Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Scrap tows proceed for Canadian Ranger and Sauniere

5/31 - Tony Mackay and Vigilant 1 were at the Canadian Ranger getting ready to pull her away from the north side of Pier 35, Toronto, on Monday. The name and stack markings of the Ranger were painted over during the weekend and towing marks painted onto her bow. The tow was outbound in the Toronto East Gap at 10:45 p.m. with the tugs Tony Mackay on the bow and Vigilant 1 on the stern.

Meanwhile, the tug Panormitis was expected to arrive in Montreal Sec 56 on Tuesday. She will prepare to tow the ex-Algoma vessel Sauniere to an overseas scrapyard. Built at Lithgows Ltd. Glasgow, Scotland, in 1970 as Bulknes, Sauniere went into long-term layup at Montreal on March 1, 2009, after serving 27 years in the salt trade. Her final destination is unknown at this time.

Jay Bascom and Kent Malo

 

Port Reports -  May 31

Superior, Wis. – Al Miller
Lee A. Tregurtha was in drydock Monday at Fraser Shipyards in Superior.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar and Cason J. Callaway arrived Monday morning, Memorial Day, at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Callaway's visit was her third of the season.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Monday the tug Leslie Foss and barge Foss 343 transited down the Bay of Green Bay, entering Bay Shipbuilding at 9:30 a.m. where the barge was scheduled for drydocking. Tugs waiting to assist were the yard’s Bayship and Selvick's Cameron O.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
St. Marys Challenger came in about 7 p.m. on Sunday. It unloaded all night and left the dock early afternoon, blowing a salute as she backed out through the pier heads. This was the first visit of the season for the oldest operating vessel on the lakes.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc came into Lafarge Monday afternoon to unload coal. It was a sunny day, but the fog rolled in from the lake making it damp and reducing visibility. Alpena departed Lafarge Sunday morning after being in port for over 24 hours. The tug Invincible and barge Mckee Sons arrived at Lafarge around 2 Sunday afternoon and tied up at the coal dock. It moved its self-unloading boom over to the storage hopper to unload cargo.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus, with tank barge Robert F. Deegan, arrived on the Saginaw River Sunday afternoon, calling on the Dow Chemical Oxy Dock. After unloading, and with the assistance of the Bay County Sheriff Marine Patrol to clear the heavy holiday weekend pleasure craft traffic out of the way, the pair turned off the dock and headed outbound for the lake on Monday afternoon.

Port Huron
Traffic Monday included the upbound Algorail, Saginaw and American Century. Downbound vessels included Frontenac, Keizersborg, John G. Munson, Algosteel and Chemtrans Havel. Michipicoten was testing her new diesels dockside and told Sarnia Traffic they intended to depart on Tuesday.

Marine City - Denny Dushane
On Saturday the Canadian Enterprise unloaded a cargo of limestone at the stone dock in Marine City. The cargo was loaded in Meldrum Bay, Ont. Although other vessels from the fleet have unloaded at Marine City in the past, this was the first visit from the Enterprise.

 

Seiche reported Monday at the Soo

5/31 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - On Monday shortly after 5 p.m., the downbound Paul R. Tregurtha, loaded with taconite pellets, stopped in the St. Marys River above the locks due to water levels reported to be about two feet below datum. With the permission of Soo Traffic she remained in the channel to wait for more normal water levels to return. The tug Victory, preparing to leave Essar Steel also chose to delay her upbound passage. Within the hour water level had dropped to 40 1/2 inches below datum. It was reported that folks living above the locks saw beach, and rocks that they had not seen in years. After an hour or so the water started rising and the Paul R. started making ready to get underway. Soo Traffic reported that the National Weather Service stated that it was indeed a seiche. At about 8:05 p.m. on May 30, the tug Victory requested a water level, and It was reported to by 19 in above datum.

Herm Klein

 

Updates -  May 31

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  May 30

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
Chemtrans Havel departed Green Bay about 2 p.m. Sunday. She arrived on Saturday and spent 24 hours loading.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Stephen B. Roman called on the Essroc dock in Essexville on Friday to unload overnight. She completed her unload, turned, and was outbound for the lake early Saturday afternoon.

St. Clair, Mich.
A cruise on board the Diamond Belle, sponsored by Diamond Jack River Tours, the Marine Historical Society of Detroit and BoatNerd.com, was cut short Sunday when the Diamond Belle experienced engine problems. After mooring at a private dock south of St. Clair, Mich., passengers were bused to the St. Clair Inn for dinner, then driven back to their vehicles in Detroit. The annual cruise was to have been an all-day affair up past Port Huron and return.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Sam Laud sat across from the USCG Lorain for most of the day. She later cleared the harbor at 3:35 p.m. and headed east.

Seaway - Rene Beauchamp
Expected in the Seaway in a few days is the first new Fednav vessel since 2008, the Federal Yukina built last year by Oshima Shipbuilding Co Ltd., IMO No. 9476977. With a destination of Hamilton, this looks like a new class of ship. Two more vessels are on order, but construction has not commenced yet.

 

Truck ferry operator appeals ferry ice fees

5/30 - Windsor, Ont. - Detroit-Windsor truck ferry operator Gregg Ward has appealed a Canadian federal court decision handed down earlier this month that called on him to pay $25,000 annually in icebreaking fees.

Ward's lawyers argued the fee was unjust for his small business because the majority of icebreaking services in the section of the Detroit River in the city's far west end where Ward travels are performed for free by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Canadian Coast Guard does not clear ice for him, yet the local truck ferry is charged $3,100 three times a month during the winter up to a maximum of eight times a year, his lawyers said.

Ward has been putting the fee money into a trust fund pending outcome of the case. The total to date is roughly $200,000.

The federal court decision pointed to Ward's use of a Canadian port as to why the icebreaking fee had to be paid.

The Windsor Star

 

Ports and ship building – Halifax moves forward

5/30 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Ships arriving in Thunder Bay come from around the world. At the western hub of the Great Lakes, goods are shipped from Thunder Bay, through the seaway, and to destinations around the world. It is important, in our community to know what is happening in the world of shipping, so that our port can continue to grow, and to met the future potential.

One of the changes coming can be seen in Winnipeg. Centreport Canada is putting an inland port with no direct connection to a seaport, except by rail or truck. Winnipeg is looking at specialized container shipping as its future. The community is also focusing on its rail connections to the United States, and western Canada.

In Halifax, new reports commissioned by the Greater Halifax Partnership released this show that building Canada’s next generation of naval vessels at Halifax Shipyard would create peak employment levels of 11,500 jobs, bolster the provincial economy for a quarter of a century and provide economic benefits for the entire country.

It’s thought the findings will provide more impetus to Halifax Shipyard owner Irving Shipbuilding Inc.’s bid to win a substantial component of the Canadian government’s $30 billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. The first report, Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy: Potential Impact on Nova Scotia and Other Regions, by the Conference Board of Canada, is a broad assessment of the potential economic impact associated with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. becoming the prime contractor for either the combat vessels package or non-combat vessels package. The second report, Halifax: Becoming a Shipbuilding Centre of Excellence, by Jupia Consultants Inc., provides a deeper view of how the project would impact the economy and Nova Scotia’s marine and aerospace and defense industries.

“The benefits to Halifax and Nova Scotia are clear and they are beyond our best expectations — thousands of long-term jobs; $351 million in disposable income to be spent on homes, cars and trucks, and in stores; and over $350 million in federal, provincial and local tax revenue both in peak years — and provide superior benefits to all regions of Canada,” said Paul Kent, President and CEO of the Partnership.

“Building these vessels here would drive supply chain and other economic benefits to all parts of Canada. For every $1,000 spent in procurement from shipbuilding inside Nova Scotia, another $491 in real GDP will be generated in other regions across Canada,” he noted. “In other words, if Halifax wins, everyone wins.”

Fred Morley, the Partnership’s Executive Vice President and Chief Economist said “transformative” is the right word to describe the effect the shipbuilding program would have on the provincial economy, noting that average demand for housing would jump by 420 new residential units per year over the 2012-2030 period. Homeowners’ insurance providers, local utilities and the maintenance and repair sector would see millions of dollars in new spending every year. Automobile sales would jump by an average of 750 new units every year. There would be a corresponding increase of $17 million in gasoline sales. Utilities would also benefit. Telecommunications, Internet access providers and cable/satellite TV companies would also see a significant increase in spending. There would also be an increase of $8.5 million per year in spending on telephone services, $38.5 million more spent on groceries and $11 million spent on restaurants in Nova Scotia.

“The next 30 years could be very different for Halifax, Nova Scotia and the region,” he said. “We’re talking about a generation of more stable employment; and the catalyst to reverse outward migration of our young people and attract others to come and stay in Nova Scotia and grow our population. This program would provide stability for small businesses, increase community and business confidence and turn Halifax into one of Canada’s high growth cities.”

Net News Ledger Construction resumes at Soo Locks area crib dam project Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, announces construction has resumed after an interruption of work involving repairs under the crib dam on Soo Locks area property at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Increased rates of seepage through the crib dam have been brought under control. After a thorough investigation, Corps of Engineers staff discovered a hole in the concrete liner on the dam structure adjacent to the crib dam which was allowing water to flow into the crib dam on the north side and seep out on the south side. Crushed stone was used to fill the void and the hole was capped with a steel plate. The interruption of work on the Crib Dam Rehabilitation Project has ended and crews returned to work May 24.

Ryba Marine, from Cheboygan, Mich., was awarded a more than $4 million contract to complete the project that will rehabilitate the 60-year old timber crib dam structure adjacent to one of the hydroelectric power generation plants located on Corps property.

The contractor is scheduled to remove the upper 12 feet of the existing crib dam structure and replace it with reinforced concrete, stone fill and a steel sheet pile face to provide a more durable and watertight structure. The purpose of the crib dam is to control flow so water elevation is maintained at a level that will allow hydroelectric power generation and navigation above and below the dam.

While seeking the cause of the increased seepage and developing solutions, the Corps had to shut down the power plant only a few times with minimal impact to the area. However, throughout the construction project there are anticipated hydroelectric power plant shutdowns scheduled during off-peak hours, also with minimal impact. Although, the Soo Locks facility uses three percent of the power generated, the other 97 percent is sold for use in the eastern Upper Peninsula.

Local 2

 

Photographer explores the St. Lawrence’s sunken villages

5/30 - Ottawa, Ont. - An airplane may not seem like the most obvious place from which to photograph underwater foundations, but for photographer Louis Helbig, being 1,000 feet above his subjects is the perfect vantage point.

Helbig started flying 12 years ago, and shoots his photos out the window of his 1946 Luscombe, a little two-seater. When he first encountered a group of sunken villages along the St. Lawrence River, Helbig was heading back from Cornwall, Ont., where he had planned to photograph a First Nations’ barricade — a shoot he says didn’t work from the air. Empty-handed, Helbig was taking his time as he flew back home to Ottawa, when suddenly something caught his eye.

“In my peripheral vision, on the side, I saw a house,” he says. “And I thought ‘What’s a house doing here, in the water?’ And then I had to do a double take.”

That house led Helbig to discover entire villages that were levelled, burned, razed to the foundations and flooded to make way for the St. Lawrence Seaway, a major industrial project that opened in 1959. Fifty year later, the previously murky water was completely clear thanks to the work of zebra mussels, making the “lost” communities the perfect candidates for Helbig’s aerial photography, now on display as part of Toronto’s CONTACT Photography Festival.

Because the buildings were removed in preparation for the Seaway flooding, Helbig’s photos have a surreal, two-dimensional quality to them, and due to the varying levels of colour, it can feel like you’re looking at an up-close etching of a shipwreck rather than at an aerial view of an old dairy barn’s foundation.

“I think that’s the power of doing this kind of work from the air … you can really muck around with perspective,” Helbig says. “So many of the cues that we might otherwise have, such as a horizon or other things that would tend to tell us how big something is, are removed, and that adds to the disorientation that occurs.”

In the year following his first sighting of the villages, Helbig flew to the area eight times to photograph the foundations, church yards, roads and locks that lay crystal-clear below the water of St. Lawrence. The flooding covered seven villages and three hamlets, displacing about 6,500 people, and the enormity of that history almost overwhelmed Helbig.

“When I left that museum I felt that I couldn’t do justice to all that was there,” says Helbig, who is a trained historian. “I sort of had a brainwave in the next hour or so when I realized, you know what, I don’t need to try to put it all together; what I need to do is put something up that draws forth the stories from people, whatever those might be.”

Beautiful Destruction, Helbig’s previous large-scale aerial photography exhibit about the Alberta tar sands, did just that; people were intrigued by the photos and excited to talk about them. Helbig hopes the same thing will happen with his new Sunken Villages exhibit, and would like to present the photos again, alongside stories and memories from people connected to the lost communities.

The Seaway project, says Helbig, “was the biggest industrial project of its time … and nowadays what’s going on in Alberta is the biggest industrial project, possibly in the world.”

But, Helbig adds, there’s more to his photos than industry and a changing landscape; there are cultural and personal implications as well. “It reaches into something else.”

Sunken Villages is on display at Toronto’s Canvas Gallery until May 28, when Helbig will host a talk about the exhibition starting at 2 p.m. For more information, visit sunkenvillages.ca

National Post

 

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.

 

U.S. Steel workers stall ship leaving Hamilton

5/29 - Hamilton, Ont. - Locked-out U.S. Steel workers have been forced to end a five-hour standoff with a ship carrying valuable steelmaking materials out of Hamilton.

About 80 workers protesting the shipment of 20,000 tons of coke had to step off the Burlington Canal lift bridge at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday because a Dofasco ship had to come through, Local 1005 spokesperson Jake Lombardo said, adding the vessel carrying material from the Hamilton plant followed. The demonstration on the bridge had started at 4 a.m. Saturday.

But they’ll fight another day, Lombardo said. “Every time the boats come out, we’re going to be here.”

U.S. Steel Canada started shipping coke out of the city to its other plants last month. They believe the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin ship that left Hamilton Harbor Saturday afternoon was the eighth vessel to carry coke out of the city, Lombardo said, adding they have stalled four ships so far.

“This coke shouldn’t be leaving (the U.S. Steel Hamilton plant) premises while we’re still in court,” he said. Nine hundred workers at the Hamilton plant have been locked out since Nov. 7 in a dispute over pensions.

Hamilton Spectator

 

Port Reports -  May 29

Marquette – Rod Burdick
A busy Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor found Mesabi Miner unloading coal, James L. Kuber loading ore, and Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder at anchor, waiting to load ore.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was due for an early morning arrival at the Cedarville Stone Dock on Saturday, while Mississagi was due to load on May 29, along with the Lewis J. Kuber on May 30.

Green Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke
Chemtrans Havel arrived at the mouth of the Fox River, Green Bay, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, assisted to the oil terminal dock for loading by the tug Jacquelyn Nicole (Selvick Marine). As of 5 p.m. Friday, the tug Prentiss Brown / barge St. Marys Conquest were northbound off Algoma and headed for Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.

Alpena – Denny Dushane
Alpena was due to arrive in her namesake port at about 0700-0730 hours May 28 at the Lafarge Cement Plant, while fleetmate G.L. Ostrander and Integrity were due in South Chicago to unload cement early on Sunday.

Stoneport / Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson was due to load in Stoneport on May 28 at about suppertime. Other vessels presently on the schedule to load are the following: Joseph H. Thompson May 29, and on May 30 both John G. Munson and Calumet, and on May 31 the Sam Laud.

Saturday's traffic had the American Mariner loading at Calcite’s South Dock with an ETD of 6:30 p.m. Other vessels presently scheduled are the following: American Courage May 30 North Dock, Manitowoc May 31 at the North Dock, James L. Kuber June 1 for the South Dock and Thursday, June 2 both Robert S. Pierson and American Courage for the North Dock.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Manitowoc opened the shipping season at Holland early Saturday morning, tying up at the Verplank dock at 5:30 to deliver a cargo of limestone products from Port Inland. Captain Ben Kinsley was awarded a pair of wooden shoes, engraved to commemorate the occasion, the traditional gift for the master of the first vessel of each season.

Toledo – Denny Dushane
The CSX Coal Dock #4 machine has the following vessels due to load in the coming days: H. Lee White May 29 followed by a return visit on May 30. John G. Munson June 1, Pathfinder June 2 along with Philip R. Clarke June 4 and American Courage on June 5. Due in at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock is the Peter R. Cresswell for an early morning arrival on May 29. Algomarine is due June 2. At the Torco Dock, Atlantic Huron is due to unload on May 31. Cason J. Callaway is due to unload on June 1st followed by CSL Assiniboine and Atlantic Erie on June 2. The Great Republic (former American Republic) is also due to unload at Torco Dock on June 7.

Toronto – Frank Hood
On May 27, English River departed Toronto and the saltie Mandarin arrived at Redpath Sugar.

 

Familiar saltwater visitor renamed

5/29 - A familiar visitor to the Great Lakes/Seaway System has recently been renamed. Olympic Mentor, which has traded in the Great Lakes/Seaway system since she was built in 1984, has now been renamed Cornilios and registered in Panama. As Olympic Mentor, the vessel last visited the Great Lakes in November 2010 when she loaded at the CHS1 Grain Elevator in Superior. Her sisterships Olympic Melody, Olympic Merit, Olympic Miracle and Calliroe Patronicola still retain their original names.

Although the Olympic Mentor, when built in 1984, first was given the name Calliroe Patronicola, it only held that name briefly as a newer vessel was built in 1985 with that same name. As Olympic Mentor the ship also sailed as Patricia R from 1984-88 and was a visitor to the lakes as well. The ship has also seen changes in flags of registry during its career as well from Panama to Greece in 1992 and then back to Panama in 1998 and most recently back to Greece again.

Denny Dushane

 

Work proceeding in new Algoma Mariner

5/29 - Algoma Central Corporation's newly built self-unloader Algoma Mariner completed its drydocking and painting according to related photos on its website. The ship has now been painted in Algoma colors with the familiar blue hull color and has now had Algoma Mariner painted on its bow along with the Algoma Central Corp. logo. On the stern, the Algoma Mariner name also appears as well as its homeport "Toronto" and the IMO number, which is 9587893. The homeport of Toronto is interesting, as most of the newer Algoma vessels have had St. Catharines as their homeport.

 

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

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
USCGC Mackinaw came out of drydock Friday at Bay Shipbuilding and departed for her homeport, Cheboygan, Mich.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The usual visitors were in port at Lafarge on Friday. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived first, in the morning, to load for South Chicago, Ill. Around 4 p.m., the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came in to tie up under the silos. Alpena was expected to return on Saturday morning.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Sam Laud arrived about four miles outside Lorain Harbor about 10:30 Friday morning, but she seemed to be at anchor, perhaps because high water in the Black River will not allow her to clear the railroad lift bridge.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
English River has been in Toronto since Wednesday, May 25. Canadian Miner’s name has been painted over; Canadian Ranger still has her name visible.

The salty Mandarin arrived in at Redpath Sugar Friday afternoon, assisted by the Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie, which came over from Hamilton to do the berthing, and which departed for Hamilton when the job was done. Sea Eagle II and barge are still under the Atlas crane at Pier 35. English River was in across slip from them at Lafarge. The schooner Empire Sandy remains on Toronto Drydock for her five-year inspection.

Montreal, Que. - Mac Mackay
The Marshal Islands-flagged tanker Songa Topaz will make one trip carrying 75,000 bbls of vacuum gas oil from Sarnia to Montreal. The Canadian Transportation Agency has determined that no Canadian flagged tanker was available. The coasting license will apply from May 24 to June 6.

 

Updates -  May 28

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 28

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Port Reports -  May 27

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Edgar B. Speer departed the CN ore dock about noon Thursday bound for Gary. As it left the turning basin off the end of the dock, CSL’s Cedarglen was approaching the dock to load. Elsewhere, Spruceglen was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Quebec, Kurt Paul remained at the Duluth Port Terminal, and Mesabi Miner was tied up at the port terminal waiting for the dock at Midwest Energy Terminal to load for Presque Isle.

Muskegon, Mich. – Herm Phillips
On a cold, wet and windy Wednesday afternoon the Algoway unloaded salt at the Verplank’s Dock in Muskegon. She departed at dusk and was outbound the piers at 10:30 p.m. , having just met the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation inbound with cement for LaFarge.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The McKee Sons and Invincible delivered the first load of the season for the Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island just upriver from the power plant. They came in at 10:30 p.m. and left about 3:30 a.m.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River early Thursday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair had some assistance from the tug Kurt Luedtke with making the turn to back into the slip. The Moore/Kuber departed during the afternoon once unloading was finished. This was the first delivery of the season to Bay Aggregates.

Oshawa and Bowmanville, Ont. -Andre Blanchard
Oshawa, Ont: The tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick arrived in Oshawa Thursday morning.
Bowmanville, Ont: The tug Petite Forte and barge St. Marys Cement pulled up to the St. Marys Cement dock Thursday.

 

Saginaw River dock owners hope five-year slide in ship traffic comes to an end

5/27 - Bay City, Mich. - With the 2011 Saginaw River commercial shipping season well under way, dock owners are hoping a five-year slide in the number of vessel passages comes to an end.

Since 2006, the number of ships chugging down the Saginaw River has declined about 55 percent, dropping from 320 passages in 2006 to 145 last year. This season is off to an even slower start, with 14 total passages since the season began April 12. That’s 11 fewer passages than at the same time last year.

Todd Shorkey, who reports vessel passages for boatnerd.com, said the past five shipping seasons have been plagued by the suffering economy.

“Down the Saginaw River, there is a lot of aggregates,” he said. “It seems to me that the number of construction projects were down — building projects were down, so there was not much demand for the docks here.”

But William Webber, owner of Sargent Docks, with operations in Saginaw and Essexville, said he is starting to see a turn around in the economy, which could bring more traffic to the river. “There’s more movement with the building of houses, stores and just construction in general,” he said.

Shorkey did say that shipping for the Great Lakes is up overall, but a majority of those ships are delivering to steel mills. Local officials say fuel prices and dredging will play an important role in determining the number of vessel passages this year.

The Detroit District Army Corps of Engineers began accepting bids last week for a $1 million to $5 million maintenance dredging contract to remove more than 128,000 cubic yards of material from the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay.

The project also requires crews to dredge 67,000 cubic yards from the lower river, according to Angela Mundell, an Army Corps spokeswoman.

Ted Lowey, an employee for Lafarge North America’s Saginaw Dock, said dredging is imperative for the Saginaw River’s shipping industry. “To continue business in this area, that river must be dredged,” he said. “It has come a long way, but still needs to be finished.”

More than $12.8 million has gone into dredging projects since 2009, about $2.36 million of which came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

Lowey said if the silting is bad, many of the shipping businesses’ insurance companies won’t allow them to travel down the river.

“If it’s dependable, then new business will come to our area,” said Lowey. “The potential is endless for new industry, which can create more employment.”

As far as fuel prices go, officials say it’s something dock owners constantly plan around. Rodney Pasch, a sales manager at Wirt Stone Dock, which has operations in Saginaw, Bay City and Essexville, said the company stocked up on supplies last year at lower prices, to avoid higher prices this year.

“We’ve been playing that game for a few years of building our stockpile,” said Pasch. “Most springs, we’re already stocked up, so the number of visits doesn’t really tell the whole story, and that’s OK with us.”

In 2010, Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw experienced the most traffic with 27 stops. Pasch said Wirt has yet to receive a shipment this year, but a few are scheduled in June. He said the company is trying to hold off on shipments as gas prices decline.

“We’re holding on and not ordering supplies that we don’t have to,” said Pasch. “We’ll look to see where those prices stabilize.”

