Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports -  March 31

Herbert C. Jackson arrived at Fraser Shipyards Friday for mechanical repairs.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Two Harbors saw the departure Thursday, March 29 at 22:29 of the CSL Laurentien. Upon departing she went to anchor near Burlington Bay in Two Harbors. As of 18:00 on the 30th she was still at anchor. Her destination is Nanticoke. Arriving Two Harbors on Friday the 30th was the Lee A. Tregurtha at 02:37. She arrived from winter lay-up at Fraser Shipyards. She departed the shiploader in Two Harbors at 10:55 for Indiana Harbor. Arriving Two Harbors on Friday the 30th was the James R. Barker at 15:27 for the shiploader. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw the arrival of the Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader on Thursday the 29th at 19:47. She departed Friday the 30th at 05:37 for Cleveland.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Good Friday March 30: Manitoulin’s destination has been updated to Toledo. USCG Morro Bay continued ice ops.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw the first commercial vessel arrival and cargo delivery for the 2018 shipping season, Thursday afternoon. The tug Spartan and her tank barge, Spartan II, called on the Port Fisher dock in Bay City, marking the second year in a row that they were the first arrival. This year, they started the season one day earlier than last year.

Toledo, Ohio
Mississagi arrived at the CSX dock to load coal on Friday. Her last stop was Monroe, Mich.

Huron, Ohio
On Friday, painters were applying the name Algoma Compass to the former Adam E. Cornelius. The vessel is expected to go to drydock in Erie, Pa., as soon as the Donjon facility is ready to take her.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
March 30: Upbound: Baie Comeau, John D. Leitch, tug Petite Forte & barge St. Marys Cement eta 0237, Tim S. Dool at 0438, Tecumseh eta 0554 and CCGS Pierre Radisson eta 0724. Downbound: Algoma Equinox at 0053, (top hat for first downbound vessel of 2018 presented to Captain Peter at lock 8 Port Colborne).

Hamilton – Barry Andersen
Departures March 27: tug Sea Eagle II & barge St. Marys Cement II at 1820 for Bowmanville. March 28: Algoma Niagara at 1230 for Toledo, tug Petite Forte & barge St. Marys Cement at 2040. Departures March 29: Kaministiqua at 0660 for Thunder Bay, Florence Spirit at 0840 for Ashtabula, John D. Leitch at 1330 for Sandusky and Tecumseh at 2035 for Thunder Bay. March 30: Tim S. Dool at 0125 for Thunder Bay, Ojibway at 1545 for Sorel. Arrival: March 30, Algoma Equinox at 1632

Mississauga – Barry Andersen
Arrival March 30: Adfines Sea (Mlt) (ex Osttank Norway-12) eta 2105 approximately

Docked: Stephen B. Roman, last report Mar 26. Laid up at 1146.

Arrival March 30: McKeil Spirit (ex Ardita-18) eta at 144

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
Wilf Seymour departed Trois Rivières on Friday afternoon headed for Oswego, N.Y., pushing the barge Alouette Spirit, which had been aground off Yamachiche, Lac St-Pierre from Dec. 25 to March 23. First transit dowbound at St-Lambert lock is Leonard M pushing the barge Niagara Spirit on Saturday. USS Little Rock is expected to leave Montreal on Saturday bound for Florida. She has been wintering since Dec. 24. Expected in Montreal on Sunday or Monday is the newest Desgagnés fleet member, Mia Desgagnés. From Montreal, her next port of call will be Oakville if no change of plan occurs. Algoma Sault has an ETA for Sept-Iles on April 3rd.


'Blossoming' Great Lakes cruise industry has potential to boost downtown

3/31 - Windsor, Ont. – The tourism money from cruise ships has the potential to multiply five-fold in the next decade, from $5 million to $25 million, according to a group launching a $250,000 study on growing the Great Lakes cruise industry.

Windsor is one of eight communities in the province that host cruise ships. Since 2006, the number of annual Windsor cruise ship visits has risen from six to 21 last year.

And there is much more potential on the horizon, said David Cree, the CEO of the Windsor Port Authority, which is involved in the Cruise Ship Industry Group created to foster the industry in the province. “It is a blossoming industry and certainly one that can play a role in the growth of the downtown in the years ahead,” Cree said.

Earlier this week he was at city council seeking endorsement of Windsor’s participation. Considering that an Ontario Tourism Ministry grant is paying the full cost of the business case, it was a “hard deal to say no to,” he told The Star.

There are currently six cruise ships plying the Great Lakes, using smaller vessels that carry around 300 passengers. Windsor is one of the most popular of the Ontario ports, Cree said, with passengers disembarking for wine tours, trips to Caesars Windsor, the downtown and Detroit locales.

The consultants hired to conduct the business case for growing the industry will be consulting with local groups this summer with completion of the document expected by August.

Cree said the study will look at what investments may be needed to accommodate additional ships docking along the local riverfront. The City of Windsor, which owns the dock at Dieppe Gardens where the ships stop, may have to make improvements to fencing, bollards and other necessities.

And the big question is whether Canada Customs, which currently sends an officer on board to perform clearances for passengers, may require a riverfront building if business improves.

“Many people in this industry think it could get significantly larger,” Cree said, adding that the study will determine the local potential. But considering that there are 21 visits during the three-month cruise season, there’s plenty of room for growth. And the city would have to take a long look to see if there’s enough economic impact for whatever romance there may be to having cruise ships down at your dock.”

The other communities participating in the study are Kingston, Toronto, Little Current on Manitoulin Island, Midland, Parry Sound, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. The ships typically zig-zag back and forth between Canadian and U.S. ports.

Cree, who’s retiring at the end of April after 33 years at the helm of the port authority, said Windsor’s cruise business was ramping up, until the terrorist attacks of 9/11 dramatically reduced the number of visits. But the numbers have been gradually improving to the point that they are now at pre-2001 levels.

Many cruises are popular with people from northern Europe, particularly Germans, he said. And they’re not cheap, costing in the $5,000 to $6,000 range for a cruise of seven to 10 days.

Windsor Star


Captain on deck: Boy charts his course at Duluth marine museum

3/31 - Duluth, Minn. – With some people it can seem as if their life's path is charted from the beginning. Such appeared to be the case with 9-year-old Evin Poquette of Hayward on Thursday as he drew his finger across a maritime map, explaining every detail.

"I want to steer the ship," he said from inside the mock pilothouse located in the Lake Superior Marine Museum. "Every time I come here I pretend I'm captain of a ship, reading the maps and steering it into port before the storm comes."

Poquette drew a crowd of volunteers and media members at the museum in Canal Park, where he delivered the hard-earned $1,000 check, which made him a lifetime member of the museum's association.

"You're going to get the best deal of any lifetime member," said Konnie LeMay, association board member, "because you're the youngest lifetime member we've ever had."

Poquette came to the event with his parents, Sara and Bruce Poquette, and 4-year-old brother Ryerson. Evin has spent countless hours both in the museum and knocking around the Duluth shoreline, watching ships come and go and learning how to tell them apart.

"We came up Jan. 31, 2012 and he saw his first boat," said Bruce, a prosecuting attorney for the state of Wisconsin. "Ever since, he could ID any ship — salties, lakers, self-unloaders. He got to know their names and if he sees it on the horizon, he can tell you what it is."

Evin's bedroom is itself a maritime museum, his parents said, filled with artifacts and boat memorabilia. He reads shipping annuals like other children read "Captain Underpants." He's visited the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Mich., and watched the boats load ore in Two Harbors.

Read more and view photos at this link:


New photo contest to celebrate Great Lakes shipping

3/31 - Washington, D.C. – The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership has launched an annual photo contest to celebrate Great Lakes shipping. This announcement coincides with the opening of the Saint Lawrence Seaway’s 60th navigation season.

Photographers interested in participating should visit and submit photos of ships, tugboats and barges across the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway System for a chance to win. The contest is open now and will end when the St. Lawrence Seaway closes for the 2018 Great Lakes Navigation Season.

Winners’ names will be available online at after January 1, 2019.

Great Lakes Seaway Partnership



3/31 - The Bookshelf has been updated with several new publications. View them at this link


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.


Algoma Niagara opens St. Lawrence Seaway for 60th season

3/30 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The 60th season for the St. Lawrence Seaway opened on Thursday with the transit of the Algoma Niagara upbound into the system on its way to Toledo, Ohio, for a load of metallurgical coal. A ceremony in St. Catharines, Ont., marked the opening of the bi-national Canada-U.S. waterway.

“The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a key maritime corridor,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao in a U.S. Department of Transportation news release. “We look forward to another successful year of moving commerce through this dependable and safe maritime transportation system.”

The seaway connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean by way of the St. Lawrence River. The Soo Locks that connect Lake Superior with the lower Great Lakes opened last weekend to mark the start of the shipping season. The opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway means oceangoing “salties” from overseas will be mingling with U.S. and Canadian lakers for the rest of the year and into 2019.

Cargo tonnage through the St. Lawrence Seaway was up 8 percent a year ago. Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce, called it a major turnaround in a chamber news release Thursday.

“We have great potential to build on the recent economic momentum of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway shipping,” Burrows said. “We expect 2018 to be another strong year in shipping. U.S. Great Lakes ports have made significant investments in infrastructure and services that are attracting new business to their respective regions and facilitating American cross-border and international trade.”

Duluth News Tribune


Ship-less top hat ceremony in Port Colborne

3/30 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Port Colborne was without its first vessel for its canal opening top hat ceremony Thursday morning at Lock 8 Gateway Park. Mayor John Maloney said it's tradition for the city to welcome the Welland Canal's first down-bound vessel, meaning a vessel headed toward Montreal. The tradition started for the city in the 1970s.

Algoma Central Corp's ship the Algoma Enterprise was supposed to be coming through the canal for the ceremony, where the captain would have been given a top hat for the occasion. The ship, however, was held up in Ohio as it waited for a shipment, which delayed it from making it to Port Colborne on time.

There was some excitement as the Capt. Henry Jackman came through, another Algoma Central Corp. vessel. As this wasn't the scheduled ship, however, its captain didn't receive the top hat. Maloney did share some information about the ship, though, such as that it will be retiring after this year.

Still, the ceremony went on as planned, with a fair-trade breakfast to start the day, followed by a warm comedic welcome from the town crier, a blessing and the singing of O Canada.

Maloney said the occasion is an opportunity to continue to celebrate the city's marine heritage. Niagara Regional Chair Alan Caslin said the first canal was opened in 1829, making this the 189th canal opening.

Cassie Kelly, engineering manager for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., said the seaway is looking forward to a good year. The seaway, which Kelly said is in its 60th season, has seen about a nine per cent increase in traffic over the last year and an 18 per cent increase in traffic for the Welland Canal. She said for this season, the seaway is hoping for 40 million tonnes of cargo to go through

St. Catharines Standard


New Algoma Innovator arrives in Montreal

3/30 - Algoma Innovator (IMO 9773375), the first 650-foot-long Equinox-class self-unloading bulk carrier built at the 3 Maj shipyard in Croatia for Algoma Central Corp., arrived in Montreal early on Thursday morning. This is the ship’s maiden voyage and first trip to Canada. While the vessel has a foreign crew and is registered in Tuvalu, this is expected to change soon when the ship is re-flagged Canadian with a Canadian crew.

After departure from the shipyard, the Algoma Niagara stopped in Itea, Greece, where it loaded a cargo of bauxite for the Great Lakes. The ship made a brief stop in Gibraltar before departing for Canada and the Great Lakes. Her cargo will be unloaded at Indiana Harbor.

Another vessel, Algoma Endurance (IMO 9773387), is currently under construction at the 3 Maj shipyard. This vessel is a sister ship to the Algoma Innovator and is expected to enter service sometime in 2018 for the Algoma Central Corp.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  March 30

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
John G. Munson, Presque Isle, and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin all departed Duluth throughout the morning on Thursday. Stewart J. Cort was loading ore at BN in Superior, and Lee A. Tregurtha remains moored at Fraser Shipyards. It is unclear when she will actually depart for the season. Correction: In the Duluth-Superior report for 3/29, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin loaded, not unloaded, ore at the CN ore dock in Duluth.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Two Harbors saw the departure of the Roger Blough March 29th at 03:19 from the shiploader for Gary. Arriving Two Harbors on March 29th was the CSL Laurentien at 10:58 for the shiploader. She turned, backed into Agate Bay from the lake, then turned and went in bow first into the dock. As of 19:30 she was still at the loading dock. At 19:30 on March 29th the James R. Barker was upbound in Lake Superior for Two Harbors. She should arrive on the afternoon of March 30th. Upbound at 19:30 on March 29th just below the Soo Locks was the Edwin H. Gott also bound for Two Harbors. She should arrive late Friday. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay will see the arrival of the Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader on March 29th. As of 19:30 on Thursday the 29th she was approximately 30 minutes east of Silver Bay.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
On Thursday March 29 at 8:01, CSL Welland departed for Quebec City. USCG Morro Bay spent the day breaking out the Current River elevators and the shipyard. She next proceeded to and docked at Keefer Terminal. 17:58 Manitoulin departed, her AIS still showing Thunder Bay.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On her first trip of the season and sporting fresh paint, Robert S. Pierson arrived Thursday evening at LS&I to load ore. The visit was her first since January 2014.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessels loading on Thursday and none are expected Friday and Saturday. Due Easter Sunday to load will be the Manitowoc in the early morning, arriving from lay up in Sarnia. For Monday, April 2, there are three vessels expected. The first is the barge Menominee / tug Olive L. Moore in the early morning. Kaye E. Barker and John G. Munson are expected in the evening. All times are estimates.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The revised Toledo schedule has H. Lee White as the first vessel to load at the CSX Coal Dock for the 2018 season. They shifted from their lay-up berth at the Torco Dock on Wednesday and were expected at the coal loader on Thursday in the early evening. Algoma Niagara is also expected at CSX to load during the late evening on Thursday. There is nothing scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Calumet is expected at the Torco Dock on Saturday in the early morning. Also due at Torco is the Joseph H. Thompson on Monday in the late afternoon. Other than the most recent movement by the H. Lee White, there have been no other movements or lay up departures from Toledo as of this report. All times are estimates.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry Ouderkirk
Tug Leonard M. and barge Niagara Spirit arrived overnight and were unloading crushed rock at the Villers Street slip. CSL's Baie Comeau left her winter lay-up berth Thursday afternoon, followed a few hours later by the departure of CCG Pierre Radisson.

Welland Canal – Barry Andersen
March 28: English River eta 1711 (stopped at wharf 2 until canal opening), Algoma Niagara at 2018 approximately (proceeded up to wall below lock 3 for top hat ceremony Thursday). March 29: Upbound ¬ Algoma Niagara (officially opened the canal in a ceremony at lock 3 at 1000), English River, Kaministiqua eta 1211, tug Sea Eagle II & barge St. Marys Cement II at 1327, Florence Spirit at 1402, Baie Comeau at 1521, and John D. Leitch eta 2050. Downbound: Capt. Henry Jackman (opened canal at Port Colborne ceremony as first vessel down bound; thick fog delayed passage for a couple of hours). Anchored Port Weller: CCGS Pierre Radisson; will pass through the canal on Friday. At docks: Saginaw departed winter berth at wharf 12 and went out to Lake Erie, turned around and stopped at dock 20 E.

Seaway – Ron Walsh
According to the Seaway site, the tug Leonard M is due at Iroquois, Ont., at 0013 Friday. She is sailing alone.


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.


CSL Welland opens Thunder Bay; good year for port expected

3/29 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Capt. Wilson Walters has been sailing the Great Lakes for nearly 40 years, and not once has his ship been first to Thunder Bay in a given season. That changed on Tuesday night when, with the assistance of local tug-boat crews, he guided CSL Welland, one of the largest grain ships on the Great Lakes into port.

“I never gave it much thought,” Walters said on Wednesday morning, after receiving the ceremonial top hat from Port of Thunder Bay board member Charla Robinson.

“It was just into Thunder Bay and then they said, ‘Oh, you’re going to get a top hat. You’re the first boat this year.’ I’ve been second a few times, but I’ve never been first. The company’s pretty proud to have one of our boats here representing (them).”

Getting to Thunder Bay wasn’t easy. After wintering in Port Colborne, Ont., south of the Welland Canal, the ship took five days to reach Thunder Bay, two more than usual, thanks to heavy ice conditions on the Great Lakes.

It was a bit of a harrowing trip, Walters said, though not as bad as 2014. Crews were doubled up and they had two navigators on the bridge, when under normal conditions they’d have just one. They also had someone stationed on the bow as a spotter, just in case.

“Navigating in ice, what we do is we try to slow the vessel down and go into the ice on a slow impact. If you go in at high speed, which is about 13 knots, you’re going to do damage,” Walters said.

The ship took a more northerly route to escape the worst of the ice, though they rediscovered thick ice as they sailed into Thunder Bay’s harbour and took things slow and steady to dock at the G3 elevator.

Walters said the record-setting CSL Welland, which in August 2016 took on the largest single shipment of grain in port history, loading up with 31,064 tonnes of grain. Wednesday’s shipment is headed for Quebec.

Port of Thunder Bay president Tim Heney said the opening of the Great Lakes is a little later than typical, but it’s exciting to get the shipping season going again.

“It’s always a positive time of year for us. Spring is here for sure,” Heney said, adding it’s unusual for a ship to arrive before the Welland Canal opens for the season. “We’re looking forward to good things and it’s always a time of optimism in the spring.”

Heney said all signs are pointing to another good year for the port. “It’s hard to say, but there’s a lot more carry over this year than usual. It was a rough winter in the prairies and they had a lot of trouble getting grain across the Rockies to Vancouver, so there’s more left over this year than usual, which bodes well. The prices are starting to come up a bit, so the farmers are going to want to start shipping it.”

Heney said once the canal opens he expects to see a flood of ships arriving in port, likely in the next week or so. The first salt-water vessel will take slightly longer to arrive.

Thunder Bay Newswatch


U.S., Canadian coast guards mark important milestone as shipping season begins

3/29 - With the navigation season now underway, Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking assets are being deployed in support of the annual re-opening of the St Lawrence Seaway and spring breakout operations.

CCGS Pierre Radisson departed from Quebec City March 22nd for the Great Lakes and was the first vessel of the season to transit through the channel and the series of locks that make navigation possible on the St. Lawrence Seaway from Quebec City to Lake Ontario.

This is an important element in a jointly developed plan between the United-States Coast Guard, District 9, and the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region, to support the annual re-opening of the Seaway and to clear the ice for ships.

After a crew change in Toronto Tuesday CCGS Pierre Radisson will transit the Welland Canal locks Wednesday, March 28, and proceed directly to Lake Superior for icebreaking and ice escorts of ships.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon is working on Lake Erie this week. On Monday the Griffon was busy placing two buoys in Pelee Passage, and is now escorting ships on Lake Erie. The Griffon broke out the port of Midland Ontario for shipping this past weekend.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley assisted two ships beset in ice near Marquette, Michigan yesterday and is busy assisting more ships today.

Coast Guard icebreaking services on the Great Lakes and connecting waterways is delivered in close co-operation between the Canadian and United States Coast Guards.

In January 2018, the Canadian Coast Guard and the United States Coast Guard signed a renewed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on icebreaking services. This agreement strengthens our mutual commitment for ensuring vital icebreaking operations on the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway. For the 2018 spring icebreaking program, the two Coast Guards have finalized a bi-national plan to ensure scheduled vessel traffic can move through the shipping channels and into and out of ports.

This shared responsibility has an important role in facilitating trade between Canada and the United States.

The vessels assisted by the Coast Guard carry the raw materials for the essential goods we use in our daily lives. Icebreaking ensures the delivery of vital supplies such as road salt, heating oil and construction materials to cities across the Great Lakes on behalf of North American industries.

