Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports -  April 30

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Saturday afternoon the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge to load cement. The Manitowoc tied up at Lafarge Sunday morning to unload coal throughout the day. Also arriving later on Sunday were the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic on the Saginaw River has picked up in recent days. Saturday saw the tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and the barge Joseph H. Thompson call on the Lafarge Stone Dock in Essexville to unload. The pair was outbound for the lake Saturday night. Sunday morning saw American Integrity calling on the Consumers Energy Dock in Essexville to unload coal. She backed from the dock and was outbound to turn around in the Saginaw Bay and head for the lake, later in the afternoon. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were next in, traveling upriver to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The pair went up to turn in the Sixth Street turning basin and were outbound for the lake Sunday evening. Algorail was inbound during the late afternoon for a return trip to unload salt at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was expected to be outbound late Saturday night or early Monday morning.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algoma Enterprise loaded overnight Saturday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. She was bound for Bath on Sunday morning.

Erie, Pa. - Brian W.
Calumet, her refit and paint job complete, departed the Donjon shipyard yard Sunday morning. The Ken Booth Sr. - Lakes Contender tug-barge will be departing May 5. The barge Cleveland Rocks is moored alongside the port bow of the Contender; her tug, Bradshaw McKee, is expected to depart the fitout dock in Muskegon on Monday, headed for Erie.


Bay Shipbuilding to hire 30

4/30 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding Co./ Fincantieri in Sturgeon Bay is adding 30 new full-time union employees and more will be needed later this summer, said General Manager Gene Caldwell. Bay Ship currently has about 500 union employees, not counting contract employees temporarily used for winter ship repairs or office personnel.

The 30 skilled-trade positions to be added include 10 pipefitters, eight electricians, six steelworkers or shipfitters, three outside machinists and three welders.

Adding full-time permanent workers is a first for Caldwell since he took the helm as general manager in August 2010. The shipbuilding industry, including Bay Ship, suffered several layoffs since the economic downtown of 2008. Just last May, workers were receiving layoff notices as the winter fleet left Sturgeon Bay.

But Caldwell promised a return to actual shipbuilding at Bay Ship, aside from repairing vessels in Sturgeon Bay, when he began. That new course seems to be turning the company around. All previously laid-off workers eligible to return to work have been called back, he said.

"This is directly related to Tidewater new construction and our conversion work," he said. "I'm optimistic this won't be the only time we'll be hiring permanent, full-time employees."

Bay Shipbuilding secured a contract last year with Tidewater Marine, based in New Orleans, to build two platform supply vessels to be used in the Gulf of Mexico for the oil rig industry. More employees will be needed as construction progresses on those vessels.

The Tidewater contract came through at the same time Marinette Marine, Bay Shipbuilding's sister company, also landed a large naval contract for 10 littoral combat ships. Both shipyards in Marinette and Sturgeon Bay and one in Green Bay are subsidiaries of Fincantieri Marine Group.

When asked if the recent Marinette contract drained employees from the Door County area, Caldwell said Marinette has not negatively affected operations in Sturgeon Bay.

"It's logical to think that may happen, but a lot of workers want to come to work at Bay Ship," he said. "They want to live in the Door County and Green Bay area. We have had some good applications — we have a plethora of resumes. But this is good news, creating new jobs. We wanted to make the community aware this is happening."

Job openings and applications are accepted through the company website at www.bayshipbuilding

Green Bay Press Gazette


Navy says yes, USS Edson is finally docking in the Saginaw River

4/30 - Bangor Township, Mich. – The USS Edson once had a crew of 276, fired the most 5" inch shells of any destroyer, and its motto was "Three Guns, No Waiting." Now, the long wait is over for a status update on the destroyer's release to the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum: Navy approval has been granted.

"The Navy is thrilled that Edson has found a new home at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum," said the Navy's Inactive Ships Program Manager Captain Chris Pietras. "This ship has served her nation in wartime and peace for more than 50 years, and we're pleased that the ship will continue to serve as a museum and memorial."

Mike Kegley, Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum president, has led the charge to bring a destroyer to the area for 15 years.

"We've been thinking for years that it is going to be here — I began this when I was a young man, and I am 71 now," Kegley, who retired from the Navy as Chief Petty Officer in 1986, said. "But, it finally has come to fruition and it really is going to be here this year."

The destroyer will dock at the Independence Park Boat Launch in Bangor Township, near the Independence Bridge, where it will become a floating museum and tourist attraction. "When you drive over the Independence Bridge, you won't be able to miss that thing," Kegley said.

In March, the Navy formally approved the museum's application, said Chris Johnson, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) spokesman. Congress then had 30 days to rescind the transfer. The Congressional notification period ended today.

Formal transfer of title and ownership of the USS Edson to the museum occurs when the museum removes the ship from the Navy's custody in Philadelphia: it has 50 days to do so.

"There are times where we all got a little discouraged, but we got a good night's sleep, charged up and went right back at it," Kegley said. "I told the Navy at the start they might as well give her to us now because we aren't going away, and by gosh we didn't going away."

The USS Edson is 418 feet long, with a 45 foot beam width. The ship stands 106 feet tall. The vessel is currently located at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard — two tug boats are needed to assist the ship to Bangor Township, and Kegley said he is currently getting an estimate for the five-week voyage.

In 2004, the museum began efforts to secure the USS Edson. Kegley said that the museum previously worked towards bringing another ship to the area, but changed focus when the cost became too expensive.

The ship's first deployment was to the Western Pacific in 1960. It served during the Cold War and was deployed to Vietnam three separate times, during which it earned three Meritorious Unit Citations.

Following its 1989 decommissioning, the ship was donated to the USS Intrepid Foundation and served as a museum ship at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City from 1989 to 2004. The ship was designated as a National Historic Landmark on June 21, 1990.

"I have been aboard her three, maybe four times," Kegley said. "Three of us from Bay City went to the museum in 2003 to make sure she was the ship we wanted before we moved forward."

In October 2003, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum formally requested to return the USS Edson to the Navy due to extensive pier repairs that would have rendered the ship's berthing area uninhabitable for an extended period. The Navy accepted this offer, and the ship was again advertised for donation in June 2004.

The USS Edson project was initially estimated to cost the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum $1.2 million. More than a decade later, rising costs and inflation have increased the cost to $1.4 million, leaving the museum at a $200,000 funding shortfall.

"We are going to open the Edson to the public as soon as possible — this year," Kegley said. "Through tours and donations, that is how we will raise the rest of the money." On May 17, a formal transfer of title and ownership is scheduled to take place in Bay City.



Boatnerd 2012 Cruising/Gatherings Scheduled

Several cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( for interested boat watchers during the 2012 season. Don't wait to make your reservations. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans.

June 8-9 – Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan, from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger. On Friday night, June 3rd, 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. See the Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

June 28-30 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel through the U.S. and Canadian Locks, doing our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

Sold out - Keweenaw Star Boatnerd Cruise – July 13-15 We are sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo on July 13-15.

August 4 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise On Saturday, August 4, 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. Pizza will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

September 14-16 Annual Welland Canal Gathering Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where boats go when they die. See the Gathering Page for details


Updates -  April 30

News Photo Gallery


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.

1909 RUSSIA foundered in heavy weather in Lake Huron not far from Detour, MI. The ship was en route from Duluth to Alpena and ran into a heavy gale. Sources vary on the loss to life.

1929 D.M. PHILBIN ran aground in a high winds and snow 6 miles west of Conneaut after mistaking the airport beacon for the Conneaut Light and stranding on a sandbar off Whitman's Creek. The hold was flooded to keep the hull safe and it was released with the aid of tugs on May 7. The vessel was renamed c) SYLVANIA prior to returning to service

1984 The fish tug STANLEY CLIPPER sank in a storm on Lake Erie southeast of Port Dover, near Ryerson Island and all three men on board were lost. The hull was located, refloated and rebuilt as the tug NADRO CLIPPER. It currently operates as c) A.I.S. CLIPPER and is often moored below Lock 1 of the Welland Canal when not in service.

1991 The hull of BEECHGLEN buckled while unloading corn at Cardinal, ON, with the bow and stern settling on the bottom. The ship was strapped together, refloated and towed to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs arriving at the shipyard on May 26.

1999 GLORY MAKOTOH, a Panamanian general cargo carrier, sank in the South China Sea off Hainan Island as d) FELIZ TRADER on this date in 1999. The vessel had been a Seaway trader in 1983 under the original name. Eight crew were rescued from the lifeboats but 13 sailors were lost.

2000 The small passenger ship WORLD DISCOVERER visited the Great Lakes in 1975. It hit a reef or large rock off the Solomon Islands on April 30, 2000, and had to be beached on the island of Ngella. The 127 passengers and 80 crew were saved, but the ship was a total loss and potential salvors were driven off by a hostile local population.

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


Port Reports -  April 29

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded stone for a second time in as many days at the LaFarge dock on the Marblehead Peninsula.

Erie, Pa. - Jeffrey Benson
Calumet is out of the graving dock along with the self-unloading barge Cleveland Rocks. They are in the slip with the tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender. It is unknown when any of the three vessels are going to depart.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn was on her way out of the North Entrance at 8 a.m. Saturday, bound for Detroit.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Saturday Elisalex Schulte left Oshawa with the assistance of tugs Ecosse and Lac Manitoba. Elisalex Schulte is believed to be on her way to Sarnia, Ont. As for Ecosse and Lac Manitoba, they have returned to Hamilton. The tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick remained in Oshawa.


Seaway saltie cleared

4/29 - The Atlantic Cruiser, a former Seaway trader as Buccaneer and BBC Italy, has been cleared by officials in Turkey. The vessel was suspected of carrying arms to Syria and was diverted to Iskenduran. There the cargo of containers were removed and searched. This work determined that there was nothing illegal on board and the ship is to be reloaded to enable it to continue the voyage. Buccaneer was new when it came inland on October 17, 2001, while it returned under the original name of BBC Italy for the first time in 2003.

Skip Gillham


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.

1909 AURANIA is the only steel hulled ship sunk by ice on the Great Lakes. The vessel was lost in Whitefish Bay after being holed and then squeezed by the pressure of the ice pack near Parisienne Island. The crew escaped onto the ice and pulled a yawl boat to the J.H. BARTOW.

1952 W.E. FITZGERALD hit the Burlington Lift Bridge at the entrance to Hamilton Bay after a mechanical problem resulted in the structure not being raised. The north span of the bridge was knocked into the water resulting in traffic chaos on land and on the water.

1959 PRESCOTT went aground near Valleyfield, Quebec, while downbound in the Seaway only four days after the waterway had been opened. It got stuck trying to avoid a bridge that had failed to open and navigation was blocked until the CSL bulk carrier was refloated the next day.

1969 HOWARD HINDMAN ran aground at the Little Rapids Cut in the St. Marys River after the steering cables parted. The ship was released and temporarily returned to service but the vessel was badly damaged and soon sold for scrap. It came down the Welland Canal with a cargo of road salt on June 6, 1969, and was towed to Bilbao, Spain, with the HUMBERDOC, arriving on September 6, 1969.

1976 The British freighter GLENPARK was three years old when it first came through the Seaway in 1959. It was sailing as c) GOLDEN LEADER when it ran aground off Goto Island, southwest Japan while on a long voyage from Chungjin, China, to Constanza, Romania. The hull broke in two and was a total loss.

1998 The Panamanian freighter DENEBOLA first visited the Seaway in 1973. The ship was sailing as d) TAE CHON, under the flag of North Korea, when it was in a collision with the YANG LIN in thick fog on the Yellow Sea and sank. The vessel was enroute from Yantai, China, to Chittagong, Bangladesh, when the accident occurred and one life was lost.

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


Port Reports -  April 28

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Tug G.L. Ostrander and cement barge Integrity departed late Thursday from the Lafarge Cement terminal in Superior. On Friday morning the saltie Victoriaborg was slowly backing into the General Mills elevator in Duluth to load beet pulp pellets. James R. Barker was due later in the day to load at CN ore dock and American Mariner was due in to unload stone at the Graymont dock in Superior (formerly CLM). When finished there, it’s expected to load at the General Mills elevator in Superior, which has been receiving long strings of grain cars all week, a sure sign that a vessel is due there.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten loaded ore and departed for Essar Algoma. Also on Friday, Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in the early evening to load ore.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Thursday saw the departure of the Stephen B. Roman from the Essroc dock in Essexville after arriving on Wednesday, and unloading there overnight. The USCG Cutter Hollyhock also departed from the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville, headed for the lake. On Friday morning, the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound with a split load. The pair stopped at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload a partial cargo, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Algorail was also inbound on Friday, heading upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Both the Moore/Kuber and Algorail were outbound Friday night..

Sandusky-Marblehead-Huron, Ohio – Jim Spencer
H. Lee White loaded at Sandusky's NorfolkSouthern coal dock Friday. She was slated to deliver the cargo to Ecorse, Mich. The tug Pathfinder and barge Dorothy Ann loaded at the Lafarge quarry dock at Marblehead. Their next port was unclear, although they were eastbound on Lake Erie late in the afternoon. Philip R. Clarke sailed from Huron Friday morning enroute to Detroit to take on a cargo of mill scale for Gary.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Algoma Progress arrived at the Gateway Metroport Terminal in Lackawanna around 10:35 p.m. on the night of the 26th.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the tugs Ecosse and Lac Manitoba departed at 7 a.m. for Oshawa. Tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 10:15 a.m. Federal Maas arrived at 12:30 p.m. for Pier 12E. Shamrock Jupiter departed at 12:45 p.m. for Sarnia. Algoma Mariner departed at 4 p.m. for Quebec City. Tim S. Dool departed at 5:30 p.m. for Thunder Bay. Tug Vigilant 1 departed at 6:30 p.m. Ocean Group tug LaPrairie arrived 8 p.m.

Oshawa, Ont. - Lorraine Morrill
Nadro Marine tugs Ecosse and Lac Manitoba arrived about 12:30 and tied up. Ocean tugs Jerry G and La Prairie assisted the Lake Ontario in leaving about 12:30. Ecosse and Lac Manitoba headed back out to assist the Elisalex Schulte into the dock. Tug Victorious and barge came into the harbor after the Schulte was tied up.


Duluth marine museum hosts programs

4/28 - Superior, Wis. – Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, has coordinated three free May Evening Entertainment Series programs. Each program will be held from 7-9 p.m. in the visitor center’s lower level lecture hall, 600 South Lake Ave. in historic Canal Park in Duluth. Admission is free.

Duluthian Jack Salmela will share historic details of how northeastern Minnesota could easily have wound up being part of Canada on May 3 during his presentation “Of Vikings and Voyageurs.” Discover how Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay negotiated the border through today’s Boundary Waters through the Treaty of Paris in 1783.

Canadian author James Stevens’ newest publication describes how the opening of the Michigan State Canal in 1855 impacted history as it brought thousands of immigrants seeking new lives and opportunities to the upper Midwest. His presentation May 10, “Wild on the Superior Frontier,” will focus on how access by boat in cold aqueous North America challenged captains and passengers with furious deadly weather.

Tony Dierckins’ presentation on May 17 is taken from his most recent book “Lost Duluth,” which utilizes over 400 images of vanished homes, buildings, landmarks, industries and residential neighborhoods. Join the journey and be introduced to people – from hardscrabble pioneers to wealthy industrialists to impoverished immigrant laborers – whose ambitions and dreams built the Zenith City on a swamp and rocky hillside at the head of the Great Lakes.

For more information, check the website at or call 218 727-2497.

Superior Telegram


Algoma Central posts $31.1-million first-quarter loss

4/28 - Algoma Central Corp. cited costs associated with an acquisition for a near doubling of the net loss the Great Lakes bulk shipping company suffered in the first quarter.

Algoma Central said the net loss in the three months ended March 31, 2012, was $31.1-million or $8 per share, compared with a loss of $17-million or $4.37 per share in the same 2011 period. Revenue rose to $66.1-million from $57.2-million.

“The increase in the loss was due primarily to the acquisition of the non-controlling interest in Seaway Marine Transport in April 2011,” the company said in a release. The loss was partially offset by a reduction in the mark-to-market loss recognizing the fair value of certain foreign forward exchange contracts, it added.

The April 2011 acquisition involved vessels and partnership interests owned by Upper Lakes Group. Algoma Central's first-quarter results last year reflected only a 59 per cent interest in the business and the losses incurred by the partnership.

Had the ULG Transaction occurred on Jan. 1, 2011, the Q1 2011 net loss would have increased by $15,405, or $3.96 per share, for a total quarterly loss equivalent to $8.33 per share, it said.

Algoma Central owns and operates the largest Canadian flag fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers operating on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence waterway, including 19 self-unloading dry-bulk carriers, nine gearless dry bulk carriers and seven product tankers.

Algoma also has interests in ocean dry-bulk and product tanker vessels operating in international markets, as well as a diversified ship repair and steel fabricating facility active in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence. It also owns and manages commercial real estate properties in Sault Ste. Marie, St. Catharines and Waterloo, Ont.

The Canadian Press


Island added to Detroit River wildlife refuge

4/28 - Grosse Ile Twp., Mich. – A 30-acre, uninhabited island is being added to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge. Officials say Sugar Island is part of conservation area surrounding the southern end of Grosse Ile in the Detroit River. It’s in Wayne County’s Grosse Ile Township.

The island once was a destination for picnicking and had other attractions. It’s near Boblo Island, which once was home to a well-known amusement park.

Sugar Island was bought by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding and it’s now part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. The refuge includes roughly 5,700 acres along 48 miles of the Detroit River and western Lake Erie.

Port Huron Times Herald


Chief Engineer Darryl Bertrand, Sr.

4/28 - Retired American Steamship Co. Chief Engineer Darryl Bertrand, Sr. passed away in Manistique, Mich. on April 26, 2012. Darryl sailed for 43 years, until his retirement in September 1999.


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.

1971 ZENAVA, the former REDFERN, ran aground, caught fire and sank off Burin, NF while under tow from Rose Blanche, NF to Marystown, NF. The former bulk canaller was being used to transport, freeze and store fish.

1976 The first ALGOSEA was inbound on its first trip to the Great Lakes when it hit the wall below Lock 1 of the Welland Canal and then, below Lock 2, the ship was blown sideways across the canal after problems with the cables. The ship was enroute to Port Colborne for conversion to a self-unloader; it was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 2011 as SAUNIERE.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Underwater images show former Canadian Miner damage

4/27 - The Miner was badly beaten by the Cape Breton winter. The CBC visited the ship last week and got some images of the damage above and below the water. The Miner broke its line and ran aground off Scatarie Island, N.S., in September as it was being towed from Montreal to Turkey, where it was to be scrapped. Bennington Group of New York and Armada Offshore of Turkey are working on an agreement with the provincial and federal governments for the removal of the vessel, which sits in a protected provincial wilderness area. Underwater video at this link

CBC News


Port Reports -  April 27

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports on Thursday morning included Indiana Harbor loading at the CN ore dock in Duluth and Burns Harbor loading at BNSF ore dock in Superior.

Cedarville and Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Both Wilfred Sykes and Lewis J. Kuber loaded stone cargoes at the dock in Cedarville on Wednesday, April 25. The next vessel due to arrive at the loading dock at Cedarville is the Mississagi on Sunday, April 28. American Mariner loaded stone at Port Inland on Wednesday, April 25. Following the Mariner was the Manitowoc, which also loaded a stone cargo at Port Inland on Wednesday. Sykes was due to arrive at the dock in Port Inland early on Thursday, April 26 and the Pere Marquette 41 was also due arrive at Port Inland late morning the same day.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A busy weekend is on tap for the loading dock in Calcite, with several vessels due to load stone cargoes. Vessels due are: Great Republic, for an early morning arrival on Friday, April 27 for the South Dock and, arriving in the early afternoon, will be Cason J. Callaway, also for the South Dock. Due to load on Saturday is the Arthur M. Anderson for an evening arrival at the South Dock. H. Lee White is scheduled to load on Sunday at Calcite using both the North and South Docks. Rounding out the Calcite lineup is Lee A. Tregurtha, making a rare appearance in Calcite on Monday at the South Dock during the evening.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Several vessels are due in to load stone this weekend. The tentative lineup at the dock in Stoneport, subject to change and weather, has the following vessels loading: Sam Laud and the Joseph H. Thompson for Friday, Lewis J. Kuber due on Saturday, and for Sunday, Manistee, Manitowoc and Joseph H. Thompson. There are no vessels scheduled at the present time for next week Monday-Wednesday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock are Saginaw on Sunday, April 29, to be followed by James L. Kuber on Tuesday, May 1. Herbert C. Jackson is due on Wednesday, May 2, Robert S. Pierson and the H. Lee White are both due on Sunday, May 6 to load coal. At the Torco Dock, vessels due to unload ore in the coming days are CSL Niagara Monday, April 30, followed by the H. Lee White on Wednesday, May 2. CSL Laurentien is due Friday, May 4, H. Lee White returns on Sunday, May 6 and, rounding out the Torco Dock lineup, is the Great Republic due on Tuesday, May 8. There are still a few vessels in lay-up in Toledo – Adam E. Cornelius and American Courage at the Hans-Hansen former Interlake Iron Co. Dock and American Valor and American Fortitude at the Lakefront Docks.

Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke slid into the Huron Harbor as darkness settled over the South shore of Lake Erie Thursday evening. The Clarke discharged a cargo of stone at the Huron Lime Co. dock just inside the harbor mouth.

Tonawanda, N.Y. - Joe Rennie
Thursday morning, Rebecca Lynn and her barge were unloading at NOCO.


Muskegon County-based helicopter unit receives support from Michigan House

4/27 - Muskegon County, Mich. - The Michigan House of Representatives approved a resolution introduced by a Muskegon County lawmaker Thursday that urges Congress to save the U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue unit based here.

State Rep. Holly Hughes, R-White River Township, wrote the resolution that urges members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to reject the President’s budget proposal that would eliminate the Coast Guard helicopter service based at the Muskegon County Airport in Norton Shores. State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, introduced a similar resolution in the Senate and State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, D-Muskegon, has said she supports keeping the facility open.

Copies of the resolution are being sent to Congress and all of Michigan’s federal representatives. U.S. Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have advocated for rejection of the proposed closure of the seasonal air facility.

“Approving this resolution is key to maintaining our search-and-rescue capabilities along the lakeshore and I hope Congress takes it as seriously as we do,” Hughes said. “A reduction in our emergency response resources or Coast Guard presence along Lake Michigan is a serious threat to Michigan residents, jobs and tourists, and it’s a risk we can’t afford to take.”

The search-and-rescue facility in Muskegon County has been slated for closure in previous years, but it has continued its string of operating locally since 1997. The Muskegon County facility was expected to close based on the 2010 preliminary budget, but the funding was reinstated and it remained open.

The local search-and-rescue helicopter unit provides rescue services for boats and ships on Lake Michigan between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It also responds to homeland security situations. Since 2005, the Muskegon County-based unit has responded to 182 cases on Lake Michigan.

The resolution states that the next closest air stations are more than 100 miles away in Chicago and Traverse City. The resolution also encourages Congress to restructure the Traverse City station and not follow the president’s proposal to reduce the number of helicopters housed there.

“We should not have to wait hours for a search-and-rescue helicopter to come out of Chicago just because someone in Washington wants to save a few dollars,” Hughes said. “I would rather be able to save lives. We should not have to wait for that. When you need them, you need them.”

It is unclear what the exact amount of money needed is to keep the Muskegon County air facility open. The Coast Guard’s cost for operating the local unit was about $485,000 in 2010, but that figure included the lease payment to the county to pay off the original construction of the hangar.

The Coast Guard only pays rent for the space now, plus the equipment and personnel costs.



Fednav adds fifth new vessel, Federal Skye, to its new build list

4/27 - Montreal, Que. – Fednav Limited of Montreal recently added a fifth new vessel to its list of vessels currently under construction in China. Federal Syke becomes the fifth unit added to the list of new ships that have been built in 2012 at the Zhejiang Ouha Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in China. Federal Syke follows four other sisterships, all of which have been built at the same shipyard in China within the past few months: Federal Sable, Federal Skeena, Federal Sutton and Federal Severn. Each of the now new vessels are being registered in the Marshall Islands. The new ships, or "S" series, that is being built for Fednav are all 189.99 meters in length with a beam of 28.31 meters.

