Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


Lee A. Tregurtha set to open Duluth-Superior Saturday

The Port of Duluth-Superior¹s 2005 Great Lakes commercial navigation season is scheduled to officially open at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday with the arrival of Interlake Steamship Company¹s Lee A. Tregurtha under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

The Tregurtha will proceed to the Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway Co. taconite facility for about 31,000 tons of iron ore pellets destined for Indiana Harbor, Ind. The Tregurtha is scheduled to be the Port¹s first inbound arrival via the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., which are scheduled to open to vessel traffic at 12:01 a.m. March 25.

Following closely behind on Saturday (March 26) are Oglebay Norton Marine Services Company¹s Columbia Star, which will visit Superior¹s Midwest Energy Resources Company (MERC) for about 55,400 metric tons of coal destined for St. Clair, Mich., and ISG-Burns Harbor, Inc.¹s, Stewart J. Cort, which will stop at Superior¹s Burlington Northern Sante Fe taconite facility for about 55,000 metric tons of iron ore destined for Burns Harbor, Ind.

The Lee A. Tregurtha wintered in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., prior to traveling to Duluth-Superior.

Local vessel traffic commenced this season with the March 17 departure of Interlake Steamship Company's James R. Barker from its winter berth at MERC with about 57,000 tons of coal for Minnesota Power¹s Taconite Harbor plant. The Barker then returned to MERC to load about 55,350 metric tons of coal for an additional in-lake destination, this time Marquette, Mich.

The Port's first 2005 oceangoing vessel will be greeted by local maritime officials with a welcoming ceremony, and will also qualify a winner for the annual "First Ship Contest" sponsored by the Port Authority, Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau and 92 KQRS Minneapolis. Prizes include a weekend getaway to Duluth with hotel accommodations, meals and passes to local attractions.  The Welland Canal section of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to vessel traffic on March 23, and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway is scheduled to open March 25.

Increased iron ore shipments and a strong coal-shipping year for the Port of Duluth-Superior boosted total commerce for the 2004 season to 41.4 million metric tons < its highest level since 1979 anticipating another strong shipping season in 2005.

Reported by Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Jacquez says tolls wouldn't kill shipping

Tolls on the St. Lawrence Seaway would be a relatively small part of the cost of commercial shipping on the inland waterway, the system's U.S. administrator said Thursday (March 10).

Albert S. Jacquez, administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., defended the Bush administration's proposal to reinstitute tolls at U.S. locks, telling a House Transportation subcommittee that tolls on the Canadian portion account for no more than 3 percent of shippers' costs.  And while the Seaway Corp. is concerned about any measures that could make the waterway less attractive to business, Mr. Jacquez said, cargo totals on the system were hardly affected after the Seaway Corp. eliminated tolls on the U.S. portion in 1987.

The proposal has hit resistance on Capitol Hill. Rep. William J. Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., noting that the Seaway was singled out among waterways for tolls, called the idea "an outrage." And the subcommittee chairman, Rep. John J! . Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., asked why the Seaway Corp. would raise tolls while it is running at 50 percent of capacity and trying to attract more business.  Mr. Jacquez said the goal of the proposal is not to increase shippers' costs but to give the system more flexibility in funding and to make the U.S. agency run more like its Canadian counterpart, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

"Cost is always a concern, and it's something we're going to be looking at," Mr. Jacquez said.

Shipping interests have spoken out against the proposal. And Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., the ranking Democrat on the House Transportation Committee and a Seaway supporter, has opposed the idea.  Reinstituting tolls will require legislation from Congress as well as negotiation with the Canadian government over how toll revenue would be allocated. Mr. Jacquez said the administration would address the issue of added shipping costs in the legislation, which has yet to be submitted by the administration.

After Congress abolished Seaway tolls, the agency's budget came from the national Harbor Maintenance Trust fund, supported by fees charged on imports. The administration proposes to fund the Seaway Corp. in fiscal 2006 with $8.28 million in tolls, plus $8 million from the trust fund.

Tolls would begin at the start of the 2006 navigation season next March or April, rather than at the start of the fiscal year this October, Mr. Jacquez said. He said that explains why the toll collections would cover only about half the agency's budget.  In the following year, the administration aims to cover the Seaway Corp.'s operations entirely with tolls.

Reported by Marc Heller, Watertown Daily Times (courtesy of George Haynes)


Indiana Harbor Opens the Soo Locks Tonight

The Indiana
Harbor arrived upbound at the lower approach to the Soo Locks Wednesday night about 10 p.m. The Harbor will be the first vessel of the season to pass through the locks when they open at midnight.

The first downbound vessel is expected to be fleet mate American Spirit.

Reported by Roger LeLievre and Jerry Masson


Seminar envisions bomb at lake port

With the frigid, crashing waves of Lake Erie visible through the windows behind them, federal, state, and local officials discussed yesterday how they would respond to a dirty bomb alert aboard a freighter in a lake port. They weighed who would respond, how they would communicate, and for what each agency would be responsible.

The daylong terrorism seminar at Maumee Bay State Park focused on how to help law enforcement officials, emergency responders, and maritime agencies coordinate efforts in an attack scenario. It was a day spent talking through problems and building relationships. Organizers said an actual drill will occur later.

"Local, state, and federal agencies are coming together to learn all their abilities and limitations," said Sam Speck, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. "This is a great learning experience. At one point, I saw someone from the U.S. Coast Guard talking to someone from a local police department. They were talking about going out on the lake together. Those are the relationships we want to see building," he said.

Sponsored by the ODNR, the exercise asked participants to develop a plan to deal with a terrorist-claim of a radiologically contaminated explosive device hidden aboard a ship in a Lake Erie port. To add more challenge to the exercise, the terrorist faction included three demands: Release of one of their leaders, safe passage out of the country for the terrorists, and a large amount of cash.

C.J. Couch, a spokesman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, said that although the focus of the exercise was on a terrorist act, the information shared yesterday could be used in any emergency situation.

"What's unique about this one was that it focused on law enforcement. Here, law enforcement came together to talk about how they would specifically respond," added Nancy Dragani, executive director of the state emergency management agency.

Area sheriffs' departments, county emergency management officials, and members of various police departments from Toledo to Cleveland participated in the session. Other state and federal agencies, including the Ohio National Guard, Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the FBI, sent representatives to the exercise.

Mr. Speck said participants likely would share the information from the seminar with personnel at their respective departments. Although the meeting was closed to outsiders, Mr. Speck said the public should keep in mind that exercises like yesterday's do exist.

"If terrorists are paying attention and see the preparation, then that has a value in its own right," he said.

"You're going to protect by being prepared."

Reported by Erica Blake, Toledo Blade


Port Reports

Sarnia, ON:

Reported by Barry Hiscocks
The Manistee was expected to depart the Cargill Dock in Sarnia at noon on Thursday. As of 4 p.m. the vessel remained at the dock. After departing, she is expected to head down river to the Shell fuel dock. After fuel she will proceed to Goderich to load salt for Alpena, the first of several trips.  Algosteel was headed back to Goderich as well after fueling at Imperial. She was escorted up through the Huron Cut by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bristol Bay. Northeast winds clogged the cut with heavy plate ice and the  Algosteel was reported to have been slowed down to a 1/2 knot at one point.

Sandusky, OH:
Reported by Dave Wobser
CSL's Frontenac was the first boat of the season to load at the Sandusky, Ohio Norfolk Southern coal dock on Wednesday. She depart early afternoon into a stiff north wind.

Cleveland, OH:
Reported by Bill Kloss
The Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived in Cleveland at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The American Republic continues working the shuttle to ISG. David Z. Norton and Calumet remain at their lay-up berths.

Alpena & Stoneport, MI:
Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain:
The Alpena was in port on Sunday afternoon loading cement at Lafarge. It departed by 9 p.m. bound for Milwaukee. The J.A.W Iglehart was tied up at the Mart dock in Muskegon for temporary lay-up. The Joseph H. Thompson was the first vessel to load at Stoneport on Monday. It is expected to return sometime on Thursday. The Great Lakes Trader is on the schedule for Friday.  A local trucking company in Alpena took a semi load of needed supplies to some of the boats in Sturgeon Bay on Monday. The supplies were taken on at the Soo Warehouse.

Holland, MI:
Reported by Bob VandeVusse
For the third time in the last four years, the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 was the first vessel of the season in Holland harbor, arriving at the James DeYoung electric generating plant with a small load of much needed coal from KCBX in Chicago. The captain was awarded the traditional pair of wooden shoes to mark the occasion. This was the first trip of the season for the tug and barge. Upon completing the unload they will return to Chicago for a second load, expecting to return around mid-day Thursday, if the weather cooperates. The light loading was necessitated by late fall and winter storms, which wreaked havoc with the depth of the Holland channel.

Marquette, MI:
By Art Pickering
The shipping season in Marquette opened on Tuesday with a bang.  Marquette harbor has a large thick ice cap, yet two vessels made their way into the upper harbor to open the season.  The Michipicoten was the first to arrive from Sault Ste. Marie, ON followed shortly after by the James Barker from Duluth with a load of coal for Wisconsin Electric.  Both vessels spent the day in Marquette with the Michipicoten loading ore and departing late in the day.  The James Barker completed its unloading and departed during the night back to Duluth.  Thursday the Michipicoten was expected to make a return visit after unloading its load of ore at Algoma Steel in the Soo.  Also joining the Michipicoten Thursday at the ore dock with be the Mississagi.



Door County Maritime Museum to hold "Ports of Call" fundraiser

The Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society will hold its annual gala fundraiser on Friday, April 15 at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, 600 Nautical Drive, Sturgeon Bay, Wis. This year's event will feature the specialties of 23 Door County restaurants and over 150 live and silent auction items!

"The event, which is designed around themes of various passenger ships which plied the waters of Northeast Wisconsin, is a great opportunity for attendees to sample various offerings from local restaurants, as well as local businesses with our live and silent auction, said Brian Kelsey, Executive Director of the Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society.  “Last year the museum raised over $20,000 during Ports of Call and our goal is to raise even more this year.  The outpouring from our business community is awe inspiring and their generosity greatly appreciated; we thank them all in advance for their support."

The evening will begin at 6 pm with a cocktail social and viewing of the items to be auctioned, many with a maritime theme.? New this year, the sampling will begin during the social with a variety of appetizers, soups and beverages.? Following the social, the evening will continue with a sampling of entrées at 7 pm and will include a delectable array of choices.? The evening will close with the ever-popular live and silent auction and the sampling of many dessert items.

Funds raised at this year's gala will help to operate the Museum's three locations at Cana Island, Gills Rock and Sturgeon Bay.? Tickets are $40 per person for members/$45 per person for non-members and can be reserved by phoning the Door County Maritime Museum at (920) 743.5958 or online at Tickets are limited and normally sell out in advance.  If you would like to receive an invitation to this event which outlines the entire evening, including all live and silent auction offerings, please contact the museum.

Great Lakes passenger steamer North American.


Former Lakes Tankers Arrive for Scrapping

Ralph Tucker (ex Capt. Ralph Tucker, Algoscotia, Imperial Acadia) arrived at Chittagong on October 26 for scrapping. The Halifax (ex Algofax, Imperial Bedford) was beached at Alang on October 11.

Reported by Mac Mackay


St. Lawrence Seaway opens for business today

Captain Feroze Irani of the Pineglen was presented with the ceremonial top hat at Lock 3 this morning, when the Welland Canal, the westernmost part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, officially opened for its 176th consecutive year of service. The Montreal-Lake Ontario section will open Good Friday, March 25. The Seaway has opened on or before March 31 in 20 of the last 26 years and is now in its 47th navigation season.

Dick Corfe, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, declared the Welland Canal officially open. “Last year, traffic though the Seaway increased by 6.5%, during what was our longest navigation season ever – 281 days,” said Corfe, who expects heavier traffic this year as well. The Seaway will maintain the new operating draft of 26'6" for a second year, and has plans to attract new business. A major incentive announced at the ceremony is a reduction in lockage fees for new cargo on the Welland Canal, a collaborative effort with Transport Canada to encourage short-sea shipping.

Corfe also reported on other SLSMC initiatives now in progress, among them a branding project based on the Highway H2O logo that experienced a successful run last year as the focus of a multi-media advertising campaign. “The strength of our waterway is in the whole, not the sum of its parts,” said Corfe. “Using Hwy H2O as the brand for the whole system, we are enlisting the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes Ports as partners to advocate the benefits of the system to the public, politicians, users and shippers. Already, 18 major ports have signed on, and the prospects are exciting. You will see the Hwy H2O logo showing up with increasing prominence, on port facilities and at trade events.”