Coast Guard icebreakers are also at the ready for search and rescue, environmental response, maritime security and humanitarian missions including flood mitigation. For example: CCGS Samuel Risley joined forces with United States coast guard vessels several times this winter to break up ice jams that posed a high risk of flooding for communities on the St. Clair River, particularly at East China Township Michigan and St. Clair Township Ontario.

And, CCGS Griffon responded to the flooding emergency on the Grand River in Ontario. By breaking up the ice at the mouth of the Grand River the water could flow more easily into Lake Erie. This helped to prevent flooding of communities along the south end of the River.

The Canadian and U.S. coast guards are holding daily calls with the shipping industry. A Canadian Coast Guard helicopter is used for ice flights over areas of concern. The helicopter team is an important aid as not only do they provide the visual ice information, the information is used to aid in the efficient allocation of icebreaking resources.

Lambton Shield


Port Reports -  March 29

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
CSL fleetmates Frontenac and Baie St. Paul departed Duluth early Wednesday morning, both carrying iron ore pellets. John G. Munson arrived mid-morning, and docked at Port Terminal to wait for her turn to load at CN. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was inbound during the evening, and began discharging ore at the CN dock. Presque Isle was loading at BN on Wednesday evening, while Stewart J. Cort was also at Port Terminal waiting to load. Lee A. Tregurtha remains laid up at Fraser Shipyards.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Two Harbors saw the arrival of the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Tuesday March 27th, at 20:57 for the shiploader. She departed Wednesday March 28th, at approx. 15:45. As of 19:30 she is showing no discharge port. Roger Blough arrived Two Harbors on Tuesday, March 27th, at 21:32 and went to South of #1 for lay-by. She shifted to the shiploader on the 28th from 15:35-14:00. As of 19:30 on the 28th she was still loading. Due Two Harbors on Thursday the 29th is the CSL Laurentien. As of 19:30 on the 28th she was off Copper Harbor. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw the arrival of the Mesabi Miner on March 28th at 00:45. She departed on March 28th at 18:21 for Cleveland. Lee A. Tregurtha is still at Fraser Shipyards in Superior. She is scheduled to load in Two Harbors.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
On Wednesday, 10:20, USCG Morro Bay arrived from Duluth and proceeded to the old CN ore dock to break out the Algoma Discovery which is due to depart soon for Hamilton. The Morro Bay left the harbor passed the main anchorage and broke a channel North East to the Current River entrance.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Gerard Grzyb
Correction: Joseph L. Block sailed from Bayship on March 24; Roger Blough sailed on March 25.

Montreal – Rene Beauchamp
The new Algoma Innovator will be arriving in Montreal Wednesday. Unless she slows down, she will arrive before daybreak. A change has occurred regarding the first vessel in the Seaway Thursday morning. McKeil Spirit will be the first one to transit, followed by Adfines Sea and Tasing Swan. Many others are expected later in the day such as Atlantic Huron and CSL St-Laurent. The USS Little Rock has a possible departure time from Montreal of Friday morning.


Private firms ready to help Canadian Coast Guard’s aging fleet with icebreaking

3/29 - Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard has been given new powers to call on industry for short-term help in clearing ice-choked seaways — even as plans for replacing the agency’s aging icebreaker fleet over the long term remain in flux. The new powers were outlined Tuesday as officials marked the start of the spring icebreaking season in the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes, through which much of Canada’s foreign trade flows.

The coast guard will be able to enlist pre-approved companies for help as needed without having to go through a formal bidding process, resulting in quicker and more reliable service for those in need, officials say.

The measure is intended as a last resort when the coast guard doesn’t have enough icebreakers to respond, such as when one of its vessels has a mechanical breakdown.

Yet there are fears such a scenario will become increasingly common in the coming years as the coast guard’s icebreaking fleet continues to get older — with no replacements on the horizon.

Officials stood by their aging vessels, noting the federal government has invested millions of dollars in the past few years to maintain and extend the lives of many of the coast guard’s aging icebreakers.

“We have a very strong plan in place with scheduled and planned maintenance, refit and vessel life extensions to support the fleet renewal plan as we are moving forward with our assets,” said assistant commissioner Julie Gascon. “Our vessels are very capable and very reliable.”

But the icebreakers, which are on average over 35 years old, have seen their share of problems in recent years — including one high-profile breakdown in January that left a ferry stuck in ice near Quebec City for four hours.

Concerns about the state of the fleet were also flagged in briefing notes to Fisheries Minister Dominic Leblanc back in 2016, where officials reported that 1,595 operational days had been lost due to breakdowns in 2013-14 alone.

The federal government’s national shipbuilding strategy includes a new heavy icebreaker, but that vessel won’t be ready until at least the mid-2020s, while work continues on plans for replacing the rest of the fleet.

“We’ve started consultations with industry and gone a long way already in analyzing what’s available out there for different technologies that would benefit us for the long term,” said Greg Lick, the coast guard’s director-general for operations.

“The fleet-renewal plan is making good progress now in terms of its development. We don’t have a specific timeline right now to share about when it will be completed. But we’re well on our way toward doing that.”

While Lick wouldn’t dive into details, industry sources say the coast guard is undertaking a complete reassessment of exactly what types of ships it will need over the coming decades — a process that has already been going on for several years.

Questions include what to do with 10 vessels, some of whom can serve as medium and light icebreakers, that are supposed to be built by Vancouver-based Seaspan Shipbuilding after the heavy icebreaker is finished.

Those vessels were originally announced by the Harper government in 2013, at an estimated cost of $3.3 billion, and aren’t slated for construction until the mid- to late-2020s.

In the meantime, the Trudeau government has been talking with Quebec shipyard Davie for the past two months about leasing several converted icebreakers to the coast guard as an interim option until full replacements are ready.

The two sides have yet to come to an agreement, however, in part because of a disagreement over whether one of the four icebreakers that Davie is offering can actually meet the coast guard’s needs.

Toronto City News


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


Alpena awaiting rescue from ice near Sister Bay

3/28 - Green Bay, Wis. – Coast Guard ice cutters are expected to arrive Tuesday afternoon to free the steamer Alpena after it got stuck in ice off Door County’s northern coast while traveling from Alpena, Michigan, to Green Bay.

It’s not the first time the Alpena has had to be rescued from ice. The self-unloading cement carrier also had to be extricated from ice in 2010, 2013 and 2015.

On Dec. 11, 2015, while at Bay Shipbuilding for winter repairs, a fire broke out in the electrical control room for the aft winches. The fire was extinguished, but not until it caused $4 million in damages. The National Transportation Safety Board determined the fire was caused by faulty wiring providing power to the aft anchor winch.

The Alpena was built in 1942 as an iron ore carrier for the U.S. Steel fleet. It was first named Leon Fraser. It is the last operating vessel of five identical ships built during World War II to haul iron ore. She is one of the oldest boats working the Great Lakes.

Door County Pulse


Vessels chosen to open Seaway season

3/28 - Three ships have been chosen to mark the opening of the 60th season of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system 2018.

The first ship of the season to enter the Seaway on opening day Thursday will be the McKeil Spirit, upbound out of the St. Lambert Lock. This is the former Ardita, recently converted to carry cement and part of the McKeil Marine fleet. Algoma Niagara will be the first upbound vessel in St. Catharines Lock 3. The ceremony at the museum begins at 10 a.m.

The first down bound for Port Colborne starting at 8:30 a.m. will be Algoma Enterprise. A pancake breakfast and Top Hat ceremony will get the 2018 shipping season underway at Lock 8 Gateway Park, 163 Mellanby Ave. The ceremony begins at 8 a.m. with Port Colborne's Fair Trade Committee providing the pancake breakfast and students from McKay Elementary School entertaining those who attend. Mayor John Maloney, along with representatives from upper levels of government and the marine industry, will speak in the pavilion starting at 8:30 a.m. and present a top hat to the captain of the first vessel through Lock 8.

Brenda Benoit, ShipSpotting Canada Center and the St. Catharines Standard


First ship of season arrives in Goderich

3/28 - Goderich, Ont. – The first ship of the season has arrived in Goderich. The CSL Laurentien sailed into Goderich last Sunday and Capt. Joe Pero signed the traditional top hat Monday morning and noted that arriving during daylight with no wind and no ice made their arrival much easier.

The trip was a little different in that they were taking their cargo to Goderich Elevators rather than from the salt mine. Pero explains the cargo was originally loaded last fall in Thunder Bay for Goderich but due to the ice and congestion in the port and the temperatures, they ended up laying up in Sarnia. So the boat sat there with the grain on it for the winter and left for Goderich on Sunday.

Pero says ice wasn’t a factor. “Lake Huron is mostly open water, there’s a bit on the southeast shoreline, close to the shoreline so there’s no issue coming up from Sarnia. St. Clair River is pretty much open water. I anticipate a problem in the St. Marys River and Lake Superior, they’ve still got some pretty heavy ice on Lake Superior.”

The CSL Laurentien’s arrival is the earliest since the Canadian Progress arrived on March 17 in 2011.

Blackburn News


Port Reports -  March 28

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Joseph L. Block arrived Two Harbors on March 27th at 07:50 for the shiploader. She departed Two Harbors on Tuesday March 27th at 17:26. As of 19:30 on the 27th she was showing no discharge port. As of 19:30 on the 27th the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was an hour East of Two Harbors due Two Harbors. On the 27th the Roger Blough was approximately two hours east of Two Harbors at 19:30 due Two Harbors. The CSL Laurentien was due Two Harbors, but as of 19:30 on the 27th she was anchored in Whitefish Bay. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay will see the Mesabi Miner arrive early in the morning on March 28.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
On Monday, March 26, and with the Welland Canal due to open on March 29, Algoma Equinox left layup at 18:26 for Hamilton with her storage load of iron ore. Tuesday the 27th at 9:40, CSL Welland arrived at the G3 Elevator to load grain, making her the first laker to arrive this season. At 15:57, G3Marquis left layup with her storage load of iron ore for Hamilton. Manitoulin left layup in the Sault on Monday night and arrived at the Superior Elevator Tuesday at 17:53 to load. After spending the morning on ice ops, the USCGC Alder departed for Duluth at 13:44.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Menominee and tug Olive L. Moore were expected to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon thus making them the first vessel to arrive at Cedarville for the 2018 season. Also due in on Sunday will be the Joseph L. Block in the morning. All times listed are estimates and can change due to weather and ice conditions.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Gerard Grzyb
Departures: 3/23 – Cason J. Callaway. 3/24 – Joseph L. Block. 3/25 – Stewart J. Cort, Mesabi Miner and Roger Blough. 3/26 – John G. Munson. 3/27 – Robert S. Pierson

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived Sunday morning to take on its first load of the season at Lafarge. On Monday night the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Menominee tied up at Lafarge to unload coal. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected to return on Wednesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Mississagi loaded at Stoneport Dock on Tuesday and they were due to depart around 2 p.m. There are no vessels due Wednesday. Due in for Thursday is a return visit from the Mississagi during the morning. Joseph H. Thompson is due on Friday in the late morning. There are two vessels due Saturday, the first being the Algosteel in the early morning followed in the early evening by the barge Menominee and tug Olive L. Moore.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
James R. Barker was due at the Torco Dock on Tuesday in the early evening, thus making them the first official arrival for 2018 at the Torco Dock. Also due at Torco is the Calumet on Friday during the early evening. There is nothing due or scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. The first vessel to load coal for 2018 at the CSX Coal Dock will be the John J. Boland on Wednesday in the early afternoon. Also due at CSX is the Algoma Niagara on Thursday in the late evening. There are still 8 vessels laid up in Toledo so far. The list includes American Spirit and H. Lee White, both at the Torco Dock; Great Republic at the Torco Slip #3; American Integrity at the CSX #2 Dock; John J. Boland at the Old C. & O. Ore Dock; Indiana Harbor and Evans Spirit at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock and the American Mariner at the Old Ironville Dock.

Huron, Ohio
Supplies have been observed being loaded on board the Adam E. Cornelius, and the Canadian flag has been hoisted at the vessel’s stern. She was bought late last December from American Steamship Co. by Algoma Central Corp. After an upcoming drydocking, believed to be at Erie, Pa., she is expected to sail under the new name Algoma Compass.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry Ouderkirk
CCGS Pierre Radisson arrived early Monday and berthed at Corus Quay, aka #8805 Sugar Beach. She was still there as of 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Halifax, N.S. – Mac Mackay
Ferbec arrived in Halifax March 26 with the Barbados flag on her stern, but was re-registered Canadian March 27. The ship's Canadian registry was closed December 6, 2017 for foreign trading. Its port of registry is once again Montreal.


Jeffboat Shipyard to close, ending 180 years building ships, barges

3/28 - Jeffersonville, Ind. – American inland river shipyard Jeffboat will be shutting its doors after more than 180 years in the ship and barge building industry.

Located on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville, Indiana (across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky.), Jeffboat is the nation’s largest and longest continually operated inland shipyard, but its business has been hit by a decline in orders over the last several years which has already forced the company to slash its workforce by more than 80 percent.

Jeffboat’s closure was confirmed over the weekend by the Teamsters Local 89 workers union, which was told of the news on Friday. “It is with heavy hearts that we confirm reports that Jeffboat, the nation’s largest inland shipbuilder and one of Local 89’s oldest companies, is shutting down,” the union said in a statement posted to Facebook. “Over the last several years, the shipbuilding industry has seen a massive decline and while this cycle has occurred in decades past, this time it was unfortunately too much for the company to bear.”

The historic Ohio River shipyard was founded 1834 as Howard Shipyard, building riverboats during the height of the steamboat era. With the United States’ entry into World War II, the shipyard won contracts from the U.S. Navy, which allowed its workforce to explode from around 200 before the war to a peak of 13,000. After the war, Jeffboat took over operations and turned its focus to inland barges and towboats for the commercial market. Today, Jeffboat specializes in the design and construction of inland barges, towboats and ocean-going vessels at the 80-acre Jeffersonville, Ind., shipyard.

Jeffboat is owned by American Commercial Lines and is the manufacturing division of American Commercial Barge Line, a leading provider of inland barge transportation services. ACBL confirmed Jeffboat’s closure in a statement reported by the Associated Press in which the company cited an oversupply of barges that has caused orders to drop significantly over the past three years.

The company said over the past several years, Jeffboat’s workforce has shrunk from about 1,300 employees to 220 currently. The shipyard is expected to complete all construction work by the end of April.

Primarily a builder of barges, tank barges and towboats, Jeffboat is currently listed as the builder of over 6,600 vessels currently registered in the U.S. Great Lakes fleets with Jeffboat barges include Andrie Inc (tank barge Endeavour), Ashton Marine (2 new-build hopper barges delivered in late 2017), Durocher Dock and Dredge, Marine Tech and the Milwaukee Bulk Terminals. Jeffboat-built barges and towboats operate daily in the rivers near Chicago.

The website notes that the shipyard was shuttered from 1985 to 1989, so hopefully this isn't the final end to a longstanding shipbuilding company.

Link to a video history of the yard: gCAPTAIN and Tom Hynes


Blessing of the Fleet in Port Huron April 7

3/28 - The Blessing of the Fleet will be held at noon outside the Great Lakes Maritime Center, 51 Water St., in downtown Port Huron, on April 7. The event marks the 2018 shipping season and remembers those sailors lost at sea. If bad weather prevails, the ceremony will be held inside.


Help wanted: Algoma Central Corporation

3/28 - We are currently searching for a qualified captain to join our team. The captain is responsible for the safety of the crew and any contractors, protection of the environment, the vessel and its cargo and has the overriding authority to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention and to request the company’s assistance as may be necessary.

This responsibility includes fulfillment of Algoma’s commitment to the requirements of the ISM Code and the ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 Standards. This commitment, embodied in the Integrated Management System, is intended to improve safety and environmental protection, and customer service. The captain must communicate this to all the crew and ensure that Algoma’s Policies and Procedures are understood.

Candidates must possess:

• Master, Near Coastal or Master Mariner (preferred) issued by Transport Canada
• Marine Medical issued by Transport Canada
• Canadian passport or permanent residence status
• Radio Operator’s License (or GOC)
• Ship Security Officer (SSO)
• GLPA Pilotage Certificate (preferred)

If you are interested in a rewarding career with Algoma Central Corporation please send your resume to and include “Captain” in the subject line of your email.

Algoma Central Corporation encourages application from designated group members identified under the Federal Employment Equity Act. We wish to thank all applicants in advance, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


Correction: Know Your Ships book signing date

Know Your Ships editor and publisher Roger LeLievre and members of the KYS crew will be at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron to sign copies of the 2018 edition on Saturday April 28, not April 23 as previously reported.


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


38 million metric tons moved on St. Lawrence Seaway in 2017

3/27 - Massena, N.Y. – Cargo tonnage for the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 2017 navigation season ended with more than 38 million metric tons moved, an increase of 9 percent above the 2016 season, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation

A steady volume of iron ore, steel, grain, salt, cement, containerized goods, and project cargo including windmill components and large machinery kept Seaway vessels extremely busy throughout the year, the SLSDC said in a press release.

One of the largest increases noted in cargo tonnage was the movement of iron ore. Both Canadian and U.S. lakers moved 29 percent more iron ore than the prior navigation season. About 84 inbound iron ore shiploads moved from the Labrador region of Canada to the U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes steel production sites. Another 132 outbound iron ore shipments departed from the iron ore mines in Minnesota and moved to transshipment ports along the lower St. Lawrence River for transfer to ocean-going ships bound for Asia. Such a high level of iron ore activity on the Seaway had not been seen since 2013, the SLSDC said.

It is estimated that foreign flag vessels importing cargoes into the Great Lakes Seaway System arrived from 38 different countries while exports leaving the system were delivered to 29 countries. This simple fact signifies that the Great Lakes Seaway System continues to be a viable and competitive international gateway for global trade

North Country Now


Port Reports -  March 27

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
The ice surrounding the Superior entry is currently too thick for vessels to pass through, so the Burns Harbor departed via the Duluth canal before sunrise Monday after she finished loading at Burlington Northern. Philip R. Clarke also arrived early, and headed down to Superior to load. Presque Isle was inbound early in the afternoon, however she moored at Port Terminal to wait out a delay. Her fleetmate Cason J. Callaway arrived a few minutes later, and began loading ore at CN. Lee A. Tregurtha is the only vessel that remains in winter layup, however she is expected to depart on Tuesday.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Edgar B. Speer arrived Two Harbors on Monday March 26 at 06:16 for the shiploader. Sunday night her AIS was showing Superior. She then departed Two Harbors at 16:55 for Conneaut. Due Two Harbors Tuesday morning March 27 is the Joseph L. Block. At 19:30 on Monday the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was upbound NW of Whitefish heading for Two Harbors. At 19:30 on the 26th the Roger Blough was at the Locks upbound showing a Two Harbors destination. Northshore Mining in Silver Bay saw the arrival of the American Century at 01:57 on Monday March 26th. She departed on March 26th at 18:21 for Cleveland. At 19:30 on March 26th the Mesabi Miner was upbound at the Locks showing a Silver Bay destination.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Monday, March 26: CSL Welland was expected to arrive sometime early Tuesday morning. Algoma Equinox departed early Monday evening.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Monday evening, Canadian Coast Guard cutter Samuel Risley escorted Hon. James L. Oberstar into an icy Presque Isle Harbor. Oberstar sounded an appreciative salute on arrival.

