Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

 

Port reports - March 31

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Twin Ports layup fleet continues to dwindle as vessels start the season. John G. Munson left Fraser Shipyards on Thursday to load at CN ore dock in Duluth. The vessel was departing the ore dock about 7 a.m. Friday in the face of light rain and brisk winds. Only the Kaye E. Barker and Indiana Harbor remained in layup Friday morning and both vessels are expected to leave in the next several days. Canadian Provider took the first load of grain out of the Twin Ports this season, loading earlier this week at CHS in Superior. Midwest Energy Terminal has a rare quiet weekend coming up, with no vessel scheduled there until Canadian Enterprise on Monday. Burns Harbor was expected to load at BNSF in Superior on Friday. Much of Duluth harbor is now free of ice and the offshore ice pack has shrunk due to melting and the wind. Vessels have been transiting the ice and anchoring in the ice field apparently with little or no trouble.

Sandusky and Huron - Jim Spencer
The Canadian Progress spent the bulk of the day Friday loading at the Norfolk-Southern coal dock. She may be bound for Hamilton, Ont.
Late Friday afternoon the Wolverine slipped forward to the loading chute following the departure of the Canadian Progress. The Wolverine was likely bound for an American port on the Upper Lakes.
The tug Joyce L VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader opened the 2007 shipping season at Huron Friday, delivering iron ore from Superior, Wis. at the Huron Ore Dock.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
On Wednesday night the tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St Mary's Conquest delivered a load of cement to the St, Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg.
Early on Friday morning the Wilfred Sykes delivered a load to Verplank's Dock also in Ferrysburg.
The David Z Norton is expected to deliver a load of coal at the Board of Light and power Sims plant on Harbor Island in the city of Grand Haven at 3:30 a.m. on the Saturday.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw is the first boat to arrive in Owen Sound for the 2007 shipping season with a load of grain for the Great Lakes Elevators.

Soo - Jerry Masson
USCG Cutter Biscayne arrived back in Soo Harbor Friday after breaking out the Port of Duluth and Thunder Bay. The 140-foot Bay-class ice breaker will join the Katmai Bay, Neah Bay and Mobile Bay at the Soo for the opening season of navigation on the Lakes.
Cutter Mackinaw reports 24 to 30 inches of ice and up to 12 feet of stacked ice in areas of Whitefish Bay.
Friday afternoon traffic included Quebecois, Buffalo and CSL Assiniboine upbound. Downbound were American Integrity, CSL Tadoussac and Mackinaw.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Cross-lake traffic on Thursday evening included the Voyageur Independent and the Gordon C. Leitch. American Steamship's 1,000-footer Walter J. McCarthy was headed east bound through Long Point for Nanticoke at 8:30 p.m. that night as well.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
Friday evening the following five vessels are still in Sturgeon Bay: American Valor has steam up and is rafted outboard of Reserve, Reserve has steam up and looks ready to depart. Charles M Beeghly has steam up while the McKee Sons is in the graving dock, and Invincible is outside the dock just astern. Edward L Ryerson has lights on, but does not appear to be steaming yet.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Michipicoten continues her trips between Marquette and Algoma, arriving Friday for another load of ore.

 

No easy fix for silt-filled Genesee River

3/31 - Rochester- One week after a cement boat hit bottom on the silt-filled Genesee River, federal officials have yet to determine what can be done to fix the worsening problem.

The Stephen B. Roman, the last freighter to cruise the river, ran aground last Thursday. While the vessel freed itself after a short time, left unanswered is just how shallow the river is running as it nears Lake Ontario and whether there is money to dredge the waterway as scheduled this spring. The river last was dredged in 2004.

Ramifications of the problem go beyond ESSROC, which owns the freighter and its 361 Boxart St. storage facility. A 100-passenger cruise ship is scheduled to stop at the Port of Rochester this summer.

Farther up river, the city is discovering similar shoaling near Corn Hill Landing, which could affect the Mary Jemison cruise ship. "This is one of those cases where environmental concerns become an economic concern," Deputy Mayor Patty Malgieri said.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Bruce Sanders said the river water is too turbid and full of debris to assess the problem. Either way, he said, a $957,000 earmark was "dropped from the president's budget, and therefore we had to cancel the dredging."  Congress failed to pass a budget for the current fiscal year and resorted to a patchwork of spending resolutions.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, is arguing that the dredging was authorized but that the Corps mistakenly thinks lawmakers only approved spending for projects authorized last year.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Huron Lightship and Coast Guard Cutter Bramble Museum open for the season
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse also open

3/31 - Port Huron - Huron Lightship Museum and The Coast Guard Cutter Bramble Museum will be opening on April 1st.

The hours for both museums are open seven days a week Memorial Day to Labor Day - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; September through December, open Thursday through Monday, and April through May, open Thursday through Monday. Both vessels are closed January through March.

Admission prices for each museum are adults-$6.00, seniors (55+) and students-$5.00, and children 6 and under are Free.

A Passport program providing admission to both vessels, the Port Huron Museum and the Ft. Gratiot Lighthouse is available for $12.00 for adults, $10,00 for seniors and $8.00 for students. Children 6 and under are free at all locations.

While the property is still under Government ownership, tours of the lighthouse will be conducted Wednesday through Monday, beginning May 1 from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Groups of six (6) or more must call the Port Huron Museum at (810)-982-0891, Ext:19 for a reservation.

 

The Great Lakes Towing Company Seeking Applicants

3/31- Cleveland - Great Lakes Towing Company is seeking applicants for Tug Captains & Tug Engineers for harbor towing in Toledo, Detroit, Chicago, Burns Harbor.
Captains: MOTV or Master’s License >200 Gross Registered Tons preferred. Engineer: Asst. Engineer of not more than 2,000 HP or greater preferred.
The Great Lakes Towing Company, 4500 Division Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Fax resume to 216-621-5094, or call 216-367-8137 for interview. EOE
ech@thegreatlakesgroup.com

Shipyard Expansion

Cleveland - The Great Lakes Group is looking for experienced employees for our new construction and maintenance programs.

Barge Construction Superintendent – Responsible for all activities related to the Company’s DockMaster-BargeMaster division, including project management, quality control, sales, and customer relations. Must have steel fabrication or barge construction experience and be proficient with Microsoft software. CAD capability a plus.
 
Electrical Foreman – Oversee all shipyard electrical and electronic installation work. Marine experience required.
 
Purchasing Manager – Responsible for all procurement activities in support of multiple projects, including vendor relations, product tracking, control management, and contract negotiations for new construction, repair and fleet maintenance. Must have extensive Microsoft software experience.
 
Project Engineer – Responsible managing multiple projects including responsibility for cost controls, budgets, scheduling and purchasing coordination. Experience in managing budgets, schedules, and costs controls a plus.
 
Fitters/Welders for our new tug construction program. Experience required.
 
Mechanics for our new tug construction program. Experience required.
 
The Great Lakes Group Shipyard, 4500 Division Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44102
Fax resume with salary history to 216-621-0069, or call 216-367-8140 for interview. EOE
cjo@thegreatlakesgroup.com
www.thegreatlakesgroup.com.
 

 

Updates - March 31

News Photo Gallery updated, and

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 31

On 31 March 1971, the American Steamship Company's RICHARD J REISS grounded at Stoneport, Michigan while moving away from her dock. She damaged her number 9 tank.

Christening ceremonies took place at St. Catharines, Ontario on March 31, 1979, for the d.) CANADIAN PROSPECTOR, lengthened by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.

ROGER M KYES (Hull#200) was launched March 31, 1973, at Toledo, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

WILLIAM R ROESCH was renamed b.) DAVID Z NORTON in christening ceremonies at Cleveland, Ohio on March 31, 1995. The PAUL THAYER was also renamed, b.) EARL W OGLEBAY, during the same ceremonies.

JOSEPH S WOOD was sold to the Ford Motor Co. and towed from her winter lay-up berth at Ashtabula, Ohio on March 31, 1966, to the American Ship Building's Toledo, Ohio yard for her five-year inspection. A 900 h.p. bow thruster was installed at this time. She would be rechristened as the c.) JOHN DYKSTRA two months later.

The steamer HARVEY D GOULDER (Hull#342) was launched March 31, 1906, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for W.A. & A.H. Hawgood of Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) J CLARE MILLER in 1937. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1973.

On March 31, 1927, the WILLIAM MC LAUGHLAN entered service for the Interlake Steamship Co. when she departed Sandusky, Ohio for Superior, Wisconsin on her maiden trip. Later renamed b.) SAMUEL MATHER in 1966, sold Canadian in 1975, renamed c.) JOAN M MC CULLOUGH, and finally d.) BIRCHGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Point Edward, Nova Scotia by Universal Metal Co. Ltd.

On 31 March 1874, E H MILLER (wooden propeller tug, 62 foot, 30 gross tons) was launched at Chesley A. Wheeler's yard in E. Saginaw, Michigan. The power plant from the 1865, tug JENNIE BELL was installed in her. She was renamed RALPH in 1883, and spent most of her career as a harbor tug in the Alpena area. She was abandoned in 1920.

On 31 March 1890, EDWARD SMITH (wooden propeller, 201 foot, 748 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #67). In 1900, her name was changed to b.) ZILLAH. She lasted until she foundered four miles off Whitefish Point on 29 August 1926.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - March 30

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Thursday Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded coal at the Upper Harbor hopper and departed in the early afternoon for a western Lake Superior port to load ore.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman

The Algoway is bound for Toledo with a cargo of oats loaded at Thunder Bay, Ontario. She was due late Friday night or early Saturday morning arrival at Toledo. It is believed that she will be the first boat due upriver at either Anderson's "K" Elevator or the Kuhlman Dock to unload. This will be a good test to see how well the MLK Bridge will function with the two new drawspans in place.

The latest CSX Dock update has the Lee A. Tregurtha due in at the Torco Ore Dock to unload ore. She is due in tentatively on April 6 at 6 p.m. Timing will most likely change due to ice on Lake Superior, weather, and possible dock delays at the loading dock. If this schedule holds this will be the first time ever that the Lee A. Tregurtha has unloaded ore at the Torco Ore Dock. When she is finished unloading the ore she will proceed to the CSX Coal Dock to load a coal cargo which would be most likely bound for the Soo.

Soo - Jerry Masson

Icebreaker Mackinaw was finally able to locked downbound today after a full week of icebreaking in the upper river. Duties included ships trapped in ice rescue, resetting ice tracks in the channels, grooming the tracks in the river including Whitefish Bay. The 240 foot cutter was joined by Mobile Bay in the upper river breaking through and leading convoys of ships from the ice edge to the lock area. Neah Bay continues icebreaking in the lower river with help from Hollyhock from Detour to the locks. More seasonal temperatures in the Soo area are helping to keep the ships moving through the ice clogged shipping lanes. The ice boom at Mission Point remains in place restricting vessel traffic to a one way, no passing or overtaking area.

Lorain - C. Mackin

The H Lee White became the first ship of the 2007 shipping season. The White passed through the Charles Berry Bridge at noon Thursday on its way upriver to R.E.P.

Pelee Passage - Erich Zuschlag

Thursday traffic included H. Lee White bound for Lorain, Canadian Transport for Nanticoke, John D. Leitch for Hamilton and Pathfinder for Marblehead.

 

Union switch delays laker’s season start

3/30 - Duluth - The Stewart J. Cort began loading pellets at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe No. 5 Taconite Facility in Superior on Wednesday with the expectation that it would set sail for Burns Harbor that evening. By this time of year, the vessel typically already would have delivered its first load of pellets to the Mittal Steel Co. mill in Burns Harbor, Ind. But this has hardly been a normal fit-out for the first 1,000-footer on the Great Lakes.

Ten of the ship’s 22 crew members recently were replaced, as its operator tossed out one union — the American Maritime Officers — in favor of another, the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. David Weathers, a national executive of the AMO, said crew members who went to work under the Cort’s new MEBA contract would have had to accept about a 20 percent cut in pay. “That’s tough for anyone to swallow,” he observed.

In all, 15 AMO members were affected as a result of the Cort’s reshuffling. While only 10 AMO members worked aboard the Cort at any one time, staff rotated between shore leave and active duty. Many of these officers and stewards formed a picket line on the approach to the vessel’s winter berth in Duluth a couple of weeks ago.

The Cort is operated by Interlake Leasing III, a subsidiary of Interlake Steamship Co. At Interlake’s insistence, officers aboard other vessels in the company’s fleet switched to MEBA representation about three years ago, and the changes to the Cort represented “sort of a natural progression,” said Mark Barker, Interlake’s treasurer and vice president. The AMO still is challenging Interlake’s prior re-staffing of other lakers with MEBA members.

The AMO picket disrupted some of the Cort’s preparations for a return to duty this year, as unionized workers at Fraser Shipyards in Superior, plus other local members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, refused to cross the line.

Interlake brought in contractors from Maryland and Virginia to do the work. “We had to regroup a little bit, but the crew has done a great job,” Barker said Wednesday. New crew members took advantage of the delay to familiarize themselves with the inner workings of the Cort, he said. “We wanted to make sure we took enough time so everyone would be comfortable and safe when we set sail,” Barker said.

Rob Fluharty, a second assistant engineer who has worked seven years aboard the Cort, said the laker usually leaves the Twin Ports a day or two before the Soo Locks open March 25 and is usually one of the first vessels to pass through them and into the St. Marys River. He said that if the Cort left Wednesday evening, it would be about five days behind its normal schedule.

The Cort runs between Superior and Burns Harbor all season long, hauling taconite. The voyage usually takes about 61 hours in good conditions, Fluharty said. He and other displaced AMO members said they will meet the Cort in Burns Harbor, where they will continue picketing.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Updates - March 30

News Photo Gallery updated, and

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 30

The c.) CHEMICAL MAR arrived at Brownsville, Texas on March 30, 1983, in tow of the tug FORT LIBERTE to be scrapped there. Built in 1966, as a.) BIRK. In 1979, she was renamed b.) COASTAL TRANSPORT by Hall Corp. of Canada, but never came to the lakes and renamed c.) CHEMICAL MAR in 1981.

The ERINDALE was pressed into service after the LEADALE sank in the Welland Canal. She was towed out of Toronto on March 30, 1983, by the tugs G W ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE for repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks. The ERINDALE re-entered service two months later.

March 30, 1985 - The CITY OF MIDLAND's departure was delayed when her anchor snagged one which she had lost in Pere Marquette Lake the previous summer.

On 29 March 1888, D D JOHNSON (wooden propeller tug, 45 foot, 17 gross tons) was launched at E. Saginaw, Michigan. She was built for Carkin, Stickney & Cram and lasted until 1909.

106 years ago today, on March 30, 1900, the carferry ANN ARBOR NO 2, grounded on the rocks east of the approach to the channel at Manistique, Michigan. She was pulled off quickly by the ANN ARBOR NO 3, and the tug GIFFORD. She was found to have bent a propeller shaft and broken her rudder, resulting in a trip to the drydock at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On 30 March 1917, GERMANIC (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 184 foot, 1,014 gross tons, built in 1899, at Collingwood, Ontario) was destroyed by fire at her winter berth at Collingwood, Ontario while she was being prepared for the upcoming season. She was the last wooden ship built at Collingwood.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Shawn B-K, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Report - March 29

Stoneport/Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday morning the Wolverine tied up at the Stoneport dock to take on the first cargo of the new shipping season. The Wolverine was half painted and workers were seen painting on the smokestack.
Most of the ice is gone except for some near the dock and shore.
Returning from a visit to Milwaukee, the Alpena is expected at Lafarge on Thursday morning.

 

Mates needed for tug/barge

3/29 - Menominee - K&K Logistics is looking for mates to work on the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kubber.

Please contact Jack VanEnkevort at (906) 466-9959.

From Captain David R. Morgan

 

Dillin would fund park on Maumee River in Toledo

3/29 - Toledo - Dillin Corp. will finance a $15 million gap in the city’s budget for a riverfront park in the Marina District and secure at least $50 million in private development funds for buildings there by Oct. 1 under a tentative development agreement Larry Dillin and the Finkbeiner administration announced yesterday. If Mr. Dillin’s company meets those Oct. 1 targets, the city will convey 60 acres of the Marina District’s 125 acres to the developer so that construction may begin by Dec. 31.

“The Marina District has finally got a private-sector leader,” Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said during a news conference at the Glass City Marina, now under construction at one end of the Marina District site. “That leader has skills and commitment personally to guide this project to become an outstanding waterfront park on the Great Lakes.” Mr. Dillin said building the park on the Maumee River’s east bank, expected to cost $25 million, will be a catalyst for the Marina District project — which is why he saw fit to finance it beyond $10 million in state and federal grants the city has obtained for it.

“The most important issue for us today is to figure out how to build that $25 million investment along the waterfront,” Mr. Dillin said. “That’ll jump-start the vertical development. Among all the potential private investors I’ve talked to for this project, their biggest concern is, ‘Is that waterfront park area going to happen?’”

A Dillin Corp. news release estimated the Marina District’s total development cost at $320 million. Mr. Dillin said the project may end up bigger than that depending on what’s built. The predicted main benefit for the city is property and income tax revenue once the Marina District is built and residents move in.

Mr. Dillin projected annual real estate taxes at $5 million, though some of that would be used through a “tax-increment financing” agreement to repay the $15 million his company will contribute now to park construction and a further $31 million pledged for roads and other public infrastructure.

The old Acme power plant is still in need of decontamination, and that task remains a city responsibility under the development agreement. Mr. Finkbeiner suggested Acme, once cleaned up, could become an indoor sports facility. The city also must raze the Toledo Sports Arena and Brenner Marine, after those facilities are vacated, and remove high-voltage transmission towers running from Acme. They have been replaced by a new power line along Front Street and across the Marina District site near East Broadway.

From the Toledo Blade

NOTE: The proposed Marina District Park in on the east side of the Maumee River, between the MLK Bridge and the I-280 Craig Bridge. It will make a nice boat watching park.

 

Note of Thanks from Doug Fairchild's family

To Doug Fairchild's "Boat-Chasing Circle of Friends":

Where do we begin to express our gratitude for all that you have done for our family? You truly are an amazing group of folks.

Doug was a hard-working man, but he also knew how to balance his life with other activities. One that brought him much pleasure was freighter-watching. Undoubtedly, a highlight of this sea-faring activity was the camaraderie shared with other Boat-Nerds.

It is with great appreciation that we thank you for the information that was made available on the web site, your telephone calls, condolence cards and the stories shared.

Very sincerely,
Nancy Fairchild
Don and Betty Fairchild
Katie (Fairchild) Koeppen
Ginny (Fairchild) Yaklyvich

 

Updates - March 29

News Photo Gallery updated, and

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 29

N.M. Paterson & Sons, PRINDOC was sold off-lakes during the week of March 29, 1982, to the Southern Steamship Co., Georgetown, Cayman Islands and was renamed b.) HANKEY.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Whitefish Bay ice jam backs up river shipping

3/28 - Whitefish Bay - If the crew of the new icebreaker Mackinaw was looking for substantial ice to move before spring breakout, they found it on Whitefish Bay Sunday night as gale-force southerly winds clamped the bay shut with heavy broken ice.

Assigned to Whitefish Bay, Mackinaw had all she could handle and then some Sunday evening, as 40-45 mph southerly winds filled the previously set steamer track with heavy broken ice. After two commercial ships were squeezed to a halt by the advancing ice, Coast Guard officials decided to close the St. Marys River until Mackinaw could flush a new track through the broken sea of ice.

Coast Guard spokesman Mark Gill said heavy “pancake” ice jammed behind Isle Parisienne by a northwest gale last week loosened up in Sunday's southerly gale, collapsing the steamer track set by Mackinaw through the last 10 days. He said fast shore ice from the south side of the channel through the bay was also worked free by the strong wind, clamping the channel shut. Some of the packed ice dislodged from behind Isle Parisienne measured out at eight feet thick, Gill said.

When the steamers Arthur M. Anderson and Michipicoten were squeezed to a stop by the heavy, loose and plate ice, Coast Guard officials opted to close the St. Marys River below the jam through the nighttime hours. Just before dawn today five vessels waited out the jam at Soo Locks piers and four more lay at anchor in the lower St. Marys with a tug-barge combination idled in Sault, Ont. and another held at Algoma Steel.

Gill said the river shutdown was ordered as a safety measure even though it slowed a cluster of ships anxious to make first passages of the new shipping season. “It was safer to shut everybody down,” Gill said.

Mackinaw, meanwhile, freed the two stuck ships, then set to work in an ice-clearing operation that was more ice flushing than ice breaking for the new vessel. The moving jam was made up of broken ice in various sizes, making conventional icebreaking ineffective. However, Mackinaw's unique dual-pod drive enabled the ship to carve out large slabs of floating ice with her strong wake, ushering them out to open water outside Whitefish Point through the night.

Gill said Mackinaw's cutting edge icebreaking configuration allowed the ship to move ahead and astern equally well in the ice with the twin pods creating a strong wash alongside the ship's track. Gill said the new Mackinaw performed very well at the ice-flushing operation, noting that the ship's innovative propulsion arrangement allowed Mackinaw to perform better than the recently retired Mackinaw in those conditions. He noted that Mackinaw's two-way steaming capability allowed the ship to move back and forth through the ice without coming about in difficult ice conditions.

By early today, Mackinaw re-set a vessel track from the locks out as far as Iroquois Point. Farther out to the west on Whitefish Bay, he described ice conditions as “dynamic” early today.

At 7:00 a.m. the Coast Guard allowed the first vessels waiting out the jam to begin moving again in staggered fashion as the strong winds gave way to near calm on the bay. During the night, Gill said, Mackinaw reported a wide variety of weather, all of it stormy. “We had ‘thundersnow,' thunderstorms, heavy rain, high winds ... about every kind of weather you can get,” Gill said of the offshore maelstrom.

The Coast Guard official said the lower St. Marys River, normally a trouble spot during spring break-up, “behave itself” through the ice jam and gale conditions far above, but he warned that the lower St. Marys may well cut loose before steadily deteriorating ice conditions give way to soft water. He said large stretches of shore ice remain attached along lower river channels, raising the potential for another jam or two later, as the ice moves steadily downstream. He said two Bay-Class tugs and the tender Hollyhock continue to work lower river channels as fingers are crossed that heavy shore ice stays put a while longer.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Rand Logistics Purchases Manistee

3/28 - Rand Logistics Inc. announced that it purchased the Manistee, a self-unloading bulk carrier, for $2.2 million.

The Company previously leased the boat from a subsidiary of Sand Products Corporation, and financed the purchase through debt with its existing lender, GE Capital Corporation. Laurence Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand Logistics, stated, “We are pleased to have completed this transaction, which will be accretive to earnings.

The purchase of the Manistee eliminates $350,000 of annual lease expense, which would have grown to $500,000 after March 31, 2008. The annual interest expense on the $2.2 million of added borrowings will be significantly less than the alternative of continuing to lease the vessel.

Additionally, we were also able to reduce the interest rate for our overall U.S. and Canadian borrowings by 50 basis points, which produces further annual savings of approximately $100,000. We remain confident in Rand’s strong fleet and market position on the Great Lakes.”

From the World Maritime News

Note: Rand Logistics is the parent company of Lower Lakes Towing and Grand River Navigation

 

Port Reports - March 28

Marquette - Rod Burdick
The north side of the ore dock, which received automated doors during the winter months, was used for the first time on Monday when Michipicoten loaded taconite.

Grand Haven - Dock Fox
The Wilfred Sykes was the first boat of the season. It arrived at 8:15pm on Monday, backing in out of the fog with a load of slag for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. The Sykes also closed out our port for last season making a delivery on January 24.

 

Trip Raffle to Benefit BoatNerd

Through the generosity of the Interlake Steamship Co., BoatNerd is offering the chance to win a four-six-day trip for four to take place during the 2007 sailing season (between the months of June and September) on the winner's choice of the classic Lee. A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

The trip is the Grand Prize of BoatNerd¹s first ever raffle and fundraising event. Other prizes will also be given away.

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. is a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation. Funds raised will be used to upgrade our equipment, expand our services and pay monthly Internet connection charges.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, Mich.
Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 12 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron, MI.

 

New Boatnerd Gathering Cruises Announced

On Saturday, May 26, 2007, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin , aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS BADGER. It has been four years since we have been able to make these arrangements. Don't miss this year's fun cruise.
Lee Murdoch will be on board to offer entertainment both ways across the lake and during the Wisconsin shoreline cruise.
On Friday night, May 25, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

On Saturday, June 16, we will repeat last year’s popular Boatnerd Detroit Up River Cruise aboard the Friendship. This cruise will go up the Detroit River, and possibly into the Rouge River. Departing at 10:00 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, MI. Cost is $25.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for three hours and a pizza lunch delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

On Saturday, August 11, we are following on the popularity of the up river cruise on the Friendship, and have planned a Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise for This is a four-hour trip that will go down the Livingston Channel to the Detroit River Light and return via the Amherstburg Channel. Cost is $35.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for four (4) hours and a box lunch. Cash bar on board. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

All these trips require advance reservations. Make yours now. Don’t be left out.

 

“Know Your Ships” 2007 Now Available

The 2007 edition of “Know Your Ships,” the boat watchers’ annual field guide to the vessels sailing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, is off the press. The 152-page book, now in its 48th edition, contains detailed information about nearly 2,000 vessels and includes many color photographs taken from around the lakes and Seaway. This year’s Vessel of the Year is the classic steamer Edward L. Ryerson, which unexpectedly returned to service in 2006, much to the delight of boat watchers around the lakes. Order “Know Your Ships” from www.knowyourships.com for immediate shipment; the book will also be available at many retail outlets around the Great Lakes as spring approaches.

