Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Tug VB Artico due in Montreal for Algoma Provider

5/31 - The Panamanian-flagged tug VB Artico is expected to arrive in Montreal on June 6 from Las Palmas, Canary Islands. Her next destination is listed as Aliaga, Turkey. The tug is arriving in Montreal to pick up the Algoma Provider, which has been laid-up in Montreal at Section 56. Algoma Provider was recently sold by Algoma Central Corp. for eventual scrapping. VB Artico was also the same tug that was used in July 2012 to tow the Algocape from her long lay-up berth in Montreal to Aliaga for scrapping.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  May 31

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson and Lakes Contender loaded ore on a foggy Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The saltie Isa made her way into port in the early afternoon. A few hours later the Federal Hunter was assisted out of the inner harbor by G-tugs Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Heavy rains and strong currents once again caused havoc on the Saginaw River, just as they did earlier in the season, as two vessels tried to leave after unloading, but could not. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived on Tuesday with a split cargo, unloading at the Bay City and the Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair backed down river from Saginaw Wirt on Wednesday and attempted to turn in the Airport Turning Basin, but were unable to do and headed back upriver to tie up at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to await more favorable conditions.

Manitowoc was inbound on Wednesday, unloading at the Bay City Wirt Dock, once finished, she attempted to turn in the basin at the west end of the dock, but was also unable to get around and tied back up at the Wirt dock to wait for more favorable conditions. Both vessels remained at their dock late Thursday night.

Windsor, Ont.
Tecumseh entered temporary layup at Windsor on Thursday. In addition, fleetmate Manitoba was due to lay up in Sorel late this week as well. Pineglen was reported headed for layup in Toronto.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula continued loading late Thursday afternoon at the Lafarge stone dock on the Marblehead Peninsula. The duo moved to the dock earlier in the day, following departure of the Michipicoten for Windsor. The dinner hour Thursday saw crews at the Norfolk Southern coal dock in Sandusky preparing to load the inbound CSL Niagara.


Fednav to increase lakes fleet with 6 new ocean-going lakers by 2015

5/31 - Montreal, Que. – Fednav Limited, the largest international maritime bulk carrier in Canada, has announced the addition of six new vessels to its fleet. Ordered with Sumitomo Corporation and Oshima Shipyard, the environmentally advanced vessels will be built in Japan and will add substantial capacity to its Great Lakes-capable fleet of ships.

As highly flexible vessels well suited to international trade, the 34,000-ton bulk carriers are adapted to the dimensions of the St. Lawrence Seaway and are specially equipped for navigating in ice.

These vessels will be built with box holds, better suited to a variety of general cargo like steel and project cargo. Their design will also streamline operations, minimizing time and effort to reduce cargo residues and will result in more efficient port calls.

“This investment highlights Fednav’s commitment to the Great Lakes, and to our customers and partners in the industrial heart of North America,” explained Paul Pathy, Fednav President and Co-CEO, upon signing of the contract. “The Great Lakes St. Lawrence System is a very valuable part of the two countries economies. This order by Fednav demonstrates our clear goal to remain the leader in International Great Lakes shipping.”

The six additional vessels will be delivered between May and November 2015, as part of a series of 27 new ships (of which 14 are lakers) added to Fednav’s fleet since January 1, 2012. Fednav currently operates more than 80 vessels, half of them owned, and it has the largest fleet of ice-class vessels in the world – vessels capable of navigating demanding winter conditions along the St. Lawrence Seaway, in the Baltic Sea, and even in the Arctic.



Lake Erie Coast Guard has busy Thursday morning with rescues, assists

5/31 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coast Guard crews from Lake Erie units rescued and assisted several boaters during three search-and-rescue cases Thursday morning.

At 12:20 a.m. Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y., received a mayday call over VH-FM marine radio but did not receive any responses to calls for more information. The controller also received notification of two flares seen near Cleveland Harbor. The SAR controller began issuing urgent marine information broadcasts over marine radio, asking all boaters in the area to keep a lookout for anyone in distress.

A rescue boat crew launched from Coast Guard Cleveland Harbor, in Cleveland, aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium. The SAR controller was contacted by a member of Cleveland Marine Towing, Inc., who stated they were en route to assist a disabled vessel with six people aboard in Cleveland Harbor. It was determined they were the same boaters who made the mayday call and launched the flares. The vessel was disabled but not in distress and was towed to safety by the Cleveland Marine Towing crew.

The Coast Guard determined the boaters did not respond to their callbacks on marine radio channel 16, the international hailing and distress frequency, because the boaters were switching channels and making further distress calls, said Capt. Andrew Sugimoto, 9th Coast Guard District chief of response. It is important that mariners take advantage of boating safety training and learn how to use their equipment.

Then, at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo received a report of an overdue vessel from the parents of a 15-year-old girl who was boating with a 56-year-old man in Lake Erie near Sheffield, Ohio. The girl’s parents reported that she called them and said the man was disoriented, did not know their location, and was under the influence of alcohol.

A rescue boat crew launched from Coast Guard Station Lorain, Ohio, aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small. The RB-S crew located the vessel outside of Lorain Harbor and towed it to the Hot Waters Marina in Lorain, where the girl was turned over to her parents. The Coast Guard boarding officer issued the boater a citation for gross negligence and boating under the influence after he was administered a breath analysis test and had a blood alcohol content of .153. The legal limit for boating in Ohio waters is .08.

During National Safe Boating Week, the Coast Guard warned the public of the dangers of drinking and boating and also asked boaters to be vigilant and report any behavior that could impact public safety or security on our nation's waterways.

The Coast Guard depends on boaters to report any potential threats to public safety or property, said Sugimoto. Anyone who witnesses any safety or security concerns should reach out to the Coast Guard or call 911.

Finally, at 8 a.m., Thursday, a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo received a report of a man in the water in Cleveland Harbor. A rescue boat crew launched from Station Cleveland Harbor aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small and rescued the man. He reported he fell off of a ladder attached to a pier in the East 55th Street Marina in Cleveland Harbor. The man was taken by emergency medical services to Metro Hospital in Cleveland.


HMCS Ojibwa radio on the air for Museum Ships Radio Weekend June 1-2

5/31 - HMCS Ojibwa, the retired Cold War submarine in Port Burwell, Ontario, will be taking part in this weekend’s international Museum Ships Radio Weekend. Held in June each year, the Museum Ships Radio Weekend provides an opportunity for radio amateurs to contact museum ships throughout the world.

This year at least 102 museum ships will be taking part including HMCS Onondaga, Ojibwa’s sister submarine in Rimouski, Quebec. Other countries represented include the USA, Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Austria, Portugal and more. Radio amateurs attempt to reach as many of the ships as possible during the weekend. The event is sponsored by the Battleship New Jersey Amateur Radio Station, NJ2BB. A complete list of ships taking part is available at

This year marks the first time HMCS Ojibwa will take part in the on-air program. The Radio Room on board has been fitted as an active HAM Radio station by the Museums Radio Communications team led by Kevin Clements and Trevor Taylor. Visitors will also see a new radio antenna that now extends from the top of the fin. SSB and CW will be the primary modes for those wishing to make contact using callsign VE3RCN (Royal Canadian Navy). The Ojibwa radio room will be on air throughout the day Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2.

Fish Eye View tours of the exterior of the submarine will also be available to the public this weekend from 11 am to 4 pm. Interior tours will begin in July. An on-line booking system will be available shortly. For more information about HMCS Ojibwa visit its web site at /TD>


Updates -  May 31

Saltie Gallery updated - Eemsborg, Eider, Emilie, Federal Leda, Federal Shimanto, Harbour Progress, HHL Amazon, Nordic Copenhagen


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 cutter’s torch that 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 was 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 12 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.

1918: The GEORGE G. BARNUM (later the self-unloader HENNEPIN) and the CHESTER A. CONGDON were in a minor collision due to fog off Whitefish Point, Lake Superior. The latter was lost later that year after stranding and then breaking up on Canoe Rock, Isle Royale, Lake Superior.

1926: NISBET GRAMMER sank after a collision with DALWARNIC in fog off Thirty Mile Point, Lake Ontario, while downbound with a cargo of grain. All on board were rescued from the 3-year old member of the Eastern Steamship Co. fleet. It went down in about 500 feet of water.

1974: The first GORDON C. LEITCH was aground for 3 hours, 55 minutes at Buoy 2 on the St. Clair River and freed herself with only minor damage.

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


Fireboat called upon to battle fire at Buffalo grain elevator

5/30 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Land-based Buffalo firefighters were unable to battle a blaze at the top of a grain elevator on the city’s waterfront Monday night, so the department’s rarely-used Edward M. Cotter fireboat was called into service.

“We couldn’t get to the fire by land. There was no way to access it, so we called up the fireboat to get water on it,” Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell W. Whitfield Jr. said Tuesday.

The former grain elevator complex, known as the Concrete Central Elevator, at 750 Ohio St., was abandoned years ago. On a remote section of land, bordered on one side by the Buffalo River, it is linked to the mainland by railroad bridges.

Firefighters who initially responded in fire trucks at 7:02 p.m. and at 8:38 p.m. called in the Cotter. All fire equipment was picked up from the scene at 11:42 p.m. No damage estimate was listed, and no injuries were reported, Whitfield said.

It is believed that wood caught fire atop the elevator, though a cause for the blaze has not been determined.

Requesting the Cotter to assist at a fire, the commissioner said, is a rare occurrence these days, compared with decades ago, when the waterfront thrived with warehouses and other mercantile enterprises.

“It doesn’t happen very often with structures along the waterfront, but with the waterfront’s resurgence, we believe the Edward M. Cotter fireboat will be a resource we’re glad we have,” Whitfield said.

Abandoned since 1966, Concrete Central is the largest of the grain elevators along the Buffalo River. The elevator, built from 1915 to 1917, is a quarter-mile long, and when it was finished, it was the biggest transfer elevator in the world.

The facility had the capacity to store 4½ million bushels of grain. A decade ago, the elevator was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Coincidentally, in 1996, the Edward M. Cotter was designated a National Historic Landmark.

The Buffalo News



Port Reports -  May 30

Toledo, Ohio
On Tuesday the Ojibway was loading at the Anderson’s grain elevator in Toledo, followed on Wednesday by Federal Yukon.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algorail came into Lorain Wednesday morning at about 09:40 and tied up at the Jonick dock. She was on her way out into Lake Erie at 4:30 p.m.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algoway was moving along the inbound channel at Sandusky late Wednesday night, bound for the NS coal dock. At Marblehead, Michipicoten was loading at the Lafarge stone dock. Anchored in South Passage was the tug Defiance and her barge Ashtabula. The pair were due at the Marblehead dock once Michipicoten completed loading.

Ashtabula, Ohio - Duff Rawlings
Michipicoten arrived at 6:30 a.m., turned around inside the breakwall and backed into river to unload stone at Sidley. Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and barge arrived 11:45 backed into the Pinney dock’s west side to unload.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula departed around 4 a.m.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
The tugs Molly M 1 and Ecosse departed Rochester about 7p.m. with the barge Metis in ballast for Toronto where the Metis will be laid up for now.


CSL’s new Thunder Bay sets sail for North America

5/30 - Canada Steamship Lines’ new self-unloader Thunder Bay sailed from China Wednesday and is on her way to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Follow its progress here:


Wind towers headed for Michigan project

5/30 - Manitowoc, Wis. – A wind farm development in Munger, Mich., is helping keep busy workers at Broadwind Towers & Heavy Industries’ manufacturing plant on the Manitowoc River peninsula. It also is providing a nice boost of commercial traffic for the S.S. Badger, supplementing fare revenue from tourists and other business-related Lake Michigan crossings of the 410-foot vessel.

Pat McCarthy, shore operations vice president for Lake Michigan Carferry Service, said Monday about 280 oversized truckloads have started going 60 miles east to Ludington, Mich., for Phase II of a wind farm development.

