Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

 

Seaway says Welland Canal to reopen March 24

2/29 - Setting an opening date for a section of the St. Lawrence Seaway system was challenging this year, said Andrew Bogora. The Welland Canal part of the 3,700 km seaway system — it stretches from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River to the western shores of Lake Superior — opens March 24. But the Lake Ontario-Montreal section, which allows both domestic and foreign-flagged access to Quebec and upper lakes, won't open until April 1.

For that section, the challenge was finding a delicate balance between meeting the needs of the shipping industry and the need to continue to lower water levels on Lake Ontario. "It's been a tough process. There was a lot of careful study," said Bogora, spokesman for St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

"We consulted with a number of stakeholders, the prominent one has been the International Joint Commission and its International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence Board." The IJC deals with issues around the Great Lakes on both sides of the border. Its Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board controls the outflow of Lake Ontario.

That outflow is regulated at the 36-turbine Moses-Saunders Dam, between Cornwall, Ont., and Massena, N.Y. and was at record-setting levels for 70 days in 2019 and high levels into 2020. "The IJC is the sole author in setting water flows, it's outside our mandate," Bogora said.

He said there's pressure from farmers who have stored grain they need to get out and steel mills waiting for fresh supplies of iron ore.

The later opening date on the Lake Ontario-Montreal section reflects the balance struck between all parties. Bogora said the Seaway's No. 1 function is to ensure the safety of navigation, which can be affected by the amount of water released from the lake into the St. Lawrence River.

Last year, the Seaway had to put measures in place — including one-way navigation in certain locations on the river and the use of tugs at the Iroquois Locks — to deal with outflows that were just beyond safe levels for operating vessels.

Bogora said if the water levels were at a moderate level on Lake Ontario, and the weather the same — mild conditions and little ice — the Lake Ontario-Montreal section could have opened as early as March 20, as it did in 2017.

In a release, the IJC said if at the end of March, Lake Ontario water levels and inflows show increased outflows are needed, it has authorized its Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to maximize flows until at least April 15. That applies if conditions in the St. River Lawrence will allow for increased flow.

"Under such conditions, all interested parties would be provided with advance notice of any outflow increases that might create unsafe conditions for commercial navigation," the release said.

It said at this point the probability the board would have to resort to such action is relatively low, but will be better known closer to the end of March.

The Chamber of Marine Commerce, a binational group that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders, said in 2019 the industry worked with stakeholders to ensure safe navigation during record outflow levels

"Going forward, we need to get together to develop a much broader, holistic resiliency plan that can address stakeholder needs and deliver actual, real results. It's time for politicians to start working with all the affected residents, businesses and shipping stakeholders on smart, effective solutions for high water levels," said marine chamber president and chief executive officer Bruce Burrows.

The Welland Tribune

 

Manitowoc lands $2.2M harbor grant to support manufacturing jobs

2/29 - Manitowoc, WI – The City of Manitowoc will receive a $2.2 million Harbor Assistance Program grant for improvements at the Manitowoc harbor and to support the manufacturing, assembly and shipping of cranes for the U.S. Navy.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers' office made the announcement in a news release Friday, and said new loadout and rail platforms will be constructed at the City Centre, LLC, property to handle oversize and overweight cranes.

“These harbor improvements provide double benefits," Evers said in the news release. "The grant helps create new highly-skilled jobs in Wisconsin. It also helps contain transportation costs, making future manufacturing contracts even more attractive. This grant connects the dots between quality transportation infrastructure, the success of local businesses and building strong communities."

The improvements are needed to enable Konecranes and Broadwind Towers and Heavy Fabrications to manufacture enormous cranes for the U.S. Navy. Once manufactured, the cranes must be tested and shipped fully assembled to the East Coast.

Craig Thompson, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary-designee, said in the news release: “Without these improvements to City Centre, these jobs would likely be lost to an out-of-state port. This grant also continues the Manitowoc crane building tradition and is another great illustration of the value of transportation investments in Wisconsin’s ports.”

Created in 1979, WisDOT’s Harbor Assistance Program helps harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. Applications are reviewed by the Harbor Advisory Council, which includes members from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, UW Sea Grant, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and alumni from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

Herald Times Reporter

 

Obituary: William Padgett

2/29 - William Padgett, 74, longtime Superior, WI-area resident, died unexpectedly Saturday, February 15, at his home. He was born on July 2, 1945 in Detroit, MI to Floyd and Ruth (Kaufman) Padgett. He served his country in the United States Navy, married Sue Joiner on March 14, 1992, and they celebrated 27 years of marriage before his passing. He was employed as a wheelsman for the American Steamship Co. and was a member of the Seafarers Union. He loved fishing, taking road trips and spending time with his family and friends. He also was an avid Green Bay Packers fan. A Time of Remembrance and Celebration of Bill’s Life will be held from 12:00 – 2:30 PM on Saturday, March 7, at the Downs-LeSage Funeral Home, 1304 Hammond Ave., Superior, WI. Military Honors will be accorded by the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post #435 Honor Guard at the funeral home. The Downs-LeSage Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. To leave an online condolence or to sign the guestbook, please visit www.downs-lesage.com.

 

Floating preparedness: Port Colborne crews ready to fight fires on board docked lakers

2/28 - Port Colborne, ON – Fighting fires on board ships isn't the same as fighting a house fire, says Tom Cartwright.

"A ship is larger, there's limited accessibility, limited ability to manoeuvre inside … you can't ventilate and there's the heat build-up from the steel structure," said the chief of Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services.

With seven lakers docked for winter repairs along the east wall of the Welland Canal from Lake Erie to the stone dock and two barges at Southpier Terminals, Cartwright said there's always the risk of a fire on board.

Last February, firefighters were called to Algoma Guardian when alarms alerted the ship-keeper to a potential problem on board. Overheated transformer fills ship control room with smoke. The man found smoke in a control room area and shut down power to the ship, which was coming from a shore-based power station, averting a potential fire.

While a fire was averted, Cartwright said each situation on board a vessel first needs to be assessed and added his firefighters won't go below decks to fight a working fire.

"I made a recommendation to city council years ago and they supported me. We'll do anything above deck and assist with medical incidents below decks. If it's a minor issue and we can deal with it safely, we'll go below.”

Cartwright and Deputy Chief Scott Lawson said each career platoon has gone on board the various lakers — owned by Algoma Central Corp. and Canada Steamship Lines — to familiarize themselves with the vessels. Lawson took a platoon of volunteers on board some lakers as well and has plans to take the remaining volunteers in the next week or so. "Every ship is identified, and we have all the contact information," said Cartwright, adding there are ship-keepers on board each vessel throughout the winter.

In the past, the fire service conducted fire drills with different ships by setting up their aerial truck and stretching a fire hose up as if there was a fire on board. "All of the ships are basically the same, though some have added features."

Cartwright some of the changes he's seen in the past 18 years he's been chief in the lakeside city include the addition of sprinkler and fire suppression systems on board the newer vessels, which minimize damage and helps with firefighting efforts.

The most common fires on lakers are in the engine room or conveyor belt systems, which are made of rubber. In 1986, there was an out-of-control fire in the loop conveyor belt system of the Algosoo, which was undergoing repairs in the city. The fire service also fought a conveyor belt fire for 12 hours on the H.M. Griffith — now the Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin — in 1989.

"The risk is always there," said Cartwright, adding the fire service is as prepared as it can be.

In 2010, the fire service dealt with a unique situation on board a vessel 3.7 nautical miles (nearly seven kilometres) southwest of Port Colborne when 16 crew members on board the Liberian-registered Hermann Schoening became ill. Firefighters used the pilot boat J.W. Cooper and two rescue boats from Fort Erie Fire Department to ferry the men to West Street where waiting ambulances took them to area hospitals.

The men became ill when gas formed from the chemical phosphine, used to fumigate for pests, and leaked from the cargo hold into the crew quarters and working spaces. All were later released from hospital.

Read more and view videos at this link: https://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/news-story/9848985-floatng-preparedness-port-colborne-crews-ready-to-fight-fires-on-board-docked-lakers

 

Port Reports -  February 28

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
Algoma Innovator made her third visit of 2020 when she arrived at 00:08 on Thursday (2/27) with salt from the Compass Minerals mine at Goderich. She proceeded to slip one of the outer harbor and was dropping her cargo at the open dock. Loaded to a draft of 8.5 meters, she carried approximately 26,000 metric tons. This makes 11 boatloads of salt delivered at the port in the first two months of 2020. This compares with four during the same period last year. Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Conquest cleared for Charlevoix at 11:15. No other vessel traffic is currently expected.

 

Door County Lighthouse Festival tickets on sale soon

2/28 - Sturgeon Bay, WI - Tickets for the 2020 Door County Spring and Fall Lighthouse Festivals go on sale to the public starting Monday, March 23.

The Lighthouse Festivals include land-based, boat, and adventure tours that together reach all eleven of the treasured lighthouses of Door County. Many of the tour excursions are unique to the lighthouse festivals and provide exclusive access to several lighthouses not typically open to the public, including Chambers Island Lighthouse, Plum Island Range Lights, and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse. New this year are air tours that visit all 11 historic Door County lighthouses.

There are tours for all levels of activity and accessibility. Some tours involve hiking, while others ride in the comfort of the Door County Trolley. Boat tours depart from a variety of locations around the Peninsula, including Sister Bay, Gills Rock and Baileys Harbor.

Tickets are available for purchase at www.doorcountytickets.com. For questions, please email info@dcmm.org or call (920) 743-5958.

 

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.

 

Lake Ontario's high water prompts delay in shipping season until April 1

2/27 - The start of the shipping season on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River will be delayed 12 days to help address near-record high water.The decision will be greeted warmly by shoreline residents, who are facing what could be the third spring of damaging high water in the last four years. The lake level has dipped slightly in recent days but remains about 18 inches above the long-term average for this time of year.

It will be the first time since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 that flows will be sustained at a high enough level that commercial vessels will be unable to sail. The Democrat and Chronicle reported first last week that a regulatory board had been considering an unprecedented measure that would have delayed the opening of the season until mid-April.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the board said "the risk of high water this spring remains elevated" even with extreme outflows through the end of March. The board also said it would make decisions about April outflow "based on conditions upstream and downstream at the time and in consideration of all interests."

Commercial freighters had hoped to begin plying the lake and the St. Lawrence River on March 20, an unusually early date owing to a mild winter. Shipping companies had strongly opposed any delay in the opening.

The regulatory board, made up of government, academic and local government representatives from the United States and Canada, was supposed to announce a decision Monday and again on Tuesday, but did not do so. However, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System, which manages the seaway, posted a notice to mariners Tuesday stating that shipping would not begin until April 1.

"Delaying the opening of the Seaway by 12 days to April 1st is a difficult decision to communicate to our customers but we maintain that it is the reasonable thing to do under the current circumstances," the bi-national agency said in an accompanying statement.

A spokesman for the Great Lakes maritime industry denounced the decision Wednesday morning. "We’re very disappointed with this delay. It's time for politicians to start working with all the affected residents, businesses and shipping stakeholders on smart, effective solutions for high water levels. Delaying, shutting down or interrupting American, Canadian and international trade on the St. Lawrence Seaway and further damaging the economy and our nations’ global trading reputation should never be an option," said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Ottawa, Canada.

Read more and view images at this link: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/02/26/lake-ontario-shipping-delayed-help-lower-water-level/4858664002

 

Senator, U.S. rep call on feds to examine security issues hampering Michigan ports

2/27 - Detroit, MI – Frustrated with progress in their attempts to get the Detroit field office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to treat Michigan ports the same way other Great Lakes and ocean ports are treated, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and Rep. Tim Walberg have called on the federal Government Accounting Office to study inconsistencies in cargo screening standards.

"CBP's inconsistent approach gives a strategic advantage to some ports while placing burdensome infrastructure requirements on other ports, such as demands from CBP to purchase expensive scanning equipment that is provided by the federal government at other points of entry," they wrote in a letter dated Feb. 24 to Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the U.S. in the GAO.

"Other coastal and Great Lakes ports have not been subjected to the same strict screening requirements," said a news release accompanying the letter. "The change in requirements has severely impacted the Port of Monroe's operations and undermines Michigan's economic competitiveness."

On Dec. 8, a Crain's Detroit Business report detailed how stricter policies for Michigan ports have affected job creation and income for ports, focusing on the Port of Monroe. The Detroit office of CBP, which sets rules for Michigan ports, requires shipping containers to be scanned and X-rayed. However, none of Michigan's 40 ports has the technology to meet those requirements, effectively shutting the state out of the growing volume of shipping container traffic on the Great Lakes.

Many cargo ships unload at the Port of Toledo, instead, just 17 miles from the Port of Monroe. The Chicago office of CBP oversees ports in Ohio and has far more lenient rules than the Detroit office.

According to a University of Michigan study of port activity highlighted in the Crain's report, the rules established by the Detroit office of CBP have created millions of dollars in docking and unloading fees in Toledo and Cleveland and has cost Michigan hundreds of jobs. The Detroit office also has stricter screening requirements for what is called break-bulk cargo, which is cargo wrapped or boxed but not in steel containers.

Toledo doesn't have scanning or X-ray equipment, either. The Port of Cleveland has two radiation scanners but no X-ray equipment.

Last August, a ship arrived in Saginaw with cargo to be offloaded for a power plant under construction in Lansing. The Detroit office of CBP wouldn't let it be unloaded, so the ship sailed back to Toledo, where the cargo was unloaded without being X-rayed or scanned, put on trucks and driven to Lansing.

Last November, Paul C. LaMarre, the director of the Port of Monroe, joined Peters at a meeting with CBP officials in Washington, D.C., and Walberg, a Republican, talked about the issue in person with President Donald Trump in January.

On Feb. 13, Walberg set up a meeting in the White House with LaMarre and Peter Navarro, Trump's director of trade and manufacturing policy to discuss the inequities.

"In today's age of seemingly divisive politics, it is rewarding and reassuring that Sen. Gary Peters and Congressman Tim Walberg are putting Michigan's continued prosperity as a marine transportation hub above party differences. The fact that both legislators have engaged the United States Government Accountability Office to investigate USCBP's inequitable treatment of Michigan seaports is proof positive that USCBP's disingenuous dialogue with elected leadership will not be tolerated," LaMarre said in response to the letter to the GAO.

"To this day, USCBP refuses to answer one simple question: Why are Michigan ports being treated differently than anywhere else in the United States? They have evaded this question for months. It is time for the GAO to find out why."

Crain’s Detroit Business

 

Port Reports -  February 27

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Straits of Mackinac – ‎Mackinac Ferry Logs
The ferry Huron resumed service to Mackinac Island Wednesday after a 12 day lay-off. Service is day to day depending on ice conditions

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was north of Milwaukee Wednesday night, headed for that mort with salt, according to AIS. Fleet mate Algoma Conveyor was still at S. Chicago.