Shorkey said 35 ships came down the Saginaw River in 2010. The Lewis J. Kuber and her tug, Olive L. Moore, made the most trips with 31. The Kuber and Moore were back in the river Monday after unloading at the Lafarge Stone dock in Essexville.

Booth Mid-Michigan

 

Coast Guard assists boaters when sailboat runs aground on Lake Erie

5/27 - Cleveland, Ohio - Coast Guard crews responded to assist two boaters after their 30-foot sailboat ran aground on the Lake Erie coast near Rocky River, Ohio, Wednesday evening.

The mariners exhibited exceptional personal responsibility and demonstrated sound recreational boating safety practices by utilizing a marine band radio to contact response authorities and then activating an emergency beacon they had onboard.

Watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Buffalo Operations Center were alerted of the situation when the operator of the 30-foot sailing boat contacted them on VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, at about 6:40 p.m. Watchstanders were also contacted by other mariners who witnessed the sailboat beset by heavy waves.

Following his marine radio communication, the operator activated his 406 MHz emergency position indicating radio beacon, which communicated his distress and location to the Ninth Coast Guard District Operations Center in Cleveland. Because the boat owner's EPIRB was properly registered, the Coast Guard was able to contact his home and confirm with family that the boat was indeed underway with two middle-aged men aboard.

Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor launched a rescue crew aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium at about 7:30 p.m., and they arrived on scene 20 minutes later. Although the water proved too shallow for the RB-M to come alongside the sailboat, the Station Cleveland Harbor crew remained on scene as Rocky River EMS, police and fire department crews attended to the two men.

They were taken off the boat in good condition and declined medical treatment. Personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Cleveland inspected the boat this morning. It does not pose a hazard to marine traffic, and the Coast Guard is working with the owner to coordinate the vessel's salvage. At this time, the vessel has not released any hazardous materials, but the Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation.

"To us, this case clearly demonstrates how a mariner, when equipped with the right safety gear, can provide response agencies with the information necessary to respond as quickly as they can to get that person home safe," said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of incident management for the Ninth Coast Guard District. "First, he communicated his distress to us on a marine radio, which is much more reliable and effective than calling on a cell phone."

"Next, he followed up his radio call by setting off his EPIRB, which, via GPS satellite, provided us with his location," continued Torpey. "Finally, his EPIRB was properly registered, so we could confirm with his family that there were indeed two people underway and also provide a description of the boat. We have to treat every call like it's a real emergency, but sometimes EPIRBs are tripped accidentally. With proper registration, we can track down vessel owners and rule out those possibilities, assigning the proper assets to a search."

"EPIRBs, when properly registered, maintained and activated, can truly take the search - out of search and rescue."

"In the race to find mariners who are missing or in distress, having thorough and accurate information is invaluable," said Torpey. "Two people are safe today because they were prepared for the unexpected."

 

Updates -  May 27

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 27

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.

 

Scrap tows begin their trips to overseas scrapyard

5/26 - Algontario is the latest vessel to begin its one-way trip to the scrapyard. She was towed out of Toronto on Wednesday by the tugs Tony MacKay and Vigilant 1. Her name and Algoma markings were painted out earlier this week.

Halifax was towed from Montreal Wednesday by the ITC tug Sirocco and the Groupe Ocean tug Ocean Georgie Bain, headed for a Turkish scrapyard. Two other Canadian vessels are expected to leave for the scrappers soon as well. Expected in Montreal on May 30 will be the tug Panormitis; it is believed she will tow the Saunière for scrapping. Canadian Miner has also reportedly been sold for overseas demolition.

Kent Malo, Jay Bascom

 

Port Reports -  May 26

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The newly christened Hon. James L. Oberstar was departing the CN ore dock in Duluth early Wednesday while Edgar B. Speer waited at the port terminal for its turn at the dock, where it was to load pellets for Gary. Elsewhere, Birchglen was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Algowood was at the HSC grain terminal. Saltie Kurt Paul was due at the HSC terminal after unloading wind turbine components at the port terminal.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore.

 

McKeil Marine is barging ahead — literally

5/26 - Hamilton, Ont. - An economic boom in Atlantic Canada has created a demand for supplies and equipment — and that spells opportunity for Hamilton’s McKeil Marine.

The local company has teamed with Newfoundland-based Hunt’s Transport to ship supplies on a barge across Lake Ontario and through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Newfoundland, where they’re loaded onto a ferry to finish their journey to busy mining and offshore drilling projects.

“We’re thrilled with the relationship we have with Hunt’s,” said McKeil president Steve Fletcher. “This is organized growth for us. It’s a nice opportunity to load barges efficiently with this kind of cargo.

“Right now there’s a big demand for all kinds of cargo in Newfoundland,” he added.

Last year the barge service made four trips from Hamilton to Argentia, Newfoundland. This year the plan is for nine voyages carrying everything from construction materials and oversized equipment to general cargo. Most of it will be loaded on trucks that are simply rolled onto the barge.

The idea of shipping material across the lake by barge rather than around it by truck is a way of cutting traffic on the road and easing the environmental impact.

The McKeil barges Niagara Spirit and Lambert Spirit, pushed along by the tugs John Spence and Salvor, can handle as many as 57 trucks, depending on what they’re carrying.

“This is especially attractive for shippers when fuel prices are high and likely to keep rising,” Fletcher said. “We’re trying to be as versatile as we can.”

Greer Hunt, president of Hunt’s Transport, started the service with McKeil last year after getting frustrated with delays and capacity shortages on the Marine Atlantic ferry service to Newfoundland.

He complained smaller companies like his couldn’t get space on Marine Atlantic’s ferries because of a requirement slots be booked in advance for truckers travelling between Cape Breton and Newfoundland. Hunt said large operators are booking most of the spaces, while smaller companies like his often can’t commit in advance.

“This is an operation we can move forward and add to our business model. That’s the route we’re barging ahead with,” he said in a news release announcing the expansion of the service. “Much of the cargo is heading for mining and offshore projects. Atlantic Canada is having a bit of a boom and we’re looking at ways to take advantage of that.”

Hunt explained cargo would normally be trucked all the way to North Sydney, Nova Scotia, before being loaded onto the ferry to Newfoundland.

Inspired by the way the service operated in its first year, Hunt and McKeil have formed a joint venture company to look for opportunities to carry cargo for other clients to even more remote areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.

This year’s first shipment left Hamilton mid-April on the Niagara Spirit. Another left last week carrying building materials, cranes and mobile homes.

Bruce Hodgson, market development director for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said in a news release the Hunt-McKeil barge service is a good example of how short-sea shipping can be expanded in the Great Lakes-Seaway system.

“It just shows there are market segments that can be serviced very well by short sea shipping in the Great Lakes. We need operators like McKeil, who are prepared to explore these opportunities,” he said.

The McKeil-Hunt venture mirrors a similar effort tried in 2009 by McKeil and the Hamilton Port Authority. Dubbed Sea3, it offered a barge service to move goods between Hamilton and the Port of Montreal.

That service didn’t operate in 2010, Fletcher said.

“There was a host of reasons for that, but the economy was the biggest part of it,” he said. “Last year was the worst year ever for the container business so it didn’t operate, but it may very well come back some day.”

Hamilton Spectator

 

U.S. Steel’s Hamilton plant remains a sore spot

5/26 - Hamilton, Ont. - U.S. Steel has not been able to resolve the labor dispute issue at its Hamilton Works plant in Canada for more than 6 months now, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better. Recently, disgruntled U.S. Steel workers held-up a ship that was transporting metallurgical coal out of the Hamilton plant.

This is the second instance where locked-out workers blockaded a ship, the previous time being in March this year. U.S. Steel is an integrated steel producer of flat-rolled and tubular products with major production operations in North America and Europe and is currently the tenth largest steel producer in the world with an annual raw steel production capability of 31.7 million tons. It competes with international steel giants like ArcelorMittal, BaoSteel, Posco, Nippon Steel and ThyssenKrupp.

Price estimate for U.S. Steel stands at $53.36, implying a premium to market price.

Hamilton Works has annual raw steel production capability of 2.3 million tons. U.S. Steel announced its decision to idle its blast furnace and steel-making operations at Hamilton Works in late 2010 due to lower customer orders. The labor dispute with the United Steelworkers union in Hamilton could have been a key factor prompting this decision, although the company clearly stated that it would not layoff any employee.

The dispute originated with the workers resisting U.S. Steel’s demands for an elimination of their pension indexing, two weeks of vacation and other concessions. With negotiations continuing since the lock-down on November 7, 2010, the most recent blockade came after the last offer by the company was unanimously turned down by the workers.

U.S. Steel is yet to recover from the effects of the global economic downturn, with the company suffering losses in the first quarter of 2011 too.

The company continues to suffer from high operating costs, with its margins being one of the lowest in the industry. With the American flat-rolled steel division being the biggest source of value for the company, any decrease in the division’s margins adversely affect the company’s stock price, and would represent a significant downside to stock value.

Trefis

 

Public access to Holland landmark a delicate balance

5/26 - Holland, Mich. - Call it a symbol, a beacon, a landmark. Holland’s Big Red lighthouse has stood tall on the south pier since the 1930s, often used in logos and marketing to represent the area’s beautiful lakeshore.

But, 80 years later, most people only see it from Holland State Park, looking across the Lake Macatawa channel. To reach the south pier, Big Red’s home, requires trekking over the same private property Point West 1 developers are attempting to turn into 40 new homes.

Public access is limited to walkers and four parking spaces on the south shore, compared to the more than 600 at Holland State Park. “If you’re new to the area, you might say, ‘Hey, let’s go visit the lighthouse.’ And then you drive out there and say, ‘Where do we go now?’” Park Township Manager Jerry Felix said. “I would personally prefer a little more access.”

Access for the public is really up to the handful of property owners on the small peninsula. It’s changed over the years, depending on the property owners. Currently, they regulate foot traffic and the four parking spaces with a guard. The guard tries to make sure people are just visiting the pier and not heading out for a day at the private beach.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the public could stroll out to the lighthouse when they visited the now-bulldozed Point West restaurant. But at other points in history, there wasn’t any public access, recalls former congressman Pete Hoekstra of Holland.

In the late 1990s, Hoekstra said, he worked with the property owners on the current setup. The Point West 1 property is owned by the Van Andel family, but a handful of other landowners also allow Big Red traffic to cross.

“For the people whose private land we are accessing to Big Red, I’m very appreciative to the land owners to give us the access we do have,” he said.

The Holland Light House Historical Commission has been toeing the line between the property owners and the public’s interest for years. The members don’t perceive any changes to public access with the Point West 1 proposal, for better or worse.

“There should never be a problem with access,” Commission member Bob Bernecker said. “I would think the private property owners would get a lot of heat from our Congressman if access changes.”

John Gronberg has a stake in both sides of the issue. He is a member of the lighthouse board and lives on the peninsula. He said the guard attempts to keep beach-goers and cottage visitors out of the four public parking spots.

“The curtailment is if somebody has a beach umbrella and large ice chest – that raises a level of suspicion,” he said. Eventually, the commission hopes the public will be able to take virtual tours of the lighthouse, both on the pier and at the Holland Museum downtown.

Gronberg estimates 3,000 to 6,000 people visit the lighthouse each year, a drop compared to the hundreds of thousands of state park visitors.

The Holland Sentinel

 

Updates -  May 26

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Ship dislodged in St. Lawrence River near Montreal

5/25 - Montreal, Que. – A tanker has been freed after it ran aground at St. Zotique, about 70 kilometres southwest of Montreal.

The Sten Suomi, a Norwegian-flagged vessel that ran aground Monday morning, was dislodged Monday evening, Marie Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. There were no injuries, no spillage of the ship’s contents and no damage to the ship when it hit the bottom earlier Monday. The incident did not disrupt maritime navigation, she added.

The Sten Suomi is 144.2 metres long and 23.2 metres wide, she said. It ran aground at 8:25 a.m. after it dropped anchor. Gaudreault said she expected the ship was proceeding with its itinerary.

The Montreal Gazette

 

Scrap tows schedule to leave

5/25 - Montreal - The Halifax is expected to leave Montreal under tow today bound for Aliaga, Turkey to be broken up. The tug Sirocco will tow the ship overseas. Assisting as far as Les Escoumins will be the Florence M. Expected in Montreal on May 30 will be the tug Panormitis, ex Simoon. It is believed she will tow the Saunière for scrapping.

Rene Beauchamp

 

Hon. James L. Oberstar christened at Duluth harbor ceremony

5/25 - Duluth, Minn. - Dressed in red, white and blue bunting and a fresh coat of ore-red paint, the 806-foot ore carrier Hon. James L. Oberstar was formally rechristened Tuesday morning with a champagne-smashing ceremony in the Duluth harbor.

It took two tries for Jean Oberstar, wife of the former congressman, to smash the champagne bottle on the bow of the big Great Lakes freighter dockside behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.

Some 300 invited guests braved a chilling east wind off Lake Superior to honor the 18-term congressman from Chisholm who for decades was a leading player in the U.S. government’s transportation policy — especially Great Lakes shipping.

“It’s an exciting day to be christening a vessel after a man who understands the lakes so well,” said Mark Barker, president of Ohio-based Interlake Steamship Company, owners of the boat.

Interlake officials noted that Oberstar made the Great Lakes a priority for more than 45 years in Washington, first while serving on the staff of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and later as a committee member and eventually chairman of the committee.

“There’s nobody who is more fitting to have this ship named after him,” said Joseph Ruch, captain of the Oberstar.

Oberstar himself spoke only briefly before the ceremony, saying he was humbled by the honor.

Growing up on the Iron Range, “I never imagined having my name on a vessel of this significance,” he said, recounting his steadfast support in Congress for the federally funded harbor dredging, channel improvements, navigation aids, locks, Coast Guard icebreakers and other efforts that keep the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system open for Northland commerce.

Oberstar said it’s ancient lore that a ship takes on the spirit of the person who christens it, saying the newly named James L. Oberstar would now be “feisty … prompt and on time,” like his wife.

A host of shipping industry and elected officials attended the event, including former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey of Wausau, Wis., a longtime ally of Oberstar’s in Congress who retired last year. “I’m just here to make sure they spell the name right” on the ship, Obey quipped.

The big, self-unloading boat, which has moved more than 1.5 million tons of Minnesota taconite to steel mills since entering service in 1959, had been named the Charles M. Beeghly, after the former chairman of the board of Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. who died in 1999. The boat originally was named the Shenango II.

Barker first announced in March it would name one of its Great Lakes freighters after Oberstar. It is the first laker named after a U.S. legislator.

The Oberstar spent the winter in Detroit but has been shuttling taconite pellets — about 31,000 tons on each trip — on the lakes since March. The boat usually moves taconite from Duluth, Two Harbors, Silver Bay and Marquette to lower-lakes steel mills near Detroit and Chicago.

Oberstar, 76, lost his bid for a 19th consecutive term in November when he was defeated by Chip Cravaack, a Republican from Lindstrom.

Interlake moved to rename the Beeghly after Oberstar in 2007 but was politely asked to reconsider, with Oberstar’s office saying it wasn’t appropriate for a standing congressman to receive such an honor.

The St. Louis County Board today proclaimed it James L. Oberstar Day across the county.

See pictures and video on Today’s New Gallery.

Duluth News Tribune

 

SOS campaign launched to support Badger

5/25 - Ludington, Mich. – Seven Ludington area people have formed a group to support the carferry SS Badger’s continued operation on Lake Michigan past the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2012 deadline for an end to the boat’s dumping of coal ash into the lake.

Ludington Mayor John Henderson, Dr. Bill Anderson, Brandy Henderson, Barry Neal, Brad Reed, Todd Reed and Heather Venzke formed the group Save Our Ship! to spread the message that the Ludington area needs the Badger to continue operations beyond 2012 in order to remain a competitive player in the region’s tourism and manufacturing industries.

The group is now asking for others to join the campaign and support the campaign by purchasing items through an online auction.

“There is a real possibility that the SS Badger may have to cease operations in December 2012, but we are hopeful that the S.O.S. campaign will help demonstrate that our communities need the SS Badger and influence Lake Michigan Carferry and the federal government to come to an acceptable solution to continue operations”, Henderson said.

The S.O.S. Task Force has teamed up with Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels and other members of the community to take on this issue together, as the Badger’s operations affect both communities.

“The SS Badger is an important asset to both of our communities and surrounding regions,” Henderson said. “We look forward to working together with Manitowoc and bringing light to the issue at hand.”

The group is seeking other members of the local community who will join the S.O.S. Team by visiting the S.O.S. website, www.sosbadger.com. It is asking people to sign up on the website and states those joining will be informed when their action is needed.

The Save Our Ship campaign is also conducting an online auction of authentic SS Badger and carferry artifacts taking place now through 6 p.m. May 26 at www.ssbadgerstore.com/auction. Items include a life ring, rare photographs, captains’ jackets, a chadburn and many more historic artifacts.

“The SS Badger really is the anchor of our community; it is the cultural, historical and economic centerpiece of Ludington,” Brad Reed said.

“The Save Our Ship campaign is focused on informing the public of the issue and gathering the community together to make sure that in the end, the SS Badger remains in service”, Todd Reed added.

The Ludington Daily News

 

S.S. Badger prepares for first crossing of the 2011 sailing season Thursday

5/25 - Ludington, Mich. - As the S.S. Badger crew prepares the carferry to set sail, they’re readying the ship to operate as it has the more than 50 years it’s been making trips from Ludington across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.

The Badger's first crossing of the 2011 sailing season is Thursday with arrival in Manitowoc at approximately noon, following the 4-hour, 60-mile crossing from the eastern shore of Lake Michigan.

The last coal-fired passenger vessel in the country will burn coal, take the coal ash that builds up from the coal fire and mix it with water to make a slurry, dumping it overboard into the lake at some 100-foot depths six or so miles offshore but not always in the same place.

The ash slurry has been tested and found to be inert, according to results the Ludington (Mich.) Daily News viewed. Still, it’s a substance, and banned, as the Daily News first wrote about in 2009 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency created vessel general permits in reaction to a lawsuit it wasn’t doing enough to keep ships from contaminating the water.

Dozens of substances are allowed in the lake, with a permit, but coal ash isn’t one of them – at least come 2012.

What does all this mean for the Badger?

“We are extremely concerned for the 250 people who work here,” said Lake Michigan Carferry President & CEO Bob Manglitz.

He said he also is concerned for the restaurants, motels and other businesses, in both Ludington and Manitowoc, that rely on tourist business from the S.S. Badger for a substantial portion of their business. Manglitz estimates 750 people’s jobs rely on the Badger bringing passengers back and forth across the lake.

LMC is trying to find a way to comply with the regulations, looking at the variety of options it can come up with, but none of those has yet panned out.

The options include:
Ash retention: continuing to use coal, but retaining it and unloading it once docked.
Diesel engines: the company will continue to seek grant opportunities toward this end.
Alternative fuel: the company is hoping to partner with other steamships that currently use heavy fuel to use the same new technology they may come up with for repowering their vessels.

“Ash retention is not our No. 1 choice,” Manglitz said. “It would be expensive to do and maintain.”In listening to the engine room crew, he hears, “It would make a hard job harder.”

Lake Michigan Carferry has hired an engineering firm out of Ann Arbor, Mich., that specializes in helping coal-fired plants, but there are no readily available fixes for the Badger.

 

Wind turbines mean revenue for port of Thunder Bay

5/25 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - Massive wind turbines that arrived Saturday at Keefer Terminal will result in considerable revenue for the Thunder Bay Port Authority and the local economy, the harbour master said on Monday.

The turbines, which came in several pieces, were shipped here from Denmark. The massive blades and other parts currently lie near the terminal, waiting to be sent to Dorion for the Greenwich Wind Farm project being built by Renewable Energy Systems Canada.

The parts are being moved from the MV Alaskaborg with the help of a crane that had to be brought in because there wasn’t one big enough in Thunder Bay to move that much weight. “It’s a very big job,” director of engineering and harbour master Guy Jarvis said Monday.

“We will be receiving 43 windmill assemblies from Denmark in three different ships,” he said. Saturday’s shipment was the first to arrive, he said. The parts will be sent in trucks along several roads at the end of this week or early next week. Jarvis said drivers should watch for the trucks because they will take up most of the road.

“There will be lots of windmill traffic going east. They are very huge, with the blades about 145 feet long. There will be police escorts when they’re transported to the site. Every morning they’ll be lined up at Keefer, ready to go,” he said. He’s expecting the other shipments to arrive in June.

Jarvis couldn’t say how much the turbine contract will benefit the port authority, but he said it’s a significant bonus for the port and the local economy.

“It’s good for the local supplying companies, trucking companies and all the workers who have been in Dorion for the last two years building concrete foundations and doing construction on the roads,” he said.

This isn’t the first time that turbines have arrived at Keefer, although they’ve generally been shipped from here to Alberta and British Columbia. “We’re hoping to expand on that in the future, to get contracts for Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” Jarvis said. “Wherever the green energy projects are, we’re going to try to get them.”

The Greenwich Wind Farm is expected to create 300 jobs in construction, and once operational, it will need a team of eight to 10 people to “manage and maintain” it, the Renewable Energy Systems’ website says.

The Chronicle-Journal

 

Only 3 rooms left for Mini-cruise from Charlevoix to the Soo

5/25 - Take a three-day, two-night mini-cruise from Charlevoix to the Soo from July 15-17 aboard the Keweenaw Star. The Star will travel from Charlevoix to the Soo, through the locks, up the St. Marys River to Ile Parisienne Light. Lodging each night is at Kewadin Casino.

Cost is $475 based on double occupancy, which includes transport on the Star (a 110-foot excursion vessel), lodging and meals.

The trip is sponsored by Great Lakes Seaway & Shipping, which most people know better as Boatnerd.com. Register by phone through Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365. 

 Only three rooms left, so there is only room for six additional passengers. Call today!

 

Updates -  May 25

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel

 

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.

 

Tanker Sten Suomi grounds Monday in Seaway

5/24 - Montreal, Q.C. – The tanker Sten Suomi ran aground Monday morning in St. Zotique, about 70 kilometres southwest of Montreal. There were no injuries, no spillage of the ship’s contents and no damage to the ship, said Marie Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. The incident has not disrupted maritime navigation, she added.

The vessel is a Norwegian-flagged ship that is 144.2 metres long and 23.2 metres wide, she said. It ran aground at 8:25 a.m. after it dropped anchor. “I don’t know why it dropped anchor,” Gaudreault said. “Something must have happened and it needed to drop anchor. When it did that, its bow hit the river bottom slightly.”

The ship’s cargo holds were empty at the time.

Gaudreault said the location of the ship where it went aground was the Pointe au Foin area, a point of land just south of the town of St. Zotique. The riverbed at that point is mud and sand, she added. A team of investigators was headed there at midday Monday to determine what happened. It is expected the ship will be eased out of its position with the help of tugboats.

The Montreal Gazette

 

Port Reports -  May 24

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The Hon. James L. Oberstar was docked near the Duluth port terminal on Monday awaiting its Tuesday christening ceremony behind the DECC. After the ceremony, it is scheduled to load at the CN ore dock. Elsewhere Monday, Kurt Paul was at the Duluth port terminal unloading wind turbine components. On Sunday a trainload of wind turbine nacelles was standing in the Canadian Pacific yard adjacent to the terminal waiting to depart. Also Monday, the Paul R. Tregurtha was scheduled to arrive late for Midwest Energy Terminal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were finally headed outbound from Saginaw on a pleasant Monday evening. The pair had arrived almost nine days earlier to unload at the Lafarge Stone dock in Essexville. The Moore-Kuber were in the Saginaw Bay and headed for the lake around 8:30 Monday night.