With four tower sections for each 330-foot industrial turbine monopile, some 70 towers are part of the project. The sections are bolted together in the field, oftentimes with the aid of Manitowoc Company cranes using special attachments to lift them into place.

“We’ve estimated probably about 300 highway miles is saved by the Badger,” McCarthy said of the road travel that would be necessary to get the tower sections from Manitowoc to Munger, northeast of Saginaw.

He said the trucks transporting the tower sections get about 5 miles per gallon. Doing the math, some 16,400 gallons of diesel fuel is not burned with exhaust into the atmosphere for just the Munger wind farm project. Shipments via the Badger are expected to continue into late July or early August.

Terri Brown, LMC spokeswoman, said in 2012 the Badger transported 25,000 tons of wind tower sections, saving some 150,000 miles of driving and 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel.

McCarthy said up to four wind tower section shipments can be accommodated on each crossing, departing Manitowoc daily at either 2 p.m. or 1 a.m. While each section weighs several hundred tons, the Badger can transport 4 million pounds of cargo — or 2,000 tons — on each voyage.

Even with four tower shipments, McCarthy said the Badger can hold about 100 cars, including some that are driven on to an upper vehicle deck in the hold.

“We’ve done many types of oversize load transport, including big boats from manufacturers in Wisconsin,” McCarthy said. The broadest beamed boats are about 15 feet, he said, though the car ferry can accommodate transports up to 22 feet wide.

“We’ve also transported industrial presses, hydroelectric generating units, prefab concrete buildings, communication and cellular towers,” he said. McCarthy said the Badger can also transport cargo exceeding the standard 13-foot-6-inch height of a semi.

Manitowoc Police Department Lt. Karl Puestow said officers often provide escort for wind tower sections from the peninsula to the car ferry dock on Quay Street.

Puestow said the route traveled includes 16th Street to Franklin Street, west to Sixth Street, north one block to Quay, turning right and going past the ferry dock staging area before backing into the parking lot, and subsequently, into the hold of the Badger.

Puestow said to make the turn at Quay and Sixth streets, trucking firm workers remove a stop sign, unscrewing it at the base, laying it down, and then putting it back up after completing the turn.

Herald Times


Experts to talk low water levels at Ann Arbor seminar

5/30 - Ann Arbor, Mich. – Federal experts will discuss the causes and potential consequences of low Great Lakes water levels during a Thursday seminar in Ann Arbor that also will be broadcast on the Web.

The program will feature presentations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit district, and the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment.

Levels on most of the Great Lakes have been below average since the late 1990s. Scientists say lack of precipitation and high evaporation rates are the primary causes.

The seminar is open to the public. It begins at 3 p.m. Thursday on the University of Michigan campus. Register to attend or see the webcast:


Coast Guard rescues man who jumped into Straits of Mackinac

5/30 - St. Ignace, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard personnel plucked a man from the chilly waters of the Straits of Mackinac early this morning after he survived what appears to be a failed suicide attempt.

Michigan State Police from the St. Ignace Post confirmed that a 59-year-old Petoskey man jumped from the Mackinac Bridge just before 6 a.m. today between piers 19 and 20 — described as the portion of the bridge just south of the south tower. The first responders, reports indicate, could hear yelling coming from the water, prompting a call to the U.S. Coast Guard.

Chief Matthew Henry of the Sault Base said the call came in at 6 a.m. with Station St. Ignace scrambling the 25-foot RBS (Ready Small Boat) powered by twin 225 horse outboards to the scene.

“He was in the water for the better part of an hour,” said Henry, noting that due to the strong currents in the Straits of Mackinac the man had drifted approximately a mile east of the Mackinac Bridge by the time he was recovered.

After spending that long in the water, which was reportedly less than 40 degrees according to Coast Guard data, the man was likely experiencing hypothermia. Henry explained the rescue crew would have followed standard procedure of trying to re-warm the man and assess his injuries.

The Petoskey man, whose name was not released, was conveyed to the Mackinaw City where he was conveyed by ambulance to an unspecified hospital.

Soo Evening News


Obituary: Capt. Michael F. Taylor

5/30 - Capt. Michael F. Taylor, who enjoyed a long Great Lakes sailing career that saw him rise from deckwatch to captain, died at his home in Ogdensburg, N.Y. on Thursday, May 9.

After his honorable discharge from the Army, he went sailing on the Great Lakes, beginning as a deckwatch on the steamer Edmund P. Smith on July 1, 1946. He was promoted to captain of the steamer Ben W. Calvin on March 17, 1970. Subsequently, he continued as captain of various ships of the American Steamship Company, including United States Gypsum, Harris N. Snyder, Consumers Power, Diamond Alkali, steamer McKee Sons, Fred A. Manske, John T. Hutchinson, Roger M. Kyes and Charles E. Wilson. He retired from the motor vessel Sam Laud on June 1, 1985.

After 46 years of sailing the Great Lakes, the captain enjoyed keeping the Taylor homestead on Linden Street in ship-shape, as well as daily hiking, bicycling, and running errands for the elderly disabled. He was a communicant of St. Mary’s Cathedral, and a member of the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Marine Engineers Beneficial Association and the Associated Maritime Officers Retiree Association.

Services have already taken place. Memorial donations in his honor may be made to St. Mary’s Cathedral Memorial Fund, Ogdensburg, or to the Society of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Watertown, N.Y.


Changes to the June 1 Port Huron Gathering schedule

5/30 - There have been some changes, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control the Greyfox will not be available for the planned cruise, instead our group will take the 5 p.m. cruise on the Huron Lady II and the dinner will still be aboard the Greyfox with a byo drinks dinner party. The Huron Lady cruise will end at approximately 6 p.m. when we will move to the Greyfox for dinner at 6:30 p.m. The Greyfox will be docked just down the parking lot.

To start the day off, we will be meeting on Thomas Edison Parkway at the Blue Water Bridge for a meet-n-greet and group photos.

Home to World Headquarters, this is a prime location for boat watching. The 10th Annual Great Lakes Nautical Society Model Boat Show will be held inside the Maritime Center (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), with a flower and crafts market outside; the passenger vessel Huron Lady II will be offering river cruises for $5 at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5 p.m.; the Blue Water Bridge and the Thomas Edison Parkway welcome visitors and are unmatched spots for photographing boats; the Fort Gratiot Light Station will be offering tours and a climb up the tower (lighthouse tour and climb is $7); Pine Grove Park will be hosting a music venue.

Check the Facebook event page for ticket information, Call Wendy LaFond for further information at: (810) 941-0526.


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.

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 standstill. 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 1a.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 was saved, but the vessel was split open and was a total wreck.

1900: SEGUIN, an iron-hulled steamer, was released with the help of the tug FAVORITE after being stuck near Mackinaw City after going off course due to thick fog.

1918: The first IMPOCO came to the Great Lakes for Imperial Oil in 1910. It was sunk by U-101 as b) WANETA enroute from Halifax, NS, to Queenstown, Ireland, with a cargo of fuel oil. The vessel was torpedoed 42 miles SSE of Kinsale Head on this date and 8 lives were lost.

1942: FRED W. GREEN was attacked by three German submarines in the South Atlantic and sunk by U-506 with the loss of five lives including the master. The vessel had been built for saltwater service at Ecorse, Mich., as CRAYCROFT in 1918 and returned to the Great Lakes in 1927 before departing again for deep sea trading in November 1941.

1969: The Toronto Islands ferry SAM McBRIDE ran aground in fog after missing the dock at Centre Island.

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


Port Reports -  May 29

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive during the early evening on Memorial Day. Following the Sykes was the Joseph L. Block, due in on Wednesday in the early morning. Kaye E. Barker is due on Friday in the early evening.

At Port Inland, Cuyahoga was expected to arrive on Memorial Day in the late evening. Following the Cuyahoga, the Sykes was due in during the late morning on Tuesday. Joseph L. Block was due in during the late afternoon, and Great Lakes Trader was due during the late evening.

Calcite & Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Manitowoc loaded at Calcite and was expected to depart around 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Incoming vessels scheduled for the remainder of the week at Calcite include the American Courage and James L. Kuber, both arriving on Wednesday in the early morning. American Courage will be at the South Dock, while the James L. Kuber loads at the North Dock. Due on Thursday is the Buffalo in the early morning for the North Dock and Manitowoc, also in the early morning for the North Dock.

At Stoneport, American Mariner loaded on Tuesday and was expected to depart around 3 p.m. Incoming vessels scheduled for the remainder of the week include the Lewis J. Kuber on Wednesday in the early evening. For Thursday, Algosteel will arrive in the early morning, followed later by the Manistee in the early afternoon and the Arthur M. Anderson in the late afternoon. Due on Friday is the Great Republic for a noon arrival. Rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph H. Thompson on Friday with no time listed.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Joseph H. Thompson, Jr., and barge Joseph H. Thompson, called on the Saginaw River late Sunday night, headed for the Bay Aggregates dock. Strong currents in the river from recent rains made the tricky entry into the Bay Aggregates slip event more difficult, making it necessary for the tug Kurt Luedtke to assist the big tug and barge unit into the slip. Once unloaded, the Thompson - Thompson, Jr. departed Bay Aggregates and were outbound for the bay on Monday. Tuesday afternoon saw the arrival of the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, which called on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. They remained there during the evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
John D. Leitch loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on a rainy Tuesday. Vessels scheduled to load coal at CSX include Lewis J. Kuber on Saturday in the early morning, followed by Algolake on Saturday, June 8 in the late evening hours. Catharine Desgagnes is due to load coal at CSX on Sunday, June 9 along with the Algosoo. There are no vessels scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Traffic at the Torco Dock includes the Radcliffe R. Latimer, arriving in the early morning on Wednesday to unload iron ore pellets at Torco. The Lakes Contender arrives on Saturday in the morning hours, followed on Sunday by the Algoma Progress in the early evening. CSL Laurentien rounds out the schedule at Torco on Wednesday, June 5 in the morning.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Mich. - Jim Spencer
Mississagi loaded again Monday at the Lafarge stone dock and was upbound in the Detroit River Tuesday afternoon. Calumet warped alongside the Marblehead dock early Tuesday, loaded, and was enroute to Cleveland by the time the first of several expected storms which produced heavy rain and strong wind gusts slammed across Lake Erie. At Sandusky, Algoma Transport arrived at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock Tuesday morning and loaded throughout the day.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Defiance - Ashtabula came in at 5:15p p.m. for the Sand Supply Wharf Tuesday afternoon. They were still there at 9 p.m.


Steel imports edge up in April but remain depressed from 2012 levels

5/29 - Falls Church, Va. – Steel imports increased 4.2 percent in April compared to March according to preliminary government reporting. Imports increased in April primarily due to an increase in arrivals of semifinished slab imports for further processing by the domestic integrated industry, suggesting a anticipation of improved conditions in the US market going forward. Imports of rebars posted a decline, said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

Imports in the first four months of 2013 compared to 2012 posted a decline of 11.7 percent. Year-to-date imports remain weak, which reflects the slow start to the year experienced by all suppliers of steel to the US market. With inventory levels currently low and demand in several sectors strong, such as autos and strong consumption in oil and gas related products, there is increasing optimism that the market is on the mend as we move to the mid-point in the second quarter, concluded Phelps.

Total steel imports in April 2013 were 2.679 million tons compared to 2.570 million tons in March 2013, 4.2 percent increase, and a 14.8 percent decrease compared to April 2012. For the year- to - date period, imports decreased from 11.748 million tons in the first four months of 2012 to 10.374 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 11.7 percent decrease.

The data show that imported semifinished products decreased by 10.3 percent in April 2013 compared to April 2012, from 661 thousand tons in 2012 to 593 thousand tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to - date period, imported semifinished products decreased from 2.759 million tons in the first four months of 2012 to 2.197 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 20.4 percent decrease.

