Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Wilfred Sykes arrives at lay-up dock

5/31 - The Wilfred Sykes arrived Saturday afternoon at the Illinois International Port in Calumet Harbor for temporary lay-up.

Luke Jacobs


Port Reports - May 31

Marinette, Wisc. – Dick Lund
The Rosaire A. Desgagnes arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of pig iron in the very early hours of Saturday. They were assisted stern-first into the Menominee River by the Selvick tug, Jimmy L, who led them to their mooring space alongside the craneship, William H. Donner. Shortly before 8 a.m., the Basic Towing tugs, Nickelena and Erika Kobasic, arrived back in port to pick up some more of the U.S. Navy INLS craft. Each tug took a string of three craft, last week each tug took just two, and were outward bound just 2-1/2 hours after they arrived.

Green Bay, Wisc. - Wendell Wilke
Saturday morning the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Green Bay with stone for Western Lime, arriving at the dock by 10 a.m. remaining at the St. Mary's Dock are the tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Herbert C. Jackson arrived in Holland Saturday morning, docking at the James DeYoung electric generating plant at about 7:30. It was delivering coal loaded at Toledo. By early afternoon the Jackson was headed back for Lake Michigan.
Holland is scheduled to receive two more coal deliveries in the coming week. On Monday evening the Manitowoc is expected from Chicago. Later in the week a second load from Toledo should be delivered by the Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder.

Toronto, Ont. – Charlie GIbbons
The Dutch saltie Umiavut arrived in port Friday morning, assisted by the Groupe Ocean tug Omni Richelieu, which arrived an hour earlier from Hamilton. The tug departed for Hamilton shortly after assisting.


Updates - May 31

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated Ships gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 31

The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 cleared Manitowoc in 1973, in tow of the tug HELEN M MC ALLISTER, this was the first leg of her tow to the cutters torch which ended at Castellon, Spain.

The wooden barge FANNY NEIL was launched at the Muir, Livingstone & Co. yard in Port Huron, Michigan on 31 May 1870. As was usual in those days, her name was not made public until the streamer bearing her name was unfurled at the launch.

May 31, 1924 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 21 arrived Ludington, Michigan on her maiden voyage. Captain Charles E. Robertson in command.

The wooden tug MOCKING BIRD was launched at 7:00 p.m. on 31 May 1873, (12 days late) at the Port Huron Dry Dock Company yard. Her master builder was Alex "Sandy" Stewart. Her dimensions were 123 foot x 23 feet x 8.4 feet, 142 gross tons. The engine (26.5 inches x 30 inches) was at the Cuyahoga Works in Cleveland, Ohio at the time of launch, ready to be installed. Although this launch was twelve days late, it still did not go smoothly since MOCKING BIRD got stuck in the river. However, with some assistance from another tug, she was pulled free and was afloat at the dock by midnight. She lasted until abandoned at Marquette, Michigan in 1918.

On 31 May 1900, the KEWAUNEE (wooden propeller steamer, 106 foot, 143 gross tons) was launched at Kewaunee, Wisconsin for James Smith, Ben Kuhlman & William Keeper. In 1902, she was rebuilt as a lightship and in 1913, she was converted to a sand dredge. She lasted until 1935, when she was abandoned.

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


Sykes coming to Lake Calumet for lay-up

5/30 - The Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive Saturday morning around 8 a.m., on Friday it loaded in Escanaba. The Sykes will temporarily lay-up at the Sheds near the grain elevators on Lake Calumet, the end of the laker navigable waters of the Calumet River. This is the same area where the Challenger winters and is also the current home of the CTC 1.

Tom Milton


Port Reports - May 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday morning the Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded coal into the hopper at the Upper Harbor and then departed for Western Lake Superior. Friday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, H. Lee White unloaded western coal from Superior and was expected to head back to Superior for another coal load after unloading.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Calumet arrived at 5 a.m. Friday with the third load of coal this season for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island. It was scheduled to depart mid-afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Friday morning the John J. Boland tied up and began taking on cargo at Stoneport. Mid-day loading was completed and the Boland departed around 1:30 p.m.


Updates - May 30

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Sylvania and Scott Misener Galleries updated
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 30

On 30 May 1896, ALGERIA (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 285 foot, 2,038 gross tons) was launched by J. Davidson (Hull #75) at West Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until 1906, when she foundered near Cleveland, Ohio.

The COLUMBIA STAR began her maiden voyage in 1981, from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to load iron ore pellets at Silver Bay, Minnesota for Lorain, Ohio. She was the last of the 1,000 footers to enter service and, excluding tug-barge units or conversions, was the last new Great Lakes vessel on the American side.

During the economic depression known as the "Panic of '73", shipbuilding came to a stand still. Orders for new vessels were cancelled and worked was stopped on hulls that were on the ways. On 30 May 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that a recovery from the "Panic of '73" resulted in a surge of shipyard work at Marine City. "Shipyards are getting ready to start business again with full force. Mr. Fin Kenyon has begun building a steam barge for Kenyon Bros. [the PORTER CHAMBERLAIN]; Mr. George King is going to build a steam barge for Mr. Henry Buttironi [the GERMANIA]; Messrs. Hill and Wescott are going to build a side wheel passenger boat for Mr. Eber Ward [the NORTHERNER]; Mr. David Lester will build another steam barge [the CITY OF DULUTH]. There is one barge on the stocks built by Mr. Hill for Mr. Morley, that will soon be ready to launch [the N K FAIRBANK].

"At about 1:00 a.m. on 30 May 1882, the lumber hooker ROCKET, carrying shingles from Manistee to Charlevoix, capsized about four miles abreast of Frankfort, Michigan on Lake Michigan. The tug HALL found the vessel and towed her inside the harbor. The crew were saved, but the vessel was split open and was a total wreck.

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


Wilfred Sykes going to temporary lay up

5/29 - The Wilfred Sykes is going into temporary lay up on Friday at either Milwaukee or Calumet Harbor. Her last load will be from Port Inland to the Escanaba Reiss Dock with a load of emflux.

Luke Jacobs


Port Reports - May 29

Marinette, Wisc. - Dick Lund
Basic Towing Inc.'s tugs Nickelena and Erika Kobasic arrived at Marinette Marine Wednesday morning. The pair were in town to tow some of the new INLS (Integrated Navy Lighterage System) craft for the U.S. Navy. On Thursday morning the duo departed, each with two INLS craft in tow. They headed down the bay of Green Bay, heading for the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and then south (usually to Chicago).

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
Boats were few and far between on a rainy Thursday in the Soo. Upbounders included Nassauborg and Saginaw in the the early evening and Kaministiqua after dark. American Mariner and Frontenac were downbound in the late afternoon, with Presque Isle and Algolake due at the locks around midnight. CCGS Samuel Risley was also upbound in the river Thursday, docking on Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.


Relighting ceremony Saturday at McGulpin Point Lighthouse

5/29 - Mackinaw City, Mich. - The McGulpin Point Lighthouse will be re-lighted on Saturday, and the public is invited to a ceremony to mark the occasion with the rededication and lighting of the tower beacon at McGulpin Point, west of Mackinaw City.

Originally the site of an Odawa village, McGulpin Point Lighthouse was established in 1869 and served as a crucial beacon on the Straits of Mackinac as it guided vessels through the shoal-filled water.

With the construction of the Old Mackinac Point light and fog signal station in 1892, the Lighthouse Board decided that McGulpin Point station no longer served its once critical purpose. In 1906, the property reverted to private ownership until its purchase and historical restoration by Emmet County in 2008.

Earlier this year, a replica lantern was constructed and returned to the top of the tower. The ceremonies run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will include historical reenactment, patriotic singing, speakers and visiting dignitaries, light refreshments and the lighting ceremony at noon.

McGulpin Point is reached by traveling west on Central Avenue out of Mackinaw City to Headlands Park Drive and then heading north.

Parking is limited and a free shuttle bus will run from Mackinaw Historic Village or Mackinaw Public Schools, both located on Central Avenue. Visitors are encouraged to the use the free shuttle.

Click here for additional history of McGulpin Point Light.


Updates - May 29

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Sylvania and Scott Misener Galleries updated
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 29

The 71-foot tug and patrol boat CARTER H HARRISON was launched at Chicago, Illinois, on 29 May 1901, for the City of Chicago Police Department.

The STADACONA (Hull#66) was launched in 1909, at Ecorse, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Stadacona Steamship Co. (James Playfair, mgr.). Renamed b.) W H MC GEAN in 1920, and c.) ROBERT S McC NAMARA in 1962.

JAMES R BARKER (Hull#905) was float launched in 1976, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the Interlake Steamship Co.

Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.'s TADOUSSAC (Hull#192) prematurely launched herself on this day in 1969, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd.

May 29, 1905 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 20, while leaving Milwaukee in a heavy fog struck the scow HIRAM R BOND of the Milwaukee Sand Gravel Company. The scow sank.

In 1909, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 capsized at Manistique, Michigan, as a result of an error in loading a heavy load of iron ore.

On 29 May 1889, BAVARIA (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 145 foot, 376 gross tons, built in 1873, at Garden Island, Ontario) was carrying squared timber when she broke from the tow of the steamer D D CALVIN and began to founder near Long Point in Lake Erie. Her crew abandoned her, but all eight were lost. The abandoned vessel washed ashore with little damage and lasted until 1898 when she was destroyed in a storm.

PLEASURE (wooden passenger ferry, 128 foot, 489 gross tons) (Hull#104) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by F.W. Wheeler & Co. on 29 May 1894. She was a small but powerful ferry, equipped with a 1600 h.p. engine. She operated on the Detroit River year round as a ferry and small ice breaker for the Detroit, Belle Isle and Windsor Ferry Company. She was broken up at Detroit in 1940.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, the Detroit Free Press and the Duluth Evening Herald.


Port Reports - May 28

Marquette, Mich. Lee Rowe
The MCM Marine tugs William Gaynor, Mohawk, and Madison are working on the breakwall in Marquette's lower harbor.

Escanaba, Mich. Lee Rowe
Sam Laud arrived at Escanaba Wednesday morning for a load for Indiana Harbor. The next boat in Escanaba will likely be Joseph L. Block.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich - Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday morning, the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge to load cement for Milwaukee, Wisc. Fleetmate tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Thursday morning. The research vessel Laurentian is tied up in the river. Stoneport visitors included the Great Lakes Trader, which loaded throughout the day on Wednesday, and Pathfinder, scheduled to arrive overnight.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
After three days of inactivity on the Saginaw River, Wednesday evening saw the arrival of the Robert S. Pierson. She traveled the short distance up the river to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The Pierson finished her unload around 9:30 p.m. and was headed back outbound for the lake shortly after.


Lake Superior Board of Control announces meeting

5/28 - The International Lake Superior Board of Control will hold a meeting with the public on June 4 at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich and by conference call. This meeting will provide information on the operations of the Board, current and forecast water levels, and allow the public to provide input about local concerns related to water levels and flows of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. Click here for more information


Flea market to have marine items

5/28 - There will be a Marine Memorabilia Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Seaway Terminal, 2336 Military St., Port Huron.

Portholes, ship models, photos, books, artifacs and marine artwork are among the items to be displayed at the event sponsored by the Port Huron Museum, the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, Acheson Ventures and the Great Lakes Nautical Society.

The event is part of Be a Tourist in Your Own Town. Acheson Ventures will unveil “The History of Shipbuilding in Port Huron” the latest installment in the “Inspirations” exhibit. The Great Lakes Nautical Society will display more than 50 boat models and will have its fifth annual Great Lakes Regatta, which will include the demonstration of several models in a large water tank. For more information, call Holly Modock at (810) 982-0891, Ext. 118.


Soo Locks plan second open house

5/28 - There will be a second open house at the Soo Locks on Tuesday, June 30 from 9 a.m. - noon, for the ground breaking ceremony of the new lock. The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. All guests are welcome, and the event is open to the public.

The annual Engineer's Day open house is scheduled for Friday, June 26 this year.


Updates - May 28

News Photo Gallery
Sylvania Historical Perspective Gallery  updated
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 28

THOMAS W. LAMONT departed Toledo on her maiden voyage for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. on May 28, 1930, bound for Duluth, Minnesota where she loaded iron ore.

May 28, 1900 -- The PERE MARQUETTE 15 cut down the scow SILVER LAKE, sinking her with the loss of one life.

On 28 May 1902, WINONA (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 100 foot, 231 gross tons) was launched at Port Stanley, Ontario, for the Port Stanley Navigation Company. She lasted until 1931, when she burned to a total loss.

On 28 May 1860, ARCTIC (wooden side-wheeler, 237 foot, 861 tons, built in 1851, at Marine City, Michigan) drove ashore on the east side of Lighthouse Island in Lake Superior in a dense fog. The passengers and crew were able to make it to shore before a storm arose and pounded the ARCTIC to pieces. The passengers and crew were later picked up by the steamer FOUNTAIN CITY. The ferry SARNIA made her first trip as a carferry between Port Huron and Sarnia on 27 May 1879. She had burned in January 1879, then was converted to a carferry and served in that capacity during the summer. In September 1879, she was converted to a barge.

Detroit, Michigan, May 28. - Fog and smoke in the St. Clair River and the narrow channels of the flats are once more troubling vesselmen and every morning when the atmosphere is clouded the reports come down to Detroit of numerous groundings and mixups and some of them smack of seriousness and narrow escapes from disastrous collisions. On Thursday morning the rivers were overhung with mist and fully half a dozen craft struck on the mud banks, but only one of them, the CITY OF ROME, ran out any and had to be assisted by a wrecking tug. Captains are well aware of the tortuous course of the flats channel and take no chances, but slow down on the coming of the fog and crawl along. If they happen to keep their course so much the better and if the channel bank is run into the engines are reversed and the boat lies to for the blowing away of the curtain. There is no help for this obstacle, lights, fog whistles and all other signals would serve but to confuse the mariners and so long as the narrow channels remain the lake boats will be in constant danger of hitting the channel sides in a fog.

Good Harbor, Michigan, May 31. - The steamer OWEGO of the Erie Railway line went ashore at the head of North Manitou Island at 8 o'clock yesterday. Her forward compartment is full of water. The OWEGO left Chicago Tuesday bound for Buffalo. Her cargo consists of grain and merchandise.


Port Reports - May 27

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Canadian Olympic was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal on Tuesday morning while Indiana Harbor was fueling at the port terminal and awaiting its turn at the dock. Elsewhere, American Mariner was unloading stone at the CLM dock and USCGC Mackinaw was in drydock at Fraser Shipyards.

Green Bay, Wisc. - Scott Best
The tug Prentiss Brown and her barge, St Mary's Conquest, arrived at the St Mary's Cement dock on May 23 for three weeks of repairs or layup.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
St. Marys Challenger arrived in with a load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg early Tuesday morning. It was expected to depart after midnight.

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
A cold, rainy day and sparse traffic greeted boatwatchers along the St. Marys River Tuesday. Canadian Transport, Ojibway and Canadian Prospector were downbound during the afternoon, followed by the G.L. Ostrander / Integrity tug-barge combo and American Spirit in the evening. Herbert C. Jackson, which had been tied at the Carbide Dock for a company meeting, departed downbound at mid-day as well. Upbounders included American Century and the new saltie Tufty.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Monday, Maritime Trader departed Pier 25 at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Catharine Desgagnes arrived at 12:30 p.m. for the anchorage. She will be put on the Heddle Marine Drydock. The saltie Tim Buck departed at 1:30 p.m. with a load of soya beans from JRI Elevators at Pier 25 for Russia.


New rule puts U.S. Coast Guard in Canadian waters

5/27 - Canada and the U.S. signed an agreement Monday designed to increase border security by allowing the RCMP and the U.S. Coast Guard to team up and ride in each others' vessels during border patrols.

Known as the Shiprider program, the new rules intend to improve security and eliminate jurisdictional grey areas in Canada-U.S. waterways. Without the new program, vessels must stop at the border and call upon the other country's officials for help.

The Shiprider program has been used as a pilot program over the past few years to catch smugglers and criminals on joint waterways.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, signed the agreement Tuesday at a cargo facility at the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Mich., and Windsor, Ont.

Van Loan said the pact shouldn't be viewed as Americans encroaching on the jurisdiction of Canada because it's a joint effort between both countries. And he stressed that security and trade between the two countries can be mutually beneficial.

"Because of the integration of our North American economies ... effective management of the border is essential to the health of both of our countries' economies," said Van Loan.

Talks between the two officials are set to continue this week in advance of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which comes into effect June 1. The initiative means Canadians will need to show their passports, NEXUS cards or enhanced driver's licenses when entering the U.S.

Napolitano, who stirred controversy a few weeks ago when she suggested the 9-11 terrorists entered the U.S. through Canada, said the U.S. wants to partner with Ottawa to ensure the safety of the continent.

She said boosting security "doesn't mean closing ourselves off from other countries -- it means working together as neighbors and allies. "We have to be able to share information ... and put more security at the border, which helps us keep track of what is going back and forth," she said.

Van Loan and Napolitano have agreed to meet twice every year, along with other high-level officials, to discuss border issues.



Updates - May 27

News Photo Gallery
Sylvania Historical Perspective Gallery  updated
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 27

CANADIAN PIONEER (Hull#67) was launched May 27, 1981, at St. Catharines, Ontario, by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. She was renamed b.) PIONEER in 1987.

NANTICOKE was christened in 1980, for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd.

CHARLES DICK (Hull#71) was launched in 1922, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for National Sand & Material Co. Ltd.

The PETER REISS left Duluth, Minnesota May 27, 1910, on her maiden voyage with iron ore for Ashtabula, Ohio. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1949, and scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1973.

HENRY STEINBRENNER was towed from Toledo's Lakefront Dock in 1994, for the scrap yard at Port Maitland, Ontario.

The tug SMITH burned near Bay City, Michigan, on 27 May 1872. Her loss was valued at $7,000 but there was no insurance on her.

The ferry SARNIA made her first trip as a carferry between Port Huron and Sarnia on 27 May 1879. She had burned in January 1879, then was converted to a carferry and served in that capacity during the summer. In September, 1879, she was converted to a barge.

The tug GORMAN, sunk by the steamer CITY OF BUFFALO was raised. She is not much injured. The local steamboat inspectors have taken up the case of the collision. The crew of the tug claim that their boat was run over by the CITY OF BUFFALO and the appearance of the wreck carries out their declaration, for the tug shows that the steamer struck her straight aft.

27 May 1898 - The tug WINSLOW arrived in Bay City, Michigan, from Georgian Bay with a raft of logs for Eddy Bros. & Co. The tug NIAGARA arrived from the same bay with a raft for Pitts & Co. The saw mills along the Saginaw river are now nearly all in operation.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Bowling Green State University, the Detroit Free Press and the Duluth Evening Herald.


Cruise season over for new passenger ship Pearl Mist

5/26 - An American cruise company has canceled the remainder of the 2009 touring season in the Atlantic region for a high-end vessel built at the Halifax Shipyard.

Pearl Seas Cruises said it had to cancel the remainder of the 2009 Eastern Canadian and St. Lawrence Seaway cruises because of deficiencies with the Pearl Mist recently discovered during sea trials, quality issues and construction delays.

"Pearl Seas deeply regrets this situation and is hopeful that various issues can be resolved with Irving Shipbuilding in the near future," the company based in Guilford, Conn., said in a news release.

The company has been involved in a dispute over the construction of the vessel with Irving Shipbuilding Inc., and said it would be issuing the release and not discussing the situation further.

Passengers who are booked on 2009 cruises have the option of receiving a full refund of their deposits or rebooking for a later cruise.

Pearl Seas Cruises said is "very appreciative of the tremendous support" it received from of all the Canadian provinces and communities where the ship was scheduled to visit this year.

The company had hoped its small cruising vessel would be ready for service in May 2008. Construction delays kept pushing back the delivery date.

Pearl Seas Cruises had previously canceled a Caribbean tour with the Halifax-built vessel, which can accommodate about 214 passengers. An official with Irving Shipbuilding has previously suggested that delays with engineering-and-design instructions were behind the construction delays.

Halifax Chronicle Herald


Port Reports - May 26

Duluth, Superior and Two Harbors - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening in Two Harbors, John J. Boland shifted from loading taconite under the chutes on the east side of dock 2 to the ship loader on the west side of dock 2 and continued loading. She was on her first trip of the season. Sunday morning in Duluth the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived to unload cement in Superior, and John D. Leitch arrived to load coal at Midwest Energy. In the afternoon, American Spirit shifted from lay-up to the CN ore dock on her first trip of the season.

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
Memorial Day was busy on the St. Marys River, at least for upbound traffic. The day started with the passage of the Burns Harbor, followed at mid-morning by the Edgar B. Speer. The afternoon saw the tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501, Algoisle, Isa, Tony MacKay and barge Niagara Spirit, Algolake and Kwintebank upbound. Late evening upbound traffic included Presque Isle and Walter J. McCarthty Jr. John J. Boland at mid-day was the only downbound passage. Manistee was loading at Drummond Island.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On Memorial Day, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone in the morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock and moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock in the afternoon to load taconite. Also at the Lower Harbor, tugs William C. Gaynor and Mohawk were docked at Mattson Park waiting for winds to subside on Lake Superior before continuing on to Superior with marine contracting barges, which were moored against the lower harbor breakwall.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday Maritime Trader arrived at 10 a.m. The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A397 arrived at 11 a.m. with asphalt for Pier 11 from Detroit. Their next port will be back to Detroit. The Federal Saguenay departed at 12:30 p.m. for Cleveland. The Federal Matane arrived at 3 p.m. for Pier 12 from Montreal. Their next port with a cargo of waste steel will be Turkey.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River came in Saturday evening, and Peter R. Creswell came in Sunday afternoon for the salt dock.


Updates - May 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 26

On 26 May 1888, BLANCHE (2-mast wooden schooner, 95 foot, 92 gross tons, built in 1874, at Mill Point, Ontario) was carrying coal with a crew of five on Lake Ontario. She was lost in a squall somewhere between Oswego, New York and Brighton, Ontario.

In 1979, the FRED R WHITE JR. departed the shipyard on her maiden voyage to load iron ore pellets at Escanaba, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio.

The J A W IGLEHART began its maiden Great Lakes voyage in 1965, for the Huron Portland Cement Co.

The straight deck bulk freighter FRANKCLIFFE HALL began its maiden voyage in 1963. Deepened and converted to a self-unloader in 1980. She was renamed b.) HALIFAX in 1988.

SCOTT MISENER (Hull#14) was launched in 1954, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Colonial Steamships Ltd. She was scrapped at Alang, India in 1990.

In 1923, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 was towed to the shipyard in Manitowoc, Wisconsin by the ANN ARBOR NO 5 with the assistance of the tug ARTIC. The NO 4 was completely overhauled and had all new cabins built on her main deck.

QUEEN OF THE LAKES was launched at the Kirby & Ward yard in Wyandotte, Michigan on 26 May 1872. She was the first iron hulled vessel built in Michigan.

On 26 May 1873, the iron propeller revenue cutter GEO S BOUTWELL (Hull#15) was launched at D. Bell Steam Engine Works in Buffalo, New York. Her dimensions were 140 feet x 22 feet x 17.5 feet, 151 gross tons. She served out of Savannah, Georgia (1874-1899) and Newbern, North Carolina (1899-1907).

The tug GORMAN, which was sunk by the steamer CITY OF BUFFALO was raised today. She is not much injured. The local steamboat inspectors have taken up the case of the collision. The crew of the tug claim that their boat was run over by the CITY OF BUFFALO and the appearance of the wreck carries out their declaration, for the tug shows that the steamer struck her straight aft.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, the Detroit Free Press and the Duluth Evening Herald.


Port Reports - May 25

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
Upbound traffic in the morning included Paul R. Tregurtha, American Mariner and Canadian Olympic, with James R. Barker, Edwin H. Gott, Spruceglen and Samuel Risley downbound. Michipicoten left Algoma Steel and headed downriver in the early afternoon, bound for Port Dolomite (Cedarville). Quebecois was downbound in the early evening, followed later by Lee A. Tregurtha and, just before midnight, by Tim S. Dool and Algosoo. Upbounders Herbert C. Jackson and Joseph L. Block in the late evening rounded out the day.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
Early on Saturday evening, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived at Menominee Paper Co. The vessel was carrying a load of coal, part of which had been unloaded in Green Bay, Wisc., earlier in the day. Due to a shallow draft near the coal dock, the vessel experienced some difficulty in getting close enough to the dock to drop its load. Finally, once the ship was tied up, and with a lot of help from the bow thruster, they were able to winch the vessel into position.

This was an unusual trip for this vessel, as, in the past, Menominee Paper Company got its coal loads delivered by ships of the Lower Lakes Transportation Co., and before that USS Great Lakes Fleet.

The last time this vessel was in Menominee was during winter lay-up of 1998-1999 when the cargo holds were rebuilt to make the vessel more versatile, and capable of unloading up to 6000 tons of cargo per hour. The unloading rate was evident this night, as the vessel took about two hours to unload a pile of coal that usually takes other ships up to four hours to unload.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey and Gordy Garris
Saturday saw the arrival of two familiar visitors. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived Saturday morning with a split load for the Sargent Stone dock in Essexville and the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Following behind the Moore and Kuber was the Manitowoc, who had a split cargo for the Bay City and Wirt Stone docks. Manitowoc completed her unload and was outbound from the Sixth Street turning basin on Saturday evening. The Moore and Kuber spent the night in Essexville before heading upriver Sunday morning around 7 a.m. headed for Saginaw Rock. The pair finished their unload and were outbound for the lake, passing through Bay City early Sunday evening.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Saturday, Canadian Enterprise departed Dofasco at 6 a.m. Federal Saguenay arrived at 9 a.m. with steel products for Pier 12. Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon arrived at 5 p.m. and went to Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters. Diamond Star docked at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 8 p.m. The saltie Tim Buck arrived at 9 p.m. and went to the anchorage.