Lorain Ohio - Phil Leon
With storms moving east, Algorail raised anchor about 19:30 and at 19:53 she was heading into Lorain harbor to moor at the Jonick Dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and her barge were coming in the North Entrance Monday morning, docking at Noco in Tonawanda as of 9 p.m. Manistee came in around 6 p.m. for the Sand Supply Landing.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
Sea Eagle II and barge were in at Pier 35 (the Atlas crane dock) on Sunday. Canadian Miner has had the Upper Lakes crest painted over on the smoke stack.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
English River was unloading cement in Oswego Monday. The tug Barbara Andire / Barge A390 were unloading ashphalt.

Jiangin City, China – Denny Dushane
The newly-built Algoma Mariner recently entered the dry dock at the Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangin City, China to be painted officially in the Algoma colors. When the work is complete, the vessel will emerge from dry dock in the familiar Algoma blue hull color and will have the name and corporate logo applied to its bow. The ship is expected to be in service for Algoma Central Corp. sometime mid-summer to about the first week in August.

 

Updates -  May 24

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Sten Suomi grounds

5/23 - Montreal – The tanker Sten Suomi ran aground Monday morning in St. Zotique, about 70 kilometres southwest of Montreal.

There were no injuries, no spillage of the ship’s contents and no damage to the ship, said Marie Gaudreault, a spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. The incident has not disrupted maritime navigation, she added.

The vessel is the Sten Suomi, a Norwegian-flagged ship that is 144.2 metres long and 23.2 metres wide, she said. It ran aground at 8:25 a.m. after it dropped anchor.

“I don’t know why it dropped anchor,” Gaudreault said. “Something must have happened and it needed to drop anchor. When it did that, its bow hit the river bottom slightly.”

The ship’s cargo holds were empty at the time.

Gaudreault said the location of the ship where it went aground was the Pointe au Foin area, a point of land just south of the town of St. Zotique. The riverbed at that point is mud and sand, she added.

A team of investigators was headed there at midday Monday to determine what happened. It is expected the ship will be eased out of its position with the help of tugboats, Gaudreault said.

The Montreal Gazette

 

Port Reports -  May 23

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner arrived Sunday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload western coal from Superior, only the second of the season for the dock. Persistent fog off Lake Superior has not affected shipping. Robert S. Pierson arrived in the afternoon to load ore.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Mary E. Hannah and her tank barge called on the Saginaw River Saturday morning, stopping at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. The pair was at the dock through the day and departed for the lake early Sunday morning. The tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber, remain tied up in Saginaw at the Lafarge Stone Dock. The two arrived on May 14 to unload and have been there since.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Calumet arrived in Lorain at 4:30 Sunday morning. At noon she was heading back out, clearing the harbor at 12:45 p.m.

 

Officials: grain, iron ore boosting Seaway traffic

5/23 - Washington, D.C. – Increased grain and iron ore shipments may be driving an increase in shipping traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Although the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. does not have updated cargo figures for the season to date, spokeswoman Nancy Alcalde said Tuesday that iron ore, grain and project-related shipments such as windmill components are strong.

"The improving economy continues to be reflected in an increase in Seaway transits and cargoes for the 2010 navigation season, compared to 2009," she said in an email. "We are cautiously optimistic that we'll see a continued upward trend during 2011."

The Canadian St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. has predicted an increase of 7 percent in Seaway cargo this year, compared with 2010, citing iron ore and grain projections. The agency also predicts increases in shipments of road salt, as supplies are rebuilt after a tough winter.

A recently released traffic report for 2010 reflects increases in traffic. Systemwide, in 2010 there were 3,925 total vessel transits carrying nearly 42 million tons of cargo. That was an increase from 3,631 vessel transits with just over 37 million tons in 2009.

Shipping on the Seaway tends to be an indicator of the economy generally but particularly of manufacturing, since goods such as iron ore are a reflection of demand for goods used in manufacturing, Ms. Alcalde said.

Watertown Daily Times

 

More dredging in store for Saginaw River, Saginaw Bay

5/23 - Saginaw, Mich. - More dredging is on tap to help heavy-load carrying ships traverse the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay. The Detroit District Army Corps of Engineers has put out a call for bids for a maintenance dredging contract to remove more than 128,000 cubic yards of material from the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay.

Contractors have until May 26 to submit proposals for the work, said Detroit District Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman Angela Mundell. She said the project consists of dredging 61,000 cubic yards from the Upper Saginaw River and placing it into the Dredged Material Disposal Facility on the Bay-Saginaw County line.

The project, which also requires crews to dredge 67,000 cubic yards from the lower river, mostly in the Saginaw Bay, and place the material into the Saginaw Bay Confined Disposal Facility, or Channel Island, could range from $1 million to $5 million, Mundell said.

Mundell said the contract also includes two options for extending work if enough funding is available. Those two options would add up to another 83,000 cubic yards of Saginaw Bay dredging, and another 20,000 cubic yards of dredging in the Saginaw River.

In the meantime, crews from Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort still are about 40 percent from completing 300,000 cubic yards of dredging in the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay, a job worth about $3 million.

“We anticipate the contractor out dredging right now will be done in late May or early June,” said Mundell.

Work on the new project could begin as early as June, and will allow for a wider variety of industries to ship on the Saginaw River.

More than $12.8 million has gone into dredging projects since 2009, about $2.36 million of which came from recovery act funding in 2009.

Officials have said the Saginaw River plays a vital role in the region's economy - ships carry salt for roads, fertilizer for crops, coal for power and aggregate stone materials for road and other construction - and the dredging will improve deteriorating shipping conditions caused by the buildup of silt, and a lack of dredging could have a ripple effect that eventually would affect the volume of goods ships could transport through the area.

The Saginaw News

 

Water leaks delay Soo Locks-area dam upgrade

5/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily halted a dam repair project near the Sault Ste. Marie shipping locks complex because of excessive water leaks.

The Corps says Friday it hired a Cheboygan company to upgrade a 60-year-old timber crib dam beside a hydroelectric plant on Corps property in the St. Marys River. The plan is to replace deteriorated timbers with reinforced concrete and stone.

Corps officials say after the contractor began working, water leaked through the structure more heavily than usual. They say the project has been delayed while engineers try to fix the problem. They say there’s no danger of dam failure, although the power plant may be shut down at times. Army Corps spokeswoman Lynn Duerod says the shutdowns won’t affect operations at the Soo Locks.

Soo Evening News

 

Phantom Welland Canal haunts plans for train expansion

5/23 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Local politicians swear up and down it's a $1-billion tunnel that doesn't need to be built. But if provincial transportation planners ever do try to conquer the Welland Canal with an unlikely GO Transit rail tunnel, they might also have to contend with the granddaddy of all phantom infrastructure projects.

Some people call it the fifth Welland Canal.

Some local politicians were frustrated Thursday by a new consultant's report calling GO rail service to Niagara Falls a "long-term future option" because of the problems associated with getting time-sensitive commuter trains over the canal without lift-bridge delays.

Planners peg the cost of a new canal-bypassing tunnel — or maybe even a bridge — at $750,000, with associated track and station costs pushing the cost of Honeymoon City commuter service past $1 billion. But the price tag pales in comparison to that of an easy-to-miss infrastructure reference found near the end of the GO study appendices.

A conceptual map shows possible new bridge and tunnel alignments at the current lift bridge, near Glendale Ave. It also labels the projected alignment of the "future Welland Canal," shown looping east around the General Motors complex. A brief reference to a "double track railway tunnel plus a six lane roadway" under the canal is also included in the body of the report.

That was news to Andrew Bogora, the spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. "To my knowledge, there is no plan on the books at this time to realign the waterway," he said Friday, suggesting the map label could be a misprint.

He later took a look at the map, as well as an associated graphic also labeling the "future" canal. "That is interesting," he said after a pause. He later reaffirmed the current canal, "as it exists, is the one that will exist for many years to come."

That wasn't always the official line, of course.

In 1966, the Seaway expropriated close to 2,000 acres of land, mostly in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Thorold, with the intention a digging a new 14-kilometre section of waterway that would run about a kilometre east of the fourth canal.

The new canal would replace the first seven escarpment-climbing locks with four "superlocks" capable of passing ocean-going vessels. Cost estimates ranged from $250 million to $450 million — in 1966 dollars.

Federal officials told The Standard in 2006 there were no plans for a twinned or super canal — but they also said they were hanging on to most of the expropriated land, just in case. GO Transit didn't have anyone available Friday who could comment on planning matters related to the half-century-old "future" canal.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, however, groaned at the mention of the "pie-in-the-sky" idea. He figures a new canal is about as likely as a new rail tunnel for GO.

"It's not going to happen. It doesn't need to happen," he said Friday. "That's one of those ideas you need to keep filed in the same folder as a bridge from Niagara across the lake to Toronto." He also noted the province will have its hands full figuring out whether to eventually repair or replace the Garden City skyway — an environmental assessment that is now underway.

St. Catharines Standard

 

Cleveland included in U.S. Navy plans to mark War of 1812 anniversary

5/23 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority is preparing for war. The War of 1812.

Though details are sketchy, it appears the U.S. Navy will pay a visit to the Port of Cleveland around Labor Day 2012 to help commemorate the conflict that solidified America's independence from the British. The event would dovetail with the annual Cleveland National Air Show.

About three weeks ago, two representatives of the Naval History and Heritage Command visited Cleveland, scouting the port and then meeting with emergency-response personnel in the city, said Matt Welsh, operations and facilities manager for the port authority.

The Navy officials gave an overview of a multicity celebration that will begin in New Orleans, work its way up the East Coast and then move west to the Great Lakes, Welsh said.

Welsh said all he knows for sure is the Navy intends to bring three vessels to Cleveland during a celebration expected to run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 4.

The ships will not be mighty destroyers or imposing aircraft carriers that coastal cities can accommodate. Ships entering the Great Lakes are limited to draft levels of 27 feet, Welsh said.

Lake Erie played a major role in the War of 1812. It's where Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry commanded the U.S. Brig Niagara to victory over the British in 1813 and later wrote the famous words, "We have met the enemy and they are ours . . ."

The White House and U.S. Capitol were burned during the war. And eventually the war spawned our national anthem, which Francis Scott Key penned while watching a naval bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor.

The largest ship expected to arrive in Cleveland is the USS De Wert, a 453-foot frigate with 15 officers and 190 enlisted men. Also due are the patrol boats USS Tempest and USS Monsoon.

Welsh said he recommended that the ships be docked at the slip immediately west of Cleveland Browns Stadium. He said it is not clear what else may be planned for Cleveland, but a draft schedule shows stops in Milwaukee, Chicago and Toledo before coming to Cleveland and then moving on to Detroit and Buffalo.

It appears that a tall-ship component is being considered as part of the celebration, but Welsh said no mention was made of tall ships coming to Cleveland. A sample schedule of events that might occur includes fireworks, a parade of sail, concerts, a governor's ball and a Blue Angels demonstration.

Beyond the chance to see modern warships up close, a port of call in Cleveland could inspire locals to bone up on a war that a lot of Americans may not know much about.

Friedman, for one, said he'll need to brush up on his knowledge of the war. How? "Google," he said. "How do you do anything?"

Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

Travel deal of the week: Mini-cruise from Charlevoix to the Soo

5/23 - Take a three-day, two-night mini-cruise from Charlevoix to the Soo from July 15-17 aboard the Keweenaw Star. The Star will travel from Charlevoix to the Soo, through the locks, up the St. Marys River to Ile Parisienne Light. Lodging each night is at Kewadin Casino.

Cost is $475 based on double occupancy, which includes transport on the Star (a 110-foot excursion vessel), lodging and meals.

The trip is sponsored by Great Lakes Seaway & Shipping, which most people know better as Boatnerd.com. Register by phone through Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365.

Detroit Free Press

 

Chief Engineer on Isle Royale ferry Ranger retiring

5/23 - Charles A. (Chuck) Hamel of Chassell, Mich., will make his last official trip to Isle Royale National Park as Chief Engineer of the USNPS Ranger III on Tuesday. Known to most Copper Country residents as "Charlie,” he started onboard Ranger in 1977 as a temporary oiler. After 37 years of Federal service, 35 onboard Ranger, he is the senior employee with Isle Royale National Park and also is a retiree from the U.S. Naval Reserve ranks. He plans to take a vacation to Hawaii in June, play golf and maybe make a motorcycle run to Sturgis. He can be contacted by e-mail at charlie_hamel@nps.gov through May.

 

Updates -  May 23

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Port Reports -  May 22

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
James R. Barker unloaded coal into the Upper Harbor hopper on a foggy Saturday morning.

St. Marys River
Saturday was unusually busy, with 11 downbound boats during daylight and three upbound. Fog closed the river before sunrise, delaying three vessels at the locks. When it lifted, John B. Aird headed upbound, while Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader continued downbound. The day's other upbounders were the saltie Kurt Paul and CSL Laurentien. Joining the downbound parade were Flintermar, Algocape, American Spirit, Lee A. Tregurtha, Isadora, Tim S. Dool, Saginaw, CSL Tadoussac and Kaye E. Barker. As night fell, Algosoo was downbound above the locks.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes backed through the pierheads Saturday morning, blowing a salute as she came in. It backed all the way up river to the railroad swing bridge to unload at Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Toledo, Ohio - Luke Archer
Saturday, Capt. Henry Jackman was docked at the Anderson’s facility.

Buffalo, NY. - Brian W.
Herbert C Jackson arrived Saturday afternoon for the ADM Standard Elevator.

 

Halifax Scrap tow to leave Tuesday

5/22 - Montreal - The former Canada Steamship Lines’ self-unloader Halifax is expected to be towed from Montreal on Tuesday by the ITC Tug Sirocco. The tug is scheduled to arrive in the Port of Montreal Sec. 44 Sunday at noon. The tow will end at Aliaga, Turkey, where Halifax will be scrapped. The voyage should take 35 days.

Kent Malo

 

Port Huron Museum can't afford to keep the Bramble, so storied ship is for sale

5/22 - Port Huron, Mich. - For sale: a spacious beauty with five bedrooms, a commercial-grade kitchen and fantastic water views. The former U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble could be yours for just $300,000.

Decommissioned in 2003, the Bramble has spent the last few years on the St. Clair River in Port Huron, serving as an exhibit for the Port Huron Museum. But the museum has found the 185-foot ship too expensive to maintain.

Maintenance for the Bramble -- from her yellow smokestack to the lines of rope as thick as a man's fist -- costs the museum $100,000 a year. Yet the Bramble brings in just $40,000 in touring revenue, and there isn't any new financing on the horizon to pick up the slack.

What the future holds for the Bramble is uncertain. But its past is one of the most storied in the U.S. Coast Guard. Commissioned in 1944, it was part of the first atomic bomb test on Bikini Island in 1947.

Selling it is a very tough decision, said the museum's executive director, Susan Bennett. "It's bittersweet," she said. "We're just doing this because we don't see any additional funding coming anytime soon."

The bus full of fourth-graders pulled up to the former U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble, and the eager passengers quickly hopped out, ready to see up close all the history they've been learning about in school. "There's a lot of stuff to explore on ships," said Mary Cubberly, 10, as she and her classmates listened to a tour guide.

Visiting the floating museum, docked on the St. Clair River, is a regular rite for Webberville Elementary fourth-graders. But how long they and others will be able to visit the Bramble, one of the Port Huron Museum's most popular attractions, is unknown. Despite the Bramble's popularity, financial realities forced the museum to put it on the market last year.

"Donations are down. Our endowments aren't paying anything," museum Executive Director Susan Bennett said. "It's a struggle." But there is hope for museumgoers: There isn't a big market for vessels like the Bramble.

"There's unlikely to be a commercial use for a vessel built to the same standards," said Jeff Hugret, a broker with Marcon International in Seattle, the company trying to sell the vessel for the museum. The Bramble, for example, could not carry passengers, Hugret said.

The company tried to market it as a private yacht, but there weren't any takers. Since the Bramble has been on the market, the museum has received two offers, one to use it as a research ship and one for use as a tourist attraction. Both were turned down because they involved a lien against future earnings, Bennett said.

"We're not in the boat business," Bennett said. "It's either here or it isn't."

The cutter is still fully operational and has been carefully maintained. Except for needing batteries, it could leave the dock today with the turn of a key. "She's absolutely gorgeous," Hugret said. "The museum must have a lot of volunteers because everything is spit and shine. The restoration is beautiful."

The Bramble was launched in 1944; the museum acquired it when it was decommissioned in 2003, after a long and much-decorated career, Bennett said. It's most famous feat was being one of three U.S. ships circumnavigating the North American continent for the first time, traveling for 64 days through 4,500 miles of often-uncharted waters from the Bering Strait to the Atlantic Ocean. It was a feat mariners had tried to accomplish for 400 years.

The Bramble was transferred to Detroit in 1962 and to Port Huron in 1975, where it served in search-and-rescue missions, ice breaking and law enforcement. It also accompanied boats in the Port Huron to Mackinac Island race.

Mike Popelka served on the Bramble from 1980 until 1985 and now leads tours on the boat. "It's near and dear to my heart," Popelka said. "I'd rather not see it sold, but it is what it is."

In the meantime, Bennett said, "It's business as usual." Until it's sold, the Bramble will remain available for tours and groups wanting to make an overnight stay. That's good news for the fourth-graders from Webberville. "There's just so much early history," 10-year-old Hunter Rhoder said as his class toured the ship.

Detroit Free Press

 

Reservation deadline extended for June 4 S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering

5/22 - The popular Boatnerd Badger Gathering, a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis. aboard Lake Michigan Carferry's S/S Badger, is coming up quickly. We have received enough advance bookings for the trip to be a "go," however we have extended the reservations deadline for the June 4 cross-lake trip until Friday, May 27 in order to accommodate last-minute planners.

On Friday night, June 3, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

The historic Badger will leave the Ludington dock at 9 a.m. Saturday. After arriving in Manitowoc, we will disembark and board a bus for a visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Displays there include the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, as well as the WWII submarine Cobia. Or, as a second option, Boatnerds can choose to stay on board for the Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise (a separate charge applies).

Click here to print your reservation form. Get yours in the mail today.

 

Updates -  May 22

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Great Republic fits out under new contract with Key Lakes

5/21 - Toledo, Ohio - American Maritime Officers union will represent all licensed officers and stewards working aboard the M/V Great Republic under a new five-year agreement. The 634-foot laker is now managed and operated by Key Lakes IV Inc.

Formerly operated by American Steamship Company as the American Republic, the ship spent much of last season in lay-up. Key Lakes is currently fitting out the Great Republic, which is expected to get underway in early June.

First launched in 1981, the ship is the most recently built self-propelled U.S cargo ship on the Great Lakes. The Great Republic will operate between various ports on the Lakes in the coal in stone trades.

"It's the most maneuverable vessel on the Great Lakes," said Dave Schultze, manager of fleet human resources for Key Lakes. "It was originally designed to go up and down the Cuyahoga River forward or backward at the same speed. It has twin screws and twin engines, eight rudders, and bow and stern thrusters. It can spin around virtually without moving forward.”

AMO Weekly news

 

Algoma Mariner undergoes sea trials

5/21 - Sea trials for the new Algoma Mariner, now nearing completion at Chengxi Shipyard Co. Ltd., Jiangyin City, China, took place from May 13 - May 18. She is expected to enter service on the Great Lakes and Seaway system for the Algoma Cenral fleet around the first of August.

 

Port Reports -  May 21

St. Marys River
Fog caused the U.S. Coast Guard to close the river for a time early Friday morning. When it cleared, the Edgar B. Speer and Gordon C. Leitch headed downbound, while American Courage, also downbound, tied on the Soo Locks West Pier for sterring repairs. She finally headed downbound about 8 p.m., with the tug Missouri tailing her as a precautionary measure. Alaskaborg was upbound in the late morning, and the Edwin H. Gott and Robert S. Pierson were upbound in the evening. Indiana Harbor was also headed upriver, with plans to stop at the Carbide Dock for unknown reasons. Hon. James L. Oberstar was upbound around midnight, headed to her Tuesday christening at Duluth. As evening fell Friday, fog was again settling in over parts of the river.

Midland, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
CCGS Griffon was docked in Midland, Ont., Thursday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Algontario has had the company name and logo on her smoke stack painted over. The ship's name is still visible.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
The Evans McKeil with the barge Metis arrived in Rochester, N.Y. Friday morning with a load of bulk cement for the Essroc Terminal. This is the first shipment of the season. The Genesee River has not been dredged, so Stephen B. Roman cannot bring cement in this season.

 

ArcelorMittal plans $2.1B expansion for Quebec iron ore site

5/21 - International steel conglomerate ArcelorMittal will invest $2.1 billion to expand its iron ore facilities in Mont-Wright, Que.

The facility, near the town of Fermont, will be upgraded to be able to produce 24 million tonnes of iron ore concentrate by 2013 - a major upgrade over the 14 million tonnes currently produced. The company is also considering upgrades at a facility in Port Cartier. The expansion will create 8,000 construction jobs during the process, and 900 permanent ones once the upgrade is completed, the Luxembourg-based steel titan said Friday.

"There will be substantial financial benefits for the Quebec government in the years to come with additional income tax revenues and mining rights revenues worth billions of dollars," the head of mining for ArcelorMittal, Peter Kukielski, told CBC News.

Soaring global demand for the raw materials that allow economic expansion has caused a rush of investment in the commodities sector in recent months and years. ArcelorMittal, which has operations in more than 60 countries, has committed to hike its iron ore production to 100 million tonnes by 2015 to keep up with demand.

Iron ore is the most expensive ingredient in traditional steelmaking, where iron is mixed with other materials and heated in giant blast furnaces to create finished steel.

Iron ore prices have surged on world markets. With its 7.9 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves, Canada had nearly 42 per cent of the global resources as of 2009. Ike Kaja, an iron ore specialist with Salman Partners, a research firm in Toronto, said demand from China has spiked over the past few years.

"We could definitely be developing or producing a lot more iron ore and so this plan on ArcelorMittal's part helps to advance Canada's profile as an iron ore producer," Kaja said.

Morningstar analyst Bridget Freas said expanding its vertical integration is a key way for the company to shield itself from wild fluctuations in iron ore prices.

It's a strategy the company has been developing for years. But it gained steam in the last two years because iron ore has been in relatively short supply.

"This has been a big cost problem for steel mills all around the world and ArcelorMittal considers this to be a strategic advantage for them that they have at least in part some access to source the material that they need internally," she said from Chicago.

"It lowers their cost base and gives them a little bit more secure supply of the raw material."

The world's largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal acquired most of its Canadian assets during the last round of consolidation in the steel industry in 2006. Among other holdings, they also own the former Dofasco steel-making facilities in Hamilton, Ont.

Earlier this year, the company took over Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. and its massive iron ore development in Mary River, about 160 kilometres south of Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

CBC News

 

Updates -  May 21

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Great Lakes iron ore trade up 6.4 percent in April

5/20 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5.7 million tons in April, an increase of 6.4 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were also 13.8 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.1 million tons, an increase of 9.2 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings at Canadian ports dipped slightly.