The American Institute for International Steel


Obituary: James (Jim) R. Koglin ¬ "Kog"

5/29 - James R. Koglin, age 74, of Harrison Township, passed away at home on May 26. Born in Detroit, Mich. on December 11, 1938, Jim graduated from Denby High School in 1957. After living in Detroit for 40 plus years, Jim settled in Harrison Township. A lifelong plane enthusiast, Jim was an avionics aircraft mechanic for the Air National Guard from 1957 to 1994 and served as a camera repairman and weapons control technician on the F-86, F-89, F-94, RF-84, RF-101, F-106, F-4 and F-16. He became a volunteer at the Selfridge Military Air Museum in 2003, was known for his love of photography, be it planes, trains, lakeboats, lighthouses and grist mills, and spent many an hour along the St. Clair and Detroit rivers photographing the lake freighters. Visitation and services will be held at the William R. Hamilton Funeral Home, Mount Clemens today from 2 - 8 p.m. with services the following day at 10:30 a.m.


Museum to auction off rare liferings

5/29 - The Marquette Maritime Museum is selling some doubles of their life rings to help fund the much-needed repairs to the lighthouse. Rings include the Willis B. Boyer SS Champlain, William Mather, SS Cliffs Victory, SS J Block (old), E Greene, and others. Interested parties can contact for more information.


Updates -  May 29

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated - Andean and Clipper Lancer


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.

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 icebreaker for the Detroit, Belle Isle and Windsor Ferry Company. She was broken up at Detroit in 1940.

1943: LAKE GEORGE was built for French interests at Ashtabula in 1917 but was launched for and named by the U.S. Shipping Board. It was seized as e) FOLOZU by the Japanese at Shanghai on December 8, 1941, and sunk as f) EISHO MARU after being torpedoed by the U.S.S. TAMBOR in the South China Sea.

1964: A. & J. MERCURY was seized on this date while upbound in the Welland Canal to load coal at Ashtabula for non-payment of stevedore fees at Toronto and Hamilton. While eventually released, it was re-arrested on a complaint by the S.I.U. over non-payment of crew wages. The ship was later put up for auction and resumed service as d) SANTA MONICA. It was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as e) COSMOS TRADER in 1969. A. & J. FAITH, a fleetmate, was seized by the U.S. Marshal at Cleveland while about to leave for Singapore. It remained idle until being sold and renamed c) SANTA SOFIA in August.

1969: The new self-unloader TADOUSSAC launched itself prematurely at Collingwood. Two workers were killed and several others injured.

1974: BANIJA, a Yugoslavian freighter, was inbound in ballast at Port Weller through fog when it hit the pier and required repairs before continuing to Duluth to load. This vessel arrived at Alang, India, as b) STOLIV for scrapping on May 1, 1987.

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


Port Reports -  May 28

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Claude A. Desgagnes came in during the morning. Shortly after the arrival of the Desgagnes, Algoma Enterprise departed after unloading salt overnight. In the evening, Manistee came in with a load of salt.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On a beautiful Memorial Day morning, the Cuyahoga was unloading salt at the Alpena Oil Dock. The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity also made its way into Lafarge during the morning.

Sarnia, Ont.
Frontenac and CSL Tadoussac entered temporary layup in the north slip over the weekend.

Ashtabula, Ohio - Duff Rawlings
Ken Boothe Sr./Lakes Contender arrived, turned around in lake and backed into the Conrail slip to unload. The Victory and her barge were passing by en route to Conneaut, Ohio.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
State Of Michigan came in Monday morning for the Visiting Ship's Dock at the Erie Basin North Pier. She stayed until departing around 2 p.m. for Cleveland.

East China Sea
The newly-constructed Baie Comeau was on sea trials Monday morning. The new CSL vessel is being built in China and will be delivered for service on the Great Lakes later this year.


USCG locates 4 boaters on overdue vessel, concluding 9-hour search

5/28 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Crews concluded a nine-hour search effort for four people reported overdue when they were found safe Sunday in western Lake Superior.

The search began when a family member of one of the boaters called the Lake County, Minn., emergency dispatch to report that the vessel was overdue at about 1 a.m. Sunday.

According to the overdue vessel report, the boat had four people aboard and was supposed to begin the 35-mile transit to the Apostle Islands from Silver Bay, Minn., at about noon. At some point, the operator indicated to the reporting source that plans had changed and the new destination was Palisade Head, which is a 10-mile round-trip that should have taken about two hours to complete. When the vessel did not return to Silver Bay from Palisade Head, the reporting source called the authorities.

Search-and-rescue controllers at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie directed the search efforts until the vessel was located in the vicinity of Sand Island in the Apostle Island range at about 10 a.m. Repeated attempts to hail the overdue vessel over VHF-FM radio during the search and once on scene with the vessel were unsuccessful. All persons aboard were found in good health and there were no vessel, mechanical or structural problems reported. The operator indicated that there was a miscommunication of the destination, which resulted in the report that the vessel was overdue.

"Providing a detailed float plan with voyage contingencies and alternate plans to a trusted shoreside contact is extremely important," said Lt. Richard Sansone, a search-and-rescue mission coordinator at Sector Sault Ste. Marie.

"If you become overdue, it can help the Coast Guard locate you faster and assist you if you are in distress. If you are not in distress, it allows the Coast Guard to reallocate its resources to help those who are."


Great Lakes region pins economic hopes on water

5/28 - Milwaukee, Wis. – A century ago, the seven-story brick building a few blocks from downtown was a factory — a symbol of an era when Milwaukee and other cities ringing the Great Lakes were industrial powerhouses churning out steel, automobiles and appliances. Eventually the region's manufacturing core crumbled, and the structure became an all-but-forgotten warehouse.

Now it's getting a makeover and a new mission. It will reopen this summer as a hive of business experimentation swarming with scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. They'll share a lab where new technologies can be tested. Office suites will host startup companies, including one devising a system for cultivating algae as biofuel, another producing a type of pavement that lets rainwater seep into the ground instead of flooding sewers.

The center is part of a broader effort unfolding across the Great Lakes region to regain lost prosperity by developing a "blue economy" — a network of industries that develop products and services related to water, from pump and valve manufacturers to resorts offering vacations along redeveloped lakeshores.

As growing water scarcity casts a shadow over the economic boom in warmer states, many in the long-scorned northlands are hoping they can finally make their abundance of freshwater a magnet for businesses and jobs that are now going elsewhere. The idea is either a perfect nexus of opportunity and timing, or— as some in the Sun Belt believe— just another long shot attempt by a cold and downtrodden region to reverse history.

In the eight Great Lakes states, organizations devoted to the venture are springing up, with headquarters, government grants and binders full of Power Points and five-year plans. Universities are establishing freshwater science and engineering programs. Businesses are developing products such as advanced filtration systems for sale in countries where water isn't just scarce, but also polluted. Milwaukee has taken a pivotal role from its perch beside Lake Michigan, with $83.5 million in public and private money budgeted over the next year to support water-related businesses and research.

"We all recognize that water has become more and more of a precious commodity," said Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee. "We have to do a much better job of promoting it."

The Great Lakes — Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario — hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the Earth's surface. But in one of the nation's most vivid anomalies, some of the saddest, most bedraggled urban wastelands sit on the shores of the vast inland seas. After the collapse of heavy manufacturing unleashed an exodus of jobs to the South and West, one proposal after another for turning things around fell short.

But drought has gripped the Sun Belt in recent years, and federal scientists predict recurrent periods similar to the 1930s Dust Bowl if climate change models prove accurate. Worried leaders there are floating increasingly radical proposals, from billion-dollar pipelines traversing hundreds of miles to creating artificial lakes.

"I don't like to get into an us-versus-them situation, but the drought in these other locations is going to get worse and worse and what we have to offer is going to get more and more attractive," said David Ullrich, executive director of an organization representing the Great Lakes region's mayors.

Sun Belt leaders, while acknowledging the problem, scoff at the idea of companies choosing the Midwest instead. They say they're already working on solutions. Texas voters in 2011 authorized a $6 billion bond issue for water infrastructure, including building more than two dozen reservoirs in coming decades.

Besides just warm weather, "We provide economic opportunity," said Tom Hayden, mayor of the Flower Mound, Texas, a Dallas suburb of 70,000 where the population has tripled in the past two decades. "We help businesses grow instead of seeing how much we can squeeze them with taxes."

Water availability is just one factor that influences where businesses locate, said Jason Morrison of the Pacific Institute, author of a report on likely economic fallout from a drier climate. Still, he acknowledged, the outlook is disconcerting.

"It's pretty certain that water-related risk for business will increase over the long haul in more places," he said.

Al Henes, who runs a brewery and pub in Flagstaff, Ariz., has waterless urinals and reuses water in his beer-making operation, but worries about the future as housing developments and golf courses keep springing up. Even so, he said, he's not ready to forsake his beloved canyon country's stunning scenery and outdoorsy lifestyle.

"You guys get a little colder up there," Henes said dryly. Recalling childhood winter visits with his grandmother in Michigan, he added: "Some of my words would just freeze in my mouth and fall on the ground and shatter.

Milwaukee reflects the grandeur of the lake region's past as well as its decline and the quest to rebuild. A downtown statue of "The Fonz" evokes wistful memories of "Happy Days" prosperity, when more than half of the adult workforce had factory jobs with manufacturers like Allis-Chalmers, now defunct. Some warehouses and storefronts still sit empty, and the remnants of beer giants Schlitz, Pabst and Blatz have been turned to other uses.

Though brewing is a shadow of its former self here, local leaders are newly mindful that the industry, which used huge volumes of water, attracted other businesses that still remain vibrant. Worldwide, water technology— pumps, valves and more— generates $500 billion a year and is growing rapidly, said John Austin, director of the Brookings Institution's Great Lakes Economic Initiative.

The Milwaukee-based Water Council, a research and networking organization, now has more than 100 members, including the brewer MillerCoors. The technology center is expected to host a half-dozen startups at a time, with frequent turnover as companies grow and move to bigger locations.

John Gurda, a local historian, said it's about time Milwaukee gave up chasing the same high tech medicine and computer software companies sought by every other city.

"The strength of this (water-oriented) strategy is that it's playing to Milwaukee's natural and historical strengths."

But Austin, the Brookings analyst, said economic revival also depends on doing more to make the region's 10,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and many rivers and inland lakes a draw for tourists and for service companies that want a beautiful setting.

During the first half of the 20th century, the steel plants, paper mills and auto factories that employed millions along the lakes also left behind blight. The Lake Michigan city of Gary, Ind., is riddled with the hulks of abandoned buildings and the Grand Calumet River bottom is caked with a 20-foot-deep layer of gunk including toxic PCBs.

An Obama administration initiative has pumped more than $1 billion into Great Lakes environmental cleanup, and a regional partnership has raised hundreds of millions to beautify Gary's industrial waterfront.

"People will pay more for an office with a water view," Austin said. "But not if it's a cesspool."

ABC News


West Michigan lighthouses welcome visitors

5/28 - Three more Michigan lighthouses have been opened to the public for seasonal tours. The Ludington North Breakwater Light, White River Light Station in Whitehall, and Little Sable Point Light Station in Mears are open to the public, joining Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which opened to visitors and school groups on May 1. Lighthouses are generally open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. White River is closed on Monday.

All four lighthouses boast towers you can climb, from the shortest at White River and the breakwater light to two of the tallest in Michigan, the Little and Big Sable sister lights. At the top of these Sable lights, views include a 100-foot tall vantage point of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and the Nordhouse Dunes.

The Annual Michigan’s West Coast Lighthouse Festival is held annually the first weekend of June. Over the course of the weekend, festivalgoers can visit six lighthouses along 90 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, including the only annual openings of the Muskegon South Pierhead Light and the Manistee North Pierhead Light.

Ludington Daily News


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 28

On 28 March 1997, the USS Great Lakes Fleet's PHILIP R. CLARKE set a record for a salt cargo on a U.S.-flag laker when she loaded 25,325 tons at Fairport, Ohio for delivery to Toledo, Ohio. The previous record was 25,320 tons carried by American Steamship's AMERICAN REPUBLIC in 1987.