Increased market research, cargo workshops, a container conference, a one-stop-shopping workshop with institutional and modal partners, and a short-sea-shipping centre of excellence in partnership with the University of Windsor are some of the other projects Corfe mentioned in his address. The Seaway will also be adopting a more proactive stance on environmental matters, said Corfe. “In promoting a busier Seaway, I am convinced we are helping to build a transportation system for central North America that is sustainable in all three critical areas – economical, social and environmental. I’ve mentioned often that the marine mode has clear environmental benefits. We recognize that marine transportation has some environmental challenges as well, and we are implementing a proactive approach to dealing with them.”

At the ceremony, Mr. Corfe was joined by his U.S. counterpart Albert Jacquez, local elected officials and representatives from Canada Steamship Lines, owners of the first vessel to pass through the Welland Canal locks this year.

Reported by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Seaway officials meet with Niagara politicians about Canal security

Michel Drolet, Vice President of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation’s (SLSMC) Niagara Region met Monday with Niagara elected officials to discuss security requirements for the Welland Canal.

“There has been a lot of misunderstanding about the impact the new security measures will have on the Welland Canal,” said Mr. Drolet. “We felt it was important to brief elected officials so they understand how and why these new requirements are being implemented.”

During the briefing, Mr. Drolet explained that these security measures are being implemented to detect and prevent unauthorized movement and activity in secure areas where vessels and infrastructure are vulnerable, for instance when a vessel is tied-up in a lock chamber. They are not in response to any particular threat to the canal.

SLSMC is complying with the new Maritime Transportation Security Regulations (MTSR), which came into force on July 1, 2004. Transport Canada enacted these regulations to be in compliance with the International Marine Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. As a signatory to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Canada was obliged to implement the ISPS Code by July 1 last year.

“There seems to be some concern in the community that the entire Canal is going to be fenced,” Mr. Drolet said. “In fact, very little new fencing will be installed, however some existing fencing must be replaced or upgraded to meet Transport Canada standards."

Some additional fencing will be required to close gaps in order to meet national and international obligations. In addressing the specific issue of the Lock 3 Museum and Viewing Deck, Mr. Drolet made a commitment to work with City of St. Catharines officials to implement the security measures in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible for visitors yet still meets the MTSR. Mr. Drolet also made a commitment to continue working with Niagara’s other elected officials on this and other matters.

Reported by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


St. Lawrence Seaway announces
reduced lockage fees for new cargo

The St. Lawrence Seaway announced today that it is reducing lockage fees on the Welland Canal for ships carrying cargo that is new to the waterway. The reduced rates are calculated on a sliding scale. All qualifying ships will benefit, with greater reductions going to smaller ships.

“We want to encourage new business for the Seaway, and more short-haul traffic, carried by smaller ships,” said Richard Corfe, President of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “The new rates are an excellent first step towards our goal of a market-driven toll structure.”

The new fees will come into effect at the start of the 2005 navigation season on March 23, 2005, and are a result of collaboration between the Corporation and Transport Canada to promote ‘short sea shipping’.

The reduced lockage fees apply to all “new cargo”, which is defined as either containerized cargo, or cargo which has not moved through the Welland Canal in an average annual amount greater than 10,000 metric tonnes between 2001–2003. “Any cargo that qualifies as new cargo will remain qualified for the reduction through the 2007 shipping season. A ship carrying more than one cargo will qualify for the reduction if more than 50% of its cargo in any transit is classified as new,” Mr. Corfe clarified. “The reduced rates will apply both to the loaded transit and to the same ship’s return transit in ballast.”

The new lockage fees will be calculated based on the ship’s gross registered tonnage. For example, a ship of 23000 GRT will see a reduction of approx. 15%, while the reduction will be approx. 75% for a ship of 7,000 GRT.

Reported by The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation


Explosion rocks Canadian Prospector

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.'s bulker Canadian Prospector, tied up for the winter at the North end of Thunder Bay's harbor, was evacuated Monday after fumes from a fuel tank ignited and sent a fireball into the air. More than 30 people were working aboard the laker when the explosion happened, just after 1 p.m. There was no one hurt in the incident.

Welders attempting to fuse a plate to the side of the ship caused the explosion. A round metal cap which resembles a manhole cover landed on frozen Lake Superior not far from the vessel. A "ball of flame came out of that manhole about 10 meters high," a witness told the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal.

The fuel fumes were a mix of kerosene and diesel. The ship has no visible damage, according to a spokesman.

Reported by the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal.


Negotiations continue over who will pay for ferry engine repairs

The German company that built the diesel engines for Rochester's high-speed ferry is recommending costly improvements, less than a year after the company spent about $1 million modifying the engines because of a manufacturing flaw.

MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH wants the city-owned Rochester Ferry Co. to replace the head gaskets on the ship's four engines, among other modifications. But city officials are concerned about who will pay for the work and have been negotiating with MTU.

"Our position has been that we don't want to pay for these engine upgrades," Edward Doherty, a ferry company board member and city commissioner of environmental services, told the Rochester Democrat Chronicle. "We're arguing over the cost and who will bear it."  The cost of the gasket work alone could be about $1 million, $200,000 for the parts and $700,000 to $800,000 for the labor, he said. He declined to identify other work involved.

MTU won't cover the work under its warranty, Doherty said. There is some disagreement over whether the engine warranty expired when Rochester Ferry bought the ship for $32 million at a federal foreclosure auction last month, he added. The company and city were negotiating the issue last week. The options include Rochester Ferry paying for the work, or a portion of it, and receiving an extended warranty. If the city does have to pay, there is money available under its plan, Doherty added.

When the ferry was delivered from Australia last year, several head gaskets failed. A gasket keeps coolant out of cylinders and retains compression in the cylinders. When one blows, coolant leaks into the combustion chamber and that affects power, fuel efficiency and emissions. The problem was attributed to a manufacturing flaw, and, as a result, all the engines were modified last spring. That work was estimated at about $1 million.

It is unclear why the engines need more work so soon. MTU has experienced some engine problems even after modifications, Doherty said.

City officials hope the ferry will be back in service to Toronto by Memorial Day weekend. The maintenance work is not expected to affect that schedule, Doherty said.

Reported by Rochester Democrat Chronicle, Charles Bingham


Courtney Burton enters drydock at Toledo

Oglebay Norton Marine Services¹ steamer Courtney Burton was observed Tuesday on the drydock at Toledo Shipbuilding. The vessel is undergoing inspection and repairs prior to reentering service. The Burton has been laid up the past two shipping seasons. It is unknown how long the Burton will be in drydock.

Meanwhile, no vessels from the winter lay-up fleet have departed yet. Frontenac was due into the CSX Coal Docks at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the first coal boat of the season for this facility. The Cuyahoga is due in Toledo in the next several days to load grain. Most likely she will be the first grain boat of the season for this port. The Atlantic Erie will be the first ore boat of the season, she is scheduled into the Torco Dock on March 29th.

Reported by Dave Wobser, Jim Hoffman


Port Reports

Duluth & Superior:

Reported by Al Miller
Action begins in earnest now in Duluth and Superior as laid up vessels from the Twin Ports and Thunder Bay were scheduled to start getting under way Tuesday and continue through the opening of the Soo Locks on Friday.  Roger Blough was scheduled to depart Duluth on March 22 bound for Two Harbors to load pellets for the lower lakes. The same day, James R. Barker, back from delivering coal to Marquette, was expected to be the first vessel to load at the DMIR ore docks in Duluth while American Spirit was scheduled to depart its lay-up berth in Superior to load at the BNSF ore dock.

March 23 traffic is expected to include Edgar B. Speer and Presque Isle getting under way to load in Two Harbors while Atlantic Huron comes down from Thunder Bay to load at the DMIR in Duluth.

March 24 traffic is expected to include John G. Munson loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal destined for the Pinney dock in Ashtabula, Reserve departing Fraser Shipyards for Silver Bay and Arthur M. Anderson departing Fraser Shipyards drydock to load at the DMIR ore dock in Duluth.

All Head of the Lakes coal and ore docks have a strong schedule for the opening of the season. They include:

BNSF in Superior: American Spirit, followed by CSL Tadoussac and Halifax, both coming down from Thunder Bay.
Midwest Energy Terminal: John G. Munson, March 24; John B. Aird, March 25, Mesabi Miner, March 26
DMIR - Two Harbors: Roger Blough, March 22; Edgar B. Speer and Presque Isle, March 23; Arthur M. Anderson, March 24, Philip R. Clarke, March 26.
DMIR - Duluth: James R. Barker, March 22; Atlantic Huron, March 23; Lee A. Tregurtha and Sara Spencer, march 26; Kaye E. Barker, March 27; and American Mariner, March 29

Marquette & Escanaba:
Reported by Lee Rowe
The Michipicoten opened shipping at Marquette on a bright and sunny Tuesday, arriving in the morning for a load of ore.  The James R. Barker also arrived with a load of coal.  The Michipicoten's load included the testing of two air-powered gates on two ore pockets.  Use of these gates would eliminate the pin-knocker job. The Michipicoten is expected to return Wednesday evening.

The Wilfred Sykes is waiting at  Escanaba to load.  The Mesabi Miner and Joseph H. Block are due Wednesday.  The Kaye E. Barker's expected trip has been cancelled.  The Block and Sykes will make return trips through the end of the month.

Sturgeon Bay:
Reported by Carl Grota
The USCG Mobile Bay, home-ported in Sturgeon Bay, WI, has been idle for the past several weeks due to engine trouble. The usual task of the USCG Mobile Bay this time of year is to cut tracks for spring break-out in the shipping lanes of Green Bay waters, Port of Green Bay and Fox River outlet, Menomonee river area, Sturgeon Bay waters and assist with ice breaking in the Mackinac area. The  USCG Biscayne Bay had been sent to the area to assist with this task and will soon be departing for its usual ice breaking tasks. The USCG Mobile Bay has been rumored to be up and running within the next week.


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


Lake Express plans schedule changes this summer

A new summer schedule for the Lake Express ferry across Lake Michigan will provide more time for the crew to dock the high-speed catamaran, unload passengers and vehicles and reload for a return trip.  Instead of providing 30 minutes, the schedule gives the crew 45 minutes of turnaround time during the three daily round trips between Muskegon and Milwaukee, The Muskegon Chronicle reported Sunday.

"Last year was a fantastic inaugural season for Lake Express," said Lake Express LLC President Ken Szallai. "With more than 100,000 passengers crossing Lake Michigan, the new service exceeded expectations."
During bad weather, when docking was more time-consuming and travel time was longer, the Lake Express had difficulty keeping its tight inaugural season schedule. The retooled schedule should be easier for the Lake Express crew to keep.

The Lake Express plans three round trips a day May 14 through Oct. 2. The service will be reduced to two round trips a day during the fall and early winter. The service is scheduled to end Dec. 31.

Fares will remain unchanged for 2005, with adults paying $85 for a round trip and cars $59 each way. However, this year Lake Express has instituted a $1.25 fuel surcharge added to each per-crossing ticket.

Lake Express officials earlier announced improvements, with attention to upgrading the premier class area and terminals. The Lake Express also will be equipped with $450,000 in computer-controlled wave stabilization to provide a smoother ride.

Reported by The Muskegon Chronicle


Lake Erie ferry plan facing problem in Canadian law

Cleveland port officials say a Canadian trade act limiting foreign business is their top hurdle to overcome in a proposed Lake Erie ferry to Port Stanley, Ontario. Port Authority president Gary Failor says the act discourages large foreign investment because it restricts companies to one-year licenses. A Dutch company would run the ferry service. The Cleveland port executive overseeing the ferry project visited Canadian officials in Ottawa last week to discuss the trade act and other issues of the project to meet a 2006 deadline. The port authority also has to come up with money to build a ferry terminal in Cleveland.

Reported by / Associated Press


Ex-Great Lakes vessel a hazard in the Bahamas

A former Great Lakes vessel is reportedly adrift in the Bahamas and a danger to one of the country's protected parks, Conception Island. The derelict is the former gas-drilling vessel Louis J. Goulet, which left the lakes in 2002 under tow, under the ownership of Bahamas Oil and bound for Walker Cay.

The Goulet was built in 1957 and sailed for many years for the Hall Corporation of Canada as Coniscliffe Hall. She was converted for use as a Lake Erie gas-drilling platform and renamed Telesis in 1975.

While on one of their frequent boating outings five weeks ago, Georgetown residents Bailey Smith and his wife Lorraine Minns first spotted the 220 foot vessel, 15 miles off the north end of Long Island, and described it to the Nassau Tribune as "a real piece of junk."