 

Wreckage from shoreline erosion creates hazard on Michigan beaches

2/27 - Michigan officials continue to look at how to manage increasingly high water levels in the Great Lakes. But in the meantime, evidence of the erosion problem created by waves and wind remains strewn across its shorelines.

“Torn off decks, stairways, BBQ grills, large trees and docks among many other things” are now littering Michigan beaches, said Jim Storey, chairman of the Allegan County Board of Commissioners. The situation is creating problems for homeowners and communities - and, by spring, risks for the recreation and tourism industries.

Concerns over clearing debris from the state’s shoreline were raised Tuesday during two committee meetings in the Michigan Legislature focusing on impacts of shoreline erosion as a second year of record-high lake levels are forecast.

Testimony during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing focused on the impact on local communities, which face significant costs from damage, Storey said. His county includes the lakeshore communities of Saugatuck and Douglas, both of which expand with summertime visitors. Clearing beaches in preparation for seasonal tourism has to take place now, he said, but public funding is stretched.

The situation could worsen, other officials said, if record-setting rains continue this spring.

Read more and view images at the MLive link: https://www.mlive.com/news/2020/02/wreckage-from-shoreline-erosion-creates-hazard-on-michigan-beaches.html

 

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.

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.

 

Opening of the Seaway and Maximum Allowable Drafts

2/26 - The opening of the 2020 navigation season is scheduled to take place on the following dates and times:

• Welland Canal: March 24 at 8 a.m.
• Montreal / Lake Ontario Section: April 1 at 8 a.m.

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

The Soo Locks are currently scheduled to open on March 25.

Allowable Draft In the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section, the maximum allowable draft will be 80.0 dm (26' 3"). The maximum draft will be increased to 80.8 dm (26' 6") for all vessels when the South Shore Canal is ice-free and when water levels throughout the Montreal/Lake Ontario section are favorable. 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.

The Seaway Corporations have been working with the International Joint Commission (IJC) and the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) to monitor Lake Ontario water levels and forecasts for flooding around Lake Ontario this year. Based on the current conditions and forecasts provided by the ILOSLRB, the majority of benefits of lowering Lake Ontario levels by maintaining outflows above those safe for navigation in the Montreal / Lake Ontario Section of the Seaway occur before April 1, 2020. After that date, the benefits for lowering Lake Ontario by maintaining outflows above those safe for navigation are significantly reduced. Due to the dry conditions experienced in February thus far and the record outflows that the ILOSLRB has been able to maintain this winter, the probability of Lake Ontario being above flood levels has decreased and is now only approximately 35 percent. Beginning April 1, the Seaway Corporations will continue to work with Mariners to ensure the safety of navigation under outflows prescribed by the IJC and ILOSLRB.

 

Chicago fire dept. rescues crew man who fell into cargo hold

2/26 - Chicago, IL – A crew member was rescued Tuesday after falling inside a cargo ship that was docked on in South Chicago. The Chicago Fire Department’s special operations emergency response crew arrived at the scene near 106th Street and Buffalo Road around 2 p.m. It took 27 different pieces of equipment before crews could lower in a recovery basket and rescue the worker.

The man was aboard the Algoma Conveyor unloading salt when he fell into the hold of the ship on the Calumet River. He suffered fractures to his leg or ankel, according to tweets from the Fire Department, but was in good condition after his rescue.

Initial reports said that he fell from the deck about 100 feet to the bottom of the deep cargo hold area of the ship, but authorities said he slipped “He slid down a wet metal grate,” Battalion Chief Tom Bogenthaler said. “He slid down fractured his leg.”

The worker was taken to a hospital for treatment and was alert and in good condition. View the video at this link: https://wgntv.com/2020/02/25/crew-member-injured-after-falling-100-feet-into-cargo-hold-chicago-fire-dept-on-scene

 

Port Reports -  February 26

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Straits of Mackinac – Jon Paul
USCG Mackinaw (WLBB 30) departed the State Dock in Mackinaw City at 13:00 (02/25) and proceeded through Round Island Passage, arriving at DeTour at 16:30 to work ice in the St Marys River. She stopped at Lime Island for the night. USCGC Mobile Bay was working the track in the Straits of Mackinac and then docked at USCG Station St. Ignace at 16:15 for logistics.

 

$29 million grant awarded to Port of Marinette

2/26 - Marinette, WI – A harbor Assistance Program grant worth $29 million has been awarded to the Port of Marinette. Gov. Evers' office announced the grant on Tuesday, saying it will be used for "improvements needed at the Port of Marinette to allow for the production of the next generation of navy ships."

In addition, Evers' office says Fincantieri Marinette Marine plans to continue a site improvement project, which includes the following:

• Construction of a vertical ship lift structure
• Dock walls and bulkheads
• Harbor dredging to transition the shipyard to accommodate building larger vessels

Craig Thompson, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation secretary-designee, says the ripple effect of the grant will be felt statewide. Evers said the shipyard improvements will ensure the company can continue competing for contracts with the U.S. Navy, and also provide the area with jobs.

According to Evers' office, the shipyard employs 1,500 full-time employees and contractors, with another 1,000 suppliers and customers, some of which have offices at the shipyard, are at the site every day.

WBAY

 

Obituary: Thomas S. Craig, Jr.

2/26 - Thomas S. Craig, Jr. of Reno, NV, passed away on February 16, 2020 at age 81. He worked for the Great Lakes Feet in the engine department his entire career and retired as chief engineer of the M/V Presque Isle in 1997. He was born in Uniontown, PA in 1938 and resided in various cities around the Great Lakes including; Conneaut, Ohio, Sault Ste. Marie and Rogers City, Michigan and Erie Pennsylvania; reflecting his close ties to the Great Lakes shipping industry. He first shipped out on the Pittsburgh Steamship Company’s Cason J. Callaway as a maintenance man in 1957 and worked for the Great Lakes Fleet in various positions during his 40 years of service. He enjoyed many years of retirement in the Reno, Nevada area with his wife Patti. He is survived by his wife Patti, brothers, William H. Craig, of La Porte, Indiana, A. Wiley Craig of Reno, Nevada and sister Patricia G. Smelser of Buffalo, New York. A private service will be held in the near future.

 

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.

 

 

McKeil Marine expands tanker fleet

2/25 - Burlington, ON – Marine services provider McKeil Marine Limited has purchased the Adfines Star, an intermediate-sized ice class 1A product tanker. With this latest addition to its diversified fleet of tugs, barges, workboats and vessels, including bunkers, cement carriers, and tankers, McKeil has one of the fastest growing fleets in Canada with the acquisition of four vessels in the last 13 months.

The Maltese-flagged Adfines Star, built in 2011, measures 152 metres by 23 metres, with a DWT of approximately 19,000 metric tonnes. The vessel was acquired to service the needs of a key customer of McKeil and will continue to trade as a foreign-flag vessel between Europe and the Great Lakes on a consistent trading pattern.

“The addition of the Adfines Star supports the continued focus on growing our tanker fleet here at McKeil with high quality Lakes-ready vessels, following the acquisition of the Hinch Spirit and Wicky Spirit in 2019. The acquisition of the Star positions us well to better serve our customers in the future,” said Captain Scott Bravener, President of McKeil Marine Limited.

The 19,000 DWT vessel will be renamed the Atlantic Spirit and is currently in operation.

McKeil

 

New visitors and new funds headed to Port of Cleveland

2/25 - Cleveland, OH – Great Lakes cruises have seen rapid growth as a result of a concerted marketing effort by the Port of Cleveland. In 2017, nine cruise ships docked in the port. The next year, that number grew to 22, and last year it was 28. As of now, 41 cruise ships are scheduled to dock in Cleveland in 2020.

"The last five years have seen an explosion of cruise vessel activity in and around Lake Erie," said David Gutheil, chief commercial officer for the port. "One of the reasons for that is the cruise industry around the world is saturated. The Great Lakes is really the last geographic area for cruise vessel calls."

In February, the port finished updating, at a cost of more than $650,000, a permanent U.S. Customs and Border Protection station to help process an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 international travelers who come to the city on one of the international Great Lake cruises. (About 6,500 passengers came through the port in 2019, but only about half needed to be processed through customs. The estimate for 2020 is that 7,500 passengers will dock here and, again, about half will need processing.)

At least two more companies are prepping to add Great Lakes lines, including Viking Cruises, which has 20 river and five ocean lines that visit 403 ports in 95 countries.

Matt Grimes, Viking Cruises executor director, said more ships are being built for the high-end lake and river cruises, which cost upward of $5,000 ($1,250 a night) for an eight-day, seven-night trip and prohibit anyone under 18 years old.

"We operate in a different market than previous Great Lakes cruise line operators, but we do plan to pour $100 million in marketing over the next five years, and that should benefit all the operators in the Great Lakes," Grimes said.

Lake cruise ships are smaller than their oceangoing counterparts, typically holding 200-450 passengers, each of whom are estimated to spend about $150 during a visit to Cleveland.

Although Viking has not officially scheduled a stop at Cleveland when it launches in 2022, Gutheil said it is just a matter of time before the port is added to the company's schedule of Great Lakes destinations.

One of the reasons Gutheil is so confident is the renewed attention ports like Cleveland are receiving. That includes newly allocated public funding; monies that he and his staff have spent the last few years lobbying for in D.C. and Columbus.

Read more at this link: https://www.crainscleveland.com/government/new-visitors-and-new-funds-headed-port-cleveland

 

New Coast Guard cutter Edgar Culbertson named after Great Lakes hero

2/25 - A new fast response U.S. Coast Guard cutter has been named after a rescuer from Michigan who lost his life trying to save three teenage brothers who were swept off a pier during a fierce Lake Superior storm known as “Black Sunday.”

The Coast Guard took delivery of the new cutter this month in Key West, Florida. It will be the second of three fast response cutters stationed in Galveston, Texas, the military said.

The new cutter’s namesake, Petty Officer 1st class Edgar Culbertson of Ferndale, was 31 when he died during the rescue effort in Duluth, Minnesota on April 30, 1967. Culbertson and two other Coast Guard rescuers had tethered themselves with rope and spaced themselves 25 feet apart in an effort to rescue the brothers. Culbertson died, as did all three brothers.

The two other Coast Guard rescuers survived. For their bravery and heroism, all three service members were awarded the Coast Guard medal.

Here are some of the details of the “Black Sunday” rescue. Winds were blowing at 45 mph that night, whipping up waves along the coast of Duluth, a port town on Superior’s northwestern shore. Witnesses saw brothers Eric, Arthur and Nathan Halverson - two 16-year-old twins and a 17-year-old - running on the pier about 7:45 p.m. The boys had driven to the pier after a church gathering, their parents later said.

One brother was swept off by the crashing waves, and the other two were stranded on the pier, reports said.

Volunteers who headed out to rescue the siblings included Culbertson, Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Richard Callahan, 21, of Cicero, Ill., and Fireman Ronald C. Prei, 21, of St. Francis, Wis.

“The crew tethered themselves together using a rope, with 25-foot spacing and set out searching the pier with only a hand lantern to light the way,” according to a Coast Guard account of the rescue attempt. "The men shuffled their way out to the lighthouse without incident, but also without finding the missing boys.

“On their way back, Culbertson was knocked off the pier by a large wave, causing him to fall below onto the rocks along the shores of the lake.” His body was later found on the beach. Fencing was later added to the pier as a safety measure.

The fast response cutter named for Culbertson is a versatile ship designed for many functions, including search and rescue, port security, fishery patrols, national defense, and drug and migrant interdiction.

“They feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping,” the Coast Guard said in a recent announcement on the ship’s delivery. “The ships have a maximum speed of 28 knots, range of 2,500 nautical miles and endurance of at least a five-day deployment.”

Read more at this link: https://www.mlive.com/news/2020/02/new-coast-guard-cutter-edgar-culbertson-named-after-great-lakes-hero.html

 

Port Reports -  February 25

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

S. Chicago
Algoma Conveyor was unloading salt Monday on the Calumet River.

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  February 24

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Michigan
On Sunday night, Algoma Conveyor was off Manitowoc headed to Chicago with salt.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared Goderich 9:08 am Sunday with salt for Chicago.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H
Iver Bright was loading at the Marathon Asphalt Terminal on Sunday

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa and Algocanada were in the Pelee Passage Sunday night headed for Nanticoke. Algosea and Algonova were both at anchor off that port.

 

Obituary: Dr. Charles E. Feltner

2/24 - Dr. Charles E. Feltner, a long-time member of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History, has passed away. In addition to his many years of service to the association and to the field of Great Lakes maritime history preservation, Dr. Feltner was also a founding member of the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society. In 1998, he and others began a decades-long effort to preserve and restore the historic off-shore light at the entrance to the St. Marys River connecting Lakes Huron and Superior.

In addition to devoting countless volunteer hours to the society, Dr. Feltner also served as its chief historian, restoration chairman and president for many years. From 2001 to 2004, he was in charge of the DeTour Reef Light’s first major interior and exterior restoration project. That project received the State of Michigan Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation in 2005, the same year the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2006, he was honored with the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History's Award for Historic Preservation.

Dr. Feltner is also widely known in the Midwest marine historical and scuba diving communities for his published articles and presentations on shipwrecks and courses on how to research Great Lakes shipwrecks. He is known for his book “Great Lakes Maritime History: Bibliography and Sources of Information” (1982). Dr. Feltner wrote several in-depth articles on Straits of Mackinac shipwrecks published in a Midwest serial by Rec Diving called Diving Times of which his wife Jeri Baron Feltner was the editor. Diving Times is the only Michigan serial about diving on Michigan shipwrecks.

He was also cofounder, and was chairman for the first five years, of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Festival, an annual event sponsored by the Ford Seahorses Scuba Diving Club of Dearborn, MI. He, along with his wife Jeri, was also instrumental in the establishment of the Shipwrecks of the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum in Mackinaw City with their donation of over 50 shipwreck artifacts from the Straits of Mackinac. He retired from Ford Motor Company after 32 years in engineering and corporate management.

Association for Great Lakes Maritime History

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  February 23

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

St. Marys River
The tanker Algocanada was downbound from the Purvis Dock Saturday morning early.

Straits of Mackinac – Jon Paul
USCGC Katmai Bay led Algoma Conveyor westbound under the Mackinac Bridge at 16:40 Saturday. It was a beautiful clear afternoon with temps of 40 degrees. They maintained a steady 6+ knots in a track that has been used steadily by AC and the Algoma Innovator. By 10 p.m., her speed was down to just under 3 knots.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator arrived 2.27 pm Saturday, to load at Compass Minerals.

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  February 23

EDWIN H. GOTT arrived at Two Harbors, Minnesota, (her first trip) February 23, 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 23, 1961, while at the same time the tanker hull forward of her engine room bulkhead was being cut away.

On 23 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.

