Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports -  April 30

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Monday was a busy day at the LaFarge stone dock on the Marblehead peninsula. Manistee, Lower Lakes, loaded overnight Sunday and sailed before noon. She was replaced at the dock by Algoma Centrals' Capt. Henry Jackman which continued loading well into the late evening hours.

Next at the dock will be the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder, Interlake fleet.

At the NS coal dock on Sandusky Bay, the tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber, Lower Lakes, was loading for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tug Ocean Golf departed at 6:30 a.m. and returned to port at 11:30 a.m. CCG ship Kelso departed the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 8 a.m. Hamilton Energy departed at 8:45 a.m. for bunkering in Clarkson and returned to port at 3 p.m. Tug Salvor and barge Lambert's Spirit departed at 3:30 p.m. in ballast for Long Pond Newfoundland. Hamilton Energy was on the move again at 8 p.m. to bunker the Atlantic Erie at Port Weller.


Rescued from ice floe in Soo Harbor

4/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A Coast Guard rescue crew and a Customs and Border Protection boat crew teamed together to rescue a 14-year old boy from an ice floe in the George Kemp Marina in the Sault, Sunday afternoon.

The name of the boy and his hometown are not being released at this time, the Coast Guard release reported.

"This rescue was successful because it was an all-hands on deck rescue. The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection crews cooperated seamlessly to bring the boy onboard safely," said Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Warner, the coxswain of the rescue boat crew. "The quick, precise and careful action of all involved was a smooth process because of the interagency knowledge that the rescue crews had with each other."

Around 2 p.m., the motor-vessel Ojibway contacted a search-and-rescue coordinator to report a boy stranded on an ice floe about 20 feet off shore. A CBP boat crew conducting training in the area responded to the scene and threw a rope to the boy to prevent him from drifting further off shore. A Coast Guard rescue boat crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat arrived on scene within five minutes. The rescue boat slowly approached the 8-foot by 8-foot ice floe to avoid disturbing it. Two Coast Guard crewmembers on the bow carefully extended a boathook to the boy so he could balance himself, then instructed him, over the boat's loud-hailer, to get him safely onboard.

The boy was wearing only shorts and a T-shirt and was unable to move on the ice floe because of its size and instability. The water temperature in the area was only 34 degrees. Had he fallen in the water, the boy would have been hypothermic within minutes, according to the Coast Guard release.

The rescue crew transferred the boy to awaiting emergency medical services on shore and taken to War Memorial Hospital pending release to a guardian.

Although ice has melted from the waterways and air temperatures may be mild, water temperatures are still extremely cold and can cause hypothermia and death within a matter of minutes, the Coast Guard warned. Recreational water users are advised to dress for the water temperature and not the air, and to consider these factors before venturing out onto the water.

Soo Evening News


Panel: Structures may be needed to boost levels in lakes Michigan, Huron

4/30 - Traverse City, Mich. – An advisory panel is recommending the U.S. and Canada consider using artificial structures to raise water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

The International Joint Commission announced its proposal Friday, following a 5-year study by scientists and engineers. The commission advises both nations on issues involving the Great Lakes and other shared waterways.

Lakes Michigan and Huron hit their lowest level ever recorded in January after lagging well below normal since the late 1990s. The commission acknowledges their shared level was lowered by dredging in the St. Clair River at the south end of Lake Huron in the last century. But scientists say drought and evaporation are the biggest causes.

The commission report suggests looking at placing structures in the river that could boost levels 5 to 10 inches.

Detroit Free Press


Updates -  April 30

Weekly Website Updates


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, six miles west of Kingston when the dredge started listing then suddenly tipped over and sank. No lives were lost.

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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived at the Upper Harbor at sunrise on Sunday to load ore.

S. Chicago and Buffington - Matt M.
The H. Lee White loaded coal at KCBX on Friday, returned Saturday, and remained under the loader Sunday afternoon. The steamer Alpena also unloaded Sunday, and departed after briefly tying up at Morton Salt due to a bridge malfunction.

Later in the evening, the Great Republic unloaded limestone at the Buffington plant amid dense fog.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Interlake tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded overnight Saturday and part of the day Sunday at the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock, prior to sailing for Cleveland during the afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner was unloading grain at General Mills this weekend.


New water level study urged

4/29 - Detroit, Mich. – Just a few months after lakes Michigan and Huron dropped to record lows, a commission is recommending that the U.S. and Canada investigate using various structures as a way to help restore water levels.

The International Joint Commission, which advises the countries on issues involving trans-boundary waters, announced the proposal Friday.

It encourages both governments to explore options, such as placing inflatable gates or other devices in the St. Clair River that would provide relief during low water periods, rather than a more permanent change that could also exacerbate high water levels in the future.

The goal would be to restore water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron by 5-10 inches.

“The idea is that you would alleviate the most extreme levels,” said John Nevin, public affairs adviser for the Great Lakes Regional Office of the International Joint Commission. “The longer a low (lake) level takes place, the more damage takes place.”

Water supplies have been generally declining in the upper Great Lakes basin for the last 40 years. Lakes Michigan and Huron hit all-time record low levels in January, when the average was 576.02 feet above sea level. Although considered two separate lakes, they are connected by a 5-mile-wide strait and are the same elevation above sea level.

Nevin said less precipitation and more evaporation due to less ice covering the lakes in the winter are largely to blame. The problem has been compounded by dredging that occurred decades ago in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers, he said.

Low water levels can have wide-ranging economic and environmental impacts, affecting tourism, shipping, wildlife and other areas.

In its recommendations, the joint commission has suggested that the U.S. and Canadian governments begin studying the cost, benefits and environmental impacts related to structural restoration options.

Great Lakes levels fluctuate seasonally and have risen and fallen significantly over the decades, but now are in a prolonged low-water period. Huron and Michigan have suffered the biggest drop-offs. When they set a record in January, they were 29 inches below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches within a year.

They have risen slightly since then, helped by heavy snowfall and rain. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it would take a number of unusually wet years to restore the lakes to normal.

Executive Director David Sweetnam also said it would not boost levels enough to help the shipping industry, which has lightened cargo loads to avoid running aground.

“Five inches of water is not enough to address what’s already been a 2- to 3-foot decline in water levels,” Sweetnam said.

Detroit Free Press


Here comes the dredges; business owners hopeful

4/29 - South Bend, Ind. – The water levels are a concern along Lake Michigan as boating season begins, but in this case the concern is too little water. Monday crews are expected to begin dredging harbors in New Buffalo and St. Joseph.

It's a big deal for commercial shippers who haven't seen levels this low since the 1960s. Consequently, not as many ships could dock last year, but this year, business owners are more hopeful. To the average person a dredge looks like a complicated, strange machine.

For Pete Berghoff, president of Dock 63 in St. Joseph, a dredge is a sign of good things to come.

"We have cargos that are back-logged and we're waiting on the harbor to open so we can bring in vessels. Without the ships we are out of business because we won't have any product with which to sell," he explained.

Dredging is set to begin Monday. Workers will remove sand in the St. Joseph outer harbor, allowing water levels to rise. "We'd like to ideally see the harbor be about 24 feet," said Berghoff.

Last year, weather conditions forced Dock 63 to close two months early and bring in fewer vessels. Berghoff says his company saw a loss in the six figures.

"It's catastrophic for us because we have contracts we have to honor and if we don't have product we have to source the product from other venders and it's very, very expensive," he said.

The low lake levels aren't just hurting commercial businesses, even recreational boaters are being affected.

Michael and Maureen Foos normally store their boat at a marina upriver, they decided to move it West Basin Marina because of the low lake levels.

"If the water kept dropping, we might have to go to a different style of boat, something where we have a little bit more options on where we can sail it," Michael said.

"This is the lowest I've ever seen it in the 30 some years that I've been around here," said Representative Al Pscholka of Stevensville.

Pscholka says recreational boating brings about $35 million into St. Joseph and Benton Harbor during the summer.

"But the commercial side also impacts everyone in the Midwest, all of our salt, all of our stone, all of our cement that goes all the way from here to Indy and it's much less expensive to move things by ship than it is by rail or truck," said Pscholka.

Dredging in the St. Joseph Outer Harbor is expected to last two to three weeks.

South Bend Tribune


NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel to meet virtually

4/29 - NOAA's Hydrographic Services Review Panel, which advises the NOAA administrator on marine transportation issues, will hold a virtual public meeting during the afternoon May 7 and 8. The panel will receive updates on the NOAA navigation services and activities. Federal partners will also provide updates.

This two-day webinar and teleconference replaces the regularly scheduled in-person meeting in order to save costs. The public can participate and provide comments. Registration is required by May 1.

Meeting topics include: 1) FY13 appropriations, FY14 budget request, Sandy Supplemental funding, and legislative updates; 2) Committee on Marine Transportation System updates; 3) integrated ocean and coastal mapping; 4) NOAA fleet composition plan; and 5) the Atlantic Coast Port Access Route Study. Details and meeting agenda are available. Hours are May 7 and 8, 1-5 p.m. EDT both days. To register, contact Kathy Watson, at 301-713-2770 ext. 158, or Registrations are on first-come basis, accepted until 5 p.m. EDT, May 1.


Updates -  April 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Canadoc, Pinedale, Spruceglen, Valley Camp Galleries
Saltie Gallery update - CT Dublin, HHL Mississippi, Pacific Huron, Whistler, and Virginiaborg


Marine Historical Society of Detroit opens annual dinner to the public

4/29 - Mark your calendars for the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s annual dinner meeting, Saturday, May 11 at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich., overlooking the St. Clair Rive. Paul Carroll of Goderich, Ont., will offer a program on the Great Storm of 1913. In addition to talking about the ships and men lost in the tumult, he will outline Goderich's season-long plan to commemorate the storm that will culminate with a three-day event in November. Tickets may be reserved at


Win a trip on the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott

4/29 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will provide more than 90 percent of the cost of maintaining this free website.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during Engineer's Weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win, and will be notified by mail and/or phone. All tickets orders must be received no later than Friday, June 21, 2013. Click here for complete details and ticket order form


Badger Cruise June 1

4/29 -  Book now for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger.

Join us in traveling aboard the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, OR re-board the Badger for a two-hour Wisconsin shoreline cruise with live entertainment and a party buffet.

Optional on Friday night, May 31, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


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 pilothouse 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.


Coast Guard concludes icebreaking operations

4/28 - Sault Sainte Marie, Mich. – Commander, Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie concluded Operation Taconite Thursday morning. With the ice throughout the Western Great Lakes nearly melted, ice breaking in support of commercial navigation is no longer required.

Operation Taconite, the nation’s largest ice breaking operation, began on December 17, 2012 and ended April 25, 2013. During the 129 days of the ice breaking operation, nine U.S. Coast Guard & one Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers assigned to the operation spent more than 3914 hours in the ice and conducted 821 vessel assists. Additionally, aircraft from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, MI flew reconnaissance flights which greatly enhanced the mission effectiveness of the cutters working below. U.S. and Canadian shipping companies moved several million tons of iron ore, coal, limestone, road salt, and petroleum cargoes during the operational period.


Port Reports -  April 28

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Algomarine departed late Saturday morning after arriving late friday night with a load of salt. The Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation came in during the early morning with a load for LaFarge. The Steven Selvick came in during the afternoon with a couple barges to be loaded at the Nideria elevator.

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Joseph L. Block loaded a limestone cargo on Friday at Port Inland's dock. Following the Block the Wilfred Sykes was due in early on Saturday to first discharge limestone and then later loading a cargo of limestone also from Port Inland. The Great Lakes Trader was due to arrive during the late evening hours on Saturday to load at Port Inland and rounding out the schedule is the Pere Marquette 41 due in on Tuesday, April 30 in the early morning hours to load.

At Cedarville the Joseph L. Block was due to arrive in the early morning hours on Saturday. The next vessel at Cedarville following the Block is the Calumet due for Monday, April 29 in the early morning hours and the Wilfred Sykes is due in at Cedarville also on Tuesday, April 29 during the late afternoon hours.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Mississagi loaded at Calcite and was expected to depart during the morning hours on Saturday. Incoming vessels scheduled for the next week include the Sam Laud on Sunday in the early morning for the South Dock followed by the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula which are due to arrive on Monday in the early morning hours for the South Dock. Great Republic is due to arrive at Calcite on Tuesday, April 30 during the early morning hours for the South Dock. Wednesday, May 1 there are no vessels scheduled and rounding out the Calcite Dock lineup are two vessels both due in on Thursday, May 2 the H. Lee White in the late morning for the North Dock and the James L. Kuber for an early afternoon arrival for the North Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Philip R. Clarke was expected to arrive at Stoneport's dock during the late evening hours on Saturday. Following the Clarke are two vessels scheduled for arrivals at Stoneport on Sunday. Herbert C. Jackson is due during the late morning hours followed by the Arthur M. Anderson at about noon. Monday there are no vessels scheduled. For Tuesday, April 30 three vessels are expected to arrive with the Cason J. Callaway along with the Philip R. Clarke both due in the late afternoon hours and also arriving is the Joseph H. Thompson in the late afternoon as well. No vessels are scheduled for Wednesday, May 1. Rounding out the Stoneport lineup are two vessels due for arrival on Thursday, May 2 the Pathfinder and the Buffalo each one due in during the early morning hours on Thursday to load.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The Michipicoten unloaded a limestone cargo at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock in Toledo on Saturday. Two other vessels are due to arrive at that dock with limestone cargos the Algomarine on Tuesday, April 30 during the early morning hours and the Algowood on Monday, May 6 also in the early morning hours. Vessels scheduled to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock are the following - Algoma Progress on Monday, April 29 in the morning hours followed by the James L. Kuber on Sunday, May 5 during the early morning hours, Algosoo is due on Tuesday, May 7 in the early afternoon hours and the H. Lee White is due on Friday, May 10 in the early morning hours. Vessels due to arrive at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the following - Baie St. Paul making her second visit to Toledo is due in on Monday, April 29 in the late evening hours and she will be followed by the Lakes Contender on Wednesday, May 1 in the morning and then later that same day the Algoma Olympic arrives in the evening hours to unload at Torco. The Atlantic Huron is due on Friday, May 3 during the late evening hours and the Lakes Contender returns on Tuesday, May 7 in the morning. Vessels remaining in lay-up in Toledo include the following the Phoenix Star still at Ironhead Shipyard's large drydock along with the Adam E. Cornelius at the Old Interlake Iron Dock in long-term layup and the American Fortitude and American Valor both in long-term layup at the Lakefront Docks.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manitowoc, Lower Lakes, loaded Saturday at the NS coal dock, after making a quick turn-around in Cleveland with a Lafarge load of aggregate. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula, fleet mates of Manitowoc, sailed early in the day for the Rouge.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tug Ocean Golf departed at 11:30 a.m. and arrived back in port at 2:30 p.m. Tug M.R. Kane arrived at 1 p.m. and departed at 2:45 p.m. pushing a work barge down the lake. Manitoba departed at 1 pm. from Pier 25 with grain for Quebec City. Algoma Progress arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for Dofasco. Tug Salvor and barge arrived at 7 p.m.


Wagenborg's newest vessel Volgaborg due in Montreal

4/28 - One of Wagenborg Shipping's newest additions to their fleet is expected to arrive in Montreal on May 3. The Volgaborg IMO 9631072 and built just recently in 2013 will be making her first ever trip to the Great Lakes. She is coming from Porsgrunn, Norway where she loaded her first cargo for Hamilton, Ontario.

Built at the Ferus Smit Scheepswerf Shipyard located in Hoogezand, Netherlands she is the third ship in a new class and series being built for Wagenborg Shipping. The first two vessels to join in the series Vikingbank and Vlistborg both arrived in the Great Lakes/Seaway system during the 2012 season.

Vikingbank however, is chartered to the Wagenborg Shipping fleet and actually owned by Pot Scheepvaart while the Vlistborg and Volgaborg are owned completely by Wagenborg. Each vessel's dimensions are 142.65 meters in length and 15.87 meters in width. Volgaborg was launched March 12 and sea trials were also conducted for the newly built vessel on April 4.

Denny Dushane


Could Levy taxes for Dredging

4/28 - Lansing, Mich. - A bill headed for the governor's desk would allow the creation of tax increment financing districts for waterfront improvements, including dredging.

A provision allowing the creation of the special taxing districts for waterfront improvements like weeding and general maintenance expired at the end of 2011. The new bill, sponsored by State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, expands the provision to include dredging activity. The bill passed the Michigan Senate on Thursday, April 25.

"Our harbors and our piers, channels are the lifeblood of Michigan, said Hansen, who is chairman of the Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee. "We can't allow them to fill in and not use them."

Tax increment financing, more common for commercial or industrial applications, collects funds by capturing the tax revenue from the growth in property values within a district, for use in financing public improvements in that area.

Hansen said the legislation was prompted by a request from officials from Pentwater Township.

"We're looking for an opportunity to fund dredging," said Pentwater Township Clerk Dean Holub.

He said he wasn't surprised the idea had gone so far, because of "the situation not just at Pentwater but up and down the lakeshore."

Dredging has been a concern this spring with lake levels down and Hansen asking the state for millions of dollars in emergency funds so harbors could be dug deeper. An abundance of rain the last few weeks have brought up water levels in some West Michigan areas, but also shifted sediment into the way of some waterways.

Several other waterways bills have recently been approved by the Legislature and signed into law, according to Hansen's office. The new laws include measures to provide emergency funding for local dredging projects; to create a program supporting loans for private dredging; and to streamline the dredging permit process.

Hansen said locally-funded dredging is becoming important as fewer and fewer federal dollars are allocated for dredging recreational harbors.

Most years, the U.S. government allocates close to $1.5 billion in shipping fees into a harbor maintenance fund, but spends less than $800 million on dredging, Hansen said.

"All they're dredging are the commercial ports," he said. "I think they're spending that money on other things." Grand Rapids Press


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.



Port Reports -  April 27

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Friday morning saw the Algoway finally arriving at the North Star dock in Essexville to unload potash. Originally scheduled to open the season on the Saginaw River over a week ago, Algoway had been delayed by the abnormally strong current. She departed the North Star dock Friday evening, stern first, and with the assistance of the G-tugs Superior and Wyoming. It is rare to see a G-tug on the Saginaw River and even rarer, two, but with the conditions and boats needing assistance, they are here to help. The Superior and Wyoming also assisted the American Integrity depart Consumers Energy on Thursday.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manitowoc, Lower Lakes, loaded Friday at the Lafarge stone dock and sailed for Cleveland. A short time later, the tug Defiance and the barge Ashtabula - fleet mates of the Manitowoc - put their lines on the Marblehead dock and were loading Friday night.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Manitoba arrived at 8 a.m. for Pier 25. Pineglen arrived at 12 noon. Saltie CT Dublin departed at 12:30 p.m. Tug Ocean Golf arrived at 9:30 p.m. The Federal Kumano continues to be anchored in the Hamilton Harbor. She has been there since March 25.


Record-breaking storms add two inches to Lakes Michigan and Huron

4/27 - Recent storms are improving the low water levels in the Great Lakes, at least a little.

Lakes Michigan and Huron hit record low levels this winter.

(See National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Water Level Dashboard for a look at Great Lakes levels in historical context.)

Ships are carrying less cargo, and boaters have had trouble getting in and out of harbors. To help with the low lake levels, the state started emergency dredging projects for some harbors. And experts say the recent storms are also helping a little.

Keith Kompoltowicz is the Chief of Watershed Hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit.

It’s normal for the lakes to go up a little in the spring, but Kompoltowicz says we’ve had so much rain lately that the typical spring increases in Lakes Michigan and Huron are up by about two inches more than normal.

"There’s a huge contribution from those storms," said Kompoltowicz. "It’s looking like we came up from the first of the month through 22nd of the month. We’re up well over 5 or 6 inches, so far, from start of the month."

Two inches more on Lakes Michigan and Huron means the storms dropped 1.6 trillion gallons of water into the system.

But they’re called the Great Lakes, so even with all that water, Kompoltowicz says the lakes are likely to remain low.

“It’s still likely that Lakes Michigan-Huron are going to remain well below their long-term average heading into the rest of the spring and summer. Just one month of significant rainfall isn’t enough to bring the lakes back to average. You need consecutive months in consecutive seasons to get the lakes back to long term average and keep them there,” said Kompoltowicz.

Levels are coming up in the other Great Lakes as well (Erie, Ontario, and Superior), but they all remain below their levels from last year.

From the USACOE's Detroit District:
The water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 4 and 10 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 5, 7, and 5 inches, respectively, lower than at this time last year. Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are both forecasted to rise 3 inches. The water level of Lake St. Clair is expected to remain near its current level while Lakes Erie and Ontario are projected to rise 2 and 4 inches, respectively, over the next thirty days.

Michigan Radio


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.


Magazine ties anti-SS Badger lobbying effort to competition, not environmental concerns

4/26 - A story “Attacking the SS Badger, the Deception of Environmental Activism,” in the most recent edition of Outer Boundary Magazine, a Wisconsin-based family outdoor magazine, details what it concludes to be an effort by Lake Michigan Carferry’s competitor to push the coal ash issue/environmental issue to gain the Milwaukee-based competitor a competitive advantage — not for the good of the environment.

The lead story by Steve Krueger tries to put in perspective the small amounts of toxins in the coal ash discharged by the SS Badger, but more notably creates a flowchart of how the magazine believes Sheldon Lubar, the founder and chairman of Lubar & Co. which lists Lake Express as its investment, hired both a Michigan lobbying firm and a national lobbying firm to foment opposition to the Ludington ferry based on exaggerated environmental claims.

The magazine links Sen. Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat and the U.S. Senate majority leader who has been notably outspoken about the Badger’s coal ash, with the Lake Express’s national lobbyist, Broydrick & Associates. The magazine times at least one of Durbin’s seven-minute Senate floor bashings to having occurred just days after a Dec. 12, 2012 fundraiser the lobbying firm hosted for Durbin in

At the National Historic Landmarks committee hearing concerning the SS Badger being recommended for NHL status, Broydrick testified in opposition to the idea. The committee rejected the lobbying firm’s arguments, as was reported in the Ludington Daily News at the time. According to the Outer Boundary story, later that same day Durbin wrote a letter to Ken Salazar, then- U.S. Secretary of the Interior who had the ultimate authority for the decision, opposing the committee’s recommendation. The designation so far has not been given to the Badger.

Broydrick also represented Lake Express in its opposition to the City of Ludington’s Tiger II federal grant application sought on behalf of LMC to provide funds to repower the Badger with diesel engines. The grant was not awarded to Ludington.

Broydrick also lobbied the EPA, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Maritime Administration — all entities involved in matters pertaining to the SS Badger. It is not illegal to hire lobbyists. LMC has its own lobbyists in Washington, D.C.

And while Durbin and Broydrick push opposition to the Badger on environmental grounds, Lubar & Co lists on its web page as one of its investments, Hallador Petroleum Co., through its subsidiary Sunrise Coal LLC. The company is engaged in the production of coal from an underground mine in Carlisle, Indiana. Lubar & Co. is the second largest investor with 9.8 percent ownership. The web link to the coal company on Lubar’s investment portfolio page is directly next to the web link to Lake Express.

Hallador Energy Energy’s CEO Vic Stabio told the Denver Business News in 2011 Hallador will focus on coal indefinitely. Although Hallador considered developing environmentally sustainable energy projects Stabio said the company doesn’t anticipate an economic benefit from seeking alternatives to coal, the Denver publication reported.

“We are a group that believes in coal as a base load [the minimum amount of power required from a power plant] electrical producer and we quite frankly don’t see a threat from wind or solar, especially wind,” Stabio said.

Outer Boundary stated Hallador has urged people to write members of Congress “to stop the war on coal.” Sheldon Lubar is on Hallador’s board of directors.

While Broydrick was working the national front, Outer Boundary states the Lansing lobbying firm of Kelley Cawthorne, whose two principles are former Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley and former State Representative Dennis Cawthorne who once represented Mason County, did the same in Michigan. The magazine’s flow chart also lists Organik Consulting and Movement Advocate as involved. Outer Boundary states Movement Advocate’s managing director is Joe Serwach who the magazine says organized the “Save Our Great Lakes” campaign which the magazine ties to “Stop Dumping Coal Ash.” The “Stop Dumping Coal Ash” was a web-based campaign against LMC and SS Badger. Its ads and videos did not clearly state the people involved in the organization as it launched sometimes preposterous claims about the Badger such as showing a photo of a foot supposedly stepping in what it intimated was black coal ash on a beach. The campaign employed techniques often seen in negative political advertising.

Stop Dumping Coal Ash also was the name placed on web-based anti-Badger Google advertising that was shown to be paid for by Lake Express and Kelly Cawthorne. The Ludington Daily News in the fall verified that link when shown it by a local marketing agent who discovered it and wanted the ads off the local company’s web site.

“The conclusion Outer Boundary Magazine has a arrived at is simple. The only reason a movement against the SS Badger has taken place is to eliminate the competition for Lake Express car ferry service. When you follow the money trail the piggy bank resides with Sheldon B. Lubar and Lake Express, and when consideration is taken showing an orchestrated environmental movement against an insignificant operation, while large discharges like British Petroleum’s refinery and the cities of Chicago and Milwaukee sewage discharges do not even show up on the activist radar, there is no other path that can be considered,” the Outer Boundary story concludes.

Calls for comments this morning made to Lake Express and Kelly Cawthorne had, as of deadline, not received response. Sen. Durbin's office in late morning said was unaware of the magazine story and early this afternoon said it contained errors, but has not yet stated what are the errors. Lake Michigan Carferry this morning praised the Outer Boundary article.

“We are pleased that Steve Krueger, of Outer Boundary Magazine, has taken this issue on. We appreciate the time and effort that he’s dedicated to bringing awareness and greater clarification to the assault that LMC has been under from our adversaries,” stated Terri Brown, director of marketing and media relations.

Ludington Daily News


Port Reports -  April 26

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday for the second time in a week.

South Chicago, Ill. - Matt M
Two Wagenborg ships were still tied up at Iroquois landing on Thursday night, and Manistee remained under the loader at KCBX after arriving on Wednesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Integrity was finally able to depart the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville, backing from the dock Thursday evening, and out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake. The Integrity arrived on Wednesday, April 17th to unload coal and has been unable to safely depart since due to extreme currents in the Saginaw River from recent heavy rainfall.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Kaye A. Barker continued loading late Thursday afternoon at the NS coal dock. Fleet mate Lee A. Tregurtha loaded at the NS coal dock Wednesday for Duluth. She sailed late in the afternoon.


McKeil tug arrives

4/26 - Mulgrave, NS - The tug Beverly M I arrived in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia on April 24. Built in Japan in 1975, it is a 4,000 bhp azimuthing stern drive tug. Previously owned by Hong Kong Salvage and Towage as Shek O and Hunter, it was acquired late last year by McKeil from Swire Pacific Offshore, where it operated as Pacific Typhoon.

A sister tug Sharon M I (the former Mai Po and Pacific Tempest) is currently refitting in Ajman, United Arab Emirates.

Mac Mackay


New Lake Erie Ferry Run Planned

4/26 - A new travel option from Huron allows passengers to relax over the water rather than trek across highways to reach Cleveland.

Huron city manager Andy White captained a partnership with the Lorain Port Authority, in which a 77-foot Jet Express boat will shuttle people from Huron to Cleveland and back.

Planners scheduled four trips this year with the maiden voyage set for July 28.

About 150 passengers can pay $39 apiece for a 12-hour roundtrip excursion, scheduled around casino trips and Cleveland Browns regular season NFL games.

Passengers aren’t limited to attend just these events, White said. People can also opt to visit the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, the Great Lakes Science Center, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum or simply stroll around downtown.

In brainstorming the deal, White wanted to provide Erie County residents a boat ride going somewhere other than Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island.

The islands are pretty well served with boats departing from Sandusky or Port Clinton, he said. But around here, nobody offered access into the city of Cleveland on a boat.

White convinced all seven city council members to support the idea. The elected officials recently voted 7-0, agreeing to spend $1,300 in taxpayer funds so Huron could secure a Jet Express boat for four trips.

Sandusky Register


Cliffs says Northshore ready to produce new-age taconite

4/26 - Top officials of Cliffs Natural Resources said today they have successfully completed a two-week, full-scale production of a new kind of taconite pellet that can be used to make directly reduced iron and steel.

The tests, conducted at Northshore Mining in Silver Bay, produced 30,000 tons of DR-grade, low-silica pellets that can eventually be made into steel in electric-arc “mini-mill” furnaces.

Traditional taconite pellets historically have only been used in larger blast furnaces.

Cliffs officials say the DR-ready experiment continues to go well and potentially opens new markets for Cliffs’ Minnesota taconite iron ore. But they stopped short of saying they had any agreement from a steelmaker to buy the pellets.