Denny Dushane


Derailed train spills fuel into St. Lawrence Seaway

4/27 - A Canadian Pacific locomotive derailed Tuesday evening in the South Shore municipality of Ste. Catherine spilling about 6,000 litres of diesel fuel into the St. Lawrence Seaway, officials with Urgence-Environnement Québec reported Wednesday.

The locomotive was pulling about ten cars when two of its wheels came off the track for unknown reasons. The engine of the locomotive was damaged in the derailment and its fuel tank was punctured, causing fuel to pour into a nearby municipal sewer that drains into the Seaway, said Yvan Tremblay, coordinator of emergency services for the environment department’s Environmental Control Centre, Eastern Townships and Montérégie regions.

Workers have been at the site, which is just across the seaway from the Ste. Catherine Recréo-Parc, since soon after the derailment occurred around 5 p.m. Tuesday trying to contain the spill. They have installed floating booms with skirts that hang below the water to keep the oil from spreading, and are pumping out the contaminated water.

Tremblay said there is no anticipated danger to drinking water, and he expects the cleanup should take about one week.

A spokesperson for CP said the train was what’s known as a “switcher train” that picks up or delivers cars to and from CP customers as needed. There were no injuries in the accident.

“Early indications are that there is no environmental damage,” said CP spokesperson Kevin Hrysak. “We immediately had the pumper trucks on the scene pumping out the sewers and skimming the contained oil at the site.”

He said CP is investigating the cause of the derailment.

The Montreal Gazette


Huron Lightship to open May 4

4/27 - Port Huron Twp., Mich. – The Huron Lightship in Pine Grove Park will open for the season May 4. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Monday, May 4 through June 18; seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 19 through Sept. 3; and Friday through Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 4 through Oct. 29. The ship contains an extensive collection of artifacts, including many model ships, as well as a live camera feed of the bottom of the St. Clair River. The Huron Lightship was the last operating lightship on the Great Lakes and served for more than 50 years until it was retired in 1970. Admission is free for Port Huron Museum members, $7 for nonmember adults, $5 for seniors 60 and older or students 5 to 17 years old, and free for children four and younger. Admission also is free for active military members with identification. Admission is $20 for a family of two adults and up to four children residing at the same address. Visit


Program on Harsens Island titled “Tashmoo: The Park And The Steamer”

4/27 - The Harsens Island St. Clair Flats Historical Society will sponsor author and historian Arthur M. Woodford who will present “Tashmoo: The Park And The Steamer” May 12 on Harsens Island, and also conduct a book signing for the newly released book.

Please make your reservations for this event, as seating is limited, by contacting Nancy Licata at: 810-748-1825 or via e-mail at:


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. Later that morning on Lake Erie fog still prevailed and the PHILIP MINCH of the Kinsman fleet collided with and sank the crane ship FRANK E. VIGOR. This collision occurred at 0850 hours and the ship, loaded with sulphur, sank in the Pelee Passage in 75 feet of water. All on board were saved.

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 landfilled 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.

1914 - The BENJAMIN NOBLE disappeared with all hands in Lake Superior. The wreck was finally located in 2004 and it lies 10 miles off Two Harbors, MN. The discovery was confirmed in July 2005.

1915 The COLLINGWOOD stranded near Corsica Shoal while downbound in Lake Huron with a load of grain.

1965 After being forced to spend the winter at Toronto when an early build up of ice prevented it from leaving the Great Lakes, the Greek freighter ORIENT MERCHANT ran aground near Port Colborne and required repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks. The ship had begun Seaway trading in 1960 and was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, arriving on November 17, 1967, as ZAMBEZI.

1970 The Israeli freighter ESHKOL began Great Lakes trading right after being built in 1964. The ship was in a collision with the fishing boat MELISSA JEAN II in the Cabot Strait on this date in 1970. It arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping as ESKAT on September 29, 1982

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


Port Reports -  April 26

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
Stephen B. Roman called on the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning, making her first visit of the 2012 season to the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville. She unloaded there through the day and was expected to be outbound late Wednesday or early Thursday. The U.S.C.G. Cutter Hollyhock arrived out in the Saginaw Bay Wednesday evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway arrived about 8 a.m., unloaded, and departed about 2:30 p.m.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Lee A. Tregurtha departed the NorfolkSouthern coal dock early Wednesday for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Manistee moved under the loader a short time later, and by mid-afternoon she was on her way to Green Bay.


Ashland ore dock demolition underway

4/26 - Ashland, Wis. – The historic Soo Line ore dock in Ashland will soon disappear from the horizon on Lake Superiors South Shore. The first phases of demolition are already underway. Phases one and two of the ore dock demolition resumed this spring. Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen says the city awarded a revised permit last summer allowing railroad company Canadian National to begin demolition of the historic structure. The railroad has contracted with Duluth-based VEIT & Company to conduct the demolition.

“They are going to take off the upper structure and all the fixtures attached to it and get down to the cement structure itself everything but the base,” Whalen said.

He hopes Canadian National will finish work on the first two phases of demolition by the end of the year. “I know they’ll have all the chutes off it, all the attachments: the metal, the steel, some of the wood attachments,” Whalen said. “Whether they’ll have the entire structure down, we don’t know yet.”

He says the city plans to begin negotiations with the railroad about the base of the ore dock. “I’d like to keep the base and have a real nice pier there, but it’s going to be an awful lot up to the railroad itself,” Whalen said. “If we can save them money by not having to demolish the base itself and it’s a win-win for both of us, well move forward on this.”

The City of Ashland will do water quality monitoring tests by the ore dock to ensure that no debris from the demolition is contaminating Lake Superior. The city’s water pickup is about 1,300 feet from the dock. Whalen says the city is considering buying parts of the ore dock from Canadian National to commemorate the near century old landmark of Ashland's lakefront. The ore dock took its last load of cargo in 1965.

Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram


Legislation in Congress could mean more money for Great Lakes dredging

4/26 - Great Lakes shipping officials hope a recent vote by the U.S. House of Representatives leads to substantial increases in funding for dredging at Great Lakes ports. The House passed the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012 last week, including an amendment directing that all money collected for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year.

The fund typically collects $1.6 billion in taxes each year, but only spends about half of that, according to the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. While the fund has a $7 billion surplus, there is a backlog of 16 million cubic yards of sediment waiting to be dredged from Great Lakes ports and waterways.

“The dredging crisis has limited Great Lakes shipping’s ability to efficiently serve America’s industrial heartland,” Maritime Task Force first vice president Don Cree said. “Ships designed to carry more than 70,000 tons of iron ore or coal each trip have routinely left port with 10 percent or more of their hauling power unused. The lost carrying capacity has effectively decreased the capacity of the Great Lakes/Seaway system.”

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, an 80-member coalition, promotes domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes.

The issue moves now to the House/Senate Conference Committee, which will work out differences between House and Senate versions of the bill.

The dredging amendment is a good start, said Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Adolph Ojard, but the devil will be in the details. “The issue here is, how will the money be spent and will the Great Lakes get their fair share?” he said. “But it is a good trend, and hopefully it can continue.”

The Twin Ports does not have as large a dredging backlog as some other Great Lakes ports do.

“Nothing is really impairing shipping through our port,” Ojard said. “We have anchorage areas that are marginal, but the main channels have all been properly maintained. Some of the turnaround areas in the harbor are getting a little tight, but again it’s not impeding traffic.”

But shallow water in other ports is forcing some ships heading for those ports to depart the Twin Ports with less cargo than they could.

For each inch of additional water depth, a 1,000-foot-long laker can carry about an additional 270 tons of cargo. That may not sound like a lot for a ship with a capacity of more than 70,000 tons, but when you multiply 270 tons by the number of inches a ship has to load light by the number of trips the ship makes in a season by the freight rate, “all of a sudden we’re talking real dollars,” Ojard said. “When you consider the multipliers, it becomes a significant revenue impact on an annual basis.”

Duluth News Tribune


70 mystery barrels to be lifted from Lake Superior this summer

4/26 - Duluth, Minn. – Almost two decades after nine Department of Defense mystery barrels were recovered from Lake Superior, 10 times that number will be pulled up this summer.

In a statement released Monday, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa says it is working with the DoD to lift those barrels from sites between the Lester and Knife rivers along the North Shore.

Seventy is only a small fraction of the almost 1,500 barrels dumped in three sites between 1959 and 1962 by the Army Corp of Engineers under orders of the DoD. Originally, there was thought to be seven dump sites, but investigators say some areas overlap each other so there are three total known sites. But it is thought to be enough to get a scientific sampling on these 55-gallon drums, if they are contaminated or even explosive.

A report released by Red Cliff in 2006 indicates many pollutants may be in the barrels. Citing Army Corp and Honeywell Munitions records, they say chemicals ranging from PCBs, mercury, lead or even uranium may exist in the barrels.

Removing the barrels will be tricky. Because they contain ammunition parts, it’s not clear if there is any volatility left. Also, the 1960-era drums are rusty and contamination could spread if they break up as they’re being raised. Because of safety concerns, there will be a zone off-limits to the public during the recovery operation.

The recovery operation will also sample lake water and sediment next to the barrels. An independent lab separate from the Department of Defense, Spectrum Analytical of Tampa, Fla. will analyze this summer’s findings, with results expected next spring.

Although recovery will take place this summer, dates aren’t being released at this time. The barrels will be properly disposed of once they are recovered and tested. Environmental consulting firm EMR of Duluth surveyed the barrels in 2008 and found 591 “targets” during a 96 square mile sonar search. Each target could include one or more barrels.

Red Cliff officials weren’t immediately available for comment, but will discuss plans in interviews scheduled for later this week.

Superior Telegram


CSL executive James R. Elder

4/26 - James R. Elder, former President and CEO of Canada Steamship Lines, passed away in St. Catharines on April 20.


Updates -  April 26

News Photo Gallery


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.

1902 The wooden schooner barge GRACE B. GRIBBLE was holed by ice and sank in Lake Erie off Point Pelee after the hull was punctured by an ice flow. Three sailors were lost.

1958 CIANDRA, a Great Lakes visitor from West Germany as early as 1953, ran aground in the St. Clair River at the south end of Stag Island on this date in 1958. Due to a dispute, there was no pilot on board at the time. The ship was stuck for about 3 hours. It later burned and capsized at Singapore as e) MESONGO on September 9, 1977, and was refloated and then scrapped in 1979.

1981 The Norwegian freighter ASKOT visited the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1962 and returned under the flag of Greece as DIAKAN MASCOT in 1972. It was observed lying off Aden, as c) TYHI with the engineroom flooded on this date in 1981. The hull was later refloated and arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakstan, for scrapping on April 28, 1982.

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


Winds force freighters to stop in Lake Huron

4/25 - Port Huron, Mich. - Winds forced four freighters to drop their anchors Tuesday in the Port Huron area. Frank Frisk told the Times Herald that the Algoma Enterprise and Algoma Progress anchored Tuesday in lower Lake Huron. Two other ships were anchored on the St. Clair River. Frisk said the Stephen B. Roman was in the Marysville area, and the Philip R. Clarke was in St. Clair. The National Weather Service says wind gusts topped 40 mph in parts of Michigan's Lower Peninsula on Tuesday.

After the weather moderated, Algoma Progress departed anchorage at buoys 11 &12 at 3:15, with Algoma Enterprise following suit at 4 p.m. Both vessels were hugging the Canadian shore, headed to Goderich to load salt. Philip R. Clarke left the Detroit Edison dock in St.Clair at 5:50 p.m. on her way to load stone in Calcite, Mich. Stephen B. Roman departed her anchorage in Marysville at Indian Point, proceeding upbound to Essexville, Michigan, in the Saginaw Bay area, following the Clarke up the U.S. shoreline to their destinations

WDIO and Frank Frisk


Port Reports -  April 25

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleetmates Herbert C. Jackson and Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded ore Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Activity remains brisk at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. Algowood was a weekend visitor, loading and enroute to Hamilton, Ont., Tuesday evening. Soon after the Algowood moved out of Sandusky Bay and onto Lake Erie, Lee A. Tregurtha arrived from the Rouge, where she had discharged taconite. The Tregurtha was loading overnight and scheduled depart early Wednesday for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.


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.

1941 The CANADIAN SIGNALLER was built at Collingwood as Hull 63 in 1919. It was torpedoed and sunk as d) POLYANA by U-103 en route from from Sunderland, UK to Freetown, Sierre Leone, with a cargo of coal. It was attacked just before midnight April 24 and sank in the early hours on this date with all 25 on board being lost.

1968 The Misener steamer EVERETTON ran aground in the St. Lawrence on this date in 1968. Although the damage was considered minor, the ship was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap, resold to Spanish shipbrakers and arrived under tow at Bilbao, on September 23, 1968, for dismantling.

1998 The wooden goelettes MONT NOTRE DAME and MONT ROYAL were destroyed by a fire at St. Joseph-de-la-Rive, Quebec, where they were being preserved ashore as museum ships. MONT NOTRE DAME was one of the first units in the Transport Desgagnes fleet while MONT ROYAL was known to have been a Great Lakes visitor.

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


Huge Lake Erie waves crash against Ohio shoreline

4/24 - Cleveland, Ohio – Strong winds were whipping through the region Monday. NewsChannel5 Meteorologist Christine Ferreira said gusts were up to 40 mph. She said sustained winds were blowing at 20-30 mph. Drivers reported waves crashing onto the Shoreway in Cleveland Monday morning as they were headed toward Cleveland.

News Channel 5


Port Reports -  April 24

Green Bay, Wis. - Peter Groh
Manitowoc was in Green Bay overnight and departed Monday morning. It was unloading a load of coal from South Chicago at Georgia Pacific (Fort Howard Paper) in Green Bay.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The research vessels Grayling and Sturgeon arrived in Alpena on Sunday and tied up in the river along with the Laurentian and Spencer F. Baird. The tug Michigan and tanker Great Lakes anchored off Alpena on Sunday, likely waiting on windy weather. It remained there throughout Monday and was joined by the Great Republic, which anchored out in the bay on Monday evening.

Cape Vincent, N.Y. - Ron Walsh
Gale winds caused the Cape Vincent pilot boat to be out of service Sunday night and most of Monday. Seven ships had to go to anchor to wait for the service to resume, beginning with the Apollogracht at 2156 Sunday night. At 1530, Seaway Sodus called all the ships and said their pilots will be waiting in sequence at Cape Vincent, starting at 1700 for the Apollogracht. The Clipper Marie will get her pilot at 1800, followed by Susann S, Federal Yukina, Federal Ems, Pacific Huron and Algoeast at 30-minute intervals.


Boatnerd 2012 Cruising/Gatherings Scheduled

Several cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( for interested boat watchers during the 2012 season. Don't wait to make your reservations. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans.

June 8-9 – Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan, from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger. On Friday night, June 3rd, 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. See the Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

June 28-30 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel through the U.S. and Canadian Locks, doing our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

Keweenaw Star Boatnerd Cruise – July 13-15 We are sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo on July 13-15. 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 details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365 and make your reservation today. Limited space available.

August 4 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise On Saturday, August 4, 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. Pizza will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

September 14-16 Annual Welland Canal Gathering Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where boats go when they die. See the Gathering Page for details


Updates -  April 24

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News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Consumers Power

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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 crewmembers 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.

1948 A collision between the HARRY L. FINDLAY and the Canadian tanker JOHN IRWIN occurred in the St. Clair River, near Recors Point on this date. The stem bar was twisted and plates set back on the American bulk carrier and these were repaired at Lorain. It later sailed as c) PAUL L. TIETJEN. The tanker saw further service as c) WHITE ROSE II, d) WHITE ROSE and e) FUEL MARKETER (ii).

1975 The Canadian self-unloader SAGUENAY sustained minor damage in a collision in Lake St. Clair with the Panamanian freighter FESTIVITY on this date. The latter had begun coming to the Great Lakes in 1966. It had been damaged in a grounding on July 18, 1977, and arrived at Bilbao, Spain, for scrapping on November 9, 1977.

1989 GENERAL VARGAS arrived at Green Bay and was being towed by the tug MINNIE SELVICK when the latter was crushed against pilings around a railway bridge and sank. All on board were rescued but the tug was a total loss. The Philippine registered freighter had begun Great Lakes trading as a) BRUNTO in 1977 and reacquired that name in 1994. It was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, as f) LINDEN after arriving on July 19, 2011.

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


Port Reports -  April 23

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Great Republic loaded ore on Sunday at the Upper Harbor.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin began loading early Sunday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. She departed late in the afternoon and was followed at the dock by the Algowood. Both were posted as sailing for Hamilton, Ont. Originally scheduled to load Sunday night at Sandusky, Algoma Enterprise was diverted to the C&O coal dock in Toledo, where she loaded for Hamilton. At the LaFarge stone dock on Marblehead Penninsula, Mississagi was loading Limestone on Sunday. Her next port of call is Windsor.


Burlington Canal lift bridge operating again

4/23 - Hamilton, Ont. – The Burlington Canal Lift Bridge is fully operational, allowing both marine and road traffic to pass safely, according to Public Works and Government Services Canada. The bridge was fully raised at 8:45 p.m. Friday and lowered to allow safe passage, according to a press release the department sent out Saturday.

Hamilton Port Authority’s Janet Balfour, vice-president of corporate services, said the bridge is operating in a lower gear than usual. So freighters, tankers and other ships need to give bridge operators one hour’s notice before the bridge can be fully opened to let them pass. This requires more time for ships to get through, but Balfour said so far, this is not causing an issue.

The Hamilton Spectator


Keewatin tow from Douglas to Port McNicoll calls for layover at DeTour

4/23 - The plan had been for the 350-foot 3,886-ton former Canadian Pacific Great Lakes steamship Keewatin to be waiting for Travel Dynamics’ 257-foot 2,354-ton Yorktown to greet her on the event of her first arrival at Saugatuck on June 17. But plans now call for the Keewatin to be towed away earlier to lay over at De Tour, Michigan, in preparation for a planned arrival back at Port McNicoll, Ontario, on June 23. That date is significant because it will be exactly one hundred years to the day since the Keewatin first sailed from Port McNicoll, after the new port was opened on Georgian Bay in 1912.

The Keewatin should be at DeTour, however, on June 20 when the Yorktown passes on her way to the Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie and Lake Superior. As DeTour is on the main St Marys River shipping channel it is quite likely that the two ships will come within eyeshot of each other, as the Keewatin will probably be scheduled for departure for Port McNicoll the following day.

The Edwardian-era passenger ship was built on the Clyde in 1907 and carried up to 288 passengers. Roland Peterson, owner of the Tower Marina at Douglas, Michigan, purchased the Keewatin after her retirement in 1965 in order to save her from the scrappers and moved her in 1967 to Douglas, near Saugatuck, where he and his wife Diane have maintained her as a nautical museum at for the past forty-two years.

Her latest owner, Toronto-based Skyline International Development Inc, took possession in October 2011. As part of the deal, Skyline is dredging Saugatuck-Douglas harbor so that it can tow the ship away. And in honor of the couple that has preserved the Keewatin for more than four decades ownership of the vessel has been vested with a not-for-profit organization called the R J and Diane Peterson Great Lakes and S S Keewatin Foundation.

The Keewatin will become the historic centerpiece of Port McNicoll, which is being developed by Skyline International as a $1 billion 800-acre resort. About seventy minutes north of Toronto, with six and a half miles of shoreline, the new resort community will feature homes, condominiums, cottages, hotels, shops and marinas.

In their heyday, the Keewatin and sister ship Assiniboia operated weekly cruises from Port McNicoll to Sault Ste Marie and Thunder Bay, with the Keewatin sailing on Wednesdays and the Assiniboia on Saturdays after the arrival of the Canadian Pacific boat train from Toronto.

While Douglas may be losing the forty-two-year presence of its Edwardian cruise ship museum, the arrival of Travel Dynamic’s Yorktown will now give the area an active cruise ship. Seven calls are planned by the Yorktown at Saugatuck this summer.

For those wanting to cruise the Great Lakes in 2012, Travel Dynamics International offers a full program of thirteen cruises between June and September. Further details can be obtained from

Cruising the Great Lakes


Congress OKs funding for harbor dredging

4/23 - The U.S. House approved legislation this week that would ensure funding for maintenance dredging to keep harbors on the Great Lakes in operation. A provision included with a short-term highway bill guarantees the use of all funding going into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is used as intended. The measure still needs to pass the U.S. Senate.

The fund, supported by a tax imposed on commercial shippers, is used to maintain harbors and has always been adequate to keep open deep-draft ports and waterways. But only about half of the $1.6 billion collected by the fund each year is appropriated for harbor maintenance, allowing a huge backlog of needed work to develop.

The fund currently has a surplus of about $7 billion. But because funding for dredging has been inadequate for many years, more than 16 million cubic yard of sediment clog Great Lakes ports and waterways, according to a task force working to address the problem.

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, who has worked for years to get adequate funding for the St. Joseph River harbor and other Great Lakes commercial harbors, welcomed passage of the legislation.

"Ensuring our harbors remain open and ready for business is essential to job creation and growth here in Southwest Michigan," Upton said. "Rather than denying our local harbors these vital dredging dollars - money that is already paid into the system through harbor user fees - we must see to it that our harbors remain bastions of economic growth."

The amendment would require using trust fund revenue for dredging in the years ahead but does not address the surplus developed over the years, which is held as government bonds.

Eugene Caldwell, president of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, said passage of the House resolution and amendment "represents further progress" in requiring that the trust fund money all be spent on dredging each year.

The task force is a large coalition of groups representing labor and management that promotes waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Caldwell is also vice president and general manager of Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wis. "This is important progress as this legislation moves forward toward a House-Senate conference committee," Caldwell said.

Don Cree, first vice president of the task force, said the dredging crisis has limited the ability of Great Lakes shipping to efficiently serve industry in the region. “Ships designed to carry more than 70,000 tons of iron ore or coal each trip have routinely left port with 10 percent or more of their hauling power unused," he said.

Cree is Great Lakes special assistant to the national president for American Maritime Officers, a labor union representing licensed officers on many Great Lakes vessels. The legislation moves to a House-Senate conference committee, where it is backed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and other senators in a bipartisan group.

Upton has worked to maintain commercial shipping in Great Lakes harbors, and supports the bipartisan Realize America's Maritime Promise (RAMP) Act. It would also ensure that all federal revenue collected for harbor maintenance be used for that purpose and not left unspent as a budgetary offset.

Last winter, Upton worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for maintaining commercial harbors, to get emergency funding to dredge the St. Joseph harbor after shoaling caused by storms shut it down.


Explorers group discovers name of shipwreck

4/23 - Holland, Mich. – After months of research, a team of Lake Michigan divers determined their October shipwreck discovery has a name: St. Peter.

On the hunt for a different ship, the Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates' sonar stumbled upon another mystery: a schooner that sank in 1874. Board member Valerie Olson van Heest said they first spotted the shipwreck last summer, but the two divers had to wait until October when the waters are warmest. At 350 feet deep, the divers could only spend 15 minutes at the bottom, but the features were distinct.

"By usually late September or early October the water's about as warm as it's going to get," said board member Craig Rich. Though, the water was only 40 degrees when they dove and had to spend two and a half hours decompressing on the way up.

The team compared the ship to 10 other schooners, but its tiller steering mechanism, ornate bow design, grain cargo and 90-feet-long body made it stand out from the others. Olson van Heest said the team will have the cargo chemically analyzed to confirm that it was once wheat.

Not only would the paint on the boat's nameplate likely no longer exist, but also she said many smaller commercial vessels were unnamed during the era when the Great Lakes were a superhighway of goods for the rest of the country.

"One by one, we crossed them off," Rich said. "When we got down to the very end of the list, the only one who had the right type of cargo, right length and number of masts was the St. Peter."

There are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes and almost 2,000 alone in Lake Michigan. But there are laws against bringing them to the surface for fear of deterioration. "These ships are well preserved in our underwater museum," she said.

The St. Peter was built in the 1860s and was making its way from Chicago to Buffalo, she said. A May storm sank the ship, though, but with enough time for the crew to escape. The seven-member team landed near Milwaukee after riding in a small boat for 35 miles, she said. Though the shipwreck was discovered much closer to Grand Haven, she said it's common for wood ships to drift for several miles before falling to the lake's bottom.

"We're about 99 percent sure it's the St. Peter at this point, but we didn't really know it was until the end of March," Rich said. "It just takes that long."

To look for the ship Rich, said they set a grid and follow on their GPS. They'll drive the boat at 3 or 4 mph while towing a side scan sonar that searches the lake's floor at 1,500 feet on both sides. The team will drive 5 or 10 miles and turn back for another loop.