On 28 March 1848, COLUMBUS (wooden sidewheeler, 391 tons, built in 1835, at Huron, Ohio) struck a pier at Dunkirk, New York during a storm and sank. The sidewheeler FASHION struck the wreck in November of the same year and was seriously damaged.

1935: THOMAS LYNCH and the Norwegian freighter BA collided on a foggy Lake Superior and the former received a hole above the waterline. The saltwater vessel dated from 1921 and was torpedoed and lost in the North Atlantic on July 8, 1941, as c) INGA I.

1942: JACK was torpedoed by U-155 and sunk on the Caribbean while about 100 miles southwest of Port Salut, Haiti. There were 37 lives lost among the 63 reported on board. The ship had been built at Lorain, Ohio, as a) LAKE FRESCO in 1919 and returned inland for package freight service as b) JACK in 1925.

1942: TINDEFJELL came to the Great Lakes for the Fjell Line beginning in 1937. It was taken over by the Germans in April 1941, while at a Norwegian port, and renamed SPERRBRECHER 174 in December. It is reported to have hit a mine and sunk off Dunkirk, France, on this date in 1942.

1982: The tug COMANCHE had an electrical fire while at DeTour, MI, and the blaze destroyed the cabins and pilothouse. The hull was surrendered to the underwriters on June 14 and it later sank while under tow off Ludington on December 12, 1985.

2006: The pilot boat PLACENTIA PILOT was built at Wheatley, ON, in 2000 and left the Great Lakes that December for service at Newfoundland. The ship hit the rocks and had to be beached while trying to put a pilot on the tanker TUVAQ. The ship was listed as a total loss but was salvaged. At last report, it was on a trailer at Port Hawkesbury, NS, pending repairs as b) STRAIT EAGLE.

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


Port Reports -  May 27

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday afternoon the McKeil Marine tug Salvor and deck barge Lambert Spirit arrived at Lafarge. The pair tied up at the coal dock where equipment unloaded the cargo from the barge and trucks were hauling the product away. Early Saturday morning the Salvor departed and was outbound in the bay. The Alpena came in Saturday afternoon to load cement for Superior, Wis. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected in port on Monday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville on Saturday to unload coal. Finished unloading on Sunday morning, the McCarthy, Jr. backed from the dock and out into the Saginaw Bay to turn at Light 12 and then head for the lake. The tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge, Endeavour, called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Saturday. The pair completed their unload and were outbound Sunday afternoon.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Lower Lakes fleetmates Manitowoc and Mississagi loaded Sunday the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock. Manitowoc sailed for Marysville in the late afternoon. Mississagi sailed several hours later.

Ashtabula, Ohio - Duff Rawlings
CSL Laurentien was loading coal Sunday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The State of Michigan (former 224-foot US Navy T-AGOS USS Persistent) is on her way to Buffalo & should arrive on Monday morning.


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 sawmills along the Saginaw river are now nearly all in operation.

1933 GEORGE M. COX hit Rock of Ages Reef in Lake Superior on its first trip after previous service as PURITAN. The vessel had 121 passengers and freight on board when it struck the reef in the early morning in fog. The ship hung at a precarious angle until all were rescued and then, during an October storm, the vessel slid back into deep water.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


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.

1926 The self-unloader ALPENA delivered the first cargo of coal, 4,000 tons, to the new Detroit Edison steam generating power plant at Marysville, MI.

1982 ROLAND DESGAGNES ran aground off Pointe au Pic, Q.C . The ship floated free with the high tide only to sink on May 27 at 4 am due to hull damage. All on board were saved and the cargo of salt dissolved. The hull rests upright on the bottom in about 300 feet of water.

1984 The Norwegian freighter WILFRED first visited the Seaway in 1966. It went aground on this day in 1984 as b) PSILI at Buenos Aires, Argentina. The vessel was refloated and returned to service. It last sailed as c) GLORY BAY and arrived at Dalian, China, for scrapping on September 18, 1986.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Lake Michigan Carferry moves to two sailings a day two weeks early

5/25 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry is starting its double sailing season two weeks early, Sunday, May 26. The early move to two round-trips a day is to accommodate wind turbine parts the SS Badger moves across Lake Michigan. The original double sailing date had been scheduled for June.


Port Reports -  May 25

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jim Conlon
The Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder as well as the cement carrier Alpena arrived at Bay Shipbuilding on Tuesday. On Wednesday the Dorothy Ann was put on the floating drydock, while the Alpena remained afloat for repairs. The Alpena departed Bay Ship on Thursday, while the Dorothy Ann remained on the drydock.

Erie, Pa. - Gene Polaski
Manitowoc approached the channel into Erie harbor Friday morning with a load of stone.

Seaway -
Thursday night the tug Margot and two barges were westbound, eta 24/0600 for Wolfe Island Cut. They are headed for Kingston.


Obituary: Capt. Harry “Heavy Weather” Anderson

5/25 - Capt. Harry Axel Anderson, 103, a retired Great Lakes Master for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company and a well-known docent at the William G. Mather Museum Ship, passed away in Ohio on May 22, 2013.

Captain Anderson was born October 5, 1909 in the Swedish province of Dalsland. In 1919 the family emigrated from Sweden to the United States and settled in Marquette, Michigan. He married Louise Herman of Marquette, Michigan, in 1934 and they resettled in Cleveland in 1938. He resided in Lakewood most of his life.

It was during the voyage from Göteborg, Sweden to New York as a 10-year-old boy that Captain Anderson decided that he would pursue a seafaring career and aspired to someday become a ship captain.

His sailing career, spanning 48 years on both the ocean and Great Lakes, began at the age of 17 when in 1927 he shipped out in Milwaukee as a deckhand. During his earlier years on the ocean he sailed around the world on the Dollar Line, to South America on the Grace Line, to Central America on the United Fruit Line, and on board various U.S. coastal tankers and cargo ships.

During World War II he served as an officer on board the famed Liberty ships resupplying Europe with war materiel. He sailed on numerous Great Lakes ships and his career with Cleveland Cliffs lasted nearly half a century. He earned his First Class Pilot’s License in 1934 and served as third mate on board the Str. Joliet. His first year as second mate came in 1939 on board the Str. Marquette, and in 1942 he sailed as first mate on board the Str. Peter White.

A year later, at the urging of his friend Jack McCarthy, they both earned their master’s licenses. McCarthy left Cliffs for Oglebay Norton and 32 years later perished on the Edmund Fitzgerald. Captain Anderson served on over 30 Cleveland Cliffs ships and was master of such notable vessels as the steamers William G. Mather, Walter A. Sterling, and the Edward B. Greene, the latter Cliffs’ flagship and his last command.

He often said his pride and joy was the Cliffs Victory, known for her distinctive profile and high speed runs, given informal title "Speed Queen of the Lakes.”

Of the Cliffs Victory, his son, Rickard, recalled his dad “truly enjoyed sailing this unique ship both as its master and many times earlier in his career as a mate. With cold seawater and a good vacuum in the condenser, its speed in ballast was 23 mph and 20 mph loaded (this was with 6 nozzles out of 24 welded shut on the high pressure turbine years earlier to save fuel).

“While master of Victory, my father said he was only overtaken once by another ship, and it was one of Farrell Line’s fast oceangoing African Class cargo ships. The Victory overtook everybody else, including oceangoing ships and the faster lakers (Patton, Girdler, White, Thompson, Fort Henry, Fort York et al). It had good sea-keeping ability in heavy weather and could break ice really well with its power. Because of its speed, the Victory could frequently outrun bad weather. It was the only ship my father sailed that could lock up in ballast and lock down loaded at Sault Ste. Marie in the same day (i.e. lock up after midnight, sail to Marquette, load, return to the Soo, and lock down the evening of the same day.”

In the seafaring community, Anderson earned the nickname “Heavy Weather Harry.”

“Amongst all the Cleveland Cliffs skippers, my father always had the least amount of weather delay, Anderson’s son said. “Right after the Fitzgerald sinking, the Cliffs’ office called the ship and asked my father why he didn’t seek shelter more often in bad weather. He said “I never encounter any heavy weather.” Having experienced his share of bad winter storms on both the north Atlantic and Pacific, I suppose what the Lakes could dish out didn’t much worry him. By the way, my father was a good friend of Ernie McSorley, master of the Fitzgerald.”

Following his mandatory retirement at age 65, he volunteered for many years aboard the museum ship William G. Mather, docked near the Great Lakes Science Center at the foot of E. 9th Street in Cleveland. Countless schoolchildren have memories of visiting with the distinguished captain with the white beard dressed in his impeccable Cleveland-Cliffs uniform.

He was recently honored for his distinguished service in the U.S. Merchant Marine with a Veterans Recognition Ceremony at his home at the Harbor Court Retirement Community in Rocky River, Ohio.

Captain Anderson was also a long-standing member in the International Ship Masters Association, flag number 7007. He was predeceased by his wife Louise in 2007, and his daughters Sandra May in 2005 and Cheryl Faith in 1951. Survivors include daughter Harriet Waller of Rochester, Michigan, son Raymond Anderson of Long Key, Florida, daughter Ruth Danio of Cleveland, Ohio, son Rickard Anderson of Bowie, Maryland, 15 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, and one great, great grandchild.

Friends may call in the chapel at Sunset Memorial Park, 6245 Columbia Rd. North Olmsted, OH 44070 from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, where funeral services will be held Wednesday, May 29, at 10 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mariner’s Church, 170 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI 48226 or to the William G. Mather Museum, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, OH 44114


Obituary: John Deigan

5/25 - John Deigan, 68, a former crewmember of the Wheat King, service dates unknown, passed away around May 17 in Windsor, Ontario. His body was found by police in his trailer at Windsor Campground. John lived also in Florida October-April, and in Windsor the balance of the year. Following his service on the lakes, he became a high school teacher, emphasizing on troubled youths. He wanted no memorial service.


Updates -  May 25

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Howard L Shaw gallery

Space left on Keweenaw Star cruises

A few spots are still available for the Keweenaw Star Charlevoix to Sault Ste. Marie cruise on June10-12. This is a repeat of the 2012 trip, which sold out. Travel via Lake Michigan, St. Marys River, Soo Locks, Rock Cut and many other sites along with the freighters.

Room is still available on the cruise to see the lighthouses and freighter traffic in northern Lake Michigan and Green Bay on July 12-14. Visit Sturgeon Bay, Death’s Door and Escanaba by water. This is the annual Boatnerd trip aboard the Keweenaw Star.

See for all the details. Call the Keweenaw Star at 231-237-9365 and make your reservation today.

New prizes added to the Boatnerd Freighter Raffle

• A round-trip for two including auto aboard the S.S. Badger sailing between Michigan and Wisconsin. A great chance to ride the last coal-fired boat on the Great Lakes.

•Two sets of passes for a V.I.P. Soo Locks Boat Tours. This is your chance to view the famous Soo Locks from the inside.

•The grand prize is a trip for two on a Great Lakes Fleet vessel, either the Roger Blough or the Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedule. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge. Proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 27, 2013 at the Mission Point in Sault Ste. Marie during engineer's weekend. Your ticket(s) will be promptly mailed to you. Winners need not be present at drawing to win and will be notified by mail and/or phone.

All tickets orders must be received No Later Than Friday, June 21, 2013

Click here to Order Online


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, recently scrapped.

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 11 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.

1906: The HOWARD L. SHAW was in an unusual accident and passed between the cable of the CORALIA and her barge MAIA, raking the top of the pilothouse, deck, stack and spars before the ship went aground. The hull of HOWARD L. SHAW survives today as a breakwall at Toronto.

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


Port Reports -  May 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner and Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Thursday. Mariner opened the small Lake Superior port of Munising on Wednesday with a load of coal.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
With gale warnings posted Thursday for most of Lake Michigan, the master of the St. Marys Challenger chose to anchor Wednesday night in Suttons Bay, off Grand Traverse Bay. With 100 feet of depth at its mouth, Suttons Bay is used occasionally by vessels waiting for weather. It's well protected from wind from east, south and west, and nearby Omena Point blunts winds from the north. The Challenger remained at anchor Thursday morning.

