Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Sault’s Great Tug Boat Races cancelled this summer

2/29 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – An annual Canada Day weekend event has been sunk. The Great Tug Boat Committee issued a release Sunday afternoon announcing the cancellation of the long running event.

“The Great Tugboat Race Event has been canceled for 2016. Given the economic conditions in the area, a decision was made that it was too much to ask of our sponsors to continue to support our event.” the release stated.

The annual Great Tug Boat parade and races, held during the joint international celebrations of July 1st and July 4th began in 1982 “We have raised thousands of dollars over the years and donating 100% of those funds to challenged children on both sides of the border has been a rewarding effort for all.”

The committee stated that it hopes to resume the event, though did not specify when.

The Great Tugboat races also included a pancake breakfast open to the public set on a floating barge and docked at the Bondar Marina.

“We would like to thank our participants and spectators who have traveled far and wide to participate in this worthwhile cause, the many Masonic members and their families that helped with the pancake breakfasts on the Canadian side and the crew from Material Handling Source for conducting the breakfasts on the American side. A special thank you to Mr. Joe Burton who single-handedly sold hundreds of books each year for the event and as well the many others who took it upon themselves to sell books on behalf of the organization. Thank you to the management and staff of the George Kemp Marina and the management and staff of the Roberta Bondar Marina, the Canadian and American Coast Guards, and the management and staff of both the American and the Canadian locks.”

The annual parade of tugs, usually set the Friday evening during the weekend of the event, was seen as a kick off to the Canadian and American birthday celebrations.


Milwaukee Coast Guard conducts ice rescue training with partner agencies

2/29 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Coast Guard Station Milwaukee conducted joint ice rescue training with local agencies in Milwaukee Sunday.

The Coast Guard worked with members from emergency management agencies across Wisconsin and eight local fire departments at Discovery World Lagoon.

The purpose of this training is for local agencies involved in ice rescue to collaborate and to identify practices used by partner agencies during ice rescue emergencies. The goal is to facilitate these partnerships, enhance communications among all agencies and ensure the proper execution of the ice rescue mission.

“This training is a great opportunity for all agencies who respond to ice rescues cases to discuss the most updated rescue techniques while at the same time developing strong working relationships with each other,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Joel Washbond, a member of Coast Guard Station Milwaukee.

The training was held over a two-day period at Coast Guard Station Milwaukee and on the ice. The first day included classroom training for all agencies to discuss the gear and techniques being used in the field as well as ice technique training. Day two culminated with departments conducting ice rescues in the frozen water.

“The scenario-based training is a great chance to put all of the skills of the rescuers to the test in a real-life environment and it gives the responders a chance to actually know what it feels like for the victims they are trying to assist,” said Washbond.

The Coast Guard reminds all mariners of the dangers of ice and cold water. Ice on Lake Michigan and inland waterways is unpredictable and dangerous, and ice thickness can vary even in a small area. Outdoor enthusiasts should only go out on the ice if they are appropriately dressed for a potential fall through and are physically capable of self-rescue.



Obituary: John Steele

John Richard Steele, born in Waukegan, Ill., April 30, 1926, passed away peacefully February 15 in Brown Deer, Wis. He lived most of his life in Waukegan as a banker in the family business, The First National Bank of Waukegan, which was established in 1852. His passion was scuba diving on sunken shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. He is credited with finding and diving on 40 "virgin" shipwrecks and some of those dives are documented on film he took himself. He donated countless maritime artifacts to museums and historical societies including the Smithsonian Institution. Private services were held for the family.


Lookback #781 – Kunikawa Maru aground off Saudi Arabia on Feb. 29, 1976

Having looked ahead for a “leap-year” feature before I had to shut down my research of these stories, I found several ships that had Feb. 29 as part of their history. Here is one. - Skip Gillham

Kunikawa Maru was a Great Lakes trader in the early years of the Seaway. The vessel had been built at the Kawasaki Dockyard at Kobe, Japan, and launched on May 29, 1952. It entered service in August for Kawasaki Kisen K.K. and flew the rising sun flag of Japan on its stern.

The 514 foot, 11 inch long by 64 foot wide general cargo carrier handled refrigerated cargoes in the six holds and the 7,800 bhp M.A.N. oil engine provided an excellent service speed of 16.25 K.

Kunikawa Maru first entered the Seaway in 1962 and was back twice in 1963 and 1964 with single visits in 1965 and 1967.

The ship was sold and renamed Welfare No. 3 in 1973 and registered in Panama by the Dabaibe Orient Shipping Co. S.A.

It was on Feb. 29, 1976, that this ship went aground off Damman, Saudi Arabia, while out bound for Mormugao, India. The “Leap Year” accident of 40 years ago spelled the end of its career. The hull was refloated about March 5, but it appears that it saw no further service. The vessel was sold to Taiwan shipbreakers and it arrived at Kaohsiung, on April 22, 1977,where it was scrapped by the Chin Tai Steel & Enterprise Co. beginning on July 5, 1977.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 28

VENUS (steel propeller bulk freighter, 346 foot, 3,719 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 had run aground and partially sunk while being towed for scrap.

The lighthouse 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 rail ferry 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 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.

1965: The bow section of the tanker STOLT DAGALI, broken in two due to a collision with the passenger liner SHALOM on November 26, 1964, departed New York for Gothenburg, Sweden, under tow to be rebuilt. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) DAGALI in 1961, 1962 and 1963.

1974: The Dutch freighter AMPENAN visited the Great Lakes in 1960 and 1961. It arrived at Busan, South Korea, for scrapping as c) OCEAN REX.

1995: CHEM PEGASUS, a Seaway trader as far as Hamilton in 2012, was launched on this date as a) SPRING LEO.

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


Plan to construct second super lock gets new life

2/27 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The construction of a second Poe-sized super lock in the St. Marys River appears poised to clear a major hurdle that has prevented the estimated $580-million U.S. project from receiving substantial funding in the United States federal budget.

Steve Check, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager for the new lock, confirmed from his Detroit District office that the federal agency has $1.35 million in hand to complete a second economic re-evaluation of the project.

The Corps received the funding envelope with Congressional approval in 2015 by reallocating money from another project that came in under budget, he explained.

The first benefit to cost analysis for a new 1,000-foot lock at the Sault, Check said, was completed by the Corps in 2005. The result of that study was that the benefit of constructing a new lock came in at $0.73, or under one dollar.

Simply put, that meant for every dollar spent on the project, the projected benefit only was 73 cents, Check said.

The most crucial consequence of the 2005 study was that because the benefit was below the one-dollar threshold, the project was not eligible for funding under the Presidential budget.

The results from the 2005 benefit-to-cost-ratio study were flawed because during that process there was an automatic assumption that the commodity that was being transferred by ship could be transported by the next available mode of transportation, Check said. “That’s known now.

“Our process said we must assume that it is there.”

Check, who took over as project manager in 2014, said the Corps was able to do a “sensitivity analysis” with some additional funding for consultation with various industry representatives.

“Essentially, we brought in all the stakeholders to Detroit, including the Lake Carriers’ Association, the rail industry, the mining industry — we had everybody,” he said.

“It was determined from those consultations that the assumption that the next available mode of transportation was available is in fact not there. You couldn’t move all the commodity that would pass through the Sault lock using rail or truck, or a combination of both.”

In the new report, officially to be called the “Second Poe-Sized Lock Economic Re-evaluation Report”, new criteria would be used to assess the need for a twin lock.

“We are going to design this alternative mode of transportation and attempt to cost it out because it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t exist, what would it cost to make it exist,” Check said.

“We’re going to take that cost and compare it to the cost of a new lock. That would give us our new benefit-to-cost ratio.”

Check is confident that building a new lock will be the clear winner this time over building new rail lines and special rail cars as an alternative mode of transportation.

“We are anticipating that the benefit ratio will be above one, for sure. The rail industry is saying they wouldn’t even take it on unless they had a 50-year contract, and nobody is going to do that.”

Glen Nekvasil, vice-president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, who was present at the 2014 Detroit meetings, said, “The rail companies acknowledged that they do not have the rolling stock to take on that amount of tonnage. In many instances, the customers themselves — the power plants, the steel mills- do not have the rail connections.”

The Lake Carriers’ Association, founded in 1880, represents 15 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes.

Thirteen of those vessels are 1,000 footers. Nekvasil emphasized, however, that it would not just be the biggest lake freighters that would be stranded if the 47-year-old Poe Lock became inoperable for whatever reason.

“There are 31 of our ships that are limited to the Poe Lock because they are either too long or too wide to use the MacArthur Lock,” he said.

“Those 31 ships represent 70 per cent of our carrying capacity, (over 80 million tonnes of cargo annually), so if we lose the Poe Lock we are pretty much out of business.”

Meanwhile, construction of the new super lock that first received U.S. Congress backing in 1986, and a reaffirmation of their support in 2007, also this year has gained political momentum at the state level.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, in a state address on Jan. 19, identified construction of a second Poe-sized lock a key goal of his administration.

The majority of the 4,000 commercial ships that transit the Sault Locks must use the Poe Lock, he said.

“The Poe Lock is absolutely critical to our future. What would happen if that one lock went down? It would devastate Michigan’s economy. To be blunt, it could devastate the national economy,” the Lake Carriers’ Association reported Snyder as saying in his address.

In its Feb. 16 newsletter, the Lake Carriers’ Association also reported the Ohio House of Representatives has thrown its unanimous support behind construction of another super lock at the Sault.

The newsletter noted the Department of Homeland Security estimated Ohio’s unemployment rate could reach 17.2 per cent if the Poe Lock failed, and cause nearly 11 million unemployed workers nationwide.

At the local level, the City of Sault Ste. Marie Mich. once again has thrown its complete support behind construction of a second lock that has remained relatively stalled for the past five years.

City Manager Oliver Turner said, with the recent announcement that the benefit to cost analysis would be re-evaluated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers using new criteria, the city is “very optimistic” the project would soon be moving forward.

“Based on the information that’s come to my attention, the reassessment will demonstrate and document how important the lock is,” he said.

Turner reiterated, “The city absolutely and strongly supports the construction of a new lock. Not only is it crucial for our regional and national economy, the project has a lot of potential for the shared economies of the twin Saults.”

While the Lake Carriers’ Association and other lobby groups have said they would like the benefit-to-cost re-evaluation to finalize within 18 months, Check said that would not happen.

The final Corps report will take the full 24 months to complete as planned, he said, adding, he will submit his first draft proposal to the agency for final review in July, 2017.

That would likely mean resumption of actual construction of the new lock could not get federal support until the 2018 presidential budget.

The new lock did receive funding of roughly $18 million from the U.S. Congress in 2009, Check said.

Although the new lock was ineligible for presidential funding, Congress can allocate money to anything they want, he pointed out.

“Congress said, ‘Here’s some money. Go start your construction,’” Check said.

“We did some design and construction that included putting in a couple of cofferdams, and some downstream deepening of the river channel.”

As reported by Sault This Week in late October 2009, the new lock would be built at the location of the permanently closed Davis and Sabin locks, built in 1918 and 1919 respectively.

The article went on to say the cofferdams, consisting of two large steel cells, would be built at both ends of the Sabin lock to allow for the water inside to be displaced.

The cofferdams and downstream dredging was finished late in 2010.

Both Check and Nekvasil agreed, however, that once underway the new lock would take between six and ten years to build. Both men also agreed the federal government would not come up with the estimated $580 million to construct the new lock in one lump sum.

“This is a lot of money even in Washington, D.C. One reason it is estimated that the new lock could take up to 10 years to build is that the funding would be incremental,” Nekvasil said. “We have said that $100 million initially would really get things going.”

Asked if he expected to retire before the new lock is done as his predecessor had, Check fired back, “Not if I can help it.”

Sault This Week


Green Bay icebreaking operations scheduled

2/27 - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, in support of National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA-GLERL), will conduct ice breaking in northern Green Bay March 1-3.

Scientists from NOAA-GLERL will be aboard Mackinaw to conduct a number of experiments in the ice. The work will be performed in northern Green Bay, north and east of Chambers Island, south east of Minneapolis and Drisco Shoals between Whaleback Shoal and Rock Island Passage. The work is not expected to disturb shore fast ice near Washington Island or the Door Peninsula.

Recreational users of the ice should plan their activity carefully, use caution near the ice, and stay away from shipping channels and the charted Lake Carriers Association track lines.



U.S., Canadian coast guards breaking ice in St. Clair River's North Channel

2/27 - Detroit, Mich. – The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards were scheduled to break ice in the North Channel of the St. Clair River Friday.

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley will break ice in the river near Algonac, Michigan, and Harsens Island.

Due to concentrated ice buildup, the water levels in the area rose between 15 and 20 inches overnight prompting the Clay Township Emergency Operation Center and Champion’s Auto Ferry to request Coast Guard assistance.

Throughout the remainder of the winter, U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers will continue to respond in the St. Clair River and the Great Lakes as weather conditions dictate.



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.

In 1916 MOUNT STEPHEN, formerly of Canada Steamship Lines, struck a mine and sank off Dover, England, while carrying coal as part of a convoy but the crew was rescued.

The former Great Lakes trader GEORGETOWN, built at Buffalo in 1900, sank in 1917 as ETRETAT in a storm off the Bay of Biscay while carrying barreled oil although there was some suspicion of enemy action.

In 1966 the Greek Liberty ship EUXEINOS was abandoned in the Atlantic 360 miles southwest of the Azores after developing leaks the previous day. She had made three trips through the Seaway as MOUNT ATHOS in 1959. The crew as picked up by a passing tanker and delivered to Halifax.

1917: GEORGETOWN was built at Buffalo in 1900 and sank on this day enroute from New York to Le Havre in heavy weather while carrying barreled oil. The ship went down as b) ETRETAT off Ile D'Yeu, Bay of Biscay, and there was lingering suspicion of enemy action being involved.

1966: In 1966, the Greek Liberty ship EUXEINOS was abandoned in the Atlantic 360 miles southwest of the Azores after developing leaks the previous day. She had made three trips through the Seaway as MOUNT ATHOS in 1959. The crew was picked up by a passing tanker and delivered to Halifax.

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


'Blue Ice' is stacking up near Michigan's Mackinac Bridge

2/26 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – Images of "blue ice" stacking up along the shore near Michigan's iconic Mackinac Bridge are finding lots of fans this week.

Kelly Alvesteffer and her fiance, Rob LaLone, were sitting in a restaurant near the Straits of Mackinac over the weekend when they noticed the peculiar hue of the ice out the window.

"We instantly saw it. It was like, 'Look at the blue ice,'" said Alvesteffer, who with LaLone photographs student sports teams for Cedar Springs Public Schools. They are two of a handful of photographers whose blue ice photos are catching people's attention.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link


Corps says dredged river sediment is clean enough to dump in Lake Erie; Port of Cleveland disagrees

2/26 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said late Wednesday that test results of samples taken from the bottom of the Cuyahoga River shipping channel were clean enough to allow open-lake disposal of dredged sediment.

The Army Corps' desire to dump dredged river sediment into Lake Erie has been a point of contention for more than a year with the Port of Cleveland, the Ohio EPA and the state's Congressional delegation.

A lawsuit is pending in U.S. District Court over the issue. A public hearing on the plan is scheduled for March 1, 5:30 to 9 p.m., at the Breen Center at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland.

In an open letter to Lake Erie stakeholders, Lt. Col. Karl Jansen of the Army Corps headquarters in Buffalo said a review of data collected by the Ohio EPA in October found evidence that the sediment has improved enough to allow safe open-lake disposal.

Specifically, the Army Corps' scientists found the levels of PCBs in the upper Cuyahoga River channel were consistent with the levels of PCBs in Lake Erie, and the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the river were not toxic.

"Hence, moving sediment from the river channel to an open lake placement site would not result in lowering Lake Erie's water quality," Jansen concluded.

Port of Cleveland President and CEO Will Friedman released a written response last night criticizing the Army Corps' "misguided campaign." He urged the public to attend the March 1 hearing to express their opposition to the Corps' plan.

Friedman challenged the validity of the Army Corps' conclusions that the dredged sediment is clean and safe for open-lake dumping.

"Recent testing indicates persistent and, in some cases, elevated levels of these toxins in the sediments, including PCBs and other harmful compounds, prompting Ohio EPA to disqualify these sediments for open lake dumping in 2014 and 2015," Friedman said.

For decades, Friedman said, polluted sediment dredged bi-annually from the river channel has been stored in confined disposal dikes along the Lake Erie shoreline "to minimize exposure to the aquatic food chain, including fish consumed by people, and to the source of public drinking water."

In his letter to stakeholders, Jansen challenged the EPA's findings that the sediment was toxic. He called the EPA's laboratory tests "scientifically unreliable" due to the fact the agency failed to follow certain guidelines of the Clean Water Act.

"Accordingly, Ohio EPA's improper testing methods resulted in improbably high levels of PCB bio-accumulation," Jansen said. "Decisions based on these flawed results would greatly overestimate the risk these chemicals pose to human health and the environment."

Friedman has said the port would consider returning to federal court if the Army Corps insists on moving ahead with its plan for open-lake disposal, or if they decline to dredge the entire six-mile shipping channel.

The EPA fears that adding even a minimal amount of PCBs into Lake Erie could have a major impact on walleye, pushing limits from one meal per week to one meal per month.


Door County Maritime Museum’s next program is on Griffon

2/26 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum’s Maritime Speaker Series continues Thursday, March 3, with a program by author Joan Forsberg based on her book “The Wreck of the Griffon -- The Greatest Mystery of the Great Lakes” that she co-authored with her husband Cris Kohl.

This multi-media program, based on the intensely researched new book, relates the fascinating story of the Griffon, and many of the 22 claims of discovery made in the past 200 years, with exciting on-screen visuals, vibrant background music and dramatic live narration. A book-signing will follow the presentation.

In the year 1679, the ship disappeared with its entire crew and valuable cargo of furs. Built by the explorer, Robert La Salle, near Niagara Falls, its loss nearly ruined him. To this day, more than 335 years later, the wreck of the Griffon has not definitively been found. It has become the most hunted – and the most “found” – shipwreck in Great Lakes history.

On its maiden voyage, this ship was the very first vessel to sail across Lake Erie, up the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, and across Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. On its way back to Niagara from Green Bay, it vanished, commencing the centuries-long quest to discover its fate.

Forsberg is a well-known maritime historian, scuba diver, author, speaker and underwater videographer. She has been the Chairman of the “Shipwrecks and Underwater Archaeology Room” at Chicago’s annual Our World– Underwater Show since 1996 and was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2010.

Maritime Speaker Series programs are free of charge with a nonperishable food donation requested. Call (920) 743-5958 or visit for more information.

Door County Maritime Museum


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. MC CARTHY 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.

The Liberty ship BASIL II, a Seaway visitor in 1960, ran aground on a reef off the west coast of New Caledonia as EVER PROSPERITY in 1965 and was abandoned as a total loss.

ANGLEA SMITS, a Seaway trader in 1983, was abandoned and believed sunk in the Atlantic en route from Norway to Australia in 1986.

1947: The T-2 tanker ROYAL OAK came to the Great Lakes in 1966 as b) TRANSBAY and was rebuilt at Lorain. The vessel departed later in the year as c) TRANSHURON. But as a) ROYAL OAK, it caught fire on this day in the Pacific off Esmeraldas, Ecuador, and had to be abandoned by the crew. The vessel was later reboarded and the fires extinguished. The listing vessel almost sank but it was salvaged and rebuilt for Cities Service Oil.

1965: The Liberty ship BASIL II came through the Seaway in 1960. It ran aground on a reef off New Caledonia as d) EVER PROSPERITY. The vessel was traveling in ballast and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

1981: A spark from a welder's torch ignited a blaze aboard the MONTCLIFFE HALL, undergoing winter work at Sarnia. The fire did major damage to the pilothouse and accommodations area, but the repairs were completed in time for the ship to resume trading on May 27, 1981. It was still sailing in 2013 as d) CEDARGLEN (ii).

1986: ANGELA SMITS, a Seaway trader for the first time in 1983, developed a severe list and was abandoned by the crew on a voyage from Norway to Australia. The hull was sighted, semi-submerged, later in the day in position 47.38 N / 07.36 W and was believed to have sunk in the Atlantic.

1998: The Abitibi tug NIPIGON was active on Lake Superior and often towed log booms from the time it was built at Sorel in 1938 until perhaps the 1960s. The vessel also saw work on construction projects for different owners, and left the Seaway for the sea on December 12, 1988. It was operating as b) FLORIDA SEAHORSE when it sank in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana. All 5 on board were rescued.

2011: Fire broke out on the bridge of DINTELBORG while enroute from the Netherlands to Virginia. The ship was taken in tow the next day by the ROWAN M. McALLISTER out of Providence, R.I. The repaired Dutch freighter was back through the Seaway later in 2011. The tug was also a Seaway caller in 2012, coming inland to tow the fire ravaged PATRICE McALLISTER back to Providence.

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


Lake ice goes out at Apostle Islands caves; prospects dim for foot access this winter

2/25 - Duluth, Minn. – What may have been the last chance to get foot access to the popular, ice-coated Apostle Islands sea caves this winter drifted away last weekend.

In just a few hours Sunday, the jumbled mass of pack ice along the Lake Superior shore at the caves east of Cornucopia broke apart. On Monday and Tuesday, there was open water.

"The mild conditions this weekend — the warm weather, the rain, to some extent the wind — deteriorated the pack ice that was out by the mainland caves late last week and it began to break up. Now it's all blown out," said Neil Howk, assistant chief of interpretation at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The pack ice had been monitored by park staff to see if it would solidify and meet guidelines for opening the mainland sea caves access to the public. It never did, and its departure means there almost certainly won't be foot access to the caves this season.