Smith said there are several issues to be concerned about, but the most significant of these is the threat the barge has to the marine environment as well as to the nearby sea park which is a protected national park. He observed diesel and other oil contaminants on the vessel along with several pallets of barite, a substance to enable oil and gas drilling. What Smith did not observe however was an anchor, and he said his main fear is that a strong wind may force the vessel right on the shore of Conception Island, ruining "one of the most beautiful islands in the Bahamas."

"The ship is in such a state of disrepair," said Smith, "and I think someone just got fed up with towing it around and dumped it there, We need to find out who the owner is and force them to remove it and pay the bill."
Captain Anthony Aliens, Controller of the Port Department said he has been informed of the vessel and is currently attempting to find an owner, so it can be removed.

Eric Carey, Director of Parks and Science Liaison said the Bahamas National Trust is very concerned about the potential the vessel has to cause damage to the fragile ecosystem at Conception Island. Carey said the island is an important sanctuary for migratory birds, sea birds and green turtles, and that the reefs around the island have been described as being some of the healthiest reefs in the world.

Reported by Roger Jones

Louis J. Goulet at Port Maitland in 2002, before going overseas. (Photo by Roger LeLievre)
Louis J. Goulet adrift off Conception Island, the Bahamas taken earlier this month.


Port Reports

Menominee & Marinette:

Reported by Dick Lund
The USCG Biscayne Bay worked its way through heavy ice Saturday night on its way into the Menominee River. The ice on the bay of Green Bay off Menominee was so thick that the cutter had to "back and ram" its way into port. After docking for the night at a local warehouse dock, the Biscayne Bay then worked its way fairly easily up-river Sunday morning to Marinette Marine Corp. where the new icebreaker Mackinaw (2) is awaiting an April 2nd launch. Ice was not broken near the dock, so we will probably see another Coast Guard ship along with (probably) the Erika Kobasic in here to break and flush the ice from the launch area sometime prior to the launch of the Mackinaw (2).

USCG Biscayne Bay breaking ice in the Menominee River on March 20.

Owen Sound, ON:
Reported by Ed Saliwonchyk
Algosteel departed winter lay-up in Owen Sound at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, March 19. Although she departed through ice, she had a somewhat easier time than when she entered the harbour on January 31. The Samuel Risley was in the bay breaking ice on Thursday.

Algosteel leaving Owen Sound

Goderich, ON
Reported by Mike Drennan
The Algosteel arrived in Goderich early Monday, March 21 2005; opening the shipping season in Goderich.

Algosteel loading salt March 21, 2005.


New in the Public Photo Gallery

The New Mackinaw (2)
Sarnia Lay-up


Today in Great Lakes History

On 22 March 1922, the Goodrich Transit Company purchased the assets and properties of the Chicago, Racine and Milwaukee Steamship Company.  This sale included two steamers:  ILLINOIS (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 240 foot, 2427 gross tons, built in 1899 at S. Chicago, Illinois) and PILGRIM (iron propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 209 foot, 1921 gross tons, built in 1881 at Wyandotte, Michigan).

The GULF MACKENZIE sailed light March 22, 1977, on her maiden voyage from Sorel to Montreal, Quebec.

The tanker COMET (Hull#705) was launched March 22, 1913 at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Standard Transportation Co. of New York.

THOMAS W LAMONT (Hull#184) was launched March 22, 1930, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

March 22, 1885 - The Goodrich Steamer MICHIGAN was crushed in heavy ice off Grand Haven, Michigan and sank. Captain Redmond Prindiville in command, Joseph Russell was the first mate.

On 22 March 1873, TYPO, a wooden schooner/canaller, was launched at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She cost $25,000 and was commanded by Captain William Callaway.

On 22 March 1871, Engineer George Smith and two firemen were badly scalded on the propeller LAKE BREEZE when a steam pipe they were working on blew away from the side of the boiler. They were getting the engines ready for the new shipping season.

On 22 March 1938, CITY OF BUFFALO (steel side-wheeler passenger/package freight vessel, 340 foot, 2940 gross tons, built in 1896 at Wyandotte, Michigan) caught fire during preparations for the Spring season while at her winter moorings at the East Ninth Street dock in Cleveland, Ohio. She was totally gutted. The hulk was towed to Detroit for conversion to a freighter, but this failed to materialize. She was cut up for scrap there in 1940.

On 22 March 1987, the pilothouse of the 1901, steamer ALTADOC, which was used as a gift shop and 2-room hotel near Copper Harbor, Michigan, was destroyed by fire.

The c.) CHEMICAL MAR of 1966, sustained severe damage when sulfuric acid leaked into the pump room while discharging her cargo at the island of Curacao on March 21, 1982. Flooding occurred later and the vessel was declared a constructive total loss.  She was scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1983.  From 1979 until 1981, CHEMICAL MAR was named b.) COASTAL TRANSPORT for the Hall Corp. of Canada.  She never entered the Lakes under that name.

CLIFFS VICTORY was floated from the drydock on March 21, 1951, three months and two days after she entered the dock, and was rechristened b.) CLIFFS VICTORY.

MARLHILL was launched on March 21, 1908, as a.) HARRY A BERWIND (Hull#40) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for G. A. Tomlinson of Duluth, Minnesota.

The GEORGE F BAKER was sold to the Kinsman Marine Transit Co., Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 1965, and was renamed b) HENRY STEINBRENNER.

On 21 March 1874, the two schooners NORTH STAR and EVENING STAR were launched at Crosthwaite's shipyard in East Saginaw, Michigan. They were both owned by John Kelderhouse of Buffalo, New York.

On 21 March 1853, GENERAL SCOTT (wooden side-wheeler, 105 foot, 64 tons, built in 1852 at Saginaw, Michigan) was tied up to her dock on the Saginaw River when she was crushed beyond repair by ice that flowed down the river during the Spring breakup. One newspaper report said that while the vessel was being cleaned up for the new navigation season, a seacock was left open and she sank before the spring breakup.

On 20 March 1885, MICHIGAN (Hull#48), (iron propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 215 foot, 1183 tons) of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee Railroad was sunk by ice off Grand Haven, Michigan.

The sidewheeler NEW YORK was sold Canadian in 1877, hopefully at a bargain price because when she was hauled out on the ways on 20 March 1878, at Rathburn's yard in Kingston, Ontario to have her boiler removed, her decayed hull fell apart and could not be repaired. Her remains were burned to clear the ways.

On 20 March 1883, the E H MILLER of Alpena, Michigan (wooden propeller tug, 62 foot, 30 gross tons, built in 1874, at East Saginaw, Michigan ) was renamed RALPH. She was abandoned in 1920

The W R STAFFORD (Wooden propeller bulk freighter, 184 foot, 744 gross tons, built in 1886 at W. Bay City, Michigan) was freed from the ice at 2:00 a.m. on 19 March 1903, by the Goodrich Line’s ATLANTA.  When the STAFFORD was freed, the ice then closed around the ATLANTA and imprisoned her for several hours.  Both vessels struggled all night and finally reached Grand Haven, Michigan at 5:00 a.m..  They left for Chicago later that day in spite of the fact that an ice floe 2 miles wide, 14 miles long and 20 feet deep was off shore.

ALGONTARIO was launched March 19, 1960, as a.) RUHR ORE (Hull#536) at Hamburg, Germany by Schlieker-Werft Shipyard..

INDIANA HARBOR (Hull#719) was launched March 19, 1979, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp.

CITY OF GREEN BAY was launched March 19, 1927, as a.) WABASH (Hull#177) at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Wabash Railway Co.

ALFRED CYTACKI was launched March 19, 1932, as a.) LAKESHELL (Hull#1426) at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd..

On 19 March 1886, the PICKUP (wooden passenger/package freight steamer, 80 foot, 136 gross tons, built in 1883, at Marine City, Michigan was renamed LUCILE. She lasted until she sank off the Maumee River Light, Toledo, Ohio, Lake Erie, on August 8, 1906.

On 18 March 1906, the Goodrich Line’s ATLANTA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 200 foot, 1129 gross tons, built in 1891 at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing from Sheboygan, Wisconsin for Milwaukee.  When she was 14 miles south of Sheboygan, fire was discovered in the aft hold and quickly spread to the engine room.  She ran out of steam, making the fire pumps inoperable.  There were 65 persons aboard and Capt. Mc Cauley gave the order to abandon.  The fish tug TESSLER came to help and only one life was lost.  As the TESSLER was steaming to port, the Goodrich Line’s GEORGIA came into view ant took on all of the survivors.  The hull of the ATLANTA was beached by the TESSLER.  Later the burned hull was purchased by D. O. Smith of Port Washington

ARSENE SIMARD (Hull#404) was launched March 18, 1972 at Sorel, Quebec by Marine Industries Ltd., for Branch Lines Ltd.

PERE MARQUETTE 21 (Hull#209) was launched March 18, 1924, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. She was christened by Mrs. C.C. West, wife of the president of Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co.

The straight deck bulk carrier SYLVANIA (Hull#613) was launched March 18, 1905, at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co., for the Tomlinson Fleet Corp.

On 18 March 1890, CITY OF CHICAGO (steel sidewheeler, 211 foor, 1073 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by F.W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull#68) for the Graham & Morton Line.. CITY OF CHICAGO was lengthened to 226 foot at Wheeler's yard one year later (1891). She was again lengthened in 1905-06, this time to 254 foot. On the same day (18 March 1890) and at the same yard the 3-mast wooden schooner A C TUXBURY was stern launched.

On 18 March 1928, M T GREENE (wooden propeller freighter, 155 foot, 524 gross tons, built in 1887 at Gibraltar, Michigan) burned to a total loss near Brigdeburg, Ontario on the Niagara River.

On 17 March 1995, a fire started on the AMERICAN MARINER’s self-unloading conveyor belt from welding being done on the vessel at the Toledo Ship & Repair Company in Toledo, Ohio.  About $100,000 in damage was done.  The Toledo fire department had the blaze out in half an hour.

The tanker LAKESHELL reportedly leaked over 21,000 gallons of Bunker C oil into the St. Lawrence River on March 17, 1982, after suffering a crack in her cargo compartment caused by striking an ice floe.

GEORGE R FINK was launched March 17, 1923, as a.) WORRELL CLARKSON (Hull#174) at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Kinsman Transit Co.

The PATERSON suffered considerable stern damage during the weekend of March 17-18, 1973, during a gale when the MONDOC tore loose from her winter moorings at Goderich, Ontario and struck her.

On 17 March 1916, CITY OF MIDLAND (wooden propeller passenger-package freighter, 176 foot, 974 tons, built in 1890, at Owen Sound, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway dock at Collingwood, Ontario, while fitting out for the coming season. No lives were lost.

On 16 March 1901, ARGO (steel passenger/package freight propeller, 173 foot, 1089 gross tons) was launched at the Craig Ship Building Company (Hull #81) at Toledo, Ohio, for the A. Booth Company.  She left the Lakes in 1917, and was last recorded in 1938, out of Brest, France.

BUFFALO (Hull#721) was launched March 16, 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp., for the American Steamship Co.

On 16 March 1883, the Port Huron Times announced that the passenger and package freight steamer PICKUP would be built in Marine City, Michigan and would run on the St. Clair River between Port Huron and Algonac. The machinery from the burned steamer CARRIE H BLOOD was to be installed in her. In fact, her construction was completed that year and she went into service in September 1883. Her dimensions were 80 foot x 19 foot x 7 foot, 137 gross tons, 107 net tons.

The Niagara Harbor & Dock Company, a shipbuilding firm, was incorporated on 16 March 1831, at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

On 16 March 1886, the tug MOCKING BIRD was sold by Mr. D. N. Runnels to Mr. James Reid of St. Ignace, Michigan. Mr. Runnels received the tug JAMES L REID as partial payment.

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.


Maritime Days part of Soo sesquicentennial celebration

With a nod to maritime history, two tall ships will take their place among a variety of vessels celebrating the Soo Locks Sesquicentennial this summer. The tall ships will participate in one of several themed weekends planned to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the canal that connects Lake Superior to the rest of the Great Lakes.

Maritime Days, August 12-14, will encompass all things nautical. Tall ships Madeline and Windy will be joined by several Coast Guard vessels and a U.S. Geologic Survey vessel. All vessels will offer either shipboard tours or day sails.

The Madeline is a 92-foot gaff schooner launched in 1990 and modeled after the original Madeline, which served as a classroom for five young men during the winter of 1851-1852. One of the five was John Fitzgerald, the grandfather of Edmund Fitzgerald, namesake of the ill-fated ore carrier. Seeking an education, the five young men boarded the schooner for a journey to Grand Traverse Bay. This was just one of the many uses of the original Madeline, as she enjoyed a long and diverse career on northern Lake Michigan.

Visitors to the Sesquicentennial¹s Maritime Days will have the opportunity to enjoy a shipboard tour of the Madeline, complete with historical interpretation.

