held together and in place with steel cable, plastic cable ties, C-clamps and caribiners. The tarp cocoon, warmed with hot air brought in via flexible yellow ducts from a truck-bourne furnace, allows for the collection of paint dust and for fresh paint to dry properly, as well as protect workers from winter weather.

The need to heat the cocoon means the project — paid for with $1 million of state money and about $1 million in city bonds — costs more to do now than it would during warmer seasons. But it has to be done when the bridge can remain down, while ships are snug in their winter berths.

This spring, workers will repair spots of deteriorating steel and will perform concrete work on the bridge’s two, 500-ton counterweights. That will require the bridge to remain raised (when the counterweights are lowered and easily accessible) for periods of time during the night so that workers can jackhammer off loose concrete, build forms and pour new concrete. The city will give 72-hour advance notice before the bridge is closed to vehicle traffic.

The entire repair project is expected to be completed by June 30, 2009, with the majority of the work done this season and next winter. The 103-year-old bridge last received a major overhaul in 1999-2000, when wheels and cables were replaced and painting was begun.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Park Point shipwreck identified as tug sunk 120 years ago

2/11 - Duluth - A year after its discovery, shipwreck buffs think they’ve identified “Sophie’s Wreck,” the remains of a wooden ship discovered last winter off Park Point. But the chance to officially identify Sophie’s Wreck is slipping away as interest in it wanes and the wreck itself sinks deeper into the lake bottom.

Sophie’s Wreck was discovered about 150 feet offshore near the 2600 block of Minnesota Avenue last winter. People walking on the 10 inches of clear ice above the wreck first spotted it Feb. 18. It was dubbed “Sophie’s Wreck” in honor of one of the finders’ daughters. Several people dove down to the wreck last winter and combed the area with cameras and metal detectors, looking for telltale signs of the ship’s identity, like serial numbers on equipment. No such identifiers were found, but now, shipwreck historians think the wreck is the Amethyst, a harbor tug that was scuttled in 1888.

Jay Hanson, who dove to the wreck three times last winter, said the remains suggest Sophie’s Wreck was probably about 45 feet long, meaning it was likely a tug. The wreck’s engine and boiler are missing and the connecting rod is cleanly severed and not twisted or broken, indicating the missing items were removed for salvage before the ship was deliberately sunk — a not-uncommon fate for tugs that had outlived their usefulness or were beyond economically viable repair, according to Thom Holden, director of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center.

That leads Hanson and others to think the wreck is the Amethyst, but they freely acknowledge it could be another tug whose demise was not recorded or whose documents have been lost.

Ken Merryman, a board member of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society, said the size and salvage indications are all that point to Sophie’s Wreck being the Amethyst. “We have no other clues other than that. It could be an unrecorded boat of some kind,” he said. “Right now, that’s just the best guess.”

The lack of a definite identifier poses a problem — a hunch doesn’t cut it when trying to get official recognition of a shipwreck, such as a listing on the National Register of Historic Places. “We have to prove it’s the wreck we think it is to put it on the national historic register and, right now, all we have is the size,” Hanson said.

Hanson said he doesn’t know how it might be proven that Sophie’s Wreck is indeed the Amethyst. “It might never be proven,” he said. “It might always be a mystery.”

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society helps guide shipwrecks on to the National Register of Historic Places. Merryman, who oversees that aspect of the group’s work, said it takes on about one shipwreck per year and is booked up until 2009. And since the research, exploration and documentation of a wreck costs about $1,000, the group doesn’t want to spend the money on what may be an anonymous harbor tug of little historical value. “It’s probably lower on our list, let’s put it that way,” Merryman said of Sophie’s Wreck.

Society president Steve Daniel said other wrecks, such as the scow schooner Mayflower, which is sunk off the Lester River, have more to offer, historically speaking. The group is working to get The Moonlight, a schooner-barge that sunk in the Apostle Islands, on the register, for instance, because its wreck still holds china, lanterns, anchors and the original steering wheel. “A lot of these ships, you don’t see that,” Daniel said. “It’s worth preserving as is.”

Sophie’s Wreck will make it into a diver’s guide Daniel will have published in May by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. Daniel said he spends about three pages discussing Sophie’s Wreck. But Sophie’s Wreck lies in water that is too shallow for most boaters to enter, which makes it hard for people to visit. That leads Daniel to think it’s not going to become a heavily visited site. “This one probably won’t make most charts,” he said.

