Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - May 31

Seaway - Rene Beauchamp
The tanker Diamond Star entered the Seaway Sunday. She was renamed Dara Desgagnes on paper in April but the new name was not painted on. Her stack is still that of Rigel Shipping. The ship is named Dara Desgagnes on the St. Lawrence Seaway website.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Lou Gerard
Alpena came in during the night to unload at the Lafarge Jones Island terminal. About 8:30 a.m., St. Marys Challenger steamed in to the harbor and proceeded to her terminal on the Kinnickinnic River passing the Alpena en route. Later in the morning, Algoway came into the harbor, turned and backed into a slip and unloaded some of her load of salt. Later in the afternoon she shifted to Jones Island drawing quite a crowd as she passed the lighthouse to discharge the rest of her cargo, passing the Alpena in the process.

Grand Haven & Muskegon - Jeff & Greg Barber
The Verplank Trucking Company was busy Sunday morning, with Wilfred Sykes backing into the dock in Grand Haven just after 6:30 a.m. to unload slag, and Algorail getting to the dock in Muskegon just after 6 a.m. to unload salt.


Coast Guard rescue two from vessel taking on water

5/31 - Chicago. Ill. - A U.S. Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor boat crew rescued two males from a 22-foot pleasure craft taking on water in southern Lake Michigan Sunday at approximately 10:45 p.m.

The Coast Guard boat crew transferred all three men safely aboard the station's 25-foot small response boat (RB-S), and attempted to tow the vessel with a 41-foot utility boat. The damaged vessel eventually capsized.

During transport to shore, both men reported no injuries.

"There was about 700 gallons of water onboard when we arrived on scene," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Justin Duggan, a boatswain's mate assigned to Station Calumet Harbor. "When we brought them aboard, there was only about one or two feet of the boat above the waterline ¬– normally, there would have been about four feet."

The owner of the boat contacted the Coast Guard via cell phone after his boat began to take on water. They intended to go fishing in Lake Michigan.


BoatNerd cruises coming soon

June 5 - Annual BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II
The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II following the Port Huron Marine Mart. The boat leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron for a special one-hour cruise. Reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the $5.00 fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at

June 25 - Annual Soo BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise
This year's St. Marys River cruise will again 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 25. 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 21.

August 7 - Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan
This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - May 31

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Coast Guard evacuates man from Beaver Island

5/30 - Beaver Island, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City medically evacuated a 60-year-old male with a broken leg from Beaver Island at approximately 7 p.m. Saturday.

"The paramedics had him ready when we got there", said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Klatt, the pilot of the HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter. "He was wasn't in major amounts of pain, but still needed to be taken to the hospital."

A paramedic from Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services accompanied the flight crew to treat the man.

The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to shore at Air Station Traverse City, whereby awaiting EMS transported him to Munson Hospital.


Port Reports - May 30

Muskegon, Mich.
Alpena departed from temporary lay-up Friday at the Mart Dock for Milwaukee.

South Chicago , Ill. - Steve B
Sun rise Saturday morning the Kaye E. Barker was sitting crossways in the Calumet Harbor around 5:20 a.m. Possible reasons were the Samuel de Champlain and Innovation on the way out to Lake Michigan from Lake Calumet or the presence of an errant barge blocking the Calumet River somewhere near 106th St.
The Samuel de Champlain was outbound at 95th St at 5:45 and met the Kaye Barker at the entrance to the Calumet River at 6:15. The Kaye Barker then headed down the Calumet River arriving at DTE around 8:15 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge arrived on the Saginaw River overnight, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. She unloaded through the day and was outbound for the lake Saturday evening. Manitowoc was back on the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. After lightering there, she continued upriver to the Wirt dock in Saginaw to finish. Manitowoc was expected to be outbound Sunday morning. The 100-foot luxury motor yacht, Sassy, called on the Bay Harbor Marina Saturday evening and departed for the lake a few hours later.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the Songa Facon departed at 1:30 p.m. for Sarnia. The Federal Danube departed at 5 p.m. Saturday the Algosoo arrived at 9:30 a.m. with coal for Dofasco and departed at 5 p.m. The Maritime Trader arrived at 12 noon for a two week layup at pier 22.


Updates - May 30

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.



Port Reports - May 29

St. Marys River
A slow day early turned into a busy evening at the Soo. Robert S. Pierson, Catherine Desgagnes and Birchglen were downbound in mid-morning. In the evening, Canadian Enterprise, Mississagi, Federal Miramchi, Lee A. Tregurtha and Charles M. Beeghly made for a parade of upbounders, while Stewart J. Cort was in the mix downbound.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Durocher Marine tug Valerie B. brought in two barges loaded with equipment for the Consumers Power Plant at Port Sheldon. Indications are they will be here over the weekend and then go down to the temporary construction dock at the power plant next week when work will resume there. Grand Haven Harbor affords more shelter than the temporary dock.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Friday morning brought familiar visitors to the area. Calumet unloaded coal at Lafarge overnight and departed in the morning. Fleetmate Mississagi delivered a load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock and backed out of the river by 9:30 a.m. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity will be in port Saturday morning. The steamer Alpena is expected to leave lay-up in Muskegon Friday night.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc arrived on the Saginaw River on Thursday with a split load. She stopped at the Lafarge stone dock in Essexville to lighter before continuing upriver to the Lafarge stone dock in Saginaw to finish. Manitowoc turned in the Sixth Street Basin Friday morning and headed for the lake. On her way out, Manitowoc passed the inbound tug Undaunted with her barge Pere Marquette 41. The pair, making their first trip to the Saginaw River in 2010, were headed up to the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw to unload. Undaunted - Pere Marquette 41 finished their unload and were outbound for the lake Friday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River and Algomarine were in port Thursday. Algosteel was still unloading sugar at Redpath. The tour boat Torontonian, which suffered a fire from a welder's torch recently will likely be scrapped.


Port authority improves docks to draw cargo

5/29 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Thursday accepted a Broadview Heights, Ohio, company's $3.15 million bid to provide a high-rise material handler machine for Toledo's general-cargo docks.

The port board of directors' award to Ohio CAT Inc. followed by three months a board decision to seek new bids for the material handler after deciding that earlier bid specifications were so vague as to make it impossible to compare a previous round of bids.

The material handler will be used in concert with two high-speed mobile cranes the agency bought in October to modernize the docks' ship loading and unloading capacity. Like the cranes, the material handler is to be paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant funds.

Port directors also voted to authorize port staff to accept the lowest and most responsible bid for rebuilding railroad tracks on the dock, work expected to cost about $5 million and also funded by a "stimulus" grant. Agency staff recommended the advance approval at the request of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The cranes, material-handler, and railroad projects combined represent nearly $15 million in investment in the general-cargo docks, which historically have been used for loading and unloading bulk and break-bulk cargoes such as steel, pig iron, aluminum, sugar, lumber, fertilizers, petroleum coke, and aggregates.

Port officials hope that by upgrading the facility's equipment, Toledo can attract higher-value cargo to its docks - particularly containerized freight for which coastal ports currently dominate the market.

"We've been operating that port with equipment from the 1950s," port authority President Paul Toth said afterward. "Getting new equipment is critical to our competitiveness in the future."

When board member Bernard "Pete" Culp asked whether the new machines would displace dock workers, colleague Dick Gabel, vice president of the International Longshoremen's Union, said the opposite was more likely.

"These two cranes we're putting in the port are absolutely going to increase employment" because they'll make Toledo's waterfront more efficient, Mr. Gabel said. "I see nothing but positives for the employees and everybody in this community."

Sub-assemblies of the two cranes that the port authority ordered last fall from Liebherr Nenzing Crane Co. have arrived at the Port of Toledo and now are being assembled there. Port directors yesterday approved adding $46,890 to that contract, bringing its value up to $6.8 million, to pay for a synchronizing control system that will make it easier for a single operator to control them when both are needed to lift a single piece of heavy cargo.

Mr. Toth said the two cranes are expected to be ready for use by mid-June, at which time a dedication ceremony will be held and the winners of a "Name the Cranes" contest announced.

The port authority's two existing gantry cranes, Big Lucas and Little Lucas, will remain available for backup duty once the new ones enter service. The board of directors yesterday approved spending up to $92,115 to buy - at a discount through the ODOT cooperative-purchasing program - a new diesel generator set for Little Lucas.

Toledo Blade


Milwaukee breakwater breaking down

5/29 - Milwaukee, Wis. – The federal government is offering only a trickle as Milwaukee seeks a flood of money to overhaul a damaged central breakwater protecting downtown and the Lake Michigan port.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns and is responsible for most harbor breakwaters, years ago determined the Milwaukee breakwater is in need of overall repair, said Larry Sullivan, chief engineer for the Port of Milwaukee. But the proposed 2011 Corps budget includes only $625,000 for an Army Corps ship and crew to repair the most-damaged parts of the structure.

“There’s probably a billion dollars worth of development here that the breakwater is there to protect,” he said.

A broken breakwater is not unique in the Great Lakes. The Army Corps’ 2009-13 capital plan reported that 80 percent of the breakwaters in the Great Lakes are older than the 50 years they were designed to last.

Annual budgets simply don’t dedicate enough money to keep up with needs, said Bill O’Donoghue, chief of the Army Corps Detroit office’s technical services branch.

“They just don’t fund these repairs anymore,” he said. “If we get two a year, that would surprise me.”

According to the Army Corps’ five-year plan, the Great Lakes breakwaters would need $38.5 million in construction work in 2011, $49.1 million in 2012 and $37.1 million in 2013.

Milwaukee’s breakwater is leaning in some places after ice ripped the protective metal sheeting off exterior areas, Sullivan said. The Port of Milwaukee has asked the Army Corps to pay for a replacement and requested members of Congress add the project when considering the Army Corps’ annual budgets, he said.

So far, nothing has worked, Sullivan said.

If the breakwater fails, ships no longer will be able to dock in the port, and recreational boaters will avoid the city, Milwaukee Harbor Commissioner Ronald San Felippo said.

“We continue to develop ourselves as an attraction,” he said. “As a Great Lakes port, having a safe breakwater is a major part of that.”

O’Donoghue said the Army Corps prioritizes projects based on the condition of the breakwaters and the amount of shipping at each port. The city of Milwaukee ships enough cargo to qualify for the money, but a replacement project for the Milwaukee breakwater has not yet been designed.

If the breakwater is not replaced, the worst-case scenario is lake water levels rise and a huge storm sends waves over the breakwater and floods the Milwaukee shoreline.

That, however, is very unlikely because water levels are comparatively low this year, Sullivan said.

“If we were at the all-time high water level, and we had a 100-year storm,” he said, “then the wave energy would go over the top.”

The Daily Reporter


Dossin Museum curator to discuss two new exhibits June 16

5/29 - The Detroit Historical Society continues its quarterly Curator Chat series with Joel Stone, who will discuss the new exhibits “Life on a Long Ship: Great Lakes Sailors” and “Dossin Great Lakes Museum: Celebrating 50 Years” on June 16 at 6 p.m. The program takes place in the Aaron DeRoy Hall at the Dossin Museum on Belle Isle.

“Life on a Long Ship: Great Lakes Sailors” is a glimpse into the working routines and relaxing moments of men and women aboard ships of the lakes. The exhibit is designed to take visitors aboard the big boats using photographs and stories submitted by today’s working sailors, as well as images taken by Roger LeLievre, editor of Know Your Ships. This view of modern shipboard life history in process is juxtaposed with artifacts and images from the well-documented days of historic steamships.

Admission for the Curator Chat is free for Detroit Historical Society members and $20 for guests. For more information visit


Updates - May 29

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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. McNAMARA 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

St. Marys River
An electrical problem with the ferry Sugar Islander II cut off Sugar Island residents from the mainland for approximately six hours Tuesday. The Drummond Islander III was brought up from the south end of the St. Marys River to the north end to assist in shuttling cars and passengers to Sugar Island until the necessary repairs were made at nearby MCM Marine. Sugar Islander II resumed her regular service early Thursday afternoon and the Drummond Islander III departed immediately, returning downriver. Meanwhile, the afternoon saw a parade of upbounders starting with the saltie Serena and continuing with Herbert C. Jackson, Burns Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha, Cason J. Callaway and CSL Niagara. Mesabi Miner, Frontenac, St. Clair and Isadora were among the downbounders.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
On Thursday morning around 11:30 the Charles M. Beeghly finished loading coal at KCBX and proceeded to back out to Lake Michigan. Once out in Calumet Harbor at 12:45 she met the inbound St. Marys Challenger, which had to wait while the Beeghly turned around and backed into the Calumet River again and docked at Iroquios Landing for unknown reasons. The Challenger then steamed into the river and headed for the St. Marys terminal at Lake Calumet.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday the LS Christine departed at 5:30 a.m. and headed down the lake. The Ocean Group tug LaPrairie arrived from Clarkson at 8 a.m. Peter R Cresswell arrived at 9:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Doafsco. The saltie Songa Falcon arrived at 3 p.m. with liquid urea from Gibraltar via Montreal. Her next port will be Sarnia.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel was in at Redpath Sugar on Wednesday.


BoatNerd cruises coming soon

May 30 - Diamond Jack River Cruise
Leaves from Stroh Place at the foot of Jos. Campeau in Detroit, traveling up to the Blue Water Bridge and return. Enjoy more than 10 hours traveling up the Detroit River, across Lake St. Clair, then up the St. Clair River to beyond the Blue Water Bridges. Deli luncheon will be served on board, and a stop at the St. Clair Inn for dinner. This event is co-sponsored by

June 5 - Annual BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II
The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II following the Port Huron Marine Mart. The boat leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron for a special one-hour cruise. Reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the $5.00 fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at

June 25 - Annual Soo BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise
This year's St. Marys River cruise will again 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 25. 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 21.

August 7 - Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan
This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - May 28

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Pleasure craft hits Joseph H. Thompson

5/27 - Ontario police are investigating a boating crash that happened on Lake Erie, South of Colchester Sunday around 10 p.m. Police say a 33-foot Carver Mariner collided with the tug/barge Joseph H. Thompson. The pleasure craft had four Americans on board who were rescued by the crew on the Thompson and the Canadian Coast Guard Cape Dundas. The four boaters (two men and two women) were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.



Port Reports - May 27

St. Marys River
American Republic was upbound in the early afternoon Wednesday on its first trip of the season to Lake Superior. Kaye E. Barker, on her first trip since 2008, was downbound above the locks in the late evening. Other upbound traffic Wednesday included Joseph H. Thompson, Algolake, Joseph L. Block, American Integrity, Indiana Harbor and Edgar B. Speer. Edwin H. Gott and CSL Tadoussac were downbound.

Escanaba, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Cedarglen arrived at the CN ore dock on a rainy Wednesday afternoon. Her visit is the third by a CSL bulker in May.

Menominee, Mich. and Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
The ports have been active this past week. On May 19, Vlistborg arrived at KK Integrated Logistics to pick up a load of pulp. They were outbound the next night. On May 24, Marinette saw two vessels in port. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife vessel Spencer F. Baird arrived and appeared to load lake trout fingerlings to be planted in the Great Lakes region. A little later in the day, Catherine Desgagnes arrived with Marinette Fuel & Dock's eighth load of pig iron for this year. This was the Desgagnes' third visit this year. Finally, on the evening of May 25, BBC Rio Grande made its third trip of the year into Menominee. After anchoring out in the bay of Green Bay for the night, the vessel arrived at the KK Integrated Logistics dock with more wind turbine towers. The vessel's crew must have breathed a sigh of relief when the tug, Jimmy L, went out to assist them into port early the next morning after spending just 9-10 hours out on the bay. The first time the vessel arrived this year, they waited out in the bay for about 36 hours before making port; and, on their second trip they spent almost 67 hours out on the bay before arriving in port. Both delays were caused by high winds.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Prentiss Brown and St. Mary's Conquest came into port very early Wednesday morning with another load of cement for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was gone by 7 p.m. Wilfred Sykes is expected over the weekend.


Lake levels low in Ontario, Quebec

5/27 - The hot, dry spring across much of Ontario and Quebec has resulted in low water levels in most lakes and rivers, prompting shipping restrictions for freighters and warnings for pleasure boaters.

The shipping season in the Great Lakes has been open for less than two months and commercial freighters are being told to lighten their loads because of low water levels.

Commercial freighters that haul coal, cement and aggregates across the lakes and along the St. Lawrence are adapting to the change, said Angus Armstrong, harbourmaster for the Port of Toronto.

"There will be some impact on cost. They might come in with 30 to 40 tonnes less to ensure they come in with enough water," he told CBC News.

Downstream near Montreal, the water level is close to 1.5 metres below last year.

The conditions are likely to continue as Environment Canada predicts a hot and dry summer throughout the region.

CBC News


Shippers courted at Erie Inland Port conference

5/27 - Erie, Pa. – Jeff Lewis' company has reason to listen when local officials start pitching the proposed multimillion-dollar Erie Inland Port Project.

Lewis is a region sales manager for Landstar, a global transportation logistics company with offices in North East. The company ships a variety of items all over the world.

Landstar is the type of business that could potentially benefit if the port project -- which seeks to create large-scale transportation and shipping hubs in northwestern Pennsylvania and northeastern Ohio -- comes to fruition.

"I think it's definitely viable. It's a win-win if they can pull it off," said Lewis, one of 200 people who attended a daylong conference on the port project and the international logistics industry Tuesday at the Bayfront Convention Center.

"I live in North East, and I see the value in this," Lewis continued. "My concern is, will we have the manufacturing base to support this? But what I like is that we're leveraging our location, and that it's a one-stop shop. The amount of freight that bypasses us right now is enormous. We're in an optimum position here to take advantage."

Tuesday's conference gave representatives of regional businesses and freight, rail and shipping companies, along with elected officials and others, a chance to hear about the project firsthand from those trying to put it together.

That includes the Economic Development Corp. of Erie County, the region's lead economic development agency, which is spearheading the inland port plan. The project involves the ports of Conneaut, Ohio, and Erie, as well as large business parks featuring railroad and highway connections to handle the distribution, transportation and warehousing of goods.

The logistics centers would handle shipping containers of various sizes that could be moved by train, ship or tractor-trailer.

John Elliott, the Economic Development Corp.'s chief executive, has told Erie County government officials that the multiphase project would likely carry a price tag exceeding $50 million, funded by public and private money.

The project could be operating as early as 2013, Elliott said.

"The Lake Erie region has characteristics to it that I believe set us up for long-term success," Elliott told the audience.

Those characteristics, Elliott said, include the region's proximity to the Canadian border and interstate highways and the fact that it is amply serviced by railroad lines.

The conference featured presentations on shipping and logistics trends, the growing strength of Canadian ports and remarks by Erie County Executive Barry Grossman, a strong supporter of the inland port plan.

Grossman said large-container shipping "has not yet penetrated the Great Lakes. We intend it to happen here, and happen here first."

The Erie Times-News reported earlier this month that the Economic Development Corp. is evaluating about 2,000 acres in western Erie County and the Conneaut, Ohio, area in hopes that some of the properties -- somewhere between 200 and 700 acres -- eventually will become part of the project.

While Elliott on Tuesday did not discuss specific property locations, he said that all are located near existing railroad lines, as well as Interstate 90, and the properties represent an opportunity to develop multiple logistics/distribution hubs in the region, which will help "get product to market in the fastest, most reliable, most cost-effective way."

Erie Times News


Updates - May 27

News Photo Gallery
News Photo Gallery featuring Keweenaw Star Lighthouse Trip
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 26

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet came in early Tuesday afternoon with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. She was expected to depart late afternoon/early evening.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Maumee arrived at Calumet Harbor about 1 p.m. on Monday, turned around and proceeded to back down the Calumet River without any tugs to unload what appeared to be a load of stone just south of KCBX.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday, Cuyahoga returned with another load of salt for the Alpena Oil Dock. By 3 p.m., unloading was finished and the Cuyahoga backed out of the river. Also arriving in port Tuesday afternoon were the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity. They tied up at Lafarge to take on cement.

Stoneport, Calcite, Port Inland - Daniel McNeil
Due at Stoneport on May 26 is the American Republic; also due is the John G. Munson. Due on the 27th are Phillip R. Clarke and Great Lakes Trader. Due on the 28th are Arthur M. Anderson and Cason J. Callaway. Due on the 29th is John G. Munson followed by the Manitowoc. Due on the 30th is the Manistee. The McKee Sons is due on the 31st.
Due for Calcite is the Cason J. Callaway on the 27th followed by the James Kuber on the 28th and on the 29th the H. Lee White and Phillip R. Clarke are due.
Port Inland: Joseph L. Block was loading on Tuesday. Maumee is due Wednesday. Wilfred Sykes is due Thursday. On Friday, Joseph L. Block is due back

Toledo, Ohio - Daniel McNeil
Herbert C. Jackson is due Wednesday. Due Thursday is the H. Lee. White. On Saturday, Lambert Spirit is due, along with the McKee Sons. Maumee is due Sunday.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
The U.S. Brig Niagara sailed into Lorain Tuesday morning for a brief, unscheduled stop. According to Capt. Wesley Heerssen, the Niagara needs to pump its waste tanks before continuing to Put-in-Bay. Once in Put-in-Bay, the Niagara will be open to the public for day sails Wednesday through Sunday, Heerssen said. Info is available through the website for the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce. Heerssen said the Niagara, currently under the command of his boss, Capt. Walter Rybka, will be in Lorain for as short a time as possible as it needs to be on its way. Heerssen said he anticipates an early afternoon departure, probably before 3 p.m. Niagara left Lorain at 14:00 on her way to Put-N-Bay.


Lake Erie dumping challenged by environmental groups

5/26 - Toledo, Ohio – A coalition of environmental groups hope to block a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to dump as much as 800,000 cubic yards of mud dredged from the Port of Toledo in a deeper portion of Lake Erie.

The Corps dredges the port every year to keep it deep enough for lake-going merchant ships. The harbor is choked by a steady flow of fertilizer laden dirt that washes off northwest Ohio farms during rain storms and travels to the lake via the Maumee River.

The groups say the dumping of sediment elsewhere in the lake helps toxic algae "bloom" across Erie's shallow western basin, threatening wildlife and creating an oxygen depleted dead zone.

Last year's bloom extended 40 miles east of Toledo, all the way to Kelleys Island, said Sandy Bihn, director of the Oregon, Ohio,-based Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association. It's one of the groups that announced today they filed an appeal of an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issued permit that will let the Corps start dredging and dumping as early as July 1.

"It's never been that green that far for years," Bihn said of the algae.

Ohio EPA officials say they object to the dumping, too. Spokeswoman Dina Pierce said the agency ultimately approved the Corps' permit because neither the state nor the feds has the money to dump the sediment somewhere else.

"Right now there is not a viable alternative," Pierce said. "At least, not one that’s affordable."

Columbus Dispatch


Public to have chance for input on lighthouse proposal

5/26 - Petoskey, Mich. – The public soon will have an opportunity for input on the possibility of replicating an historic lighthouse along Petoskey’s waterfront.

The Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association hopes to arrange construction of a replica of a 42-foot light tower that stood along Petoskey’s breakwater prior to a 1924 windstorm.

U.S. Coast Guard officials turned down the lighthouse preservation and advocacy group’s proposal to replace the current light tower at the breakwater’s outer end with the replica of the older, pagoda-style design. But the association still hopes to find a home for the replica elsewhere along the waterfront, and has asked Petoskey officials to consider allowing it on city property.

The city’s parks and recreation commission has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal during a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 2, at city hall, 101 E. Lake St.

Currently, city parks and recreation director Al Hansen said Sunset Park — located along U.S. 31 on a bluff overlooking the breakwater — seems the most likely possibility as a site for the replica lighthouse.

“We’ll take public comment and see how the public reacts to this,” he added.

A pier at the city marina also has been considered as a possible location for the tower. But Hansen has said this spot could involve some potential drawbacks, since the lighthouse would compete visually there with other shoreline features such as the Bayfront Park clock tower.

