Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

‘Know Your Ships’ set to sail April 10


Another sure sign of spring is the impending release of the 2004 edition of the popular “Know Your Ships” book. This year’s volume, featuring the steamer Michipicoten as Vessel of the Year, should be ready for shipping about April 8.

Besides listing more than 2,000 vessels and their owners, year built, length, capacity, type of engine and former names, the 148-page “Know Your Ships” contains more than 50 color photos of vessels in Great Lakes and Seaway service.

In addition, “Know Your Ships” includes nine pages of colorful stack and flag markings, a section dedicated to the Soo Locks, Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway, Jody Aho’s “Marine Milestones” and “Passages,” a look at the changes in the shipping scene since last year’s book.

“Know Your Ships” is now in its 45th year. To order, or view sample pages:

“Know Your Ships” 2004 cover image

Reported by: Marine Publishing Co.


Improved Year Forecast for Seaway Grain Trade


St. Lawrence Seaway users say there’s reason to believe 2004 will be a good year for the eastern grain export route, according to a recent report in Western Producer, a Canadian agriculture magazine.

“It definitely looks like it’s going to be busier than the last couple of years,” said Wayne Smith, vice-president of marketing and vessel traffic for Seaway Marine Transport of St. Catharines, Ont. Seaway shippers depend on grain and iron ore for a big part of their business, and both those industries have been in the doldrums the past couple years.  

“I’m really hoping we’re going to do between 6.5 to seven million tonnes of grain this year,” said Dennis Johnson, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

Grain shipments out of the Lakehead totaled 5.5 million tonnes last calendar year and averaged 5.9 million tonnes over the previous five years, according to figures from the Canadian Grain Commission, down from the 15-18 million tonnes a year shipped in the early 1980s.

“Usually we start the year with a bang and finish with a bang,” he said. “We’ve missed that spring bang the last couple of years but judging by the calls I’ve been getting, we should have that old-fashioned spring bang again.”

The Canadian Wheat Board, the seaway’s biggest grain shipper, expects to ship 1.6 million tonnes of wheat and barley through the system between reopening and the end of the crop year July 31. That would boost 2003-04 crop year shipments of CWB grain through Thunder Bay to 4.1 million tonnes. A projected 1.6 million tonnes of other crops would boost the crop year total to a little less than five million tonnes.

Smith said his company plans on having its full fleet of 11 bulkers in service this season. His company manages the fleet of vessels owned by Algoma Central Corp. and Upper Lakes Group.

Reported by: William Blair


Richard Reiss On the Move


Richard Reiss has been busy since fitting out for new owner Grand River Navigation. She visited Cleveland March 26, loaded in Marblehead March 27 and arrived at Lorain that afternoon. From there she was back to Marblehead to load for Cleveland.

Reported by: Wendell Wilke

Photos by: Mark Thomas Weber
Richard Reiss, the day before she left Erie on her first trip.
Close up of stack


Port Report


St. Lawrence Seaway

The first vessel in the Seaway on opening day March 25 at the St.Lambert Lock was Vega Desgagnés bound for Hamilton with diesel oil. The second was Halifax bound for Toledo. First one downbound at Iroquois was Cedarglen on opening day. Voyage Windsor/Quebec City with soymeal.

The first salty was the Italian flag chemical tanker Ievoli Shine bound for Mississauga in ballast on March 28. It was her first visit to the Lakes.

Reported by: René Beauchamp
Photo by: Gerard Belley
Halifax near Mariatown

Twin Ports Activity

Things were busy around the Twin Ports this past weekend.  The Columbia Star spent Saturday morning loading coal. She left shortly after noon. Edgar B. Speer was tied up at Port Terminal undergoing repairs. The Speer was expected to complete repairs and take on a load of taconite in Two Harbors. Both the Burns Harbor and James R. Barker were loading taconite. The Burns Harbor was in Superior at the Burlington Northern dock and the Barker was in Duluth at the DM&IR dock.

Reported by: Brian Peterson
Columbia Star departing Duluth
Stern view.
Disappearing into the fog

Canadian Progress officially began the Twin Ports shipping season when it arrived in Duluth shortly after noon on Friday, March 26. After fueling at the Murphy Oil dock, the vessel proceeded to Midwest Energy Terminal to load 27,000 metric tons of coal for Nanticoke.

While vessel traffic in the port began the previous week, the “official” start of navigation is also marked by the arrival of the first vessel from below the Soo.

Reported by Al Miller


 The H. Lee White brought a load of stone to Marquette’s lower harbor dock and was the first ship to that dock this season. She then moved to the upper harbor for a load of ore, and became the first ship to use that facility this season as well. The Michipicoten had been expected to be the first ship for ore, but was delayed by mechanical problems. The Saginaw is expected on Tuesday.

Reported by: Lee Rowe
H. Lee White unloading stone at the Shiras Steam Plant dock.
Stone pile
H. Lee White at the power plant, another view
White at the ore dock

Sturgeon Bay

Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder departed her winter layup from Bayship around 5 a.m. Monday, then turned around in Lake Michigan to head back to Bayship for bowthruster repairs approximately three hours later. Sam Laud was ballasted down and the gangway ladder detached ready to depart sometime today.

Reported by: Darren Hesler


The Captain Henry Jackman delivered a partial cargo of cement clinkers to the Milwaukee St. Marys Cement plant Sunday. This was the first trip here for the  Jackman in the cement trade. Previously clinkers were delivered by CSL.

Also in port Sunday was the Alpena.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde
Jackman unloading


The owner of the Russell-built tug Wendy B., Capt. Gordon Bennett, was pulled from the harbor by police divers a few days ago from the water beside his tug. Algoville departed Toronto Friday afternoon and Gordon C. Leitch left Sunday morning around 11.

Although it seemed like no work was being done on the new harbor charter vessel Yankee Lady 4 during the winter, the owners were prefabricating hull pieces indoors. These parts are now being brought to the construction site and assembled.

Reported by: Charlie Gibbons

Thunder Bay

Algocape was loading at Richardson’s Monday and will be leaving in the near future. Algonorth is still being worked on in drydock, while nothing is happening with Algontario yet. Rumors are circulating that the damaged Algontario will be repaired and returned to service this season.

Reported by: Rob Farrow


Thursday, March 25, the Peter R. Cresswell departed on its first trip this season at 5 p.m. The Nanticoke arrived at 6 p.m. Friday, March 26, saw the Canadian Navigator headed out on her first trip at 7 p.m. heading to Montreal with a load of slag from Pier 26. Saturday, March 27, the Algowood arrived at 8:30 a.m. with a cargo of coal from Toledo for Dofasco. The tanker Vega Desganges arrived at 9 a.m. Sunday March 28 saw the Frontenac arriving at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Stelco from Superior, departing at 3:30 p.m. heading back to Superior. The Algosoo finally departed at 12 noon as the Hamilton Around the Bay marathon had the bridge closed in the morning. The tug Salvor and barge McLeary’s Spirit departed at 3 p.m. The Vega Desgagnes shiftedto Pier 12 around midnight to do gasless welding repairs on one hold for six hours.

Reported by: Eric Holmes

Welland Canal

The ULS Corp. straight decker Canadian Miner was upbound in the Welland Canal Sunday afternoon, loaded with cargo from Clarkson. After unloading, she will continue on for Duluth. Also preparing to depart was the Canadian Prospector in Port Colborne. Cutting continues on the Canadiana at Ramey’s Bend and the Algogulf and Kinsman Enterprise at IMS.

Canadian Miner enters Lock 8.
In the ice
Canadian Miner, stern view, with remains of Algogulf and Kinsman Enterprise at left.
Canadian Prospector awaits fitout, and fresh paint.

Scrapping progresses on the Canadiana.
Mooring bitts
Another view of the bitts
Aft section of hull
Looking aft from the bow.

 Reported by: Alex Howard


The CSL Tadoussac made her first visit to the Saginaw River last Friday, calling on the Essroc Terminal in Essexville to unload cement clinker.  She arrived early Friday morning. After discharging, she left for Superior to load taconite.

The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC 2004 have been working on a dredging project at Pier 7 Marina on the West side of the Saginaw River in Bay City. The pair has been transiting between the marina and the pump-out island in the Saginaw Bay.

Reported by: Todd Shorkey
CSL Tadoussac unloading at Essroc
Another view

Photo by Brian Ferguson
Gregory J. Busch


New McKeil Barge Due for Manistee-Amherstburg Run


Mckeil Marine’s new barge the KTC 135 was due to arrive in Montreal Sunday.  This barge comes from the East coast, and was owned by K-Sea transportation. The barge will join the KTC 115, which was purchased by Mckeil last spring. The KTC 135 will be pushed by the Doug Mckeil and be engaged in the Manistee-Amerhstburg brine trade with her sister-barge the KTC 115. The Capt. Ralph Tucker is expected to be used as a reserve vessel when demand for product increases. The Tucker arrived in Manistee at 2300 Saturday evening to load brine at General Chemical for Amherstburg. The Salvor / KTC 115 has also been making regular runs since the ice conditions have let up.

 Reported by: Chris Franckowiak


Removal of Niagara River Ice Boom Delayed


The New York State Power Authority has decided to delay removal of the Niagara River Ice Boom until after April 1. Heavy southwest winds caused the previously 57 percent ice-covered East Basin of Lake Erie to become up to 73 percent ice covered. Observation flights will take place over the next few days to monitor the situation and keep track of the ice conditions. Icebreakers could be heard on the radio escorting ships in and out of the Welland Canal all week.

Looking out onto the lake showing the Buffalo breakwall and the boom logs/chains.

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski


Action Needed to Prevent Lakes from Becoming “Invader Zoo”


In a statement provided to a congressional hearing, both the U.S. and Canadian co-chairs of the International Joint Commission urged the U.S. Congress to take swift action to protect the Great Lakes from the onslaught of aquatic invasive species in ballast water. The hearing followed action by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt an international ballast water convention and considered the implications for reauthorization of the National Invasive Species Act.

“Aquatic invaders don't recognize dotted lines on the map. That means policy makers in both the U.S. and Canada must reach across those lines to fight back,” said Dennis Schornack, Chair of the U.S. Section. “It also means that what we need now is action by this Congress to put the Great Lakes first.”

“We have learned from over 50 years of experience with the sea lamprey that it costs millions of dollars yearly in perpetuity to control these invaders.  Once they get into the Great Lakes and establish a beachhead they can never be completely eradicated, so they must be stopped before they can get in,” said the Right Hon. Herb Gray, Chair of the Canadian Section. “Whether they enter through a canal like the lamprey or through ballast water like the zebra mussel, prevention must be our first priority.”

Over the last two decades virtually all of these invasive species have arrived in the Great Lakes by way of ballast water discharged by foreign ships when they take on cargo.  The IJC believes these ship borne invaders are a source of great risk; therefore setting a standard for ballast water treatment must be the central focus of any plans implemented by both the U.S. and Canada.  

“The day is close at hand when the tally of non-native species in the Great Lakes will total 200 invaders,” said Schornack. “The bottom line is that these invaders are turning the Great Lakes into a zoo - not an ordinary zoo where the animals are safely confined but a zoo where they are unleashed to wreak havoc and devastation on the native ecological community.”

The Commission also noted that an estimated 15 more invertebrates and fish in the Ponto-Caspian region of Eurasia have the special traits that could enable them to hopscotch from there to the Baltic to the Great Lakes.  They stressed that the uncertainty of how much damage these new invading species might wreak upon the ecology and economies of the Great Lakes should drive both the U.S. and Canada into action.

Reported by: IJC


Hollyhock Damaged in Collision With Cort

03/27 (Pictures Added 3/30)
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock was involved in a collision with the 1,000-foot laker Stewart J. Cort Thursday morning while breaking ice in the St. Marys River.

No one was injured in the accident, which resulted in Hollyhock being sent back to her Port Huron base for repairs. She arrived at Port Huron Friday.

The Hollyhock's upper bow was damaged, and its flagpole is missing. Coast Guard spokesmen said the Cort sustained "cosmetic" damage to its bow. The Cort was stopped in the ice at the time of the incident. Weather conditions at the time were poor, and fog reduced visibility to one-quarter of a mile.

U.S. Coast Guard officials are investigating the crash and didn't know what sent the Hollyhock, which has state-of-the-art navigation technologies, into the freighter, according to a story in Saturday¹s Port Huron Times Herald.

A Coast Guard spokesmen didn't know how expensive repairs would be for the $29 million, 225-foot-long ship, or how long they would take. The Hollyhock was placed into service last October, and this was her first icebreaking assignment.

Photos by: Tom Welles
Hollyhock damage bow view
Close up.
Hollyhock at her Port Huron dock.

Photos by: James LeBouton
View of damage from on board.
Bow damage without tarp.