Updates - May 25

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated (Ships and Train galleries updated)


Today in Great Lakes History - May 25

On 25 May 1889, JAMES GARRETT (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 266 gross tons, built in 1868, at Sheboygan, Wisconsin) was driven ashore at Whitefish Bay near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on Lake Michigan in a gale. She was pounded to pieces by the end of the month. No lives were lost.

On May 25, 1898, the PRESQUE ISLE (Hull#30) was launched at the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company in Cleveland, Ohio. The vessel is much better known as the cement carrier E.M. FORD, celebrating her 111th birthday awaiting the scrappers torch.

May 25, 1941 -- The former Pere Marquette carferry PERE MARQUETTE 17 was re-christened CITY OF PETOSKEY.

The wooden schooner J C DAUN was in her first year of service when she encountered a squall in Lake Erie on 25 May 1847, and she capsized five miles off Conneaut, Ohio. Four of the eleven on board were able to make it to her upturned keel, but one of them died of exposure during the night. In the morning, the schooner UNCLE SAM rescued the three remaining survivors. Later the steamer SARATOGA found the DAUN floating upside down, fully rigged with the bodies of some of the crew still lashed to the rigging. The DAUN was righted a few days later and towed in by the schooner D SMART.

On 25 May 1854, DETROIT (wooden side-wheeler, 157 foot, 354 tons, built in 1846, at Newport, Michigan) was sailing from Detroit to Chicago with two lumber scows in tow. On Lake Huron, she collided with the bark NUCLEUS in heavy fog and sank. The exact location (15 miles off Pointe aux Barques) was not known until the wreck was discovered in 200 feet of water on 5 June 1994, by Dave Trotter and his determined divers.

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


Port Reports - May 24

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
Upbound traffic at the Soo Saturday included Canadian Transport, Canadian Prospector, Algosar and Ojibway. Downbound were American Integrity, Capt. Henry Jackman and the day's only steamer, John G. Munson. On northern Lake Huron, Wilfred Sykes left Cedarville Saturday evening and headed toward Lake Michigan. Shortly thereafter, Calumet arrived to load.

Muskegon, Mich. - Greg Barber
H. Lee White came into Muskegon at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon with a load of coal for the Cobb power plant.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The barge Pere Marquette 41, with the tug Undaunted in the notch, delivered a load to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg during the day Thursday. Robert S. Pierson backed in at 9 a.m. Saturday with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It cleared the pier heads about 2:45 p.m.

Rogers City, Mich. - Dennis Adrian
Saturday Canada Steamship Lines’ Frontenac arrived at Port Calcite, Rogers City, Mich.

Saginaw River - Galen Witham and Hunter Maxon
Saturday the tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber entered the Saginaw River about 10:15 a.m., making fast to the aggregate dock near the public boat launch in Essexville. Following close behind was the Manitowoc with another load of stone for the aggregate dock just south of the Independence Street Bridge. She made the dock about 12:15 p.m. Both vessels were carrying a split load, taking their remaining cargos inbound to Saginaw.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday the tug LaPrairie departed at 7:30 a.m. for Clarkson and returned at noon. CSL Niagara arrived at 9 a.m. in ballast and went to US Steel. Friday CSL Niagara departed U.S. Steel at 4:30 a.m. with a load of iron ore for Gary. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 departed at 3:30 p.m. Canadian Enterprise arrived at 8 p.m. with coal for Dofasco.


Updates - May 24

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 24

On 24 May 1872, the wooden schooner SAM ROBINSON was carrying corn from Chicago, Illinois to Kingston, Ontario in dense fog on Lake Michigan. At 7:30 a.m. the propeller MANISTEE collided with the schooner and almost cut her in two amidships. When the MANISTEE backed away, the schooner went over on its starboard side and its masts smashed the MANISTEE's pilothouse and cabins. Luckily the ROBINSON's crew launched their lifeboat before the schooner sank and they were picked up by the MANISTEE and taken to Milwaukee.

In 1980, the 1,000 foot m/v BURNS HARBOR was christened for the Wilmington Trust Co., (Bethlehem Steel Co., Mgr.) Wilmington, DE.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC (Hull#60) was launched in 1976, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.

CHICAGO TRADER arrived at Ashtabula, Ohio on May 24, 1977, for scrapping (scrapping did not begin until May 1, 1978, by Triad Salvage Inc.)

The CLIFFS VICTORY set a record (by 2 minutes) for the fastest time from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to Duluth, Minnesota in 1953. She logged a time of 17 hours and 50 minutes. The CHARLES M. WHITE had been declared the fastest earlier that year by the Cleveland papers.

ALEXANDER B MOORE was launched at Bangor, Michigan on 24 May 1873. She was built by Theophilus Boston at a cost of $85,000. She was 247 foot overall, 223 foot keel and could carry 70,000 bushels of grain. Although designed as a 4-mast schooner, she was built as a 3-master. The fourth mast was added two years later.

On 24 May 1875, the schooner NINA was bound from Michael's Bay to Goderich, Ontario, when she sprang a leak and went down in mid-lake. Her crew escaped in the yawl, but were adrift on Lake Huron for two days and two nights with only one loaf of bread to divide among themselves.

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


Port Reports - May 23

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Friday morning, Lee A. Tregurtha finished unloading coal into the hopper and departed for Western Lake Superior.

Sault Ste. Marie - Roger LeLievre
A slow day on the river saw John J. Boland upbound on her first trip of the season in the early morning. There was no other upbound traffic during the day, however the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity checked in at DeTour upbound around 10 p.m. for a rare trip to Lake Superior. Downbound traffic included Pineglen, Gordon C. Leitch and Presque Isle. The training vessel State of Michigan, which had tied up Thursday night at Lime Island, was underway for Traverse City Friday morning. Capt. Henry Jackman remained at the Algoma Export dock throughout the day.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & the barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound late Wednesday night with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. On her way in, she passed the outbound Agawa Canyon, which had unloaded at the Saginaw Rock Products dock. The Moore and Kuber were outbound on Thursday after unloading. Thursday also saw the arrival of Manitowoc with another split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt docks. Manitowoc was back outbound for the lake early Friday morning.

Goderich, Ont. - Dale Baechler
Algowood arrived off the piers around 10 a.m. Friday morning. She headed in towards the new harbor, turned, then backed down the channel to the Sifto Salt dock to load.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The schooner Spirit of Buffalo arrived at the Commercial Slip around 2 p.m. on May 16, becoming the first vessel to tie up there since it was recently excavated after having been filled in for nearly half a century.


Dennis Sullivan stops in Erie for new sails

5/23 - Erie, Pa. - The 137-foot schooner Denis Sullivan sailed into Erie on Wednesday for some new sails.

The three-masted ship, built in 2000 as a re-creation of a 19th-century schooner, is en route from its winter port in southern Florida to its home port of Milwaukee.

The Sullivan will remain in Erie through Saturday. It is docked next to the U.S. brig Niagara. Great Lakes schooners of that era transported goods such as lumber and coal.

"These were the 18-wheelers of the 19th century," said Joe Ewing, the Sullivan's volunteer coordinator and a member of its crew. While in Erie, the Sullivan's 10-member crew will do minor maintenance and repairs, said Capt. Andy Reay-Ellers.

Among the maintenance the crew will be performing is replacing the schooner's sails with custom-made sails from Erie-based Bierig Sailmakers.

The Denis Sullivan's route from Florida to Milwaukee has been less crowded than in previous years because of the recession's effect on the shipping industry, Ewing said.

He has made the two-month trip five times. "There's not very many shipping vessels as compared to other trips," he said. "There's next to no traffic at all, which is really unfortunate."

Erie Times News


Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum latest Muskegon gem

5/23 - Muskegon, Mich. – Already a key player among Muskegon County's tourism attractions, the USS Silversides group is stepping it up another level.

With the completion of the new Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum this summer, the World War II submarine group is positioning itself to be a major destination for all of Michigan.

Visitors familiar with the history of the Silversides in Muskegon since the historic naval submarine was taken from Chicago's Navy Pier in 1987 will be impressed with how far the museum has come over the years.

Known for its highly successful overnight scouting program, the submarine now has a new $1.4 million, two-story 16,500-square-foot museum and staging area for the Silversides and the USCG Cutter McLane.

Future goals of the USS Silversides and Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum:

• Dry dock the Silversides submarine in a Great Lakes shipyard in the next two years to inspect, scrap and paint its bottom, $250,000.

• Restore the Coast Guard Cutter McLane for operations on the Great Lakes as an ambassador ship for the museum and Muskegon and to provide programming for at-risk youth, $50,000 for the McLane plus programing expenses.

• Remove the UC-97 from the bottom of southern Lake Michigan and restore it for display in Muskegon. The UC-97 is a World War I German U-boat that was sank in target practice by the U.S. Navy in 1921 after it was brought to the Great Lakes after the war. Costs would be in the range of $1 million.

• Install a Disney-style "sub attack" ride at the museum that would simulate being on the Silversides during an attack, costs yet unknown.

The final touches are still being applied to the museum's interior this Memorial Day weekend, which features Sunday's "Lost Boat" ceremony. The Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum will have a grand opening in late June or early July, according to Executive Director Bryan Hughes.

"We needed a permanent home for the Silversides submarine," said Don Morell, a Spring Lake retired heating contractor, museum board vice chairman and World War II sub veteran from the USS Chub 329 in the South Pacific. "This museum will honor those that perished on the submarines during World War II ... the 3,600 lost."

The new museum and its exhibits are geared toward the history of World War II, the submarine's critical role in that combat and how science and technology was advanced from those military efforts, Hughes said.

"We developed technologies during those years that we now take for granted," Hughes said of war-time advances in radar and sonar among others.

Morell credited museum board Chairman Mark Fazakerley, who is president and co-owner of Eagle Alloy Inc. of Muskegon, in spearheading the fundraising campaign. With a goal of $2 million, the group already has $1.4 million. The nonprofit organization has taken out a bank loan for $650,000 to complete the construction -- a loan that will be paid back over the next five years with pledges from supporters, Hughes said.

Construction on the new museum that sits beside the Silversides -- which is berthed on the south wall of the Muskegon Channel -- was done by board member John Hughes, owner of Hughes Builders of Muskegon. The structure was completed last summer and ever since the group has been working on finishing the interior and exhibits.

"The goal was to have a building to house the artifacts that tell the story of the Silversides and World War II," Hughes said. "It also is to provide a home for the overnight component of the submarine and the McLane." Chronicle/Cory MorseA group of people tour the USS Silversides at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum in Muskegon.

The Silversides and the McLane host about 8,500 scouting campers and other overnight guests each year, Hughes said. The new museum building includes facilities for overnight visitors to gather, indoor restrooms and eating areas for dinners and breakfasts.

Muskegon Chronicle


Updates - May 23

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 23

UNIQUE (wooden propeller passenger steamer, 163 foot, 381 gross tons, built in 1894, at Marine City, Michigan) was sold to Philadelphia parties for service on the Delaware River. She left Ogdensburg, New York, on 23 May 1901, for Philadelphia. Her name was changed to DIAMOND STATE. In 1904, she was rebuilt as a yacht and lasted until 1915, when she burned in New York harbor.

The WILLIAM J .DE LANCEY was re-christened on May 23,1990, as b.) PAUL R. TREGURTHA. She is the largest ship on the Great Lakes and also the last Great Lakes ship built at American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio.

American Steamship's H. LEE WHITE completed sea trials on May 23, 1974.

FRED R. WHITE Jr. completed her two day sea trials in 1979.

The Tomlinson Fleet Corp.'s steel freighter SONOMA (Hull#610) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan, by West Bay City Ship Building Co. on 23 May 1903. She was 416 feet long, 4,539 gross tons. Through her career she had various names: DAVID S TROXEL in 1924, SONOMA in 1927 and finally FRED L. HEWITT in 1950. She was converted to an automobile carrier in 1928, converted back to a bulk carrier in 1942 and then converted to a barge for grain storage in 1955. She was finally scrapped in 1962, at Steel Co. of Canada Ltd. at Hamilton, Ontario.

On 23 May 1889, the wooden steam barge OSCAR T. FLINT (218 foot, 824 gross tons) was launched at the Simon Langell & Sons yard in St. Clair, Michigan. She lasted until 25 November 1909, when she burned and sank off Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron.

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


Port Reports - May 22

Twin Ports – Al Miller
USCGC Mackinaw was docked at Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Thursday to begin repairs. American Century was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, to be followed by American Integrity.

Escanaba – Lee Rowe
Thursday, Joseph L Block was unloading stone at the Reiss dock in Escanaba, Mich. After unloading she moved to the ore dock for a split load.


Port Stanley harbor the focus of study

5/22 - Port Stanley, Ont. - After four years of talks about acquiring Port Stanley harbor, Central Elgin has decided it needs to see if the idea is feasible.

At the request of the municipality, the federal government provided a check for $100,000 yesterday to pay for a feasibility study and business plan for a post-divestiture harbor.

Against a backdrop of the heavily contaminated federal port, Conservative MP Joe Preston (Elgin-Middlesex-London) presented Mayor Sylvia Hofhuis with a Transport Canada check to help the municipality of 12,500 hire consultants.

"This is a good start," said Hofhuis, whose council has been locked in confidential talks with the feds.

The harbor has not been dredged since 2001 and ships can no longer visit the only deepwater port on Lake Erie's north shore. Meanwhile, engineering studies have discovered the harbor, its sediment and surrounding land and ground water are heavily contaminated with a witch's brew of toxic chemicals, the legacy of its industrial past.

Hofhuis said consultants will tap the public to come up with preferred visions of the harbor, which should be available for review in September. Those ideas will have price tags attached, she said.

She said it was only recently, when Transport Canada was willing to consider the port without heavy industry, that Central Elgin decided to seek funds for the feasibility study and business plan. The community is more interested in a focus on light industry and recreation.

"It was a change in philosophy for both sides," Hofhuis said. She said she still hopes divestiture talks can be successfully concluded next year.

The London Free Press


Conneaut, Ashtabula ports get $2.75M in federal budget

5/22 - Ashtabula, Ohio - Lake Erie ports in Conneaut and Ashtabula could benefit from funding earmarked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in President Obama’s budget, said U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette.

Obama specifically requested Congress spend $1.91 million on Ashtabula Harbor and $840,000 on Conneaut Harbor, according to a statement. The money could be used for port operations and maintenance, which could range from dredging to breakwater repair, said Deborah Setliff of LaTourette’s Painesville office.

The two locations are the only ports in LaTourette’s 14th District singled out for funding by the administration, according to the statement.

“I’m glad the president sees the need for proper maintenance of the county’s two ports, and I’ll work to ensure the funding remains steady throughout the budget process,” LaTourette said in the statement.

Congress could wrap up its work on the 2010 budget by the end of September.

Ashtabula Star Beacon


Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary bill clears committee

5/22 - Alpena, Mich. – The Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday approved legislation by Sen. Carl Levin to significantly expand the boundaries of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The expansion, which would make Thunder Bay more than nine times its current size, would help to preserve the rich history of "Shipwreck Alley" for historians and divers, where dozens of ships perished in the waters of Lake Huron. Following the approval by the Commerce Committee, the bill now goes to the full Senate.

"The Commerce Committee's approval of this bill is great news, and I am hopeful that the Senate will take up the bill quickly," Levin said. "By expanding the boundaries of the Thunder Bay sanctuary, we will be able to preserve countless irreplaceable treasures for historians, divers and students for generations to come. It is truly a one-of-its-kind aquatic museum."

Levin's bill, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve Boundary Modification Act, would extend the sanctuary's boundaries to include the waters off Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle counties and would extend the sanctuary east to the International Boundary. The current sanctuary includes 448 square miles of water and 115 miles of shoreline, and the expansion would include 4,085 square miles and include 226 miles of shoreline.

The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve was created in October 2000 as a unique federal-state partnership. The sanctuary preserves the maritime history of the Great Lakes, offers educational opportunities for students and researchers and provides a fascinating site for divers and snorkelers to explore.

The Alpena News


Sign up now for upcoming BoatNerd cruises

Several cruises have been planned by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping for interested boatwatchers. Don't wait to make your reservations.

May 24 - Lake St. Clair and River Cruise and BoatNerd Gathering
On Sunday, May 24, ride an all-day cruise leaving from the Stroh Place Dock, at the foot of Jos. Campeau Street just north of downtown Detroit, and traveling above the Blue Water Bridges, to Fort Gratiot Light and return aboard the Diamond Belle. This 120-mile cruise following the shipping channel is co-sponsored by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and

The trip includes a continental breakfast and deli lunch on board, and a buffet dinner at the historic St. Clair Inn. This is a great opportunity to see all the sights and ships along the waterway between Detroit and Port Huron. Tickets are $90 per person and reservations are required. Click here for details and a reservation form. Space is limited. Don't be left out.

June 6 - Annual Boatnerd St. Clair River Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II
The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II is scheduled for Saturday, June 6, following the Port Huron Marine Mart.

The Huron Lady II leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron. Hot dogs and beverages are available on board. BoatNerd price is just $12, but reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the discount fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at

June 26 - Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise
Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22. If any space is available, reservations will be taken by Dave Wobser Wednesday evening in the Soo, or at the Soo Boatnerd Picnic before noon on Thursday, June 25. Call 419-722-5507 to locate. Click here for reservation form

August 8 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise
On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation form


Updates - May 22

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 22

On 22 May 1901, FRANK H. PEAVEY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 430 foot, 5,002 gross tons) was launched at the American Ship Building Company (Hull #309) in Lorain, Ohio, for the Peavey Syndicate. She lasted until 1934, when she struck the south pier while entering Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and was declared a constructive total loss and scrapped the following year.

The A.H. FERBERT (Hull#289) was launched this day in 1942, at River Rouge, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. May 22nd was the tenth National Maritime Day and on that day 21 other ships were launched nationwide to celebrate the occasion. The "super" IRVING S. OLDS was launched the same day at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. This marked the last of the "Super Carrier" build program. The others were the BENJAMIN F. FAIRLESS, LEON FRASER and ENDERS M. VOORHEES.

The SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY sailed under her own power down the Seaway on May 22, 1969, for the last time and arrived at Quebec City.

BAYFAIR was launched as the a.) COALHAVEN (Hull#134) at Haverton-Hill-on-Tees, U.K. by Furness Shipbuilding Co. in 1928.

While bound for Escanaba, Michigan to load ore, the JOSEPH BLOCK grounded at Porte des Morts Passage, on Green Bay, May 22, 1968, and was released the same day by the Roen tug ARROW. The BLOCK's hull damage extended to 100 bottom plates. Surrendered to the under-writers and sold in June that year to Lake Shipping Inc. Built as the a.) ARTHUR H. HAWGOOD in 1907, She was renamed c.) GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER in 1969, she was scrapped at Ramey’s Bend in 1979.

The 143 foot wooden brig JOSEPH was launched at Bay City, Michigan, on 21 May 1867. She was built for Alexander Tromley & Company.

CITY OF NEW BALTIMORE was launched at David Lester's yard in Marine City, Michigan, on 22 May 1875. Her master carpenter was John J. Hill. She was a wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel built for the Detroit-New Baltimore route. Her dimensions were 96 foot keel, 101 feet overall x 20 feet x 6 foot 6 inches, 130 tons. Her boiler was made by J. & T. McGregor of Detroit. Her engine was built by Morton Hamblin & Company of St. Clair, Michigan. She was rebuilt as a tug in 1910, and lasted until abandoned in 1916.

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


Carferry Badger starts sailing season Friday

5/21 - Ludington, Mich. - The historic S.S. Badger, which offers a cruise ship experience right on the Great Lakes, will begin sailing across Lake Michigan Friday, marking the unofficial start of the tourist season for its port cities of Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis.

An expanded website with value-oriented vacation ideas tailored to travelers' interests is new for the 2009 sailing season. Lake Michigan Carferry also made a significant investment over the winter in the Badger's unique steam propulsion system.

Value is a major theme in 2009, with a special "Senior Travel Package" and the new "Special Deals and Offers" section on the Badger website. This new program offers exclusive discount pricing for S.S. Badger passengers at lodging and attractions in both Michigan and Wisconsin. In addition, each family taking advantage of this offer will receive "Badger Cash" to be spent aboard the ship for food and shopping to make the experience even more fun.

The 410-foot Badger features outside decks running the length of the ship, free movies and entertainment, two eating areas, full bar service, shopping, private staterooms, and children's activities.

"The S.S. Badger allows passengers to experience many of the elements of a Caribbean cruise at a much lower cost, and without traveling far from home," said Marketing Director Kari Karr. Because vacationers can take their vehicles aboard the ship, the four-hour shortcut across Lake Michigan becomes a unique part of their vacation - allowing travelers to relax and avoid driving on congested highways.

The Badger is one of the only remaining coal-fired passenger steamships still in service. George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, stated "The S.S. Badger is an important part of Michigan's maritime heritage, and fits perfectly with the Pure Michigan brand that is being marketed nationally."

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers has designated the Badger's unique steam propulsion system as a Mechanical Engineering Landmark. Over the winter months, the company invested a substantial amount of money in the ship's boiler system to keep the ship in prime operating condition. The Badger has also been included in the new Heritage Travel Program, a division of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, in further recognition of the ship's historic significance.

The S.S. Badger can accommodate 620 passengers and 180 vehicles, including RVs, motorcycles, motor coaches, and commercial trucks. The Badger sails daily between Ludington and Manitowoc from mid-May to mid-October. For sailing schedule and fare information visit


Port Reports - May 21

South Chicago, Ill. – Brian Z. and Steve B.
Lower Lakes' Saginaw was in South Chicago on Wednesday at KCBX terminals loading petroleum coke. Saginaw arrived early morning after unloading a cargo of barley in Manitowoc, Wisc. It was the first trip for the Saginaw to this port in quite some time. She finished loading at 6:15 p.m. and slowly backed her way out the Calumet River and turned north into Lake Michigan. American Mariner made her security call and departed the Mittal dock 7 at Indiana Harbor around noon, with a destination of KCBX to load after the Saginaw departs.

Saginaw, River – Todd Shorkey
Tuesday on the Saginaw River saw the Manitowoc inbound, traveling upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. She finished her unload and was headed back for the lake early Wednesday morning. On her way out, Manitowoc passed the inbound Agawa Canyon just above the Veteran's Memorial Bridge in Bay City. The Canyon continued all the way up to the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw to unload. She was expected to be outbound late Wednesday evening. The tug Barbara Andrie and barge A-390 moved from the Bit-Mat dock on Tuesday after unloading there. She moved the short distance up to the Dow Chemical dock to make up for their trip out to the lake. After spending the night there Tuesday, the pair were outbound for the lake Wednesday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Canadian Enterprise was inbound for the Buffalo South Entrance Channel and headed for the Lackawanna Ship Canal at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening.


Updates - May 21

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 21

On 21 May 1883, SAILOR BOY (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 75 foot, 76 net tons, built in 1866, at Algonac, Michigan) was carrying wood from Pierport, Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She anchored outside Milwaukee harbor waiting for a gale to abate but she broke her anchor chains and was driven aground. Her crew of three made it to shore on a line with help from bystanders on the beach.

The AMERICAN REPUBLIC's maiden voyage was on May 21, 1981, from Sturgeon Bay light to Escanaba, Michigan, to load ore pellets for Cleveland, Ohio.

Interlake Steamship Co.'s HENRY G. DALTON's maiden voyage was on May 21, 1916. She was scrapped at Vado, Italy, in 1973.

UNITED STATES GYPSUM in tow of the German tug FAIRPLAY X was lost in heavy weather on May 21, 1973, near Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The G.A. TOMLINSON, a.) D.O. MILLS, stranded near Buffalo, New York, on Lake Erie on May 21, 1974, suffering an estimated $150,000 in damage.

The 14 foot' wooden brig JOSEPH was launched at Bay City, Michigan, on by Alexander Tromley & Company. She was built by the owner.

On 21 May 1864, the NILE (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 190 foot, 650 tons, built in 1852, at Ohio City, Ohio) was sitting at her dock in Detroit, Michigan, with passengers, household goods, and horses and wagons aboard when her boiler exploded, destroying the ship and killing eight of the crew. Large pieces of her boiler flew as far as 300 feet while other pieces damaged houses across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario. A large timber was thrown through the brick wall of a nearby shoe store, striking the cobbler in the back of the head and killing him. At least 13 other crew members and passengers were injured. The wreck was moved to the foot of Clark Street in Detroit in July 1864, where it remained until it was finally dynamited in August 1882.

May 21, 1923 -- The ANN ARBOR NO 4 was refloated after sinking at Frankfort, Michigan, the previous February.

After spending three weeks in quarantine at Buffalo, New York, because of the discovery of smallpox on board, the steamer JOHN OADES has been released and has started on her way to Duluth.

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


Corps slashes Lakes dredging budget by 25 percent

5/20 - Toledo, Ohio – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed dredging budget for the Great Lakes in fiscal year 2010 slashes $32 million from what Congress approved in fiscal year 2009, a decrease of 25 percent. As a result, the amount of sediment that is clogging the system – estimated at 17 million cubic yards – will again start growing after only one year of being reduced.

The $93 million the Corps proposes for FY10 does not include funds for construction of any project.

The reduced funding comes on the heels of Corps decisions that all but zeroed out the Great Lakes from stimulus package funds. The Corps allocated just two percent of its stimulus dollars to the Great Lakes and did not commit any funds to accelerating construction of the second Poe-sized lock.

GLMTF’s analysis shows it would take $188 million a year for seven consecutive years to restore the Great Lakes navigation system to the point where vessels can again fully utilize their carrying capacity. That $188 million includes $40 million to remove the sediment deposited by wind and rain each year; $25 million for backlog dredging; $43 million in Confined Disposal Facility investments; $33 million for breakwall repairs; $30 million to maintain the three lockages (Chicago, Tonawanda, N.Y., and Sault Ste. Marie); $7 million to keep connecting channels free from obstructions; and $10 million to survey project conditions.