In addition, some boaters find that the existing breakwater light blends with other light sources near the waterfront at night, Hansen said. If the tower was situated on the bluff and illuminated, it perhaps could provide a new reference point for those traveling toward the harbor, he added.

When the parks and recreation commission and lighthouse association discussed the proposal earlier this month, it was noted that the tower potentially could be designed to direct light specifically toward Little Traverse Bay rather than casting it toward land.

Along with a site for the lighthouse, Hansen has said the city possibly could supply electricity and basic maintenance for the structure. The city council would make the final decision on whether Petoskey would cooperate.

If city officials agree to this, Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association president Dick Moehl has said his group would then raise funds to cover the light tower’s construction and installation.

The project is estimated to have a $160,000 pricetag, but Moehl said the group probably would aim to secure $300,000 in the campaign — and use surplus dollars to start an endowment for upkeep.

Petoskey News-Review


Updates - May 26

News Photo Gallery - please continue to send in updates, we hope to have them posted late Wednesday.
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Ben W. Calvin
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 ARCTIC. 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 Huron-based Highlander Sea's future uncertain

5/25 - The tall ship Highlander Sea, a longtime symbol of Port Huron, is not expected to hit the waves this summer. What's more, its time representing the city could be winding down.

Rich Engle, vice president and chief operating officer of Acheson Ventures, said officials are exploring options for the 154-foot gaff-rigged topsail schooner, including the possibility of selling it.

The ship, built in 1924 and acquired by Acheson Ventures in 2002, has become the flagship of Port Huron. It often sails to destinations on the Great Lakes, including Chicago, Cleveland and Mackinac Island.

"The expense is quite heavy," Engle said. "The option of actively generating revenue on the Great Lakes is not very good. We are looking at different things we think could work for the ship."

Engle said the decision to stop operations was made partly because of slow business during the economic downturn, and the fact that the major part of the ship's revenue – port appearance fees – has dried up.

He would not provide details about how much money would be saved by docking the ship or how much it costs to operate. But Engle said officials are considering trying to acquire a certificate of inspection to take on more passengers than they currently do.

Officials have been doing extensive research and talking to other tall-ship officials to explore how revenue can be generated, he said. Engle expects discussions to continue this summer and anticipates a decision about the ship's fate will be made by the end of the sailing season.

"We love the ship. We'd love to keep it," Engle said. "But the possibility to at least break even might not be here. We are going to think clearly and carefully about its future."

Originally called Pilot, the ship served 47 years as a Boston Harbor pilot ship.

When the ship is sailing full-time, it requires a crew of up to 10 people for constant maintenance. After the most recent sailing season, a decision was made to keep the ship stationed at the Bean Dock at the Seaway Terminal, and no crew was hired. Engle said the cost of fuel and supplies also must be considered.

"There's not a lot of opportunity. We are required to stay in the Great Lakes. The ships go through a series of locks. It's a costly venture," Engle said.

During the ship's introductory ceremony in 2002, local businessman and philanthropist Jim Acheson said, "We're putting the port back in Port Huron as we welcome this ship to its destination. We hope that everyone will come and visit the Highlander Sea."

That ceremony drew about 200 invited guests and some 100 onlookers to Port Huron's Seaway Terminal.

The ship received major renovations in 2007, with a new mast and spars.

Tyson Connolly, a former Port Huron Yacht Club commodore, said he would miss seeing the tall ship out in the water.

"It wouldn't be uncommon to see the Earth Voyager and the Highlander Sea going by each other. There are not many places in North America you can see something like that," he said. "I'm sure the community will miss seeing it go under the Blue Water Bridge and around Lake Huron."

Connolly said the memory of the Highlander Sea starting the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race is something he never will forget.

"That was a really neat experience. It was a great moment," said Connolly, of Marysville. "But I think everyone can relate to difficult times."

Ted and Joyce Wildermuth of Marysville for years have watched the water from the Great Lakes Maritime Center. They are disappointed they will not be seeing the Highlander Sea this season.

"It's a beautiful ship," said Joyce Wildermuth, 66.

Ted Wildermuth, 69, said the ship is a big part of the area's identity. "It's something on the water that represents the Blue Water Area," he said. Port Huron Times Herald


Michigan man dies diving on Lake Huron shipwreck

5/25 - A 46-year-old scuba diver died off Harbor Beach in Huron County on Sunday, officials said Monday.

Daniel Kleinert of Munger, Bay County, was diving near the wrecked schooner the Dunderberg six and a half miles north-northeast off Harbor Beach with three friends shortly before 11:30 a.m. when his diving partner noticed Kleinert was having trouble with the dive and became unresponsive, according to Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson.

The U.S. Coast Guard Harbor Beach station transported him to a waiting ambulance, which rushed him to Harbor Beach Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Hanson said.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - May 25

Stoneport – Daniel McNeil
Vessels due into Stoneport the next few days are Manitowoc on Monday; Joseph H. Thompson, due Tuesday; Phillip R. Clarke and John G. Munson, due on Wednesday; and Great Lakes Trader and Arthur M. Anderson, expected Friday.

Hamilton – Eric Holmes
On Sunday, Quebecois arrived with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Her next port after discharging her cargo will be Clarkson.

Clarkson – Charlie Gibbons
James Norris arrived at Clarkson Sunday afternoon.

Kingston – Brian Johnson
Kawartha Voyager of Ontario Waterway Cruises made her first appearance in Kingston harbor on Saturday. She departed the Crawford wharf on Brock Street early Sunday morning to travel up the Cataraqui River on the Rideau Canal system for Ottawa. The Voyager has been making these trips every season since 1983.


Efforts help environment, maritime business group says

5/25 - The Green Marine program, a partnership of the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes maritime industries in Canada and the U.S., has achieved significant environmental improvements since its launch in 2008, a self-assessment by the group says.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. and its Canadian counterpart, the Seaway Management Corp., are among the program's 44 participants.

A news release said a recent self-evaluation of individual companies showed an overall performance increase, exceeding regulatory standards, on seven environmental issues: aquatic invasive species; air emissions; greenhouse gases; cargo residues; oily waters; conflicts of use for ports and terminals; and environmental leadership.

On a scale of 0 to 5, participants' average global score rose from 2 in 2008 to 2.5 in 2009.


Great Lakes Group receives state money, adding jobs

5/25 - Columbus, Ohio – State Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Cleveland) said Monday that a state loan to Cleveland-based Great Lakes Towing will allow the company to add 25 new, full-time jobs and 5,888 construction person hours, which is equivalent to about 3 more new, full-time jobs in Cleveland.

The money will allow the company to buy, install and assemble a 700-ton Travelift crane as part of their expansion plans.

"Great Lakes Towing has deep roots in Cleveland, and I am pleased that the state is investing in ways that allow them to expand and hire more people," Skindell said.

"On the heels of last week's word that Ohio is leading the nation in job creation, today's announcement confirms that our economy is stabilizing and heading in the right direction."

The Travelift will allow the shipyard to service six or more vessels simultaneously, in addition to the existing dry-dock, increasing employment, production, and efficiency.

The Travelift is a state-of-the-art crane that will promote Great Lakes Towing's expansion of its operations and new job creation in vessel and barge construction, offshore wind logistics and support, maintenance and repairs, and carbon fiber manufacturing business.


State denies permit for Wolverine coal plant

5/25 - Rogers City, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment last Friday denied an air quality permit to Cadillac-based Wolverine Power Supply Cooperative for a 600-megawatt power plant in Rogers City.

The state’s decision is based on findings of the Michigan Public Service Commission, which said the company failed to demonstrate the plant was needed to meet future supply needs.

MPSC staff also determined that building the proposed plant would increase electricity rates paid by average residential customers to 20.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. The 59.2 percent rate increase would cost the average residential customer $76.95 more each month. Only Hawaii has a higher average kilowatt-hour rate.

The decision was roundly criticized by local politicians in the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.

In a statement, Gov. Jennifer Granhom said: “We are protecting hundreds of thousands of Michigan homeowners, businesses, and farmers from paying a whopping increase in their electric bills, which would have been among the highest in the nation. The cost of doing business in Michigan would have skyrocketed, and despite the short-term gain from its construction, this project would have been a job-killer and a roadblock in our efforts to bring new economic development investments to Michigan.”

Granholm said that in addition to protecting ratepayers from being gouged with higher electric bills, the decision protects Michigan’s environment from the pollution an unnecessary plant fueled primarily by petroleum coke and coal would produce.

However, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, released this statement: “Governor Granholm’s decision to deny Wolverine Power’s air permit for a new power plant in Rogers City is a blow to Michigan’s economy and prevents northern Michigan from helping to establish the state as a leader in new energy technologies. This project was an opportunity to create much-needed jobs in northeastern Michigan and meet Michigan’s energy needs, while remaining consistent with the goal of producing cleaner energy. The most direct and immediate result of denying this permit is the loss of an estimated 2,800 construction, supply and operations jobs that would come with the project. It also signals a continuation of Michigan’s reliance on inefficient power plants with high rates of pollution constructed 40 to 50 years ago ... The Wolverine Power Clean Energy Venture Project was designed to utilize carbon capture and sequestration technologies, co-fire 20 percent of its fuel from biomass, and construct more than 50 megawatts of clean wind energy. The proposed plant would have been cleaner and greener than most existing power plants in Michigan and would have led the nation in improving and developing cutting-edge clean energy technologies."

State Sen. Jason Allen, R-Alanson, and House Republican Leader Kevin Elsenheimer of Kewadin also issued blistering criticisms of the decision.

Wolverine Power is a wholesale provider of energy to four electric cooperatives: Cherryland Electric Cooperative, Great Lakes Energy, HomeWorks Tri-County Electric Cooperative, and Presque Isle Electric & Gas Co-op. State officials said the MPSC analysis showed there were a number of other methods that would allow Wolverine to adequately supply its customers at a fraction of the cost of a new power plant. /TD>


Updates - May 25

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery - please continue to send in updates, we hope to have them posted late Tuesday.
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 112th 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

Duluth-Superior – Al Miller
Kaye E. Barker left port on Saturday for its first trip since 2008. The Duluth News Tribune reported that two Great Lakes Towing tugs assisted the vessel when it returned to port Sunday. There is no information as yet as to why the Barker had to return. On late Sunday afternoon the vessel was docked at the Duluth port terminal. Also, late Sunday afternoon, H. Lee White was unloading stone at the CLM dock in Superior and Arthur M. Anderson was upbound on St. Louis Bay.

St. Marys River
Traffic on a windy Sunday included the upbound Sam Laud, Edwin H. Gott, the research vessel Blue Heron and CSL Tadoussac. The Montrealais, Indiana Harbor, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Herbert C. Jackson and Federal Kushiro were downbound.

Green Bay – Scott Best and Wendell Willke
Sunday was a busy day in the Port of Green Bay. St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown departed after a delivery to St Marys Cement. Arriving in Green Bay was the G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity for Lafarge, Calumet with coal for Georgia Pacific and Catherine Desgagnes with pig iron for the Fox River Dock. Maumee, which was due with salt, got diverted to another port because the Desgagnes will be unloading in the slip where the Maumee was to unload for up to 24 hours.

Alpena –Ben & Chanda McClain
G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port Saturday morning taking on cement. On Sunday morning, dense fog in the area kept the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation at anchor out in the bay. Visibility improved as the day progressed and before noon the Champlain was able to tie up at Lafarge and begin loading for Detroit. The tall ships Denis Sullivan and Appledore are tied up in the river.

Sandusky – Jim Spencer
CSL's Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin loaded coal for an unknown Canadian port Sunday. She departed the NorfolkSouthern dock late in the afternoon, picking her way through numerous pleasure craft enjoying the first summer-like Sunday of the year.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Manistee arrived Saturday at 11:30 p.m. with what could be her last cargo to the Sand Supply Co. They backed out and departed at about 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning.

Hamilton – Eric Holmes
Saturday, the tug John Spence and barge departed US Steel at 1 pm. for Burns Harbor. Sunday, the Federal Danube arrived at 7:30 a.m. The Algobay departed at 9:30 a.m. in heavy fog for Sydney, Nova Scotia. Hamilton Energy departed for bunkering in Clarkson at 2 p.m. and returned to port at 7:30 p.m. Algolake arrived at 6 p.m. with coal from Thunder Bay for Dofasco.



5/24 - We are experiencing technical difficulties Sunday night and the news updates may be delayed.

Feel free to browse our normal updates:
Weekly Website Updates
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Mailboat J.W. Westcott II returns to service with new engine

5/23 - The U.S. mailboat J.W. Westcott returned to service Friday after being down for several weeks undergoing engine replacement.

The old Detroit Diesel 6-71 engine (240HP) was replaced with a Cummins QSB 5.9. The new engine is turbo charged offers 305 HP and up to 785 FP of torque. The new one uses less fuel, there is less noise throughout, and it uses Green Technology.

See the News Photo gallery Monday for pictures of the engine replacement.


Port Reports - May 23

Escanaba, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Escanaba was busy Saturday evening. Wilfred Sykes unloaded stone at the South Reiss Dock while fleetmate Joseph L. Block loaded taconite at the CN ore dock. Spruceglen, following a visit last weekend by fleetmate Birchglen, was secured on the south side of the CN ore dock waiting to load.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc returned early Saturday morning for her second visit in three days, this time calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Once unloaded, she turned in the Sixth Street basin and was outbound for the lake, late Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was loading coal at the Gateway Metroport Terminal on Friday evening. Her unloading boom was raised high above the centerline of the main deck so the conveyors could reach her hatches at 7 p.m. She was in Nanticoke by Saturday.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River was in port overnight, departing Saturday afternoon for Bath.


Traverse City Coast Guard evacuates ATV rider

5/23 - Traverse City, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City medically evacuated a 24-year-old male who sustained a broken leg after a fall from an ATV in the woods of Moorestown, Saturday, at about 2:45 p.m.

"He was in a fair amount of pain," said Lt. Mike Myers, HH-65C rescue helicopter pilot. "Initially, the rolling hills northwest of the depression made communications difficult."

A rescue swimmer assisted the man safely onto a backboard and then hoisted on board. Emergency Medical Services treated him on scene prior the air crew's arrival. Air Station Traverse City transferred the man to Munson Medical.


Lake Express boss tells harbor leaders not to 'chase rainbows'

5/23 - Muskegon, Mich. - Don't look for port developments to jump-start the struggling economies in Michigan's coastal communities, the Michigan Port Collaborative was told Friday.

The two-day gathering of state port officials, held at the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor, received a cautionary message from the head of the Muskegon-to-Milwaukee Lake Express ferry service. Before running Lake Express, Ken Szallai was director of the Port of Milwaukee.

"(A port) does not generate domestic or international trade; it enhances and serves it," Szallai said of having "realistic expectations" as to the economic development potential of a Great Lakes harbor. "A successful port grows from a successful community."

At a joint breakfast event of the Michigan Port Collaborative and the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce, Szallai said communities should not invest in their ports on speculation or hopes of creating jobs.

"'Build it and they will come' only works in Kevin Costner movies, and is not a good strategy for building and sustaining a port," Szallai said, alluding to the "Field of Dreams" baseball movie. "I have been appalled over the years as I have watched port leaders chase rainbows with no possibility of finding the pot of gold. While well-intentioned, these efforts have wasted money and credibility."

Specifically in Muskegon, Szallai said interest in developing a truck or container cross-lake operation between Muskegon and Milwaukee is not viable today.

"Eventually, something like that will happen, but it won't be tomorrow," Szallai said. "The pain is not great enough yet with too much traffic congestion or too high of costs. But Muskegon is well-placed to develop that kind of business someday."

Szallai said, in general, ports have a "bright future" as a resurgence in manufacturing, continued traffic congestion on highways and concerns about pollution will drive more commerce back on the Great Lakes.

"The most successful ports have been structured in law to run as businesses: lean, flexible and responsive with a minimum of political interference," he said.

The Michigan Port Collaborative spring conference in Muskegon brought together 110 port officials from Detroit to Marquette. The group has been working for three years to strengthen ties among 100 port communities in Michigan in hopes of improving the state's recreational and commercial harbors.

Muskegon was selected for the meeting because it has a multitude of uses on Muskegon Lake and offers the largest deep-water port on the state's Lake Michigan coast. It has ferry service, bulk commercial freighter traffic, sportfishing and sailing on a historic industrial shoreline that has given way to residential and tourist-based developments.

"We were blessed to see the various sides of this port's activities," said Lisa Shanley, head of the South Haven Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Officials from the Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce and the economic development agency Muskegon Area First said they were pleased with how the local port was received by the out-of-town visitors.

"We showed what was going on in Muskegon as a port," said Dennis Kirksey, a local businessman and waterfront property owner. "I think a lot of people are now seeing Muskegon in a different light."

Muskegon Chronicle


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw gets a little luck from a little miracle

5/23 - Harbor Springs, Mich. — The 240-foot U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw will have a little more luck the next time it leaves its port in Cheboygan.

This week the ship’s bell received a special engraving to commemorate a special day in the ship's history and give a nod to a long-standing naval tradition.

For more than two centuries, sailors have used ship bells as baptismal fonts to christen newborn babies. According to Coast Guard and Navy lore, the little-known practice of baptizing infants in ship bells was started by the British Royal Navy.

"One of our crew members recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl," said Cmdr. Scott J. Smith, who commands the Mackinaw.

Isabella Lynne was born 8 pounds, 13 ounces to Lt. Cory and Margaret Cichoracki of Carp Lake on March 21 at Northern Michigan Regional Hospital. Smith said the couple requested the baby be christened on the ship. So, on May 8, the infant, nicknamed "Poe," was christened in Sault Ste. Marie.

"Tradition used to be that the first person to get their name inscribed in the bell got to keep the bell when the ship was decommissioned, but it is no longer that way," Smith said.

"It is kind of a neat tradition that we try to keep up in the Coast Guard," Smith said.

To keep the tradition of inscribing the baby's name on the bell, Smith had to turn to a local jeweler, since few people are able to engrave the circular inside of a bell. Smith, who lives in Harbor Springs, decided to head to Mary Ann Archer Jewelry on Main Street.

The honor went to the jewelry designer and craftsman Adam Garret, and Tuesday the bell received its lucky inscription.

It reads: Isabella Lynne Cichoracki, "Poe", Christened May 8, 2010.

But, what about that nickname?

Cmdr. Smith explained that the baby got the nickname because she was born before anyone knew whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. So, because the crew spent so much time near the Poe Lock near Sault Ste. Marie the nickname "Poe" just stuck.

"It probably won't stick very long," Smith said. "But to us, it was baby Poe."

And it just so happens, "Poe" lived up to her name. The baby was born as the ship passed through the Poe Lock for its final icebreaking run of the season toward Detroit.

Petoskey News-Review


Port of Cleveland will help finance three movies

5/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland's shipping port agency wants to help the city jump-start a film making industry.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority agreed yesterday to issue $5.2 million in bonds to help finance three films to be shot in the city. The titles are: “The Kid Who Only Hit Homers,” “Strangeland 2” and “Cleopatra Smiles.”

Nehst Creations, based in New York, will pay off the debt with revenue from the movies. The company is setting up in a studio at the Cleveland Convention Center and expects to create up to 100 jobs.

Cleveland City Council, county commissioners and the Ohio Department of Development are all offering financial backing.

The Plain Dealer


Updates - May 23

News Photo Gallery
Lay-up/ Fit-out List updated
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Taconite boom tied to strong shipping season

5/22 - Duluth, Minn. – "I brought this boat into lay–up January 6, 2008. The vessel sat here for a year and half."

Hermantown native Greg Sipper has been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to finally captain a ship on the Great Lakes.

Thanks to rebounding taconite production in 2010, Sipper will get that chance when the 767-foot Kaye E. Barker shoves out of port.

"We're bringing the Barker back into service. The iron ore business is up quite a bit," said Bob Dorn, senior vice-president of Interlake Steamship Co. "The coal business is very good. So we have business for the Kaye E. Barker that will occupy her throughout the season."

"This has been a great start to the 2010 shipping season," said Adele Yorde, public relations manager at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "Shipments of iron ore are hugely up compared to that very dismal 2009."

Nearly 1.2 million tons of taconite has already been shipped from Duluth–Superior this calendar year. That's more than an 80 percent increase versus this time last year.

"The shipping industry is tied to the domestic and global economy," said Frank Ongaro, executive director of MinnesotaMining. "We're seeing this year, probably a gangbuster year."

Coal production, another Twins Ports shipping staple, has fallen off slightly so far in 2010 – 500,000 tons off the 2009 pace. Perhaps with that in mind, Yorde urges cautious optimism.

"While these are all great statistics for us at the Head of the Lakes," Yorde said, "it's a snapshot in time, today, this week, nearing the end of May."

For now though, the year 2010 has been good to the local shipping industry.

"We've got a full book of business," said Dorn. "We intend to have the ship operating by the end of this week and we'll be operating well into January if all goes well."

Northlands News Center


Port Reports - May 22

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Calumet loaded Friday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. Her next port of call was unknown. John G. Munson loaded for Green Bay at the same coal dock Thursday. Her departure was delayed for several hours by unspecified repairs.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the tug John Spence and barge arrived in ballast from Detroit at 2 p.m. They went to Pier 16 at U.S. Steel to load cargo for Burns Harbor. Federal Patriot arrived at 4 p.m.


SS City of Milwaukee hosts open house, reunion

5/22 - Manistee, Mich. – On Saturday, May 29, the museum ship SS City of Milwaukee will host its annual Open House/Carferry Crew Reunion from noon to 6 p.m. The event will be open to all and free of charge. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be available from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., followed by live music.

The museum ship is now available for overnight stays. At this time the boat is available to groups of 10 or more at $25 per person. Eventually it is hoped to expand lodging to individuals/couples. For more info go to


Captain Roger Stahl

5/22 - Captain Roger Allen Stahl, formerly of Garden City and Livonia, passed away on Thursday, May 20 at his home in Westland, Mich. He was 87 years old and was a member of Detroit Shipmasters’ Lodge No. 7 for over 29 years.

Stahl was born on April 8, 1923 in Bayfield, Wis., and was a World War II veteran. After returning to Bayfield in 1946, he took a job with Roen Steamship Co. as a tugboat captain.

In 1951, he accepted a position in Detroit with the Dunbar and Sullivan Dredging Company as a tugboat captain. He participated in the International Tugboat Races on the Detroit River and brought the England Trophy to the United States by finishing in first place aboard the tug Sachem. In 1956, Stahl worked with Dunbar and Sullivan dredging the St. Lawrence Seaway during the initial construction phase. Over the years he worked on each of the Great Lakes, in New York Harbor building a new rapid transit tunnel under the East River, in New Haven, Conn., dredging a new submarine base for the U.S. Navy, and in Venezuela, South America as a maritime fleet engineer.

In 1979 Stahl accepted a Fleet Engineer position with the Gaelic Tugboat Co. based in Detroit. He was responsible for maintaining a fleet of tugboats from Buffalo to Detroit, and oversaw the repowering of a number of tugboats in the Gaelic fleet, including the Coast Guard icebreaker Kaw. Gaelic renamed the Kaw the Roger Stahl in his honor. He retired from Gaelic in 2003, but continued to respond to calls from Gaelic for technical assistance.

Stahl will lie in state at Manns Ferguson Funeral Home, 17000 Middlebelt Road, (Just south of 6 Mile Rd.) Livonia MI 48154 (734-425-1800) on Sunday, May 23, 2010 from Noon to 8 p.m. The funeral mass will be at St. Genevieve Catholic Church, 29015 Jamison, Livonia, MI on Monday, May 24 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Angela Hospice 14100 Newburgh Rd.; Livonia, MI 48154

The funeral home obituary can be found at this link


Updates - May 22

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Loading began quickly on arrival.