St. Marys River
Mississagi completed her unload at Algoma and was headed downbound for Stoneport in the early evening. Other downbound traffic included Edwin H. Gott. Upbounders included Stewart J. Cort, Manitoulin (from layup at Algoma), Roger Blough (looking great with fresh paint), Mesabi Miner and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
John G. Munson left winter layup at Bay Shipbuilding on Monday, and by evening was west of the Mackinac Bridge headed upbound.

Sarnia, Ont.
The Algoma Central Corp. logo has been mounted on the Buffalo’s stack. The new name, Algoma Buffalo, has yet to be painted on the vessel, purchased late in December from the American Steamship Co. Algoma Enterprise departed layup and headed downbound for Sandusky.

Toledo, Ohio
Monday March 26: Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the Ironville Dock on Monday afternoon.

Lake Erie
Whitefish Bay was eastbound in the Pelee Passage Monday night, headed to Nanticoke. CSL Assiniboine was exiting the Detroit River, headed for the same port.

Montreal, Que. – Rene Beauchamp
Algoma Innovator’s ETA in Montreal is on Wednesday according to the Port of Montreal website, but Thursday per the CCG to undergo crew change and a change of registry. Shortly after, she will be heading for Indiana Harbor.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
According to two reliable sources, the first commercial ship of the season to enter the Seaway on opening day Thursday will be the Danish chemical tanker Tasing Swan, a new face in the waterway, destination Clarkson.


$40 million placed in federal budget for Seaway Development Corporation

3/27 - Washington, D.C. – U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say the recently passed omnibus spending bill includes $40 million in federal funding for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), which is nearly $4 million more than it received last year.

The funding will support the continued operations of the SLSDC, as well as projects to modernize the agency’s facilities.

The Seaway connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean for commercial waterway trade and is jointly operated by the United States and Canada. The SLSDC is the agency of the United States Department of Transportation that is responsible for the operations and maintenance of the U.S. portion of the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

Funding will support the SLSDC’s operational activities, such as vessel traffic control, vessel safety, environmental inspections, trade promotion, and infrastructure renewal, as well as projects to renew the SLSDC’s facilities.

These projects, as designated by the SLSDC’s Asset Renewal Program, were first launched in 2009 and are the first efforts to repair and modernize American seaway infrastructure in its 50-year history.

North Country Now


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.


First day of shipping season at Soo a busy one

3/26 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Upbound traffic at the Soo Locks Sunday, the first day of the shipping season on the river, included Presque Isle and Cason J. Callaway early, followed later by Hon. James L Oberstar, CSL Welland, Baie St. Paul, Frontenac, and, after dark, Joseph L. Block. Mississagi and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. were stopped for the night in the lower river. Downbounders included Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader, Whitefish Bay, CSL Assiniboine, Thunder Bay and, after dark, James R. Barker.

The locks opened at 12:01 a.m. Sunday with the upbound passage of American Century. She was followed by Philip R. Clarke and Edgar B. Speer. The first passage was greeted by around 300 freighter fans gathered in Soo Locks Park and on the locks observation deck, opened specially for the event by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Coast Guard cutters assisting in the spring icebreaking efforts the past several days included USCG Mackinaw, USCG Hollyhock, USCG Mobile Bay and CCGS Samuel Risley.

For the record, Sunday saw the passage of six Canada Steamship Lines’ vessels: Whitefish Bay, CSL Assiniboine and Thunder Bay down; CSL Welland, Baie Comeau and Frontenac up.


Algoma Sault arrival update

3/26 - Algoma Sault’s AIS is showing a Sept-Iles ETA for April 2 at 20:00. The new Algoma Central Corp. vessel is en-route from her builder’s yard in China.


Port Reports -  March 26

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news. Please include name of vessel, arrival time, day and dock it went to (if known).

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Edwin H. Gott departed Two Harbors Sunday March 25th at approx. 09:05. As of 19:30 Sunday night she wasn’t showing an unloading destination. Due Two Harbors on Monday March 26th is the Presque Isle. North Shore Mining in Silver Bay will see the arrival of the American Century Monday morning March 26th to load pellets.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
On Saturday, March 24th at 17:15, USCG Morro Bay departed for Duluth Superior. Sunday, USCGC Alder remained in port and made its way to the mouth of the Mission River. CSL Welland will be the first laker to arrive at the port this season and is expected early Monday morning.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived early Sunday afternoon at the LS&I ore dock after being beset in ice off Presque Isle Harbor for 24 hours. She loaded the first ore cargo of the 2018-19 shipping season.

Straits of Mackinac
Stewart J. Cort was eastbound under the bridge at 9 p.m. Sunday, headed for Superior, Wis.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Mesabi Miner, followed by Roger Blough, left Sturgeon Bay Sunday afternoon via the ship canal and into Lake Michigan.

Milwaukee, Wis.
CSL Niagara unloaded salt and left Sunday afternoon/

Stoneport, Mich.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived to load on Saturday evening.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce McCreath
CSL Laurentien arrived at 11:30 a.m. and was the first ship of the new season to arrive. The captain will be presented with the top hat, in keeping with tradition, by Mayor Kevin Morrison.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
The tug Ocean Sept-Iles became the first new ship of the year in the Seaway on Saturday. She was preceded early in the morning by the icebreaker Pierre Radisson. The tug was hired by the Seaway to clear the ice in its eastern section. March 29 is the official opening day.


SS Keewatin not relocating to Midland, will spend summer in Port McNicoll

3/26 - Midland, Ont. – The deal that would have brought the SS Keewatin to the Town of Midland is dead. The historic Edwardian steamship will not be relocating to town and will spend at least one more summer docked in Port McNicoll, according to Eric Conroy, president and CEO of the Friends of Keewatin.

“The more I’ve thought about it, I’m not so sure it would be a good idea to go (to Midland),” said Conroy. “I feel we were looking for the quickest way to solve the problem, and I don’t think the way we chose to go was the best. I’m almost apologetic that we went as far as we did with the Town of Midland without really understanding how the municipality works.”

The Friends of Keewatin pitched a proposal on behalf of Skyline Developments Ltd. to council on Feb 26.

The ship, valued at $48.3 million, was offered to Midland at no cost. Skyline proposed to fund moving costs to relocate the Keewatin, cover costs associated with renovations and restoration over the next five years, and ensure the ship did not operate at a loss for 10 years. All Midland needed to do was ensure the company received a federal tax receipt.

This proposal came with a March 19 deadline, which has come and gone.

“When you think about what we asked them to do, that was a pretty big order,” said Conroy. “I feel bad for everybody involved. We probably should have looked into it more before we took that leap. I was naïve when I went to council.”

The Friends of Keewatin has switched gears and is now working with Tay Township to try to keep the ship docked at the end of Talbot Street for the foreseeable future. Skyline’s tight deadline to Midland was to ensure it received a federal tax receipt this year. With that deadline already gone, the Friends of Keewatin has the rest of the year to develop a plan to keep the ship local.

Conroy is in the midst of taking the necessary steps to have the Friends of Keewatin take ownership of the vessel. In order for the group to provide Skyline with a tax receipt, the ship would need to become a Class A museum.

“When the government looks at this, they will want us to have a long-term lease for where the ship will be kept and they will want to see that we are financially capable of managing it,” said Conroy, who has a fundraising goal of $1 million in mind. Part of this funding would go toward a substantial advertising budget to attract more visitors and ensure the ship remains profitable.

“We really owe a great deal to the volunteers, and we owe it to them to do the best we can to try and make sure the ship stays here,” said Conroy.

In the end, it will be up to Skyline whether the Keewatin stays local or moves elsewhere in the province. There are two other Ontario cities showing serious interest in the ship.

The Midland Mirror


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.


Soo Locks open, upper lakes shipping season underway

3/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The 1,000-foot American Steamship Co. self-unloader American Century was expected to open the Soo Locks at 12:01 a.m. Sunday by heading upbound into the Poe Lock.

After a challenging trip through the icy St. Marys River, American Century arrived on the pier around 3 p.m. Saturday. At 5 p.m., officials arrived for the annual greeting of the first ship. Representatives of the City of Sault Ste. Marie, the Chamber of Commerce, the Soo Locks Visitors Center Association, and I Love Sault Ste. Marie, gathered to welcome the vessel and present a variety of gifts to the captain and crew to mark the occasion.

The first passage was also greeted by a number of freighter fans gathered in Soo Locks Park and on the locks observation deck, opened specially for the event by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

American Century was followed by Philip R. Clarke and Edgar B. Speer, which moored on the east center and MacArthur Lock piers. By evening Saturday, Presque Isle and Cason J. Callaway were stopped in the vicinity of Nine Mile Point waiting for daylight and permission to proceed up. Hon. James L. Oberstar was inbound at DeTour at 10 p.m. The downbound tug/barge combo Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader was parked off Point Iroquois for the night and will head downbound Sunday morning for Detroit.

CSL Welland was expected at the Soo on Sunday. Joseph L. Block was also due Sunday, depending on ice conditions in the Straits. Coast Guard cutters assisting in the spring icebreaking efforts the past several days included USCG Mackinaw, USCG Hollyhock, USCG Mobile Bay and CCGS Samuel Risley.

The Soo Locks Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday to celebrate the first day of the 2018 navigation season with an open house at the Visitor Center from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy refreshments, a sneak peek at new exhibits, and updates on vessel traffic.


Barge Alouette Spirit finally freed, towed to Trois-Rivières

3/25 - The barge Alouette Spirit was refloated Friday around 11 a.m. by the tugs Wilf Seymour and Lois M. after being lightered of some of its cargo of aluminum ingots. The McKeil Marine barge, which had been stranded on Lake St-Pierre since Christmas day, was towed to Trois-Rivières, Que.

Rene Beauchamp


2018 edition of “Know Your Ships” ready for new shipping season

3/25 - The new shipping season is at hand, and so is the release of "Know Your Ships 2018,” 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 available.

"Know Your Ships," now in its 59th 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 will speak about the history of “Know Your Ships” and also sign copies of the book April 21 at the Algonac Historical Maritime Museum, 1240 St. Clair River Dr., Algonac, Mich. Doors open at 6 p.m., presentation at 7 p.m. He and members of the KYS crew will be on hand April 23 at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron from 11 a.m. 3 p.m.

Order at this link:


Port Reports -  March 25

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
After spending the night at Midwest Energy for some final maintenance work, James R. Barker departed Duluth on Saturday morning for Toledo. Edwin H. Gott left her layup berth at Port Terminal during the afternoon, and headed to Two Harbors to load her first cargo of the season. Also during the afternoon, Burns Harbor shifted from her layup dock in Superior to Burlington Northern to load ore. She should depart on Sunday morning. Lee A. Tregurtha is the only vessel that remains in winter layup, and she is expected to depart on Tuesday.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Edwin H. Gott departed Duluth on Saturday March 24 at 15:45 and arrived at Two Harbors at 19:25 the same day. There will be no traffic at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay until after the Soo Locks open.

Thunder Bay, Ont. – Gene Ochulenko
Saturday, March 24 at 8:22 CSL Assiniboine was the first to leave lay up followed at 10:27 by Whitefish Bay and at 10:58 by Thunder Bay. All were assisted by the tugs Glenada and Point Valour. They were escorted out of the bay by USCG Morro Bay. All vessels are loaded with iron ore bound for Nanticoke. Morro Bay resumed ice operations breaking out the Mission and Kam rivers, USCGC Alder continued to work in the main shipping channel. The heavy blue ice varied in thickness form 24- to 30 inches plus.

Marquette, Mich.
Kaye E. Barker was stuck in the ice off Marquette Saturday.

Stoneport, Mich.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived to load on Saturday evening.

Midland, Ont.
The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Griffon was in Midland Saturday to break Frontenac out of her winter berth at the ADM Milling dock. Griffon cleared a track for her through ice-clogged Midland Bay and Severn Sound to the open waters of Georgian Bay, and by evening Frontenac was on her way to Superior, Wis., to load.

Lake Huron
Steamer Alpena was upbound north of Port Huron headed for her namesake port Saturday night to load cement. CSL Welland, Baie St. Paul and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. were headed for Lake Superior. Tug Anglian Lady and her barge were headed for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Detroit, Mich. – Tom Hynes
Herbert C. Jackson departed Ecorse, Mich., and winter lay-up Saturday with an AIS destination of Nanticoke, Ont.

Toledo, Ohio
The tug/barge combo Olive L. Moore/Menominee was on Lake Erie Saturday sailing from Cleveland. She was due at Toledo late Saturday evening.

Seaway – The Summerstown Seaway Lookout
The Canadian icebreaker Pierre Radisson was the first vessel upbound past Clark Island, Summerstown, Ont., Saturday afternoon, marking the start of the 60th season of the Seaway system. She moored for the night at the Eisenhower Lock upper wall. She is heading for Toronto for crew change then up to Lake Superior to assist with the icebreaking operations. The official opening of the Seaway is March 29 at 8 a.m.


USCG cutter Escanaba to return to Grand Haven in July

3/25 - Grand Haven, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Escanaba will return to Grand Haven this summer to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its namesake’s sinking during World War II. The ship will be in town for the 2018 Coast Guard Festival, July 27 to Aug. 5.

Festival Director Mike Smith said details and dates of the ship’s visit are still being finalized. Smith, a retired Coast Guard commander, said he received verification of the visit with a recent call from the Cleveland-based Ninth Coast Guard District commander, Rear Adm. Joanna Nunan.

“I am beyond thrilled that the U.S. Coast Guard has made this special iconic ship available to serve as the focal point for our celebration as we remember the heroic men who served onboard the original Escanaba,” Smith said. “Commanding Officer Cmdr. Michael Turdo worked closely with the Atlantic Area Command to rearrange an otherwise committed sail plan to ensure that the ship stood stoically in the port of Grand Haven once again.”

The third Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Escanaba (WME-907) was commissioned in Grand Haven on Aug. 29, 1987, and sponsored by the late Grand Haven Mayor Marge Boon.

From its homeport in Boston, the Escanaba has patrolled the waters off New England to enforce federal and international fishing regulations, to deep in the Caribbean on migrant interdiction patrols, to more recently through the Panama Canal and to the Eastern Pacific for drug interdiction missions.

Although it is the third Escanaba, it is just the second vessel of that name commissioned in Grand Haven.

The original Escanaba (WPG-77) was commissioned Nov. 23, 1932, in Grand Haven, according to Coast Guard history. The 165-foot vessel was stationed in Grand Haven from 1932-40. Its primary missions were ice breaking and search and rescue on the Great Lakes.

Built by Defoe Boat and Motor Works of Bay City, the original cutter was named for the city and the river. It served in Grand Haven until the beginning of World War II.

In February 1943, the Escanaba rescued 132 men from a torpedoed transport in the North Atlantic. Four months later, the Escanaba set out on its final mission — an Allied convoy bound for St. John’s, Newfoundland.

At 5:10 a.m. on June 13, 1943, convoy members saw a flash of light and dense smoke at the perimeter of their group. The Raritan, which also was stationed in Grand Haven at one time, was one of the two cutters that rushed to the scene. They discovered the Escanaba had been hit by a torpedo and sunk instantly. There was only debris and two survivors: Seaman 1st Class Raymond O’Malley and Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Melvin Baldwin.

The ship’s mast and lifeboat were recovered and are part of a memorial display in Escanaba Park along Grand Haven’s waterfront.

For many years, the two survivors attended the memorial service held in Grand Haven during the annual Coast Guard Festival. Descendants of both men, who are now deceased, plan to attend the memorial service this year, Smith said.

Also expected to attend is Dr. Ralph Nix, son of the ship’s surgeon, also named Dr. Ralph Nix. Smith said the Nix family is coming to town from Mississippi.

The family of Yeoman 2nd Class Clifford Burton Skarin, who was among those lost in the Escanaba tragedy, is coming from Colorado. A sibling of another lost shipmate is coming from California, Smith said.

Smith said it was the hard work of local historian Wally Ewing and Loutit District Library genealogist Jeanette Weiden that enabled the Coast Guard Festival staff to contact descendants of the sailors lost in the World War II sinking.

“The sailors were so young and single,” Smith said. “When they died, they didn’t have families. And their parents and most of their siblings, who would have been in their 90s, are deceased.” Many of those who are coming are cousins, Smith said.

“It’s just incredible that there’s so much interest, even from cousins and second cousins who know the legacy of these men and want to come and celebrate with us,” he said.

Smith said a tribute dinner for “Heroes and Legends” is planned for the families of the sailors and many of the former commanding officers of the Escanaba.

“Part of our legacy as the one and only ‘Coast Guard City USA’ was framed by the sacrifices of the men of the Escanaba,” Smith said. “And to be able to remember them and celebrate with their successors is not only a great honor but in keeping with this year’s festival theme and the Escanaba’s motto, ‘The Spirit Lives On.’”

The festival director said plans are being made to dedicate a new memorial for the Escanaba during a community memorial service on June 13. There are no plans, at this time, for families of the sailors to attend this event.

The second Escanaba was built in San Pedro, California, and commissioned March 20, 1946. The 255-foot gunboat was ported in Alameda, California, until 1954, when it was decommissioned and put in storage until 1957.

It was put back into service in 1957 and stationed at Bedford, Massachusetts. It was decommissioned again on June 23, 1973.

Grand Haven Tribune


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.


First vessels for 2018 shipping season near Soo Locks

3/24 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The first vessels expected to open the 2018 shipping season at the Soo Locks were nearing the area on Friday, with more on the way. The tug Clyde S. Van Enkevort and barge Erie Trader were waiting off Whitefish Point Friday night for the 12:01 a.m. Sunday opening of the locks, while the upbound American Century, followed by Philip R. Clarke, were at the lower end of Neebish Island in company with the USCG Mobile Bay.

Van Enkevort / Erie Trader are coming from Marquette, Mich., with that dock’s first load of taconite ore pellets for the season and are enroute to Detroit to unload at Zug Island. American Century spent the winter laid up in Toledo, and is enroute to Silver Bay, Minn., for a load of ore pellets

At 9 p.m. Friday, Edgar B. Speer and Presque Isle were on Lake Huron headed for Lake Superior. CSL Welland and Baie St. Paul were on Lake Erie destined for Lake Superior. In addition, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin departed Port Colborne (Wharf 16) Tuesday for Sandusky. Mississagi was loading at Sandusky Friday night.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  March 24

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Duluth-Superior – Daniel Lindner
After loading iron ore pellets at CN during the morning, James R. Barker departed Duluth from winter layup early Friday afternoon with a destination of Toledo. However, she returned to port a few hours later due to a mechanical issue. She moored at Midwest Energy, and was still there on Friday night. Her fleetmate Kaye E. Barker departed Fraser Shipyards on Friday afternoon, headed for Marquette to load. Edwin H. Gott, Lee A. Tregurtha and Burns Harbor remain laid up, however all are expected to depart by early next week.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
There was no movement Friday on the Edwin H. Gott, which is now due to depart Duluth on Saturday, March 24, for Two Harbors. American Century was below the locks awaiting their Sunday opening. She will be going to Northshore Mining in Silver Bay.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
USCG Morro Bay began ice operations early Friday, concentrating on the old CN ore dock where the G3 Marquis, Algoma Equinox and Algoma Discovery are in lay up, as well as Keefer Terminal and the Thunder Bay Tug Services dock. At 12:00 USCGC Alder arrived from Duluth. She spent the day clearing a shipping channel to the intercity entrance of the harbor. By 20:00 both were at anchor. The operations were aided by Point Valour, a tug operated by Thunder Bay Tug Services Ltd.

St. Marys River
USCG Mackinaw was moored at the Soo Locks West Pier Friday night. CCGS Samuel Risley was conducting ice operations in Whitefish Bay.