“For whatever reason, either Corps headquarters or the Office of Management and Budget cannot seem to go beyond about $90 million a year for the Great Lakes navigation account,” said James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of GLMTF, and President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “That’s why the dredging crisis is acquiring a life of its own. 2008 was the first year this decade that the Corps was able to reduce the backlog, but that was only because Great Lakes legislators increased the dredging budget by $35 million.”

The proposed budget is the starting point. The House and Senate will review and likely adjust the Lakes account.

The shortfall in dredging funds for FY10 prompted GLMTF to repeat its call that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) spend the tax dollars it collects each year on cargo movement for the specified purpose: dredging. Instead, much revenue is set aside each year to paper balance the Federal budget.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Port Reports - May 20

Twin Ports – Al Miller
After lying idle for a couple of weeks in Duluth, Edgar B. Speer was back in service Tuesday, loading taconite pellets at BNSF ore dock in Superior. It is bound for Conneaut. Also Tuesday, Paul R. Tregurtha was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal destined for St. Clair and Monroe. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was fueling Tuesday morning while waiting its turn at Midwest Energy Terminal, where it was to load for Nanticoke. Edward L. Ryerson reached its layup berth in Fraser Shipyards overnight Monday and Tuesday. It’s tied up in the slip alongside the Blatnik Bridge and blocked in by the idle St. Clair.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Maumee came in overnight with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Goderich, Ont. - Dale Baechler
Cuyahoga was first in at Sifto Salt after a seven-day maintenance upgrade to the facilities. She headed in towards the new harbor, stopped and did a very speedy turn before backing down the channel. She was under the spout at 4 p.m.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St Marys Cement II were at the St. Marys Cement dock unloading cement. Robert S. Pierson was at the Kraft Foods Elevator unloading grain. John J. Boland is now in fitting out and should be out sailing soon. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be H. Lee White on Thursday, John G. Munson on Tuesday followed by Pathfinder and John J. Boland on Wednesday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be H. Lee White on Wednesday, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Friday followed by CSL Laurentien and John B. Aird on Thursday. Capt. Henry Jackman is due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock Wednesday morning.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Algowood departed at 6:30 a.m. Monday in ballast for Oshawa. The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 9:45 a.m. for the Port Weller anchorage. Quebecois departed Dofasco at 7:30 p.m. for Thunder Bay.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom B.
Stephen B. Roman arrived in Rochester about 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, with another load of bulk cement for Essroc.


Decommissioned USCG cutter to become museum in Cleveland

5/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – The ex-U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Apalachee is expected to pass through the Niagara Frontier on May 27-29 from Oswego, N.Y., enroute to her new life as a floating maritime museum with a scheduled transit of the Welland Canal on the 28th.

The Apalachee is scheduled to arrive at Cleveland’s Whiskey Island, Wendy Park complex in early June 2009, under her own power, delivered by a vintage crew of former USCG 110-foot tug sailors, including her last Commanding Officer, Chief Warrant Officer David Cunningham USCG (Ret).

Apalachee was built in 1943 by Ira S. Bushey & Sons, Brooklyn , N.Y. Her single propeller is powered by a 1,000 horsepower electric motor, driven by two Elliot Electric Company generators, turned by two Ingersoll Rand eight-cylinder diesels.

This third class of 110-foot tugs was contracted for on June 8, 1941. Their design was based on the earlier 110-foot Calumet and Raritan class designs which entered commissioned service beginning in 1934. The newer design simply incorporated changes needed for operations in wartime Greenland waters as well as better fire-fighting capabilities.

Apalachee was commissioned on November 26, 1943. She was the first of her class to enter service. She was assigned to Baltimore, Maryland, where she served through 1984. She transferred to Portland, Maryland, on September 17, 1984 where she served until she was decommissioned on April 11, 1986. Throughout her career, her main missions were law enforcement, search and rescue, fire fighting, and icebreaking when needed. For more information click here

Brian White


Historic Lake Michigan lighthouse to shine again

5/20 - For more than a century the elegant South Manitou Island Lighthouse guided ships over the treacherous Manitou Passage beside Michigan’s Sleeping Bear Dunes. Decommissioned in 1958, it spent the next 50 years as a mute and lightless memorial to the heyday of Great Lakes sailing ships. But the historic lighthouse is about to enter into a second career.

On May 30, its lamp will be relit to shine once again.

“Thanks to our generous supporters, the South Manitou light will shine on the horizon from May through October,” said Dusty Schultz, superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which administers the lighthouse and the island where it stands.

One of the most scenic lighthouses in the country, the 104-foot lighthouse was established in 1839 to mark the crescent-shaped bay at South Manitou, the only natural harbor along the eastern coast of Lake Michigan. It was strategically located on the heavily trafficked Manitou Passage, which was used by cost-conscious skippers on the 300-mile eastern route from Chicago to Mackinac Island. Schooners took refuge here during storms, and steamers stopped to take on wood for their boilers. The current tower dates from 1871.

Abandoned after its decommissioning, the lighthouse became a favorite attraction for day hikers and campers after the 1972 creation of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which includes the two Manitou Islands. Today, almost 9,000 people take the ferryboat ride to South Manitou each summer, where they camp, climb to the top of the tower, explore the small village around the docks with its old post office (now a historical museum). Some hike to the rusting hulk of the freighter Francisco Morazan, which ran aground on the island in 1960, or snorkel around the wooden wreck of the lumber ship Three Brothers, which sank in 1911.

But the idea of relighting the beacon remained a popular dream for local residents and members of the National Park Service, and was finally realized in late 2008 thanks to a partnership with the Manitou Island Memorial Society (a group that includes the descendents of former island residents) and Manitou Island Transit (which operates the ferry service from the mainland).

During the 2008 summer season, Park Service maintenance workers restored the tower’s lantern room and spiral stairway of the tower. A replica of the light’s original third-order Fresnel lens was created by Artworks Florida and powered by a special low-wattage bulb designed by Electro-Optics Technology of nearby Traverse City. The lens and light were installed in late fall (at a cost of $93,000) but the installation came too late in the year for a formal dedication ceremony.

For the May 30 program, Schultz and her staff have prepared a special after-dark presentation at the park’s maritime museum in Glen Haven that begins with a 9 p.m. interpretive talk about the history of the Manitou Passage and the shipwrecks that made the lighthouse necessary. As the sun sets and darkness falls over the water, the light will be officially “switched on.”

The Maritime Museum (a former U.S. Lifesaving Service station) is located at Sleeping Bear Point on Glen Haven Road one half mile west of the Cannery in Glen Haven, a historic village located three miles west of Glen Arbor. Click here for more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.



Updates - May 20

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 20

On 20 May 1872, the iron-clad passenger/package freight steamer MERCHANT struck a rock and sank at the mouth of the Detroit River. No one was injured. The wrecking tugs MAGNET and HERCULES took off the cargo of railroad iron and general merchandise, then attached two pontoons, but the vessel would not budge. On 26 May, the steamers MACKINAW and SWEEPSTAKES joined the scene and d two more pontoons. With all the steam pumps working, the MERCHANT still would not budge. Two days later, two more pontoons were added and the MERCHANT finally floated free and was towed to Detroit for repairs. She had two holes in her hull, one of which was a gash 23 feet long.

On May 20, 1909, while lying at the Lackawanna Coal Dock at Buffalo, New York, the LeGRAND S. DEGRAFF was struck by the SONORA which caused $4,000 in damage to the DEGRAFF. Later renamed b.) GEORGE G. CRAWFORD in 1911. She was scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota in 1976.

The STANDARD PORTLAND CEMENT sank on Lake Huron two miles above Port Huron, Michigan in a collision with the steamer AUGUST ZIESING on May 20, 1960, with no loss of life.

On May 20, 1967, during docking maneuvers in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River, the W.W. HOLLOWAY's KaMeWa propeller shaft sheared off and the propeller reportedly sank to the bottom.

The RENOWN (Hull#396) was launched May 20, 1912, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Standard Oil Co. Renamed b.) BEAUMONT PARKS in 1930 and c.) MERCURY in 1957.

WILLIAM A. McGONAGLE (Hull#154) was launched May 20, 1916, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Renamed b.) HENRY STEINBRENNER in 1986.

On 20 May 1862, BAY CITY (wooden propeller tug, 199 foot, 480 tons, built in 1852, at Trenton, Michigan) sprang a leak in a storm and sank near Port Burwell, Ontario. She then washed in to shallow water. Her crew was rescued by the tug WINSLOW. Her engine and boiler were removed in June and July of that year.

On 20 May 1875, the passenger package freight vessel GLADYS was launched at D. Lestor's yard in Marine City, Michigan for the Toledo & Saginaw Transportation Company. Her dimensions were 135 feet overall x 26 feet x 10 feet. She had twelve staterooms and along with ample cargo space. The pilot house was forward, 8 feet square and 11 feet high. The engines, from the old ESTABROOK and, previous to that, from DAN RHODES, were two high pressure double engines acting on one shaft with an 8 foot propeller. She also had a pony engine to feed water to the boilers and wash the decks. She was sold Canadian in 1877, and renamed NORTHERN BELLE and lasted until November 1898, when she burned on Georgian Bay.

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


Edward L. Ryerson arrives for layup

5/19 - Duluth, Minn. – With a hearty salute on her distinctive whistle, the steamer Edward L. Ryerson passed a crowd of onlookers and ship fans on the Duluth entry pier, slipped under the Aerial Bridge, and arrived at the Twin Ports for indefinite layup brought on by the weakness in the global steel market. She arrived around noon Monday, under sunny skies, from Hamilton, Ont.

Ryerson was tied up at the CN DM&IR ore dock temporarily until the laid-up St. Clair could be moved, allowing the Ryerson access to her layup dock.


Detroit could cash in on cruise industry

5/19 - Detroit, Mich. - Its bare steel girders are just going up this week.

But by spring 2010, downtown Detroit's new $15-million public docking terminal is to be ready to accept Great Lakes cruise ships that could bring hundreds of tourists to town.

"We don't like to label it a cruise terminal because from a realistic point of view, it's not going to be like Miami," said John Kerr, director of economic development for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority.

"But even if we had half a dozen vessels stopping a dozen trips a year each, it would be beneficial. We estimated back in 1998 that cruise ships contribute $150,000 per stop to the economy."

The terminal is at the foot of Bates and Atwater near the Renaissance Center. It will make Detroit a player in a small but steady tourism sector of the state. Great Lakes cruises draw American and European tourists who pay $4,000 to $11,000 to sail on 100-passenger luxury ships, stopping at ports such as Houghton, Mackinac Island and Holland.

Port cities look for ways to get in on the action This summer, three cruise ships will glide through Michigan waters and stop at ports in Wyandotte, Mackinac Island, Manistee, Holland and Houghton.

But within two years, downtown Detroit hopes to get in on the Michigan cruising action.

A $15-million docking facility under development will accept ships as large as 420-passenger vessels and unload tourists right into the heart of downtown, said John Kerr, director of economic development for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority.

"We think Great Lakes cruising is about at the same place as Alaskan cruising was in the 1960s," he said. "There's a lot of room to grow."  'It's exciting to think about'

The new Detroit port is just one piece of the puzzle. A Michigan consortium called the Port Cities Collaborative is a group of 23 port towns in the state working to market themselves to cruise ships.

The city of East Tawas already has planned shore excursions for cruise ship passengers, banking that by 2011, ships will stop there on their way from Detroit to Mackinac Island. They're planning agritours, beekeeping tours, dairy tours, lighthouse tours and golf and fly-fishing tours.

European tourists traditionally have been a main market for Great Lakes cruising, but the new ships also are geared to Americans and Canadians through the Ann Arbor-based Great Lakes Cruise Co. (

The new Detroit docking terminal is in a prime spot on the Detroit River. At the foot of Bates Street between the Renaissance Center and Ford Auditorium, it should be completed by spring 2010.

Besides cruise ships, the dock will be used for tour boats, water taxis, tall ships and possibly for recreational boaters stopping to get customs documents for day trips to Canada.

Inside, the two-story terminal will have a waiting area for 100 to 200 passengers. The terminal also will have a ticketing area, lobby and offices for customs agents, cruise line staff, crew and port authority officials.

The space, with great water views, may be available for event rental, Kerr said.

Federal and state money for the project was scraped together in the last decade by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the Michigan Department of Transportation and the port authority. The 1.3-acre parcel of land was obtained from General Motors Corp.

The pie-shaped property had massive construction hurdles because of underground obstructions, including the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, which runs under a corner of the property.

Although big cruise ships that sailed the Great Lakes a few years ago - such as the Columbus and Orion - aren't sailing this year, Kerr says a better port product will attract ships in the years to come.

In fact, 2010 will see a new cruise ship, the Pearl Mist, stopping in Michigan. But because ships plan their itineraries up to two years in advance, said Sarah Caruana, marketing director of the Great Lakes Cruise Co., Detroit isn't on the itinerary yet.

But cruising Motown has a future, Kerr is certain: "We believe this project will be a model for the Great Lakes."

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - May 19

Marquette, Mich – Rod Burdick Z
Monday morning Paul R. Tregurtha departed the Upper Harbor, after unloading coal. H. Lee White, which arrived overnight and anchored off the Upper Harbor waiting for the Tregurtha to clear, moved to the ore dock and loaded taconite.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore with the Lewis J. Kuber were back again on Monday with another split cargo for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair arrived at the Bay City dock late in the morning to lighter before heading upriver to Saginaw early in the afternoon. They were expected to be outbound late Monday night. Tug tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge, A-390, were also inbound Monday morning, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. The tug and her barge were also expected to be outbound late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tug Salvor with her barge finished unloading cargo at the Midwest Terminal dock and departed Monday afternoon. John B. Aird finished loading grain at Andersons E Elevator and departed Monday afternoon with the G tug Nebraska assisting. CSL Niagara was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock and the Manitowoc was loading coal at the CSX Dock. Both vessels were expected to leave their respective dock sites Monday evening. The tug Sea Eagle II with the barge St. Marys Cement were inbound Toledo Ship Channel Monday evening bound for the St. Marys Cement Dock to unload cement. The next scheduled coal boat due into the CSX Docks will be H. Lee White on Thursday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be H. Lee White late Wednesday evening followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Friday. The next stone boat due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock will be Capt. Henry Jackman on Tuesday.

Toronto, Ont. – Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon arrived in port Saturday and berthed at Pier 27 for the night, departing Sunday morning before 9 a.m. Stephen B. Roman also departed Saturday for Picton. English River was still in port Monday afternoon at Lafarge unloading.

At Toronto Drydock, the tour boat Enterprise 2000 was refloated Saturday afternoon, and the tug Batchawana was put on the drydock. This is the smallest tug ever on the drydock for a single lift, and follows the Commodore Straits, which was the largest tug ever done in a single lift.

Sault Ste. Marie – Jerry Masson
Upbound traffic included Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley working aids to navigation in the North Channel and tied at the Soo overnite; USCG Mackinaw, which locked through to Whitefish Bay; the training vessel State of Michigan, which departed Carbide Dock and locked upbound; and the tug Valerie B and crane barge tied at Soo Harbor. Downbound passages included Edwin H Gott, American Mariner, Canadian Leader and James R Barker. Wilfred Sykes was at Port Dolomite in Lake Huron and Captain Henry Jackman was at Bruce Mines.


Coast Guard rescues one, searching for two near Chicago

5/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – A U.S. Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor 41-foot utility boat rescued a mariner after his vessel capsized in Calumet Harbor in south Chicago, at approximately 3:45 p.m. Monday.

Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor launched a 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) and a 41-foot utility boat, after a good samaritan reported a mariner stranded on the breakwall.

While Coast Guard crewman transported the mariner to local Emergency Medical Services, he informed the crewman two females were on board with him when the vessel capsized. However it was later determined only only one other person was with him and she swam to shore.

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City launched an HH-65C Dolphin helicopter to assist in the search and rescue effort and two marine units from the Chicago Police Department and a Chicago Fire Department helicopter were also on scene.


Experience the mysteries of the deep during a lecture double feature

5/19 - Detroit, Mich - Experience the mysterious world of Great Lakes shipwrecks during two multi-media presentations at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. Diver Tony Gramer will feature his award-winning photography and video to present “Straits of Mackinac Shipwrecks” and “Thirty-Six Hours Adrift on Lake Huron: The Loss of the Schooner Corsair” at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. respectively on Saturday, June 6.

The narrow passages and unpredictable weather of the Straits of Mackinac have caused over 100 shipwrecks over the centuries. “Straits of Mackinac Shipwrecks” explores the final resting places of ships such as the Maitland, Sandusky and Stalker. In the second lecture, “Thirty-Six Hours Adrift on Lake Huron”, Gramer tells the tragic story of the Corsair’s destruction, the rescue of two of its crew, and the 2001 underwater discovery of the schooner.

These two multi-media presentations are held in conjunction with the new exhibit “Committed to the Deep: Exploring Underwater Treasures” at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. “Committed to the Deep” dives into a subterranean world of shipwreck tragedies and historical discoveries, featuring diving equipment from the past and present.

The two presentations are free for Society members. The cost for other visitors is $5 per lecture or $8 for both. To make reservations, call (313) 833-1801 or visit

The Dossin Museum, located at 100 Strand Drive on Belle Isle, is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free at the Museum, however, donations are welcome. During the week, the Museum is open for group tours by advance reservation. Permanent exhibits include the Miss Pepsi vintage 1950s championship hydroplane, a bow anchor from the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, the pilothouse from the Great Lakes freighter S.S. William Clay Ford, and one of the largest known collections of scale model ships in the world. New exhibits include “Committed to the Deep: Exploring Underwater Treasures” and “L is for Lighthouse.” For more information, call (313) 833-5538 or visit


Updates - May 19

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 19

On 19 May 1894, LORETTA (wooden propeller freighter, 140 foot, 395 gross tons, built in 1892, at Sebewaing, Michigan as a schooner) was driven ashore near the mouth of the Au Sable River at Oscoda, Michigan in a terrible gale. She was heavily damaged but the crew was rescued. She was salvaged and put back in service but only lasted for two more years when she burned.

SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY (Hull#164) was launched May 19, 1906. at Wyandotte, Michigan by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the National Steamship Co. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1969.

On May 19, 1973, the whaleback tanker METEOR was moved from the Pipeline Tankers dock to a permanent berth on Barkers Island at Superior, Wisconsin to serve as a museum ship.

B F JONES and EDWARD S KENDRICK towed by the Polish tug KORAL and arrived for scrapping at Castellon, Spain, near Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea, on May 19, 1973, a trip of over 4,000 miles.

The LAKE WINNIPEG in tow of the tug IRVING CEDAR arrived in SacavŽm, North of Lisbon, Portugal on May 19, 1985. She was the largest Canadian laker and the first Seaway sized ship, as of that date, to be scrapped.

On 19 May 1835, PARROTT (wooden 2-mast schooner, 43 foot, 20 tons, built in 1834, at Ashtabula, Ohio) sailed for Detroit, Michigan carrying iron, glass, whiskey, and hogs on deck. She never made it. The following day, west of Ashtabula, many of the hogs swam ashore and later a lot of gear from the boat drifted to the beach. No storm is mentioned and all six onboard lost their lives. She had been enrolled to a new owner the day before she set sail.

On 19 May 1876, the Port Huron Times reported that Capt. Alexander Mc Dougall, formerly master of the steamer JAPAN, had built a large steam fish boat named SASKIWIT at Buffalo during the winter and was then sailing from there to Marquette, Michigan.

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


Edward L. Ryerson expected to arrive Monday for layup

5/18 - The steamer Edward L. Ryerson should arrive at the Twin Ports late Monday morning where she is expected to enter indefinite layup at Superior, Wisc., until the economy improves. The Ryerson spent Saturday night at anchor in the lee of Whitefish Point due to wind and waves on Lake Superior.


Port Reports - May 18

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha unloaded western coal into the hopper for the third time this season.

Manitowoc, Wisc.
The Saginaw arrived in Manitowoc Sunday morning at 11:50 a.m. with a load of barley for the Anheuser Busch Malt plant.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The King Company finished the dredging at St. Joseph and have moved their tug, Matt Allen, and barge, Buxton II, north to Holland to start work there. On Sunday, Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 loaded metal at the Padnos dock, departing in the early afternoon. Once out on Lake Michigan they turned south.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey, Galen Witham, Gordy Garris
The Robert S. Pierson was inbound the Saginaw River late Saturday night, traveling upriver to unload at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Turning in the Sixth Street basin Sunday morning, the Pierson was outbound passing through Bay City just before 10 a.m. Sunday night saw the Sam Laud call on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. This is the first visit by an American Steamship vessel so far in 2009. The Laud was expected to be outbound early Monday morning. Also heading inbound over the weekend was the Calumet, with a split load, ending up at the Wirt Dock in Saginaw. Dredging continues on the upper Saginaw River as the tug Kurt Luedtke moves barges full of dredging spoils brought up from the Sixth Street turning basin downriver to the disposal site near Cheyboyganing Creek between buoys 48 & 50. The tug Barbara Andrie and loaded tanker barge A-390 were expected to arrive in Bay City sometime Monday or Tuesday, making their first visit of the 2009 shipping season.

St. Clair, Mich. – Frank Frisk
The Indiana Harbor was reported to have broken belt while unloading at the St Clair Recor Power Plant, which only allowed her to discharge partial 30 percent of her load of coal. She was upbound Sunday for Duluth/Superior for repairs with the remaining partial coal load still on board.


Marine Historical Society of Detroit names Historians of the Year

Louis "Skip" Meier and Wayne Garrett were honored Saturday night at the 65th annual Marine Historical Society of Detroit annual dinner meeting at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich.

The Historian of the Year Award is decided by a vote of previous winners. Meier and Garrett's honor was based on their co-authorship of the society's recent book "Great Lakes Engineering Works: The Shipyard and its Vessels," which took nearly four years to complete and other society publications.

The dinner meeting featured a presentation by Ryan Barone, who wrote the book "Steamboatin" about a summer spent sailing on the laker Lee A. Tregurtha, and who later served aboard the USCG cutters Bramble and Hollyhock.

For more information on the Marine Historical Society of Detroit click here.


Updates - May 18

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 18

On 18 May 1872, the 3-mast wooden schooner MARQUETTE was holed in northern Lake Huron by a floating log. The crew manned the hand-operated bilge pumps but could not keep up with the incoming water. The steamer ANNIE YOUNG took the MARQUETTE in tow even though she was sinking and headed for Cheboygan, Michigan. During the tow, the schooner stopped sinking and arrived in port no lower in the water than she had been earlier. An investigation revealed that a large fish got caught in the hole and plugged it!

The WILLIAM C. ATWATER departed Sandusky, Ohio May 18, 1925, on her maiden voyage loaded with coal bound for Duluth, Minnesota. She was the first freighter on the Great Lakes equipped with a gyro compass. She was renamed b.) E. J. KULAS in 1936, c.) BEN MOREELL in 1953, d.) THOMAS E MILLSOP in 1955, e.) E. J. NEWBERRY in 1976, and f.) CEDARGLEN in 1982. She was scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1994.

Bethlehem Steel's steamer JOHNSTOWN cleared Erie May 18, 1985, for Quebec City under tow bound for Spain for scrapping. This vessel was the first post-war built U.S. laker to be scrapped.

On May 18, 1903, the MAUNALOA hit and sank the 69 foot wooden tug EDWARD GILLEN at Superior, Wisconsin.

May 18, 1992 -- The BADGER made her maiden voyage for the newly formed Lake Michigan Carferry Service.

On 18 May 1853, CITIZEN (wooden schooner, 54 tons, built in 1847, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was driven aground 6 miles north of Chicago. The U. S. Navy steamer MICHIGAN tried in vain to pull her off, breaking a 14" hawser in the process. She was reportedly the first vessel built at Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

On 18 May 1882, AMERICAN EAGLE (wooden propeller, passenger packet & tug, 105 foot, 161 gross tons, built in 1880, at Sandusky, Ohio) was racing off Kelley's Island on Lake Erie when her boiler exploded. Six lives were lost. She was later raised and repaired and lasted until 1908.

18 May 1894: A big storm swept the Lakes on 18 May 1894. The next day, the Port Huron Times gave the following account of the ship wrecks in that storm: "The big storm on Lake Michigan has cost the lives of many men. Only 2 men were saved from the schooner M J CUMMINGS, 6 lost. The C C BARNES is ashore at Milwaukee but the crew was saved. The schooner MYRTLE was wrecked just outside the government pier within a half mile of Michigan Blvd. in Chicago with 6 lost. The schooner LINCOLN DALL went to pieces at Glencoe, 8 miles north of Chicago. She was 196 tons. The schooner JACK THOMPSON, 199 tons, wrecked off 25th Street. The schooner EVENING STAR, 203 tons, wrecked off 27th Street but her crew was saved. The schooner MERCURY of Grand Haven, 278 tons, wrecked off 27th Street and her crew rescued. The schooner J LOOMIS McLAREN, 272 tons, wrecked off 27th Street. The schooner RAINBOW of Milwaukee, 243 tons, wrecked off 100th Street; the crew was rescued. The schooner C J MIXER, 279 tons, wrecked off 100th Street; crew rescued. The schooner WM SHUPE waterlogged and ashore at Lexington, Michigan on Lake Huron. Four were drowned in an attempted rescue. The scow ST CATHARINES is ashore at Rock Falls near Sand Beach. The crew reached shore safely but the boat will fare badly."