"We all think that the chances for the ice to form up at this point are really quite slim," Howk said. "We're starting from scratch again, so we'd have to go into the deep freeze for a couple of weeks and as we get later in February and on into March that's less likely to occur. So at this point, we're thinking that our opportunity for walking to the ice caves this (winter) is pretty much gone."

The park takes a cautious approach to opening public access to the caves to ensure visitors stay safe, Howk said.

"We've seen the ice blow out in a matter of hours," he said. "We're somewhat conservative with what we require because once the gates open, we get a thousand people out there on the ice at the same time and we don't want them to float down to Duluth in a windstorm."

The caves and cliffs along the Lake Superior shore east of Cornucopia are decorated with ice each winter thanks to Lake Superior waves crashing ashore and freezing, and also because of groundwater seeping down from above.

It was accessible in 2014 and 2015, when tens of thousands of visitors made their way more than a mile out along the frozen shoreline to see the caves — and shared photos and video that went viral online. But before that, ice conditions did not cooperate from 2010 to 2013.

The Northland has experienced warmer-than-normal conditions this winter, as predicted with the El Nino weather pattern in effect. Howk said the lack of ice was not a huge surprise.

"We know the last time that there was a big El Nino there was very little ice," he said. "The four years prior to the last two winters we had no ice to walk on either, so we think that this is probably the pattern that we're going to see — we'll have some extremes, and we'll have some winters where there's ice to walk on, but we think that it's going to become more and more common that we have winters like this one, where it's not possible.

"We're viewing this as kind of an endangered national park experience due to the changing climate."

While the outlook for access to the caves this winter isn't promising, ice condition information still can be found by calling (715) 779-3397, ext. 3, or by visiting the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Facebook page.


Corps to hold public hearing on proposed open lake dumping of dredged sediment

2/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland opposes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) latest proposal to dump unsuitable sediment in Lake Erie as part of harbor dredging in 2016. The USACE is holding a public hearing on their proposal from 5:30 – 9pm on Monday March 1 at the Breen Center, 2008 West 30th Street in Cleveland. The Port urges members of the public to attend and make comments expressing their views at this hearing.

Port of Cleveland


Help wanted: Lake Michigan Carferry

2/25 - Lake Michigan Carferry is accepting applications for placement in the engine department aboard the historic S.S. Badger. Candidates must possess a Merchant Mariner’s Credential with QMED endorsement and a valid TWIC card. Positions will be for 2016 sailing season from May to Oct and offer competitive wages. Visit this link to obtain a printable LMC application. Please include copies of credentials with application. Email to or fax to 231-843-4558


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 25

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

1964: CISSOULA, a Greek freighter that visited the Seaway in 1961 and 1965, was abandoned after a collision in fog with the Swedish vessel SOLKLINT off Selsey Bill in the English Channel. The damaged freighter was taken in tow and repaired. It was delivered to shipbreakers at Hsinkang, China, on September 24, 1969.

1968: AZAR first came to the Great Lakes as c) CELESTE in 1960 and returned with one trip under this, her fifth name, in 1967. The Liberian-registered, but Canadian-built freighter went aground off Cuba enroute from Venezuela to Tampa, Florida. The ship suffered extensive damage when it caught fire on February 29 and was declared a constructive total loss. It is believed that the hull was dismantled locally.

1978: The Italian freighter ANTONIO was the last saltwater ship to transit the Welland Canal in 1965. It ran aground off Chios Island, Greece, enroute from Constanza, Romania, to Vietnam as e) OMALOS. The ship was refloated on March 1 but laid up at Piraeus, Greece, and subsequently sold, at auction, for scrap. The vessel was broken up at Megara, Greece, beginning on June 13, 1983.

1979: The Panamanian freighter d) FENI was damaged in a collision on the Black Sea at Sulina Roads, Romania, with ATLANTIS STAR and had to be beached. The ship was refloated on February 28 and repaired. It had been a Seaway trader as a) DEERWOOD in 1960 and returned as b) SEBASTIANO in 1969. The ship was scrapped as f) SIRLAD at Split, Yugoslavia, following an explosion off Algeria, on January 3, 1982.

1994: BANDERAS visited the Great Lakes from 1975 through the 1980s. It was abandoned by the crew off the coast of Brazil as b) AEGEAN TRADER due to a fire in the accommodation area. The vessel was towed to Valencia, Spain, to be unloaded and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping as c) EGE TRADE on August 11, 1994.

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


Bill would devote $17.5M to Great Lakes fishery research fleet

2/24 - Ann Arbor, Mich. – New Congressional legislation aims to boost a federal Great Lakes fishery research and management fleet with dedicated funding.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, bills were introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate that would give a Michigan-based U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) fleet "steady, long-term federal support," said Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan.

The Great Lakes Fishery Research Authorization Act would fund the USGS Great Lakes Science Center with $17.5 million for 9 years starting in 2017 and give the agency more leverage to devote money to Great Lakes research, according to sponsors.

To read more click here


Help wanted: Marine Superintendent

2/24 - We are seeking candidates for the position of Marine Superintendent at Fettes Shipping Inc. with our office located in Burlington, ON.

Ideally the successful candidate should have Chief Engineer’s experience, or at least work experience in the marine industry in the position of Engineering Officer or Managing Superintendent.

Main responsibilities will be as follows:

•Monitoring vessels performance
•Oversee and manage all technical aspects of the operation
•Provide support to vessel’s crew in troubleshooting
•Ensure that vessels are operational in compliance with classification
•Be able to prepare and supervise dry docks and winter work repairs
•Manage supplies, inventory and purchasing parts for the vessels

We offer a competitive compensation including a comprehensive benefits package and the opportunity to assume a vital role in our operations.

All interested candidates may fax, email or mail their resumes to: Fettes Shipping Inc.
3385 Harvester Rd. Suite 250
Burlington, ON L7N 3N2
Fax: 905 333-6588

Only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


Obituary: Clyde S. VanEnkevort

2/24 - Gladstone, Mich. – Clyde S. VanEnkevort, 92, of Gladstone, Mich., and former resident of Bark River, passed away on Saturday evening, Feb. 20, 2016, at Pinecrest Medical Care Facility in Powers with his family by his side.

He was born on Dec. 23, 1923, in DePere, Wis., son of Henry and Edith (Durouine) VanEnkevort. Clyde attended St. Joseph Grade School and graduated from Escanaba High School in 1942.

Clyde joined the Army Air Force in 1942 and was honorably discharged in February of 1946. He served during World War II and was honored with a Victory Medal, American Theatre Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theatre Ribbon and two Overseas Service Bars and Good Conduct Medal.

Clyde married Joyce L. DeGrave on Feb. 12, 1955, at St. George Church in Bark River. She preceded him in death on Nov. 6, 1999. On Sept. 10, 2005, he married Theresa A. Seymour at All Saints Church in Gladstone.

He farmed in Bark River for six months after his military service, then started a block plant on the farm. He bought land from the State Highway Department and continued the block plant along with his two brothers, Gerald and Donald. Clyde entered the marine industry in the late 60s. He was truly a pioneer, inventor and mentor in the maritime business with one of his biggest accomplishments being building of the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and the barge the Great Lakes Trader. Clyde retired from the business at the age of 85 but always enjoyed keeping track of the "The Joyce VanEnkevort" Tug and Barge.

Clyde enjoyed watching football and FOX news. He was a member of the Bark River Rheaume-Knauf American Legion Post 438 and the Elks Lodge 354.

Among survivors include his wife, Theresa of Gladstone; daughters, Jill (Mike) McDermott of Bark River, Jenny (Bruce) Messersmith of Bark River and Diane Hanson of Flat Rock; sons, Dirk (Laura) of Erie, Penn., John (Robin) of Bark River, Steven of Bark River, and Jeff (Kathy) of Charlotte, Mich.; two stepchildren, Joseph (Lynn Jandron) DeCarie of Ishpeming and Susan (Kevin) Headley of Fairbury, Ill.; several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one step-granddaughter; sister, Rita (Keith) Bender of Hoschton, Ga; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

In addition to his parents and his first wife, Joyce, he was preceded in death by his sister, Bernadette Staeven, and brothers, Donald and Gerald VanEnkevort.

Visitation will be on Friday, Feb. 26, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Chapel in Bark River. Bark River Legion will have military rites at 5 p.m. Parish prayers will be at 5:30 p.m. Visitation will also continue on Saturday from 9 to 10:45 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 a.m. with Rev. Darryl Pepin officiating. A meal will follow in the church hall.

Burial will be in the Bark River Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Clyde S. VanEnkevort Scholarship Fund at Bark River Harris School, which will be used by Bark River-Harris High School. The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the VanEnkevort family.


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. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey 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.

1975: The MOHAMEDIA foundered in the Red Sea enroute from Djibouti to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a cargo of livestock that included 1300 cattle, 700 sheep and 118 camels. One member of the crew was also lost. The vessel had been a Seaway trader as b) ULYSSES CASTLE in 1969 and c) ITHAKI CASTLE in 1973.

1976: FRAMPTONDYKE visited the Seaway in 1969. It sank following a collision with the ODIN in the English Channel enroute from Rotterdam, Netherlands, to Cork, Ireland, as b) WITTERING. All on board were rescued.

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


Deep in winter, Duluth's ship repair season hums

2/23 - Duluth, Minn. – Mike Wolny doesn't look like a surgeon, and Fraser Shipyards bears no resemblance to a hospital. Wolny, though, does have a needy patient — the 56-year-old freighter Herbert C. Jackson — and not much time.

Deep in the giant ship's bowels, Wolny's team carves up the original steam turbine and twin boilers so they can be removed with a crane. Later, two new 20-foot-tall diesel engines will be hoisted in, all designed to get the big laker back working on the water this spring.

Wolny, an inspector for Interlake Steamship Co., has worked on ships for 25 years. His uncle was a captain for Canada Steamship Lines, but he became an engineer and loves the gritty jobs below.

"I find that more exciting than being a captain," he said as work buzzed around him on the Jackson. "They take all the glory up there, but we're the ones that work on the heart of the vessel — putting a new heart back in her."

Winter is the busiest season for the shipyards where the giant Great Lakes ships lay up for repairs. Ship owners will invest more than $100 million this winter to upgrade vessels. But finishing in time for the spring shipping season requires intense work and a ballet of cranes. A day spent at the yards and in the ships shows the challenges of transforming the old boats.

"You think of a ship, it's actually a floating city," said Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship, which owns the Herbert C. Jackson. "We have to generate our own power. We have to treat our own wastewater. We have to generate our own drinking water. We have to do everything, because we're not connected to shore in any way."

In the very bottom of the 690-foot-long Jackson, below the 40 cargo holds that carry almost 25,000 tons of taconite pellets, Wolny pointed out equipment that either needs fixing or will need fixing.

Down here there are giant conveyor belts, stretching farther than the eye can see, that are part of a self-unloading system that was added to the ship in 1975. The technology was invented on the Great Lakes and allows the crew to unload cargo without any shoreline workers or equipment.

But it needs to be maintained every year along with the ships' engine, welding, piping, plumbing and electrical systems — basically anything that can't be done when the ship is running.

"One of my members likes to say, When we lay up in the winter, you have to organize swat teams to get all this work done in six, seven, eight weeks," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, which represents the 15 companies that own the 56 U.S. flagged ships on the Great Lakes.

Those ships operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from mid-March to mid-January.

"These winter months are the one chance we have to take them to the shipyard and maintain them and modernize them," he said.

The payoff for that hard work is visible on another ship docked at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, for winter layup. The Kaye E. Barker had a new 8,000 horsepower engine put in three years ago, very similar to what will be put inside the Jackson.

The Barker carries 26,000 tons loaded and runs 17 miles an hour. So it requires a lot of power. The engine is "a lot more efficient than the old steam engine that burned fuel oil, said David Newell, the Barker's engineer.

"This boat, in operating season, we can go about 30 days without refueling," he said. "The steamer was every 10 days refueled."

Of the $110 million invested this winter in the Great Lakes fleet, a little over half will go toward routine maintenance; about $50 million will be spent to add pollution control technology and new, more efficient engines, including the ones headed for the Jackson.

Fraser Shipyards has repaired and built ships on the Great Lakes for 126 years, including more than 100 during World Wars I and II. But last year was a slow one on the water for the Great Lakes shipping industry. Six ships were taken out of service due to the ongoing struggles of the U.S. iron ore and steel industries. On top of that, the freshwater ships are pretty resilient.

"Because there's no salt in the water to corrode the ships, they can last for a long time if they're properly maintained. One sailed for over 100 years before recently being retired," Nekvasil noted. "That's one of the tremendous advantages of great lakes shipping. We can run ships for decades and decades and decades."

The Jackson is Fraser's biggest job since the late 1980s when it lengthened several ships and added self-unloading equipment.

"This is a jumpstart, a high voltage jumpstart for us," said vice president of engineering Tom Curelli. "It demonstrates to everybody that we're capable of doing this, and doing it well."

More than 70 employees are working on the project in two shifts. Fraser is one of only four shipyards across the Great Lakes capable of handling such a large project.

It will take about six months to repower the Herbert Jackson at a cost of around $20 million. This is the fourth steam-to-diesel conversion for the ship owner in the past decade. When it's done, the Interlake Steamship Company will no longer operate any steamships.

The Jackson plans to be back on the water in June, making her regular run hauling iron ore between Marquette, Michigan, and Detroit, just a lot more efficiently.

Associated Press / Minnesota Public Radio News


Coast Guard to open waters between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island

2/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie will open the waters between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island at 8 a.m. on Thursday.



Obituary: Clyde S. VanEnkevort

2/23 - Clyde S. VanEnkevort, 92, founder of VanEnkevort Tug & Barge Inc. of Escanaba, Mich., died Saturday evening, Feb. 20, at Pinecrest Medical Care Facility in Powers, Mich. He considered was a specialist in integrated tug/barge design.

Survivors include his wife, Theresa of Gladstone. Visitation will be on Friday, Feb. 26, from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Crawford Funeral Chapel in Bark River. Parish prayers will be at 5:30 p.m. and the Bark River Legion will have military rites at 5 p.m. Visitation will also continue on Saturday from 9 to 10:45 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church with the Mass of Christian Burial to follow at 11 a.m. with Rev. Darryl Pepin officiating. Burial will be in the Bark River Cemetery.

VanEnkevort Tug & Barge operates the tug/barge combos Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader and Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr.

VanEnkevort first sailed on the Lakes in 1968 as a tug engineer out of Escanaba. In 1975 he and his partner, John Stropich, formed Upper Lakes Towing Co. and in 1989 the firm acquired the bulker Joseph H. Thompson and converted her into an integrated tug/barge. In 1991 another retired U.S. bulk carrier, the self-unloader McKee Sons, underwent a similar conversion.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Clyde S. VanEnkevort Scholarship Fund. The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the VanEnkevort family.


Help wanted: Toronto ferries

2/23 - Help Wanted: City of Toronto – Mate, Marine Engineer 2, Deckhand, and Ticket Collector

Job Classification Title: MARINE ENGINEER 2
Requisition #: 2212818X
Division: Parks, Forestry, and Recreation
Section: Parks
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Job Location: Canada-Ontario-Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Hours of Work (Bi-weekly) 80.00
Shift Information: Rotating Shifts
Affiliation: L416 Outside
Posting Date: Feb. 17, 2016

Job Classification Title: MATE
Requisition #: 2207401X
Division: Parks, Forestry, and Recreation
Section: Parks
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Job Location: Canada-Ontario-Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Hours of Work (Bi-weekly) 80.00
Shift Information: Rotating Shifts
Affiliation: L416 Outside
Posting Date: Feb. 9, 2016

Job Classification Title: DECKHAND
Requisition #: 2209223X
Division: Parks, Forestry, and Recreation
Section: Parks
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Job Location: Canada-Ontario-Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Hours of Work (Bi-weekly) 80.00
Shift Information: Rotating Shift
Affiliation L416 Outside
Posting Date: Feb. 1, 2016

Job Classification Title: TICKET COLLECTOR
Requisition #: 2159650X
Division: Parks, Forestry, and Recreation
Section: Parks
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
Job Location: Canada-Ontario-Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Hours of Work (Bi-weekly) 80.00
Shift Information: Rotating Shifts
Affiliation: L416 Outside
Posting Date: August 31, 2015

Interested applicants are requested to send their resume and cover letter to the City of Toronto's website. Please visit, select and then click ongoing job opportunities to view the entire job posting referenced above.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 23

January 23 - The CELTIC (wooden schooner-barge, 190 foot, 716 gross tons, built 1890, at W. Bay City, Michigan) broke away from the steamer H.E. RUNNELS during a fierce gale on Lake Huron on 29 November 1902, and was lost with all hands. No wreckage was found until 23 January 1903, when a yawl and the captain‚s desk with the ship‚s papers was found on Boom Point, southeast of Cockburn Island.

GEORGE A. STINSON struck a wall of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on January 23, 1979. The damage was estimated at $200,000.

The rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN sailed on her first trip as a roll on/roll off carrier from Port Burwell on January 23, 1965, loaded with 125 tons of coiled steel bound for Cleveland and Walton Hills, Ohio.

1983: The Greek freighter CAPTAIN M. LYRAS visited the Seaway in 1960 and 1961 and returned as b) ANGELIKI L. in 1965. It arrived at Gadani Beach on this date as c) ANAMARIA for scrapping.

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


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 22

On 22 February 1920, the Goodrich Line’s ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2,626 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.

1942: The Great Lakes canal-sized bulk carrier GEORGE L. TORIAN of the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. had been requisitioned for saltwater service in the bauxite trade in 1941. The ship was torpedoed by U-129 off the coast of British Guiana in position 09.13 N / 59.04 W and sank quickly. Most of the crew were killed.

1945: H.M.C.S. TRENTONIAN was a Flower Class naval corvette that had been built by the Kingston Shipbuilding Company and completed at Kingston, Ontario, on December 1, 1943. It was torpedoed and sunk by U-1004 near Falmouth, England, and went down stern first. Six on board, one officer and 5 enlisted crew members, were lost.

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


Two Great Lakes accomplish a rare winter feat

2/21 - Lake Michigan and Lake Huron did something in January 2016 that has only occurred 10 other times since 1919. The water level went up on these Great Lakes from December 2015 to January 2016.

Most of the time December to January water levels decrease on the Great Lakes. Usually there is more water leaving the Great Lakes than entering in that time period.

This January, Lakes Michigan and Huron actually rose nearly an inch. There have only been 10 other Januarys when a lake rise has occurred. Read more and view a chart at this link


Obituary: Captain Raymond A. Plaunt

2/21 - Raymond Anthony Plaunt, age 95, of Cheboygan, died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey.

In 1932, at the age of 12, he began working with his father transporting passengers and supplies to Bois Blanc Island and so began his long career sailing the Straits of Mackinaw for the family-owned Plaunt Transportation. In the 83 years since his first trip to the island, Captain Plaunt witnessed an immense amount of change. He was there when the island first received electricity. He saw boats become larger and faster and island homes become grander. He watched families grow and Islander's come and go. He was dedicated to bringing supplies and mail to the island and would sail as late in the season as possible and begin making trips again early in the spring. Through it all, he made friendships that spanned generations and lasted lifetimes. There was always a special place in Ray's heart for Bois Blanc Island.

He loved Northern Michigan and was an avid outdoorsman. A skilled fisherman, he enjoyed ice fishing on Mullett Lake and had the knack for telling a great fish story. He also loved hunting, camping, and snowmobile safaris. He loved the majesty of the Great Lakes and the pristine shorelines. He loved winter as he anxiously waited for the ice to form, always eager to know how thick the ice was. He loved breaking ice as he captained the ferry and loved the spring break-up. He loved to see the steam on the river in the morning, the breaking sun on calm waters and the wrath of the Great Lakes during a storm. He truly loved Northern Michigan and all of her magnificence.

Services were held on Saturday. Those planning an expression of sympathy, in lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in memory of Ray to the Bois Blanc Community Foundation or to the Ray Plaunt Memorial Maritime Scholarship Fund.

Chagnon Funeral Home


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 21

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. The other rudder post was also damaged. She was holed in her bow and some of her cargo hold plating ruptured as a result of frozen ballast tanks. Even the icebreaker 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 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.


SS Badger ferry officially designated National Historic Landmark

2/20 - Ludington, Mich. – It's official: The S.S. Badger car ferry is a National Historic Landmark. U.S. Department of the Interior announced the news Thursday afternoon, Feb. 18.

"The S.S. Badger is a unique example of American ingenuity in transportation that has been crucial to our country's economic development over the last century," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a released statement.

The 410-foot-long car ferry was built and launched in 1952. Owned and operated by Lake Michigan Carferry, it conducts regularly-scheduled runs between its home in Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc each season.

For more of the story, a slide show and video click here


Algoma announces quarterly results, plans to retire six vessels

2/20 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation Friday announced results for its 2015 fourth quarter and fiscal year.

For the year, the company's consolidated revenues were $413.5 million compared to $473.4 million in 2014. Fuel costs, which are largely passed on to customers through our freight rates, declined significantly during the year and approximately $38 million of the decrease in revenue is a direct result of the pass-through effect of decreased fuel costs. The balance of the decrease in revenues results from a drop in rates earned due to stiff competition in our domestic dry-bulk business and to a drop in volumes carried in our product tanker and ocean dry-bulk business units.