"Know Your Ships" is often referred to as the "bible of boat watching" containing detailed information and pictures of Great Lakes ships and the foreign ships that visit the Great Lakes each season.

Editor and Publisher Roger LeLievre, as well as members of the Know Your Ships crew, will also be on hand at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21 to sign copies of "Know Your Ships." Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the book signing.

Visit www.knowyourships.com for more information.

 

Updates - March 28

News Photo Gallery updated, and

More News Photo Gallery updates

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

Calendar of Events updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 28

The BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS, Captain H. C. Buckley, was the first boat to transit the Soo Locks for the 1953 shipping season.

On 28 March 1997, the USS Great Lakes Fleet's PHILIP R CLARKE set a record for a salt cargo on a U.S.-flag Laker when she loaded 25,325 tons at Fairport, Ohio for delivery to Toledo, Ohio. The previous record was 25,320 tons carried by American Steamship's AMERICAN REPUBLIC in 1987.

On 28 March 1848, COLUMBUS (wooden sidewheeler, 391 tons, built in 1835, at Huron, Ohio) struck a pier at Dunkirk, New York during a storm and sank. The sidewheeler FASHION struck the wreck in November of the same year and was seriously damaged.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - March 27

Goderich - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Algosteel, last in for winter lay up is first out. Algosteel departed winter lay up in Owen Sound approximately 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breakers Griffon and Samuel Risley were both working the Eastern end of Lake Erie on Sunday night. The Risley had just completed a track from Long Point to C.I.P. 16 while escorting the Pineglen and Cedarglen at 9:00pm when the westbound Atlantic Erie called her captain on the radio. The Erie was clearing the Welland Canal up bound and needed information on what headings to take to use the freshly broken track made by the Risley and Griffon. The Risley stayed out in the lake off the Port Colborne entrance to assist the Atlantic Erie while the Griffon headed in bound for the piers around 9:30pm.

 

Boatnerd Changing Servers

3/27 - Update - The changeover to a new server took place on Monday, March 26 at 11 p.m. If you are reading this message your are viewing the new server.

Until the changeover is completed, we will not be able to update the News Photo Gallery. We have all the pictures ready to post and will accept any News pictures that you send it. We should be able to get them all posted early in the week.

With our primary server replaced we still are in need of funding to replace the server that hosts the Public Gallery, Links page, etc. These projects are funded by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping, the 501 (c)(3) non-profit support group for BoatNerd.Com. If you enjoy this site please consider supporting us through our fund raising raffle All tickets sold support these upgrades and pay for our monthly connection charges.

Original Article - The server used to host BoatNerd is failing, after 5 years of faithful service it is time for replacement. Our infrastructure teams have purchased the new server and have been moving parts of the site over. While the actual move we make to the other server will be instantaneous, your service provider may cause you to temporarily display an incorrect page.

Some experienced an issue when the Information Search page was moved. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) maintains a "DNS" server which is like an address book for Internet sites. When you find the new site depends on how soon your ISP updates their DNS server. This should be in no more than 12 hours, if you receive a message saying site not found or no web site configured, your ISP is sending you to the old server.

Click here for a detailed technical explanation

While you are at the mercy of your ISP you can try to restart your computer, if you are using a dedicated connection renew the IP address (click Repair connection under Network Connections) or if using a router, restart the router. You can also try restarting the computer/ clearing cache. If the page will still not display contact your ISP's technical support for assistance.

The new server is a vast improvement over the old, users will find faster performance and we have much more storage space for new content.

 

Digging for history:
Shipwreck could link region to underground railroad

3/27 - OGDEN DUNES, Ind. - A local archeological team thinks it is on the verge of confirming another link between Northwest Indiana and the underground railroad -- this time in the form of a shipwreck.

Members of the Briggs Project Team said Sunday that remnants of a mid-1800s shipwreck off the Ogden Dunes beach might be from a ship used to transport runaway slaves to freedom. "There's a good possibility you have a big piece of history here in your backyard," Roger Barski told guests of the Ogden Dunes Historical Society during a presentation Sunday on the team's research on the shipwreck.

Barski, who is a member of the team named after Northwest Indiana historian William Briggs, said the group has begun analyzing the shipwreck and has combed through historical records in LaPorte and Porter counties for information about the role the area played in providing fugitive slaves with an exit route to freedom in Canada.

Team members displayed photographs of the shipwreck and pieces of beams and other material that already has been salvaged from the ship. The presentation at the Ogden Dunes Community Church included extensive information about old shipbuilding practices, the role of shipping on the Great Lakes in the 1800s and Northwest Indiana's connection to the underground railroad. The team, former members of the Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago, began studying the ship, designated the Alpha Wreck, in the summer of 2005.

Barski said the team will excavate the wreck this summer with a state permit. Through excavation and study of the ship's construction, the group hopes to gather enough information to learn the ship's name, the captain, the owner and the reason for the wreck. Barski said members think the ship was a wooden schooner, a type of ship that was inexpensive to build and operate and was popular on the Great Lakes throughout the 1800s for transporting immigrants and hauling lumber and grain. So far, the group has found clinch bolts, deck hooks, treenails and square-cut nails, all shipbuilding materials used in the mid- to late 1800s. Individuals also have provided the team with items from the ship, including a shovel handle and a painted wooden figurehead made from red oak.

Peg Schoon, the wife of Ken Schoon, author of the book "Calumet Beginnings," alerted Barski and his fellow archeologists to the Ogden Dunes shipwreck and the historical writings of Briggs. Barski said Briggs wrote of a wooden ship that transported runaway slaves from the area west of Burns Ditch to freedom in Canada. According to Briggs' story, slavery supporters eventually seized and burned the ship in the area of the current day's wreck. "Indiana was a free state, and many slaves came through our area," said Ruth Loftus, a Briggs Project Team member. "Many lumbermen and boat captains were anti-slavery. The Devil's Punchbowl, near the mouth of Burns Ditch, is a place where runaway slaves would board."

"The deck beam was located just a few weeks ago," said Barski, who encouraged audience members to assist the effort by providing information they may have or objects found near the site of the wreck. "The water levels are down now and we were able to see a lot this winter," Barski said. He said team members also have found what they think are the bow stem and apron at the front of the ship.

Barski said a similar ship -- the HMS General Hunter -- has been excavated in Canada at a cost of $3 million. "It's an expensive proposition," Barski said.
The Briggs Project Team is self-funded, and "we don't have $3 million, so this is going to be a bare-bones operation," he said.

Barski, who describes himself as "obsessed" with the shipwreck, said the team will begin research in Lake County and looks forward to the upcoming excavation.
"We hope, with more research, we can find more information," he said. "It would be a wonderful piece of history," Loftus said. "But at this time, it's still as much of a mystery as was the underground railroad."

From Northwest Indiana Times

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 27

The MATAAFA, Captain Emory A. Massman, opened the Port of Cleveland for the 1947 season. She arrived with a cargo of 375 new automobiles from Detroit.

The steamer H P MC INTOSH (Hull#622) was launched March 27, 1907, at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. for the Gilchrist Transportation Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) EDWARD S KENDRICK in 1934, scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1973.

Nipigon Transport Ltd. (Carryore Ltd., mgr., Montreal, Quebec) operations came to an end when the fleet was sold on March 27, 1986, to Algoma Central's Marine Division at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

On 27 March 1841, BURLINGTON (wooden sidewheeler, 150 tons, built in 1837, at Oakville, Ontario) was destroyed by fire at Toronto, Ontario. Her hull was later recovered and the 98 foot, 3-mast schooner SCOTLAND was built on it in 1847, at Toronto.

On 27 March 1875, the steamer FLORA was launched at Wolf & Davidson's yard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her dimensions were 275 foot keel x 27 foot x 11 foot.

On 27 March 1871, the small wooden schooner EMMA was taken out in rough weather by the commercial fishermen Charles Ott, Peter Broderick, Jacob Kisinger and John Meicher to begin the fishing season. The vessel capsized at about 2:00 p.m., 10 miles southwest of St. Joseph, Michigan and all four men drowned.

C E REFERN (wooden schooner, 181 foot, 680 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #65) on 27 March 1890.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.

 

Boatnerd Changing Servers
Changeover date moved up

3/26 - Update - Due to continuing problems, the changeover date to a new server has been moved to Monday, March 26 at 11:00pm.

Until the changeover is completed, we will not be able to update the News Photo Gallery. We have all the pictures ready to post and will accept any News pictures that you send it. We should be able to get them all posted early in the week.

Original Article - The server used to host BoatNerd is failing, after 5 years of faithful service it is time for replacement. Our infrastructure teams have purchased the new server and have been moving parts of the site over. While the actual move we make to the other server will be instantaneous, your service provider may cause you to temporarily display an incorrect page.

Some experienced an issue when the Information Search page was moved. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) maintains a "DNS" server which is like an address book for Internet sites. When you find the new site depends on how soon your ISP updates their DNS server. This should be in no more than 12 hours, if you receive a message saying site not found or no web site configured, your ISP is sending you to the old server.

Click here for a detailed technical explanation

While you are at the mercy of your ISP you can try to restart your computer, if you are using a dedicated connection renew the IP address (click Repair connection under Network Connections) or if using a router, restart the router. You can also try restarting the computer/ clearing cache. If the page will still not display contact your ISP's technical support for assistance.

The new server is a vast improvement over the old, users will find faster performance and we have much more storage space for new content.

With our primary server replaced we still are in need of funding to replace the server that hosts the Public Gallery, Links page, etc. These projects are funded by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping, the 501 (c)(3) non-profit support group for BoatNerd.Com. If you enjoy this site please consider supporting us through our fund raising raffle All tickets sold support these upgrades and pay for our monthly connection charges.

We plan on changing to the new server on Monday, March 26 at 11 p.m.

 

Port Reports - March 26

Soo - Jerry Masson
First day of the Soo Locks opening was busy for the Coast Guard cutters working in the upper & lower St. Marys River from daylight till nightfall, for the eighteen ships ready to sail on opening day. Upbound was Canadian Transport, H. Lee White, Saginaw, Arthur M. Anderson, Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder, Canadian Leader, Algonorth, Edgar B. Speer, Joyce L. Van Enkevort/Great Lakes Trader, American Century, American Integrity, James R. Barker, and Hollyhock.
Downbound was Roger Blough, CSL Laurentian, Michipicoten, Atlantic Huron, American Spirit. Not all ships locked through and anchored overnight.
Mobile Bay locked upbound to join cutter Mackinaw in the upper river today in the thicker ice congested track into Whitefish Bay.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine left her winter lay-up berth in the inner harbour Sunday afternoon and shifted over to the Sifto salt dock to load at about 4:00 pm.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The start of the 2007 commercial shipping season on the Saginaw River began Sunday with the arrival of the CSL Tadoussac during the early morning hours. She unloaded at the Essroc Terminal in Essexville, before backing away from the dock around 2:00pm. The Tadoussac backed out of the river, turning at Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay, and headed for the lake. This arrival is one day earlier than the start of the season in 2006 and two days earlier that the CSL Tadoussac's first visit last year.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River began her season late Saturday night, getting under way for Bath, Ontario, to pick up her first load of cement.
Stephen B. Roman returned to port early Sunday to begin unloading her second cargo of the season at Essroc.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening, Michipicoten was the first boat to load ore for the new season. The Upper Harbor is now mostly ice free.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday the tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 arrived at 12:30 p.m. from Sarnia and headed to Provmar Fuels ( Pier 24 ). The CCG ship Cape Storm departed Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters at 12:30 p.m.
Canadian Progress arrived at 9:00 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco.  Sunday morning the tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 departed Pier 24 at 6:30 am for Detroit. Ships were hurrying to clear the harbor by 8:30 am when the Burlington Lift Bridge will be closed to shipping for approximately 3 hours due to the Around the Bay Marathon.
The Atlantic Erie departed at 7 a.m. from Stelco after discharging iron ore that it had loaded at Point Noire last year and went to winter lay up at Section 44 in Montreal.
Canadian Progress departed Dofasco at 7:30am for Ashtabula.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine left her winter lay-up berth in the inner harbour Sunday afternoon and shifted over to the Sifto salt dock to load at about 4:00pm.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Ron Walsh
The English River has been stuck in ice at the Upper Gap area of Amherst Island for several hours on Sunday evening. She can not go forward or back. The Griffon is supposed to transit down the Welland Canal Monday.. She may be needed here.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The last windmill at the Steel Winds project in Lackawanna has been topped off. The large erection crane was still on site at the North end of the line of windmills but the center hub and all three blades are now installed. The first phase of what may possibly lead up to 32 windmills is nearing completion and is a pretty impressive site to see from Rt. 5.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 26

The Str. JOHN T HUTCHINSON, Captain Harold Jacobsen, upbound for the head of the lakes, was the first boat of the 1949 shipping season to transit the Soo Locks.

On 26 March 1922, OMAR D CONGER (wooden passenger-package freight, 92 foot, 200 gross tons, built in 1887, at Port Huron, Michigan) exploded at her dock on the Black River in Port Huron with such violence that parts of her upper works and engine were thrown all over the city. Some said that her unattended boiler blew up, but others claimed that an unregistered cargo of explosives ignited. She had been a Port Huron-Sarnia ferry for a number of years.

The CITY OF MOUNT CLEMENS (wooden propeller "rabbit", 106 foot, 132 gross tons) was launched at the Chabideaux' yard in Mt. Clemens, Michigan on 26 March 1884. She was then towed to Detroit to be fit out. She was built for Chapaton & Lacroix. She lasted until dismantled in 1921.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.

 

Soo Locks Open to Fog Delays

3/25 - The opening of navigation at the Soo was halted overnight due to thick fog in the river system. Early morning visibility was zero and boats remained in the same place when the locks opened at 12:01 a.m.

By mid morning the fog started to lift with visibility between a quarter of a mile to a mile and a half in places. Coast Guard Captain of the Port opened the river to navigation giving the Roger Blough permission to start downbound from the locks.

Ready to get underway above the locks downbound was the CSL Laurentian and Michipicoten. Two upbound ships, the Canadian Transport and H Lee White, locked through overnight and were underway in the upper river with cutter Mackinaw.

Also upbound in the lower river is Saginaw and Arthur M. Anderson with cutters Mobile Bay and Neah Bay. Water level reading in the upper river was minus 22 inches Sunday morning, the lower river was minus 10 inches.   

Reported by Jerry Masson

 

Roger Blough to open Soo Locks Season

3/25 - Sault Ste. Marie - Bathed in bright spring sunshine despite the ice below, Roger Blough waited at the west approach pier above the Soo Locks for the stroke of midnight and opening of the Poe Lock for the season.

Blough arrived through the broken ice downbound with the season's first load of iron ore early Saturday afternoon to wait out the last few hours before the shipping season opens.

Two upbound vessels were in the St. Marys River Saturday afternoon but chose to drop anchor near DeTour, then proceeded up river later in the evening.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Port Reports - March 25

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson & Theresa Parker
Michipicoten was underway from her winter berth Saturday morning in the upper river from Algoma Steel with cutter Mackinaw. Further up the River was the downbound Roger Blough near Isle Parisienne. Two upbound lake freighters were nearing the Soo. One in the Detour area and the H. Lee White in the Straits. Both upbounds will meet with cutter Neah Bay to transit the ice track in the lower river system.
Roger Blough arrived Saturday afternoon and tied at the Soo Locks waiting to be the first vessel through when the gates open at mid night.

Upbound Saturday evening was the Canadian Transport near Detour and H Lee White in the Straits area. Canadian Transport was heading for the locks at 7:30 p.m. The Cutter Mobile Bay joined the Neah Bay in the lower St Marys River to reopen ice tracks and groom the turns. Cutter Mackinaw was working the upper river out to the ice edge.

Further down river the Neah Bay broke through the ice bridge between Neebish Island and the mainland on the down bound St Marys River at the Neebish Island ferry dock area of the river, this is just above rock cut. Locals report that at last check the ice was 32" thick. Neah Bay cut through as if it wasn't even there.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Provider finished unloading at Redpath on Friday and headed for the Welland Canal.

Goderich - Jacob Smith & Dale Baechler
On a foggy Saturday evening, the Peter R. Cresswell left its lay-up spot and departed around 4 p.m.

Escanaba - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening, Burns Harbor was loading taconite at the ore dock, and Tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader was unloading coal at the South Reiss Dock. Joseph L. Block arrived to load ore and waited off the ore dock. Tug Joseph H. Thompson and barge remains in lay-up at the ore dock.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening Michipicoten was the first boat to load ore for the new season. The Upper Harbor is now mostly ice free.

 

Ship blessings ring
River ceremony remembers vital role of mariner

3/25 - Port Huron - They are vessels that link all nations, provide necessities for life and protect the boundaries of our country. Ships and seafarers - sometimes at great risk - play a vital role in local and world operations and economy.

Hundreds gathered Saturday for the first-ever Blessing of the Fleet ceremony outside the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron. The event was organized to mark the start of the Great Lakes shipping season, which excites local freighter watchers, who have tired of seeing only ice chunks move down the St. Clair River, said coordinator Peter Werle, lead volunteer at the center.

Most Great Lakes freighters cease travel during the winter months when the major ship-canal locks close. The Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie open today. Ontario's Welland Canal opened Tuesday and the Montreal/Lake Ontario portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened Wednesday. Depending on weather, the U.S. Coast Guard likely will start marking the shipping channel with buoys within two weeks, said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Davanzo, captain of the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock.

At Saturday's event, three Port Huron pastors stood along the St. Clair River and gave formal thanks for the ships and seafarers and prayed for their safety.

"We give thanks for all the resources of the Earth and sea and for the ships that distribute them," said the Rev. Simeon Iber, pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Port Huron, as he faced a large crowd standing on the maritime center's deck. "We thank God for those on whose labor we depend for the necessities of life; for seafarers and all who leave their homes and communities to serve others; for the skills of seamanship; for modern aids to navigation and for all engaged in the shipping industry."

As Iber and others spoke, the freighter, Cuyahoga, moved behind him, heading north toward the Blue Water Bridge. The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet ship Grayfox, lined with standing sailors, sat in the river as part of the ceremony. Werle said he wants to enhance the event next year by having Selfridge Air Force Base jets flyover and several choirs perform. He said he arranged the ceremony to get people down to the water and recognize the city's maritime heritage. "It's one of those things we are trying to reclaim."

Honoring seafarers
Nadir Bousseloub, 35, of Lexington said he had never seen such an event. A U.S. Merchant Marine, Bousseloub said he related to what was said at the ceremony. "It touched me," said Bousseloub, who returned about two weeks ago from a stint aboard a tanker moving oil between Texas and Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

A graduate of The California Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calf., Bousseloub has traveled all over the world navigating ships and handling cargo. He's delivered war supplies to Kuwait and transported giant windmill blades from Spain to Philadelphia. "I have two homes, here and on a ship," he said Saturday after the ceremony. It can be a risky job, he said. "Every day there is a new experience that could be a dangerous experience."

For him, there is no shipping season. He spends most of his time on the ocean and travels all year. For those who work the Great Lakes, there is a break from sea travel.

Capt. Billy Cline of the International Ship Masters' Association works for Gaelic Tugboat Co. in Detroit. Cline of Kimball Township has been laid off this winter and begins work again in the next couple of weeks. Cline, who has been sailing for more than 30 years on the Great Lakes, rang a bell at the ceremony Saturday to honor fallen seamen. U.S. Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Mike Chandler, operations officer on the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, and Port Huron Power Squadron Commander Rudy Sloup also tolled the bell to honor those who have died.

To help keep other from the same fate, the ceremony participants prayed for seafarers' safety. "Bless these ships and these boats, the equipment and all who serve on them and who would use them. Protect them from the dangers of wind and rain and of the perils of the deep. Bring us all to the harbor of light and peace," said the Rev. Peggy Konkel, pastor at Unity Church of Blue Water.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Boatnerd Changing Servers

3/25 - The server used to host BoatNerd is failing, after 5 years of faithful service it is time for replacement. Our infrastructure teams have purchased the new server and have been moving parts of the site over. While the actual move we make to the other server will be instantaneous, your service provider may cause you to temporarily display an incorrect page.

Some experienced an issue when the Information Search page was moved. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) maintains a "DNS" server which is like an address book for Internet sites. When you find the new site depends on how soon your ISP updates their DNS server. This should be in no more than 12 hours, if you receive a message saying site not found or no web site configured, your ISP is sending you to the old server.

Click here for a detailed technical explanation

While you are at the mercy of your ISP you can try to restart your computer, if you are using a dedicated connection renew the IP address (click Repair connection under Network Connections) or if using a router, restart the router. You can also try restarting the computer/ clearing cache. If the page will still not display contact your ISP's technical support for assistance.

The new server is a vast improvement over the old, users will find faster performance and we have much more storage space for new content.

With our primary server replaced we still are in need of funding to replace the server that hosts the Public Gallery, Links page, etc. These projects are funded by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping, the 501 (c)(3) non-profit support group for BoatNerd.Com. If you enjoy this site please consider supporting us through our fund raising raffle All tickets sold support these upgrades and pay for our monthly connection charges.

We plan on changing to the new server on Friday, March 30 at 11 p.m.

 

No Saturday News Photo Updates

3/25 - Due to server problems (see above article) we have not been able to post the News Gallery pictures received Friday and Saturday, and we have received some good shots.

We hope to have the problems worked out shortly and be able to get everything posted.

Keep sending in your pictures. We will get upload them as soon as possible.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 25

The AMASA STONE was christened in ceremonies at Wyandotte, Michigan. The STONE was the first Interlake boat to be built with special passenger accommodations. Hull in use as a dock in Charlevoix, Michigan.

HENRY G DALTON (Hull#713) was launched March 25, 1916, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for the Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, the company's first 600 footer. She was scrapped at Vado, Italy in 1973.

THOMAS WALTERS (Hull#390) was launched March 25, 1911, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Interstate Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed FRANK R DENTON in 1952, scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1984.

On March 25, 1927, heavy ice caused the MAITLAND NO 1, to run off course and she grounded on Tecumseh Shoal on her way to Port Maitland, Ontario. Eighteen hull plates were damaged which required repairs at Ashtabula, Ohio.

The steamer ENDERS M VOORHEES participated in U.S. Steel's winter-long navigation feasibility study during the 1974-75 season, allowing only one month to lay up from March 25th to April 24th.

March 25, 1933 - Captain Wallace Henry "Andy" Van Dyke, Master of the Steamer PERE MARQUETTE 22, suffered a heart attack and died peacefully in his cabin while en route to Ludington, Michigan.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - March 24

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Thursday afternoon saw the first non-local arrival of the season. Stephen B. Roman home-ports in Toronto and has been the first vessel out and in for several years now.
The non-local arrival was Hamilton Energy, which came in to bunker Canadian Leader. The Energy left about 8:00 p.m., and Canadian Leader departed early this morning for the Welland Canal.
Canadian Provider is still unloading at Redpath, and should be finished soon.
The English River ballasted down yesterday and is getting ready to begin her season.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club workboats Elsie D. and Esperanza were busy yesterday moving floating docks from their city station to the island clubhouse.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports began in earnest Friday with Roger Blough departing about 10:00 a.m. with the season’s first load of taconite pellets from CN ore dock.
By noon, CSL Laurentien had arrived from Thunder Bay bound for the CN ore dock. As the Laurentien moved into St. Louis Bay, American Spirit left its lay up berth at the port terminal and pulled around the corner to fuel at the Murphy Oil terminal. It was expected to be the first laker of the season down the front channel to load at BNSF in Superior. The ice is breaking up in St. Louis Bay, with much of the bay now open. Vessels also appear to be operating easily in Superior Bay, which also has much open water near the ship canal and near the Blatnik Bridge.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Ron Beaupre
An ice pressure ridge has developed Friday just above Bradford's Point in the middle of Lake St. Lawrence. The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. tug Robinson Bay went up from Eisenhower Lock to break up the ridge, but upon arrival decided it was too large for her to make any attempt on it. At 4:00pm, the CCG icebreaker Martha L Black is being raised in Eisenhower Lock to get up to the jam. Meanwhile, all traffic downbound has been held back all day. No ships have been granted permission to transit down through Iroquois Lock. There are three vessels at anchor above Prescott and two still waiting on the tie wall above the lock. The Black was in the channel above Snell but had to go right back down to break out the Pineglen which had become stuck in ice.

Bayfield - Tim Eldred
The fish tug Eleanor B. left the Bayfield, Wisconsin harbor on Lake Superior late Friday morning headed for the South Channel and open water. This marks the first time in local memory that the Madeline Island Ferry did not have the first vessel coming or going from Bayfield for the start of the navigation season. By mid afternoon the tug had made about 2 miles with about one mile and a half or so to go before it will find open water off of the south side of Madeline Island.
The Town of La Pointe windsled checked ice depths on the ferry trail between Madeline Island and Bayfield on Thursday and reported about 12 inches in most places. This dashed hopes of the 250 residents of the island that the ferries would try for the mainland Friday morning. Now that a trail has been opened up by the Eleanor B. this may spur the ferry line into action.
Vehicle travel to and from the island came to an abrupt end on Saturday, March 10 after a pickup truck broke through the ice near Bayfield. There were no casualties and the truck did not fall all the way through. The two and one half mile road, maintained by the Town of La Pointe on Madeline Island, which had been open for 29 days, was immediately closed stranding for a time about 50 vehicles that found themselves on the wrong side of the lake. Early Sunday a caravan was escorted across the ice restoring vehicles to the proper side before the hybrid air propeller driven "windsled" began operations. Several pickup trucks in the caravan stranded near the Bayfield beach when several wheels broke through the deteriorating ice.
A two week "windsled season" pushes the limit of patience for Islanders and tradesmen alike who depend on vehicle travel between the Island and Bayfield for moving groceries, building materials, and laborers to the Island.