“We’re out talking to a lot of different mills within our area of influence” near the Great Lakes, said Cliffs CEO Joseph Carrabba during the company’s first-quarter financial announcement. Carrabba also said they could potentially send DR-grade pellets to mini-mills by rail.

The company said last year it was experimenting at both Northshore and United Taconite in Eveleth to test DR-grade pellets. It now appears they are leaning toward Northshore, saying they were more easily able to convert one or more of that plant’s traditional taconite furnaces, idled last year when the company lost a major U.S. customer, into new DRI-grade production lines.

“Northshore right now has a competitive edge” over United, Carrabba said, adding that North Shore would have slightly lower transportation costs with its own Lake Superior port.

Meanwhile, the company also said it plans to sell more U.S. taconite iron ore this year than previously announced. Cliffs officials said they now expect to sell 21 million tons in 2013 from their U.S. operations, up from 20 million tons estimated earlier this year, but said the extra tonnage will come from stock reserves and not increased production.

Carrabba also spent considerable time during the conference call defending the company’s position to withstand future competition from new taconite iron ore producers such as Essar Steel and Magnetation in Minnesota and the proposed Gogebic Taconite in Wisconsin.

“We’re well aware of the potential competition we face later in this decade,” Carrabba said, adding that Cliffs has decades of experience in producing low-cost pellets as well as huge reserves at its Minnesota and Michigan operations.

Carrabba said the U.S. steel industry appears to be stable if not growing, noting increasing consumer spending and lower unemployment. But he added that the U.S. government should take action to limit unfair trade steel imports that are increasingly coming into the U.S., especially from Europe.

Cleveland-based Cliffs owns and operates Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt as well as United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, and also is part-owner and manager of Hibbing Taconite. The company also owns and operates the Empire/Tilden taconite operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and multiple iron ore mines in Canada and Australia, as well as coal mines and other ventures.

The company said its earnings were down in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same time in 2012. The company said it expected strong markets in China, noting China’s annualized crude steel production achieved record levels in the first quarter of the year, while steel production in the U.S. has remained stable.

The company’s consolidated revenue was $1.1 billion in the first quarter, down $72 million or 6 percent from the first quarter in 2012.

Cliffs said first-quarter 2013 U.S. iron ore pellet sales volume was 3.1 million tons, compared with 3.4 million tons in the first quarter of 2012.

The company said the decrease was primarily driven by the bankruptcy of one of its steelmaking customers in May 2012. Cliffs also indicated first-quarter U.S. iron ore sales volume is historically lower compared with other periods due to seasonal shipping constraints on the Great Lakes.

The price-per-ton for Cliffs’ first-quarter sales was $119.82, up 2 percent from $117.40 in 2012. Production cost was $60.17 per ton, down 2 percent from $61.14 in the previous year’s first quarter.

Duluth News Tribune


Maid of the Mist begins construction on U.S. side

4/26 - Niagara Falls - Work is underway to build a $32-million winter storage and maintenance facility for the Maid of the Mist at the former Schoellkopf Power Plant in Niagara Falls, N.Y., less than half a kilometre from the Rainbow Bridge.

The construction, which began a couple of weeks ago and is expected to be done by the end of the year, is being paid for by the Maid of the Mist, said company spokesman Kevin Keenan. Once completed, the facility will be owned by New York State Parks.

He said platforms and a vertical lift will be installed to lift boats out of the water and place them in a storage area.

“Crews will also be doing some work to increase access to recreational activities down there — increase access to the hiking trails,” said Keenan.

In the past, Maid of the Mist stored all of its boats on the Canadian side of the Niagara River, but after losing the contract with the Niagara Parks Commission to Hornblower last year, the Maid had to plan for a new storage facility on the U.S. side.

Hornblower, which is based out of California and has more than 30 years of experience operating in waters around the world, will now control the maintenance and storage facilities on the Canadian side.

Hornblower will start operating boats tours of Niagara Falls in the Niagara Gorge on the Canadian side in the spring of 2014, meaning this is the final season for the historic Maid of the Mist operation in Canada.

The Maid, which has been around since 1846 and has been owned by the Glynn family since 1971, will continue to offer boat tours on the U.S. side.

Its 2013 season began last Friday and will wrap up in late October, said Keenan.

He said there’s nothing special planned for the Canadian operation this year.

“Business as usual,” he said. “The Maid of the Mist has an excellent feel for what this experience should be and what it means to people. We will continue to provide that high level of service people expect.”

St. Catharines Standard


The Maritime Academy of Toledo’s Admiral’s Ball Weekend incudes auction for freighter trip

4/26 - Toledo, Ohio - The need to educate the next generation workforce in the maritime industry takes center stage Friday, April 26, when The Maritime Academy of Toledo kicks-off Admiral’s Ball Weekend with the first K-12 Maritime Education Symposium, and follows up on Saturday with the school’s annual major fund raising event.

The “K-12 Maritime Education Great Lakes and Inland Waterways Symposium” will be held Friday from 8 a.m. 5 p.m. at The Mariitime Academy at 803 Water St. in Toledo, and is being held in conjunction with The Maritime Academy’s Third Annual Admiral’s Ball. The Admiral’s Ball will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 6:30 10:30 p.m. at the Fifth-Third Center at One SeaGate in Downtown Toledo. This year’s theme “Don’t Give Up the Ship” --- A commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of The Battle of Lake Erie. Several dozen maritime businesses leaders, union officials, and maritime educators traveled to Toledo to take part in the symposium and the Admiral’s Ball.

“The symposium was the suggestion of Dr. Arthur Sulzer Captain USN (ret), who was recently appointed by President Barack Obama to the Advisory Board of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation and who is also a strong supporter of maritime education initiatives,” said Renee Marazon, Superintendent, The Maritime Academy of Toledo. “Dr. Sulzer, with the support of other maritime professionals, felt with the number of maritime industry leaders coming to Toledo for The Admiral’s Ball, that this would be an excellent opportunity to gather and discuss K-12 maritime education programs and how they can interface with maritime industry leaders.”

Keynote speaker Mark Barker, President, Interlake Steamship Company, will address “Why Maritime Education Matters to Our Community, Industry and Country.” Three panel discussions will focus on K-12 maritime education programs in practice, industry support for these programs, maritime training, research and post-graduate studies.

Ms. Marazon says the symposium will highlight successful K-12 maritime-focused schools and initiatives including program and curriculum designs, funding, the state approval process, and state teacher licensing considerations. Maritime industry leaders from companies, port authorities, shipyards, and unions will discuss how their organizations support K-12 maritime education. Another panel of experts will focus on adult maritime training programs, current K-12 maritime education research and doctoral studies, and maritime college and university programs and courses of study. The day will end with table talk discussions related to “K-12 Maritime Education: Where Are We Now, Where Do We Want to Go in the Future?”

On Saturday, approximately 200 people are expected to attend The Maritime Academy of Toledo’s Third Annual Admiral’s Ball. Those attending will have the chance to bid on a seven-day Great Lakes freighter cruise, a tugboat cruise for six, a Tennessee getaway vacation package, four complimentary One-Day Park Hopper passes from Walt Disney World®, handcrafted nautical items made by cadets in the Maritime Academy’s Boat Building Lab, as well as other unique items and theme baskets.

Volunteer committee members were busy this week putting the finishing touches on The Admiral’s Ball and they hope to raise $80,000 to support the school’s robotics’ program, their U.S. Coast Guard uniform fund; professional mariner credentialing of graduating seniors, transportation subsidies for needy students; a new crane operator simulator; as well as upgrades to The Maritime Academy’s bridge, engine, navigation, and radar simulators used by students.

Ms. Marazon says the highlight of the live auction will be a six-night / seven-day cruise for two on an Interlake Steamship Great Lakes Freighter with luxury accommodations.

“The cruise is to be used during the 2013 shipping season and includes a private stateroom and view the scenery from the guest lounge while underway. Departure port and dates will be coordinated with the highest bidder. This trip is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity and will have you cruising the Great Lakes on a working freighter. Winner must be flexible concerning scheduling and port of departure / return. Guests are required to adhere to all company polices and safety procedures while on-board,” she said.

Bidding could be very competitive for the freighter cruise. Not only will those attending the ball be able to bid, but on-line bids will be accepted at

Other auction items include a tugboat cruise for six, donated by The Great Lakes Towing Group.

“The tug boat ride includes a box lunch and the winner has the option of cruising the Maumee River or the Cuyahoga River. The tugboat ride will be scheduled directly with The Great Lakes Towing Group for Summer or Fall 2013, Monday through Friday between the hours of 10 a.m. and Noon. Because this a working tugboat, those taking the cruise must be 18-years or older,” said Ms. Marazon.

If you are a land-lover, then you might want the check out the Gatlinburg Tennessee Getaway Package.

“This is a four-day / Three-night getaway at a Stony Brook Cabin with accommodations for four. We’ve added gift certificates and passes that include the Country Tonight Theater; Hollywood Wax Museum; Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway; Cirque de Chine VIP Show Tickets; Smokey Mountains Baseball; and Ripley’s Aquarium,” said Ms. Marazon.

Another auction item came from the Walt Disney World® Resort which donated four complimentary One-Day Park Hopper passes valued at $496.00. The passes are valid during normal operating hours and will provide the winning bidder with a magical experience of visiting all of the unique theme parks, the Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney's Hollywood Studios®, and Disney's Animal Kingdom®, in one day.

Other auction items include a family dinner package from Mano’s Restaurant; overnight stay at Maumee Bay Resort with Golf Package; Notre Dame Football Tickets; Swim Party for 12; USS Toledo Artifacts, Executive Chef Dinner in your home; Handcrafted 11’ Row Boat and other nautical items built by Maritime Academy Cadets; Basket of Gourmet Chocolates; Best of Toledo Basket; Cleveland Browns Autographed Football, a Golf Basket, and more.

New for the Third Annual Admiral’s Ball is an Honorary Committee developed to show the growing community support for the school and its mission.

The Maritime Academy is a Grades 5 12 college-prep community school with a nautical // maritime theme learning environment. Over 80-percent of the students who attend are at or below the U.S. poverty level. Over the past year The Maritime Academy experienced many success stories. In May, the school graduated the first students from its Career Technical Education (CTE) Program and one graduate went directly from high school to a high paying job working aboard ship on the Great Lakes. In August, The Maritime Academy worked with the U.S. Navy, the City of Toledo, and other area organizations in hosting the highly successful “Fleet Week” in Downtown Toledo. In October the Maritime Academy jumped four-letter grades to earn an “Excellent” report card rating from the State of Ohio Department of Education for the 2011 2012 school year.

Tickets for The Maritime Academy’s Third Annual Admiral’s Ball are still available. The cost is $150 per person or $200 a couple. For more information on tickets, or to donate items for the Admiral’s Ball auction, call 419-244-9999 or e-mail Information is also available at


Updates -  April 26

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the George M Carl Gallery
Saltie Gallery - CT Dublin, Federal Ems, Three Rivers, Wicko


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 engine room 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.


Port Reports -  April 25

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Manistee departed before dawn Wednesday after spending Tuesday night unloading salt. Shortly after the Manistee's departure the Algosteel backed into the inner harbor and discharged a load of salt. They were outbound for the lake by early afternoon. Polsteam vessel Irma also departed in the afternoon hours, and the Federal Maas took their place along pier 1.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algorail called the Charles Berry Bridge at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning and she moved to the Joamcik's docks about one hour later. She departed the outer harbor at 2:30 p.m.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Lee A. Tregurtha, Interlake fleet, loaded at the NS coal dock Wednesday for Duluth. She sailed late in the afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
After doing an early morning end for end turn around the bulker The Pochard was in the final stage of discharging sugar at Redpath after being turned end for end Wednesday morning. Also that morning the tug M.R Kane and the Toronto Port Authority Derrick 50 set out the inner harbor airport keep out buoys.


Pacesetter Award Winners for 2012 Navigation Season

4/25 - Washington - The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) announced Wednesday that eight Great Lakes Seaway System ports are receiving the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award for registering increases in international cargo tonnage shipped through their ports during the 2012 navigation season compared to the previous year.

“The continued increases in the amount of cargo moving through U.S ports is another strong indicator of our growing economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “In his first State of the Union address, President Obama called on us to double our exports by 2015, and our nation’s ports will play a large role in meeting that goal. As today’s award winners demonstrate, we’re making good progress.”

The eight ports that have won the Pacesetter Award for 2012 are: the Port of Green Bay, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the Port of Milwaukee, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the Port of Oswego, and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

The Port of Green Bay achieved the largest increase in international tonnage of all the U.S. Great Lakes Seaway System ports with a 35 percent uptick over the 2011 shipping season, attributable to the export of ethanol and the import of pig iron used to make steel.

In addition to steel and iron ore, a wide variety of commodities passed through the Seaway ports, including wind energy components, grain and aluminum.

“The resurgence of manufacturing in North America is fueling demand for both traditional and new Seaway cargoes, with positive implications for Great Lakes shipping,” said SLSDC Acting Administrator Craig Middlebrook. “We are pleased to recognize the exceptional performance of these ports, all of which have been Pacesetter Award winners in previous years.”


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.


Port Reports -  April 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday afternoon at the Lower Harbor, Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Shiras Dock and USCGC Katmai Bay arrived at the Mattson Park dock.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Algowood made a trip in with a load of salt. They arrived in the morning and were outbound by late afternoon.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Regular port visitors returned to the area on Monday. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula unloaded product at Lafarge. Fleetmate Mississagi tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock and unloaded another cargo of salt from Goderich, Ont. during the early morning hours of Monday. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation loaded cement at Lafarge on Monday. The Steamer Alpena is expected to return on Wednesday. Sandusky

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Saginaw, Lower Lakes, was loading Tuesday afternoon at the NS coal dock. She was reportedly bound for Hamilton upon completion of the loading process.


Longshoremen authorize strike at local port amid negotiations

4/24 - Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, which operates the Port of Toledo’s general cargo facility, said Sunday it had learned that members of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1982 had authorized their union on Saturday night to call for a strike.

The local represents about 45 workers who load and unload cargo on the northwest side of St. Lawrence Drive at the general cargo facility.

Alex Johnson, Midwest Terminals president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement the operator is working with Local 1982’s leadership on a plan to help modernize the facility and provide more safety as workers are trained to handle larger and more complex equipment.

Midwest Terminals says it believes a more efficient operation will increase business and result in more jobs.

The company plans to keep talking with Local 1982 leadership about more competitive wages and health benefits, Mr. Johnson said.

The vote gave Local 1982 leadership authorization to call for a strike if they deemed it necessary.

Toledo Blade


Steel production falls 19,000 tons in Great Lakes states

4/24 - Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region was 637,000 tons in the week ending April 20, according to estimates from the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Production was down 19,000 tons from the week prior. The majority of raw steel production in the Great Lakes region occurs in Indiana and the Chicago area.

Production in the Southern District was estimated at 688,000 tons last week, down from 692,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was 1.9 million tons

U.S. steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 77.6 percent last week, which is up from a 78.5 percent production rate a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate at this time last year was 80.9 percent.

Domestic mills have produced about 29.2 million tons of steel this year, down 7.6 percent from the same period in 2012. Last year at this time, domestic mills produced about 31.6 million tons of steel.

Northwest Indiana Times


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

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Polsteam vessel Irma arrived in the morning to unload steel at the Port of Milwaukee.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Integrity remains tied up at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville as of Monday night, after arriving on Wednesday to unload coal there. The Saginaw River crested Sunday at 22.42 feet, which is 5.42 feet above flood stage, and is now beginning to recede. The current remains very strong however, with the discharge at 41,500 cubic feet per second. That is almost 12 times the normal flow.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Cuyahoga, Lower Lakes, loaded Monday at the Marblehead stone dock of Lafarge Corp. She was reported to be bound for Toledo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed the North Entrance bound for Detroit at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Sunday the English River unloaded cement at the Port of Oswego.


Low Water Levels Prevent Chi-Cheemaun from docking

4/23 - Owen Sound, Ont. - Due to low water levels in Lake Huron, the 2013 sailing season of the Chi-Cheemoun, expected to begin May 3, 2013, may be delayed.

Confirmation of this anticipated delay will be made on Monday, April 29, 2013. Sailing information updates will be available each Monday until this service interruption is resolved.

On May 2, 2013, the Owen Sound Transportation Company (OSTC) will proceed with the sold out Annual Spring Repositioning Cruise event. If water levels rise sufficiently to permit safe docking, passengers will disembark in Tobermory and travel back to Owen Sound by bus, as advertised. If water levels preclude safe docking, the cruise will be a round-trip shoreline excursion, returning passengers to Owen Sound.

Passenger and crew safety is the primary priority for OSTC operations. Because water levels are lower than the fender units on the wharves can accommodate, the ferry cannot safely dock at the terminals used by the OSTC in South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island and Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

Water levels in the Great Lakes are dependent on a variety of factors, including annual precipitation, surface runoff, drainage from the Lakes into rivers, and evaporation. The OSTC regularly monitors water levels for safe operating conditions.

Based on a changing water level that has reached an unprecedented low, new fenders need to be installed to protect the vessel, along with the passengers and crew, when it docks. The wharves are federal facilities and the OSTC and the provincial government are in on-going discussions with Transport Canada to find a solution to resume the scheduled sailing season.

The OSTC is committed to a superior level of customer service and will provide weekly public notification updates regarding the 2013 sailing schedule for the MS Chi Cheemaun. Customers who have already booked reservations will be notified directly by telephone or email.

Travellers can visit for online updates


Rain and floods will bolster Lake Michigan water levels, but how much?

4/23 - Muskegon, Mich. – Lake Michigan water levels are on the rise and will continue going up with the help of significant rain and flooding this week in West Michigan.

Just how much last week’s rain event will have on the water levels in the lakes flowing into Lake Michigan are not known but no doubt all of the precipitation is good news for recreational boaters and Great Lakes shippers alike.

“This is absolutely great news for Lake Michigan,” said Tom O’Bryan, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers area engineer in its Lake Michigan office in Grand Haven. “But obviously it is not good news for those in the flood areas.”

Increased flow of water into Lake Michigan is offsetting what was a record-low water level recorded in January. Up to this week, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' predictions were for continued record-low water levels this spring and summer in Lake Michigan and area lakes.

Waters in flooded river systems such as the Grand, Muskegon, White and Pere Marquette are bringing millions of gallons of additional water into the inland lakes that feed Lake Michigan.

In Muskegon in the past three days, more than 2.5 inches of rain has fallen, flooding low areas and particularly property along the area’s rivers and streams. That kind of rain is in contrast to a drier than normal March, in which the average rain fall across the Lake Michigan basin was 1.41 inches, only 66 percent of usual March precipitation.

“It seems like it has been feast or famine,” O’Bryan said of the weather and local rainfall.

Even before this week’s deluge in West Michigan, Lake Michigan and connecting lake levels were on the rise. Daily water level measurements across Lakes Michigan and Huron – which are tracked as one body of water for lake level purposes – increased six inches from the beginning of April until Thursday, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data.

Even more dramatic is the Army Corps of Engineers reporting station in Ludington, the closest reporting station to West Michigan. Since April 1, Lake Michigan water levels measured in Ludington has increased slightly more than a foot.

In just the 24-hour reporting period from Wednesday to Thursday, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data from Ludington showed a lake level increase of 5 inches. O’Bryan cautioned making any conclusion on daily and even weekly readings which can vary due to conditions such as wind.

“But, we have been out doing survey work on the water and there is no doubt that the (lake level) gauges are going up,” O’Bryan said.

Just how much relief this week’s rains and floods will provide Lakes Michigan and Huron water levels will not begin to be known until the Army Corps next monthly report and lake level prediction, which is due to be published the first week of May.



Crossover Island for sale

4/23 - The fate of one of the oldest lighthouses on the St. Lawrence River remains uncertain.

Since 2011, the 1.5-acre Crossover Island, which includes a three-bedroom house, a smokehouse and an icehouse in addition to the historic light, has been up for sale. The property is listed on the website of Cornerstone Associates Realty, Williamson, for $539,900.

Members of the town’s newly formed Economic Development Committee said last week they hoped the island could become an attraction for boaters.

“It’s a beautiful place,” said Erica C. Demick, who co-chairs the committee. “It would be great if it was open to the public.”

The island got its moniker because it sits at a midpoint in the river where the shipping lane crosses the Canadian border.

The U.S. government purchased Crossover Island and three other islands in April 1847 for $250 to build lighthouses. The Crossover lighthouse was built that same year to guide ships past a dangerous shoal near the Chippewa Bay-Oak Point sections of the river, state records show.

A house was built in 1848 as quarters for the lighthouse keeper. The original lighthouse began to deteriorate about 1868 and was rebuilt in 1882, state records said.

The light station was put out of commission in 1941 with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, when more modern navigation aides were installed along the river.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation designated Crossover Island Lighthouse Station at Oak Point a landmark in 2007. It was designated a national landmark later that year. The island was sold to John J. Urtis in 2002. Mr. Urtis, who could not be reached for comment Friday, said in 2007 that he filed for the landmark designation to preserve the place.

Mr. Urtis led American Light and Tower, a nonprofit aimed at restoring Crossover Island Lighthouse Station.

According to state Parks office spokesman Daniel L. Keefe, the benefit of being registered includes eligibility for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation and other tax credits.

Watertown Daily Times


Help Wanted - Operations Manager, Deck and Safety

4/23 - Hamilton, Ont - In the position of Operations Manager, Deck and Safety you will work with the Marine Operations and Marketing departments. You will be responsible for but not limited to ensuring maintenance and compliance of deck, safety and navigation equipment onboard MMTL vessels, administration of the Safety Management System, Marine Security, regulatory compliance and maintaining the highest possible standing with the major oil companies. These duties require extensive knowledge and industry experience, strong communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team and in a fast paced environment.

Requirements: Successful candidates will have served as an officer onboard a ship, be familiar with SMSs (ISM), able to accept the physical, time and travel demands of vessel management and possess a good sense of humour. Preference will be given to candidates with some or more of the following attributes: graduate of a marine institution, formal ISM/ISO training, SSO/CSO certification and a tanker endorsement.

Compensation will be based on qualifications, experience and market conditions. All applicants and inquires will be treated confidentially. Only those requiring an interview will be contacted.

Applicants are requested to apply to:

Attn: Human Resources
Fax: 416-281-8842


Updates -  April 23

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the E B Barber, Howard L Shaw, Meaford, and Scott Misener galleries
Saltie Gallery -Clipper Karina, Federal Sakura, and Songa Opal


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

Houghton and Hancock, Mich. - Ryan Greenleaf
The USCG cutter Katmai Bay arrived in the Keweenaw Waterway today to break a track through the ice. The cutter made two passes in Portage Lake and proceeded under the Portage Lake Lift bridge, where it made its way west. The cutter returned to town and docked for the evening at the Houghton waterfront.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson arrived Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock on her first trip of the season.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Algorail finished unloading at Fox River Dock and was outbound at 11:45 a.m. Sunday.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber sailed Sunday for the Soo, having loaded at the NS coal dock.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bob Vincent
The Alpena was unloading at the Lafarge cement dock on Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397were at the Marathon dock in Tonawanda Sunday night.


Bella Desgagnés christened at the port of Sept-Îles

4/22 - Sept-Îles - Friday the Bella Desgagnés, a new vessel specially designed for and dedicated to the maritime service of Anticosti Island and the Lower North Shore, was christened.

This event was held in the presence of many guests and dignitaries including. The christening took place after the ship toured all ports she will be serving, allowing the region's residents and users to be the first to discover her. Mr. Louis-Marie Beaulieu, president and CEO of Desgagnés, said he was "very excited at the idea that in addition to having visited the ship, the residents will soon be able to experience it fully and appreciate its qualities and added value."

Julie Boulet, MNA of Laviolette and former Minister of Transport of the Government of Quebec, had the honor to proceed, as godmother, with naming of the ship. Mrs. Boulet was very involved in the decisions leading to the commissioning of this new vessel for the benefit of the citizens of the Lower North Shore and Anticosti Island, and Desgagnés wanted to underline her contribution by granting her this recognition. The Bella Desgagnés had previously been blessed by Father Germain Gagnon, vicar of Saint-Joseph church and chaplain of the Mariners' House of Sept-Îles.

The Bella Desgagnés, 97.1 meters long and 19.35 meters wide, has operational and maximum drafts of 4.2 m and 4.6 m respectively. She can comfortably accommodate 381 passengers with her 459 aircraft-type seats, which offer greater incline and footrests. The Bella Desgagnés also offers a total of 160 berths in 63 cabins ranging from 10.5 to 16 m2, all with private facilities, and of which two 24 m2 cabins are suitable for passengers with reduced mobility. It has a 112-seat cafeteria and an 88-seat dining room. Where cargo is concerned, she can carry 125 containers and is equipped with a crane offering a lifting capacity of 40 mt with a boom 35 meters long.

Mr. Beaulieu declared that "Our users' safety, comfort and the quality of their stay on board were our main concerns. That is why we chose to add components that were not required by the Government of Quebec, such as retractable fins stabilizing the ship in bad weather; an entertainment system integrated into the seats for the distribution of films, television and radio stations; arcade games; a fitness center; a conference room; elevators for passengers and crew; a kennel; and much more!".

He also added that in terms of safety and maneuverability, the vessel's structure was built according to the new SOLAS 2009 regulations and has also been reinforced to have superior capabilities for navigation in ice and is classed Ice 1AFS. All security, navigation, propulsion and mechanical systems are monitored by more than 3,700 operating indicators and alarms distributed throughout the ship, in addition to being equipped with a monitoring system of 50 cameras.

It is powered by two 2,000 kW azimuth thrusters, each powered by two electric motors of 2,200 kW each, and equipped with two 800 kW bow thrusters. It is also equipped with a dynamic positioning system (DPS) for greater ease to navigate and maneuver safely.

Finally, the ship was built with the greatest concern for sustainable development. Her engines are IMO Tier II compliant, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Also, the ship holds its "Green Passport", certified by Lloyd's Register, detailing the materials used in its construction.

The Bella Desgagnés required over 1.5 million hours of work, the development of nearly 6,000 separate drawings, more than 50 tons of paint and approximately 320 km of electrical wires.

Desgagnés declared being highly confident that they have put every effort necessary to build this vessel to meet the needs and expectations of the marine service users.

Relais Nordik Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Groupe Desgagnés inc.; it transports passengers, general cargo and vehicles from the main terminals of Rimouski, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre and Natashquan, and to the eight ports of the communities it serves, i.e. Port-Menier, Kegaska, La Romaine, Harrington Harbour, Tête-à-la-Baleine, La Tabatière, Saint-Augustin and Blanc-Sablon. Each of these port agencies assures the reception, containerization, transportation and delivery of merchandise to the client.

Desgagnés, whose headquarters are in Québec City, is a conglomerate that has specialized since the 19th century in marine transportation of liquid bulk, general cargo, dry bulk and passengers. Its activities also extend to ship repair as well as the rental and operation of heavy machinery. The company owns and operates a fleet of 18 ships that ply the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence network, the Eastern Canadian Arctic, the East coasts of Canada and the United States and all the seas of the world.


Budget cuts halt summer training on Grayfox

4/22 - Sierra Slobodecki said she’s a stronger individual since she started in the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps at 11 years old.

“Before I was shy and kept to myself,” the 16-year-old Goodells girl said. “Once I joined the program, it really opened me up and made me more outgoing.”

Slobodecki meets monthly with her unit of about 20 13- to 17-year-old cadets at the USNSCS Grayfox. During the summer, she trains on the lakes with the Grayfox for about two weeks.  This year could be different for Slobodecki, as the federal government is cutting funding for the Naval Sea Cadet program and the Grayfox.

Grayfox Commanding Officer Bill Barnhardt said he’s already canceled two planned trips because of budget concerns. He said he has no choice but to put underway summer training on hold as well. Barnhardt said the Grayfox program usually gets $70,000 to $80,000 in funding from the Navy each year toward the end of March. But no funds have been allocated to the Grayfox — Barnhardt’s not sure any will.

He was told the lack of funding was tied to recent across-the-board federal spending cuts.  “We had warnings at the end of the year that if it went through, our funding was doubtful,” Barnhardt said. “You can only cross your fingers and talk to the man upstairs every night.” The ship, which is stationed at Desmond Landing, is used largely for training exercises for U.S. Navy Sea Cadets.

The U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps includes youths ages 13 to 17 who participate in leadership and seamanship training. The Navy League Cadet Corps is for ages 11 to 14.  “It’s a very, very good character builder,” Barnhardt said. Part of the cadets’ training includes two-week trips on the Grayfox where they learn ship handling, navigation, engineering, and mess duties. Barnhardt said some of that training will continue, but cadets probably won’t get the chance to practice on the open water this summer.