Ludington, Mich.
Lake Michigan Carferry canceled its 9 a.m. sailing Thursday. The marine forecast included a gale warning. Winds gusting to 35 knots were expected to generate waves 12 feet to 16 feet high. "The safety and comfort of our passengers will always be our first priority,"  said a spokesman for the Badger's owners. At 9 a.m. the weather buoy off Holland was reporting waves of 10.5 feet.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Mississagi delivered a load to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg Thursday, starting to unload about 7 a.m. Her fleetmate, Cuyahoga, waited out in the lake for the Mississagi to back out and came in about noon with a load for Meekhof's D & M dock, next to the power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.

Burns Harbor - Matt M.
Overnight Wednesday, Wilfred Sykes unloaded stone into the hopper at Burns Harbor. H. Lee White is expected early Thursday morning.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Arthur M. Anderson was expected to arrive between 9:30-10 p.m. on Thursday to load limestone. Two vessels are due to load on Friday, with the Great Republic arriving first in the early morning and later the Lewis J. Kuber in the late afternoon. On Saturday, due in just after midnight, is the Joseph H. Thompson. Great Republic returns on Sunday in the late afternoon to load. Two vessels are scheduled to load on Memorial Day, with the Lewis J. Kuber due in first in the early morning followed by the American Mariner in the late morning. Rounding out the lineup is a return visit by the Joseph H. Thompson on Tuesday, May 28 in the morning.

Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke loaded at Port Inland and was expected to depart at midnight on Wednesday. Both Mississagi and Cuyahoga are expected to arrive on Friday during the early morning. Mississagi will be loading ahead of the Cuyahoga. Wilfred Sykes is due to arrive during the late evening on Saturday and the Great Lakes Trader rounds out the Port Inland dock lineup, arriving on Sunday during the late morning to load.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The cement silos at Lafarge were busy on Thursday with all three vessels coming into port. The G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity departed early in the morning after taking on product. Next to arrive to load during the day was the Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation. The Alpena tied up around 10 p.m.

Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted were expected to arrive at Cedarville in the late evening on Wednesday to load. Due next is the Calumet, expected to arrive on Thursday during the late evening. Wilfred Sykes rounds out lineup Saturday morning.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Buffalo loaded limestone at Calcite on Thursday and was expected to depart at 10:30 a.m. Incoming vessels scheduled at Calcite for the next week include the James L. Kuber on Friday in the morning, loading at the North Dock. Joseph H. Thompson is due on Saturday in the morning for both the North & South Docks. On Sunday, two vessels are due at Calcite – the Philip R. Clarke in the early morning for the South Dock and the Lee A. Tregurtha making a rare visit on Sunday for the South Dock in the early afternoon. There are no vessels scheduled for Memorial Day. For Tuesday, May 28 the 1,000-footer American Spirit makes a rare appearance arriving in the early evening for the South and the North Docks. Rounding out the lineup are two vessels for Wednesday, with the Lakes Contender due first for the South Dock and the James L. Kuber for the North Dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Calumet arrived on the Saginaw River late Wednesday night, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City, to unload. She finished, turned and was outbound for the lake Thursday morning. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Thursday afternoon, calling on the Wirt Essexville Sand & Stone dock. The pair were expected to be outbound late Thursday evening.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The barge Lakes Contender and tug Ken Boothe Sr. were expected to arrive in Toledo during the early afternoon on Thursday to unload iron ore pellets at the Torco Dock. Other vessels expected to arrive at the Torco Dock with iron ore pellet cargoes include the 1,000-foot James R. Barker Saturday during the early morning. American Mariner is also expected to arrive at the Torco Dock on Saturday in the early morning. Lakes Contender returns on Tuesday, May 28, in the early morning followed later in the morning on Tuesday, May 28 by the Radcliffe R. Latimer. Algoma Progress is due at the Torco Dock on Sunday, June 2 in the evening unloading iron ore pellets. Vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include the American Mariner on Saturday in the early afternoon followed by the John D. Leitch on Memorial Day in the evening. Lewis J. Kuber is due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday, May 31 during the late afternoon. Algomarine is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Tuesday, June 4.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Saginaw loaded Thursday at the NS coal doc in Sandusky and Manistee loaded at Marbleheads LaFarge stone dock.


Number of cargo trips decreasing in Lake St. Clair

5/24 - The number of cargo trips taken by lake vessels in the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair has decreased significantly since 2005. While it is well known by now the Great Lakes water levels are reaching historic lows, officials attribute the decrease in cargo ship activity to the economy.

"With the economy struggling, there obviously hasn't been much demand for cargo," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association, a trade association based out of Rocky River, Ohio.

According to the information provided by the Canadian Coast Guard there were 8,420 cargo trips made by bulk carriers, container ships, general cargo and tankers in 2005. In 2012 6,350 trips were made. That number does not include passenger vessels ferries, Coast Guard vessels, Navy vessels, dredges and tugs.

"We can only speculate on reasons for downturns or upturns in numbers," said Canadian Coast Guard Regional Program Specialist John North. "In some cases, drops can be associated with financial climate in either the country as a whole, or the industry involved in particular. In other cases, introduction of a newer, larger vessel in a fleet can result in the retiring of two or three older vessels; and this will, in turn, result in a reduction of total voyages made for that company."

Nekvasil said in the 1970s there was a large decrease in the number of cargo trips made in the Great Lakes because of the move to larger ships. At that time five vessels built in the 1940s could equal the size of one new ship built in the 1970s.

"We got much bigger and more efficient in the 1970s," he said. Today the largest lake carrier vessels are 1,000 feet long and can make about 50 trips a year. Their carrying capacities range from 5,700 to 71,000 tons.

With lower lake levels there are often times repercussions on the weight of cargo a ship can carry. If the amount of cargo needed to be transported remained steady every year some would assume that would mean a ship would have to carry less cargo in one trip, and therefore have to make additional trips.

Nekvasil said while that rationale makes sense, it is not how shipping on the Great Lakes works. He said ships can typically only make a set number of trips per year; because they only have about a 10 month shipping window, from March to December, and already travel at their maximum speed.

This means, even if additional trips were needed by a set vessel, there likely wouldn't be enough time for them to sail.

While Nekvasil attributed majority of the decrease in cargo trips to the economy, he said the decrease in lake levels also plays a role. Depending on the size of the vessel, 50 to 270 tons of cargo may need to come off the boat for every inch of draft exposed on the ship because of the decreased water levels. For example, at the Soo Locks in the 1990s vessels could carry up to 71,000 tons of cargo but in December 2012 that number decreased to 62,000 tons.

In Lake St. Clair, water levels were reported at 573.56 feet on May 14 and at this time last year it was about seven inches lower, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When examining the long-term May difference the current level is about 11 inches below the average.

The Voice


Historic number of tall ships to converge on Brockville

5/24 - Brockville, Ont. - It’s no tall tale when the director of economic development here says the tall ships event his city will host is a once-in-a-lifetime event. “It’s not likely we are going to have this many ships here in port in one place ever again,” said David Paul.

That may go for any port along the St. Lawrence River.

Ten tall ships will converge on Brockville, nearly opposite Morristown across the St. Lawrence Seaway, for the June 14 to16 Tall Ships 1812 Tour.

“As part of that whole event, there will be 15 Canadian and U.S. ports where the tall ships will be visiting as part of this commemoration programming,” said Mr. Paul.

Brockville is the tour’s first port of call. Mr. Paul said that, except for Toronto, Brockville will host the most ships of any of the other Canadian cities on the tour, which concludes Sept. 2 on Lake Erie in the Windsor, Ontario, area.

The tour is produced in partnership with the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2013 series. That tour will visit 22 ports along the Great Lakes and include five races. The Tall Ships Challenge is a program produced by Tall Ships America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching youth through character building and leadership programs aboard the tall ships.

One of the tall ships in the festival, Empire Sandy, will stop in Clayton June 12 to kick off the Sailing Seaway Clayton festival, June 12 to 16, before arriving in Brockville June 14. Empire Sandy will join tall ship Lynx at the Clayton festival. The Lynx will remain throughout the Clayton festival.

Mr. Paul said that in addition to ship tours and public cruises, a variety of events is planned ashore, ranging from concerts, vendors, artisans, a “pirates’ village” and a “beverage garden.”

He said a key viewing time for spectators will be at approximately 4 p.m. June 14. “All the ships will be under sail,” Mr. Paul said. “They are going to make a big pass off city hall along the waterfront before they go back to their berthing areas.”

There are no shortage of those areas in Brockville, Mr. Paul said.

“We’re kind of blessed that way,” Mr. Paul said. “We’ve got good depth and good docking space because we were a commerce area for steamships.”

A “spectacular” fireworks show is planned for June 15, Mr. Paul said. A sound system will crank out Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

“We’re having the ships, their cannons and land-based cannons and the infantry (re-enactors) to all combine their fire at the crescendo of the overture,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Paul said there are a couple of options available for people who want to tour the tall ships. A $12 “passport” will allow patrons to tour all the ships.

“They are pretty high quality souvenir pieces in heavy parchment paper,” Mr. Paul said of the passports. He added that each ship will have its own customized stamp.

Two ships, Empire Sandy and Liana’s Ransom, will offer sailing excursions for $30. Dinner cruises have been sold out.

Tickets can be purchased from the Brockville Tourism office in downtown Brockville, 10 Market St., W., or by calling the office at 888-251-7676

Watertown Daily Times


Sugar Island beach on Detroit River opens Saturday

5/24 - Grosse Ile, Mich. - A beach on the Detroit River’s Sugar Island is opening to the public Saturday.

The island’s west beach will be accessible for activities including picnicking, sunbathing, wildlife observation, photography and volleyball. Upland areas will be off-limits to protect wildlife. Officials say the area designated for public use will be clearly marked. Some activities will be prohibited, such as setting fires, drinking alcohol and setting off fireworks.

Federal conservation funds were used to buy the 30-acre Sugar Island last year. It’s at the mouth of the Detroit River and part of a “conservation crescent” also consisting of the Gibraltar Bay, Calf Island, Humbug Marsh and Lake Erie Metropark refuge units.

They are unique habitats that serve as important stopover sites for migratory birds and spawning and nursery habitat for fish.

Detroit Free Press


Regulations preserve Great Lakes shipwrecks, history

5/24 - Most of the time, ships that ply the Great Lakes do so in anonymity. It’s only when tragedy befalls them that their name and their service record become history for the rest of the world to learn about.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was just another ship carrying iron ore through the Great Lakes until it famously sank in 1975 in Lake Superior. Singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot took it on a rocket ride to legendary status.

Even the Titanic, perhaps the most famous of all time, would have been just another luxury steamer until it sunk in the mid-Atlantic in 1912. Sure, at the time it was lauded as one of the biggest, fastest, most luxurious ships ever built. But a lifetime of safe, comfortable ocean crossings would have surely helped it vanish into a mere footnote of history.

Valerie van Heest of Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates, an award-winning author and filmmaker from Holland, Mich., spoke about how ships become famous at a presentation titled “Lost and Found — Legendary Wrecks” at the 32nd Great Lakes Shipwrecks Festival.

“The fact is we learn more about the ship from the discovery of the wreck and the evolution of diving rather than the incident that put the ship on the bottom,” van Heest said.

Archaeologically, van Heest said, we can study artifacts and personal objects left in the vessels after they have foundered. We can learn more about the crew onboard than simply a list of the names of those who perished. She described one vessel she dived in which she found personal objects, such as a crew member’s sock with a hole in it, indicating the man wasn’t well-to-do and couldn’t afford new socks. She’s found ships with an array of coins inside from various Scandinavian countries that provide a window into the geographic makeup of the crew.

“These are tremendous artifacts that speak to us by allowing us to study them,” van Heest said.

Today, shipwrecks owe their survival in large part to relatively new state and federal regulations enacted to protect them from scavengers and treasure hunters looking to either remove things from the ships or lift the vessel itself out of the water altogether.