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Herm Klein
The Keweenaw Star arrived in the Soo Thursday from Marquette. This was the first leg of the two day lighthouse cruise ending in Charlevoix.

Manitowoc, Wis. - Scott Best
Early Thursday morning the Robert S. Pierson arrived in Manitowoc to unload a cargo of barley at the Bud Elevator in downtown Manitowoc.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
While the sky was blue above the Saginaw River on Thursday, the boats on the water were Gray. Manitowoc was inbound Thursday morning with a split load. She stopped at the Bay City Wirt dock to lighter before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt stone dock in Saginaw. About 45 minutes behind Manitowoc was her fleet mate, Saginaw. Saginaw traveled upriver to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw to unload. This was the first visit of 2010 for both vessels and the first visit since 2006 for the Saginaw to her namesake river. Manitowoc and Saginaw were both outbound Thursday evening.

Toledo, Ohio – Phil Jackson
American Republic departed winter lay-up in Toledo Thursday morning sailing upbound to load in Meldrum Bay, Ont.

Hamilton/Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday the Vega Desgagnes departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 7 p.m. Thursday Algomarine arrived at 7:30 a.m. with sand and departed at 2 p.m. for the canal. Hamilton Energy arrived at 10:30 p.m. from Port Weller. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 1 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Capt. Henry Jackman was in port in the Turning basin Wednesday.


Captain Mike Elson

5/21 - Captain Mike Elson passed away May 19, 2010 in Toledo, Ohio. Born in Marinette Wis. Nov. 10, 1929 He worked on the boats starting at the age of 18 as a deckhand in 1947. He worked his way up the ladder to become a Captain. His first Captains job was in 1977. Captain Elson received the Outstanding Mariner Award in 1985. He was Fleet Captain for American Steamship Co. Capt. Elson retired in 1994, he was an inspiration to those who sailed with him. He was always willing to teach a new sailor and give words of encouragement.

Visitation will be Fri May 21st Jasins Funeral Home Point Place Toledo from 3 to 8pm Scripture Service at 7pm Funeral Mass will be Sat at 10:30 at St. Johns Church Point Place. Interment is private


Updates - May 21

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 143 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.


Port Reports - May 20

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
The Manistee arrived in Green Bay Wednesday morning, but it would be late afternoon before she arrived at her destination, the Georgia Pacific coal dock all the way up the Fox River. The Manistee spent several hours stuck as she was making the very tight turn after passing through the CN RR bridge to head into the GP slip. By just after 3 p.m., she was free with no tug assistance and heading into the slip to unload. By 7 p.m. she was backing out and departing Green Bay. Also arriving in Green Bay in the afternoon was the Olive L Moore and Lewis J. Kuber, the combo is making its third straight trip to Green Bay, with more stone for Western Lime.

Fairport Harbor, Ohio - Herb Hubbel and Bob Hunter
Noon Wednesday found the Algoway unloading limestone and the Maumee loading salt.


More prizes announced for BoatNerd fundraising raffle

5/20 - Besides the Grand Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime trip on the historic Great Lakes steamboat St. Marys Challenger, other prizes have been announced for BoatNerd’s fundraising raffle.

They are: A night free for two at the Inn at Lock 7 on the Welland Canal.
Round trip ferry ride to Washington Island, and a 90-minute tram tour of the island on the Viking Tour Train.
Print of the Str. St. Marys Challenger from the Digital Shipyard.
Autographed 2010 edition of Know Your Ships and a 50th anniversary baseball cap
Copy of The Lakers 1950-1959 by Eric Hirsimaki
Complete Port Hole from the recently scrapped laker Calumet.
Ahoy & Farewell book by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. (3 prizes)

Additional prizes, previously announced, are:
A round trip for two including auto aboard the S.S. Badger sailing between Michigan and Wisconsin.
Two round trip tickets to Beaver Island. The two-hour ferry ride from Charlevoix will take you to St. James, Beaver Island, located 32 miles northwest of Charlevoix.
Trip on the Chi-Cheemaun for two adults plus vehicle or four adults walk on with same day return.
Cruise for 4 people on a two-hour tour aboard the Huron Lady II departing from their dock in Port Huron
Two tickets for Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River. Detroit or Wyandotte

Every few years, through the generosity of the shipping industry, BoatNerd offers a boat trip raffle as our primary means of fund raising. Money raised allows this site to continue to operate and expand. As the site continues to grow in popularity, bandwidth and connection charges increase as well, and hardware needs to be continually upgraded.

All of our staff are volunteers and are not paid for the thousands of hours of work that go into processing and organizing the information we provide for free.

Now, we need your help.

We ask that if you enjoy this site and find it useful, please make a contribution and an investment in its future by participating in our current fund-raising raffle. BoatNerd volunteers are keenly aware of the economic challenges many of our users face. But even the purchase of a single ticket at $10 goes a long way toward allowing us to keep providing this site and its features.

Thank you.

Click here for more information


Updates - May 20

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper, and fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha arrived to load ore.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, the Hamilton Energy departed at 6 a.m for bunkering in Port Weller and returned at 1 p.m. Vega Desgagnes departed at 1:30 pm. for the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte.


Minnesota senators work to end lakes dredging crisis

5/19 - Toledo, Ohio – Minnesota senators Amy Klobuchar (D) and Al Franken (D) have co-sponsored legislation aimed at ending the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. Senate Bill 3213 would require that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) spend what it takes in each year rather than keep tax dollars meant for dredging the nations ports and waterways. The chronic underfunding of dredging that has resulted from amassing a nearly $5 billion surplus in the HMTF has left an estimated 15 million cubic yards of sediment clogging the Great Lakes navigation system.

A tax on cargo moving through deep draft ports annually generates $1.6 billion in revenues that are deposited in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. However, the fund only spends about $800 million per year. Therefore the HMTF has a surplus of nearly $5 billion.

“The Corps of Engineers estimates it needs $180 million to restore the shipping lanes,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. “Clearly the money is there. What is lacking is our access to those dollars.”

Minnesota is the largest shipper of iron ore on the Great Lakes. In a typical year the ports of Duluth/Superior, Two Harbors, and Silver Bay will load about 40 million tons of iron ore, or 65 percent of all taconite pellets shipped on the Lakes.

Superior is the largest coal-loading port. Shipments can top 22 million tons, or roughly half of all the coal moving on the Lakes.

Duluth/Superior is also the largest grain shipping port on the U.S. side of the Lakes. The port typically loads about 2 million tons of grain each year.

“As our economy rebounds from its worst recession since World War II, we need to make Great Lakes shipping as efficient as possible,” said Adolph Ojard, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “These industries are the foundation of our economy. Iron ore mining, for example, accounts for one-third of the gross regional product of northeastern Minnesota. By cosponsoring S. 3213, our Senators are saying yes to more family-sustaining jobs in this region.”

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


National Maritime Day celebration set for May 21 in Duluth-Superior

5/19 - Duluth, Minn. – U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, modern-day seafarers, and maritime industry stakeholders will gather on Friday, May 21, to celebrate National Maritime Day in the Port of Duluth-Superior. The program, sponsored by the Propeller Club of Duluth-Superior, gets underway at noon.

National Maritime Day commemorates the first steam vessel crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on May 22, 1819, when the SS Savannah sailed from her home port in Georgia bound for Liverpool, England. Established to recognize the value and importance of this nations maritime industry, it evolved into a day to honor merchant mariners for their legacy of service and sacrifice having safeguarded our country and its trade corridors during World War II and other armed conflicts around the world. Today, Maritime Day is observed as a combined salute to merchant mariners and the entire maritime industry, focusing attention on the benefits maritime brings to Americas economy, trade, national security, employment, recreation, and quality of life.

Keynote speaker for Maritime Day is Frank Ongaro, executive director of MiningMinnesota, an industrial trade association representing a diverse coalition of organizations, companies and individuals committed to sustainable and environmentally responsible non-ferrous (non-iron) mining development in Minnesota. Handling minerals has been the foundation upon which the Port of Duluth-Superior has thrived for over a century. Today, the demand for base and precious metals is growing both domestically and globally. With vast, low-grade, largely sulfur-deficient deposits, the Duluth Complex holds international significance and the potential for tremendous job creation.

Friday’s event will commence with the Presentation of Colors by U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Duluth followed by comments from Duluth Mayor Don Ness; Superior Port Director Jason Serck; and Ralph Kobeska, Commander of the U.S. Merchant Marine Viking Chapter. Prior to the keynote address, a brief memorial service in honor of all mariners will be conducted by Rev. Tom Anderson, Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers.


New Lake Ontario lighthouse

5/19 - Point Breeze, N.Y. – An abandoned lighthouse toppled into Lake Ontario during a 1916 storm, closing out Point Breeze's heyday as a tourist beacon that lured schooners and steamboats, an upscale hotel and racetrack and trainloads of daytrippers fleeing the summer swelter.

This spring, a 37-foot-tall replica was erected with painstaking devotion beside the harbor. Already, visions of an economic revival in an overlooked oasis in upstate New York are flickering on the horizon.

"The amount of traffic you get with a lighthouse is phenomenal," said Ben Jones, a history buff who lives near the riverside hamlet on the southern lake shore midway between Niagara Falls and Rochester.

New lighthouses have been a rarity since World War I, and this is one of the first carbon copies.

"It's the first historic replica I know of that has ever been built on Lake Ontario, and it's the first new lighthouse on Lake Ontario in more than 70 years," said author Thomas Tag, a Chicago-based expert on lighthouse technology.

Most of America's 700-plus lighthouses popped up between 1870 and 1915, a third of them along the Great Lakes.

"Very few were built from 1915 to 1955 and virtually none after that," Tag said. "Before World War I, the government decided there were a lot of small lighthouses on port entries that just weren't worth the effort to maintain."

They tended to fall down 10 to 15 years after being abandoned, he said.

Such was the fate of the Point Breeze tower. Built in 1871 at the end of one of two 1,600-foot-long piers guarding the dredged mouth of the Oak Orchard River, it was decommissioned in 1905. Pilings under the piers were washed away in 1914 and a gale-force storm sent the lighthouse tumbling down on Dec. 28, 1916.

Point Breeze's popularity slipped away with it.

The first white settlers crossed here from Canada in 1803. By 1900, there were shipbuilders, resort hotels and excursion steamers ferrying vacationers from Batavia, Buffalo and beyond. They came by horse-drawn carriage or in six trains stopping daily in Carlton, a town that incorporates Point Breeze.

Recreational angling brought back some bustle a half-century ago. With about 200 residents today, Point Breeze is outnumbered by boat slips, its six marinas an anchor for lake charters and inland fly fishing.

But much of surrounding Orleans County remains in economic straits, said marina owner Peg Wiley, a 2002 transplant from Rochester who saw potential in tapping the region's rich maritime past. Learning of a failed 1970s effort to build a replica, she and fellow enthusiasts raised $200,000 to see it through.

A Rochester construction firm, Nathaniel General, dusted off 1909 Coast Guard blueprints and brought in a specialized carpentry team run by Dan Synder and his son, Ian.

The carpenters are experienced in mortise-and-tenon joinery, which was used in constructing the pyramidal tower at the foot of one of the twin piers, which were rebuilt in 1975.

"It takes old skills to accomplish," Snyder said.

The lighthouse, with cedar walls and a steel-and-glass lantern room, sits in a state marine park with boat launches, picnic tables and eateries. A dedication ceremony is planned for August. There are plans to build a museum featuring video footage of recently discovered Lake Ontario shipwrecks such as the twin-masted Milan, which sank off Point Breeze in 1849.

"I grant you, lighthouses for the most part probably aren't terribly necessary for anybody running GPS in their boats, which most everybody does now," said retired teacher Dick Anderson, president of a nonprofit group that will maintain the lighthouse and museum.

Lighthouses have enduring appeal because of their historic significance as a safety beacon for mariners and their often inspiring or dramatic settings "on points, on rocks, in dangerous locations for shipping," said Chad Kaiser of the U.S. Lighthouse Society.

Even before its completion in May, the novelty and nostalgia of the newest lighthouse drew gawkers.

"It's exciting, it really is, to have something like that back," said Lisa Hodges, 57, a nurse who drove up from Albion, the county seat.

Potential traffic jams — and New York state allocating $110,000 in preservation grants — have brought grumbling from "some residents who like the old ways," said Bill Karcher, whose year-old Lighthouse Restaurant on the Point has extended from Friday night fish fries to weekend hours with live music.

But for local retailers, "this really is helping already," he said.

"Some people want to see things stay as they are, but it's not realistic," interjected Wiley, bemoaning the county's steady slide in population to around 40,000 and its dearth of thriving new businesses.

For a long time, tourists have been sparse here "because we haven't really had anything for them to show up for," she said. "But now we do."



Updates - May 19

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Lakes iron ore surges again in April

5/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes iron ore trade continued to strengthen in April in response to growing demand for steel. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian Lakes and Seaway ports totaled 5.4 million net tons, an increase of 146 percent compared to a year ago. April loadings also bettered the month’s 5-year average by nearly 5 percent.

Rebounding steel production is driving the Lakes iron ore trade. As April began, the steel industry was using 70.8 percent of its capacity, and by month’s end, had worked up to 72.5 percent of capacity. In April 2009, the steel industry had but 41 percent of its capacity on line.

Another positive indicator is that the 1.6 million tons of iron ore shipped from Two Harbors, Minnesota, in April is one of the highest monthly totals for a Great Lakes iron ore dock in the past several years.

Year-to-date the iron ore trade stands at 9.5 million tons, an increase of nearly 170 percent compared to a year ago. However, shipments are still slightly behind the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - May 18

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Kaye E. Barker emerged from drydock in Fraser Shipyards on Friday. On Monday morning the vessel remained docked in the yard with some steam exhaust visible. Elsewhere in port, Federal Mackinac was at CHS grain terminal ready to load and Metsaborg was docked at the Duluth port terminal to unload wind turbine assemblies.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
H. Lee White arrived and unloaded coal Monday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock. She delivered the only other coal cargo to the dock back on April 20.

St. Marys River – Jerry Masson
Monday evening traffic at the Soo included upbound Lee A Tregurtha, Edwin H. Gott, St Clair, Algowood and Mesabi Miner. Downbound were Saginaw, Burns Harbor and CSL Tadoussac.

Escanaba, Mich. – Dick Lund
American Spirit arrived late Saturday night, and did not depart until Monday. There were train cars being unloaded at the ore facility marked DM&IR (Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range), so it would seem that the taconite was from the Missabe Range in Minnesota. Also, due to the slow loading time, it would also seem that the ship was being loaded directly from the ore cars.

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
BBC Mississippi arrived in Menominee with another load of windmill towers for KK Integrated Logistics. The ship was assisted into port by the Selvick tug Jimmy L. This is the third such shipment for KK this year.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes backed in shortly after midnight with a load of slag for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. She was observed outbound, bow first, at 6:15 am. Manistee delivered a load of coal to the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven mid-morning, and was outbound by early afternoon.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Both of the Lafarge tug and barges were in port the past few days, taking on cement cargos. Cuyahoga arrived in the Thunder Bay River around 10 p.m. on Monday, unloading road salt from Goderich, Ont.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Over the weekend, Ryba Marine's tug Tenacious arrived on the Saginaw River with more dredging equipment and barges for the upper river dredging project. On Sunday, Tenacious was moving barges from the Essroc Dock in Essexville, upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, which has been the staging area for the upper river project.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Federal Miramichi arrived at 7:30 a.m. with steel for Pier 14W. Vega Desganges arrived at 8 p.m.

Kingston, Ont. - Brian Johnson
On May 14, the cruise ship Canadian Empress departed Kingston to begin another season. The Empress was built at Algan Shipyard in 1981 in Gananoque, Ontario. The replica steamboat has been showing passengers from all over the world the odyssey, history and beauty of the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers from Kingston, Ottawa and Quebec City for 28 seasons.


St. Lawrence Seaway traffic heralds upswing

5/18 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The big vessels plying the Great Lakes are a formidable sight and an economic indicator, to boot.

When demand falls off from cargo-carriers' customers — manufacturers that need iron ore, or power plants that need coal — shipping feels the pinch.

Shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway took a dramatic hit in 2009 last year during the recession. But the Seaway is showing signs of recovery this year, Seaway officials said.

The amount of cargo transported through the Seaway, which includes the Welland Canal, from the start of the season through April increased 18 percent from the same period last year, officials said.

On the Welland Canal, cargo shipments also rose 18 percent.

Through April, this year's shipping season also was 19 percent longer than last year's.

Iron ore shipments on the waterway more than doubled from a year ago.

Seaway officials say the results point to an upswing in manufacturing activity that is driving demand for commodities, such as iron ore used to produce steel.

But after a year in which total cargo shipments on the Seaway plunged 25 percent from the previous year, the recovery remains a work in progress.

"Certainly it's much more encouraging," said Richard Corfe, president of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. "Last year was a disappointment, but a reflection of the economy."

Corfe said he remains a "little cautious" about the fledgling turnaround. He said he wants to be assured the increase in shipping reflects an enduring pickup in the economy, rather than customers simply restocking depleted inventories.

The Lake Carriers' Association is taking a similar restrained view of the early season results. The Ohio-based group represents 18 American companies operating 55 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes.

"The economy is definitely turning a corner, and that's great news for us," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications, "But I want to stress we have quite a ways to go to get back to where we were before the recession."

As of May 1, the group's member carriers had 42 vessels in service on the Great Lakes, Nekvasil said. That was up seven from a year ago, but down 18 from 2008.

While iron ore shipments through March skyrocketed from a year earlier, they remained 13 percent below the five-year average for the quarter, Nekvasil said.

But as more vessels return to service, more crews will be needed to staff them, providing a boost in jobs. "We're moving in the right direction," Nekvasil said.

A number of Great Lakes vessels serve the Buffalo area. Great Lakes Seaway and Shipping's Web site,, which tracks the ships' movements reported by Brian Wroblewski, has reported visits this year from Interlake Steamship's Herbert C. Jackson, delivering grain to ADM; the Grand River Navigation's Manistee, carrying sand; and the Canada Steamship Lines' CSL Laurentien, delivering coal.

Through April, the Welland Canal recorded 375 total transits, up 14 percent from 330 a year ago. A transit consists of a vessel's passage through one or more of the canal's locks.

Last year on the canal, mine products, including iron ore, coal and salt, made up about 60 percent of all cargo. Agricultural products, such as wheat, soybeans and canola, accounted for 28.5 percent of the cargo.

Last year, which happened to be the Seaway's 50th anniversary, cargo shipments fell to a level unseen since 1961.

Corfe said a complete recovery from the downswing could take two years. But he said the Seaway is looking to the future, by trying to attract more general cargo shipments such as parts for wind turbines.

The Welland Canal, he said, is well-positioned to capture more traffic from barges and smaller vessels. The canal recently completed a $50 million conversion of all the equipment in the locks to hydraulic operations. It previously changed the toll structure so that smaller users pay less.

The Seaway is spending about $55 million to rehabilitate the infrastructure in its system. about $32 million of that amount is devoted to the canal. The Seaway also is working on technological innovations such as a vacuum mooring system in the canal to secure vessels in locks, rather than using ropes and winches.

"We see the canal as an integral part of the Seaway and interlake trade," Corfe said.

Buffalo News


Canadian shipbuilding plan will pit East against West, officials say

5/18 - The Harper government is expected to release its long-term shipbuilding strategy in the coming weeks, creating two national centres to handle billions of dollars worth of contracts.

The strategy could spark a high-stakes game pitting West Coast firms against East Coast companies in a winner-take-all contest, industry officials say.

Washington Marine Group on the West Coast and J.D. Irving on the East Coast will be asked to submit proposals to become the "centre of excellence" for building combat ships such as the Arctic patrol vessels and the fleet of vessels that will eventually replace the navy's Halifax-class frigates.

Another centre for larger non-combat ships — including the navy's proposed new supply vessels, the Joint Support Ships, as well as the coast guard's polar icebreaker — will also be created, industry representatives say.

Davie Yards in Quebec is the prime contender for that, in part, because it is considered the only shipbuilder in the country big enough to handle such work.

Work on the national shipbuilding strategy started almost a year ago when federal officials met behind closed doors with industry representatives in Gatineau, Que.

The government is not talking publicly about the contents of the new policy, although Defense Minister Peter MacKay has said it will soon be released.

But some shipbuilding officials around the country as well as defense industry representatives in Ottawa have been briefed. A memo to cabinet was also produced on the policy, they said.

"Once that was done a process would be done through Public Works where they would approach Irving and ourselves to put in a submission to become a centre of excellence for the combat ships," said John Shaw, a vice-president with Washington Marine Group in Vancouver. "I understand the same type of process would go ahead for the non-combat ships. Now who was all invited on this besides Davie, I don't know."

Geoff Britt, spokesman for J.D. Irving, said the shipbuilder is ready to proceed with whatever the government proposes.

"Although there has been no official announcement of the Crown's plans with respect to the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, we support the centre of excellence strategy to construct the various classes of ships the navy and the coast guard will need in the years to come," he said in an e-mail.

But Shaw, who is also chairman of the Pacific Coast Shipbuilders Association, said he is uneasy with the winner-take-all approach for combat ships. It could be financially difficult for whichever yard didn't win, he added.

"I've said to the membership of the PCSA that this is not necessarily the outcome that we wanted," he added. "We would have preferred that they come out and say there would be a centre of excellence in the West and a centre of excellence in the East."

The government's rationale for directing most large contracts to a few shipyards is that it will keep those companies continually at work and able to develop a skilled workforce. In the past the industry has gone through peak periods of work building a number of warships, only to have that dwindle as contracts end. The result then is layoffs and expertise eventually being lost.

It is still unclear exactly when the strategy will be announced.

"I've got nothing to announce at this time," MacKay's spokesman Dan Dugas said in an e-mail.

The $2.1-billion JSS project was to buy three vessels capable of resupplying warships at sea. But it was derailed in 2008 when the government determined that various bids did not meet the requirements of the new fleet and were too expensive.

Canwest News Service


Port leaders to meet in Muskegon next week

5/18 - Muskegon, Mich. – Michigan's port communities will be focused on Muskegon next week as the Michigan Port Collaborative has its spring summit at the Holiday Inn Muskegon Harbor. This is the first time the collaborative's annual meeting has been outside of Lansing as the group selected Muskegon so the programming can integrate the many features of Muskegon's port. A group of up to 200 will discuss common issues of port development in nearly 100 port communities around the state's Great Lake shorelines.

The collaborative is interested in both the commercial and recreational use of Michigan's ports. The conference is Thursday and Friday.

"We are working to facilitate an exchange of ideas and information that will benefit all Michigan port communities," collaborative Chairman John Kerr wrote in announcing the Muskegon event. Kerr is the head of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority.

"Participants in the summit will be able to explore the port of Muskegon and its region as well as network with Muskegon regional leaders," Kerr wrote.

The Michigan Port Collaborative began three years ago, bringing together those interested in commercial shipping, recreational boating, water-based transportation and tourism among other sectors. It has been organized through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment. "Muskegon represents all of the different types of port activities," said collaborative coordinator Carol Linteau. "What we've seen in Muskegon is a good cross-section of activities. We think people would like to learn from what's going on in Muskegon."

Muskegon's port activities range from lake freighters, the Lake Express high-speed ferry, charter boat fishing operations, recreational sailing, educational research institutions and marine construction businesses. The summit's agenda includes presentations from several Muskegon officials and community leaders.

Muskegon County Administrator Bonnie Hammersley, Muskegon Area Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Larsen, Muskegon Area First economic developer Karen Bensen and retired industrialist Roger Andersen will give the conference an overview of the history and future of Muskegon's port.

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center Director Arn Boezaart will discuss offshore wind power; Grand Haven-Spring Lake Visitors Bureau Director Marci Cisneros will talk about tourism; and Muskegon Community College President Dale Nesbary will address port-related training programs. Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry will give the keynote address at noon Thursday and Lake Express President Ken Szallai will speak Friday as part of the chamber's Business for Breakfast series.