Net earnings and earnings per share from continuing operations for the year were $21,069 and $0.54, respectively, compared to $48,977 and $1.26 for the prior year period. The decrease in earnings year-over-year was driven primarily by the drop in revenues and partially offset by a gain resulting from the cancellation of shipbuilding contracts earlier in 2015.

Business conditions softened noticeably in the second half of 2015 and revenues for the fourth quarter were $119,170 compared to $141,646 in the same period last year. Net earnings and earnings per share from continuing operations for the fourth quarter were $8,973 and $0.23, respectively, compared to $34,222 and $0.88 in 2014. Revenues and earnings from all business segments were negatively impacted by softer market conditions that resulted in lower demand and reduced customer volumes.

At year end we made the difficult decision to retire five domestic dry-bulk vessels and a product tanker that had reached the end of its economic life. Our decision to retire the dry-bulk vessels reflects our view that the current domestic market capacity exceeds customer demand and certain of our older vessels are no longer economic to operate in these market conditions. As a result of taking these vessels out of service we have accelerated depreciation on them and recorded an additional depreciation charge in the domestic dry-bulk segment in the fourth quarter of $3.3 million. (Editor’s note: The report did not name the vessels involved.)

During 2015, Algoma introduced its new strategic vision for the company to pursue growth opportunities beyond the traditional domestic markets in which we operate. In November, we announced the first growth investment with the acquisition of two vessels then belonging to one of our partners in the International Pool and the purchase of a 50% interest in a third vessel. This transaction closed in January 2016 and these vessels will contribute to Algoma earnings for all of 2016. As a result of these purchases, our interest in the pool has doubled.

Shortly after year-end, we announced a second initiative with the purchase of a 50% interest in an existing operator of pneumatic cement carriers. This transaction also closed in January and will contribute to earnings beginning in the first quarter.

On Feb. 16, we announced that the London Arbitration Panel hearing our Mingde shipbuilding contract cancellation dispute issued an award in our favor on three of the four outstanding claims. We have begun collection proceedings on these refund claims, which are valued at US$53,167 as at Feb. 16.

Algoma Central Corp.


More layoffs to come at Compass Minerals

2/20 - Goderich, Ont. – Last week Compass Minerals, the parent company of Sifto, announced there would be a reduction of about 150 positions within the company. This is a reduction of an additional 60 positions from the announcement of 90 layoffs in December at the Goderich mine.

It is currently unclear how many of the additional job losses will come from Sifto or when employees will find out.

“Most of the layoffs will occur this year but I don’t know when exactly,” said spokesperson Tara Hart.

Compass Minerals reported lower quarterly results, in part because of decreased demand for deicing products.

Full-year 2015 net income was $159.2-million, which is only slightly below 2014 despite low numbers in the fourth quarter. The fourth quarter sales were down 33 per cent and total revenue was down 14 per cent from 2014.

Mild weather brought low sales but the average selling price of salt increased 2 per cent, which limited the impact on revenue, Hart said.

Things aren’t looking good for Compass Minerals employees.

In an effort to create a “leaner” organization the company has invested in continuous mining at the Goderich location. The equipment helps improve efficiency and increase competitiveness in the market for Compass Minerals meaning there will be less of a reliance on employees.

A restructuring of the workforce was already planned over the next few years but because of mild weather and subsequent decreased demand for product, those reductions are being made sooner.

Signal Star


Help wanted: Opportunity on Canadian flag self-unloading tug/barge cement carrier

2/20 - We offer full time employment opportunity on Canadian Flag Great Lakes self-unloading tug/barge cement carriers. We are looking for candidates with some dry bulk or tug/barge experience. We offer the highest salaries and benefits in tug/barge operations, including 2 months onboard with one month off paid vacation, medical coverage and Family Security Plan all under collective agreement.

We expect from candidates strong communication skills and good work ethic. Candidates must be able to travel to the US portions of the Great Lakes area and must have valid Canadian Passport, all applicable Transport Canada Certificates and valid medical certificate issued by Transport Canada.

Positions available are:

Master - 500 GT Domestic
Chief Engineer - 2nd or 3rd Class
First/Second Mate - Watch Keeping Mate - NC or OOW-NC
Second/Third Engineer 4th Motor Ship

Please send resume to Human Resources, Fettes Shipping Inc., 3385 Harvester Rd. Suite 250, Burlington, ON L7N 3N2. Fax 905 333-6588 or email


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, the straight-deck steamer G. WATSON FRENCH (steel propeller, 376 foot, 3,785 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 b.) HENRY P. WERNER in 1924, c.) JOHN J. BOLAND in 1937, and d.) ALGOWAY in 1947.

1940: A fire broke out in the cargo hold of the package freighter KING at Buffalo when insulation, being installed for refrigeration purposes, ignited. Several firemen were overcome by the smoke, but damage to the ship was negligible.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Fishing boat crew makes narrow escape from capsizing vessel

2/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – About 9 p.m. Wednesday night the Bessie-E, a fishing boat, headed out from its berth in Mamainse Harbor on Lake Superior in fairly calm waters, says Harbor Authority Jim MacDonald.

Shortly after she left she started having troubles. The ice was thick, soft, slushy, and snow-covered – not easy ice to work in.

The Bessie-E, captained by Jacob Bjornaa, runs with a crew of five, including her captain. Bjornaa is a second-generation fisherman out of that harbor. He knows the ice and he knows what the fast-changing weather patterns can do to it.

Sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. the wind changed direction and started coming from the north, MacDonald told SooToday. A wind like that can pack up the ice in the harbor so no boats can pass.

MacDonald advised Bjornaa to pick a spot and sit tight in the harbor, to wait out the ice. It might take a day or so but the ice wouldn't stay. The boat would soon be back to berth and the crew home and warm.

"There's been plenty of times I've sat out there over night," said MacDonald. But the crew couldn't get the engine started and the wind was blowing the Bessie-E up toward the shore.

The crew found that the fuel lines were vapor locked and worked for about an hour to bleed the lines and start the engine while the Bessie-E rolled in the waves. By that time the wind was strong, said MacDonald.

They finally got the engine to start but it was too late.

"Just then the stern touched bottom, kicking the boat around and plowing it up further toward shore," he said. "That's when Jake said it was time to get off that boat."

The first crewmember to jump off went out of sight and wasn't seen for several very tense moments. As soon as the rest of the crew caught sight of him making his way to shore they followed.

Bjornaa was the last to leave the ship and just as his feet left the deck, a wave lifted the Bessie-E and hauled her out to deeper water.

"She turned over and went down right behind him," said MacDonald. "I call it a miracle that they're all alive." That was about 10 p.m.

"Today, I was more shook up than I ever was in 47 years on the lake."

The Bessie-E sits upside down in the water with about a foot of her hull showing above the surface, said MacDonald. She was one of seven fishing boats that berth in Mamainse Harbor.

Investigators from the Transportation Safety Board are enroute to investigate the incident.

The Bessie E was one of seven commercial fishing tugs that berth in Mamainse Harbor, which is the only harbor between Sault Ste. Marie and Michipicoten Harbor.

Soo Today


Algoma Central announces favorable outcome in Mingde Shipyard arbitration

2/19 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation announced Wednesday that the London, UK, arbitration tribunal hearing a contract dispute involving three shipbuilding contracts between Algoma and Nantong Mingde Heavy Industries Stock Co. Ltd., has found in favor of Algoma.

"We are extremely pleased that the tribunal has acted quickly to decide on this matter, given the bankruptcy of the shipyard", said Ken Bloch Soerensen, President and CEO of the corporation. "We will now proceed to make a formal demand for reimbursement of our installment payments as provided for under the terms of the contracts. The funds intended for these ships will be redirected towards investment in replacement fleet renewal contracts that we have announced in recent months."

The company entered into contracts in 2010 to build six Equinox Class bulk freighters to replace aging ships in Algoma's domestic dry-bulk fleet. As a result of the bankruptcy of the shipyard, only two of these vessels have been delivered and the company has cancelled the four remaining contracts. This tribunal decision has resolved three of the outstanding claims and claims for the remaining contract are being pursued.

Algoma Central Corp


Ohio House supports Second Poe-sized lock; momentum continues to build

2/19 - Toledo, Ohio – The Ohio House of Representatives has passed a resolution that urges the President of the United States, Congress, and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to support plans for upgrading the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, that connect Lake Superior to the Lower Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. House Resolution 263 was sponsored by Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-7), cosponsored by 43 bipartisan members and passed 93-0.

Iron ore for the steel industry is the primary cargo moving through the locks. Other cargos include clean-burning western coal, limestone and grain. Total commerce through the locks can top 80 million tons in a given year.

However, as H.R. No. 263 stresses, “only one of the four Soo Locks, the Poe Lock, is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes.” If there was a lengthy failure of the Poe Lock, 70 percent of U.S.-flag carrying capacity would be effectively idled and Ohio steel mills and those in Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania would soon face shortages of iron ore. The Department of Homeland Security estimates Ohio’s unemployment rate could reach 17.2 percent, 60 percent higher than the 2008-2009 Great Recession if the Poe Lock failed, and nearly 11 million unemployed workers nationwide.

“We applaud the Ohio House of Representatives for sending this clear message to Washington,” said Thomas Curelli, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever assembled to promote shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. “Not just Ohio needs a second Poe-sized lock, America needs to twin the Poe Lock. The cargos that transit that lock are critical to maintaining not only our economy, but our national defense capabilities.”

Curelli, who is also Vice President of Engineering, Environmental Services and Governmental Affairs for Fraser Shipyards, Inc., noted a failure of the MacArthur Lock last summer delayed nearly 2 million tons of cargo on U.S.-flag vessels alone. “If the Poe had gone down for a lengthy period of time, cargos would have been cancelled rather than just delayed.”

Congress has authorized construction of a second Poe-sized lock, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acknowledges the Soo Locks are the single point of failure for the Great Lakes Navigation System. However, the resolution stresses that “a study that contains crucial errors is preventing the construction from proceeding.”

To get the project moving forward, the resolution calls on the President, Congress and Office of Management and Budget “to support plans to upgrade the Soo Locks … and encourages the Corps to take expeditious action in acknowledging the national security need for maintaining the Great Lakes Navigation System, in addition to properly accounting for the limitation of transportation resources if a lock outage occurs in preparation of an Economic Reevaluation Report.” Many industries that depend on cargo moving through the Poe Lock can only receive those raw materials via vessels.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) also called for twinning the Poe Lock in his January 2016 State of the State address.

The Corps recently reprogrammed $1.35 million to fund the Economic Reevaluation Report and update the new lock’s benefit/cost ratio. They project completing the report within two years, but the Great Lakes shipping community is calling for completion in not more than 18 months.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Coast Guard does night training on icy Straits of Mackinac

2/19 - The icy Straits of Mackinac turned out to be beautiful place for crews from the U.S. Coast Guard to do a little night hoist training this week.

The Coast Guard's Air Station Traverse City posted photos of their work with the Mobile Bay icebreaker.

And if you're wondering how solid that ice is up there at the tip of our Mitten?

"For all asking, as these pictures prove, we do have approximately 6-12 inches of ice in Lake Michigan from the Straits area down to Beaver Island," the Coast Guard staff wrote on its Facebook page.

While the Mobile Bay crew does do some enforcement and search and rescue work, its primary job is icebreaking. It works the Great Lakes from mid-April through mid-December, primarily in Green Bay, the Straits of Mackinac, and the St. Marys River.

Click here for a photo gallery


Mining's last stand? A UP way of life is threatened

2/19 - Marquette County, Mich. – At Sherri's Restaurant in Ishpeming, above the faint clatter of dishes from the kitchen, the conversation of the day in winter skips around from town gossip to snowmobiling to the latest storm to close the local schools. As one might expect in a no-frills Upper Peninsula diner, the food is all-American, the portions ample.

Says owner Sherri Steele of the "farmers' omelette" on the breakfast menu, a calorie-rich platter of three eggs, green pepper, onion, cheese, potatoes and toast on the side: "It's huge."

But as she prepared for the Friday night smelt fish fry she'll dish up that evening, Steele touched on another topic that looms over this community: What if the mines close?

"I'd say at least a quarter, maybe half, of my business is miners," Steele said. "Any job is important in the UP. If they closed, we would all really feel it."

After all, this is iron ore country and the two yawning open-pit mines a few miles southeast might as well be on the endangered species list. They are the UP's last remaining iron ore mines.

Between them, the Tilden and Empire mines west of Marquette issue paychecks to about 1,050 union workers. They labor for generous blue-collar benefits and wages – some grossing upwards of $90,000 a year – jobs that are all but irreplaceable in this hardscrabble country. But as negotiations for a new labor contract drag on, the operation looks to be hanging by a thread, as a retreating Chinese economy and cheap foreign steel have dropped the bottom out of the market.

A mile wide and 1,200 feet deep, the 52-year-old Empire mine is already on borrowed time.

Confirming earlier announcements, Lourenco Goncalves, CEO of Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources – the mines' majority owner - said in late January the mine will close sometime this year.

That will likely cost several hundred jobs, though company officials declined to say how many. The mine employs about 350 union workers. The firm has already idled two of its three Minnesota iron mines.

If the market for ore rebounds, the younger, adjacent Tilden mine could have another couple decades.

Read more, see photos and a graphic


Volunteers needed for spring clean up at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

2/19 - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, will host its annual Spring Cleaning Day on Wednesday, March 16 at the Visitor Center, 600 South Lake Avenue, in Canal Park in Duluth, Minn.

Volunteers are needed from 10 am to 3 pm to dust, update various displays and exhibits, polish brass, make sure electronic equipment is in working order and assist Park Rangers with any special projects. A complimentary lunch will be provided courtesy of Grandma’s Sports Garden.

If you can volunteer to help, please contact LSMMA at 218-727-2497 or email:



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, 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.

1981: The Indian freighter JYOTI VINOD, a Seaway caller as a) JALAZAD beginning in 1969, departed Bombay with a cargo of jute, general freight and school buses. The nightmare voyage, which proved to be its last, did not reach Tema, Ghana, until December 23, 1981

1992: VIHREN, a Bulgarian built and flagged bulk carrier, was driven on the breakwall at Tuapse, USSR, in severe weather. The vessel later broke in two. The ship first came inland in 1983, headed for Thunder Bay. The two sections of the hull were refloated and each arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling in August 1992.

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


Too few icebreakers, lack of a second Poe-sized lock threaten shipping

2/18 - Toledo, Ohio – Insufficient U.S. and Canadian icebreakers and reliance on a single Poe-sized lock to connect Lake Superior to the Lower Lakes and Seaway threaten the future of shipping on America’s Fourth Sea Coast, warns the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force in its 2015 Annual Report released Wednesday.

“Another near arctic winter significantly impacted navigation, and then a 20-day closure of the MacArthur Lock in late summer gave us an uninviting preview of the delays and disruptions that will come should a mechanical or structural issue incapacitate the Poe Lock for a lengthy period of time. If unaddressed, neither augers well for the future of Lakes and Seaway shipping,” the report reads.

The ice on the lakes in 2015 was formidable. A 767-foot-long U.S.-flag laker with an ice-strengthened bow and 7,000-horsepower engine packed in her hull sat immobile in Lake Erie, within sight of land, for 5 days in February. A U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker was unable to free the Arthur M. Anderson. A Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker eventually broke the Anderson out, but the ship’s last cargo had to be cancelled.

Conditions had not eased when the Soo Locks opened on March 25, and within four days the Mackinaw, the U.S. Coast Guard’s newest and most powerful icebreaker, had suffered a casualty to its propulsion system and was unable to operate at full strength for the remainder of the spring breakout.

GLMTF, the largest labor/management coalition ever assembled to promote Lakes/Seaway shipping, hailed the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 (signed by President Obama this month) for the provision authored by Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) that authorizes construction of a new heavy icebreaker for the Lakes and will now focus its attention on having Congress appropriate the funds to build the vessel. Its cost is estimated at approximately $200 million.

The Task Force also urged the Coast Guard to accelerate the modernization of the 140-foot-long icebreakers stationed on the Lakes. The vessels were built between 1979 and 1987 and are in need of extensive upgrading. GLMTF asked that the work be moved from the Coast Guard yard in Baltimore to Great Lakes shipyards.

GLMTF’s 2015 Annual Report also warns that last summer’s 20-day closure of the MacArthur Lock highlights the need to create redundancy at the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, by twinning the Poe Lock. “The MacArthur Lock is 73 years old, the Poe Lock, 47. At least in this instance, vessels that normally transit the MacArthur Lock can use the Poe Lock, so cargo was delayed rather than cancelled. Poe-class vessels are too big to go through the MacArthur Lock, and they represent 70 percent of U.S.-flag carrying capacity on the Lakes. A lengthy closure of the Poe Lock would slow trade to a trickle at best.”

Although authorized by Congress at full Federal expense, a second Poe-sized lock has been stalled by a flawed analysis of the benefit/cost ratio. “Fortunately, that flawed analysis is going to be reviewed, in part because a Department of Homeland Security report forecasts catastrophic and nationwide impacts if the Poe Lock is incapacitated. The Corps has reprogrammed $1.35 million for the re-evaluation and allotted 24 months for completion. We urge the Corps to complete the new analysis in not more than 18 months.”

The Task Force reported major progress on the dredging crisis. “The Corps was able to dredge 21 ports and waterways and remove 3.1 million cubic yards of sediment. The Corps’ work plan for 2016 calls for dredging 25 projects and removing 3.4 million cubic yards.”

GLMTF continued to support S. 373, the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act, as it would establish a uniform, federal ballast water standard.

The Task Force concluded its report by calling for fair trade in steel imports. “We believe in ‘May the best man win,’ but dumping steel into the U.S. market has cost the Lakes jobs and cargo. Trade in any commodity must be free but fair.”

Founded in 1992, GLMTF’s goals include ensuring Lakes dredging is adequately funded; construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; construction of another heavy icebreaker for the Lakes; upholding the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws and regulations; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade via the St. Lawrence Seaway; opposing exports and/or increased diversions of Great Lakes water; and expanding short sea shipping on the Lakes.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


2016 S.S. Badger Gathering reservations coming in

2/18 - Plans have been completed for the annual Boatnerd Gathering aboard the S.S. Badger for a round trip from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI and return on Saturday, June 4. While in Manitowoc, Boatnerds will have an option to reboard the Badger for a Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise or visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

Staying on board the Badger on Friday night, June 3, is also an option. Friday night guests will be treated to guided tours of the pilothouse and possibly the engine room, plus a buffet breakfast on Saturday morning.

Only 20 staterooms are still available. Last year we sold out the available staterooms. Make your reservation today.

See the Gathering Page for all the details


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 b.) JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, 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. Renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. SHARON was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

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.

1980: PANAGIS K. arrived at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was soon placed under arrest. The ship was idle and in a collision there with NORTH WAVE on January 23, 1981. The hull was abandoned aground, vandalized and, on October 12, 1985, auctioned off for scrap. The ship first traded through the Seaway in 1960 as a) MANCHESTER FAME and returned as b) CAIRNGLEN in 1965, again as c) MANCHESTER FAME in 1967 and as d) ILKON NIKI in 1972.

1983: A fire in the bow area during winter work aboard the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier RICHELIEU (ii) at Thunder Bay resulted in the death of three shipyard workers.

2010: The sailing ship CONCORDIA visited the Great Lakes in 2001 and participated in the Tall Ships Festival at Bay City, MI. It sank in the Atlantic about 300 miles off Rio de Janeiro after being caught in a severe squall. All 64 on board were rescued from life rafts after a harrowing ordeal. 2010: The tug ADANAC (Canada spelled backwards) sank at the Essar Steel dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. It was refloated the next day.

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


Ports of Indiana smash previous annual record

2/17 - The Ports of Indiana, which includes Northwest Indiana's deepwater Lake Michigan harbor, handled a record 12.2 million tons of cargo in 2015.

Last year was the first in the Indianapolis-based port authority's history that Indiana's three ports handled more than 12 million tons. The tonnage surpassed the previous annual shipping record set in 2014 by a whopping 18 percent – about 1.8 million more tons of cargo.

The self-funding port authority operates the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, which is split between Burns Harbor and Portage, as well as two ports on the Ohio River in southern Indiana.

"Our port companies and stevedores who attract cargo to our ports did a tremendous job in 2015," Ports of Indiana CEO Rich Cooper said. "They've become masterful in leveraging Indiana's ports' year-round maritime access to world markets as well as connections to multiple Class I railroads and major highways and interstates. Their business performance in this uncertain economy is highly commendable, particularly in the coal and steel sectors."

Coal shipments rose by 69 percent as compared to 2014, and dried distiller grains shot up by 64 percent over the same period. Cement increased by 17 percent, and limestone posted a 12 percent year-over-year gain.

Steel imports, which have led to layoffs and idlings of domestic mills nationwide, increased by 18 percent in Indiana in 2015, as compared to 2014. Nationally, cheap and often illegally subsidized imports grabbed a record 29 percent of the U.S. market share.

"While we savor the victories our port companies achieved in 2015, we are mindful of the challenges they continue to face with the pressure on fossil fuels and steel prices," Cooper said. "Despite the difficult economy, steel shipments at our ports still reached an all-time high in 2015 with many of our 28 steel companies processing steel for the record number of new cars and trucks sold by the U.S. auto industry last year."

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled a total of 2.8 million tons of cargo, including dozens of fermentation tanks for the booming craft brewing industry. The Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville across from Louisville got 2.8 million tons of cargo last year, while of the Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon near Evansville handled 6.6 million tons.

The ports are doing so well Gov. Mike Pence has proposed building a fourth port in the southern part of the state. Gary and East Chicago also have expressed interest in another deepwater Lake Michigan port.

