Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - April 30

Marquette - Rod Burdick
A quiet Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor had only the Michipicoten loading taconite for Algoma Steel at the Soo. Her load took only three hours.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Saltwater vessels Daviken and Milo, each unloaded steel while backed into slips on either side of Municipal General Cargo Terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, each departed onto the lake late Friday.

Saturday at about 4:00 a.m., veteran steamer St. Mary's Challenger navigated the narrow Kinnickinnic River in darkness to deliver cement to its terminal on Kinnickinnic Avenue.

Only an hour later Saturday morning, Inland Lakes' JAW Iglehart made an unusual turn where the river widens just inside the Hoan Bridge, to back into the inner harbor to deliver cement to the LaFarge facility on Jones Island.

Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m., the Cross-Lake Ferry Lake Express left Milwaukee for Muskegon, commencing its third season of the three-a-day crossing between Wisconsin and Michigan.

South Chicago - Tom Milton
MV Manistee departed KCBX with coal at 4:40 p.m. Saturday.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Saginaw was loading at the NS coal dock Saturday and is expected to be followed into Sandusky Bay Sunday afternoon by the Adam E. Cornelius. The latter was down bound at Port Huron Saturday morning with iron ore for Cleveland.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and her barge Great Lakes Trader finished up their unload at the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock around 6:00am Saturday morning. The pair backed up a short ways to berth at the Sargent dock to pump-out ballast water and wait for the local tug Gregory J. Busch to arrive on scene The Busch sporting a brand new pilothouse after it's construction over the past few weeks, arrived on the scene by 6:30am tying the lines to the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort so the Busch could tow her outbound. The tow departed from the Sargent dock and began backing out to the Airport by 7am. The Joyce L. VanEnkevort and her barge Great Lakes Trader had turned around in the Airport turning basin by 9:30am headed for the lake, passing through the Lafayette bridge in Downtown Bay City by 9:50am headed for the lake. The tug Gregory J. Busch headed back to her dock in Carrollton to await assisting the next visitor to Saginaw. The Busch will receive $5,000-$7,000 from towing the Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader back out to the Airport turning basin.

Toledo -
Cinnamon is in at ADM Elevators. She has on-loaded and is securing her deck cranes. Her forward crane is not yet in position. Her hatches are down.

 

Updates - April 30

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 30

On 30 April 1890, the wooden dredge MUNSON and two scow barges were being towed from Kingston, Ontario by the tug EMMA MUNSON to work on the new Bay of Quinte bridge at Rossmore, Ontario, 6 miles west of Kingston when the dredge started listing then suddenly tipped over and sank. No lives were lost.

The IRVIN L CLYMER returned to service April 30, 1988, after a two season lay-up.

HOWARD HINDMAN of 1910, grounded heavily when her steering cable parted at Little Rapids Cut in the St. Marys River, April 30, 1969. Due to the extensive damage, she was sold in May of that year to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario for scrap and was scrapped at Bilbao, Spain in 1969.

The RED WING tow arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan on April 30, 1987, for dismantling.

On 30 April 1842, the side-wheeler COMMODORE BARRIE collided with the schooner CANADA about 10 miles off Long Point in Lake Ontario. The COMMODORE BARRIE became disabled and then sank about an hour and a half later. Her passengers and crew were rescued by the CANADA.

On 30 April 1878, ST LAWRENCE (2-mast wooden schooner, 93 foot, 111 tons, built in 1842, at Clayton, New York) was carrying timber when she caught fire from the boiling over of a pot of pitch which was being melted on the galley stove. The vessel was well out on Lake Michigan off Milwaukee. The fire spread so rapidly that the crew had no time to haul in canvas, so when they abandoned her, she was sailing at full speed. The lifeboat capsized as soon as it hit the water, drowning the captain and a passenger. The ST LAWRENCE sailed off ablaze and was seen no more. The rest of the crew was later rescued by the schooner GRANADA.

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

 

USCGC Mackinaw(s) Decommissioning/Commissioning Date Changed

4/29 - Cheboygan — Perhaps the most historic day in Cheboygan’s maritime history has had a change of date. The U.S. Coast Guard has moved the day of commissioning the new icebreaker Mackinaw and decommissioning the 61 year-old original Mackinaw from a Friday to a Saturday, establishing the official time and place as 1 p.m. on June 10 at Cheboygan’s Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings.

“The change will better accommodate everyone who wants to attend,” said Cmdr. Joe McGuiness of the ship to be retired. “Senators and representatives from all Great Lakes States have been invited to attend. They’ll be in session during the week, so the change to Saturday will allow for their travel and make the event more available to anyone who wants to be here.”

McGuiness said that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, whose wife Jean christened the new Mackinaw in 2005 as its sponsor, would attend as may Adm. Thad Allen, new commandant of the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C.
“The 9th District will also be fully represented, I’m sure,” McGuiness continued. “We’ve had a tremendous response. Think of all the families and school children who will now be able to be here because they won’t miss work or classes. This will be a better date.”

The festivities, expected to last approximately 90 minutes, will be accompanied by all the formalities and fanfare of a change-of-command ceremony, a ship’s commissioning and a subsequent decommissioning — all rolled into one grand event. The U.S. Coast Guard Band, from New London, Conn., will be here to play.

“There will be three tents set up to handle all the people,” McGuiness said. “The main one will between the two ships to host the actual ceremony. Others will accommodate guests and serve as staging areas.”

The ceremonial retirement of the old ship and official beginning of the new one will include a march of the officers and crew from the decks of the original Mackinaw to the ceremony site, where they will join the ship’s company of the new Mackinaw. The official party of officers will be attired in their full dress whites, while others will wear a summer version of the dress blues worn when the new Mackinaw arrived here Dec. 17, McGuiness said.

Preparations are underway to arrange for off-site parking at locations on Cheboygan’s east side, with school buses potentially transporting passengers to the Coast Guard Station. McGuiness planned to meet Friday with Cmdr. John Little, skipper of the new Mac, to coordinate details as passed down from Washington with local logistics.

“How do you hold a decommissioning ceremony and a commissioning ceremony together?” McGuiness pondered, repeating the question as asked of him. “It’ll be a first. None of us have ever been to one before. This is all being planned out as we speak.”

Reported by Kevin S. Griffith

 

Lake Erie Ferry Plan Faces Wave of Troubles
Eyed shortcut between Lake County, Canada suffering money woes

4/29 - Plans for a ferry shortcut from Lake County to Canada have all but sunk. "I think it has zero chance of happening," Lake County Commissioner Raymond E. Sines said of the proposal. After several meetings and hours of discussion, the proposal to create an international border crossing and ferry service in Painesville Township still lacks startup funding and political support, Sines said.

Proposal architect Kent Kristensen of Seaport Management Corp. plans to create a Lake Erie ferry service between the township and Port Burwell, Ontario. The project could channel through Lake County a significant portion of the estimated $88 million in daily trade between Ohio and Ontario, Kristensen said. Kristensen estimated that the total project would cost around $225 million, including terminal, ferry and operational costs.

Of that amount, $150 million would come from private investment, courtesy of involved communities and businesses on both sides of the lake, Kristensen said. The Seaport chairman hopes federal or state funding will cover the balance for infrastructure funding. However, those involved in the project have no tangible fund contributions to speak of, Sines said. "They're asking for a commitment from the government without a contract, agreement or anything solid going into this development," Sines said. "I've talked to the state and federal governments; there is no money available." Kristensen would not discuss any specific grants that he has applied for. "We're looking at significant amounts - in the millions - for both sides of the lake," Kristensen said. "We're very much relying on government decisions and funding. A lot of this is outside of our immediate abilities."

Kristensen said the port terminal would be built on 34 acres in the township, between the U.S. Coast Guard station and Headlands Beach State Park. However, the agreement between Kristensen and the joint venture ownership of developers Jerome T. Osborne and Robert Sidley remains a verbal one. Attempts to contact Osborne and Sidley were unsuccessful.

There has also been debate over how many jobs the service would create. Sines believes no more than 25 jobs would be created. Kristensen says the service could produce 300 jobs when accounting for ship crews and terminals on both sides of the lake. Despite the uncertainty, Kristensen will not shy away from his original operational timeline of spring 2007. He said he feels no pressure. A major problem facing the proposal is the competition of a possible ferry service between the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and Port Stanley, Ontario.

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Concord Township, has publicly shown support for Cleveland's project. "It's not that I'm favoring one or the other," LaTourette said. "Quite frankly, Cleveland has done their homework and Grand River has not." LaTourette said that Cleveland's Port Authority has completed a feasibility study and has an operator in Royal Wagenborg, a Dutch company, that is willing to fund its project. Meanwhile, Grand River officials have not sent a written request for a feasibility study, LaTourette said. Such studies provide information regarding the project's cost and its viability.

Unlike the situation in Lake County, Cleveland's plan has secured a $7 million federal grant for terminal infrastructure costs, said Rose Ann DeLeon, the Port Authority's vice president of strategic development. According to Canadian publication the St. Thomas Times-Journal, the council of Central Elgin, Ontario, this month renewed a commitment to negotiate the transfer of Port Stanley harbor ownership from the federal government to the municipality. DeLeon views Port Stanley citizen protesting as the normal opposition that comes with any change. Still, Kristensen and Grand River Mayor Chris Conley, whose community sits next to the terminal site, are determined to prove that their option is better than Cleveland's.

The trip from the township to Port Burwell takes just more than an hour, Conley said. Larger commercial ferries could cross in less than three hours. The route from Painesville Township to Port Burwell is about 20 nautical miles shorter than Cleveland to Port Stanley, Kristensen said.

"Think about how much it'll be saving companies in oil and gas intake," Conley said. "Think about a truck driver that now has to go eight hours deep into Canada and has to spend the night because you can only drive so many hours. "(Under our plan) he could go four times in an eight-hour shift from Twinsburg to Grand River and drop his load," Conley said. "We'll take it on the ferry, and he can have dinner with his family."

Kristensen also sees an advantage in the township site's traffic condition. "We don't have major transportation issues," Kristensen said. "To put it in the Cleveland area would be an unreasonable load for an already stressed area." However DeLeon completely debunks such notions, pointing out that Interstate 90 and Route 2 offer direct access into Cleveland's Port Authority, avoiding Cleveland streets. "The access into the Port of Cleveland is probably among the best in the country," DeLeon said.

Conley said he understands the attractive attributes of involving Cleveland in a ferry plan. While he believes Lake County's option is the better one, he said he's willing to work with the city for the betterment of both communities. "I've been soliciting to help with the Cleveland Port Authority, but no one has gotten back to me yet," Conley said. "(The ferry service) would make people's lives better. Who cares if it's in Cleveland or wherever."

From the Willoughby News-Herald

 

Coast Guard Raises Weight Standards for Boats

4/29 - Lake Gorge, NY -The U.S. Coast Guard has recommended that operators of small boats raise weight estimates for passengers from 140 pounds to a single standard of 185 pounds. The Coast Guard was responding to recommendations made last month by the National Safety Transportation Board following its investigation of the Lady D, a pontoon water taxi that capsized in Baltimore Harbor in March 2004.

The NTSB determined that insufficient intact stability and overloading had caused the small passenger pontoon-style vessel to capsize when it encountered strong winds and waves in Baltimore's Northwest Harbor. They said that the Coast Guard's regulatory stability test standards used an out-of-date passenger weight standards that contributed to the overloading.

Mark Rosenker, acting NTSB chairman, said earlier this month that he expects that investigators probing the fatal boating accident on Lake George last October will conclude that the cause of the tragedy were modifications made to the vessel affecting the stability and the weight on board at the time the vessel capsized. The 38-foot glass enclosed tour boat Ethan Allen capsized and sank in 70 feet of water on Oct. 2, killing 20 of the 47 passengers on board who were on an hour-long fall foliage tour along the Lake George shoreline. According to Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland, the Ethan Allen would have been more than a ton over capacity with the Coast Guard's new weight recommendations. If the new guidelines of 185 pounds had been in place, the Ethan Allen would have been 12 passengers over capacity.

Last fall, Gov. George Pataki sent a letter to Admiral Thomas Collins, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, requesting that they expedite their decision regarding tour boat capacity. He also directed the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to raise the state weight standard from 140 pounds to 174 pounds. The 140 pound limit was set in 1942 when the average weight of Americans was significantly less.

Wendy Gibson, a spokeswoman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said New York's standard is mandatory and applies to state waters such as Lake George while the Coast Guard's federal recommendations haven't been passed into law yet and are applicable only to vessels operating on federal jurisdictional waters, which include Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes.

The NTSB's investigation of the Ethan Allen tragedy is ongoing.

From the North Country Gazette

 

Pictured Rocks are Ever Changing,
That's part of their attraction

4/29 - When part of a famed Michigan landmark fell into Lake Superior on April 13, it took with it a large chunk of Michigan history. Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore east of Munising is, well, now half a castle.

Named during a 1771 prospecting expedition in the region, the castle was a must-see attraction and the scene of many a vacation photo. Experts think that the cycle of freezing and thawing caused the northeast turret of the natural rock formation to collapse. That's the nature of the rugged coastline there, and what has helped form the multi-colored cliffs. We'll miss Miners Castle.

Just as a previous generation missed the huge arch at Grand Portal Point that collapsed in 1900. Shaped by the harsh weather and the water, the Pictured Rocks are ever-changing. It's one of the reasons to keep going back. You never know what you're going to get. As Mother Nature keeps changing her grand canvas that we call the Pictured Rocks.

From the Bay City Times

 

 “The Ship That Built Cleveland”
Welcomes Residents to its New Home on May 6
Free admission to the Steamship William G. Mather Museum for people who live, work, or attend school in Cleveland

4/29 - Cleveland - On Saturday, May 6, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum will offer free admission to Clevelanders, to celebrate the Museum’s new location north of the Great Lakes Science Center, 305 Mather Way (formerly Old Erieside Avenue). By presenting proof, such as a driver’s license, student ID, business card, or utility bill (no proof needed for elementary and secondary students), anyone residing, employed, or enrolled as a student in the City of Cleveland will be admitted free of charge during regular public hours—10:00 AM to 5:15 PM.

May 6th is also Opening Day of the Mather Museum’s 16th season as northeast Ohio’s only floating maritime museum. Visitors can look forward to several exciting changes onboard this year, namely:

Bell from the Great Lakes passenger ship City of Cleveland III
Walk-in exhibit on the steel-making process in Cargo Hold #1 Hall
Expanded public access—visitors can now tour the Mather’s restored Lower Guest Lounge
Oars from a lifeboat from the Str. Edmund Fitzgerald

July will also feature the return of the Tall Ships – coming July 12 – 16 to North Coast Harbor. This four-day Huntington Cleveland Harborfest and Tall Ships Challenge® is being co-produced by the Mather and the Great Lakes Science Center.

Mather Museum News Release

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/25 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Port Reports - April 29

Detroit River - Ken Borg
Federal Welland was up bound at 10:45 a.m. on Friday, and Cason J. Callaway was down bound at 11:40 a.m. Algorail was loading salt at Windsor Salt in Ojibway.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Grand River Navigation/Lower Lakes Towing self unloading motor vessel Manistee came into our port at 7:00 p.m. Friday as expected.
Also noted today was the MCM Marine dredge off the pier heads continuing to remove the shoal that had built up over the winter at the harbor entrance. The sand was being deposited to replenish the beach at North Beach Park.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday evening the Steamer Alpena returned after delivering to Saginaw.
Lower Lakes Towing vessel Manistee was taking on cargo at Stoneport on a bright and sunny Thursday. The Great Lakes Trader arrived later in the day to load next.
The J.A.W Iglehart (which recently left temp. lay-up) arrived at Lafarge Thursday night to tie up under the silos to take on product for Milwaukee. Waiting behind the Iglehart was the G.L Ostrander/ barge Integrity which came into port sometime on Friday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The John J. Boland was inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning headed for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. She was expected to be outbound later in the afternoon.

The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes trader were back again Friday evening arriving with a split load. She stopped at the Essroc Cement Dock in Essexville to lighter before continuing upriver to the Wirt dock in Saginaw to finish unloading. It should be a long unload in Saginaw with a lot of repositioning and different products to unload. The John J. Boland was outbound from Bay Aggregates once the Joyce L. and Trader passed the dock around 8:00 p.m.

Sandusky - Chuck Reynolds & Jim Spencer
The tug Sandusky has been sold to John W. Stone Oil Distributors, LLC and renamed Stone Explorer. She will be departing Cleveland late Friday or on Saturday to begin her journey to Gretna, LA.

The venerable Canadian MV Pelee Islander made her first trip of 2006 into Sandusky Bay Friday, sidling up to her dock at Jackson Street Pier. Following her annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection, the passenger-auto ferry began her regular weekend schedule to Leamington, Ontario, shortly before 9:00 P.M. The Pelee Islander will maintain a Friday night, Sunday night sailing schedule from Sandusky to Leamington until June 23, when the daily summer schedule begins. The last Sandusky-Leamington run normally occurs on Labor Day. Familiar to several generations of Lake Erie boaters and shoreline residents, the 140-foot Pelee Islander was launched in 1960. Owned by the Province of Ontario, she is managed by Owen Sound Transportation Co. On the web at www.ontarioferries.com

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Tug Susan W. Hannah was placed on the floating drydock at Bay Shipbuilding on Friday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Steamer Alpena from Inland Lakes unloaded cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in the inner harbor on Thursday, departing downriver onto Lake Michigan at about 2:00 p.m.
Saltwater vessels Daviken and Milo, each unloading steel while backed into slips on either side of Municipal General Cargo Terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, each departed onto the lake late Friday.
Saturday at about 4:00 a.m., veteran steamer St. Mary's Challenger navigated the narrow Kinnickinnic River in darkness to deliver cement to its terminal on Kinnickinnic Avenue.
Only an hour later Saturday morning, Inland Lakes' JAW Iglehart made an unusual turn just inside the Hoan Bridge, to back into the inner harbor to deliver cement to the LaFarge facility on Jones Island.

 

Updates - April 29

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 29

On 29 April 1875, the wooden schooner CLARA BELL of Sandusky was wrecked in a gale off Leamington, Ontario. Captain William Robinson was drowned.

On April 29, 1975, American Steamship’s SAM LAUD entered service.

Launched this date in 1976, was the a.) SOODOC (Hull#210) by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. Renamed b.) AMELIA DESGAGNES in 1990.

On April 29, 1977, while inbound at Lorain, the IRVING S OLDS hit a bridge on the Black River which extensively damaged her bow, tying up traffic for several hours.

A fender boom fell on the pilot house of the steamer GEORGE M HUMPHREY in the Poe Lock at the Soo in 1971.

On 29 April 1865, L D COWAN (wooden schooner, 165 tons, built in 1848, at Erie, Pennsylvania) was driven ashore near Pointe aux Barques, Michigan in a storm and wrecked.

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

 

Windoc Reported to be Sold
Algoma, Upper Lakes New Owners of Ill-fated Freighter

4/28 - The former N.M. Paterson and Sons bulk carrier Windoc, which was heavily damaged when the Allanburg Bridge on the Welland Canal was lowered on her superstructure prematurely August 11, 2001, has been sold by her most recent owner, Le Groupe Ocean Inc. of Quebec, QC. The Canada Transport vessel registry Web site lists the new owners as Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. and Algoma Central Corporation. It is not known what the two firms have planned for the vessel.

It would be a relatively simple matter to notch her stern and use her as a barge, however if she is to be operated as a powered vessel a new superstructure will have to be built to replace the one destroyed by the fire that ensued after the bridge hit it. Reports indicate her power plant is still operable.

Launched as the ocean bulk carrier Rhine Ore on April 11, 1959; the vessel was built as hull #533 by Schlieker-Werft, Hamburg, West Germany for Navios Corp. (Transatlantic Bulk Carriers Inc.), Monrovia, Liberia. After 17 years of ocean trading carrying iron ore for U.S. Steel interests from Venezuela to Europe; Hall Corporation Shipping Ltd (Halco), Montreal, QC bought the vessel in late 1976 and had her renamed Steelcliffe Hall in April, 1977. Following the liquidation of the Halco fleet, the Steelcliffe Hall was acquired by N. M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., Thunder Bay, ON in 1988 when she was given the name Windoc.

After the accident, the former owners of the Windoc remained in a legal battle with the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp. seeking damages for the loss of the Windoc. Ontario-based NM Paterson & Sons was seeking $16.9M (C) damages from the seaway operator. Paterson claimed that the accident effectively forced it out of the shipping business. Paterson's remaining four ships were sold in 2002 ending their long history of shipping on the lakes and Seaway.

Reported by Kent Malo

 

Iron Ore Maker Reports Record First Quarter

4/28 - Records are falling fast for Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. The Cleveland-based iron ore producer on Wednesday reported a record $37.9 million first-quarter net income, a 45 percent increase compared to the previous first-quarter record of $26.5 million set in 2005.

"This year's opening quarter results reflect a strong start for Cliffs," said John Brinzo, Cleveland-Cliffs chairman and chief executive officer, in a news release. "North American steel pricing remains firm, demonstrating the benefit of supply discipline from industry consolidation. Solid steel prices aided our North American pellet pricing during the first quarter." In Northeastern Minnesota, Cliffs holds ownership and manages Hibbing Taconite, Northshore Mining Co. and United Taconite.

Strong worldwide demand for iron ore pellets -- the company's only product -- has fueled steady growth. In 2005, Cliffs recorded a $365.5 million operating income, triple the company's 2004 results. During 2005, Cliffs set several quarterly earnings records. That trend continues in 2006. Operating income in the first quarter of 2006 was $46.2 million, a 35 percent increase compared with $34.1 million in last year's first quarter.

Iron ore pellet production at its six North American operations was 8 million tons in the first quarter, up about 100,000 tons from 7.9 million tons in 2005's opening quarter. Production in the first quarter at Hibbing Taconite and Northshore Mining Co. were each up about 100,000 tons to 2 million and 1.3 million tons, respectively. Tilden Mine production reached 1.7 million tons compared to 1.4 million last year.

United Taconite's production slipped to 1 million tons from 1.1 million in 2005, and Wabush Mine production fell to 800,000 tons from 1.1 million. The Empire Mine in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan produced 1.2 million tons, the same as 2005. Projections for the full year are for 34.8 million tons, down from 35.9 million tons last year.
As of March 31, Cliffs had 5.4 million tons of pellets in inventory, compared to 3.3 million tons at the close of 2005 and 4.1 million after the first quarter of 2005.

Continued demand for iron units in China and economic growth in the United States, Japan and Europe are expected to help maintain global steel and iron ore pricing, Brinzo said. Iron ore production at Cliffs' Portman operation in Australia is forecast at 7.5 million tons for the year, compared to 5.2 million tons in 2005. Any increase in the international iron ore price would have a retroactive effect on a portion of Cliffs' first-quarter sales.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

National Marine Day Announced

4/28 – Canada’s Marine Industry Alliance (CMIA) today announced that Tuesday, May 30, 2006 will be celebrated as Canada’s National Marine Day. CMIA, along with representatives from amongst the more than 800 marine industry companies they represent – including shippers, marine carriers, ports, terminal operators, freight forwarders and other marine related companies – will look forward to joining federal ministers, Members of Parliament and senior federal officials to commemorate National Marine Day at the Chateau Laurier on May 30, 2006.

In announcing this important date, Guy Dufresne, Chair of the Chamber of Maritime Commerce, noted, “With Canadian-international overseas trade expected to at least double by the year 2020, and with the marine sector currently responsible for transporting 97% of that trade, the marine transportation industry is vital to the economic prosperity of our great country.” “The economic opportunities for Canada achievable through maritime commerce, especially from new markets in Asia, is testament to the vision and strategic importance of the Pacific Gateway Strategy,” said Rick Bryant, President of the Chamber of Shipping of B.C.

Gerry Carter , Chair of the Canadian Shipowners Association added, “It is important that we take time out to give credit to the important role maritime trade plays in the daily life of Canadians by creating a National Marine Day.” He went on to note that, “Many people do not understand that many of the products on the store shelves from shirts to fruits to automobiles come to us by ship.” Referring to the impact of the industry in quantitative terms, Michael Broad, President of the Shipping Federation of Canada explained, “Over 450 million tonnes of cargo is handled annually in the maritime sector, valued at over $150 billion. On top of that, over 250,000 people directly and indirectly make a living in some aspect of maritime business in Canada.”

CMIA News Release

 

Port Reports - April 28

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Mark Hannah and her barge Hannah 6301 entered the outer harbour, turned and backed into the new harbour at 1:30 pm on Thursday. She is discharging her cargo of calcium into the tanks.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
The Saginaw departed Owen Sound Thursday morning after loading a part cargo at the Great Lakes Elevators. She previously had unloaded a part cargo of grain last Sunday. Between unloading and loading, she made a short trip to Manitoulin Island for a stone cargo which was off loaded at Midland, and returned Tuesday evening. The mobile crane noted assisting with the movement of the loading spout was necessitated by an inoperative hoist used normally for lifting the spout.
The Samuel Risley was also in port overnight and left Thursday morning.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke is due early Friday after discharging stone in Detroit. She will load coal at the NS dock.
The pre-dawn hours of Saturday are expected to be pierced by the running lights of the Saginaw when she moves into Sandusky Bay from Lake Erie to load at the coal dock.

Sarnia - Barry Hiscocks
Calumet departed Sarnia lay up early Tuesday.

Detroit - Ken Borg
On Thursday, S., Marys Cement II/Sea Eagle II were unloading at St. Marys Cement on the Rouge River in Detroit; Cinnamon left the Ojibway anchorage and moved to the ADM dock in Ojibway before Noon.
At 9:20 a.m., Philip R. Clarke was tying up at Zug Island on the Detroit River side with stone. Patricia Hoey with fuel barge was waiting to go fuel the Clarke. The tug and fuel barge were back in the Rouge River by 11:30 a.m.
Wolverine was up bound just after Noon. Algomarine down bound at 4:00 p.m.  Bristol Bay and barge up bound at 4:24 p.m. Charles M. Beeghly up bound at 5:48 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Tin Can Sailors Association has awarded the Buffalo Naval Park a $19,000 grant for preservation work on the destroyer USS THE SULLIVANS. The ship is a WW II, Korea, and Cuban Missile Crisis veteran that has been docked in Buffalo since her arrival from the reserve fleet in 1976. She was heavily armed for her size with a large battery of 5 inch Main Guns, Torpedoes, Headgehog Launchers, Depth Charges, and Anti- Aircraft guns. Display areas include the Main Bridge, Engine Room, and CIC. A working weekend is planned for August 17 to the 20th and anyone interested in volunteering can call 847-1773 to help.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Thursday saltie Milo (reg. Piraeus, Greece) was backed into slip 3 at the Municipal piers in the outer harbor. Milo will unload flat-rolled steel.
On the north side of that same Terminal, Norway's Daviken continues to unload coiled steel and flat steel.
Just after midnight Wednesday night, saltie Kapitonas A. Lucka departed onto Lake Michigan with two "G" tugs assisting, after loading corn.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
ASC's American Republic loaded ore early Friday morning after making a rare trip to the Lower Harbor on Thursday evening. Republic unloaded stone from Drummond Island.

 

Updates - April 28

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 28

On 28 April 1891, the whaleback barge 110 (steel barge, 265 foot, 1,296 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co. in W. Superior, Wisconsin. In 1907, she went to the Atlantic Coast and lasted until she suffered an explosion, then sank after burning, near the dock of Cities Service Export Oil Co., at St. Rose, Louisiana, on March 3, 1932.

The 660 ft. forward section of Bethlehem Steel’s a.) LEWIS WILSON FOY (Hull#717) was launched April 28,1977, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991.

Nipigon Transport Ltd.’s straight deck motorship a.) LAKE WABUSH (Hull#223) by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., was christened and launched April 28, 1981. Renamed b.) CAPT HENRY JACKMAN in 1987, and converted to a self-unloader in 1996.

On April 28, 1971, while up bound from Sorel, Quebec for Muskegon, Michigan with a load of pig iron, LACHINEDOC struck Rock Shoal off Little Round Island in the St. Lawrence River and was beached.

On April 28, 1906, Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s J PIERPONT MORGAN (Hull#68) by Chicago Ship Building Co., was launched. Renamed b.) HERON BAY in 1966.

April 28, 1897 - The F&PM (Flint & Pere Marquette) Steamer NO 1, bound from Milwaukee for Chicago ran ashore just north of Evanston. She released herself after a few hours.

The barge LITTLE JAKE was launched on 28 April 1875, at East Saginaw, Michigan. She was owned by William R. Burt & Co. Her dimensions were 132 feet x 29 feet x 9 feet.

On 28 April 1877, the steam barge C S BALDWIN went ashore on the reef at North Point on Lake Huron during a blinding snow storm. The barge was heavily loaded with iron ore and sank in a short time. The crew was saved by the Lifesaving Service from Thunder Bay Station and by the efforts of the small tug FARRAR.

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

 

Old Mackinaw Home to Stay

4/27 - Cheboygan - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw returned to the secondary dock at the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings on Sunday after a “farewell tour” that encompassed 11 days, four cities and more than 725 nautical miles.

Technically, the ship has completed its last mission and is now being prepared for decommissioning on June 9, the same day the new Mackinaw will receive its commission. “We could still respond if we had to, but in theory we're done,” explained Ensign Beth Newton, the cutter's public affairs officer. Newton said that no fuel or oil is being removed yet, but already newer equipment is being removed for service on other Coast Guard vessels.

“Things like our newer hand-held radios, some other electronics and the newer full-body exposure suits and life jackets - those can be used by other vessels,” she explained, stressing that other basic equipment used on the icebreaker will remain to depict the ship as it operated in 2006 once it becomes a museum.

Among the preparations the vessel will undergo will be a fresh, new coat of paint. “We'll have it all spiffed up for June 9,” Newton said.

The tour took the ship back to its birthplace of Toledo, Ohio, where its keel was laid at the Toledo Shipyard March 20, 1943 and launched March 4, 1944. The ship's whistle was sounded in salute as it passed the yard, mooring just beyond at the LaFarge Dock in the Maumee River.

“We had more than 1,100 people tour the ship in five hours at Toledo,” Newton recalled. “A lot of people there wanted to see the Mackinaw.”

One visitor, 92 year-old Minerva Halbert, came from Florida to inspect the vessel she helped build. “She was a shipyard worker whose specialty was overhead welding,” Newton said. “She was great. Nothing was stopping her from seeing the ship. We walked her around, but she remembered a lot. She said her initials are welded into the ship somewhere.”

According to Newton, the Mackinaw's crew enjoyed the festival atmosphere that surrounded the day. Some crewmembers attended a Toledo Storm professional hockey game.

At Cleveland, home of the Coast Guard's 9th District offices, the Mac tied up at the 9th Street Pier and hosted more than 200 invited guests to the change of command ceremony for Rear Adm. Robert Papp, who will assume duties as Chief of Staff and Commanding Officer at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., in May. In this role, he will oversee general management functions of the entire Coast Guard. The new 9th District commander is Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr.

At Cleveland crewmembers gave tours and visited the Rock ‘N' Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center.

The Mackinaw docked at Hart Plaza in Detroit and hosted another 1,100 visitors for tours there, Newton said. The Henry Ford Museum was a popular stop for crewmembers.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, Newton said, was the reception the Mac received in Sarnia, Ontario. “We pulled in to the Government Dock and were greeted by the Canadian cutter Samuel Risley,” Newton explained. “They had two big water cannons going to salute us and their mayor was there with Canadian Coast Guard officials for a big reception. They even had a fife and drum band playing. It was overwhelming to see. Visitors could tour both ships, and we had 1,600 on board.”

The Mackinaw departed the Canadian city Saturday evening and encountered fog through much of Northern Lake Huron approaching Cheboygan, but it cleared as the ship passed 14-Foot Shoal Light. The tugboat Champion helped the Mac to moor in the turning basin dock.

“The crew really enjoyed it,” Newton said of the farewell tour. “We received a lot of salutes and radio calls from other ships along the way thanking us.” She added that most crewmembers with orders will not depart the ship until after June 9.

 

Feds Must Get Busy Mapping River Changes
Continued guessing about falling Lake Huron is not good enough

4/27 - Thirteen months ago, Congresswoman Candice Miller called for a study to determine whether changes to the St. Clair River have resulted in a permanent lowering of Lake Huron. That study is overdue. Historically, Great Lakes water levels have fluctuated on a roughly 20-year cycle. Shoreline residents got used to the idea, as best they could, that water levels would peak approximately every 20 years to cause flooding and other damage. Ten years later, they'd deal with low levels and the problems that come with that.

Along the way, a lot of people have learned to blame the federal government and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in particular, for high levels and for low levels. The theory that popped up a year ago was the 1962 dredging of the shipping channel through lower Lake Huron, the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair had either directly or indirectly allowed too much water to pour out of Lake Huron.

A year later, hydrologists have a different theory. They believe the record high water level set in 1986 is itself responsible for natural changes to the St. Clair River that have increased the amount of water flowing out of Lake Huron. Their thinking should be obvious to anyone who has wielded a garden hose. Flushing billions and billions of gallons of water down the St. Clair River erodes the its bottom and sides. Increasing the rate of flow, as would happen after record high levels, would accelerate that erosion. The result would be a deeper, wider St. Clair River. A bigger river, like a larger diameter hose, means water flows out of Lake Huron even faster in the future.

There is some evidence to back up the theory. The cyclical rise and fall of lakes Huron and Erie have always matched each other. The cycles of the two lakes remain in synch today. What's different is Lake Huron always used to be about 30 inches higher than Lake Erie. In the past 15 or 20 years, that relationship has changed. Now, through the same highs and lows, Lake Huron is only about 20 inches higher than Lake Erie. So while Lake Huron flirts with record lows, Lake Erie is close to its average.

The question remains why. If changes to the St. Clair River are responsible for the continued low level of Lake Huron, and whether those changes are natural or man-made, should be easy enough to measure. So why hasn't anyone measured it yet? Miller was right last spring. The issue demands a comprehensive study.
The International Joint Commission, the U.S.-Canada body charged with protecting border waters, has proposed just a study - more than once. In March 2002, the IJC sent a detailed proposal to the Canadian and U.S. governments requesting funding for a $4.5 million project that would detail changes in the St. Clair River that may be resulting in lower lake levels.

Four and a half million dollars doesn't seem like much, as government projects go. But neither government has approved the money for the study. That approval, like the study, is long overdue.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Taconite Taxes Appear Set to Increase
The tax on pellets, paid in lieu of property taxes, usually goes up in boom years

4/27 - While the outcome of bonding bills and stadium proposals at the state Legislature remains uncertain, at least one measure seems sure: Taconite taxes will increase. Iron Range lawmakers are preparing to allow a 6.5 cent-per-ton increase in the taconite-production tax.

The tax -- which automatically goes up each year unless frozen by the Legislature -- is levied on each ton of taconite pellets produced at Northeastern Minnesota's six iron mining operations. The tax is paid in lieu of property taxes. Allowing an increase on taconite pellets produced in 2006 would raise the tax to about $2.20 per ton, said Robert Wagstrom, a Minnesota Department of Revenue Minerals Tax Office mining engineer.

When the taconite industry performs well, the tax usually goes up. During slumps, Iron Range lawmakers have succeeded in freezing the tax. The DFL-controlled Senate, which has a tax bill assembled, hasn't shown any inclination to support a freeze. A House tax bill hasn't been formulated yet. Lacking a tax agreement between the two houses -- or without language that would freeze the tax -- the tax would go up.

Iron Range taconite plants are projected to produce about 39.5 million tons in 2006, considered a robust year. "In general, most of us agree that these are boom years," said Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia. "In troubled times, we've kept it down. But they're all booming, and it's time to let it go up." Under the Senate bill,2 cents of the increase would be distributed to cities that have iron ore mining operations within their borders. One-tenth of a cent would help finance the Buhl-based Range Association of Municipalities and Schools. The remainder would go to an Iron Range Resources fund for restoring land affected by mining and to alternative energy economic-development projects.

"What we've tried to do is direct that money at some new programs," Rukavina said. "Places like Virginia, Mountain Iron and Eveleth that get boomed every day (by taconite mine blasts) deserve to get a little bit of that money. "And we still want to pursue that dream of being able to do something with our mine dumps. In the old days, we just had dumps. Then, we had shaped dumps. Now, maybe it's time we had something more than shaped dumps -- maybe they're places where we can have ski hills, golf courses or quick-growth tree plantations."