"This is an opportunity to showcase Muskegon," chamber Vice President Janessa Stroud said. "The focal point will be on Muskegon as hosts."

Outside of the summit sessions, participants will have an opportunity to take a three-hour bus tour of the south shore of Muskegon Lake, a guided walking tour of historic sites around downtown Muskegon along with either dinner Thursday on board the Port City Princess or at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum.

Muskegon Chronicle


Coast Guard establishes safety zone, regulated navigation area near Romeoville, IL.

5/18 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard Captain of the Port Sector Lake Michigan established a temporary safety zone from Brandon Road Lock and Dam to Lake Michigan.

The rule is in effect from May 11, 2010, through March 1, 2011, and will cover 77 miles of navigable waterways in the Chicago area.

Because federal and state agencies may take actions at any time, in any segment of the waterways covered by the temporary safety zone, this rule provides the Captain of the Port, Sector Lake Michigan, the ability to take targeted and expeditious action in order to protect vessels and people from hazards associated with and federal and state efforts to control aquatic nuisance species.

There is an Asian carp suppression activity scheduled for May 21, 2010, in Little Calumet River below the Thomas O'Brien Lock ad Control works, approximately from miles 323.2 to 325.3. Information is forthcoming.

The other current restriction is the regulated navigation area (RNA) at the aquatic nuisance species dispersal barrier near Romeoville, IL.

This temporary interim rule is intended to restrict vessels from entering certain segments of the navigable waters of the Des Plaines River, Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, branches of the Chicago River, and the Calumet-Saganashkee Channel.


Updates - May 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historic Galleries updated - Black River and Lemoyne
New Discussion Boards 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

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Sunday, English River arrived at the port of Buffalo around 6:30 p.m. and was towed up to the LaFarge Cement Dock by the tug Washington.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday Montrealais arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Federal Weser departed at 3 p.m. Leandra departed at 6:30 p.m. for the Welland Canal.


Gerry Ouderkirk is Detroit group’s Historian of the Year

5/17 - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, at its 66th annual dinner meeting Saturday night at the St. Clair Inn, named Toronto, Ont.-based marine historian and author Gerry Ouderkirk as it's 2010 Historian of the Year.

Ouderkirk wrote “Shipwrecked On The Bruce Coast” in 1995 and “Ships of Kingston,” co-authored with past Historian of the Year honoree Skip Gillham, in 2008. He helped research and co-produce the documentary “Sails To The Wind” in 1979, and the “Russel Brothers Limited - 100th Anniversary Edition DVD” (2007) is based on his original Russel Brothers vessel research.

He has contributed numerous feature articles to The Scanner, the monthly publication of the Toronto Marine Historical Society, and he is also TMHS program director. Ouderkirk is a member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, the Southampton Propeller Club and the Welland Canal Ship Society. He has been sailing professionally for 35 years, and this year has the honor of being captain of the Toronto-based sidewheel passenger ferry Trillium in her 100th season.

The assembled group also heard Alpena, Mich.-based historian C. Patrick Labadie speak on “The Technical Evolution of Great Lakes Ships.”

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


Recovery Act funds tapped to modernize power plants of two lakers

5/17 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - When the H. Lee White and Indiana Harbor started the 2010 shipping season, they did so with new, cleaner power plants installed at a pair of Wisconsin shipyards.

That included work over the winter on the ship's service — power for equipment needed to run the ship under normal operation — electrical generation plants on the H. Lee White done at Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay.

"Great Lakes vessels are long-lived, and the equipment in them is also long-lived," said Pierre Pelletreau, assistant vice president of fleet engineering with New York-based American Steamship, owners of the freighters. "What was removed were the original generators. For the H. Lee White that's going back to '74 and for the Indiana Harbor that's '79. They've been in there a long time, and technology has improved leaps and bounds from there."

Work on the Indiana Harbor — which got the same type of ship's service upgrades as the White — was carried out at Fraser Shipyard Inc. in Superior.

Each ship uses two cleaner-burning diesel engines to generate that electricity. FABCO Power Systems in Green Bay was the competitive bidder for the new Caterpillar engines, Pelletreau said.

The upgrades were paid for by $1.2 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the Great Lakes Commission with $403,016 from American Steamship, according to the company. Some of these industry moves are in response to government guidelines aimed at reducing emissions in the Great Lakes.

The upgrades to both ships are expected to reduce a combined total of 9.1 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions annually and about 2.8 tons of carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons emissions are expected to drop about 50 pounds per year, Pelletreau said.

"It can be done, and we're quite interested in moving along in that manner," Pelletreau said. "With the older engines we have improvements that can be made and should be made."

This type of project also creates an efficiency for the vessel operators.

"Fuel consumption is going to be down. The older technology units, it's like cars from the 1970s," Pelletreau said. "What we're looking at is a 8,500 gallon-per-year improvement (between both ships). We'll burn that much less per year because of this."

Older engines also required more repair, and the cost of maintenance was increasing.

Bay Shipbuilding Co. has done a number of repowering projects over the past few winters, including on ships that replaced steam plants with new high-efficiency diesel power plants and others that are looking to cut emissions.

"I think you'll see that be a common occurrence in the years to come," said Pat O'Hern, vice president and general manager at Bay Shipbuilding. "Another customer has a project booked for this next winter — another 1,000-footer we built back in '78 — so 33 years later we're replacing the engines. The boat will last for 50 or 60 years, but the power plants will get replaced."

Those kinds of projects take about six months of planning with four months of work in the yard that can require roughly 100 workers a month to carry out he said.

"If we can count one major repowering every winter that becomes a major anchor of (winter work)," O'Hern said.

American Steamship, which has 18 vessels in its fleet, has short- and long-term plans for other retro fits like those carried out on the White and Indiana Harbor.

"The majority of fleet hasn't been retrofitted yet, and it's our plan that every year we do a few more," Pelletreau said.

Steve Marquardt, an environmental engineer with the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5 in Chicago, said this project is part of a wider initiative to cut diesel emissions from a litany of transportation sources including trucks, rail, construction equipment and the maritime sector.

Marquardt said they are seeing an increase in the number of maritime operators applying for funding — everything from lakers to tug boats, ferries and cruise vessels. Rule making has been one of the driving factors on these kinds of projects — which have a visible and invisible impact on the general pubic.

"People will start to notice when they see stacks that don't have… black plumes coming out of them," he said. "It's a better option for them to replace an engine than to replace a boat.

"The constraint becomes the funding level as repowering of vessels is very expensive," Marquardt said.

The waterborne shipping industry contends it is one of the most efficient ways — in terms of fuel consumption and associated emissions — to move products when compared with trucks and other modes of transportation.

More than 12,368 hours of work time was invested in the American Steamship project. It was to be shelved due to a poor year of shipping, but was resurrected by the award of the money, Pelletreau said.

Job creation and retention is one of the thrusts of the program, he said.

"To be able to pump $1.6 million into the marine industry for shipyard workers … that's tremendous," Pelletreau said. "It keeps them solvent as shipyard companies, which is good for us as operators."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Updates - May 17

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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

Escanaba, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Dick Lund
On a rare trip, CSL's Birchglen loaded taconite at the CN ore dock Saturday evening. Elsewhere in Escanaba, the USCG Biscayne Bay is in the drydock at Basic Marine.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Arriving early Saturday morning with a cargo of stone from Port Dolomite was the Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore for the Western Lime Dock. Also early Saturday, Philip R. Clarke departed the C. Reiss dock after unloading coal. By noon Saturday the Kuber had finished unloading but remained in port to fuel, which she normally does after unloading in Green Bay. The Kuber is scheduled to return on Monday with more stone. Also due on Monday is the John G. Munson at the Great Lakes Calcium dock.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder cleared the Charles Berry Bridge at 16:58 on May 15

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Saturday, the John B. Aird arrived at 2:30 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. The saltie Leandra arrived at 5:30 p.m. with steel products for Pier 14.


Hollyhock crew judges the winning recipe for delicious carrot cake

5/16 - Port Huron, Mich. – Of all the incidents in which the U.S. Coast Guard's Hollyhock has been involved, Friday's event might have been the most unusual.

It wasn't a rescue or tending buoys. It was much more serious -- cake.

The Port Huron-based ship was host to a carrot cake bake-off among Coast Guard Executive Officer Kristen Serumgard, Hollyhock cook Aaron Anderson, Quay Street Brewing Company chief baker Wendy Peterson and the Great Lakes Maritime Center's "Freighter" Frank Frisk.

The competition was conceived at the recent International Shipping Dinner Dance where Frisk bragged about his carrot cake recipe. He quickly was challenged by his peers, and Lt. Cmdr. James Bellaire set a date to settle the squabble. After loads of friendly trash talking, about 40 hungry members of the Hollyhock's crew put on their judging hats and sorted things out.

Peterson, the baker at the Port Huron brewing company, was the winner with 10 of the 33 votes.

"I get the bragging rights," she said. "I don't know how they decided. They were all good."

Peterson said she followed a basic cake recipe but added a few of her own touches. "It was so fun just being here," Peterson said. "And to give these guys a break."

Coast Guardsman Bobby Haden enjoyed the break. He said all four cakes were good. "It's good, it's food and it's free," Haden said. "How can you beat that?"

Anderson, the Hollyhock cook, took second place with nine votes, even though he said it was the first carrot cake he'd ever made. He wasn't originally slated to be in the competition, but had to defend his territory.

"I couldn't let people come on my turf and not be in the competition," he said.

Frisk, a former cook on Great Lakes ships and who marked his 63rd birthday Friday, tied with Serumgard for third place. Both received seven votes -- something for which there may be an easy explanation.

Frisk's recipe has been popular over the years and he has it posted on his Web Site at Serumgard admitted she stole the recipe and modified it.

Port Huron Times Herald


County pledges loans to help Thomas Edison Inn project

5/16 - Port Huron, Mich. – St. Clair County officials have dedicated $20 million in low-interest loans to redevelopment of the Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron.

The loans, given to the county as part of a federal program to boost economic development in the private sector, would be made to Rafi Weiss, president of Tricon Development in Brooklyn, N.Y. They are contingent on Weiss receiving financing from a bank to buy the inn and transform it into the "class-A resort" he has said it could be.

But getting that financing, local officials said this week, is holding up the project.

Gerry Kramer, the real estate broker working on the deal, said Weiss has an application for financing in at First Michigan Bank -- which last month took over Citizens First Savings Bank in Port Huron.

"We're told it will be addressed in a priority order," Kramer said. "We are just waiting."

Weiss twice declined to answer Times Herald questions about the project this week.

Kramer confirmed in January that Weiss had entered into a 90-day due diligence period on the property -- which is on the St. Clair River near the Blue Water Bridge -- and it could take up to four months to close the deal.

The inn, listed for sale at $9.9 million, was built in 1986 for $7.5 million. St. Clair County Administrator Shaun Groden said seeing it redeveloped is important to the city and county, especially if Weiss holds true on his promise -- a complete renovation and developing relationships with area merchants.

Groden, who also is president of the St. Clair County Economic Development Alliance, said the federal money is a good fit for the project.

"We are just going to wait for the transition to occur (from Citizens First to First Michigan) to see if the project continues," Groden said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - May 16

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 15

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday the Hamilton Energy departed at 2 p.m. to bunker the BBC Mississippi in Port Weller. The Aurora Borealis, a private charter yacht out of Toronto, arrived at 2:30 p.m. and went to the Heddle Marine Drydock. Friday the tug Reliance and barge PML 9000 departed at 9 a.m. with steel slabs for Burns Harbor. Cuyahoga departed at 12 noon for Marblehead. Hamilton Energy arrived at 2:30 p.m. from Port Weller.

Montreal - Mac Mackay
CSL registered Saguenay in Montreal May 13.


Seiche draws water away from beach

5/15 - Ludington, Mich. – Strong winds out of the east, coupled with a low pressure system moving in from the west across Lake Michigan combined Thursday morning to produce an event not often noticed on Lake Michigan: a seiche.

Seiches occur when water quickly moves from one side of the lake to another, often associated with differing air pressures and wind. When pressure is low on one side and high on the other, the higher pressure pushes the lake surface down and the lower pressure side allows the lake’s level to rise. Add wind and the effect can be dramatic. And that appears to be the source of Thursday’s seiche.

Ludington Department of Public Works employee Mike Johnson was working Thursday morning moving sand to prepare the Stearns Park beach for summer use when he witnessed “sort of a phenomenon,” he wrote in an e-mail later that evening.

“About 11 a.m., as I was pushing sand down near the water, the lake proceeded to recede very quickly. There is a sandbar about 50 feet from the shoreline that you can see the waves breaking over. The water continued out to about the sandbar and fluctuated there for about 20 minutes. There was no water for that area of about 35 to 50 feet from the actual shoreline. You could have walked out to the sandbar and not gotten your feet wet.”

Johnson said he radioed another worker at the beach who told him he’d noticed it also.

“After about 30 minutes the water was back to the original shoreline,” Johnson said.

“There was a pretty significant storm system that went through,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Meteorologist Keith Kompoltowicz, who predicts Great Lakes water levels.

“Levels are all over the place in the past 24 hours, from 577.5 feet up to almost 579 feet, it looks like. We had strong east winds throughout most of the day, then they abruptly shifted to the southwest shortly after noon. We also had a big drop in air pressure — all of those factors can play into a seiche event.”

Smaller seiches occur more often than people notice.

Perhaps the most noted seiche in Ludington history took place July 1, 1956 when a wall of water washed over the Ludington breakwaters and up onto the beach.

A July 2, 1956 Ludington Daily News story headlined, “Wind, water on rampage,” related the events of a memorable day at the beach, weatherwise.

“The weather put on a spectacular show Sunday that included a tidal wave, hurricane winds, drenching showers …” and a spectacular sunset.

“A squall came through about 12:30 p.m. clearing the breakwaters of most fishermen and strollers. Shortly after that the “tidal wave” — a seiche, more accurately — took people by surprise.

“The so-called tidal wave which washed over the Ludington breakwaters tumbled two boys into the water but they were rescued immediately by their parents.”

Later the story continues, “without any warning the water receded, rushing back in a wave that washed over the breakwater, pounded up on the beach upsetting lifeguard towers, swamping small boats and doing minor damage.”

The Coast Guard termed the wave a “heavy ground swell.”

The Ludington Police Department sealed off the breakwater and lifeguards surveyed the beach. As that work was continuing, a storm hit with winds of 75 mph.

Accounts from other sources say the seiche was noticed from Grand Traverse Bay to Pentwater and was 10 feet in height at Ludington, washing 150 on shore past the normal water line.

Lake Erie, which is shallower than Lake Michigan and has a longer east-west fetch aligned with prevailing winds, has more pronounced seiches more often than the other Great Lakes. Squall lines are often associated with seiches.

Ludington Daily News


Longtime Beaver Island Boat Company captain passes on

5/15 - Russell J. Green, 81, of Beaver Island, died Wednesday, May 12, at his home surrounded by his eight children. He was born on Beaver Island on Dec. 24, 1928, to Mary (Boyle) and Anthony Greene on the family farm, where he spent his childhood.

Green was very proud of his Irish heritage; all four of his grandparents came to Beaver Island from Ireland. Over the years, Green became a storehouse of island traditions and family connections. He was one of the last of the Islanders to grow up on the numerous self-sufficient farms on the island.

He was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the 25th Infantry Division. He worked on Great Lakes freighters for several years before returning to Beaver Island to work for the boat company, captaining the Beaver Islander and South Shore for many years. Green often joked about how he spent 40 years on ships in the Great Lakes, but he never did learn to swim.

Visitation will take place 7-9 p.m., with a rosary at 7:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 15, at the Beaver Island Holy Cross Catholic Church. The funeral Mass will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 16, also at Holy Cross Church. Interment will follow at the Holy Cross Cemetery. Arrangements are being handled by Winchester funeral home of Charlevoix.


Your ship comes in, Win a trip aboard the 104-year old St. Marys Challenger

5/15 - Grosse Pointe, Mich. – Captain Al Tielke runs a happy ship.

"I'm friendly with everybody," said Tielke, skipper of the St. Marys Challenger, the oldest freighter working on the Great Lakes. "I know each crew member's family experience and situation. It takes a little more work, but it pays off."

"If you do your job, you're in good graces," said Frank Frisk, a native of Grosse Pointe Park and retired cook on lakers Tielke captained.

Landlubbers can see Tielke's leadership first-hand by winning a cruise this summer on the 551-foot Challenger.

A winning ticket for four is being raffled for $10 until 1 p.m. June 5. Money raised benefits The free, non-profit website is the nexus of nearly all things Great Lakes freighters, their histories, current status and locations. It's used by freighter fans (boat nerds) and professional mariners alike.

"I look at it every day," Tielke said.

The trip takes place at a date to be determined between June and September. Winners must be flexible about scheduling the port of departure and return.

The 104-year-old St. Marys Challenger was launched in 1906 at Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse. She hit the water six years before the Titanic and a half century before the Ecorse shipyard turned out the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Freighter rides are a rare commodity.

"By law, we cannot take paying passengers," said Glen Nekvasil, the Lake Carrier's Association's vice president of corporate communications. "It is very, very hard to get a boat trip. Charitable auctions are about the only way."

Tielke enjoys being host.

"Passengers are welcome on every square inch of the ship," he said. "They're completely welcome to come to the pilot house. We have really good guys on the wheel to show them how to steer the boat."

Two staterooms, each with two single beds and a bathroom, are in the after deckhouse near where a passenger lounge with picture windows looks forward over the deck.

"The ship used to be a coal burner," Tielke said. "When they converted to oil-fired boilers, somebody had the idea of converting the coal bunker to guest quarters. There's a nice patio deck and furniture with a glass door to block the wind."

In 1966, the boat was reconfigured from a bulk carrier to haul dry cement.

The loading system is sealed and self-contained, which means much less dust and dirt than on an ore carrier.

"The deck is almost the same as the surface on an airplane, nice shiny paint," Tielke said. "It's beautiful." Great Lakes, great food

Lakers are known for their cuisine. Each of the Challenger's 24-man crew, from captain to deckhand, eats off the same menu. So do guests.

"If you're lucky enough to win a raffle, take some loose-fitting clothes because the food is very good," Nekvasil said. "You might put on weight."

"We don't want any mutinies," said Patrick McKee of Grosse Pointe Farms, part of the ownership group of Port City Marine Inc., operators of the St. Marys Challenger.

"The cook has been on the ship 30 years," Tielke said. "They have prime rib dinner every Thursday and good seafood on Friday. Saturday, it's usually filet mignon or New York strip steak. Some kind of fowl on Sunday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the cook has his options something good."

The St. Marys Challenger operates almost exclusively on Lake Michigan hauling cement from St. Mary Cement Inc.'s plant in Charlevoix.

"A lot of passengers get on at Charlevoix and go wherever the vessel goes," said Ed Hogan, vice president of Port City Marine. "The Challengers main run is to Chicago. We go to Green Bay, Manitowoc, Milwaukee and Grand Haven.

When Hogan takes a freighter trip, he likes being close to the action.

"I'm a wheelhouse guy," he said.

Aft, "the engine room is immaculate," Hogan said. "The engine has Plexiglass panels with lights so you can see moving parts inside as its operating."

"The chief engineer is an excellent guide," Tielke said. "He knows every nut and bolt in the engine room. He usually gives a couple-hour tour of the engine room and unloading system. He loves to take people through the ship. Everything is so nice and clean and works so well."

Tielke has worked on the Great Lakes 45 years.

He lives near Cleveland, where the former Cleveland Cliffs 618-foot bulk carrier, William G. Mather, is preserved as a museum.

"I was a wheelsman on the Mather way back in 1971 or '72," Tielke said. "My wife wrote the docent manual to the freighter museum."

He skippered every freighter in the Interlake Steamship fleet and worked with other big-time shippers.

"I've been on 1,000-foot ships the last 10 years," Tielke said. "Then, the recession hit. Ed (Hogan) contacted me and said he needed a captain on St. Marys Challenger." Tielke thought Hogan was kidding. "That thing's only 550 feet long and 103 years old," Tielke remembered thinking at the time.

He examined the ship in a dry dock at Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.

"I walked under the ship and through ballast tanks," Tielke said, realizing he'd overestimated the risk. "This thing is built like a tank. I'd never seen anything built like this. They replaced just about the whole bottom. They did it really well."

He joined the Challenger last year. His quickly set the tone.

"A few people tested the waters," Tielke said. "The first day, I gave somebody a reprimand. A few weeks later, I had to fire a couple of people. After that, there were absolutely no problems. Walk softly and carry a big stick."

Challenger is moody, Tielke said, but rewarding.

"She handles like a yacht," he said. "This is by far the smallest ship I've ever been on. You don't want to take it for granted. When we're in ballast, it only has a 16-foot draft. It doesn't take much of a sea to make it start rolling."

Tielke said he's happier on the Challenger than any other ship.

"This is like it was 30 or 40 years ago," he said. "I have one guy to answer to Ed, vice president. It's more like I'm working with him than for him. He's a friend. I tell him I need something, I get it. He wants me to do something, I do it. A nice, easy, completely stress-free environment."

Tielke said he's rethinking plans to retire after this year.

"I just love this little ship," he said. "We have a really good crew. I work about five months a year on it. I'm off seven months. I'm practicing for retirement."

Raffle tickets for a cruise for four aboard the St. Marys Challenger cost $10 per ticket, three for $25, six for $50 and 14 for $100. The drawing is 2 p.m. Saturday, June 5, at BoatNerd headquarters in Port Huron.

Purchase options are:

* by mail, send a check or money order to Great Lakes & Seaway, Shipping OnLine Dept. R, 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH, 45840-2239;

* online at Mail orders must be received no later than June 1. In-person purchases may be made until 1 p.m. the day of the drawing.

Brad Lindberg, Grosse Pointe News


Updates - May 15

Public Gallery updated
Historic Galleries updated - Ben W. Calvin gallery
New Discussion Boards updated
We ran out of time for the News Gallery updates Friday night, please continue to send in your pictures for Sunday's News page.


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.


Port Reports - May 14

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Paul R. Tregurtha departed Duluth entry Thursday morning with a load of coal destined for Taconite Harbor. As the PRT cleared port, the Mesabi Miner already was backing into the Midwest Energy Terminal berth to load coal for St. Clair and Monroe, Mich. Expected later in the day were St. Clair for coal, Charles M. Beeghly to load taconite pellets, and American integrity to load taconite pellets at BNSF in Superior.

Soo Locks – Jerry Masson
Afternoon upbound traffic at the Soo was Indiana Harbor, Samuel Risley and Federal Mackinac. Downbound included John G. Munson, Lee A. Tregurtha, Stewart J. Cort and Tim S. Dool. Manitowoc was at Essar Steel.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After a somewhat steady April, traffic on the Saginaw River has slowed down so far in May. Two vessels visited the river on Thursday however. Indiana Harbor was inbound Thursday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was followed a few hours later by the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons, which stopped at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. Indiana Harbor backed out of the river during the early afternoon and then turned in the Saginaw Bay at Light 12 before heading for the lake. Invincible-McKee Sons were outbound late Thursday afternoon.


Port Authority receives $1M grant for counter-terrorism

5/14 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo Lucas County Port Authority is receiving $1 million from the federal government to help with security. Money will be used to help protect the port against terrorism as well as conduct training and exercises.

The port of Toledo is ranked in the "Group Two" ports. "Group One" is considered those at highest risk.



Emergency crews rescue man from ore dock

5/14 - Ashland, Wis. – The Ashland and Mason Fire departments, with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard and Nelson Construction of Madeline Island, rescued a 21-year-old man from the top of the Ashland ore dock early Monday morning.