NWI Times


First-of-its-kind Pere Marquette car ferry made maiden voyage on this day in 1897

2/17 - Ludington, Mich. – One-hundred and nineteen years ago Tuesday, the legacy of modern Lake Michigan car ferries began. It was Feb. 16, 1897 when the Pere Marquette 15, the first all-steel car ferry, made its first crossing between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis.

Built in 1896 by F.W. Wheeler Co. in Bay City and designed by naval architect Robert Logan, the vessel set the standard for Great Lakes car ferry design.

The "15" was the first of the Pere Marquette/C&O Fleet that would eventually include 12 more car ferries. The last, the still-in-operation SS. Badger, made its maiden voyage in 1957.

Click here to read more, and view a photo gallery


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.

1962: PINEMORE began Seaway service when the waterway was new in 1959. The ship was heavily damaged from a collision on Delaware Bay with the AMERICAN ARCHER and had to be beached. It was refloated on February 21, 1962, repaired and made it back to the Great Lakes later in the year. The vessel was lost as c) MALDIVE MAIL off Veravel, India, on May 31, 1975, following a fire and subsequent grounding.

1966: A rogue wave smashed the British freighter RIALTO on the Atlantic enroute from Saint John, NB to Aberdeen, Scotland, damaging the bridge. The ship was a regular Seaway trader beginning with 5 trips in 1962. It was ultimately scrapped at Whampoa, China, as b) SANDRA in 1971.

2010: The crankshaft aboard the Turkish freighter YAZUV SULTAN SELIM broke, disabling the vessel in the Ionian Sea southwest of Zakynthos. The ship was towed to Sicily and declared a total loss. Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, it arrived at Aliaga March 10, 2010, for dismantling. The ship had been a Seaway trader as a) RIO EXPLORER beginning in 1976 and as c) TURKAY B. beginning in 1993.

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


Fraser Shipyards in Superior buzzes around major project

2/16 - Superior, Wis. - No fewer than four wintering ships are visible on a trip over the Blatnik Bridge that connects the Twin Ports. Lyle McCorison came from three hours away to work aboard a ship during winter layup.

He stays with extended family in Oliver and relishes the opportunity. During a tour Friday of Fraser Shipyards' repowering of the 690-foot Herbert C. Jackson at drydock in Superior, McCorison described the work as the perfect respite from the power plants and oil refineries that dominate his other seasons.

"This is a change," he said, clapping his heavy cowhide gloves together. "It's fun to get on the ships."

The son of a ship's helmsman, Lyle Sr., McCorison started out himself as a merchant marine for four years on the oceans. The Edgar, Wis., man is now a longtime and proud member of the Boilermakers Local 107, based in Wisconsin.

"My dad drives 'em and I fix 'em," McCorison said of the ships.

An experienced welder and rigger, the bearded McCorison was one of a cast of men scrambling over steel as sparks flew below deck on the Jackson.

Having used the heavy crane positioned dockside to pluck the smokestack from the ship to gain access to the core, two shifts a day totaling 60 men are now dismantling her old steam engine. Awaiting installation are boulder-sized twin diesel engines shrink-wrapped on pallets on the dock.

The Jackson will be 57 years old on Saturday; the lake freighter is undergoing a process that will give it new life. "After this she'll have anywhere from 20-30 years left," Fraser President and Chief Operating Officer James Farkas said.

With the crane hook operating through the open void left by the smokestack removal, miles of piping and wiring and a half-million pounds of gears, steel housings and other stuff are being reduced to scrap that's hoisted and piled onto a nearby barge. Pipes that once ran continuously are now sheared and look fit for organ music.

"The boilers were 48 feet tall but now we're getting down to the nitty gritty," said Tom Curelli, yelling above the din as cutting torches flared all around him.

As Fraser Shipyards' vice president and a co-manager of the project, Curelli is overseeing a repowering that is the first of its kind at Fraser this century.

"I don't know how many gazillion times those gears have spun around," he said, pointing down at parts that dwarfed the men. "But they're still absolutely gorgeous."

Federal air-quality regulations and new efficiencies in engines are driving the industry's modernization movement. Work aboard the Jackson marks the fifth engine replacement or overhaul for Ohio's Interlake Steamship Co. since 2006. Locally, the 63-year-old, 768-foot steamer John G. Munson that's owned by Canadian National Railway's Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet is being converted this offseason to diesel power at Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. All told, United States vessel operators will spend $50 million in 2016 on modernizing ships.

It's attractive work for those qualified to do it — a group that includes workers from the Boilermakers Local 647 out of Minnesota and both Dakotas.

"I've done these a few times," McCorison said of repowering a ship, adding that there's strong camaraderie among the fresh-faced apprentices and rugged veterans who do the work. They appreciate the work almost as much as they appreciate their foreman, Troy Adams, whose modesty was on display as he preferred to let McCorison do the talking. "He's a great foreman," McCorison said in a sentiment echoed by others wearing the heavy canvas and leathers common to boilermakers.

"There is a romanticism for these guys in working on the ships," said Farkas, who led a small parade of observers over the gangway onto the ship.

Among those stepping cautiously over the red acetylene and green oxygen hoses that snaked throughout the vessel and fueled welders and torches alike was the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's Kate Ferguson. The Port Authority's director of business development, she professed her own affection to being around ships and took great interest in the goings on aboard the Jackson.

"Was there asbestos removal involved?" Ferguson asked.

"Every pipe carrying hot water or steam was insulated with asbestos," Curelli said. "We took close to 25,000 pounds of asbestos out of here."

When sailing the Great Lakes, the Jackson can regularly be found shuttling iron ore from Marquette, Mich., on Lake Superior to Detroit, just beyond the southern tip of Lake Huron. But for now, the hulking ship rests on blocks and is being prepped and readied for the installation of engines at the beginning of April. At least two days of sea trials on Lake Superior are set to begin June 23. Everyone expects the Jackson will be able to show off enhanced propulsion capabilities then, but the six-month project remains in its early stages.

"That will be the new control room over there," said Curelli, pointing to a hollowed out space below deck near a chopped and exposed fire pan that crawled with men using torches. The pan is a relic the size of a living room. It's on short-time now but for the longest time it dominated the stern end of the ship as its hearth.

"That's where the fuel was injected," Curelli said.

A dozen additional workers inside Fraser's on-site workshop have been fabricating new structural steel since last fall. The old hearth will give way to new structure and new components. Once installed, the Jackson's old-style riveted hull will disguise her modern appeal.

In addition to her new engines, the ship will receive a new gearbox and propeller system, exhaust gas economizers and an auxiliary boiler. The economizers allow the ship to harness the waste heat and energy from the main engine exhaust and produce "free steam" to heat the crew's accommodations and other systems.

Fraser hopes the work on the Jackson ushers in a new era for the 125-year-old company. In recent years, the shipyard had become a wintering place for maintenance work, like replacing worn-out steel plates on a hull. But $10 million worth of recent upgrades to the yard and its dock walls have companies like Interlake looking at Fraser with new eyes.

"We felt Fraser has proven its ability to do this repower," Interlake President Mark W. Barker said in December.

"This is a huge step forward for our shipyard and what we hope is the first of many large projects," Curelli said at the time.

Once the Jackson's old engine is completely dismantled, the installation of the new engine and its components will require the crew to take a more delicate and surgical approach, said McCorison.

"It's high-dollar stuff," he said. "We can't wreck anything."

Duluth News Tribune


National Museum announces spring lecture series schedule

2/16 - The National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio, has announced its annual lecture series' spring schedule.

Wednesday, April 13, 7pm
“Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes: A History of Passenger Steamships on the Inland Seas” – Joel Stone, Senior Curator for the Detroit Historical Society

On the Great Lakes palatial ships created memories and livelihoods for millions while carrying passengers between the region’s major industrial ports. In Floating Palaces of the Great Lakes, Joel Stone revisits this important era of maritime history, packed with elegance and adventure, politics and wealth, triumph and tragedy. This story of Great Lakes travelers and the beautiful floating palaces they engendered will engage historians and history buffs alike.

Presentation and Book Signing

Wednesday, May 4, 7pm
“Resurrecting the Dart Boat Company” – Scott and Dave Ramsey, Ramsey Brothers Restoration and the Dart Boat Company

In the midst of the Roaring ‘20s the desire for fun, frivolity, speed, and sport set the stage for a boom in production of the then-new mahogany runabout. Capitalizing on this growing market, the Indian Lake Boat Company in Lima, Ohio developed a line of fast runabouts with the evocative name of Dart. Continuing to ride the crest of the wave of motor boat popularity, the Dart line of boats attracted the attention of investors in Toledo, Ohio, and in 1928 a new company was formed, the Dart Boat Company of Toledo Ohio.

Eighty-five years later, the iconic Dart boat models have resurfaced in Toledo. Within a few miles of the original Dart Boat Company factory, a skilled band of craftsmen are recreating the most beautiful of the original Dart models, as well as some interpretations of the originals. Today’s models are built to the same exacting standards and exquisite detail of the original boats, but incorporate modern power and improved hull construction for ease of use and simplicity of maintenance.

Wednesday, May 25, 7pm
“Great Lakes Ladies: A Social History of Prostitution in Great Lakes Ports” (Not recommended for minors) – Edward A. Perrine, author and Senior Editor for Inland Seas

Edward Perrine will lead this group through some of the understood but never discussed history of prostitution in Great Lakes ports.

All lectures are open to the public and are included with the cost of admission to the museum. The museum exhibits will be open prior to the start of the lecture. Museum members are admitted free to the lecture.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 16

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.

JAMES E. FERRIS was launched February 16, 1910, as the ONTARIO (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 South 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.

1943: WAR OSIRIS was built at Port Arthur, Ontario, now part of Thunder Bay, in 1918. It was mined and sunk as c) LISTO near Spodsbjerg, Denmark, while enroute from Larvik, Norway, to Emden, Germany, with iron ore.

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


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 15

In 1961, 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.

1990: The tug LOIS T. was swamped while docked at Hamilton and sank in a storm. The vessel was pumped out, refloated and repaired. It now serves as the Port Colborne based tug CHARLIE E.

1993: BELLE ISLE, an SD-14 cargo carrier, visited the Seaway when new in 1971. It was sailing as g) VAST OCEAN when it reported in on this day as sailing on the Sea of Japan. It was never heard from again and disappeared with all hands on a voyage from Vanimo, Russia, to Shanghai, China.

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


Public hearing set for proposed Harsens Island bridge

2/14 - Algonac, Mich. – Residents and property owners will have their chance to share concerns about the proposed Harsens Island bridge project.

A public comment period is now underway in connection to the potential two-lane bascule bridge, which would span roughly 1,750 feet across the north channel of the St. Clair River, and will continue 10 additional days after a public hearing that’s been set for March 9.

The hearing is being held by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division in response to a state permit application.

Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson lives on the island and had requested a public hearing about the project.

The project — and the DEQ permit application — is a pursuit of the Detroit International Bridge Company, whose owner also owns property on Harsens Island. The bridge company also operates the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River to Canada.

Katie Fairchild, an environmental quality analyst with the Department of Environmental Quality’s water resource division, said the hearing is not required. She said the DEQ would have a decision on the permit by the end of April.

According to the permit application, plans for the proposed bascule, or movable drawbridge, structure would also entail an administration building, toll plaza and two storm water basins.

Times Herald


Lorain Port Authority to expand Black River boat tours for 2016

2/14 - Lorain, Ohio – Although spring may feel like it is ages away, Lorain’s lighthouse and river tour information already is shaping up for 2016. The Lorain Port Authority will expand its riverboat tour schedule to 130 cruises planned this year from 90 trips last summer.

Meanwhile, the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Inc. has changed its name, added board members and released the schedules for 2016 Lorain Lighthouse Sunset Dinners and tours.

The developments took shape since the start of 2016 in preparation for the summer season. The expanded schedule means the Lorain Port Authority will have a boat tour on the Black River planned for every day of July and August this year, said Port board member Steve Bansek.

The Port Authority will increase the number of trips and ticket prices in hopes of lowering the per-trip cost for the agency. Ticket prices also will go up from $12 to $14, $15 or $16, depending on the type of cruise.

That will allow the riverboat program to break even, or at least come close to breaking even, said Tiffany McClelland, economic development specialist, and Port Executive Director Rick Novak.

Last year, more than 1,000 people rode aboard the “Lady Charleston” and “Pride of Lorain,” the two, 26-foot charter boats operated by the Port.

Even so, the Port in 2015 lost about $10,000 operating the riverboat tours; the figure is based on factors such as what the Port spends each year on insurance, maintenance, repairs, cleaning, captain salaries. Staff noted the Port Authority is not a for-profit organization.

There were 90 tours scheduled and 78 completed in 2015, with a dozen canceled, usually due to bad weather. Ridership decreased slightly from 2014 to 2015, but Port staff attributed that to confusion about the online ticketing system for the boat rides.

For 2016, there will be short and long river tours, with the longer tours heading out past the Lorain Lighthouse. There will be more fall foliage tours, which tend to be sellouts, and some evening “haunted” cruises in October leading up to Halloween.

“Really, what it comes down to is we really think that it’s necessary to have a better brand on these trips,” McClelland said. “People need to know what they’re getting when they’re going on a trip.”

There will be Friday and Saturday evening walk-on cruises and Sunday brown bag brunch cruises.

“People are constantly asking to be able to bring food on the boats, our answer has always been ‘no,’” McClelland said. But this year, the Port will encourage picnic lunches on the boats, she said.

Passengers also frequently request to bring beer or wine on board, but that cannot be permitted because the vessels don’t have restrooms, Novak said. The vessels are rated to carry 18 passengers, and last year, operated with an average of 12 passengers a trip.

“In theory, if we were to max out all the boats, we would make money,” McClelland said. “But that’s not going to happen.”

The Port’s new online ticket system is scheduled to go live on March 1 at

This year, there also are changes for the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation.

The Port of Lorain Foundation Inc. formally changed its name to the Lorain Lighthouse Foundation Inc., which for years was the nickname of the nonprofit group that preserves and upgrades the Lorain Lighthouse.

Frank T. Sipkovsky has replaced Steven Luca as Lighthouse Foundation board chairman. New trustees are Rachel Costello, James Lumadue, Ron Mantini, Frank Papay and Carolyn Sipkovsky.

This year’s lighthouse tours are scheduled May 21 and 25; June 1, 12 and 29; July 13, 20 and 24; and Aug. 14 and 24.

The Lorain Lighthouse Sunset Wine Dinners will run on Tuesday nights from June 7 to Sept. 13. The cost is $125 and includes the boat ride to the lighthouse, a tour, wine and dinner catered by Jackalope Lakeside Restaurant.

The reservation line is 440-984-1012 for the lighthouse dinners.

Morning Journal


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 14

MESABI MINER (Hull#906) was launched on this day in 1977, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. becoming the fourth 1,000-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, a.) RICHARD M. MARSHALL on February 14, 1966, for $4.3 million and renamed her c.) JOHN DYKSTRA. In 1983, she was renamed d.) BENSON FORD. Renamed e.) US.265808, in 1985, she was scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1987.

On February 14, 1973, the LEADALE’s forward cabins burned during winter lay-up at Hamilton, Ontario and were later repaired. Built in 1910, at Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#77) as a,) HARRY YATES, for the American Steamship Co. renamed b.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1934, c.) FRED A. MANSKE in 1958 and d.) LEADALE in 1962. Scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1979.

1997: The SD 14 cargo ship PATRICIA M. was a Seaway trader in 1974 and returned as c) SELATAN in 1991. It was sailing as d) NIKA II when it stranded on a breakwall near Veracruz, Mexico, while inbound, in ballast, to load sugar. The hull was refloated on March 8, towed to an anchorage and declared a total loss. It was broken up for scrap at Tuxpan, Mexico, beginning on April 27, 1997.

2000: ZAFIRO, a Seaway trader in 1984, sank as d) ZAFIR off Calabria, Italy, after a collision with the ESPRESSO CATANIA while carrying 6000 tons of cement clinker. Thirteen sailors were lost or missing.

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


Seaway Notice No. 1 – Opening of the 2016 Navigation Season and Maximum Allowable Drafts

2/13 - The opening of the 2016 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates at 8 a.m.
• Welland Canal: March 21
• Montreal / Lake Ontario Section: March 23.

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

Opening of the Sault Ste. Marie Locks (U.S.A.) is currently scheduled for March 25, 2016. Please note the Notice to Navigation Interests released by the USA Army Corps of Engineers for further information.

Allowable Draft

In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the maximum 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 maximum 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'').

Vessels equipped with an approved and operational draft information system will be permitted to transit at a draft of up to 7cm above the maximum allowable draft. 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.


Great Lakes group enforces ballast water regulations on foreign vessels

2/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – Stowaways in the ballasts of European ocean freighters brought such insidious invasive creatures to Lake Erie as sea lampreys, zebra and quagga mussels, and round gobies.

But in recent years, increased enforcement of the Clean Water Act by the EPA and the U.S. Coast Guard has tightened controls on ships dumping ballast water into the Great Lakes, which has caused billions of dollars in economic and ecological damages.

This week, the Coast Guard announced that in 2015, every vessel bound for the Great Lakes Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone was subjected to a ballast water management exam.

According to the news release, the Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group assessed all 8,361 ballast tanks on the 455 foreign-flagged vessels that passed through the Great Lakes during the 2015 navigation season.

The bi-national group consists of representatives from the Coast Guard, the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., Transport Canada - Marine Safety & Security, and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. The group's mandate is to develop, enhance and coordinate bi-national compliance and enforcement efforts to reduce the introduction of invasive species via ballast water.

This is the seventh consecutive year the group ensured the examination of every ballast tank entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, according to the news release.

Last year, a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. EPA had failed to adequately protect the Great Lakes from aquatic invasive species introduced in ballast water by ships from foreign countries after environmental groups sued the EPA. The court ordered the EPA to rewrite its regulations governing ballast water discharges from ships into the U.S. waterways.

Live creatures in ballast water can be removed or killed via filtration systems that remove oxygen from the water, the use of ultraviolet light to shock the water, or by the purification of the water with chlorine.

Ships pump ballast water into their holds to maintain stability in rough seas, or as cargo is loaded and unloaded. More than 21 billion gallons of ballast water are dumped in the United States each year.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 13

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

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

1941: The first WESTCLIFFE HALL, overseas to assist in the war effort, was damaged when hit by a bomb while two miles off Whitby High Light. The ship was repaired and returned to the Great Lakes after the war. It last sailed as b) WHEATON in the Misener fleet before scrapping at Hamilton in 1965-1966.

1973: MITERA MARIA loaded street cars on deck during a Great Lakes visit to Toronto in August 1967. The ship sustained fire damage in the engineroom at Karachi, Pakistan, as d) MARBELLA and sold for scrap. The 25-year old vessel was broken up at Gadani Beach in 1974.

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


Reconstructed Spanish galleon headed to Tall Ships Erie

2/12 - Erie, Pa. – El Galeon, a reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon, will appear at the Tall Ships Erie 2016 Festival, which begins Sept. 8 and concludes Sept. 11.

The three-masted wooden vessel is 170 feet in length and weighs 495 tons. The vessel's home port is Seville, Spain.

Flagship Niagara League officials announced the addition to their lineup today at a news conference outlining a partnership with Erie Insurance and Tall Ships America.

"Right now, (El Galeon) is in San Juan, Puerto Rico, basking in the sun and giving tours to people there,'' Flagship Niagara League Executive Director Shawn Waskiewicz said. "From there, it's going to Florida for appearances and tours. Then they will make their way up the Atlantic and they will be sailing in all the Great Lakes this summer and will be at a majority of the tall ships festivals. I've been working on their contract for the past couple months and it finally worked out.''

Ten ships are scheduled to appear at the four-day Erie festival, including the U.S. Brig Niagara and the schooner Porcupine, a historical "representation'' of a War of 1812 gunboat that is being built at Erie's Bayfront Maritime Center.


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 12

RED WING was launched February 12, 1944, as a.) BOUNDBROOK (Hull#335) at Chester, Pennsylvania by Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., a T2-SE-A1 Ocean Tanker. She was renamed b.) IMPERIAL EDMONTON in 1947. In 1959, she was brought to Port Weller Drydocks for conversion to a bulk freighter for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., renamed c.) RED WING. Scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1987.

1965: MARGIT, a Danish vessel, came inland in 1964 for one trip. It suffered an explosion and fire in the engine room about 1,000 miles southwest of Honolulu on a voyage from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Calcutta, India, and had to be abandoned. Three members of the crew were killed and the ship was burning fiercely when last seen. The drifting hull later grounded at Wotje Atoll, Marshall Islands, and was found, still burning, on March 11, 1965. The ship was a total loss.

1975: E.B. BARBER was in winter quarters at Port Colborne when a fire broke out in the engine room. Local fire fighters contained and extinguished the blaze.

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


Bay City's Tall Ship Celebration returns in July

2/11 - Bay City, Mich. – Bay City’s Tall Ship Celebration will return to the region from July 14 to July 17.

The Bay City site has won the coveted “Port of the Year” award from Tall Ships America three times, more than any other host community in North America. Event organizers have been busy wrapping up details for the sixth event in 15 years.

The only official host port in Michigan for the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes, Bay City event organizers are hoping their efforts will bring home the title once again.

On July 14, 12 vessels will sail up the Saginaw River to downtown Bay City. Ten will remain dockside and will be available for touring July 15 through July 17. Bay City’s own tall ships, Appledore IV and V, will provide sail away trips. With appearance fees ranging from $12,000 to $45,000, the cost to secure the 2016 fleet is expected to be about $215,000.