In 1987, the Abandoned Shipwreck Act was introduced in Congress and signed into federal law in 1988. That law mandated that each state write its own laws to protect shipwrecks and turned over ownership of the wrecks from the federal government to individual state governments.

In Michigan, for example, the Aboriginal Records and Antiquities and Abandoned Property statute, which includes the Natural Resources and Environment Protection Act that protects shipwrecks, only became law in 1994. That law updated legislation enacted in the state in the late 1970s but was not as comprehensive in scope.

Prior to that, anyone who had the wherewithal to lift a wreck, and the money to pay for it, simply had to obtain the salvage rights. Prior to the writing of the Shipwreck Act, “looting was standard practice by divers, including myself,” van Heest said. But doing so would gut the wreck of important artifacts, and bringing it to the surface would almost certainly spell an end to the vessel.

Van Heest cited as an example the case of the Alvin Clark, a ship that went down in Green Bay, Wis., in 1864. In 1969, a team headed by scuba diver Frank Hoffman lifted the Alvin Clark from the bottom of the bay in what was considered an extraordinary event that was praised by the government, the press and the public alike.

The ship was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1972 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The ship was raised legally in extraordinary condition, completely intact and actually floated once water was removed from its holds. It quickly became a tourist attraction after Hoffman built a museum nearby and exhibited the ship as a tourist attraction at the “Mystery Ship Seaport” in Menominee.

But neither Hoffman nor its crew accounted for the environmental damage the ship would suffer out of the water — from weather, wind, extreme hot and cold temperatures — much different conditions from the cold, low-oxygen environment at the bottom of Green Bay.

The ship quickly began to deteriorate, decayed and started to fall apart. Hoffman had neither the expertise nor the money to restore the Alvin Clark. His search for grants to pay for repairs fell upon deaf ears.

Finally, in 1994, the same year shipwreck protection was updated in Michigan, the ship was considered beyond saving and deemed a hazard. The Alvin Clark, one of the oldest merchant ships to ply the Great Lakes, with its origins in 1847, was bulldozed and lost to history.

And everyone involved learned a valuable lesson. According to van Heest, states across the country were influenced by the story of the Alvin Clark and used it as an example of what could go wrong while authoring their own legislation.

Thanks to improving side-scan sonar technology, van Heest believes all existing shipwrecks will be found in the next 15-20 years. In addition, she said it will take at least another 100 years before time and zebra mussels break down the oldest shipwrecks and turn them into a pile of planks. But fortunately, van Heest’s research has shown the older the shipwreck is, the better it’s made.

Remember how your parents would constantly complain things aren’t built the way they used to be? Well, according to van Heest, that also applies to ship building nearly 200 years ago.

Not only are ships that sit in deeper water better preserved due to colder temperatures and less environmental activity, but older ships, in van Heest’s experience, were simply made better.

“In the heyday of the schooners in the 1870s-’80s, they were cranking these things out, and I don’t think they were all that well built compared to the ones built in the early 1800s,” she said. “Back then, they weren’t as plentiful, and they were building them better.”

The Oakland Press


Reserve now for Engineer’s Day Soo Cruise

5/24 - Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River, on June 28 as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and will travel through both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and do our best to find photo opportunities for any vessel traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Reserve now and save $5. See the Gathering Page for details.


Updates -  May 24

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain gallery
Saltie Gallery updated - Bluewing, Chem Norma, Jo Spirit, Raba, and Redhead


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 BURNS HARBOR was christened for the Wilmington Trust Co., (Bethlehem Steel Co., Mgr.) Wilmington, Delaware.

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 was adrift on Lake Huron for two days and two nights with only one loaf of bread to divide among themselves.

1953: The TERNEFJELL of 1948 first came to the Great Lakes that year for the Fjell Line and made 17 inland voyages through 1953. It sank on this date off Start Point in the English Channel following a collision with the DOTTERELL.

1980: LAKE WINNIPEG struck the breakwall at Duluth departing with a cargo of grain, and stranded the next day in the St. Marys River near Detour Village, after a steering gear problem.

1982: CORONADO visited the Great Lakes in 1972 and returned as c) HOLSTENBURG in 1974. It went aground on this date in 1982 as e) ARISTEA T. in the eastern Mediterranean enroute from Port Sudan, Sudan, to Lisbon, Portugal. The ship was refloated on June 6 but deemed a total loss and, on November 2, 1982, was scuttled off Pylos, Greece.

1983: LAKE NIPIGON went aground off Port Colborne following a power failure and was released the next day with bow and bottom damage. The ship was repaired at Montreal.

2005: SEAPRINCESS II first came through the Seaway in 1988 and returned as c) SEARANGER II in 1994. It ran aground as e) STARLUCK off Necochea, Argentina, and about 7,000 tons of wheat had to be removed before the ship floated free. Later in the year, the vessel was sold for scrap and it arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for dismantling on November 21, 2005.

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


Port Reports -  May 23

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Federal Yukon came into Milwaukee on a very foggy morning Wednesday.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown came in early Wednesday morning for the St. Marys Terminal in Ferrysburg. The tug Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 arrived midday with at load for Verplank's Dock in the same city.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Victory and the barge James L. Kuber sailed from the NS coal dock early Tuesday evening, reportedly bound for Erie, Pa. The duo was replaced at the dock by the 737-foot Atlantic Erie.

Rochester, NY - Tom Brewer
The tugs Molly M. 1 and Ecosse with the barge Metis departed Wednesday afternoon for another load of bulk cement for Essroc.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to hold open house Saturday

5/23 - Cheboygan, Mich. - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw is scheduled to hold an open house, allowing members of the public to tour the ship and speak with members of the crew, Saturday at the ship's homeport of Cheboygan. The cutter's crew will be available for visitors from 9-11 a.m. and from 1-3 p.m.


A black mound of Canadian oil waste rising over Detroit

5/23 - Windsor, Ont. – Assumption Park gives residents of this city lovely views of the Ambassador Bridge and the Detroit skyline. Lately they’ve been treated to another sight: a three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the other side of the Detroit River.

Detroit’s ever-growing black mountain is the unloved, unwanted and long overlooked byproduct of Canada’s oil sands boom.

And no one knows quite what to do about it, except Koch Carbon, which owns it.

The company is controlled by Charles and David Koch, wealthy industrialists who back a number of conservative and libertarian causes including activist groups that challenge the science behind climate change. The company sells the high-sulfur, high-carbon waste, usually overseas, where it is burned as fuel.

The coke comes from a refinery alongside the river owned by Marathon Petroleum, which has been there since 1930. But it began refining exports from the Canadian oil sands — and producing the waste that is sold to Koch — only in November.

“What is really, really disturbing to me is how some companies treat the city of Detroit as a dumping ground,” said Rashida Tlaib, the Michigan state representative for that part of Detroit. “Nobody knew this was going to happen.” Almost 56 percent of Canada’s oil production is from the petroleum-soaked oil sands of northern Alberta, more than 2,000 miles north.

An initial refining process known as coking, which releases the oil from the tarlike bitumen in the oil sands, also leaves the petroleum coke, of which Canada has 79.8 million tons stockpiled. Some is dumped in open-pit oil sands mines and tailing ponds in Alberta. Much is just piled up there.

Detroit’s pile will not be the only one. Canada’s efforts to sell more products derived from oil sands to the United States, which include transporting it through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, have pulled more coking south to American refineries, creating more waste product here.

Marathon Petroleum’s plant in Detroit processes 28,000 barrels a day of the oil sands bitumen.

Residents on both sides of the Detroit River are concerned that the coke mountain is both an environmental threat and an eyesore.

“Here’s a little bit of Alberta,” said Brian Masse, one of Windsor’s Parliament members. “For those that thought they were immune from the oil sands and the consequences of them, we’re now seeing up front and center that we’re not.”

Mr. Masse wants the International Joint Commission, the bilateral agency that governs the Great Lakes, to investigate the pile. Michigan’s state environmental regulatory agency has submitted a formal request to Detroit Bulk Storage, the company holding the material for Koch Carbon, to change its storage methods. Michigan politicians and environmental groups have also joined cause with Windsor residents. Paul Baltzer, a spokesman for Koch’s parent company, Koch Companies Public Sector, did not respond to questions about its storage or the ultimate destination of the petroleum coke.

Coke, which is mainly carbon, is an essential ingredient in steelmaking as well as producing the electrical anodes used to make aluminum.

While there is high demand from both those industries, the small grains and high sulfur content of this petroleum coke make it largely unusable for those purposes, said Kerry Satterthwaite, a petroleum coke analyst at Roskill Information Services, a commodities analysis company based in London.

“It is worse than a byproduct,” Ms. Satterthwaite said.“It’s a waste byproduct that is costly and inconvenient to store, but effectively costs nothing to produce.”

Murray Gray, the scientific director for the Center for Oil Sands Innovation at the University of Alberta, said that about two years ago, Alberta backed away from plans to use the petroleum coke as a fuel source, partly over concerns about greenhouse-gas emissions. Some of it is burned there, however, to power coking plants.

The Keystone XL pipeline will provide Gulf Coast refineries with a steady supply of diluted bitumen from the oil sands. The plants on the coast, like the coking refineries concentrated in California to deal with that state’s heavy crude oil, are positioned to ship the waste to China or Mexico, where it is burned as a fuel. California exports about 128,000 barrels of petroleum coke a day, mainly to China.

Tony McCallum, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, played down the impact of Keystone XL. “Most of the Canadian oil earmarked for the U.S. Gulf Coast is to replace declining heavy oil imports from Mexico and Venezuela that produces the same amount of petcoke, so it doesn’t create a new issue,” he wrote in an e-mail.

Much of the new coking investment has gone into refineries in the Midwest to allow them to take advantage of the oil sands. BP, the British energy company, is building what it describes as the second-largest coke refinery in Whiting, Ind. When completed, the unit will be able to process about 102,000 barrels of bitumen or other heavy oils a day.

And what about the leftover coke? The Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow any new licenses permitting the burning of petroleum coke in the United States. But D. Mark Routt, a staff energy consultant at KBC Advanced Technologies in Houston, said that overseas companies saw it as a cheap alternative to low-grade coal. In China, it is used to generate electricity, adding to that country’s air-quality problems. There is also strong demand from India and Latin America for American petroleum coke, where it mainly fuels cement-making kilns.

“I’m not making a value statement, but it comes down to emission controls,” Mr. Routt said. “Other people don’t seem to have a problem, which is why it is going to Mexico, which is why it is going to China.”

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he said. One of the world’s largest dealers of petroleum coke is the Oxbow Corporation, which sells about 11 million tons of fuel-grade coke a year. It is owned by William I. Koch, a brother of David and Charles.

Lorne Stockman, who recently published a study on petroleum coke for the environmental group Oil Change International, says, “It’s really the dirtiest residue from the dirtiest oil on earth,” he said.

Rhonda Anderson, an organizing representative of the Sierra Club in Detroit, said that the mountain’s rise took her group by surprise, but it had one benefit.

“Those piles kind of hit us upside to the head,” she said. “But it also triggered a kind of relationship between Canada and the United States that’s allowed us to work together.”

New York Times


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 was 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.

1910: The first FRANK H. GOODYEAR, with a load of ore for Cleveland, was almost cut in two and sank off Pointe aux Barques following a collision in dense fog with the JOSEPH WOOD. Only five sailors survived while another 16 were lost.

1954: The EASTDALE, operating on charter to Reoch Transports, ran aground at Collingwood and was refloated May 29. The ship had also visited the Great Lakes as SPRINGDALE and was lost in the Gulf of Bothnia on June 18, 1959, when the cargo of timber shifted in heavy weather.

1959: The Liberian freighter ANDORA, outbound with a cargo of barley, stranded on a shoal below the Snell Lock and proved to be a difficult salvage. The ship initially broke free, spun around and grounded again and was not released until June 18. The cargo was unloaded but ANDORA was deemed not worth repairing and arrived at Savona, Italy, for dismantling on August 15, 1959.