“I still have kids coming on board for weekends, we just can’t go anywhere,” he said. The program does not involve any commitment to the military, but cadets who enlist after high school start two pay grades higher than they would otherwise.  “Right now 12 percent of the freshman class at the Naval Academy are former Sea Cadets,” Barnhardt said.

The Navy’s allocation to the Grayfox constitutes the majority of the vessel’s budget.  The ship also receives donations from community groups such as Navy League, Ship Masters, Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions Club. Barnhardt said those funds often are used for scholarships for cadets who wish to participate in training.

The Grayfox has been stationed in Port Huron since 1997. The ship was used as a torpedo retriever in the Bahamas from 1986 to 1996 before being decommissioned.  “This is the largest Sea Cadet training ship in the United States,” Barnhardt said.

Barnhardt has been a Sea Cadet officer since 1982. He helped retrieve the Grayfox from a surplus yard in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1997.  “I do it just to see the kids,” Barnhardt said. “You watch how these kids develop … you begin the trip with 30 kids and you finish with a crew.

Local cadet programs also are feeling the pinch.  Lt. j.g. William Hamel is the commanding officer of the F.C. Sherman Division, the local unit for cadets between the ages of 13 and 18. Slobodecki is part of the Sherman Division.  Hamel said the cuts at the federal level affect local cadets indirectly.

While day-to-day costs of participating in the cadet program are roughly the same, Hamel said the price of summer training — like the two-week trips on the Grayfox — has increased by 10 to 20 percent. That price is paid by the parents of cadets, Hamel said.

“This year, they’ve canceled the International Exchange Program, they got rid of about 75 percent of their trips, and the ones they do have have become more expensive,” said Charlotte Slobodecki, Sierra Slobodecki’s mom. She said the cost of Sierra’s summer training programs nearly has doubled. Even with the increased cost of training, Charlotte expects the cadets will continue with their local training and community service.

The local Sherman Division and the younger cadets division, T.C. Admiral Lee Landes, help out in many community projects, such as flag planting, river cleanups and color guards, Slobodecki said.

“For my daughter, it’s just made her a lot more independent and a lot stronger, especially being a female,” Slobodecki said. “It’s really teaching her a lot about life in general ... I can’t say enough about the program.”

Charlotte hopes the increase in price won’t keep families away. Her daughter, Sierra, agrees.

“Its understandable that things do happen, and that it has pushed training back,” Sierra said. “All we can do is wait for things to get better and keep training like we are.”

Port Huron Times Herald

U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Fundraiser

A fundraiser concert to benefit the F.C. Sherman Division and T.C. Admiral Lee Landes is from 3-6 p.m. May 12 at the Port Huron Yacht Club, 212 Quay St.

The fundraiser will include a performance by Dan Hall, a color guard demonstration, bake sale, raffles and auction.

The cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple. For more information or ticket reservations, contact Lt. Brian L. Eickel at (248) 944-0027 or at


Crisp Point Lighthouse will shine again

4/22 - After twenty years of being dark, the Crisp Point Lighthouse that was first lit on May 5, 1904 will shine again starting May 4, 2013 to November 1, 2013. Starting in 2014 and each year thereafter, this grand lady will light the night along the remote beach on the southern shore of Lake Superior from May 1st to November 1.

Crisp Point Lighthouse is located in the northeast corner of Luce County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula along the south shore of Lake Superior about 15 miles west of Whitefish Point.

CPLHS received a permit from the United States Coast Guard to install a light in the tower and the project was ready to go. A fundraiser was announced at the CPLHS July 2012 conference to begin raising money to purchase a 300mm LED marine light and the response was overwhelming.

The Crisp Point Light Historical Society is a non-profit 501 C3 whose sole source of income which is used to continue the restoration and upkeep of the Crisp Point Lighthouse comes from donations, membership fees and Crisp Point related merchandise sales. No state or federal funds have been used since 2001.

The Crisp Point Light Station was deactivated in 1939 when the Coast Guard took over control of the lighthouse stations from the Lighthouse Service, but the light at Crisp Point stayed on until late 1993. Over the years, there were several updates to how the light was powered, with the last major update done in 1983 when solar panels were installed to help keep the battery bank charged. The modern light will be LED powered by a single battery and charged by solar.

The Crisp Point Lighthouse and grounds are owned by Luce County but are cared for by the Crisp Point Light Historical Society and it’s 450 plus members and families. They have helped monetarily, they have been lighthouse keepers, and they have done work on the preservation effort, upkeep, and caring for the grounds, lighthouse and visitor’s center.

Visit for more information


Updates -  April 22

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Canadoc and Thomas Wilson galleries
Saltie Gallery - Federal Maas, Federal Weser, Miedwie, Peter Schulte, Pochard, Songa Opal, and Zhuang Yuan Ao

Badger Gathering
Book now for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger. Click here to reserve your spot

Marine Historical Society of Detroit opens annual dinner to the public
Mark your calendars for the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s annual dinner meeting, Saturday, May 11 at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich., overlooking the St. Clair Rive. Paul Carroll of Goderich, Ont., will offer a program on the Great Storm of 1913. Tickets may be reserved at

4th of July celebration cruise on Lake Michigan
The may be no better way to celebrate the birthday of the United States than by cruising to picturesque towns and sights in the heart of America July 3-8 aboard the passenger vessel Yorktown. Enjoy the bustle and cosmopolitan energy of Chicago to the car-free charm of Victorian Mackinac Island; from whimsical Charlevoix to a thrilling dune schooner ride through the Saugatuck sand dunes. And let’s not forget time aboard ship to simply relax and enjoy Yorktown’s amenities, or take in some swimming or kayaking. The Yorktown sails from, and returns to, Chicago’s Navy Pier. Besides Chicago, ports of call include Saugatuck, Charlevoix and Mackinac Island. If you mention the BoatNerd Web site when booking the cruise, you’ll not only get a discounted rate, a donation will also be made to by London-based The Cruise People Ltd. For more information, email The reservations phone number in the U.K. is 0800 526 313 (toll free).  


BoatNerd support raffle, new prizes listed

4/22 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. In addition to the cruise aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott we now have prizes from Soo Locks Boat Tours ad the Lake Michigan Carferry.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will provide more than 90 percent of the cost of maintaining this free website.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during Engineer's Weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win, and will be notified by mail and/or phone. All tickets orders must be received no later than Friday, June 21, 2013.

Click here for complete details and ticket order form


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.


Port Reports -  April 21

South Chicago, Ill. - Matt Monahan
While Hon. James L. Oberstar waited on the hook in Calumet Harbor, the barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance loaded at KCBX on Friday. By Saturday afternoon, the Oberstar had replaced the Defiance under the loader.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port taking on cargo at Lafarge. The Alpena came in on Friday to load cement and departed after 9 p.m. The Buffalo anchored out in the bay on Friday due to the high winds.


Updates -  April 21

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Red Wing 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.


Gale sends ships to anchor on Lake Erie

4/20 - Western Lake Erie was beginning to become a parking lot Friday night. The triangle bounded by the ports of Huron and Sandusky and nearby Kelleys Island was providing shelter for several vessels late Friday afternoon. Stiff and gusting Southwest winds howled in the upper 30 mile per hour range with stronger gusts, as the Algowood- bound for Goderich, Ont. - put her anchor down off Huron. Off Sandusky, the Detroit bound Samuel De Champlain anchored to wait for the winds to ease.

In the lee of Kelleys Island, the Philip R. Clarke let the anchor chain rattle through the hawse pipe as she went to anchor, delaying her planned arrival in Conneaut.

A similar tale was being told in Eastern Lake Erie with the Montreal bound Pine Glen at anchor behind Long Point.

The gale warning for all of Lake Erie was expected to remain in effect until Saturday. On Lake Huron where a gale warning was also posted, several freighters were able to continue their voyages by hugging the Michigan shoreline.

Jim Spencer


Port Reports -  April 20

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Port Inland, the Wilfred Sykes was due to arrive at 8 p.m.. to load on Friday and the Great Lakes Trader was due to arrive at 3:00 a.m. to load on Saturday. Both those vessels ETA's however was weather permitting. Manitowoc is due at Port Inland on Sunday in the late afternoon and the Pere Marquette 41 is due to arrive on Tuesday at about noon to load.

At Cedarville the Calumet is due to arrive on Saturday at about noon to load and she will be followed by the Wilfred Sykes which is scheduled to arrive on Monday also at noon. The Sykes' ETA for Monday however, will be weather permitting. The Lewis J. Kuber is scheduled to arrive Cedarville on Thursday, April 25 in the early morning hours to load.

 Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The loading dock at Stoneport will not see too much activity in the next few days as there were no vessels loading on Friday. Joseph H. Thompson is due to load on Saturday in the mid-afternoon. For Sunday no vessels scheduled and on Monday the Cason J. Callaway is due for a mid-afternoon arrival and for Tuesday no vessels are scheduled.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The loading docks at Calcite saw the Calumet load and depart on Thursday from the North Dock for Green Bay to unload. There are no vessels due to load at Calcite for Friday, Saturday & Sunday. On Monday only one vessel the James L. Kuber is due at 12 Noon for the South Dock to load limestone.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The docks in Toledo will be seeing a flurry of activity in the next few days with many vessels scheduled for arrivals. Vessels due to arrive at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the Lakes Contender due on Monday in the early morning followed by Atlantic Superior also due in on Monday in the late afternoon about suppertime. The Lakes Contender will be returning on Friday, April 26 in the late morning hours to unload at the Torco Dock. CSL's Baie St. Paul will be returning to Toledo to unload at the Torco Dock on Tuesday, April 30 in the early morning hours and she will be followed by the Algoma Olympic on Wednesday, May 1 during the late afternoon hours. Lakes Contender returns once again also on May 1 in the late evening hours. One vessel the Algomarine is scheduled to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Sunday, April 28 during the morning hours. Vessels scheduled to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock are the following - Algoma Progress on Friday, April 26 in the early morning along with the Hon. James L. Oberstar also on April 26 during the late afternoon, Lakes Contender on April 26 in the early evening hours and the Algosoo rounds out the CSX Coal Dock lineup on Saturday, May 4 during the early afternoon hours. Most of Toledo's winter lay-up fleet has now departed and the only vessels that remain in lay-up is the Phoenix Star still at the large drydock at Ironhead, Adam E. Cornelius in long-term lay-up at the Old Interlake Iron Dock, American Fortitude along with the American Valor at the Lakefront Docks also in long-term lay-up status.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tugs Ecosse and Molly M1 departed at 9:30 a.m. to help the Tecumseh above Lock 2. Federal Maas arrived at 11:30 a.m. with steel products for Pier 14W. Federal Rhine departed at 11:30 a.m. from Pier 14W for Detroit in ballast. Songa Opal arrived at 9:30 p.m. Saginaw arrived at 10 p.m. with canola from Thunder Bay.


Flooding forces Chicago sewage to be diverted into Lake Michigan

4/20 - After several days of rain, an overnight deluge overwhelmed Chicago's underground labyrinth of aging sewers and giant tunnels Thursday, forcing a noxious mix of sewage and stormwater into local waterways and Lake Michigan.

The surge of murky, debris-strewn water so overloaded the system that sewage began to back up in basements and geysers of wastewater shot out of several sewer manholes — stomach-churning sights captured by smartphones and posted online.

To relieve the pressure, engineers at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District were forced to rely on the region's sewage outlet of last resort. For the first time since July 2011, they opened locks and sluice gates separating the Chicago River system from the lake, allowing millions of gallons of raw and partially treated waste to flow with runoff into the water supply for 7 million people in Chicago and the suburbs.

The district started by opening a sluice gate on the North Shore Channel in Wilmette at 1:25 a.m., then opened locks near Navy Pier at 3:47 a.m.

When water levels began to rise dangerously high in the Cal-Sag Channel and Calumet River on the South Side, the district opened locks at 134th Street at 6:15 a.m.

It is unclear when the locks will be closed again, said Allison Fore, a district spokeswoman. Estimates of how much sewage-laden river water flowed into the lake won't be available until several days after the storms subside.

Tom LaPorte, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Water Management, said the city so far has not noticed any unusual contamination in water drawn from intake cribs farther out in the lake.

Department officials are constantly monitoring the situation, LaPorte said, and as a precaution started adding more bacteria-killing chlorine to lake water before pumping it to households and businesses.

Chicago turned its namesake river into a sewage canal at the turn of the last century, building locks and gates and digging concrete-lined channels to direct the burgeoning city's waste away from the lake and toward the Mississippi River.

Like many older cities, Chicago also long ago built sewers that combine waste from homes and factories with storm runoff. When it rains, sewers quickly fill up and spill into local streams through overflow pipes. If waterways are saturated to capacity, the locks and gates to Lake Michigan are opened to reduce flooding.

Construction of the Deep Tunnel, a $3 billion system of giant sewers and reservoirs designed to capture and store stormwater, was billed as an engineering marvel to alleviate the region's sewage and flooding woes.

But it remains incomplete, and the Tribune reported in 2011 that billions of gallons of bacteria-laden sewage and runoff still routinely pour into the Chicago River and suburban waterways during and after storms. Even a rainfall as small as two-thirds of an inch can lead to sewage overflows.

Steady rainstorms like the ones that hit the region this week make the problem even worse. Lake Michigan has been hit harder during the past six years than it was in the previous two decades combined, mostly because of a handful of monsoonlike storms that were among the most intense downpours in Chicago history.

From 2007 through 2012, records show, the district released more than 21 billion gallons of runoff and wastewater into the lake. By contrast, 12 billion gallons poured out from 1985 through 2006.

Researchers hired by former Mayor Richard M. Daley estimated that global climate change will lead to more of these intense storms in the not-so-distant future, challenging the region's aging sewers and the Deep Tunnel more than ever.

Rains of greater than 2.5 inches a day, the amount that can force runoff into Lake Michigan, are expected to increase by 50 percent by 2039, according to a study by scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Texas Tech University. By the end of the century, the number of big storms could jump by a whopping 160 percent.

As more research points to a changing climate, local officials are grappling with the likelihood that Chicago will need more solutions beyond the Deep Tunnel, which now isn't scheduled to be completed until a giant flood-control reservoir is fully operational in 2029.

Under a legal settlement with federal environmental regulators, the Water Reclamation District will be required to invest in more small-scale "green infrastructure" projects that allow storm runoff to seep into the ground rather than drain into sewers.

Local officials once scoffed at such initiatives, but they now promote them as critical solutions for a city built on a swamp.

Chicago Tribune


Coast Guard investigates accident on Illinois River at the Marseilles Dam

4/20 - Marseilles, Ill. — The Coast Guard is investigating a marine casualty that occurred Thursday evening on the Illinois River at the Marseilles Dam.

Marine investigators from Marine Safety Unit Chicago responded to a report that the tug Dale A. Heller, a 128-foot towing vessel, lost control of its tow due to strong river currents from Thursday’s heavy rainfall. Seven of the Dale A. Heller's 14 barges subsequently broke free and came to rest against the Marseilles Dam.

No injuries or pollution have been reported, although minor damage has been reported to the Marseilles Dam and three cargo barges are partially submerged at the dam.

Currently there are no reports of breaches in the dam or surrounding levees as a result of the incident. Flood water is at a record high on the Illinois River and water is flowing over surrounding levees.

The Dale A. Heller was down bound on the Illinois River approaching the entrance to the Marseilles Lock canal when strong river currents pushed the tow toward the dam. The captain of the towing vessel did not report any damage to his vessel from the incident.

The Marseilles Police Department shut down the Main Street Bridge, located directly downstream of the Marseilles Dam, as a safety precaution in case the barges pass through the dam.

Marine Safety Unit Chicago Marine investigators are on scene conducting interviews and ensuring drug and alcohol tests are conducted on all involved personnel. A unified command is being established at the La Quinta Inn in Peru, Ill. to oversee salvage operations and ensure public safety in the vicinity of the dam. The Unified Command will be made up of members from the Coast Guard, Army Corps of Engineers, Marseilles Police Department, and the responsible party.


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.


Tecumseh blocks Welland Canal

4/19 - St. Catharines - 6 p.m. update - A mechanical problem has temporarily stalled passages through the Welland Canal. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. reports the Tecumseh had mechanical issues just above Lock 2 at Carlton St. in St. Catharines.

The incident happened at about 4 a.m. Friday, with the ship resting against the bank, but not having run aground. It is not currently able to sail under its own power.

The tugs Ecosse and Molly M 1 arrived Friday afternoon from Hamilton and at 4 p.m. the tugs were working to assist the Tecumseh to a tie-up wall, above Lock 2. Traffic resumed a short time later with the upbound passage of the Zhuang Yuan Ao.

Welland Tribune


Port Reports -  April 19

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula came in on a foggy day with a load of salt.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Integrity remained at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville Thursday evening, after arriving early Wednesday afternoon to unload coal.


$1.7 million Saginaw River/Bay Dredging

4/19 - Bay City, Mich. — A $1.7 million Saginaw River and Bay dredging project scheduled to begin this May should have a positive impact on area businesses, according to Mike Seward, president and CEO of the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

“I think the dredging will have a very positive impact on businesses along the water front and these businesses will begin to see better service,” Seward said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announced April 16 that it has awarded a $1.7 million contract to Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort to dredge the Saginaw River and Bay. The project, which is scheduled to run from early May to late June, will deepen sections of the shipping channel for freighters carrying supplies to the Great Lakes Bay Region.

“The Saginaw River is an important passage for marine cargo including cement, coal, limestone, salt, potash and grain – products that help fuel the local economy and support jobs," said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, district engineer, in a prepared statement. "The Detroit District is pleased to award this dredging contract, which will help ensure that marine commerce keeps moving in and out of the Saginaw region in an environmentally friendly manner.”

Shipping traffic on the river has been in decline for some time. Nearly 140 ships made passages on the river in 2012. This represents more than a 60 percent decline since 2005, when ships made 347 passages.

Load-bearing ships also have had to carry smaller loads due to water levels in the Great Lakes reaching historic lows, according to the Army Corps.

Officials from Saginaw's Sargent Docks and Terminal and Essexville's Wirt Stone Dock could not be reached immediately for comment.

Luedtke will dredge a total of 203,470 cubic yards from two portions of the river. This includes 153,470 cubic yards of material to be dredged between the Independence Bridge in northern Bay City and the mouth of the river about three miles away. The contractor will deposit the dredged material in the Saginaw Bay Confined Disposal Facility, an island located two miles out in the bay. The firm will dredge an additional 50,000 cubic yards of material upstream in eastern Saginaw County, to be deposited in the Upper Saginaw River Dredged Material Disposal Facility, which straddles the Bay-Saginaw county line.

The project should help not only existing businesses, but those looking to expand along the river in the future, according to Seward.

“This project means that, over time, we will be able to grow the business in terms of using the waterways here to ship to other part of Michigan and around the world," he said.

To see the latest condition surveys of the areas to be dredged, visit Under the "Missions" tab, click on "Operations," then "Project Overview Information" and "Saginaw River, MI." The lower river dredging area is represented on sheets 1-7; the upper river on sheets 16-22.



Favorable future

4/19 - - With more than $2 billion in improvements slated to be made over the next five years, the St. Lawrence Seaway should solidify itself as a global shipping route, Canada’s gateway to the world.

That’s good news for ports like Thunder Bay, says Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

With $500 million being spent to rejuvenate the lock system on the waterway and another $1.5 billion spent privately to improve and upgrade fleets, a city like Thunder Bay should see more traffic hit the port, as delivery costs continue to decrease.

“These are the most efficient ships on the water. Basically they’re something like 20 to 25 per cent more efficient. The greenhouse gases are reduced by an equivalent amount. So they’re very cost-efficient and we believe we’re going to help the seaway move forward,” said Bowles, invited to speak Wednesday at the revitalized Thunder Bay Port Authority Luncheon, the first held in the city since 2000.

“And of course that will help the competitiveness of Thunder Bay.”

Bowles said shipping is already 20 per cent more efficient than rail, and this will only lower the cost of delivery.

Combined with the closing of the Canadian Wheat Board by the federal government last year, and there’s no reason Thunder Bay’s port can’t thrive, Bowles said.

In 2012 the Port Authority handled 6.45 million tonnes of grain, the most since 2006. Overall cargo hit 7.84 million tonnes, the highest in four years.

“Obviously last year we had a very good year on wheat ... So we’re hoping that’s going to happen again this year,” Bowles said, making his first visit to the city.

“Hopefully it will be favourable to the seaway and Thunder Bay.”

He’s hoping non-grain cargo follows suit.

“Can we bring in more cargo from overseas, Europe and things like that,” he said. “I think Thunder Bay and certainly the port, we have to go out there and find this new business. So it’s very important we make people understand what we can do for them in Thunder Bay.”

Tim Heney, chief executive officer at the Thunder Bay Port Authority, says it’s a good sign to see so much investment being made along the St. Lawrence Seaway, which he said is the city’s marine lifeline to the world.

“It’s pretty much essential,” Heney said. “Most of our cargo goes down the seaway, so without a seaway, there wouldn’t be a port of Thunder Bay.

“It’s really important for a sustainability aspect. The ships have been getting old. We’re seeing new ships being built now. The seaway locks themselves are being refurbished. It’s very encouraging for us. Obviously it means the system is going to be around for a long time to come.”

Thunder Bay News Watch


Port Authority chief: Put harbor taxes toward dredging

4/19 - The federal government should use the money collected in harbor maintenance taxes to increase dredging ports and waterways around the nation, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director Adolph Ojard told a U.S. House subcommittee Tuesday.

The tax brings the federal government about $1.6 billion annually. The money is earmarked for navigation maintenance dredging, but the government spends only about half of that amount each year.

“It is very difficult to get them to spend the money fully for its intended purpose,” Ojard said Wednesday after returning to Duluth from Washington, D.C.

The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund now holds more than $7 billion.

“The low appropriations have resulted in an undermaintained system in which channels are not being maintained to their constructed depths and widths despite adequate taxes being collected,” Ojard testified Tuesday.

Ojard testified to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment in his role as U.S. delegation chairman of the American Associations of Port Authorities. The association represents 160 seaport authorities in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

During his testimony Tuesday, Ojard said that the shortfall in dredging is harming jobs, economic growth and U.S. competitiveness.

“According to AAPA’s most recent survey, ports and their partners will invest more than $46 billion over the next five years” in improving their facilities, Ojard said. “However, increasingly we find that the federal partner is not upholding its part of the bargain in funding channel maintenance and improvement projects.”

President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal 2014 — released April 10 — included a mixed bag on dredging and harbor maintenance. Obama’s request for coastal navigation is $42 million more than last year’s request of $848 million.

“But guess what, the Great Lakes got less money than they did last year,” Ojard said. “We think what we need is $80 million for about five years to take care of everything that has been deferred for the past 10 or 15 years.”

The president’s proposed budget contains $40.9 million for Great Lakes dredging.

The backlog of maintenance has long been an issue for shippers and others. The Lake Carrier’s Association — which represents 17 companies operating 57 U.S.-flagged ships on the Great Lakes — has made the issue one of its major focuses.

“The drought has pushed water levels on Lake Michigan and Huron to record lows,” the Lake Carriers Association wrote in its annual report, released in late January. “The water level in the St. Mary’s River also declined as 2012 wore on; by year’s end ships were loading to less than 26 feet. In 1997, the last period of high water, ships routinely locked through the Soo drafting 28 feet or more. That loss of draft cost some ships more than 10,000 tons of cargo on their final voyages of 2012.”

According to the association, an estimated 17 million cubic yards of sediment could be removed from the Great Lakes Navigation System for approximately $200 million.

Ships are not leaving the Twin Ports lightly loaded because of inadequate dredging here, Ojard said. But low water in St. Mary’s does affect Duluth and Superior.

The Corps has the authority to deepen the shipping channel in St. Mary’s in case of low water — such as now — but it doesn’t have the money.

“If we had a little more money — and I don’t think it would take much more money — to get in there and knock out the rock outcroppings and give us another foot or two going through the channel there,” Ojard said.

Duluth News Tribune


Museum Ship SS City of Milwaukee opens this weekend

4/19 - The SS City of Milwaukee will embark on its 2013 season this weekend. The ship will be open from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. this weekend and the following weekend, and in May the ship will be open Saturdays & Sundays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Please see the website ( for scheduled guided tour times for the City of Milwaukee. The USCGC Acacia will be temporarily closed for gangway repairs, but once completed the cutter will be open for self-guided tours. The vessels are located on US31 in Manistee Mich.


Milwaukee Sewers spilled 594 million gallons of wastewater, continued release on Thursday

4/19 - As storms poured heavy rain on southeastern Wisconsin early Thursday, combined sanitary and storm sewers in central Milwaukee and eastern Shorewood started overflowing to local rivers and Lake Michigan at 4:30 a.m., Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials said.

Combined sewer overflows were directed to waterways to prevent backups of sewage in basements and reserve limited space in the deep tunnel for overflowing separate sanitary sewers in Milwaukee and other communities in the district's service area, officials said.

At 6:30 a.m., rain gauges measured more than 2 inches of rain across the metropolitan area since Wednesday afternoon. Heaviest totals were recorded at Shorewood with 2.65 inches and Franklin with 2.39 inches.

This is the second combined sewer overflow this month and the second since June 2011.

The deep tunnel has been used since August 1993 to store overflows.

"Since that time, the tunnel has done an excellent job in reducing the number of combined sewer overflows and improving water quality in our rivers and the lake," MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer said.

"In a combined sewer overflow, 95% of the volume is stormwater," Shafer said. "It is not all raw sewage. That is why state and federal environmental regulators allow us up to 6 combined sewer overflows a year."

On Wednesday, the district took an emergency step in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the latest combined sewer overflows.

At 3 p.m., MMSD started pumping wastewater directly from the deep tunnel to disinfection chambers at the Jones Island sewage treatment plant, where it is mixed with chlorine before being discharged to the lake. This step was taken to gain more space in the tunnel to store overflows.

Last week's torrential rains overwhelmed regional sewers and the deep tunnel, combined sanitary and storm sewers spilled an estimated 594 million gallons of untreated wastewater to local waterways, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials said Tuesday.

Overflows to rivers and Lake Michigan began April 10 to reduce the risk of sewage backups into basements. Overflows ended Saturday morning as rains eased.

Last week's combined sewer overflows in central Milwaukee and eastern Shorewood were the first in nearly two years.

Total capacity of the main tunnel and northwest side tunnel is 521 million gallons. The April 10-13 overflows would have filled a second set of equally large tunnels.

On April 9, the district started pumping wastewater from the main tunnel directly to disinfection chambers at the Jones Island sewage treatment plant, where it was mixed with chlorine before being discharged to the lake.

The emergency measure was started on the second day of heavy rain in an unsuccessful attempt to provide more space in the main tunnel and prevent combined sewer overflows. Diversion of wastewater around the full treatment process at Jones Island also ended Saturday morning.

An estimated 201 million gallons of partially treated wastewater was discharged to Lake Michigan in five days, April 9-13, district officials said Tuesday.

A state discharge permit allows the district to divert up to 100 million gallons of wastewater a day during heavy storms. The diversion is known officially as combined sewer overflow treatment since solids settle out of wastewater stored in the tunnel, the equivalent of the first treatment step at Jones Island.

Diversions reduce the volume of untreated wastewater spilled from combined sewers to waterways, officials said.

The district's state permit allows six combined sewer overflows a year.

One inch of rain falling on the district's metropolitan service area equals 7.1 billion gallons of water, officials said.

District gauges measured three to more than four inches of rain across the metropolitan area from April 8-13.

The highest rain total last week was at Elm Grove Village Hall, where a gauge measured 4.26 inches. Three days after last week's heavy rains ended, the ground remained saturated Tuesday. Water from foundation drains connected to private sanitary sewer laterals as well as water leaking into the laterals was sending excessive flows to the Jones Island and South Shore sewage treatment plants, Topczewski said.

"We're still draining the system slowly," he said.

Tuesday afternoon, the South Shore plant in Oak Creek was treating 236 million gallons of wastewater, or more than three times normal flows of 65 million gallons a day, he said. South Shore treats wastewater from communities with separate sanitary sewers.

Jones Island on Tuesday was treating 120 million gallons of wastewater, or nearly double normal flows of 65 million gallons a day. Jones Island receives flows from combined sanitary and storm sewers in central Milwaukee and eastern Shorewood as well as neighborhoods with separate sanitary sewers.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Maritime Academy of Toledo secures unique auction items

4/19 - Toledo, OH - A seven-day Great Lakes freighter cruise, a tugboat cruise for six, and a Tennessee getaway vacation package are just a few of the unique items up for bidding at The Maritime Academy of Toledo’s Third Annual Admiral’s Ball which will be held Saturday, April 27 at The Fifth-Third Center at One SeaGate in Downtown Toledo, according to Renee Marazon, Superintendent, The Maritime Academy.