"It's kind of like mowing the lawn, you go back and forth and it's kind of boring out there until you find something and then it's mayhem," he said. Olson van Heest said the team will begin searching in June for the Andaste, the 240-foot steel freighter they were originally looking for in 2011. The freighter sank in 1929. "We didn't find the Andaste last year, but we didn't want to ignore the ship we did find," she said. "We will return this year."

Rich said the team has been searching for shipwrecks for 15 years, and have found three off their original goal list. They've found 14 total, and it's typical for research to take months before the mystery is solved. "Each one has a unique story," Rich said. "It's a museum, a moment in time that captures the artifacts and if there were victims things like clothing and shoes."

Detroit News


Marine Historical Society of Detroit dinner to feature authors Winters, Massman

4/23 - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit's annual dinner meeting, which is open to members and non-members alike, will be held starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich. Author Christopher Winters will speak about his book "Centennial," the story of the remarkable steamboat St. Marys Challenger, while Emory A. Massman Jr. will be on hand to sell and sign copies of his latest book, "The Nicholson Fleets and Their Captains." Massman's just-released book is the latest publication of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. More information, as well as a reservation form, can be found at Reservations must be received no later than Saturday, May 5.


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.

1916 The grain laden COLLINGWOOD stranded in Whitefish Bay due to ice and fog and was not released until April 27.

1929 The canaller IMARI was on its delivery trip from Port Talbot, Wales, to Canada when it lost the propeller blades, due to ice, off Scaterie Island, Nova Scotia. The vessel later sailed the Great Lakes as b) DELAWARE, d) MANICOUAGAN, e) WASHINGTON TIMES HERALD and f) MANITOULIN.

1945 EFTYCHIA, a Greek freighter, came to the Great Lakes for one trip in 1961. Earlier, as the British freighter RIVERTON, it had been torpedoed by U-1023 off southwest England on April 23, 1945, and three lives were lost. The vessel arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as c) BOAZ ESPERANZA for scrapping on March 20, 1969.

1975 WESTDALE (ii) ran aground at the entrance to Goderich harbour while inbound with grain and was stuck for 15 hours before being pulled free.

1988 QUEDOC (iii) was upbound in the Seaway when it was in a collision with the BIRCHGLEN (I) under tow for scrap, and went aground in Lake St. Louis near Buoy 2A. Four tugs were needed to pull the ship free and it went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

1991 MARINE TRANSPORT operated around Maritime Canada but had come to the Great Lakes as c) C. OMER MARIE. It ran into ice and sank on April 23, 1991, about 10 miles off Cape Race, NF. The vessel was under R.C.M.P. surveillance when it was lost and all on board were rescued only to be arrested.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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
Michipicoten and Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Buffalo was in port Saturday docked south of the Henderson Bridge unloading gravel.

Hamilton, Ont. – Bill Bird
Algoway arrived at Hamilton about noon Saturday with a cargo of potash from Thunder Bay. The Bridge is once again in working order so mariners and motorists can co-exist.

Toronto and Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Bluebill arrived in Toronto Saturday and was assisted by the tugs Ocean Golf and Omni-Richelieu. CCGS Cape Mercy was docked in Oshawa Friday. She departed Oshawa later the same evening. The saltie Lake Ontario was due in Saturday. She arrived at Port Weller anchorage and was waiting to enter Oshawa. This is the second time she has visited Oshawa since her name change from Federal Manitou in 2011. Also due in Oshawa is the tanker Elisalex Schulte from Singapore. The tanker was in Montreal Saturday.


Mackinac Bridge closed Friday

4/22 - St. Ignace, Mich. - Falling ice and slush forced the closure of the Mackinac Bridge at 8:42 a.m. Friday, according to a spokesman from the Michigan State Police Post in St. Ignace.

The spokesman also confirmed that a motorist had lost control hopping the rub rail, but the outer guardrail kept the vehicle from plunging into the Straits of Mackinac. There were no injuries associated with the mishap and reports further indicate there was no structural damage to the bridge.

The falling ice and slush struck multiple windshields before the closure.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News


Updates -  April 22

News Photo Gallery


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.

1917 NEEPAWAH, formerly part of Canada Steamship Lines, was captured by U53 a German submarine and sunk by timed bombs. The vessel had been carrying pyrites from Huelva, Spain, to Rouen, France, and went down about 120 miles west of Bishop's Rock.

1924 BROOKTON lost her way in heavy snow and ran aground on Russell Island Shoal near Owen Sound. The vessel was released the next day with the help of a tug. Her career ended with scrapping at Hamilton as g) BROOKDALE (i) in 1966-1967.

1947 The HARRY YATES (ii) stranded on Tecumseh Reef, Lake Erie, but was soon released. The vessel became c) BLANCHE HINDMAN (ii) in 1960 and was scrapped at Santander, Spain, in 1968.

1955 Fire destroyed the historic wooden passenger steamers MAID OF THE MIST and MAID OF THE MIST II at their winter quarters in Niagara Falls, ON. The blaze broke out due to an errant welding spark during the annual fit-out and the Niagara Falls Fire Chief suffered a heart attack and died at the scene.

1968 ALHELI, a Lebanese registered Liberty ship, made three trips to the Great Lakes in 1964. The vessel began leaking 900 miles east of Bermuda while en route from Almeria, Spain, to Wilminton, DE, with fluorspar on this date and was abandoned by the crew. The ship went down April 24.

1972 CHAMPLAIN arrived in Canada from overseas in 1959 and saw occasional Great Lakes service. It became f) GILANI in 1970 and topped on her side at Vercheres due to the swell from a passing ship on April 22, 1972. The ship was refloated several days later.

1973 An explosion in the engineroom of the C.P. AMBASSADOR blew a six foot hole in the side of the hull during a storm about 420 miles east of Newfoundland. The ship was abandoned, save for the Captain and Chief Engineer, and was towed into St. John's, NF on May 4. It had been a Great Lakes visitor as a) BEAVEROAK beginning when new in 1965. The damage was repaired and the vessel resumed service on July 14, 1973. It was eventually scrapped as f) FLAMINGO at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, following arrival on April 30, 1984.

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


Coast Guard nears completion on seasonal buoy replacement

4/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard is nearing completion of the mission to replace seasonal aids to navigation this week throughout the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Operation Spring Restore, an annual mission to verify and replace 1,281 aids to navigation throughout the Great Lakes region, is nearly 80 percent complete and almost four weeks ahead of schedule, due to an unusually light 2011/2012 ice season.

The mission began on March 13. Returning ATON to their proper stations is important because the lighted and unlighted buoys and beacons permit safe navigation along the Great Lakes.

"After an unseasonably warm winter, we're ahead of schedule," said Lt. j.g. David Lieberman, 9th Coast Guard District cutter operations officer. "It's a good thing, too, because boaters are hitting the water earlier than they traditionally would, and these aids are critical for safe navigation."

Spring Restore's counterpart is Operation Fall Retrieve, which takes place in the fall. Fall Retrieve involves the removal of the aids due to the decreased vessel traffic or replacement with sturdier winter aids to minimize damage from ice and severe weather.


Port Reports -  April 21

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Friday morning included the saltie Stefania 1 loading at CHS grain terminal, Mesabi Miner loading at the CN ore dock in Duluth and Birchglen loading at BNSF ore dock in Superior.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Cuyahoga, sporting its new paint job, arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 4 p.m. on cold and rainy Friday. Once the lines were secured the Cuyahoga began unloading salt from Goderich, Ontario. After the unloading was finished it remained tied up at the dock.

Hamilton, Ont. – Hamilton Spectator
McKeil Marine christened the deck barge Labrador Spirit Friday. According to Transport Canada, the barge was built in 1970 at Bethlehem Steel in San Francisco. It is 117 meters long.

Video of the christening


Updates -  April 21

News Photo Gallery


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.

1963 The hull of the Swedish freighter HELGA SMITH cracked en route from Montreal to Kristiansand, Norway, and the crew abandoned the ship. The vessel was taken in tow but sank April 23 while ten miles off Cape Broyle, Newfoundland. The ship had been completed in December 1944 and had been a Seaway trader since 1960.

1981 The Italian freighter DONATELLA PARODI first came inland in 1965 at the age of 8. It was sailing as f) MARIKA K. when a fire broke out in the engineroom on this day in 1981. The vessel was en route from Varna, Bulgaria, to Karachi, Pakistan, when the blaze erupted on the Mediterranean some 60 miles east of Crete. The ship was abandoned by the crew but towed to Eleusis, Greece. It was laid up, later put under arrest and was partially sunk. Following an auction, the hull was pumped out, towed into Aliaga, Turkey, on May 18, 1987, and broken up.

1986 ALGOPORT was inbound at Grand Haven, MI with a cargo of salt when it hit the seawall.

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


Burlington Canal lift bridge closed to marine traffic

4/20 - Hamilton, Ont. - On Friday the bridge will be lowered from 3:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to allow for testing. Following the tests, the bridge will be lifted to allow marine passage to resume. The bridge remains closed to all road traffic.

Crews are working to resume road service with a limited lift schedule within the week.


Coast Guard assists 2 from grounded fishing vessel on St. Marys River

4/20 - Cleveland, Ohio - A Coast Guard boat crew assisted two people Thursday morning who were aboard a 48-foot commercial fishing vessel that ran aground near the north side of Neebish Island on the St. Marys River. There were no injuries, and the vessel does not pose a hazard to maritime navigation. The names of the crewmembers are not being released.

Watch-standers in the command center at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., were contacted on VHF-FM marine radio at 4:38 a.m. by a crewmember, who stated that the vessel had run aground. The fishing vessel crew stayed aboard and kept in radio contact with the Coast Guard as a Station Sault Ste. Marie rescue boat crew launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium. When the RB-M crew was unable to get on scene due to the shallow water, they launched aboard the station's 25-foot Response Boat-Small, arriving on scene at 8:02 a.m.

Once on scene, the boat crew confirmed the vessel was not taking on water and there were no injuries. A Sector Sault Ste. Marie pollution responder was also aboard and confirmed there was no pollution as a result of the grounding. The station boat crew brought both people back to shore at 9:53 a.m., releasing them in good health. The vessel owners are currently coordinating commercial salvage. The name of the vessel was not released.

Since the two people were prepared with a VHF marine radio, they were able to communicate their predicament to the Coast Guard. They had life jackets onboard the vessel, said Senior Chief Petty Officer Bradley Johnson, command duty officer at Sector Sault Ste. Marie Command Center.



Port Reports -  April 20

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
Late on Wednesday, the tug Invincible went into drydock at Bay Shipbuilding. As of Thursday, the USCGC Katmai Bay was dockside at a city dock downtown.

Port Inland and Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block loaded stone at Port Inland on Wednesday. Pere Marquette 41 was waiting on weather and was due to arrive Thursday morning. Two vessels are scheduled to load stone at the dock in Port Inland, Lewis J. Kuber and Great Lakes Trader both on Friday, with Wilfred Sykes due to load Sunday, April 22. The Sykes was loading at Cedarville on Wednesday, followed by the Joseph L. Block, which was due off the dock during the late evening and expected to begin loading following the Sykes' departure Thursday morning. Lewis J. Kuber was also due to load at Cedarville on Thursday, with the Joseph H. Thompson rounding out the loading schedule at Cedarville for Friday.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Due to load at Stoneport are Cason J. Callaway on Thursday, followed by Joseph H. Thompson on Friday. Manistee is due to load on Saturday and Herbert C. Jackson on Sunday. There are no boats scheduled for April 23 and April 24. Rounding out the Stoneport shipping schedule is the Manitowoc for April 25.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The stone dock will finally start to see more activity in the next few days, as several vessels are due to load. Arthur M. Anderson was due for a late evening arrival at the South Dock on Thursday. No vessels were scheduled for Friday. Due to load on Saturday is H. Lee White for an early morning arrival at both the North and South Docks. Great Republic is also due to arrive on Saturday during the late afternoon for the South Dock. Buffalo is due on the 21st for the South Dock, John G. Munson on the 22nd for the South Dock and the Philip R. Clarke rounds out the Calcite loading schedule for an early morning arrival on the 24th, also for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Vessel traffic for Toledo remains steady with most of the activity scheduled for the CSX Coal Dock and the Torco Docks in the next few days. Due to load at the CSX Coal Dock is the Hon. James L. Oberstar, due for an early morning arrival on Friday, April 20. She will be followed by the Pathfinder on Saturday, April 21 in the early morning hours to load. Following the Pathfinder is the Saginaw on Friday, April 27 and rounding out the CSX Coal Dock lineup is the John J. Boland for Sunday April 29. No activity is scheduled at the present time for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock the American Spirit is due to make a rare call during the early morning on Friday, April 20. She will be followed by two other vessels the same day: Atlantic Huron and the Great Republic, both for morning arrivals following the American Spirit. Algowood is due to unload at Torco Dock on Saturday, April 21 and the last boat on the Torco Dock lineup is the Atlantic Erie due to unload on Sunday, April 22.


House adopts amendment addressing Great Lakes dredging crisis

4/20 - Toledo, Ohio – The end of the Great Lakes dredging crisis took a step closer to reality when the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4348 and included a provision that could lead to substantially increased Great Lakes dredging funding.

The amendment directs that all funding collected in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging each year. Currently the fund has a $7 billion surplus. More than 16 million cubic yards of sediment clog Great Lakes ports and waterways because funding for dredging has been inadequate for decades.

“Passage of H.R. 4348 with the Boustany amendment represents further progress in requiring that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund monies all be spent on dredging each year,” said Eugene Caldwell, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Caldwell is also Vice President and General Manager of Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. “This is important progress as this legislation moves forward toward a House/Senate Conference Committee.”

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has always had enough money to dredge all the nation’s deep-draft ports and waterways. It typically collects $1.6 billion in taxes each year, but only spends about half that total.


Are Lake Erie water levels falling?

4/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – Over the past dozen or so years, there has been a lot of buzz in the media about Great Lakes water levels. Scientists have made repeated claims that the Great Lakes are drying up due to global warming/climate change/climate disruption.

Back in 2003, the Union of Concerned Scientists published a fact sheet stating just that. "Lake levels are expected to decline in Lake Erie as more moisture evaporates due to warmer temperatures and less ice cover," says the report. "Rainfall cannot compensate for the drying effects of a warmer climate, especially in the summer."

According to the report, climate change is warming the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie. This warming will cause increased evaporation and lower water levels. Reduced summer water levels are likely to diminish the recharge of groundwater, cause small streams to dry up, and reduce the area of wetlands, resulting in poorer water quality and less habitat for wildlife. Development and climate change will degrade the flood-absorbing capacities of wetlands and floodplains, resulting in increased erosion, flooding, and runoff polluted with nutrients, pesticides, and other toxins.

But let’s examine the data. According to the April Great Lakes water level report from the Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Erie's water level is above the long-term April average.

Lake Erie's long-term (1901-2010) April average water level is 174.22 meters. As of April 1, 2012, Lake Erie's water level was 174.36. The graph included with this story shows water levels for our shallowest great lake over the past 100 Aprils. Notice the ebb and flow of water levels by decade. Also notice the lowest lake level was back in 1934. We are nowhere near record low water levels.

In fact, none of the Great Lakes have been setting low water level records. The lowest recorded level for Lake Superior for April was in 1926 and for Lake Michigan and Huron (which geologists consider to be one lake) the April low was in 1964. The lowest April mark for Lake St. Clair was in 1926 and the lowest April level for Lake Ontario was in 1935.

News Channel 5


Port Huron's Blue Water River Walk edges closer to reality

4/20 - Port Huron, Mich. – The dream of nearly a mile-long multipurpose trail and a restored, naturalized shoreline along the St. Clair River from the Black River in Port Huron south to the Seaway Terminal is nearer to becoming a reality thanks to a $250,000 federal grant last fall and the promise of a $211,000 matching grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

"It's a pretty challenging project," said Randy Maiers, the chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. The Community Foundation set up the Blue Water Land Fund, a non-profit company, to own and manage the long, narrow stretch of reclaimed industrial waterfront, a gift from Port Huron philanthropist Jim Acheson. The five-acre property is about 4,300 feet long and 50 feet wide. It runs from the end of the sidewalk, south of the maritime center at Desmond Landing, to the Military Street underpass, through which the trail will connect to the Bridge-to-Bay Trail.

The most challenging work was undertaken by Acheson, who bought 60 acres of industrial waterfront in the late 1990s and spent millions of dollars clearing it of railroad tracks and scrap yards and cleaning it of toxins to residential standards. The property, now known as Desmond Landing, hosts the maritime center, a farmers' market in the summer, fireworks displays and other events.

"We want people to enjoy the shoreline," Maiers said.

The goal is to remove as much as possible of the old hard seawall and concrete armoring, which now walls the land off from the river. The project calls for opening up and expanding the two natural pebble beaches along the shoreline. Maiers hopes to develop a small natural bay into an open-air classroom. He would like to erect a viewing and fishing pier on two old freighter bumpers. A series of wetlands will be built and the area will be planted with native trees, shrubs and plants.

St. Clair County Parks is hoping to develop a wetlands park at the south end of the trail project, just north of Seaway Terminal. The city of Port Huron plans to construct a half-mile portion of the Bridge-to-Bay Trail from the Military Street underpass toward Tenth Street this summer.

Last September, the land fund received a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore about 300 feet of shoreline east of the YMCA and south of the old ferry dock.

"Among other things, the grant pays a herpetologist $30,000 over two years to tell us what kinds of critters are there along the shoreline," said Maiers. The herpetologist recently turned up a mud puppy, a so-called indicator species, suggesting that certain stretches of the riverfront are healthy.

"Of course, we don't have a lot of the critters we want there because there isn't a natural shoreline right now."

In February, the land fund submitted applications for two federal grants totaling more than $2 million for restoration work. The group will attempt to raise the match money to earn the Michigan Department of Transportation money to construct the 10-foot wide asphalt trail.

"Between now and February 2013, we have to raise $165,000 to get $211,000 from MDOT," Maiers said.

The goal is to have the trail completed by next summer. Full shoreline restoration, which runs $1,000 a foot, may never be complete. The planting, shore softening and wetland installation is probably five or six years from completion.

The Voice


Lighthouse photos, stories at Saginaw River Marine Historical Society meeting

4/20 - Bay City, Mich. – Photographers Mike and Penny Messer share lighthouse photos and stories behind the photos at 7 p.m. Saturday at Trinity Episcopal Church, at Grant and Center in Bay City. Sponsored by the Saginaw Marine Historical Society, this event is free and open to the public. The Society meets the third Saturday of each month at Trinity Episcopal Church. The Saginaw Marine Historical Society preserves and presents the history of the Saginaw River and the connecting waterways of the Great Lakes.


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 crewmembers 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.

1909 Ice cut open a big hole in the wooden hull of the steamer EBER WARD while traveling 6 miles west of Mackinaw City. The vessel hit heavy pack ice and the corn-laden steamer sank. Five lives were lost but the rest of the crew was picked up by the BENNINGTON.

1916 The wooden bulk carrier LANSING was built at Trenton, MI in 1887 and was sold off lakes in 1913. It was operating as a lumber barge when in a collision with the tug TRANSFER NO. 15 off the Battery in Brooklyn on this date in 1916. The bow was stove in and the ship sank at the foot of 27th St. The hull was salvaged on May 10 1916, and was repaired for further service.

1947 EDMUND P. SMITH went aground at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., perhaps while delivering coal to Algoma Steel. This vessel came down the Welland Canal under her own power November 9, 1963, bound for Hamilton for scrapping at Stelco.

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


Burlington lift bridge raised for Hamilton-bound ships

4/19 - Hamilton, Ont. – The Burlington Canal Lift Bridge has been raised to allow freighters to get in and out of Hamilton Harbor.

Department of Public Works spokesperson Jeremy Link said Wednesday the bridge – which was stuck partway up after a cable broke Tuesday morning – was inched upwards during overnight to open harbor access. The bridge is still closed to road traffic. Engineers are still assessing the problem and the repair and no date has been set for re-opening the bridge.

Ships were beginning to stack up outside Hamilton Harbor before the bridge was raised. Two arrived after the bridge stuck Tuesday morning and three more are expected Wednesday.

The two freighters — a tanker and a cargo ship — were anchored in Lake Ontario off Burlington’s waterfront and not far from the canal as engineers investigated the possibility of safely lifting the bridge completely so the ships can pass.

The movable bridge’s opening sections became stuck partway up at 25 metres at 9:40 a.m. Tuesday after a cable broke and stopped the bridge from opening further. Ships could not pass, nor could road and pedestrian traffic use the bridge.

The lift bridge yearly allows about 6,500 ships, including about 700 cargo-carrying ships, to pass through the canal and into Hamilton Harbor. An average 10,000 vehicles pass over it each day according to 2009 statistics.

Public Works Canada spokesman Jeremy Link confirmed a cable broke on the bridge’s auxiliary counterweight used to raise and lower the bridge. There were no injuries and no decision on when the bridge will reopen.

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  April 19

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber are picking up where they left off last season, as the workhorses of the Saginaw River. The pair were back on Tuesday for their third straight trip, this time traveling upriver to unload at the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. After unloading, the Moore-Kuber were outbound Tuesday evening, headed for the lake.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Luedtke tug Ann Marie and its equipment barge arrived in the river Wednesday morning. The barge was tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock and the Ann Marie docked behind the research vessel Laurentian. The pair was likely waiting out windy weather. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Wednesday afternoon. Due in port on Thursday is fleetmate Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were loading at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead Wednesday.


U.S. auto rebound fuels 14% Great Lakes cargo increase

4/19 - Detroit, Mich. – Cranes as tall as 10-story buildings hoisted steel coil, rods and plate last week from the Detroit port’s first seagoing vessel of the season, cargo that may fuel a third straight yearly gain in Great Lakes shipping.

An economic recovery in the U.S. Midwest is boosting demand for millions of tons of commodities such as limestone and iron ore as well as steel like the 4,000 tons (3,629 metric tons) unloaded in Detroit from the Federal Yukina, a freighter owned by Montreal-based Fednav Group.

“We’ve seen a steady increase, not a giant increase, in 2010 and 2011,” said Daniel J. Deane, president of Nicholson Terminal and Dock Co., where the Hong Kong-flagged Federal Yukina was berthed. The growth will probably continue in the Great Lakes season that began March 24 as auto and manufacturing companies “start to retool and expand their manufacturing since the low point in 2009.”

Great Lakes states, led by Michigan, are posting economic gains that are among the strongest in the U.S. since the recession ended in June 2009. Spurred by rising auto sales after a bailout by President Barack Obama’s administration, the rebound is now extending to steelmaking and shipping and boosting the region’s employment and spending.

In January, the end of the 2011 shipping season, Great Lakes cargo on U.S.-flag freighters rose 14 percent from a year earlier as companies such as GATX Corp.’s American Steamship Co. (GMT) and Rand Logistic Inc.’s (RLOG) Grand River Navigation Co. carry more freight.

“The mood in the industry is that we are moving in the right direction,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, a trade group representing 17 shippers. The association doesn’t provide shipping forecasts. “We have seen iron ore and limestone rebound and in the case of iron ore, it has rebounded very nicely,” he said.

GATX, whose business includes rail-car leasing as well as lake shipping, climbed 70 percent in New York trading from 2009’s third quarter through the end of 2011. Rand rose 94 percent.

GATX’s American Steamship, which generated about 17 percent of the parent’s $1.31 billion in sales last year, expects volumes to advance in 2012. The forecast is “mostly driven by demand for iron ore if North American auto demand forecasts are accurate,” said Jennifer Van Aken, a spokeswoman.

Improving business last year meant the Nicholson dock company in Detroit didn’t lay off any workers during the seaway’s winter close for the first time since 2004, Deane said. Nicholson Terminal’s operations sit on the shore of the Detroit River, one of the waterways traversed when sailing between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. With Lakes Superior, Michigan and Ontario, they connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Tonnage to U.S. ports along the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system rose 19 percent in 2010, the first gain in four years, to 129.5 million short tons, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“Port activity is certainly increased over the recent past and in general getting back to solid footing,” said Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. “The better economy is helping everybody and it’s reflected in port activity.”

Shipments through the Soo Locks, which connect Lake Huron to Lake Superior, rose about 1 percent in 2011 from 2010, suggesting Great Lakes shipments continued to improve, according to U.S. Army Corps data. In October, one of the locks broke a tonnage record set in 1975.