Straits of Mackinac – Jon Paul
USCGC Hollyhock was leading the Samuel De Champlain/Innovation as they proceeded eastbound approaching the Mackinac Bridge headed for Alpena late Friday. USCGC Mobile Bay has been breaking a track through the South Passage and this will be the first commercial traffic of the season to use the passage between Bois Blanc Island and the mainland. Ice west of the bridge is scattered with lots of open water. From the bridge east through the passage as far as Cheboygan is completely ice covered.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Roger Blough, Joseph L. Block and Cason J. Callaway departed Bay Shipbuilding on Friday. The Callaway was the first to leave, followed by the Blough then the Block. All three headed out to Sherwood Point to turn around. Seven vessels remain in winter layup, in addition to three in long-term layup. Robert S. Pierson was removed from the dock and was rafted outboard of the Stewart J. Cort

Holland, Mich. – Al Walters
As of 11 a.m. Friday, barge Pere Marquette PM41/ tug Undaunted were loading scrap steel at Padnos.

Ashtabula, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The Lower Lakes Towing self-unloader Mississagi departed lay up early Friday morning to begin their season. This leaves only the tug Olive L. Moore / barge Menominee left of three vessels that were in Ashtabula for the winter. Calumet departed on March 17 to begin the season


Soo Locks fueling national, EUP economy

3/24 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Described as an engineering marvel for its ability to raise and lower ships exceeding 1,000 feet in length and connecting Lake Superior to the rest of the world, the Soo Locks have also proven to be an economic marvel fueling industries near and far.

“When you think about it,” said Mark Gill, Director of Vessel Traffic Service for the U.S. Coast Guard, “there are eight Great Lakes States and two provinces that rely on the Locks.”

Approximately 6,000 deep draft vessels passed through the Soo Locks during the 2017-18 shipping season — hauling an estimated 80 million tons of cargo, according to Gill. “Annually that is roughly $3 billion in cargo,” said Gill calculating that approximately 3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product funnels through this critical pinch point.

“Seven out of every 10 loads is iron ore of some sort,” said Gill. “The reality is with the advances in steel production, that’s not all going into automobiles.”

Gill indicated that there are a number of different processes that can be applied which can result in the finished product turning up as a container for canned food or a critical piece of a new home appliance — again underscoring the importance of the cargo.

Iron ore is the most frequently shipped item heading down from Lake Superior. Limestone and coal, Gill explained, typically vie for the number two position each year, while grains in the form of oats and wheat are big movers in the spring, coming in the fourth position.

While the shipping traffic is critical to the national economy, Executive Director Linda Hoath of the Sault Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was quick to say it means even more to the region. “It’s our biggest attraction,” said Hoath. “It’s all about the ships.”

Hoath said a half-million people annually visit the Soo Locks Visitors Center and that fails to count the folks who are drawn to the city’s waterfront at other locations just to see the freighters as they pass.

While visitors may choose a multitude of ways to view the ships — from the shoreline, a campsite, their own boat, the Soo Locks Boat Tours, or just the windshield of their automobile — Hoath said they represent tourism dollars for the area. “They visit our attractions, eat lunches and spend the night,” said Hoath adding that many of those visitors will not only return, “but they will want to live here.”

Soo Evening News


Cleveland port executive elected board chairman port group

3/24 - Washington, D.C. – The Board of Directors of the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has announced the election of Port of Cleveland President and CEO William D. Friedman to serve as chairman for the 2018-19 activity year beginning this October. The AAPA represents 140 of the leading maritime port authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

In his role with the Port of Cleveland, Friedman has transformed the agency’s business model since taking the helm in 2010. Under Friedman’s leadership, the Port has seen a resurgence in maritime trade and cargo volumes. In 2014, he led the Port’s efforts to launch the Cleveland-Europe Express service, revitalizing containerized shipping via the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway system and solidifying Cleveland’s position as its leading international hub.

Moreover, the Port’s economic impact has grown to encompass an annual average of over 13 million tons of cargo through the Cleveland Harbor, resulting in $3.5 billion in yearly economic activity and supporting more than 20,000 local jobs.

Port of Cleveland


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.


Spring Breakout: Soo Locks scheduled to open Sunday

3/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard cutters are breaking ice in Lake Superior, Bay of Green Bay, Straits of Mackinac and the St. Marys River as part of spring breakout in preparation for the seasonal opening of the Soo Locks, which are scheduled to open to commercial vessel traffic on Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley entered through the locks prior to the official opening.

Mackinaw and Risley began laying down tracks along charted shipping routes within Whitefish Bay Thursday. The other two vessels will travel west to conduct ice breaking in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Marquette, Mich. The Coast Guard Cutter Alder will break ice in western Lake Superior.

With more than 50 percent of Lake Superior still covered with ice, the majority of ice breaking resources will be positioned above the Soo Locks. This leaves the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay, and Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay to manage the ice remaining in the lower river, Straits of Mackinac, Bay of Green Bay and Georgian Bay.

The U.S. Coast Guard is committed to keeping critical waterways throughout the Great Lakes open to the safe transport of commercial shipments and works closely with the Canadian Coast Guard to achieve that goal.



Weekend events at Soo Locks will mark passage of the season’s first boat

3/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will allow visitors into Soo Locks Park from 11 p.m. March 24 to 1 a.m. March 25 to watch the first boat lock through. There will be 100 percent bag inspections and visitors are being asked to cooperate with security officers when asked to leave when the park closes, even if the boat is still in the lock. There have been problems in previous years and if they continue this year, the Corps warns that the annual event may not be held in the future.

On Sunday, the Soo Locks Visitor Center will be open from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. to celebrate the first day of the 2018 navigation season with an open house at the Visitor Center Sunday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Enjoy refreshments, a sneak peek at new exhibits, and updates on vessel traffic. Initial indications are that traffic will be brisk on opening day.


Three new overseas builds expected in Canada soon

3/23 - Three new ships built at foreign shipyards for their Canadian owners are all headed to Montreal and expected to enter service soon. Expected first sometime on March 28 will be the Algoma Innovator (IMO 9773375), built for the Algoma Central Corp. at the 3 Maj Shipyard in Croatia. Due March 31 is the Algoma Sault (IMO 9619282), built at the Yangzijiang shipyard in China also for Algoma. The last is the tanker Mia Desgagnes (IMO 9772278), built in 2017 at the Besiktas Shipyard in Turkey for the Groupe Desgagnes fleet. The vessel has been trading in Europe this winter and has not yet been to the Great Lakes/Seaway area.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  March 23

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. (Eastern) nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Two Harbors, Minn. – Gary A. Putney
Neither Two Harbors nor Silver Bay had any traffic on Thursday. Due Two Harbors on Friday, March 23rd, is the Edwin H. Gott, which is still in lay-up at the Port Terminal in Duluth. The first Northshore Mining in Silver Bay traffic appears to be the American Century, upbound Thursday in southern Lake Huron.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Due to the ice conditions in Whitefish Bay the CCGS Samuel Risley will remain working there with the Mackinaw. The USCG icebreaker Morro Bay has been dispatched to Thunder Bay and arrived in the port area at 16:52 to begin ice operations. She worked between Keefer Terminal and the old CN Ore dock until around 20:00, then went anchor. Three CSL vessels are in lay-up at Keefer: CSL Assiniboine, Whitefish Bay and Thunder Bay.

St. Marys River
Tanker Algocanada was unloading at Soo, Ont., on Thursday. USCG Mackinaw and CCGS Samuel Risley were conducting ice operations in Whitefish Bay.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Thursday saw three vessels depart from winter lay up, with the American Century departing in the early morning. Philip R. Clarke and Edgar B. Speer were next, departing in the mid-afternoon. This leaves nine ships still in lay up at Toledo with an additional three vessels that remain in long-term lay up.

Cleveland, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The Alpena, currently the oldest operating vessel on the Great Lakes, departed her winter lay up berth Thursday during the late morning to begin her 76th season sailing on the Great Lakes. However at some point she turned around and was back in Cleveland in the evening. Sam Laud is the only other vessel still laid up in the port.

Erie, Pa. – Jeff Benson, Gene Polaski
Presque Isle left lay up Thursday at 09:30 and got stuck in the ice outside the channel. She was able to free herself and continued upbound for Two Harbors.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry O
McKeil's Leonard M. and Niagara Spirit came into port Thursday and went to anchor at the east end of the harbor until 2:30, when she headed back out to the lake.

Crews have begun lightering the grounded barge Alouette Spirit in the Lac St-Pierre region. Tug Wilf Seymour was on scene Thursday as was another barge into which the cargo of aluminum ingots will be offloaded. Alouette Spirit has been aground since Christmas Day.


Coast Guard cutters clear ice around Soo Locks in preparation for opening

3/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – There’s a lot of work to be done on the water before the Soo Locks are expected to open Sunday. U.S. Coast Guard cutters, along with help from their Canadian counterparts are out making sure the waterways are ready for the shipping season. For the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes, this is by far their most important non-life saving mission of the year.

Read more and watch a video at this link


Algoma Sault clears Panama Canal, headed for Canada

3/23 - Algoma Sault (IMO 9619282), Algoma Central Corp.’s second 740-foot long Equinox-class self-unloading bulk carrier built at the Yangzijiang Shipyard in China, departed the anchorage on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal on Monday in the early evening, transited the canal overnight and cleared on Tuesday in the early morning. After clearing the Panama Canal, the Algoma Sault is headed to Montreal where it is expected March 31. The vessel is on its delivery voyage.

Denny Dushane


Port City Princess owner retires, sells to Muskegon-area group

3/23 - Muskegon, Mich. – The Port City Princess cruise boat will continue operating this summer, but under new ownership. The Precious family, which has owned and operated the Princess for about 30 years, announced on Tuesday, March 20, that Sylvia Precious had decided to retire.

"It seems like just yesterday that my mom Sylvia and my dad Ralph and my brother Randy sailed the Port City Princess into Muskegon Lake," reads the Facebook post by Dana Precious. "After 30 years of cruising mom decided it was finally time to retire and enjoy a summer off for once." The post goes on to thank the community. Randy Precious could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Princess is berthed at Mart Dock downtown Muskegon. "It is staying in Muskegon," said Max McKee, president of the Mart Dock. "It was sold and was going to go to Charlevoix, but a local group stepped in to keep it in Muskegon. It will operate this summer."

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link


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.


U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet ready to meet needs of commerce

3/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – Crews are readying the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet for another shipping season. Five dry-bulk vessels have already resumed operation, but the bulk of the fleet will get underway once the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, open on March 25.

Last year U.S.-flag lakers hauled 85.7 million tons of cargo, an increase of 3 percent over 2016. Iron ore for steel production was the largest single commodity carried by U.S.-flag lakers: 46 million tons. Limestone cargos totaled 21.55 million tons. Coal shipments topped 13.3 million tons. Cargos of cement, salt, sand and grain approached 4.9 million tons.

“The fleet is ready,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA). “Our members spent $65 million maintaining and modernizing their vessels during the winter.”

Trade associations cannot be predictive, so LCA cannot forecast cargo movement in 2018. Volumes will be determined by the state of the economy.

LCA is working a number of issues that will affect the future of U.S.-flag shipping on the Lakes. Key among them is having another heavy icebreaker built for service on the Great Lakes. The cargos delayed or cancelled this past December and January because of heavy ice topped 1.5 million tons. Congress has authorized construction of another heavy icebreaker. LCA’s focus is now funding the $240 million vessel.

The association continues its efforts to have a second Poe-sized lock built at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. In 2017, the 48-year-old Poe Lock handled 90 percent of the 75 million tons that passed through the Soo Locks. A Department of Homeland Security report estimates that 11 million Americans would lose their jobs if the Poe Lock was out of service for 6 months.

A second Poe-sized lock was authorized at full federal funding in 2007, but has been stalled by a flawed Corps of Engineers study that significantly understates its benefit/cost (b/c) ratio. A new Corps study should be completed soon which should show a very positive b/c ratio. A 2017 study commissioned by the Treasury Department puts the project’s b/c ratio between 2.0 and 4.0, well above the level required for inclusion in an administration budget.

Passage of federal legislation establishing a uniform, federal discharge standard for ballast water is another LCA priority. Currently both the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. EPA regulate ballast water discharges. In addition, seven of the eight Great Lakes states have their own requirements. The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act would impose the highest ballast water management standard currently achievable and assign oversight and enforcement to the U.S. Coast Guard. The EPA and individual states would continue to have input on raising the standard as technology advances.

Increased funding for dredging has reduced the backlog of sediment clogging Great Lakes ports and waterways, but more than 14 million cubic yards of sediment need to be removed before vessels can consistently carry full loads. Depending on the size of the vessel, ships and tug/barge units lose anywhere between 50 and 270 tons of cargo for each inch loaded draft is reduced by lack of adequate dredging. LCA continues to work with Congress to ensure Lakes dredging is adequately funded.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Efforts underway to free Alouette Spirit

3/22 - Tugs Wilf Seymour and Lois M departed Trois-Rivières, Que., Wednesday around 5 a.m. headed for the Alouette Spirit, which has been aground on Lac St Pierre since the morning of December 25. Lois M has been up to the site twice in the last few days, Wilf Seymour re-positioned herself on the dock Tuesday and on Wednesday night was showing on AIS on as being at the barge, which has a cargo of aluminum ingots bound for Oswego, N.Y.

Joanne Crack - The Prescott Anchor


Port Reports -  March 22

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Duluth-Superior-Two Harbors –Gary A. Putney
Clyde S. VanEnkevort/Erie Trader arrived Two Harbors Tuesday night, 3/21, at 22:59 for the shiploader dock. They departed Wednesday, 3/22, at approx. 11:20 for Detroit. Tentatively scheduled for Two Harbors on Wednesday, 3/22, is the Edwin H. Gott, laid up at the Port Terminal in Duluth.

St. Marys River – Angie Zubac
On Wednesday at 3:15 p.m., USCG Mackinaw was entering the Poe Lock. She was and followed by Samuel Risley and Morro Bay. The Coast Guard vessels locked through ahead of the opening to commercial traffic to prepare the shipping lanes for March 25th opening of the locks. Algocanada was approaching DeTour upbound late Wednesday.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Calumet unloaded coal at Lafarge on Wednesday. It departed before 8pm and was expected to go to Stoneport for it's next cargo. On Wednesday morning members of the International Shipmasters Association (Northeast Michigan Lodge 19) greeted the first vessel of the season at Stoneport. Members were taken onboard the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader for a quick tour while it was loading. The weather was sunny but cold and there is still some ice along the shore and at the dock.

Windsor, Ont. – Capt. Mike Nicholls
CSL Niagara was loading at Ojibway Salt on Wednesday, with a destination of Milwaukee, Wis.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushnae
The updated Toledo schedule has the following ships due into port. For the CSX Coal Dock, the first vessel to load for the 2018 season will be the John J. Boland on Tuesday, March 27, during the early evening. Also due at CSX will be the Algoma Niagara. They are due to load on Thursday, March 29 in the late evening. The Algoma Enterprise is due at CSX to load on Friday, March 30 in the late morning. There are no vessels scheduled yet for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. For the Torco Dock, the first expected arrival will be the James R. Barker due in on Monday March 26 in the early evening. Also due at the Torco Dock is the Calumet on Wednesday, March 28 in the late morning. Calumet departed Toledo on Tuesday morning with coal for Alpena. They loaded from the Midwest Terminal Dock. Thus far, no vessels wintering in Toledo have departed from lay up, however, that should change sometime this weekend.


Huron, Ohio’s lime plant may be closing

3/22 - Huron, Ohio – A major employer in Huron could shut down by next month. Management at Huron Lime Inc. told staff this past week the company sold off to Pennsylvania-headquartered Carmeuse Lime & Stone, according to an employee who spoke with the Register. The person requested anonymity for fear of facing possible retaliation.

“They told us we would keep working until all the stone was gone,” the employee said. “Once we turn the last bit of stone into lime, they told us we would no longer be needed. We believe that’s less than 30 days from now.”

The lime plant in Huron is the last facility in that port that receives regular shipments by vessel. Closure would mark the end of an era for Huron as a Great Lakes shipping port.

The employee provided a bit more context into some behind-the-scenes dealings. “It’s my understanding Carmeuse owns plants up toward Cleveland and down toward Findlay and that they would take the accounts (in Huron) and work on them at other plants,” the worker said.

Added Maria Johnson Pounds, who posted in the “You know you’re from Huron if…” Facebook group: “I am the wife of a supervisor, and I can confirm it is closing. We are heartbroken and saddened by this great loss.”

About 30 people work at the company — known by some locals as the “cloud maker” for producing similar shapes floating above its Meeker Street facility — which started operations in Huron about 50 years ago. Among its service, the lime plant makes an ingredient used in the production of concrete.

Huron Lime Inc. “has a long history of providing excellent quicklime and related calcium products into a variety of applications, including steel processing, chemical manufacturing, construction, agricultural and water treatment,” according to a company statement.

Neither officials working for Huron’s government nor those representing the Erie County Economic Development Corp. could confirm the closing, yet they heard speculation running rampant around town.

Multiple messages left with management, meanwhile, were not returned.

Sandusky Register


USCG to open West Neebish Channel on Saturday

3/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Vessel Traffic Service St. Marys River is scheduled to open the downbound West Neebish Channel of the St. Marys River effective Saturday at 8 a.m. Ice breaking will begin at the north end of the channel near Light 45 and continue south to Saw Mill Point. Operations will continue throughout the day until the entire West Neebish Channel is open to commercial navigation.

Every precaution will be taken to avoid incidental ice breaking in order to not interrupt ferry service to Neebish Island, if possible.

With more than 50 percent of Lake Superior still covered with ice, the majority of ice breaking resources will be positioned above the Soo Locks. This leaves the Coast Guard with three icebreakers to manage the ice remaining in the lower river, Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay and Georgian Bay.

It is recommended Neebish Island residents prepare for the possibility that ferry operations will be disrupted; pack for overnight contingencies, stock pantries and prepare for medical needs. Coast Guard officials, partnering with the EUP Transportation Authority, will closely monitor ice conditions and assist with publishing anticipated service delays. In the event of an emergency during any ferry service interruption, Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie can be reached at (906) 635-3230.



New Amherst and Wolfe Island ferries will be fully electric

3/22 - Kingston, Ont. – The province of Ontario announced on Friday that the new ferries slated for Amherst Island and Wolfe Island will be fully electric. They will also be the first fully electric, non-cable vessels in Canada.

The Ontario government announced a $61-million contract in November with Damen Shipyards of the Netherlands, which they selected to produce the new ferries. That contract was for both design and production.

A news release from the Ontario government stated that the electric ferries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions "by an estimated 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road, compared to conventional diesel ferries."

The ferries are being funded by the federal and provincial governments, and it is expected that they will be operational in early 2020 for Amherst Island and early 2021 for Wolfe Island. Wolfe Island's current ferry will continue working alongside the new electric ferry.

"The Wolfe Islander III will remain in service together with the new electric Wolfe Island vessel, to help speed up the movement of people and goods during peak season," the news release said. "Details of the service to Wolfe Island are being developed with input from ferry users."

The new ferry to Wolfe Island will carry 399 passengers and 75 vehicles, compared to the current capacity of 294 passengers and 55 vehicles. Amherst Island's new ferry will carry 300 passengers and up to 40 vehicles, as compared to the current 33 vehicles.

According to the release, ferries transport approximately 900,000 passengers and 400,000 vehicles between Wolfe Island and Kingston each year, and approximately 300,000 passengers and 145,000 vehicles to and from Amherst Island annually.

"Over the 60-year lifespan of the ferries, Ontario will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 446 million kilograms of carbon dioxide," the release stated.

