Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

Port Reports -  March 31

Silver Bay, Minn.
American Century was loading Thursday night.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
CSL St-Laurent departed on Thursday afternoon for Sorel. Algoma Equinox was headed out in the evening, bound for Port Cartier. Thunder Bay was headed for Superior, Wis. Algoma Enterprise was loading.

Marquette, Mich.
Herbert C. Jackson was loading Thursday night.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Paul Martin
John D. Leitch left lay-up from the east harbor wall either late on the 28th or early morning on the 29th of March to begin her shipping season. Algoma Olympic remains, along with the Algoway, which is undergoing repairs on her forward bow thruster.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
John B. Aird was loading salt on Wednesday bound for Montreal.

Sarnia, Ont.
The saltie Lake Ontario was upbound Thursday early evening with a Duluth destination.

Monroe, Mich.
Paul R. Tregurtha was unloading coal Thursday night.

Toledo, Ohio
Lee A. Tregurtha is due in Toledo to the Torco Dock during the day on Friday. She will be the first ore boat for the 2017 shipping season for this dock. Robert S. Pierson arrived with grain on Thursday evening.

Cleveland, Ohio – Nick Hunter
Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived in Cleveland early Thursday morning and unloaded ore at the bulk terminal, while the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder continued her familiar trip to the steel mill. The Oberstar left for Silver Bay in the early evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
On Thursday, tug Calusa Coast and barge Delaware wheeled out of Buffalo around 10 a.m. On Wednesday, Manitoulin departed around noon.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Vessel traffic for 3-30-2017: Upbound: tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes, Spruceglen, Sterling Energy to wharf 1. Downbound: Mississagi - stopped wharf 1, Algoma Guardian, Radcliffe R. Latimer eta 2130. Notes: Calusa Coast and barge Delaware departed Buffalo and Spruceglen departed winter lay-up at Toronto.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived Thursday evening for her first trip of the season with a load of cement for Lehigh Hanson Inc.

Montreal, Que. – Bruno Boissonneault
Atlantic Huron left layup in Halifax on March 18. Salarium is laid-up at Section 65 in the Port of Montreal.


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 the dock. She damaged her number nine tank.

Christening ceremonies took place at St. Catharines, Ontario, on March 31, 1979, for 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. bowthruster 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.

1974: The nine-year old Liberian freighter CAPE PALMAS first came through the Seaway in 1969 after it had been purchased from Swedish interests. The vessel was at Bilbao, Spain, undergoing repairs, on March 31, 1974, when a blaze broke out aft and caused extensive damage. This was repaired and the ship resumed trading. It was converted to the cement carrier c) ASANO in 1978 and served until arriving at Shanghai, China, for scrapping on September 10, 1993.

1999: VARADERO was the first new ship of the 1991 season to use the Seaway. It was bound for Toronto with a cargo of sugar. This bulk carrier was sailing as e) MANPOK, and under North Korean registry, when it sank on this date in 1999 following a collision with HYUNDAI DUKE some 500 miles off Colombo, Sri Lanka, while inbound from Jakarta, Indonesia, with a cargo of cement. Two crew members were rescued while another 37 were posted as missing.

2011: BBC STEINHOEFT got stuck in the Seaway on this date in 2011. The Liberian registered freighter had just been renamed at Toronto, having entered the lakes as BELUGA FUSION. It lost power near the St. Lambert Lock and ended up sideways and blocking the channel until she was refloated and realigned.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Barge towed by Evans McKeil sinks in Picton Bay

3/30 - Kingston, Ont. – Officials in Prince Edward County are reassuring residents that a partially submerged barge in Picton Bay, about 60 kilometres southwest of Kingston, poses little risk to the environment.

The bow of the Pitts Carillon, a 27-metre barge owned by Galcon Marine, is resting in shallow waters after it began taking on water late Thursday, according to McKeil Marine, the company that was chartering the vessel and is now taking responsibility for the salvage operation. The barge's stern remains afloat, the company said. In a statement Monday, McKeil Marine said the barge poses "little risk to the environment."

"The barge is stable," according to the company's director of project management Chris Kirby, who's overseeing the salvage operation. "We have developed a recovery plan which was reviewed by the Coast Guard and Transport Canada. We have assembled a team of experts and taken all necessary precautions to ensure utmost safety throughout the operation."

It's believed the partially submerged barge contains about 1,200 litres of diesel fuel and 100 litres of hydraulic fluid. The fuel tanks remain intact, but the company deployed a pollution boom around the barge as a precaution. Divers hired to inspect the barge have confirmed no pollutants have contaminated the bay, according to Prince Edward County.

"I am assured there is no immediate danger and no spill occurred," said Coun. Lenny Epstein on Facebook. "I don't say that to minimize it nor to diminish but to reassure." The county said it has taken all necessary precautions to protect the local drinking water system, and said a sufficient supply of drinking water exists in municipal reservoirs in the event that pollution is detected.

McKeil Marine said the barge was towed from the Port of Toronto on Wednesday and arrived at Picton Terminal Thursday evening. Early Friday morning the crew of the tug noticed the barge listing to one side and set up a pump in an attempt to right it. There were no injuries.



Port Reports -  March 30

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Philip R. Clarke arrived Duluth on Wednesday afternoon to load iron ore at CN. American Spirit departed during the evening after receiving repairs at Port Terminal. Algoma Mariner arrived in Superior just after noon and was loading Wednesday night.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Edwin H. Gott departed Two Harbors on Tuesday morning, and Capt. Henry Jackman arrived soon after to load. She departed during the evening. Algoma Harvester was inbound around 9 p.m. to take on ore. On Thursday, G3 Marquis, Roger Blough, and John D. Leitch are due to load at CN, and American Integrity is expected on Friday. Edgar B. Speer and Algoma Transport are due to arrive on Saturday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Algolake left winter lay-up Wednesday evening and was headed out into the lake.

Goderich, Ont.
John B. Aird is still at her layup dock, but her AIS destination is now showing Montreal on April 4, 2017. Waterfront reports indicate she will load salt soon and will be sold for scrap after her arrival at Montreal.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Vessels in port Wednesday evening included the Algoma Discovery at one of the grain elevators as the port's first grain vessel for the 2017 season. The tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement were at the St. Marys Cement Terminal unloading a cement cargo. Manitoulin is expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Thursday in the morning. They will be the first vessel to load at that dock for the 2017 shipping season. Also due at CSX are the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory on April 3 in the late morning. John J. Boland is due at CSX on April 4 in the early evening to load, and the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory are due back at CSX on April 8 in the late afternoon. There is nothing due for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the first expected arrival for the 2017 season will be Lee A. Tregurtha on Friday in the morning. Also due at Torco are the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory on April 2 in the late evening, followed by the Joseph H. Thompson and tug on April 3 in the early evening and the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory on April 9 in the late morning. The Buffalo became the third vessel to depart from Winter Lay-up for the 2017 shipping season. This leaves the H. Lee White at the Old Ironville Dock, American Integrity at the CSX #2 Dock and the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber as the last vessels at least expected to sail. Vessels not expected to sail in 2017 are the Manistee and American Valor, both at the Torco Dock #2 East Wall. The St. Clair is laid-up at the Torco Slip #2 West Wall across from the Manistee and is due for shipyard work before she fits out later in the season. Also not expected to sail are the tug Jane Ann IV and barge Sarah Spencer, both of which are near the CSX Coal Dock area and the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Vessel transits for Wednesday included the upbound Kaministiqua, Algoscotia, Lake Ontario (Atg) and Federal Schelde (Brb). Amelia Desgagnes, tug Salvage Monarch with barges Radium 603 & 617 and dredge Ocean Basque 2 were downbound. Algoma Hansa departed Nanticoke, Algonova was at Nanticoke and Algoscotia was anchored in Long Point bay awaiting dock. Manitoulin departed Buffalo, headed for Toledo.


Newly discovered shipwreck in Lake Superior offers stunning window into the past

3/30 - It was near midnight in early May 1884 when the J.S. Seaverns went down off the north shore of Lake Superior. The ship had run against some rocks on its way out of nearby Michipicoten Harbor. And while all aboard made it to shore alive, the ship was swallowed up by the lake, abandoned and forgotten. Until now.

Dan Fountain calls the Seaverns “one of the best preserved shipwrecks" he's ever seen. Fountain is the sleuth responsible for uncovering the site of the 132 year-old shipwreck. He was inspecting nautical charts more than a decade ago when he noticed a symbol representing a wreck in Michipicoten Bay.

Several years later, and with the help of sonar, a team of wreck divers descended through the frigid waters of Lake Superior to the site of the almost-forgotten vessel.

“We were all amazed at the condition of the wreck,” Fountain said. The deck of the vessel, which was carrying supplies for contractors working on the Canadian Pacific Railroad, had collapsed. But the lower cabins remained intact. "We were able to look into some of the crew accommodations," he said, "We were able to look into the galley and see dishes still on the shelves.”

Fountain said the cold water in Lake Superior helped preserve the shipwreck. So too did the lake’s lack of invasive mussels; in the other Great Lakes, this vessel likely would have been covered with quagga and zebra mussels.

Listen to the report at this link:


Obituary: Jane C. Greenwood

3/30 - Jane C. Greenwood, age 77, Valencia, Pa., (formerly of Shaker Heights, Ohio) passed away March 20. She lived the majority of her life in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was active in various organizations. Her late husband, John O. Greenwood, worked at the Interlake Steamship Co. for many years, authored a series of authoritative books on Great Lakes fleets, and founded Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping.


Lay-up List updated with 2017 departure dates

3/30 - The lay-up list has been updated with departure dates. Please send in sailing dates that are not yet posted on the list. Lay-up list


Updates -  March 30

News Photo Gallery  


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.

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

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 rudder, resulting in a trip to the drydock at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

1917: GERMANIC was the last wooden passenger ship built in Collingwood. It was completed there in 1899 and burned there, at the dock, on this date in 1917. The ship was part of Canada Steamship Lines at the time of loss. The hull settled on the bottom but was raised, towed towards Wasaga Beach, and run aground. The remains were torn apart for firewood during the Depression.

1940: The first THORDOC, a) J.A. McKEE, stranded at Winging Point, 10 miles southwest of Louisbourg, N.S., due to heavy fog. The ship was abandoned on April 1 and declared a total loss. This member of the Paterson fleet had been travelling in ballast and had been involved in Great Lakes trading since 1908.

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


Rand Logistics announces expectations for 2017 sailing season

3/29 - Jersey City, N.J. – Rand Logistics, Inc., a leading provider of bulk freight shipping services throughout the Great Lakes region, has announced its outlook for the 2017 sailing season. In summary, the company anticipates improved financial performance over the 2016 sailing season based on recent contract wins, improved customer demand and continued cost savings initiatives.

“We are projecting to sail approximately 3,600 days with 14 vessels in the 2017 season, including all six of our Canadian flagged self-unloaders, our three Canadian flagged bulkers, and five of our six U.S. flagged self-unloaders,” said Ed Levy, Rand's president and chief executive officer.

“For comparison purposes, we sailed 3,560 days in the 2016 sailing season and we operated 14 of our vessels. We do not expect to utilize any third-party vessels to haul our customer tonnage in the 2017 sailing season, and we are presently evaluating several return-generating alternatives for our sixth U.S. flagged self-unloader," Levy added.

"Based on the current market environment and assuming no change in the U.S./Canadian foreign exchange rate, we are projecting vessel margin per day for our fiscal year ending March 31, 2018 to be approximately $13,400, or 12 percent greater than preliminary vessel margin per day for our fiscal year ended March 31, 2017,” he said.

"Market conditions for the commodities that we carry have improved compared to this time last year. There still remains leftover grain tonnage from 2016's record-setting Canadian harvest and, at current prices, iron ore exporting is economically attractive and causing tighter capacity in our market. We were successful in increasing market share with certain of our customers whose contracts we renewed over the last 120 days, and we are pleased with our tonnage nominations for the upcoming sailing season. Based on current market conditions and customer nominations received to date, we are expecting our tonnage hauled to increase 7 percent in the 2017 Sailing Season compared the 2016 Sailing Season,” he concluded.

Mark Hiltwein, Rand's chief financial officer, said the company is “well on our way to achieving an additional $1 million of annual cost savings, which will result in approximately $5 million of aggregate cost savings since we commenced a comprehensive evaluation of our cost structure at the beginning of 2016. These reductions have been realized in a number of areas, including insurance, provisions, spare parts, and general and administration expenses. Our cost savings program is part of an initiative to improve return on invested capital.”

“Our 2017 operational initiatives include continuing to rationalize our cost structure, managing capital expenses, continuing to improve our operational efficiencies and achieving a higher value-added revenue. We are also actively focused on strategies to refinance our debt,” he concluded.

Global Newswire


Port Reports -  March 29

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
James R. Barker departed Duluth with iron ore pellets early Tuesday morning. Erie Trader/Clyde S. VanEnkevort, the former Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe Sr, arrived soon after and began loading at CN. They were expected to depart later in the evening. American Spirit and Indiana Harbor both remained at Port Terminal. CSL Assiniboine was loading at Burlington Northern in Superior.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Edwin H. Gott departed Tuesday morning and Capt. Henry Jackman arrived soon after to load. She departed during the evening. Algoma Harvester was inbound around 9 p.m. to take on ore. On Thursday, G3 Marquis, Roger Blough, and John D. Leitch are due to load at CN, and American Integrity is expected on Friday. Edgar B. Speer and Algoma Transport are due Saturday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Baie Comeau and CSL Welland departed with grain in the early evening Tuesday. Tim S. Dool, CSL St.-Laurent and Atlantic Huron were loading.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joseph L. Block was headed in to load Tuesday night.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Discovery arrived Tuesday afternoon but was unable to proceed up river due to the bridges not being manned. She went to anchor in western Lake Erie just east of the entrance to the Toledo ship channel. Her adventure going up the Maumee River will start over again early Wednesday morning. The first vessel to load at the CSX Coal Dock for the 2017 season will be the Manitoulin, due Thursday at midnight. Due next at CSX will be the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory April 4 in the mid-afternoon, followed by the barge Ashtabula / tug Defiance due April 6, also in the mid-afternoon. The barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory return there on April 9 in the late evening, and the Saginaw is also due at CSX to load April 10 in the early morning. Two other vessels are also due at CSX, the Algoma Enterprise on April 17 in the late evening followed by the Algoma Transport on April 25 in the morning. There is no activity scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the first arrival is expected to be the Lee A. Tregurtha, due in on Friday in the morning. The barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory are due at Torco on April 2 in the late evening followed by the Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and barge on April 3 in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule are the barge James L. Kuber / tug Victory, returning to Torco on April 9 in the late morning. There has been no new vessel departures from Winter Lay-up, however, American Integrity, Buffalo and Great Republic all have their AIS up and running and should be departing soon.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The first commercial vessel transit of the new season for the Buffalo area was the 664-foot self-unloader Manitoulin with a load of Canadian red wheat on March 27. She arrived in a heavy fog that evening around 7 p.m. from Thunder Bay, Ont., and was winded in the outer harbor by the tug Washington. They proceeded on a stern-first tow up the Buffalo River for the ADM Standard elevator, securing on the dock there at about 9 p.m. Tonawanda’s first delivery came on March 28 when the tug-barge unit Calusa Coast – Delaware arrived with asphalt from Detroit for Noco. They came in along the Canadian coast to dodge the breeze coming out of the north, switched out of towing gear off Point Abino, and then headed for the North Entrance around 3 p.m. After transiting the Black Rock Canal downbound, the pair docked at the Noco pier around 5 p.m.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Tuesday’s upbound passages were Sea Eagle II / barge St. Marys Cement II and Kaministiqua. Downbound traffic consisted of Amelia Desgagnes (eta 2315). Monday’s upbound passages were G3 Marquis, Algoma Enterprise, Algoma Discovery, Harbour Fountain (Portugal; first ocean vessel for 2017 through the canal), Baie St. Paul and Mississagi. English River was downbound.

Other news: Kaministiqua departed Hamilton winter berth at 1900 Tuesday, ETA Port Weller was 2207. Algoscotia departed Bronte at 2105. ETA Port Weller was 2250.

Seaway – Rene´ Beauchamp, Mac Mackay
A new saltie is expected at Cleveland from Russia on or about April 7, the general cargo ship Riga. Until lately, she was part of the Flinter Shipping fleet, which went bankrupt. Former name of the vessel was Flinter Aland. According to reports, she is still of Netherlands registry. With the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway this week for another season, the tug Genesis Victory out of New York is headed for the Great Lakes. The tug with its tank barge GM 6506 has been a regular on the Great Lakes, spending most of the summer there and leaving in the fall. Their work seems to be on Lake Michigan, working out of Whiting, Ind. The tug and barge usually use the Canso Canal to reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but since that facility will be closed for renovations until May, they may be waiting for better weather at Halifax before proceeding on their trip around Cape North.


Diver shuns med school for thrill of underwater finds

3/29 - Toledo, Ohio – Carrie Sowden wasn’t always on a path to be an underwater archaeologist, but she’s thrilled to have docked in Toledo.

As a college student, Ms. Sowden searched for an internship that would allow her to spend a summer in Maine, where her family vacationed. She spent a few months preserving artifacts from a 1710 shipwreck. One year later, she wondered if she could make a career out of it.

“All of a sudden, I was like, ‘That was really cool. I could do that. Med school sounds lame,’ ” Ms. Sowden said. “So it was this random, unexpected thing, but it’s turned out really well for me.”

Before joining the National Museum of the Great Lakes as its archaeological director, Ms. Sowden, 41, received degrees from Emory University and Texas A&M University. She traveled as far as Portugal and Turkey, diving to the depths of the seas studying shipwrecks. The diving component is little more than a means of transportation for Ms. Sowden. Finding what lies beneath is the real reward.

“There’s just something about boats that have been present and permanent in human nature for literally thousands of years,” she said. “There’s so much they can tell you about the culture and the people who built it, sailed it, and perhaps died on it.

“I’ll be down there just working away, and all of a sudden I’ll have to stop and think about what I’m really doing. I’m sitting on the edge of this boat that 150 years ago was above the water with a bunch of people on it. This isn’t just numbers and measurements I’m taking, which does mean something, but in the end, it's about the people and the greater story.”

Every shipwreck Ms. Sowden encounters tells a different, yet important tale. She ventured to the bottom of the Red River in Oklahoma to examine the state’s only shipwreck. The steamboat built in New Albany, Ind., was carrying goods from Cincinnati when it sank just a few miles from its destination.

“It’s interesting because the guys who were shipping the goods, their contract said they didn’t get paid until they made it to dock,” Ms. Sowden said.

While in Turkey, Ms. Sowden analysed tin ingots from the Uluburun. The ship sank in 1305 B.C., and each ingot was engraved with the owner’s mark. Ms. Sowden discovered a new owner’s mark that had not been found previously.

The most interesting item she recovered is a bell on display at the museum. The bell was on board the Cortland, which sank in 1868 off the coast of Lorain, Ohio, in Lake Erie, killing 35 people. Most bells on ships were made of brass, but Ms. Sowden was surprised to find this one was made of iron. She discovered it was originally on the ship owner’s farm in Seneca Falls, N.Y.

“People will be like, ‘Oh, did you find gold?’ ” Ms. Sowden said. “But some of the things we do find are super interesting. Archaeology is all dependent on the questions you’re asking.”

Those interested in an up-close-and-personal experience with a shipwreck can take Ms. Sowden’s workshop. The three-part class is designed for divers and nondivers, and begins April 29. Participants will learn about laws and ethics, research, and do their own shipwreck survey in May.

“The people who go through the class, it gives them an ownership of Great Lakes shipwrecks,” Ms. Sowden said. “It’s a piece of history they now know. I really enjoy teaching people about what the Great Lakes have to offer.”

Toledo Blade


NMGL to hold spring shipwreck archaeology training workshop

3/29 - Toledo, Ohio – Have you ever wondered about the history that sits at the bottom of our Great Lakes? With more than 8,000 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, there’s so much to be explored. Touring these sites is fun, but learning more about them, how they were built, the people on board, and what happened that fateful evening broadens our knowledge of our shared history. To do that, you need archaeology. That’s why the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Maritime Archaeology Survey Team will hold its annual shipwreck archaeology training workshop at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, April 29-30.

The workshop is open to anyone with a passion for archaeology, shipwrecks or the history of the Great Lakes. Although the most common participant is a recreational diver, there are dozens of activities for the non-diver. Over the past 14 years, more than 350 people have enrolled in the workshop at the basic or advanced levels.

The weekend workshop includes one day of classroom work, which includes guest speakers on topics like Ship Terms, Laws and Ethics, Research, Survey Tools and Trilateration (the technique used to measure shipwrecks). The second day has participants putting their survey skills to the test aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, which is permanently docked at the museum. Then on either May 20 or 21, participants spend a day at the White Star Quarry testing their skills underwater.

After completion of the workshop program, participants are invited to take part in the survey of a Lake Erie Shipwreck over the summer. This year, the summer survey on Lake Erie will continue last year’s work of surveying the wreck of the Admiral, lost with all hands in Lake Erie off of Avon Lake, Ohio, on December 2, 1942 after leaving Toledo toward Cleveland towing the Clevco, a fuel oil barge. The Admiral was a regular visitor to Toledo and was involved in the fuel trade, which was common during that time.

There are two levels of training: Basic and Advanced. The Basic class is open to anyone who is interested in shipwreck archaeology and is over 16 years of age. The Advanced class is open to people that have previously taken the basic class. Details about the levels of training can be found at Nautical Archaeology Workshop.

As part of the training weekend, MAST will be holding its annual meeting, dinner and program. This is open to everyone. This year we will be hosting Wayne Lusardi, Michigan State Underwater Archaeologist, who will be speaking about his work in Lake Huron on airplanes.

Registration for the workshop is $170 for either level and includes one ticket to the MAST annual dinner that will be held on April 29 at the SeaGate Center in Toledo, Ohio.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Public Gallery back up and running

3/29 - The Public Gallery is back in action thanks to our volunteer Greenshirt. He was able to correct a database problem, One Long and Two shorts from the fans of the Gallery. Pics.Boatnerd.Com


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.

1973: MANCHESTER TRADER, the second ship of this name to visit the Great Lakes, was owned by the Prince Line when it first came inland, on charter to Manchester Liners Ltd., in 1964. The ship was renamed e) WESTERN PRINCE in 1969 and also transited the Seaway that year. It became f) MARINER in 1971 and was abandoned in the Pacific on this date in 1973. The ship was leaking in heavy weather en route from Havana, Cuba, to Kobe, Japan, and was presumed to have sunk about 35.00 N / 152.47 E.

1973: DAVID MARQUESS OF MILFORD HAVEN, one of the longest named saltwater ships to visit the Great Lakes, was the first saltwater ship of the season upbound in the Seaway.

1990: The MAYA FARBER visited the Great Lakes in 1981. It arrived at Alang, India, under tow for scrapping on this date following an explosion and fire off Port Sudan as d) RAAD AL-BAKRY VIII on January 15, 1990.