On top of that, Sophie’s Wreck may already have sunk into the lake bottom. Steven Sola, one of the original discoverers, said he visited the site in June and all he could see were two blades of the propeller. Daniel said he visited the site in August and couldn’t see anything.

From the Duluth News Tribune


International Falls keeps "icebox" title

2/11 - International Falls, MN — International Falls has iced its claim to be the “Icebox of the Nation.”

This city on the Canadian border had been fighting the ski town of Fraser, Colo., for the legal right to the trademark. International Falls claimed victory this week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent the city attorney a certificate granting the community Reg. No. 3,375,139. “I ran over to the attorney’s office and kissed the certificate,” Mayor Shawn Mason said Friday. “Fraser’s actions had sent a chill down my spine.”

Mason said more was at stake than bragging rights. She said International Falls has used the icebox title to market itself to industries as the nation’s premier site for cold-weather testing. “We’re just thrilled the title has been confirmed,” City Administrator Rod Otterness said. “We’ll wait until next week to notify them of their copyright infringement. If Fraser wants to call itself the Icebox of Colorado, we have no problem.”

International Falls and Fraser have fought over the title before. City Attorney Joe Boyle said International Falls can prove that it has used the moniker since 1948. And the city has photographic proof that its 1955 Pee Wee hockey team traveled to Boston with jackets saying, “The Icebox of the Nation.”

In 1988, a meteorology professor at St. Cloud State University submitted an affidavit saying Fraser can’t be the nation’s icebox, “because 11 months out of the year its meat would thaw and its ice cream would melt, while throughout the winter all meat and ice cream would be safe in International Falls.”

International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 in 1989 for dropping its claim to the title. But when the Minnesota community of 6,500 people failed to renew its trademark, the Colorado town of 1,000 jumped. “They let it lapse and we thought, heck, if they don’t want it, we do,” Fraser Mayor Fran Cook said Friday. “This is the first I’ve heard of any resolution, and I have to admit I’m surprised.”

Cook said town offices were closed Friday because of bad weather, and with a 4-foot snowdrift in front of her garage, she hadn’t been able to get to the town hall to see if Fraser had received any official notification. Cook said little will change even if Fraser’s lawyers confirm defeat. “It’s something we’ve always gotten a kick out of and it will not disappear from the old-timers’ lingo,” she said.

Friday’s weather in Fraser notwithstanding, this weekend Mother Nature is siding with International Falls. “It’s supposed to be 20-below with wind come Sunday,” Mason said while celebrating at her city’s Elks Lodge, toasting the chill with another frosty one. The forecast for Fraser: sunny with highs in the mid-30s.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 11

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 11

On 11 February 1994, the tug MARY E HANNAH and an empty fuel barge became trapped in the ice in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. The vessels were freed by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter NEAH BAY and the Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker SAMUEL RISLEY.

The E B BARBER (Hull#111) was launched in 1953, at Port Arthur, Ontario by Port Arthur Ship Building Co. Ltd.

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

BEN W CALVIN (Hull#388) was launched in 1911, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co..

The keel was laid for the ROY A JODREY (Hull#186) on February 11, 1965, at Collingwood, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd..

The tanker IMPERIAL CORNWALL was retired on February 11, 1971.

Albert Edgar Goodrich, the founder of the Goodrich Steamboat Line, was born in Hamburg, New York, 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.


Bush cuts dredging funds

2/10 - Great Lakes ports will suffer if the president’s federal budget is approved, facing a substantial funding reduction. Although $140 million was approved for 2008 dredging, the Bush administration has proposed a 35.5 percent reduction for 2009.

Any reduction in Army Corps of Engineers dredging budget “would be a double whammy of the worst kind,” said Patrick O’Hern, president of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, a coalition that represents industries using the lakes. “The lakes are already suffering with extremely low water levels,” he said in a news release. “An adequately funded maintenance program doesn’t solve the problem, but it certainly helps offset the impacts of falling water levels. Now is absolutely the worst imaginable time for any reduction in Great Lakes dredging funds.”

The Port of Duluth-Superior requires maintenance that would cost $6.4 million, according to the task force. With the cutback, it will receive $4.5 million. Ashland Harbor, which needs $865,000, lost its entire request, as did Manitowoc Harbor, Sturgeon Bay Harbor and the Lake Michigan Ship Canal in Wisconsin and Marquette Harbor in Michigan. In Minnesota, funding for Two Harbors was reduced from $320,000 to $300,000.

“The Great Lakes have been plagued by inadequate funding for maintenance for decades,” said Daniel L. Smith, national executive vice president of American Maritime Officers. The lack of dredging forces some 1,000-foot maritime vessels to sail 10,000 tons light because they can’t be loaded to full capacity.