 

U.S.-Flag Lakers to Combat Spread of Fish Virus

3/24 - Cleveland---The members of Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) are implementing a ballast water management plan to help slow the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) to uninfected Great Lakes waters in 2007. Lake Carriers’ Association represents the vast majority of U.S.-Flag vessels operating on the Great Lakes.

“Lake Carriers’ Association has been a leader in efforts to find solutions to the problem of non-indigenous species and pathogens being introduced into the Great Lakes via the ballast water on ocean-going vessels and other vectors,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of the 127-year-old Association. “These new, voluntary measures represent our continued commitment to preserving the Great Lakes environment.

While our members’ vessels don’t trade farther east than Bath, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, and so have never introduced an exotic to the enclosed aquatic ecosystem, we recognize our role in assisting the Governments of the United States and Canada in controlling the spread of invasive species brought to the Lakes by vessels entering from the oceans and other vectors such as aquaculture, bait fish and recreational boating and fishing.”

VHS is a virus that can cause fish to hemorrhage and has caused kill-offs in Lake St. Clair in 2003 and Lake Ontario in 2005. To date, it is not known if VHS has been introduced to Lakes Michigan and Superior.

Steps being implemented as the U.S.-Flag fleet gets underway in March include annually inspecting and, as necessary, replacing ballast sea chest screens with the smallest openings allowed by engineering practices. When it is necessary to take ballast in waters thought to harbor
VHS, the vessel will first be lightened as much as safe operation permits to minimize sediment uptake and increase water flow. Should a fish make it past the screen, it will be pulverized by the high speed, high pressure, and tight tolerance pumps.

“There is no way commercial vessels can meet the needs of commerce without ballasting,” said Weakley. “When not carrying cargo, a vessel must take on ballast to minimize hull stresses and ensure adequate stability, propulsion, and maneuverability. However, these steps will enable the U.S.-Flag fleet to continue to move more than 100 million tons of vital cargos this year while minimizing as much as possible the potential that its ballast could spread VHS.”

The LCA VHS Plan has also been endorsed by the Shipping Federation of Canada, which represents shipowners and agents involved in Canada’s overseas trade, and the United States Great Lakes Shipping Association, which represents U.S. vessel agents for ocean-going vessels calling on U.S. Great Lakes ports.

Lake Carriers’ Association’s first effort to combat the spread of non-indigenous species introduced by ocean-going vessels was a Voluntary Ballast Water Management Plan for the Control of Ruffe in Lake Superior Ports. Instituted in 1993, the Plan has proved extremely effective. Even though the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin, handle more than 1,000 vessel calls a year, the ruffe has been found in only two locations outside western Lake Superior.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 24

ALPENA (Hull#177) was launched on March 24, 1909, at Wyandotte, Michigan by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the Wyandotte Transportation Co. Renamed b.) SIDNEY E SMITH JR in 1968, and c.) ALPENA in 1971. Scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1973.

CARL D BRADLEY (Hull#718) was launched March 24, 1917, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. the third self-unloader in the Bradley Transportation Co. fleet. Renamed b.) JOHN G MUNSON in 1927, and c.) IRVIN L CLYMER in 1951. Scrapped at Duluth in 1994.

The SAMUEL MATHER was transferred on March 24, 1965, to the newly formed Pickands Mather subsidiary Labrador Steamship Co. Ltd. (Sutcliffe Shipping Co. Ltd., operating agents), Montreal, Quebec to carry iron ore from their recently opened Wabush Mines ore dock at Pointe Noire, Quebec to U.S. blast furnaces on Lakes Erie and Michigan. She was renamed b.) POINTE NOIRE.

HARRY COULBY (Hull#163) was launched March 24, 1906, at Wyandotte, Michigan by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the L. C. Smith Transit Co., Syracuse, New York. Renamed b.) FINLAND in 1927, c.) PETER ROBERTSON in 1969, and d.) MARINSAL in 1978. Used in a shunter experiment in the Welland Canal and scrapped at La Spezia, Italy in 1980.

On 24 March 1874, the 181 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner MORNING STAR was launched at E. Saginaw, Michigan by Crosthwaite.

On 24 March 1876, CITY OF SANDUSKY (wooden side-wheel passenger/package freight vessel, 171 foot, 608 gross tons, built in 1866, at Sandusky, Ohio) burned and sank in the harbor at Port Stanley, Ontario.

On 24 March 1876, MINNIE CORLETT (wooden scow-schooner, 107 gross tons, built before 1866) was sailing light from Chicago, Illinois to Two Rivers, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan when she stranded and then sank. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - March 23

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was the first ship of the season to arrive in Goderich. She was loading salt at Sifto on Thursday.
Canadian Navigator was second into port Thursday evening and is loading at Sifto Salt on a bright sunny Friday morning. A busy start to an early opening of the 2007 shipping season.

Sarnia - Frank Frisk, Angie Williams & Marc Dease
Cuyahoga loaded supplies on Thursday morning, then headed down river to take on fuel at Sterling and a load of salt in Ojibway.
She was followed a few hours later at about 6:15pm when her fleetmate Saginaw departed her lay-up berth at the elevator in Sarnia.
The Saginaw was destined for the Sterling fuel dock in Windsor and then to Toledo for coal.

Escanaba - Rod Burdick
Escanaba was busy on Thursday evening. Paul R. Tregurtha, an uncommon visitor, was loading taconite on the north side of the ore dock, and Wilfred Sykes was waiting to load taconite on the south side. Tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. was reattached to her barge and warming up her engines.

Cleveland - Matt
The Earl W. Oglebay was spotted with a black stack, and it appears that her old name is being painted over.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Roger Blough departed its winter lay up berth at the Duluth Port Terminal late Thursday afternoon. About 4:15 it was slowly proceeding under the Blatnik Bridge toward the CN ore docks to load its first cargo of the season. It appeared to be moving easily in broken ice. St. Louis Bay has a large stretch of open water off Midwest Energy Terminal and into the turning basin off the end of the ore docks.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Ron Beaupre
Friday morning the first two ships will come down through the lock at Iroquois. Frontenac spent the night on the tie wall above the lock with Maritime Trader behind her. There has been a blockage near Valleyfield for the last two days as the St. Louis lift bridge had a broken cable. The repairs are now complete and several ships that had been waiting below Beauharnois are now underway. Atlantic Erie is leading the parade upbound.

 

Maritime students on Wisconsin schooner rescue 3 off Florida Keys

3/23 - ISLAMORADA, Fla. - Maritime academy students on an excursion aboard a Wisconsin-based schooner got a real-life lesson early Thursday when they rescued three fishermen who were clinging to a sinking boat off the Florida Keys.

The 16 students from the Riviera Beach (Fla.) Maritime Academy were on the Denis Sullivan, a 19th-century replica Great Lakes schooner, as part of a 10-day nautical and marine science expedition. They were with teachers and the crew of the ship when they heard a "May Day" call from a 33-foot fishing boat with three men aboard saying they were sinking about 11 miles southeast of Islamorada, according to a statement from the Coast Guard.

While the Coast Guard dispatched rescue crews to the scene, students and teachers on the 137-foot, three-masted schooner saw distress flares fired in the air and made their way to the sinking ship just after midnight. A crew member eventually pulled two of the men to safety and a third man was able to swim to the ship's ladder, the Coast Guard said.

The three men, taken ashore by Coast Guard boat, were transported to Mariner's Hospital near Marathon. Two had serious injuries and the condition of the third man was not available.

The fishermen's vessel punched a 1-foot hole in the schooner's hull while the rescue was under way. Coast Guard crews temporarily repaired the hole with help from the students, and the ship continued on its way to Key West.

The Denis Sullivan is on a winter cruise in southern waters before making the return trip through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Milwaukee for the summer.

The vessel is based at Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

 

Free program announced at Great Lakes Maritime Center for Saturday

3/23 - Port Huron - Saturday night, March 24, at 7:00 pm, at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron, the program, "River Rat Chasing!" will be presented by the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society.

The program is free and open to the public.

 

Diamond Queen Memorial Day Cruise to Port Huron

3/23 - Detroit - The annual Memorial Day Diamond Queen cruise departs from Hart Plaza, on May 28, and cruises to the St. Clair Inn for dinner and out into Lake Huron a short distance, weather permitting. There is a Continental breakfast and a buffet luncheon on board.

The cruise will follow the shipping channel upbound to meet all downbound ships, and only divert from the shipping channel down bound to visit the old St. Clair Flats area to see the Old Club and other interesting buildings and sites there.

Tickets are $85 by reservation only. Departs Hart Plaza at 8:00 am and returns at 9:15 pm. Call 313-843-9376 for information.

 

Updates - March 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

Calendar of Events updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 23

The National Transportation Safety Board unanimously voted on March 23,1978, to reject the U. S. Coast Guard's official report supporting the theory of faulty hatches in their EDMUND FITZGERALD investigation. Later the N.T.S.B. revised its verdict and reached a majority vote to agree that the sinking was caused by taking on water through one or more hatch covers damaged by the impact of heavy seas over her deck. This is contrary to the Lake Carriers Association's contention that her foundering was caused by flooding through bottom and ballast tank damage resulting from bottoming on the Six Fathom Shoal between Caribou and Michipicoten Islands.

On 23 March 1850, TROY (wooden side wheel passenger/package freighter, 182 foot, 546 tons, built in 1845, at Maumee, Ohio) exploded and burned at Black Rock, New York. Up to 22 lives were lost. She was recovered and rebuilt the next year and lasted until 1860.

On 23 March 1886, Mr. D. N. Runnels purchased the tug KITTIE HAIGHT.

The 3,280 ton motor vessel YANKCANUCK commanded by Captain W. E. Dexter, docked at the Canadian Soo on 23 March 1964, to officially open the 1964 Navigation Season for that port. Captain Dexter received the traditional silk hat from Harbormaster Frank Parr in a brief ceremony aboard the vessel. The ship arrived in the Sault from Windsor, Ontario. Captain Dexter said the trip from Windsor was uneventful and he had no trouble with ice. This was the first time a ship from the Yankcanuck Line won the honor of opening the Sault Harbor.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Ceremony to bless the fleet will be Saturday in Port Huron

3/22 - Port Huron - Three local pastors and representatives from the International Ship Masters Association will lead a "blessing of the fleet" ceremony at 11:00 am, Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron.

Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the Port Huron Power Squadron, the Sea Scouts and the Sea Cadets will be on hand.

There will be performances from singers and a Detroit pipe band.

For additional information, call Peter Werle at (810) 985-4817

 

BoatNerd Soo Locks Engineer's Day Cruise date changed to Friday

3/22 - Due to a scheduling conflict, we have changed the Annual Engineer's Weekend Freighter Chasing Cruise to Friday, June 29.

See the Gathering Page for complete details.

 

First ships of spring set sail

3/22 - Port Huron - Closed since mid-January for winter maintenance, three major ship-canal locks are opening this week. The Welland Canal opened Tuesday, the Montreal/Lake Ontario portion of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened Wednesday and the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie will open Sunday.

Freighter crews are gearing up for the shipping season after taking a winter break during the lock closures. The season is expected to bring a mix of high demand and low Great Lakes water levels, which could cut profits. Although some freighters continued to traverse the St. Clair River this winter carrying heating oil from Nanticoke, Ontario, and salt from Goderich, Ontario, many stop shipping in winter because of restricted access to ports.

Crews work hard from March to January on the freighters, which carry cargo such as iron ore, limestone and steel throughout the Great Lakes region and around the world. "It's tough work," said Frank Frisk, a retired cook-porter with the Interlake Steamship Co. who now works at BoatNerd.com in Port Huron.

But journeying through the locks is exhilarating. "When you're standing out there on deck or the pilot house and the boat moves that 30 feet, it's really wild," he said.

Mark Gill, supervisor of the vessel traffic service for St. Marys River near the Soo Locks, said crews will be working hard until Sunday breaking up ice to allow ship passage. There has been more ice this year than last year, he said. "It's been a tough year on the breakers themselves. We're certainly going to have an uphill battle looking toward Sunday," he said.

Big business
The demand for coal, limestone and iron ore will be up this year as overseas demand for steel increases, experts said. Ingredients such as limestone are required to melt the iron ore to make steel. But freighter companies likely will lose money because of low water levels this season. Low water levels require ships to take on less-than-full loads in order to clear the shipping channel bottom.

While Monday's recorded water level for the Lake Michigan-Huron system was 577.2 feet above sea level, close to the average reading for March 2006, the water level on Lake Superior could play the biggest role in shipping this year, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit. The water level in Lake Superior, which last week measured 14 inches below the March 2006 average, could fall within 3 or 4 inches of the record low by summer's end.

The Corps of Engineers is forecasting a water level similar to last summer for the Lake Michigan-Huron system. But even a variation of a few inches can reduce the profit for shipping companies. A typical freighter has the ability to carry 270 tons of cargo per inch of water, which means several hundred thousands of dollars can be lost if the water level is down several inches.

"You'll end up seeing low freighter passages, because they won't be able to carry their maximum load to their destinations," Gill said. Frisk said the water levels are cyclical and that long periods of low water may be caused by global warming.

Despite seasonal struggles, local economies benefit from the shipping season, Frisk said, as ship watchers travel throughout the region watching freighters. He said freighter traffic, a major tourist draw to the Port Huron area, remains popular. "It's magnetic. Its like NASCAR on the water," Frisk said.

Ballast law
Another concern for the shipping industry this year is the Michigan water-ballast law. The law, which went into effect in January, requires all ships stopping at state ports to have a water-ballast permit. It costs $75 to apply for the permit and $150 to renew it each year.

By getting a permit, the shipping company agrees it will not discharge its ballast in Michigan waterways or that it will use a state-approved method to clean the ballast water. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality will not allow ships to stop in Michigan ports if they do not have the permit, said spokesman Bob McCann.

Ballast is water, mixed with sediment and seaweed, the weight of which keeps ships stable during voyages. It's been identified as the medium that's carried invasive species, such as zebra mussels, ruffe fish and viral hemorrhagic septicemia - a quick-spreading virus from Europe that's deadly to fish.

There are 182 invasive species plaguing the Great Lakes, spurring the conservation group Great Lakes United to propose a ban on overseas ships in the Great Lakes until they learn how to stop discharging contaminated ballast water.

The shipping industry is concerned about the Michigan law's effect on business, said Bob Dorn, senior vice president of the Interlake Steamship Co. in Cleveland. "We're working with (the Lake Carriers Association) and the appropriate people in Lansing to understand what the issue is all about and get a little more clarification," Dorn said. "Clearly it's an issue that must be addressed without stopping commerce."

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Port Reports - March 22

Soo - Jerry Masson
USCG cutter Neah Bay(105) arrived at the Soo Wednesday escorting the upbound Algosar through the ice bound traffic lanes of the St Marys River. Algosar had some difficulty making turns in the river which the Neah Bay was able to assist and break up the larger ice flows. The Michipicoten crew arrived on the weekend to ready the ship from her winter berth at Algoma Steel. Plans are for the ship to get underway upbound later in the week when ice conditions are favorable.

Milwaukee - John Vogel
Inland Lakes' Alpena was unloading at the LaFarge elevator, late Wednesday morning. The G. L. Ostrander, and its barge Integrity, were still on winter layover and docked next to the elevator, thus the Alpena tied up on their outer side. The Burns Harbor and James R. Barker remained in the harbor for layover, but there is a lot of preseason activity around those ships as they prepare to sail for the season.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Coast Guard Cutter Alder was spotted in the middle of Duluth harbor on Tuesday afternoon, apparently its first foray since encountering stern seal problems at the start of spring ice-breaking. There’s no word yet on whether the cutter is back in service.

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Cuyahoga was conducting fire and boat drills at 10:30 Wednesday morning. It won't be long before she sails.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Kent Malo
Atlantic Erie was at Cote Ste. Catherines lock, on Wednesday, about to go to the tie up wall due to ice conditions above the lock. Atlantic Erie is the first vessel to go up the Seaway from the ocean for the 2007 season. There are two icebreakers above the lock clearing a path for the vessels that are heading up the Seaway. Cedarglen is below lock 2 and Pineglen is entering the Seaway at CIP 2.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Frontenac departed Wednesday at 4:15 pm from Pier 26 with slag for Three Rivers Quebec. The CSL Niagara arrived at 6:00 pm with coal Stelco from Sandusky.

Goderich - Duane Jessup & Dale Baechler
Wednesday evening the USCG 102 Bristol Bay arrived at Goderich for ice breaking duties in advance of the first vessel of the shipping season to arrive later in the night. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin became the first visitor to open the 2007 shipping season in Goderich Wednesday night. She encountered heavy ice conditions in the channel and was assisted into the Sifto Salt dock by USCG Bristol Bay and the MacDonald Marine tugs Dover, Ian Mac and Debbie Lynn. She is still loading Thursday morning and her Captain will be presented the top hat at the town hall by the Mayor and members of council.

 

Pentwater, Manistee out of luck for dredging this year
Ludington work to continue this spring,
South pier work to be done this summer

3/22 - Ludington - Recreational boats and freighters may have trouble entering some Great Lakes harbors, including Pentwater and Manistee this year, thanks to a loss of federal funding for dredging. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget does not include any money for dredging recreational harbors, including Pentwater, Arcadia and Leland, which shoal every year and typically are dredged every year.

Manistee, which has a commercial harbor, also appears to be out of luck. While the city was on the Corps’ three-year schedule for dredging this summer, the Corps’ Washington, D.C., budget office didn’t include money for the work to be done. Still, there may be hope for Manistee.

“There are some issues still being worked out,” said Tom O’Bryan, a civil engineer in the Corps’ Grand Haven office. “Manistee was submitted, but during budget cuts it didn’t make the cut,” he said. “Our district is quite aware of (Manistee harbor’s need for dredging), but there was no money set aside.”
The west Michigan district has not received a budget increase in five or six years, O’Bryan said, which means as contract costs go up — particularly due to fuel price increases — fewer projects can be done.

Pentwater Village Manager Tim Taylor said the village will do its own profiling of the harbor situation to find out how much shoaling has occurred since last year. “We’re going to have to do that ourselves,” Taylor said, “to see where we have obstructions.”

Even if there is shoaling, there is no funding available currently for removal. The harbor should be dredged to 15 feet deep to allow sailboats and other large boats to use the busy port, Taylor said. “It is disappointing,” he said of hearing the news about the lack of federal funding. “It’s a crushing blow to our community if we have problems. The lake is our commerce.”

All of the state’s recreational harbors lost dredging funds in order to keep more commercial harbor projects on the schedule as commercial ports are considered more of a national interest, O’Bryan said. “Obviously, recreational harbors bring in millions of tourist dollars, but Washington does not look at it that way. Commercial harbors provide products … it’s a more national issue than tourism.”

Ludington was dredged on schedule, once every three years, in 2007. The contractor MCM Marine is still in the local harbor, planning to finish up its 2006 work this spring, as soon as the weather allows. That may work in Ludington’s favor, since federal budget cuts mean the harbor is being dredged to only 27.5 feet instead of the usual 29.5 feet, O’Bryan said. After this spring’s work the next Ludington dredging should take place in 2009.

Ludington will receive about $177,000 in Corps’ project money for maintenance to the head of the south breakwater for about two weeks during the summer.

U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, hosted a meeting in Muskegon for area municipalities in February, saying he was still working to try to secure the funding. This week, upon learning that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not include in its 2007 budget funding for recreational harbor projects throughout Michigan, he issued the following statement: “My staff and I work hard every year to ensure that all harbors are adequately dredged for commercial and recreational watercraft in Michigan’s Second Congressional District, and every year up until now we have been successful. I will continue to aggressively work with the Democratic leadership in the House and Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin in the Senate to achieve more positive outcomes.”

 

Updates - March 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 22

On this day in 1952, the new 647 foot CASON J CALLAWAY slid down the ways at the Rouge River yard of Great Lakes Engineering Works. Chris H. Johnson was appointed her first Captain.

On 22 March 1922, the Goodrich Transit Company purchased the assets and properties of the Chicago, Racine and Milwaukee Steamship Co. This sale included two steamers: ILLINOIS (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 240 foot, 2,427 gross tons, built in 1899, at S. Chicago, Illinois) and PILGRIM (iron propeller passenger / package freight steamer, 209 foot, 1,921 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. Renamed b.) L ROCHETTE in 1985, sold foreign in 1995, renamed c.) TRADEWIND ISLAND and d.) KEMEPADE in 2003.

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, 2,940 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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Detroit Historical Society to re-open the Dossin Great Lakes Museum
on Belle Isle on March 24

3/21 - Detroit— After an extremely successful 10-week renovation and Grand Re-Opening last fall at its flagship Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Historical Society has turned its attention to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in the new year.

The Society’s Belle Isle attraction, dedicated to the maritime history of southeastern Michigan, the Detroit River and the Great Lakes, has been closed to the public since December 30th for an upgrade of exhibits and facilities. The “Dossin Makeover” culminates with a free to the public “Grand Re-Opening” weekend celebration starting Saturday, March 24th with special hours.

This celebration features free admission all weekend long, complimentary refreshments and free gifts to the first 100 people through the doors each day. Free admission at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum for the duration of 2007 is provided through the generous support of Masco Corporation, however, donations are welcome.

Grand Re-Opening Weekend hours are Saturday, March 24 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sunday, March 25 – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

When guests visit the Dossin Museum this spring, they will notice more than $100,000 in upgrades, including the following new exhibits: Era of Elegance: Cruising on the Lakes will bring together artifacts, photographs, and stories to recall a time when luxurious steamers sailed the Great Lakes – forerunners of today’s modern cruise lines.

 Maritime Marvels will display a treasury of Great Lakes artifacts from the Museum’s extensive collection. Bob-Lo: Entertainment Island brings back the memories and magic of the iconic amusement park that entertained millions of Detroiters from 1898 to 1993. Great Lakes Signal Flags demonstrates how sailors in the region communicate using these colorful banners and gives visitors the chance to send their own messages.

Other exhibits that have been favorites for years will receive updates. The Museum will update City on the Straits, which examines three centuries of the history and ecology of the Detroit River. The gothic-style smoking lounge from the luxury steamship City of Detroit III will be refreshed to more powerfully evoke the feeling of cruising down the Detroit River.

The museum’s building and grounds will also receive several upgrades, including new exterior and interior signage, new lighting in and around the museum new landscaping, and new paint, carpet and flooring. “This makeover project at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum gives us the opportunity to continue our mission of preserving and portraying our region’s history in a new and exciting way,” said Detroit Historical Society Executive Director Bob Bury. “We’re looking forward to reintroducing metro Detroiters to our gem on Belle Isle.”

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum Makeover has been made possible by generous gifts from the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation and the Dossin family, and is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1949, the Detroit Historical Commission opened the Maritime Museum of Detroit on Belle Isle. The last commercial sailing vessel on the Great Lakes, the wood schooner J. T. Wing, housed the museum for several years. When the old ship became too fragile for public visitation in 1956, the city closed the museum and burned it to the ground.

At that time, Walter, Roy, and Russell Dossin pledged part of their fortune -- earned as owners of the exclusive Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise in Michigan and northern Ohio – and their fame -- as sponsors of several legendary hydroplane racing boats -- to build a new museum. On July 24, 1961, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum opened to the public on the same site where the J. T. Wing had been moored.

In March of last year, the City of Detroit and the Detroit Historical Society reached an agreement that transferred management of the Detroit Historical Museum, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and Collections Resource Center housed at Historic Fort Wayne to the Society. This historic agreement continues a partnership between the City and the Society that spans over seven decades.

Starting Saturday, March 31st, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, located at 100 Strand Drive on Belle Isle,will be open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Permanent exhibits include the Miss Pepsi vintage 1940s championship hydroplane, a bow anchor from the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, the pilothouse from the Great Lakes freighter S.S. William Clay Ford, and the largest known collection of scale model ships in the world . For more information, call (313) 821-2661 or visit www.detroithistorical.org .

 

Thunder Bay Shipping outlook good

3/21 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - One of the sure signs of spring is seeing a coast guard cutter breaking up the ice in the Thunder Bay harbour for the start of the shipping season by week’s end. That would be the United States Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay, which is currently opening shipping channels in the harbour.

“It will allow the ships in port to move around and pick up grain, and some will go to Duluth to get coal,” Tim Heney, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Port Authority, said Monday. Heney said Lake Superior is virtually all open water, with only the harbours of Thunder Bay and Duluth still ice covered. The Biscayne Bay also will break ice at Duluth.

Heney said he’s looking with optimism to the coming season with grain shipments reaching last year’s levels of 6.5 million metric tonnes, which was the first time in five years that volumes topped six million tonnes. To put the 6.5 million tonnes in perspective, the record volume of grain was set in 1983 when 17.5 million tonnes passed through the port.

Heney also expects improvements in liquid bulk and petroleum products. And potash, which was down a bit last year, may rebound in 2007.

“Grain is the main cargo,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good crop the past couple of years. There’s a strong demand in Europe. That’s where the grain goes from Thunder Bay,” Heney said. And, the elevators are full so he expects a big start to the shipping season.

“I think it’s going to be good.”

From the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal

 

Port Reports - March 21

Midland - Les Spencer
The CCGS Samuel Risley was in to break out the Hon. Paul J. Martin from the ADM grain elevator in Midland harbour on Sunday. The Samuel Risley arrived around 5:00pm and the Martin was soon backing its way out from
the dock and on its way.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Mesabi Miner departed Superior overnight Monday with a cargo of coal bound for the power plant at Taconite Harbor. On Tuesday morning, Kaye E. Barker had steam up in Fraser Shipyards and Roger Blough and American Spirit appeared to have ballasted down. Kaye E. Barker is the first boat scheduled to load this season at the CN ore docks in Two Harbors, due there Thursday evening. Cason J. Callaway and Edwin H. Gott are expected to follow on Friday. Roger Blough is the first boat due at CN ore docks Duluth, followed by CSL Laurentien coming down from Thunder Bay on Friday.