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


Port Reports -  March 28

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
Duluth harbor has seen plenty of traffic since the opening of the Soo Locks. All of the winter layup fleet has departed with the exception of Arthur M. Anderson, expected to sit out the 2017 season. On Monday, Paul R. Tregurtha departed Duluth just after midnight with her second coal load of the season. Indiana Harbor arrived before sunrise, and docked at Port Terminal. Cason J. Callaway departed during the afternoon after loading ore, and CSL Assiniboine arrived later in the evening and stopped to fuel before shifting down to Superior to load. James R. Barker continued loading at CN, while American Spirit remained at Port Terminal undergoing repairs. In Superior, Whitefish Bay arrived during the afternoon to load at BN.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Edgar B. Speer departed just after sunrise on Monday after loading iron ore pellets at the CN dock. Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived later in the morning and began loading. Edwin H. Gott arrived offshore during the afternoon and dropped anchor to wait for the Latimer to clear the dock. The schedule for Two Harbors has Capt. Henry Jackman and Algoma Harvester loading on Tuesday, while Edgar B. Speer and Algoma Transport are due to load on Saturday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Baie Comeau and CSL Welland were loading Monday. Algoma Guardian departed in the evening with grain.

Marquette, Mich.
Michipicoten loaded Monday and headed for Essar in the Canadian Soo.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived at Lafarge around 3 p.m. on Monday to load its first cargo of the season. Later in the evening she departed for Green Bay. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Tuesday afternoon.

Sarnia, Ont. – George Lee
The tug Salvage Monarch was downbound on the St. Clair River Monday headed for Quebec City with Group Ocean dredging equipment that had been used last season in Sarnia harbor.

Detroit, Mich.
Kaye E. Barker was unloading her first ore cargo of the season Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The Port of Toledo and the Toledo Docks are expected to open this week. The first arrival at the CSX Coal Dock is scheduled to be the barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory on March 29 in the mid-afternoon. Also due at CSX is the Saginaw on April 10 in the early afternoon, along with the Algoma Enterprise on April 17 in the morning. On April 18 in the early afternoon Algoma Transport is due. There is nothing scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the first expected arrival for the 2017 shipping season will be the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber on March 31 in the early morning. Lee A. Tregurtha is also due at Torco on March 31 in the early morning. Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and barge are due at Torco on April 3 in the morning and the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber return to Torco on April 6 in the mid-afternoon. The 1,000-footer Edgar B. Speer was the first to depart Toledo's Winter Lay-up fleet on March 22, followed by the American Mariner on March 25. Vessels that are still in lay-up include the American Integrity at CSX #2 Dock, due to sail any time. John J. Boland is also at the CSX #2 Dock and due to sail in April. Buffalo is at CSX #1 Dock to sail anytime. H. Lee White is at the Old Ironville Dock and due to sail in April. At the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber remain in lay-up and the Great Republic remains at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Not expected to sail until later in the season is the St. Clair. Manistee and American Valor remain laid-up in the Frog Pond area. The tug Jane Ann IV and barge Sarah Spencer are in long-term lay-up near the CSX Docks and the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock.

Cleveland, Ohio – Nick Hunter, Denny Dushane
American Century was in port Monday morning. Herbert C. Jackson was at the bulk terminal alongside fleetmates Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder Monday afternoon. At about 6 p.m. the Jackson left the terminal floodwall and headed in through the pier towards the steel mill downriver. The oldest operating vessel currently sailing the Great Lakes, the 1942-built steamer Alpena, departed its lay-up berth Sunday morning for her namesake port to begin its 75th season sailing on the Great Lakes.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Stephen B. Roman was the first ship of the season when she arrived Sunday with cement.


Coast Guard ship that underwent $9 million in repairs in 2009 sells for $373,000

3/28 - A decommissioned Canadian Coast Guard ship that underwent $9-million in repairs in 2009 only to be permanently docked four years later has been sold for $373,000 after being offered for sale on the government’s surplus website.

The vessel, named CCGS Tracy while in commission, was sold to an unspecified buyer on March 1, according to the Canadian Coast Guard. It was offered for sale on the GCSurplus website, where government-owned assets no longer deemed necessary are made available for purchase. The minimum bid was listed as $250,000.

The sale comes after the former Conservative government awarded Quebec-based Verreault Navigation Inc. a $6.8-million contract in 2009 to conduct “major repairs” to the ship. Richard Beaupré, the firm’s president and chief operations officer, said in an interview that the number was actually just over $9-million, a figure the Coast Guard confirmed.

The Coast Guard in 2009 expected that the repairs would keep the vessel in service for the following 10 years. But only four years later, it removed the CCGS Tracy from service.

Mario Pelletier, deputy commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, said the repairs were necessary to ensure the vessel met Transport Canada operating requirements. He placed the cost of a replacement ship for the Tracy at $300-million. “It’s a large number, but in the context of marine industry, it’s the cost of doing business,” Mr. Pelletier said of the $9-million repairs in an interview.

Mr. Pelletier said the Tracy was put out of commission as part of cost-cutting measures introduced in 2012 by the former Conservative government to trim the federal budget deficit.

The vessel is a buoy tender, which are responsible for maintaining and replacing buoys, navigational floating devices. As part of orders to find cost efficiencies, Mr. Pelletier said the Coast Guard explored the concept of contracting out buoy-tending services to the private sector, but discovered the cost was far greater than performing the service in-house.

But as part of the study, the Coast Guard discovered new efficiencies in how the buoy-tending program is delivered, he said, which provided “more ship time” to perform buoy tending, leading to the Tracy being declared surplus.

The Hill Times


Rock of Ages Lighthouse to be restored

3/28 - Duluth, Minn. – The Rock of Ages Lighthouse has greeted visitors approaching Isle Royale National Park since 1908, but it's been nearly 40 years since a lightkeeper cared for it.

Although the bones of the structure are in good shape, the lighthouse's interior needs attention — and the Rock of Ages Lighthouse Preservation Society is hoping to provide that. The preservation society, based in Duluth, is planning a multi-year project beginning this summer to restore the lighthouse to a 1930s look, with the goal of opening the lighthouse to the public in 2020.

Heather Gerth, a preservation society board member, said they want to preserve the lighthouse because of its history and its unique, remote location to the west of Isle Royale National Park, 15 miles off of the North Shore. The lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and sits on the Rock of Ages reef, where two shipwrecks occurred prior to the lighthouse's construction.

"If the lighthouse is torn down, that's one less lighthouse that will ever be in existence. They're kind of an obsolete type of historical building. They're not being used in the same way. You can now put a buoy out in the water and accomplish the same thing. Those buildings really capture a historic way of life that's disappearing," Gerth said. "The keepers who stayed out there, the stories they have and the lives impacted by that light station are something that we think are worth preserving."

The lighthouse is still strong and sturdy, Gerth said. However, when the last lightkeeper left in 1979, the interior was sprayed with an exterior-grade white paint that has trapped a lot of moisture.

"You walk in there and it looks really bad. It looks like plaster is coming off the walls, plaster is coming off the ceiling. But when you get down to the skeleton of the structure, things are intact," Gerth said.

The preservation society's plan is to work its way through the 10-story lighthouse, restoring a room or two per year using mostly volunteers. This year's project will be the lightkeeper's quarters that housed the beds and closets. They're hoping to have six crews of six volunteers do the restoration work over seven weeks this summer, and plan to outfit a sleeping and cooking area for the crews on Barnum Island between Rock of Ages and Isle Royale.

The budget for the first year of restoration work is $36,000. In-kind donations total $21,000 and the preservation society is fundraising the remaining $15,000 that's needed to meet the budget, Gerth said.

In addition to two basement levels used for storage and a machinery room in the entrance area, the lighthouse had three floors for the lightkeepers that included an office, bathroom, gathering space, kitchen and sleeping quarters. Restoring a living quarters built more than a century ago will provide some challenges, she said.

"The year that we do the bathroom and that space, we're going to have to come up with some creative solutions for water and electricity. Historically, the lighthouse had discharged water into the lake and, obviously, that's not an option with very good reason," she said.

The top floors of the lighthouse are a watch room with access to the lighthouse's catwalk and the room that housed the light. The original light's pedestal and lens are located at Windigo on Isle Royale and the U.S. Coast Guard still operates a small light at Rock of Ages, Gerth said.

The preservation society also hopes that the National Park Service will restore the dock to the lighthouse to provide a safer landing for visitors, Gerth said. She added that they also plan to contract for the lighthouse's exterior restoration work, which requires more specialization than volunteers can provide.

The preservation society was created by Gerth's husband Dave Gerth in 2008. The first few years were spent transferring ownership of the lighthouse from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service and establishing a partnership agreement between the preservation society and NPS, Beth Gerth said.

The preservation society sees itself as a support organization for the lighthouse and creating a partnership with NPS is key to future work, including restoring the lighthouse. Gerth noted that they're fortunate that the lighthouse hasn't sustained more damage than it has.

"I think a lot of lighthouses that are being restored don't have that benefit of having really good solid bones to start with. We're lucky, actually, that things are in really good shape and we can work to make it much nicer inside," she said.

Duluth News Tribune


Former Polsteam bulker and Lakes visitor goes to scrap

3/28 - Ziemia Gornoslaska, a one-time former Polsteam bulker and Great Lakes/Seaway system visitor, has been sold for scrapping and was beached at Chittagong on March 16, 2017. This vessel was built in 1990 as the Ziemia Gornoslaska, and carried that name until August 1991, when it was sold and renamed the Lake Charles, a name it carried from 1991-2003. In 2003 the ship was renamed back to Ziemia Gornoslaska and it first came inland as such in 2003. In November 2013 it was sold and renamed Kanuni of the Cook Islands and never returned inland.

Denny Dushane



CN, Duluth Cargo Connect announce container terminal; intermodal capabilities a ‘game-changer’

3/28 - Duluth, Minn. -– Duluth’s status as an international hub just got a big boost. Canadian National Railway and Duluth Cargo Connect officially announced their intermodal terminal on Monday as the first CN train cars carrying shipping containers rolled onto the Clure Public Marine Terminal.

“From a 50,000-foot level it is a game-changer; this is traffic we normally wouldn’t see,” Vanta E. Coda II, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said by phone Monday. “We’re going to have an offering that for many becomes the path of least resistance. At the end of the day that’s what supply chain management is all about.”

The port authority and Lake Superior Warehousing have teamed up as Duluth Cargo Connect to operate the new terminal, which will transfer containers between rail cars and trucks at the Clure Public Marine Terminal.

Such a service can save local, regional and even international customers time and money while also providing work for the port. It also connects the port to three coasts — Atlantic, Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico — via CN’s rail network.

“This may be bold, but from a logistics perspective this is the biggest thing to happen since the opening of the seaway itself,” Jonathan Lamb, president of Lake Superior Warehousing, told the News Tribune.

Container shipping is a hallmark of major coastal ports, and the containers can be seen moving on rails across the country. Until now, Duluth had to watch that traffic head to other cities as it rolled through town.

CN has several intermodal terminals throughout the Upper Midwest and said the new terminal “opens up a new logistics supply chain and growth opportunities.”

“CN is pleased to bring its extensive contacts in international markets, freight-forwarding knowledge and customs and marketing support to the Twin Ports,” JJ Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said in a news release.

Container traffic crossing the U.S.-Canadian border on rails has increased markedly in the past several years, and CN pins some of its 2017 prospects on continued growth there.

“The company expects to see growth across a range of commodities, particularly in intermodal traffic, grain, finished vehicles, and lumber and panels,” CN wrote in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing earlier this year.

Transportation and logistics can factor heavily into bottom lines and company decisions; making it easier to get from point A to point B “will return benefits to us in terms of lower cost and greater global competitiveness,” according to the Mid-America Freight Coalition, a Midwestern transportation group.

“What it does for those companies is take freight savings they can reinvest in their business,” Coda said, which could mean jobs for those businesses. It could also mean new jobs at the port.

“As traffic grows we’ll certainly need more individuals with supply chain expertise, and these are really good jobs to have,” Coda said.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  March 28

News Photo Gallery  


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 28

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.

1973: MANCHESTER TRADER, the second ship of this name to visit the Great Lakes, was owned by the Prince Line when it first came inland, on charter to Manchester Liners Ltd., in 1964. The ship was renamed e) WESTERN PRINCE in 1969 and also transited the Seaway that year. It became f) MARINER in 1971 and was abandoned in the Pacific on this date in 1973. The ship was leaking in heavy weather en route from Havana, Cuba, to Kobe, Japan, and was presumed to have sunk about 35.00 N / 152.47 E.

1973: DAVID MARQUESS OF MILFORD HAVEN, one of the longest named saltwater ships to visit the Great Lakes, was the first saltwater ship of the season upbound in the Seaway.

1990: The MAYA FARBER visited the Great Lakes in 1981. It arrived at Alang, India, under tow for scrapping on this date following an explosion and fire off Port Sudan as d) RAAD AL-BAKRY VIII on January 15, 1990.

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


Interlake Steamship's round-the-clock crew delivers 'the building blocks of America'

3/27 - Cleveland, Ohio – In the Great Lakes region, there's a critical partner to the steel and construction industries that the public may overlook: the lake and river shipping industry. "We haul the building blocks of America," said Jeremy Mock, captain of Interlake Steamship Co.'s Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder.

Interlake, a family-owned U.S.-flag fleet that operates on the Great Lakes, has been in existence since 1913. The Middleburg Heights-based company employs about 400 people and has nine active ships in its fleet, eight of which it owns and one of which it operates through its sister company.

While Interlake doesn't share its annual revenue, president Mark Barker said 2016 wasn't a great year, but it was OK. The company delivers products for the steel making, power generation and construction industries. "As the economy goes, we go," Barker said.

The automotive industry has kept the steel industry alive, he said, but the strong dollar and foreign competition certainly presented challenges. Barker said he is seeing some optimism for 2017, especially in the construction and infrastructure industries, and he has seen a small uptick in volume.

It's early in the year for Interlake. For the most part, Interlake's season begins when the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., open on March 25, said Paul Christensen, director of vessel operations and security. But the Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder got an early start on its Cuyahoga River ore shuttles, which started March 1.

The Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder is an approximately 700-foot-long tug boat-barge combination that employs 14 people who live on the ship full-time. Christensen said the ship works in the stone trade and can travel as far as the Saginaw River in Michigan, but that its primary operation is iron ore shuttles. On Wednesday, March 22, the ship conducted one of those shuttles from the Cleveland Bulk Terminal to ArcelorMittal's Cleveland plant. The iron ore it carries is a critical raw material for steelmaking.

- Read more and view photos at this link:


Port Reports -  March 27

Duluth, Minn.
American Spirit loaded ore at the CN Dock Sunday, then was towed to the Port Terminal Dock for unspecified repairs by the G tugs North Carolina and Kentucky.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce Douglas
John B. Aird, Algosteel and Algorail remain in winter layup.

Sarnia, Ont.
The tug Salvage Monarch arrived from the Welland Canal on Sunday.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Sunday’s upbound traffic included Algoma Equinox, Thunder Bay, Amelia Desgagnes, Robert S. Pierson, Algoma Discovery, Baie St. Paul (delayed) and G3 Marquis. Downbounds were Dara Desgagnes and Algowood

Vessels departing from Welland Canal winter berths:
3/20 - Algowood moved from above L8 to wharf 12
3/22 - Thunder Bay
3/23 - Tim S. Dool

Hamilton, Ont. – Barry Andersen
Vessels departing Hamilton recently from their winter berths:
3/19 - Robert S. Pierson to open Canal on the 20th
3/20 - tug Sea Eagle II & barge St. Marys Cement II
3/21 - tug Wilf Seymour & barge Alouette Spirit
3/21 - Mississagi
3/23 - Algoma Guardian and Radcliffe R. Latimer
3/25 - Algoma Mariner and Algoma Harvester
3/25 - tug Petite Forte & barge St. Marys Cement
3/26 - Algoma Enterprise and G3 Marquis about 1700
Date unknown - Radcliffe R. Latimer


Soo Locks open for shipping season

3/27 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The shipping season at the Soo Locks officially started at 12:01 Saturday morning when the 1,000-foot-long Stewart J. Cort made its way up into Lake Superior. Dozens of BoatNerds from across the region made their way to the locks to welcome in the Cort. This was the first visit for a teenager from Evart.

"I think the overall the locks and the vessels that pass through is just phenomenal on how big an object made by man can move that much cargo in one load,” said Jarrett Dodge.

View the interview at this link:


Goderich Council not interested in operating marine museum

3/27 - Goderich, Ont. – Goderich Council has decided it’s not interested in operating the Marine Museum at the foot of West Street. C-A-O Larry McCabe explains the town owns the Marine Museum but it has been operated by the county.

A decision was recently made by the county that it was no longer viable, and the revenue it was generating would not cover the costs of bringing it up to acceptable standards, so the county asked the town to assume responsibility for the museum.

McCabe says the town received a report from the Health and Safety Committee this week and also authorized a third party to look at hazardous substances like lead paint in the building as well as meeting provincial accessibility standards.

McCabe says based on those reports council decided to remove the Marine Museum from its current location and shut it down.

Blackburn News


BoatNerd launches new AIS system; receiver locations wanted

3/27 - BoatNerd has updated the popular free AIS system that features near real-time shipping locations in an interactive map. The new system offers faster loading and better response on mobile devices.

Phase two is underway and will automate the Vessel Passage section by providing a database of ship passages. It will even allow for a schedule of expected vessel at any defined location.

The system works when shore stations with a range of about 20 miles capture AIS data and shares it with our server.

How You Can Help
You can help by hosting a receiver or by sharing an existing station to our servers.

If you are hosting a receiver with Marine Traffic or one of the other reporting sites, they can easy add the BoatNerd map to their upload of your data. E-mail us for an input port and we will send you the necessary information to forward to the reporting sites so the traffic is shared. We also can provide receivers and antennas to sites interested in hosting and installing them. All that's needed is a location near commercial traffic with an Internet connection and the ability to mount an antenna.

If you are interested in hosting a receiver and antenna please e-mail and we will add you location to the list.

Right now we are working on Freighter Trip Raffle to help fund the equipment. We will post details as they become available.

Thank you, The BoatNerd Crew


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.

1916: The steel bulk carrier EMPRESS OF MIDLAND came to the Great Lakes for the Midland Navigation Co. in 1907 and left in 1915 when requisitioned for war service in 1915. The vessel hit a mine laid by UC-1 nine miles south of the Kentish Knock Light on this date in 1916. The ship developed a starboard list and 18 took to the lifeboat. Five more sailors jumped into the English Channel and were picked up by the lifeboat. The vessel, en route from Newcastle, UK to Rouen, France, with a cargo of coal, subsequently sank.

1964: The Victory ship MORMACPINE came through the Seaway on 13 occasions between 1960-1967. Fire broke out in the cargo hold on this date in 1964 while en route to Bermuda and U.S.C.G. HALF MOON escorted the vessel to safety. The ship resumed trading until arriving at the scrapyard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on July 18, 1970.

1965: The Norwegian tanker NORA began Great Lakes visits in 1960. It caught fire and burned in the English Channel after a collision with the large tanker OTTO N. MILLER 10 miles south of Beachy Head in dense fog at 0737 hours on March 27, 1965. The vessel was a total loss and arrived at Santander, Spain, under tow for scrapping in June 1965.

1979: FEDERAL PALM was built by Port Weller Dry Docks in 1961 and left the Great Lakes for Caribbean and later South Pacific service. The passenger and freight carrier was sailing as b) CENPAC ROUNDER when it was blown aground by Typhoon Meli on Vothalailai Reef in the late night hours of March 27, 1979. The hull was refloated on April 27 but was beyond economical repair and arrived at Busan, South Korea, for scrapping in June 1979. The image of this Great Lakes built ship has appeared on postage stamps issued for both Grenada and Tulavu.

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


Smooth sailing: Captain of port's 1st ship amazed by what he barely saw on lake

3/26 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The laker Manitoulin arrived in Thunder Bay on Friday and docked at the Richardson Elevator at 7:42 a.m. making it the first ship to arrive in the 2017 navigational season. Capt. John Carlson said the trek to Thunder Bay was smooth sailing.

“The trip up here was amazingly ice free - probably the least amount of ice that I’ve seen in the last 30 years in Lake Superior before April 1,” he said. Apart from dealing with some ice in the Whitefish Bay area, he said Superior is basically ice free all the way to the outside of our breakwall.

The Manitoulin spent Friday loading wheat that she will take to Buffalo. “Thunder Bay to Buffalo has become a regular trip for us,” said Carlson. “We get six or seven loads a year out of Thunder Bay for Buffalo.”

After unloading in Buffalo, the Manitoulin will head to Sandusky, Ohio, and take on a load of coal before heading to Sault Ste. Marie. She will then return to Thunder Bay to take on a load of potash.

Carlson was presented with the traditional top hat by John Aiken, the Thunder Bay Port Authority board chairman, and Thunder Bay Harbor Master Guy Jarvis. Ken Boshcoff, with the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, presented Carlson with aboriginal suede and beaded mittens, and Coun. Larry Hebert welcomed his crew on behalf of the city.

Jarvis said the early arrival of the Manitoulin is a good omen for the navigation season ahead.

“When I look at the grain line for the next week, there are eight to 10 grain vessels coming in. There’s potash and salt vessels coming in. It’s a good March and April,” he added.



Port Reports -  March 26

Duluth, Minn.
Tugs Kentucky and North Carolina assisted American Spirit into position alongside the shiploader in Duluth Saturday. The Spirit opened the season at CN No. 6.

Marquette, Mich.
Kaye E. Barker was the first arrival of the season Saturday.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joseph L. Block and Great Lakes Trader were loading on Saturday evening.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Upbound traffic Saturday included Atlantic Huron, light tug Salvage Monarch, light tug Sharon M I, Algoma Mariner, Algoma Harvester, tug Petite Forte & St. Marys Cement. Downbound traffic included Thunder Bay, Algoscotia, Robert S. Pierson, tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes and Mississagi.

Hamilton, Ont.
Saltie Harbor Fountain was the port’s first arrival of the season on Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Manitoulin should be arriving in the early morning Tuesday with a load of Canadian red wheat out of Thunder Bay. This will probably be the first commercial vessel arrival for the WNY area this season. On Thursday, the fireboat E.M. Cotter went up the Buffalo River to CSX's River Bridge breaking ice during the morning.


Funding frozen for new Coast Guard ship to open shipping lanes

3/26 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Spring has officially arrived in Michigan, at least on the calendar. To the U.S. Coast Guard, it’s still winter and Operation Taconite is underway. Its mission is to break up the ice fields of the upper Great Lakes, where the duty of opening shipping lanes for vessels falls to the Coast Guard and its only heavy icebreaker, the USCGC Mackinaw.

“This year has not been as challenging as the past couple of years; there is less ice,” said Commander Vasilios Tasikas of the USCGC Mackinaw. “Whitefish Bay has the most ice, and we will escort the first vessels through this weekend.” In an average year, the Coast Guard breaks ice for 120 days, helping half a billion dollars in commodities maneuver through the Great Lakes. “It’s very gratifying to do what we do,” Tasikas said.

But concerns over keeping the state’s commodities moving following recent harsh winters have renewed interest in having a second heavy icebreaker join forces with the Mackinaw to clear the frigid waterways.

Two years ago, then President Barack Obama signed into law the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, appropriating $17.5 billion for Coast Guard activities. It provides funds for the design and construction of an icebreaker that is capable of buoy tending and to enhance icebreaking on the Great Lakes. But funding for it is on hold as the new Trump administration pours over financial appropriations for all facets of government.

U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, a member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee of Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, is pushing, along with U.S. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, for another heavy icebreaker.

“It is essential that Congress provides the men and women of the Coast Guard with the resources they need to keep open shipping lanes in the Great Lakes,” wrote Peters and Stabenow in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Coast Guard.