“We thought we had turned the corner with the increase in dredging funds for 2008 that our congressional delegation won after much hard work. It is totally irresponsible for the administration to propose any cut in Great Lakes maintenance funds at this or any foreseeable time,” he said in a prepared statement.

At least $170 million a year is needed to prevent system decay, according to James Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers’ Association. He said a tax on cargo has accumulated to $3.5 billion, but money in the trust fund is not being released.

“If we don’t restore the Lakes navigation system to project dimensions, the industry will not be able to meet the needs of commerce,” Weakley said.

From the Superior Daily Telegram


Port Report - February 10

Birchglen - Kent Malo
The Birchglen reportedly completed dry docking at Halifax, Nova Scotia on January 31. She then sailed for Port Cartier, Quebec to load Iron ore for Baltimore.


Updates - February 10

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 10

UHLMANN BROTHERS (2) was launched February 10, 1906, as a.) LOFTUS CUDDY (Hull#341) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

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

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, Michigan to Milwaukee running two high-speed ferries.

On 10 February 1890, NYANZA (wooden propeller freighter, 280 foot, 1888 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (Hull #63) in W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co.. 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.


Twin Ports shipping marks fourth year of growth

2/9 - Duluth - The Twin Ports saw an uptick in maritime activity during the 2007-08 season. The docks handled 47.9 million tons of cargo — 1.7 percent more than they did last year.

That may sound like modest growth, but U.S.-flagged freighters reported moving 5.1 percent less cargo through the Great Lakes during the latest season than they did the prior year. Low water levels, which cut maximum loading capacities for many vessels, were to blame for much of the decrease. On average, a laker moved about 300 fewer tons per voyage this season than it would have previously.

During the season, 1,231 vessels called on the Twin Ports — 3.6 percent more than last year. Ocean-going traffic posted the most dramatic growth, as a weak dollar, a strong domestic harvest and crop failures abroad created new markets for grain exports. Saltie traffic grew 13.9 percent, with 158 vessels calling on the port — 22 more than the previous season.

Although shipments of taconite to domestic steelmakers were off compared to the previous season, pellet exports continued to grow, said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. He estimated that 1.2 million tons of pellets were shipped to China last season, and another 200,000 to 250,000 tons went to Algeria. “If you’d have said five years ago that we’d be shipping pellets to China, people would have called you nuts,” Ojard said.

The season marks the fourth year in a row of tonnage growth for the Twin Ports. During that period, Duluth and Superior docks have seen their overall cargo loads increase by 24 percent or 9.4 million tons.

Ojard said he has every expectation that the 2008-09 season could be even stronger. Both taconite and coal shipments are projected to grow. “If the current forecasts hold, our tonnage could increase more than 1.5 million tons this coming season. That would put us at the highest level we’ve seen since 1957,” Ojard said. But he also noted that if the economy falters and the nation enters a recession, the outlook for shipments could change significantly.

From the Duluth News Tribune


BoatNerd News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised

2/3 - The Photo Submission Guidelines for photographs sent in for the BoatNerd News Photo Gallery have been revised and updated.

In preparation for the coming boat watching season, please visit News Photo Submission Guidelines and review the updates to the guidelines. This will be a big help to the editorial staff who spend a lot of time keeping the site current.

Looking forward to the 2008-09 season, we want to say thanks to all who donated their time and photos to share with other viewers through the News Channel and News Photo Gallery. Keep them coming.


Updates - February 9

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 09

EAGLESCLIFFE, loaded with 3,500 tons of grain, sank two miles east of Galveston, Texas 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 (Hull#405) at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The HOMER D WILLIAMS suffered extensive fire damage to her side plating and forward lower cabins during her lay-up at Toledo, Ohio 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 foot, 1350 gross tons, built in 1888 at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull#44) 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.


Port Reports - February 8

DeTour Village - Cathy Kohring
On Wednesday and Thursday the USCGC Mackinaw was busy keeping the shipping channel open for the Algoeast who was downbound heading to get a load of fuel oil to bring back to the Soo in a few days. The Mackinaw spent Wednesday night at Spring Bay, tied up to the old DeTour Coal Dock which is now owned by Interlake's Steamship Co. On Thursday morning she headed up the river to the junction buoy to open the channel again for a tug and barge that was coming down. It dipped to -13 Thursday night, so there was plenty of new ice that formed over from the day before. The smaller Bay class cutters were working the upper St. Marys River.