 

Threat of more Lake Ontario flooding may prompt a delay in commercial shipping

2/22 - Rochester, NY – The prospect of still more flooding on the Lake Ontario shoreline has driven regulators to consider an unprecedented delay in the start of the commercial shipping season. An international board could vote as soon as Friday to ramp up the release of water from Lake Ontario to such an extreme rate that safe navigation on the St. Lawrence River would become impossible.

The board, which has control of lake-level regulation, could commit to the high outflow through mid-April, delaying the start of shipping season on the river and Lake Ontario. The season usually commences in the last 10 days of March.

The board also is talking about keep outflows high enough beyond that point that vessels would need tug boats or special navigational aids to transit the river safely.

Such a sustained increase in springtime water discharge has never been undertaken before. It would throttle the connection between the Great Lakes and the world's oceans, idle dozens of huge commercial freighters and cost the shipping industry tens of millions of dollars.

A group representing shipping interests said it has cooperated with measures to release extra water from the lake in the past and would do so again. But shippers oppose any plan that would stop them from operating entirely.

"We certainly do not need any delays or disruption to the transportation of critical supplies and products on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway transportation and trade corridor," said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce in Ottawa, Canada.

But shoreline residents, battered by record-setting lake levels and flooding in two of the last three years, have been clamoring for government intervention to soften or prevent more damage this spring.

The maneuver being contemplated wouldn’t lower the water level enough to eliminate all prospect of shoreline damage. At best it could lessen the chance of significant springtime flooding a bit or make flooding less severe than it otherwise would be.

Read more at this link: https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2020/02/20/lake-ontario-flood-threat-could-force-delay-shipping-season/4817730002

 

Ship Masters present awards for lifesaving at annual convention

2/22 - Port Huron, MI – The International Ship Masters’ Associations 130th Annual Grand Lodge Convention was held from January 30-February 1 at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron, MI. Capt. Joe Ruch of the Interlake Steamship Company was elected Grand President for the year 2020. Mr. Mark Barker, President of the Interlake Steamship Company, gave the keynote address at the Friday night Grand Ball.

Also at the Grand Ball, Three Grand President Awards for acts of lifesaving were given for the year 2019 by Capt. Mark Mather, Grand President of 2019. The awards went to:

• Capt. Jonathon Barnes and the crew of the Michipicoten for the rescue of a jet skier in Lake Superior on July 14, 2019

• Capt. Sam Buchanan and crew of the J.W. Westcott II mailboat for the rescue of a woman in the Detroit River in July 2019. Capt. Buchanan was present to receive the award.

• Capt. Mike North and crew of the Mackinac Island ferry Joliet for the rescue of a girl who had drifted a quarter mile offshore on an inner tube.

Other speakers included Ken Gerasimos, general manager of Key Lakes/Great Lakes Fleet; and Jim Weakley, president of Lake Carriers Association. Members and guests also learned about various topics from industry experts including autonomous shipping technology, anchor strike mitigation plans in the Straits of Mackinac, icebreaking, new Soo Lock, new Detroit/Windsor bridge and aids to navigation on the Great Lakes. Over 250 ISMA members and guests attended the 3-day event.

Here is a link to the 80-page program book for the convention which includes information about the ISMA, its’ mission, history and advertisements from supporters https://online.flippingbook.com/link/515498/

ISMA Port Huron Lodge No. 2

 

Port Reports -  February 22

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

St. Marys River
The tanker Algocanada continued to unload at the Purvis Dock to on Friday.

Lake Huron – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor cleared Goderich at 9:20 am Friday with salt for Chicago. With wind warnings in the area, Algoma Innovator was stopped in the Straits Friday night, heading back to Goderich. USCG Hollyhock was with her.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H
Iver Bright was unloading at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal on Friday.

 

Ex-finance director faces federal charges of stealing from SS Badger cross-lake ferry

2/22 - Ludington, MI - The former finance director for the SS Badger Lake Michigan ferry has been charged in federal court with defrauding the ferry and financial institutions out of $550,000.

Paul Patrick Piper, 57, was charged in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids on Friday, Feb. 21, with bank fraud and federal income tax offenses, according to a press release from U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan.

Piper served “for many years” as the financial controller for Lake Michigan Carferry, which operates the Badger ferry between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, according to the press release. He faces up to 30 years in prison for bank fraud and up to three years for filing false tax returns.

It’s alleged that Piper wrote checks to himself and two of his companies, Piper Tax & Accounting and Piper Group, according to the press release. In doing so, he either forged company owners’ signatures or used signature stamps without the owners’ authorization, the press release states.

It’s further alleged that he hid the thefts by making false entries on the company’s books, including recording them with insurance expense codes, the press release states. Finally, it’s alleged that he didn’t record the money he stole on income tax returns, according to the press release.

M Live

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  February 21

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

St. Marys River
On Thursday afternoon, USCG Katmai Bay escorted the tanker Algocanada up the river and to Soo harbor, where she tied up at the Purvis Dock to unload.

Lake Huron – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor was at the Sifto salt dock on Thursday night.

Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
Algoma Innovator made her second visit of 2020 when she arrived at 04:59 on Thursday (2/20) with salt from the Compass Minerals mine at Goderich. She proceeded to slip one of the outer harbor and was dropping her cargo at the open dock. This makes 10 boatloads of salt brought into the port so far in 2020. No additional vessel traffic is presently expected.

Detroit River
Algosea was downbound Thursday night in the Detroit River headed for Nanticoke.

Port Colborne, ON
Algoma Mariner is having major work done to its engine room this winter. The stack has been removed, equipment hoisted out and replaced, and Wednesday a new, very angular stack was installed to house new scrubber units.

 

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.

 

Drydock at Port Weller alive once again

2/20 - Port Weller, ON – There’s a sense of urgency at Heddle Shipyards’ graving docks at Port Weller. An urgency that has rarely been matched in the Niagara drydock’s recent history. For the first time in decades, the drydock is undertaking extensive maintenance work on two large bulk carriers at the same time. The work must be completed by the reopening of the Welland Canal, expected in late March.

The short Great Lakes shipping season simply demands its ships be operational for every ice-free moment.

When the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived late last December and the Kaministiqua a few days later, the Heddle Shipyards team sprang into action, dedicating 150 skilled trades and laborers to the mammoth task.

According to Ted Kirkpatrick, business development manager for Heddle, the 2020 crew works two shifts a day, only idle for four hours. “This is the busiest we’ve ever been here,” says Kirkpatrick.

In 2017, Heddle entered into a long-term lease with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, which manages and operates the Canadian assets of the Seaway on behalf of the government of Canada.

Over the past few decades, the Port Weller drydock has been empty more than it has been full — a checkered history of excitement and disappointment driven by the fortunes of the Great Lakes marine industry. But you wouldn’t know that today.

Heddle Shipyards owns and operates drydocks for vessel repairs, maintenance and overhauls in Port Weller, Hamilton (where it is headquartered), Thunder Bay, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

“When we acquired Port Weller in 2017, there was nothing here,” says Kirkpatrick. “It was completely stripped of essential equipment. Everything had been sold at auction. The electricity was off, the pipes burst. Essentially (it was) a shell. We started from the ground up. The drydocks themselves were the only real value.”

Kirkpatrick is a St. Catharines native. After attending Wilfrid Laurier University he took to the ships as his father had before him, earning his navigation officer’s ticket. He liked the adventure of it. Now he helps manage his company’s relationships with the four major Canadian-flagged shipping companies — some 90 vessels — serving the Great Lakes’ ports.

“There are a finite number of Canadian-flagged bulk vessels on the Great Lakes,” Kirkpatrick says. “Everyone knows who we are and we know all the major carriers.” He is evidently proud of the success Heddle has achieved in three short seasons in Niagara. “As we do more jobs, we execute them better. Now we get looked upon as a valued supplier. We look forward to a continuing supply of boats for maintenance over the years.”

That blossoming success is also apparent in the growing workforce that once again makes Port Weller part of their annual work cycle. “We go down to 12 (employees) in summer. It’s always a challenge to get ready for the winter season.”

Recently the company went from 20 employees to 150 in the span of four weeks. “As we’ve started to get back on the map, we’re getting more traction. Now we’re starting to see the same people come back every winter. It’s guaranteed work.”

According to Kirkpatrick, the core group of workers who stay year-round are local. But many people in the winter crews come from all over Canada, including Newfoundland, Alberta and across Ontario.

And Heddle needs more workers. At any given time, employment websites include more than 30 Heddle opportunities for welders, machinists and a long list of specialist skills. To help overcome the skills shortage, Heddle is working with Mohawk College to provide potential tradespeople some hands-on experience.

“We’re donating a scrap tugboat for the program,” says Kirkpatrick. “It will be an eight to 10-week program where students get practical experience replacing a piece of a ship’s hull or removing a valve, machining it and reinstalling it. It’s a unique program,” says Kirkpatrick.

Heddle is planning a similar program with Niagara College beginning as early as this summer. Kirkpatrick believes the time when lakers are built in Canada is over.

“You can now buy new ships built in China or Korea for at least half the price of building in Canada. On the other hand, while maintenance here is also more expensive, it is not economical to go all the way to China just for repairs. That’s our advantage.” But Heddle isn’t stopping there. Because the industry is so cyclical, Kirkpatrick is generating business in other areas, using the company’s skills and attributes. He points to Heddle’s contract with the Ashbridge’s Bay Wastewater Treatment Plant project in Toronto.

“We’re doing the wastewater outfall pipes. We have unique equipment, skills and access for the project. It has nothing to do with marine, but it is an 18-month project.”

Just over 30 years ago on the quayside in Hamilton, with nothing more than a welding machine, Rick Heddle founded what is now Heddle Shipyards. The company has grown to be the largest Canadian vessel lifestyle services and drydock company in Canada.

And with the help of regional and municipal governments, Heddle is vying to become part of the Federal National Shipbuilding Strategy, a $100-billion procurement program to replace the aging Coast Guard and naval fleets.

“It’s the largest public procurement program in government history — a 35-year effort. We’d like to be added to the list, at least as a major component supplier.”

With a little luck and a lot of effort, Heddle Shipyards will once again be a part of the Niagara landscape for decades to come.

Niagara Now

 

In Silver Bay, a new pellet points toward Cliffs' future

2/20 - Silver Bay, MN – As company officials and politicians prepared to cut the ribbon on $100 million in upgrades at the Northshore Mining processing facility in Silver Bay, Mayor Scott Johnson said the reinvestments have brightened the outlooks of many residents of his town.

“In mining towns, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s inevitable shutdowns. In our experience we have had actually plant closing and bankruptcy,” Johnson said, referring to the 1986 closure of Reserve Mining Co., the company that built and operated the Silver Bay plant for three decades. “This is the first time we’re actually optimistic.”

With the upgrades, the Cleveland-Cliffs plant can now produce the kind of pellets the steel mills of the future will rely on.

Northshore is set to process up to 3.5 million tons of direct-reduced iron, or DR-grade, pellets per year, most of which will feed its soon-to-be-completed hot briquetted iron, or HBI, plant in Toledo, Ohio. After that, the HBI produced by Cliffs can be mixed with scrap metal in an electric arc furnace to make steel.

Electric arc furnaces are becoming the new normal, while the blast-furnace steel mills that the Minnesota taconite industry has traditionally supplied are aging.

Just recently Northshore Mining was idled for several months in 2015 and 2016 when iron ore prices fell due to a glut of cheap Chinese steel, but Johnson said he’s hopeful the changes will ensure a more stable future.

Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves certainly thinks so, noting that electric arc furnaces now account for 68% of crude steel production in the U.S. while blast furnaces produce the remaining 32% of crude U.S. steel.

“We could do it for the next 10, 20, 25 years, but our kids, your kids, your grandkids, would not be OK,” Goncalves told the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “With this, they would not be able to be here because this industry would be gone. These DR-grade pellets will ensure that here in Northern Minnesota, we will have this thing going for at least 100 years.”

Read more at this link: https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/business/energy-and-mining/4045444-In-Silver-Bay-a-new-pellet-points-toward-Cliffs-future

 

Port Reports -  February 20

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Huron – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor was off Alpena Wednesday night headed to Goderich. Tanker Algocanada was off Oscoda heading to Soo, On.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off Sturgeon Bay bound for Milwaukee Wednesday night.

 

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.

 

Indiana again led the nation in steel production despite 7.4% drop

2/19 - Indiana again led the nation in steel production last year, where it has remained on top for more than four decades. "Indiana was No. 1 again," said Casey Fenton, the digital and online manager of the American Iron and Steel Institute, a Washington D.C.-based trade association that represents the steel industry.

According to the AISI, the Hoosier state has led the nation in steel production since 1977. Under an onslaught from imports and economic stagnancy, the American steel industry suffered major contraction and job losses across the country during the 1970s, shuttering many steel mills and hollowing out many mills towns across the country.

Much of the integrated steel production ended up consolidating in Northwest Indiana, which enjoys a cost advantage because of its strategic location on the Great Lakes, making it easier to access the raw materials required for steelmaking via lake freighter. U.S. Steel to lay off up to 1,545 workers at Great Lakes Works, move production to Gary Works

Northwest Indiana also happens to be close to many of the end users of steel, including appliance manufacturers across the Midwest and automotive factories in Michigan, downstate Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. In 2019, Indiana made 24.7 million tons of steel, Fenton said.

The Hoosier state single-handedly accounted for about a quarter of the nation's steel. American Iron and Steel Institute estimates U.S. steel mills shipped 96.1 million tons of steel last year, a 0.9% increase as compared to the 95.2 million tons of steel shipped in 2019.

Steel production in Indiana however fell 7.4% year-over-year as compared to the 26.7 million tons the Hoosier state made in 2018, Fenton said.

Indiana is home to Steel Dynamics in Fort Wayne and a Nucor mini mill in Crawfordsville, but most of the production takes place at the hulking integrated steel mills that ring Lake Michigan's South Shore in Northwest Indiana. Lake and Porter counties account for half the nation's blast furnace capacity.

But last year, ArcelorMittal idled Blast Furnace No. 3 at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor West in East Chicago and U.S. Steel idled Blast Furnace No. 8 at Gary Works as well as East Chicago Tin amid depressed steel prices and tough market conditions that included declining auto sales and surging appliance imports.

Northwest Indiana's steel mills also suffered operational woes that included extensive flooding just before Thanksgiving that required a temporary shutdown of all the blast furnaces at Gary Works and an explosion that derailed output at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor Steel Producing No. 4.

NW Indiana Times

 

Major investment coming to Toledo's port system

2/19 - Toledo, OH – Major investment is on its way to Toledo's port system, dollars that could position the community to be a big player not only in the U.S. but all the way to Europe. Jobs, economic development and major advances in energy are some things people don't always think about when they look to the Maumee River and beyond, but it's coming and last Friday was a big step in making it happen.

"The last time our nation's ports saw major investment was during the war years," Mark Buzby, of the US Department of Transportation Maritime Administration, said. That's about to change. The $16 million check from the Maritime Administration will be part of a $75 million investment in things like upgrading the dockwalls and constructing a liquid transloading system.