Read more and view photos at this link:


Updates -  March 26

News Photo Gallery  


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 towed to Detroit to be fit out. She was built for Chapaton & Lacroix. She lasted until dismantled in 1921.

1935: A fire destroyed the small wooden bulk carrier ALICE M. GILL that had been laid up at Sandusky since the end of the 1926 season. The ship had been built as a tug for the logging industry and later served as a lighthouse tender and then a small bulk carrier. The remains were scrapped.

1971: The former CLEMENS SARTORI stranded off the coast of Algeria in bad weather as b) PIRAEUS while en route from Antwerp, Belgium, to Mersin, Turkey, and was abandoned by the crew as a total loss. The vessel was a pre-Seaway visitor to the Great Lakes for the West German firm of Sartori and Berger and, in July 1958, was the first westbound salty to use the recently opened American locks at Massena, NY. It made 20 trips to the Great Lakes (1959-1965) mainly on charter to the Hamburg-Chicago Line.

1976: RAMON DE LARRINAGA is remembered as the first Seaway era saltwater vessel into the port of Duluth-Superior, arriving amid great fanfare on May 3, 1959. The ship was sailing as c) MARIAN when it sustained hull damage clearing the port of Lisbon on this date in 1976. Portuguese authorities ordered the vessel towed out to sea and it foundered off Cascais, Portugal, the following day.

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


Stewart J. Cort opens Soo Locks for the new season

3/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – After a 10-week hiatus for repairs, the Soo Locks were set to open for the shipping season at 12:01 a.m. Saturday with the upbound passage of the 1,000-footer Stewart J. Cort of the Interlake Steamship Co.

Earlier Friday, Capt. Greg Sipper and crew got some special recognition when a delegation of local officials, including representatives of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, visited the vessel. The honor was a first for Capt. Sipper.

"I've been sailing with the Interlake Steamship Company for 37 years and I've been through the Soo Locks many times, but this is the first in my career where we were the first ship of the season to go through the Soo Locks," Sipper said. "It's a little thrill," Sipper said. "It's something that we can call our families and go 'Hey we were the first ship through the Soo."

The Cort was the first 1,000-foot vessel of her kind to sail the Great Lakes, carrying taconite pellets from Superior, Wisconsin to Burns Harbor, Indiana that fuel the steel industry. "Pellets for the steel makers, and in turn the steel makers make steel for the car-makers," Sipper said. "It's a pretty big cycle."

Around 1 p.m. Friday, hearty "boatnerds" could be seen lining up to watch and photograph the behemoth head up the St. Marys River. It was a tight race between the Cort and the Philip R. Clarke, which was to be the first downbound vessel after the Cort cleared.

For the engineers at the Soo Locks, the last 10 weeks are the busiest of the year. "People wonder what we do in the winter and they think 'Well it must be nice not having any boats coming through,'" said engineer Kevin Sprague. "Actually it’s our busiest time of the year. We have a lot of projects that are scheduled to cram into that time period."

Sprague expects about a dozen more ships to pass through on Saturday. Right now, the Poe Lock is open, but the MacArthur Lock won't open until April.

Right behind the Cort was her fleetmate Kaye E. Barker, also upbound. Edgar B. Speer, Algoma Guardian, Cason J. Callaway, James R. Barker and Tim S. Dool are due up sometime Saturday. Roger Blough and Burns Harbor were headed downbound early Saturday, with American Century and Lee A. Tregurtha following later in the day.

UpNorth Live, 9&10 News


Port Reports -  March 25

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Manitoulin, the first vessel of the season, departed Friday with grain for Buffalo.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Cason J. Callaway and James R. Barker left layup Friday and headed for Lake Superior.

Midland, Ont.
Baie Comeau departed winter layup Friday evening.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
Friday’s transits included Whitefish Bay upbound. Stephen B. Roman, tug Sea Eagle II / barge St. Marys Cement II were downbound.


Thunder Bay port officials expect early start to 2017 shipping season

3/25 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Port officials in Thunder Bay, Ont., welcomed the first vessel of the 2017 shipping season Friday, and the group's CEO says this year could be a record-breaker.

"It should be pretty close," said Tim Heney. "I know the Welland Canal opened – it was a tie for the record this year on [March] 20th. I think we'll be pretty close to a record as well," he added.

In some years, two or more ships race to be the first into the Thunder Bay port, but Heney said there's not likely to be the same drama this year. That's because the first laker, the motor vessel Manitoulin, wintered over west of the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, he said.

Heney said that in itself is unusual.

While port officials greeted the first lake freighter, the timing of the arrival of the season's first saltie is less certain, Heney said. He added that the earlier-than-usual opening of the Great Lakes this year will mean a busy start, with 10 ships expected in port before the end of March.

A good start to the season is nice to see, Heney said, but it doesn't forecast the rest of the year. "The capacity at the port is such that you can move a lot of grain," he said. "The year that we opened late (2014) after all that ice we had, the tonnage was made up by the end of the year."



Gray’s Reef Passage to open

3/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mi. – Monday morning the Coast Guard will open Gray’s Reef Passage at 8 a.m. Aids to navigation in Gray’s Reef Passage have been position checked and found to be working properly.



'Ice volcanoes' erupt on Lake Erie shores

3/25 - Ice chunks the size of cannon balls exploded from cone-shaped formations off of Point Gratiot in Dunkirk during last week’s nor’easter. On both shores of Lake Ontario, icy hills or mountains spew plumes of sand, water, ice – and even fish.

Moving pictures streamed to social media are capturing similar icy eruptions on Lake Superior. The Great Lakes’ ice volcanoes are waking up.

“It’s like a different world out there,” said Dave McCoy, an environmental educator at Evangola State Park. Mother Nature’s handiwork has been on full display at Evangola – and around the region – this week.

McCoy said more than two dozen of the ice cones sprang up along Lake Erie’s shoreline at Evangola as the result of the recent weather. Although ice volcanoes are usually an annual phenomenon in the Great Lakes, McCoy said this year’s crop has been special. “I’ve never seen them form in March,” said McCoy.

Read more and see photos at this link:


Coast Guard urges caution after recent ice rescue cases

3/25 - The Coast Guard is urging the use of extreme caution on and near the waterways after the rescue of more than a dozen people in the last seven days. Above-freezing air temperatures are weakening and melting ice at a fast rate and pose a safety concern for anyone venturing onto the ice.

Recently, crews rescued 11 boaters in Saginaw Bay, Michigan, after the boaters' vessels became trapped by ice floes, making it impossible for them to get to shore. The previous day, two people were rescued in Irondequoit Bay, New York, after they became stranded on an ice floe off shore.

The Coast Guard urges people to be aware of changes in environmental conditions and to be properly prepared when venturing out onto the ice. Ice is unpredictable and the thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for thin ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas since these signify thinner ice.



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.

1966: The French freighter ROCROI made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. The ship arrived at Halifax on this date in 1966 with interior damage after the 'tween decks, loaded with steel, collapsed crushing tractors and cars beneath. The vessel was repaired and survived until 1984 when, as e) THEOUPOLIS, it hit a mine en route to Berbera, Somalia, on August 14, 1984. The vessel was badly damaged and subsequently broken up in India.

1973: The former MONTREAL CITY caught fire as b) RATCHABURI at Bangkok, Thailand, on March 24, 1973. It was loading a cargo of jute and rubber for Japan on its first voyage for new Thai owners. The vessel was scuttled and sank on March 25 in Pattani Bay, South Thailand. The ship began coming through the Seaway for the Bristol City Line when new in 1963.

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


Port Reports -  March 24

St. Marys River – Graham Grattan
Manitoulin departed Essar Steel Algoma enroute to Thunder Bay on Thursday. The USCG Morro Bay and Mackinaw assisted her through the ice.

Quebec City – Bruno Boissonneault
Amelia Desgagnes will be leaving Friday for the Seaway.


Locks prep for shipping season opening

3/24 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The new shipping season will be underway throughout the Great Lakes when calendars roll over to March 25 marking the opening of the Soo Locks and an end to the United States Army Corps of Engineers' winter maintenance.

The first vessel to cross through the rapids adjoining lakes Superior and Huron has yet to be determined. Following the closing of the Soo Locks on Jan. 15, a considerable amount of work revamping the lock system has been completed to greet Saturday's traffic.

"Typically we don't know until the last minute (which ship will use the locks first)," said Soo Area Engineer Kevin Sprague. "We're looking at a pretty busy opener. There's quite a few ships heading this way."

Boat traffic should remain steady in part due to a smaller ice buildup than years past. The mild winter lent its hands to assisting in the completion of the winter maintenance. The Poe Lock and MacArthur Lock received a series of upgrades and restorations to be ready for the 2017 shipping season.

"We were able to get our embedded anchor project done ahead of schedule," added Sprague, noting that hydraulic work on the Poe Lock was also completed.

The early spring shipping season will assist in the restoration work being performed on the MacArthur Lock. The smaller lock's maintenance included sanding, welding and painting.

The engineer briefly touched on other upcoming projects the Corps will be completing as 2017 unfolds. Four of the 16 compensating works, or gates, upstream near the railroad bridge that help control flow into the rapids will be automated to help assist the fishery's health.

"The idea is so you don't strand fish or washout fish eggs," explained Sprague, adding that steel sheet piling repair to the west center pier is also underway.

Soo Evening News


Algoma expanding partnership with Swiss shipping company

3/24 - St. Catharines, Ont. – A new global company specializing in short-sea dry bulk shipping is expected to be created as Algoma Central Corp. and Nova Marine Carriers SA, of Lugano Switzerland, explore an expanded partnership, the two companies announced earlier this month.

The new company, to be called NovaAlgoma Short-Sea Carriers, or NASC, will initially operate a fleet of approximately 70 bulk vessels with capacities up to 15,000 dwt (deadweight tonnage) in markets world-wide. The fleet will comprise owned ships, chartered vessels, and vessels under third party management contracts. Deadweight tonnage is how much mass a ship is carrying or can safely carry, and does not include the weight of the ship.

Creation of the partnership is subject to completion of appropriate due diligence and finalization of definitive documentation, St. Catharines-based Algoma said in the release.

Algoma, which operates the largest Canadian flagged fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway, originally joined forces with Nova Marine in 2016 to form NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers (NACC) to focus on building a fleet of modern pneumatic bulk vessels to service cement manufacturers. The company has already positioned itself as one of the leaders in this specialized segment, Algoma said in a release.

Nova Marine operates a varied fleet of modern bulk carriers and belt self unloading vessels ranging from 5,000 dwt up to 57,000 dwt. With over one hundred ships under control, Nova specializes in bulk traffic in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Persian Gulf. Algoma also has interests in ocean dry-bulk vessels operating in international markets and provides ship management services for other ship owners.

St. Catharines Standard


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.

1905: The wooden passenger and freight carrier LAKESIDE was built in Windsor in 1888. It spent most of its life operating between Niagara and Toronto. During fit out on this date in 1905, the ship sank at the dock in Port Dalhousie when water was sucked in through the seacock after the engine filling the boiler shut down. The hull was refloated and returned to service until the DALHOUSIE CITY was built in 1911.

1981: The West German freighter ANNA REHDER first came through the Seaway in 1967 when it was two years old. It was sold and renamed LESLIE in 1973. The captain last reported his position on this date in 1981 and that they were encountering heavy weather while en route from Boulogne, France, to Umm Said, Qatar. There was no further word and it is believed that the ship went down with all hands in the Atlantic off the coast of Spain. A ring buoy was later found north of Cape Finnestere.

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


Port Reports -  March 23

Roger Blough left winter lay up Wednesday and headed to Two Harbors to load ore. Also on Wednesday Burns Harbor was loading ore at BNSF and Paul R. Tregurtha was loading coal for Silver Bay at the SMET dock. Philip R. Clarke, bound for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets, was leaving via the ship canal around 9 p.m. local time. Lee A. Tregurtha (also for Two Harbors to load pellets) and Herbert C. Jackson (bound for Silver Bay to load pellets) were also preparing to sail.

St. Marys River
Waterfront reports indicate Manitoulin will leave winter layup at Essar Steel on Thursday for Thunder Bay.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Joseph L. Block left winter layup Wednesday and headed for Escanaba to load.

Detroit, Mich.
Hon. James L. Oberstar was preparing to leave Nicholson’s Dock late Wednesday evening to start the new season.

Toledo, Ohio
Tug Patricia Hoey was assisting the Edgar B. Speer out from her layup dock at about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday.


First ship of 2017 season arrives in Port of Green Bay

3/23 - Green Bay, Wis. – The start of spring brought with it the first ship of the season at the Port of Green Bay. The tug-barge Michigan / Great Lakes arrived at 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to port officials. It was to take ethanol from the U.S. Oil terminal to Montreal, Que.

“Last year, the first ship arrived March 22, so this season started just a day earlier than the 2016 season,” port director Dean Haen said in a news release. “The 2016 season officially ended on January 13, so it’s been a short break. It’s a good sign when the port opens in March; it means that the demand for product from manufacturers is there. Those bouts of warm weather we had this winter were another contributing factor to the earlier start.”

The beginning of the season also meant a prize was given away. Melanie Haedt of Suamico won the First Ship Contest by guessing closest to the time of the arrival of the first ship of the season. Haedt's guess of 1 p.m. March 21 was the closest of 150 entries.



Great Lakes shipwrecks the focus of annual show in Holland

3/23 - Holland, Mich. – If you're interested in learning about shipwrecks, this is the event for you. The annual West Michigan shipwreck show "Mysteries & Histories Beneath the Inland Seas" is this Saturday in Holland, Mich.

The Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Association sponsors the show, started two decades ago, as part of its mission to research and discover shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and to document and present their findings to the public. This year's keynote presentation is "Eight Years of Diving the Carl D. Bradley," led by Minnesota-based shipwreck expert John Janzen.

Great Lakes shipwreck hunter David Trotter is scheduled to present a program called "Fire Wind and Storm," which will focus on the recent discovery and exploration of the wrecks the ships Venus and Montezuma. Finally, Valerie van Heest will explore how reality television shows blur the lines between history and myth for the sake of ratings.

Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door.

M Live


Lake Ontario marine sanctuary application advances

3/23 - Syracuse, N.Y. – A nomination to make part of Lake Ontario a national marine sanctuary is moving forward. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is accepting the application for further consideration.

Oswego, Jefferson, Wayne and Cayuga counties put together the application after NOAA decided to add to its current list of 14 marine sanctuaries. It could help preserve dozens of known and unknown historic shipwrecks in 1,700 square miles of the southeastern portion of the lake for further study.

“This is a critical step forward for our local leaders, advocates, and members of the community who have worked tirelessly to raise awareness for this project,” said central New York Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus).

“This designation has the potential to grow tourism and boost our local economy while preserving some of our region’s most historic and unique natural resources. As one of only a few accepted sanctuaries nationwide, I urge the administration to swiftly take action to ensure that this nomination receives proper consideration.”

The application was submitted earlier this year after Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsed the plan.



Obituary: Captain John Randle Harwood

3/23 - Captain John Randle Harwood, 84, died at Summit Place Retirement Residence, Owen Sound, Ont., on Saturday March 18. Captain Harwood sailed the Great Lakes for almost 50 years, working his way up from a deckhand with the Hindman Transportation Co. of Owen Sound. He became the youngest captain on the Great Lakes when he took command of the Elmdale for Reoch Shipping. His last ship before becoming a pilot was the Pinedale. He retired as a Great Lakes pilot. Services have taken place.


Updates -  March 23

Historic Perspective   - Photos shared by Robert Klamerus of Ashland, Wis.


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 had won the honor of opening the Sault Harbor.

1986: EBN MAGID visited the Seaway in 1970 as a) ADEL WEERT WIARDS and was on the cover of Know Your Ships for 1971. Following 2 explosions and a fire at sea at the end of January, the vessel docked this day at Milford Haven, U.K. to be unloaded. It was then sold to Belgian shipbreakers.

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


First ship of the season departs Twin Ports

3/22 - Duluth, Minn. – Roger Blough was the first freighter of the 2017 commercial shipping season to leave the Twin Ports this morning.

The ship was bound for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority reported. Other freighters that wintered in Duluth or Superior and are tentatively scheduled to leave today include:

Philip R. Clarke, late afternoon/early evening, bound for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets
Paul R. Tregurtha, late tonight/early Thursday, carrying coal to Silver Bay before returning to Duluth
Lee A. Tregurtha, late today, bound for Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets
Herbert C. Jackson, late today, bound for Silver Bay to load iron ore pellets
Burns Harbor, tonight, departing with iron ore pellets

All times are estimates, and are subject to change. All ships are scheduled to leave via the Duluth entry except for the Burns Harbor, which is set to leave via the Superior entry.

The Soo Locks open for the season at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. The first ships to arrive in the Twin Ports from Sault Ste. Marie are expected Sunday — likely either the Stewart J. Cort, James R. Barker or Cason J. Callaway.

For updated information 24 hours a day, call the Boatwatcher's Hotline at (218) 722-6489.
View a video at this link:


2017 commercial shipping season gets underway in Port of Duluth-Superior

3/22 - Duluth, Minn. – The first U.S.-flag lakers are expected to depart the Port of Duluth-Superior Wednesday, signaling the start of the 2017 commercial shipping season at this, the farthest inland port on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

Exact times are difficult to pinpoint during fit-out, but the first departure may very well take place while most folks are still asleep. The Roger Blough is expected to leave its berth at the Clure Public Marine Terminal at first light Wednesday and depart beneath Duluth’s Aerial Bridge en route to the CN Docks in Two Harbors to load iron ore.

After fueling late afternoon/early evening, another Great Lakes Fleet vessel, the Philip R. Clarke, will also head to Two Harbors to take on its first cargo of the season. Both vessels, with deliveries to make to steel mills on the Lower Lakes, will proceed across Lake Superior toward Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to await the opening of the Soo Locks at 12:01 a.m. on Sat., March 25. The Blough is expected to be the lead ship downbound as she was in 2016.

Interlake’s flagship, the 1013.5-foot-long Paul R. Tregurtha, wintered at the Superior Midwest Energy Terminal and is scheduled to load coal there Wednesday, then move to the Clure Terminal for final preparations before leaving for Silver Bay Wednesday night/early Thursday. After discharge, that vessel will return to Superior to load coal for its first inter-lake delivery to the St. Clair Power Plant in Michigan.

Two more Interlake Steamship Co. freighters that wintered in the Twin Ports – the Lee A. Tregurtha and the Herbert C. Jackson – are expected to depart late Wednesday, as well. The Lee A. is in position to leave Fraser Shipyards first, sometime midday. Both vessels will stop to fuel at the Calumet dock in Duluth before heading out to Two Harbors and Silver Bay, respectively, to load iron ore.

The Burns Harbor is due to move from its layup berth to the BNSF Railway Dock to load iron ore Wednesday before departing via the Superior Entry. American Century is set to leave Thursday to load in Silver Bay while fleet mate American Spirit is expected to move to the CN Duluth Dock to load iron ore over the weekend before getting underway.

All vessel departure/arrival times are estimates and are subject to change without notice.

With the Soo Locks opening Saturday and virtually ice-free conditions across the lakes, Port of Duluth-Superior should see its first arrival from the Soo on Sunday, most likely the Stewart J. Cort, James R. Barker or Cason J. Callaway, but that’s still too close to call. For updates, check Watch real-time transits at or, or on mobile devices with Marine Traffic or Ship Finder apps.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Port Reports -  March 22

Thunder Bay, Ont.
USCG Alder arrived Monday to break ice.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort / Great Lakes Trader were loading ore on Tuesday evening.

Green Bay, Wis.
Tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes opened Port of Green Bay Tuesday morning.

Erie, Pa.
The tug Clyde S. VanEnkevort / barge Erie Trader departed Tuesday headed for Marblehead on their first trip since being renamed. The pair are the former Ken Boothe Sr. / Lakes Contender. They are now owned by VanEnkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba, Mich.


A tip of the Top Hat welcomes first vessel of 2017 to the Port of Hamilton

3/22 - Hamilton, Ont. – The first vessel of the 2017 shipping season has arrived at the Port of Hamilton. The tug Calusa Coast and its specialized tank barge Delaware arrived carrying liquid asphalt from Detroit for delivery to the Yellowline Asphalt Products terminal at the Port.

The Hamilton Port Authority marks the start of each shipping season with the ceremonial presentation of a top hat to the captain of the first vessel. On March 21, Calusa Coast Captain Gary Kafcsak was welcomed to Hamilton by Yellowline’s Operations Manager Suresh Daljeet and Hamilton Port’s Harbor Master Vicki Gruber. Ms. Gruber presented Captain Kafcsak with the traditional top hat, which he signed and dated, a port tradition.

“2017 is the 70th year of the Port of Hamilton’s Top Hat Ceremony,” said Ms. Gruber. “This presentation is a gesture of respect and welcome. We are looking forward to a successful 2017 shipping season, and are pleased to welcome Captain Kafcsak here to help get the season underway.” The Port’s top hat ceremony began in 1947 and there have been two ceremonial top hats used since – the first from 1947 to 1987 and the current since 1987.

Captain Kafcsak and his crew on the Calusa Coast travelled from Detroit via the Welland Canal. Soon after its arrival in Hamilton late in the evening of March 20, the ship’s liquid bulk cargo began being transferred from the vessel docked at Pier 23, directly to Yellowline’s tanks on Pier 22 via pipe.

More than 390,000MT of liquid bulk products transited the Port of Hamilton in 2016, including commodities such as liquid asphalt, gasoline, and even rum. At the Port, these commodities may be stored, blended and transloaded to other modes of transportation for local distribution.

The tug Calusa Coast is owned by Dann Marine of Chesapeake City, Md., and the barge Delaware is owned by Texas-based Kirby Offshore Marine, one of the largest tank barge operators in the United States.

The Port of Hamilton is the largest Canadian port on the Great Lakes, handling more than 9 million MT of cargo each year.

Hamilton Port Authority


U.S. Coast Guard to open West Neebish Channel

3/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Vessel Traffic Service St Marys River will open the down bound West Neebish Channel of the St. Marys River, effective at 8 a.m. March 24.

The ice breaking will begin at the north end of the channel near Nine Mile Point and continue south to Saw Mill Point. By day’s end, the West Neebish Channel in its entirety will be open to commercial navigation. Due to the deteriorating ice conditions, the U.S. Coast Guard does not believe Neebish Island Ferry operations will be adversely impacted. However Neebish Island residents should prepare for minor service interruptions.



Members-only ticket sale kicks off Door County Lighthouse Festival

3/22 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Door County Maritime Museum members will get the first opportunity to order tickets for the 24th annual Door County Lighthouse Festival. Between March 20 and April 3, members can order tickets for the variety of land-based tours and boat excursions set for the weekend of June 9-11. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, April 3, and can be bought by going online at or calling the museum at (920) 743-5958.



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 was 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.

1973: The Swedish built NORSE VARIANT first came to the Great Lakes in 1965 just after completion. On March 22, 1973, the vessel was en route from Norfolk, VA, to Hamburg, Germany, with a cargo of coal when it ran into an early spring storm with 40 foot waves southeast of Cape May, N.J. The vessel was overwhelmed and sank with the loss of 29 lives. Only one man survived.

2006: The Collingwood-built Canadian Coast Guard ship SIR WILFRID LAURIER came to the rescue of those aboard the passenger ship QUEEN OF THE NORTH when the latter sank with the loss of two lives off the coast of British Columbia.