Volunteer committee members are busy this week putting the finishing touches on The Maritime Academy’s annual major funding raising event. Volunteers hopes to raise $80,000 to support the school’s robotics’ program, their U.S. Coast Guard uniform fund; professional mariner credentialing of graduating seniors, transportation subsidies for needy students; a new crane operator simulator; as well as upgrades to The Maritime Academy’s bridge, engine, navigation, and radar simulators used by students.

Ms. Marazon says the highlight of the live auction will be a six-night / seven-day cruise for two on an Interlake Steamship Great Lakes Freighter with luxury accommodations.

Trip auctions which provide the winner a guaranteed trip are rare and bidding could be very competitive for the freighter cruise. Not only will those attending the ball be able to bid, but on-line bids will be accepted at

Other auction items include a tugboat cruise for six, donated by The Great Lakes Towing Group.

Other auction items include a family dinner package from Mano’s Restaurant; overnight stay at Maumee Bay Resort with Golf Package; Notre Dame Football Tickets; Swim Party for 12; USS Toledo Artifacts, Executive Chef Dinner in your home; Handcrafted 11’ Row Boat and other nautical items built by Maritime Academy Cadets; Basket of Gourmet Chocolates; Best of Toledo Basket; Cleveland Browns Autographed Football, a Golf Basket, and more.

The theme for the 2013 Admiral’s Ball is “Don’t Give Up the Ship” --- A commemoration of the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Lake Erie. New for the Third Annual Admiral’s Ball is an Honorary Committee developed to show the growing community support for the school and its mission

The Maritime Academy is a Grades 5 – 12 college-prep community school with a nautical / maritime theme learning environment. Over 80-percent of the students who attend are at or below the U.S. poverty level. Over the past year The Maritime Academy experienced many success stories. In May, the school graduated the first students from its Career Technical Education (CTE) Program and one graduate went directly from high school to a high paying job working aboard ship on the Great Lakes. In August, The Maritime Academy worked with the U.S. Navy, the City of Toledo, and other area organizations in hosting the highly successful “Fleet Week” in Downtown Toledo. In October the Maritime Academy jumped four-letter grades to earn an “Excellent” report card rating from the State of Ohio Department of Education for the 2011 – 2012 school year.

Tickets for The Maritime Academy’s Third Annual Admiral’s Ball are still available. The cost is $150 per person or $200 a couple. For more information on tickets, or to donate items for the Admiral’s Ball auction visit


Updates -  April 19

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the   Fort Henry 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.


U.S.-Flag Lakers Float Down 7 Percent in March

4/18 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) carried 2.2 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in March, a decrease of 7 percent compared to 2012. However, the fleets March float was marginally ahead of the months 5-year average.

Iron ore shipments in U.S. hulls rose slightly 25,000 tons compared to a year ago, but loadings of coal declined by more than 60 percent. The fleets limestone trade nearly doubled.

Through the first quarter, U.S.-flag lakers have hauled 5.2 million tons of cargo, a decrease of nearly 19 percent compared to the same point in 2012. Iron ore cargos are down by 13.4 percent. Coal loadings are down by more than 50 percent, but limestone is 61 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  April 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a fast start to the shipping at the Upper Harbor ore dock, loadings have slowed in the last week to a single cargo into Lakes Contender and multiple loads by Michipicoten.

South Chicago and Burns Harbor - Matt M.
Tuesday Night the Mississagi arrived on the Calumet River and by Wednesday morning was taking on a load of Petroleum Coke at KCBX.

Over at Burns Harbor, the Stewart J. Cort was completing an unload of taconite pellets while the salties Irma, Everhard Schulte, and BBC Kwiatkowski were unloading steel coils.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Spartan and barge Spartan II departed the Dow Chemical dock late Wednesday afternoon after unloading there overnight. American Integrity was inbound early Wednesday afternoon, calling on the Consumers Energy Dock to unload coal. She remained there as of this report in the late evening. The USCG Cutter Hollyhock was working aids to navigation in the Saginaw Bay on Wednesday.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann, Interlake, loaded aggregate Tuesday at the LaFarge Marblehead dock.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday Algo Guardian departed at 9:30 a.m. from Pier 26 for Toledo. CCGS Griffon departed at 11:15 a.m. from Pier 25 for Grimsby to place aids to navigation, they returned to Burlington at 5:30 p.m. going to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. CSL Niagara arrived at 6:30 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for US Steel.

Wednesday John B Aird departed at 11:30 a.m. with slag from Pier 21 for Bath. CSL Niagara departed at 3:45 p.m. from US Steel for Sandusky. CCG ship Kelso arrived in Burlington at 5:30 p.m. for CCIW. Algowood arrived at 7 p.m. with coal for Dofasco from Sandusky.


Updates -  April 18

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  Mohawk Deer, Raymond H Reiss, Saginaw Bay, Sylvania galleries.
Saltie Gallery updates - Garganey, Harbour Pioneer, MCT Altair, and Zhuang Yuan Ao


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

Superior, Wis. - D. Edward Clark
The Heritage Marine tugs Nels J and Helen H towed the Great Lakes Fleet vessel John G. Munson from Duluth Port Terminal to Fraser Shipyards in Superior WI for its Five year survey and dry docking.

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Calumet was outbound in the early morning after unloading salt Monday. The Alpena came in with a partial load for the Lafarge terminal. They were heading out by mid afternoon, heading for Chicago. The Lake Express car ferry was moved from its winter lay-up on the Menomonee River, over to its terminal on Lake Michigan.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The first commercial cargo of the 2013 season arrived Tuesday afternoon when the tug Spartan, and her tank barge Spartan II, called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. The pair was expected to be outbound sometime on Wednesday, current permitting.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algowood loaded Tuesday at the NS coal dock and sailed for Hamilton. At the LaFarge Marblehed stone dock, Capt. Henry Jackman completed loading and sailed late Tuesday for the LaFarge dock at Windsor, Ont.


Charlevoix icebreaking operations

4/17 - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay will be conducting icebreaking operations in Round Lake and Lake Charlevoix beginning at 1 p.m. Friday. Icebreaking operations will go through Round Lake directly to and from Ironton, Mich.


Big boost for local Great Lakes Storm 1913 committee

4/17 - Goderich, Ont. – Organizers of The Great Lakes Storm 1913 organizing committee are ensuring lives lost will be remembered for years to come. Some 19 ships were sunk, eight swallowed by Lake Huron, and many lives were lost in a storm for the ages that is being remembered with events beginning in September.

Organizers were encouraged last Friday by a $47,900 donation from the federal government presented on behalf of Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb.

Funding is through the Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage program, and Lobb said it will “help commemorate the historical anniversary of the worst maritime disaster to ever hit the Great Lakes.”

Lobb said local organizers did a great job preparing a funding application and the MP couldn’t recall a larger federal cash infusion for a heritage event in his riding.

“Everyone is aware of the significance of 1913, it was a horrific event,” Dave MacAdam, chair of the local organizing committee, said at Royal Canadian Legion Goderich Branch 109.

Goderich is home base for the centenary event, the right choice considering the amount of locals who died in the storm, MacAdam said.

MacAdam has deep-rooted connections to the storm: his cousins, Murdock MacDonald and Donald MacDonald, died aboard the Wexford - a ship lost in the storm but painstakingly remembered in local historian Paul Carroll’s book of the same name. His grandfather helped with the storm recovery effort.

MacAdam said there has been an enormous response to help out with planning from communities up and down Lake Huron and in the U.S.

Highlights include speakers at the Huron County Museum beginning in September and each week thereafter. A Great Storm musical drama has also been written and directed by Warren Robinson. Organizers are also hopeful a local artisan will create a permanent marine memorial. An interdenominational church service will remember lost sailors Sun. Nov. 10.

The bulk of remembrance activities are Nov. 8-10. “It’s a worthy event to remember these lost ships,” said MacAdam.

More information can be found at

Goderich Signal Star


April Marine News - Demolitions

4/17 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports in the April 2013 issue that there were three Seaway salties going for scrap.

ALFA MARE came through the Seaway as a) PONTOPOROS in 1989. The vessel returned from time to time through 2001. It was sold and renamed b) ALFA MARE in 2009 and arrived at Jiangyin, China for scrapping on February 19, 2013 at the age of 29.

KAI BAO was built in 1981 and came through the Seaway many times under five different names. It was inland as a) VIOLETTA in 1982, as b) CAPETAN YIANNIS in 1986, made 14 voyages to the lakes as c) FEDERAL NORD beginning in 1989, returned as d) NORDIC MOOR in 1997 and as e) CHIOS CHARITY in 1999. Following a sale to Chinese shipbreakers, the ship arrived at Jingjiang on February 18, 2013.

VITORIA visited the Seaway under seven different names. It was brand new when it came inland as a) SEA MONARCH in 1984. It was back as SEAMASTER II in 1986 as c) SEA MONARCH again, as d) SEALUCK V in 1997, as e) SEAHARMONY II in 2000, as f) SEAMONARCH II in 2001 and as g) SEAGUARDIAN II. The bulk carrier became h) VITORIA in 2009 and arrived at Alang, India, on February 9, 2013 and was beached for scrapping four days later.

Submitted by: Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Past winner of BoatNerd trip raffle remembers his experience in radio interview

4/17 - Keith Grant-Davie, a past winner of the BoatNerd’s trip raffle discusses his experience on  CBC Windsor Radio

Click here for details on our current support raffle.


Updates -  April 17

News Photo 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 for 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 Shipyard for repairs.

1997: ALGOLAKE got stuck on Vidal Shoal, St. Marys 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.


Chinese tanker headed to Sarnia for asphalt

4/16 - The Hong Kong Chinese-flag tanker Zhuang Yuan Ao is inbound on the St. Lawrence bound for Sarnia. The ship has received a coastal license from the Canadian Transportation Agency to make one trip with 9,000 cubic meters of asphalt from Sarnia to Montreal or Tracy. The application for the license was made by Petro-Nav.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  April 16

South Chicago, Ill. - Matt Monahan
Over the weekend, including Friday, Calumet River docks saw the tug-barge Ashtabula/Defiance load petroleum coke at Beemsterboer, Atlantic Erie and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin load at KCBX, and Catharine Desgagnes and Fuldaborg at Iroquois Landing.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
We are still awaiting the arrival of the first commercial delivery of the season here on the Saginaw River. Algoway was scheduled to arrive at the North Star dock in Essexville on the 10th to unload potash, but due to the weather she has not yet been able to make it in. American Integrity is currently scheduled in at the Consumers Energy Dock to unload coal on the 16th at 1 p.m. Winds and extremely heavy rains have the Saginaw River currents churning. Flood stage is 17 feet and the Saginaw is currently at 20.83 feet with the outflow at 41,100 cubic feet per second. There have been a few dock changes since last season. The Essroc cement terminal in Essexville is now the Lafarge cement terminal. Next door, at what was the Essexville Lafarge stone dock, it is now the Burroughs North stone dock.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara loaded Monday at the NS coal dock and sailed for Hamilton Monday. She was replaced under the loader by the Algowood. The Algoma Central vessel is also slated for Hamilton. At Marblehead, the tug Dorothy Ann and her barge, Pathfinder, continued to load Monday night at the LaFarge stone dock. At anchor nearby was the Capt. Henry Jackman, Algoma Central, waiting for the Interlake duo to sail and the for the dock to become available.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Federal Rhine arrived at 8 a.m. with steel products.


No diving required to see exposed Grand Haven shipwrecks

4/16 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Visitors to the Grand Haven area may see something odd peeking back at them from the water -- shipwrecks now more visible because lake and river levels have fallen to historic lows.

"You can just walk out among them," said Craig Rich of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association in Holland. "They are actually sticking out of the water."

Rich said that since January, the association has found five ships and boats previously under several feet of water in the Grand Haven area. They are among hundreds, or maybe thousands, of cargo boats lost to Lake Michigan since shipping began in the Great Lakes.

It's a rare occurrence, Grand Haven harbormaster Jeff Hawke said, and for the time being, the ships that have surfaced will stay put, since they don't pose a hazard to navigation. He said his team started seeing old ships at the end of 2012, about the time water levels hit record lows in the Lake Michigan-Huron system.

Two of the ships have storied histories, Rich said, including a former life on the Detroit River.

Just off the north edge of Harbor Island in Grand Haven sits the remains of the Aurora, built in 1887 in Cleveland. Rich said the boat was 300 feet long -- nearly the size of a football field -- and about 40 feet wide. Before finding its way to Grand Haven, the Aurora traveled the Detroit River, where, in 1898, it burned to the water line. After being rebuilt, Rich said, the boat carried salt.

In 1927, the boat was towed into the Grand Haven harbor, and in 1932, it burned again. Shipwreck hunters now will see that part of the boat that was underwater while the top burned, Rich said.

Unlike boats lost to the deeper waters of the lake, boats that may be surfacing along the shoreline were burned by their owners or cut down to barges when their usefulness had waned, said Cari Woday of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven. She said she has been to the site of the Aurora, and when she first saw it, she wasn't quite sure what it was.

"There are these big crosses of steel," she said, describing what Rich said was part of the hull sticking out of the water. "They almost look like massive nails."

Just to the west of the Aurora, closer to the city's power plant, is the L.L. Barth, another freighter, built in 1889 in Bay City, where Rich said it was used to move coal around the Great Lakes. First called the Wilhelm, the L.L. Barth was used in 1916 to haul sand and gravel from Lake Michigan to Chicago, where the material was used to create the city's famous Lake Shore Drive.

Visitors can see the boats from shore, Hawke said, and Rich said they are fairly easy to paddle or boat around. A good point to launch would be the Coho Drive boat launch, on the north side of Harbor Island, Woday said.

The exposure from low water levels will offer a new viewing experience for visitors. "If they are going by on boats, what they are going to see is a whole lot more than before," Rich said.

Detroit Free Press


Volunteers needed for the SS Meteor spring work weekend

4/16 - Superior, Wis. – The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and Superior Public Museums, seek volunteers for the SS Meteor spring work weekend April 27 and 28. Come join the fun and help maintain the last whaleback ship designed by Captain Alexander McDougall. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday. A complimentary soup and sandwich lunch will be provided on Saturday by Grandma’s Sportsgarden. The Meteor is located on Barker’s Island in Superior. For more information, or if you can volunteer, please contact Sarah at Superior Public Museums – 715-394-5712.


Updates -  April 16

Our over worked News Editors went to bed Sunday night without saving the Monday News. If there is an issue with the site please e-mail and any issues will be addressed.

Monday's News Photo Gallery


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.

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, Michigan, 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. Marys 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: 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.


Port Reports -  April 15

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday was an active day with three vessels coming into port. Mississagi anchored off Alpena Saturday night and made its way to the Alpena Oil Dock at 8 Sunday morning. Once the lines were secure, she unloaded salt from Goderich, Ont. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge around noon and loaded cement for Milwaukee, Wis. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula were not far behind the Alpena, and tied up at Lafarge by 1:30 pm. The pair unloaded coal until late evening, then backed out into the bay to anchor so the Alpena could depart. The Defiance and Ashtabula are expected to come back in to finish unloading coal.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee sailed from the Marblehead stone dock early Sunday for Marysville, Mich., on the St. Clair River.Sunday night the CSL Niagara was off Lorain enroute to Sandusky. The freighter was expected at the NS coal dock early Monday to begin loading.

Erie, Pa.
The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber are now sailing. They left the shipyard early Sunday morning and headed upbound.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Victoriaborg departed at 5:30 a.m. for the canal. Algoma Guardian arrived at 10:15 a.m. and Algoma Progress arrived at 1 p.m. Both cargos of iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. On Sunday, Algowood departed at 7:30 a.m. from Dofasco. The CCGC Griffon arrived in Burlington at 5 p.m., going to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters.


Shifting ice creates armada at anchor on Lake Superior

4/15 - Duluth, Minn. – The wind shifted, the ice moved and a maritime traffic jam formed just outside the Duluth Harbor on Saturday.

“I guess we call it our perfect storm,” said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “In the five years I’ve been here I haven’t seen it.”

As many as nine ships were anchored on Lake Superior on Saturday morning, their entrance to the harbor blocked by a shield of ice. From up the hill and up close, dozens of photographers captured the unusual sight for posterity, and for social media.

Among them was Andrea Hayden, 36, of the Congdon neighborhood, who took pictures from the parking lot of First United Methodist Church at about noon as her husband, Andy Hayden, 39, looked on and their sons Owen, 6, and Charlie, 4, played in the snow. Having heard about the anchored armada, Andrea and Andy picked up their sons after swimming lessons and headed up to one of Duluth’s most popular vantage points.

“It was a unique, ‘hey we better get down there and check it out’ ” moment, Andy Hayden said.

Plenty of locals and out-of-towners alike enjoyed the spectacle from Canal Park, alongside the Duluth ship canal. The canal, open water just a few days ago, was choked with ice; the walkways alongside were covered with snow and slush.

The sudden ice buildup was unexpected, said Justin Bravatto, U.S. Coast Guard command duty officer for the Sault Ste. Marie sector, which is responsible for icebreaking operations on Lake Superior.

“All that ice that was out there was shore ice that wasn’t showing up on radar,” Bravatto said.

The Duluth Harbor had been clear of ice for a couple of weeks and the Duluth-based cutter Alder had been placed on standby, Bravatto said. Crewmembers were required to be back within 24 hours if called.

The strong northeast winds on Thursday and Friday, gusting in excess of 50 mph, brought the ice back, and the Alder crew was called back on Friday, Bravatto said.

The Alder, accompanied by a couple of tugs, started making a channel by 10 a.m. Saturday, Yorde said. Within half an hour, the Arthur M. Anderson, loaded with iron ore pellets, left the harbor, followed by the Paul R. Tregurtha, loaded with coal.

They had to leave before the first of the waiting boats could make its way in, she said. The 634-foot Great Republic was first to arrive via the Duluth entry, followed by the 1,000-foot American Integrity. Both ships passed under one lift of the Aerial Lift Bridge, leaving a trail of swirling ice chunks in their wake.

Among the boats still waiting at anchor on Saturday afternoon was a saltie, the Federal Welland, that had arrived by Thursday but was unable to get into port because of high waves, Yorde said. It could take until Tuesday for all of the boats to get back on schedule.

“The busiest people right now are the fleet managers, the operations folks that are sitting back at their desks with their telephones” trying to coordinate boat schedules, Yorde said.

The shipping season already is in full swing, she said, with two vessels expected Sunday and another four on Monday. But the weather forecast contained a worrisome wild card.

These nine freighters were anchored on Lake Superior off the Twin Ports on Saturday morning: Federal Welland, Great Republic, American Integrity, Stewart J. Cort, Burns Harbor, CSL Laurentien, CSL Tadoussac, CSL Assiniboine, American Century

Duluth News Tribune


Environmentalists concerned over Great Lakes oil proposals

4/15 - Detroit, Mich. – Two oil projects in the works could significantly increase the amount of heavy crude oil moving on -- and near -- the Great Lakes, causing alarm among environmentalists because they involve the same heavy oil that was behind a $1-billion oil spill on the Kalamazoo River in 2010 that remains an ecological disaster.

The company fined for that spill -- Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge -- is behind one of the new projects. Its new venture would nearly double the amount of crude oil shipped on a major pipeline from Canada to Lake Superior -- transporting more oil than the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that has caused an environmental outcry and fierce debate in Congress. The second project involves a refinery on Lake Superior's shore building a dock to load oil barges, allowing the shipment of up to 13 million barrels of crude oil per year throughout the Great Lakes to Midwest refineries and markets beyond.

Together, the projects would mean a new reality for the Great Lakes basin, heightening risks to the world's most vital freshwater source, according to environmental groups.

"It's pretty alarming," said Beth Wallace of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center in Ann Arbor. "We've known for a while that the Midwest has been the major consumer for these tar sands. Now, we're becoming the transportation hub for it."

Added Nancy Shiffler, a Sierra Club volunteer based in Ann Arbor, "Oil tankers on Lake Superior; what could possibly go wrong? That clearly sounds like a bad idea."

Officials from Enbridge and the company behind the dock, Calumet Specialty Products Partners of Superior, Wis., say they can run their operations safely.

"We have six pipelines that cross the (U.S.-Canadian) border now," said Denise Hamsher, director of project planning for Enbridge's major projects group. "They've been transporting crude oil since the 1950s and have been transporting oils from the Canadian oil sands for decades."

What's often being shipped isn't the oil seen gushing out of Texas oil towers in old movies. It's tar sands crude or dilbit, a semisolid form of petroleum also known as diluted bitumen.

The sludgy product requires mixture with chemicals or other petroleum products to move through pipelines. Environmentalists argue it's a far harsher product on pipelines, and much more difficult to clean up when spills happen. It was dilbit that spilled during the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history, a July 26, 2010, pipe breach in Marshall that devastated wetlands, Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River. The product combined with river sediments and sank to the bottom, making traditional oil cleanup booms and surface skimmers ineffective.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, fined Enbridge $3.7 million as a result of the spill. Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered Enbridge to do additional river-bottom dredging to clean up the spill. The company announced last month that it expects cleanup costs to exceed $1 billion.

Now, Enbridge is seeking federal approval to nearly double the capacity of oil shipped on its Line 67, or Alberta Clipper pipeline, a 36-inch diameter line that runs 1,000 miles from the western Canadian oil sands region east to Superior, Wis., on the shore of Lake Superior. If approved, the pipe could ship up to 880,000 barrels of oil per day.

Within the past year, Enbridge also received approval to expand by an additional 50,000 barrels per day the delivery of oil transported under the Great Lakes on a 60-year-old pipeline from Superior to Sarnia, Ontario, through the Straits of Mackinac, and for a newer, bigger pipeline stretching across southern Michigan from Indiana to the St. Clair River in Marysville.

Enbridge's expansion is occurring even though PHMSA ordered the company last August to submit comprehensive plans to improve the safety record of its entire, 1,900-mile pipeline system, which extends into 16 U.S. states including Michigan. PHMSA officials cited multiple recent pipeline failures and concern that the company's ability to ensure the safety of its system is inadequate.

"There's such a large hole in the regulations that are in place that they are able to expand a pipeline network that's currently being designated unsafe by PHMSA," Wallace said.

The debate on whether the U.S. should ramp up its use of heavy crude oil has largely centered on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which would deliver more than 800,000 barrels of heavy crude from the Canadian province of Alberta through the continental U.S. to refineries in Texas. Proponents say the pipeline will create jobs and provide a reliable source for petroleum that doesn't come from overseas nations sometimes hostile to U.S. interests. Opponents question the safety of the pipelines, the environmental impact of the tar sands and how many jobs would actually be created.

But more quietly, Canadian firms such as Enbridge have expanded movement of Canadian oil sands south and east. Enbridge's Alberta Clipper pipeline began operation in 2010 and transports about 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day into the U.S.

The company is now seeking to increase its Alberta Clipper line to its full design capacity of 880,000 barrels of heavy crude oil per day, through adding horsepower to pumping units in Minnesota and later constructing additional pumping stations in that state.

Wallace questioned the continued approval of expanded pipeline operations for Enbridge, noting that the dilbit it delivers "is a completely different product." The U.S. government doesn't even consider it crude oil, she said.

"Oil companies have absolutely no idea how to clean it up," she said. "It's very concerning we are allowing these expansions to go on throughout the Great Lakes region without understanding these basic issues."

Relatively little shipping of oil currently occurs on the Great Lakes. That will soon change if Calumet Specialty Products Partners gets its way.

The company operates a refinery in Superior, Wis., on Lake Superior's shore. It's exploring building and operating a crude oil loading dock on Lake Superior through which up to 13 million barrels of crude oil per year would be transported, according to a company filing with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

"We have kind of a strategically located access there in Superior, with access to the Great Lakes," said Todd Borgmann, vice president of business development for Calumet.

A considerable amount of crude oil transport is occurring on railways, "and barges are more efficient, safer and more economical than rail," he said.

While the company "is going full steam ahead in permitting," it is still talking to potential customers and will make a decision on whether to proceed with the project by summer. Company officials said they could be ready to serve oil barges by the 2015 shipping season.

"Shipping crude on any sort of water is delicate," Borgmann said. "We want to make it as safe as possible."

According to a 2010 Army Corps of Engineers study, 3.7 million tons of petroleum products were shipped on the Great Lakes that year on both foreign and domestic ships, with just 48,000 tons of that crude petroleum. That's dwarfed by the nearly 51 million tons of iron ore, 31 million tons of coal and 26 million tons of sand, gravel and other rock products shipped on the lakes.

Lt. Judson Coleman, chief of waterways management for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Unit in Duluth, Minn., said he has only looked into the Calumet dock project unofficially, as no formal proposal has been submitted for consideration.

The Coast Guard's requirements would include adequate equipment and ability to respond to spills, as well as requirements that oil tanker ships have the double hulls required on all new tankers using U.S. ports since the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska in 1989. The project would also require permitting from the Wisconsin DNR.

"Obviously, there are concerns," Coleman said. "But we have those regulations in place for a reason. As long as companies are meeting those requirements, they are doing what we require them to do."

Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, noted that the region has long been a center for petroleum refining, but the expansion of the transport of what he called "dirty crude" is something new, with many ramifications for air and water quality.

"We need to tighten up the rules that go into construction of these facilities," he said. "We need to improve monitoring of how these facilities are operating, so that at any moment, we know if an incident is about to occur. And we need to be able to respond almost instantly when a spill occurs. Experience shows us we're not ready to do any of those things."

Recent years of lower lake levels have resulted in cargo ships carrying reduced loads to avoid hitting bottom on Great Lakes shipping channels. That and other factors make shipping oil on the Great Lakes ill-advised, said the Sierra Club's Shiffler.

"If they are going to be shipping more of the tar sands oil out of Canada, the consequences of a spill of that kind of stuff, as we've already seen with the Kalamazoo River, is pretty problematic," she said. "One spill from a large tanker can do an awful lot of damage. I'm not sure it's a risk we want to take with Lake Superior."

Detroit Free Press


Toronto Marine Historical Society holding silent auction

4/15 - The Toronto Marine Historical Society has announced that its 16th Annual Silent Auction is now open. There are lots of Great Lakes memorabilia and other shipping related items. All proceeds from the auction go to support the work of the society, which is a non-profit, volunteer based organization. The complete list can be found at the society's website, Closing date for bids is May 5, 2013. You can save postage by picking up your items at the luncheon meeting on May 26.


Updates -  April 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Heron Bay, Howard L Shaw, Leecliffe Hall 2 and Scott Misener galleries
Lighthouse Gallery updated - Lake Erie, West Sister Island Light and Lake Michigan, Menominee North Pier Light
Saltie Gallery updates - Edenborg, Everhard Schulte, Federal Rhine, Hellespont Crusader, Irma, Victoriaborg.


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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

American Steamship Co.'s SAM LAUD was christened April 15, 1975. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

Masaba Steamship's steamer JOE S. MORROW entered service April 15, 1907. <P>

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. <P>

The tanker IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD began service April 15, 1948. <P>

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

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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. <P>

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.



Ice eases, traffic resumes at Duluth-Superior

4/14 - Duluth, Minn. – Calm winds Friday night and Saturday morning took pressure off the ice jam at Duluth, allowing the ice field to spread out and making vessel transits possible again at the Duluth Ship Canal.

Coast Guard cutter Alder departed Duluth around 10 a.m., and swiftly passed through the ice field and out into open water. Arthur M. Anderson, loaded with taconite pellets from the CN dock and assisted by the tug Nels J, was hot on Alder's heels. The Anderson's successful departure uncorked a flurry of vessel activity, pent up after two days of weather-related delays. Kaye E. Barker, also loaded with taconite pellets from CN, departed an hour after the Anderson. Fleetmate Paul R. Tregurtha got in line behind the Barker as she passed the Midwest Energy Terminal and shared the same lift of the Aerial Bridge. At the same time, the Great Republic arrived off the edge of the ice field and kept station a little to the north of the usual shipping lanes, allowing the downbound vessels to clear the ice before she made her way into the harbor, loaded with limestone for Hallet No. 5.

Overnight, the fleet anchored on Lake Superior awaiting entry into the harbor reached its peak of eight ships as the American Century, CSL Assiniboine, and CSL Tadoussac joined the CSL Laurentien, Federal Welland, Burns Harbor, Stewart J. Cort, and American Integrity. As soon as the Great Republic entered the ice field the anchored fleet began to shrink its numbers, as the American Integrity followed the Republic in on the same lift and went to Calumet Fuel to wait her turn behind the CSL Laurentien at Midwest Energy. CSL Laurentien was the next arrival; after the Aerial Bridge lowered to clear automobile traffic she arrived and proceeded to start her load at the coal dock.