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


Port Reports - May 17

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On a windy Saturday morning the Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the Shiras Dock in the Lower Harbor and unloaded the first stone cargo of the season. She was expected to load ore at the Upper Harbor later in the day.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
 CSL Assiniboine was loading 30,000 tons of petroleum coke at KCBX Terminals on Saturday. After finishing loading, the John G. Munson took its place under the loader for a cargo of coal destined for Green Bay.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic remained steady on the Saginaw River on Thursday and Friday. Calumet was inbound Thursday with a split load. She stopped at the Sargent dock in Essexville to lighter and then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Calumet was outbound Friday morning, passing the inbound Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber and the Manitowoc out in the Saginaw Bay. The Moore & Kuber lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before heading upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. Manitowoc did the same, lightering at Bay City Wirt once the Kuber cleared the dock, and then headed upriver to finish at Saginaw Wirt. The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber were outbound late Friday night. Manitowoc was expected to be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

The Calumet was back again on Saturday, this time with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. She was expected to be outbound late Saturday evening. This was the fifth delivery to the Wirt dock in the past five days. There have been two apiece by the Manitowoc and Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber, and Saturday's by the Calumet.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Friday morning the Canadian Enterprise departed from Dofasco at 4:30 a.m. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon departed Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters at 5:30 a.m. and returned from Port Weller at 8:30 p.m. The Diamond Star departed Hamilton at 8 a.m. and docked at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 10 a.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
 English River arrived in port Saturday at noon for Section 361, the Lafarge dock. Stephen B. Roman came in at 4:30 p.m. for Section 343, the Essroc dock. Evans McKeil dropped Metis off sometime on Friday at Essroc.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom B.
On Friday Ryba Marine's crane hit a high voltage power line which crosses the Genesee River near the Essroc's Dock. No one was hurt but power was knocked out to large area on the east side of the river. About 6,000 people in Irondequoit lost power for about two hours.


Updates - May 17

News Photo Gallery Page 1
News Photo Gallery Page 2
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 17

On 17 May 1887, the WILLIAM RUDOLPH (wooden propeller "rabbit", 145 foot, 267 gross tons. built in 1880, at Mount Clemens, Michigan) was raised from Lake St. Clair. She sank in the Fall of 1886. She was towed to the Wolverine Drydock in Port Huron, Michigan where she was repaired. She lasted until 1913, when she was beached as shore protection near Racine, Wisconsin.

ALTON C DUSTIN (Hull#708) was launched May 17, 1913, at Lorain, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. for Cleveland Steamship Co. (John Mitchell, mgr.) Renamed b.) J A CAMPBELL in 1915 and c.) BUCKEYE MONITOR in 1965. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1974.

NORTHCLIFFE HALL collided with the Cuban salty CARLOS MANUEL DE CESPEDES in the St. Lawrence River above the Eisenhower Lock on May 17, 1980. Built in 1952, by Canadian Vickers as a,) FRANKCLIFFE HALL (Hull#255), renamed b.) NORTHCLIFFE HALL in 1959, and c.) ROLAND DESGAGNES in 1976. She sank after running aground on May 26, 1982, near Pointe aux Pic, Quebec.

The E G GRACE arrived at Ramey's Bend May 17, 1984, in tow of the tugs GLENEVIS and GLENSIDE for scrapping.

May 17, 1941 -- The Ludington Daily News reported that the former carferry PERE MARQUETTE 17, which had been purchased by the State of Michigan for use at the Straits of Mackinac, was to be renamed b.) CITY OF PETOSKEY. She was scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1961.

The schooner ST ANDREWS was launched at A. Muir's shipyard on the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan on 17 May 1875. This was a rebuild job, but Mr. Muir stated that it was the most complete rebuild he ever undertook since there was only a portion of the keel and bottom left from the old hull. Her new dimensions were 135 foot keel x 30 feet x 14 feet, 425 tons (an increase of 102 tons).

At about 9:00 a.m., 17 May 1885, the tug E T CARRINGTON (wooden side-wheel tug, 76 foot, 57 gross tons, built in 1876, at Bangor, Michigan) was towing a raft of logs from L'Anse to Baraga, Michigan when she caught fire and burned to the water's edge. The crew was rescued by the steam yacht EVA WADSWORTH. The CARRINGTON was later rebuilt and lasted until 1907.

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



Port Reports - May 16

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The Twin Ports looked busy for a while Thursday afternoon as Presque Isle turned into the CN ore dock, Algosoo loaded at Midwest Energy Terminal and American Integrity waited at the Murphy Oil fuel dock for its turn at Midwest Energy Terminal. Friday morning’s traffic included American Mariner unloading stone at the CLM lime plant in Superior and Presque Isle completed its load of taconite pellets destined for Gary.

Sarnia, Ont. – Dave Wobser
Capt. Henry Jackman arrived at the North Slip in Sarnia late Friday afternoon. They were tying up next to Algomarine and were expected to remain for 8 hours.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
Edward L. Ryerson was upbound on the Detroit River Friday afternoon. They stopped to fuel at Sterling Fuel in Windsor, Ont., about 4:30 p.m. and were underway about 6 p.m., headed upbound for lay-up in Superior, Wisc. The vessel was off Alpena at 9 a.m. Saturday and should reach the Soo Locks between 7 and 9 p.m., if windy weather on Lake Huron does not delay them.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. the Diamond Star went to anchor in the Burlington Bay anchorage due to the high winds. The Canadian Enterprise arrived at 5:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco. The tug Omni Richelieu departed at 7 p.m.


Despite financial woes, brig Niagara will sail this summer

5/16 - Erie, Pa. – The Flagship Niagara League will assume day-to-day management of the ship, a square-rigged brig that sails from Erie, league officials said Thursday.

The group also will inherit a funding shortfall that nearly docked the Niagara for 2009.

The ship is property of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, which operates 22 of the state's historic sites. The commission's budget has been cut; Executive Director Barbara Franco said Thursday that she expects to lose $1.8 million and more than 40 employees.

Some of that cost will be passed on.

The commission cut $250,000 from the Niagara's 2009 budget. That move, and a decision to allow the ship's insurance policy to lapse, threatened to end the Niagara's sailing program. The ship travels between May and September, serving as both a floating postcard and one of the nation's premier maritime training platforms.

The Niagara is square-rigged with history. The ship is a replica of Oliver Hazard Perry's flagship at the Battle of Lake Erie. Its sails cover more than 12,000 square feet. The Niagara's battle flag – blue and white, inscribed with "Don't Give Up the Ship" – has found new life in the state's budget discussions.

"We recognize the importance of Pennsylvania's maritime history," Franco said Thursday. "And it is not lost on us that we are approaching the anniversary of the War of 1812, in which the Brig Niagara was involved." Franco came to Erie Thursday for a public hearing on the Niagara's funding. The chairman of the museum commission, Wayne Spilove, came with her.

Both had attended a similar session for the Fort Pitt Museum in Pittsburgh earlier in the day. "To a large extent, stewardship of these resources is our mission," Franco said. "But our ability to do that has become more and more difficult because of budget restraints." The commission found $350,000 for the Niagara. The insurance policy also has been restored.

Spilove announced the additional funding at the hearing in Erie, which drew more than 150 people to Hirt Auditorium. Niagara League President Brian Scott said the ship will sail this summer. He also said local officials will have more say in how the ship is managed. "We've got a lot more responsibility for the ship than we ever had before," Scott said.  With that comes a fundraising challenge: The ship still needs an additional $200,000.

An event at the Erie Yacht Club raised $35,000 on May 5. A partnership with Cathedral Preparatory School, which is developing a youth sailing program, could bring in another $25,000. Scott is confident the rest will come. But only if the Niagara sails. "We have always believed, and continue to believe, that the best way to maintain the ship is to keep her sailing," he said.

Erie Times-News


Updates - May 16

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 16

On 16 May 1894, the SHENANDOAH (wooden propeller freighter, 308 foot, 2,251 gross tons) was launched by J. Davidson (Hull #60) in West Bay City, Michigan. She lasted until 1924, when she was abandoned.

The CANADIAN PROSPECTOR passed up bound in the Welland Canal May 16, 1979, with Labrador ore bound for Ashtabula, Ohio. This was her first trip after being reconstructed.

W. R. WOODFORD (Hull#626) was launched May 16, 1908, at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. for W. A. & M.A. Hawgood. Renamed b.) N F LEOPOLD 1911, and c.) E. J. BLOCK in 1943. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario, arriving in 1998.

IRVIN L. CLYMER departed Superior, Wisconsin, on May 15, 1981, and went to Duluth, Minnesota, to load 11,154 tons of taconite ore for Lorain. On May 16, 1981, having departed Duluth in 35 mph winds and ten foot seas, the CLYMER began taking on water in her ballast tanks. She returned to Duluth, and was quickly repaired.

On May 16, 1972, in dense fog, the ROBERT HOBSON struck the Peerless Cement dock at Port Huron, Michigan when her bow was caught by the strong current at the mouth of the St. Clair River. Damage to the hull was estimated at to $100,000.

In 1985, the steamer PONTIAC was towed down the Welland Canal by the Mc Keil tugs GLENEVIS, ARGUE MARTIN and STORMONT bound for Quebec City. She would later be scrapped in Spain.

The tug B. W. ALDRICH burned at Ludington, Michigan, on 16 May 1874. The damage was estimated at $5,000 and she was rebuilt.

May 16, 1997 - The BADGER's planned first voyage of 1997, was delayed for one day because of a faulty boiler tube.

E. W. OGLEBAY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 375 foot. 3,666 gross tons) was launched at F. W. Wheeler's yard (Hull #114) at West Bay City, Michigan, on 16 May 1896. She lasted until she stranded on Shot Point, 10 miles east of Marquette, Michigan, on Lake Superior, during a heavy northeast gale and blizzard, on December 8, 1927. Shortly afterwards the hull was gutted by fire and declared a constructive total loss. The hull was removed, partially scrapped, and used as dock at Drummond Island, Michigan.

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


Sour economy takes toll on U.S.- flag lakers in April

5/15 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-Flag vessels working the Great Lakes saw their cargo totals plummet in April as steel mills, iron ore mines, and other industrial activities slumped from the weight of the recession. Cargo movement totaled only 5.1 million tons, a decrease of 45 percent compared to a year ago. The April float was only half the month’s 5-year average.

The biggest decline came in iron ore cargos. Shipments fell 62 percent to 1.7 million tons. When the steel industry is operating at or near capacity, just one large fleet can haul that much iron ore in a month. As of now, the steel industry is operating at less than 50 percent of capacity.

The limestone trade also struggled in April, with loadings in U.S. hulls falling 48 percent to 1.1 million tons. The pulse in the construction industry is weak and steel mills don’t need much fluxstone.

In total, the coal trade – 1.9 million tons – was within striking distance of a year ago, but only because shipments of western coal from Lake Superior were strong. Cargos loaded at Lake Michigan and Lake Erie ports slumped badly.

Vessel operating rates are well below a year ago. On May 1, 46 U.S.-Flag lakers were in service, a decrease of 28 hulls compared to a year ago. Since then, two vessels have been withdrawn from service.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 6.6 million tons, a decrease of 59 percent compared to the same point in 2008. Shipments are down more than 61 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - May 15

Marinette and Menominee – Dick Lund
On Wednesday afternoon, Catherine Desgagnes arrived in the bay of Green Bay off Menominee with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. There was heavy fog and a fairly stiff off-shore crosswind, so the pair anchored out until about 9 p.m. when they headed into port. That same night, the barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort arrived and went to anchor off Menominee. Around 7 p.m. the Great Lakes Trader began backing into the Menominee River and through the Ogden Street Bridge heading to KK Integrated Logistics for repairs. They expect to be here about a week.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in Thursday morning with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It had completed unloading and appeared to be waiting weather at 10 a.m. The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest came in about 7 a.m. with a load for the St. Marys terminal in Ferrysburg.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, Canadian Leader arrived at noon with iron ore for Dofasco. Wednesday the Canadian Leader departed at 5 a.m. for Thunder Bay. Edward L. Ryerson departed at 7:30 p.m. and the tug Evans McKeil arrived at 8 p.m. The Ryerson anchored in the Port Weller anchorage Wednesday night, and was in the Welland Canal upbound Thursday afternoon, headed for layup.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
The Stephen B. Roman arrived in Rochester, N.Y., with a load of bulk cement for Essroc on Thursday afternoon. She had unloaded some of her cargo in Oswego before coming to Rochester. Ryba Marine had to stop dredging and move its equipment so the Roman could get to her dock. The Col. Patrick O'Rorke Memorial Bridge over the river had been unable to lift but was fixed in time to open for the Roman.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Both of the Lafarge tug/barges were in port on Thursday. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at the silos before 10 a.m. and loaded for Milwaukee. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up during the evening to take cement. The Alpena remains in lay-up at the coal dock.


Corps of Engineers blasted for woeful investment in dredging Great Lakes

5/15 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ allocation of funds from the stimulus bill for dredging the Great Lakes was “woefully inadequate and a mistake in judgment,” the chairman of a key appropriations subcommittee said earlier this week.

Speaking to the Chief of Engineers of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development which he chairs, Rep Peter J Visclosky (D-IN) noted that only two per cent of Corps’ funding in the stimulus bill was targeted to the Lakes.

Rep Visclosky challenged the Corps claim that “geographic diversity” was one of the criteria for allocating the money.

The powerful chairman also pointed out that the Corps has reached the break-even point in dredging - it has dredged the material than is naturally deposited in the region’s waterways - only once in the last decade.

Asked by the chairman if the Great Lakes would be dredged above the break-even point in the coming years, Gary Loew, Chief, Programs Integration Division, said that even reaching the break-even point in fiscal years 2010 and 2011 was “not likely.”

The chronic shortfall in the Corps’ dredging budget for the Lakes has left an estimated 17 million cubic yards of sediment clogging ports and waterways. As a result, ships are not able to carry full loads.

Even with water levels on the rise, the largest vessels are still forfeiting 6,000 tons or more each trip. Steel mills, power plants, and the construction industry all suffer higher transportation costs because of the dredging crisis said the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force in a statement.

"By the Corps own estimate, the agency needs US$200 million to clear the backlog of sediment on the Lakes. Yet, the Corps allocated only two per cent of the US$4.6 billion Congress gave it for maintaining and upgrading the nation’s waterways in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). And of the US$94 million the Corps directed to the Great Lakes basin, only US$13 million will go toward reducing the dredging backlog," said the statement, noting that the Corps further baffled Great Lakes stakeholders by 'zeroing out' the second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, authorized by Congress at full Federal expense in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act.

"The project is shovel-ready and a job-making machine," said the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force.

In response to questions from Rep Visclosky, the Corps claimed that it did not discriminate against projects that were authorized at full Federal expense or do not have a local cost share.

The Corps stated that the Soo Replacement Lock “was on the list, it is a good project, but others with more long-term economic development” were funded.

“We deeply appreciate Congressman Visclosky’s commitment to solving the dredging crisis,” said Donald Cree, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. “He and other Great Lakes legislators have boosted funding for the past two fiscal years and enabled the Corps to actually start reducing the backlog. If the Corps was left to its own devices, the backlog would still be growing."

Founded in 1992, Great Lakes Maritime Task Force promotes domestic and international shipping on the Great Lakes. It is the largest coalition to speak for the Great Lakes shipping community and draws its membership from both labor and management representing US-Flag vessel operators, shipboard and longshore unions, port authorities, cargo shippers, terminal operators, shipyards and other Great Lakes interests.

Its goals include restoring adequate funding for dredging of Great Lakes deep-draft ports and waterways, construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste Marie, Michigan; protecting the Jones Act and other US maritime cabotage laws and regulations; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade; and opposing exports and increased diversions of Great Lakes water.

Dredging News


Restoration of tug Daniel McAllister complete at Montreal

5/15 - Montreal, Q.C. - Hidden under tarpaulins since January, the tugboat Daniel McAllister has come out of hiding to display its remarkable new look to passers-by.

Nearly three months of meticulous work were required to restore the Daniel McAllister to its original pride. Its exterior and lifeboat were repainted in their original colors; its hull was repaired; its woodwork, identification plates, portholes, and navigation and searchlights were also restored.

The Daniel McAllister is the largest preserved tug in Canada and the second-oldest preserved oceangoing tug in the world. The Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board has recognized her as being of exceptional importance.

Over the years, the Daniel McAllister has undergone several transformations, changing workplaces and names several times. Originally launched as Helena in 1907, she began service on the Atlantic coast. In the 1940s, while working on the Great Lakes, her steam engine was replaced with a more powerful diesel engine. After a major refit in 1956, she was renamed Helen M.B. Later, in the 1960s in Montréal, McAllister Towing Limited named her Daniel McAllister, after a member of this important family of ship owners. She was finally retired from service in the 1980s.

When the Ocean Group purchased Montréal's McAllister Towing Limited in 1997, the Daniel McAllister was acquired by the Musée maritime du Québec, which partnered with the Old Port of Montréal Corporation to ensure the ship's preservation. The Old Port of Montréal Corporation acquired the ship in 2008.

The mission of the Musée maritime du Québec is to safeguard, study, disseminate, and enhance Québec's maritime heritage, including its Arctic territory. The tugboat Daniel McAllister awaits admiring visitors at the dock of gate number one of the Lachine Canal, off the Old Port of Montréal Quays, at the foot of McGill St., just west of the Café des Eclusiers, in Old Montréal.

Old Port of Montreal


Innovation Fuels selling biodiesel from port

5/15 - Milwaukee, Wisc. - – Innovation Fuels is shipping biodiesel fuel to customers around the world via the St. Lawrence Seaway from the Port of Milwaukee renewable fuels hub and terminal.

The New York City-based acquired the former Shell Oil’s Milwaukee terminal in early 2009 and has a 312,000 barrel or 45,000 metric ton capacity on the 10-acre site at the Port of Milwaukee.

Since Innovation Fuels has begun shipping biodiesel via the Milwaukee Port terminal, the cost of the company’s biodiesel has dropped significantly for customers in the Great Lakes region, including the Milwaukee and Chicago markets, said John Fox, chief executive officer of Innovation Fuels.

Innovation Fuels’ Milwaukee terminal includes existing truck and rail loading infrastructure with excellent highway access, said Fox. The port’s biodiesel facility also has connections to the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific railroads. The biodiesel facility has a connection to the Westshore petroleum pipeline that be used in the future to bring in diesel and gasoline to the port for blending with renewable fuels like biodiesel or ethanol.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee


Museum seeks new partner for Fort Gratiot Light Station

5/15 - Port Huron, Mich. - – Port Huron Museum officials say they will try to partner with a different governmental agency to take ownership of the Fort Gratiot Light Station after a recent rejection of the deed by Port Huron. The officials, weary with frustration about the process of taking ownership of the property, said they must go this route because Port Huron officials are not moving forward with taking ownership of the property.

Six years ago, the city and museum partnered to try to take ownership of the station, a five-acre parcel that includes an iconic lighthouse. In February, the city received a signed deed from the U.S. Coast Guard to take ownership. Last week, City Manager Bruce Brown rejected that deed, calling the financial requirements too onerous for the city to meet. Particularly, he said timeline to fix the seven buildings on the property could not be met.

Port Huron, at that point, was a City Council vote away from taking ownership of the property, which museum officials said signaled the end of a long process. "We didn't expect this current frustration," Jennifer Radcliff, vice chairwoman of the museum's board of directors, said. "But we can deal with it." Brown said the document requires specific dates for restoration of each of the buildings.

He said he sent a letter to the U.S. General Services Agency – the real estate arm of the federal government – and the National Parks Service to see if they could work out a different timeline for the work to be completed. "We are working from a document that was prepared seven years ago that dealt with a different time and a different set of circumstances," he said. "As of this date that is still the document driving this." Brown said he wants an agreement in which the city is allowed to restore the lighthouse in advance of the other buildings. "That is not the agreement that is in place at this point in time," he said.

Museum officials – including Zembala, Radcliff and David Brooks, chairman of the Board of Trustees – said Brown is mistaken. Brooks said Brown's description of a timeline is "inaccurate." Museum officials said there is no fixed timeline in which the buildings must be fixed, but rather a "fluid" timeline in which the National Parks Service allows flexibility. The only timeline issued was in the application process created by the museum and city, Radcliff said.

To Zembala, Radcliff and Brooks, the issue is clear cut: The city could take ownership of the property, fix the lighthouse and then work to raise money and fix the other buildings as money became available. "As long as we can show we are being proactive in the restoration of the site ... I don't get the sense that the parks services would have an issue," Brooks said. Zembala said they talked to Brown about the issue, but "he didn't seem to want to believe us." Instead, Zembala said Brown went the other route by talking with the federal government.

In conversations with the federal agencies, Brooks said, officials said "most groups when they get to this point they are drooling" to take ownership. The problem, Brooks said, seems to be a lack of understanding of the full history of the project on the city's end. He said there is no point person in the city regarding the light station. Because of that, Brooks said it is "understandable that the city would want to move cautiously."

Radcliff, also the president of the Michigan Lighthouse Fund, said unless conversations – those beyond e-mails – improve, there is little hope the museum can continue its relationship on this project. "Unless we have good conversations in the next week," she said. "We need some different kind of conversations than we've had." She said the city has met with officials from the museum and from the federal agencies.  But "the same questions are being asked and we don't know how to answer them anymore," she said.

The museum officials said they will pursue St. Clair County to partner with and one or two other municipalities which they wouldn't name. Brown said he is aware of the museum's efforts to find a different partner. "I don't know if that is necessarily in the best interest of the city," Brown said. "But again, our interest is restoring the building and preserving it for the future. So if that's the way it goes, that's the way goes."

Still, Brown said his and the council's goal is to take ownership of the light station and restore it. But part of that is about $3.8 million in restoration of the station's buildings.  That cost ultimately would be on the city's shoulders to pay if the deed is transferred. He said he wants to take ownership, "but it has got to be on terms that will not bankrupt the city or put us in the position to finance something we cannot afford. "I think it is just good business to have all our ducks in a row," he said. "It's got to be right for the city of Port Huron."

The museum officials said while funding ultimately is the responsibility of the city, the museum has said all along it would be a major factor in raising money. A recent event raised $30,000 for the lighthouse restoration and also signed up 230 members for the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light Station. "We saw it from the start that it was our responsibility," Brooks said.

Zembala said the uncertainty of the deed transfer also puts into danger a $374,000 federal grant that's had its deadline for use extended twice.

Port Huron Times Herald


Annual BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II

5/15 - The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II is scheduled for Saturday, June 6, following the Port Huron Marine Mart.

The Huron Lady II leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron. Hot dogs and beverages are available on board. BoatNerd price is just $12.00, but reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the discount fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at


Updates - May 15

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 15

On 15 May, 1901, the GILCHRIST (Hull #603) (steel propeller freighter, 356 foot. 3,871 gross tons) was launched at the West Bay City Ship Building Co. in West Bay City, Michigan, for the Gilchrist Transportation Company of Cleveland, Ohio. She lasted until 1943, when she was sunk in a collision on Lake Superior.

On May 15, 1997, the "This Day in History" feature started on this web site.

The PHILIP R. CLARKE, first of the AAA class of vessel, began her maiden voyage from Lorain, Ohio on this date in 1952.

After extensive renovation at Fraser Shipyard, the IRVIN L. CLYMER departed Superior, Wisconsin on May 15, 1981, and went to Duluth, Minnesota, to load 11,154 tons of taconite ore for Lorain, Ohio.

On May 15, 1971, the STONEFAX was sold for scrap and was scrapped at Santander, Spain.

The HOMER D. WILLIAMS collided with the Canadian steamer WHEAT KING in fog on the St. Marys River May 15, 1968, with no reported significant damage.

On 15 May 1854, GARDEN CITY (wooden passenger/package side-wheeler, 218 foot, 657 tons, built in 1853, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing from Chicago to the Soo in a storm when she went on Martin Reef, west of Detour, Michigan, and was wrecked. Her passengers were picked up by the steamer QUEEN CITY.

On 24 May, she was stripped by a schooner and in July her anchor and chains were salvaged by the schooner MONTEATH. Later still, her machinery was recovered.

May 15, 1992 -- The str. BADGER was rededicated and began a new career as a non-railroad carferry.

At 3:30 a.m., 15 May 1874, the tug TAWAS came along side of the schooner ZACH CHANDLER several miles off shore from Sand Beach, Michigan on Lake Huron. The boiler of the TAWAS exploded and she sank. Capt. Robinson, 2nd Engineer Dyson, Firemen Thomas Conners and James McIntyre, and Lookout Dennis Burrow were all on the tug and died in the explosion. The blast tore the CHANDLER's sails and rigging, and caused the death of one of her officers when he was struck on the head by a flying piece of debris. The CHANDLER drifted away in the heavy seas, but returned to pick up five survivors from the water. The TAWAS was built at Vicksburg, Michigan by Myron Williams in 1864. Her dimensions were 95-foot x 18-foot, 6-inches x 8-foot, 6-inches. She carried the two old engines from the tug BLISH, which when new were 11-1/2 inches x 20 inches, but having been bored out several times, were 15 inches x 20 inches at the time of the explosion. Her boiler was built by Mr. Turnbull of Corunna, Ontario.

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


Economy sends Edward L. Ryerson to layup

5/14 - 10 a.m. update - The Edward L. Ryerson spent Wednesday night at anchor off Port Weller, at the eastern end of the Welland Canal, due to weather. She will resume her trip when conditions improve.

Original Report - The steamer Edward L. Ryerson is the latest victim of the downturn in the world economy. According to a spokesman for Central Marine Logistics, the vessels operator, the Ryerson will lay up at Superior, Wisc., until economic conditions improve.

Ryerson a favorite of boatwatchers, was expected to departed Hamilton, Ont., Wednesday afternoon, after unloading a cargo of pellets. If that schedule holds, night-time river passages are likely.


Port Reports - May 14

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Saginaw came in early Wednesday morning with a load for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island. This was its first visit of the season and the first cargo for this dock. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 are due at Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg, Mich., Thursday.