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


Escanaba ore dock to close by the end of April

3/21 - Escanaba, Mich. – The CN Railroad Ore Dock in Escanaba will close by the end of April. CN confirmed the move Monday with city officials.

A CN spokesman told Escanaba City Manager Jim O’Toole that activity at the Escanaba ore dock has been very slow since Cliffs Natural Resources closed the Empire Mine last year. The Lakes Carriers’ Association says about 3.5 million tons of iron ore was shipped out of the Escanaba port in 2015.

State Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) said he was told last week by a representative of CN Railroad that it planned to close the Escanaba dock. The company did not respond to our request for comment. LaFave says he spoke to the official last week at an event in Lansing.

“I offered reasons on why they would be able to stay,” LaFave said. “I think there is a decent chance that that mine is going to come in in Menominee County so I said if that comes in wouldn’t you be able to transmit some of that stuff but I guess they did an economic analysis and unless the environment changes politically or economically they think it’s not going to be viable,”

The closure affects 12 union employees. O’Toole says he was told the employees will be able to transfer to other locations. “I advised CN that if they needed any assistance in helping employees find other employment that they could call me and we would work with them,” O’Toole said.

He said the company will also be working on a redevelopment or reuse plan within the company for the property. Iron ore has been shipped from Escanaba since 1852. It is the only iron ore port on Lake Michigan.

The Escanaba port allowed ore to be shipped earlier and later in the shipping seasons when the Soo Locks remained closed. It is also a vital alternative for ore shipments on the Great Lakes if the locks at Sault Ste. Marie were damaged or shutdown.



Welland Canal opens with first upbound, downbound passages

3/21 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Not only is the Welland Canal at the forefront of Niagara’s transportation infrastructure, it’s an economic driver for the region and great for tourism as well, speakers at the Top Hat Ceremony in Port Colborne said Monday morning.

The ceremony, held at Lock 8 Park, celebrates the first downbound vessel to pass through the lakeside city toward Lake Ontario, and the opening of the canal. Capt. Gary Kafcsak of the tug-barge combination Calusa Coast and Delaware received the ceremonial head-topper.

When speeches were over, Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum director/curator Stephanie Powell Baswick presented a more than 100-year-old beaver felt fur top hat to Kafcsak.

The Calusa Coast and Delaware are part of Dann Marine Towing, a fifth generation family-owned and operated tugboat company, which manages a fleet of 22 ocean and coastal tugboats as well as inland push boats. The captain and his crew were bound for Hamilton with a load of liquid asphalt from Detroit.

Meanwhile, a ceremony at Lock 3 in St. Catharines marked the first upbound ship through the canal. Capt. Ted Brown of the motor vessel Robert S. Pierson was awarded the top hat there. The ship, owned by Rand Logistics, is a 189-metre-long Canadian flag self-unloader that would make its way to Cleveland and then be back in the lock system by tonight, according to Brown.

Ed Levy, president and CEO of Rand Logistics, said the vessel will move 18,000 tonnes of salt to Toronto, and during the 2017 season will load and unload about 120 times.

“We transport approximately 21 million tonnes of dry bulk commodities annually. To put this tonnage in perspective, to match you would need approximately 670,000 trucks or nearly 210,000 rail cars.”

Levy said the company was honored to be part of Monday’s Top Hat Ceremony, and was pleased that not only was it the first day of spring but also one of the earliest days of the opening of the canal.

He lauded St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. for its $100 million in improvements and maintenance made to the seaway and Welland Canal during the off-season. “These improvements are critical to meet the needs of our industry,” he said.

Seaway corporation vice-president of operations Stephen Kwok said there is optimism that cargo volumes will be up this year from the 35 million tonnes that went through the seaway in 2016. He estimated that cargo moved over the combined Great Lakes seaway system supports more than 227,000 jobs and $35 billion of economic activity in Canada and the U.S.

“With the advances we are making with our modernization program, I am confident that the seaway is ready for the future and is a crucial lynchpin connecting the heartland of North America to the world,” said Kwok.

Welland Tribune


CSL St-Laurent opens seaway with unveiling of commemorative mural

3/21 - Montreal, Que. – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation marked the opening of its 59th navigation season Monday with a special tribute to marine shipping’s substantial contribution to Canada’s economic development and quality of life. The CSL St-Laurent, the first ship to transit the St. Lambert lock in 2017, featured a monumental work of art commissioned by CSL as a tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary and the 375th of the City of Montreal.

“For over 150 years, Canada Steamship Lines ships have proudly plied the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System to help build our cities and our country," said incoming CSL Group President and CEO Louis Martel. "We chose CSL St-Laurent to host our tribute to Montreal and Canada because her name honors the St. Lawrence River, and her state-of-the-art technology and seamanship represent the new generation of high-performing, environmentally-responsible cargo vessels. CSL’s fleet renewal investment represents gains in shipping efficiencies, customer excellence, environmental sustainability, and hundreds of high-paying sailing jobs.”

The mural, titled The Sea Keeper, is an original work conceived by Montreal urban artist Bryan Beyung and created by Beyung with artists FONKi, Ankh One and Benny Wilding of the Ashop art collective. The mural depicts a Canada goose in flight, a common sight along the St. Lawrence River, and represents the vessel sailing in harmony with the environment. Painting an original work of art of this magnitude on a cargo vessel is a first for these artists, and is the first of its kind to be displayed on a Canadian commercial bulker.

The Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, and the Honorable Jean D’Amour, Minister for Maritime Affairs for the Province of Québec, were among a number of dignitaries that shared their convictions as to the important role played by marine transportation in supporting Canada’s ascendance as a trading nation, and the City of Montreal’s rich history as a key trading hub.

“The St. Lawrence Seaway has a distinguished past, a dynamic and vital present and will continue to play a pivotal role in Canada’s economy in the future,” said Minister Garneau. “It is gratifying to see that the Seaway and its partners continue to modernize their operations, to make them more efficient as well as environmentally sustainable. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you a safe and successful navigation season.”

The CSL St-Laurent is sailing to Thunder Bay to pick up grain. Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, noted that a strong carry over of grain from the 2016 harvest should help the waterway record an increase in cargo levels this season.




After worst cargo season in years, St. Lawrence Seaway opens for shipping

3/21 - Hamilton, Ont. – After the worst cargo season in years, shippers traversing the Great Lakes are expecting a rise in volumes this season as the St. Lawrence Seaway opened Monday, but not enough to give them cause to celebrate.

The shipping industry is facing a global economic slowdown that will take a couple of years before sustained growth resumes, says the incoming CEO of Canada Steamship Lines in Montreal.

"I don't see anything that's going to be a game changer very quickly," says Louis Martel, who takes over one of the largest shippers on the Great Lakes next month. "We need another China or an India or something like this to really get us back to a very, very upbeat shipping world."

Total cargo passing through the seaway fell to a seven-year low last year, with tonnage slipping 3.4 per cent to 35 million tonnes, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. An increase in grains and liquid bulk volumes failed to offset a 13 per cent drop in iron ore and nearly 10 per cent decreases in coal and dry bulk goods.

Slowing growth in China has curtailed international cargo demand, which hasn't been able to keep up with a surge in the number of vessels that were the result of a shipbuilding boom between 2002 and 2008.

Martel says volumes through the Great Lakes are looking to be up slightly this year amid improved commodity prices and higher hopes for grain shipments, some of which have been left over from last year's bumper crop. That could allow ships to operate for the entire navigational season, unlike last year when some didn't leave port.

Fuelled by higher prices, iron ore volumes are expected to be up as Canadian producers export more to Asia and supply an anticipated boom in infrastructure in North America, including US$1 trillion in promised spending by U.S. President Donald Trump. Still, Martel estimates Canada Steamship Lines will ship a quarter of the iron ore it did compared with its peaks years of 2012 and 2013.

Seaway CEO Terence Bowles expects traffic will increase in line with the two to 2.5 percent GDP growth forecast by economists, but that won't be strong enough to return to the yearly average of 40 million tonnes.

"The seaway is the bellweather for the economy so basically if the economies improve we're going to improve, it's as simple as that," he said following the seaway's official opening.

Peter Winkley, chief financial officer for Algoma Central Corp., says he is optimistic business will pick up this year after the St. Catharines, Ont.-based shipper saw volumes fall 19 per cent in 2016. "Compared to where we were at this time last year, it's certainly looking a lot better," Winkley says.

While upheaval in the ocean shipping business has led to the bankruptcies of large players such as South Korea's Hanjin, Canadian shipping on the Great Lakes is on a more solid footing, says William Bennett, senior analyst with London-based consultancy Vessels Value.

He says shipping in the St. Lawrence Seaway is a specialized, niche sector, giving it a degree of insulation from the economic forces hitting the high seas business. Shippers of dry bulk on the Great Lakes, for instance, are likely to have a better season than their ocean-going counterparts.

"It's not very difficult for the market to come up from where it is now, given how low it is," he says. "Everyone is so desperate to see some sort of light at the end of the tunnel, (but) there's a lot of very, very big uncertainties underpinning the market at the moment."

The Canadian Press


Updates -  March 21

News Photo Gallery  


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 she was 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.

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 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.

1959: The retired sidewheel steamer WESTERN STATES, known as S.S. OVERNIGHTER, caught fire while waiting to be scrapped in 1959. The vessel had last sailed in 1950 and had briefly served as a flotel at Tawas, MI, before being sold for scrap. Final demolition of the hull was completed at Bay City later in the year.

1970: The West German freighter WILHELM NUBEL made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. It sustained machinery failure as c) SAN GERASSIMOS following an engine room fire on this date in 1970. The vessel was traveling from Galatz, Romania, to Lisbon, Portugal, with a cargo of maize and had to be abandoned by the crew. While taken in tow by the tanker STAVROS E., the ship sank in heavy weather in the Ionian Sea.

1998: Three crewmembers were killed by phosphine gas when they went to assess flooding damage in #1 hold after the MARIA A. encountered heavy weather on the South Atlantic. The ship, en route from Argentina to Jordan with wheat, put into Paranagua, Brazil for repairs. The ship had been a Seaway caller as RIGHTEOUS beginning in 1979 and as AFSAR in 1986. While renamed ARIA later in 1998, the British built bulk carrier was never repaired and was either scuttled or scrapped.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Port Reports -  March 20

Lake Michigan
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. VanEnkevort were unloading at Indiana Harbor Sunday.

Sarnia, Ont.
Capt. Henry Jackman left winter layup on Sunday bound for Bowmanville, Ont. By Sunday night, she was headed out of the Detroit River and into Lake Erie.

Welland Canal
Robert S. Pierson was upbound in Lock 2 Sunday evening, and will be honored as the first upbound vessel through the system on Monday.

Montreal, Que. – Rene´ Beauchamp
On Sunday afternoon the CSL St-Laurent was at the downstream wall of the St. Lambert Lock, positioning themselves for the opening of the Seaway on Monday. Her destination is Ashtabula. The ship left layup in Montreal on March 17 and loaded ore in Sorel for Ashtabula.


Coast Guard to conduct ice operations near Pipe, Drummond islands in St. Marys River

3/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard will continue with spring breakout operations on the St. Marys River near Pipe and Drummond islands beginning at 7 a.m. Wednesday.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter will conduct ice breaking operations to open the Pipe Island Passage, north and east of Pipe Island, and will circumnavigate Drummond Island along the International Boundary Line into the North Channel and exit via False Detour Passage.



2017 edition of “Know Your Ships” ready for new shipping season

3/20 - The new shipping season is at hand, and so is the release of "Know Your Ships 2017," the popular annual field guide to boats and boatwatching on the Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway.

Included in the 184-page, illustrated booklet, on sale now, is information on U.S., Canadian and international-flag cargo vessels, tugs, excursion boats and barges in regular Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Seaway service, including owner and port of registry, year and shipyard where built, length, beam, depth, cargo capacity and former names, plus type of engine, horsepower and more.

Standard binding and spiral binding are both available.

"Know Your Ships," now in its 58th year, 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.

Editor / publisher Roger LeLievre, as well as members of the KYS crew, will also be on hand to autograph copies of the new edition Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich. Books will be available for purchase at the signing.

Order at this link:



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.

1938: ¬ A fire of an undetermined cause destroyed the passenger steamer CITY OF BUFFALO while it was fitting out for the 1938 season at the East 9th St. Pier in Cleveland The blaze began late the previous day and 11 fire companies responded. The nearby CITY OF ERIE escaped the flames, as did the SEEANDBEE.

2011” ¬ The Indian freighter APJ ANJLI was built in 1982 and began visiting the Great Lakes in 1990. It was sailing as c) MIRACH, and loaded with 25,842 tons of iron ore, when it ran aground 3 miles off the coast of India on March 20, 2011. Four holds were flooded and the crew of 25 was removed. The hull subsequently broke in two and was a total loss.

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.


Welland Canal opens Monday

3/19 - Navigation season along the St. Lawrence Seaway kicks off Monday, tying a record set in 2007 for the earliest opening date. Parts of the Seaway have been given millions of dollars in upgrades and moving a massive cargo ship through the lock system can now be done with the click of a mouse.

This past winter parts of the Welland Canal were fitted with three double-pad mooring units. It’s part of a $100 million upgrade. Using suction, the pads stick to ships while they are in the locks. As the water level in the lock is raised or lowered, the pads move with the ship keeping the vessel in place and it is all controlled at the Seaway’s new control room in St. Catharines.

In the past, the ships were tied down with steel wires. There have been cases where the steel lines have snapped.

According to Cassie Kelly from St. Lawrence Seaway, “It is a fairly risky business. You’ve got the steel lines coming out of the vessel at a certain speed and this ends up being a much safer operation.” Seaway officials say the hands-free mooring system will be completed this year.

The Seaway stretches 37 hundred kilometres and runs from the mouth of the St. Lawrence River, passing through 15 locks and 5 Great Lakes. Approximately 160 million tonnes of cargo travels through the Seaway every year. The Seaway has also rebuilt the tie-up wall near lock 3.

The shipping season will kick off with a top hat ceremony on Monday, where the captain of the first upbound ship will be welcomed.


Shipping season opening nears, ice breaking underway

3/19 - Duluth, Minn. – A glance from Agate Bay out over the gleaming blue Lake Superior might not reveal it, but there is ice on the Great Lakes, and efforts to remove it in advance of the coming shipping season began last Thursday.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder will break ice in the Duluth-Superior harbor before heading north to Thunder Bay over the weekend, said Mark Gill, Coast Guard director of vessel traffic services based in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., where the Soo Locks are set to open at 12:01 a.m. on March 25.

"As of right now there will be eight downbound vessels and probably as many upbound vessels waiting to pass through the locks," Gill said.

Both Whitefish Bay at the eastern edge of Lake Superior and the St. Marys River, home to the Soo Locks that connect lakes Superior and Huron, are 100 percent covered with ice, Gill said Wednesday.

"There's not a tremendous amount of thickness compared to the 30-year average," he said. "We've had ice as much as 3 feet thick, but this year it's a couple inches thick and (we) expect it will be fairly fragile."

It figures to be slow going for the first vessels through the locks. A process that normally takes a half-hour to 45 minutes probably will require three to four hours per ship for the way vessels will push ice into the Soo's Poe Lock and have to back out in order for the lock to be cleared of ice. This back-and-forth is necessary because at 1,200 feet long and 110 feet wide, the Poe Lock already is a snug fit for thousand-foot lakers, and ice introduced by a ship's push tightens the squeeze. Some of the season's first vessels could wait in line for several hours or even days, Gill said.

Closed beginning Jan. 15, the Soo Locks were the subject of continued maintenance and repair throughout the offseason. Gate anchors, like a hinge on a door, buried deep in concrete were showing fatigue and were replaced. Dewatering bulkheads saw welded repairs and were repainted. Gears that were original from 70 years ago were replaced, and an ongoing switchover to more modern control systems was implemented.

"We're in the middle of an overall asset renewal plan and we're trying to recapitalize a lot of the major equipment," said Kevin Sprague, Soo-area engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "This was just a part of that and we'll continue working on it for several more years to come."

The smaller sister lock to the Poe, the MacArthur Lock, won't open until mid-April. The lock accommodates only smaller vessels up to 730 feet in length. But its loss for 19 days to an outage in 2015 led to significant backups and illustrated the importance of having both in operation.

"The MacArthur really does keep things moving more smoothly," Sprague said.

In 2016, the Coast Guard counted 3,388 freighters through the Soo Locks — down from a historic average of 3,500 to 6,500, Gill said, with seven-of-10 transits containing iron ore. Of the total number of transits, 20 percent, or 428, were foreign-flag vessels coming through the entire Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System from the Atlantic Ocean.

It's hard to tell what sort of count 2017 will bring, Gill said, but he added that the Coast Guard, working with Canada, is preparing for everything. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is scheduled to work the ice breakout of the St. Marys River. The Canadian Coast Guard's Griffon is responsible for the St. Lawrence Seaway from Lake Ontario to the Atlantic Ocean, and its sister icebreaker, the Samuel Risley, is heading to work on clearing ice between lakes Huron and Erie.

The U.S. Coast Guard is supplementing the work of those bigger cutters from its fleet of nine total available icebreakers, including Duluth's Alder. The area around Green Bay, on Lake Michigan, is one place where there is what Gill called "a slug of ice."

Lake County News Chronicle


A wave of optimism in advance of Seaway opening

3/19 - Optimism abounds for the 2017 navigation seasons on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway will open March 20, followed five days later by the American Soo Locks between Lakes Superior and Huron and the 2017 navigation season on the Great Lakes will be fully underway.

While the Seaway finished down by 3.1 per cent in tonnage in 2016 compared to 2015, the gap between the two years narrowed during the final months as traffic picked up. The revival in the North American economy has continued, albeit cautiously into 2017.

“All the signs are very encouraging. Canada and the United States are heading for growth rates of two to three per cent and Europe should manage one per cent or better,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the Canadian Seaway Management Corp.

“We expect positive growth over the year,” Craig Middlebrook, deputy administrator of the U.S. Seaway Development Corp. said. “We have more reasons to be optimistic this year than we’ve had recently.”

Both men point to hefty stocks of grain waiting to be exported and little ice on the Great Lakes this year to delay the ships. On top of that, international iron ore prices have risen to levels that justify exporting from the U.S. mines in Michigan and Minnesota. The ratification of the Canada-Europe trade deal in Ottawa and Brussels could boost the flow of Trans-Atlantic traffic later this year.

If the shipping industry needs additional encouraging economic signs, it could take heart from the latest statistics from the American Association of Railroads. For the week ending Feb. 18, the 13 U.S., Canadian and Mexican railways reported total weekly traffic was up 7.6 per cent from the same point in 2016. For the first seven weeks of 2017 traffic was 3.2 per cent above last year. Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume was up 7.4 per cent for the period compared to 2016.

The Port of Thunder Bay recorded its busiest December ever loading Canadian grain in domestic and ocean-going vessels. It was a similar situation in the American grain ports as shipments increased by 21 per cent during 2016.

Last year, the Seaway opened on March 21 and closed on Dec. 31, a navigation season of 286 days that tied the record first established in 2008 and matched in 2013 for the longest navigation season. Bowles said the opening date is always constrained by the need to perform maintenance and upgrades on seaway facilities during the winter.

While ice coverage on the lakes in late February had dropped below 10 per cent, there was enough snow during the winter in the Great Lakes region to ensure chart datum if not higher water levels during the season.

Bowles said in addition to grain and ore, other bulk commodities including salt as well as liquid bulk shipments should increase this year. Then there’s the possibility that infrastructure spending in Canada and the United States might generate the need for raw materials, cement and steel.

Mike Broad, president of the Shipping Federation of Canada, said traffic on the Seaway-Great Lakes “should be up a bit.” Growing economic activity in the United States should increase the demand for imported steel and there’s plenty of grain to trans- port to overseas customers.

Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said, “Obviously, it’s too early to tell how things will fare in 2017 but we’re particularly encouraged by the fact that there is a large carry-over of Prairie grain for potential export.”

The strong improvement during the last quarter of 2016 was due to Canadian ships “back in full service delivering iron ore pellets from U.S. Great Lakes ports to the Port of Quebec for transshipment overseas. The grain program was very strong in November and December.

Manitoba CoOperator


Coast Guard medevacs 2 people off Beaver Island

3/19 - Traverse City, Mich. – A Coast Guard aircrew from Traverse City medically evacuated two people off Beaver Island Saturday. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received a medevac request from officials on Beaver Island early Friday evening. Due to poor visibility and icing conditions, an aircrew from Traverse City was forced to delay its response.

By late morning Saturday, weather conditions were slightly improved. After consulting with a Coast Guard flight surgeon, an Air Station Traverse City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter launched to medevac two people suffering from injuries sustained during a single vehicle accident. The patients were safely transported to Air Station Traverse City where awaiting ambulances carried them to Munson Medical Center for treatment.



Watch live unveiling of mural on CSL St-Laurent during Monday Seaway opening

3/19 - Montreal, Que. – The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 59th navigation season will feature the unveiling of a monumental work of art work painted on CSL St-Laurent as a tribute to Canada’s 150th anniversary and the 375th of the City of Montreal. The original artwork extends across the forward facade of the accommodation block of the ship and commemorates the important roles of CSL, the St. Lawrence River and the marine transportation industry in the history and growth of both Canada and the City of Montreal.

The artwork was conceived by Montreal artist Beyung and created in collaboration with three other urban artists – Ankh One, Benny Wilding, and FONKi of the Ashop art collective. The mural is the first of its kind to be displayed on a Canadian commercial bulker.

Tune into the Canada Steamship Lines Facebook account on Monday, March 20th at approximately 10 a.m. EST to watch the unveiling live, which will take place following a speech by the Honorable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport.



Today in Great Lakes History -  March 19

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.

1916 The canal-sized PORT DALHOUSIE saw only brief service on the Great Lakes. It was built in England as TYNEMOUNT in 1913 and came to Canada as PORT DALHOUSIE in 1914. It left for saltwater in 1915 and was torpedoed and sunk by UB-10 while carrying steel billets to Nantes, France. It went down March 19, 1916, south and west of the Kentish Knock Light vessel and 12 lives were lost.

1978 BELKARIN was a Norwegian cargo carrier that made one trip inland in 1963. It struck a sunken warship in Suez Bay on March 19, 1978, as c) NAHOST JUMBO and the engine room was holed. The vessel, en route from Aqaba, Jordan, to Holland, settled in shallow water. The hull was refloated in January 1979 and sold for scrap.

1990 On March 19, an explosion in a container on board the Norwegian freighter POLLUX at La Baie, QC, killed two sailors, seriously injured a third as well as 7 Alcan dock employees. The ship made its first trip up the Seaway coming to to Port Weller Dry Docks May 18 for repairs. It was renamed there and left the lakes in August as d) NOMADIC POLLUX. This ship returned inland in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and was back as e) BALTICLAND in May 2004.

1993 An explosion and fire rocked the tanker SHIOKAZE in the North Sea en route to Rotterdam killing one member of the crew. The vessel had first been a Seaway trader in 1986 and returned in 1998 as DILMUN TERN bound for Hamilton with palm oil. It was scrapped, after 30 years of service, arriving at Alang, India, on June 14, 2010, as c) THERESA III.