Images From Season Opener


Shipping at the Soo Locks and on the St. Marys River, which officially began early Thursday morning, has been dogged by fog ever since. These photos were taken on Thursday and Friday.

Photos by: Lee Rowe
Edwin H. Gott waiting above the locks
Callaway above the locks
Callaway moving in the fog toward the locks
Callaway leaves the locks
Lock approach shrouded in fog.
Mackinaw at West Pier
Pilothouse and ribbons
Mackinaw, stern view
Mackinaw at Mission Point
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. approaching the locks
McCarthy, stern view
Paul R. Tregurtha at West Pier
CSL Laurentien at Mission Point

Photos by: Andy LaBorde
Edgar B. Speer departs winter lay-up at Milwaukee
Another view
Speer passes Integrity
Outbound at Milwaukee pier light

Charles M. Beeghly unloads coal March 22 at Milwaukee.
Beeghly, deck shot

Photos by: Rob Farrow
Frontenac, first boat out of Thunder Bay, getting stuck while trying to make turn in ice
CCG Griffon and tug George N. Carleton assist Frontenac
Another view of CCG Griffon, this time breaking ice in front of Saskatchewan Pool 7a
CCG Griffon releasing Glenada and Point Valour at Saskatchewan Pool 7a
George N. Carleton breaks ice around Pascol in preparation for Atlantic Erie's departure.

Atlantic Erie receives fresh paint at Thunder Bay before sailing on her first trip.
Covered with primer
Another view
Algonorth in drydock.


Mesabi Miner Returns to Service


The Mesabi Miner, damaged in Mackinac Straits ice earlier this week, has resumed service after a quick trip back to Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay for repairs. Still in layup at Sturgeon Bay are the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, Lee A. Tregurtha, Sam Laud and the Herbert C. Jackson.

Reported by: Darren Hasler


USCG Sundew to be Decommissioned May 27


The Coast Guard cutter Sundew (WLB 404) will be decommissioned after 60 years of service at 11 a.m. Thursday May 27 at Duluth's Bayfront Park.

All present and former crew, family and friends of the Sundew are encouraged to attend the ceremony. The ceremony will also be open to the public.

Information is being sought regarding former Sundew commanding officers. Anyone who has commanded the Sundew should contact the e-mail address below with your name, date of service on Sundew, phone number, email address and mailing address.

The Sundew is one of two 180-foot IRIS Class sea-going buoy tenders built in 1944 that are still in service. The Marine Iron & Shipbuilding Company in Duluth built Sundew and, along with another Duluth-based shipyard, Zenith Dredge Company, constructed 37 other 180-foot seagoing buoy tenders between 1942-1944. She was launched on February 8th 1944 and commissioned on August 24th 1944. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $861,586.

For any questions regarding Sundew’s decommissioning, please contact Lieutenant (junior grade) Michael Wolfe at 218-720-5461,

Reported by: USCG


Fog Slows Traffic on Locks’ First Day


The Soo Locks shipping started at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, but vessel traffic was brought to a standstill shortly thereafter by thick fog.

Traffic started to move late Thursday. Mackinaw, Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay were called to the Winter Point area to break out a convoy of upbounds that included CSL Laurentien, Stewart J. Cort, Atlantic Huron, CSL Niagara, Oglebay Norton, Edgar B. Speer, H. Lee White and Burns Harbor. Downbound after first boat Edwin H. Gott were the Cason J. Callaway, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Paul R. Tregurtha, Frontenac and Pineglen.

The first upbound vessel at the locks this season was Canadian Progress.

Reported by: Jerry Masson


Anderson Opens Season at Stoneport


Arthur M. Anderson arrived at the Stoneport dock on a foggy Thursday morning to load its first cargo of the season. The H. Lee White had also taken on stone and departed by early Thursday morning. Loading the Anderson was expected to take 12 hours. The tug/barges Great Lakes Trader and Joseph H. Thompson are on the schedule for Friday.

The Alpena is due back in port sometime on Friday after making deliveries on Lake Michigan. J.A.W Iglehart is headed for South Chicago after spending Wednesday in Alpena getting repairs from possible ice damage.   

Reported by: Ben & Chanda McClain


More Vessels Depart the Twin Ports


The Duluth-Superior layup fleet continued to shrink this week as the Roger Blough, Indiana Harbor and John G. Munson all got under way Wednesday.

Indiana Harbor was the first to get away, backing out of its berth in late afternoon and backing into St. Louis Bay to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal.

The Blough left the Duluth port terminal to load at the Duluth DMIR ore docks.

John G. Munson departed Fraser Shipyards for Two Harbors, where it was to load for Lorain.

Of the two remaining layup vessels, American Mariner was expected to depart Hallett dock on March 25 to load at BNSF in Superior while John J. Boland was scheduled to leave Fraser Shipyards on March 27 to load at Two Harbors.

Reported by: Al Miller


Goderich Report, Toronto Update


The Atlantic Huron is out of lay up at Goderich, full of salt, and headed north up the lake. Thursday, the Canadian Transport was loading salt, with several more ships due before the end of the month.

Reported by: Lisa Stuparyk

In Toronto, McKeil’s harbor tugs pulled the Barge Laviolette from the Redpath Sugar dock this morning and rafted it to Canadian Mariner on the west wall at Pier 35.

Stephen B. Roman came in late Wednesday and departed Thursday afternoon after unloading her cement cargo at the Essroc plant.

A pile driver is at work on Pier 52 preparing the dock for the arrival of the high-speed cat The Breeze, the new cross-lake ferry.

Reported by: Jason Leslie


Edwin H. Gott Opens Season at the Soo Locks


Although the Great Lakes Fleet's steamer Cason J. Callaway reported in to the St. Marys River system first, fleetmate Edwin H. Gott was designated the first commercial passage of the 2004 season at the Soo Locks.

Although the locks didn’t officially open until 12:01 Thursday morning, an official welcoming committee boarded the Gott around 5 p.m. Wednesday. The Gott was given the lead position due to her wider beam, which is considered better for breaking a track for the narrower Callaway to follow once the pair lock through. The Gott was expected to lock through, and proceed down the river to the Nine Mile anchorage, where she would wait for first light before continuing.

CSL Laurentien, Canadian Progress and Atlantic Huron were upbound in the lower river near DeTour Wednesday, waiting for an icebreaker escort. Hollyhock, Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay were breaking ice in the lower river for track maintenance. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. reported in downbound above the locks Wednesday evening.

According to a report by Jack Storey in the Soo Evening News Wednesday, this may be the busiest opening day at the Soo Locks in a quarter century. A Coast Guard spokesman on Tuesday said a total of 28 vessels are scheduled to make the river by Thursday from both directions.

Although all channels except the West Neebish were mostly open Wednesday, all were ice-filled and narrow, slowing progress in both directions. The lower ice edge on the lower St. Marys River has moved up to the Lime Island-Sweets Point area off  Raber. On the upper end, fast ice extended out to Isle Parisienne, with some ice formations out toward Whitefish Point.

Reported by: Jerry Masson, B. Barnes, Soo Evening News


Toronto's First Visitor


The first visiting vessel of the season arrived this afternoon when Hamilton Energy came into port to bunker the lakers Gordon C. Leitch and Algoville. The Stephen B. Roman cannot be counted as the first visiting vessel as it winters in Toronto. The Roman has already made one trip out and back. The Roman has gone again.

Unloading is almost done on the Barge Laviolette at the Redpath Sugar dock.

Work has begun again on the new Yankee Lady 4 excursion vessel. The keel was laid in December, but no other work was done. The bilge keels are now under construction. The new vessel is being built by the vessel's owners at the Port authority yard on the Keating Channel.

The winter tarps have been removed from the island ferries Sam McBride and William Inglis as crews begin fitting them out for the season.

Reported by: Jason Leslie


Mesabi Miner Reported Damaged in Ice


Mesabi Miner arrived back in Sturgeon Bay mid-evening Wednesday for repairs to damage caused by ice. The Miner suffered a crack about one inch wide and five feet long while transiting the Straits of Mackinaw on her first trip of the season.. Plans call for the Edward L. Ryerson to be moved into the Bay Shipbuilding yard, while the Miner will ballast out and have the repairs done at the PBI dock . Herbert C. Jackson is still in the drydock.

In other Sturgeon Bay news, the Oglebay Norton departed Bay Ship Wednesday afternoon, headed out to Lake Michigan through the ship canal. The Norton was the third of  four 1,000-footers at the yard for winter lay-up 2003-2004.

American Sprit will depart Bay Ship Thursday, going out through the ship canal to the lake.

Oglebay Norton departs
American Spirit

Reported by: Darren Hesler, Vic DeLarwelle


Mather Museum Says Thanks to Cleveland May 1


The steamship William G. Mather Museum wants to thank the city of Cleveland for its continued support and 40-year lease signed last July by Mayor Campbell, which paves the way for some long-range developments for the popular North Coast Harbor Museum.

As a way to say thanks to Cleveland, on opening day of its 14th season, Saturday, May 1, the Mather will offer free admission to Cleveland residents showing proof of address. With a 55-year history as a Great Lakes freighter and 13 years as a museum longer than two Cleveland Brown’s football fields, the Mather has an intriguing story and the crew is grateful for the chance to tell it.

The Mather Museum is open in May on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. except Sunday and holidays when the mueseum opens at noon. Admission is $5.50/adult, $4.50/senior and $3.50/student; children under five get in for free. Visitors can choose a self-guided tour or, when available, an hour-long guided. Due to its historic nature, the Mather has limited accessibility. 

Reported by: Rex Cassidy


Callaway Expected to be First Downbound at Soo Locks


11:30 p.m. UPDATE
Cason J. Callaway was downbound tonight in Lake Superior and will anchor near Isle Parisenne until dawn. The 767-foot ore carrier plans to meet with escort cutter Mackinaw near Gros Cap Light, and follow the ice track to the Poe Lock approaches for the official locks opening. Operation Taconite is in place as the cutter Hollyhock works through the night on track maintenance in the lower river.

The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw departed Soo harbor Tuesday at 1900 hours bound up Gros Cap for channel maintenance. The first downbound ship of the year is expected to be the Cason J Callaway, which was loading in Duluth. Katmai Bay and Hollyhock were working in the lower river Tuesday night on channel maintenance for the first upbound expected.

Reported by: Jerry Masson


Capt. Henry Jackman Opens Welland Canal


Capt. Brett Walker of the Algoma Central Corporation vessel Capt. Henry Jackman was presented with the ceremonial top hat at Lock 3 Tuesday morning as the Welland Canal officially opened for its 175th consecutive year of service.

Dick Corfe, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, declared the canal officially open. He also unveiled the first billboard in an educational campaign to promote the many benefits to be derived from the increased use of the marine mode – reduced congestion, reduced air pollution and reduced highway maintenance costs. Starting this week, anyone who travels the Toronto – Windsor corridor by road will start to see these billboards along the 400-series of highways.

He also announced a new operating draft of 26’6,” (an increase of three inches over last year) for all inland vessels and for ocean vessels equipped with bow thrusters. This will allow full-size Seaway vessels to carry an additional 300 tons on each voyage, improving the efficiency and productivity of both the system and vessel fleets.

The ceremony also marked the beginning of the countdown to the 50th anniversary of the Seaway. Fifty years ago this summer, construction began on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the first step in opening the way for ocean vessels into the heart of North America.

“2004 holds promise, not only to be busy,” says Corfe, “but highly productive, in our collective endeavor to raise the profile of marine transportation. We will be in the thick of things, looking for new ways to use the system, new cargoes and new partnerships, while reinforcing the ones we have.

“In the Welland Canal, we completed a $13 million winter maintenance program on time and on budget, including the electrical rehabilitation of Bridge 21. We also began a six- year $40 million program to convert our mechanical lock equipment to hydraulic drives. As well as being more efficient, the new equipment will reduce maintenance costs and will operate effectively in adverse weather, giving us the potential to extend our season.”

The Jackman also took the top hat in 1993.. The first downbounder, which also recived opening honors at Port Colborne was the Cedarglen. The McKee Sons and tug Invincible also transited the canal Tuesday.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway will open to navigation Thursday at 0800 hours.

Reported by: St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, Jimmy Sprunt, Ron Walsh


Callaway, Gott depart the Twin Ports


Cason J. Callaway and Edwin H. Gott departed their layup berths overnight March 22-23 to begin the 2004 navigation season. The Callaway left Fraser Shipyards to load at the DMIR ore dock in Duluth. The Gott left its berth in Duluth to proceed to Two Harbors to load taconite pellets. The G tug North Dakota assisted the Callaway from the stern.

Walter J. McCarthy Jr. opened the season at BNSF ore dock Tuesday when it began loading taconite pellets destined for Detroit’s Zug Island. The McCarthy spent the winter in Superior at the old Lakehead Pipeline dock.