Stone Port, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Herbert C. Jackson took on cargo overnight and departed from Stoneport Wednesday morning. John G. Munson was next to tie up and load throughout the day with strong winds blowing.  Calumet was waiting nearby at anchor and would likely dock sometime Wednesday night.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
Split cargos were the rule of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday as three vessels called on the Saginaw River delivering to four different docks. Calumet was inbound Tuesday morning lightering at the Sargent dock in Essexville before moving upriver to finish her unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw.  Following Calumet, the tug Olive L. Moore, with Lewis J. Kuber, arrived with product for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone Docks. Manitowoc was inbound Wednesday morning, and like the Moore-Kuber, she also unloaded at the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt docks. Calumet was outbound Tuesday afternoon with the Moore and Kuber outbound Wednesday morning, and Manitowoc outbound Wednesday evening.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
H. Lee White finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed Wednesday afternoon. Robert S. Pierson was waiting at the CSX#2 Dock. When the White left the Pierson shifted over to the #4 machine to load coal and was expected to depart Wednesday evening. Ojibway arrived at Andersons "K" Elevator Wednesday afternoon to load grain. The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder, Cason J. Callaway and Catherine Desgagnes on Saturday followed by Manitowoc on Monday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Dock will be CSL Niagara on Tuesday. H. Lee White on Wednesday followed by Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Thursday. Capt. Henry Jackman is scheduled into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Sunday.

Fairport, Ohio - Bob Hunter
John B Aird arrived Monday night to load salt in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. 

Hamilton, Ont. - Rodney Aitchison
The Frontenac loaded ore at US Steel's former Stelco mill in Hamilton for shipment to their Gary Works on Tuesday. Canadian Transfer remains in layup at Pier 10W.


Senators seek 2 new Coast Guard vessels for Great Lakes

5/14 - Washington – A group of four U.S. senators including both from Michigan introduced legislation Wednesday that would authorize $153 million for the Coast Guard to design and construct a new buoy tender and icebreaker for the Great Lakes.

Five of the icebreakers currently plying the Lakes are nearing the end of their working years, say the group, which includes Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Michigan Democrats, Democrat Charles Schumer of New York and Republican George Voinovich of Ohio.

"Keeping shipping lanes open and commerce flowing smoothly on the Great Lakes is enormously important not only to Michigan but to the entire Great Lakes basin," said Levin, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. "Replacing an icebreaker on the Great Lakes will help provide the Coast Guard with the equipment they need to perform this valuable service, which is especially important during a time of economic uncertainty."

A companion measure sponsored by Rep. James Oberstar, a Minnesota Democrat, was approved by the House of Representatives on April 27.

Detroit Free Press


Minnesota jury awards crewman $1.8 million

5/14 - Duluth, Minn – A Minnesota jury has awarded an Escanaba, Mich., man $1.8 million in a lawsuit he brought against a shipping company and others after he was injured while working on the motor vessel Joseph L. Block while in Duluth.

Daniel L. Willis filed the lawsuit against the Indiana Harbor Steamship Co. the owner of the Block   and operator Central Marine Logistics in St. Louis County District Court on April 30, 2007.

Willis served as a crew member on the ship when he was injured on Aug. 27, 2004.

The Block was pulling up to the DM&IR dock in Duluth to offload limestone. Willis had been working on the ship less than 100 days. His job was to get off the ship, grab the cables and tie up to the dock.

While performing that task, he slipped and fell and injured his knee. He went to a hospital for treatment and then transported himself back to Escanaba on an 18-hour bus ride. He was wearing a knee immobilizer and developed a deep vein thrombosis that led to other complications.

Williss lawsuit alleged that his injuries were the result of the unseaworthiness of the vessel and insufficient manpower, equipment, direction, supervision, maintenance, and other incidents of defendants malfeasance, negligence, and failure to provide a safe place to work.

He also claimed the defendants failed to attend appropriately to his medical needs resulting from his injuries.

Jurors deliberated for eight hours late last Friday before returning the verdict to 6th Judicial District Judge Eric Hylden.

Representatives from Central Marine Logistics attended and testified at trial. In statement released to BoatNerd, CML said it believes the jury treated this case as a workers compensation case instead of a Jones Act negligence action. No unseaworthy claim was proven against the vessel itself and there was no finding of failure to pay maintenance and cure. Testimony of numerous CML crew members who witnessed the incident described an event significantly different that the Plaintiff's account.

According to the statement, the plaintiff was a probationary employee with a spotty work record and no previous marine experience before working on the Block.

Duluth News Tribune, BoatNerd staff


Canoe journey hits rough water in Duluth ship canal

5/14 - A canoeist making a 1,000-mile journey was rescued by the Duluth Fire Department on Tuesday morning when his heavily laden canoe took on water in the Duluth ship canal.

Erik Simula of Hovland was trying to enter the Duluth harbor when his birch-bark canoe began to swamp, despite the spray skirt he had rigged. “The swells out there [on the lake] are pretty big, but you ride up and over them,” he said later. “But in there [the canal] there’s chop I just kind of filled up.”

Simula, 44, is making a 1,000-mile trip from Grand Portage to the Mississippi River, north to the Canadian border and back east to Grand Portage. He started April 22 and reached Duluth early Tuesday.

People who saw Simula approaching the ship canal called authorities to report a canoeist in trouble. “He was struggling. It looked like the waves were going into his boat,” said Patty Goltzman of Apple Valley, Minn., who is visiting Duluth with her husband, Mark. “I thought he was going to flip over,” Mark Goltzman said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene as Simula entered the ship canal. “When we heard he was in the canal, we were concerned,” Assistant Chief Richard Mattson said. “There can be a pretty good current going in and out of there.” The Goltzmans and other tourists watched as firefighters descended a ladder on the north pier to help Simula. One firefighter held the boat while Simula bailed water. Simula didn’t want to leave his canoe, Patty Goltzman said. “He wanted to stay in and have them [the firefighters] pull him wherever they were taking his boat,” she said. Rescuers, however, wouldn’t allow that. First, they lifted Simula’s dog Kitigan to safety.

After two firefighters arrived in a boat, Simula climbed the ladder to the pier. Firefighters took his canoe under tow and delivered it to the Coast Guard station. The Coast Guard ticketed Simula for having a life jacket that didn’t zip up. “Kind of sobering. Close call,” Simula said, reflecting on the experience. Simula, who is originally from Duluth, built the 13-foot birch-bark canoe he’s using on this trip.

He works as a park ranger at Grand Portage National Monument in the summers and operates dogsledding trips for Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail during winters. He has taught bark-canoe-building courses at North House Folk School in Grand Marais.

Simula has dreamed of doing this trip for the past 10 years, said Dawn Simula, his former wife and once-again partner. He and his dog, Kitigan, will travel up the St. Louis River to Floodwood, then make the Savanna Portage to Big Sandy Lake and the Mississippi River. He’ll stop in Grand Rapids for his daughter Anna’s high school graduation, then continue to the Bigfork and Rainy rivers. From International Falls, he’ll paddle through Voyageurs National Park, down the international border and make the nine-mile Grand Portage back to the town of Grand Portage by about Aug. 7.

Simula is a seasoned canoeist who paddled to Hudson Bay in 1984. Dawn Simula posts updates on his trip Web site, The trip is sponsored in part by Bearskin Lodge. “In a way, it’s a just a canoe trip with me and my dog,” Simula had said in an interview on Monday. “The other intriguing part is doing it in a birch-bark canoe. Part of it is a personal challenge to see if I can get me and this canoe around that kind of a route.” He hopes the challenges don’t come any greater than what he encountered in the Duluth ship canal Tuesday morning.

Duluth News Tribune


Lake St. Clair and River Cruise and BoatNerd Gathering

5/14 - On Sunday, May 24, an all day cruise leaving from the Stroh Place Dock, at the foot of Jos. Campeau Street just north of downtown Detroit, and traveling above the Blue Water Bridges, to Fort Gratiot Light and return aboard the Diamond Belle. This 120 mile cruise following the shipping channel is co-sponsored by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and

The trip includes a continental breakfast and deli lunch on board, and a buffet dinner at the historic St. Clair Inn. This is a great opportunity to see all the sights and ships along the waterway between Detroit and Port Huron.

Tickets are $90.00 per person and reservations are required. Click here for details and a reservation form. Space is limited. Don't be left out.


Updates - May 14

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 14

On 14 May 1881, CITY OF ROME (wooden propeller freighter, 268 foot, 1,908 gross tons) was launched by Thomas Quayle & Sons in Cleveland, Ohio. She was the largest vessel on the Lakes when she was launched. She lasted until 1914, when she burned near Ripley, New York on Lake Erie.

On May 14, 1959, the SHENANGO II and the HERBERT C JACKSON both entered service. While the vessels have been fleet mates since 1967, the SHENANGO II was built by the Shenango Furnace Company. She operates today as the b.) CHARLES M BEEGHLY, renamed in 1967.

On May 14, 1943, the THOMAS WILSON entered service as the first of the sixteen vessels in the "Maritime" class.

The HOCHELAGA's self-unloading boom was installed on the RICHARD REISS, which had lost her boom April 13, 1994, when it collapsed at Fairport, Ohio. The REISS replacement boom was installed, on May 14, 1994 by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd..

BLACK HAWK (wooden schooner, 98 foot, 178 gross tons) was launched in East Saginaw, Michigan on 14 May 1861. Thomas A. Estes was her builder. She was active until abandoned in the Kinnickinnic River at Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1908. On 13 October 1913, she was filled with flammable material and burned off Milwaukee as a public spectacle for the Perry Centennial Celebration.

On May 14, 1905, the new Anchor Line passenger steamer JUNIATA made her maiden voyage from the yards of the American Shipbuilding Company in Cleveland, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan. Sailing under the command of Capt. Edward J. Martin she left Cleveland at 7:05 in the morning and arrived at Detroit shortly before 4. On board, in addition to several officials of the line was her designer, Frank E. Kirby. Detroiters were treated to the sight of seeing both the JUNIATA and TIONESTA together for the first time as TIONESTA was loading for Duluth, Minnesota when the JUNIATA arrived from Cleveland and tied up alongside her older sister. The JUNIATA later departed for Chicago where her furnishings were installed.

On 14 May 1861, COMET (wooden side-wheeler, 174 foot. 337 gross tons, built in 1848, at Portsmouth, Ontario) collided with the 2-mast wooden schooner EXCHANGE, ten miles off Nine-Mile Point on Lake Ontario. Then an explosion rocked the COMET and she was destroyed by fire 2 or 3 lives were lost, but the survivors reached Simcoe Island in a lifeboat.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., May 14, 1900. - The tug W A ROOTH of the Great Lakes Towing company fleet was caught between the barge JOHN A ROEBLING and the steamer HENRY C FRICK in the American canal last night and sunk. The crew escaped without injury. The tug was towing the barge ROEBLING out of the canal and in some manner got between the the ROEBLING and the big steamer FRICK. Her sides were crushed in and she went down immediately in twenty feet of water.

Data from: Chuck Truscott, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - May 13

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Tuesday was another slow day in the Twin Ports. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was departing Duluth about 7:30 a.m. with coal destined for Nanticoke. Cason J. Callaway was expected later in the morning with limestone. Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet currently is operating only four vessels. Edwin H. Gott was due into Gary on Tuesday and then expected at Two Harbors on May 15; Presque Isle was due at Gary Tuesday and scheduled for Duluth on May 14; after unloading stone in Duluth, Callaway was set to proceed to Two Harbors on May 13 to load for Conneaut; and John G. Munson was expected in Stoneport on May 13.

Sault Ste. Marie – Jerry Masson
The opening of the Canadian Soo Lock has been delayed this year due to work on the gates. Maintenance crews are replacing gate anchors at the recreational lock with an opening date planned for June 1. Tuesday’s traffic included Algowood, Burns Harbor, Manitowoc at Drummond Island, Michipicoten, James R. Barker and Maritime Trader. Downbound was Paul R. Tregurtha, Saginaw from Bruce Mines and Perelik.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The Manistee returned Monday night, took on a second load of sand at Construction Aggregates Dock in Ferrysburg, Mich., and was gone by early morning.

Rochester N.Y. - John M
Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan, Mich., began contract work this week to remove 160,000 cubic yards of sediment from shallow spots in the Genesee river shipping channel between the harbor entrance jetties and the Rochester Essroc cement terminal dock. Arriving to do the work were the tug Kathy Lynn out of Cheboygan, Mich., (ex Sea Islander out of Charleston, SC), spud barge CT150, and self-dumping spoils barges CT251 and CT252. The main project and some supplemental marina dredging is expected to take about two months and local motorists had been warned to expect commuting delays as the O'Rorke lift bridge would have to open several times a day to let the spoils barges out onto Lake Ontario for dumping. However, after all the equipment got upriver, the lift bridge broke, and repair estimates have increased from hours to days. After both spoils barges were filled and waiting, the crew of the Kathy Lynn ballasted her down as far as possible, and were able to get her out under the unraised bridge, pushing CT252 ahead. Even so, it appears that the powers that be were not comfortable with the minimal clearance between Kathy Lynn’s mast top and the bridge, so after her return trip up river, the crew came up with a Plan B to keep the work moving along. With the aid of a Sawzall, cutting torch, grinder, arc welder and the 120-foot Lima crane on the spud barge, the top 7-8 feet of Kathy Lynn’s mast came off and got welded to the top of the pilot house just aft and to port of the original mast stub. All this appeared to be done without having to rewire various lights, weather instruments and radars on both mast sections, impressive innovation on the fly.


Engineer’s Weekend St. Marys River Cruise Announced

Arrangements have been made to have a cruise on the St. Marys River as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie.

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 26. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river.

A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.

Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 22.

If any space is available, reservations will be taken by Dave Wobser Wednesday evening in the Soo, or at the Soo Boatnerd Picnic before noon on Thursday, June 25. Call 419-722-5507 to locate.

Click here for reservation form.


Oswego gets title to harbor lighthouse

5/13 - Oswego, NY - Oswego's waterfront is a little brighter today. After years of waiting, the city owns the lighthouse in its harbor. The deed, giving the city ownership of the 75-year-old West Pierhead lighthouse was filed late Friday in the Oswego County Clerk's office. "It's good to have ownership," said Oswego Mayor Randy Bateman.

Oswego has been looking to take over the West Pierhead Lighthouse at the entrance to Oswego Harbor for more than two years. Before getting title to the lighthouse, the city had to clear several hurdles, including negotiating a lease agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the harbor break wall on which the lighthouse is built.

Two years ago, when the federal General Services Administration announced it wanted to pass ownership of the lighthouse to a public or nonprofit group, the city decided to acquire it. Oswego worked with the H. Lee White Maritime Museum to do so.

The city will be responsible to restore and maintain the building.

"There are floor tiles in there with asbestos and the paint is falling off the walls," Bateman said. "But the varnish on the wood looks like it was put on a month ago. It's beautiful."

The city also will work with the Coast Guard to ensure the lighthouse's solar-powered automated beacon and fog horn continue to operate. The lighthouse has been automated since 1968.

"It still serves as an aid to navigation," said Mary Vanouse, the city's community development director.

Restoring the lighthouse will be costly. Immediate repairs could exceed $500,000 and a complete renovation is expected to exceed $2 million.

City officials hope to cover that cost through grants and donations.

"It has been infiltrated by birds. That's our immediate major concern," Vanouse said. "It's been on deferred maintenance for the last 15 years and it's not really been maintained in terms of painting."

So far, the city has received a $225,000 grant from the New York State Canal Corp. to help with the restoration.

"In the first five years there probably won't be any public access to the lighthouse," Vanouse said. "You really can't walk out there, people would have to take a boat."

The view from the top of the lighthouse is breathtaking, Vanouse said. Once the lighthouse is made safe, there could be occasional tours, but access within the lighthouse would be limited, Vanouse said. With its narrow stairs, slim ladders and tight passageways, the lighthouse won't be accessible to everyone.

"It's really not for the faint of heart or anyone who is not in good shape," said Mercedes Niess, director of the H. Lee White Marine Museum.

Someday there may be harbor cruises taking passengers out near the lighthouse and a kiosk at the museum about its history of the lighthouse, Niess said.

Area colleges, including the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse and State University College at Oswego are considering establishing weather and lake monitoring stations in the lighthouse, Niess said.

The lighthouse is iconic for Oswego, Niess said. "This community has a passion for its history and for its lighthouse," Niess said. "Everyone uses the lighthouse in Oswego, it's on logos, signs and T-shirts."

Highlighting the history

Built in 1934, the West Pierhead light is the last of four Oswego Harbor lighthouses dating back to 1822. The first light stood near Fort Ontario on the east side of the Oswego River. That lighthouse was sold and scrapped after a new lighthouse was built on the river's west side in 1836.

In the 1880s, a new harbor break wall was constructed and a lighthouse was built on it. That one was removed in the 1930s to make room for the current lighthouse.

Tragedy struck the lighthouse on Dec. 4, 1942, when six Coast Guardsmen died during a crew change operation.

A severe storm stranded one lighthouse keeper for three days. A relief crew managed to make it to the lighthouse. Shortly before their boat was to head back to Oswego's Coast Guard station it broke loose and eight guardsmen, including the man they were rescuing, were swept into the harbor's cold water. Only two men managed to make their way back to the break wall. Six others, including the lighthouse keeper, died.

Today the tragedy is remembered with a plaque in Oswego's Veteran's Park.

The Post-Standard


Updates - May 13

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 13

The tanker GEMINI (Hull#746) was launched at Orange, Texas by Levingston Ship Building Co. in 1978, for Cleveland Tankers Inc., a subsidiary of Ashland Oil. Renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

The tanker JUPITER made her maiden voyage May 13, 1976 from Smith's Bluff, Texas loaded with lube oil bound for Marcus Hooks, Penn. She was destroyed after exploding in the Saginaw River on September 16, 1990.

On May 13, 1913, Pittsburgh Steamship's THOMAS F. COLE collided with the barge IRON CITY on Lake St. Clair. The barge was cut in two.

Delivered May 13, 1943, the str. THOMAS WILSON departed under the command of Captain Henry Borgen on her maiden voyage from Lorain, Ohio, light bound for Duluth, Minnesota, to load iron ore.

The green-hulled schooner EMMA C HUTCHINSON was launched at 4:00 p.m. on 13 May 1873, at the E. Fitzgerald yard in Port Huron. She was the largest vessel built at that yard up to that time. She was named for the wife of Mr. J. T. Hutchinson of Cleveland. Her dimensions were 195foot keel, 215 feet overall, 35 foot beam, 14 foot depth, 736 tons. She cost $55,000. Frank Leighton was her builder and Matthew Finn the master fitter. She was outfitted by Swan's Sons of Cleveland. Her painting was done by Ross & Doty of Port Huron.

On 13 May 1874, the Port Huron Times reported that someone had stolen the schooner ANNIE FAUGHT and that John Hoskins, the owner, was offering a reward for her recovery.

May 13, 1898 - The steamer JOHN ERICSSON, having in tow the barge ALEXANDER HOLLEY, bound down with ore, went aground while making the turn at the dark hole in little Mud Lake, She is on a sand bottom. Tugs and lighters have gone to release her. When the steamer grounded the barge ran into her, damaging the latter's bow and causing a large hole above the water line on the starboard side of the ERICSSON. Both were repaired temporarily.

On 13 May 1871, NORTHERNER (wooden barge, 220 foot, 1,391 gross tons) was launched by Capt. Wescott at Marine City, Michigan. Her master builder was John J. Hill. She was towed to Detroit to be fitted out and there was talk of eventually converting her to a passenger steamer. She remained a barge until 1880, when she was converted to a propeller freighter in Detroit. She lasted until 1892, when she burned at L'anse, Mich.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, the Detroit Free Press and the Duluth Evening Herald.


Recession trims lakes ore trade by two-thirds in April

5/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – With the nation’s steel mills operating at only a little more than 40 percent of capacity and production slashed at a number of iron ore mines, the iron ore trade on the Great Lakes reacted accordingly in April. Shipments totaled only 2,030,053 net tons, a decrease of 66.4 percent compared to a year ago.

Vessel operating rates mirror the plunge in demand. On April 1, 24 U.S.-Flag lakers were in service, 29 less than a year ago. While the active fleet had grown to 46 vessels by May 1, the total was still down 28 hulls compared to a year ago.

Two 1,000-foot-long vessels dedicated to the iron ore trade have yet to sail this year. Several other vessels that normally are very active in the ore trade remain in lay-up. For the year, the iron ore trade stands at 3.4 million net tons, a decrease of 70 percent compared to both the same point in 2008 and the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Saginaw River dredging begins

5/12 - Saginaw, Mich. – A long-awaited project to clean out the navigational channel of the Saginaw River is finally a reality. Legal battles tied up the project for years, but with those issues resolved, this weekend the first scoop of sediment came out of the river.

One particular part of the Saginaw River hasn't been dredged in 25 years, which has allowed sediment to build up, causing ships to get stuck. The portion of the river in question in Saginaw is where ships turn around, so it is the first area to be dredged as part of the project.

A barge with a giant scoop dips into the water and brings up a load of sediment, which is then dumped on the barge. Once it's full, the barge heads up river to the slurry pit, which is where all the dredged material is dropped off. It gets from the barge to the slurry pit through a pipe. The Saginaw County Public Works director says right now 80 percent of what's coming through the pipe is water. The rest is sediment.

Over the next year or so, $6 million will be spent on dredging the river and that is expected to remove some 600,000 cubic yards of material. Some folks were so excited that the project finally started that they stayed up well past their bedtime just to see the first scoop out of the river and the first dump into the slurry pit.

"We stayed up all Saturday night and we followed the first one down to the holding area and stayed right there until we saw the first," said Sargent Docks & Terminal Manager Ted Loeve. "We couldn't believe it. So that's how excited we were. It took us until midnight Saturday evening until 5:30 a.m. Sunday." Business owners along the Saginaw River say the beginning of dredging is a dream come true.  Homeowners have much different feelings about the project.



Updates - May 12

Weekly Website Updates

News Photo Gallery

Sylvania Historical Perspective Gallery  updated

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 12

The CABOT (Hull#649) was launched May 12, 1965, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., for Gulf Ports Steamship Co. Ltd. (Clarke Steamship Co. Ltd., mgr.). In 1983, the CABOT's stern was attached to the bow section of the NORTHERN VENTURE to create the CANADIAN EXPLORER.

The THOMAS WALTERS, American Shipbuilding, Lorain (Hull#390) entered service on May 12, 1911, with coal from Sandusky, Ohio to Duluth, Minnesota. Renamed b.) FRANK R DENTON in 1952, she was scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1984.

The carferry GRAND HAVEN was sold to the West India Fruit & Steamship Co., Norfolk, Virginia on May 12, 1946, and was brought down the Mississippi River to New Orleans, Louisiana for reconditioning before reaching Port Everglades and the Port of Palm Beach, Florida.

On 12 May 1875, the scow-schooner SEA BIRD of Chicago was driven onto the beach a half mile south of the harbor at Holland, Michigan by a Northeaster. After the storm, she was high and dry on the beach.

The wooden J S SEAVERNS ran aground and stranded near Michipicoten Island on Lake Superior on 12 May 1884. She had been carrying passengers from Chicago to Port Arthur. She was pulled free by a tug, but then sank. She was formerly a steam barge, being built on the bottom of the side-wheel tug JOHN P WARD in Saugatuck, Michigan in 1880. The WARD dated back to 1857, had burned in 1865, was then rebuilt as a schooner, and in 1880, was finally rebuilt as the SEAVERNS.

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


Port Reports - May 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten arrived for a third straight trip to load ore, and Lee A. Tregurtha arrived to unload coal. After unloading coal, Tregurtha moved forward on the ore dock and began loading ore near sunset.

Alpena & Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge and departed Saturday morning for South Chicago. Sunday evening, the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation returned for another load.
Calumet is on the schedule for Stoneport on Monday morning along with the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber.

Manistee, Mich.
The Robert S. Pierson arrived Saturday afternoon loaded for one of the docks in Lake Manistee. Due to heavy current in the Manistee River the Pierson could not leave until Sunday morning at 8 a.m. It's destination is unknown however she turned northward on a track line for the Manitou Passage.

Milwaukee, Wisc. - John Monefeldt
St. Mary's Challenger was steaming inbound to her Milwaukee berth at 8 a.m. Monday morning.

Saginaw River, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock Saturday night before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. The pair then turned in the Sixth Street basin and were outbound for the lake late Sunday morning. The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge made their way inbound for the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City early Sunday morning. She had waited for the Moore and Kuber to depart the Bay Aggregates dock as the slip there is shared by both Bay Aggregates. and Bit-Mat docks.
Dredging has begun on the Saginaw River starting at the end of the navigable channel at the Sixth Street turning basin. The tug Kurt Luedtke began shuttling barges of dredging spoils brought up from the Luedtke Derrick Barge 16 at the Sixth Street basin down to the new disposal site just above the airport turning basin, where the hydraulic dredge, Lucille T, is unloading them.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
On Sunday, CSL Assiniboine was unloading ore at the Torco Dock and should have departed late Sunday evening. The James R. Barker is at anchor in western Lake Erie waiting for the CSL Assiniboine to clear the dock. When that happens the Barker will proceed in to the Torco Docks to unload ore.
The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Robert S. Pierson due in late Tuesday evening followed by the H. Lee White on Wednesday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Dock will be the CSL Niagara on Monday May 18th. The Capt. Henry Jackman has a tentative eta for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock for Monday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius was still unloading at General Mills at 5 p.m. Sunday. She was only drawing 4 feet at the bow, and just slightly more aft and should have departed Sunday evening.
American Mariner backed all the way up the Lackawanna Ship Canal and unloading coal at the Gateway Trade Center Sunday afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Thursday afternoon the Hamilton Energy came over from Hamilton to bunker the Canadian Navigator. Navigator departed Sunday at 7:30 p.m. from her winter lay-up berth, bound for Goderich. The tour boat Enterprise 2000 was dry docked as scheduled on Thursday afternoon. The saltie Jumbo Vision arrived in port Friday during the early morning hours at Pier 51. Evans McKeil and the cement barge Metis arrived in port Friday morning. The pair departed Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. for Picton. English River arrived in port Friday at 8 p.m. and departed Saturday afternoon. The Homeland Security patrol vessel Simmonds arrived in port Sunday afternoon.