Lake Ontario - Ron Walsh
At 12:48 p.m. Thursday, the Stephen B. Roman called the ferry Quinte Loyalist to alert them of their arrival and to inquire about ice conditions. At 1:20 p.m., the Stephen B. Roman was passing the ferry dock at Adolphustown inbound for Picton to load cement. This is the first commercial traffic in the area for the year.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine was an early Friday morning arrival and is loading at the Sifto Salt dock.


Updates - February 8

News Photo Gallery updated


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 foot, 4653 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. (Hull#604). 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


Today in Great Lakes History - February 07

The HURON (4) (Hull#132) was launched February 7, 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

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


Port Report - February 6

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Olympic, with the fog horn blowing, backed in the ice free channel and is on the Sifto Salt dock at 9 a.m. Tuesday. She was assisted to the dock by the MacDonald Marine tugs with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley at the elevator dock on standby, where she has been for the past few days.
Algomarine headed into the new harbour Tuesday at noon and will wait until the Olympic is finished, then shift over to the Sifto Salt dock.


Port Huron Marine Mart announced
BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II to follow

2/6 -Port Huron - The Port Huron Museum has announced the June 7 as the date for this years' Marine Memorabilia Flea Market. The mart will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and there is no admission charge.

The mart is being co-sponsored by Lake Huron Lore Society, Acheson Ventures and Great Lakes Nautical Society. The event is part of “Be a Tourist in your own Town” activities. The Great Lakes Nautical Society will have their 4th annual Port Huron Great Lakes Regatta displaying over 50 boat models. Informative activities about Great Lakes heritage will be provided throughout the day.

The mart's location at the Seaway Terminal, 2633 Military St. in Port Huron provide a perfect location for to view and to add to your collection of marine memorabilia, the Seaway Terminal on the banks of the St. Clair River. Vendors who wish to have a table the show should contact Shelia Lindsey 810.982.0891 ext. 18.

Beginning at 5 p.m., the Huron Lady II will host a two-hour BoatNerd cruise on the St. Clair River. Special BoatNerd price of $13.00 per person. Make a reservations by calling 810-984-1500. Tell them you are a BoatNerd.


Updates - February 6

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 06

On 06 February 1952, the LIMESTONE (steel propeller tug, 87 foot10 inches) was launched at Bay City, Michigan by the Defoe Shipyard (Hull #4230) for the Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. Later she was sold to U.S. Steel and in 1983, to Gaelic Tug Company who renamed her b.) WICKLOW. She is currently owned by the Great Lakes Towing Company and is named c.) NORTH CAROLINA.

The LORNA P, a.) CACOUNA was damaged by fire at Sorel, Quebec which was ignited by a welder's torch on February 6, 1974.

ALVA C DINKEY (Hull#365) was launched February 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co.

The HALLFAX (Hull#526) was launched February 6, 1962, at Port Glasgow, Scotland by William Hamilton & Co. Ltd.

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

On 06 February 1885, Capt. William Bridges of Bay City and A. C. Mc Lean of East Saginaw purchased the steamer D W POWERS (wooden propeller freighter, 140 foot, 303 gross tons, built in 1871 at Marine City, Michigan) 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.


Port Report - February 5

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Algomarine departed Milwaukee on Sunday evening. It reportedly unloaded most of its salt cargo when a belt on the boom broke. Repairs were completed late Sunday and the ship was expected to load salt for Chicago.


Lake Superior posts smaller decline than normal

2/5 - Duluth - The level of Lake Superior is inching closer to normal thanks to slower than usual monthly declines this winter.

The big lake dropped 2 inches in January, but that’s an inch less than usual, the International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Monday. Superior now sits 10 inches below normal but is 7 inches above where it was last year on Feb. 1.

According to U.S. Army Corp of Engineers hydrologists, the Lake Superior basin received above-normal moisture in January, despite the Duluth National Weather Service reporting January as the driest in recorded history. It’s now looking less likely that Lake Superior will break its all-time low level, set in 1926, when the big lake hits its seasonal low point in late March or early April. After that, melting snow and spring rains begin an annual increase in water level.

Lakes Huron and Michigan also showed slight improvement from a long low trend, rising by 2 inches in January, a month they usually decline by an inch. The lakes now sit 22 inches below normal.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 5

News Photo Gallery updated


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. Le Fleur of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet, known 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.


Copper wire stolen from damaged ship

2/4 - Duluth - Add theft to the list of woes suffered by the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. An estimated $4,000 worth of copper wire being stored on the docked ship turned up missing Wednesday morning, according to a Superior police report.