New to the Great Lakes and the Bay City event is El Galeón Andalucía, a 160-foot replica of a 16th-17th century Spanish galleon; Draken Harald Hårfagre, a 115-foot replica of a traditional Viking long boat; and When and If, an 83- foot schooner built for General George S. Patton in 1939.

Returning vessels include the Pride of Baltimore II, a 157-foot Baltimore clipper, and Madeline, a 95-foot gaff topsail schooner from Traverse City, perennial favorites at every Bay City event since 2001. The Flagship Niagara is a 198-foot brig from Erie, Pa., that appeared at the Bay City festival in 2006 and 2013; Denis Sullivan is a 137-foot 3-masted schooner from Milwaukee, Wis., that appeared in 2010 and 2013; and Mist of Avalon is a 100-foot 2-masted gaff schooner that hasn’t appeared since 2003.

Negotiations are ongoing to secure two additional vessels.

The Tall Ships Challenge is a series of races and rallies produced annually by Tall Ships America, a nonprofit membership organization based in Newport, R.I. The event rotates between the east and west coast of the United States and the Great Lakes.

Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City hosts the fleet when it visits the Great Lakes; Bay City has been the only official host port in the state of Michigan since 2006.

BaySail, a non-profit educational organization that owns and operates the tall ships Appledore IV and V, is producing the 2016 maritime festival on behalf of the Tall Ship Celebration Board of Directors.

Midland Daily News


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 ship SAMUEL RISLEY.

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

NIXON BERRY was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap on in 1970, she was the former a.) 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 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.

February 11, 1918 - Amid blasts of whistles from nearby ships and factories and the cheers of several hundreds of people, the cargo steamer Asp was launched at the Polson Iron Works. Fears that the launching could not be carried out because of the thickness of the ice proved unfounded. Gangs of men cut away the ice barrier and at 3:20 the vessel slipped easily into the water without any mishap. Curiosity was aroused when one of the ice cutters found a three-foot alligator frozen just under the surface of the ice. Whether or not it escaped from some sailor or from the local zoo is not known.

1987: UNILUCK first came through the Seaway in 1977. The vessel was sailing as b) TINA when it reported water entering the engine room and cargo holds in the Sula Sea off the Philippines. The crew said they were abandoning the ship but no trace of them or their vessel was ever found.

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


International Ship Masters’ Association concludes annual convention

2/10 - The International Ship Masters’ Association 126th annual convention was held at Chicago February 4 – 8. In addition to business meetings, attendees heard speakers from industry and government organizations, including James H. I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association, and Captain Amy B. Cocanour, Commanding Officer, US Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.

Other topics included maritime intelligence, virtual aids to navigation, the Great Lakes Conference of Governors and Premiers, updated products from the National Weather Service, economic trends, nautical history, the 2016 arrival of Tall Ships, and the upcoming America’s Cup races.

Elected as Grand President for the ensuing year was Capt. Robert Lund, master of the Chicago Fire Department boat, Engine 2, Christopher Wheatley, and captain of Calumet River Fleeting tugs. Also elected were 1st Vice President Capt. Lee Barnhill, 2nd Vice President Capt. Harold Dusseau, and Secretary-Treasurer Capt. Albert Tielke.

The International Ship Masters’ Association offers annual scholarships to persons preparing for careers as officers aboard US and Canadian vessels. This year’s awards were presented to Zachary Peters, a Navigation cadet enrolled at Great Lakes International Marine Training and Research Centre at Georgian College, Owen Sound, Ontario; Mark Andrasek, an Engineering cadet enrolled at Great Lakes Maritime Academy, Traverse City, Michigan; and Andrew Deegan, a currently-employed US mariner who is working toward completing his engineering license.

Several Grand President’s Awards for rescues on the Great Lakes during 2015 were presented by outgoing Grand President Capt. Joseph Walters. Receiving awards were Capt. Dino Dini, MV Algoway, for rescue of four persons in Lake Erie off Lorain, Ohio; Capt. Robert Schallip, MV Hiawatha, and Capt. Clayton Hill, MV Nokomis, for rescue of two kayakers in the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Capt. Raymond Sheldon, MV Joseph L. Block, for rescue of a boater in Lake Michigan off Port Washington, Wis.; and Capt. Kenneth Rowe, MV Michipicoten, for coming to the assistance of two sailboaters in Lake Huron off Alpena, Mich.

International Ship Masters’ Association currently consists of 16 lodges in U.S. and Canadian ports around the Great Lakes, with members including both mariners and shore personnel involved in the maritime industry. The association dates to 1886, in Buffalo, N.Y., where it began as a benevolent fraternal organization to assist widowed spouses and families of Great Lakes vessel captains.



More Seaway salties renamed

2/10 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed with each having made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Among them are the Lebasee, which first came inland in 2000 and which is now the Naja of Antigua/Barbuda registry. The Kent Trader, which has had many renames in its career, is now the Jamileh of Palau registry. Chem Vega, a tanker that first came inland in 2003 as Panam Linda, is now the Angel 38 of the Marshall Islands. Stellanova, built in 1996 and the third vessel to carry this name, is now the African Express of Palau registry. Team Bremen, which first came inland in 2011, is now BF Timaru of Portugal.

Denny Dushane


Ballast water working group releases 2015 ballast water management report

2/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Ballast Water Working Group released its 2015 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Management activities Thursday.

During 2015, 100 percent of vessels bound for the Great Lakes Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone received a ballast water management exam. In total, the BWWG assessed all 8,361 ballast tanks on the 455 vessels that transited during the 2015 navigation season.

The Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group is a bi-national collection of representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, Transport Canada - Marine Safety & Security, and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. The group’s mandate is to develop, enhance, and coordinate bi-national compliance and enforcement efforts to reduce the introduction of aquatic invasive species via ballast water and residuals.

This is the seventh consecutive year that BWWG agencies ensured the examination of 100 percent of ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the group anticipates continued high ship-compliance rates for the 2016 navigation season.

U.S. Coast Guard


Obituary: Capt. Jamie Matthews

Capt. Jamie Matthews passed away Tuesday morning, a week before his 80th birthday. He had been in poor health for some time. Capt. Matthews served with Misener Shipping mainly on the ocean lakers that were built in Govan, Scotland. He is survived by his daughter, who lives in South Africa, where he was originally from.

Capt. Bill Ross


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 10

UHLMANN BROTHERS 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, 1,888 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 CRISPIN OGLEBAY a.) J.H. HILLMAN JR of 1943, caused $100,000 damage to the conveyor and tunnel while she was laid up at Toledo. The forward end of CRISPIN OGLEBAY is now ALGOMA TRANSFER (C.323003).

1973: The CUNARD CAVALIER was launched at Seville, Spain. It first appeared on the lakes in 1978.

1981: A pair of former Seaway traders collided in the Mediterranean off Algiers and one sank. The FEDDY had been inland as b) SUNSEA in 1969, c) SAGA SAILOR in 1971 and as d) ELLY in 1976. It went to the bottom with the loss of 32 lives. This ship had been enroute from Boston to Volos, Italy, with a cargo of scrap steel. The second vessel, SOUNION, survived. It had been to the Great Lakes as a) SUGAR CRYSTAL in 1968 and was back as b) SOUNION in 1979. It sailed until scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, following arrival as c) MED VITORIA on April 17, 1993.

1982: TEXACO BRAVE (ii) was pushed off course by the ice and current and struck the bridge crossing the St. Lawrence at Quebec City damaging a mast and the radar. The vessel still sails as d) ALGOEAST.

1984: Scrapping of the Italian freighter b) VIOCA got underway at La Spezia, Italy. The ship made 8 trips through the Seaway as a) BAMBI from 1959 to 1964.

1984: The AEGIS FURY arrived at Shanghai, China, for scrapping as e) WELL RUNNER. The ship first came to the Great Lakes in 1972.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Depressed steel industry meant less ship traffic in '15

2/9 - Duluth, Minn. – While insiders pore over tonnage reports and analysts dissect the global trade of commodities and other cargoes, a simpler indicator of the movement of industry could be found counting the ships in 2015.

What those totals revealed was anything but a typical year as the downturn in the steel industry was especially evident in the final ship tally.

Total ship arrivals to the Twin Ports fell by 144 ships from the previous season — to 757, down from 901 in 2014, according to a season-end report this month from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

The 16 percent drop in the number of ships was slightly higher than the 13 percent drop in the total tonnage through the port: 32.9 million tons in 2015 compared to 37.6 million in 2014.

"It was a tough year for commodities," said Duluth Seaway Port Authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde, citing domestic and Canadian iron ore shipments that were down almost 4 million tons. "It's been a sad, perfect storm."

The depression in the American steel industry — the result of numerous factors, including a slowdown in China's growth and a subsequent glut of Chinese steel on the world market — remained evident even late in the season.

With hardly any ice on the lakes, conditions were ripe for restocking steel mills across the Great Lakes with iron ore and coal before the Jan. 15 close of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. But ore shipments were down 20 percent across the lakes in January and coal tumbled 68 percent, according to tonnage figures from the Lake Carriers' Association.

"We could have been making hay with late-season deliveries, building up inventories at steel mills," Yorde said.

The 2016 shipping season on the Great Lakes reopens in earnest March 25. Continued cooperation from the weather would make for an easy transition out of winter layup, "but there's not a pent-up demand," said Yorde, who expected 2016 would offer what she called "a slow and painful recovery."

"It's not going to be a sizzling start," she said. "We're waiting for the curtailment of foreign steel and prices to get a little better."

Certain sectors have been more immune to the commodities crisis than others. Grain numbers for the Twin Ports were up to 1.4 million tons in 2015 compared to 1.3 million a year ago.

Two dozen foreign vessels visited the Port Authority's Clure Public Marine Terminal in 2015 — twice as many as 2014 — with most bringing project cargoes and leaving with grain.

All told, 79 foreign "salties" visited Duluth and Superior in 2015 — the same number as 2014, with many arriving and reporting directly to the grain terminals.

"The uptick in grain was the good news," Yorde said. "And when you take into account what we moved by road and rail, 2015 was the best year Lake Superior Warehousing has had in 25 years."

The Port Authority contracts with Lake Superior Warehousing to manage and operate the Clure terminal — just below the Blatnik Bridge on the Duluth side of Superior Bay. In addition to its two dozen maritime cargoes in 2015, the terminal's business in terms of "in-by-rail/out-by-truck" and vice versa amounted to 677,000 freight tons moved across the terminal last year. That was a 40 percent spike over 2014, employing more than 25,000 truckloads and 4,000 rail cars, Yorde said.

A lot of it was pulp and other wood products, Kaolin clay from Brazil — used in beauty products — and wind turbine parts, which figure to continue to be a staple locally, Yorde said, with the long-term extension of federal wind tax credits.

"So many states are setting benchmarks for their utility companies to reach for renewables," she said.

The coming season will see the Port Authority finish its $17.7 million restoration of docks C and D across the slip from the Clure terminal. That will happen in the fall. The Port Authority, said Yorde, is in early discussions about the first shipments to that new location. The mild winter has allowed for continued installation of steel dock wall pilings and even some concrete pouring.

"There's an awful lot of conversations going on with both prospective shippers and carriers," Yorde said. "But they're general conversations — all in the works."

Duluth News Tribune


Mackinac Straits, Line 5 focus of Coast Guard bill

2/9 - Northern Michigan – Great Lakes transportation and oil pipeline safety are key factors in legislation expected to be signed by President Barack Obama in the near future.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015 will come to Obama's desk after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill Monday. If approved, a portion of the included funding could be allocated toward the design and construction of a U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker vessel, something U.S. Sen. Gary Peters pushed for earlier this summer. However, there is no specific funding designated for the vessel, officials said.

“I think it is extremely important we have a new icebreaker. I worked aggressively for this authorization and I'm pleased it is in the bill,” he said. “We've seen some tough winters and we know we've had almost complete ice coverage the last two of the three seasons. The icebreaking fleet is getting very old, you're talking icebreakers nearly 40 years old and near the end of their life.”

According to a press release issued by Peters' office, the heavy ice cover the Great Lakes have seen over the past few years have slowed commercial shipping, including an estimated decrease of 3.2 million tons in cargo, resulting in almost $355 million in lost revenue and the loss of 2,000 jobs.

Peters hopes a new icebreaker added to the fleet of nine — some which were commissioned in the 1970s — will help solve those issues. The USCGC Mackinaw was commissioned in 2006 and is the only heavy icebreaker currently operating in the Great Lakes, according to the press release.

Funding for the design and construction of the new heavy icebreaker could come from the more than $1.9 billion allocated each year for 2016 and 2017, for the acquisition, construction, renovation and improvements of several items. Peters said he did not have an estimate on the cost for the icebreaker as it depends on the design and other factors.

He was unable to provide a timeline as well, though he said it would most likely be five or more years before the vessel would hit the water.

In addition to calling for the new icebreaker, the bill also includes a provision Peters authored requiring the U.S. Coast Guard and other relevant federal agencies to coordinate an assessment of fresh water oil spill response activities, including during times of heavy ice cover.

“I am very concerned about Line 5 and the (Mackinac) Straits and I believe we need to move toward closing Line 5,” he said. “In the meantime, if there was an oil spill during the winter it would be absolutely catastrophic.”

Peters said this provision was especially important as Coast Guard officials have previously admitted they are not prepared and do not have adequate technology and resources to respond to a worst-case discharge under solid ice in the Mackinac Straits.

“This asks to put those kind of plans together and see if it's even possible,” he said. “If not, then I think it leads to the next decision that (the line) should not be operating. It is an unacceptable risk that should not be tolerated.”

Despite the Coast Guard's lack of confidence in dealing with an oil spill under heavy ice in the region, an Enbridge official said the company is ready and able to respond in those conditions.

“We have plans in place for winter response and we've done those with the Coast Guard in real-life winter conditions in the Straits,” said Ryan Duffy, supervisor of regional communications and media relations for Enbridge Inc., the Canadian oil company that owns Line 5. “Any time we have the chance we welcome the opportunity to work with them and improve winter spill response capabilities.”

Duffy additionally said Enbridge would support anything that could help the Coast Guard when it comes to spill response.

A new icebreaker could be a vital asset in those plans, Peters said, as icebreakers are already included in spill response plans for Line 5 and have been included in oil spill response drills in the Mackinac Straits.

It is unknown where the icebreaker would be stationed, as Peters said it would be a Coast Guard decision, though he said he will be pushing for it and other resources to be deployed closer to the Mackinac Straits during the winter.

Jennifer McKay, policy specialist for the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, said the more resources there are available for oil spill response efforts, including icebreakers, the better.

“It would be a valuable asset for us to have as an available tool in the toolbox,” she said. “There are a number of different methods employed with ice cover and you never know what you could be dealing with.”

McKay said the proposed assessment would also be vital to oil spill response and cleanup.

With the Great Lakes known for large waves, changing currents — especially in the Mackinac Straits area, and with possible issues with accessibility to equipment and personnel, she said it is important to determine what is available, if it would work, and what else may be needed to ensure adequate response.

To deal with the strong, changing currents and large waves, McKay said it may be worth looking at equipment suitable for ocean cleanup.

“Assessment is a crucial first step,” she said. “It is key in identifying our abilities, and in doing so will identify the gaps. From there, hopefully we can take the information and fill those gaps.

“The Coast Guard has been working for a number of years specifically on ice cover measures in the Straits. This assessment is one more step in that process to improve upon our ability to prepare.”

Petoskey News


Man who named Chi-Cheemaun dies

2/9 - Neyaashiinigmiing, Ont. - On a foggy day last May, the Chi-Cheemaun ferry sounded its horn in waters near the Cape Croker lighthouse, en route to Tobermory to start the spring transportation season to and from Manitoulin.

Donald Keeshig, in failing health, was waiting there when the vessel, whose Ojibway name means Big Canoe, appeared.

By prearrangement with Keeshig family members, the ship’s captain blew two sharp bursts of the horn to acknowledge Keeshig's presence. He was thrilled to see the vessel and hear the salute.

A fluent Anishnaabemowin or Ojibway language speaker, he had named the vessel built in the Collingwood Shipyards and launched in 1974. Mr. Keeshig died Jan. 28 at the Golden Dawn Nursing Home in Lion's Head at the age of 86.

The story of the naming of the Chi-Cheemaun begins with a province of Ontario contest to name the new ship. Lenore Keeshig, Mr. Keeshig's eldest daughter among nine children, recalled how certain her dad was his idea was a winner, and how anxious he was for one of his children to enter the name so they could win.

“He conceived of this great name and he had all the rationale for it,” she said, recalling he gathered the family to talk about it.

“He broke the word down into 'Chi as in big and 'Cheemaun' meaning canoe, so big canoe. And since our people were here in the area since time immemorial, it was only right that the boat should be called the Chi-Cheemaun.”

About one week before the competition deadline, when Lenore happened to be visiting, her father asked if anyone had entered the contest and was “cheesed off” to learn none had. “Because as far as he was concerned, they were just throwing away a hundred dollars,” which was part of the prize.

The contest required an essay to describe why the ship should be named as proposed. Lenore said she gathered up pieces of paper in her parent's home on which the kids had begun writing an essay, remembered what her father had said, and completed it.

She signed her dad's name on the entry and mailed it off. “And he won. And I think when they phoned him to tell him that he had won, he thought he'd won the 50/50,” she said with laughter.

She thinks he was presented with a gold watch, a carved box and a print of a Chi-Cheemaun painting.

“He's very proud and you know I mean he did think of the name, so rightfully it was his.”

He sailed on the Chi-Cheemaun's maiden voyage to South Baymouth on Sept. 27, 1974.

Susan Schrempf is president and chief executive officer of the Owen Sound Transportation Company, a provincial agency which owns and operates the Chi-Cheemaun ferry service between Tobermory and South Baymouth.

During visitation hours for Mr. Keeshig after his death, she heard from a healthcare worker who took care of Mr. Keeshig that he particularly enjoyed recounting the day last spring when he went out to watch for the Chi-Cheemaun.

“She said to hear Donald tell the story, it was a foggy day, and the ship appeared out of the fog and blew the salute just for him -- which is absolutely true. It was a foggy day and it did appear out of the fog and blow a salute just for Donald.”

Schrempf spoke to two of Mr. Keeshig's daughters afterwards and asked them to let the family know the ferry would blow a salute for Mr. Keeshig every spring on the way up to Tobermory. “Because as far as we're concerned, Donald is still sailing with us.”

Owen Sound Sun Times


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 9

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. She was built for the Hall Corp. of Canada in 1957 at Grangemouth, Scotland as a.) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL, renamed b.) EAGLESCLIFFE in 1973.

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, 1,350 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.

1964: The Collingwood built tug PUGWASH (Hull 85 - 1930) was torn from its moorings at Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. The vessel drifted out to sea and sank.

2009: The SONATA suffered engine failure in the Gulf of Finland and had to be towed to Talinn, Estonia, for repairs. It was arrested there, sold at auction and broken up for scrap locally. The ship had been a Great Lakes visitor first as c) RENTALA in 1988 and was back as d) MARY W. in 1990 and f) LANGESUND in 2000.

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


Great Lakes trader Nordana Sky in Keil Canal collision Feb. 5

2/8 - The Dutch saltwater freighter Nordana Sky was in a collision with the container carrier Vera Rainbow leaving the Brunsbuttel Locks of the Keil Canal on Feb. 5. The latter was struck from behind and was reported to have suffered significant stern damage in the accident.

The 393 foot, 8 inch long Nordana Sky had been a Seaway caller in 2015. It had been built by Ferus Smit, and despite being launched as Symphony Sky, was completed at a) Nordana Sky in March. The ship is noted as an "ecobox" carrier with a single cargo hold and single hatch. Two, 85 tonne cranes handle loading and unloading the cargoes.

Nordana Sky entered service on charter to Nordana of Denmark but was rechartered to Transport Desgagnes of Canada and arrived at Halifax for the first time on May 14. It was registered in Quebec City under the Canadian flag, on May 20 and was noted as trading into the Great Lakes for service between Baie Comeau, Hamilton, Windsor and Cote Ste. Catherine under their banner from July into November.

It appears that both ships will require repairs after the unfortunate overseas accident of earlier this week.

Skip Gillham


Port Reports -  February 8

Sarnia, Ont. – Denny Dushane, Philip Nash
Algoma Transport arrived in Sarnia for winter lay-up overnight, assisted to their lay-up berth by the tug Pride. By the early morning on Feb. 7 Algoma Transport was secured at the Government Dock. There are now eight vessels in winter lay-up in Sarnia's harbor, however one of them, the tanker Algonova, which laid-up alongside the Algorail on Jan. 25, is expected to depart on Feb. 9 and will shift down to the Imperial Oil's Lower South Dock in Sarnia to load. Other vessels laid-up in Sarnia include the Calumet (the first to arrive) and Cuyahoga in the North Slip at the North End. At the South End of the North Slip are the Saginaw and the Manitoulin. Laid-up at the Cargill Grain Elevator is the CSL Laurentien, and at the Sidney Smith Dock are the Algorail and Algonova.


Marine News Casualties & Demolitions, February 2016

2/8 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the February 2016 issue.

Seaway Salties:

The bulk carrier AT 30 was built by Nippon Kokan K.K. in 1984 and first entered the water at Shimizu, Japan, at Calliroe Patronicola (i) on March 16, 1984. By the time it began service in June, the name had been changed to b) Patricia R. This latter vessel first entered the Seaway in 1984 under Panamanian registry and returned as late as 1986 before becoming c) Olympic Mentor in 1988. The latter was a regular Great Lakes caller from Sept. 1990 through Nov. 2010. While inland, the vessel ran aground near Lachine on Dec. 26, 1995, and was blown sideways in a snowstorm below the Iroquois Lock, on April 11, 2000. It was renamed d) Cornelios at Perama, Greece, in April 2011 and then e) AT 30 in Nov. 2012. Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the hull arrived at Gadani Beach, on Oct. 17, 2015, and scrapping began a week later on Oct. 22.