Those wishing to hoist the sails will want to enjoy a day sail aboard the tall ship Windy II. This vessel is a 150-foot four-masted barquentine/schooner. The Windy II, which was launched in 2000, has a home port of Chicago. It, too, will be docked in the Soo during Maritime Days.

The general public will be able to enjoy tours of the Madeline and sailing excursions on the Windy II for a fee.

Maritime Days will feature a number of other attractions, including a Maritime Expo highlighting maritime themed exhibits, products, and art. Pullar Stadium will house the expo, which planners say will feature a variety of marine-related agencies, as well as private vendors and exhibitors.

Lee Murdock, well known Great Lakes balladeer, will perform two concerts at the Expo. Murdock is a Chicago-based musician who has released nine acclaimed CDs of folk and maritime music. Murdock fans have discovered a treasury in his songs about the Great Lakes, finding drama and inspiration in the lives of sailors and fishermen, lighthouse keepers, shipwrecks, and more.

The Elk¹s Club will host a ³Mariner¹s Breakfast² on Sunday morning, followed on Sunday afternoon by ³Mariner Games² ­ a variety of games that will challenge teams in their maritime-related skills. A Blessing of the Fleet will also occur on Sunday.

Additional activities in the area will also encompass the maritime spirit, including Soo Locks Boat Tours excursions, tours of the Museum Ship Valley Camp, and visits to the River of History Museum. Well-known speaker Wayne Sapulski will make a presentation on Great Lakes lighthouses.

Maritime Days is just one of several themed weekends organized to celebrate and pay tribute to 150 years of the Soo Locks. Events begin on June 24 with Engineer¹s Day and conclude at Closing Ceremonies on September 2. Between the opening and closing dates, scheduled weekends will pay tribute to Native American culture, the Voyageur era, previous Soo Locks celebrations, and more.

For more information about Soo Locks Sesquicentennial activities, including Maritime Days, call 906-632-6361 or 1-800-MI-SAULT. Information is also available at

Reported by Angela Nebel



Soo Marine Mart seeks vendors
Vendors are being sought for a Maritime Mart Saturday - Sunday, Aug. 13 - Aug.14 at Sault Ste. Marie in conjunction with the Soo Locks 150th Anniversary

The Marine Mart will be inside  the Pullar Stadium on Portage Ave, near the SS Valley Camp Marine Museum. Tentative hours are Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and on Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Admission will be $3.  There will be two on-site performances by Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock on Saturday and tent space outside for general purpose and food vendors.
Contact Bonnie Barnes at for more information.


Lake states consider tougher freighter rules

Frustrated by what many see as federal foot-dragging in the fight to keep new invasive species from further ravaging the Great Lakes food web, a Michigan legislator is proposing Great Lakes states deal with the problem on their own.

Federal law created after the 1988 zebra mussel invasion requires freighters arriving from foreign ports to exchange their ballast water in the open ocean before arriving in the Great Lakes. The idea is to use ocean saltwater to kill freshwater organisms hitching a ride in a freighter's ballast tanks, which help stabilize an empty vessel in open water.

The problem is that up to 90 percent of freighters arriving in the Great Lakes have bellies loaded with cargo and are consequently exempt from the ballast exchange requirements.  But a freighter's "empty" ballast tanks still can carry loads of organism-rich sludge, as well as permanent pools of residual ballast water. Those ships arrive in the Great Lakes and drop off their cargo at one port and then take on ballast water before steaming on to the next port. That water mixes with the ballast sludge, and when it's dumped at the next Great Lakes port, fugitive organisms can escape into the lakes.

And that, scientists say, is likely the main reason why a new foreign species is discovered in the Great Lakes at a rate of about one every eight months.

With legislation to tighten the loophole stalled in Congress for about two years, this week Republican Patty Birkholz, a Michigan state senator, said she will pursue state laws to keep freighter-borne invaders at bay.  The idea is for the eight Great Lakes states to use their own water-pollution laws to create uniform - and stiffer - rules concerning contaminated ballast. It is an idea that may catch on in Wisconsin, home to 1,017 miles of Great Lakes shoreline on Michigan and Superior.

"We're definitely going to be taking a close look at it," said Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee), who was scheduled to attend a meeting in Chicago today with legislators from the other Great Lakes states to discuss this issue, among others. "There have to be consequences (for dumping contaminated ballast water) because the consequences for our Great Lakes are very real."

Zebra mussels, which scientists believe colonized the Great Lakes by hitching a ride in ballast water, are a prime example of the havoc and expense a non-native species can wreak on the world's largest freshwater system. The fingernail-sized, filter-feeding mollusks were first discovered in Great Lakes water in the summer of 1998. They rapidly spread across the region, clogging industrial water intake pipes and disrupting the bottom of the lakes' food web, which, in turn, threatens the Great Lakes' billion dollar recreational fishing industry. In 2002, the federal government estimated the cost of the mussel invasion over the next 10 years could top $3 billion.

Jordan Lubetkin of the National Wildlife Federation called Birkholz's plan to take on the issue on a state-by-state basis "an innovative and enterprising solution."  "I hope it works," he said.

Some wonder whether such an approach would interfere with federal commerce rules.  "That has always been a concern, and that's why the focus has always been at the federal level," said Todd Ambs, administrator of the water division for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

And a regional go-it-alone philosophy is precisely what the shipping industry fears. The worry is a hodgepodge of rules could cripple a globe-roaming freighter's ability to do business.

Earlier this winter, the U.S. Coast Guard quietly announced it would revisit its ballast water monitoring practice. The Coast Guard is responsible for inspecting ships to ensure ballast water exchange rules are followed.

Reported by Dan Egan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Port Reports

Windsor, ON:

The Cedarglen departed her winter lay-up dock at ADM Windsor early Saturday morning. The vessel was headed downbound reportedly for Quebec.

Alpena, MI:
Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain
The J.A.W Iglehart departed lay-up in Milwaukee on Thursday morning. It made its first stop in Muskegon, and was expected to be in South Chicago by late Friday night. The Steamer Alpena was in port early Monday morning loading at Lafarge. The Alpena is also delivering on Lake Michigan this week, to South Chicago and Waukegan.

Stoneport has opened for the season and is expected to start loading vessels next week. The Joseph H. Thompson, Great Lakes Trader, Richard Reiss (Manistee), and the McKee Sons are on the schedule so far.

Escanaba, MI:
Reported by Lee Rowe
The Lee A. Tregurtha cancelled her scheduled trip to Escanaba, possibly due to the line-up at the dock.


Breakout schedule set for St. Marys River

Icebreakers will begin breaking out the St. Marys River on Friday, the Coast Guard has announced.

Called "Operation Taconite" the annual spring breakout will extend from DeTour to Whitefish Bay, although certain channels will not be cleared until shortly before the Soo Locks open for the season on Friday, March 25. In a statement, Group Sault said icebreaking on the lower end of the West Neebish Channel will begin on Monday, March 21. The lower end of that channel includes waters from the Mud Lake Junction buoy in Munuscong Bay to Sawmill Point well below the Neebish Rock Cut.

Later in the week, the upper portion of the West Neebish Channel, including the so-called Neebish Ice bridge will be broken out in advance of the commercial shipping season. In the statement, the Coast Guard said breakout day for the upper portion of the West Neebish will be on March 24.

Icebreakers can also be expected on Straits of Mackinac channels in the run-up to the shipping opener. The Coast Guard statement did not suggest a breakout date for Mackinac Island, which, like Neebish Island can be isolated for a time in early spring by heavy broken ice.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard also announced that the Canadian icebreaker Samuel Risley will pass through the Poe Lock upbound on Friday, bound for Thunder Bay, Ont. Home ported in Parry Sound, Ont., Risley will break out Thunder Bay Harbor in preparation for the new shipping season.

That vessel's passage through the upper St. Marys River and Whitefish Bay will set a track along the shipping channel leading to western ports. On Saturday, USCGC Mackinaw was scheduled to follow Risley's track upbound. In her next-to-last breakout as an active icebreaker, Mackinaw will once again attend to track widening and grooming on the upper river and Whitefish Bay.

Reported by U.S. Coast Guard


Ontario probes report of illegal dive on Fitzgerald

The Ontario Ministry of Culture is reviewing allegations an illegal dive was made to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior, according to an Associated Press story that appeared in a recent edition of the Detroit News.

The Whitefish Point Preservation Society of Paradise, Mich., alleges that the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, led by Thomas Farnquist, executive director of Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, conducted an illegal dive to the legendary shipwreck nearly three years ago.

"I cannot confirm, nor deny, whether there was an unauthorized dive to the Edmund Fitzgerald," said Michael Johnson, manager of the ministry's Heritage Operations Unit.  "I am not ready to pass judgment on material that has been forwarded to us until further review."

If it is felt an official investigation is required, that would be done by another branch of the provincial government because the Ministry of Culture does not have the investigative authority to handle such work, Johnson said.

The preservation society alleges that the historical society was not issued an archaeological license or dive permit as required under the Ontario Heritage Act for a dive conducted in the summer of 2002.  But Farnquist, who has led three expeditions to the Fitzgerald, which lies in Ontario waters, denies a dive even took place.

"We dragged side-scan sonar past the wreckage from a distance of about 800 feet... We did not need a license. It isn't categorized as a dive."

Images captured during the sonar "sweep" were incorporated into an episode of the History Channel's Deep Sea Detectives, which dealt with the wreck of the Fitzgerald, broadcast nearly a year later.

That upsets Bridget Nodurft, a spokeswoman for the preservation society.  "The site was declared off-limits following the recovery of the ship's bell in 1995 and just a few years later (in 2003) they are announcing to the world through the History Channel that they have returned," Nodurft said.

Reported by Associated Press / Detroit News


Pilot pay quest gains federal approval

A quest of several years by Great Lakes vessel pilots finally paid off for the group with announcement of a pay settlement raising pilot fees by an average 20 percent, according to a story recently in the Sault Evening News.

Thwarted repeatedly by Great Lakes port officials and saltwater shipping agents, pilots groups have struggled with Coast Guard regulators for four years in an effort to gain an across-the-board increase in piloting fees. On Tuesday, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) announced approval of the 20 percent wage.  Fees paid pilots to guide saltwater ships on Great Lakes channels are set by the U.S. Coast Guard and are not subject to conventional wage bargaining.

Capt. Don Willekke, president of the Western Great Lakes Pilots Association, said the deal announced Tuesday was a fair one. "Most of it was done well and done right," Willekke said of the fee increase. While the overall impact of the settlement is a 20 percent raise for all Great Lakes pilots, Willekke said the net impact on the Western Great Lakes group is 15 percent more for pilot services.

The Western Great Lakes Pilots Association represents those pilots working the St. Marys River, Straits of Mackinac and the Upper Great Lakes region. Following the practices of many generations in the piloting trade, normal employee pay arrangements, taxes and benefits are divided among the pilots themselves by pilot associations set up around geographic coverage areas.

Coast Guard regulations require local Great Lakes pilots for foreign-flag ships and U.S. vessels engaged in deepwater trades while those ships are in Great Lakes waters. Pilots are not required for U.S. and Canadian vessels that trade primarily on the Great Lakes.

The Western Great Lakes group launched a public campaign for a pay raise about two years ago, after private efforts to influence Coast Guard officials failed to produce promised annual raises. The pilots group initially demanded a 25 percent raise, citing a five-year hiatus in the annual adjustments. Ranged against the pilots were St. Lawrence Seaway port officials and shipping agents, who claimed increased pilot fees would discourage saltwater shipping business on the Lakes.

Willekke challenged that assumption, saying independent studies have shown that pilot increases will not materially impact trade by saltwater ships on the Great Lakes. Further boosting Willekke's challenge are the several shipbuilding projects undertaken by offshore and Canada-based shipping lines to introduce new vessels sized to meet Great Lakes and Seaway size limits. Dozens of new vessels sized for Great Lakes trades have pursued a number of trades on the Lakes in recent years. Willekke agreed that the huge investment in new ships represents a commitment to Lakes trades not likely to be discouraged by pilotage fees.

The arrangement announced this week is the first across-the-board increase for pilots since 2001. The Coast Guard attempted to answer pilots complaints with a "partial" raise in January 2004 that pilots say was based on old, 2001 data.

Reported by Jack Storey, Sault Evening News


Port Reports

Toronto, ON:

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman returned to port Thursday afternoon at 13:00 with the first cement cargo of the season for Essroc.  Unloading of the storage sugar cargo on Canadian Leader was completed Thursday afternoon, and McKeil's tugs returned her to the berth at Pier 35 that evening.  The fire tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie was out breaking ice in the harbor slips and in Blockhouse Bay this afternoon.  First charter boat to go back into service this season will likely be River Gambler.  They have a booking for April 1st.  The R.C.Y.C. hope to have their workboat Esperanza IV ready for service next week.  The Elsie D. is normally first to splash in the spring, but this winter she has been repowered and she is still in pieces.