According to Capt. Scott Thimm of the Ashland Fire Department, the man had become stuck in one of the ore dock chutes at approximately midnight after climbing to the top at around 9 p.m. Sunday night. After attempting to free himself, the man called 911 at about 1:30 a.m., and was brought to the ground at approximately 6:30 a.m. Monday.

Daily Press Staff


Shipwreck divers to begin expedition to find Andaste on Saturday

5/14 - Holland, Mich. — Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates has been searching the waters off West Michigan for long lost ships for more than a dozen years. On Saturday, the Holland-based team will begin its 13th annual 10-day expedition.

This year's goal is to locate the 242-foot steel-hulled Andaste, which was lost in September 1927 somewhere off the shores of Holland.

Just one week before the expedition was set to begin, MSRA Director Valerie van Heest received a call from Holland resident Bud Gebben, who informed the group that his family had the name board off the vessel. Gebben's father, Gerald, was just 11 years old in 1927 at the time of the Andaste's loss.

Gerald Gebben sailed his family's small sailboat out of Pigeon Lake just a few days after the disappearance of the big freighter. In shallow water between the sandbars, he found the 8-foot length of wood planking from the upper pilothouse, on which lead letters spelling the name Andaste were screwed.

Years ago, Gerald Gebben offered the name board to a museum, but was turned down. He held onto his cherished artifact, hoping it would find a suitable home one day. When he died a few years ago at the age of 90, his son Bud kept it in memory of his father — until a move prompted him to find an organization to take over its care.

MSRA could not have been a better choice, Van Heest said — the nonprofit group researches, explores and interprets West Michigan's maritime roots through public events, books and museum exhibits. Not only is the name board a significant historical artifact that will one day be featured in an exhibit when the shipwreck is finally found, but it also offers MSRA one more piece of evidence that may lead them to the remains of the vessel.

The Andaste was owned by Construction Materials Corp., a Chicago firm that also owned 1,100 acres of property up the Grand River from Grand Haven, now the site of the Bass River Recreational Area. From this vast acreage, Construction Materials mined stone that the company shipped to Chicago. Much of the local stone was used in landfill work in Chicago.

The Andaste left Grand Haven at 9:30 p.m. Sept. 9, 1929, loaded with stone destined for Chicago, but never reached the city. Gale winds developed just an hour after its departure. Three days later, bodies began washing ashore from Holland up to Grand Haven, confirming that the ship sank. All 25 crewmen perished; many of them were local men. Only 14 bodies came ashore.

The Andaste had been purchased after the company lost its previous self-unloading freighter, the Hennepin, in 1927. MSRA located the wreck of the Hennepin off South Haven in 2007, which prompted Van Heest to co-write the book "Buckets and Belts: Evolution of the Great Lakes Self-Unloaders," which contains a chapter on the lost Andaste.

Grand Haven Tribune


Wisconsin governor offers Incentives for U.S. Navy contract

5/14 - Marinette, Wis. – Gov. Jim Doyle's administration is offering $50 million in incentives to help an Italian shipbuilder land a U.S. Navy contract that would create more than 1,000 jobs in Marinette and thousands of additional jobs in the region.

If Marinette Marine Corp. wins the contract and accepts the state incentives, the package would be the second largest ever provided by the state, which sees an opportunity to shore up a struggling manufacturing sector by moving Wisconsin companies into defense contracting.

"This is a project that will put Marinette Marine on the map for a long time," Doyle said. "It's like bringing a big auto plant to the state of Wisconsin."

The production of high-speed Navy combat ships, for use in shallow coastal waters, would be the largest defense industry project in Wisconsin since World War II, when submarines were built in Manitowoc.

In dollars, it would eclipse the work being performed by Oshkosh Corp., where more than 4,000 people in the Fox Valley are making U.S. military trucks for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"The economic impact is absolutely huge for the region," said Richard McCreary, chief executive of Marinette Marine, which is owned by the Fincantieri Marine Group, an Italian shipbuilder.

Marinette should learn in July whether it has won a contract for the Navy's next 10 littoral combat ships costing several hundred million dollars per vessel. That work alone would take five years to complete, employing several thousand people at Marinette Marine and about 7,000 people in the region - including suppliers and vendors.

Eventually the Navy wants about 55 of the ships, which could create 20 years of work at Marinette - should the company receive all the contract awards.

"It absolutely would be the largest shipbuilding project here since World War II," McCreary said. The competition

Marinette and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. are competing with General Dynamics Corp. and its partner, Austal USA, an Australian shipbuilder, for the Navy business.

"It will be a winner-take-all" for the 10 ships, McCreary said. In 2014, the Navy will select two shipyards to compete for the remainder of the littoral combat fleet - work which could last for several decades.

"No question, it would be a significant economic blow to the region if we don't get" the contracts, McCreary said.

As part of a series of meetings and phone calls by Doyle and state officials with company executives, federal officials and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the State of Wisconsin offered the incentives in February. In March, Doyle traveled to Italy to meet with Fincantieri executives.

To date, the state's biggest accepted package of incentives is the $70 million committed to Mercury Marine to prevent that company from moving operations to Oklahoma. A larger $115 million state offer to save the General Motors plant in Janesville wasn't accepted or provided because the company decided to shut down the plant.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


Cape May Light housing emergency workers in Haiti

5/14 - Idled since 2002, the former Cape May Light has found temporary work housing U.N. World Food Program employees in post-earthquake Haiti. The 286-foot, 301-passenger vessel, now named Sea Voyager, arrived in Port-au-Prince in February for a three-month charter with one-month renewal options after being classed by Lloyd's Register and inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The boat has been tremendous asset to us, as so many buildings and accommodations here collapsed during the earthquake," World Food Program spokesman Philip Ward said via email. The first WFP staff members had been sleeping in tents near the airport.

The Cape May Light visited the Great Lakes in 2001.

The ship is one of two managed by International Shipping Partners, Miami, now working for the WFP in Haiti. The 401-passenger, foreign-flag Ola Esmeralda, is the other. WFP said on its blog that the two ships were the first passenger vessels docked in 35 years at the port's South Pier.

The Sea Explorer and its sister ship Sea Discoverer, the former Cape Code Light, were tied up in Green Cove Springs, Florida, after the bankruptcy of former owner American Classic Voyages inc. Built with $78.3 million in Title XI loan guarantees, they were both sold in 2008 for about $20 million to the Clipper Group of the Bahamas. Both are for sale or charter. ISP President Neils-Erik Lund said U.S. operators have expressed interest in the two for possible Great Lakes and East Coast routes.

From Workboat magazine


Cruise will follow June 5 Marine Mart in Port Huron

5/14 - A special one-hour cruise aboard the Huron Lady II has been arranged to follow the Port Huron Marine Mart on June 5.

The cruise will cost $5 and will be a chance to relax after shopping at the marine mart, and enjoying "Be a Visitor in Your Own Hometown" which is part of the Port Huron weekend. See for parking and boarding details.

Call 810-984-1500 to make reservations.


Updates - May 14

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 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.


Dry weather has Great Lakes levels dropping again

5/13 - Detroit, Mich. ― Water levels in the Great Lakes are dropping because of sparse snow and rain, which could mean hard times for commercial shippers and recreational boaters in some areas, officials say.

The drop-off continues a trend that began in the late 1990s but had stalled the past couple of years, which were wetter.

"We're below last year's lake levels across the board," Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told The Detroit News for a Wednesday story. "That's largely due to the very dry conditions we had during the winter and early spring."

The Great Lakes shipping industry wasn't able to take full advantage of the higher water since 2007 because the recession reduced demand for materials such as iron ore, coal and limestone.

The number of vessels operating on the lakes as of May 1 was up slightly from the 42 in the water at the same time in 2009. But ships can't carry as much cargo as they could a year ago because of lower water, making their runs less profitable.

"The biggest ships we have lose 270 tons of cargo for each inch of draft they lose," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers' Association. "Even smaller boats, like those that bring in cement to Detroit, can lose 70 to 80 tons of cargo per inch.

"It's just another challenge for us in what's already a very challenging time."

Marina operators also can be hurt if water is so shallow that recreational vessels can't reach their slips. Boaters must guard against running aground.

Lower water also could worsen the spread of algae in Lake Erie, already susceptible because it is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth of 62 feet.

"If the lake level is down, that's less water for the sun to penetrate," said Thomas Bridgeman, a professor at University of Toledo's Lake Erie Center. "I would say the trend over the last few years has been that it's getting worse. And there's no reason to think that pattern is going to change this year."

Detroit News


Port Reports - May 13

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at the Upper Harbor Wednesday afternoon to load ore.

Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Jerry Masson
The CCGS Samuel Risley was working aids to navigation in Soo area Wednesday.

Sandusky, Ohio – Jim Spencer
John B. Aird cleared Sandusky Bay Tuesday after loading at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. She was bound for Hamilton. Following the Aird was Herbert C. Jackson which loaded coal and departed upbound late Tuesday. Cason J. Callaway was due at the coal dock early Thursday.

Hamilton / Bronte, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Wednesday, John B. Aird departed Dofasco at 5:45 a.m. for Toledo in ballast. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 11 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for US Steel. Dara Desganges continued at anchor off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte waiting for the lake to calm so she can dock.


Coal shipments down a bit from last year

5/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 2.5 million net tons in April, a decrease of 9.5 percent compared to a year ago. However, given that the economy was in low gear a year ago, the month’s 5-year average is the better measure, and in that regard, this April’s loadings are more than 32 percent off the pace.

Shipments of western coal from Lake Superior fell by a third. The drop-off reflects some later sailings for U.S.-flag colliers that were undergoing modernization and maintenance over the winter and a pressing need to resupply some steel mills with iron ore at the resumption of navigation.

The 81-percent increase in coal loadings from Lake Erie ports is the result of low inventories at a utility and a steel mill.

Year-to-date, the Lakes coal trade is on par with a year ago, but 57 percent below the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


New “Haunted Lighthouses” exhibit examines the paranormal

5/13 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum delves into the world of the paranormal with the opening of its new exhibit “Ghosts! Haunted Lighthouses of the Great Lakes” on May 22 in Sturgeon Bay.

With 11 lighthouses, Door County is a prime example of the appeal that lighthouses have with people. Their spectacular settings, picturesque qualities and historical significance in the development of the area make them one of the Peninsula’s primary attractions. But there is another side to lighthouses that has fueled debate, produced a cottage industry of books and videos while providing work for a band of researchers that might best be called “ghost hunters.”

Visitors will pass through a lighthouse filled with purported paranormal experiences as well as the Horton Gallery, where sensory and psychic skills will be tested, reality challenged and perception explained. History will blend with legend as it relates to nine of the most significant lighthouse hauntings on the Great Lakes. Three are right here in Door County – Chambers Island, Sherwood Point and Pottawatomie on Rock Island.

Museum Curator John Moga stresses the exhibition bears no resemblance to the haunted houses one might experience during Halloween. But that doesn’t mean he and Assistant Curator June Larson haven’t incorporated some entertaining elements throughout the experience as they take historically accurate accounts of hauntings and replicate them for the museum visitor.

“Believing or not believing (in ghosts) is not the point,” said Moga. “We’re not saying one way or the other that there are ghosts. We’re just hoping it might create some discussion.”

Still, Moga points out that it’s the unexplained that fuels the popularity of the paranormal.

“A true haunting is rare, but they are reported and documented more than most may realize,” said Moga, who said nautical-related hauntings will also be explored in keeping with the museum’s maritime mission. “Very often something unnatural will happen but may have a logical explanation and there are times when no logical, rational explanation can be found.”

Moga admits the exhibition probably won’t answer those questions, but it will provide an interesting look at some while providing a historically accurate glimpse at the places where they may have taken place.

The museum also contains three other galleries dedicated in part to shipbuilding, vintage vessels, local maritime innovators and the county’s stunning array of lighthouses and the museum’s impressive collection of models. There’s also the ever-popular nuclear submarine periscope and the separately priced, but unmatched tours aboard the tug John Purves.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. until Memorial Day weekend when they will extend to 9-6. Cost is $7.50 for adults, $4 students (5-17) and under 5 free. The museum-operated historic light station on Cana Island is also open for the season while the museum at Gills Rock opens for the season on May 29.


Former Great Lakes Towing engineer dies in Green Bay

5/13 - Richard D. Smith, 77, Green Bay, died on May 11 at home. He was born on June 5, 1932 in Green Bay. On Sept. 15, 1951, he married the former Stella Piontek. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1951 to 1959 and was an engineer for Great Lakes Towing, until retiring in 1992. He was a longtime member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. In 1991, Smith became a member of Theodore Roosevelt Lodge #322, Free and Accepted Masons. His Masonic membership led him to join the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite — Valley of Green Bay, Beja Shrine AAONMS, and the Supercycle team. He was also a member and past President of the Green Bay Shrine Club. Smith was a member of the Shipmasters #18 and volunteered for the American Red Cross, Lakeland Chapter and the Village of Howard Fire Department.

Friends may call after 4 p.m. on Thursday, May 13, 2010, at Lyndahl Funeral Home, where a Masonic Memorial Service will take place at 7 p.m. followed immediately by funeral services officiated by the Rev. Diane Rew. Online condolences may be expressed at



Updates - May 13

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


U.S.-Flag lakes cargos increase 50 percent in April

5/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet hauled 7.6 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in April, an increase of 50 percent compared to a year ago. The total was, however, about 15 percent off the month’s 5-year average.

The resurgence in steel production again generated a significant rebound in iron ore cargos. U.S.-flag lakers moved 4 million tons of taconite pellets in April, more than double the volume of a year ago.

The steel industry has been recording steady increases in production for several months now. As April came to an end, the industry was using 72 percent of its capacity, compared to 42 percent a year ago.

The limestone trade also showed signs of stirring in April. Stone cargos hauled in U.S. bottoms totaled 1.7 million tons, an increase of more than 47 percent.

Coal cargos decreased 15 percent in April. The fall-off is in part due to later sailing dates for some vessels that are engaged in the coal trade.

For the year, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 12.7 million tons, an increase of 92 percent compared to the same point last year. However, compared to the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe, U.S.-flag cargos are 14.4 percent off the pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


St. Lawrence Seaway reports increase in cargo shipped

5/12 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway reported a marked increase in cargo shipped through the Seaway system from January to April 2010, compared to the same period last year.

Total cargo shipments for the period are up 18 percent to 3,654,000 tonnes in the first part of 2010. Of particular note is the 127 percent increase in iron ore shipments destined for steel manufacturers in the Great Lakes’ region.

"These numbers reflect the integral role that the marine shipping industry plays in North America’s emerging economic recovery – especially in the manufacturing sector,” said Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, operator of the Canadian portion of the Seaway system. “It is apparent that the manufacturing industry is on the upswing and driving demand for commodities such as iron ore to make steel, which in turn becomes consumer goods such as automobiles.”

The Seaway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes, according to the latest Seaway research.

“The marine shipping industry is an important part of the economies along the Great Lakes and is responsible for supporting thousands of jobs throughout the region," said Collister Johnson Jr., Administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, responsible for the operation of the American section of the system. “As manufacturers increase production, we take great pride ensuring that these materials are transported economically and safely to industry so that more people can get back to work.”

The Great Lakes basin is home to a significant portion of the manufacturing sectors in both Canada and the United States, including the vast majority of steel and auto manufacturing in both countries.

“The increased tonnage through the Seaway is certainly reflected in our business and throughout the industry,” said Allister Paterson, President and CEO of Seaway Marine Transport, operator of the largest bulk carrier fleet on the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Waterway. “With the economic rebound being experienced by the core industrial sectors we serve, especially the steel industry, we anticipate a higher level of fleet activity and crew employment levels this season."

“Our experience at the western end of the Seaway certainly reflects these overall figures, said Adolph Ojard, Executive Director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, one of the largest inland seaports in the world. “It’s encouraging to see good news for economies across the region. With iron ore and coal shipments on the rebound, we are looking forward to a much better year.”


Port Reports - May 12

Green Bay, Wis. - Jeff G.
Arthur M. Anderson is expected in at the Fox River Dock Wednesday morning with a load of coal from Ashtabula, Ohio.

Frankfort, Mich.
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 sought refuge from strong easterly winds by anchoring close to the beach below the bluffs south of the harbor entrance. She was carrying pig iron destined for Marinette Wis., and was waiting for favorable winds to cross the lake.

Hamilton / Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, Canadian Transport departed Dofasco at 6 a.m. for Windsor in ballast. John B. Aird arrived at 7 p.m. with coal for Dofasco from Sandusky. Dara Desgagnes anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte due to weather.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
English River was unloading cement at the port of Oswego Tuesday.


Lakes limestone trade up nearly one million tons in April

5/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes in April point to a continued rebound in economic activity in the nation’s industrial heartland. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled 2,465,294 net tons, an increase of 59 percent, or 911,795 tons, compared to a year ago.

Rising steel production accounts for some of the increase. It takes about 400 pounds of fluxstone to make a ton of steel in a blast furnace. There are also reports that demand for aggregate for road construction and repair projects is on the rise.

The trade’s recovery is not complete. April loadings were 19 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

The April totals basically reflect limestone’s year-to-date performance. Only one cargo 16,920 tons was loaded in March.

Lake Carriers' Association


Coast Guardsman honored for his sacrifice 43 years ago in Duluth

5/12 - Duluth, Minn. – The name of a Coast Guardsman who died 43 years ago during a rescue attempt in Duluth will be added Thursday to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Boatswain Mate First Class Edgar A. Culbertson, 32, died on April 30, 1967, while searching for three brothers on the Duluth ship canal’s north pier during a storm.

Such sacrifice should never be forgotten, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Kevin Rofidal, who nominated Culbertson for inclusion on the wall.

“This story should be just as important 100 years from now as it is today,” he said.

“I’m at a loss of words. It’s still quite an emotional thing for me,” said Culbertson’s son, Craig, of Naperville, Ill., who was 9 when his father died. “It’s such an honor to have the national law enforcement agency to include my father. My sister Cris (Alpert of Oak Park, Mich.) and I are so honored to have him honored.”

The 1967 rescue attempt began after witnesses reported seeing three boys knocked off their feet on the north pier. It wasn’t clear whether the boys had been swept away or if they still were on the pier. Three guardsmen — Culbertson, Boatswain Mate Third Class Richard R. Callahan and Fireman Ronald C. Prel — roped themselves together and went on the pier to search for the boys. The men made it to the pier’s lighthouse without finding any sign of the boys.

On their way back to shore, a large wave washed Culbertson into the lake and snapped his lifeline. Culbertson’s body later was found along the beach.

The boys, Eric, 17, and twins Arthur and Nathan Halverson, 16, were never found.

For their bravery and heroism, Culbertson, Callahan and Prel each received the Coast Guard Medal. A plaque in Canal Park recounts Culbertson’s sacrifice.

It’s that plaque that led to Rofidal’s nomination of Culbertson. Some tourists asked him about the story behind the plaque and Rofidal — an Edina, Minn., police officer who serves with the Coast Guard Reserve in Duluth — didn’t know. So he set out to learn more. As he did, Rofidal thought Culbertson might qualify for the memorial.

For military personnel to be added to the memorial, they need to have had law enforcement training and died while serving in a law enforcement role and not in a combat zone. Rofidal submitted Culbertson’s name for consideration last year. The officers memorial accepted it this winter.

“We’ve had hundreds of people that have died over the years in our service,” Rofidal said. “He will be only the 18th person from the Coast Guard added to the memorial.”

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. Dedicated in 1991, the memorial consists of two curving, 304-foot-long marble walls. Engraved in the walls are names of nearly 19,000 fallen officers dating to the first known death in 1792.

New names are added to the monument each spring in conjunction with National Police Week.

Culbertson’s name is among 324 that will be added to the memorial wall during a ceremony Thursday. Rofidal will be there, escorting members of Culbertson’s family.

“As the secretary of Homeland Security reads his name, his family will move forward and light a candle,” Rofidal said. “I guess it’s quite a moving service.”

Duluth News Tribune


See Lake Michigan on sail: Tall ship festival to offer rides

5/12 - Chicago, Ill. – The public will be able to ride the tall ships on Lake Michigan when they return to Chicago this summer.

Tall Ships Chicago 2010 organizers said more than 20 tall ships from around the world will appear at the event, last held in 2006, including vessels from Canada, Germany and the Netherlands.

This year's event, Aug. 24-29, will for the first time allow the public to sail on some of the festival ships. Ticket purchase is required.

"Previously, the most they could do is board the ship and look around," said Jon Kaplan, director of public relations for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns and manages Navy Pier. Four of the ships will offer 60- and 90-minute cruises, he said.

Besides the sailing experience, a special program for students has been added to this year's event. Young people will have the opportunity to spend time on the ships to mingle with the crews and learn about sailing.

During the six-day event, there will also be a festival of international music, international food and nightly fireworks, Kaplan said.

Chicago Tribune


Duluth City Council OKs Aerial Lift Bridge schedule

5/12 - Duluth, Minn. – Over the objections of several charter fishing boat captains, a divided Duluth City Council approved plans for a new Aerial Lift Bridge schedule Monday night.

By a 6-3 margin, with councilors Jay Fosle, Todd Fedora and Jim Stauber voting in the minority, the council limited bridge lifts to every half-hour between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. An exception will be made for lakers or salties weighing 300 gross tons or more. These vessels can pass through the bridge at will. The schedule will take effect immediately.

Charter boat captains unsuccessfully sought similar lift-on-demand status Monday.

Capt. Peter Dahl, who has been operating a fishing charter on Lake Superior for 23 years, asked the council to consider the financial contributions of the charter fishing business to the local economy.

“Every charter boat that goes under that bridge is bringing money into town,” he said. “Maybe the city doesn’t need that money.”

Capt. Barry LeBlanc threatened to pick up stakes and move his charter business to Superior in the event that he is no longer able to come and go through the Duluth entry at will. He said the city developed its new schedule without any input from charter fishing operators such as him.

“I beg you, my customers beg you to vote this down,” he said.

Stauber said he couldn’t support a policy developed in exclusion of key stakeholders.

“When we’re going to do something as drastic as this, we need to include all the groups affected and make sure they have a voice at the table,” he said.

Councilor Patrick Boyle agreed that charter fishermen deserved an apology for not being offered a chance to shape the proposed lift restrictions. But he noted that the Duluth fire and police departments and the U.S. Coast Guard all support the new schedule.

“I think public safety trumps poor process,” he said.

Councilor Sharla Gardner said the U.S. Coast Guard was not supportive of granting a special exception for charter boats. She also amended a resolution so that charter operators will be directly involved in evaluating how the rules worked at the end of this shipping season.

“I’m hoping you’ll hang in there with us, and at the end of the season, we’ll all hash it out,” she said.

Scott Miller, president of the Canal Park Business Association, said members of his organization were supportive of the restricted bridge schedule, as frequent lifts cause traffic problems.

Dave Poulin, president of the Park Point Community Club, called the proposed schedule reasonable.

“In the rest of the country, restrictions like this are the norm,” Poulin said.

Duluth News Tribune


Petoskey commission backs replica lighthouse idea

5/12 - Petoskey, Mich. – Petoskey’s parks and recreation commission has embraced the concept for re-creating a lighthouse which once stood along Petoskey’s breakwater.

During their Monday meeting, commissioners decided by a unanimous vote to back the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association’s proposal for installing a replica of the old light tower along the waterfront.

“In my mind, what we’re asking for here is some place ... where you think this could reside,” association president Dick Moehl said to commissioners.

In part, the Mackinaw City-based Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association has a mission of preserving and promoting lighthouses. It’s spearheading efforts to develop a replica of the light tower that stood along Petoskey’s pier in the early 20th century — until it was swept away in a 1924 windstorm. That structure, which measured about 42 feet in height, had a hexagonal, or pagoda-style, design.

The commission also decided in favor of scheduling a public hearing during a later city meeting to gather ideas on what specific site to use.

To allow more seasonal residents to attend, city parks and recreation director Al Hansen said officials likely will wait until late May to conduct the hearing.