Crews had been rewiring the ship, and lengths of copper wire cut out of the ship were being stored on board, the report stated. Despite 24-hour-a-day security at Superior’s Hallett No. 8 Dock, where the ship is docked, about four pickup loads of copper wire were taken from the McCarthy late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

The 1- to 2-inch-diameter wire was covered in electrical casing that would have a lot of white paint on it, according to police.

The McCarthy’s engine rooms flooded Jan. 14 after the ship’s hull was pierced by a submerged object as the ship was backing into a slip at Superior’s Hallett No. 8 Dock. Workers were able to pump water from the ship’s ballast tanks to life the stern. The two engine rooms were pumped dry last weekend, but there is no estimate on how long it will take to repair the McCarthy.

From the Superior Daily Telegram


Port Report - February 4

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Algomarine remained at the bulk pier in the outer harbor on Sunday afternoon. It arrived yesterday to discharge salt, which it has done. A crane is located on the north side of the vessel and appears to be supporting a component of the ship's boom, which had men working on it.


Mayor Brown wants rusty former ferry removed from Buffalo waterfront
Harbor law concerns cited on visit to derelict moored on waterfront

2/4 - Buffalo - The last dilapidated ship moored on Buffalo’s waterfront stayed there for 12 years before finally leaving last July. Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., vowed Friday that the latest one would depart much sooner than that.

Brown and Higgins made that pledge after city inspectors examined the 1,500-ton Landsdowne following what Higgins said were numerous complaints from area residents. The ship was moved in late November to the mooring long occupied by the now-departed Marine Star/Aquarama. “We find this intolerable,” Brown said after looking at the 123-year-old vessel, which spent its working life ferrying railroad cars between the ports of Detroit/Windsor, Ont., and Port Huron, Mich./Sarnia, Ont.

The Landsdowne today is little more than a football field-sized iron hull with a deck that supports a skeletal steel frame and two railroad cars that served as dining cars when the ship was reconfigured as a floating restaurant. On Friday, parts of the ship floated amid chunks of ice at the South End Marina mooring. It is owned by Specialty Restaurants. A message left with Specialty seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Brown said he expects the city will send a letter to the owner of the Fuhrmann Boulevard marina Monday outlining specifically what violations of the city’s law covering wharves, harbors and bridges inspectors found. “One potential violation is the moorings: Are they strong enough to properly support the size of this [vessel]?” Brown said. “We don’t want to see this vessel break free.”

City officials pointed to other parts of the harbors law stating that any vessel “must have a competent person onboard who is in control or gain permission from the harbormaster.” If found guilty of violations of the law, the marina owners could face fines of up to $1,000 per day per violation, Brown said.

Both Brown and Higgins said there are special regulations covering the city’s coastal waters, one of which states that owners must get permission from the city to moor. “We found today there was not prior approval of the harbormaster to have this vessel brought here,” he said. A phone call to the marina went unanswered.

Higgins called the ship “a piece of junk” and said its presence was inconsistent with efforts to revitalize the Outer Harbor. “We’re going to take a very hard line on this to send a message to people in the future,” Brown said. “We’re not going to let junk litter this waterfront.”

From the Buffalo News


Newfoundland mayor among victims of tugboat sinking

2/4 - Baccalieu Island - Police have identified two men who died off Newfoundland after a tugboat they were transporting suddenly took on water and sank. They are Larry Parsons, the 69-year old mayor of Lumsden, Nfld., and Christopher Wade Oram, 32, of Badger's Quay.

The tugboat Checkmate III went down north of Baccalieu Island. Rescue officials received a garbled mayday call Thursday night. The bodies of the men, in survival suits, were found in frigid waters about 12 kilometers from shore.

From the Toronto Star.

Note: The Checkmate III was built in 1987 as a steel pilot boat by Mike Verbrugge in Port Burwell, Ontario.


Updates - February 4

News Photo Gallery updated


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, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. and float-launched on February 4, 1981, (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 10 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.


Port Report - February 3

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
The Algomarine approached the breakwater at 12:30 Saturday afternoon, completed a 180 degree turn, and backed into the outer harbor where it docked about 1:30 at the bulk cargo pier adjacent to the Jones Island water treatment plant to discharge salt. The inner harbor bulk dock, where salt is more often discharged, was not available due to ships, including the Burns Harbor, that are wintering in Milwaukee.