While the McCarthy was loading Tuesday, Frontenac arrived from Thunder Bay and anchored off Superior Entry to wait for the dock.

Indiana Harbor was fueling at its layup dock Tuesday. It’s scheduled to load at Midwest Energy Terminal Thursday.

Reported by: Al Miller

Photos by: Brian Peterson
Edwin H. Gott departing Duluth.
Callaway backing into DM&IR.
Callaway at the dock.
Close up of the tug North Dakota.


Richard Reiss Prepares for First Trip


Grand River Navigation’s newly-acquired Richard Reiss could leave Erie, Pa., as early as Tuesday night on her first trip for her new owners.

Her first destination is Marblehead, where she will load for Fairport.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre


Strong Season Expected for Great Lakes Carriers


In an article earlier this week in the Duluth News Tribune and widely reprinted around the Great Lakes, shipping officials predicted a strong start to this year’s Great Lakes shipping season.

“Things are looking much better than last year,” observed Charlie Patterson, vice president and general manager of the Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet Inc. “There appears to be some pent-up demand from last year for taconite. Some of the steel mills apparently are desirous of early cargo, because inventory levels are lower than they would like them to be.”

“We had some momentum built up last season, and it appears to be continuing into this season as well,” agreed Glen Nekvasil, a vice president for the Lake Carriers Association, an organization that represents operators of U.S.-flagged laker fleet. He also said demand for stone also appears on the upswing.

“It looks like this could be the year of the lakers,” added Ron Johnson, trade development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. 

Reported by: Roger LeLievre


More Departures, Arrivals


Wilfred Sykes left winter lay-up at Sturgeon Bay Tuesday afternoon. She was believed bound for Escanaba to load ore for Indiana Harbor. Arthur M. Anderson was expected to sail early Wednesday morning from Sturgeon Bay for Stoneport.

The freshly-painted Atlantic Erie departed Thunder Bay early Tuesday evening, headed to Superior to load. Algonorth was pulled back into dry dock Tuesday morning at Pascol, while the Pineglen was loading at Cargill and was expected to move to Mission Terminal Tuesday night.

Nanticoke was the first coal boat of the season for the CSX Docks at Toledo, arriving Tuesday morning to load coal. The Saginaw was expected to follow her later in the evening. The Halifax will be the first ore boat of the season into the Torco Ore Dock. She is due in early Sunday afternoon.

The Alpena made it's third appearance of the 2004 season in Milwaukee Tuesday morning. It tied up alongside the Jacklyn M/Integrity, which went back into lay up after discharging its winter storage load in Waukegan, South Chicago and Milwaukee earlier in the month.

On Tuesday, Mesabi Miner was pulled from her lay-up birth between the American Spirit and the Oglebay Norton at Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay. She was headed upbound.

Last Saturday, the Charles M. Beeghly departed her lay-up berth at Bay Shipbuilding, sailing sailed west three miles toward Sherwood Point where Selvick tugs had broken a turning circle in the ice. With the tug assistance, she was turned around east and proceeded through the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal and onto Lake Michigan. Plate ice at the northwest end of Sturgeon Bay and into Green Bay waters remains up to 12-18 inches thick.  As of this date tracks have not been cut into Green Bay waters beyond the northwest end of Sturgeon Bay/Sherwood point light.

American Republic became the first vessel of the 2004 season at Lorain on Tuesday. She passed through the Charles Berry Bridge at 2030 hours, going up the Black River to the Terminal Ready Mix and Jonik docks.

Reported by Vic Delarwelle, Rob Farrow, Jim Hoffman, Andy LaBorde, Carl Grota, Charles Mackin

Photos by: Carl Grota
Beeghly headed for Sherwood Point.
Jimmy L. assists the Beeghly.
Mesabi Miner moves past bows of Oglebay Norton and American Spirit.

Photos by: Gerry Banks
Beeghly departs Sturgeon Bay
Beeghly, stern view

Photos by: Andy LaBorde
Alpena unloads
Stern view


Restoration of Erie’s Land Lighthouse Complete


A crane recently hoisted a new steel and copper lantern room 50 feet to the top of the Land Lighthouse, marking the end of a $400,000 restoration of the first lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Since June, Fiske & Sons, an Erie, Pa., has been working on the landmark, replacing its mortar facade, refurbishing its 69-step iron staircase and adding electrical service.

The original lantern room and watch deck were removed in 1899 by the U.S. Coast Guard and moved to the Marblehead Lighthouse in Sandusky, Ohio. The Land Lighthouse has been dark ever since.

Pat Scutella, caretaker of the lighthouse, told the Buffalo News recently he hopes the new lantern room will allow the lighthouse once again to guide ships into Erie, but port officials have told him that was unlikely.

Reported by: Dave Wobser


PRT Back to Marquette on Monday


The Paul R. Tregurtha made a second trip to Marquette on Monday with a load of coal.  This made her the first and second ship in to the harbor this season. The Michipicoten is expected to be the first ship coming in for ore, arriving some time later this week.

Paul R. Tregurtha unloading coal.
Coal pile.  Note the water being sprayed on the coal as it comes off the belt

Reported by: Lee Rowe


Great Lakes Water Levels To Improve


After years of decline, Great Lakes water levels are expected to rise a bit this year.

"Practically all the Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair will be above last year’s levels,” Cynthia Sellinger, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, told the Detroit Free Press for a Tuesday story. Here are Sellinger’s predictions:

Lakes Michigan and Huron: Four to 6 inches higher than last year, but 17 inches below the long-term average. (Huron's average depth: 195 feet; Michigan's is 279.)
Lake St. Clair: Two inches higher than last year, but 5 inches below average. (Average depth: 10 feet.)
Lake Superior: Roughly at the same level as last year, and 4 inches below average. (Average depth: 500 feet).
Lake Erie:
Three to 4 inches higher than last year, and 4 inches below average. (Average depth: 48 feet.).

Lake Ontario is excluded because manmade controls affect its levels. The predictions are based on a number of factors, including more precipitation in the Great Lakes basin and ice cover that prevents evaporation from pulling moisture out.

Besides being a boon for owners of small craft, the rise will mean more profits for Great Lakes shipping interests, said Glen Nekvasil, a vice president with the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers' Association.

“For a 500-foot cement ship, one more inch of draft means 70 more tons of cargo,” Nekvasil told the newspaper. “For a 1,000-foot iron ore freighter, it means an additional 270 tons of cargo.”

Reported by: Roger LeLievre


Seaway Opening Date Challenged


Critics say the government agency that runs the Seaway is sacrificing the environment to get ships to port earlier. They are urging the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation to delay the waterway’s annual opening date in order to prevent harm to fish.

Stephen Litwiler of New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation says a ship’s wake can rattle the ice enough to gouge delicate habitat.

“The ice going up and down is scouring the shoreline and pushing water in and out of the shallow marshy areas and it's dislodging vegetation that's critical for these habitats,” she said in a radio interview. “The bobbing ice can be so bad it can damage people’s docks and homes along the river.”

Politicians and interest groups, including New York’s two senators and the Mohawk tribe that lives along the river, are calling on the St. Lawrence Seaway to postpone its March 25 opening date. Just one week, they say, will give the ice time to melt. Stephanie Weiss, director of the citizens’group Save The River, said environmentalists fear the date is driven by the shipping industry.

“People lose money, so when you have that situation when they’re trying as hard as they can to open early, we think it just makes it difficult for them to make the safest possible decision.” Weiss said getting cargo ships in and out of Great Lakes ports one week earlier isn’t worth the risk of damaging the St. Lawrence River's fish and nature for good.

The decision is made by government agencies in the U.S. and Canada.

Reported by: David Sommerstein, Great Lakes Radio Consortium


Kaye E. Barker joins the shipping season


Kaye E. Barker was the first vessel out of Fraser Shipyards this spring when it departed March 22 to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior. The Barker is due to carry 18,500 tons of coal to the power plant at Taconite Harbor. She joins fleetmate Paul R. Tregurtha, which already is in action carrying coal to Marquette.

Cason J. Callaway also was expected to leave Fraser late Monday or Tuesday to load at the DMIR ore dock. The dock has a large stockpile of pellets, ensuring it will be busy at the start of the season. That's a sharp contract to much of last season, when the closure of EVTAC resulted in dwindling business for the dock until the navigation season's final days, when EVTAC's resurrection as United Taconite brought boats back to the dock.

The Paul R. Tregurtha was the first boat to arrive in the Twin Ports this season when it returned from Marquette on March 20. Frontenac was expected Tuesday from Thunder Bay, becoming the first boat from another port to arrive here. However, the "official" first boat of the season will be the first arrival from the lower lakes. This is a tradition that dates to the ports' earliest days, when no boats wintered here and the first boat from below the Soo marked the resumption of vessel traffic and the arrival of much-anticipated supplies, store goods and passengers.

Reported by: Al Miller


Canadian Olympic has Stack Fire


While transiting Lake Erie near Erie, Pa., last Monday (3/15) en route to Conneaut, the ULS Group's Canadian Olympic experienced a small fire in the port exhaust stack. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley were diverted from ice breaking operations to assist the stricken vessel.

After two hours of checking for hot spots in the stack and engine room, M/V Canadian Olympic successfully restarted its starboard engine. CGC Neah Bay was released back to ice breaking operations while the Risley escorted Canadian Olympic into Conneaut.

Reported by: USCG


Fit Out Continues for Speer, Burns Harbor, Cort


Crews for the Edgar B. Speer, Burns Harbor and Stewart J. Cort, laid up at Milwaukee, have returned to start fitting out their boats. After completing USCG inspections, all three vessels should be heading north by mid week. The new International Steel Group logos are now in place on both the Cort and Burns Harbor.

ISG logo on Burns Harbor’s stack.
Logo on the Cort’s funnel.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde


Ice Breaker Griffon Arrives at Thunder Bay


At 4:34 p.m. Sunday the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Griffon rounded Thunder Cape and made a beeline for the hard ice pack in Thunder Bay. Gale winds apparently did not slow her progress across Lake Superior after she locked through at the Soo on Saturday. 

The ice in Thunder Bay only extends six miles out to the Welcome Islands this winter, thanks to lots of snow and high offshore winds over the past month or so.

 Griffon was expected to push on towards Keefer Terminals where she will be expected to make a decision on whether to release the boats there, or dock at the Coast Guard station for the night. The CSL and Algoma boats Frontenac, Pineglen and Algocape are tied up at Keefer. Smoke had been seen coming from the stacks of the Pineglen and Frontenac a few days ago, and it is thought that these two boats are anxious to leave.  Frontenac is scheduled to load in Superior on Tuesday this week. The Thunder Bay Tug Service tugs have been busy breaking ice in their slip in preparation to help the boats through the ice.

Meanwhile, the boats at Pascol Engineering are starting to show life. Smoke was coming the stack of the freshly painted Atlantic Erie, as she floated in dry dock on Sunday. The Gravel & Lake crews were down around their tugs, perhaps preparing for a move in the near future of the Atlantic Erie out of dry dock.  A bit of activity has been seen on the Algontario lately, fueling the latest rumors of her being repaired and sailing soon. She received bottom damage in the St. Mary's River in 1999 and has sat idle in Thunder Bay ever since.

Reported by: Rob Farrow


Tregurtha Due Back in Marquette Monday


The second cargo of the season will make its way into Marquette's upper harbor about mid-morning Monday.  The Paul R. Tregurtha departed Superior early Sunday morning carrying another load of coal for Wisconsin Electric. 

The Tregurtha will have to deal with high winds, rough seas, and possibly snow when it arrives . After unloading, she will return Superior late Monday or early Tuesday. Meanwhile, there are still no updates on the Michipicoten, which is scheduled to leave Soo, Ont., sometime late Wednesday or early Thursday for Marquette. The short trip from the Soo takes approximately 12 hours. She is  tentatively scheduled for an early Friday morning arrival.  Also on the schedule for next weekend are the H. Lee White and John J. Boland.

Reported by: Art Pickering


Canadian-flag Lakers on the Move


Canadian Transport departed its Port Colborne, Ont., lay-up berth Sunday afternoon, backing out into Lake Erie from Wharf 18-3. Bound for Conneaut to load coal, she was assisted by the small tug Seahound. The John D. Leitch, which is headed for Windsor to load salt,  followed the Canadian Transport.

The Canada Steamship Lines’ self-unloader Nanticoke is the first vessel to load at Goderich, where she arrived Saturday at the salt docks. Atlantic Huron remains laid up at that port.

The first ship out of Hamilton was the CSL Tadoussac, which departed at 1 p.m. Saturday, heading toward the Welland Canal.

Reported by: Eric Holmes, Lisa Stuparyk


Mailboat J.W. Westcott Starts Service Next Week


The Detroit-based mailboat J.W. Westcott II will return to service April 7th at 0800.