Welland Canal - Dan Sweeley
The CSL Tadoussac was the recipient of the annual Top Hat award. This award is given to the first vessel to transit the canal. This is the 75th anniversary of the 4th canal which opened in 1932 by CSL's former steamer Lemoyne.

Sturgeon Bay -
The Paul R. Tregurtha left Bayship at 12 noon Tuesday by way of Green Bay. It was also reported that the Wilfred Sykes would be leaving sometime Tuesday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Preparations have began for the start of the shipping season on the Saginaw River. The US Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay arrived on the Saginaw River on Monday, breaking a path through wind rowed ice on the Saginaw Bay. She made another pass again Tuesday afternoon before departing. The Neah Bay reported a number of winter buoys off station or missing in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel. The Saginaw River is clear of ice, but the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Bay City is still closed to vessel traffic until April 1st due to a rehabilitation project.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The shipping season started off with some of the ships in lay up moving to new locations in the harbor. The Algoisle departed Pier 25 ( JRI Elevators ) and moved to Pier 20 so the Voyageur Independent who was at Pier 14 could load wheat at JRI. The Algonorth also moved going from Pier 26 to Pier 20 so the Frontenac who arrived at 9:00pm, in ballast from Port Colborne, could load slag for Three Rivers Quebec at Pier 26.

 

Great Lakes group urges foreign ship ban
It wants to stop tainted ballast water

3/21 - Milwaukee - The St. Lawrence Seaway opened for its 49th consecutive season Wednesday, but not everyone is thrilled about another summer of overseas ships doing business in the Great Lakes.

Frustrated by the mounting number of invasive species arriving in the bellies of overseas freighters, some conservationists are proposing a simple but radical solution: Ban the ships from the Great Lakes until they can figure out how to stop discharging contaminated ballast water. "This is being done out of frustration," said Jennifer

Nalbone of the conservation group Great Lakes United. "This is a decision we've made because the federal government has failed to protect the Great Lakes."

Federal legislation to deal with ballast has languished for several years. New foreign species, meanwhile, continue to be discovered in the Great Lakes at a rate of about one every six months. Michigan has decided to deal with the problem on its own, and for the first time this year, it plans to require overseas freighters to not discharge ballast water or take steps to ensure it is not contaminated with foreign organisms. Similar rules are being considered in other Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin.

Dean Haen, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association, said he supported federal legislation to regulate contaminated ballast discharges, but finding the technology remained a challenge. "If our state wants to do anything with regards to ballast water, I'd suggest they help fund research to develop technology to stop invasive species and keep the economy moving," he said.

Nalbone said there were alternatives to moving foreign cargo into the region, among them transferring it from overseas ships onto trains. She said it might be inconvenient, but it made economic and environmental sense because of the costs of coping with the unwanted species that overseas ships are bringing in.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Shippers fight Michigan law regulating ballast water

3/21 - Detroit - Shipping interests in the U.S. and Canada have banded together to try to strike down a Michigan law that attempts to stop the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels into the Great Lakes. Four shipping companies, four shipping associations and one dock company filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Detroit asking a judge to declare the Michigan Ballast Water Act unconstitutional.

"It's disappointing that these groups are choosing to ignore this law that really is designed to keep our Great Lakes protected," Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Robert McCann said today. The state law, which took effect Jan. 1 as the first such law in the nation, requires all oceangoing ships visiting Michigan ports to obtain permits and to promise not to discharge untreated ballast water.

Ballast water, used to stabilize ships when they are carrying little or no cargo, is typically taken on after ships empty their cargo and emptied before ships take on cargo. Foreign ballast water has been blamed for introducing destructive species such as zebra mussels and sea lamprey to Great Lakes waters.

The shippers, including the Seaway Great Lakes Trade Association and the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association, argue in the lawsuit filed Thursday the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with interstate commerce. They also say it casts much too wide a net because only a tiny fraction of the fewer than 100 ships that visit Michigan ports each year discharge their ballast water. So far, only two companies have sought permits for 12 ships -- a Bulgarian company sought permits for 10 ships and an Ontario company for two ships, officials said.

State Sen. Patty Birkholz, R-Saugatuck, said she introduced her legislation after the federal government failed to act against the obvious source for invasive species entering the Great Lakes. "I am just shocked," Birkholz said of the suit by the shippers. "If anything, we ought to be suing them."

From the Detroit News

 

Updates - March 21

News Photo Gallery updated

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Gatherings Page updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 21

The J L MAUTHE successfully completed her sea trials on western Lake Erie in 1953. She achieved a speed of 17.3 mph during the trials. The hull of the MAUTHE sails today as the barge PATHFINDER.

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.

The NOTRE DAME 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.

HARRY A BERWIND (Hull#40) was launched on March 21, 1908, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Mutual Steamship Co., G. A. Tomlinson, mgr. Renamed b.) HARVEY H BROWN in 1917. Sold into Canadian registry and renamed c.) PARKER EVANS in 1963, and d.) MARLHILL in 1978. Foundered on May 30, 1981, 150 miles off Virginia Beach in route to Mexico for use as a storage barge.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.'s 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.

 

Top hat ceremony for Welland Canal Today

3/20 - St. Catharines, Ont. - A top hat ceremony will take place today marking the 75th opening of the Fourth Welland Canal – the earliest ever.

Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield will be on hand with a host of other dignitaries at the ceremony, which takes place at Lock 3 in St. Catharines. It marks the official opening of the navigation season.

CSL Tadoussac was above Lock Seven Monday evening and is expected to be the first vessel of the season at Lock Three.

 

Mackinaw is stellar in debut
New cutter has successful first winter

3/20 - Sault Ste. Marie - The big, red ship hummed and shuddered slightly as it cruised at six knots through six-foot-deep ice, an amalgam of thick, broken pieces thawed and refrozen in Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay.

It's an impossible task for most mariners, but the crew of U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw splashed along in search of a greater challenge near Canadian waters, with huge chunks of frozen water floating like giant ice cubes in the wake.

The crew completed the ship's ice trials during the last two weeks as part of its first winter of ice-breaking in the Great Lakes. "We're measuring the effect Mackinaw has on the ice and the impact the ice has on the Mackinaw,” said Capt. John Little, the ship's commanding officer. "There's more to driving this boat than just steering.”

High-tech sensors lined the inside of the icebreaker's hull, deck and bulkhead, measuring minute tremors in the steel as ice chunks the size of cars broke off and rocked away from the passing ship. Civilian naval architects were on board to study how the ship and its propulsion system held up to the ice strain.

"It's built for 35 tons of thrust from both propellers. It looks like it has hit the mark,” said naval architect Jim St. John, who specializes in maritime ice research. Mackinaw's propulsion system includes three 4,600 horsepower engines and two Azipods, self-contained electric motor systems that rotate 360 degrees, directing water and thrust in any direction.

The new 240-foot-long cutter did not find any ice in the Great Lakes that it couldn't easily manage. That includes 24-inch-thick solid blue plate ice near Green Bay and a 5.5-meter-deep ridge, where ice pushed together under extreme pressure in Lake Superior. "It's more advanced than any other ship in the Coast Guard,” said Boatswain Mate 2nd Class Maria Gonzalez, junior officer of the deck who takes nautical readings and handles radio communications.

The ship took over the duties of the old cutter Mackinaw, which was decommissioned last year after 62 years of service and is now docked in Mackinaw City.

The new Mackinaw is designed for heavy ice-breaking, buoy service, search and rescue, law enforcement and oil-skimming at spills. The ship also is rigged to mount 50-caliber machine guns for Homeland Security missions, Little said. "It's just being a presence in areas that may be a high threat area, like the Sault Locks, Mackinac Bridge or the nuclear power plant in Kewaunee,” he said.

Little said a first year of successful missions has more than made up for a gaffe involving the $82 million ship prior to his command, when the hull was dented in a collision with a breakwall in Grand Haven on Dec. 12, 2005.

The ship's home port is Cheboygan, where the previous icebreaker of the same name also moored on the Cheboygan River, just off Lake Huron.

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Martha L. Black opens Lake Ontario

3/20 - Cape Vincent - The CCGS Martha L. Black has stopped in the ice, for the night, one mile west of Tibbets Point, near Cape Vincent, at 5:00pm today. She has an etd of 5:00am Tuesday for downbound passage, thus she must have opened the channel to Lake Ontario for shipping today.

VBR Prescott radio reported this to the Coast Guard Operation Centre at 5:20pm.

Also, Seaway Clayton, on marine channel 13, resumed operation for the season, and was heard talking to the Black at 5:10pm. They also broadcast Seaway Radio message number 1 for the 2007 season at 2:35pm.

USCG Buffalo sector was heard with their regular broadcast to shipping on channel 22A as well.

Reported by Ron Walsh

 

CSL Niagara Opens Season at Sandusky

3/2 - Sandusky - An old friend opened the 2007 shipping season in Sandusky on Monday. Although there is no longer any ceremony awarding a plaque, derby hat, or silver tea service to the captain of the first vessel of the season, CSL Niagara holds the honor. The 739-footer began her 35th season on the Lakes when she entered an ice free Sandusky Bay and began loading at the Norfolk Southern coal dock for Hamilton, Ont.

The city and the ship have a history that has remained closely intertwined since she first sailed in April of 1972 as the J. W. McGiffin. Interestingly, the Niagara began the new season in the same port and on the same run that marked the initial voyage of her career.

Designed and built for the domestic coal trade. She was the first of the Canada Steamship Lines self-unloaders constructed with the wheelhouse, accommodations and machinery all located at the stern. Lengthened and renamed in 1999, she again took on her first cargo of coal at Sandusky for delivery in Hamilton.

She was followed to the dock several hours later by CSL Assiniboine.

The sister ships departed winter lay-up at Sarnia on Sunday afternoon and cleared Sandusky for Hamilton's Stelco, Inc., which is a frequent destination for coal shipments from the port.

Reported by Jim Spencer

 

Port Reports - March 20

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
Repairs needed at the Escanaba Ore Dock brought loading to a standstill on Monday. Both the Great Lakes Trader and Joseph L. Block are at the dock waiting to load. Loading is expected to resume on Tuesday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Steamer Alpena was in port on Monday, taking on cargo for Milwaukee under the silos at Lafarge. It departed the dock around 4pm to turn around and head out into the bay.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation is expected to arrive sometime on Tuesday, weather permitting.
Over the weekend a semi truck from Alpena loaded supplies at the Soo Warehouse for delivery to Sturgeon Bay, WI. Supplies were brought for the Paul R. Tregurtha, Arthur M. Anderson, Herbert C. Jackson, and the Edgar B. Speer.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman finished unloading her first cargo of the season and departed for Picton early Tuesday morning.

 

“Know Your Ships” 2007 Now Available

The 2007 edition of “Know Your Ships,” the boat watchers’ annual field guide to the vessels sailing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, is off the press. The 152-page book, now in its 48th edition, contains detailed information about nearly 2,000 vessels and includes many color photographs taken from around the lakes and Seaway.

This year’s Vessel of the Year is the classic steamer Edward L. Ryerson, which unexpectedly returned to service in 2006, much to the delight of boat watchers around the lakes. Order “Know Your Ships” from www.knowyourships.com for immediate shipment; the book will also be available at many retail outlets around the Great Lakes as spring approaches.

"Know Your Ships" is often referred to as the "bible of boat watching" containing detailed information and pictures of Great Lakes ships and the foreign ships that visit the Great Lakes each season.

Book Signing
Editor and Publisher Roger LeLievre, as well as members of the Know Your Ships crew, will also be on hand at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21 to sign copies of "Know Your Ships." Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the book signing.

Visit www.knowyourships.com for more information.

 

Updates - March 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Gatherings Page updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 20

On 20 March 1885, MICHIGAN (Hull#48), (iron propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 215 foot, 1,183 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

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - March 19

Port Huron - Fran Frisk
CSL Niagara was down bound at noon on Sunday. She was stopping at Imperial for fuel then to Sandusky to load coal.
Niagara was followed down river by CSL Assiniboine around 5:00 pm.

Owen Sound - David Shearman
The Agawa Canyon appeared on Sunday to be getting ready to sail from Owen Sound. Steam could be seen rising from the stack, covers are off the searchlights and equipment and anchors are up.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The first vessel out (again) was the Stephen B. Roman, bound for Picton late Friday night, to load for Toronto. The next vessel expected to leave winter lay-up is Canadian Leader on the 21st.
Canadian Provider, the last of the winter raw sugar storage vessels, was towed into the Redpath slip this afternoon by the McKeil harbor tugs. Unloading will begin tomorrow.

 

Tiny Shrimp is newest threat to Great Lakes

3/19 - Columbus, OH - A half-inch shrimp is the latest Great Lakes invader to make biologists nervous. The bloody red shrimp, a native of southwestern Asia, has been discovered in Lakes Michigan and Ontario.

"I’d be looking in Lake Erie," said Anthony Ricciardi, a Canadian aquatic biologist who predicted in 1998 that the shrimp, Hemimysis anomala, would hitch a ride to the Great Lakes in the ballast water of ships arriving from Europe. The shrimp joins zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, sea lampreys, Eurasian ruffe, spiny and fishhook water fleas and more than 180 other plant and animal invaders that are reworking Great Lakes biology.

Dave Culver, an aquatic biologist at Ohio State University, said the fear is that the bloody red shrimp will devastate the food supply of commercial fish, including the yellow perch. While the bloody red shrimp is a source of food for adult fish, the invader also feeds on tiny animals called zooplankton, which many fish hatchlings eat to survive. Many native populations eventually could be hammered, Culver said.

This happened several decades ago when a native species of shrimp was placed in western lakes to boost populations of trout and other fish. "The results were remarkably successful for one or two years," Culver said. "Then the shrimp ate all the food supplies, and the fish that depended on the native zooplankton declined. "If you add a new food-chain level … it’s going to be a disaster."

Steve Pothoven, a federal fisheries biologist, spotted the bloody red shrimp in November when he glanced over the side of a boat docked at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory on Lake Michigan and saw a red cloud. "We know they’re going to be in harbor areas," he said. "We want to look in the open lake of Lake Michigan also and try to determine whether they’re just along the shoreline." He said biologists should be doing the same in Erie.

Native shrimp live in cold, deep water, including places in Lake Erie between Cleveland and Erie, Pa. Ricciardi said the new shrimp are more tolerant of warmer water, which could allow them to spread into shallow areas. They’ve already proved adaptable. Native to the Caspian and Black seas, the shrimp have moved during the past two centuries into western Europe through rivers and canals. When they arrived at harbors on the Atlantic and North Sea, the shrimp hitched rides to the Great Lakes — a lot of rides.

"One of the characteristics of a successful invader is, you have to increase population quickly," Ricciardi said. "This is a big roulette-wheel spin. If you spin the wheel enough times, all things being equal, a new species will be established."

From the Columbus Dispatch

 

New Boatnerd Gathering Cruises Announced

On Saturday, May 26, 2007, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin , aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS BADGER. It has been four years since we have been able to make these arrangements. Don't miss this year's fun cruise.

Lee Murdoch will be on board to offer entertainment both ways across the lake and during the Wisconsin shoreline cruise.

On Friday night, May 25, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

On Saturday, June 16, we will repeat last year’s popular Boatnerd Detroit Up River Cruise aboard the Friendship. This cruise will go up the Detroit River, and possibly into the Rouge River. Departing at 10:00 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, MI. Cost is $25.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for three hours and a pizza lunch delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

On Saturday, August 11, we are Following on the popularity of the up river cruise on the Friendship, and have planned a Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise for This is a four-hour trip that will go down the Livingston Channel to the Detroit River Light and return via the Amherstburg Channel. Cost is $35.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for four (4) hours and a box lunch. Cash bar on board. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

All these trips require advance reservations. Make yours now. Don’t be left out.

 

News Photo Gallery reaches 400 pages

3/19 - Today the Boatnerd News Photo Gallery posts page number 400.

Started on August 1, 2004, the page is updated daily with photos of current news events that are sent in by our volunteer reporters.

Each page contains 40 or more photos, which means we have posted over 1600 photos in less than three years, thanks to our volunteers.

Any one may submit photos by using the form at the bottom of each News Photo Gallery page.

 

Updates - March 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Calendar of Events updated.

Gatherings Page updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 19

On this day in 1913, 39 vessels in seven fleets merged to form the Pickands Mather (Interlake) Fleet.

The MATAAFA, Captain Emory A. Massman, opened the 1948 shipping season with a cargo of 400 new automobiles from Detroit.

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.

RUHR ORE (Hull#536) was launched March 19, 1960, at Hamburg, Germany by Schlieker-Werft Shipyard for Transatlantic Bulk Carriers, Monrovia, Liberia. Brought to the lakes restructured and renamed b.) CARTIERCLIFFE HALL in 1977. Renamed c.) WINNIPEG in 1988 and d.) ALGONTARIO in 1993.

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

WABASH (Hull#177) at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Wabash Railway Co. Renamed b.) CITY OF GREEN BAY in 1963, scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1974.

LAKESHELL (Hull#1426) was launched March 19, 1932, at Newcastle-on-Tyne, England by Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd. for Dominion Tankers Ltd., Toronto, Ontario. Renamed b.) JOHN A MC DOUGALD in 1933, c.) EASTERN SHELL in 1950, d.) FUEL MARKETER in 1969, e.) WESTERN SHELL in 1970, and ALFRED CYTACKI in 1970. Scrapped at Hamilton in 1973.

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 Harbor Light), Toledo, Ohio, Lake Erie, on August 8, 1906.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Breakthrough: Icebreaker clears shipping path

3/18 - Duluth - On Friday morning, the Mesabi Miner became the first laker of the shipping season to leave the Twin Ports, following a path carved through the ice by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Biscayne Bay.

The massive 1,004-foot freighter followed the lead of the 140-foot icebreaking tug from St. Ignace, Mich. The Mesabi Miner was bound for Presque Isle, Mich., with 58,000 tons of coal loaded at Midwest Energy Resources Co.’s terminal in Superior.

Missing from the scene was the 225-foot Coast Guard Cutter Alder, which remains tied at dockside in Duluth because of a leak in the hydraulics of its controllable pitch propeller system. Still, a couple members of the Alder’s crew joined the Biscayne Bay for Friday’s icebreaking. “They know the ins and outs of this harbor, so they’re pretty invaluable,” said Lt. Cary Godwin, the Biscayne Bay’s commanding officer.

The conditions would have made tough going for the Alder, Godwin said. But they were no match for the 2,500-horsepower Biscayne Bay. The tug slid and crunched through the 24- to 30-inch-thick ice without hesitation. Cracks spread out in a wide “V” behind the vessel. “A lot of people don’t realize that our main power is in our wake,” Godwin said.

At a speed of 10 knots, the tug, with a beam of 37 feet, 6 inches, opened a swath about 300 feet wide through the ice. The Biscayne Bay was designed for this work. Its heavy hull is reinforced with 5/8-inch-thick steel. The hull also features a lubrication system sometimes called a “bubbler.” It pumps low-pressure air out through exterior ports that line the hull, causing bubbles to rise along the vessel’s sides. Godwin explained that the system reduces friction, improving the tug’s efficiency of movement through ice and snow by about 30 percent.

The Biscayne Bay encountered the most difficult conditions it has seen in the Twin Ports this year on Wednesday, when it arrived from St. Ignace. “It was pretty rough at the ice edge,” Godwin said, describing the 8-foot-tall ice windrows his vessel confronted as it approached the Twin Ports. “It took about a half-hour of backing and ramming to punch through.”

The Biscayne Bay also encountered what Godwin called “candle ice.” He explained that this type of ice “shatters into candle-like tubes, when you hit it.”
A recent warm spell greatly aided the Biscayne Bay in its efforts. A couple weeks ago, an ice shelf extended from the harbor about 12 miles into the lake. By Friday, it had retreated half that distance to about 6 miles.

Jerry Gagne, 84, of Duluth joined the Coast Guard as an honorary guest aboard the Biscayne Bay on Friday. He is no stranger to Lake Superior, having gone to work on ships hauling grain from the Twin Ports to Buffalo at age 18. His job was to feed fuel into the freighter’s belly. “It was dirty work, but I enjoyed it,” Gagne said. “I always looked forward to fitting out in the spring.”

After two years of work on the Great Lakes, Gagne joined the World War II support effort by entering the Merchant Marine. From 1943 through 1945, he helped supply troops in the Atlantic, then in the Pacific, serving much of his tour aboard a fuel tanker. It was dangerous work. “A lot of people don’t realize that we lost more Merchant Marine seamen in World War II than the Army and Navy put together,” Gagne said. “We were like sitting ducks out there.”

Gagne was joined aboard the Biscayne Bay on Friday by his son-in-law, Leo Oliver, and grandson, Patrick Oliver, both of Duluth. Patrick returned last week from his second tour of duty in Iraq. He serves as a staff sergeant specializing in avionics for the 127th Wing of the Michigan Air National Guard. As dangerous as Iraq may be, Oliver said his admiration for men who served in the Merchant Marine, like his grandfather, remains immense.

“What they did for their country was unbelievable,” Oliver said, noting that working on a fuel tanker in foreign seas during World War II was “like sitting on a bomb.”

Oliver said he appreciated the unique opportunity to see the Coast Guard — yet another branch of the nation’s armed forces — at work assisting commerce on the Great Lakes.

The Biscayne Bay will leave the Twin Ports on Sunday, bound for Thunder Bay, where it will resume icebreaking operations.

The Twin Ports will become much busier late next week, as fleets prepare for the March 25 opening of the Soo Locks — the kickoff of the new season for the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Port Reports - March 18

St. Lawrence River - Kent Malo
The light Icebreaker and nav aid tender Martha L. Black has run up the river to just below Beauharnois lock. The Icebreaker entered the Seaway before noon Saturday. The ice does not seem to be a problem for the vunerable icebreaker, with the help of the ice breaking Tug Laprairie everything seems to be going well. Laprairie has stopped for the day, and is moored Saturday evening, at St Lambert upper lock tug dock. The Black is anchored or stopped below Beauharnois lock.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
Wilfred Sykes and Herbert C. Jackson were getting up steam on Saturday. Wolverine was out of the graving dock with a gray hull and her original name painted on the stern in black letters. Her cabins are still Columbia cream-colored, and her stacks are as they were last season.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk
It would appear that at least one of the three Algoma Marine boats in Owen Sound for winter lay up is ready to start the season. CCGC Samuel Risley was opening a channel Saturday evening.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Early Saturday evening, Marquette was opened for the season. Mesabi Miner arrived off the Upper Harbor and started to back toward the ore dock. After being stopped by ice near the dock a few times, she finally made the dock and unloaded western coal from Superior.

Pelee Passage - Erich Zuschlag
The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 were westbound on Western Lake Erie Saturday afternoon.

 

Updates - March 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Calendar of Events updated.

Gatherings Page updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 18

On 18 March 1906, the Goodrich Line's ATLANTA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 200 foot, 1,129 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 and 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. Renamed b.) GASPE TRANSPORT in 1979, c.) ENERCHEM AVANCE in 1987. Sold off the lakes in 1993, renamed d.) LEONA II.

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 foot, 1,073 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 feet at Wheeler's yard one year later (1891). She was again lengthened in 1905-06, this time to 254 feet.

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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Mesabi Miner First to Depart

3/17 - Twin Port - The Mesabi Miner left Duluth at 9:20 a.m. Friday morning loaded with low sulfur western coal coal bound for Presque Isle near Marquette. The Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay had earlier broken ice throughout the harbor. Harbor ice was reported at between 24"-30" and thicker in some areas as the USCG Ice Breaker Biscayne Bay assisted the Miner. The cutter led the Miner out of port and cleared a path through the offshore ice field that stretched about six miles from the entry. The Miner was the 1st vessel to leave this season and was the last vessel to tie up for the winter this past January. She is expected back in Duluth to load coal for Taconite Harbor on Sunday.

Reported by: Al Miller, John Harrison & Ed Labenik

 

Port Weller Crane's wreckage braced

3/17 - St. Catharines - Under the orders of an Ontario Labour Ministry engineer, the wreckage of the collapsed crane at Port Weller Dry Dock was braced Thursday so the body of its operator could be removed. But the St. Catharines fire department and a ministry spokeswoman said Thursday afternoon Mike Damiano's body remains trapped under the Clyde crane.

Damiano was killed when the 44-metre crane collapsed Tuesday afternoon, falling into the two dry docking bays at the north St. Catharines facility. The cab was crushed against the concrete wall between the bays. Rescue crews located Damiano, but he was dead.

Attempts to remove his body have been delayed until the ruins of the crane can be stabilized for the safety of workers, ministry spokeswoman Belinda Sutton said. The ministry has issued a stop work order at the site until the wreckage is stabilized and the body removed.

Sutton would not comment on the ministry's investigation into the incident.

From the St. Catharines Standard

 

High water stalls replacing drawspan on King bridge

3/17 - Toledo - Add high water to the litany of delays that has plagued drawspan replacement on the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge since mid-January. And the latest delay casts doubt on whether the bridge can reopen before the shipping season starts.

City officials' hopes to get a second of four drawspan sections barged into place by yesterday were dashed by heavy rain earlier this week that caused the Maumee River to rise, David Welch, the city's commissioner of streets, bridges, and harbor, said yesterday. As of yesterday afternoon, he said, it appeared unlikely the barge maneuver would occur sooner than tomorrow, and that's only if the river drops and northwest winds forecast for today shift and diminish.