After the Alder cleared Duluth she circled around and re-entered port through the Superior Entry. She found no major ice problems between the entry and the BNSF ore dock just inside the harbor, and soon the Stewart J. Cort was picking up her anchor and making her way in to load ore at BN. The afternoon parade wrapped up with Federal Welland weighing anchor and arriving with G-tug escort for CHS 1 in Superior. The Welland is not due to begin loading until Monday, but a forecasted return of easterly winds Sunday might mean that ice will once again hamper shipping traffic. The Welland elected to get into the dock early to avoid the risk of being delayed again.

Daylight's last activity was the American Century, which picked up her anchor and began lining up for the Duluth Entry just as the sun disappeared behind the hills of Duluth. She wasn't due to load until Sunday morning, after fleetmate American Integrity cleared Midwest Energy, but her crew may have been thinking about the impending return of easterly winds as well. If the ice re-jams on Sunday, any shipping delays may prove to be short-lived, as breezy south-westerlies are forecast to develop on Monday. If those winds develop as predicted the Twin Ports maritime community might breathe a sigh of relief as the ice field gets blown back out onto Lake Superior, at least for the time being.


Port Reports -  April 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lakes Contender took on her second cargo of the season from the Upper Harbor ore dock on Saturday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Algosoo departed Bay Shipbuilding Saturday early evening, her drydocking and inspection complete.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee was loading again Saturday night at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead. The Lower Lakes vessel sailed from the dock late Friday night for Fairport Harbor, where she discharged her cargo of aggregate. Manistee returned to the Lafarge dock Saturday evening.


Shipwreck placed on register of historic places

4/14 - Milwaukee, Wis. – A Lake Michigan shipwreck in Wisconsin waters has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The scow schooner Silver Lake, which sank in 1900 off Sheboygan County, and the Omaha Hotel built to accommodate train travelers stopping in Neillsville were recommended for the official national list of historic properties deemed worthy of preservation, the Wisconsin Historical Society announced Thursday.

The Silver Lake lies upright in 200 feet of water about seven miles northeast of Sheboygan. It's the only known example of a double centerboard scow schooner in Wisconsin waters, and possibly in all of the Great Lakes. Scow schooners were vital to small communities on Lake Michigan because they connected them with regional markets.

Built in 1889 at a Michigan shipyard, the Silver Lake was used during the height of the lumber boom. While traveling from what's now Ephraim to Racine, the Silver Lake encountered dense fog off Manitowoc and was run down by the car ferry Pere Marquette. One of the Silver Lake's crew members was killed.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Win a trip on the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott

4/14 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will provide more than 90 percent of the cost of maintaining this free website.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during Engineer's Weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win, and will be notified by mail and/or phone. All tickets orders must be received no later than Friday, June 21, 2013. Click here for complete details and ticket order form


Badger Cruise June 1

4/14 -  Book now for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger.

Join us in traveling aboard the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, OR re-board the Badger for a two-hour Wisconsin shoreline cruise with live entertainment and a party buffet.

Optional on Friday night, May 31, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


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 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, Wisconsin, 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.


Ice Jam at the Twin Ports

4/13 - East-northeasterly gales and ten to fifteen foot waves Thursday kept ships at their docks in the Twin Ports. Arthur M. Anderson and Kaye E. Barker sat loaded with taconite at the CN ore dock, both having delivered an inbound cargo to Hallett #5 next door. The Anderson delivered limestone, while the Kaye E. Barker brought in coal. The Barker was originally scheduled to leave Duluth in ballast to load ore at Marquette, but when she found herself weather-bound she loaded at CN Duluth instead. Paul R. Tregurtha loaded coal at Midwest Energy and then remained at the dock awaiting weather. Mesabi Miner was at the Calumet Fuel depot awaiting dock space at CN.

American Mariner had departed CHS with wheat for Buffalo very early Thursday, but anchored a few miles away north of the Poplar River to ride out the storm. During the late afternoon she chose to pick up her anchor and slow-bell into the weather. Thursday midday the Federal Welland was on approach to Duluth for CHS but after conferring with local tug crews about winds in Howards Pocket and an approaching band of visibility-killing heavy snow, she elected to delay her arrival. After a swing through potential anchorage locations off the Duluth Piers she turned about and slow-belled into the weather, a maneuver the American Mariner would soon duplicate. Federal Welland slowly motored back and forth between Duluth and Two Harbors for the rest of Thursday and into Friday morning, and no other vessels attempted departure as winds remained strong into the night.

That long period of sustained winds corralled a considerable amount of Lake Superior's remaining ice into the western tip of the lake. Significant snowfall likely added to the mix. By dusk Thursday a loose mass of ice extended far enough off the beach to surround the jetties at the Duluth entry and fill the ship canal.

On Friday morning snowfall abated, revealing a field of ice extending about half a mile offshore of Minnesota and Wisconsin Points. North Carolina, Great Lakes Towing's local lead icebreaking tug, made an investigatory foray out through the Duluth ship canal. She found packed but mushy ice just inside the Aerial Bridge and in the ship canal, and then encountered solidly-jammed brash ice at least ten feet thick at the outer end of the canal between the lighthouses. North Carolina proceeded back into the harbor and down the Superior Front Channel in an attempt to see if ice conditions were any better at the Superior Entry. She found heavy enough ice from Connors Point to Barker's Island that it was decided that Coast Guard icebreaker assistance would be needed to clear a sufficient path for larger freighters.

The Coast Guard icebreaking buoy tender Alder was expected to make a try at the ice on Saturday morning. In the meantime all ships currently in port have elected to stay put, and a quickly growing fleet of ships is dropping anchor outside the Twin Ports harbor awaiting a break in the ice jam. CSL Laurentien was first to anchor, arriving off Duluth sometime overnight Thursday into Friday. Federal Welland joined her Friday afternoon after a long slog of slow going awaiting winds in the area to subside. Shortly thereafter old ex-fleetmates Burns Harbor and Stewart J. Cort dropped anchor awaiting passage through the Superior Entry to the BNSF ore dock. The Cort had earlier taken shelter in the lee of the western Apostle Islands. American Integrity was approaching the anchorage late Friday evening. American Century, CSL Assiniboine, Great Republic, and CSL Tadoussac are all expected Saturday morning, and may end up joining the party at anchor or diverting to other ports if the ice jam isn't cleared up quickly.

Winds at Duluth-Superior are expected to be light and northwesterly on Saturday, possibly relieving some of the pressure on the jammed ice field. Winds are forecast to increase and swing back to easterly on Sunday, which could reinforce the ice field and may thwart shipping further.


Fednav renames Federal Venture

4/13 - On Thursday, another Fednav bulker was renamed in Montreal. Federal Venture is now named Adventure.

Rene Beauchamp


Port Reports -  April 13

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee loaded Friday at the LaFarge stone dock at Marblehead.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The harbour tour boat Oriole broke free from its moorings early Friday morning in high winds. Oriole was rescued from inside the island airport "Keep Out" buoys by three marine police vessels and the fire-tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie. Oriole was towed to Hanlan's Point and moored there for the day. The CCG vessel Limnos anchored in the harbour for shelter overnight, and later tied to Pier 28 when the winds subsided.


Ice breaking at Keweenaw and Drummond Island

4/13 - At the request of the Isle Royal National Park Service, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Alder will conduct ice breaking operations in the Keweenaw Waterway. The ice breaking operation will begin Wednesday April 18, from the west and the open waters of Lake Superior, through Portage Lake, to Keweenaw Bay ending at the open waters of Lake Superior to the east.

The United States Coast Guard will conduct ice breaking operations along the International Boundary Line surrounding Drummond Island beginning April 15.


New Great Lakes research vessel to be built

4/13 - Ann Arbor, Mich. - The U.S. Geological Survey awarded a contract last Friday for the construction of a large research vessel for Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior to Burger Boat Company of Manitowoc, Wis.

The vessel will replace the 38-year-old Grayling, bringing the USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) large vessel fleet up-to-date. The new Grayling will be stationed at the USGS base in Cheboygan, Mich., and will incorporate modern marine standards and state-of-the-art technology to more safely and effectively conduct fisheries research.

"I am delighted to have achieved this important milestone that will benefit the Great Lakes region for many decades," said USGS GLSC Director Russell Strach. "This investment would not have been possible without the support from many key partners. The new research vessel will come fully equipped with 21st century laboratories and scientific instrumentation to support fishery science for the Great Lakes."

The funding for this expenditure was accrued from two prior appropriations and held in an account that was not affected by the sequester.

The replacement vessel is expected to be a commercial grade 78-foot vessel, and will be designed and constructed for a 40 to 50-year service life. This vessel will be capable of performing critical scientific and mission-related tasks, including dragging nets along the lake bottom, catching fish, and using sound-waves to detect fish and assess their abundance.

"The entire Burger team is very excited to be awarded this significant contract," said Jim Ruffolo, President and CEO of Burger Boat Company. "The Grayling will further reinforce Burger's commitment to designing and constructing quality vessels that meet each owners specific requirements, whether they are custom yachts or commercial vessels."

This new contract will create additional highly skilled shipbuilding jobs at the Manitowoc shipyard, and the project will help support numerous companies that supply raw materials and equipment for the project.

For over 50 years the USGS GLSC has operated a unique and valuable deepwater fish ecology and assessment program that is the foundation for fisheries management throughout the Great Lakes.

Burger, at 150 years old, is one of the world's oldest shipyards. From its facility in Manitowoc, Wis., Burger's craftsmen have built hundreds of high quality vessels as long as 260 feet (80 meters) that can be found in ports around the world. Today, Burger continues its legacy of designing and building vessels to the highest standard from its fully updated shipyard.

JMS Naval Architects of Mystic, Conn., developed the preliminary design of the new Grayling.

The USGS GLSC maintains a fleet of fishery research vessels on each of the Great Lakes to meet the scientific research needs of state, tribal, and federal resource managers for understanding and effectively managing the Great Lakes fishery.


2013 S.S. Badger Gathering reservations being taken

 Plans have been completed for the annual Boatnerd Gathering aboard the S.S. Badger for a round trip from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, WI and return on Saturday, June 1, 2013. While in Manitowoc Boatnerds will have an option to reboard the Badger for a Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise or visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.

 Staying on board the Badger on Friday night is also an option. Friday night guests will be treated to guided tours of the pilothouse and engine room, and buffet breakfast on Saturday morning. Only 28 staterooms are available.

 See the Gathering Page for all the details.


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.

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

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. Marys 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.


Fednav bulker Federal Progress renamed

4/12 - Earlier this week, the Fednav bulker Federal Progress was renamed Progress in Montreal. According to the Port of Montreal website the ship is now registered in Panama. Her previous port of registry was Hong Kong.

René Beauchamp


Port Reports -  April 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Pathfinder and Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Algoma Navigator arrived at 1 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for Dofasco.


Skyline development in Port McNicoll in peril, Keewatin's future at stake

4/12 - Port McNicoll, Ont. – The S.S. Keewatin is on thin ice in Port McNicoll.

Eric Conroy, the 350-foot steamship's captain, has threatened to pull up anchor and take the ship elsewhere if Tay Township council doesn't approve plans by its mother corporation, Skyline, for its massive development in Port McNicoll.

“Skyline has reached the end of its tether with Tay. They've invested $5.5 million and cannot get permission to get a shovel in the ground,” Conroy said during his presentation to Tay council Wednesday night. He brought about 50 members of the Friends of Keewatin with him to the meeting.

“Skyline has Deerhurst (Resort), the King Edward Hotel and half of Blue Mountain. They are all making money. In Tay, they have nothing to show for over $5 million,” he said.

“Mr. (Gil) Blutrich told me personally we should be looking for a new home for the Keewatin. Mr. Blutrich has reached a point where it has to be fixed or he's going to go and the Keewatin goes with him,” Conroy added. Blutrich, who is the chair and president of Skyline, was not at the meeting.

Conroy showed an eight-minute video of his adventure in bringing the S.S. Keewatin — the only steamship of its kind still in existence — home from Michigan, an ordeal that involved dredging of the harbour where the ship's keel has sunk into four feet of silt. The moving of the ship was funded by Blutrich at a cost of more $2.5 million, said Conroy. The video ended with Conroy receiving a Diamond Jubilee medal.

More than 200 volunteers have put 6,000 volunteer hours into working on the ship since it came home last June. Conroy said fans of the Keewatin want it to remain in Port McNicoll.

“There's a whole lot of people who want to see their opportunity to grow a tourism base, tax dollars and attract new residents,” he said.

“Friends of the Keewatin support such a move. We have a problem. It has to be fixed. Only blame will come. You, mayor, have the power to do it. Your move, mayor.”

Tay Mayor Scott Warnock said the township's "support for the Keewatin has never changed.”

“I know the people personally. I know the time and effort they have put in. I know why you want to see this mighty ship stay. To move it is a slap in the face on everybody,” he said. “I've been a member of council for 16 years. I was here on Day 1. I made a commitment to Blutrich that I would stick around to see this come to fruition. We are prepared to work with Mr. Blutrich to make this happen."

Warnock said it “has to be a two-way conversation."

"It can't be a one-way conversation. There has to be some give and take on both sides. It takes two to tango," he said. “We know the importance of this development. We know the importance of the Keewatin. There is a commitment from this council to keep the ship here.”

During a break in Wednesday's meeting, Tay's director of planning and development, Mara Burton, said she wants to “advance the project,” but said it's not as easy as buying an existing business such as Horseshoe Resort.

“It's a project from scratch. The area they are working right on now (for the Cargill Pier housing development) is the most challenging. It has impacted soils. It has a provincially significant wetland. It has shoreline on Georgian Bay. It has species at risk that are using those lands. There's a number of things that make the sight complex and it's a substantial area,” she said.

The resubmission for that part of the development came to the township Feb. 4.

“We are in process. There has to be an engineering review, a fire-department review and a public meeting has to be held,” Burton explained. “We have minimum standards we have to meet. I presume they expected it would be approved by now.”

A formal submission for the yacht club has not yet been submitted, said Burton.

Drawings for the yacht club along with the railcar restaurant “just came in, but they don't plan on doing that until two years from now,” Burton said.

“They met with us in March and in April in regard to doing an interim yacht club for 42 slips and no buildings,” she said.

In September, Burton alerted council Skyline had been in arrears to the township since December 2011. She told council Skyline owed the township $50,000 and suggested council stop working with the company.

Council invited Skyline CEO Michael Sneyd to come before council. He appeared at the Nov. 21 meeting and presented a cheque to Joanne Sanders, director of finance.

He told the council it has taken him months of work, but the company has the financial backing to move ahead with the massive 10-year, $1.6-billion development of about 1,000 acres, including 14 kilometres of waterfront on both sides of the channel on Georgian Bay formerly owned by Canadian Pacific.

Also, at the time, Sneyd was looking for a long list of approvals for from the township for the development of the yacht club marina and a second phase of housing development.

“My goal is to have (the yacht club) operational for the spring of next year,” Sneyd said. “It's important Skyline's team and Tay Township's team work very hard over the winter to make sure we have the approvals in place. It would be major disaster if we don't have this going in the spring."

Midland Free Press


Storms cause sewage discharge at Milwaukee

4/12 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Milwaukee River at Saukville, Wis., beginning Thursday night, adding to a flood warning issued Wednesday for the river downstream of the border of Cedarburg and Mequon.

As river levels continued to inch upward, businesses along the river in Thiensville were piling sandbags to block flood flows from their properties. Village Park remained under water Thursday.

Flood warnings remained in effect Thursday for the Fox River at Waukesha, Burlington in Racine County, and New Munster in Kenosha County, where water already covered low-lying roads.

Damp and cold weather is forecast Thursday and Friday in southeastern Wisconsin, but the threat of heavy rain has diminished, the National Weather Service said. With heavy rain out of Thursday's revised forecasts for Milwaukee, crews started opening gates allowing any remaining overflows to drain to the deep tunnel, MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer said.

Combined sanitary and storm sewers in central Milwaukee and eastern Shorewood began overflowing to local waterways Wednesday morning as the deep tunnel filled from heavy rain.

Wastewater in the tunnel - a combination of storm water and sewage - was pumped to the Jones Island sewage treatment plant overnight and tunnel volume dropped to 250 million gallons by 7 a.m. Thursday. Main tunnel capacity is 432 million gallons, and the available space should be adequate to store any combined sewer overflows occurring Thursday, officials said.

Volumes in the main tunnel climbed to 310 million gallons at 1:45 p.m. as it resumed receiving combined sewer overflows.

Diverting combined sewer overflows to waterways is an emergency measure to prevent sewage backups into basements. No estimate of the volume of untreated wastewater that poured into rivers and the lake was available Thursday.

Both the Jones Island and South Shore treatment plants continued operating at capacity Thursday. A northwest side tunnel that receives excess flows only from communities with separate sanitary sewers had collected 87 million gallons of sewage and storm water as of 1:45 p.m. Thursday. It was close to reaching its capacity of 89 million gallons so MMSD officials started draining it into the deep tunnel, officials said.

On Thursday morning, the district was continuing the emergency step of pumping wastewater from the tunnel to disinfection chambers at Jones Island where it was mixed with chlorine before being discharged to the lake. A state permit allows the district to divert up to 100 million gallons of wastewater a day from the tunnel around the full treatment process at Jones Island during heavy storms.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


“Know Your Ships” guide hits the streets

4/12 - The Grosse Pointes, Mich. – The editor of "Know Your Ships" keeps his annual publication timely by featuring Great Lakes nautical milestones. He also does it by making the book timeless.

This year's 184-page edition includes 16 additional pages of articles and photographs about a longtime shipping company and the anniversary of a major storm. "I always have more stuff than there's room for in the book," said Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher.

"Know Your Ships" was first printed in the late 1950s. The 2013 edition includes work-a-day photos of freighters churning through ice-crusted connecting channels, loading iron or from the Mesabi Range and more. A feature story is about the 100th anniversary of Interlake Steamship Company, operator of four 1,000-footers. LeLievre also paid tribute to the storm of 1913.

"It was the worst storm to hit the Great Lakes in terms of vessels and lives lost," he said. Eight ships with 199 crew members went down on Lake Huron alone.

"Biggest steamer on the lakes is lost," according to a headline reproduced from "The London (Ontario, Canada) Evening Free Press," reporting wreckage washing ashore at Goderich.

"I tied it into a big event in November in Goderich commemorating the storm," LeLievre said.

He signs copies of the book 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 13, in the Maritime Center at Vantage Point in downtown Port Huron. Admission is free.

"A couple guys who help me with the book probably will be there, too," LeLievre said.

The Maritime Center is an indoor outlook with floor-to-ceiling picture windows, tables and a sandwich shop. It's operated by Acheson Ventures next to the St. Clair River at the mouth of the Black River.

On good days, freighter watchers see boats steaming up and down the river, refueling at the Imperial Fuel Dock or unloading cargo across the driver in Sarnia, Ontario. Because only one ship is allowed to pass at a time through tight waters under the Blue Water Bridge, freighters heading upstream idle off of Vantage Point until downstream traffic clears.

The book signing coincides with a wood model freighter-building seminar from 1 to 3 p.m. for youngsters age 12 and under. Individual kits for tugboats, salties, tug-barge combinations and traditional freighters cost $5 each.

Many photos in "Know Your Ships" are taken by freighter industry insiders. They capture perspectives unobtainable by most members of the general public.

Photographer Chanda McClain stood on the bridge of the 728-foot Joseph L. Block to record a captain's eye view of the oncoming 806-foot Hon. James L. Oberstar in low fog in the St. Marys River. Another insider, Peter Groh, put viewers beside the Philip R. Clarke loading raw materials at the massive ore docks in Duluth, Minn.

"He's a young, fifth-generation sailor," LeLievre said of Groh. "His dad is first mate on the St. Marys Challenger and he and his brother work on the Stewart J. Cort."

LeLievre took many of the photos. He said he sets his camera to the smallest aperture and highest shutter speed possible.

"When you have a smaller aperture, you're going through the center part of the lens, which generally is the better part," he said. "It's sharper. A high shutter speed allows you to stop the action."

"Know Your Ships" lists dimensions, specifications, year of construction and naming history of commercial, government, coast guard, research vessels and museum ships on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. The book includes illustrated guides to boat stacks and company flags. Ship radio channels are listed along with explanations of boat whistles, and travel times between call-in points, such as from the St. Clair crib light and Port Huron (3 hours, 50 minutes).

Copies are sold in stores and at in softbound, spiral bound and iBook form. Prices range from $20.95 to $12.95.

Vantage Point is located at 51 Water Street, Port Huron. For more information, call (810) 985-4817.

Grosse Pointe News


New lighthouse book features Bay County's Saginaw River Rear Range Light

4/12 - Bangor Township, Mich. – Bootleggers stacking cases of illicit liquor at a Detroit lighthouse, children bravely saving expensive gear as a lighthouse collapses, and an abandoned lighthouse operated by ghosts are among the tales of Michigan lighthouses in a new book in the “Images of America” series.

The Saginaw River Rear Range Light in Bay County's Bangor Township also is featured in the book “Lighthouses of Eastern Michigan” by Wil and Pat O’Connell, part of the historical series published by Arcadia Publishing Co.

The 127-page volume provides a look at a few of the lighthouses lost to history and others that still are in operation or being preserved and restored by local communities.

“It was so much fun to find the stories of each of these lighthouses,” said co-author Pat O’Connell. She and husband, Wil, worked for about two years putting together the stories and photographs of the historic lighthouses.

Ohio natives, the O’Connells both are retired General Motors accountants, and had authored an earlier book on Ohio lighthouses.

She said one of the most interesting stories is of the Prohibition-era use of the Detroit lighthouse on Belle Isle as a drop-off point for smugglers bringing whiskey across the Detroit River from Ontario, Canada.

In a chapter titled “Secrets of Slightly Sinful Lighthouses,” the book details through photographs and newspaper accounts from the time how the lighthouse became a valuable site for bootleggers throughout the 1920s and early 1930s.

O’Connell said they both were fascinated by prohibition era history as it affected both Ohio and Michigan.

Another fascinating element of life on the Great Lakes is weather and that’s where lighthouses literally saved lives for two centuries. The O’Connells depict numerous lighthouses of Lake Huron that guided thousands of floundering ships to port during horrendous storms.

They tell of the storm that leveled the lighthouse at Bois Blanc Island and how the valuable gear was saved by a young girl. The keeper was away visiting Mackinac Island when a storm hit and his daughter and younger son were alone in the lighthouse. She managed to save 13 valuable lamps, reflectors and other gear. She and her brother got to safety just as the tower collapsed.

Another strange tale is that of the 150-year-old Presque Isle Lighthouse that suddenly came to life years after it had been abandoned and the last keeper had died.

“It is sad that some of these old lighthouses are gone, especially those around St. Clair and the Detroit River,” Pat O’Connell said. “Still, there are many wonderful ones remaining such as the one at Tawas or the Saginaw River, and Point au Barques.

While not from Michigan, the couple traveled through the state extensively, especially touring the old lighthouses and other maritime landmarks.

The page on the Saginaw River Rear Range Light points out that originally there was a huge 65-foot tall tower in 1841 called the Saginaw River Lighthouse, and was replaced by a more traditional-looking light in 1876, the one which remains today as a historic sentinel on the west side of the river.

“I think that stories of the people who manned these lighthouses are so interesting and they bring the lighthouses to life even today,” Pat O’Connell said.

She said she is happy so many organizations and communities are preserving the lighthouses so the stories not only can be told but people can see the landmarks that go with them.

The book is available through

The Bay City Times


Book now for a 4th of July celebration cruise on Lake Michigan

4/12 - The may be no better way to celebrate the birthday of the United States than by cruising to picturesque towns and sights in the heart of America July 3-8 aboard the passenger vessel Yorktown.

Enjoy the bustle and cosmopolitan energy of Chicago to the car-free charm of Victorian Mackinac Island; from whimsical Charlevoix to a thrilling dune schooner ride through the Saugatuck sand dunes. And let’s not forget time aboard ship to simply relax and enjoy Yorktown’s amenities, or take in some swimming or kayaking. The Yorktown sails from, and returns to, Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Besides Chicago, ports of call include Saugatuck, Charlevoix and Mackinac Island.

If you mention the BoatNerd Web site when booking the cruise, you’ll not only get a discounted rate, a donation will also be made to by London-based The Cruise People Ltd. For more information, email The reservations phone number in the U.K. is 0800 526 313 (toll free).


Win a Trip on the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott

A raffle to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise, during the 2013 shipping season, on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott, depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will provide more than 90% of the cost of maintaining this free website.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during engineer's weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win and will be notified by mail and/or phone. All tickets orders must be received no later than Friday, June 21, 2013. Click here for complete details and ticket order form.


Updates -  April 12

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Ben W Calvin, Henry Ford II, and Lemoyne galleries


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 20 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, two 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.


Port Reports -  April 11

Calcite, Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The next vessel scheduled to load is Cason J. Callaway, due in on Friday in the morning for the South Dock. James L. Kuber is due on Saturday in the early morning for the North Dock. Vessel traffic at Cedarville this week included the Arthur M. Anderson on Monday, which loaded and departed along with the Great Republic on Tuesday. Wilfred Sykes was due to load at the Cedarville dock on Wednesday in the late afternoon. Philip R. Clarke is scheduled to load at Cedarville on Saturday in the late evening. For Port Inland, the Wilfred Sykes was due to load on April 10, however she has since been cancelled and now the Joseph L. Block is scheduled to be the first arrival at Port Inland for the 2013 season. The Block is due in on Thursday, April 18 at about lunchtime to load limestone.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson was due to arrive and load on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Following the Thompson, the next vessel due is the Great Lakes Trader in the early morning on Thursday. There are no boats scheduled for Friday. Due on Saturday is the Algosteel in the late afternoon, and due in on Sunday is the Manistee in the early evening to load.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Both Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and H. Lee White were due to arrive at the Torco Dock on Wednesday with iron ore, the Martin arriving in the mid-afternoon, and the White due to arrive during the early evening. Next due in at the Torco Ore Dock with iron ore will be the John B. Aird on Thursday at lunchtime. Due in on Saturday and making her first ever appearance in Toledo will be CSL's Baie St. Paul. She is due on Saturday in the very early morning to unload iron ore at the Torco Ore Dock. Her CSL fleetmate Atlantic Huron is also due in on Saturday in the late morning to unload ore at Torco. Vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include H. Lee White on Monday along with James L. Kuber. Algoma Progress loads at CSX on Monday, April 22 and Lakes Contender loads on Wednesday, April 24. Hon. James L. Oberstar loads coal at CSX on Thursday, April 25 and rounding out the CSX Coal Dock lineup is the John D. Leitch due to load on Monday, April 29. Nothing is due in at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock and no traffic is presently scheduled for that dock. Vessels remaining in lay-up include Adam E. Cornelius at the Old Interlake dock, Phoenix Star in the large drydock at Ironhead Shipyard, Algosar in the small drydock also at Ironhead Shipyard, Lewis J. Kuber (barge only) at the Midwest Terminal International Dock, St. Clair at CSX #2 Dock and the American Fortitude and American Valor at the Lakefront Docks. Manistee, which was also laid-up at the Lakefront Docks, should be departing Toledo at any time.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Victoriaborg arrived at 8 a.m. with manganese for Pier 12N. Federal Kumano continued to sit in the anchorage. She has been there since March 25.


New Bella Desgagnes expected at Halifax and Blanc-Sablon

4/11 - Quebec City, Que. Groupe Desgagnés, and its subsidiary, Relais Nordik, wish to inform the population of the Middle and Lower North Shore that the Bella Desgagnés is expected to arrive in Halifax on the morning of April 9th and in Blanc-Sablon on the morning of April 11th. The ship's route can be followed live at

Ship visits will begin in the afternoon on April 11 at Blanc-Sablon, and will continue from village to village. In villages with larger populations, visits will be divided into two groups, i.e. by invitation and public visits. Desgagnés wishes to inform those wishing to visit the ship that regardless of the attendance on the dock, boarding times will not be advanced and priority access to private tours (by invitation) preceding the public visits will be respected.

Desgagnés and Relais Nordik are eager to welcome the residents of the Lower North Shore and Anticosti Island aboard the new vessel.

Relais Nordik Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Groupe Desgagnés Inc. It transports passengers, general cargo and vehicles from the main terminals of Rimouski, Sept-Îles, Havre-Saint-Pierre and Natashquan, and to the eight ports of the communities it serves – Port-Menier, Kegaska, La Romaine, Harrington Harbour, Tête-à-la-Baleine, La Tabatière, Saint-Augustin and Blanc-Sablon.

Erique Tremblay, Groupe Desgagnés


Algoma Equinox naming ceremony held in China

4/11 - The new Algoma Central bulk carrier Algoma Equinox was christened on April 7 by the Nantong Mingde Heavy Industry Group in China.

During the ceremony, Godmother Rasa Rudnitsky named the vessel Algoma Equinox. Ji Fenghua, Board Chairman of Mingde and Reg White, CEO of Algoma, delivered speeches. More than 200 people, including the leaders from government of Nantong city and Tongzhou district, related partners from banks, and staff of Mingde witnessed this naming ceremony.