"It's really important that we upgrade those facilities to not only stay up with but stay ahead of our ability to move cargo that goes in and out of this country," said Buzby.

"This seaway and all the multi-model we've been connecting over the years, land, sea, and rail could be extremely important in helping us connect in a new way to Europe," said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. She hopes that could mean maybe natural gas headed to Europe one day after it leaves southern Ohio, but for now these dollars are part of a larger 10-year plan for Toledo's port to connect our products throughout the Great Lakes.

"We're going to do it diligently. We're going to do it correctly, and we're going to work with our partners to make sure it comes to fruition in the right way," said Thomas Winston, CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

"This isn't done alone. It isn't done in one generation. This is an intergenerational task," said Kaptur.

This all coming with one of the port's other major projects, the Cleveland Cliffs project. It's the giant tower going up in East Toledo, where crews will eventually create iron ore pellets that will become steel. That facility is expected to open later in 2020.

WTVG

 

Dutch tanker proves helpful in shipping local asphalt

2/19 - Sarnia, ON – Many Sarnians don’t realize it, but much of the road asphalt they drive on comes from their own backyard. The Suncor Energy refinery in Sarnia converts crude oil into many products, including about 20% of the gasoline and jet fuel powering Ontario’s economy. But the refining process also results in asphalt, which is sold to paving companies for road building and pothole patching across the Great Lakes region.

Cetting asphalt to market by ship is a challenge, according to a recent edition of Suncor Connections, the company’s newsletter. “In the wintertime when the St. Clair River freezes up and the barge takes longer … it must make its way through ice in order to pick up the asphalt and transport it,” said Suncor feedstock coordinator Stu Powell.

Enter the Iver Bright. The 111-metre Great Lakes tanker has been a familiar sight at the Suncor dock on River Road this past year. “Out of 263 asphalt-carrying boats in the world, only 25% – or 65 vessels – fit our criteria,” Powell said. “Fortunately, we found the Iver Bright, one of the few ice-rated vessels out there.”

While most ships in winter must rely on Canadian Coast Guard cutters for escort, the Bright can safely break through ice on its own, he added. The company recently extended its one-year lease on the Netherlands-registered ship to a second year.

Sarnia Journal

 

Port Reports -  February 19

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared at 2:18 am Tuesday with salt for Milwaukee.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Conveyor was off Milwaukee Tuesday evening, headed back to Goderich.

Detroit-Rouge River – Raymond H
Karen Andrie/Endeavour arrived at the Michigan Paving and Materials dock to unload Tuesday. They departed later that evening, with the Iver Bright taking their place in port.

 

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.

 

Water levels hold steady as spring nears

2/18 - Port Huron, MI – Local water levels are expected to hold steady until they begin to rise this spring, with estimates putting Lakes Michigan-Huron and Lake St. Clair at higher than the record levels of 1986. Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson is urging residents to heed the warnings and protect their property.

"What really worries me, if you look at the Lake Huron-Lake Michigan projection, it shows that lake well above last year," Bryson said. "That water has to come down through our river."

The township is preparing for when waters rise further. A sandbag machine has been purchased and filled sandbags will be for sale, Bryson said. "We're doing everything we possibly can to help people protect their own property," he said.

Water levels are already high around the Great Lakes, and there's not much time for them to recede before the warmer months arrive, bringing with it snow melt.

"Last year we had a big spike in the water levels end of May, beginning of June," Bryson said. "And I'm not anticipating we get as big of a spike because a lot of that was because a lot of that was the snowpack in the UP. And as of now they don't have as much snow as last year."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are predicting that lake and river levels will hold mostly steady over the next month.

Lakes Michigan-Huron sit around 39 inches above their long-term monthly average for February, and 6 inches above its highest average for February, according to a forecast by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lake St. Clair is 43 inches above its monthly average for February, and 3 inches above it's highest ever. Neither lake is expected to go up or down by early March.

Both lakes set their highest monthly average in 1986, which saw flooding across southeast Michigan.

The St. Clair River connecting Lake Huron and and Lake St. Clair is also trending high, sitting between 49 to 56 inches above chart datum, or sea level, depending on the point in the river. The river is expected to stay consistent at least until Feb. 28.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Proposed shipping season delay could affect Port of Oswego

2/18 - Oswego, NY – A proposed delay in the shipping season to help lower Lake Ontario could strain the Port of Oswego and a major employer, Novelis. Whether a solution can be found has been disputed by an environmental group leader and the port director.

John M. Peach, executive director for Save the River, Clayton, has called for postponing the shipping season, believing it could help reduce the near record-high levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. A three-week delay in shipping, he said, could provide more opportunities for binational officials to release more water through the Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam in Massena and Cornwall, Ontario.

A recent discussion, however, revealed to Mr. Peach that postponing the start of shipping could cost money and jobs at Novelis, one of the largest employers in the city, and the Port of Oswego. Truckers haul aluminum from the port, which imports it from Canada, to the Novelis plant, where workers process it into aluminum sheets for cans, building materials and cars.

In order to rectify the situation and garner support for his cause from elected officials, Mr. Peach recommended transporting aluminum ingots to the port by rail car instead of ship during the delay. He wrote about his proposal in a Jan. 30 letter to one of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s representatives, Colleen Deacon, urging her or the governor to facilitate the transition in the supply change “and thereby remove this obstacle to delaying the spring opening of the (St. Lawrence) Seaway.”

“Here’s a win-win situation for the governor, for Oswego and for all the riparians,” Mr. Peach said to the Times.

Switching from freighter to rail, however, would cost the port much more and cause a backup in the supply chain and threaten the supply of aluminum for Novelis, said port Director William Scriber.

Hauling an amount of aluminum carried in a typical freighter would require about 200 rail cars, and is more expensive, Mr. Scriber said. The port has 96,000 metric tons of aluminum, and Novelis, which did not return request for comment, relies on the aluminum supply at the port for its products. Transporting enough aluminum to meet the needs of Novelis and the port’s other clients by rail car would cause a bottleneck of cars.

The port would need to order more rail cars to supply its aluminum to clients, but Mr. Scriber said ordering cars requires him to plan anywhere from a week to a year out.

“You cannot use rail in any way to supplement water traffic through the St. Lawrence River,” he said. “Water is less expensive and more economically viable.”

The Port of Oswego imports and exports more than a million metric tons of aluminum, grain, potash, a kind of salt; cement and heavy lifting and project cargo. As the largest port in the state, save for the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Central New York port generated about $35 million in economic benefit and supported more than 300 jobs in 2018, the most recent numbers available, Mr. Scriber said.

“If you take my supply away from me for two or three weeks, it affects my bottom line, my revenue, and it affects my employees,” he said. “Anything that happens on my docket ripples through Oswego city, the county and Central New York.”

Mr. Peach said he believes a delay of three weeks, or between the typical start of the shipping season and Ottawa River freshet, or when ice and snowpack melts and flows into the river in the spring, should not have a significant effect on the overall shipping industry. Shipping stakeholders have previously claimed certain alterations in scheduling would result in a loss of millions, a claim Mr. Peach has rejected. “I’m not sure I buy that for a few weeks of relief,” he said. “In the long term, I would absolutely buy it.”

Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River remain near record-high levels for this time of year. While record amounts of water have flowed through the lake, record amounts have also flowed into it from Lake Erie.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, which manages outflows from the dam in Massena and Cornwall, on Thursday announced that Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands and the lower St. Lawrence River in Quebec are at risk of high water levels this spring. Lake Ontario, which was at 246.25 feet as of Thursday, has reached “slightly below record seasonal highs,” according to the board, but the rest of the Great Lakes have already reached record highs for this time of year. The binational organization urged communities along the lake to plan for a foreseeable peak of 247.7 feet or higher this year.

NNY 360

 

Port Reports -  February 18

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator arrived 11:38 pm Sunday, loading salt at Compass Minerals.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Conveyor was unloading salt at a Calumet River dock on Monday evening.

 

Work begins on Line 5 crossing at St. Clair River

2/18 - Port Huron, MI - Enbridge is replacing a section of Line 5 that runs under the St. Clair River through Marysville. Pre-construction is beginning, mainly on the Canadian side of the river. Crews will use a horizontal drill to bore space for a 2,814 foot section of new pipeline under the riverbed.

The actual drilling is expected to begin sometime in March, said Ryan Duffy, Enbridge spokesperson, and the new section is expected to enter service in June. "There's no safety concerns with the existing line," Duffy said. "It's a proactive measure that was decided on in coordination with the state of Michigan. "We're keeping landowners updated and the city of Marysville."

The replacement plan calls for the installation of a pipe with greater wall thickness and higher tensile strength, according to an Enbridge statement on the project. The setup will have new remote control valves with pressure motoring on both sides of the river, the statement said.

Marysville City Manager Randy Fernandez said the city has been working with Enbridge to minimize any inconvenience to residents, such as arranging for noise barriers. He said he's been in communication with Enbridge in the ramp up to the project.

Line 5 begins in Superior, Wisconsin, and runs into Lambton County, Ontario. It transports up to 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids per day.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Photos: Looking back at the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald

2/18 - Perhaps no other Great Lakes shipwreck has as much notoriety as the ill-fated SS Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot iron ore carrier that sunk to the bottom of Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975, during a fierce November gale. All 29 crew members died.

The ship set off from Superior, Wisconsin, on Nov. 9, carrying iron ore pellets from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to be processed in Detroit. Early in the morning of Nov. 10, the ship encountered winds as strong as 80 mph and waves more than 30 feet high. The 729-foot ship took on water and eventually snapped in two, plunging more than 500 feet to the lake bottom, where it remains.

The shipwreck, located about 17 miles northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan, captured the public's attention for years -- even spurring a popular folk song by Gordon Lightfoot, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." In 1995, divers retrieved the ship's 200-pound bronze bell, which is kept as a memorial at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Michigan. Bodies of the crew have never been recovered.

View the photos at this link: https://madison.com/wsj/weather/photos-looking-back-at-the-wreck-of-the-ss-edmund

 

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.

 

600,000 pounds of debris found at bottom of empty Soo Locks

2/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Winter maintenance season at Michigan’s Soo Locks has meant some heavy lifting for the clean-up crew. When the Poe Lock - the system’s largest lock - shut down in late January, the huge area was emptied of all its water so inspections could be done and repairs could be made. But dewatering the lock also revealed what a season of heavy shipping traffic had left behind: 600,000 pounds of debris that has to be cleared away.

So what is all this debris? There’s sand, sediment, dead fish – and a lot of rock. Much of it is the large, flat red Jacobsville sandstone that is native to the northern Upper Peninsula and is under much of Lake Superior. The bottom of the lock also revealed a collection of bolts, pieces of rebar, and tools that had been accidentally dropped into the water by topside work crews during the shipping season.

“Some of it is carried in through the natural currents that occur when we fill and empty the lock,” Jeff Harrington, the Soo area office chief of operations, said of the debris. “The bulk of it is blown in or pulled in with propeller wash from the vessels.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District posted photos of the clean-up recently on its Facebook page, showing crews busy clearing huge pieces of rock and other debris from the lower fore bay of the Poe Lock. “So far about 600,000 pounds of debris has been lifted out, some of it cleared a shovelful at a time,” officials said.

Read more and view images at this link: https://www.mlive.com/news/2020/02/600000-pounds-of-debris-found-at-bottom-of-empty-soo-locks.html

 

Port Reports -  February 17

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Huron
Algoma Innovator was expected to arrive at Goderich sometime on Monday.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Conveyor was off Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula on Sunday night, headed to Chicago with salt.

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  February 17

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.

 

Port Reports -  February 16

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off the Door Peninsula headed back to Goderich on Saturday night. At Sturgeon Bay, American Integrity was towed into the graving dock on Friday.

Straits
Algoma Conveyor was anchored between Mackinac Island and Bois Blanc Island Saturday, likely for weather. She is headed to Chicago with salt.

Detroit-River Rouge – Raymond H
Leo A. MacArthur/John J Carrick were loading at the Marathon Asphalt Terminal on Saturday

 

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.

 

High water threatens Frankfort's Point Betsie Lighthouse

2/15 - Frankfort, MI – On an overcast February morning, a cold wind swept inland from Lake Michigan, dusting Point Betsie Lighthouse with snow. Jed Jaworski walked along the shoreline next to it and noticed a wood board with nails sticking out of it.

“In the fall storms we had, this pathway was completely choked with debris,” he says. Jaworski visits the lighthouse about twice a week, no matter the season. Usually it’s pristine. But he says the lake’s high water continues to cause damage, and he worries about the barriers that protect the lighthouse.

“So that crack is what I’ve been monitoring and literally in every storm event now it’s got wider and wider and wider,” he says.

Jaworski says cracks in the concrete allow water to get in, and the water carries sediment out, causing the rock bed to sink. When that happens, the whole system is destabilized. A thick crack is worrisome to Jaworski, because it means water is washing away rocks and sediment that hold the barrier wall upright.

The Point Betsie Lighthouse opened in 1858. It was one the last staffed lighthouses on the Great Lakes and now it’s maintained as a tourist attraction by a community non-profit.

President of the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse, Dick Taylor, says the group is currently looking to do an engineering study of the cracked barrier at the lighthouse. It was installed in 1944. “As a whole, (the shoreline protection system) is just eroded and worn and taken 80 years worth of winters and needs some attention,” he says.

Once that’s done, the group will seek out bids and begin applying for permits. They’re hoping to start construction in the summer. In the meantime, winter storms will continue damage and water levels are expected to rise even higher in the spring, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Taylor says that pressure could mean more expensive repairs, upwards of a million dollars. “As it gets worse, the potential for wave erosion to make the sand behind the seawall dig out and undermine the integrity of that whole structure, that’s a concern,” he says.

Taylor also worries that when they are ready to do the work, contractors won’t be available.

“As folks perhaps return North from not living here full-time and come up and find with urgency they need to get some work done, that the competition for both materials and labor to get work done this summer might become frantic,” he says.

Taylor says the one bright spot is that state agencies are responding to permits quickly. Benzie County owns the lighthouse, and gets the final say. County Commissioner Art Jeannot says the county will likely sign off on the project. “As long as they’re able to fix the problem through those funding vehicles we are absolutely dedicated to having it done,” Jeannot says.

Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse launched a fundraising campaign in the summer, and they’ve almost reached their goal of a million plus in donations. Taylor says if things go as expected they’ll have enough to cover the repairs this year, but they may not have enough for their other projects — including adding parking and hiring an executive director. Still, he says they won’t take any chances waiting on repairs.

Interlochen Public Radio

 

Port Reports -  February 15

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Straits – Mackinac Ferry Logs
Star Line’s Huron has suspended winter service to Mackinac Island from St. Ignace for now due to ice conditions.

Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
After visiting the city nine times last year, Algoma Innovator made her first appearance of 2020 when she arrived at 06:59 on Friday (2/14). Loaded to a draft of 8.4 meters, she carried approximately 25,500 metric tons of salt from the Compass Minerals mine at Goderich. She backed into the inner harbor under the watchful eye of the G-Tug Louisiana. Karen Andrie/Endeavour should make port Friday afternoon to deliver liquid asphalt from BP’s Whiting Refinery at Construction Resources Management’s Milwaukee Terminal.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor departed Friday afternoon with salt for Chicago.

 

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.

 

Lake Erie just broke February high water record – and the lake level keeps rising

2/14 - Cleveland, OH – Lake Erie rose 5 inches in January. By the end of the month, lake levels were 7 inches above last January’s. And by Monday, the lake broke the February high water record, set in 1987.

The latest water forecast from the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers predicts Lake Erie will break monthly records for the next four months before leveling off in June and July. Levels should be 2-11 inches higher than they were last year.

Last year, boaters and beach goers throughout the Great Lakes were plagued by high water. Beaches and docks disappeared, roads and bike paths washed out, and at least one cottage collapsed into the water.

Erosion is made worse by the lack of ice this winter. As of Monday, only .4 percent of Lake Erie had ice, compared to the average of 67 percent on Feb. 10. No ice means more waves pounding the shore all winter long, eroding away cliffs, washing out beaches and damaging shoreline infrastructure. Lake Erie on Monday was 573.8 feet above sea level -- 35 inches above normal. The all-time record, set last June, is 574.3.

One reason for the increase in lake levels is rain: The Lake Erie basin had 2.78 inches of precipitation last month, about 112 percent of normal.

Because temperatures are above normal, more precipitation fell as rain instead of snow, according to the U.S. Army Corps. “This phenomenon, in addition to increased snowmelt, contributed to considerably above normal runoff to all of the Great Lakes.”

All of the Great Lakes are high. About 92 percent of the water in Lake Erie comes from the upper lakes, through Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, into Lake Erie. And the upper lakes -- Superior, Huron and Michigan -- all hit record monthly highs in January.

Lake Erie then flows into the Niagara River, into Lake Ontario. The International Joint Commission can control outflow in the Great Lakes only from Superior and Ontario. But the impact is very small.

Cleveland.com

 

$31M agricultural product export facility coming to Port Milwaukee

2/14 - Milwaukee, WI – A $31 million agricultural product export facility is coming to Jones Island. The facility, to be located on 3.8 acres on the west side of the island, is being funded partly by a $15.9 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's maritime administration.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin in August 2021 with completion around June 2023.

Port Milwaukee, in coordination with Clinton-based DeLong Co., an exporter of containerized agricultural products, will redevelop an underutilized area on the island to create what officials say will be the first and only intermodal bulk export agricultural transload facility in the Great Lakes region.

Additional funding will come from the port ($4.3 million), DeLong ($6.2 million) and a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation ($4.9 million).

Once the facility is operational, DeLong estimates initially exporting at least $40 million worth of agricultural goods, annually, overseas via Port Milwaukee.

“This investment adds a new dimension to Port Milwaukee’s role as a connector of Wisconsin's businesses and farmers to world markets,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a statement released by the city. “Waterborne commerce is what established Milwaukee and fueled its growth. The Port's new agricultural export facility will serve regional customers for decades to come, and we are very appreciative of the federal government’s partnership.”

Tonnage through Port Milwaukee was up 24% in 2019 to 2.66 million tons. In 2018, 2.39 million tons of cargo passed through the port, down from 2.57 million tons in 2017. In 2018, tonnage through the port generated more than $100 million in revenue for businesses that are directly dependent upon the cargo handled there.

The last time the port surpassed 3 million tons was 2014, when it recorded 3.02 million tons. Tonnage dipped in 2015 to 2.7 million tons and again in 2016 to 2.4 million tons.

Milwaukee Business Journal

 

Port Reports -  February 14

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Sturgeon Bay, WI
Thursday afternoon, the James R. Barker was removed from the graving dock and was rafted outboard of the Mesabi Miner. Also, the USCG Neah Bay was in town for a couple of days and left earlier Thursday morning. Neah Bay was rafted next to the the Mobile Bay's barge.

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator is due at Milwaukee at 6 a.m. Friday. Temperature will be -4 degrees.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor arrived 7:26 am Thursday, loading salt at Compass Minerals.

 

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.

 

Union: 'Business as usual' after American Steamship Co. sale

2/13 - American Steamship Co. has assured American Maritime Officers that ASC's pending acquisition by Rand Logistics Inc. will have no adverse effect on our union's jobs in this Great Lakes fleet or on AMO Plans, the benefit funds that serve all deep-sea, Great Lakes and inland waters AMO members and their families.

"It will be business as usual for ASC and for AMO," a senior ASC executive said in an afternoon phone call February 10.

Rand Logistics Inc. credits the "professionalism and dedication" of the ASC fleet's officers and crews as significant influences on the fleet's profit-making operation and its sustained customer confidence, this executive said. He added that ASC is gearing up for early fitout, with 11 of the company's vessels operating to meet strong demand for industrial raw materials.

The sale of American Steamship Co. to Rand Logistics Inc. is subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission and possibly by other regulatory agencies and federal court.

American Maritime Officers represents the engine and deck officers in the American Steamship Co. fleet. The Seafarers International Union represents the unlicensed ASC personnel.

Paul Doell, AMO Currents

 

Port of Toledo receives $16 million from two U.S. DOT grants

2/13 - Toledo, OH – The Port of Toledo and the Port of Cleveland will receive $27 million in two U.S. Department of Transports grants, U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur announced Tuesday.

The grants will help the two ports carry out infrastructure projects at each location. According to a press release, Kaptur will join the Port Authorities and U.S. DOT officials to outline the awards in Ohio on Friday.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will receive $16 million. It will utilize the funding at the Facility No.1 cargo terminal to repair the failing dock face wall; implement a liquid bulk transloading operation, and to modernize the on-dock rail to vessel transfer points of access.

The $16,000,000 awarded to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will be matched with an additional $4,000,000 in local funds to move the project forward.

Each year, the Port of Toledo handles 9-12 million tons of cargo shipped to and from other U.S. Great Lakes ports, Canadian Great Lakes ports, and directly overseas shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway System.

The Port of Toledo alone generates $1.12 billion annually in business activities and supports more than 7,000 jobs in the region.

WTVG

 

Grand Haven’s coal-burning Sims power plant shutting for good

2/13 - Grand Haven, MI - The boilers at Grand Haven’s Sims power plant will be turned off a final time this week, marking the final end of the 37-year-old coal-burning facility.

The decision to shut down the plant was made nearly two years ago, but the city had been planning for its demise since before then, said David Walters, general manager of the Grand Haven Board of Light & Power. The plant received its coal by Great Lakes freighter.

The city will now get its electricity from other power providers – just as it already has been doing during spring and fall months for about the last five years, Walters said. Rates are expected to remain the same for customers, he said.

“Our customers, when we shut down Sims, they won’t even see any difference at all,” Walters said. The J.B. Sims No. 3 power unit was opened in 1983, and a couple years later, its No. 1 and No. 2 units were shut down.

All three will be demolished starting this June, a process expected to last through summer 2021, Walters said. Bierlein Construction of Midland, which is finishing up the removal of the B.C. Cobb Plant in Muskegon, was awarded a $5 million Sims demolition contract, he said.

The board had recorded the official closure date of the Sims plant as June 1, knowing that the date would be closer to mid-February considering the amount of coal it had left to burn, Walters said. That inventory had dwindled to the point where on Tuesday, Feb. 11, Walters said the plant was “coming to a conclusion in the next day or so.” Grand Haven J.B. Sims Generating Station to be torn down in summer of 2020.

While the coal plant can meet current environmental standards, it doesn’t fit with the push to reduce greenhouse gases to combat climate change, Walters said. It also needs about $35 million in improvements to remain operational, and it still would be an expensive plant to operate, he said. “There was no justification at all to invest that kind of money,” he said. “The economics are not there.”

The relative expense of operating the plant was the reason that it operated only during summers and winters for the last several years, he said. It also had to be shut down at other times because of its unreliability, he said.

When the No. 3 unit was built, it was connected to an outside grid to allow for the purchase of supplemental power on the open marketplace. The city has purchased and will continue to purchase electricity through the Michigan Public Power Agency, comprised of 22 municipalities that have had their own power plants, Walters said.

The site on Harbor Island where the Sims plant is located will continue to house the substation serving Grand Haven’s downtown. An office-type structure will be built to house a control room for the utility grid since the current one is in the plant that will be torn down, Walters said.

The city will install new gas hot water heaters in an existing building on site that will heat the snowmelt system on the downtown sidewalks, he said. A boiler inside the No. 3 plant currently provides most of the heat for the sidewalks.

Under consideration is the addition of natural gas boilers to provide backup power for the downtown, Walters said. They would generate less than 25 megawatts of electricity – a fraction of the 76 megawatts the Sims power system generates, he said. The No. 3 unit produces 70 megawatts and an older diesel engine located in a plant on Harbor Drive produce 6 megawatts, primarily for backup or for sale on the open market, he said.

The rarely-used diesel engine will go offline by June 1, he said.

 

Port Reports -  February 13

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off Port Inland in the northern part of the lake Wednesday night, headed to Chicago according to AIS.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor was off Alpena Wednesday night headed to Goderich.

 

Annual lighthouse festival to celebrate Northern Michigan landmark

2/13 - Traverse City, MI - The annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival will have an extra reason to celebrate this year, as it coincides with a big anniversary for an iconic Northern Michigan light.

The 2020 festival will not only commemorate the rich history of this region’s lighthouses, but also mark the 150th anniversary of Mission Point Lighthouse, located at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. This year’s festival will be held August 7 and 8.

The schedule includes free and priced events, including a ticketed kick-off program, with a dinner, cash bar, and entertainment. There will also be a free "Lighthouse MarketPlace” featuring authors, artists, photographers, and crafters, and the lighthouse will be open for self-guided tours.

Mission Point Lighthouse began operating in September 1870 and was decommissioned in 1933. The lighthouse is now largely run by volunteers, and is home to a museum and gift shop, as well as a historic log cabin and miles of trails in the surrounding Lighthouse Park. The lighthouse is open May through October, and on weekends in November.

M Live

 

History Happy Hour kicks off at National Museum

2/13 - Toledo, OH – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is exploring new avenues to mix maritime history with everyday fun by introducing “History Happy Hour,” with the first event in the series focused on women of the Great Lakes.

“We wanted to bring the beauty and mission of our museum to more people in a casual yet unique way,” said the museum’s Executive Director Chris Gillcrist. “This activity gives guests an opportunity to grab a drink and explore our museum after hours, while also providing an exclusive experience to interact with history.”

The first History Happy Hour takes place during Women’s History Month on Thursday, March 12 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and is titled “The Women Who Made the Great Lakes.” From Native American poet Jane Schoolcraft, to early 19th century Great Lakes captain and Toledoan Grace Waite, to the only female Great Lakes Gold Life Saving Medal Awardee Jean Colby—thematic and engaging learning opportunities will be situated throughout the museum while visitors roam and hear stories of daring rescues, dangerous shipwrecks, and most of all, trailblazing women.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.nmgl.org and include drinks, snacks and open access to the museum after-hours with interactive story-telling. The series is planned to continue throughout the year with History Happy Hours scheduled in June—featuring sailor stories aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and Museum Tug Ohio, and again in November—highlighting Great Lakes Rogues, Rebels and Radicals.

For more information or to register go to www.nmgl.org or call 419-214-5000 extension 200.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

 

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

 

Solid Duluth shipping season on the books, optimistic outlook for 2020

2/12 - Duluth, MN – The 2019-2020 shipping season was a solid one. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority released numbers on Monday. The agency said 33.5 million tons moved through the ports.

"It was record breaking in some ways, with wind energy cargo setting a record. That was definitely a highlight," shared Jayson Hron, the director of marketing and communications for the port authority.

Grain also had a good year. There was even a shipment that left in January, which is unprecedented for the port.

A total of 85 ocean-going vessels visited during the season, the most since 2010. Another highlight was when Duluth Cargo Connect was honored with the 2019 Port/Terminal Operator of the year, at a ceremony in Antwerp.

As for the biggest cargo, which is iron ore, the number is down slightly. But that's likely due to the very high number in 2018. Coal also dropped.

The Soo Locks open up on March 25th. "Looking ahead to 2020, there's definitely a reason to be optimistic. There's less trade uncertainty. We already have wind cargo deliveries on the schedule," Hron added.

WDIO

 

Duluth Seaway Port Authority awarded $10.5 million MARAD grant

2/12 - Duluth, MN – Minnesota Congressman Pete Stauber announced today that the United States Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration allocated a $10.5 million grant to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

This Port Infrastructure Development Program grant will help fund construction of a 56,000-square-foot, rail-served warehouse at the Clure Public Marine Terminal, along with rehabilitation of 1,775 lineal feet of deteriorating dock walls at Berth 10 and 11 of the Clure Terminal Expansion.

The new warehouse will build upon an existing 430,000 square feet of warehouse space at the Clure Terminal in high demand by regional businesses.

The dock wall rehabilitation will fortify 7 acres of laydown space for inbound and outbound heavy-lift cargo and also protect the recently renovated dock deck.

These improvements will provide even greater supply chain cost savings to regional industries, helping keep them competitive in the global marketplace. Additionally, this infrastructure upgrade will allow increased cargo storage and movement flexibility which, within the context of shipping logistics and supply chain management, allows cargo owners to take greater advantage of market opportunities.

“We are incredibly excited by the award of the PIDP grant and we thank Congressman Stauber and Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith for their support in this endeavor,” said Deb DeLuca, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “This grant supports projects that improve and broaden the infrastructure of the Clure Public Marine Terminal and the value it provides. These projects will also allow us to expand our service capabilities at our multimodal logistics hub, which in turn helps us support industries throughout the Upper Midwest.”

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

Port Reports -  February 12

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Michigan
Algoma Conveyor was off Manitowoc Tuesday night, likely headed back to Goderich.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator arrived 4.47pm Monday and began loading salt at Compass Minerals. She was outbound in the early evening, however her AIS hadn’t been updated.

 

Annual lighthouse festival to celebrate Northern Michigan landmark

2/12 - Traverse City, MI - The annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival will have an extra reason to celebrate this year, as it coincides with a big anniversary for an iconic Northern Michigan light.

The 2020 festival will not only commemorate the rich history of this region’s lighthouses, but also mark the 150th anniversary of Mission Point Lighthouse, located at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City. This year’s festival will be held August 7 and 8.

The schedule includes free and priced events, including a ticketed kick-off program, with a dinner, cash bar, and entertainment. There will also be a free "Lighthouse MarketPlace” featuring authors, artists, photographers, and crafters, and the lighthouse will be open for self-guided tours.