Lt. Richard Minnich, spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Toledo, said river forecasts suggest water levels may not recede sufficiently for the barge movement until Tuesday. That's just five days before the year's first ship is to arrive in Toledo, and city officials have said the span section installation will take 10 days to complete after delivery.

The King has been closed to river traffic since Dec. 31 and to street traffic since Jan. 30 for the drawspan replacement. The city's original Coast Guard permit for the river-traffic closing expired Thursday, and every day that the river was closed after that could have resulted in a $20,000-a-day fine. But early this week, the Coast Guard granted an extension based on the first ship's estimated arrival.

"We're going to wait and discuss it with [the city] some more on Monday and see what kind of a plan they come up with," Lieutenant Minnich said yesterday. "We've got a ship expected in on the 25th and another one coming in on the 28th. We're trying to work with them the best we can, but time is running out," the lieutenant said. "To meet our [extended] deadline, we had to have that barge in place" yesterday, Mr. Welch agreed.

Installing a second drawspan section will let the city reopen the King to one lane of traffic each way. But it's more complicated than just plopping the structure into place because the section has to be able to raise and lower for ships to pass. That requires a concrete counterweight to be poured, electrical hookups to be made, and other installation work.

Project engineers will work "around the clock to figure out a way to get this thing in," the streets commissioner said. Their efforts will be directed toward determining if there is a way to partially install the second drawspan section, raise it so ships can pass, and then complete installation once there is a lull in vessel traffic, he said.

The two drawspans are being installed from two prefabricated halves apiece. Components for the four sections were made in Wisconsin and assembled in a yard near the Port of Toledo. City officials originally planned to get all four sections installed between Dec. 31 and March 15, and to do it without closing the bridge to motor traffic for periods exceeding four days.

But modifications to the existing bridge structure needed to install them turned out to be much more time-consuming than expected and, by late January, the plan to keep the bridge open to motorists was scrapped. Soon thereafter, crumbled concrete was found inside the drawspans' anchor piers, which forced abandoning a Feb. 16 goal to reopen the King to vehicles.

One of the four sections was installed in late February; for a time, project officials were confident at least a second, if not a third, would be in place by Thursday. Then on March 4 a heavy floe marooned the delivery barge at its dock and dislodged and damaged a construction-platform barge that had been moored to the bridge itself. By early this week, the ice had dissipated and repairs to the platform barge were nearing completion, prompting a forecast that the second span section would be in place by yesterday. That forecast, however, was made before the river rose.

Mr. Welch yesterday offered no prediction for when the third and fourth drawspan sections - the ones needed to finish the structure and bring to an end construction that has beset the bridge since October, 2001 - might be installed.

Costs for the project continue to rise too. The original contract with National Engineering, of Strongsville, Ohio, to replace the drawspans provided $32.3 million for the work, but change-orders associated with project delays - including a design error that pushed back the entire drawspan replacement from the winter of 2006 to the current winter - have added an estimated $4.44 million to the bill.

City officials have applied for a $4.75 million federal grant to help pay for the bridge, whose budget already was funded primarily with federal dollars. While the city planned to use the federal money to pay off a $4.5 million loan from Ohio's State Infrastructure Bank, it now may be needed for cost overruns.

A city lawsuit over the delays, especially those associated with the design error, is pending against National and the project's designer, Kansas City-based HNTB.

From the Toledo Blade

 

Ontonagon Harbor dredging could get caught in backlog

3/17 - Ontonagon -- Funds to dredge the Ontonagon Harbor are allocated in President Bush's budget. However, the Ontonagon County Economic Development Corporation learned Wednesday that due to a backlog, the work may be delayed.

"There is a giant dredging backlog across the Great Lakes," said Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the U.S. Corps of Engineers said. "There is a lot of light loading and some harbors almost closed to carriers." The fiscal year 2009 budget is currently being developed and does not contain any money for construction projects. "That does not bode well for the future," he said.

He explained that with budget reform, harbors have been deemed "high use" or "low use." To be a high-use harbor, it must have 1 million tons or more passing through. All harbors below 1 million are considered low use. "As you can tell the high end harbors get the first shot at the budgeting and you are on the low end of the pecking order," he continued.

There are 137 ports on the Great Lakes and before any funds are used, there must be authorization to do the work and a yearly appropriation. Schloop suggested that perhaps a good suggestion might be to fund the Great Lakes as a system instead of a bunch of harbors. "There would be 170 million tons as a system," he said. To consider the Great Lakes as a system would take legislation from Congress, he added.

EDC administrative secretary Terri Lukshaitis pointed out that the Ontonagon Harbor was administered by the EDC with off loading site owned by the Corps, the corps gets revenue from the EDC. "The Ontonagon EDC actually pays more than $100,000 to the Corps," she said, "if that offsets something?"

Schloop was also asked if the Corps could spend funds to repair the walkway along the Ontonagon River which collapsed from waves after a repair of the harbor resulted in greater wave action. "Even if the damage was the result of the Corps' action, it has no funds for such repairs," Schloop said.

Village manager Penny Hill noted that flooding occurred in Ontonagon in 1963 partly because the river was not dredged and there was silt build-up. If that occurred with the present evaluation of the district it would cause $50 million in flood damage and FEMA would be called.

"Can the Corps take that scenario into consideration when the budget is being done?" Hill asked. Schloop said it couldn't, but added that when the request is made for funding of the dredging, that information should be noted on the application. Schloop was also accompanied by Steve Brossart from the Corps.

From the Ironwood Daily Globe

 

Port Report - March 17

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Last year's ice jam improvement projects on the Buffalo and Cazenovia Creeks has proven to be a success. After a cold midwinter, substantial ice had formed in these waterways. A snap thaw combined with rain storms during the third week of March caused heavy ice flows to start moving downstream. Ice breaking on the lower navigation section of the Buffalo River, along with the new shore line improvements on Caz Creek in South Buffalo and the gates recently installed in West Seneca have all contributed to a quick flushing of ice this year. The West Seneca part of the project involved a set of concrete and steel pilings built into the creek bottom just East of Mill Rd. These posts act as a gate to hold back large amounts of ice to keep it from plugging up bridge abutments on the way through the city. Improvements to Cazenovia Creek in South Buffalo included steel sheet piling along with more stone rip-rap near the Stevenson St. Bridge to help the remaining ice flow down to the Buffalo River. Ice breaking by the Firetug Cotter allows the river to flush itself free of ice and empty it into the harbor where it naturally flows out to the Niagara River on the downstream side of the Ice Boom.

Montreal - Kent Malo
Tug Laprairie left Ocean Group dock (Section 57) Montreal after Noon Friday and proceeded up the Seaway. Laprairie cleared some ice in front of the St Lambert lock was working above the lock. Tug Laprairie was scheduled to spend Friday night secured below Cote Ste Catherines lock.
The Icebreaker Martha L. Black was secured at Section 12, Montreal Harbor, at the foot of McGill street. The Black left early Friday morning and headed down river, but returned to Section 12 shortly after departing. The light Icebreaker and nav aids tender has cleaned a path through the ice in the Seaway in recent years. It is believed she will be doing the same this year.

 

Lee Murdock added to Badger Boatnerd Gathering

3/17 - Popular Great Lakes musician and story teller has signed on for the Badger Boatnerd Gathering.

Lee will be providing free entertainment during the trip from Ludington to Manitowoc, during the Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise, and on the return trip to Ludington.

Lee Murdock has uncovered a boundless body of music and stories in the Great Lakes. The music is grounded in the work song tradition, from the rugged days of lumberjacks and wooden sailing schooners. Murdock comes alongside with ballads of contemporary commerce and revelry in the grand folk style.

Lee's fans have discovered a sweet water treasure in his songs about the Great Lakes, finding drama and inspiration in the lives of sailors and fishermen, lighthouse keepers, ghosts, shipwrecks, outlaws and everyday heroes.

Join us on the Badger BoatNerd Gathering. Click here for more information.  and Lee Murdock's home page.

 

Algoma Commercial Fisherman Turns 100

3/17 - Emil Pagel, life long commercial fisherman from Algoma, Wisconsin turned 100 year's old Friday, March 16th. The birthday probably the "oldest commercial fisherman on the Great Lakes".

The same as any other day, he will be at his shanty on the Ahnapee River in Algoma, mending gill nets. He said he wanted to go to work on his 100th Birthday! Emil doesn't go on the lake anymore, but he is still active in the commercial fishing scene. He usually shows up most days to tend the nets for a couple near by fisherman.

He was the owner/operated of a number of commercial fishing tugs out of Algoma. His last fish tug was the TRIO which is still in service today under the ownership of Petersen Fisheries in Muskegon, Michigan.

Reported by Wendell Wilke

 

Updates - March 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Calendar of Events updated.

Gatherings Page updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 17

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 passenger/automobile ferry "SOUTH SHORE" 65'x24'x9'02" was launched. Built at Stadium Boat Works of Clevelend Ohio, she was the first steel hull diesel powered vessel designed for the Miller Boat Line. In 1973, she was sold to the Beaver Island Boat Company and was appropriately nicknamed the "Daughter of St. Patrick". In 1999, the South Shore was sold to Shoreline Cruises in Chicago Illinois, where she still wears her shamrock on her funnel.

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. LAKESHELL was renamed b.) W M VACY ASH in 1987, sold Panamanian in 1997, renamed c.) ELTOKAWEEN. Scrapped at Alang, India in 2003.

WORRELL CLARKSON (Hull#174) was launched March 17, 1923, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Ship Building Co., for the Kinsman Transit Co. Renamed b.) ERNEST T WEIR in 1936, and c.) GEORGE R FINK in 1952. Scrapped at Gandia, Spain in 1973.

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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Sean Whelan, 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.

 

Menominee ferry company releases schedule, ticket prices

3/16 - Menominee -- Ticket prices and a schedule are now available for the Spirit of La Salle Cruise Line, the new passenger ferry service that will connect Menominee with Door County.

Owned by Robert Ruleau and operated by Dan Mathein, the two-boat service will run from mid-May until mid-October. Brochures describing the ferries' operation are now available at Menominee City Hall. Information is also available at ferry offices at 737 1st St.

The Spirit of LaSalle is a 115-foot vessel with two docks and a 149-passenger capacity. The Isle Royale Queen is an 80-foot single deck boat that carries 100 passengers. One-way tickets are $22.50 for passengers 13 or older and $12.50 for children ages 5-12. Younger children ride at no cost.

A party of 20 adults can ride for $425 one way. For an extra $8, a passenger can bring a bicycle. A charter service and an excursion service are available.

Boats leave Menominee beginning at 8:30 a.m. The last boat to make the return from Sturgeon Bay leaves there at 4:30 p.m. Boats will leave Menominee from a dock just west of the Ogden Street Bridge, across from Menominee Paper Co. The dock will be the subject of a public hearing at the Menominee Planing Commission's 4:15 p.m. meeting on Tuesday. On the Door County side, boats will dock at Stone Harbor Resort.

Arrangements to transport passengers once they reach their destinations are being worked out on both sides of the bay, according to Mathein.

From the Marinette-Menominee Eagle Herald

 

Munson Receiving Extensive Repairs

3/16 - Duluth - The John G. Munson, which spent the winter in the big drydock at Fraser Shipyards, is undergoing about $2.5 million worth of work, according to an article in the latest edition of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority magazine.

The vessel is undergoing a hull inspection, and is reported to be in "excellent" shape. Also on the docket is brick work in the boilers, inspection of propeller blades, hub and tail shaft, overhaul of the bow and stern thrusters, repair or replacement of at least 60 of the 71 buckets in the vessel's unloading system, and -- still going on -- replacement of about 50,000 pounds of steel in the cargo hold to replace worn areas.

The Munson's paint job has been the subject of several postings on the Information Search. The ship is again wearing a bright new coat of red paint with the familiar black and grey stripes at the bow. Here's the procedure it underwent: The hull was sandblasted and scraped. This included removal and disposal of the vessel's last lead hull paint on the bow. A coat of black epoxy paint was then applied to the hull, followed by a cost of red oxide paint and topped with a coat of red epoxy paint.

 

Steam buffs say Norisle could sail again
Assiginack seeking funds to study feasibility of restoring historic ferry

3/16 - Manitoulin Island - Now, having received some unanticipated but highly welcome input on the state of the Norisle, the group has cause to contemplate a much grander scenario: actually powering the old beauty up and sailing her once more from port.

Following the first meeting of the local boat-boosting bunch on March 1, member Dave Ham, since named committee chair, was fortuitously put in touch with a pair of steam engine experts in southern Ontario, both of whom expressed great interest in the fate of the historic vessel. Enough so that the two, along with a similarly steam-obsessed colleague, decided to drive up to Manitoulin this past Saturday to conduct an on-board inspection and gauge the boat's ability to not only remain afloat, but depart harbour under steam.

Inspecting the ferry were Wayne Fischer and Richard Mosher, both of the Ontario Steam Heritage Museum in Puslinch, near Guelph, and John Coulter, a marine engineer and head of the Technical Safety Standards Authority, which inspects all steam-powered craft in the province through its Boilers and Pressure Vessels Safety Program. Each individual also belongs to the Ontario Steam and Antique Preservers Association. While all three brought considerable expertise in the field of steam power, Mr. Coulter was particularly well suited to assess the viability of reviving the Norisle, having overseen the restoration of the Seguin steamboat on Lake Muskoka.

After touring the boat for over two hours and training flashlights on everything from the engine and boiler below, to the clamshell ventilators and smokestack up top, the visitors delivered a heartening diagnosis. "This has all the basic framework in place," noted Mr. Fischer, adding that whereas a "diesel engine has a finite life, a steam engine can last 100 years or more."

While neglect and flooding in recent years have left many components of the Norisle looking coal-smudged and rust-streaked, Mr. Coulter counseled, "don't let what you see disturb you. Everything's fine-it just needs to be refitted."

The good news is that the interior workings, while sullied, are entirely sound. Pointing to the slightly tarnished steel rods of the steam engine housed below decks, he noted, "this can all be brought back, and it will be a really beautiful engine when it's all cleaned up." The style of triple-expansion steam engine on board the Norisle was not uncommon in its day, but is "quite rare in that it still exists," noted Mr. Fischer. "There were 1,150 manufactured during World War II for use on war ships, but to the best of our knowledge none of those is left."

In a meeting held after the inspection, Mr. Coulter expanded on the potential of activating the Norisle-last sailed in the early 1970s-as a working vessel. "It may seem discouraging to the uneducated eye when you see how dirty everything looks, but the substance is there," he said. "The key factor here is that you're not starting with something you have to take apart and rebuild."

The marine engineer said that the Norisle is in better shape than most of the steamships that have been put back into service elsewhere. "On a scale of one to 10, you're starting at a 6 or 7," he said. "This should give you encouragement, because some are starting at negative one."

He said the Norisle has an advantage over steamships of an older vintage in two important respects. "Because it's relatively recent, you're not trapped in doing a complete historical replication the way you would be with a Victorian ship, so you have the freedom inboard to develop public resources in an effective way," he said. "And the second great strength is the tremendous amount of space you have to work with."

While upgrading the ship for sailing would necessitate drydocking it for a full refit, as well as the services of a naval architect and removal of wood to bring it up to code, Mr. Coulter contended that, despite the obvious investment required, the Norisle would become much more viable as an operable craft than if stuck in port. "A ship is a unique creature, and as soon as you start treating it as a building, you're going to lose it," he warned. "The reality is that very few ships operate well as museums or restaurants."

He said the boat could be used for day cruises, or developed into a full-fledged "pocket liner with staterooms, geared to high-end passengers for four- to five-day cruises." A revamped Norisle could even sail beyond Georgian Bay and the North Channel, visiting US ports, he suggested. "It may be that, for part of the year, the ship is not even here, but out earning its way and paying its keep," he said. "But this would still be its home port, and if it's not here, it's still flying the flag of its hometown and branding an area."

If funds can be found to make the Norisle seaworthy again, it could fill a vacuum in the local tourism picture, Mr. Ham suggested. "Something that keeps echoing in my mind is that here we are on the largest freshwater island in the world, beside one of the seven best cruising areas in the world, and tourists coming here want to see the famous North Channel. But if you're not in a boat, you can't do that."

A massive cruise ship like the Columbus can't duck into scenic channels the way a boat of the Norisle's stature and draft might, Mr. Coulter noted, while the quaint, steam-powered nature of the craft would act as an allure in its own right. I've stood port-side in harbours around the world, and if there's a steamship coming in at the same time as a diesel ship, guess where the lineup of people goes?" he said rhetorically. "There's a romance to steamships, and they're also more quiet. People are fascinated by them."

They're also remarkably durable. Asked how long a steam engine will last, Mr. Coulter replied: "virtually indefinitely." He pointed out that, in Switzerland, a company recently decided to build entirely new steam engines to refit a boat rather than replace diesel engines, because "they did an economic study and realized that the life expectancy of the boat would be another hundred years with those engines, whereas with diesel they'd have to replace the engines three times."

Options for the Norisle aren't limited to use as a scenic cruise boat. Another possibility, it was pointed out, could exist in returning the craft to its original purpose as a car ferry, albeit on a smaller scale. Wikwemikong has, for some time now, been investigating the feasibility of a ferry link from Killarney, and the boat could be potentially activated for that role, it was suggested.

In its hey day, the Norisle carried 50 cars and 200 passengers, while offering 58 staterooms for overnight travelers. No-one imagines a ridership of that scope being feasible (or more to the point, approvable) now, but the point was made that the car decks could be regulated to take on a dozen or more cars at a time. And if a partnership was formed with Wiky, funds available to First Nations might be accessed as well.

The group plans to apply for not-for-profit status, and has already met with local MP Brent St. Denis to suss out possibilities for federal support. Meanwhile, the committee has drafted forms and cards for joining the Friends of the Norisle in order to broaden its base and begin to build up a modest kitty. Cost of becoming a member of the organization is $20 per year.


By Jim Moodie For the Manitoulin Expositor

 

Port Report - March 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
After bucking an 8-foot windrow at the edge of the Lake Superior ice sheet, the Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay arrived in Duluth on Wednesday to break ice for the temporarily disabled Cutter Alder.
On Thursday morning, the Mesabi Miner had its deck lights on and appeared to be starting to load at Midwest Energy Terminal. The Miner is scheduled to make three trips on Lake Superior before the Soo Locks open. It’s set to depart March Thursday or Friday with coal for Presque Isle near Marquette. It’s scheduled to load coal again on Sunday for the power plant at Taconite Harbor and then load again on March 21 for another trip to Presque Isle.
Most of the other vessels laid up in the Twin Ports are expected to depart later next week.

Soo - Capt. Jon Nickerson
The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw broke it's first track into Whitefish Bay this week while conducting ice trails.

 

New Boatnerd Gathering Cruises Announced

On Saturday, May 26, 2007, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin , aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS BADGER. It has been four years since we have been able to make these arrangements. Don't miss this year's fun cruise.

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

On Friday night, May 25, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

On Saturday, June 16, we will repeat last year’s popular Boatnerd Detroit Up River Cruise aboard the Friendship. This cruise will go up the Detroit River, and possibly into the Rouge River. Departing at 10:00 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, MI. Cost is $25.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for three hours and a pizza lunch delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

On Saturday, August 11, we are Following on the popularity of the up river cruise on the Friendship, and have planned a Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise for This is a four-hour trip that will go down the Livingston Channel to the Detroit River Light and return via the Amherstburg Channel. Cost is $35.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for four (4) hours and a box lunch. Cash bar on board. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

All these trips require advance reservations. Make yours now. Don’t be left out.

 

Updates - March 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Win a Trip on  a Great Lakes Freighter - Help keep this site on line.

Calendar of Events updated.

Gatherings Page update.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 16

On 16 March 1901, ARGO (steel passenger/package freight propeller, 173 foot, 1,089 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, 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.

 

Twin Ports Ice breaking on hold

3/15 - Duluth - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder was scheduled to begin breaking ice in the Duluth Harbor on Tuesday.

Instead, it remained tied to its dock, a boom floating behind its stern to contain any hydraulic fluid leaking though a bad seal in the ship’s controllable pitch propeller system. “We’re not working right now because our propeller system is broke,’’ the Alder’s commanding officer, Lt. Commander Kevin Wirth, said Tuesday.

Ice-breaking duties in the harbor will fall to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay, which was scheduled to help the Alder. The Biscayne Bay, based in St. Ignace, Mich., is en route to Duluth and — weather permitting — was scheduled to arrive about 1:00 p.m. Wednesday to begin breaking ice Thursday. Local Coast Guard personnel who are familiar with the harbor will be aboard the Biscayne Bay to help direct ice-breaking operations.

Wirth said the 140-foot Biscayne Bay is more maneuverable in ice than the larger Alder and is designed to continuously break up to 20 inches of ice. The ice in the harbor is between 12 and 15 inches, he said.

The problem with the Alder was discovered during machinery trials on Thursday. An examination determined that a seal at the base of one of the propeller’s four blades was leaking. Initial efforts to repair the leak were unsuccessful. Operating the Alder with the leak could result in a release of oil and damage to the propeller so the Coast Guard cancelled its ice-breaking operations.

“You’re not going to find a mission harder [on the propeller] to do than breaking ice,” Wirth said. Repairing the problem will require divers to loosen the blade, replace the seal and retighten bolts that hold the blade in place. If divers are unable to accomplish the task, the Alder will have to go into dry dock.

The repairs should be finished in 10 days to three weeks — in time to begin placing navigational buoys, Wirth said.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Sluggish Demand Drops Iron Ore Shipments in January
Falling Water Levels Also Trimmed Loadings

3/15 - Cleveland---Reduced demand for iron ore from North American steelmakers produced a 21-percent decrease in iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes in January. Loadings totaled 2.6 million net tons. The January ore float was also 150,000 net tons below the month’s 5-year
average.

Falling water levels further impacted shipments. With Lake Superior hovering just inches above its all-time low, individual cargos fell far short of vessels’ capacity. In one instance, a 1,000-long U.S.-Flag Laker with a rated per-trip capacity of nearly 70,000 net tons was only able to carry
62,438 net tons. Another 1,000-footer with a designed capacity of 71,120 net tons left an ore dock with only 59,447 net tons in its cargo holds.

Water levels on the Great Lakes are uncontrollable, but increased dredging to restore the system to project dimensions will help overcome the low water levels that have characterized the past several years. It is estimated that it will cost more than $200 million to rectify decades of
inadequate funding for dredging Great Lakes ports and waterways.

More information is available at www.lcaships.com

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association

 

"Know Your Ships" book signing scheduled

3/15 - Port Huron - Editor and publisher Roger LeLievre will sell and autograph copies of the 2007 edition of the boat watchers bible, Know Your Ships, at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron on Saturday, April 21 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Stop by and meet him and other members of the Know Your Ships crew who will also be on hand for the event.

In addition to Know Your Ships 2007, copies of a newly-revised Great Lakes and Seaway Stack & Flag Chart (20x30”) will also be on sale with proceeds from this item going to support BoatNerd.Com.

Tickets for the BoatNerd raffle for a trip on an Interlake Steamship Co. vessel will also be available for purchase that day.

 

Port Reports - March 15

Cleveland - Brian McSweeney
The Sam Laud came out of lay up Wednesday morning and went down the Cuyahoga River to the lakefront pellet facility to load taconite for the steel mill.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The new shipping season started with the arrival of the Steamer Alpena on a mild Wednesday morning. It took on cargo under the silos at Lafarge and was outbound in the bay around 1:00pm, heading for South Chicago. There is still some ice in the area, but the Alpena seemed to be moving along well.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation also left lay-up earlier in the week and is expected in Alpena late Wednesday night.

 

Capt. Charles Wheeler dies

3/15 - Hamilton, Ont. - Captain Charles Wheeler died suddenly on Sunday March 11, 2007 at the Hamilton General Hospital in his 58th year with his loving family by his side.

Captain Wheeler's first command with Misener Transportation was M/V Silver Isle in the mid 80s. He later joined Great Lakes Bulk Carriers and moved to Algoma Central Marine in 1994. Captain Wheeler retired from M/V Algoisle in 2004. He was past president of the International Ship Masters Association Lodge Number 20.

A loving husband to Sandra for over 36 years, and devoted dad to Stella, Patrick and his girlfriend Jessica and Rob. Survived by his parents George Sr. and Noreen, brothers and sisters George (Jan), Suzanne Sawatsky (Ralph) of Niagara Falls, Neen Bedford (Wayne) of Fenwick, Kathryn Reynolds, James, Robert (Monique) all of St. Catharines. Also survived by his brothers-in-law Bob (Debbie) Wittig, Bill (Diane) Wittig, James Wittig, Chris (Alison) Wittig and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Predeceased by his parents-in-law Wilf and Gloria Wittig and nephew Reco.

A funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at 11:00 am at St. Denis Church, 230 Lake Street on Thursday. . As an expression of sympathy, memorial, remembrances may be made to either the Diabetes Association or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario in Charlie's honour.

From the St. Catharines Standard

 

Updates - March 15

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 15

WESTCLIFFE HALL (Hull#519) was launched March 15, 1956, at Grangemouth, Scotland by Grangemouth Dockyard Co. Ltd., for the Hall Corp. of Canada. Sold to owners in the Cayman Islands in 1973, renamed b.) WESTCLIFFE. She was scrapped in 1987.

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, 1,319 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.
 

 

Port Weller Dry Docks employee killed in accident
Crane collapses

3/14 - St. Catharines, Ont. - The first thundering crack caused nearby trucks and telephone poles to shake.

Those who heard and felt it along Bunting Road turned toward the Port Weller Dry Docks to see Clyde, a 130-foot crane, swaying. It rocked for a few moments in heavy winds and then, along with its massive steel load, collapsed backwards into the two concrete dry dock bays beside it. The blue cab, with its operator inside, was crushed on the thick wall dividing the two bays.