Great Lakes Related:

Martha Eugenia had been a Great Lakes visitor as the Canadian Coast Guard ship b) Jackman and she came through the Seaway on Nov. 9, 1980, returning downbound on Nov. 23. The vessel had been launched as Nordic IV in September 1973 and then became a) Hudson Service. It served as a tug and supply ship and then for search and rescue. It was renamed b) Jackman in 1980. The ship was retired at c) 602 in 1992 and then sold to offshore interests as d) Pamar Salvor the same year. In 1993, it came as far as Montreal to pick up the retired C.S.L. laker Fort St. Louis. The tug later sailed for Servicios Maritimos del Golfo de Mexico S de RL de CV of Mexico e) Martha Eugenia and had been reported as laid up in January 2011. The latest report indicates that the vessel was sold to American shipbreakers in October 2015.

Compiled by Rene Beauchamp, Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham


LCS Milwaukee breakdown likely due to software issue

2/8 - Washington, D.C. – An investigation into what caused the breakdown of one of the U.S. Navy’s newest ships is nearing completion, sources said, and it’s hoped the fixes will be less extensive than once feared.

“Right now the root cause points to a timing issue,” said a source familiar with the investigation. “The sequence of stopping engines in emergency stops, and software telling the system how to declutch.”

It was early in December when the littoral combat ship (LCS) Milwaukee, built on the Great Lakes and commissioned on Nov. 21 in her namesake city, left the Canadian port of Halifax bound for Virginia. Pushing 38 knots according to a witness on board on Dec. 6, the ship engaged both its diesels and gas turbines in a high-speed run for photographers when a fuel valve problem initiated an automatic shutdown of both main propulsion gas turbines. The Milwaukee’s speed dropped quickly, “to bare steerageway,” the witness said.

But the timing was off for the programmed sequence of events to disengage and re-engage the complex gearing that combined the diesel and gas engines driving the main power shafts – enough, in essence, to severely grind the clutch.

“Basically it burned up the clutch plates,” the source said.

The ship had been running in full CODAG mode — combined diesels and gas turbines — and the gearing was supposed to step down as the turbines shut off, leaving only the diesels running.

“When the gas turbine shut down that clutch should have disengaged,” said a Navy official familiar with the investigation. “It didn’t, it stayed engaged, creating a high-torque event.” The gears remained engaged “for several seconds,” the official said, long enough “so that the clutch failed and basically broke apart.”

The improperly functioning fuel valves that caused the gas turbines to shut down aren’t the real problem, the Navy official said.

“Things fail on ships all the time,” said the Navy official. “It was not a completely new design. It failed because there was a defect” in the valves – a problem, the official added, “of adequacy.”

The real problem, both sources agreed, is the failure of the gearing system.

“There are all kinds of reasons why you’d want to stop,” the Navy official said. “But the gear system ought to be able to handle the emergency stop scenario.

“The hard issue here was getting to the root cause of causing a ship to be towed into port because she destroyed the clutch. If the system had worked as designed we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Everything would have disengaged correctly. It would have come to a stop. It would have come back up on diesels only and she would have gone into port on her own power.”

The Navy and prime contractor Lockheed Martin each set up review boards after the failure. Teams visited the makers of the gearing, the clutch and the clutch plates. Engineers pored over the propulsion plant design — and found no serious flaws.

“We’re not touching the design,” the source familiar with the investigation said. “It’s right to carry the loads. The gear design is not the root cause at all.”

Instead, the fix may be tweaks to the system’s software.

“What we’re looking at,” said the Navy official, “is a software control issue problem.”

The failure review boards are nearly finished with their work, the Navy official said Feb. 3.

“What they’re pointing to is a control system issue associated with the machinery control system software,” the Navy official said. “The software needs to send a signal to the clutch to disengage without creating any other downstream problems within the propulsion plant. That’s the focus on the root cause.”

The emergency stop evolution is not part of sea trials run by the builder and the Navy before the ship enters service. “To my knowledge it’s not a normal evolution conducted during acceptance trials,” the Navy official said.

“During acceptance trials there was the normal shifting of modes between CODAG and other propulsion modes, and diesel or gas turbine propulsion. What was different about this was the emergency stop of the gas turbine because of the loss of fuel coming in the front end of the gas turbine.”

The control system on the Milwaukee is slightly different from systems installed on the first two ships of the Freedom class, the Freedom (LCS 1) and the Fort Worth (LCS 3). Both of those ships will be examined, “although we haven’t experienced that problem on 1 and 3,” the Navy official said.

“Whatever we decide whatever the fix is, it will cross the entire class, including 1 and 3,” said the Navy official. “Until the root cause is identified and the fix is identified we will not accept LCS 7 [the Detroit, scheduled to be delivered later this year]. We will make sure the ship will operate as it's supposed to when it’s delivered.”

Repairs on the Milwaukee are essentially complete.

“Clutch discs and components have been replaced,” the Navy official said. “There are still some repairs to be done on ancillary systems — high-speed shaft components — that are still operational but need to be replaced. That and some of the hard-to-get-to bearings will need to be replaced.”

The Milwaukee is expected to get underway on her own power from Little Creek and head to Mayport, Florida, where the ship will be drydocked and readied for shock trials to be carried out later this year in the Atlantic.

After that, the Milwaukee will move to her home port of San Diego and prepare for operational service.

Defense News


Preserved and Displayed – Part 5

Editor’s Note: Skip Gillham provided this feature before going on temporary sick leave recently. He thought it would be interesting reading during winter lay-up, so we are running it at his request.

Introduction: Recent discussion on the Boatnerd Information Search page lamented that a typical canal ship has not been preserved as a museum. This has prompted a look at what ships have survived, at least partially, as a museum, as a floating restaurant, a pilothouse office or as a residence. Not included are ships turned into barges or tugs that have become pleasure craft. Other pilothouses likely survived as offices or warehouses, but since it appears no comprehensive list of ships that have been preserved exists, I have compiled the following as a starting point.

This will be the final installment for a while as the author works with René Beauchamp to compile a list covering the St. Lawrence River.

Welland Canal:

Fort Henry, a package freight carrier for Canada Steamship Lines, had the forward cabins removed and they served briefly as an attraction at Lock 3 in St. Catharines. During its tenure there, from 1988 until the structure was broken up in 2002, it was mostly unused and vandalized.

H.J. McManus was being converted to a tanker barge when the pilothouse was removed about 1961 and used as a storage shed at Ramey's Bend in Port Colborne. This structure was subsequently scrapped.

Pierson Daughters was given a new pilothouse and the original was removed below Lock 1 during the winter of 1976 – 1977. The shell remains intact, abandoned in a field, below Lock 1.

Several former pilothouses from lakers scrapped by International Marine Salvage at Port Colborne have been incorporated into office space at their canal-side location.

Lake Ontario:

Acadian was a bulk canaller in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet. It was built at Londonderry, Ireland, in 1913 and came to Canada for Great Lakes service as a) Glenmavis. It was renamed b) Acadian in 1927 and was laid up at Kingston, Ont. at the end of the 1958 season. The ship was scrapped there in 1959, but the wheelhouse was removed and taken to the Mariner's Memorial Park Museum at South Marysborough for display.

Bay Transport (ii) was a member in the Hall fleet from 1968 through 1976. It previously sailed the inland lakes as d) Coastal Carrier following conversion to a tanker in 1949. The ship was sold to United Metals for scrap in 1977 and taken to Hamilton and dismantled. The forward cabin was removed and the structure served United Metals at their property on Strathearne Ave. in Hamilton.

Bayport (ii) was built as a) Banswift and joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1960. The tug was often based at Midland for icebreaking but was sold about 1973. It saw little, if any, service in subsequent years and the hull was buried to the old waterline at Pier 4 Park in Hamilton where it is part of a children's playground.

C.C.G. Alexander Henry was built for the Canadian Coast Guard and served on the Great Lakes until being retired in 1985. It has been part of the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston, Ont., since 1986 and is both a display vessel as well as having seen some work as a bed & breakfast.

Edward, the former Canadian Coast Guard icebraker Edward Cornwallis (i), was retired on June 27, 1986, after cracks were discovered in the center furnace boiler. The ship came up the Seaway under tow in October 1987 and taken to Cobourg, where it was fixed up for a new life as the floating restaurant Edward. This worked until the fall of 1993 when it was closed. The ship was put on the scrap market and some of the superstructure was removed, to raise the draft, to get the vessel out of the harbor. Edward was sold for dismantling in Port Maitland and arrived there, under tow, in December 1993.

H.M.C.S. Haida served the Canadian Navy as a destroyer. It was built in 1942 for World War Two service and also provided support in the Korean conflict. It was decommissioned for the second time on Oct. 11, 1963, and arrived at Toronto, under tow, on Aug. 25, 1964. It was docked in the inner harbor and, after 1970, at Ontario Place attracting about 50,000 visitors a year. After a major refit, the ship was taken to Hamilton in 2003 is maintained by HMCS Haida National Historic Site.

H.M.C.S. Inch Arran was a River-class frigate that was built at Lauzon, Que., in 1944. It served the Royal Canadian Navy to the end of the war and decommissioned. It was recommissioned as a training ship on Aug. 23, 1954, but was paid off again on June 23, 1965. The vessel was donated for a planned conversion to a Marine Museum and Mariner's Club at Kingston but this effort was not a success and the ship was sold for scrap, towed to Hamilton in 1969 and broken up by United Metals in 1970.

Jadran arrived at Toronto under her own power on Nov. 20, 1970. The ship had been built at Split, Yugoslavia, and provided luxury cruises on the Adriatic. It came to Toronto to become a floating restaurant and was moored at the foot of Yonge Street. Known as Captain John's Restaurant, it was very popular in the early years but, as the neighborhood changed to one of high-rise apartments, the new tenants did not like their view spoiled by the rusting restaurant. It was ordered shut down in 2012 and was sold for scrap in 2015. Jadran arrived at Port Colborne under tow on May 29, 2015, and scrapping of the superstructure was soon underway.

John Ericsson tied up at Toronto in December 1963 after delivering its last cargo of grain to the local storage elevator. This, the last of the Canadian-flagged whaleback-designed bulk carriers and a much-loved ship around the Great Lakes, was donated to the City of Hamilton for preservation as a museum ship. It was given a special berth at Confederation Park on Lake Ontario and was berthed there on June 7, 1966. It soon became a political football and was kicked around over funding. The vessel was returned to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1967 without ever opening to the public. It was soon sold to United Metals for scrap and broken up at the foot of Strathearne Avenue in 1967-1968.

LT-5 served on the Great Lakes until 1989 as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tug Nash. It is preserved at the H. Lee White Marine Museum at Oswego, N.Y., and was returned to its original name in 1995.

Metis served Canada Steamship Lines as a bulk carrier and, after 1966, as a self-unlaoding cement ship. It was converted to a barge for Lake Ontario Cement in 1991. The pilothouse was later removed, taken to Leslie Street Spit, east Toronto, during the summer of 1996, and placed there. Metis remains in occasional service as a barge and is pushed by a tug.

Ned Hanlan was a Toronto harbor tug from 1932 until being retired in 1965. It was acquired by the Marine Museum of Upper Canada in 1967, pulled from the water and taken by truck to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds arriving on Oct. 25, 1971. The vessel was refurbished and opened there as a marine museum. It was relocated at Hanlan's Point on Toronto Island in 2012 and is again on display.

Normac has had a long career. It began in 1902 as the fire tug James R. Elliott and then, in 1931, was rebuilt as the passenger and freight carrier b) Normac for service on Georgian Bay. It was retired in 1968 and arrived at Toronto under her own power in July 1969. The ship was opened as the first Captain John's Restaurant in August 1970 but was soon rebuilt with a new aluminum superstructure to meet fire regulations. The ship sank at the dock on June 16, 1981, was pumped out in 1986, rebuilt again in 1988-1989 and towed to Cleveland for a new career as a floating restaurant in 1989 only to sink again in 1993. The vessel was resold and brought to Port Dalhousie in 1995 and has seen service again as a floating restaurant. It suffered major fire damage on Dec. 28, 2011, but has since been repaired.

Victorious was sunk as a breakwall at Ontario Place in 1969, but the pilothouse was removed intact and sat in a field off Cherry Beach, near the Toronto Eastern Gap, for a period of time. I have no reason to believe it was ever used.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  February 8

Lay-up list updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 8

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

On 8 February 1902, ETRURIA (steel propeller freighter, 414 foot, 4,653 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.

1983: EAGLESCLIFFE sank in shallow water at Galveston, Texas, while carrying a cargo of cattle freed for Tampico, Mexico. The ship developed hull cracks and subsequently broke in two during an August 1983 hurricane. The canal sized bulk carrier operated on the Great Lakes as a) EAGLESCLIFFE HALL (ii) from 1956 through 1971 and went south in 1974.

1990: LE SAULE NO. 1 received a hole in the bow after striking the Yamachiche Beacon in the Lake St. Peter area of the St. Lawrence and went to Sorel for lay-up. The damage was later repaired at Les Mechins.

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


2016 S.S. Badger Gathering reservations being taken

2/7 - Plans have been completed for the annual Boatnerd Gathering aboard the S.S. Badger for a round trip from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., and return on Saturday, June 4. While in Manitowoc, Boatnerds will have an option to reboard the Badger for a Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise or visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

Staying on board the Badger on Friday night, June 3, is also an option. Friday night guests will be treated to guided tours of the pilothouse and possibly the engine room, plus a buffet breakfast on Saturday morning. Only 24 staterooms are available. Make your reservation today.

See the Gathering Page for all the details


Seaway vessels, tankers renamed

2/7 - The following saltwater tankers have been renamed, with each having made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Harbour Kristin, first known as Clipper Kristin, came inland with that name in 2006. It carried the name Clipper Kristin from 2006 to 2013 and Harbour Kristin from 2013 to 2016. The ship is now the Caribe Ilse of Liberia. Harbour Krystal, which first came inland with that name in 2014 on its only visit, is now the Caribe Christina of Liberia. It was also known as Clipper Krystal from 2006 to 2011 and first came inland with that name in 2007 and last visited as such in 2010. The ship was renamed in 2011 to Harbour Krystal and carried this name from 2011 until 2015. The tanker Nordic Stockholm, which first came inland in 2010 and last visited in 2014, is now Han Grace of Singapore registry. The tanker Sidsel Knutsen, once a regular visitor to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, has been renamed Hajara of Nigeria.

The following saltwater vessels have been renamed, with each having made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Alert, which first came inland 2004 and last visited in 2014, is now Allcargo Leela of Sri Lanka registry. Alexia, which first came inland in 2009 and last visited in 2010, is now known as Marmactan of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Amanda, which first came inland in 2005 and last visited in 2007, is now Mia of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Nicola, which first came inland in 2005, is now the Valentina of Antigua/Barbuda registry. Palessa, which first came inland in 2004, is now Palermo of Antigua/Barbuda registry. HR Recognition, more familiar to some as Beluga Recognition from 2005 to 2011, is now the Industrial Ranger of Liberia. This vessel first came inland in 2006 as Beluga Recognition and last visited in 2010 as such before becoming HR Recognition from 2011 to 2016. It did not return with the name HE Recognition. HR Resolution, familiar to some as Beluga Resolution from 2005 to 2011, is now the Industrial Royal of Liberia. This vessel first came inland as the Beluga Resolution in 2005 before being renamed HR Resolution in 2011 and carrying this name until it was renamed in 2015. It did not return with the name HR Resolution.

Denny Dushane


Updated list of new saltwater visitors for 2015

2/7 - With the closing of the 2015 St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season on Dec. 31, 2015, the final list of new saltwater vessels and visitors for the season totaled 68 making westbound transits at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. The list includes: Amber, Amurborg, Andesborg, Askholmen, Atlantic Patriot, BBC Alabama, BBC Kimberley, BBC Mont Blanc, BBC Ohio, BBC Olympus, BBC Quebec, BBC Steinwall, BBC Thames, Chem Polaris along with the Chemical Aquarius, Clipper Macau, Clipper Makiri, Erria Swan along with the Eva Schulte, Fagelgracht, Federal Baltic, Federal Barents, Federal Beaufort, Federal Bering, Federal Bristol, Foresight, Fortune, Furuholmen, Gotland, Greta C, Hanse Gate, HHL Tyne, HHL Volga, Houston, Industrial More, Jasmine C, Johanna C, Lena J, Lisanna, LS Evanne, Marbacan, Marbioko, Martigny, Med Arctic, Michelle C, Narew along with the Nomadic Hjellestad, Nordana Emilie, Nordana Emma, Nordana Mathilde, Nordana Sarah, Onego Rotterdam, Patras, Pioneer, Princimar Equinox, Rodopi, Spavalda, Sten Baltic, Sunrose E, Swan Baltic, Swan Biscay and the Thorco Alliance, Thorco China, Taagborg, Timber Navigator, Trinityborg, Trudy and Umgeni. One of the newcomers, the Spavalda, was also sold and reflagged Canadian during the 2015 shipping season. In 2014 there were 54 new saltwater visitors to the system. The highest total of new saltwater visitors in the past seven seasons was in 2012 when there were 89. Also, the 2013 season had the lowest total in that same period with 51 newcomers to the system.

Denny Dushane


Preserved and Displayed – Part 4

Editor’s Note: Skip Gillham provided this feature before going on temporary sick leave recently. He thought it would be interesting reading during winter lay-up, so we are running it at his request.

Introduction: Recent discussion on the Boatnerd Information Search page lamented that a typical canal ship has not been preserved as a museum. This has prompted a look at what ships have survived, at least partially, as a museum, as a floating restaurant, a pilothouse office or as a residence. Not included are ships turned into barges or tugs that have become pleasure craft. Other pilothouses likely survived as offices or warehouses, but since it appears no comprehensive list of ships that have been preserved exists, I have compiled the following as a starting point.

St. Clair River:

Imperial Hamilton was damaged loading ethyl gasoline at Sarnia on Sept. 4, 1961, and was retired at the end of the season. The pilothouse was removed and used as a marine museum at Corunna, Ont., but it was ultimately vandalized and eventually cut up for scrap.

Huron is a lightship that was stationed in Lake Huron until retired on Aug. 20, 1970. This unique vessel is open to the public at Port Huron, Mich., and the only ship like it preserved on the Great Lakes.

J.T. Wing was a wooden schooner that operated in the pulpwood trade on the Great Lakes for a few years before being laid up at the McLouth Shipyard in Marine City, Mich., in 1941. The vessel was given to the City of Detroit and taken to Belle Isle in 1946 and opened as a museum in 1948. It was condemned in 1952 due to rotting timbers and was burned on Nov. 2, 1956.

Lansdowne was an iron sidewheel rail car ferry operated on the Detroit River. It became a barge in 1970. The ship was converted to a floating restaurant and opened at Detroit in 1983 but was closed in 1988. It later spent time at Lorain, Buffalo and Erie, arriving at the latter port on Nov. 1, 1999. Lansdowne returned to Buffalo on July 16, 2006 and was scrapped there in 2008 after locals complained it was an eyesore.

U.S.C.G. Bramble is a retired U.S. Coast Guard cutter now privately owned. It is preserved for display at Port Huron, Mich., but is also capable of sailing again after many years of being idle.

Lake Erie:

C.L. Austin brought its final cargo to Buffalo in December 1982. Following a sale for scrap, the ship was towed to Ashtabula in July 1984, where the pilothouse was removed before the hull was dismantled. The pilothouse was taken by barge to Grand River, Ohio, and placed outside Pickle Bill's Restaurant. The structure sustained fire damage in 1998.

Canadiana was retired in 1958 and there were a multitude of plans to have the ship converted to a restaurant and nightclub. Some work was carried out but never completed. It was idle at Cleveland, Buffalo, Cleveland again, Ashtabula, Buffalo again and finally Port Colborne where Friends of the Canadiana hoped to restore the ship. In the end, the vessel was broken up for scrap at Port Colborne after the engine had been salvaged and taken by truck back to Buffalo.

Col. James M. Schoonmaker is part of the National Museum of the Great Lakes at Toledo, Ohio. The 617-foot-long bulk carrier, once the largest on the Great Lakes, last sailed in 1980 as b) Willis B. Boyer. It is open to the public and is a popular attraction. It was returned to its original name and colors of the Shenango Furnace Co. in 2011.

Benson Ford (i) carried raw materials in the Ford fleet from 1924 until being retired in 1981. The ship was renamed b) John Dykstra (ii) in 1982. The forward cabins were removed at Cleveland in 1986 and taken to South Bass Island in Lake Erie and brought ashore as a cottage. The rest of the hull was broken up for scrap by Marine Salvage at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, beginning in the fall of 1986.

Edward M. Cotter was built in 1900 and served as a Buffalo fire tug for many years. It was decommissioned on March 15, 1992 but has continued to see service as an icebreaker and is on standby for active duty and goodwill visits to area ports. The ship was granted status as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. National Parks Service in 1996.

Fernglen saw only brief service for P. & H. Shipping in 1982 and then was retired. The ship was sold for scrap and towed to Port Maitland in 1985 and broken up. The forward cabin was removed and used as an office by a construction company at Stromness, Ont. The ship had been built as William A. Amberg in 1917 and became b) Albert E. Heekin in 1932, c) Silver Bay in 1955, and d) Judith M. Pierson in 1975 before being renamed e) Fernglen in 1982.