Through April the iron ore trade stands at 10.7 million tons, an increase of roughly 12.5 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 11.7 percent compared to a year ago and 13.7 percent ahead of their 5-year average. Loadings at Canadian ports are 21 percent ahead of last year’s pace, but marginally below their 5-year average for the first four months of the year.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

Hon. James L. Oberstar to be christened Tuesday in Duluth

5/20 - Cleveland, Ohio - On Tuesday, May 24, the Interlake Steamship Company vessel M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar will be christened at Duluth, Minn. Mr. Oberstar and his wife Jean, the sponsor of the ship, will be on hand for the christening. Due to Homeland Security regulations, only invited guests will be allowed access to the vessel for tours beginning at 9 am, followed by a press conference at 9:30 am and the christening ceremony at 10:30 am. The general public wishing to view the ceremony can get a bird’s-eye view from the Canal Park side of the blue pedestrian bridge.

Congressman Oberstar served the US House of Representatives for nearly a half century, first as a senior Congressional aide for 11 years, and then as a representative from Minnesota for 36 years. Most recently, he served as Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, where he earned a reputation as Congress primary expert on transportation issues. Oberstar was a featured speaker at the christening of Interlake Steamships M/V Mesabi Miner at Duluth in 1977.

M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, formerly M/V Charles M. Beeghly, was renamed prior to the start of the current 2011 Great Lakes shipping season. The Oberstar is 806 feet long, with a beam of 75 feet and a carrying capacity of 27,500 net tons. Built by the American Ship Building Company in Toledo, Ohio, the ship entered service in 1959 as S/S Shenango II for the Shenango Furnace Company. Acquired by Interlake in 1967, the vessel was renamed Charles M. Beeghly.

Over the years, it has undergone several efficiency improvements, including a 96-foot long mid-body insertion in 1972, conversion to a self-unloader in 1981, and repowering from steam to diesel power in 2009. The Oberstar is engaged in transporting dry bulk cargos of taconite (iron ore) and coal for various customers throughout the Great Lakes region.

The Interlake Steamship Company, headquartered in Richfield, Ohio, operates a fleet of nine self-unloading bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. A family-owned business, Interlake is one of the largest US-flag fleets on the Lakes, and carries approximately 20 million tons of cargo annually, including iron ore, low-sulfur coal, limestone and grain. The Interlake Steamship Company was formed in 1913, with roots extending back to 1883.

The Interlake Steamship Co

 

Port Reports -  May 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Courage arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock Thursday morning on her first trip in American Steamship Company colors and since November 2009. Her boom is still Oglebay Norton red.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Early Wednesday morning the Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock to unload salt from Goderich. Later in the day the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up at Lafarge to load cement followed by fleetmate G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity. The Alpena is expected in port on Friday.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
McKee Sons and tug Invincible were unloading Thursday at the Sand Products dock.

Quebec City - Mac Mackay
Sedna Desgagnes was registered in Quebec City May 18. The ship was transferred to the Barbados flag late last year while it traded internationally over the winter. This is the third year that the ship has resumed the Canadian flag for the summer season.

 

Great Lakes water levels on the rise

5/20 - Grand Rapids, Mich. - The water levels of the Great Lakes continue to rise at a face pace. The latest weekly levels show that Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are up 7 inches in the last month. They are now only 1 inch below the level of one year ago, and 15 inches below the average May level.

Lake Superior is up 5 inches in the last month and is also now only 1 inch below the level of last May. Lake Superior is 12 inches below the century average. The rise in the easternmost Great Lakes is not much short of amazing. Lake Erie is up 10 inches in the last month and is now 9 inches higher than one year ago. Lake Erie is 7 inches above the century average.

Lake Ontario has gone up 15″ in the last month and is up 20″ in the last year. Lake Ontario is now 10 inches above the century average. Between May 1 and May 19, the Great Lakes basin had already picked up 91 percent of normal May rainfall. The area has not only had above average rainfall, but the clouds and higher relative humidity have reduced evaporation. Experts predict Lake Michigan to go up another 3 inches in the next month.

Wood TV

 

Queen City ferry debuts at Buffalo’s Commercial Slip

5/20 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Thursday the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) welcomed the Queen City Water Ferry as it launched from the Commercial Slip on Buffalo’s Inner Harbor. The service is the first of its kind for Western New York and will connect the Inner Harbor, Buffalo River and Outer Harbor.

“The Queen City Water Ferry is both a culmination and a beginning,” said ECHDC Chairman Jordan Levy. “A water taxi has been talked about in Western New York for decades and was one of the top items requested during the public outreach sessions that ECHDC held over this past winter. We can finally say that we’re done talking – it is here and ready to start taking passengers.”

The Queen City Water Ferry Co. first submitted the idea for the service in January, as part of the Cultural Master Plan application process The ECHDC board authorized a three year contract at its April 12 meeting, providing $96,500 in seed money to the Queen City Ferry Co., a private venture with Buffalo Sailing Adventures. The agreement ensures three years of regular water ferry services (pedestrian and bicycle) with standardized routes and schedules.

Formerly a part of the fleet of the Erie-Champlain Canal Boat Company, Inc. in Waterford, New York, the boat arrived in Buffalo last week. After some painting and other preparations, it is now ready for its inaugural season. Prices are: $4 one way, $8 for a round trip and $12 for an all day pass. Passengers who want to bring their bicycles will pay $1.

 

Niagara Segway offering guided canal tours

5/20 - St. Catahrines, Ont. - A newly established tourism operator is hoping to convince a few of the thousands who visit the Welland Canal every year to take a swift and silent ride down the pathway.

Opening just in time for the first long weekend of the summer season, Niagara Segway is offering guided tours along the pathway on the gyroscopic two-wheeled devices. Co-owner Archie Hardie recently retired from Abatement Technologies in Fort Erie, where he was supervisor responsible for plant operations. Hardie said that after an accident his employer purchased a Segway for him, so that he could cover the ground he needed with ease.

“I had to do a lot of walking as a supervisor, so the company bought me one and I did my job from the Segway,” he said. Though the devices appear intimidating and unnatural at first, Hardie found he immediately took to it. As part of his retirement package, the company let Hardie keep the Segway.

One day while driving by the canal and St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3, it occurred to Hardie that the pathway would be the perfect place for riding the Segway. Suddenly, a business idea appeared, though one that was a bit more modest and relaxed in nature.

“I thought it’d be great if I could just park a trailer in the parking lot and just sit there and read a book on a nice day, have a couple Segways and if somebody wanted to go for a ride, Id take them on a tour,” he said.

However, after speaking with the city and museum, a different arrangement was worked out. Since they were first offered on the market, Segways have run into legal limbo; they’re not allowed to be driven on the road, nor can they go on sidewalks. Public pathways are also off limits, except for those with a doctor’s note.

But in working with the city, Hardie and his wife, Gloria Lawson, were able to come to arrangement to have Niagara Segway offer guided tours. The company offers three different tours all starting at the museum; a 30-minute tour to Homer Bridge; a 50-minute tour to the Twin Locks and a 90-minute tour to Lock 7, home of the Kissing Rock. Tour packages run between $25 and $75.

 

Updates -  May 20

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

U.S.-Flag lakers’ cargo up 8 percent in April

5/19 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 8.2 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in April, an increase of 8 percent compared to a year ago. However, that total was slightly below April’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 10.6 percent compared to a year ago. Coal for power generation and steel production rose 13.1 percent. Aggregate and fluxstone for the construction and steel industries bettered last April by one boatload.

Through April U.S.-flag cargos stand at 14.1 million tons, an increase of 11.5 percent compared to the same point in 2010. Iron ore and coal have registered significant increases over a year ago, but limestone’s improvement is very modest.

The end-of-April total is also 2.2 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the January-April time frame.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

S.S. Badger offers opportunity to buy a piece of car ferry history

5/19 - Ludington, Mich. The S.S. Badger makes its maiden voyage for the 2011 sailing season on Thursday, May 26. To mark this day, an on-line auction including hard-to-find Ludington car ferry artifacts along with special reduced fares for local residents will be offered.

The auction will include over 50 authentic Ludington car ferry items with an overall appraised value of nearly $20,000. Items include a chadburn, china, original documents, and rare photographs. Proceeds will be donated to a local charity. Auction items can currently be viewed on the S.S. Badger website, www.ssbadger.com. Bids will be accepted through May 26th.

"Car ferries have sailed across Lake Michigan for more than 100 years; this auction allows us to share that unique history with the public," said Lynda Matson, Vice President of Customer Service and Marketing.

A special Mini-Cruise rate on the May 26th sailing will be offered for local residents of both port cities. Adults can sail round-trip for $35 and $19 for kids 15 years of age and under. Additional perks for the first day of sailing include an exclusive auction including car ferry artifacts that can only be purchased on board, gift shop deals, food and drink specials, free Wi-Fi internet access, and extra giveaways. Tickets for this sailing must be purchased at the Badger Ticket Office starting May 23.

"We realize that much of our success is due to the strong support of our local communities," said Matson. "The special Mini-Cruise rate for local residents is a way for us to thank them by providing the Badger experience at a reduced rate."

S.S. Badger

 

Port Reports -  May 19

St. Marys River
Traffic Wednesday included the American Courage, upbound on its first trip since November 2009 and now painted in American Steamship Co. colors. Federal Ems, Flintermas, Roger Blough, American Spirit and Algosoo were also upbound. Burns Harbor and Quebecois were downbound. There were a few tense minutes aboard the Sugar Islander II ferry when it lost steering power just after 8 p.m. on a run from the mainland to the island. By the time power was restored, about 20 minutes later, the ferry was about a half-mile downstream from its dock near the shore on the island side. The U.S. Coast Guard sent a small boat to the scene.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Wednesday morning, the Manistee came in with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island. Also arriving in port were the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 with a load of stone for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. Both departed mid-afternoon, with the Manistee blowing her horn several times while backing out.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon and Phil Nash
Algoway arrived through the fog at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, heading to the storage facility on 9th Street to unload potash. She departed Toledo Tuesday morning, but went to anchor that afternoon in Pigeon Bay, Ont., nine miles northwest of Southeast Shoal Light for weather.

Oswego , N.Y. - Ned Goebriche and Tom Moriarty
English River was unloading cement at the port of Oswego. The barge Alouette Spirit, with an unknown tug, was unloading aluminum at Oswego Port Authority's East Terminal on Tuesday evening.

 

Port manager hopes increased traffic will continue

5/19 - Green Bay, Wis. - The Port of Green Bay saw a 70 percent increase over last year in total tonnage in the first month of the shipping season, but officials are cautious after an up and down 2010.

The port saw 222,494 tons of product moving on 18 ships last month, up from 130,916 tons in April 2010, according to a monthly report.

"We're off to a fast start," said Port Manager Dean Haen. "Last year we had a fast start as well, and by July we were up 40, 50 percent yet — and then that slowed down so much we ended up in the hole compared to 2009. "We're having a good start and let's hope we can sustain it for the season."

Limestone (75,783 tons) and petroleum products (41,760 tons) showed the biggest gains in April over last year.

This spring, U.S. Venture started shipping petrol products from its new terminal in Green Bay primarily to Canada. The terminal also has the ability receive product.

Although Green Bay saw an increase in limestone, the Lake Carriers Association reports overall traffic for the commodity on the Great Lakes is down almost 14 percent from April 2010.

U.S. flagged ships on the Great Lakes moved 2.1 million tons of limestone last month – more than 28 percent less than the five-year average, according to the association. Only two cargos of limestone — 50,184 tons — were loaded in March.

The Port of Green Bay's April numbers were further bolstered by the seasonal delivery of 26,348 tons of salt.

"We're going to get salt based upon the winters, and it's just a matter of when it's available to be carried," Haen said. "We don't usually see salt until mid-summer into the fall, but we've already seen one vessel."

Port traffic has been fickle in the last few seasons, heavily influenced by the overall economy. Last year the port handled 1.7 million tons of product, down from 1.81 million tons in 2009 — due in part to smaller quantities of salt shipped to the port.

"Historically if (the season) started off hot it stayed good, but now you'll have variations throughout the year," he said. "You can start off strong and trail off the rest of the year, and other years you'll start off slow and go gangbusters at the end of the year.

"That's where it's getting really hard to forecast," Haen said. "But I'll take this kind of a start."

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Work on the S.S. Meteor is a whale of a project

5/19 - Superior, Wis. - It's dark, cramped and numbingly cold in the aft of this old vessel -- a beached whaleback steamer known as the S.S. Meteor. Paint fumes are dizzying, space heaters and fans deafening. And the massive gears of the steering mechanism are thick and slick with 105 years of grease, flecked with a century of dust, cobwebs and paint chips.

Wedged back here, wearing goggles and gas masks, a retired history professor from Duluth, a car mechanic from Lino Lakes and a 12-year-old kid from Wisconsin are scraping and painting this filthy steerage room. They're part of a 52-person crew of volunteers from across the Midwest. They've come back for the seventh straight year to spend a knee-wrenching, back-twisting weekend restoring this quirky, cigar-shaped freighter.

"Folks around here are just boat nerds," says Jerry Sandvick, 70, emerging from the dankness for some air. "It's dirty, noisy -- and wonderful."

The Meteor is the world's last whaleback steamer -- not counting the shipwrecked ruins that litter the bottom of Lake Superior. Starting in the late 1880s, a 44-boat armada of the strange-looking freighters and barges with pig-nosed snouts hauled Great Lakes iron ore, grain, sand, gravel, fuel and even ferried cars from Detroit.

They were the slightly flawed, instantly outdated and devil-to-unload brainchild of Scottish-born Capt. Alexander McDougall, a Duluth engineer, entrepreneur and curmudgeon. (He railed against construction of Duluth's iconic Lift Bridge, among other things.)

"There's a common assumption that there was something wrong with whalebacks and that their design was faulty, but this boat was active and productive from 1896 into the 1960s," says Sara Blanck.

She's director of the Meteor Museum in Superior, a work-in-progress hodgepodge of relics housed in the belly of the whaleback itself. The 366-foot, 2,500-ton boat was hauled out of Lake Superior in the 1970s and beached on Barkers Island, where it's open to the public for summer tours starting this weekend.

"It's a world treasure that we want to preserve for the next 200 or 300 years to give the old girl her due," says Allison Pearce, 65, a onetime seafaring tugboat chief engineer and the Meteor's preeminent storyteller. "If you don't know where you've been, you have no idea where you're going, and this is the last surviving novel design anywhere left in the world."

That's all well and good. But why do all these volunteers give up a spring weekend year after year to suck toxic fumes and pour sweat into a hulking old boat that even its most ardent advocates admit needs a lot of work? The answer is part historical fascination, part deep-rooted camaraderie.

"Where else can you get the run of a unique, antique ship for a weekend?" says Dale Koziol, 60, an Ecolab engineer from Maplewood. "We're the crew and it's just cool to come out here and be part of preserving something so historic."

Easy for him to say. Unlike the grease-caked guys down in the steerage hole, Koziol is about three stories high above them in the pilothouse, refurbishing windowsills in the perch where the captain and his helmsmen once navigated the Great Lakes.

Decades ago, Koziol says, someone glued "cruddy, cheap floor tile to the windowsills and they were peeling, cracked and nasty looking."

He carefully scrapes off the tile and paints the sills. Not far to the aft, other volunteers are painting the crew's cabins, sprucing up the boiler room, the cook's galley and the triple-expansion stream engine.

Outside, a tireless Craig David and his torch welds steel plates over rust holes. His wife, Kari, remakes the crew quarters' beds with fresh sheets, while their sixth-grader, Gunnar, sneaks into hard-to-reach places with a paintbrush.

"I just wish he was this gung-ho back home," Kari says with a chuckle. The family dog, Ozzy, sleeps in their camper after the 220-mile drive from Marshfield, Wis.

"History wasn't much fun back in high school, but when you grow up, you realize just how important something like this is," says Randy Flacksbarth, 54, a hearing aid specialist from St. Paul. "We're a wide variety of people from all networks of life. The work isn't always fun, but look around. Everyone's pitching in and they all have smiles on their faces."

Especially when his wife, Renee, brings out her homemade cinnamon rolls.

"It's so easy to get hooked when you're preserving something that no one else in the world has, and that was the backbone in building this nation," she says. "The camaraderie and the lure of Great Lakes shipwrecks brings us back."

This submarine-looking vessel, and others like it, got nicknamed whalebacks because they rode low in the water with rounded hulls. The Meteor was originally christened the Frank Rockefeller in 1896, renamed the South Park in 1927 and only became known as the S.S. Meteor in 1942, when she was refitted as a tanker during a World War II boat shortage.

Many of the volunteers are scuba divers who have explored the Meteor's sunken whaleback cousin, the Thomas Wilson, which sank after a collision about a mile off the Duluth piers in 1902.

"She zigged when she should have zagged and went down like a bloody rock," Pearce explains. "She didn't have a great deal of buoyancy when she was loaded so a hull breach was a real problem, and several of her crewmen were lost."

He says the Meteor was nearly sent to the scrapyard several times, but World War II actually kept her viable and saw her refitted as a tanker to haul aviation fuel and petrochemicals.

"Anything at all that floated, you fixed it, patched it and made it work," he says.

On Saturday night, the crew gathers for a big dinner at the historic old Superior Fire Hall. Phil Kerber, the president of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society and Meteor fix-up foreman, gently roasts the David family and flips through a slide show of seven years of steady progress the preservationists have made against the ravages of time.

By Sunday afternoon, the guys in the steerage room have slathered on fresh coats of paint. Bob Olson, the auto mechanic, has hauled out five wet-vac bags full of gunk. And despite the chilly rain, Sandvick, the retired history professor, is wearing a big grin.

"Don't get me wrong," he says. "I wouldn't want to do this kind of work the other 363 days a year. But for two days, you can't beat it."

Staff writer Curt Brown joined the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society while researching his nonfiction book about a wicked 1905 gale that smacked Duluth, "So Terrible a Storm," which Voyageur Press recently released in paperback.

Minneapolis Star Tribune

 

Great Lakes Seaway Trail guide available

5/19 - The 2011 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine is now available with stories on wineries, the War of 1812, and details for taking a scenic drive on the 518-mile National Scenic Byway that parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania.

A calendar of events; a directory of attractions, accommodations and services; and the GPS coordinates for more than 100 Great Lakes Seaway Trail “outdoor storyteller” interpretive signs are included in the 64-page magazine.

Great Lake Seaway Trail Director of Business Relations Kurt Schumacher says the travel magazine is now reaching new markets.

“In addition to finding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine at our member sites along the byway, distribution for the guide now includes high-traffic information and welcome centers on interstate routes in New York and Pennsylvania; locations in Kingston, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and AAA offices in Ohio,” Schumacher says.

The Great Lake Seaway Trail Travel Magazine is also included in Relocation Readiness packets for soldiers arriving at Fort Drum and in physician recruiting packets developed by Oswego Health.

A digital version of the magazine is available online

 

Updates -  May 19

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  May 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleet mates Kaye E. Barker and Hon. James L. Oberstar both departed the Upper Harbor just after sunrise on Tuesday after loading ore during the night.

St. Marys River
Tuesday traffic included the upbound Algocape in the early morning, followed later in the day by Mapleglen. Downbounders included Philip R. Clarke, Algoma Discovery, Hon. James L. Oberstar, Edwin H. Gott, Kaye E. Barker and American Century.

Sturgeon Bay - Charlie Lampman and Wendell Wilke
American Courage left Bayship Tuesday evening and was northbound off Chambers Island in the bay of Green Bay. Tuesday morning, the newly-renamed tug Bradshaw McKee (former Susan W. Hannah) was inbound the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal around 9 a.m. heading for Bay Shipbuilding. She arrived at the yard around 10:30 a.m.

Muskegon, Mich. - Herm Phillips
On a sunny Monday afternoon the Algorail arrived at the Verplank Dock in Muskegon, Mich., to unload salt. She departed late afternoon and was outbound through the piers just before dark.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons was in port very early on Monday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 is due Wednesday and the Wilfred Sykes is due Saturday.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was in and out on Sunday. English River came in early Monday morning.

 

Coast Guard closes part of Mississippi River

5/18 - Jackson, Miss. — The Coast Guard closed the swollen Mississippi River north of New Orleans on Tuesday, halting cargo vessels on the nation's busiest waterway in the latest effort to reduce pressure from rising floodwaters.

The 15-mile closure at Natchez, Miss., blocked vessels heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and others trying to return north after dropping off their freight. If the channel remains closed, it could bring traffic to a standstill up and down the mighty river, which moves about 500 million tons of cargo each year.

And the interruption could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars for every day that it idles barges carrying coal, timber, iron, steel and more than half of America's grain exports.

Coast Guard officials said wakes generated by passing barge traffic could increase the strain on levees designed to hold back the river. Authorities were also concerned that barges could not operate safely in the flooded river, which has risen to the level of some docks and submerged others.

It was not clear how long the channel would be closed. Authorities suggested at least a few days. The river is expected to stay high in some places for weeks.

"Several days is not something anyone likes, but it will not be catastrophic," Port of New Orleans spokesman Chris Bonura said.

The Coast Guard did not have comprehensive figures on how many vessels were immediately affected, but the agency stopped at least 10 near Natchez. In past closures, those numbers have grown quickly. In 2008, the agency halted 59 ships within a day of shutting down a stretch of the river near New Orleans because of a barge and tanker collision.

Shipping companies hoped for a swift reopening, but if the channel were to remain closed for a longer period, the economic pain was sure to intensify — and spread well beyond the South.

On a typical day, 600 barges move up and down the river, according to Bob Anderson, spokesman for the Mississippi Valley Division of the Army Corps of Engineers. A single barge can carry as much cargo as 70 tractor-trailers or 17 rail cars.

"When it shuts, there's really no alternative," said Jim Reed, president of the Illinois Corn Growers Association. Anderson said he expects barges to be asked to stay anchored in the middle of the river so they do not add to the flooding.

The Coast Guard's traffic-management division hoped to prevent barges from piling up on either side of the closed zone by requiring them to be at least 1,200 feet apart.

Also Tuesday, at least 10 freight terminals along the lower Mississippi between Baton Rouge and New Orleans suspended operations because of high water. Vessels scheduled to use the terminals will either have to wait out the high water or divert elsewhere. Delaying a vessel by even a single day often costs $20,000 to $40,000, port officials said.

A Port of South Louisiana spokesman expected many barge operators to stay in port after loading or unloading and then wait until the river reopens.

Throughout the spring, the Mississippi is a highway for barges laden with corn, soybeans and other crops headed from the Midwest to ports near New Orleans, where they get loaded onto massive grain carriers for export around the world.

The closure helped push corn, wheat and soybean prices higher Tuesday.

Traders were already nervous about tight supplies of all three crops. Farmers are behind on their planting because of cold, wet weather. At the same time, global supplies have been depleted by rising demand from ethanol makers and livestock producers.

The price of corn jumped 22.75 cents to $7.20 a bushel, while soybeans rose 14.5 cents, to $13.41 a bushel. Wheat rose 27.5 cents to settle at $7.64 a bushel.

While prices might spike in the short-term, flooding and port closures along the Mississippi River probably will not affect crop prices for long, said John Sanow, an analyst with DTN Telvent. Traders are more worried that flooded acreage won't be replanted with corn, he said. If the closure persists, the crop exports most likely to be affected are corn and soybeans, said Jason Ward, analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis.

The effect could be more acute for local buyers along the Mississippi, like poultry companies that buy bulk feed directly off the river, Ward said. They could wait weeks or months without being able to fill an order if barge traffic does not resume.

"It only affects that guy that's waiting for corn," Ward said. "The question is how long it's going to be down."

At the Port of South Louisiana, which stretches along both sides of the Mississippi for 54 miles, Operations Director Mitch Smith said the closure will have "a definite impact" on grain exports, though it was too early to say how much.