1974: The Canadian tanker CARDINAL, best known as the former IMPERIAL WINDSOR, was badly damaged following a collision with the HENRY STEINBRENNER (iii), in Lake Erie off Point Pelee. The former was never repaired and subsequently scrapped, while the latter went to Lorain for about $100,000 worth of repairs.

1974: A fire broke out in the engine room of the ONTARIO during a voyage from Santos, Brazil, to Montreal and assistance was requested. The Canadian owned vessel had been upbound through the Seaway for the first time on November 8, 1973. The blaze was put out and the ship arrived at Montreal June 6, 1974. It was sold the following month to Tunisian buyers and scrapped as c) REMADA following another fire at Barcelona, Spain, on January 2, 1987.

1988: The first ALGOCAPE, which had run aground in the Lake St. Louis section of the St. Lawrence on May 21, was refloated on this day and cleared to proceed to Baie Comeau, QC, to unload.

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


Algoma Provider reported sold for scrap

5/22 - According to brokerage sources, Algoma Central Marine has agreed to sell the Algoma Provider for scrap to Turkish buyers. The ship is currently laid-up at the old Canadian Vickers dock in Montreal. There are no tugs scheduled for the Port of Montreal as of yet to tow the venerable vessel to Turkey. The 730-foot vessel was built at Collingwood for Canada Steamship Lines in 1963 as Murray Bay and also sailed for the Upper Lakes fleet as Canadian Provider. She made only a few trips last season under the Algoma Provider name.

Bruno Boissoneault


Tug removal underway from Duncan Bay

5/22 - Cheboygan, Mich. – The new owner of three derelict vessels abandoned in Duncan Bay nearly three years ago has contracted to dredge a grounded tugboat free from a sandbar.

Stephen Ball of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., arrived about a week ago and began preparations to hire Kokosing Construction Company’s Durocher Marine division of Cheboygan to dig out the tug, according to Larry Shepard, harbormaster of the Duncan Bay Yacht Club. Shepard has led an effort to have the three ghost ships removed from the bay.

“He came in about a week ago and said he was planning to move the (tug) William Hoey,” Shepard said. “I told him that was great, but we’ve heard that before. It’s great to see something happening out there.”

Durocher has assigned the workboat Marsha M and the barge MM 141 to dredge the area where the tug is grounded. As of late Monday afternoon, the Hoey had been freed from the sandbar and crews were digging a path to deeper water.

“Once off the shoal, my understanding is he (Ball) plans to tow the Hoey to the Cheboygan River for inspection and any necessary work to repair leaks and broken windows,” Shepard explained. “Then, he said they are headed for the Sault.”

Water levels in the bay are up about six inches from last fall, Shepard estimated, which should help efforts to free the Hoey. “We have about eight or nine feet in the harbor and the same in our channel, which was dredged last fall,” Shepard said.

Sunday, the Joelle AnnMarie arrived to assist with the project. Ball has said that the car ferry would be a key in lifting the sunken Jenny Lynn from the bottom.

“I couldn’t do it unless all three vessels were involved,” Ball said following visiting Charlevoix County Judge Richard Pajtas’ decision to uphold the DNR transfer of ownership of the William Hoey, the sunken Jenny Lynn and the car ferry Joelle Annmarie from Scotlund Stivers to Ball. “The ferry is the platform for raising the sunken tug.”

Shepard said Ball told him he plans to remove the Jenny Lynn this summer.

“Everybody wants to see it go,” Shepard said of his marina community. “It’s been a long time coming, but now they’ve regenerated activity out there. It’s time they’re gone. As the days go by, we will see.”

Ball said at the hearing that he was unsure of specific plans for the three ghost ships of Duncan Bay, although he stated they wouldn’t be sold for scrap. Another year of exposure to the elements may have changed his plans.

“It’s too bad, they could have been usable but now I don’t know what costs he’ll incur,” Shepard said of Ball’s plans for the tugs. “The car ferry is running again but the cracked plumbing and engine damage to the Hoey may be too much to fix.”

The Jenny Lynn has been submerged for almost three years.

Stivers abandoned the three vessels in the bay in July 2010. Subsequent efforts to cause him to forfeit the ghost fleet eventually resulted in a court action naming Ball as the owner in March 2012, when Stivers attempted to take his own life by ingesting sodium cyanide.

In April 2013, a bail bondsman revoked Stivers’ bond after admitted that he had tried to sell the vessels in order to get money to leave the country. Stivers was jailed, but granted bond by another agency and is currently free on that bail.

Cheboygan News


Port Reports -  May 22

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
This past long weekend was busy for the Toronto Island ferries, with Sunday being particularly hectic. Sunday service started out with Ongiara, Sam McBride and Thomas Rennie, but by noon the powers that be realized they would need more capacity to keep up with demand. When William Inglis was pressed into service at 2 p.m., the line-ups stretched from the ticket booths back to Queens Quay.

At 8 a.m. this Monday, the English River cleared the East Gap inbound with a cargo of cement for Lafarge. At Billy Bishop Airport, the gantry crane lowered the refurbished tunnel boring machines Chip and Dale into the city side tunnel shaft. The TBMs will be making the initial boring cuts for the pedestrian tunnel proper. Shortly after 2 pm the bulker Bluewing tied up at Redpath.

Montreal - Denny Dushane
Polish Steamship's new handy-size bulker Raba (IMO 9521825) was expected to arrive in Montreal on May 21. The Raba is of Liberian registry and is making her first appearance in the Great Lakes/Seaway system. She will be heading to Toledo, Ohio, coming from Bejaia, Algeria. The Raba is the third of Polsteam's new handy-size bulk carriers that recently started to appear on the Great Lakes/Seaway system beginning in 2012. Two others the Ina (IMO 9521875) and Regalica (IMO 9521758) both have made appearances on the Great Lakes/Seaway system with the Ina being the first vessel to enter the Great Lakes/Seaway system in 2012, while Regalica first visited in 2013. The Raba, along with six other vessels of her class, all are about 149.96 meters in length with a beam of 23.6 meters in width and all are registered in Liberia. Each vessel was built and constructed at the Sanfu-Shipyard in Taizhou, China. Other vessels that have yet to visit the Great Lakes/Seaway system of the Raba's class and series include the Narew, Olza, Prosna and the Skawa.


Great Lakes Maritime Institute celebrates National Maritime Day at Detroit

5/22 - Detroit, Mich. – The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority and the Great Lakss Maritime Institute will celebrate National Maritime Day on Wednesday, May 22, with a display of memorabilia honoring the S.S. Greater Detroit at the Port Authority office on the Detroit River at 10 a.m.

The institute’s Underwater Research Team recently discovered the anchor from the Greater Detroit a classsic side-wheel overnight passenger and freight steamer that plied local waters for nearly 30 years in the Detroit River. The anchor has rested on the bottom of the river for more than five decades near the old Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. (D&C) docks.

The 6,000-pound starboard bow anchor was left behind when the largest passenger steamer on the Great Lakes was burned as a spectacle in December 1956.

Designed by Frank E. Kirby, the 530-foot-long steamer was built 90 years ago for the D&C. The American Ship Building Co. launched the hull on Sept. 15, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio. The vessel then was towed to Detroit, where workers added multiple wooden decks and an ornate interior to her steel hull.

The Greater Detroit, which began passenger service in the summer of 1924, boasted accommodations for some 1,200 passengers. The vessel was placed on the overnight run across Lake Erie between Detroit and Buffalo, N.Y. She reportedly reached a speed of 21 miles per hour, with her feathering paddle wheels rotating at 29 revolutions per minute.

The rise of the automobile later cut into the popularity of steamer travel on the Great Lakes, but the Greater Detroit enjoyed renewed usage during World War II, when gasoline was rationed and some of the D&C’s other ships were put into military service.

The vessel was painted all white for the 1950 season and was laid up at the Detroit & Cleveland dock at the foot of Third Street in Detroit at the end of the navigation season. On May 9, 1951, D&C announced the suspension of service on the Great Lakes.

In December 1956, in preparation for the ship’s scrapping, the Greater Detroit‘s anchor chain was cut. The vessel and her sister ship, the S.S. Eastern States, were towed into Lake St. Clair and set on fire. Both hulls then were towed to Hamilton, Ontario and scrapped by the Steel Company of Canada in 1957.

The Great Lakes Maritime Institute has launched a fund-raising effort to raise the anchor. The goal is to place the iconic reminder of Detroit’s role in the Great Lakes passenger and freight transportation network on the grounds of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. John Jamian, executive director of the Port Authority, is the honorary chairman of the project.

Contributors who donate $1,000 to the cause will receive a series of three limited-edition Detroit Riverfront prints signed and numbered by marine artist William Moss, plus eight invitations to the anchor dedication and a Detroit River cruise. Those who contribute $250 will receive a signed, limited-edition print of the Greater Detroit passing under the Ambassador Bridge, two invitations to the anchor dedication and a Detroit River cruise.

The Maritime Institute’s website has additional information on the fund-raising project and the various donor levels. More information also is available by contacting John Polacsek at (313) 903-1043 or


Ice slowed resumption of lakes stone trade

5/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – Heavy ice cover on the Lakes that stretched well into April slowed resumption of the limestone trade. Shipments totaled only 1.8 million tons, a decrease of 28 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are 21 percent off the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 1.6 million tons, a decrease of 24 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian quarries totaled 247,670 tons, a decrease of nearly 50 percent from last year.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 2.1 million tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to a year ago, and 12 percent below the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.


Feds seek right taker for Superior entry lighthouse

5/22 - Superior, Wis. – No longer needed by the U.S. Coast Guard, the historic Superior entry lighthouse is being offered free to any eligible entity for educational, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes.

The federal government is making the offer under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, which aims to find stewards for lighthouses in an effort to save tax dollars while preserving the past. The program is administered by the General Services Administration in partnership with the Coast Guard and National Park Service.

“Advancements in navigation technology have reduced USCG’s requirement to own and operate light stations,” GSA spokeswoman Cat Langel said. “While the USCG may continue to maintain active aids to navigation at or near specific light stations, the structures themselves are often no longer critical to the USCG’s mission needs.”

Whoever takes control of the Superior lighthouse will have to agree to several conditions. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places, and any new owner must maintain the structure to federal standards. In addition, the Coast Guard will reserve an unrestricted right to enter the structure to service, replace or move the still-operating aids to navigation.

Since enactment of the National Historical Lighthouse Preservation Act in 2000, the GSA has conveyed 92 lighthouses to new owners required to maintain their historic standards.

Construction of the Superior lighthouse began in 1911. It replaced a temporary light used after the November 1905 Mataafa Storm washed away an earlier light. The lighthouse consists of a rectangular concrete fog signal building topped by a cylindrical tower 56 feet tall. Its light was first lit in 1913. The current light flashes green every five seconds; its fog signal sounds for three seconds twice a minute as needed.

The Superior lighthouse is not the only one the federal government is offering this year for free transfer under the National Historical Lighthouse Preservation Act. One in Connecticut and five in Michigan are also available.

The government offered the Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light last year. The National Park Service has extended the application deadline for a group that is interested in owning it, Park Service historian Michele Curran said.

“Historic lighthouses are unique in that they have sentimental and tangible value as historic landmarks in local communities,” GSA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann P. Kalayil said. “Through the preservation program, GSA helps find new stewards for lighthouses that are no longer considered mission critical to the United States Coast Guard.”

New owners have put the lighthouses to several uses. The North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee has been restored and is now a public museum. The NPS has approved an application for a group to own a different Milwaukee navigational light.

“They plan to use it as an educational facility,” Curran said.

One plan for that light is to use it to help teach people construction skills, working on the building’s rehabilitation. Some lighthouses are landmarks — a highly visible sign of a community’s presence on the lake.

“Sometimes communities like to own those lighthouses because of that importance,” Curran said.

Not all of the transfers have been free. If an eligible public body or nonprofit organization doesn’t come forward, surplus lighthouses might go on the auction block.