Reported by: Capt. Sam Buchannan


Southdown Challenger Fitting Out for 98th Year


The cement carrier Southdown Challenger’s engine room crew will report back to the boat on April 5, with a tentative departure date of April 20. The boat will leave Milwaukee and sail to Charlevoix, Mich. to load cement.

Reported by: Kevin Rogers


 History Postings


The Today in Great Lakes History feature will return next week.


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Tregurtha First Out and First in at Duluth


Paul R Tregurtha was the first ship to depart Duluth and is also the first ship to arrive in Duluth for the 2004 shipping season. She sailed under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge shortly before 4 p.m. on a return trip from Marquette where she delivered that port’s first coal cargo.

Paul R. Tregurtha under the Lift Bridge.
Close up of the bow.
Stern view.
Backing under the Blatnik Bridge.
Another view.

Reported by: Brian Peterson


Toledo Coal Dock Gears up for Another Season


In Toledo, the coal crews are reporting back to work Monday with a two-shift operation.  The first coal boat, tentatively due Monday, is the Nanticoke with a 6 p.m. start. Saginaw is due Tuesday at 7 a.m.  On the ore side, the Halifax was tentatively due Sunday at the Torco Dock.

Pictures taken at Toledo docks the week of March 16.
Toledo Shiploader
Toledo Shiploader (another view)
Toledo Docks Rotary Dumper
Adam E. Cornelius in layup
H. Lee White (stern view) in layup
Buffalo (stern)
Wolveine laid up
Wolverine (stern)

 Reported by: Bob Vincent


Milwaukee Prepares for Launch of Lake Express Service


Work is progressing on Milwaukee's new high speed ferry dock. Ground was broken in January for the ferry terminal. Service is scheduled to begin in June to Muskegon, Mich. Billboards and banners have begun to appear in the Milwaukee area promoting the new Lake Express ferry that will carry passengers and vehicles across Lake Michigan in approximately 3 hours.

Advertising banner
Terminal under construction in Milwaukee

Reported by: Andy LaBorde


St. Marys River Icebreakers Ready for Locks Opener


Ice breakers were out in force this morning with Mackinaw working in the upper river after locking through the Poe Lock yesterday. The icebreakers Griffon, Biscayne Bay, Katmai Bay and Hollyhock are working in the lower river, all in anticipation for Thursday’s Soo Locks season opener. The Griffon later headed upbound through the locks and on to Thunder Bay.

Reported by: Jerry Masson

Photos by: R. Walker
Photo of the Hollyhock, taken in the lower St. Marys River earlier in the week.
View of Soo Harbor showing ice above the locks.
Scrapping continues on Quedoc at the Canadian Soo. Next to the Quedoc is the barge Chief Wawatam. Also in the photo is the Lewis G. Harriman, which will also be cut up for scrap this year.

Photos by: B. Barnes
Hollyhock on March 13.
Stern view.


Season Underway at St. Joseph


Inland Lakes’ steamer Alpena opened the 2004 shipping season Friday at St. Joseph, Mich. She delivered 10,000 tons of cement to the Lafarge dock, according to news reports.

Reported by: Jim Spencer


Paul R. Tregurtha Opens Marquette Season


The Paul R. Tregurtha was the first ship into Marquette this shipping season, bringing a load of coal from Superior to the Presque Isle Power Plant. Work continues at the ore dock, readying it for the Michipicoten, expected this week.

Unlike last year's start to the shipping season in which two vessels became stuck in the ice just outside the upper harbor, the Tregurtha had no problem this year getting through the light ice cover in the upper harbor.  The Tregurtha is the first commercial vessel to visit Marquette this season and is the second vessel into Marquette this month.  Earlier this month, the U.S.C.G. Sundew made its first and last visit of the season when she arrived to check out the buoys in both the upper and lower harbors.

Reported by: Lee Rowe and Art Pickering

Photos by: Lee Rowe
Paul R. Tregurtha unloading coal.
Close-up of stern
Ore chutes down on the north side of the dock as winter work continues.


Saginaw River Season Begins


The 2004 shipping season began on the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning with the arrival of the tug John Spence & barge McAsphalt, which passed the Pump-Out Station shortly before 9 a.m. and continued upriver to the Triple Cleen Liquifuels Dock in Essexville to unload.

The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC 2004 were also moving in the river on Wednesday after departing their lay-up dock in Carrollton.  The Busch initially stated that she was going down as far as Bay City Wirt Dock before going back upriver, but after a lengthy delay at Lafayette Bridge due to a stuck locking pin, she was seen at Pier 7 Marina in Bay City deploying an oil boom

John Spence upbound at the Essroc Terminal in Essexville
Another view
Stern view at Triple Cleen
Tug Gregory J. Busch

Reported by: Todd Shorkey


James R. Barker Sails from Sturgeon Bay



The season’s first 1,000-footer out of Sturgeon Bay, the James R. Barker of the Interlake fleet, departed the PBI dock Wednesday morning through the ship canal to Lake Michigan, bound for Escanaba and her first load of the season.

Before the Barker got underway, the Edward L. Ryerson, which was rafted on the Barker’s outboard side, had to be moved. The Ryerson was eventually tied back at the PBI dock, although she will soon be towed to a dock at Bay Shipbuilding to free up the PBI dock area for development.

Barker heads away from her dock.
Passing through the ship canal.
Tugs secure Edward L. Ryerson at the PBI dock.

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle


Redevelopment May be Ahead for Buffalo Harbor


A group of 30 national development firm representatives toured the Buffalo Outer Harbor area on the morning of March 18. The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, city, county, and state are preparing to bid out redevelopment of about 120 acres of land on the site of the former Port of Buffalo. This area includes Seaway Piers and the adjacent dry bulk storage apron extending south toward the Bell Slip and Port Terminal buildings.  Local skeptics site 50 years worth of plans for the area have never been built but this time officials hope to get the ball rolling and start the project within a year.

Looking east at the Seaway piers and former dry bulk open storage area at the old Port of Buffalo.

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski


Open House Will Show Off New GLMA Facility


The Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City will host an open house on April 2 from 3-7 p.m. This event is in coordination with the grand opening of the new school’s new Maritime Campus facility. The new building and the training ship State of Michigan will be open to the public. All are welcome to attend and learn more about Michigan's Maritime College. Cadets and staff will be on hand to answer questions regarding the program and requirements for admission.

Reported by: GLMA


No Changes Yet in Proposed Soo Locks Security Plan


A second meeting was held Wednesday in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Soo Locks Administration Building to discuss proposed changes in a new security plan that were unveiled to the public three weeks ago. The two parts of the proposal that drew the most opposition at that time were plans to install a seven-foot, wrought iron fence to replace the present chain-link fence along the MacArthur Lock, and to enclose all the viewing stands with Plexiglas.

Wednesday’s meeting was called a the direction of USACE Detroit District Commander Lt. Col. Thomas Magness, who was concerned about the lack of public input prior to design of the project. Feedback from the prior meeting indicated a considerable amount of resentment to the plans by local tourism, merchandising and Visitor’s Center officials. Many boatwatchers also expressed their displeasure through this website.

Project engineer John Niemiec explained that no changes had been made to the plans since the meeting three weeks earlier, news which was not well recieved by those attending. However, Lee Robinson, from the Huntington Alabama USACE Security Group, said it is not too late to make changes that would accomplish the same level of security and be more “visitor friendly.”

The group eventually reached a consensus that moving the security perimeter from the wall of the MacArthur Lock to the present park perimeter and increasing inspection and screening of persons entering the park would accomplish the same purpose. It was also proposed that an addition to the height of the present fence along the lock wall would prevent throwing things over the fence, but would not restrict the viewing and photographing opportunities.

The question of Plexiglas enclosures for the viewing stands will be reviewed to see if a different type of material would provide security without creating photo restrictions and a greenhouse effect on hot summer days.

Sheri Davie from Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s Marquette office was present at the meeting and said that both Sen. Stabenow and Sen. Carl Levin have already received complaints about the Corps’ proposed plans. Both senators have indicated an interest the project.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Robinson and Niemiec expressed the opinion that the input received from this meeting would be reviewed within a month, and any changes would be transmitted to all the interested parties, however those present at the meeting were not overly optimistic that any changes would be made to the Corps proposal. Construction is expected to start in 3-4 weeks and be completed in August.

The following is provided should you chose to express an opinion:

Sen. Debbie Stabenow –
Sen. Carl Levin –   

E-Mail may also be addressed to:

By U.S. Mail:
Ms. Sheri Davie
Regional Manager
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow
1901 West Ridge, Suite 7
Marquette, MI 49855

Reported by: Dave Wobser


Interest in Oglebay Vessels Reported Strong


As the vessels operated by Oglebay Norton Marine Services ready for their 150th – and possibly last – season under the O-N banner, interest is high from parties wishing to obtain all or part of the fleet.

According to an article in the March 13 Cleveland Plain Dealer, a former O-N chief executive and the son of a former CEO are looking to buy the vessels and hire a former fleet president to run the business.

American Steamship Co. has also indicated an interest in leasing the boats and has been working with the union that represents officers aboard the fleet’s boats.

A group of O-N sailors is also trying to buy the vessels and other property in a employee stock ownership plan. If successful, the group would like to Stuart Theis, former president of the Marine Division, at the helm.

Tom Green, president and CEO of Oglebay from 1992-1997 and chairman from 1992 -1998, also said he is assembling an investor group that includes Renold Thompson Jr., whose late father, Renold “Renny” Thompson, ran Oglebay from 1982-1992.

“We just want to keep it in Cleveland if we can,” Green told the newspaper. “We think that's where it belongs.” Green also said his group is not interested in keeping the current O-N fleet alliance with American Steamship Co.

Finally, persistent waterfront reports indicate that Canada Steamship Lines may be  interested in acquiring at least two of the O-N steamers, while Grand River Navigation would also like to add another vessel to its fleet. Grand River already purchased the idle Richard Reiss from O-N earlier this year.

Oglebay filed Feb. 23 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Any purchase now needs the blessing of a bankruptcy judge in Delaware. It is not known yet when a decision on the fleet’s assets will be made.

Reported by: Dave Wobser


Tug John Purves to Become Museum Display


The 1919-built tug John Purves has been donated by Andrie Inc. to the Door County Marine Museum. The 150-foot vessel was towed to Sturgeon Bay in November and is currently moored at a dock near the museum. She will eventually be restored to the colors of the Sturgeon Bay-based Roen Salvage Co., for which she operated for most of her career, and opened to the public as a DCMM exhibit, according to Mari-Times, the group’s newsletter.

John Purves at Sturgeon Bay recently.

Reported by: Door County Maritime Museum


Sundew Tackles Duluth-Superior Ice


The USCGC Sundew left her mooring at the Duluth Coast Guard station at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. After backing out of her slip and across the harbor into the main shipping channel, she headed up the St. Louis River to break the ice around the Midwest Energy and DM&IR docks.  After that, she cut a track between the Duluth and Superior entrance. It took a while to get the first track cut. There were a number of times the Sundew had to back and ram to get through, but once the first track was cut she quickly ran back and forth further breaking up the ice. Once the ice in the harbor was sufficiently broken, the Sundew left through the Superior piers and headed out onto Lake Superior.  She only spent a brief moment on Lake Superior before heading to the Duluth piers. At 2:45 p.m., she was safely tied up and done for the day.

Sundew coming down the main shipping channel.
Up the river passing the Paul R. Tregurtha.
Coming back down the river.
Entering the Duluth shipping canal.

 Reported by: Brian Peterson


Saltie Marinette Sold For Scrap


One of the lakes’ most frequent saltwater visitors, the 1967-built Marinette, has been reported sold for scrapping in India. Her last trip into lakes was in December 2003 when she called at Green Bay and Toledo.

Reported by: Chris Frankowiak

Photos from 2002: Roger LeLievre
Marinette bow view.
Marinette stern.


Roman Loads First Cargo at Picton


The Stephen B. Roman departed Toronto for its first trip of the season Monday, loading cement at Picton for Rochester. The English River is expected to begin service shortly.

Reported by: Art Church


Shipmasters Group Visits Sarnia Traffic


Last Saturday, members of Port Huron Shipmasters Lodge #2 and members of Detroit ISMA Lodge 7 were given the opportunity to tour the Sarnia Traffic/Great Lakes Ice Breaking Center in Sarnia, Ont.

Click here to view

Reported by: Frank Frisk:


Quebec Harbor Report


Groupe Desgagnes’newly-acquired Camilla Desgagnes arrived in Quebec Harbor March 12 from St. Johns, Nfld.
Camilla Desgagnes, stern view.
Fantom, a bulk carrier flagged in Panama, loading wheat for a foreign port.
Humber Arm, Bermuda flag, loading newsprint on Feb. 28 for Cornerbrook, Nfld.