Duluth. MN & Superior, WI:
Reported by Al Miller
James R. Barker departed its lay-up berth in Superior on March 17 with a load of western coal destined for Taconite Harbor, Minn. The Barker is expected to load again today at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Marquette.

The Barker began loading Thursday morning and departed overnight. During the day the new Coast Guard Cutter Alder continued its weeklong effort of breaking ice in the harbor. The Alder was particularly busy Thursday with widening the turn by the Duluth Port Terminal and widening the channel leading past Midwest Energy Terminal and into the DMIR ore docks.

The Barker departed with 57,000 tons of coal consigned to the Minnesota Power generating station at Taconite Harbor. Last year, Midwest Energy Terminal shipped  18.8 million tons of coal, and this year's goal is 20 million tons. Because the dock measures its tonnage by calendar year rather than by shipping season, it already has shipped nearly 1 million tons in 2005. Elsewhere in port, the first load scheduled for the DMIR ore docks in Duluth is the St. Clair, departing its lay-up berth to load pellets March 25, followed by American Mariner on March 29. The dock has a large stockpile of pellets ready for shipment.

Among the lay-up fleet, Arthur M. Anderson remains in drydock, sporting a sparkling new paint job. It remains in traditional Great Lakes Fleet colors, complete with the grey stripe on the bow. Work continues on the Roger Blough's unloading booms and belts. The booms have frequently been extended over the winter, with unloading belts being laid out on the ground. Presque Isle is undergoing some sort of work on its bow.  A blue plastic tarp appears to cover a hole in the bow in the area of the windlass room.

Escanaba, MI:
Reported by Jason Leino and Scott Best
The CN ore dock in Escanaba was busy Thursday with 4 vessels in port. The Joseph L. Block was at the loader and departed for Indiana Harbor around lunch time. The Wilfred Sykes arrived as the Block was departing and the two saluted each other. The Sykes will be next to load. Also in port were the Great Lakes Trader and Joseph H. Thompson & Jr. The Lee A. Tregurtha and Mesabi Miner are also due in Escanaba in the next day or so followed by the Kaye E. Barker early next week.


Dedicated Bandwidth Delayed Again

In our continuing saga of trying to get the dedicated T-1 installed, SBC installed the wrong hardware and we are once again delayed. Errors by SBC and AT&T have delayed this dedicated bandwidth for over three months. They tell us it will be in next week... stay tuned.


Cutter opens harbor

The Great Lakes shipping season is once again upon us, a sure sign spring is still possible. Marquette residents from Presque Isle to the Lower Harbor snapped pictures Monday of the brand new U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder as it cleared a path through the ice in the city's harbors. The first boat is expected to arrive in the Upper Harbor on Sunday.

The Alder, completed on Sept. 2 in Marinette, Wis., replaces the Duluth-built Sundew, which was decommissioned last year after 60 years of service in lakes Huron, Michigan and Superior. The Sundew is now part of a museum display in Duluth.

"The Sundew is preserved in the same condition it was in when crews were on it," said Ensign Tom Brown of Annapolis, Md. "There are two of the 1940s-era ships still in service with the Coast Guard. Other were sold over the years to foreign nations. One, for instance, is the flagship of the El Salvador navy."

The cutters, named for trees, are used to maintain aids to navigation in the upper Great Lakes waterways. According to one deckhand who worked on both vessels, several improvements were made in the Alder's design.

"It's a lot safer and a lot more advanced." Seaman Kris Rudman of Pittsburgh said. "It's like going from working on a Volvo to working on a Cadillac."

Several Marquette Redmen hockey players played an informal game as entertainment for the 50 crew members as they disembarked for shore leave Monday night. The Alder returned to its ice cutting duties this morning.

Reported by Pete Mackin, The Mining Journal


Port Report

Toronto, ON:

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
The Stephen B. Roman has gone into service for the season. This is the first departure from Toronto this season.

McKeil's tugs Atomic and Glenevis had an early start Wednesday turning Canadian Leader at the Redpath Sugar terminal, so the stern is now facing the street. McNally Construction Inc. is still repairing the dock face at Redpath broken by Canadian Provider last fall. The tug Bagotville and derrick barge McNally Olympic are on the job.

At Harbourfront, work by Bermingham Construction Co. continues on the finger docks being built into the harbor. The tug William and derrick barges Pitts Carillon and Y & F No. 1 are being used. Completion of this project will be a blow to the charter boat industry's "wall crawl" along Harbourfront.

Two harbour police patrol boats (MU1 and another) were out an about Wednesday, replacing the winter ice boat Peter Benge. The harbor is now almost clear of ice, although the slips have not broken out, and the island lagoons are solid enough for ice boats and hockey. The ferries Ongiara and Maple City still serve the island communities and airport respectively.

Construction continues on Yankee Lady IV at the Keating Channel. The bulwarks for the upper deck are currently being fabricated and put in place.

The Toronto Port Authority received $600,000 from the federal government yesterday for increased security. Pork Authority President Lisa Riatt  said they are putting the final touches on the new International Marine Terminal, which will accommodate "The Breeze" and other passenger vessels. Riatt wants Rochester to have the ferry in service for Canada's May 24th Victoria Day weekend (May 21-23) but Rochester is aiming for the U. S. Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30).



Welland Canal Opening Ceremony

Viewers of this website are invited to celebrate the Top Hat Ceremony of the 2005 Navigation Season of the Welland Canal at the Welland Canals Center - Lock 3 (2nd Floor), 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, ON on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2005 at 10:00 AM.  The traditional Top Hat will be presented to the Captain of the first upbound vessel (undetermined at this time). 

Also, Richard Corfe, CEO, The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, will be making a major announcement which will have long-term positive effects on the competitiveness in Marine transportation.

Invitation extended by Chris Dabrowski, Client Co-ordinator, oeb International Public Relations/Public Affairs


Marine photographer, historian Andy LaBorde

3/17 Update
Andy LaBorde Obituary
Andrew Laird LaBorde
Died unexpectedly in Detroit, MI on March 12, 2005, age 53 years. Beloved son of Russell and Peggy (nee Harris) LaBorde. Loving brother of Dan LaBorde, Luke (Lynn) LaBorde, Matt LaBorde and John (Lisa) LaBorde. Proud uncle of Madeline, Nicholas, Emily and Mark. Further survived by other relatives, friends and his canine friend "Sarah".

Memorial Services will be held on Sat., March 19 at 1:30 PM at North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N. Bartlett Ave., Shorewood with Rev. James Bender, officiating. The family will greet friends after the service. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the charity of your choice appreciated.

Published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on 3/16/2005.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N Bartlett Ave, Shorewood WI. This is just north of Capital drive. Shorewood is a northern suburb of Milwaukee.

Andy LaBorde, 53, of Milwaukee, Wis., died suddenly Saturday afternoon on Grosse Ile, near Detroit. A well-known member of the Great Lakes boatwatching community, he was also a long-time advisory council member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

In addition to his fondness for the lakers, he was an avid fan of old military vehicles, especially Jeeps. He was also known around the Lakes for his videos documenting his trips on various lakers, including the Edward L. Ryerson.

Andy LaBorde during an open house in 2002 on the Edward L. Ryerson (Photo: Roger LeLievre)


Canadian registry opened for Kinsman Independent

The former U.S.-flag bulk carrier Kinsman Independent, sold to Canada's McKeil fleet of tugs and barges, has been brought into Canadian registry with the official number 0827118. Her port of registry is listed as Hamilton.

Crews have been observed working this winter on the aft end of the vessel, and the stack has been moved aside to allow access to mechanical spaces. Unconfirmed reports indicate she is being repowered with a diesel engine and will enter service for McKeil this summer as a self-powered vessel in the grain or soybean trade.

It had originally been assumed the 1953-built vessel, which for most of its career sailed as Ernest R. Breech for the Ford Motor Co. fleet, would be cut down to a barge.

Kinsman Independent was the last operating non-self-unloader in the U.S. Great Lakes fleet when she laid up in Buffalo, N.Y. on December 16, 2002 after delivering her final cargo of approximately 600,000 bushels of grain from the General Mills "S" annex in Superior, WI.

In the spring of 2004, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) approved the application of Minch Transit Co. (Great Lakes Associates) to sell the Kinsman Independent to McKeil Work Boats Ltd. of Hamilton, ON.  On September 1, 2004 the Kinsman Independent was towed from Buffalo by two tugs bound for the Welland Canal and Hamilton.

Reported by Jason Leslie


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


Boatnerd Bandwidth


The long awaited dedicated bandwidth to serve the Boatnerd site will be online Friday evening. The switch is expected to take place between 5 and 6 p.m. When the change is made the connection should only be down for a minute or two.

This dedicated bandwidth will solve many of the issues experienced by users. At times of heavy use the site has not been available or loads pages other than the one expected.


Richard Reiss renamed Manistee

Ending a year's worth of speculation by boatwatchers, workers began painting a new name on the Richard Reiss, laid up at Sarnia, over the weekend. By the end of the day Sunday, the name Manistee was emblazoned across the front of her pilothouse.

The vessel was bought a year ago by Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. from Oglebay Norton Marine Services, which had acquired ­ but never operated ­ the 1943-built vessel from the Erie Sand and Gravel Co. She sailed for LLT all the 2004 season as Richard Reiss, pending an end-of-year drydocking and repainting at Bay Ship last December.

The rename means there will not be a vessel named Reiss on the lakes for the first time in almost 100 years.

Reported by Jamie Kerwin

Richard Reiss at Sarnia in January. (Photo by Roger LeLievre)


Port Reports

Brockville, ON & area:

Reported by Keith Giles
The CCGS SIMCOE began operations this morning, Monday, 14 March 2005, to clear the St. Lawrence River shipping channel of ice from Prescott situated on the St. Lawrence River to Picton, Ontario located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario.  At 10:00 AM, the vessel was breaking the ice in the channel at Brockville, Ontario.  The operation is expected to take several days as she makes one pass each way.  The St. Lawrence River part of the Seaway is schedule to open on Friday, March 25th

Duluth, MN & Superior, WI:
Reported by Al Miller
The Twin Ports shipping seasons is expected to "unofficially" begin March 17, when James R. Barker is scheduled to take on a load of coal and depart for Taconite Harbor, Minn. The Barker is scheduled to load again March 19 with coal for Presque Isle near Marquette, Mich.

Interlake Steamship Co. boats have made several March trips on Lake Superior in recent years. However, the Twin Ports shipping season doesn't "officially" start until the first vessel arrives from the lower lakes, a tradition that dates to the earliest days of navigation on the lakes.

In anticipation of the Barker's departure, the new Coast Guard Cutter Alder has made several forays through the harbor to break ice. The vessel reported ice thickness of about 24 inches inside the harbor. The waters off Duluth currently are free of ice, but some light, drifting pack ice has drifted over to the South Shore near Superior Entry.

Once the Soo Locks open, the pace is expected to pick up rapidly at Midwest Energy Terminal. John B. Aird is scheduled to load March 25, followed by Columbia Star and Indiana Harbor on March 26.

Montreal, QC:
Reported by Rene Beauchamp
The first laker to leave Montreal after winter lay up was the Algoport on March 12. She left for Port Cartier bound for the Quebec Cartier Mining dock where she will arrive shortly after midnight Monday, the 14th. The Algoport was the last vessel to arrive in Montreal for winter lay up on Feb.4.

Sturgeon Bay, WI:
Reported by Carl Grota
Winter lay-up departures from Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI are as follows:
March 15: Wilfred Sykes and tug Barbara Andrie
March 17: Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, Lee A. Tregurtha
March 19: Kaye E. Barker
March 20: Charles M. Beeghly
March 22: Indiana Harbor
March 24: Phillip R. Clarke, Mesabi Miner, Herbert C. Jackson
March 25: Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., Edwin H. Gott




DeTour Reef Lighthouse to Open for Tours
DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) is sponsoring a chance to tour the newly restored DeTour Reef Lighthouse. After a two-year major exterior and interior restoration, the light is ready for visitors. For the first time in its 74-year history, guided, narrated tours are planned for July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24, 2005. The tours to the historic structure, located one mile offshore in northern Lake Huron and the mouth of the St. Marys River, will include spectacular scenery and sights of passing freighter traffic. Tour cost is $75.00 for DRLPS members and $95.00 for non-members. DRLPS memberships are available for $20.00 individual and $30.00 family.