Whig Standard


Coast Guard announces change to Sandusky Strait Channel Range Lights

3/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard is scheduled to change the color of the Sandusky Strait Channel Range Lights from red to white late spring or early summer 2018. The change originated as a request by commercial shipping and Great Lakes Pilots due to the red range lights aligning with the Bay Point Shoal lighted buoy "2", also red, creating confusion.

Once the change has taken place, a broadcast notice to mariners will commence via VHF-FM channels 16 and 22. The change will be listed on the District 9 Great Lakes weekly local notice to mariners, located at the U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center (NAVCEN) website.

The range lights can be found in the Great Lakes Light List Volume VII on page 47 as "Sandusky Strait Channel Range Front Light" (light list number 4625) and "Sandusky Strait Channel Range Real Light" (LLNR 4630).

The light list can also be located on the NAVCEN website.



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.


Algoma Victory to be scrapped

3/21 - Algoma Central Corp. CFO Peter Winkley has indicated in a story appearing in the March 2018 issue of Canadian Sailings magazine that Algoma has decided to scrap the veteran laker American Victory. He further stated that Algoma is still studying the “best reconfiguration” for American Valor. Both are steamers Algoma acquired from American Steamship Co. late last December.

Their two other acquisitions, Buffalo and Adam E. Cornelius, will sail this season as Algoma Buffalo and Algoma Compass. Winkley said the price for the four vessels “was attractive enough to make the purchase a useful stop-gap measure.”

Canadian Sailings


Lake Superior opens for business: Tug-barge sets off to start season

3/21 - Duluth, Minn. – The shipping campaign sailed into action on Tuesday and, no, the first vessel didn't get stuck in the ice.

The barge-tug combo Erie Trader/Clyde S. VanEnkevort made it under the Aerial Lift Bridge and through the canal at about noon, only to seem to be held up on Lake Superior for several hours off 21st Avenue East on its way to Two Harbors to load ore pellets.

But it wasn't the jumbled ice that slowed the vessel. It was the aftermath of an offseason spent rebuilding the twin engines of the VanEnkevort.

"If anyone is concerned about us outside the harbor, we are not stuck," said Captain Mark Mather via a text message shared by the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "We are merely 'burning in' our overhauled engines."

The tug did separate from her barge in order to ramp up her engines. But a bad omen for the upcoming season this was not.

Read more and view a video / photos at this link


McKeil Spirit is cement carrier’s new name

3/21 - The cargo vessel Ardita, now a cement carrier, was officially registered Canadian on March 20 under the name McKeil Spirit. The port of registry is Hamilton, Ont. and owners are listed as McKeil Work Boats GP Inc. of Burlington, Ont. The vessel was built in 2007 at Royal Niestern Sander, Delfzijl, The Netherlands.

Mac Mackay


Algoma Niagara will open Seaway season next Thursday

3/21 - On Thursday, March 29, Terence Bowles, President and CEO of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., will officially declare the St. Lawrence Seaway’s 60th navigation season open in concert with his counterpart, Associate Administrator Thomas Lavigne from the U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

Gregg Ruhl, Chief Operating Officer of Algoma Central Corp., whose state-of-the-art Equinox-class ship Algoma Niagara will open the season, will be the keynote speaker. The company has embarked on an extensive fleet renewal program over the past eight years, introducing the first series of Great Lakes commercial vessels equipped with integrated exhaust gas scrubbers. Tony Robinson, General Manager Purchasing for ArcelorMittal Dofasco, will also speak.

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation Port reports


Port Reports -  March 21

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Duluth-Superior – Jason Fyten, Gary A. Putney and Daniel Lindner
Erie Trader/ Clyde S. VanEnkevort departed the Duluth Port Terminal Tuesday at noon CST with assistance from the Heritage Marine tug Helen H. They are headed to Two Harbors to load. USCG Alder was westbound just out of Thunder Bay Tuesday evening with an AIS destination of Duluth. Edwin H. Gott and Kaye E. Barker are both expected to depart on Thursday, while James R. Barker and Burns Harbor should be outbound on Friday.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
Tuesday, March 20, at 9:00, USCGC Alder resumed ice operations. She broke out the intercity entrance to Keefer Terminal and north to the Thunder Bay Tug Services dock. The Alder departed for Duluth at 17:00. The CCGS Samuel Risley is expected to arrive shortly after the Soo Locks open to break out the rest of the harbor and provide escort for the ships departing after lay-up.

St. Marys River
Tugs Reliance/Anglian Lady departed the Canadian Soo downbound with the barge PML Ironmaster loaded with steel coils for Detroit in late morning Tuesday. They used the upbound channel as the West Neebish Channel has yet to be opened. By late evening they had reached Mud Lake and were being assisted by CCGS Samuel Risley and USCG Neah Bay. The Risley may lock up Wednesday morning.

Detroit River
CSL Niagara was downbound Monday evening for Windsor, possibly to load salt. Calumet was upbound in the late afternoon and had reached the lower end of the St. Clair River by 9 p.m.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
As of March 20, three salties are scheduled to enter the Seaway on opening day or shortly after, these being Federal Rideau for Toledo, Sten Arnold for Hamilton and Tasing Swan for Clarkson. Tasing Swan is on her first trip.


Shipping season in Twin Ports springs into action

3/21 - Duluth, Minn. – Boat lovers told us this is just like Christmas all over again. Jason Fyten is one of them. "I've grown up watching the boats. This is the best time of year." He was one of handful of people watching the Erie Trader/Clyde S. VanEnkevort make her final preparations to leave her winter berth on Tuesday. The crews had to re-attach the tug and barge together, before they could move out into the water. Heritage Marine plowed a path through the ice for them. Fyten then headed over to the pier in Canal Park, to watch her sail under, just after noon on Tuesday. Several dozen others, many with cameras in hand, did the same.

View the video report at this link


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.


New shipping season gets underway this week at Duluth-Superior

3/20 - Duluth, Minn. – The anticipated departure of six vessels this week signals a strong start to the 2018 commercial shipping season for the Port of Duluth-Superior and the entire region. All will be leaving their winter berths to load iron ore for delivery to steel mills on the lower Great Lakes.

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Alder made several passes through the ice in the shipping channels last week, and, starting Monday, Heritage Marine tugs began assisting with breakout operations in the harbor.

Exact departure times are difficult to pinpoint during start-up, especially with strong winds and shifting ice conditions plus final onboard inspections in progress. At this point, it appears that the first commercial vessel to leave will be the tug/barge that wintered at the Clure Public Marine Terminal. The crew of the Erie Trader/Clyde S. VanEnkevort hopes to get underway by noon Tuesday, March 20, heading to the CN dock in Two Harbors to load iron ore.

Edwin H. Gott is set to follow suit Thursday morning, while the Kaye E. Barker, which wintered at Fraser Shipyards, is also set to leave light that day as she heads to Marquette, Mich., to load iron ore.

In the meantime, two 1,000-footers are scheduled to load iron ore pellets Thursday in the Twin Ports. James R. Barker will be moving from its berth at the Midwest Energy Terminal across St. Louis Bay to the CN Duluth Dock. Similarly, the Burns Harbor will make its way from Elevator M to the BNSF Railway Dock in Superior and, once loaded, will likely depart via the Superior entry sometime Friday. Last in the line-up is the Lee A. Tregurtha, scheduled to leave Fraser Shipyards next Tuesday to load ore in Two Harbors.

Once loaded, those first five vessels will proceed across Lake Superior toward Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to await the opening of the Soo Locks at 12:01 a.m. on Sun., March 25. That means, the Port of Duluth-Superior could begin seeing its first inbound lakers arriving a day or two later, depending on ice conditions.

While the Soo Locks open Sunday, the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway locks are not scheduled to open until March 29. For updates on all vessel traffic, check the schedule posted on To follow transits in real-time, visit or or check mobile apps like Marine Traffic or Ship Finder.

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

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Water refills Michigan's Soo Locks as opening day nears

3/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Soo Locks' three-month closure for winter maintenance is nearing its end. With opening day set for March 25, workers late last week refilled the Poe Lock - the one reserved for the heftiest ships traveling through the St. Marys River on their journeys between Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

When the Soo Locks are full, it takes 22 million gallons of water to raise the level of the Poe Lock by 21 feet and and get freighters moving between Lake Huron and Lake Superior. On Monday, divers were set to go into the Poe Lock to do some finish work.

Read more and see photos at this link:


Coast Guard to break ice near Escanaba

3/20 - Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay will fracture ice near the Escanaba ore dock on Thursday. At the request of commercial shippers who wintered in Escanaba, and to support the local commercial ice breaking service, the Coast Guard will establish a track in the ice from Escanaba Light north to the Escanaba ore dock. Every precaution will be taken to leave the northerly portions of Little Bay De Noc undisturbed. The Coast Guard will limit their ice breaking activity to the designated area.



Port Reports -  March 20

Editor’s note:
Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Thunder Bay, Ont.
USCGC Alder departed Duluth at approximately 22:00 March 18 for Thunder Bay. She arrived in the port area at approximately 15:00 Monday March 19 and began ice operations. The Alder is clearing a channel to the intercity harbor entrance. At 20:00 she went to anchor for the night about a nautical mile off of the entrance.

St. Marys River
USCG Morro Bay was upbound at Mission Point about 5:30 p.m. Monday, with Mackinaw following later in the evening. Both tied up at the Soo base. CCGS Samuel Rislsey was working in the ice near Nine Mile Point, and later was in the vicinity of Stribling Point. Neah Bay was north of Lime Island.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort arrived Monday at noon to officially open the Stoneport stone dock for the 2018 season. There are no vessels due Tuesday. Expected Wednesday morning are the barge Menominee / tug Olive L. Moore, arriving from lay-up in Ashtabula. Great Lakes Trader and Joyce L. Van Enkevort are due back Thursday at noon. All times listed are estimated and can change due to weather and ice conditions.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Calumet arrived light from Cleveland on Monday afternoon and tied up behind Walter J. McCarthy Jr. The CSX Coal Docks are scheduled to open on Thursday, March 29 with the John J. Boland and CSL Niagara scheduled in on the same day. The Torco Dock is scheduled to open on Monday, March 26 with the James R. Barker. The next ore boat would be the Calumet on Wednesday March 28. This is all subject to change due to fit out schedules, ice conditions and weather.

Montreal, Que. – Rene Beauchamp
Atlantic Huron was the first vessel to leave winter quarters, departing on Saturday for Lower Cove, Nfld.


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.


New Algoma Sault arrives at Panama Canal

3/19 - Algoma Sault (IMO 9619282), the second Equinox-class 740-foot long self-unloading bulk carrier built for the Algoma Central Corp. in China, arrived at the Pacific anchorage of the Panama Canal early Sunday morning to await her transit through the canal.

Algoma Sault is on her maiden trip and voyage from the shipyard in China and is enroute to Canada carrying a foreign crew. The ship is registered in Tuvalu, however once it arrives in Canada it is expected to be re-flagged Canadian and a Canadian crew will take over.

Algoma Sault will join five other Equinox-class ships in the Algoma fleet. The Algoma Equinox built in 2013 was the first of four gearless bulkers, followed by two more in 2014, the Algoma Harvester and the G3 Marquis (ex-CWB Marquis). Joining the fleet in 2017 was the Algoma Strongfield, the fourth and final gearless bulker, along with Algoma Central’s first 740-foot self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Niagara, a sistership to the Algoma Sault. Also due to enter service in 2018 is Algoma Innovator, Algoma's first 650-foot long Equinox-class self-unloading bulk carrier, and the Algoma Endurance, a sistership to the Algoma Innovator under construction in Croatia.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  March 19

Editor’s note: Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

St. Marys River
Five icebreakers were working the lower river Sunday: Mackinaw, Morro Bay, Mobile Bay, Neah Bay and Samuel Risley. Risley has a crew change scheduled at the Sault on March 21. Tentative plans call for Mackinaw, Morro Bay and Risley to lock up either late on March 21 or early on March 22. The CCGS Pierre Radisson is expected to transit the Welland Canal on March 29 to help with the spring break out effort.

Holland, Mich. – Paul Dalman, Bill Van Lopik
The Undaunted and her barge Pere Marquette 41 were loading scrap Sunday morning at the Padnos dock in Holland after leaving winter lay-up at Ludington. They were outbound early in the afternoon showing a destination of Burns Harbor.

Goderich, Ont. – Bruce McCreath
Several of the fishing boats based out of the Port of Goderich were seen returning with their catches late Saturday afternoon. The fishing season has started.

Halifax, N.S. – Mac Mackay
Radcliffe R. Latimer got underway from layup in the early hours of March 18. The ship had arrived January 6 and had maintenance crews working aboard ever since. On March 17, the ship moved to another pier for hold cleaning. On departure the ship gave its destination as Port Daniel, Que., suggesting that it will take a cargo of cement clinker.


Obituary: Capt. Tad Arlen Derf

3/19 - Capt. Tad Arlen Derf, age 82 of Homosassa, Fla., died Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at his residence. He served for many years as a ship's pilot for the Upper Great Lakes Pilot's Association.

He was born November 8, 1935 in Columbia City, Ind., son of the late John and Irene (Schultz) Derf. He was a retired commander for the U. S. Navy. He received master's degrees from both George Washington University and from the U. S. Naval War College. Upon retirement, he also attained the rank of captain with the U.S. Merchant Marine. Burial with full military honors will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.


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.


Nordika Desgagnes under tow after losing steering off Nova Scotia

3/18 - A 143-meter bulk carrier is under tow back to port after losing steering off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The vessel, the Barbados-flagged Nordika Desgagnes, was sailing from Montreal on Thursday when it suffered a steering gear failure, requiring the vessel to be towed.

The owner of the Nordika Desgagnes contracted a tug to tow the Nordika Desgagnes to port. The vessel was under tow to Cape Breton as of Friday, the Canadian Coast Guard reported Friday.

The CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell has been relieved by CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.



Port Reports -  March 18

Editor’s note: Port reports are compiled from reader observations and AIS transmissions. As the new season begins, please send information about vessel arrivals and departures from your port to by 9 p.m. nightly for them to be included in the next day’s news.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The new shipping season started at Lafarge with the arrival of the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation early Saturday morning. After loading cement the pair was expected to head to Milwaukee, Wis.

Ashtabula, Ohio
Calumet departed layup in Ashtabula Saturday and headed to Marblehead 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.


Ardita returns as a cement carrier

3/17 - Ardita, owned by McKeil Marine, is coming back to Canada this week from conversion into a cement carrier overseas. ETA at Montreal is on Saturday. Likely, she will be one of the first ships in the Seaway on opening day on March 29 or shortly after. She is currently flying the flag of Malta.

Rene Beauchamp


Attempt will be made soon to free grounded Alouette Spirit

3/17 - The barge Alouette Spirit, stranded on Lake St. Pierre since December 25, may soon be free. The company owning the boat, McKeil Marine, hopes to tow it before March 29. Operations are expected to begin within two weeks to reach this timeline. A plan must first be authorized by the Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada.


Port Reports -  March 17

Soo Locks
On Friday, crews were busy refilling the Poe Lock in preparation for next weekend’s opening of navigation. The lock was drained in mid-January for maintenance.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Stephen B. Roman was the first ship of the season March 15, coming in with a load of cement.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry O
McKeil's tug Leonard M. and barge Niagara Spirit were in port again Thursday working on the Villers Island project.


Steam barge Margaret Olwill that sank more than 100 years ago found in Lake Erie

3/17 - Toledo, Ohio – A shipwreck hunter sponsored by the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo has found the long-sought steam barge Margaret Olwill, which sank in Lake Erie off Lorain during a storm in 1899, the museum announced Thursday.

The vessel is believed to have had 13 people aboard and was carrying 900 tons of limestone loaded at Kelleys Island and destined for Cleveland when it foundered.

“The loss of the Olwill was particularly tragic because not only did the captain and his wife perish, but their son, a friend of the family, and other relatives also died as a result of what appeared to be a family trip on the commercial vessel,” the museum said in its statement announcing the find by a member of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers.

Also reported were the discoveries of two other shipwrecks in the area that have yet to be identified. Those two wrecks, both believed to be sailing ships, were found in July 2016, while the wreck confirmed to be the Olwill was first located July 26, 2017. The Olwill’s identification was confirmed the following month when divers located its steam-powered engine, which matched the vessel’s recorded description.

Rob Ruetschle, the CLUE-affiliated shipwreck hunter who found the Olwill, said the extent of information available about the Olwill’s sinking made it an appealing search target.

Read more and view photo and a map at this link


Opening of Pipe Island north and east channels set

3/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Samuel Risley will open the Pipe Island Passage, north and east of Pipe Island and circumnavigate Drummond Island starting at noon on Monday.

The two ice breakers will travel east, through Potagannissing Bay along the international border, enter the North Channel and exit False Detour Passage east of Drummond Island.

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



Manitowoc's USS Cobia submarine celebrates its 75th anniversary

3/17 - Manitowoc, Wis. – The USS Cobia is recognizing her 75th anniversary this year, and the Wisconsin Maritime Museum is planning a year-long celebration of the battle submarine.

The Cobia, which was not built in Wisconsin, served six patrols in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, and during that time sank 13 Japanese vessels and rescued seven downed airmen in April 1945. She came to Manitowoc nearly 48 years ago, and represents both the area’s maritime heritage and its history of building sturdy World War II submarines, said Karen Duvalle, submarine curator of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.

On March 17, 1943, the keel of the USS Cobia was laid down in Groton, Connecticut, and she was launched on Nov. 28 of that year. To recognize the laying down of the keel, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum on Saturday will have live reenactors on hand for self-guided tours of the Cobia, and is offering a discounted admissions price, plus cake and cupcakes.

Wisconsin Maritime Museum Executive Director Rolf Johnson said Manitowoc is fortunate to have the submarine here, noting many were used in dangerous war operations and did not return home.

In 1944, for example, the Cobia attacked a group of enemy ships going to the Japanese island called Iwo Jima. Cobia sank two ships, including a Japanese troop ship carrying 28 tanks. The U.S. Marines felt this sinking was important to their capture of the island six months later, and sent a letter thanking the crew, according to Wisconsin Maritime Museum officials.

The Cobia was given to the Milwaukee Naval Reserve Center in 1959, where she served as a training submarine for the next 11 years. In 1970, the U.S. Navy retired the Cobia, and the submarine was relocated to Manitowoc on Aug. 17, 1970, to serve as a memorial for the men who served on the Manitowoc boats and also the men and women who built them. The Cobia became a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Cobia’s move to Manitowoc was a catalyst is creating a Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Johnson said. About 40,000 people visit the museum each year, he said. Scout and school groups, and families, can participate in sleepovers during special events on the submarine, and kids can learn about STEM (or science, technology, engineering and math) while spending time on the Cobia, Johnson noted.

“Tours of the Cobia are popular,” he said. “People get a sense of what the history is. And you have not only the people who built submarines here, but you have a lot of veterans who visit and share their sea stories as well.”

Few people today have links to serving in the military, Johnson said, and the Cobia is a way for the general public to learn that history.

The submarine is one of a handful open to tours throughout the country, and is one of the best preserved, Green said. The Cobia is occasionally pulled out of the water for repairs or to be painted, and for its engines, whistles or hull to be maintained. Its radar has been restored and is one of the oldest in the world, Johnson said.

“It really is fascinating to see and to learn about,” Johnson said. “Manitowoc is lucky to have it.”

Reduced admissions on Saturday will be $7.50 per person. There will be educational displays, crafts and games, a scavenger hunt and a raffle. There will be a cake-cutting ceremony at noon — cut with a saber, as is submarine tradition — and a limited number of cupcakes. Nicole Fuller will perform music at 11 a.m., and 1 and 2 p.m., including 1940s and Irish music in the museum’s Riverview Room. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is at 75 Maritime Drive. Call 920-684-0218 for more details.