2002 A hull crack of close to 13 feet was found on LAKE CARLING off Cape Breton Island while traveling from Sept-Iles to Trinidad with iron ore. Originally ZIEMIA CIESZYNSKA, the vessel first came to the Great Lakes in 1993 and was renamed LAKE CARLING at Chicago in October. The crack widened to 25 feet before the vessel could reach safety but the damage was repaired and it returned to service. The original name was restored in 2004 and the vessel was last on the lakes in 2009.

2003 A fire in the after end of the CALEDONIA on the Heddle Dry Dock in Hamilton was contained to one deck. The vessel was there for conversion to a sailing ship and the work was eventually completed. The ship had visited the Great Lakes as the coastal freighter PETREL in the late 1970s but was much more at home around Maritime Canada and Hudson Bay. As a sailing ship, it carries 77 passengers and visits Caribbean ports.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Coast Guard clears way before shipping season begins

3/18 - Duluth, Minn. – The Alder cruised through Lake Superior, cracking and breaking the ice that formed on the water’s surface.

“The Alder is a 225 foot buoy tender, it is ice capable, so it’s not actually designated as an ice breaker, we just have the ability to break ice,” explained Lt. Christian Von Stralendorff of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Shipping season is around the corner, and the coast guard cleared the way so large ships could come and go through the Twin Ports safely. The process includes breaking the Ice in to pieces by using the weight of the boat to crush it, and moving buoys, that have been moved overtime by winter storms and ice, back to their right spots, so incoming ships know what to look out for.

“We don’t want that buoy marking danger, where there actually isn’t danger. And we don’t want that buoy to be where danger actually is,” said Von Stralendorff.

Read more and view video at this link:


Port Reports -  March 18

St. Marys River
USCG icebreaker Mackinaw passed upbound through the Poe Lock on Friday. She and the USCG cutter Morro Bay were working the shipping lanes in the upper river. USCG Biscayne Bay was working in the lower river above Lime Island. The tanker Algonova, which had been discharging at the Purvis dock in Soo Harbor late Thursday, headed back downbound early Friday. By mid-afternoon she was downbound in Lake Huron, likely headed to Sarnia.

Lake Michigan
Great Lakes Trader/Joyce L. VanEnkevort were upbound off Sturgeon Bay Friday afternoon, headed for Escanaba to load.


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 18

In 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. Charles 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 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.

1923 The wooden steamer JAMES P. DONALDSON was built in 1880 and often worked in the lumber trade. At the end, it was used by N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. to bring wet grain to the company elevator for drying. The ship caught fire at the Canadian Lakehead on this date and the remains were sunk off Isle Royale, Lake Superior, on May 6, 1923.

1991 The Canadian Coast Guard ship GRIFFON collided with the fishing trawler CAPTAIN K. sinking it in Lake Erie. Three lives were lost.

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


Port Reports -  March 17

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Joy Fett
Tanker Algonova was upbound Thursday, heading for the Purvis dock in the lower harbor on the Canadian side.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
After waiting for weather in the Straits of Mackinac, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge on Thursday morning. The pair loaded cement under the silos and left by early afternoon for Detroit, Mich.

Welland Canal – Paul Beesley
CCGS Griffon passed downbound on Thursday, confirming buoy positions along the way. The Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway are scheduled to open on Monday.


Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie warns of unstable ice

3/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – With the forecast rain, wind and above-freezing temperatures this weekend, the Coast Guard is urging people to use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice across Lake Superior, St. Marys River, and the northern parts of lakes Michigan and Huron.

The Coast Guard is also increasing its ice breaking operations in preparation for the upcoming maritime shipping season, which will further diminish existing ice, especially along the St. Marys River.

Ice is unpredictable and the thickness can vary, even in small areas. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets, are always suspect for thin ice. Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas since these signify thinner ice.

Obstructions such as rocks, logs, vegetation and pilings affect the strength of ice. Heat from these obstructions slows ice formation. Ice shifting and expanding can create pressure cracks and ridges around the obstructions.

Plus, ice near the shore of a frozen lake may be unsafe and weaker because of shifting, expansion, and sunlight reflecting off the bottom.



Cracking ice sheets pile up along Lake Superior's north shore

3/17 - Duluth, Minn. – It may sound like cracking glass, but these plates aren't falling from your kitchen pantry. The floating plate-like ice formations are known as ice floes. These particular sheets formed on western Lake Superior and were blown toward the shorelines in Duluth, Minn. on March 4. As the ice met the rocky shore, it broke into plates and began shuffling and stacking on land while creating a sound similar to glass cracking.

Radiant Spirit Gallery, a husband and wife photography team based in the Duluth area, were there to capture the spectacle. "I never tire of these ice stacking events, and each has its own unique characteristics," wrote Dawn M. LaPointe, who owns the company with Gary L. Fiedler.

LaPointe explained that the smooth, dark areas in the video show the ice floe moving toward shore, propelled by easterly winds moving around 15 miles per hour.

See a video at this link:


Proposed budget would eliminate Great Lakes cleanup funds

3/17 - Great Lakes restoration funding is altogether eliminated in President Donald Trump's first formal budget proposal as part of $2.6 billion in cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency that will eliminate 3,200 jobs from the federal agency responsible for ensuring the country has safe drinking water.

Drastic cuts to the federal grants that fund pollution cleanup, watershed restoration and other work in eight Great Lakes states were expected, but the actual proposal the White House sent to Congress on Thursday, March 16 goes further by zeroing-out what has been a popular bipartisan program.

The proposed budget "returns the responsibility for funding local environmental efforts and programs to state and local entities," according to the 62-page document, titled "A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again."

Read more at this link:


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.

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, Ohio. 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.

1906: SOVEREIGN, a steel hulled passenger ship that operated on the St. Lawrence in the Montreal area, was destroyed by a fire at Lachine, Quebec. The vessel was rebuilt that year as IMPERIAL and remained in service until 1928 when the boilers and hull were condemned.

1916: CITY OF MIDLAND, a passenger and freight steamer for Canada Steamship Lines, caught fire at the Grant Trunk Railway Dock in Collingwood and was a total loss.

1973: A wild late winter storm swept into Goderich off Lake Huron on March 17-18. Eleven ships got loose, while only the PATERSON (i) remained fast at the dock. It sustained bow damage when struck by fleetmate MONDOC (iii). Varying amounts of damage were inflicted to other ships.

1980: SUNPOLYNA was built in 1956 and provided service for Saguenay Shipping between Eastern Canada and the West Indies. The ship first came through the Seaway in 1963 and, on May 16, 1967, it ran aground near Thorold. It was sailing as d) TEMERAIRE when abandoned by the crew on March 17, 1980, in position 28.16 S / 21.04 W after the hull had cracked. The ship was en route from Santos, Brazil, to Mina Qaboos, Oman, and, after drifting to northwest for several days, sank on March 21.

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


Great Lakes Shipyard awarded drydocking contract by McKeil for tug Leonard M

3/16 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard was recently awarded a repair contract by McKeil Marine Ltd. to drydock its 50-MT bollard pull tug Leonard M. The tug was hauled out using the shipyard’s 770-MT Travelift on March 1. Repairs include general maintenance as well as classification surveys and inspections. The work is expected to be completed later in the month.

McKeil Marine has been a regular customer of Great Lakes Shipyard. Over the past five years, Great Lakes Shipyard has completed several repair contracts for McKeil, including barge Huron Spirit – dockside repairs (2014); tug Leonard M – drydocking (2014); tug ); tug Leonard M – drydocking (2013); tug John Spence – dockside repairs (2012); and barge Niagara Spirit – dockside repairs (2012).

Great Lakes Shipyard


Great Lakes Maritime Task Force 2016 annual report sees progress on key issues

3/16 - Toledo, Ohio – The year 2016 was one of steady progress towards making shipping on our nation’s Fourth Sea Coast as efficient and reliable as possible, according to the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) in its 2016 annual report issued Wednesday.

GLMTF, the largest labor/management coalition ever assembled to promote shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, cited progress on the dredging crisis, construction of a second Poe-sized lock, and adding another heavy icebreaker to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Great Lakes forces.

Significant progress has been made on reducing the amount of sediment clogging ports and waterways that in turn forces vessels to carry less cargo.

“It was not too long ago that the dredging backlog at Great Lakes ports and waterways topped 18 million cubic yards and was projected to grow to 21 million cubic yards,” the report stated. “It now stands at 15 million cubic yards and will keep shrinking because expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will annually increase rather than build a surplus that was then used to make the federal deficit seem smaller. We can see the day when fluctuating water levels, not lack of dredging, determine vessels’ loaded draft.”

The report notes there was no lengthy failure of either the Poe or MacArthur locks that connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, but warns the threat is even greater, as both chambers are now a year older (48 and 74 respectively). “We used to average building a new lock at the Soo every 19 years, but it is now nearly half a century since the Poe was opened.”

Congress authorized construction of a second Poe-sized lock at full Federal expense in 2007. “The stumbling block remains the Corps’ 2005 assessment of the project’s benefit-cost (b/c) ratio, which, because the report assumed the railroads had the capacity to move the cargos stranded by a failure of the lock and could do so at no additional cost, was set at 0.73. An administration cannot include a project in its budget unless the b/c ratio is at least 1.0. The Corps is reassessing the b/c ratio and its report is due by year’s end. We expect a very favorable report, because for one, Treasury’s recently released report estimates the project’s b/c ratio could be as high as 4.0.”

GLMTF cautions that two mild winters in a row must not lessen the region’s resolve to fund the new heavy lakes icebreaker authorized in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015. “Fortunately, our Great Lakes delegation, in particular Wisconsin senators Tammy Baldwin (D) and Ron Johnson (R), takes the long view and is committed to another Mackinaw-class icebreaker.”

One disappointment in 2016 was failure to enact federal ballast water legislation, but GLMTF endorses The Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (S. 168/H.R. 1154) now moving through Congress. “We must have a uniform, federal ballast water discharge standard, one that meets the highest standard currently achievable and is dictated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The status quo, two federal vessel discharge regulations enforced by two different agencies, plus, at latest count, 25 state regimes, is unworkable.”

The annual report also highlights the conversion of two U.S.-flag steamships to internal combustion engines.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Presque Isle Lighthouse improvements scheduled

3/16 - Visitors will have more days this summer to climb to the top of the Presque Isle Lighthouse and they'll find improvements on the ground below. Starting Memorial Day weekend, the lighthouse for the first time will be open to the public daily. New fencing, sidewalks, perimeter lighting and a flagpole should be in by opening day on May 26.

"Everyone in Erie should go out and look at it," lighthouse volunteer Julie Monocello said. "It's one of our treasures."

More than 30,000 people toured the grounds and house for free in 2016, when the attraction was only open five days a week. About 13,400 people paid the $6 fee to climb the 78-step tower for views of Lake Erie, the peninsula and the city. But as public access to the lighthouse increases, more volunteers are required to keep the facility running.

"We need five people per shift," said Michael Sullivan, the lighthouse's executive director. "You need 10 people per day."

With plans for the lighthouse at Presque Isle State Park to be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through September, Sullivan is looking to increase the number of volunteers beyond the current 65. A training session for new volunteers will be held April 22 at 10 a.m. at the lighthouse, he said. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and can commit to as many or as few hours as they're available, Sullivan said. Two shifts are offered: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5 p.m.

Volunteers can work at the front table selling tickets or in the gift shop at the cash register. The tourists are greeted by volunteers who serve as docents in the oil room, where they talk about the history of the house, or at the top of the tower, where they answer questions about how far it is to Canada or how far the light shines.

Public access to it was almost nonexistent for years because the building was used as housing for Presque Isle State Park managers.

The lighthouse is now run by a nonprofit group with plans to restore the structure to its early 20th-century appearance. Opening it to the public on weekends in the summer of 2015 was a first step.

Sullivan expects to have the new sidewalks, perimeter lighting and historically accurate fencing, along with a 45-foot flagpole, installed by May 26.

"These are things we have been working on for a year," he said.

The nonprofit has the $40,000 for those improvements as well as about $250,000 to convert the existing garage into an operations center with a new gift shop, welcome area, office and staff restroom. Sullivan said bids for the center should go out within a month and he hopes the work will be done by autumn.

He said the money has come through a combination of donations, private contributions and grants.

For more about the lighthouse, call 833-3604 or visit For more information about volunteering, call 403-5778.


Wisconsin Marine Sanctuary plan gains support in Algoma

3/16 - Algoma, Wis. – The idea of including Door County as part of a proposed Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary gained support Monday night at a hearing in Algoma.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last fall announced nomination of a more than 1,000 square miles area of Lake Michigan — off Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc Counties — as a marine sanctuary. The agency website said the designation would, “conserve nationally significant shipwrecks and related maritime heritage resources in Wisconsin.”

At least 37 known shipwrecks are located in the waters off the three counties. An additional 80 sites are believed to exist.

An alternative proposal would include the Kewaunee County shore in the sanctuary. Doing so would add one confirmed wreck site and 15 potential sites, NOAA officials said. The sanctuary would protect the wreck sites — prohibiting anchoring to the wrecks while allowing divers to explore them.

More than 100 people filled Algoma's community center at Knutson Hall for Monday night's hearing. About two dozen spoke, including three people associated with the Door County Maritime Museum who urged a further expansion to include Door County in the Sanctuary.

“Expand it to Death's Door,” museum archivist Rhys Kuzdas said. Museum Director Amy Paul and Museum Curator Adam Gronke also spoke in favor of including Door County.

The Algoma session was the first of four. Others were scheduled for Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Port Washington. Written comments can be submitted to NOAA until the end of March, officials said. Instructions can be found at the NOAA web page:

Green Bay Press Gazette


Windsor tour boat stuck in ice

3/16 - Windsor, Ont. – A Canadian tour boat is not doing much cruising after becoming stuck in the ice Monday on Little River opposite Peche Island.

Two lines helping moor the Macassa Bay for the winter in Lakeview Park Marina broke in high winds, which pushed the 97-foot ship into the channel, where March’s unseasonably cold temperatures trapped the vessel in ice. Nobody was on board.

“With the ice and the winds, the boat is very, very heavy,” said Mary Jones, the ship owner and president of Windsor River Cruises. “It was impossible to move it. So it’s lodged in the ice. But it’s secure. It’s not going anywhere. It’s not going to do damage to anything.”

The vessel should be accustomed to rough weather, though, since it was originally used as a ferry from Newfoundland to the Hibernia Oil Platform in the North Atlantic.

During the summer, the Macassa Bay docks downtown near Caesars Windsor, from where it leaves for dinner, dancing and sightseeing tours up and down the Detroit River. Right now, however, the Macassa Bay — built in Hamilton in 1986 for up to 197 passengers — will have to sit tight for a few more days.

Jones said when the ice clears, crews will use an on-board winch, attached to land by cable, to pull itself to shore.

“We won’t be able to move it until the weather breaks and the ice melts, which hopefully will be Thursday or Friday,” Jones said. “Then we’ll be able to secure it back in the marina.”

Windsor Star



Shipwreck show ‘Mysteries & Histories’ March 25 in Holland, Mich.

3/16 - Holland, Mich. – Underwater video of some of the deepest dives on Great Lakes shipwrecks will highlight the 19th annual shipwreck show, "Mysteries & Histories Beneath the Inland Seas" on Saturday, March 25, in Holland.

The Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Association sponsors the annual show as part of its mission to research and discover shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, then document and present their findings to the public, according to a news release from the organization.

John Janzen of Minnesota will offer the keynote presentation "Eight Years of Diving the Carl D. Bradley." The Carl D. Bradley was a self-unloading Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Michigan storm Nov. 18, 1958. Of the 35 crew members, 33 died in the sinking.

Janzen and diving partner John Scoles conducted three dives to the Bradley in August 2007. They removed the original bell and replaced it with memorial bell of similar dimensions, engraved with the names of the lost crew. They were the first scuba divers to reach the stern of the Bradley. Janzen also has worked as a diver and videographer for National Geographic and was featured in the recent Nat Geo Explorer episode, "Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes."

Also on the program is "Fire Wind and Storm," in which Great Lakes shipwreck hunter David Trotter presents his recent discovery and exploration of the shipwrecks of the Venus and the Montezuma, and "Shipwrecks, Reality TV and the Michigan Triangle," presented by MSRA's Valerie van Heest who will explore how reality television shows blur the lines between history and myth for the sake of ratings.

The association also will air an episode of the Science Channel program "Secrets of the Underground," in which Michigan Shipwreck Research Association is featured. The episode was aired on the Science Channel on March 14.

The show will take place at Knickerbocker Theatre, 86 E. Eighth St., Holland. Tickets are $12.50 in advance and $15 at the door, or free with various membership levels at

Holland Sentinel


Today in Great Lakes History -  March 16

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.

1924: MOHAWK of the Western Transit Co. was known as a fast ship. It was built at Detroit in 1893 and was renamed AMERICA in 1916. It was cut in two to exit the Great Lakes and re-assembled at Montreal for East Coast service. The ship was renamed BERMUDEZ in 1921 and sank in the Erie Basin at Brooklyn on March 16, 1924, with the stern resting on the bottom and the bow afloat. The hull was pumped out but scrapped at New York in January 1925.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Upgraded Welland Canal opens next Monday

3/15 - St. Catharines, Ont. – An upgraded Welland Canal and community celebrations will welcome the first ships to sail through the waterway. Top hat ceremonies and events planned in St. Catharines and Port Colborne will launch the opening of the canal and start of the shipping season next Monday.

The St. Lawrence Seaway has seen $90 million in upgrades and repairs during the off-season, while many of the ships that sail through it have seen about $70 million in upgrades.

In St. Catharines, the first upbound ship will be welcomed at about 10 a.m. at the St. Catharines Museum – Welland Canals Centre, starting the 188th anniversary of the canal and launching the 2017 shipping season. The ceremony will include a keynote address by Edward Levy, chief executive officer of Rand Logistics, a shipping company based in Jersey City, N.J.

At the south end of the waterway, Port Colborne Mayor John Maloney will welcome the captain of the first downbound vessel during a ceremony at Lock 8 Gateway Park, starting at 8 a.m. with a fair trade pancake breakfast.

The Mariner’s Celebration will be held the night before, at St. James and St. Brendan Anglican Church, 55 Charlotte St., starting at 7 p.m.

The Chamber of Marine Commerce reported that seven shipping companies including Algoma Central and CSL Group invested in engine and generator overhauls, steel and mechanical work, navigation equipment, system hardware and software upgrades, and accommodation and safety equipment upgrades to the combined 143 vessels they operate within the waterway.

In a news release, chamber president Bruce Burrows called the investments an example of the economic boon provided by the shipping industry, even while ships are docked for the winter.

“Even in the off-season, Canadian shipowners and the St. Lawrence Seaway spend millions of dollars with equipment suppliers and repair businesses, helping to sustain well-paying, highly skilled jobs in communities all over the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region,” he said.

Work was done at ports throughout the seaway, including Port Colborne and Hamilton. Chamber spokesperson Julia Fields said additional work may have been done at other ports by companies that were not surveyed.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. investments in the Welland Canal include the reconstruction of the upper Lock 1 tie-up wall, rehabilitation of locks 1 and 7, bank protection, rehabilitation of lock and weir valves, repairs of Bridge 3A at Carlton Street in St. Catharines, new hands-free mooring units in the Thorold flight locks, as well as lighting upgrades.

Additional seaway upgrades were made along the waterway in Beauharnois and the St-Lambert Lock in Montreal.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. president and chief executive officer Terence Bowles said in a release the investments “ensure that our waterway continues to process ship transits safely, efficiently and reliably.”

“With a system availability rate approaching 100 per cent over the last 10 years, the corporation and its staff have done an excellent job in managing the seaway’s locks and channels, which form the core of a vital trade artery that connects the heartland of North America to markets across the globe,” he said.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  March 15

St. Marys River
The USCG icebreaker Mackinaw arrived in Soo Harbor Tuesday afternoon and moored at the Coast Guard base. The USCG Morro Bay was also in town.


Tentative vessel departure dates from Sturgeon Bay

3/15 - John G Munson - 4/24/17
Edwin H Gott - 03/23/17
Cason J Callaway - 03/23/17
Indiana Harbor - 04/10/17
Walter J. McCarthy - 04/21/17
Mesabi Minor - 04/26/17
James R Barker - 03/23/17
Joseph L Block - 03/22/17
Wilfred Sykes - 04/04/17

Indications are that they will depart out the West Entrance into the Bay of Green Bay.


Advocates for Soo Locks optimistic about Pres. Trump

3/15 - Some supporters of building a new Soo Lock are hopeful that President Trump could finally be the one to deliver the goods. Groups like the Lake Carriers’ Association have been trying to get a new lock built at Sault Ste. Marie for decades.

They say an additional lock is needed for the sake of redundancy. The lakes’ 1,000-foot freighters are currently limited by size to one lock – the Poe Lock – to move between Lakes Superior and Huron.

“I’m optimistic that President Trump will cut through the bureaucratic obstacles and that we’ll start constructing this project during his administration,” says Jim Weakley, the president of the Lakes Carriers’ Association.

In 2015, a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said a failure at the Poe Lock could cause a national recession. That’s because the manufacturing economy is dependent on iron ore coming out of the mining regions of Michigan and Minnesota. Without the big iron boats moving freely between the upper and lower lakes, the flow of ore to steel plants would slow to a trickle.

Congress first authorized the building of a new Soo Lock in the mid-1980s, but since then has not appropriated the estimated $600 million it would cost to complete the project.

Weakley says a lot is riding on a benefit-cost study that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing right now. With a high enough rating, the program would be fundable in the president's budget.

But Weakley says he’s worried the Army Corps could bury the project in its analysis. The benefit-cost study is not expected to be completed until 2018. NPR Morning Edition


Build new lock: Great Lakes Commission

3/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – An interstate agency wants the American government to build a new large lock at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Nearly 4,000 vessels pass through the locks annually, Great Lakes Commission says. About 70 per cent of the American flag fleet can only use the Poe Lock.

“Our sole reliance on this single, 50-year old lock puts our regional and national economies at risk,” a release says. “Congress should provide funding to begin construction of a new large lock to safeguard our regional economy and national security.”

Great Lakes Commission members are eight Great Lakes states. Ontario and Quebec have associate status. In October 2015, Department of Homeland Security found a six-month closure of the Poe Lock would cause a recession in the United States.

Sault Star Nothing’s too thick for the Great Lakes’ only heavy ice-breaker It's a mighty tall order: maintaining navigation channels through the Great Lakes all winter long. That mission is fulfilled by a mighty ship: the USCGC Mackinaw. She's the only heavy ice-breaker the U.S. Coast Guard has on the Great Lakes.

She docks in Cheboygan, and during the winter months she maintains navigation channels through the Great Lakes by splitting ice.

Vasilios Tasikas, the commanding officer of the Mackinaw, spoke to Stateside about his ship’s unique mission. The economic viability of the Great Lakes is based on the movement of ships, Tasikas said. Ice can bring that transportation to a dead stop.

That's where the Mackinaw comes in.

The massive weight of the ship does most of the work to break up thick ice. When the ship hits the ice, the impact causes it to crack.

“And the bow kind of slides up on the ice and the ice is pushed down under the ship, causing a kind of bend in that ice plate and when the ship continues on the ice, it crushes under the weight of the ship and causes the plate ice to break up into small pieces,” he said.

He said the impact shakes the entire ship and can be rather violent. The ship is “punching and riding on top and breaking and crushing and smashing,” from sunrise to sunset," Tasikas said.

To hear more about the Great Lakes’ only icebreaker, listen to the full interview at this link:

Michigan Radio


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 carferry 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.