Updates - May 11

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - May 11

On May 11, 1953, the HENRY STEINBRENNER went down in Lake Superior near Isle Royale with 17 of her 31 crewmembers. The storm followed an unseasonably warm and humid stretch of weather in northern Minnesota for that time of year which fueled the storm's fast growth. The high temperature of 87 degrees set in Grand Marais, Minnesota on May 8, 1953, still stands as that town's all-time record high for the month of May, and it is just eight degrees shy of the town's all-time record for any month.

The 144 foot, 3-mast, wooden bark JESSE HOYT was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan by Smith & Whitney on 11 May 1854. Later in her career, she was converted to a schooner and lasted until 1896, when she sank in Lake Michigan in a collision.

The A WESTON (wooden steam barge, 164 foot, 511 gross tons) left Mount Clemens, Michigan on her maiden voyage on 11 May 1882. She was built by William Dulac. Her hull was painted black. She was powered by a single 28 inch x 32 inch engine and she was designed for the lumber trade. She was sold Canadian in 1909, and was renamed CONGERCOAL. She lasted until she burned to a total loss at Fair Haven, New York on 10 May 1917.

On 11 May 1886, OSSIFRAGE (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 123 foot, 383 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull #26) at West Bay City, Michigan. She was rebuilt a number of times and ended her days on salt water. While being towed in the Northumberland Strait in the Atlantic Ocean, she struck a shoal and foundered in September 1919.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. The Detroit Free Press and the Duluth Evening Herald.


Port Reports - May 10

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius was unloading wheat at General Mills on Saturday.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning, Algowood arrived at 7:30 a.m. with salt for Pier 26 and then departed at 3:30 p.m. for the canal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge the Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River Saturday evening. The pair passed the Front range at 8:15pm headed up to the Bay Aggregates slip to unload.

Green Bay - Scott Best
Saturday morning, the Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L VanEnkevort arrived on the Fox River with a load of coal for the C. Reiss Dock. The Trader is the largest vessel to go up through the downtown bridges. As the Trader was approaching the Main Street Bridge, the Bridge encountered an electrical problem with the locks that hold the bridge down, and the bridge would not open. The Trader was able to reverse his engine and stop short of the bridge. After an electrician was called and about an hour total delay to the Trader, the bridge was able to open and allow the Trader to continue her trip up river to C. Reiss.


Updates - May 10

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - May 10

104 years ago today the steamer COLUMBIA (Hull#148) was launched by the Detroit Ship Building Co., Wyandotte, Michigan. The steamer was built for day excursions between Detroit and Bob-Lo Island. The vessel has been in lay-up since September 2, 1991 at Nicholson's Terminal.

On May 10, 1981, the WILLIAM J DELANCEY entered service for Interlake Steamship Co.. She became the largest vessel on the Great Lakes at that time, and at least in the last 130 years, she has held the honor of being the largest vessel on the Great Lakes longer than any other vessel. Renamed b.) PAUL R TREGURTHA in 1990.

On 10 May 1858, LEMUEL CRAWFORD (3 mast wooden bark, 135 foot, 450 tons, built in 1855, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying wheat from Chicago to Buffalo. She ran into a heavy gale and went out of control near Pelee Passage and struck a reef 1-1/2 miles off East Sister Island in Lake Erie. She began to sink immediately and the 13 onboard scrambled up her masts and lashed themselves to her rigging. After two days, they were finally rescued by the tug R R ELIOTT out of Detroit.

May 10, 1922 -- The ANN ARBOR NO 4 ran aground at Green Isle. She was released with no damage.

The first Welland Canal was opened between St. Catharine's and Lake Ontario on 10 May 1828. The first vessel to navigate this route was the schooner WELLAND CANAL. This was a new vessel having been launched at St. Catharines, Ontario on 24 April 1828.

On 10 May 1898, ISAAC LINCOLN (wooden propeller freighter, 134 foot, 376 gross tons) was launched at Anderson's yard in Marine City, Michigan for A. F. Price of Freemont, Michigan and Capt. Egbert of Port Huron, Michigan. She cost $40,000. She lasted until 1931, when she was abandoned.

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


Port Reports - May 9

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Thursday morning, Cuyahoga arrived at 6:30 a.m. in ballast from Toronto. The Montrealais departed at 2 p.m. and Algolake arrived at 7:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco. Friday the Algosoo departed winter lay up at 6:30 a.m. and headed to the Welland Canal. The Algolake departed at 7 a.m. from Dofasco for Ashtabula. The Nordic Helsinki departed at 4 p.m. and the tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 arrived at 8:30 p.m.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer & Brian Z.
Cason J. Callaway was loading coal at KCBX Terminals on Thursday destined for Escanaba, MI. The Maumee was outbound early afternoon after taking a load from Chicago Fuels Terminal. St. Marys Challenger was also making her way up the Calumet River to unload cement later in the evening. Lee A. Tregurtha was loading coal at the KCBX south dock during the day Friday. The St. Marys Challenger was heard making her security call at St. Marys Cement, and departed about 1:30 p.m.

Kingston Area - Ron Walsh
Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was westbound at Cold Bath Shoal, at 3 p.m., heading for Kingston. In an unusual case, three of CSL's rebuilt ships were in the Kingston area. The CSL Assiniboine and the CSL Laurentien were westbound and the CSL Niagara was eastbound.
The Rosaire A Desgagnes arrived in Mobile Alabama on May 5 and left on May 6 for Bécancour, Quebec. The Spruceglen arrived in Mobile on May 5 and left on May 7 for Hamilton, Ontario

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Rebecca Lynn & her barge headed down the Black Rock Canal at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Later Thursday night, the pair were at the Noco Products Terminal.


Updates - May 9

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - May 9

The JOHN J BOLAND (Hull# 417) was launched May 9, 1953 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. for the American Steamship Co. making way for the keel of the DETROIT EDISON (2) to be laid. The BOLAND was renamed b.) SAGINAW in 1999.

On May 9, 1951 the CLIFFS VICTORY arrived at the South Chicago yard of the American Ship Building Co. completing her 37 day, 3,000 mile journey from Baltimore, Maryland. There her deck houses, stack, masts, deck machinery, rudder and propeller were installed and the floatation pontoons removed.

The ROBERT C. NORTON (2) was laid up on May 9, 1980 for the last time at the Hans Hansen Dock at Toledo, Ohio.

PETER REISS (Hull#522) was launched at Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co., on May 9, 1910 for the North American Steamship Co. (Reiss Coal Co.).

On 9 May 1864, AMAZON (2-mast wooden brig, 93 foot, 172 tons, built in 1837 at Port Huron, Michigan as a schooner) was carrying coal from Cleveland for Lake Superior when she went out of control in a storm just as she was leaving the St. Clair River for Lake Huron. She was driven ashore near Point Edward, Ontario and was broken up by the wave action. At the time of her loss, she was considered the oldest working schooner on the Lakes.

May 9, 1900 -- The carferry PERE MARQUETTE (15) began carferry service to Milwaukee for the Pere Marquette Railway.

On Friday night, 9 May 1873, the schooner CAPE HORN collided with the new iron propeller JAVA off Long Point on Lake Erie. The schooner sank quickly. The only life lost was that of the cook.

On 09 May 1872, the CUBA (iron propeller bulk freighter, 231 foot, 1526 gross tons) was launched at King Iron Works in Buffalo, New York for the Holt and Ensign Commercial Line. Innovations in her design included water-tight compartments for water ballast, 4 water-tight bulkheads that could be closed if the hull were damaged, and a new fluted signal lamp that could be seen for 13 miles. She was powered by two 350 HP engines. She was a very successful vessel and lasted until 1947 when she was scrapped. She was renamed b.) IONIC in 1906 and c.) MAPLEBRANCH in 1920. Converted to a tanker in 1935. Scrapped at Sorel, Quebec in 1946-7.

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


Barker loads ore in Marquette

5/8 - Marquette, Mich.- noon update
The James R. Barker is a regular to the Upper Harbor with coal for the power plant, but on Friday morning, she arrived to load ore. Barker is listed as the record holder for loading ore at the Upper Harbor. She took on over 59,000 tons in the summer of 1997. A thousand footer loading ore at the dock is rare and this is the first time in recent history. The Barker was loading on the north side of the dock and was expected to shift to the south side to finishing loading. The move is necessary because of the vessel size and the dock chutes.

Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe


Port Reports - May 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore, and Michipicoten arrived to load ore. Survey equipment was alongside the Jackson, most likely to assess damage from her recent grounding in the Saginaw River.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River Thursday afternoon, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville to unload. She was is expected outbound Friday morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Canadian Enterprise finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed Thursday morning. Great Lakes Trader followed the Enterprise. They finished loading coal and departed from the CSX Docks late Thursday afternoon. The tug Wilf Seymour with her barge finished unloading cargo at the Midwest Terminal Dock and departed late Thursday morning. Saginaw was at the Kraft Foods Elevator unloading grain. The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks are Herbert C. Jackson on Saturday followed by Robert S. Pierson on Tuesday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock are H. Lee White on Friday, CSL Assiniboine on Sunday followed by James R. Barker on Monday. The Capt. Henry Jackman is scheduled into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Tuesday.

Kingston Harbor - Brian Johnson
The tug Vigilant I and crane scow No. 1 departed Kingston Thursday for Hamilton. Since last summer, the combination tug and barge unit have provided extra ferry service for workers and heavy equipment for the Wolfe Island wind turbine project thereby relieving traffic for the ferry Wolfe Islander III. All 86 wind turbines are up on the west end of Wolfe Island and are almost ready to go on line. The wind turbines are owned by Canadian Hydro Developers Inc.


Red ink continues at Algoma Central Corporation

5/8 - Toronto, Ont.- The Algoma Central Corporation is reporting a net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2009 of $18,453,000 compared to a net loss of $8,271,000 for the same period in 2008.

The increase in the net loss was due primarily to net foreign exchange gains in the 2008 similar period and decreases in operating earnings net of income tax of all our business units.

In 2008, the corporation reported net foreign exchange gains of $6,843,000 on the translation of foreign denominated assets and liabilities and in 2009 we are reporting a net foreign exchange loss of $189,000.

The decrease of $7,032,000 is due primarily to gains in 2008 on the translation to Canadian dollars of a Euro denominated short-term cash deposit due to the weakening of the Canadian dollar.

The domestic dry-bulk segment's operating loss net of income tax increased from $39,239,000 to $41,587,000 due primarily to fewer operating days and an increase in repair and maintenance costs.

The product tanker segment operating earnings net of income tax decreased from $2,415,000 to $200,000 mainly as a result of increased repair and maintenance costs due to two dry-dockings in the first quarter of 2009 when compared to none in the similar 2008 period and higher amortization on expense due to the addition of the Algonova and the Algocanada.

The operating earnings net of income tax of the ocean shipping segment for the three months ended March 31, 2009 were $3,885,000 compared to $4,933 for the same period in 2008.

The decrease resulted primarily from reduced results of the CSL International commercial arrangement due to the North American recession and an increase in re-positioning costs related to a planned regulatory dry-docking.

The real estate segment's operating earnings net of income tax decreased from $1,540,000 to $1,110,000 due primarily to a gain realized on the sale of a building in 2008.

On May 7, 2009, the board of directors declared a dividend of $0.45 per common share payable on June 1, 2009 to shareholders of record on May 15, 2009.

Soo Today


Lafarge extends its layoffs

5/8 - Alpena, Mich. - Laid off Lafarge workers will have to wait at least two additional weeks to come back to work. The company announced on Wednesday that 136 laid off employees won't come back until at least June 1. The employees were initially laid off on April 3, and were expected to come back May 18.

"As the market continues to decline that just wasn't the case," Lafarge Public Affairs Manager Craig Ryan said.

Eighty-six employees remain at the plant to continue cement making, grinding, finish mills, shipping department and capital work.

A decline in the demand for cement has caused the plant to become full with its inventory of finished cement and clinkers, a product from the kilns used in cement production. During the layoff the plant continued to produce cement from its existing clinker stock and service its customers.

Ryan said grinding and shipping operations will continue at the plant, but the inventory has not been reduced enough to bring the 136 employees back.

The affected employees were notified of the extended layoff earlier this week by mail. Ryan said the rest of the plant was notified Wednesday morning. The initial layoff also signified the first time since Lafarge took over the plant in 1986 that production in all five of its kilns ceased. Lafarge shut down one of its five kilns last summer and in August laid off about 25 skilled and general labor contracted employees.

The plant also recently pulled its sponsorship of the Alpena Riverfest. The company's contribution of about $8,000 per year accounted for 40 percent of the event's budget. After losing that funding organizers decided not to hold the festival in 2009.

The plant's struggles are not limited to the Alpena plant. Various other Lafarge plants have experienced layoffs, and the cement industry has been struggling in general.

Alpena News


City puts historic property on hold

5/8 - Port Huron, Mich.- Port Huron will not go forward with the acquisition of the Fort Gratiot Light Station under a proposal from the federal government City officials said the conditions of the agreement are too financially onerous for the city.

Officials still want to take ownership and preserve the historic property, but the financial obligations outlined in a deed agreement aren't viable, they said. The city's decision is the most recent step of an effort started six years ago to get the light station -- which includes the iconic lighthouse that greets ships coming from Lake Huron -- under the city's ownership.

To take the property, City Manager Bruce Brown said the deed would require the city pay about $3.5 million in restoration to the station's seven buildings. "The city came to the conclusion that it cannot afford to take the property under the conditions of the current agreement," Brown said. "It is time to be realistic about what we can expect and what can be expected of us. We decided it was time to deal with the issue."

In February, the city received a signed deed from the U.S. Coast Guard, which owns the property, and outlined the conditions of the city taking over ownership. Brown said he sent a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration and the National Park Service informing officials of the city's decision.

The decision by the city leaves some room for negotiation. Brown said the city still wants to take over ownership under the condition that it only fix the lighthouse -- at a cost of about $800,000 -- immediately and save repair for the other buildings as money becomes available. Brown said the city cannot commit to any sort of timeline for fixing the other buildings.

"The lighthouse is going through significant decay and deterioration," Brown said. "I don't want it to fall down on my watch, but I can't with good conscience" ask the city to pay for the repairs of the entire light station. Brown said he doesn't know how the federal agencies will react. "They may decide to go in a completely different direction," Brown said

The Port Huron Times Herald


Lake levels report for April

5/8 - Last month the water supply to the Lake Superior basin was near average, while the water supply to the Lake Michigan-Huron basin was above average.

Lake Superior was currently 1 inch below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to rise in May.

The Lake Superior level is about 6 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-May level, but is 2 inches above the level recorded a year ago. Last month the level of Lake Superior rose by 3 inches, which is the same as its average rise.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose by 5 inches in April, while on average it rises 4 inches.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 7 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-May level, and is 10 inches higher than it was a year ago. This level is 10 inches above chart datum level. The level of Lakes Michigan- Huron is also expected to rise in May.


Updates - May 8

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 8

The 1,000-foot COLUMBIA STAR was christened May 8, 1981, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for Columbia Transportation Div., Oglebay Norton Co.

EDGAR B. SPEER (Hull#908) was launched May 8, 1980, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. (U.S. Steel Corp., mgr.) , after long delay because of labor strife.

The FRED R. WHITE JR was christened May 8, 1979, and was named for Oglebay Norton's then vice-chairman of the board.

On May 8, 1979, the ASHLAND struck the north entry pier of the Duluth Ship Canal while outbound loaded. Thick ice blowing in from Lake Superior had interfered with her maneuverability. She dropped her anchor to lessen the impact but drifted over the flukes ripping a two by five foot hole in her bottom port side forward. She was inspected and repaired at the Duluth Port Terminal. One anchor was lost.

The CHAMPLAIN's starboard side was damaged when she sideswiped the Swedish steamer BROLAND near the lower end of the St. Clair River cut-off, May 8, 1963.

May 8. 1936 -- The Pere Marquette Railway Co. announced plans to construct a new million dollar ferry dock at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The 3 mast wooden schooner FRANK C. LEIGHTON was launched at 10:30 a.m. on 8 May 1875, at Dunford & Leighton's yard in Port Huron, eight months after work on her began. She was launched complete except for her mizzen mast which was just about ready to go in position. She was named for Capt. Leighton's son. Her dimensions were 138 foot keel, 145 foot overall, 26 foot beam and 12 foot depth. She cost $20,000 and was owned by Dunford & Leighton.

The 254 foot wooden freighter AMAZON was launched at A. A. Turner's yard at Trenton, Michigan, on 8 May 1873.

On 08 May 1929, GEORGE W. PARKER wooden propeller sandsucker, 105 foot, 143 gross tons, built in 1903, at Marine City, Michigan by A. Anderson for Fishback Plaster Co., formerly a.) L. G. POWELL) was destroyed by fire and sank in the channel 6 miles south of Algonac, Michigan. Her crew escaped in the yawl.

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


ArcelorMittal mines plans 4-week stoppage

5/7 - Port-Cartier, Que. – ArcelorMittal Mines Canada plans a four-week production stoppage this summer at its Mont-Wright open pit iron mine in northeastern Quebec and the related Port-Cartier pellet plant.

The company, which generates about 40 per cent of Canada's iron ore production, said the temporary shutdown will reduce inventories that have built up during the economic downturn.

ArcelorMittal Mines expects to suspend pellet production at Port-Cartier on July 16 and ore mining and concentration operations at Mont-Wright on July 26. Ship-loading at Port-Cartier will continue, although rail transportation of iron ore concentrate from the mine to the port will cease.

ArcelorMittal Mines says it's encouraging staff and unionized employees take their annual vacations during the down time.

The Canadian Press


Restart mills, Ottawa tells U.S. Steel

5/7 - Ottawa, Ont. – Industry Minster Tony Clement is threatening legal action to get U.S. Steel Corp. to resume operations in Canada and put hundreds of people back to work.

The Pittsburg-based company's decision in March to idle production at its Hamilton, Ont., factory violates the terms under which U.S. Steel was granted permission to buy Stelco Inc. in 2007, Mr. Clement said in statement Wednesday.

Mr. Clement said that he has sent U.S. Steel a “demand letter,” which represents the first stage in the enforcement process under the Canadian law that governs the sale of Canadian companies to international investors.

“I am concerned by the actions of U.S. Steel in cutting operations in Canada and by the impact this will have on its workers,” Mr. Clement said. “While I recognize that these are challenging economic times, we expect the company to live up to its commitments.”

U.S. Steel is feeling the full brunt of the global recession, and especially the collapse of North American automobile sales. The company last month said sales dropped 47 per cent in the first quarter to $2.75-billion (U.S.), triggering the company's first quarterly loss in five years.

In March, U.S. Steel announced plans to lay off 9,400 workers at two Canadian plants and facilities in Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas.  In Canada, the company shed 1,500 workers. Courtney Boone, a spokeswoman for U.S. Steel, said jobs will return only when orders pick up. “We are reviewing the [government] demand and will respond in due course,” Ms. Boone said.

Neither Ms. Boone nor a spokeswoman for Mr. Clement would elaborate on what U.S. Steel promised the federal government when it bought Stelco.  U.S. Steel's debt lost investment-grade status last month as Moody's Investors Service issued a downgrade, saying the lack of demand for steel will cause persistent losses. Standard & Poor's, which already had U.S. Steel debt rated as junk, said the company's revenue could decline 50 per cent this year from 2008. U.S. Steel earned revenue of $23.8-billion (U.S.) last year.

Mr. Clement said that's no reason to cut production and shed workers at Stelco.

“I have sent U.S. Steel a demand letter under section 39 of the Investment Canada Act asking the company to comply with its undertakings,” which include commitments related to capital expenditures, research and development and production, Mr. Clement said.

Ottawa can take the U.S. firm to court if it feels the company has not lived up to those undertakings.  According to the Investment Canada Act, the court can direct “the non-Canadian to divest himself of control of the Canadian business on such terms and conditions as the court deems just and reasonable.” It can also impose fines of $10,000 a day on any company deemed to be in contravention of the act.

Globe and Mail


Latest hijacked ship visited Great Lakes last year

5/7 - London, England – Pirates have seized a German-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden, officials say.

The Victoria, registered in Antigua and Barbuda, was hijacked on Tuesday, 46 miles south of Yemen, according to a US navy spokesman. The vessel has traded on the Great Lakes; her last visit was June 2008.  There was no information on the condition of the 10 or so crew.

The seas off Somalia have witnessed a sharp increase in piracy in recent months and it is estimated that about 20 ships are still being held. One report says that the cargo and crew were being taken towards the town of Eyl, a key pirate base in the northern Somali breakaway region of Puntland.

On Sunday a South Korean navy warship foiled a pirate attack on a North Korean cargo ship off Somalia's coast.

Last year, pirates attacked more than 100 ships on a key shipping route, demanding huge ransoms for their release. Their attacks have intensified recently, despite the presence of some 20 foreign naval vessels in the area to counter piracy. Somalia has been without an effective administration since 1991, fuelling the lawlessness which has allowed piracy to thrive.



Most coal shipped on Great Lakes mined outside basin

5/7 - Toledo, Ohio – More than nine out of every ten tons of coal shipped on the Great Lakes in 2008 was mined in a state or province that does not border the waterway. Sixty percent of the 37 million tons of Lakes-shipped coal originated 1,150 miles away in the Powder River Basin that runs through Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

Montana and Wyoming were the largest players in the Lakes coal trade in 2008. Both states shipped about 11.1 million tons of western coal to power plants in the U.S. and Canada via the Lakes. The coal is railed to Superior, Wisconsin, where it is then loaded into U.S.- and Canadian-Flag lakers.

Colorado coal mines added another 700,000 tons to the 2008 total. West Virginia is the leader among states that mine eastern coal. West Virginia mines shipped 5.2 million tons of coal on the Lakes in 2008 from ports on Lake Erie and Lake Michigan, or 14 percent of the trade’s year-end total.

Kentucky mines accounted for 2.6 million tons, or 7 percent of the trade. Virginia coal mines generated 1.4 million tons, or 3.7 percent of the 2008 total. Coal mines in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia shipped 2 million tons in 2008, or 5.4 percent of the trade. Almost all of that total moved through Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the western end of Lake Superior. Pennsylvania is the leading Great Lakes state shipping coal on the waterway. Keystone state mines were the source for about 2.4 million tons. Ohio mines generated 700,000 tons, and a couple coal cargos originated in Illinois.

All the western coal shipped on the Great Lakes is for power generation, so-called steam coal. Most of the eastern coal is also destined for utilities, but a quantity is metallurgical coal used in the steelmaking process.

“These statistics underscore the national impact of Great Lakes shipping,” said James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “Equally important, they focus our attention on how problems on the Lakes affect workers and industries far from their shores. The dredging crisis, for example, determines how much Montana coal can be shipped on the Lakes. Even though water levels are rising, the largest vessels are still leaving 5,000 tons or more on the dock each trip. The need for another heavy icebreaker impacts West Virginia’s ability to export its coal to Canada during the December-April ice season. A failure of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, would cripple the western coal trade.”



Port Reports - May 7

Ludington, Mich.
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 paid an early morning visit on Wednesday with a load of slag for the Great Lakes Materials dock in her home port. She unloaded and was outbound before noon, heading north upon clearing the breakwall.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc tied up at the Board of Light and Power's Sims plant on Harbor Island Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with the port’s third load of coal so far this season. All were delivered by the Manitowoc.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Algowood finished unloading potash at Andersons "K" Elevator and was outbound from Toledo Wednesday morning. The Canadian Enterprise was inbound Toledo Ship Channel Wednesday evening bound for the CSX Coal Docks to load coal. The next scheduled coal boats for the CSX Docks will be the Great Lakes Trader on Thursday, Herbert C. Jackson on Saturday followed by the Robert S. Pierson on Tuesday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the H. Lee White on Friday, CSL Assiniboine on Saturday followed by the James R. Barker on Sunday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Wigeon departed Toronto harbor on Wednesday morning sometime after 10:30 a.m. The tug Commodore Straits was refloated at Toronto Drydock Wednesday afternoon and was towed out by the drydock company's tug M. R. Kane.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Wednesday the tanker Nordic Helsinki arrived in Hamilton at 6:30 a.m. The tanker Diamond Star arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday morning the Turid Knutsen arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte. Maritime Trader departed Hamilton at 7:45 a.m. with wheat and soya beans from JRI Elevators and headed down the lake for Sorel. The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 9 a.m. and returned to port at 5:30 p.m. The Edward L Ryerson departed Dofasco at 1:30 p.m.


Saturday Last Day for Badger Boatnerd Gathering Reservations

5/7 - The first gathering is the S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering Cruise on Saturday, May 30. The Boatnerd Badger Gathering is a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan, to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry S/S Badger, the only coal-fired steamer left on the Great Lakes. There is an optional night before stay aboard the boat with possible tours of the engine room and pilothouse.

After making the trip across Lake Michigan, passengers can visit the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc and see the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam and the World War II submarine Cobia, OR go on the optional Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise aboard the Badger. Lee Murdock will be on board to offer entertainment both ways across the lake.

See the Boatnerd Gathering Page for complete details and sign up form. Reservations must be received no later than May 9. Click here for more information

Lake Michigan Carferry Co. will be presenting an exhibition of rarely-seen artifacts and memorabilia from the C&O train and auto ferries City of Midland, Spartan and Badger - items that have been sitting in warehouses or on the ships for more than 30 years. The exhibit, titled “The Car Ferries: Exhibition of Artifacts”, is at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts; tickets are $5 at the door (proceeds go to the Center). More detail available at this link

The museum will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday. May 29 for anyone attending the Badger Boatnerd Gathering who wish to stop by the exhibit before boarding. Exhibit runs May 19-30.