Herald Times Reporter


Volunteers clean up Lake Superior Marine Museum

3/17 - Duluth, Minn. – Spring is in the air, and on Thursday the Lake Superior Maritime Museum held its annual Spring Cleaning Day. More than 20 volunteers grabbed brooms and polish, making the Visitor Center at the Maritime Museum spick-and-span.

“You learn a little bit every time you come,” volunteer Eloyes Hill said. “Even when you’re doing stuff like this.”

Friday kicks off spring hours for the Lake Superior Maritime Museum, which will be open every day.

View a video 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.


Blaze on old tug poses challenge for firefighters

3/16 - Port Dover, Ont. – A derelict tugboat caught fire in the Harry Gamble Shipyard in Port Dover Wednesday. The alarm was called in to Norfolk Fire & Rescue around 3 p.m. The tug Jiggs was fully involved by time firefighters arrived.

There was initial concern that fire vehicles couldn’t get down to the Lynn River in the area of Lynn Street but they found their way through the scrap vehicles and other waste items that have accumulated in the shipyard over the decades.

Firefighters stood by while a Komatsu excavator tore at the boat. Once the burning wheelhouse was fully exposed, they extinguished the flames with water from a pumper truck. Firefighters vacated the scene around 4:15 p.m.

The website For Posterity’s Sake: A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project, says the Jiggs was launched in 1911 in Lorain, Ohio, as the tug Baltimore. The steel-hulled boat was 61 feet long and 16 feet in the beam. The tug was renamed the Patricia McQueen in 1936 when it was purchased by a new owner. It saw service in the Canadian navy during the Second World War. In 1970 the boat was renovated into a yacht and renamed Maracaibo II. The boat was renamed again in 1982 as Jiggs.

“Jiggs was last reported as a derelict vessel at a shipyard in Port Dover half submerged in mud and in a state of complete disrepair,” the For Posterity’s Sake website says.

A report from Norfolk Fire & Rescue was not available at press time. A member of the Gamble family declined to comment at the scene.

View a photo at this link

Simcoe Reformer


DonJon Shipbuilding and repair says business booming; will hire 70 more workers

3/16 - Erie, Pa. – It's been a long winter for most, but for DonJon Shipbuilding and repair, the season has meant millions of dollars in investment just in time for an uptick in business. Winter is usually the busiest time of the year for ship repair at DonJon, but this season could be one of the busiest ever.

"When the lakes freeze, all the vessels can't sail,” says Richard Hammer, assistant general manager. “So, they want to come in and get repaired. We have a short three-month window to maintain and repair all of these vessels."

Between January and March, they'd usually see four to five vessels. Hammer says before this season ends, they will have seen nine. "Just because of the amount of boats, you have to spread a lot of people out. So, we need a lot of people." That means hiring an additional 70 contractors and seasonal employees on top of the 100 core employees, he says.

Erie, Western Pennsylvania Port Authority owns the shipyard and leases it to DonJon. Sandberg says the 1,250-foot graving dock makes Donjon unique. "From a port standpoint, we have the largest graving dock on the Great Lakes. So, we are able to accept vessels that other ports are not able to accept," he explains.

Improvements over the past year are also helping the cause, he adds. "The total right now is a little over $7 million and that work includes not only the drydock floor, but also some other improvements to the facility including roof-work and gutters and things of that nature.”

DonJon has already seen about five vessels with four more on the way.


Port Reports -  March 16

Lorain, Ohio
Great Lakes Trader opened the Port of Lorain Tuesday morning when it arrived with a load of stone from Marblehead for the Terminal Readimix dock on the Black River.

Erie, Pa. – Gene P. and Andrew Rogers
The tanker Algoma Hansa arrived just before 8 a.m. Thursday for drydocking after spending the night anchored off of Presque Isle waiting for weather. She was met by the Great Lakes Towing tug Rhode Island just outside of the channel; Rhode Island took a stern line and followed her in to port. When the duo reached the Presque Isle Bay turning basin, Rhode Island swung Hansa's stern around and into the DonJon drydock.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
The tug Lois M has joined Wilf Seymour in Trois-Rivières, and the ice is moving out of Lac-St-Pierre. Perhaps an attempt to free the grounded barge Alouette Spirit is coming soon.


Nordika Desgagnés loses steering off Cape Breton

3/16 - Nordika Desgagnés lost steering Thursday off Cape Breton. She was bound from Montreal for Sydney, Australia. CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell was on scene and a tug has been dispatched by the vessel owner to tow the Nordika Desgagnés to port.

Halifax Shipping News


Blessing of the Fleet at Mariner's Church of Detroit

3/16 - View a photo gallery of the recent Blessing of the Fleet at this link


2018 Bager Gathering filling up

3/16 -  Our popular gathering on the Lake Michigan Carferry Badger has returned for 2018 and is filling up fast, only 9 state rooms left.
Click here for the schedule


Updates -  March 16

The winter  Lay-up list updated with sailings. Please send reports of vessels departing winter lay-up to Please include vessel name, date, port and lay-up dock name (if known).


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.


New name Algoma Compass shows up on AIS

3/15 - Algoma Compass will be the new name of the former American Steamship Co. self-unloader Adam E. Cornelius, purchased by the Algoma Central Corp. late last year. That was the information being transmitted by AIS Wednesday from the vessel, which is undergoing preliminary work at Huron, Ohio, prior to drydocking and a return to service.

The Algoma Compass was named by one of our employees through a “Name the Vessel” contest and was chosen because of the symbolism of a compass. The name has yet to show up on the Transport Canada or Lloyd’s List ship registry websites.

The name Algoma Buffalo (the former American Steamship Co. self-unloader Buffalo) appears to be official as well, although still unlisted at Transport Canada or Lloyd’s.


Icebreaking in Thunder Bay unexpectedly delayed

3/15 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The arrival of the U.S. Coast Guard's icebreaking cutter Alder in the port of Thunder Bay has been postponed. The 225-foot multi-mission vessel was originally expected to begin opening shipping channels in Thunder Bay as early as Tuesday. However, a crewmember on the Alder says ice conditions in the Duluth, Minnesota area have prevented the vessel from heading north to Thunder Bay.

She remains in Duluth for now. The exact date for the Alder's arrival in Thunder Bay has not been determined as yet, but the crew spokesperson said Tuesday it was unlikely to be in the next couple of days.

Thunder Bay Newswatch


Algoma Sault, Algoma Innovator updates

3/15 - Algoma Sault (IMO 9619282), the second of Algoma Central Corporation’s 740-foot long Equinox-class self-unloading vessels, is expected to arrive sometime Sunday, March 18, at the Panama Canal. Algoma Sault is traveling light with a foreign crew and is registered in Tuvalu, although it is expected to be re-flagged upon arrival in Canada.

Meanwhile, Algoma Innovator (IMO 9773375), the first Algoma Central 650-foot long Equinox-class self-unloading vessel, is expected to arrive in Montreal, Que., on Sunday, March 25 in the morning. Algoma Innovator also is carrying a foreign crew and registered in Tuvalu, however upon their arrival in Canada they will then be re-flagged Canadian. Algoma Innovator has a cargo of bauxite that was loaded at Itea, Greece, and has had other port stops in Italy and in Gibraltar before departing on their journey to Canada.

These two new Equinox-class ships will join five other Equinox-class ships in the Algoma Central fleet. Algoma Equinox was built in 2013 and was the first of four gearless bulkers. Algoma Harvester and G3 Marquis (ex-CWB Marquis) joined in 2014, followed in 2017 by Algoma Strongfield and Algoma Niagara. Expected to join the fleet later in 2018 is Algoma Endurance, a sister ship to Algoma Innovator, currently being built in Croatia.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  March 15

Erie, Pa.
Algoma Hansa arrived off Erie on Wednesday and was waiting for weather before heading in to the DonJon shipyard for her five-year inspection.


Tentative vessel departure dates from Bay Shipbuilding

3/15 - Paul R Tregurtha: 05/18/18
Stewart J Cort: 03/24/18
Mesabi Miner: 03/24/18

Joseph L Block: 03/23/18
Wilfred Sykes: 04/22/18

Roger Blough: 03/23/18
John G Munson: 03/23/18
Cason J Callaway: 03/23/18

Robert S Pierson: 04/03/18
Tug Victory : 04/03/18
Barge James L Kuber: 04/03/18

Evening Star: 04/19/18
Bright Star: 04/21/18
Star of Chicago: 04/26/18

Courtesy Door County Vacationers


National Museum kicks off Spring Lecture Series

3/15 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes is pleased to announce the start of its spring session of its Annual Lecture Series with “Loving a Sailor: Past and Present” by Michelle Schmidt on Wednesday March 21 at 7 p.m.

Schmidt offers a new approach to understanding the lives of those involved in maritime activities by exploring their personal relationships. Schmidt’s lecture is a journey through time to view and understand the trials and tribulations of sailors and their wives. It illuminates how distance weather, and unknown perils shaped their lives and their love. How modern day sailors’ families have continued to survive, communicate, and thrive in this modern world.

Registration is required. Register at

The Spring Annual Lecture Series is sponsored by the University of Toledo.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Obituary: Louis “Skip” Meier

3/15 - Louis “Skip” Meier, 67, a long-time member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s advisory council and former president of the group, passed away Thursday, March 8, after a battle with cancer.

He was voted the group’s Historian of the Year (along with co-author Wayne Garrett) in 2009 for his work writing and editing the group’s definitive book “The Great Lakes Engineering Works: The Shipyard And Its Vessels.” He also wrote numerous in-depth fleet histories for the group’s newsletter The Detroit Marine Historian, was instrumental in selecting photos for the group's annual calendar and was part of the team of authors who compiled the books “Ahoy & Farewell” and “Ahoy & Farewell II.” He had been a member of the group since 1988.He loved living on Lake St. Clair and went boating every chance he got.

Skip is survived by his wife Joleen and children Scott (Beth) and Kelsey. He was preceded in death by his sister, Susan Meier. A graduate of Cranbrook Schools and Denison University, he was a varsity athlete at both institutions. He owned Kavan’s Colony East Bar and Grille for 17 years.

Visitation will be Friday, March 16 from 2-8 p.m. at Kaul Funeral Home, 28433 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores, Mich. Funeral Service will be Saturday, March 17 at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the American Cancer Society and/or Michigan Humane Society in his name.

If you would like to post any memories follow this link


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.


St. Marys River icebreaking to expand on Friday

3/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Coast Guard has started breaking ice in the lower St. Marys River in preparation for the 2018 shipping season.

To date, icebreaking activity was focused in the lower river, south of Munuscong (Mud) Lake. This Friday, the Coast Guard will extend their icebreaking activity into the southern half of the West Neebish Channel, working from Mud Lake Junction Light north to Saw Mill Point. The Coast Guard plans to open the West Neebish Channel in its entirety on March 24th. Coast Guard officials are working with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transit Authority to ensure the Neebish Island ferry is able to operate throughout the break out process.



Lake Superior at second highest March 1 level on record

3/14 - Duluth, Minn. – A wetter than normal February across the Lake Superior watershed increased water supply to the big lake and kept the lake’s level much higher than usual, the International Lake Superior Board of Control reports.

Lake Superior dropped only 1.6 inches in February, less than the usual two-inch drop for the month. The lake now sits 13 inches above normal for early March and six inches above the March 1 level in 2017. The current level is the second highest ever recorded for this time of year.

That high water level, if the wet weather trend continues through spring and summer, could lead to all-time record high levels for the lake by August or September, the time of year when Lake Superior generally reaches its highest level. That could spur another round of erosion and flooded shoreland as has happened in and around the Twin Ports and South Shore last summer and fall, especially during high-wind and wave events.

The big lake generally rises from April to September and then falls through March.

The net water supplies to Lakes Michigan-Huron were also above average in February pushing their water level up a small amount during a moth it usually drops a little. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is 20 inches above the long-term average for early March, 10 inches higher than March 1, 2017 and the 11th highest on record.

Duluth News Tribune


36th annual Great Lakes Marine Market set for June 9 at St. Clair

3/14 - The Lake Huron Lore Marine Historical Society is sponsoring its annual Great Lakes Maritime Market at the Riverview Plaza Mall in St. Clair on Saturday, June 9, 2018 from 9 am to 3 pm. The mall is just across the street from the picturesque boardwalk in downtown St. Clair.

There will be more that 30 vendors offering various items relating specifically to the ships and shipping industry of this region. Among the items that will be available for sale are historical artifacts, books, photographs, artwork, shipwrecks, memorabilia, advertising and more. It is a great way to learn more about the fascinating history of the Great Lakes shipping for the beginner or the advanced historian.

This is one of only a very few of its type to be held during the year bring buyers and sellers together from all around the Great Lakes. It is the only one you will find in this immediate area. This is your best opportunity to find that rare book or photograph of your favorite ship.

For more information, contact Lake Huron Lore at 586-725-6276 or


Saltie demolitions from World Ship Society

3/14 - Vessels with Great Lakes / Seaway Connection – Reported as a Casualty or Sold for Demolition – From March 2018 Issue of Marine News – Journal of the World Ship Society

Casualties: None

Anna (8600507; Palau) (Anna Desgagnes-17 - (1st trip into the Seaway 1999), PCC Panama-99, Anna Desgagnes-98, Truskavets-96) 15,893 / 1986 - general cargo (ro/ro facility). By Advanced Distribution Co Ltd, Liberia to Pakistani breakers and arrived Gadani Beach 11/08/2017 - commenced 18/08/2017

Grace Ocean (8500202; Kiribati) (KBS Lucky-13, Adamastos-10 (1st trip into Seaway 2006), Clipper Atria-95, Clipper Bueno-93 - (1st trip into Seaway 1987) 10,765 / 1986 - bulk carrier. By Ace Exim Pte Ltd Singapore, to Bangladesh breakers and arrived Chittagong 13/08/2017 - commenced 7/09/2017

Jenwin II (8110033; Malaysia) (Margaret-94, Myram Esperanza-89) - (1st trip into the Seaway 1982) 5,359 / 1981 - general cargo. By Chong Fui Shipping & Forwarding Sdn Bhd, Malaysia to Bangladesh breakers and arrived Chittagong 9/08/2017 - commenced 13/08/2017

Manassa (7366025; Togo) (Baikal M-13, Capital Vega-12, Terra-08, Lady Cleopatra-04, Agios Spyridon 1-96, Ugur Yildizi-91, Southern Star-84, Southgate-83) (1st trip into Seaway 1976) 3,681 / 1976 - general cargo. By Al Masria Maritime Co SA (Global Management & Trading Co Ltd) Honduras, to Oge Gemi Sokum Ithalat Ihracat Turkey and arrived Aliaga 21/08/2017 - commenced 25/08/2017

Submitted by: Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


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.


Top hat ceremonies to kick off Welland Canal opening

3/13 - Bridges along the Welland Canal will soon start to go up as the St. Lawrence Seaway gets ready to launch the 2018 navigation season. The canal opens at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 29, with top hat ceremonies at Lock 3 in St. Catharines for the first upbound vessel and at Lock 8 Gateway Park in Port Colborne for the first downbound vessel.

Port Colborne's ceremony starts at 8 a.m. at 163 Mellanby Ave. with a pancake breakfast and students from McKay Elementary School providing entertainment. Mayor John Maloney will present a top hat to the captain of the first downbound vessel at 8:30 a.m.

The ceremony in St. Catharines takes place at 10 a.m. at St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre at 1932 Welland Canals Parkway. Mayor Walter Sendzik will present a top to the captain of the first upbound vessel. A mariner's service will be held Sunday, March 25, at St. James and St. Brendan Anglican Church, 55 Charlotte St., Port Colborne at 7 p.m.

While the canal doesn't open for a couple of weeks, both St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. and Canadian shipowners are finishing off an estimated $114 million in repairs and infrastructure projects, according to the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

In a release, the chamber said the seaway authorities allocated $35 million for infrastructure maintenance over the winter of 2017-18, which included major upgrades to electrical systems and lock-related machinery and gates.

Terence Bowles, the president and CEO of the Canadian seaway authority, said the seaway is steadily advancing its competitiveness as a key gateway for international trade, linking the heartland of North America to markets across the globe.

Canadian shipowners have invested an estimated $79 million to tune up and upgrade their vessels during the winter, the release said. Vessel projects included engine and generator overhauls, steel and mechanical work, cargo belt repairs, navigation equipment and system hardware and software upgrades, safety and environmental equipment upgrades/certifications 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. Three Canada Steamship Lines vessels, the CSL Welland, Baie St. Paul and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin; Algoma Central Corp.'s Capt. Henry Jackman; and Lower Lakes Towing Ltd.'s Saginaw were all docked in Port Colborne throughout the winter months undergoing maintenance.

"Even when ships are laid up for the winter, the marine sector is helping sustain well-paying, skilled jobs by spending millions of dollars with Canadian equipment suppliers, repair businesses, ship yards, and ports," said Bruce Burrows, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

"This significant investment also demonstrates our industry's commitment to continuously improve and modernize our transportation network to the benefit of Canadian businesses and communities."

Welland Tribune


Canadian ship and Seaway winter work: $114 million economic boost

3/13 - Ottawa, Ont. – Canadian shipowners and The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation have spent an estimated $114 million on repair and infrastructure projects this winter, boosting the economic fortunes of communities throughout the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence and east coast.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) allocated $35 million for infrastructure maintenance over the winter of 2017-2018. The work includes major upgrades to electrical systems and lock-related machinery and gates, in advance of the Seaway navigation season opening on March 29.

“Our steadfast commitment to maintenance and asset renewal enables the St. Lawrence Seaway to uphold its excellent record of system reliability, consistently registering above 99% year-after-year” says Terence Bowles, the SLSMC’s President and CEO. “Coupled with our modernization program, the Seaway is steadily advancing its competitiveness as a key gateway for international trade, linking the heartland of North America to markets across the globe”.

Canadian shipowners have invested an estimated $79 million to tune-up and upgrade their vessels during the winter months — an annual exercise that keeps their vessels in tip-top shape and on the cutting edge of marine transportation.

Vessel projects include engine and generator overhauls, steel and mechanical work, cargo belt repairs, navigation equipment and system hardware and software upgrades, safety and environmental equipment upgrades/certifications 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. The work also includes the “Canadianization” of the Algoma Buffalo and Adam L., two vessels purchased in the U.S. by Algoma Central Corporation that are being re-flagged Canadian.

“Even when ships are laid up for the winter, the marine sector is helping sustain well-paying, skilled jobs by spending millions of dollars with Canadian equipment suppliers, repair businesses, ship yards, and ports,” says Bruce Burrows, President of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “This significant investment also demonstrates our industry’s commitment to continuously improve and modernize our transportation network to the benefit of Canadian businesses and communities.”

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Port Reports -  March 13

Thunder Bay, Ont.
CSL Tadoussac is now showing an AIS signal. She remains in drydock as workers prepare her for a return to service this season.

Erie, Pa.
Joyce L. VanEnkevort / Great Lakes Trader left winter lay-up headed for Marblehead, Ohio, on Monday to begin their season.


Coast Guard prepares for ice-breaking operations at Thunder Bay

3/13 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard is warning residents in Thunder Bay, Ont., to stay off the harbor ice as icebreaking operations are expected to start on Tuesday. The purpose of this annual operation is to break up the ice on Lake Superior in order to ensure scheduled vessel traffic can move through the shipping channels and into and out of community harbors.

The date for the icebreaking operation is subject to change without any notice, as activities could begin before or after that period, depending on weather conditions and operational requirements.



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.


Port Reports -  March 12

Lake Ontario
Cement carrier Stephen B. Roman completed her unload at Picton on Sunday and by evening was headed westbound.


Obituary: Franklin Prouse

3/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Sault Ste. Marie has lost a longtime business and community leader. Franklin Prouse, founder of Franklin Prouse Motors, passed away peacefully Saturday.

Apart from his status as a standout local business figure, his involvement with the local tourism industry over the years was extensive. With a lifelong love of marine vessels, Prouse, for decades, owned and operated the passenger vessel Chief Shingwauk, which conducted tours of the locks.

He was president of the Sault Historic Sites Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., in 1971 and 1972. Prouse also helped the city acquire the museum ship Norgoma in 1976 and served as administrator for the St. Marys River Marine Centre, operators of the ship until 1992. He was a player in getting the damaged Canadian lock reopened after it was closed in 1987. After lobbying all levels of government, the lock reopened in 1998. Prouse won the Tourism Sault Ste. Marie Award of Excellence in 2004.

In the 1970s, he could often be found at the helm of his beloved yacht Temeraire on the St. Marys River.

Soo Today


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


Republic Steel prepared to reopen plant in Lorain

3/11 - Lorain, Ohio – Republic Steel is prepared to restart along the Black River, which could bring jobs for at least a thousand people. According to a news release Thursday, the steel manufacturer announced that it is “positioned to restart its Lorain facility, including its idled electric arc furnace, casters and rolling mills, on short notice as a response to the recent announced steel tariff.”

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump signed proclamations imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. According to the release, the Canton-based company is ready to respond quickly to an increased demand across the country. It said by restarting the Lorain plant, in addition to its open capacity at its Canton melt shop, it would provide more than 1 million tons of new production back into the market.

“This could result in Republic bringing back 1,000+ jobs to its Lorain, OH facility,” the release said. “Republic anticipates that it would take a few months to hire and train employees and restart its idled equipment.”

Republic Steel President and CEO Jaime Vigil said the facility had been maintained since it was idled at the beginning of 2016 in anticipation that it could be restarted, and “it appears that time is finally here.”

United Steelworkers spokesman Brian Sealy said he was unsure of how many employees would return to work and when but because USW is the union under contract with Republic, many of the laid-off workers “would be recalled accordingly.”

Morning Journal


Port Reports -  March 11

St. Marys River
Tanker Algocanada departed Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Saturday for Sarnia after discharging petroleum products.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa was westbound in the Pelee Passage Saturday night headed for Sarnia.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry Ouderkirk
Stephen B. Roman left Toronto Saturday morning headed eastbound on Lake Ontario, headed to Picton to load cement.


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.


Coast Guard to open bay of Green Bay to shipping

3/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay will commence icebreaking operations on the bay of Green Bay Tuesday. The Coast Guard will commence Spring Breakout to prepare regional waterways for the tanker movements. U.S. Oil is scheduled to resume the shipment of fuel products to the Port of Green Bay after Coast Guard ice breaking operations.

These icebreaking operations will likely occur in areas used by recreational users such as, but not limited to, the Fox River Entrance Channel, the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, Menominee River Entrance, and the waters of Little Bay De Noc near Escanaba.

In the coming weeks, these icebreaking efforts will increase in frequency as ice conditions deteriorate and commercial navigation increases. All snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) operators, ice fishermen, and other recreational users of the ice should recognize the instability of the ice. Additionally, they should plan their activities carefully and use extreme caution on and near the ice, especially in proximity to charted navigation areas.



Port Reports -  March 10

St. Marys River
Tanker Algocanada remained at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Friday discharging petroleum products.

Sarnia, Ont.
Algosteel arrived in port some time Friday. It is unknown if she has more salt runs planned or if she will go into layup.

Toronto, Ont. – Gerry Ouderkirk
The tug Leonard M and barge Niagara Spirit made another visit on Wednesday and departed Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m. for Picton after dumping crushed rock at the old Essroc dock.


Detroit’s Mariners Church to hold Blessing of the Fleet

3/10 - Detroit, Mich. – The 54th annual Blessing of the Fleet will be held at Mariners Church of Detroit on Sunday, March 11, at 11 a.m. Mariners and military personnel are encouraged to be in uniform and to participate; all are welcome to attend. Free parking is in the Ford Auditorium Underground Garage.


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.


Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor plans for major growth after landmark year

3/9 - Portage, Ind. – The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor completed a landmark year in 2017 and is poised for significant future growth as a result of several historic developments. In addition to handling an 8 percent increase in cargo shipments in 2017, the port doubled the size of its bulk terminal, attracted a nationally-renowned stevedore in Metro Ports, handled its most valuable cargo ever, and announced a $20 million expansion made possible by earning one of only 10 "FASTLANE" small project grants awarded in the U.S. last year.

"We had a strong year in part because our world-class companies continue to drive new business through our port," said Port Director Ian Hirt. "Going forward, we plan to build on this success and make sure this port is well positioned for the future. The continued growth of general cargo shipments managed by our partners at Federal Marine Terminals, the addition of Metro Ports taking over our bulk cargo operations and our strong labor force are all critical elements in this port's success."

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor handled 2.8 million tons in 2017 completing the highest four-year total in the port's history, a 27 percent increase over the previous four-year period. Cargoes contributing to the 2017 increase included limestone, steel-related products and heavy lift/project cargoes, such as refinery tanks, laboratory equipment and windmill components.

The most valuable shipment ever to cross the port's dock was called "ICARUS" - the world's largest liquid argon particle hunter - which was unloaded from an ocean vessel in July by Federal Marine Terminals (FMT). Hundreds of Twitter users followed the device via #IcarusTrip as it was shipped in two semi-truck sized containers from Switzerland to the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory ("Fermilab") in Batavia, Ill. The port is a preferred hub for oversized cargoes being shipped by ocean vessels into the Midwest.

"FMT strives to meet the needs of all its customers, regardless of shipment size," said Matthew McPhail, FMT's vice president of sales and marketing. "Our ability to handle large-dimensional cargo is due to our safety-conscious staff, our modern equipment and the facilities the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor provides."

In 2017, the port was awarded a $9.85 million grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation that will supplement an approximately $20 million expansion, which includes the construction of two rail yards, a new shipping berth, a truck marshalling yard, a 1,200-foot dock expansion, and a new bulk cargo terminal with multimodal connections for handling transfers between ships, barges, rail cars, and trucks.

"This expansion will allow our current companies to continue to grow and help us attract new business for our port and the Northwest Indiana economy," Hirt said.


Alexander Henry museum ship donations will be matched in March

3/9 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The Lakehead Transportation Museum Society is making a month-long push to raise money to open the former Canadian Coast Guard ship Alexander Henry to the public. Thanks to an anonymous donor, they can double their donations, the mystery giver promising to match dollar-for-dollar funds raised in March. Organizers say it will be money well spent.

“Connecting the City of Thunder Bay back to our lake and to our history is an important step in revitalizing our waterfront through this animated and cherished historical artifact,” said Charlie Brown, president of the Lakehead Transportation Museum Society.

“For those who wishing to donate $19.58, commemorating the year that the vessel came into service, you will receive an exclusive sneak peek prior to the official opening.” To make the donation, visit and you will receive a voucher to attend this special event.

The ship, which spent decades as a tourist attraction in Kingston, Ont., was returned to Thunder Bay last year and is expected to open to the public in late May.


Port Reports -  March 9

St. Marys River
Tanker Algocanada remained at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Thursday discharging petroleum products.

Lake Huron
Algosteel was at the northern end of the lake Thursday night headed for Windsor. USSCG Hollyhock was downbound off Harbor Beach.


Wisconsin governor pulls Lake Michigan national marine sanctuary nomination

3/9 - Sheboygan, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker has rescinded a nomination to implement a National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Michigan that would have blanketed dozens of offshore shipwrecks with federal protections.

In a letter last week to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s acting administrator, Walker said he was pulling the nomination over “concerns” by citizens and elected officials about the proposal.

“One of the hallmarks of my administration has been to reduce the regulatory burden on the citizens of the State of Wisconsin,” Walker said in the letter, dated Feb. 27. “We believe this designation would create further unnecessary bureaucratic red tape. The addition of another level of federal bureaucracy will not materially advance our shared commitment to protecting shipwrecks.

“The addition of a new level of government for citizens to petition for permits and certifications for normal use of Lake Michigan is too much of a tradeoff for the negligible benefit to protecting shipwrecks,” Walker continued in his letter. “Wisconsin has and will continue to protect our submerged cultural resources.”

Walker had nominated part of the lake for federal sanctuary status in 2014. Steps to implement the sanctuary, which included multiple meetings to field public feedback, had pressed along steadily until last year, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively preventing the naming of most new national marine sanctuaries.

“I don’t believe that this is the final nail in the coffin,” Rolf Johnson, CEO of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, said Wednesday.

Johnson, as well as others who have supported the sanctuary designation, said they remain hopeful the proposal can keep working forward, though it appeared evident in numerous interviews Wednesday that the governor’s blessing would be key in securing an eventual federal sanctuary designation.

Russ Green, the NOAA official who’d been helping shepherd the designation process in Wisconsin, told a reporter last year that Walker had broad authority to veto a potential sanctuary. And Sheboygan Mayor Mike Vandersteen said Wednesday the proposal couldn’t advance without Walker’s approval.

“The governor’s approval of this is needed in order for it to go ahead,” Vandersteen said.

Sheboygan Post


Ontario-funded study could help expand cruise ship industry in Midland

3/9 - Midland, Ont. – Midland and other municipalities bordering the Great Lakes are going to look into ways to expand the impact of the cruise ship industry in Ontario.

The Cruise Ship Industry Group — a collection of Ontario port cities — was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport in late December. The group is made up of representatives from Kingston, North East Manitoulin, Parry Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Windsor and Midland.

“This is fantastic news for Midland and all of our partner municipalities,” said Gord McKay. “This grant gives us the ability to fully assess what is happening with the growing cruise ship industry and to develop a robust businesses case and strategy to significantly increase cruise ship tourism in our region and throughout the Great Lakes.”

The business case will create a strategy to guide the development of the industry and identify the needed infrastructure improvements to ports and port attractions. Related Content

“This is another step we are taking to boost tourism in this province, and I look forward to seeing the results of the study and what the future holds for Midland and our Great Lakes communities,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.


Help Wanted: McKeil Marine Limited

3/9 - McKeil Marine Limited has immediate openings for Ontario (residents) Marine Engineers, Captains and Deckhands aboard our tugs on a casual basis with a regular rotation until end of May. We are looking for eager and self-starting individuals.

Be a part of a winning and growing organization, joining our crew means receiving a total rewards package that includes company coordinated travels, favourable rotation schedules, company paid training and certificate upgrade bonuses. In order to be considered for engineer positions, candidates must possess a minimum of a 3rd Class Engineer, Motor Certificate. Candidates must possess a minimum of a Master 500 GT for the Captain positions. If this sounds like an ideal position for you, please email your resume to We thank all applicants but advise that only those selected for an interview will be contacted. McKeil Marine is committed to the principles of Employment Equity.


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.


Port Reports -  March 8

St. Marys River
Tanker Algocanada arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Wednesday to discharge petroleum products.

Lake Michigan
Algosteel finished unloading salt at S. Chicago and was back upbound for Windsor on Wednesday night.

USCG Hollyhock remained tied up at St. Ignace Wednesday.

Detroit / St. Clair Rivers
Algosea was upbound in the St. Clair River Wednesday afternoon for Sarnia. Tug Michigan / barge Great Lakes were downbound in the Detroit River for Nanticoke Wednesday night. CCGS Samuel Risley was in Sarnia.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa remained at Nanticoke on Wednesday.


Obituary: Cheryl Lee (Cundy) Rozman

3/8 - Gwinn, Mich. – Cheryl Lee (Cundy) Rozman, age 70, passed away peacefully at her home in Gwinn, Mich., on March 3.

After the passing of her father, Ransom Cundy, who lost his life on the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, she and other families worked tirelessly to retrieve the ship’s bell, which now resides as a permanent memorial at the Great Lakes Historical Museum in Whitefish Point, Mich. She assisted in creating laws in Michigan and regulations under the Ontario Heritage Act establishing limits on access to shipwrecks for their protection against pillaging their underwater gravesites on both Lake Superior and Lake Ontario. She regularly visited many local schools to educate children about the Edmund Fitzgerald history as well.

Visitation will be at Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden, Mich., on Thursday, March 8 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 9 at the Pearce Funeral Home with visitation from 10 a.m. until the start of the service.

In lieu of donations, contributions can be made to the Ahmed Transportation Fund, UP Masonic Center in Marquette, MI or the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society in Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Lastly, in honor of the “1st Annual Spread Goodness Day” on March 9th, we ask that random acts be performed with the hope of creating smiles.


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


Midland, Ont., considers offer of SS Keewatin

3/7 - Midland, Ont. – Town council in Midland, Ontario has balked at making a quick decision on whether to accept as a gift the former Great Lakes passenger ship SS Keewatin. The 111-year-old ship once ferried prairie-bound immigrants from Owen Sound to the Lakehead. It was retired from service in 1966, and since 2012 has served as a maritime museum at Port McNicoll on Georgian Bay.

The current owner, Skyline Developments, proposes to relocate the Keewatin to Midland at no cost. The company would cover moving expenses and the cost of setting up a new berth. It would also pay for renovations for the next five years and offset any operating losses for a decade. In addition, Skyline would cover the cost of relocating the ship if Midland decided to move it to an alternate location on the local waterfront in the future.

Eric Conroy, president of the volunteer group Friends of the Keewatin, made a presentation this week on behalf of Skyline. He said that as a maritime museum it has broken even at Port McNicoll, but would do much better at Midland where it would be more accessible to visitors.

Councillors decided it would be unwise to rush a decision without having an independent business study done first. They passed a motion directing town staff to ask Skyline to pay for a third-party evaluation to demonstrate that the Keewatin would be a sustainable acquisition for Midland.

Conroy said Wednesday that he feels Midland is the ideal location for the historic vessel, but if an arrangement can't be made there are other ports interested in hosting it Skyline hopes that by donating the ship, it will qualify for a federal tax receipt for about $48 million, which is close to what Conroy has said is its estimated value.

Thunder Bay News Watch


Port Reports -  March 7

Lake Michigan
Algosteel was unloading salt at S. Chicago Tuesday night.

USSCG Hollyhock was tied up at St. Ignace Tuesday night.

Lake Huron
Tug Michigan / barge Great Lakes were at the upper end of the lake bound for Sarnia Tuesday night. USCG Morro Bay was near the bottom end of the lake off Goderich. CCGS Samuel Risley was conducting ice ops above Port Huron/Sarnia.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa was at Nanticoke Tuesday night.


Coast Guard, federal, local agencies responding to oil release in Black River

3/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard is responding to a report of an oil sheen due to a petroleum product being released into the Black River in Lorain, Ohio, Tuesday. The total amount released is estimated at 20 gallons of mixed petroleum products, which includes hydraulic and waste oils.

The Coast Guard was notified of the release at Republic Steel by the National Response Center shortly after 10 a.m. The reporting source stated a sump pump at the steel manufacturing facility failed and released the product into a creek connected to the Black River.

A contractor has been hired by Republic Steel to begin clean-up operations. The area has been boomed off. The Coast Guard is coordinating with the U.S. EPA and the Ohio EPA to ensure the released product is quickly and effectively removed from the river.



2018 Bager Gathering filling up

3/7 -  Our popular gathering on the Lake Michigan Carferry Badger has returned for 2018 and is filling up fast.
Click here for the schedule


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.


Port Reports -  March 6

Lake Michigan
Algosteel was passing Manistee, Mich., Monday night on her way to Chicago with salt.

Tug Barbara Andrie was westbound Monday night. AIS shows a Muskegon destination.

Lake Huron
USSCG Hollyhock was upbound north of the thumb Monday night, destination unknown.

Lake Erie
Algoma Hansa was headed for Nanticoke Monday night.

Montreal, Que. – Rene Beauchamp
Tugs moved USS Little Rock to Section 52 on Monday. Residents of the area where she had been tied since Jan. 19 were complaining of constant generator noise.


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

Straights of Mackinac -
Algosteel was rounding the tip of lower Michigan Sunday night on her way to Chicago with salt.


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

Detroit, Mich.
Algosteel was upbound with salt for Chicago on Saturday afternoon.

Lake Erie
Algonova was at Nanticoke Saturday, with Algosea next to go in. Tug Everlast and her barge were in the western part of the lake headed for Detroit.


Lake Superior rapidly losing its ice

3/4 - Pushed around by wind, battered by waves and rotting under a week of warm sunshine, Lake Superior's winter ice is quickly disappearing.

A satellite photograph from Friday appears to show open water covering over half the lake, with vast areas of ice thinning and breaking up on the big lake.

There appears to be solid or "fast'' ice only in a few sheltered areas, such as the Apostle Islands, Thunder Bay and the far eastern end of the lake. Only a thin band of ice near the shore remains solid in the western end of the lake.

The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, which monitors lake ice, says Lake Superior peaked at about 75 percent ice coverage this winter but is now less than 55 percent covered by at least some ice, including floating chunks of ice and very thin ice.

The lab says Lake Michigan is about 15 percent covered in some ice with Huron at about 25 percent, Erie at 30 percent and Ontario at about 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the U.S Coast Guard announced Friday that the cutter Alder will begin spring operations out of the Port of Duluth on Tuesday morning in preparation for the upcoming shipping season.

The cutter is undergoing testing after needing repairs to a main diesel engine.

The Coast Guard is warning ice anglers and others to stay well away from the main shipping channels in the harbor.

The Soo Locks are set to open March 25, signaling the official start of the inter-lake Great Lakes shipping season, although some shipping actually could take place intra-lake before then if ice conditions continue to deteriorate as expected. Oceangoing ships could arrive shortly thereafter.

Duluth News Tribune


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.


Steel exports rose by 13 percent in 2017

3/3 - The United States imports far more steel than it exports, but American steel mills such as those that ring Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana still send metal abroad to trade partners like Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

America exported 10.5 million tons of steel in 2017, mainly to automotive plants in North America, according to the American Institute for International Steel, a steel industry group that advocates for free trade. That’s about a third as much as the 29.6 million tons of steel the United States imported last year.

In 2017, the United States exported 5.2 million tons of steel to Canada, an 11 percent increase over the previous year, and 4.1 million tons of steel to Mexico, a 12 percent year-over-year increase. U.S. steel exports to the European Union grew by more than 60 percent to 407,451 tons.

“Last year’s steel export data offer strong arguments against the protectionist policies that are being pursued by the Trump administration,” the American Institute of International Steel said in a news release. “If tariffs and quotas are imposed on steel imports, other countries will almost certainly react in kind, making double digit percentage increases in exports just a memory. Moreover, the numbers provide an example of how the White House’s hostility to the North American Free Trade Agreement could hurt American manufacturers. Without the pact, shipments to Canada and Mexico — consumers of nearly 90 percent of the steel exported by the United States — will shrink.”

Steel exports are already shrinking, and declined sharply at the end of the year. U.S. exports in December dropped by 15 percent to 751,977 tons. That included a 20 percent drop on exports to Canada and a 16 percent decline in exports to Mexico.

NW Indiana Times


Port Reports -  March 3

Windsor, Ont.
Algosteel was loading salt of Friday.

Lake Erie
Algosea and Algonova were nearly half way to Nanticoke Friday night with CCGS Griffon assisting.


Locals frustrated with noise coming from U.S. Navy ship stuck in Montreal

3/3 - Montreal, Que. – The Port of Montreal is trying to deal with noise complaints from local condo dwellers frustrated with the hum of generators powering a U.S. warship unexpectedly stuck there since December because of ice. Some of those living near the spot where the USS Little Rock is docked say they are having a hard time with the constant noise.

Local resident Alain Stanke said it sounds like rumbling trucks and can be heard all day and night. "It's like the motor of a large truck that's driving at a high speed," Stanke said, adding that soundproofing hasn't worked as hoped. "Those two generators are detestable."

With the ship stuck in Montreal until the ice melts, Stanke wondered if the vessel could be moved a few hundred metres away to spare locals. Port spokesperson Mélanie Nadeau said the location where the U.S. ship has been since Jan. 19 was chosen with safety and security in mind because the current is less strong.

Nadeau said ship and port officials alike have employed certain measures, and others are being considered. Lights illuminating the ship have been dimmed, and adjustments were made in February to a soundproofing, acoustic barrier wall surrounding the generators, she wrote in an email.

"We continue to work to put in place other mitigation measures to ensure a healthy coexistence with the port's neighbours," she wrote.

The ship has been stuck in Montreal since Christmas Eve, just a few weeks after being commissioned in Buffalo, N.Y. It was headed to Florida when icy conditions forced the $440-million U.S. ship to stay in Quebec. A contingent of sailors who have continued training recently even volunteered at a local food bank.

The Canadian Coast Guard will be involved in ensuring the safe departure of the vessel when the St. Lawrence Seaway clears, likely within a few weeks, Nadeau wrote.



Cutter Alder to conduct engine trials in Duluth

3/3 - Duluth, Minn. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder will conduct operational testing and sail from its Duluth homeport Tuesday morning at 9 a.m.

The cutter underwent repairs to a main diesel engine and must test the engine under load. The cutter will initially visit the Duluth Entrance Channel before traveling east using the Superior Front Channel. After several hours of testing, the ship will return to its dock in Duluth, retracing the path previously travelled. Every precaution will be taken to minimize incidental ice breaking outside the established shipping channels.


New names for salties Eider and Orsula

3/3 - Two saltwater vessels, each of which has made visits to the Great Lakes/Seaway system, have been renamed. The Eider (IMO 9285938), which first came inland as such in 2004 and last visited in 2017, is now Isabelle G of Portugal registry. She was renamed in February 2018. Her sister ship the Redhead has yet to be renamed, although that is expected at some point. Another familiar saltwater vessel to many observers was the Orsula (IMO 9110901), which is now the Epsilon of Maltese registry. Orsula may be better known to some as Federal Calumet, a name it carried from 1996 until it was sold and renamed in 1997. As Federal Calumet, the vessel first came inland in 1996. In December 1997 the vessel was sold and renamed Orsula and it carried that name from 1998 until 2017. Orsula was also renamed in February.

Denny Dushane


U.S. Coast Guard meets with Sugar Island residents about ice

3/3 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. States Coast Guard met with residents of Sugar Island at the township’s community center Tuesday night to discuss their ice breaking operations and what to expect in preparation of the opening of the Soo Locks on March 25.

This year has proven to be an abnormally treacherous winter for islanders. A combination of factors — including weather and the loss of an ice boom — have lead to ice build up, causing the Sugar Islander II to undergo seven service interruptions.

Preparations are being made by the USCG and Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority (EUPTA) for a smooth transition into spring and hopefully open water. Sugar Island’s township government joined the two groups, and following the slideshow presentation the floor was opened to questions.

“There is no doubt that this area thrives because of the Soo Locks and the ships moving down the river,” said USCG Captain Marko Broz, Commander of Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie. “In terms of importance to our nation, the taconite that we help move down river is absolutely essential. Three percent of our gross domestic product comes from the products that move right by Sugar Island.”

Broz explained to the audience that the USCG’s ice breaking operations work on a priority system. He said that as a life saving organization, the top concern is search and rescue. Then it’s by urgent vessel assistance, exigent community service, and finally facilitating commerce.

Because of the Soo Locks, the St. Marys River is one of the USCG’s main focuses for ice breaking during the winter. It qualifies as a tier one waterway as far as the Coast Guard’s ice breaking maintenance goes. Equipped with a limited fleet of cutters and assistance from their Canadian counterparts, Broz said work will begin in the coming weeks for ice to have room to flow downriver.

“We try to stay ahead of things. If everything is going right we stay in a preventative mode, and we’re not trying to play catch up,” he said.

Director of Vessel Traffic in the St. Marys River Mark Gill further went into detail on why this winter season has been exceptionally harsh on the ferryboat’s path.

“We’re pulling resources from everywhere to make sure that we can maintain our service priority not just to this community, but the other seven island communities that we maintain as part of our areas of responsibility,” Gill said.

One of Gill’s main reasons for why 2018 has been brutally more frustrating for islanders than previous, even colder, seasons was that no winter is ever the same. In terms of planning and preparations, this year has many differences compared to past years.

He called the landing cell which the Sugar Island ferry uses to make safe arrivals to the island side dock a “catcher’s mitt” for ice. The relatively recent addition of the steel cell along with the removal of the island’s causeway in lieu of a bridge have changed where the ice flows in front of the ferry.

Because of the buildup of frozen water around that particular dock the USCG has been unable to soften the blow for residents so to speak.

“I don’t want to say that the Coast Guard has turned its back on island residents. It’s just not the case. We live in this community, we care about this community and we make efforts to maintain it,” he added. “But what can’t be done is that I can’t guarantee regular ferry service. All we can do is guarantee that when a disruption occurs that we’ll do our level best to clear it up.”

Throughout the ferry’s seven service interruptions, the longest period was 12 hours. Gill said the ferry captains determine when it’s unsafe to operate. Once they dock on the island side, they make a call to Vessel Traffic Service to inform the USCG of their situation.

“We’ll ask if they can run in case of an emergency,” elaborated Gill. “If the answer is ‘no,’ Chippewa County Emergency Dispatch gets a phone call, and we’re going to activate our emergency response assets. We’re looking at a helicopter, a hovercraft and an airboat to make sure if someone has a medical emergency we can transport them from the island to safety.”

Gill said since Dec. 15, 2017, the ferry has been out of operation for 76 hours — of which 60 were volunteer dockages. He calculated that the ferry has been available for 96 percent of the time since December, but would like to get that number as close to 100 as possible.

Currently, 38 percent of the Great Lakes are covered with ice according to USCG reports. Gill said that peak ice coverage is typically around March 10. He mentioned that assistance from Mother Nature could be a great help.

“We start commencing ice breakout on March 12. Over the next two weeks, you’ll start to see breaker activity down by De Tour,” said Gill. “Up by the ferry crossing, the week of the fifth and twelfth we’ll have a breaker working down Six Mile and Nine Mile, and the goal is to push that ice so it has a place to go when the (Sault) harbor ice comes free.”

A Canadian oil tanker will be traveling past the Sugar Island ferry dock on Saturday. Gill said the goal is disturb as little ice as possible, and has the ice cutter Mackinac and a tugboat accompanying the tanker.

Broz and Gill said they’re constantly on the phone with EUPTA, the ferry’s governing body, to make sure the boat can safely cross. Throughout the winter both entities have upped the ante on their social media presence to alert islanders about delays.

While answering audience questions, EUPTA Director Pete Paramski said it’s absolutely crucial to be cautious and conservative with the Sugar Islander’s usage. Damaging the vessel could result in significant delays before backup arrives from Drummond Island. The EUPTA head also said the organization has been researching as many options as it can to help keep the ferry docks ice-free. However, most routes would involve finances the group just doesn’t have.

Some residents also expressed that they feel they’ve been treated unfairly because of living on an island. The USCG captain semi-likened the situation to recent Mackinac Bridge closings due to falling ice: Safety and protocol are key despite the frustrations that may be raised.

“If folks feel like they’re being treated like second class citizens, I can assure you that where people are (located) isn’t a part of our discussions when we decide the allocation of ice breaking resources,” said Broz. “We look at the waterways and the priority of service. We try to be really, really honest to that because that’s fair to everybody. Those are the published rules.”

As pointed out by island resident DJ Bumstead near the end of the meeting, it is recommended that islanders continue to have contingency plans throughout the winter months due to potential ferry interruptions.

Paramski said EUPTA has been doing their best to keep the ferry’s status updated on Facebook to give islanders preparation in the event of a stoppage. In January, the group debuted a phone line for updates and delay information. The number is (906) 632-1516.

Soo Evening News


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.


American Industrial Partners completes acquisition of Rand Logistics

3/2 - Jersey City, N.J. – Rand Logistics, Inc. has announced that American Industrial Partners (AIP) has completed its acquisition of the company. AIP is a New York-based private equity firm with over $4.0 billion of assets under management that has focused on buying, improving and growing industrial businesses in the U.S. and Canada for over 20 years.

Rand, though its subsidiaries, operates a fleet of U.S. and Canadian-flagged cargo vessels on the Great Lakes.

The transaction, which includes the confirmation of the prepackaged Chapter 11 plan related to Rand and certain of its subsidiaries, was consummated after all conditions to effectiveness in the plan were satisfied or waived. As a result, the company has emerged from Chapter 11 with a materially de-levered balance sheet and dramatically reduced annual interest expense. By virtue of the acquisition of the company by AIP, Rand now enjoys its strongest financial position in recent years.

“We are pleased to have completed the transaction and to be partners with a leading private equity firm that shares our vision for Rand’s future,” said Edward Levy, President and CEO of Rand. “The transaction has recast our balance sheet and positions the Company for continued customer service and growth.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Rand and its leadership team to welcome a new beginning for a clear market leader in shipping and logistics on the Great Lakes,” added Jason Perri, a partner of AIP. “Rand’s track record of reliability, safety and service in moving critical raw materials among world class customers between ports on the Great Lakes speaks for itself. We are pleased to help Rand reduce its debt burden and restore its financial health for the benefit of all stakeholders, especially customers and employees, and look forward to working with Rand to continue to improve its operations and broaden its capabilities as a new platform for growth under our ownership.”

Rand Logistics Press Release


New stevedore aims to unload cargo from ships in Gary

3/2 - A new stevedore hopes to handle cargo from lake freighters and international vessels at Gary's Buffington Harbor.

The bulk materials hauling business Jack Gray Transport has established Lakes & Rivers Logistics on Lake Michigan in Gary. The Gary-based company operated Lakes & Rivers Transfers at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor for more than 35 years, until the Indianapolis-based Ports of Indiana hired Metro Ports of Long Beach, California, as its new bulk cargo stevedore last year.

"I'm very excited to announce the launch of our new stevedore operation located at Buffington Harbor," owner Danette Garza said. "At our new port location in Gary, Indiana, we committed to supporting Mayor (Karen) Freeman-Wilson's vision of the expansion of the port of Gary, with the objective of providing new jobs to people in the area. Our facility provides material handling for bulk and freight materials brought in by ocean vessels, lakers and also by barge."

Lakes & Rivers Logistics will be able to transfer cargo to trucks and trains. Garza described it as "centrally located with easy international access. We will be able to utilize our new trucks to service this new location," she said.

Lake freighters haul iron ore to the Gary Works steel mill all the time, but Gary has been interested in establishing a new Lake Michigan port for all types of cargoes. It would only be about eight nautical miles from the existing Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor. Last year, the city established a port authority.

"We are excited about Jack Gray's presence in Buffington Harbor," Freeman-Wilson said. "This company has a long history with the city of Gary and has had great success in the stevedore business. Their presence also underscores the viability of the Port Authority."

Lakes & Rivers Logistics hired industry veteran James Dillman as chief operating officer. He's served as president of Metro Ports and as CEO of Jacksonville-based Diversified Port Holdings, which operates nine ports with 600 employees. Over the course of a long maritime career, Dillman has worked in Australia, India, Indonesia, Asia, South America, New Zealand and at Ceres Terminals in Chicago.

He'll help run a stevedore cargo handling business that aims to provide dry bulk services such as outside storage, bulk material packaging, project cargo management, custom material screening and custom material crushing.


Port Reports -  March 2

Sturgeon Bay
The Robert S. Pierson and the tug Victory were assisted into drydock Thursday at Bay Shipbuilding. They were assisted by tugs Jacquelyn Yvonne, Jimmy L., William C. Gaynor, Cameroon O. and Bayship.

Lake Huron
Algosteel was in the northern part of Lake Huron Thursday night bound for Windsor, Ont.

Detroit River
Algosea was downbound for Nanticoke, Ont., on Thursday evening.


Relocating the SS Keewatin to Midland nowhere near a done deal

3/2 - Midland, Ont. – The Town of Midland is exploring the possibility of bringing the SS Keewatin to town. While council almost squashed a proposal by Skyline Developments Ltd. to relocate the historic Edwardian steamship from Port McNicoll to the town’s harbor during a Feb. 26 council meeting, discussions are ongoing.

“At this point the deal is not dead. We are continuing the discussion,” said Eric Conroy, president and CEO of the Friends of Keewatin, who pitched details of the deal to council on behalf of Skyline.

The ship, valued at $48.3 million, is being offered to Midland at no cost. Skyline is proposing to fund moving costs to relocate the Keewatin, cover costs associated with renovations and restoration over the next five years, and ensure the ship doesn’t operate at a loss for 10 years. If Midland ever wants to relocate the ship to another location in town, Skyline will donate $1 million to cover the relocation expenses.

All Skyline is looking for is a federal tax receipt for the full $48.3 million.

“Once you factor in the potential financial income and the great impact on tourism, this is a great deal for the Town of Midland,” said Conroy.

While council was clearly intrigued by the proposal, a Skyline-imposed March 19 decision deadline was a sticking point. “We have a lot of work to do. To drop something like this on us at this time … would be unfair to our staff,” said Coun. George MacDonald. “We need to have a budget in early April and we are not going to get distracted by something else.”

According to CAO John Skorobohacz, the town just doesn't have the staff time to properly look into the proposal and meet the March 19 deadline without staff dropping everything. Skorobohacz said he believes it would take a minimum of six months before staff could present council with a reasonable recommendation on the proposal. “This is a concept that has just been presented to the town and, until (Feb. 26), there hadn’t even been a formal discussion,” he said.

A 118-page report, which included an outline of the ship's historical significance, a 10-year financial plan, audited financial statements and letters of support, was part of a package councillors received. Staff have yet to thoroughly go over this report or fully examine any possible locations for the ship.

“They don’t really know how to handle this situation. They have never been offered anything like this before,” said Conroy. “It is a tough decision.”

Council voted 6-1 in favor of a motion requesting Skyline fund an independent study, which would examine all the factors around relocating the ship to town.

“If we don’t at least look at this opportunity to see if it is something that could fit … it would be a shame a year from now (to regret it),” said Coun. Pat File.

The two sides are in the midst of negotiations. Conroy said they are planning on putting together another report with the hopes of going back in front of council in the near future.


Help wanted: S.S. Badger

3/2 - 2nd Assistant Engineer aboard the S.S. Badger. 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 60-day probationary period.

Visit Join the Badger Crew to obtain application or email with letter of interest and copies of credentials.


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


Midland wants more time to consider S.S. Keewatin proposal

3/1 - Midland, Ont. – Midland councillors want more time to consider a proposal to move the historic S.S. Keewatin steamship from Port McNicoll to the town. Councillors heard a pitch from Skyline International on Monday night, which would see the town take the ship and $2 million worth of incentives. In exchange, Skyline would get a tax receipt.

“It's a really quick deadline and it handcuffs us. It's going to be a tough one to watch pass by,” says councillor Cody Oschefski. “I hope Skyline can revaluate and move their March 19 deadline.”

Many councillors felt that wasn't enough time for a proper study of the risks and benefits. So, the town is putting together a counter proposal for Skyline, which could involve more time, and a consultant.

“We don't want to put ourselves in a position where we find this becomes a liability to the community at some time in the future," says councillor Glen Canning.

There's no word yet how soon the two sides hope to reach a tentative deal.

CTV Barrie


Invasive shrimp found in Twin Ports harbor

3/1 - Duluth, Minn. – Another foreign, aquatic invasive species has been found in the Twin Ports harbor — this time a small invertebrate called the bloody red shrimp.

A single bloody red shrimp was confirmed this week after analysis of water samples taken last July by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The critter, which is native to freshwater lakes and rivers of the Caspian region of eastern Europe, was found in Allouez Bay, not far from the Burlington Northern ore docks.

It's the first time bloody red shrimp — hemimysis anomala — have been found in the Lake Superior ecosystem. They were first found in the Great Lakes in 2006 in Lake Michigan at Muskegon, Mich., and have been expanding there as well as in lakes Erie, Ontario and Huron.

"The species, like other invasive species, are known to reproduce and spread, ultimately degrading habitat, outcompeting native species and short-circuiting food webs," the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said in announcing the finding.

The tiny creature, not a true shrimp, is up to a half-inch long and often swims in swarms up to 135 per cubic foot of water.

"The good news is that it was just one. The bad news is they found it here," said Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species expert for Minnesota Sea Grant at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Jensen notes that it's not yet an official invasion of a new species. Only after multiple, live individuals are confirmed is a species considered established. True invaders also are able to reproduce and expand their range.

"This raises a lot of questions. We really don't even know how it got there. We don't know if it was a ballast introduction or not, or where it came from," Jensen said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to resurvey the area and update its sampling techniques this summer to see if others are out there.

That another new creature showed up in the Twin Ports isn't surprising. The Duluth-Superior harbor is the busiest inland port in the nation and receives not just saltwater ships from faraway oceans but by far the most Great Lakes shipping traffic. This has been a hot spot for most major invaders on the Great Lakes, including gobies, ruffe, spiny waterfleas, zebra mussels and quagga mussels — all of which are now major players in the St. Louis River estuary ecosystem.

Jensen said it's unclear what the bloody red shrimp might do to the ecosystem if it becomes established here. Like the other invaders, however, it's more likely to remain in the shallower, darker, more-fertile waters of the harbor and not thrive in the colder, clearer, more-sterile environment of Lake Superior itself.

"They don't like light, so they are often hiding down deeper or in the shade until dark," Jensen noted.

Anyone who sees swarms of reddish critters in the harbor is asked to contact Sea Grant or a local DNR office. The swarms can be seen at night near the surface but will disperse quickly if a light is turned on them. During the day they may be seen in shaded areas, such as under docks.

Boaters are asked to continue their efforts not to move any water from lake to lake or from the harbor to inland waters. The shrimp, like other aquatic invaders, could easily hitchhike in bait buckets or livewells to new waters, Jensen noted.

Other non-native species have been found in the Twin Ports harbor in recent years but none so far have become established, Jensen said, including gizzard shad and white bass, both native to waters south of Lake Superior.

But the bloody red shrimp is the first new foreign aquatic invasive species found in the region in years. In fact, after a century of foreign invasive species that swam or hitchhiked across the oceans in the ballast of salties, the Great Lakes haven't seen a confirmed new aquatic invasive species since 2006. (In late 2016 officials confirmed a new form of zooplankton, Thermocyclops crassus, had been found in Lake Erie. But it's still unclear if it is truly established.)

That appears to show that a U.S. Coast Guard-enforced program requiring ships to flush their ballast at sea is working. That so-called "swish-and-spit'' with saltwater generally kills freshwater species that might survive in Great Lakes ports.

Before the rule, some 185 foreign species invaded the Great Lakes. In the 1990s and early 2000s researchers were finding a new species in the Great Lakes on average every 28 weeks — from gobies and ruffe to quagga mussels, spiny waterfleas and the fish-killing VHS virus.

Since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, allowing unfettered access to the Great Lakes by oceangoing ships, more than half of those invading species are believed to have arrived in ships' ballasts. U.S. regulators in 1993 suggested the ballast water exchange program, which became mandatory in 2006 in both U.S. and Canadian waters.

In addition, federal rules are in place requiring saltwater ships entering U.S. ports to have on-board ballast water treatment systems starting in 2021, although efforts are underway in Congress to roll back those regulations.

Duluth News Tribune


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.


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