The port, the largest in terms of tonnage in the United States, handles 54 percent of the nation's annual grain exports.

A lot will depend upon how long the river is closed and how many barges are trapped upriver, Smith said.

The port handles about 60,000 barges a year, along with 4,500 to 5,000 deep-draft vessels that carry grain and other bulk cargo such as steel.

The Mississippi also conveys most of New England's home heating oil and gasoline, along with 20 percent of America's coal, according to the American Waterways Operators, the trade group of the barge operators.

American Commercial Lines, which operates more than 2,500 barges and 125 tow boats, feared the closure could last as long as a week in a worst-case scenario.

The closure was the third in a series of recent moves designed to protect homes and businesses behind levees and floodwalls along the river.

Over the weekend, the Army Corps opened the Morganza Spillway, choosing to flood rural areas with fewer homes to protect Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Another spillway near New Orleans was opened earlier, but it did not threaten homes.

The river is expected to crest Saturday in Natchez at 63 feet, down a half-foot than earlier predictions. But that level is still nearly five feet above a record set in 1937. It could take weeks for the water to recede.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said if the city's levees were damaged, it could endanger hospitals, a convention center and historic buildings both in Natchez and across the river in Louisiana.

The floodwaters have displaced more than 4,800 people in Mississippi, including 80-year-old Leslie J. Sherwin, who was pushed out of his house in Tunica County three weeks ago and into a shelter.

"The road is cutoff. The house is flooded, and I can't even go home," Sherwin said. "But hey, nothing lasts forever. I've been knocked down many times. I'm just going to do what I've got to do, day by day."

Associated Press

 

Soo Locks summer field trip to Sault Ste. Marie and Soo Locks

5/18 - Join the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association on June 24-26 for a summer field trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., including tour options of the Soo Locks, a special guided tour, an Agawa Canyon railroad tour, a Soo Locks dinner cruise, a Marquette Maritime Museum tour and more. For more information visit www.lsmma.com

 

Updates -  May 18

News Photo Gallery

 

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

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Monday on the St. Marys River included the Hon. James L. Oberstar, Great Lakes Trader, Herbert C. Jackson, Presque Isle and Edgar B. Speer. Downbounders included Mesabi Miner, Montrealais and Cuyahoga.

South Chicago – Steve Bauer
The past four days has seen somewhat of a logjam develop at Calumet Harbor as a result of the NS railroad bridge being down since late last Thursday and unable to open. Lee A. Tregurtha and Samuel de Champlain arrived Thursday and are tied up at KCBX and LaFarge respectively while waiting for the bridge to be repaired. Canadian Transport is tied up at the North American dock just east of the CN bridge with a load of salt. Out in the harbor, the St. Marys Challenger, which arrived Saturday, is still anchored and was joined this afternoon by the Manistee.

Also scheduled for the Calumet River are the H. Lee White, Sam Laud and Arthur M. Anderson, which as of early Monday evening are at Indiana Harbor, Burns Harbor, and Buffington respectively. As of early Monday evening, the NS bridge was raised and there appears to be some testing going on.

 

Seaway cautiously optimistic about season

5/17 - Welland, Ont. - There was significantly more shipping traffic on the Welland Canal last year, compared to 2009. And St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. is cautiously optimistic that trend could continue, as the economy continues to recover from the recession, says spokesman Andrew Bogora.

The corporation's recently released 2010 traffic report shows an improvement over 2009 — but the number of ships travelling through the waterway still falls short of traffic prior to the 2008 recession.

In 2010, 3,135 ships travelled through the Welland Canal, carrying more than 29 million tonnes of cargo. That's nearly three million tonnes more than in 2009, when only 2,799 ships passed through the canal.

Before the recession in 2007, 3,671 ships passed through the waterway carrying nearly 35 million tonnes of cargo, and in 2008, 3,517 ships carried 33.5 million tonnes of cargo through the canal.

Across the entire St. Lawrence Seaway, 3,925 ships hauled nearly 42 million tonnes of cargo in 2010. In 2009, there was a total 3,631 ships carrying just more than 73 million tonnes of cargo.

Bogora says the "current outlook is reasonably positive" for the 2011 season. However, he says there's a "general degree of uncertainty concerning the entire economic outlook" on a global scale.

While the seaway corporation is hoping the rebound it saw last year will continue, "there are no guarantees. When it comes to crystal ball gazing, I have to submit that there is a cautious degree of optimism at this point in time,” he said.

Economic conditions have a significant impact on the shipping industry in general, added Bogora.

"It's often said that shipping in general — be it marine, road or rail — is an excellent way of taking the pulse of our global economy or of our domestic economy, because ultimately when you look at manufacturing activity, the raw material has to be shipped in and the final product has to be shipped out.

"And when you consider what takes place, we're often an early indicator of a general upsurge or conversely of a downturn."

Welland Tribune

 

No radioactive waste plans for Great Lakes

5/17 - Lansing, Mich. - Canadian energy company Bruce Power has withdrawn a request to ship nuclear waste materials to Sweden from the U.S. Great Lakes, a Michigan lawmaker said. U.S. Rep. Candice Miller said her office was informed that Bruce Power had walked away from plans to ship 16 decommissioned steam generators laden with radioactive material through the Great Lakes region.

She said she received the information from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

"PHMSA is the agency within the U.S. which Bruce Power would have to receive approval of if they transport their shipment through U.S. territory and must comply with PHMSA's entire review to ensure that all safety and environmental concerns are addressed before making a decision regarding this shipment," she said in a statement.

The Port Huron Times Tribune reports Bruce Power put its generator plans on hold in March following months of public debate over the safety of shipping radioactive waste through the Great Lakes.

UPI

 

St. Lawrence River Board of Control to release outflows for next few weeks

5/17 - The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control has decided to release outflows up to the capacity of the hydropower facilities for the next several weeks, provided this does not cause levels downstream to reach flood alert levels.

The decision followed a review of conditions in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system.

If basin conditions continue to stay wet, the board said it might direct an increase in flows that will require water to be spilled – that is, bypassing the hydropower generating stations.

Snowmelt and heavy rains have caused levels of the St. Lawrence River near Montreal to rise well above average since mid-April.

The board reduced Lake Ontario outflows in late April and early May in order to keep levels below the flood alert level near Montreal. Water levels on both Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River can vary considerably from year to year.

 

Windsor, Detroit get a one-two punch with cruise terminal

5/17 - Windsor, Ont. - Sometime next month, the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority plans to open a $21.5 million riverfront facility to attract cruise ships. The project has taken nearly 20 years to get off the ground. And, when operating, it promises to not only benefit tourism on the Detroit River's north shore but also in Windsor.

The new port essentially gives both cities a one-two punch in attracting cruise ships. Windsor already has a working port off Dieppe Gardens, and ships have occasionally docked there over the past decade. However, over the past two years, as the economy struggled, the visits stopped.

Now, with the economy picking up, that could be changing.

"Cruise ships (on the lakes) is starting to build up again," says David Cree, president of the Windsor Port Authority. "We are hoping to establish Windsor and Detroit as a destination."

The port's location could even result in cruise ship companies using Detroit as a starting and ending point for excursions, Chris Conlin, owner of Great Lakes Cruise in Ann Arbor, recently told the Detroit Free Press. Being near an international airport and within walking distance of major hotels makes the port attractive to cruise planners, he said.

"We are excited about it." Conlin said of the port. "Definitely it is a 'build-it-and-they-will-come' thing."

Obviously the Windsor-Detroit area has much to offer -great restaurants, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Caesars Windsor and its worldclass entertainment, pro sports team, Essex County wineries and even Point Pelee National Park.

And there are two ways to take advantage of both ports. First would be to dock in Detroit on the way to lakes Erie and Ontario, and then stop in Windsor on the return trip through Michigan, Huron and Superior.

Second is the introduction of a ferry service that could shuttle visitors across the river. A customs station is already planned on the American side to process cruise ship passengers. And there's no reason a station can't be set up on this side.

Obviously, the idea of ferry service has far more potential than simply catering to cruise ships.

In fact, a passenger ferry service ran between Walkerville and Detroit for nearly 60 years, with the last voyage logged on May 15, 1942. Since that time, there's been a lot of talk of reviving the ferry, but nothing has happened.

However, with Detroit's port near completion and Windsor, which already with a working port, considering a major marina development, the idea of a full-time passenger service makes a great deal of sense, not only to help spur the cruise ship business but also for commuters, and people attending sporting events or casinos.

Both cities have waterfronts that are becoming destination attractions. The time is right to put passenger service back in the mix.

The Windsor Star

 

Updates -  May 17

Weekly Website Updates
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the W. E. Fitzgerald gallery

 

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

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena was anchored out in the bay Sunday afternoon waiting for winds to subside before heading into Lafarge. Around 8 p.m., she arrived in port to load cement.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algocape departed winter lay-up at Pier 51 Saturday afternoon, bound for the Welland Canal.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The tug Spartan (ex-Mark Hannah) arrived in Oshawa late Saturday evening with barge Spartan II. She departed Oshawa early Sunday morning and is heading to Ludington, Mich.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
The tanker Algocanada, after spending the winter on the Lakes, made a trip to Halifax, arriving May 14. After bunkering from fleetmate Algoma Dartmouth, she loaded at the Imperial Oil refinery and departed Sunday evening for Sarnia.

 

Sarah Desgagnes returns to Canadian waters

5/16 - The tanker Sarah Desgagnes is back in Canada after a long absence on foreign trades, reappering in Quebec City on May 6 still under Barbados flag. Instead of changing to Canadian flag, the vessel was granted a coasting license by the Canadian Transportation Agency for two loaded trips from Ultramar's refinery in St-Romuald to Montreal with clean products. It is yet not clear if the vessel will eventually be flying the maple leaf flag soon on the trade that she was originally purchased for, the carriage of clean products between St-Romuald and Montreal for Ultramar. The ship had been under arrest in Europe for a nine months period in Antwerp, Belgium, over a lawsuit for unpaid bunkers bills. Lawsuits having forced the Italian charterers into bankruptcy, it is fair to assume that the liability fell on the owners of the vessel. The vessel was finally released to Desgagnes last March and resumed trading in Europe before making her Canadian landfall in May.

Bruno Boissonneault

 

Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City holds change-of-command ceremony

5/16 - Traverse City, Mich. – With family and friends, as well as members of the community, looking on, Cmdr. Jonathan Spaner transferred command of Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City to another Coast Guard aviator today during a ceremony at the air station.

The traditional change-of-command ceremony, presided over by Rear Adm. Michael Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, culminated with Spaner transferring command to Cmdr. Joseph Buzzella, the new commanding officer.

Spaner is a Cum Laude graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y., where he served as regimental commander. He holds a master's degree in management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., and is a distinguished graduate from U.S. Naval Pilot Training in Pensacola, Fla.

His prior operational assignments include Coast Guard air stations in Sacramento, Calif., Clearwater, Fla., and Astoria, Ore., where he held qualifications as an instructor pilot in the HC-130H Hercules aircraft and aircraft commander in the HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter.

Spaner is departing to attend the MIT Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership at Cambridge, Mass., where he will be studying to receive a masters degree in business administration.

“I am exceptionally humbled to have served as a commanding officer in the United States military," Spaner said. "There is no one on earth who really deserves the privilege of leading so many accomplished people - no one. But, as a team, we worked well together, and I will always remember this opportunity as the highest professional privilege of my lifetime.”

Buzzella is reporting from Air Station San Francisco, Calif., where he served as the unit’s executive officer, or second in command, and an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter pilot.

Change-of-command ceremonies are time-honored traditions deeply rooted in American military history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command in Traverse City from Spaner to Buzzella. The ceremony is attended by all members of the unit so they witness the transfer of leadership firsthand. Several family members, community leaders and friends of the commanders will also be in attendance.

 

Reservation deadline approaching for June 4 S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering

5/16 - The popular Boatnerd Badger Gathering a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis. aboard Lake Michigan Carferrys S/S Badger, is coming up quickly. Reservations for the June 4 cross-lake trip on the Great Lakes' last coal-fired steamboat must be received no later than Saturday, May 21, 2011.

On Friday night, June 3, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

The historic Badger will leave the Ludington dock at 9 a.m. Saturday. After arriving in Manitowoc, we will disembark and board a bus for a visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Displays there include the operating restored forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, as well as the WWII submarine Cobia. Or, as a second option, Boatnerds can choose to stay on board for the Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise (a separate charge applies).

Reservations must be received no later than Saturday, May 21. Checks for the full amount must accompany each reservation. Checks will be cashed on Monday, May 23, and cancellations after this date may require a cancellation fee. If we do not receive enough reservations to activate the Badger Boatel, we will refund that portion of your reservation.

Reservations received after May 21, 2011 will be handled on an "If-Available" basis.

Click here to print your reservation form. Get yours in the mail today.

 

Updates -  May 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Videos on our YouTube Channel

 

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

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came out of the drydock Bay Shipbuilding early Saturday morning, coupling up shortly afterwards and departing up the Bay of Green Bay.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in overnight Thursday with a load for Verplank’s Dock in Ferrysburg. They departed at 9 a.m. Friday. The pair are expected back at the same dock on Monday, along with the tug Invincible and McKee Sons.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore, with the Lewis J. Kuber, returned to the Saginaw River Saturday morning after calling on the river earlier in the week. The pair traveled all the way up the river to unload at the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw and are expected to remain there until weather conditions improve. Winds Saturday were out of the NE at a sustained 39 knots, with gusts to 48 knots. A gale warning was in effect for the Saginaw Bay and the water level in the river has climbed over three feet above normal.

 

Walter Lewis is Detroit group’s Historian of the Year

5/15 - St. Clair, Mich. - The Marine Historical Society of Detroit, at its 67th annual dinner meeting Saturday night at the St. Clair Inn, named marine historian and Website founder Walter Lewis as its 2011 Historian of the Year.

Lewis, who lives in Acton, Ont., is the creator of the “Maritime History of the Great Lakes” web site, which has become a valuable tool for researchers and historians. He is also author or co-author of a number of articles and books on Great Lakes shipping.

The assembled group also heard Paul C. LaMarre III speak about restoration work aboard Toledo’s museum ship Willis B. Boyer.

For information on joining the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, click here. To visit Maritime History of the Great Lakes click here

 

Searchers to look for War of 1812 ships

5/15 - Indiana, Pa. - Researchers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania have announced plans to find and identify two shipwrecks from the War of 1812 in Lake Ontario.

Geoscientist Katie Farnsworth and anthropologist Ben Ford are preparing for a June survey of the Black River Bay in the northeast corner of Lake Ontario for a frigate called the Mohawk, a product of a naval arms race between the Americans and the British, and an unnamed gunboat designed for amphibious attacks and harassing British shipping, a university release said Thursday.

Ford said he has data suggesting the gunboat's location and reason to believe the Mohawk is within a few miles of it.

The Great Lakes were a crucial battle arena for the United States and Great Britain during the War of 1812, with each side racing to try to build a superior fleet of military vessels.

The shipwrecks will be buried, or at least partly buried, in sediment entering the lake from the surrounding watershed for two centuries, Farnsworth said.

The search will utilize side-scanning sonar, sub-bottom chirp profiling, magnetometry and archaeological diver inspections, the university release said.

UPI

 

Updates -  May 15

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - W. E. Fitzgerald updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Port Reports -  May 14

Milwaukee, Wis. - Bill Bedell
Early Friday morning, Alpena came in with a load of cement for the Lafarge plant. Right on her stern was the tug Leona B for Midwest Marine, with an empty barge for another load of coal for the Valley Power Plant. Next was Canadian Olympic with a load of salt for the inner harbor bulk dock. Olympic was assisted by the Great Lakes Towing tug Arkansas.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River early Thursday morning. The pair traveled up to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. Mississagi was inbound Thursday afternoon, calling on the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. Mississagi briefly stopped at the Burroughs dock to let the outbound Moore - Kuber pass, then continued on to Lafarge once clear. Mississagi was expected to be outbound early Friday morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Luke Archer
J.W. Shelley loaded at the ADM elevators on a warm, sunny Friday afternoon in Toledo.

 

Port Stanley as a port of call for Great Lakes cruise ships?

5/14 - Port Stanley, Ont. - It may be something to consider by a group being established to look at the future of the harbour. And if so, tiny Little Current, on Manitoulin Island, is willing to show Port Stanley the boost cruise ships can provide for a small place and its economy.

"I would invite them to come up and have a look at what we've done," said Joe Chapman, mayor of the town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands, a regional municipality that includes Little Current, population 1,500.

"If there is any help we can offer, we'd certainly love to see them," Chapman said. He even offered to send a van down to the ferry from Tobermory to greet Port representatives.

Little Current is cited by Stephen Bennett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, as an example of what a small community along the Great Lakes can accomplish. If Port Stanley took a page from Little Current, he said, it could compete against the bright lights and casinos of places such as Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and Toronto, where cruises regularly call.

"It's a lovely place," Bennett said of Port Stanley, population 2,200. "I've been there with my own boat."

Little Current, along the North Channel of Georgian Bay, has become one of the most popular ports of call on the lakes, Bennett said. The community engaged in the same sort of "product-development exercise" needed in Port Stanley to assess its assets and capitalize on them, Bennett said.

In Port Stanley, Bill Walters, mayor of Central Elgin, said charting a future for the harbour acquired from the federal government last year is the job of a committee being created. "We'll consider almost anything at this point in time," he said. "The door is wide open as far as opportunities."

Central Elgin is determined to seek revenue streams to ensure the harbour doesn't become a financial burden.

In Little Current, cruise-ship visitors are welcomed to a pow-wow at the cultural centre of the Ojibwe West Bay First Nation. They can also take part in excursions focused on birding, star-gazing, natural history and hiking.

Bennett, of the cruising coalition, said the First Nations have made a big difference: "They are sophisticated, welcoming and they have a wonderful cultural centre."

Ships dock downtown, just steps from shops and ice-cream parlours, similar to the towns along Norwegian fjords. "They have gentrified the town, the waterfront," Bennett said. "They really know what they are doing."

Kristin Luoma, economic development officer in Little Current, said cruise boats stay only a day at a time, but their passengers spend more than $300,000 a year. "The benefit to the entire island is big," she said.

Thirteen visits from the Clelia II, a ship with 100 passengers and crew of 60, boosted the local economy by nearly $600,000 last year, Luoma said. Another 13 are scheduled this year.

Little Current acquired its docks from the federal government in 2002 and spent $8 million to create a multi-use docking area that can accommodate cruise ships and private yachts.

Chapman said he's happy to share the Little Current story with Port Stanley, which "has endearing qualities, too. It's a great little fishing town."

London Free Press

 

Recreational lock at Sault Canal reopens Sunday

5/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada will reopen to recreational boat traffic on Sunday. The lock was closed for the 2010 season due to major capital upgrades undertaken by Parks Canada.

Operating hours for the 2011 season are as follows: May 15 to June 16 - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; June 17 to September 5 - 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; September 6 to October 15 - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Boaters may contact the Lockmaster on VHF Channel 14 at "VDX 23 Canadian Canal” or at 705-941-2003 for locking instructions.

 

River walk sees delay: Cleanup of area slated for Sunday

5/14 - Port Huron - Construction of the Blue Water River Walk might not begin until later than anticipated, as organizers have been denied two of three requests for federal grants and await several more.

The public probably won't see construction happening on the stretch of property along the St. Clair River from Vantage Point to the Seaway Terminal — donated to the Community Foundation of St. Clair County by Acheson Ventures, LLC in March — until summer 2012.

Local organizations are banding together this Sunday, however, to do some major spring cleaning on the space. Boatnerds are welcome to join in the cleanup. Volunteers will clean up the shoreline at Desmond Landing from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The gathering point will be Port Huron’s Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point. Wear shoes appropriate for the work and gloves; refreshments will be provided. To sign up, contact Tonie Babin at T.Babin@att.net

Groups from Port Huron Rotary, Fort Gratiot Rotary, Quota Club, Bridges Church and Operation Transformation will also be participating in the cleanup, as well as community volunteers.

Heavy debris, including large pieces of concrete, boulders and logs, still dot the property and also will be cleared away Sunday with the help of equipment donated by Hammar Contracting.

The effort is a way to prepare the area for future construction, as the community foundation and its partners in the Blue Water River Walk wait for state and federal grants.

Although it currently looks like a field of gravel, through the eyes of Randy Maiers, Community Foundation president, the strip of land on the riverfront is full of families picnicking and children playing in a park.

To fund the construction of the almost mile-long paved walkway, which is estimated to cost about $1.3 million, the St. Clair County Road Commission must acquire a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Maiers said. The St. Clair County Parks and Recreation Commission, which oversees the Bridge-to-Bay trail, is working with the road commission to facilitate that portion of the project.

The Parks and Recreation Commission also submitted a grant request in April to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to buy almost three acres of land at the southern end of Desmond Landing to turn into a public park. Funds from the Parks and Recreation Commission millage will provide a $250,000 local match for the grant, commission director Mark Brochu said.

The commission expects to hear back about the grant in December. The earliest construction would start would be summer 2012, Brochu said.

To fund the shoreline restoration aspect of the project, the community foundation applied for three federal grants totaling $3.3 million as of February through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Although the community foundation has since been denied two of its requests, Maiers said the group will keep applying for grants every spring.

“We're in it for the long haul,” Maiers said, explaining he expects the project to be complete in three to six years.

Maiers is assembling project teams to look at construction of a kayak launch and fishing bridge, and advised interested parties to contact him at (810) 984-4761.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Updates -  May 14

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel

 

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 c.) HON. JAMES L. OBERSTAR, renamed this spring.

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.

 

Great Lakes limestone trade down 13.8 percent in April

5/13 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 2,126,522 net tons in April, a decrease of nearly 14 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments trailed the month’s 5-year average by 28.4 percent.

Shipments from U.S. quarries fell 14 percent compared to a year ago and are 26.3 percent off April’s 5-year average. Canadian quar ies were marginally below last Aprils total, but are nearly 41 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

The April totals basically reflect limestone’s year-to-date performance. Only two cargos 50,184 tons were loaded in March.

Lake Carriers Association

 

Port Reports -  May 13

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Thursday included Algowood departing with iron pellets from CN, CSL Tadoussac arriving to load pellets at CN, Rt. Hon. Paul Martin anchored out on the lake waiting to load pellets at CN, James R. Barker loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, Federal Danube loading grain at HSC and Federal Schelde loading grain at Peavey.

Stoneport Calcite and Cederville - Daniel McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Wednesday was the Joseph H. Thompson. There were no boats due Thursday. Lewis J. Kuber is due in Friday. There were no boats scheduled for Calcite. Due into Cedarville was Philip R. Clarke on the 12th. Due in on the 14th is the steamer Wilfred Sykes. Joseph L. Block is due on the 16th.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
The tug Tony Mackay departed Windsor, Ont., Thursday with cement storage barge Metis, heading to Hamilton, Ont.

 

Port Colborne grain elevator again a draw for shippers

5/13 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Sixty-eight hundred tonnes of corn harvested last year from farms across Niagara and beyond were loaded into a Lower Lakes Towing vessel Tuesday at Southpier Terminals.

It was the third time this year a ship has docked at the terminal, formerly Goderich Elevators, to take on a load of corn or wheat, said manager Joe Lannan.

He said the corn being loaded on the Kaministiquia was delivered to the terminal by transport trucks after it was harvested last year from farms within an 80-kilometre radius. "The ship is headed to Goderich (Ont.) to be topped off with more corn and then it will be heading to Sorel (Que.)," said Lannan. The corn will be shipped overseas from Quebec and whether it is sent across the Atlantic, depends on its quality, he added.