Mission Point Lighthouse began operating in September 1870 and was decommissioned in 1933. The lighthouse is now largely run by volunteers, and is home to a museum and gift shop, as well as a historic log cabin and miles of trails in the surrounding Lighthouse Park. The lighthouse is open May through October, and on weekends in November.

M Live

 

History Happy Hour kicks off at National Museum

2/12 - Toledo, OH – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is exploring new avenues to mix maritime history with everyday fun by introducing “History Happy Hour,” with the first event in the series focused on women of the Great Lakes.

“We wanted to bring the beauty and mission of our museum to more people in a casual yet unique way,” said the museum’s Executive Director Chris Gillcrist. “This activity gives guests an opportunity to grab a drink and explore our museum after hours, while also providing an exclusive experience to interact with history.”

The first History Happy Hour takes place during Women’s History Month on Thursday, March 12 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. and is titled “The Women Who Made the Great Lakes.” From Native American poet Jane Schoolcraft, to early 19th century Great Lakes captain and Toledoan Grace Waite, to the only female Great Lakes Gold Life Saving Medal Awardee Jean Colby—thematic and engaging learning opportunities will be situated throughout the museum while visitors roam and hear stories of daring rescues, dangerous shipwrecks, and most of all, trailblazing women.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.nmgl.org and include drinks, snacks and open access to the museum after-hours with interactive story-telling. The series is planned to continue throughout the year with History Happy Hours scheduled in June—featuring sailor stories aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship and Museum Tug Ohio, and again in November—highlighting Great Lakes Rogues, Rebels and Radicals.

For more information or to register go to www.nmgl.org or call 419-214-5000 extension 200.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

 

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.

 

American Steamship Co. sold for $260 million; business as usual for now

2/11 - The owner of American Steamship Co., a major player in the Great Lakes shipping industry since its founding in 1907, has agreed to sell the company to New York-based Rand Logistics in a stock purchase agreement valued at $260 million.

The deal is still subject to working capital and other closing adjustments, as well as customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Meanwhile, crews will report to vessels in March for spring fit-out as planned. There has been no mention of vessels being transferred to Rand’s Canadian subsidiary, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. of Port Dover, ON, although some vessels may eventually be transferred to Canadian registry.

Rand has been owned by the investment firm American Industrial Partners since March 2018. According to its web site, AIP is a New York- based private equity firm with over $4.0 billion of assets under management that has focused on buying, improving and growing industrial businesses in the U.S. and Canada for over 20 years.

American Steamship Co. operates the largest fleet of U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes, providing waterborne transportation of dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, coal, and limestone. Since 1973, it has been under the ownership of Chicago-based railcar lessor GATX Corporation.

“ASC has been a strong contributor for GATX since 1973,” said Brian A. Kenney, president and chief executive officer of GATX. “This sale allows GATX to focus on our core franchises in global railcar and aircraft spare engine leasing.” GATX said it expects the net sales proceeds to reduce its new debt issuance in 2020.

ASC was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1907. Its fleet currently consists of 11 self-unloading vessels ranging from 635-feet to 1,000-feet in length. It is unclear whether another vessel, the St. Clair, heavily damaged in a February 2019 fire, is included in the deal. ASC reported segment profit of $46.1 million for 2019 (including a one-time gain of $10.5 million), and its assets comprised 3.5% of GATX’s total assets on Dec. 31, 2019.

Rand Logistics operates a fleet of eleven U.S. and Canadian-flagged self-unloading bulk carriers, including three tug/barge units and three conventional bulk carriers.

 

More ships, less cargo at Toledo’s port in 2019

2/11 - Toledo, OH – A poor grain harvest and a drop-off in dry-bulk cargoes at the Port of Toledo were mostly offset by surging iron-ore business and an upswing in liquid-bulk shipments during 2019, data from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority show.

The net result was a slight, 2.59 percent decline in overall cargo tonnage, even though the number of ships calling at the Maumee River and Lake Erie docks increased.

The 41.81 percent decline in grain cargoes was “true for all the Great Lakes ports this year” because of a wet spring that left some fields unplanted and others planted late, said Joe Cappel, the port authority’s vice president for business development.

Higher-than-average wheat cargo and new business in outbound distillers’ dried grains from ethanol production helped a bit, Mr. Cappel said, but corn and soybeans were down sharply. “With a normal harvest, we would have surpassed 2018” in grain, he said.

A spokesman for The Andersons, the area’s largest grain trader, declined to comment before the company’s upcoming fourth quarter and year-end earnings call. That call is set for Feb. 12.

On the plus side, iron ore was up by nearly 600,000 tons, an 18.85 percent increase driven by the first ore deliveries to the Cleveland-Cliffs iron-reduction plant under construction along Front Street, Mr. Cappel said.

“They’re ready to rock once that plant is operational,” he said, calling the half-million tons unloaded at Ironville Dock and transferred by new conveyors over to a plant stockpile along Front “a good test of the equipment.”

Production of direct-reduced iron briquettes for use in electric-arc steel mills is expected to start at the plant this year.

The smallest cargo sector by tonnage was also one of the brightest. General and miscellaneous cargo, which includes metals and “project cargoes” like wind-turbine components and heavy machinery, rose by 54.98 percent: from 179,204 tons to 277,574 tons.

Mr. Cappel said that was largely a result of the cancellation of Trump Administration tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, which had taken a bite out of the local port’s metals business in 2018 after a record year in 2017.

“Aluminum came back with a vengeance after the tariffs were lifted,” he said: It accounted for 208,000 tons, up from 130,000 in 2018. Toledo’s status as an official London Metals Exchange delivery point for aluminum has helped keep its aluminum trade robust.

Machinery for the Cliffs plant and wind-turbine parts transferred from ships to trains in Toledo for delivery to Van Wert County also helped the general-cargo sector, which is considered among the port’s most valuable because those shipments provide more work for longshoremen than does the heavily mechanized handling of coal or ore. The port-owned general cargo docks also often handle dry-bulk cargoes like sugar, bauxite, and the oil-refining byproduct petroleum coke. But while “we handled a lot of salt this year,” Mr. Cappel said, the dry-bulk sector was down by nearly 11 percent because of a decline at the Midwest Terminals dock that primarily han-dles railroad ballast rock for CSX Transportation.

Coal also was down by just over 10 percent to 2,448,749 tons, marking its third-weakest year in Toledo since the start of port record-keeping in 1947. Only 2015, with 1,920,339 tons, and 2012, with 2,387,977, were lower at CSX Transportation’s Presque Isle dock.

Coal volume has sunk for several decades as the electric-power industry on both sides of the Great Lakes shifted away from it as a fuel and blast-furnace steel production lost market share to foreign competitors and electric-arc mills.

Liquid bulk shipments, conversely, showed the largest percentage increase, more than tripling to 414,568 tons. The majority of Toledo’s liquid-bulk cargo, Mr. Cappel said, is petroleum handled at the BP-Husky marine terminal.

“While I do not have direct knowledge of the reason for increased shipments through that dock in 2019, we do know that BP Husky has made improvements to their marine facility in recent years and values the ability to utilize marine transportation for certain products whenever practical,” the port official said.

BP officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Except to predict that grain will get off to a slow start when lakes shipping resumes in the spring because of low inventories, Mr. Cappel balked at forecasting the upcoming season. A wild card, he said, will be the impact of Cleveland-Cliffs’ recent purchase of AK Steel, whose mills in Middletown, Ohio, and Ashland, Ky. – the latter mostly idled several years ago — had long been the main consumers of iron ore unloaded in Toledo before last year.

Toledo Blade

 

Port Reports -  February 11

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Detroit-River Rouge – Raymond H
Iver Bright was unloading at the Waterfront Petroleum Terminal on Monday

 

Obituaries: Douglas R. Abbott

2/11 - Douglas Robert Abbott, 81, of Burtchville Township, MI, died Saturday, February 8, 2020. He was born August 30, 1938 in Detroit to the late Robert and Amelia Abbott. He married Robin A. Morkal on August 12, 1961 in Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Detroit.

Doug graduated from Edwin Denby High School in Detroit in 1956. He attended Capital University and received an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1961. He worked for Detroit public schools, and then F.J. O’Toole Company for over 30 years, rising to vice president.

In retirement, Doug focused on his interest in ships and boats. He was a member of the International Ship Masters' Association Port Huron Lodge 2, was secretary and treasurer of the Great Lakes Nautical Society, a volunteer at the Great Lakes Maritime Center and an accomplished boat modeler. He also gave of his time as a longtime volunteer at Mid-City Nutrition and was a member at Deacon at Our Saviour Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Robin; three children, Timothy Abbott, Katherine Abbott, and Andrew (Kristin) Abbott; four grandchildren, Tyler, Danielle, Drew, and William Abbott; a brother, Gary (Christine) Abbott; a brother-in-law, Ross (Sharon) Morkal; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Visitation will be from 2-4 and 6-8 pm Tuesday in Pollock-Randall Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 in Our Saviour Lutheran Church with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. The Reverend Donald Doerzbacher will officiate. Burial will be in Cadillac Memorial East, Clinton Township. Memorial contributions may be made to the Our Saviour Lutheran Church Radio Ministry or the American Cancer Society.

To send condolences, visit pollockrandall.com

 

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.

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.

 

Rand Logistics, Inc. To Acquire American Steamship Company From GATX Corporation

2/10 - Jersey City, N.J. - Rand Logistics, Inc. (“Rand”) has entered into a stock purchase agreement to acquire American Steamship Company (“ASC”) from GATX Corporation. Rand is an affiliate of American Industrial Partners (“AIP”) and provides dry bulk shipping services throughout the Great Lakes region.

ASC operates the largest fleet of U.S. flagged vessels on the Great Lakes, providing waterborne transportation of over 27 million tons annually of dry bulk commodities such as iron ore, coal and limestone on vessels ranging in size from 634 feet to over 1000 feet. The strategic combination of Rand and ASC will create the largest and most diverse fleet on the Great Lakes, serving different and highly complementary markets with multiple self-unloading vessel classes.

“We are excited about this transformative combination of two leading vessel operators on the Great Lakes. This strategic union will create significant additional shipping capacity through network efficiencies and repositioning of the respective fleets. All of which will allow the resulting company to further improve its customer service and offer additional flexibility and shipping capacity to its customer base,” said Peter Coxon, Chief Executive Officer of Rand.

“ASC is an iconic American company with a rich 113-year history and an important role in moving the materials that built, sustain and drive the vast industrial capacity of the Great Lakes region. We are thrilled to partner with management and further increase our investment in the Great Lakes shipping and logistics ecosystem,” said Jason Perri, Partner of AIP and Chairman of Rand’s Board of Directors. “ASC’s asset quality and track record of reliability, safety and service in moving raw materials for its customers is world class and we look forward to integrating these two great companies into a new and larger platform for growth under our ownership.”

 

Mining through the winter: ArcelorMittal's perspective

2/10 - Winter can be challenging for many industries, including mining. But the taconite plants run 24/7, and so do the steel mills, so they need to do some prepping and planning to make sure things go smoothly.

Gary Norgren, general manager of mining for ArcelorMittal USA, shared that he checks the ice cover on the Great Lakes every day. "So far it's adding up to be a fairly mild winter," he said. "I've been pleasantly surprised to see lower levels of ice cover."

This is important because ArcelorMittal needs to get more of their pellets down to the steel mills once the Soo Locks open back up again. They've been planning for the winter months since last spring.

"Our target, typically, is to have 105 days’ worth of pellets, to get us through the 70 days that the Soo locks are closed," Norgren said. "The teamwork between the plants, the railroads, the docks and the vessels is phenomenal."

Sometimes, when the ice cover is really thick, it can take even longer to get the vessels moving at pace again. "Really we have to plan a supply to get us through mid-April," he explained.

ArcelorMittal owns and manages Minorca Mine in Virginia, and partially owns and manages Hibbing Taconite. At the plants, they need to winterize for months. "It's about keeping heat in the facility. Every fall we bring in truck loads of torpedo heaters, which are targeted devices we can aim heat where we need it," Norgren explained.

During snowstorms, they will keep crews on in case the next ones can't get in right away. And they'll manage their operations to avoid any outages during really cold snaps.

But they have been mining in northern Minnesota for over a century. So people have a pretty good idea of what to do.

For now, they are looking ahead to spring. "The Burns Harbor was the final boat in. And she'll be in the first one out, loaded and waiting on March 25th, to bring us our first load of pellets for the 2020 season," Norgren added.

WDIO https://www.wdio.com/mining-news/mining-in-winter-arcelormittal-range-weather-cold-shipping/5633513

 

Obituaries: Douglas R. Abbott

2/10 - Douglas Robert Abbott, 81, of Burtchville Township, MI, died Saturday, February 8, 2020. He was born August 30, 1938 in Detroit to the late Robert and Amelia Abbott. He married Robin A. Morkal on August 12, 1961 in Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Detroit.

Doug graduated from Edwin Denby High School in Detroit in 1956. He attended Capital University and received an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Michigan in 1961. He worked for Detroit public schools, and then F.J. O’Toole Company for over 30 years, rising to vice president.

In retirement, Doug focused on his interest in ships and boats. He was a member of the International Ship Masters' Association Port Huron Lodge 2, was secretary and treasurer of the Great Lakes Nautical Society, a volunteer at the Great Lakes Maritime Center and an accomplished boat modeler. He also gave of his time as a longtime volunteer at Mid-City Nutrition and was a member at Deacon at Our Saviour Lutheran Church.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Robin; three children, Timothy Abbott, Katherine Abbott, and Andrew (Kristin) Abbott; four grandchildren, Tyler, Danielle, Drew, and William Abbott; a brother, Gary (Christine) Abbott; a brother-in-law, Ross (Sharon) Morkal; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Visitation will be from 2-4 and 6-8 pm Tuesday in Pollock-Randall Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 in Our Saviour Lutheran Church with visitation beginning at 10:00 am. The Reverend Donald Doerzbacher will officiate. Burial will be in Cadillac Memorial East, Clinton Township. Memorial contributions may be made to the Our Saviour Lutheran Church Radio Ministry or the American Cancer Society.

To send condolences, visit pollockrandall.com

 

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.

 

New Mackinac Island ferry William Richard nearly done

2/9 - Onaway, MI – Construction on the latest addition to Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry fleet is a little ahead of schedule, officials said Friday. The William Richard, a $4 million boat, is being constructed at Moran Iron Works in Onaway. It is nearing completion and is expected to begin ferrying guests to and from Mackinac Island in May.

“Our goal is to have her hauling passengers by Memorial Day, and what that means is the drop-dead date that we have to have the boat in the water is the 20th of April,” fleet Capt. Billy Shepler said.

The William Richard is the fourth major project Moran has completed for Shepler’s, Tom Moran, founder of the iron works company, said. Moran constructed its first ferry for the company, the Miss Margy, in 2015.