H.M.C.S. Ojibwa arrived at Port Burwell, Ont., as deck cargo aboard a barge on Nov. 25, 2012. The retired, British-built submarine was placed on a cradle and brought ashore for refurbishing, and then was opened for display as a maritime museum.

Thomas Walters was renamed b) Frank R. Denton in 1953 on joining the Wilson Transit Co. The vessel was built at Lorain, in 1911 as a replacement for the lost William C. Moreland and last sailed in the Kinsman fleet. The ship operated through 1983 and, after a sale for scrap, was towed to Ashtabula, Ohio, on Nov. 14, 1984. The pilothouse was removed and, under the old name of Thomas Walters, was refitted and put on display as part of the Ashtabula Museum, with rededication in 2011.

U.S.S. Cod is a retired submarine. It was built at Groton, Conn., and is now open to the public at Cleveland, Ohio.

U.S.S. Croaker is a retired American submarine that is now part of the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park in Buffalo, N.Y.

U.S.S. Little Rock was decommissioned in 1976 after service as a light cruiser and Talos armed missile cruiser. It arrived at Buffalo, under tow, in 1977 and was opened for display at the Buffalo Naval Park in 1979.

U.S.S. Niagara was a wooden brigantine that was engaged in the Battle of Lake Erie in Sept. 1813. After sinking at Erie, Pa., about 1833, the vessel was refloated in 1913 and rebuilt using the keel, stem and some timbers and planking from the original hull. After the centennial tour, it returned to Erie and gradually deteriorated until rebuilt again with now only the original keel being useful. Since then, the popular ship participates in Tall Ship Festivals and good will tours from its Erie, Pa., base.

U.S.S. The Sullivans was built at San Francisco in 1943 and served on the Pacific and during the Korean War. It was decommissioned in January 1965 and towed to Buffalo in 1977 where the retired destroyer is displayed at the Buffalo Naval Park.

Yvon Dupre Jr. was built at Sorel in 1946 and based in Montreal as a harbor tug. It had been built with a second-hand engine and, by 1972, this power plant had become obsolete. The tug was sold to Marine Salvage and arrived in Port Colborne, under tow, in Sept. 1972. The ship was left at Ramey's Bend until 1974 in the hope it could be resold and repowered. When this did not happen, the forward cabin was removed and taken to the grounds of the Port Colborne Historical Museum and placed on display. The hull was broken up for scrap. The pilothouse is still on display over 40 years later.

William G. Mather (ii) was a bulk carrier in the Cleveland Cliffs fleet from 1925 until the end of the 1980 season. It was taken to Cleveland for preservation in October 1988 and conversion to a museum, opening on May 23, 1991. It was closed at the end of the 1994 season when the dock lease expired. The ship is now managed by the Great Lakes Science Center and was moved to Dock 32 in September 2005.

William P. Snyder Jr. was built in 1912 and sailed in the Shenango, Interlake and Cleveland-Cliffs fleets. It last operated in 1980 and arrived at Ashtabula on Dec. 17. Following a sale for scrap, the ship reached at Port Colbone under tow on June 17, 1987. While the hull was broken up, the pilothouse was salvaged and taken to Port Dover, Ont., and incorporated into the Port Dover Harbour Museum.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 7

HURON (Hull#132) was launched February 7, 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for Wyandotte Transportation Co. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1973.

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

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

1965: The Liberty ship GRAMMATIKI visited the Seaway for one trip in 1960. The vessel began leaking in heavy weather on the Pacific enroute from Tacoma, Washington, to Keelung, Taiwan, with a cargo of scrap. The vessel, also slated to be scrapped, was abandoned by the crew the next day and slowly sank.

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


CWB Marquis to get new name

2/6 - Registry has been opened at Transport Canada for G3 Marquis, which will be the new name for the G3 Canada Ltd. (formerly Canadian Wheat Board) grain carrier CWB Marquis.

The Algoma Central-operated vessel was built in China in 2014. A new stack marking is also expected. The Canadian Wheat Board is now the Global Grain Group after a sale last year.


Great Lakes nearly devoid of ice as El Nino-influenced warmth dominates early winter

2/6 - The El Niño-influenced weather pattern over the past several months has brought above-normal temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast, causing the ice coverage on the Great Lakes to be significantly lower than it has been over the past two winters.

As of Feb. 2, 2016, the total ice coverage on the Great Lakes was less than 6 percent, just a fraction of what it was at the start of February in 2014 and 2015, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL).

During the past two winters, early intrusions of arctic air paired with the persistence of below-normal temperatures caused ice to develop and to expand across large areas of the lakes by the middle of the winter.

However, the weather pattern during the first half of this winter has been significantly different, favoring temperatures near to above normal across the region. As a result, only a small amount of ice has been able to form on the Great Lakes.

"It was a warm November followed by an incredibly warm December and it has contributed to the lack of ice on the Great Lakes," AccuWeather Meteorologist Todd Miner said.

Miner added that the weather did turn colder in January, allowing ice to form on parts of the lakes finally. However, temperatures still ran near to above normal, preventing a rapid accumulation of ice.

The lack of ice on the Great Lakes has allowed the lake-effect snow season to last later into the winter than it usually does, meaning that areas downwind of the Great Lakes will continue to see chances of heavy snow squalls through February and potentially into March.

Typically, the opportunities for lake-effect snow season gradually diminish as the winter transpires as arctic air chills the lakes and ice becomes more expansive. In doing so, the comparatively warm water of the lakes needed for heavy lake-effect snow is removed from the equation.

Last winter, Buffalo had received 57 inches of snow by the end of January, most of which accumulating when bands of lake-effect snow set up over the city. This winter, Buffalo has measured less than half of that amount due to the milder weather.

The lack of ice on the Great Lakes this year has benefited industries around the region that rely on shipping to transport good and materials.

Even if there are icebreakers available, sometimes the ice on Lake Erie can be too thick for the ships to navigate through, closing off access to Lake Huron, Lake Michigan and Lake Superior.

Ice coverage was an issue in 2014 when the ice-clogged Great Lakes prevented shipping from reaching the nation's largest steel mill, forcing the factory to shut down.

This year, the shipping season has extended later into the winter due to the late onset of ice. The upcoming shipping season should also benefit, with potential to begin sooner than the past two years due to the lesser extent of the ice.

Despite the ice coverage on the Great Lakes being significantly less than the past two years, it is not unheard of to have such a low amount of ice on the lakes at the start of February.

In 2012, the maximum ice coverage on the lakes failed to reach 13 percent. In 2002, a mild winter prevented ice coverage on the lakes to remain below 10 percent, the lowest maximum ice coverage since detailed records began in 1973.

Additionally, the extent of the ice during the past two winters ranks among the most expansive since the 1970s, according to the GLERL. In 2014, the maximum ice coverage was the second-most expansive in history, falling just shy of the record 94.7 percent reached in 1979.

There is still time for blasts of arctic air to chill the lakes. The greatest ice coverage usually occurs around the end of February or beginning of March. However, it is looking unlikely that the extent of the ice on the Great Lakes will approach the levels that were achieved over the past two winters.


Preserved and Displayed – Part 3

Editor’s Note: Skip Gillham provided this feature before going on temporary sick leave recently. He thought it would be interesting reading during winter lay-up, so we are running it at his request.

Introduction: Recent discussion on the Boatnerd Information Search page lamented that a typical canal ship has not been preserved as a museum. This has prompted a look at what ships have survived, at least partially, as a museum, as a floating restaurant, a pilothouse office or as a residence. Not included are ships turned into barges or tugs that have become pleasure craft. Other pilothouses likely survived as offices or warehouses, but since it appears no comprehensive list of ships that have been preserved exists, I have compiled the following as a starting point.

Lake Michigan

Acacia arrived at Manistee, Mich., on Oct. 16, 2009, for preservation and display. The retired U.S. Coast Guard vessel was built at Duluth as a) Thistle in 1944, only to be renamed b) Acacia the same year. It saw service on the Great Lakes and off Florida before being decommissioned in 2006.

Alvin Clark sank in a squall off Chambers Island, Green Bay, on June 29, 1864. The wooden schooner dated from 1846 and was found by commercial fishermen in 1967. The vessel was raised intact in 1969 and eventually towed to Menominee, Mich., and operated as a museum. The hull began to deteriorate and the oldest documented floating vessel was hauled out of the water, dismantled and the remains hauled away to a landfill in 1994.

City of Milwaukee last operated in 1982, and then the Lake Michigan rail car carrier was retired at Muskegon, Mich. It was moved to Frankfort, then Elberta, and finally arrived at Manistee, Mich., under tow on Jan. 14, 2000. It is on display and open to the public.

The tug John Purves was built as a) Butterfield in 1919 and served on the Caribbean before coming to the Great Lakes to tow log rafts. It left for saltwater in World War Two and worked on the Pacific before returning inland again after the peace had been won. It was renamed b) John Purves in 1957 and was donated for preservation at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., in 2003.

LST – 393 worked on Lake Michigan as the auto carrier Highway 16 from 1948 until July 1973. It was built as a landing ship in 1942 and came to the Great Lakes, via the Mississippi, in in 1948. The ship was idle for many years until renovated and rededicated under its original name on May 28, 2000, for preservation at Muskegon, Mich., under the auspices of the USS LST-393 Veterans Museum.

Ludington served the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until being retired. The tug, which dates from 1943, is open to the public at Kewaunee, Wis.

Milwaukee Clipper was built in 1905 as the passenger ship a) Juniata and rebuilt in 1941 as the passenger and auto carrier Milwaukee Clipper. It last sailed in September 1970 and arrived at Muskegon, after display at Chicago and Hammond, Ind., on Dec. 4, 1997. The ship is gradually being refurbished by volunteers and was named “Ship of the Year” by the Steamship Historical Society of America in 2004.

Reiss was a tug based at Green Bay for a number of years. It had been built by and for the Great Lakes Towing Co. as a) Q.A. Gilmore in 1913 and joined the C. Reiss Coal Co. as b) Reiss in 1932. After being retired, the vessel was displayed at Douglas, Mich. for a number of years and, in 2004, was donated to the now-defunct Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation. It remains in Douglas at this writing.

UC – 97 was a German submarine that surrendered to British Forces at Harwich, England, as World War One was ending. It crossed the Atlantic for New York and then came to the Great Lakes for a 22-port tour in 1919. It arrived at Chicago for a naval display on Aug. 25, 1919, and was laid up at the Great Lakes Naval Station. As the Treaty of Versailles called for the destruction of all German war vessels, this ship was towed into Lake Michigan and scuttled on June 7, 1921.

U.S.C.G. McLane served the United States Coast Guard. It was built at Camden, N.J., and is on display at Muskegon, Mich.

U.S.S. Cobia is open to the public at Manitowoc, Wis. This 311-foot, 9-inch long retired American submarine is part of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

U.S.S. Silversides was a World War Two-vintage submarine. It was decommissioned on April 17, 1946, and arrived at Chicago, via the Mississippi system, for use as a training vessel. It was overhauled and put on display first at Chicago about 1973 and then was taken to Muskegon in August 1987 for display.

Add to Lake Huron:

Calcite was a self-unloader in the Bradley limestone fleet. The ship was scrapped at Conneaut, Ohio, in 1961-1962. The pilothouse was removed and taken to Rogers City, Mich., to overlook the harbor. After a number of years, this structure was moved north of Rogers City to the location of the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse and has been gradually restored. It was reopened in 2003 on Memorial Day.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 6

On 06 February 1952, the LIMESTONE (steel propeller tug, 87 foot 10 inches) was launched at Bay City, Michigan, by the Defoe Shipyard (Hull #423) 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.

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.

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


Minimal ice cover could spell trouble for Great Lakes

2/5 - Traverse City, Mich. – Little ice cover over the Great Lakes could put whitefish spawning habitat on the rocks.

"The whitefish spawning beds need stable ice cover to protect them from winter storms," said George Leshkevich, a physical scientist at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

It's a concern commercial fisherman Bill "Bear" Fowler heard from Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians biologists.

Fowler has fished Lake Michigan waters off Leelanau County for 20 years. He said the whitefish count is down dramatically from his early career, but he isn't worried about local ice coverage. He attributes catch declines to a changing food web instead.

"We have a lot of protected waters around here, so the wind and waves aren't quite as bad," he said.

Just 8 percent of the Great Lakes were covered by ice at the start of this week, according to a report published by GLERL. The lakes were 24.5 percent covered by this time last year and almost 38 percent covered by this time in 2014.

The Great Lakes' average peak ice cover is 51 percent, said Mark Breederland, a Michigan Sea Grant extension educator. The peak doesn't usually come until early March.

Meager ice cover isn't new. Breederland said this season's coverage rates are in line with other strong El Nino years.

"The El Nino effects are moving the different air masses in different directions," he said. "We may not get as much, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get some."

Low ice cover could mean the Great Lakes warm more quickly while lingering ice keeps water cool, Leshkevich said.

Warm water is one of the factors contributing to algal blooms that have occurred in Lake Erie and other places in recent years. Leshkevich speculated low ice coverage could lead to stronger blooms this summer.

"If temperatures start warming early in the spring, earlier than normal, then you might have the onset of blooms earlier or maybe to a larger extent," he said.

Ice coverage also affects lake levels, Breederland said. Ice slows evaporation, but it isn't the only factor in the lakes' water retention. Air and water temperatures also matter — the larger the temperature difference between air and water, the more evaporation.

"If the water's 40 and you get a 40-degree wind, you're going to get some (evaporation), but if you get -40 winds coming over that you're going to get a huge amount," Breederland said.

Record Eagle


Detroit prevents property owner from piling petcoke on riverfront

2/5 - Windsor, Ont. – The City of Detroit has banned a property owner from storing coal- and petroleum-related products such as petcoke on the riverfront west of the Ambassador Bridge.

“The addition of an outdoor coal or coke-storage facility to this neighborhood would be detrimental to or endanger the social, physical, environmental or economic well-being of surrounding neighborhoods,” wrote David Bell, interim director of the city’s buildings, safety engineering and environmental department, in the decision issued Wednesday.

Waterfront Terminal Holdings had asked to “Establish an Intermodal Terminal with accessory outdoor storage (including coal or coke products) and screening of rock, stone, slag, clay and concrete.”

The decision calls the request inconsistent with the city’s master plan. The ban takes effect Feb. 17, though the company may appeal.

A number of Windsor residents have complained in the past about piles of petcoke heaped on the U.S. side of the Detroit River. At least one viral video showed black petcoke blowing across the Detroit River and through Windsor’s riverfront park, though the large piles have since been taken away.

“I would like to congratulate the City of Detroit for making a wise decision to protect our air and water by denying an application to allow harmful petcoke to be stored on the waterfront,” Windsor West MP Brian Masse said in a statement. “This decision acknowledges the human connection to the environment and places the well being and quality of life for people on both sides of the Canada-United States border at the forefront of the governing process.”

Windsor Star


Preserved and Displayed – Part 2

Editor’s Note: Skip Gillham provided this feature before going on temporary sick leave recently. He thought it would be interesting reading during winter lay-up, so we are running it at his request.

Introduction: Recent discussion on the Boatnerd Information Search page lamented that a typical canal ship has not been preserved as a museum. This has prompted a look at what ships have survived, at least partially, as a museum, as a floating restaurant, a pilothouse office or as a residence. Not included are ships turned into barges or tugs that have become pleasure craft. Other pilothouses likely survived as offices or warehouses, but since it appears no comprehensive list of ships that have been preserved exists, I have compiled the following as a starting point.

Lake Huron:

Caroline Rose was a wooden shipping vessel that worked off the East Coast of Canada from 1940 until it was sold for use as a restaurant ship. It arrived at Owen Sound on Sept. 3, 1982, and saw some local service. The vessel sank in the harbor on June 29, 1988, but was refloated only to sink again. The hull was eventually taken to Tobermory and sent to the bottom there as port of an underwater park on Aug. 27, 1991.

Jupiter suffered an explosion and devastating fire at Bay City, Mich., on Sept.16, 1990. The tanker was refloated and scrapped, save for the engine which was to be used for an East Coast tug. The pilothouse was given to the Saginaw River Historical Society but it was in bad shape and the equipment was missing, so they had no alternative than to have it scraped.

Keewatin is a beautiful Edwardian-era steamer moored at the Georgian Bay community of Port McNicoll, Ont. The ship last operated in 1965 and had been displayed at Douglas/Saugatuck, Mich., after arriving under tow, on June 27, 1967. It returned to Port McNicoll on June 23, 2012, and is wonderfully maintained and open to the public.

Norisle had been serving as a museum and restaurant at Manitowaning, Manitoulin Island, but is no longer open to the public. In January, the Township of Assiginack expressed an interest in divesting itself of the former Owen Sound Transportation Company ferry that last operated in 1974.

Maple was built for the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939, and became b) Roger R. Simons in 1974 for the Environmental Protection Agency. The vessel was retired in 1991 and later came to St. Ignace, Mich., for preservation as a museum ship. The vessel is now in private hands in Wisconsin.

U.S.C.G. Mackinaw was built at Toledo in 1944 and was the most powerful icebreaker on the Great Lakes. It was decommissioned on June 10, 2006, and is on display at Mackinac City, Mich.

U.S.S. Edson was a naval destroyer built at Bath, Maine, in 1958. It was decommissioned on Dec. 15, 1988, and had been laid up until acquired for display at Bay City, Mich., arriving there, under tow, on Aug. 7, 2012.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 5

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. 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.

1972: CHRISTIANE SCHULTE, a West German Seaway trader, went aground at Khidhes Island, Cyprus, while on fire and was abandoned by the crew. The ship was traveling from Lattakia, Syria, to Mersin, Turkey, as b) CITTA DI ALESSANDRIA and was a total loss.

1977: The Israeli freighter TAMAR, a Seaway caller in 1959 and 1961, was gutted by a fire in the Aegean Sea south of Thira Island as c) ATHENA. The vessel, enroute from Mersin, Turkey, to Albania, was towed into Piraeus, Greece, on February 12, 1977. It was a total loss and scrapping began at Eleusis in January 1978.

1982: The Canadian tanker JAMES TRANSPORT spent 10 hours aground in the St. Lawrence near Batiscan, Quebec.

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


U.S.-flag cargo movement on lakes down 23 percent in January

2/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 2.3 million tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in January, a decrease of 23 percent compared to a year ago. Iron ore cargos decreased 20 percent. Coal loadings tumbled 68 percent. However, shipments of limestone rose nearly 75 percent.

As February begins, most lakers are in lay-up and undergoing maintenance and modernization, but one cement carrier and two liquid-bulk tug/barge units were in service as of February 1. LCA members will invest upwards of $110 million in their vessels in 2016.

Lake Carriers Association


Port of Cleveland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers clash over harbor dredging

2/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – The ongoing dispute between the Port of Cleveland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers played out on a public stage Wednesday during a hearing at the Cuyahoga County Council's headquarters.

At the core of the feud is the bi-annual dredging of Cleveland Harbor and the Army Corps' proposal to dump sediment dredged from the upper portion of the Cuyahoga River directly into Lake Erie.

"We were quite shocked by this proposal," said Will Friedman, the port's president and CEO, addressing the county council's Education, Environment and Sustainability Committee.

Friedman told the panel that early this week the Army Corps rejected the Port's request to modify federal policy by banning open-lake disposal of polluted dredged sediment.

"At every step, they have ignored the legitimate concerns of Ohio's policy makers and citizens in what seems like an obsessive quest to dump unsuitable sediments in the lake," Friedman said.

"This denial of our request flies in the face of the science and the law, which are clear, and once again places at risk the health of Lake Erie and literally thousands of Ohio's jobs."

Friedman said the port is considering returning to federal court, where a lawsuit brought by the port and the Ohio EPA is pending against the Army Corps. U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent last year ordered the Army Corps to dredge the entire six miles of the Cuyahoga River, and to not dispose of the sediment in the open lake.

The Army Corps maintains that the dredged sediment is clean enough for open-lake disposal. Friedman, the Ohio EPA and the state's Congressional delegation all disagree, contending the sediment is polluted with PCBs, heavy metals and other harmful toxins, and should continue to be stored in confined disposal facilities.

Kurt Prencic of the EPA said tests have shown that the sediment in the Cuyahoga River continues to be polluted, and that the Army Corps "has not demonstrated that this sediment meets its guidelines for open lake disposal.

"We don't want to cover dirty material with less-dirty material. This material does not qualify for open-lake disposal," Prencic said.

Prencic said the EPA fears that putting even a minimal amount of PCBs into Lake Erie could have a major impact on walleye, pushing limits from one meal per week to one meal per month. Such a change would have a debilitating impact on lake fishing and tourism, he said.

Lt. Col. Karl Jansen of the Army Corps headquarters in Buffalo told the county council panel that the sediment in the Cuyahoga River is much cleaner than it was when the river caught fire 45 years ago.

Jansen said the majority of the sediment dredged twice a year from the river originated in the stretch of river through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and does not contain legacy sediment that existed in the channel before federal pollution controls were enacted in the Clean Water Act.

"We've determined that the sediment is non-toxic ... and PCBs were not detectable" when the dredged material was tested recently, Jansen said.

Jansen added that the Army Corps could possibly decide not to dredge the shipping channel this year if the state or an independent agency, such as the Port Authority, declined to pay the additional cost of disposing of the sediment in confined dikes on the lakefront.

"Not dredging the river is not an option," Prencic said.

Committee Chairwoman Sunny Simon pressed Jansen on the Army Corps' end-of-the-year decision to ask Congress to cut more than $3 million from money budgeted for dredging the shipping channel from its annual budget – a "troubling action," according to Friedman.