The shipping rebound has also benefited Duluth, Minnesota, at the westernmost tip of Lake Superior, where deliveries have recovered steadily since a 2009 low, said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. He said he expects another year-to-year improvement in 2012.

A 35 percent reduction in tonnage in 2009 meant about a quarter of the 1,800 workers employed by companies at the Duluth port were laid off, he estimates. Most of those workers, who aren’t paid by the port authority, are probably back on the job now, he said.

“There certainly are some good trends in the Great Lakes and it’s getting better ” Ojard said in an interview. “It was bleak there in 2009.”



Indiana is trying to save Lake Michigan shipwrecks, and learn from them

4/19 - Chesterton, Ind. – Under the sometimes murky waters of Lake Michigan lies a mostly unexplored layer of Northwest Indiana history. The lake is home to dozens of shipwrecks, each telling a story.

"They tell us a lot of things. They show us about our culture, commerce and about early transportation," said Rick Jones, state archaeologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Looking at the Great Lakes as a whole, there are about 5,000 shipwrecks, said Brad Bumgardner, interpretive naturalist with Indiana Dunes State Park. "That's more than in the entire Bermuda Triangle," he said. About 25 percent of those shipwrecks are in Lake Michigan.

Indiana's movement to preserve its underwater history began in the 1980s, when salvagers attempted to raise the wreck of the J.D. Marshall, which sank in 1911 off the shore of Indiana Dunes State Park. Federal and state laws followed, protecting the shipwrecks from salvage operations by imposing fines and imprisonment for looting and vandalism.

In 1983, then-state archaeologist Gary Ellis began researching and documenting the shipwrecks of Indiana for cultural purposes. That study included a survey of the Muskegon, which was heavily damaged in a fire in 1910 while at dock in Michigan City. The ship, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, eventually was towed into the lake and sunk.

Ellis' study identified and evaluated 14 shipwrecks, said Mike Molnar, of the DNR.

The DNR received funding last year from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Lake Michigan Coastal Management Program to initiate an Indiana Lake Michigan Underwater Archaeological Resource Project, Molnar said.

The DNR hired Commonwealth Cultural Resources Group of Milwaukee for the first phase of the project, including collecting historical literature and conducting a reassessment of locations found during Ellis' study. The group, Molnar said, used modern technology and direct dive surveys and found most of the 14 wrecks identified 30 years ago, as well as additional wreckage.

The current study, Jones said, has many benefits, including identifying shipwrecks and recording their status. It is important for management purposes to identify their locations, he said.

"We are striving to distill the educational and outreach portion of the report," Molnar said.

One goal is to create a website to provide information and stories about the wrecks and their place in history, he added. The sites, Jones said, eventually could be opened to the public.

Some sites are visited by recreational divers, who are encouraged to "take only photos and leave only bubbles," Molnar said. "Nobody can remove any artifacts. We are trying to encourage good dive ethics," he said.

Jones said that if divers want to do anything beyond photographing underwater sites, state law requires them to seek a permit through the DNR for measuring, mapping or marking wrecks.

The Associated Press


Michigan Maritime Museum to host 'War on the Great Lakes' exhibit

4/19 - South Haven, Mich. – The Michigan Maritime Museum will open its new exhibit "War on the Great Lakes" May 4. The exhibit is based on the War of 1812 in commemoration of its 200th anniversary.

The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Saturday located in South Haven. For more information, call the museum at 269-637-8078 or 800-747-3810.

The Holland Sentinel


Ranger III needs chief engineer

4/19 - The National Park Service is seeking a chief engineer for it vessel Ranger III. The position is Chief Engineer for the Ranger.  Link to the job


Updates -  April 19

News Photo Gallery


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.

1915 The PALIKI of the Algoma Central Railway fleet was carrying steel rails to Chicago when it ran aground on Simmons Reef near the Straits of Mackinac.

1922 LAMBTON, a steel lighthouse tender, was last seen on the date by the MIDLAND PRINCE. It was lost with all hands on Lake Superior somewhere south of Michipicoten Island while delivering lighthouse keepers to their stations. Wreckage was later located but no bodies were ever found.

1927 The DAVID S. TROXEL was damaged in a storm on Lake Superior. Plates and rivets worked loose and there were problems with the rudder. The ship was renamed c) SONOMA later in 1927 and was scrapped by Stelco in Hamilton as d) FRED L. HEWITT in 1962.

1938 REDRIVER had loaded coal at Charlotte, NY and was crossing Lake Ontario when it ran aground, due to fog, near Point Petre.

1939 VALLEY CAMP ran aground on Cole's Shoal, near Brockville, due to fog and part of the cargo of coal had to be lightered before the ship was refloated with the help of the tug SALVAGE PRINCE on April 24.

1940 SANDLAND battled through heavy ice to open the port of Port Colborne on this date in 1940. The ship had a cargo of scrap steel from Detroit for the Algoma Steel mill.

1956 A.M. BYERS was loaded with limestone and bound from Drummond Island to Buffalo when it sank in the St. Clair River following a collision with the E.M. FORD on this date in 1956. The ship was hit on the port side abreast of the pilothouse but all on board were rescued. The ship was later salvaged and repaired becoming b) CLEMENS A. REISS (ii) in 1959 and c) JACK WIRT in 1970.

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


Engineers raise lift bridge to allow ships into Hamilton Harbor

4/18 - Hamilton, Ont. - 5:30 a.m. update – Early Wednesday morning the bridge had been raised or fixed as Martin was in the harbor.

Original report -. Engineers at the broken lift bridge over the Burlington Ship Canal are looking into raising the bridge entirely to allow ships to pass through into Hamilton Harbor.

The bridge is stuck partway up, about 25 metres off the surface of the water due to a broken cable. Marine vessels cannot pass, nor can road and pedestrian traffic use the bridge.

Two ships – a tanker and a freight ship – are anchored in Lake Ontario off of Burlington’s waterfront waiting to deliver their cargo to Hamilton companies. On Tuesday night, it appeared that the tanker Maria Desgagnes was anchored off Burlington and Rt. Hon Paul J Martin was within a couple of hours of the anchorage. AIS has both going into Hamilton.

Hamilton Port Authority spokesperson Janet Balfour said although the tanker has been waiting since 10.30 a.m., the impact of the broken lift bridge has been minimal so far. Neither vessel has time sensitive cargo, she said. The impact will be much larger however, if engineers are unable to get the bridge working again by Wednesday. Three more ships are expected and if they're denied passage, it will affect more of the port’s tenant companies waiting for material, said Balfour.

A Public Works Canada spokesman confirmed a cable broke on the auxiliary counterweight used to raise and lower the bridge. There were no injuries and no decision has been made when the bridge will reopen.

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  April 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar and Michipicoten arrived Tuesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Great Republic arrived after Michipicoten and went to anchor.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A slow week is ahead for the stone loading dock in Calcite, with only three vessels on the schedule thus far. On Thursday two vessels are scheduled to load, Cason J. Callaway and Arthur M. Anderson for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule for the week is Great Republic, due in on Friday at the South Dock as well.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Herbert C. Jackson loaded Tuesday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock.


Familiar saltwater vessels are renamed

4/18 - Some familiar saltwater vessels which have had ties to the Great Lakes/Seaway system throughout their sailing careers have been renamed. BBC Rio Grande, which last visited in 2010 and carried wind turbine units frequently to Menominee, is now Gabrielle Scan from Antigua/Barbuda. Two former Olympic Shipping vessels were renamed: Calliroe Patronicola is now the Ak Brother of Greece, while her sistership and fleetmate Olympic Merit was renamed Ak Abba of Panama in 2011. This now leaves the Olympic Melody as the only vessel of the Olympic Shipping fleet yet to be renamed. Capetan Michalis, which visited the lakes from 1985-2005, was renamed Fisher D. of Panama in 2011. She also visited the Great Lakes/Seaway system as Vasiliki from 1981-85. Inviken of Viken Shipping was renamed Princess Maria recently, leaving her sistership and twin Utviken as the only remaining vessel of the Viken Shipping fleet yet to be renamed. Spar Jade, which visited from 1997-2010, was renamed Sifnos Mare. She also visited with the former names of Fiona Mary from 1984-93 and as the Federal Aalesund from 1993-97. Two Wagenborg vessels were renamed as well: Adriaticborg, a new visitor in 2011, has been renamed Ccni Topocalma of the Netherlands, while her fleetmate Avonborg, a new visitor in 2010, was renamed Jose Leonardo Chirin of Panama in 2011, freeing up the name for new construction. Two former Fednav visitors also were renamed in 2011: Federal Patroller has been renamed Green Wave and is registered in the U.S. while her fleetmate Federal Pioneer has been renamed Ccni Tumbes of Cyprus.

Denny Dushane


Lake Express and GVSU water institute team up May 5 to celebrate Lake Michigan

4/18 - Muskegon, Mich. – Two “blue economy” organizations are teaming up May 5 to teach about and celebrate Lake Michigan. The high-speed ferry Lake Express will host a special event to recognize and raise funds for the Muskegon-based Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute.

The public will have a chance to tour the 192-foot passenger and vehicle catamaran ferry at its dock on Muskegon Lake. There is limited seating for two excursions into Lake Michigan at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

The special opening-season event for Lake Express gives the public not familiar with the ferry an opportunity to learn what the Muskegon-to-Milwaukee service offers. And for some it might be the first time they can experience a boat ride on Lake Michigan.

“So many people have not been on Lake Michigan,” said GVSU water institute Director Al Steinman said. “These excursions will give people a chance to look back at the Muskegon shoreline with the beaches and the sand dunes and see what a magnificent asset we have here in West Michigan.”

And GVSU’s Water Resources Institute scientists will be available to show the public what Great Lakes environmental research projects they have underway and what are the key issues facing Lake Michigan.

All of the money raised during the Lake Express-GVSU event will go toward the construction fund for the field station building being planned for the Lake Michigan Center property on Muskegon Lake in downtown Muskegon. The new $3.4 million research building is expected to be under construction this fall.

“We want to show our commitment to the community,” said Jill Emery, Michigan marketing manager for Lake Express. “We are recommitting to Michigan and Muskegon. The GVSU staff has done so much for our community and the Great Lakes. We at Lake Express have benefited from that work as well.”

Lake Express has offered the ferry as a platform for GVSU to further its research on Lake Michigan, Emery said. The water resources institute is exploring the placement of climatological instruments on the Lake Express to gather on-water data during its crossing of Lake Michigan, Steinman said.

Both Lake Express and the GVSU water resources institute are key elements of Muskegon’s “blue economy.” The latest economic development term refers to all business activity that has to do with water resources.

Lake Express begins its ninth season of operation between Muskegon and Milwaukee May 4. On Saturday May 5, the ferry will suspend one of its round-trip crossings and remain in Muskegon for the special GVSU event.

Steinman said GVSU will provide educational displays that will discuss Lake Michigan’s water quality and the quantity of water in the lakes as it relates to lake levels. The open house is from 10 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m.

MLive Water levels expected to rise in Georgian Bay Parry Sound, Ont. – The International Joint Commission (IJC) now has a report on the future management of the Great Lakes water levels to consider. The commission’s study board presented its final report of a five-year study looking at management of the outflow of water from Lake Superior and the water levels in the Great Lakes.

The proposal the board made is to replace the a 1977A plan with a new Lake Superior Regulation Plan 2012 that changes how power dams and gates, in both the U.S. and Canada, are managed to control water levels in the Great Lakes.

“The key word there is robust,” said study board spokesperson John Nevin. “The new plan works better under different weather conditions than the old plan. So, if it’s substantially wetter or substantially drier it will work better, because it allows for some more flexibility.” For example, if conditions remain dry, which could impact fish spawning in the St. Marys River and hinder the passage of ships, the plan provides for enough water to allow passage when it’s very dry, Nevin said.

In the lower Great Lakes, concern over managing water levels has to do with damage from flooding, but in Parry Sound and Georgian Bay the issue isn’t too much water, but not enough. Part of that is attributed to the land Parry Sound is on rising about 10 inches every century after the glaciers that created the Great Lakes receded, said Nevin.

“So, the lakes appear lower,” said Nevin. “But, that’s not only a problem for Parry Sound, because your lakes are going to keep getting lower as you get older – in the other end of the basin, say Chicago or Milwaukee or Indiana…it’s also rising but not at as fast a rate, so the whole basin is sloping a bit.” 1970s

While Georgian Bay’s water level has been low for about 10 years, that isn’t expected to get worse; instead, a rise to levels similar to those as in the ‘70s is expected. “Levels are going to be in the range they have been in the past,” he said. “Where people remember them when they were kids.” The board had two objectives: to study to affects of the dredging of the St. Clair River, done in 2009, and the second review of the regulation of Lake Superior water flow and its impact on water levels of the Great Lakes. The final report was released to the public on March 28.

The report looked at the idea of installing underwater dykes in the St. Clair River to increase water levels, but the board didn’t make a recommendation on whether they should or shouldn’t be installed. It is the IJC that will make a recommendation to the federal governments at a later date, said Nevin.

“The problem is, that’s again also lake sturgeon spawning habitat there, in the St. Clair River, so when we, just as we had public meetings … we had people wary, saying, ‘don’t do anything in the river there,’” he said. “That’s why the commission is examining all the information the study board has given it.” The study board did recommend to the IJC that it create a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Levels Advisory Board to end large studies every couple of decades and adapt a management strategy with six core initiatives.

“The IJC will hold public consultations this summer around the Great Lakes on the study before making a final recommendation to the Canadian and American governments.



Toronto Marine Historical Society annual silent auction now underway

4/18 - The Toronto Marine Historical Society has announced its Annual Silent Auction. There are more than 300 items on which to bid; Great Lakes memorabilia, marine artifacts, books (sets of Know Your Ships), magazines and many other interesting pieces. All proceeds go to fund the work of the non-profit volunteer-run society. The complete list and bid process can be seen at this link

David Bull


Great Lakes Maritime Market June 9 in St. Clair

4/18 - St. Clair, Mich. – The Lake Huron Lore Marine Historical Society is sponsoring its annual Great Lakes Maritime Market at Riverview Plaza Mall in St. Clair on Saturday, June 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The mall is just across the street from the picturesque boardwalk in downtown St. Clair. There will be more than 40 vendors offering various items relating specifically to the ships and shipping industry of the region. Among the items that will be for sale are historical artifacts, books, photographs, artwork, shipwreck items, memorabilia, advertising and more. For more information, contact Lake Huron Lore by e-mail


April marine news from the World Ship Society

4/18 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports in its April issue the following Seaway salties, as well as one laker, going for scrap.

ANDRA had been a Seaway trader as a) TARPON STAR beginning in 1980, b) ANNY PETRAKIS beginning in 1987 and c) ARI beginning in 1989. It arrived at Alang, India, as f) ANDRA on February 22, 2012.

HARDT first came to the Great Lakes as the Spanish tanker BAILEN in 1986. Following a sale for scrap as f) HARDT, the vessel arrived at Alang, on February 20, 2012.

MAUMEE, a) WILLIAM G. CLYDE,b) CALCITE II, ended its career at the Port Colborne scrapyard of International Marine Salvage arriving under tow from Cleveland on December 3, 2011, at the age of 82.

OCEAN LEADER arrived at Alang on February 8, 2012, and was beached for scrapping on February 24. The vessel had been a Seaway traveler as a) UNION PEACE beginning in 1984, b) MANILA PRIME beginning in 1988, c) CONSENSUS SUN beginning in 1989, d) WILRIDER beginning in 1992 and e) MARILIS T. beginning in 1994. It was last on the Great Lakes in 2004

SIAM STAR came inland as a) TRIDENT MARINER in 1984 and returned as b) TAXIDEFTIS in 2001. It arrived at Alang on February 1, 2012, and was beached for scrapping on February 10.

SIR MICHAEL, a) GULF GATINEAU, b) J.C. PHILLIPS, was a regular Seaway tanker from 1976 to

1995 for Gulf Oil Canada and then Socanav. It was broken up at Prampram, Ghana, in 2011. We acknowledge the annual publication Seaway Salties, compiled by Rene Beauchamp, as an excellent resource and his 50 Years of Seaway Salties has provided us with the years that the above ocean ships first came to the Great Lakes.

Barry Andersen, Skip Gillham


Updates -  April 18

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Chief Wawatam gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 18

18 April 1907 - At least 20 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.

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 10 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.

1945 The steel barge GEORGE T. DAVIE, en route from Oswego to Kingston with 1,100 tons of coal and under tow of the SALVAGE PRINCE, began leaking and sank off Nine Mile Point, Lake Ontario, in 85 feet of water. The hull was located by divers in 1999. The ship had once been part of Canada Steamship Lines.

1989 ENERCHEM AVANCE spent 7 hours aground in the St. Marys River below the Soo Locks on this day in 1989. At last report the ship was under Nigerian registry as e) ERINGA.

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


Port Reports -  April 17

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort was out of the Fraser Shipyard drydock and reconnected to its barge Great Lakes Trader on Monday morning. They were expected to load at CN ore dock in Duluth the same day. CSL Niagara was loading at BNSF ore dock. John G. Munson was expected overnight Monday, but might have been delayed by the high winds that buffeted the region Sunday night. It is due to unload stone at the CN ore dock and then load pellets.

Port Inland and Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes arrived in the early morning of April 15 at the stone dock in Port Inland to load. Other vessels scheduled to load in the next few days at Port Inland were Manistee on Monday, as well as Cuyahoga and Joseph L. Block on Tuesday. Due to load at the stone dock in Cedarville this week are Philip R. Clarke and the Lewis J. Kuber, both of which were scheduled on Monday, to be followed on Wednesday with the arrival of the Joseph L. Block early in the morning.

Stoneport, Mich. - Dan McNeil and Denny Dushane
Loading at Stoneport on Monday was Joseph H. Thompson. Due Tuesday the 17th is the Arthur M. Anderson. The next vessel due won’t be till Saturday, April 21 when Manistee loads, followed by the Herbert C. Jackson on Sunday April 22. Due in on Monday April 23 is Peter R. Creswell followed by Manitowoc.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Sunday afternoon. It took on cement under the silos and left for Muskegon later in the day. On Monday afternoon the Algosoo was anchored off Alpena due to high winds.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sunday morning saw the tug Spartan and her tank barge depart the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City and head outbound for the lake after unloading overnight. Inbound on Sunday were the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber and, later in the day, Algorail. The Moore and Kuber unloaded a partial cargo at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee before heading upriver and finishing at the GM dock in Saginaw. Algorail stopped in Essexville and unloaded at the Wirt Essexville Sand and Stone dock. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were outbound Sunday evening, while Algorail was outbound early Monday morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Another busy week is schedule for the Port of Toledo, with several vessels expected to arrive. Once again the CSX Coal Dock and the Torco Dock will see the bulk of the activity in the next few days. Vessels due to load coal at CSX are Algoma Olympic on Tuesday, April 17, followed by the Hon. James L. Oberstar on Thursday, April 19, Pathfinder is due on Friday, April 20 and the John J. Boland on Friday, April 27. There are presently no vessels scheduled for arrival at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the Torco Dock, the Cason J. Callaway is expected to arrive on April 17 to unload, followed by the Buffalo on April 18, Great Republic on April 19, Atlantic Huron on April 20 and Algowood on April 21. Both the Lewis J. Kuber and Olive L. Moore and the Manistee have since departed their respective lay-up docks within the past week or so. The only vessels that remain in lay-up in Toledo are Adam E. Cornelius and American Courage at the Hans-Hansen former Interlake Iron Co. Dock, while the American Valor and the American Fortitude continue their long-term lay-ups at the former Lakefront Docks.

Montreal, QC. - Kent Malo
H Lee White was downbound in the St Lawrence Seaway south shore canal above Montreal Monday, and was due in Quebec City at 5 a.m. Tuesday.


New build Federal Severn added to Fednav fleet

4/17 - Montreal, Que. – Fednav Limited of Montreal has recently added another new vessel to its growing list of new vessels built in China with the addition of the Federal Severn. She becomes the fourth vessel built at the Zhejiang Ouha Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in China following three other vessels, the Federal Sable, Federal Skeena and the Federal Sutton. Each of the four vessels is registered in the Marshall Islands and each one is 189.99 meters in length with a beam of 28.31 meters.

Denny Dushane


Sturgeon Bay 2012 shipyard tour coming up May 5

4/17 - Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., the Sturgeon Bay, Wis. Rotary Club will sponsor its annual tour of Bay Shipbuilding Co., Palmer Johnson Yachts, Great Lakes Yacht Services, the US Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay and the Door County Maritime Museum. Adults are $12, Children $6. Free transportation is available between locations.


GLHS final model sale moves to eBay

4/17 - Nine models from the Great Lakes Historical Society’s collection that did not sell at auction on March 31 are now on sale on eBay. Go to the Society’s website at for a direct link to models.


Updates -  April 17

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Consumers Power gallery.


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.

1961 The FREEMAN HATCH was built at Sturgeon Bay and completed in December 1942. It left the Great Lakes the following spring for service under the British Ministry of War Transport. It was sold and renamed b) CHARLES M. in 1950 and became c) HOUSTON in 1953. The vessel was sunk on this date in 1962 during the attempted, anti-Castro, Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.

1982 CHEMICAL TRANSPORT ran aground in the St. Lawrence near Dark Island as channel markers were out of position due to the wind and ice conditions. The vessel lightered some cargo to fleetmate JAMES TRANSPORT and then went to Sorel for repairs. In 2009, the ship was reported as lying burned out and derelict near Lagos, Nigeria, after an explosion and fire as c) REAL PROGRESS on June 1, 2001.

1990 RESERVE ran aground in the St. Marys River while downbound with a load of iron ore for Toledo on this date in 1990. The ship stranded in a snowstorm and had to be lightered to the WILLIAM R. ROESCH before going to Fraser's for repairs.

1997 ALGOLAKE got stuck on Vidal Shoal, St. Mary's River while bound for Algoma Steel with a cargo of iron ore. The ship was lightered and released. After unloading, the vessel went to Thunder Bay for repairs.

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


Port Reports -  April 16

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten became the first Canadian vessel into Marquette for the 2012 season when she arrived at the Upper Harbor for ore late on Wednesday, April 11. She made return trips on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an impressive 25-hour turn around from Essar Algoma at the Soo. Also on Sunday, Cason J. Callaway loaded ore on her first visit of the season.

Marinette, Wis. -  Dick Lund
Sunday the Amelia Desgagnes arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock on a foggy Sunday afternoon with the dock's third load of pig iron for the 2012 - 2013 shipping season. The barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted delivered the other two loads earlier this month.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Kevin Jackson
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived at Bay Ship Sunday afternoon, coming in through the bay of Green Bay. The tug is in for repairs to damaged caused by a grounding Saturday morning at Manistee.

South Chicago – Brian Z.
American Steamship's John J. Boland loaded coal at KCBX Terminal on Saturday for Muskegon, Mich. The Manistee was spotted unloading a cargo of salt at the Beelman Dock on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson arrived with the first grain cargo of the year for the ADM Standard Elevator at approximately 5 p.m. Sunday. She was towed up the river by the tug Washington and was expected to depart around noon Monday.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
The tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod departed winter layup on Sunday.


Boatnerd 2012 Cruising/Gatherings Scheduled

Several cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( for interested boat watchers during the 2012 season. Don't wait to make your reservations. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans.

June 8-9 – Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan, from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger. On Friday night, June 3rd, 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. See the Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

June 28-30 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel through the U.S. and Canadian Locks, doing our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

Keweenaw Star Boatnerd Cruise – July 13-15 We are sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo on July 13-15. 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 details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365 and make your reservation today. Limited space available.

August 4 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise On Saturday, August 4, 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. Pizza will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

September 14-16 Annual Welland Canal Gathering Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where boats go when they die. See the Gathering Page for details


Updates -  April 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery

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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.

1897 The wooden schooner INGEBORG FORREST was a total loss in a spring gale near the entrance to Pentwater, MI on this date in 1897.

1906 EUGENE ZIMMERMAN was upbound with coal on its maiden voyage when it collided with the SAXONA in the Mud Lake section of the St. Mary's River on this day in 1906. The new bulk carrier was hit on the port bow and sank. The hull was raised on May 20, repaired and returned to service. It was renamed b) GRAND ISLAND in 1916 and last operated in 1960. After work as a grain storage hull named c) POWEREAUX CHRIS, the vessel was towed to Hamburg, West Germany, for scrapping in 1964.