The Petoskey City Council will have final say as to whether a site on city property will be provided for the lighthouse, Hansen has said. Along with a site, Hansen noted that electricity and perhaps some minor maintenance could be furnished by the city for the light tower.

Sunset Park and a pier at the city marina are examples of sites Hansen has said potentially could be considered for the replica.

Hansen said he recently heard from an architect that the Sunset Park location — on a bluff overlooking the city’s harbor — might be better than the pier from a visual standpoint, since the lighthouse wouldn’t visually compete with other waterfront structures like the Bayfront Park clock tower if located in the park.

If a waterfront location is to be used, Hansen said officials may want to consider one west of the breakwater.

Moehl senses some potential for the replica light tower to serve as a tourist attraction. If the city agrees to cooperate on a site, he said his organization would then handle fundraising for the project. The lighthouse group expects the project will cost about $160,000 — with Moehl noting that a projection of $225,000 to $250,000 that he’d previously cited was a miscalculation. The fundraising efforts likely would have a $300,000 goal, with Moehl noting that surplus dollars could be used in establishing an endowment for the light tower’s upkeep.

Initially, the lighthouse group had hoped the replica light tower could be installed at the outer tip of the breakwater — which is now marked by a shorter tower that’s more functional in appearance. But a few months ago, the U.S. Coast Guard rejected that proposal.

Since private interests were proposing the replica lighthouse project, Moehl said it would be considered a private aid to navigation — and Coast Guard regulations don’t allow private navigational aids to be installed on piers.

The current light tower at the outer end of the breakwater underwent refurbishment last year. If the lighthouse group had approached the Coast Guard a bit earlier — before plans for those updates were finalized — Moehl now believes the proposal to install the old lighthouse’s replica on the breakwater might have been better received.

According to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, Petoskey’s former pier light was one of five pagoda-style light towers erected on breakwaters at Lake Michigan harbors between 1902 and 1912. Like Petoskey’s, the others — which were installed in the Wisconsin cities of Milwaukee, Kenosha, Sheboygan and Racine — no longer are standing.

Petoskey News


Carrot-Cake Bake-Off scheduled aboard USCGC Hollyhock

5/12 - Port Huron, Mich. – A “Carrot Cake Bake-Off” will be held on board the USCGC Hollyhock Friday morning. USCG Executive Officer Kristen Serumgard, Quay Street Brewery Chief Baker Wendy Peterson and the Great Lakes Maritime Center’s Frank Frisk will be judged on their offerings by the crew at 9 a.m. Paul Miller, WPHM 1380, will broadcast his show live on board from 6-10 a.m. Security restrictions are in place on the dock.


Buying a raffle ticket is an investment in BoatNerd’s future

5/12 - Every few years, through the generosity of the shipping industry, BoatNerd offers a boat trip raffle as our primary means of fund raising. Money raised allows this site to continue to operate and expand. As the site continues to grow in popularity, bandwidth and connection charges increase as well, and hardware needs to be continually upgraded.

All of our staff are volunteers and are not paid for the thousands of hours of work that go into processing and organizing the information we provide for free. Now, we need your help.

We ask that if you enjoy this site and find it useful, please make a contribution and an investment in its future by participating in our current fund-raising raffle for a once-in-a-lifetime trip on the historic Great Lakes steamboat St. Marys Challenger.

BoatNerd volunteers are keenly aware of the economic challenges many of our users face. But even the purchase of a single ticket at $10 goes a long way toward allowing us to keep providing this site and its features.

Click here


Updates - May 12

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived Monday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload limestone. The pair was expected at the Upper Harbor ore dock later in the day.

St. Marys River
Monday traffic included the upbound Stewart J. Cort and Tim S. Dool. Cedarglen, H. Lee White and Capt. Henry Jackman were downbound.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc brought a load of coal to Lafarge on Sunday morning. During the afternoon, Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up under the silos to take on cement for South Chicago. Maumee loaded at Stoneport on Sunday followed by fleetmate Manitowoc in the evening. Philip R. Clarke arrived at the dock on Monday to take on cargo.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Canadian Transfer arrived outside Lorain Harbor at 7:45 p.m. Monday. She cleared the Charles Berry Bridge at 8:48 and went to the turning basin south of Henderson Bridge.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson was towed out of port about 10:45 a.m. Monday morning.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Algomarine departed at 1 p.m. and Canadian Transport arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco.


St. Lawrence Seaway water levels down

5/11 - Montreal, QC – Seasonal water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway -- a major North American shipping corridor -- have reached their lowest point in 40 years, the Quebec hydro center warned Friday.

This follows one of the warmest Canadian winters on record, in which very little snow fell.

Hydrometric meters showed an average of 7,000 cubic meters per second (247,200 cubic feet per second) flowing past the island city of Montreal, much lower than the norm of 10,000 cubic meters per second (353,100 cubic feet per second) for this time of year. Environment Canada said fish are likely to suffer the most. Pike, for example, spawn their eggs in flooded plains along the banks of the seaway that remained unusually dry this year.

Barges and ocean-going vessels that travel along the system of locks, canals and channels from the Atlantic Ocean to the North American Great Lakes, have also had to reduce loads.

Alfred Jaouich, a researcher at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) blamed "a winter with little precipitation in the region of the Great Lakes," which hold 25 percent of the world's fresh water reserves, and other tributaries.

The Great Lakes themselves are also at record low water levels, officials said.



Lake Superior Board of Control meeting June 9

5/11 - The International Lake Superior Board of Control will hold a meeting with the public on Wednesday, June 9, 2010 at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and by conference call. This meeting will provide information on the operations of the board, current and forecasted water levels, and allow the public to provide input about local concerns related to water levels and flows of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.

For more information: click here


Updates - May 11

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Robert S. Pierson came in early Sunday morning with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven, next to the power plant. She departed by noon.

St. Marys River
Downbound traffic on Mother’s Day included American Century, Edgar B. Speer, John Spence and barge, Canadian Provider, Charles M. Beeghly, Maritime Trader, Presque Isle and CSL Tadoussac. Passing upbound were American Spirit, Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and CSL Assiniboine. Wilfred Sykes departed Cedarville in mid-morning and headed west.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After sitting at anchor in Saginaw Bay since early Saturday morning due to strong winds and low water levels that reached nearly -20 inches at one point, Algoway began making her trip inbound Sunday morning, bound for the North Star dock in Essexville to unload potash. She was expected to be outbound later in the day.

Goderich, Ont. - Dave Cooper
Algosteel arrived Sunday morning after waiting out the winds. She was loading salt at the Sifto salt dock.

Fairport, Ohio - Bob Hunter
Tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons entered Fairport Harbor to take on a load of sand by way of an onshore loader.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday, the Ocean Group tug LaPrairie arrived at 7:30 a.m. Birchglen arrived at 1 p.m. with gypsum from Point Tupper Nova Scotia. Quebecois departed Dofasco at 1:45 p.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast. Federal Rideau departed at 3 p.m. and Algomarine arrived at 9:30 p.m. with a cargo of stone.

Sydney, Nova Scotia - Mac Mackay
The tanker Algosea was towed in to Sydney, Nova Scotia, on Saturday with reported gearbox trouble. The tug Atlantic Beech out of Point Tupper towed the ship in.


Cross-Welland Canal ferry to re-launch service soon

5/10 - Welland, Ont. – The cross-Welland Canal ferry that has been out of service in Thorold so far this spring should be back in the water by the Victoria Day weekend.

Thorold officials and canal authorities have resolved some short-term differences, signaling the pontoon's start-up. It's currently undergoing annual maintenance before being launched.

"We feel confident we should have everything back in order in May," said Frank Fabiano, Thorold's new chief administrative officer. The ferry is the only crossing of the industrial waterway at Port Robinson and is popular with locals and touring cyclists.

The $80,000 service is managed by the city and paid for mostly by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. It usually launches when the shipping season starts, but last month Mayor Henry D'Angela said the city had concerns it was addressing with the Seaway, including maintenance of the boat.

Those contractual issues have not been revealed, but Fabiano said there were differences over who was responsible for what related to costs in running the ferry. The issues have been resolved in the short-term, but solutions for the future are still being worked on.

D'Angela said the city is looking for a commitment going into the future. The lease agreement expires at the end of 2016.

"We want to make sure our citizens have a service," D'Angela said. "We have to make sure it's the adequate and proper service."

Seaway spokesman Andrew Bogora said the Seaway is in discussions with the city and region about putting a long-term plan in place to facilitate movement across the canal.

Those discussions revolve around how to make the best use of the dollars at stake, Bogora said.

He said the nature of the ferry has changed substantially over 30 years.

The service was put in place in 1976 after the Port Robinson Road bridge was destroyed by an American ore carrier that collided with it.

While the ferry was originally used for employees to get from one side of the canal to the other for work, it's now used mostly for tourism and cyclist outings.

"We're looking into the future. We're looking at the long-term, in terms of how the ferry is being used and how we can best assist the city and the Region," Bogora said. "We want to ensure the funds are used in most effective manner possible."

The ferry is used by cyclists and residents to safely connect to trails on the other side of the canal and can accommodate more than 150 people a day.

"We don't want this service to end and we have to find ways of making it happen," Fabiano said.

"The Seaway has stepped up and assisted us for this year to make it happen, but long-term we need to look at better solutions for that ferry to continue its operation. We feel very confident that's going to happen."

St. Catharines Standard


Updates - May 10

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 10

105 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.


Low water, high winds ground the Atlantic Huron in Detroit River

5/9 - Detroit, Mich. - Atlantic Huron ran aground off Detroit west of the Belle Isle Anchorage Saturday afternoon. She was seen swinging her boom and using engine power trying to break free. She was released late in the day with the assistance of tugs.

Atlantic Huron was downbound Saturday morning loaded with coal, when low water in the river sent many vessels to anchor. Arthur M. Anderson arrived in the Belle Isle anchorage about 10:30 a.m. and had difficulty getting the anchor to hold. The Huron passed downbound to allow more time for the Anderson to anchor. They turned above the Ojibway anchorage, which was occupied by the BBC Alaska and J.W. Shelley, and headed back to the Belle Isle anchorage. Huron anchored around 3 p.m. Shortly before 4 p.m., they were pushed by winds into the soft river bank on the north side of the river off Detroit. About 7 p.m. two tugs from Great Lakes towing were on scene trying to free the Huron. Shortly after 10:30 p.m., the Atlantic Huron was pulled free and departed downbound.

At midnight Saturday, the water level in the lower river was plus 35.9 inches; at 4 p.m. the level was at minus -6.7 inches. The water level started to rise rapidly Saturday evening as winds diminished and at 10:30 was back to plus 27 inches above datum.


Low water causes problems Saturday at the Soo Locks

5/9 - St. Marys River - Low water levels in Soo Harbor at one point in the -18 range thanks to steady northwest winds – caused the downbound American Integrity to get stuck in the mud in the lower Poe Lock approach late Saturday afternoon. In an effort to free her, both the MacArthur and Poe locks were filled, then emptied at the same time, with the resulting surge lifting the Integrity. The upbound Mesabi Miner, which had been waiting on the pier to take the lock from the Integrity, backed off into the harbor to allow plenty of room for the unusual flushing operation. Once the Integrity was secured on the far reaches of the Poe pier, the Miner, maneuvering very tight quarters, swung around the moored Integrity and headed very carefully up into the lock.

Meanwhile, the Maumee, which ducked into the St. Marys River and anchored off Black Rock Point (just above DeTour) early Saturday morning for weather, resumed her trip Saturday evening, heading downbound on Lake Huron. Other downbound traffic Saturday included Frontenac, Federal Seto and Spruceglen. As darkness fell, American Mariner and Calumet were downbound above the locks.

The USCG Mackinaw, which docked at the Carbide Dock in the Soo Friday afternoon, was still there Saturday.


Port Reports - May 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly was secured at the Upper Harbor ore dock Saturday afternoon either waiting for winds to calm on Lake Superior or for cargo, as no unloading or loading was taking place.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jeff Birch
Federal Kushiro was in the graving dock Saturday. The new portion of the Saginaw's unloading boom is in place on the deck and it appears that attachment work is in progress.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Canadian Olympic departed Hamilton and anchored in the Burlington Bay anchorage due to weather. The CSL Laurentien departed US Steel at 12:30 p.m. for the canal. Quebecois arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco.


Updates - May 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Low water and high winds ground the Atlantic Huron in Detroit River

5/8 - Detroit, Mich. - 10:35 update - The Atlantic Huron was moved back to the anchorage with assistance from two Great Lake towing tugs.

Atlantic Huron ran aground off Detroit west of the Belle Isle Anchorage Saturday afternoon. She was seen swinging her boom and using engine power trying to break free.

The Huron was downbound Saturday morning loaded with coal, low water in the river sent many vessels to anchor. The Arthur M. Anderson arrived in the Belle Isle anchorage about 10:30 a.m. and had difficulty getting the anchor to hold. The Huron passed downbound to allow more time for the Anderson to anchor. They turned above the Ojibway anchorage, which was occupied by the BBC Alaska and J.W. Shelly, and headed back to the Belle Isle anchorage. Huron anchored around 3 p.m.

Shortly before 4 p.m. they were pushed by winds into the soft river bank on the north side of the river off Detroit. While no damage is expected the water levels will likely need to return closer to normal before she is freed. About 7 p.m. two tugs from Great Lakes towing were on scene trying to free the Huron. At 10:30 p.m. efforts continued to free the Atlantic Huron, the G tugs continued working and the Gaelic tug Patricia Hoey was upbound from the Rouge to assist.

At midnight the water level in the lower river was plus 35.9 inches, at 4 p.m. the level was at minus -6.7 inches. The water level started to rise rapidly Saturday evening as the winds diminished and at 10:30 was back to plus 27 inches above datum.

Check back for updates


Coast Guard evacuates Cason J. Callaway crewman

5/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie medically evacuated a 51-year-old crewman who was experiencing abdominal pains from the Cason J. Callaway near the Gros Cap Light on Whitefish Bay, Friday about 3:30 p.m.

"He was in pain, bad discomfort. His movement was very restricted, but he was conscious," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny McDorman, a Station Sault Ste. Marie boatswain's mate.

McDorman and his 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) crew brought the crewman aboard, safely, for transport to shore.

Emergency medical services transported him War Memorial Hospital. The Callaway was upbound in Lake Superior, but it turned around to rendezvous with the station small boat crew.

The captain of the Callaway contacted Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie on Channel 16 reporting a crewmember suffering abdominal pain.


Port Reports - May 8

Marquette , Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten arrived Friday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock ahead of an approaching late spring snowstorm.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were back in Lorain Friday; they were outside the harbor around 7:30 a.m. and down by the Henderson Bridge with the boom extended. They departed about 1:30 p.m.

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Friday, John B. Aird departed Dofasco at 7 a.m. Esta Desganges departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 7:15 a.m. Maria Desgagnges anchored in Burlington Bay at 8:45 a.m. to await bunkering from Hamilton Energy. Tim S. Dool arrived at 10 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. The Canadian Olympic arrived at 5:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco.


Great Lakes shipping won't increase because of Gulf oil spill

5/8 - Duluth, Minn. – While the Coast Guard and British Petroleum work to stop oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, Great Lakes shipping probably won’t be affected.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority Trade Development Director Ron Johnson says the spill won’t increase cargo on the Great Lakes.

“Even when [Hurricane] Katrina hit, which was a sudden blow to the coast and literally shut down shipping, there was very little diversion and based on what we’re seeing with what’s happened down there right now, we don’t foresee any diversion of the trade into the Great Lakes Seaway.”

Johnson says diverting ships is not common practice.

“It takes a lot of time to shift vessels and cargos that have been moving in their normal trade patterns so it would take something that would shut that whole coast down for an extended period of time.”

Glen Nekvasil is Vice President of communications for the Lake Carriers Association in Cleveland. He says people don’t need to worry about the water up here.

“We move very little liquid bulk product on the Great Lakes, at least comparatively speaking, compared to cargos like iron ore and limestone and coal. And there’s no oil rigs on the Lakes so this situation is not impacting us at all.”

91.3 KUWS


Busier season ahead good news for Great Lakes shippers, shipwatchers

5/8 - Grosse Pointe, Mich. – Signs of economic recovery are rippling across Lake St. Clair. Increased freighter traffic on the Great Lakes this year signals an improved business climate.

“The news is good so far,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, headquartered in Cleveland. “But, we have to be careful. Its not quite time to declare happy days are here again.”

“Lake freighters are coming off their worst year in decades. Iron ore total was the lowest since 1938,” Nekvasil said. “We’re talking Great Depression. We have a lot of rebounding to do.”

Among freighters operated by 18 American companies represented by the association, iron ore shipments this year are up 156 percent from the same time last year, according to an association update.

“The steel industry is operating at about 72 percent capacity, whereas a year ago it was in the 40s,” Nekvasil said. “We definitely are making more steel in this country. That’s what drives the iron ore trade.”

“I think were going to have a better season this year, not only the shippers, but for us people who like to watch the boats,” said Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of Know Your Ships, the yearbook of Great Lakes boat watchers. There were stretches last year when boat watchers went hours without seeing anything.

“I coined a term for it – boat waiting,” LeLievre quipped.

LeLievre grew up watching freighters, often called boats despite technically being ships, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“My grandpa worked at the dock that put coal on freighters for fuel,” he said. “We had a cabin on the river. The boats went by out front. My mom used to let me skip school on the first day of the shipping season to see the first boat through the locks. She got in trouble for it from the school. There’s a romance and mystery about those ships, where they’re going and coming from.”

LeLievre said his favorite spot to watch freighters is from his 16-foot motorboat at the Soo.

“If I have to be on land, its probably Mission Point at the Soo, in Port Huron under the Blue Water Bridge or at the Welland Canal. Windmill Pointe’s nice, too,” he said.

Know Your Ships, first published in 1959 and in its 51st edition, inventories domestic and international cargo and passenger vessels found on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The book was founded by the late Tom Manse of Sault Ste. Marie. LeLievre began working on the publication as a teenager during the late 1960s, he said, and has run the operation since Manse died in 1994.

“I’ve been proud to carry on the legacy for him,” LeLievre said.

The book’s readership extends beyond the Great Lakes states.

“I don’t know how I wound up with ship fans in Kansas, but I have customers there,” LeLievre said. “I have about a dozen people in England and Germany who buy the book every year. I have a lot of business in Florida, which makes me think they’re people who have moved there from the Great Lakes area.”

The days are gone when freighter after freighter paraded up and down the lakes stem to stern. In the late 1960s, when the Poe Lock was built at the Soo, it allowed bigger ships on the Great Lakes, LeLievre said. That changed everything.

In 1969, there were 600 bulk carriers on the Great Lakes, according to LeLievre. Now, there are about 110.

“That can be attributed to one 1,000-footer taking the place of three or four of the 500-to-600-foot boats,” he said. “Also, the steel industry fell apart in the 1980s. We don’t build things out of steel the way we used to. We import a lot of goods we used to make, like cars.”

Although the fleet has shrunk, the book has more than doubled in length.

“There’s more pictures and information,” LeLievre said. “I started historic retrospectives. In this year’s book, we started a feature I’ll continue: We go someplace and write about it. I took a trip up the St. Lawrence Seaway on a cruise boat. Next year, I think I’ll write about a trip to Duluth.”

Features include a color chart of smokestacks, house flags and national flags of the ships, companies and nations that sail the Great Lakes; the meaning of boat whistles; a list of major Great Lakes ports and their main cargos; the VHF frequencies of ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications and a list of laker longevity, beginning with Columbia, a former Bob-Lo Island passenger steamer last operated in 1991 and is now laid up in Ecorse.

Vessels are listed by ownership and current name. Data includes year built, dimensions, engine type, cargo capacity, alterations and name changes. Some entries require more space than others, even more space when the cross-referencing is totaled. Take the St. Marys Challenger, the oldest freighter operating on the Great Lakes.

She was launched in 1906 at Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ecorse, Mich., the same shipyard that built the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Challenger was originally christened the William P. Snyder and was part of a fleet owned by The Shenango Furnace Co., which included the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, now the 99-year-old museum ship Willis S. Boyer in Toledo.

Six names later, the 552-foot St. Marys Challenger hauls cement under the operation of Port City Tug, Inc., of which Patrick McKee of Grosse Pointe Farms is part of the ownership group.

The McKee family’s nautical lineage goes back to owning the Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship Company, a Sand Products subsidiary, operators of the 361-foot Milwaukee Clipper passenger ship, which ferried passengers and automobiles across Lake Michigan between Muskegon and Milwaukee from 1941 until 1970.

Milwaukee Clipper now is a museum in Muskegon, along with another of the family’s floating touchstones to history, a World War II LST that participated in the Normandy invasion.

When Oglebay Norton Marine Services Co. went out of the shipping business a few years ago, McKee’s company bought three members of its fleet, the David Z. Norton, Wolverine and Earl W. Oglebay.

“We operated those for a number of years and recently sold them,” McKee said. “We purchased a tugboat out of New York harbor, the Micheala McAllister, renamed it the Prentiss Brown and paired it with a barge, the St Marys Conquest.”

It all can be rooted out of various editions of Know Your Ships. Look for it on line at

Grosse Pointe News Online


Tours resume on tug John Purves at Door County museum

5/8 - Sturgeon Bay, Wisc. – The Door County Maritime Museum resumes tours of its popular in-water exhibit, the tug John Purves, with a daily slate of 40 minute docent-led tours in May.

The immaculately restored 149-foot vessel was rededicated in late July 2008 after completion of a five-year restoration project. Built in 1919 and christened Butterfield, the tug has a colorful past that even included World War II duty in the Aleutian Islands. The tug made its way to Sturgeon Bay in 1956 when purchased by Roen Steamship Company. It was eventually sold, but the tug now carries the Roen colors and has been outfitted to appear much as it did while operated by Roen in the 1950s and ‘60s. Capt. John Roen, company owner, renamed the tug in honor of his long-time employee and general manager.

Moored on the waterfront behind the Maritime Museum, the tug is open daily beginning in May. Hours are 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. with tours leaving on the half hour. Tours will be expanded Memorial Day weekend, with a 9:30 a.m. start. The cost of the tour is $5 per person and includes the opportunity to visit nearly every space on the vessel from engine room to wheelhouse For more information visit


Split Rock Lighthouse beacon lit on Friday

5/8 - Split Rock Lighthouse celebrated its 100th birthday with a rare lighting of its beacon Friday.

The familiar landmark along Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior first lit its beacon on July 31, 1910. U.S. Coast Guard regulations now prevent the light from being used consistently, but it can be turned on for occasional ceremonial purposes.

To celebrate Split Rock's centennial this year, the beacon will be turned on the first Friday of each month, from May through November. The beacon also will be lighted on July 31 — the date of the first beacon lighting — and on Nov. 10, the anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking.

The lightings happen at sunset. The beacon will remain lit for an hour.

Associated Press


Updates - May 8

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 7

St. Marys River
Upbounders on a windy and cool spring day included CSL Tadoussac, Federal Hunter, St. Clair, Presque Isle, Reliance and Algolake. Downbound traffic included Stewart J. Cort, Montrealais, Robert S. Pierson and Roger Blough. J.W. Shelley was nearing the locks downbound at midnight.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came into port about 2 p.m. Thursday with a load of coal for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island. It was still unloading Thursday afternoon.

South Chicago - Steve B and Lou Gerard
The early morning hours on the Calumet River near 100th Street were quite busy Thursday. John D. Leitch arrived at the Morton Salt dock at around 5 a.m., and started unloading about 5:30. At KCBX, the Atlantic Huron was taking on a load of coal or petroleum coke, destined for Nova Scotia, according to one of the crewman. The river was also busy with tug and barge traffic. Atlantic Huron made her departure from KCBX around 8:30 a.m., backing out toward Lake Michigan, with an assist from the G tugs Massachusetts on the stern and Colorado on the bow. Atlantic Huron met St. Marys Conquest and Prentiss Brown in Calumet Harbor. Conquest then headed up the river for the St. Marys terminal at Lake Calumet. Leitch was to shift to KCBX later in the day.