Lake Superior Outflow set for February

2/3 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,680 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (59.3 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month February. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of February and is a decrease from the January outflow, which was 1,730 m3/s (61.1 tcfs).

The February outflow will be released by discharging about 1,580 m3/s (55.8 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were well above their long-term averages for January. Lake Superior is currently 14 cm (6 inches) below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall slightly in February.

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 25 cm (10 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-February level, but is 18 cm above the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell 4 cm (2 inches), while on average the level falls by 7 cm (3 inches) in January.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose by 8 cm (3 inches) this January, while on average these lakes decline by 2 cm (1 inch) in January. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 57 cm (22 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-February level, and is 24 cm (9 inches) lower than it was a year ago, and 26 cm (10 inches) below chart datum. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to stay the same in February.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Additional information can be found at this link


DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society
2008 Schedule

2/3 - Drummond Island, MI - The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) has announced their schedule of activities for 2008.

9th Annual Evening Under the Stars is planned for Saturday, July 12. The evening includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, a beautiful gourment dinner, a unique dessert, music and a silent auction. It will be held on the shore of Lake Huron at Bayside Dining on Drummond Island, MI.

The 10th Anniversary Gala Celebration will take place on Saturday, August 30. Everyone is invited to the celebration of ten years of restoration and conservation of the DeTour Reef Light. The gala promises to provide some surprises.

DeTour Reef Lighthouse Tours are scheduled for: Saturdays, except as indicated, June 7, 14, 21, 28, July 5, 13 (Sunday), 19, 26, and Aug 2, 10 (Sunday), 16, 23. This is the 4th year for the Lighthouse Tours. They include boat transportation on a government inspected charter boat piloted by a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, light refreshments on the Light, and a guided tour. Each tour is limited to 6 individuals, assuring personal attention by the tour guides. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours. Advanced reservations and payment will be required.

You can be a lighthouse keeper by making reservations for one of the DeTour Reef Light Keeper Weekends. The weekend is from Friday p.m. to Sunday p.m. Available weekends are: June 13-15, June 20-22, June 27-29, July 4-6, July 11-13, July 18-20, July 25-27, Aug 1-3, Aug 8-10, Aug 15-17, and Aug 22-24. The Light Keeper program has received overwhelming interest from Lighthouse aficionados as well as the general public and is in its 4th year. The process of becoming a Weekend Light Keeper includes a personal phone interview, a letter explaining why the individual wants to be a keeper and two letters of reference. Each weekend is limited to 6 keepers.

2008 Photograph the Light Contest – June 1st through August 1st. The DRLPS is looking for unique pictures of the DeTour Reef Light. This contest is open to all amateur photographers and pictures become the property of the DRLPS. Additional information will be available in Spring, 2008. The winner will be announced at the 10th Anniversary Gala on Saturday August 30th.

For more information please visit


BoatNerd News Photo Submission Guidelines Revised

2/3 - The Photo Submission Guidelines for photographs sent in for the BoatNerd News Photo Gallery have been revised and updated.

In preparation for the coming boat watching season, please visit News Photo Submission Guidelines and review the updates to the guidelines. This will be a big help to the editorial staff who spend a lot of time keeping the site current.

Looking forward to the 2008-09 season, we want to say thanks to all who donated their time and photos to share with other viewers through the News Channel and News Photo Gallery. Keep them coming.


Updates - February 3

News Photo Gallery updated


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, California.

On 03 February 1899, the steamer GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller freighter, 182 foot, 977 gross tons, built in 1895 at Marine City, Michigan) burned while laid up near Montreal, Quebec. 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.


Port Reports - February 2

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort, Wilfred Sykes, and Joseph L. Block continue taking loads of ore from Escanaba in spite of the sometimes very frigid weather. The Escanaba ore dock usually continues shipping into February and takes a shorter shut-down time than the Lake Superior docks.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Late Friday, the Lansdowne shows no signs off the problems create by the high winds earlier in the week. It appears that the barge has been refloated.
A New York State Power Authority icebreaker was due to open a track between Buffalo harbor and the Niagara River Ice Boom Friday. Once the channel is cut the NYSPA will dispatch their tug-barge to begin working on the boom. After Tuesday morning's storm, seiche, and ice flow it was found that two separate sections of the boom had parted, requiring repair. Local TV news video of the aftermath and clean up from the South Buffalo area flooding was shocking to see. Clips from Thursday night's broadcasts showed streets full of ice chunks and flopping fish on the pavement hundreds of feet from the river bank.