Reported by: Frederick Frechette


No Name Change This Year for Richard Reiss

The motor vessel Richard Reiss, recently acquired by Grand River Navigation Co. from the Oglebay Norton Co., will retain the same name and hull color for at least the 2004 shipping season.

She is expected to depart Erie, Pa., her lay-up port of two years, March 22 or 23 with her stack painted in the Grand River Navigation colors.

The vessel has been inactive since Dec. 18, 2001, when she was laid up for the winter. In January 2002 the Erie Sand & Gravel Co., which included the Reiss, was purchased by the Oglebay Norton Co. Ships sailing in the Oglebay Norton fleet took over the routes normally served by the Reiss and the vessel remained in lay-up.

Current financial difficulties at Oglebay Norton are the likely reason for the 1943-built vessel's sale.

Richard Reiss
Dark clouds, but a bright future
Another view
Erie Sand stack
Aft cabins
Sandsucker J. S. St John

Reported by: Dave Merchant

Twin Ports shipping expected to start Wednesday

Commercial vessel traffic in the Twin Ports is expected to start March 17, when Interlake Steamship Company's Paul R. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker begin coal shuttles to Marquette, Mich., and Taconite Harbor, Minn.

The Tregurtha, which spent the winter at Midwest Energy Terminal, is scheduled to load there Wednesday with coal for the power plant at Presque Isle. The Barker, which spent the winter in drydock at nearby Fraser Shipyards, is scheduled to load at Midwest Energy Terminal on Thursday.

The pair will make several trips across Lake Superior before the Soo Locks open. The Tregurtha currently is scheduled to load for Presque Isle again on March 20. The Barker is scheduled to load for Taconite Harbor again on March 20 and March 21.

In recent years, an Interlake boat has laid up at Midwest Energy Terminal and started the season early making coal runs on Lake Superior. This year is the first time two boats have made those trips.

Several boats may be vying for the honor of making the first departure for the lower lakes. Cason J. Callaway and Edwin H. Gott are likely candidates to depart lay-up berths on March 22 to load taconite pellets. Paul R. Tregurtha is due to load coal for St. Clair on March 23, followed Walter J. McCarthy Jr. loading for the same destination.

To get the season started, Coast Guard Cutter Sundew will begin its last season of active duty on March 14 or 15 by breaking ice in Duluth and Superior harbor. The waters off Duluth are open, with the small winter ice sheet having blown away several weeks ago. The harbor appears to have a solid ice cover, but large open areas have appeared recently near the Tregurtha's winter berth at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Reported by: Al Miller

Griffon in Goderich

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was making her way into the Goderich harbor early Sunday morning to break up the heavy ice inside the break walls and channel.

With the Atlantic Huron scheduled to depart winter lay-up within a week and possible Teakglen and Willowglen movements, the Griffon was a welcome sight.

Reported by: Dale Baechler

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 15

WESTCLIFFE HALL (2) was launched March 15, 1956.

March 15, 1949 - The Ann Arbor fleet was laid up due to a strike called by the boat crews. The fleet was idled until March 22nd.

On 15 March 1882, GRACE PATTERSON (wooden propeller tug/freighter, 111 tons, built in 1880 at Grand Haven, MI) was carrying lumber and lath when she stranded near Two Rivers Point, WI on Lake Michigan. She caught fire and was totally destroyed. Lifesavers rescued the crew.

Mr. Russell Armington died on 15 March 1837. He operated the first shipyard at St. Catharine's, Ontario from 1828 until his death.

On 15 March 1926, SARNOR (wooden propeller freighter, 228', 1319 gt, built in 1888 at W. Bay City, MI, formerly BRITANNIC) caught fire at Kingston, Ontario near the La Salle Causeway. She burned to a total loss.

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

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

St. Marys River Ice Breaking

Coast Guard icebreakers are expected to pass through the St. Marys River Tuesday morning. They will pass on north side of Drummond Island to break up the ice bridge running from Milford Haven, Ont. to Drummond Island, MI.. In conjunction with breaking up the ice bridge, Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie was expected to open Pipe Island North and East Channels at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

The United States Coast Guard, in cooperation with the United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Ontario Provincial Police, will break up the deteriorating ice bridge as a safety measure for recreational ice users, and in an effort to control illegal US/Canadian border crossings on the ice bridge.

The Coast Guard would also like to remind all recreational ice users to plan their activity carefully, use caution on the ice, and stay away from shipping channels, which are being groomed for the opening of the shipping season.

Reported by: USCG

Canadian Scrapping

Scrapping has started in the rusting hull of the Canadiana at Ramey's Bend on the Welland Canal. The hull has been resting in this spot for over 10 years waiting for its fate to be decided.

Numerous groups have tried to save the former Crystal Beach-Buffalo passenger steamer and most recently a group was interested in sinking it for recreational diving use off Port Colborne.

Legal issues delayed the group and with rising scrap prices her fate was sealed.

The Canadiana made its last run in 1956. In the 80's she spent over a year at the bottom of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, from there she was towed to the old scrap yard at Ramey's Bend in Port Colborne. For many years all that remained of the ship was the hull and a rusting skeleton from the upper deck.

Scrapping has begun.
Another view.
Before scrapping started.
Another view.
Close up of the hull.
Underway in 1959.

Reported by: Craig Workman

Today in Great Lakes History - March 14

March 14, 1959 - The ANN ARBOR NO. 6 returned to service as the ARTHUR K. ATKINSON after an extensive re-fit.

In 1880, the harbor tug George Lamont sank with all hands (three) off Pentwater, MI after being overcome by weather during a race with her rival, the harbor tug Gem. The Lamont was the only steamer to disappear with all hands during the many races that took place among steamers during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

On 14 March 1873, The new railroad carferry SAGINAW went into the Port Huron Dry Dock Company's dry dock where her engine was installed along with her shaft and propeller. Workmen had to break up the ice in the dry dock to release the schooner MARY E. PEREW so that work could begin on the SAGINAW. The work was done quickly since SAGINAW was needed at Detroit to fill in for one of the car ferries there which had become disabled.

Mr. Francois Baby was granted a "ferry lease" between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan on 14 March 1843. He built the steamer ALLIANCE for this ferry service and Capt. Tom Chilvers was skipper. In 1851, Capt. Chilvers leased the steamer from Mr. Baby and ran it on the same route until the late 1850s.

On 14 March 1878, the first vessel of the navigation season passed through the Straits of Mackinac. This was the earliest opening of the navigation season at the Straits since 1854.

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

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

ISG Hiring

International Steel Group announced Thursday that it will hire back 140 employees laid off when LTV shut down in 2001.

Because of high domestic demand, William Brake, vice president of ISG, said that steel would be made at the west-side plant by mid-May. When LTV Steel closed down, it was a blow to the whole economy of northeast Ohio, local media reported.

ISG bought the facility from bankrupt LTV. It took over at the worst time in the steel business and stepped right into a very strong market, bolstered by new restrictions on imports, a reduced domestic supply, and prices that are up 30 to 40 percent.

Reported by: Bob Davis

Alpena Update

The Steamer Alpena spent all day Friday anchored in the bay due to strong winds. It took on cement Saturday morning at Lafarge and was headed for Cleveland.

The J.A.W. Iglehart returned to service on Saturday morning leaving its lay-up dock in Detroit. The Iglehart arrived in Alpena Saturday night to load its first cargo of the season and is bound for Milwaukee.

Reported by: Ben & Chanda McClain

Today in Great Lakes History - March 13

The keel for the IMPERIAL REDWATER was laid March 13, 1950.

On March 13, 1989 the Rouge Steel Co. announced the sale of its marine operations to Lakes Shipping, Cleveland (Interlake Steamship, mgr.)

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

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

Saginaw Break Out

The U.S. Coast Guard announced a commercial vessel transit will occur in Saginaw Bay on or after March 14. The vessel will transit through the navigational channel to Bay City, Mi. Recreational ice users are cautioned to remain well clear of the navigational channel and any vessels transiting through the ice.

Interested persons are encouraged to call Coast Guard Group Detroit at 313-568-9524 to obtain the latest locations when and where the vessels will be transiting the ice.

Reported by: USCG

Fueling Vessel Jos. F. Bigane Renamed

The self-propelled Chicago-Indiana Harbor fueling vessel Jos. F. Bigane has been renamed William L. Warner, by her new operator, HCM Ship Management Ltd., an affiliate of Hannah Marine Corp. HCM also operates the historic cement carrier Southdown Challenger.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre

Sturgeon Bay

Here are some photos of the lay-up fleet in Sturgeon Bay, WI from last week and some from last month. The photos reflect the change in name of the George A. Stinson to American Spirit.

Close-up of American Spirit deckhouse from across the bay
Close-up of bow of American Spirit
Full view of American Spirit
(L to R) - Bow shot of Oglebay Norton, Mesabi Miner and American Spirit
(L to R) - Herbert C. Jackson, Oglebay Norton, Mesabi Miner and American Spirit
Wide view of lay-up fleet
Herbert C. Jackson in the graving dock

Bows of the James R. Barker and Edward L. Ryerson
Full view of the Barker & Ryerson
Full view from a different angle
Bow view from a different angle
The Selvick tug fleet has been busy
Mesabi Miner in the graving dock
Mesabi Miner from across the bay
George A. Stinson
(L to R) Mesabi Miner, George A. Stinson and Oglebay Norton
Oglebay Norton and George A. Stinson
Oglebay Norton

Reported by: Dick Lund

Today in Great Lakes History - March 12

RUTH HINDMAN (2) was launched March 12, 1910 as a) NORWAY.

G.A. TOMLINSON (2) was launched March 12, 1907 as a) D.O. MILLS.

March 12, 1941 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 arrived Ludington on her maiden voyage. She loaded cars of paper at Manitowoc, then picked up some cars of canned milk at Kewaunee. Captain Charles Robertson in command.

On 12 March 1883, the steam barge R. McDONALD was renamed IDA M. TORRENT.

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

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

First Vessel Arrives in Marquette

The new shipping season unofficially started in Marquette on March 10 with the arrival of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew. The Sundew spent the afternoon in both the upper and lower harbors checking out buoys and preparing the harbors for the upcoming shipping season. The Sundew tied up for an overnight stay at Mattson Park in the lower harbor.

On Thursday, drivers from the Michigan State Police post in Negaunee assisted the crew of the Sundew with their annual hull inspection. The arrival of the Sundew on Wednesday was her first and last trip to Marquette of the season before she is decommissioned in May and replaced by the new Cutter Alder which was launch last month.

Weather conditions on Wednesday were ideal for the Sundew as they performed their duties in and around both harbors. Superior was fairly calm with light to moderate ice around the area. However Thursday's weather was a different story as a weather front approached from the Northwest. Superior was rough, winds from the North were stiff, and temperatures dropped quickly.

The first freighter of the season is expected to be the Paul R. Tregurtha arrives on Thursday or Friday of next week with a load of coal from Superior, Wi. The Tregurtha is expected to make an additional trip before heading downbound for the opening of the locks.

The Michipicoten is also expected to get an early start on the season, the Michipicoten is laid-up at Algoma Steel in Sault Ste Marie, Ont.

Reported by: Art Pickering

Duluth Lay-up-View from Skyline

All of the photos where taken from Skyline Parkway in Duluth, MN. Across the St. Louis river is Superior, WI. Note in third photo below the large stockpile of taconite that the DM&IR has accumulated over the winter. With uncertainty last fall it appears they plan on using the dock this summer.

Wide view Lake Superior & Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.
Paul R Tregurtha at Midwest Energy.
Wide view of the DM&IR oar dock in Duluth with the Paul R across the river.
American Mariner at Hallett.
Indiana Harbor at Garfield C.
Edwin H Gott at Port Terminal.
Roger Blough at Port Terminal.
View of Fraser Shipyards in Superior, WI.

Reported by: Brian Peterson

Conneaut Construction

Ryba Marine Contracting is currently working on the Conneaut coal pier dock face.

Ryba Marine Contracting working on Conneaut coal pier dock face
Another view
Tug Kathy Lynn in Conneaut

Reported by: Dave Merchant

Today in Great Lakes History - March 11

The Keel was laid March 11, 1976 for the 660 ft. forward section of the Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

L'AIGLE was launched March 11, 1982 as a) ERRIA PILOT.

March 11, 1904 - The SHENANGO NO. 1 burned at Conneaut. She was a total loss.

Sea trials were conducted on March 11, 1956 on the LACHINEDOC (2).

The tug RIVER QUEEN was sold to Mr. Ed Recor of St. Clair, Michigan on 11 March 1886.

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

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

Joseph L. Block Opens Season at Escanaba

The Joseph L. Block departed Bayship lay-up at noon Tuesday Wisconsin time, went through the ship canal and headed up the lake for Escanaba, where she arrived on Wednesday.