Toledo Maritime Center to host antique show, marine mart, in August

5/7 - Toledo, Ohio - Mark your calendars. The S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine Antique Flea Market will be held on Aug. 22 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the newly-constructed Toledo Maritime Center.

This years event, paired with the Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show, will feature Miss America X as well as multiple vintage unlimited hydroplanes, Gar Woods, Chris Crafts, Lymans and Darts. Last years boat show brought over 2,000 visitors and showcased over 100 antique boats and cars including the Miss America.

In addition, vendors will set up in the Toledo Maritime Center, the future home of the Boyer and a larger maritime attraction. Tables will be indoors and air conditioned.

Finally, this event will be visited by the Diamond Belle excursion vessel running from Detroit and will also feature a historic shuttle from the Maritime Center to the Boyer for tours. The Toledo Maritime Center is located at 1701 Front St., Toledo, Ohio.

Click here for vendor table information.


Updates - May 7

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 7

On May 7, 1965, the CEDARVILLE was struck by the ocean vessel TOPDALSFJORD in the Straits of Mackinac during dense fog. The CEDARVILLE sank about 40 minutes after the collision with the loss of ten crewmembers.

ALGOPORT (Hull#217) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., May 7, 1979 for Algoma Central Railway.

The HUTCHCLIFFE HALL entered service on May 7, 1954.

A.M. BYERS (Hull#448) was launched May 7, 1910 at Cleveland, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. for the North American Steamship Co. (R.A. Williams, mgr.). Renamed b.) CLEMENS A. REISS in 1959 and c.) JACK WIRT in 1970.

May 7, 1903 - The Benton Harbor, Coloma & Paw Paw Lake Railway was purchased by the Pere Marquette Railroad.

May 7, 1929 - The Pere Marquette notified Ludington it was interested in buying the frontage on Pere Marquette Lake that had been used by the Monroe Body Company. The city council asked $25,000 for the property, and the railroad agreed. Work on the No. 3 slip began a few months later.

On 7 May 1874, the schooner JENNIE MATHEWS was launched at Hardison's yard in Port Huron, Michigan. The launch started very slowly but with the help of men pulling on ropes, the vessel slid into the Black River nicely. Her first skipper was Capt. McGifford and her owner was Mr. Hardison.

On 07 May 1954, official ground-breaking ceremonies were held for the Mackinac Bridge. It was completed three and a half years later.

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


Jackson reaches Bay Aggregates after long delay

5/6 - Saginaw, Mich. – Herbert C. Jackson finally made it into the Bay Aggregates slip on Tuesday afternoon after the arrival of the tug Manitou to assist the tug Gregory J. Busch in pushing the freighter against the flood current in the Saginaw River. The effort ended an ordeal against the river that lasted several days, with the Jackson entering the slip at 2:30 p.m.

Herbert C. Jackson backed out of the Bay Aggregates slip on the Saginaw River at about 9 p.m. Tuesday evening. With the assistance of the tug Manitou, the Jackson turned and started outbound, clearing the mouth of the river at 9:40 p.m.

The Jackson had arrived in the area late last week and had spent several days at anchor on the Saginaw Bay before entering the river on Sunday morning. The vessel had been unable to enter the slip even with the assistance of the Busch, and remained tied up at the Essroc dock directly across the river for another day. On Monday evening, the Jackson again tried to enter the slip, but that effort resulted in the vessel grounding in the mud and blocking the shipping channel.

The Bay Aggregates slip lies perpendicular to the shipping channel and a vessel must enter it by turning broadside to the current.

Flooding conditions on the Saginaw River have created problems for shipping on the river in the past couple of weeks. In late April, Agawa Canyon waited several days before it was able to turn at Sixth Street in Saginaw, and the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber required assistance by the Busch to turn at the same location. Last week, the Moore-Kuber waited at anchor on the bay for several days before departing for another port without entering the river. Calumet was reportedly due in the river on Tuesday, but has apparently been diverted to another port.

Stephen Hause and Todd Shorkey


USS to idle Lake Erie coke ovens

5/6 - Nanticoke, Ont. – Steelworkers in Nanticoke received more grim news Friday when they learned that US Steel will wind down the coke battery at Lake Erie Works to a "hot idle."

This means heat will remain in the coke battery, but no coke will be produced. The move is expected to put another 100 workers on indefinite layoff.

"We knew this was always a possibility," Bill Ferguson, president of Local 8782 of the United Steel Workers, said yesterday. "We were hoping it wasn't going to happen. But now that it is here, we have to deal with it."

Local 8782 was taken by surprise in March when US Steel laid off more than 800 workers in Nanticoke. The idling of the coke battery raises this to more than 900.

It takes between four and six weeks to wind down a coke battery. When a battery is idled, its lining is highly vulnerable to cracking. If the battery in Nanticoke is damaged, costly, time-consuming repairs will be needed to make the plant functional again.

"The coke battery has never been shut down during the history of Lake Erie Works – even during strikes," Ferguson said. "It's a big unknown for us. We're all kind of holding our breath. Even when keeping them hot, they're a very tricky facility to shut down. That's why you keep them running."

When asked yesterday if idling the coke battery was part of the planned layoffs all along or a completely new development based on the continuing economic downturn, Courtney Boone, a spokesperson for US Steel, released this statement by e-mail.

"As stated in our earnings call and our 10Q, we continue to evaluate our operations. That includes evaluating our Lake Erie Works coke battery as well as other operations throughout the company."

An employee in Nanticoke explained that the battery was being idled, in part, because US Steel has enough coke at the plant to last 18 months.

With depressed global markets for steel showing no sign of turning around, and developing nations like China ramping up production, the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says he doubts Lake Erie Works will ever produce again.

U.S. Steel has idled a number of plants as it battles a steep downturn in demand.

The steelmaker lost $439 million in the first three months of the year and operated at only 38 per cent capacity – below the North American industry average of 42 per cent.

Welland Tribune


Federal dollars for dredging to benefit Manitowoc

5/6 - Manitowoc, Wisc. – More than $500,000 of federal stimulus money will be put to use in dredging the Manitowoc harbor to expand the shipping channel, according to Michael Huck, harbormaster and business manager of the Department of Public Works.

The Army Corps of Engineers which is responsible for maintenance, construction and operation of waterway navigation systems in the United States will use $508,000 to do investigative work and dredge the channel to make it wider to the south. The group is expected to do a survey of the area this summer.

Huck said the work will make maneuvering easier for the S.S. Badger carferry and continue to allow ships into the harbor to unload grain, coal and other materials to local businesses.

"We've been in need of this work for a while," Huck said Monday. "What this does do for us is ensures that the harbor and the harbor facility will be in tip-top order to accept and to transport cargo in and out."

The dredging is expected to take place within the next two years. The project has been on the agenda of U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac, for "a couple of budget cycles," Huck said, and would have happened eventually.

"Rather than waiting until it became an emergency," he said, "it's now being taken care of as a matter of course."

Local officials also have put in requests for stimulus funds for various other projects in the areas of energy, housing, transportation and "green" initiatives.

Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter


Slow start for Lakes stone trade mirrors economy

5/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes limestone trade has gotten off to one of its slowest starts in years. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled only 1,551,490 tons in April, a decrease of nearly 50 percent from a year ago.

Demand from the construction industry is extremely weak, and with many steel mills idled, shipments of fluxstone are off significantly. Just one stone cargo – 16,372 tons – moved in March.

The only positive development is that rising water levels are allowing vessels to carry bigger loads, but even so, no cargo in April represented a full load. With 17 million cubic yards of sediment clogging Great Lakes ports and waterways, the dredging crisis will remain a factor for years to come.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports - May 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Adam E. Cornelius was back for another load Tuesday at the CHS grain terminal in Superior. The vessel arrived in Duluth on Monday and unloaded stone at the Northland Contractors dock. Elsewhere, Beluga Elegance continued loading Tuesday morning at the General Mills elevator in Duluth.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Tuesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, H. Lee White arrived from Western Lake Superior and struggled to dock in heavy winds. After several attempts, she docked and loaded ore into the evening.

Green Bay , Wisc. – Scott Best
Late Monday evening, the tug Prentiss Brown and her barge, St Marys Conquest made its first trip to Green Bay as a new tug-barge combo. Tuesday morning they were unloading at the St Marys Dock on the Fox River.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy came into port just after 10 a.m. and went to Redpath Sugar where it rafted to the salty Widgeon. Hamilton Energy departed at 12:30 for Hamilton.

At Toronto Drydock work on the tug Commodore Straits is almost completed. It is expected that the tug will be refloated on Wednesday.


Updates - May 6

Sylvania Historical Perspective Gallery updated

Weekly Website Updates

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 6

On May 6, 1984 the CANADIAN RANGER sailed from Port Weller on her maiden voyage to load coal at Toledo, Ohio.

In 1944 the HILDA (2) and the barge MAITLAND NO.1 started the rescue operation of freighter GEORGE M HUMPHREY (1) which sank in a collision with the D M CLEMSON (2) in the Straits of Mackinac. This day in 1923 the EDWIN E SLICK was struck by the steamer J. LEONARD REPLOGLE in the ice on Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior.

The HARVEY D GOULDER entered service on May 6, 1906.

On May 6, 1934 the ROYALTON (1) helped rescue the steamer TEN which had lost power in a Lake Superior ice field and required a tow to safety.

On May 6, 1975 while unloading iron ore at Conneaut, Ohio, a leg and bucket from No.2 Hulett gave way and fell into the RALPH H WATSON's cargo hold. A crane was rigged to remove the wreckage. A nine by twelve foot patch was required on her port side tank which was holed in the accident.

On 6 May 1847, CUBA (wooden schooner, 89 foot, 139 tons, built in 1844 at Peninsula, New York as a brig) was carrying wheat near Point Breeze, New York in Lake Ontario when she was run down and sunk in a collision with the steamer GENESEE CHIEF. No lives were lost.

On 6 May 1858, the barkentine E S ADAMS began her voyage from Amherstburg, Ontario to London, England with a load of walnut timber. The transatlantic portion of the voyage took only 26 days and the vessel was back on the Lakes in September 1858.

EASTLAND was launched on 06 May 1903 at the Jenks Ship Building Company (Hull #25) at Port Huron, Michigan for the Michigan Steamship Company. She was christened by Mrs. Frances E. Perene.

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


Saginaw River dredging set to start next week

5/5 - Bay City, Mich. – A dredging project for the Upper Saginaw River is set to begin May 11, and will be more extensive than planned.

The project has received $500,000 in federal stimulus money to clear more silt this year from the navigational channel, said Jim Koski, Saginaw County public works commissioner. "We're doing good," Koski said Friday. "All we've got to do is get started."

Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort has been awarded a $1.9 million contract to pile river spoils in a new $5 million Dredged Material Disposal Facility on the Bay-Saginaw county line.

The work, to remove more than 200,000 cubic yards in an area from Bay City south to Saginaw, is seen as essential to preserving commerce and about 200 jobs tied to shipping on the river. The project was delayed late last year due to mechanical problems with a dredging barge.

The latest start date is right after the end of the nesting period for bald eagles, Koski said.

Another $3.5 million has been budgeted for additional dredging this year. The $500,000 will be added to that budget figure, to dig out more mud in 2009

The $500,000 stimulus bump was announced last week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In total, $41 million was awarded for projects throughout the Great Lakes.

Bay City Times


Port Reports - May 5

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Edgar B. Speer remains tied up at Hallett Dock 5 in Duluth undergoing bowthruster repairs and in short-term layup. Elsewhere in port Monday, H. Lee White pulled into the CLM dock about 7:30 a.m. to unload stone, Beluga Elegance was loading at General Mills elevator in Duluth, and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. The McCarthy made the dock after CSL Niagara cleared with coal for Canada’s East Coast. Several Canadian vessels are scheduled to load coal for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the coming weeks.

Grand Haven – Dick Fox
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg sometime on Saturday. The abundant rains last week have reportedly stepped up river currents and caused concern for the dredgers and the ship captains.

Saginaw – Todd Shorkey
Tuesday morning U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit has issued a marine safety advisory for the Herbert C. Jackson who was reported to be stuck aground in the Saginaw River just off the Bay Aggregates slip in Bay City. The Jackson is partially blocking the shipping channel. More updates when they become available.
Herbert C. Jackson finally was able to enter the Saginaw River on Sunday, but was unable to enter the slip at Bay Aggregates where she was to unload due to the strong river currents that were still present. She tied up for the night at the Essroc dock in Essexville. On Monday, the Jackson sat through the day at Essroc and around 8 p.m., with the assistance of the tug Gregory J. Busch, attempted to cross the river and make the turn into the Bay Aggregates dock once again. After an hour of trying, the pair were still battling the current trying to make the slip.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tug Anglian Lady with her barge were at the B-P Dock. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed Monday morning. Saginaw was inbound Toledo Ship Channel Monday morning bound for one of the elevator complexes upriver to unload grain. Manistee was inbound Toledo Ship Channel Monday afternoon bound for the A.R.M.S. Dock to unload salt. Both vessels will be departing from Toledo on Monday evening. The next scheduled coal boats for the CSX Docks will be Canadian Enterprise on Wednesday, Great Lakes Trader and Saginaw on Thursday followed by Herbert C. Jackson on Saturday. The next scheduled ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be H. Lee White on Friday, CSL Assiniboine on Saturday followed by James R. Barker and John B. Aird on Sunday.


Boats re-enact arrival of first salties to Twin Ports

5/5 - Duluth, Minn. – The tug Edward H. played the part of the Ramon de Larrinaga, the British-flagged ship that was the first saltie to reach the Twin Ports through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

A series of loud horn blasts from Duluth’s Aerial Lift Bridge welcomed two boats Sunday afternoon in a 50th anniversary re-creation of the first ocean vessel to reach the Twin Ports through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The standard horn greeting of one long, deep baritone blast followed by two shorter honks were given as the 86-hoot Edward H came into the harbor, imitating the May 3, 1959, arrival of the Ramon de Larrinaga, a 457-foot British-flagged ship. The tour boat Vista King took the role of the Herald, a 441-foot Liberian-flagged ship, which arrived about 10 minutes behind the Larrinaga.

“They gave the Ramon more than one salute,” said a smiling Jerry Grandmaison, the Larrinaga’s ship agent who was among 3,500 people who gathered to watch the event on an overcast and dreary day 50 years ago. “This just brings back a lot of memories. I was excited because it was my third day on the job. So many people were excited, and I was in on the excitement.”

When the Larrinaga came under the bridge “car horns and ship signals then echoed throughout the harbor,” reported the Duluth News Tribune on May 4, 1959.

“It was a cruddy day, but people were joyous,” said David Poulin, a Park Point resident who watched the Larrinaga get doused with water from celebratory hoses set up by the fire department. “It was a dream come true.”

Grandmaison, 76, was the first Duluthian on the Larrinaga after it docked at Peavey Elevator.

“Most people hadn’t seen a saltwater vessel before,” said Grandmaison, who assisted with logistics for the Larrinaga. “It was interesting to see it. People were excited about creating a new harbor.”

Ross Maker of St. Paul recalled watching TV news stories about the seaway opening as an 11-year-old boy.

“It was big news,” said Maker.

Duluth News Tribune


Lake Superior barrel mystery reopened

5/5 - More than 50 years ago hundreds of barrels were dumped into Lake Superior near Duluth. The mystery barrels are said to contain declassified munitions and concrete, but for many years environmentalists have said the barrels not only contain grenade parts but also something more sinister.

Last week the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa announced that they have entered into a cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense to study the barrels and their possible environmental impact.

Northlands News Center


Updates - May 5

Weekly Website Updates

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 5

May 5, 1904 the Crisp Point Light on Lake Superior went into service.

The WILLIAM CLAY FORD (Hull#300) was launched at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works, May 5, 1953, for the Ford Motor Co.

The MERCURY, a.) RENOWN of 1912, collided with the bulker ERNEST T. WEIR on May 5, 1964, near the mouth of the St. Clair River. The tanker suffered severe bow damage, the result of her faulty steering gear.

On May 5, 1980, the SHARON, a.) ARCHERS HOPE of 1945, grounded in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River. She was freed on May 7th and proceeded to Monroe, Michigan, and was laid up there on May 8, 1980. No repairs were made and she never sailed again.

On May 5, 1914, the GEORGE F. BAKER was traveling down bound in Lake Superior in dense fog with 10,500 tons of iron ore from Ashland, Wisconsin. She ran hard aground on Sawtooth Reef off Eagle River, on Upper Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula.

May 5, 1914 - An unusual cargo, two "Jack Johnsons" (Navy guns) were hauled by the PERE MARQUETTE 17.

The small schooner ST PETER was loaded with grain when she sank 35 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on 5 May 1874. The crew reached shore in the yawl.

The steam barge KITTIE M FORBES was launched in Bay City, Michigan, on 5 May 1883. She was owned by Capt. William Forbes and named for his daughter. Her keel was laid on 1 December 1882. Her dimensions were 195 feet keel, 209 foot overall, 35 foot beam and 14 foot depth. Her engine was built by Samuel F. Hodge.

On 05 May 1902, MILWAUKEE (steel propeller freighter, 325 foot, 3,327 gross tons) was launched at the Chicago Ship Building Company (Hull #55) at South Chicago, Illinois, for the Western Transit Co. She lasted until 1940, when she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

Data from: Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Seaway celebrates golden anniversary; Twin Ports plans events

5/4 - Superior, Wisc. – The arrival of the Ramon de Larrinaga beneath the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge on May 3, 1959 heralded the start of a new era in shipping for the Port of Duluth-Superior. She was the first deep-draft oceangoing vessel to arrive here, having transited the length of the newly opened St. Lawrence Seaway. This year, the Dutch-flagged Medemborg claimed first ship honors on April 12, marking 50 years of Seaway service in the Twin Ports.

This anniversary year provides a golden opportunity to celebrate the tremendous impact the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System and the maritime industry have had on our region. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is hosting a series of events throughout 2009 to celebrate the Seaway’s 50th, beginning with a bi-national reception for maritime stakeholders and business leaders on Friday, May 1 at the Duluth Omnimax Theatre.

“The Port of Duluth-Superior became a world port when the Seaway opened in 1959,” noted Adolph Ojard, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “Geographically, we’re situated at the beginning (or end, depending on your perspective) of the entire Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway System. This 2,342-mile marine highway connects North America’s heartland to the Atlantic, providing a key trade corridor for business and industry. One of the most efficient transportation systems in the world, the Great Lakes Navigation System saves customers approximately $3.6 billion per year over the next least costly mode of transportation.”

Since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, it has moved more than 2.5 billion metric tons of cargo valued in excess of $375 billion. The Port of Duluth-Superior is the number one volume port on the Great Lakes, the second largest dry bulk port in the United States and a thriving hub for global trade.

50th Anniversary Events Planned in Twin Ports

To celebrate the Seaway’s 50th Anniversary here in the Twin Ports, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority will be sponsoring a series of events throughout 2009 including:

• Through October: Sponsoring the Duluth run of Mysteries of the Great Lakes. An exciting IMAX film at the Duluth Omnimax Theatre celebrates the natural wonders of a binational waterway that is also a corridor for commerce.

• May 1: Seaway 50th Anniversary Celebration at the Omnimax. VIP reception co-hosted by the Consulate General of Canada and the Port Authority.

• May 12 – 14: Co-hosting 17th annual St. Louis River Quest with 20 local organizations. Educational cruises for sixth grade students aboard the Vista Star to foster awareness of pollution prevention, boating safety, maritime issues and environmental preservation.

• May 21: National Maritime Day celebration –11 a.m. at the DECC. Keynote speaker Craig Middlebrook, Deputy Administrator, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, will highlight the Seaway’s 50th Anniversary and plans for its future.

• Daybreak arrival of the Clelia II, celebrating Duluth’s re-emergence as an origin/destination hub for Great Lakes passenger cruising.

• July 4: Signature sponsor of the pre-fireworks concert by the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra at Duluth Fourth Fest. Free and open to the public.

• Nov. 6-7: Gales of November. Co-hosting this year’s event with the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association. Keynote speakers TBA.

The U.S. St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) and the Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) are hosting events throughout the year to celebrate the 50th anniversary to educate the public about the Seaway, its history and plans for its future. SLSDC’s primary celebration will be July 10-12 in Massena, NY. Meanwhile, SLSMC opened the 2009 navigation season with an anniversary-themed celebration and will host open houses at all of its main offices this summer.

A few facts about the Port of Duluth-Superior…

• The Port of Duluth-Superior is the No. 1 volume port on the Great Lakes, the second largest dry bulk port in the U.S. and a thriving hub for global trade.

• The Port of Duluth-Superior is the No. 1 volume port on the Great Lakes, the second largest dry bulk port in the U.S. and a thriving hub for global trade.

• On average, the port sees 1150 vessel calls per year and handles 46 million net tons of cargo, ranking 16th nationally among more than 150 deep-draft U.S. ports according to total volume.

• Principal cargoes (90% of tonnage totals): Coal, Iron ore and Grain; Limestone, cement and project cargoes comprises remaining 10%.

• Rankings by Principal Cargo Loadings: Ore – No. 1 Nationally; Coal – No. 4 Nationally; Grain – No. 1 U.S. Great Lakes

• The Ramon de Larrinaga was the first oceangoing vessel to arrive in Duluth, having transited the full length of the newly-opened St. Lawrence Seaway. She arrived beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge amid much fanfare at 1:18 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, 1959. Over 3,500 people jammed Canal Park to greet the British-flagged ship as she sailed into port. The 457-foot, 10,000-ton vessel was one of the largest seagoing ships ever to appear on Lake Superior. She loaded 2,000 tons of oats at the Peavey elevator, moving to the Cargill elevator to take on 4,545 tons of barley.

• The Herald, a WWII Liberty ship of Liberian registry, arrived 10 minutes later but had to anchor inside the harbor waiting for a strong wind to abate. She finally docked at the Globe Elevator in Superior at about 5:30 p.m. to load barley. Several days later, after rumors of “power trouble,” the 441-foot vessel moved to Superior’s Great Northern Elevator to take on the balance of her cargo and finally sailed for North Europe on May 13.

• A sidebar to the story of the opening of the Seaway was the creation of the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth (since renamed the Duluth Seaway Port Authority) and the Superior Harbor Commission two years earlier, as well as construction of the $10 million, publicly-financed, 120-acre Arthur M. Clure Public Marine Terminal to handle general cargo in Duluth.

• Fifty years ago, inbound foreign ships brought cargoes from raw materials for manufacturing to cars, bicycles, cases of whiskey, bagged coffee beans, bales of twine and steel pipe. Other ships arrived in ballast; most departed with backhauls of bulk grain. Today, most “salties” arrive loaded with energy-related cargo – wind turbine components for North American wind farms and heavy-gauge equipment headed for Canadian oil sands projects.

Superior Telegram


Port Reports - May 4

Green Bay – Scott Best
Early Sunday morning the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in Green Bay with a load of cement for Lafarge. The Integrity is on its first trip of the season after layup. They are expected to continue unloading all day Sunday and depart back to Alpena early Monday morning.

Saginaw – Todd Shorkey and Galen Witham
As of Sunday morning, the Herbert C. Jackson remained at anchor in the Saginaw Bay awaiting more favorable conditions to make her transit into the Saginaw River. The river has dropped about one foot to 18.38 feet from its high of 19.45 feet. The outflow has dropped from near 36,000 cfs down to 32,400 cfs. Later in the day, the Jackson finally made her way into port, tying up to unload in Essexville.

Alpena – Ben & Chanda McClain
The Cuyahoga brought a load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock on Sunday morning. It was a pleasant day and many people came out to view the Cuyahoga unloading. Before 1 p.m., she departed the river.


Updates - May 4

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 4

On May 4, 1958, the JOHN SHERWIN entered service. The SHERWIN has been in lay-up for half of her life on the Great Lakes. She last sailed on November 16, 1981.

On her maiden voyage May 4, 1976, the ST. CLAIR departed Sturgeon Bay for Escanaba, Michigan, to load 39,803 gross tons of iron ore pellets for Indiana Harbor, Indiana arriving there on May 5th.

The OREFAX ran aground on May 4, 1963, way off course near Manistique, Michigan. She was lightered and pulled off by the Roen Salvage Co. and made her way to Toronto, Ontario, where she discharged her cargo and left for repairs.

The tanker VENUS, a.) MARTHA E. ALLEN of 1928, suffered an explosion on May 4, 1972, when the crew were cleaning tanks while at anchor waiting for the fog to lift about seven miles west of the Eisenhower Lock in the Seaway. Two explosions rocked the ship killing her skipper, Captain Stanley, and injuring three crewmen.

On 04 May 1839, ATLAS (wooden schooner, built in 1836, at Dexter, New York) was carrying building stone from Chaumont Bay to Oswego, New York, when she foundered 6 miles from Oswego. The steamer TELEGRAPH rushed out of Oswego to assist her but only found a little flotsam. All five on board were lost: Capt. Asahel Wescott, Ortha Little, William Ackerman, John Lee and Asa Davis (a passenger).

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


Coast Guard assists two men on sinking sailboat

5/3 - Port Huron, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Huron rescued two men Saturday from their sinking 10-foot sailboat approximately 400 yards offshore at approximately 5:15 p.m.

A Coast Guard 25-foot small response boat crew rescued 22-year-old Jamison Shaw and 24-year-old Ben Skinner, both of Port Huron, after their boat flipped and took on water as it re-righted.

"When we arrived on scene, they were trying to use their tiller to make their way back to shore in eight feet of water," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Andrew Bartos, Station Port Huron 25-foot crewman.

After declining commercial salvage to recover their sailboat, Shaw's father arrived on scene in an eight-foot john boat to attempt to tow the sailboat back to shore. "We realized it was going to be too dangerous for him to try to tow a larger boat that was already partially submerged, so we had the father come aboard our boat as well," said Bartos.