Algoma Central Corporation has a history of 110 years in shipping and is the largest shipping company in Canada. Algoma has signed eight bulk carrier newbuildings in with Nantong Mingde, four of which will be self-unloading bulk carriers. The owner has a blueprint to build 12 self-unloaders and 11 gearless bulk carriers from 2009-2014 to renew their fleet and complete the renewal of all old vessels before 2020. The named vessel was just the first Great Lakes gearless bulk carrier among the total 11 as planned.

Nantong Mingde Heavy Industry Group


USS Edson group targets mid-April to move destroyer to permanent Saginaw River dock site

4/11 - Bangor Township, Mich. – The retired Navy destroyer USS Edson spent a long winter moored at a temporary dock near the mouth of the Saginaw River. Now, the group making the ship into a floating museum hopes to move the Edson by mid-April to its permanent dock site on the river near the Independence Bridge boat launch.

The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum postponed relocating the destroyer last fall as work continued on the permanent dock site.

"Installing the plate anchors is all that is left," said Mike Kegley, the museum's president. "It should be done in a week or so. Two will go onshore and two will go in the river."

Tugboats will tow the Edson to its new location. The ship does not run on it’s own power anymore.

Kegley said the museum is eager to move the ship so that it can host events on the vessel this summer and claim a number of artifacts from the USS Edson's previous caretakers that belong onboard.

New York City's Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, where the ship previously served as a floating museum, can't release ship artifacts kept in storage to the museum until the vessel is at its permanent site, Kegley said. "We are waiting on a lot of artifacts, including the ship's bell, that we would like to have."

A means to power the ship is another reason the museum hopes to move as soon as possible. Generators currently supply limited power to the vessel, but Kegley said that electrical hookup at the permanent site is necessary to fully light the ship for events.

"In June, we have a Destroyer Escort Sailors Association event, in July the Edson Association wants to have a reunion, and in September a couple wants to get married on the ship," Kegley said.

Restoration on the USS Edson is an ongoing effort. Kegley said museum members and volunteers will continue painting the decks once the temperature remains above 45 degrees.

When it comes to sprucing up the landscaping at the new location, the museum is getting a helping hand, said Melissa Einger, Dow Chemical corporate volunteer manager.

"Our new Bay County Volunteer Council is made up of Dow employees that live in Bay County, so we asked the council to choose a local project that could benefit from $15,000 worth of services," Einger said. "The employees chose the USS Edson."

Einger said she plans to discuss logistics of the volunteer service with museum officials next week. The service needs to be completed in 2013, but a date has not yet been scheduled for 50-100 Dow Chemical employees to visit the site and aid in beautification efforts.

"It's great that they are going to come out and lend a hand," Kegley said. "Every bit helps, and we really appreciate it."

The museum is continuing its own fundraising efforts to cover costs associated with the vessel. A spaghetti fundraiser with raffles and prizes to benefit the USS Edson is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 7 at Coonan's Irish Pub, 1004 Johnson St. in Bay City.

Tickets can be pre-ordered by contacting the museum at 989-686-3946. Adult tickets are $10, children's tickets cost $8 and children under five are free. Those interested in touring the ship can schedule an appointment by calling the museum at the same number.



Updates -  April 11

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Black River, E B Barber, and Imperial Windsor galleries


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 11

11 April 1890 - 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, running 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, Michigan, 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 to 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.


Coast Guard evacuates man from commercial vessel

4/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated an ailing Canadian man from a motor vessel early Tuesday morning in the vicinity of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. The name and home town of the man was not released.

At around 11:45 Monday night, a search-and-rescue coordinator at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, received a request for a medical evacuation of a crewmember aboard the 730-foot Canadian-flagged Algoma Navigator. The search-and-rescue coordinator conferred with the 9th Coast Guard District's duty flight surgeon, who concurred with the need for a medevac.

Rescue crews from Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie, Air Station Traverse City, Mich., and the Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay were notified of the request for assistance. The cutter Katmai Bay, a 140-foot icebreaking tug homeported in Sault Ste. Marie was the only asset capable of responding due to weather and river conditions along the southern St. Marys River.

At around 2:30 a.m., the crew of the Katmai Bay embarked the ailing man aboard the cutter, who was lowered in a rescue litter from the service hoist onboard the Algoma Navigator. The crew of the Katmai Bay then transported him to the DeTour coal dock, where emergency medical services were awaiting.

At 3:30 a.m., the crew of the Katmai Bay transferred the patient to the awaiting EMS personnel, who brought him to War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie. The man was listed in stable condition.

The Coast Guard notified U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers of the situation to ensure interagency coordination.


Great Lakes ore trade down 11.3 percent in March

4/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 1.9 million tons in March, a decrease of 11.3 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were 9.3 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 1.8 million tons, a decrease of 9.7 percent compared to a year ago. The March total included 116,000 tons shipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing vessels and delivery overseas.

Shipments from Canadian ports totaled 113,000 tons, a drop of nearly 40 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date, the Lakes ore trade stands at 5.2 million tons, a decrease of 11.1 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are, however, up more than 26 percent compared to the 5-year average for the first quarter.


Port Reports -  April 10

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Shipping activity is picking up at two Lake Erie Western Basin ports. On Tuesday, the Sandusky and Marblehead docks, which annually send several million tons of coal and stone by Great Lakes freighter, gave the appearance of having been taken over by the vessels of sister companies.

Saginaw loaded at Sandusky's NS coal dock, as the fourth announcement of her pending arrival saw the graceful 60-year old self-unloader slide along the inbound harbor channel. On three previous occasions during the young 2013 shipping season the dock announced the pending arrival of the Saginaw, but the vessel did not appear. Tuesday she finally arrived, putting to rest suggestions made in jest that Lower Lakes' 640-footer was a phantom. Throughout the day coal for an unnamed Canadian port rumbled down the loading chute into the hold of the Saginaw.

Meanwhile at the Lafarge Corp. stone dock at Marblehead, the Saginaw's older sister, the 70-year-old Cuyahoga, loaded. Later in the day Tuesday, the Calumet, Grand River Navigation, arrived at the aggregate dock from Cleveland and began loading as Cuyahoga sailed for the Windsor, Ont., Lafarge facility. She has been making the short round trip on a nearly daily basis.

Lower Lakes- a Canadian company - and U.S-flagged Grand River Navigation are subsidiaries of Rand Corp. Under current maritime regulations, only U.S flagged vessels can haul cargoes between American ports.


Notice to Shipping #8: Reduced operating speed at Kahnawake

4/10 - Mariners are advised that the operating speed of the Canadian Pacific 7B bridge at Kahnawake has been reduced. This slower speed will be used for the duration of the 2013 navigation season. Although the bridge operators will begin raising the bridge earlier when ships approach, mariners are requested to adjust their speed accordingly to ensure that the green bridge navigation lights are displayed when the ship’s stem is abeam of the caution sign, as per established procedure.


Great Lakes Pilotage Authority begins new certification program

4/10 - Cornwall, Ont. – The Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (GLPA) has issued more than 500 pilot certificates as part of a new oversight program to formally ensure Canadian domestic captains and deck watch officers have the requisite local knowledge and experience to navigate the Great Lakes-Seaway system.

All foreign-owned ships travelling into the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes are required by law to have a government-licensed Canadian pilot board their vessel to assist the crew with navigation. Pilots are expert navigators who are familiar with local geography, weather, currents and sailing conditions. The pilot's expertise supplements the captain's expertise to ensure safe navigation. Canadian-owned Great Lakes vessels were previously not required to take a pilot provided Canadian crewmembers met the stringent requirements of section 12 of the Great Lakes Pilotage Regulations such as licensing, local navigation knowledge and emergency manoeuvres.

Following a series of consultation meetings with Transport Canada Marine Safety, Canadian Marine Pilots’ Association, Canadian Shipowners Association, Canadian Merchant Service Guild, Chamber of Marine Commerce and the Shipping Federation of Canada new regulations came into force July 1, 2011. These new regulations now require all domestic officers wishing to navigate the compulsory pilotage areas in the Great Lakes region to formally be issued a pilotage certificate by the GLPA.

During a transition period that ended December 31, 2012, the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority met with shipowners to ensure through a review process that current navigation crew passed all licensing, training and trip experience requirements to issue the 500 pilot certificates in recent weeks.

Following this transition period, all new Canadian officers wishing to navigate pilot compulsory areas will have to successfully complete the Great Lakes Marine Pilotage Certificate Training Program or pass a written and oral exam administered by the GLPA.

Great Lakes Pilotage Authority


LSMMA presents free April evening entertainment series program

4/10 - Duluth, Minn. – Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, has coordinated a free April 25 Evening Entertainment Series program 7-9 p.m. in the Visitor Center’s lower level lecture hall, 600 South Lake Ave. in Canal Park in Duluth, MN. Admission is free. The program, by Paul Hayden, is titled “Lake Superior Circle Tour.” Hayden, publisher of Lake Superior Magazine, will share three (and then some) decades’-worth of expertise from traveling around the lake.


U.S. Naval Sea Cadets present Dan Hall in concert May 12

4/10 - Port Huron, Mich. – A fundraiser for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Division will be held May 12 at the Port Huron Yacht Club. Folk singer/songwriter Dan Hall will perform, and a luncheon cruise on the Grayfox raffle will be held ($5 a ticket).

Tickets are available at the Great Lakes Maritime Center. Reservations are a must, as the group will be limited to 150 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.


Roger LeLievre, Frank Frisk talk about Saturday’s “Know Your Ships” event in Port Huron

4/10 - Click here to listen to Tuesday's radio interview  


Updates -  April 10

Saltie gallery updates including the Heloise and Victoriaborg
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Consumers Power and Spruceglen galleries


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. She was sold Panamanian in 2007 and renamed PACIFICO TRADER.

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 saltie 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 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 six 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 three 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.


Seaway Shut Down at Eisenhower Lock

4/9 - Monday at about 3 p.m., a fault with one of the gates at the Eisenhower Lock stopped ships from transiting the Seaway. It was estimated the delay would be up to 12 hours. Downbound ships delayed included Federal Elbe, secured above the lock; Frontenac, anchored at Wilson Hill; and the Sloman Herakles. Upbound were Ebroborg, secured below the lock; Algoma Montrealais waiting at Snell Lock; and Fuldaborg behind her.

Ron Beaupre


Duty repeal results in more Canadian ships that sail Great Lakes being built abroad

4/9 - Superior, Wis. – Later this month the Canada Steamship Lines’ newest laker, the Baie St. Paul, will arrive in Superior to load iron ore bound for Quebec.

The vessel is more than just a new ship for area boat watchers to be watching for: It is part of a major updating of the Canadian fleets using the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.

“There is a total of around 30 ships that are under construction or under contract for construction right now for the St. Lawrence Seaway,” said James Sharrow, Duluth Seaway Port Authority facilities manager. “It is a real building boom.”

The building boom is fueled in large part by Canada’s 2010 repeal of a 25 percent duty on ships built abroad.

In August 2011, the Algoma Central Corp. christened the 740-foot-long Algoma Mariner — the first new Canadian flag dry-bulk carrier on the lakes in 27 years. Built in China, one of the ship’s first voyages took coal from Superior to Nova Scotia.

That same year, a Chinese shipyard began building the Algoma Equinox, the first ship in a new class of lakers. The Algoma Equinox was launched Dec. 24 and is expected to begin working the lakes this year. By the end of 2014, seven additional Equinox-class vessels are expected to join the Algoma fleet.

Like the Algoma Equinox, the 740-foot-long Baie St. Paul is the first of a new class of vessels being built in China. Canada Steamship Lines has ordered three additional Trillium-class self-unloading lakers. The Baie St. Paul is the CSL’s first new laker in 27 years.

The Equinox and Trillium classes share some similarities. At 740 feet long, the ships are “Seawaymax” vessels — the largest that can fit through the canal locks of the St. Lawrence Seaway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. Larger lakers cannot fit through the Welland Canal — which bypasses the Niagara River — and are restricted to Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie.

And, “being new ships, they are able to take best advantage of refinements in technology, to be more efficient and to have a smaller environmental impact,” said Sharrow, former engineering and maintenance director for Great Lakes Fleet who also has worked as a consultant in naval architecture and marine engineering.

The ships, which cost about $50 million each, have the latest engine technology and hull design to decrease air pollution and increase fuel efficiency. Algoma Central Corp. estimates its Equinox vessels will be 45 percent more energy-efficient than its current fleet average. Canada Steamship Lines estimates the Baie St. Paul engines will save about 750 tons of fuel per year.

Modern engines will last longer with less maintenance. Exhaust scrubbers reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by up to 97 percent, allowing the vessels to use lower-cost fuel while meeting air-quality standards.

The Baie St. Paul was built in Jiangyin, China, and began its maiden voyage to Canada on Oct. 5. To safely cross the ocean, the ship was fitted with temporary reinforcing that was removed after it arrived in the Port of Montreal on Dec. 1. In late December it arrived in Duluth for a load of iron ore.

In November — while still at sea — the Baie St. Paul received the 2012 Bulk Ship of the Year Award at the International Bulk Journal’s annual event in Germany. The Royal Institution of Naval Architects also selected the Baie St. Paul as one of its Significant Ships of 2012.

“The Baie St. Paul represents an important milestone for CSL and for the evolution of shipping in the Great Lakes,” CSL President Louis Martel said. “Her outstanding environmental and operational performance is a testimony to CSL’s ongoing commitment to customers and the communities in which we operate.”

Algoma and Canada Steamship Lines are not alone in ordering new ships; Montreal-based Fednav Group has received or ordered nine new lakes vessels since 2011, including six ordered from Japan’s Oshima shipyard. Fednav operates a fleet of Seaway-sized bulk carriers that carry cargos between the Great Lakes and ports overseas, including the Federal Hunter and Federal Elbe — the first two salties to reach the Twin Ports this year.

While Canadian fleets are seeing a major expansion of new vessels, U.S.-flag fleets are not.

“We don’t have to build new because our vessels never leave the lakes, so they spend their entire careers in freshwater,” avoiding saltwater corrosion, said Glen G. Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents American businesses operating 57 U.S.-flag lakers.

“Basically, what we do, as business conditions permit, is upgrade the vessels,” Nekvasil said. “A number of vessels have been repowered recently. In previous years we lengthened vessels, converted them to self-unloaders.” Owners spend upward of $60 million each winter maintaining and upgrading U.S.-flagged lakers, he said.

The association likes to use the Cason J. Callaway as an example of what caring for and reinvesting in a ship can do.

When launched in 1952, the ship was 629 feet long and could carry 22,064 tons of cargo. In 1974, the vessel was lengthened by 120 feet, increasing its capacity to 28,336 tons. In 1982, the ship was converted to a self-unloader, allowing it to make more trips each year. In 2002 its engines were updated. The ship visited the Twin Ports 16 times during the last shipping season.

In recent years owners have upgraded engines in several lakers — including the Paul R. Tregurtha, H. Lee White and Indiana Harbor in 2010, the Edwin H. Gott in 2011 and the Kaye E. Barker in 2012.

“You can achieve about 90 percent of the economies of a new build (ship) just by repowering a vessel, and in the process save about 75 percent of the cost,” Nekvasil said.

In addition to installing new diesel engines, there is a chance some ships will convert to using clean-burning LNG. The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute is working to determine whether it’s feasible to convert to natural gas 10 bulk carriers that generate steam by burning fuel oil.

American ship owners do not have the option of having lakers built overseas — the Jones Act requires that cargo transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flag ships built in America.

The Lake Carrier Association has no problem with that requirement, Nekvasil said. “When there has been a demand for new vessels, we have built them,” he said.

The last American self-propelled laker — the Columbia Star, since renamed the American Century — was built in 1981. The tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender was built in Erie, Pa., and christened last May.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  April 9

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio
Kaye E. Barker was upbound on the St. Clair Monday night after loading Sunday night into Monday at Sandusky's NS coal dock. The Cuyahoga was at the Windsor, Ont., Lafarge dock. Cuyahoga loaded Monday at the firm’s Marblehead stone dock.

Jim Spencer


Muskegon's Milwaukee Clipper faces critical year

4/9 - Muskegon, Mich. – As the multiple decks of the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper thaw after another winter along the Grand Trunk Dock on Muskegon Lake, the group preserving the historic ship’s legacy faces a critical year.

As it plans another season of ship tours this summer, the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc. group hopes to finally find a permanent home for the old auto-passenger ferry. The nonprofit, all-volunteer group is seeking new leadership as it sets its future course.

“The Clipper group believes in this project,” said retired Muskegon businessman Jim Plant, who was on the Muskegon Channel as a young boy when the Clipper first entered the port June 3, 1941.

He was also instrumental in saving the vessel when it came back to Muskegon as an historic display in 1998.

“The Clipper needs a downtown location and the downtown needs the Clipper,” said Plant, the 81-year-old former owner of Walt Plant Appliances in Muskegon and more recent a retired car salesman for Witt Buick.

The Clipper preservation group approached many Muskegon Lake property owners over the years, but the 361-foot, six-deck Great Lakes ferry has sat on the Grand Trunk Dock at the end of McCracken Street in the Lakeside Business District. The dock is owned by Andrie Inc., a Muskegon-based marine transportation company that has allowed the group to use a dock once operated by the Grand Trunk Railroad for its Lake Michigan ferry boats.

After looking at private and public waterfront properties, the Clipper supporters have concluded that a permanent home at Muskegon County’s Heritage Landing is the best solution for the preservation of the ship and the development of the downtown waterfront.

The controversial move to put the Clipper on the west side of the festival ground’s peninsula into Muskeogn Lake was presented to Muskegon County commissioners in late 2011 but no action was taken during the 2012 election year. The issue is about to resurface and the Clipper group has garnered the support of the Muskegon City Commission and the Nelson Neighborhood Improvement Association for the move to Heritage Landing.

But the Milwaukee Clipper preservation group has more on its plate than just the search for a permanent home. Board President T.J. Parker resigned and the board is expanding its membership with the hopes of finding a new president.

Plant and fellow board member Connie Nesbary have taken over the leadership of the Clipper group in the interim. Former State Rep. Mary Valentine of Norton Shores and others are joining the board, Plant said.

“As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the people of Muskegon really own the Clipper and we are just managing it right now,” Plant said of the current board. “Muskegon’s next industry is going to be tourism and we can play a big part in that.”

Nesbary came to Muskegon in 2009 when her husband Dale Nesbary was appointed president of Muskegon Community College. She rode the Clipper as a child when the ferry operated from 1941 through 1970 linking Muskegon and Milwaukee.

A licensed psychologist, Nesbary said she gave up her practice after moving to Muskegon and has become involved in various Muskegon organizations, including Read Muskegon, a literacy project.

“I just love the ship and being around the boats and the water,” Nesbary said of what drew her into the Clipper board. “It is a treasure. Muskegon people who live around here I think take things for granted. I hope the community embraces the ship. It can be an amazing museum.”

The Milwaukee Clipper is already a destination for Great Lakes ship enthusiasts. Sitting at an extremely hidden location and on a difficult site to access, the Clipper had about 1,000 visitors last summer with a limited touring schedule.

The Clipper again this summer will be open from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The cost to tour the ship is $7 for adults and $5 for children while anyone younger than 5 years old are free.

The Clipper 2013 season will begin with the ship preservation group’s annual brunch and auction May 19 at the Muskegon Country Club. The annual fundraiser keeps the Clipper volunteers supplied as the restoration work such as painting is never ending.

Since the Clipper arrived from Hammond, Ind., in 1998 when that community needed to remove it from its port to make room for a floating casino development, Muskegon-area volunteers have put in more than 61,000 hours on the ship, Plant said.

Tom Bell of Fruitport has been a volunteer for the past seven years, chipping, scraping and painting more of the ship than he’d care to remember. The preservation group is always looking for volunteers as those interested can email ship officials at

“I wouldn’t give this up for anything now,” Bell said of his dedication to preserving the Clipper in Muskegon. “I work on this old ship and at times think of tall of the people who traveled on it. They are like ghosts walking around on the decks.”

The Clipper will receive national attention in early May as the Steamship Historical Society of America holds its ShiPosium II conference in Long Beach, Calif. The Clipper will be one of three historic steamships studied by conference participants as preservation board member and the “last” captain of the Clipper, Bob Priefer of Muskegon, will represent the local group, Plant said.

The Muskegon icon is on a National Historic Landmark and on the National Park Service’s register of national historic places.

“I sort of look at the Clipper as being my legacy,” Plant said. “If it could be saved in Muskegon, that would be great. I see in a smaller way what the Queen Mary has been for Long Beach, the Clipper can be for Muskegon.”

M Live


Another century-old shipwreck, L.L. Barth, appears thanks to low water levels

4/9 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Researchers recently identified the skeletal ruins of three vessels that once sailed Grand Haven's Harbor Island during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when the land acted as a busy commerce hub.

The Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Association on Monday announced the discovery of the L.L. Barth, a 160-foot-long, iron-clad wooden vessel that once sailed Lake Michigan. The association found the shipwreck near the 141-acre island, along with a barge and a 50-foot tug called the Liberty.

The vessels once lay hidden beneath the water, but low water levels made the protruding wrecks visible to onlookers nearby on private property owned by Sims Power Plant, according to MSRA director Valerie van Heest.

"Despite all the snow we had, the water is still the same low level it was last fall," said van Heest. "It's good for those of us who study the ships, but environmentally it's not so good."

The three shipwrecks join five other deteriorating structures discovered by the association in the past year as a result of low water levels.

In December 2012, the group discovered the Aurora, a 290-foot wooden steamer, along with four other vessels at Harbor Island.

"Once we identified the massive Aurora just east of the public launch ramp last winter, we set off to find the next largest steamer abandoned in the area," van Heest said.

The association used the satellite feature on the popular navigation service website MapQuest to identify the vessels rather than the side sonar technology that's typically used for locating objects deep underwater, van Heest said.

After venturing into the frigid water in dry suits, van Heest and director Craig Rich identified the decaying vessel – eroded down to the very bottom wooden hull – by matching the measurements to that of the L.L. Barth's, van Heest said.

"What's so fascinating about this one and the others is how big it is. That it was hidden all this time is kind of amazing," van Heest said.

The public can't access the L.L. Barth and other wrecks on Harbor Island by land because the structures lie on private property. But in the warmer months, local boaters traveling west toward the mouth of Lake Michigan will be able to see the skeletal remains on the west side of the river, van Heest said.

When the L.L. Barth sailed the region, Harbor Island housed three lumber mills and the Kirby Shipbuilding Company, van Heest said.

The L.L. Barth began as the SS Wilhelm in 1889 in Bay City, where its owners used it for carrying lumber and coal. In 1890, Chicago businessman Edward Hines purchased and renamed the vessel and then used it to transport his company's product.

Years later, Construction Aggregates purchased the vessel and used it to pump sand from the bottom of Lake Michigan to extend Chicago's lakefront acreage before abandoning the 37-year-old vessel on Harbor Island in 1927.

Before abandoning the L.L. Barth its owners stripped it of its valuable metal boiler and engine while local residents likely used and recycled wooden material from the vessel during the Great Depression, van Heest said.

Somewhere down the line, Construction Aggregates dumped the 60-foot rectangular barge on top of the L.L. Barth. Construction Aggregates still owns the land across the river in Ferrysburg, but discarded its unwanted boats across the river, though the city of Grand Haven owns the wrecks, van Heest said.

The Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates continues to work with the Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven to document and identify the wrecks it discovered when it identified the Aurora, van Heest said.

Two of the structures are unnamed barges while the others are yet to be identified, sailing ships, van Heest said.

"We've had thousands of people show up in Grand Haven to this public space and take advantage of the opportunity to see ships that are usually tens if not thousands of feet under water," van Heest said. "It's been a wonderful way for people who don't scuba dive to see shipwrecks."

Van Heest on April 20 will present a history of the Harbor Island shipwrecks in a program titled, "Topless on the Beach" at the association's annual event at the Knickerbocker Theater on Saturday April 20.

For more information visit

M Live


Updates -  April 9

Weekly Website Updates
Saltie Gallery has been updated. BBC Kwiatkowski, Ebroborg, and Fuldaborg.


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 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.

On 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 a.m. to get away from the lumber yard blaze. However, as the crew watched the shore fire, sparks smoldered in the ship's cargo. At 2 p.m., she burst into flame. Four tugs and a steam-powered fire engine brought alongside 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, the 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.


Seaway Shut Down at Eisenhower Lock

4/8 - Monday afternoon at about 3 p.m. a fault with one of the gates at Eisenhower stopped shipping from transiting the Seaway. It is estimated the delay will be up to 12 hours. Down bound ships delayed are Federal Elbe, secured above the lock. Frontenac, anchored at Wilson Hill, and soon to be joined by Sloman Herakles. Up bound are Ebroborg, secured below the lock, with Algoma Montrealais waiting at Snell Lock with Fuldaborg behind her. Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  April 8

Marblehead and Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The weekend saw the loading of two Lower Lakes vessels at Marblehead. Calumet loaded Sunday for Cleveland at the Lafarge stone dock and was replaced by the Cuyahoga Sunday night. Kaye E. Barker, which departed the NS coal dock late Saturday afternoon - supposedly for Hamilton - instead sailed for the Ojibway dock at Detroit. Sunday night she was bound for Sandusky to load a second cargo at the coal dock.


Magnetation expands focus, hopes to develop open pit mine

4/8 - The technology that Magnetation has developed to mine natural ore tailings basins could be, in the future, applied to open pit mining.

Currently, Magnetation mines natural iron ore tailings basins (scram mining) located on the Western Mesabi Range at sites near Keewatin and Taconite. The company also plans to break ground later this year on an additional scram operation near Coleraine and plans are in place for yet another site near Calumet.

These scram operations might well be just the beginning. Early last month, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved a 25-year mineral lease to the company for 760 acres of tax forfeited and school trust land located in Itasca County. At various points in history, Hanna Mining Co. and Cleveland Cliffs also were granted leases on the same parcels.

Magnetation has carved out its niche extracting iron ore concentrates from natural ore tailings. These tailings contain hematite, which has low magnetic properties. The recently issued minerals lease isnt for tailings, however. This deposit, described by DNR officials as non-magnetic, is in-ground - requiring an open pit mining approach.

While open pit mining is a departure from its scram operations, company executives contend that will ensure growth and long-term operations.

We want to be a large producer of seven to eight million tons. That requires open pit mining, said Matthew Lehtinen, Magnetations COO, who also added that scram operations likely have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years while an open pit operation could operate for 50.

The company already has grown far beyond original expectations. When Magnetation executives approached the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board in 2008 for a start-up loan, the company assured the board, which is mostly comprised of local lawmakers, operations would employ 19 persons.

The company currently reports 230 FTEs on the payroll in Minnesota and another 10 in Indiana, where the company is constructing a pellet plant to feed AK Steel, which is a minority owner of Magnetation LLC. When all planned scram operations are up and running, employment is likely to settle at approximately 350. However, Lehtinen said total employment numbers would likely reach more than 500 if this next generation project comes to fruition.

Although open pit mining would allow the company to significantly boost output, the review process is far more cumbersome and time-consuming. A scram operation can go from proposal to permitted within the span of a few months. Open pit mining on these newly leased lands in Itasca County necessitates environmental review that would take approximately three to five years, DNR Resources Assistant Director of Lands and Minerals John Engesser told a gathering of local officials and the public last month.

Open pit mining also would require a large investment. Lehtinen said in addition to the scram operations the company already has planned, an open pit operation would require investment somewhere between $150 and $300 million.

Timelines on getting an open pit operation up and running are somewhat speculative at this point. The company has yet to submit a mine plan to the DNR. Lehtinen said the development of the project was years out.

Market forces could dictate the speed at which development takes place. Engesser told local officials that the price of iron ore would likely dictate how much more mining, if any, is developed on the western end of the Mesabi Range.

Iron ore has been riding high in terms of price in recent years. Industry executives once had grown accustomed to prices hovering near $30 per ton. But in recent years, prices have soared. This year, the per ton price has been close to $140. However, some experts contend that over supply and weakening demand from China will push prices downward. A recent iron ore price forecast by Goldman Sachs estimated prices near $80 per ton by 2015.

Lehtinen said his company is prepared for a price downturn and the open pit business plan includes per ton pricing at about half its current level. He also added that a Magnetation open pit operation with increased efficiency could potentially replace older mines as they go offline.

If operations of open pit mines like the one Magnetation executives envision prove cost effective, it could open an entirely new avenue for the mining industry here.

Companies on the Mesabi Range mine magnetite, but if non-magnetic ore can be cost-effectively extracted, Lehtinen estimates that the West Range had an additional one to two billion tons that could be extracted.