In addition to storing corn at the elevator, which was originally built by the Canadian government 102 years ago, wheat, soybeans, mustard seed, rye and other goods can be found. Lannan said there are 267 bins inside the elevator, purchased by Goderich Elevators in 1986, in which the various items can be stored.

Goderich Elevators changed its name to Southpier Terminals this past year. Southpier also has storage facilities in Goderich and the company provides storage, conditioning, processing and the transfer of grains and other goods around the world.

The elevator in Port Colborne sits at the end of King Street on the west side of the pier across from ADM Milling at the entrance of the Welland Canal. Ships must enter the canal and make a turn around the end of the elevator to get into position to load or unload and can be watched from H.H. Knoll Lakeview Park and Sugarloaf Harbour Marina.

Kaministiquia left Port Colborne late in the day.

Welland Tribune

 

Museum Ship Valley Camp opens for the season

5/13 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The opening of the Museum Ship Valley Camp is a sign that spring is here. Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites, Inc. will open the doors to the 1917-built freighter for another season on Friday.

“Museum staff has been working for about three weeks in preparation for the season opener. The shutters are off the windows, winter doors are removed, plastic covers are removed and the displays are cleaned up. We are now ready for the first visitor of the season to walk across the ramp and into the museum to start off the 2011 season,” said Ship Manager Nate Gregorich.

There are some new displays in the works for this season. One of them is almost completed. Early guests to the ship will be able to see the display in raw form prior to its completion. This exhibit has a connection to World War II. Curator Paul Sabourin and a couple of volunteers have been working hard on this exhibit through the winter.

For more information visit www.saulthistoricsites.com

 

Victorian Princess owner vows to continue operating in Erie

5/13 - Erie, Pa. – The owner of the 112-foot paddle wheel pleasure boat Victorian Princess vows to keep sailing in Erie, even as the vessel's future remains uncertain after a Monday morning fire that caused extensive damage to its engine compartment.

Dan O'Neill said he was still learning of the extent of damage as he toured the three-deck boat with insurance officials Wednesday.

"They're going to dictate what's going to happen," he said. "I don't know what they're going to do or say. My goal, though, is to get it fixed."

The fire broke out shortly after 8:30 a.m. Monday, when workers who were doing some welding on the outside of the boat caused some heat to transfer to the inside, fire officials said. Some combustible materials inside ignited. Most of the fire was in the engine compartment, officials said.

Other parts of the boat received some heat and smoke damage, according to firefighters.

"The inside was really scorched," O'Neill said. The fire was ruled accidental.

At the time of the fire, the Victorian Princess was out of the water and on blocks at the foot of Ore Dock Road, undergoing inspection. It was expected to return to the dock at Dobbins Landing soon to begin its season of cruises and special events, including some school trips.

O'Neill said he doesn't know what effect the fire will have on the 2011 season. But he said his goal is to make things work.

"I intend on keeping it here," he said.

O'Neill said the fire occurred two weeks after he became the sole owner of the Victorian Princess. He bought out his two former partners.

Erie Times News

 

Updates -  May 13

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

High winds create seiche conditions at the Soo

5/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - High winds connected with severe weather late Wednesday morning prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Coastal Flood Warning for Whitefish Bay and the Soo Locks. Water levels at Point Iroquois dropped about a foot below normal then jumped back up over a foot and a half.

This sloshing of water happens when strong winds push the water to one side of the bay; once the winds subside, that water races to the other shore, leading to a rapid rise on one side of the bay, and a drop in water on the other side. People living near/along Whitefish Bay including the Soo Locks, Paradise and Brimley were warned to avoid beach and breakwalls.

Meanwhile, it was a busy evening on the river, with a mini-traffic jam in the making. Upbound traffic included American Spirit and Richelieu in the locks area, and plenty of downbound traffic opposing, including Arthur M. Anderson, Pineglen, Burns Harbor, Nogat, American Century, Victory and Kaye E. Barker. Isadora and Cedarglen were below the Junction Buoy upbound at around 10 p.m.

 

Port Reports -  May 12

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Lee A. Tregurtha departed Duluth about 7 a.m. Monday with a load of taconite pellets from the CN ore dock. Elsewhere in port, Nogat was ready to load at the Duluth Storage elevator, formerly known as Cargill B1. It was the second vessel of the season to load at this elevator, which is now owned by a hedge fund. The elevator didn’t load any vessels for several years after Cargill sold it, but started loading occasional ships last season. Australiaborg was loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Mark King
American Spirit departed Bay Shipbuilding Wednesday morning after undergoing repairs. She was upbound on Lake Michigan heading to Silver Bay to load for Cleveland.

 

Coast Guard evacuates man from Beaver Island

5/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew evacuating a 83-year-old man from Beaver Island, Mich., Wednesday evening.

An HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., launched after personnel at the Beaver Island Rural Health Center requested a medevac at about 6 p.m., for a resident who was reportedly experiencing dizzy spells. The aircrew was planning to transport the man to Northern Michigan Regional Hospital in Petoskey, Mich.

The Coast Guard maintains great working relationships with medical personnel at emergency facilities in remote Great Lakes locations, including northern Lake Michigan's Beaver Island.

 

Lime Island avoids closure

5/12 - Lansing, Mich. - Lime Island, the 980-acre island in the St. Mary’s River, with cottages, trails, camping platforms and historic artifacts, likely will be moved into Michigan’s State Parks program and will avoid being shut down, state officials said.

Lime Island was part of the 23 rustic state forest campgrounds the Michigan Department of Natural Resources had decided to permanently close and currently is managed by the DNR's underfunded forest recreation program. DNR spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said the local community proposing to take over Lime Island has withdrawn its proposal

"I am pretty sure we will have fewer closures in June than we originally announced," Dettloff said. "The (DNR) director wants to give the department more time to work on two different approaches to keeping some of them open," Dettloff said."

The DNR's decision is expected to be postponed for a month when the Natural Resources Commission meets in Flint on Thursday. DNR director Rodney Stokes is expected to discuss the new plan with the NRC.

The anticipated postponement will buy time for DNR staff to talk with other municipalities who have interest in taking on some of the campgrounds. If deals can be worked out, they would remain open.

Other communities are just beginning their inquiries. State forest campgrounds are different from state park campgrounds.

They are smaller, less crowded, more remote and offer simple amenities such as an outhouse, hand water pump and picnic tables. They attract a different camping crowd than state parks that offer electricity, hot and cold running water, showers and flush toilets.

The controversial plan to close so many of the state’s rustic campgrounds surfaced in April after the legislature cut general fund revenues for the program by $314,000. The agency closed 12 campgrounds in 2009, also due to budget constraints.

Stokes was expected to approve the newest closures Thursday, which would have left 110 open and operating.

Stokes said he now wants to hold off to give DNR’s forest management and state parks staff a chance to develop a pilot program that takes six of forest campgrounds and operates them as mini-state parks. Lime Island is to be one of those.

Ron Olson, the DNR’s state parks chief, stepped forward and offered to adopt Lime Island because it was "too cool a place" to let go. "It fits in with our operations," Olson said. "Our goal is to have it be a place where people can go."

Mike Paluda, a retired DNR forest field boss living in Marquette who harshly criticized the initial plan to shut down Lime Island, said he is glad to know that the island will stay open. Paluda was extensively involved with development of the island after it was gifted to the state in 1982.

"Shifting it to state parks is probably an appropriate move," Paluda said. "We had talked to parks division quite a few years ago about taking it over; it fit more with their operation than ours, but they didn’t want it at that time."

Given Lime Island’s historical significance, both statewide and national, Paluda said it is more appropriate that it be managed by the state rather than a local community.

The Grand Rapids Press

 

Detroit to Port Huron Cruise May 29

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

 

Updates -  May 12

News Photo Gallery

 

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

Cheboygan, Mich. - Fred Stone
The tanker Chemtrans Havel arrived at the Cheboygan River about 9 a.m. Tuesday to unload petroleum products at the US Oil Terminal. This is the first visit by Chemtrans Havel to Cheboygan. At 421', she is one of the largest ships (after Algosar at 434' and Algocanada at 426') to enter the Cheboygan River.

 

Chief Shingwauk to set sail for St. Lawrence

5/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – The Chief Shingwauk is headed downstream. The former St. Marys River tour boat departed Tuesday for the Thousand Islands where Rockport Boat Line, its new owner, will put it back into service on the St. Lawrence River, said Franklin Prouse, owner of Chief Shingwauk Marine Ltd.

The Chief Shingwauk plied the St. Marys for 44 years, offering tours of the Canadian and U.S. locks until 2008, when dwindling tourism from the U.S. caused Lock Tours Canada to cease offering tours.

The 70-foot double-deck vessel was laid up and went on the market the next year. It has been moored at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion since then. Prouse, who sailed the vessel for 32 years and designed extensive changes to its wheelhouse and other structures, said it will be sad to see it go.

"There's been a lot of effort and hard work go into that boat," said Prouse. "It's like a part of you that is going away." He said it was simply not feasible to continue to offer tours on the river.

Passenger numbers aboard the Shingwauk tumbled to 13,200 in its last year of operation after an average of 40,000 passengers annually between 1990 and 2000. The company's news release said U.S. patronage fell from 60 percent of passengers to roughly 6 percent following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Lock Tours Canada started operating in 1965. Franklin bought the business in 1974. A three-man crew was to set out late Tuesday afternoon for the Thousand Islands. Prouse said the trip should take four days, but could be longer depending on the weather.

Sault Star

 

Port Huron Museum fleet sails again

5/11 - Port Huron, Mich. - Part of the Port Huron Museum has a new look. Volunteers have cleaned, painted and rearranged the second floor so more items can be displayed and visitors will have more room to stroll through the exhibits.

Among the new things to see are 56 model ships in the rotunda. The rotunda's glass ceiling also has been cleaned -- the first time since a 1987 fire.

"We had all of these wonderful things that nobody could see," Executive Director Susan Bennett said.

Bennett said the museum always is looking for ways to pull exhibits out of storage or spruce things up so longtime members have something new to see. Plus, fresh exhibits could help bring in more people, something that could help the museum, which is facing financial challenges.

The challenges have prompted some tough decisions, including a move to sell the decommissioned U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble. Expenses for the ship are about $100,000 a year, but the ship generated only about $38,000 in the museum's most recent budget year.

The city of Port Huron's 2011-12 budget proposal calls for another financial blow to the museum. If the City Council approves the budget as is, the museum's annual subsidy would be cut from $124,000 to about $90,000. That money is used to cover expenses at the museum's three properties -- the main museum, called the Carnegie Center; the Thomas Edison Depot; and the Huron Lightship.

Bennett said it's unclear how that cut would affect operations. Museum and city officials are scheduled to meet later this week.

Revamping the museum's second floor came about after Bennett attended a meeting focused on doing more with the city's "Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes" designation. The project was finished just before Easter. Mike Popelka, who manages the Bramble, and volunteer Doug Bancroft did the work.

"Everything was right on top of each other and you couldn't really see it," Bancroft said. "It gave us a chance to sort through all of our stuff."

One of the biggest challenges, Bancroft said, was researching the items on display to make sure each received the appropriate labeling. Bennett said the museum's staff plans to freshen up the mezzanine next.

"It's the little things like this at a time that will make this experience so much better," she said.

Port Huron Times Herald

 

Reservation deadline approaching for June 4 S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering

5/11 - The popular Boatnerd Badger Gathering a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis. aboard Lake Michigan Carferrys S/S Badger, is coming up quickly. Reservations for the June 4 cross-lake trip on the Great Lakes' last coal-fired steamboat must be received no later than Saturday, May 21, 2011.

On Friday night, June 3, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

The historic Badger will leave the Ludington dock at 9 a.m. Saturday. After arriving in Manitowoc, we will disembark and board a bus for a visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Displays there include the operating restoed forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, as well as the WWII submarine Cobia. Or, as a second option, Boatnerds can choose to stay on board for the Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise (a separate charge applies).

Reservations must be received no later than Saturday, May 21, 2011. Checks for the full amount must accompany each reservation. Checks will be cashed on Monday, May 23, and cancellations after this date may require a cancellation fee. If we do not receive enough reservations to activate the Badger Boatel, we will refund that portion of your reservation.

Reservations received after May 21, 2011 will be handled on an "If-Available" basis.

Click here to print your reservation form. Get yours in the mail today.

 

Updates -  May 11

News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 11

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

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

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

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

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

 

Port Reports -  May 10

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson and James L. Kuber loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Monday.

Port Inland, Mich. – Tucker Woodgate
The tug Nickelena arrived from Escanaba shortly before 9 a.m. and worked to free the Wilfred Sykes, which had grounded early that morning. About 11:40 a.m. the Sykes was pulled free and tied up at the Port Inland dock around noon awaiting inspection. She departed around 4 p.m.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette came in early Monday morning with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. They unloaded and were outbound mid afternoon.

Owen Sound, Ont. - Torben Hawksbridge
The Ojibway arrived in port Sunday to load at the Great Lakes Elevator. Loading continued on Monday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Eleven days after the last commercial vessel passage on the Saginaw River, Algorail arrived Monday afternoon, traveling up the river to unload at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be outbound late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.

Montreal - Kent Malo
The tug Sirocco is due in Montreal May 23, to tow the ex-CSL vessel Halifax now under Liberian flag. The tow will terminate at Aliaga, Turkey. Halifax is presently secured at sec 44 Port of Montreal.

 

Maintenance dredging of Muskegon Harbor completed

5/10 - Muskegon, Mich. - More than 72,000 cubic yards of lake bottom sands were removed hydraulically from the harbor opening into Lake Michigan. Sand builds up in the mouth of the harbor.

Last October, the 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor freighter ran aground as it was making a coal delivery to the Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb plant on the east end of Muskegon Lake.

Dredge crews from the King Co. of Holland began the Muskegon harbor maintenance project March 29 under a $466,000 contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The King crews now will move to Grand Haven and then Holland to complete the spring harbor maintenance work, Army Corps officials said.

Large commercial harbors on the Great Lakes like Muskegon are scheduled to receive regular maintenance dredging even with federal budget cuts, but smaller more recreational harbors may not, federal officials said at a March meeting on the subject. Muskegon is dredged every three years.

The sand that had been “shoaling” at the harbor entrance was moved by pipe to a location about 7,000 feet south of the breakwater. The sand was placed on the city of Muskegon’s Pere Marquette beach from south of the city’s water filtration plant to near the curve on Beach Street, federal officials said.

King crews bulldozed the transported sand to level the beach. Wind and wave action will smooth the contours of the shoreline, leaving more beach area now that the dredging is complete, officials said. Dredge sands in past years had been put north of the breakwater on the Muskegon State Park shoreline, where Memorial Drive ends at Lake Michigan.

Dredging Today

 

Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes

5/10 - The discovery of a human skull in the depths of Lake Superior begins a story that will take historian and author Brendon Baillod across two Great Lakes and a century of history. It takes him and a team of elite technical divers more than 20 miles off Milwaukee where they discover the wreck of one of Lake Michigans lost queens. It takes them to the remote waters of Lake Superior where they risk their lives to determine the identity of yet another lost ship. And it takes us into the forgotten life of a brave and stubborn woman who lived, and died, on these wild waters. Whether her presence cursed these lost ships, or a more earthly explanation can be found, the Great Lakes reputation as a graveyard for mariners stands firm.  More information

 

Updates -  May 10

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - W. E. Fitzgerald gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Great Lakes coal trade down 8 percent in April

5/9 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.3 million net tons in April, a decrease of 8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings fell even further, 31.3 percent, when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

A significant reduction in coal cargos to Canada is a major factor in the decline compared to previous years. Two docks that last April collectively shipped 17 coal cargos to Canada loaded but two Canadian-bound cargos this April. The province of Ontario is phasing out the use of coal for power generation. Ontario Regulation 496/07, referred to as Cessation of Coal Use, bans the burning of coal as a fuel source at power plants throughout the province after December 31, 2014, and utilities are already transitioning to other fuel sources.

Year-to-date, the Lakes coal trade stands at 3.6 million tons, essentially unchanged from a year ago. However, shipments trail the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe by 35.5 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association

 

Smooth sailing so far as Hamilton port trolls for new investment

5/9 - Hamilton, Ont. - An ambitious plan to draw $500 million in new investment to Hamilton’s port is almost halfway to its goal. And the project is barely two years old.

In 2008, the Hamilton Port Authority’s new strategic plan called for that amount of investment in new warehouses, rail lines, loading equipment and other improvements designed to make Hamilton the largest and busiest port on the Great Lakes.

Now, barely a month into the new shipping season, cargo volume through the port is up more than 25 per cent from the first four weeks of last year (after 2010 volume rose 38 per cent over 2009), major new employers are in the midst of building new facilities on port land and more announcements are planned through the year.

“We are building on our success from 2010,” said Ian Hamilton, vice-president of the Hamilton Port Authority. “We are fast becoming the best port on the Great Lakes.”

Hamilton’s enthusiasm isn’t just corporate hyperbole. So far this year the port has seen the arrival of the first of two planned nine-storey-tall high-tech grain storage units, part of a $30-million project by grain company Parrish and Heimbecker; Hamilton-based Fluke Transport has opened a warehousing operation in a port building that houses five other tenants as well; McAsphalt Industries has opened a facility on port land; a solar panel manufacturer is expected to bring 200 jobs to the city; CareGo Innovative Solutions has revived an idled steel warehouse — a facility so automated it only needs a single human operator to oversee its 80,000-square-foot space handling up to 4.3 million tonnes of steel coils a year; Vopak Canada has renewed its lease for 52 chemical storage tanks; the volume of grain and slag being shipped from Hamilton is rising sharply; and investments in things like new rail lines are also drawing new lines of business to Hamilton.

One of those new fields is the shipment of large items like industrial tanks that can now be shipped by rail right to the dockside to be loaded on ship. One such shipment is expected within the next six weeks — the tanks are being manufactured in Cambridge for shipment to Alaska.

“We’re getting that business due to our investments in better rail infrastructure,” Hamilton said. “It helps us ensure cargo moves through the port quickly and doesn’t sit here.”

Another important part of the plan is a barge service launched last year. Twice a week, the Niagara Spirit moves as much as 7,280 tonnes of freight down the St. Lawrence River and across the lake from Montreal to Hamilton.

Grain and other commodities move the other way on the return trip by the barge, which is operated by Hamilton-based McKeil Marine. The service is designed to take trucks off the highways and train cars off the rails.

A critical part of the port’s plan is the goal of doubling the amount of cargo it handles that isn’t related to the steel industry.

Hamilton explained steel — both finished material being shipped out and raw materials being shipped in — accounts for about 70 per cent of the 12 million tonnes of cargo the port handles in an average year. That’s a good business and the port authority wants to keep it, but it also wants a cushion of diversity.

“We want to add additional cargo to what we’re doing in steel,” he said. “There are few things that are still in the discussion stages and we’re confident those announcements will be coming out this year.”

Hamilton said among those projects are two more terminal facilities being planned for the ports Pier 22, located at the foot of Strathearne Avenue North. That project is priced at $40 million.

“If we land all of these then 50 per cent (of the investment goal) will be a long way behind us,” he said. “We’re already double where we’d hoped to be by now.”

By the numbers
Hamilton Port Authority revenue in 2010: $19.3 million
Hamilton Port Authority revenue in 2009: $15.5 million
2010 profit: $5.3 million
2009 loss: $2 million
Number of jobs when port land is maxed out: Up to 3,000

Hamilton Spectator

 

Port Reports -  May 9

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger came into Calumet Harbor around 9 a.m. Sunday and transited the Calumet River under sunny skies enroute to the St. Marys Cement terminal in Lake Calumet with her first cargo of the season. In the early afternoon the Algoway came into the Calumet River to discharge her salt cargo at the North American Salt dock at 92nd Street.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Calumet arrived at the Lafarge dock around 2:30pm on Sunday. It unloaded a cargo of coal and departed before nightfall. Also coming in during the evening was the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity to take on another load of cement. The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation is expected in port on Tuesday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Sunday the tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 arrived at the Buffalo Main Entrance around 4 p.m. bound for the Marathon asphalt dock in Tonawanda. They should be leaving some time on Monday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The saltie Pochard left Toronto, assisted by the tug Omni-Richelieu.

Bowmanville, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Sea Eagle II with barge St. Marys Cement II, left the St. Marys Cement dock in Bowmanville, Ont. enroute to Detroit. Algosoo arrived at the St. Marys Dock shortly after the departure of Sea Eagle II.

 

Region's rainfall boosts Great Lakes levels

5/9 - Green Bay, Wis. – Near-record rain in April has dams along the Fox River running full blast, and Lake Michigan water levels are higher than they've been in months. But that doesn't mean Great Lakes water levels are returning to anywhere near normal.

Regionally, those temporary high levels mean at least for now that engineers are able keep water flowing to generate hydroelectric power on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border without jeopardizing shipping channels and recreational boating.

The Green Bay area's 6.25 inches of moisture through rain and snow last month was within a quarter-inch of the record, according to the National Weather Service in Ashwaubenon.

Heavy rain throughout the region has meant a big gain in April for levels in lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron, said Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit, which monitors and controls lake levels.

The corps has increased outflows this month from Superior and the Michigan-Huron basin to draw down levels, Kompoltowicz said.

Similarly, Lake Winnebago, the Fox and Wolf rivers and their tributaries have a glut of water and are being drained off as rapidly as possible, said Jim Bonetti, the chief of the corps' Fox River office.

Despite the April rains, Great Lakes levels have been running behind last year's levels but are expected to match up closely throughout the rest of the year, Kompoltowicz said. However, in Superior and the Michigan-Huron basin, levels will still be nearly 15 inches below the historical normal, he said.

Levels in Lake Winnebago and the Fox-Wolf system have been high in recent weeks entirely because of April's heavy precipitation, Bonetti said.

The corps annually draws down Lake Winnebago levels through the winter to allow room for spring runoff, "but the amount we got in April was more than we anticipated," Bonetti said.

The Fox-Wolf system feeds Lake Michigan but is just a tiny percentage of the lake's overall water supply, Kompoltowicz said.

Long-term low levels of Lake Michigan mean that the Fox-Wolf system has more than enough room for its excess water, but the problem is getting that water through the system before it causes local flooding, Bonetti said.

That's a minimal problem for the lower Fox, because the river basin is deep and wide around De Pere and Green Bay, he said. However, Wrightstown is susceptible to flooding because the river at Little Rapids is narrow, so excess water tends to pile up before it can pass through all eight dam gates, which are fully open, Bonetti said.

Public Works officials in Wrightstown are keeping close watch on high water, but there have been no reports of property damage from flooding, Bonetti said.

More problematic yet is the area of Little Lake Butte des Morts and the Fox River near Menasha, where some boat docks are reportedly under water, Bonetti said.

Some areas higher up on the Fox, such as Shiocton and Berlin, were at or near flood stage earlier this month, he said.

The problem should diminish by early next week. By the end of this week, the Winnebago system was still about four inches higher than the corps would like it to be, but most of the gates were open on dams on the Fox between Neenah and Green Bay, and the system last week was finally draining more water than it was taking in from runoff into the tributaries, Bonetti said.

Unless the area receives a lot of new rain, levels should be back down by mid-week next week to the point where the corps can start closing gates, Bonetti said.

Green Bay Press Gazette

 

Windmills draw eyes along Lake St. Clair

5/9 - Windsor, Ont. - The first signs of Ontario’s venture into wind farms that feature massive electricity-producing windmills have cropped up on the Lake St. Clair horizon, with residents and boaters in the Grosse Pointes area able to view several turbines on a clear day.