The tours will depart from the DeTour Harbor Marina. Additional information is available, and reservations may be made, at the organizations website, or by contacting Dave Bardsley at or 906-493-6609.


Today in Great Lakes History

WESTCLIFFE HALL (Hull # 519) was launched March 15, 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland by Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd., for the Hall Corp. of Canada.

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, Michigan) was carrying lumber and lath when she stranded near Two Rivers Point, Wisconsin 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. Catharines, Ontario from 1828, until his death.

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

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, Michigan 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 to fill in for a disabled ferry in Detroit.

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 the 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.

The keel for the tanker IMPERIAL REDWATER (Hull#106) was laid March 13, 1950, at Port Arthur, Ontario by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co.

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

RUTH HINDMAN was launched March 12, 1910, as a.) NORWAY (Hull#115) at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the United States Transportation Co.

G A TOMLINSON was launched March 12, 1907, as a) D O MILLS (Hull#29) at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Mesaba Steamship Co..

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

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

The keel was laid March 11, 1976, for the 660 foot forward section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp.  Renamed b.) WALTER J MC CARTHY JR in 1990.

L'AIGLE was launched March 11, 1982, as a.) ERRIA PILOT (Hull#308) at Imabari, Japan by Asakawa Zosen Co..

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

Sea trials were conducted on March 11, 1956, on Paterson’s new canaller LACHINEDOC.

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

CHARLES E WILSON (Hull#710) was launched March 10, 1973, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp., for American Steamship Co.  Renamed b.) JOHN J BOLAND in 2000.

The ADAM E CORNELIUS, built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#53) of 1908, was renamed b.) DETROIT EDISON on March 10, 1948.

FORT HENRY (Hull#150) was launched March 10, 1955, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.

KINSMAN VENTURE was launched March 10, 1906, as a.) JOHN SHERWIN (Hull#617) at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co..

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, Michigan.

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

The tug RIVER QUEEN sank at her dock in Port Huron, Michigan 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 foot, 636 gross tons) 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 b.) ARROWWOOD (WAGL 176) and used as an icebreaker. She was rebuilt in 1946, renamed c.) 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.

On 09 March 1933, all nine steamers of the Goodrich Transit Company were seized by Federal Marshals under a bankruptcy petition.  These steamers were CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, CAROLINA, ALABAMA, ILLINOIS, CITY OF BENTON HARBOR, CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, CITY OF ST. JOSEPH, CITY OF HOLLAND, and the CITY OF SAUGATUCK.

AMOCO ILLINOIS was launched March 9, 1918, as a) WILLIAM P COWAN (Hull#724) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co..

NOTRE DAME VICTORY (Hull#1229), was launched on March 9, 1945, at Portland, Oregon by Oregon Shipbuilding Co., just 42 days after her keel was laid.  She became the b.) CLIFFS VICTORY and sailed on the Great Lakes from 1951 until 1985.

WIARTON (2) was launched March 9, 1907, as a) THOMAS LYNCH (Hull#73) at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co..

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: 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.


Server Move

The main server was physically moved Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. to a new location. There will be no noticeable change to users and the address stays the same.
The dedicated bandwidth should be online by Thursday of this week. Watch this page for details.


Jean Parisien renamed CSL Assiniboine

Canada Steamship Lines' newly-rebuilt self-unloader Jean Parisien will sail as the CSL Assiniboine (eh-SIN-eh-boyne) when her refit is completed. A naming ceremony was held Saturday, March 5 at Niagara on the Lake, ON in conjunction with honoring the spouses of CSL shipping families.

CSL Assiniboine honors the Western grain growing provinces. The name was submitted by the manager of the Winnipeg office who is retiring this year. The last ship honoring the western provinces was the Prairie Harvest, which is now the Atlantic Huron.

The vessel's refit, which involves attaching a new forebody to the pre-existing engine room and accommodations module, is expected to be completed sometime this summer.

Reported by Kent Malo


Alder to break out Marquette next week; Mackinaw due at the Soo

Commercial shipping on Lake Superior may begin as early as March 20 on routes leading in and out of Marquette, according to a Coast Guard statement. In the statement, Group Sault announced that the buoy tender USCGC Alder will break out Marquette Harbor, Presque Isle Harbor and approaches to the Shiras Generating Plant from March 13 to 15.

Earlier, the Coast Guard was alerted to the possibility that iron ore shipments from Marquette to Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. may resume well before the normal shipping season commences March 25 with the opening of the Soo Locks. Cross-lake ore and coal shipments using vessels laid up on Lake Superior do not rely on the Locks for passages between Marquette and other Lake Superior ports.

Coast Guard officials indicated the icebreaker USCGC Mackinaw is scheduled to arrive upbound in Sault Harbor on March 19. Mackinaw normally passes upbound through the Locks a week or so before the Locks open to prepare vessel tracks on the upper river and Whitefish Bay. The icebreaker may also cross to Marquette to assist with the breakout there, if Alder's limited icebreaking capability is not up to the task of fully clearing that harbor.

Reported by Jack Storey, Sault Evening News


Canadian company will run Spirit of Ontario

The Canadian company hired to run Rochester's high-speed ferry calls it "a considerable challenge, but also a great opportunity".  Bay Ferries Ltd. of Saint John, New Brunswick, was hired Tuesday to operate the ferry for the city. Spirit of Ontario, which now sits idle at the Port of Rochester, is expected to resume service to Toronto by Memorial Day weekend.

Don Cormier, Bay Ferries vice president of operations and safety management, declined to otherwise comment Wednesday because the company has not finalized its three-year agreement with the city. Bay Ferries, which has been in the ferry business since 1941, was hired by Rochester Ferry Co., the limited liability company created by the city to oversee the ferry service.

According to some terms released Tuesday, Bay Ferries will receive an annual $1.3 million management fee. The company will be responsible for all aspects of running the service, including developing budgets, securing insurance, hiring employees and managing all ticket and reservation systems. Rochester Ferry will oversee finances and receive any profit. Bay Ferries runs The Cat, a seasonal high-speed ferry between Maine and Nova Scotia, and two other conventional ferries in eastern Canada.

The city purchased the ferry for $32 million at a federal foreclosure auction last week. U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Feldman is expected to confirm the sale of the vessel without a formal hearing, since there were no objections filed with the court.

Reported by Rochester Democrat-Chronicle.


Joseph H. Frantz won’t sail - place may be taken by Courtney Burton

The veteran self-unloader Joseph H. Frantz, under charter from Oglebay Norton Marine to Kinsman Lines, will reportedly not sail for the fleet this season. A letter has been sent to crewmembers telling them not to report to the ship. A reason was not given. This would have been the third year of a five-year charter of the vessel.

The door has reportedly been left open, however, for Kinsman to operate the steamer Courtney Burton, also owned by Oglebay Norton and idle at Toledo the past two seasons, in place of the Frantz. No details have been released as yet about the possible swap. The Burton will have to be drydocked for a five-year inspection before returning to service.

Reported by Jason Leslie


Bus driver pleads guilty in sewage dumping incident

A bus driver for the Dave Matthews Band pleaded guilty Wednesday to dumping 800 pounds of human waste from the vehicle's septic tank onto a sightseeing boat on the Chicago River last summer.

The driver, Stefan Wohl, was sentenced to 18 months probation, 150 hours of community service and the maximum $10,000 fine, which will be paid to Friends of the Chicago River, said Tom Stanton, a spokesman for the Cook County State's Attorney's office. Wohl pleaded guilty to the original charges filed against him in January, reckless conduct and discharging contaminates to cause water pollution, Stanton said.

According to authorities, Wohl was alone in the bus of band violinist Boyd Tinsley on his way to a downtown hotel Aug. 8 when he emptied the bus' septic tank as it crossed the metal grates of the Kinzie Street bridge. The human waste poured through the grates and onto the open deck of the Chicago's Little Lady tour boat, which was passing below with more than 100 people on board.

The boat immediately returned to its dock and was disinfected, and officials with the Chicago Architectural Foundation, which operates the tour, offered refunds. They said they received several calls from angry passengers who also demanded compensation for clothing and personal items.

Authorities used surveillance tapes from area buildings to zero in on the bus and consulted with engineers to determine the waste release was not an accident. Prosecutors said the band cooperated in the investigation, flying Tinsley to Chicago to be interviewed by authorities and bringing the bus, one of a number used by the band, back for inspection.

The band has since donated $50,000 to the Friends of the Chicago River and $50,000 to the Chicago Park District.

Reported by the Associated Press


Port Reports

Sarnia, ON

Reported by Barry Hiscocks
The former tanker Gemini made a radio check Wednesday as "the motor tanker Algosar," confirming reports made earlier on this page of her rename. Also the Algoma logo is now affixed to her stack, replacing the old Cleveland Tankers logo. The Algosar is laid up at Sarnia outside of the Algorail and is only easily observed from the U.S. side of the river.

Workers are also busy aboard the Maumee, with about two dozen cars in the parking lot next to the vessel. She is undergoing steel repairs that will enable her to resume trading this season after sitting out 2004.

Owen Sound, ON
Reported by Peter Bowers
Ice Breaking is scheduled for Thursday in Owen Sound.  The Samuel Risley is due during the day to break ice which reaches from the city limit to the inner harbour.  Ice cover in the bay is about the same as in late January.


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


Port Reports

St. Catharines, ON

Reported by Jimmy Sprunt
On Monday the Pineglen was moved from the dry dock at Port Weller to the fit-out wall along side the CSL Niagara. The Peter R. Cresswell will be moved into the dock where Pineglen was. New for body for Parisien is taking shape.

Marquette, MI
Reported by Lee Rowe
Marquette will begin shipping ore a full week earlier than the opening of the Soo Locks.  An agreement between Algoma Steel at the Soo and Cleveland Cliffs will have ore shipments beginning on March 18th.  Two ships, the Michipicoten and Mississagi, wintered at Algoma above the locks, and the light ice on the lake will make this early beginning possible.

Sturgeon Bay, WI
Reported by Wendell Wilke
The Joseph L. Block departed winter lay-up from Bay Ship Building at noon on Tuesday, northbound through the bay.

Escanaba, MI
Reported by Lee Rowe
Escanaba began shipping ore out after just one week of shut-down time.  The Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort loaded ore on Tuesday, March 8.
(for photos, see latest Photo Gallery)


Service Outage

The Boatnerd Sites experience an outage Tuesday afternoon and evening.  This was a connection problem at the hosting location and not related to the server move.


Stabilizers to steady Lake Express ferry crossing

Lake Express officials promise a smoother ride from Muskegon to Milwaukee this summer. Last year, some passengers of the high-speed, cross-lake ferry experienced discomfort in rough seas.

Lake Express LLC of Milwaukee will spend $450,000 to place a computer-controlled "T-foil" ride stabilizer on each of the two catamaran hulls. The devices that resemble an adjustable airplane wing will dampen the rolling action of the ferry side-to-side and lessen the sharp vertical ups and downs of the ferry in high winds and seas, according to company President Ken Szallai in a story printed recently in the Muskegon Chronicle.

"Lake Express will provide an even better passenger experience in its second season of service," Szallai told the newspaper. "We are adding this ride-control technology and upgraded amenities to make the trip more luxurious. Our passengers will find their time aboard the Lake Express to be that much more enjoyable."

Some time around the first of April, the 192-foot ferry that carries 250 passengers and 46 vehicles will be taken to a shipyard to be fitted with the stabilization foils, which are the size of a dining room table. Lake Express will either use a Michigan-based boat yard or Bay Shipbuilding Corp. dock in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Szallai said.

Lake Express experienced several trips in heavy weather that were uncomfortable for passengers who have problems with motion sickness. Several times in the summer and fall, trips were canceled because the conditions on Lake Michigan were too severe for the safety and comfort of the passengers.

Szallai said he investigated the "T-foil" technology in California with the Catalina Island fast ferry service.  "When you turn the system on and off, it makes a world of difference," Szallai said. "It will be an appreciable improvement of an already great ride."

Lake Express used operating data from its inaugural 2004 season that saw more than 110,000 passengers use the Lake Express service. From weather information, wave and water condition reports to on-board passenger evaluations, the ferry company determined that further equipment could improve ride comfort, officials said.

Besides the ride stabilization equipment, the shipyard also will repair damaged bow doors on the vehicle deck. A permanent bow-door system will be installed, Szallai said. Shipyard work should take about three weeks.

Lake Express will begin its second season of operation May 14 and is scheduled to provide service through Dec. 31. It will provide three-round trips a day in the summer months and two in the fall and early winter.