1959 The T.R. McLAGAN of Canada Steamship Lines ran aground on a shoal off Amherst Island, Lake Ontario, and was released on April 18.

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


Invincible and McKee Sons head for shipyard after grounding Saturday

4/15 - The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons were westbound just off Manistee late Saturday night, reportedly heading to Sturgeon Bay, Wis. for repairs after a grounding earlier in the day.

The integrated tug-barge unit ran aground in Lake Michigan about 600 feet north of the North Manistee breakwall at about 5:45 a.m., CDT, Saturday. It was reported that the grounding damaged a shaft in the vessel’s engine room, causing it to begin taking on water at the rate of about two gallons per minute. There were no reported injuries. The crew used three portable pumps to begin de-watering the vessel, assisted by personnel from USCG Station Manistee. Commercial divers inspected damage inflicted to the exterior of the hull during the grounding. Welders were onboard to repair a damaged shaft in the vessel's engine room.

There were no indications of any pollution issues. Two unidentified tugs were escorting Invincible and McKee Sons to Sturgeon Bay. The cause of grounding is unknown and is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

USCG, M-Live


Port Reports -  April 15

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Spartan and her tank barge called at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City on Saturday. They were expected to unload overnight and be outbound on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Joe Rennie
The U.S. Coast Guard buoy tender Hollyhock departed Buffalo around 10:15 Saturday morning. Tug Rebecca Lynn and the A-397 barge came back from Cleveland with a load of asphalt for Noco in Tonawanda Saturday morning.

Seaway - Rene Beauchamp
The saltwater vessel Atlantic Steamer was upbound off Vercheres Friday, heading to Montreal for Seaway inspection and then Cleveland. She was previously in the Seaway/Great Lakes as BBC Spain.


Updates -  April 15

News Photo Gallery


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.

1967 MAPLE HILL began visiting the Great Lakes in 1959. The British flag freighter had been built at Montreal in 1943 as a) FORT VERCHERES and was renamed c) DIOPSIDE in 1966. It collided with and sank the Swedish freighter IREVIK in the Baltic Sea on this day in 1967. MAPLE HILL was renamed d) ENTAN in 1969 and arrived at Hirao, Japan, for scrapping on June 30, 1970.

1987 An attempt to steal navigation equipment using a cutting torch resulted in a fire that caused major damage to the upper deck of the GRAND RAPIDS. The retired Lake Michigan carferry had been idle at Muskegon since 1971. It was eventually sold for scrap in 1989 and broken up at Port Maitland, ON in 1994.

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


Invincible and McKee Sons grounded near Manistee, Mich.

4/14 - 5 p.m. update - Two tugboats from Sturgeon Bay, Wis., are on scene and will assist the integrated tug and barge to Sturgeon Bay. Coast Guard personnel from Sector Field Office Grand Haven personnel will inspect the vessel prior to departure.

Personnel from Station Manistee assisted in de-watering the vessel and commercial divers have inspected damage inflicted to the exterior of the hull during the grounding. Welders are onboard to repair a damaged shaft in the vessel's engine room.

There are no indications of any pollution issues but as a precaution pollution responders from Grand Haven are monitoring the situation and are developing a response plan in coordination with Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, and the vessel owner. There is an estimated 49,000 gallons of diesel fuel aboard.

The cause of grounding is unknown and is under investigation by the Coast Guard.

Original Report - A boatcrew from Coast Guard Station Manistee, Mich., and personnel from Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven, Mich., responded to the report of a grounded vessel with 17 people aboard near Manistee at about 5:45 a.m., CDT, Saturday.

The boatcrew from Station Manistee, aboard a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat, responded to the report of the 579-foot integrated tug and barge Invincible taking on water.

The vessel grounded in Lake Michigan about 600 feet north of the North Manistee Breakwall and is reportedly obstructing about 30 percent of the channel. The Coast Guard is enforcing a safety zone 100 yards around the vessel.

It was reported that the grounding damaged a shaft in the vessel’s engine room, causing it to begin taking on water at the rate of about two gallons per minute. There were no reported injuries.

The crew used three portable pumps to begin de-watering the vessel. Ninety-eight percent of the water onboard has been successfully removed.

Pollution responders from SFO Grand Haven are monitoring the situation and are developing a response plan in coordination with Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, in Milwaukee, and the vessel owner. The vessel owner has arranged for commercial divers to evaluate the damage to the vessel.

The cause of the grounding is under investigation.


First saltie of the season arrives in Toledo

4/14 - Toledo, Ohio – Representatives of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, city of Toledo, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur welcomed the captain of the first overseas ship to visit the Port of Toledo this year with gifts commemorating Toledo during a lunchtime ceremony Friday.

Opening day of baseball season marks the start of spring “except at the port authority, the first day of spring for us is when the first ship comes in from across the ocean,” William Carroll, chairman of the port authority’s board of directors, said before handing Capt. Andrzej Lasota of the Federal Ems a bag of Toledo Mud Hens memorabilia for him and his crew.

Deputy Mayor Tom Crothers read a celebratory proclamation, after which City Councilman Mike Craig gave the captain the city’s traditional gift of a bottle of Wholly Toledo water and a goblet. Jane Ruvolo, an aide to Miss Kaptur, presented a U.S. flag that had flown over the Capitol in Washington.

The freighter arrived early Friday to deliver 10,700 tons of calcium nitrate, a fertilizer product, from Norway to Toledo’s port. It is expected to finish unloading its cargo on Sunday.

The 2012 Great Lakes shipping season had already opened in Toledo, and a Canadian lake freighter, the Algobay, was docked at the International Cargo dock near the Federal Ems to load petroleum coke for export from the BP refinery in Oregon. The port authority’s first-ship ceremony traditionally honors the first ocean-going vessel, or salty, to arrive in Toledo after the late-March reopening of the St. Lawrence Seaway

Toledo Blade


Coast Guard evacuates crewmember off Superior, Wis.

4/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – A rescue boat crew from Coast Guard Station Duluth, Minn., medically evacuated a 27-year-old crewmember from a 730-foot, Canadian-flagged freighter outside the entrance of the Superior, Wis., harbor, Thursday evening.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., received the request for a medevac through the Rescue 21 system and by telephone.

Crewmembers aboard the motor vessel Algoma Olympic explained that a crewmember, a Canadian citizen, was experiencing an asthma attack. The rescue boat crew, and a member of local emergency medical services, launched aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium. He was transferred safely to a waiting ambulance in good condition and taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Duluth.


H. Lee White on rare Seaway trip

4/14 - H Lee White passed downbound at Port Huron Friday afternoon on a rare trip to Quebec City with a load of taconite.


Port Reports -  April 14

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Tuesday night the Manitowoc brought a load of coal to Lafarge. On Thursday morning the Alpena arrived in port to load cement. Once the Alpena departed, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation made its way in. The research vessel Laurentian tied up in the river on Friday.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw two visitors on Friday. First in during the late morning were the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair stopped first at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to drop a partial cargo, then proceeded upriver to finish unloading at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber turned in the Sixth Street Basin and were outbound for the lake during the late afternoon. Algorail was inbound during the early afternoon, heading upriver to unload, also at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was expected to be outbound late Friday evening. This was the first visit of the 2012 season for both vessels.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Hollyhock was tied up at the North Pier (Visiting Ship's Dock) overnight and into Friday afternoon. The Luedtke tug Ann Marie departed the South Entrance with a derrick boat in tow for Cleveland at 2:15 p.m. Friday.

Toronto, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The saltie Apollon left Toronto early Friday morning.


Fish tug H.W. Hocks refloated in Brimley Bay

4/14 - Bay Mills , Mich. – Recovery and clean-up operations following the March 28 sinking of the H.W. Hocks continue in the waters of Brimley Bay off of Bay Mills Point. “They ran a cable across the boat to raise it up,” explained Lt. j.g. Adam Saurin of the United States Coast Guard. “Then divers went under to patch the hole.”

Once the repairs were made, those involved in the recovery operation used pumps to remove the water from the vessel. Saurin explained the hull of the H.W. Hocks is still in contact with the bottom of the bay, while a visual inspection of the scene on Wednesday shows both a large rope and accompanying cable are securing it to the nearby shoreline to ensure it does not drift away from its current location.

The fishing tug, measuring 48’ x 13’ x 6’, sank late last month, according to Saurin, when wave action from Lake Superior rolled into Brimley Bay. The waves broke over the gunnels of the moored vessel, adding a little more water each time, until it eventually went down.

Only a small portion of the boat remained above water and an unspecified amount of diesel fuel spilled into the bay and washed up on the nearby shoreline.

Saurin credited a quick response from the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) for containing most of the spilled fuel. “It was contained right away,” said Saurin. “The initial response couldn’t have been executed more flawlessly.”

Saurin estimated approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel were on board at the time the H.W. Hocks went down and the vast majority of that was contained at that site. Absorbent booms have also been deployed in the immediate area to soak up any additional fuel with some clean-up conducted along the shore.

“Every precaution was taken to ensure no more hazardous material was spilled into the water,” said Saurin.

The H.W. Hocks remains temporarily moored along Bay Mills Point, according to Saurin, as those involved in the project determine the best course of action. Saurin indicated the vessel will eventually be taken to MCM Marine in the Sault once a tow plan is submitted and approved. It is unclear if the fishing tug, originally built in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1935 by Harry Hocks, will be repaired for future voyages or scrapped once it reaches the boat yard.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News


Freighter Frank next in Algonac-Clay Library dinner series

4/14 - Algonac, Mich. – The Friends of the Algonac-Clay Library are sponsoring another event in their Winter/Spring 2012 Dinner Series, featuring a local authority aptly known around town as Freighter Frank, but formally known as Frank Frisk.

Frisk has made it his business to explore marine activity on the Great Lakes and St. Clair River. The Marysville resident knows the profiles of all the shipping vessels routinely seen making their way to port. He is also proficient on many of the old ships, including the S.S Edmund Fitzgerald. On the night of the April 25 dinner series he will offer a presentation titled “Rogue Wave/Edmund Fitzgerald,” as he speaks of that terrible night on Nov. 10, 1975, when the S.S Edmund Fitzgerald sank into the deep.

The host for the series is McRae's Big River Grille at 9715 St. Clair River Drive in Algonac; doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. The presentation will follow dinner. The event is $20 per person and includes the dinner choice from a selected menu and unlimited soft beverages, tax and gratuity. Seating is on a first-come first-served arrangement.

Experts in the field of maritime vessels agree that the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald was lost in a storm on Lake Superior 37 years ago; but, even now, they are still not clear on what caused the ship to sink.

Tickets are available at the Algonac Water Lily at 1029 St. Clair River Drive in Algonac. Call (810) 794-7673. For more information, contact the Algonac-Clay Library at (810) 794-4471.

The Voice


"Know Your Ships" booksigning today at Port Huron Maritime Center

4/13 - Roger LeLievre and other members of the "Know Your Ships" crew will be on hand at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron today (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) to autograph copies of this year's edition. There's no admission charge, and books will be on sale at the event. Author/historian T.J. Gaffney will also be present (noon-3 p.m.) to sign copies of his new book, "Rails Around the Thumb."


Updates -  April 14

News Photo Gallery


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.

1965 Fire broke out in the #2 hold of the CAPETAN VASSILIS en route from Madras, India, to Rotterdam with a cargo of sunflower seeds while 60 miles off the Mediterranean island of Crete. The crew abandoned the vessel and it sank on April 16. The ship had been built at Superior, WI as TULLY CROSBY in 1944 and returned to the lakes as c) SPIND in 1952-1953, as d) HEILO in 1953 and e) CAPETAN VASSILIS in 1956.

1977 CANADIAN OLYMPIC ran aground in the St. Lawrence off Heather Point near Brockville. The ship was loaded with ore and en route from Sept Iles to Ashtabula. The navigation channel was blocked. The vessel was lightered to MAPLEHEATH and released at 1057 hours on April 16. The ULS self-unloader spent three weeks at Port Weller Dry Docks undergoing repairs to the damage.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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
Thursday morning vessel traffic in the Twin Ports included Herbert C. Jackson loading grain at CHS terminal in Superior. Hon. James L. Oberstar made a rare appearance in port, arriving Wednesday afternoon to load pellets overnight at CN ore dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Former fleetmates Buffalo and Great Republic loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday.

Stoneport and Port Inland - Dan McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Thursday was Lewis J. Kuber, loading for a dock on the Saginaw River, and John G. Munson. Due to load on Friday is Joseph H. Thompson and Lewis J. Kuber. No boats are due for Saturday. Due in on Sunday is John G. Munson. Due to load on Friday at Port Inland is the Joseph L. Block. McKee Sons is due in Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock was working the buoys in the North Entrance Channel Thursday afternoon.

Port Colborne
Tecumseh was outbound around 2 p.m., headed for the upper lakes. A daylight passage is expected at Port Huron on Friday.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Wednesday the saltie Pacific Huron departed with the assistance of tugs Ocean Golf and Omni-Richelieu. The saltie Stefania I arrived Friday, again with the assistance of Ocean Golf and Omni-Richelieu. The tugs Jerry G and La Prairie are currently stationed at Oshawa.


Updates -  April 13

News Photo Gallery


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.

1917 The steel canaller STRATHCONA was built at Dundee, Scotland, in 1900 and came to the Great Lakes that summer. The ship had several owners before being requisitioned for war service in 1915. It was stopped by U-78 near Ronaldshay, England, while traveling from Tyne, England, to Marseilles, France, with a cargo of coal on this date in 1917. Enemy bombers attacked sinking the ship. Nine crew members were lost while another 3 were taken prisoner.

1937 The Norwegian freighter REIN was a frequent pre-Seaway caller to the Great Lakes. It had been built in 1900 and was inland as early as 1908. The ship was carrying wood pulp when it was wrecked off Helman Island, 2 miles south of Wick, Scotland, while traveling from Lyngor, Norway, to Preston, UK on this date in 1937. REIN was a total loss.

1956 Winds and ice pushed the ore laden GEORGE M. HUMPHREY on a shoal in Whitefish Bay en route from Superior to Zug Island. The vessel was salvaged and taken to Lorain for repairs.

1959 GLENEAGLES was proceeding through ice in Lake Erie when it abruptly stopped. The trailing WESTMOUNT could not stop as quickly and rammed the stern of its CSL fleetmate. GLENEAGLES had to be towed to Lorain for repairs that included a new rudder.

2010 The rebuilt ALGOBAY went aground while upbound in the St. Mary's River on its first trip to the upper lakes. The vessel had to go to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

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


Wreck of ex-laker Canadian Miner further deteriorates over winter

4/12 - Nova Scotia's Department of Natural Resources says a bulk carrier stranded off the coast of Cape Breton has further deteriorated over the winter.

Dan Davis, a spokesman for the department, said officials went to Scatarie Island last week to examine the remains of the former laker Canadian Miner, now known simply as the Miner. "The ship is still, I think, in the same location and just the condition is getting worse. You can tell that the ship has deteriorated," he told CBC News on Wednesday. "There were several holes already in the side of the vessel and you can see that those holes are probably somewhat larger."

The Greek ocean-going tug Hellas was towing the Miner on Sept. 20, 2011 when its line broke free and the ship ran aground on Scatarie Island, a designated wilderness area. It was on its way from Montreal to Turkey, where it was supposed to be scrapped. Bennington Group of New York and Armada Offshore of Turkey are working on an agreement with the provincial and federal governments for the removal of the vessel, which sits in a protected provincial wilderness area.

Davis said representatives from the two salvage companies will meet with federal and provincial officials next week.

"The meeting and the site visit should give the company better information about the condition of the vessel and it should help with developing a plan to remove the vessel from the island," said Davis. "The province is looking for getting more information about what kind of plan the company has."

Fishermen in the area are worried salvage operations will interfere with their upcoming lobster season, which runs from mid-May to mid-July.

Davis said his department was keeping the community informed about developments, but said he does not know whether the salvage companies will be able to predict when the work will be completed.

Local lobster fisherman Kevin Spencer has said if the vessel is still there for the May 14-July 14 lobster season, he has concerns about the safety of lobster fishermen operating in the area.

CBC News, Cape Breton Post


Port Reports -  April 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Philip R. Clarke arrived late Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor to load ore. The visit was her second of the season.

Marinette, Wis. / Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
Shipping action in the twin ports actually began on Tuesday night with the arrival of the USCG Mobile Bay, followed closely by Algoma Progress (ex-Canadian Progress). Both vessels anchored in the bay of Green Bay for the night. At daybreak on Wednesday, Mobile Bay began working ATON, changing out three Menominee River channel markers. As they were doing this, the Algoma Progress picked up its anchor and began backing into the river heading for Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of salt. A couple hours later the brand new Burger Boat-built Wisconsin DNR Fisheries research vessel Coregonus arrived to pick up 50,000 eight-to-nine inch long brown trout to plant in deep water in the bay of Green Bay. They had hoped to do this at Marinette Fuel & Dock, but with a bit of a chop running in the river, and Algoma Progress taking up most of the dock, they could not find a safe place to dock. They ended up heading up the Menominee River to Nest Egg Marine, where the transfer of the trout from a waiting truck took place. They were in and out of the river several times throughout the day.

Algoma Progress finally finished unloading just in time for the Michiganborg to enter port as they were departing. Michiganborg headed up-river where it passed through the Ogden Street (Menekaunee) Bridge and headed up to the turning basin. After turning around, with the help of the Selvick tug, Jimmy L, they headed back down-river to dock at KK Integrated Logistics to load pulp. The Menominee County Sheriff Marine Patrol was in attendance throughout the maneuvers, keeping small fishing boats out of the way.


Salties bring no new invasive species

4/12 - Duluth, Minn. – The first saltwater ship of the 2012 season left the Twin Ports on Tuesday afternoon with a load of wheat bound for Belgium, and there’s some good news on what the Arubaborg probably did not leave behind. Invasive species.

After a seemingly endless stream of foreign invaders that hitchhiked across the oceans in the ballast of saltwater ships, the Great Lakes haven’t seen a confirmed new invader since 2006. That’s either a string of good luck or some evidence that a program requiring ships to exchange their ballast at sea is working.

It’s a startling reversal of fortune for the Great Lakes, which saw 185 foreign species invade over the last century. Since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, more than half of the new species are believed to have arrived in ships’ ballasts. A decade ago researchers were finding a new species in the Great Lakes on average every 28 weeks — from goby and ruffe to quagga mussels, bloody red shrimp and the fish-killing VHS virus.

The ballast exchange program, often called “swish and spit” after the dentist office order, is aimed at killing freshwater critters that may be hiding in ballast tanks with a heavy dose of saltwater. The exchange, which started as voluntary in 1993 but has been required by the U.S. and Canadian governments since 2006, is done with the ships still well out at sea.

“That salinity shock is unbelievably powerful. It’s incredibly toxic to those freshwater species,” said Dale Bergeron, maritime transportation specialist for Minnesota Sea Grant in Duluth.

It’s those freshwater species from other continents that can thrive and wreak ecological and economic havoc in the freshwater ports and estuaries across the Great Lakes — if they make it here alive.

Supporters say swish and spit is killing up to 98 percent of the freshwater organisms hiding in ballast tanks.

But the National Wildlife Federation and other groups say assuming swish and spit is working to stop all species is naive.

There’s no way of knowing whether it’s working because there is little organized effort to search for new species across the lakes. And there’s no confirmation of what remains in the tanks. They note that it often takes years for new species to begin to expand and flourish in a new port. It’s often not until that big expansion that species are confirmed as here to stay.

Meanwhile the Environmental Protection Agency has noted 58 foreign species that still present a moderate or high risk of invading the Great Lakes in ballast tanks.

“It’s great news that we haven’t had a confirmed new invasion for six years. And no one is going to argue that ballast exchange isn’t helping,” said Jennifer Nalbone, invasive species director at Great Lakes United. “But no one can argue either that we can stop now, that this is enough. The risk factor for another zebra mussel or goby getting into the lakes is simply too high without adding another level of protection.”

That next level of protection is on its way in the form of mandatory on-board ballast water treatment, at least for the 12,000 saltwater ships that enter all U.S. waters annually. Two federal agencies are about to finalize, yet this year, new regulations requiring saltwater ships to treat their ballast with some sort of on-board system using chemicals, ultraviolet light, filters or other technology to kill any critters in the tanks.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency are following separate but parallel paths to require ballast treatment by 2014 in new ships and starting in 2016 for older ships. The rules phase in the installation requirement depending on when a ship is scheduled for a major dry-dock overhaul. But that could take until 2021 by some estimates, a schedule that’s too long for some.

It’s not just the timing, but also the details of the federal rules that environmental groups challenge. Both the Coast Guard and EPA rules adopt the proposed International Maritime Association Standard for killing living organisms inside ballast. But critics say that IMO standard is too weak and that many tiny critters could still pass through. California’s state ballast standard, for example, is 100 times stricter than the IMO standard.

Bergeron said California’s standard, as with New York’s now-delayed standard, are unachievable with on-ship systems and impossible to measure.

“The EPA looked at that long and hard, as did the Coast Guard, and they had scientific advisers weigh in, including the National Academies of Science, and they said it just isn’t possible to get to that level” of killing living organism in ballast water, Bergeron said. “When the science and technology catch up, the regulations can catch up. But we aren’t there yet.”

“This is a landmark year for ballast control in the U.S. We now have our first standards for protection. It’s a big step forward,” Nalbone said. “The problem is that the IMO standard still allows too much to pass through in each ship. We believe the technology is there to meet a much higher standard. And the pressure to stay at this weaker IMO standard is going to be great. The (shipping) industry isn’t going to want to budge.”

Neither federal rule initially calls for ballast treatment on freighters that remain on the Great Lakes. Lakers are exempt from both federal timelines, although the rules imply they will be included in the future.

“It’s not a pass. It means that lakers will be brought under the rules when there is some sort of technology found that will work,” Bergeron said.

Officials for the Great Lakes carriers note they have never brought a new species into the lakes. But Minnesota officials say that’s not the point. Lakers, which have much larger ballast tanks and release much more water than oceangoing ships (and which call on the Twin Ports far more often than salties) clearly are a potential pathway for invasive species to move great distances very fast.

Jeff Stollenwerk, industrial water section manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, said Minnesota is standing by its existing law that will require lakers to treat ballast water by 2016. No other state or federal agency has so far set a date for the big boats to meet a ballast standard.

“This is a big issue for Lake Superior because more than 95 percent of the ballast water that’s released in the Twin Ports is from lakers,” Stollenwerk said. “As invasives are introduced in the lower lakes, we see them moved around and transported into Lake Superior. We see the Great Lakes carriers playing an important role in that redistribution of species that otherwise might never get to Lake Superior.”

Duluth News Tribune


Dredging permit for S.S. Keewatin obtained

4/12 - Port McNicoll, Ont. – Plans to repatriate the S.S. Keewatin, a 104-year-old steamship that cruised the Great Lakes for nearly 50 years, are one step closer to completion. Eric Conroy, the man tasked by Skyline International Development Inc. to bring the ship back to its home in Port McNicoll, has secured the final dredging permit from Michigan officials.

“We plan to dredge the end of April, moving the ship to the mouth of the Kalamazoo River by the end of the third week of May,” Conroy stated in an email, adding he can now say with certainty that the Keewatin will make its official return to Port McNicoll on June 23.

The vessel has spent more than four decades in Douglas, Mich., as a museum and tourist attraction, and has been grounded in the Kalamazoo River for 45 years. A not-for-profit foundation has been established consisting of people from the area who will manage the vessel after its 3,200-kilometre voyage home.


Littoral combat ship nearly complete at Marinette

4/12 - Marinette, Wis. – The next U.S. Navy combat ship from Marinette Marine Corp. is nearly finished and has completed two rounds of trials in Lake Michigan. USS Fort Worth, scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in June, is 99 percent complete, Dana Casey, a spokeswoman for defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., said Tuesday.

Last week, Marinette Marine and Lockheed Martin put the 380-foot littoral combat ship through a second round of tests in Lake Michigan, checking its engines, ship-handling and auxiliary systems. Weapons tests will have to wait until the ship is on the ocean because treaties between the United States and Canada don't allow the weapons to be fired on the Great Lakes.

While docked on the Menominee River in Marinette, the ship has been swarmed by fishermen in small boats who have found the site to be a good walleye fishing hole. Marinette Marine employees go out early in the mornings and help clear the area, Casey said.

Construction of another combat ship, the USS Milwaukee, is well under way in Marinette, and two other ships, USS Sioux City and USS Little Rock, also are in the works.

