Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports - March 31

Silver Bay - Benjamin Larson
Burns Harbor arrived in Silver Bay Tuesday at 2 p.m. While coming in she gave a 3 long and 2 short salute to the local boatnerds watching from the Silver Bay marina. She was due to depart at 5 a.m. Wednesday. Kaministiqua was due into Silver Bay at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday and expected to depart at 8:30 a.m., followed by the arrival of the Manitowoc at 6 p.m.
Two Harbors
On Tuesday the Edwin H. Gott arrived at 8:30 a.m. and departed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. John G. Munson was due in at 4 a.m. and expected to depart at noon, followed by the American Century, coming from lay up in Duluth at 1 p.m., followed by the Edgar B. Speer, due at 2:30 p.m.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Dan F.
The barge Integrity was discharging at the Lafarge terminal in Milwaukee. Stewart J. Cort remains in lay-up at the Great Lakes Towing dock. There is scaffolding alongside her, but Tuesday there was no outside activity on board.

Chicago, Ill. – Dan F.
The barge Innovation was discharging at the LaFarge terminal in Lake Calumet. Canadian Transport was down around 110th Street with her boom up. St. Marys Challenger is still in lay-up.

Port Huron, Mich. - Edward Schuyler
Lee A. Tregurtha was downbound Tuesday at 4:20 p.m. with a load of taconite from Marquette, heading to Toledo, Ohio.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Algosoo departed at 10 a.m. Tuesday with slag for Montreal. Canadian Navigator departed at 11 a.m. from U.S. Steel in ballast for Goderich.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Provider departed winter lay-up bound for the Welland Canal early Monday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne Crack
CSL's Birchglen made an appearance under overcast skies and choppy waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway on her upbound journey through Prescott, Ont., at 3:40 p.m.

 

Port of Green Bay seeks to become 'world-class operation'

3/31 - Green Bay, Wis. - Over the next five years, the Port of Green Bay hopes to expand markets, bolster environmental mitigation efforts and find new opportunities, according to a draft of a long-range plan announced Monday at an annual port symposium in Green Bay.

Expanding markets, opening new markets and making the port a "world-class operation" are among the major goals laid out in the port's strategic plan.

"We'd like to really expand our influence into other economic development engines, NEW North is here (at the meeting), … and we want to have our harbor commissioners and staff take a more active role in reaching out and getting involved in these organizations," said Dean Haen, port manager. "We believe these are key points for building the Port of Green Bay, working on economic development for Northeastern Wisconsin and globally."

Symposium topics covered a number of current and future issues that the Port of Green Bay and the industry as a whole are facing in the near and long term and highlighted some of the activities port officials have undertaken in the last year.

New ideas and efforts

Those efforts include working with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and the state Department of Natural Resources to use some of the "slightly contaminated" dredged materials from the outer port in other transportation projects in the state.

"The best way to handled dredged materials is to find another use for them," said Neil McKloskey, president of the Harbor Commission.

If the material has construction properties, it means the DOT doesn't have to pay for that fill and gives the port a viable way to use 2 million cubic yards of stored dredging material, he said.

That would help prolong the life of the Bay Port Confined Disposal Facility and head off costs of finding a site for and building a new facility.

The materials –which are not part of the Fox River cleanup –would be used for interchanges at Interstate 43, Wisconsin 29 and U.S. 41.

One of the efforts the industry needs to undertake is increasing public awareness of water-borne commerce.

"How do we get our businesses to appreciate the port and recognize those advantages we have?" Haen said.

The port is seeking input from terminal operators before sending the long-range plan on to the Harbor Commission and eventually the county for approval in the next few months.

Looking back and ahead

By all accounts, last year was a slower season on the Great Lakes, due primarily to the slowed economy and reductions in the construction and steel sectors –both of which move large volumes of raw materials by ship.

The Lake Carriers Association reported a 34 percent drop in U.S. flagged vessel cargo totals last year, and the port of Green Bay saw a decline of about 18 percent in tonnages.

Carriers and trade associations say there is some reason for tempered optimism this year with an uptick in demand for iron ore, but many still remain wary of what of 2010 holds.

Ray Johnston, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said one of the areas that group would like to see develop in the Great Lakes region is short sea shipping.

"The federal governments in both the U.S. and Canada … see this as an opportunity to reduce congestion on our roads, improve the environment, lower greenhouse gas emissions and take some of the pressure off the infrastructure costs on our roadways and bridges," he said. "We have capacity in the marine mode that is not being utilized right now."

Short sea shipping is a practice in which intermodal containers are moved between ports by ships operating on a ferry-like schedule and has been put into practice in Europe.

Johnston said there are still some roadblocks slowing the process, including a harbor maintenance tax that hinders cross-border trade.

A study launched in December 2008 is also looking into the viability of Green Bay becoming a port that can handle intermodal containers.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Windsor area cutters break ice jam

3/31 - Windsor, Ont. – Massive ice jams that caused shipping traffic bottlenecks over the weekend have finally been cleared from the St. Clair River after round-the-clock work by the Canadian and U.S. coast guards.

"This winter was a very strange event," said Andy Maillet, the superintendent of operations at the Canadian Coast Guard regional operations centre in Sarnia.

"This particular winter has been an anomaly along the whole Eastern Seaboard. The Gulf of St. Lawrence saw record low amounts of ice. I certainly have never seen this in my 34 years."

Maillet said that while Lake St. Clair had the least amount of ice since 1984, it still saw three instances where ice bridges were formed at the mouth of the St. Clair River in January, February and last week.

"They sort of had the perfect storm type of situation where the winds, the temperatures, everything was in proper sync, the planets were aligned, and the ice just pummeled down the river, as it did a couple of months ago," said Maillet of the trouble that began early last week.

"The ice sealed up the river again, the only ice that remained out there was the heavy, thick ice that survived the melt, so it all piled up at the bottom of the St. Clair River and caused an ice jam whereby there was an ice jam both at the top end and the bottom end initially."

Seven ice breakers, the Samuel Risley and Griffon from Canada and five from the U.S., worked to clear the jam while shipping traffic was brought to a standstill.

"It's probably the first time we've ever had seven icebreakers working at one place on the Great Lakes ever," said Maillet.

There were about 20 commercial vessels waiting to proceed through the river while the icebreaking took place.

Such jams actually impede the flow of water and cause the level of Lake St. Clair to drop and Lake Huron to rise, Maillet said.

The Windsor Star

 

Icebreaker Mackinaw back in home port

3/31 - Cheboygan, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw returned to its homeport of Cheboygan early Monday after working for a week to clear ice jams in the St. Clair River. The icebreaker had been gone since March 15, when it departed Mackinaw City for the St. Marys River to prepare for the early opening of the Soo Locks on March 21.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Poe Lock, part of the Soo Locks, four full days before the scheduled March 25 re-opening. The second operational lock at the Soo, the MacArthur Lock, has been closed since Dec. 13, 2009. The MacArthur Lock is undergoing maintenance and is expected to re-open in April, depending on traffic volume.

Cheboygan News

 

Brush with death helps Kirk explain opposition to Coast Guard cuts

3/31 - Chicago, Ill. – When he was 16, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk was rescued from the frigid waters of Lake Michigan by sailors in a Coast Guard service boat.

He floated in 42-degree water for about 28 minutes. He was suffering from hypothermia and was close to drowning that spring day.

"But for the Coast Guard, I would not be here," Kirk said Monday.

Kirk is now fighting to keep the Obama administration from shutting down Coast Guard helicopter stations in Waukegan and Muskegon, Mich., across the lake from Milwaukee. Those facilities are now open during warm months.

The cost-cutting plan would keep only the Coast Guard helicopter station in Traverse City, Mich., on the northeast corner of Lake Michigan. Such a move, which would go into effect in 2011, would jeopardize thousands of boaters and swimmers who use the lake in the Chicago area, Kirk said.

"Right now, the helicopters in Waukegan and Muskegon arrive within half an hour," Kirk said. "If that same helicopter was launched from Traverse City, they would arrive in 90 minutes."

"The problem is that the average temperature of the water is 50 degrees," he said. "A swimmer in the open water would be likely to survive only 50 minutes at that temperature."

Kirk said he's working with a bi-partisan group of congressmen from the Great Lakes to try to prevent the cuts – part of a $5.5 million Coast Guard savings package.

The Coast Guard declined comment.

The proposed Homeland Security budget for the Coast Guard says the seasonal air facilities at Waukegan and Muskegon will be discontinued because they have a "limited demand for services."

Since 2004, the Waukegan air station performed 23 rescues and Muskegon did 27, according to Kirk's office.

One of the most dramatic rescues was on May 30, 2008, when six people and their captain were pulled out of the lake by the Coast Guard after their charter boat was swamped by a storm about two miles east of Waukegan Harbor.

Five people were pulled out of the water in a helicopter's rescue basket. A Coast Guard boat rescued the other two. All were treated for mild hypothermia.

Jim Emma, one of the survivors, acknowledged that he could not have waited for another minute for a helicopter.

"I would have been dead," he said.

Chicago Sun Times

 

Coast Guard rescues four from grounded boat

3/31 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich. rescued four males from two 19-foot personal crafts that ran aground offshore southern Green Bay, Wis., near the Frying Pan Shoal, Tuesday, at approximately 6:15 p.m.

"Fortunately, they were not injured, because they ran pretty hard aground," said Lt.j.g. Ryan Crose, Ninth Coast Guard District Command Center.

An Air Station Traverse City HH-65C crew lowered a rescue swimmer down and hoisted two people from each boat safely.

One of the 19-footers ran aground, and the other craft following ran aground as well after both had been fishing.

An occupant of one of the boats called the Coast Guard on a cell phone, and Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan initiated a search to locate the men.

A Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay 25-foot small boat (RB-S) response crew assisted the Traverse City air crew by vectoring them to the men's location.

 

Search finds no Asian carp in Chicago waters

3/31 - Traverse City, Mich. - A six-week search has turned up no Asian carp in Chicago-area waterways beyond an electric barrier designed to keep the despised fish out of the Great Lakes.

Spokesman Chris McCloud of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said today that biologists and commercial fishing teams have completed their search-and-destroy mission in a network of rivers and canals that open into Lake Michigan.

DNA from the invasive carp has been detected in the waterways. But McCloud said none of the actual fish were found during the extensive netting operation.

He says that suggests few if any of the unwanted carp have eluded the barrier.

Most of the Great Lakes states want shipping locks in the waterways closed because they fear the barrier isn't enough to protect the lakes.

The Associated Press

 

 

Updates - March 31

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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, 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 c.) JOHN DYKSTRA two months later.

The steamer b.) J. CLARE MILLER was launched March 31, 1906, as a.) HARVEY D. GOULDER (Hull#342) at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co., for W.A. & A.H. Hawgood of Cleveland, Ohio.

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 W. Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #67). In 1900, her nam 31 March 1890, EDWARD SMITH (wooden propeller, 201 foot, 748 gross tons) was launched ate 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.

 

Port Reports - March 30

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Century appeared to have its motors running Monday in its layup berth at Duluth’s Garfield dock. The vessel is scheduled to load April 7 at Midwest Energy Terminal but it wasn’t clear whether it might be taking another cargo before then. Twin Ports boatwatchers are getting a chance this week to see all the active vessels in Great Lakes Fleet. Roger Blough was in Two Harbors on Sunday, Edwin H. Gott is due in Two Harbors today, Edgar B. Speer and John G. Munson are both due in Two Harbors on Wednesday while Presque Isle is due in Duluth that day, and Arthur M. Anderson is due in Two Harbors on Thursday.

Silver Bay and Two Harbors - Benjamin Larson
Kaministiqua is delayed another day. She was due in Silver Bay Tuesday, now it is due on Wednesday at 0100. Burns Harbor is due Tuesday at 1430, loading for Indiana Harbor. For Two Harbors, the Edwin H. Gott is due at 0800. Wednesday in Two Harbors is going to be a busy day – Presque Isle is due first at 0200 followed by John G. Munson at 0600, followed by the American Century at 1400 followed by the Edgar B. Speer. Manitowoc is due Wednesday in Silver Bay at 1600 loading for Cleveland.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunrise on Monday at the Upper Harbor found Lee A. Tregurtha and Michipicoten loading ore. Charles M. Beeghly was anchored waiting to load. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder was expected later in the day.

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Monday Maria Desganges departed the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 7:45 a.m. and went to anchor awaiting orders. John D Leitch departed Hamilton at 1:30 p.m. from U.S. Steel and was headed for Silver Bay. The Rt. Hon Paul J. Martin departed U.S. Steel at 3:45 p.m. after discharging coal from Sandusky. Algosoo departed her winter layup at Pier 26 earlier in the day and shifted to the Lafarge dock to load cargo.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Oakglen received an all-over coat of prime paint on her hull this weekend. This means she will be coming out in CSL colors (at least on her hull). Atlantic Superior is now in port awaiting her turn in drydock. Pearl Seas Cruises has revised its schedule and has cancelled the 2010 season. The first cruise for Pearl Mist is now listed for January 2011. The ship is tied up in Shelburne, Nova Scotia, while a dispute between owners and builders is resolved. The ship was to give cruises on the St. Lawrence, Great Lakes and East Coast in 2010.

 

Updates - March 30

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Discussion Boards updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 30

The tanker CHEMICAL MAR arrived at Brownsville, Texas on March 30, 1983, in tow of the tug FORT LIBERTE to be scrapped. 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. She was sold by Hall and was 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.

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.

 

Season looking up for lakes, Port of Milwaukee

3/29 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The commercial shipping season is under way early on the Great Lakes, a sign that the economy is improving.

Recently, the Army Corps of Engineers opened the Soo Locks, which connect Lake Huron and Lake Superior, four days early because of favorable ice conditions and growing demand for iron ore and coal.

"Things are moving quicker, sooner than a year ago. And it seems like more ships are involved," said Eric Reinelt, Port of Milwaukee executive director.

Of five ships that spent the winter docked in Milwaukee, three have already left. One huge freighter, the Stewart J. Cort, is scheduled to leave soon after having been docked here since November 2008.

"It has orders to move iron ore from Duluth to Chicago. That's a pretty good sign," Reinelt said.

The last frozen bottleneck in the Great Lakes, the St. Clair River that connects southern Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, was finally cleared of ice last week.

The river is the main shipping artery for freighters headed from Minnesota and Wisconsin to ports in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

It was closed to ship traffic after massive chunks of ice broke free in Lake Huron and clogged the river's entrance at Port Huron.

Coast Guard icebreakers Neah Bay, Biscayne Bay, Bristol Bay, Mackinaw, and the Canadian ship Griffin worked day and night to clear a path through the ice, where several freighters had become stuck.

Until the ice was cleared, iron ore was not getting through to the mills, said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association, a Cleveland-based trade group.

Recession's impact
Traditionally, the lakes have been used for shipping bulk goods such as cement, grain and iron ore.

A year ago, the recession had weakened demand for iron ore and other commodities, keeping all but a few of the behemoth lake freighters tied to the docks.

The 1,000-foot Stewart J. Cort came to Milwaukee in 2008, when steel mills in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio were shutting down and laying off people. Now U.S. steel mills are operating at about 71% of capacity, compared with less than 50% a year ago.

Some mills are clamoring for iron ore to make steel. At least one mill had exhausted its supply.

"That should bode well for the iron ore shipping trade," Nekvasil said.

There are 44,000 jobs directly tied to Great Lakes shipping, and nearly 200,000 jobs in the mining and steel industries that depend on the lakes' cargo.

Last year, many ships remained in their winter mooring because they lacked cargo, not because of the weather.

"There is definitely a correlation between demand for commodities on the Great Lakes and the overall economy," said Jason Serek, president of the Wisconsin Commercial Ports Association and executive director of the Port of Superior.

It could be another few months before port directors know whether the early surge in shipping will last. But the first European vessel of the season is scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee on April 8, several weeks ahead of normal.

"The fact that someone had an order on the books for a ship to come here from Europe is a good sign," Reinelt said.

State rules cost millions
Milwaukee's port and terminal operators lost millions in revenue and about 25 jobs partly because of state rules that clamped down on the shipment of wind-turbine components, one of the region's hottest commodities.

Caravans of the huge turbine parts were shipped through Duluth, Minn., and Beaumont, Texas, rather than Milwaukee.

But the Port of Milwaukee has made room for storage of wind blades, hoping to get more of that business. The entrance ramp to I-794 will be widened this summer so that trucks can get on the highway easier and not have to use city streets.

Mostly because of strong grain exports, and a record 1.3 million tons of salt brought to Milwaukee, the port's tonnage was down only about 1% last year from 2008.

"Ships will follow the demand for cargo. As long as there's a demand for steel to come here, and as long as grain exports remain strong, we will have plenty of traffic," Reinelt said.

There are about 135 U.S. and Canadian freighters operating on the Great Lakes, including vessels that are more than 100 years old.

The newer ships on the lakes are considered to be 10 to 20 years old.

Great Lakes vessels last a long time because they don't corrode as quickly as they would in salt water.

"If you take care of a ship, it can last as long as you want," Nekvasil said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Port Reports - March 29

Silver Bay, Minn. - Benjamin Larson
The Kaministiqua has been delayed, she is now expected on Tuesday for her first trip of the season, loading for Hamilton. Burns Harbor is due at 3 p.m., loading for Indiana Harbor. Manitowoc is due in Wednesday, loading for Toledo.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded the first coal cargo of the season into the Wisconsin Electric hopper.

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham
Frontenac was ballasted down overnight and departed Sunday afternoon. The crew on the Cuyahoga was removing the covers on the wheelhouse windows. Other vessels still in port include Mississagi, Algolake, Algosea, Algorail and Algosar.

Sandusky, Ohio - Don Lee
Manitowoc arrived at the Sandusky Coal Dock at about 4 p.m. Sunday, followed by Robert S. Pierson at about 6:30 p.m., under skies that matched the ships' gray hulls.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Sea Eagle II and St. Marys Cement II departed Sunday.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Montrealais departed port Saturday afternoon to begin her season. Tim S. Dool was turned at Redpath Sugar early Sunday morning.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne Crack
Canadian Olympic sailed her 45-minute journey from the Iroquois Locks in the choppy waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway through Prescott, Ont. at 10 a.m.

 

11 vessels taking part in Tall Ships event in Bay City

3/29 - Bay City, Mich. – The largest fleet of Tall Ships to visit Michigan this summer will arrive in downtown Bay City on July 15 and kick off the 2010 Tall Ship Celebration.

From July 15 to 18, nine ships ranging from movie stars to a Cold War relic will be available for boarding and touring. Two additional ships, Bay City's own Appledore IV and Appledore V, will offer sailing excursions throughout the festival.

"We are very pleased to present a diverse fleet of Tall Ships this summer and we're confident there will be something for everyone to enjoy," explained Event Coordinator Shirley Roberts. "The size and rigging of the ships are as diverse as their colorful stories. The fleet this year will include the best combination of Tall Ship Celebration favorites and some striking new additions."

Returning to the maritime festival are festival favorites Pride of Baltimore II Maryland's flag ship and Michigan's own Madeline from Traverse City. The HMS Bounty, based on Long Island, New York, has been completely renovated since her last Bay City appearance in 2003.

Docking in Bay City for the first time in 2010 are the "Freedom Schooner" Amistad from Connecticut, the "Twin Brigantines" Pathfinder & Playfair from Toronto and Roseway, a National Historic Landmark operating from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The hard-working sail training vessel Roald Amundsen gets the nod for traveling the farthest, having left her home port of Eckernförde, Germany on Feb. 20 to make her way to the United States, the Great Lakes and Michigan. Wisconsin's Denis Sullivan, with her strong environmental programming, is the flag ship for the Great Lakes United Tall Ships® Challenge, a series of Tall Ships races and rallies that see the fleet in Toronto (June 30--July 4), Cleveland (July 7--11), Bay City (July 15--18), Duluth (July 29--August 1), Green Bay (August 12--15) and Chicago (August 24--29).

Tickets for the four-day festival go on sale May 1. Souvenir passports which are required to board and tour the visiting Tall Ships will be available for $12 each through the end of June and $15 each as of July 1.

The passports include admission to all four days of the event and the opportunity to board and tour each ship one time. For those who are not interested in actually touring the Tall Ships, but would like to attend and enjoy all the other activities offered during the festival, daily admission is $6 and available each day at the festival gates. Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City is presented by Dow Corning and sponsored by The Bay City Times/Saginaw News, Dow Chemical Company, St. Mary's of Michigan, Consumers Energy, CMU Public Broadcasting, Wildfire Credit Union and Citizens Bank.

Bay City has produced a Tall Ship Celebration previously in 2001, 2003 and 2006 and has won "Port of the Year" honors for its efforts in 2001 and 2006. When it welcomes the American Sail Training Association Tall Ships fleet in July 2010, Bay City will again be the only official host port for the state of Michigan.

For more information about Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City, contact Shirley Roberts by phone at 989.225.7856, by e-mail at Shirley.Roberts@charter.net, or visit the organization's website www.tallshipcelebration.com.

Midland Daily News

 

Port Huron museum organizes annual nautically-themed market

3/29 - Port Huron - The Port Huron Museum will hold Marine Mart 2010 on Saturday, June 5, at the Seaway Terminal, 2336 Military St., Port Huron.

The museum is looking for vendors for the marine memorabilia-themed flea market, which is presented by Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, Acheson Ventures and the museum.

Space rental rates are $35 if received before May 1, and $40 if later.

Vendors will sell artifacts, pictures, books and other items, as well as food. Others will give presentations. The Great Lakes Nautical Society will show off more than 50 remote-controlled boats.

For more information, contact Holly Modock at the museum at (810) 982-0891, ext. 118.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

May 2010 lighthouse and freighter cruise

3/29 - BoatNerd and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association have joined with Keweenaw Excursions to organize the first lighthouse/freighter chasing event of 2010. This unusual trip will take place from May 19 to May 21.

The fun will begin and end in Sault Ste. Marie, and features a two-day cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star which will travel from Marquette across Lake Superior, down the St. Marys River, overnight in the Soo, continue down thru the Rock Cut, DeTour, and across the top of Lake Huron. The cruise will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and sail down Lake Michigan to Charlevoix. The boat will provide photo opportunities at 20 lighthouses and all the vessels in the busy shipping lanes along the way.

Due to bus availability, this event is limited to the first 46 people who make reservations. Make yours today. Click here for details.

 

Updates - March 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Discussion Boards updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 29

N. M. Paterson & Sons, PRINDOC (Hull#657) of Davie Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec, was sold off-lakes during the week of March 29, 1982, to the Southern Steamship Co., Georgetown, Cayman Islands and was renamed b.) HANKEY. Later renamed c.) CLARET III in 1990, d.) S SARANTA in 1992, e.) PLATANA IN 1997, Scrapped at Alaiga, Turkey in 1997.

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.

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

 

 

Coast Guard conquers ice, vessels moving freely on St. Clair River

3/28 - Algonac, Mich. – Thanks to the efforts of the U. S. Coast Guard’s Mackinaw, Bristol Bay, Biscayne Bay, Neah Bay and Penobscot Bay, as well as the Canadian Coast Guard ships Samuel Risley and Griffon, which worked around the clock for multiple days, the St. Clair River has been cleared of ice and commercial traffic is now flowing without delay.

The river opened to a backlog of downbound traffic Saturday morning. The marathon ice-breaking efforts that took place over the last week were successful, as Saturday morning the ice edge was reported to be below Light X44 in the St. Clair Cut Off Channel below Harsen's Island. The ice bridge above Port Huron is all but gone. The river is clear of ice at Algonac with the North Channel clear and the Harsens Island ferry running. The Walpole Island ferry should be running by Monday.

Troubles began in the early morning of March 20 when winds shifted to the north and drove the remains of the ice bridge in lower Lake Huron into the Huron Cut above Port Huron, causing it to pile onto itself. Vessel passages through the area broke up the large ice fields and allowed it to flush down the St. Clair River. Once the ice reached the St. Clair delta area where the river, with its twisting channels, empties into Lake St. Clair, it clogged the lower river.

Boatwatchers were treated to a parade of ships Saturday that began with a downbound convoy about 9:30 a.m. In the convoy were Edwin H. Gott leading the Edgar B. Speer, John D. Leitch, Saginaw, Manitowoc and the tug Reliance / barge PML 9000.

Once the downbounders were clear, the backlog of upbound traffic was free to move. Leading the way was Arthur M. Anderson, followed by Canadian Enterprise, tug Dorothy Ann / barge Pathfinder, tug Samuel de Champlain / barge Innovation, tug Salvor / barge Lambert Spirit, tug Everlast / barge Norman McLeod, Lee A. Tregurtha, Algocape, Charles M. Beeghly and Algowood.

With the river reopened to two-way traffic, the downbound American Mariner and Indiana Harbor came down that afternoon.

The cutters quickly dispersed once traffic was moving. Mackinaw and Biscayne Bay sailed upbound, Mackinaw stopping in Port Huron while Biscayne Bay continued on to Lake Huron. Bristol Bay returned to Detroit, while Neah Bay and Penobscot Bay tied up in Windsor. The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley stopped in the Belle Isle Anchorage and Griffon tied up in Windsor.

While the U.S. crews were likely looking forward to a night of liberty in the Canadian city, the Risley and Griffon had been breaking ice since they left Sarnia at 9 a.m. Thursday. Griffon stopped for a few hours Friday morning but the Risley spent over 56 hours straight breaking ice in the lower St. Clair River without stopping.

 

Port Reports - March 28

Silver Bay and Two Harbors - Benjamin Larson
Kaministiqua was delayed a day or more due to ice in the St. Clair River and is now due Monday morning, loading for Hamilton. Tuesday the Burns Harbor is scheduled to load for Indiana Harbor and Edwin H. Gott and John G. Munson are expected in Silver Bay in the afternoon early evening. Roger Blough is due in Two Harbors Sunday evening, loading for Gary.

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
Downbound Saturday was Herbert C. Jackson and Calumet before sunrise, followed by Canadian Navigator, American Spirit, Quebecois and Great Lakes Trader. Upbound traffic included Algocanada, Alpena and Roger Blough.

Port Weller, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Peter R Cresswell departed Seaway Marine Saturday.

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne Crack
The upbound Spruceglen passed under sunny skies through the St. Lawrence River at Prescott, Ont., Saturday at 10:20 a.m.

 

User traffic bogs down Port Huron Webcam

3/28 - Note: We received a couple hundred e-mails Saturday inquiring as to the status of the Port Huron Webcam. With the parade of ships coming down we had over 2,000 people try to login to the camera at about the same time Saturday morning. The camera does not have the bandwidth to support this many viewers, that is why the camera may not have loaded. The issues continued most of the day as users continued to log on.

 

Updates - March 28

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 28

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.

 

 

St. Clair River open, traffic backed up

3/27 - Port Huron, Mich.  - 1:30 update - Upbound traffic was allowed to proceed up early Saturday afternoon. The convoy will take the order of Arthur M. Anderson first, Canadian Enterprise, Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder,  tug Salvor, Everlast and barge, Samuel D. Champlain and barge Innovation, Algocape, Algowood  (may be delayed at fuel dock), Charles M. Beeghly, Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaministiqua.

At 12:40 Edwin H. Gott lead the convoy into the St. Clair Cut Off Channel. At 1:15 p.m. the Gott has passed through the remaining ice in the Cut Off Channel with little effort and was turning onto Lake St. Clair.

9:30 a.m. update - The convoy has started to move down river from Lake Huron. The Edwin H. Gott is leading the Edgar B. Speer, John D. Leitch, Saginaw, Manitowoc and the tug Reliance. All up bound traffic remains is place, except for Lee A. Tregurtha which is upbound near Amherstburg heading for the Ojibway anchorage. USCGC Mackinaw is coordinating the four USCG Bay-class cutters and the two Canadian ice breakers. The six ice breakers were stationed along the lower river and into Lake St. Clair.

The marathon ice breaking efforts that took place over the last several days were successful as Saturday morning the ice edge was reported to be below Light X44 in the St. Clair Cut Off Channel below Harsen's Island. The ice bridge above Port Huron is all but gone. The river is clear of ice at Algonac with the North Channel clear and the Harsens Island ferry running. The Walpole Island ferry should be running by Monday.

USCG Penobscot Bay returned to the area Saturday morning after working Lake Michigan.

9 a.m. update - The St. Clair River remained closed Friday as a flotilla of cutters worked to flush ice from the river.

Boatwatchers are in for a treat Saturday when the river reopens about 9 a.m. releasing the backlog of traffic had stacked up in the area. Above Port Huron, Edgar B. Speer spent another day at anchor. Downbound on Lake Huron Friday night were Edwin H. Gott, Manitowoc, Saginaw, tug Reliance with barge and American Mariner.

In Detroit, Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder and tug Everlast and barge remained in the Belle Isle anchorage. Arthur M. Anderson remained at Zug Island, Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were tied at their Detroit dock and Canadian Enterprise was at Sterling Fuel. Kaministiqua was ready to depart winter lay-up from the Mortem Dock in Windsor.

On Lake Erie, the Charles M. Beeghly was reported to be waiting for the river opening in Monroe, Mich. Algocape and Algowood were waiting in the Colchester Anchorage.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley pulled an all-nighter working through the night Thursday and into Friday breaking ice in the lower St. Clair River. The CCG Griffon stopped about 3:30 a.m. and got back to work about 8:30 a.m., along with the USCG Biscayne Bay, Bristol Bay and Neah Bay. Mackinaw sat out the day in Port Huron where it had been moored since Thursday night.

The smaller cutters stopped for the night at dark, their crew size does not allow for 24 hour operation, the Risley and Griffon continued working the lower river through the night into Saturday. Samuel Risley was approaching 50 hours straight of ice breaking Saturday morning.

The only commercial traffic moving Friday was Algocanada, departing Sarnia and heading upbound for Thunder Bay.

While a backlog of traffic may be a treat for boatwatchers it is expensive for the shipping companies.  "These vessels are very expensive to operate," Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers' Association told the Port Huron Times Herald. "It can cost as much as $3,500 an hour just to keep it running." 

Nekvasil said officials are appreciative of the number of Coast Guard ships called in to break ice. While ice in the shipping channel can be frustrating, everyone understands the forces of Mother Nature. "Some delays are inevitable, but you certainly do your best to minimize them," Nekvasil said.

Please send pictures to news@boatnerd.net

 

Thunder Bay Shipping season starts

3/27 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The opening of the shipping season began early Thursday morning when the Saginaw arrived in the city’s port.

Harbour master Guy Jarvis welcomed the Saginaw’s Capt. Colin Lozon and chief engineer Sheldon Finlay during the annual Opening of Navigation Top Hat ceremony, a tradition that dates back to the formation of the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

"The Top Hat ceremony is a welcoming ceremony which recognizes the first vessel that actually transits to Thunder Bay through Whitefish Bay and Sault Ste. Marie," Jarvis said. "It recognizes the spring of the year for the citizens of Thunder Bay."

The Saginaw is a bulk carrier owned by Lower Lakes Shipping; it’s 639 feet long and 72 feet wide.

Lozon and his crew will be loading 13,000 metric tons of canola to bring to Windsor, Ont., and he noted it feels good to be the first ship to arrive in Thunder Bay’s harbor.  "It was an early start," he said. "We’re looking forward to another good season. We call on Thunder Bay quite regularly." 

While the season started a week early this year, Lozon said there are some challenges that come with it. "We dealt with some ice, which caused almost a 24-hour delay in the Sarnia region," he said.

Jarvis said the Sault Locks usually open March 25, but it opened a week earlier due to demand in America for coal and iron ore.

"Every week that is extended onto the season via an early start or late finish helps the cargo statistics and gets traffic up in our ports so we welcome this type of news," he said, adding their hoping for improvements this year. "Grain and coal were very poor last year because of the downturn in the economy but things appear to be looking up and we look forward to a successful year," said Jarvis.

The Welland Canal opened Thursday, making the entire St. Lawrence Seaway open for business.

TBNewsWatch

 

Port Reports - March 27

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On a frigid Friday morning at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson, sporting fresh paint, and Michipicoten, making her third visit of the season, loaded ore.

Soo Locks - Jeff & Greg Barber
After water levels came up overnight, Edgar B. Speer and Manitowoc locked downbound early Thursday morning and the John D. Leitch got underway, followed by Presque Isle, Saginaw, John G. Munson, and in the afternoon with the American Mariner, and Indiana Harbor in the evening. The Canadian Progress was upbound around noon.

Port Weller, Ont. - Eli Morgan
Peter R. Cresswell was removed from the dry dock at PWDD and tied up on the wall before she departs for Bowmanville/

Prescott, Ont. - Joanne Crack
The first upbound vessels of the season, the tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick, cleared the St. Lawrence Seaway with ease under clear blue skies about 10 a.m. Atlantic Erie passed upbound at 5:20 p.m. Maria Desgagnes headed upbound on the Seaway at 6 p.m.

 

Airboat removed from St. Clair River

3/27 - Marine City, Mich. – An airboat stuck in the St. Clair River has been removed by a marine towing company.

Rodney Jessup, 47, of Harsens Island, said he was driving the airboat to the Clay Township mainland about 7:10 p.m. Thursday when he got stuck between two chunks of ice. The boat tipped forward – taking on water – as he revved the engine in an attempt to get free, Jessup said.

Jessup said the boat turned over, but he stepped onto a chunk of ice and “didn’t even get a wet foot.” The Harsens Island Fire Department rescued Jessup from the ice about 20 minutes later.

The boat was left in the water until this morning.

The Clay Township-Harsens Island ferry was not operating Friday because of ice in the river. No passenger airboats are allowed on the water at this time.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Toledo Port board approves contracts for equipment, improvements

3/27 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo Lucas-County Port Authority has awarded more than $3 million in construction and purchase contracts for road and railroad improvements and equipment for port facilities that are covered by federal grants.

The projects include rebuilding the main road to the port authority's general-cargo docks, relocating another road to enable dock expansion, and buying and installing a dry-bulk vessel loading system for the facility.

The port authority's board of directors also accepted a staff recommendation to rebid a contract for materials-handling equipment at the docks for which the agency has received $4 million more in federal funds.

The board deferred action, meanwhile, on a proposal to request a name change for Metcalf Field, the Lake Township airport that was Toledo's first airfield but has been used primarily, if not exclusively, by private and corporate aircraft since Toledo Express Airport's opening 55 years ago.

The port's airport committee had recommended a resolution proposing Toledo Executive Airport as the new name, but during the meeting yesterday, committee chairman Jerry Chabler offered an amendment changing that to Toledo Metcalf Executive Airport. Board chairman Opie Rollison then suggested the matter go back to the airport committee before the full board takes it up, a referral Mr. Chabler accepted.

Diversified Road & Pipe Inc. of Whitehouse was the winning bidder for two of the contracts the port board awarded. The firm is to be paid $867,481.25 to rebuild George Hardy Drive, which connects Tiffin Avenue with the general-cargo docks' main entrance, and $119,830 to build a rail spur into the port-owned Toledo Shipyard.

The George Hardy project will replace pavement that has deteriorated rapidly in recent years; the rail spur will allow shipyard operator Ironhead Marine to ship and receive materials by train.

Miller Brothers Construction of Archbold received a $1,805,432.58 contract to relocate St. Lawrence Drive, which was the general-cargo docks' entrance road before a bridge on Tiffin opened, allowing a nearby railroad crossing on Front Street to be closed.

Both street projects and the rail spur are covered by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ("stimulus") grants.

The port authority received just one bid for the dry-bulk vessel loading system, and it came in about $18,000 higher than a $350,000 "stimulus" grant the agency received last year for that equipment. Port President Paul Toth said the agency was able to reduce the bid from Process Machinery Inc. of Shelbyville, Ky., to $348,976 by arranging for existing cranes at the Toledo port to be used for unloading and erecting the equipment.

Toledo Blade

 

New Discussion Boards

3/27 - For several years we have been working on a replacement for our dated discussion boards. After many revisions and user comments we have launched an updated board.

Based on user feed back we have simplified the user interface and tried to make it intuitive. The new system will allow inline attachments and provides better privacy by not publically displaying the user's IP.

Use accounts are optional, you may still post by simply clicking the "Post New Topic" button. We suggest creating a user account, this will allow you to track new posts and post without entering the security codes every time. We plan to run both boards together until we get a larger pool of user feed back. If you are familiar with these types of boards from other sites please visit http://newsearch.boatnerd.com

For instructions on use click here

 

Updates - March 27

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 27

The steamer b.) EDWARD S. KENDRICK was launched March 27, 1907, as a.) H P McINTOSH (Hull#622) at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. for the Gilchrist Transportation Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

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 REDFERN (wooden schooner, 181 foot, 680 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #65) on 27 March 1890. Dimensions: 190' x 35' x 14.2'; 680 g.t.; 646 n.t. Converted to a motorship in 1926. Foundered on September 19, 1937, four miles off Point Betsie Light, Lake Michigan. The loss was covered in an unsourced news clipping from Sept. 1937:  Freighter Wrecked Eleven Are Saved. Ship Founders in Lake Michigan. Sault Ste. Marie, Sept. 20 - (Special) - Eleven members of the crew of the 181-foot wooden-hulled freighter C. E. Redfern, which foundered in Lake Michigan on Saturday night four miles northwest of Point Betsie Lighthouse, were rescued by coastguard cutter Escanaba. The men were landed safely at Frankfort, Michigan, and it is reported that considerable wreckage of the cargo of logs, decking and deckhouse of the ill-fated vessel were strewn about and floating towards shore.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Gerry Ouderkirk, Ivan Brookes Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Seaway and Welland Canal open Thursday

3/26 - The Atlantic Huron arrived Wednesday, in order to be first up the Seaway at St Lambert on Thursday. She will unload at the Cote Ste Catherine wharf; it is unknown if she will continue up the Seaway or turn around on Lac St. Louis after unloading her cargo of gypsum. The McAsphalt tug Victorious and her barge John J Carrick, bound for Detroit, will be the second traffic up bound.

The first downbound vessel of the season, J.W. Shelley, sailed through the Seaway at Prescott, Ont., at 11:20 a.m.

The Welland Canal opened with the transit of the barge Marinelink Explorer and tug Commodore Straits. Captain Mark Leaney received the traditional top hat as master of first ship through the canal. The tug and barge are on their maiden voyage with a cargo of wheat for Trois Rivieres, Que. After unloading, the next cargo will be two locomotives. The opening comes six days earlier than last year.

Kent Malo, Joanne Crack and Bill Bird

 

St. Clair River fight continues with all-out assault from icebreaking fleet

3/26 - Thursday morning started with Lee A. Tregurtha leading Charles M. Beeghly downbound shortly before 7 a.m. from their overnight anchorage in lower Lake Huron. The icebreaker Mackinaw departed the Seaway Terminal and took up the lead about 8 a.m., joined by the tug Manitou, behind the Lee A., a short time later.

The icebreaker Samuel Risley also arrived downbound and followed the convoy, with the icebreaker Griffon behind the Risley. The convoy entered the lower river shortly before 10 a.m. and passed through without incident. By 11 a.m. they had reached Lake St. Clair, and Mackinaw turned upbound to pass upbound through the old South Channel.

With the river closed to further traffic, the most impressive collection of Great Lake icebreakers seen in one location at the same time in decades began an all-out assault on the ice-clogged lower river.

Coordinating efforts, the Mackinaw, Risley, Griffon, Bristol Bay, Neah Bay and Biscayne Bay all worked the various channels of the river. As one worked to get the ice moving off Algonac, others downstream would keep the ice moving into Lake St. Clair.

Efforts continued until dark when most of the icebreakers stopped for the night. Mackinaw headed back for Port Huron, Risley and Griffon continued working the lower river.

Upbound traffic delayed at Detroit included Everlast, which cleared Sterling Fuel up to the Belle Isle Anchorage at noon. Canadian Enterprise was ready to depart Sterling about 15:30 after spending the morning anchored in the Ojibway Anchorage. She remained at the fuel dock.

Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder completed their Cuyahoga River shuttle and were headed upbound for Marquette, Mich. At 1 p.m., they were asked to anchor off Detroit. Arthur M. Anderson was ready to depart Zug Island about 6 p.m., but remained at the dock waiting for river to open.

Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were upbound from Cleveland heading to Alpena to load. They stopped at their Detroit dock about 6:30 p.m. to wait for the river opening.

Edwin H. Gott arrived downbound on Lake Huron with a load for Zug Island and was sent to anchor in lower Lake Huron Thursday evening.

 

Top hat tipped at school to start off canal season

3/26 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Algoma Central Corp. and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. share a long history together, and for that history to continue, the industry will need an influx of new workers, the president and chief executive officer of Algoma said Thursday.

"We have been operating vessels on the Great Lakes for 110 years — we also have a long history with the City of Port Colborne, as we have owned a local repair firm, Fraser Marine and Industrial, for almost 40 years," said Greg Wight.

This year marks the 52nd season for the seaway and the 181st year for the Welland Canal.

Wight was speaking at Lakeshore Catholic High School, where the city's annual canal-opening top hat ceremony was held Thursday.

Mayor Vance Badawey said the ceremony was held at the school this year for a couple of reasons — because of the school's specialist high skills major program and because the first downbound ship — the Algoeast — had been stuck in ice near Sarnia and wasn't expected to arrive in the city until late afternoon.

"Today will showcase the ability our local high schools have in preparing the next generation's workforce while hearing first hand from some of the largest contributors to Niagara's economy — the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. and Algoma Central Corp. — of what their needs are today and will be in the future," said Badawey.

Niagara Catholic District School Board education director John Crocco and Lakeshore principal Dan DiLorenzo said the Catholic board's specialist high skills major program gives students many opportunities to learn and practise all sorts of trades before they even leave high school. The program is also offered by District School Board of Niagara at Port Colborne High School.

DiLorenzo encouraged Lakeshore students to look at a career in the shipping industry.

Wight was pleased to learn the mayor and city had partnered with the high school to promote the shipping industry as a career opportunity. He said there are jobs in the marine industry and added Algoma needs skilled personnel to ensure its future survival.

"To stress how important recruitment is to Algoma I would like to quote from a section in our 2009 annual report titled Risks and Uncertainties," said Wight, who noted the company has 1,500 employees.

“'The long-term concern remains that the marine industry will continue to need skilled personnel. There are a limited number of training schools available to the industry and the industry faces competition from other sectors to attract and retain good employees. A lack of shipboard staff could lead to service delays and outages. The corporation is working with the industry and educators to enhance training programs to ensure an adequate supply of labor will be available to meet its future needs.”

"We are looking to groups like yourselves to be the future leaders in our company and in the marine industry," Wight told students.

While Algoma is looking to its future, so, too, are the city and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Jean Aubry-Morin, the seaway's vice-president of corporate sustainability, said 2009 was a challenging year for the corporation. The tonnage of transit that moved through the system, which stretches from Montreal to Thunder Bay, was down 25 percent last year compared to 2008. Just more than 30 million tonnes of goods were transported through the canal in 2009.

"We're looking to 2010 with much optimism and believe we'll have 34 million tonnes move through the system," he said.

The seaway company is always investing money to improve its operations and infrastructure, Aubry-Morin said. The corporation will be investing $200 million over the 12 years to renew its infrastructure.

Also, the Seaway is testing vessel transits at a deeper draft within existing channels. Utilizing advanced software, satellite navigation and high-resolution charts of the channel bottom, some vessels are being permitted to transit at a draft of 26-foot-9 on a trial basis.

The deeper draft, which increases the amount of cargo a ship can carry, may be extended to the Welland Canal.

"It can help the economy and bring better prospects for the future of the seaway," said Aubry-Morin, adding Port Colborne has a critical role to play in the future of the seaway as well.

Badawey said the opening of the canal helps signify south Niagara as a gateway to a new economy.

"The government of Ontario has specifically identified the Niagara region as the location of the only Gateway Economic Zone and a Gateway Economic Centre in the province. A gateway is a geographic area through which significant incoming and outgoing transport/trade flows are distributed by means of transfer and transshipment. Situated at a point of entry, a gateway is what brings together intermodal transport connections …" the mayor said.

Shipping and the marine industry are important aspects of the gateway concept and Port Colborne has a great connection to the canal and industry overall. In fact, a breakfast before the ceremony was sponsored by West Pier Marine and Industrial Supply Inc., a marine supply company.

The mayor said there are many shipping and marine-related businesses in the city which rely on the canal and shipping companies, such as Algoma.

The top hat ceremony, Badawey said, shows the community's "appreciation for the industry's contribution to the overall economy within our community and the region."

Welland Tribune

 

Seaway tonnage set to rebound

3/26 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway began its 52nd navigation season on an upbeat note Thursday, forecasting a 10-12 percent increase in tonnage volume for 2010. The tug / barge MarineLink Explorer, owned by Upper Lakes Group Inc., was in the midst of transiting the Welland Canal’s Lock 3 as Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) declared the Seaway navigation season open.

Total Seaway cargo volume for 2009 amounted to 30.7 million tonnes, the lowest volume seen since the early 1960s. The 25 percent decrease in cargo volume compared to 2008 is attributed to the depth of the recession, which sharply curtailed movements of iron ore and steel on the waterway. For 2010, the SLSMC is projecting a rebound in tonnage volume to 34 million tonnes.

“We do not harbor any illusions as to the challenges that await us,” noted Mr. Corfe, speaking at the opening ceremonies, which were held at the St. Catharines Museum adjacent to Lock 3. “While steel production is rebounding somewhat in 2010, we do not anticipate iron ore and steel product volumes will regain their historic highs at any point in the near future. This realization leads us to conclude that the Seaway must redouble its efforts to both retain its current users and diversify its client base.”

In a quest to retain current users and make Seaway transits more productive, the Seaway is testing vessel transits at a deeper draft within the existing channels. Utilizing advanced software, satellite navigation, and high resolution charts of the channel bottom, some vessels are being permitted to transit at a draft of 26’9” on a trial basis. By this means, vessels are able to carry more tonnage, further enhancing the marine mode’s class leading energy efficiency and low carbon footprint.

To effectively open up the Seaway to new uses and diversify its cargo base, the Seaway is continuing its development of hands-free mooring at Lock 7 of the Welland Canal. “Testing will continue this year, and the end result if successful will enable most of the world’s Seaway sized vessels to transit our locks without the use of mooring lines, eliminating the need for Seaway specific vessel modifications,” outlined CEO Corfe.

Progress continues to be made on the ballast water management front. The findings of the 2009 report from the Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group (a joint endeavor between Canadian and U.S. authorities) points out that 100 percent of all ballast water discharged into the Seaway / Great Lakes complied with the Seaway’s stringent requirements. Recent studies by leading academics reveal that no new invasive species attributable to ocean vessel transits have been reported since 2006.

Collister Johnson Jr., administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, spoke at the opening ceremony of the productive relationship that exists between the Canadian and U.S. Seaway entities. “All matters governing the Seaway as a whole must be coordinated and made jointly through a collaborative process, a fact which is sometimes forgotten by onlookers. I am proud of the long-standing culture of cooperation between the two Seaway Corporations.”

Recognizing that marine transportation plays an important but seldom understood role in Canada and the U.S., the Seaway Corporations are joining with major players within the marine trade to raise awareness with governments, media, and residents alike under the caption of “Marine Delivers”. The objective of Marine Delivers is to ensure that issues related to marine transportation are viewed within a full and balanced context. Marine transportation continues to be the most fuel efficient mode of transportation, having the lowest total greenhouse gas emissions per tonne-mile. Combined with the opportunity to lessen congestion on crowded land routes, moving more cargo via the marine mode on Highway H2O provides a range of green dividends.

As CEO Richard Corfe emphasized “the Seaway is not adverse to healthy debates. We simply want to ensure that all stakeholders are fully informed of all relevant facts before reaching a conclusion. Working together, government, industry and the Seaway can provide a means of continuing to build our economy and our quality of life while protecting the interests of generations to come, which is the true essence of sustainability.”

For more information on the St. Lawrence Seaway, please consult the www.greatlakes-seaway.com website.

 

Coast Guard, EMTs evacuate crew member from Block

3/26 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Conditions were perfect for a Coast Guard crew running to a medical call out on Lake Michigan on Wednesday morning, but the distance involved made it imperative to take along paramedics from Grand Haven's hospital.

"We do it more often than you would expect," said Petty Officer Brandon Blackwell, a public relations spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District. "We take EMTs with us as much as possible."

Emergency medical technicians were essential in the case of Wednesday's call, when Station Grand Haven was alerted of a man suffering from chest pains onboard a freighter about 30 miles southwest of Grand Haven's shore. It took about 50 minutes for a crew from Station Grand Haven to reach the freighter Joseph L. Block.

Blackwell said it was important to have the paramedics along so they could provide advanced life support to the patient on the long ride back to land. The call for help was initially given to Sector Lake Michigan, which transferred the request to Station Grand Haven, the closest to the vessel said Senior Chief Petty Officer Sean Sulski, the officer in charge of Station Grand Haven. "They told us to get EMS," he said, so North Ottawa Community Hospital paramedics were summoned at 6:23 a.m.

NOCH paramedics Barb Korson and James Trosper, accompanied by personnel from the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, responded to the station.

"They were outfitted head-to-toe, got them on a boat and sped them all the way out there," said Jen Van Skiver, the hospital's director of communications.

Due to the water temperature which was about 34 degrees everyone had to be in drysuits, Sulski said. Drysuits are required for any work when the water temperature is under 50 degrees.

The Coast Guard launched its 47-foot lifeboat with the emergency personnel onboard about 6:40 a.m., and Sulski said they had perfect weather for the ride.

"There was no wind. It was very calm out," he said. "It was smooth as glass and the visibility was great."

Sulski said the lifeboat pulled alongside the freighter, both continuing to travel at a speed of just a few knots. "It's much easier to do a transfer with both boats moving," he said. "You don't have the elements taking charge of the boat. It's a much more stable platform."

Once alongside the freighter, it took just a few minutes for the ailing man to be lowered into the Coast Guard vessel.

"The freighter used a deck winch," Sulski said. "They put the man in some sort of cargo basket and lowered him down to the (lifeboat)."

The paramedics were at the end of their shift and were scheduled to be done at 7 a.m. The Coast Guard crew was also nearing the end of a two-day shift and were scheduled to go off at 8 a.m.

"It always happens like that," Sulski said.

NOCH paramedic Trosper said this was a first for him in his four years working for the local hospital. "It was a pretty rare opportunity," he said.

Korson, who has worked for NOCH for two years, said she has been out on Coast Guard boats for short trips for medical situations, but never anything like Wednesday's case.

On the way out to the freighter, they had nothing to do but admire the calm waters and the sunrise reflecting over it. "The drysuits kept us warm," Korson said.

On the way back, they were busy working on their patient.

The victim, a 49-year-old Michigan man, was definitely experiencing a cardiac event, Trosper said.

"Had we not got to him, the outcome could have been a lot different," she added.

The paramedics could offer no more information about the patient due to privacy laws.

The man did walk from the boat to the dock before being put on a stretcher, but he looked very uncomfortable, Trosper said.

He was later transferred to Mercy Hospital in Muskegon. A Mercy spokesperson said they could not release any information on the patient.

Grand Haven Tribune

 

Port Reports - March 26

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Vessels from the Twin Ports layup fleet are gradually re-entering service. Indiana Harbor was loading taconite pellets Thursday morning at the CN/DMIR ore dock. John G. Munson slipped out of port overnight Wednesday and was loading taconite pellets in Two Harbors, and American Mariner left port overnight. Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet already has many of its vessels busy. Edgar B. Speer and Presque Isle were at Two Harbors on Wednesday and Thursday; Edwin H. Gott is due in Gary on Friday; Roger Blough is due in Two Harbors on Sunday; and Arthur M. Anderson is due at Detroit on Friday. Kaye E. Barker was moved into drydock at Fraser Shipyards on Thursday. The vessel arrived in the yard in early 2009 to undergo inspection during winter layup, but instead it was never drydocked and spent the 2009 shipping season tied up in the yard. Two vessels that aren’t expected to sail in 2010, American Victory and Edward L. Ryerson, remain in layup.

Silver Bay, Minn - Benjamin Larson
Calumet arrived Thursday at 9:30 p.m. loading for Cleveland, she is due out around 4 a.m. Friday. Kaministiqua is due on Sunday loading for Hamilton. Monday the Burns Harbor is due to load for Indiana Harbor.

Soo Locks - Jeff & Greg Barber
On a very cold and windy day, Joseph L. Block came upbound in the morning and Herbert C. Jackson and James R. Barker came up in the late afternoon. John D. Leitch came down and tied on the upper wall above the MacArthur Lock for the night waiting, for water levels to come up.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The USCGC Hollyhock got underway from the Consumers Energy dock Thursday morning and headed out to the Saginaw River Entrance Channel. She worked throughout the day commissioning summer markers and then departed the area Thursday evening.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Bright sunshine and moderate spring temperatures greeted the Canadian Transport Wednesday as she crept across Sandusky Bay to the NorfolkSouthern coal dock to load for a Canadian port. It marked the first arrival since January, when rapidly forming ice and blustery winds forced the dock to suspend operations. Vessel loadings at the dock were sharply depressed during the 2009 season, with only 1.9-million tons of coal being shipped. Lakes freighters hauled an average of 4.3-million tons from Sandusky over the preceding five years. Two vessels are currently posted for Saturday arrivals at the dock, including the Hon. Paul Martin.

Port Colborne – Eric Holmes
Lay-up departures Thursday: Algowood, Rt. Hon Paul J Martin and CSL Niagara.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Lay-up departures Thursday: Algocape , Robert S Pierson

Toronto – Charlie Gibbons
English River began its season Thursday morning, departing her winter lay-up berth just after 10:30 a.m., bound for Bath. Earlier in the morning, McKeil's harbour tugs Wyatt M. and Seahound departed for Hamilton. Unloading of the Tim S. Dool is practically complete at Redpath. She should begin her season soon. Canadian Provider is expected to be underway sometime on Saturday.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived in Rochester Thursday night for her first trip of the season.

 

Documentary suggests Edmund Fitzgerald sunk by rogue wave

3/26 - Toronto, Ont. – The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, but the man who immortalized the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald has been moved to revise his iconic version of the story in light of some findings by a Canadian-produced documentary.

"They might have split up or they might have capsized. They may have broke deep and took water," Gordon Lightfoot speculates in his 1976 hit ballad chronicling the mysterious sinking of the Great Lakes freighter.

But in the first episode of a six-part television series debuting next week, a father-and-son diving team suggests a potential answer to the questions posed in Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

In "Dive Detectives" - produced by Toronto-based Yap Films - Mike and Warren Fletcher try to debunk the long-standing theory that human error brought the ship down and killed all 29 crew members on board.

If the Dive Detectives are right, the ship was in fact sunk by a rogue wave - a massive wall of water that can reach up to 10 stories high but was previously dismissed as a sailors' myth.

A report by the U.S. Coast Guard had previously blamed the crew for the disaster on Nov. 10, 1975, concluding they failed to fasten the hatches properly.

The conclusion never sat right with Mike Fletcher, senior member of the Dive Detectives.

The maritime community has always struggled with the notion that a crew would be careless when they were well aware of the fierce weather conditions coming on Lake Superior that night, he said.

"They knew there was a bad storm that was going to fall down on top of them. No sailor would go into a storm like that without double-checking the hatch fastenings and making doubly sure all over the ship that they were braced for bad weather. It just doesn't happen," Fletcher said in a telephone interview from his home near Port Dover, Ont.

Skepticism about the official record prompted Fletcher and his son, Warren, to investigate the case themselves, he said, adding they had access to recent high-quality footage that was not available to coast guard officials at the time.

Clear images of the bottom of the ship debunked one popular theory that the Edmund Fitzgerald ran aground and was damaged, he said.

The Dive Detectives felt the answer may lie in weather conditions and nautical patterns, which prompted them to assemble witness accounts, weather reports and other data about the day the ship sank.

Their findings ultimately led them to the Institute for Ocean Technology in St. John's, N.L., where they used wave-generating technology to simulate the actual conditions the Edmund Fitzgerald encountered in its final hours.

The simulation suggested the ship was particularly susceptible to the impact of large waves due to the 26,000 tonnes of iron ore it was carrying. Fletcher added the ship was known to be in less than pristine condition, noting it was due to go into drydock for repairs.

The simulation further suggested the presence of a rogue wave, once thought to only occur in turbulent oceans.

Such waves are usually caused when a group of waves travelling in different directions converge to create a giant wall of water.

When recreating the Nov. 10 storm conditions in the lab, Fletcher said the results were consistent with witness testimony and presented compelling evidence for the rogue wave theory.

"You don't ask it to send you a rogue wave, you put in the information to create the events of that day and rogue waves will suddenly appear," he said of the simulation technology.

Fletcher was not the only one convinced by the evidence.

Lightfoot saw the documentary when producers approached him asking permission to use his ballad in the soundtrack.

Lightfoot not only green-lighted the use of the song - which he has rarely done - but decided to revise some of its lyrics in all future live performances. The recorded version won't be changed.

Lightfoot has not revealed what lyrics he will substitute for the line "At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in."

"I'm sincerely grateful to yap films and their program, The Dive Detectives, for not only making a terrific film about the loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald but particularly for putting together compelling evidence that the tragedy was not a result of crew error," Lightfoot said in a statement.

"This finally vindicates, and honors, not only all of the crew who lost their lives, but also the family members who survived them."

The revision to the most well-known song of the Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking came as a pleasant surprise to Fletcher, who said he never expected Lightfoot to revisit his own work as a result of the Dive Detectives.

"I'm a huge fan of Gordon Lightfoot and how he has sort of been the musical voice of Canadian history in his folk songs, and to think that an iconic song like that is influenced in a small way by something that I had a hand in, that's something I never imagined," he said.

The episode of the Edmund Fitzgerald airs on History Television Mar. 31.

Canadian Press

 

Updates - March 26

News Photo Gallery
News Photo Gallery St. Clair River
Public Gallery updated
 

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 26

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, Father Dowling Collection and the Historical Collections of the Great Lakes.

 

St. Lawrence Seaway opens today; waterway mostly ice-free

3/25 - Atlantic Huron arrived at the St-Lambert lock on Thursday and waited to open the Seaway season on Thursday. Behind the Atlantic Huron is the Victorious and John J. Carrick, departed from port of Montreal. The Seaway is reported to be mostly ice free.

Both the Seaway and the Welland Canal are scheduled to open at 8 a.m. today.

Michel Rodrigue and Rene Beauchamp

 

Severe St. Clair River ice jam causes river closure

3/25 - Port Huron, Mich. – Wednesday afternoon the St. Clair River was closed to transit without Coast Guard permission. Vessels must be escorted by the Coast Guard and there will be no night-time passages. USCG Mackinaw is the on-scene commander and passages must be approved by the captain of the Mackinaw.

Wednesday started with the cutters Mackinaw, Bristol Bay, Biscayne Bay and Neah Bay under way, breaking out the lower river about 8 a.m. Neah Bay spent the entire day working the lower river to flush the ice into Lake St. Clair.

Herbert C. Jackson was upbound at the Lake St. Clair Cut Off Channel about 10:30 a.m., escorted by Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Barbara Andrie.

Griffon was escorting Everlast downbound at 8 a.m. They reached the lower river around noon and experienced difficulty passing through the lower river. Griffon, Bristol Bay and Bisycane Bay assisted Everlast, and she was clear at 4 p.m.

Evans McKeil transited upbound to Sarnia afternoon no escort no problem. She may be heading up to assist the tug Salvor and barge, which have been waiting in Sarnia to transit upbound.

James R. Barker entered the St. Clair cut upbound about 3 p.m. after departing Monroe Wednesday morning. Barker was escorted through the area by the Mackinaw, Bristol Bay and Barbara Andrie. By 5 p.m. they were passing Marine City and cleared the river about 7 p.m. Barbara Andrie headed downbound, returning to Detroit. Griffon followed the Barker up and went to Sarnia for the night. Mackinaw was in Port Huron for the night.

Finally, Charles M. Beeghly arrived downbound and went to anchor about 4:40 p.m. Lee A. Tregurtha, also downbound, joined the Beeghly at 8 p.m. Their passage is expected to resume Thursday morning.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was downbound at the Soo Wednesday afternoon heading to work the St. Clair River.

 

Port Reports - March 25

Silver Bay, Minn. - Benjamin Larson
Manitowoc arrived at 2 p.m. Wednesday to load for Cleveland, and departed at 8 p.m. Calumet is due around noon Thursday, followed by the Kaministiqua on Sunday, loading for Hamilton.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a quick turn around, Michipicoten arrived back at the Upper Harbor Wednesday morning and loaded ore for Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena arrived at Lafarge Wednesday afternoon to load cement under the silos. Its next destination is Whitefish, Ont. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port Monday night.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock transited the Saginaw Bay on Wednesday, arriving at the Consumers Energy dock around 7:15 Wednesday evening. This is the first vessel to call on the Saginaw River for 2010.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday J.W. Shelley became the first ship to depart Hamilton at 4:30 p.m. from JRI Elevators and headed down the lake.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Birchglen was ballasted down Wednesday and main engine operating. She will be sailing on Thursday morning.

 

Steelworkers protesting continues outside Bay Ship

3/25 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Sturgeon Bay residents will continue to see picketers on the sidewalk at Bay Shipbuilding Co., because talks between the United Steelworkers of America Local 5000 failed to reach agreement last week.

Four men from Rogers City, Mich., arrived in Sturgeon Bay with protest signs because other workers were hired to replace them on board the American Courage, which is docked at Bay Ship.

Union President Dave Sager, who represents the 102 Liberty Steamship workers who have been on strike since fall, said the company has since hired alternative workers. Liberty Steamship, a subsidiary of American Steamship Co., would not offer the same contract offered other steelworkers who work on Great Lakes, Sager said. On March 17, the company offered to bring the same contract up for a vote, and Sager declined.

"There are no secrets to these contracts on the lakes and what people make," said Sager. "We're just trying to get the same contract as the rest of the companies. They're just trying to prove a point."

Other vessels already are shipping out, he said, but Liberty Steamship has not yet done so. In the meantime, steelworkers intend to continue picketing in front of ships where they normally work. In Door County, only one steelworker is affected by the strike, he said.

The dispute has no reflection on Bay Ship, whose customers have their vessels docked next to the company in Sturgeon Bay, said Pat O'Hern, vice president and general manager of the company.

Last week, the Rogers City strikers said they would not prevent new workers from gaining access to the ship and would remain on public property.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Updates - March 25

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 25

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.

FRANK R. DENTON was launched March 25, 1911, as a.) THOMAS WALTERS (Hull#390) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Interstate Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

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, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

St. Clair River ice struggle moves down river

3/24 - St. Clair River - The once-feared ice bridge in lower Lake Huron has lived up to the predictions that it would clog the river if the ice broke free. Last weekend, winds shifting to the north drove the remaining ice into the end of the lake above Port Huron, causing it to pile onto itself. Vessel passages through the area broke up the large ice fields and allowed it to flush down the St. Clair River, clogging the lower river.

Three Bay-Class icebreaking tugs were working in the lower river Tuesday to flush the ice into Lake St. Clair. Water levels in the river continued to rise Tuesday morning, indicating the river was plugged at the southern end.

James R. Barker departed the St. Clair Edison coal dock after 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, heading downbound for the Monroe power plant. Ice in the river caused significant trouble for the Barker, and she spent several hours turning and passing through the ice about two miles north of Marine City. The tug Manitou, USCGC Mackinaw, and CCGS Griffon were assisting.

Shortly before 1 p.m. the convoy was making slow progress at Marine City with the tanker Algoeast downbound behind the Barker. Their progress ended off Fawn Island, just below Marine City, and at 2 p.m. the Barker was stopped. With assistance from Griffon and Bristol Bay, the convoy began moving slowly at 2:30 p.m., and continued at a steady, reduced speed past Harsens Island. Bristol Bay was assisting Algoeast above Marine City. By 4 p.m. the Barker was moving closer to Lake St. Clair in the St. Clair Cut Off Channel making 10 mph. The Mackinaw and Griffon turned to head upbound; Griffon assisted the Bristol Bay escorting the Algoeast while Mackinaw continued upbound.

It was hoped that the 105-foot wide hull of the Barker would help flush the St. Clair River ice into Lake St. Clair. About 5 p.m. Tuesday it looked like the lower river ice was again moving in to Lake St. Clair.

Later in the day, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived downbound and went to anchor about 3:30 p.m. A few minutes later they were cleared to transit downbound through the cut, without escort. They got underway about 4 p.m. and passed through the remaining ice without incident. The tug and barge were escorted down river, meeting a cutter in the area of St. Clair, Michigan. Mackinaw escorted the Champlain through the lower river into Lake St. Clair with no delays.

Calumet departed Sarnia upbound Tuesday afternoon transiting lower Lake Huron without escort or incident.

The Alpena departed Detroit's Belle Isle Anchorage under escort of the Griffon for upbound transit followed by the Barbara Andrie who deaprted the Rouge River to assist with the passage. Griffon and Alpena reached the St. Clair Cutoff at 8 p.m. and the Alpena became stuck at times, trying to push through the ice flowing down river.

Late in the evening the tug Barbara Andrie and Griffon were working to break out the Alpena off Algonac. At 11 p.m. they were slowly making progress off Algonac State Park and at midnight were moving at a steady speed off Marine City.

Please send pictures to news@boatnerd.net

 

Twin Ports first inbound vessel

3/24 - Duluth, Minn. – John D. Leitch became the first inbound laker to arrive in the Twin Ports this season, coming down from Thunder Bay to port through Superior Entry and then proceed to the CN/DMIR ore dock to load taconite pellets destined for Hamilton. Canadian Navigator, also coming from Thunder Bay, was due in behind the Leitch. It headed to the Duluth port terminal to fuel and then wait its turn at the CN/DMIR ore dock.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority and Al Miller

 

Port Reports - March 24

Silver Bay, Minn. - Benjamin Larson
Burns Harbor arrived Tuesday around 8 a.m. and was expected to depart at 6 p.m. with pellets for Indiana Harbor. Manitowoc is due in Wednesday followed by her sistership and fleet mate Calumet on Thursday, both loading for Cleveland. Kaministiqua is due in Silver Bay on Sunday, loading for Hamilton.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly opened the Upper Harbor for the 2010-2011 shipping season early Tuesday morning when she arrived to load ore for Detroit. Michipicoten arrived after the Beeghly to load ore for Essar Algoma at the Soo. Dock officials anticipate increased ore tonnage this season.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman returned to port Tuesday afternoon and became the first vessel in for the season, winning the traditional top hat.

 

Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center operates its spring hours

3/24 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center next to Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge is now on its spring hours of operation.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it closes at 6 p.m. The center will expand its hours to a 9 p.m. closing daily on Memorial Day weekend. It will keep those hours into early October.

Information on vessel traffic is available on the Boatwatchers Hotline at (218) 722-6489 and on the Web at www.duluthboats.com. People can watch the ship canal webcam by going to www.lsmma.com and clicking on the webcam link.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the visitor center, which doesn’t charge an admission.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Updates - March 24

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

IRVIN L. CLYMER was launched March 24, 1917, as a.) CARL D. BRADLEY (Hull#718) at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. the third self-unloader in the Bradley Transportation Co. fleet.

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.

PETER ROBERTSON was launched March 24, 1906, as a) HARRY COULBY (Hull#163) at Wyandotte, Michigan, by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the L. C. Smith Transit Co., Syracuse, New York.

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.

 

Ice delays traffic

3/23 - St. Clair River  4 p.m. update - The James R. Barker departed the St. Clair Edison coal dock after 9 a.m. Tuesday morning heading for Monroe power plant. Ice in the river caused significant trouble for the Barker and they spent several hours turning and passing through the Ice about two miles north of Marine City. Tug Manitou, USCGC Mackinaw, and CCGS Griffon were assisting.

Shortly before 1 p.m. the convoy was making slow progress at Marine City with the Algoeast downbound behind the Barker. This progress ended off Fawn Island, just below Marine City and at 2 p.m. the Barker was stopped and assisted by the Griffon and Bristol Bay. The convoy was again moving slowly at 2:30 p.m. and continued at a steady, reduced speed past Harsens Island. Bristol Bay was assisting the Algoeast above Marine City. By 4 p.m. the Barker was moving closer to Lake St. Clair in the St. Clair Cut Off Channel making 10 MPH. The Mackinaw and Griffon turned to head upbound, Griffon assisted the Bristol Bay escorting the Algoeast while Mackinaw continued upbound.

It was hoped that the 105-foot wide hull of the Barker will help flush the St. Clair River ice into Lake St. Clair. About 5 p.m. Tuesday it looked like the lower river ice was again moving in to Lake St. Clair.

Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived downbound and went to anchor about 3:30 as instructed Tuesday morning. A few minutes later they were cleared to transit downbound through the cut, without escort. They got underway about 4 p.m. and passed downbound through the remaining ice without incident. The tug and barge will be escorted down river, meeting a cutter in the area of St. Clair, Michigan.

Calumet will be departing Sarnia upbound Tuesday afternoon and the Alpena will depart Detroit's Belle Isle Anchorage under escort of the Griffon for upbound transit.

The once feared ice bridge in lower Lake Huron lived up to the predictions that it would clog the river if the ice broken free. The ice bridge had broken up and scattered into lower Lake Huron last week, it was thought that it no longer posed a threat. Last weekend the winds shifting to the north and drove the remaining ice into the end of the lake above Port Huron, causing it to pile onto itself. Vessel passages through the area broke up the large ice fields and allowed it to flush down the St. Clair River, clogging the lower river.

Three Bay-Class icebreaking tugs were working in the lower river to flush the ice into Lake St. Clair. Water levels in the river continued to rise Tuesday morning indicating the river was plugged at the southern end.

Please send pictures to news@boatnerd.net

 

Twin Ports first inbound vessel

3/23 - Duluth, Minn. - 9 a.m. update - John D. Leitch will arrive after 10 a.m. Tuesday as the first inbound laker for this 2010 season (coming from Thunder Bay, not through the Soo Locks). She’ll be heading for the Superior entry then over to the CN/DMIR Dock 6 in Duluth to load iron ore (bound for Hamilton, Ontario). The Canadian Navigator is scheduled to arrive in the harbor an hour or two later behind her, but will head to the fueling dock on the Clure Public Marine Terminal first to wait her turn at the CN/DMIR dock.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

St. Clair River ice jam eases a bit Monday night

3/23 - Port Huron, Mich. - Two vessels, Saginaw and Manitowoc, passed upbound with little trouble Monday evening through the ice that's been causing vessels trouble in the Huron Cut just above Port Huron the last two days. They were escorted by the cutters Mackinaw and Griffon. Saginaw had been docked in the river at Imperial Oil since Sunday, waiting to transit upbound. She is loaded with coal for the Soo and is expected at DeTour around 11 a.m. The commercial tug Manitou was also lending assistance.

Earlier Monday, James R. Barker arrived downbound under the Blue Water bridges about 2:45 p.m. after navigating the ice field in lower Lake Huron. The Barker was slowed but made it through without the problems experienced by the upbound vessels over the weekend. Barker was heading to the St. Clair Edison Coal Dock at Recor Point with a load of coal from Superior, Wis., assisted through the ice by the Mackinaw, Griffon and tug Manitou. Mackinaw and Manitou escorted the Barker to the power plant and Manitou assisted in turning the 1000-footer; the Barker tied up about 5 p.m.

The Barker will unload part of its cargo and then be assisted down the St. Clair River Tuesday around 10 a.m. by the Mackinaw, in company with other downbounders, Algoeast and the tug Everlast and her barge. Once free of the heavy ice, the Barker will continue on to Monroe, Mich., to complete the unload. There is no ice on Lake Erie. Evans McKeil and Alpena may also be upbound through the St. Clair River Tuesday.

The transits through the Huron Cut and efforts by the ice breakers have caused a considerable amount of ice to flow down the St. Clair River. Some on scene estimate that the Huron Cut might be flushed early this week. The ice edge was near lights 11 & 12. Also on Monday, Neah Bay and Bristol Bay were working the lower St. Clair River, as ice from Lake Huron is blocking the river in the area of the North Channel at Algonac. Monday there appeared to be a very slow moving flow along the Walpole Island shore. The Walpole Island ferry has not been running since Saturday night. From the Algonac State Park, the river appears completely choked with ice as far north as the eye can see. Water levels have risen at north Algonac, possibly due to ice damming the river at Lake St. Clair. In addition, the Harsens Island Ferry has ceased operations due to the ice.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Bristol Bay, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon will continue to conduct ice breaking operations as long as problems exist. "We are working closely with our Canadian counterparts to ensure the ice keeps flowing down," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Merriman, Chief, Waterways Management, Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday afternoon that vessel traffic had been restricted for 24 hours near southern Lake Huron and the upper St. Clair River due to the ice bridge. The restriction began Monday at 1 p.m., however three vessels have passed this area since this restriction was announced.

Provisions of the restriction include:

* Vessel owners and operators should contact Marine Communications Traffic Service (MCTS) Sarnia with any proposed vessel transits through this area for the next 48 hours as soon as possible.
* Sector Detroit is tactical commander for the operation and has designated the Mackinaw as the On-Scene Commander (OSC) for the operational period; The OSC has the authority to permit vessels to transit if such transit can be made safely based on ice conditions, winds, currents, vessel horsepower, or any other conditions that the OSC deems relevant.
* Until further notice, any vessel permitted to transit the area must provide one or more assist tugs of sufficient power to allow the transit to be made safely.
* If more than one vessel has been cleared to transit the area, the order of transit will be determined by the OSC.

 

Atlantic Huron may be first Seaway passage on Thursday

3/23 - Atlantic Huron is expected at the lower wall of the St. Lambert Lock on Wednesday morning and may be the first vessel upbound in the Seaway for the 2010 season on opening day on Thursday. She departed Darthmouth Sunday bound for the Welland Canal, according to reports.

Rene Beauchamp

 

Port Reports - March 23

Thunder Bay - Becky Clinton
John D. Leitch and Canadian Navigator departed their lay-up docks in Thunder Bay, Ont., Monday night. Both vessels headed west bound for the Twin Ports.

Silver Bay, Minn. - Benjamin Larson
Lee A Tregurtha arrived in Silver Vay at 12:30 Monday afternoon to open the Lake Superior Port for the 2010-2011 season. She is loading taconite pellets for WCI in Ashtabula. Burns Harbor is due in Tuesday to load for Indiana Harbor, followed by the Manitowoc Wednesday.

Soo -
Michipicoten departed winter layup from the Essar Algoma dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., at 4 p.m., headed up into Lake Superior.
Presque Isle arrived at the locks about 7 a.m. Monday. Charles M. Beeghly arrived about 1 p.m. Upbound Monday night was the Burns Harbor heading for Sliver Bay.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The Toronto Drydock Co.'s tug M. R. Kane with spud barge Rock Prince salvaged the Royal Canadian Yacht Club's workboat Esperanza IV Monday. The workboat sank at its dock on Toronto Island yesterday.

Montreal -
Mapleglen departed March 21 from Hangar 4 Jettee Alexandra of Port of Montreal.

 

Seaway cargoes expected to rise this season

3/23 - Kingston, Ont. – St. Lawrence Seaway ship cargoes are expected to trend upward in 2010 after a 25 percent decline in total tonnage during the 2009 shipping season.

"We're predicting ... a 10 percent increase in cargo volumes," said Andrew Bogora, communications officer for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, "but that's a very rough estimate at this point."

The Seaway opens for shipping on Thursday.

Bogora said internal data that goes into the initial projection "is quite sparse" and based on anecdotal evidence received from informal discussions with industrial users in North America. "That reflects the reluctance of major industries to estimate (shipping needs)," said Bogora. "The major companies are typically more gun-shy about providing forecasts because of the effects of the recession.

"We certainly are optimistic 2010 will be ahead of last year's cargo volumes. We see a recovery continuing, but not necessarily enough to restore historic volumes."

Bogora said Seaway management witnessed growth in iron ore shipments late last year because of a rebound in automobile sales that they hope continues in 2010.

"It was an encouraging rebound and we are hopeful that trend will continue," said Bogora.

In addition, grain shipments are expected to be another cornerstone of the shipping season, although that commodity, too, is subject to the vagaries of the weather and a successful harvest, said Bogora.

"Given the (unpredictable) nature of agricultural trends and weather patterns, we have to restrain our forecasts."

He said the key commodity shipments expected in 2010 are iron ore and finished steel products, grain, road salt and construction aggregates, as well as large cargos such as wind turbines and components required in oil sands developments in western Canada.

Even if cargoes rise as predicted, it may not result in a corresponding increase in the number of vessels using the Seaway, said Bogora.

Total cargo tonnage shipped in 2009 fell 25 percente to 30.5 million tonnes, from 40.8 million tonnes the previous year.

Vessel transits declined 15 percent in 2009, when 3,639 ships used the Seaway, compared to 4,235 in 2008.

The Kingston Whig Standard

 

Court refuses 2nd Asian carp injunction request

3/23 - Chicago, Ill. – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to order the emergency closure of Chicago-area shipping locks to prevent voracious Asian carp from slipping into the Great Lakes, leaving disappointed environmentalists and state officials vowing to continue their fight. In a one-line ruling, the nation's highest court for the second time rejected a request by Michigan and several other Great Lakes states to issue a preliminary injunction shutting the locks in the increasingly desperate battle against the invasive fish, which have migrated up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers toward the lakes after escaping from fish farms in the South decades ago.

Asian carp often leap high out of the water when boats are near. They can weigh 100 pounds and consume up to 40 percent of their body weight daily in plankton, the base of the food chain for Great Lakes fish. Many fear that if they reach the lakes, the invaders could lay waste to a $7 billion fishing industry by starving out competitors such as salmon and walleye.

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, a Republican running for governor, said he would continue his battle in the courts and repeated calls for President Barack Obama to act to at least temporarily close the locks.

While the Obama administration has called defeating Asian carp a high priority, it has sided with Illinois in opposing the closure. The state says there's no guarantee closing the locks would block the carp's path, and it would certainly disrupt shipping and promote flooding.

Barge and tug operators, for whom Chicago-area canals are a vital link to and from the Great Lakes, praised Monday's ruling.

"We're obviously very pleased," said Lynn Muench, vice president of American Waterway Operators, the main industry trade group. "I'm hoping everybody will step back, get out of the courts and go back to collaborating."

An electric barrier that delivers a nonlethal jolt to scare off fish is the only thing now standing between the carp and Lake Michigan. The Army Corps of Engineers expects to finish constructing a third segment of the electric barrier in the canal by October and will study how to operate the locks in ways that make it harder for carp to slip through, Col. Vincent Quarles, commander of the Chicago district, has said.

Also, in January more than a dozen members of Congress from the region agreed to seek funding to help develop methods to prevent the carp from becoming established in the lakes. Among the options are the increased use of poisons, biological controls and commercial fishing.

Joel Brammeier, president of Alliance for the Great Lakes, said officials cannot rely on stopgap measures.

"It wouldn't (give) us the permanent solution to the problem," he said. "If we can't come up with that strategy to prevent establishment, then we're consigning the Great Lakes to a future of Asian carp."

Cox said Michigan asked the Supreme Court to reconsider an injunction in part because authorities announced they had discovered Asian carp DNA in Lake Michigan only after the justices turned down the state in January. He said in a statement that Michigan still plans to ask courts to reopen a case dating back more than a century, when Missouri filed suit after Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River.

Reopening that case could give proponents who want to permanently separate the Chicago-area canals from Lake Michigan a chance to argue that position, said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"This is not a crushing blow by any means; it's one step in a long process," he said about Monday's ruling. "We need to keep our eye on the ball of a longer-term solution: permanent separation. That's the only way to ensure Asian carp don't colonize Lake Michigan."

Associated Press

 

Updates - March 23

Weekly Website Updates
Three pages of News Gallery updates
News Photo Gallery - Port Huron ice
News Photo Gallery - Soo opener, Sturgeon Bay and Lorain
News Photo Gallery - Soo opener, Mackinaw and Sarnia
Public Gallery 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.

 

Barker arrives, upper river shut down

3/22 - Port Huron, Mich. -  5 p.m. update - The James R. Barker arrived downbound under the Blue Water Bridges about 2:45 after navigating the ice field in lower Lake Huron. They Barker was slowed but made it through without the problem experienced by the upbound vessels over the weekend. Barker is heading to the St. Clair Edison Coal Dock at Recor Point with a load of Coal from Superior, Wis. Barker was assisted through the ice by the Mackinaw, Griffon and tug Manitou.

Mackinaw and tug Manitou escorted the Barker to the power plant and Manitou assisted in turning the 1000-footer, the Barker tied up about 5 p.m. Barker will unload part of the cargo and then be assisted down the St. Clair River Tuesday. Once free of the heavy ice the Barker will continue on to Monroe, Mich. to complete the unload, there is no ice on Lake Erie.

The transits through the Huron Cut and efforts by the ice breakers have caused a considerable amount of ice to flow down river. Some on scene estimate that the Huron Cut might be flushed early this week. The ice edge was near Lights 11 & 12.

Neah Bay and Bristol Bay were working the lower St. Clair River as ice from Lake Huron is blocking the river in the area of the North Channel at Algonac. Monday there appears to be a very slow moving flow along the Walpole Island shore. The Walpole Island ferry has not been running since Saturday night.  From the Algonac State Park the river appears completely choked with ice as far north as the eye can see. Water levels have risen at north Algonac possibly due to ice damming the river at Lake St. Clair.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday afternoon that vessel traffic has been restricted for 24 hours near southern Lake Huron and the upper St. Clair River due to an ice bridge creating a hazard to navigation. The restriction began Monday at 1 p.m., no explanation for the Barker's passage.

Saginaw has been docked in the river at Imperial since Sunday, waiting to transit upbound, she is loaded with coal for the Soo.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw, Biscayne Bay and Bristol Bay, and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon will conduct ice breaking operations to relieve a severe ice jam above the Blue Water Bridge. "We are working closely with our Canadian counterparts to ensure the ice keeps flowing down," said Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Merriman, Chief, Waterways Management, Coast Guard Sector Detroit.

Due to the severe ice conditions, the following restrictions apply to vessels transiting the upper St. Clair River:
* There is a moratorium on all vessel transits between the Blue Water Bridge and the northern edge of the ice bridge in lower Lake Huron.
* Vessel owners and operators should contact Marine Communications Traffic Service (MCTS) Sarnia with any proposed vessel transits through this area for the next 48 hours as soon as possible.
* Sector Detroit is tactical commander for the operation and has designated the Mackinaw as the On-Scene Commander (OSC) for the operational period; The OSC has the authority to permit vessels to transit if such transit can be made safely based on ice conditions, winds, currents, vessel horsepower, or any other conditions that the OSC deems relevant.
* Until further notice, any vessel permitted to transit the area must provide one or more assist tugs of sufficient power to allow the transit to be made safely.
* If more than one vessel has been cleared to transit the area, the order of transit will be determined by the OSC.

In addition, the Harsens Island Ferry has ceased operations at this time due to the ice.  

 

Lee A. Tregurtha leads the parade, opening Soo Locks Sunday morning

3/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The 2010 shipping season is underway at the Soo Locks. The upbound Lee A. Tregurtha, which arrived Saturday night, locked up at 7 a.m., with a dedicated group of boatwatchers on hand at the viewing platforms. After Tregurtha locked up, she passed her fleetmate, James R. Barker, at 11 a.m. in Whitefish Bay. The Barker was the first downbound transit around 4 p.m., and her captain reported no problems with the ice. The USCG Mackinaw and Penobscot Bay locked down after the Barker, and transited through the river system bound for the Port Huron area.

After the Tregurtha, Roger Blough arrived at the locks at 11 a.m. upbound, followed by the Edwin H. Gott at 2:30 p.m., Edgar B. Speer at 5 p.m., and Burns Harbor around 11 p.m.

 

Ice conditions in the Huron Cut cause delays Sunday

3/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – It was a rough day Sunday for Interlake Steamship Co.’s Charles M. Beeghly, which spent most of the afternoon trying to make it though the ice jamming the lower end of Lake Huron. It was the second straight day of difficulty in the area, with U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard vessels, as well as two commercial tugs, lending a hand.

Northerly winds driving ice into the Huron Cut are not forecast to shift to a more favorable direction until later in the week.

The U.S. Coast Guard has Penobscot Bay and Mackinaw headed down from the Soo to work the Huron Cut and the lower St. Clair River, and ice coming down from Lake Huron may cause delays in the lower river Monday.

Saginaw and tug Everlast were upbound Sunday afternoon, Saginaw reported they were slowed in the ice off Harsen's Island but the ice was passable. She will not attempt to head upbound until daylight Monday morning. Other escorts on Monday will include the downbound James R. Barker, which cleared the Soo Sunday afternoon.

Here’s a chronology of Sunday’s ice-breaking efforts at Port Huron:

9 a.m. – The 1,000-footer Presque Isle got underway Sunday morning and by 9 a.m. was entering the heavy ice at buoys 1 & 2, under escort of the USCG Bristol Bay and CCS Griffon, when they became stuck. About 10:50 a.m. the Griffon and the McKeil Marine tug Salvor were working with Presque Isle, which was out of the channel on the green side but had 22 feet of water under her. She continued to fall backward down river near the Blue Water Bridges. Griffon and Bristol Bay worked above 1 & 2 to try to break up ice and relieve the pressure on the starboard side of the Presque Isle.

11 a.m. – Presque Isle had fallen back to an area just above the Blue Water bridges at the edge of the channel. The commercial tug Manitou arrived about 11:15 a.m. and joined the efforts. The location and ice breaking efforts allowed the Presque Isle to make headway and at 11:35 she was up at bouys 1 & 2 and still moving. Manitou and the Salvor were released by the Presque Isle but remained on scene as the Charles M. Beeghly was moving upbound to take advantage of the tugs on scene.

12:55 p.m. – Charles M. Beeghly passed under the bridges at 12:35 p.m. with the Bristol Bay escorting, the Salvor and Manitou waiting at buoys 1 & 2, Griffon stopped above 1 & 2 and USCG Biscayne Bay approaching the area downbound.

A short distance above the bridges, Beeghly came to a stop in the channel. Bristol Bay reported that ice had stopped them and required the tug to back and ram to pass through. The Beeghly started moving and was slowly approaching the turn at 1 & 2. Biscayne Bay reported that the track opened by the Presque Isle had closed in, all tugs reported becoming stopped by the ice and forced to back and ram to make headway. By 12:55, the Beeghly had made the turn at buoys 1 & 2 and was slowly making progress.

1:30 p.m. - Beeghly's progress ground to a halt in the channel about half way between buoys 1 & 2 and buoys 3 & 4. Tugs and cutters continued to work to free her. The USCG cutters Penobscot Bay and Mackinaw departed the Soo Sunday afternoon and were heading downbound.

2:50 p.m. - At 1:40 p.m., the Beeghly was stopped in channel half way between bouys 1 & 2 and 3 & 4. At 2:30 she had fallen back down to buoys 1 & 2 on an angle with her bow near the edge of the green side of the channel and her stern near the red side. The Beeghly's raw water intake strainers became clogged with ice, forcing her to drop anchor and shut down her engines. The tug Salvor came along the port side, taking a line to help Beeghly move up and keep her bow in the channel. The tug Manitou pushed on her stern and straightened her in the channel close to the green side.

4:40 p.m. - Beeghly cleared her water intakes, restarted engines about 3:40 and was escorted through the lower cut. By 4:50 p.m., she was approaching lights 11 & 12 heading for open water, where they released the tugs and thanked all for the assistance.

The tugs returned to their docks while the Griffon stopped off lights 11 & 12. Bristol Bay headed downbound for Detroit after breaking some of the large sheets of ice in the river off Port Huron that broke free from lower Lake Huron.

 

Port Reports - March 22

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Arthur M. Anderson was backing under the Charles Berry Bridge at 1:15 p.m. to load.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The Tim S. Dool was towed from her winter berth into the slip at Redpath Sunday afternoon by McKeil's tugs. Unloading of her storage cargo is set to being Monday morning.

 

Meeting on St. Clair water level

3/22 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. — The International Joint Commission will hold a public meeting in Sturgeon Bay on Monday to invite comment on its report of upper Great Lakes water levels in the St. Clair River.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall of Crossroads at Big Creek Nature Center, 2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay.

Monday's meeting will be paired with one at the same time in Midland, Ontario, Canada, linked by telephone and video display to allow the public to hear comments from the other location.

The International Upper Great Lakes Study Board's report concludes the first phase of the International Upper Great Lakes Study and examines the physical changes in the St. Clair River since 1962. It recommends that measures to remediate the increased water-carrying capacity of the river not be undertaken at this time.

It also recommends that mitigation measures in the St. Clair River be examined as part of the comprehensive assessment of the future effects of climate change in the second phase of the study.

Click here for more information www.ijc.org Green Bay Press-Gazette

 

May 2010 lighthouse and freighter cruise

3/22 - BoatNerd and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association have joined with Keweenaw Excursions to organize the first lighthouse/freighter chasing event of 2010. This unusual trip will take place from May 19 to May 21.

The fun will begin and end in Sault Ste. Marie, and features a two-day cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star which will travel from Marquette across Lake Superior, down the St. Marys River, overnight in the Soo, continue down thru the Rock Cut, DeTour, and across the top of Lake Huron. The cruise will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and sail down Lake Michigan to Charlevoix. The boat will provide photo opportunities at 20 lighthouses and all the vessels in the busy shipping lanes along the way.

Due to bus availability, this event is limited to the first 46 people who make reservations. Make yours today. Click here for details.

 

New Discussion Boards

3/22 - For several years we have been working on a replacement for our dated discussion boards. After many revisions and user comments we have launched an updated board.

Based on user feed back we have simplified the user interface and tried to make it intuitive. The new system will allow inline attachments and provides better privacy by not publically displaying the user's IP.

Use accounts are optional, you may still post by simply clicking the "Post New Topic" button. We suggest creating a user account, this will allow you to track new posts and post without entering the security codes every time. We plan to run both boards together until we get a larger pool of user feed back. If you are familiar with these types of boards from other sites please visit http://newsearch.boatnerd.com

For instructions on use click here

 

Updates - March 22

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery - Please send pictures of the Soo or Port Huron to news@boatnerd.net
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Gallery Raymond H. Reiss updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 22

On 22 March 1922, the Goodrich Transit Company purchased the assets and properties of the Chicago, Racine and Milwaukee Steamship Company. This sale included two steamers: ILLINOIS (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 240 foot, 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.

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, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Huron Cut causing delays Sunday

3/21 - 4:40 p.m. - Beeghly cleared the water intakes and restarted engines about 3:40 and was escorted through the lower cut. By 4:50 they were continuing upbound approaching Lights 11 & 12 heading for open water where they released the tugs and thanked all for the assistance.

The tugs returned to their docks while the Griffon stopped off Lights 11 & 12. Bristol Bay headed downbound for Detroit after breaking some of the large sheets of ice in the river off Port Huron that broke free from lower Lake Huron.

The Coast Guard has Penobscot Bay and Mackinaw headed down from the Soo to work the Huron Cut and the lower St. Clair River, the ice coming down from Lake Huron may cause delays in the lower river. Saginaw and tug Everlast were upbound Sunday afternoon, Saginaw reported they were slowed in the ice off Harsen's Island but the ice was passable.

Ice escorts on Monday will include the downbound James R. Barker who cleared the Soo Sunday afternoon.

2:50 p.m. update -  At 1:40 p.m. the Beeghly was stopped in channel half way between 1 & 2 and 3 & 4. At 2:30 she had fallen back down to Buoys 1 & 2 on an angle with her bow near the edge of the green side of the channel and her stern near the red side. The Beeghly's raw water intake strainers became clogged forcing her to drop anchor and shut down her engines. The tug Salvor came along the port side side taking a line to help Beeghly move up and keep her bow in the channel, Manitou pushing on her stern and straightened her in the channel close to the green side.

1:30 p.m. update - The Beeghly's progress ground to a halt in the channel about half way between Buoys 1 & 2 and Buoys 3 & 4. Tugs and cutters continue to work to free her.

The USCG Cutters Penobscot Bay and Mackinaw departed the Soo Sunday afternoon and were heading downbound.

12:55 p.m. update - The Bristol Bay headed downbound to escort the Charles M. Beeghly upbound. At 12:15 tug Manitou and Salvor reported the area east of 1 & 2 where they were stopped waiting for the Beeghly was the heaviest ice they had experienced. This area of heavy ice was drifting into the channel.

Beeghly passed under the bridge at 12:35 with the Bristol Bay escorting, the Salvor and Manitou waiting at Buoys 1 & 2, Griffon stopped above 1 & 2. Biscayne Bay was approaching the area downbound.

A short distance above the Bridges Beeghly came to a stop in the channel. Bristol Bay reported that some of the ice had stopped them and required the tug to back and ram to pass through. The Beeghly started moving and was slowly approaching the turn at 1 & 2. Biscayne Bay reported that the track opened by the Presque Isle had closed in, all tugs reported becoming stopped by the ice and forced to back an ram to make headway.

By 12:55 the Beeghly had made the turn at Buoys 1 & 2 and were slowly making progress.

Noon update - Presque Isle got underway Sunday morning and by 9 a.m. was entering the heavy ice at Buoys 1 & 2 under escort of the Bristol Bay and Griffon when they became stuck.

About 10:50 the Griffon and tug Salvor were working with Presque Isle who was out of the channel on the green side, but had 22’ of water under her. She continued to fall backward down river near the Blue Water Bridges.

Griffon and Bristol Bay worked above 1 & 2 to try to break up ice a relieve the pressure on the starboard side of the Presque Isle.

By 11 a.m. the Presque Isle had fallen back to an area just above the Blue Water Bridges at the edge of the channel. Manitou arrived about 11:15 and joined the efforts. The location and ice breaking efforts above allowed the Presque Isle to make headway and at 11:35 Presque Isle up at 1 & 2 and still moving.

Manitou and Salvor were released by the Presque Isle but remained on scene as the Charles M. Beeghly was moving upbound to take advantage of the tugs on scene.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Biscayne Bay was enroute to assist and should arrive Sunday afternoon.

Northerly winds are driving the ice into the Huron Cut, the winds are not forecast to shift to more favorable direction to release the pressure on the ice until later in the week.

Please send pictures to news@boatnerd.net

 

Lee A. Tregurtha set to open Soo Locks shipping season

3/21 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Lee A. Tregurtha will open the Soo Locks' 2010 shipping season Sunday at 7 a.m. when the locks officially open to start a new season and a new decade of shipping. About 3 p.m. Saturday, Tregurtha was just off of DeTour, Mich., heading upbound for the Soo Locks. Her transit through the St. Marys River went smoothly, and she arrived at the locks about 8 p.m., tying up on the lower Poe Lock wall in anticipation for the 7 a.m. opening.

On Saturday evening, the USCG Mackinaw, Penobscot Bay and Katmai Bay were all secured above the locks. Mobile Bay departed upbound on Saturday morning. There is very little ice left on Whitefish Bay and the lower St. Marys River was ice-free Saturday. Ice escort will likely not be needed on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Interlake Steamship Co.'s 1,000-foot James R. Barker departed the Midwest Energy Terminal Dock in Superior, Wis., during the early morning hours March 20, heading downbound for the Soo. The Barker should be the first downbound vessel of the 2010 season.

Please send pictures of the opening to news@boatnerd.net

 

Return of the Lake Huron ice

3/21 - Port Huron, Mich. – The steamer Alpena arrived in lower Lake Huron Saturday about 8 a.m. to find tough going through the rotting ice in lower Lake Huron. The ice field had broken up but winds shifting to the north overnight packed the ice into the Huron Cut.

The tug Manitou arrived on scene to assist the Alpena, but by early afternoon they were still slugging it out with the ice.

Since the flotilla of Coast Guard cutters that had been working the St. Clair River had been reassigned to work the St. Marys River and Lake Superior in preparation of the opening of the locks on Sunday morning, the Detroit-based USCG Bristol Bay departed Detroit about 11 a.m. upbound to assist.

Also delayed indirectly by the ice were the upbound Edgar B. Speer and Presque Isle, stopped in the St. Clair River waiting for the downbound traffic to clear.

By 12:20 p.m., the Alpena was free of ice at buoys 1 & 2. Bristol Bay continued upbound, as ice was expected to cause problems for Speer and Presque Isle

Speer departed the Shell Dock fuel about 12:40 p.m., and made it to buoys 1 & 2 on the Huron Cut before becoming stuck, at which point the decision was made to wait for the Bristol Bay. Presque Isle ran at reduced speed and her captain decided to wait in the river for the Speer to clear. Presque Isle drifted down river and anchored above Marysville.

Once on scene, Bristol Bay made a pass on the Speer’s starboard side and the Speer was able to move a few ship lengths. Bristol Bay went as far as lights 7 & 8 before turning and making another pass, but the Speer was still stuck. Bristol Bay went below the bridge and turned upbound, breaking large plate ice that has worked free from the Huron Cut.

Lighthouse Park above the Blue Water Bridges provided front-row viewing for the spectacle as locals came out onto the beach in small groups to brave the temperatures with wind chills below freezing. Many commented that the weather the day before had been in the 60s and it would have been more enjoyable to watch then.

Bristol Bay worked alongside the Speer, reporting that even the nimble 140-foot ice breaking tug was having trouble in the ice. The winds continued to threaten to push the Speer out of the channel as the pressure from the ice field grew. The Speer dropped anchors to hold position.

The tug Manitou and Salvor were called in to assist and by 7 p.m. they were working alongside the Speer.

Presque Isle had dropped anchors and decided to wait until morning to proceed depending on the Speer’s success. However Presque Isle had trouble with her anchors holding, as large plates of ice caused it to break free.

The tugs worked with the Speer and were eventually able to get the Speer moving. The heaviest area of ice was in the area of buoys 1 & 2. Once past buoys 3 & 4 they were quickly gaining speed escorted by the three tugs. Bristol Bay did hit a heavy area of ice near lights 11 & 12. By 8:20 p.m., Salvor and Manitou were released by a very grateful crew on the Speer. At 8:30 p.m., Bristol Bay had reached the ice edge about two miles above Lights 11 & 12 then turned downbound for Port Huron.

The passage of the 105-foot wide Speer helped to flush much of the heavy ice between Lights 7 & 8 and Buoys 1 & 2 downriver. However, if wind conditions continue heavy pressure on the ice in the lower cut will cause problems for Sunday’s passage of the Presque Isle and Charles M. Beeghly, which was upbound in the river in the early evening.

Beeghly departed its winter lay-up dock in Detroit Saturday afternoon and anchored near Stokes Point in the St. Clair River to wait for the upper river to clear. Headed to Silver Bay, Minn., she was assisted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon, which continued upbound into lower Lake Huron stopping for the night off Lights 11 & 12. They will assist with ice breaking efforts in the Huron Cut Sunday.

Bristol Bay returned downbound and stopped for the night about 9 p.m. at the Water Works Dock. Presque Isle decided to wait until morning to attempt to pass upbound when assistance was available.

 

Shipping season starts with a boom

3/21 - Duluth, Minn. – The departure of the James R. Barker early today from the Duluth-Superior port officially launched the 2010 shipping season.

This year’s outlook is much better than the dismal 2009 shipping season, which was one of the worst in the port’s history.

Total tonnage shipped was down 32 percent. The 726 ship arrivals were down from the average of 1,150. Eight of 55 U.S.-flagged vessels never even sailed the Great Lakes, with three of them sitting out the season in Duluth.

This season, the Soo Locks are opening Sunday, four days early, because spring ice conditions allow it, and iron ore is in great demand.

“A number of steel mills are very low on iron ore,” said Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman with the Lake Carriers’ Association. “Operating rates in the steel industry are at 70 percent capacity. A year ago, it was 50 percent.”

That’s good news for Great Lakes shipping, which is driven by the demand for iron. Last year, demand for steel was down to its lowest point in 71 years. And shipment of ore and pellets from the Twin Ports was down nearly

But, Nekvasil cautioned, no one knows whether that demand for iron will continue all year. Whether the current demand for coal — by power companies replenishing depleted inventories — will continue also is uncertain.

“That’s why everybody is holding their breath,” said Adele Yorde, a Port Authority spokeswoman. “Will it sustain itself? That remains to be seen.”

The first inbound laker is expected to arrive Monday or Tuesday, while the first saltie will arrive in early to mid-April.

Because work on the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge isn’t finished, ships will enter port through the Superior Entry for the first 12 days of the season. The bridge, which is being painted, must be open to shipping by 6 p.m. March 31.

Some boatwatchers will miss the thrill of seeing the first lakers coming in and going out in Duluth. It’s always a big event at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Marine Museum.

“There will be some people not aware of the situation and [who will] be disappointed,” museum director Thom Holden said. “But this year, with the work on the bridge, I think there’ll be just as much excitement 11 or 12 days later.”

A year ago, no ocean-going vessels waited in the St. Marys River for the opening of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie. This year, several freighters are expected to be lined up for Sunday morning’s opening.

“That’s a strong start,” Yorde said.

All are headed to ports for loads of iron ore or pellets, including the Presque Isle headed for Duluth, the Roger Blough, Edwin H. Gott and Edgar B. Speer headed to Two Harbors and the Charles M. Beeghly headed to Silver Bay.

“What’s happening,” Nekvasil said, “is steel users exhausted their inventories, so they had to reorder. Whether they can continue to reorder depends on the strength of the economy. We’re starting strong, but whether iron ore will continue nobody knows.”

Last year, 31 million tons of cargo were shipped through the Duluth-Superior port, compared to nearly 46 million in 2008, which is average, Port Authority data shows.

If the economy continues to recover, tonnage is expected to pick up to more typical season levels by mid-summer, Yorde said.

“We are guardedly optimistic that we’ll get close to 40 million,” she said. “It all depends on customer demand, if they buy cars and appliances. If the construction industry, with all the steel used, gets stimulus shovel-ready projects, it will drive the demand for steel which will drive the demand for iron ore.”

Craig Pagel, president of the Iron Mining Association in Minnesota was optimistic.

“It seems the economy is in a recovery,” he said. “After April 1, all of the iron ore mines in Northeast Minnesota should be all up and operating near capacity to meet the steel demand. We’re all optimistic the economy is getting on firm footings and continuing to recover.”

Duluth News Tribune

 

Port Reports - March 21

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. -
Edwin H. Gott departed Sturgeon Bay Saturday evening, heading for the Soo and on to Two Harbors, Minn.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jerome Albin
Roger Blough departed her winter lay-up dock in Milwaukee at 9:35 a.m. Saturday. She was followed by the Burns Harbor, which departed at 10 a.m.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Arthur M. Anderson crossed under the Charles Berry Bridge at 1:55 p.m. Saturday and headed out into Lake Erie for Detroit. She pushed through the ice and was about one mile from shore at 2:30 p.m.

Cleveland, Ohio
The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay departed Cleveland late Saturday night upbound. She may be heading to assist in lower Lake Huron.

Port Cartier, Que.
The first Great Lakes ship to leave her winter berth was the Canadian Olympic, which departed Section M2 in Montreal on March 10. She is currently shuttling iron ore between Port Cartier and Contrecour Que., through the end of March, after which she will deliver ore to Stelco in Hamilton from Point Noire, Que.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Atlantic Huron came out of refit on Saturday, and headed for National Gypsum to load. En route she passed Birchglen and Oakglen, and was escorted by Atlantic Spruce. Later in the morning Birchglen came out of the Novadock, with the tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Larch. Soon after, Oakglen moved into the Novadock with Atlantic Spruce and Svitzer Bedford.

 

Former Cape May Light tapped for Haiti relief efforts

3/21 - After being in lay up since 2002, one of two 224 passenger coastal cruise ships built for the ill-fated American Classic Voyages has been chartered to provide accommodations for World Food Program (WFP) staff engaged in relief efforts in Haiti.

To prepare the 286-foot Sea Voyager for this mission, Lloyd's Register accepted it into class following two weeks of sea trials in Jacksonville, Fla., on the St. Johns River.

Sea Voyager is the former Cape May Light, which made one trip on the lakes in 2001.

The ship was built at a cost of $37.95 million with the help of Title XI guarantees and was taken into Marad's possession (along with its sister, the $38.5 million Cape Cod Light) after American Classic defaulted on its loans without ever making a payment on the principal.

The ships were sold, for $9 million apiece, in 2008 to two Florida companies, Voyager Owner LLC bought the Cape May Light, and Discover Owner LLC bought the Cape Cod Light.

 

Updates - March 21

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 21

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.

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

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, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Fleet starts to move for the Soo Locks

3/20 - With the Soo Locks opening Sunday at 7 a.m., traffic has departed lay-up docks on the lower lakes and headed north.

Lee A. Tregurtha left her lay-up dock in Detroit early Friday afternoon and may be the first vessel waiting to lock upbound on Sunday. Lee A. is headed to Marquette, Mich. to load for Severstal Steel.

In Erie, Pa., members of the Great Lakes Fleet departed their winter lay-up docks Friday. Edgar B. Speer was first out about 1 p.m., followed by Presque Isle at 3 p.m. Speer is headed for the locks and on to Two Harbors, Minn., Presque Isle to Duluth.

Fred Heidrick

 

Shipping season begins in Goderich

3/20 - The first boat of the 2010 shipping season for Goderich, Canadian Progress, arrived about 6 a.m. Friday and was under the spout at Sifto Salt. The captain was presented with the traditional top hat at the town hall later Friday by the mayor and council.

Dale Baechler

 

Port Reports - March 20

Twin Ports – Al Miller
James R. Barker was loading coal Friday morning at Midwest Energy Terminal. The vessel is scheduled to leave port through the Superior Entry after midnight Saturday, March 20. Elsewhere in port, steam is up on the John G. Munson, which spent the winter at the Duluth port terminal.

Sarnia, Ont. – Greg Williams
Saginaw departed her lay-up dock in the North Slip Friday night and headed downbound for Sandusky, Ohio to load.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Buffalo News reported Friday that the New York State Power Authority tugs and barges will be removing the Niagara River ice boom starting on Monday.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Atlantic Huron will be leaving her fitout berth to load gypsum on Saturday morning. Soon after, Birchglen will be exiting the Novadock floating drydock to take her place at pier 25-26. As soon as the drydock is clear, Oakglen will be moved in. These last tow moves will be done dead ship.