The operator, identified by dry docks employees and family as longtime dry docks worker Mike Damiano, died. Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is investigating the cause of the accident, which demolished the travelling jib crane.

The accident drew dozens of people to the roads around the north St. Catharines dry docks, watching as rescue crews tried to find a way through the wreckage to get to Damiano. Among them was Rob McIntosh, who was driving home on Bunting Road when he felt the first crack shake his truck about 2:00 pm Tuesday. “I stopped and looked at the crane. It rocked left, then right, then left and then it just fell over, right into the dry dock,” he said. “When it fell into the docks, it made this tremendous crash. It was unbelievable.”

The base of the crane jutted out of the 30-foot-deep dry dock nearest where it fell. The tip of the crane’s boom could be seen poking out from the far side of the other bay. St. Catharines firefighters, Niagara EMS and Niagara Regional Police officers responded to the accident at 340 Lakeshore Rd.

Former dry docks workers who gathered to watch on Bunting Road across from the canal said four men are usually assigned to operate a crane — two in the cab and two on the ground. Police say only one person was operating the crane Tuesday.

The shipbuilding and repair yard had been recently purchased by Upper Lakes Group, which planned to restore operations at the defunct shipyard. A spokesman for the company said a small team of workers this week had been cleaning up the 60-year-old shipyard, which declared bankruptcy under former owners Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering and closed last November.

John Dewar, spokesman for Great Lakes Marine and Industrial, an arm of Upper Lakes Group, said the cleanup was taking place under a third-party monitor, RMS Richter Inc., a Toronto bankruptcy trustee, as part of the sale of the company. The monitor was liquidating assets of the sold property and returning them to their rightful owners before Great Lakes Marine and Industrial took over, Dewar said.

“I’m most concerned about the safety and health of the people involved,” Dewar said. “Clearly, our sympathies is with that family. As I’m sure everyone else’s would be.”

Dewar said the crane involved in the accident was recently inspected and certified as safe to use. The crane, which was insured, is a vital piece of equipment for the company and the damage will set back plans to restore operations at the shipyard, Dewar said. Damage will have to be assessed to determine how long it will take to restore operations, he said. “Obviously, a crane for a shipyard is like a stethoscope for a doctor. It’s essential for doing a lot of our work.”

Called a Clyde crane, the machine hauls massive pieces of steel used in ship hulls. Its maximum lifting capacity is 120 tons. It was moving a large steel slab at the time of the accident, although its weight was not released Tuesday evening. The company has other cranes.

It was not clear Tuesday evening how long it would take to remove Damiano’s body from the wreckage, or to remove the crane from the bays.

From the St. Catharines Standard

 

Ice Breaker Alder out of service

3/14 - Duluth - The USCG Cutter Alder won't be breaking ice this week due to mechanical problems.

The Coast Guard said in her stead the 140-cutter Biscayne Bay, or the new Mackinaw, will be doing the ice breaking in Duluth-Superior, Two Harbors, Taconite Harbor, and Thunder Bay until the Alder can be repaired and put back in action.

The Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay passed up bound thru the Soo Locks shortly after noon on Tuesday.

It is unknown how long the Alder will be out of service.

Reported by Ben Larson

 

Strike slows preseason preparation aboard Stewart J. Cort

3/13 - Duluth - Less than two weeks before the start of the Great Lakes shipping season, the Stewart J. Cort typically would be abuzz with final preparations.

But the 1,000-foot laker was decidedly quieter than usual Monday, as members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers refused to cross a picket line set up by members of the American Maritime Officers, a union representing 10 officers and stewards aboard the vessel. The picket has been in place since Saturday at Duluth’s Clure Marine Terminal, where the Cort remains in its winter berth.

The company who manages the vessel recently chose to staff the laker with members of another union: the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. Interlake offered AMO-represented workers a $10,000 signing bonus if they would join MEBA, but no members have jumped ship. Ultimately, the Cort’s current roster of officers objected to the cuts in wages and benefits they would accept if they shifted their union alliance.

“The rest of our fleet is MEBA, so this is sort of a natural progression,” said Mark Barker, Interlake’s treasurer and vice president.

The Cort joined Interlake Steamship Co.’s fleet in 2005, when it landed a contract to operate the vessel on behalf of Mittal Steel Co. The Cleveland-based carrier inherited an existing AMO contract as part of the deal with Mittal and a consortium of financial institutions that own the ore boat. For nearly 10 months of each year, the laker hauls taconite from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe ore docks in Superior to the Mittal Steel mill in Burns Harbor, Ind.

Barker said Monday that he remains confident the Cort will be ready as soon as ice conditions permit.

“We’ve got a crew aboard, and we’re pushing ahead,” he said, adding, “We expect to fit it out as usual this year.”

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said the picket will likely complicate matters for the Cort. “During the last week of fit-out, there’s invariably a long and large punch list of things to be completed,” he said. But Ojard said that Interlake certainly anticipated AMO members would picket.

Williams said the Cort typically would set out from the Twin Ports on March 23 or 24, so it could be waiting at the Soo Locks when they open March 25.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Historic station may be razed -
Funding deadline passed for Coast Guard building

3/14 - Milwaukee - The long-vacant Coast Guard station on the lakefront is one step closer to a date with a wrecking ball.

The Wisconsin Historical Society has freed Milwaukee County to raze the 92-year-old structure, after years of efforts to find the money to restore the architecturally significant but decaying structure have come up short. City approval also would be necessary before the historically designated station could be torn down.

Some county officials and an American Indian group trying to rescue the building said Monday that they still are holding out hope that the $3.5 million or more needed to do an accurate renovation can be found. But a fund-raising deadline came and went last month for Loonsfoot Inc., which has proposed restoring the building and using it for an Indian education and cultural center with exhibits on Great Lakes tribes. The county chose the Indian center from several proposals for restoration and reuse of the station.

Jim DeNomie, co-executive director of Loonsfoot, said he plans to request additional time to raise money to either restore the old building at 1600 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive or to demolish it and build a copy of the Coast Guard Life-Saving Station. Restoration remains the group's preference, but building a replica probably would be much cheaper, said DeNomie, a member of the Bad River Chippewa tribe. "It might be easier to get into replication at this point," he said. "It's a definite possibility."

DeNomie said his group had pledges of almost $2 million for the project, which he described as "pretty solid." "We've opened up a lot of doors, but closing deals has been difficult," he said. The Spirit Foundation, headed by musician/philanthropist Peter Buffett, came through with a $350,000 donation more than a year ago.

The Prairie-style building was abandoned in 1971 and turned over to Milwaukee County in 1987. It holds a city landmark designation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a letter to the county Feb. 12, a historical society official told County Parks Committee Chairwoman Lynne De Bruin that if Loonsfoot missed its Feb. 18 fund-raising deadline, the county would be freed from "any further efforts to preserve the life-saving station."

The federal government authorized the historical society to review any changes to the structure when the building was given to the county. Giving Loonsfoot and its predecessor group two years to raise the money fulfilled the county's required "good-faith effort" at restoring the old building, Michael E. Stevens, the state historic preservation officer, said in the letter. The historical society still would prefer to see the station preserved, but the group can't force that choice on the county, Stevens told a reporter.

Another group, Honor Our Neighbors' Origins and Rights, known as HONOR, launched the fund drive for the Indian center. But HONOR dissolved last year, and Loonsfoot, along with the International Institute of Wisconsin, picked up the effort.

De Bruin said she wants to hear from DeNomie and county Parks Director Sue Black on whether the station should be demolished. "We can't just let that thing keep falling apart and get worse and worse and worse," De Bruin said. "The deterioration is accelerating."

Black said she'll come up with a recommendation for the Parks Committee later this month on what to do with the Coast Guard station. Rebuilding the seawall at the site should be done at the same time as any project with the station, she said.

Approval for a demolition by the city's Historic Preservation Commission also would be required.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Port Report - March 14

Escanaba - Dick Lund
The Joseph L. Block made its way back to Escanaba, MI on Sunday March 11. This is the ship's second trip of the season to that port. It seemed to have absolutely no trouble with the ice left in the track from its first trip, although ice was clearly visible at the bow as it came through the bay.
The Joseph H. Thompson remains in lay-up on the south side of the ore dock.
The tugs, Victory and Olive L. Moore remain at their winter dock across from the ore facility.

 

Updates - March 14

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 14

The MATAAFA, Captain Emory A. Massman, opened the 1950, shipping season at Cleveland when she arrived with 480 new automobiles from Detroit. Due to heavy ice near Pelee Island, the trip took 32 hours compared to an average travel time of 8.5 hours.

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

In 1880, the harbor tug GEORGE LAMONT sank with her crew of 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Shawn B-K, Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, 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.

 

Mackinaw at the Soo

3/13 - Noon Update - The Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay locked through and were in the upper approach piers but holding fast in the lock area due to problems with the train bridge. The bridge was finally opened just after noon and the two cutters were underway in the upper harbor. 

10 a.m. Update - The Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay were expected to lock through the McArthur Lock Tuesday morning. The gates were expected to be open by 10:15 a.m. and the lock ready by 10:30 a.m., after the Corps of Engineers tug is out of the way and secured. The Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay are warmed up and ready to depart Soo Base.

Reported by Jerry Masson

3/13 - Sault Ste. Marie - Update -  The USCGC Mackinaw arrived at the Coast Guard dock in Sault Ste. Marie around 7:30 p.m. Monday. Biscayne Bay arrived with the Mac and both are expected to stay overnight.

Katmai Bay departed early Monday afternoon downbound to continue grooming ice tracks and turns in the lower river.

A Corps of Engineers tug worked flushing ice downriver from the lower pier lock gates.

Reported by Bonnee Srigley


Mackinaw due in Sault Harbor today

3/13 - St. Marys River - The almost-new icebreaker Mackinaw entered the St. Marys River at DeTour early Monday to begin breaking out lower river channels in preparation for the upcoming shipping season.

Mackinaw, accompanied by the Bay-Class tug Biscayne Bay, will work lower river channels today before passing up to Sault Ste. Marie for fueling and provisions late this afternoon. Among the channels to be broken out today is the lower end of the often-troublesome West Neebish Channel down through the Moon Island turn to Mud Lake.

Still a full two weeks before the opening of the Soo Locks, today's ice work does not include breaking out the sensitive West Neebish ice bridge used by snowmobilers for crossing to Neebish Island.

Once Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay have completed channel work on tap for today, the two vessels will make for Sault Harbor to overnight at Base Sault before setting off to the west for more icebreaking in Whitefish Bay and at Lake Superior ports.

The two Coast Guard vessels will use the MacArthur Lock for upbound passage, as the Poe Lock is still dewatered for winter lock gate and concrete work.

To make room for the early icebreaker passage, the Corps of Engineers plans to remove a “bridge barge” used to connect ongoing lock work with W. Portage Avenue access for trucks and heavy equipment. Used as a winter crossing of the upper-end MacArthur approach canal, the “bridge barge” will be moved out of the canal temporarily for Tuesday's scheduled passage.

Once the two icebreakers are through the MacArthur Lock, the “bridge barge” will be replaced to allow for eventual removal of heavy equipment from the Poe Lock project when that work is completed over the next two weeks.

The two icebreakers plan to remain on Lake Superior for the nearly two weeks remaining before the Poe Lock re-opens for the shipping season on March 25.

Corps Area Engineer Al Klein said Corps workers are starting to “demobilize” the Poe Lock worksite today as advance preparations for the shipping season continue. He said high temperatures and rain that moved in today have helped soften up ice remaining at both ends of the MacArthur Locks approaches.

Klein acknowledged that Tuesday's scheduled upbound passage is a few days earlier than normal, explaining that the schedule was compatible for both Corps and Coast Guard activity. If Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay complete their icebreaking chores before the Poe Lock opens, Klein said both can berth on the Locks southwest pier in the interim.

New to icebreaking on the upper St. Marys and Whitefish Bay, Mackinaw will break out the upper St. Marys River to Birch Point turn and the LCA course to Whitefish Point as far as the ice edge. While ice coverage on the lower St. Marys extends shore-to-shore, thickness is moderate ranging between 18 inches and 24 inches with a few tougher spots.

On Whitefish Bay, ice thickness of up to 34 inches were measured before the recent thaw. Heavy windrowed ice is not expected to confront Mackinaw on her first venture into Whitefish Bay ice.

While considerable shifting of vessels is in progress today, the Sault-based icebreaking tug Katmai Bay will head south for the Straits of Mackinac to fill in there for the early portion of the icebreaking process. Two other Bay-Class tugs will eventually join the effort as the shipping season approaches.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Putting Pressure on the Ice

3/13 - The Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft Aban-Aki, was seen today putting pressure on the existing Ice in the St Lawrence Seaway. The Aban-Aki was working between CIP 2 (Eastern Seaway entrance) and St Lambert Lock.

The hovercraft rides over the Ice, which sends pressure down under the Ice. When it reaches the bottom the pressure rises and comes up under the Ice forcing the ice to crack and break. It is a very effective operation. This method was discovered in recent years when Hovercraft were used for the first time on Ice.

Aban-Aki retreated to the St. Lawrence and headed upstream using the St Lawrence river. Aban-Aki was last seen in Lake St Louis at St Nicholas Island at 3:00m Monday.

According to the last reports, an Icebreaker is due to enter the Seaway March 16, 2007.

Reported by Kent Malo

 

Memorial Service Planned for Doug Fairchild

3/13 - Howell, MI - Fairchild, Douglas John of Howell, MI, age 55, died unexpectedly at home, Saturday, March 10, 2007.

He is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Nancy; parents Don and Betty Fairchild of Linden, MI; sisters Ginny (Steve) Yaklyvich of Burton, MI and Katie Koeppen of Traverse City, MI; Niece and Nephew Elizabeth and Zachary Koeppen of Traverse City; Father and Mother-in-Law Jim and Beth Thorpe of Fenton, MI.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, 2007 at the Linden, United Methodist Church, 201 S. Bridge Street, Linden, MI.

In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to a charity of their choice.

 

Port Reports - March 13

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Unloading of Canadian Leader at Redpath Sugar was finished on Saturday and the freighter was towed back to it's lay-up berth at Pier 52 late Saturday afternoon.
The winter storage cargo aboard the Stephen B. Roman was unloaded over the weekend and she began fitting out. The Roman is expected to depart around the 16th.
The Toronto Island Marina tender T.I.M. made it's first appearance of the season Monday afternoon. The inner harbor is almost ice free.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The U.S. Coast Guard in Duluth said the Cutter Alder would begin breaking ice in the Twin Ports on March 13. It will be aided by recent warm weather, which has left large areas of open water near Superior Midwest Energy Terminal and alongside several laid-up boats, including the Stewart J. Cort and the bow of the Roger Blough.
The Cutter Biscayne Bay from St. Ignace is expected to join the Alder later this week. Beginning March 19, the vessels will work the North Shore ports of Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Taconite Harbor. The cutters will then proceed to Thunder Bay.

 

Updates - March 13

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 13

The keel for the tanker IMPERIAL REDWATER (Hull#106) was laid March 13, 1950, at Port Arthur, Ontario by Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. She was converted to a bulk freighter at Collingwood, Ontario and renamed b.) R BRUCE ANGUS in 1954. The ANGUS operated for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., until she was scrapped at Setubal, Portugal in 1985.

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

Data from: Joe Barr, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

New Boatnerd Gathering Cruises Announced

3/12 – The Boatnerd Gathering Coordinator is pleased to announce that three more events have been added for the 2007 season.

On Saturday, May 26, 2007, we are once again pleased to offer the Boatnerd Badger Gathering. A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin , aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS BADGER. It has been four years since we have been able to make these arrangements. Don't miss this year's fun cruise.

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

On Friday night, May 25, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

On Saturday, June 16, we will repeat last year’s popular Boatnerd Detroit Up River Cruise aboard the Friendship. This cruise will go up the Detroit River, and possibly into the Rouge River. Departing at 10:00 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, MI. Cost is $25.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for three hours and a pizza lunch delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

On Saturday, August 11, we are Following on the popularity of the up river cruise on the Friendship, and have planned a Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise for This is a four-hour trip that will go down the Livingston Channel to the Detroit River Light and return via the Amherstburg Channel. Cost is $35.00 per person. This will include passage onboard for four (4) hours and a box lunch. Cash bar on board. See Gathering Page for directions, full details and sign up form. We must have a minimum of 50 reservations, and a maximum of 100.

All these trips require advance reservations. Make yours now. Don’t be left out.

 

"Friends of Norisle" organizes to save venerable ferry

3/12 - Manitowaning, Ont. - Despite the dicey road conditions, several attendees travelled from as far away as Providence Bay and even Gore Bay, proving that concern for the boat extends well beyond the east-end port community in which the ailing ferry is berthed.

More support from across Manitoulin, and indeed the province, will be key to any plan to preserve the ship, it was stressed by several present. "We need to look at this on a bigger scale," urged Heli Cotnam, a Manitowaning resident with experience working on the Manitoulin Living campaign. "It's not just an Assiginack concern-it affects the whole Island."

Mr. Dave Ham provided a brief history of the vessel, noting that "it was the first ship built after the Second World War, being completed in 1947, and is one of the very few ships on the Great Lakes or even in Canada to have a triple-expansion (steam) engine." While it served for many years as a passenger ferry on the Tobermory-to-Manitoulin route, the boat also "brought provisions to Manitoulin," Mr. Ham said, "and certainly deserves to be preserved as a piece of Manitoulin's heritage."

In the early 1970s, the aging boat began to "have trouble passing inspections, because of its combustible bulkheads," he recounted. Consequently, it was taken out of service, with Manitowaning qualifying as a new home for the superannuated ship in 1975. The boat has rested here ever since, becoming a key part of the harbour's quaint appeal along with the adjacent Roller Mills building and Burns Wharf theatre venue. Mr. Ham credited historical society stalwart David Smith and museum curator Jeannette Allen, both present, with making the boat an enduring tourist draw and cultural fixture over the past three decades.

The current crisis over the ship's future was sparked last fall, when it took on water through a leak in the hull. "There's a bit of electrolysis present, and plating needs to be done at the water line that will cost a bit of money," said Mr. Ham.

The municipality has inherited responsibility for the boat from the historical society, and has expressed reservations about committing funds to the Norisle's upkeep. Indeed, it has contemplated selling the venerable boat for scrap. Mr. Ham believes that would be a tragedy. "Although it was built in 1947, that's actually young for the Great Lakes," he said, noting, "there are older ones still sailing." The hull is generally quite sound, he believes, "with 1/2-inch-thick riveted plates below the water line and 3/8-inch plates above." The boat, he added, weighs approximately 2,000 tons.

Asked what it might cost to deal with the most pressing structural issues confronting the craft, Mr. Ham said, "my guess is that $40,000 would patch it at the water line, plus you'd need to put a cap on the smokestack." Mr. Smith called this "a stopgap" solution, however, pointing out that, on top of fixing the immediate problem, "you still need $15,000 a year to maintain the ship." Over the past three decades, he was able to secure over $1 million in funding from the federal and provincial governments for the Norisle's upkeep, but even then it was something of a losing battle, he said, since tourist traffic was generally underwhelming and returns from such fundraising initiatives as a gift shop were miniscule.

A heritage designation for the Norisle was sought in the past, but turned down at the time, noted Mr. Smith. And while he allowed that "this could change, because things always change with the government," securing such a status wouldn't, in his view, solve the core problem anyway. While it might protect the boat from being destroyed, "you still need to fix it." To generate money for the Norisle's maintenance, those present agreed that a non-profit association akin to the one that manages the old Norgoma ferry in Sault Ste. Marie would likely have to be created.

Before adjourning, the group agreed to strike a tentative ad hoc committee that will convene again this week (on March 8) to appoint a chair and formalize its structure. "If this doesn't go anywhere, at least we'll have given it a shot," summed up Sandra Morgan, as those assembled got ready to step outside into the swirling wind and slashing snow. "If the boat goes down, it's going to go down kicking and screaming."

Reported by Steve Lindsey from the Manitoulin Expositor

 

Port Report - March 12

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The Tug Petite Forte with her barge St.Mary's Cement, and tug Sea Eagle II with her barge St.Mary's Cement II, are tied up at Pier 12 W.

 

Doug Fairchild crosses the bar

3/12 - Word has been received that popular boat watcher Doug Fairchild passed away unexpectedly on Saturday at his home in Howell, Michigan.

Arrangements at this time are pending. When more information is known, it will be posted here.

 

Updates - March 12

News Photo Gallery updated

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Gatherings Page update.

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 12

The NORWAY (Hull#115) was launched March 12, 1910, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the United States Transportation Co. Sold into Canadian registry, renamed b.) RUTH HINDMAN in 1964.She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1978.

The D O MILLS (Hull#29) was launched March 12, 1907, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Mesaba Steamship Co. Renamed b.) G A TOMLINSON in 1960. Scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1980.

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. Cut down to a barge in 1998, renamed b.) PERE MARQUETTE 41.

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

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 11

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 McCARTHY 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 Lake 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

New Mackinaw Living up to Its Name,  Ice Trials Going Well
Assisted Joe Block with departure from Escanaba

3/10 - The Ice Trials of USCGC Mackinaw began on March 5 in the Bay of Green Bay. Daily testing was performed in an area of lower Green Bay between Green Island, Chambers Island and Sherwood Point. Predominant ice conditions in this region were 12 to 21 inches of land fast level ice with six to 12 inches of snow cover.

The planned test program was achieved during each day of testing. Tests were conducted in 19 to 23 inches of ice with six to 12 inches of snow, 17 to 18 inches of ice with five to seven inches of snow and 12 inches of ice with four to 12 inches of snow. Accounting for the snow cover, the equivalent ice thicknesses for these sites were 24, 19.5 and 14.7 inches respectively. CGC Mackinaw was able to transit at 10.6 knots through 18 inches of ice with five to seven inches of snow cover (equivalent ice thickness 19.5 inches).

Preliminary test results show that CGC Mackinaw performed as well or better than specified in the Performance Specification. Performance ahead and astern are essentially equivalent. Specific maneuvers such as turning circles, turning in place, turning out of an existing track were also performed. The turning ability of the cutter is exceptional. CGC Mackinaw was able to turn in place in all ice conditions encountered so far. When turning out of an existing channel, CGC Mackinaw "grabbed" the ice edge immediately and quickly turned to a position perpendicular to the channel.

In addition CGC Mackinaw conducted dual ship icebreaking operations with CGC Mobile Bay (WTGB-103) to assess effectiveness in various track-widening scenarios (i.e. Mackinaw breaking the primary track and Mobile Bay widening the cut track, or Mobile Bay leading and Mackinaw widening). The effect of utilizing the cutter's wake to open a channel using their standing wake at speeds up to 14kts in 15-18 inches of level ice was also investigated. Working together the cutters can effectively open a 150-160ft wide track in these ice conditions, with relative ease. The icebreaking objective, whether working in Whitefish Bay or the Lower St. Mary's River will dictate which technique, speed of advance, and cutter combination (WLBB leading or following), is most appropriate and efficient.

Following a successful day of ice trails in lower Green Bay on Thursday, Mackinaw began her northbound transit to Rock Island Pass and eventually the Straits. At 11:00pm as the cutter approached Boyer Bluff in northern Green Bay, very heavy brash ice was experienced. These same heavy ice conditions (22inch plate/10inches of snow cover with numerous 6-8 foot windrows under extreme pressure from recent strong NE gales) had stopped the nearby transit of the Joseph L. Block who was being assisted by a commercial icebreaking tug.

The Joseph L. Block was making their initial run from Escanaba, MI to Indiana Harbor in southern Lake Michigan loaded with Taconite pellets. Mackinaw diverted from their planned transit and provided escort and direct assistance at the request of stopped vessels. Mackinaw made several passes around each in very heavy windrows and eventually got them moving again along the trackline toward Rock Island Pass. The escort operation was completed at 2:00am Friday.

Friday evening, Mackinaw was abeam of White Shoal Light in the Straits of Mackinac conducting track maintenance in preparation for the arrival of two tug/barges on Saturday.

 

Congressman Stupak returns Corps fire on new lock funds

3/10 - Washington, DC - Undeterred by denials from the Corps of Engineers, Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) on Thursday called on the Corps to prove it has not given up on a new navigation lock at Sault Ste. Marie.

In another sharply worded news release, Stupak charged the Detroit District commander with stating the Corps district would only be allocated enough money in the 2007 federal budget to shut down planning for the proposed new lock. “The very next day after I criticized the decision, Assistant (Army) Secretary Woodley backpedaled, hemmed, hawed and finally claimed the administration has not made a final decision,” Stupak said in his latest blast at the Corps.

The Congressman said the Corps can prove it has not abandoned its 25-year-old plan to build a new Soo Lock by signing a pending order to construct the new lock. He charged that the “pending order” has languished at Corps headquarters for five years. “The truth is the Administration is willing to let this project die by making no plans and providing no funding to build the new lock,” Stupak charged.

In fact, the new lock was authorized by Congress many years ago but Congress has not appropriated construction funding for the estimated $360 million project until so-called “local” funding is found to supply a share of the funds. Over the years, a number of attempts have been made to entice the eight Great Lakes states to supply the needed funding, but only Michigan has allocated funds. That allocation made during the Engler years in Lansing was as much a loan as a state commitment, however.

The state's proposed terms would have the federal government supply its share on a 50-year loan arrangement. That arrangement never came to fruition, however, since none of the other states committed to their respective shares of the new lock funding pie.