Shepler said the ferry company decided to work with Moran again because of “the great success they’ve had in the past.” The project brings Shepler’s total new investment in northern Michigan to $12.8 million over the past six years.

The William Richard was named for the ferry company’s founder, Bill Shepler, who is now 87. The boat is 84 feet long, 20 feet, 3 inches wide, and weighs 60 tons. It will ferry 210 passengers and reach 35 miles per hour at top speed.

Unlike ferries previously constructed for the company, Shepler said, the William Richard will be “propelled a little differently.” Instead of propellers, the ferry will have four jet drives, which will make for a smoother ride.

“Jets are very efficient going through the water at speed,” Shepler said. “Propellers are efficient going through the water, but they’re a little slower — more efficient at a slower speed.”

Moran estimates crews are about 95% complete with the fabrication of the ship and will now move on to the finishing work, which includes electrical, painting, and insulating the hull. “A very important part of the Shepler’s experience is not having a noisy ride over to the island, and there’s a lot of effort and a lot of money that goes into the insulation part of it,” Moran said.

Once the project is complete, the William Richard will be transported from Onaway to the Port of Calcite in Rogers City to be launched into Lake Huron. Shepler said the boat will undergo regulatory tests and inspections before hauling passengers.

“It takes about a month to get all of that organized, so, if we can have it tested by the 20th of April, we will have it ready and raring to go by Memorial Day,” he said.

Moran said the project is “all about trust.” He said Sheplers put its livelihood on the line and trusts Moran with a $4 million project. He added that the Sheplers, in turn, expect his company to perform better with each project. Moran said the project started without a contract and the paperwork followed.

“It was all about trust,” he said. “It was all about a handshake agreement. And, you know what? It’s still good to let people know that still exists in the world.”

Alpena News

 

Port Reports -  February 9

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Mackinac Straits
Algoma Conveyor was westbound Saturday evening with salt for Chicago.

Cleveland, OH – Bill Kloss
Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Conquest departed Cleveland at 12:09 Saturday.

 

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.

 

Rivers have poured a year’s worth of water into some Great Lakes in just 4 months

2/8 - The amount of water pouring into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is amazing. Record amounts of water are being delivered by some Michigan rivers. Let’s look at exactly how much water has been shipped into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron by some of the bigger rivers in Lower Michigan. Before we get started, here’s a reminder on what constitutes a water year. A water year runs from October 1 to September 31.

One of the most astonishing bits of info is the Grand River at Grand Rapids has already poured more water into Lake Michigan than an average complete year of water. The 2020 water amount below sits right at the average for a year.

Read more and view graphs at this link: https://www.mlive.com/weather/2020/02/rivers-have-poured-a-years-worth-of-water-into-some-great-lakes-in-just-4-months.html

 

Chamber of Marine Commerce talks about challenges facing Seaway shipping

2/8 - Chamber of Marine Commerce President Bruce Burrows has unveiled a 2020 wish list for legislators and policymakers to support the growth of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence and coastal shipping with climate resiliency to deal with high-water levels as a top priority.

Overall cargo on the St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 38 million metric tons in 2019, a decrease of 7% attributed to trade conflicts, challenging navigational conditions due to high waters, and adverse weather impacts on key cargoes such as grain.

“The challenges of the 2019 shipping season underline the critical importance of protecting the future integrity of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway as a reliable and efficient trade and transportation corridor for the United States and Canada,” said Burrows. “High water levels are negatively impacting residents and businesses, including the marine shipping sector that transports cargo through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and we need to work together with the International Joint Commission and governments to conduct a proper study into water levels and their causes, and to develop a resiliency plan that can address stakeholder needs into the future.”

Pressure on the IJC’s International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board, to lower Lake Ontario levels by raising water outflow at the Moses-Saunders dam to unsafe navigation levels that would have shut down Seaway shipping, continued throughout 2019.

Marine shipping worked with stakeholders for safe navigation at record outflow levels for five months last year to help lower the lake, taking on 26 mitigation measures that caused shipping delays, lost cargo business and millions of dollars of extra operating costs.

The chamber also supports the River Board’s recent actions to increase outflow levels at the dam during the winter, in order to lower levels as much as possible before spring, the press statement said.

“We would also like to see commercial navigation interests as members of the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board to work alongside recent appointees representing community interests. Many different industries including agriculture, manufacturing, fuel supply, construction and the mining sector depend on the Great Lakes-Seaway transportation system, supporting 238,000 jobs and USD$35 billion (Cdn$45.4 billion) in economic activity in Canada and the U.S,” Burrows said.

Other legislative and policy priorities for 2020

He said he hoped that U.S. and Canadian governments could continue to invest in maritime infrastructure and advance Coast Guard asset renewal. The CMC will be asking for the medium-term refurbished Canadian Coast Guard vessels and longer-term new builds announced in 2019 to be used to help ice-breaking in the Great Lakes, the Seaway and the lower St. Lawrence River, where cargo deliveries have been stalled or delayed in past winters and springs due to service breakdowns and a lack of assets.

He also said he wished to see “a harmonized and practical approach to ballast water regulations aimed at domestic fleets. The Canadian government has put forward regulations that would require domestic fleets to install ballast water treatment systems despite the fact that no technology currently exists that reliably operates in Great Lakes conditions and trading patterns. At the same time, the United States Coast Guard is developing regulations that are not aligned with the technology standards or timelines of the Canadian regulations. We need one regulatory approach for the bi-national Great Lakes region that levels the playing field and recognizes the challenges faced by the domestic fleets in Canada and the United States.”

Chamber of Marine Commerce

 

Port Reports -  February 8

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor arrived 2:38 am Friday, loading salt at Compass Minerals.

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  February 7

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known). Cleveland, OH – Bill Kloss
The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Mar's Conquest arrived Thursday at 09:11 from Charlevoix to deliver to St. Marys Cement on the Cuyahoga River.

 

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.

 

Lake Superior breaks high-water record for February

2/6 - Duluth, MN – The International Lake Superior Board of Control reported Tuesday that Lake Superior’s average water level was a half-inch higher than the previous February record, set in 1986.

The big lake dropped only 2 inches in February, a month it usually drops 3, thanks to a continued wet period across the lake’s big watershed. Lake Superior now is 15 inches above its long-term average and is 4 inches above the Feb. 1 level in 2019.

The high-water trend means continued bad news for coastal residents due to increased erosion, especially during storms and heavy wave action, a problem that’s already caused millions of dollars in damage in Duluth and along the South Shore. It also sets the lake up for continued record levels and perhaps an all-time high-water record sometime in late summer or early fall when the lake traditionally hits its annual high-water mark before dropping each winter.

The problems of high water cross all five Great Lakes. Lakes Michigan and Huron also hit their all-time high Feb. 1 watermark and are now 19 inches above Feb. 1 last year and 39 inches — more than 3 feet — above average for this time of year.

“With all of the Great Lakes near or above record-highs for this time of year, there is an exceptional volume of water in the system,” the Board noted in its report Tuesday. “Water levels are expected to remain high over at least the next several months and further record-highs are possible if wet conditions continue in 2020. As a result, there will continue to be a significantly increased risk of shoreline erosion, lakeshore flooding and coastal damages over the next several weeks and into the spring.”

More heavy snowstorms or heavy spring rains could push problems to a new level, as could spring windstorms that whip the lake into a frenzy.

The Board again warned Lake Superior shoreline communities “to prepare for potentially severe coastal impacts, especially during periods of strong winds and high waves.”

The Board recently received approval from the International Joint Commission to deviate from Lake Superior Regulation Plan 2012 through this winter. A small amount of additional flow will be released out of Lake Superior through the St. Marys Rapids this winter to offset expected and potential unscheduled reductions in flows at the hydropower plants that often occur in challenging winter conditions.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Great Lakes limestone trade up 9 percent in 2019

2/6 - Cleveland, OH – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 31.2 million tons in 2019, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2018. 2019’s loadings were also 12.1 percent above the trade’s 5-year average.

Loadings from U.S. quarries totaled 25.7 million tons, an increase of 9.4 percent compared to 2018. Shipments from U.S. quarries also topped their 5-year average by 11.2 percent.

Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 5.5 million tons, an increase of 7.2 percent from 2018, and 16.4 percent better than their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Port Reports -  February 6

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared 1.34 am Wednesday with salt for Chicago.

Detroit-River Rouge – Raymond H
Michigan/Great Lakes were unloading at the Buckeye Terminal on Wednesday.

 

Water levels continue rising; more records expected in 2020

2/6 - Water levels on the Great Lakes are continuing to climb, which isn't good news for shoreline property owners battling severe erosion. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said water levels on each of the five Great Lakes started 2020 higher than they started 2019. The agency expects several more monthly record high water levels in 2020.

Water levels are expected to remain well above average for at least the next six months. Already, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are more than 3 feet above average, Lake Erie is more than 2 feet above average while Lake Superior and Lake Huron are more than 1 foot above average.

The Army Corps of Engineers expects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which are considered a single body of water, to reach an all-time record high level this year.

“It is likely that water levels on lakes Michigan and Huron will set new monthly mean record high levels over the next couple of months,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office in Detroit. “This sets the stage for coastal impacts and damages in 2020 similar to, or worse than, what was experienced last year.”

Researchers blame persistent wet weather around the Great Lakes basin for pushing water levels higher. Warm temperatures also increased runoff in December and caused less evaporation from the lakes' surface.

High water levels have contributed to severe shoreline erosion, which has destroyed some houses and threatened dozens more.

ABC 12

 

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.

 

Nevada contractor to begin $53M project to deepen channel for new Soo Lock in spring

2/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI – Work to upgrade the Soo Locks and pave the way for creation of a new large lock will begin in the spring. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced Friday that the first phase of construction on the New Lock at the Soo has been awarded to Trade West Construction Inc. of Mesquite, Nevada.

Trade West Construction will receive almost $53 million to complete this first phase of construction, which involves deepening the upstream approach channel to a depth of 30 feet. The first phase will take approximately two years to accomplish.

Trade West was the low bidder. GFA of Traverse City participated in site visit but did not bid. Leudtke Engineering of Frankfort also site visited but did not bid. Durocher Marine of Cheboygan visited and bid $65,453,000 under the name of its parent company, Kokosing Industrial. Cashman Dredging & Marine of Quincy, Mass. bid $64,271,000 for the work.

The much-anticipated mega-project will be constructed in three phases. Phases two and three of the project are still in design phase and involve rehabilitation of the upstream approach walls and construction on the new lock chamber, respectively.

Phase two, upstream approach walls construction, will be advertised for bid in February, officials said, The upgrades will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. The third phase, construction of the new lock chamber, will include rehabilitating downstream approach walls and is expected to be advertised for bid in spring of 2021.

“Contingent on efficient funding, the New Lock at the Soo project, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion, could be complete in as few as seven years from the start of construction,” said Mollie Mahoney, project manager.

The new lock project will construct a second, Poe-sized lock on the site of the existing, decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks.

MLive

 

Port Reports -  February 5

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Northern Lake Huron
Tuesday; 1:00 The tug Prentiss Brown and barge passed through the Straits and is down bound for Cleveland. 12:53 USCG Katmai Bay departed Mackinaw City to conduct ice operations in the Straits area and at 17:18 arrived at Mackinac Island.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator arrived 4.38 am Tuesday to load salt at Compass Minerals.

 

Coast Guard warns of weak ice across Great Lakes region

2/5 - Cleveland, OH - The U.S. Coast Guard reminds the public to exercise caution on ice throughout the entire Great Lakes region, Monday.

Current ice conditions on the Great Lakes are far below the seasonal average. The combination of open water, unstable ice formation and areas of relatively weak ice may create hazardous conditions for recreational users. The public is advised to use caution when deciding to venture out onto ice covered water. Never assume the ice is safe, even if others are on it. Evaluate conditions for yourself and exercise sound judgement. Stay away from shipping lanes and other areas with vessel traffic, as ice is even more unstable and unpredictable in these areas.

If you’re planning to participate in recreational ice activities, remember the acronym I.C.E. before you head out. (I.C.E. = Information, Clothing, and Equipment).

Get the right Information on weather and ice conditions before going out. Ice thickness is rarely consistent. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets are always suspect for weak ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas for these may represent areas of unstable ice. Know where you are going, how to get there and how to call for help; share this information with friends and family prior to departing. This information can be valuable to first responders in an emergency.

Ensure you wear the proper Clothing to prevent hypothermia and choose bright colors to be easily seen by others. It is not uncommon for people to become disoriented while on the ice, especially in low visibility or deteriorating weather conditions.

Never venture onto the ice without proper safety Equipment. Carry a whistle or noise-making device to alert people of distress and a waterproof VHF-FM radio or Personal Locator Beacon to contact local emergency responders. Please remember that cellular phone signals can be limited and unreliable in remote areas. Carry two ice awls or screwdrivers. These instruments can aid in pulling yourself out of the water onto solid ice in an emergency and are more effective than hands alone.

USCG

 

Vessel Casualties

2/5 - Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway connection - reported as a casualty or sold for demolition, taken from February 2020 issue of Marine News - Journal of the World Ship Society:

Casualties: None reported

Demolition: RAINBOW-H (7521132; Togo) (Joy Express-15, Celtic Spirit-10, Gardsky-03, Isnes-94, Dollart-87 - 1st trip into Seaway 1978) 2,978 / 1976 - General Cargo ship. By HR Brothers Maritime Shipping SA, Honduras, to Sheth Ispat, Hussain, India and arrived Alang 7.04.2019 - commenced demolition 3.04.2019

Report prepared by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp

 

Plan to bury radioactive waste near Lake Huron is dead

2/5 - Flint, MI – A Canadian company is searching for a new location to build a nuclear waste site. After years of resistance from lawmakers and decision-makers on both sides of the border, plans to build the underground facility near Canadian shores of Lake Huron have dried up.

The news brought satisfaction to U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-5th District), who took up the issue after assuming office in 2013. “The environment won. The land won. The Great Lakes won,” he said.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced on Jan. 31 that it would not move forward with plans for a permanent disposal site in Kincardine, Ontario. The underground development would have been 2,200 feet below the surface and less than three-quarters of a mile from Lake Huron.

“It made no sense to us then that nuclear waste that will be active for thousands and thousands of years should be stored so close to the greatest source of freshwater on the planet,” he said.

OPG owns two nuclear reactors northeast of Toronto and the Bruce Nuclear plant in Kincardine, which would have been home to the underground development.

Low-level and intermediate-level waste from the three reactors--such filters and tools--would have buried in dry rock that is isolated from the lake, according to the company.

Kildee and many others were not convinced. “We do know that in the past when the nuclear industry has given assurances that nothing bad could happen, something bad happens,” he said.

Fox 66

 

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.

1996: A shipboard fire caused extensive damage to the Jean Parisien docked at the stone docks in Port Colborne. No one was injured in the blaze, which took two hours to extinguish and was the second one on board a ship in two days.