The Great Lakes Trader was moved out to the bay to make room for the Block at the ship loader. The Joseph H. Thompson and tug Thompson Jr. remain in layup.

Joseph Block loading
J. Block, J. Thompson at the dock
Joseph Thompson Jr.
Great Lakes Trader anchored in the bay.

Reported by: Lee Rowe

Salties sold for demolition

The following vessels, all visitors to Great Lakes ports under at least one name, were sold to be broken up according to the November and December editions of Marine News published by the World Ship Society. In brackets, next to the name of the vessels is the year the ship transited the St. Lawrence Seaway for the first time bound for the Lakes.

The bulk carrier Dina arrived at Alang, India 4/7/2003 to be broken up. In the Seaway under six different names. First as Baldero (1984), then as Forest Bay (1986), Bow Forest (1991) C.Martin (1995), Clipper Harmony (1996) and Millenium Harmony (2000).
The bulk carrier Elizebeth was sold to Indian breakers. She was last reported at Aden 5/10/2001. In the Seaway as Ajax (1973)
The general cargo Pioneer was beached at Alang 30/8/2003. In the Seaway as Elbeland (1983).
The bulk carrier Trust (1988) was beached at Alang 1/9/2003. In the Seaway also as Pampas (1985).
Bulker Yan Fa sold to Chinese breakers. Reported 8/2003. In the Seaway as Sneland (1972) and Anadolu Guney (1984)
Bulker Commencement (Fortune type) arrived Alang 9/10/2003. In the Seaway as Transocean Transport II (1977) and Poli II (1986)
Bulker Danais P (Fortune type) beached Alang 11/10/2003. In the Seaway as Cherry Flower (1979)
General cargo Riamar 1 arr. Alang 7/10/2003. In the Seaway as Ksar Ettir (1978)
General cargo Riamar 2 arr. Alang 10/10/2003. In the Seaway as Ksar El Boukhari (1979)
General cargo Trevomar Leste sold to unspecified breakers probably in Brazil. Reported 9/2003. In the Seaway as Santo Amaro (1971)
Bulker Wisdom (Fortune type) arr. Alang 14/10/2003. In the Seaway as Anangel Wisdom.(1985)
In addition, a vessel built by Marine Industries at Sorel has been sold to be broken up. The Marindus type Windsong built in 1978 was sold to Bangladesh breakers and last reported 20/5/2002 at Fujairah Anchorage. This vessel had been launched as Aristarchos, was completed as Marindus Tracy and was laid up upon completion. Sold in 1979, she finally sailed as Amstelstrand. The vessel never transited the Seaway. Only two Marindus did, the Algerian-flag Babor and Biban.

Reported by: René Beauchamp

Today in Great Lakes History - March 10

CHARLES E. WILSON was launched March 10, 1973.

The ADAM E. CORNELIUS (1) was renamed b) DETROIT EDISON (1) on March 10, 1948.

FORT HENRY was launched March 10, 1955.

KINSMAN VENTURE was launched March 10, 1906 as a) JOHN SHERWIN (1).

On 10 March 1881, the propellers MORLEY and A. L. HOPKINS were purchased by the Wabash Railroad Company from the Morley Brothers of Marine City.

The N. K. FAIRBANK (wooden freighter, 205', 980 gt, built in 1874 at Marine City, MI) was sold by Morley & Morse to Captain H. Hastings on 10 March 1884.

The tug RIVER QUEEN sank at her dock in Port Huron during the night of 10 March 1885. She was raised the following day and one of her sea-cocks was discovered to have been open that caused her to fill with water.

CADILLAC (steel ferry, 161', 636 gt) was launched on 10 March 1928 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in River Rouge, Michigan (hull #260) for the Detroit & Windsor Ferry Company. The ferry company claimed that she was the largest and most powerful ferry in North American waters. When she was launched, the Ambassador Bridge and the tunnel, which connects Detroit and Windsor, were being constructed. She was placed in service on 25 April 1928 and had a varied history. From 1940 to 1942, she ran as a Bob-lo steamer. In 1942, she was sold to the U. S. Coast Guard and renamed ARROWWOOD (WAGL 176) and used as an icebreaker. She was rebuilt in 1946, renamed CADILLAC, and served as a passenger vessel on Lake Erie. At the end of the 1947 season, she was tied up to the dock for use as a restaurant. She went through a couple of owners until she finally arrived at the scrappers' dock in Hamilton, Ontario on May 26, 1962 for breaking up.

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

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

Sundew Opens Shipping in Duluth

The US. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew (1944), not looking her age at all, cleared the Twin Ports at Monday afternoon for a turn out on Lake Superior, thus opening the harbor once again and getting the season of heavy lifting for Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge underway, too.

Sundew was exactly 60 years and one month old that day. She was launched on February 8, 1944 by Marine Iron & Shipbuilding as the last of the twenty-one 180-footers they built. Zenith Dredge Company still had four of their seventeen 180s yet to be launched; Firebush, Iris, Acacia, and finally the Woodrush on April 23, 1944.

Sundew heading out from the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association webcam

Reported by: Thom Holden

Kellstone quarry sold to Lafarge

Lafarge has bought the Kellstone, Inc. quarry on Kelleys Island in Lake Erie.

Lafarge North America, Inc. purchased the quarry, which covers about 250 acres on the southwest side of the island, for an undisclosed price on Wednesday, said Louis Beauchemin, general manager for the company's Great Lakes division. As part of the purchase, Lafarge acquired a dock on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland.

Lafarge, which operates a quarry in Marblehead, was interested in the Kelleys Island facility because the company wants to expand its Great Lakes operations, the executive said.

August Palladino, whose family owns Kellstone, said the quarry sale would not affect operations of the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line, also owned by Kellstone.

Reported by: Frank Frisk

Mather Museum Wants to Blow Your Horn

If you have a steam whistle from the Great Lakes region, Cleveland's Steamship William G. Mather Museum would like to give you the chance to toot it at their annual July 4 Whistle Pull.

What they want are "horns, whistles, sirens, bells, and other acoustic devices used in signaling and warning applications in industrial, municipal, maritime and railroad environments." Call Bill McDonald, Operations Manager, at 216-574-9053 or e-mail: to volunteer yourself and/or your whistle.

Mounted on the Mather's main deck, whistles are sounded every hour along with the Mather's still-operating whistle, from noon ­ 4 p.m. during the July 4 weekend.

The Mather asks that you also provide background information for signage displayed by each whistle.

Reported by: Rex Cassidy

Today in Great Lakes History - March 09

AMOCO ILLINOIS was launched March 9, 1918 as a) WILLIAM P. COWAN.

NOTRE DAME VICTORY (CLIFFS VICTORY) was launched on March 9, 1945, just 42 days after her keel was laid.

WIARTON (2) was launched March 9, 1907 as a) THOMAS LYNCH.

March 9, 1920 - The PERE MARQUETTE 3 sank off Ludington after being crushed by ice.

On 9 March 1858, the propeller ferry GLOBE was being loaded with cattle at the Third Street dock at Detroit, Michigan. In the rush to get aboard, the cattle caused the vessel to capsize. All of the cattle swam ashore, although some swam across the river to the Canadian side.

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

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

American Steamship May Get Oglebay Norton Vessels

The American Steamship Co. could be acquiring some of the vessels operated by Oglebay Norton Marine Services Co., according to a story in Saturday’s Detroit Free Press.

According to the report, “industry insiders say American Steamship Co. has expressed interest in buying Oglebay Norton Co.’s 12-ship fleet” and that negotiations with the unions involved are ongoing.

The vessel company’s parent firm, The Oglebay Norton Co., has been under bankruptcy protection since Feb. 23. The 150-year-old company has bankruptcy court approval to borrow $40 million to keep running while it refinances. It hopes to secure another $35 million at a March 22 hearing.

Officials from both companies would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

“We have been approached by a wide variety of people interested in making an investment in the company or purchasing company assets,” Stephen Phillips, an Oglebay spokesman, told the Free Press. “At this point, it’s not appropriate to discuss any of them. However, any serious offer will be given due consideration.” American Steamship President and CEO Jerry Welsh also said he couldn’t comment. “The company is in bankruptcy and what happens will be decided by a bankruptcy judge.”

Another possible deal involves a group of Oglebay employees who proposed buying its fleet. Phillips said the company is waiting for the group to return a confidentiality agreement that would allow it to examine company books.

A story last week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer said the employee group has landed a grant of up to $25,000 to investigate the proposed buyout.

The state grant - administered by the Ohio Employee Ownership Center in Kent - will help pay for a consultant to look at Oglebay’s books and analyze its marine services division.

Reported by: Roger LeLievre and Frank Frisk

Shipping Season Slowly Reawakens

After an unusually short winter rest, crews are beginning to report back to their various vessels for spring fit-out. Inland Lakes Management cement carriers are already on the go, with the steamer Alpena departing her Cleveland lay-up berth for her namesake port March 4. She was upbound at Port Huron March 5 and arrived at Lafarge early on March 6 to take on cement. She departed by bound for Milwaukee and S. Chicago.

Jacklyn M/ Integrity left Milwaukee March 2 for Waukegan. By the 4th they were headed down the Calumet River to load slag, then back to Waukegan, to off load. After that, they will head for Muskegon, with the tug Barbara Andrie breaking ice at the Lafarge dock.

The American Republic is off and running on the winter shuttles, loading ore at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal for transfer to ISG steel upriver.

The CCGS Simcoe will begin opening the channel from Prescott, Ont., to the Bay of Quinte March 8. This, along with the coast guard helicopter ferrying technicians to local light stations, implies that the cement ships will start up soon.

Reported by: Ben and Chanda McLain, Jim Clatworthy, Dick Kelley, Robin Greathouse and Ron Walsh

New Lake Ontario Ferry is ‘The Breeze’

The Spirit of Ontario has officially received its new nickname – “The Breeze.” The name was chosen out of 30,000 names entered in a contest held recently by Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS).

The vessel in enroute from her Australian builders to the Great Lakes. First stop was Noumea, New Caledonia, then Honolulu, Hawaii, where it arrived March 3. Average journey speed was almost 18 knots, while encountering waves of up to 4 meters.

On the morning of March 7, the Spirit of Ontario pulled out of its berth headed for the next leg of the journey - the Panama Canal.

Click here to track the progress

Reported by: Rex Brown

Herbert C. Jackson in Drydock at Sturgeon Bay

American Sprit, formerly George A. Stinson, has been taken from the Bayship graving dock and placed back on footer row, to prepare for spring fitout. After the graving dock was reblocked the Herbert C. Jackson was placed within. The Jackson will under go her five-year survey and inspection. She is also receiving a new bowthruster.

Meanwhile, Joseph L. Block will leave winter lay-up Tuesday, bound for Escanaba. Wilfred Sykes is expected to re-enter service the week of March 22.

Pictures by Vic DeLarwelle
American Sprit pulled from the graving dock.
Stern view.
Jackson assisted to the dock.

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle and Wendell Wilke

Marine Men Honored at Soo Locks Celebration

Celebrating the Soo Locks and its importance to the community, the Soo Locks Visitors Center Association is throwing a party on March 20, just in time for the seasonal re-opening of the locks. The public is invited to attend the festivities, which include dinner, dancing, and more.

Officially dubbed the Soo Locks Celebration Banquet, the event will also include the induction of two individuals into the Great Lakes Marine Hall of Fame.

Held at Lake Superior State University’s Cisler Center, this is a revival of the Sault Marine Banquet that was held prior to the opening of the locks in the 1940s, and the annual Great Lakes Marine Man of the Year Banquet. Displayed at the Museum Ship Valley Camp, the Great Lakes Marine Hall Of Fame honors people who have contributed to all aspects of shipping on the Great Lakes.

The 2004 inductees to be honored on March 20 are Wesley R. Harkins and Captain F. “Skipper” Manzzutti. Wesley Harkins is a resident of Duluth, Minn., having lived there all his life. He began his marine career on the old Navy training vessel U.S.S. Paducah, which sailed from Chicago to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the fall of 1940. He closed out his navy service as a Lieutenant JG, after serving as a deck watch officer and communication officer aboard several ships and on station in the Pacific.

Following WW II, he worked for a short time for the Northern Pacific Railroad, before joining the staff of Skillings Mining Review magazine, where he spent 13 years, gaining acclaim for his weekly maritime news reporting and outstanding marine photography. He joined Fraser Shipyards, Inc., in Superior, Wis., as Public and Industrial Relations Director in 1959 and continued in that position until his retirement. He has continued his involvement with maritime affairs on the Great Lakes and with deep interest and close monitoring of ships on the ocean. He has made a tremendous contribution to the Great Lakes marine industry and to the ports of Duluth-Superior, with his special and combination of journalism, photography and efforts with historical documents, and tireless interest and work with many marine-related groups and organizations. He was selected as Duluth-Superior Harbor Man of the Year in 1980 and has also served on the board of the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association.