In 2005, $87.4 million in taconite production taxes went to Iron Range Resources, cities and townships, and school districts, and toward property tax relief. Based on 39.5 million tons, an increase would cost Iron Range taconite producers about $2.5 million. "It seems like business is going well," said Sen. Dave Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm. With annual production up from about 34.3 million tons in 2003, producers already are paying more taxes, said Frank Ongaro Jr., president of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota.

For years, taconite producers have lobbied to eliminate the automatic tax increase. "The issue to the industry is that we're working with the (Iron Range political) delegation to make sure they understand the importance of the industry having stability and certainty going forward for the long term," Ongaro said. "These companies are pumping hundreds of millions back into these facilities, and it's important to recognize that investment."

The automatic escalator clause was put into place during the 1997 legislative session as part of a larger taconite tax bill, said former state Sen. Doug Johnson of Tower. The Iron Range political delegation, Gov. Wendell Anderson, Lt. Gov. Rudy Perpich and Duluth frozen foods entrepreneur Jeno Paulucci supported the automatic increase, said Johnson, who sponsored the bill.

"The thinking is that the production tax is paid in lieu of property taxes and, as most residents and business owners know, their property taxes increase each year," Johnson said. "I think most homeowners and businesses will say their taxes increase, and to just be fair, that was the reason."

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Mittal Steel Opens New Sheet-steel Line in Cleveland

4/27 - Cleveland - Mittal Steel USA's plant here began producing galvanized sheet steel yesterday for the auto industry and other customers. The $70 million investment in the sheet steel line will add 80 jobs at the plant which employs 1,500 workers.

The plant will make 700,000 tons of sheet steel annually using a hot-dip galvanizing process, which passes steel through a bath of hot zinc.

From the Columbus Dispatch

 

Port Reports - April 27

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes came into the port of Grand Haven early Wednesday morning. It docked at Verplank's in Ferrysburg. It departed mid morning.

It was announced (Boatnerd News 4/26) that the Harbor Steamer, a diesel powered paddle wheel tour boat, will not run this season. It had run for 22 years, giving narrated tours of the Grand River, Lake Michigan and Spring Lake. The high cost of insurance and fuel coupled with a decreasing number of passengers last season were cited. The craft has been put up for sale.

Toledo -
Stefania I finished loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility. Tubby Tooter, a pushboat stood by as work on the new towers of the Cherry Street Bridge goes on. A Hannah tug and tanker barge was loading at the Sunoco Riverfront Terminal just below I-280. Wolverine was loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International. Gordon A. Yesser, survey boat of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was out working in the bay Wednesday.

Welland Canal - Charlie Gibbons
The Toronto ferry Trillium went on the dock at Ramey's Bend just after noon Wednesday. The tugs Radium Yellowknife and Ours Polaire (Polar Bear in French) assisted the venerable steamer into the drydock. Trillium is to undergo her 5-year inspection and any necessary repairs before returning to Toronto. It is expected that Trillium, the only remaining side-paddlewheel steamship in North America, will be on the drydock for two weeks before returning to Toronto.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
The Saginaw departed Owen Sound Sunday evening after unloading at the Great Lakes Grain Elevators and returned Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, she was still at the elevators with the loading leg down and a mobile crane beside her.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Twin Ports waterfront was busy early Tuesday. At 7:30 a.m., the Columbia Star was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, American Spirit was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal, Indiana Harbor was loading at DMIR ore dock, AGP grain terminal was ready to begin loading a newly arrived saltie, and workers at CHS grain terminal were unloading railcars of grain in preparation for loading Herbert C. Jackson, which was due to arrive about midday.

Muskegon - Herm Phillips
Inland Lakes Managements steamer J. A. W. Iglehart departed the West Michigan Mart Dock in Muskegon just after daybreak on April 5th. She moved over to the La Farge dock and unloaded part of her storage cargo and departed the next morning for Green Bay.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Wednesday at about 4:30 p.m., the Viken line's Daviken (reg. Nassau, Bahamas) entered the Milwaukee harbor, turned and, with the assistance of tugs, backed into the slip at Terminal 2 in the outer harbor. Shortly thereafter, cranes began unloading steel from the ocean bulk carrier.
At about 7:00 p.m., tug/barge G.L. Ostrander/Integrity finished unloading cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island. They proceeded onto a calm Lake Michigan and headed northward.
Lithuanian freighter Kapitonas A Lucka continued loading yellow corn at Nidera.
USCGC (new) Mackinaw was seen at mid-day out in the bay, moving slowly as it continued acceptance trials before formal commissioning in June. By nightfall, Mackinaw was gone.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Overnight on Tuesday, the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge A-390 departed the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City after unloading. Other vessels outbound late Monday and early Tuesday were the CSL Tadoussac, Alpena, and the tug Invincible and Barge McKee Sons.
On Wednesday, the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader arrived with a split load. The pair stopped at the Bay City Wirt dock to lighter before continuing upriver to finish unloading the majority of her cargo at the Saginaw Wirt dock. When finished, the plan is to have the tug Gregory J. Busch assist the big tug and barge back down to the Airport Turning Basin so they can turn around and depart for the lake Thursday morning.
Arriving to take the Trader's spot at the Bay City Wirt dock right after she departed was the Manistee. The Manistee arrived at Bay City Wirt just after 7:00 pm to unload. She completed her unload just after 11:00 pm, turning off the dock and heading for the lake.
 

 

Updates - April 27

News Photo Gallery updated. More News Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 27

The H A HAWGOOD (4-mast wooden schooner, 233 feet) was launched at 2:00 p.m. on 27 April 1886, at F. W. Wheeler’s shipyard in W. Bay City, Michigan.

On April 27, 1993, the WOLVERINE ran aground on Surveyors Reef near Port Dolomite near Cedarville, Michigan and damaged her hull.

The ASHCROFT, up bound on Lake Erie in fog, collided with Interlake's steamer JAMES H REED on April 27, 1944. The REED, fully loaded with ore, quickly sank off Port Burwell, Ontario with a loss of twelve lives. The ASHCROFT suffered extensive bow damage below the water line and was taken to Ashtabula, Ohio for repairs.

On April 27, 1973, the bow section of the SIDNEY E SMITH JR was towed to Sarnia by the Malcolm tugs TABOGA and BARBARA ANN. The two sections of the hull were scuttled and land-filled to form a dock facing.

Shenango Furnace's straight deck steamer WILLIAM P SNYDER JR left Ecorse, Michigan in ballast on her maiden voyage April 27, 1912, for Duluth, Minnesota to load iron ore.

On April 27, 1978, the TROISDOC was down bound with corn for Cardinal, Ontario when she hit the upper end of the tie-up wall above Lock 2, in the Welland Ship Canal.

On April 27, 1980, after loading pellets in Duluth, the ENDERS M VOORHEES stopped at the Seaway Dock to load a large wooden stairway (three sections) on deck which was taken to the AmShip yard at Lorain. It was used for an open house on the newly built EDWIN H GOTT in 1979.

On April 27, 1953, the steamer RESERVE entered service.

On April 27, 1984, the CHARLES M BEEGHLY struck the breakwall while departing Superior, Wisconsin on her first trip since the 1981, season. The vessel returned to Fraser Shipyards in Superior for repairs.

On 27 April 1876, the Port Huron Times reported, "The steam barge MARY MILLS arrived up this morning and looks 'flaming'. Her owner said he did not care what color she was painted so long as it was bright red, and she has therefore come out in that color."

On 27 April 1877, the 40 foot 2-mast wooden schooner VELOCIPEDE left Racine, Wisconsin for Muskegon, Michigan in fair weather, but a severe squall blew in and it developed into a big storm. The little schooner was found capsized and broken in two off Kenosha, Wisconsin with her crew of 2 or 3 lost.

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

 

U.S. Steel Net Income More than Double Previous Quarter

4/26 - Duluth - U.S. Steel Corp. on Tuesday reported $256 million in first-quarter net income, a more-than-double increase from a net income of $109 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. "We had a strong first quarter with results significantly improved from the previous quarter, reflecting robust demand and continued firm prices across all business units," U.S. Steel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Surma said in a news release.

U.S. Steel's tubular division reported a record $177 million operating income for the first quarter. Net income for the first quarter of 2005 was $459 million.

In Northeastern Minnesota, U.S. Steel owns and operates two iron ore mines, Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron and Keewatin Taconite. Iron ore production for the first quarter was 5.4 million tons, about a 100,000-ton increase over the 5.3 million tons produced in fourth quarter of 2005. The two mines also produced about 5.3 million tons in the first quarter of 2005.

Surma said a solid second quarter is projected as iron ore operations exit winter and move into summer taconite pellet production. "We are entering the quarter with good momentum, and we expect strong results as demand in key markets remains firm and our people and facilities are performing well," Surma said.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Harbor Steamer to Stay in Dry Dock

4/26 - Grand Haven, MI - The 65-foot Harbor Steamer, a tourist attraction that has carried thousands of riders up and down the Grand River channel, will not launch this summer, according to its owners. The excursion ship, which featured history lessons on Grand Haven's maritime heritage, is for sale and may head south to ply waters year-round.

The steamer has been a summer tradition in Grand Haven since 1983, but rising costs and falling ticket sales have put the ship's owners in debt, according to Don Messinger, a spokesman for R&D Entertainment, the company that owns the diesel-powered vessel. Messinger said rising fuel and insurance costs made running the excursion boat a losing proposition. Among other problems, the business still owes the city of Grand Haven $3,409 for its 2005 license agreement, city officials said.

With last year's debt still unpaid, the city council recently revoked the license agreement that allowed the steamer to dock near the Chinook Pier. Messinger speculates that rising gasoline costs have led to fewer tourists in Grand Haven with less money to spend. That, he said, led to lower ticket sales.

The steamer, which has been for sale for two years for an undisclosed price, could head to the southern United States where it can be used year-round. "I don't know. I really don't," said Messinger on where the steamer might end up. "If someone had the time to devote to the marketing of it, that would help. This is a small business, so most of the work you have to do yourself."

Messinger, a local attorney, said a potential buyer had plans to move the Harbor Steamer to Georgia, but the deal fell through. He said the interested party bought another vessel instead. That leaves the Harbor Steamer's owners without a solid prospect for a sale. It will remain in dry dock until a sale is completed.

Meanwhile, the biggest financial hit has come via insurance, which has risen from $3,200 per year to $15,000. Messinger said Homeland Security concerns in the post-9/11 era have contributed to rising insurance costs. "All that stuff gets factored in," he said. "Boats are expensive to operate and you need volume to make it work. It's just a very short season. You need a lot of people in town, and you need a lot of people in the boat. "Towns like Grand Haven might not be able to support businesses like this in the future."

The ship has a capacity of 90 passengers and includes open-air seats and a closed cabin on the lower deck for parties. Most trips were along the Grand River channel at a leisurely 5 to 8 knots, Messinger said. The Harbor Steamer was built in 1983 by Sashaguay Machine, a custom boat and barge manufacturer in Saugatuck. The steamer's original operators were Bonnie and Terry Kozanecki of Spring Lake, Messinger said.

Marci Cisneros, executive director of the Grand Haven Area Visitor's Bureau, said she has been working to find a business to fill the niche of the Harbor Steamer. An out-of-town businessman had expressed interest, but the deal appears to have fallen through for this summer. "It's not coming through this year, but he looked really hard at Grand Haven," she said. "He was going to bring a Catamaran. ... He's hopeful that it's something that can happen for him in the next couple years."

From the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Rochester Ferry Set to Sail but Next Port Unknown
It passes final Coast Guard inspection; city still mum on sale

4/26 - The high-speed ferry received a clean bill of health Monday but not its travel plans. There was no official announcement on when the boat would be sold, yet it appears the city's ownership of the debt-laden ferry will be ending sooner rather than later. The ferry, which while in operation had traveled daily between Rochester and Toronto, passed a final inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday after a five-hour review. It also traversed Lake Ontario for four hours Monday as part of an international inspection process, said city spokesman Gary Walker.

As far as the federal government is concerned, the boat is ready for its bon voyage. "They are set to sail," said Coast Guard Lt. David Webb. And Webb said the boat's crew indicated Monday that the ferry could be off to its new destination "maybe in a week."

But city officials have been leery of putting a time schedule on the boat's pending sale, saying that negotiations are complex and could turn on a dime. "This sort of thing is touch-and-go," said City Councilman Benjamin Douglas, president of the city's ferry board. "At times it looks like it may be the next day."

The city has not revealed its potential buyer, but the boat could be headed for a new ferry service between England and France. Euroferries Limited, a British-based company, expects to start a ferry service as early as next month, according to its Web site. The company did not list a phone number on its Web site and could not be reached.
It's unclear whether additional tests of the ferry will be needed.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Early Opening for NY Canal System

4/26 - New York state's canal system will be open for business on Friday, April 28, three days earlier than in 2005. The Friday opening represents the first time the entire system -- which includes the Erie Canal running from Waterford to Buffalo -- has been open in April in 33 years.

The system opening had been set for May 1, but employees were able to finish maintenance projects early so it was decided to open early and allow boaters to take advantage of expected good weather, New York State Canal System director Carmella Mantello said Monday. Other canals run to Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario and between the major lakes in the Finger Lakes chain.

"With one of the most ambitious seasons in recent history planned for the Canal System in 2006, it seemed only fitting to have the canals open ahead of schedule so that more people could come out to take advantage of this tremendous resource," Mantello said. The opening days for the various parts of the canal have depended on weather, but normally occurred during the first week of May.

From Buffalo Business First

 

Port Reports - April 26

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
Originally posted for a Tuesday afternoon arrival at the NS coal dock, the John B. Aird (Algoma Central fleet) was reported for an early Wednesday loading, her passage to Sandusky having been slowed.

The announced Thursday arrival of the Philip R. Clarke at the coal dock on Thursday may also be delayed. She was steaming in Lake Huron late Tuesday, bound for a lower lakes port prior to visiting Sandusky.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
Cason J. Callaway entered drydock at Fraser Shipyards in Superior overnight Monday night to undergo repairs. Great Lakes Fleet’s recorded message said the boat was expected to depart the yard later on Tuesday to proceed to Two Harbors to load for Detroit. There was no indication of the nature of the problem.
Elsewhere in port. Canadian Transport was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, and was scheduled to be followed later in the day by Columbia Star.
Columbia Star and Oglebay Norton both are scheduled to be regular callers at Midwest Energy Terminal in May. Columbia Star is scheduled for four trips next month to the St. Clair and the Cobb power plants, and Oglebay Norton is scheduled for six trips (plus one on April 27), mostly to St. Clair. Also in May, CSL’s Birchglen and CSL Laurentien are scheduled to load coal for the long trip to News Brunswick.

Detroit - Ken Borg
Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. Vick Hua unloading at Morterm in Ojibway, Arthur M. Anderson was unloading stone at Zug Island on the Detroit River side, and John J. Boland was unloading coal onto Zug Island in the Short Cut Canal side.

American Republic was up bound at 8:48 a.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
An article in Railway Age magazine explains the new coal loading system in Lackawanna, NY. It seems that the B&P bought the Bethlehem Steel rotary dumper back behind the Coke Ovens in Lackawanna and is using it to dump coal that comes up their line for transloading into lake freighters and for local distribution. There isn't a lot of detail but it basically states this is new, on line business and was made possible by recent rail improvements in Pennsylvania along with the G&W's purchase of the South Buffalo Railroad for access to the Gateway Terminal's Port facilities so as not to require handling of their trains by different railroads, they can keep it all "in house". This is a way of moving coal product that hasn't been done here in Buffalo for many years and was brought about by changing property owners, changing railroad owners, capital investment, and changing trade patterns. 100 years ago this was a common trade pattern but has been unheard of in recent times. G&W Industries is aggressively seeking new business due to the loss of bridge traffic over their railroads after the ConRail split up between CSX and Norfolk Southern.

Welland Canal - Michel Gosselin
On Tuesday, the tug Radium Yellowknife departed from below Lock 1 with the Toronto ferry boat Trillium and tug Ours Polaire. They are heading toward the dry dock at Ramey`s Bend in Port Colborne.

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/25 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Updates - April 26

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 26

On 26 April 1859, the wooden schooner A SCOTT was carrying limestone blocks for a large Presbyterian church being built at Vermilion, Ohio. The vessel was driven ashore near Vermilion by a gale and was quickly pounded to pieces. Her insurance had expired about ten days earlier. No lives were lost.

Algoma's new straight deck bulk freighter ALGOWEST (Hull#226) of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., was launched April 26, 1982. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1998, and renamed b.) PETER R CRESSWELL in 2001.

Sea trials were conducted April 26, 1984, on Lake Ontario for the CANADIAN RANGER.

An unfortunate incident happened on the SEWELL AVERY as four crew members were injured, one critically, when a lifeboat winch housing exploded shortly after a lifeboat drill in 1978.

Paterson’s CANADOC (Hull#627) by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., was launched April 26, 1961.

The m/v BENSON FORD (Hull#245) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works was launched in 1924.

In 1982, carferry service from Frankfort, Michigan ended forever when railroad service to that port was discontinued and the remaining boats (ARTHUR K ATKINSON, VIKING, and CITY OF MILWAUKEE) were laid up. CITY OF MILWAUKEE is preserved as a museum ship by the Society for the Preservation of the CITY OF MILWAUKEE.

On 26 April 1902, M P BARKLOW (wooden schooner, 104 foot, 122 gross tons, built in 1871, at Perry, Ohio), loaded with salt, was anchored off South Bass Island in Lake Erie to ride out a gale. Nevertheless she foundered and four lives were lost, the skipper, his wife, their son and one crewman.

On 26 April 1926, THOMAS GAWN (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 171 foot, 550 gross tons, built in 1872, at Lorain, Ohio as a 3-mast schooner) sprang a leak and sank at River Rouge, Michigan in the Detroit River. The wreck was removed the following month and abandoned. She had a 54 year career.

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

 

Rt. Rev. Ingalls, Longtime Rector at Mariners' Church, Passes

4/25 - 1:00 p.m. -Tuesday's Detroit Free Press carried the death notice of the Rt. Rev. Richard W. Ingalls, 79, who died Monday. He was the rector of the Mariners’ Church of Detroit for 41 years before retiring this past February following the installation of his son Rev. Richard W. Ingalls, Jr., 58, as the new rector.

The elder Ingalls was stalwart in his leadership of the Mariners' Church, and a loyal member of the Great Lakes maritime community. He remained Bishop-in-Residence and Rector Emeritus of Mariners' Church until his death.

Bishop Ingalls had been a member of ISMA Detroit Lodge No. 7 for over 39 years. He had served as chaplain or co-chaplain during the years of his membership.

A memorial gathering will be held Friday, May 12th, 2:00-8:00 p.m. at Chas Verheyden Funeral Home, 16300 Mack, Grosse Pointe. Requiem Eucharist Saturday, May 13th at 11:00 a.m. at Mariners' Church of Detroit, 170 East Jefferson Avenue, Detroit, Michigan, 48226.

Memorial contributions may be made to Mariners' Church of Detroit. A death notice and online guest book can be found at the following link: http://www.detroitnewspapers.com/deathnotices/viewnotice.cfm?id=109186

Reported by Dave Knight and Paul M. Jagenow, ISMA Detroit Lodge No.7

 

Mathilda Desgagnes Sold for Off-Lake Use

4/25 - The long-time St. Lawrence fixture Mathilda Desgagne (ex. Eskimo built Davie 1959) was reported to be sold for off-lake use. The vessel used mainly in Arctic re-supplying missions every summer was reported sold for use in the Caribbeans.

Laid-up at St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, the vessel is supposed to be taken to Quebec City later this week for inspection as well as renaming and handing over to the new owners and crews.

It is suspected that this sale is a follow-up of the near sale of last fall when the vessel was to be used as a container feeder between shallow draught ports in the Caribbeans.

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/25 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Port Reports - April 25

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John J. Boland was loading Monday afternoon at the NS coal dock. Posted for a Tuesday arrival was the John B. Aird.

Fairport Harbor - Herb Hubbel
Sunday was a busy day here. Pathfinder with its tug unloaded at the Osborne/Fairport Trucking dock. Great Lakes Trader and its tug dropped a load of limestone at Carmeusc Lime, and the Maumee took on a load of salt at Morton Salt.
On Monday one of the Algoma Marine boats was unloading limestone at the lime company.

Duluth-Superior - Al Miller
The Reserve finally left its winter layup berth in Duluth on April 24. In late afternoon it was fueling at the Murphy Oil dock before leaving port. Its Oglebay Norton markings appeared to have all been painted over.
Elsewhere in port, Cargill grain elevator hosted its first vessel of the season when the saltie Olympic Mentor began loading Monday. CHS was busy again with Isolda in berth 1 and Virginiaborg on the other side in berth 2.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday had the Tradewinds Union arrive at 5:30 p.m. and the Captain Henry Jackman arrive at 6:00 p.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John N. Vogel
Monday the small ocean bulker Kapitonas Lucka,  a 1980 bulk carrier for the Lithuanian Shipping Co., came into the harbor with the assistance of two Great Lakes Towing tugs at about 8:00 a.m., turned and backed into the slip at the Nidera grain elevator. Semi-trailers are lined up carrying corn to be loaded into the Lucka.
In the bay outside the Milwaukee breakwater, new U.S. Coast Guard cutter/icebreaker Mackinaw was seen backing and maneuvering Monday as it conducts builder's trials and acceptance testing this week.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Manistee came in off a foggy Lake Michigan early Monday afternoon. She proceeded to the James DeYoung power plant to discharge a load of coal from KCBX. She departed shortly after 7:00 p.m.

Toledo -
Algosteel made another trip today off-loading at Kuhlman Corp. near I-75.
Stefania 1 is on-loading at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility. Olympic Merit is still off-loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.

 

Updates - April 25

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 25

On 25 April 1888, JESSIE MAGGIE (wooden schooner, 63 foot, 49 gross tons) was re-registered as a 2-masted schooner. She was built on a farm in Kilmanagh, Michigan in 1887, as a 3-masted schooner and she was launched near Sebewaing, Michigan. It took 16 spans of oxen to haul her over frozen ground to the launch site. She lasted until 1904.

Interlake Steamship’s WILLIAM J DE LANCEY (Hull#909) of American Ship Building Co., was christened April 25, 1981. Renamed b.) PAUL R TREGURTHA in 1990.

On April 25, 1973, the self-unloading boom on Canada Steamship Lines a.) TADOUSSAC of 1969, collapsed while she was at Sandusky, Ohio. She sails today as b.) CSL TADOUSSAC.

In 1925, the ANN ARBOR 4 was back in service after running aground on February 13th off Kewaunee, Wisconsin.

In 1973, it was announced that the CITY OF SAGINAW 31, would be scrapped after a fire which destroyed her cabin deck in 1971.

Hall Corp. of Canada’s bulk canaller a.) ROCKCLIFFE HALL (Hull#615) by Davie Shipbuilding & Repair Ltd., was launched April 25, 1958. Converted to a tanker in 1972, renamed b.) ISLAND TRANSPORT, and c.) ENERCHEM LAKER in 1987.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS (Hull#824) by American Ship Building Co., was launched April 25, 1942.

Mutual Steamship Co.’s WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE (Hull#41) by Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched April 25, 1908. Renamed b.) S B WAY in 1936 and c.) CRISPIN OGLEBAY in 1948. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1974.

The PERCIVAL ROBERTS JR sailed light on her maiden voyage April 25, 1913, from Lorain to load ore at Two Harbors, Minnesota.

On April 25, 1954, CSL's, T R MC LAGAN entered service. At 714 feet 6 inches, she took the title for longest vessel on the Great Lakes from the JOSEPH H THOMPSON, beating the THOMPSON by three inches. The THOMPSON had held the honor since November 4, 1952. She was renamed b.) OAKGLEN in 1990, and was scrapped at Alang, India in 2004.

Whaleback a.) FRANK ROCKEFELLER (Hull#136) by the American Steel Barge Co., was launched in 1896, for the American Steel barge Co., Pickands, Mather & Co., mgr. Converted to a sand dredge and renamed b.) SOUTH PARK in 1927, and converted to a tanker and renamed c.) METEOR in 1945.

On April 25, 1949, CSL’s, GRAINMOTOR collided with the abutment of the railroad bridge above Lock 2 of the Lachine Canal.

The wooden schooner OTTAWA was launched on 25 April 1874, at Grand Haven, Michigan. She was owned by Capt. William R. Loutill and could carry 180,000 feet of lumber.

T S CHRISTIE (wooden propeller, 160 foot, 533 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (Hull #22) in W. Bay City, Michigan on 25 April 1885. She was built for the Bay City & Cleveland Transportation Company at a cost of $45,000. Originally built as a double deck vessel, she was cut down to a single decker at Chicago in 1902.

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

 

Car in Water Shuts Welland Canal for Five Hours
Nearby residents call for help, rush to canal, throw life ring to driver

4/24 - Port Colborne - The Welland Canal was shut down here for close to five hours Friday morning after a woman’s car went into the water.

At about 7:25 a.m., police received a call that a woman was in the canal about 30 metres (100 yards) north of the Main Street bridge. The 40-year-old Port Colborne woman’s car went into the canal off the west wall and was found a short time later by a citizen near the east wall. “She started screaming and a citizen who was near the canal ran and got help. Then the police were able to pull her to the side of the canal,” said Niagara Regional Police Staff Sgt. Brian Richardson of 32 Division in Port Colborne.

Daysi Finnegan was letting her dog into the house, which backs onto the canal, because of all the fuss the dog was making outside. “The dog was barking because of the screaming coming from the canal,” said Rob Finnegan, Daysi’s husband. “So my wife went outside and heard the screaming. It was difficult to distinguish where it was coming from because of the echo in the canal. “So she followed our dog, Mona, over and spotted the woman flailing for help in the middle of the canal.” Daysi then ran back to the house and told Rob to call 911.

Once he had given the details to police, Rob hopped on his bike and went down to the canal to try to help the woman. “I grabbed the life ring and threw it to her just as the police arrived,” said Rob. The police kept the woman at the east wall of the canal until the fire department got there. They were then able to get her out of the water.

The event shut down canal operations and the NRP dive unit was called to the site to find and retrieve the woman’s car from the canal. “This kind of incident closes the canal,” said Richardson. “And that’s not a good thing.”

One NRP diver went into the canal searching for the car and found it about 30 metres (100 feet) off the west wall. “It took approximately 20 minutes to find the car,” said Darrin Forbes, acting sergeant of the dive unit. “We had tire tracks leading to the water and then we started close to the wall and continued fanning out from there until we found it. It was about halfway out into the canal.” Once the car was found, a crane, supplied by the seaway, dropped a cable into the canal.

“The diver rigged the cable to the vehicle and then we pulled our diver out,” said Forbes. “Once our diver was safely out of the water, the crane lifted the car out of the water and onto the deck where it was towed away.” When it was pulled out of the canal, Forbes said the only visible damage to the vehicle was the broken back windshield. “A lot of times that’s from when the car fills up with water and the pressure will blow the window out,” he said. “Other than that, there was no damage that I could see.”

Forbes said the doors to the vehicle weren’t open, but there were two ways the woman could have gotten out of the car. “The driver’s side window was down and the rear window was broken, so she could have gotten out through either window, “ he said. The woman was taken to Welland Hospital, said Richardson. The canal was reopened at about noon once the vehicle was out of the water.

Reported by Bill Bird from the Welland Tribune

 

This Is Not an 'Old Ship's Funeral'
Thousands visit Mackinaw on last stop of farewell tour

4/24 - Sarnia- Larry Sobczak was so impressed with the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw, he made a second trip to see the vessel. Sobczak, 49, of Berkley, an occasional Port Huron visitor, was snapping pictures aboard the Mackinaw's wide deck, as it sat at the Sarnia Government Dock for tours Saturday afternoon. He also visited the ship when it docked in Toledo on April 15. "It's a once, or twice, in a lifetime opportunity," he said.

The 290-foot icebreaker, in service since 1944, made its final stop on its farewell tour in Sarnia, the hub of Great Lakes icebreaking activity. It left Saturday evening for its homeport in Cheboygan. The Mackinaw will be decommissioned June 9. Pending U.S. congressional approval, it will then become a floating museum in Cheboygan. Its crew of more than 70 will be dispersed on other assignments.

On Saturday, a long line of people clamored to get aboard the Mackinaw as members of the Royal Canadian Legion played bagpipes. Minutes earlier, the ship's captain made a speech lauding the U.S. and Canadian coast guards relationship. "It is more than a ceremonial bond," Capt. Joe McGuiness said to loud applause. "Our bonds were built not on sunny days like today. They are built together at 3 a.m. in a gale ... In April or May breaking ice in the St. Clair River." The U.S. and Canadian coast guards depend on each other - neither of them have enough icebreakers of their own to keep the Great Lakes shipping channels open every winter, McGuiness said.

Ed Bonn, 71, of Sarnia said he was impressed the ship made a Canadian port its last stop. "It was a great gesture on the part of the American Coast Guard," Bonn said. "We look at her as part of our own heritage." Bonn said he had worked in shipyards before and is interested in vessels.

Lindsay Osborn, 28, of Port Huron said she didn't know a lot about ships, but was impressed by her tour. That this was the Mackinaw's last voyage touched her. "It's pretty sad," she said.

Capt. McGuiness stressed this wasn't "an old ship's funeral." The Coast Guard is replacing the ship with a newer, more versatile Mackinaw, to be commissioned the same day the old ship retires. The tour is a testament to the ship's impact, he said. "In 62 years, she's made a lot of friends," he said, holding an envelope of original, black and white pictures of the Mackinaw given to him by a visitor.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Port Reports - April 24

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Armco unloading in Erie on Sunday and due to load at Calcite on the Monday for Gateway Terminal- Lackawanna.

Burton still due the Monday at 0115hrs.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw arrived on Owen Sound sometime overnight Saturday and departed at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. This is her first visit to Owen Sound this season and is the first freighter into Owen Sound this year.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Wolverine was in to load on Saturday.

Straits of Mackinac - Ric Mixter
The buoy tender Hollyhock spent a good part of last week marking shoals and the channel for shipping between lakes Huron and Michigan. The 225-foot cutter has picked up extra duty as the Acacia slows for decommission and the new Mackinaw comes up to speed. Well over 100 buoys will be set by the 50 man crew.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There was plenty of activity on the Saginaw River Monday morning with four vessels in the river system. The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons, who had arrived on Sunday to unload at the Sargent dock in Essexville, were still there Monday morning with mechanical problems. They lost the unloading system's pinch belt and the crew was in the process of trying to re-string it as of this report.
The steamer Alpena was inbound past the McKee Sons around 6:15 Monday morning headed upriver to unload cement at the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton. Following behind the Alpena was the CSL Tadoussac headed for the Essroc dock in Essexville to unload clinker. The Tadoussac was in contact with the McKee Sons as the Essroc and Sargent docks are very close to each other and they wanted to make sure everyone had enough room.
Unloading across the river from Essroc was an Andrie tug and barge. The pair was tied up at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Sunday, veteran lake steamer St. Mary's Challenger was again in
Milwaukee, arriving about 10 AM. Challenger found its way upriver to its Kinnickinnic River berth and unloaded cement, backing downriver and leaving at about 10:00 p.m. Sunday.
Hundreds of Milwaukeeans attended an open house for the Lake Express cross-lake ferry on Sunday afternoon, touring the car deck, cabin spaces and pilothouse area on the twin-hull vessel. Service resumes to Muskegon, Michigan in its third season on Saturday, April 29.

 Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Sunday, April 23, Buffalo made a rare trip under the gravity chutes loading taconite.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Saturday the Buffalo unloaded coal at Lafarge and departed by early evening.
The Steamer Alpena arrived in port around 6pm on a soggy Sunday to take on cement.
The Adam E. Cornelius was loading at Stoneport Sunday evening.
The McKee Sons and John G. Munson are on the schedule for Monday.

 

Updates - April 24

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 24

On 24 April 1872, the 3-mast wooden schooner JENNIE GRAHAM was sailing up Lake Huron to pick up a load of lumber. She was light and at full sail when a sudden squall caused her to capsize. Two crew members were trapped below decks and died. Captain Duncan Graham was washed away and drowned. The remaining seven crew members clung to the overturned hull for about an hour and then the vessel unexpectedly turned upwards and lay on one side. The crew was then able to cut away a lifeboat and get in it. They were later picked up by the schooner SWEEPSTAKES. The GRAHAM was salvaged and taken to Port Huron for repairs.

The ONTADOC sailed from Collingwood, Ontario on her maiden voyage on April 24, 1975, for Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to load steel for Duluth, Minnesota. She was renamed b) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s D M CLEMSON (Hull#716) of the American Ship Building Co., departed Lorain on her maiden voyage April 24, 1917, to load iron ore at Duluth, Minnesota.

The B F JONES left Quebec on April 24, 1973, in tandem with her former fleet mate EDWARD S KENDRICK towed by the Polish tug KORAL heading for scrapping in Spain.

The wooden schooner WELLAND CANAL was launched at Russell Armington's shipyard at St. Catharines, Ontario. She was the first ship built at St. Catharines and the first to navigate the Welland Canal when it opened between St. Catharine's and Lake Ontario on 10 May 1828.

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

 

Judge Tosses Lawsuit over Saginaw Dredging Spoils Site *

4/23 - Bay City, MI - Within three weeks, bulldozers could begin building a basin overlapping the Zilwaukee-Frankenlust township line to harbor dredge spoils from the Saginaw River, a judge has ruled. Bay County Circuit Judge Lawrence M. Bielawski denied an injunction Wednesday that would have kept the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from building a 281-acre disposal site for river bottom silt.

Without legal action to stop the project, Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner James A. Koski said construction could begin by the second week of May. Pressure for the project mounted this month when two ships ran aground in the turning basin just north of downtown Saginaw. The vessels escaped with from a tug boat, but not before warnings rippled through the shipping industry of shallow waters in the Upper Saginaw River.

The Corps of Engineers has talked about dredging the turning basin, but said a full-scale scrape of the Saginaw River would have to wait until the agency can get a disposal site built. Barring another lawsuit, Koski said the Corps finally can start building that site.

Frankenlust Township officials say any construction will roll right over their township's property rights, imperiling wildlife, wetlands and drainage and snubbing zoning laws that prohibit such facilities in their community. Officials argued that the disposal site, burrowed out of wetland within the 100-year flood plain of the Saginaw River, would disrupt flood patterns and forever destroy a wetland habitat that adjoins the Crow Island State Game Area.

What rankles them most, however, is Saginaw County's refusal to seek any zoning changes or variances for the proposed dump site. They say Saginaw County, the property owner, has flatly ignored township law. ''Basically, what (the judge's ruling is) saying is, 'Go ahead and do whatever you want to do,''' said attorney James Hammond of Bay City, who is representing Frankenlust Township. ''Ignore the (zoning) ordinance. You don't have to comply and I don't care.''

Saginaw County officials argue that the project is under federal jurisdiction and exempt from any local zoning laws. They acknowledged openly that they never have tried to reconcile the township's zoning plan, which lists the property as a wetland conservation district, into line with the project. ''Federal law always trumps state law,'' Koski said.

As for the environmental implications of construction, county officials relied on the testimony of Daniel H. Morgan, district supervisor for the state Department of Environmental Quality's land and water management division, who said the Corps of Engineers had properly mitigated for wetlands and flood storage area to avoid any environmental harm.

Bielawski refused to stop the project Wednesday, but said he would reserve comment about his decision until the written opinion, which will come at an later date.

From the Bay City Times

* Note: The Boatnerd Legal Department reports that the headline on this article is not supported by the text. "The judge did not toss the lawsuit. The lawsuit is very much alive."  "All the judge did was deny a preliminary injunction which would have stopped the dredging while the lawsuit was being heard before the judge &/or jury." 

 

Mighty Mac lowers anchor
Icebreaker rides St. Clair River for final time

4/23 - Sarnia- The U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw made its final voyage up the St. Clair River to Sarnia on Friday afternoon.

The "Mighty Mac," used by the Coast Guard since 1944 to clear winter shipping channels on the Great Lakes, is making its last stop on its farewell tour. It will be decommissioned June 9 and replaced with a new, more versatile 240-foot Mackinaw, which is undergoing tests and is scheduled to be commissioned the same day.