The station crew transferred the men safely to shore at the Port Huron Yacht Club. The 22-year-old Shaw, his father and Skinner had no medical concerns or injuries.

At approximately 4:45 p.m., a woman on shore observed the two men who appeared to be in distress in their sailboat, and contacted the station on her cell phone.


Port Reports - May 3

Sault Ste. Marie. Mich. – Jerry Masson
Upbound traffic at the Soo included CSL Niagara, H. Lee White, Adam E. Cornelius, tug Tenacious, tug Champion and barge, Kaministiqua, Beluga Elegance and Mississagi. Downbound was Tim S. Dool and Edward L. Ryerson. Mississagi was at Bruce Mines and Calumet was at Detour.

Saginaw. Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River continued its swift flow on Friday, holding boats out on the lake from coming in. Herbert C. Jackson remained out in the bay, while Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber turned and headed out towards the lake. For the month of April and for 2009 to date, there were seven commercial vessel passages. The compares to 13 passages for April last year and 14 for the year to date.


Emergency preparedness exercise at Port of Milwaukee Tuesday

5/3 - Milwaukee, Wisc. – More than 350 emergency response and law enforcement workers from 30 agencies within Wisconsin and Illinois are expected to participate in a full scale Homeland Security exercise in the Port of Milwaukee Tuesday.

“Heartland Initiative 2009” simulates a water-borne terrorist attack using radiological materials and will give participants the opportunity to exercise public health, crisis communications, tactical response, law enforcement, hazardous material recovery, port security and other emergency management capabilities.

The exercise builds on multiple interagency training workshops, planning sessions and functional exercises held over the past year. Phase One tested threat communications and intelligence information sharing among various agencies. Phase Two tested the implementation of a Unified Command structure and development of an Incident Action Plan.

Tuesday’s full scale exercise will be the final phase in which responders will deploy hands-on capabilities. Multi-agency response teams will conduct a vessel boarding, dive operations and hazardous materials response, including decontamination.


St. Clair River study probably won't end dispute

5/3 - Detroit, Mich. – The findings of a two-year international study, which says there is no need for man-made changes in the St. Clair River, probably won't end the controversy.

The first group to blow the whistle on the St. Clair as the reason Lake Erie levels tend to be higher than levels of lakes Michigan and Huron was the Georgian Bay Association Foundation in Canada, which hired scientists in 2005 to study the question.

Their report said that 1962 dredging by the Army Corps of Engineers not only enlarged the river, but allowed continuing erosion, making its outflow into Lake Erie faster. The report likened it to an enlarged bathtub drain that let billions of gallons of water flow out too fast. The Canadian group said the excessive water loss could be catastrophic for the upper lakes, and wanted something done, such as underwater structures to slow the flow.

But the two-year study by the International Joint Commission says otherwise. Climate, specifically less rain and snow on the upper lakes in the past decade, has done the most to make the lake levels uneven. A huge ice jam in 1984 on the St. Clair did deepen the river and allow excess water to escape, but only for a few years, the study said.

The study authors said the river has been stable since at least 2000 and only small changes are occurring now.

The Georgian Bay Association said Friday it does not accept those findings, calling them flawed and incomplete. The group said 6 billion gallons a day could be pouring down the enlarged river.

"The fact that the study completely dismisses such an enormous increase in outflow and recommends that nothing be done about it is very disturbing," said Roy Schatz, who helped found the group.

Although the river is enlarged, it would only carry an extra 6 billion gallons a day out of the river when the upper lakes are at high levels, said Eugene Stakhiv, cochairman of the study. If levels in those lakes get too high, the fact that more water would escape through the river "should be viewed as a good thing," Stakhiv said.

In the fall of 2007, when levels of Lake Superior hit a historic low and businesses and property owners around the upper lakes were complaining bitterly about their wide beaches, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, called for the Army Corps of Engineers to consider speed bumps in the river to slow the draining lakes. After a briefing on the new report Thursday, Miller said she has changed her mind.

"This is a very comprehensive report," she said. "For anyone to argue for remediation will be difficult. It would be hard to get federal funding for it when you have this study saying otherwise."

There is less pressure for any change this spring, after a wetter than average year pumped nearly a foot of water into lakes Michigan and Huron. The lakes are up about 10 inches compared with a year ago, although still 8 inches below their long-term average.

The study is continuing, looking at the long-term effects of climate change. If the upper lakes drop steeply in the coming decades, then it might be time to make man-made changes in the St. Clair River, the study authors said Friday.

Detroit Free Press


Marine Historical Society of Detroit 2009 Annual Dinner and Program Open to Non-Members

5/3 - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has announced that the Annual Dinner and Program has been opened to non-members and potential members. The dinner will be held at the St. Clair Inn, St. Clair, Mich. on Saturday, May 16. The featured speaker is Ryan Barone, author of “Steamboating”, who will offer a program based on his career working on the Lee. A. Tregurtha and as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

 The pre-dinner reception is at 6:00 p.m. Buffet dinner at 6:45 pm including garden salad, broccoli salad, sliced roast beef, baked salmon with dill sauce, vegetable, mashed potatoes, rice, bread, coffee or tea, assorted desserts  The cost is $45.00 (U S Funds) per person. Reservations must be received by Monday, May 9. You may reserve Online at


Updates - May 3

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 3

On May 3, 1959, the first large saltwater vessel to transit the new St. Lawrence Seaway arrived at Duluth. The RAMON DE LARINAGA of 1954, took the honors as the first salty, passing under Duluth's Aerial Bridge at 1:16 p.m., followed by a salty named the HERALD of 1943, sixteen minutes later.

In 1922, the PERE MARQUETTE 16, as the barge HARRIET B, collided with the steamer QUINCY A. SHAW, and sank off Two Harbors, Minnesota.

On 3 May 1840, CHAMPLAIN (wooden side-wheeler, 225 tons, built in 1832, at Chippewa, Ontario) was carrying general merchandise when a storm drove her ashore four miles south of St. Joseph, Michigan. Although abandoned, she was later recovered and rebuilt.

On 03 May 1883, lightning struck and set fire to the barge C F. ALLEN while she was loading at North Muskegon, Michigan. She burned to the water's edge. Her loss was valued at $6,000, but she was not insured.

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


Army Corps not to blame for lakes' water loss

5/2 - Detroit, Mich. - The St. Clair River is wider and deeper than it was in the 1970s because of a mammoth 1984 ice jam and other climate factors, a two-year study found in results reported Friday.

The ice jam on the river lasted a month and scoured out the river’s bottom and sides, allowing more water to drain out of the upper Great Lakes annually now compared to 40 years ago. That and climate patterns created a nine-inch difference between the level of Lakes Huron and Michigan compared to the level of Lake Erie, a group of 100 scientists and engineers said after the two-year study for the International Joint Commission.

The U.S.-Canadian commission handles issues on lakes and rivers shared between the two nations.

The study said the widened river gives it the ability to drain more water out of the upper lakes and into Erie than in the past, but said erosion in the river was a onetime event that is not continuing, so there is no reason for man-made changes to slow the water down, such as adding flexible speed bumps or turbines as some have suggested.

The report’s findings debunk a 2005 study by the Georgian Bay Association in Canada, which hired its own scientists to study the problem of lower water levels in the upper Great Lakes compared to Lake Erie. The group’s report at the time concluded that 1962 dredging by the Army Corps of Engineers had not only enlarged the river, but allowed continuing erosion, making the outflow faster over time.

Today’s report still means 6 billion gallons of water are flowing out of the lakes daily through the river compared to 1971, and it believes the figure could be twice that much, the Georgian Bay Association said.

“The fact that the study completely dismisses such an enormous increase in outflow and recommends that nothing be done about it is very disturbing,” said Roy Schatz, former president of the Georgian Bay group.

Several scientists who were part of the study said it’s not true that 6 billion gallons of extra water flow down the river every day.

“That only happens when lake levels are very high,” said Eugene Stakhiv, cochair of the study board. Levels have been low for about the past decade. If lake levels ever get too high again, the enlarged river channel will allow excess water to escape. “That should be viewed as a good thing,” he said.

In the past, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller advocated taking human action to stop the outflow through the St. Clair. The report has changed her mind, the Republican said.

“This is a very comprehensive report,” she said. “For anyone to argue for remediation will be difficult. It would be hard to get federal funding for it when you have this study saying otherwise.”

The study said climate conditions were the biggest factor in the uneven water levels between 1996 and 2005, accounting for about 75% of the difference in lake levels. The basin surrounding Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron got less rain and snow than the basin Lake Erie is in over that period. In the future, climate change could make those differences even greater, but the effects are uncertain, the study said.

The infamous ice jam began when powerful winds blew ice floes from Lake Huron into the river in April 1984. The jam lasted a month until icebreakers were able to cut through it. The jam backed up 67 commercial ships for several weeks. The wall of ice was so large that two-thirds of the river couldn’t flow past it, and it flooded low-lying areas near the river.

Detroit Free Press


First saltie calls on Toledo

5/2 - Toledo, Ohio - While a conveyor belt poured part of a 23,000-ton cargo of coke into one of the Federal Rhine's holds outside his bridge windows, ship's captain Arif Ali Thursday received a succession of gifts to recognize him as master of the first ocean-going vessel to call at the Port of Toledo this year.

But the event's historically late date, along with more distant views from the bridge of laid-up lake vessels that in past seasons would have been sailing by early April, both testified to the downturn that the economic slump has brought to Great Lakes ports.

"As long as steel's slow, it's going to be slow for us for sure," said Jason Lowery, director of business development for Midwest Terminals of Toledo International Inc., the stevedore at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's general cargo docks near the Maumee River's mouth in East Toledo.

And Alex Johnson, Midwest's chief executive officer, said he was somewhat surprised by the cargo of nut coke that longshoremen running a squad of four front-end loaders scooped from a dockside pile and dumped into the conveyors.

"I'm surprised we're getting any of this at all, the way the economy is," said Mr. Johnson, who added that April 29 was easily the latest "first-salty" date since his company took over the port authority dock 4 1/2 years ago. Other port officials couldn't remember the last time Toledo's overseas shipping season began so late.

The coke, used to provide both heat and a source of carbon for turning iron into steel, was headed for South Africa after having been trucked to Toledo from Severstal Steel in Detroit. Nut coke, Mr. Johnson said, is smaller chunks of coke that get screened out at Severstal, whose steel-making furnaces use only chunks four inches in diameter or larger.

Midwest exported about 50,000 tons of nut coke last year. Mr. Lowery said the local port got the business because of its deeper draft and greater efficiency compared with Detroit alternatives.

Joe Cappel, the port authority's senior manager for business development, said it's too early to say how the shipping season will turn out in Toledo, because ship lines "hungry to do business" could cut rates to attract shipments. Before the economic slump, he said, "everyone was full to capacity," but now carriers are "interested in things they may not have been interested in before."

Toledo's recent designation as a delivery point for London Metals Exchange commodities shipments should revive the aluminum trade here, Mr. Cappel said. New limestone traffic headed to a southeast Ohio power plant for pollution control also could boost tonnage at the local port, he said, "and hopefully we'll get some project cargo this year for the wind industry or other energy industries."

But until the Federal Rhine's arrival Wednesday evening, the most visible evidence of the shipping season's start was several shiploads of rock salt delivered to the ARMS Dock, just downstream from I-280, to replenish local supplies after a snowy winter.

Captain Ali, who said this was his first call ever to Toledo, received from local officials a copy of Jamie Farr's pictorial book, Toledo: Treasures and Traditions, a University of Toledo football jersey bearing No. 1, a U.S. flag that flew over the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, and, from port authority President Michael Stolarczyk, a specially engraved Louisville Slugger baseball bat commemorating the occasion.

"You're an international ship. You can definitely take out a few pirates with this," Mr. Stolarczyk quipped, alluding to recent vessel seizures by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. Captain Ali noted, however, that FedNav, the Federal Rhine's owner, has forbidden its vessels to enter those pirate-plagued waters.

Toledo Blade


Port Reports - May 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha arrived and unloaded western coal into the hopper. During the week, no cargoes of taconite left the ore dock.

Green Bay, Wisc. - Scott Best
The end of the week saw two visitors in what has been like everywhere around the lakes a very slow start to the shipping season. Wednesday evening, Maumee delivered a load of coal to the Fox River Dock, while Thursday evening, Sam Laud arrived with a load of coal for Georgia Pacific. The Laud was working her way up through the downtown bridges as darkness fell Thursday evening.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge Friday afternoon to load cement. Fleetmate tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are back in service and waited out in the bay Friday until the Innovation departed. The Alpena remains in lay-up at the coal dock.

Owen Sound, Ont. – Ed Saliwonchyk
Chi Cheemaun departed winter lay up in Owen Sound on Thursday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
English River arrived in Toronto overnight.


Updates - May 2

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 2

The STEWART J. CORT created a sensation as she passed Detroit/Windsor on mid-day on May 2, 1972, amid throngs of people lining both sides of the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, whistling acknowledging salutes on her up bound maiden run.

ADAM E. CORNELIUS (Hull#53) was launched at St. Clair, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works on May 2, 1908. Renamed b.) DETROIT EDISON in 1948, c.) GEORGE F. RAND in 1954. Sold Canadian in 1962, renamed d.) AVONDALE. She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain, in 1979.

On 2 May 1874, the steamer 8TH OHIO was chartered by Magner & Company to carry their circus to various Great Lake ports throughout that season.

The 3-mast schooner EDWARD KELLEY was launched at Dunford & Leighton's yard in Port Huron on 2 May 1874. She was built for the Lake Superior Transportation Company of Cleveland, Ohio. A. O. Miller's coronet band played at the launching.

On 02 May 1903, ACADIA (wooden schooner-barge, 102 foot, 188 tons, built in 1873, at Smith's Falls, Ontario) was carrying coal from Oswego, New York to Kingston, Ontario, when she went aground in a storm near the Duck Islands on Lake Ontario. She was later recovered, but foundered again in July 1908. Again she was recovered and this time rebuilt as a barge.

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


Roger Blough towed to Conneaut

5/1 - The Roger Blough arrived in Conneaut Thursday after being towed from her winter lay-up berth in Erie, Pa. The Blough will remain in lay-up at the P&C coal dock until demand calls her out, however it is unlikely she will sail this season. The dock is not expected to ship any coal. The tug Manitou and Patricia Hoey completed the tow.

Brian Craig


Big lakers tie up in weak economy

5/1 - This shipping season is shaping up as an unusually tough one for freighters on the Great Lakes.

Four 1,000-footers out of the 13 that serve the lakes are sidelined at a time of year when these workhorses typically are running hard.

The latest casualty is the Edgar B. Speer, a member of the Great Lakes Fleet. The 1,004-foot laker is tied up at Hallett Dock No. 5 and will likely be out of commission for a few weeks as it undergoes repairs to its bow thruster.

Three other 1,000-footers also have been idled, but not for mechanical issues.

The 1,004-foot Mesabi Miner recently tied up in Sturgeon Bay due to weak demand for service, according to Mark Barker, president of Interlake Steamship Co., the ship’s owner. It’s the same story for the 1,000-foot Stewart J. Cort now berthed in Milwaukee, waiting for the market to improve.

The American Spirit, a 1,004-foot-long member of the American Steamship Co., remains parked at the Lakehead Pipeline dock, still awaiting its first voyage of the season.

Fully half of the Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet is now out of service. In addition to the Speer, the 767-foot Philip R. Clarke and Arthur M. Anderson, plus the 858-foot Roger Blough are all currently inactive, waiting for demand to improve.

“There’s no denying the number of ships tied up is reflective of poor demand this year,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association. He pointed out that just eight of the American steel industry’s 36 blast furnaces in the Great Lakes region are now operating.

And it’s not just shipments of iron ore pellets that are down this year. As taconite mines slow down pellet production, their appetite for lime has declined.

Stone and cement shipments have been soft, too, as a result of diminished construction activity, according to Nekvasil.

“It seems like everything is off,” said Interlake’s Barker.

Duluth News Tribune


Three major Iron Range mine operators report losses

5/1 - Duluth, Minn. – The three major operators of Iron Range taconite mines all reported first-quarter losses this week.

The biggest loser was ArcelorMittal, owner of the Minorca mine and Hibbing Taconite Co. The company lost a total of $1.1 billion during the first three months of 2009. That represents a major reversal of fortune from the first quarter of last year, when ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, reported $2.4 billion in profit.

But the latest quarter still represents an improvement from the last three months of 2008, when the company lost $2.6 billion.

A statement from ArcelorMittal said: “The main reason for the decline continues to be the extreme weakness in demand for steel products in the first quarter of 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis, along with a steep fall in prices, leading to a drastic curtailment of production.”

US Steel Corp., owner of Keewatin Taconite and Minntac, lost $439 million during the first three months of 2009. In contrast, the company posted positive earnings of $235 million during the same period last year.

Soft sales of new vehicles and other durable goods have drastically cut domestic demand for steel. U.S. steelmakers have been operating at about 40 to 45 percent of capacity in recent months.

“Weak customer demand for flat-rolled products, coupled with customers’ efforts to reduce inventories, has resulted in very low order rates and further downward pressure on prices for our flat-rolled and U.S. Steel Europe segments,” said US Steel Chairman and CEO John Surma in a written statement. “Our tubular operations have also experienced a severe downturn primarily as a result of reduced drilling activity due to lower oil and gas prices, high inventory levels and unprecedented levels of unfairly traded and subsidized tubular imports from China.”

Cliffs Natural Resources, owner of Northshore Mining Co. and United Taconite Co., reported a more modest loss of $7.4 million during the first quarter of 2009. During the same period in 2008, the company earned $16.7 million.

Joseph Carrabba, Cliff’s chairman, president and CEO, said the company has fared better than some others due to its strategy.

“The value of our strategic efforts to diversify the enterprise in terms of geography, minerals and end-markets was evident in the first quarter of 2009. While our North American businesses are suffering from the dramatic drop in steel production in North America and Europe, our Asia Pacific businesses are performing quite well, given the difficult demand environment for steelmaking raw materials around the world,” said Carrabba in a written statement.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - May 1

Marinette, Wisc. – Dick Lund
Agawa Canyon arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock Company around 2 a.m. on Thursday. As the vessel came past Menominee North Pier Lighthouse, it slowed to a crawl to pass the dredging operation there. Roen Salvage of Sturgeon Bay has resumed the dredging of the Menominee River which it began last September. Agawa Canyon began unloading around 3 a.m. and finished up at 8:30 a.m. After backing down the river to the bay of Green Bay, the ship turned around and was headed for its next port of call by 9:30 a.m.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
With all of the recent heavy rain, the Saginaw River is two feet above flood stage, cresting at 19.45 feet Wednesday morning. The current outflow reading from the NOAA water monitoring station in Saginaw shows the flow at just over 35,500 cfs as of 9 p.m. Thursday evening. Because of these conditions, both the tug Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber and now the Herbert C. Jackson are at anchor in the Saginaw Bay, waiting for more favorable conditions to make the trip into the river.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Barge Metis arrived in Toronto today. Redpath sugar had the saltie Wigeon arrive overnight.


Muskegon ferry officials hope for best in poor economy

5/1 - Muskegon, Mich. - When Lubar & Co. and Ken Szallai took a "leap of faith" in launching high-speed, cross-lake ferry service from Milwaukee to Muskegon in 2004, there were many skeptics.

The past five years have proved the critics wrong, but the Lake Express ownership and management take another "leap" entering year six, with service starting Friday. Lake Express and all West Michigan tourism operations face a depression in the state's automotive industry, high unemployment and low consumer confidence.

Fighting through operational issues and then high fuel prices, the service has averaged more than 110,000 passengers per year. But, according to city of Muskegon officials, the passenger counts were down slightly in 2008.

"We don't have a lot of choice," said Szallai, the former head of the Port of Milwaukee and now Lake Express president. "We just have to move forward. We don't know what this year is going to bring."

Lake Express opened up its reservation system for the 2009 sailing season in mid-March, and Szallai said early numbers have not been as strong as in years past. Bookings from Michigan are down.

"The weakness has been on the Michigan side," Szallai said. "Our fears have always been with Michigan's economy. But we hope people will see Lake Express as a quality service and a good value."

Lake Express begins its spring sailing schedule with the arrival of the 192-foot catamaran ferry at 9:30 a.m. Friday at its Muskegon birth adjacent to the Great Lakes Marina on the south side of Muskegon Lake. The two-round-trip-a-day schedule will continue through June 30, when the three-trip summer schedule begins.

On Saturday, the Lake Express will have only one trip, as it will remain in Muskegon for a community open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Muskegon terminal, 1918 Lakeshore.

Lake Express fares are up about 8 percent from 2008. But the ferry service operations are getting a break on fuel prices, down to under $2 a gallon for diesel vs. nearly $4 at this time last year.

Mother Nature also has helped ferry operations over the past year in the rising levels of Lake Michigan and its adjacent waters. The ferry has had trouble getting in and out of its berth in Muskegon but that should not be an issue this year as water levels appear to be up more than a foot, Szallai said.

The Milwaukee-based ferry service will again air TV ads in the Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., cable television markets. Szallai said a first-time TV campaign was successful last year and will be launched earlier this year.

The Muskegon Chronicle


Port of Green Bay going ahead with dredging projects

5/1 - Green Bay, Wisc. – The Port of Green Bay is forging ahead with a trio of projects, despite not being in line for funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the port director said.

The port had sought funds to catch up on dredging in one fell swoop to restore the shipping channel, the Cat Island chain and a causeway to Renard Isle.

Port Director Dean Haen said they continue to move forward with dredging plans and are seeking a grant for the Cat Island project though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That grant is expected to be announced in June.

The Renard causeway is less defined at this point and is further from fruition, he said.

"We were hoping to jump on a fast train to get the backlog dredging done through the stimulus money, and that's not going to occur," Haen said. "So we're going to stay on the same path of working incrementally with our congressman and senator to get there over a period of years. … We haven't jumped off that path."

The appropriation of funds to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has disappointed some with ties to shipping on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force said about 2 percent of the $4.6 billion allocated to the Corps of Engineers is going to projects on the lakes, affecting navigational and environmental projects.

"America's foundational industries depend on the Great Lakes and Great Lakes shipping," Don Cree, president of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, said Wednesday in a press release. "By the Corps' analysis, lakes shipping saves its customers $3.6 billion a year in transportation costs. Yet the Corps all but zeroed out the Great Lakes and Great Lakes shipping."

Projects in a pair of Wisconsin harbors are being funded.

In Sturgeon Bay, $1.4 million has been allocated to perform condition surveys and issue contracts for dredging for the ship channel and harbor with another $7.5 million authorized for the repair of a revetment section, which protects embankments from erosion.

Kewaunee's harbor is in line for $1.43 million to perform condition surveys and dredging. Six million dollars will go to repair and upgrade dams on the Fox River.

Nationally, other projects include the construction of a water treatment plant in Alaska and construction of fish passage facilities at one of the three lowest dams on the Ten Mile River in Rhode Island. "From Green Bay's perspective … we're moving toward meeting our goals," Haen said. "But when I look at the Great Lakes as a whole, I'm disappointed we didn't get a fair shake of those funds."

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Updates - May 1

News Photo Gallery

Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 1

The EDMUND FITZGERALD collided with the Canadian steamer HOCHELAGA at the mouth of the Detroit River, May 1, 1970, suffering slight damage at hatches 18 and 19.

The STEWART J. CORT departed Erie on her maiden voyage at 0400 May 1, 1972. She was delayed by fog in Western Lake Erie.

The steel-hulled bulk carrier SHENANGO (Hull#62) was launched on May 1, 1909, by Great Lakes Engineering Works, Ecorse, Michigan.

Scrapping began on the CHICAGO TRADER at Ashtabula, Ohio, on May 1, 1978.

The JOHN T HUTCHINSON (Hull#1010) was launched at Cleveland, Ohio, by American Ship Building Co. on May 1, 1943.

The IRVING S. OLDS sustained an eight foot long crack across her spar deck and eight inches down one side in a storm on Lake Huron May 1, 1963.

LIGHTSHIP 103 (HURON) was launched at Morris Heights, New York by Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp. on May 1, 1920, for the U.S. Lighthouse Service.

The SOO RIVER TRADER brought the first shipment of bulk cement to open the $18 million St. Lawrence Cement distribution dock at Duluth, Minnesota on May 1, 1982.

May 1, 1903 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 sighted a burning vessel about 15 miles out of the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal, the steamer JOHN EMERY OWEN. The crew had already been picked off after the fire started, so the ANN ARBOR NO 1 put out the fire with her fire hoses. The NO 1 then towed the abandoned steamer to Sturgeon Bay and tied her up at the west end of the canal.

On 1 May 1875, CONSUELLO (wooden schooner, 103 foot, 142 gross tons, built in 1851, at Cleveland, Ohio) left Cleveland with a load of black stone for Toledo. Near Kelley's Island, a storm caused the cargo to shift and the ship capsized and sank. When she hit bottom, she jerked upright so the tops of her masts were above the water. Two of the crew, Fred Donahue and James King, were able to cling to the masts and they were rescued after about an hour and a half. Five others, including the captain and his wife, were drowned.

On 1 May 1876, the little steamer W D MORTON, which for two years had run as a ferry between Port Huron's Black River and Sarnia, left her dock for the Delaware River where she ran on a centennial excursion route for the exposition held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania She left the Lakes via the Erie Canal.

On 01 May 1858, OGONTZ (wooden propeller steamer, 343 tons, built in 1848, at Ohio City, Ohio) was purchased by Capt. A. E. Goodrich and George C. Drew for $5,600. This was the second vessel in the Goodrich Line. Just two years later, Capt. Goodrich had her machinery removed and she was sold to W. Crostin for $500. He converted her to a sailing vessel and she operated for two more years before she foundered in a storm.

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


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