Reported by The Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports

Alpena, MI

Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain
The Steamer Alpena arrived in port around 9PM Sunday night, to take on cement and start another shipping season. It departed lay-up in Cleveland on Saturday and stopped at Detroit to unload. The Alpena was escorted to the bay entrance by another vessel, either a tug boat or Coast Guard cutter. Once the Alpena reached the channel that leads into Lafarge the other vessel turned around and left. The bay has ice which can change daily, but the channel into Lafarge seems to be clear.  The Alpena was expected to depart before 1AM on Monday.

Cleveland, OH
Reported by Bill Kloss
The McKee Sons/Invincible left lay-up on March 3, going up the Cuyahoga to begin shuttling ore for ISG from their winter stockpile just north of the mill. The American Republic left her lay-up berth on March 4, going to Cleveland Bulk Terminal to begin shuttling as well.



Steamship William G. Mather Museum Presents  “Black Friday”.
Director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center to speak at March 16 “LandLubber Series”


On Friday, October 20, 1916 a fierce storm swept across the shallow waters of Lake Erie wreaking death and destruction in its path.  Four ships were lost on that “Black Friday.”  Carrie Sowden, director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center and archeologist for the Great Lakes Historical Society will describe, in a 45-minute program of stories and images, what happened on that dark day.


Hear riveting histories of destruction and survival.  The bulk freighter Merida went down with all hands.  From the wrecked whaleback James B. Colgate, only the skipper survived.   The schooner-barge D. L. Filer foundered in the gale, and just one of the seven crewmembers was saved.  Those onboard the lumber hooker Marshall F. Butters were luckier: when their ship broke up, all were rescued by nearby vessels.

“Black Friday” will be presented on Wednesday, March 16 at 7PM at CanalWay Center, located at 4524 E. 49th St. off I-77 in Cuyahoga Heights in the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation.  Phone: (216) 206-1000, Website:

Another LandLubber program is scheduled for April 20.  For more information, visit or call the Mather Museum’s 24-hour info-line (216) 574-6262.


Today in Great Lakes History

EUGENE P THOMAS (Hull#184) was launched March 8, 1930, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

March 8, 1910 - A fire from unknown causes destroyed the ANN ARBOR NO 1    of 1892.  The hull was sold to Love Construction Co., of Muskegon, Michigan.

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.

The ALGOSOO suffered a serious fire at her winter mooring on the west wall above Lock 8, at Port Colborne, Ontario 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 was launched March 7, 1929, as a) JOHN IRWIN (Hull#145) at Haverton-Hill-on-Tees, United Kingdom by Furness Shipbuilding Co..

On 7 March 1874, the wooden tug JOHN OWEN (Hull#28) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan by the Detroit Dry Dock Company for J. E. Owen of Detroit, Michigan.

On 7 March 1896, L C.WALDO (steel propeller freighter, 387 foot, 4244 gross tons) 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 b.) RIVERTON. In 1944, she was renamed c.) 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 La Spezia, Italy.

ANN ARBOR NO 1 (wooden propeller carferry, 260 foot, 1128 gross tons, built in 1892 at Toledo, Ohio) 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, Michigan, and reduced to an unregistered sand scow.

EUGENE J BUFFINGTON (Hull#366) was launched March 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

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 foot, 365 tons, built in 1873 at Port Huron, Michigan) 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.

On 05 March 1997, the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter GRIFFON pulled the mashed remains of a 1996, Ford Bronco from the icy depths of the Straits of Mackinac.  The Ford Bronco flipped off the Mackinac Bridge on 02 March 1997, and the driver was killed.  The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter BISCAYNE BAY served as a platform for the M-Rover submersible craft used to locate the Bronco in 190 feet of water.

HARRY L ALLEN was launched March 5, 1910, as a.) JOHN B COWLE  (Hull#379) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co..

LEADALE  was launched March 5, 1910, as a.) HARRY YATES (Hull#77) at St. Clair, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works.

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 (Hull#32) (steel propeller freighter, 400 foot, 4328 gross tons) was launched at the Chicago Ship Building Company in South Chicago, Illinois. In 1940, she was sold, renamed b.) L S WESCOAT and converted to a tanker. She was scrapped in Germany in 1965.

On 04 March 1944, the U.S.C.G.C. MACKINAW (WAGB-83) was launched by the Toledo Ship Building Company (Hull #188) at Toledo, Ohio.  Her name was originally planned to be MANITOWOC.

CECILIA DESGAGNES, a.) CARL GORTHON, departed Sorel, Quebec on March 4, 1985, bound for Baie Comeau, Quebec 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 foot, 240 gross tons, built in 1854 at Montreal, Quebec) 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 foot, 1058 gross tons, 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 foot, built in 1869 at Baltimore, Maryland) burned while docked at Amherstburg, Ontario at about 12:00 p.m.. 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.

The keel was laid on March 3, 1980, for the COLUMBIA STAR (Hull#726) at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp..

In 1902, the JAMES C WALLACE (Hull#334) of Picklands and Mather Steamship Company was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co..

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

On 02 March 1889, the U.S. Congress passed two Acts for establishment of a light station at Old Mackinac Point and appropriated $5,500 for construction of a fog signal building.  The following year, funds were appropriated for the construction of the light tower and dwelling.

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 E MC LACHLAN (3-mast wooden schooner, 251 foot, 1394 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler’s yard in West Bay City, Michigan as (Hull#96). 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 foot, 968 gross tons, built in 1883 at W. Bay City, Michigan). The FORBES had numerous spectators onboard and when the wave struck, many were injured and there was one confirmed death.

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.


Soo Locks ready for another shipping season

Despite two winter repair projects, a Corps of Engineers official this week told the Sault Evening News the Soo Locks are ready for business some three weeks before they reopen for the new shipping season.

"We're pretty well ready to swing a gate any time," said Area Engineer Stan Jacek.

Jacek said ongoing work deep beneath the Locks in the Davis and Poe Lock de-watering wells will not affect use of the lock chambers themselves. Similarly, ongoing approach pier fender replacement on the lower-end Poe Lock piers will not interfere with re-opening the lock come March 25. He said Locks crews are also finishing up odds and ends on a security contract, but that work can continue with the locks back in operation.

Jacek said he expects the icebreaker Mackinaw to arrive in Sault Harbor upbound a week or so before the locks open March 25. The big icebreaker normally moves through the Locks early to set steamer tracks above the locks in Whitefish Bay. This spring, Mackinaw may be assigned to assist the new buoy tender Alder in breaking out Duluth-Superior Harbor before the shipping season starts later this month.

Ice work is not expected to be a particular challenge when the breakout begins later this month. A number of channels have remained open water through a generally mild winter.

Reported by Jack Story, The Evening News


Port Report

Milwaukee, WI

Reported by Andy LaBorde
The G.L Ostrander/Integrity departed their Milwaukee lay up dock alongside the J.A.W. Iglehart Thursday morning, March 3. Traditionally the Integrity takes  its winter storage load to other Lafarge docks on lower Lake Michigan and  then returns to Milwaukee to await the start of the regular season. Also on  Thursday, engineers and galley crews reported back to the ISG boats to begin fit out.


Soo Locks tonnage sharply up, passages down in '04

Cargo tonnage at the Soo Locks rose dramatically to 81.8 million tons of cargo, an increase of 8.34 percent in the 2004 shipping season, the Corps of Engineers reported today.

Coming as no particular surprise in a year when the iron and steel industry turned suddenly profitable after years of decline, a goodly portion of last season's increase can be attributed to iron ore. The bread-and-butter cargo in Great Lakes shipping, iron ore cargos passed through the Soo Locks topped 45 million tons, a sharp increase of nearly 11 percent, reported Corps official Kevin Sprague. The sharp rise in ore cargos and sudden return to profitability in the steel industry generally is attributed to a rapid rise in per-ton steel prices, caused almost entirely by a rapid increase in steel demand by the Peoples Republic of China.

Overall, the tonnage increase during the '04 season rose by just over six million tons over the sleepy 75.5 million tons carried through the Locks in 2003.

Somewhat ironically, Sprague reported that overall Locks passages, the count of ships and other craft using the Locks through 2004, fell off from 2003. Total passages numbered 7,680 in the just-completed shipping season compared to 7,764 in 2003.

The same slight decline applied to cargo vessels only, as some 4,189 passages were recorded last year, compared to 4,205 in 2003. Sprague attributed the somewhat unusual disparity between tonnage and passages to the low water conditions that prevailed through 2003. While still below average through 2004, water levels rose significantly on the Upper Great Lakes last year, allowing considerably higher loading on each trip last year.

Another potential factor in the overall slide in passages was a slow year for tourist-related businesses that prevailed across the north last year. Tour boat business, a staple at the Soo Locks every summer, was not immune to the overall decline in 2004. A count of passengers aboard vessels calling at the Locks shows about 92,700 for 2004, down three percent from the 96,200 passengers in 2003. While some of the passenger count can be attributed to itinerant cruise vessels passing through the Soo Locks, the bulk of the passenger count has to do with the short haul tour boat trade.

Among other significant cargo commodities passed through the Locks last year, coal tonnage stayed nearly flat at 18.7 million tons, compared to just under 18.8 million tons in '03. Limestone tonnage, traditionally the third-most important commodity in Lakes shipping, totaled just over five million tons last year. Due to refinements in the way the Corps keeps its cargo figures, the 2004 limestone total cannot be directly compared to 2003. The new breakdown shows cargo tonnage for 37 separate commodities.

Aside from iron ore, which comprised well over half the cargo tonnage that passed through the Locks in the '04 season, several other cargo types increased during the last shipping season. Gasoline cargos, for example, rose by more than 120 percent to 117,827 tons. Scrap iron and steel rose by about 10,000 tons to 110,698, a reflection of the premium prices for iron and steel last year.

Another sharp increase came in agricultural shipments of oats, which rose to 157,905 tons last year from 83,041 in 2003. Another agricultural commodity, commonly called "potash," increased by about 100,000 tons to more than 693,000 tons last year.

Salt cargos nearly doubled from 372,000 tons in '03 to 660,000 tons last season, a jump of 77 percent.

For the many "winners" among cargo commodities, there were also losers. Wheat cargos, almost exclusively for export, fell by 3.15 percent and barley and rye, a minor agricultural commodity, dropped precipitously from 58,000 tons in 2003 to 6,600 tons last season. Agricultural commodities typically vary greatly year to year, based on highly volatile international markets and trade agreements.

Although several cargo groups, like finished or semi-finished iron and steel cannot be compared year to year, Sprague said the new, more specific cargo categories now in use allow some interesting analysis. He cited manganese ore, a tiny commodity by most comparisons. Nevertheless, last year, one boat load - or 28,343 tons of the western ore - moved through the Soo Locks.

Reported by Jack Story, The Evening News


Irish rower plans Lake Superior expedition

Rower Ian Harvey of Belfast, Northern Ireland, will try to row 400 miles from Duluth to Port Iroquois, Mich., sometime this summer. The date has not
been released.

Harvey, 58, plans to row 40 miles a day for roughly 11 days. He will use a rowing scull approximately 17 feet long and two feet wide. Harvey, a producer for 22 years at the British Broadcasting Corporation has seen poverty and disease around the world. He feels it's his chance to give something back.

The proceeds of the race are split between two charities -- the British Broadcasting Corporation's "Children in Need" that benefits children in Northern Ireland and "Fields of Life" which helps Uganda build hospitals, farms and schools.

The Lake Superior trip will be Harvey's third endurance row. The first row in 2000 was a 212-mile trip of lakes and rivers in Ireland. The second row in 2003 was 200 miles across the northern portion of Lake Victoria in Africa. It was the first ever single scull row across its surface. With Lake Victoria the runner-up to Lake Superior as the largest fresh water lake, the progression was natural for Harvey. "It's a personal challenge," said Harvey. "If it doesn't work it's not the end of the world, but no one will expect their money back if I try."

Harvey raised 24,000 pounds ($45,900) in Ireland and over 100,000 pounds ($191,000) in Africa. He hopes to raise more this time

Accompanying Harvey will be a ship to hold a support staff including a doctor, a U.S. Coast Guard member and an experienced oars man.

Reported by Duluth News Tribune


Stelco says no to potential buyers

The board of directors of Stelco Inc. rejected all takeover bids Wednesday night in the latest twist in the yearlong restructuring saga at the legally insolvent steel maker.

"Our process unfortunately did not turn up any acceptable proposals from strategic or financial bidders," Stelco president Courtney Pratt said in a statement reported in the Toronto Globe & Mail.

The company will now try to emerge from bankruptcy without being sold. It will try to find new financing and perhaps concessions from unions, salaried employees, bondholders and others, in what amounts to starting the restructuring process all over again. Pratt said the company should be able to raise $400-million to finance a badly needed overhaul of several of its operations. That money, plus operating financing, could be raised through share issues or other equity offerings as well as new debt.