1942: The first SARNIADOC of the Paterson fleet was lost with all hands on the Caribbean en route from Trinidad to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was apparently torpedoed by U-161 in the night hours of March 14-15, 1942, while in the south for the wartime bauxite trade.

1969: The bulk carrier ALEXANDER T. WOOD, remembered by many for its regular early Seaway service in the ore and grain trades as well as for a collision with the Finnish flag freighter MARIA in the Detroit River on August 12, 1960, was lost on this day in 1969 as VAINQUER. The latter had been to the Great Lakes in 1968 but sank following a boiler room explosion in the Gulf of Mexico with the loss of one life. It was en route from Vera Cruz, Mexico, to New Orleans with a cargo of sugar.

1976: The rail car barge HURON rolled over and sank at the Windsor dock due to an uneven deck load. The 1875 vintage vessel had operated across the Detroit River as a steamer until March 1971 and then as a barge. It was refloated and returned to service.

1980: The Liberian vessel FRATERNITY was built in 1963. It visited the Great Lakes in 1967 and operated briefly as ARYA NIKU in 1975-1976 before becoming FRATERNITY again under Greek registry. Fire broke out in #1 and #2 cargo holds en route from Hamburg to Karachi on this date in 1980. An explosion followed the next day and the crew abandoned the ship in the Red Sea. The hull was beached March 17 around the border of Eritrea and Sudan but was refloated April 1 and deemed a total loss. After unloading at Sharjah, the hull was towed to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, arriving at the scrapyard on May 19, 1981.

1984: The Greek freighter ELINA likely made only one trip to the Great Lakes, coming inland in 1982 to load frozen meat at Kenosha, WI. It laid up at Emden, West Germany, on June 13, 1983, only to catch fire on March 15, 1984. The damage was extensive and the hull was towed into Gijon, Spain, for scrapping on April 23, 1984.

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


USCG Alder to begin spring breakout at Duluth-Superior on Thursday

3/14 - Duluth-Superior – U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder will commence spring break out operations in the Duluth-Superior area Thursday March 16. These operations will continue periodically over the next few days and weeks to prepare regional waterways for the start of the Great Lakes commercial navigation season.

Initially, icebreaking operations will occur inside the Duluth and Superior harbors. The icebreaking work will expand in the following days to prepare Two Harbors, Minn., Taconite Harbor, Minn., Silver Bay, Minn., and Thunder Bay, Ont. for commercial ship movements.

Unlike some previous winters, this year was unseasonably warm. Regional ice cover is not as expansive nor did it reach traditional thicknesses. The forecast for the next 7-10 days calls for temperatures conducive to rapid deterioration of ice.



Port Reports -  March 14

Erie, Pa. – Gene Polaski
The newly named Clyde S. VanEnkevort /Erie Trader (formerly Ken Boothe Sr/Lakes Contender) moved from one slip at DonJon Shipyard in Erie to another slip on the west side of the building. It moved at about 4 p.m. in a very bitter northerly wind and 28F temperature. She pushed out in the bay, then turned and backed into the slip.


Ashland lighthouse has new mission as weather station

3/14 - Ashland, Wis. – After celebrating its centennial last year, the lighthouse that serves as a beacon on Chequamegon Bay is ready for a new job, though it still plans to keep the lights on.

The Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, as it is officially known, began service as an aid to navigation in 1916. It became automated in 1962 and continues to serve as a navigation beacon today. This year, it will be tasked with a heavier workload, receiving upgrades in technology that have transformed the lighthouse into a weather station.

Since last fall, the station has monitored lake levels and water currents. The new equipment will allow it to monitor weather conditions such as precipitation, wind speed and temperatures. The water-monitoring gear will track lake levels, currents and waves. Another upgrade in the spring will allow water quality to be measured. The new information is being collected through a real-time data stream by the U.S. Geological Survey at its Middleton, Wis., facilities.

Paul Reneau, a hydrologist with the USGS who is described as a "modern-day lighthouse keeper" by the National Park Service, will keep tabs on the data. He described the new capabilities as being similar to the buoys in the lake. "It is sort of a standalone," he said. "The closest would be the buoys run by NOAA, (of) which there are about a dozen."

Reneau estimated the cost of the new weather equipment to be about $30,000, plus an additional $20,000 for the water quality sensors. The cost of the original lighthouse, keeper's dwelling and boathouse, when constructed more than 100 years ago, was $24,943.80, according to the Lighthouse Friends website. Great care has been taken not to allow the modern equipment to take away from the lighthouse's historic character.

Mark Vinson, the USGS Lake Superior Biological Station chief, can see the lighthouse from his office in Ashland.

"Its central location in the western part of the bay makes it a good spot for evaluating incoming waters from Fish Creek and other small tributaries along with water the bay exchanges with Lake Superior," he said in a news release.

The station already has seen the new equipment pay off: It tracked what are described as "significant" changes in lake levels during a storm in November 2016. The changes are being attributed to a so-called seiche (pronounced "saysh") that was the result of wind and pressure-driven sloshing of the lake. Time-lapse photographs taken recently also show how quickly ice and water conditions on the lake can change.

The new mission is a cooperative venture between the National Park Service and the USGS. The park service received support to make the improvements from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Duluth News Tribune


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 refit.

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.

1918 ISLAND QUEEN, a wooden-hulled Toronto Island ferry, was destroyed by a fire at Hanlan's Point in Toronto. The ship was valued at $25,000 and the hull was left to rot.

1962: MILLY made one trip through the Seaway in 1959. It had been launched at Stockton, CA on May 13, 1915, as PORTHCAWL and became d) MILLY in 1950. The 295 foot freighter, sailing as f) HEDIA, last reported March 14 near Galita Island on the Mediterranean close to Malta and en route from Casablanca, Morocco, to Venice, Italy, with a cargo of phosphate. It was posted as missing and then lost with all hands.

1993: The Freedom Class freighter SHAMALY was a year old when it came through the Seaway in 1969. It returned December 1, 1990, as c) WALVIS BAY for Ogdensburg, NY to load corn gluten The 9650 gross ton freighter ran aground south of Greece off Cape Morakis in 1993 en route from Piraeus to Scotland as d) LIPARIT BAY. The hull was not worth repairing and sold for scrap. Renamed e) NORA for the delivery tow, it arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, April 4, 1994, for dismantling and work began May 16.

1999: The Panamanian freighter EVANGELIA PETRAKIS was built in Muroran, Japan, in 1978 as N.J. PATERAS. It came through the Seaway in 1988 and was renamed c) AMER VED in 1990. It survived a grounding off Horsetail Bank, UK on November 19, 1996, only to suffer serious damage in a collision with the newly built, 57,947 gross ton, Maltese flag tanker SEAPRIDE I off Khor Fakkan, United Arab Emirates. The damage to the 21-year old freighter was not worth repairs so it arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on June 19, 1999.

1964: MARIA G.L. went aground at Suno Saki, Japan, about 30 miles south of Yokohama, in fog. This Liberty ship had been a Great Lakes trader in 1961. It was enroute from Long Beach, California, to Chiba, Japan, with a cargo of phosphates and broke in two as a total loss.

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


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.).

1994: SHIPBROKER was built at Varna, Bulgaria, in 1980 as OCEAN SEAGULL and came through the Seaway that year on July 3. It was renamed SHIPBROKER in 1986 and made its maiden voyage to the Great Lakes on November 19, 1991. The ship was in a collision with the Cypriot tanker NASSIA in the Bosporus Strait on March 14, 1994, and caught fire. It burned for days and 29 members of the crew of 33 plus four on the tanker, were lost. Following a sale for scrap, the gutted bulk carrier arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow on December 3, 1994, and dismantling began April 5, 1995.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Signs of spring: Engineers prepare Soo Locks for opening

3/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The weather may be frigid right now, but the first sign of spring is approaching. Every winter, the Soo Locks close for 10 weeks to do maintenance work and repairs.

The Soo Locks sit on the U.S. and Canadian boarder and play a crucial role in allowing ships to carry materials like iron and coal that largely feed the steel industry from the lower Great Lakes to Lake Superior. The locks closed on Jan. 15 for annual maintenance.

Kevin Sprague with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told 7&4 News what they had to get done this year.

"Done a lot of work with sandblasting, painting our dewatering bulkheads, and also a lot of replacement work on really, really large bevel gears. Those are the type of things they work on every winter, but one piece is only replaced every 50 to 100 years. The gate anchorages, or hinges for the doors on the Poe Lock.

"It's like a hinge that you'd put on a door, only it's very large and the embedment's go very deep in to the concrete. The original embedment's go 16 feet deep," said Sprague.

"Actually, people ask 'what do you guys do in the winter? There's no boats running, there must not be anything to do,' but actually this is our busiest time of the year. We have a tight schedule to fit these jobs into, and there's no forgiveness for not opening on time, there is no other way," said Sprague.

The locks bring a lot of people to the area to visit, but its also important to national trade and commerce.

"Locally, it's important for our community that we have a fairly large tourist attraction. We have a lot of people come visit our park, come visit Sault Ste. Marie because of that. Nationally, it's important, because the cargo that goes through here feed primarily the U.S. steel industry, integrated steel mills, so that's important to make automobiles, tractors, you name it," said Sprague.

Despite the looks of the weather, Sprague says this winter has been easier than usual for the working on the locks. The Soo Locks reopen one minute after midnight on March 25.

7&4 News


Port Reports -  March 12

Lake Michigan
Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were headed in to St. Joseph, Mich., Saturday night, according to AIS. Bradshaw McKee and St. Marys Conquest had departed Manitowoc Saturday afternoon and were headed back up the lake.

Indiana Harbor, Ind.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader were unloading on Saturday and were still there in the late evening.


The World’s Largest Rubber Duck is coming to Canadian ports this summer

3/12 - Toronto, Ont. – Toronto’s Redpath Waterfront Festival is getting a big addition this year. Announced in a press release Friday, the World’s Largest Rubber Duck is set to join the ONTARIO 150 Tour to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday this summer.

From July 1-3, Toronto’s annual summer event will welcome the World’s Largest Rubber Duck as it makes its first trip to Canada (although it did call on U.S. ports last year). In case you’re wondering, the duck is 61 feet tall, 79 feet wide, 89 feet long, and weighs in at 30,000 pounds. That’s a lot of rubber duck.

So much duck, in fact, that it won’t be able to stay put in Toronto for long, touring Ontario towns Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg, and Brockville over the summer as well.


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.

1917: ALGONQUIN was built at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1888 and saw service for several companies on the Great Lakes. The ship was torpedoed by U-62 when it was 65 miles off Cornwall, England, while west of Bishop's Rock and en route from New York to London with general cargo. It was the first American merchant ship lost due to enemy action in World War One.

1942: ¬CRAIGROWNIE was a World War One Laker and had been launched at Ashtabula on April 12, 1919. It was sailing as d) OLGA when torpedoed by U-126, 20 miles off Nuevital Light, Cuba, while en route from Port Everglades, FL, to Beracoa, Cuba. One crewmember was lost but 32 were rescued and taken to Cuba.

1947: EXANTHIA struck a mine in the Mediterranean while 12 miles from the island of Elba while traveling from Istanbul to New York. The ship was flooded and abandoned but reboarded and eventually towed to New York for repairs. The ship sailed for the American Export Lines and came to the Great Lakes on nine occasions from 1959-1961. After a few years in the James River Reserve Fleet, the vessel was taken to Brownsville, Texas, in 1975 and broken up.

1971: SUNCLIPPER, a Seaway trader in 1966, was built in 1953 as BOW BRASIL. It ran aground at Haifa Bay as f) CLIPPER when the anchors dragged in a storm. The ship was refloated April 10, and taken to Perama, Greece. It was sold “as lies” to Turkish ship breakers, and arrived at Istanbul, Turkey, for scrapping on August 29, 1972.

1985: LETITIA was the 96th and final addition to the British flag Donaldson Line. It made four trips through the Seaway in 1966 and three more in 1967. It was sailing as d) TEPORA when it caught fire in the Gulf of Mexico en route to Veracruz, Mexico, on March 12, 1985. The Honduran-flagged freighter was abandoned by the crew. The fire was apparently extinguished and the vessel reboarded. It was taken in tow but the blaze broke out again and the ship sank on March 14.

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


Port Reports -  March 11

Lake Michigan
AIS Friday evening showed the Joyce L VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader headed downbound off Sturgeon Bay for Gary on their first trip of the new season. Bradshaw McKee/St. Marys Conquest were the first vessels to call on Manitowoc for the new season, arriving with cement from Charlevoix on Thursday.

Picton, Ont.
The cement carrier Stephen B. Roman arrived in Picton for the first visit of the year on Friday.


$160 million invested in Seaway over winter; March 20 opening looms

3/11 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. – An estimated $160 million has been invested in repair and infrastructure projects along the St. Lawrence Seaway System this winter, according to a report issued by the bi-national association representing more than 135 marine businesses and organizations.

The Chamber of Marine Commerce, headquartered in Ottawa, represents major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, according to the organization’s website.

In a report published Wednesday, the group said that during the winter of 2016-17, approximately $160 million has been invested in repair and infrastructure projects, boosting economic activity in communities throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River corridor.

The report calculated that Canadian shipowners have invested an estimated $70 million to maintain and upgrade vessels and that the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation allocated another $90 million for infrastructure modernization and maintenance projects during the same period.

The vast majority of the investment and upgrades were carried out in the last few months in preparation of the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway shipping season that begins on March 20, the report said.

Vessel projects included engine and generator overhauls, steel and mechanical work, navigation equipment and system hardware and software upgrades, accommodation and safety equipment upgrades and annual inspections, according to the chamber’s report.

Notable rehabilitation and upgrades along the St. Lawrence Seaway corridor over the past few months have included reconstruction work and improvements at Welland Canal and rehabilitation of the gates at locks one and seven in Niagara, officials said,

The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway shipping system creates 227,000 jobs in Canada and the United States and generates revenues of $35 billion annually, according to figures provided by the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

The organizations says shipping in the region contributes $4.6 billion in tax revenue yearly and supports a consumer market of more than 100 million people.

Watertown Daily Times


Coast Guard urges caution during ice breaking operations on bay of Green Bay

3/11 - Green Bay, Wis. – The Coast Guard is urging residents and people recreating on the bay of Green Bay to use caution during ice breaking operations scheduled for Monday. The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is scheduled to break ice in areas near the Fox River Entrance Channel, the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, the Menominee River entrance and the Little Bay De Noc near Escanaba.



Volunteers needed for Spring Cleaning Day at Lake Superior Marine Museum

3/11 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association is looking for volunteers to help during its annual Spring Cleaning Day. The LSMMA and the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center is hosting the event on Wednesday, March 15, at the Visitor Center in Canal Park.

Helpers are needed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone interested is asked to contact LSMMA at 218-727-2497 or email

Volunteers will wipe down displays, polish brass, dust electronic equipment and assist park rangers with other special projects. A complimentary lunch will be provided by Grandma's Sports Garden.



Today in Great Lakes History -  March 11

The keel was laid March 11, 1976, for the 660-foot-long 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.

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.

1904: The wooden-hull Lake Erie car ferry SHENANGO NO. 1 caught fire and burned following an engine room explosion on March 11, 1904. The vessel had been frozen in the ice off Conneaut since January 1 and one member of the crew perished in the blaze.

1912: FLORA M. HILL sank in Lake Michigan en route to Chicago after being caught in an ice floe that crushed the iron hull. The vessel had been built as at Philadelphia in 1874 as the lighthouse tender DAHLIA and rebuilt and renamed at Milwaukee in 1910 for Lake Michigan service.

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


Port Reports -  March 10

St. Marys River
USCG icebreaker Mackinaw was working in the lower river above DeTour on Thursday.

Escanaba, Mich.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort / Great Lakes Trader left winter layup Thursday and were loading ore at CN.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port Thursday unloading the cement cargo brought aboard earlier this week at Alpena.

Cleveland, Ohio
The steamer Alpena has been moved from her wintering slip at Lafarge cement to the nearby Great Lakes Towing facility to be readied for the 2017 shipping season.


Coast Guard to open the waters between Cheboygan, Bois Blanc Island

3/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Captain of the Port Sault Ste. Marie will open the waters between Cheboygan, Mich., and Bois Blanc Island, Mich., known as South Channel, effective 8 a.m. local on March 12.



Goderich awaits council decision on future of Marine Museum

3/10 - Goderich, Ont. – The fate of the local marine museum hangs in the balance as the Town of Goderich awaits a decision from council that will determine the museum’s future, along with the town’s role in that future. The County of Huron currently owns and operates the small museum located across from the Main Beach in the wheelhouse of the SS Shelter Bay at the Goderich harbor.

Town of Goderich Chief Administrative Officer Larry McCabe says the town was recently advised by Huron County that the county wants to remove itself from the operation of the marine museum due to declining attendance and significant maintenance costs. So the county has offered it to the town.

The museum, which contains historical photographs, paintings and various ship models, along with nautical artifacts, including the ship’s life boat, anchor, propeller, steam whistle, and compass, is dedicated to the men and women who made their living on Lake Huron.

“The County of Huron owns the marine museum and has artifacts in there, and they currently pay the ongoing operating expenses such as staffing and maintaining the artifacts,” says McCabe. “However the county decided they want to turn that over to the town. The town is now faced with what options they would have in regards to the future of the marine museum.”

McCabe says the issue has been referred to town staff to conduct a report, which will then be handed over to council. “I presume that report, when it’s finished, will include the cost of operation, but more so it would be a review of the state of the current facility. In other words, from a health and safety perspective, what is required for bringing it up to a more acceptable standard of repair. Those are the things we’ll bring in to council to decide.”

The options council will have to consider range from continuing operation as a museum to removing the building altogether. “Either it will be operated as a marine museum through the town in some way, shape or form as an approved facility, and those costs would be assessed,” McCabe says.

“Or, council is going to look at some other alternative for it at the other extreme. What they would be considering, through the budget process, is do they remove the marine museum? So that’s up to them. They need to look at all the options that are available.”

What the town will have to do, says McCabe, is look at what was proposed in its waterfront master plan for this year in relation to what [council] wants. “The master plan included the main beach, the facilities and the boardwalks, all the way to the end at St. Christopher’s Beach. So in light of the report that will come about the museum and the options available, council will look at that report and the master plan and say, ‘How does this fit in to our future requirements and what was proposed in the master plan?’

All of that will be part of the discussion on this issue, says McCabe. He says funds have already been allocated in the 2017 budget for upgrades of pavilions, the first priority included in the master plan. “But there are boardwalks, and there are proposals of such things in that area as an amphitheater-type [structure]. So council will have to look at how that fits in to the master plan.

Meighan Wark, Huron County Director of Cultural Services, says she is hopeful the town is able to make use of the museum in some way. “We would be thrilled to have the opportunity to pass the marine museum on to the town of Goderich so they can work with it,” she says. “I know that they’ve been working on a waterfront master plan, so this is something that might fit into the work that they’re already doing.”

“It’s a council decision, we’ll go from there,” says McCabe, who expects to know more by the beginning of April when the final budget and further details should come forward. “How the recreation amenities fit with the industrial amenities will always be a consideration of council and town staff as we move forward.”

Goderich Signal Star


Grand Haven receives $60K in grant funding for lighthouse restoration

3/10 - Grand Haven, Mich. – State Rep. Jim Lilly, R-Park Township, has announced Grand Haven is this year's recipient of the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program Grant. The City of Grand Haven received $60,000 in funding to assist with restoring the South Pier Lighthouse.

State legislature established the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program in 1999 to help preserve and protect Michigan's lighthouses, according to a statement. The program was created alongside the Michigan Lighthouse Project's efforts to maintain the historic nature of the state's many lighthouse stations.

Lilly said in a statement the Grand Haven lighthouse is often used as a symbol of the community and he is happy to see the state playing a role in its preservation.

"The funds awarded to the city of Grand Haven show our state's commitment to maintaining these historic structures and an investment in our community's future," Lilly said. The grant funding will be used to reconstruct and stabilize the entrance light's and inner light's porthole windows and to apply a weather stripping to the lantern doors.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link:



Port of Cleveland links private investment to Charter Steel expansion, job growth

3/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Board of Directors of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority (Port of Cleveland) met Thursday to review and approve a development finance agreement that will link $38 million in private party investment funds to Charter Steel’s expansion of its Cuyahoga Heights facilities through the Port’s development finance program.

Charter Steel, North America’s leading producer of carbon and alloy steel wire rod, is building a new rolling mill to serve the growing cut-to-length steel bar market. The new facility will be built adjacent to Charter Steel’s existing coil mill and steelmaking operations in Cuyahoga Heights, and adds an additional 25 jobs, bringing Charter’s local employment total to approximately 355 employees. Total project cost of the expansion is $146.6 million, representing the largest investment in the company’s history.

In maritime matters, the Board approved a one-year agreement authorizing Federal Marine Terminals, Inc. (FMT) to continue as terminal operator for Warehouses A, 24, 26, and the Maintenance Shed. The new deal also expands FMT’s role to Dock 22 and Warehouse 22, including providing stevedoring services to the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE), the only scheduled container vessel service between the Great Lakes, Europe, and points beyond.

“FMT has proven itself a strong service provider on the Port of Cleveland’s docks,” said Dave Gutheil, Port Vice President, Maritime & Logistics. “This new agreement will help streamline and improve efficiencies at our facilities.” Gutheil also stated that the deal represents a meaningful increase of 5.5% in lease revenue from the 2016 agreement.

Port of Cleveland


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 seacocks 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.

In 2000, the HARMONIOUS, a Panamanian freighter dating from 1977, visited the Great Lakes in 1978 and returned on several occasions through 1986. It was lost on the Arabian Sea as c) KASTOR TOO while traveling from Aqaba, Jordan, to Visakhapatnam, India, with a cargo of phosphate on March 10, 2000. The crew of 18 were rescued by the nearby container ship MILDBURG.

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



Canadian registry opened for Algoma Strongfield

3/9 - According to the Transport Canada website, Canadian registry was opened March 8, 2017 for Algoma Strongfield, with the registered owner as Algoma Central Corp. This is the vessel that was caught in the 2015 financial collapse of its builder, Nantong Minde Heavy Industry Co., based in Jiangsu Province, China. The mostly- completed Equinox-class vessel was sold to Singapore interests in early February. It now appears to have been resold to Algoma.

The vessel was originally intended to run for the Canadian Wheat Board, now the Global Grain Group (G3), as CWB Strongfield under Algoma management. Given the new name, it seems unlikely Algoma Strongfield will join her sistership G3 Marquis under G3 ownership.


Spring, new shipping season is near for Port of Hamilton

3/9 - Hamilton, Ont. – The first day of spring marks the start of shipping season at the Port of Hamilton this year. Twenty-one vessels including ships, tugs and barges that passed the winter and underwent repairs in Hamilton will be venturing back into the Great Lakes starting March 20, says Hamilton Port Authority spokesperson Larissa Fenn.

The maintenance work conducted is part of an estimated $160 million spent on repair and infrastructure projects this winter by Canadian ship owners and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in ports ranging from Sarnia to Port Colborne to Thunder Bay, according to the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

"The (Hamilton) port never really sleeps," said Fenn. "There's a lot to do both on board the vessels and on the terminals on land."

Similar to other ports, some of the work done in Hamilton included safety and mechanical inspections as well as upgrades and repairs, she said.