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Thursday the Esta Desganges ( ex Emerald Star ) anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte to await the departure of Dara Desgagnes ( ex Diamond Star ) at 9 p.m. John B Aird arrived in Hamilton at 10 p.m. with coal for Dofasco.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
English River arrived in port Wednesday afternoon. Stephen B. Roman arrived in port Thursday just after 10 a.m. Mississagi arrived late Thursday and departed for the Welland Canal Thursday just before noon.


Iron Ore Co. revives Labrador expansion plan

5/7 - The Iron Ore Company of Canada said Thursday it was reviving an ambitious project in Labrador that was halted a year and a half ago by the worldwide economic crisis.

IOC said in a statement it will resume the first phase of an expansion project in western Labrador that is expected to pump up annual production from its Labrador City operation to 22 million tonnes.

The project ground to a sudden halt in 2008, when demand for steel - and the concentrate that IOC produces - nose-dived in the wake of a financial crisis.

"Some uncertainty and potential volatility remain about global economic recovery but we are seeing a strong rebound in the iron ore and steel markets, with every expectation that it will be sustainable," IOC president and CEO Zoe Yujnovich said.

IOC said shareholders have approved a $435-million plan to increase concentrate production by an extra four million tonnes by 2012.

The company said it is now proceeding with a three-stage expansion program that is expected to bring annual production to 26 million tonnes.

Thursday's announcement marks a reversal of fortune for IOC, which was hit hard by the economic crisis and the steep slump for products, particularly cars and trucks, that rely on steel.

IOC had only just unveiled its expansion plans in 2008 when it was forced to cancel them.

"Through the economic downturn, we built strength in our financial discipline," Yujnovich said.

"Now that markets have rebounded, it is vital that we build from that discipline to build further strength in our business. This expansion program will enable us to do that," she said.

IOC is one of the world's largest producers of iron ore pellets, and ships to steel producers in North America, Europe and Asia.



Great Lakes Legacy Act to assist in cleanup of St. Marys River

5/7 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin cleanup this week of a contaminated portion of the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie as a result of the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee), who co-sponsored the Great Lakes Legacy Reauthorization Act in 2008, applauded the partnership between the EPA and Consumers Energy Co. to remove approximately 26,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from the river adjacent to the property currently operated by MCM Marine.

“The Great Lakes Legacy Act has already provided for the remediation of Tannery Bay in Sault Ste. Marie, and will now clean another contaminated portion of the St. Marys River,” Stupak said. “While there is still a great deal of work to be done to clean up contaminated sites in the Great Lakes, this announcement is another step toward restoring our Great Lakes waters.”

The contaminated site is approximately a mile east of the Soo Locks and was formerly a manufactured gas plant.

Funding totaling $2.4 million from the Great Lakes Legacy Act, combined with $1.6 million being provided by Consumers Energy, will pay for the cleanup project.

According to the EPA, the cleanup will be a two-stage project, with dredging in the inner boat slip now under way and cleanup in the adjacent river expected to be completed by the spring of 2011.

In September 2007, the EPA completed cleanup of Tannery Bay with the help of the Great Lakes Legacy Act program, removing 880,000 pounds of chromium and more than 70 pounds of mercury from the bay and wetland on Tannery Point.

“Our Great Lakes are a precious resource and the steps being taken today through the Great Lakes Legacy Act will make sure they remain healthy for future generations,” Stupak said. “I am pleased this administration has made Great Lakes cleanup a priority, recognizing both the economic and cultural significance the lakes play for Michigan and the entire Great Lakes region.”

The Great Lakes tributaries and harbors identified as having pollution problems are known as “areas of concern” (AOC).

There are 43 AOCs on the Great Lakes – 26 in the United States, 12 in Canada and five shared between the two countries.

Six of the AOCs are located wholly or partially in the First Congressional District: Saginaw River and Bay AOC, Menominee River AOC, Manistique River, AOC, Deer Lake AOC, Torch Lake AOC and St. Marys River AOC.

The First Congressional District has 1,613 miles of shoreline, more than any other congressional district in the continental United States. It is also the nation’s only congressional district to border three of the five Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Legacy Act is a federal program targeted at cleaning up contaminated sediment around the U.S. shores of the Great Lakes. It is now part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a $475 million effort to begin restoring and protecting the Great Lakes.


Great Lakes Towing delivers wildlife monitoring equipment to Cleveland

5/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Towing Company, a member of The Great Lakes Group, Cleveland, Ohio, was contracted by Tetra Tech, Inc. to deliver a 6,500 pound DeTect MERLIN Avian Radar System and AnaBat SD-1 acoustic monitoring equipment to the City of Cleveland’s Water Intake Crib. The equipment was successfully delivered on April 30 and is up-and-running.

Tetra Tech will be conducting on-shore and off-shore avian and bat radar studies during the migrating seasons (spring and fall) of 2010 in order to provide the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force a more accurate assessment of potential risk to the avian and bat community from a proposed commercial off-shore wind project in Cleveland, Ohio. This data will provide critical ecological information required by Ohio Department of National Resources and United States Fish & Wildlife Services for approval of the proposed project.


Updates - May 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Lost steamer Cedarville to be remembered in two events this weekend

5/6 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – Forty-five years ago the S.S. Cedarville was rammed and sunk by a Norwegian freighter in the Straits of Mackinac. Ten crewmembers were lost in an accident that happened in fog so think visibility had been reduced to several hundred feet at best.

This weekend, in two separate ceremonies, those lost will be remembered, first with a ceremony in Mackinaw City aboard the icebreaker Mackinaw, and then Saturday afternoon at the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City with a traditional bell ringing. Survivor Dave Erickson said he remembers the tragic day's events "like it was yesterday."

"It was foggy, cold and later on, very wet the morning of May 7, 1965," he said, echoing the comments made by fellow survivor Leonard Gabrysiak. "I was on deck, having just stepped out of the galley, and was talking to another of the porters, Jerome Kierzek. We watched the Topdalsfjord come out of the fog and slam into the starboard side of the Cedarville and then scrape along the hull as she disappeared again.

"Everything seemed to go into slow motion but, Jerome and I decided to go to our rooms and get our life jackets just in case, and we warned other crewmembers that we had been hit. We thought everything would be OK but when the canvas patch wasn't holding and the officers told us to ready the lifeboats we knew something wasn't right."

He said the starboard lifeboat wouldn't release from the brackets and he jumped out just before the Cedarville rolled over. He said the greatest loss of life was in that lifeboat that the Cedarville took to the bottom.

"When I came back to the surface, all I could see was that the Cedarville had rolled over and that's the way she settled to the bottom," he aid "There was an attempt to beach her but we didn't have time. There just wasn't time."

Those who were William Asam, Willard Bredow, Charles Cook, Arthur Fuhrman, Stanley Haske, Eugene Jones, Edmund Jungman, Donald Lamp, Reinhold Radtke and Hugh Wingo. This was the second greatest loss for Rogers City and the fleet, the first being the loss of the Carl D. Bradley several years earlier.

This weekend, there will be two memorial services, the first near the scene of the accident in the Straits of Mackinac, aboard the old cutter Mackinaw starting at 10 a.m., with a flyover by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. Following ceremonies on the deck of the retired cuter Mackinaw, the new cutter Mackinaw, anchored over the site of the lost freighter, will fire a flare over the wreck. The ceremony will last approximately one hour, according to Erickson.

On Saturday at 2 p.m., the traditional bell ringing at the maritime museum in Rogers City will honor those lost that day in the Straits of Mackinac. Both events are open to the public.

The Alpena News


Long-dormant former USCG Sundew charts new course

5/6 - Duluth, Minn. – Jeff Foster was a happy man Tuesday afternoon after the former U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sundew made its first voyage in years.

“It ran spectacular, absolutely wonderful,” Foster, who bought the 180-foot-long vessel last year, said after the Sundew cruised from Minnesota Slip to the Superior harbor entry and back to Duluth.

“We didn’t go out on the lake – that will come in another week or two,” Foster said.

The Sundew, launched in 1944, was donated to the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for use as a floating museum in 2004. The ship failed to attract enough visitors to cover its costs and the DECC put it up for sale last year. Foster bought the ship for just more than the minimum bid of $100,000.

The sight of the Sundew coming to life again attracted the attention of tourists and ship-watchers.

“I grew up around these boats,” said Washburn resident Chuck Carrier, whose father was in the Coast Guard. The younger Carrier followed his father into the Coast Guard and served 29 years aboard icebreakers and cutters. “It’s great to see the old ships the traditional work boat out again,” he said. “I’m here to see it fly again.”

Other than saying that he has plenty of ideas for how to use the ship, Foster, owner of Jeff Foster Trucking Inc., remains closed-mouthed about his long-range plans.

“The first step is to see what we have,” going through the ship’s various systems to determine what needs to be repaired or replaced, he said.

Getting the ship ready to sail again took uncounted hours of labor by volunteers and Jeff Foster Trucking employees.

The last time the ship’s engines ran was in 2004. After last-minute preparations were completed, the ship’s diesel was fired up Tuesday morning. About 11:45 a.m., the prop was turned over and the ship began straining against its mooring lines. Within 20 minutes, the lines were all in and the ship had maneuvered away from the side of the Minnesota Slip and entered the harbor.

Commanding the ship was Joe Walters, a Coast Guard veteran who served on the Sundew from 1994-97. He now captains the U.S. Geological Survey research vessel Kiyi. “It’s almost surreal it brings back a lot of good memories,” he said of being aboard the Sundew as it prepared to sail again. “I’m happy and honored to help move it.”

Foster owns a dock in Superior, but Tuesday’s voyage ended at the LaFarge property near Bayfront Festival Park. Foster hopes to keep the Sundew there until after the Tall Ships Festival in July and August.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - May 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Herbert C. Jackson was at the CHS elevator in Superior on Wednesday morning to load grain for Buffalo. Arthur M. Anderson was at the CN ore dock unloading limestone. From there it was to proceed to Two Harbors on Wednesday to load pellets for Conneaut. Anderson was to be followed by Joseph L. Block, which was expected to unload stone in the hopper and then proceed to the BNSF ore dock in Superior to load. After the Block clears, Canadian Transport was due at the CN at the dock to load pellets.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Calumet arrived at the Upper Harbor Wednesday morning on a fifth straight trip to load ore for Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came in about 9 p.m. Tuesday night with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It unloaded and departed by dawn.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Wednesday morning the shipping lanes off Lorain were busy, with Algorail west of Lorain, H Lee White off Lorain and CSL Laurentien off Avon Point

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Tuesday the saltie Clipper Mari arrived at 10:15 a.m. and the Jo Spirit departed at 5 p.m. Wednesday the Jana Desgagnes (ex Jade Star) anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte due to weather.

Atlantic Superior - Mac Mackay
CSL has brought the self-unloader Atlantic Superior back under the Canadian flag. The ship was registered in Montreal as of May 3. The ship has been reflagged several times in its career, and has now been registered in three different Canadian ports. Her first port of registry was Collingwood, but after a brief time under Bahamas flag in 1986 she was re-registered in Halifax. She shifted back and forth between Canadian and Bahamas register for several years, but has been under the latter flag since February 2006.


Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority names William Friedman chief executive

5/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has selected a maritime and development veteran from Indiana as the CEO to continue its revival in the wake of a tumultuous year.

William D. Friedman -- a management consultant who was previously chief of the Ports of Indiana and an executive with the Port of Seattle -- was named president and chief executive by the board Tuesday morning.

"This is truly an honor," Friedman said. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think the Port of Cleveland had tremendous potential."

Board members -- effusive in their praise -- believe Friedman has the requisite track record, leadership and management skills, as well as maritime know-how, with both Great Lakes and ocean experience. His resume includes more than 20 years in port-related leadership positions.

He's also a former vice president of ports and logistics for Duke Realty Corp., a real estate investment trust -- that's a useful experience for running the port and possibly redeveloping waterfront land.

Friedman's selection also drew praise from other corners. "I'm pleased to hear that we do have now in place a gentleman who actually has first-hand maritime and port-related experience," said Dennis Mahoney, vice president of operations with World Shipping Inc. in Rocky River and vice president of the United States Great Lakes Shipping Association.

Friedman starts June 1 and has a series of priority issues to tackle. But he inherits an agency that's in better shape than it was last November when CEO Adam Wasserman abruptly resigned.

In the interim former National City CEO Peter Raskind took the helm, stabilized a rocky agency, cut expenses and refocused the port on keeping Cleveland's harbor open for all commercial ships.

Friedman will earn a base salary of $200,000 -- with the possibility of an annual performance bonus of up to $20,000 that won't become available before December of next year. His initial contract term is for two years.

Wasserman made $283,000 a year and left with a $330,000 buyout. The port's maritime director and government liaison have also left.

At the top of the port's agenda now that Friedman's been hired: coordinating an effort to find a way to pay for a containment site where dredged sediment can be dumped -- otherwise the city's harbor could effectively close to some commercial shipping as early as 2015.

During a press conference Tuesday, Friedman said he doesn't have ready answers to issues facing the port. "And I won't until I have the chance to talk to lots and lots of people," he said. "That's my style. I really want to understand everything very well before making recommendations to the board."

He said a solution will be found to the dredging issue; that the agency will be aggressive in its use of financing as a tool to help spur economic development, and that he wants to move as quickly as possible to fill needed jobs that are vacant.

Friedman said he doesn't yet know whether the port should move from its current location: "It does seem to me that better use of the assets on the waterfront make sense for the community, and ultimately positioning the port so it can thrive is what this is all about."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


Tickets now available for annual Detroit-to-Port Huron cruise May 30

5/6 - Sign up now for the annual Detroit- Port Huron cruise aboard the Diamond Jack’s River Cruise vessel Diamond Belle. This trip, on Sunday, May 30, is a joint presentation of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit (membership not required) and

The cruise leaves from Stroh Place at the foot of Jos. Campeau in Detroit, traveling up to the Blue Water Bridge and return. Enjoy more than 10 hours traveling up the Detroit River, across Lake St. Clair, then up the St. Clair River to beyond the Blue Water bridges (around 120 miles total). A deli luncheon will be served on board, with a stop at the St. Clair Inn for dinner. This is the 20th annual trip by Diamond Jack’s.



Updates - May 6

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historic Galleries updated - Ben W. Calvin, new feature for May
New Discussion Boards 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.


Lake Superior dropped in April for fourth time ever

5/5 - Duluth, Minn. – Lake Superior declined in April for only the fourth time in the past 110 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Tuesday.

Last month’s water-level drop of one inch, during a month the big lake on average rises by three inches, has only been matched in 1907, 1917 and 1987. And the May 1 level this year is the lowest of all those years.

Superior usually rises from April to September then gradually declines over the fall and winter months when precipitation is locked in snow.

But this spring, thanks to unusually meager winter snowfall and one of the driest springs on record, the big lake is headed the wrong way. The lake’s May 1 level was 10 inches below the long-term average and a full six inches below the level at this time last year, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

After flirting with record-low levels in 2007, including a new record low for the moth of August, Lake Superior generally inched closer to normal levels in 2008 and 2009. So far in 2010, however, the lake is moving lower, away from normal, and that could mean issues for recreational boating and shipping if the trend continues.

The problem is drought. Duluth is now nearly three inches below normal for precipitation for the year, thanks to little rain in March and April and little snow since January. Duluth sits at 61 inches of snow for the winter compared to a usual seasonal total of nearly 90 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Duluth.

The National Drought Monitor lists nearly all of the Northland in a moderate drought, while parts of the Arrowhead and northern Wisconsin are listed as severe drought.

Lakes Michigan and Huron rose a half-inch in April when they usually go up four inches. Those lakes are 13 inches below normal and seven inches below the level at this time in 2009.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - May 5

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber departed the Bay Aggregates dock early Tuesday morning after unloading and headed for the lake. Later in the morning, the tug Barbara Andrie, with the barge A-390, departed the Dow Chemical dock, also headed for the lake. The pair had arrived on April 18, and after unloading at Bit-Mat, tied up at the Dow dock, where they have been since.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The intended drydocking of the tour boat Torontonian did not take place Monday. At about 11 a.m. Monday, a fire broke out on board Torontonian. The fire tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie and marine police units responded along with shore based fire trucks. They put the fire out about half an hour later. The 48-year-old vessel will not likely see service this year. The brigantine STV Playfair which was also scheduled for drydocking, was placed on Toronto Drydock Monday afternoon.


Port of Montreal traffic on the rise in the first quarter of 2010

5/5 - Montreal – Overall traffic at the Port of Montreal in the first quarter of 2010 was up 7.6 percent compared to the same period last year, today announced the Montreal Port Authority. The two main drivers of this growth are containerized cargo traffic and iron ore.

In fact, container traffic grew by 11.1 percent for the first three months of the year, from 2,636,080 tonnes to 2,927,394 tonnes. This traffic is with the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, which experienced the strongest growth with respective increases of 36.6 percent and 19.8 percent. Traffic with Northern Europe was on par with last year, with an increase of 0.1 percent.

Turning to the traffic of bulk goods, there was a total increase of 37 percent in dry bulk. Overall throughput at the grain terminal (ships, trains and trucks) in Q1 totalled 566,674 tonnes, up 10.8 percent over Q1 2009. Growth is most pronounced in iron ore, with a volume of 348,276 tonnes handled at the Contrecoeur Terminal compared to only 34,409 tonnes during the same period in 2009.

Bulk liquid dropped 13.4 percent, mainly due to a 17.5 percent decline in petroleum products.

"The growth of certain types of traffic in dry bulk, such as iron ore, along with growth in container traffic, would seem to indicate an upturn in economic activity," stated the President and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, Sylvie Vachon. The Port’s strong performance emphasizes the key role it occupies in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes Trade Corridor, through which more than 70 percent of Canada’s international trade transits.


New Lake Ontario lighthouse nearly completed in N.Y.

5/5 - Carlton, N.Y. - Construction is nearly complete on a replica of a Lake Ontario lighthouse washed away by a storm almost a century ago.

The lighthouse is being built at Point Breeze in the Orleans County town of Carlton, 30 miles northwest of Rochester.

The original 32-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1871 at the end of a pier located where the Oak Orchard River empties into the lake. The federal government abandoned the lighthouse in 1905 and a severe storm 11 years later caused the structure to collapse into the lake.

A local group began raising money in 2003 to reconstruct the lighthouse at what is now Oak Orchard State Marine Park.

The $200,000 project is expected to be completed later this month. About half the cost is being covered by state grants.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - May 5

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 4

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The workhorse combo of the Saginaw River, the tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber, were back again late Monday afternoon for their seventh visit of the season. Moore & Kuber backed into the Bay Aggregates dock and were there unloading Monday evening.

With the month of April in the books, shipping on the Saginaw River is looking much brighter this year than in 2009. There were 18 commercial deliveries to Saginaw River docks this April, as compared to only seven in 2009. Nine different vessels made these deliveries. If you compare April's totals to the average from the past six years, you can see that the 18 passages are close to the average of 22.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Canadian Transfer was outside Lorain Harbor at 13:30 and heading in. Around 15:30 she was sitting north of the railroad trestle directly behind the AMCOR Flux storage facility on 9th Street. Her boom is up and moving over the tops of the storage domes to deliver material. Also, the Maumee passed Lorain around Noon headed for Cleveland.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday the "rum ship" Jo Spirit arrived at 6:30 a.m. Hamilton Energy arrived at 3:30 p.m. Peter R. Cresswell departed at 3:45 p.m. Kasteelborg departed at 5:30 p.m. for Chicago with a part cargo of ferro alloy. The MCT Altair arrived at 5:45 p.m. for Pier 12. Montrealais departed Dofasco at 6 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The island ferry Thomas Rennie was refloated Monday afternoon at Toronto Drydock. Followed into drydock was the tour boat Torontonian, which was towed over from Harbourfront to the drydock by the company's tug M. R. Kane.


Corps of Engineers awards contract for Lake St. Clair dredging project

5/4 - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, awarded a contract to a Michigan firm for the dredging of Lake St Clair.

A $887,375 contract was awarded to Luedtke Engineering Company of Frankfort, Michigan, to dredge 30,500 cubic yards of shoals from the navigation channel and place the dredged materials in a confined disposal facility.

The work is scheduled to commence this spring and wrap up in early summer.

“Lake St. Clair is part of the Great Lakes Connecting Channels, and is a vital component of the Great Lakes navigation system,” said Lt Col. James Davis, district engineer. “Removal of shoals from the navigation channel will keep it viable for ships transporting millions of dollars worth of raw materials such as coal, iron ore and limestone.”

A major mission of the US Army Corps of Engineers is maintaining a navigation system that includes 94 harbors in and around lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St Clair and the Michigan portion of Lake Erie.

Dredging News


U.S. steel output could rise by a third

5/4 - U.S. steelmakers may raise output by one-third this year as the economy begins to recover, Nucor Corp. Chief Executive Officer Dan DiMicco said Monday.

Steelmakers still face increasing competition from rising imports and require protection from trade practices of nations including China, DiMicco said on an American Iron and Steel Institute-sponsored conference call. Charlotte, N.C.- based Nucor was the largest U.S. steelmaker by 2009 sales.

DiMicco Sunday became chairman of the American Iron and Steel Institute, which represents 24 member companies and 138 associate and affiliate members comprising 75 percent of steelmaking capacity in North America. The nation's steel capacity utilization rose to 73 percent as of April 24 from 41 percent a year earlier, according to the group's data.

"Things are getting better but we need them to get a lot better," DiMicco said on the call. "We are looking at positive signs that the economy is slowly starting to recover. It will probably take several more years to see demand back to what it was from 2004 through the third quarter of 2008." The United States now imports 20 percent of its finished steel. The increasing volume is a "disturbing" trend, DiMicco said.

China's currency is undervalued and gives its exporters a 40 percent subsidy on shipments, he said. If China only revalues its currency by 4 percent to 5 percent, that "trivial" amount shouldn't be enough to derail efforts in the U.S. Congress to punish China for currency manipulation, DiMicco said.

Domestic steel producers are also facing "substantially higher costs" for inputs including scrap steel, coke, metallurgical coal and iron ore that are a challenge for the industry, James Wainscott, CEO of AK Steel Holding Corp., said on the call. Wainscott also is the institute's vice chairman.

Bloomberg News


Captains say they’ll move if Duluth Lift Bridge changes are approved

5/4 - Capt. Barry LeBlanc has been operating a charter fishing service out of Duluth’s Minnesota Slip for 11 years now and said he’d like to continue to do so, but a new operating policy for the Aerial Lift Bridge could drive him across the harbor to Superior.

“If the city won’t show us any flexibility, I’ll probably go to Barker’s Island,” LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc and other operators of charter fishing boats moored in Duluth have asked the city to be exempted from a policy that would limit the times that large vessels, such as their own, can transit the Duluth entry. Under the terms of a new policy proposed to take effect this shipping season, the Aerial Lift Bridge would be raised every half-hour between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., instead of lifting on demand as it does now. All but the largest commercial ships — lakers and salties weighing 300 gross tons or more — would need to schedule their arrivals and departures accordingly.

Exceptions also would be made when dangerous weather conditions threaten or when medical emergencies arise.

Dave Poulin, president of the Park Point Community Club, which backs the new proposed rules, said growing marine and road traffic has resulted in summer gridlock for his neighborhood.

“It’s a serious safety issue,” said City Councilor Sharla Gardner, a strong supporter of a resolution that would put the proposed new rules in place and reduce the number of lifts by an estimated 20 percent. She predicts the prospective new schedule would improve traffic flow and result in less wear and tear on the bridge.

“You get numb to the traffic after a while, but I realized the situation was slowly growing out of control,” said Ryan Beamer, supervisor of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

He estimated that about 15,000 vehicles will cross the bridge on an average July day this year.