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

 

Port Reports -  February 4

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Northern Lake Huron
Cheboygan: Saturday 23:24 The tug Michigan and tanker barge Great Lakes departed for Sarnia. Mackinaw City: Monday 17:49 After completing ice operations Katmai Bay arrived at the coast guard station. Algoma Innovator was downbound for Goderich.

 

Region steel mills gear up for winter

2/4 - In the winter, the Great Lakes typically freeze over and the Soo Locks close, making it impossible for lake freighters to haul ore pellets from Minnesota's Iron Range to Northwest Indiana's steel mills.

But the mills expect the cold, winds and snowstorms the harsh winters in the Region can bring and start preparing as much as 18 months in advance. The integrated steel mills along the Lake Michigan lakeshore spend most of the year stockpiling iron ore pellets, limestone and other raw materials as they get ready for winter.

Gary Norgren, ArcelorMittal USA's general manager of mining operations, who previously served as manager of raw materials for eight years, has helped coordinate the ore boats, mines and railroads to ensure the company's steel mills in East Chicago, Burns Harbor and Cleveland have enough raw materials to run uninterrupted through the winter months.

The blast furnaces require a steady infusion of raw materials to forge the iron that's made into steel in basic oxygen furnaces. "The vessles carry extra ore for nine months of the year," he said. "It amazes me how well it works."

It takes lake freighters about 6.5 days to complete a round trip between ore mines in upper Minnesota and the Calumet Region's steel mills, which they do nonstop every year between March and Jan. 15, when the Soo Locks close for 70 days.

"The locks use the 70 days for maintenance and vacation," Norgren said. "That 70 days is a very well-established block of time in their world."

ArcelorMittal USA tries to ensure it has at least 105 days’ worth of pellets to get through the winter, so it will cover until at least the middle of April if necessary.

"The first couple weeks there is still ice in the water and the weather isn't that great," Norgren said. "The run rate isn't as high when you're trying to replenish your inventory quickly. The boats only come every six days, so you don't want to lose ground."

About two ships come to ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor every week, while three come to ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor. The logistics become more challenging during the winter as the iron ore piles can freeze on the docks in Minnesota, drawing out the loading time. Strong winds and ice make it harder to navigate the Great Lakes.

But the freezing of the lake — which had its worst year in the past half century during the polar vortex of 2014 — has been far milder in recent years than normal. The Great Lakes had just over 11% ice cover last week, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

U.S. Coast Guard ice cutters sometimes have to clear the path for ships to keep sailing to the steel mills in December and January. "It takes a lot of people to ensure we can keep safely making steel in January and February," Norgren said. "We try to keep our facilities as steady as possible, even in the Northwest Indiana winter."

The steel mills have to take other winterization steps, such as salting roads for semi-trailer trucks that haul the steel and keeping water lines from freezing. "We've been doing this for a lot of years and have a lot of experience," Norgren said. "It takes a lot of preparation, but we get through it."

NW Indiana Times

 

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.

 

Lake Michigan ends January 4 inches above record

2/3 - Detroit, MI – Lake Michigan remained above the all-time January record Friday, all but assuring the Great Lake will set its first high water record since 1987. The monthly water level record is calculated by taking the average lake level over an entire month. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will calculate that data in the coming days.

According to the Army Corps weekly report released Friday, Lake Michigan has risen 1 inch during the month of January. It’s a month that usually sees one of the largest decline in water levels annually. The lake is 19 inches higher than it was on this day one year ago. Lake Michigan is forecasted to drop 1 inch by March 2.

All of the Great Lakes are hovering around all-time records for the month of January. Lake Superior is even with the January record set in 1986. Lake Erie is 1 inch above the January record set in 1987. Lake Ontario is 1 inch below the January record set in 1946. Since they are connected, Lake Michigan and Huron are treated as the same lake by Army Corps.

 

Ohio representative talks Port of Monroe with Trump

2/3 - Monroe, MI – As U.S. Rep Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, sat with President Donald Trump on Air Force One, he knew it was his chance to talk about a local agency’s ongoing customs battle. Walberg, along with other Republican representatives from Michigan, was accompanying Trump Thursday to an event at Dana Inc. in Warren.

Trump was gearing up to talk about a newly-signed trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Walberg was thinking of the Port of Monroe. For years he has worked with Port Director Paul LaMarre III to navigate shipping restrictions handed down by U.S. Customers and Border Patrol’s Detroit office.

The restrictions have limited the port’s ability to deal in international trade. They also are at odds with standards expected at neighboring Lake Erie ports, like Toledo and Cleveland, Walberg says, which makes it harder to generate funds to install additional security equipment. “It’s not fair,” Walberg said. “The (Monroe port) is being given challenges that others aren’t.”

On Thursday, Walberg and the other representatives aboard Air Force came up with a strategy. They had a rare opportunity to discuss constituents’ concerns with the country’s top leader and they weren’t going to waste the moment.

They each selected issues tied to their district and briefly talked about them with the president. “It was a tag-team effort,” Walberg said. “It was very effective.”

Though brief, Walberg was pleased with the response he received from Trump. “He indicated to make sure (his team) knew about the issue and that we would discuss it further,” Walberg said.

It’s an interaction he knows will carry weight when he meets with Peter Navarro, assistant to the president and director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, to discuss the issue of shipping on the Great Lakes. The meeting, which will occur in the near future, will be the latest in a series of gatherings brokered by officials to discuss disparate shipping standards levied by CBP’s different jurisdictions.

Late last year, Sen. Gary Peters was present at a meeting between LaMarre and some of CBP’s top officials. It was only the most recent of such meetings, which have done little to alleviate the pressure exerted on the Monroe seaport. “We’ve talked with key individuals (at CBP) until we’re blue in the face,” Walberg said. ”... But that hasn’t dealt results yet.”

Walberg said he will continue to press the issue because the restrictions have a wider impact on the Great Lakes region. Stifling trade and conflicting standards create an unequal playing field, which impacts millions of jobs and economic vitality, Walberg said. The conversation with Trump and his team exerts how wide-reaching the issue can be, he added.

“I’m going to take that as a real step forward,” Walberg said. ”... The port is a huge opportunity for not only Monroe, but also the entire shipping industry on the Great Lakes.”

At the local level, LaMarre is buoyed by the fact that awareness of the issue has reached the top of the country’s executive branch. The issue has battered the port, he said. ″... to know that our issue (with CBP) has reached the president’s ears can only be compared to a glimmer of sun peeking through the storm clouds at sea,” LaMarre said. “Hope is the most powerful fuel I know, and today Walberg has refilled our tanks.”

Support from legislators has been monumental in dealing with the restriction, LaMarre added. He has been in contact with Walberg regarding the port and its struggles since restrictions cut off several trade deals years ago, including a lucrative one that would have shipped Ford Mustangs to Europe via the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Moving forward, LaMarre wants transparency as to why CBP’s restriction are necessary for Monroe’s port and the same level of scrutiny isn’t applied elsewhere.

″(CBP) is discriminating against the Port of Monroe and our community as a whole as we fight to remain economically sustainable,” LaMarre said. “Thanks to Walberg, new light has been shed on the issue ...”

Monroe Evening News

 

Port Reports -  February 3

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Lake Michigan
Algoma Innovator was off Sheboygan, WI, at 10 p.m. Sunday headed back to Goderich.

Northern Lake Huron
Algoma Conveyor was westbound in the Straits Sunday at 10 p.m. headed for Chicago with salt.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
There were no vessels in port Sunday.

Toronto, ON – Ron Walsh
On Sunday, McKeil Spirit was westbound near the False Duck Islands, heading for Toronto, where she arrived a bit later in the day. The AIS on the Salvage Monarch is now active in Toronto.

 

Michigan senators ask White House for new icebreaker funding

2/3 - Northern Michigan - U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow are urging the Trump administration to include enough funding for the Coast Guard to get a new Great Lakes icebreaker in their 2021 budget.

“The Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to keep our region’s ports and harbors open and facilitate our nation’s free flow of commerce. However, the current maintenance condition of the existing icebreaking fleet has resulted in 182 lost operating days last winter primarily due to engine failures,” wrote the senators. “We respectfully request adequate funding for the acquisition of a Great Lakes icebreaker in your FY 2021 budget request.”

Records said icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes supports more than 90 million tons of cargo every year.

During the 2018-2019 ice season, businesses that depend upon the great Lakes maritime industry lost more than $1 billion in revenues because of delays caused by inadequate icebreaking.

The Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to keep the region’s ports and harbors open and facilitate the free flow of economic commerce.

Back in 2015, Congress authorized the Coast Guard to acquire a new Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the heavy icebreaker the Mackinaw.

To date, the Trump Administration has not requested funding for an additional Great Lakes icebreaker vessel in the annual budget submitted to Congress.

WPBN/WGTU

 

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.

 

Senators urge funding for new icebreaker for the Great Lakes

2/2 - Northern Michigan – U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow are urging the Trump administration to include enough funding for the Coast Guard to get a new Great Lakes icebreaker in their 2021 budget.

“The Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to keep our region’s ports and harbors open and facilitate our nation’s free flow of commerce. However, the current maintenance condition of the existing icebreaking fleet has resulted in 182 lost operating days last winter primarily due to engine failures,” wrote the Senators. “We respectfully request adequate funding for the acquisition of a Great Lakes icebreaker in your FY 2021 budget request.”

Records said icebreaking capacity in the Great Lakes supports more than 90 million tons of cargo every year.

During the 2018-2019 ice season, businesses that depend upon the great Lakes maritime industry lost more than $1 billion in revenues because of delays caused by inadequate icebreaking.

The Coast Guard is required by law to maintain a heavy icebreaking capability on the Great Lakes to keep the region’s ports and harbors open and facilitate the free flow of economic commerce.

Back in 2015, Congress authorized the Coast Guard to acquire a new Great Lakes icebreaker at least as capable as the heavy icebreaker the Mackinaw.

To date, the Trump Administration has not requested funding for an additional Great Lakes icebreaker vessel in the annual budget submitted to Congress.

WPBN/WGTU

 

Port Reports -  February 2

Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. Please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

St. Marys River
Algocanada was downbound from her Soo, ON, dock Saturday, with Mackinaw escorting.

Northern Lake Huron
Calcite: Saturday 8:42 The tug Michigan and tanker barge Great Lakes departed for Cheboygan. Cheboygan: Saturday; 12:10 The tug Michigan and tanker barge Great Lakes arrived at the US Oil Company dock to unload. 19:50 The USCG Mackinaw arrived at the coast guard station.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Conveyor arrived and was loading salt on Saturday.

 

Port Huron Ship Masters’ Lodge No. 2 announces raffle winners

2/2 - Port Huron, MI - The Port Huron Lodge No. 2 of the International Ship Masters’ Association would like to announce the following winners of its’ 2019/2020 freighter trip raffle. The drawing was held at 10 pm at the 130th Annual Grand Lodge Convention at the Blue Water Convention Center in Port Huron, Michigan.

Grand Prize: Trip for 4 aboard an Interlake Steamship Company vessel in the 2020 sailing season: Sharon Hamill of Royal Oak, MI.

2nd Prize: 2 Night Stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during 2020: Steve Pollok of Webberville, MI.

3rd Prize: Round trip passage for 2 on the car ferry Badger including 1 auto and accommodations during the 2020 sailing season: Eric Polack of Gates Mills, OH

The lodge would like to thank everyone who purchased tickets for their support.

ISMA Port Huron Lodge No. 2

 

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.

 

Contract for first phase of new Soo Lock awarded; dredging on tap for this year

2/1 - Detroit, MI – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has announced that the first phase of construction on the New Lock at the Soo has been awarded to Trade West Construction Inc. of Mesquite, Nevada.

The much-anticipated mega-project will be constructed in three phases. Trade West Construction will receive almost $53 million to complete this first phase of construction, which involves deepening the upstream approach channel to a depth of 30 feet. Construction will begin in spring 2020 and will take approximately two years to accomplish.

"This is an exciting time for the Corps and the Great Lakes. We look forward to working with the contractors and meeting all the milestones in this first phase of the project, which is critical to the success of the entire project." said Lt. Col. Greg Turner, district engineer.

Phases two and three of the project are still in design phase and involve rehabilitation of the upstream approach walls and construction on the new lock chamber, respectively. Upstream approach walls construction, phase two, will stabilize the existing approach walls to allow for modern vessels to tie up and wait their turn to pass through the new lock. This phase of the project will be advertised for bid in February 2020. The third phase, construction of the new lock chamber, will include rehabilitating downstream approach walls and is expected to be advertised for bid in spring of 2021.

"Contingent on efficient funding, the New Lock at the Soo project, estimated to cost nearly $1 billion, could be complete in as few as seven years from the start of construction," said Mollie Mahoney, project manager.

The Soo Locks are situated on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and allow vessels to transit the 21-foot elevation change at the St. Marys Falls Canal. Over 85% of commodity tonnage through the Soo Locks is restricted by vessel size to the Poe Lock. This new lock project will construct a second Poe-sized lock (110' by 1,200') on the site of the existing decommissioned Davis and Sabin locks. According to a 2015 Department of Homeland Security study on the impact of an unexpected Soo Locks closure, the Soo Locks are nationally critical infrastructure and the reliability of this critical node in the Great Lakes Navigation System is essential to U.S. manufacturing and National Security.

 

Port Reports -  February 1

information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to news@boatnerd.net by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day's news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

St. Marys River
Algocanada continued unloading at Soo, ON, Friday.

Grand Haven, MI
The Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest arrived at the Grand Haven piers Thursday night at 2055 and tied up at St Marys Silo about 2145. Conditions were calm and zero ice.

Milwaukee, WI – Wisconsin Marine Historical Society
Algoma Conveyor backed into port at 11:42 on Thursday (1/30). She carried deicing salt from the Compass Minerals mine at Goderich. After dropping about 30,000 metric tons at the open dock on the outer harbor, she cleared at 01:37 Friday morning (1/31) and headed back to Goderich. This was Conveyor’s fourth visit to the city in January. Currently, no additional vessel traffic is expected.

Northern Lake Huron
Friday; Algoma Innovator was upbound for Chicago with a load of road salt from Goderich. Algoma Conveyor was down bound for Goderich. Calcite: Friday; 15:37 The tug Michigan and tanker barge Great Lakes arrived from Sarnia to unload petroleum products.

Goderich, ON – Bruce Douglas
Algoma Innovator cleared 3.36 am Friday with salt upbound for Chicago. Algoma Conveyor is expected next.

Picton, ON – Ron Walsh
Friday afternoon the McKeil Spirit made an unusual winter run to Picton to load cement. This probably due to the low ice cover on Lake Ontario. I am not sure if there will be more runs. The NACC Argonaut, our other frequent visitor, is still in Toronto but her AIS has remained active all winter.

 

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.

 



News Archive - August 1996 to present


Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to: moderator@boatnerd.net

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