At least six wind towers, about 40 stories high, have been erected within site of the Michigan shoreline. The $30 million project was initiated by a green energy company called Gengrowth. They plan to build 27 windmills in the Ontario town of Lakeshore, east of Windsor, near the mouth of the Belle River.

The 49-megawatt wind farm in Essex County is located onshore, not in the water – contrary to an initial plan that drew fierce opposition from Canadians two years ago when first proposed.

A leader of the Macomb County effort to attract short-term tourists to Lake St. Clair said he is not concerned that the windmills will spoil the view or scare away boaters or fishermen. But he is concerned about the spread of misinformation.

“I’ve heard from people in Macomb County and in Grosse Pointe saying that they (the towers) are in the water. They’re not,” said Brad Simmons, executive director of the Lake St. Clair Tourism Initiative.

Simmons has viewed the Ontario wind turbines up close and he said that throughout the area, from the Thames River down to the Belle River, they are located up to one-half mile from the lakeshore.

Even on the clearest of days it’s unlikely that the turbines could be viewed in St. Clair Shores, let alone Harrison Township or Anchor Bay.

Critics of the wind project in Ontario say they consider the wind towers an eyesore and they worry about noise, vibrations and declining property values. Supporters, including officials at the Ontario Ministry of Energy, counter that Ontario should contribute to the elimination of greenhouse gases and eliminate the province’s dependence on coal-burning electric power plants by 2014.

Construction of the Pointe aux-Roches wind farm began last November and the turbines are all expected to be operational by mid-summer, producing enough electricity to power 16,000 homes. The project has created an estimated 126 new jobs in Essex County.

Daily Tribune

 

Updates -  May 9

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery

 

Today in Great Lakes History -  May 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Port Reports -  May 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Presque Isle finished a 20 hour ore load from just the north side of the Upper Harbor ore dock Saturday morning. After loading bow-in most of Friday, the pair backed out, turned and backed in late Friday evening to finish the load.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
On Saturday, Samuel de Champlain and Innovation were inbound Green Bay at 11 a.m. There must have been some mechanical problems with the Mason Street Bridge, as in the attempt to raise the bridge a number of times, it was all stop for approximately an hour and half, before proceeding down river to the dock.

Lorain, Ohio - Linda Seabold
Sam Laud passed through Charles Berry Bridge at approximately 1530 hours and proceeded to Jonick Dock on the Black River to unload stone.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
CCG Simmonds was in port on Friday and departed for Hamilton. English River arrived in port Saturday morning, as did the ferry Thomas Rennie, which wintered in Hamilton for refurbishment.

Oshawa, Ont - Andre Blanchard
The tug Ecosse was spotted just off the shore of Ajax, Ont., Friday. It had been assisting a three-spud platform with an excavator, likely for dredging. Later the same day, Ecosse arrived at Oshawa and docked for the night.

Montreal, Que.
The Canadian registry of the former CSL self-unloader Halifax has been closed. According to the Port of Montreal site, Halifax is now owned by Gibson Canadian & Global Agency, registered in Liberia, a company that will likely assist in an overseas scrap tow. The vessel was recently stripped at Montreal.

 

Algoma releases first-ever environmental report

5/8 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Algoma has initiated several environmental initiatives to reduce energy use and waste and conserve resources. While efforts and policies like a waste-heat recovery program and directives to use environmentally-friendly practices in day-to-day operations (using re-usable coffee cups and water bottles, for example) are important, the biggest piece is the ongoing renewal of the Algoma Great Lakes fleet.

Renewing its Great Lakes shipping fleet will ensure Algoma Central Corporation (TSX:ALC) meets its ambitious sustainability goals and plays a significant role in helping Canada maintain the health of its air and waterways, says the first-ever environmental report of the St. Catharines, Ont.-based company, released Friday at its Annual General Meeting.

“We take our environmental responsibilities seriously at Algoma,” says Algoma President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Wight. “As we renew our fleet, we are replacing older ships with new ones that will contribute greatly to reduced air and water emissions, will have better fuel efficiency producing about 40 percent lower emissions than existing motor vessels. The new ships are also designed to accommodate engine-exhaust gas scrubbers to further reduce emissions and accommodate ballast-water treatment solutions.”

Algoma has ordered five new Equinox-class vessels that will be brought into service on the Great Lakes between 2013 and 2014, and has entered a historic agreement with the Canadian Wheat Board to operate two more new Equinox-class vessels being built by the CWB.

These new ships will make a mode of transport that is already environmentally friendly even more so: A ship can carry one tonne of cargo 312 kilometres on a litre of fuel, whereas at train will carry it 181 kilometres and a truck only 75 kilometres; Ships emit 10 grams of greenhouse gases per tonne of cargo transported one kilometre; a train emits 17 and a truck 33; Ships have fewer spills, less noise and congestion than trains and trucks.

While Algoma’s fleet renewal was a big part of its activities in 2010, the year was also highlighted by the Corporation completing an $85-million acquisition of Upper Lakes Group Inc.’s interests in Great Lakes – St. Lawrence dry-bulk shipping.

“The growth of the company through these acquisitions and through our new relationship with the CWB will help to position Algoma for the future,” Wight says. “Fleet renewal has become a critical issue for Canada’s marine transportation industry at a time when the demand for improved environmental efficiency has never been greater.”

Algoma finished 2010 with assets of $741 million and revenues of $536 million. With the acquisition of ULS, the Corporation now employs more than 2,000 people worldwide and controls a fleet of 21 self-unloading and 12 gearless bulk carriers and seven product tankers. The Corporation also owns a diversified ship repair and fabricating facility and, through Algoma Central Properties, owns and manages commercial real estate in St. Catharines, Sault Ste. Marie and Waterloo, Ontario.

International Business Times

 

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority committee paves the way for opening of Dike 14

5/8 - Cleveland, Ohio - Dike 14, more than 80 lakefront acres that most people have never set foot on, could soon be open to the public as a nature preserve. A committee of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority committed Wednesday to opening the Cleveland site for one or two days a week, and eventually for daily visits.

"It's something that needs to happen," said port authority CEO William Friedman.

The agreement still is subject to a vote by the port's governing board later this month, but approval is expected and a port official said the site could open as early as mid-summer.

Such a deal would end years of lobbying by nature lovers, who have long sought access to the man-made peninsula that juts into Lake Erie just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and serves as a stopover for migrating birds.

The dike, built more than 30 years ago to store contaminated sludge dredged from the Cuyahoga River, has become overgrown with woods, grasslands and wetlands. For a decade, a barbed wire-topped fence and locked gate have prevented regular entry into the site.

The port, which oversees the property, ultimately would like find a manager for the park, such as the Cleveland Metroparks or the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Friedman said.

Harvey Webster, director of wildlife resources at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and a leader of the Dike 14 movement, praised the port's decision. "This port administration has been outstanding to work with, and understands that this is a community asset," he said.

The site has long been touted as a vital stopover for migrating birds, and would become another publicly accessible path to Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio.

"This place has unbelievable potential," said Jim McCormac, avian education specialist for ODNR's Division of Wildlife. "By working to diversify habitats, add wetlands and encourage native plants, Dike 14 could easily become one of the most valuable places for birds and birders anywhere on Lake Erie's south coast."

But the opening of Dike 14 faced several major obstacles. The port authority needed to test to determine that the soil was clean enough to not harm visitors and consider legal liabilities. Friedman said the port will assume responsibility of insuring the property, and will pay up to $25,000 to erect an entrance gate, repair the fence and make other improvements for a public opening.

With approval expected, the celebration has begun.

"We've been talking about this for years," said Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman. "It's one of the most beautiful vistas in the city that everyone can see but nobody can get to.

"People shouldn't have to get on State Route 6 and drive an hour to visit a beautiful preserve like the Holden Arboretum. This will be accessible to everyone in the city."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

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 masted 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Two 1,000 footers were at the Upper Harbor Friday morning. Presque Isle arrived to load ore while Mesabi Miner was at anchor with coal waiting for Tug Victory and Barge James L. Kuber to finish loading ore. Victory and Kuber visited for the first time under Lower Lakes ownership.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jim Conlon
American Spirit arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Sturgeon Bay Friday morning for unspecified repairs.

Stoneport, Mich. - Dan McNeil
Due to load at Stoneport on Saturday is the John G. Munson. Due on Sunday is the Great Lakes Trader followed by Herbert C. Jackson. Lewis J. Kuber is due Tuesday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Lafarge has been busy this week. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port on Thursday. On Friday morning Cuyahoga was tied up at the coal dock unloading cargo into the storage hopper while Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were taking on cement under the silos.

Toledo, Ohio - Dan McNeil
Loading at the CSX coal dock was Toledo is the H.Lee White on Friday followed by a return trip to load coal on Saturday. Also due on Saturday is the American Mariner. Due on the Sunday are Manitowoc and Kaye E. Barker. Algorail is due for the Midwest Stone Dock on the Wednesday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Wednesday the tug Washington assisted the English River in at 8 a.m. English River was unloading at the Ganson Street LaFarge plant later in the afternoon.

 

Technology assists Detour Reef Lighthouse in battle against birds

5/7 - Chicago, Ill. - After years of combat with pesky seagulls, the historic DeTour Reef Lighthouse found a way to use today’s technology to save a little piece of yesterday. The DeTour Reef Lighthouse is located at the head of Lake Huron in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Having been built in 1847 and moved to its current location in 1931, the actual structure is over 150 years old and serves as a testament to the region’s shipping and social history.

After being placed on America’s Most Endangered Historic Places list in 1998, the lighthouse was ‘saved’ by the Detour Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society. In fact, the DRLPS has a unique program where volunteers can stay at the facility as weekend keepers, performing all the duties necessary for preserving the structure and hosting visitors. Over the years, the lighthouse staff encountered several unwelcome critters. But the longest and fiercest battle has been against the “donations” that seagulls and other birds leave on the deck.

The birds themselves were annoying the tourists and keepers, while the bird droppings were defacing property and placing a burden on volunteers to keep the walls and walkways clean. The power washer got quite a workout during the summers, and although the deck always looked great after cleaning, the seagulls were soon visiting and leaving their marks behind again.

DRLPS tried a variety of attacks on the visiting seagulls—including rubber snakes—without success. In the summer of 2010, property managers decided to invest in a bird control solution from Bird-X.

They ultimately chose an electronic bird repellent device that emits naturally recorded bird distress signals and predator calls to frighten, confuse, and disorient birds within a 1-acre range (up to 4 acres with the 4-speaker system). Once installed at the DeTour Reef Lighthouse, seagulls quickly learned to stay away.

One weekend keeper said, “Seagulls avoid landing here. The recording of desperate gulls is incredibly effective.”

 

Updates -  May 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the W. E. Fitzgerald gallery

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  May 6

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Joseph H. Thompson unloaded stone into the Upper Harbor hopper on a windy Thursday.

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger left winter layup in Lake Calumet, near Chicago, Thursday. This is the 1906-built steamer's 105th season on the lakes.

Montreal – Rene Beauchamp
Two Canadian lakers were scheduled to leave winter lay up in Montreal on Thursday. Algosteel was to leave for Goderich and Birchglen for Superior.

 

Maritime Trader sale date extended

5/6 - A notice on the Marcon International web site states that the court appointed May 9 sale date for the Maritime Trader has been extended. The shipbrokers were appointed by the court to sell the ship, but advised that the sale value would be increased if a refit was completed. Certain parts of the ships systems had been dismantled prior to the commencement of legal proceedings, and the receivers are seeking bids to have the work completed. No new date has been set for the sale.

Mac Mackay

 

Cutter Mackinaw facing busy summer, upcoming change of command

5/6 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Crewmembers from the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw are preparing for a busy summer, including participation in upcoming events such as the 103rd Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race, and the 2011 Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven, Mich., where the cutter is scheduled to hold its change-of-command ceremony.

As the current commanding officer, Cmdr. Scott J. Smith, approaches the end of his third year on board; he will pass the mantle of command to Cmdr. Michael J. Davanzo during a formal change-of-command ceremony Aug. 3 at the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at Escanaba Memorial Park at 1:30 p.m.

Davanzo will be reporting aboard from the Office of Cutter Forces at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Davanzo is no stranger to the Great Lakes; his previous commands include the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, based in Port Huron, Mich., and the Coast Guard cutters Rambler and James Rankin. Davanzo has had an array of other assignments including tours aboard several other cutters, small boat stations, training centers and Coast Guard Headquarters.

Following the change of command, Smith and his family will head to Washington, D.C., where he will assume duties as the Coast Guard’s program manager for visual aids to navigation.

 

Coast Guard evacuates man from Beaver Island

5/6 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew medically evacuated a 76-year-old man from Beaver Island, Mich., at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., launched a rescue crew after receiving a report from the Beaver Island Rural Health Center of a man experiencing chest pain.

A paramedic from North Flight, an EMS provider on Beaver Island, accompanied the flight crew during the medevac. The aircrew transferred the man safely to Air Station Traverse City, where awaiting emergency medical technicians transported him to a local hospital.

"I was impressed on how seamlessly the North Flight medical professional was able to become a member of our aircrew," said Lt. Edward Dipierro, the aircrew co-pilot. "He conducted an on-scene evaluation of the patient with the assistance of our flight mechanic and managed cabin space to successfully transport the patient back to Traverse City airport."

 

Updates -  May 6

News Photo Gallery

 

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.

 

Port Reports -  May 5

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
American Courage came out of the drydock at Bay Shipbuilding Wednesday, sporting the full American Steamship Co. dress and looking sharp. She was assisted by tugs Jacquelyn Nicole, William C. Selvick, Cameron O. and Bayship. Shortly after, the McKee Sons was assisted by the same tugs into the dry dock.

Lorain, Ohio -  Phil Leon
The Canadian Coast Guard survey vessel Limnos sailed in from the east and stopped just outside the Lorain Harbor about 2:35 p.m. The reported they would be in the area for about 30-minutes doing water testing.

 

Shipyards to open for annual tours Saturday

5/5 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay will present the 19th annual Sturgeon Bay Shipyard Tours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Three facilities, all on First Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay, are participating: Palmer Johnson Yachts, Bay Shipbuilding Co. and Great Lakes Yacht Services. Visitors can start from any of the three.

These facilities will open their doors for the public to see the efforts of the many professionals who work in Door County's ship repair and new construction businesses. Guided walking tours are offered at Bay Shipbuilding and Great Lakes, while self-guided walking tours are available at Palmer Johnson. Staff will be available at all three locations to answer questions.

This will be a rare chance to experience an insider's view of the shipbuilding industry in Sturgeon Bay, an industry has been critical to Door County's economy for more than a century. The shipbuilders of Sturgeon Bay have designed, built and repaired vessels — commercial, military and pleasure craft — that have traveled to ports around the globe.

Visitors can learn about one of the largest gantry cranes on the Great Lakes, be awed by some of the biggest luxury yachts in the world, see a demonstration on sail making and gaze into the dry dock capable of handling the 1,000-foot freighters that sail the Great Lakes. And added bonus this year are free guided tours of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay, which will be docked at Graham Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Tickets cost $12 for adults, $6 for ages 11-17, and will be available at the shipyard gates the day of the event. Proceeds benefit local, national and international youth projects.

Door County Advocate

 

Maid of the Mist starts season under cloud of uncertainty

5/5 - Niagara Falls, Ont. - Maid of the Mist workers Tuesday hurriedly prepared for the start of the upcoming tourist season -- hoping it won't be the last on the Canadian side for an iconic tour boat company that traces its roots back 126 years.

The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Corp. has owned exclusive rights from its Canadian docks below the falls since the company began, but Ontario's tourism minister has ordered the lease on the Canadian side be opened to competitive bidding, in effect putting the long-term future of the company into question.

Charter boats will keep ferrying visitors between the docks at Table Rock and the American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe falls, but they may belong to a different company and not be part of the small fleet called the Maid of the Mist.

"Everything is up in the air," said John H. Percy Jr., president and chief executive of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. on the U.S. side of the border. "Right now, I'm just looking forward to 2011 season and continuing to work with them."

Percy said whether Maid of the Mist cedes its rights to a different operation -- dinner cruises and other formats have been rumored -- the decision, for the region, is a momentous one.

"The Maid of the Mist name, when we travel and promote Niagara Falls, their name is so synonymous with Niagara Falls, and sometimes their brand is almost stronger than [the] Niagara Falls brand. It's an institution, and a solid product within our hospitality community," he said.

A winning bid is expected to be announced sometime this tourist season and take effect next year. Ontario officials have refused to say how many companies, or which ones, have bid on the Canadian contract.

There is no place on the American side to dock cruise boats long-term, so the impact of the Canadian decision may be felt on the New York side of the Falls border, as well.

Meanwhile, crews worked to make sure the Maid of the Mist boats are ready for this season's opening day.

Deck hands were busy Tuesday power-washing concrete on the Canadian docks of the four Maid boats, testing the vessels and adjusting ramps as a constant rain poured on them, hardening them for their short voyages.

"This is our busy time, once the ice clears, and it's a seven-day-a-week job," said senior captain Mal Bunting, who is retiring and will take his final voyage in about two weeks. "It's a scramble to get everything going."

As the raincoated crew labored away, company officials remained mum about boat-launching rights that, on the Canadian side, are currently up for grabs. The Maid of the Mist Corp. in 2002 signed a 40-year lease with New York State parks officials for launching rights on the American side.

Questions about the contract on the Canadian side arose in 2009. Independent evaluators have been reviewing launching proposals and will recommend one of the bidders to the Niagara Parks Commission. Ontario's tourism minister will choose the final tour company. Commission Chairwoman Fay Booker did not return calls to comment Tuesday on the status of the proposals.

As negotiations continue, Bunting is finishing a 35-year career that started, surprisingly enough, on a whim. "I saw an ad in the paper that said they needed a mate," Bunting said. "I came down, applied for the job, and the rest is history."

Buffalo News

 

Retired DNR administrator trying to keep Lime Island open

5/5 - Grand Rapids, Mich. - A former field boss for the Department of Natural Resources is challenging the agency’s recent decision to close its camping and cottage facilities at Lime Island in northern Lake Huron as part of its efforts to save money by shuttering state forest campgrounds.

Meanwhile, Republican state senators are working to develop alternatives to closure including the restoration of lost funding, Sen. Howard Walker (R-Traverse City) is expected Wednesday to begin that process in the Senate Appropriations committee.

The 980-acre island in the St. Mary’s River was acquired by the DNR in 1982. It is a designated a state historical site. Its lime kilns, which date back to French occupation, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the Michigan register as the oldest known industrial location.

"It’s a historically significant place and we have a huge investment of public dollars in it," said Mike Paluda, a retired DNR administrator now living in Marquette. "This is an embarrassingly bad decision by the DNR. We have over a million dollars invested in the island."

Paluda, a 40-year veteran with the agency before he retired in 2010 and the former chairman of a state task force convened to address early issues with Lime Island, said he contacted Gov. Rick Snyder, DNR director Rodney Stokes and members of the Natural Resources Commission, which meets next week in Flint to make the final decision.

DNR forest management staff recommended that Lime Island and 22 other rustic state forest campgrounds close in May after the legislature cut its General Fund appropriation by $314,700 for the 2011 fiscal year.

Staffers say the demand for rustic camping has declined and suggest there is no longer a need for so many rustic campgrounds, as 110 are scheduled to remain open after the mass closure.

Lime Island was a gift to the state by Consolidated Coal, which sold it for $1.

Paluda said it was trashed when the state took it over. It has since been cleaned up and refurbished and now has comfy rental cottages and rustic camping platforms for tourists who come by boat, canoe or kayak.

But DNR officials say they can no longer afford to operate the island facilities. Camping and cabin rental brought in only $10,500 in 2010. Yet, the island is one of the more expensive campsites to run because of its offshore location and staffing requirements.

"Lime Island is the one that costs us the most to manage," said Brenda Curtis, the DNR’s state forest campground program leader. "And those dollars will continue to be demanded if we continue to run it. Staff has said we have to invest money in a boat to run back and forth to the island and that is money we don’t have."

Curtis said the agency is looking for a local partner to run the island, or in the short term, a summer caretaker to prevent any vandalism. Upper Peninsula field staff have indicated that there is no way to stop people from coming to the island and docking without law enforcement. The island is said to be a local party spot for boaters.

Paluda called the decision to close the island short-sighted. He said it runs counter to Stokes' stated priorities of increasing participation in the outdoors, renewing emphasis on customer service and fostering growth of the state’s natural resources based economy, among others.

Gary Owen, the agency’s legislative liaison, said DNR staff have been working with the legislature to find a solution that could affect Lime Island and the other campgrounds proposed for closure.

Sen. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba) introduced a bill in April that would compel the DNR to offer the closed campgrounds to local townships for $1 within 30 days of the bill’s passage, or the county if a township declines. If neither takes it within 60 days the DNR would have to put them up for sale or public auction. The bill was discussed in committee last week, according to Owens.

Much of the discussion focused on the pros and cons of selling or leasing. Owens said DNR has no official position on the legislation, but plans to discuss the issue further in an upcoming committee hearing this week.

"We have been working with members of the committee to explain some of the issues that might arise with selling the campgrounds," Owens said. "We would rather go the leasing route. We’re proposing a one year use permits while we negotiate long-term use."

Casperson said Monday he is most concerned about keeping the rustic campgrounds open and running. He also has "not heard a lot from the DNR about leasing." He said many townships have expressed interest in taking over operations.

"There is a lot of interest," Casperson said. "The reason (for selling) was that they were talking about dismantling them. It was 'Hold on. Don’t do that yet.' That is where the urgency was. It doesn’t matter to me either way as long as we keep them going."

Eric Dean, chief of staff for Sen. Walker said Walker plans to amend a supplemental bill Wednesday that would replace approximately $300,000 of the General Fund money that was taken out of the DNR’s forest recreation budget.

The intent is to buy time support Casperson’s efforts and allow him to get his bill passed. “What we are trying to do is make sure they stay open the rest of the year,” Dean said.

Dean said the General Fund dollars would be taken out of the Forest Protection Fund (used for fire-fighting) and moved into the forest recreation budget for campgrounds. Money from the state’s Forest Development Fund would then be moved to replace the money taken out of the forest protection fund.

The supplemental will require a Senate floor vote before going to the House for a vote and on the Governor if passed.

The Grand Rapids Press

 

Wisconsins Schooner Coast Passport offers discounts to travelers

5/5 - Sturgeon Bay / Manitowoc, Wis. – Wisconsin’s Schooner Coast, a new tourist destination that offers 60 miles of maritime experiences, natural waters and little-known Wisconsin gems, launched Wednesday with release of its Schooner Coast Savings Passport.

In addition to guiding visitors along the Schooner Coast, the Passport offers a host of special discounts at bed and breakfasts, waterfront hotels, shops, and small-town diners and restaurants up and down the coast. It also contains a Family Treasure Hunt that is sure to challenge and please children of all ages. Visit the Schooner Coast website www.schoonercoast.org for additional information. The Passport is also available at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay or the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.

Door County Maritime Museum

 

Updates -  May 5

News Photo Gallery

 

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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Saginaw entered Fraser Shipyards on Monday and by Tuesday morning was in drydock. Elsewhere in port, Fraserborg was loading HSC elevator, Blacky was loading at the Peavey elevator and American Integrity was loading pellets at CN ore dock. Nogat and Canadian Olympic were anchored out on the lake.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore Tuesday evening at the Upper Harbor, while fleet mate Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came in with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island about 7 p.m. Monday. The current in the river was very strong due to all of the rains upstream over the weekend. It took considerable effort to finally get the vessel to its unloading position. It finally unloaded and left about 2 a.m.