$300 million expansion planned for Keetac taconite operation

2/2/ - Duluth - United States Steel Corp. will unveil plans today to embark on the largest and most costly expansion of an Iron Range taconite operation in 29 years.

The company aims to invest more than $300 million in its Keetac plant in Keewatin. It plans to boost pellet production by 60 percent and hire 75 people, bringing the operation’s full-time work force to 475 and its annual production capacity to 9.6 million tons. Keetac currently produces about 6 million tons of iron ore pellets per year.

With the expansion, U.S. Steel would own and operate the two largest taconite plants in North America, both on the Minnesota Iron Range. Minntac Mine, with an annual capacity of about 14.6 million tons of pellets, is North America’s largest taconite plant. Keetac would rise to second largest. Assuming the project goes forward, it also is expected to create about 500 construction jobs. Building the new facilities probably would require three years of work, according to John Goodish, U.S. Steel’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Before construction can begin, however, Goodish said state and federal emissions permits must be obtained. He’s hoping to have the necessary approvals in hand in within six months. “That’s an aggressive but attainable goal,” Goodish said. “We want to expedite the permitting,” he explained. “We’re not asking anyone to bend the rules, but we want people to concentrate on this project.”

Toward that end, George Babcoke, U.S. Steel vice president of plant operations, said the company wants to address any environmental concerns about the project up front. “We want to bring environmental stakeholders into this process,” said Babcoke, explaining U.S. Steel’s plans to contact representatives of environmental groups active in the area, so the company can listen and respond to any concerns.

The project also still needs to be approved by U.S. Steel’s board of directors before it can proceed, but Goodish expressed confidence it will garner the needed support.

U.S. Steel hopes to restart a pellet-producing line that has been mothballed since 1980 — but that’s not as simple as flipping a switch. Goodish said the old line will be overhauled, using the “best available technology” to maximize efficiency and minimize emissions. The same technology also will be used to upgrade the pellet line that’s currently in operation at Keetac. Other equipment, such as grinding mills and balling mills, also will be needed to increase Keetac’s output.

“It’s a surprise, but it’s a smart thing to do,’’ said Peter Kakela, a Michigan State University taconite industry analyst. “U.S. Steel is being smart in expanding its own capacity and continuing to vertically integrate.’’ The last time anyone spent anywhere near this kind of money on the Range was in 1978, when U.S. Steel upgraded the Minntac Mine, near Mountain Iron. Goodish said most of the pellets from the Keetac expansion would feed Canadian blast furnaces U.S. Steel recently acquired from Stelco Inc.

“The announcement of U.S. Steel to make a major commitment to northeast Minnesota’s economy is another example of the importance of mining not only to all the state, but to the people that make their livelihood right here in northern Minnesota,’’ said Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota. “While the rest of the state is undergoing a dip in the economy, the taconite industry and mining in general is seeing economic growth that brings jobs to the mines, to the vendors that serve the mines and to the trades that build the facilities.’’

The mining industry currently employs about 4,000 people directly and about 16,000 indirectly.

Several other prospective mining projects also now in the pipeline could put even more people to work. A projected 3,400 construction workers would be needed for three other major mining-related projects: Mesabi Nugget’s iron nugget plant near Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota Steel’s steel mill near Nashwauk and PolyMet Mining Corp.’s copper-nickel and precious metals mine south of Babbitt.

Worldwide demand for iron ore, driven by rapid growth in industrializing nations such as China and India, remains strong.

Within the United States, iron ore and steel companies don’t have the capacity to meet domestic steel demand. That has resulted in the importation of steel and semi-finished steel slabs, which can be turned into steel. Demand for iron ore pellets — the prime ingredient in steelmaking — has driven prices from about $35 per ton in recent years to a world price of about $77 per ton in 2007.

In 2008, the world price for a ton of iron ore pellets is expected to increase by 25 to 50 percent, which could push it above $100 a ton for the first time. Kakela said he expects prices to go up by about 31 percent per ton.

By owning and expanding its own iron ore pellet operations, U.S. Steel could supply itself with iron ore pellets at a cost of about $40 to $50 a ton, Kakela said. “This project will further strengthen our company’s position in an increasingly global steel industry,” Goodish said of the Keetac expansion. He explained that by boosting its production of low-cost pellets, U.S. Steel should gain a competitive advantage. “The Minnesota and Michigan mines are going to feed the domestic steel industry,’’ Kakela said. “The one thing this can do is cut down on the import of slabs by providing more raw steel in the U.S.’’