Captain F. “Skipper” Manzzutti started his sailing carrier working on tugs around Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He went from there to serving in many capacities from ordinary seaman to third, second and first mate on freighters, tankers and passenger vessels trading on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

In 1938, he took command of the vessel Mindemoya. In 1942, he became part owner, as well as master of Mindemoya. In 1944, he acquired sole ownership, changed the name of the vessel to Yankcanuck, and formed the Yankcanuck Steamship Co. Ltd. He operated this steamship company until selling to Algoma Steel Ltd. in 1973. He then formed Manzzutti Marine, and offered his services as a Vessel Agent, Marine Surveyor, and Salvage Master. He was a familiar sight along the waterfronts of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and Michigan, as well as throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, often accompanied by his wife and work companion Eleanor.

Honored by the International Shipmasters Association Lodge #22 in 1995 for his lifetime dedicated service to the maritime industry, he died unexpectedly on June 14, 2000, at the age of 90, while attending to the cruise ship c. Columbus. His passing ended an era in Sault Ste. Marie marine history.

Tickets for the dinner/dance are $40 per person, a portion of which is deductible as a charitable contribution. Tickets are on sale at the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce (2581 I-75 Business Spur) and the Sault Convention and Visitors Bureau (536 Ashmun St.), Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. The deadline to purchase a ticket is March 11.

Reported by: John Wellington

Raffle Winner

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

Winner: Jonene Eliasson of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There are currently no other raffle being offered. Watch for announcements of new raffles on the Trip Raffle Page

Weekly Updates

The weekly updates have been uploaded.
Click here to view

Boatnerd on Sabbatical

I will soon be taking a break from this web site so I can return to school to complete a master's degree (MIS). This means that my "hobby time," which I have been using to do this site for the past eight years, will have to be devoted to my studies. My first plan was to shut the site down for a few years but that received a lot of negitive feed back. In order to handle my change in schedule the News Page, which recently went weekly for the winter, will remain weekly, with "extras" (big news) published as needed. Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of "Know Your Ships," has volunteered to edit the News Page in my absence in order to keep this site operating.

New guidelines for submitting news will be posted shortly.

The Weekly Updates will continue unaffected for now, Passage Page will remain unchanged and discussion boards have been taken over by a group of moderators. Dave Wobser has volunteered to organize this year's Boatnerd Gatherings, with information coming soon. The first will during Engineer's Day at the Soo Locks June 25.

If anyone is interested in helping with other portions of the site, or if anyone is interesting in taking it over completely, please e-mail me. Help could range from organizing new content and picking images for features to editing the various pages. I would be open to continuing to host it on my server,­ the site uses 5 gigabytes of storage space and averages about 15 gigabytes a month transfer rates. The size and amount of data would be expensive for someone to take on (I have a special deal with my host). Anyone interested should have knowledge of raw HTML, Front Page and Server 2000.

I'll be honest and say those interested should understand the time commitment involved. I normally spend a few hours a day between the news and upkeep, 7 days a week. With such a small but loyal audience, there is no opportunity for financial compensation and not a lot of reward for your efforts.

I've greatly enjoyed the time I have spent developing this web site and have met a lot of great people. The site offered many unique opportunities for me and I'm thankful for the support over the years.
Neil Schultheiss

Today in Great Lakes History - March 08

EUGENE P. THOMAS was launched March 8, 1930.

March 8, 1910 - A fire from unknown causes destroyed the ANN ARBOR NO. 1.

On 8 March 1882, the tug WINSLOW left Manistee to tow the NORTHERN QUEEN to Marine City for repairs. NORTHERN QUEEN had collided with LAKE ERIE the previous autumn and then sank while trying to enter Manistique harbor. Robert Holland purchased the wreck of NORTHERN QUEEN after that incident.

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

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

Nugget plant resumes production

Mesabi Nugget recently restarted its iron nugget plant in Silver Bay after a 74-day shutdown for modifications and maintenance.

"What we were trying to do is relieve some of the bottlenecks we identified in the process," Larry Lehtinen, Mesabi Nugget president, told the Duluth News Tribune. "We are happy with the chemistry, but we wanted to make some adjustments to be able to improve productivity, which in turn will improve fuel efficiency."

The pilot-demonstration plant, which produces nuggets with a high iron content, is the first of its kind. The nuggets contain about 96 percent iron and are 100 percent metallic iron. Taconite pellets contain about 65 percent iron, but are zero percent metallic iron.

A 90-day production run began last week that will produce an additional 5,000 metric tons. The plant, which would produce 25,000 metric tons per year if it ran around the clock, will be shut down in June unless more money is secured. Six entities funded the $30 million startup.

"We will have completed the mission. Our customer is happy with the product," Lehtinen said, referring to Steel Dynamics Inc. "We have met their minimum requirements. We also have about five foundries in the Upper Midwest that have expressed interest in the product."

With the success of the pilot plant, Mesabi Nugget officials are beginning conceptual engineering for a 1.5-million-ton-per-year, commercial nugget plant at Northshore Mining.

Permitting, including an environmental impact statement, would be complete in 2006. Construction of two 750,000-ton modules would cost about $240 million and each would take about 18 months to build. One module would probably be built first, followed by a second module.

A 1.5-million-ton-per year plant would employ about 100 people.

Unlike taconite pellets, which are fed into blast furnaces by integrated steelmakers, iron nuggets can be fed into electric arc furnaces at minimills. Nuggets also can be used in ironmaking at foundries.

Reported by: Al Miller

Medill Remains

The former Chicago fireboat Joseph Medill remains moored in Algoma, Wis., awaiting permits that would see her sunk as an underwater dive site in Lake Michigan.

Members of the dive club Neptune's Nimrods hope to sink the retired fireboat Joseph Medill about 1.5 miles off Algoma to become a diving attraction. However the DNR has asked the club for specifics on how contamination on the boat will be cleaned up.

Medill in Algoma

Reported by: Gerry Banks

Today in Great Lakes History - March 07

The ALGOSOO suffered a serious fire at her winter mooring on the west wall above Lock 8 at Port Colborne, Ont. on March 7, 1986 when a conveyor belt ignited possibly caused by welding operations in the vicinity. The blaze spread to the stern gutting the aft accommodations.

TEXACO BRAVE (1) was launched March 7, 1929 as a) JOHN IRWIN (1).

On 7 March 1874, the tug JOHN OWEN was launched at the Detroit Dry Dock Company.

harbor but missed the piers and went ashore among the ice banks. The wind was blowing hard from the west and was soon covered with ice. Most of her cargo was saved, though in a damaged condition.

On 7 March 1896, L. C. WALDO (steel propeller freighter, 387', 4244 gt) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (hull #112). She had a long career. She was rebuilt twice, once in the winter of 1904-05 and again in 1914. She was sold Canadian in 1915 and renamed RIVERTON. In 1944, she was renamed MOHAWK DEER. She was stranded in the Storm of 1913, but subsequently rebuilt and returned to service. She lasted until November 1967 when she foundered in the Gulf of Genoa while being towed to the scrap yard at LaSpezia, Italy.

ANN ARBOR No. 1 (wooden propeller carferry, 260', 1128 gt, built in 1892 at Toledo, OH) got caught in the ice four miles off Manitowoc, Wisconsin in February 1910. She remained trapped and then on 7 March 1910, she caught fire and burned. Although she was declared a total loss, her hull was reportedly sold to Love Construction Co., Muskegon, MI, and reduced to an unregistered sand scow.

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

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

Halifax Report

Ambassador sailed March 2 after three days on the floating drydock “Novadock” at Halifax Shipyard Ltd. Spruceglen arrived March 3 for repairs on her bow and departed March 5.

Reported by: Mac Mackay

Ste. Claire Update

The Ste. Claire remains in Lorain, Ohio across from the site of the former American Shipbuilding Company dry docks. The dry-docks are now being developed into a condominium/marina complex in downtown Lorain. The Ste. Claire is on the west side of the Black River directly behind the Spitzer Plaza Hotel. It is easily seen from the Eire Avenue (RT.6) draw bridge.

Ste. Clair in Lorain.

Reported by: Bob Smalling

Goderich Lay-up

MacDonald Marine Tug Dover waiting for spring.
MacDonald Marine Tug's Ian Mac, Donald Bert, Debbie Lyn also the fishing vessel M A. The Dover is on the other side of the dock.
Teakglen and the Willowglen wintering at the elevators on February 28th.
Goderich Exeter Railroad locomotive busy moving rails cars in and out of Sifto Salt mine.
Willowglen and the Teakglen with the tug Salvage Monarch in the foreground.
Teakglen and the Willowglen taken on March 3rd as the warm weather is beginning to melt the ice in the harbor.
Tug Salvage Monarch with a barge along with the Willowglen and Teakglen.
Stern of the Atlantic Huron wintering in Goderich.
Bow of the Atlantic Huron.
Anchor and chain from the Atlantic Huron.
Close up of the anchor from the Atlantic Huron.
Black & White shot of the Atlantic Huron's propeller with the work scaffolding around it.
Looking down at the Atlantic Huron as the sun sets.
Point Clark, Ontario Light.
Kincardine, Ontario Light.

Reported by: Philip Nash

St. Lawrence River Traffic at Verchères

Sidsel Knutsen downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 25.
Sea Cresta downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 25. In Seaway previously as Gemini and Yannis D.
Federal Welland downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 25.
Rosa Tomasos downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 27.
Crystal Rubino downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 27.
Lykes Runner downbound off Verchères from Montréal, Feb. 27.
Sorel based tug Omni-Richelieu pulling on a line prior to departure of Taxiarchis Sierra from Contrecoeur dock, Feb. 27.
Tugs Omni-Richelieu & Ocean Golf assisting bulker Taxiarchis Sierra in her turn to head downriver from Contrecoeur dock, Feb. 27.
Taxiarchis Sierra starts heading downstream with tug Ocean Golf alongside, Feb. 27.

Reported by: Marc Piché

Today in Great Lakes History - March 06

EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON was launched March 6, 1909.

At noon on 6 March 1873, the steam railroad carferry SAGINAW was launched at the Port Huron Dry Dock Co. She did not get off the ways at first and had to be hauled off by the tug KATE MOFFAT. She was built for use between Port Huron and Sarnia.

On 6 March 1892, SAGINAW (wooden 4-car propeller carferry, 142', 365 t, built in 1873 at Port Huron, MI) burned at the dock in Windsor, Ontario where she had been laid up since 1884. The hull was later recovered and converted to an odd-looking tug, a well known wrecker in the Detroit River area until broken up about 1940.

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

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

Cargos of Storage Sugar Unloaded at Toronto

The sugar-laden laker Montrealis was turned in the Redpath slip Wednesday and unloading was finished on Friday. She was towed to Pier 51, after which the McKeil tugs Atomic and Glenevis shifted the sugar-filled Barge Laviolette into the slip at Pier 35 and rafted it to the Gordon C. Leitch. Sunday the tugs were expected to take Canadian Mariner from Pier 35 to the Redpath dock in preparation for the unloading of her storage sugar cargo beginning Monday. The Barge Laviolette will then be shifted back to Pier 35's west wall to await its turn for Redpath.

It is expected that the Stephen B. Roman will depart shortly for Picton on its first trip of the season. Toronto harbor is almost free of ice, but some ice still clings along the shorelines and in the basins and in the lagoons on Toronto Island.

Reported by: Art Church

Sarnia Lay-up

Pictures by Matt Miner
A full harbor in Sarnia
Algorail at the Sydney Smith Dock
Tony McKay with out her barge at the Government Dock
Algorail and Agawa Canyon at the Government Dock
Capt Ralph Tucker at Cargil Elevator
Cuyahoga and Saginaw at the end of the Cargil Elevator
Nanticoke and Algosteel at the south end of the North Slip
Maumee and Calumet at the north end of the North Slip
Maumee and Calumet sterns
Classic sterns
Maumee, Calumet, and Algosteel

Picture by Clayt Sharrard
Lay-up fleet from Port Huron
ADM Dock

Today in Great Lakes History - March 05

HARRY L. ALLEN was launched March 5, 1910 as a) JOHN B. COWLE (2).

LEADALE (1) was launched March 5, 1910 as a) HARRY YATES (1).

March 5, 1932 - In distress with a broken steering gear off the Ludington harbor, S.S. VIRGINIA entered port under her own power.

On 05 March 1898, the WILLIAM R. LINN (steel propeller freighter, 400’, 4328 gt) was launched at the Chicago Ship Building Company in South Chicago, Illinois. In 1940 she was sold, renamed L. S. WESCOAT and converted to a tanker. She was scrapped in Germany in 1965.