The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley on Friday ushered the red-hulled, 290-foot Mackinaw into the Sarnia Government Dock. It will remain at the Canadian dock until Saturday night, when it leaves for Cheboygan, its home port, to prepare for its decommissioning, said Ensign Elizabeth Newton, Mackinaw public affairs officer.

The ship was open for tours from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

The welcoming by the Canadian Coast Guard is the Coast Guard's way of thanking the ship, said Carol Bond, communications officer for the Canadian Coast Guard in Sarnia, considered the "hub of ice-breaking operations." The two guards have worked together to keep the area waters clear of ice, she said.

Many are aware of the Mackinaw's historic efforts and significance, Newton said. "It's been keeping the commerce open in the Great Lakes all the way through the 21st Century," Newton said. The ship is retiring because its aging parts have become difficult to replace, she said. Six train locomotive engines power the ship. "It's not that she can't do her job," Newton said. "She is running out of spare parts. The equipment is getting obsolete."

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Port Reports - April 23

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
This month's Railway Age has an article on the B&P Railroad. They have bought the old Bethlehem rotary dumper to unload coal trains that they are originating from mines in Pennsylvania, for transloading to ships at the Gateway. Should see an increase in outbound ship loadings there this year. They have been running blocks of about 40 coal cars at a time on their regular northbound freights. This is all new business that they have drummed up recently.

Armco due Erie, PA on Sunday, then to load at Calcite for Buffalo.

Courtney Burton due Buffalo on Monday about 1:15 a.m.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
With the strike at Sifto Salt into its second week, vessel traffic in and out of the harbour has been light. Since the Easter weekend there has been no entries into port. The south pier extension work has been ongoing for three weeks now. All the material for the rock wall constuction is being trucked in from the Owen Sound area. It will be competed in two phases, the first to be finished by the end of June. After a two month break, work will again start in September with a late November completion date being set.

Saginaw entered the harbour at 7:00 am Saturday and is discharging her cargo into the elevators.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The tug Invincible and the barge McKee Sons was inbound the Saginaw River late Friday morning with a cargo for the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. She continued to unload at the dock into the evening hours. This is the pair's first visit of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River. Due to the substantial low water levels in the Sixth Street turning basin caused by silt build up, it is anticipated that she will drop the entire load in Bay City.

As for the unloading docks and terminals in Zilwaukee and Saginaw, the Sargent Saginaw dock and Terminal continues to receive products from their other location in Essexville, and the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock also continues to receive products from their other location in Bay City. The Lafarge dock and Terminal has empted out the E.M. Ford of all of her bulk cement and continues trucking bulk cement in daily. As for the rest of the docks in Saginaw, the Saginaw Rock Products dock, the Valley Asphalt dock, the International Materials dock and the Buena Vista Stone dock continue to receive supplies and products trucked in to the docks daily and hopefully at a cost of $5,000-$7,000 for businesses along the river will use the local tug Gregory J. Busch to assist the freighters in backing downriver to turn around in the Airport turning basin after they maneuver upriver to their dock in Saginaw to unload.

Toledo -
Federal Asahi continued to load today at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility today. She came in yesterday. Olympic Merit is off-loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International. An Andrie tug/barge combo are at the BP Riverfront Terminal. The I-280 Veteran's Memorial bridge is starting to string cable across the Maumee River.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Saturday the "new" USCG cutter/icebreaker Mackinaw (WLBB-30) visited Milwaukee for the first time, where it will spend much of the next week in builder's trials and testing. Mackinaw approached from the north, entered Milwaukee's main gap, then docked gently near the Coast Guard station, just outboard of the Lake Express ferry.

Also Saturday ocean vessel Carola was at terminal 2 in the outer harbor, unloading steel, and tug/barge cement carrier G.L. Ostrander/Integrity unloaded powdered cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in the inner harbor.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Following a stop in Muskegon earlier in the day, the Earl W. Oglebay arrived in Holland late Saturday evening with a partial load of stone for the Brewer dock. It was the first delivery for Brewer's this year.

Duluth -
As of Thursday, it appears the Deck crew of the Reserve has finally arrived. The steel pilothouse shutters have been removed and ship back up to full power appears to be ready to back out of it's winter berth at Hallet #5 dock in Duluth. As of Saturday evening it appeared ready to join all the other vessels already moving. One more ready to be added to the active ship rolls.

Detroit - Ken Borg
Early Saturday morning, the Canadian Transport unloading coal at Zug Island, Short Cut Canal side. She left up bound around 2:00 p.m.

Charles M. Beeghly was up the Rouge River at 9:00 a.m. going to Servstal N.A.

Bluewing was at the Ojibway anchorage all day.

Adam E. Cornelius was at Zug Island, Detroit River side unloading taconite most of Saturday.

 

Updates - April 23

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 23

On 23 April 1883, STEPHEN S BATES (wooden schooner, 97 foot, 139 tons, built in 1856, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was bound from Horne’s Pier, Wisconsin with posts and hardware for Chicago when she was driven into the shallows just north of Grosse Point, Illinois by a storm and broke up. No lives were lost.

In 1953, the PERE MARQUETTE 22 was cut in half, then pulled apart and lengthened by 40 feet, as part of a major refit at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Also during this refit, her triple expansion engines were replaced with Skinner Unaflows, and her double stacks were replaced with a single, tapered stack. The refit was completed August 28, 1953.

On April 23, 1966, the b.) JOSEPH S WOOD, a.) RICHARD M MARSHALL of 1953, was towed to the Ford Rouge complex at Dearborn, Michigan by her new owners, the Ford Motor Company, she was renamed c.) JOHN DYKSTRA.

Canada Steamship Lines FORT YORK was commissioned April 23, 1958.

On April 23, 1980, the ARTHUR B HOMER's bow thruster failed while maneuvering through ice at Taconite Harbor, Minnesota, resulting in a grounding which damaged her bow and one ballast tank.

The a.) GRIFFIN (Hull#12) of the Cleveland Ship Building Co. was launched April 23, 1891, for the Lake Superior Iron Mining Co. Renamed b.) JOSEPH S SCOBELL in 1938, she was scrapped at Rameys Bend, Ontario in 1971.

On April 23, 1972, PAUL H CARNAHAN arrived at the Burlington Northern Docks at Superior, Wisconsin to load 22,402 gross tons of iron ore bound for Detroit, opening the 1972, shipping season at Superior.

On 23 April 1859, at about midnight, the schooner S BUTTLES was fighting a severe gale. She was carrying staves from Port Burwell, Ontario to Clayton, New York and sprung a leak while battling the gale. While manning the pumps, one man was washed overboard, but his shipmates quickly rescued him. Capt. Alexander Pollock beached the vessel to save her about 10 miles east of the Genesee River.

On 23 April 1882, GALLATIN (2-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 422 tons, built in 1863, at Oswego, New York) was carrying pig iron from St. Ignace, Michigan to Erie, Pennsylvania when she sprang a leak in a storm on Lake Erie. She struck bottom on Chickanolee Reef and foundered in shallow water at Point Pelee. Her crew was saved from the rigging by the fishing sloop LIZZIE.

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

 

Boblo Boat Moved to New Home

4/22 - Detroit - One of the old Boblo boats, the Ste. Claire, was moved from its resting place in River Rouge to a new home in Ecorse Friday.

The Ste. Claire and another boat – the Columbia – once shuttled countless visitors to and from Boblo Island. The Ste. Claire Foundation wants to restore the boat and put her back in service.

Diane Evon, the Foundation’s president, explained, "The goal and the dream is, of course, to get her back under her own power, going up and down the river." "There are many steps to get her to that point," Evon said Friday.

Tugboats moved into place around the Ste. Claire at about 8 a.m. Friday. River Rouge officials wanted the boat to be moved by the beginning of April and have said they would charge a fee of $500 each day that it remained moored at their Belanger Park.

Estimates to restore the Ste. Clair are in the $5 million range. Work on the boat will be completed by a group of volunteers that is looking to expand. As of yet, there is no timeline for the massive restoration project.

"As a child, I rode the Ste. Claire and the Columbia mostly with my grandparents," Evon said Friday. Her experience is similar to those of many in the area.

From WXYZ TV Detroit

 

Port Reports - April 22

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John Vogel
The steamer Alpena, having arrived Thursday morning, departed (after unloading at LaFarge on Jones Island) at about 10:30 p.m. Thursday night.
The Isolda, a bulk carrier for the Polish Steamship Line, was at one of the General Cargo Piers in the outer harbor on Friday morning, 21 April. Counting the just departed Isa, that is two Polsteam ships in the harbor in less than a week!
St. Mary's Challenger, centenarian cement-carrier and boat watcher favorite, steamed into Milwaukee's inner harbor and up the Kinnickinnic River at about 11:00 a.m. Friday. After unloading, Challenger backed downriver, then cruised northbound on a calm Lake Michigan surface dotted with fishing boats and sailing craft, just after 5:00 p.m.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes made her second visit of the week to Holland on Friday. She arrived early in the afternoon with a load of coal from KCBX in Chicago.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Vessel traffic resumed on the Saginaw River Friday with a visit from the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons. The pair called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City Friday morning to unload. There pair turned in the basin at the foot of the Wirt dock and were outbound for the lake early in the evening.

 

Updates - April 22

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 22

On 22 April 1872, Capt. L. R. Boynton brought the wooden propeller WENONA into Thunder Bay to unload passengers and freight at Alpena, Michigan. The 15 inch thick ice stopped him a mile from the harbor. The passengers got off and walked across the ice to town. Later, because of the novelty of it, a couple hundred people from Alpena walked out to see the steamer. In the evening, Capt. Boynton steamed back to Detroit without unloading any of the cargo.

American Steamship Co.’s, ST CLAIR (Hull#714) was christened April 22, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp.

The CHICAGO TRIBUNE of 1930, laid up for the last time at Toronto on April 22, 1986.

CSL’s HOCHELAGA of 1949, lost her self-unloading boom during a windstorm at Windsor, Ontario. on April 22, 1980. As a consequence she made ten trips hauling grain as a "straight decker".

CHARLES M WHITE was commissioned April 22, 1952, at South Chicago, Illinois. She was soon recognized as one of the fastest ships on the Great Lakes because of her ability to reach speeds in excess of 17 knots (19.6 mph).

On 22 April 1871, the 210 foot, 4 mast wooden schooner JAMES COUCH was launched at Port Huron, Michigan. She was named for a prominent Chicago businessman of the times.

On 22 April 1872, EVA M CONE (wooden schooner, 25 tons, built in 1859, at Oconto, Wisconsin) was carrying lumber from Port Washington to Milwaukee on an early-season run when she struck on ice floe, capsized and sank just outside of Milwaukee harbor. Her crew made it to safety in her lifeboat.

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

 

Rudder Sightings

4/21 - Saginaw - While not yet comparable to the fabled Loch Ness monster, a mysterious missing rudder is spurring sightings of its own along the Saginaw River. People are looking for a piece of steel that may have snapped off the 844-foot Great Lakes Trader during a voyage upriver this month.

One caller claimed to have hit the rudder with a sailboat near the Liberty Bridge in Bay City. Another reported a white streak of water -- possibly a rudder beneath the surface -- near a fallen tree north of the Zilwaukee Bridge.Still, the rudder remains elusive in the weeks since the ship ran aground in a turning basin north of the Interstate 675 Henry Marsh Bridge in Saginaw.

The shipping company discovered two of its four rudders missing upon reaching Saginaw Bay and speculated that at least one may have sunk in the river. The rudder is 15 feet long, 5 feet wide and 8 inches thick.

Gregory Busch, owner of Busch Marine of Carrollton Township, has used a metal-detecting device to scour the navigable channel repeatedly from the turning basin to the bay. He's found buckets, barrels and even a steel beam, but no rudder. As far as Busch can tell, the rudder isn't in the river, but that doesn't keep rumors from swirling.

Busch Marine and VanEnkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba each received calls about a sailboat striking the rudder in Bay City. But with the channel measuring 24 feet deep and the sailboat skimming just 5 feet beneath the water, Busch said the claim is far-fetched. "It's like waking up in the morning and finding an airplane in your front yard," Busch said. "It's not impossible, but it's highly unlikely." Even if the rudder were standing on end near the Liberty Bridge, it still would have 10 feet of water on top of it, the tug boat skipper said.

Then there's the fact that two ships, each sitting more than 20 feet deep in the river, passed through that same channel without a ding, Busch added.

Busch dismissed other rumors -- one The Saginaw News received -- that the rudder is submerged outside the shipping channel. At 4 tons, he said, the rudder would have sunk straight to the river bottom without migrating to one side or the other.

So the mystery continues. While river users speculate that the rudder broke off somewhere else, maybe in thick ice over the winter, no one really knows for sure.

From the Saginaw News

 

Ferry Tests Engines in 4½-hour Outing

4/21 - Rochester - Rochester's high-speed ferry sailed through a more than four-hour test yesterday on Lake Ontario, returning to a welcoming crowd, though there's still no deal to sell the vessel. "Everything went well," Mayor Robert Duffy said of the engine test.

The test of the vessel's diesel engines came after completion of scheduled servicing and more than four months sitting idle in the Port of Rochester. Duffy decided Jan. 10 to shut down the Rochester-to-Toronto service and sell the ferry, citing $10 million in losses in 10 months. As for sales talks, Duffy said: "It's so difficult to say where we are. I've given up trying to predict. It's a very complex situation."

Representatives of MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH, which made the ferry's engines, were onboard yesterday. The potential buyer was not, Duffy said. The ferry uses a jet water propulsion system that sucks water in and shoots it out to move the ship. The system, powered by four diesel engines, can fill an Olympic-size pool in about 30 seconds, pumping 20,000 gallons per second at full thrust.

Two MTU 20-cylinder engines are in each hull of the ferry. Each engine has the equivalent power of 90 PT Cruisers, according to MTU. The German company and Austal Ships, the Australian shipbuilder, said the Spirit of Ontario was, at the time of its building, the world's most powerful diesel-powered high-speed catamaran.

Yesterday's test, or sea trial, took the ship west and then returned to the Port of Rochester, remaining in U.S. waters. It returned at roughly 1:45 p.m. The sea trial and engine work apparently is part of the $300,000 budgeted for MTU warranties expense, part of the $9.4 million City Council authorized for shutdown expenses.

"Nothing that's been done now is outside the parameters of the money we set aside," said Gary Walker, the city communications director and a ferry board member, explaining the city paid fuel and crew costs of Wednesday's test.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Petoskey Breakwater Fix May Cost $12 Million

4/21 - Petoskey - Federal officials visited town to scope the damaged breakwater that protects the city's marina, but no decisions have been made about a timeline for repairs. A long-term, permanent fix could be years away and cost as much as $12 million, said U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee. "To cap it, you're looking at around $12 million, from what they told us (Tuesday)," after viewing the breakwater, said Stupak, whose congressional district includes Petoskey.

A portion of the century-old structure washed away during a violent windstorm in March. Stupak's staffers and officials from the United States Army Corps of Engineers met with city officials Tuesday for a first look at the damage, said Petoskey parks director Allen Hansen. Until recently, ice on Little Traverse Bay prevented any investigation."The gist was it needs to be repaired, but because of the way the law is written, there will have to be legislative action taken" to reallocate funding, Hansen said.

Messages left Wednesday with Corps officials in Grand Haven and Detroit were not immediately returned. The breakwater, built in the 1890s, is constructed of rock-filled wooden cribs, with a concrete cap poured in sections over the cribs. On March 14, one or two of the those sections washed away, leaving a gap of about 50 feet. With the ice out of the bay, the wooden cribs are clearly visible a few feet below the water surface. They appear to be partially collapsed. Also visible is part the concrete cap, pushed off to the side.

The Corps' budget was set months ago — prior to the damage in March — with no money allocated for Petoskey. Any long-term fix will have to wait for the next budget appropriations bill, which could mean months, or years, Stupak said. "A long-term fix, with engineer studies and everything, you're looking at least a year or two," he said.

A quicker, short-term fix is not out of the question, if funds in the current budget can be reallocated, Stupak said. It would require legislative action, and the Corps must first submit a report, he said. "When we get a report form the Army Corps, we'll look and see what projects are around Michigan that have been (funded) and maybe we can re-appropriate some money," the congressman said. "That's not a guarantee, just something we can look at."

From the Traverse City Record Eagle

 

Official May Have Stopped Drilling Plan
Firm drops mineral rights bid after learning property's under state park

4/21 - Mapleton, MI — An alert township official may have thwarted a Traverse City energy company's attempt to open the tip of Old Mission Peninsula to oil and gas exploration.

Kosco Energy LLC nominated the mineral rights for two 40-acre sections of Old Mission State Park to be auctioned off June 6 by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Peninsula Township Supervisor Rob Manigold received a notice from the state and thought it didn't make sense that two parcels in the township were included in the auction. "I called the DNR and told them the only state land we have is a state park and it must have been a mistake," Manigold said.

It wasn't. Anyone can nominate property, and nothing stops the DNR from leasing out mineral rights underneath a state park. Julie Manson of the DNR Bureau of Forest, Mineral, and Fire Management said the parcels were listed as non-developmental, meaning drilling could not take place on those parcels. Oil or gas underneath the park would have to be extracted from adjacent property.

Because oil and gas doesn't follow property lines, oil companies have to put together a drilling unit, typically 80 acres, to get a drilling permit. Alan Kostrzewa, manager of Kosco Energy, said he didn't realize the property was underneath the state park. "We don't drill wells. We represent clients on various aspects of the industry including nominating areas for the upcoming sales," Kostrzewa said. "I typically don't check to see if it's in a state park but I think I'll start."

He declined to name his client. The state park parcels are near a 40-acre parcel owned by Croft LLC, a company managed by Traverse City oil man Martin Lagina. Lagina's office is in the same building as Kosco Energy LLC. Lagina could not be reached for comment.

The state park parcels were still "under discussion" at the DNR Tuesday morning when a Record-Eagle reporter called the state for comment. The discussion ended late Tuesday afternoon, and the parcels were pulled from the state's auction list. "It's been decided that commercial activities such as mineral development will not be allowed in that state park," Manson said. In or out of the state park, Manigold said he's quite certain township residents won't react favorably to drilling on the Peninsula.

Overall, the state will dispose of 53,000 acres of mineral rights in 27 counties, including Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Crawford, Kalkaska, Manistee, Missaukee, Otsego and Roscommon counties. Bidding starts at $13 an acre.

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Port Reports - April 21

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Marys Challenger arrived in Grand haven Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. "Still Steamin" is painted across the front with 1906/2006 painted on each side of the pilot house.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
At 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning the tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Marys Conquest arrived at Bay Shipbuilding. On Tuesday the museum tug John Purves went into the small graving dock.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ocean bulker Isa finally left Milwaukee after loading corn at Nidera at midnight Wednesday night. She departed with the assistance of two tugs from Great Lakes Towing.
The Alpena approached the Milwaukee harbor entrance at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, then turned and backed into the harbor to proceed upriver to the LaFarge silo to unload cement.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Mesabi Miner brought coal to Marquette's WE power plant Thursday while fleetmate Charles M. Beeghly came in for a load of ore.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Earl W. Oglebay brought a load of coal to Lafarge earlier in the week.
On Wednesday morning the Alpena was outbound in the bay after taking on cargo under the silos.
The Armco carefully made its way into the Thunder Bay River before noon on a beautiful Thursday. The Armco proceeded to unload a much needed cargo of coal from Conneaut for the DPI Plant. By evening it finished, but waited for the G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity to clear the channel and head into Lafarge before it backed out of the river.
The Arthur M. Anderson and Great Lakes Trader are expected to load at Stoneport on Friday.

 

Updates - April 21

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 21

On 21 April 1863, SEABIRD (wooden side-wheel steamer, 638 tons, built in 1859, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was purchased by Capt. A. E. Goodrich from Capt. E. Ward for $36,000. She served primarily on the Lake Michigan west-shore and Lake Superior routes until she burned in 1868.

The EDWIN H GOTT cleared Two Harbors, Minnesota, with her first cargo, 59,375 tons of iron ore, on April 21, 1979, bound for Gary, Indiana.

Interstate Steamship’s a.) WILLIS L KING (Hull#79) by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, departed on her maiden voyage with a load of coal from Toledo, Ohio on April 21, 1911, bound for Superior, Wisconsin. Renamed b) C L AUSTIN in 1952 and was scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1985.

On April 21, 1988, P & H Shipping Ltd.’s, d.) BIRCHGLEN, a.) WILLIAM MC LAUGHLIN, was towed off the Great Lakes by the tugs ELMORE M MISNER and ATOMIC bound for Sydney Nova Scotia to be scrapped.

Panda Steamship Co., G.A. Tomlinson, mgr.’s a.) WILLIAM H WARNER (Hull#784) by American Ship building Co., was launched April 21, 1923. Renamed b.) THE INTERNATIONAL in 1934, c.) MAXINE in 1977, d.) J F VAUGHAN in 1981 and e.) OAKGLEN in 1983. Scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1989.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co’s, HOMER D WILLIAMS (Hull#720) by American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio, was launched in 1917.

April 21, 1998 - The PERE MARQUETTE 41 (former CITY OF MIDLAND 41) was towed to Sturgeon Bay from Muskegon for the remainder of the conversion. She was towed by the tugs MARY PAGE HANNAH and the CARL WILLIAM SELVICK.

On 21 April 1868, GERTRUDE (2-mast wooden schooner, 137 foot, 268 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying corn from Chicago to Buffalo when she was cut by the ice four miles west of Mackinaw City and sank in deep water. Her crew made it to shore in the yawl.

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

 

It's Last Call for Great Lakes relic
Mackinaw set to make final visit to Detroit & Sarnia

4/20 - Detroit - Hailing back to a different era in maritime history, the 61-year-old Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is a floating relic. To set foot aboard the Old Mac is to go back in time. And you can see it for yourself.

The cutter, on its final runs through the Great Lakes, is making a stop in Detroit and will be open for tours on thrusday before departing Friday. It will be mothballed in June. "It's almost like being in a museum, almost like stepping back in time," Scott Horsley, chief engineer of the Mackinaw, said Tuesday. Horsley, 42, of Cheboygan has served five years aboard the Mackinaw, making him the longest serving member of the 81-person crew.

Commissioned in December 1944, the Mackinaw, at 290 feet, is the Coast Guard's largest domestic ice cutter and was designed to keep shipping lanes open in the Great Lakes throughout the winter. It is being replaced by a new Mackinaw -- a smaller, more technologically advanced vessel.

The Mackinaw, commanded by Capt. Joseph McGuiness, began its farewell tour last Thursday, making stops in Toledo and Cleveland. When it leaves Detroit on Friday morning, the ship will stop in Sarnia, Ontario, before it returns to Cheboygan, its homeport. In Toledo, where the Mackinaw was built, the crew met a 92-year-old woman who once worked as a welder on the ship. "She was telling us all really awesome stories," said Ensign Elizabeth Newsom, 23, deck watch and communications officer. The World War II-era Mackinaw cost $10 million to build, $80 million less than it cost to construct the 254-foot-long new cutter, which arrived in Cheboygan last December.

The old Mackinaw, meanwhile, will become a museum and be immortalized in an hour-long documentary shot by a team of Michigan-based filmmakers. Thomas Moore, Michael Shamus and Chris Benjamin shot most of the documentary aboard the ship in March. Moore, 38, of Port Huron said the Coast Guard was accommodating and gracious. "They were excited to have us there," he said.

The film crew spent weeks catching the Mackinaw in action along the St. Mary's River and in Whitefish Bay. "It's loud," Moore said. "Its big steel hull smashing through ... big chunks of ice as big as your living room."

Free public tours will be available in Detroit from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday. The ship departs Detroit at 9:00 a.m. Friday.

Plans are to arrive in Sarnia at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21st. Tours on Saturday in Sarnia will be from 1:00 -5:00 p.m. The Mackinaw is scheduled to depart Sarnia on the Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Owner To Have Boblo Boat Towed on Friday

4/20 - Detroit - The owner of the Boblo boat Ste. Claire said Tuesday she plans to have the boat towed Friday from a River Rouge park to a U.S. Steel dock near Nicholson Terminal in Ecorse.

Diane Evon of Westlake, Ohio, hoped to move the boat sooner, she said, but was delayed by coordinating the move with a tugboat company and federal agencies.

The City of River Rouge filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Monday to force Evon's foundation to move the boat from Balenger Park for overstaying its lease, which expired April 1. Evon said the move would cost about $6,200.

She said she is confident about renovating the boat, which once carried passengers to the Boblo amusement park on the Detroit River.

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Coal Shipments Rise On The Great Lakes In March
Total Could Have Higher But For Lack Of Dredging

4/20 - Cleveland---Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 1.7 million tons in March, a significant increase, 42 percent, compared to a year ago. The trade outperformed the month’s 5-year average by an even greater margin: 64 percent.

However, the total would have been higher if Great Lakes ports and waterways were dredged to their project depth. The largest coal cargo loaded in March totaled 62,084 tons, but the record for the Lakes is nearly 71,000 tons.

 Loadings are right now somewhat constrained by the fact that water levels on the Lakes are just beginning their seasonal rise, but decades of inadequate dredging are limiting vessels’ ability to carry full loads even when the Lakes peak. The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, a labor/management coalition promoting Great Lakes shipping, is launching an effort to increase Federal funds available for dredging ports and waterways. It is estimated that it will cost more than $200 million to restore the navigation system.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 3.7 million tons, again a significant increase over the same point in 2005 and the 5-year average for the January-March time frame.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 14 American corporations that operate 55 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.

Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels at least partially offset the lack of adequate dredging of Great Lakes ports and waterways.

Lake Carriers’ Association news release.

 

Matter of Inches

4/20 - Duluth - Every inch of draft is precious to those moving freight on the Great Lakes. Just ask Fred Shusterich, president of Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior. He'll tell you that for every inch of reduced draft, a 1,000-foot laker must shed about 267 tons of cargo. That's why he is frustrated that the government has failed to address choke points in the St. Marys River. Lakers use this river to travel from Lake Superior to the lower lakes. Along it, they have encountered channels as much as 18 inches shallower than they ideally should be.

Thousand-footers loading coal at Midwest's terminal in Superior are forced to forgo about 4,800 tons of cargo per trip. Shusterich figures the 333 calls lakers made at the Superior facility last year could have moved almost 1.5 million tons of coal more if the river had been dredged deeper in two sections -- the Rock Cut and the Mud Cut.

Midwest is just one of many shippers hurt by shallow points in the St. Marys. The same river sections also slow the flow of taconite pellets, limestone and other cargoes between Duluth-Superior and points east. Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said that the St. Marys River is far from the only trouble spot in the Great Lakes.

As the largest port on the Great Lakes, the Twin Ports is relatively well maintained, Ojard said, but he noted that many less bustling ports are filling with silt, and dredging efforts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have failed to keep pace. "We're starting to see some of the smaller ports having a very difficult time," he said, citing Ontonagon, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; Toledo, Ohio; and the Saginaw River in Michigan as examples. "We're all interrelated," Ojard said. "If maritime commerce isn't robust on the Great Lakes, we're all negatively affected."

Falling water levels on the Great Lakes this year have exacerbated problems caused by dredging delays, Shusterich said. Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit District, which includes Duluth, said his staff is doing the most it can with the resources it has. "There's certainly a funding issue," Schloop said. "But at the same time the country also has a lot of other priorities right now."

Ojard and others believe the Great Lakes is getting short shrift. "The big picture is that in the Great Lakes we are not staying current with our dredging," he said. "We have been slowly falling behind." In order to dredge channels and ports in the system to their authorized depths, the Corps probably would need to invest about $200 million, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, a trade group representing owners of Great Lakes vessels. The Corps' entire budget to maintain Great Lakes system, including locks, during fiscal year 2005 was $86.5 million.

Nekvasil believes the nation can address the problem. He pointed to revenue collected from shipping interests through the Harbor Maintenance Tax. That money is earmarked to maintain and improve the nation's water transportation system, but a surplus reserve of $1.8 billion in the fund has not been released. Money for the upkeep of Great Lakes shipping infrastructure has been slipping. Schloop said it has fallen by about 18 percent in the past five years.

Ted Smith, president of Marine Tech, a Duluth-based dredging firm, said that maintenance money for the Great Lakes has been shrinking for more than a decade. Meanwhile, stricter rules on the disposal of spoils, fuel prices and labor costs all have driven dredging expenses higher, he said.

Schloop remains optimistic that the Great Lakes can attract more money, if people are taught to appreciate what the system offers. "There's a lot of value to the waterways and navigation systems on the Great Lakes," Schloop said. "Perhaps people are not aware of it, but I've found that once you describe the benefits to people, they're pretty amazed. It's simply a matter of educating people." Smith believes people in the Great Lakes maritime community could learn from well-organized supporters of the Ohio River.

Nekvasil said that in fiscal year 2003, the Ohio River system received the equivalent of $1.10 in infrastructure and maintenance funding for every ton of cargo it moved. In contrast, the Great Lakes garnered the equivalent of 52 cents for every ton of cargo it handled the same year. "As the overall funding pie has gotten smaller, our piece of the pie has gotten disproportionately smaller," Nekvasil said.

The Lake Carriers Association is calling for increased investment in the Great Lakes and has organized a Great Lakes Maritime Task Force to generate greater support for the Great Lakes system. Smith said that the maritime community needs to get behind the effort to be successful. He said Great Lakes interests have suffered from a lack of organization in the past. Shusterich agreed that a collective effort could yield results.

"Will the wrongs of 20 years be righted overnight?" he said. "No. But we can make a start. We need to plan a course and work a plan."

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Lake Express ferry to hit town this week

4/20 - Muskegon - The Lake Express high-speed ferry will make two preseason visits this week to Muskegon in preparation for the opening of the ferry service's third season April 29.

The 192-foot catamaran ferry will be in Muskegon during the week for captain and crew training, according to Marketing Director Kay Collins. The ship will return Saturday for a first-time public open house in Muskegon. The passenger-vehicle ferry will be open for free public tours Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. at its Lakeside Muskegon dock, 1918 Lakeshore, adjacent to Great Lakes Marina. This is the first time the Milwaukee-based ferry service has provided public access to the boat in Muskegon.

Wisconsin tourism officials will be on board the ship for its Saturday visit to provide potential passengers with information on events and activities in Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin. Lake Express also will provide a chance to win a round-trip vacation for two to celebrate the new sailing season.

The third year of the Lake Express operation between Milwaukee and Muskegon will begin April 29 and conclude Oct. 31. The two-and-a-half-hour service will provide three round trips a day through the summer season with two round trips a day scheduled after Oct. 2.

The Lake Express ferry passes along the Muskegon Lake channel in the photo from October 2005. The ferry is making two preseason visits to Muskegon from Milwaukee this week in advance of its season opening on April 29. For the first time, the ferry will be open for public tours on Saturday.

From the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/20 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Port Reports - April 20

Toledo -
Federal Matane started on-loading grain at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility early this afternoon. The Champ, workboat of City of Toledo Streets, Bridges, and Harbors was out and about on the river.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
A busy Wednesday with a delivery trip to the lower harbor by the John J. Boland, and  American Republic and Dorothy Anne/Pathfinder both arriving for ore.

 

Updates - April 20

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 20

On 20 April 1851, the COMET (wooden side-wheel steamer, 174 foot, 337 gross tons, built in 1848, at Portsmouth [Kingston], Ontario) had her boiler explode as she was departing Oswego, New York. Eight crew members were killed. The vessel was later raised, rebuilt in Montreal, and put back in service as the MAYFLOWER. She last until 1861, when she sank in Lake Ontario when she collided with the schooner EXCHANGE.

On April 20, 1960, Bethlehem Steel’s ARTHUR B HOMER (Hull#303) entered service. She was the last vessel built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1986.

The 3-mast schooner CAMDEN was launched at Cleveland, Ohio on 20 April 1872.

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

 

New Mackinaw Begins Setting Buoys

4/19 - Cheboygan - In a year of firsts, it was just a matter of time until the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw began doing some of the additional chores it was designed to do. Although the new icebreaker didn't see a lot of ice this winter on the limited schedule it pursued while training prior to commissioning, set for June 9, it has begun working with buoys.

The Mac set the Cheboygan traffic buoy on Friday, located in the middle of the South Channel of the Straits of Mackinac, just outside the entrance to the Cheboygan River. The work came after training for a full week with an buoy-deck training team sent here from Yorktown, Va. The team conducted extensive training of the Mackinaw's crew in operations and procedures of handling equipment and buoys on the new ship's deck.

“We'll be working buoys and conducting more drills daily until our departure on Friday,” said Cmdr. John Little, the vessel's newly installed skipper. Little said the Mackinaw will head to Milwaukee on Friday for a week of scrutiny as part of overall inspections for the ship's builder, Marinette Marine Corporation. “It's a performance report for the manufacturer, really,” he said. “It's a routine practice for us to let them know how their product works. We'll be there for a week.”

Little indicated the Mackinaw may also work a number of buoy sites in Green Bay. “We're doing operational testing and evaluation right now, loading up our deck with buoys and then unloading it, sailing every day (this) week to test our performance under load,” Little said. “Man overboard drills, fire control drills and other simulations are part of our operations schedule until June 9 when we get our commission.”

Little said that the constant training is part of any ship's commitment to its mission, but in the case of new Mackinaw his crew will find out it is doubly important. “Something I'm very big on is continued improvement and not just status quo,” he emphasized. “This is a continual learning process.”

After returning from Friday's buoy-placing mission, the new Mackinaw tied up at the main dock position at the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings where the original Mackinaw has been. The new ship has taken the spot as its own, and the 1944 Mackinaw will go to the turning basin dock when it returns from Lake Erie to prepare for decommissioning. Electrical connections, telephone lines and mooring lines have all been changed over to the front spot on the Cheboygan River for the new Mackinaw.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Mackinaw Open for Tours in Detroit

4/19 - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is visiting Detroit, MI for the last time before she is decommissioned on June 9, 2006. Over her 62 year career, Mackinaw has had the pleasure of maintaining the flow of commerce through the Great Lakes and connecting rivers.

Mackinaw (WAGB-83) during her final trip to Detroit, MI will be mooring at the Hart Plaza and will open for tours on Thursday, April 20th from 1:00-5:00 p.m.

USCG News Release

 

The Incredible Hull
The John Sherwin might sail the Great Lakes again after sitting idle for 24 years in the Twin Ports

4/18 - Duluth - After more than 20 years of sitting idle in the Twin Ports, the John Sherwin may get a new lease on life. With freighters in short supply this season, and even more tonnage likely to move in the future, Great Lakes carriers are looking for ways to boost their capacity. So, Interlake Steamship Co. of Richfield, Ohio, has cast its eye toward the rusty Sherwin.

Tugs towed the 806-foot laker to Fraser Shipyards in Superior on last Tuesday morning. There, the vessel was placed in dry dock so the condition of its hull and thrusters can be assessed.

The ship was built in 1958 and was lengthened by 96 feet in 1973. However, it was never converted to a self-unloader. Most freighters in service on the Great Lakes are self-unloaders, meaning they're able to discharge cargo independently by means of conveyor belts and an adjustable boom.

When Interlake found itself with excess fleet capacity in the 1980s, the Sherwin took up its lengthy berth in the Twin Ports beginning in 1982. Nevertheless, Interlake held onto the vessel, waiting for the day when market conditions warranted such an investment. That time may be now. Bob Dorn, Interlake's senior vice president, pointed to some positive signs, including recent investments in Iron Range taconite plants and the continued growth of coal shipments from Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior.

But Dorn said Interlake needs more information before it can decide whether to upgrade the Sherwin and return it to service. "Before we begin any effort to convert the ship, we need to know exactly what condition it's in," Dorn said. Converting the laker into a self-unloader could easily cost more than $15 million.

This isn't the first time Interlake has studied the possibility of upgrading the Sherwin, but putting the laker into dry dock for inspection suggests a growing level of interest, said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The ship's rusty exterior and peeling paint belie its overall integrity, Ojard said. "The exterior doesn't tell the true story," he said.

Gene Walroos, Fraser's general superintendent, agreed, saying, "Sure, the paint looks bad, but it's all cosmetic. It looks nice inside, and it's not an old vessel in terms of total use." Dorn, too, believes the Sherwin has a lot of life left in it. "It's a great ship with a great hull," he said.

"This is an exciting day," Mary George, a member of the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, said as she watched crews move the Sherwin into place at Fraser Shipyards. "I hope she sails again. This is the last ship laid up in the Port of Duluth-Superior, and there aren't many left on the Great Lakes. Most of the excess U.S. fleet has already gone for scrap or has been sold off."

Interlake's interest in upgrading the Sherwin and returning it to service is one sign of the brightening outlook for Great Lakes shipping. Even some new vessels are entering the pipeline. In 2000, Erie Shipbuilding LLC, a Pennsylvania company, introduced the first new laker in 20 years - an 844-foot tug-barge named the Great Lakes Trader. Erie's president, Dirk Van Enkevort, said the shipyard is pushing ahead with plans to build a sister ship.

There's no excess of capacity right now," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, an organization representing U.S. fleets operating on the Great Lakes. "As we speak, about every vessel we have is scheduled."

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

U.S.-Flag Lakes Cargos Steady In March Compared To A Year Ago
Up 1 Million Tons Over Month’s 5-Year Average

4/19 - Cleveland---The U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet moved 3.4 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in March, a slight increase compared to a year ago. However, the March 2006 total represents an increase of almost 40 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Although iron ore cargos dipped slightly compared to a year ago, the trade was more than 21 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Coal cargos significantly outperformed both a year ago and March’s 5-year average, increasing 29 and 74 percent respectively. The limestone trade also resumed at a brisk pace.

While most comparisons are positive, the totals would be higher if Great Lakes ports and waterways were dredged to their project depth. Instead, some vessels are leaving as much as 4,500 tons of cargo behind because of decades of inadequate dredging.

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, a labor/management coalition promoting waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes, is stepping up efforts to bring more dredging dollars back to the region. The process will be a long one. It is estimated it will cost more than $200 million to restore the navigation channels to project depth.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 14 American corporations that operate 54 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation. Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging at Great Lakes ports and waterways.

Lake Carriers' Association News Release

 

Charlevoix could be Griffin research site
Oldest sailing vessel on Lakes was lost in 1679

4/18 - Charlevoix — He was the first European to sail a ship on the northern Great Lakes, and also the first to lose one. The Griffin, a primary ship of the French explorer La Salle, is thought to have disappeared in a storm in northern Lake Michigan in the fall of 1679. A Great Lakes treasure hunter who thinks he's found it wants to stage his archeological operation in Charlevoix.

City leaders have been asked to provide dock space this summer so crews, including scientists from the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, can do research. It could be an important discovery, said Scott J. Demel, the Field Museum's adjunct curator in anthropology. "If this is the Griffin, it's certainly significant," said Demel. "It's what we consider the oldest sailing vessel on Lake Michigan and one of the oldest in the Great Lakes."

La Salle — his full name was Rene-Robert Cavalier, Sier de La Salle — was commissioned by France to establish trade routes along the Mississippi River. One of his support boats was the Griffin, or "Griffon" in French. It set sail from present-day northeast Wisconsin on Sept. 18 1679, and was never seen again.

Steve Libert, an avid diver, treasure hunter and president of the Great Lakes Exploration Group, discovered a wreck in 2001 he suspects could be the vessel. But research has been on hold for more than a year while Libert and the state battle in federal court over ownership rights. The dispute is far from settled but the two sides have recently agreed to continue with research — though not salvage — operations. "We've agreed to have the investigation go forward to determine definitely whether the shipwreck is the Griffin," said Rick Robol, Libert's attorney.

Charlevoix, where Libert owns a summer home, could play a role. Libert is planning a fund raiser there this summer, hosting an event with his team and visiting French scientists to attract publicity and to "help promote sponsorships and endorsements for the expedition," according to his request to the city. He has asked to use one boat slip for about a week in July.

Charlevoix resident and former mayor Josh Barnes was asked by the city to meet with Libert and gather information. Barnes wrote a recommendation letter to city leaders noting the research could "bring world-wide publicity" to the town. "They'd be crazy not to" provide the requested dock space, Barnes said Monday.

Demel said scientists would conduct sonar and other surface tests at the wreck site. It's in the mouth of Green Bay, about 70 miles west of Charlevoix. "It's an exciting project. It may turn out to be nothing. It might turn out to be a much more recent wreck, but there's only one way to find out," Demel said.

Libert could not be reached Monday. His wife Kathie said her husband wants the wreck preserved. "He would love to see it go into the Chicago Field Museum, because it's centered on the lake. That would be his number one wish," she said.

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle

 

Icebreakers Star in Documentary
Acheson Ventures underwriting Mackinaw work by local filmmaker

4/18 - Port Huron - A longtime fixture on the Great Lakes is winding up its career, a 62-year stint that's the focus of a new film. Breaking the Ice is the tentative title of an hour long documentary in production about the Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw, which is being decommissioned in June, and the vessel's same-named replacement. The Mackinaw is on a 10-day farewell tour of Great Lakes ports. It will be open for public tours Saturday in Sarnia.

Thomas Moore of Port Huron is co-producing the film, which is being funded by local development company Acheson Ventures. Moore and his partners do freelance film work. "We wanted to do something of a Great Lakes story," he said.

The film will be completed this summer. Acheson Ventures spokesman Paul Maxwell said a Port Huron premiere is being organized. He declined to give a cost for the documentary, which includes footage on both Mackinaws. "She was the stalwart icebreaker on the Great Lakes," said Port Huron maritime artist Jim Clary, who has been on the old ship twice and did a painting of it in 1983. "(The film) is a great tribute to her."

The new and old vessels will be together June 9 in Cheboygan for a dual ceremony. The 240-foot new Mackinaw will be commissioned, and the 290-foot veteran will be decommissioned.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/19 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Port Reports - April 19

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Tuesday, the Wilfred Sykes delivered a load of two grades of stone to the Verplank dock in Holland Tuesday morning, arriving at about 7:30 a.m. and departing at about 11:00 a.m.

Toledo -
On a beautiful sunny Tuesday in Toledo, Canadian Transfer off-loaded ash at The Andersons Kuhlman Facility. Bessie B. the Wohlleb Socie workboat was abaft of her at the dock. Cuyahoga was on-loading at ADM Elevators. Algosteel was off-loading Arms Inc., the old Consolidated Docks just below I-280 Craig Bridge. Pilica was being off-loaded with a clam-shell crane at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.

Detroit - Ken Borg
The Herbert C. Jackson was at Servstal Steel in Dearborn at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The ST. Marys Cement II/Sea Eagle II unloading at St. Marys Cement on the Rouge in Detroit.
John Spence/McAsphalt 101 went up the Rouge River to the Marathon Dock with a G-tug helping her at 10:25 a.m.
Middletown came down the Detroit River and into the Short Cut canal at 11:44 a.m. She had stone for the Osborne II dock.
Voyageur Independent came down the Detroit River at 6:00 p.m. and went to the ADM dock in Ojibway, Ont.
On the Rouge River, NS train 21 was going south across the Conrail Bridge at 6:35 p.m. and sitting above the bridge waiting for the train to clear was the G-tug Wyoming with the Middletown waiting to go out the Rouge: ST. Marys Cement II was still unloading and the Herbert C. Jackson was coming thru the NS draw on her way out the Rouge.
 

 

Updates - April 19

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 19

On 19 April 1956, the newly converted cement carrier E M FORD had her steering equipment break when she was abeam of Harsens Island on the St. Clair River. She plowed head-on into the down bound freighter A M BYERS which was loaded with dolomite for Buffalo, New York. The BYERS sank in just 17 minutes and the FORD anchored. No lives were lost.

Sea trials were completed for Upper Lakes Shipping’s CANADIAN TRANSPORT on April 19, 1979, and she departed Port Weller Dry Docks Ltd., on her maiden voyage the next morning.

The GEORGE A STINSON's self-unloading boom collapsed onto her deck due to a mechanical failure on the night of April 19, 1983, at Detroit, Michigan. No injuries were reported. She continued hauling cargoes without a boom most of the year until it was replaced on September 20th of that year. She sails today as b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT.

On April 19, 1951, the CLIFFS VICTORY began her much publicized 1,000 mile journey up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers through the Illinois Waterway pushed by a towboat to Lockport, Illinois where two Great Lakes Towing Co., tugs took up the tow through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Hall Corp. of Canada’s a.) HUTCHCLIFFE HALL (Hull#261) by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, Quebec, was launched April 19, 1954.

Pittsburgh Steamship’s steamer RICHARD TRIMBLE (Hull#707) of the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio, was launched April 19, 1913. She was scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota between 1978 and 1981.

On April 19, 1950, the WILFRED SYKES entered service, departing Lorain, Ohio for Toledo to load coal on her maiden voyage. The SYKES also became the largest vessel on the Great Lakes, taking the honor from Pittsburgh Steamship Company's LEON FRASER class (the "Supers") which had held it since June 21, 1942.

April 19, 1917 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5 broke off her starboard shaft and bent the rudder stock on the rocky corner of the old Goodrich dock in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

On 19 April 1880, the Port Huron Times reported the results of a severe gale: "The schooner CHRIS GROVER, ashore near Oscoda, Michigan, is reported going to pieces. The crew is aboard. The schooner ATHENIAN, lumber laden, is reported to have gone ashore off Au Sable and to be a complete wreck. The schooner HATTIE JOHNSON is abandoned on Goose Island shoal. The cabin and part of her deck are gone. The stern is gone from her mizzen and the gale probably broke her up completely and her outfit and cargo may prove a total loss." The GROVE and the JOHNSON were later recovered and put back in service.

On 19 April 1884, EUROPE (wooden propeller, passenger/package freight vessel, 136 foot, 628 gross tons, built in 1870 at St. Catharines, Ontario) was almost totally destroyed by fire at St. Catharines. The remains of her hull were later rebuilt as the barge REGINA.

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

 

River Rouge tells Boblo boat owner: Set sail or else

4/18 - Detroit - Like the brother-in-law bedded down on your family room sofa, it's time for the Boblo boat Ste. Claire to sail on, the City of River Rouge said in a lawsuit Monday.

"If you had this boat in front of your small park, you'd want it moved, too," Detroit attorney Thomas Emery said Monday after filing the suit on behalf of River Rouge in U.S. District Court in Detroit. "It obstructs the view and prevents people from fishing. It's sad that it has come to this."

The city sued the owner of the old river steamer, Ste. Claire Foundation, saying the boat's continued presence in Belanger Park is causing irreparable harm to city residents. The city wants U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan to order the foundation, which has been trying to raise money to refurbish the dilapidated river steamer, to order the immediate removal of the boat. The city also wants the foundation to pay $500 a day for every day the boat remains berthed in the park.

The suit said Diane Evon, a former Dearborn resident who lives in Westlake, Ohio, and who is the principal of the foundation, has ignored repeated requests to move the boat after its lease expired April 1. Evon didn't return a phone call seeking comment. Evon and her ex-husband bought the 197-foot-long steamer in 2001 for $500,000 and have spent at least $100,000 on repairs.

The boat once ferried Detroiters to the Boblo Island amusement park on the Detroit River.

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports - April 18

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saginaw made her first appearance in Marquette for 2006 on Monday. She loaded taconite for Algoma Steel at the Soo.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The CHS grain terminal in Superior, by far the busiest elevator in the Twin Ports in recent years, hosted its first “two-fer” on Monday, with the saltie Mandarin loading in berth 1 and the Kwintebank loading in berth 2. Once they finish, the Federal Nakagawa and Winona are expected to load there.
St. Clair was tied up at the old Lakehead Pipeline dock on Sunday, but on Monday it was nosing into the DMIR ore dock in Duluth to load pellets.
This is expected to be a busy week at Midwest Energy Terminal, with 10 vessels scheduled to load between Tuesday and Friday. On the list are Indiana Harbor, Algolake and Mesabi Miner on Tuesday; Paul R. Tregurtha on Wednesday; John B. Aird, Canadian Enterprise and Columbia Star on Thursday; and Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Oglebay Norton and Mesabi Miner on Friday.

Saginaw River -
The Maumee was assisted by the tug Gregory J Busch Monday morning as she left the Burroughs dock. Busch towed the Maumee backwards to the Airport turning basin and then assisted in turning her to head out to the lake.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday had the saltie Yosemite departing from Pier 23 at 9:00 a.m. The Federal Margaree arrived at 2:30 p.m. going to Pier 8 with steel from China. Her next port is Thunder Bay. The Federal Asahi arrived at 4:30 p.m. heading to Pier 14.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday afternoon American Mariner from American Steamship backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 2:30 p.m., winched itself to the wall at the end of Greenfield Avenue, and began unloading coal for WE Energies. Mariner departed onto Lake Michigan and proceeded northbound at about midnight.
Only minutes later tug and loaded cement barge G. L. Ostrander/Integrity entered Milwaukee's main gap, utilizing its searchlight to find its way to the LaFarge silo on Jones Island, docking at about 1:00 a.m.
Ocean vessel Isa remained at Nidera grain in the inner harbor on Monday, actively loading corn under the chutes, with its deck wreathed in dust much of the day.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived Monday at 7:00 p.m. for the LaFarge Terminal.
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived at Gateway at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday and will be there for approx 36 hrs to take on 33,000 tons of coal.

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/18 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Updates - April 18

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 18

On 18 April 1889, the CITY OF RACINE (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 220 foot, 1,041 tons) was launched by Burger & Burger at Manitowoc, Wisconsin for the Goodrich Transportation Company. The vessel was ready for service three months later. Her total cost was $125,000.

On her maiden voyage April 18, 1980, the AMERICAN MARINER left Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in ballast for Escanaba, Michigan to load 31,322 gross tons of taconite pellets for Ashtabula, Ohio and arrived there on April 26th.

 Hall Corp. of Canada’s b.) MONTCLIFFE HALL began trading on the Great Lakes on April 18, 1978. Renamed c.) CARTIERDOC in 1988 and d.) CEDARGLEN in 2002.The PATERSON (Hull#231) was launched April 18, 1985, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. She was the last straight deck bulk freighter built on the Lakes and was built to the maximum size permitted to lock through the Seaway.

Renamed b.) PINEGLEN in 2002.Johnstown Steamship’s a) MIDVALE (Hull#167) of Great Lakes Engineering Works was launched April 18, 1917. Renamed b.) BETHLEHEM in 1925 and scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1974.

Problems occurred on the ALASTAIR GUTHRIE's first trip of the year on April 18, 1979, when she began taking on water in the engine room while loading grain at the International Multifoods elevator at Duluth, Minnesota. Her stern settled to the bottom of the slip with 12 feet of water in the engine room.

Upper Lakes Shipping’s RED WING was sold for scrap on April 18, 1986.

On April 18, 1960, the ROBERT C STANLEY struck Vidal Shoal in St. Marys River about 1.5 miles above the Soo Locks, and tore a hole in her bottom.

Superior Steamship Co.’s a.) SINALOA (Hull#609) of the West Bay City Shipbuilding Co., was launched April 18, 1903, as a straight deck bulk freighter. Renamed b.) WILLIAM F RAPPRICH in 1924, c.) SINALOA in 1927. Converted to a self unloader in 1931. Renamed d.) STONEFAX in 1960. Scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1971.

April 18, 1936 - Albert W. Ackerman, chief engineer of the Pere Marquette carferries for 35 years, died (Friday afternoon) at the Paulina Stearns hospital.

On 18 April 1848, the wooden schooner TRIBUNE went missing in lower Lake Michigan. Her fate was unknown until native fishermen discovered her masts standing upright off Cathead Point in November 1849. All ten of her crew were lost.

On 18 April 1885, the schooner-barge ELEANOR was launched at Mount Clemens, Michigan. Her dimensions were 185 foot overall, 32 foot beam and 11 foot 3 inch depth. She had three spars and was the consort of the steam barge A WESTON. She was built for the Tonawanda Barge Line and was named after Capt. William Du Lac's wife.

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

 

Mackinaw Arrives In Cleveland

4/17 - Cleveland - The Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw arrived in Cleveland on its farewell tour on Sunday evening. She cleared the piers at 6 p.m. and made her dock at 6:30. The original plan of docking on the face of dock 32 next to the William G. Mather Steamship Museum was changed this afternoon and she proceeded to dock at the East 9th Street pier, the former home of the Mather.

The docking went very smoothly in strong winds and the Mackinaw took advantage of the steel bollards and concrete anchor piling to make fast for her visit. The Mackinaw will be open for public tours on Monday from 1 to 5 p.m. and is believed to be staying in town for the 9th District change of command on Tuesday morning.

Reported by Rex Cassidy

 

Port Reports - April 17

Twin Ports - Al Miller
John Sherwin has been removed from drydock at Fraser Shipyards. On Sunday afternoon it remained in the yard with a gangway leading up to its engine room gangway door.

St. Clair was docked at the old oil terminal dock in Superior on Sunday. No word on why it was there.

Port Huron - Gordy Garris
Saturday morning, just after 9:00 a.m., the Frontenac passed down bound headed for Nanticoke, ON. Next the Peter R. Cresswell passed down bound around 10:30 a.m. headed for Port Cartier, QC. The Algomarine passed up bound at 4:45 p.m. headed for an upper Lake Huron port to load and 15 minutes later the Fred R. White Jr. passed up bound following her out to Lake Huron with coal. Finally, the Armco passed up bound around 6:20 p.m. headed for Calcite, MI to load.
At 7:45 p.m. the Middletown passed up bound headed for an upper Lake Huron port to load. The Algolake called on the Lambton Power Plant to unload coal Saturday morning. She was expected to depart up bound late Saturday night.
On schedule for later Saturday evening was the upbound USEPA Research vessel Lake Guardian.

Sarnia Harbor had the tug William J. Moore and barge McCleary's Spirit berthed at the Sidney E. Smith Jr. dock and the Calumet berthed at the Government dock for repairs. She has been in Sarnia Harbor since March 9.

Across the river in Port Huron was the USCGC Hollyhock berthed at her USCG berth. She is returning from active duty in the Saginaw Bay placing light Aids to Navigation.

South Chicago - Tom Milton
The American Mariner was spotted docked at the KCBX south dock on 6 p.m. Easter Sunday.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris & Todd Shorkey
The Maumee was inbound the Saginaw River late Sunday afternoon headed upriver to unload in Saginaw. She called on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. This was her first appearance of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River. She is expected to depart upriver to turn in the Sixth Street turning basin early Monday morning.

With the grounding of two vessels in the Sixth Street turning basin 2 weeks ago, only time will tell if the Maumee will turn around with out problem.

Also calling on the Saginaw River Sunday, was the inbound John J. Boland. She called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload her cargo Sunday evening. This was her first visit of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River. She is expected to be outbound for the lake early Monday morning.

Saginaw River Update - Gordy Garris
The Maumee completed unloading her cargo at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee just after midnight Monday morning. She attempted contacting the local tug Gregory J. Busch which helped the Alpena off aground 2 weeks ago, but not getting a hold of the Busch, she decided it was too risky to go any further upriver with out assistance and she began backing out to turn at the Airport turning basin. Just after 3 a.m. she had successfully turned at the Airport turning basin and was outbound for the lake, passing through the Downtown Bay City bridges by 4 a.m. She contacted the John J. Boland and made sure she was clear to proceed outbound past the Bay Aggregates Slip in Essexville, which was occupied by the Boland overnight.

The John J. Boland completed unloading her cargo at the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville and departed outbound for the lake early Monday morning.

Soo Locks - Tom Train
Sunday as a busy day at the Soo. Ice floes in the upper lock approaches kept most boats at anchor much of the day. Several lock flushes and ice passages were made just to send ice floes downriver. By 3 p.m., twelve vessels were in line to lock through , most at anchor in Waiskia Bay. Two upbounds anchored in Hay Lake, and were told to expect a five hour wait.

Indiana Harbor went up at noon, while the James R. Barker waited at the lower approach until 6 p.m. or later to lock through after the Walter McCarthy finally locked down around 5:30 p.m. after trying since early afternoon. Salty Guyan-A and Canadian Transfer waited hours above the Mac lock and were still there at 6 p.m.

Among the downbounds waiting were Oglebay Norton, Yarmouth, Charles Beeghly, Algosteel, and Algonova. The Saginaw left Algoma for Marquette and Lake Guardian was tied up at the Carbide Dock.
 

 

"Know Your Ships" Book Signing a Hit at Port Huron

4/17 - More than 500 people turned out Saturday afternoon to have their 2006 copies of "Know Your Ships" signed by editor Roger LeLievre, thus officially launching the 47th edition of the popular boat-watching handbook. The book signing was held at the Boatnerd.com World Headquarters building at Vantage Point at the mouth of the Black River.

Also on hand were "Know Your Ships" researchers George Wharton, Wade P. Streeter and Matt Miner.

Although freighter traffic was sparse, those attending enjoyed ample sunshine and also visited the new Maritime Center near the Boatnerd facility.

Due to its success, this is expected to become an annual event.

 

Marine Historical Society of Detroit
2006 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

4/17 - Detroit - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, on Saturday, May 6. The featured speaker will be G. I. “Buck” Longhurst who will present the program on the life of Capt. Manzzutti and his Yankcanuck Steamship Company.

The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. (BYOB, mixers will be provided), followed by a buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including Roast Beef, Fish, Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Garden tossed salad with a variety of dressings, Corn, Green Beans, Potatoes, Rice and Dessert. Wait staff will be standing by for those who need assistance with their plates.

The cost is $35.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 1. Send your check (U.S. Funds please), made payable to The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, to Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Annual Dinner Meeting, P.O. Box 244, Troy, Michigan 48099-0244, by May 1, 2006. Sorry, refunds or cancellations cannot be made after May 1. You may also reserve Online at www.MHSD.org/Dinner

 

Updates - April 17

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 17

The first vessels through the Straits of Mackinac for the 1870, season were the CITY OF BOSTON and the CITY OF NEW YORK, both owned by the Northern Transportation Company. They passed through the Straits on 17 April 1870. The following day they passed Port Huron but could only go as far as Algonac, Michigan since the St. Clair River had an ice jam which raised the water level by two feet and was causing flooding.

The Collingwood built, 610 foot aft section of the JOHN B AIRD passed up bound through the St. Marys Falls Canal on April 17, 1983, in tow of the tugs WILFRED M COHEN and JOHN MC LEAN heading for Thunder Bay, Ontario where it was assembled with the 120 foot bow section.

Canada Steamship Lines a.) STADACONA (Hull#24) was launched April 17, 1929, by Midland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. She was renamed b.) NORDALE in 1969 and was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1983. She was the first vessel scrapped at the old Algoma Steel Dock in Port Colborne.

April 17, 1970 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 was sold to the Norfolk & Western Railway for $100,000.

On 17 April 1840, the wooden side-wheeler CATARAQUI was burned to a total loss during a great fire, which destroyed much of the waterfront area of Kingston, Ontario.

On 17 April 1874, CHARLES J KERSHAW (wooden propeller, 223 foot, 1,324 gross tons) was launched at the Ballentine shipyard at Bangor, Michigan.

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

 

Mackinaw Makes her Final Call on Waters of Toledo Birthplace

4/16 - Toledo - Like a salmon returning to its spawning ground, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw sailed regally up the Maumee River to Toledo yesterday afternoon for what is expected to be her final visit to the port where she was launched more than 61 years ago. “This is an amazing ship. It’s an honor for all of us” to serve as the big red icebreaker’s final crew, said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Barner, the ship’s chief engineer, during the day’s voyage from Port Huron, Mich., to Toledo.

The Mackinaw sounded a three-blast salute on her horn as she passed the Toledo Shipyard, where she was built in 1943 and 1944 to keep Great Lakes shipping lanes open throughout the icy winter months and thus keep domestic military supply lines open during World War II. For the six decades since, the Mackinaw has become one of the most storied vessels on the lakes, both for her icebreaking prowess and for the warm-weather training and publicity missions she has made.

“Duluth, Chicago, Toledo — anyplace you go, people want to see the Mackinaw,” said Cmdr. Joe McGuiness, the icebreaker’s captain for nearly three years. “After 62 years of stories and reliable service under daunting conditions, she really has made quite a few friends.” A small knot of onlookers greeted the Mackinaw as she sailed toward the LaFarge Cement dock on Water Street just downriver from downtown Toledo, with several clapping during the final approach to dock. While most of the vessel’s trip across western Lake Erie and Maumee Bay was done under cloud cover, the sun shone brightly for the home stretch up the river.

“It was just an amazing, surreal experience” to watch the famous icebreaker arrive, said Debbie Serban, of Flushing, Mich., who made a point of visiting her sister in Lambertville yesterday — and wondered aloud why the city didn’t provide a bigger reception. “It’s a moment in history. Where is everybody?” she said. The Mackinaw, which was the world’s most powerful icebreaker when built and is still the largest on the Great Lakes, will stay at the LaFarge dock until Sunday morning, when it will depart for Cleveland. It was open for public tours Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.

Not present at yesterday’s arrival, but likely to be among those visiting today, is Terry White, 68, of Fremont, who was a Coast Guard seaman fresh out of basic training when he served on the icebreaker in 1955. “I want to be there for sure,” he said in a telephone interview this week. Serving on the Mackinaw “was one of the best experiences I ever had.” More vivid than any icebreaking memory is Mr. White’s recollection of a storm that struck Lake Michigan while the Mackinaw was on escort duty for the annual Chicago-Mackinac Island sailboat race. The Mackinaw ended up helping several of the racing yachts, including one that lost its mast and had to be towed to safe harbor. “It was rough. A lot of the crew members on the Mackinaw got sick, and the fuel tank for our helicopter fell overboard,” Mr. White said.

Tony Camacho, a Dayton resident working as a fireman on his own first assignment after Coast Guard basic training, said yesterday he had not known of the Mackinaw’s legend when he enlisted, but he has come to appreciate her. “My [boot camp] company commander told me it was a privilege to serve on the Mackinaw,” Mr. Camacho said. “It’s a beautiful ship and a piece of history. I’m glad to be on it. I love this boat, and I love this crew.” And during Mr. Camacho’s tour too, the Big Mack came to a yachtsman’s aid during the Mackinac Race last summer. The Mackinaw’s doctor provided first aid to a sailboat crewman who suffered several broken ribs in an accident and prepared him for airlift to a hospital, the fireman recalled.

During the mid 1990s, the Mackinaw’s retirement, without a replacement, appeared imminent. But after the particularly severe winter of 1993-94 proved that Great Lakes shipping could not make do without a heavy icebreaker, Coast Guard officials agreed to order construction of a replacement instead of assigning the Mackinaw’s ice work to smaller vessels. The new Mackinaw, built at Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, is undergoing sea trials and is scheduled for commissioning in June, at which time her Toledo-built namesake will be decommissioned.

A volunteer group based in the icebreakers’ homeport, Cheboygan, Mich., hopes to acquire the Big Mack as a museum ship. Legislation permitting the transfer is included in a Coast Guard appropriations bill pending before Congress, said Carol Stevens, a member of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum’s board. “Until they sign the bill, we won’t know for sure,” Ms. Stevens said. The group has been raising money to buy land and develop a docking area for the vessel, but so far is “nowhere near” the $1 million in donations it hopes to raise by June 1.

Commander McGuiness said that during his command, the crew has relacquered the Mackinaw’s woodwork, polished its brass, and otherwise prepared it for museum life.Anyone visiting the Mackinaw during its open hours today who was involved in her construction six decades ago can expect a warm welcome from the commanding officer. “I would love to shake their hands and tell them what a tremendous ship they built,” Commander McGuiness said.

From the Toledo Blade

 

New Captain Takes Helm of New Mackinaw
Cmdr. Little has a long history of the Great Lakes region

4/16 - Cheboygan - Placing a confidence in Cmdr. John Little that left no doubt as to what is expected of him, U.S. Coast Guard 9th District Rear Adm. Robert J. Papp changed the command of the new icebreaker Mackinaw Thursday to a man known for his knowledge of the Great Lakes. Little returns to the same inland seas where he served as the commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay, stationed in Sturgeon Bay, Wis. He was previously assigned to the Sector Sault Ste. Marie office before taking the Mobile Bay.

“We are reposing a special trust and confidence in this officer because of his patriotism, integrity, honor and ability,” said Papp, quoting a passage he said is on every officer's commissioning certificate. “Being a captain of a ship has a lot of responsibility.” “What a beautiful day on the Great Lakes,” Little said in response to receiving his command. “I'd like to thank Cmdr. Joseph McGuiness and WAGB-83, they've been great for helping me transition. I promise to follow in their footsteps of vigilance on the Great Lakes.”

The event was different from many full-fledged ceremonies seen here in past years in that it was not conducted in the summer, although temperatures were a mild 50 degrees under bright sunshine on the fantail deck of the new cutter. A soft westerly breeze barely rippled the Cheboygan River near the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings where both Mackinaws are docked.

Papp said this ceremony was not be as much of a social event as some he's seen - only a dozen spectators sat in chairs to watch the proceedings - but instead was to be an unusual set-up where the speakers and honorees all faced the crew of the ship, mustered in units behind their respective chiefs in a semi-circle surrounding the podium. After the playing of a recording of “The Star Spangled Banner” and an invocation by U.S. Navy Chaplain Mike Sneath of District 9, Papp watched as Little was led on an inspection of his crew by Capt. Michael Hudson, who is being relieved to return to his job in the Waterways Division office in Cleveland. The proceedings were introduced by Executive Officer Nathan Podoll, who served as master of ceremonies.

“Capt. Hudson has commanded the Mackinaw during a very challenging time,” Papp said. “I got a lot of thumbs-up at the Lake Carriers Association meeting I attended recently when I spoke of John Little. He will advocate operational excellence, shipmates and character.”

Papp presented Little with a special commemorative 9th District coin inscribed with the words he had just spoken. “The new Mackinaw will continue the legacy of the great ship she is replacing,” he continued, referring to the original icebreaker docked just 50 yards away. “This will be a ship that will take her place and continue for many decades to come.”

“John Little underwent a rigorous screening process,” the admiral continued, “perhaps a couple of hundred commanders were considered for this job. We were seeking the best qualified candidate. His previous Great Lakes experience made him the best qualified candidate. When you start talking about the Straits of Mackinac, operations in the St. Mary's River and the wind patterns that move the ice - and understanding the industry up here - having someone who knows the ships and the captains is important. He understands their needs.”

Hudson spoke of his four months aboard with pride. “I found a crew that has faced a long, arduous period of training,” he said. “Everything that we have done has been a ‘first.' You simply cannot sail this cutter without being impressed, but I have been most impressed by you, my crew. It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve with you.” Hudson took the command from Capt. Donald Triner, who was relieved as captain of the ship after the cutter struck a breakwall in Grand Haven in December of last year while en route to its Cheboygan port.

After the chaplain's benediction over the new command, “Semper Paratus” was played as the American flag gently waved from the stern halyard. A new era is officially set to begin June 9, when the old Mackinaw will be decommissioned and the new ship will be commissioned.

From the Cheybogan Daily Tribune

 

Little's Past Makes Him an Ideal Match for Cutter

4/16 - Cheboygan - Cmdr. John Little referred to his ascent of becoming the new captain of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw as “an eleven-hundred mile journey” Thursday at his change of command ceremony. That is the approximate distance between Portsmouth, Va., where Little worked as the chief of the Atlantic Area and Fifth Coast Guard District's Aids to Navigation and Waterways Management Branch, and Cheboygan. But the real number of miles he traveled to get the job may be closer to a million when you consider Little's path through the Great Lakes in a career that may have destined him for the new Mackinaw's command a dozen years ago.

“In 1994 I was the commanding officer of the Katmai Bay,” Little recalled in his wardroom, “and I saw the Mackinaw in Whitefish Bay with Capt. (Carl) Swedberg. ‘That would be nice,' I thought. Now, here I am with what will be the largest crew and the largest ship in the Great Lakes Coast Guard. I'm humbled. It's been amazing, it's all gone so fast.”

Little, 44, said he received a great send-off from the Atlantic District, a job he held for just under three years. He knows he is taking over on June 9 a brand new vessel that is already crewed by a veritable all-star team. The sports analogy isn't lost on him. “Teamwork is important to me,” he emphasized. “It's a matter of learning their individual strengths and weaknesses. I hope they are able to enjoy icebreaking, buoy-tending and Great Lakes lore as much as I have.”

His history of work in this area played a key role in getting the job of commanding the new Mackinaw, and Little hasn't forgotten his connections here. “Over the years I've gotten to know some ferry captains pretty well and that's how I got to know the rivers,” he explained. “The shipmasters and captains of all these freighters is what it's really all about. It's an important responsibility to take care of the lake fleet and I look forward t doing that."

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Lake Superior Claims Landmark!
Miners Castle turret surrenders to lake

4/15 - Munising — What is arguably the best-known landmark at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore was changed forever Thursday when a large section of Miners Castle collapsed and tumbled into the waters of Lake Superior.
About 10:30 a.m. Thursday, a handful of people — including at least one hiker, sightseers and anglers — were witness to the collapse, which was described as loud and sudden.

One of the two prominent “turrets” at the top of the castle-shaped formation fell roughly 90 feet off the northeastern side of a ledge. From a distance, it appears as though the section was lopped clean off. The turbid waters of Lake Superior were still churning, darkened by the sediments from the collapse by late Thursday afternoon.

“This is probably by far the most significant change that’s occurred out there since I’ve been doing the cruises,” said Dave Karbon, a captain with Pictured Rocks Cruises in Munising. Karbon, who has worked on the boat cruises for the past nine years, said substantial changes occur with regularity to the sandstone cliff formations that dot the coastline along the tour boat route between Munising and Chapel Beach.

But what makes the Miners Castle collapse so great is the prominence and popularity of the feature with tourists and locals. “A lot of the people anticipate seeing it before it even comes into view because they’ve heard so much about it,” Karbon said. “It is the highlight of the tour for a lot of people.”

Larry Hach, chief ranger at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, said the action that took the castle turret down Thursday is an example of the forces of nature at work that created the spectacular Pictured Rocks cliffs to begin with. “It’s part of the natural process, the erosional process,” Hach said.

Each spring, the tour boat captains look forward to their initial journeys along the Pictured Rocks, finding new alterations in the cliffs. “The first trips are kind of interesting to see what’s changed over the winter,” Karbon said. “You see people comparing notes.” Last year, a section of Grand Portal fell and two years ago, a big chunk crumbled in on Chapel Cave, Karbon said.

In July 2000, a significant collapse at Grand Portal now prevents pleasure craft from making what had been regular trips under the formation. The Grand Portal Arch also collapsed in 1900 in a significant event, chronicled by “The Munising News” on Sept. 22 of that year.

“The Grand Portal was one of the grandest, most sublime and interesting sights of the Pictured Rocks,” the article said. “The cavity was large enough for a good-sized steamer to enter into and it was perhaps a hundred feet or more in height from the surface of the water.” During the 1940s, the Chapel Rock Arch also fell.

Word of the Miners Castle collapse spread quickly throughout Munising Thursday after it was reported to park officials by witnesses. Later in the day, small groups of people wandered along the pathways between two National Park Service viewing decks at the castle. “It’s so sad,” said one local woman. Another added, “It’s going to change the whole landscape you’ve been used to seeing for thirty or forty years.”

Hach said the collapse Thursday illustrates the importance of park railings, signs and other warnings intended to keep people away from the precipitous drops off the edges of the sandstone cliffs. “You never know when one of those things is going to fall,” Hach said. In the past, Hach said rangers have had to remove park visitors from the top of Miners Castle, including the turret that dropped into Lake Superior Thursday. “If someone had been out there, it really could have been bad,” Hach said.

Under the trees, near the lower observation platform, an interpretive display titled “Crumbling into Time” explains that erosion by wind, water and ice at Pictured Rocks is a continuous, ongoing process along the cliffs. In text placed above a sketch prominently showing the two turrets of the castle intact, the sign asks visitors an ironic question.“As you visit Miners Castle, what do you think it will look like next time you visit?”

From the Marquette Mining Journal

 

Port Reports - April 16

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday saw the John B. Aird depart at 5 a.m. to clean holds in the lake. She returned at 3 p.m. going to Pier 25 to load slag for Serpent Harbor.
The Algonorth arrived at 8 a.m. heading to Dofasco to discharge iron ore pellets from Port Cartier. Her next port is Thunder Bay in ballast.
The CSL Assiniboine arrived at 8 a.m. going to Stelco with coal from Sandusky. Her next port is Quebec City.
The saltie Yarmouth departed Pier 23 at 11 a.m. and headed out into the lake. Her spot was taken by the Yosemite who moved from the anchorage.
The Canadian Leader arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco.

Saturday saw the CSL Assiniboine depart Stelco at 10:30 a.m. The John B. Aird departed Pier 25 at 11:00 a.m. with slag for Serpent Harbor. The saltie Olympic Mentor arrived at 12:00 noon going to the anchorage. Her last port was Montreal and her next port after discharging cargo is Duluth.
 

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday night St. Marys Challenger made its second trip into Milwaukee this week, transiting the narrow Kinnickinnic River to its dock at about 11:30 PM.
Challenger unloaded cement and backed downriver to Lake Michigan on Saturday, departing at noon.
Polsteam's ocean vessel Isa remains light at the Nidera elevator, awaiting a cargo of corn.

 

Updates - April 16

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 16

On 16 April 1872, the THOMAS W FERRY (wooden schooner, 180 feet) was launched at the J. Jones yard at Detroit, Michigan. She cost $40,000 and was owned by P. J. Ralph & Son and A. C. Burt.

ALGOWOOD departed on her maiden voyage April 16, 1981, from Owen Sound, Ontario, in ballast for Stoneport, Michigan taking on limestone there for Sarnia, Ontario.

ALGOLAKE's sea trials were held April 16, 1977.

The BURNS HARBOR's keel was laid at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin as (Hull#720) for Wilmington Trust Co., Bethlehem Steel Co., mgr., on April 16, 1979.

CEMENTKARRIER (Hull#175) of the Furness Shipbuilding Co. Ltd at Haverton Hill-on-Tees, England, was launched April 16, 1930, for Canada Cement Transport Ltd.

Reiss Steamship Co.’s a.) W K BIXBY entered service on April 16, 1906. Renamed b.) J L REISS in 1920 and c.) SIDNEY E SMITH JR in 1971. She sank in a collision with the Hindman steamer PARKER EVANS under the Blue Water Bridge on June 5, 1972.

On April 16, 1986, U.S. Steel’s steamer WILLIAM A IRVIN was sold for $110,000 to the Duluth Convention Center Board.

On 16 April 1870, the fore-and-aft schooner L W PERRY was launched at the Fitzgerald & Leighton yard in Port Huron, Michigan. She was owned by J.L. Woods of Lexington, Michigan and commanded by Capt. M. Hyde. Her dimensions were 128 foot keel, 133 foot overall, 26 foot beam and 9 foot depth. She cost $29,000 and was built for the lumber trade.

On 16 April 1873, DAVID BALLENTINE (wooden propeller, 221 foot, 972 gross tons) was launched at Bangor, Michigan. She was built by Thomas Boston.

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

Undredged Channels are Limiting Shipping

4/15 - Cleveland - When a tug pushing a barge lost its rudders recently in the Saginaw River in Michigan, it was another troubling sign for Jim Weakley and other shipping officials worried about inadequate dredging on the Great Lakes.

The rudders snapped off in the river's turning basin -- an area that has not been dredged since the mid-1990s.
The river is so shallow that the cement carrier Alpena recently struggled against strong currents as it rode high in the water, trying to avoid hitting bottom, said Weakley, who heads the Lake Carriers Association, a shipowners group in Cleveland.

Some shipping firms say they no longer will send boats up the Saginaw because of the increased silting. The channel has not been dredged to its authorized 22 feet depth since the mid-1980s, a local dock operator said.
The shipping channel at the port of Green Bay, Wis., has narrowed in recent years to a third of its designated width, threatening the shipping of construction materials, coal, wood pulp and salt, while boats have been turned away at St. Joseph, Mich., because of the lower draft.

From delivering salt up the Saginaw and carrying limestone to terminals at Fairport Harbor or iron ore to steel mills in Cleveland and East Chicago, Ind., the carriers say the lack of dredging is limiting the strength of heavy industry on the lakes.

And it's fueling a movement to focus more attention on the problem even as the nation seeks to cope with soaring federal budget deficits and the heavy costs associated with rebuilding New Orleans and the war on terror.
Because vessels have to carry lighter loads per trip, Weakley said, the industry estimates that 75 percent of the cargoes carried in U.S. lakers in the past five years were less than full loads.

Officials said lakers delivering limestone at Fairport Harbor routinely have to cut 6 inches from their loaded draft, leaving nearly 750 tons of limestone at the loading dock that will have to be delivered on another trip. Last year, the 1,000-foot long boats that loaded coal at Midwest Energy Resources Co.'s coal docks at Superior, Wis., could have loaded nearly 1.5 million more tons if the St. Mary's River - the channel connecting Lake Superior with the lower lakes - were dredged to its authorized depth, said Fred Shusterich, president of Midwest.

"We've been light loading for some years," said Dave Allen, a spokesman for Mittal Steel USA, which has steelmaking operations on the Indiana Harbor Canal in East Chicago. "When you have reduced efficiency in a transportation system, it affects everything - coal-burning power plants, the steel and construction industries - everyone is going to pay a higher price," Weakley said.

He said the situation is getting worse as lake water levels decline and federal budget constraints are felt at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for dredging the nation's ports and waterways. Weakley's group is launching an effort to draw attention to the problem beginning with a breakfast on May 3 in Washington, D.C., hosted by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, a coalition that promotes lakes shipping. Weakley's group said it would cost nearly $200 million to restore deep-draft ports and waterways to their designed depth. That's more than double the entire $86 million set aside for Great Lakes operations and maintenance in President Bush's fiscal 2007 budget.

Officials of the Corps of Engineers acknowledge the risks posed by silting in channels, but they say there's no easy solution. Bill Harder, a corps official in Cincinnati, said the corps' budget has not kept pace with inflation for many years. "It's a constrained funding environment, and we're making very tough decisions," said Harder, who is navigation business manager for the corps' Great Lakes and Ohio River system division.

He said the corps is not mandated to keep channels at their authorized depths. Some lakes shipping officials question how the corps allocates dredging money, saying it favors the Ohio River system at the expense of the lakes. Weakley said cargo data and other analysis show the Great Lakes getting only 18 percent of the money sent to the Cincinnati division, while the rest goes to the Ohio River system. "If you do a comparison on a per-ton basis, we're getting 52 cents per ton, while the Ohio River is getting $1.10," he said.

However, Harder disputes those figures, saying that the corps' decisions are based on performance-based budgeting, a nationally adopted standard that looks for the most attractive return for an investment. Using that method, a lower tonnage port that has a relatively high cost of maintenance is not as attractive as a high-tonnage port with a lower maintenance cost, Harder said.

Corps officials said the corps' annual budget has not been affected much by the rebuilding efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina or the war in Iraq because those events are funded mainly by supplemental appropriations. But it's difficult to convince Bill Webber and other dock operators who are struggling to survive on the Saginaw river. "The U.S. is spending $350 million to dredge the port of Basra," said Webber, who fears traffic on the Saginaw will dry up if the river is not dredged soon. He said 4 million to 6 million tons of coal, coke, potash, urea, limestone and salt are moved on the river annually.

Several years ago, Webber, who is president of Sargent Docks and Terminal, formed a business alliance with other Saginaw dock operators aimed at getting the river dredged to its authorized 22-foot depth. The river's turning basin, where the tug-barge recently lost is rudders, is now only 12 to 13 feet deep. He said the dock owners have been taxing themselves at 10 cents a ton to build an on-land site for depositing the dredgings. He said the Saginaw is important to the local economy because of all the materials that come up river, including half the salt used by the state of Michigan.

While Webber hopes to keep the docks from closing, he also said Great Lakes ports need to band together so the lakes can compete more aggressively against inland river systems and coastal ports in lobbying for more federal dollars. "The Great Lakes aren't getting their fair share," he said.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

Port Reports - April - 15

Toledo -
Thursday night Saginaw visited Kuhlman Corp. and off-loaded there. Spar Garnet was loading at ADM Elevators. She came in Thursday night also.

Mackinaw (WAGB-83) made her way up the Maumee River Friday afternoon at 6:30 p.m. She passed the Toledo Shipyard from where she was built in 1944 and passed through the Craig Bridge just above the I-280 high level bridge project. She gave a bridge salute in passing. The Toledo Station crew escorted her and assisted her in securing at One Maritime Plaza where she will be taking on tours Saturday. This is her final stay with us here in Toledo. Full time USCG will tour early with dependents. The afternoon (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) is for the general public.

One Maritime Plaza is on Water St. near Walnut St. Parking is probably best on the western (toward downtown) side of Cherry St. along Summit St area. Water St. is not very parking friendly. The Sports Arena lot and International Park on the other side of the Cherry St bridge have parking area with a short jaunt across the Cherry St bridge with a great photographic view. Pictures in the News Photo Gallery.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Armco was unloading stone at Gateway at noon Thursday. She was backing out of the Lackawanna slip by 7:10 p.m.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The salt water vessel Finex was first in the harbour Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., followed closely by the Maritime Trader who backed into the inner harbour. This was the Trader's first visit to Goderich with the blue paint since departing as the Teakglen under tow after her long term lay up. Both vessels will be loading at the elevators.

As of Thursday evening around 10 p.m., Sifto Salt had locked out its employees in the first labour dispute in many years.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was loading late Friday at Sandusky's coal dock.

The Canadian Olympic is slated for a Saturday arrival.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Capt. Henry Jackman in with stone for the Inducon dock Friday afternoon. She departed Friday night and headed down the lake. Malyovitza is still in at Redpath with sugar. All the yacht club tenders were back were in service yesterday and the spring schedule began for the Toronto Island ferries. The tour boat Torontonian is on the Toronto Drydock for inspection.

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Mesabi Miner loaded ore at Escanaba on Friday. The Joseph L. Block brought a load of coal to Reiss, then waited for her turn to load.

 

Updates - April 15

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 15

On 15 April 1881, the Market Street Bridge in Mount Clemens, Michigan was taken down to allow the newly built VIRGINIUS to pass down the Clinton River to Lake St. Clair where she was taken in tow by the CITY OF NEW BALTIMORE. The VIRGINIUS was towed to Port Huron where her engine was installed and she was fitted out for service.

Misener’s CANADA MARQUIS (Hull#257) of Govan Shipyards Ltd, Govan, Scotland, was launched April 15, 1983. Renamed b.) FEDERAL RICHELIEU in 1991, c.) FEDERAL MACKENZIE in 1991, d.) MACKENZIE in 2001 and CSL’s e.) BIRCHGLEN in 2002.

American Steamship Co.’s SAM LAUD was christened April 15, 1975.

On April 15, 1977, the CONALLISON's, a.) FRANK C BALL of 1906, self-unloading boom collapsed while unloading coal at the Detroit Edison Trenton, Michigan power plant in the Trenton Channel on the lower Detroit River.

The W W HOLLOWAY suffered a fire in the fantail while in dry dock following her re-powering at AmShip on April 15, 1963, causing $15,000 damage.

Pittsburgh Steamship’s steamer J P MORGAN JR left Lorain in ballast April 15, 1910, on her maiden voyage to load iron ore at Duluth, Minnesota.

Masaba Steamship’s steamer JOE S MORROW entered service April 15, 1907.

The steamer JOHN P REISS left Lorain, Ohio on her maiden voyage on April 15, 1910, with coal for Escanaba, Michigan. She was the first of three bulkers built in 1910, for Reiss interests. The other two were the steamers A M BYERS and the PETER REISS.

The tanker IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD began service April 15, 1948.

On April 15, 1955, American Steamship’s steamer DETROIT EDISON entered service, departing Manitowoc, Wisconsin for Port Inland, Michigan on her maiden trip.

On April 15, 1985, the e.) WILLIAM CLAY FORD, formerly d.) WALTER A STERLING and presently f.) LEE A TREGURTHA) departed Fraser Shipyards for the D. M. & I. R. ore docks in West Duluth for her first load in Ford Motor Company colors.

April 15, 1930 - While going up the Manitowoc River to dry dock, the WABASH rubbed the parked steamer THEODORE ROOSEVELT and damaged her upper works forward.

On 15 April 1862, ELISHA C BLISH (wooden propeller tug, 81 foot, 107 tons, built in 1857, at Black River, Ohio) sank near shore at Algonac, Michigan when a steam pump was accidentally left in an open position and she flooded. She was raised and lasted another two years when she "went missing" on Lake Huron.

On 15 April 1872, the Port Huron Daily Times announced that the HURON was chartered by a circus company for the season. They intended to perform at many Lake ports throughout the summer.

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

 

Search for Joyce L. Rudders Comes Up Empty

4/14 - Saginaw, MI - The wayward rudders of an Escanaba-based barge remain lost, but they're not in the Saginaw River, searchers say. Gregory Busch, owner of Busch Marine of Carrollton Township, said he has scoured the river channel unsuccessfully for at least one $70,000 rudder missing from a barge last week. (Editors Note: The rudders were lost by the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort).

Dock owners said the rudder, about 15 feet long, 5 feet wide and about 8 inches thick and weighing several tons, could damage freighters enroute to businesses upstream. Busch said the rudder isn't in the river. "We are as convinced as we can be that it is not in the river," he said. "There is always a chance, but it is highly unlikely."

Busch said he has searched the 16-mile stretch of river from one end to the other more than once and circled the turning basin near the Interstate 675 Henry Marsh Bridge "hundreds of times" without detecting it. Instead, Busch found 5-gallon buckets, oil drums and an 8-foot steel beam on the river bottom by using a magnetometer, which uses a magnetic field to find underwater metal objects.

The search for the rogue rudder began after the Great Lakes Trader, an 875-foot vessel the VanEnkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba owns, ran aground April 4 in the Saginaw turning basin. Upon returning to the bay and experiencing severe steering problems, barge operators discovered two of their four rudders missing. They suggested that one may have snapped off in the turning basin.

Busch, who built a mock rudder out of steel plates to test his equipment, said the barge probably lost its rudders before entering the river. After speaking with the shipping company, he said the rudders may have broken off in thick ice over the winter. While the ship may have steered all right in open water, the problem would have appeared when winding through the Saginaw River, he said. The Saginaw News could not immediately reach VanEnkevort Tug & Barge for comment.

William Webber, owner of Sargent Docks & Terminal, said Lower Lakes Towing delayed its shipment up the Saginaw River early this week because of the missing rudder. The company, which will decide whether to keep boats floating up the Saginaw River based on the success of its next shipment, has not yet set a return date.

From the Saginaw News

 

Decision to Spot Dredge Saginaw River Delights Dock Owners

4/14 - Saginaw - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to dredge the shallows of a Saginaw River turning basin to keep shipping afloat for almost two dozen Saginaw docks, corps officials said. The federal agency confirmed Wednesday it likely will dredge Saginaw's sole turning basin near the Interstate 675 Henry Marsh Bridge to keep ships turning and freight moving along the upper Saginaw River. The basin has grown so shallow that two boats ran aground last week -- a turn of events that stopped shipping companies from scheduling return trips to Saginaw, dock owners say.

Corps officials say they will scoop just enough silt out of the river to open the shipping channel. The agency then will ship the spoils to a disposal island at the mouth of the river. "We are not going to remove any more material than we have to," said Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the corps. A deeper dredging will have to wait until Saginaw County constructs a disposal site for the spoils, he said.

William Webber, owner of Sargent Docks & Terminal in Zilwaukee Township and spokesman for the Saginaw River Alliance, a coalition of dock owners, said he would welcome such news. "Boy, that would be tremendous," he said. The dock owner announced last week that he and other business owners were prepared to pay for dredging to keep the Saginaw River supply artery open. With the prospect of corps action late Wednesday, he said he would "sleep a lot better" at night.

Meanwhile, Saginaw County plans to build a 281-acre dump site straddling the Zilwaukee-Frankenlust township line. While the county hopes to begin construction in May, the site faces legal challenges by both townships and the environmental group Lone Tree Council. Frankenlust Township officials have filed for a temporary injunction. They want Bay County Circuit Judge Lawrence M. Bielawski to stop construction.

However, dock owners are crying for immediate relief. Webber said silt buildup in the turning basin threatens to shut down shipping for 22 docks in the Upper Saginaw River. Schloop couldn't say how much dredging or how much money it will take to keep freight flowing up the river, but he said the corps plans to meet with business owners this week and survey the turning basin next week to come up with those numbers. The Saginaw River Alliance suggested last week that officials would have to remove 5,000 to 7,000 cubic yards of silt. They pegged the price at $90,000 to $125,000.

Instead of having business owners pay, Schloop said the corps will cover the cost. The money will trickle from a $2.4 million allocation by Congress for dredge-related projects along the Saginaw River. Schloop said work could begin as early as May. "That is our goal," he said.

From the Saginaw News

 

Mackinaw Farewell Visit to Cleveland, OH

4/14 - Cheboygan, MI - The U.S. Coast Guard's largest domestic icebreaker, the Mackinaw (WAGB-83), is returning to Cleveland for a farewell visit. For over 62 years, Mackinaw served the Great Lakes shipping industry, moving commerce vital to the region and the nation.

From December through April, Mackinaw broke ice to maintain the flow of commerce through the Great Lakes and connecting rivers. Mackinaw's other missions include search and rescue, aids to navigation, and public relations. Mackinaw recently concluded her final ice season and will be decommissioned in June 2006.

Come visit the Mackinaw during her final trip to Cleveland. The ship will be docked at the Dock 32, Cleveland Port Authority and will open for tours on Monday April 17 from 1-5 p.m. The Mackinaw will be positioned astern of the museum ship William G. Mather.

Toledo Visit
Come visit the Mackinaw during her farewell visit to Toledo. The cutter will be moored at the Lafarge Cement Dock and will be open for tours on Saturday April 15 from 1-5 p.m.

USCG News Release reported by Jim Spencer

 

Lakes Limestone Trade Resumes With Vigor

4/14 - Shipments of limestone from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports totaled 586,773 net tons in March, just about double the volume of a year ago. The March 2006 total surpassed the month’s 5-year average by 128 percent.

The surge reflects low inventories which were in part a result of the extreme weather delays in November 2005 that hampered building stockpiles for the winter.

Reported by the Lake Carriers Association

 

"Know Your Ships" Launch this Saturday in Port Huron

4/14 - The 2006 edition of “Know Your Ships,” the boatwatchers’ annual field guide to the vessels sailing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, is off the press. The 148-page book, now in its 47th edition, contains detailed information about nearly 2,000 vessels and includes many color photographs taken from around the lakes and Seaway. This year’s Vessel of the Year is the 100-year old St. Marys Challenger, now celebrating a century and steam. Order on the Web at www.knowyourships.com.

Mark the beginning of another season of boat watching with a book signing in Port Huron by Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of the annual "Know Your Ships" guide. LeLievre will be on hand at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 15 to sign copies of the 2006 "Know Your Ships."

This year's book, hot off the press, will be available for purchase at the event. "Know Your Ships" is often referred to as the "bible of boat watching" containing detailed information and pictures of Great Lakes ships and the foreign ships that visit the Great Lakes each season.

There is no admission charge for the event. Make a day of your trip by visiting the new Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point adjacent to the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (BoatNerd.Com) Headquarters and enjoy the spectacular view of the boats passing on the St. Clair River. Vantage Point is located at the end of First Street, on the south side of the Black River in Port Huron. Visit www.boatnerd.com/about/worldhq and www.knowyourships.com for more information.

 

Port Reports - April 14

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Late Wednesday the new LaFarge cement barge Innovation was taken out of the graving dock and placed at the fit out wall forward of her tug Samuel de Champlain.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Sam Laud was loading Thursday at the NS coal dock. The Hon. Paul Martin was posted as due for arrival on Friday.

David Z. Norton's deck crew is to report on April 26 and the they are expected to begin the season on April 29.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. the St. Marys Challenger paid a visit to Milwaukee, proceeding into the inner harbor and up the narrow Kinnickinnic River with the assistance of a Great Lakes Towing tug. Challenger unloaded and departed, backing downriver at about 5 a.m. Thursday.

Also Thursday, salty Isa from the Polsteam line finished unloading steel at terminal 2 in the outer harbor. At about 4 p.m., two G-tugs proceeded to that slip and assisted Isa in shifting upriver into the inner harbor, where she is loading grain at the Nidera elevator.

Detroit - Ken Borg
On Thursday the St. Marys Cement II was unloading at St, Marys Cement on the Rouge River in Detroit. Agawa Canyon was loading salt at Windsor Salt in Ojibway, Ontario. She departed up bound at 6:30 p.m.
Maritime Trader was at ADM in Ojibway.
River traffic included Indiana Harbor down bound at 8:41 a.m., Canadian Transfer up bound at 12:35 a.m., Fred R. White Jr. down bound at the same time. Herbert C. Jackson was up bound at 5:26 p.m. Maritime Trader departed ADM at 6:15 p.m. and went to Sterling Fuel. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder backed into the Short Canal of the Rouge River at 6:15 p.m.
Algoway headed into the Short Cut Canal of the Rouge River at 6:41 p.m. with the "G" tug Wyoming assisting.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Thursday had the Montrealais departing at 3:30 p.m. from Dofasco. The saltie Cinamon arrived at 8:00 p.m. going to Pier 25. After unloading, she will head to Thunder Bay. The John B. Aird arrived at 9:30 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. She was then to shift to the Hamilton LaFarge dock to load slag for Serpent Harbor. The Canadian Enterprise departed at 9:30 p.m. from Pier 20 at Dofasco after unloading coal. She is headed to Conneaut in ballast.
 

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Buffalo made her first visit of the year to the Saginaw river on Thursday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. She was then outbound for the lake late in the evening.

 

Updates - April 14

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 14

On 14 April 1872, the MESSENGER (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 150 foot, 444 gross tons, built in 1866, at Cleveland, Ohio) left Manistee, Michigan in a storm for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After battling ice flows near shore, she made it to open water but the heavy seas snapped her rudder post. She was unmanageable and four members of the crew left in the yawl to try to get help. Although they were only a few miles from port, the men struggled for hours against the wind, waves and ice before they finally made it back to Manistee, Michigan where they got a tug to go out and tow the MESSENGER in for repairs.

On April 14, 1961, the FORT CHAMBLY departed Toronto, Ontario on her maiden voyage bound for the Canadian Lake head.

Interlake Steamship’s COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS (Hull#791) sailed on her maiden voyage April 14, 1926, clearing Lorain for Toledo, Ohio to load coal.

CSL’s steamer a.) GLENEAGLES, lost her self-unloading boom April 14, 1977, while unloading at the CSL stone dock at Humberstone, Ontario. Renamed b.) SILVERDALE in 1978, she was scrapped at Windsor, Ontario in 1984.

On April 14, 1984, vessels around the Great Lakes were battling one of the worst season openers for ice in recent memory. The ERNEST R BREECH (now VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT) and the HERBERT C JACKSON spent the entire day battling ice off the Duluth entry, while the St. Clair River was choked with ice.

On 14 April 1873, the Port Huron Daily Times gave the following report of shipbuilding work going on in Port Huron: "Mr. Fitzgerald is up to his eyes in business with a large barge in process of construction and a good sized schooner still on the stocks. Mr. Thomas Dunford has in hand the repairs of the large scow T S SKINNER and she is being rapidly healed of the damage done to her in the collision with the INTERNATIONAL last Fall. At Muir's yard the [schooner] canaler on the stocks is rapidly approaching completion. At the [Port Huron] Dry Dock Company's yard, they are busy as bees docking and repairing vessels and work upon the new tug for Moffat & Sons is [being] pushed ahead very rapidly." Unfortunately, later that year the "Panic of 1873" struck and all shipyard work was stopped while the country tried to recover from that economic depression.

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

 

Mackinaw Farewell Visit to Toledo

4/13 - Cheboygan, MI - The U.S. Coast Guard's largest domestic icebreaker, the CGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83), is returning to Toledo for a farewell visit. Her keel was laid in Toledo on March 20, 1943 by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company. The American Shipbuilding and Drydock Company completed construction and launched her on March 4, 1944. When she was commissioned, Mackinaw was the most powerful and capable icebreaker in the world.

For over 62 years, Mackinaw served the Great Lakes shipping industry, moving commerce vital to the region and the nation. From December through April, Mackinaw broke ice to maintain the flow of commerce through the Great Lakes and connecting rivers. Mackinaw recently concluded her final ice season and will be decommissioned in June 2006.

Come visit the CGC Mackinaw (WAGB-83) during her farewell visit to Toledo. The cutter will be moored at the Lafarge Cement Dock and will be open for tours on Saturday April 15th from 1-5 pm.

USCG News Release

 

Ferry Sets Sail After Winter Work in Sarnia

4/13 - The Ontario car and passenger ferry Chi-Cheemaun underwent sea trials Wednesday on Lake Huron after spending the winter undergoing a major refitting in Sarnia, the Canadian coast guard said. The 365-foot ship is the largest of its type on the Great Lakes, according to the company's Web site. It operates between Tobermory and South Baymouth, Manitoulin Island.

It was scheduled to return to northern Lake Huron on Wednesday night. Its generators, bow thruster motor, boilers and electrical components were removed and replaced. A cost was not available Wednesday.

The Chi-Cheemaun, or "Big Canoe" in native Ojibwa, has been on the ferry route since 1974. It is scheduled to have its engines replaced next winter. The 7,000-ton ship, which can carry up to 143 cars and 638 passengers, arrived in the area in October. It spent the winter being refitted at Sarnia's Federal Docks.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Third Owner Backs Mesabi Nugget Plan
Kobe Steel joins Cleveland-Cliffs and Steel Dynamics in project near Aurora.

4/13 - Duluth - The world's first commercial iron nugget plant -- proposed on the Iron Range -- has all of its financial partners in place. Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel has agreed to become part owner of the 600,000 metric-ton-per-year plant, Mesabi Nugget President Larry Lehtinen said Tuesday. Lehtinen said he plans to announce Kobe Steel's involvement today at a mining convention at the DECC.

A financial pledge from Kobe -- in the works for several months -- means that all three partners in the $200 million project have made conditional commitments to take ownership stakes in the nugget plant. Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. and Steel Dynamics Inc., a Butler, Ind.-based steelmaker, already have agreed to support the nugget plant. The deal remains contingent on Mesabi Nugget obtaining a bank loan that would be secured by plant assets rather than the three partners, Lehtinen said.

The plant would manufacture iron nuggets, a new product made from Iron Range taconite concentrate. Nuggets, small and irregularly shaped, would contain about 96 percent iron. The production of iron nuggets wouldn't replace the taconite industry, but for the first time in decades a new use for Iron Range taconite concentrate would be created. Their production also would open the door to a growing market.

Unlike traditional iron ore pellets that are fed into the blast furnaces of integrated steel mills, iron nuggets would be used to make steel in the furnaces of modern electric arc steelmakers and in foundries. Electric arc furnaces already produce about half of the steel manufactured in the U.S. Electric arc steel production is expected to grow even larger. With a strong worldwide demand for iron, nuggets would become a valuable commodity. At today's prices, the nuggets would sell for about $280 a ton, Lehtinen said.

Lehtinen, an Iron Range native with an extensive background in the iron ore industry, has for several decades been pushing for construction of an iron-producing plant in Northeastern Minnesota. A pilot plant that operated at Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay proved the process could work. The natural gas-fired plant would be built near the west edge of the LTV Steel Mining Co. property. LTV permanently closed in 2001. Steel Dynamics has agreed to buy most of the nuggets produced at the plant.

Agreements between the partners still need to be finalized and bank financing of about $105 million secured, Lehtinen said. "The deal between all three partners is not done," he said. "But the fundamentals of Kobe Steel investing in the project have been cleared, and we're glad for that." Kobe Steel also would be the plant's technological supplier. "Getting all three partners to conditionally agree to participate is a big step, and the metallics market continues to strengthen," Lehtinen said. "Our next step is to work with the lending community and work out a deal on a bank package."

Last week in Virginia, Cleveland-Cliffs Chairman and chief executive officer John Brinzo said his company remains behind the project. In January, Cleveland-Cliffs authorized spending up to$21 million in cash to help build the plant. Cliffs also would spend about $25 million to expand concentrate production at Northshore and about $4 million for rail transportation of concentrate to the nugget plant.

Between 400 and 500 construction workers would be needed to build the plant. About 100 new jobs would be created, 50 at the nugget plant and 50 at Northshore. Environmental permits are approved. Bank financing could be complete in June or July, with construction to start in the fall, Lehtinen said. The plant could be operational by late 2007, he said.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Lake Erie Plane Crash Due to Weight and Ice
Airplane wasn't safe for flight, board concludes 10 people killed after air taxi plunged into water

4/13 - Toronto - The plane was grossly overweight, its wings were iced and its pilot was tired. That mix led directly to the deaths of 10 people on Jan. 17, 2004, when a Georgian Express Ltd. Cessna 208B Caravan lifted off Pelee Island, only to stall in freezing rain and crash into Lake Erie, according to a Transportation Safety Board of Canada report released yesterday.

"The aircraft was being flown significantly outside the limitations under which it was certified for safe flight," the board found. "The pilot's lack of appreciation for the known hazards associated with the overweight conditions of the aircraft, ice contamination and the weather conditions were inconsistent with his previous practices. "His decision to take off was likely adversely affected by some combination of stress and fatigue." The wreckage of the plane was found with its fuselage intact in about seven metres of water after a 12-day search hampered by poor weather conditions.

While many of the safety recommendations following the accident have been acted upon, the board said it's worried Transport Canada is dragging its feet on one issue: the weight of passengers. This particular flight was 1,270 pounds overweight as measured using the actual weight of the passengers. Even using industry standards, which at the time were 188 pounds for men and 141 pounds for women, the plane was 703 pounds overweight. "The use of actual passenger weights in small aircraft would provide a greater margin of safety," the report said.

Early in its probe, the board recommended that air taxis like Georgian Express that carry nine or fewer passengers should use the actual weight of passengers "to reflect current realities." Transport Canada's response has been to study the issue. It released a statement yesterday saying it was "finalizing a risk assessment for the use of actual passenger weights for air taxi operations."

But that failed to satisfy board safety advocates. "The present risks ... will remain until a new standard is put in place to ensure that actual weights are issued for aircraft carrying nine passengers or less," the report says.

Other safety recommendations that have been followed up on include: The aviation industry increased the average "standard" weight of men to 206 pounds and women to 171 pounds for large carriers; Georgina Express installed a de-icing machine on Pelee Island; and The airline employs a second crew member to aid the pilot.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued airworthiness directives for the Cessna 208 aircraft to ensure pilots have enough information to prevent loss of control while flying in icy conditions.

"We have already taken steps to further improve Canada's civil aviation safety record ... and will continue to work with the operators, airports, regulators and the Transportation Safety Board to maintain and build on this record," said Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.

Pilot Wayne Price, 32, of Richmond Hill, was killed in the crash, as was his girlfriend, Jamie Levine, 28, of Los Angeles. Other victims were Fred Freitas, 38, and Larry Janik, 48, of Kingsville; Walter Sadowski, 48, and Ronald Spencler, 53, of Windsor; Dr. Jim Allen, 51, of Mitchell's Bay; and Ted Reeve, 53, Tom Reeve, 49, and Robert Brisco, 46, of Chatham.

Paul Mulrooney, president of Georgian Express, was unavailable for comment.

From the Toronto Star

 

Japan's Kobe Steel Develops New Low-Cost Production Technique

4/13 - Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel said it has co-developed a way of producing high-grade steel from low-cost materials, a technique that it hopes to sell to other companies. Kobe Steel has built an experimental plant in the US state of Minnesota with two of its US partners, electric furnace steelmaker Steel Dynamics Inc and iron ore producer Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. "The new plant with the completely new technique can produce high-grade steel quickly and with low-cost materials," said Kobe Steel spokeswoman Miki Kasuga.

Unlike a blast furnace or an electric furnace, the new technique makes steel from iron ore pellets placed on a rotating furnace, she said. Blast furnaces are generally suited for making such high-grade products as automotive steel from iron ore and coal on a large scale, while electric furnaces are used to produce mainly construction steel from scrap iron. The new technique produces high-grade steel although analysts said it was unlikely to be such high quality as product from a blast furnace.

"Compared with electric furnace product, a rotating furnace is expected to provide better quality. But it still wouldn't be as high-grade as blast furnace steel," said Tomomichi Nagaoka, a steel analyst at Moody's Japan. "Rotating furnace steel would overlap the market of electric furnace, likely to be used for machinery, not for automotive or home appliances," he said.

A Japanese business newspaper reported that Kobe Steel aimed to build the new type of plant in Minnesota as well as in China, South America and elsewhere to meet growing demand for steel. The Nihon Keizai reported that the Minnesota plant, which is expected to reduce materials costs to about one-third of those for a blast furnace, will start up at an initial rate of about 500,000 tons a year as early as 2008.

However, Kobe denied it intended to construct the plant itself. "We are trying to sell the technique and plant to other companies as an engineering firm, not produce more steel as a steelmaker," Kasuga said.

From YahooNews.com

 

Lake Superior Water Level Keeps Dropping

4/13 - Duluth - The level of Lake Superior declined by an inch in March, a month the lake usually drops just a half-inch, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The big lake now sits 5 inches below the long-term level for April and is 4 inches below the level at this time last year. Rain and snow in the Lake Superior basin were about normal for March, but the water level decline continued a nearly year long trend.

Meanwhile, Lakes Michigan and Huron rose about 2 inches in March, their usual increase for that month, and now sit 16 inches below their long term average and 6 inches below the level at this time last year.

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Port Reports - April 14

Detroit - Ken Borg
Wednesday morning, the Maritime Trader was at ADM in Ojibway. The John J. Boland unloading coal onto Zug Island on the Short Cut Canal side. The coal had been loaded in Sandusky. The Bolland departed around 11:40 a.m. and went up bound the Detroit River.

Algosteel was tied up to Zug Island, Detroit river side. Later she backed into the Rouge River with help from the "G" tugs Wyoming and Superior.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John N. Vogel
On Monday at about 11:00 a.m., Lower Lakes/Grand River's classic laker Manistee arrived in Milwaukee where it proceeded to the inner harbor bulk cargo dock to unload salt. Manistee then backed downriver, departing onto Lake Michigan after 5:00 p.m.

Also on Monday evening and Tuesday, the Milwaukee area and southern Lake Michigan were visited by U.S. Coast Guard cutter/buoy tender Alder, home ported in Duluth.

On Tuesday at about 3:00 a.m., cement-carrier tug/barge Susan Hannah and St. Mary's Conquest arrived in Milwaukee and proceeded to their dock up the Kinnickinnic River. Having turned in the inner harbor, the tug/barge proceeded downriver to Lake Michigan about 7 AM.

Also on Tuesday and on other recent days, cross-lake ferry Lake Express was seen cruising on Lake Michigan off the Wisconsin shore, and easing in and out of Milwaukee's inner harbor. The catamaran-hull vessel is scheduled to resume service between Milwaukee and Muskegon in its third season on April 29.

Wednesday, Milwaukee greeted its first ocean-going vessel of the 2006 navigational season, as the Polsteam line's Isa (reg. Limassol) backed into the General Cargo slip at Terminal 2 in the outer harbor, and unloaded steel.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The John J. Boland loaded and departed the NS coal Dock on Tuesday headed for Zug Island.
The CSL Assiniboine was under the coal loader Wednesday afternoon and the MV Sam Laud was posted as due for arrival at the dock Thursday morning.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Late Monday evening a Coast Guard vessel, believed to be the Hollyhock was seen at the end of the Lafarge dock.
Early Wednesday morning the G.L Ostrander/ barge Integrity arrived in port.

The Dorothy Ann/ barge Pathfinder was loading at Stoneport on Wednesday, among cloudy skies and passing rain showers.

The Steamer Alpena is returning from its Lake Superior run and is expected back Thursday or Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Walter J. McCarthy made the first visit of the year to the Consumers Energy coal dock in Essexville, calling on the dock early Wednesday morning. She finished her unload by 7am and then waited for the inbound Mark Hannah and her barge to pass before backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake. This should be the first of many trips for the McCarthy as she made 16 deliveries to Consumers on 2005.

The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City Wednesday morning to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

An airboat and 41' Utility Boat from USCG Station Saginaw River along with a USCG rescue helo spent the afternoon looking for a possible missing kayaker. An empty kayak was found just north of the Zilwaukee bridge with no sign of an owner or any gear. The search continued into the evening hours.

 

Updates - April 13

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

The Incredible Hull
The John Sherwin might sail the Great Lakes
 again after sitting idle for 24 years in the Twin Ports

4/12 - After more than 20 years of sitting idle in the Twin Ports, the John Sherwin may get a new lease on life. With freighters in short supply this season, and even more tonnage likely to move in the future, Great Lakes carriers are looking for ways to boost their capacity. So, Interlake Steamship Co. of Richfield, Ohio, has cast its eye toward the rusty Sherwin.

Tugs towed the 806-foot laker to Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Tuesday morning. There, the vessel was placed in dry dock so the condition of its hull and thrusters can be assessed. The ship was built in 1958 and was lengthened by 96 feet in 1973. However, it was never converted to a self-unloader. Most freighters in service on the Great Lakes are self-unloaders, meaning they're able to discharge cargo independently by means of conveyor belts and an adjustable boom.

When Interlake found itself with excess fleet capacity in the 1980s, the Sherwin took up its lengthy berth in the Twin Ports beginning in 1982. Nevertheless, Interlake held onto the vessel, waiting for the day when market conditions warranted such an investment. That time may be now. Bob Dorn, Interlake's senior vice president, pointed to some positive signs, including recent investments in Iron Range taconite plants and the continued growth of coal shipments from Midwest Energy Resources Co. in Superior.

But Dorn said Interlake needs more information before it can decide whether to upgrade the Sherwin and return it to service. Before we begin any effort to convert the ship, we need to know exactly what condition it's in," Dorn said. Converting the laker into a self-unloader could easily cost more than $15 million.

This isn't the first time Interlake has studied the possibility of upgrading the Sherwin, but putting the laker into dry dock for inspection suggests a growing level of interest, said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The ship's rusty exterior and peeling paint belie its overall integrity, Ojard said. "The exterior doesn't tell the true story," he said. Gene Walroos, Fraser's general superintendent, agreed, saying, "Sure, the paint looks bad, but it's all cosmetic. It looks nice inside, and it's not an old vessel in terms of total use." Dorn, too, believes the Sherwin has a lot of life left in it. "It's a great ship with a great hull," he said.

"This is an exciting day," Mary George, a member of the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, said as she watched crews move the Sherwin into place at Fraser Shipyards. "I hope she sails again. This is the last ship laid up in the Port of Duluth-Superior, and there aren't many left on the Great Lakes. Most of the excess U.S. fleet has already gone for scrap or has been sold off."

Interlake's interest in upgrading the Sherwin and returning it to service is one sign of the brightening outlook for Great Lakes shipping. Even some new vessels are entering the pipeline. In 2000, Erie Shipbuilding LLC, a Pennsylvania company, introduced the first new laker in 20 years - an 844-foot tug-barge named the Great Lakes Trader. Erie's president, Dirk Van Enkevort, said the shipyard is pushing ahead with plans to build a sister ship.

"There's no excess of capacity right now," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, an organization representing U.S. fleets operating on the Great Lakes. "As we speak, about every vessel we have is scheduled."

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

The Wait for Freight

4/12 - Saginaw - The docks are idle along the Saginaw River. They could stay that way, depending on how one shipping company fares this week during its voyage into Saginaw.

William Webber, owner of Sargent Docks and Terminal, said he will have a bottle of champagne awaiting the company's arrival - either to celebrate a successful rotation at the turning basin north of the Interstate 675 Henry Marsh Bridge or to ''drown our tears.'' The fate of freight along the Saginaw River could hinge on whether Lower Lakes Towing vessels can navigate the channel this week, business owners say.

The Port Dover, Ontario,-based shipping company plans to carry its cargo up the Saginaw River, despite word that a shallow turning basin trapped two freighters last week and tore off a $70,000 rudder. When the latest ship arrives will depend on a check by the U.S. Coast Guard. The agency is surveying the river channel to look for the rudder, which could pose a hazard to navigation, Webber said.

''If we're fortunate, one or two vessels from that company will be able to come up the river,'' said Webber, who has received notice from other companies that they no longer will send ships into Saginaw. If the vessels run aground, Webber said shipping could stop completely on the Upper Saginaw River, sinking a supply line that serves 22 docks with 4 million to 6 million tons of material each year.

Meanwhile, legal fights continue between Saginaw County, environmentalists and Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships over where to put 3.1 million cubic yards of dredge spoils that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to scrape from the navigable channel of the Upper Saginaw River. Frankenlust Township officials have filed paperwork for a temporary injunction to stop Saginaw County from building a 281-acre dump site for dredge spoils across the Frankenlust-Zilwaukee township line.

Freight traffic accounts for more than 250 ships on the river annually, business owners say. Their cargo would fill at least 106,000 tractor-trailer trucks. Dock operators say the shipping channel's survival is at stake as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decides what to do with a turning basin that measures just 14 feet deep in some spots. Mike O'Bryan, chief of engineering and technical services for the Corps of Engineers, said the agency should have some answers this week. ''We're trying to figure it out,'' he said. ''There are no inexpensive options.''

If the federal government won't pay, Webber said a coalition of riverside businesses known as the Saginaw River Alliance is prepared to dredge the turning basin at its own expense. Webber said dock owners probably would have to pay $90,000 to $125,000 to suck up the silt and shuttle it to a disposal site at the mouth of Saginaw Bay. Businesses owners also have talked about hiring a tug boat that would push freighters up and down the river at a cost of $5,000 to $7,000 a trip.

John Glynn, vice president of Wirt Stone Dock, said the shipping companies that serve his business have scheduled no return trips to the Upper Saginaw River. Instead, the stone operation is living off its winter inventory, Glynn said. Within a few weeks, supplies could start running thin. While Wirt Stone Dock still could operate from its Bay City location, Glynn said losing the Saginaw dock could result in layoffs and a loss of business because of high transportation costs. ''This is not science fiction,'' he said. ''It has happened. There are no boats coming up the river.''

Corps officials reported last week that construction on a disposal site will start in early May despite the threat of an injunction. If it doesn't, they say it won't immediately imperil millions of dollars in federal funding. While Saginaw County Public Works Commission James A. Koski said that the Corps could divert the dredge funding to Hurricane Katrina relief if construction didn't begin this spring, Corps officials said such a diversion would happen only if the lawsuit derails the dredge project permanently.

O'Bryan said a few weeks probably won't make much of difference. Wait until winter, however, and it probably would.
Saginaw County also is facing legal challenges by the environmental watchdog group Lone Tree Council and Zilwaukee-based Citizens Against Toxic Substances. Both have cases pending before a state administrative law judge challenging the location and environmental safety of the dredge disposal site.

"No one is opposed to dredging the river,'' said Michelle Hurd Riddick, spokeswoman for the Lone Tree Council. ''The issue is where you put those dredge spoils. (The county and Corps) had a responsibility to look at prudent alternative locations. They did not do that.'' Environmentalists argue that the dump site is too close to the Crow Island State Game Area, that it will disrupt flooding patterns and that it could allow contaminants such as dioxin to escape the site.
Corps engineers say the site is environmentally sound and will pose no problems to surrounding properties.

For now, Webber's attention is fixed on the turning basin. He hopes to find a ''life rope'' to keep commercial shipping afloat until the river's navigable channel can be dredged. Then again, he said, it might take the river shutting down for people to realize what it is worth. ''It's just like with Hurricane Katrina,'' he said. ''We knew the dikes were bad, but we didn't do anything until the hurricane hit. Sometimes it take a drastic situation to get people to react.

From the Bay City Times

 

Official Predicts Rough Times for Port of Green Bay
Facility vital to industry faces funding pinch

4/12 - Funding shortfalls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could threaten the future of jobs and business tied to Green Bay's port operations, an official said Monday. Wayne Schloop, the Corps' chief of operations in Detroit, said funding for Great Lakes operations has declined 18 percent since 2001.

"It sounds like a pretty gloomy picture," Schloop said. "I really think the nation has lost its focus on water resources and particularly on project funding for the Great Lakes."  Schloop addressed the 13 active terminal operators at an annual symposium at Brett Favre's Steakhouse in Green Bay.

Keeping the port open is vital to many local businesses, but it requires constant dredging of the ship channel. This year's dredging budget for the port is about $2.3 million, half of which is used for administrative costs, said port manager Dean Haen. The port is seeking a one-time congressional earmark of $2 million to help deal with a dredging backlog, Haen said. The channel has narrowed in recent years to a third of its designated width.

Major employers like Georgia-Pacific and Anamax make use of the port's importing and exporting operations. Construction materials, coal, wood pulp and salt are shipped through the facility. A recent study estimated the port has an economic impact of $70 million and at least 600 jobs.

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette

 

Port Reports - April 12

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Wolverine loaded ore at Marquette on a blustery Tuesday. The Michipicoten arrived as the Wolverine was departing. The Michi seemed to have some problems pulling in to the dock which appeared to be an anchor dragging. She had to back out and pull in again. The Kaye Barker is expected Tuesday evening to unload, and will take on ore Wednesday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Navigator arrived early Tuesday morning, made the turn outside the breakwalls and was on the Sifto Salt dock at 7:00 am.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Shortly before noon Tuesday the Roen Salvage tug Chas Asher towed the tug John Purves from her recent dock site adjacent to the Roen Salvage property to Bay Shipbuilding. The Purves is a museum boat of the Door County Maritime Museum and has been undergoing restoration to her former Roen Steamship identity.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The John Sherwin on Tuesday was towed from its longtime lay up berth into the big drydock at Fraser Shipyards. Interlake Steamship reportedly wants to assess the condition of the ship's hull. The vessel has been idle in the Twin Ports since the steel industry recession began in the early 1980s.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Port Authority's derrick barge THC 50 and tug William Rest placed the inner harbor navigational buoys Tuesday afternoon. The tour boat Empress of Canada underwent Coast Guard inspection and trials. The island ferry William Inglis had its winter tarps removed and it went out for a shakedown run. Canadian Miner departed winter lay-up in the afternoon and departed for the Welland Canal and Thunder Bay.

 

Updates - April 12

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 12

On 12 April 1874, the tug D N RUNNELS was launched Runnel’s yard at the north end of the 7th Street Bridge in Port Huron, Michigan. As the tug splashed into the Black River, the flag at her bow was unfurled with her name on it. Commodore Runnels distributed oranges to the crowd of onlookers.

The tanker a.) LANA.(Hull#151) was launched April 12, 1967, by Aktiebolaget Lodose Varv A/B at Lodose, Sweden. Renamed b.) NEW ORLEANS in 1988 and c.) NANCY ORR GAUCHER in 1989, she departed the Lakes in 1994. Renamed d.) PETRAWAK in 1996 and e.) TONGA in 2000.

Tanker LAKESHELL (Hull#389) of Marine Industries Ltd., Sorel, Quebec, was launched April 12, 1969, for Shell Canada Ltd.

Pioneer Steamship’s steamer a.) A A AUGUSTUS (Hull#374) of American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio, departed Cleveland on her maiden voyage April 12, 1910, bound for Green Bay, Wisconsin, with a load of coal. She was sold to Canadian registry in 1961, and renamed b.) HOWARD HINDMAN. She was scrapped at Bilbao, Spain in 1969.

Hall Corp. of Canada’s tanker HUDSON TRANSPORT (Hull#629) of the Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec, was launched April 12, 1962.

On April 12, 1955, while up bound from Monroe, Michigan to load iron ore at Duluth, the ENDERS M VOORHEES had the honor of opening the second century of navigation through the St. Marys Falls Ship Canal that was celebrated with great pomp and ceremony.

On 12 April 1880, the wooden 2-mast schooner-barge JUPITER was launched at Marysville, Michigan after being rebuilt under the supervision of James Bowers. She was originally built in 1857, at Irving, New York and after this rebuild, she lasted another 21 years.

On 12 April 1892, UGANDA (wooden propeller, 291 foot, 2,053 gross tons) was launched at W. Bay City, Michigan at F. W. Wheeler's yard’s (Hull #88).

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

 

Joyce L. VanEnkevort Loses Two Rudders

4/11 - On April 8 it was reported that the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort had lost a rudder in the Saginaw River when she attempted to turn in the turning basin near Saginaw. Silting in the turning basin has become a major impediment to shipping in the river.

Sources have confirmed that the Joyce L. lost two of her four rudders on one side in the incident. The tug had rudders located in front of and behind both of her propellers. Divers were not able to located either of the lost rudders.

The tug sailed to Escanaba using rudders on one side. New rudders are scheduled to be installed on Tuesday in Escanaba.

 

Company Flag Raised on John Sherwin

4/11 - The Interlake Steamship flag was raised on the John Sherwin Monday afternoon signaling the move of the boat to Fraser Shipyards tomorrow. It will immediately go into dry dock there so the hull of the boat, sitting idle in the Duluth harbor since 1981, can be evaluated. Interlake hopes to bring it back to the Lakes, but there is a long way to go before that determination will be made.

From the Duluth Shipping News

 

St. Marys Challenger Pilothouse Marks Centennial

4/11 - When the 100-year old steamer St. Marys Challenger made its first trip of the season recently, its pilothouse reflected the milestone season, as the crew decorated the exterior structure with the legend “Still Steamin’ – 1906-2006.”

A red anchor, symbol of Hannah Marine, which operates the historic vessel for St. Marys Cement, is also part of the design. The vessel is expected to put in a full season hauling cement to mostly Lake Michigan ports.

Picture in the News Photo Gallery.

 

Legislation Approved to Replace Acacia

4/11 - Congressman Bart Stupak recently applauded legislation recommending that the Coast Guard acquire an icebreaking vessel to replace the soon-to-be decommissioned Acacia Coast Guard Cutter. "I'm extremely pleased to see Congressional support for keeping a cutter in northern Lake Michigan," Stupak said. "My hope is that the Coast Guard would keep a vessel in Charlevoix. The Acacia has provided essential navigational search and rescue services, servicing nearly 200 buoys and lighthouses and keeping the channels free of ice."

The recommendation to the Coast Guard came as part of a larger Coast Guard reauthorization package that also contains provisions to maintain at current levels icebreaking capabilities across the Great Lakes. The language demonstrates strong Congressional support for retaining an icebreaking vessel in northern Lake Michigan. Stupak worked throughout the legislative process to see that the bill addressed the Acacia issue.

The legislation specifically acknowledges that maintaining a vessel with icebreaking capabilities is particularly important because the Canadian government has decommissioned one of its buoy tenders, which will increase demands on U.S. icebreakers.

"Maintaining an icebreaking tug in Charlevoix will help maintain commercial shipping in Northern Michigan," Stupak said. "I'm glad to see Congress send this clear signal to the Coast Guard that there is a need to keep sufficient ice-breaking assets on the Great Lakes."

Congressional News Release

 

Ol' Mac's Final Crush
Toledo-built icebreaker headed for mothballs

4/11 - When the St. Marys River locks at Sault Ste. Marie were opened at 12:01 a.m. on March 25, it was a curtain call of sorts for an icebreaker built six decades ago in Toledo.

For a little more than a week beforehand, the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw had been breaking tracks through the frozen channels of the St. Marys and adjoining Whitefish Bay so that yesterday Great Lakes freighters could resume hauling coal, iron ore, grain, and other commodities between Lakes Superior and Huron after a 10-week winter shutdown.

It's the job the Mackinaw was designed for when built during World War II at the Toledo Shipyard and launched in December, 1944, with a purpose of keeping Great Lakes cargo moving all winter long to supply war production with raw materials. But come June, when a replacement icebreaker is expected to complete its sea trials, the 290-foot-long "Mac" will be put into the mothballs.

"We are very appreciative of what the Mackinaw did for our industry over the years," said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers' Association, representing U.S. Great Lakes ship operators. "It has kept commerce moving in wartime; it has kept commerce moving in peacetime. You could always rely on the Mackinaw."

For a time, the Coast Guard planned to retire the hulking icebreaker without replacing her. In April, 1993, officials declared they could not justify a $15 million overhaul and continuing annual operating expenses of $4.5 million, which included a crew of 75. Icebreaking duties would fall to a fleet of five 140-foot Coast Guard tugs that, if necessary, were to work in teams to tackle the toughest ice.

Shipping interests protested. The frigid winter of 1993-94, which was to have been the Mackinaw's last, froze Lake Superior, producing ice five feet thick in places and towering ice formations in Whitefish Bay. The tugs were overwhelmed and the Coast Guard relented, instead starting to plan for construction of a replacement vessel, for which a $90 million contract was awarded in 2001 to the Manitowoc Marine Group in Marinette, Wis.

While the winter of 2005-2006 has been relatively mild, Coast Guard officials said this week that there is still plenty of work for the Mackinaw. Ice in Whitefish Bay, at the eastern end of Lake Superior, is between 36 and 40 inches thick, and the windrows - stacks of ice that form as wind blows floes on top of each other - are eight to 12 feet high, said Mark Gill, a traffic supervisor for the Coast Guard. "The ice that the Mac's in, without the Mac, nobody's moving," Mr. Gill said.

The crew for the replacement vessel, also named Mackinaw and 240 feet long, is in operational and safety training, said PO Allyson Taylor Feller, a spokesman at the Coast Guard's 9th District headquarters in Cleveland. Although unique to the Coast Guard, officials said the new Mackinaw is based on a proven European icebreaker design. The new Mackinaw requires 25 fewer crew members to operate than her namesake and is more versatile: She is designed to operate as a buoy tender during the warmer months and to respond to distress calls and pollution incidents. The old Mackinaw was ill-suited for purposes other than icebreaking.

The veteran icebreaker remained in the Sault Ste. Marie area for the shipping season's startup to maintain shipping tracks and provide vessel assistance as needed but has been scheduled for port calls in the lower Great Lakes during April, including a call on Toledo from April 14-16. Tours will be available on the afternoon of the 14th, depending on the icebreaker's arrival time, and all day on the 15th, said Ens. Elizabeth Newton, the vessel's public affairs officer.

Among those likely to visit is Stan Pinkava, who was a 17-year-old welder at the shipyard when the original Mackinaw was built. "I welded the decks down, I welded the bulkheads," Mr. Pinkava said, adding that Coast Guard inspectors at the shipyard were very demanding about the quality of work done on the icebreaker. The vessel's thick hull plates, designed with ice-smashing in mind, "took many a weld," he said.

Mr. Pinkava, now 78, marveled at the Mackinaw's longevity. "She put in some good years," he said. "She held up real well, though. Amazing!"

From the Toledo Blade

 

Russians Revive Rouge Steel
Severstal North America is reversing fortunes of storied Dearborn mill

4/11 - Dearborn - The Russians arrived two years ago, stayed and the old Rouge Steel is beginning to prosper again.
Oh, sure, it's got a Russian name now -- Severstal North America Inc. Its CFO is called Kuznetsov, and the big boss back home is Alexey Mordashov, one of post-Soviet Russia's wealthiest moguls. But the point for Dearborn and 2,100 former Rouge Steel employees is that the steel works Henry Ford built are no longer bankrupt. They're rolling again and they have a future.

They're booking profits, says Sergei Kuznetsov, the chief financial officer. They're paying $5.2 million in taxes to Dearborn and Wayne County, up from $4.1 million in 2004. And they're just beginning a $770 million modernization program that Severstal North America considers a linchpin to growing its business with Detroit's automakers even as it pursues new contracts with Motown's growing Asian rivals.

Not too shabby for a local steelmaker, laid low by bankruptcy and concessionary union contracts, that stood a good chance of disappearing into the folds of US Steel. Instead, the Russians -- keen to create a global automotive steel player -- marched in, paid $270 million for the assets of Rouge Industries Inc., parent of Rouge Steel, and assumed another $80 million in liabilities.

"It has turned, and it's a good story at this point," says Ronald Nock, president and CEO of Severstal North America. "There's a lot of modernization that's going to occur in the next 3 1/2 to four years. We look at overall market dynamics, and they're not as negative as a first-blush look might indicate."

Severstal North America's Russian owners have grand designs for their Dearborn steelmaker, which accounts for roughly 20 percent of Moscow-based Severstal Group's global steel revenues. Yet this was a steelmaker no American rivals wanted -- except to acquire it, kill it and send those who remained into an uncomfortable retirement.

"Every offer that I know of shuts all or part of the place down," Rouge Industries Chairman Carl Valdiserri, struggling to keep the mills open, told me in an interview three years ago. "It's a damn shame that we have to go foreign to get the investment commitment to save these American jobs. We couldn't get a $4 loan to keep this business running. It's been written off."

Not in Russia, which says outsiders see opportunity in the United States much differently than investors here in the good ol' USA. The Russians aren't in the steel business for charity; they're in it to make money. The moves at the old Rouge Steel show that the new bosses understand the need to spend money to make it.

What's that mean for Severstal North America? Boosting shipments to an estimated 3.2 million net tons this year from 2.5 million net tons in 2004; relining the blast furnace; adding a new cold-mill line; renovating the production lines; creating a joint venture to supply coke, a coal by-product needed to produce steel; securing enough spare parts to minimize breakdowns or make them as short as possible when they occur.

It also means establishing a new "Total Operational Performance" program, encouraging hourly and salaried employees to make suggestions for improving business processes throughout the company. The efforts yielded savings of $48.5 million last year and helped boost morale among a work force badly bruised by the gyrating fortunes of the old Rouge Steel. "This is positioning us as the global steel company serving the automotive industry," Kuznetsov says. "We want to be best in class here, to get the standards up in Russia."

For a lot of years, Rouge Steel played its part as a cog in a global machine called Ford Motor Co. Now comes its new role in the world of Mordashov, who controls 85 percent of Russia's largest steelmaker, OAO Severstal, with the remaining shares publicly held in Russia. Rouge Industries was Severstal's foreign acquisition.
Officially, Severstal North America -- "sever" means northern and "stal" means steel in Russian -- is a wholly owned subsidiary of OAO Severstal. Severstal North America also is an affiliate, the company says, of Mordashov's Severstal Group, a holding company with interests in metallurgy, mining, machinery, transportation and the Russian automaker UAZ.
The boss is no piker. Two years ago, Forbes magazine named Mordashov, 40, one of Russia's 100 richest people (and 136th in the world), pegged his net worth at $4.5 billion and called him "a leading proponent of Western-style management training and Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization."

Back in Dearborn, Mordashov's highfalutin policy positions and impressive bank account(s) are less important than whether his folks are, indeed, investing in the future of a business that few thought had one. They are, which proves that for one company, at least, the coming of the Russians looks better than it might have back in the old days.

From the Detroit News

 

USCG Ninth District Commander to be Chief of Staff

4/11 - Cleveland – Norwich, Conn., native, Rear Adm. Robert J. Papp, Jr. has been nominated to be the Coast Guard’s next Chief of Staff. Papp has been selected for promotion to three-star Vice Admiral, and will be replacing the current Chief of Staff, Vice Adm. Thad Allen, who has been nominated to be the next Commandant of the Coast Guard.

Currently, Rear Adm. Papp is the commander of the Coast Guard’s Ninth District, headquartered in Cleveland. As the operational commander on the Great Lakes, he leads more than 7,700 regular, reserve, auxiliary and civilian men and women who uphold maritime security of more than 6,500 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of international boarder. Vice Adm. (select) Papp will assume duties as Chief of Staff, U.S. Coast Guard and Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C., in May. In this role, he will oversee general management functions of the entire Coast Guard.

Papp was promoted to flag rank and appointed Director of Reserve and Training in October 2002. As Director of the Coast Guard Reserve, he was charged with developing policies to recruit, train, allocate and support 13,000 Coast Guard Ready Reservists. He was also responsible for the planning and technical control of the Coast Guard’s Training Centers.

Papp graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., in 1975 and holds a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College in Newport, R.I., and a Master of Science degree in Management from Salve Regina College, also in Newport, R.I.

Papp’s primary duties in the Coast Guard have been sea-going in nature. He has served aboard six Coast Guard cutters and commanded Red Beech, Papaw, Forward and “America’s Tall Ship” – the Coast Guard’s training barque Eagle. Assignments ashore have included Chief of the Coast Guard’s Office of Congressional Affairs and Deputy Chief of Staff of the Coast Guard.

USCG News Release

 

Port Reports - April 11

Hamilton - Greg Munger and Eric Holmes
Saturday had the CSL Laurentian arrive at 8:30 a.m. with coal for Stelco.

Sunday the Emerald Star arrived at 11 a.m. going to Pier 11 East. The Federal Yukon departed at 11:30 a.m. for the Welland Canal. The Federal Nakagawa took her place at pier 23. The Lady Hamilton departed at 2 p.m. for Cleveland with a part load of steel. The Halifax arrived in port at 4:30 p.m. and the saltie Winona arrived at 6 p.m.

Canadian Provider was towed from Hamilton to PWDD Monday morning for her 5-year survey.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway visited the harbour Saturday evening and the Algorail backed in Monday evening at 6 p.m. Both were loading at Sifto Salt.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy came into port early to bunker Canadian Miner, after which it returned to Hamilton. The Miner has not departed lay-up yet. She will head for Thunder Bay after she gets underway.

The island ferry Thomas Rennie was out for trials. Service to Centre Island is scheduled to resume on Friday.

Work on Phase 1 of the new Humber Bay breakwall has been completed. The tugs and barges associated with that job will be moving to Port Colborne sometime next week.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Frontenac, after arriving Sunday morning, finally departed the Essroc dock in Essexville after a lengthy offload. She backed away from the dock Monday night at 8:30, continued stern first out of the river, and turned around at Light 12 of the Entrance Channel before heading for the lake.

 

Updates - April 11

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 11

On 11 April 1882, GALATEA (3-mast wooden schooner, 180 foot, 606 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#13) at W. Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until she stranded and broke up at Grand Marais, Michigan in the "Big Storm" of 1905.

The tanker IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR (Hull#57) of the Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., entered service on April 11, 1974, light for Montreal, Quebec.

Canada Steamship Lines J W MC GIFFIN (Hull#197) was christened at Collingwood on April 11, 1972. Port Weller Drydocks attached a new forebody in 1999, and she was renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA.

Pioneer Steamship’s steamer PHILIP D BLOCK sailed on her maiden voyage April 11, 1925, with coal from Huron, Ohio, bound for delivery at Indiana Harbor, Indiana.

Wilkinson Transportation Co.’s steamer A E NETTLETON (Hull#176) of the Detroit Ship Building Co., was launched April 11, 1908. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1973.

On April 11, 1970, in Lake Superior’s Whitefish Bay CSL’s steamer STADACONA of 1952, encountered thick ice and suffered bow damage. She developed a hairline crack in her bow and to alleviate the leakage her cargo was shifted from her forward hold to her after compartments using her self-unloading equipment. This maneuver raised her bow enough to keep her from sinking before she reached safety.

Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s steamer ENDERS M VOORHEES (Hull#288), of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched on April 11, 1942. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1989.

On April 11, 1964, while up bound on Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior, a boiler burst on board the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s WILLIAM A IRVIN, killing one of the crew and injuring two others.

April 11, 1948 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 ran aground just south of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

On 11 April 1874, the new tug E H MILLER burned at her dock at Willow Island in the Saginaw River. Her loss was valued at $9,000 and there was no insurance. Although considered to be a total loss, she was rebuilt and lasted another 46 years.

On 11 April 1878, ALASKA, a wooden bulk freighter, was launched at J. P. Clark's yard in Detroit, Michigan. Her dimensions were 180 feet overall, 28 foot beam, and 10 foot depth.

The navigation season at the Canadian Sault Canal was unofficially opened on 11 April 1955, at 7:15 a.m., when the MANZZUTTI (steel crane ship, 246 foot, 1558 gross tons, built in 1903 at Buffalo, New York as J S KEEFE) locked up bound for the Algoma Steel dock. Because the MANZZUTTI wintered over at the Soo, its Captain, John B. Perry, was not eligible for the traditional top hat and silk gloves presented to the first captain through the locks. So this was not the official opening of navigation at the Soo. The first boat through the American locks was expected the following day.

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

 

Vantage Point Has It All for Boat Watchers

4/10 - When Boat Watchers find a place with good freighter traffic, plenty of parking, a place to sit down and wait, some first hand information on what traffic is due; what is the next two things they look for? - Food and restrooms.

Port Huron's Vantage Point has recently opened the Great Lakes Maritime Center adjacent to the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (BoatNerd.Com) world headquarters, and the Center has it all. A long wall of windows offers a clear view of river traffic.

Inside you will find plenty of comfortable seating and the "The Coffee Harbor" featuring a variety of flavored coffees, soft drinks, assorted deli sandwiches and healthy salads. To make your trip to Vantage Point even better, the fry wagon will open for the season on Wednesday, April 12, and the ice cream wagon can't be far behind.

Vantage Point is locate at the foot of Water Street in Port Huron, where the Black River empties in the St. Clair River. Check it out!

 

Port Reports - April 10

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Niagara was Eastbound through Long Point at 1:30 p.m. Sunday and headed for Lackawanna to load coal.

The Courtney Burton was having some last minute problems and was still tied to the dock at General Mills at 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The deck crew was struggling to remove the grain unloading hopper device from the tip of her boom at that time. They were trying, with the help of a crane alongside, to pull it off the ship and leave it on the dock. The engine room crew was also having problems getting the bow thruster working so the captain had to delay their departure. Courtney Burton called into the Seaway with an ETA for CIP Long Point of 7:30 p.m. Sunday night. They must have left Buffalo some time between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

The Canadiana's steam engine is going to be trucked to Buffalo via the Peace Bridge early on the morning of the 11th.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Gordy Garris
The Frontenac arrived early Sunday morning calling on the Essorc Cement Terminal in Essexville to unload cememnt clinker. This is her first appearance of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River. She was expected to be outbound late Sunday night.

The USCG Cutter Hollyhock continued to work aids to navigation in the Saginaw Bay. The placement of summer buoys is nearly complete and Hollyhock should be finished soon.

On Tuesday, the first 1,000 footer of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River, the Walter J. McCarty Jr will arrive with coal for the Consumers Power Plant in Essexville. The next two coal loads of the 2006 season on the Saginaw River are expected in early May.

Later this the week, a Lower Lakes Towing vessel will call on a dock in Saginaw to unload. Hopefully good fortune awaits the vessel at the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw, which caused the groundings of two vessels last Tuesday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Glenevis and Vigilant 1 went to the Welland Canal to take Canadian Olympic off PWDD. Glenevis returned to Toronto. Vigilant 1 likely to Hamilton to tow Canadian Provider to PWDD today. Canadian Miner is scheduled to depart winter lay-up today.

All of the tour boats wintering on Toronto drydock were refloated Saturday afternoon. The tour boat Oriole is slated to go on the drydock this week.

 

Updates - April 10

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 10

On 10 April 1861, UNION (wooden propeller, 170 foot, 465 tons) was launched and christened at the Bates yard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin for the Goodrich Line. She cost $19,000. The engines, machinery and many of the fittings were from the OGONTZ of 1858. This was the first steamer built by the Bates yard.

The tanker TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193), was christened April 10, 1969. She was renamed b.) A G FARQUHARSON in 1986 and c.) ALGONOVA in 1998.

The d.) GODERICH of 1908, was sold April 10, 1963, to the Algoma Central & Hudson Bay Railway Co. and renamed e.) AGAWA. Renamed f.) LIONEL PARSONS in 1968, and served as a storage barge at Goderich, Ontario until 1983, when she was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

The keel was laid April 10, 1952, for the steamer WILLIAM CLAY FORD (Hull#300) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works.

The SINCLAIR GREAT LAKES (Hull#1577) of the Ingalls Iron Works, Decatur, Alabama, was christened on April 10, 1963.

On April 10, 1973, the ARTHUR B HOMER departed the shipyard at Lorain, Ohio, with a new pilothouse. She had suffered extensive damage on October 5, 1972, in a head on collision with the salty NAVISHIPPER on the Detroit River.

April 10, 1912 - ANN ARBOR NO 5 struck her stern against the channel in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, bending her rudder, and damaging her port shaft.

On 10 April 1875, the propeller EMMA E THOMPSON was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan. She was built for Capt. D.F. Edwards of Toledo and cost $20,000. Her dimensions were 125 feet x 26 feet x 10 feet. In 1880, she was rebuilt as a schooner and then returned to a propeller in 1881, when she was given the engine from the propeller AKRON.

On 10 April 1882, ESPINDOLA (wooden schooner, 54 tons, built in 1869, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was carrying railroad ties when she was overwhelmed by a storm and went to pieces one mile north of the Chicago waterfront. No lives were lost, but four crewmen were rescued by a tug after having been in the water for some time.

The MANZZUTTI (steel crane ship, 246 foot, 1558 gross tons, built in 1903, at Buffalo, New York as a.) J S KEEFE) of the Yankcanuck Steamship Ltd., was the first vessel through the Canadian locks at the Soo for the 1954, navigation season. She entered the Canadian canal on 10 April 1954, about 8:15 a.m.. The locking of the MANZZUTTI was not considered the official opening of the season at the Soo since she wintered in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and the first vessel must come up the St. Mary’s River from Lake Huron or Michigan. President Dave Bows of the Kiwanis Club, pointed out the club’s $1,000 marine contest is based on the first such vessel though the Michigan Sault locks only. The U.S. Coast Guard reported six inch ice in the lower St. Mary's River.

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

 

“Know Your Ships” Now Available; Editor to Host Book Signing

4/9 - The 2006 edition of “Know Your Ships,” the boat watchers’ annual field guide to the vessels sailing the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, is off the press. The 148-page book, now in its 47th edition, contains detailed information about nearly 2,000 vessels and includes many color photographs taken from around the lakes and Seaway. This year’s Vessel of the Year is the 100-year old St. Marys Challenger, now celebrating a century and steam. Order on the Web at www.knowyourships.com .

Mark the beginning of another season of boat watching with a book signing in Port Huron by Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of the annual "Know Your Ships" guide. LeLievre will be on hand at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 15 to sign copies of the 2006 "Know Your Ships."

This year's book, hot off the press, will be available for purchase at the event. "Know Your Ships" is often referred to as the "bible of boat watching" containing detailed information and pictures of Great Lakes ships and the foreign ships that visit the Great Lakes each season.

There is no admission charge for the event. Make a day of your trip by visiting the new Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point adjacent to the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (BoatNerd.Com) Headquarters and enjoy the spectacular view of the boats passing on the St. Clair River. Vantage Point is located at the end of First Street, on the south side of the Black River in Port Huron.

Visit www.boatnerd.com/about/worldhq and www.knowyourships.com for more information.
 

 

Port Reports - April 9

Oshawa - Charlie Gibbons
John Spence and the McAsphalt barge were unloading in Oshawa Saturday afternoon. McNally's tug Whitby is on the dock there and some dredging equipment is in the harbor.

Welland Canal - Bill Bird
Pineglen spent about 12 hours tied at the sand dock below Lock One, on Saturday, before resuming her trip east bound across Lake Ontario.
Canadian Olympic was towed from the graving dock at PWDD and tied at the fit-out wall. The tugs Glenevis and Vigilant I made the move.

 

Updates - April 9

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 09

On 09 April 1868, SEABIRD (wooden side-wheel steamer, 638 tons, built in 1859, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was sailing on her first trip of the season from Manitowoc to Chicago. At 6:00 a.m. off Waukegan, Illinois, the porter cleaned out the ashes in the cabin stove and threw the hot coals overboard into the wind. The coals were blown back aboard and a blaze quickly engulfed the vessel. Only two survived. They were picked up by the schooner CORNELIA. 102 were lost. The vessel was uninsured and this was a severe financial blow to the new Goodrich Transportation Company.

On April 9, 1960, Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.’s a.) MURRAY BAY (Hull#164), of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., entered service as the first Canadian 730-footer. Renamed b.) COMEAUDOC in 1963, she was scrapped at Port Colborne in 2003.

The LAWRENDOC (Hull#174), was christened jointly with her Collingwood-built sister ship MONDOC (Hull#173) on April 9, 1962.

The Wilson Marine Transit Co., Cleveland purchased the b.) FINLAND, a.) HARRY COULBY (Hull#163) of the Detroit Ship Building Co., on April 9, 1957, and resold her the same day to the Republic Steel Corp., Cleveland with Wilson Marine acting as manager. Renamed c.) PETER ROBERTSON in 1969 and d.) MARINSAL in 1975.

April 9, 1930 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 entered service under the command of Estan Bayle.On 9 April 1871, the wooden "rabbit" BAY CITY (152 foot, 372 gross tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan) had just loaded 270,000 feet of lumber in Bay City for Tonawanda, New York, when a fire broke out ashore. The ship was set adrift at 11:00 a.m. to get away from the lumber yard blaze. However, as the crew watched the shore fire, sparks smoldered in the ship's cargo. At 2:00 p.m., she burst into flame. Four tugs and a steam-powered fire engine brought along side on a lighter fought the blaze to no avail. The vessel was scuttled to put out the fire. A few days later she was raised and repaired at a cost of $4,000.

On 9 April 1885, laid-up vessels BURLINGTON and CHURCH were hit by the barge ALLEN and forced into the Military Street bridge at Port Huron, Michigan, crashing into the structure and completely blocking the Black River and disabling the bridge. The blame was placed on the Spring thaw.

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

 

Shipping Imperiled on Saginaw River by Shallow Water
Joyce L. VanEnkevort Loses Rudder

4/8 - Saginaw, MI - Shipping along the Saginaw River may soon find itself sunk. Legal battles that have held up dredging the waterway are threatening commercial shipping, which could cause businesses along the river to lose revenue and up to 280 jobs, they say. The delay also jeopardizes $3.3 million in federal grants for the dredging.
William Webber, owner of Sargent Docks and Terminal, said today the VanEnkevort Tug and Barge shipping company has notified him that it no longer will venture up the Saginaw River, depriving his riverside business of 50 percent of its raw product, crushed limestone. The company said the river is simply too shallow after having a ship run aground in the turning basin this week. The 875-foot Great Lakes Trader snapped off a $70,000 rudder during the turn and remains docked in Essexville.

Webber said he already has laid off three of his 35 employees and believes the river could close entirely if the turning basin north of the Interstate 675 Henry Marsh Bridge is not dredged. Without water-borne freight, Webber said businesses would lose 4 million to 6 million tons of product every year, which likely would have ship by truck from Bay City. The Great Lakes Trader wasn't the only vessel to become lodged in the river sediment this week.
Tugboat Captain Gregory Busch said misfortune also struck a smaller vessel, a cement carrier capable of hauling up to 8,000 tons, which also struggled against the silt Tuesday. Busch muscled it out, but said word has spread to other Great Lakes shipping companies that the river is too risky for business.

Until the turning basin is dredged, Busch said ships probably won't make it to Saginaw. "Right now, I would be surprised if anybody comes in here," said Busch, adding he has spoken with numerous shipping companies since the groundings. "They told me they will not come back in here again because it's not worth the trouble." Busch, owner of Busch Marine in Carrollton Township, said the turning basin measures 14 feet deep these days -- down from 18 feet in December. He said the water was shallow enough Tuesday to leave the Great Lakes Trader's propeller sticking half-way out of the river.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the basin Thursday, probing the river bottom with sonar equipment to find out how much sediment they would have to remove to keep freight flowing into Saginaw. Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner James A. Koski said the corps will have results early next week. He said time is of the essence. "This river is in serious threat of being closed down," Koski said. "We can't wait."

Webber said one more shipping company, Lower Lakes Transportation, plans to sent a vessel up the river next week to see if it will brave the channel any longer. That trial run will determine the fate of future freight traffic along the river, he said. The trouble at the turning basin comes at the height of a contentious dredging battle between Saginaw County, environmentalists and citizens in Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships who don't dredge spoils dumped in their communities. The quarrel is not about dredging, they say. It is about keeping the contaminated river muck from spreading PCBs, mercury and dioxin into the environment.

March 31, one day before the first freighter ran aground, Frankenlust Township officials filed paperwork in Bay County Circuit Court to stop Saginaw County from building a dredge spoils dump site in their community. Saginaw County has purchased land and plans to build a 281-acre containment basin on the Frankenlust-Zilwaukee township line. This earthen "bathtub," underlain with clay and bounded by 11-foot dikes, would hold up to 3.1 million cubic yards of river muck.

Hilda Dijak, supervisor of Frankenlust Township, said the county has done too little to keep residents safe from the toxins tucked beneath the river bottom. "(Koski) has his gun pointed right at our people's heads," she said. "Their lives are at stake. He is talking about dumping toxic junk in there that can leak out and kill everything around it." James M. Hammond, an attorney for the township, will urge Bay County Circuit Judge Lawrence M. Bielawski to stop the project during a hearing at 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 19.

Hammond said the dredge site will lower property values, gobble up wetlands and interfere with drainage along the river. It also could create a health hazard by allowed dried out dredge spoils to blow off the site as dust. "We just want to make sure it's safe," Hammond said. "This is going to put poison in this place."

Koski said the lawsuit could have far-reaching implications on the navigability of the Saginaw River, potentially depriving the county of the money it needs to dredge. Unless the county can start construction by the second week of May -- a date the Corps of Engineers established -- officials could risk losing the $3.3 million in federal funding. Koski said the corps is under federal pressure to divert funds to the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. If construction stalls, he said the county could lose the funds and have to repay the contractor for work already done. "Once that money is gone, this is done," he said. "It's over."

Dijak said she would happily withdraw Frankenlust's lawsuit if Saginaw County agrees to pump all its dredge spoils into geo-tubes. The sausage-like containers would keep sediment from escaping the site. Koski said geo-tubes would come in handy for the most contaminated silt, but called it "irresponsible" to spend the extra time and money to bag all the spoils. He said the county is investigating other options that will make the disposal site safer than anything of its kind in Michigan.

Meanwhile, the Saginaw turning basin remains empty. No matter where the spoils go, Busch said the basin needs dredging to keep commercial shipping afloat along the Saginaw River. "This is not an agenda issue," he said. "This is a problem."

From the Saginaw News

 

American Steel Shipments Up in January

4/8 - American steel mills in January shipped 8.9 million net tons of steel, up 1.4 percent from the same month a year ago, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

January shipments were also up 4.8 percent compared to the 8.5 million net tons shipping in December 2005.

Shipments of steel for automotive use, construction, tools, oil and gas, and packaging materials were all in on a year-to-date basis. Shipments were down to service centers, for electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Old USCG Ship Seen in Oregon

4/8 - A brief walk down a pier in Astoria, Oregon, last week led former Grand Haven resident to what could be the final resting place of an old, tired Coast Guard ship. The 180-foot Woodbine was a Coast Guard buoy-tender originally commissioned on Nov. 17, 1942, and served until its retirement some time in the 1970s. A former Coast Guardsman and the current Astoria harbormaster confirmed the identity of the retired cutter.

Currently resting off Pier 1 in Astoria, the Woodbine is best described as "an old man waiting to die," Peterson said. "I remember it from a 10-year-old's perspective coming out of Lake Michigan up the Grand River with late spring ice rolling off the bow, looking sharp and powerful."

But now, the rusting, dented hull of the Woodbine tells a different story. Since its retirement, another Astoria Port Authority employee said that he had worked in Juneau, Alaska, and was familiar with the Woodbine because it worked as a fish-processing ship there from the 1970s until about 1990. No details about the history of the ship were immediately available, and no one in Astoria was familiar with the its story from the 1990s until recently.

The Woodbine was once stationed in Grand Haven, and surviving shipmates gather here every year during the annual Coast Guard Festival for a reunion. The cutter was one of seven Coast Guard vessels that participated in the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, the bloodiest invasion ever undertaken by the U.S. Over 13,000 Americans were killed and another 36,000 were wounded during the conquest of the Pacific island. The Woodbine also helped with search and rescue efforts after the famous crash of a DC-4 over Lake Michigan on June 24, 1950.

But what was once a proud ship has had its fate sealed, according to Astoria Port Authority employees. It was recently sold at a local sheriff's auction to an unnamed California company for the paltry sum of $2,000, presumably for scrap.

Additional Information on the Woodbine
At one time in the 80's she belonged to the Cleveland School System. She sat at the 9th street pier for years. If I remember right she was used to teach marine engineering courses till the Cleveland Public Schools started their decline.

 

No Money in Sight for Petoskey Breakwall Repairs

4/8 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hopes it will be able to survey the extent of recent storm damage to Petoskey's breakwater by mid-April, the chief of the Corps' Grand Haven Area Office said Thursday. “I expect that we'll have someone up there within a couple of weeks,” chief Dave Foster said.

Petoskey city officials discovered early on March 14 that a 50-foot section of concrete capping had been separated overnight from the rest of the federally-owned breakwater which shields the city's marina. It's believed that ice and waves driven by high winds knocked the concrete segment away.

On the weekend after the damage occurred, a Corps of Engineers representative from Grand Haven visited the breakwater in an attempt to survey the damage, but was unable to do so because of the substantial ice buildup along the barrier. As temperatures warmed this week, a significant share of the ice along the breakwater melted away.

Corps officials haven't yet been able to determine the condition of the breakwater's stone and timber understructure. With no funds designated for repairs or maintenance at the Petoskey structure in its current budget, the Corps also remains unsure how repairs might be financed.

Harold Chase, a regional representative for U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the senator's office has been in contact with the Corps of Engineers and is willing to help in locating federal funds for temporary and longer-term fixes. “We've been in communication with the Corps,” said Chase, who's based in Traverse City. “I've actually been on the phone with them quite a bit.” Staff from the office of U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, have said Stupak also is willing to help in pursuing the funding once the extent of damage is known.

From the Petoskey News Review

 

Port Reports - April 8

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were finally able to depart the Saginaw River on Thursday, backing out from the Essroc dock in Essexville early in the day.
Thursday also saw the arrival of the USCG Cutter Hollyhock who will remain in the area the next few days replacing the winter marks with the lighted summer buoys in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon entered the harbour early Friday morning and was loading at Sifto Salt on a cool damp day. The new CCGS cutter came in Thursday evening and took her spot on the west end of North inner harbour wall for the season.

Toledo -
CSL Laurentian came and loaded coal at CSX RR Docks Thursday. Bessie B and a crane barge with a clam-shell shovel dredged near the dock of The Andersons Kuhlman Facility.
Workers are diligently laboring at bringing The Andersons Edwin Facility back on line after a fire that destroyed a silo and superstructures.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Courtney Burton was in bound for Buffalo at 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.
Cross lake traffic on Thursday night included the Invincible and the Federal Manitou, along with the John D Leitch at anchor inside Long Point Bay.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Nothing but departures Thursday. James Norris and Quebecois finally left winter lay-up to begin their seasons.
CCG Griffon departed early in the morning, and Stephen B. Roman got underway for Picton around 6 p.m.

Fairport Harbor - Bob Hunter
Friday, Algoway was unloading stone in Fairport Harbor, Ohio.

Port Colborne - Jim Braillie
The steam from the former passenger boat Canadiana is scheduled to be moved from Port Colborne to Buffalo on Monday, April 10. The massive piece of machinery should make for an interesting passage across the Peace Bridge.

 

Updates - April 8

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 08

The BAY CITY (wooden propeller stem barge, 152 foot, 262 gross tons, built in 1867, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) had just been rebuilt at Bay City and then refitted at Fitzgerald & Leighton’s yard in Port Huron, Michigan On 08 April 1871, (some sources give the date as 10 April 1871), on her first trip out from the shipyard, she caught fire and burned to the water line. She was rebuilt again and lasted until 1891, when she burned again.

The sea trials for the AMERICAN REPUBLIC were conducted in Green Bay on April 8 thru 10, May 4 thru 11 and 18, 1981.

Interlake Steamship Co.’s steamer J A CAMPBELL of 1913, was the first bulk carrier to load taconite pellets that were shipped from Reserve Mining’s Davis Works at Silver Bay Minnesota on April 8, 1956.

On April 8, 1957, Great Lakes Steamship stock holders voted to sell the entire 16 ship fleet to four fleets.

On April 8, 1977, at Toledo the G A TOMLINSON required an estimated $235,000 to outfit her machinery for the up coming season.

On April 8, 1905, Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s steamer a.) ELBERT H GARY (Hull#66), was launched by the Chicago Ship Building Co. Renamed b.) R E WEBSTER in 1963, she was scrapped in 1973 at Santander, Spain.

On April 8, 1969, LEON FALK JR entered Duluth harbor to become the first vessel to arrive from the lower lake region opening the 1969, shipping season at the head of the lakes. She loaded almost 20,700 tons of iron ore bound for Great Lakes Steel’s, Zug Island in Detroit.

April 8, 1998 - An unidentified worker was injured in a fall aboard the CITY OF MIDLAND 41, while it was being converted to a barge in Muskegon.

8 April 1871, was a bad day on the St. Clair River. The schooner A MOSHER had favorable winds, so the captain decided to save the cost of a tow and sail up the St. Clair River without assistance from a tug. In the strong current at Port Huron, the vessel hit some old dock timbers, went out of control and collided with the down bound 3-masted schooner H C POST. The POST's main and fore masts were carried away in the collision. After some vehement arguing, the MOSHER sailed on while the POST anchored in mid-river while her skipper went ashore. The schooner JESSE ANDERSON then sailed out of the Black River and rammed right into the side of the POST. This finished the wrecking of the POST's aft mast. The ANDERSON went out of control and went aground on the river bank. The tug GEORGE H PARKER tried to assist the ANDERSON, but she also got stuck on the mud bank. It was several hours before everything got cleaned up and river traffic was back to normal.

The steam ferry JULIA, owned by C. Mc Elroy of St. Clair, Michigan, started running between St. Clair and Courtright, Ontario on 8 April 1878. She was formerly named U S SURVEYOR. Before JULIA took over this service, the ferries R F CHILDS and MARY MILLS served in this capacity.

The steamer f.) MANCOX (steel propeller crane freighter, 255 foot, 1,614 gross tons, built in 1903, at Superior, Wisconsin, as a.) H G DALTON) of Yankcanuck Steamship Lines was first through the Sault locks for the 1958, season at 7:05 a.m. on 8 April 1958. In locking through the Canadian lock, the MANCOX became the first ship to come through the new lock gates which were installed during the winter months. The American Sault locks had been ready for traffic since March 26, but the Canadian locks had the first ship.

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

 

New Mackinaw Heads Out for More Training

4/7 - Cheboygan - Training sessions continue for the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw. The icebreaker quietly slipped out of the Cheboygan River on Wednesday evening for another round of drills in Lake Huron, east of Bois Blanc Island.

“We're taking vibration readings on the ship, conducting small-boat operations, doing more basic engineering drills and ship-wide damage control drills,” Ensign Matthew Kempe, the Mackinaw's public affairs officer. “Sometimes one drill can lead to another - say if we're doing an oil spill drill in the engine room and then we simulate that a fire breaks out - that brings in the whole fire-control team too.”

Kempe estimated that the cutter would return to port Thursday night, completing a short 24-hour period of training at sea. “We have a lot to accomplish before next week, and then that will be a very big week for us as well,” he explained. A buoy-deck training team is coming to Cheboygan on Monday from Yorktown, Va., to conduct extensive training of the Mackinaw's crew in operations and procedures of handling equipment and buoys on the new ship's deck, specifically designed to place and retrieve Great Lakes buoys.

n addition, Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's new skipper, is en route to Cheboygan to prepare for his change-of-command ceremony. Little will take over from Capt. Michael Hudson as commanding officer of the vessel at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Hudson, chief of the Ninth District Waterways Management Division, was placed in temporary command of the ship Dec. 15. “Cmdr. Little will have a lot of paperwork to complete to account for everything on the ship being in his name,” Kempe added. “Right now we're just working hard to get everything ready for next week.”

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Boblo Boat Needs New Home
River Rouge contract vote fails after anglers objected

4/7 - The Boblo boat Ste. Claire has worn out its welcome in River Rouge. One winter of having the old steamer tied to the Belanger Park dock was enough for fishermen, who have complained they can't toss their lines in the water because the Ste. Claire blocks their way, Clerk Susan Joseph said Wednesday. City officials have been promised the boat will be moved by next Wednesday, Joseph said. It's beloved by metro Detroiters because it once carried so many of them to and from the Boblo Island amusement park in the Detroit River.

Last year, Ste. Claire owner Diane Evon, a Dearborn native who lives in Westlake, Ohio, cut a deal with the city in which she decorated the boat's decks and ballroom with mock skeletons and goblins and utilized the boat as a haunted house. Evon took the proceeds from the ticket sales and the city kept the parking fees, Joseph said. But on March 28, city commissioners ended that relationship. They split 3-3, meaning the motion failed to renew the contract. The pact expired April 1.

Now Evon is trying to find a tugboat to haul the boat away, said City Commissioner Anthony Laginess. "She knew it was coming," said Joseph. "It takes a lot of the park. Citizens were complaining that it takes up too much space and the owner didn't want to pay docking fees."

Evon and her ex-husband, John Belko of Cleveland, bought the 197-foot-long Ste. Claire in 2001 for $500,000. Within three months, they had sunk $100,000 -- maybe more -- into fixing its steel hull. Evon did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.

"They didn't want to pay the money, and we decided we'll take our park back," Joseph said. "That's the only riverfront we have here. Now it's fishing season." Laginess said Evon is "trying to make arrangements to move the boat till she decides what she's going to do.

"The boat needs to stay in Michigan," Laginess said. Evon had used the boat as a haunted house in Ohio, but "she didn't get the draws it got here because to them it's an old boat, where to us up here it's the Boblo boat."

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Old Mackinaw Back in Port

3/7 - Cheboygan - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw returned home to the dock at the Millard D. Olds Memorial Moorings early Wednesday after completing its final spring breakout mission. The Mackinaw tied up just after 1 a.m. Wednesday, concluding a 24-day trip that focused on breaking ice in Lake Superior's Whitefish Bay. The ship endured several storms during the journey, including one March 13 that damaged some minor equipment aboard and left many sailors green with seasickness.

Although most of the Great Lakes escaped the icy grip that traditional winters can bring, the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie has been dealing with ice in its waterways since mid-December. The ice never reached its usual thickness in the open lakes, but the Straits of Mackinac, St. Mary's River, and the western Lake Superior ports of Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wis., averaged 10 to 12 inches of ice in most areas and 18 to 24 inches in others - enough to keep icebreaking resources working steadily throughout the winter.

The Mackinaw locked though the Soo Locks on March 17 ahead of the March 25 spring opening when the commercial shipping season began. The giant icebreaker was accompanied by the Canadian Coast Guard cutter Samuel Risley.

The Mac found the ice from the locks up to the entrance of the St. Mary's River near Point Iroquois very manageable. However, it was a completely different story when the ship entered Whitefish Bay. Inside the shipping lanes, the ice varied in thickness from 36 to 48 inches. Outside the shipping lanes ice plates formed ridges up to 15 feet thick. These conditions required the unique capabilities of the Mackinaw's immense size and power. The crew worked diligently for seven days carving a track through the bay's stubborn ice fields.

In the meantime, outside assistance was called in. By March 20, the Mackinaw was joined by the 140-foot ice breakers Biscayne Bay from St. Ignace and Neah Bay from Cleveland, with the Bristol Bay from Detroit joining the fleet later in the week. With the Katmai Bay from Sault Ste. Marie handling the lower river, the Mackinaw and the three smaller ice breakers put the finishing touches on the track lines. At midnight on March 25, the commercial lakers met no resistance as they made their way through Whitefish Bay.

The mariners thanked the Mackinaw and the other cutters for the highway they had prepared, enabling the vessel traffic to pass clear of the locks and the St. Mary's River system without delay. The ice breakers have kept an almost constant flow of commercial vessel traffic moving through the area. According to Lt. j.g. William White of the Sector Sault office, more than 100 commercial vessels have transited the St. Mary's River already in just over a week since the Soo Locks reopened March 25.

“The ice has begun to disintegrate, and the Mackinaw's “highway” has collapsed - signifying the final stages of the ice season,” White said. “Each year, the final days of ice breaking are often the most hectic. With no discernible track, the breakers are relegated to escorting vessels one by one through the rotting ice.”

White said that ice is still in the way, even though it is breaking apart. He said the smaller ice breakers can continue to race back and forth to smash up the larger plates of ice. “This allows the ice to move into Lake Superior and melt without posing a threat to the passing ships,” he continued. “We've reached that phase of the ice season. Now we're hoping to take advantage of long awaited southerly winds, rain, and warmer temperatures in order to flush the last of the region's ice out into Lake Superior.”

The Mackinaw will be in port until later this month, when it will depart for the last leg of its “farewell tour” of Great Lakes ports and visit Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit and Sarnia, Ontario, before returning to Cheboygan to prepare for its decommissioning day of June 9.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Port Reports - April 7

Twin Ports - Al Miller
American Mariner on Thursday departed its winter lay up berth in Fraser Shipyards and proceed to BNSF ore dock to load its first cargo of the season. It reportedly is bound for Zug Island.

Muskegon - Herm Phillips
Inland Lakes Managements Streamer J. A. W. Iglehart arrived at the West Michigan Mart Dock in Muskegon late Thursday afternoon for temporary lay-up. She joins fleetmate Paul H. Townsend also laid up there. The Iglehart is expected to return to service later in the month, but no word yet on a sail date for the Townsend who's future seems doubtful with the building of the new barge now nearing completion.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Wednesday evening, Canadian Progress passed Milwaukee's main light just after 9p.m.. Proceeding to the inner harbor turning basin, the Progress turned and backed to the dock at Nidera Grain where she is loading yellow corn for Quebec City.
At first light Thursday tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest entered the breakwater, proceeded up river to the inner harbor and docked at their terminal in the Kinnickinnic River around 7 a.m.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail came into port over night and took the Algolake's place on the Sifto dock. She departed at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. Algosteel backed into the harbour upon the departure of the Algorail and was on the Sifto dock at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Many tonnes of salt are being shipped out at the beginning of the 2006 season.

South Chicago - Steve B.
Thursday morning found a variety of activity in the area. The saltie Bluebill was still tied up at Iroquois Landing. Out in the lake, a down bound CSL vessel was just outside of Calumet Harbor, appeared to be headed towards Indiana Harbor. Farther out a fore and aft cabin laker was up bound. Over at 100th St., the Algosoo had just tied up and was unloading salt at a dock on the opposite side of the river from KCBX.
 

 

Updates - April 6

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 07

On 07 April 1906, the Goodrich Transportation Company which was incorporated under the laws of the State of Wisconsin in 1868, was dissolved and a new company, the Goodrich Transit Company, was incorporated under the laws of the state of Maine. This was just for financial reasons and other than the name and the port of registry of the vessels, everything else remained the same. The vessels in the company at the time were CHICAGO, CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, CITY OF RACINE, GEORGIA, INDIANA, IOWA, SHEBOYGAN, VIRGINIA, and tug ARCTIC.

Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.’s new CANADIAN TRANSPORT was christened April 7, 1979.

The tanker ROBERT W STEWART, b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN was delivered to Standard Oil Co. on April 7, 1928, as the second largest tanker in service at the time of her launch.

JAMES LAUGHLIN (Hull#16) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works was launched April 7, 1906, for the Interstate Steamship Co., Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. Later renamed b.) HELEN EVANS, she was scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1983.

The EMORY L FORD was sold on April 7, 1965, to the Reiss Steamship Co., and renamed b) RAYMOND H REISS, the last vessel purchased by Reiss.

TEXACO BRAVE of 1929, arrived at Ramey's Bend from Toronto on April 7, 1975, in tow of tugs G W ROGERS and BAGOTVILLE for scrapping.

In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.’s steamer THOMAS W LAMONT loaded the initial shipment of ore for the season at the D.M. & I.R. ore docks in Duluth.

On 7 April 1871, the tug S V R WATSON was towing the schooner S G SIMMONS out of Chicago harbor at noon when the WATSON stalled. The schooner plowed into her broadside, causing the tug to tip on her beam ends, take on water and sink. Four men were trapped below decks and drowned; two survived. The WATSON was later raised and returned to service.

On 7 April 1873, the contract for the building of a new carferry, MICHIGAN, for the Great Western Railway was awarded to the Jenkins Brothers of Windsor, Ontario. The new vessel was planned for service on the Detroit River. Her engines were built at Montreal by Canada Engine Works for a cost of $100,000. The hull alone cost $600,000.

Although the locks are not scheduled to open until Thursday, 12 April 1962, the Canadian Sault harbor was officially opened Saturday, 7 April 1962, when the tanker IMPERIAL LONDON pulled into the Imperial dock between the two hospitals. Captain Russel Knight accepted the traditional silk top hat. The IMPERIAL LONDON, carrying almost 1,000,000 gallons of gasoline, led the IMPERIAL SIMCOE, loaded with 19,000 barrels of fuel oil for household heating, up the St. Marys River to the Sault.

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

 

Westcott Company Returns to Service

4/6 The J.W. Westcott Co. return to 24 hour operations Wednesday morning with the arrival of the U.S. mail boat J.W. Westcott II at the company's dock below the Ambassador Bridge.

Capt. Sam Buchanan and Dave Tozer piloted the 50-foot work boat from the winter lay-up dock at Gregory's Marina for the short trip down river.  The Westcott II left Gregory's about 6:30 a.m., earlier than normal because the Indiana Harbor was due mid morning and the Westcott had a large freight delivery for the Harbor.

This is the beginning of the 112th season that the U.S. Postal Service has provided mail service on the Detroit River, a service that began in 1895. A number of contractors have been used over the years.

The J.W. Westcott Co. is commencing its 133rd season on the Detroit River. Capt. John Ward Westcott established the company in 1874 providing reporting and delivery service to the Great Lakes shipping industry. The J.W. Westcott Co. has served as the contractor of the U.S. Postal Service since 1949, this is the 58th season that the J.W. Westcott II mailboat has been delivering mail on behalf of the U.S. Postal service.

The back up mail boat Joseph J. Hogan was press into water taxi service last week shuttling crewmembers to and from boats docked at Zug Island. This water taxi service was initiated last season as a safer alternative for crew members to come and go from Zug Island.

Winter work on the Westcott fleet included normal maintenance and replacement of steel at the bow of the Westcott II. The first vessel serviced by the mail boat for the 2006 season was the upbound Adam E. Cornelius followed by a steady flow of traffic.

As the crew returned the Westcott II to the station another crew was in Port Huron preparing to take the Pilot Boat Huron Maid down bound to Detroit. The Huron Maid departed Port Huron about 11 a.m. The Huron Maid is used for pilot changes in the Detroit River.

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery

 

Rochester Ferry Delivery Crew May Soon be Assembled

4/6 - Rochester, NY - Negotiations to sell the high-speed ferry are at a critical stage, officials said Monday, and that includes preparations to assemble a delivery crew asked to be ready beginning Monday. Dave Borkhuis, third mate on the Spirit of Ontario until its December shutdown, said manager Bay Ferries Great Lakes LLC's human resources director Glenn Gardner contacted him Friday about being part of a delivery crew.

"He asked, 'Would you be free to be involved with the delivery starting on the 10th?'" Borkhuis said, adding that he took the offer to mean a date to arrive on the ship but doubting any assembled crew would be asked to immediately set sail. "He mentioned there was bidding going on and it was supposed to be inspected maybe (Monday)."

Borkhuis said Gardner had few other details and told Borkhuis he would follow up later Friday or on Monday but never called. Borkhuis said the ship's former training master and acting captain has been re-hired to captain the ferry on delivery to an unspecified port.

Gardner could not be reached Monday night. City spokesman Gary Walker declined comment other than to say many preparations are being made so the city does not slow the process once a deal is done. He pointed out, however, that neither the ferry board nor City Council have been summoned to approve a deal, no money had been exchanged and Mayor Robert Duffy had not been notified that a deal was final. "There's a lot that has to happen before that ship moves," Walker said, "and it hasn't happened yet."

Duffy announced Jan. 10 that the city was shutting down the ferry service to Toronto, citing $10 million in losses in 10 months. He declined to discuss specifics of the sale process Monday, saying he did not want to compromise any deal and deferring to the "many complexities with negotiations of this magnitude."

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Lake Levels Keep Falling
Shallow water mystifies area experts

4/6 - Port Huron - As local boaters prepare for summer, the annual forecast for water levels in Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair is bleak. Standing at 577.3 feet above sea level, Lake Huron levels are about six inches lower than last year and are predicted to peak this summer just slightly higher. Lake St. Clair also is below its average at 573.6 feet above sea level.

While Lake Huron still is a little more than a foot higher than the all-time record low of 576 feet set in 1964, the water's current depth and steady decline are factors that have some wondering if the lake's boom of the 1980s will ever return. Chances are, some experts said, it never will.

Low water levels heighten the risk of sailboat keels running aground and limit how much cargo freighters can carry. "We've noticed things are down. Anybody can look at the sea wall and see where (the water's) been in previous years," said Trevor Floyd, 30, of Fort Gratiot, a recreational sailor and a member of the Port Huron Yacht Club. "Sailboat sailors are always keeping an eye on bottom depth." Various theories exist to explain the decline in water levels, but there's no consensus. Another study on the issue is scheduled to begin this summer.

According to projections made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Huron's water levels will reach 578.5 feet above sea level during the July-to-August time frame - lower than the average of about 579.4 feet. Lake St. Clair is expected to peak in June or July at 574.3 feet - about seven inches below the average.

Reaching those levels will require cooperation from a variety of factors, with the biggest one being weather. A wet spring could have a large impact on the water's depth, said Scott Thieme, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office in Detroit. Also, snow melt-off from Lake Superior is not complete, so more water could be flowing into the Great Lakes system. Thieme said this year's lake activity likely will return water depths to marks set in 2004. "Between November 2004 and September 2005 (Lake Huron) probably only rose and fell within a four-inch range, which is kind of unusual," he said. "We've lost a little bit of that gain."

Falling water levels in Lake Huron, and other parts of the Great Lakes water system, are nothing new. A variety of groups are working on, or planning, studies to determine the exact problem. Among groups investigating lake levels include the International Joint Commission, an independent organization created by a U.S.-Canadian treaty, that's charged with protecting the Great Lakes. Its study is expected to start by summer. Meanwhile, there are plenty of theories about what's draining the basin.

Those ideas range from continued erosion of the St. Clair River's bed caused in part by removal of aggregate in the late 1800s, to the suggestion that Lake Huron levels aren't declining at all. Rather, Lake Erie is rising over time. "It's a very complex system," said Fiona Duckett, an engineer with W.F. Baird & Associates, which in 2004 completed a study of Lake Huron's water levels. The study, commissioned by homeowners near Ontario's Georgian Bay, reached no definitive answer other than water levels are continuing to drop more than previously recognized. "(The issue) needs to be looked into and understood more before a recommendation for action (can be made)," Duckett said.

While experts search for answers and eventual solutions for the continued Lake Huron drain, local municipalities, marinas and boaters simply are forced to deal with the decreasing depths. That could mean taking more care when out on the waters to keep from running aground or dredging harbors to keep boat slips accessible. "It's a concern to a lot of people," said Avery Armstrong, harbormaster at the St. Clair Boat Harbor. "We're just hoping that the weather will get warm soon, and we'll get a good season."

Port Huron, which bills itself as the "Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes," last month began dredging its marinas in preparation for boating season. Its public and private marinas, and the Black River, are home to hundreds of sailboats, and the nautical population swells each July for the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Port Reports - April 6

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Troubles continue on the Saginaw River as Wednesday morning saw the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader docked at the Essroc dock in Essexville. The pair had departed Tuesday morning from Saginaw outbound for the lake, but returned Tuesday evening passing the outbound Alpena at the Front Range. Radio traffic Wednesday morning indicated that there was some mechanical problem that was supposed to be fixed at the dock in Essexville, but the orders changed and she gave a security call that she was departing for the lake around 10:30 Wednesday morning. The Joyce L. and the Trader attempted to back out of the river, but high winds prevented the pair from that plan. They then tried to turn by backing into the Bay Aggregates slip in Bay City, but that did not work either as the pair is still sitting at the Essroc Dock facing upriver as of Wednesday afternoon.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
After being delayed more than a day by high winds on the lake, the Herbert C. Jackson finally made it in to Marquette's ore dock on Wednesday morning. The new pocket doors on the south side of the dock appear to be a success allowing faster loads.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algolake camped outside the Goderich piers all Wednesday morning after her bow thrusters would not operate properly. Repairs were made throughout the morning and at 1:30 p.m. she entered the new harbour, made the turn and backed into the Sifto Salt dock to load. A stiff westerly breeze made the entry into port a little tricky.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Manistee was unloading at the Sand Supply Landing along the Buffalo Ship Canal Wednesday morning.
English River heading up to LaFarge stern first Wednesday afternoon.
Courtney Burton is due with the first grain load of the year on Friday .
The McKee Sons/Invincible called into Seaway Long Point, East bound on Lake Erie for the Welland Canal at 5:45 p.m.

Kingston Area - Ron Walsh
The Algonorth was east bound with a load of wheat for Baie Comeau. She passed Sodus at 530 a.m. but went to anchor 3 miles north of Main Duck Island. She reported her port engine was down and that a cylinder head had to be removed. As of 5:00 p.m. Wednesday she was still there and they had no news as to how long the repairs would take.
The Emerald Star was east bound and reported her X band radar had malfunctioned. She was allowed to proceed but a 2-mile visibility restriction was placed on her movements.
The Stephen B. Roman left Picton Wednesday morning with a load of cement for Toronto. She gave an eta 0f 8:30 p.m. for Toronto East Gap.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The cement silos at Lafarge were a busy place on Wednesday with three vessels coming in to load. The G.L Ostrander/ barge Integrity was first to arrive in the morning and departed around 11:00 a.m. heading for South Chicago. Anchored out in the bay were fleet mates J.A.W Iglehart and Alpena, waiting for a clear dock at Lafarge. Once the Integrity passed, the J.A.W Iglehart came in at noon. The Iglehart was outbound after 5:00 p.m., going to Muskegon. The Alpena was the last to tie up at 7:00 p.m., after a long day of patience offshore.

The Kaye E. Barker was loading at Stoneport on Wednesday

Detroit - Ken Borg
On Wednesday at 8:00 a.m. the American Spirit unloading at Zug Island, Saginaw was unloading coal at a new Windsor Dock, and Maritime Trader was unloading ADM in Ojibway.By 6:00 p.m. the Spirit had departed but the Saginaw and Trader were still at the same docks.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy came in Wednesday evening to bunker the James Norris before returning to Hamilton. Stephen B. Roman came in around 9:00 p.m. Quebecois had steam up Wednesday afternoon. CCG Griffon remains in port at Pier 28. The Works Department tug Ned Hanlan II was refloated at the Port Authority's Keating Channel yard on Tuesday morning, and it went into service Wednesday.
 

 

Updates - April 6

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 06

The KENNEBEC was launched on 06 April 1901, by the Jenks Ship Building Company (Hull #18) at Port Huron, Michigan for Mssrs. F. B. & F. P. Chesbrough of Detroit. She lasted until 1921, when she sank off the coast of New Jersey.

ALGOLAKE (Hull#211) of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., was christened April 6, 1977, she was the first maximum-sized ship of this type in Algoma's fleet with all cabins aft.

The a.) HON PAUL MARTIN (Hull#228), departed Collingwood April 6, 1985, on her maiden voyage for Canada Steamship Lines to load grain at Thunder Bay, Ontario, bound for Quebec City, Quebec. She was the largest vessel built at Collingwood as a result of the new Seaway regulations that allowed increased hull lengths beyond the previous maximum overall of 730 foot to transit the lock systems. She sails the Lakes today as b.) ATLANTIC ERIE.

PRAIRIE HARVEST sailed on her maiden voyage in 1984.On April 6, 1990, Paterson’s CANADOC of 1961, was laid up at Montreal, Quebec never to sail again.

NOTRE DAME VICTORY, b.) CLIFFS VICTORY, was delivered to Interocean Steamship Co., on April 6, 1945, under charter from the U.S. Maritime Commission.

The a.) LOUIS R DAVIDSON (Hull#95) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works was launched April 6, 1912, for the American Steamship Co. Later renamed b.) DIAMOND ALKALI in 1932, c.) DOW CHEMICAL in 1939 and d.) FERNDALE in 1963. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1979.

April 6, 1931 - The CITY OF FLINT 32 set a world record sailing 101,000 miles in her first year of service.