The Navy wants to buy 55 of the high-speed warships over 15 years. For the initial 20 vessels, the work has been divided between Marinette Marine and Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.

The shipbuilding has created an economic boom in northern Wisconsin and southern Alabama, where thousands of people are employed in the shipyards and area businesses that have benefited from supply contracts and payroll dollars.

Marinette Marine plans to hire 150 to 200 more people this year, mostly welders, steelworkers and some pipe fitters.

"We are just getting slammed with work, in a good way," Casey said.

The first 12 littoral combat ships already have names, even those still on the drawing board. U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.) has asked the Navy to name one of the remaining vessels USS Marinette, in honor of the city that has a long history of shipbuilding.

Ribble has collected 3,700 letters from constituents supporting his request. Last week he presented those letters to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. "It's basically the secretary's right to name ships whatever he wants," said Capt. Cate Mueller, a Navy public affairs officer. "He takes in lots of suggestions from people," Mueller added.

Every year the Naval Historical Center compiles primary and alternate ship-name recommendations and forwards them to the chief of naval operations, although the secretary makes the final decisions.

Recommendations are based on geographic names, such as cities and states, public officials and military personnel honored for heroism.

While there's no set time for assigning a name, it usually happens before a ship is christened.

The ship's sponsor - the person who will do the christening - is also selected by the secretary. When a ship is named for someone deceased, the eldest direct female descendant of that person is asked to do the christening.

At its peak in 2014, the littoral combat ship program is expected to support up to 13,000 jobs at Marinette and 700 suppliers in 43 states, including more than 120 Wisconsin companies.

There's no downtime after USS Fort Worth is finished, Casey said, as construction of USS Milwaukee is already under way. Having completed its initial tests on the Great Lakes, USS Fort Worth's next hurdle is a series of on-water tests by the Navy. The Navy's tests are rigorous and cover every aspect of the vessel.

USS Fort Worth is being prepared for those "acceptance trials" now. "It's a very critical period for the ship," Casey said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates -  April 12

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Consumers Power 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 upbound 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).

1949 The corvette H.M.C.S. BATTLEFORD was Hull 95 from the Collingwood shipyard and it was commissioned at Montreal on July 31, 1941. The ship was sold to the Venezuelan Navy becoming b) LIBERTAD in 1946 and was wrecked on this date in 1949.

1991 CHANDA hailed from India and first came to the Great Lakes in 1978. The ship was laid up Bombay, India, on May 5, 1988, after twenty years of service. It was moved to the scrapyard on April 11, 1991, but a major fire erupted in the engine room April 12 during dismantling operations.

1993 MELISSA DESGAGNES ran aground in the St. Lawrence 2 miles east of the Eisenhower Lock at 2352 hours. The ship was en route from Windsor to Newfoundland with wheat and floated free, after being lightered, on April 15.

2009 SCARAB was 16 years old when it first came through the Seaway in 1999. The ship was sold and renamed JASPER in 2002 and never returned to our shores. It was anchored off Fatsa, Turkey, when it got blown aground on this date in 2009. Some 2000 tons of fertilizer had to be removed for the ship to float free and it went to Tuzla, Turkey, for repairs.

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


Lakes Contender, Ken Boothe Sr. christened Tuesday at Erie ceremony

4/11 - Erie, Pa. – On Tuesday afternoon, SEAJON, LLC, a partnership between SEACOR Holdings Inc. and Donjon Marine Co., Inc., held an open house and christening for the new, 34,000-ton capacity self-unloading articulated tug and barge (ATB) Ken Boothe, Sr. and Lakes Contender. This ATB is the first of its kind to be built in Erie, Pennsylvania since the Presque Isle was launched in 1972.

Ellen S. Boothe, widow of Ken Boothe Sr., former general manager of Donjon Shipbuilding & Repair, LLC, christened the tug, named in honor of her late husband, while State Sen. Jane Earll did the honors for Lakes Contender. Both swung bottles of champagne, with their successful efforts followed by a round of “Anchors Aweigh” provided by a student band, and the sounding of the Ken Boothe Sr.’s horn.

"We are so pleased to christen this state-of-the-art ATB here in Erie, and to share in the success with our partner SEACOR. This exciting chapter in our companies' stories is one that we can all take pride in today and long into the future," said J. Arnold Witte, President and CEO, Donjon Marine Co., Inc., to the nearly 200 people gathered to witness the event.

The two vessels will be operated by American Steamship Co., and are expected to enter service in the next few days. The articulated barge-tug combination is the first such vessel built in Erie since the Presque Isle was launched in 1972.

Here are the specifics on the two vessels, provided by Donjon.

Tug Ken Boothe, Sr.
LOA – 135’ 4”
Beam – 50’
Depth – 26’
Draft, Design (DWL) – 18’
Speed – 16 knots
Horsepower – 10,700
GRT – 1250
NRT – 832
Connection System - Hydraconn

Lakes Contender
LOA – 740’
Beam – 78’
Depth – 45’
Draft, Keel (DWL) – 27’ 6”
Cargo – 33,892 LT
Unload Rate – 6000 tons-per-hour (most common cargoes - iron ore pellets, coal and stone)


Coast Guard medically evacuates crewmember from freighter in Lake Superior

4/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – A rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., medically evacuated a crewmember from a 634-foot bulk freighter about 12 miles south of Isle Royale, Mich., Tuesday afternoon.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., received notification of the ill crewmember aboard the motor vessel Sam Laud from the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., at about 1 p.m., EDT.

“It was determined that a U.S. Coast Guard crew was best suited to respond,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Wilcox, a search and rescue controller with Sector Sault Ste. Marie. "This is the kind of case that shows how well we work with our Canadian counterparts; it's a partnership that enables us to get help to people in trouble on the Great Lakes as fast as we can.”

After consulting with a flight surgeon, a medical consultant who makes the final determination on what warrants emergency evacuation, the Traverse City-based aircrew was directed to launch aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter. They arrived on scene, about 30 miles from the Keweenaw Peninsula, at about 4:30 p.m., EDT. The crew was able to safely airlift the sick individual. He was transferred to waiting emergency medical services and transported to Portage Health in Hancock, Mich.

U.S. Coast Guard


Anchored Robert S. Pierson attracts an audience

4/11 - Port Britain, Ont. – A ship anchored off Port Britain on Lake Ontario has attracted a lot of attention from people living in the area. The Robert S. Pierson has been anchored since approximately 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

“It’s the talk of the area,” said Barry Adamson, who lives in Port Britain west of Port Hope.

Adamson said he saw the 186 metre long ship come up the lake on Monday and anchor approximately a kilometre off the shoreline from his home. “Since then we’ve watched him quite a bit,” he said. “They had all the lights on overnight and we don’t know what he’s doing.”

Adamson, who has lived in the area for more than 50 years, said “it’s very unusual.” People along Lakeshore Road are stopping to take a look and a number of people along the shoreline are catching a glimpse of the ship.

Carroll Nichols kept an eye on the ship from his kitchen, which overlooks Lake Ontario just east of Wesleyville. “In 94 years I’ve never seen a boat that large, that close,” he said.

People speculated there was mechanical trouble, but a call to the company that owned the ship revealed it is anchored because of the weather.

Jim Siddall, vice-president of operations with Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., said the ship is anchored off shore because of the high winds. “It can’t come in because of the weather,” Siddall said. The ship is headed for Holcim Canada (formerly St. Lawrence Cement) in Colborne.

The Robert S. Pierson is replacing the 202-metre, 57-year-old James Norris which carried limestone from Colborne to Clarkson for approximately 30 years before retiring in December 2011 and is waiting to be scrapped in Welland.

The Robert S. Pierson was built in 1974 at a cost of $14.1 million by the American Ship Building Company. It was originally named Wolverine, but was renamed on Feb. 14, 2008 after Robert Scott Pierson, who was very active in the Canadian shipping industry, passed away in 2007 at age 71.

Although the Robert S. Pierson had a trial run last year, this is the first time it will dock in Colborne and the plant anxiously awaits its arrival.

Northumberland Today


Great Lakes coal trade up 25 percent in March

4/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 721,453 tons in March, an increase of 25 percent compared to a year ago. However, the trade was 11 percent below its 5-year average for March. Loadings at Lake Superior ports increased by nearly 60 percent. Loadings in Chicago doubled their total of a year ago. However, shipments from Lake Erie ports slipped by 100,000 tons. Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 1.1 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are nearly 40 percent behind the 5-year average for the first quarter.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  April 11

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Tuesday included John D. Leitch, starting the day at anchor off Duluth and then moving into port to load at CN ore dock after the Edwin H. Gott departed. Tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort remained in drydock at Fraser Shipyards while the barge was tied up at the wall in the yard. Arubaborg remained at CHS elevator. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. It was to be followed by Paul R. Tregurtha.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Joe Rennie
Tug Rebecca Lynn and her barge departed Buffalo Tuesday morning.


First foreign ship of the year docks at Port of Indiana

4/11 - Burns Harbor, Ind. – The first ocean going ship of the year, Isadora, docked at the Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor Friday night with a load of steel coils. To commemorate the start of the 2012 shipping season, Port Director Peter Laman presented ship Captain Zdzislaw Iwanowski with a steel stein.

According to a statement issued by the port, the steel stein symbolizes the steel industry of Northwest Indiana. Sixteen steel-related companies are located at the port.

“The first ship signifies the start of the international shipping season,” said Laman. “We are looking forward to a solid shipping season in 2012.” The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation projects a 3% increase in shipments for 2012.

The Isadora traveled from the port of Ijmuiden, Netherlands and called at Cleveland prior to arriving in Northwest Indiana. Because of the Easter holiday, unloading of the approximately 10,000 tons of steel coils began on Monday and continued on Tuesday, said Federal Marine Terminals general manager Victor Klancer, the stevedoring company conducting the unloading operations.

After unloading its steel cargo, the Isadora will travel to Thunder Bay on Lake Superior and take on a load of 22,000 tons of wheat destined for Italy, according to Iwanowski. And after that, it’s anybody’s guess – “We travel the whole world,” he said.

The Isadora is owned and operated by PZM (Polska Zegluga Morska) Polish Steamship Company, of Szczecin, Poland and flagged in the Republic of Cyprus.



Federal Yukina opens Detroit's shipping season

4/11 - Detroit, Mich. - On Saturday morning the Port of Detroit welcomed the arrival of the oceangoing vessel, Federal Yukina at the Nicholson Terminal & Dock Company.

"With the advent of the warm weather approaching, it is exciting to welcome the Federal Yukina vessel to the Port of Detroit because it signifies freight transportation throughout the St. Lawrence Seaway. This is vitally important to our economies and security," says John Jamian, executive director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port.

The Federal Yukina, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel, set sail on March 21, 2012 from Teesport, United Kingdom with a cargo of steel products. The ship, 656 feet long with a 78 foot beam, sailed under the command of Captain N.R. Anand.


Organizers: Duluth's tall ships festival to expand in 2013

4/11 - Duluth, Minn. – Next year’s tall ships festival will be bigger than the one that brought nine ships to Duluth two years ago, Visit Duluth officials said Monday.

The event is scheduled for July 24-30, 2013. Visit Duluth is in talks with about 25 vessels to see which will commit to coming to Duluth on those dates. Duluth will not see all 25 vessels, Visit Duluth President & CEO Terry Mattson said.

“We know we’re bringing in at least 10, which is one more than we had in 2010,” Mattson said. “A lot of it comes down to how we make the jigsaw puzzle fit together. We’re working on some of the docking space considerations.”

So far, no vessels have committed to the festival, but Mattson expects that to change in the coming months, as ships work out their schedules with other Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River ports.

“A lot of what happens here depends on what happens east,” Mattson said.

Several of the nine tall ships that visited Duluth in 2010 were taking part in the Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge, racing between six cities in the U.S. and Canada. Duluth was the only Lake Superior port on the challenge that year.

Duluth is scheduled to be one of the ports for the 2013 Tall Ships Challenge, which will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the major military events of the War of 1812 that took place in the Great Lakes.

In addition to bringing more ships to Duluth in 2013 than it did in 2010, Visit Duluth also plans to give people more chances to sail aboard the ships. All three tall ships that visited Duluth last summer offered sailing opportunities.

“We sold those out in a matter of days,” Mattson said. “That allows us to be a little more versatile in the number of ships if we don’t have to have all of them tied up along the dock at the same time.”

The 2013 festival’s physical arrangement will be much the same as the 2010 festival, encompassing Duluth’s Waterfront, Bayfront Festival Park and Harbor Drive. Some ships will arrive on Wednesday, July 24, or even the day before, Mattson said.

“We’ll feature something for everyone: onboard tours, day-sails and expanded hours for dockside tours,” Visit Duluth Chairwoman Karen Pionk said. “We’ll have a full complement of vendors, artisans, music, reenactments and entertainment.”

The parade of sail is scheduled for Thursday. Dockside tours, day sails and entertainment in Bayfront Festival Park will primarily happen Friday through Sunday, although some day-sails will continue Monday and Tuesday.

“It has become so popular some people just want to know when the ships are arriving and departing.”

Duluth News Tribune


Construction underway on Toledo maritime museum project

4/11 - Toledo, Ohio – Construction work is underway on a multimillion dollar riverfront attraction in Toledo's Marina District. Heavy equipment and construction crews have been brought in to start building the new dock for the Col. James M. Schoonmaker museum ship's location.

This is an $8.5 million project overall among the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, city of Toledo, and Great Lakes Historical Society.

The Ferry Passenger Terminal building will be used for indoor nautical displays. There will also be an outdoor visual component of public space next to the ship.

The goal is to have the space ready for the ship to be moved from International Park in the fall. The entire project will be wrapped up in May or June of 2013.

"We're going to be the home of a national museum with a rechristened ship with an unbelievable partner with the Great Lakes Historical Society. You don't necessarily get too excited until you see ground being broken and now that we're under construction, it does feel like it's really happening," said Paul C. LaMarre III, manager of maritime affairs at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Next to the museum is the former Acme Power Plant. On Tuesday at 2 p.m., the city of Toledo will be opening bids to select a contractor to perform the rest of the demolition.



Trio raising funds for lightship memorial

4/11 - Point Abino – Nearly 100 years have passed since one of the most severe storms to strike Lake Erie sunk a U.S. Coast Guard lightship and its six-member crew, yet no monument nor memento has been erected to mark the spot of the marine disaster.

Three Ontario historians are trying to raise about $3,000 to install a plaque in Crystal Beach’s Waterfront Park to memorialize Light Vessel 82, which disappeared near Point Abino during the vicious “white hurricane” in November 1913.

Rick Doan, Paul Kassay Jr. and John Robbins have raised about $1,000 but still need about $2,000 more, and they have issued a public appeal for money to finish their project by the end of this year, if possible.

Kassay and Doan said they have to raise the money privately because the U.S. Coast Guard says it has no money for such a project, and there is no Canadian money for a memorial for the U.S. ship.

Although Point Abino is in Canadian waters, it was guarded for many years by a U.S. lightship because of the heavy maritime traffic across Lake Erie to and from the Buffalo Harbor.

Light Vessel 82 was a ship fitted with lights, foghorns and bells, stationed off Point Abino, just west of Crystal Beach, to warn of the underwater hazards there. Point Abino juts out into the lake and its rocky, jagged shoals had sunk many a ship on their way to Buffalo, which was one of the busiest ports in the world around 1910.

Kassay and his partners in the fundraising drive said a “white hurricane” with snow, 80-mph winds and 35-foot-high waves descended on the Great Lakes between Nov. 7 and Nov. 12, 1913.

The storm sank 19 ships and killed 250 people, but the 95- foot-long steel-hulled Light Vessel 82 tried to stay on guard to keep ships out of the rocky shallows, Kassay said.

But the storm was too strong, and the lightship disappeared into the turbulent lake with all six members of its crew. The ship was found the following spring at the bottom of the lake nearly two miles east of its station. The only crewman’s body to be recovered was that of Chief Engineer Charles Butler of Buffalo, who was found about a year later in the Niagara River off the foot of West Ferry Street in Buffalo.

The other crewmen were Capt. Hugh M. Williams of Manistee, Mich.; Mate Andrew Leahy of Elyria, Ohio; his brother, Assistant Engineer Cornelius Leahy also of Elyria, Ohio; Seaman William Jensen of Muskegon, Mich., and Cook Peter Mackey of Buffalo.

After almost two years, the ship was salvaged, transported to Buffalo and then to Detroit, where it was refitted and used until 1936 — but never again at Point Abino. Two other lightships guarded those shoals until 1917, when Canadian authorities built the Point Abino lighthouse. The lighthouse still stands, though it has been decommissioned.

Buffalo News


Updates -  April 11

News Photo Gallery


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.

1964 NORCO had been used to carry pulpwood from Michipicoten to Green Bay from about 1938 to 1957. The vessel had been built at Ecorse, MI for deep sea service as INCA in 1915 and returned inland in the 1920s. It went back to the sea in 1959 and stranded at Little Corn Island, Nicaragua, on this date in 1964 while en route from Tampa to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, with a cargo of phosphate.

1994 AMERICAN MARINER was downbound in the St. Marys River when it struck a rock above the Soo Locks and had to go the shipyard in Erie to repair the damage.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


U.S.-flag lakers cargo down slightly in March

4/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 2,348,247 tons of cargo in March, a decrease of 110,000 tons, or 4 percent, compared to a year ago. However, the March float was up 10 percent compared to the months 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry decreased 14 percent compared𥠴o a year ago, but coal loadings held even and limestone cargos more than tripled last Marchs volume.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos total 6.4 million tons, an increase of 8 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 27 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the first quarter.

On April 1, 40 U.S.-flag lakers were in service, an increase of two hulls compared to a year ago.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  April 10

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Arubaborg, the Twin Ports first saltie of the season, was docked at the CHS elevator Monday morning ready to begin loading. The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort remained in drydock at Fraser Shipyards. The barge Great Lakes Trader was tied up at the wall in the shipyard. The Quebecois arrived Friday at Holcim Cement in Duluth bearing its new Algoma stack insignia and its new Algoma Quebecois name. Its distinctive Quebecois was still painted on the bulwark in front of the pilothouse. Burns Harbor was in Superior waiting to load at BNSF ore dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson arrived late Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor loaded with the first stone cargo of the season for the local ore mines but went to anchor due to high winds.

Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Wilfred Sykes was due arrive at the stone dock in Cedarville during the early morning hours of Monday, April 9 to load stone. She is the only vessel currently on the schedule at Cedarville to load so far this week.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A slow week ahead for vessels loading in Calcite this week with only two vessels scheduled. Tuesday the James L. Kuber is due to arrive at the North Dock in the early morning hours to load stone. John G. Munson is to arrive at Calcite on Thursday in the early morning.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A busy week ahead for the stone dock in Stoneport with several vessels due to load this week. Among the vessels scheduled: Both the John J. Boland and the Joseph H. Thompson were due to load on April 9. No vessels were scheduled for April 10. On Wednesday, April 11 there are three vessels due to load at Stoneport: Cason J. Callaway and the Lewis J. Kuber both for early morning arrivals followed by the Manitowoc for a late morning arrival. For Thursday, April 12 the John G. Munson is the only vessel due to load. Wrapping up the Stoneport schedule for the week on Friday, April 13 three vessels are due to load: Pathfinder for an early morning arrival, followed by the Lewis J. Kuber in the morning and the Cason J. Callaway due to arrive early afternoon at Stoneport to load.

Toledo, Ohio -Denny Dushane
An active week is ahead for the Port of Toledo with the CSX Coal Dock and Torco Dock receiving the most activity in the days ahead. Due at the CSX Coal Dock: McKee Sons on April 11, James L. Kuber on April 13, Hon. James L. Oberstar on April 18 and Algoma Enterprise rounds out the coal dock lineup for April 19. The Algosoo is the only vessel due to unload limestone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock and she is due to arrive on April 13. At the Torco Dock Arthur M. Anderson was due to arrive during the morning hours on Monday, April 9. Also due to arrive at the Torco Dock are the: Great Republic on April 10 followed by the Philip R. Clarke on April 13. The Great Republic returns on April 14. There are still a few vessels that remain in lay-up in the Port of Toledo and among them are: Adam E. Cornelius and American Courage still at the Hans-Hansen former Interlake Iron Dock. Lewis J. Kuber and Olive L. Moore are laid-up near the CSX Coal Dock, Manistee is at the Lakefront Docks and the American Fortitude and American Valor continue their long-term extended lay-ups both at the Lakefront Docks as well.

Midland, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Sunday the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley arrived at the town docks. It left Midland on Monday.

Halifax, NS. - Mac Mackay
Salarium was moved out of the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard on Monday April 9. Tugs relocated the ship to nearby Pier 9A for completion of its refit. The ship did not use any of its own power.


Updates -  April 10

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated -  Amoco Illinois 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.

1905 The 400 foot steel hulled bulk carrier GEORGE B. LEONARD arrived in Cleveland with ice damage and leaking bow seams.

1941 The first CEDARBRANCH ran aground at the mouth of the Etobicoke Creek, west of Toronto and had to be lightered to float free.

1949 The former J.H. PLUMMER, once part of Canada Steamship Lines, was reported wrecked, due to stranding in fog, while 6 miles southwest of Shaweishan on this date in 1949. The vessel was sailing as f) TUNG AN and was en route from Tsingtao to Shanghai, with scrap steel.

1953 The Finnish freighter ANGELA came to the Great Lakes in 1952 and was wrecked on April 10, 1953, at Frisland, Isle of Coll, due to heavy weather. The vessel was travelling in ballast from Larne, Northern Ireland, to Goole, UK, and was a total loss.

1965 A collision in the Lake St. Peter section of the St. Lawrence involved the TRANSATLANTIC and HERMES. The former, a West German freighter, caught fire and capsized with the loss of 3 lives. The vessel was salvaged in August and eventually scrapped at Sorel. It had been coming to the Great Lakes for the Poseidon Line since 1961. The latter, a Dutch carrier, never came through the Seaway and was scrapped at Calcutta, India, as NIKI R. in 1985-1986.

1977 HILDA MARJANNE ran aground on a sandbar at Sarnia after leaving the Government dock with a cargo of corn. It was released the next day with the help of the tug DARYL C. HANNAH.

1989 The canal-sized bulk carrier IROQUOIS, b) TROISDOC (ii), was built in 1955 but left the Seaway as c) KOBA in 1983. That vessel foundered in the Gulf of Mexico, near Isla de Lobos, on this date in 1989 while en route from Tampico to Progresso, Mexico.

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


Port Reports -  April 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Great Republic arrived Easter Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi returned in the early morning of Easter Sunday with its second load of salt from Goderich, Ont., for the Alpena Oil Dock. Also in port on Easter Sunday was the Alpena, taking on cement at Lafarge during the evening. On Monday morning the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are due at Lafarge, followed by fleetmate tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday, Algoma Olympic arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Pointe Noir for Dofasco and then departed for Superior at 6:30 p.m. Algoma Navigator arrived at 8:45 a.m. with coal from Thunder Bay for Dofasco. Tim S. Dool arrived at 9 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Algosoo arrived at 9 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco.

Iroquois Lock - Ron Beaupre
Rowan M. McAllister passed downbound Sunday with the Patrice McAllister under tow on the hip. The Patrice has been painted with a fresh coat of white paint. The Patrice suffered a severe fire on March 27 and is being towed to Providence, Rhode Island.


Updates -  April 9

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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 lumberyard 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.

1913 Ice sliced through the wooden hull of the steamer UGANDA in the Straits of Mackinac and the vessel sank near White Shoal. The crew was rescued by the JOHN A. DONALDSON and there was no loss of life.

1962 On November 28, 1961, fire had broken out aboard the IQUITOS off the coast of Mexico while the ship was en route from Callao, Peru, to Manzanillo, Mexico, with a cargo of fishmeal. The vessel had been a pre-Seaway trader as RUTENFJELL beginning in 1936 and as POLYRIVER beginning in 1951. The blazing freighter was abandoned by the crew. The ship did not sink and drifted for weeks before being spotted February 2, 1962. The hull was considered a hazard to navigation and was sunk on this date, southeast of the Christmas Islands by a U.S. destroyer, in 1962.

1968 MENIHEK LAKE was in a minor collision with the anchored PETITE HERMINE in the Lake St. Francis section of the St. Lawrence, and the latter's anchor chain damaged the propeller of MENIHEK LAKE.