South Chicago, Ill. - Mark S.
Winter lay-up is ending for the classic steamer St. Marys Challenger. Her wheelhouse window covers have been removed and steam is up.

Cheboygan, Mich. - Jon Paul Michaels
Monday morning brought a new visitor to the Cheboygan River waterfront. The tug Avenger IV and barge PML 9000 brought 8,000 tons of specialty chipped gravel slag from Canada to the Durocher Marine dock. The product will be used by Fahrner Asphalt Sealers of Saginaw in road resurfacing projects in the Northern Michigan area over the summer. The 400-foot-long barge has its own unloading machinery which consists of a clamshell crane that deposits the cargo over the side onto the dock so that front loaders belonging to Durocher Marine, can move the product to its final storage spot. The Avenger IV is 120-feet long and powered by a 2,700 bhp diesel; both vessels are owned and operated by Purvis Marine Limited of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After arriving on April 27, Stephen B. Roman and, after arriving on April 28, the tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour, were able to leave the Saginaw River on Tuesday and head for the lake. The extended stays were caused by a very heavy current running in the Saginaw River due to heavy rains last week. Conditions today were not great, but the Andrie was able to back from the Bit-Mat slip, and the Roman backed from the Essroc dock and out into Saginaw Bay before turning.

For April, there were 9 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River. This is way down from the 17 recorded in April of last year. For the year, the number is the same with 9 passages. In 2010 there were 18 vessel passages year to date.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The tug Wilf Seymour with barge Alouette Spirit arrived in Oshawa Tuesday. Also in port was the tug Jerry G, which appears to have relieved the tug Escorte, which was stationed there since last year. Escorte had left Oshawa about a week ago. Also the tug Omni-Richelieu departed Oshawa this morning to assist the tug Ocean Golf reposition the saltie Pochard into the RedPath slip in Toronto, Ont.

Montreal - Mac Mackay
Foreign flagged tankers are being brought in to carry petroleum products between Canadian ports. Sarah Dessgagnes, flying the Barbados flag, will make two trips from Levis to Montreal with clean product, between April 27 and May 3. MCT Altair, Liberian flag, will carry 75,000 bbl of vacuum gas oil from Nanticoke to Montreal, then 70,000 bbl of gasoline from Point Tupper to Nanticoke or Sarnia. In order for a foreign vessel to get a coasting license it must be proven that no Canadian ship is available to do the work.

 

New Algoma self-unloader Algoma Mariner registered

5/4 - Canada’s Department of Transport lists Algoma Mariner as registered in Toronto May 2, 2011, with official number 835447. Interestingly it gives the build date as 2008. This must reflect the fact that the construction of the forebody as well advanced before the need arose to build a new afterbody. Toronto is also an interesting choice for port of registry, as St. Catharines has been the port of registry for most new Algoma ships in recent years.

Mac Mackay

 

Good news for shippers: Lake Superior up in April

5/4 - Duluth, Minn. - The level of Lake Superior rose 4 inches in April, an inch more than usual for the month, thanks to ample rain and snow across the region.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control on Monday reported that the big lake now sits 14 inches below the long-term normal for May 1 and 4 inches below last years level at this time.

The trend, while not dramatic, is the first back toward normal in several months and is good news for recreational boats and commercial shipping on the lake.

Lakes Huron and Michigan saw an even more dramatic increase during a wet April up 8 inches compared to the usual 4. Those lakes still sit 16 inches below their long-term May 1 average and 2 inches below the level at this time last year.

Duluth News Tribune

 

New development aims to make Detroit a popular port of call

5/4 - Detroit, Mich. - A $21.5-million port development along Detroit's riverfront will debut next month with the tall order of changing how the waterway is used.

The port -- located between Hart Plaza and the Renaissance Center -- is the latest piece of the ongoing revitalization of Detroit's riverfront and is the key to hopes of luring Great Lakes cruise ships, starting a Detroit-Windsor ferry and creating a new era of waterfront tourism.

The project mirrors efforts of other Great Lakes port cities looking to maximize their waterfronts, including Cleveland, but critics doubt that Detroit has the demand to match the cost.

"On net balance, these kinds of investments are little more than expensive ribbon-cutting ceremonies," said Michael LaFaive with the free-market Mackinac Center think tank in Midland. "If this was a valuable addition to Detroit's waterfront, entrepreneurs would fall over themselves to fund it."

The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority plans a ribbon-cutting next month; the Grande Mariner cruise ship is expected to be among the first to use the new dock in July.

A bustling riverfront is "not as far-fetched as people might imagine," countered John Kerr, the port authority's economic development director. "Port communities across Michigan are looking at what we're doing."

But will new port lure cruise ships to Detroit?

The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority predicts its $21.5-million investment in the city's riverfront will pay off long-term as the economy rebounds, cruise ships stop in Detroit, and commuters and tourists opt for ferry rides between the city and Windsor.

The port authority plans to open the facility, its new headquarters, next month.

Supporters say the new port location, which includes a dock large enough to allow Detroit to accommodate Great Lakes cruise ships for the first time, is part of the revitalization of Detroit's riverfront, including the upcoming $221-million facelift of Cobo Center, General Motors' upgrades of the Renaissance Center, the planned overhaul of Hart Plaza and the ongoing expansion of the Detroit RiverWalk, a 5-mile waterfront promenade envisioned to stretch between Belle Isle and the Ambassador Bridge.

Maximizing waterfronts in Great Lakes port cities is not new. In the 1990s, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority helped finance and build that city's waterfront Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The port authority says cruise ships don't stop regularly in Cleveland, but the agency is in discussions with Port Stanley, Ontario, about possible ferry service across Lake Erie.

Whether the Detroit project significantly leads to a wave of Great Lakes cruise ship stops -- and whether there will be enough demand to support passenger ferry service across the river -- remains uncertain.

Great Lakes cruising has not taken off despite huge growth internationally in cruising, said Dan McCole, a Michigan State University assistant professor of commercial recreation and tourism. Unlike bigger draws around the world, the Great Lakes are seen as an exotic destination for nature lovers drawn by the beauty of Lake Superior, Georgian Bay and other areas Up North.

Several cruise ships each year have sailed the Great Lakes since 1997. They stop in cities such as Toronto and Chicago but have skipped Detroit.

The port's location could prompt cruise companies to start or end trips in the city, said Chris Conlin, owner of Great Lakes Cruise in Ann Arbor. Being near an international airport and within walking distance of the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center makes the port attractive to cruise planners, he said.

"We are excited about it." Conlin said of the port. "Definitely it is a 'build-it-and-they-will-come' thing."

Among the Detroit port's first customers will be the Grande Mariner.

The 96-passenger vessel will dock in Detroit for one night during a July 15-23 cruise, then again sometime between July 25 and Aug. 3 for the "Discover Ontario -- Scenic Georgian Bay" cruise, said Esther Pato, spokeswoman for Blount Small Ship Adventures in Warren, R.I. Grande Mariner's journey goes from Chicago to Toronto.

Shore excursions for passengers at the Detroit port will be the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village in Dearborn, plus Windsor.

Next year, the Yorktown, a 138-passenger American-flagged vessel, is expected to sail the Great Lakes. Its itinerary will be announced once operator Travel Dynamics International of New York completes its negotiations with ship owners in May.

"It's a fantastic ship -- and they are thinking of being in the Great Lakes multi-year," said Conlin. Because of that long-term outlook, "it has the greatest potential to bring business to the new (Detroit) cruise ship terminal."

Longtime port authority critic Michael LaFaive doubted Detroit will become a cruise destination or ever sustain a cross-border ferry service.

LaFaive, director of the Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative at the Mackinac Center, a free-market think tank in Midland, questioned government spending on what he called a vanity project "because some politicians had visions of a cruise ship dock in Detroit."

The project was primarily paid for with federal grants for expansion of water-based transportation and state and city grants for riverfront redevelopment.

Officials said they will not release passenger projections and what fees it will charge, saying it is too soon to know.

"It's a tough economy to be opening in," said John Kerr, the port authority's economic development director. "We think it gives Detroit a chance to show off one of its best features."

Detroit Free Press

 

Updates -  May 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the W. E. Fitzgerald gallery

 

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.

 

Conveyor partially collapses at Carmeuse

5/3 - Rogers City, Mich. - No one was injured when a conveyor partially collapsed at Carmeuse Lime and Stone in Rogers City around 1 a.m. Saturday morning. The conveyor transports stone into the mill, according to a press release from the company.

According to the press release, the company is in the process of investigating the cause of the equipment failure and the cause of the collapse is not known at this time.

"We are also assessing the impact that the equipment failure will have on our operations, which is also unknown at this time," the press release said. "... Our primary concern is the safety of our employees and contractors working at the site. We will ensure that the repair is done in a safe manner."

Carmeuse Lime and Stone operates lime plants, limestone quarries and mines, limestone fillers plants, industrial sand quarries and industrial sand processing plants throughout the United States and Ontario. Carmeuse Lime and Stone employs approximately 120 individuals at its Calcite operations.

The Alpena News

 

Port Reports -  May 3

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest came in early Monday morning with their second load of the season for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. They were due to leave early Monday evening.

 

Union looking to fill 400 jobs on the Great Lakes

5/3 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Jim Given needs hundreds of people who enjoy working on the water, and he needs them as soon as possible.

The executive vice-president of the Seafarers International Union said Friday there is a drastic manpower shortage of marine workers in Niagara, and across the country. There aren't enough bodies to fill new job openings or to replace older mariners who are retiring.

So next month, Given said the union will launch a campaign to find 400 new members to work on ships on the Great Lakes and in ports on the east and west coast. "We have contractual obligations to our companies to provide a skilled workforce 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," Given said during a press conference at the union's Thorold offices.

"Our members can ship out from all over Canada," Given said. "That is one of the perks, you might say, of being a seafarer."

Part of the manpower pressure is coming from changes in federal legislation that ended a 25% import duty on cargo vessels built overseas. Algoma Centre Corp. announced in February it is building new ships in a Chinese shipyard to replace its aging lakers. The company and the union say the new ships will protect local jobs.

Given said the union is also pushing the federal government to allow Canadian seafarers to transport Canadian military and aid cargo to international ports, essentially creating a new merchant marine force for the country.

"The United States has an arrangement like that and its saved them $800 million annually," Given said, noting Canada has to hire ships from other countries to transport cargo. "This is a deal that will take some time to put together, but it is something we are pushing for."

St. Catharines Standard

 

Edward L. Ryerson photo looks out over Great Lakes Maritime Center patio

5/3 - Port Huron, Mich. - The stylish steamer Edward L. Ryerson may not be sailing this season, but she’s attracting attention just the same. When it came time to replace fading photos that decorate the outside of the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron, a likeness of the classic vessel was chosen for the frame that looks out over the patio.

Observant ship fans will also note the likeness of the Ryerson on the chair backs. Other photos on the outside of the building have also been replaced. The Ryerson picture was taken three years ago by Roger LeLievre, publisher of the “Know Your Ships” guide.

 

Great Lakes Coast Guardsmen return from Red River flood response

5/3 - Cleveland, Ohio - Ninth Coast Guard District personnel have returned home after performing search and rescue and evacuation assistance missions in the flood-stricken regions of North Dakota and Minnesota's Red River valley basin.

Coast Guardsmen from Air Stations Traverse City and Detroit, Mich; Stations Marblehead, Ohio, Saginaw River, Mich; Belle Isle, Mich; Sackets Harbor, Mich; St. Clair Shores, Mich; Sectors Sault Ste. Marie, Mich; and Buffalo, N.Y.; Marine Safety Unit Chicago and the Ninth District staff spent more than 21 days in support of the flood response.

"Deploying to areas impacted by natural disasters and assisting affected residents is one of our most important missions," said Capt. Stephen Torpey, chief of incident management for the Ninth District. "All of the Ninth District personnel deployed to North Dakota in support of this response performed their duties with the utmost professionalism."

The Air Station Traverse City HH-65 Dolphin Helicopter and seven air crew members, two airboats and eight crewmembers, and 13 resources and maintenance personnel began deploying to the region on April 8. By April 29, as the immediate threat of further flooding subsided, all Ninth District personnel returned home from their deployment.

During their deployment, the Traverse City crew conducted one to two missions per day searching for stranded residents in need of assistance and conducting reconnaissance overflights, verifying information being relayed from responders on the ground.

Ninth District airboat crews spent a total of 25 hours operating on the water during the response. Personnel worked with federal, state and local response agencies to locate, evacuate and transfer flooding victims to safe locations and medical transfer areas. Rescue crews also conducted welfare checks in impacted communities and provided logistical support and access to flood-damaged areas.

"All of our skill sets transferred perfectly over to this response," said Lt. Nathan Noyes, one the HH-65 Dolphin pilots deployed from Air Station Traverse City. “While working out in North Dakota, we also got to see how resilient the residents are. They way they worked together, it was a true example of neighbor helping neighbor."

In total, Coast Guard personnel successfully rescued 12 people and three pets in the flooded areas centered around Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D.

 

Growth at port of Toledo earns port authority 12th Pacesetter Award

5/3 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has been awarded its 12th Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) for growth in international cargo during a single season.

2010 proved to be a better year than last at the Port of Toledo with a 16.34% increase from 2009 in port shipments through the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Port of Toledo 2010 tonnage number equaled 4,798,487 metric/freight tons. The SLSDC announced that the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority was one of just six winners to receive this prestigious award.

The SLSDC created the Pacesetter Award in 1992 to recognize the achievements of those U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports that have realized an increase in international tonnage shipped through the Seaway in the most recently completed navigation season over the total shipped in the previous year.

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

The Port Authority modernized operations at the Port of Toledo during the 2010 season by acquiring two Liebherr LHM 280 mobile harbor cranes to replace two pre-WWII era rail-based cranes. The new cranes are twice as productive as the older cranes and are used to handle bulk, break bulk, project cargo and containers. The cranes are the only twin cranes of this type in operation at any U.S. Great Lakes Port and are also more fuel-efficient, using only 25% of the fuel expended by the previous cranes. The Port Authority also added a new dry bulk conveyor capable of loading 1000-1500 tons per hour depending on commodity. This year, the Port of Toledo will officially welcome a new Mantsinen 200 material handler, which is the largest material handler of its type in North America.

In addition to equipment acquisitions, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority reconstructed George Hardy Drive, the main entrance road into the general cargo facility, Midwest Terminals of Toledo. St. Lawrence Drive, an access road, was relocated allowing for better accessibility to, from and through port terminals. The Port Authority also reconstructed and enhanced on-dock rail at Midwest Terminals allowing for more rail cars to be stored on-site and for more efficient movement of rail cars throughout the site.

"Our main focus at the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has been to modernize our port operations to provide a significant competitive advantage to the cargo and shipping owners who utilize the Port of Toledo," said Paul L. Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "We are optimistic that cargo volumes will continue to trend upward during the 2011 season and are very grateful for the hard work of our terminal operators which has made this award possible."

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority will utilize the new equipment to handle additional cargo such as an increased amount of wind components while retaining the current product mix. Increased bulk handling capacity may enable the Port of Toledo to win back some of the cargo lost to the river system in recent years. Facility improvements and Port modernization will continue into 2011 as Port entry and security configurations are updated and capital improvement plans will be developed for all facilities.

SLSDC Administrator Collister Johnson, Jr. will officially present the award to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority during a port visit in the coming months.

 

Second annual “Sail-In’ to update Congress on benefits of strong maritime industry

5/3 - Nearly 200 American maritime industry representatives from throughout the country will descend on Washington, D.C. for the second-annual “Sail-In” on Wednesday, May 4. The broad grassroots education event is designed to update Members of Congress and Congressional staff about the many benefits of a strong U.S. maritime industry.

“The Sail-In is an opportunity to update Congress about the critical role that the maritime industry plays in America’s economic and national security, especially during a time of war when our economy is struggling,” said James Henry, President of the Transportation Institute and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Maritime Partnership. “A wide array of maritime industry representatives from throughout the United States will visit Washington and share how U.S. shipyards, mariners and companies are working around the clock to keep our country safe and strong.”

Last year’s inaugural Sail-In included participants from 20 states, 48 Congressional districts, 28 companies, nine unions and labor organizations, and 10 related associations. This year more than 170 participants from across the U.S. are expected.

 

Updates -  May 3

Weekly Website Updates

 

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

Muskegon, Mich. - Greg Barber
About noon on Sunday Algoway came through the Muskegon piers and headed for the Verplank dock to unload a cargo of salt.

Stoneport, Calcite and Cedarville - Daniel McNeil
Calumet was loading at Cedarville on Saturday. The next vessel due into Cedarville is the steamer Wilfred Sykes on Monday. The port of Calcite has no vessels due until May 7, when James L. Kuber is due to load, followed by John G. Munson. On May 8, American Mariner is due in followed by the Arthur M. Anderson on May 9. Expected to load at Stoneport on Monday is Herbert C. Jackson and Sam Laud. Due in on Tuesday is the Lewis J .Kuber and the Arthur M. Anderson. Nothing is due for Wednesday. For Thursday , the Lewis J. Kuber is due to return for another load.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Algonova sailed from Halifax Sunday evening destined for Oakville. Her ETA in Oakville is May 6. En route she will meet Algoeast, which is bound for Halifax on her second trip from the Lakes since the Seaway opened.

 

Bill would exempt Great Lakes shippers from harbor maintenance tax

5/2 - Washington, D.C. - Shippers along the Great Lakes want smooth sailing for Bainbridge Township Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette's bill to exempt them from a harbor maintenance tax.

LaTourette says the tax is the main obstacle to establishing ferries to transport goods between Canada and Northeast Ohio. Ferry proposals have been floated in Ashtabula, Cleveland, Grand River and Conneaut.

He predicts an exemption would "open up an avalanche of new investment along the Great Lakes in our region" by shifting cargo onto the water, away from roads and rails. That would save time and fuel for shippers, and reduce road traffic and pollution.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Director Will Friedman says the exemption would aid development of a proposed cargo and passenger ferry his group is exploring between Cleveland and Ontario as well as help "us and other ports and carriers go out and compete against the rail and road carriers."

In addition to water traffic between the U.S. and Canada, the cargo tax exemption would cover shipments between U.S. ports anywhere in the country.

The bill's main congressional sponsor, Columbus-area GOP Rep. Patrick Tiberi, predicts it will encourage economic growth and job creation. The bill also is cosponsored by Democrats from Great Lakes states.

The tax, levied at a rate of $1.25 per $1,000 of cargo value, keeps shippers from viewing the water as a viable transportation option, instead steering their cargo onto roadways, explains Terry Johnson, administrator of the U.S. Transportation Department's St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, which backs the legislation.

Passing the legislation "would level the playing field between maritime and truck transport," he says.

The proposed exemption would not affect the taxes currently paid by "bulk cargo" shippers of iron ore, coal and limestone who are members of the Rocky River-based Lake Carriers Association. Its members nevertheless support the bill, says vice-president Glen Nekvasil.

"The point is to attract cargoes that currently do not move on the Great Lakes," Nekvasil says. "It will help bring more shipping and more jobs to the system."

The Joint Committee on Taxation last year estimated the bill would cost the government about $2 million each year. That amount would hardly be missed, Nekvasil says, since the harbor maintenance trust fund takes in about $1.6 billion each year, spends roughly $750 million, and has a $5.7 billion surplus.

Steve Fisher, who serves as executive director of the American Great Lakes Ports Association, believes the bill has a strong chance of passage this year because Tiberi chairs the House Ways and Means subcommittee that would have to approve it. In past years, it has also been supported by the committee's top Republican and Democratic members.

"A lot of legislation takes several Congresses until it gets passed," says Fisher, who hopes its provisions might make it into a larger tax bill that moves through Congress. "We will keep at it.

Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

Coast Guard determines the source of the red lights on Lake Erie

5/2 - Lorain, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard post in Lorain received numerous phone calls Saturday night for a string of flashing red lights out over Lake Erie North of Sheffield Lake.

The Coast Guard contacted the Canadian Coast Guard and confirmed with them that they have multiple T.V. and radio towers along their shore directly across Lake Erie from where the lights were seen as well as a windmill farm. The conditions for people here to see straight across to the Canadian border has to be just perfect, and it appears that is what happened.

The Coast Guard said they have had the same thing happen in the past, usually around this time of year. WOIO

 

Reservation deadline approaching for June 4 S/S Badger Boatnerd Gathering

5/2 - The popular Boatnerd Badger Gathering a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis. aboard Lake Michigan Carferrys S/S Badger, is coming up quickly. Reservations for the June 4 cross-lake trip on the Great Lakes' last coal-fired steamboat must be received no later than Saturday, May 21, 2011.

On Friday night, June 3, we have arranged a special Badger Boatel B&B to stay aboard the steamer on the night prior to the cruise. Reservations for staterooms are limited. This optional part of the gathering may offer pilothouse and engine room tours.

The historic Badger will leave the Ludington dock at 9 a.m. Saturday. After arriving in Manitowoc, we will disembark and board a bus for a visit to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Displays there include the operating restoed forward engine from the legendary railroad ferry Chief Wawatam, as well as the WWII submarine Cobia. Or, as a second option, Boatnerds can choose to stay on board for the Wisconsin Shoreline Cruise (a separate charge applies).

Reservations must be received no later than Saturday, May 21, 2011. Checks for the full amount must accompany each reservation. Checks will be cashed on Monday, May 23, and cancellations after this date may require a cancellation fee. If we do not receive enough reservations to activate the Badger Boatel, we will refund that portion of your reservation.

Reservations received after May 21, 2011 will be handled on an "If-Available" basis.

Click here to print your reservation form. Get yours in the mail today.

 

Updates -  May 2

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new feature for May - the W. E. Fitzgerald is featured

 

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

St. Joseph, Mich. - David Glasgow
On Saturday, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at the LaFarge dock in St. Joseph, Mich. to unload cement.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River crested Saturday at 20 feet, three feet over flood stage. The current in the river was extreme and because of that, the Stephen B. Roman and the tug Karen Andrie - Endeavour are still tied up in Essexville, unable to safely turn and head for the lake. Roman is at Essroc and the Andrie is at Bit-Mat.

Toronto, Ont.- Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
The saltie Pochard arrived at Redpath Sugar early Friday morning after awaiting weather at anchor in Humber Bay on Thursday. She was assisted into the slip by Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie, both of which returned to Hamilton afterwards. English River arrived in Toronto on Thursday.

Quebec - Frederick Frechette
Eider Trader loaded the Horseshoe Casino around 5 a.m. Saturday morning during high tide. Two pilots have been called for a 5 a.m. Sunday departure, speed for trip will be 7.5 knots.

 

Search underway for missing canoeist near Sackets Harbor

5/1 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard and several other agencies are searching for a 68-year-old man who went missing after the canoe he and his son were in capsized in the Black River near Sackets Harbor, N.Y., Saturday. The son used his cell phone to call for help about 5:30 p.m. and reported that his father had drifted away with their canoe after the vessel capsized.

Currently, rescue boatcrews aboard a 47-foot motor lifeboat from U.S. Coast Guard Station Oswego, N.Y., and a Canadian coast guard Griffin helicopter are searching. An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit is en route. Also assisting have been the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Dexter, N.Y., Fire Department and Jefferson County resources.

Responders located the canoe but are continuing to search for the missing man, who is reportedly wearing a dark blue shirt and pants and a camouflage jacket. He was reportedly not wearing a lifejacket.

 

Updates -  May 1

News Photo Gallery

 

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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