Stelco was considering three bids to buy the company or refinance it: one from Russian steel maker OAO Severstal; another from mining giant Sherritt International Corp. and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan; and a third from the TD Securities Inc. arm of Toronto-Dominion Bank, backed by unidentified U.S. financial interests. The board also rejected a $900-million refinancing deal it had reached with German bank Deutsche Bank AG.

Stelco has been operating under the protection of the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act since January, 2004.

Reported by the Toronto Globe and Mail


Canadian Coast Guard investment to benefit Great Lakes

A major reinvestment in the Canadian Coast Guard is expected to bring more government jobs to Southwestern Ontario and provide a major boost in the fight against invasive species in the Great Lakes, says the country's fisheries and oceans minister. "With our waters busier than ever, the Coast Guard needs the best equipment available to do its job," Geoff Regan said of the $276 million Ottawa intends to spend in the next five years to modernize the Coast Guard fleet.

The additional funding will be spent to build two offshore fishery-research vessels and four midshore patrol vessels. Another four vessels will be added to patrol the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Those patrol vessels will likely be managed from the Coast Guard's Central/Arctic regional headquarters in Sarnia.

"I don't know the exact numbers, but I can tell you we're going to have an increased presence in terms of the Canadian Coast Guard and Coast Guard ships in the Sarnia-Windsor area," Regan said.

John Cooley, acting regional director general at Fisheries and Oceans, said the minister's announcement reflects "a shifting in priorities." While more resources are going to the Canadian Coast Guard, other programs under the department will see reductions in staff.

Regan also announced $85 million over five years to battle invasive alien species such as zebra mussels and the gobi fish.

Reported by the London Free Press


Duluth-Superior upset over Port Huron's designation

There's no disputing Port Huron's exclusive right to call itself "the maritime capital of the Great Lakes," even though it rankles some Duluthians. After a three-year effort, that phrase has been approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. While the news was cause for back-slapping in Port Huron, Mich., it has triggered consternation in Duluth-Superior.

"You have to hand it to them for using a slogan to promote themselves," said Lisa Marciniak, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority's promotion manager, "but their claim doesn't hold any water. We're the real thing."

While cruise ships still call on Port Huron, she noted the city moves no freight through its docks. She said that the Twin Ports, in sharp contrast, handles more freight than any other Great Lakes port. This past season, Duluth and Superior moved 41.4 million metric tons of cargo through their waterfronts, making for the port's busiest year since 1979.

Thom Holden, director of the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Duluth, considers Port Huron's claim nothing short of ludicrous.

"Anyone in the maritime industry who heard that would think it was a joke," he said. "Port Huron is a beautiful place for watching boats, but at the same time, no one calls there."

"It's certainly their right to market themselves," Holden said, "but I'd like to see the facts behind their claim."

Jim Clary, a marine artist and author from Port Huron, pays little heed to the Twin Ports' trash talk. He and some friends were the first to propose Port Huron take up the slogan. He points to the heavy vessel traffic that passes through the community all season long, even though freighters don't call on the port.

"We see many ships that never get to the upper lakes," he said.

Clary also cites several other Port Huron distinctions, including being home port of the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, the Huron Lightship, the tall ship Highlander Sea and the Grey Fox, a retired U.S. Navy torpedo boat. The city has a rich maritime history, too. Clary said Port Huron shipyards produced many of the early steamers that serviced the Great Lakes. Each year, Port Huron also hosts the Mackinaw Race.

"I think we have every right to call ourselves the maritime capital of the Great Lakes," Clary said. "If people in Duluth are so adamant that they deserve the title, they should have claimed it themselves and applied for the trademark."

Reported by Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


Port Huron, MI in the news

Port Huron federally trademarks 'Maritime Capital' slogan
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has approved a slogan deeming Port Huron as the "Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes," capping a three-year effort by city and business leaders to trademark the phrase for national use in promoting tourism.

The city applied for the patent in March 2003. It learned about the patent office's decision on Thursday. In September, the same slogan was approved as a state trademark. Without the patent office's decision, any city outside Michigan could have adopted the phrase.

Jim Clary, an artist and owner of Cap'n Jim's Gallery who helped start the effort to get the slogan trademarked, said the city has the nautical enticements to attract visitors and businesses. The phrase will help spread the word, he said.

"People are scratching their heads on how to bring people here. We already have the foundation for that," Clary told the Times Herald.

Other Great Lakes cities that have more shipping traffic than Port Huron and say they are more worthy of the slogan have criticized Port Huron's branding effort. The city calls itself the "Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes" on its Web site and stationery.

"The Web site we have has brought visitors into town from Detroit and beyond," said Alan Cutcher, a member of the Port Huron City Council.

Commercial ship traffic to the city dwindled to nothing in the late 1990s. The Seaway Terminal, once a port for agricultural and other shipping, now caters to tourist vessels and tall ships. The city's rich maritime history, however, is reason enough to warrant the title, Port Huron officials have said.

Reported by the Associated Press

Port Huron plans Coast Guard salute
Port Huron's first Coast Guard Appreciation Day will not only pay homage to local "coasties," but also calls for area residents to get a glimpse of the Coast Guard lifestyle. It also will be more than a day. Instead, the inaugural celebration will encompass a weekend.

Organizers are finalizing plans for the Aug. 19, 20 and 21 event at several city locations.

A memorial service at the International Flag Plaza on Aug. 19 tentatively is set to start the weekend. On Aug. 20, people can tour several Coast Guard facilities, including the Port Huron station on Omar Street, the cutter Hollyhock and the retired cutter Bramble, now in the hands of the Port Huron Museum and moored at the Seaway Terminal.

Terry Blashill is a retired Coast Guardsman who settled in Port Huron. He spent three years on the Bramble and was station commander from 1976 to 1981. He plans to attend the appreciation weekend in August.

"I think it's something that is a long time in coming," Blashill said. "The rapport that the Coast Guard has always had with the citizens I have always thought was tremendous."

Also open for tours Saturday will be the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, Huron Lightship Museum and the Port Huron Museum.  Alan Cutcher, a Port Huron city councilman and planning committee member, said organizers are trying to plan a boat parade for Saturday afternoon.  Also that day, the Seaway Terminal will have a dinner to honor local active and retired Coast Guard members.

Extra tickets will be sold on a limited basis to help pay for the dinner.

Organizers will ask local churches to dedicate their Sunday services Aug. 21 to Coast Guard members.

Reported by Chris Sebastian, The Times Herald


Ferry Spirit of Ontario sold at auction to city of Rochester

The troubled Lake Ontario high-speed ferry Spirit of Ontario has a new owner ­ the city of Rochester, New York.

The winning bid from the Rochester Ferry Co., which was created by the city to buy the vessel at a Monday auction, was $32 million. There were just two
bids on the vessel, which cost $42.5 million new. The auction lasted less than 60 seconds.

The minimum bid had been set at $22.5 million. Top mortgage holders ABN AMRO bank and the Export Finance and Insurance Corp. of Australia was the first bidder, and bid $29,635,400. There was a slight pause, then the city bid $32 million.

"I think it's a tremendous relief now to be beyond this point," Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. told the Rochester Democrat-Chronicle. "We got the boat at a real good price."

The Spirit of Ontario has been idle since Canadian American Transportations Systems discontinued daily service to Toronto in September. The city is hoping to restart daily service by Memorial Day.
Representatives from Istanbul Fast Ferries, a company from Turkey, attended the auction. They had inspected the vessel in advance of the auction and had considered bidding on the ship, but did not put down the requisite $2.25 million deposit.

Reported by the Rochester Democrat Chronicle


Port Report

Toronto, ON

Reported by Gerry Ouderkirk:
The ferry Ongiara was refloated Thursday at the Atlas crane, after the propellers were changed. She returned to Ward's Island service Friday.  Algonorth was turned at the Redpath Sugar dock Friday afternoon by the McKeil tugs Atomic and Glenevis.



Steamship William G. Mather Museum seeks volunteer tour guides:
Spend part of the summer at North Coast Harbor aboard the Steamship William G. Mather Museum.  Learn how to lead tours of this rare and restored Great Lakes 618 foot long freighter, built in 1925 as the flagship of the fleet, for visitors from Cleveland and around the world.  The training course for new volunteer tour guides will be offered in April so that trainees can be ready for the Museum’s 15th season opening on Saturday, April 30. 

Trainees will attend a three-session course (first three Saturdays in April -- April 2, 9 and 16) and receive a free manual and/or CD, as well as hands-on guidance from a seasoned mentor guide.  Morning classroom sessions will be held in the Coast Guard Club near the Mather Museum, with lunch and afternoon sessions onboard.  Each session will include a tour of the Mather Museum, with the trainees leading practice tours on the last day of class.

Topics to be covered in the training sessions include the history of the Steamship William G. Mather, Great Lakes shipping, basic “ship” technology, and educational techniques for leading school group and public tours.   

Text Box: SWilliam G. Mather Museum
1001 East Ninth Street Pier / Cleveland,H 44116
To be considered for this year’s training class, or for more information, please call the Steamship William G. Mather Museum at (216) 574-9053 or email to 

12th Annual Door County Lighthouse Walk:
Sturgeon Bay, WI...Tickets for the 12th Annual Door County Lighthouse Walk will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, March 1, 2005.  The event, held the third full weekend in May, will take place May 21- 22 this year with highlights including the ability to tour the inside of Sherwood Point Lighthouse as well as the ability to climb the tower at Cana Island.

Nearly 1,000 lighthouse aficionados climbed to the top of Cana Island during last year's event," said Brian Kelsey, Executive Director of the Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society.  "It was such a great experience to watch individuals climb this beacon of Door County and to return to the ground with tears in their eyes...thankful for the opportunity to scale this endearing structure.  I am certain we will have many repeats coming to Cana to climb her once more."

Lighthouse Walk kicks off on Friday evening, May 20, with the ever popular Keepers' Kin event.  Attendees will enjoy a dessert social with relatives of lighthouse keepers and also have the opportunity to listen to presentations by Wayne Sapulski, author of Lighthouse of Lake Michigan, as well as Mary Ann Blahnik, who will speak on Chambers Island lighthouse.  "We have added a third seating this year," stated Kelsey, "due to the great success of this event."  This year, presentations will occur at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. This event has consistently sold out so order your tickets early.

On both Saturday and Sunday (May 21 & 22), ticket holders will be able to enjoy the "Walk" itself and learn more about this amazing cluster of lighthouses and beacons on the Door Peninsula.  Additionally, individuals have the opportunity to purchase tickets for boat tours which will take them out and around the outer lights of Door County, including Chambers Island, Plum Island, Pilot Island & Rock Island, as well as providing "water views" of five mainland beacons including, Old Baileys Harbor Light (aka The Birdcage), Sturgeon Bay Canal Station, Cana Island, Eagle Bluff and Sherwood Point.

On Saturday evening, May 21st, the Door County Maritime Museum & Lighthouse Preservation Society is proud to welcome Carl Behrend & The Great Lakes Legends Band to the Third Avenue Playhouse in downtown Sturgeon Bay.  This is the third consecutive year that the Lighthouse Walk has included a concert to benefit the Museum and it has grown in popularity each year.  Through song, Carl and his band will bring to life stories and legends from the Great Lakes colorful past.  Tickets for this event can be purchased from the Third Avenue Playhouse box office, the Dancing Bear as well as directly from the Door County Maritime Museum.

Tickets prices for the various activities are:
Lighthouse Walk Adult Ticket:    $12 ($15 after April 30, 2005)
Lighthouse Walk Child Ticket:    $5    (children aged 5-17)
Boat Tours:    Vary in price.  Contact the Museum directly.
Keepers' Kin:                            $12
Carl Behrend and The Great Lakes Legends Band:    $15 ($18 after April 30, 2005)

For more information on the 12th Annual Lighthouse Walk, to request a brochure or to purchase tickets, please contact the Door County Maritime Museum at (920) 743-4045.  Tickets can also be purchased online by visiting


Obituary: Edward Omer Goyette

3/03 Update
Visitation for Eddie Goyette will be on Fri. March 4 from 6pm to 7pm with a memorial service to follow. Visitation will be at the Jasin Funeral Home, 5300 N. Summit St., Toledo, OH.

Edward "Eddie" Goyette, director of the Str. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship in Toledo, Ohio died on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2005.  Eddie had been hospitalized for about 2 weeks with pneumonia. Cause of death was reportedly complications from pneumonia.  Funeral arrangements have not yet been completed (as of Mon. Morning). Eddie is survived by his mother and a brother. His father preceded him in death.  All of us in the Boyer "Family" wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to Eddie's family.

Reported by Mike Hornyak

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