 

Tug starts icebreaking operations on St. Lawrence Seaway

3/20 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. - The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation has started icebreaking in preparation of the waterway's scheduled opening next week.

The Montreal-to-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway is scheduled to open for the 2010 navigation season on Thursday morning.

This week the Seaway tug Robinson Bay began clearing ice on the St. Lawrence River.

People who fish, snowmobile or operate all-terrain vehicles on the ice are being asked to stay off the river because the tug's activity makes the ice cover unstable.

Seaway officials are working with the Canadian Coast Guard on setting a date for icebreaking activity in the upper St. Lawrence River.

 

Updates - March 20

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery 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.

 

All set to break ice, icebreaker finds smooth sailing instead

3/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – It’s a good day for commercial freighters that travel Lake Superior when the Soo Locks are opened. Usually for the first few weeks, boats have to break ice. But there’s a remedy for this, and if there’s ice in the way, there soon won’t be.

"The whole ship is shaking, it's impossible to do work," laughs Just Kimura.

That's how Lt. Cdr. Justin Kimura describes the United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw busting through the big stuff, the thick, unforgiving ice.

“This year it's extremely mild, and I'm a little disappointed frankly, coming in as an ice breaker, you want to see that heavy ice," says Kimura. This year, if you didn't know the water was extremely cold, you might consider going for a dip.

The Mackinaw crew was assembled early Thursday morning for the mission of opening the Soo Locks. Along with this ship, two other Coast Guard cutters along with one Canadian cutter were the first to embark on the journey up the St. Marys River into the locks, and lock up from the low-lying Lake Huron side to the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

All there was between the dock and the locks was a thin shale of ice. The captain says he doesn't remember a time when the locks have been this opened this early in the year.“ This is a very unusual winter for us here in the Great Lakes when it comes to ice breaking, it's been a very mild winter," says Cdr. Scott Smith.

As the locks gates opened after 13 minutes of locking up to the level of Lake Superior, it was just about the same story, nothing but thin, irrelevant ice. There wasn't any shaking of the boat, it wasn't impossible to hold a camera steady – it was out-of-the-ordinary smooth sailing.

“It signifies the transition between the winter close season and the open season, and really the start of more commercial traffic," says Smith.

Even though it wasn't an icy adventure, the Mackinaw’s crew has to make sure there's a path, because the locks open on Sunday.

Captain Smith says the Mackinaw will leave Friday to break up any ice in Whitefish Bay. Reports show there isn’t much ice there either, which makes the mission easier. But he says that’s not always a good thing, because it cuts down their chances for training.

Up North Live

 

James R. Barker set to start Twin Ports shipping season

3/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The Duluth Seaway Port Authority says the season will commence just after midnight Saturday when the James R. Barker departs from Superior with about 65,000 tons of coal for power plants in Michigan.

The Soo Locks open this weekend. The Army Corps of Engineers moved up the date by four days because of favorable ice conditions and demand on the lower Great Lakes for iron ore and coal. At least six vessels should be waiting in the St. Marys River for the locks to let them into Lake Superior.

The port authority expects the Twin Ports’ first inbound lake vessel to arrive Monday or Tuesday, and the first oceangoing vessel in early to mid-April.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Alpena’s shipping season is under way

3/19 - Alpena, Mich. – Lafarge's Alpena plant welcomed the city's namesake, the steamer Alpena, into port on Tuesday evening, marking the occasion with presentations to the ship's captain. The event commemorated the area's great heritage of shipping over the years; 2010 marks the 151st year of commercial shipping in Alpena.

In what has become an annual celebration, representatives from Lafarge, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the International Shipmasters Association and the City of Alpena gathered to honor the arrival of the shipping season and the Alpena.

"We are excited to get the new shipping season under way," Lafarge Public Affairs Manager Craig Ryan said. "The vessels are such a large part of what we do at Lafarge and I think it is wonderful that we are coming together again to celebrate not only the heritage of the plant, but also the legacy of Alpena."

The International Shipmasters Association presented Alpena Capt. Rob Moore with a certificate honoring the first boat, the National Marine Sanctuary gave a framed print of the schooner Cornelia B. Windiate, and the city of Alpena presented Captain Moore with memorabilia from the Alpena area.

 

Port Reports - March 19

Escanaba, Mich. - Lee Rowe
Herbert C. Jackson returned to Escanaba on Thursday for another load and departed. She was replaced at the dock by the Joyce VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader.

Soo Locks -
The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Penobscot Bay, Mobile Bay and Mackinaw all locked through Poe Lock Thursday morning to work ice in Whitefish Bay. Mackinaw tied up at the west pier after locking through while the smaller cutters continued on. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley also locked up and headed through the system for Thunder Bay. Ice is reported to be very light. Mackinaw was docked at the west pier Thursday night, while Penobscot Bay returned to the area below Gros Cap with Mobile Bay.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
After its arrival on Tuesday evening, Alpena remains at Lafarge. It shifted over to the coal dock late Wednesday night so the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation could tie up under the silos to load overnight. Thursday afternoon the Alpena had moved back over to the loading area and may leave on Friday.

Lorain, Ohio -
Arthur M. Anderson departed Lorain, passing under the Charles Berry Bridge heading out of the port at 2:35 p.m. Loaded with taconite for Zug Island, they reached the reached the Detroit dock about 11 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman began its season Thursday afternoon shortly after 4 p.m., departing her winter lay-up berth for Picton, Ont.

 

Ice-breaking fees delay start of Pelee Island ferry

3/19 - Windsor, Ont. – A hefty icebreaking fee is preventing the Pelee Island ferry from running until April 1 despite the warm weather and lack of ice on Lake Erie.

Pelee Island mayor Rick Masse said residents are upset because the ferry often begins running before the official April 1 start date, thanks to Essex County’s warm climate.

But Masse said the federal government is charging the Ontario Ministry of Transportation about $10,000 a month in icebreaking fees during what’s considered to be “ice season,” regardless of whether there is ice.

“If the ferry were to leave for one day in March, the Ministry of Transportation would have to pay a substantial fee for ice breaking. There is no ice out there. The boat wouldn’t run if there was ice,” Masse said.

“Why is the federal government holding up our economic activity for a service that they’ll never provide?”

Masse said he’s working with Essex MP Jeff Watson and his office to see if the fee can be waived for the rest of March.

“I know that all levels of governments are under fiscal constraints … but I want the boat to run because our community opened up and we want to have economic activity. People have been waiting for a long time to get going,” Masse said.

He said the federal legislation governing ice breaking fees is applied the same way across Canada, even though Pelee Island and Essex County enjoy a more temperate climate.

“You have to remember that we’re a very remote community,” Masse said. “Even though we’re in southern Ontario, we’re probably more remote than most northern communities. We just had a nice, long winter and people, businesses need to restock. Let’s get the season going.”

The Windsor Star

 

Boaters rescued in Lexington

3/19 - Port Huron, Mich. – Rescuers have brought everyone from a capsizing boat off Lexington ashore, and they are being treated by EMS, according to a U.S. Coast Guard official. There are no life-threatening injuries.

Officials said earlier that three people were in a row boat taking on water in Lake Huron. A helicopter from the Coast Guard Sector Detroit responded, as well as Lexington police and fire departments.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Seaway chief: opening date up to us

3/19 - Canton, N.Y. – The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. likely won't involve the public in its process for choosing opening and closing dates for St. Lawrence River ship navigation any time soon, its administrator told a St. Lawrence County advisory board Wednesday.

Collister W. "Terry" Johnson Jr. told members of the county's Environmental Management Council that a petition filed last month by Save the River, Clayton, to force greater transparency in choosing a Seaway opening date likely will be denied. He said the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., the U.S. Seaway's Canadian counterpart, objects to the environmental organization's request.

Save the River argues in its petition that the Seaway's process for choosing opening and closing dates is subject to a federal law requiring that it be spelled out in written policy, be carried out publicly and allow for public comment.

"A treaty dating back to 1909 says that whatever we do is done in consultation with, and the approval of, Canada," Mr. Johnson said. "We have talked to our counterparts, and they are strongly opposed to having any U.S. law govern what Canada can do with its own sovereign territory. We can't impose our laws on Canada any more than they can impose their laws on us."

Mr. Johnson said the agencies consider multiple factors in choosing the dates, like weather and water conditions, whether lock maintenance is finished and the anticipated demand for Seaway services.

"We're doing what we can for the environment and are mindful of our responsibilities to do that, but at the end of the day we are charged with protecting the economic vitality of the Seaway," he said.

Jennifer J. Caddick, Save the River executive director, said the organization's main concern is whether there is still ice on the river when the shipping season begins. Ships' wakes could disturb broken ice, causing a scouring effect that damages shoreline wildlife habitats and fish spawning beds.

Ms. Caddick said the organization also fears that ice conditions can significantly hinder emergency response to a hazardous material spill if a ship runs aground.

She said Wednesday night she has received no response from Seaway officials since Save the River filed its petition last month and had not been told it probably will be denied.

"We know a couple of things they take into account when making their decision, but how they're weighing those things and the mechanics of how they're putting those things together is completely black box to us," Ms. Caddick said. "The U.S. and Canada routinely work together on rules like this. A great recent example is the rules for how ships coming into the system treat their ballast. They've done this type of process before, so why they wouldn't want to do it for the season opening is a mystery to me."

Mr. Johnson said the Seaway recently worked with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe on a study examining the extent to which shipping causes shoreline scouring. He said it will be released in the next few weeks.

"We wanted to get some science behind it to see whether ice breaking does produce a scouring effect," Mr. Johnson said. "The question is whether shipping is a contributor. I think the study will surprise some people."

Watertown Daily Times

 

Canal Days put into perspective aboard the Canadian Transport

3/19 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Canal Days committee members were given an opportunity few in the lakeside community get – a tour of a working laker.

"The majority of our committee members have never been on board a ship; we take them for granted," said Kathy Caperchione, one of the committee members.

"When I received a phone call offering a tour, I thought it was a great opportunity for the committee to see a ship; to see what really goes on."

Caperchione, Mayor Vance Badawey and other members of the Canal Days committee toured Upper Lakes Shipping's Canadian Transport, docked beside ADM Milling in Port Colborne.

"Every year when the shipping season starts we all complain about the ships and having to wait for the bridges. But for tourists who come into town, they think ships are the best thing since sliced bread," said Caperchione.

The tour was to give everyone on the festival committee a better appreciation of the Welland Canal and the shipping industry in general. The mayor and Caperchione also felt it would be good because it would help keep the importance of the marine industry at the forefront when decisions are being made about Canal Days.

Badawey said it would also show how environmentally-friendly and efficient ships are at moving large cargos around the lakes and world.

"It will promote an understanding of how important the shipping industry is to Port Colborne and Niagara."

The tour, Badawey said, would show how people live on ships, how they operate and the various positions on board.

And with captains, deckhands, chefs, mates and engineers retiring each year, Badawey felt the tour would show the next generation how important the shipping industry is and that there are jobs in the various fields that will need to be filled.

"The marine industry is important to our city, region and economy. It's what Port Colborne is all about."

He said the tour would help committee members be more effective when talking about Canal Days and promoting the event nationwide and worldwide.

Caperchione agreed with Badawey.

"It will give us all more appreciation for the festival and the fact the marine aspect of the festival is important," she said.

The two also thought the tour would be a good opportunity for Upper Lakes Shipping, and the shipping industry, to learn more about Canal Days and why it's important to Port Colborne.

Caperchione said ships are in her blood. She grew up right at Lock 8 in Port Colborne.

"My grandparents owned Armstrong's Confectionary, which was right at the lock. They serviced the ships coming in, selling ice cream and cigarettes and taking care of the mail. The store was there until 1965 and that's where I get my love of ships. I wanted to share that with the committee," she said.

Badawey, too, has been on board many ships, both as mayor and through the family business, George Badawey Marine Food Supply.

"My first time on a ship was when I was four years old. The first time they let me steer a ship I was 25," he said.

While Caperchione and Badawey have been on ships, for most of the committee members it was their first time.

Ganya Evans, Mainstreet development coordinator for South Niagara Community Future Development Corp., was excited about the tour.

"I grew up in Port Colborne and have seen ships all my life. It was great to see it from another perspective."

Evans and the others were led onboard by Upper Lakes Shipping's Capt. Kevin Kelly, director of human resources. The first stop was in the officers' mess where the committee members were split into two groups.

One group was taken to the bridge by Kim Randell, a Port Colborne resident and first mate with Upper Lakes.

Randell, who was worked for Upper Lakes for 21 years, showed his group various instruments on the bridge, including for radar, GPS and steering control. He talked about the devices, pointed out ships sitting in the canal that showed up on a view screen and even pulled out a couple of old charts.

As they toured the bridge, committee members wandered outside to look down the canal and over toward Nickel Beach and ADM Milling.

"This is wonderful. The view is breathtaking and the technology is amazing," said Evans.

Patti Stirling, first vice-president of Port Colborne-Wainfleet Chamber of Commerce, jumped at the chance to take the tour.

"I was born and raised in Port Colborne and have never had the opportunity to get on a ship. This is fabulous."

Stirling and the others couldn't believe how long the ship was as they looked down from the bridge. The Canadian Transport, which has its bridge at the stern, is about 250 metres long.

As they snapped photos from the ship's bridge, the Clarence Street Bridge, Bridge 21, started to raise. Looking out, everyone could see the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Griffon backing up the canal. The Griffon stopped at the city's 'island' to pick up buoys.

Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum curator Stephanie Powell Baswick took the tour and saw the Griffon as it came back underneath the bridge, headed down the canal and out into Lake Erie.

It was the second time on board a vessel for Powell Baswick. She was on the bridge of another ship for one of the city's canal-opening top hat ceremonies, but this was the first time she had a full tour of one.

"It was fantastic. It was almost like professional development for me. A lot of the instruments and objects we have in our collection are things still being used on ships. It was really cool to see them intact."

When talking with the chief engineer, she learned things that date back to the 1820s, including that a gong on the stern and bell on the bow are still in use by ships today, despite modern technology.

While in the engine room, she said, chief engineer Gordon Smith took complicated technical explanations and made them easy to understand.

Smith told one of the groups the ship was in Port Colborne undergoing engine repairs this winter. Part of one engine was torn apart. New pistons were sitting on a table waiting to be installed as crews were working away in the depths of the massive ship.

A brand new bilge treatment system had recently been installed. Smith said with that and its sewage treatment system, the Canadian Transport releases very little pollution into the water it plies.

"We've been green for years. If we were to pass by a beach that was being closed because of contamination, what we release from the ship would be cleaner than the water at the beach," said Smith.

He said the Canadian Transport rarely makes it through the Welland Canal.

"We might be through every 2 1/2 to three years."

The vessel usually stays above the Welland Canal, in the Upper Lakes.

"We'll pick up coal in Ashtabula, Ohio, and take it Lambton Generating Station near Sarnia. From there, we'll head up Lake Huron all the way into Lake Superior to Superior, Wisc., pick up coal there and take it back down to Nanticoke," said Smith.

Capt. Kevin Kelly said the Canadian Transport, along with sister ships Canadian Enterprise and Canadian Olympic, were built to carry coal for Ontario Hydro.

But with the provincial government looking to close Nanticoke Generating Station, the ship has turned to other loads such as iron ore and grain.

"We can carry just about anything," said Kelly.

He was glad to offer the tour of the ship and showcase what the marine industry has to offer. Kelly said ships can carry far more than transport trucks can, and do it in a more environmentally-friendly way.

And, he said, the shipping industry is important to the country, to the region and to Port Colborne.

"There's a lot of spinoff industry from the marine industry."

Ship repair companies, such as Allied Marine, work on vessels throughout the year, and companies such as Badawey's supply the marine industry.

Kelly said one area the marine industry will be short on in the coming future is manpower. By the year 2012, it's predicted the marine industry worldwide will be short some 40,000 officers and they will need to be replaced.

Welland Tribune

 

Updates - March 19

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 19

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 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.

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, 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.

 

Twin Ports prepare for 2010 season, set to start on Saturday

3/18 - Duluth, Minn. - The 2010 commercial navigation season gets underway on the Great Lakes this weekend with the anticipated early opening of the Soo Locks at 7 a.m. on Sunday. With favorable spring ice conditions and to meet a critical need on the lower lakes for iron ore at steel plants and coal at power plants, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moved up the date from March 25, and a number of operators are fitting out ships this week to take advantage of the early opening.

The commercial shipping season will commence in Duluth-Superior just after midnight on Saturday, with the departure of the Ports first outbound laker, Interlake Steamship Co.’s James R. Barker, from its winter berth at MERCs Superior Midwest Energy Terminal. Loaded with approximately 65,000 short tons of coal, the Barker will depart via the Superior Entry and actually make two stops, with split deliveries to power plants in St. Clair and Monroe, Mich. The James R. Barker had the honor of being the Ports first outbound laker of the 2009 season as well, having departed on March 30 last year, just an hour after the first inbound laker, the Alpena, arrived.

There will be at least six upbound vessels waiting in the St. Marys River for the locks at Sault Ste. Marie to open on Sunday, including four Great Lakes Fleet ships: the Presque Isle headed to Duluth to load iron ore at CN/DMIR Dock 6, and Roger Blough, Edwin H. Gott, and Edgar B. Speer headed to Two Harbors for pellets; plus two Interlake Steamship Company vessels; Charles M. Beeghly and Lee A. Tregurtha headed to Silver Bay and Marquette, respectively, also to load ore.

One last entry in the Duluth-Superior record books will be made early next week, when the port’s first inbound laker arrives which looks to be either March 22 or 23.

All commercial vessels will use the Superior Entry for arrivals/departures until painting of the north tower of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge is complete. It is scheduled to open on March 31.

The Welland Canal section of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway are both scheduled to open to vessel traffic on March 25, which means the Port of Duluth- Superior will be watching for its first oceangoing vessel to arrive under the Aerial Lift Bridge in early to mid-April.

That first ship will be greeted by maritime officials with a welcoming ceremony, and will also qualify a winner for the annual First Ship Contest sponsored by the Port Authority and Visit Duluth. Prizes include a weekend getaway to Duluth with hotel accommodations, meals and passes to attractions. Last year’s first ship, the Medemborg, arrived on April 12; the Ports earliest recorded arrival of an oceangoing vessel was April 1, 1995 the Indian-flagged LT Argosy. Click here to enter in the first ship contest

Duluth Seaway Port Authority

 

Port Reports - March 18

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Bonnie Barnes
On Wednesday, the USCG Katmai Bay moved from the Coast Guard slip to the Carbide dock and the Mobile Bay moved to the USCG slip. Penobscot Bay arrived upbound at Mission Point around 11 a.m. As it moved up to the Soo Harbor, the Mobile Bay moved from the USCG slip to the Carbide dock - behind the Katmai Bay. The Great Lakes Towing tug Missouri assisted the Mobile Bay into position. Penobscot Bay then pulled into the Coast Guard station slip. The Missouri then backed in to its dock at Great Lakes Towing, next to the Coast Guard slip.
The Coast Guard cutters are expected to lock upbound to work Whitefish Bay about 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

Straits of Mackinac -
The USCG Hollyhock departed Station St. Ignace and waited off Mackinac Island to escort the Herbert C. Jackson westbound through Round Island Passage about 10 a.m. Hollyhock waited near the Mackinac Bridge and escorted the east bound Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation under the bridge before returning to St. Ignace. Champlain and barge continued on through Round Island Passage.

Sarnia, Ont.
Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley departed Sarnia about 2 p.m. Wednesday upbound heading for the Soo and break out in preparation for the opening of the Soo Locks.

Lorain, Ohio -
Arthur M. Anderson returned to Lorain about 4 a.m. Wednesday morning. She turned off the port and backed in to load taconite at the Jonick dock for Zug Island.

 

Another season of shipping to set sail

3/18 - Welland, Ont. – The opening of the Welland Canal is just more than a week away and top hat ceremonies are being planned for St. Catharines and Port Colborne.

This year's ceremony will be focused on the next generation of the marine industry, said Port Colborne Mayor Vance Badawey.

"This year we're going to do it a bit differently," he said, referring to the annual event that is usually held at Lock 8 Park to kick off another season of shipping through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

At 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 25, the event will instead be held at Lakeshore Catholic High School, to "highlight the tech and training programs available at both Lakeshore Catholic and Port Colborne High School."

The event, Badawey added, will "really introduce the students to marine-related trades -- right from the captain and first mate, to the engineering, as well as other disciplines that the industry is going to be in need of as time goes on."

Badawey said it's hoped the first downbound vessel arrives in Port Colborne by about 10 a.m., so the city's top hat can be presented to the captain. The more than a century-old top hat is brought out of storage at Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum each year for the ceremony.

The mayor said the event should include several dignitaries from St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. Marine industry folk will talk to the students and community about what it's like to work in the field.

The St. Catharines top hat ceremony celebrating the arrival of the first upbound vessel will begin at 10 a.m., featuring St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. president and CEO Richard Corfe, at the Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3.

The ceremony will be a celebration of 181 years of shipping that began on Nov. 27, 1829, when the Ann & Jane became the first ship to enter the first Welland Canal. The tiny vessel was greeted by throngs of enthusiastic supporters.

This historic first passage continues to be celebrated annually on the anniversary of the event as Merritt Day, after the founder of the canal, William Hamilton Merritt.

The pageantry of that trip was recreated 118 years later, when in 1947, Feasby Garment and Linen Rental sponsored an event to recognize the first upbound ship to enter the Welland Canal at the start of the navigation season. A symbolic top hat was presented to the captain and this presentation has carried on every year since.

Work Wear Corp. of Canada assumed sponsorship of the hat in 1985. Because the captains of each ship had signed the top hat, there were so many signatures that by 1989 that the original top hat had to be retired from service; it would no longer accommodate any more signatures. In 1991, G&K Workwear Corp. of Canada assumed sponsorship of the top hat for the St. Catharines ceremony.

The original 1947 top hat, and the history it represents, is now an important part of the canal ceremonies showcase in the St. Catharines Museum.

In addition to Corfe, U.S. Seaway administrator Collister Johnson Jr. will be on hand for the ceremony.

A representative from Upper Lakes Shipping will speak on behalf of the shipping industry.

Welland Tribune

 

Another Lake Michigan car ferry service explored

3/18 - Algoma, Wisc. - The marina in Algoma could soon be home to the newest Wisconsin to Michigan car ferry service.

City leaders in Algoma started exploring the idea several years ago. They now say a route to Frankfort, Michigan is becoming more and more likely.

"We're talking about a high speed catamaran that can cruise up to 54 miles-per-hour and carry 400 people and 46 vehicles," said Ken Taylor, chairman of Algoma's car ferry committee.

The ferry would be owned and operated by a private business.

Taylor said there are already a few interested parties.

Taylor said, that for plans to move forward, the city will have to receive a significant amount of federal funding. That's because Algoma needs to upgrade its harbor and pier. The estimated cost is $9 million.

City leaders believe they can come up with 100 percent of the money needed without raising taxes. They have applied for several grants, but are still waiting to hear back.

"I think the enthusiasm is growing with people saying this is a possibility, it's not just a dream," said Taylor

According to those working on the project, it would take about an hour and half to ride the ferry from Algoma to Frankfort. They told FOX 11 that same trip takes more than 8 hours in a car.

But, it would not be the only route available. There is already a service from Milwaukee to Muskegon, Mich. Also, the S.S. Badger has been transporting passengers between Manitowoc, Wis., and Ludington, Mich., for nearly two decades.

Those who operate the S.S. Badger say they would welcome another car ferry onto Lake Michigan.

"We're not threatened by other ferry operators. We're really confident in the experience and the value that we give to our passengers," said Lynda Matson, the spokesperson for the S.S. Badger.

The route from Algoma would feature a smaller, much quicker ferry boat. It would be similar to the Lake Express which operates from Milwaukee.

Those working to bring a ferry to Algoma believe ridership would exceed 100,000 people each season.

"This project is a long time coming. We'd hope to see it come to fruition sooner than later," said Jennifer Brown, the executive director of the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation.

Supporters say a new car ferry is still a few years away, but it would be a huge economic boost on both sides of the lake.

If the car ferry route does happen, Algoma and Frankfort have even discussed the possibility of trying to arrange athletic competition between their two high schools.

Fox 11

 

Welland Canal notices to shipping issued

3/18 - Welland Canal Notices to Shipping #1 - #6 have been issued. click here to view

 

Updates - March 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 18

18 March 1967 - Under the command of Captain Ray I. McGrath, the Columbia Transportation Company's HURON (steel propeller self-unloader bulk freighter, 415 foot, 4,810 gross tons, built in 1914, at Ecorse, Michigan) cleared Fairport, Ohio, and headed to Toledo, Ohio for a load of coal. She was the first freighter to sail in the new season. She sailed on the same day that the U. S. Steel's Bradley Fleet of seven vessels started fitting out.

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.

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.

 

Steel mill shipping taconite from Lorain

3/17 - Lorain, Ohio – Taconite, one of the basic ingredients for making steel, has been leaving Lorain's East 28th Street steel plant for months, according to a spokesman for Republic Engineered Products.

Ken Braun, of REP, said the company has been selling taconite to other steel makers since the market value of the material rose in recent months.

"We can sell the taconite for a profit," he said. "We have a whole lot of it, and it's just sitting there. There's no point to leaving money sitting on the ground."

Canton-based Republic Engineered Products announced in December 2008 it would shut down its Lorain blast furnace, and the company still has no plans to restart it, Braun said.

The company has been shipping the taconite out in rail cars for months, according to Braun.

The Arthur M. Anderson, a freighter that was built in Lorain in 1952, arrived Sunday to carry a load to Conneaut, Ohio. Anderson departed Lorain about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and sailed eastbound arriving off Conneaut about 10 a.m.

Anderson is expected to return to Lorain to take on a load for Zug Island in Detroit.

More than 500 workers in Republic Engineered Products' Lorain plant are laid off, Braun said.

About 40 workers have accepted transfers to work in Republic's facilities in Canton and Lackawana, N.Y., he said.

Lorain Morning Journal

 

Port Reports - March 17

Twin Ports – Al Miller
USCGC Alder began breaking ice in the Duluth-Superior harbor on Monday. Crewmembers reported the ice was only 8 to 10 inches thick, about half to a third its normal thickness at this time of year. Several weeks of mild weather have left much of the remaining ice rotted, with large areas of open water.

Soo Locks – Bonnie Barnes
The USCG Hollyhock departed downbound Tuesday morning and passed the upbound Mobile Bay above Detour about 1 p.m. Mobile Bay docked at the Carbide Dock. Hollyhock dock at the St. Ignace Coast Guard dock. Penobscot Bay is now expected on Wednesday.

Escanaba, Mich. - Lee Rowe
Joseph L. Block loaded ore at Escanaba on Tuesday. Herbert C. Jackson is expected to arrive late Wednesday for a load.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena made its way into port on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, tying up a Lafarge around 5 p.m.

Detroit, Mich.
The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley was upbound on Lake St. Clair Tuesday morning, followed by the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bristol Bay. Risley continued upbound while the Bristol Bay broke ice in the North Channel. Herbert C. Jackson finished unloading in the Rouge River and departed upbound around noon. The Jackson is bound for Escanaba to load.
Tuesday afternoon Bristol Bay return to her Detroit moorings and was followed downbound by the tug Everlast and barge. Risley stopped in Sarnia and then continued upbound on Lake Huron until about 7 p.m. when she turned and headed back to Sarnia.  Boats also reported smoke visible from Lake St. Clair that appeared to be a controlled burn on Walpole Island.

 

Lake Huron ice no longer a concern

3/17 - Port Huron, Mich. – With warm temperature and sunshine dominating the forecast in recent days, the concern over an ice bridge in Lake Huron is melting away as quickly as the ice. U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Matt Merriman said ice is moving into the St. Clair River in large floes. But, he said, the ice is broken up and basically “melted.” Officials don’t expect the ice will cause navigation problems or flooding.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

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

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

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

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

In 1945 Stadium Boat Works of Cleveland Ohio launched the SOUTH SHORE (US. 247657) for Miller Boat Line of Put-In-Bay, OH. She carried 6 autos and 120 passengers. In 1973, she was sold to Beaver Island Boat Company until retired at the end of the 1997 season. In April of 1999, sailed to Chicago where she was docked at the foot of Navy Pier as a storage vessel for Shoreline Cruises.

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

 

Whitefish Bay ice breaking operations set to start Thursday

3/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. ¬– Thursday morning the United States Coast Guard will start breaking ice in Whitefish Bay and the Upper St. Marys River in preparation for the 2010 shipping season.

Ice breaking operations will extend from Whitefish Bay to Detour.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters initially involved will be the Mackinaw based out of Cheboygan; the Penobscot Bay, out of Bayonne, N.J.;the Mobile Bay out of Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; and the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley based in Parry Sound, Ont.

On March 18, the four cutters will lock through to the upper St. Marys River and prepare tracks in Whitefish Bay and the upper St. Marys River.

Although not limited to a specific area, Mackinaw will focus its activities to the charted Lake Carriers Association (LCA) track lines.

Biscayne Bay arrived upbound at DeTour about 10 a.m. Monday, followed by the Mackinaw shortly after 11 a.m. Mackinaw headed to the Soo while the Biscayne Bay broke out the channels in the Mud Lake area before stopping at Lime Island about 5 p.m. Mackinaw joined the Hollyhock and Katmai Bay in the Soo. Penobscot Bay will be joining them Tuesday afternoon.

Monday afternoon, the tug W. J. Isaac Purvis moved the barge PML 9000 from the Carbide dock, where it had been all winter, across the river to the dock in Soo, Ont. The Hollyhock, which had been at the U.S. Coast Guard station dock, then moved down to the Carbide dock. The USCGC Penobscot Bay will be joining them Tuesday afternoon.

 

Port Reports - March 16

Soo Locks
On Monday, the Durocher Marine tug General and barge MOBRO 2001 locked up through the Davis Lock about 10 a.m. They are continuing work on the cofferdam for the new lock.

Port Huron
Herbert C. Jackson was downbound Monday evening in Lower Lake Huron for Severstahl’s Rouge River steel plant with a load of taconite from Escanaba, Mich. She was escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley. Heavy winds were blowing ice from Canadian side, though the ice bridge in lower Lake Huron that had caused so much concern last week has mostly rotted away in the warmer temperatures and rain.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Alpena arrived at the LaFarge dock at the 130th Street Bridge early Sunday morning. She could be seen all day Sunday unloading. They were upbound on Lake Michigan Monday evening.

 

Coast Guard to open channel between Cheboygan, Bois Blanc

3/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie will open the waters between Cheboygan, Mich., and Bois Blanc Island, Mich., also known as South Channel, at 12 p.m. on March 18.

 

Official opening ceremony for 2010 Seaway shipping season March 25

3/16 - Massena, N.Y. – The official “Top Hat” Opening Ceremony of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 2010 navigation season will take place at the Welland Canal, St. Catharines, Ont., Canada, Thursday, March 25 at 10 a.m.

The event annually brings together many of the key players and stakeholders on both sides of the border.

Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, has been invited to be keynote speaker. St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation President and CEO Richard Corfe and U.S. Seaway Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. will also make presentations.

 

Month-long Asian Carp hunt turns up nothing

3/16 - Chicago, Ill. - A month-long netting operation has turned up no Asian carp on Chicago’s main shipping canal near Lake Michigan. The search is part of the federal government’s $78.5 million plan to stop the invasive fish with the huge appetite from taking over the Great Lakes. The netting was ordered after DNA tests showed evidence of the bloated carp at several spots beyond the electronic barrier on Chicago’s main canal that’s meant to keep the fish at bay.

Charlie Wooley of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says they’d like to see actual Asian carp before acknowledging that any are there. But Duane Chapman of the U.S. Geological Survey says the fish are hard to catch when there are only a few on such a massive waterway. As a result, he says it means nothing that the first netting came up empty. Tom Marks of the Great Lakes Sport Council says the netting is a waste of time and money. He’s afraid the federal government will ease up on its promise to fight the carp, the longer an actual fish doesn’t show up.

The netting result was good news for Chicago business interests which are fighting proposals to close the canals to keep the fish out. It’s part of a lawsuit by Michigan to try and get Chicago to reverse its sewage flows, so Lake Michigan is no longer link to the carp-infested Mississippi River. The suit is backed by Wisconsin and other Great Lakes states outside of Illinois.

WTAQ

 

May 2010 lighthouse and freighter cruise

3/16 - BoatNerd and the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association have joined with Keweenaw Excursions to organize the first lighthouse/freighter chasing event of 2010. This unusual trip will take place from May 19 to May 21.

The fun will begin and end in Sault Ste. Marie, and features a two-day cruise aboard the Keweenaw Star which will travel from Marquette across Lake Superior, down the St. Marys River, overnight in the Soo, continue down thru the Rock Cut, DeTour, and across the top of Lake Huron. The cruise will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and sail down Lake Michigan to Charlevoix. The boat will provide photo opportunities at 20 lighthouses and all the vessels in the busy shipping lanes along the way.

Due to bus availability, this event is limited to the first 46 people who make reservations. Make yours today. Click here for details.

 

New Discussion Boards

3/16 - For several years we have been working on a replacement for our dated discussion boards. After many revisions and user comments we have launched an updated board.

Based on user feed back we have simplified the user interface and tried to make it intuitive. The new system will allow inline picture attachments and provides better privacy by not publically displaying the user's IP.

Use accounts are optional, you may still post by simply clicking the "Post New Topic" button. We suggest creating a user account, this will allow you to track new posts and post without entering the security codes every time. We plan to run both boards together until we get a larger pool of user feed back. If you are familiar with these types of boards from other sites please visit http://newsearch.boatnerd.com

We encourage all users to help test the new boards, we have added a "test" forum that will allow you to try the new system.

For instructions on use click here

 

Updates - March 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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.

 

Port Reports - March 15

Lorain, Ohio
Arthur M. Anderson arrived at the mouth of Lorain harbor at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Ice at the entrance of the river caused the Anderson to back and ram its way into port. The Anderson will load ore for Zug Island, in Detroit.

Straits of Mackinac - Jon Paul Michaels
After a weekend of mild temperatures and breezy east winds, the shipping channel in the Straits of Mackinac is mainly free of ice after being completely ice covered only a few days ago. The Round Island Passage is also mainly ice-free. The South Passage has large portions of ice-free area off of Cheboygan, but is still mostly rotten-ice covered from the traffic buoy west to Zela Shoal.

Mackinac Island - Robert McGreevy
The Arnold Transit ferry Huron will resume service to Mackinac Island today. This is welcome relief to the residents of Mackinac Island. Boat service ended on January 7 due to ice conditions. The ice bridge between St. Ignace and Mackinac Island did not form this year because of the mild weather.

Escanaba, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Herbert C. Jackson departed winter lay-up at Bay Shipbuilding Saturday and headed to load in Escanaba, sporting a new coat of paint. She loaded ore at and departed on a sunny Sunday. Tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were inbound for the Escanaba ore dock Sunday night.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation opened the season at Lafarge when they arrived in the early morning Saturday.

Cleveland, Ohio – Bill Kloss
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder continue the shuttle run from Cleveland Bulk Terminal up the Cuyahoga River to the Arcelor/Mittal steel mill.

 

Marinette Marine breaks ground on large ship facility

3/15 - Marinette, Wis. – Marinette Marine Corp. broke ground Friday for the expansion of its large ship erection building.

Company leaders say this is part of a $100 million investment in Marinette Marine and other area operations aimed at securing contracts that will help stabilize the work force at the shipyard — such as the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship.

(The expansion) "is to improve our production efficiency and make us more productive and more competitive in the marketplace," said Fred Moosally, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marine Group, which includes Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay and ACE Marine in Green Bay. "When we win the fiscal year 2010 ships for LCS, that's a winner take all with 10 ships … and it will really stabilize the work force."

Marinette Marine is owned by Fincantieri Cantieri Navali Italiani S.p.A.

The building upgrade is expected to nearly double production square footage in two large construction bays and will give the company the option of having two complete hulls and parts for two other ships under construction indoors at one time.

It also is expected to allow larger sections of a vessel to be built prior to launch.

This improvement will allow Fincantieri to build the Littoral Combat Ship more cost effectively, according to a news release.

Marinette Marine built the first-in-class Littoral Combat Ship USS Freedom and is working on another ship in that class. The ship Marinette Marine is building is designed by Lockheed Martin.

Austal USA is moving forward with a competing design after partnering with General Dynamics.

The Navy is expected to choose a design this summer.

Marinette Marine has also installed overhead cranes with a higher lift capacity and new pipe bending machines, and the yard is expected to improve its panel line production facility and build a new blasting and paint building.

Moosally said the expansion is something customers wanted to see.

"It's going to allow them to have a lot of confidence in our ability to produce ships at the prices they want," he said. "This is all about cost. The new word in town … is affordability and we have to be able to show our customers we can build affordable, quality, ships that meet the requirements they have."

Joyce Allgeyer, an outfitter at the yard and recording secretary for Boilermakers Local 696, said workers are being recalled, and the Littoral Combat Ship contract is important.

"We're hopeful," she said.

Marinette Marine recently secured a contract to build a new Alaska Region Research Vessel for the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Late last year Fincantieri said Marinette Marine and Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay could see investments worth about $40 million made in the two facilities in the near term and as much as $100 million in investment over the next five years.

"We're going to win (the LCS contract) on cost," Moosally said. "This is basically a price shootout."

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Updates - March 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

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.

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.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 14

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, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Arthur M. Anderson resumes trip downbound

3/13 - Port Huron, Mich. – Friday morning started with the CCGS Samuel Risley upbound on Lake St. Clair escorting the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation. By 10:15 a.m., they had passed Algonac with no delays. The CCGS Griffon was downbound from Sarnia and the Arthur M. Anderson had turned and started downbound. Griffon escorted Anderson downbound across Lake St. Clair; Anderson stopped at Sterling Fuel in Windsor Friday afternoon before resuming her trip to Lorain, Ohio. About 11:15 a.m., Risley tuned above Marine City to escort Algocanada downbound.

 

Coast Guard keeps tabs on ice bridge

3/13 - Port Huron, Mich. – Port Huron’s Vantage Point Maritime Center has been providing a good view of the sizable chunks of ice that flowed downriver from the ice bridge that has been melting and breaking apart since Tuesday.

The 30- to 35-square-mile ice bridge in southern Lake Huron had some officials worried about a repeat of 1984, when an ice bridge broke up and blocked the St. Clair River for 24 days, dropping water levels in Lake St. Clair and flooding the southern part of the county. The break cost the shipping industry $1.7 million that year, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

A statement issued by the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit on Thursday night said the agency was keeping an eye on the river and warned of hazards to small vessels from the pieces of ice.

As of 9:45 p.m., Bluewater Ferry from Marine City to Sombra, Ontario, reported no delays. Neither did Champion's Auto Ferry from Clay Township to Harsens Island, nor the Walpole-Algonac Ferry Line from Walpole Island to Algonac.

So instead of a hazard to the county's residents and economy, the broken-up ice bridge appeared to be a source of enjoyment for river watchers.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Port Reports - March 13

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian Wroblewski
The fire tug Edward M. Cotter's ice breaking mission on March 5 has proven a success. All of the ice in the navigation section of the Buffalo River has flushed itself out and the water is now running mud brown. The lake ice off Buffalo seems to be shifting around somewhat, since there were open areas of clear water to be seen outside the breakwall.

The New York state Power Authority tug Breaker was out in the ice of the City Ship Canal on the 11th. They may be getting ready to start working the Niagara River Ice Boom. There is a nice shot of her in today's picture page of the Buffalo News.

The tug Kurt Luedtke was rafted to the derrick barge #16 with her engine running at the Cargill Pier around noon today. The small tender tug Gretchen was tied up on the outside of the Luedtke. They are either getting ready to begin dredging again and finish the job they started in the fall, or they may be getting ready to depart.

Muskegon, Mich. - Mark Taylor
The Alpena departed winter lay-up the Mart Dock in Muskegon Friday heading for Milwaukee and Chicago.

 

Coast Guard suspects hoax after lake search

3/13 - Marblehead, Ohio – After a fruitless 2½-hour search by air and land yesterday, the U.S. Coast Guard will launch a hoax investigation into a report of a capsized boat and a missing person in western Lake Erie.

The cell phone call was made about 6:40 a.m. from an unlisted number.

The caller said he got safely to shore but did not give a better location or provide any other details and was uncooperative before the call was dropped in midsentence, authorities said.

The Coast Guard searched the lake by helicopter. Coast Guard personnel also drove to boat ramps in search of unattended vehicles and empty boat trailers.

The search was called off about 9:30 a.m.

Toledo Blade

 

Updates - March 13

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated

 

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.

 

Iron, coal demand give ports positive forecast for 2010 shipping season

3/12 - Green Bay, Wis. – The 2010 Great Lakes shipping season is expected to show some improvement over 2009, but few expect a dramatic spike in business this year.

The tempered expectations come on the heels of the announcement by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it will open part of the Soo Locks four days ahead of schedule following "several requests from the shipping community and their customers to open early because of 'an improved business climate' and to replenish critically low iron ore and coal inventories."

Shippers are coming off what was generally regarded as a slow season in 2009, but one that gained some momentum through the fall and summer.

The Ohio-based Lake Carriers Association reported a 34 percent dip in cargo last year while the port of Green Bay was down about 18 percent.

"There is an increased demand for iron ore … and steel production rates have been increasing steadily this year. The industry is now up to almost 70 percent of its capacity," said Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers Association. "It looks like the season will see a stronger demand for iron ore."

Nekvasil said it's still difficult to gauge what 2010 is going to look like.

"The steel industry is right now operating at better levels, but no one I'm talking to says it's a sure thing the industry will operate at those levels throughout the year," he said. "We're encouraged that there seems to be increased economic activity, but no one is saying the storm has completely passed."

While the Port of Green Bay saw numbers improve from a slow start last year, there was a dramatic fall-off in December.

Port manager Dean Haen said that may carry over into the early part of the 2010 season, which usually gets under way in late March and early April.

"Last year started off slow and then ramped up and we had great mid-year months right through November, and in December business was nonexistent," he said. "Based on that, I'd have to forecast we're going to start off slow."

Haen said based on the amount of stockpiled materials in the port, it's likely the port will see its first ship in early April.

But he points to a $1.9 million state grant for U.S. Oil Co. Inc. to build a loading and unloading facility in the port this year as a development that should help boost business overall. The grant was announced Friday.

"That's new business, new cargo and that's a good thing," Haen said. "We have our staple goods that we do, but anytime we can expand and diversify then we won't see as extreme of swings in tonnage."

Wayne Hennessy, director of vessel traffic and customer service with Seaway Marine Transport in St. Catharines, Ontario, said they expect much the same as the others when looking ahead at the imminent shipping season.

"There's a little bit of a pent-up demand, hence the opening of the Soo three or four days ahead of time," he said.

"We're quietly optimistic that the iron ore and steel industry are getting their legs back slowly again. It's not going to be a record year but sort of a steady march back to where we were a few years ago is probably the best way to describe it."

Seaway Marine Transport has 19 self-unloading vessels and seven bulk carriers.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Port Reports - March 12

St. Clair River
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon proceeded up into the ice bridge in lower Lake Huron Thursday morning to assist Algocanada down to Sarnia, Ont. The ice bridge remains in lower Lake Huron with small pieces breaking off. Tug Manitou was downbound with a reported destination of Lorain, Ohio. Late Thursday night the tug was on Lake Erie east bound past Lorain, Ohio. Arthur M. Anderson was anchored in the St. Clair River Recor anchorage Thursday evening. She is downbound for Lorain, Ohio, where she is expected to load taconite for Zug Island.

Cleveland, Ohio
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation departed winter lay-up in Cleveland Thursday evening and were upbound to load cement in Alpena.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Montrealais was taken from the Redpath Sugar slip by McKeil's tugs Seahound and Wyatt M. Thursday afternoon and turned around in the harbor before being backed into the same slip.

Halifax Report - Mac Mackay
Birchglen will emerge from drydock with red hull paint. As expected, the former black hull will become traditional CSL red with white forecastle. The new color is visible on the bow now and looks to have the same high gloss that was applied to Atlantic Huron.

 

Coast Guard monitors ice conditions in St. Clair River

3/12 - Detroit, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard is monitoring large quantities of ice, including several large pieces that are beginning to break away from an ice bridge located at the southern end of Lake Huron.

This has the potential to affect smaller vessels transiting the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. All recreational boaters are advised to avoid these waterways until conditions improve.

The Coast Guard continues to monitor the water levels in both the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair and has notified the Harsens Island Ferry of current ice conditions.

Satellite image animation of ice

 

Coast Guard ice breaker arrives at the Grand River

3/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaker Penobscot Bay, under the direction of the agency’s Sector Detroit, is presently working to relieve a pressure ridge of ice just outside the mouth of the Grand River harbor, reports the agency.

A U.S. Army Corp of Engineers staff member from Cleveland is at the site, assessing the situation, and he also reported most of the river is ice-free.

“This is perfect for the ice breaker because it is easy for the crew and vessel to clear without having to go up the river. Once that pressure ridge is taken care of, then the threat from flooding should subside,” says Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Matt Merriman.

“The wind has shifted and that often means the ice shifts, too. That happened a lot (Wednesday) night and this morning.”

A major concern of the vessel’s commander, Merriman also said, was that the Penobscot is too big to turn around in the Grand River’s turning basin without ice, which acts as a buffer.

“But that isn’t an issue now because the pressure ridge is at the river’s mouth,” he said.

Following the on-going work at the Grand River’s mouth the Penobscot Bay will likely go to the Ashtabula Harbor for possible similar work.

A flood warning for the Grand River at Painesville has been cancelled by the National Weather Service. At its maximum level the Grand River stood at about 8.5 feet, or one-half foot above flood stage. The river is currently at 7.65 feet.

Annually and when river ice conditions warrant, a Coast Guard ice breaker is sent to the Grand River in order to break up the ice along a central strip in the river’s main channel and up to the turning basin.

The Penobscot is the seventh of nine ships in the U.S. Coast Guard’s class of small icebreakers. In commission since Jan. 4, 1985, the 140-foot ice-breaking tug and its siblings are the most efficient icebreakers of their size in the world, says the Coast Guard.

Such vessels have a high horsepower-to-displacement ratio, which provides ample power to maneuver easily in ice. Two Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines provide 2,500 horsepower to a single shaft via a diesel-electric propulsion system.

A unique hull design with a low length-to-beam ratio allows the cutter to break a wide track in the ice. The ship also generates a pronounced wake designed specifically for ice-breaking, the Coast Guard says.

The ship’s standard complement consists of seventeen personnel including three officers and 14 enlisted crew members.

While the Penobscot Bay is permanently stationed in the New York City harbor it has spent this winter in Lake Erie and the Lake St. Clair-St. Clair River around Detroit.

“The request for our services came Wednesday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We immediately called the Penobscot Bay which was clearing ice from around Toledo Harbor,” Merriman said.

The Coast Guard ice-breaker Neah Bay is often used for this type of operation but that vessel is in Cleveland port for routine maintenance, Merriman said.

The News Herald

 

Coast Guard searches for missing boater somewhere on Lake Erie

3/12 - Detroit, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a boater who went missing today after a boat capsized somewhere on Lake Erie, officials said.

But they have no idea where to look, said a Coast Guard officer at the Detroit station.

A man called the Detroit station at 6:45 a.m. and reported he had swam to shore after his boat capsized, but another boater was missing, the officer said. When the Coast Guard tried to get more information, the call disconnected.

Because the call came from a private number, the Coast Guard has been unable to trace it, the officer said.

Meanwhile, a Coast Guard helicopter has been searching areas of Lake Erie, he said.

Officers at the Marblehead station are participating in the search.

“We went out and looked at boat ramps and marinas here to see if there were any cars with trailers,” Petty Officer First Class Jason Perkins said.

They found some cars with trailers but have been able to locate most of the people who own them, he said.

Port Clinton News Herald

 

Sheriff’s copter dispatched in Lake Erie ice rescue

3/12 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Air One, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office helicopter, was dispatched to help rescue a man and his dog trapped on a patch of Lake Erie shortly before 4:30 p. m. Wednesday.

Sheriff’s officials assisted firefighters from Port Colborne, Ont., sent to the end of Pleasant Beach Road near Sherkston Shores, a fire department spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The Buffalo News

 

Seaway issues notices

3/12 - Thursday the Seaway issued Notices 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.  Click here to view

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 12

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

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

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

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 serie

 

More boats depart winter lay-up as season gets underway

3/11 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The boats leaving winter lay-up at Sturgeon Bay continued Wednesday afternoon, with the Arthur M. Anderson departing upbound on Green Bay. The Anderson reached Lake Michigan Wednesday night and headed eastbound. She is reportedly heading to Lorain, Ohio, to load for Zug Island in the Detroit River. In a positive sign of demand for the steel industry, Zug Island is said to be running low on taconite and Anderson will move ore that was trans-shipped to Lorain from Zug Island last season.

The Anderson was followed out of Green Bay by the Joseph L. Block, which loaded in Escanaba for her first trip of the season to Indiana Harbor.

Upbound on the lake for their first trip of the season were the barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown, heading to load in Charlevoix, Mich.

USCG Mackinaw departed Green Bay and returned to the Straits, stopping for the night in her namesake port, Mackinaw City, Mich.

 

Ice escorts continue on the St. Marys River

3/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Wednesday the USCG Hollyhock escorted the tanker Algocanada down the St. Mary River. Algocanada continued downbound while Hollyhock returned to the Soo.

On Friday morning, the channel between Nine Mile Point and Moon Island will be opened to traffic.

These preparations are being conducted in support of the March 21 opening of the Soo Locks and the start of the 2010 commercial navigation season.

The Coast Guard reports it will make every effort to minimize the impact to Neebish Island ferry operations. However, they recommend that Neebish Island residents prepare for minor service interruptions, as the ice descending into the Rock Cut could prevent the ferry from operating normally.

On the St. Clair River, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley escorted the tug Everlast and barge into Sarnia Wednesday and then returned downbound to Windsor. The ice bridge remains in lower Lake Huron but large ice floes were reported floating past Port Huron for a time Wednesday evening.

 

Coast Guard breaking out Lake Erie ports

3/11 - The Coast Guard cutter Penobscot Bay was breaking ice off Vermilion, Ohio, on Tuesday. The viewing stand off Main Street Beach was crowded with onlookers who were taking in the unusual appearance of a cutter in the small port. The Vermilion River has been frozen for over two months and local officials are concerned that a quick thaw and rains forecasted for later this week might cause flooding along the river. The Vermilion Port Authority and the city government are aware of how quickly the river can rise. This is particularly true when the entrance to the port becomes blocked with blocks of melting ice from the river.

Penobscot Bay also called on Toledo Wednesday, making a brief run through the entrance of the Maumee River.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Penobscot Bay is scheduled to assist the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with flood mitigation in Fairport Harbor, Ohio today.

The Coast Guard is also monitoring ice conditions in the Ashtabula and Conneaut, Ohio regions, and icebreaking operations may commence there beginning March 12.

Penobscot Bay's efforts are an attempt to alleviate flooding in communities along the river caused by melting ice, recent rain and the ice jams that remain upriver. The goal of this flood-preventative measure is to get ice out of the river and into Lake Erie.

Chris Gillcrist and USCG

 

Warm winter keeps Lake Superior nearly ice-free

3/11 - Duluth, Minn. – If you like to ice fish for lake trout off the North Shore of Lake Superior or trek to the sea caves at Apostle Islands, this wasn’t your winter.

Warmer than normal air translated to warmer water conditions, leading to an unusually small amount of ice on the big lake and, in many areas, no ice at all.

The last week in February and first week in March are typically the period for peak ice coverage on Lake Superior.

But satellite photographs taken over the past week show virtually no ice on the open portions of the lake. The small amount of drifting pack ice outside the Twin Ports can be seen in the photos, as can frozen-over Chequamegon Bay and Thunder Bay.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., reported Tuesday that Lake Superior’s ice cover was in the lowest 25th percentile of its long-term average.

Ice coverage peaked Feb. 23 at just over 27 percent of the lake’s surface area. That compares to nearly 89 percent peak ice coverage on March 2 last winter, which was much colder, and more than 60 percent in an “average” winter.

The core winter months of December, January and February saw temperatures 1.3 degrees above normal on average in Duluth. But if you factor in November and the first week of March, both of which were 10 degrees above normal, the region has seen a veritably balmy ice season.

The warmest November in more than 100 years may have been the biggest factor.

“Wind makes some difference … but the temperature of the lake and the air temperatures are the biggest factors,” said George Leshkevich, NOAA research scientist. “If you don’t get the cold temperatures early on in the winter, the lake has a tremendous ability to retain heat and, unless you get very cold temperatures later in the winter, the ice never gets a chance to form.”

With a normal amount of sunshine this spring and summer, Lake Superior could see some unusually balmy water temperatures later this year thanks to the “jump start” from the lack of ice, Leshkevich said.

“But it all depends on the solar warming. If you have a cloudy, cool spring, that effect would be lost,” he said.

Neil Howk of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore said safe ice never formed this winter for visitors to tour the park’s famous mainland sea caves. Last year there were nearly eight weeks of safe ice.

“We had a couple good years (2008 and 2009), but the trend has been fewer and fewer days where there’s enough ice to get out there,” Howk said. “We thought we had it on Feb. 4 this year … then the wind switched and the ice blew out and it never came back.”

The lack of ice buildup on Lake Superior, and also Lake Michigan, should make it easier for the Great Lakes shipping season to begin on March 20, although there is still ample ice in harbors and protected bays for Coast Guard ice breakers to deal with.

The lack of ice cover on Lake Superior won’t help the lake’s water level return to normal anytime soon. Scientists in recent years have discovered that evaporation is a major cause of water loss from the big lake, especially in years with little or no ice cover.

Lake Superior now sits about 6 inches below its long-term average and nearly identical to the level at this time last year.

Jay Austin, researcher at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory, has found that Lake Superior’s water temperatures have seen a long-term rise that is greater than regional and global air temperature increases.

Duluth News Tribune

 

News reporters wanted

3/11 - The Boatnerd News Channel is always looking for newsworthy articles related to Great Lakes and Seaway shipping.

If you would like to be a Boatnerd reporter, just type up the information and send it to news@boatnerd.net or click on the "Report News" form in the upper left corner of the News Channel page.

News photos should be sent as attachments to your news article.

If you find a newspaper, or website, article that you think would be of interest to other 'Nerds, send along the link. We will check it out and use it if appropriate.

 

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. Renamed b.) KOYAMA 3 in 1983, c.) IONIAN EAGLE in 1989. Purchased by Soconav in 1991, renamed d.) LÕAIGLE. Sold, renamed e.) ALAM KERISI in 1996, f.) SALDA in 1999, and sails today as the tanker g.) ARAL.

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 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.

 

Officials keeping eye on ice bridge

3/10 - Port Huron, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Galen Witham said the ice bridge in southern Lake Huron has fractured. He said pieces of ice about 4 inches thick are making their way down the St. Clair River. The pieces of ice are remaining small enough to not create a jam in the river yet.

Officials are continuing to monitor the bridge and believe the higher temperatures and looming rain showers will help break up the ice.

Click here to view a time-lapse satellite animation of the ice breaking up on Lake Erie and little movement of the Port Huron Ice Bridge. During a five-day stretch, Lake Erie was nearly cloud-free. This unique opportunity allowed for the viewing of the deterioration of the ice caused by warmer weather.

Also of note in these images are the currents in the open waters visible by the sediment in the water. The snow cover on land is also disappearing as the land is transitioning from snow white to an earthen color.

Port Huron Times Herald and Fox Toledo

 

Mackinaw breaks out Green Bay, Block first out of shipyard

3/10 - Green Bay, Wis. – The USCG Cutter Mackinaw was underway Tuesday, breaking out Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay. Mackinaw stopped for the night in northern Green Bay. Joseph L. Block departed her winter lay-up dock at Bay Shipbuilding and was upbound on Green Bay early Wednesday morning for Escanaba. Block is the first vessel to depart the ship yard and begin the 2010 season.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley was westbound on Lake Erie escorting the tug Everlast and barge. Hollyhock was upbound on the St. Marys River escorting the Algocanada upbound.

 

Port Reports - March 10

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Montrealais was moved into the Redpath Sugar dock for unloading on Sunday, March 7.

 

Man attempts to sink historic Erie Canal vessel

3/10 - Slideshow Waterford, N.Y. – Authorities say a former state worker has been charged with attempting to sink a historic Erie Canal boat at its upstate mooring.

State police say troopers were called Monday to the Erie Canal locks in Waterford, just north of Albany, by employees of the state Education Department, which owns the 89-year-old Day Peckinpaugh.

It was just before 7am Monday. John Callaghan was making his daily check of the Day Peckinpaugh when something caught his eye - the stern of the ship was down about 2 feet under water.

"It was certainly a red flag right off the bat for us," says Project Coordinator Callaghan.

Bellow deck, Callaghan discovered valves in the engine room open and water flooding in. He immediately called for help and together a team of 12 worked, pumping water out to save the ship from sinking.

"Certainly all hands on deck," Callaghan says. "That saying was never more appropriate."

Callaghan says he knew it was sabotage - the only way to get below deck is with a set of keys. State Police immediately focused on 35-year-old Guy Pucci, an employee that was recently let go. When they found a stolen Education Department vehicle just a block from his Waterford home, they questioned him and they say Pucci confessed.

"Clearly he was upset over his termination," says Sgt. Mark Phillips. "He entered the boat and his intent was to flood the boat and put it to the bottom."

Pucci was charged with grand larceny and criminal mischief. He was being held Tuesday morning in Saratoga County Jail on $5,000 bail. Jail officials say he doesn't have a lawyer.

The last surviving example of a canal motorship, the Day Peckinpaugh was saved from being scrapped in 2005 when she was acquired through a public/private partnership by the New York State Museum. Built at McDougall-Duluth Shipyard in Duluth, Minn., in 1921, this historic craft was the first ever designed specifically for the dimensions of the Erie Canal. Known first as the Interwaterways Line 101 and later as the Richard J. Barnes, she has a capacity of 1650 tons.

The Associated Press and Fox 23 News (Albany)

 

Port of Milwaukee harbormaster dies

3/10 - Joe DiGiorgio, Milwaukee harbormaster, passed away Friday, March 5 at age 57. He was also a Vietnam veteran serving in the U.S. Army. Condolences at www.pkfuneralhomes.com

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

 

Updates - March 10

News Photo Gallery

 

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 for breaking up.

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

 

Coast Guard fears ice meltdown may cause flooding

3/9 - Sarnia, Ont. - Canadian Coast Guard officials are keeping a close eye on an enormous ice bridge in Lake Huron just north of the Blue Water Bridge.

They are concerned the heavy ice sheet stretching 11 miles out into the lake could break up into chunks too large to flow down the St. Clair River.

Ice specialist Erin Clark with Environment Canada made a reconnaissance flight on Monday and reported a few small pieces had broken off.

Mild temperatures hovering around 45 degrees are melting the ice bridge and creating cracks, Clark said.

"It still could go either way. Temperatures could be mild enough to break the ice into small pieces that the current will carry down the river."

But the bridge may also break off into chunks that are wider than the narrow parts of the river and create a jam. If that happens, there's danger of massive flooding and damage to docks.

An ice bridge of this size hasn't formed in this area for years. A similar one caused serious flooding about 30 years ago and jammed the river for 24 days.

The long-term weather forecast for the next 10 to 14 days calls for no winter storms and temperatures close to normal or slightly below.

Sarnia Observer

 

Coast Guard on the move around the lakes

3/9 - USCG Mackinaw passed through the Straits of Monday afternoon making at brief stop at the entrance to Grays Reef Passage. The cutter continued on and entered Green Bay through the Rock Island Passage at 9 p.m. She stopped for the night north of Washington Island.

USCG Hollyhock returned to Port Huron Monday afternoon and departed upbound about 6:30 p.m. Algocanada followed her about an hour later.

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley was east bound on Lake Erie Monday afternoon.

 

Muskegon’s port resilient despite drops elsewhere in Michigan

3/9 - Muskegon, Mich. - Great Lakes shipping activity through the Muskegon channel dropped in 2009, but not as much as in many other ports.

A recent cargo shipping analysis confirms a reduction in both tonnage shipped and the number of visits by ships.

Dry-bulk cargo coming in and out of the port of Muskegon was down 11.3 percent in 2009 compared to 2008. About 1.709 million tons of construction materials, cement, coal and salt last year moved through the local port -- the largest deep-water commercial port on the western coast of Michigan.

The 11.3 percent Muskegon drop in cargo tonnage compares to a 34 percent decline experienced across the Great Lakes in 2009, according to the Lake Carriers' Association in Cleveland.

The poor condition of the economy is the major reason for the sharp decline in commercial shipping, according to the association. The largest Great Lakes decline was in iron ore for the steel industry, indicating the general decline in the manufacturing sector.

The number of freighter visits to Muskegon dropped from 118 in 2008 to 84 in 2009, according to a local shipping report compiled by Richard Snyder.

"The port of Muskegon is not a shipping port but a receiving port for commodities," Snyder noted in his 2009 report. "We receive (construction) aggregates, cement, coal and salt. We do not receive grain or iron ore, therefore our major port of call decline rests with aggregates for the construction industry."

The construction materials decline was from 500,000 tons the year before to 281,000 tons in 2009. Cement and coal shipments were actually up for 2009, Snyder reports.

The most frequent visitor to the local port was the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette, which brought construction aggregates to Muskegon 16 times. The American Century brought coal nine times and the H. Lee White seven times, while the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation delivered seven loads of cement.

Port activity continues in Muskegon year round as the local port was the winter lay-up location for 15 ships last year from the working fleet of Great Lakes Dock & Materials and Andrie Inc., along with U.S. Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration vessels.

Muskegon Chronicle

 

Updates - March 9

Weekly Website Updates
Historical Perspective Gallery Raymond H. Reiss updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 9

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, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Seaway to break ice March 17 on St. Lawrence

3/8 - Massena, N.Y. — The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. will be breaking ice on the St. Lawrence River between the Snell and Eisenhower locks March 17.

Dates for icebreaking in the upper St. Lawrence River have not yet been announced. The Seaway will open on March 25.

Watertown Daily Times

 

Fire tug Edward M Cotter breaks ice at Buffalo

3/8 - The fire tug Edward M. Cotter went on a rare icebreaking mission Friday morning past the railroad drawbridges on the Buffalo River. She encountered heavy pressure ridges and debris up above the South Park Avenue lift bridge due to the ice jam that occurred back in January. The large volume of ice that was flushed out of Cazenovia Creek about a month previously had refrozen into a solid mass slowing down the fireboat. She used a back and ram technique to plow her way to the old DL&W upper river drawbridge, just off the Buckeye Products Terminal (Mobil Oil). The Cotter spent the better part of two hours in this stretch of the river alone and the ice was still so thick that she had to back all the way down below South Park Avenue to be able to turn around without damaging the rudder or prop.

Brian Wroblewski

 

CSL vessels ready for new season at Halifax

3/8 - Oakglen is due in Halifax Monday March 8 for repairs. That will make three CSL-ers in port at the same time. Atlantic Huron is fitting out at pier 25-26 and Birchglen is in drydock for repairs and repainting. Algonova is also tied up for repairs at pier 9C.

Mac Mackay

 

Lake level hearing locations slammed

3/8 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The level of Lakes Michigan and Huron has plunged some two feet since humans first dredged the massive river that flows from them, and a warming globe could lower the lakes further in coming decades, jeopardizing shipping channels, marinas and city drinking water intakes.

But to attend a series of upcoming public hearings on the shrunken lakes - and what to do about it - the more than 10 million people who live in southeastern Wisconsin and Chicagoland must brave a day on March roads to travel to little Sturgeon Bay in Door County or to Muskegon, Mich.

The hearings hosted by the U.S. and Canadian governments will focus on a controversial report that concludes the government should take no action to reverse unexpected water losses due to riverbed erosion after a 1960s Army Corps of Engineers' dredging project on the St. Clair River, the main outflow for Michigan-Huron.

The report determined that the water loss is in the range of 3 to 5 inches, and the riverbed has since stabilized, so erosion is no longer draining the lakes. That 3 to 5 inches is in addition to 16 inches lost from St. Clair dredging projects prior to the 1960s, but the report doesn't recommend exploring a riverbed fix to throttle the outflow and restore the lakes to more natural levels.

Critics of the study say the water loss tied to the post-1960s erosion is likely much greater than 3 to 5 inches - perhaps double that amount - and they are dubious that the riverbed has somehow stabilized. They want the Army Corps to immediately begin exploring the pros, cons and costs of putting a structure on the river bottom.

It is an issue that could have a profound impact for everyone who lives in a region geographically, culturally and economically defined by its Great Lakes shoreline. But authorities say they weren't aiming to dampen attendance - and potential criticism - when they sited the hearings nowhere near the two biggest population centers on Lake Michigan.

They said they just didn't think enough people in the big lakeside cities would care about what's going on hundreds of miles away at the bottom of the St. Clair River.

And that itself is drawing yet more criticism.

"If they think people won't show up, that means the study board failed in its educational role of making sure the people in Chicago and Milwaukee realize that what happens on the St. Clair River directly affects them," says John Jackson of the conservation group Great Lakes United.

A spokesman for the International Joint Commission explained that more people attended an earlier hearing on a draft of the study that was held last July near Sturgeon Bay than similar hearings held in Mequon and Evanston, Ill.

Of course, Door County in July is bursting with tourists and cottage owners, many of whom are from Milwaukee and Chicago. It's a comparative ghost town in March.

The two biggest cities where the upcoming hearings will be held - Toledo and Toronto - are on Lakes Erie and Ontario, respectively. Lakes Erie and Ontario aren't losing water through the St. Clair.

Two other hearings have been scheduled for Midland and Sarnia, Ontario.

Says Mary Muter, a member of the study's citizen advisory board and a harsh critic of the study board and its conclusions:

"Maybe they don't want the people of Chicago to know that the amount of water lost down the St. Clair River due to (recent erosion) is more than double what's being lost down the Chicago River."

The reversal of the Chicago River sucks 2.1 billion gallons a day away from Lake Michigan, much to the consternation of just about everyone outside of Chicago.

Its permanent impact on lake levels: about 2 inches.

The controversy started in 2004, when a Lake Huron property owners' group released a $200,000 engineering study that alleged the Army Corps' 1960s dredging scraped away the St. Clair's rocky river bottom in a manner that helped unleash a large - and ongoing - water loss from Michigan-Huron.

The International Joint Commission, which oversees U.S. and Canadian boundary waters issues, responded by creating a binational study board - co-chaired by an Army Corps employee - to explore the issue.

Last spring, that study board released its draft findings that said a massive ice jam on the St. Clair River in 1984 was the most plausible explanation for scouring the river bottom and triggering enough erosion to cause a 3- to 5-inch water loss.

"We have no other explanation," study team co-chair and Army Corps career employee Eugene Stakhiv said at the time.

Muter's group and some conservation organizations were instantly skeptical of the ice jam theory. They were also critical of the fact that the study team reached conclusions before it publicly released - and in some cases even completed - the scientific studies that presumably drove them.

The study team spokesman responded to the criticism by saying it was coming from a group of self-interested residents trying to capitalize on the lakes' natural low-water cycle to win public support for a river restoration project that would benefit them.

"Ultimately, the crisis mongers will look foolish when the lakes return to normal levels, albeit at somewhat different relative levels than in the past," study spokesman John Nevin said last spring. "That's why they want action now before Mother Nature proves them wrong."

But by December it was the study board that was proved wrong on its ice jam hypothesis, concluding in its own final report that the 1984 ice jam "was not the key contributing factor" to the riverbed erosion. The final study offers no definitive cause for the erosion.

The list of grumbles since the first draft was released include:

• Last spring, study team leader Stakhiv dismissed any questions of the appropriateness of putting an Army Corps employee in charge of investigating an alleged Army Corps problem. He replied that any questions of a conflict of interest were unfounded because the entire study had been independently peer reviewed. The Journal Sentinel subsequently learned that was not true.

It also learned later that the Joint Commission had agreed to pay a total of $250,000 for an "independent" peer review of the St. Clair study, and its second phase looking at water levels of Lake Superior.

• Study leaders also said at the time they could not recommend a fix in the river because they had determined the erosion was likely caused by a natural event - an ice jam - and that the Joint Commission had told them no fix could be explored unless the study determined the loss was human-caused.

Nobody at the Joint Commission could provide documentation of that directive, and by December the study team said it was actually told the opposite by the Joint Commission - that the cause of the erosion should not factor into any decision whether to explore building some type of structure in the river.

Even so, the study team leaders deemed a 3- to 5-inch loss not significant enough to warrant exploring a fix, though they could not say what amount would trigger such a decision.

• The study team commissioned and received a separate report last spring that contradicted its findings that erosion had caused an additional drop of 3 to 5 inches. The separate report said the amount was closer to 9 inches. That report was not released to the public for nearly three months and when it was finally released, the study leaders dismissed the findings even as an outside expert contacted by the Journal Sentinel did not.

While the science behind the research that went into the study is exceedingly complicated and difficult for the general public to grasp, conservation groups that had their own experts review data say they are left with doubts.

"The way this study was conducted makes us think that the results were pre-determined," says the National Wildlife Federation's Melinda Koslow.

The study board said some type of fix could still be explored, depending on what's learned during the second phase of the study, which will look at Lake Superior water levels and the effects climate change is likely to have on lake levels in coming decades.

Study team leaders have warned, however, that choking the flows from Michigan-Huron could cause unexpected problems, noting that if a dam-like structure were to raise the lakes two feet, that could lead to floods if high water cycles return.

They point to the mid-1980s when Lake Michigan was lapping at Chicago's Lake Shore Drive and ask what would happen if the lake had been two feet higher at the time.

Nobody disputes that could be a problem, but conservationists say record lows could also cause havoc, and now is the time to start at least looking at how to restore the damage done to the St. Clair.

Many conservationists prefer the idea of only restoring the eroded river bottom, though some have advocated for a dam-like structure that could manipulate levels based on precipitation trends.

The idea of damming the last two free-flowing lakes remains a highly controversial concept for many who worry that ecosystem concerns will then take a backseat to commercial interests.

These debates won't occur if the study board's recommendations hold.

That worries the National Wildlife Federation's Koslow, who said it could be a decade or more before the U.S. and Canadian governments focus again so intensely on lake levels.

"By then Michigan and Huron could look significantly different," she said

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

51st annual Know Your Ships ready to launch

3/8 - The 51st anniversary edition of Marine Publishing Co.'s annual boatwatching field guide Know Your Ships is off the press and nearly ready to ship. Preorders are now being taken; books will ship out beginning March 15, just in time for the opening of the Soo Locks.

"Know Your Ships is meant not only for those with a casual interest in the parade of nautical commerce that passes our shores, but also for more serious-minded individuals who have a passion for all the details about the ships that ply the inland seas.

In addition to including everything ship fans need to know about the freighters, tankers, tugs, salties, passenger ships and other vessels sailing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, the 2010 book continues a feature begun last year of including pictures from earlier editions of the book as a historic retrospective on the shipping scene.

Click here to preview

Editor / publisher Roger LeLievre, as well as members of the Know Your Ships crew, will also be on hand to autograph copies Saturday, April 24 at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron. Books will be available for purchase at the signing.

 

Visitors Center will offer refreshments on locks opening day

3/8 - The Soo Locks Visitors Center will be open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 25 to celebrate the traditional opening day of the Soo Locks. There will be refreshments and snacks, some unseen pictures, and plenty of time to network and share.

 

Badger Boatnerd Gathering will not be held this year

3/8 - Due to a change in scheduling by the Badger, there will be no Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise in 2010. Therefore, it is not possible to plan a Badger Boatnerd Gathering for this year.

We will make every attempt to plan an overnight event with the Badger for 2011. This popular cruise has been enjoyed by many over the years.

The public may make a trip on the Badger any time, and the Badger is hosting a 4th of July Shoreline Cruise in Ludington. Prices are $49 per person and includes the all-you-can eat Badger party buffet, live entertainment, drink specials and the ability to watch the Ludington fireworks from on board the S.S. Badger. Visit www.ssbadger.com for schedule and special offers.

 

Updates - March 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 8

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, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

Escanaba ore dock opens for the season

3/7 - Escanaba, Mich. – The tug Joyce VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader moved to the Escanaba ore dock on Friday to begin loading. They departed Saturday morning and were downbound on an ice free Lake Michigan.

Lee Rowe

 

U.S. Coast Guard ice-breaking operations to begin

3/7 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will enter Green Bay at Rock Island Passage Monday and will conduct ice-breaking operations along the Lake Carriers Association track north of a line to be drawn between Peshtigo Reef and Sherwood Point.

Ice-breaking operations will commence in and around Sturgeon Bay, Marinette/Menominee and Escanaba.

The ice-breaking efforts will expand and increase in frequency after Monday as ice conditions and demands of shipping require.

Satellite images of ice coverage

Door County Advocate

 

Twin Ports prepares for opening of shipping season

3/7 - Duluth, Minn. – The Soo Locks will open four days early this year in response to requests by shippers eager to meet increased demand, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday.

The Corps received several requests from the shipping community and their customers to open early because of an improved business climate. The locks will open March 21, and shippers will begin to replenish critically low iron ore and coal inventories.

“Our work force is ready to accommodate this request this year, helping the maritime industry serve their customers with significant quantities of raw materials to fill vital needs,’’ said Lt. Col. James Davis, district commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, in a prepared statement.

The spring opening, originally scheduled for March 25, signals the beginning of the commercial shipping season. The Soo Locks are the only gateway for ships to navigate safely from Lake Superior through the St. Marys River, down to the lower Great Lakes.

Current ice conditions indicate that there is light ice downstream of the locks and moderate ice from the west approach to the locks up to White Fish Point.

More than 4,000 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through the Soo Locks every year. Most cargo vessels transport iron ore, coal, grain or stone, some of them transporting more than 72,000 tons of cargo in a single load.

The Coast Guard Cutter Alder will start cutting ice Monday in the Duluth Harbor out to Lake Superior. It will clear the Superior front channel, Superior and Duluth Harbor basins, East Gate, the entry channels into Duluth and Superior and the waters of Silver Bay, Taconite Harbor and Two Harbors.

Ice fishermen should remove their shacks and equipment from these areas. Snowmobiles and other recreational users should avoid the shipping channels and use caution near the ice.

Duluth News Tribune, The Superior Telegram contributed to this report.

 

Fast ocean liner S.S. United States faces scrapping

3/7 - Preservationists have a sinking feeling that the owners of the S.S. United States – the fastest ocean liner in the world – are trying to sell it for scrap.

The vessel's current owner, NCL Group, a unit of Genting Hong Kong, is collecting bids from scrap yards this month, according to the S.S. United States Conservancy, a nonprofit group trying to save the ship. The effort to preserve the historic ship was the subject of an article in The Wall Street Journal in September.

In a statement, an NCL spokeswoman said, "We continue to seek alternative arrangements with the intent of selling the vessel to a suitable buyer." The preservationists recently launched a "Save Our Ship" fund-raising drive at ssusplankowner.org. ("Plank owner" being the nautical term for a new vessel's first crew.)

Scrapping would be an ignominious end for a vessel that once traversed the Atlantic carrying British royalty, Hollywood big shots and three orchestras on board. The ship – so fast, its top speed was a Cold War state secret – still holds the record for the fastest westbound crossing of the Atlantic, nearly 60 years after setting it.

The steamship offered passenger service between New York and Europe for nearly two decades. It went out of service in 1969, as jet travel killed the passenger business of the classic ocean liners.

For years, the S.S. United States has been rusting away on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, across the street from an Ikea. It costs about $800,000 a year to keep the ship mothballed, according to NCL.

The NCL spokeswoman said, "We have continued discussions with the S.S. United States Conservancy, but to date, they have not made an offer to purchase the ship." NCL put the ship on the market about a year ago, after a failed plan to refit it and sail it around Hawaii.

The executive director of the Conservancy, Dan McSweeney, expressed optimism that a solution can be found that doesn't end at the scrap yard. "They've taken care of the ship very well thus far," he said of NCL. "There's a win-win here. We're confident we can work with them to save the ship and repurpose it successfully."

Among other things, the preservationists hope it could become a floating convention center or hotel, perhaps even reclaiming a spot on New York City's waterfront, its original home port. New York's West Side is already home to other unusual vehicles, including the Intrepid aircraft-carrier museum and a grounded Concorde jet.

In recent months, the Conservancy has met with neighborhood groups and urban-development officials in New York and Philadelphia. Late last year, Philadelphia's city council passed a resolution honoring the ship.

But resolutions don't buy steamships, so the Conservancy is looking for cash. To drum up support, it's screening a documentary about the ship, "Lady in Waiting," next week at the National Academy in New York. And it has lined up a pledge of $300,000 from Philadelphia philanthropist Gerry Lenfest toward the purchase price – but only if other contributors to do their part, Mr. Lenfest said in an interview last year.

Wall Street Journal

 

Group of volunteers at Marquette turn back time

3/7 - Marquette, Mich. – A group of Marquette men is turning back the clock as they begin to build a historical boat. The experience is all about camaraderie and bringing the community together.

The founders of Marquette arrived on the shores of Lake Superior in a long boat back in 1849. And this group of volunteers is working to reconstruct the same type of boat that carried Charlie and Charlotte Kawbawgum to this part of the Upper Peninsula.

The boat builders began cutting molds in November and are following a standard pilot gig design.

Builder Tim Preston said, "We're staying on it; it's a long, drawn-out project, but it'll get done, one little bit at a time and it's just a great community thing. We're having a lot of fun. The boat's only part of it, but it's not all about the boat, so we're having a lot of fun, and we're learning a lot, too. Every day, we learn something different."

They're also getting some help from the Marquette Junior Yacht Club and students of the Marquette Alternative Senior High School.

The goal is to have the boat finished by May so the Marquette Longboat Association can recreate the sunrise landing of Robert Gravereat and Peter White at Founder's Landing in Marquette, 160 years later. "Our great resource that we have, that's the heritage of the community, and our resource is our children, who, to show them what the history of things are about," said project manager Jerry Irby.

The group said they hope to build another boat by the end of the year so the two can race.

TV 6

 

Blue Water Shipmasters' lodge offers scholarship

3/7 - The International Ship Masters Association Lodge 2, Port Huron, is again offering The Blue Water Ship Masters Scholarship for the 2010-2011 school year. This is open to residents of St. Clair County, Mich., and Lambton County, Ont., who are or will be attending the St. Clair County Community College Marine Transfer Program, Great Lakes Maritime Academy, or the Great Lakes International Marine Training Centre. Applications are available through the Community Foundation of St. Clair County: www.stclairfoundation.org/scholarships

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 7

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.

 

Locks ready for early opener

3/6 - Port Huron, Mich. - At 7 a.m. March 21, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will open the Poe Lock, part of the Soo Locks, in Sault Ste. Marie.

This event signals the beginning of the commercial shipping season, allowing Great Lakes freighters to pass around the falls in the St. Marys River 24 hours a day, seven days a week until next Jan. 15.

The locks are opening early after the Corps received several requests from the shipping community and their customers to open early due to “an improved business climate” and to replenish critically low iron ore and coal inventories.

After careful consideration and coordination with agencies involved with determining the winter commercial shipping operations the Corps made the decision to open on March 21 instead of March 25.

“Our work force is ready to accommodate this request this year, helping the maritime industry serve their customers with significant quantities of raw materials to fill vital needs,” said Lt. Col. James Davis, district commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District.

Current ice conditions show there is light ice downstream of the locks and moderate ice conditions from the West approach to the locks up to White Fish Point.

The Soo Locks are the only gateway for ships to navigate safely from Lake Superior through the St. Marys River, down to the lower Great Lakes for ships up to 1,000 feet long and 105 feet wide. Traditionally, more than 4,000 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through these locks every year. Most cargo vessels transport iron ore, coal, grain or stone, some of them transporting more than 72,000 tons of cargo in a single load.

According to Kevin Sprague, winter repair coordinator, “General maintenance and repairs were completed during the ‘winter work’ maintenance season as our professional crews have pulled together and worked hard work under sometimes harsh weather conditions to complete all key projects. Some of the last few projects left will be expedited during the next few weeks to make sure the locks are ready to open.”

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Looming ice invokes fears

3/6 - Port Huron, Mich. - A massive ice bridge in Lake Huron just north of the Blue Water Bridge has U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard officials concerned about what might happen if the weather quickly warms this weekend.

The concern is the bridge might break into chunks too big to flow smoothly along the St. Clair River.

"There is the potential, if it breaks off in large plates, that those plates could be wider than the narrow parts of the river," said Erin Clark, ice specialist for Environment Canada, which works with the Coast Guard

Mark Stauffer, a chief warrant officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, said that could cause massive flooding and damage to docks -- something the Blue Water Area hasn't seen in nearly three decades.

Stauffer said warm temperatures expected Sunday and Monday -- about 40 degrees -- paired with rain, which is on Sunday's radar, could help the situation. The hope is warm weather will start melting the ice and rain will accelerate the process, he said. That would cause the bridge to break into smaller pieces.

The bridge rivals one from 1997. But a repeat of what happened in 1984 seems to be foremost on the minds of officials who have been monitoring the bridge intensely in recent days.

When the April 1984 bridge broke apart, it caused a St. Clair River ice jam that lasted 24 days. Aside from flooding in southern St. Clair County, the water level in Lake St. Clair dropped almost 2 feet and water flow in the river was decreased by 65%, according to a 1986 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It also led to a $1.7 million loss for the shipping industry, the report said.

The ice jam was caused by "severe cold spells" in December and January, followed by warming in February and another freeze in March, the report said.

Practically anyone who lived in the area in 1984 remembers the jam. The phenomena even drew people from outside the area.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Essar buying U.S. coal mines to supply Algoma operations

3/6 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The parent company of Essar Steel Algoma Inc. intends to buy a U.S. coal producer to supply its Sault Ste. Marie steelmaking and iron ore operations and planned steel operations in Minnesota

Mumbai-based Essar Group is reported to be in advanced negotiations to buy Trinity Coal for a price estimated between $550-$600 million.

Trinity, owned by U.S. investment firm Denham Capital Management, mines coal in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Its annual output is approximately seven million tonnes with reserves estimated at 200 million tonnes.

There was no mention of how the coal would be delivered, but coal from the region is currently delivered by train to Ohio ports and then loaded on freighter for the trip to the Soo.

Soo Today

 

Coast Guard opening Grays Reef Passage

3/6 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie will open Grays Reef Passage, effective 8 a.m. ET March 8.

 

Coast Guard to conduct ice-breaking operations in Sandusky

3/6 - Sandusky, Ohio - The Coast Guard will conduct ice-breaking operations on Monday and Tuesday in Sandusky Bay to facilitate the movement of cargo into the port.

Sandusky Register

 

Updates - March 6

Historical Perspective Gallery Raymond H. Reiss

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 6

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.

 

Shippers granted early opener for Soo Locks

3/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Soo Locks will open for the season March 21 at 7 a.m., four days earlier than expected. The revised opening date comes at the request of Great Lakes shippers anxious to get moving in order to satisfy demand for raw materials from their customers.

Traditionally the locks open at midnight on March 25.

Steve Rose, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Acting Area Engineer at the St. Marys Falls Canal, told Boatnerd.com Thursday that winter maintenance at the locks will be wrapped up in time for the new date.

“If we have to open early we can open early,” he said.

The Corps tug Owen M. Frederick has already broken up ice in the area below the MacArthur and Poe locks, and Rose said it is his understanding ice conditions in the St. Marys River “aren’t too bad.”

Some tanker activity has continued in the river during the winter with the help of U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers.

The Poe Lock is the only one of the two operational locks that will be placed in service on the 21st. The MacArthur Lock will open as demand requires.

Meanwhile, signs of the impending season expected to show at least some improvement after last year's disappointing tonnages are popping up elsewhere on the lakes. The barge Great Lakes Trader is expected to load at Escanaba Friday, and Joseph L. Block is scheduled shortly thereafter. The steamer Alpena is scheduled to fit out by mid-March, and the engine room crew has reported back aboard the Arthur M. Anderson, which saw only limited service last season. The crews on other vessels are beginning to trickle back as well.

Unofficial reports indicate the 1,000-footer Stewart J. Cort, which sat out the 2009 season, will fit out in late April.

Postings on the message boards at Boatnerd.com indicate American Steamship Co. will run most of its vessels this year, with American Victory, American Valor and American Fortitude – the only steamers in its fleet – remaining inactive.

Several Canadian vessels are not expected to see service this year, including Agawa Canyon, Algoisle, Algonorth, Algontario, Canadian Leader, Canadian Miner, Halifax and Sauniere.

 

Lake levels remain below long-term average

3/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Water supplies into the Lake Superior and Lakes Huron-Michigan basins were below normal for the month of February, according to a release from the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

Lake Superior's level went down by eight centimeters last month, three cm more than usual, but it remains at the same level recorded a year ago.

It's about 15 cm below its long-term average beginning of March level and its level is expected to remain stable this month.

Lakes Huron-Michigan decreased by two cm last month, about one cm more than usual, but their levels remain five cm higher than a year ago.

Huron-Superior is 19 cm below its long-term average beginning of March level and levels are expected to rise this month.

The Board of Control will decrease the Lake Superior outflow by 200 cubic meters per second this month, from 1,760 to 1,560 cubic meters per second.

The Sault Star

 

Sign of better times? Hibtac announces restart

3/5 - Duluth, Minn. - In another sign of a slowly improving economy, more steelworkers are being recalled to Hibbing Taconite as the mine prepares to resume operations.

The second largest taconite producer in the state, Hibtac last produced pellets in May. Workers started returning to the plant in January, and by mid-March, the majority, if not all, of the 540 hourly employees should be back to work, according to Frank Jenko, president of United Steelworkers Local 2705.

The plan is to restart production during the first week of April, with all three lines running by the end of the month. Jenko says production this year is expected to reach 5.4 million tons, which is capacity for the months of April through December.

Hibbing Taconite is the only Minnesota taconite plant not operating.

“From indications I have received by the end of this week, most of the mines will be back near full staff levels,” Craig Pagel, president of Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, said Wednesday.

The restarting of Hibbing Taconite is part of a moderate recovery the North American iron industry is experiencing. Peter Kakela, a professor at Michigan State University, said he expects to see operating rates to reach up to 75 percent this year.

While that is a far cry from the approximately 90 percent levels the industry operated at for two decades, it’s a major improvement from 2009, when the industry limped along at 48 percent. Many mines were closed for various time periods, and when reopened they operated at reduced rates. More than 37 percent of the industry’s unionized workforce was laid off and hours worked fell by 30 percent.

Demand and price for steel are both increasing.

“On a world scale they are talking about a big price increase; well over 50 percent, which is just amazing to me,” Kakela said.

Pagel sees positive signs for mining’s long-time future.

“Even during the recession, Mesabi Nugget continued with their construction and in mid-January actually starting producing the first nuggets,” he said.

Mesabi Nugget — a partnership between Steel Dynamics of Indiana and Kobe Steel of Japan —molds taconite into nearly 100 percent iron nuggets at its plant north of Aurora. The $270 million plant could reach its capacity of 500,000 tons per year sometime this summer.

And Keetac continues work on its environmental impact statement for an expansion that would increase its annual capacity from 6 million to 9 million tons, Pagel said. The proposed project is estimated to begin in 2012 or 2013.

“While we had some pretty rough times this last year, iron mining continues to reinvent itself so we can compete in a global market,” Pagel said.

Duluth News Tribune

 

Coast Guard, ferry service clash after five ferry shutdowns

3/5 - Algonac, Mich. – Friction between the U.S. Coast Guard and Clay Township was more abrasive than ever this year, as the Harsen's Island ferry experienced one interruption in service after another as ice cutters busted through the north channel.

The first ice jam of the season occurred early, on Jan. 8, said Champion’s Auto Ferry owner Bob Bryson.

"There's been ice in river ever since," he said. "We've been shut down five different times by the coast guard, sometimes for one day, other times two to three days."

According to the Coast Guard, unless Mother Nature throws another curve ball, it looks like water levels are settling along the nine-mile stretch of the St. Clair River Coast Guard cutters must keep clear. Water levels north of Clay Township were rising, causing some flooding and to the south, levels were dropping by at least two feet. The Coast Guard cutters also assisted many freighters across the waterway after getting stalled in frozen waters.

Many Clay Township residents understand the need for the ice-cutting expeditions, but don't see why the hulking ships are needed in the North Channel. Coast Guard operations interfere with Bryson's self-made water bridge that allows him to transport residents to and from Harsen's Island. Clay Township Supervisor Jay DeBoyer contacted Rep. Candice Miller after he said his attempts to communicate his frustrations with the coast guard failed to get any action. He wrote:

"As well intentioned as they may be, their procedure has a little to be desired. Specifically when it comes to the actions executed to relieve ice in the North Channel of the St. Clair River. At no time is the North Channel used in any fashion for commercial vessel traffic except for the crossing of the Harsens Island ferry from mainland Clay Township to Harsens Island. The North Channel, with an average depth of 35 feet, empties into a relatively shallow Anchor Bay with an average depth of 10 feet, as does the Middle Channel portion of the St. Clair River. Clearly, just from these parameters it is evident that this is not the proper course of action to relieve any pressure caused in the St. Clair River due to an ice jam. The South Channel however empties into Lake St. Clair via the shipping channel and the lake is an average of 21 feet deep at that point as well as 30 feet for the length of the shipping channel. The South Channel is also the route used for all commercial vessel traffic... the result is the stranding of the residents of Harsens Island for a minimum of two days creating a major inconvenience for them and the township of Clay from an (police, fire, ambulance service and public works) operational standpoint."

Miller, who said she boasts of Harsen's Island to other congress members as being "a unique place with unique people," said she understands the frustration due to the disruption in the ferry service and has encouraged residents and DeBoyer to contact the Coast Guard with their concerns. To gain more insight into the situation, she took a tour with Bryson Feb. 20 on the middle and south channels.

"We went out so I could look at the ice myself, so I could be confident talking to the Coast Guard," she said. "I can't direct the Coast Guard, but I'm in agreement with Harsen's Island and I did my best to convey that to them."

Even so, the U.S. Coast Guard maintains that icebreaking in the North Channel is imperative to successfully completing their mission.

Petty Officer Josh Shirey Coast Guard Sector Detroit said the agency has received multiple calls from people with complaints about Coast Guard cutter operations in the North Channel.

"They don't understand that the possible negative consequences of not doing it are potentially worse than the hardship that comes to the Harsen's Island residents. The operations minimize the risk of flooding in specifically the towns of Marine City and St. Clair."

Cmdr. Kevin Dunn, Chief of Waterways Management for the Ninth Coast Guard District, stated in a press release: "While we understand Harsens' Island residents' annual frustrations with the temporary winter time interruptions of ferry services, these ice breaking operations are critical to preventing flooding to the many communities along both sides of the St. Clair River. These operations are also necessary to restore water flow to Lake St. Clair, which has experienced a dramatic drop in water levels over the past few days."

Bryson said freighters stuck on the iced-over river this year were a major cause of problem.

"There were five freighters that got stuck," he said. "The process of getting them out causes the ice jams."

He said freighters typically come through until January and are escorted by the Coast Guard if there is ice is in the river, but the cargo ships ran later than usual this year.

"It's all about getting the merchandise out, but it's caused us problems," said Jim Doptis, ferry deck hand.

Miller pointed out the importance of keeping commerce going, especially in these tough times, and applauded the USCG for its ice-breaking efforts.

"The shipping industry along the Great Lakes is a great component of our economy and ice breaking is an important part of it," she said. "I am, for the most part, appreciative for what the coast guard has done. They've brought a good deal of resources for an incredibly expensive operation in a time of federal deficits."

Bryson said he understands there is a "bigger picture" involved in the Coast Guard cutter operations and he wants to be cooperative with their mission.

"It's inconvenient for residents of the island, but the bigger picture is that other people on the lake are having problems," he said.

The Voice

 

 

Know Your Ships goes to Printer

3/5 - The 2010 "Know Your Ships" was printed at Tepel Bros. in Troy, Mich., on Thursday. After the sheets are folded and bound, the book will be ready for delivery to customers around March 17. The press is a state-of the-art Heidelberg Speedmaster nearly 40 feet long.

 

 

Updates - March 5

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery Raymond H. Reiss
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 5

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. The vessel was in winter lay-up at the Capitol elevator in Duluth when part of the elevator complex burned. Debris from the elevator fell on the boat, badly damaging it. The owners decided to scrap it rather than repair it. 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, Eric Holst, Mike Nicholls, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series s

 

USCG escorts Algocanada down Lake St. Clair

3/4 - Port Huron, Mich. – USCG Biscayne Bay spent the night stopped in the ice above Port Huron. About 8 a.m., Algocanada arrived downbound heading for Nanticoke. Biscayne Bay escorted the Algocanada through the river and across Lake St. Clair, where the Biscayne Bay turned and worked track maintenance in mid- lake. They ended their day stopped in the Cut Off Channel for the night.

 

Cleveland ore shuttle continues

3/4 - Wednesday, Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder were on their third Cuyahoga River shuttle of 2010 season.

Rich Nicholls

 

DNR drilling ice core samples around old Ashland ore dock

3/4 - Ashland, Wis. – An investigation by the Department of Natural Resources may change the way the Ashland ore dock is torn down.

The 95-year-old steel/concrete ore dock has been deteriorating into Lake Superior since it was retired in the mid 1960s. DNR Water Management Specialist John Spangberg says destroying the ore dock is not as damaging to the environment as leaving it to corrode. Last month the DNR found weeds growing adjacent to the ore dock. Spangberg says that’s important.

“With the nature of Lake Superior, especially on the South Shore, there are not a lot of weed beds. And so that’s very special habitat that’s our responsibility to protect the best we can. What we did is just taking a bit of snapshot of what’s there so we can deal with that during the dredging process.”

When the demolition begins, the dock’s concrete will be pulverized, creating sediment that could destroy fish habitat. Spangberg says the presence of weeds beneath the ore dock means a more delicate demolition process.

“You start putting fine concrete on the bottom in that situation, weeds aren’t going to grow. And we don’t want that to be the end result. It will change a little bit how they remove material from the bottom if they need too when the project is done. That’s going to be the biggest change in their plan. It’s just a little bit more caution and a different method of dredging may be necessary.”

Spangberg says demolition is certain. The Canadian National ore dock was to be torn down last year but nesting peregrine falcons halted demolition work until this year.

KUWS

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 4

In 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.

In 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.

In 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.

 

Ice breaking continues in St. Clair River

3/3 - Port Huron, Mich. – USCG Biscayne Bay spent her first day on the St. Clair River breaking ice on the North, Middle and South Channel of the river. The efforts have allowed the ice to move into Lake St. Clair, and there is open water in the North Channel into Lake St. Clair and above Algonac.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley departed Windsor around noon to escort the tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod upbound through Lake St. Clair where the ice has been moving. Biscayne Bay took over the lead once in the lower St. Clair River and escorted the tug and barge up to Sarnia. Risley made a quick pass through the Cut Off Channel and followed the Everlast upbound. Biscayne Bay then went to anchor in lower Lake Huron.

 

Port Reports - March 3

Straits of Mackinac – Fred Stone
Tuesday morning, the USCG Katmai Bay departed St. Ignace for the Cheboygan River to break ice for Algocanada’s departure. Katmai Bay then returned to St. Ignace.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Provider was shifted from its lay-up berth into the Redpath Sugar slip on Sunday morning. Unloading of the Provider's storage began Monday morning.

 

Heritage designation for canal inches closer

3/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A supporter of a long-awaited plan to have heritage status accorded for the Welland Canal says he's confident an agreement is in sight with the federal body responsible for running the water corridor.

Bruce Timms said he expects an under-standing to be reached with St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. soon despite the body's unresolved concern that a heritage designation would constrain the canal's commercial operations.

"They've softened some," Timms, the regional councilor for St. Catharines, said on Friday. "But they still want a clear understanding of their burden."

Last November, the Seaway raised an eleventh-hour objection to the plan to accord the canal national monument status, mere months before Timms was to present a case for designation to Parks Canada.

While the Seaway supports national monument status for the first three canals, the body was concerned an increase in tourism could interfere with the fourth canal's commercial activity.

Timms said he believes the Seaway will be on board this time around.

"There will most likely be an agreement," he said. "The intention of everyone is to get a deal done."

While he wasn't as confident as Timms, the Seaway's Bruce Hodgson said Friday the Seaway remains committed to reaching an understanding.

"We've always said we've wanted to be a part of the process and our stance hasn't changed," said Hodgson, director of market development for the Seaway.

Hodgson said the Seaway is amenable to a potential compromise that would see segments of the commercial canal receive a heritage designation.

But, any such agreement would require collaborating with the five municipalities neighbouring the canal corridor on a "memorandum of agreement" that would map which parts of the canal could receive heritage status.

Timms has already succeeded in gaining support for such an agreement from the city councils in St. Catharines, Welland and Port Colborne. He said he plans to make a presentation to Thorold city council Tuesday and Wainfleet town council after that.

St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan emphasized the need for national heritage status -- and the federal funding such a designation would bring.

"The Welland Canal has the potential to become as noteworthy as the Rideau Canal,"

McMullan said. "It would be a huge boon for tourism in the region." McMullan praised the willingness of the Seaway in working with the municipalities. "The fact that they're willing to have a discussion is a gesture of goodwill on their part," he said.

McMullan said his staff was working to schedule a meeting between city planners and the Seaway within the next few weeks to build upon a previous conversation with Hodgson on the issue of designation.

"From my discussion, I came away with the feeling that an agreement will be reached soon."

Timms said even if the Seaway and the municipalities come to an agreement, there could still be a potential obstacle in the form of a federal election.

"If we can get Parks Canada and the Seaway on side for this fall, maybe we'll beat an election," he said.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Coast Guard rejects bid for new Detroit bridge project

3/3 - Detroit, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard has rejected an application submitted by officials representing the Ambassador Bridge to build a new span across the Detroit River to Canada.

The Coast Guard said in a release Tuesday it was "terminating" the application by the Detroit International Bridge Co. Among the unresolved issues is the company's inability to secure property rights to construct the bridge west of the existing span.

Company spokesman Phil Frame told The Associated Press he had no comment.

The decision follows the Coast Guard's action in June suspending the permit application process. The branch of the U.S. armed forces said Tuesday several issues remain unresolved, such as lawsuits between the company and state and federal agencies.

Associated Press

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 3

The keel was laid on March 3, 1980, for the COLUMBIA STAR (Hull#726) at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. She now sails at AMERICAN CENTURY.

At midnight on 3 March 1880, DAVID SCOVILLE (wooden propeller steam tug/ferry, 42 foot, 37 gross tons, built in 1875, at Marine City, Mich.) 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.

 

Escanaba opens Friday

3/2 - Great Lakes Trader will load in Escanaba on Friday. She has been delayed because of continuing work at the dock.

Lee Rowe

 

Upriver ore shuttle starts in Cleveland

3/2 - Tug Dorothy Ann and the barge Pathfinder were loading at CBT Dock on the Lakefront Monday morning. This is their first shuttle up the Cuyahoga River.

Josh McInerney

 

Algocanada delivers gasoline to Cheboygan

3/2 - Algocanada arrived in Cheboygan Monday to unload a cargo of gasoline after following the track through the ice in the South Passage into the Cheboygan River recently made by the return of the USCG cutter Mackinaw to its home port.

Jon Paul Michaels

 

Biscayne Bay arrives in Port Huron

3/2 - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay arrived above Port Huron late Monday night and stopped near the Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon, which was stopped above lights 11 and 12 in Lake Huron. Biscayne Bay is in the area to assist with ice breaking, if conditions demand. Above-freezing temperatures in the area could cause an ice bridge in lower Lake Huron to break off and clog the St. Clair River. Monday night the USCG Hollyhock was docked at Hart Plaza in Detroit and the Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley was in Windsor.

 

Port of Milwaukee business increased in 2009

3/2 - Milwaukee, Wis. – During a year when Great Lakes international shipping was down 25 percent and most ports saw declines between 15 and 30 percent, the Port of Milwaukee’s international tonnage was up 22 percent. Overall tonnage was down less than 1 percent.

Two of the Port’s bulk commodities saw a considerable increase: Salt distributed from the port throughout southeast Wisconsin was up over 23 percent due to the salt mines production increase. Grain exports were up over 74 percent due to good shipping rates out of the Lakes.

The port handled several full shipload project cargoes. The heaviest piece ever to move across port railroad tracks came in during the summer on a special heavy-lift ship through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Union Pacific Railroad then moved the 800-ton (1,763,200 pounds) transformer with the oversight of Specialized Rail Carriers.

Federal Marine Terminals-Milwaukee, the port’s stevedore that loads and unloads ships and barges and provides terminal handling services to/from truck and rail, also brought in two 83,776-pound capacity reach stackers with special attachments to handle future shipments of wind blades. FMT is focusing on its Milwaukee terminal to handle these 150-foot-long wind blades. These machines are intended to make the Milwaukee terminal more efficient in handling oversized machinery.

Early predictions for 2010 anticipate a steady year for most commodities. However, the port anticipates an increase in machinery exports, which is the port’s most labor intensive cargo.

Bay View Compass

 

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority changes plans

3/2 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has abandoned a $10 million plan to fill in a docking slip on the lakefront and build a warehouse on port property west of Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Interim port authority President Peter Raskind said in an email Friday that he made the decision to kill the project shortly after his arrival in December as a replacement for ousted CEO Adam Wasserman.

"The bottom line is we do not believe it's a good use of public money," Raskind said, "and could place an undue financial burden on the port authority."

The reversal will cost the taxpayer-subsidized authority a $47,000 commitment fee paid to get a state loan. In September, the authority's board of directors voted 7-1 to pay the non-refundable fee for a $4.7 million loan.

That money was to be paired with a $5 million federal grant to fill in one of three docking slips, build a road, buy a new mobile crane and build the warehouse.

Board members Anthony Moore and Richard Knoth complained at the time that the port staff had not shown how the project would generate new business and jobs. And they questioned why the port wanted to invest $10 million in property it intended to abandon in 20 years as part of a move to a proposed site off East 55th Street.

Moore cast the only dissenting vote.

Raskind on Friday portrayed the plan as misguided from the beginning. He said the changes of the port landing the federal grant were "highly unlikely." He also cited the following concerns:

• The port would have been required to repay the $4.7 million to the state if the warehouse didn't attract 105 new jobs -- and no companies were committed to moving into the facility.
• The permit process to fill in the slip would have taken a year or more, delaying the project and breaking a two-year deadline to complete construction of the warehouse.
• Clean material would have been required to fill the slip, further increasing costs.

Raskind said the decision to dump the project does not mean the port authority is averse to investing in improvements to the 100-acre property.

The port remains committed to a lakefront development project on 30 acres north of Browns Stadium. Plans call for an urban village of retail shops, restaurants, hotels, condos, offices and parks. Start-up costs are estimated at $27 million.

"We remain open to opportunities that will make our port more competitive," Raskind wrote. "Any capital improvement would be examined on its financial viability along with its ability to increase our effectiveness."

Plain Dealer

 

Updates - March 2

Weekly Website Updates
Historical Perspective Gallery Black River and Raymond H. Reiss galleries

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 2

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.

 

Algobay on first trip

3/1 - Montreal, QC – Algobay left lay-up at Portland, Maine, Feb. 23 to begin her first season after forebody replacement in China. Algobay arrived at Port Cartier, QC, Saturday to load for New Orleans, and departed Sunday afternoon. Kent Malo

 

Hollyhock returns from working Straits, St. Marys

3/1 - Port Huron, Mich. – USCG Hollyhock returned to the St. Clair River Sunday after covering the Straits of Mackinac and St. Marys River while the Mackinaw was working the St. Clair River.

She passed her home moorings in Port Huron and continued downbound to the Group Detroit Base behind Belle Isle.

Algocanada departed the Shell dock and was escorted upbound by the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley. The escort reached the ice edge in lower Lake Huron where the Risley turned and headed back downbound for Sarnia.

 

Luedtke awarded Detroit River dredging project

3/1 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, has awarded a $1.4 million contract to Luedtke Engineering of Frankfort, Mich., to dredge a portion of the Detroit River.

The contract calls for the company to dredge 160,000 cubic yards of material beginning in June and wrapping up by the end of summer, and transfer the material to a confined disposal facility.

“This project will keep a vital thoroughfare open for the transport of over $825 million of commodities annually, in support of more than 12,000 jobs,” said Lt. Col. James Davis, district engineer.

Dredging News Online

 

Canadian Soo Canal closed for upgrade in 2010

3/1 - The recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada will be drained for the first time since 1998. This is being done to allow for a $2.6 million dollar upgrade to the site’s infrastructure. The work will also allow visitors a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the lock.

The lock will be closed for the 2010 season so that it can be drained, allowing access for inspection and repair of historic and contemporary assets. At the same time, the lock baffle wall will be reconstructed and water infiltration into the powerhouse will be addressed. Boaters will continue to have access via the American locks. There will also still be access to Whitefish and South St. Marys Islands. The recreational lock is expected to reopen for the 2011 season.

Parks Canada operates the lock jointly with the City of Sault Ste Marie, Ont.

SooNews

 

Updates - March 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery new for March, the Raymond H. Reiss
Public Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - March 1

The HENRY FORD II (Hull#788) was launched on March 1, 1924, at Lorain, Ohio by the 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. It was scrapped in 1994, at Port Maitland, Ontario by Marine Recycling & Salvage Ltd.

In 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 March 1, 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, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.

 

 



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