Although Magnetation calls its own techniques next generation, open pit mining of hematite does take place in this region. Tilden Mine, located in Michigans Upper Pennisula and owned by Cliffs Natural Resources and US Steel, produces hematite as well as magnetite ore.

Were developing the next generation Tilden mine with higher efficiency, said Lehtinen. He said a team of engineers is currently working to advance company techniques for possible commercial development.

Business North


Gene Onchulenko named Historian of the Year in Detroit

4/8 - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit presented its 2013 Historian of the Year award to Gene Onchulenko of Thunder Bay, Ont., Saturday night.

Onchulenko, who is well known for his work on tugs and other vessels at Thunder Bay, is an authority on the Paterson fleet and has co-authored “The Ships of the Paterson Fleet,” “The Ships of the Carryore, Nipigon and Labrador Fleets” and “The Ships of Beaconsfield, Mohawk and the Red Barges.” He and his wife Cathy are excellent photographers and their work has appeared in books, historical journals and newspapers.


Construction bustling at former Thomas Edison Inn site

4/8 - Port Huron, Mich. – Within a few weeks, culinary students at Baker College of Port Huron will move into the first finished kitchen classroom at the college’s new building next to the former Thomas Edison Inn.

John Wheeler, partner in construction firm Orion Construction and development firm JB Real Estate, said progress at the site is “fantastic.”

Crews from several trades are working on the building at once, with kitchen equipment going in, drywall going up, plumbing and masonry being installed.

Wheeler said the college is taking a phased approach to moving in, which is allowing students to get into the building sooner. Work will continue on the other kitchen classrooms, as well as the main floor bar and restaurant, after students move into the first classroom.

Reconstruction at the DoubleTree Port Huron, which is occupying the space of the former inn, is going well, said general manager John Kuithe.

“Things are really humming along,” he said. “When you walk in the front doors, we’re widening that entryway to make it more of a ‘wow’ type of feel. We’re working on not only changing the openness at the entryway, but the entire experience you have coming in.”

Crews are tackling the entryway project, as well as renovating the restaurant, he said. They have also been busy opening up the basement — which extends almost the full length of the hotel — to turn it into storage for the hotel and restaurant.

Wheeler said the break in the weather is allowing crews to repair the concrete balconies this week. He added furniture, fixtures and equipment work will begin in early May.

Kuithe acknowledged some events that had been booked at the hotel while it was still the Thomas Edison Inn have been canceled or moved, either by the organizers of the event or the hotel, because of the timing.

“The DoubleTree never tried to book events and we have been trying to facilitate anything that was booked when we came in,” he said. “We have said all along that from the date the hotel is open, we will honor bookings and we are still doing that. As things change, we are doing our best to keep people updated throughout the process.”

The hotel, which most recently was marketed as opening in June, is now slated to open in the first week of July. Work on the Blue Water Area Convention Center should really start moving in the next eight weeks, Wheeler said.

He said the architects for the project should have a “biddable” set of drawings complete in the next five weeks, and the bid process for the initial work will take about two or three weeks after that.

“Everything is moving forward,” Wheeler said. “We want to be done as soon as possible so there isn’t an issue with noise for the guests at the hotel.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Know Your Ships annual book signing Saturday in Port Huron

4/8 - Editor / publisher Roger LeLievre, as well as members of the Know Your Ships crew, will be on hand to autograph copies of the new, 2013 edition Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, Mich. Books will be available for purchase. Come check out the renovated Maritime Center and get your 2013 edition at the same time.


Marine Historical Society of Detroit opens annual dinner to the public

4/8 - Mark your calendars for the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s annual dinner meeting, Saturday, May 11 at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich., overlooking the St. Clair Rive. Paul Carroll of Goderich, Ont., will offer a program on the Great Storm of 1913. In addition to talking about the ships and men lost in the tumult, he will outline Goderich's season-long plan to commemorate the storm that will culminate with a three-day event in November. Tickets may be reserved at


Win a trip on the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott

4/8 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will provide more than 90 percent of the cost of maintaining this free website.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during Engineer's Weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win, and will be notified by mail and/or phone. All tickets orders must be received no later than Friday, June 21, 2013. Click here for complete details and ticket order form


Badger Cruise June 1

4/8 -  Book now for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger.

Join us in traveling aboard the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. Visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, and the WWII submarine Cobia, OR re-board the Badger for a two-hour Wisconsin shoreline cruise with live entertainment and a party buffet.

Optional on Friday night, May 31, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


Updates -  April 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  George M. Carl, Henry Ford II, J.B. Ford, Saginaw Bay, Thomas F. Cole  galleries
Saltie Gallery has been updated. BBC Kwiatkowski, Lalandia Swan and Regalica have been added.


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 riverbank. 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 engine room 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.


Mother Nature helps out in Whitefish Bay

4/7 - St. Marys River – Finally, with some help by the wind shifting from the south a little, the ice is breaking open in Whitefish Bay. Five icebreakers have been working tirelessly to keep a track open and shipping moving.

Mark Hudson


Port Reports -  April 7

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Calumet was unloading by the Henderson Bridge on Saturday. She departed around 7 p.m.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Robert S. Pierson loaded Saturday at the NS coal dock and was downbound for Hamilton late in the afternoon. Passing the Pierson, but inbound for the coal dock, was Kaye E. Barker of the Interlake fleet. This was the first trip of the 2013 season for the Pierson and her crew. At Marblehead, the Interlake fleet barge and tug Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann were loading at the Lafarge stone dock.


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 Russell 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 six 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: 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: GEHEIMRAT SARTORI dated from 1951 and had been a pre-Seaway caller to the Great Lakes. It returned through the new waterway for three 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 eight 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader opened the Lower Harbor for the 2013-14 shipping season early Friday morning when the pair arrived to unload stone at the Shiras Dock. At the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded western coal into the hopper.

Whitefish Bay - Mark Hudson
CCGS Samuel Risley, along with the USCG Mackinaw, Neah Bay and Biscayne Bay were all in Whitefish Bay Friday evening.

Escanaba, Mich. - J. Stanbrook
Joseph H. Thompson and Joseph H. Thompson Jr. left Escanaba Friday at 6 p.m. to begin their season.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
On Friday, Algosoo came out of drydock at Bay Shipbuilding around noon, with assistance from Selvick tugs Jimmy L., Sharon M. Selvick, Cameron O. and Susan L.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Federal Welland was inbound at Milwaukee in the early morning Friday. Federal Welland also had the honors of being the first saltwater vessel of the season for Milwaukee. In the late afternoon, the Samuel de Champlain was inbound with a load for Lafarge.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Lower Lakes Towing fleetmates Cuyahoga and the tug Defiance with its barge Ashtabula were both in port on Friday. Cuyahoga tied up in the river and unloaded salt from Goderich, Ontario, at the Alpena Oil Dock overnight. It departed around 6:30 a.m. The Defiance and Ashtabula arrived at Lafarge in the early morning and unloaded coal throughout the day. By 7 p.m., the pair was backing out into the bay.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Robert S. Pierson departed her winter berth at 6:30 a.m. She was headed for Sandusky. CCG Ship Limnos arrived at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 8:15 a.m. The ferry Frontenac II arrived at 9:30 a.m. from Kingston. She was going to the Heddle Marine Drydock. Algolake arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for Dofasco.

Kingston, Ont. - Brian Johnson
The Amherst Island ferry Frontenac II arrived in Hamilton Friday morning and secured at pier 14, Heddle Marine. The ferry will undergo some maintenance work in the drydock, which will take several weeks. The Glenora ferry Quinte Loyalist has replaced her on the Amherst Island ferry run.


Wind buoy to return to Lake Michigan off Muskegon

4/6 - Muskegon, Mich. – The Grand Valley State University wind buoy will be staying closer to home this season as the sophisticated wind instrumentation platform completes the last of its three-year mission. In the next two weeks, Andrie Inc. crews will be moving the unique yellow buoy from the Muskegon Channel, where it has been stored this winter, according to GVSU Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center Director Arn Boezaart.

The research platform will be placed 10 miles southwest of the Muskegon Channel in 200 feet of water in Lake Michigan. The third year location is about seven miles due west of the Nugent Sand property in Norton Shores, Boezaart said.

Where the AXYS Technology buoy, built in British Columbia, will be next year is anybody’s guess. The U.S. Department of Energy funded testing of the “floating laser pulse technology” that measures wind speed and direction at various heights above the lake surface is over at the end of this season.

The GVSU-owned buoy will be removed in December to protect the research equipment from ice damage over the course of the winter, Boezaart said. The buoy can then be deployed to other locations on Lake Michigan or throughout the Great Lakes, but further research will depend upon partners providing the funding, he said.

“We have found that the laser technology we have been using has been superb,” Boezaart said. “It has been very reliable.”

The other reason for the $1.4 million federal investment in the buoy and its Catch the Wind Inc. testing equipment from Chantilly, Va., was to collect accurate wind data from various locations on Lake Michigan. The wind data being collected by GVSU scientists along with those from Michigan State University and the University of Michigan will inform the commercial wind energy sector on the strength and quality of the winds for Lake Michigan turbine development.

Boezaart said that even in the three-year life of the Lake Michigan wind study, technology has advanced to make offshore wind more accessible and less objectionable from the shoreline. However, he said offshore wind farms on Lake Michigan or any of the Great Lakes are years if not decades away.

The buoy and its research equipment – which also measures wave heights, bat and bird activities and basic water quality, among others – arrived in Muskegon in October 2011.

That fall the buoy and its equipment were first tested on Muskegon Lake. It then spent two months four miles off the Muskegon shoreline in Lake Michigan before winter arrived.

The second year of research was from May to December in the middle of Lake Michigan, 35 miles west of the White Lake Channel north of Muskegon. The laser equipment was able to obtain 98 percent of the data measurements at 490 feet above the lake, storing it on its onboard computers.

“We’ve collected a boatload of data and we will now do another full season,” Boezaart said of measurements reaching 575 feet above the lake. “We will begin to be able to draw some conclusions.”

Already, GVSU and its partner scientists have learned that the quantity and quality of the Lake Michigan winds are favorable for offshore generation of electricity with huge commercial wind turbines. Initial data shows that some of the best winds are found at 400 feet above the lake, lower and thus more accessible than first thought, Boezaart said.

Through data collection by the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and in conjunction with the Michigan State University Extension, scientists found bats flying over the mid-lake location last summer. This is the first time bat activity has been studied over the lake.

“It is important to know bat and bird activity for potential offshore wind development,” Boezaart said.

The offshore wind industry has progressed tremendously since the 2009 proposal from Scandia Offshore Wind for large wind farms directly off the shores of Oceana and Mason counties, Boezaart added. Those proposals kicked up a firestorm of opposition and the Norway-based plans died.

Those wind farms were proposed for six miles or closer to shoreline, highly visible in the lake from private lake houses and public beaches. Glosten Associates of Seattle is now ready to test its floating wind turbine technology off the shores of Cornwall, England, through a project of the Energy Technologies Institute.

Glosten’s submerged platform, tied to the ocean floor, will allow a huge 6-megawatt wind turbine to be placed in water deeper than 300 feet. Glosten had expressed interest in deploying its first floating turbine platform in Lake Michigan but a lack of interest by state officials and public utilities resulted in taking the technology to Europe, Boezaart said.

Such floating technology would allow for offshore turbines on Lake Michigan so they could not be seen for shore, Boezaart said.

“This is a game-changer so that what everyone was mostly concerned about three years ago is ancient history today,” Boezaart said. “We can do wind energy in the middle of the lake and not bother people. But as we have our current love affair with natural gas alternatives such as wind and solar have taken a back seat.

“But offshore wind development is happening in the waters of Europe,” he continued. “It will eventually come to the Great Lakes.”



Great Lakes levels below normal for next 6 months

4/6 - Traverse City, Mich. – Water levels across most of the Great Lakes are likely to remain well below average for the next six months, posing continued hardships for commercial vessels and tourist towns that cater to recreational boaters, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The lakes should undergo their usual rise during the warm season, helped by melting of abundant winter snowfall across the region’s northern tier, officials with the Detroit district office said. But it won’t be nearly enough to offset years of declining levels brought on by drought and stepped-up evaporation amid warming temperatures.

“For shipping communities and people that need higher water, this is continued bad news,” said John Allis, chief of hydraulics and hydrology.

Lakes Huron and Michigan, which dropped to their lowest point on record in January, are expected to hover two to four inches above monthly record lows through September, said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology with the Corps office. None of the other lakes will set records unless the weather turns unexpectedly dry, he said.

Although the forecast doesn’t reach beyond six months, the officials said it offered no hope for a quick end to the prolonged water slump. Lakes Huron and Michigan, which geologically are considered one water body because they are connected, and Lake Superior have been below average for 14 years — the longest such period since record-keeping began in 1918.

“It takes several seasons of conditions conducive to water-level rises to get back to average,” Kompoltowicz said in a telephone news conference. “One winter of heavy snow followed by one season of heavy rain is not enough.”

Lakes Michigan and Huron were more than two feet below their long-term average in March – and 15 inches lower than they were the same month in 2012, he said. The other lakes — Superior, Erie and Ontario — also were below normal for the month and at least a foot down from a year ago. All are expected to stay below their historical averages in coming months with the possible exception of Ontario, which has partially regulated levels.

The shipping and recreational boating industries have pleaded for stepped-up dredging of harbors choked with sediment, but Corps officials said their hands are tied by a strapped federal budget.

President Barack Obama requested about $31 million to dredge 15 commercial Great Lakes harbors this year. The Corps also got $5.2 million for an additional eight projects in the region under supplemental legislation for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. The state of Michigan last month appropriated $21 million to dredge 58 of its smaller harbors.

The Corps considers 36 of the 60 federally designated commercial harbors in the Great Lakes region in need of dredging, along with 46 of 80 shallow-draft harbors used by recreational craft, said David Wright, operations and maintenance chief.

Shippers believe nearly all the commercial harbors need to be deepened, said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers’ Association, which represents U.S.-flagged cargo haulers. Freighters are reducing their loads an average of 15 percent per trip to avoid scraping bottom in harbors and channels, he said. Ports in St. Joseph, Mich., and Waukegon, Ill., are so shallow that vessels have stopped trying to reach them.

The latest water levels forecast illustrates that “we have to deal with the dredging issue,” Nekvasil said. “We cannot wait for Mother Nature to pull us out of the fire.”

CBS Radio


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.


Laker hooks a whopper - a car

4/4 - A Great Lakes ship dropped anchor Monday night – and found a car.

The ship Baie St. Paul had cast its bow line north of Lock 1, Seaway officials said. When it was time to leave around 10:50 p.m., the crew had trouble pulling the line out of the water. It turned out it was caught on a rusted-out sunken car.

Seaway officials said it took a crane and divers until about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday to free the line and get the ship on its way. Other than the delay in the Baie St. Paul's departure, the incident did not cause any traffic delays in the Welland Canal.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  April 4

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Michipicoten sailed for the Soo Thursday, having loaded overnight at the NS coal dock. Also sailing Thursday was the Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann, which had loaded at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder entered Lorain’s outer harbor about 1 p.m. Thursday. She was unloading by the Henderson Bridge at 2 p.m.


Coast Guard opening Gray’s Reef Passage

4/4 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Coast Guard will open Gray’s Reef Passage at 10 a.m. on Sunday.


Updates -  April 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Henry Ford II and Charles Dick galleries


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 4

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 eight-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 Johnson’s Point in the St. Marys 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 Gillham, 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.


Aboard the USCG Mackinaw - ice, winds and a wish for rain

4/4 - Whitefish Bay - Although conventional wisdom holds that the warmth of the sun helps melt ice, a sunny day is not atop the weather wish list for the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, on duty in ice-congested Whitefish Bay.

"I think the number one thing that all of us wants is rain," said Mackinaw Operations Officer Lt. Stephen Elliott in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. As he spoke, the 240-foot icebreaking powerhouse was assisting the 1,000-foot vessels Paul R. Tregurtha and Stewart J. Cort upbound through stubborn Whitefish Bay ice.

"One day of rain is worth 3-4 days of 40-degree temperatures," he said.

The Mackinaw left her Cheboygan, Mich., home port on March 10, headed to Duluth to help break ice on the western end of Lake Superior. She has been on Whitefish Bay duty since the Soo Locks opened March 25.

The icebreaker has had plenty of work this spring. Strong northwest winds have closed the tracks (paths in the ice that vessels can follow) broken earlier by the Mackinaw, and pushed ice down into the narrower confines of Whitefish Bay and the approaches to the Soo Locks. She’s been working in tandem with the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley to keep vessels moving - often in convoys - with a minimum delay.

Although the northwest winds blow ill for the ice conditions in the upper St. Marys River, just the opposite is true for the part of the river from Sault Ste. Marie to DeTour.

"The northwest winds have been fantastic for the lower river - we've been able to flush lots and lots of ice from the lower river out into Lake Huron," Elliott said. “But the same wind is just packing the ice into the upper river and here in Whitefish Bay.

“Southeast winds would be good for us, but it would make things a lot more difficult for the 140s (140-foot class cutters such as Biscayne Bay) that are currently working in the lower river," he added.

The Mackinaw's captain, Cmdr. Michael J. Davanzo, said ice conditions in Whitefish Bay are worse than they have been in several years.

“When we started the ice season it was our understanding that we had similar coverage to most years, but the thickness wasn't the same," he observed. “But one of the problems that's happening this year is we've had some unseasonably cold temperatures. Where we would normally be getting melting, now when we cut a track we're getting a lot of refreezing overnight, and even though the sun is up high we're not getting a lot of melting.

The wrong kind of precipitation also makes matters worse, said Davanzo.

“In the last two days we've had a lot of lake-effect snow, so the snow has been sitting on top of the ice and it's making it a little bit tough because it kind of knits everything back together overnight.

“Up here at Whitefish, the plate (ice) keeps shifting back and forth and we still have ice up to 24 inches thick," he estimated.

Davanzo is no stranger to the Great Lakes; one of his previous commands was the Coast Guard cutter Hollyhock, based in Port Huron, Mich. He was also chief boatswain's mate on the USCG cutter Sundew on the Great Lakes.

“Yesterday morning we had very good success. I think we moved eight ships with relative ease. At one point we had ships transiting on their own, but then the wind shifted and really tightened the track up, putting it under considerable pressure," he said.

Winds were forecast to shift from northwest to south Wednesday night, which could help flush some the ice out of Whitefish Bay and into Lake Superior.

Although the 1,000-foot-long lakers may not be as maneuverable as the Mackinaw, they have plenty of horsepower when the ice closes in. “When they get going, they really help because they help keep a nice wide track behind them," said Davanzo.

Lt. Elliott, who saw quite a bit of ice when he was assigned to the USCG Healy in Alaskan waters, said breaking ice on the Great Lakes presents its own special challenges.

“When you are up in the Arctic breaking ice you're not with any other ships," he said. “When we're working on tracks on the lakes, whether it's in Whitefish Bay or in the rivers, it's totally different because we're close to shoal water, we're very close to other ships, we're working closely with them to get them moving and to keep them moving once we start making progress.

"Once we're in Whitefish, we do have a little bit more flexibility because we are a lot further away from shoal water than we are in the rivers, but that being said, it doesn't matter how far you are away from shoal water when you are only maybe 50-60 feet away from another ship. It really takes a steady hand on the controls to safely maneuver the ship and to effectively break up the ice around them and get them moving."

He said the need to stay sharp in such close quarters restricts icebreaking to the hours from first light until nightfall.

"Because we're breaking ice in close proximity to other vessels and close to shore, we need a lot of people on the bridge when we are conducting those icebreaking operations. We need some time to rest, so we'll typically shut down in the late evening and start up in the early morning," Elliott said.

Rapidly changing visibility, especially in snow, is also a factor, he added. For Assistant Operations Officer Lt. jg Katie Braynard, who hails from ice-free California, the winds are especially frustrating.

"We can cut a track and then 20 minutes later it can completely collapse, just the way the winds are blowing. We have to keep running up and down the tracks to keep them as open as possible. We can do all the work in the world, but if the winds don't cooperate, it doesn't do any good for us," she said.

"We've been working pretty hard. Things can be pretty tough (especially the) constant rattling and shaking. But it's worth it in the long run to keep the boats moving."

Exclusive to by Roger LeLievre


Westcott Company returns to 24-hour service

4/4 - Detroit, Mich. - The J. W. Westcott Co. returned to 24-hour operations Tuesday morning with a delivery to the saltie Isa. Last week the U.S. mail boat J. W. Westcott II returned to the company's dock below the Ambassador Bridge on the Detroit River for pilot boat service.

The back-up mail boat Joseph J. Hogan returned to the Westcott dock from the winter lay-up dock at Gregory's Marina Wednesday morning. This marks the company's 118th season on the river. Winter work on the Westcott fleet included normal maintenance and painting.


Port Reports -  April 4

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
Wednesday afternoon the steamer Alpena finally arrived in the port of Green Bay as the first vessel of the season, after fighting ice in the Bay for the past several days with the USCG Katmai Bay and USCG Mobile Bay. The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrived just behind the Alpena to load petroleum products at the US Oil VT Venture Dock.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The steamer Wilfred Sykes departed winter layup just before 3 p.m. Wisconsin time, and headed through the ship canal to Lake Michigan.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were loading again Wednesday night at the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock. The pair loaded at the dock Tuesday and sailed to the Lafarge Windsor, Ont., dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Gerry Ouderkirk
CCG Limnos arrived in port late Tuesday and departed early Wednesday.


Seaway shut down Tuesday was due to bridge problems

4/4 - The St. Laurent Railway Bridge was out of service for at least eight hours Tuesday due to a problem with the Canadian Pacific Railway bridge at Kahnawake (bridge # 7b). It was finally raised around 3 a.m. Wednesday morning and left in the raised position. The delay was more than 15 hours for vessels waiting to transit the south shore canal.

Kent Malo


Water supply down, Lake Superior drops

4/4 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Lake Superior dropped two inches in March, a month it usually drops only a half-inch, the International Lake Superior Board of Control announced Tuesday.

The lake now sits 13 inches below the long-term average for April 1 and 3 inches below the level at this time last year.

The board said water supply to the entire Lake Superior basin was down from usual, even though snowfall in some areas was up.

Lake Superior will begin its annual, seasonal increase in April as ice and snow melt and rains become more frequent. The lake will rise into September and then begin to fall again.

Lakes Michigan and Huron, meanwhile, rose an inch in March, a month the lakes usually rise 2 inches. That's not good news for shipping and boating interests worried about low water levels, as the lakes now are 27 inches below their long-term average and 15 inches lower than April 1, 2012.

Duluth News Tribune


Outhouses will stay at Sault's Rotary Park

4/4 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - A scaled back version of Rotary Park improvements was approved by the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission on Monday which will at least temporarily keep the current outhouses as a cost-cutting move.

Rotary Park is at Mission Point, long a popular gathering place for boatwatchers. With a grant of nearly $300,000 from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and another $100,000 dedicated from local match, the city would have been forced to pony up another $100,000 or so in order to fully fund the project in its original design. As a result, the scaled back version will eliminate signage, path lighting and reduce the size of the fishing pier while leaving the existing outhouses.

City Manager Spencer Nebel encouraged the commission to go with this option, explaining the city could seek additional grant money at a later date should it choose to upgrade the bathroom facilities. Mayor Anthony Bosbous also added the city may be able to partner with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Transportation Authority for any future restroom facility at Rotary Park which could be utilized by both park visitors and passengers waiting for the Sugar Island Ferry.

Soo Evening News


Details emerge on Harbour Feature's collision with bridge

4/4 - Kittery, Maine - A bridge connecting Maine and New Hampshire will be closed for several days because of an accident Monday in which a 470-foot tanker drifted from its moorings and hit the bridge. The tanker had visited the Great Lakes in 2011 and 2012.

The accident on the Piscataqua River damaged bridge supports and left a 20-foot dent in the ship's side. The Coast Guard said there was no puncture to the ship and no fuel spilled into the water. The tanker, named Harbour Feature, was carrying tall oil - or tallow - made from wood pulp, and yellow grease, said Lt. Nick Barrow, a Coast Guard spokesman.

"We were ready for the worst case and had teams ready, but thankfully we didn't need that," Barrow said.

The vessel has visited the Great Lakes / Seaway system several times the past two years.

The tanker got pinned against the bridge with the rising tide of the tidal river, the Associated Press reported. Tugboats moved the vessel away from the bridge Monday evening between high and low tides, when currents were minimal.

The bridge will be closed for several days, said N.H. Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement. It will remain closed into Tuesday and possibly longer so crews can inspect the structural damage and determine what repairs are necessary, Bill Boynton, another spokesman for the department.

Clement said the bridge sustained damage to both vertical supports. Chunks of granite from the supports fell off and ended up on the deck of the ship. He said the ship's owners will be responsible for the cost of repairing the damage. He declined to estimate the cost.

The bridge is owned by Maine and New Hampshire.

The ship was being refueled when it began to move from the New Hampshire State Pier in Portsmouth, N.H., snapped its mooring lines and drifted for five minutes before hitting the bridge.

"Nothing at the facility failed," said Port Director Geno Marconi. "I can't say whose fault it was."

The ship started to drift around 1:30 p.m. It was eventually tugged back to the dock around 6 p.m. Pepperell Cove Marine, the company that's responsible for tying up the ships, could not be reached for comment Monday.

According to Marinetraffic, the ship, the Harbour Feature, was built in 2011 to carry oil and chemicals. Its last port of call was Savannah, Ga.

The ship sails under the Portuguese flag. The shipping agent is listed as Nordic Tankers, based in Denmark. A person who answered the phone at Nordic Tankers' office in Stamford, Conn., said "no comment" when asked about the ship.

Morning Sentinel, Skip Gillham


Updates -  April 4

News Photo 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 and 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 acquired 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, Oregon, 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.

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.


Seaway shut down Tuesday due to bridge problems

4/3 - The St. Laurent Railway Bridge was out of service for at least eight hours Tuesday, according to Seaway Iroquois Radio. John B. Aird went to anchor in Lake St. Louis and John Spence with Niagara Spirit was secured at the Cote wharf. The bridge is near the western end of the South Shore Canal, which runs from Montreal Harbor to Lake St. Louis. Traffic appeared to be moving Tuesday night.


Port Reports -  April 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After two days of ice delays at the Soo, H. Lee White arrived and loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Tuesday.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Mark Hudson
After high winds Sunday night and all day Monday, Whitefish Bay filled back in with ice. USCG Mackinaw and CCGS Samuel Risley were up and down the bay Tuesday morning, breaking ice and leading ships in and out of the bay.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On a cold and windy Tuesday afternoon the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation headed into Lafarge to load cement. Great Republic was right behind the de Champlain, and went in stern first to dock at Lafarge and unload coal.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Interlake's tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded Tuesday at the Lafarge stone dock on the Marblehead Peninsula. They were downbound on Lake Erie Tuesday night.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tug Salvor and her barge departed at 5:30 a.m. and headed down the lake. Cuyahoga departed at 6:30 a.m. from Pier 22 with slag for Cleveland. CCG ship Limnos departed the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 1 p.m.


Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay heads south in bay

4/3 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Two captains from Sturgeon Bay were in command as U.S. Coast Guard cutters opened the way for commercial shipping into the port of Green Bay this week. The cutters were paving the way for cargo ships, including one that became stuck in the ice Sunday night on its way to Green Bay.

Captain John Stone, commander of the Sturgeon Bay-based Mobile Bay, and Capt. Bryan Estell, the commander of the Katmai Bay stationed in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., are on their respective vessels clearing the path. Both live in Sturgeon Bay.

The Mobile Bay left Sturgeon Bay about 9:45 a.m. Monday on its way to help free the Great Lakes freighter Alpena. On Tuesday, the 519-foot Alpena was following the cutters into Green Bay.

This year's ice is so thick, it requires two Coast Guard cutters to clear the path, Stone said. “It is up to 36 inches thick by Green Island. We needed two vessels to flush the bay and to work it.”

The Mobile Bay has been busy breaking ice in several areas this spring, but this is the initial effort south of Sherwood Point.

With ice-breaking operations under way, Stone again cautioned people to stay off the ice.

“Ice is deteriorating quickly,” he said. “Even though the ice is thick in some areas, with the wind, rain and warmer temperatures, it is absolutely dangerous to be on it.”

Green Bay Press Gazette


Great Lakes shipping season begins at Grand Haven

4/3 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Mary's Conquest opened the season at Grand Haven on Friday morning, March 29. It brought a load of cement for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. This same vessel combination opened the season last year on March 23.

The St. Marys Conquest is managed by Port City Marine Services of Muskegon, while the tug is owned and operated by Port Tug Inc., also of Muskegon. The Conquest was built in 1937 by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company of Manitowoc, Wis., as the tanker Red Crown.