Work has also continued on a new, $45-million wheat flour mill for the milling division of grain-handling giant Parrish and Heimbecker Limited that sits at the foot of Wellington Street North. Another going concern is a new $50-million grain terminal by Winnipeg-based G3 Global Grain Group, at Pier 26 off Eastport Drive. Both are expected to begin service this year.

Since the seaway closed for the winter on Dec. 31, its management corporation tackled projects such as upgrading lighting on locks and bridges, and rehabilitating approach walls and fendering at St. Lambert Lock in Montreal.

Ships that spent the winter in the Port of Hamilton belong to companies such as McKeil Marine, Lower Lakes Marine and Algoma Central Corporation, said Fenn.

St. Catharines-based Algoma Central had four ships in Hamilton on winter layup this year and hired between 10 and 15 extra contractors to work on the vessels, said Kelly Humes, the company's director of technical services.

While all of their vessels underwent routine maintenance like generator and engine overhauls, their biggest project was a total cargo hold recoating for the Radcliffe R. Latimer, she added, involving "about 50,000 or 60,000 square feet of steel."

Hamilton Spectator


Proposed budegt cuts would hit Great Lakes beach safety, Coast Guard, fishery research

3/9 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Proposed budget cuts at the National Atmospheric & Oceanic Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Coast Guard could have a huge impact on Great Lakes fishery research, beach and boater safety, environmental protection, algal bloom monitoring, icebreaking, maritime security and rescue capabilities.

The Washington Post reported this weekend the Trump administration wants to cut the nation's top weather and climate agency $5.6 billion budget by 17 percent, citing a leaked memo from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The NOAA cuts come on the heels of a proposed 97 percent cut to an Environmental Protection Agency grant program that funds Great Lakes pollution cleanup, invasive species management and watershed projects in eight states.

Politico also reported that the U.S. Coast Guard is facing a 14 percent cut to its $9.1 billion budget as part of Trump's effort to boost immigration enforcement.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link:


Ferry trip offers waterfront views of 32 Lake Michigan lighthouses

3/9 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – Reservations are open for an all-inclusive, five-day ferry excursion that includes a visit to 32 different Great Lakes lighthouses. There are 80 spots available for the trip which takes place in the northern part of Lake Michigan June 5-9. It is presented by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, which oversees the care of two lighthouses in the region.

Guests travel aboard the Shepler's Ferry vessel Hope and stay at different resorts along the way, including Weathervane Terrace Inn & Suites in Charlevoix and Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

"It's an awesome thing to do," said Terry Pepper, executive director. "Lighthouses were built for the mariners so by going out to see them the way they were designed for from the water is unique."

The price for the trip is $1,395 per person for double occupancy, or $1,645 per person single occupancy. Non-members will also need to purchase a membership in order to participate. The price includes all costs of transportation, lodging, food, soft drinks, and gratuities from the time the boat is boarded.

All proceeds will benefit the GLLKA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the care and promotion of all lighthouses, especially those in the Great Lakes.

Read more, and view photos at this link:


Sarnia’s ‘Ghost Fleet’ of shipwrecks featured in new book

3/9 - Sarnia, Ont. – Hidden on the bottom of Lake Huron just north of Sarnia lies a “Ghost Fleet” of shipwrecks being featured in a Canada sesquicentennial project. The book, ‘Canada’s 150 Most Famous Great Lakes Shipwrecks,’ was written and photographed by Windsor-based scuba divers Cris Kohl and Joan Forsberg.

“The goal (is) to educate people, to let them know that quite frankly a lot of places like Toronto, Thunder Bay and Sarnia wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for ships,” said Kohl. “That’s how they got their start.”

The ‘Ghost Fleet’ is comprised of four ships that went down in the St. Clair River in the early 1900s but wound up at rest in the lake about 12 kilometres northwest of Sarnia. The shipwrecks all lie within three kilometres of each other in about 70 feet of water.

Sarnia council agreed to sponsor a page in the 224-page book, which is set for release in mid-April and will be available at The Bookkeeper for $19.95.

Kohl said he discovered the ‘Ghost Fleet’ in 1993 while searching for the Wexford, a ship that disappeared during the Great Storm of 1913. Though he didn’t find the Wexford he was able to locate and identify the Aztec, the Sachem, the Province, and the Yakima.

Kohl’s colleague Jim Stayer coined the nickname ‘The Ghost Fleet of the St. Clair River.’

All four ships sank in the river and were scuttled in Sarnia Bay, which was then the place ships went to die, he said. As wrecks began to accumulate in the bay a decision was made to move some of them to open water.

“In those environmentally worry-free days they didn’t care as long as they got them out of sight. Out of sight, out of mind,” he said.

The book, Kohl’s 17th, is a way to recognize Canada’s 150th birthday while paying tribute to the ships and their fearless sailors, he said.

“Because of the cold, fresh water of the Great Lakes we have something very unique. We have the best preserved shipwrecks in the world,” said Kohl, who has been scuba diving since 1974. “In the Great Lakes, you can dive on a shipwreck that went down 150 years ago and it looks like, if it could be raised to the surface, it would float again.”

Sarnia Journal


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.

1985: The Norwegian freighter TRONSTAD first came to the Great Lakes as a pre-Seaway visitor in 1957. It returned on another 12 occasions after the new waterway opened in 1959. The vessel was sailing a d) CRUZ DEL SUR when it was confiscated by U.S. authorities for drug smuggling and brought to Miami on this date in 1985. The 30-year old ship was towed out into the Atlantic and scuttled off Miami on December 19, 1986.

2007: The Greek freighter WISMAR was built in 1979 and came through the Seaway in 1980. It lost power below Lock 2 of the Welland Canal while upbound on August 30, 1980, and had to drop anchor. It was sailing as h) GRACIA from Thailand to Dakar, Senegal, with a cargo of rice, when the engine failed in heavy weather in the Indian Ocean on February 27, 2007. The crew took to the lifeboats and was rescued. The former Great Lakes visitor was last seen on March 7, adrift, with a 20-degree list to port, and likely soon sank.

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


Canadian fleets, Seaway invest $160M to prepare for new season

3/8 - Ottawa, Ont. – Canadian shipowners and the St. Lawrence Seaway have spent an estimated $160 million on repair and infrastructure projects this winter, boosting the economic fortunes of communities throughout the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence and east coast.

Canadian shipowners have invested an estimated $70 million to maintain and upgrade their vessels during the winter months — an annual exercise that keeps their vessels in tip-top shape to safely and efficiently deliver goods for North American businesses.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation also allocated $90 million for infrastructure modernization and maintenance projects in 2016-2017, the vast majority of which were carried out in the last few months in advance of the Seaway opening on March 20.

“Even in the off season, Canadian shipowners and the St. Lawrence Seaway spend millions of dollars with equipment suppliers and repair businesses, helping to sustain well-paying, highly skilled jobs in communities all over the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence region,” says Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

Vessel projects include engine and generator overhauls, steel and mechanical work, navigation equipment and system hardware and software upgrades, accommodation and safety equipment upgrades and various annual inspections. Several vessels also had five-year dry dock inspections, which are required by Transport Canada and survey all aspects of the ship below the waterline. Winter lay-up and vessel repairs took place in Sarnia, Hamilton, Port Colborne, Thunder Bay, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie, Nanticoke, Midland, Isle-aux-Coudres (Quebec), Montreal, Quebec City, Les Méchins (Quebec), Shelbourne (Nova Scotia) and Halifax (Nova Scotia).

Notable rehabilitation and upgrades by the St. Lawrence Seaway over the past few months include:

• Reconstruction of the Upper Lock 1 tie-up wall in the Welland Canal
• Rehabilitation of gates at locks 1 and 7 in Niagara and at Lock 7 in Maisonneuve
• Bank protection in the Welland Canal
• Rehabilitation of lock and weir valves in both regions
• Rehabilitation of the swing bridge in Beauharnois and of Bridge 3A in Niagara
• Rehabilitation of approach walls and fendering at St-Lambert Lock
• Deployment of Hands Free Mooring units in the Flight Locks in Niagara
• Locks and bridges lighting upgrades

"The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation's ongoing investments in asset renewal and modernization ensure that our waterway continues to process ship transits safely, efficiently and reliably,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

“With a system availability rate approaching 100 per cent over the last 10 years, the Corporation and its staff have done an excellent job in managing the Seaway's locks and channels, which form the core of a vital trade artery that connects the heartland of North America to markets across the globe.”

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Great Lakes / Seaway group releases 2016 ballast water management report

3/8 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard has announced the release of the Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group's 2016 Summary of Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Management activities.

The Great Lakes Seaway Ballast Water Working Group is a bi-national collection of representatives from the United States Coast Guard, the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, Transport Canada - Marine Safety & Security, and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. The group’s mandate is to develop, enhance, and coordinate bi-national compliance and enforcement efforts to reduce the introduction of aquatic invasive species via ballast water and residuals.

In 2016, 100 percent of vessels bound for the Great Lakes Seaway from outside the Exclusive Economic Zone received a ballast water management exam. In total, the BWWG assessed all 8,488 ballast tanks, during the 466 vessel transits in the 2016 navigation season.

This is the seventh consecutive year that BWWG agencies ensured the examination of 100 percent of ballast tanks entering the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, and the group anticipates continued high ship compliance rates for the 2016 navigation season.

For more information, please contact U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Christopher Tantillo at 216-902-6049 or Christopher. J.



Ice boom removal by New York Power Authority begins early

3/8 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The ice boom is coming out early again. New York Power Authority marine crews began work Monday morning to remove the 22-span barrier where Lake Erie flows into the Niagara River.

“The last time I talked to them, they’d removed a couple sections before noon,” said Andrew Kornacki, chief of public affairs for the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Complete removal of the boom usually takes two or three days, he said, weather permitting. Current images of the boom can be seen online at

The warmest February on record in Buffalo and lack of ice on Lake Erie has led to one of the earliest dates for the removal of the boom. The earliest ever removal was Feb. 28, 2012. “For the second consecutive year, mild weather conditions for most of this winter season have resulted in little to no ice cover on Lake Erie,” according to an International Joint Commission statement issued Monday. “Considering the lack of ice cover on the lake and the absence of an ice buildup in the Maid-of-the-Mist Pool below Niagara Falls, preparations are underway for the removal of the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom.”

Last year, which was also an abnormally warm winter, the ice boom removal started March 8. There is currently no ice on Lake Erie, according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. There has been less than 1 percent ice on the lake since Feb. 22, the data shows. That’s dramatically below average.

Usually, about half of Lake Erie is still encrusted in ice during the first week in March. Ice coverage on Lake Erie, and the Great Lakes at large, has run below average most of this winter.

The Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom has been a winter fixture at the outlet of Lake Erie since 1964. The boom is designed to prevent ice from entering the Niagara River to reduce chances for ice jamming, which could impact shoreline properties along the Niagara River and hydro-electric production, the IJC reported.

Buffalo News


Video documents delivery trip of Colleen and Katie G. McAllister tugs

3/8 - This travelogue was compiled for the Port City Marine Services company meeting. The presentation highlights the trip from New York to Muskegon with the newly purchased Colleen and Katie G. McAllister tugboats. Credits for photos include, Nelson Brace Photography, and Brenda Benoit Photography.


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.

1981 MEZADA of the Zim Israel Line first came to the Great Lakes in 1966 after it had been lengthened to 676 feet. The vessel had been built in 1960 and foundered after breaking in two about 100 miles east of Bermuda on March 8, 1981. The 19,247 gross ton bulk carrier was traveling from Haifa to Baltimore with a cargo of potash and 24 lives were lost while only 11 sailors were rescued.

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


Port Reports -  March 7

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The new shipping season began at Lafarge on Monday morning with the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation. They tied up under the silos to load product, which will be delivered to Milwaukee, Wis.


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. The ship was repaired at Welland and returned to service on October 6.

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.

1969: The British freighter MONTCALM, a Seaway trader when new in 1960, made 29 trips to the Great Lakes to the end of 1967. A truck in #1 hold got loose on this date in an Atlantic storm 420 miles southeast of Halifax in 1969 causing a heavy list and a 12 foot gash in the hull. A U.S.C.G. helicopter dropped extra pumps and the ship reached Halifax and safety. The vessel later became a livestock carrier and arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as c) SIBA EDOLO on August 8, 1988.

1973: BISCAYA was a Danish flag freighter that first came inland in 1965. It was sailing as c) MARGARITA, and under Greek registry, when it sank following a collision with the ANZOATEGUI, a Venezuelan reefer ship, while in bound about 39 miles off Maracaibo, Venezuela on March 7, 1983. It was carrying barytes, a mineral used in oil-drilling fluids, from El Salvador.

1982: OCEAN LEADER came to the Great Lakes in 1980 and ran aground upbound near Sault Ste. Marie on November 11 when the radar malfunctioned. Later, in 1982 as c) FINIKI, the then 7-year old ship hit an underwater obstruction 10 miles west of the Moruka Light, while en route to Paramaribo, Suriname. The vessel reached Georgetown, Guyana, and was declared a total loss. It was reported as scuttled in the Atlantic off Jacksonville, Fla., on or after December 9, 1982.

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


American Steamship Co. starts fit out this week; 6 vessels to remain tied up

3/6 - Crews will begin reporting to the vessels of the American Steamship Co. fleet this week for the 2017 season. Not scheduled to sail this year are St. Clair, American Courage Sam Laud and Adam E. Cornelius. The latter two are laid up at Huron, Ohio. In addition, American Victory and American Valor will continue in long-term layup.


Moran Iron Works building fisheries research vessel

3/6 - Onaway, Mich. - Moran Iron Works is building a new 56-foot-nine by 16-foot-six inch-wide deep aluminum fisheries research vessel for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Green Bay, Wis. The USFWS and MIW announced the project in November.

The name of the vessel is the Stanford H. Smith and people can follow the progress of the boat’s construction on the Moran Iron Works website.

Preliminary design on the vessel was performed by Seacraft Design LLC, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., with MIW working to finalize the design and construction drawings. The official keel laying was Jan. 23. The project will require some 11,000 man hours on the shop floor over the next nine months, employing a crew of six. In October, the vessel will be transported by trailer to Moran’s Port Calcite location, the deepwater port in nearby Rogers City, Mich., for launch to become the newest addition to the USFWS fleet.

“This well-designed vessel will provide a larger, faster and more efficient work platform for biologists in lakes Michigan and Huron for years to come,” Jason Willis, project manager at MIW, said in a statement announcing the contract. “We’re proud to be a part of this project for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Weighing in at 63,582 lbs. and sporting a draft of four-feet, six inches, the new boat will feature a Kennebec net lifter, Rapp winches and net reel and Kolstrand winch necessary for Fish and Wildlife personnel to do their jobs. Capacities will include 1,160 gallons of fuel oil and 75 gallons of water, with a 78-gallon holding tank. The rear deck will measure 195 sq. ft. covered and 255 sq. ft. uncovered.

Main propulsion will come from twin John Deere 6135 SFM85 diesel engines, producing 500 hp at 1,900 hp each. The propulsion package will give the new research vessel a speed of 20 knots. Ship’s service power will be the responsibility of a Northern Lights M844 DW3 genset, sparking 16 kW of electrical power.

Workboat, Rich Nicholls


New station will help seafarers in Oshawa

3/6 - Oshawa, Ont. – The Rev. Judith Alltree can’t wait to board the first freighter that comes into the Port of Oshawa this spring and welcome the crew. “When they say, ‘Where is the Seafarers’ Club?’ I’ll be able to point up the street and say, ‘You’re five minutes away.’ They’ll be absolutely thrilled.”

Thanks to a generous grant, the Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario is installing its first station in the Port of Oshawa. Ms. Alltree, executive director of the mission, hopes to have the building up and running when the shipping season begins in late March.

Ms. Alltree, a priest of the diocese, says the station will make an enormous difference in the lives of the seafarers. The Port of Oshawa is one of the fastest growing shipping terminals on Lake Ontario, with about 150 freighters from all over the world docking from late March to December.

In previous years, seafarers coming off the ships would ask where the nearest “Seaman’s Club” was – their nickname for Mission to Seafarers stations around the world – and were disappointed to learn it was 65 km away in Toronto. “They’d look at me like I’d lost my mind,” says Ms. Alltree.

With the help of volunteers, Ms. Alltree would arrange to drive the men to the nearest mall in Oshawa, about a 10-minute drive away. If a ride wasn’t available, they’d have an expensive taxi ride ahead of them.

These on-shore visits are crucial, she says, because the men are desperate to talk to their families after weeks at sea. “The first thing they want is WiFi. They’ve been on a journey across the Atlantic or up the coast and they want to get in touch with their families. They need to hear their wives’ or their girlfriends’ or their mothers’ voices.” The station will be the only place in the port where the seafarers are provided with free WiFi.

The mission tried to provide free mobile WiFi in the port but it was too expensive. As the number of seafarers arriving in Oshawa increased over the years – more than 3,000 arrived last year – it became clear that a more permanent solution was needed.

The situation took a turn for the better last year when the mission received a £10,000 grant from Seafarers UK, an organization that supports missions to seafarers in Commonwealth countries. The mission used the money to buy a used Miller construction trailer, which it transported from Burlington to the Port of Oshawa.

Ms. Alltree admits that the trailer needs to be fixed up. It needs new doors, floors, walls and windows. It also needs to be hooked up to hydro. But she’s thrilled that at long last there will be a station for the seafarers.

“This way, they can walk from the foot of the gangway to the station in five minutes and we’ll have the coffee on and a WiFi code for them. They can sit down in an easy chair and put their feet up. We might even be able to get a big-screen TV. They’ll have place to get away from the ship, especially the noise.”

Ms. Alltree is looking for local volunteers to help out. The job includes staffing the station and going on the ships to welcome the crews. Ideally, volunteers would be able to commit to two to six hours a week. Training will be provided. “Going on board the ship is a huge thrill,” she says. “I never get tired of it.”

The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario has two other stations, in the ports of Toronto and Hamilton. It is part of the Canadian branch of the worldwide Missions to Seafarers, founded in 1856 as an Anglican outreach ministry.

Ms. Alltree says the support from parishes and individuals over the years has been remarkable. “We’re incredibly grateful for the amount of support that we continue to receive from so many churches in the Diocese of Toronto. Every dime of their support is vital to us. From small churches to big churches – it is astonishing who still remembers us.”

Diocese of Toronto


Traverse City aircrew rescues injured snowmobiler from remote area in Canada

3/6 - Traverse City, Mich – A helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City rescued an injured snowmobiler suffering life-threatening injuries from a remote area in southern Canada Saturday.

Personnel at Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Trenton, Ontario, received a report of the emergency from the Ontario Provincial Police Department and Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Fire Department late Saturday afternoon. Due to the nature of the injuries and close proximity to the U.S. border, JRCC Trenton requested assistance from the Coast Guard’s District Nine Command Center in Cleveland.

The rescue crew from Air Station Traverse City was launched at 6:45 p.m. EST. After a brief fuel stop at the Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Airport, the helicopter crew continued on its mission and reached the injured snowmobiler in a remote area near Chapleau, Ontario, about 10 p.m.

The man was located in a heavily wooded area covered in waist deep snow. He had been traveling alone when his injury occurred. Another group of snowmobilers on the same trail found the man. Some of the snowmobilers traveled to a lodge several miles away to phone for help and provide a GPS location, while the others built a fire to keep the man warm.

Despite the deep snow, steep slope, and winds in excess of 25 miles per hour, a member of the Coast Guard aircrew was lowered from the helicopter, which was hovering about 125 feet above the ground, and quickly prepared the man to be hoisted to the aircraft.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew then transported the man to Sault Ste. Marie Airport in Ontario where an awaiting ambulance took him to a nearby hospital for further evaluation and treatment.

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City operates four helicopters for search and rescue operations for Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron and the surrounding Great Lakes region.



Hospital ship is a calling for marine engineer

3/6 - St. Catharines, Ont. – It seems that her first experience aboard the Africa Mercy made quite an impression on St. Catharines resident Sara Wegener. A year ago the now 28-year-old returned from spending just over two months on the world’s largest hospital ship while helping people in Madagascar.

The marine engineering graduate said that initially she felt that sea-time was more important than a 9 to 5 job and that volunteering was a good way of giving back. She recalled it as a life-changing experience – so when they messaged her to come back, she was quick to answer.

“I must have made an impression, I was home for a month, and they just emailed, ‘Can you come back?’ “I wanted to do a longer stint the first time, but I wasn’t prepared to extend it.” She was this time.

Promoted to the ship’s third engineer, the holder of an honors bachelor degree in biological physics said she has found her ideal job. “I grin like an idiot when I step on a ship.”

But she admitted that the honeymoon period was over the second time around. With the promotion came a lot more work and she oversaw a team of seven people. Wearing overalls and plaid shirt, she with her team performed major generator overhauls while the ships were in dock. And those times when they weren’t working on the ship they would help out in areas of South Africa that were very impoverished.“

There was a whole bunch of Canadian girls that liked to make clothing and supplies so we set up a table in the middle of nowhere in an area that looked very impoverished and the children lined up, I wasn’t part of that the first time.”

She recalled being asked one time to donate blood because of an emergency need in the hospital.The floating hospital includes five operating theatres, recovery, an intensive care unit and 80 patient beds.

The 16,500-tonne vessel is the largest operated by global charity Mercy Ships, a faith-based organization delivering free health-care services to people in the developing world. As well the ship has laboratory services, an X-ray unit and CT scan.

“We went from Madagascar to Durban in South Africa while a team goes forward and does an advance screening. It’s months of work to have whole towns line up and to be screened,” she said.

Wegener said she helped in one community where 700 people had lined up for one day. It took three weeks in total to screen the town. “In the hospitals, you have to pay for water, pay for mosquito netting, for the bed, most people can’t afford it.”

She hopes to encourage others to volunteer, adding that it’s not just doctors and nurses that they need. “So many skills that can be used, technical teams, electricians even laundry services, everyone is needed.”

Just now settling in back at home, she is planning to pursue the next level of her marine engineering, but she knows she already has an open invitation on the hospital ship.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Huron Shipmasters’ Lodge No. 2 announces raffle winners

3/6 - The Port Huron Lodge No. 2 of the International Shipmasters’ Association have announced the winners of its’ 2016/2017 freighter trip raffle. The drawing was held at the lodges’ 126th Annual Dinner Dance at the DoubleTree-Hilton in Port Huron, Mich., March 4.

Grand Prize: Mrs. Lisa Ludington of Lexington, Mich. (Trip for 4 aboard an Interlake Steamship Company vessel in the 2017 sailing season.)

2nd Prize: Mr. Tim Sonnega of Shoreline, Wa. ($1,000 cash)

3rd Prize: Mrs. Charlotte Moore-Viculin of Dearborn Heights, Michigan (round trip passage for two on the car ferry Badger including 1 auto and accommodations.)

ISMA Port Huron Lodge No. 2


Updates -  March 6

News Photo Gallery  


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.

1982 INDIANA was chartered to Swedish interests when it made four trips to the Great Lakes in 1962. It was sailing as d) ZOE II, under Liberian registry, when it was abandoned in the Adriatic Sea, south of Pula, Yugoslavia, (now Croatia) after a severe list had developed while on a voyage from Koper, Yugoslavia, (now Slovenia) to Ancona, Italy, on March 6, 1982. No further trace of the ship was ever found.

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


Port Reports -  March 5

Detroit, Mich.  – Tom Hynes
Per AIS, the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation departed the Lafarge dock at Detroit on  Friday March 3 and headed downriver towards Cleveland. They were still in port early Sunday morning.