In 2003, U.S. Steel bought the taconite plant as part of a $1 billion deal to acquire ownership of bankrupt National Steel Corp. The taconite plant, formerly known as National Steel Pellet Co., began operating in 1967.

Historically, Keetac has been one of Northeastern Minnesota’s most productive facilities on a tons-per-man-hour basis, setting several world records for one-line iron ore pellet production. U.S Steel’s ties to Northeastern Minnesota go back to 1901, when the company was formed. Minntac Mine is located near the site where, in 1890, the Merritt brothers discovered iron ore on the Mesabi Iron Range.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - February 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Lay Up List updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 02

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

The SAMUEL MATHER (6), a.) PILOT KNOB (1) (Hull#522) had her keel laid February 2, 1942, at Ashtabula, Ohio by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

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


Opposition to Lansdowne mounts in Buffalo

2/1 - Buffalo, NY - The 123-year old former Detroit rail ferry Lansdowne became partially submerged at the dock of a privately owned marina after a storm on January 30. The partial sinking is prompting new questions about its future.

The Lansdowne sits at the site once occupied by the Marine Star, which was towed away in July, 2007 after sitting at the same spot for 12 years. Specialty Restaurants owns the relic. They did not return calls seeking information about its future.

The way the Lansdowne tipped attracted its share of spectators a day after the storm, as crews tried to right the ship. Some said they wish it had sunk, others said they wish it would be taken away to some scrapyard.

Buffalo Common Council member Mickey Kearnes said he's taken his share of those calls. He says he is currently looking at city ordinances to see if there is a way Buffalo lawmakers can have a say in what is parked along Buffalo's waterfront. "Right now I've been doing research to see under Coastal Review under the Common Council powers, whether we can do something to remove the vessel from that area," Kearnes said. He is also looking at some state guidelines to see if there is power at the state level to do something.

Kearnes plans a meeting Friday with city leaders and Buffalo's legal department to explore all his options. "We want a beautiful shoreline. We want the waterfront to be a destination, not a dumping ground," he said.



Port Reports - February 1

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Olympic departed shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday morning with a load of salt for a Lake Michigan port. Algomarine, who had been waiting down in Sarnia, backed in the channel assisted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and the MacDonald Marine tugs. She was on the Sifto Salt dock at 9:30 a.m.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Birchglen sailed from Halifax at 10:30 p.m. Thursday evening. The ship arrived January 12 and spent the entire time in the Novadock floating drydock. She was floated out about 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon, and proceeded to Bedford Basin After taking bunkers she put out to sea bound for Port Cartier. While she was in drydock most of the activity seemed to be concentrated in the area of her steering nozzle and prop.


Job Opening – The Great Lakes Group

2/1 - Cleveland - The Great Lakes Group (The Great Lakes Towing Company) has announced a job opening for the position of Operations Coordinator, Cleveland, Ohio

Working under the direction of senior operations personnel, this entry-level management position will prepare the employee for a shore side operations career within The Great Lakes Group. The Operations Coordinator’s primary duties directly relate to the management and business operations of The Great Lakes Towing Company and include scheduling and coordinating the daily operations of the Company’s tugs and barges, including schedule crews, maintaining records and preparing invoices for services, contract administration, operations, sales and marketing, employee supervision, and coordination with other departments within the company. The duties listed above are not all-inclusive, but a sampling of the types of duties that will be performed as they pertain to the following business areas: quality control, personnel management, labor relations, legal and regulatory compliance, and safety. The successful candidate will be assigned to our 24-hour Operations Center, and may be assigned to day or night work, and will become an integral part of our team working within The Great Lakes Towing Company’s Operations Department.

Required Experience & Education:
Excellent communication and organization skills, intermediate skills with MS Excel/Word, demonstrated ability to effectively work independently and as a team player, formal maritime background, general knowledge of tug and barge industry, and previous supervisory experience is an asset.

Compensation & Benefits:
The Great Lakes Group offers a competitive salary and benefits package including: medical, 401(k), tuition assistance, employee assistance program, group life insurance, short-term and long-term disability coverage, employee activities, as well as paid vacation, and sick time.

Contact Information:
Send cover letter and resume with salary requirements to: The Great Lakes Group, Attn: Operations Manager, 4500 Division Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44102-2228, or Email:


Updates - February 1

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - February 01

On 01 February 1871, the SKYLARK (wooden propeller steamer, 90 tons, built in 1857) was purchased by the Goodrich Transportation Company from Thomas L. Parker for $6,000.

On February 1, 1990, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was officially decommissioned.

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, Michigan 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

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour