Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Welland Canal navigation suspended

4/30 - The Welland Canal shut down temporarily Friday due to high wind. St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. communications officer Andrew Bogora said five vessels were delayed.

The navigation was suspended at 8:30 a.m. Friday. Bogora said vessels have a large expanse above water level that can be buffeted by high winds. Navigation suspensions are not frequent in nature. The five delayed vessels were at anchor or tied up at walls.

Niagara Falls Review


Port Reports -  April 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore Friday morning at the Upper Harbor. Fleetmate Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder were also at the ore dock waiting to load.

Menominee, Mich. & Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
On Sunday evening, the tug Champion arrived with two empty barges. The trio docked for the evening at Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. until daybreak on Monday when they headed through the Ogden Street Bridge and proceeded up-river to KK Integrated Logistics to load the larger rocks (10 - 20 tons each) for the Chicago marina project. Though they were loaded by Tuesday, inclement weather held them in port until Wednesday.

On Thursday, Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock around 1 a.m. with the dock's (and this vessel's) third load of pig iron for the 2011 - 2012 shipping season. At daybreak, the Marneborg arrived at KK Integrated Logistics to take on a load of wood pulp. Pere Marquette 41 finished unloading late that morning and departed, while the loading of the Marneborg had not yet begun, although they had arrived at the dock shortly after 7 a.m., due to intermittent rain.

Stoneport - Daniel McNeil
Due to load at Stoneport on Friday was the Phillip R.Clarke. Due in on Saturday is the Lewis J. Kuber and Joseph H.Thompson. Expected Sunday is the Sam Laud followed on Tuesday by the Herbert C. Jackson, followed by a return trip from the Lewis J.Kuber


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 30

30 April 1894 - The TRUANT (wooden propeller tug, 73 foot, 28 gross tons, built in 1889 at Toronto, Ontario) burned to a total loss near Burnt Island in Georgian Bay. The fire started under her ash pan.

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.


Port Reports -  April 29

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
High winds and heavy rains were the order of the day on Thursday. A strong current was running in the Saginaw River, but that did not stop the Karen Andrie and her barge, Endeavour, from making the trip into the river and stopping to unload at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair arrived during the early afternoon and planned to depart around 2 a.m. Stephen B. Roman remained at the Essroc dock after arriving early Wednesday morning.

Quebec - Frederick Frechette
The heavy-lift vessel Eide Trader arrived in port late Tuesday and began to prepare for the lifting of the former casino boat Horseshoe Casino, which will be loaded onto the Trader for delivery overseas. Loading is expected to take place on Saturday.


Seaway announces Pacesetter Award winners for 2010 season

4/29 - The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) has announced six winners of its prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award for the 2010 navigation season. This annual award is presented to U.S. Great Lakes ports that register an increase for the year in international cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway.

The six ports that have won the Pacesetter Award for 2010 are:

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority
Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor
Port of Oswego Authority
Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

“This robust increase in international cargo shipments is good news for the U.S. economy and underscores the importance of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway System,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are encouraged by what we are seeing and applaud the outstanding work of the Great Lakes ports.”

SLSDC Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. added, “We are pleased to see the gains made in international cargo shipments last year. The performance of the six Pacesetter Award-winning ports benefits the entire Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.”

All six of these ports have been past winners of the award since its inception in 1992. This is the twelfth year that the ports of Duluth, Oswego, and Toledo-Lucas County have received a Pacesetter Award. The Port of Cleveland and the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor have received nine prior Pacesetter awards, and this will be the seventh time the Port of Ogdensburg will be presented with the award.

Administrator Johnson will present the awards to each of the winners at port visits during the coming months.


Updates -  April 29

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 29

29 April 1896 - The W. LE BARON JENNEY (steel tow barge, 366 foot, 3422 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler & Company (Hull #120) at West Bay City, Michigan for the Bessemer Steamship Company of Cleveland, Ohio. She went through eight owners during her career, ending with the Goderich Elevator and Transit Company, Ltd. who used her as a grain storage barge under the name K.A. Powell. She was scrapped in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1974.

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.


Port Reports -  April 28

Calcite and Stoneport - Daniel McNeil
Sam Laud was due to load Wednesday at Calcite. Calumet is due on Saturday, followed Sunday by McKee Sons.

Philip R. Clarke was loading Tuesday at Stoneport. Due Wednesday is John G. Munson, followed by Manistee and Sam Laud. Due Thursday is Joseph H. Thompson followed by a return trip by the Philip R. Clarke and the Lewis J. Kuber.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Stephen B. Roman made her second visit to the Saginaw River, arriving early Wednesday morning to unload at the Essroc dock in Essexville. As of Wednesday night, she was still unloading at the dock.


Port expansion discussed

4/28 - Green Bay - A multi-year study of the feasibility of developing an intermodal shipping facility in the Port of Green Bay is expected to be completed in June. The report is part of port officials' wider effort to seek out additional commerce for the facility and region.

"It's one of many futures steps," said Dean Haen, port manager. "If it's determined to be feasible, then we need to look real hard at locations and need to push the political and policy side for changes to tax laws … and working with shipping companies to see if they are interested. Then work with other ports."

Intermodal transportation moves large metal containers by rail, ship and truck.

"If everything is a green light, then it comes down to the finances and can we access the necessary resources to build it," Haen said. "And where is it going to be built? We have to find that piece of property."

The study was recently discussed during the 2011 Port of Green Bay Symposium at the Green Bay Yacht Club in Green Bay.

Haen said it will take a couple of years for any intermodal facility to come to fruition.

John Stoll, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay professor working on the study, said they are still looking at some of the numbers, including traffic volumes, that would be needed to make the concept workable.

An intermodal facility could save money, time and resources used to ship products from place like Rochester, Minn., and Edmonton to ports in Houston and on the east and west coast. A facility in Green Bay could shave thousands of miles off the journey of products produced in the region and make shipping more cost efficient.

But it could also spur additional international trade, said Ray Hutchison, professor and chairman of urban and regional studies at UW-Green Bay, who is working on the study with Stoll.

"There are a lot of other businesses that have not made use of international markets because of the transportation and logistical issues, and this will provide new opportunities," he said. "We're hoping it will also help bring in other businesses."

Hutchison said areas along the Fox River — on both the east and west sides — just south of the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge have been identified as possible sites for the facility. Another site, farther up river on the west side, is also in the mix.

Any site, like the rest of the study, is merely a look at the feasibility of the concept.

The study was launched in December 2008 and is funded by a grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

Wanda Truttmann Sieber, owner of Unishippers in Green Bay, works with small and medium-sized businesses to help them find shipping solutions across all transportation platforms.

"In many instances maritime transportation is the best deal, but right now all that money is going to ports outside of Wisconsin," said Truttmann Sieber, who attended the symposium.

Green Bay Press-Gazette. Spring buoy replacement a rite of passage Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Standing on the shore, dropping a channel buoy looks as easy as throwing a bobber out on a fishing line. It's much more intense.

Capt. Vasilios Tasikas led a U.S. Coast Guard crew of 28 on the U.S. Mobile Bay into the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal Friday. It was the first-of-the-season excursion "setting'' the buoys in the channel. By mid-May, they'll have set about 60 buoys from Green Bay to Escanaba, Mich. They will never tire of it.

"It's a team evolution,'' said Capt. Tasikas. "Everybody has a hand in the project. At the end of the day, we take pride of what's been accomplished.''

It's also labor intensive. In the seven hours, four small winter buoys were replaced with five larger, and mostly solar-lighted, seasonal buoys. Including a chain inspection, it takes about an hour to complete the task for each buoy.

The buoys are not named, except for the mighty Morse Alpha, which is also known as the candy cane. The 8-foot buoy attached by a 90-foot chain, weighed down by a 5,000-pound cement block, is the traffic buoy at the entrance of the channel. On days where the waves reach 2-3 feet, the swaying will trigger its bell to start ringing and alert boaters to slow down.

The remaining red-and-green buoys form the path in which boaters should navigate their vessels through. Friday's winds were a bit brisk, forcing the Mobile Bay and its tandem barge to approach and thrust from the port side. A computer digitally pinpointed each drop.

"I enjoy the buoy tending,'' said Petty Officer Terry Fritzinger of Hemet, Calif. "It's an all-hands project. It also gives the opportunity for others to train.”

First-time tender Seaman Ed Bizorik of Bellevue, Ohio, also said it was a great experience. "It was awesome. I'm looking forward to the next trip. The guys make it a lot of fun.,” he observed.

Door County Advocate


US Coast Guard gets heavy on overweight passengers

4/28 - On American passenger ships, expanding waistlines are lowering hull lines, forcing the authorities into action.

The U.S. Coast Guard has raised its average passenger weight from 160 pounds to 185 pounds. It is the first time it has done so since the 1960s.

That the average American is a touch portlier than 50 years ago may not come as a huge surprise but it is a blow to many commercial boat operators, who will be forced to reduce capacity.

"People have just gotten heavier," said Coast Guard spokeswoman Lisa Novak.

The Coast Guard has followed the lead of other transport administration bodies. The Federal Transit Administration, with responsibility for the nation's buses, still tests vehicles as if the average rider weighs 150 pounds – it has just proposed a jump to 175 pounds. Prompted by a 2003 plane crash in North Carolina, the Federal Aviation Administration has raised its average weight estimate from 170 pounds to near 190 pounds.

In 2004, a water taxi called the Lady D flipped over in Baltimore harbor, resulting in the death of five passengers. A year-long investigation followed focusing on outdated estimates of passenger weight.

Not all services will be affected however. Catalina Express, which annually ferries hundreds of thousands of passengers from Los Angeles to nearby Santa Catalina Island, won't be carrying any fewer.

"It won't affect us at all," said spokeswoman Elaine Vaughan. "We usually carry less than our Coast Guard-approved capacity. That's a decision we made for comfort reasons."

The new boat rule takes effect in December, after the 185 pounds figure was first suggested in 2006. Since then, the average American has already grown a couple of pounds heavier.

The Independent


Updates -  April 28

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 28

28 April 1856 - The TONAWANDA (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 202 foot, 882 gross tons) was launched by Buell B. Jones at Buffalo, New York.

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 and c.) AMERICAN INTEGRITY in 2006.

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.


Rain raises Lake Ontario, river levels

4/27 - Watertown, N.Y. - The water level of Lake Ontario is rising because of recent precipitation and might exceed the longtime average this summer, according to officials with the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control.

John W. Kangas, secretary of the bi-national organization, said the lake's water level in Oswego is about 245.8 feet, about 2 inches above its historic average for April owing to recent "heavy supplies" of water, including precipitation and runoff from streams. That's about 8 inches lower than the 2009 level.

"We've been below average for quite a while, and we initially expected the summer water levels to be 3 to 4 inches below our long-term average," Mr. Kangas said. "But now with the rain, I expect the next forecast will show a summer peak for Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River that is closer to average, and perhaps even a bit above average."

Outflow from the Robert H. Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Massena this week will be 259,200 cubic feet per second, which is a little less than called for by the water regulation plan 1958-D, because of high water conditions in the lower St. Lawrence River area around Montreal, he said.

"This week's flow is still above the long-term average outflow for this time of the year," Mr. Kangas said.

However, Joan F. Coughlin, owner of Shangri-La Campground and Marina, Point Peninsula, said she believes the lake is still quite a bit lower than what most marina owners would hope it to be in April.

"It's definitely lower than in 2009. I'd say it's about where we were last fall, which is unusual because of the amount of snow we had this winter," she said.

The St. Lawrence River's water level was 245.41 feet in Alexandria Bay as of Sunday, about 7 inches lower than in 2009. Mr. Kangas said he had received only one complaint in the past few weeks regarding water levels. He said a resident had sent him an email asking for an additional 8 inches of water on the lake by summer.

"It appears that Mother Nature is providing that without any intervention from the Board of Control," Mr. Kangas said, alluding to recent weather forecasts.

This week's projected rain will not have much impact on Black River water flows, however.

Robert S. Folton, an engineer with the Albany office of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, said the National Weather Service is forecasting the water flow "to not come up much" as a result of the rain expected this week. And the Black River's water level is only slightly above its 90-year historic level, he said.

The regulating district continues to release water on a need basis at the Stillwater Reservoir on the Beaver River.

The district provides river regulation, including flood protection and low-flow augmentation, in the Hudson River and Black River watersheds through the operation of water storage reservoirs, including Great Sacandaga Lake, Indian Lake, Stillwater Reservoir and the Fulton Chain of Lakes.

Watertown Daily Times


“Know Your Ships” launches redesigned Web site, honors founder

4/27 - A re-designed Web site for the boatwatching field guide “Know Your Ships,” launched Tuesday night, includes a tribute to the book’s founder, Thomas J. Manse.

Thanks to Digital Shipyard’s John Belliveau, new artwork was created of a typical laker of the 1930s-40s, and named after Manse, who started the book 52 years ago. “It’s nice to be able to honor Tom with a boat named after him, even if it’s just on the Web,” said current KYS editor/publisher Roger LeLievre.

In response to many questions over the years from collectors, the new site includes a complete history of the various covers that appeared in the early years, and also offers an image gallery of all covers. Two historic photo galleries are also included, with more to come. Visitors, who can order the book at the site, can also browse a complete catalog of items for sale and view a list of retail outlets that sell “Know Your Ships” in the U.S. and Canada.

The 2011 “Know Your Ships” came off the press in March.


Updates -  April 27

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 27

27 April 1889 - ROMEO (wooden propeller excursion steamer, 70 foot, 61 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #51) at West Bay City, Michigan, for service on the Òinland route (Oden, Michigan to Cheboygan, Michigan & Bois Blanc Island) along with her sister JULIET (wooden propeller excursion steamer, 70 foot, 61 gross tons), launched the following day. The vessels had twin screws for maneuverability along the northern rivers. ROMEO lasted until 1911, when she was abandoned at Port Arthur, Texas. JULIET was converted to a 'steam yacht' and registered at Chicago. She was abandoned in 1912.

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.


Port Reports -  April 26

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Monday morning included Joseph L. Block arriving to unload stone at the CN ore dock, Montrealais loading at CHS grain elevator, Mesabi Miner at Midwest Energy Terminal loading coal destined for Presque Isle near Marquette, and BBC Oregon unloading wind turbines at Duluth port terminal. Salties Blacky and Nogat were anchored on the lake waiting to call at the Peavey elevator in Superior.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A busy Monday started with Presque Isle departing the Upper Harbor ore dock in the morning, after a 20-hour load, and Robert S. Pierson arriving to load ore. After unloading stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, Kaye E. Barker shifted to the Upper Harbor ore dock in the evening and joined Manitowoc loading ore.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Pacific Huron left Oshawa early on Sunday morning. Shortly after the departure, the salty Stefania 1 arrived at Oshawa. Both vessels were assisted by tugs Jerry G and Omni-Richelieu.


The first wind turbine comes through the Cleveland Port

4/26 - Cleveland, Ohio - The first ever wind turbine from Europe has arrived into the Port of Cleveland. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, Cleveland Port Authority Director Will Friedman, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone, and other dignitaries gathered near the freighter Monday morning.

The county provided a $350,000 forgivable loan to Lincoln Electric to purchase it from a company in Germany and install it at the company's facilities in Euclid.

"The county has put their money where their mouth is to show we're serious about supporting this emerging industry. We want Greater Cleveland to be on the cutting edge of this new renewable energy sector and promote the Port of Cleveland to be an operating and working port," says FitzGerald.

The 443 feet tall wind turbine arrived in parts. The length of each of the blades is 165 feet. Each blade weighs 15 tons. Workers at the port spent hours unloading the freighter, but got the parts off without any problems.

Cleveland's Port has an advantage over other cities that makes it ideal for larger loads. "We have a deep water port connected to the rest of the world. It's the first port in when you're coming inbound from the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence Seaway," says Friedman.

Once assembled, the wind turbine will be about as tall as the Carl B. Stokes Federal Courthouse and close to three times as tall as the 147-foot tall turbine at the Great Lakes Science Center. This is the largest wind turbine in North America says Mason.

Officials hope this is just the beginning to making Cleveland a greener city and allows the county to play a larger role in the renewable energies industry.



Engine problem delays Lake Express sailing season for three weeks

4/26 - Muskegon, Mich. - A sure sign of spring is the seasonal launching of the Lake Express high-speed cross-lake ferry service to Milwaukee. However, a diesel engine problem will keep the Lake Express dockside until about May 23, company officials said Monday.

Lake Express had been planning the start of its eighth season of operation between Milwaukee and Muskegon this Friday. The passenger-and-vehicle ferry was to have had two round trips a day through June 30 when the three-trip-a-day summer schedule begins.

Lake Express President Ken Szallai explained that over the winter engine work included rebuilding two of the ship's four diesel engines. The other two were rebuilt last year as major engine overhauls are done after 15,000 hours of operations, company officials have said.

Sea tests the week of April 18 discovered a problem with the starboard, outboard engine that powers one of the 192-foot catamaran's four water-jet drives. The diesel engine had to be removed and rebuilt at Inland Power Group's Iron Mountain, Mich., diesel engine facility, Szallai said.

“There are chances that we might be back in operation earlier than May 23, as that was a conservative estimate,” Szallai said. “We are not happy with the delay of the start of our season.”

Those who have tickets and reservations for the first three weeks of the sailing season can either reschedule their trips or get a full refund from the Milwaukee-based company. Customers can contact Lake Express through its website at or by phoning 866-914-1010.

“The engine program is part of an ongoing effort by Lake Express to maintain its optimal operating efficiency in accordance with state, federal and international environmental and emission regulations,” according to a company statement. “While Lake Express is able to operate with fewer than four engines, the decision to swap out the engine reflects the company's commitment to offering the fastest possible service on Lake Michigan's only high-speed ferry route.”

Lake Express cruises across Lake Michigan at roughly 40 mph, making the 80-plus-mile dock-to-dock trip in about two and a half hours.

Competitor Lake Michigan Carferry serves vehicles and passengers on the coal-fired S.S. Badger in a four-hour trip between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis. The Badger is scheduled to resume operations May 26.

Both ferry services are looking at a 2011 that will be driven by fuel prices. Lake Express must deal with the rising price of diesel fuel, while passengers contemplate $4-plus gasoline as they look at the cost of driving around the southern end of Lake Michigan to get to Wisconsin.

Lake Express in March announced fare increases of about 10 percent to reflect higher operating costs. Lake Michigan Carferry has preseason price discounts through the end of the month and hasn't announced regular fare prices for 2011.

Muskegon Chronicle


Menomonee River in Milwaukee temporary closure in June

4/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. - The moveable, counterbalanced, swing span bridge over the Menomonee River at Mile Post 1.05 near Plankinton Avenue in downtown Milwaukee will undergo repairs to the counterweight June 6-18.

The double track railroad bridge, owned by the Canadian Pacific, will need to remain closed while the concrete and steel counterweight above the tracks is replaced. The existing counterweight is in poor condition and is under the design weight, therefore rail and other items are piles on the counterweight end of the bridge to bring it up to weight.

The scope of work to take place in June will include railroad crews using crane, saws and jack hammers to dismantle the concrete counterweight, make steel repairs, formwork for new cast in place concrete floor, placing new concrete blocks, and retensioning steel members. Navigation on the river during this time will be restricted to vessels that can pass under the bridge only as the bridge will be unable to operate for the duration of the project.


Chicago Harbor Lock overhaul finished

4/26 - Chicago, Ill. - A $15.9-million, federally funded project to overhaul the Chicago Harbor Lock has been successfully completed, preserving a little-known but critical piece of the city’s infrastructure.

Under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and operates the lock, Chicago-based James McHugh Construction Co. replaced four massive gates where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan this past winter, finishing 21 days ahead of schedule and within budget.

Originally built between 1936 and 1938 to comply with a Supreme Court order limiting how much water can flow from the lake into the river, the frequently malfunctioning lock was 18 years beyond its life expectancy and beyond the point of repair five years ago when city and state officials started calling for its gates to be replaced.

Besides accommodating about 40,000 vessels a year—mostly tour boats and pleasure craft—the lock serves as an escape valve to prevent flooding of downtown buildings along the river during the most severe storms.

But the project didn’t get funded until 2009 when the federal stimulus program set aside the needed money. In order to create jobs quickly, stimulus funding dictated that the original plan to replace two gates at a time over two winters had to be compressed into one construction season.

“Whether we could get all the work done largely depended on the weather, and luckily, the weather cooperated,” said Steve Hungness, chief of operations technical support for the Corps in Chicago, in an email.

In case a flood threatened, McHugh kept cranes stationed at the site to quickly remove bulkheads installed during construction to separate the lake and the river, but they weren’t needed, which helped keep the project within budget, he added.

Due to the complexity of the project, the corps required all four gates, more than 100 tons apiece, to be at the construction site before work began on Nov. 1. The gates were built near Buffalo, N.Y., and shipped in pieces to Calumet Harbor, where they were welded together. Then they were loaded on a huge barge, which required a special waiver from the Coast Guard.

Chicago Business


Boatnerd’s 2011 cruising, gathering schedule

4/26 - Several outstanding cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online Inc. for interested boat watchers this season. Make your reservations now.

May 29 - Reserve now for annual Memorial Weekend cruise from Detroit to Port Huron The 21st annual Lake St. Clair & River cruise offered by Diamond Jack River Tours, the Marine Historical Society of Detroit (membership not required for the cruise) and will be Sunday, May 29. Tickets for this day-long, 120-mile cruise, which includes a deli lunch on board the Diamond Belle and dinner at the St. Clair Inn, are $90 per person, by reservation only (closing May 23). The trip leaves the Diamond Jack dock in Detroit at 8 a.m. on the 29th, heads up Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River to pass under the Blue Water Bridge, then turns downbound for St. Clair, where passengers disembark for dinner. The vessel returns to her dock around 9 p.m. Along the way, the Diamond Belle will accommodate photographers by getting as close as possible to passing and docked freighters. In addition, “Know Your Ships” author Roger LeLievre will be on board to sell and sign copies of the 2011 edition.  Click here for details

June 4 - Badger Boatnerd Gathering and Cruise We are pleased to again offer the popular Boatnerd Badger Gathering – a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., aboard Lake Michigan Carferry ‘s S/S Badger. Join us in traveling on the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, OR go on the optional Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise aboard the Badger. On Friday night, June 3, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

July 15-17 BoatNerd is sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo and return aboard the Keweenaw Star July 15-17. This promises to be a superb freighter-chasing, lighthouse-viewing trip. Package includes: Three days cruising aboard the Keweenaw Star in the shipping lanes and past a number of lighthouses, lunch on board the boat, two nights at the casino in the Soo, two buffet dinners and breakfast buffets at the casino, and $30 cash to spend in the casino. See the Gathering Page for all the details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365 and make your reservation today. Hyperlink -

June 24 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three hours and will travel through both the U.S. and Canadian Locks. We will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and dessert. There will be a cash bar on board. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves.

August 6 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise On Saturday, August 6, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mailboat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

September 16-18 – Annual Welland Canal Gathering Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where the big boats go when they die.

See the Gathering Page for details and sign up forms


Updates -  April 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Audio clips from the past, audio files added to the Chief Wawatam, Heron Bay, Kinsman Voyager, and Sylvania galleries.


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 26

26 April 1891 NORWALK (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 209 foot, 1007 gross tons) was launched by William DuLac at Mount Clemens, Michigan. At first, she was not able to get down the Clinton River to Lake St. Clair due to low water. She lasted until 1916, when she was sold to Nicaraguan buyers and was lost in the Caribbean Sea that autumn.

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 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.


Port Reports -  April 25

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Presque Isle made an uncommon visit to load ore Easter Sunday at the Upper Harbor. The last 1,000 foot vessel to load ore in Marquette was Mesabi Miner in January 2010.

Menominee, Mich. - Cory Price
The Wagenborg vessel Maineborg left the K&K Dock in Menominee, Mich., on Easter Sunday, loaded with pulp. Tug Jimmy L. arrived from Surgeon Bay, Wis., to assist if necessary.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
St. Clair arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Friday afternoon and backed into one of the north slips. American Courage was moved from the south yard into the graving dock for painting.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday at 5 p.m. Mississagi tied up in the river at the Alpena Oil Dock and unloaded salt from Goderich, Ont. It was a pleasant day and many people enjoyed seeing the vessel up close. Mississagi departed around 8 p.m. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected at Lafarge on Monday morning to load.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Sam Laud was in Lorain harbor Sunday afternoon at 3:44 p.m., arriving stern first. She cleared the outer harbor light at 10:49 p.m. heading east.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Both the St. Mary Cement barge and Stephen B. Roman departed on Toronto on Saturday.


Updates -  April 25

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 25

25 April 1890 - The Collins Bay Rafting Company’s tug ALANSON SUMNER (wooden propeller tug, 127 foot, 300 gross tons, built in 1872, at Oswego, New York) burned at Kingston, Ontario. She had $25,000 worth of wrecking machinery onboard. The SUMNER was repaired and put back in service.

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. MC LAGAN 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.


Coast Guard responds to capsized boat on Lake St. Clair

4/24 - Cleveland, Ohio - A boat crew from Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores, Mich., brought two men ashore from Lake St. Clair near Black Creek, Mich., South of Clinton River, Saturday, after the vessel they were on capsized.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Detroit were notified by a local 911 dispatcher at about 4:30 p.m. that the two men were aboard a sinking 18-foot boat. The crew from Station St. Clair Shores assisted both men onto a 33-foot SPC-LE rescue boat at about 5:20 p.m. The two men were transferred to waiting emergency medical services and taken to Mt. Clemens Regional Hospital. One of the two men who were transported ashore was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Both were wearing life jackets.


Port Reports -  April 24

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
H. Lee. White unloaded stone at Gateway Metroport Saturday morning. She departed at 1 p.m. and was passing Long Point around 5 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman deported Toronto on April 21 and returned again April 22. Also in port was a St. Marys cement barge at Ontario Ready Mix.


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 24

24 April 1882 - The ferry HAWKINS (wooden propeller ferry, 73 foot, 86 gross tons, built in 1873, at Au Sable, Michigan) was renamed JAMES BEARD. She had received a thorough overhaul and was put in service between Port Huron, Michigan, and Sarnia, Ontario, on 25 April 1882. She lasted until 1927, when she was abandoned.

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 crewmembers 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.

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.


Port Reports -  April 23

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The USCGC Hollyhock finished working Aid to Navigation in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel and was outbound from the area Friday night. Inbound Friday night was the tug Karen Andrie pushing the tank barge Endeavour. The pair called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload.


Underwater shipwreck photography exhibit opens

4/23 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The photography exhibit “Ghost Ships of the Wisconsin Schooner Coast” opens at the Door County Maritime Museum’s Reddin Bridge Room Saturday, April 30.

The exhibition features the work of Dennis Mullen, who is particularly noted for his underwater and nature photography. Dennis is an accomplished diver with over 1,000 dives logged. In addition to his extensive Great Lakes experience, he returns every winter to dive the waters of Bonaire, located off the coast of Venezuela. His photographic style incorporates subject, surroundings, composition and exposure to create compelling images. The show is presented by the Neptune’s Dive Club of Green Bay, in conjunction with the Maritime Museum.

Some of the most significant shipwrecks off the Lake Michigan coast are featured in the exhibit, said the museum’s executive director Bob Desh, who added that Wisconsin’s Schooner Coast is a newly-formed marketing collaboration. It highlights the rich maritime history of the 60-mile stretch along the Lake Michigan coastline and the quaint port towns of Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Kewaunee, Algoma and Sturgeon Bay. This is one of the first programs being offered by this cooperative effort with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.

The photos will be on display in Sturgeon Bay through July 5. The exhibit will them be moved to the maritime museum in Gills Rock for display through October 16.

For more information, visit


Teachers at sea wanted

4/23 - Duluth, Minn. - The University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program is looking for 15 teachers interested in participating in the “Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop” offered through The Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, Great Lakes. The workshop will take place on the Environmental Protection Agency’s research vessel, the Lake Guardian, July 20-27.

Successful applicants must be willing to integrate Great Lakes and marine science into their teaching curriculum. Selected applicants will work with Great Lakes Sea Grant staff and scientists, and be eligible for graduate credits through the University of Minnesota Duluth.

For more information go to: The application deadline is May 15.


Updates -  April 23

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 23

23 April 1907 - The SEARCHLIGHT (wooden propeller fish tug, 40 foot, built in 1899, at Saginaw, Michigan) capsized and sank while returning to Harbor Beach, Michigan, with a load of fish. The vessel had been purchased by Captain Walter Brown and his son from the Robert Beutel Fish Company of Toledo, Ohio, just ten days before. The sale agreement stated that the tug was to be paid for with fish, not cash. All six crew members drowned.

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 sprang 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.


Port Reports -  April 22

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning, Kaye E. Barker loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor while Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader unloaded limestone at the Lower Harbor. Robert S. Pierson was due at the Upper Harbor for ore later in the day.

Marinette & Menominee - Dick Lund
On Saturday, Algomarine finally made it into Marinette Fuel & Dock Company with the port's first load of salt for the 2010-2011 shipping season. The ship had been at anchor for over 30 hours out in the bay of Green Bay waiting out a storm.

On Wednesday night, just before midnight, the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted backed up the Menominee River to KK Integrated Logistics to pick up the dock's first load of rocks for the Chicago marina project. On Thursday, while the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted were still loading rock, the season's first saltie, Maineborg, arrived, also heading to KK, to load pulp for the next couple days. About an hour after Maineborg tied up, Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted were loaded and ready to depart. After heading out into the bay, the vessels headed north to "Death's Door" at the tip of Wisconsin's Door Peninsula before turning south toward Chicago, a 28-hour trip from Menominee.

Milwaukee, Wis.
St. Clair backed out of the KK basin in Milwaukee departing winter lay-up at 3 p.m. Thursday.

South Chicago, Ill Brian Z.
Canadian Enterprise was loading petroleum coke at KCBX Terminals on Thursday after discharging road salt at Morton. She arrived around midnight, after Wilfred Sykes finished loading a coal cargo.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The USCGC Hollyhock arrived in the area early Thursday morning and was working aids to navigation in the Saginaw River entrance channel. Hollyhock was replacing winter marks with lighted summer buoys. The Station Saginaw River 49-foot BUSL 49422 has also been working AToN in the upper Saginaw River.

Sarnia, Ont. – Frank Frisk
Algoma Discovery completed unknown repairs and departed the Government Dock at 7 a.m., upbound for Thunder Bay, Ont.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner tied up at General Mills around 5:30 a.m. Thursday.

Port Weller, Ont.
Peter R. Cresswell is heading for Port Weller Drydock to repair damage on her bilge keel, which happened while loading or when departing Sault Ste. Marie Export Dock. The #1 starboard ballast tank was taking on water after departing. The vessel anchored and divers made temporary repairs, which enabled the vessel to offload in Detroit and then make her way to Port Weller.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman arrived in Toronto on April 20.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The CCGS Griffon arrived in Oshawa Thursday. Also in Oshawa are CCGS Cape Mercy, Pacific Huron, Jerry G, and Escorte.


Lake Superior levels unusually low, impacts shipping

4/22 - Superior, Wis. - Wood pilings, debris and sand bars have cropped up on or near the Ashland shoreline as the snow melt has given way to lower than average water levels on Lake Superior.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports the average monthly value for Lake Superior water levels to be 600 feet above sea level in March of this year. That number was seven inches higher at the same time last year. Ashland Marina manager Scott Stegmann says water levels in the marina are down about 16 inches.

“Usually, we see the water level up. Of course, that comes from runoff from streams and groundwater and such. But this winter not having the snow and then even this spring having the rain avoid us, we’ve obviously been impacted greatly. Since I’ve been working here the last 10 years, we’ve never seen it this low in the spring.”

Stegmann says he's also heard reports from local fishermen about shallow boat launches and docks. Jeff Bodin is among them. He’s the owner of Bodin Fisheries in Bayfield. He says water levels have been low all winter long.

“It just makes it more difficult getting in and out of boats on the commercial fishing end."

Meteorologist Keith Kompoltowicz is with the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He says their latest summer forecast predicts Lake Superior will remain around 4 to 7 inches below last year’s levels. “That is also about 15 inches below its long-term average,” he explains.

However, Kompoltowicz says water levels on Lake Superior have already risen 3 inches in April. Even so, the lake has seen below average water levels since 2000, which has affected shipping on the Great Lakes.

Glen Nekvasil is vice president of the Lake Carriers Association. Nekvasil says coal cargoes loaded in April out of Superior’s Midwest Energy terminal were at least 10,000 tons lighter than coal shipped during 1997 -- when water levels were at near-record highs.

“For one of our biggest ships, if they lose a foot of draft which is not unheard-of these days, they’re losing more than 3,000 tons of cargo. This is a very, very serious issue for us."

While no one can control Mother Nature, Nekvasil says more could be done to deal with low water levels on the Great Lakes. Gene Clark agrees. He's with Wisconsin Sea Grant in Superior. Clark says efforts are underway to educate communities about ways to adapt to low water levels over time.

“One (example) would be for marinas to have flexible dockage. Older marinas have their dock heights fixed to a certain level, expecting certain water levels always to occur. With more variable water levels and even the types of levels we’re seeing right now, those docks that are of fixed heights make access very difficult to them. If the docks are floating, the docks will move up and down with the water levels.”

Clark says those that make their living off Lake Superior must adapt in order to survive changing water levels on the Great Lakes.



Updates -  April 22

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the H C Heimbecker


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 22

22 April 1873 - ST. JOSEPH (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 150 feet, 473 gross tons, built in 18,67 at Buffalo, New York) was sold by the Goodrich Transportation Company to Charles Chamberlain and others of Detroit, Michigan, for $30,000.

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 lost her self-unloading boom during a windstorm at Windsor, Ontario, on April 22, 1980. As a consequence, she made 10 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-masted wooden schooner JAMES COUCH was launched at Port Huron, Michigan. She was named for a prominent Chicago businessman of the time.

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.


Port Reports -  April 21

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
Wednesday was a busy day in the Port of Green Bay. The Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber arrived around 10 a.m. with a load of stone for Western Lime, the first delivery to that dock this season. Around noon the Mississagi arrived with the first load of salt for the Fox River Dock, and about 5 p.m. Algocanada arrived on its first ever visit to Green Bay. Shortly after Algocanada arrived, Mississagi and Olive L Moore departed.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Luedtke tug Ann Marie arrived in Alpena on Tuesday, tying up in the river to wait for better weather conditions. Ann Marie left Wednesday evening, heading back to Frankfort, Mich. The U.S Fish & Wildlife vessel Spencer F. Baird was also tied up in the river. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected at Lafarge sometime Thursday night.

Erie, Pa. - Jeffrey Benson
Sam Laud arrived at Erie Wednesday and moored at the Mountfort Terminal. She had a load of stone but no preparations were underway for unloading. Winds were gusting down the channel at 20-30 mph. They may be waiting for the winds to die down before unloading.


Updates -  April 21

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Kinsman Voyager and H C Heimbecker galleries


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 21

21 April 1907 Peter West, a fireman on the JOHN C. GAULT (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 218 foot, 519 gross tons, built in 1881, at Buffalo, New York, converted to a bulk freighter in 1906, at Detroit, Michigan) fell overboard and drowned in Lake Huron. The news was reported to Capt. J. W. Westcott when the GAULT sailed past Detroit, Michigan, on 23 April 1907.

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, Minn., 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.


Superior coal shipments outpace Great Lakes' overall

4/20 - Superior, Wis. - The amount of coal shipped from Superior is rebounding more than shipments across the Great Lakes as a whole. During March, 325,805 nets tons of coal were shipped from Superior, an increase of 42 percent from March 2010, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Lake Carriers’ Association. The March tonnage was 22 percent less than the five-year average for Superior.

Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 580,419 tons in March, an increase of 18 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were nearly 45 percent below the month’s five-year average. Year-to-date coal shipments from Superior total 911,134 tons, 53 percent above the tonnage shipped during the same period in 2010 and only 7.5 percent below the five-year average.

Year-to-date, the total Great Lakes coal trade stands at 1.3 million tons, 20 percent more than during the same period in 2010 and 42 percent less than the five-year average

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  April 20

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon, Algoway made her first visit of the 2011 season, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville to unload Potash. She was expected to depart late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

St. Clair, Mich. – Frank Frisk
American Century loaded coal in Ashtabula and was unloading at the St. Clair Power Plant’ Recor Edison Coal Dock Tuesday. Normally coal unloaded at the plant is loaded in Superior, Wis. No other details about the trip were available.


Former Duluth cruise boat takes a tumble

4/20 - Duluth, Minn. - The Vista King is off to a rocky start at its new home port.

A crane was lifting the longtime Vista Fleet cruise boat out of the Milwaukee Inner Harbor on Thursday when the boat fell, hitting the dock and landing back in the water. The boat was being lifted so it could be refurbished and overhauled before the cruise season starts next week.

“There’s some damage along the port side that might require welding,” said Jake Chianelli, owner and president of the Milwaukee Boat Line, the boat’s new owner. “Repairs are going to be made and we’ll be operating the boat within a few weeks.”

The Vista King was scheduled to enter service April 25 with a series of harbor history cruises as part of a Water Week celebration.

Thursday afternoon’s accident was caught by a webcam at the Great Lakes Water Institute. The time-lapse video shows a crane lifting the boat from the water at the Port of Milwaukee Heavy Lift Dock. The Vista King fell as the crane was moving back from the water.

“There was a problem somewhere,” Chianelli said. “We’re still trying to figure that out.”

The video shows the Vista King’s bow appearing to sink lower in the water after the accident. Chianelli said water came aboard the ship when it hit the water and rolled to one side, allowing water to rush under a door and below deck. It’s not clear if any water came in through damage to the hull.

The water was pumped out and the boat left in the water until the next day, when it was lifted out without incident. “Now the boat is where it was supposed to be all along,” Chianelli said.

The Vista King, which can carry up to 200 passengers, was pulled from Vista Fleet operations after the 2009 season and put up for sale. It can carry 50 more passengers than either of the other two vessels owned by the Milwaukee Boat Line: the double-decker Iroquois and the three-level Voyageur.

Duluth News Tribune


Port of Toledo receives 1st ocean freighter of 2011

4/20 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Monday morning formally welcomed the first oceangoing freighter of the 2011 shipping season to the Port of Toledo. The M.V. Daniella, registered in the Netherlands, arrived Friday from Thailand carrying a “project cargo” of machinery for the BP/Husky refinery in Oregon.

Officials from the port authority and Midwest Terminals of Toledo presented ship’s captain Richard Hut and his crew with welcoming gifts during a ceremony on board the ship Monday morning before it departed.

Cargo tonnage across the Toledo docks increased by 8.2 percent last year, to 10.86 million tons, buoyed primarily by increases in coal and iron ore traffic. Twenty-two oceangoing vessels called in Toledo during 2010, up from nine the year before.

The annual “first ship” ceremony is traditionally held to honor the first ocean vessel of the shipping season in recognition of Toledo’s position on the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway navigation system.

Most of the ships that visit Toledo are Great Lakes vessels carrying bulk products such as coal, iron ore, grain, salt, and cement.

Toledo Blade


Morro Bay back from Great Lakes tour

4/20 - New London, Conn. - Right on time, the Coast Guard cutter Morro Bay chugged her way up the Thames River to moor opposite the training ship Eagle at Fort Trumbull on Tuesday morning.

The Morro Bay was returning from a four-month assignment to the Great Lakes, where she joined the Ninth Coast Guard District in icebreaking duties. The 140-foot vessel began taking part in Operation Coal Shovel on Dec. 10 and spent the winter clearing shipping lanes in the southern portion of Lake Huron, the St. Clair and Detroit River systems, Lakes Erie and Ontario, and the St. Lawrence Seaway. The crew also had the distinction of rescuing a snowmobiler adrift on an ice floe on his birthday.

A small group of family members waited on the dock for the cutter to sidle up to the dock. Crew members attached mooring lines as well as hookups for water and fuel. The ship’s commander, Douglas Wyatt, briefly came off the ship to greet his wife and two-year-old son. Other crew members were also permitted to see family before returning to secure the ship and do a mission debrief with Joseph A. Servidio, chief of staff of the First Coast Guard District.

Shannon Romano, of Groton, was on hand with her daughters Adrianna, 17, and Abby, 6. She said her husband Steven has been in the Coast Guard for 12 years. She said they were able to communicate to some extent, but not while the ship was underway. She said Abby learned to ride a bicycle without training wheels and tie her shoes while Steven was away.

“They’re not usually gone this long,” she said. “You get into a routine after almost half a year gone.”

Casey Timothy, also of Groton, to see her husband Jeremy with Hanna Mir, Jeremy’s 14-year-old niece. She said some of the crew was able to make a brief sojourn back to New England, driving from Cleveland in a government vehicle. Casey said Jeremy has been in the Coast Guard for seven years and that she was pleased to have him back.

“It’s been interesting,” she said. “He’s had prior service, so he’s had 11 years in, and this is the first time he’s been away that long.”

New London Patch


Congressman tackles Great Lakes ferry tax

4/20 - U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette said he hopes legislation he co-introduced to eliminate the tax on the value of cargo in the Great Lakes could remove a major barrier to establishing ferry service across Lake Erie to Canada from a Northeast Ohio port.

The tax is called the Harbor Maintenance Tax, and because of it, ferry proposals are in limbo in Grand River, Cleveland, Ashtabula and Conneaut, said LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township. The Short Sea Shipping Act introduced last week by LaTourette and U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., would carve out a narrow exemption for the Harbor Maintenance Tax for the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System.

"The Harbor Maintenance Tax is the main obstacle to establishing a cargo ferry to transport goods to and from Northeast Ohio and Canada," LaTourette said.

The biggest reason is because Canadian ports have no incentive to finalize ferry service across Lake Erie if the tax remains in place. "This could be the last hurdle to making cargo ferry service a reality," LaTourette said. "This will hopefully open up an avalanche of new investment along the Great Lakes in our region."

Grand River Mayor Christopher Conley was pleased to learn about the proposed legislation. "I think Congressman LaTourette has proven time and time again that he supports business and people," Conley said.

The mayor has been a proponent of a ferry system that would bring in domestic and international shipping to the region.

"I know there are millions of dollars north of us, and why we don't want to bring it into Lake County is beyond me," Conley said.

The HMT, established in 1986, is levied across the country to pay for harbor maintenance such as dredging of ports and navigational channels.

Nationwide, more than $1 billion was collected last year from the tax at a rate of 0.125 percent, or $1.25 per $1,000 in cargo value, according to LaTourette. The tax is not paid by the vessel owner or a port. Instead, the cargo owner pays the fee.

HMT is assessed on cargo transported between U.S. ports and cargo imported to U.S. ports from other countries, but not on exports.

The tax revenues are deposited into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, from which Congress annually appropriates funds for harbor maintenance.

LaTourette said port dredging would continue even with a Great Lakes exemption said Dino DiSanto, LaTourette's chief of staff.

"It's cheaper to put things on a truck and ship it across the country," he said.

The idea behind eliminating the tax for the Great Lakes would be to create jobs and to get trucks off the roads, reduce pollution, save shipping time and be a boon to the Great Lakes shipping industry, the trucking industry and the local economy, LaTourette said.

He said a trip across Lake Erie to one of Canada's ports is about 80 miles and takes about three hours. By comparison, it might take six hours for a truck loaded with auto parts to reach the same destination by driving around Lake Erie.

LaTourette said there would be a huge demand for ferries loaded with trucks and cargo traveling back and forth between Ohio and Canada.

"This is just another example of the government getting in the way of allowing the economy to grow," LaTourette said. "Once the HMT is gone, we will be able to take advantage of Ohio being one of the best locations in the nations."

He said the Lake Carriers' Association in Cleveland has said it would take 2,800 25-ton trucks, 700 railroad cars or 47 barges to carry the load of one Great Lakes vessel.

In addition, one study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found that Great Lakes shipping saves about $3.6 billion a year over the next least-costly methods of transportation such as rail or truck.

News Herald Port of Green Bay Expects a Rebound Year Green Bay, Wis. - As Green Bay's port kicks off another shipping season, the port director provided a report on last year's accomplishments and what the city can expect this year.

At a symposium Monday morning, Port Director Dean Haen said they received a significant number of grants and a company opened a new terminal that is creating jobs. So he's looking for a rebound this year.

"We've had some significantly challenging years the last couple. The ports are usually a leading indicator of the economy, and our tonnage has been down," Haen said. "We're optimistic we're going to start rebounding, and the first place you'll see that reflected is in the tonnage through the port."

Haen said he expects to see more raw materials shipped to companies through the Port of Green Bay this year as the economy improves. He also said UW-Green Bay is currently conducting a feasibility study to find out of the Great Lakes could handle containerized shipping.

"We have a lot of expensive finished goods that are produced in the area but don't move through the port. You've got Mercury Marine, Oshkosh Truck, and Manitowoc Group. You've got some big producers in this area that aren't utilizing the port just because they've got specialized products that need to be containerized," Haen said.

Haen said a containerized network, if established, would help businesses deliver products by water to places like Chicago, Cleveland, and even Toronto.

He says the network would need federal legislative approval before becoming a reality.



Updates -  April 20

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 20

20 April 1874 - The Bailiff Smith boarded the little tug IDA SEARNS at Port Rowan, Ontario, with orders to seize the vessel. However, the skipper, Captain Tregent, weighed anchor and gave the bailiff the opportunity of a free ride to Detroit. Bailiff Smith had been on such an excursion once before and hastily jumped onto the dock. The tug quickly steamed out of the harbor.

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.


Steelworkers end lift-bridge standoff

4/19 - Hamilton, Ont. - Locked-out U.S. Steel workers braved the cold and wind all day Sunday in a bid to prevent the CSL Assiniboine from leaving Hamilton Harbor. But after 17 hours, police convinced the workers to leave the bridge and let the ship pass.

About 25 workers holding flags and signs marched back-and-forth across the lift-bridge, preventing it from being raised and forcing the vessel, carrying about 20,000 tons of coke, to anchor in the harbor. It first tried to get through at about 8 p.m. Sunday.

“We feel the coke belongs to us. It should be used here to make steel and we think (moving it out) is a provocation on U.S. Steel’s part,” Local 1005 president Rolf Gerstenberger said. “We don’t think it’s right that they just have us making coke and they just ship the coke out to other plants.”

Nine hundred Hamilton workers were locked out Nov. 7. The workers started protesting on the bridge at about 5 a.m. Sunday morning. Mayor Bob Bratina visited them later that night to show his support.

U.S. Steel Canada started shipping coke out of the city last month, and a Canada Steamship Lines vessel carrying the metallurgical coal left Hamilton Harbour for Nanticoke at the end of March. At that time, the union had sent out an urgent appeal to its members, asking them to gather at the Burlington Canal lift-bridge, but the ship was already gone.

Nothing should be moved from Hamilton while Ottawa and U.S. Steel are still in court, union leader Jake Lombardo said. “At the end of tonight, I hope that the federal government is listening.”

The union says U.S. Steel Canada is moving about 44,000 of 200,000 tons of coke stored in Hamilton.

Hamilton Spectator


Toledo port shipping season kickoff

4/19 - Toledo, Ohio - It's a big day for the port of Toledo.

The first overseas freighter of the year is here and the arrival is good news for the local economy The ship and crew are from the Netherlands, but the cargo it's carrying is from Thailand.

The Toledo Lucas County Port Authority welcomed the Daniella Monday. The arrival also marks the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway for our region. The captain and crew of the Daniella were given gifts from the port authority and midwest terminals, including Mud Hens jerseys. The ship brought equipment from Thailand that will be used at the expansion of the BP/Husky oil refinery in Oregon.

Shipping is big business for the region. It creates hundreds of jobs and has an economic impact of hundreds of millions every year.

"We've got longshoreman that will be moving cargo and we can have 3-4-5 ships in port at the same time and then there are truckers moving the cargo in and out of the port. It's really about commerce and jobs, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President & CEO Paul Toth said.

"We put about $20 million into the port last year and we're on track to do about another $15 to $20 million this year and really we've got the most modern port on the Great Lakes and I think it's going to reap large rewards for Northwest Ohio," Toth added.

About 700 trips by freighters will load and unload cargo in Toledo this year.



Port Reports -  April 19

Owen Sound, Ont. - Erich Zuschlag
Robert S. Pierson came into Owen Sound with a load of grain for the P&H elevator. She was the first ship of the year into the harbor and was awarded the top hat from harbormaster Gordon McNeill.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Pacific Huron arrived in Oshawa, Ont., Monday, assisted by the tugs Escorte and Jerry G. This is her second visit to Oshawa; her first was November 2010. She made her debut appearance in the Great Lakes in 2010.


Vista King cruise boat moved from Duluth to Milwaukee

4/19 - Duluth, Minn. - Longtime Vista Fleet cruise boat the Vista King will find new life as an excursion boat in Milwaukee.

By the looks of its itinerary, the “luxurious” and “magnificent” Vista King,” as it’s being touted, has some lively days ahead. Concert cruises. History tours. Festivals and special parties, as well as sightseeing outings on the Milwaukee River and venturing into the open waters of Lake Michigan.

“They’re excited,” Vista Fleet spokesman John Goldfine said of the new owners. “It’s a very old family business. It’s got a good reputation.”

The Vista King, which can carry up to 200 passengers, was pulled from Vista Fleet operations after the 2009 season and put up for sale.

The fleet was reduced from three boats to two — the 300-capacity Vista Star and 70-capacity Vista Queen — to streamline operations and increase efficiency. The Vista King, built in 1978, was sacrificed because it was the fleet’s oldest.

Working with a broker, prospective buyers were found who came to Duluth to give the Vista King a test run last fall. “Everybody test drives a boat if they’re serious,” Goldfine said. And apparently the Vista King passed the test, because a deal was struck in November.

“They bought it. They showed up. They got on it and drove it away,” Goldfine said, meaning by water. “It happened very fast.”

Goldfine declined to reveal the purchase price. But he said: “We felt it was a fair price.”

Like the Goldfine family’s longtime ownership of the Vista Fleet in Duluth, the Milwaukee Boat Line is a longtime family business. Also like the Vista Fleet, it is based downtown where its boats depart.

The Vista King, which was dwarfed by the Vista Star in Duluth, is now the largest tour vessel in Milwaukee. Its sister boats are the double-decker Iroquois and the three-level Voyageur that accommodate 150 passengers each.

The Vista King is scheduled to cruise Milwaukee waters from April through October, beginning April 25 with a series of harbor history cruises as part of a Water Week celebration.

Meanwhile, the Vista Fleet is doing well as a two–vessel fleet, Goldfine said. “It worked out spectacularly,” he said.

Duluth News Tribune


New fireboat named after fallen firefighter arriving Monday

4/19 - Wheatley, Ont. - At 90 feet long and 300 tons, the $8.5 million Chicago fireboat is the biggest thing to come out of Wheatley harbor in years.

“It’s an impressive boat,” Windsor’s J.P. Cormier of Chapman Signs said last week as he finished the Chicago Fire Department lettering on the sides of the red fireboat.

The vessel — scheduled to arrive Monday, weather permitting — has four large nozzles that look like guns and are able to deliver 14,000 gallons of water per minute.

“It’s these water jets right there,” Cormier said of the boat’s wow factor. “They’re so massive.”

The vessel represents more than a year of work for Hike Metal Products Ltd. and its more than 20 workers. It’s the largest boat the Wheatley ship builder has sent out of the harbor in four or five years and is larger than a fireboat built in 2007 for Baltimore.

“It’s been 60 years since Chicago has [had] a new fireboat, and we’re excited about its arrival,” said Larry Langford, a fire department spokesman.

On Friday morning, the Chicago fireboat left the harbor and passed down the Detroit River. It headed through Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan on its way to Chicago.

The boat carries the Wheatley name in a touching coincidence that surprised fire officials in Chicago and the ship builders here.

The fireboat is called the Christopher Wheatley for the 31-year-old Chicago firefighter who died Aug. 9 in the line of duty. He was carrying equipment up a fire escape during a restaurant fire when he fell to his death.

His father, Daniel Wheatley, said after the Chicago Fire Department told him the city’s replacement fireboat would be commissioned in his son’s name, he asked about who was building the boat. When he looked up Hike Metal’s website and saw the location, he was stunned. He traveled to Ontario in March to see the boat and the village of Wheatley.

“His mother and I both agreed, he’s talking to us. He’s sending a message that he’s all right and we’ll see you another day.”

Daniel said his son loved firefighting and hanging out on a pleasure boat he and his father owned.

Not many firefighters in Chicago know what name the fireboat will bear when it arrives. Hike Metal officials found out about the coincidence four months ago when they asked what name to put on the boat.

Company president Andy Stanton said Wheatley’s not a common name and he’s pleased a hero will carry the Wheatley name out of the harbour. “We were very surprised.”

The Christopher Wheatley is a heavy-duty fireboat designed to break up to 12 inches of ice so it can operate year-round.

It can be used with scuba divers, for rescues, for firefighting with foam or water and as a pumping station to supplement the city’s fire-main supply of water. It can be run with a crew of five or up to 10 when fighting a fire. It has a kitchen, washroom and crew accommodations below decks.

One of the four monitor nozzles sits on a platform that can be elevated 30 feet, and the force of the spray will be enough to blast brick off the side of a building, Stanton said.

To be able to pass underneath low bridges, the boat was built so the mast comes down and it sits no more than 16 feet out of the water. It has four engines, two for the water pumps and two 1,500 horsepower propulsion engines to drive the boat. It can travel at 12 knots or at three knots through ice.

“These boats aren’t built every day,” Stanton said of the attention it has received.


Gogebic Taconite ready to drill test holes in northern Wisconsin

4/19 - Duluth, Minn. - One of the largest private investments in Wisconsin history — and the largest new taconite iron ore plant in the U.S. in more than 40 years — would transform the region’s economy.

That’s the finding of a newly released economic impact study funded by Gogebic Taconite LLC on its proposed $1.5 billion taconite mine and processing plant proposed for a remote area along the border of Ashland and Iron counties. The plant, which would employ 700 people, with hundreds more transportation and spinoff jobs, would be the first iron mining operation in northern Wisconsin since natural iron ore mines closed in the 1960s.

The new plant, producing 8 million tons of finished taconite pellets annually, would rival Hibbing Taconite, the second-largest of Minnesota’s six operating plants.

The study estimates Gogebic would pump $604 million annually into Wisconsin’s economy, with some $17 million in state taxes and jobs that pay $83,000 in combined wages and benefits — all in an area with high unemployment and dwindling opportunities in the forest products industry.

The study, by Madison-based NorthStar Economics, found that 2,834 jobs would be created in the area once the project is up and running, which would make it by far the largest employer and largest job generator in the area.

The impact would be felt in more than 12 counties, boosting business for engineering firms and mining suppliers in Duluth and Superior and jobs for unemployed workers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Gogebic’s promoters say.

“This is a game-changer for the region’s economy,” said David Ward, chief officer of NorthStar.

The open-pit mine would stretch roughly along four miles of the Penokee Hills, on private land, about 30 miles southeast of Ashland, between the small towns of Mellen and Upson.

The company said it has options to ship taconite by rail to Escanaba, Mich., to be shipped on Lake Michigan, or to Superior’s Burlington Northern ore dock, or even directly by rail to Chicago-area steel mills. Company officials also are considering refurbishing the long-idled Ashland ore dock.

Gogebic is a newly formed company, wholly owned by the Cline Group, which has headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The company, privately owned by Christopher Cline, is involved in mining operations in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.

Gogebic mining operations would cover about 22,000 acres on private land where mineral rights are held by La Pointe Iron Co. of Hibbing and RGGS Land & Minerals Ltd. of Houston.

It was RGGS, which also owns mineral rights where Cline mines for coal, which lured Cline officials to Wisconsin to look at its taconite reserves in 2009. Cline officials liked the chance to diversify from coal and cash in what has become a globally lucrative taconite market.

Gogebic officials said the company will design the plant so production could be easily doubled in the future, which would make it the largest taconite producer in the world. They also said an iron-making plant might be considered at the site in the future to refine taconite pellets into a product that Wisconsin mills could use for steelmaking. A similar operation, Mesabi Nugget, already is operating near Hoyt Lakes.

The company expects to receive permits from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources “any day now” to drill eight test borings at key sites across the proposed mine area. Company officials are figuring it will take two to seven years for environmental impact statements and permit review. They’re hoping for the low end of that scale so they can break ground in 2014 and produce taconite by 2016.

“We realize that’s an ambitious schedule,” said Matt Fifield, managing director of the Cline Group.

The test borings, which will pull a cylindrical sample of ore from below, will confirm what geologists for U.S. Steel and other companies found decades ago — that there’s a huge formation of readily accessible taconite not far under the surface. The company estimates it has access to 2 billion tons of high-quality taconite. That’s more than 35 years of taconite readily available — more if the company expands the mine farther along the mineral formation.

Bill Williams, Gogebic’s president and a former Minnesota and Michigan taconite industry executive, said U.S. Steel was close to building a plant on the same site in the 1960s.

“They decided on Minntac instead of Wistac, probably because they already had a big presence” on the Minnesota Iron Range, Williams said. “But we hear it was a toss-up. That’s how good this deposit is.”

Gogebic company officials say they will thrive in the market, with their state-of-the-art facility and its 21st century technology and pollution controls going up against taconite plants in Minnesota and Michigan built a half century ago.

Simply having the plant adjacent to the mine will be a major transportation savings over Minnesota plants that are miles from their open pits.

Company officials say it’s certainly not their goal to put existing taconite operations out of business, “but we plan to be the lowest-cost producer,” Fifield said. “We feel our efficiencies will make us more competitive than any other producer” in North America.

But less than two years after all eight U.S. taconite plants virtually shut down, with zero demand for their ore, does the U.S. steel industry really need another 8 million tons of taconite capacity? Peter Kakela, iron mining expert at Michigan State University, said a better question is whether the global steel industry can use that much more taconite. Kakela isn’t sure, but he wouldn’t bet against it.

The demand for iron ore is “off the charts” and growing 8 percent to 10 percent a year in China, with India close behind.

Minnesota and Michigan taconite now is being sent by ship to China and by train to Mexico, something considered unheard of just a few years ago. Kakela said taconite is selling for up to $200 per ton now and costs about $50 per ton to produce. That profit margin has re-written the books on how the industry operates, he said.

“That’s a huge investment, $1.5 billion, and it’s a huge size for production to jump right into at 8 million tons,” Kakela said. “I’m smiling right now because I don’t know the answer. But I wouldn’t write it off.”

The Gogebic proposal has spurred concerns about the disturbance to the land as well as air and water pollution that big mining projects can bring. That includes new roads, truck traffic and trains. Taconite plants also use large amounts of electricity and natural gas.

The Gogebic plant also will use millions of gallons of groundwater for its processing system, raising fears by some neighbors that a lowered groundwater table could affect wells as well as lakes and streams that depend on springs from underground.

The taconite plant’s water eventually would carry waste rock into a giant tailings basin, from which water would flow into local streams and, eventually, into the Bad River and Lake Superior.

Gogebic officials are quick to point out that taconite comes from far different rock than copper and nickel, with far lower sulfur levels, and that acidic runoff would not be an issue. They say water leaving the site would be treated.

Iron mining “has been done on both sides of us, in Minnesota and Michigan, for more than a century, without the kind of problems some people are concerned about,” Williams said.

Still, Minnesota’s taconite plants are the second-largest source of airborne mercury pollution in the region, trailing only coal-fired power plants. The mercury is released from the rock when furnaces are used to cure taconite pellets. And iron ore operations, old and current, are a major source of sulfate into local streams in Northeastern Minnesota. Sulfate at high levels can cripple wild rice beds.

Last week in Madison, Bad River Ojibwe Chairman Mike Wiggins Jr. and other tribal leaders, accompanied by a drum group and procession in the Capitol, urged state lawmakers to strongly consider the impact of a proposed mining project in northern Wisconsin.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  April 19

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Special Historical Perspectives gallery featuring 97 slides from Donald Dube
Public Gallery updated


Server move - you are viewing the new server

4/19 - Server move - The final step in our server move was completed about 10 p.m. Monday night. Congratulations, you are viewing the new server. If you experience any problems please e-mail


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 19

19 April 1884 - The KASOTA (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 246 foot, 1660 gross tons, built in 1884 at Cleveland, Ohio) was launched by Thomas Quayles & Sons at Cleveland, Ohio for Capt. Thomas Wilson of Cleveland, Ohio. The hull was painted green with white bulwarks and upper works.

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 20. 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.


Gale winds slow traffic

4/18 - High winds delayed traffic Sunday, with some vessels at anchor and others altering their normal courses to take shelter from the winds. On Lake Michigan, traffic was moving but hugging the western shore in lee of the land.

At the Soo, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder and the Presque Isle were anchored in Whitefish Bay off Whitefish Point, while Burns Harbor was anchored off Bay Mills. The anchorage off Detour had cleared out by mid-day Sunday, with only the BBC Jade on the hook. Low water in the Rock Cut sent Richelieu and James R. Barker to anchor near Nine Mile at mid-day, however they were underway again around 9 p.m.

In the Straits of Mackinac, Algomarine, Karen Andrie and barge, the tug Spartan and barge, fire tug Christopher Wheatley and USCG Hollyhock were all anchored northeast of St. Ignace. Olive L. Moore was in Hammond Bay north of Rogers City. In lower Lake Huron, Frontenac and Canadian Olympic were anchored.

On Lake Erie, the tug Victory and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin were anchored in western Lake Erie, mid-way between the Detroit River and Toledo.


Port Reports -  April 18

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Saturday evening the Chicago fireboat Christopher Wheatley made a brief stop in the river and tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock to take on fuel from a truck. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was making its way into Lafarge around 10 p.m. on Sunday. The Manistee loaded at Stoneport on Sunday followed by the Kaye E. Barker in the afternoon.

Hamilton, Ont. - Ted Wilush
With continuing high winds, Dara Desgagnes anchored off the Bronte piers and James Norris arrived in the Burlington anchorage. She picked up around 2 p.m. and headed in to pier 26 for repairs. John B. Aird departed pier 26 with slag for Montreal at 9:12 a.m. Cuyahoga departed Dofasco after loading slag at 6:15 p.m. CSL Assiniboine attempted to get underway from US Steel (Stelco) after loading coke, but was trapped in the harbor as of 9 p.m. by union protesters on the Burlington Lift bridge, angered over the removal of coke from the plant. Police mediation was on scene. Montrealais is expected in port Wednesday morning with ore for Dofasco.


New exhibit honors Hindman Transportation ships

4/18 - Owen Sound, Ont. - The Hindman Transportation Company Ltd. once loomed large in the economy of the region. At its peak, the shipping company employed 300 to 400 people in Owen Sound, Paul Evans says. During the winter "the whole harbour would be filed with ships. We got so big we had to have ships staying in Toronto and Goderich because you couldn't put them all here."

Most of the maintenance was done during the winter and "we had a full machine shop going all the time, we had guys working on the boats, we had ship keepers . . . A lot of people worked in the business. This was their port of call, this is where they lived and raised their families and made a living and sailed," Evans said in a recent interview.

Evans is the grandson of George Hindman, the founder of The Diamond Steamship Company and the Hindman Transportation Company, among other ventures. The Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum unveiled an exhibit entitled "Owen Sound's Harbour Jewel: The Diamond Steamship Company The Story of the Hindman Transportation Company" on Sunday.

The exhibit "captures the story of an extraordinary man who founded the company, the family that helped him succeed and the vessels that flew their flags and bore their names," a release from the museum says.

The Hindman Transportation Company was the last shipping firm operating out of Owen Sound, closing after the 1977 season. It was the second shipping line Hindman had started — the Diamond Steamship fleet was sold in 1951.

The family also had a timber company, which at its height owned 87,000 acres on Manitoulin Island.

"It was a pretty big business up there," Evans said, hiring people to cut pulp wood, reforest where those cuts were made, boom the logs and load them onto ships for delivery to mills in Detroit, Mich., and Tonawanda, N.Y.

"My grandfather wasn't just in wood. He drilled for oil up there. He was pumping oil near Gore Bay for a while . . . You know where Hobarts is? He bought that plant, it was called Sterling Machine and he manufactured fire trucks there. There's still some of them around," Evans said.

Evans, like everyone in his family grew up in the family business. He said he started working on tugs with his father in the Owen Sound harbor when he was eight or nine years old, breaking ice so ships could make their way to the grain elevator to unload.

He worked on Hindman ships on and off, enough to have stories — not always for publication — about the old Seafarers International Union and its goons under the command of Hal Banks, of characters like the sailor who brought a tux on board and pictures of him with celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. But Evans said the business he loved was the timber company on Manitoulin.

However, after loading logs one day, Evans said his father realized they wouldn't make any money on the shipment.

"They saw the writing on the wall and got out of it at the right time," selling the property save for some 1,000 acres at Michael's Bay the family donated to the province.

Evans said it used to be when he met people, they would say "my grandfather worked for your dad or my uncle did or my dad did or my sister did or whatever . . . It was always brought up" until the last three or four years.

"It's pretty much gone now, just the odd time you get that. But people move on, thing change, but the memories are always there."

The Hindman exhibit was organized by Mindy Gill, the curator of collections for the Owen Sound museums.

The idea dates back to "right after I started here in 2007 when we received a large donation from the Evans family. That was the seed. We've got all these items, previous donations from the Hindman family," she said. Then a marine historian named Skip Gillham published a book about the Hindman Transportation.

There's still a George Hindman in the shipping industry on the Great Lakes, Evens said. His cousin, who is know as Skip, captains a self-unloader for the Upper Lakes Shipping Company. "He's carrying on the name . . . still carrying the Capt. George Hindman legacy with great honour," Evans said.

Owen Sound Sun Times


Updates -  April 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Server move - our server move is expected to take place Monday night. Watch the News and What's New page for announcements.


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 18

18 April 1907 - At least twenty freighters were anchored at De Tour, Michigan, waiting for the frozen St. Marys River to break up. The vessels found their provisions running low after waiting for about a week and they bought everything edible in De Tour. The U.S. Lighthouse Service Tender ASPEN (steel propeller tender, 117 foot, 277 gross tons, built in 1906, at Toledo, Ohio) was sent to Cheboygan, Michigan to get more provisions. De Tour did not have railroad facilities at this time and therefore was compelled to stretch the provisions from the last boat in the Fall through winter until a boatload of supplies was delivered in the Spring.

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. Built in 1959 in Germany as the a.) EMS ORE, she was purchased by Hall Corp. in 1977. Converted to a bulk carrier with the addition of a forward cargo section at Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, Quebec.

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 car ferries 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.


New names released for former Upper Lakes vessels

4/17 - According to the latest issue Bear Facts, the Algoma Central Corp. newsletter, the new names for the former Upper Lakes Shipping vessels recently purchased is as follows.

Canadian Transport (Algoma Transport)
Canadian Enterprise (Algoma Enterprise)
Canadian Progress (Algoma Progress)
Canadian Olympic (Algoma Olympic)
Canadian Navigator (Algoma Navigator)
Canadian Transfer (Algoma Transfer)
Canadian Mariner (Algoma Mariner)
Canadian Provider (Algoma Provider)
Montrealais (Algoma Montreal)
Quebecois (Algoma Quebec)

John D. Leitch, James Norris and Gordon C. Leitch will not be renamed.


Port Reports -  April 17

Detour, Mich.
High winds Saturday sent Wilfred Sykes, Cason J. Callaway Tim S. Dool, H. Lee White, Federal Elbe and BBC Jade to anchor above Detour Saturday. About 11 p.m., Callaway, White and Dool departed downbound.

Traverse City, Mich - Sean Whelan
USCGC Alder arrived in Traverse City’s West Bay last Friday. Saturday she was setting buoys and then returned to anchor less than a mile off of the Open Space.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge made the Saginaw River on Saturday, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. The pair had been on the hook in the Saginaw Bay waiting on more favorable weather before making the trip in. Three other vessels that had been waiting on weather were also on the move. The tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour departed the Bit Mat dock and across the river, Stephen B. Roman departed the Essroc dock, with both vessels headed for the lake during the afternoon on Saturday. Out on Saginaw Bay, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were also headed for the lake after spending the past 36 hours at anchor. The weather forecast for Saturday night and Sunday was calling for gale force winds of 45 miles per hour plus in the area.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C Jackson was finishing unloading at the ADM Standard Elevator in the Buffalo River at 10 a.m. Friday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Saltie Blacky left Toronto on Friday.


High winds raise water levels Friday

4/17 - High winds caused problems along the Lake Erie shoreline Friday. The National Weather Service issued coastal flood warning. High waves at Maumee Bay State Park were caused by strong winds from the northeast blowing up to 30 knots.

According to the National Weather Service, Lake Erie's water level in Toledo was three feet above the average lake level. Later Friday evening, the winds were expected to shift southeast, causing water levels to drop.

In the meantime, people who live along Lake Erie's western shore need to be ready for high water. It may cause minor flooding, impacting roads, homes, and businesses near the shoreline.

There was also a warning for boaters. A small craft advisory has been issued for strong winds and high waves on the lake.



Goderich revenues up for fourth quarter, 2010

4/17 - Goderich, Ont. - The Goderich Port Management Corporation GPMC experienced an increase in revenues in their fourth quarter last year, despite fewer vessels using the harbour than anticipated. In the GPMC's fourth quarter report, which was before council April 4, the corporation reported revenues of $710,312. Income for the year totaled $2,000,667 compared to the budgeted $1,945,000.

There were 78 vessels that loaded or offloaded in Q4 last year, and one berthed for the winter. The total number of vessels in 2010 was 186.

Expenditures for the GPMC were $224,671 in the fourth quarter and $560,903 for the year.

President Al Hamilton said there was some minor work done around the harbour, but major projects were put off as the GPMC and the town awaited word on their harbour expansion funding request. "There wasn't a whole lot last year, but we did do some repairs to the fenders," he said. "The other thing we did was install some toe rails and some paving."

While the Build Canada Communities Fund application was denied, the port and the town are still seeking senior government partners. "We haven't given up on government funding yet," Hamilton said. "What we are trying to determine is are other funding options available from government?"

Meanwhile a couple of repair projects begun in the fourth quarter last year were held over until 2011. Concrete repairs on the south pier was completed in January, and one of the large fenders on the warping dolphin will be completed this spring. The work is being done by Huron District Contracting.

Goderich Signal Star


Upstart tugboat company Heritage Marine determined to flourish

4/17 - Duluth, Minn. - Mike Ojard has had other hobbies - notably arm wrestling, collecting toy cars and building street rods, and he was better than average at all of them

. He also has had other professions, notably as a welder/fitter for fabrication shops; teaching industrial math, hydraulics and other vocational skills; and owning and managing auto body, transmission and auto sales businesses. He has been successful at everything he has tackled.

But nothing in his life, perhaps, has thrown down a more formidable challenge than trying to succeed in the Twin Ports tugboat business. That’s exactly what he has set out to do.

Five years ago, he says, his tug business started out simply as a hobby. He had sold his automotive-related businesses to his son Vince (one of six children of Mike and Nancy Ojard of Knife River) and looked for something to do in retirement. He decided to buy a tug.

The original idea, he says, was just to have a semi hobby. “I thought it would be nice to try some icebreaking, maybe move a dredge or barge now and then.”

Thus modestly motivated, Ojard acquired his first tug, a retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers vessel then called the Forney. On the surface, all Ojard did was rename the tug the Edward H. and repaint the vessel in the old gold and deep burgundy DM&IR colors of the famed steam tug Edna G. That boat had had an illustrious career in Two Harbors with Adolph Ojard Sr. as captain and Edward H. Ojard Adolphs brother and Mikes father as chief engineer. (The Edna G. now is on permanent museum duty in Two Harbors.) Mike Ojard also had a name for his new one-tug fleet: Heritage Marine. Family is all-important to this business.

Beneath the surface of the new acquisition, deep within the engine room of the Edward H., a mechanical transformation was underway. The original unwieldy drive system the engine had to be shut off to put the boat in reverse was replaced by a new clutch assembly, flywheel and brake in the propeller shaft. “Now,” says Ojard, “especially with our computer controls, we can go from making 200 turns ahead to 200 astern in less than three seconds.” Ojard also reinforced the tug’s bow with extra steel, making it better at icebreaking. He and his crew also performed a vast catalog of other enhancements. The tug, already powerful with an engine that could produce more than 1,000 hp, and even more for short periods, was now a model of efficiency. (A new, more powerful engine is coming soon.)

The new drive system and other improvements came directly from the minds and rich mechanical experience of Mike and his crew of sons, grandsons and friends. There’s nothing on the boat that Ojard can’t fix or do.

One wonders, how did he ever learn to do all this? If you grow up in Knife River, Minnesota, as a Norwegian herring choker, he says with a grin, its inbred into you. All the guys in Knife River are like that.

Ojard says he grew up on a tug. He grew up without his mother, so when he wasn’t in school he accompanied his father to the Edna G. Mike loved the boat, the water, the hard work. “I just developed a love for tugboats,” he says.

He also developed a keen competitive spirit. Soon, Heritage Marine became more than a hobby; it became a business that Ojard is determined to grow. He wants both a return on the investment that he, son Pat and Pat’s wife Helen and other family members have made, and he wants to build a successful enterprise that he eventually can turn over to his sons and grandsons. (At age 65, he views this with some sense of urgency.)

Two years ago, the company rescued the moldy tug Ares from a Texas backwater dock, brought it to Duluth, renamed it the Nels J. (after Mikes grandfather on the Ojard side) and went about transforming that boat, too. With that, Heritage Marine became a two-tug towing and icebreaking fleet. Ojard already has his eye on a third tug and perhaps deploying it at the Soo Locks.

Bob Hom, soon to retire as operations director for the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, is a friend of Ojard and an occasional crew member on the Heritage tugs. Of Ojard, Hom says, “He’s like a savant when it comes to these tugs. He’s a mechanical genius. How he even thinks of some of the things he’s done, I don’t know. Plus, he’s got this entrepreneurial spirit. He’s living the dream.”

Heritage Marine is not the first upstart tugboat company to try growing a business in the Twin Ports during recent years. At least two other outfits have tried, and failed, to establish themselves in the past decade or so. The main obstacles are the economy, the changing needs of carriers that have added bow thrusters to their lakers and thereby diminished their need for tugs and the dominating influence of Great Lakes Towing.

The red and green G Tugs of Great Lakes Towing have been a fixture in the Twin Ports for decades. (This summer the company will celebrate its 112th anniversary.) Great Lakes Towing is a presence not just in Duluth-Superior, but all over the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Duluth with business in literally every lake and port in between. If the G Tugs seem ubiquitous, it’s because they are. Great Lakes Towing has a fleet of nearly 40 active tugs, with more in reserve.

Great Lakes, under the umbrella of the Great Lakes Group of maritime companies, also builds and repairs boats and offers a full line of maritime services. Ron Rasmus, president and CEO of the Great Lakes Group, can and does point to decades of flawless, lakes-wide service.

“In all these years,” Rasmus says, during his tenure “we have had no accidents, we have had no oil spills, we have been there when the customer wants us there, not just in Duluth but anywhere in the Great Lakes.” His company, Rasmus points out, buys locally in Duluth, pays taxes and an honorable wage, provides decent pensions and has employees with 20, 30, 40 years of service.

“These are first-class jobs, not Burger King jobs,” Rasmus says.

“We have no competition,” he adds. “I’m not being arrogant, not mean-spirited. All I’m saying is, we offer a different service than Heritage. We’re a one-stop shop for every customer in all the lakes.”

Some maritime observers in the Twin Ports resent the presence of upstarts like Heritage Marine. They especially dislike the lack of loyalty that is shown when Heritage takes work away from the long-established company.

Dennis Aho, a Superior resident and a veteran Great Lakes Pilot, sees both sides of this competitive picture. As a pilot, he shepherds oceangoing vessels through the Seaway to their destinations at docks in Great Lakes ports.

Of Heritage Marine, Aho says, “He does what you want him to do. His tugs seem powerful enough. We’re so spoiled by the other company, and we have to be very careful with [Ojard].”

But shiphandling skills aren’t a serious issue in this situation; at the core of the story are rates.

“I’m sure they’re [Great Lakes Towing] upset,” Aho says. “Their rates are out of this world, while Mike seems to be offering reasonable rates. If Heritage is helping keep costs down, the owners will go with the cheaper cost.”

Says Ojard friend and ally Bob Hom, “This is kind of the American way. Mike understands competition, and he’s not going away.”

As for himself, Ojard says, “If a guy is in this business for the money, he needs to see a psychiatrist. I just enjoy building things. When I’m done with one project, I want to do another.” Still, he says, he’s in the tugboat business for the long haul, knowing that there’s no such thing in his business as overnight success.

“The shipping companies aren’t stupid. They’re looking at track records, and so far we don’t have one. What were doing now is basically developing our track record. And if we can play some small part in making this port more competitive, maybe well have made a difference.”

Business North


Updates -  April 17

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 17

17 April 1871 - The wooden brig ST. JOSEPH was carrying lumber from Ludington, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois. Her hold was filled and lumber was stacked on deck so she was indeed overloaded. A gale developed and the deck load shifted, then was lost. ST. JOSEPH became waterlogged in mid-lake. Her crew remained with her until 19 April when the propeller ST. LEWIS found them 35 miles southwest of Pentwater, Michigan, and took them there. The tug ALDRICH towed the waterlogged brig in for repairs.

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.


Algoma Central completes acquisition of Upper Lakes

4/16 - Toronto, Ont. - Algoma Central Corporation announced Friday that it has completed the previously announced acquisition from Upper Lakes Group Inc. of its partnership interest in Seaway Marine Transport and related entities, along with the vessels and assets owned by ULG and its affiliates and used by SMT in its Great Lakes – St. Lawrence dry-bulk freight business.

Under the terms of the transaction, Algoma has acquired 11 vessels outright and has acquired ULG’s interest in four jointly owned vessels. In addition, Algoma acquired ULG’s interest in a fifth vessel that is currently under construction in China. This vessel, which is expected to arrive in Canada in July 2011, will be named the Algoma Mariner (previously announced as Canadian Mariner).

“This is an historic day for Algoma Central Corporation”, said Greg Wight, President and CEO of Algoma. “With this acquisition we will enhance our focus on our domestic dry-bulk marine transportation segment and the very important task of fleet renewal based on the recently announced acquisition of new Equinox Class vessels. We welcome the shipboard personnel of the vessels acquired from Upper Lakes and the SMT personnel to Algoma as we look to the future with great excitement.”

The new names are:
Canadian Transport (Algoma Transport)
Canadian Enterprise (Algoma Enterprise)
Canadian Progress (Algoma Progress)
Canadian Olympic (Algoma Olympic)
Canadian Navigator (Algoma Navigator)
John D. Leitch
Canadian Transfer (Algoma Transfer)
James Norris
Canadian Mariner (Algoma Mariner)
Canadian Provider (Algoma Provider)
Gordon C. Leitch
Montrealais (Algoma Montreal)
Quebecois (Algoma Quebec)


Coast Guard icebreaking season ends in western Great Lakes

4/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - The end of Operation Taconite in the western Great Lakes Wednesday brought the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking season to a close.

Operations Taconite and Coal Shovel, the latter of which ended April 7, 2011 in the upper Great Lakes, are the largest bi-national domestic ice breaking efforts.

Operation Taconite is carried out in Lake Superior, the St. Mary’s River, the Straits of Mackinac, and northern Lake Huron, while Operation Coal Shovel encompasses the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Detroit / St. Clair River System, and southern Lake Huron.

Operation Taconite began Dec. 6, 2010. Working together during this year's icebreaking season were crews aboard the U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw; Alder; Hollyhock; Mobile Bay; Neah Bay; Katmai Bay; Biscayne Bay; and Morro Bay, temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes from its homeport of New London, Conn.; as well as Canadian coast guard icebreaking ships. The cutters ensured commercial traffic transited the waterways safely and any flooding concerns were quickly mitigated. In total, U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking efforts exceeded 3,379 hours during the 120 days of Operation Taconite.

Together, the eight cutters directly assisted 578 commercial vessels. Initial estimates show that the operation allowed more than $300 million in bulk commodities to move through the waterways.

Also assisting the cutters and ships with ice reconnaissance were aircrews aboard Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City helicopters. The aircraft provided valuable aerial information on ice concentrations for icebreaker management, minimizing risk to commercial shippers. In total, aircrews flew more than 30 missions.

Although the majority of ice has melted from the waterways, there may still be lingering ice that could pose hazards to recreational vessels. Likewise, the water temperatures are still very cold and could cause hypothermia within a matter of minutes. Recreational users of the waterways should consider these factors before venturing onto the water.


Port Reports -  April 16

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Upper Harbor, Cason J. Callaway made an uncommon visit to load ore. She was last in Marquette during fall 2008. Her trip follows two by fleetmate Philip R. Clarke.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in at 11 a.m. Friday with a load of stone for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading at 4:30 p.m.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the McKee Sons brought a load of coal to Lafarge. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port on Thursday. The Coast Guard vessel Hollyhock was seen out in the bay on Friday morning, which was quite choppy due to the winds. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity is expected to arrive at Lafarge on Sunday to load cement.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
After unloading during the day Thursday, the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were outbound from the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw during the early evening. The pair made it out into Saginaw Bay and dropped the hook to wait on weather before continuing to the lake. They were still there Friday evening. Also waiting out in the bay near the Moore-Kuber were the tug Zeus and her barge. Still at the Essroc dock Friday night was Stephen B. Roman, which arrived early Thursday morning to unload. The tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour were able to make the Saginaw River on Friday morning, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. They were still there Friday night. Winds on the Saginaw Bay have averaged over 30 knots, out of the northeast, most of the day, with gusts in the 40s.

St. Clair River
The new Chicago fireboat Christopher Wheatley stopped for the night Friday in Port Huron, tying up at dusk at the Black River marina near the Great Lakes Maritime Center. The delivery trip from Hike Metal in Wheatley, Ont., is expected to continue on Saturday, weather permitting. Other Friday traffic included the downbound Paul R. Tregurtha, American Integrity, Kaye E. Barker, Cedarglen and CSL Assiniboine. Upbound passages included Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann, tug Eagle Service and her barge, Mississagi and Isolda.

Seaway - René Beauchamp
Lake Ontario passage in the Seaway has been postponed by at least one day. The former Federal Manitou had to stop at Quebec City on her way to Hamilton from Mexico. Her departure for Hamilton was expected Friday evening. Anchored at Sorel-Tracy on her second visit is the Turkish vessel Eylul K. Her next destination is Duluth. This will be the first vessel of that country to transit the Seaway since 2006. She was expected to depart Friday evening.


Lower water levels on Lake Superior

4/16 - Lake Superior is marking lower water levels this spring. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said that the water is nine inches below normal, but Lake Superior is still above record lows. There were very dry conditions last spring, which lead to a lower than average seasonal rise. Precipitation this year is also down. The latest forecast shows that the water will likely remain below last year, through the start of the summer season.



Steam generator shipment from nuclear plant in court

4/16 - Bruce Power officials admit there could be a substantial delay in their project to ship steam generators on the Great Lakes to Sweden. In the latest move, the Sierra Club, which has been against the project and the Canadian Environmental Law Association have brought a judicial review request against the decision of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

The Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Bruce Power, Murray Elston, says the request asks the federal court to review the decision to see if the CNSC overstepped its jurisdiction or if law had been misinterpreted. Elston says Bruce Power was also named as a party in the request because it was a CNSC decision based on the Bruce Power application.

As a result, Bruce Power will be part of the defense of the CNSC decision.

When asked if this, along with the First Nations requests for consultations could delay the project for another year, Murray just said the delay could be substantial. Bruce Power wants to ship 16 decommissioned steam generators to Sweden for recycling.


Updates -  April 16

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Today in Great Lakes History -  April 16

16 April 1907 - In a blinding snowstorm, the LOUIS PAHLOW (wooden propeller package freighter, 155 foot, 366 gross tons, built in 1882, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was towing the DELTA (wooden schooner, 134 foot, 269 gross tons, built in 1890, at Algonac, Michigan) on Lake Michigan. She went off course and ran onto the rocks at the Clay Banks, six miles south of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The DELTA made it to anchorage before she also grounded. The Lifesaving Service rescued both crews. Both vessels were eventually freed, repaired and put back in service.

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., manager, 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.


First saltie of the season arrives at Port of Cleveland

4/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – There was a sure sign of spring in Cleveland Wednesday as the first international ship of the season arrived in port. The bulk carrier Isolda, which loaded in the Netherlands, delivered 10,000 tons of steel coils.

Port Authority president and CEO Will Friedman and port stakeholders welcomed the captain and crew of the Isolda, which is Polish-owned. Friedman said the Isolda's arrival symbolizes not only a new year of maritime activity, but also a re-energized Port of Cleveland.

"We expect to see more ships and cargo at the port this year, bringing economic benefits that ripple through the Northeast Ohio economy. This year, the port plans to install a $4 million rail line to improve ship-to-rail and rail-to-ship cargo loading.”

The captain and crew of the Isolda received tickets to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and assorted apparel from Cleveland's professional sports teams.



Port Reports -  April 15

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Thursday morning traffic in the Twin Ports included Tim S. Dool, loading at CHS elevator in Superior; American Mariner arriving for the General Mills elevator in Superior; and Saguenay loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. Quebecois was anchored on the lake cleaning holds after unloading at St. Lawrence Cement. Aragonborg was expected to arrive later in the day for the General Mills elevator in Duluth while Roger Blough was expected at midday at BNSF ore dock in Superior to load pellets for Conneaut. Arthur M. Anderson was expected to arrive late Thursday or early Friday to unload at Reiss Inland dock before shifting to CN ore dock to load.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After unloading coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock Wednesday evening, H. Lee White moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock Thursday morning to load.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw an unusual visitor on Thursday when the Stephen B. Roman arrived with a cargo for the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville. There was a lot of speculation when the new powdered cement unloading system was built last year if the Roman would call on Essroc. That speculation was ended Thursday morning with her arrival. Also calling on the Saginaw on Thursday was the river's most frequent visitor, the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber. The pair traveled all the way upriver to the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw.

Port Weller, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
CCGS Cape Roger was reactivated for sea trials after work was completed on her at Port Weller and apparently is ready to return to duty. CCGS Cape Roger is now enroute to St. John's, Newfoundland.


$8.5-million fireboat built in Wheatley for City of Chicago

4/15 - Wheatley, Ont. - At 90 feet long and 300 tons, the $8.5-million Chicago fireboat is the biggest thing to come out of Wheatley harbor in years. “It’s an impressive boat,” Windsor’s J.P. Cormier of Chapman Signs said Wednesday as he finished the Chicago Fire Department lettering on the sides of the red fire boat.

The vessel sports four large nozzles that look like guns and are able to deliver 14,000 gallons of water per minute. “It’s these water jets right there,” Cormier said of the boat’s wow factor. “They’re so massive.”

The vessel represents more than a year of work for Hike Metal Products Ltd. and its more than 20 workers. It’s the largest boat the Wheatley ship builder has sent out of the harbor in four or five years and is larger than a fire boat built in 2007 for Baltimore.

On Friday morning the boat will leave the harbor and could be passing up the Detroit River that afternoon. It will head through Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan before reaching Chicago Sunday night, if the weather co-operates.

The boat carries the Wheatley name in a touching coincidence that surprised fire officials in Chicago and the ship builders here. The fireboat is called the Christopher Wheatley, after a 31-year-old Chicago firefighter who died Aug. 9 in the line of duty. He was carrying equipment up a fire escape during a restaurant fire when he fell to his death.

His father Daniel Wheatley said after the Chicago Fire Department told him the city’s replacement fire boat would be commissioned in his son’s name, he asked about who was building the boat. When he looked up Hike Metal’s website and saw the location he was stunned. He travelled to Wheatley in March to see the boat and the village.

“His mother and I both agreed, he’s talking to us. He’s sending a message that he’s all right and we’ll see you another day.” Daniel said his son loved firefighting and hanging out on a pleasure boat he and his father owned.

The Christopher Wheatley is a heavy-duty fireboat designed to break up to 12 inches of ice so it can operate year-round. It can be used with scuba divers, for rescues, for firefighting with foam or water and as a pumping station to supplement the city’s firemain supply of water. It can be run with a crew of five or up to 10 when fighting a fire. It has a kitchen, washroom and crew accommodations below decks.

One of the four monitor nozzles sits on a platform that can be elevated 30 feet and the force of the spray will be enough to blast brick off the side of a building, Stanton said.

To be able to pass underneath low bridges, the boat was built so the mast comes down and it sits no more than 16 feet out of the water. It has four engines, two for the water pumps and two 1,500 horsepower propulsion engines to drive the boat. It can travel at 12 knots or at three knots through ice.

“These boats aren’t built every day,” Stanton said of the attention it has received.

Hike Metal, which started in 1963, builds on average one large vessel, such as the fire boat, and a few smaller ones a year.

The Windsor Star


Toledo Port Authority welcomes first overseas freighter of the season

4/15 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has greeted the first overseas freighter of the season with a traditional welcoming that kicks off the 2011 shipping season for the region. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and Midwest Terminals of Toledo presented Captain Richard Hut and crew of the M/V Daniella with welcoming gifts. The M/V Daniella bears project cargo from Sattahip, Thailand, and its arrival regionally signifies the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway System. The freighter is docked at Midwest Terminals.


"Know Your Ships" booksigning Saturday in Port Huron

4/15 - Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of the annual boatwatching field guide "Know Your Ships," will be selling and signing copies of the 2011 edition Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron. Joining him will be several members of the KYS crew. The new BoatNerd and Full Ahead! t-shirts will available as well, with $5 from each t-shirt sold benefiting


Fednav salties renamed

4/15 - The Fednav salty Federal Manitou was recently renamed Lake Ontario. Another Fednav vessel and a sistership to the Federal Manitou was also recently renamed. Federal Matane, built in 2004 and launched as Lake Erie, has been renamed Cl Hanse Gate and is currently registered in Antigua/Barbuda. It is unknown if she will enter the Seaway in 2011 or not. Only the Federal Miramichi retains her current Fednav name.

Denny Dushane


Muskegon ship enthusiast, port champion

4/15 - Muskegon, Mich. - The port of Muskegon lost a champion this week. Richard Snyder, 76, of Muskegon died of cancer Tuesday in a Cedar Springs hospice. He was the ultimate Muskegon Lake “boat nerd” and The Muskegon Chronicle “Ship's Log” columnist the past four years.

He ended a life of world adventure his last years in Muskegon operating Digital Dreams Marine Photography - which married his duel passions for Great Lakes freighters and taking pictures.

“He's such a tremendous loss for our community,” said friend and colleague Dennis Kirksey, head of Kirksey Associates and a Muskegon Lake waterfront owner. “He was a champion for our port and those are not going to be easy shoes to fill.”

Snyder spent the final weeks and days of his life in the care of sailing companion James Kieling of Cedar Springs. The 52-year-old General Motors retiree and avid Muskegon Lake sailor became fast friends with Snyder after they shared a sail about 10 years ago.

“He had the water bug all of his life,” Kieling said of Snyder whom he met in Muskegon later in life through his father-in-law who graduated from Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills High School in 1952 with Snyder. “He was in his own world out on that boat,” Kieling said of the 34-foot Columbia sailboat named Captiva. It was Kieling's sailboat that for the past decade he shared with Snyder.

Kieling said Snyder learned to sail and grew to love the water from mentors at the former resort The Moorings in Holland. As a teenager, he was given sailboats to solo to Chicago and back, he said.

Snyder was well-educated with multiple degrees, including a master's in forestry engineering from Western Michigan University, Kieling said. After college, he headed to California to work in his family's custom furniture manufacturing business.

His work with woods resulted in sales positions for specialty woods that took him from the Far East to Central America, friends said. His professional career included time in Alaska where he worked as supervisor on the Alaskan pipeline and worked on crab boats. In Hawaii, Snyder was a construction manager for Sheraton Hotels.

In Muskegon, Snyder embraced the waterfront. Kieling said Snyder's outgoing personality and passion for boats endeared him to lake freighter captains who visited the local port. He shared his photographs of the ships with captains and crews, Kieling said.

Snyder's thousands of ship photographs are on four computer hard drives, Kieling said, adding they will eventually be donated to the community.

Kieling said he hopes to raise memorial funds in Snyder's honor to put his photographs of working ships of the port of Muskegon on display signs on the north Muskegon Channel walkway. They would be similar to the southside Muskegon Heritage Maritime Walkway, which includes Snyder photographs.

Muskegon Chronicle


Updates -  April 15

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Today in Great Lakes History -  April 15

15 April 1907 - The Rutland Line’s OGDENSBURG (steel propeller package freighter, 242-foot, 2329 gross tons, built in 1906, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying 50,000 bushels of corn, a big consignment of flour and general merchandise from Chicago to Ogdensburg when she stranded on Point aux Barques on Lake Huron in a storm. Although she was leaking in her forward compartment, she was freed after some cargo was jettisoned.

15 April 1907 - The Welland Canal opened for the season with the first vessel being the SAMUEL MATHER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 530 foot, 6,751 gross tons, built in 1906, at Wyandotte, Michigan) carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to Prescott, Ontario.

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.


Port Reports -  April 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker opened the Lower Harbor Wednesday morning when she arrived to unload stone at the Shiras Dock.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best and Peter Groh
On Wednesday, Algonova departed around 6:30 a.m. with the assistance of the tug Texas. Once the Algonova was clear of the channel, Cason J. Callaway proceeded inbound. They arrived with a load of coal for C. Reiss Coal Company from KCBX terminal in South Chicago. This is the second load of coal for C. Reiss this week; the first was from the Callaway's fleetmate Philip R. Clarke.

Muskegon, Mich. - Herm Phillips
The steamer Alpena passed through the Muskegon piers Wednesday. At 8 a.m. she arrived at the West Michigan Mart Dock to begin a temporary lay-up.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Herm Phillips and Dick Fox
Calumet came in very early Wednesday morning with a load of coal from South Chicago for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island. She unloaded and backed out heading south in the lake about 12:30 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Samuel de Champlain, with her cement barge, Innovation, called on the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning, passing the front range around midnight. The pair traveled up to the Lafarge Cement dock in Carrollton to unload. They departed the dock during the early afternoon and due to strong currents in the river, began the long, slow process of backing all of the way out of the river. The Samuel de Champlain and Innovation are the first to call on the Saginaw River this season. It also marks their first visit since 2006.

Seaway - Rene Beauchamp The April issue of Marine News, published by the World Ship Society, reported that the general cargo ship Master Joy has been sold for scrap. From 1980 to 1985, she sailed for Fednav as Federal Pioneer and from 1985 to 2007 she was in the Transport Desgagnes fleet as Cecilia Desgagnes.

A press release from Quebec City dated March 17 and sent by Groupe Desgagnes indicated that its new coastal passenger/cargo ship Belle Desgagnes will enter in service in 2012 rather than this year to replace their Nordik Express on the lower north shore service.

Lake Ontario, the recently renamed Federal Manitou, is expected to enter the Seaway on Friday bound for Hamilton. She will be the fourth ship with the name Lake Ontario to go in the Seaway/Great Lakes. A newcomer in the Seaway soon will be the tug Brendan J. Bouchard pushing a barge and bound for Sarnia.


Updates -  April 14

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Today in Great Lakes History -  April 14

14 April 1965 The GEORGE A. SLOAN (steel propeller bulk freighter, 603 foot, 9057 gross tons, built in 1943, at River Rouge, Michigan) was the first commercial vessel through the Soo Locks. The SLOAN received Sault Ste. Marie's official tri-centennial flag to fly all season. The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce in turn received the Pittsburgh Fleet flag and it flew below the United States flag on the flagpole on top of the Ojibway Motor Hotel all season.

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 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 OJIBWAY) 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] canaller 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.


Port Reports -  April 13

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The grain trade was picking up in the Twin Ports on Tuesday with Federal Leda loading at CHS elevator and Algoma Spirit loading at the Peavey elevator. Elsewhere, Quebecois was unloading at St. Lawrence Cement and John G. Munson was unloading stone at the CN ore dock. CSL Laurentien was anchored out on the lake waiting for the Munson to clear the ore dock. H. Lee White was still in Fraser Shipyards in the morning, but was expected to shift to Midwest Energy Terminal at midday to load for Marquette. Paul R. Tregurtha was expected to load at the terminal following the White.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor, Hon. James L. Oberstar and Robert S. Pierson loaded ore. Pierson was the first Canadian vessel into Marquette for the season.

Green Bay - Scott Best
Tuesday evening, the Philip R. Clarke arrived in Green Bay with a load of coal for the C Reiss Dock, its first cargo of the season. The Clarke was just about tied up at the dock around 7 p.m., and Wednesday morning the Cason J. Callaway was expected at the same dock with more coal around 8 a.m., or following the departure of the Clarke.

Menominee, Mich. - Scott Best
Tuesday the tug Victory finally returned to Menominee after almost a month on drydock at Basic Marine in Escanaba, Mich. Mid-afternoon on Tuesday crews were painting over the "K&K" on her stacks and her barge James L. Kuber was ballasted down and appeared nearly ready to depart the layup dock in Menominee for the first time under ownership of Grand River Navigation.

St. Clair, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Making a rare visit to St. Clair to unload a cargo of coal was American Steamship's 1,000 footer American Spirit. She arrived at the Detroit Edison's St. Clair Power Plant in St. Clair on Tuesday to unload about 55,000 tons. Up until last season, the American Spirit was mostly dedicated in the iron ore trades, however in 2010 she started making short runs with coal up to Silver Bay and the power plant located there. It is unknown if this will be a one-time trip or if more of these type runs are scheduled for the American Spirit in 2011.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The first vessel transit of the 2011 season was the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation on Monday. They were unloading at the LaFarge Cement plant. at 5:30 a.m., and had departed by early afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Cuyahoga arrived in Toronto on Tuesday.


Ice boom removal started Tuesday

4/13 - A New York Power Authority crew plans to begin removing the ice boom today.

Buffalo, N.Y. – A flyover Monday showed that ice cover on eastern Lake Erie had been reduced to about 90 square miles -- well under the 250-square-mile mark needed to open the boom, the International Niagara Board of Control announced.

The removal of the boom had been delayed since the beginning of the month because more than 250 square miles of ice cover remained on the eastern end of the lake.

The 1.66-mile boom -- made up of steel pontoons linked together from Buffalo Harbor to near the Canadian shore -- is designed to keep ice chunks from damaging water intakes of hydroelectric power projects in the Niagara River. A crew from the Power Authority was scheduled to begin work Monday to remove the 22 steel pontoon spans from the water using a barge and a tug boat, Power Authority spokeswoman Connie M. Cullen said.

As each pontoon is removed, Cullen said, it is attached to an icebreaker and pulled to a breakwater on the U.S. side of the border. After all the pontoons are attached to the breakwater, the crew will begin working to remove buoy barrels from the lake and to tow the pontoon spans to a storage site on Hamburg Street, Cullen said. The process takes about three days.

Paul Yu, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District, said representatives from the Power Authority, the International Niagara Board of Control and Environment Canada made aerial observations of the ice Monday to determine the amount of ice that remained on the lake.

The agencies have been conducting the flights since late last month to monitor the condition of the ice. Last Wednesday, the ice measured 260 square miles, according to the International Niagara Board of Control, which oversees the boom.

Under international regulations, the boom must be opened by April 1 unless there is more than 250 square miles of ice on the eastern end of the lake.

Yu said ice floes already in the Niagara River prior to the opening of the boom were likely caused by heavy winds pushing ice over the boom Monday.

The boom, which is owned and operated by the Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation, was first installed during the winter of 1964 and 1965. The latest date it was removed was May 3, 1971.

In Niagara Falls, residents or visitors doing business at City Hall are invited to sign their names on a 5-foot diameter orange ball that will be part of the annual program celebrating the removal of the ice boom and the kickoff of the water recreation season in Western New York.

The ball can be signed from 1 p.m. today until 3 p.m. Wednesday at Niagara Falls City Hall, 745 Main St.

The signed "boom ball" will be dropped into the river from the deck of the Buffalo fireboat Edward M. Cotter at 6 p.m. Friday to float down the river and presumably over the cataracts at Niagara Falls on its way to Lake Ontario. A ball has been dropped into the river in this fashion annually for several years, but its final resting place along the waterway has remained largely a mystery.

Boom Days will be celebrated from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the LaSalle Yacht Club, 73 S. 68th St., Niagara Falls, with live music, refreshments and fireworks. The event is open to the public.

Buffalo News


Duluth first ship contest winner named

4/13 - Duluth, Minn. - Visit Duluth has announced the winner of its annual online contest First Ship. Brenda Koch submitted a time closest to the actual arrival of the first ocean-going vessel to reach the Port of Duluth for the 2011 season. As the Grand Prize winner, she will receive a virtually complimentary getaway to Duluth.

Koch guessed the arrival to be 7:11 a.m. on Monday, and her guess was only 49 seconds off the official arrival time. The Cyprus-flagged Federal Leda sailed beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:10:11 a.m. and went to CHS to begin loading durum wheat bound for Italy. Her prize package includes a night’s stay at Canal Park Lodge, dinner at Valentini’s Vicino Lago, and admission passes to Glensheen, Great Lakes Aquarium, William A Irvin, North Shore Scenic Railroad and Timber Twister.

Gene Shaw from Visit Duluth stated that entries in this year’s First Ship Contest total nearly 2,000 and the five contest winners guesses varied from within 49 seconds to 22 minutes of the ships arrival. Forty-six people selected April 11, 2011 as the day the first saltie would arrive under the Aerial Lift Bridge.


Updates -  April 13

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Today in Great Lakes History -  April 13

13 April 1872 - The schooners MARY TAYLOR and ANTELOPE wooden were racing to Oswego, New York, trying to beat a large block of drifting ice. The ice won and blocked the harbor entrance. The ANTELOPE became icebound about a quarter of a mile from the piers and remained there for one day. The MARY TAYLOR got within 500 feet of the pier and remained there for five days until the tug MAJOR DANA broke through the ice.

The RICHARD REISS lost her boom April 13, 1994 when it collapsed at Fairport, OH.

The GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (2) struck a shoal in Whitefish Bay, near Gros Cap, April 13, 1956, when forced off channel in a shifting ice pack, and nearly sank.

On 13 April 1872, the wooden schooner-barge JOSEPH PAIGE was launched at the Wolf & Davidson yard in Milwaukee. Her dimensions were 190 feet x 32 feet x 12 feet, 626 gross tons.

The passenger/package freight vessel OCEAN was launched at Andrews & Sons shipyard in Port Dalhousie, Ontario, on 13 April 1872. She was placed in service on 27 April 1872, loading iron at Kingston for Chicago.

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


First saltie arrives in Duluth-Superior; ceremony set for Tuesday

4/12 - Duluth, Minn. - The first oceangoing vessel of the 2011 navigation season arrived in the Port of Duluth-Superior Monday morning. The Cyprus-flagged Federal Leda sailed beneath the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge at 7:10 a.m. and headed to CHS in Superior to begin loading durum wheat. Her arrival marked the first saltwater vessel into the Twin Ports this year to have transited the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Seaway system from the Atlantic Ocean.

The Federal Leda began her voyage in Constanza, Romania, and made two stops along to discharge steel (in Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.). She will load nearly 21,000 short tons (19,050 mt) of durum wheat at CHS and, after a stop in Sorel, Que., to take on 11,023 short tons (10,000 mt) of titanium slag, is bound for Italy. Local vessel agent for the Federal Leda is Daniels Shipping Services.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority will host a First Ship Ceremony at CHS at 10 a.m. Tuesday to welcome Capt. R. Kapuscinski and his crew to the Port of Duluth-Superior. Community leaders and representatives from the maritime industry have been invited to participate in the ceremony.

High quality pasta is made of 100 percent durum wheat. Durum is developed specifically to have the right gluten strength and color for the best pasta consistency and taste. According to the North Dakota Wheat Commission, 60 percent of the nation’s durum is produced in North Dakota, where the average yield is 32 bushels per acre.

“This first shipment of the 2011 season represents about 25,000 acres of wheat produced by farmers in our neighboring state,” said Adolph Ojard, Port Authority executive director. “The Port of Duluth-Superior and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway provide a direct link for them to markets in Europe and North Africa. Our inland marine highway keeps transportation costs competitive and enables North Dakota farmers to compete in the global marketplace.”

This year’s first saltie arrived just four days later than her sister ship did last year (Federal Elbe on April 7, 2010); the port’s earliest recorded arrival of an oceangoing vessel was the Indian ship LT Argosy on April 1, 1995.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Port Reports -  April 12

Twin Ports – Al Miller
On Monday, Herbert C. Jackson was loading at Duluth Storage, formerly Cargill B1. This elevator is now owned by hedge fund, and it has loaded only a couple of vessels in recent years. H. Lee White was out of drydock at Fraser Shipyards. It spent the winter there undergoing inspection and cargo hold renewal. It was scheduled to load coal Tuesday at Midwest Energy Terminal for delivery to the Shiras plant in Marquette. CSL Niagara was loading at CN ore dock. John G. Munson was docked at the Duluth port terminal, apparently waiting for the ore dock. Presque Isle arrived in Duluth about 7 a.m. It was scheduled to call in Two Harbors, but it appeared to be loaded with stone and bound for the CN dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard and Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Blacky docked at the Redpath Sugar dock in Toronto, Ont., Monday morning. She was assisted by tugs Jerry G and Omni-Richelieu. English River was back in port, unloading at the Lafarge dock. Work is well underway building a new city dock for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club on the southwest side of the Cherry Street bridge. The club is currently running the work boat Elsie D. to and from their clubhouse on the island. The venerable club ferries Hiawatha and Kwasind have been thoroughly overhauled during the past winter.


Two ferry companies get OK to provide Mackinac Island service

4/12 - Mackinac Island, Mich. - City officials have given approval for two ferry companies to provide service to and from Mackinac Island. Island spokesman Daniel Cherrin said Friday in a release that Northern Ferry Co. and Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry have been given franchises to operate ferryboats to and from the island. Northern Ferry was awarded a franchise last Wednesday.

Shepler’s approval came after the company removed two items from its application. Cherrin says one of the items involved the ferry service’s schedule of ticket prices. The city council was expected to meet Monday and consider Shepler’s request to make two changes to its schedule of ticket prices.

In other news, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has announced that it will hold public hearings as part of its ongoing investigation into the rates, fares, charges and tariffs of the ferry companies that intend to service those communities during 2011.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News


Toledo Coast Guard to hold Small Passenger Vessel Industry Day

4/12 - Toledo, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard is scheduled to hold a Small Passenger Vessel Industry Day Tuesday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Camp Perry Lodging and Conference Center (Building 950), 1000 Lawrence Road, Port Clinton, Ohio, 43452. The target audience is commercial small passenger vessel owners and operators.

Coast Guard personnel will be on hand to discuss new Coast Guard regulations involving passenger weight limits, marine casualties, and drug and alcohol program requirements. Additionally, a Miller’s Ferry representative will be giving an overview of the 2010 plane crash rescue and their training program.

Those planning to participate are asked to R.S.V.P. with Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Cory Hoffman by calling (419) 418-6050.


Sediment blocking Genesee River near Rochester, N.Y.

4/12 - Rochester, N.Y. – Every day, the Genesee River is slowly being blocked. That's because every year, about a foot and a half of sediment builds up on the floor of the river. While this might not matter to many people in the Rochester area, there are numerous possible consequences if the river is not dredged. "I've heard the horror stories that if it isn't dredged, it'll fill right in and there won't be access at all," says Mike Parker, president of the Charlotte Community Association.

Parker isn't far off. In 2007, a barge became stuck by running aground after sediment built up in the river. A cement shipment was essentially denied. If barges can't provide commercial river traffic, that shipping will have to be done by truck. Local companies estimate that will lead to another 7,000 trucks a year on our local roads.

That's more damage to roads and bridges and more tax dollars spent to repair them. Boat shipping is cheaper, so without it, local businesses will pay more and almost certainly raise prices. Then there are the public events and celebrations, including Harborfest and River Romance, that feature large ships.

"If the dredging isn't able to get done, they won't be able to get in here," Parker says. He's worried that public events could be canceled this year.

Senator Chuck Schumer says that people who use the port are already charged a small fee -- and that money should pay for dredging.

"The Corps of Engineers has told us they want to dredge here and they have to dredge here!" Schumer explained.

Schumer blames "bureaucrats" for holding up the money, but he believes he can convince his colleagues in Washington to make this project a priority in 2011. "If we don't, there will be some serious consequences," Schumer warns. "No one wants to see that."

WHAM-13 News


Updates -  April 12

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Canadoc gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 12

12 April 1896 The PETER DALTON (propeller tug, 63 foot 49 gross tons, built in 1880, at Grand Haven, Michigan) caught fire off Grosse Pointe, Illinois, while returning to Chicago with the salvaged schooner A.J. DEWEY in tow and the boiler of the JOHNSON. The fire burned her in two before she finally sank. The DALTON's crew and the DEWEY were rescued by the tug WELCOME.

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, 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 (Hull #88).

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


Port Reports -  April 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Manitowoc loaded its third ore cargo of the week, destined for Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted officially opened the Marinette’s shipping season when they arrived Saturday night with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. The tug and barge, coming up from a lower Lake Michigan port, headed through Death's Door and into the bay of Green Bay where they was met by Basic Marine's tug Erika Kobasic, which came down from Escanaba to guide the vessel through the ice in the bay. The small convoy was joined for part of the trip by the USCG Katmai Bay. Ice did not appear to be much of a factor this trip. Earlier in the week, Erika Kobasic led the Lewis J. Kuber and Olive L. Moore out of Menominee, and it took them 6 hours to make the transit to Lake Michigan.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday, Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port taking on another load of cement. Calumet unloaded coal at Lafarge on Saturday. Alpena arrived on a stormy Sunday morning and docked under the silos.

Owen Sound, Ont.
Algomarine departed winter layup around 3 p.m. Sunday.

Sarnia, Ont.
Algoway left winter layup Sunday afternoon.

Oswego, NY. - Ned Goebricher
English River unloaded a cargo of cement on Saturday.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Tuscarora left Oshawa Saturday morning, assisted by Ocean tugs Jerry G and La Prairie. They arrived in Hamilton, Ont., later the same day. The saltie Cinnamon left Toronto Friday and arrived in Hamilton Saturday.


Updates -  April 11

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the H. C. Heimbecker gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 11

11 April 1890 - The CHENANGO (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 176 foot, 696 gross tons, built in 1887, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying 40,000 bushels of wheat from Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, New York, when she caught fire off Erie, Pennsylvania. She was partially consumed by the fire and sank in four fathoms of water with no loss of life. She was later raised at great expense and rebuilt as the steamer LIZZIE MADDEN.

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, 1,558 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.


Mobile Bay arrives in Houghton

4/10 - Houghton, Mich. - Since December the Coast Guard cutter, Mobile Bay has had a busy schedule. But now the icebreaking season is wrapping up.

“We've been all over Lake Michigan, Straits of Mackinac, St. Marys River and Lake Superior," Vasilios Tasikas of the U.S. Coast Guard said.

In these areas the mission of the cutter is most commonly to facilitate maritime commerce throughout the Great Lakes by breaking up the ice and allowing smaller vessels to pass through the water.

"One of the most unique aspects of the ship is that we have what's called an air lubrication system what we like to call the bubbler system,” Tasikas said. “It basically has very pressurized air that is released underneath the water level and that allows for extra lubrication between the ice and the haul."

Their living quarters are tight, hours are long, but many of the men say the food is a perk of the job. "We had filet mignon the other night,” Ryan Agre of the U.S. Coast Guard said. “We had pork chops for lunch, eggs every morning, eggs and bacon."

But even with good food on board, it isn't enough to keep thoughts of family and friends at bay. "You know, there's honeydews at home, there's bills to be paid," Agre said "There's, you know, stuff that needs just to be taken care of at the house."

And the good news is, the men will soon be getting a two week break.  The crew is planning to stay in Houghton for the next two to three days. But they are scheduled to be back at the home of the crew members, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, by the end of next week.

Upper Michigan’s Source


Coast Guard assists two men near Buffalo, N.Y.

4/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – An ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Buffalo, N.Y., assisted two men after their canoe was beset by ice near Times Beach, in Buffalo Outer Harbor, Saturday afternoon.

Strangely, the reporting source was a Coast Guard civilian employee on his way in to work.

Paul Angelillo, a watchstander at the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Command Center was driving to the sector at about 4:30 p.m., when he saw the two men attempting to paddle into a boat slip.

“I was on my way into work and I saw the two guys trying to get their boat into the slip,” said Angelillo, a search and rescue controller at Sector Buffalo. “There was nowhere for them to go, so I called the command center, and they dispatched the station’s ice rescue team to see if they needed help.”

Personnel from Station Buffalo arrived on scene and deployed their ice-rescue skiff. They assisted the two men onto the breakwall. They were not in possession of any safety or communications equipment.

“They didn’t have any gear with them,” said Angelillo. “There were a bunch of people around and nobody thought to call 911.”

Neither man required medical assistance.


Interagency maritime training scheduled near Chicago

4/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Lower Lake Michigan citizens may see increased maritime law enforcement activity next week due to a scheduled Coast Guard Boat Operations and Training (B.O.A.T.) Course, offshore Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor, near Chicago, the week of April 11-15.

Neither the BOAT course nor the training involves live-fire exercise.

Twenty boat crewmembers from six Coast Guard stations across the Great Lakes as well as the Chicago Police Department and Illinois Department of Natural Resources will become familiar with interagency security coordination and the waterborne response and tactics required of agencies operating cooperatively within the maritime domain. U.S. Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor will host the training, which is being held in cooperation with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

"This course provides a unique opportunity to bring quality training to our crews and other maritime law enforcement partners," said Cmdr. Dave Beck, chief of enforcement for the Ninth Coast Guard District. "Safe and effective boat tactics to detect and intercept maritime threats are critical skills. Maintaining proficiency in these skills with other federal and state partners is time well spent. Waiting until an actual response is needed is much too late to learn how each other operates."

Consisting of five modules, practical exercises and a knowledge-based assessment, the training will demonstrate methods for identifying threats to high-value assets and critical infrastructure within the port environment.

The training features the same tactics, techniques and procedures that the U.S. Coast Guard uses to train its boat operators. The goal is to foster seamless integration of security operations among federal, state, county and local maritime law enforcement officers and agencies.

The course is intended for federal, state and local law enforcement officers assigned to the maritime community and is specifically targeted toward personnel of waterborne response teams, marine units, or port security agencies or departments.

Neither the training nor the course involves live-fire exercises. Rather, it is designed to provide training in boat intercept and defensive tactics that are used to defend maritime infrastructures and key assets.

Although the Coast Guard carries weapons in the course of routine operations, the Coast Guard does not conduct live-fire training on the Great Lakes. Since the Coast Guard withdrew the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to establish 34 safety zones for live-fire training on the Great Lakes in 2006, it has continued to conduct all live-fire training for its crews at a Department of Defense range facility outside the Great Lakes region.


What to expect as Lake Michigan water levels predicted to hover near historic lows

4/10 - Saugatuck, Mich. - When the 150-passenger Star of Saugatuck paddleboat churns its way into Lake Kalamazoo this summer, the captain likely will have to steer a cautious path. Water levels for Lake Michigan and linked waterways are expected to be down 8-10 inches and hover only about 10 inches from historic lows recorded in 1964.

“When we get into Lake Kalamazoo, it’s really shallow in spots,” said Marilyn Starring, who runs Saugatuck Boat Cruises with her husband, Bruce. “If the water goes down some more, we are going to have to be really careful where we go.”

Recreational boating is expected to bear the brunt of the impact of low lake levels. In many cases, marina owners have to worry about dredging slips or making dock adjustments so boaters can access vessels that sit lower in the water.

Levels around the Great Lakes fluctuate each year and generally in long cycles, but U.S. Army Corps of Engineers analysts say lower-than-average snowfall and precipitation in recent months and a lack of Lake Michigan winter ice cover have contributed to this year’s decrease.

Jia Wang, an ice climatologist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, said ice cover on Lake Michigan can have a noticeable impact on the lake’s level.

“With low ice coverage, winter evaporation is very high,” he said. “The water evaporates into the air.” Wang said good ice coverage in 2008 and 2009 helped lake levels recover some from near-historic lows in 2007, but the level started going back down after that.

For beachgoers, the drop isn’t a bad thing. Every inch rise in lake levels equates to 10 inches of lost beach, according to government data. But boaters might have to worry.

Todd TenBrink, owner of Southern Grand Marina along the Grand River near 104th Avenue in Robinson Township, said the lower levels in recent years only worsen a boating industry already suffering from a bad economy. TenBrink has considered dredging slips in the past, but getting state permits is often troublesome and “the problem is the river isn’t much deeper than the marina,” he said. He caters to many low-draft pontoon boats at his 78-slip facility.

Chris Schropp, a civil engineer with the Army Corps office in Grand Haven, said low water levels may cause hardship for some recreational harbors such as Saugatuck and Pentwater because federal funding for dredging those ports has dried up. “The Corps will not be dredging those harbors. They are kind of left up to their own to find a way to do it,” he said.

Falling water levels are nothing new to the Great Lakes, according to Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District Office.

Since the late 1990s, Lake Michigan has undergone its second-longest stretch of continuously below average levels since the Army Corps began collecting data in the mid-1800s. Lake Michigan surged to a near record high in May 1997, when it was 9 inches below the all-time record high of 582.3 feet recorded in October 1986, 4.8 feet above the average surface level. After that, it started dropping.

Lower levels also are a concern for freighters that ply the Great Lakes. Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers’ Association, said every inch of water lost equates to a diminished carrying capacity of anywhere from 50 tons to 270 tons.

Grand Rapids Press


Corps turns on third electric fish barrier on Chicago canal

4/10 - Chicago, Ill. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has turned on a third electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The new barrier, which had been scheduled to open in February, is a twin to an existing one that was turned on in 2009. That barrier has now been put on standby and is scheduled for maintenance in the next couple of months.

Those barriers, referred to as IIA and IIB, are significant upgrades to the Army Corps' "demonstration" barrier just upstream that continues to operate as an extra line of defense to protect Lake Michigan from an Asian carp invasion.

Construction of the newest barrier was funded largely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The new barrier and its twin are designed to operate at a maximum of 4 volts per inch to repel carp from migrating up the canal and into Lake Michigan, though the Army Corps is only operating the barriers at about half strength - a voltage not strong enough to repel small juvenile carp.

The Army Corps says it is completing safety tests to operate the barrier at a higher voltage and those tests should be completed in the coming weeks.

The agency doesn't believe there are any juvenile carp in the area of the barrier at this time but officials have said if they get new evidence that juveniles are in the area they will turn up the voltage.

For more information:


14th annual Father's Day St. Marys River cruise planned June 19

4/10 - DeTour Village and Drummond Island, Mich. - The DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society (DRLPS) is has announced its 14th annual Father's Day River Cruise on the St. Marys River. The cruise is operated by Soo Locks Boat Tours from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and provides a comprehensive, narrated tour of the St. Marys River. Along the tour, passengers will get to see the DeTour Reef Lighthouse up close and end the tour with a trip through the historic Soo Locks.

The cost of the trip is $95 per person and will include the narrated tour, doughnuts and snacks, lunch, and a chance to win door prizes. Soo Locks Boat Tours will also be providing a cash bar. A portion of your ticket price is tax deductible, and all profits will be used for restoration and preservation efforts of the DeTour Reef Lighthouse.

Boarding begins at 9:45 a.m. at the DeTour Ferry Dock with departure at 10 a.m. The boat tour concludes at Soo Locks Boat Tours Dock #2 in Sault Ste Marie, MI.

This year for the first time, passengers have the option of boarding a bus at the Soo Locks Boat Tours Dock #2 at 8:30 a.m. to be bused to the DeTour Ferry Dock. This is a great opportunity for any of you that will be enjoying the Sault Ste. Marie area. At the end of the cruise, if you prefer to return to DeTour Village, buses will transport you back there, returning at approximately 6 p.m.

For details email


Updates -  April 10

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 10

10 April 1868 The ALPENA (wooden side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 653 tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan) was purchased by Capt. A. E. Goodrich from Gardner, Ward & Gardner for $80,000.

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. Marys 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. Marys River.

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


Maritime Trader offered for sale by Marcon shipbrokers

4/9 - Voyageur Maritime Trading Inc. has gone into receivership and its sole vessel, Maritime Trader, has been offered for sale by a Canadian bankruptcy court. The 1967-built motorship is currently under arrest at Hamilton, Ont., according to court documents.

On April 4, 2011, by order of the Federal Court (File No. T-416-11) a federal sales process was approved for the vessel along with all assets of Voyageur ordinarily located on the Maritime Trader or required for its operation. The process will be administered by Marcon International Inc. shipbrokers. Cash offers must be made by May 9.

The 608-foot-long, 10,901 gross-ton vessel was built at Collingwood Shipyards for the now-defunct N.M. Paterson & Sons grain firm as the Mantadoc. When that company went out of business in 2002, the vessel was bought by Canada Steamship Lines and renamed Teakglen but only made one trip under that name. She was chartered by and then later sold to Goderich Elevators for use as a grain storage vessel at Goderich, Ont. Reactivated in 2005, she was given an extensive refit and renamed Maritime Trader for her new owner, Voyageur Maritime Trading, Inc., Ridgeville, Ont.

Full details, including an offer sheet and a copy of the order that governs the sale process are available at this link

The vessel has been working on a grain contract in the St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes for the past several years. It will be sold strictly "as is, where is,” with no representations or warranties whatsoever, but will be sold free and clear of any and all liens under Canadian maritime law and other claims and encumbrances.

Marcon International


Mobile Bay headed for Keweenaw icebreaking

4/9 - Houghton, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay will be conducting ice breaking operations in the Keweenaw waterway, from the western Keweenaw entry to Houghton, Saturday and through the weekend.

Upper Michigan’s Source


Port Reports -  April 9

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
While Saginaw is still waiting for its first boat of the 2011 shipping season, there has been some vessel movement the past few days. The tug Kurt R. Luedtke has been shifting dredging equipment from the old Defoe Shipyard slip, where it spent the winter, out to the Confined Disposal Island in the Saginaw Bay.


Grounded ore boat at ArcelorMittal docks warns of need to dredge Cuyahoga River

4/9 - Cleveland, Ohio - Northeast Ohio received an alarming vision of the future last month when an ore boat became stuck in mud on its approach to the ArcelorMittal steel works on the Cuyahoga River.

Steel company officials said the grounding illustrates the urgent need for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority to locate new dumping sites for hundreds of tons of sludge dredged from the river.

Without new disposal sites, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be forced to stop dredging after 2014 and the grounding of ore boats could become a regular problem for the steel works.

"Without a steady supply of iron ore, we would be out of business in a very short time," Rich Zavoda, environmental manager at ArcelorMittal, told a port-led task force of government and environmental officials this week.

ArcelorMittal officials have petitioned the Army Corps to authorize emergency dredging along the river channel so giant barges can resume daily deliveries of iron ore from mines in Minnesota. The steel company, located about one mile up river from Lake Erie, receives about 4 million tons of iron ore and limestone a year.

For the past month, the company has been forced to "double-handle" its iron ore shipments -- an expensive procedure in which the ore is transferred from ships to trucks or smaller boats. So far, the transfers have cost to the company more than $350,000.

The Army Corps' Ron Kozlowski said attempts are being made to move up the river's dredging schedule, which wasn't supposed to begin until April 22.

"This incident is a great example of the crisis we face when we say we will be out of business after 2014," Kozlowski said.

The Army Corps and the Port Authority have spent the last year looking for places suitable to store dredged sediment, some of which is contaminated with heavy metals and other toxins. For decades, the Army Corps has used a chain of dikes along the lakefront to store sediment dredged from the river. But the dikes will reach capacity by 2014 and the Port Authority doesn't have enough money to pay its share for a new dike.

The Army Corps has historically paid for all sludge disposal and storage costs. But Army Corps officials now want the Port Authority to pick up as much as $3.1 million through 2014.

"We need your assurance that in the end somebody's going to be there to share in the costs," the Army Corps' Frank O'Connor told the task force this week. He has asked the port for a letter committing money for disposal.

The federal government will contribute $3 million to $3.7 million for dredge disposal over the next three years, O'Connor said, although budget battles between President Obama and Congress could have an impact on federal money available for the work.

Port Authority CEO William Friedman contends that the city, county and companies that rely on the port should contribute toward the local share. Friedman said he has had ongoing discussions with the city. "We'll get it sorted out," he said. "One way or another, we'll do what we have to do on the local end and keep this project moving forward."

But the city faces other money woes because of cutbacks in state aid. Mayor Frank Jackson said Wednesday that the city will lose an additional $9.1 million in state aid this year. He predicted dramatic cuts in city services. Jackson declined to comment Thursday about the dredging.

Even if the port finds money, and construction begins this year, a new dike could not be opened until 2018, the Army Corps has reported. As an alternative, officials are exploring inland dumping sites, including inactive landfills.

The latest sludge problems at ArcelorMittal's docks began on Feb. 28, when a major storm and widespread flooding caused a dramatic rise in sediment on the channel floor, Zavoda said. The ore boat Pathfinder became grounded on March 13.

Friedman said shoaling of sediment in the river is an annual problem encountered by ArcelorMittal. Historically, dredging hasn't begun until June, he said. "They were fortunate, really, that dredging is going to start earlier and that they will get things cleared out sooner than normal," Friedman added.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Cutter Morro Bay to depart Cleveland after spending winter in the Great Lakes

4/9 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Morro Bay was scheduled to depart Friday after spending the winter breaking ice on the Great Lakes.

Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, recently thanked the crew for their support to the Great Lakes icebreaking mission.

The 140-foot ice breaking tug and crew, whose original homeport is New London, Conn., was temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes region to augment the eight other Great Lakes-based ice breaking cutters with Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the Coast Guard's two major ice breaking operations here. Operation Coal Shovel officially ended Thursday, while Operation Taconite continues in the northern Great Lakes.

Morro Bay arrived in the Great Lakes on Dec. 10, 2010. The crew spent more than 800 hours breaking Great Lakes ice and assisted 81 commercial vessels, 30 of which were beset in heavy ice. Overall, their efforts facilitated the safe transit of nearly one million tons of cargo valued at more than $100 million.

During the four-month deployment, Morro Bay’s crew conducted operations in all five Great Lakes, traveling approximately 2,468 nautical miles.

The crew will begin their transit to New London this weekend.

Operation Coal Shovel encompasses southern Lake Huron, St. Clair/Detroit River systems and Lakes Erie and Ontario, including the St. Lawrence Seaway. Operation Taconite encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron. Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite are based on the statutory authorities of 14 USC 2, 14 USC 88 and 14 USC 141. Both direct icebreaking resources to the highest priority areas and missions based on the most current ice conditions.


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 9

09 April 1890 - The W.H. SAWYER (wooden propeller freighter, 201 foot, 746 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #66) at West Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until 1928, when she sank off Harbor Beach, Michigan.

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.


Coast Guard completes icebreaking operation in lower Great Lakes

4/8 - Detroit, Mich. - The end of Operation Coal Shovel on Thursday brought the Coast Guard icebreaking season on the lower Great Lakes to a close. Operations Coal Shovel and Taconite, the latter of which is still ongoing in the upper Great Lakes, are the largest bi-national domestic icebreaking efforts.

Operation Coal Shovel was carried out in the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Detroit / St. Clair River System, and southern Lake Huron while Operation Taconite encompasses Lake Superior, the St. Mary's River, the Straits of Mackinac and northern Lake Huron.

Operation Coal Shovel started Dec. 15, 2010 and ended April 7, 2011. This season saw the longest period for the operation in more than 10 years. U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw, Hollyhock, Bristol Bay, Neah Bay and Morro Bay (temporarily assigned to the Great Lakes from its homeport of New London, Conn.), were joined by the Canadian Coast Guard ships Samuel Risley and Griffon during this year’s operation. The vessels worked together to ensure commercial traffic transited the waterways safely and any flooding concerns were quickly mitigated. In total, U.S. and Canadian icebreaking efforts exceeded 3,000 hours during the 112 days of Operation Coal Shovel.

Also assisting the ships with ice reconnaissance were crews aboard Coast Guard Air Station Detroit and Coast Guard Auxiliary aircraft throughout the region. The aircraft provided valuable aerial information on ice concentrations for icebreaker management, minimizing risk to commercial shippers. In total, aircrews flew more than 130 hours on a total of 57 missions. The Coast Guard Auxiliary is a volunteer organization with members who donate their time, aircraft, and boats to assist the U.S. Coast Guard.

There were more than 1,200 vessel transits through the Detroit / St. Clair River System this icebreaking season, 148 of which were assisted by one of the seven icebreakers assigned to Operation Coal Shovel. Four communities received harbor breakouts from icebreakers to relieve or prevent flooding.

Each year the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards join efforts to ensure foreign ships depart the Great Lakes before the St. Lawrence Seaway closes, conduct wintertime search and rescue, minimize potential for flooding, provide assistance to island residents for critical supplies and services, and ensure the safe movement of critical cargoes on Great Lakes ships during the winter months.


Port Reports -  April 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug Dorothy Ann and Barge Pathfinder arrived Thursday evening at the Upper Harbor hopper to unload the first stone cargo of the season for the Marquette ore mines. The Lower Harbor is still waiting for its first vessel of the season.

Escanaba, Mich. – Dick Lund
The tug Victory appears to be out of the drydock as of mid-afternoon Thursday, and is lying alongside the new-build crane barge, BMI 192. Unspecified repairs were made to the tug; however, the stack markings are still the stylized "KK" of KK Integrated Shipping even though the tug was sold to Lower Lakes in February. The tug should be heading back to Menominee, Mich. soon to pick up its barge, James L. Kuber.

Grand Haven, Mich. Dick Fox
The barge St. Marys Conquest with tug Prentiss Brown in the notch arrived Thursday morning at the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading as of 7 p.m. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible are expected to deliver a load of coal to the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island early on Friday morning.


Escanaba to host Maritime Festival

4/8 - Escanaba, Mich. - Two schooners will be among a host of attractions at a family-orientated festival celebrating Escanaba's maritime history this summer, announced organizers.

July 6 is the date set for the Escanaba Maritime Festival, an event that will also be celebrated in 2012 and 2013. The final maritime festival will be a two- or three-day event that coincides with Escanaba's 150th anniversary celebration.

"Maritime and tall ships are a huge draw and we know that it will bring many people to Escanaba's fine downtown and Ludington Park," said Mollie Larsen, an event organizer and executive director of the Bonifas Arts Center. "We hope over the three years it will bring many new visitors to our area to discover the things that make us great.”

In addition to tours on the tall ships - the Inland Seas Teaching Ship and the Michigan State Schooner called the Madeline - this year's event will also feature a Coast Guard rescue boat, mock rescue, helicopter and cutter.

The Delta County Historical Society will open the Sand Point Lighthouse free to the public. The rescue surf boat will be on display. A lamprey exhibit is being planned at the yacht club. Event organizers are also working on a historical display in a large tent, including traveling Edmond Fitzgerald memorabilia.

"The committee is working on creating a historical display tent that will feature photographs and artifacts from local and Great Lakes maritime collections," Larsen said. "We hope to be able to develop a picture of the commercial aspect of our port throughout its history to current times," she added.

Coast Guard vessel exams and safety programs will be available at the yacht harbor with the local Coast Guard Auxiliary presenting information. The group also hopes to set up a display and offer activities related to the Coast Guard.

"Maritime music, storytelling, Venetian night parade, sail boat races, food and more will complete this year's event," Larsen said.

In preparation of all of the above activities, organizers are seeking funding and volunteers to help make the festival happen. Contact Larsen at (906) 786-3833 for more information.

"Even for this first and small festival on July 6, we believe that we will have activities scheduled throughout the day, making this a fun-filled day for families and maritime enthusiasts," Larsen said. "If this first festival goes well, we hope to increase it over the next two years culminating in a very large - by our standards - tall ship festival in 2013."

Daily News


Detroit marine historian J. Albin Jackman passes away

4/8 - J. Albin Jackman, a Detroit-area resident considered one of the Great Lakes’ most prominent historians, died April 2. He served on the board and also as president of the Great Lakes Maritime Institute at Dossin Museum, was active in the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, and served as editor of the organization's 25th anniversary volume titled “Ahoy and Farewell,” which chronicled the coming and goings of vessels that worked the Great Lakes. For one year, he served as editor of Bowling Green State University's “Lake Log Chips” publication.

Some 20 years ago, Mr. Jackman established Great Lakes Memories, a company formed to retail history books about the Great Lakes, video tapes, model plans and a specialty line of 1:700 resin scale models. Al was a fixture at marine marts around the Great Lakes, where he met with his many friends in the dealer trade.

Mr. Jackman was a licensed funeral director in Michigan for 50 years and worked out of the Harry J. Will Funeral Homes in Redford and Livonia. After he retired, he went back to school to receive his Masters Degree in 1993 and received his Doctorate of Divinity in 1994.

Al is survived by his wife Mary and a large family of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. A death notice was published in the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press on Monday, April 4, 2011. The funeral was held on Tuesday, April 5 at St. Priscilla Church in Livonia. Condolences may be sent to the family at 11340 Crosley, Redford, MI 48239.


Updates -  April 8

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the H. C. Heimbecker gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 8

08 April 1871, The NAVARINO (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 184 foot, 761 tons, built in 1871, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) entered service for the Goodrich Transportation Company. She only lasted until 09 October 1871, since she burned in the Great Chicago Fire.

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, Minn., on April 8, 1956.

In 1957 Great Lakes Steamship stockholders voted to sell the entire 16-ship fleet to four fleets.

In 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.

In 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.

April 8 , 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 Soo 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 Soo Locks had been ready for traffic since March 26, but the Canadian lock 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.


Port Reports -  April 7

Menominee, Mich.
The barge Lewis J. Kuber, pushed by the tug Olive L. Moore, departed KK Integrated Logistics dock Wednesday just as it has in past years, only this time they sail not for KK Integrated Shipping but for new owners, Lower Lakes Transportation. Over the past week, the stack of the Moore was painted in Lower Lakes colors, but the Native American logo of Lower Lakes was missing. The duo spent all day preparing for their maiden voyage for Lower Lakes Transportation, something which fleetmates, James L. Kuber and tug Victory will soon do as well.

The Basic Marine tug Erika Kobasic came down the bay of Green Bay from Escanaba during the afternoon. They were following the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking buoy tender Hollyhock until both were just north of Menominee, at which time Hollyhock continued down the bay to Green Bay, Wis., while Kobasic turned and headed for Menominee, breaking ice as they headed in. A narrow gap in the ice out near Menominee North Pier Lighthouse continued to open up during the day, as strong west winds pushed the ice offshore. By the time the tug arrived, there was a patch of open water out past the inner channel marker buoys. The tug entered the Menominee River but, finding no ice in the harbor, promptly turned around and headed back out into the bay to await the Lewis J. Kuber and Olive L. Moore, which they would then escort up the bay of Green Bay to Lake Michigan. They were destined to wait for almost three hours as the tug and barge continued to prepare for their departure, which did not take place until nearly 8 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke
Saginaw came out of the dry dock at Bay Shipbuilding Wednesday.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port Sunday morning taking on cement at Lafarge. They have since made deliveries at South Chicago, Ill., and Muskegon, Mich. The Alpena arrived around 6 a.m. Wednesday and loaded cement for Superior, Wis. At Stoneport on Wednesday, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder took on a load of stone, with Arthur M. Anderson arriving later in the day.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Cinnamon was at Redpath Wednesday unloading sugar.

Montreal – Rene Beauchamp
Petrolia Desgagnes, laid up in Montreal since February 20, 2009, has been sold. Her registry was closed April 6. The funnel markings were partly painted out Wednesday. Her new name is Don Felix, but it has not been painted on. She will be registered in Panama.


For the second time in 3 weeks U.S. Coast Guard rescues dog

4/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit rescued a Canadian man and his dog after he became surrounded by ice and stranded while canoeing in a river near Kettle Point, Ont., Tuesday night..

Personnel from Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, requested assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard around 7:45 p.m., after Ken Glendining, 57, of Port Franks, Ontario, used his cell phone to call for help, stating that he couldn't make it through the ice to shore..

The Canadian coast guard ship Samuel Risley was en route but had a roughly two-and-a-half hour transit to Glendining..

When the MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit arrived, it attempted to hoist Glendining and his dog, Grace, using the aircraft's rescue basket, but chunks of ice from the river were getting caught in the basket, submerging it in the water. Instead, the flight mechanic, Petty Officer 3rd Class Luke Lohn, lowered the rescue swimmer, Petty Officer 1st Class Craig Miller, to hoist Glendining with the aircraft's rescue sling. Glendining held Grace as the three of them were hoisted into the helicopter..

The aircrew transported Glendining, who was reportedly showing onsets of hypothermia, to emergency medical technicians waiting in Sarnia, Ontario, at about 9:45 p.m. He reportedly declined medical treatment. .

This was the second time in three weeks the Coast Guard rescued a dog in the Great Lakes region.


Plans for Port Huron light station to be presented Monday

4/7 - Port Huron, Mich. - The first drafts of master interpretative and site plans will be presented during a public input session for the Fort Gratiot Light Station 6:30 p.m. Monday..

Held in the County Commissioners Auditorium of the St. Clair County Administration Building, the meeting should last for one to two hours. John Veverka of Museumcroft and Pamela Bough, ASLA, will review the comments submitted at the first public input session held in February and present the first drafts for the master plans. .

The meeting is open to the public and will allow time for questions and comments on draft plans. Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  April 7

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 7

April 7, 1997 LEE A. TREGURTHA suffered an 18-foot hull fracture in her port bow near the bowthruster tunnel while downbound in the upper St. Marys River due to heavy ice. She proceeded to the De Tour Coal Dock where repairs were made overnight and she continued on her trip on April 8, 1997. 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.



Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Down 11.2 Percent in March

4/6 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 1.9 million tons in March, a decrease of 11.2 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were 6.75 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 1.75 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to a year ago. However, the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., that connect Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes opened on March 21 in 2010. This year the locks opened on their regularly-scheduled date: March 25. Five of the seven U.S. ore ports are located on Lake Superior, so four less days of navigation clearly impacted the total. Nonetheless, shipments were 100,000 tons ahead of March’s 5-year average.

Through March, the iron ore trade stands at 4.8 million tons, an increase of 17.2 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are also 9.4 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the first quarter.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  April 6

Twin Ports – Al Miler
Mapleglen took the honors for loading the Twin Ports’ first grain cargo of the season. It arrived at CHS elevator in Superior on Monday.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After loading ore late Monday night, Philip R. Clarke remained at the Upper Harbor ore dock Tuesday morning waiting for winds to subside on Lake Superior. Lee A. Tregurtha was also in port, loading ore. Clarke eventually departed late morning Tuesday. Early Tuesday evening, Kaye E. Barker arrived to unload coal into the hopper and load ore.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Tuesday the Indiana Harbor departed layup at Bay Shipbuilding via Green Bay. Algonova was loading and expected to depart Tuesday; this was her first trip into the port.

Sarnia, Ont. – Frank Frisk
Montrealais departed winter lay-up in Sarnia Tuesday upbound for Thunder Bay, Ont., in ballast.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday the Hamilton Energy departed at 10 a.m. for Port Weller to bunker the Chemtrans Ems. Algosoo departed at 10:30 a.m. in ballast for the canal. CSL Laurentian arrived at 12:15 p.m. Amelia Desganges departed at 12:30 p.m. with pig iron for Ashtabula. J.W. Shelley departed at 1 p.m. from Pier 25 (JRI Elevators) with grain for Sorel.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard and Eric Holmes
Quebecois departed winter lay-up in Toronto Tuesday. CCGS Limnos was seen in Toronto harbor early that morning, but departed in the direction of Pickering and Oshawa, Ont.

Quebec - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Blacky is due to arrive in Quebec City Thursday from Puerto Quetzal, Mexico. After a brief visit, she is said to be heading to Toronto.


Columbus to be renamed ms Hamburg

4/6 - It has now been established that when Hapag-Lloyd's present cruise ship Columbus is delivered to Plantours & Partner of Bremen in April 2012 she will be renamed M/S Hamburg. When this occurs, the crew of Plantour's smaller cruise ship Vistamar will move over to the Hamburg and the crew of the ex-Columbus will in turn move over to Oceania's Insignia, to be renamed Columbus 2. Presumably Insignia's crew will in turn be moving to Oceania's newest ship Riviera, which also delivers next April. This will mark the end of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in the Great Lakes, as the Columbus 2 is too large to transit the St Lawrence Seaway. The Columbus will complete her last series of Great Lakes cruises for Hapag-Lloyd this autumn. There are only inside cabins remaining for these cruises.

Kevin Griffin


T.M.H.S. Annual Auction

4/6 - The Toronto Marine Historical Society Annual Silent Auction has started. There are many items of interest to all those with an enthusiasm for Great Lakes shipping. Included are ship's logs, house flags, photos, books, back issues of Know Your Ships and other lake oriented publications. Bids will close on May 15; all proceeds from the auction go to further the work of T.M.H.S. Details can be found at Auction 2011.pdf


Updates -  April 6

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the H C Heimbecker gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 6

06 April 1880 The GOSHAWK (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 180 foot, 501 gross tons, built in 1866, at Cleveland, Ohio) left Chicago, Illinois with a load of grain for Buffalo, New York on her first trip of the season. At dusk, sailor Frederick Cook fell overboard, off the boom of the mizzen mast. A plank was thrown to him and the anchor was dropped to stop the vessel. The lifeboat was launched with four men in it to rescue the sailor but they could not find him. The lifeboat got lost in the dark. The GOSHAWK waited through the night without any word of a rescue. At dawn, the captain decided to return to Chicago but the three men left onboard could not raise the anchor. Meanwhile, the lifeboat landed south of Chicago, flagged down a passing train and rode it to Chicago. The GOSHAWK flew the distress signal and a Chicago tug steamed out and towed her back into the harbor where the four rescuers got aboard. The GOSHAWK then resumed her journey. Sailor Cook was never found.

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.


Port Reports -  April 5

Detroit, Mich. – Mike Nicholls and Robert Burgener
Herbert C. Jackson was inbound the Rouge River, passing through the Fort Street Bridge en route to Severstal Steel Monday afternoon. That morning she turned off Windsor and stopped in the Belle Isle anchorage.

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Monday, Hamilton Energy departed Hamilton at 1:30 p.m. for Toronto. Tug Jarrett M arrived at the Petro Canada Piers at 2:45 p.m. to help the Songa Diamond leave; she departed the Petro Canada piers at 3 p.m. Tug Jarrett M departed the Petro Canada Piers at 3:15 p.m. for Hamilton. Tug Wilfred M Cohon and barge PML 2501 left Hamilton at 4 p.m. Avonborg arrived in Hamilton at 4:15 p.m. for the anchorage to await the departure of the J.W. Shelley from Pier 25.


Port of Oswego begins new season after highly successful 2010

4/5 - Oswego, NY - The shipping season on the St. Lawrence Seaway has begun for the year and the people who run the Port of Oswego Authority are expecting an uptick in business. The prediction follows what was one of the port’s best years ever.

Its executive director, Jonathan Daniels, said the 2010 shipping season was the first time the Port of Oswego brought in revenue of more than $3 million. Employment last year at the port hit 96 and a payroll $1 million for the first time.

For the second straight year, “we were moving cargo every day. I had longshoremen here every day,” Daniels said. “We’re probably looking at a 15 to 20 percent increase (in revenue) last year over our best year ever (which was 2005-06),” Daniels said.

This is good news for Oswego, because a healthy port spills over into the city and even the county.

“The fact that 96 people are employed even if some are part time for an area like Oswego County, which has the second highest unemployment rate in the state at 12 percent, is very good news,” said Lawrence Spizman, professor of economics at the State University College at Oswego.

“In addition to those people having a job, there are also people on the ships that have to eat, require a place a stay,” he said. “Also people coming into the city pick up the cargo will also generate revenue for some local businesses. And if that much cargo is coming into the port, that means somewhere close by people are also getting jobs handling this material or using it in some form of production.”

Ships have already begun arriving at the port. Two ships, carrying No. 6 heating oil came arrived the week of March 21. In April, Daniels is expecting the first shipment in a long line of aluminum. “We have added three additional shippers of aluminum,” Daniels said. “We have enhanced our distribution center and most of the aluminum we bring in here is gone by the end of January beginning of February.”

The handling and storage of items also is a way the port brings in money. Daniels said the aluminum comes into the port from Sept-Iles, Quebec and is stored until a vendor needs it.

Daniels said the port is not only a shipping hub. It deals with trucks and rail — items arrive by truck and leave by real and vise versa. And materials coming in by ship also leave by truck and rail to final destinations. In May and June more windmill parts will come into the port by ship from Europe and travel by truck to a wind farm for assembly.

“In 2004-05, rail was virtually non existent here,” Daniels said. “We had an excess of 750 railroad cars go through here in 2010-11.”

He also expects nearly 500 tons of potash out of Saskatchewan to come through the port along with grain for Perdue and transformer parts for power substations.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. predicts cargo shipments on the seaway to increase by about 7 percent, to 39.1 million tons, this year. “Transportation of raw materials serves as a bellwether for the economy as a whole,” said Terence Bowles, Seaway Management Corp. president and chief executive officer.

“Projections for the 2011 season foresee continued strength in the traditional staple cargoes of grain and iron ore,” he said. “Shipments of road salt are projected to increase to replenish inventories depleted over a challenging winter season.”

Collister Johnson Jr., administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said shipping continues to be the most energy efficient mode of transportation.

“In an era of rapidly rising fuel prices, moving more cargo via the marine mode will serve to lessen our dependence on imported petroleum and bolster our national security,” Johnson said.

The Post-Standard


Tours resume on museum tug John Purves

4/5 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The Door County Maritime Museum has resumed tours of the tug John Purves in Sturgeon Bay. Tours will be conducted on weekends in April before a daily schedule begins in May.

The immaculately restored 149-foot vessel has proven to be an extremely popular attraction since opening to the public in August of 2008 following a five-year restoration project that. Many of those same volunteers now are members of the docent team that conducts the 45-minute tours.

Built in 1919 and christened the Butterfield, the tug has a colorful past that even included World War II duty in the Aleutian Islands. The tug made its way to Sturgeon Bay in 1956 when purchased by Roen Steamship Company. It was eventually sold, but the tug now carries the Roen colors and has been outfitted to appear much as it did while operated by Roen in the 1950s and 60s. Capt. John Roen, company owner, renamed the tug in honor of his long-time employee and general manager.

The cost of the tour is included in the $12.50 admission fee to the museum or is also offered separately for $6. For more information visit


Another season for the Niagara, in and out of Erie

4/5 - Erie, Pa. - When he started working for the fundraising arm of the U.S. Brig Niagara, Bill Sutton wondered why the ship was out of its homeport so often. One reason quickly became apparent -- visits to other ports help to keep the Niagara afloat financially.

There are other reasons. The Niagara serves as an ambassador for Pennsylvania and Erie. The working ship also keeps alive the skills of square-rigged seafaring, and its crew can keep on top of required maintenance, Capt. Wesley Heerssen said.

"The best way to make sure you don't miss something (in repairs and maintenance) is to be intimately familiar with it, and the best way to be intimately familiar with it is to use it,'' he said.

As the Niagara prepares to set sail on another season, some visitors to the Erie Maritime Museum -- where the ship is berthed -- will ask the whereabouts of a ship that this summer will be in Chicago; Duluth, Minn.; and Put-in-Bay, Ohio, among other ports.

The ship will be at its homeport until May 31, when it will depart for Put-in-Bay. The Niagara will return to Erie on June 10 before it leaves for Duluth on July 7. It will be gone for much of the rest of July and August.

The Niagara is a replica of the ship on which Oliver Hazard Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie during the war. The state-owned Niagara must travel to help pay for itself, said Sutton, executive director of the Flagship Niagara League, the ship's fundraising arm.

The state provides $350,000 for the Niagara's $1.2 million budget, said Sutton, who moved here from Montgomery, Ala., nearly two years ago to take the job. The ship will generate another $343,850 from port visits, trainees who work and live on the ship, and people who pay for day sails, he said.

The balance comes from the Niagara's share of admissions to the museum and gift-shop sales, Niagara League memberships, the $100-per-person Mariner's Ball on May 21, and other fundraising events, Sutton said.

The ship typically makes more money out of town than in its homeport. A visit to another city generates $10,000 to $15,000 per day, depending on the port size, the length of stay and the event, Sutton said. In Erie, the ship could generate a maximum of $3,600 to $4,000 in revenue from people who pay for day sails.

But there's more to the Niagara's travels than the bottom line. By sailing to other ports, Heerssen said, the ship promotes the state and the city. "When we go to those other ports, most people who see the vessel think, 'Wow, their state owns a tall ship,''' Heerssen said.

"In my view, that sends a message to businesses out there that want to do business in Pennsylvania, that Pennsylvania is a state that cares about its history enough to spend this kind of money and this kind of effort preserving it,'' he said.

Heerssen said the ship also helps to preserve the skills of square-rigged seafaring. He and four other full-time employees, 13 seasonal employees and up to 24 trainees are aboard the ship for overnight or longer trips, he said.

And the crew can stay on top of required maintenance and repairs. In the winter, the attention is on repairs to the rigging and sails; in the summer, the focus is on the hull, including sanding, varnishing and recoating the deck, he said.

The Niagara's cover came off March 19. Other key dates are coming up. The crew will take the ship into Lake Erie on May 1 for the first time this season, and two days later, the Niagara will get its annual U.S. Coast Guard inspection, Sutton said.

Then on May 8, the first public day sails of the season will begin in Presque Isle Bay and the lake. Guests will pay for a five-hour trip on the Niagara, during which they hear from the crew and are offered a chance to lend a hand. Day-sail costs are $50 for Niagara League members, $60 for nonleague members and $70 for out-of-state residents.

Then on May 31, the Niagara's berth will be empty for 10 days. Visitors to Erie will have to wait until June 10 to see the ship again. "I'm sure people get upset when they can't see the Niagara in port. I don't blame them,'' Sutton said. "But we have to sail in order to exist.''

Erie Times-News


Man claims pigeon droppings on Soo Locks led to health problems

4/5 - Detroit, Mich. - An Upper Peninsula man who worked on the Soo Locks sued his former employers today in federal court, blaming his medical problems on prolonged exposure to pigeon poop.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, accuses Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. and Canadian National/Illinois Central Railroad of failing to protect electrician Bruce Harrison from hazardous work conditions. Harrison wants unspecified compensation for pain and suffering, humiliation, loss of earnings, hospital expenses and mental anguish, among other damages.

Harrison, 54, worked on the Soo Locks from 1990 to 2006 and was exposed to pigeon droppings on the railroad bridges, Birmingham lawyer Dennis O'Bryan said in an interview today.

"It's all over the bridges and stuff, and they didn't really take care of cleaning it off very well or give respiratory or breathing protection," he said.

A Canadian National spokesman declined comment.

Harrison has developed symptoms consistent with histoplasmosis, according to the lawsuit. That is an infection transmitted by airborne spores found near soil that contains bird or bat droppings, according to the Mayo Clinic.

He has been unable to work, O'Bryan said. "This has kind of taken him out of commission. He's disabled."

The Detroit News


Massive fish kill in Milwaukee harbor linked to virus

4/5 - Milwaukee, Wis. – A massive fish kill last month in the Milwaukee harbor has been linked to a deadly fish virus that was first discovered in Lake Michigan in 2007. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources reports it is the first time the disease known as viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, has been found in Lake Michigan waters since 2008.

VHS is sometimes referred to as a fish-specific version of the deadly Ebola. It is harmless to humans, but can affect several dozen fish species, including popular sport and commercial fish such as perch, trout and whitefish.

The virus targeted thousands of gizzard shad in last month's fish kill. It's the first time that species has tested positive for VHS in Wisconsin waters, according to the DNR.

Nobody knows how the virus got into the Great Lakes, but a likely explanation is it was carried by oceangoing freighters. To keep it from spreading to the state's inland waters, the DNR has implemented restrictions on the bait fish industry, including no minnow harvesting on VHS infested waters, which include Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, the Mississippi River and Lake Winnebago. It also requires boaters and anglers to drain their gear when leaving a body of water or before entering the state.

Those may be slowing the spread of the virus, but it's clear from the fish kill last month that the disease hasn't gone away.

"The important message here is VHS is still out there and we have to be vigilant about cleaning our boats and not moving fish around," Al Kaas, the DNR's fish hatchery operations chief, said in a news release.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates -  April 5

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 5

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 emerged from 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 on 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 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 a 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.


Port Reports -  April 4

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived inside Lorain Harbor Sunday shortly before 9 a.m. They docked just north of the Henderson Bridge at the Jonic dock to unload. This is Lorain’s first vessel of the season.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday, tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 1 a.m. CSL Laurentien departed at 4 a.m. for the canal. Tugs Omni Richelieu and Gerry G departed at 2 p.m. Tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit departed at 2 p.m. CCG ship Limnos was doing exercises in Burlington Bay. Tundra arrived at 9 p.m. from Toronto. Tugs Omni Richelieu and Gerry G arrived back at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Brant departed at 9 a.m. Hamilton Energy arrived at 11:15 a.m. from Port Weller. Peter R. Cresswell departed at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Hamilton Energy arrived at 8:30 a.m. from Port Weller. Gordon C Leitch departed at 5:45 p.m. for the canal.

Oshawa, Ont.- Andre Blanchard
About 9 a.m. Saturday, the saltie Tuscarora arrived at Oshawa. She was assisted by Ocean tugs Escorte and La Prairie. Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 6:20 p.m. at the St. Marys Cement docks in Bowmanville, Ont.


Lake Superior drops more than usual in March

4/4 - Duluth, Minn. - The level of Lake Superior dropped two inches in March, a month the big lake usually drops only an inch, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control. Below-normal rain and snow in March across the watershed provided less water for Lake Superior, which now sits 9 inches lower than on April 1, 2010 and 15 inches below its long-term April 1 average.

Lake Superior generally rises from April to September before its seasonal decline during fall and winter. The lower than normal lake level could become an issue for recreational boating and commercial shipping this summer if regional rainfall doesn’t turn around the water level.

Lakes Michigan-Huron rose their usual two inches in March and now sit 10 inches below the 2010 level at this time and 19 inches below their long-term average.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  April 4

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the H. C. Heimbecker gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 4

04 April 1903 The first steamer to pass upbound through the Straits of Mackinac was the LUZON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 353 foot 3,582 gross tons, built in 1902 at Chicago, Illinois). She was heavily coated with ice, even to the top of the pilothouse due to fighting a gale on Lake Huron.

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.


Green Bay season opener

4/3 - Saturday the tanker Algosea arrived in Green Bay as the first vessel of the 2011 season. Algosea, on its first ever visit to the port of Green Bay, was escorted down an icy Green Bay by the USCG Hollyhock. At the mouth of the Fox River, Algosea was met by the tugs Texas and Indiana, which assisted her in turning around and going stern first up to its dock. The dock the Algosea arrived was just re-vamped last fall and over the winter to allow for shipments via ship, and scanner traffic between the pilot and tug indicated the Algosea was the first vessel in about 30 years to use this dock, with many more shipments planned in the near future from this terminal. Hollyhock tied up in downtown Green Bay until the Algosea was ready to depart. Also in the entry marina Saturday were the two new build 45' Coast Guard hulls by Ace Marine, 45655 (Hailing Port of Marquette, Mich.) and the 45653 (Hailing Port of Bayfield, Wis.).

Scott Best and Wendell Wilke


Port Reports -  April 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor, Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded her first cargo at the ore dock after renaming. Herbert C. Jackson and Sam Laud were expected later in the day.

Green Bay - Daniel McNeil
The steamer Alpena was due into Green Bay on Sunday to finish unloading her split load of cement. Her first stop was South Chicago with part oft he load.

Midland, Ont.
Frontenac left Midland, Ont., harbor about 10:15 a.m. Saturday with help from a U.S. icebreaker.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Tundra left Toronto and Redpath Friday evening.


Updates -  April 3

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 3

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 Ð 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.


Port Reports -  April 2

South Chicago, Ill. - Dan McNeil
The steamer Alpena departed South Chicago in the late afternoon Friday.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
CSL Niagara departed from the Ironhead Shipyard late Thursday evening bound for Duluth to load ore. The tug Samuel de Champlain, with her cement barge Innovation, departed from the Lafarge Dock and was outbound Friday morning. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was at the Torco Dock unloading ore. John G. Munson was at the CSX Dock loading coal. Manistee remains in layup at the Lakefront Docks with work crews onboard doing miscellaneous repairs. Buffalo remains at the Ironhead Shipyard and is starting the fit-out process. American Republic is also at the Ironhead Shipyard. Work crews are in the process of removing the ASC-GATX billboard on the side of her hull. Her stacks are now completely painted black with the American Steamship fleet markings removed. Her present name is still painted on the hull yet. American Fortitude and American Valor remain at their respective docksites with no activity aboard them. The tug Cleveland is now out of drydock and tied up along the riverfront dock of the shipyard. The barge Cleveland Rocks remains docked in the small slip by the shipyard. The next scheduled coal boats due in at the CSX Docks will be the Lee A. Tregurtha on Saturday followed by the tug Victory with the barge James L. Kuber, and American Mariner the following Saturday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Dock will be Lee A. Tregurtha and Atlantic Huron on Saturday, Sam Laud and Algobay on Monday, John G. Munson on Wednesday followed by Canadian Progress on Thursday. There are no stone boats scheduled in to the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock.

Oswego, NY - Ned Goebricher
The LaFarge vessel English River arrived in Oswego, N.Y. about 3 p.m. Friday with cement on her first trip this year.


Italy's Finmeccanica might buy Davie Yards in Lévis, Quebec

4/2 - Montreal, Que. - The big Italian-based shipbuilding, aerospace and defense electronics group Finmeccanica emerged Friday as the likely buyer of the struggling Davie Yards Inc. in Lévis, opposite Quebec City.

Davie has won a court order extending protection from creditors to May 19 while the final negotiations for the takeover are completed. Davie, with contracts for five offshore oil supply vessels worth $500 million uncompleted, ran out of cash more than a year ago and went into bankruptcy protection. Almost all of its 1,100 workers were laid off.

Norwegian-controlled Davie said Finmeccanica and subsidiary DRS Technologies Canada "have the strength and technical expertise we were seeking to take over the Lévis yard."

"There's a lot more work to do to complete the transaction in time for Davie to submit a valid bid for coming federal contracts," CEO Gustav Johan Nydal said. "Finmeccanica will immediately join Davie's efforts to become one of the two selected shipyards under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy."

Finmeccanica is a specialist in commercial and military ship construction and repairs and in marine systems, besides its aerospace and defense electronics business. It has 75,000 employees worldwide, including 12,000 in North America.

The Montreal Gazette


Dredging on St. Lawrence’s ship channels begins next year

4/2 - Ocean, through its subsidiary Dragage St-Maurice, was awarded the contract for maintenance dredging of two of the St-Lawrence’s ship channels: the North Traverse and the Bécancour and Cap-Santé Traverse. This seven-year contract, valued at almost $30 million, will begin during the summer of 2012. The dredging operation is directed at reestablishing the depth of the waterway by removing accumulated sediments.

The maintenance dredging of the North Traverse and Bécancour and Cap-Santé Traverse, with an estimated total annual volume of 70,000 cubic metres of sediments, is the most important undertaking in the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and l’Isle-aux-Coudres.

The St. Lawrence waterway, a major economic player, constitutes the main maritime route in Canada. Its maintenance dredging is essential in ensuring continuous security of commercial navigation on the St. Lawrence.

The importance of safe dredging operations requires the construction of a 70-metre self-carrying trailing suction hopper dredge, at a cost of 25 million dollars. This self-propelled dredge will be built at Ocean Industries’ shipyard, located at l’Isle-aux-Coudres. Construction of this dredge, the largest in Eastern Canada, should take about one year. It will create 50 new jobs at the shipyard and generate direct and indirect economic benefits for the Charlevoix region.

This new dredge will also be available for other projects in Canada, namely those for protection of riverbanks and shorelines against erosion.

The North Traverse section, approximately 30 kilometres long, presents several particular features. There are about 6,000 ship passages every year. The navigational conditions are the most severe to be found on the river. Windstorms are frequent and generate strong waves and swells. The currents produced by the tides and the mingling of fresh and salt waters are strong and unpredictable. The ships must also face daily water level variations upwards of 6 metres due to the tide. The occasional fog hampering visibility is yet another element to consider.

Dredging Today


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 2

A total of 60 ore boats departed Cleveland between March 31 and April 2 to start the 1948 shipping season.

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, 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.

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.).

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.

WHEAT KING was lengthened by an addition of a 172 foot 6 inch mid-section (Hull #61) and received a 1,000 h.p. bowthruster. 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, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


BBC Steinhoeft released from Thursday grounding, Seaway reopens

4/1 - Montreal, Que. - About 1:30 p.m. Thursday the tugs Ocean Geogie Bain and Ocean Intrepid released the BBC Steinhoeft from her grounding in the Seaway. The vessel was towed to Sec 44 N Port of Montreal, where a dive inspection will be conducted to assess any damage. A total of eight vessels were delayed due to the incident, seven upbound and one downbound.

The vessel went aground in the St Lawrence Seaway about 3 a.m. Thursday morning one nautical mile below the St. Lambert Lock, going crosswise to the channel and blocking other vessels from passing. The 450-foot freighter is longer than the 224-foot width of the canal.

The bow of the vessel was on the west shore and the stern on the east shore, BBC Steinhoeft was the Beluga Fusion on previous visits.

Kent Malo


Port Reports -  April 1

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived mid-morning Thursday at the Upper Harbor, and after a fast four hour load, departed in the early afternoon with her second cargo of the season from the ore dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River departed lay-up early Thursday morning bound for Bath.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
Stephen B. Roman has already made one trip to Toronto from Picton, and the English River was headed for Bath on Thursday. The Thousand Islander III has made a radio check with VBR Prescott Radio signifying the start of the Thousand Island tour boat season. The Island Queen, Island Star, Island Belle and the Canadian Empress will soon be moving to their regular summer berth at Crawford Wharf.

VBR Prescott has been transmitting notices as to the aids to navigation that have been reactivated for the season. The Seaway tug Robinson Bay, along with its buoy barge and tug Performance, has been working on aids between Crossover Island and Clayton.

The CCGC Cape Hearne, a 47-foot SAR vessel, is heading to Kingston from its winter berth in Hamilton. She was last reported half way down Lake Ontario making 25 knots. The first commercial vessel in the harbour was the tug Laprairie, which tied up here Wednesday night, en route to Oshawa. Even the small construction tug Steelhead was heading up the Canadian middle channel for Gananoque.


Muskegon harbor dredging project to begin this week

4/1 - Muskegon, Mich. - The spring dredging of Muskegon harbor will begin this week, with work extending well into April.

The King Co. of Holland arrived in Muskegon with its equipment Tuesday afternoon. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials alerted boaters in the Muskegon Channel to be careful around the King equipment as setup continues for the dredging work.

The dredging company will have a tug, hydraulic dredge barge and thousands of feet of tubing in the channel at midweek, and by the end of the week King crews will be working in the area inside and outside of the Muskegon breakwater in Lake Michigan.

That is the location where the 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor coal-carrying freighter ran aground last October as it was making a delivery to the Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb plant on the east end of Muskegon Lake. The shoaling of sand around the harbor entrance put Muskegon at the top of the Army Corps list of West Michigan port dredging projects for 2011.

The Army Corps dredging project in Muskegon has been expanded and altered since it was described at a regional dredging meeting in early March. More material will be removed and it will be placed south of the harbor entrance rather than north, said Tom O'Bryan, area engineer for the Army Corps' Grand Haven office.

King crews will be at work 15-20 days to remove an estimated 72,000 cubic yards of material from the harbor bottom, O'Bryan said. An additional 12,000 cubic yards of material to be removed from the Muskegon harbor boosts King's total contract to approximately $466,000, he said.

O'Bryan said review of the shoreline north and south of the harbor shows more beach erosion to the south. The past two Muskegon harbor maintenance operations placed the dredged materials to the north on the Muskegon State Park beach near the outlet of Memorial Drive. The harbor is dredged every three years.

O'Bryan said sand dredged from the harbor bottom will be piped to a location about 7,000 feet south of the breakwall. The sand will be placed on the city of Muskegon's Pere Marquette beach from south of the city's water filtration plant to the curve on Beach Street, he said. King crews will have a bulldozer on the beach to level the dredged materials.

Wind and wave action will smooth the contours of the shoreline, leaving more beach area after dredging is complete, O'Bryan said.

Work by King crews will be weather-dependent. After completing the Muskegon maintenance, the dredging equipment and crews will move to Grand Haven and then to Holland for annual projects to clear those harbors.

Muskegon Chronicle


Great Lakes Coast Guard re-assigns 2 stations to more appropriate field commands

4/1 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Ninth Coast Guard District announced Thursday a boundary realignment involving three of its subordinate sectors that serve the Great Lakes, in order to better balance span of control and provide better service to members of the maritime industry.

Specifically, the Ninth District has determined that crews would be in the best position to serve the public if Station Charlevoix, Mich., and Station Alpena, Mich. - previously falling under the command of Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee and Sector Detroit, respectively - would fall under the jurisdiction of Sector Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.

This sector boundary realignment takes effect this morning. It impacts the geographic boundaries of three of the four sectors that make up the Ninth District; Coast Guard Sector Buffalo's area of responsibility will remain unchanged.

This boundary shift represents an opportunity to provide better customer service to the maritime industry. For instance, previously, operators of commercial vessels and marine facilities in northern Michigan that required Coast Guard inspections were serviced by marine inspectors from areas as far away as Detroit, Milwaukee or Grand Haven, Mich. Following the boundary realignment, inspections can be conducted by personnel from Sault Sainte Marie, which allows for greater efficiency, resulting in a quicker turnaround for those vessels and facilities.

Stations Charlevoix and Alpena would continue to operate within the same areas of responsibility as they have for many years; they would just fall under the operational and administrative control of a different sector command.

Coast Guardsmen from Station Charlevoix have protected citizens in Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan for more than 100 years. Station Alpena was established in 1988 and, unlike Station Charlevoix's primarily active-duty crew, it operates with a complement of active-duty, reserve and Auxiliary during the summer search and rescue season.


Dive into Great Lakes History at Dossin Museum symposium April 16

4/1 - Detroit, Mich. - The Dossin Great Lakes Museum will be the place to be on Saturday, April 16 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. for a day of maritime history and educational presentations. Guests will have a chance to meet maritime authors, shipwreck divers and historians.

The event features keynote speaker Frederick Stonehouse, the author of more than 30 books on maritime history. His book, “Wreck Ashore: The U.S. Life-Saving Service on the Great Lakes,” won a national publishing award and is considered to be the pre-eminent work on the subject. His presentation, “Forgotten Heroes: The U.S. Life-Saving Service on Michigan Waters,” will focus on the exploits of the 31 U.S. Coast Guard crews based in Michigan, their successes and heart-rendering tragedies.

Featured guest Ric Mixter is a shipwreck expert who will offer a presentation on Detroit’s connection to the Edmund Fitzgerald, including its construction, various theories on her demise and interviews with those who have been to see the shipwreck. Mixter has appeared on PBS more than 30 times and has been featured on shipwreck shows for the History and Discovery Channels. Mixter was rewarded for his more than 20 years of work with the 2009 Historic Interpretation Award by the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History.

Other featured guests include Tony Gramer, a diver who will share his exploration of the remains of the ship Philadelphia in Lake Huron. Gramer has been diving since 1977 and is a certified PADI Divemaster, as well as the president of Silent World Information Masters, Inc. (SWIM).

Tickets for the symposium are $10 for Detroit Historical Society/Dossin Maritime Group members and $20 for guests. Lunch is included. Call (313) 833-1801 or visit by Friday, April 8, 2011 to register; space is limited.


Updates -  April 1

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new feature for April: H. C. Heimbecker.


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 1

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.


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