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 vehicle 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.

1997 - The former Greek bulk carrier ANTONIS P. LEMOS had been built at Osaka, Japan, in 1976, and visited the Great Lakes that year. As c) ALBION TWO, the ship departed Gdynia, Poland, for Kingston, Jamaica, with a cargo of steel products and was reported as missing on March 5. Wreckage was later found off the coast of France and identified as from the missing vessel. All 25 crewmembers were lost. The ship had also been through the Seaway as b) MACFRIENDSHIP in November 1993 with a cargo of steel for Hamilton.

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


Port Reports -  March 4

Milwaukee, Wis. – Tom Hynes
The tug Bradshaw McKee and the barge St. Marys Conquest left winter layup at South Chicago (the Sheds) shortly after midnight on March 3, upbound for the St. Marys Cement dock in Milwaukee. She was docked there Friday night.


Proposed budget slashes Great Lakes EPA funding to 10 million in early budget plan

3/4 - Detroit, Mich. – The White House is proposing to slash Environmental Protection Agency funding that pays for Great Lakes pollution cleanup by 97 percent, according to a budget document obtained by the National Association of Clean Air Agencies.

The potential cuts are part of President Donald Trump's initial 2018 budget proposal, detailed in a U.S. Office of Management and Budget "passback" to the EPA that outlines drastic cuts to an agency Trump has called a "job killer" and promised to reduce to "tidbits" as a candidate.

The proposal would virtually eliminate annual Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funding, slashing it from $300 million to $10 million among other cuts that would altogether reduce the EPA's total budget by a quarter.

Specific program cuts were reported by the Oregonian and have been confirmed by other news agencies like the Detroit Free Press.

The Trump administration says it will release its final budget the week of March 13. The EPA and State Department are expected to take major blows to meet Trump's goal of increasing military spending by 10 percent.

The EPA has the option to appeal the cuts before the budget is sent to Congress, but has not yet made any public statements about a counter proposal.

The Great Lakes funding cut is the largest total dollar reduction on a list that includes major cuts to climate change programs, restoration funding for Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay, research into chemicals that disrupt human reproductive and developmental systems, enforcement of pollution laws and funding for Brownfield cleanups.

Read more at this link:


Thunder Bay shipyard owners reveal their plans

3/4 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – As many as 80 people will work at the Thunder Bay Shipyard after the new owners of the property put it into operation this spring.

The new owners of the idled Thunder Bay shipyard—which operated for decades as the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Company—say they will be up and running soon with 25 full-time employees, and up to 80 workers during peak periods.

Hamilton-based Heddle Marine is a ship repair and service business offering a wide range of services including dry docking, fabrication, mechanical, machining, electrical and hydraulic work to a diverse range of clients including maritime vessel operators, offshore/onshore oil and gas operators, the military and the Coast Guard.

Besides Thunder Bay and Hamilton, it has facilities in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. An agreement to acquire the Thunder Bay site was finalized last June, but not made public until last September.

Now, Heddle Marine has announced that it will operate in the city as a start-up company known as Current River Holdings Inc., in collaboration with local partner Fabmar Metals Inc. The shipyard is expected to become operational sometime this spring.

In a news release, spokesperson Shaun Padulo says the venture has received support from the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission as well as the Thunder Bay Port Authority.

Padulo said Fabmar "will form the cornerstone of Heddle's operations at the Thunder Bay Shipyard."

He added that although it plans to begin with 25 workers, the company hopes to increase the full-time staff by diversifying its product offerings to areas such as fabrication work for infrastructure projects in northwestern Ontario.


ERP Iron Ore secures customer, focuses on restart of Grand Rapids plant

3/4 - Grand Rapids, Minn. – There was a positive update on Friday from the owner of ERP Iron Ore, Tom Clarke, a Virginia-businessman who's purchased the former Magnetation assets.

"I signed an agreement this week for concentrate, and need to start delivering in May," he said over the phone. "It will be three trains a month, so it's small, but it's a start. It gets all the systems up and running and everything."

So Clarke and his team have to get going. There are teams on the ground in Grand Rapids at Plant 4 and in Reynolds, Ind., at the pellet plant, preparing for a restart. The facilities have been shutdown since last fall, when a bankruptcy court approved the end of Magnetation.

Some of the people back on site are former employees of Magnetation, according to Clarke. He anticipates needing to hire about 100 people for Plant 4. "There will be a website soon, where people can apply," he said.

There’s also a contractor on site. As for the plants being union shops, he said that hasn't come up yet, but he would welcome that conversation. "I believe 7 out of 9 of our facilities are union, and we have United Steelworkers and United Mine Workers," he observed.

Clarke gets a progress report each day about what's happening at the plants, and said it's exciting. He said they are participating in regional meetings too, to get their name out there.



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 carpenters that 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.

1976 - The former British freighter GRETAFIELD of 1952, a Great Lakes visitor for the first time in 1962, hit the breakwall entering Cape Town, South Africa, as c) SIROCCO I and received extensive bow damage. It was sold to Taiwanese shipbreakers and departed May 15,1976, arriving at Kaohsiung July 5 for dismantling.

1983 - The former Danish freighter MARIE SKOU of 1962, inland for the first time in 1966, caught fire in the engine room and was abandoned by the crew south of Sicily as b) CLEO C. The vessel was towed to Malta on March 9 and scrapped there beginning in April.

1986 - The onetime Greek freighter YEMELOS, built in 1962 as MIGOLINA and renamed in 1972, first came inland in 1973. It was abandoned as e) TANFORY off Trincomolee, Sri Lanka, en route from Kandla, India, to Chittagong, Bangladesh, with salt and bentonite. The ship was presumed to have sunk.

1995 - The tug ERIE NO. 1, a) DUNKIRK, b) PEGGY M., c) RENE PURVIS sank at the dock in Toronto. It was raised by a crane June 18, 1995, but the cable snapped, dropping the hull on the dock breaking the tug’s back. The vessel was broken up at that location in late 1995.

2011 - LOUIS JOLLIET caught fire at Montreal during winter work. The ex-St. Lawrence ferry was being used as an excursion vessel.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, “Ahoy & Farewell II” and the “Great Lakes Ships We Remember” series.


Shipping begins on Cuyahoga River

3/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – Thursday was opening day for the 2017 Great Lakes shipping season as Interlake Steamship Co.'s Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder made its way up the Cuyahoga River through downtown Cleveland with a load of iron ore bound for ArcelorMittal.


OSHA Investigation at Fraser Shipyards

3/3 - Superior, Wis. – OSHA has opened another investigation at Fraser Shipyards. This time, it's because an employee suffered burns. According to OSHA, the employee had been working in a cargo hold in Duluth harbor on Feb. 6. The burn injury required hospitalization. According to Essentia Health, the man is still hospitalized, and is listed in fair condition.

OSHA was notified about the incident on Feb. 7. Details about the investigation are not public at this time, including which vessel the man had been working on.

This news comes two months after Fraser announced a settlement with OSHA over alleged lead exposure. The investigation into the lead exposure began in February of 2016. OSHA cited Fraser with 14 health violations. 14 workers had lead levels up to 20 times the exposure limit, according to the agency.

The original civil penalty was nearly $1.4 million dollars, but the settlement cut it in half. The settlement also included Fraser establishing a new safety plan, as well as additional worker protections, and working with OSHA for three years to monitor safety.

Local union leaders were unable to comment on this recent burn accident. Fraser said in a statement: "Fraser Shipyards is not able to comment on personal medical conditions of our team members." OSHA has six months to complete this new investigation.



Logistec appointed as new terminal operator at Cleveland Bulk Terminal

3/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – Logistec USA Inc., a subsidiary of Logistec Corporation, has signed a 10-year agreement with the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to operate the Cleveland Bulk Terminal as of April 2017.

“Cleveland Bulk Terminal will become a significant part of our network along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway,” said Madeleine Paquin, president and CEO of Logistec.

Cleveland Bulk Terminal handles dry bulk commodities, principally iron ore pellets destined for steel production on the Cuyahoga River Ship Channel and limestone destined for Ohio power plants. The 45-acre facility began operating in 1997 and is located on the outer harbor of the Port of Cleveland, west of the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The terminal is directly serviced by Norfolk Southern railroad.

Logistec has been operating in the United States for more than 20 years and handles dry cargo at 10 ports and terminals along the East Coast. These activities include: containers, steel, steel scrap and project cargo in Port Manatee, Florida; steel, lumber and salt in New London, Connecticut; and various bulk products (notably biomass) in Brunswick, Georgia. Through its subsidiaries, Logistec also handles forest products in Baltimore, Maryland (BalTerm) and operates port logistics facilities adjacent to the Port of Virginia (CrossGlobe).

Port of Cleveland


Sarnia church hosting annual mariners’ service this weekend

3/3 - Sarnia, Ont. – An interfaith church service to usher in the Great Lakes shipping season returns to Point Edward on March 5. The annual Mariners’ service at historic St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Point Edward — also known as The Sailor’s Church — begins at 10 a.m.

From 1869 until 1902, St. Paul’s was located at Livingston and Victoria streets, where its steeple would reflect light from the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron, increasing visibility for ships entering the St. Clair River from Lake Huron. The Sailor’s Church was relocated to 210 Michigan Ave. in 1902, and many visitors return each year to pay tribute to the mariners who navigated the Great Lakes and honor the important role shipping has played in the life of the community.

Speaking will be shipping enthusiast and photographer Mark Dease, followed by light refreshments. On display will be shipping artifacts and memorabilia in the St. Paul’s heritage room.

Sarnia Journal


Hopes high Former President will attend Buffalo commissioning of Navy ship

3/3 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Former President Bill Clinton will be invited and it is hoped he will attend in September the commissioning of the USS Little Rock in Buffalo, one of the Navy's newest and swiftest combat vessels, a law enforcement source and two members of the area's military community told The Buffalo News.

"If President Clinton does come, it will be a fantastic honor," Col. Patrick J. Cunningham, executive director of the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park, said when asked about the visit. However, Moe Naylon, chairman of the commissioning committee, pointed out that official invitations have not yet been sent out, because a firm date for the ship's commissioning has not been finalized. The tentative date is Sept. 30.

"When we get a firm date, we will invite all of the living presidents to the commissioning," Naylon said. "We're hopeful that President Clinton will come, but we have no expectation at this point."

The invitation to Clinton will be extended because he is a native of Arkansas and the state's former governor and because the ship is named for the state's capital. Already scheduled to attend the commissioning is outgoing Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who served on the decommissioned Little Rock. In fact, it was Mabus who named the new Little Rock.

Cunningham said the commissioning of the ship will not only be a major event for Buffalo but also historic: "At no time in history has any other Navy ship bearing the name of its predecessor been commissioned while alongside its predecessor."

This is the first time a Navy ship is being commissioned in Buffalo. The original USS Little Rock was commissioned at the end of World War II.

The new USS Little Rock is a littoral combat ship, which allows it to navigate closer to shorelines and can take on illicit-trafficking operations in places such as the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as counter-piracy operations in places such as around the Horn of Africa.

A core crew of 50 will operate the new ship, plus 20 to 23 more sailors depending on the mission-specific equipment brought aboard. That means the total size of the crew will peak at fewer than 100, compared to the original Little Rock, which had a crew of up to 1,400. The new Little Rock can also move at speeds of up to 40 knots, which makes it one of the fastest ships in the Navy's fleet.

Buffalo News


Vessels with Great Lakes/Seaway connection reported as a Casualty or Demolition

3/3 - The following information was taken from March 2017 Marine News – Journal of the World Ship Society

Casualties: none to report

Demolitions: report not included in the March issue - will be included in the April 2017 issue

Compiled by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Help Wanted: S.S. Badger

3/3 - 2nd Assistant Engineer: Under the direct supervision of the Chief Engineer and First Engineer, assists by overseeing maintenance and operation of the boilers and related equipment to include close monitoring of boiler water chemistry. Must possess a valid MMC with proper endorsements, including 2nd Assistant Engineer of steam vessels of 7000 horsepower or greater, a valid TWIC card and Coast Guard issued Medical Certificate. Works full season from May to October. Assigned watch – 4 hours on, 8 hours off 7 days a week. Eligible for benefits after 90-day probationary period. Visit >Join the Badger Crew to obtain application or email with letter of interest and copies of credentials.

3rd Mate: Supervises a navigational watch and is responsible for assisting the First Mate in daily duties including maintenance, maintaining logbooks, safety inspections and unloading/loading of cargo and passengers as directed. Candidates must possess, at minimum, a valid MMC with License as Mate-Great Lakes and Inland – Any Gross Tons”, USCG Medical Certificate, and valid TWIC card. Visit >Join the Badger Crew to obtain application or email with letter of interest and copies of credentials.

Lake Michigan Carferry


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 as 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.

1947: NOVADOC of the Paterson fleet was lost with all hands (24 sailors) off Portland, Maine, while en route from Nova Scotia to New York City with a cargo of gypsum. The ship had also sailed as NORTHTON for the Mathews and Misener fleets.

1958: The tanker DON JOSE, formerly the ITORORO that operated on the Great Lakes for Transit Tankers & Terminals in the early 1940s, was destroyed by a fire, likely in a loading mishap, at Talara, Peru.

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


VanEnkevort fleet announces new names for tug/barge combo

3/2 - Escanaba, Mich. – The new names for the tug/barge combo Ken Boothe Sr./Great Lakes Trader will be Clyde S. VanEnkevort for the tug and Erie Trader for the barge. Workers were applying the new names earlier this week. The vessels are laid up at Donjon Shipbuilding yard in Erie, Pa., for the winter.

Clyde S. VanEnkevort entered the marine industry in the late 1960s. He was a specialist in integrated tug/barge design, with one of his biggest accomplishments being the building of the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and the barge Great Lakes Trader. He died Feb. 20, 2016.

The tug and barge were built by Donjon Shipbuilding and Repair LLC at their shipyard in Erie, Pa. The tug was completed in February 2011 and the barge was completed in April 2012. The combined tug/barge unit entered service under charter to American Steamship Company in May 2012. That charter was not renewed allowing the VanEnkevort firm to acquire the pair.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up more than 14 percent in January

3/2 - Cleveland, Ohio ¬– Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 2,468,706 tons in January, an increase of 14.4 percent compared to a year ago. However, shipments were 10.3 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


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.

1972 - HARMATTAN, a Seaway trader beginning in 1971, arrived at Karachi, Pakistan, for scrapping after suffering missile damage at sea from Indian Naval units during a conflict between the two countries.

1976 - BROOK, a former Seaway trader as EXBROOk beginning in 1968, arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping.

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


Iron ore trade kicks off 2017 lakes shipping season

3/1 - Cleveland, Ohio – The 2017 Great Lakes shipping season began Tuesday with the departure of the U.S.-flag tug/barge unit Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder departed her winter lay-up berth in Erie and sailed to Cleveland, Ohio, where she will initiate the shuttle of iron ore from Cleveland Bulk Terminal to the ArcelorMittal steel mill at the end of the navigable portion of the Cuyahoga River on Wednesday. The vessel will load approximately 15,000 tons that was mined from Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range.

The next vessel to get underway will be the cement carrier Bradshaw McKee/St. Marys Conquest on March 1. The vessel will depart Charlevoix, Mich., with 8,000 tons of cement for Milwaukee.

The western coal trade will resume on March 22 when the Paul R. Tregurtha loads 62,000 tons at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wis., for delivery to the power plant in Silver Bay, Minn.

The locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., that connect Lake Superior to the lower four Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway reopen on March 25. The Soo Locks typically handle more than 80 million tons of cargo in a season, about 80 percent of which transits the Poe Lock, the largest chamber at the Soo.

In 2016, U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 83.3 million tons of cargo. Iron ore for steel production remained the fleet’s primary cargo, 44.1 million tons. Limestone loads for construction and steel production totaled 21.2 million tons. Coal cargos, most of which were for power generation, totaled 13 million tons. Other cargos included cement, salt, sand and grain.

Cargo totals in 2017 will be determined by the state of the economy, but a number of issues will determine the industry’s future. Regulation of ballast water is perhaps the most critical. Currently two federal agencies and 25 states regulate the discharge of ballast water, but legislation to end this patchwork approach has been introduced in the U.S. Senate. S. 168, The Commercial Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (CVIDA) consolidates the fractured system currently in place into a single, nationwide, federal ballast water discharge standard that employs the most stringent standard currently available.

Reliance on a single Poe-sized lock at the Soo continues to threaten the U.S. economy. More than 90 percent of the cargo U.S.-flag lakers move through the Soo Locks transits the Poe Lock. A 2016 U.S. Department of Homeland Security study forecasts that a six-month closure of the Poe Lock would bring steel production and heavy manufacturing to a virtual stop and leave nearly 11 million Americans standing in the unemployment line.

A second Poe-sized lock has been authorized at full federal expense, but a flawed analysis of the project’s benefit/cost (b/c) ratio by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has stalled construction. The Corps has acknowledged the b/c ratio must be reexamined and a report is due by year’s end. A U.S. Department of Treasury report issued last month estimates a second Poe-sized lock could have a b/c ratio as high as 4.0, or nearly three times higher than the 0.73 estimated by the Corps.

Despite the mild winter of 2016/2017, the need for a second heavy icebreaker to bolster the U.S. Coast Guard’s aging fleet remains urgent. The cargos that were delayed or canceled by the massive ice formations during the winters of 2014 and 2015 cost the U.S. more than $1 billion in economic activity. The damage the ice caused during the 2013/2014 winter cost U.S.-flag vessel operators more than $6 million to repair. A number of vessels’ sailings were delayed in the spring of 2015 to avoid further damage.

A second heavy icebreaker was approved in the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015. Lake Carriers’ Association is now focusing its efforts on funding the $240 million icebreaker.

Although the last two Water Resources bills have increased funding for dredging Great Lakes ports and waterways, approximately 15 million cubic yards of sediment still need to be removed to allow for full loads. For example, if the Cuyahoga River was maintained to project dimensions, the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder would have carried another 3,800 tons.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Detroit River ferry owner battles Ambassador Bridge owner to stay in business

3/1 - Detroit, Mich. – A unique border battle is brewing in Detroit as a small ferry owner said the owner of the Ambassador Bridge is trying to put him out of business. Greg Ward has been crossing the Detroit River with his ferry for nearly 30 years. His boat carries trucks that aren't allowed to cross the bridge or use the tunnel because of hazmat regulations.

But Ambassador Bridge owner Matty Moroun wants to change the regulations, saying he feels deliberately singled out by the state. The state controls where hazardous or dangerous cargo can go on its roadways. Moroun said he should be able to decide what travels on his bridge.

For all the Ambassador Bridge trucks that travel to and from Canada, you won't see gasoline tankers, explosives or radioactive cargoes. Moroun said he can't understand the regulations and he is suing the state to change them.

In a statement, the bridge company said, "Supplies important to manufacturing and the auto industry currently are required to drive 60 miles out of their way or pay a ransom to cross the border on a barge."

The barge is the Detroit Windsor Truck Ferry, pushed by the tug Stormont.

"MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) has no issue with the highly regulated and controlled cargo using the state-owned crossing at Port Huron. The Ambassador Bridge should be available for trucks to take the shortest and safest route," the bridge company's statement said.

"It puts us out of business if they're successful," Ward said. Ward started the truck ferry in 1990 and has battled Moroun for years.

"It's a very small economic gain for them, but it probably gives them some pleasure in causing as much grief they can for anyone who opposes them," Ward said.

Ward said he has a bull's-eye on his back. The new Gordie Howe Bridge would likely make the ferry obsolete, and he said he could live with that. "I don't necessarily want to go out of business, but I understand the greater good, and we need to have a redundancy in a transportation system," Ward said. "If it's at our cost, so be it."

In 2008, Moroun asked the state to look at the issue and management decided not only to prevent hazardous materials from crossing the bridge, it increased restrictions. While the state doesn't comment on pending litigation, MDOT spokespeople said federal standards would require increased public safety as a reason to change the rules, and they don't believe changing the regulations would do that.


Ashland Harbor breakwater light gets new mission

3/1 - Ashland, Wis. – The Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light has guided ships in navigating the area for 101 years and now gets another mission. The light was added to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in 2014 and has recently had new weather monitoring equipment added to it.

The light will now serve as a weather and water quality sentinel, providing real time data on environmental conditions with support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. A hydrologist with the U-S Geological Survey will monitor the data from offices in Middleton, Wisconsin. The equipment will measure temperature, precipitation and wind speed above the water and waves, water currents and lake levels from underwater sensors.



Coast Guard, federal, state and local agencies, to hold rescue exercise in Milwaukee

3/1 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The U.S. Coast Guard and more than 20 federal, state and local agencies will conduct a full-scale, mass rescue and recovery exercise at multiple locations near the Milwaukee waterfront and on Lake Michigan Thursday.

Events will take place at different locations, including McKinley Marina, General Mitchell Airport and in the city of Cudahy. The Coast Guard, Milwaukee County, and the city of Milwaukee will serve as the primary response agencies with other area fire and law enforcement agencies participating under a mutual aid process.

The joint exercise scenario involves an airplane crash into Lake Michigan about 5 miles offshore. The crash site will be simulated by the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay anchored off shore from McKinley Marina. The exercise is designed to test coordinated emergency response efforts and provides the participating agencies the opportunity to evaluate the coordination between multi-agency and multi-jurisdictional response plans for mass rescue operations in a cold weather and ice rescue environment.

The simulated rescues will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., conducting simulated medical evacuations. Coast Guard cold-water rescue teams, utilizing Port of Milwaukee tugs, will be the next on scene followed closely by rescue teams from the Wisconsin Department Natural Resources, Milwaukee Police Department, and the rescue dive team from the Milwaukee Fire Department.

In a separate exercise simulation, ice fishermen will need to be rescued from the city of Cudahy on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Cudahy Fire Department and St. Francis Fire Department will work alongside Coast Guard teams to locate, treat and transport these additional patients to area hospitals.

"Exercises like this are vital for emergency preparedness," said Capt. Amy Cocanour, commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan. "It gives us the opportunity to test our response plans and ensure that our planning and training efforts integrate with our partner response agencies for an effective and efficient response to real events like this."

Local residents should not be alarmed about the increased presence of law enforcement and first response agencies near the Port of Milwaukee Thursday morning and should be aware an exercise is in progress.



Today in Great Lakes History -  March 1

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 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.

1926 - The passenger ship WHITE STAR of Canada Steamship Lines burned at Hamilton. It then became a coal barge and was rebuilt in 1950 as the diesel powered, self-unloading sandsucker S.M. DOUGLAS. It operated mainly on the St. Lawrence and was sunk as a breakwall at Kingston, ON in 1975.

1972 - The Dutch passenger and freight carrier PRINSES ANNA first visited the Great Lakes in 1967. It was lost in Osumi Strait, 18 miles south of Cape Sata, Japan, as HWA PO while on a voyage from Nagoya to Whampoa, China. The cargo shifted and 20 of the 36 on board were lost when the ship went down.

1980 - The Swedish freighter BARBARA was 4-years old when it first came inland in 1966. It returned through the Seaway as BARKAND in 1968 and as MARIANNA in 1969. The ship was under a fourth name of MARIA BACOLITSA and in bound from Brazil with pig iron for Constanza, Romania, when it went down on the Black Sea with all hands. An S.O.S. had been sent out without giving the location and rescuers were helpless to lend any assistance.

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


News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

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