It is not clear if Stupak's pointed criticism of the Corps is due to the long wait to secure that “local” share or deletion of smaller annual Corps allocations to “plan” the new lock. Each year, for several years running, the Corps has budgeted for the so-called “planning” effort - even though the funds involved do not approach the amounts needed to actually begin construction. During those “planning” years, a second lock virtually identical to the existing Poe Lock has been designed and a set of plans drawn for the project. It is not clear what type of “planning” is needed if the project is to go ahead.

Like the rest of the Defense Department, the Corps of Engineers budget has strained to keep up with the cost of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Corps' resources were also strained nationwide by the continuing outlay for reconstruction of hurricane-damaged dikes and other flood control structures in the New Orleans area.

In his recent statement, Stupak argues that the Bush Administration has never budgeted any funds for a new Soo Lock. He said it was Congress that put in a total of $13 million over the years to keep the project alive. “One would think after $13 million has been spent, the US Army Corps would at least have turned over some dirt by now. The US Army Corps and the administration have lost their last shred of credibility on this issue,” Stupak sputtered in his statement.

When a copy of the Poe Lock was originally proposed to replace a more expensive all-new design, the Corps' estimated cost for the new lock was about $225 million. Last week, Stupak said that same lock will now cost $360 million. Under the shared-cost policy for water projects hammered out during the Reagan years, the “local” share of the new lock would grow to $90 million.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Port Reports - March 10

Indiana Harbor - Tom T.
Mittal Steel East Indiana Harbor has been stockpiling coke in the old No.3 blast furnace area. The coke is being brought in by barge and unloaded by a large tractor clamshell crane. They have a mountain of coke in ore dock area. Due to width of the railroad bridge, the Edward L. Ryerson cannot go down that far. The L. E. Block used to make this run. The coke pile could indicate increased future production.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Either the breaker William Lathum or the Niagara Queen II had been out at the Niagara River Ice Boom around 11 a.m. Friday morning. There was a fresh cut in the ice through the center channel of the Buffalo River from the Michigan St. Bridge down to the open water off the North Entrance. The Firetug Cotter must have been out doing track maintenance. The upper river above Michigan St. remains unbroken at this time.
The Steel Winds project in Lackawanna continues to progress with more and more windmills reaching the completed stage every few weeks.
Between Erie and Buffalo, there is nothing but windrowed ice as far as the eye can see. It could be a tough start of the season when the boats start running on Lake Erie. The ice breakers will be busy this Spring.

Milwaukee - Hanlet
Susan W. Hannah and St. Marys Conquest left Milwaukee, on Friday, headed to Charlevoix.

 

Environmental group opposes early ice-breaking

3/10 - Syracuse, NY - The St. Lawrence Seaway will open up to ships on March 21st—one of its earliest openings on record. Crews will begin breaking ice around the American Locks in Massena on March 15th. Shortly after, the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker will travel up the river, clearing the way to Lake Ontario.

But, the environmental organization Save the River is arguing against beginning operations so early.
"You can also probably see behind me that the lighted navigational aids are not on, which the ships rely on to navigate this tricky part of the river. When the river is frozen in like this, spill response assets are not available, boats are not in the water, booms are not, so the ability to respond to any kind of accident in this kind of weather is extremely difficult," Save the River Executive Director Jennifer Caddick said.

In recent years, the state DEC and local politicians have come out against starting navigation early.

From TV-10 News Syracuse

 

Team studies icing on helicopters

3/10 - Duluth - After a break of several winters, an Alabama Army unit has returned to Duluth to test how well aircraft handle icing conditions.

Too much ice on a plane’s wings or a helicopter’s rotors and “you stop flying and gravity wins,” said Jim Correia of the Army Aviation Technical Test Center, based at Fort Rucker, Ala. Correia is leading the center’s team in Duluth. “Most aircraft do not handle icing conditions well,” Correia said. It’s best to learn how well, or even if, an aircraft will handle icing under controlled conditions. That’s why the Army unit began coming to Duluth 23 years ago.

To test aircraft, the unit uses a Chinook helicopter equipped with an internal 1,800-gallon water tank and an external boom sprayer. The aircraft being tested trails the Chinook, flying through the cloud of freezing mist it produces. Flying in formation with the Chinook is a light plane, equipped with sensors and an onboard computer that measures and records the icing conditions that the test aircraft is experiencing. “We only fly when the temperatures are just right and we know we are going to be safe,” Correia said.

The sight of three aircraft in close formation — one of them spraying something — has attracted attention and piqued curiosity across the region. Robert L. Ginn of Duluth saw the formation flying along Lake Superior’s North Shore a few times over the past week.

“The first time I saw them, it looked like a helicopter and two little airplanes,” he said. “But yesterday, we looked close — I even had my telescope out — and there was a small helicopter on one side and a light airplane on the other side. You could see a rack hanging under the big helicopter and you could see a spray coming off it. I was wondering what they were spraying.”

Such testing has helped the military develop several aircraft to withstand icing. Blackhawk helicopters with heated rotors can fly in moderate icing conditions for extended periods of time. “This becomes important for things like medivac operations, where you have to be able to get up into an area,” Correia said.

In its early years, the Army unit primarily tested military aircraft. But a few years ago the federal government allowed the test center to offer its services to civilian firms at break-even prices. This year, the unit is testing a helicopter built by the Italian company Agusta. The firm hopes to develop a helicopter that would allow it to operate on North Sea oil rigs and in other wintry locations.

Correia’s team began arriving in Duluth on Jan. 28. A huge, Russian-built transport plane delivered the Italians, their helicopter and other equipment on Feb. 3. After several test flights, icing tests began Feb. 17. The Italians and the Army unit will leave by month’s end.

This may be the last winter the unit comes to Duluth. Because of new hangars at the 148th Fighter Wing, the Guard unit has no use for the hangar that the icing test unit has leased. The federal government probably will classify the hangar as excess property and turn it over to the city of Duluth, 148th Fighter Wing spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Vavra said.

Reported by Frank Frisk from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Last Survivor of USCGC Escanaba Sinking Passes

3/10 - Chicago - Sixty-four years after nearly dying in the northern Atlantic Ocean, Raymond O'Malley, the lone remaining survivor of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba, died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago Thursday. He was 87.

O'Malley died from old age and health complications due to emphysema and lung cancer at about 11:30 a.m. Central Standard Time, with his son, Peter, and daughter-in-law, Deborah, at his side. Ray O'Malley's wife, Dolly, was at home in Chicago. "He went peacefully, finally," Peter said, adding his father lived seven months longer than doctors originally thought he would.

O'Malley last visited Grand Haven in August for the National Memorial Service during the Coast Guard Festival. While his health nearly prevented him from attending his 64th consecutive service, his presence ensured he never missed one of the services, which began less than two months after the Escanaba sank in 1943. "He was glad to make it," Peter said. "He was hoping to make it one more time."

Attending the annual memorial service was important to O'Malley, his son said. Even in 1968, when he lost a kidney to cancer, O'Malley made sure he was out of the hospital in time to make the trek to Grand Haven.

Rear Adm. John Crowley, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, visited O'Malley on Friday, Peter said.
During the visit, the pair reminisced and watched home movies of parts of a Coast Guard Festival, circa 1963, including the memorial service and a clip of the parade, Peter said. "I met with Ray last week at his home in Chicago and feel honored to have met and known a man who deeply cared for the welfare of others," Crowley said in a statement issued Thursday.

Cmdr. Tracy Wannamaker, chief of response for the Coast Guard's Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, and former commander of Group Grand Haven and Sector Field Office Grand Haven, met O'Malley when he attended her change of command in 2004, and has had contact with him at least four or five times, she said. She last saw him at the 2006 memorial service. "He'll be sorely missed, and it'll certainly change the face of the festival not to have Ray there," she said.

While she admits most of her conversations with O'Malley were brief since so many people wanted to talk with him, she said her favorite memory of him came after the change of command, when he welcomed her to Grand Haven. She explained he was another person who made her feel welcome. Wannamaker said she thinks O'Malley would want people to remember the Escanaba as a whole, as well as the sacrifices that members of the Coast Guard have made throughout the years, rather than just him.

That most likely will happen, as Coast Guard Festival Executive Director Mike Smith said they will continue to recognize all the active duty men and women of the Coast Guard who died during the year. The focus of the memorial service has always been on those who have died before, he explained. "His presence, obviously, physically, will be missed," Smith said, adding that attending the memorial service was O'Malley's "personal commitment to remembering his shipmates."

The Escanaba, on which O'Malley served, was built in 1932 and was stationed in Grand Haven until the beginning of World War II, according to the U.S. Coast Guard's Web site for the current ship, which is the third one bearing the name. The Escanaba was part of a convoy in the north Atlantic when it exploded at about 5:00 am June 10, 1943. The ship sank within three minutes. O'Malley, who was a first class seaman when the ship sank, and Boatswains Mate Second Class Melvin Baldwin were the only survivors. Baldwin died in 1964.

Each year, on the anniversary of the sinking, the crew members of the current Escanaba hold a memorial ceremony, the ship's Web site states. The ship's captain would call O'Malley each year, by either phone or radio, depending on if the ship was in port or at sea, to report the status of the Escanaba III.

"Ray never forgot his shipmates. And for more than 60 years, he recognized his fallen comrades both at the public memorial service and with a private prayer, when he would light a candle for the crews of both the former and current cutters named Escanaba," Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen said in a statement issued Thursday. "Six decades following the Escanaba tragedy, Ray O'Malley is finally reunited with his shipmates. We honor him as he honored our service. Our prayers and sympathy go out to the O'Malley family."

While funeral arrangements were not determined Thursday afternoon, Klaassen said that Peter O'Malley led him to believe the funeral service would have heavy involvement from the Coast Guard. The committal service is scheduled for June 13 — the same day the Escanaba sank, Klaassen added. Klaassen did not know the location of that service.

 

Updates - March 10

News Photo Gallery updated

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 10

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) in 1908, was renamed b.) DETROIT EDISON on March 10, 1948. In 1954, she was renamed c.) GEORGE F RAND and in 1962, the RAND was sold to Canadian registry and renamed d.) AVONDALE. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1979.

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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Season Begins for Escanaba

The ore dock at Escanaba was busy Thursday as the Joseph L. Block was finishing a load while the tug Joyce VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived. The tug Joyce VanEnkevort detached from the barge to clear a spot on the south side of the dock so the ship could come in and tie up. Work was also being done on the tugs Olive Moore and Victory.

Reported by Lee Rowe

 

USCG Advance Men

3/9 - Duluth - Decked out in survival suits and equipped with rescue equipment, U.S. Coast Guard members ventured onto the ice of Duluth’s harbor Wednesday to scout conditions. Auger in hand, they punched a series of holes in the lake’s frozen rind, encountering 18- to 24-inch-thick ice.

That may sound like a lot of ice, but Boatswain’s Mate First Class Mike Presti said he believes it should be no match for the Coast Guard Cutter Alder, which is expected to begin busting out the harbor early next week. “It’s well within the Alder’s capabilities,” said Presti, adding that the vessel is designed to handle ice up to 3 feet thick.

Preparing the harbor for the commencement of another shipping season probably will take the Alder two to three weeks of work, Presti said. He said no other Coast Guard vessels have been requested to assist the Alder with its ice-breaking chores.

Presti likes what he’s seen of the ice conditions. “It’s mostly fresh, clean plate ice that should break up easier than refrozen brash,” he said. Presti explained that brash, ice that has been broken up repeatedly and refrozen, makes for tougher going than a solid sheet of ice.

This will be the Alder’s third year breaking ice in the Twin Ports.

Shipping activity is expected to begin Wednesday, when the Mesabi Miner loads coal at the Midwest Energy Resources Co. terminal in Superior, then heads to a power plant in Presque Isle, Mich. The Mesabi Miner is expected to tie the record — set last year — for the facility’s earliest spring shipment of cargo, said Marshall Elder, Midwest’s director of terminal operations.

Interlake cargo movements won’t begin until March 25, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opens the Soo Locks. “It looks to be a very fast start to the shipping season this year,” said Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “With the Welland Canal opening early on March 20, we have the potential to see the earliest saltie ever.” The year 1995 set the previous record, when a saltie arrived in the Twin Ports on April 1.

Reported by Frank Frisk and Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Port Reports - March 9

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
Joseph L. Block sailed Wednesday from her lay-up dock in Sturgeon Bay.

Detroit River - Ken Borg
On Wednesday the Algosea departed for Lake Erie. The Algosar came north and was escorted by Griffon as far as Marine City, where the Griffon tied up for the night Samuel Risley was down bound at 5:15 p.m.

Wolf Island - Brian Johnson
While the weather remains unseasonably cold, the car ferry Wolfe Islander III has experienced no problems this winter. Using the winter berth at Dawson Point Wolfe Island, the ferry track has remained clear and trouble free with the aid of the bubbler system which keeps the three mile ferry track clear of ice.
The ferry Frontenac II has also remained trouble free in its track to nearby Amherst Island as well as the ferry Quinte Loyalist operating further westward at Glenora, Ont.

 

Wawatam Dock park plan unveiled in St. Ignace

3/9 - St. Ignace - A preliminary plan for making a public park from a portion of the Chief Wawatam Dock was briefly reviewed in a public hearing held Monday.

Scheduled during the regular City Council meeting, the park proposal was described in broad strokes by Downtown Development Director Deb Evashevski, who circulated preliminary layout drawings for the long and lean park running out to the new St. Ignace Lighthouse. Evashevski said the drawings and an accompanying funding plan are still in the preliminary stage of planning.

Features of the plan include a stretch of paver-brick walkway around a narrow green space with picnic tables and playground spaced through the area. Evashevski said the paver block walk will be wide enough to accommodate trucks for maintenance work on the park, the nearby city boardwalk and the 55-foot lighthouse tower at the end of the long “Chief” pier.

The proposed park would parallel the new boardwalk section leading to the lighthouse on a narrow band of the “Chief” dock property ending at the abandoned carferry loading ramp mechanism. The financing plan submitted by Evashevski showed a $200,000 park project, largely funded through a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant of $128,000. A smaller grant of $36,000 would come from the Coastal Zone Management fund, administered by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and another $36,000 in local matching funds.

She said the Downtown Development Authority is already on the books for $10,000 of the local funds, and Mackinac County has agreed to furnish another $10,000. The city and two local service clubs will be asked to supply the balance of the $36,000 local match, she suggested. Evashevski did not ask the City Council for any action at Monday's hearing and none was forthcoming.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Updates - March 9

News Photo Gallery updated

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 09

The 61-year old HENRY FORD II opened the 1985, season by delivering a load of coal from Toledo to Detroit.

In 1905, the JAMES C WALLACE (Hull#334) of the Acme Steamship Co., (A. B. Wolvin, mgr.), was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. Purchased by the Interlake Steamship Co. in 1913, she was scrapped at Genoa, Italy in 1963.

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 was launched March 9, 1907, as a.) THOMAS LYNCH (Hull#73) at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. She was used as part of a breakwall at the Steel Co. of Canada Dock in Hamilton. The GROVEDALE of 1905, and HENRY R PLATT JR of 1909, were also used.

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

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

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, 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.

 

City of Toledo faces fines for King Bridge delay
Work barge swept away from site;
Completion deadline is March 15

3/8 - Toledo - It seems that anything that could go wrong with the installation of new drawspan quadrants for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Bridge has gone wrong.

As a result, the possibility of $20,000-a-day fines for the city of Toledo is looming larger. The city could be fined for violating a U.S. Coast Guard-imposed deadline of March 15 to have the Maumee River open to water traffic at the bridge. Bill Franklin, the city's director of public service, told city council yesterday during its agenda review meeting that the deadline next week is very much in jeopardy.

He said after the meeting that if the project's latest gremlin - river ice that stretches at least as far as Grand Rapids, Ohio - clears this weekend, the bridge could reopen to motor vehicle and river traffic before the end of the month.

Mother Nature provided the latest punch Sunday when an ice floe dislodged the staging platform/materials barge from under the bridge and sent it floating down river into an ice jam near Magnolia Street. "It was a near catastrophe when the [barge] got knocked out," Mr. Franklin said. He said several workers jumped from the barge onto the bridge when the barge started floating down river. "We were very lucky nobody got killed," he said.

Meanwhile, the river's ice conditions last weekend also prevented another barge with the second of the four drawspan quadrants from being moved to the bridge for installation of that drawspan. Before that happens now, the staging barge must now be moved, possibly by tugboat, back into place and the barge bearing the drawspan must be freed from its ice-bound moorings.

"We're working with [the Coast Guard] to get an extension on [the deadline]," Brian Schwartz, the spokesman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, said. "We don't want to delay ship traffic. We're working on a way to get this project finished so we won't face the fines."

Mr. Franklin said the Coast Guard has been "very firm" about the deadline, but appeared to be suggesting that there would be room for negotiation over the amount of the fine up to the point where shipping actually is obstructed by the bridge project. "They've said they are willing to hear our plan and negotiate," Mr. Franklin said. "The problem is we don't have a sound plan to negotiate."

Mr. Franklin said the bridge construction crew's most pressing work can't restart until the ice jam clears. Kristin Cousino, the city's project engineer, said the city has asked the Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to assist in helping break up the ice jam. "There's various tugboats that can be used to break up ice," Ms. Cousino said. "It's a matter of what you want to do. We have to have a plan in place."

Mr. Franklin said in a separate interview that once the new quadrant has been moved to the bridge, there is about eight to 10 days of work that's needed, such as counter weigh work, post tensioning, and concrete work. "We're in there now doing some other work, but it's not the critical-path work," Mr. Franklin said.

Work started in January to replace the King's drawspans - the sections raised to allow ships to pass through - with four new sections manufactured in Wisconsin and assembled on the Toledo waterfront. Original plans called for the two drawspans to be replaced one half at a time, in phases so that motor vehicle traffic could be maintained across the bridge most of the time during the work.

The only exceptions were to be for stretches of up to a few days when the active part of the bridge had to be in the raised position to maneuver parts being removed or added. But project officials quickly determined that concrete work to modify the bridge structure to accommodate the replacement drawspans was taking longer than expected.
Soon after a Jan. 26 announcement that the bridge would have to close to traffic for 18 days to help meet the March 15 deadline for reopening the river, workers found cracking concrete inside the drawspans' anchor piers that needed to be replaced. The discovery extended the closing indefinitely.

The original overall cost of the King project, which began in 2001 and included replacing the drawspans and the bridge's control towers and doing related construction work was $43 million. The drawspan replacement, the project's second phase, began in 2004. But with completion delayed a year by a design error and further complicated by this year's construction problems, the cost has been pegged at over $50 million and climbing.

In July, the city sued National Engineering and Contracting Co., HNTB Corp., and Bergmann Associates Inc. in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the alleged engineering and design problems that caused the one-year delay in the rebuilding of the bridge.

In January, when city officials announced the delay in the bridge reopening, Tom Cousino, owner of several restaurants at The Docks complex in International Park, said, "It's not the end of the world. It's not the only bridge in town." Yesterday, he recalled a recent conversation with a relative who phoned to ask how he was doing. "I'm breathing," he said he told her, "and I smile once in awhile. Beyond that, I don't know."

Mr. Cousino said diners tell him every day that they've found their way to the Docks specifically to support the restaurants. He remains philosophical: "We're all doing the best we can," he said. "We just, each of us, have to fight our way through it." But the effect of the bridge closing is plain: "It's catastrophic," he said. "It's sad to see your business and, as hard as you worked to do all the right things, to see it flounder."

From the Toledo Blade


Eye Witness report - Wednesday evening
The USCG icebreaking tug Bristol Bay was in the Maumee River Wednesday evening around 6 p.m. Two George Gradel Co. tugs were with the Bristol Bay in the area of the work barge that had been swept away from the bridge. Radio traffic indicated that it would take several hours of breaking and flushing ice around the barge before it would come loose.

The ice jam on the surface is 5 to 6-feet high and considerably deeper below the surface. The Bristol Bay was making slow but steady progress.

The ice breaker plans to spend the night in the river and begin more ice breaking and flushing in the morning. The plan is to break the ice jam as far up as the I-75 bridge and get the river open so the work barges can be moved back into place under the MLK Bridge.

 

Port Report - March 8

Toledo - Bob Vincent
U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Bristol Bay came to Toledo to escorted the Algoma Tanker Algosar out of the river on Wednesday. Both vessels left Toledo around 12:30 pm.

 

Position Open at Central Marine Logistics

3/8 - Griffith, IN - Central Marine Logistics is accepting applications for operations position in Griffith, Indiana.
Position primary responsibility will be on-scene coordination of government agencies and industry to facility specific international cargo movements around the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan.

Position requires frequent driving to nearby ports on Lake Michigan, boarding ships, and ability to handle hectic, fast-paced schedules. Some overnight travel required.

Qualifications include good telephone and organizational skills. Self-motivation and computer skills are a must. Business or operations background a plus. E-mail your resume

Based is Griffith, IN, Central Marine Logistics, Inc. is an owner/operator of four bulk freighters sailing on the Great Lakes. Additionally, Central Marine Logistics, inc. is agent for the majority of foreign vessel traffic on Lake Michigan, providing operational support for ship and cargo when underway and handling cargo.

 

Updates - March 8

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 08

In 1953, the ELTON HOYT 2ND was launched at the Sparrows Point Shipyard, Sparrows Point, Maryland. The HOYT had to be towed down the East coast and up the Mississippi River before joining the Interlake Fleet on the Great Lakes. Alfred C. Drouillard was appointed as her first Captain and Robert H. Folkert was appointed as her first Chief Engineer.

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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Great Lakes Memorial Service & Blessing of the Fleet

3/7 - Detroit - For the 43rd consecutive year, the Great Lakes Memorial Service and Blessing of the Fleet will be held in Mariners' Church of Detroit on Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 11:00 AM.

Everyone is invited to bring Burgees, Colors, Pennants, and Pennons for presentation and blessing at the Altar. Have a card, with your name and organization clearly printed, and hand it to the Captain who will make the announcement. Please plan to retrieve your flag immediately following the end of the service.

There will also be the Presentation of the Captain Lewis Ludington Awards to ISMA Ship Masters, chosen by the Detroit Lodge of the International Shipmasters' Association.

Parking is available in the Ford Underground Garage. The entrance to the garage is in the median strip of Jefferson at Woodward Ave. Passes for free parking are available at the church, and can be given to the attendant as you leave the garage. The most convenient pedestrian exit from the garage is the southeast door leading directly to entrance on the tunnel side of the Church.

Ship Masters and military personnel who plan to be in uniform and be part of the Honor Guard are asked to call the Church Office no later than March 6, to confirm your attendance at this service. 313-259-2206

 

Toronto Marine Historical Society Annual Silent Auction

3/7 - The Toronto Marine Historical Society announces its 2007 Silent Auction. This is the organization's major annual fundraising event. More then 140 items including marine memorabilia, books, calendars etc are open for bids. Details can be found at this link

 

Updates - March 7

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 07

The ALGOSOO suffered a serious fire at her winter mooring on the west wall above Lock 8, at Port Colborne, 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, 4,244 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, after she was stranded in the Storm of 1913. She was sold Canadian in 1915, and renamed b.) RIVERTON. In 1944, she was renamed c.) MOHAWK DEER. 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, 1,128 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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Cutter tackles ice at Green Bay

3/6 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has completed its mission of opening up ice-bound harbors in the Chicago and Gary, Ind., areas and has now moved north up Lake Michigan to begin work in Green Bay, Wis.

“We're approaching our area for next week's ice trials,” said Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's captain. “We have testing that must be completed before we begin.”

“We arrived at the mouth of Green Bay at first light this morning,” Little said Wednesday. “We'll be here for at least a week. The ship's ice trials being Monday and will continue until March 9. On board will be scientists, manufacturers representatives and engineers. We have instrumentation built into the hull to measure ice pressure against the hull; systems like that need to be tested. There are many navigational modes that we want use to test the ship's capabilities while breaking ice.”

Little said the ice trials have been planned for years, to study the new ship's performance in all types of ice and in all sorts of conditions. The cutter Mobile Bay - Little's former command -will be conducting tandem operations with the Mac in the ice trials. “The studies will determine how the ship does in 12 inches of ice, 24 inches of ice and so on,” he explained. “We'll be looking for windrows, brash ice - all of it. This will be an extremely important week for us.”

Complicating the ship's schedule is the fact that the Mackinaw is undergoing the ice trials amidst its first season of conducting real missions. Besides the icebreaking prep work on the lower Lake Michigan harbors, Little's crew grabbed a buoy near Chicago, made a quick repair and replaced it in the lake.

The heavy workload means that the ship will keep right on going through a list of Great Lakes icebreaking duties after the ice trials, making its way north for the annual spring preparations for shipping season.

Little anticipates a return to the Straits of Mackinac by March 10. The ship will most likely operate out of St. Ignace during that time. Then it's on to the St. Mary's River and Lake Superior to begin spring break-out. A passage through the Soo Locks is planned for March 15 at the earliest.

The locks will open to shipping at midnight March 25. “We need to have a super highway laid through Whitefish Bay before March 25, because those ships will want to be on the lock wall by then to get through right away,” Little said. “The 140's will work with us laying tracks and grooming the turns - that's where they earn their keep.”

Little said it is possible that he ship will not return to Cheboygan until mid-April.

“We won't be there long,” he predicted. “We left a crew behind to work on all those buoys in the yard and we'll just load them up and get underway again. The ships will expect those buoys to be in place right away when they come through.”

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Washington Island ferry battles ice conditions
Vessel had to turn back Saturday

3/6 - Washington Island, WI - The Washington Island Ferry, the Arni J. Richter, was not able to make its second scheduled trip back to the Island Saturday afternoon due to an impenetrable field of ice near Plum Island. The 2:30 p.m. ferry had to turn back after encountering thick ice in Death’s Door, according to Hoyt Purinton, captain of the Richter and vice president of the Washington Island Ferry Line.