“I wish people could see just how chaotic it gets in July,” Beamer said.

But Duluth City Councilor Todd Fedora favors granting the charter captains’ request.

“They’ve already had a rough go of it lately because of gas prices and the economy, and I don’t see this helping them any,” he said.

Fedora noted a recent study by the Minnesota Sea Grant that estimated Duluth’s charter fishing operations generate about $3.5 million in local spending each year.

“I’d hate to force any charter boats to move to Superior and lose those tax revenues,” said City Council President Jeff Anderson.

Don Nelson, who has worked 15 years as a Duluth charter captain, fears the new restrictions will upset customers and cost him repeat business.

“If one person in a party was a few minutes late, we would have to wait another half hour to get out,” he said.

Capt. Peter Dahl, another charter boat operator, worries about the prospect of a seasick client being made to wait a half hour in misery to return to shore.

Beamer said bridge operators will be free to exercise their discretion in such situations.

LeBlanc predicts that marine traffic will back up as vessels wait for the scheduled lifts, resulting in a potentially dangerous situation and lengthy lifts for the bridge.

“The Duluth Entry is the nastiest on the Great Lakes. The walls are close together, and waves bounce off them,” he said. “It’s going to be a zoo.”

The Duluth City Council tabled the bridge resolution this past week, asking staff to check on whether the U.S. Coast Guard was supportive of granting an exemption to charter operators.

The Coast Guard already had signed off on Duluth’s original plans to reduce lifts and hasn’t been formally asked to act on any modified proposal, according to Scot Striffler, bridge program manager for the Ninth Coast Guard District, based in Cleveland.

But the Coast Guard has been consulted, Striffler said. “We wouldn’t be inclined to grant other exceptions. We think the conditions we already approved are proper.”

The Duluth City Council is expected to take up the bridge resolution anew on Monday, May 10.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - May 4

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - May 4

On May 4, 1958, the JOHN SHERWIN entered service. The SHERWIN has now 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.


Port Reports - May 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Calumet was back at the Upper Harbor Sunday afternoon, loading ore on a third straight trip for Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Stewart J. Cort left long-term lay-up at the heavy-lift terminal at the Milwaukee Inner Harbor. She was under power Friday night and departed Saturday. She was inbound at DeTour in the late evening Sunday upbound for Superior, Wis. to load taconite.

Burns Harbor, Ind. - Brian Z.
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons was loading furnace coke at the Port of Indiana on Sunday after discharging stone for Carmeuse - Burns Harbor plant. McKee Sons is expected to depart for Essar Steel, Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., early on Monday morning

Fairport , Ohio - Herb Hubbel
Maumee was loading Sunday at Morton Salt.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Canadian Transport arrived at 5 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth and departed at 3 p.m. for Duluth. Catharine Desgagnes arrived at 8 p.m. Sunday the Kasteelborg arrived at 10:30 a.m. with ferro alloy. Her next port will be Chicago. The Desgagnes departed at 4:30 p.m. with a part cargo of wheat for Montreal. The Robert S. Pierson arrived at 5:30 p.m. with canola.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
The saltie Andean arrived in port late Friday assisted by Groupe Ocean’s tugs into the Redpath Sugar slip.


Updates - May 3

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Support BoatNerd through our fundraising raffle

5/2 - Besides the grand prize, a trip for four aboard the historic steamer St. Marys Challenger, other prizes for BoatNerd’s fundraising raffle include:

• A round-trip for two including auto aboard the S.S. Badger sailing between Michigan and Wisconsin.
• Two round trip tickets to Beaver Island. The two-hour ferry ride from Charlevoix will take you to St. James, Beaver Island, located 32 miles northwest of Charlevoix.
• Trip on the Chi Cheemaun for two adults plus vehicle or four adults walk on with same day return.
• Cruise for 4 people on a two-hour tour aboard the Huron Lady II departing from their dock in Port Huron
• Two tickets for Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River. Detroit or Wyandotte (6 pairs total)

All proceeds from the raffle will benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online Inc., the non-profit 501(C)(3) support organization for the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Funds raised will be used to pay the charges associated with running such a busy site. Fund-raising raffles are BoatNerd’s only method of financial support; without the raffle BoatNerd.Com would be forced to discontinue this free service.

The Challenger was built in 1906 and is the oldest operating steam-powered cargo vessel in the U.S. She is engaged in the transport of powdered cement from Charlevoix, Mich., to several Lake Michigan ports. The trip is being provided through the generosity of Port City Marine Services.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 5, 2010 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters at Vantage Point, in Port Huron, Mich.

Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 14 for $100. Winners need not be present at the drawing to win, and will be notified by mail and/or phone. Mail orders must be received no later than June 1. In-person purchases will be accepted until 1 p.m. the day of the drawing.

Click here for details.


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.


Port Reports - May 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On a windy Saturday evening at the Upper Harbor, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore and departed. American Mariner arrived and waited to load ore.

South Chicago, Ill. - Brian Z.
Arthur M. Anderson departed KCBX Terminal late on Friday night after loading coal for Escanaba, Mich. Canadian Enterprise was spotted loading petcoke at Chicago Fuels Terminal early Saturday afternoon, bound for Bath, Ont.

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause and Todd Shorkey
The new month started with the busiest day so far this season on the Saginaw River. Saturday morning found three vessels unloading within the short stretch of river at Zilwaukee.

The tug Olive L. Moore with barge Lewis J. Kuber was at the Saginaw Wirt Dock, finishing up a split load after delivering part of its cargo during the night at the Bay City Wirt Dock. Behind the Moore-Kuber, Algorail was making a delivery to the adjacent Buena Vista Dock. A short distance downstream, Algorail's fleetmate Algoway tied up at the Essroc dock in Essexville to wait for water levels to come up. She was waiting for a plus 5 inches before departing Essroc and heading upriver to the Sargent dock. Algoway had arrived in the river on Friday then continued up the river behind the other two vessels on Saturday morning.

Algorail was first to depart and was outbound by mid-afternoon. The Moore-Kuber followed about an hour later. Algoway was still at the Sargent dock early Saturday evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Sam Laud arrived in Lorain Harbor Saturday morning at 7:40 a.m. Cason J. Callaway entered Lorain Harbor about 10:20 a.m. Saturday, passing under the Charles Berry Bridge. Laud departed Lorain at 1:34 p.m.

Wolfe Island - Brian Johnson
The Wolfe Island - Cape Vincent ferry William Darrell returned to service Saturday after her five-year inspection at Heddle Marine Drydock in Hamilton. The Darrell was built in 1952 for the Horne brothers in Port Dover by Harry Gamble Shipyards. This ship has served the communities of Wolfe Island, Ont., and Cape Vincent, N.Y., without fail, for the past 58 seasons. The Horne family of Wolfe Island have been in the ferry business since the very early 1800s. Brothers George and Bruce Horn carry on the family tradition today.


Keweenaw Excursions to launch first full season in Charlevoix

5/2 - Petoskey, Mich. – Keweenaw Excursions is about to launch its first full season at its new location in Charlevoix. The family-owned company, which offers boat trips on Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan, relocated to Charlevoix last September from Houghton in the Upper Peninsula.

The company — co-owned by father, Fred Funkey, and sons Jason and Kraig Funkey — was started 11 years ago. The Keweenaw Star is 110 feet long with both on-deck and cabin seating for 149 passengers. There is a full service bar, soda and snacks are also available.

“We worked aboard boats, maintained them and were so knowledgeable about boats and the lakes that we decided to go into business for ourselves — and it worked out well,” said Kraig.

“We love boats and being on the water, so starting our own excursion business was a natural choice for us. We’ve re-located to Charlevoix because we love the area and this location is more accessible for our guests,” noted Jason.

“Now we’re looking forward to our opening day that’s slated for May 22. Our boat, the Keweenaw Star, will be arriving here shortly before then. Our father has been doing the necessary maintenance and engine overhaul in Houghton, where the boat wintered,” he added.

The Keweenaw Star will be making regularly scheduled trips from May through the fall color tours.

“We will be offering sunset cruises on a daily basis as well as non-scheduled cruises as the schedule fills up and trips are in demand by our customers. We’re still putting our schedule together and recommend that people call ahead for cruise times,” said Kraig.

Jason noted, “We will have cruises for the third and Fourth of July fireworks in Bay Harbor, and Petoskey and Harbor Springs respectively, as well as the Charlevoix fireworks for Venetian Festival in July ... Petoskey’s Festival on the Bay is also on the schedule for August.”

“We offer lighthouse cruises throughout the area — there are so many people interested in lighthouses that it’s a must on our itinerary,” Kraig said.

“For our kick-off cruise this season and to bring the Keweenaw Star back to Charlevoix, we’re offering a cruise called the ‘Freighter and Lighthouse Cruise.’ It’s a three-day land and water adventure that will begin in Sault Ste. Marie on May 19. Our cruise guests will travel from the Soo by chartered buses to Marquette where they will spend the night at pre-arranged lodging, board the Keweenaw Star the morning of the 20th, cruise to the Soo, spend the night in a hotel and travel through the Soo Locks the following morning, arriving in Charlevoix to be bused back to the Soo to pick up their vehicles,” said Kraig.

“What the cruise will take in is the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore, Lake Superior, Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo Locks, the St. Mary’s River, Lake Huron, passing under the Mackinac Bridge, Charlevoix and for the main attraction — countless freighters and no fewer than 25 lighthouses along the way. This trip is filling up but we still have seats left. It will be beautiful, interesting and a lot of fun,” said Jason.

In addition to set trip, Kraig noted custom cruises are available. “You can designate cruises, private parties, weddings, receptions and destinations of your choice — we will even arrange to pick you up at a convenient marina to begin your cruise,” he said. A typical excursion of Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan takes approximately two hours. Duration of other cruises varies.

For more information visit

Petoskey News-Review


Updates - May 2

News Photo Gallery
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - May 1

Green Bay, Wis. - Jeff G.
Manitowoc and John G. Munson are expected Saturday with coal for Green Bay, Manitowoc going to Georgia Pacific and Munson to the Fox River dock.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday started with the Montrealais arriving at 7 a.m. from Port Cartier with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. CSL Niagara arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for US Steel. Niagara departed at 6 p.m. for Toledo. CSL Laurentien arrived at 5:45 p.m. with coal from Buffalo for US Steel


Algoma Central Corp. posts net loss for first quarter

5/1 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The Algoma Central Corporation is reporting a net loss for the three months ended March 31, 2010 of $16,937 compared to a net loss of $18,453 for the same period in 2009. The decrease in the net loss was due primarily to a reduction in the operating loss after income taxes of the Domestic Dry Bulk segment and an increase in foreign exchange gains.

The Domestic Dry-Bulk segment's operating loss net of income tax decreased from $22,999 to $20,654 due primarily to a reduction in repair and maintenance costs, reduced crew costs and higher revenue due to a better mix of business.

The Product Tanker segment operating earnings net of income tax decreased from $200 to a loss of $90 mainly as a result of lower market demand.

The operating earnings net of income tax of the Ocean Shipping segment for the three months ended March 31, 2010 were $3,138 compared to $3,885 for the same period in 2009. An increase in operating earnings due primarily to lower costs for planned regulatory dry-dockings was more than offset with an increase in income tax expense relating to the strengthening Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar. An additional factor contributing to the decrease was the conversion of the 2010 results denominated in U.S. dollars to Canadian dollars at a lower average foreign exchange rate.

The Real Estate segment operating earnings net of income tax decreased from $1,110 to $523 due primarily to additional costs incurred with the re-opening of the hotel operations and lower occupancy at the Sault Ste. Marie shopping mall.

On April 30, 2010, the Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.45 per common share payable on June 1, 2010 to shareholders of record on May 18, 2010.

SooNews Wire


Biodiesel to fuel Lake Erie ferry service

5/1 - A Lake Erie ferry service will be greening up its fleet by running one of its passenger vessels on a blend of biodiesel.

Biodiesel Magazine reports that Miller Boat Line will be running its ferry William Market on a 10-20 percent blend of a not-so-typical type of biodiesel:

The fuel, G2 Diesel, is made from reacting soybean oil and ethanol—not fossil-derived methanol as most biodiesel transesterification processes use.

G2 Diesel is produced by 11 Good Energy Inc., a Delaware corporation formed in May 2007. In November 2009, the company opened a 16.5 MMgy facility in Magnolia, Ohio.

Miller Boat Line describes itself as the most value-friendly way to travel to Put-in-Bay and the only way to bring vehicles to the island. Scott Market, vice president of Miller Boat Line, said the company has become the only environmentally-friendly option for tourists.

“As a family-owned business, we think about our kids with everything we do and we thought it was time to do something to protect the environment for future generations,” Market said. “This allows us to shrink our carbon footprint.”

The company says it hopes one day to use the G2 Diesel in all four of its vessels.

Domestic Fuel


Good news for Hamilton steelmakers as demand strengthens

5/1 - Hamilton, Ont. – A year after Steeltown shuddered, with the Hilton Works on hiatus and imposed pay cuts at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, steel is making a comeback.

By the fall, much of the ground lost on the jobs front is expected to be gained back, with more than 1,000 jobs restored -- and the opportunity for even more.

The largest part of that growth will result from the sale of two idled U.S. Steel mills to a German company that promises to have new steel flowing through them before the end of September.

The rest will be at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, where plans to add a third blast furnace could create 30 positions this summer.

U.S. Steel has also recalled about 800 Hamilton workers of the 1,500 laid off last year.

Thomas Fetzer, president of Max Aicher (North America) Inc., said he expects to hire between 150 and 200 people to staff the Hamilton bar mills his company is buying from U.S. Steel.

Fetzer said hiring could start next month after the 100 U.S. Steel workers with recall rights to the plant have been canvassed.

"All of the employees with recall rights can come back," he said. "We'll see how many have retired or found other jobs and then we will hire from the outside."

Fetzer plans to have the plants operating by the third quarter.

"We hope to move forward quickly on this," Fetzer said.

"We think we are going to have a real advantage in Hamilton because it is the steel capital of Canada. People here know steel and we can use that knowledge."

On Wednesday, U.S. Steel Canada announced the sale of its No. 1 bar mill and No. 3 bloom and billet mill to the Aicher group. The plants have been idle since January 2009, but Fetzer said they can be brought back to life quickly.

"U.S. Steel has kept them in very good shape," Fetzer said.

"We are going to have hot bars in those mills by the third quarter.

"We have a period in front of us to get permits and other things before the deal closes, but we hope to get public support for this," he added.

Aicher (North America) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Max Aicher GmbH & Co. KG of Germany. It operates steel and rolling mills in Germany, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, employing about 2,500. There are also plants in New Jersey and California that process steel imported from Europe, but the Hamilton plants will be the company's first production facilities here.

Fetzer explained using steel imported from Europe has become a problem for the company because wild swings in exchange rates make it difficult to price. That's one of the reasons the company finally moved to establish a North American plant after three years of looking at the Hamilton facilities.

Those plants will be used to process steel purchased from Canadian suppliers. Aicher's signature products are threaded steel rods used in concrete construction, mining and auto products such as axles, connecting rods, gears and stabilizers.

At ArcelorMittal Dofasco, spokesperson Andrew Sloan said the company is working toward starting its third blast furnace this summer -- a step that's expected to create 30 jobs.

"We continue to work toward a goal of summer 2010 for that restart," he said.

Where U.S. Steel shuttered almost all of its Canadian operations last year, ArcelorMittal Dofasco kept its entire workforce on staff --an across-the-board pay cut of 5 per cent was imposed for five months but no one was laid off. Full pay was restored in October.

"Last year we had some difficulties but we have recovered," Sloan said.

"We got through it without any reductions in the permanent workforce."

The company also maintained its heavy commitment to training programs -- earlier this week it honoured 101 employees who have completed apprenticeships in such trades as industrial electrician, industrial mechanical millwright, welders, mobile crane operators, bearing mechanics, brick and stone masons, heating and refrigeration.

ArcelorMittal Dofasco has another 81 apprentices still in training -- it costs the company $250,000 to take an apprentice to final certification -- and projects it will need as many as 50 more annually for the next seven years as about half its current workforce retires.

"We have the largest apprentice training program in Ontario," Sloan said. "We've always had an advantage because we do so much of our own training."

The Hamilton Spectator


Water levels forecast released

5/1 - The International Lake Superior Board of Control has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic meters per second (m3/s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of May, effective May 1.

This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of May and is a decrease from the April outflow, which was 1,700 m3/s (60.0 tcfs).

The May outflow will be released by discharging about 1,444 m3/s (51.0 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids.

The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each).

There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were well below normal. Lake Superior is currently 6 inches below its chart datum level but is expected to rise in May.

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 10 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-May level, and is 6 inches lower than the level recorded a year ago.

This past month the level of Lake Superior fell 1 inch, while on average it rises 3 inches in April.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose 1/2 inch this April, while on average it rises 4 inches during April.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 13 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-May level, and is 7 inches lower than it was a year ago.

Currently Lakes Michigan-Huron is 4 inches above its chart datum level.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to rise in May.


Cliffs reports strong first quarter results

5/1 - Cliffs Natural Resources CLF reported solid first-quarter results Wednesday and, not surprisingly, obliterated the fairly easy comparison that was the year-ago period. Sales improved 57 percent and the consolidated operating margin expanded from a meager 2 percent to a healthier 16 percent (a profit level somewhat below the blowout margins turned in for most of 2008).

North American iron ore, Cliffs' largest segment by sales, performed fairly well in the seasonally weak first quarter (winter shipping constraints on the Great Lakes make it a relatively slower period). The business generated a cash margin of $33 per metric ton, easily besting the cyclically depressed $1 per metric ton margin of the first quarter of 2009, thanks to higher selling prices and the benefit of much stronger fixed cost dilution (volume essentially doubled as North American steel capacity utilization rebounded in a big way). Indeed, with utilization rates now in the neighborhood of 73 percent, Cliffs increased its 2010 volume forecast to 27 million tons from 25 million. Prices should also benefit from higher benchmark seaborne pellet prices (not yet settled), although the implications of the seaborne market's move to quarterly prices on Cliffs' unusual three-part pricing mechanism is not yet clear. The company said it's in discussions with North American clients on the matter. Cliffs indicated that the outcome of these discussions could have a material impact on its financial future.

Asia Pacific iron ore, Cliffs' number-two segment by sales, faced a tougher comparison than the North American unit, since it ran full out last year. This business reported a $33 per metric ton cash margin for the quarter, down from $38 per metric ton as unit cash costs rose 14 percent.

North American coal continued to sputter along, eking out a modest cash margin for the second consecutive quarter (around $2 per metric ton), far better than the negative cash margin of $35 per metric ton posted in the year-ago period.

Morning Star


On Lake Michigan's horizon, look for the 'fata morgana'

5/1 - West Michigan – Lake Michigan shoreline residents from Grand Haven to Whitehall reported seeing "the lights of Milwaukee" Wednesday night along the western horizon.

They didn't actually see the Wisconsin shoreline, but a rare and complex atmospheric condition that creates a reflected image of the Milwaukee-area coastline for a brief time. Observers reported seeing the lights before and after 10:30 p.m.

Those seeing the Milwaukee lights were most likely observing a "fata morgana" mirage, caused by differences in temperature between the water and air.

The weather-based phenomenon reveals not just the "glow" of Wisconsin's biggest city on the horizon. Observers see actual lights of buildings and objects, such as the red blinking beacons of large communication towers.

"It's an optical illusion," said Dennis Donahue, the marine superintendent of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory's Lake Michigan Field Station in Muskegon.

"It is caused by the difference in temperature of the air and the water," explained Donahue, a veteran Great Lakes mariner. "I have seen the effect in Lake Superior and across the Saginaw Bay."

And for some magical moments every few years or so, the effect is observed on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, allowing for the lights of Milwaukee and other Wisconsin cities to be seen.

Paul Kara was at his Norton Shores home a quarter-mile south of the Muskegon Heights water filtration plant Wednesday night. He said he watched the rare light show for 45 minutes.

"We've seen this about a half-dozen times," said Kara, who has lived for 19 years along the lake. "This was not the best. Sometimes they are far more dramatic. I swear sometimes you can see vehicles driving along the (Hoan Bridge) highway."

The "fata morgana" mirage is described in the "American Practical Navigator" of the U.S. Department of Defense's Mapping Agency.

The characteristic of a true "fata morgana" is that it is seen on a narrow band near the horizon. Atmospheric conditions can distort the object being observed -- in Wednesday night's case the Wisconsin shoreline.

The Milwaukee lights can be larger than normal and brighter. Changing temperatures make the mirage change rapidly -- alternately compressing and stretching the zones of light.

When observed at one point Wednesday night from Muskegon, the lights could be seen from the city of Milwaukee and several cities north and south. The light pattern looked like a flotilla of 1,000-foot lake freighters all lit up on the horizon, yet the lights weren't boats.

The "fata morgana" effect can be observed on land or at sea and at night or day, according to federal instructional materials. In calm weather such as Wednesday night, a warm layer of air rests over colder denser air, forming an "atmospheric duct," which acts as a refracting lens.

What happens to the light rays is similar to what happens at night with radio waves of certain frequencies, as when AM radio stations can be heard from hundreds of miles away.

Muskegon Chronicle


Regulators approve first offshore wind farm in U.S.

5/1 - Boston, Mass. — After nine years of regulatory review, the federal government gave the green light Wednesday to the nation’s first offshore wind farm, a highly-contested project off the coast of Cape Cod.

At least half a dozen offshore wind farms have been proposed along the East Coast and the Great Lakes. Their relatively shallow waters make wind energy more feasible than off the West Coast, where the ocean floor drops off precipitously.

The approval of the 130-turbine farm gives a significant boost to the nascent offshore wind industry in the United States, which has lagged far behind Europe and China in harnessing the strong and steady power of ocean breezes to provide electricity to homes and businesses.

With Gov. Deval Patrick standing beside him, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced at a news conference at the Massachusetts Statehouse that the government had approved a permit for Cape Wind Associates, a private venture, to build the farm.

“I am approving the Cape Wind project,” Mr. Salazar said. “This will be the first of many projects up and down the Atlantic coast.”

The Cape Wind turbines would lie in Nantucket Sound, about five miles from the nearest shoreline, and cover 24 square miles. The tip of the highest blade of each turbine would reach 440 feet above the water.

But the project is hardly shovel ready. Several regulatory hurdles remain, and opponents of the wind farm have vowed to go to court, potentially stalling Cape Wind for several more years.

For years the Cape Wind project has been the focus of pitched battles splitting politicians and environmental groups. While some environmentalists are prepared to go to court to stop the project, other major groups, including the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, support it.

Supporters say the $1 billion Cape Wind project would provide a clean, renewable source of energy that could meet up to 75 percent of the power needs on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. They also say it would provide hundreds of construction jobs, decrease the region’s reliance on fossil fuels and benefit the environment by lowering emissions of greenhouse gases.

Opponents say it would be an industrial blot in an area of pristine beauty and change the region’s historic character. They also warn that the costs to consumers are likely to be double or triple the costs for conventional power. Improvements to the region’s electrical grid and transmission lines could cost $10 billion.

The Federal Aviation Administration has yet to make a final determination on the project, which it has rated “a presumed hazard” because of potential interference with airplane radar, she said. And Cape Wind has yet to sign a contract with the local utility, National Grid, to carry the wind power, she noted.

She said that nine state and local permits were still being appealed in the courts. And nearly a dozen parties have filed notices of intention to sue, saying the project violates various environmental rules and regulations.

Asked about future hurdles, Mr. Salazar said, “This is the final decision of the United States of America.” While delays could result from challenges, he said, he was “confident” that the courts would uphold his decision.

Officials said the official record of the decision, to be made available later, would spell out ways in which the government could mitigate any negative effects on coastal views by adjusting the number, orientation and color of the turbines.

New York Times


Updates - May 1

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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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