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


First ocean-going ship of the season reaches Duluth harbor

4/8 - Duluth, Minn. – The first ocean-going ship of the season has sailed into the Duluth harbor. The Dutch-flagged Arubaborg arrived Friday and will load more than 10,000 tons of durum wheat Monday to take to Belgium. En route to the Twin Ports, the 470-foot vessel delivered steel pipe to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Salties make up only about 10 percent of shipping traffic in the Duluth harbor. The huge lakers that haul iron ore and coal around the Great Lakes make up 90 percent of the ships that call on Duluth.

But Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Adolph Ojard reports salties and Midwest farmers depend on each other. Farmers need international markets, he says, and salties need to load outbound cargoes to pay for the return trip.

Minnesota Public Radio News


Port Reports -  April 8

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and her barge arrived Saturday morning.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Apollon arrived early Saturday morning and docked at the Redpath Sugar Pier. Also, English River arrived in Toronto.

Montreal - Rene Beauchamp and Kent Malo
LLT's new Tecumseh departed her lay-up berth in Montreal about 4 p.m. Saturday, heading west in the St Lawrence Seaway for Thunder Bay.


Lake Michigan water levels

4/8 - The Lake Michigan water level is up 2 inches in the last month and up 7 inches in the past year. The lake is still 14 inches below the century average. Lake Superior is up 4 inches in the past month (with a quick snowmelt and some rain) and up 5 inches in the last year. Superior is 11 inches below the century average. Lake Erie is 9 inches higher than one year ago and 6 inches higher than the century average. Lake Ontario is up 7 inches in the past year and is now 3 inches above the century average. River levels are running a little below average now.



Updates -  April 8

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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.

1941 The newly built PRINS WILLEM II first came to the Great Lakes in May 1939. There was a mutiny on board at Sandusky, Ohio, in June 1940 as the crew did not want to return to their now occupied homeland. The ship was torpedoed off Cape Farewell, Greenland, on April 8, 1941, while travelling from Halifax to London. An estimated 10-12 members of the crew perished.

1942 The first NOVADOC was sailing as g) ARA when it hit a mine and sank off Borkum, Germany, while en route from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Rotterdam, Holland in 1942. The ship had been built as CANADIAN PATHFINDER and was listed as Hull 69 of the Collingwood shipyard. It had also sailed the Great Lakes as b) NORMAN M. PATERSON and c) NOVADOC (i) before being sold to British interests in 1927.

1982 The Canadian owned QUEBEC came through the Seaway in 1969. It had been built in 1959 as ALICE BOWATER but never came inland under this name. It was sailing as d) BLUE SEA when there was an engineroom explosion and fire on April 8, 1982, in the Mediterranean near the Kerkennah Islands in the Gulf of Gabes off Tunisia. The gutted hull was towed to Sfax, Tunisia, on April 12. It was sold for scrap and arrived at Bizerta, Tunisia, for dismantling on July 7, 1984.

2001 The CHERYL C., the fifth name for the ship, was carrying a cargo of steel when it sank on April 8, 2001. The vessel ran aground near Peniche, Portugal, north of Lisbon, due to a navigational error. The 1597 gross ton ship had been built in 1983 and came through the Seaway, under Barbados registry, for the first time on April 22, 1998, with clay for Ashtabula. It made its last inland voyage in November 1999.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Friday sunrise traffic in the Twin Ports included CSL Tadoussac unloading salt at Hallett 8 dock in Superior while a short distance away Birchglen was at Midwest Energy Terminal loading coal destined for Quebec. Cason J. Callaway was due at the Reiss Inland dock to unload before proceeding to Two Harbors. Roger Blough was loading at BNSF ore dock in Superior. Arubaborg was expected to arrive at midday and go to anchor, becoming the first saltie of the season. It was expected to dock at an elevator Sunday or Monday to load grain.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke
At 7 a.m. Friday, the tug/barge unit Beverly Anderson/Mary Turner arrived at Bay Shipbuilding where there will be a complete refit prior to the vessels joining the Lower Lakes fleet. The pair was originally built in 1982 as the tug April T. Beker and barge Erol Beker. The tug was built at Marinette Marine and the barge was built at Bay Shipbuilding as Hull 728, and renamed upon christening.

Sandusky, Ohio – Jim Spencer
Herbert C. Jackson loaded Friday for Ecorse, Mich., at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. Following her was the Algosoo, loading 300 rail cars of coal for Hamilton, Ont.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Pacific Huron arrived in Oshawa Friday and was assisted by tugs Jerry G and La Prairie. Pacific Huron is the first saltie to arrive in Oshawa for the 2012 season.

Iroquois Lock - Ron Beaupre
This morning the Rowan M McAllister went up through Iroquois Lock on her way to Clayton, N.Y. There she will pick up the burnt out tug Patrice McAllister and take her to New York. The rudder on the Patrice is jammed 10 degrees off center, so that will have to be set back to amidships before the tow can begin.

Halifax, N.S. – Mac Mackay
Salarium is due to leave the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard and move to pier 9 for fitting out on Saturday.


U.S. Brig Niagara returns to Erie after month-long dry-docking in Cleveland

4/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Brig Niagara returned to Erie late Tuesday after a month-long dry-docking at Cleveland's Great Lakes Towing Co. to repair rotted wooden framing.

"It was very smooth, calm and perfect,'' Niagara Capt. Wesley Heerssen said of the vessel's nearly 11-hour sail from Cleveland. The ship, with Heerssen and a crew of 22, departed Cleveland on Tuesday at 1 p.m.

The Niagara pulled into its berth behind the Erie Maritime Museum on Tuesday just before midnight. "I don't anticipate any unforeseen problems for a few years,'' Heerssen said.

Repairs at the Cleveland shipyard involved replacing three 10- to 12-foot-long frames. Crews in January discovered during maintenance and repairs at the Erie Maritime Museum that rot had traveled down through the bow's Santa Maria Hardwood frames below the waterline.

Another three weeks of above-deck planking work in Erie awaits carpenters before the project is finished, Heerssen said.

"We have 16 planks left to do on the outside of the hull,'' Heerssen said. "We've done 23 planks thus far. On the inside of the hull, we have about six or seven planks to do.''

A plywood cover, or temporary patch, about 6 feet high and 20 feet long covered an area of open hull on the port bow where planking work remains.

"That work is easier to do here at our dock than in the shipyard,'' Heerssen said. "We had to get the parts that are below the waterline done to get back home.''

The Niagara sailed to the Cleveland shipyard on March 2. Heerssen said the Niagara, which was built in 1988, "is in great shape.''

"She's a 25-year-old vessel,'' he said. "Projects like this are going to rear their ugly head at some point, and we need to be prepared for it so we have all the supplies and everything we need so we can deal with it right then.''

Heerssen said finishing the planking work in Erie also will save expenses. "Just sitting in the dry-dock is $600 a day,'' he said. "If you were doing no work, that's just the rent. Not only that, but our carpenters are having to stay in hotels. When we're here and hooked up to our shore power, they can stay on the ship.''

Erie Times-News


The Night the Fitz Went Down

4/7 - Highlights of the conversation between the late Captain Donald Erickson of the SS William Clay Ford and Mac McAdam of the Dossin Museum are featured

Click here to view


Updates -  April 7

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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.

1941 - The PORTADOC had been requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport and was en route from Saint John, NB to Sierra Leone with a cargo of coal when it was torpedoed by U-124 off the coast of Africa. The crew spent 6 days on the open sea before landing at French Guinea. They were taken prisoner by the Vichy French forces and the Chief Engineer died before there was a prisoner of war exchange. The vessel, part of the Paterson fleet, had also sailed on the Great Lakes as a) EUGENE C. ROBERTS and b) JAMES B. FOOTE.

1968 - The CAPTAIN LEONIDIS ran aground in the Messier Channel, Chile, while travelling from Santos, Brazil, to Valparaiso, Chile. The vessel stranded April 7, 1968, and became a total loss. It had first come to the Great Lakes as the Norwegian freighter d) FANA in 1964 and returned as e) CAPTAIN LEONIDIS in 1966. The hull remains aground and appears to have been used by the Chilean Navy for target practice.

1979 - The GEHEIMRAT SARTORI dated from 1951 and had been a Pre-Seaway caller to the Great Lakes. It returned through the new waterway for 3 trips in 1959 and was sailing as c) SEA ROVER when it was lost on this date in 1979. The cargo shifted in heavy weather on the Mediterranean while the ship was en route from Civitavecchia, Italy, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It sank about 8 miles off Punta Cornacchia.

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


Port Reports -  April 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Cedarglen was loading coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal early Thursday. The terminal’s schedule indicates Canadian vessels will load there many times this season with export cargoes bound for Quebec and other eastern Canada ports. Paul R. Tregurtha was due at the terminal later in the day. Late arrivals for Thursday were expected to be Manitowoc, loading at CN ore dock, and CSL Tadoussac, due in to unload at Hallett 8 and load at BNSF ore dock.

Stoneport and Calcite, Mich. – Dan McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Wednesday April 4 was Cason J. Callaway; she departed in the early afternoon heading for Duluth. Also loading at Stoneport was Mississagi on Thursday April 5. Due to load Friday April 6 is Joseph H. Thompson, followed by the Buffalo and Lewis J. Kuber. Due in on Saturday April 7 is Great Republic and Herbert C. Jackson. Loading at Calcite Wednesday April 4 was Great Lakes Trader and Phillip R. Clarke. Due Thursday April 5 was John G. Munson.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Barry Jones
Thursday at approximately 4 p.m., the self-unloader Algoway left the west pier in Owen Sound where she had been in winter lay-up since the end of December 2011.

Port Huron, Mich. – Andy Kleist
Burns Harbor passed Vantage Point Thursday morning, downbound on a rare trip to the lower lakes. She was due in Cleveland late Thursday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River departed Thursday morning, clearing the North Entrance to open water just before 5 a.m.


Shallow harbors are sinking Great Lakes tourism

4/6 - A $200-million backlog in unfunded Great Lakes dredging and maintenance projects has left many Great Lakes harbors so shallow they create safety hazards and hurt Michigan's tourism industry. Lack of regular maintenance could leave recreational boaters in search of a safe harbor or unable to get boats across a sand-filled harbor entrance.

Even if boaters aren't in peril, they tend to avoid shallow harbors where the depth is uncertain, causing serious financial losses to local businesses and the state's tourism industry in general, tourism officials say.

Last summer, the cruise ship Columbus left the Great Lakes because the water tables were too low, said Dave Lorenz, manager of public and industry relations for the Pure Michigan campaign. One place the Columbus was unable get into was Mackinac Island. Passengers were transported to the island using a smaller boat, said Mary McGuire, executive director of the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau.

"It's a beautiful way to see the Great Lakes and second, it brings business to each of these small towns," McGuire said of the cruise industry. "But we need to have the support of the government."

The federal government collects money to maintain these harbors yearly when it collects the Harbor Maintenance Tax from shippers. That money goes into the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is intended to maintain all federal harbors and channels, including 69 in Michigan. On paper, the fund has built up a balance of about $6 billion that's theoretically available to fix the harbors.

But for the last few years, Congress, via the federal budget, has not allocated all of the money collected by the harbor tax to harbor maintenance.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, introduced legislation in 2010 and again this year that would ensure that all the money deposited in the trust fund was spent maintaining harbors -- which would mean enough money would be available for the recreational harbors in Michigan that currently are ignored.

"It makes no sense that harbors in Michigan and around the country are in need of basic maintenance while more than $6 billion sits in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund," Levin said. "Maintaining these harbors is vital to the communities they serve and to the entire Great Lakes economy, and we have the resources to maintain them."

It's up to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to decide which harbors get the limited money available. The Corps currently is funding projects only in commercial shipping harbors.

"The commercial navigation in the Great Lakes is very important because of the manufacturing base," said Marie Strum, assistant chief of engineering and technical services for the Corps' Detroit District. "There are many other harbors on the Great Lakes that need to be dredged every year to keep them open and passable and safe for navigation."

The Corps has identified 15 harbors, six of them in Michigan, that are down to 4 feet of depth or less. That's only enough water for small boats. Another year without dredging could add about 30 more harbors to that list, Strum said.

Sailboats, with their deep keels, are the first to suffer, but power boats are feeling the effects too.

"I guarantee you there are harbors in this state that this summer power boats won't be getting in and out of," said Chuck May, chairman of the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition.

The cost of maintaining the smaller Great Lakes harbors would be only a small portion of the $1.4 to $1.5 billion collected each year from the Harbor Maintenance Tax, May said.

"We could keep all of the shallow draft harbors in the Great Lakes dredged for approximately $10 million a year," May said. "We could do the commercial harbors that are less than 1 million tons for another $10 million a year. That's $20 million to keep the Great Lakes dredged."

Water depth is having a direct effect on Michigan's ability to lure cruise ships to the state's ports. Cruise lines primarily bring international travelers, opening up a new source of tourism for the state, said Lorenz.

Michigan has the highest number of registered boats in the country, Lorenz said. "Anything that negatively affects the boating industry is certainly a concern to us."

Waterfront communities, already suffering from lower tax revenues in the recession, are feeling an additional pinch when the lack of dredging affects their tourism business.

"We are extremely concerned about the situation," said Rob Straebel, Charlevoix city manager. "These boaters frequent our downtown restaurants, our businesses, buy gasoline. There are certainly a lot of benefits to having boaters come into our community and spend their money locally."

New Buffalo's 1,100 boat slips are crucial to the community of 2,200 year-round residents. So crucial, the city dug deep into its own pockets for the last few years to pay for the dredging.

"We spent $124,000 last year that we could have spent elsewhere," said City Manager Michael Mitchell. "For our community, tourism is our industry. There's a lot of people who earn their living through boat hauling, boat storage and taking care of the needs of boaters. In our community it's as important as someone having an automobile plant or a tool-and-die facility."

The shallow harbors also are a safety hazard, said Al Declercq of Grosse Pointe Park, an avid boater.

"You can't get a deep draft boat into Harbor Beach or Harrisville," Declercq said. "That's a long stretch of open water where, if somebody's got a problem and they get in distress, there's nowhere to go."

Even before the harbor itself fills in, its entrance may be filling in, a process called shoaling that creates dangerous, often uncharted sand bars across harbor entrances.

When wind and weather kick up high waves on the lakes, those waves are even higher over shallow shoals at harbor entrances. High waves can pound boats trying to get into a harbor up and down on a shoal, or cause them to lose their steering ability if their rudders come out of the water -- or even prevent them from getting into a safe harbor altogether.

Many boaters now cruise the Canadian shore instead of the U.S. shore because the harbors there are more likely to be dredged, Declercq said.

"That's money that's going to Canada instead of staying here in this country," Declercq said.

Detroit Free Press


Crew of Maine Coast Guard icebreaker welcomed home from Great Lakes

4/6 - Rockland, Maine – There were hugs and smiles warm enough to melt the thickest ice Tuesday morning as the 18 crew members of the USCG Thunder Bay were welcomed home after a four-month tour to the Great Lakes region.

The 700-ton, 140-foot-long Coast Guard icebreaker arrived under sunny skies. Ship Cmdr. Jerry Smith said that the crew made good time on its return from keeping shipping lanes open on the Great Lakes. With the scheduled arrival set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, the crew was able to slow down as it approached Rockland Harbor.

Smith said it gave him time to talk with members of the crew for the final time before completion of the mission that began Nov. 29 when they departed from Rockland. “It was amazing to get back and see the ferries and the lobster boats,” Smith said.

The Thunder Bay commander was anxious to get home to be with his wife, Heather, who is expecting their first child. He noted he was able to get home about a month ago for the first sonogram of the baby.

Chief Boatswain’s Mate Matt Deane was greeted by his wife, Heather, and children Mason and Ava of Rockport. “Absolutely, I’m happy,” Heather said of seeing her husband after the long mission.

Capt. Christopher Roberge, the commander of the Coast Guard northern New England sector, spoke during a brief ceremony aboard the ice cutter. He praised the crew for its efforts and noted that while the Thunder Bay spent 200 hours plus breaking ice on the Great Lakes, there was no need for ice breaking locally because of the warm winter.

The mission was Seaman Apprentice Brian McGoff’s first with the Coast Guard. He was one of the few crew members who did not return to Rockland during the four months. The Boston resident was welcomed back to Rockland by his mother, Peggy McGoff of Boston.

The mother said she was “big time” happy to see her son after the long absence.

A statement from Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun, commander of the First Coast Guard District, was read to the crew during the on-vessel ceremony.

“The crew of the Thunder Bay demonstrated exceptional seamanship and ship handling skills and immediately made significant contributions to the mission,” Neptun said. “Their efforts ensured the critical commercial shipping routes of the Great Lakes remained open for delivery of economically vital cargo.”

Bangor Daily News


Capt. Donald Erickson: Mariner enjoyed life of adventure

4/6 - Detroit, Mich. – The freedom of the open waters and the everyday challenges that came with captaining Great Lakes freighters were among the reasons Donald Erickson chose a nautical career. Of course, high adventure was part of the package, too, and Mr. Erickson, who sailed the Great Lakes for nearly 40 years as an employee of Ford, had his share of close encounters.

Mr. Erickson died March 26 of heart failure at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn. The Taylor resident was 84.

"My father was never one to be saddled to an office job," said his son Eric Erickson, who accompanied his dad on numerous maritime journeys and later spent 16 years aboard the J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to the freighters on the Detroit River. "He enjoyed the freedom and the variety that his job afforded him. Although we never got to see him a whole lot, we learned to cope with it."

Born Aug. 7, 1927, in Superior, Wis., Mr. Erickson began working in the merchant marine at age 15 and joined the Navy a year later during World War II. While serving in the Pacific theater, he operated an assortment of landing craft, minesweepers and patrol boats and was awarded the Bronze Star.

After the war, Mr. Erickson began working for Ford and eventually became the youngest captain on the Great Lakes at the time.

Although he captained several freighters during his career, including the Henry Ford II, Mr. Erickson spent the bulk of his service aboard the William Clay Ford. A typical run involved sailing between Dearborn and Superior, Wis., hauling the iron ore that was used to make automobiles. The round trip generally took four and a half days.

Eric Erickson recalled the time that his father was involved in one of the defining moments in Great Lakes maritime history – the day the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with 29 crewmen aboard during a fierce storm on Lake Superior.

While sailing Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975, conditions on the lake steadily worsened, and Mr. Erickson decided to anchor his ship in Whitefish Bay, where the Fitzgerald was headed for refuge along with another ship, the Arthur M. Anderson. After the Coast Guard lost contact with the Fitzgerald, officials requested that the two ships search for any possible survivors, which they eventually did, without any luck.

"Of course, it was pretty rough," Erickson said, recalling his father's description of the conditions. "The waves were as much as 30 feet high with wind gusts up to 100 m.p.h.," he said. "They just did what they had to do and didn't think too much about it." The crews and captains of the two freighters were awarded commendations for their bravery on that day.

Mr. Erickson retired in 1986. Besides his son, survivors include his wife of 55 years, Carol (Joyce) Erickson, and a sister. A private family memorial is planned for a later date. His body was cremated.

Detroit Free Press


Dive into Great Lakes history at Dossin maritime symposium April 21

4/6 - Detroit, Mich. – The Dossin Great Lakes Museum will be the place to be on Saturday, April 21 from noon 3 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 Lori Feret, who will present “The Boblo Steamers: Matriarchs of the Detroit River.” Her presentation will focus on the history of Boblo Island and the steamers that transported visitors to its docks. In addition, guests will learn the current status of the S.S. Columbia and the S.S. Ste. Claire. Feret is involved with lighthouse organizations, the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Friends of the Detroit River, Project Hope League of Greater Detroit, Fellowship Lutheran Church and the Detroit Zoo. She is also a member of the Boblo Boat Ste. Claire Restoration Team and is the Detroit contact for the SS Columbia Project benefits.

Tony Gramer, a renowned diver, will present “Tragedy Strikes in Seven Minutes: Loss of the Steamer Fred McBrier.” The Fred McBrier, built in 1881, sank in seven minutes 10 miles west of old Mackinaw point in Lake Michigan after being hit by the larger steamer Progress.

Featured speaker Ross Richardson will present “The Search for the Westmoreland.” The Westmoreland sank in 1854 and was rumored to be carrying casks of whiskey and large collection of gold coins. Since the ship sank 150 years ago, it has become one of the most sought-after shipwrecks in the Great Lakes with more than a dozen expeditions launched to recover its treasures. Richardson has spent the last decade searching for and documenting shipwrecks off the coast of west Michigan.

Admission to the symposium is free. For more information visit


Updates -  April 6

News Photo 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 mizzenmast. 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.

1942 The CANADIAN FARMER was Hull 65 of the Collingwood shipyard and it was launched there on December 27, 1919. The vessel was sailing as c) SHIN KUANG when it was sunk by Japanese surface naval forces on the Bay of Bengal.

1949 FORT WILLDOC of the Paterson fleet and the JAMES E. McALPINE of the Brown Steamship Co. collided in Lake Superior, above Whitefish Point, on this date. Both ships were damaged and needed repairs.

1972 The freighter STAR OF REWIAH had been built at Collingwood as Hull 105 and launched as the corvette H.M.S. COMFREY on July 28, 1942. The ship was later converted to a cargo carrier and was sailing under this sixth name when it ran aground off the Ashrafi Lighthouse in the Gulf of Suez and declared a total loss on this date in 1972. It was traveling in ballast from Suez, Egypt, to Safaga, Egypt, at the time.

1978 The self-unloader TARANTAU was blown aground due to the wind and shifting ice pack in Lake Huron above Port Huron and had to be freed by the tug BARBARA ANN.

1979 A violent spring storm found LABRADOC (ii) on Lake Erie where the cargo shifted and the vessel took on a precarious list. All on board were removed fearing the ship would roll over and sink. But it survived and was towed to safety eventually undergoing repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks. The vessel left Great Lakes service in 1988 and operated on deep sea runs as b) FALCON CREST until scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in 1994.

1992 An explosion and fire in the tunnel of HALIFAX occurred while the CSL ship was upbound in the St. Marys River. One sailor was killed and two more injured while the ship sustained internal damage. It went to Thunder Bay for repairs.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
John J. Boland departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior overnight, becoming the last of the winter layup fleet to begin its season. Lee A. Tregurtha arrived in port Wednesday afternoon and proceeded to the CN ore dock in Duluth. It was tied up at the outer end of the dock, apparently loading with the chutes while Edgar B. Speer occupied the shiploader.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge on a calm and pleasant Tuesday evening and tied up under the silos to load cement. The Alpena came into port once the Innovation departed. It also took on a cement load and was outbound in the bay Wednesday morning. The research vessel Lake Guardian arrived Wednesday afternoon and tied up in the river. The Mississagi was off Alpena Wednesday afternoon and waited for the winds to die down before heading into the river. It came in around 7:30 p.m. and unloaded salt from Goderich at the Alpena Oil Dock.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock arrived on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, stopping briefly at the Consumers Energy dock. Hollyhock then headed back outbound to work aids to navigation out in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel.

Detroit, Mich. -
The J. W. Westcott Co. returned to 24-hour operations Wednesday morning with the arrival of the U.S. mail boat J. W. Westcott II at the company's dock below the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River. Capt. Sam Buchanan piloted the 50-foot work boat from the dock at Gregory's Marina for the short trip down river. This marks the company's 117th season on the river. Winter work on the Westcott fleet included normal maintenance and painting. The back up mail boat Joseph J. Hogan is expected to return to service later this month.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The first boat of the 2012 season arrived early Wednesday as the English River was inbound about 4 a.m. for LaFarge Cement.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Spirit departed at 7:30 a.m. CSL Laurentien departed US Steel at 11:30 a.m. The tug Evans McKiel departed at 3 p.m. for Toronto to help the Pineglen in Toronto Harbour. The tug Ocean Golf left at 4:30 p.m.


Cleveland welcomes Polsteam ship to launch 2012 shipping season

4/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland opened its international shipping season Wednesday with a first ship ceremony celebrating the arrival of the Isadora and the 11,348 tons of steel coils it brought from the Netherlands.

Port CEO Will Friedman and industry stakeholders welcomed Captain Zdzislaw Iwanowski and the crew of the Isadora in a ceremony that is a maritime tradition.

The Isadora – a Polsteam Group ship that is longer than two football fields – traveled for 14 days before arriving in Cleveland this week. Polsteam Group is one of the largest international vessel operators on the Great Lakes.