Jansen declined to respond directly to Simon's question, but said the Army Corps received sufficient funds to pay for the disposal of the sediment.

"Obviously it's not enough money," Simon shot back. "If we had this money we would be able to avoid open-lake dumping."

Pressed further by Councilman Dale Miller, Jansen responded, "You request the resources you need based on the standards of the day."

Ohio's U.S. senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, have asked the Army Corps to take the necessary money for on-land disposal from a flexible account that the Corps can tap at its discretion.


Put in Bay Ferry to operate this weekend

2/4 - The Miller Ferry vessel South Shore is planning to operate over the weekend from Friday to Monday in an unusual mid-winter respite from the ice. Schedule at

Steve Driscoll


Pearl Mist cruise ship might not dock in Holland in 2016

2/4 - Holland, Mich. – The Pearl Mist cruise ship has visited Holland for two summers, but its third summer might involve a reduced number of stops, or none at all. The Pearl Seas Cruises company recently posted the stops for its two Great Lakes cruises, listing Muskegon/Holland as one stop.

Muskegon is working to market itself as the port of West Michigan, and a tourism destination, said Cindy Larsen, president of Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce. In September 2015, Muskegon’s Mart Dock hosted the Pearl Mist when there was a conflict at Verplank Dock Co., it’s planned port in Holland.

When that occurred, some passengers remained in Muskegon for the day, while others were bused to Holland.

“Now that downtown (Muskegon) is put back together, it’s a good time to welcome the cruise ships,” Larsen said. “As we were starting to prep our port for increased vessels — industrial and tourism — it just happened that the Pearl Mist needed a safe harbor last summer, and it was like serendipity.”

The Holland Visitors Bureau’s role with the Canada-based cruise line has been to organize excursions for passengers. The partnership helps inject tourism dollars into the Holland-area economy. If Muskegon becomes the cruise line’s port of choice, Larsen said the plan is to work with cities throughout West Michigan, including Holland, to plan excursion options for passengers.

Muskegon is an ideal hub for all of West Michigan, Larsen said, because Heritage Landing is on Business 31, which connects to U.S. 31 and I-96. The two expressways provide access to Grand Haven, Holland and Grand Rapids.

“We’re looking forward to working with our friends in Holland on the excursion side,” Larsen said.

The Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce is working to attract several cruise lines, she said. Attracting cruise ships to the city has been on the radar for a few years.

Pearl Seas Cruises did not return a request for comment on how much they would stop in Holland this year.

Larsen said she has not received dates yet for cruise stops in Muskegon, but she does expect stops in Muskegon this year. Sally Laukitis, executive director of the Holland Visitors Bureau, also said she hadn’t received word from the cruise line, but that her office is planning day trips for cruise visitors.

Holland Sentinel


Seaway tankers renamed

2/4 - The following saltwater tankers have been renamed. The Fen, which first came inland with that name in 2007 and last visited in 2012, is now the Mesabi of the Marshall Islands. This vessel was also known as the Songa Onyx in 2006 for a short time but did not come inland with that name. It was later renamed Brovig Ocean and held that name from 2006 to 2007 and also came inland in 2006 with that name as well. In 2007, the vessel was renamed Liquid Blue and carried this name for a brief period in 2007 and also came inland under this name in 2007. During the 2007 shipping season, it was renamed again to Fen and carried that name from 2007 to 2016.

Another tanker, the Glen, which first came inland in 2009 and last visited in 2012, is now the Sawtooth of Marshall Islands. This vessel carried the name Songa Pearl from 2005 to 2006 but never came inland with that name. In 2006 it was renamed Brovig Fjord, carried that name from 2006 to 2007, and also came inland in 2006 with that name. In 2007, it was renamed Liquid Beauty and carried this name for a brief period in 2007. It also came inland with this name in 2007. During the 2007 season, the ship was renamed again to Glen and it held on to this name from 2007 to 2016.

The tanker Moor, which first came inland in 2007 and last visited in 2009, is now Bardon of the Marshall Islands. This vessel carried the name Songa Sapphire in 2006 but never came inland with this name. In 2006, it was renamed Brovig Sea and it also carried this name from 2006 to 2007, again not coming inland. However, in 2007 it was renamed Liquid Elegance and it held onto this name for a brief period in 2007. The vessel also came inland in 2007 as such. During the 2007 season, it was renamed again to Moor and the ship carried that name from 2007 to 2016.

Denny Dushane


Preserved and Displayed – Part 1

2/4 - Editor’s Note: Skip Gillham provided this feature before going on temporary sick leave recently. He thought it would be interesting reading during winter lay-up, so we are running it at his request.

Introduction: Recent discussion on the Boatnerd Information Search page lamented that a typical canal ship has not been preserved as a museum. This has prompted a look at what ships have survived, at least partially, as a museum, as a floating restaurant, a pilothouse office or as a residence. Not included are ships turned into barges or tugs that have become pleasure craft. Other pilothouses likely survived as offices or warehouses, but since it appears no comprehensive list of ships that have been preserved exists, I have compiled the following as a starting point.

Lake Superior:

The Paterson fleet bulk carrier Altadoc's pilothouse was removed after the ship was wrecked on Keweenaw Point on Dec. 8, 1927, and was used as part of a resort at Copper Harbor, Mich., until destroyed by a fire on March 22, 1987.

Edna G. operated as a steam tug from 1896 to 1981 and then was donated intact for display at Two Harbors, Minn. It is owned by the Lake County Historical Society and is open to the public for tours.

The bulk carrier George Hindman (iii) was scrapped in 1967-1969, but the pilothouse was retained and is currently used as a gift shop at Duluth near Canal Park.

The tug James Whalen last operated as b) Denise V. about 1988, and then was towed to Thunder Bay, Ont. It was refurbished with its original appearance and name and then placed on display.

The whaleback steamer Meteor operated into January 1970, arrived at Superior, Wis., under tow on Sept. 11, 1972, and is preserved as a museum at Barker's Island, surrounded by fill. It was named to the National Maritime Hall of Fame, Kings Point, N.Y., in 1984.

The bulk carrier William A. Irvin operated for the U.S. Steel fleet until December 1978, was sold to the Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau in 1986 and refurbished for display, opening as a museum ship on June 28, 1986.

St. Marys River

The cement carrier Lewis G. Harriman was idle at Green Bay when sold for scrap in 2003. The pilothouse and part of the bow were removed at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and taken, by barge, to a location near Detour, Mich., and placed ashore for use as a private cottage.

Norgoma operated through 1974 and laid up Owen Sound, Ont. It was towed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in Sept. 1975 and opened to public as a museum ship in 1976. It is maintained by the St. Marys River Marine Centre.

Sewell Avery's pilothouse was used as a ticket office for the Norgoma Marine Museum at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., beginning in 1992. The structure was apparently cut up for scrap in 1995. The hull of the ship remains as a dock facing at Essar Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The 550-foot bulk carrier Valley Camp was sold by Republic Steel to Le Sault de Ste. Marie Historic Sites Inc. in 1968. It arrived Sault Ste. Marie under tow of the John Purves on July 3, and is maintained there as a museum ship.

Next: Lake Huron

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 4

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).

In 1977, ROGER BLOUGH arrived at the American Shipbuilding Company in Lorain, Ohio for winter lay up 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.

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

In 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.

1964: OCEAN REGINA, which would become a Seaway visitor in 1971, ran aground in the Makassar Strait, Indonesia, while enroute from Geraldton, Australia, to China. The ship was refloated February 11.

1965: The Liberty ship IRINI STEFANOU visited the Great Lakes in 1959 and 1960. It struck a reef, 1 mile west of the San Benita Islands, Baja Peninsula and had to be beached. The vessel was enroute from Vancouver, British Columbia, to London, England, with timber. While abandoned, the hull was refloated on February 25 and taken to Los Angeles for examination. They discovered a serious distortion of the hull and it was broken up at Terminal Island.

1970: ARROW, a Liberian tanker quite familiar with Great Lakes trading, stranded in Chedebucto Bay, while inbound from Venezuela to Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia. The ship broke in two as a total loss on February 8 spilling millions of gallons of oil. This resulted in a major environmental problem and clean up took two years and $3.8 million.

1976: A fire aboard the freighter KERKIS broke out in #3 hold off the northern coast of Sicily. The vessel was brought into Milazzo, Italy, the next day and when the hold was opened on February 12, the blaze flared up again. The hull was beached as a total loss. It had begun Seaway trading as a) BYSANZ in 1959 and was back as b) ALSATIA beginning in 1967.

1984: The former MANCHESTER RENOWN was idle at Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, as c) EDESSA. The ship was being reactivated when a fire broke out and destroyed the upper works. The vessel was sold to Taiwan shipbreakers and arrived at Kaohsiung on April 6, 1984. It had begun Seaway trading as a new ship, in 1964.

1992: PATRICIA was wrecked at Crotone, Italy, and abandoned. The hull was visible years later, partially submerged. The ship began Seaway service as a) RUMBA in 1971 and was back as b) JANJA in 1975, c) JANJE in 1979 and e) FIGARO in 1988.

1999: The former BAUNTON caught fire in #1 hold 350 miles west of Dakar, Senegal, as c) MERSINIA and was abandoned by the crew. The ship, enroute from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, with cocoa beans in bulk, was a total loss and was delivered to Spanish shipbreakers at Santander for dismantling on January 21, 2000. It first came through the Seaway in 1981 when it was a year old.

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


Congress approves new heavy Great Lakes icebreaker

2/3 - Congress has approved construction of another heavy Great Lakes icebreaker in a semi-annual bill that authorizes U.S. Coast Guard funding for the next two years.

The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, passed by voice vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday, Feb. 1, approves a bill the Senate passed in December. It now moves to President Barack Obama's desk for a signature.

The bill green-lights something Great Lakes shipping have been clamoring for in earnest for several years ¬– another heavy icebreaker comparable to the USCG Mackinaw to clear shipping lanes and harbors during the winter.

Whether or not the Great Lakes would get another heavy icebreaker was not certain, as the region was competing with Arctic waters for another ship. But the bill approves design steps for new icebreakers in both the Great Lakes and polar regions amid $1.9 billion for new facilities, vessels and aircraft.

Read more, and view a photo gallery, here


Ship makes rare February delivery to Lake Michigan port; more being planned

2/3 - Grand Haven, Mich. – This season's relatively mild winter has been beneficial to the shipping industry in West Michigan.

Port City Marine Services in Muskegon is one of the companies taking advantage. The company delivered a load of cement to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg early Tuesday, Feb.2.

According to Port City Marine Services VP Capt. Edward Hogan, it is the latest the company has ever made a delivery into Ferrysburg.

"February is pretty late," he said. "Actually, I checked with Lake Carriers and other than a little traffic around Chicago we are the only U.S. flag vessel still operating on the Great Lakes."

The articulated tug barge Prentiss Brown entered the channel near Grand Haven before sunrise and docked at Verplank's around 7:30 a.m. The vessel will be unloaded throughout the day and night before likely departing Wednesday. However, departure could be delayed by expected severe weather.

Read more, and see a video here


Seaway salties renamed

2/3 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed. Each made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. BBC Celina, which first came inland in 2013 and last visited in 2014, is now BBC Alberta of Liberia. BBC Hawaii, which came inland in 2012 on its only visit, is now Nicola of Antigua/Barbuda. Dale, a tanker that came inland in 2012 on its only visit, is now Lady Dahlia of Liberia. It also carried the name Pacificator in 2007 but never visited with that name. The tanker Harbour Kira, which first came inland under that name in 2012 on its only visit, is now Caribe Maria of Liberia. It was also known as Clipper Kira from 2007-12 and also visited with that name in 2007 and last visited as such in 2011. The tanker North Fighter, which first came inland in 2007 and last visited in 2010, is now the Ct Ace of the Marshall Islands. A former Polsteam vessel, Ziemia Cieszynska, is now the Maryland of Liberia. This vessel held the name Ziemia Cieszynska in 1993 and visited with this name. It was renamed in 1993 to Lake Carling and also visited in 1993 with this name. The ship carried that name from 1993-2003 before reverting back to Ziemia Cieszynska and having last visited as such during the 2014 shipping season.

Denny Dushane


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 3

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.

1939: LUTZEN came ashore in dense fog at Nauset Beach, Chatham, Mass., off Cape Cod. The vessel rolled over on its side with its cargo of frozen fish and fruit. The small ship had been built at Fort William, (now Thunder Bay) in 1918.

1970: The tanker GEZINA BROVIG sank 300 miles northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. An explosion in the main engine on January 31 blew a piston through the side of the ship and it gradually sank. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader beginning in 1965.

1993: The former Spanish freighter MARTA, a Seaway trader in 1981, was sailing as b) PROSPERITY when it began leaking in a storm. The ship subsequently broke in two and sank with the loss of 5 lives. The vessel went down 120 miles west of Sri Lanka while enroute from Jordan to Madras, India.

1996: An engine room fire aboard the C.S.L. self-unloader JEAN PARISIEN at Port Colborne resulted in about $250,000 in damage.

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


Cleveland-Europe cargo shipping service adds India to route

2/2 - Cleveland, Ohio – Since April 2014, a shipping line has carried goods and raw materials between northeast Ohio and Europe.

Now operators say the Cleveland-Europe Express plans to add India to the itinerary.

Jade Davis is Vice President of External Affairs with the Port of Cleveland. He says late last year, their partner, The Spliethoff Group, began to explore having the ships make stops in the Asian nation. They plan to partner with another shipping company based in Bangalore, India.

Davis adds since their announcement, several northern Ohio companies have expressed interest in the new line.

“Manufacturers, light industrial, and heavy…the really ‘Cleveland manufacturing’ stuff is very interested in seeing how they can get goods in and out of the country,” says Davis. “And it’s not just goods, but it’s also finished products that they utilize for their products.”

Davis says Spliethoff is shouldering the cost of extending the shipping line. In 2014, the Port invested $5 million in the Cleveland-Europe Express. This coming year, Davis figures the Port will spend less than half of that.

It’s not clear yet what Northeast Ohio goods will be traveling to Asia. Davis says he’s received inquiries from regional companies but declined to name the businesses.

“Right now we’re operating and investing as if this is going to be a permanent service to the port,” he says.

“We’re really looking at infrastructure investment, at some of the docks, and building a new warehouse for container trans-loading. And also, we have two new cranes that are coming in, that’ll be delivered at big of shipping season, that will handle just purely our container traffic.

“So we’re making investments to make sure that we can have an efficient streamlined service, and have a permanent service to offer.”

In its first year, the Port of Cleveland lost nearly $3 million on the Cleveland to Antwerp route and interest seemed tepid among Ohio manufacturers.

But the following year, the shipping line’s investment partner, the Spliethoff Group, took over more of the costs and logistical operations, and added a second ship.

Davis says Spliethoff and its Bangalore partner will cover the costs of the India venture.



Seaway salties renamed

2/2 - The following saltwater vessels, each having made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. Australiaborg, a former Wagenborg vessel which first came inland in 2008 and last visited in 2011, is now the ESL Africa of Cyprus flag. Heloise, which first came inland in 2010 and last visited as recently as 2015, is now the Cape of Liberia. Emilie, which first came inland in 2011 and last visited in 2015, is now the Sunda of Liberia. Federal Miramichi, a former Fednav vessel which first came inland in 2006 and last visited as recent as 2015, is now the Lake St. Clair of Antigua/Barbuda. Sir Henry, which first came inland in 2006 and last visited in 2010, is now the Sebat of Panama. This vessel also carried the name Rubin Lark from 1997 to 2005 and came inland in 1997 as such. Sir Walter, which first came inland in 2003 with that name, is now the Sukret of Turkey. This vessel held the name of Rubin Stork from 1996 to 2003 and first came inland with that name in 1999. The tanker Songa Eagle came inland in 2011 and it was the only visit by this vessel. They are now the Loyal Pegasus of South Korean registry. The tanker Zhong Hua 6, which came inland in 2004, is now the Heng Hui 39 of Chinese registration.

Seaway salties go for scrap
The following saltwater vessels have gone to scrap, with each one having made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Among them is the At 30, more familiar to boatwatchers as Olympic Mentor, a former Greek saltie. The vessel first came inland as Patricia R during the 1984 season. It was named the Calliroe Patronicola from 1984-1988 but did come inland with that name. The ship was named Olympic Mentor from 1988 to 2011 and first came inland as Olympic Mentor in 1990. It last visited in 2010 before being renamed the At 30, under which it never returned inland.

Ismail Deeb, which has had a long career, has been scrapped. This vessel was known as the Golden Alliance from 1984-1988, and first came inland with that name in 1987. It then carried the name Atlantic from 1988-1993 and came inland in 1988. The ship became the Alam Senang and carried that name from 1993 to 2012 and first came inland with that name during the 1994 shipping season before being renamed Ismail Deeb. It did not return inland with that name.

The tanker Multi Delta has also had a long career with many names. This tanker was once the Jakov Sverdlov, a name it held from 1989 to 2003 and came inland in 1998 with that name. It then became the Lake Eva from 2003 to 2006 and came inland in 2003 as Lake Eva before being renamed Songa Eva. It carried the name Songa Eva during most of the 2006 season but never came inland with that name. The ship was renamed again to Sichem Eva in 2006 and carried this name until 2009. It came inland in 2008 as the Sichem Eva before finally being renamed in 2009 to the Multi Delta.

Denny Dushane


Giant rubber duck to be a part of Tall Ships Duluth

2/2 - Duluth, Minn. – The Twin Ports will be home to a giant rubber duck for a few days this summer. The World's Largest Rubber Duck — 61 feet tall and weighing 11 tons — will visit Duluth during the Tall Ships Duluth festival Aug. 18-21.

"It's really a fantastic complement to the Tall Ships. The World's Largest Rubber Duck inspires us to enjoy the world's waterfronts and conserve our natural resources for future ducklings," Tall Ships executive producer Craig Samborski said in a statement.

This will be the big bird's inaugural visit in Duluth, but Duluth isn't a stranger to tall ships visiting from around the globe. Duluth hosted tall ships in 2008, 2010 and 2013 in a festival that rotates between coasts and through the Great Lakes in a three-year cycle.

The tall ships festival will feature ship tours, day sails, educational programming, local food and beverage, live music and entertainment. Tickets for the festival range from $9 to $95 with a "fast pass" option for people who want to avoid wait lines onto the ships.

Duluth News Tribune


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 2

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

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

1913: The wooden passenger and freight carrier MANITOU sustained fire damage at Owen Sound and sank at the dock. The vessel was refloated, repaired and operated to the end of the 1939 season.

1972: IRISH SPRUCE first appeared in the Seaway in 1960. The ship was enroute from Callao, Peru, to New Orleans with zinc and copper concentrates as well as coffee, when it ran aground on Quinta Suero Bank (14,25 N / 81.00 W) off the coast of Nicaragua. The ship had its back broken and became a total loss.

1981: EDOUARD SIMARD and JAMES TRANSPORT collided in the St. Lawrence River east of Port Neuf, Quebec. Both received bow damage.

1981: ARTHUR SIMARD received extensive bottom damage after going aground in the St. Lawrence. It was enroute from Montreal to Sept-Iles, but returned to Trois Rivieres to unload and then to Montreal for repairs.

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


Obituary: Captain Morrey Armstrong

2/1 - Captain Morrey Armstrong passed away Sunday at the age of 87. He began his career on the motor vessel Redwood (Beaconsfield Steamships) in 1946 as deckhand and worked his way up the hawsepipe to obtain his masters license in 1959. His first command was the steamer Royalton in 1969. Upon retirement, at the age of 60, he had served many years with the Misener fleet. His last command was the motor vessel Ralph Misener. Ross Armstrong


Today in Great Lakes History -  February 1

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, ANN ARBOR NO. 1 found the rest of the ferry 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, ANN ARBOR NO 6 (later ARTHUR K. ATKINSON) arrived Frankfort, Michigan, on her maiden voyage.

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

1966: The Liberty ship IOANNIS DASKALELIS came through the Seaway for one trip in 1962. It was abandoned in heavy weather as d) ROCKPORT on the Pacific and taken in tow. The vessel slowly sank about 600 miles from Midway Island on February 5. ROCKPORT was enroute from Vancouver to Japan and three dramatic photos of the ship sliding beneath the surface appeared in a number of newspapers.

1969: The third LUKSEFJELL to visit the Great Lakes was anchored at Constanza, Romania, as b) AKROTIRI when there was an explosion in the engine room. A roaring fire spread throughout the midships accommodation area and the blaze claimed the lives of 21 of the 25 crewmembers on board. The hull was sold to Romanian shipbreakers and broken up in 1970.

1974: AMETHYST ran aground off River Douro, on the northeast coast of Portugal, while inbound for Leixos with maize from New Orleans. The vessel had been anchored waiting to enter the river when heavy weather swept the area. The vessel dragged anchor, stranded and, on February 6, broke in two as a total loss. It first came through the Seaway in 1971.

1981: The former ANDERS ROGENAES and MEDICINE HAT came inland in 1964. It ran aground as h) YANMAR at Guayaquil, Ecuador, while outbound for Port Limon, Costa Rica. An onboard crankcase explosion followed on February 23. The vessel was a total loss and sold for scrapping at Brownsville, Texas. Work began on dismantling the ship at that location on June 12, 1981.

1988: L'ORME NO. 1, the former LEON SIMARD, struck a pipe while docking at St. Romauld, Quebec, in fog. A fire and explosion followed that damaged the ship and wharf. Repairs were made and the ship was last noted sailing as d) GENESIS ADVENTURER under the flag of Nigeria.

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



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