“Our winter route is toward the east side of Plum Island, but that was blocked with ice,” Purinton said Monday morning. “So we went to the north side of the island and worked our way into heavy ice.” The ferry turned around and returned the passengers and their vehicles to Northport around 5 p.m.

Purinton said he called the U.S. Coast Guard and the ice breaker Biscayne Bay came from St. Ignace, Mich. The Bay worked for three hours ramming the ice with not much more success than the Richter had, Purinton added. “It was assuring to me to see that what stops us can be handled only slightly better than a (similar-sized) government machine,” Purinton said. The Richter, built in 2004 to improve the ferry line’s capability under ice conditions, “has exceeded our expectations.”

The field of ice was not smooth and flat like ice in a bay, Purinton explained, but stacked upon itself, 16 to 24 inches deep, with thick snow packed on top. The thickness is normal for bay ice, but the snow cut down on the Richter’s ability to cut through the ice by absorbing some of the water the boat uses as lubrication, Purinton said. “This was some of the worst ice anyone working here now said they’ve ever seen,” Purinton said. “We were hoping the northwest gales (Monday) would give us some relief from the ice, but it’s being stubborn.”

Reports that the ferry was stuck in the ice were false, Purinton said. “We were never stuck. We were able to back up and turn around,” he said. The ferry did make one of two scheduled round trips Sunday and again Monday.
Purinton said late Monday morning he was waiting for the USCG cutter Mobile Bay to arrive before attempting the crossing. Getting stuck in the ice is not a normal occurrence for the Richter, Purinton said. More often, the ferry line operators decide to cancel trips rather than risk getting stuck. On Feb. 25 “we canceled trips with all that snow and low visibility,” Purinton said. “We also cut off trips Thursday (March 1) because of 50 mph winds. We play on the conservative side. We’d rather have disappointed people who are safely onshore.”

From the Green Bay Gazette


Eye Witness Report

3/6 - Washington Island, WI - The pack ice that bogged down the Washington Island Ferry Service on Sunday did not move out, or even diminish, during the night.
The Arni J. Richter, even though her ice-breaking capabilities far exceed those of her predecessor, needed assistance again today. The Mobile Bay was dispatched out of Sturgeon Bay and arrived off Washington Island late Monday morning. Mobile Bay spent a couple of hours clearing a path and then stood by while the Richter made her run.

The Richter had to back up and ram on several occasions. At one point she came across an ice blockage she couldn't break through, so the Mobile Bay requested that the Richter back out of the way and let the Mobile Bay smash into the blockage.

Unfortunately, the ice had moved in behind the Richter and she couldn't back up. So, instead of smashing into the blockage, the Mobile Bay had to delicately nose into it and weaken it. This worked and the Arni J. Richter was able to break through to open water and proceed to Northport.

While she was there unloading and reloading, the Mobile Bay continued to clear out the path. On the return trip the Richter did get hung up a couple of times and the Mobile Bay made several passes along her side to break up the ice.

The Mobile Bay is continuing to work on the channel, taking advantage of the remaining daylight. She plans to spend the night in the Hedgehog Harbor area, so she will be close by if she is needed on the Island tomorrow.

Reported by Ham Rutledge

 

Tugboat breaking ice off Escanaba

3/6 - Escanaba — Ice fishermen and snowmobilers are being warned that a tugboat is breaking up ice Monday on Little Bay de Noc, according to Escanaba Public Safety.

The tugboat, Joyce L. VanEnkevort, was breaking ice from the Escanaba ore docks to the Minneapolis shoals area Monday morning, said Capt. Bob Berbohm.

Reported by Lee Rowe from the Marquette Mining Journal

 

New owner for Port Weller Dry Docks

3/6 - St. Catharines- The Port Weller Dry Docks are sailing in to a new era.

The defunct shipbuilding and repair yard in north St. Catharines has been purchased by the Upper Lakes Group, which plans to restore operations at the Port Weller facility. Along with a new owner, the dry docks have also been re-named Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc.

It will be part of a conglomerate of five independent companies, to be known as Great Lakes Marine and Industrial, each with its own area of expertise in marine and industrial fabrication and repair. Upper Lakes also bought Pascol Engineering, the dry docks’ sister operation in Thunder Bay.

John Dewar, spokesman for Great Lakes Marine and Industrial, would not say how much Upper Lakes paid for the dry docks and Pascol Engineering, calling it a private matter. He did say Upper Lakes faced some competition during the bidding process, although he didn’t know from whom or how many other offers were made.

Reported by John Philbin from the St. Catharines Standard

 

Port Report - March 6

Toledo - Bob Vincent
The Canadian Coast Guard ice breaker Griffon escorted the Algoma Central tanker Algosar into the port of Toledo, on Monday around 9:00 am. The Algosar tied up at the BP refinery terminal. The Algosar is the first boat in Toledo for year 2007.

 

Updates - March 6

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Former Badger captain loved family, outdoors and car ferries

3/6 - Ludington - Warren Stowe, who was captain of the S.S. Badger from 1969-83, died Friday at Oakview Medical Center following a short illness.

Stowe, who was 85, loved the water and when he left the 410-foot carferry, he could often be seen either in his 22-foot boat “Six Pack” or his subsequent 14-foot Sea Nymph fishing boat. His son Ed described his father as a man who loved his family, the outdoors and the car ferries.

Ed said Warren enjoyed recounting stories of his carferry days at family get-togethers, including a story of one trip that lasted four days because the waves were too high to return to port. “He took the Spartan (the Badger’s sister ship) out and they got caught in a storm, they followed the west coast of Michigan — which is the east shore of Lake Michigan — and ended up going north because he didn’t think he could turn the boat around without rolling the boat.” The winds out of the north were so high that he believed a southerly course would allow the waves to clear the sea gates and extinguish the Spartan’s boilers.

“They left Ludington and they ended up behind the islands off of Leland. He got on the south side of Manitou Island and stayed there to get out of the storm. The waves were coming up to and breaking over the bow of the carferry. They were over 30 feet high. It actually picked some of the train cars up and set them on automobiles next to them. They left Ludington and four days later they came back to Ludington.

Capt. Stowe was born in Northport, where he lived until 1966. He worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps and worked for the Ann Arbor Car Ferry in Frankfort. In 1944, Warren entered the U.S. Navy, serving in the Pacific Theater through the end of WWII. “He hauled troops into Iwo Jima,” Ed said. “He worked on LSTs (Landing Ship — Tank). That’s what his ship did, carried the troops and those little ships.”

Stowe worked in the trucking business briefly before and after the war, ending up with the Chesapeake and Ohio Car Ferries in 1951. In 1969, he took over as captain of the S.S. Badger.

From the Ludington Daily News

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 06

EUGENE J BUFFINGTON (Hull#366) was launched March 6, 1909, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. She lasted until 1980, when she was towed to San Esteban de Pravia, Spain for scrapping.

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.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Washington Island Ferry Assisted by USCG

3/5 - Washington, WI - On Saturday, a large mass of pack ice was blown into Death's Door in northern Lake Michigan. Those in the area could see the car and passenger ferry Arni J. Richter,  that runs between Washington Island and Northport, having some problems getting through the ice - backing up and running forward. This in not an uncommon event.

Later, scanner traffic indicated that the ferry was unable to break through and had to return to Northport for the night. The ice breaker Mobile Bay that normally serves the area is laid up for repairs. The Biscayne Bay was dispatched in its place out of St. Ignace.

The Biscayne Bay spent about five hours Sunday breaking a path for the Arni J. Richter, which finally arrived on the Island a little after 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Since the Richter normally makes two round trips a day in the winter, there was a backlog of passengers and vehicles on both sides. The Biscayne Bay led the Arni J. Richter over to Northport and back for one more trip, with only minor difficulties.

Biscayne Bay departed for other assignments and the Mobile Bay is expected to be available on Monday if needed. Residents are hopeful that the wind will shift again and clear the ice pack out of the Door, allowing the Arni J. Richter to proceed unassisted.

Reported by Ham Rutledge

 

Port Report - March 5

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Great Lakes Trader/Joyce Van Enkevort are expected to load ore in Escanaba Monday. The tugs Victory and Olive Moore remain tied up near the power plant. Extra security is stopping normal traffic to the ore dock, apparently until the ice fishermen and shanties are gone around the dock.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Miner finished unloading her storage cargo of raw sugar, and she was pulled from the Redpath Sugar slip early Sunday morning and taken back to her winter berth at Pier 35 north. Canadian Leader was hauled by the same McKeil tugs (Jarrett M. and Wyatt M.) from Pier 52 south into the Redpath slip latter in the day. Unloading begins Monday. Canadian Provider is next in line for unloading.

 

Updates - March 5

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Michael Lisenchuk Obituary
Was Algolake's First Mate

3/5 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - Mr. Michael Lisenchuk, age 51 years, passed away peacefully after his stormy voyage battling cancer on Monday, February 26, 2007 , with his family by his side in St. Joseph 's Hospice.
Born in Port Arthur in 1956, Mike grew up in the city attending Selkirk High School and after graduation, he took on a career as a sailor, working for Algoma Central Marine on board the "Algolake" serving as First Officer.

He excelled in his chosen profession and quickly, rose through the ranks. Mike was currently in the process of becoming accredited as a Captain but due to his illness he never got the chance. Even though his job kept him traveling the Great Lakes and away from home for months at a time, when he was home Mike loved nothing more that spending time with his children, Lindsay and Michael. The love of the water showed even then and some of his favorite times were out at camp on the lake on the seadoo with his children.

Mike will be sadly missed by his soul mate Shelley; his son Michael Lisenchuk and daughter Lindsay Goodheart, both of Golden, BC; and his other kid "Megan Pagan";brother Larry of Kelowna, BC; his three sisters-in-law: Cheryl Mack, Bobbie Bird of Regina, SASK, Sheila Pelletier, also of Regina. SASK ; aunts: June (Don) McKenzie of BC and Emma Pumphrey; mother-in-law Joan Cosgrave (Lloyd McCloud); father-in-law Jack (Edie) Mack, and aunt Pat (Gilles) Hudon; as well as his, "Grandson" Beemer the cat. Numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives also survive.

He was predeceased by his parents William and Georgina Lisenchukas well as Grandma Ross. Funeral Services for the late Michael Lisenchuk were held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, in the Chapel of Harbourview Funeral Centre, 499 North Cumberland Street, officiated by Venerable Archdeacon Mark Conliffe.

From the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 05

On 05 March 1997, the Canadian Coast Guard Cutter GRIFFON pulled the smashed 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. She was declared a constructive total loss after a fire on January 21, 1978, at the Burlington Northern Dock #5, in Superior, Wisconsin, where she was laying for the winter, The ALLEN was scrapped at Duluth in 1978.

LEADALE was launched March 5, 1910, as a.) HARRY YATES (Hull#77) at St. Clair, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works. Scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1979.

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, 4,328 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Mike Nicholls, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Report - March 4

Western Lake Erie -Erich Zuschlag
The Algosea was heading westward on Lake Erie's Western Basin on Saturday, and had just passed Pelee Island when she suddenly stopped and seemed to be trapped by the ice and high winds.

 

 Today in Great Lakes History - March 04

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. MACKINAW was retired in 2006.

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. Le Fleur 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, 1,058 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.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

 

Soo Locks Funding

3/3 - Traverse City -- A member of Congress accused the Bush administration Wednesday of scuttling plans for a new Great Lakes shipping lock, but a ranking Pentagon official insisted the matter was still open. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat whose district includes the Soo Locks on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had decided to kill the project more than 20 years after Congress authorized it.

John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, said that was untrue. "No decision of any kind has been made," Woodley said in a telephone interview. "This decision appears to exist only in Mr. Stupak's mind."

Congress in 1986 first authorized expansion of the Soo Locks, which raise and lower ships hauling iron ore and other freight between lakes Superior and Huron. About 70 percent of raw materials used by U.S. steel manufacturers pass through the locks on the way from mines in Minnesota and Michigan's Upper Peninsula to manufacturing centers such as Detroit and Cleveland.

The complex includes three functional locks but only one large enough to accommodate the biggest ships, which account for more than two-thirds of the U.S.-flagged fleet's carrying capacity. The federal government has spent about $13 million planning and designing a second lock capable of handling supersized carriers in case the other is disabled. But money to build the $341 million structure has never come through. Previous legislation has set the federal share at $260 million, with Great Lakes states paying the rest.

Stupak said officials with the Army Corps district office in Detroit told his staff during a recent meeting the project was dead. The Detroit officials said they'd gotten the word in an e-mail from Corps headquarters in Washington, according to the congressman.

"Unfortunately, this administration appears to lack the foresight and leadership necessary to protect our infrastructure for the future," Stupak said in a letter to Lt. Gen. Carl A. Strock, commander of the Army Corps. Failure to build the lock, Stupak added, would amount to "gambling with the economic viability of not just the Upper Great Lakes, but the entire country."

Woodley said Congress ultimately would decide whether to fund the project, but he could make a recommendation. He said he would draw no conclusions until studying a cost-benefit analysis and consulting experts.

Woodley accused Stupak of "an unwarranted attack" on the Corps. Stupak insisted his staffers had not been mistaken. "The communication was very clear -- they're shutting her down," he said. Woodley could demonstrate otherwise by signing off on the project, he said.

The first permanent lock at Sault Ste. Marie was built in the mid-1800s to help boats traverse a 21-foot drop-off near the river's northern end. Others were added over the years. Nearly all ships now use either the MacArthur lock, built during World War II, or the Poe lock, which opened in 1968.

From the Detroit News

 

Talks begin on 2nd Detroit River Bridge

3/3 - Detroit -- State transportation officials eying a second bridge to Windsor have started interviewing about 85 business owners in the Delray neighborhood about relocation plans.

The process, expected to take several months, will be followed this summer by discussions with some 400 residents in the southwest Detroit neighborhood, said Mohammed Alghurabi, manager of the project for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The voluntary discussions precede possible condemnation or relocation for a $1 billion bridge, but don't include appraisals or offers to buy. That won't occur until at least 2009, Alghurabi said. Instead, state officials are gathering information about building sizes, employees and how much time owners would need to relocate. "The process of acquisition is very sensitive," Alghurabi told about 40 Delray property owners Wednesday night. "We're trying to gather information on the needs of the community."

Still in the study phase, the crossing would alleviate congestion on the Ambassador Bridge and boost the economy, state officials said. Both nations would need to approve the project before it could open as early as 2013. The state may only need to displace 50 businesses and 135 homes and apartments, but officials are meeting with more because 13 bridge designs are under consideration, Alghurabi said.

Some would force Delray Mechanical Corp. to relocate, which could be devastating for the metal repair and fabrication shop, said co-owner Julie Ebsch. "If they take me out of the area I'm in, they take me away from my customers," she said. "I service people in heavy industry. This is where they're located."

From the Detroit News

 

Port Report - March 3

Toronto - Frank Hood
The Canadian Miner was towed by two tugs on Sunday from it's slip at Pier 35S to the Redpath Slip. Redpath has been unloading it all week, and it is just about empty now.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 03

The keel was laid on March 3, 1980, for the COLUMBIA STAR (Hull#726) at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. Renamed b.) AMERICAN CENTURY in 2006.

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.

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.

 

Mackinaw to Cut its Teeth on Green Bay Ice

3/2 - Marinette - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw entered the Bay of Green Bay Wednesday a day earlier than expected and just ahead of a winter storm pushing into the area.

The ship is in the bay to perform a series of operational tests of the ship's systems in ice. The Coast Guard is cautioning people using the ice to be mindful of tracks the ship is making. Recreational users should plan their activity carefully, use caution near the ice, and stay away from shipping channels and Lake Carriers Association track lines, according to the Coast Guard.

The crew's initial concern is for the track they made coming into port Wednesday in Marinette. "For the next few days the track we will have made — from the Lake Carriers Association track line — from Green Island into the Menominee River, could be covered by snow, so take caution," Mackinaw Cmdr. John Little said by phone from the ship Wednesday. "Our track will be north of Green Island."

The ship was in the vicinity of Green Island around 2 p.m. Wednesday and headed into Marinette. Trials begin Monday and continue during the week, Little said.

The cutter will be based out of the Marinette Fuel Pier, east of the Ogden Street Bridge in Marinette. This will require daily transits of the Menominee River as well as operations in Green Bay. Little described the trial area as a triangle from the southern end of Chambers Island to the southeast end of Green Island and to Sherwood Point along the Door Peninsula.

Little is the former commander of the cutter Mobile Bay based out of Sturgeon Bay. He said these kinds of ice trials have not been conducted since the ship was commissioned in June. Ice trials are used to evaluate the overall operating performance of the ship during icebreaking maneuvers. "I thought there might be ice thick enough here to meet the mission of the ice trials, and there sure is," Little said. "We're kind of hard to miss. … We're a big red boat out there."

Marinette Marine in Marinette built the Mackinaw.

Reported by Carol Hankwitz from the Door County Advocate

 

Update on Lake Superior Outflow

3/2 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,290 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (45.6 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of March. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of March and is a decrease from the February outflow which was 1,380 m3/s (48.7 tcfs).

The March outflow will be released by discharging about 1,198 m3/s (42.3 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 25 cm, or about 10 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron basins were well below their long-term averages for February. The levels of Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron remain below their chart datum levels. The level of Lake Superior is expected to remain about the same next month, while that of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to rise.

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 48 cm (19 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-March level, and is 36 cm (14 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior fell by about 9 cm (4 inches), while on average it falls by 5 cm (2 inches) in February. The last time Lake Superior was lower at this time of year was in 1926.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron fell by 8 cm (3 inches) this February, while on average the level of these lakes decline by about 1 cm (1/2 inch) in February. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 40 cm (16 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-March level and is at the same level as year ago.

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

Brigadier General Bruce A. Berwick, Commander, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the United States Board Member. Mr. Carr McLeod is the Board Member for Canada.

Additional information can be found here or this link

From U. S. Army Corps of Engineers

 

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Today in Great Lakes History - March 02

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, 1,394 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: Max Hanley Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, and Steve Haverty.

 

Beeghly was Oberstar, now Beeghly again

3/1 - Sturgeon Bay - Observers in Sturgeon Bay report that the name Hon. James A. Oberstar, which appeared on the hull of the Charles M. Beeghly in the last week, has been painted over in the last couple of days. The Charles M. Beeghly has been reapplied.

The vessel was briefly repainted in honor of Congressman Oberstar, the congressman felt having a ship named in his honor was inappropriate. Due to this Interlake returned the Beeghly name.

 

Ice on Straits is Risky, says USCG

3/1 - Cheboygan - Dark spots and open water are appearing at various places in the Straits of Mackinac, a sure sign that warmer temperatures are making ice usage an even riskier venture than normal, the U.S. Coast Guard warned Tuesday.

The Ninth Coast Guard District office in Cleveland has issued a warning to emphasize the need for winter sportsmen to use precautions when making a decision to recreate on Great Lakes ice. Tree lines are still visible on the ice between a beach north of Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island, and the St. Ignace harbor and Mackinac Island.

Great Lakes ice is unpredictable and dangerous; and “all” ice is risky to a certain extent, the agency warns. In February, Ninth Coast Guard District units, which are located throughout the U.S. Great Lakes, have responded to more than 15 search-and-rescue cases of people in distress on the ice. Three of the cases resulted in fatalities.

Some of the cases include:
Feb. 7 - A missing ice fisherman in Saginaw Bay. A search by Coast Guard Station Saginaw Bay found the man deceased. The sportsman often went fishing by himself and was considered a very experienced ice fisherman who knew the area and the hazards of the ice.

Feb. 10 - Five snowmobilers fell through the ice in Sodus Bay, N.Y. All five were able to save themselves, but lost their machines.

Feb. 22 - Two ice fisherman became stranded on an ice floe off Toledo, Ohio. Coast Guard Station Toledo and Air Station Detroit responded and recovered both men.

Feb. 24 - Two people fell through the ice in Saginaw Bay. Coast Guard Station Saginaw Bay and Air Station Detroit recovered both individuals. One person was treated for hypothermia, the second was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Coast Guard has expressed an understanding that winter recreation on the Great Lakes is a tradition, but emphasizes its pledge for public responsibility and safety. With that in mind, late-season outdoorsmen are reminded to think twice before taking a chance on ice in the Straits of Mackinac. Those venturing out onto smaller bodies of water should stay with the following guidelines if they do go:

Always check the weather and ice conditions before any trip out onto the ice. Ice thickness is not consistent.

Always tell family and friends where you are going and when you are expected to be back - and stick to the plan.

Use the buddy system. Never go out on the ice alone. If you choose to go it alone, stay in an area where other people can see you.

Dress in bright colors. Wear an exposure suit that is waterproof and a personal floatation device.

Carry a whistle or noise-making device to alert people that you are in distress; or carry a cell phone and/or a VHF-FM radio to contact the nearest Coast Guard station or local authorities in case you see someone in distress.

Carry two ice picks or screwdrivers. If you fall through the ice you can use these items to get you out. They are more effective than using your hands.

The Sector Sault office of the Coast Guard will issue an advisory when the South Channel of the Straits is to be opened to navigation.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

No Funding for new Soo Lock

3/1 - Traverse City - The Bush administration has decided against building a new commercial shipping lock on the river linking Lakes Superior and Huron, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak said Wednesday. Congress authorized expansion of the Soo Locks in 1986, but the $341 million project has yet to receive funding for construction.

Stupak, a Michigan Democrat whose district includes the locks complex at Sault Ste. Marie, said he had been informed the administration would not request funds for the project. "This decision ignores the importance of the Soo Locks to our nation's economy and is negligent in protecting our navigation infrastructure," Stupak said. He said he was seeking an explanation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Advocates say another lock is needed to ensure the movement of iron ore, coal, wheat and other commodities on the Great Lakes. About 70 percent of the raw materials used in steelmaking pass through the locks, located at Sault Ste. Marie on the northern end of the St. Marys River.

Although three locks are in service, just one - the Poe - can accommodate the large freighters that account for two-thirds of the Great Lakes fleet's carrying capacity.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press

 

Indiana Ports set record

3/1 - Merriville, IN - Steel shipments helped the Ports of Indiana set a record of $1.89 billion of cargo handled in 2006 at its locations, and the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor in Portage saw the majority of that.

The climb is a 23 percent hike from 2005, which had been the previous 36-year high, the Ports of Indiana said Tuesday in a news release. Steel accounted for $955 million of the 2006 shipments, a 45 percent increase from the previous year. In 2006, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor set a new record for steel shipments, which were up 57 percent from 2005. Steel shipments at the port totaled $584 million in 2006, according to Jody Peacock, director of corporate affairs for the Ports of Indiana. Total shipments at the local port were at $820 million.

Sharing boundaries with two of the largest steel mills in the country -- Arcelor Mittal Steel and U.S. Steel -- the Portage port handles a wide range of steel-related cargos including about 15 percent of all U.S. steel trade with Europe. "Steel shipments were up this year largely because the strong U.S. demand for steel was far greater than the domestic supply," said Steve Mosher, port director at the Burns Harbor facility. "It also helped that Great Lakes' shipping rates were very reasonable and international steel prices remained competitive."

The Lake Michigan port surpassed its 2005 tonnage for all cargos by 19 percent with 2.7 million tons crossing its docks last year. There were also shipping increases in asphalt oil (up 335 percent), calcium chloride (up 73 percent), coke (up 47 percent), grain (up 22 percent) and fertilizer (up 15 percent), as well as new sugar shipments.

The Ports of Indiana surpassed $1 billion in cargo shipments for the third consecutive year -- the only three years this has been accomplished since Indiana's first port opened in 1970. Peacock said the Lake Michigan port has plenty of room to accommodate future growth. "Our ports are underutilized and our waterways are underutilized," Peacock said.

The Portage port is operating in the range of about 40 percent capacity. Peacock said shipping through Indiana's other two ports also set individual records for total shipments in 2006 -- Mount Vernon handled $482 million in cargos, up 20 percent, and Jeffersonville handled $588 million, a 30 percent hike.

Last year, Indiana's three ports shipped 8.6 million tons of cargo, which was a 12 percent increase from 2005. Top cargos by volume were grain, coal, steel, fertilizer, limestone, salt, asphalt, coke, cement, minerals and asphalt oil. So far this year, Peacock said the upward trend in shipping seems to be continued. The challenge, however, will be keeping pace with last year.

"That was really a phenomenal year. This year is shaping up to be a good shipping season, but a good shipping season may not even compete with last year," Peacock said. "After three years growth in a row, we're optimistic, but cautiously optimistic."

Grain remained the largest volume cargo handled at the three ports with 2.4 million tons, just ahead of coal's 2.3 million tons. Grain and coal made up 54 percent of the total cargo volume at Indiana's three ports, while steel and grain accounted for 78 percent of the total value.

From the Merrillville Post-Tribune

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 01

In 1975, the CASON J CALLAWAY, at 767 feet, became the first laker larger than 730 feet to transit the McArthur Lock.

In 1945, 84-year old Captain Ralph J. Lyon died at Lorain. He brought out 12 new boats during his sailing career including the ZENITH CITY (1895), QUEEN CITY (1896), EMPIRE CITY (1897), SUPERIOR CITY (1898), JOHN W GATES (1900), HARRY COULBY (1906), A E NETTLETON (1907), JOHN B COWLE (1910), HORACE S WILKINSON (1917).

The m/v HENRY FORD II (Hull#788) was launched on March 1, 1924, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. She served as flagship of the Ford Motor Company fleet for many years and was eventually sold to Interlake Steamship Company when Ford sold its Great Lakes Fleet division. It was renamed b.) SAMUEL MATHER, but never sailed under that name, scrapped in 1994, at Port Maitland, Ontario by Marine Recycling & Salvage Ltd., .

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, Steve Haverty, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 



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