Friedman said the Isadora’s arrival underscores the value of the Port of Cleveland as an economic engine that connects Northeast Ohio to the global economy.

“Our port is an international gateway that gives companies in our region a competitive advantage,” Friedman said. “This year we are hard at work to develop more options for companies to transport their goods and materials both close to home and to markets across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Construction is underway on a $4.6 million on-dock rail loop to make the port more competitive and provide lower freight transportation costs for current and future customers. The port also plans to aggressively pursue new shipping services – including a regularly scheduled vessel service between Cleveland and ports in Europe – to boost cargo and spur the growth in local business activity and jobs.

An increase in international cargo during the 2011 shipping season recently earned the port a prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. It was the port’s 10th Pacesetter award.

After local members of the International Longshoremen’s Association unload the Isadora, the ship will deliver additional steel coils to the Port of Burns Harbor, Ind.


Coast Guard: 2010 helicopter crash into Lake Huron 'could have been avoided'

4/5 - A failure to maintain "situational awareness" during routine training is to blame for the 2010 crash of a Coast Guard helicopter into Lake Huron, the service reported. The three crew members who were aboard an HH-65C rescue helicopter when it crashed and sank the night of April 20, 2010 were rescued shortly after it went down and were unhurt.

"Although no single factor caused this mishap, it is likely that it could have been avoided had the crew been more deliberate in recognizing their limitations,” wrote Vice Adm. Brian Salerno, deputy commandant for operations, in summarizing the findings of an investigation into the crash.

The helicopter crashed as the crew attempted to transition from hovering to forward flight. The helicopter was recovered but received "significant structural damage" and remains out of service.

The report outlines several training suggestions based on the incident, focused mainly on instrument awareness during the hovering-to-forward-motion transition. The full final action report is available here



Buoy that could determine viability of offshore wind farm to head back out to Lake Michigan

4/5 - Muskegon, Mich. – Wednesday state regulators and researchers will head about 35 miles west of Muskegon, near the Michigan-Wisconsin border in Lake Michigan. There they’ll survey the bottom of Lake Michigan to make sure there are no historic artifacts in the way when a floating research platform drops anchor there (likely) later this week.

Arn Boezaart heads the Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center. Last year the center operated the buoy only 4 miles offshore. This year it’ll collect first of its kind data that’ll likely determine whether an offshore wind farm is viable in the middle of Lake Michigan.

Boezaart says there was a lot more interest in offshore wind data when the project began two-and-a-half years ago.

“The times have changed, the political winds have changed. So we’re just minding our business and going forward with the research work that we’re charged to do," Boeazart said. “We’ll let other people figure out how the public policy questions and politics of this play out.”

Last week Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed an agreement with other Great Lakes states and the federal government to identify existing regulations.

But Snyder says he’s not pursuing offshore wind legislation. Right now there is no clear path to proposing an offshore wind farm in the Great Lakes inside the Michigan border. The legislature did not approve regulatory recommendations from a council appointed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm.

The research platform isn’t getting the full funding needed to compile detailed reports from the data. But Grand Valley State University has committed enough resources to at least send the buoy out to collect the data. That data will likely be shelved until more funding is secured in the future.

Michigan Radio


Updates -  April 5

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Consumers Power 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.

1921 The Imperial Oil tanker IMPOCO (ii) had combined Great Lakes and coastal trading and had gone as far afield as the Mediterranean Sea and the Falkland Islands during World War One. The 8-year old vessel stranded at Blonde Rock, Cape Sable, Nova Scotia, on this date in 1921 while en route from Halifax to Saint John with a cargo of gasoline. The ship was lightered, salvaged on May 4, and beached at Charles Harbour and then at Halifax as not worth repair. The hull was apparently not scrapped until 1953.

1983 The small Finnish freighter KENITRA visited the Great Lakes in 1957. It was abandoned by her crew in the Red Sea while sailing as d) ALASKA on this date in 1983. It had developed a severe list while traveling from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Mersin, Turkey, and sank the same day.

1996 The Liberian freighter STEEL FLOWER ran aground in the St. Lawrence near Wellesley Island while upbound on this date in 1996 and was stuck for two days. The ship had also been a Seaway trader as a) FEDERAL RHINE (i) from 1978 to 1992, as STEEL FLOWER from 1994 to 1996 and as c) NARRAGANSETT from 1997 to 1999 before going to Alang, India, for scrap later in 1999.

1999 The PATERSON (ii) ran aground in Lake St. Francis and was stuck for two days. The ship went to Les Mechins, QC for repairs and returned to work on May 13. The vessel now sails for Canada Steamship Lines as b) PINEGLEN (ii).

1999 ALGONTARIO ran aground at Johnsons Point in the St. Mary's River while upbound with a load of cement from Clarkson to Duluth. The ship was released April 7 and, after unloading, was laid up at Thunder Bay until eventual repairs and a return to service on October 10, 2004. The vessel was towed to Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping in 2011.

Data from: Skip Gilham, 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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The BNSF ore dock continues its busy pace. On Tuesday morning CSL Niagara cleared the loading berth. Stewart J. Cort, which had spent the night tied up at the Duluth port terminal, moved in to load. Frontenac arrived in Duluth on Tuesday morning to fuel and then wait its turn behind the Cort. John J. Boland, the last of the winter layup fleet, was expected to depart Tuesday to start its season.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
After unloading overnight at the Lafarge Cement Terminal in Carrollton, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation departed the dock, turned in the Sixth Street Basin, and were outbound for the lake early Tuesday morning, headed for the lake. Ryba Marine continued dredging operations at the mouth of the Saginaw River on Tuesday, with the tug Kathy Lynn making numerous trips between the dredge site and the Confined Disposal Island.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder and Michipicoten were loading Tuesday evening at the Marblehead stone dock. Michipicoten was posted for delivery of her cargo in Toledo.

Cleveland, Ohio – Jake Kniola
Polsteam's Isadora dock at the Port Authority dock sometime during the afternoon. The Buffalo started its river shuttles Tuesday as well.

Quebec – Rene Beauchamp
According to the Port of Quebec web site, American Steamship Co.’s H. Lee White will arrive there on April 16. This is a very unusual trip for the White.

Montreal – Mark Steffensen
Tuesday the tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick were at the Pointe-aux-Trembles anchorage. They were awaiting the availability of berth section 57 to unload the barge’s fuel oil cargo, which was loaded in Sarnia.


Crewman injured in fall aboard Manitoba

4/4 - Firefighters and paramedics were called to the Port of Hamilton around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday to rescue a 23-year-old crewman who had fallen on board the laker Manitoba, which was fitting out for the season. The unidentified man, who fell about 15 feet down a tight staircase and into an enclosed space, had to be removed by what a spokesman called “a high angle rope rescue,” a process that took about two hours. The man was taken to Hamilton General Hospital with a broken ankle.



Tug will pick up Patrice McAllister; Kathryn Spirit to be moved

4/4 - Expected in Montreal on April 4 is the tug Rowan M. McAllister for a short stopover. She will then depart for Clayton, N.Y., to pick up the burned out tug Patrice McAllister to tow her to an East Coast port.

About a month ago, it was announced that permission to scrap the retired vessel Kathryn Spirit was not granted for environmental reasons. Later this spring, she will leave Beauharnois under tow for another location. It is not official but according to a source, it might be somewhere in the Maritimes.

Rene Beauchamp


Port of Cleveland to open 2012 shipping season with Isadora arrival

4/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland will open its international shipping season with a ceremony marking the arrival of the first ship of the season Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority CEO Will Friedman and port stakeholders will welcome the captain and crew of the Isadora, which is owned by Polsteam Group, one of the largest international vessel operators on the Great Lakes. The ship is carrying steel coils and was loaded in the Netherlands.

First Ship ceremonies are part of maritime tradition. The St. Lawrence Seaway System – the waterway connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean – closes each year due to winter conditions. The Seaway reopened again in late March.


Wisconsin grant supports effort to convert Badger to natural gas

4/4 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry (LMC) has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the Wisconsin State Energy Office to begin the engineering work for converting the S.S. Badger to use Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) as its fuel source.

The announcement follows the news of an $800,000 federal grant to the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, also to study the use of LNG on Great Lakes vessels. The Badger will serve as the model vessel in the study, which is funded by the U.S. Maritime Administration.

"Natural gas is a fuel source that has the potential to revolutionize shipping not just on the Great Lakes but across the United States," said Patrick McCarthy, V.P. of Shore Operations for LMC. LNG is a clean, cost-effective fuel that has worked in Europe but is only now developing for transportation in the United States.

The Wisconsin grant, which is conditioned on ultimate fuel conversion from coal, will specifically address the necessary modifications to switch the Badger's four coal-fired boilers to burn LNG. "This engineering work is a critical first step of the conversion to LNG," said Chuck Cart, senior chief engineer on the Badger.

While no matching funds were required for the Wisconsin grant program, the engineering work will exceed the grant award, and LMC is covering approximately 30 percent of the project cost. The engineering work will be completed in June.

"We appreciate this grant award as we are committed to making the Badger the "greenest" vessel on the Great Lakes," said McCarthy.


Discussions ongoing on how to best remove H.W. Hocks from Brimley Bay

4/4 - Brimley, Mich. – The H.W. Hocks remains partially submerged on Brimley Bay, west of Sault Ste. Marie, while the Bay Mills Indian Community, the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) and the U.S. Coast Guard collaborate on the best way to remove the sunken vessel.

"They need to submit a new salvage plan for getting the boat out of the water," said Lt. j.g. Adam Saurin, Sector Sault Ste. Marie public affairs officer.

Tribal officials have spilled oil, estimated to be approximately 100 gallons of diesel fuel, contained with booms surrounding the location where the boat went down. Saurin described the general tone of the salvage operation as slow and safe instead of hasty and sorry in explaining why the vessel wasn't extracted over the weekend.

"The question we need to answer is how are we going to get this boat out," Saurin said. Two options are on the table. The first would employ floatation to bring the H.W. Hocks up from the bottom where it would presumably be moved for repairs or extraction. The second option involves the use of a large crane to essentially winch the commercial fishing from its current resting site.

The H.W. Hocks was discovered down just off it mooring site near Bay Mills Point Wednesday evening. Saurin said it appears as though the wave action washing into the bay from Lake Superior began going over the gunnels at some point with each wave adding a little more water until the vessel eventually went down.

Noting the U.S. Coast Guard has trained with BMIC and CORA for more than a decade, the emergency response to this incident kept the environmental impact from being much worse. "They knew what to do," said Saurin adding that training for the emergency had everyone prepared to take action when it actually occurred.

An unspecified amount of diesel fuel has been pumped out of the H.W. Hocks with absorbent boom soaking up even more that had formed a sheen on the water. Additional clean-up will be forthcoming along a small portion of the affected shoreline.

The U.S. Coast Guard continues to provide oversight at the sight and will continue to keep a watchful eye on all salvage efforts until the vessel is removed.

The Soo Evening News Titanic tale revisited at Brockville Museum April 15 At the Brockville Museum, Brockville, Ont., on Sunday, April 15, at 2 p.m., join songwriter-composer-playwright David Archibald as he presents "Titanic: Pride of the White Star Line.” Pay tribute to the Titanic on this day, the 100th anniversary of her sinking as he relates the story of the ill-fated Titanic through song and stories. The event will be presented by the Friends of the Brockville Museum. Refreshments will be served.

Viktor Kaczkowski


Updates -  April 4

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up list updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the Consumers Power 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 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.

1969 The Liberty ship CORINTHIAKOS made three trips to the Great Lakes beginning in 1960. It had been built as a tanker but rebuilt as a bulk carrier in 1955. The ship was sailing under Liberian registry as h) PACSTAR when it ran aground in a storm on the north shore of Toshima, Tokyo Bay en route from Kure, Japan, to Portland, OR in ballast. The bottom was opened to the sea and the engine room was flooded. Salvage efforts were unsuccessful and the ship was abandoned as a total loss and sold for scrap as lies.

1969 The self-unloader HOCHELAGA of Canada Steamship Lines hit the breakwall stern first while turning with the help of tugs at Conneaut, Ohio. The cargo of coal was lightered to MANITOULIN and HOCHELAGA had to go to Port Colborne for repairs.

1997 ELIJIANNI, a Greek bulk carrier, had visited the Great Lakes in 1979. It was sailing as d) KEKOVA when it was in a collision with the VASILIOS III, a Greek tanker, in the Sea of Marmora on this date in 1997. There were temporary repairs to the port bow but the 27 year old vessel was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling on June 2, 1997.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  April 3

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Great Republic was unloading coal at Lafarge Monday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Samuel de Champlain and her cement barge, Innovation, delivered the first commercial cargo of the 2012 shipping season.  The pair traveled up the Saginaw River on Monday evening, stopping at the Lafarge Cement Terminal in Carrollton to unload.
Ryba Marine began dredging at the mouth of the Saginaw River on Monday after setting up at the Confined Disposal Island over the past few days.  Dredging on the lower river is expected to last at least a month.

Cleveland, Ohio
Pelee Islander was hoisted out of the water Monday day by the Travelift at Great Lakes Shipyard. The ferry is in for routine inspection and maintenance.


Top Hat ceremony held at Thunder Bay

4/3 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – The Thunder Bay Port Authority along with the City of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce held its annual Opening of Navigation "Top Hat" ceremony at the Thunder Bay Port Authority office on March 27. The community recognized the MV Tim S. Dool as the vessel that opened the local navigation season.

The Dool, which is owned by Algoma Central Corporation, arrived at Mission Terminals during the early hours of Tuesday, March 27 to load 25,000 metric tomes of durum. The Dool was followed by Kaministiqua and Pineglen.


CSL christens two new vessels at Chinese shipyard

4/3 - Canada Steamship christened two of its new, 740-foot “Trillium’ class” vessels on March 27 at Chengxi Shipyard Co. Ltd., Jiangyin City, China. Their names are Baie St. Paul and Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin. At least one of the vessels are expected to be in service late this year. This will be the second vessel in CSL’s history to carry the name Baie St. Paul. The first was built in 1962 at Davie Shipbuilding Co. She was scrapped overseas as Canadian Pathfinder in 1995.


Services Friday for Matt Hoban, chief engineer of Patrice McAllister

4/3 - Services for Matthew J. Hoban, age 49, who perished March 27 from injuries sustained after the tug Patrice McAllister caught fire and burned on Lake Ontario, will be at Chambers Funeral Home in Cleveland on Friday, April 6. He was a U.S. Navy veteran. His memorial service Friday will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friends may call Friday between 1-6 p.m.


Lower Lakes looking for first mates, marine engineers

4/3 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled 1st Mates (or on the threshold of practical capability to function at the 1st Mate level) with a minimum certification of Chief Mate Near Coastal to join our team. Thorough knowledge of the Great Lakes system of harbours, rivers and pilotage requirements west of St. Lambert is preferred. Applicants must possess a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. The candidate will demonstrate strong managerial and leadership skills.

If you are a leader who is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system. Consideration will also be given to candidates that are looking for part-time or training work.

We are looking for competent, practically skilled Junior Engineers with Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader who is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package and a positive work environment.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for these positions are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:


Updates -  April 3

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new images in the Consumers Power 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 pilothouse.

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.

1942 The second TABORFJELL to visit the Great Lakes for the Fjell Line was torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic east of New Jersey on this date by U-576. The vessel was en route from Matanzas, Cuba, to New York and Montreal with sugar. The three survivors waited for 20 hours before being rescued. Another 17 crew mates perished. The 1339 gross ton vessel first came inland shortly after being delivered in August 1938.

1975 The self-unloader J.W. McGIFFIN of Canada Steamship Lines was blown aground in the Welland Canal near Thorold. Two holes were punched in the hull and they were repaired at Port Weller Dry Docks. The ship was rebuilt as CSL NIAGARA in 1999.

Data from: Skip GIllham, 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

Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted officially opened the 2012-2013 shipping season for the ports of Marinette, Wis. and Menominee, Mich. on Saturday when they arrived with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. The duo entered the Menominee River, passing Menominee North Pier Lighthouse around 2 p.m. Fifteen minutes later they were tied up at the dock and unloading began almost as soon as the vessel was secured. They were unloaded by 8:30 p.m. and, after turning around, headed north up the bay of Green Bay.

Port Colborne, Ont.
As of Sunday morning, the barge Mary Turner was at wharf 17 in Port Colborne (near the IMS dock) with a large crane in place alongside to lift her new unloading rig on board on sometime Monday. The boom, presumably from the scrapped laker Joseph H. Frantz, has been refitted and painted. Once the boom is aboard the Turner, which is pushed by the tug Beverly Anderson, the pair are expected to depart for Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Superior, Wis.


More dredging slated for St. Joseph harbor

4/2 - St. Joseph, Mich. - Dredge crews will return this month to the St. Joseph River harbor to remove shoaling at the river's mouth, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced.

The Corps is paying $336,175 to MCM Marine of Sault Ste. Marie to remove the material, which is restricting shipping to the harbor. The corps paid MCM $99,000 for emergency dredging in January. This month's project expands from that project.

The work will start early this month and end in mid-April, the Corps announced. The material will be deposited on the shore south of the river mouth.

"St. Joseph Harbor is an important contributor to the overall Great Lakes navigation system, which provides the nation a very economically efficient, environmentally clean and safe method of transportation," said Lt. Col. Mike Derosier, district engineer. "The Corps of Engineers is pleased to provide dredging to ensure that important commodities can be reliably transported into the harbor."



Fishing tug H.W. Hocks goes down in Brimley Bay

4/2 - Bay Mills, Mich. - Clean-up efforts are underway on Brimley Bay just off of Bay Mills Point after a fishing vessel sank Wednesday evening, spilling a yet-to-be determined quantity of diesel fuel.

“There is some sheening in the water and puddling along the beach,” said Petty Officer Jorge Cancel of the United States Coast Guard on Thursday.

Cancel explained the Coast Guard was not taking an active role in the clean-up, as the partially-submerged boat was sailing under the Bay Mills Indian Community banner. As a result, the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, an organization comprised of five different tribes, was taking the lead role in this effort.

“We’re just out here to observe the clean up,” said Cancel, adding the Coast Guard will continue to monitor the site during daylight until it is satisfied with the result. “We tell them what we want to see.”

The official measurements of the boat, which has been identified as the H.W. Hocks, were not available on Thursday and those at the scene were unable to provide an estimate as most of it was well below the water line. The best guess, to date, is somewhere around 30 feet in length.

The U.S. Coast Guard was estimating approximately 100 gallons of fuel had spilled. A visual inspection of the scene showed there was some discoloration of the sand and debris along the beach. An odor of diesel fuel was in the air.

Bay Mills Tribal responders had surrounded the sunken vessel with a yellow boom to contain some of the spilled diesel fuel and were also deploying a white absorbent boom designed to soak up petroleum products, according to Cancel, less than 12 hours after the ship had reportedly gone down.

The first reports of the vessel sinking came in at approximately 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The boat is believed to have been moored at the site where it had been used for commercial fishing operations.

Cancel said it was too early to tell what caused the boat to go down in the bay, but did speculate it may have been caused by a shaft seal leak. The U.S. Coast Guard is advising people to stay clear of the area until clean up and salvage operations are complete.

Sault Ste. Marie Evening News


Water levels are up

4/2 - The Lake Michigan (and Huron) water level is up 3″ in the last month and 7″ higher than it was one year ago. The lake remains 12″ below the century average. The highest level of Lake Michigan was in the fall of 1986 when it was 44″ higher than it is today. The lowest level was in 1964, when it was 17″ below the current level. Lake Superior had a 3″ rise in the past month as all the snow melted off with the March “heat”. Superior is 5″ above the level of one year ago, but 9″ below the century average. The other Great Lakes are higher than average. Lake Erie is a foot higher than late March last year and 13″ above the century average. Lake Ontario is 9″ higher than one year ago and 11″ higher than the century average. Lake St. Clair is 8″ higher than one year ago and 3″ above the century average. Precipitation in Grand Rapids has been above average each of the last four months. We had above average precipitation this winter, but because it was warmer than average, more precipitation fell as rain and less as snow.

Wood TV


Boatnerd 2022 Cruising/Gatherings Scheduled

Several cruises and gatherings have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( for interested boat watchers during the 2022 season. Don't wait to make your reservations. Now is the time to make your summer travel plans.

June 8-9 – Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise A round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan, from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger. On Friday night, June 3rd, 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. See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form.

June 28-30 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel through the U.S. and Canadian Locks, doing our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 200 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

Keweenaw Star Boatnerd Cruise – July 23-25 We are sponsoring a three-day, two-night trip from Charlevoix to the Soo on July 23-25. 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 details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 232-237-9365 and make your reservation today. Limited space available.

August 4 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise On Saturday, August 4, 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. Pizza will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 200 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.

September 24-26 Annual Welland Canal Gathering Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic. We will also tour International Marine Salvage and see where boats go when they die.

Click here to visit the Gathering Page for details


Updates -  April 2

News Photo Gallery

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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, a 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.

1976 WHEAT KING was refloated at Port Weller Dry Docks. It had arrived on December 12, 1975, and was lengthened to 730 feet over the winter. The ship would only sail six years with the new dimensions and was retired at the end of the 1981 season.

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


Early salties for Lake Superior

4/1 - The Soo Locks saw one of its earliest passages of an oceangoing vessel in recent memory Saturday, March 31 when Canadian Forest Navigation's Barnacle locked upbound. The Cypriot-registered ship is due at Thunder Bay Sunday, after delivering a cargo of sugar from South America to Toronto. The Barnacle's arrival in Thunder Bay is one of the earliest first salties of the season for any Lake Superior port; Duluth-Superior's record is the April 1, 1995 arrival of the Indian-flagged LT Argosy.

In most years the Twin Ports and Thunder Bay receive their first salties of the season between April 6 and April 14. By the morning of April 1 a second oceangoing vessel will likely have joined the Barnacle above the Soo Locks, as Wagenborg's Netherlands-flagged Arubaborg was due at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in the late evening of March 31.


Port Reports -  April 1

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports on Saturday included Paul R. Tregurtha loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, Edwin H. Gott arriving to fuel and then docking at Garfield dock next to the port terminal, Algosoo arriving to fuel and then getting in line to load at BNSF ore dock, John G. Munson loading taconite at CN ore dock in Duluth and Spruceglen waiting to load at BNSF ore dock

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore early Saturday morning. Later in the day, James L. Kuber and Philip R. Clarke arrived to load ore.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Cuyahoga was assisted into drydock at Bay Shipbuilding during the late evening into early morning March 31.

Stoneport, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on March 31 was the Great Lakes Trader. She was due to depart at 0600 on April 1. At anchor was the McKee Sons, which will load after the Trader departs. Also due April 1 is the Cason J. Callaway. No boats are due on April 2. Due to load April 3 is the Sam Laud. Due April 4 is the Phillip R. Clarke followed by the Great Lakes Trader followed by Lewis J. Kuber followed by John G. Munson and Mississagi.

Toledo, Ohio
Algoeast departed the Toledo Shipyard drydock on Friday.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Laurentien began loading Saturday afternoon at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. She departed Sunday for Picton, Ont.


Updates -  April 1

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new fature for April the Consumers Power


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.

1941 The ROBERT W. POMEROY had served the Eastern Steamship Co. as well as Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. while on the Great Lakes from 1923 to 1940. It went overseas and worked for the British Ministry of War Transport hauling coal on coastal routes. While north bound on April 1, 1942, the ship hit a mine and, four minutes later, a second mine and went down in the North Sea off Norfolk, U.K. Twenty-two survived although two were injured when the boiler exploded.

1942 The Norwegian salty GUDVANG came to the Great Lakes in 1939. It was intercepted by a German patrol boat between Denmark and Norway, while trying to escape to England, on this date in 1942. The ship was sunk by gunfire and and crew became prisoners of war.

1968 GHISLAIN was more at home on the St. Lawrence but had delivered pulpwood to the Great Lakes in the late 1960s. It had several escapades during these years including a grounding while entering Yarmouth, NS with 1400 tons of herring on this date in 1968. The vessel was repaired at Liverpool, NS. It was listed as g) ANIK in 1974 and in need of repairs. While it was not deleted from LR until 1986, the ship was likely broken up in the mid-1970s.

1983 REGENT MARIGOLD visited the Great Lakes in 1975 under Panamanian registry. It was sailing as d) LEXINGTON when the hull fractured in a storm while en route from Bukpyong, South Korea, to Bangladesh. It went down on this date about 200 miles northwest of Penang, Malaysia.

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


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