On 6 April 1872, the schooner I N FOSTER was launched from the Fitzgerald & Leighton yard at Port Huron, Michigan. She was classified as a "full-sized canaller" since she was as large as a vessel could be to pass through the Welland Canal. Her dimensions were 143 foot overall, 26 foot inch beam, 11 foot 6 inch depth, 437 tons.

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

 

Alpena Grounded

4/5 - Saginaw River - Tuesday morning on the Saginaw River turned out to be a bad day for any boats wishing to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw. First at 6:00 a.m. the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and her barge Great Lakes Trader departed from the Saginaw Rock Products dock after unloading overnight there. The Saginaw Rock Products dock is next to the turning basin, the pair promptly moved into the river to the right of the shoaling area to turn around. The tug almost became stuck in the middle of the basin, but being a tug she was able to get the tug off into deeper water and reattach to the barge Great Lakes Trader and head outbound for the lake. She headed downriver and pulled over at the Sargent dock near the I-75 bridge in Zilwaukee to pump-out her ballast water.

Around that time the pair contacted the Alpena and reported that the conditions of the basin were no better than the Alpena found and that the tug would not be able to make it back into the basin with out assistance of their own. The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and her barge Great Lakes Trader wished the Alpena good luck in turning later in the morning, and the pair departed outbound for the lake by 8:30 a.m.

At 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning the Alpena departed from the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal headed upriver to turn at the Sixth Street basin. The Alpena had made two attempts to turn on Sunday afternoon and again on Monday evening with no success either of the times. The vessel made three more attempts Tuesday morning before she would try to back out to the lake to turn. The first two times she was unsuccessful in turning facing west. When the vessel backed up to turn into to basin facing east, the Alpena became stuck as she tried to go across the shoaling area in the middle of the turning basin. Her bow became stuck and the captain called for assistance from a tug. The assisting tug spent around 10 minutes before freeing the Alpena.

The Alpena headed downriver and pulled over at the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock to inspect the boat of any hull damage sustained from touching the muddy bottom. There was no damage from the soft river bottom and around 2 p.m. she began pumping-out her ballast water. At 6:30 p.m. the Alpena departed from the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock and headed outbound for the lake. She cleared outbound through the Downtown Bay City bridges by 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night. The Alpena was in the Saginaw River for three days before departing outbound for the lake early Tuesday evening. The Saginaw River is desperately in need of the >dredging that is scheduled to be coming to the upper river later this season.

Reported by Gordy Garris

 

Aquarama/Marine Star Update

4/5 - Buffalo - A recent newspaper article quoted Jim Everatt, part owner of the passenger steamer Aquarama/Marine Star, now tied up at the Cargil Pool Elevator Pier in Buffalo, as saying that the ship may be sold to non-profit educational group now that the original plans for a casino gambling vessel have fallen through.

Local media have been portraying the ship as a waterfront eyesore and there have been a few people calling for the removal of the ship from the harbor so as not to impede possible development opportunities. Mr. Everatt countered those claims by stating that as long as they keep paying their $50,000 a year worth of dockage fees and maintenance costs the owners must still be actively seeking a business venture for the ship and that is has not been cast aside as a dead project.

The mayor's office seemed to feel differently and was quoted in the newspaper article as wanting the ship removed. It is unknown at this time whether the city has legal recourse to make them move it or not since the South End Marina has an agreement with the Aquarama owners for storage at the Cargil dock.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski

 

Acheson Ventures Presents Fireworks 2006
and
Sail Port Huron Tall Ship Festival 2006

4/5 - Port Huron - Acheson Ventures has announced that on June 24, there once again will be a spectacular fireworks display over the St. Clair River in Port Huron. The best seat in the house will be at Vantage Point.

On August 18-20, Acheson Ventures and Highlander Sea will host a Maritime Festival, Sail Port Huron. You will be able to view the sailing vessels at the Port Huron Terminal Company located at 2336 Military Street and the Desmond Marine dock located at 207 Water Street.

Boats scheduled to appear at the Terminal are Niagara, Picton Castle, Pride of Baltimore II and our own Highlander Sea. Providence and Unicorn will be at Desmond Marine Dock.

Charge for admission is one non-perishable food item per person or a cash donation to Mid-City Nutrition. All proceeds will go to the Mid-City Nutrition Kitchen. Hours for the event are 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Please come down and enjoy a tour of these magnificent sailing vessels. There will be a special appearance by the Sarnia Pipe and Drum Corp from Noon - 1:30 on Sunday.

Make the Boatnerd.com headquarters and the Great Lakes Maritime Center, both located on Vantage Point, part of your visit to the Port Huron area.

 

Port Reports - April 5

South Chicago - Steve B.
The St. Marys Challenger was seen departing Calumet Harbor for Lake Michigan at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The saltie Bluebill was also tied up at Iroquois Landing at the entrance to the Calumet River unloading.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The grain-shipping season in the Twin Ports began Monday when Courtney Burton went under the spouts at the General Mills elevator (venerable Elevator S) in Superior. Overnight on Monday, the saltwater shipping season began when, as expected, the Ziemia Cieszynska arrived at CHS grain terminal in Superior to load durum wheat destined for Italy. (Durum is a high-protein wheat popular for making pasta.)
Elsewhere, the Earl W. Oglebay left its winter berth at Fraser Shipyards to begin the shipping season by loading taconite pellets in Silver Bay. Its departure leaves only American Mariner and Reserve in winter layup in the Twin Ports.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke was loading Tuesday afternoon at the NS coal dock in Sandusky. Her next port of call is reported to be Green Bay.
The Steamer Saginaw is due Wednesday night.

 

Updates - April 5

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 05

On 05 April 1890, INDIANA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 220 foot, 1,178 gross tons) was launched by Burger and Burger at Manitowoc, Wisconsin, for the Goodrich Transportation Company. The total cost of the vessel was $135,000.

On April 5, 1984, the joined sections of the HILDA MARJANNE and CHIMO's emerged from the Port Weller Dry Dock Ltd., as the b.) CANADIAN RANGER.

Sea trials for Canada Steamship Lines new bulk freighter PRAIRIE HARVEST, (Hull#227) of Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., were complete on April 5, 1984. She operates in the Lakes today as the self-unloader d.) ATLANTIC HURON.

The a.) LUZON (Hull#54) of the Chicago Ship Building Co. was launched for the Erie Steamship Co., E.D. Carter, mgr., on April 5, 1902. Renamed b.) JOHN ANDERSON in 1924 and c.) G G POST in 1933. She was scrapped at Izmir, Turkey in 1972.

April 5, 1977 - The Chessie System announced that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be withdrawn from service and only the SPARTAN and BADGER would run for the season.

On 5 April 1854, AMERICA (wooden side-wheeler, 240 foot, 1,083 tons, built in 1847, at Port Huron, Michigan) was bound for Cleveland from Detroit. After the captain had set her course and gone to bed, the 2nd mate changed the course to the north. The 1st and 2nd mates disagreed about the course and as they awoke the captain, the ship ran aground near Point Pelee, Ontario. Wave action reduced the vessel to rubble but no lives were lost.

On 5 April 1879, the 3-mast wooden schooner RESUMPTION was launched at the Wolf & Davidson yard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her dimensions were 143 foot x 29 foot x 10 feet, 294 gross tons, 279 net tons.

April 5, 1962, the tanker ROBERT W STEWART was renamed b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN, The WILLIAM P COWAN was renamed b.) AMOCO ILLINOIS, the EDWARD G SEUBERT was renamed b.) AMOCO WISCONSIN and the RED CROWN was renamed b.) AMOCO INDIANA, after being transferred from Standard Oil Company in a sale to the American Oil Company for $10 for each ship. Each ship traded in their names and their well known red superstructure for a typical white paint job instead which stuck with them until their end. The only change came to the AMOCO INDIANA when she traded in her black hull for the blue paint of c.) MEDUSA CONQUEST, d.) SOUTHDOWN CONQUEST, e.) CEMEX CONQUEST and f.) ST MARYS CONQUEST. She operates today as self – unloading cement barge.

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

 

First Saltie Due in Duluth

4/4 - Duluth —The Port of Duluth-Superior’s 2006 St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season is scheduled to officially open at approximately 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday with the arrival of the Marshall Islands-flagged Ziemia Cieszynska under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge.

The vessel will proceed to Superior’s CHS grain facility for about 18,000 metric tons of durum wheat destined for Italy. It is scheduled to depart by April 6. The vessel first stopped at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor to discharge about 8,900 tons of steel coils from the Netherlands.

The winner of the annual “First Ship Contest” sponsored by Visit Duluth, 92 KQRS Minneapolis and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority will be announced during a welcoming ceremony to be held for the Ziemia Cieszynska. The winner will receive a “Visit Duluth” getaway, including hotel accommodations, meals and passes to local attractions.

Commanded by Captain Jan Jarosz from Poland, the 591-foot bulk carrier was built in 1993 and is operated by Szczecin based Polish Steamship Company (Polsteam). Local agent for the vessel is Guthrie-Hubner, Inc.

Polsteam is in the midst of a newbuild program which will eventually involve 34 new vessels at an estimated investment of $700-$800 million. Ten handy-size bulkers have now been ordered from the Xingang Shipyard, China—four of which have been delivered—with the rest scheduled for completion between 2008 and 2009. Six more were recently ordered from the Hantong Shipyard, China. The remainder of the vessels will be invested in over the next 10-15 years.

“We’re always glad to see newbuilds breathing life into the St. Lawrence Seaway system, and using Duluth as a global connection for our regional farmers. Grain exports represent more than 30 percent of the $2 billion worth of cargo transshipped via our Port docks every year,” said Port Director Adolph Ojard.

The Welland Canal section of the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to vessel traffic on March 21, and the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway opened March 23. Oceangoing vessel arrivals for the past five years have been between April 2 and April 11. The Port’s earliest oceangoing vessel arrival since the 1959 opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway was April 1, 1995, with the arrival of the Indian vessel LT Argosy.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority News Release reported by Al Miller

 

Iron Pellet Firm Makes 500 Millionth ton

4/4 - Marquette- Cleveland Cliffs Inc. reached a milestone when company managed operations in Michigan produced its 5000 millionth ton of iron ore pellets last week. The total includes tonnage from six separate pelletizing operations since 1956: the Eagle Mills and Pioneer pellet plants in Marquette County's Negaunee Township, the Humboldt and Republic mines, and Cleveland Cliffs' current operations at the Empire and Tilden mines.

The company employs 1,400 people in Michigan.

Reported by Andrew Severson from the Detroit News

 

Fest marks lifting of ice boom

4/4 - Buffalo - "Boom Days," celebrating the lifting of the ice boom and beginning of spring, will be celebrated in Buffalo on Friday and in Niagara Falls next Saturday.

Festivities will begin Friday at 4 p.m. at the Chief Petty Officers Club at the foot of Porter Avenue. Cannons will be fired from Old Fort Niagara and Old Fort Erie, and the ceremonial ice boom drop will utilize the Edward M. Cotter, the world's oldest active fireboat.

A party will follow, with food, beverages and fireworks. Buffalo's Rocket 88, featuring Terrie George, will supply music.

An Open Waterfront Forum will be sponsored by Buffalo Waterfront Alliance, and an array of booths and presenters will zone in on local waterfront history. Saturday, LaSalle Pride will present the Niagara River Boom Days Festival with an open house from 6 to 10 p.m. at LaSalle Yacht Club, 73 South 68th St., Niagara Falls. Table service will be offered, with cash bar and exhibits.

Entertainment will be provided by Evergreen, Jim Marohn, the Fort Niagara Re-enactors, Cavalier LaSalle and Father Hennepin and the Marquis de Frontenac. For more information call 283-7394.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski from the Buffalo News

 

Port Reports - April 4

Port Huron - Frank Frisk
American Republic has gone to anchor, Monday evening, east of buoys 11 and 12 to wait out the weather.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The John G. Munson was anchored off Alpena Monday afternoon waiting out the high winds in the shelter of the bay. The Munson was scheduled to go to Stoneport.
The Adam E. Cornelius was tied up at the Stoneport dock Monday evening, unable to finish loading because of the weather.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly loaded ore in Marquette on a very windy Monday. The Herbert C. Jackson was expected Monday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Monday, the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader called on the Saginaw River with a split load. The pair stopped at the Sargent Dock in Essexville to lighter before continuing upriver to the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw around 8:30pm to finish unloading.
The Joyce L. was in contact with the Alpena who was still at the LaFarge dock. Alpena is waiting until morning before attempting to turn again. She also reported that the tug Gregory J. Busch is currently down for maintenance and that the shoaling has the turning basin down to only 15 feet in the center of the basin. Both Captains expressed their concerns about the dredging that is desperately needed in the upper river and stated they will get back with each other in the morning to figure out a plan of attack.

Kingston - Ron Walsh
The William Darrell was heard doing a radio check with VBR Prescott.
This is the Wolfe Island to Cape Vincent ferry and is starting its season.
Gale Warnings have been issued for Georgian Bay, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Waves on Lake Ontario are forecast at 3 to 4 metres for Tuesday.
Algosteel is westbound from Prescott to Goderich. English River is in Bath loading cement for Buffalo. Thalassa Desgagnes is eastbound for Tracy.

Detroit - Ken Borg
Early Monday morning, St. Marys Cement II/Sea Eagle II were unloading cement at St. Marys Cement on the Rouge River in Detroit. H. Lee White unloading coal onto Zug Island from the Short Cut Canal. Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann was backing out the Rouge River and going down the Detroit River. Algosoo loading salt at Windsor Salt in Ojibway and the Avenger IV/Barge 9000 were at Morton Terminal.
At 9:20 a.m. the Philip R. Clarke came down the Detroit River loaded with limestone and backed into the Rouge River with the help of the Gaelic tugs Carolyn Hoey and Patricia Hoey. She went to Carmuse Lime in River Rouge. Clarke came out of the river and was down bound at 5:20 p.m.
St. Marys Cement II/Sea Eagle II departed the Rouge River and went down the Detroit River at 10:15 a.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity visited Milwaukee's inner harbor with powdered cement for LaFarge on Sunday, departing for Lake Michigan at about 1 A.M. on Monday.
At about 9:30 a.m. on a sunny but windy Monday morning, a classic fore-and-aft Great Lakes ore carrier, with self unloader aft, could be seen southbound well off Milwaukee on Lake Michigan, with deck barely visible above the horizon. The vessel looked like the Wilfred Sykes.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Canada Coast Guard buoy tender Griffon arrived in port overnight. English River finished unloading and got underway for Bath to load and Rochester to unload. Quebecois has steam up, but some minor problems have kept them in port. She is due to sail at 6:00 a.m. Tuesday. The crew are aboard James Norris and she is due to depart on Thursday.

Port Weller - Corrected - Charlie Gibbons
Winter work on the Canadian Olympic is just about done and she is scheduled to be refloated on the 10th. Canadian Provider will be towed by McKeil tugs from her Hamilton lay-up berth to Port Weller Drydock for a refit after the Olympic makes way.

 

Updates - April 4

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 04

On 04 April 1908, ALEXIS W THOMPSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 504 foot, 6,437 gross tons) was launched by West Bay City Shipbuilding Co. (Hull #625) at W. Bay City, Michigan for Valley Steamship Co. (W.H. Becker, Mgr.). She lasted until 1962, when she was towed to Hamilton, Ontario for scrapping by Steel Co. of Canada, Ltd.

The keel was laid at Bay Shipbuilding, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on April 4, 1978, for the Columbia Transportation Div., Oglebay Norton Co.’s, FRED R WHITE JR (Hull#722).

Sea trials of the tanker ROBERT W STEWART (Hull#802) of American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio were run on April 4, 1928. Renamed b.) AMOCO MICHIGAN in 1962. She was sold off the lakes in 1969, renamed c.) SHUKHEIR. Scrapped in Egypt in 1989.

WILLIAM C. ATWATER (Hull#249) was launched on April 4, 1925, by the Great Lakes Engineering Works, for the Wilson Transit Co. Renamed b.) E J KULAS in 1936, c.) BEN MOREELL in 1953, d.) THOMAS E MILLSOP in 1955. Sold Canadian in 1976, renamed e.) E J NEWBERRY and f.) CEDARGLEN 1981. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1994.

FRED G HARTWELL (Hull#112) was launched April 4, 1908, by the Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the Mutual Steamship Co., G.A. Tomlinson, mgr. Renamed b.) HARRY W CROFT in 1917. Scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1969.

Interlake Steamship’s E G GRACE became the first Maritimer to be sold for scrap when she was aquired by Marine Salvage on April 4, 1984.

JEAN-TALON was launched April 4, 1936, as a.) FRANQUELIN (Hull#1517) by Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson Ltd. for the Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co. Ltd.

The harbor tug and fire boat EDNA G was launched April 4, 1896, by the Cleveland Ship Building Co., as (Hull#25), for the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range Railroad Co.

On April 4, 1983, and on April 4, 1984, the WILLIAM CLAY FORD, opened the inter-lake shipping season at Duluth, Minnesota. While the WILLIAM CLAY FORD was traditionally among the first vessels to visit Duluth-Superior, it was coincidence that she opened the port on the same day during her last two seasons in service.

On 4 April 1872, the schooner JOHN WESLEY was launched from Bailey's yard at Toledo, Ohio. She was built for Skidmore & Abairs. She was classed as a full sized canaller and cost $22,000.

On 4 April 1881, the last two vessels of the Northern Transit Company, CHAMPLAIN and LAWRENCE, were sold to D. H. Day & Company of Grand Haven, Michigan.

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

 

Alpena Stationary in Saginaw

4/3 - The Steamer Alpena departed from the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal around 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning and headed upriver to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin. She first entered the basin facing west as most cement carriers do, but not being able to turn around that way, she attempted to face east in the basin as most other vessels do, but she almost became stuck in the silt build-up in the channel.

The captain decided to begin backing up back the ship to the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal and berth along side the E.M. Ford to wait for the river conditions to better. By 12:00 p.m. with over 2 hours of time and fuel wasted on trying to turn, the Steamer Alpena resided along side the E. M. Ford at the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal and it is anticipated that she will try to turn around again tomorrow morning, possibly with the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch.

High winds from the northeast Sunday, and constant build-up of silt in the Sixth Street turning basin over the winter are the factors to blame in the Alpena not being able to turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin. In the previous seasons, the first boats to use the Sixth Street basin have had problems with silt build-up from over the winter. With severe weather coming tomorrow to Michigan the Alpena will need a lot of good fortune in attempting to turn Monday morning.

Reported by Gordy Garris

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery.

 

Algoisle in Trouble

4/3 - Around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Algoisle was down bound on the St. Lawrence River and suffered a complete blackout. The vessel had to drop anchor just before the very dangerous Cap-à-la-Roche section of the St. Lawrence between Trois-Rivieres and Quebec City.

It is unclear if the vessel sustained damage but it remained at anchor until the main engine lubrication system was working again and proceeded to Becancour under her own power to have its hull inspected by divers.

 

Port Reports - April 3

Goderich - Dale Baechler
It was a busy weekend in Goderich. Friday night the Mark Hanna and her barge unloaded calcium into the tanks at the new harbour dock. Late Saturday, the Algoway came out of winter layup and entered the harbour to load at Sifto Salt. Upon the departure of the Algoway Sunday morning, Nanticoke came inside and was loading at the elevator dock.

Sarnia - Dave Wobser
Peter R. Cresswell, Manistee and Algoway all departed lay up within a two hour period on Saturday. Maumee had steam up, but still has shutters on the pilothouse windows.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Saturday the David Z. Norton came out of the graving dock around noon assisted by Selvick tugs. Later in the afternoon the new build cement barge for LaFarge Innovation was inplace and the dock was being pumped out. Around 7:30 p.m. the Saginaw cleared winter layup heading south bound for Lake Michigan.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Wednesday, Glenevis and Vigilant 1 shifted the James Norris back to Pier 35 south just after noon, to make way for the salty Bluebill, which arrived late in the evening. She is the third salty in this season. The Stephan B. Roman departed while the Norris tow was underway. An hour later Hamilton Energy arrived to bunker Pytheas at Redpath, after which she returned to Hamilton. The Groupe Ocean tugs Omni-Richelieu and Jerry G. came in to assist Bluebill into the dock, after which they berthed at Redpath for the night.

Thursday, the Groupe Ocean tugs were in at Redpath awaiting the unloading of Pytheas to end. The tour boat Shipsands was launched at the Outer Harbour Marina, where she wintered, and she returned to service. The tour boats Aurora Borealis, Stella Borealis and Jaguar II played musical boats at their dock. Wayward Princess was out for its first charter of the season. The tour boat River Gambler had it's stacks raised by shore side crane, in prep for Friday's charter.

On Friday, Bluebill, Pytheas and the Group Ocean tugs departed Toronto. River Gambler went on its first charter of the season.

After wintering and dry docking in Hamilton, English River returned to Toronto Sunday morning with it's first load of cement this season for "The Big Smoke". Quebecois had steam up Sunday afternoon and she began ballasting for an early morning departure. James Norris will be the next ULS vessel out, sometime later this week.

 

Photographer Bringing his Titanic Stories to Port Huron

4/3 - Port Huron - On April 27, the internationally acclaimed cinematographer and deep-sea photographer will tell Port Huron area residents about the experience. "I am euphoric over this," said Ed Weichsler of Port Huron, a long-time member of the Titanic Historical Society in Massachusetts. Weichsler took a chance at a February dinner with White, who shares an area friend with Weichsler, and asked him to come do a fund-raiser and presentation in Port Huron.

A few weeks later, White sent an e-mail to Weichsler agreeing to the proposal. "I never expected he'd say, 'yeah, sure,'" Weichsler said.

White in 1985 documented the expedition that found the wreck of the Titanic, acted as submersible cameraman for a 1995 IMAX film Titanica and served in 1995 as expedition leader and second-unit cameraman for film Director James Cameron's picture Titanic. As a photographer and filmmaker for the National Geographic Society, many other TV and motion picture images have been credited to him.

"You can liken him to a movie star, a behind-the-scenes movie star," said Lonnie Stevens, United Way executive director. "It is really exciting to have someone like this here." White is giving the presentation without charging the United Way for his services, and LaSalle Bank is covering all other costs, so the United Way will reap all the profits, Stevens said. "We've never had this kind of opportunity," she said.

The ship historically fascinates kids, said Weichsler, who got hooked on Titanic lore when he was young. "The first two things that catch a kids' fancy are dinosaurs and Titanic," he said.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald

 

Cruise the Historic St. Marys River on Father’s Day

4/3 - DeTour - The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society’s (DRLPS) ninth annual entertaining and educational cruise up the St. Marys River is scheduled for Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18, 2006, departing for the day trip from DeTour Village in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The lighthouse benefit cruise will take passengers to the offshore DeTour Reef Light, up the historic St. Marys River that connects Lake Huron to Lake Superior, and through the famous Soo Locks on board a 65-foot double-decker boat. Enjoy the narration of the rich history of the area and take photos of the beautiful scenery, lighthouses, old coal docks, freighters passing by, and the largest waterway traffic system in the world at the Soo Locks.

Boat boarding begins at 9:45 a.m. at the DeTour Village Ferry Dock and returns via chartered bus from Sault Ste Marie at 6:00 p.m. Ticket cost is $90 per person and includes lunch, snacks, tour narration, cash bar, and prizes. A portion of your ticket is tax-deductible as allowed by law. All profits go to the preservation of the DeTour Reef Light.

DRLPS was established in 1998 as a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization to restore and preserve the DeTour Reef Light as a monument to Michigan’s maritime history. Located a mile offshore in northern Lake Huron at the far eastern end of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the lighthouse was restored by the DRLPS, and guided tours of this historic structure are available.

For River Cruise tickets, please visit www.DRLPS.com  or click here to e-mail

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 03

On 03 April 1969, RALPH MISENER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 19,160 gross tons, built in 1967, at Montreal, Quebec) suffered serious fire damage to her engine room during fit-out at Port Colborne, Ontario. She sails today as b.) GORDON C LEITCH.

On April 3, 1991, the pilothouse of the WILLIAM CLAY FORD of 1953, was moved by a barge towed by Gaelic tug's CAROLYN HOEY and placed on a specially built foundation at the Dossin Museum for display facing the Detroit River as a fully equipped pilot house.

The tanker a.) TEMBLADOR (Hull#15) of the Barnes – Duluth Shipbuilding Co., was launched April 3, 1943, for the Creole Petroleum Corp, for off lakes use. She later sailed on the lakes as b.) LIQUILASSIE

On 3 April 1872, the passenger/package freight steam barge ROBERT HOLLAND was launched at Marine City, Michigan. She was towed to Detroit by the propeller TRADER to have her machinery installed.

On 3 April 1876, the Port Huron Times reported "The wreck of the schooner HARMONICA, which has been missing for a month or more, has been discovered on the beach near Whitehall, Michigan completely buried in the ice. Four are supposed to have perished."

On 3 April 1894, WILLIAM H BARNUM (wooden propeller freighter, 219 foot, 937 gross tons, built in 1873, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying corn on her first trip of the season. She was reportedly in poor condition and was insured only for this voyage. Her hull was cut by floating ice and she sank in the Straits of Mackinac about two miles east of present Mackinac Bridge. The tug CRUSADER got her crew off before she sank.

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

 

Port Reports - April 2

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The James R. Barker brought a load of coal to Marquette on a bright and sunny Saturday.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk and Torben Hawksbridge
The Agawa Canyon departed her winter lay-up berth in Owen Sound Saturday morning. She began the season turning in Owen Sound bay just before 11 a.m.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey, Gordy Garris and John Soderquist
The Alpena became the first vessel of 2006 to travel up the Saginaw River, through the bridges and to the upper river.  She passed through the Independence Bridge in Bay City at 10:15 a.m. Saturday morning on her way to the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton to unload cement.  The Alpena is expected to be outbound early Sunday.

Sarnia - Barry Hiscocks
The Manistee was expected to depart Sarnia early Saturday evening in ballast for Brevort, Michigan.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday the Voyageur Independent departed Pier 25 at 2:30 p.m. and head down the lake. The CCGC Limnos arrived at 4 p.m. and went to Pier 10 . Saturday the Montrealis departed Dofasco Dock 1 at 5 p.m. after unloading iron ore pellets.

 

Updates - April 2

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 02

On 02 April 1900, the JOHN MINER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 134 foot, 273 gross tons, built in 1866, at Detroit, Michigan as a bark) was purchased by S. R. Chamberlain from Frank Higgie for $800. She only lasted until 19 October 1902, when she was lost in a storm on Lake Huron.

On April 2, 1951, the CLIFFS VICTORY was towed, bound for New Orleans, Louisiana, with her deck houses, stack, propeller, rudder and above deck fittings stored on or below her spar deck for bridge clearance. She was outfitted with two 120 foot pontoons, which were built at the Baltimore yard, that were attached to her hull at the stern to reduce her draft to eight feet for passage in the shallow sections of the river/canal system.

LEON FALK JR was launched April 2, 1945, as a.) WINTER HILL, a T2-SE-Al, World War II, single screw fuel tanker for U.S. Maritime Commission.

The CLIFFORD F HOOD was launched April 2, 1902, as the straight deck bulk freighter a.) BRANSFORD for the Bransford Transit Co., (W.A. Hawgood, mgr.).

The SENATOR OF CANADA sailed under her own power on April 2, 1985, to Toronto, Ontario where she was put into ordinary next to her fleet mate the QUEDOC. She was scrapped in Venezuela in 1986.

The WHEAT KING was lengthened by an addition of a 172 foot 6 inch mid-section (Hull #61) and received a 1000 h.p. bow thruster. This work reportedly cost $3.8 million Canadian and was completed on April 2, 1976. On April 2, 1953, the straight deck bulk freighter, J L MAUTHE (Hull#298) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works entered service for Interlake Steamship Co. She operates currently for Interlake as the self-unloading barge PATHFINDER.

April 2, 1975 - The State of Michigan filed a Federal Court suit to stop the Grand Trunk Railway from selling the GRAND RAPIDS. It was felt that selling the ferry would build a stronger case for abandonment of the entire ferry service.

On 2 April 1874, A H HUNTER (wooden propeller tug, 58 foot, 28 gross tons) was launched at Saginaw, Michigan. She was built for Donnelly & Clark of Saginaw by Wheeler. The engine was built by Bartlett & Co. of Saginaw. Her boiler and some other equipment were from the almost new tug KATY REID that burned at Salzburg, Michigan in October 1873.

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

 

Lansdowne Misses Deadline to Move

4/1- Erie, PA - The Lansdowne's deadline to move away from downtown Erie's Waterfront was Friday and it appears the owners will not comply with meeting the city's notice. Specialty Restaurants Corp. of California has not notified the city or the Coast Guard if it has plans to move the barge. The executive director of Erie's Port Authority, Ray Schreckengost, says the authority is ready to take legal action.

From the Erie Times News.

 

Funds Disbursed to Both Mackinaws

4/1 - Cheboygan - More than four months of fund-raising activities that culminated in a big welcoming weekend in December have resulted in a cash windfall to benefit Cheboygan's two Coast Guard cutters. The Welcoming Committee formed to coordinate activities surrounding the arrival of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw has disbursed money raised through the welcoming ceremony and sales of a commemorative coin to the public.

Many Cheboygan citizens and businesses volunteered to contribute time and money to the cause of holding a welcoming reception at the Gold Dust Ballroom Dec. 17 after the new ship arrived. Their benevolence helped keep costs to a minimum, allowing for more money to be raised for the morale funds of the two ships. A parade was held through the downtown area to celebrate the arrival of the new ship and crew and the dedication of the 1944-era cutter.

After all bills were paid, the first check was written to the Cheboygan Area High School band program. The young musicians, under the direction of Thomas Golden, provided lively patriotic music from the deck of the original icebreaker Mackinaw as the new vessel entered the Cheboygan River and approached its new dock for the first time. The school's jazz band then performed that evening at the reception and was widely acclaimed for creating a classy, energetic atmosphere that allowed for conversation above their toe-tapping tunes. The Committee felt so strongly about the music of the day that it awarded a check for $700 to the school's band program.

In addition, the Committee felt it was important to recognize the efforts of the crew of the original U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw. The ship served as hosts for the contingent of politicians, media, businessmen and other well-wishers who were invited aboard for the day to prepare for the new icebreaker's arrival. The Mac also hosted the Cheboygan Area High School Band for the event, and provided refreshments and snacks for all. The Mackinaw's Morale Fund was replenished by $1,400 to assure a strong finish for the crew while in Cheboygan.

The largest amount disbursed will be to the new Mackinaw's Morale Fund. Once the total cost of processing credit cards and postage on sending out the second batch of coins is received in the next week, the crew of the new ship will receive its award to guarantee a good start in its new home. As of Wednesday, the total dollar amount to be given to those on the new ship has exceeded $1,900. More than 1,400 commemorative coins were sold in association with the event. The actual donation to the crews of the ships must be done through the Coast Guard's main accounting office in Washington, D.C.

The date for ceremonies decommissioning the 1944 Mackinaw and commissioning the 2005 Mackinaw is set for June 9 in Cheboygan.

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune

 

Port of Indiana Welcomes First Ocean Ship of the Season

4/1 - Portage, IN – The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor welcomed the first ship of the 2006 international shipping season today with the arrival of the Ziemia Cieszynska. Captained by Jan Jarosz from Poland. The vessel arrived at approximately 2:00 a.m. this Friday carrying 8,900 tons of steel coils from the Netherlands.

Every year, from the end of March through December, the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway – "the fourth coast of the United States" – opens its international waterway to ships calling on U.S. and Canadian ports throughout the Great Lakes. "The first ship of the season is always a special event," said Port Director Steve Mosher. "Our port handles foreign shipments year-round on river barges, but ocean-going ships provide a direct connection between Indiana and the rest of the world. Plus, there's just something special about watching a 650-foot international ship pull into port."

About 40 local workers from the International Longshoremen's Association Local 1969 and International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 will unload the ship today in about 10 to 12 hours depending on weather. A third of the ship's cargo is destined for the Port of Indiana, as it will continue on to Milwaukee tonight. A full ship of 24,000 tons would take about three days to unload. The port's labor force handles more tons per hour than any other port on the Great Lakes, which reduces shipping costs and creates a competitive advantage for the Port of Indiana. "This year is off to fast start," Mosher said. "More than 100,000 tons of steel shipments are already scheduled for April, which is 48 percent above average for the past five years."

The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor is a 600-acre port and maritime industrial park located on Lake Michigan just 20 miles from Chicago. The port has 12 ship berths and 25 tenant companies within its boundaries. The Ports of Indiana operates three ports, including two on the Ohio River in Jeffersonville and Mount Vernon. Overall, Indiana's three-port system handled $1.5 billion of cargo in 2005, including $658 million in steel shipments on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River.

For more information visit www.portsofindiana.com.

Reported by Peter Zagorac

 

Port Reports - April 1

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The G. L. Ostrander/barge Integrity made its way into port on Friday afternoon among windy conditions with fog in the area. The Integrity tied up at Lafarge to take on cargo.

Also on Friday afternoon the Steamer Alpena was anchored offshore in the bay, waiting for the Integrity to depart. The Alpena came in around 9:00 p.m.

The J.A.W Iglehart is expected back in port early Saturday morning after finishing a lengthy lower lakes run.

On Thursday morning the American Republic was loading at Stoneport, followed by the McKee Sons later on. The Adam E. Cornelius was at the dock on Friday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Welland Canal traffic Friday night included the Sea Eagle II and her cement barge, along with the Algolake. The Algonova was departing Nanticoke around 6:00 p.m., and the Seaway dispatcher told her captain to have an eye out for the Cuyahoga and Canadian Navigator both Eastbound on the lake for the canal.

The first of the original Commercial Slip's limestone blocks were laid back in place on the afternoon of the 30th. They were removed, sorted out, and cleaned a few years ago before the entire project ground to halt over restoration plans. After a historically accurate theme was chosen for the Erie Canal Harbor area the slip was dug up, a large sewer drain was removed and steel sheet pile was installed to help support the old stonework. If everything goes according to expectations, the slip is due to be rewatered this summer with completion of the slip restoration project and Naval Park grounds set for the Fall of 2007.

Quebec - Ron Walsh
The Quebec port site showed the Birchglen in port yesterday for a crew change. Today, she is shown as waiting for inspection. This could indicate a change back to Canadian registry.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Middletown made a stop at Marquette for ore on Friday. The Michipicoten is continuing her regular runs between Marquette and Algoma. Both Barkers are possibly due this weekend.

 

Updates - April 1

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events has been updated.

 

Today in Great Lakes History - April 01

On 01 April 1887, W. T. Botsford & Company of Port Huron, Michigan bought the COLORADO (wooden propeller package freighter, 254 foot, 1,470 gross tons, built in 1867, at Buffalo, New York). She was added to their two other vessels: DEAN RICHMOND and ROANOKE.

The STEWART J CORT was commissioned on April 1, 1972.

In April 1965, Interlake’s steamer J A CAMPBELL was renamed c.) BUCKEYE MONITOR after being purchased by the Buckeye Steamship Co.

Realizing that the bulk trades were too competitive, Captain John Roen's Roen Transportation Co. sold the CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN to the American Steamship Co. (Boland & Cornelius, mgr.) on April 1, 1947, for $915,000.

The ROY A JODREY started her first full season opening navigation at the Soo Locks April 1, 1966, with a load of stone for Algoma Steel.

Dismantling of the G A TOMLINSON, a.) D O MILLS, began in Ashtabula, Ohio, on April 1, 1980, and was completed eight months later.

April 1, 1903 - Gus Kitzinger of the Pere Marquette Line Steamers, acquired the PERE MARQUETTE 3 & 4 from the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

Sailors at Chicago went on strike on 1 April 1871, for an increase in pay. They were getting $1.50 a day. Some ship owners offered $1.75 but when word came that the Straits of Mackinac were clear of ice, the sailors demanded the unheard of daily wage of $3.25. Although some ships stayed in port, the $1.75 wage was accepted and the barks MARY PEREW, J G MASTEN and C J WELLS, along with the schooners DONALDSON, PATHFINDER and CHAMPION set sail on 1 April 1871.

On 1 April 1904, CONDOR (2-mast wooden schooner, 58 foot, 22 gross tons, built in 1871, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin), while lying at anchor in the Kalamazoo River at Singapore, Michigan, was crushed by ice moving out in the Spring breakup.

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



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