The Red Crown was 465.25 feet long, with a beam of 55.25 feet and a depth of 25.5 feet. It was renamed the Amoco Indiana in 1962, and ceased operations for Amoco Oil Company in 1982. Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay, Wis., converted it to a cement-carrying barge in 1987. It now measures 437 feet, 6 inches long, 55 feet wide and 28 feet deep with a capacity of 8500 tons.

The tug Prentiss Brown was built in 1969 by Gulfport Shipbuilding of Port Arthur, Texas. It was christened the Betty Culbreath and renamed the Michaela McAllister when it was acquired by McAllister Towing and Transportation, an off-lakes firm. It was subsequently purchased by Port City Tug and completely refitted at Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

This tug had a raised pilothouse atop a cylindrical column. Its length is 123 feet, 5 inches, and its breadth is 30 feet with a depth of 19 feet. It is diesel powered, and is propelled by two GM Electromotive engines driving a single propeller.

The following is an orientation to Grand Haven area docks. As you come up river from the lighthouse, the first dock on the right is Government Basin. This dock serves the U.S. Coast Guard Station Grand Haven and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Next is the coal dock for the Board of Light and Power Sims plant on Harbor Island. Just beyond the power plant dock is Meekhof's D&M dock, which has piles of various bulk materials.

On the left a little farther up river is the Construction Aggregates Dock. This facility was our only shipping dock and it is closed indefinitely.

Around the curve of Harbor Island, the rest of the docks are on the north Ferrysburg side of the river at that point. The first is an old oil and gasoline tanker terminal, which is no longer used. The oil and gas terminal is now served by a pipeline.

Next is Verplank's dock with multiple piles of materials on both sides of the large silos that are the St. Mary's Cement terminal.

For those who have not obtained their copy of “Know Your Ships,” there is a supply available at The Bookman. If you are interested in boats on the Great Lakes, this annual publication is a must have.

For those interested in Great Lakes shipwrecks, Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates is presenting their 15th annual Mysteries and Histories Beneath the Inland Seas show on April 20 at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland. Visit for more information.

We are tentatively expecting the Manitowoc at the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island on April 6.

Grand Haven Tribune


Lake Michigan port gets 1st international arrival

4/3 - Portage, Ind. - A vessel carrying liquid fertilizer from the Baltic Sea region has arrived at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, marking the start of the 2013 international shipping season at the Lake Michigan port.

The German tanker Sloman Herakles arrived Monday on its maiden voyage to North America carrying nearly 13,000 tons of liquid fertilizer. The St. Lawrence Seaway opened its locks March 22 for oceangoing vessels to enter the Great Lakes and deliver cargo to U.S. and Canadian ports.

The port about 10 miles east of Gary, Ind. The Canadian-owned Federal Welland is scheduled to arrive later this week with 5,100 tons of steel coils from the Netherlands.



Great Lakes drought has ripple effect on auto industry

4/3 - Chicago, Ill. - The government reported this week the ongoing drought is getting worse. More than half the country - and virtually all of Texas - is experiencing drought.

The 2013 shipping season opened this week on the Great Lakes, with enormous freighters passing through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. This year, however, the industry is awash in uncertainty.

The persistent drought has produced some of the lowest levels ever recorded in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And as a consequence, the big ships that carry iron ore to mills around the lakes are now being forced to lighten their loads - or risk running aground.

"When (the Stewart J. Cort) came down with her cargo here - the last cargo in January - she was at the 25 mark. If she had been loaded to her full mark, she would have been up just an inch short of 28 feet," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president at the Lake Carriers Association - a trade group that represents shippers.

Last month CBS News went aboard the Cort in the Port of Milwaukee. As long as an aircraft carrier, the ship can carry 65,000 tons of ore.

"When this ship loaded its last cargo of the season, it had only 55,000 tons on board," Nekvasil said.

If a ship is 10,000 tons of ore short, "that means a steel mill didn't make about 6,700 tons of steel and that could have been turned into 8,400 cars. And 8,400 cars would keep a large auto plant working for 15 days," he explained. "And you have to remember that's on just one trip. These ships will make 45 to 50 trips during a season."

Precipitation in February and March over the Michigan and Huron basin has been close to average, and the levels are now about two inches higher than they were in January, when the record lows were reached. But that's still about 26 inches - more than two feet - lower than where the lakes usually are.

And the mild winter temperatures didn't help. There was little ice cover over the water this year, allowing evaporation to drain even more moisture from the lakes. So while Friday was nice and sunny and made the lakes just glisten, there are a lot of people who would prefer a slate-gray overcast and plenty more rain.

CBS News


Tall Ships Festival at Duluth

4/3 - Duluth, Minn. — Tickets will go on sale Monday for this summer's Tall Ships Festival, which can attract about 250,000 people to Lake Superior.

That's how many came to the port city in 2010 to see, board and sail on grand sailing ships that evoke the nation's nautical past in the largest event ever held in northeast Minnesota. With a possible 11 ships scheduled to arrive in Duluth for the event July 25-29, organizers are hoping for an even bigger draw this year.

Duluth hosted its first Tall Ships festival in 2008, when three of the wooden ships sailed to the world's most inland sea port. The crowds caught everyone by surprise, said Tony Boen, regional manager for Grandma's Restaurant Co.

"I couldn't believe it, frankly. The people were crowded along the whole canal and the whole shore, and it was packed," Boen recalled. "I can't even describe it well enough. Packed. Like you couldn't move. People just wanting to see those boats come in."

That year, 125,000 people jammed into Duluth's Canal Park, where Grandma's occupies a prime location overlooking the Aerial Lift Bridge spanning the shipping canal.

"We could not rent enough trucks and space to store the food we needed for that weekend," Boen said. "We ended up having to try to get out of Canal Park to get up to, say, Sam's Club, or have our purveyors get down, because the roads were like a parking lot, they were so stuffed with people."

Boen said the festivals in 2008 and 2010 remain the restaurant's most profitable periods since it first opened in the 1970s.

Jim Paquette, general manager of Canal Park Lodge, said tall ships are also a boon for hotels, even during the summer when they are usually full.

"But with an event like this, we're able to increase our rates because the demand is so high, so it's good for all of us," Paquette said. "I know the restaurants, they fill, and they fill, and they fill again, so just having all the people around really helps the business community."

The 2010 festival pumped an estimated $15 million into the local economy, said Terry Mattson, CEO of Visit Duluth, the city's tourism bureau.

"This was by far the biggest [event] that we've ever done in Duluth," Mattson said. "In fact, that attendance rivals that of a weekend at the Minnesota State Fair."

Mattson said the festival's budget will approach $1 million this year. He said it can cost as much as $40,000 to book just one of the ships.

"The sailing vessels themselves are the rock stars," Mattson said. "You contract with each ship individually as you would with a performing artist."

The ships will compete in a series of races across the Great Lakes this summer and will visit other ports, including Chicago and Green Bay. They will also commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

One of the vessels coming to Duluth, the brig Niagara, is a reproduction of a ship that helped defeat a British squadron in the Battle of Lake Erie. Those cannon shots will ring across Lake Superior when the Duluth Tall Ships festival begins in late July.

MPR News


Lakes visitor hits New Hampshire bridge

4/3 - The 473-foot tanker Harbour Feature was successfully freed at approximately 6 p.m., Monday after striking the Sarah Long Bridge, on the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, N.H.

Tugboats were able to safely tow the 473-foot, Portuguese flagged, motor vessel from the bridge to the state pier during a slack tide. There was no pollution or injuries reported. The vessel made trips into the Great Lakes in 2011 and 2012.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Northern New England received a report from the Harbour Feature that it became disabled and allided with the bridge at approximately 1:30 p.m., Monday. The vessel was carrying an unknown amount of tallow oil.

The Harbour Feature crew has reported a six-to-twelve inch rupture above the waterline of the vessel near the port ballast tank. At this time there is no water entering the ship and no pollution from the ship.


Coast Guard boat to be Marblehead museum centerpiece

4/3 - Marblehead, Ohio - The old Coast Guard boat that's slowly being restored a few miles from the lake is destined for a quiet retirement in a new museum.

But the boat, a veteran of Lake Michigan, is meant to recall stirring rescues from decades ago, when Coast Guard members used boats just like the one at Boytim Boat Works to rescue people in distress in stormy Lake Erie waters.

The boat will be the centerpiece of a planned new museum, located near the Marblehead Lighthouse, that will honor the Coast Guard and its predecessor, the U.S. Lifesaving Service, said Ron Kochensparger, president of the Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society.


Model ships of the Great Lakes headed to Flint Institute of Arts

4/3 - Flint, Mich. - The Flint Institute of Arts will soon be showcasing one of Michigan's most treasured resources. Water.

The three-part exhibit will showcase a traveling gallery of water-themed paintings, complimented by a collection of model ships and another gallery of paintings that pay tribute to the Great Lakes. The ships are all recreations of actual ships that sailed the Great Lakes -- and they're not just little toys.

“Ship modeling historically is an ancient art. It goes back to funerary art found in Egyptian tombs,” said Joel Stone, curator for the Detroit Historical Society, who manages the collection. And as Tracee Glab, associate curator of exhibitions at FIA points out, the people who made them didn't necessarily consider themselves artists.

“The ship building as an art form was really a practical thing at the beginning because it was a way to create a large ship in small scale and check everything,” she said. “Over the centuries, people started to collect them as an art form.”

And over time, Stone said, it turned from a strictly practical pursuit to a recreational one. He said for some sailors it might have been a way to pass the time while sailing, or something to keep them occupied during their retirement years.

Glab said of the ships, “It really is an art form ... and people will see that because they're so painstakingly created.”

The ships mostly date to pre-World War II, meaning that there will be traditional sailboats as well as military boats and other engine-driven vessels. Stone said one warship is a model that is reputed to have been what Lincoln sailed on in 1812.

The boats are on loan from the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit, which is currently under renovations, and Glab said she thinks they're a perfect compliment to the collection of paintings that will also be on display.

“We knew when we were bringing in the water show we wanted to do a ship model show at the same time,” she said.

The FIA will also have a collection of works spanning 50 years featuring Great Lakes-area artists.

The main attraction of the exhibit, however, is a a collection on loan from collector Arthur Phelan.

Phelan said he has always collected art based on what he finds interesting, rather than what's popular in the art world. The first painting he ever bought, in 1963, is the lone painting in the exhibit that involves the Great Lakes. He bought it for $125, figuring if the painting wasn't worth much, then at least the frame would be.

“I bought it from the dealer because there really wasn't a market for it,” he said.

Now traveling the country with the rest of the collection, his mother once deemed it unworthy to go over their mantle, something he said he finds funny now.

Although it might not have been the type of painting that makes you feel right at home. Titled, “Great Lakes Marine Disaster” by William H. Wheeler, it shows an old ship burning on one of the Great Lakes while lifeboats row away.

Glab said it's an “interesting” painting because of the subject matter. Her guess is that it's based on an actual disaster.

“For someone to paint that subject in a painting, it would have to be a memento for someone who survived it,” she said.

But it's only one of about 50 paintings that will be on display. What Glab said is particularly interesting about this exhibit is that the works are by American artists during a time when American art was struggling to make its name in the world.

“American art is really came into its own in the late 19th, early 20th century,” she said. “Until that time (American artists) either went to Europe to study or were self-taught. So this exhibition has a variety of those kinds of artists.”

The collection features scenes of boats, beaches, rivers, oceans, Glab said, but are also appealing to anyone who is interested in what makes American art American.

“It's part of our American art history because one of the very earliest schools of art is called the Hudson River School,” she said, pointing out that “school,” in this instance means a group and collective mindset of artists, not an actual school. “And they were very much inspired by the land, America the land, as their muse, for lack of a better word. So they would depict American, very uniquely American spots, things that would not be confused with Europe. Often that would have to do with water.”

The exhibit runs April 6 through June 16 at the Flint Institute of Arts. Mlive


Boat makes splash as it goes on display at Maritime Heritage Center

4/3 - Alpena, Mich. - The Heritage 23 started as an idea among four friends in a coffee shop in Tawas. The boat was built after the classic regional style Mackinaw boat of the mid-1800s and installed recently in the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center for public display.

It took the Heritage Coast Sailing and Rowing organization around four months to complete the vessel with the rigging installed.

The group was looking for a way to emphasize the Blue Highway and the historic U.S. 23 Heritage Route. Heritage builders said Pat Labadie was instrumental in getting the design for the Mackinaw style of the Heritage 23 boat.

To build the boat, HCSR members had to send the idea to Scotland to first have a digital design made of the boat by Richard Pierce. Then they sent the digital design to a kit designer, Alec Jordan, of Fife, Scotland, and after the kit design was made, sent it back to the United States to a kit maker, Hewes and Company of Maine.

Once the kit was made, the hands-on work began on the Heritage 23 in April 2012. Dave Wentworth, Joe Czaika, Dave Gilles and Leo Chartier took all of April, May, June and July to build the vessel and her rigging.

"The purpose of building the vessel was to preserve the historic regional design, and to facilitate modern techniques with traditional designs," Wentworth said.

The organization is patterned after the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, which uses the St. Ayles Skiff as the design class for the regattas and events it conducts each year.

In two years, 25 St. Ayles skiffs have been launched, with 29 others under construction. The sport is attracting participation from all ages, men and women alike.

Heritage Coast hopes to have similar events in Alpena and along the Lake Huron shoreline using the Heritage 23 as the design for the events.

"A group in Marquette is currently building another vessel and there is already another build in Wisconsin," Wentworth said. "We would like to see more of these under construction in all the surrounding areas."

The Detroit News


Lake Superior Marine Museum Association announces Spring Break-Up drawing details

4/3 - Duluth, Minn. - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association (LSMMA), in conjunction with the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, has announced the winner of the annual Spring Break-Up drawing. The winner was drawn on March 24 around 2 a.m. when the first Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes ship went under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge. Congratulation goes to Richard and Rose Marie Eichmueller of Duluth, Minnesota.

They will enjoy a round-trip cruise aboard the Great Lakes Fleet/Key Lakes, Inc. 1,000-foot ore carrier the Edwin H. Gott. The winners will set sail from Two Harbors or Duluth, Minnesota, and cruise through the Soo Locks and the St. Marys River. The 5.5-day cruise will be scheduled for later this summer.

LSMMA still conducts its Cruise of a Lifetime raffle. Tickets will go on sale the beginning of April. The Cruise of a Lifetime drawing will be held during the 2013 Gales of November, LSMMA's educational, fundraising and networking benefit. The raffle drawing will take place on Saturday, November 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. Contact LSMMA or visit their website for raffle ticket pricing and details.

The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association


Updates -  April 3

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  April 3

On 03 April 1969, RALPH MISENER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 19,160 gross tons, built in 1967, at Montreal, Quebec) suffered serious fire damage to her engine room during fit-out at Port Colborne, Ontario. She went overseas for scrap in 2012 as b.) GORDON C. LEITCH (ii).

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 crewmates 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.


Seaway Shut Down

4/2 10 a.m. update - The St. Laurent Railway Bridge is out of service for at least 8 hours, said the Seaway Iroquois Radio Tuesday morning. John B. Aird has gone to anchor in Lake St. Louis and John Spence with Niagara Spirit is secured at the Cote wharf. The bridge is near the western end of the South Shore Canal which runs from Montreal Harbor to Lake St. Louis.

Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  April 2

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Late Sunday, the tug Meredith Ashton (Andrie) and barge Huron Spirit (McKeil) arrived at Bay Shipbuilding.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
English River unloaded cement.


Skipper of 1st overseas ship of the season praises Toledo port

4/2 - Toledo, Ohio - When Tomasz Molenda first visited Toledo, as the first mate aboard a freighter delivering fertilizer from Norway in 1998, he noticed how empty the local ports general-cargo dock looked.

“In 1998, it was only [steel] rolls,” he recalled Friday while Port of Toledo cranes unloaded 9,500 metric tons of Guatemalan sugar from the freighter now under his command, the M.V. Isa, which became the first overseas vessel to call on Toledo during the 2013 Great Lakes shipping season when it arrived earlier in the day.

The dock Friday sported several piles of various grades of petroleum coke, a large coal pile, scores of rows of aluminum ingots, plus a variety of other aggregates and metals. Two ocean ships booked to arrive in Toledo next month will bring loads of pig iron and calcium nitrate, said Joe Cappel, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority director of cargo development.

The M.V. Isa, registered in Cyprus and operated by Polska Zegluga Morska P.P., based in Szczecin, Poland, is “one of the earliest first ships that we've had in recent years,” said Mr. Cappel, who expressed hope that the early ship is a harbinger of a robust shipping season at the local port.

Port President Paul Toth, meanwhile, said without two high-speed cranes that the port authority bought three years ago — part of a $35 million equipment program to upgrade the cargo docks' loading and unloading capacity — the sugar cargo would have gone elsewhere.

“We used to get sugar here, but we lost that business to the East Coast because our old equipment wasn't fast enough to be competitive,” Mr. Toth said.

During a ceremony on his vessel's bridge Friday afternoon, Captain Molenda received a customary glass goblet, bottle of Toledo water, and city coin from Paul Syring, Toledo's deputy mayor for external relations, while port officials gave him a port authority cap and an array of Toledo Mud Hens' souvenirs.

“I guarantee you, if you wear this anywhere in the world, someone will come up to you and say, ‘Ah, I know the Toledo Mud Hens,' ” Mr. Toth told the captain while handing him a Hens jersey.

City Councilman Mike Craig, whose East Toledo district includes the general cargo dock, presented an honorary proclamation and said that in “my part of Toledo, this [first ship] means jobs, and we're always happy to see the first cargo come in from overseas.”

Captain Molenda said the Great Lakes trade is important too for his employer, which maintains 12 vessels specifically designed for travel through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The Isa unloaded about half its cargo in Windsor, Ont., after a three-week voyage from Guatemala that included a Panama Canal transit as well as passage through the combined 15 locks of the Seaway and Welland Canal. Captain Molenda said his ship also was the first of the season in Windsor.

While the ship unloading appeared to proceed without interruption, the International Longshoremen's Association district office in Cleveland set up an informational picket at Millard and Tiffin avenues, protesting what a union official said is a union-busting effort by Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the port stevedore.

William Yockey, a union vice president, said the group of about two dozen longshoremen from several ILA locals were protesting Midwest Terminals' recent decision to withdraw from the Great Lakes Association of Stevedores, which historically has negotiated dock-worker contracts for ports throughout the region, and its subsequent stance in negotiations for a contract with ILA Local 1982 to replace one that expired Dec. 31.

Midwest is seeking pay cuts that would put Toledo dockworkers significantly worse off compared with counterparts elsewhere, Mr. Yockey said, and in the interim has stopped deducting union dues from paychecks and is disregarding seniority for work assignments.

Alex Johnson, Midwest Terminals' president and chief executive officer, issued a statement arguing that since 2009, when ILA's Cleveland regional headquarters took over Local 1982’s management, “the ILA trustees and local members have actively fought Midwest’s efforts to install a modern health, safety, security, and environmental training progam to equip workers to handle larger and more complex equipment safely and efficiently.

“We have faced significant legal expenses as a result of attempting to modernize our operations and improve productivity, all for the benefit of the Port of Toledo,” Mr. Johnson wrote. “We look forward to settling this dispute quickly so we can improve our operations and focus on the future.”

He did not cite wage talks or other aspects of negotiations, and Terry Leach, the company’s director of operations, said he could not discuss ongoing negotiations.

Toledo Blade


Icebreaking to begin for Madeline Island Ferry operation

4/2 - The U.S. Coast Guard has been asked to conduct icebreaking operations in the South Channel of Chequamegon Bay in support of the Madeline Island Ferry. On Wednesday at 7 a.m. a U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker will break the ice in South Channel so the Madeline Island Ferry can begin operations. The icebreaker will not disturb ice in the North or West Channel and will not proceed north of Bayfield or the Madeline Island Ferry Dock.

Superior Telegram


Beaver Island icebreaking

4/2 - The United States Coast Guard Cutter Biscayne Bay will be conducting icebreaking operations in St. James Harbor, Beaver Island, on April 3.


New requirements for ballast water issued

4/2 - Traverse City, Mich. - The Environmental Protection Agency has issued new requirements for cleansing ballast water dumped from ships, which scientists believe has provided a pathway to U.S. waters for invasive species that damage ecosystems and cost the economy billions of dollars.

Commercial vessels are equipped with tanks that can hold millions of gallons of water to provide stability in rough seas. But live creatures often lurk in the soupy brews of water, seaweed and sediment. If they survive transoceanic journeys and are released into U.S. waters, they can multiply rapidly, crowding out native species and spreading diseases.

Ships are currently required to dump ballast water 200 miles from a U.S. shoreline. But under the new general permit released Thursday by the EPA, vessels longer than 79 feet, which includes an estimated 60,000 vessels, must also treat ballast water with technology such as ultraviolet light or chemicals to kill at least some of the organisms.

The new guidelines don’t apply to vessels staying within the Great Lakes, a decision that environmentalists criticized as leaving the door open for ships to ferry invasive species around the lakes.

The permit imposes international cleanliness standards that the Coast Guard also adopted in regulations it issued last year.

The EPA said studies by its science advisory board and the National Research Council endorsed the standards, which limit the number of living organisms in particular volumes of water.

Environmental groups contend the limits should be 100 or even 1,000 times tougher, but industry groups say no existing technology can go that far.



Shipwreck show this Saturday

4/2 - The 2013 Shipwrecks! Show at Welland, Ont., near Niagara Falls, takes place this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Presentations will include: "Long Point and its Shipwrecks" (Lake Erie); "Vanishing Points" (Lake Huron shipwrecks); "The HMS Ontario" (1780 shipwreck in Lake Ontario); "The Battle of Lake Erie" (War of 1812); "Shipwreck Tales of Chicago" (Lake Michigan); and several others. See for more information


Diver Anthony Gramer to appear April 13 on Harsens Island

4/2 - The Harsens Island St. Clair Flats Historical Society Lecture Series presents world renowned professional diver Anthony Gramer on April 13 at 3 p.m. at the Lions Hall. He will tell the story of the steamship Fred McBrier, built in 1881 and lost with all hands on October 3, 1890 in just 7 minutes. Make reservations for this event call 810-748-1825


Updates -  April 2

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  Saginaw Bay gallery


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.


Port Reports -  April 1

St. Marys River
Ice above the Soo Locks is again causing trouble for freighters. On Sunday, the USCG Mackinaw, Bristol Bay, Biscayne Bay and Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley were working ice convoys through the ice. The convoy system, a result of the heavy ice,  was causing delays as groups of ships must wait above or below the locks for their group to move.

A downbound group that included Sam Laud, Saginaw, Ken Boothe Sr. and CSL Laurentien were clearing late Sunday as the icebreakers appeared to stop for the night. Waiting to pass upbound below the locks were American Courage, Arthur M. Anderson and H. Lee White.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
The tug Omni Richelieu departed at 9:30 a.m. Sunday to help the Clipper Mari dock in Clarkson. She returned to port at 2 p.m. Cuyahoga arrived at 12:30 p.m. with canola from Thunder Bay. After discharging her cargo they will shift to Pier 22 to load slag.


Geography has situated Port Huron and Michigan as international trade hub

4/1 - Port Huron, Mich. – The challenge, they say, is using that geography to the advantage of the city and state

“Everyone in the logistics business knows where Port Huron is,” said Dan Casey, chief executive officer of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County. “We don’t often think about our proximity to Canada as an advantage, but we are a significant player in the business because of the border crossing.”

Prima Citivas Foundation, a nonprofit Lansing-based economic development organization, has been working with the state and other partners to capitalize on the state’s natural strengths.

“The main point here is that Michigan has finally realized it is in a perfect position to work as a logistics hub,” said Jim Smiertka, senior vice president and general counsel for Prima Citivas. “If you take a map and step back and look at North America, look at the border crossings, it makes sense. And Port Huron is right smack dab in the middle of it.”

Logistics — managing the flow of resources and products between producers and consumers — is both about how product moves and where it is created, Smiertka said.

The momentum building around local logistics businesses could be a very good thing for St. Clair County. Casey said that industry brings jobs — well-paying jobs — and grows the tax base.

Port Huron has the infrastructure in place to excel as a logistics hub, according to the experts:

• The Blue Water Bridge is far less congested than the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit and connects with two major highways. According to data from Blue Water Bridge Canada, 679,226 trucks crossed into the U.S. and 797,962 crossed into Canada over the bridge last year.

• The CN railroad crosses under the river through a double-stacked tunnel, allowing more freight to cross the border at once.

• Freighters travel through the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, the midpoint of the St. Lawrence Seaway system. Deepwater ports along the shoreline, including one in Marysville, could accommodate superfreighters once they start making their way around the globe.

The county’s international airport — and close proximity to both Flint’s Bishop Airport and Detroit Metro Airport — round out the list.

Casey said the infrastructure is a remnant of the days when shipping was a major industry for the county, although it hasn’t been one for a while.

Local businesses, however, still use that infrastructure.

“I’m surprised that we aren’t more of a shipping hub because of our proximity to Canada and the highways,” said Todd Kinney, director of sales and marketing for Witco Inc. in Avoca. “I lived in Chicago, which is a major shipping hub, for three years, and there is no reason we can’t have that here.”

Kinney said his company takes advantage of its location with roughly 40 percent of its product destined for Canada. Witco is a precision computer numeric control machine shop, manufacturing for industries ranging from aerospace to health.

Joe McCulloch, business development manager with the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, said businesses that have been operating in the area for a while tend to overlook the ties it has with Canada.

“I find that a lot of companies do business with Canada without really realizing that they are dealing with a foreign country,” he said. “Because of the proximity, they don’t think of it that way.”

Although the physical location — and its corresponding infrastructure — is the first thing people talk about when discussing a logistics hub, it’s not the only defining factor. Smiertka said that is where marketing comes in.

“Right now, about 90 percent of the freight that comes through Michigan doesn’t stop here,” Smiertka said. “The focus now is to show companies that if you build your facilities right here, you will have access to the world and a workforce and value-added proposition to do the manufacturing you need.”

The value-added proposition comes via the Interstate 69 International Trade Corridor, a Next Michigan Development Corporation initiative that partners St. Clair, Lapeer, Genesee and Shiawassee counties to market Interstate 69 as an ideal place for logistics companies.

It allows those communities to offer real and personal property tax abatements, as well as tax-free Renaissance Zones to business that can show they use two or more forms of transportation to move their product. Each of the economic development organizations in the counties have additional incentives at their disposal as well, including help with financing, workforce hiring and training, site selection and more.

The EDA has made increasing local exports a priority for the coming year, sponsoring seminars on how businesses can obtain financing for exporting ventures.

Crossing the border with product can be intimidating, Kinney said, because there are additional restrictions and regulations. It is worth it to get over the “fear factor,” he said, as it opens up a lot of new markets and customers.

St. Clair County EDA is partnering with Michigan State University’s Center for Community and Economic Development on its regional exporting strategies project, Casey said. The project is backed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and allows the partners to provide site-specific advice for small- and medium-sized businesses that want to either begin exporting or expand their exports to a new country.

The results of that work will be presented at a bi-national summit this fall.

Another EDA focus for the coming year is workforce training, which Smiertka said is a necessary step.

“Port Huron has access to a workforce that can service and be available for multi-modal businesses,” he said. “There are specific training programs to train students for that work. St. Clair County Community College has a program together with Mott in Flint to do that. The workforce is there.”

That program, the transportation and logistics technology certification, is offered through the engineering technology department. Students take 10 classes covering everything from basic English and algebra to domestic and international freight operations.

Graduates have the skills that professionals in the field would need and companies would want their employees to have, Casey said.

Most people who have driven along I-69 have seen the billboards advertising the I-69 International Trade Corridor, but marketing the area as a logistics haven is going further than that.

“The marketing and branding of the region is important,” Smiertka said.

Smiertka said Port Huron will be one of five areas around the state highlighted in an international Pure Michigan campaign designed to market the state as a strong contender for logistics business.

Casey said the I-69 International Trade Corridor recently took out a large ad in one of the major logistics industry magazines, and members have been traveling around the country to pitch the area as a business destination.

In some ways, talking to logistics officials about locating in Michigan is an eye opener, he said. “We haven’t been traditionally thought of for logistics because you have to make a hard left turn to get here,” he said. “The industry focused on where are the masses of people, where are the majority of our customers?”

“But if you step back and look at it from a macro standpoint, we are far more centrally located. North American logistics is becoming more global in nature, and with containers coming across the ocean on freighters, they are naturally going to flow through Port Huron. We are strategically located for the shipment of goods.”

Port Huron Times Herald


Reserve now for Engineer’s Day Soo Cruise

4/1 - Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River, June 28, as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and will travel through the U.S. and Canadian locks. We will do our best to find photo opportunities for any vessel traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. See the Gathering Page for details.


Updates -  April 1

Holiday weekend has us a bit behind on the updates, check back tomorrow


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: 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 the 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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