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

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

Buffalo Fire Tug Helps Prevent River Flooding

The fire tug Edward M. Cotter was called out around 9 a.m. on March 1 for a special ice-breaking mission up the Buffalo River. A sustained cold snap ended late last week, and the resulting thaw raised concern of possible flooding in South Buffalo due to heavy water volume upstream combined with thick ice below the Bailey Avenue Bridge. The Cotter spent about six hours that morning working unexpectedly thick ice in the river above the CSX Lift Bridges before coming back down that afternoon. Heavy ice jams occurred overnight on Buffalo Creek and the adjoining Cazanovia Creek. Caz Creek overflowed slightly on March 2 without major flooding due to the work of the Cotter the day before.

Cotter is seen heading upriver in light & previously broken ice past the Great Lakes Towing tugs at the old Union Furnace dock.
Waiting for the CSX Main Line River Bridge to open in the heavier ice of the upper river.
Cotter Downbound under the Ohio St. Bridge.
In the last reach of the river below Ohio St. before making her dock at Michigan Ave.

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski

Port Everglades, Florida

Many interesting vessels in Port Everglades Florida recently.

Stephen Philip, most likely the worlds smallest Ocean tanker enters the harbor with tug assist.
Drydock ship Super Servant 1 stopped into Port Everglades for bunker fuel.
West Coast Holland American liner Statendam stopped into Port Everglades on a special Panama Canal voyage.
Former Army T boat T-445 is said to be for sale.
Q-4000 under its own power stopping into Port Everglades for fuel.
Dania Beach is slated to be sunk as an off shore reef.
The World is a Condominium ship. Suites are bought and sold.
USS Vicksburg departing the port to protect the carrier John F. Kennedy.
USS John F. Kennedy departing the port.

Reported by: Bill Hoey

Today in Great Lakes History - March 04

CECILIA DESGAGNES departed Sorel, Que. March 4, 1985 bound for Baie Comeau, Que. on her first trip in Desgagnes colors.

March 4, 1904 - William H. LeFleur of the Pere Marquette car ferries was promoted to captain at the age of 34. He was the youngest carferry captain on the Great Lakes.

On 4 March 1858, TRENTON (wooden propeller, 134', 240 gt, built in 1854 at Montreal) burned to a total loss while tied to the mill wharf at Picton, Ontario in Lake Ontario. The fire was probably caused by the carpenters who were renovating her.

On 4 March 1889, TRANSIT (wooden 10-car propeller carferry, 168', 1058 gt, built in 1872 at Walkerville, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railroad dock at Windsor, Ontario on the Detroit River. She had been laid up since 1884 and the Grand Trunk Railroad had been trying to sell her for some time.

On 4 March 1871, FLORENCE (iron steamer, 42.5', built in 1869 at Baltimore, MD) burned while docked at Amherstburg, Ontario at about 12:00 PM. The fire was hot enough to destroy all the cabins and melt the surrounding ice in the Detroit River, but the vessel remained afloat and her engines were intact. She was rebuilt and remained in service until 1922 when she was scrapped.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze

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

Ice-Breaking Operations to Begin on St. Lawrence River

The Canadian Coast Guard will begin icebreaking operations on the St. Lawrence River’s main channel between Prescott, Ont. and the Bay of Quinte during the week of March 8.

The U.S. Coast Guard is requesting cooperation from the communities along the St. Lawrence River during this period. Ice fishermen, snowmobilers and other recreational users of the ice are strongly advised to remain well clear of the icebreaker's tracks. Ice conditions in the vicinity of the tracks will be unstable and very dangerous.

Due to the recent warmer temperatures, the Coast Guard would also like to remind everyone that ice conditions on all local waters may be unsafe. Those who choose to venture onto the ice are reminded to use caution and take the necessary steps to protect themselves. They suggest: Never go out on the ice alone. Leave detailed plans of your trip with friends or family. Carry a cell phone or VHF radio. Always wear a life jacket.

For additional information on icebreaking on the St. Lawrence River, contact the Canadian Coast Guard Ice Operations Office at (519) 383-1855.

Reported by: USCG

U.S. officials yank fish barrier funding

Federal officials have cut funding for a new electric fence to block voracious Asian carp from invading Lake Michigan and devastating the Great Lakes.

Only 50 miles of water and a temporary electrical barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stand between the lakes and the advancing carp. The temporary electric barrier, an experiment to determine whether fish would turn back as they swam toward it, is expected to wear out by next year.

Construction of a more permanent barrier in the canal was scheduled to begin this spring. Illinois officials agreed to provide about $2 million for the project, but $4.4 million promised by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was eliminated in the agency's budget.

Chuck Shea, project manager in the corps' Chicago office, told the Chicago Tribune that he was told funding for domestic projects was being cut back to provide more money for the corps' work in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A bipartisan group of Great Lakes lawmakers is trying to get the funding restored.

The carp are a particularly threatening invasive species because they have no predators and aggressively crowd out other fish species. They can devour up to 40 percent of their body weight in a day, mostly by straining out phytoplankton, tiny creatures that provide the base of the food chain for native fish such as bass and walleye.

Reported by: Dan Jackson

Today in Great Lakes History - March 03

The keel was laid on March 3, 1980 for the Columbia Star.

In 1902 the James C. Wallace of Picklands and Mather Steamship Company was launched.

At midnight on 3 March 1880, DAVID SCOVILLE (wooden propeller steam tug/ferry, 42', 37 gc, built in 1875 at Marine City) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway wharf at Sarnia, Ontario. Arson was suspected. No lives were lost.

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

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

Milwaukee-based Schooner Sighted in Bahamas

The Milwaukee, Wis.-based three-masted schooner Denis Sullivan was spotted in Nassau, The Bahamas, in early February. The Sullivan typically escapes to warmer waters during the winter, and is expected to return to Lake Michigan sometime this spring.

Denis Sullivan.

Reported by: Bob Northup

Today in Great Lakes History - March 02

March 2, 1938 - Harold Lillie, crewmember of the ANN ARBOR NO. 6, stepped onto the apron as the carferry was approaching and fell into the water and suffered a broken neck.

March 2, 1998 A fire broke out on the Algosoo causing serious damage to the Self unloading belts and other nearby equipment. Almost 12 years earlier in 1986 a similar fire gutted the aft cabins.

On 02 March 1893, the MARY McLACHLAN (3-mast wooden schooner, 251’, 1394 gt) was launched at F. W. Wheeler’s yard in W. Bay City, Michigan. The launch turned into a disaster when the huge wave generated by the vessel entering the water hit the freighter KITTIE FORBES (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 209’, 968 gt, built in 1883 at W. Bay City, MI). The FORBES had numerous spectators onboard and when the wave struck, many were injured and there was one confirmed death.

Data from: Max Hanley Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, and Steve Haverty

It's Official: Stinson becomes American Spirit

The name change from George A. Stinson to American Sprit was completed last week while the ship was in the graving dock at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay for her 5 year survey and inspection.

Pictures by Vic DeLarwelle
Old name sand blasted off to bare metal
Name masked off for painting
New name on hull
Close up

American Spirit in graving dock at Bay Ship Gerry Banks

Reported by: Vic DeLarwelle and Gerry Banks

End of an Era

The familiar buff colored stacks with the red "I" beam of Bethlehem Steel are no more. Crews from Milwaukee based Midwest Maritime have been busy this winter changing the Stacks on the Stewart J. Cort and Burns Harbor to the International Steel Group's "globe" logo of light blue against a white background. ISG assumed control of Bethlehem Steel on May 1, 2003. Bethlehem Steel Corporation was officially dissolved on Dec. 31, 2003.

Midwest Maritime has stripped and primed the stacks of both boats. Oddly enough the light gray primer gives the appearance that the 2 boats have joined the USS fleet. Final painting and mounting of the new logos are expected to take place this week, weather permitting.

Galley and engine departments report back to the ISG boats later this week for fit out.

The Cort was the first boat in the Bethlehem fleet to display the "I" beam logo. Previously the stack consisted of just a buff colored section with a black smoke band. When the Cort came out in 1972 the I beam was painted black. Later it was discovered the designer had specified dark red for the I beam and it was repainted.
The light gray primer on the Burns Harbor stacks almost matches the silver stacks of the Speer.
The Cort's stacks in gray primer.
The new logos after their first coat of "ISG blue" paint.

Reported by: Andy LaBorde

Twin Ports Lay-up

Below are a collection of photos from around the twin ports over the past winter.

Kaye E Barker bow view.
Up Close.
A goose swimming in the open water around the propeller of the Roger Blough.
A bird perched on the anchor of the Cason J Callaway.
Another bird on the Kaye E Barker.
The unique unloading boom on the Roger Blough.
Roger Blough stern view with unloading boom out to starboard.
Roger Blough.
Bow thruster.
Stern view with unloading boom out to port.
Close up of propeller.
Cason J Callaway stern view.
Stern view.
Edwin H Gott can be seen here with her radar spinning and smoke coming from the stack.
Indiana Harbor.
John J Boland bow thruster.
Stern view.
Bow view.
Another bow view.
American Mariner stern view.
Maxine Thompson work tug at Fraser Shipyards.
Walter J McCarthy view of propeller shaft.
Stern view.
Another view.
Close up of propeller.
John G Munson.
Panoramic photo of the Edwin H Gott and Indiana Harbor.
Paul R Tregurtha.
Another view.
Another view.
Small unknown work tug at Fraser Shipyards.

Reported by: Brian Peterson

Welland Area Shipwreck Symposium March 27

The Niagara Divers’ Association will present its Tenth Annual Shipwrecks Symposium on Saturday March 27. This one-day event will feature multimedia presentations with speakers from the United States and Canada.

Presentations include
Thomas Easop (photographer/author) "HMS Repulse & HMS Prince of Wales"; Great Lakes singer-songwriter Dan Hall; Joyce Hayward (Lady of the Lakes) "Getting To Know A Ship-The Cornelia B. Windiate Project"; Lance Knapp (retired US Navy Rescue & Salvage Diver) "Raising Derrick Barge #8"; Frank Mays (Carl D. Bradley Survivor) author of "If We Can Make It 'Til Daylight"; Ric Mixter (Airworthy Productions & Great Lakes Indepth TV series) "Final Run Storms of the Century & The Edmund Fitzgerald"; David Trotter (Undersea Research Associates) "Steamship Frank H Goodyear."

There will be several five-minute shorts between the primary presentations.

The cost is $40 CDN ($32 US). Lunch will be included. David Gilchrist will serve as Master of Ceremonies. Pre-registration required for more information contact, or visit

St. Marys River Cruise Set for June 20

The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society's seventh annual educational cruise up the St. Marys River and through the Soo Locks is scheduled for Father's Day, Sunday, June 20.

This narrated lighthouse benefit cruise takes passengers past the offshore DeTour Reef Lighthouse, up the historic St. Marys River and through the Soo Locks on board a 65-foot, double-decker tour boat. The boat boards in DeTour Village at the Ferry Dock at 1030 a.m. and returns via chartered bus from Sault Ste Marie at 630 p.m. Ticket cost is $80 per person (children five and under are free) and includes lunch, snacks, tour narration, cash bar and prizes. A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible as allowed by law.

The DRLPS was established in 1998 as a nonprofit organization to restore and preserve the DeTour Reef Light as a monument to Michigan¹s maritime history. Located a mile offshore in northern Lake Huron at the eastern end of Michigan¹s Upper Peninsula, the lighthouse is being restored and public tours are planned for 2005. For cruise tickets, and other information about the lighthouse, visit or contact DRLPS, PO Box 519, DeTour Village MI 49725, 906-493-6079.

Reported by: DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society

Final Week

This is the final week to purchase your tickets for the International Shipmasters' Association Port Huron Lodge raffle for a chance to win a trip on an Interlake Steamship Co. Vessel. Click here for details Drawing will be held March 6.


Today in Great Lakes History - March 01

The M/V Henry Ford II was launched on this day of March 1, 1924. It served as flagship of Ford Motor Company fleet for many years and was eventually sold to Interlake Steamship Company when Ford sold its Great Lakes Fleet division. It was renamed Samuel Mather, but never sailed under that name. It was scrapped in 1994 at International Marine Salvage.

On 1 March 1881, the steamship JOHN B. LYON was launched at Cleveland for Capt. Frank Perew. She was a four mast, double-decker with the following dimensions: 255' keel, 275' overall, 38' beam, and 20' depth.

On 01 March 1884, the I. N. FOSTER (wooden schooner, 134’, 319 gt, built in 1872 at Port Huron, MI) was sold by Clark I. Boots to E. Chilson. This vessel lasted until 1927 when she was abandoned in Buffalo, New York.

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

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

News Archive - August 1996 to present

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