That happened with the light tower next to the Aerial Lift Bridge on Duluth’s south breakwater. It was offered for free transfer under the program in 2007. After no public, nonprofit or educational group expressed an interest, the government sold it in 2008 to Steve Sola and Matt Kampf of Duluth for $31,000 on an online auction.

Such sales have raised more than $3 million over the years. The money goes to the Coast Guard to help maintain lights that are still in federal ownership.

To get more information on historic lighthouses the federal government is offering to transfer to eligible groups and how to submit a letter of interest, visit Scroll down to “Available Lighthouses” and click on “2013 Program.”

Duluth News Tribune


WW1 German sub on Lake Michigan, but only divers can see it

5/22 - Chicago, Ill. – It is no secret that one of the major attractions at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is a World War II German submarine, the U-505. What you may not know is that Chicago also has a World War I German submarine but it happens to be resting in a place where very few people can see it. In 1919 the City of Chicago became host to a German submarine that has disappeared, but never left.

It was something of a trophy from the Great War. The German mine-laying sub U-C 97 was brought to the states in the summer of 1919. It toured some of the Great Lakes making stops in Racine, Milwaukee and its final destination Chicago. Along the way people could see, board, touch, perhaps curse this modern machine of war.

"The U-Boat was on tour. It was kind of a post-war, 'we won' tour, and so people got to go on to it and see it, and then as a condition of the armistice, it had to be sunk," Pritzker Military Library CEO Ken Clarke said.

Indeed, the order was to sink the UC-97 in deep water. In June of 1921, the sub was towed 20 to 30 miles off of Highland Park. The USS Wilmette was brought within range, and fired her four-inch guns.

"My understanding is they fired about 15 shots and they hit her about the water line and she went down pretty quick. She nose down and down she went," well-known maritime searcher Taras Lyssenko said.

And out there she rests - on the bottom of Lake Michigan.

"You know where the submarine is. I can take you right to the submarine and put you in the hatch if you want to go," Lyssenko said.

Cold, fresh water has kept the sub in pretty good shape as the years have passed. Lyssenko and colleagues spent four years searching for it, and found it back in the 1990s.

In the years since, he's recovered numerous World War II fighter planes from the lake - now restored and displayed, but Lyssenko's continuing dream is to do the same with the sub. But raising, restoring, and finding a home for it would cost, he says, upwards of $50 million.

"That's huge, but the value to this city and state and country is far, multiplier. It's an exponential multiplier of the value," Lyssenko said.

"If I was a betting person, it's going to take somebody with a very particular specific interest and desire to see this piece of history come alive again," Clarke said.

And here's one more piece of history. The ship that sunk the UC-97, The USS Wilmette, had different name and purpose a few years earlier. It was the steamship Eastland that in 1915 turned onto its side while docked in the Chicago River. Over 800 lives were lost in one of the worst maritime disasters ever.

The Eastland, later the Wilmette, was cut up for scrap after World War II. The UC-97 sits at the bottom, this appetizing, unseen pearl of history.

Pearls are expensive, and raising this one, while doable, will most definitely require "digging deep" in many respects.



NOAA's latest mobile app provides free nautical charts for recreational boating

5/22 - As recreational boaters gear up for a summer of fun on coastal waters and the Great Lakes, NOAA is testing MyNOAACharts, a new mobile application that allows users to download NOAA nautical charts and editions of the U.S. Coast Pilot. The app, which is only designed for Android tablets for the testing period, was released yesterday.

MyNOAACharts, which can be used on land and on the water, has GPS built-in capabilities that allow users find their positions on a NOAA nautical chart. They can zoom in any specific location with a touch of the finger, or zoom out for the big picture to plan their day of sailing. The Coast Pilot has "geotagged" some of the major locations--embedding geographical information, such as latitude and longitude, directly into the chart so it is readable in the app--and provides links to appropriate federal regulations. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play app store.

"Easy and workable access to nautical charts is important for boating safety," said Rear Admiral Gerd Glang, director of NOAA Office of Coast Survey. "I've seen a popular t-shirt that has a 'definition' of a nautical chart splayed across the front: 'ch䲴, n: a nautical map that shows you what you just hit.' As creative as that is, a boating accident can kill. Keeping a nautical chart on hand - to avoid hitting something - can save lives."

The beta test for MyNOAACharts will expire this Labor Day, Sept. 2. Coast Survey will then evaluate usage and user feedback to decide whether to release a finished version of the app.

"Expanding the app across a multitude of platforms, ensuring easy accessibility to over a thousand charts and nearly 5,000 pages of U.S. Coast Pilot, will take considerable resources," Glang said. "We can do it if the boating community likes the app. We truly want the users to let us know if the app meets their needs."

Boaters without an Android tablet should not despair. The Office of Coast Survey provides free BookletCharts, which are 8 " x 11" PDF versions of NOAA nautical charts that can be downloaded and printed at home. The U.S. Coast Pilot is also available in a free PDF version. Those products, and information for purchasing other nautical products, are available at

Important notice for commercial mariners: The mobile app MyNOAACharts and the BookletCharts do not fulfill chart carriage requirements for regulated commercial vessels under Titles 33 and 46 of the Code of Federal Regulations.


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.

1914: W.H. GILBERT sank in Lake Huron, about 15 miles off Thunder Bay Island following a collision with CALDERA. There was no loss of life. The hull was located in 1982 and rests at a depth of about 200 feet. CALDERA later became b) A.T. KINNEY and c) HILLSDALE.

1942: FRANK B. BAIRD was sunk by gunfire from U-158 on the Atlantic while bound for Sydney, NS with a cargo of bauxite. All of the crew were saved and later picked up by the Norwegian freighter TALISMAN and landed at Pointe Noire, French Equatorial Guinea

1968: JOSEPH BLOCK ran aground at Porte des Mortes Passage, Green Bay, and released the same day. It sustained heavy hull damage to the bottom plates and was surrendered to the underwriters. The vessel was later repaired and returned to service as c) GEORGE M. STEINBRENNER (ii).

1978: AGIOS NICOLAOS, a Seaway caller in 1968, was about 60 miles north of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf, enroute to Kuwait, when an explosion and subsequent fire erupted in the engineroom. The ship was gutted, towed into Kuwait and abandoned. The vessel was later broken up. As a) BORGHOLM, it began trading to the Great Lakes in 1953 and made 21 voyages through the Seaway from 1959 to 1967.

1979: IRISH PINE made 19 trips through the Seaway from 1960 through 1964 for Irish Shipping. It arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, on this date in 1979 as c) ARAMON. The ship had been traveling from Piraeus, Greece, to Port Sudan, Sudan, when the cargo of bitumen solidified in the holds. The vessel was sold for scrap and dispatched to Kaohsiung to be dismantled by the Taiwan Ship Scrap Co. Ltd., with the cargo still on board. Work began on July 18, 1979.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


U.S.-Flag lakers float down 11.4 percent in April

5/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 7.3 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in April, a decrease of 11.4 percent compared to 2013. The April float was also down from the month’s 5-year average, but much less so - 5 percent.

U.S.-flag lakers moved 4.1 million tons of iron ore in April, 73.1 percent of the Lakes ore trade that month. The 4.1 millions represent a decrease of 9.9 percent compared to a year ago, but an increase of 5.8 percent compared to the months 5-year average.

Coal shipments in U.S. hulls totaled 1.5 million tons, 68.3 percent of all the coal moving on the Lakes in April. The fleets April coal total was also a virtual repeat of a year ago.

The 1.4 million tons of limestone that U.S.-flag lakers hauled in April represent 74.4 percent of the trade that month. However, U.S.-flag stone cargos fell more than 28 percent when compared to a year ago.

Through April, the U.S.-flag float stands at 12.5 million tons, a decrease of 14.6 percent compared to a year ago. The largest decrease has come in iron ore; shipments are off by 1.1 million tons or 11.4 percent. However, compared to the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe, U.S.-flag cargos are down by just 2.2 percent, and iron ore is up by 8.7 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  May 21

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sam Laud called on the Saginaw River on Monday, unloading at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City during the afternoon. The Laud was back outbound Monday evening. Calumet was inbound late Monday afternoon, headed all of the up to Saginaw to unload at the GM Dock. She is expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Army Corps tug Cheraw was inbound at the Buffalo Traffic Buoy at 7:20 a.m.


Obituary: Dale Baechler

5/21 - Dale Baechler died at Alexandra Marine & General Hospital on Sunday May 19 in his 58th year. He was a dedicated volunteer firefighter for 30 years with the Goderich Fire Department, an employee of the Goderich Elevators and recipient of several awards for volunteerism.


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.

1919 FERDINAND SCHLESSINGER, enroute from Erie, Pa., to Port Arthur, Ont., with 3,514 tons of coal, began leaking in a storm and sank 15 miles off Passage Island, Lake Superior. The crew was picked up by the ASSINIBOIA

1932 The C.P.R. passenger ship MANITOBA goes aground in Georgian Bay off Cape Croker in heavy fog and has to be lightered before being released the next day.

1942 TROISDOC is the latest member of the Paterson fleet to be a victim of enemy action in World War Two. It was torpedoed by U-558 about 40 miles west of Jamaica and the crew escaped in the lifeboats. The vessel was enroute from Mobile, AL to Georgetown, British Guiana, with 55,700 bags of cement, vegetables, 1600 cases of beer and cigarettes.

1963 The Taiwanese freighter VAN YUNG had visited the Great Lakes in 1960 and 1961. It was laid up at Keelung, Taiwan, on this day due to fire damage and was sold for scrap in October 1963.

1965 Leaks developed in the boiler room of the Norwegian freighter LIONNE and the ship, enroute from Caen, France, to Montreal, sank in the Atlantic. Two members of the crew were lost. The vessel had made 5 trips through the Seaway from 1961 to 1963.

1973 The retired American Steamship Company self-unloader UNITED STATES GYPSUM, under tow for scrapping at Vado, Italy, broke loose in the Atlantic off Sydney, NS and sank.

1979 The second PRINS WILLEM V, a Dutch freighter of 1956 vintage, was damaged extensively by a fire amidships while idle at Port Elizabeth, South Africa as f) ARAXOS. It has been for sale and was scrapped at Durban, South Africa, in 1981.

2007 A fire broke out in the engineroom of the Canadian owned salty UMIAVUT while enroute from Kolundborg, Denmark, to La Corogne, Spain, with 8600 tons of flour. The ship was towed into Brest, France, and repaired. It visited the Great Lakes as b) LINDENGRACHT in 2000 and was back as c) UMIAVUT in 2011.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Whitefish Bay, CSL’s second Trillium-Class laker, begins maiden voyage

5/20 - The Whitefish Bay, CSL’s second of four Trillium-Class self-unloading lakers destined to operate in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, set sail last Friday on her maiden voyage. Departing from Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, she will cross the Pacific Ocean, transiting through the Panama Canal before arriving in Montreal, Quebec.

The vessel will be commanded by Captain Kevin Crouse and Chief Engineer Dave Cooke, and is expected to take approximately 50-60 days to complete her voyage.

The Whitefish Bay follows in the footsteps of the award-winning Trillium-Class Baie St. Paul that has been operating in the Great Lakes since December 2012. Two additional Trillium-Class self-unloading vessels and two new bulk carriers are set to join the Canada Steamship Lines’ fleet in 2013-2014.

Click here to view a real-time map tracking the Whitefish Bay’s maiden voyage.


April coal shipments on the lakes little changed from a year ago

5/20 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.2 million tons in April, a virtual tie with a year ago. The trade was, however, 19 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.4 million tons, a slight increase over a year ago. Included in that total were 168,000 tons loaded in Superior, Wisconsin, and transshipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing colliers.

Loadings in Chicago totaled 300,000 tons, again a slight increase compared to a year ago.

Shipments from Lake Erie ports dipped to 500,000 tons, a decrease of 22 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date, the Lakes coal trade stands at 2.8 million tons, a decrease of 15.4 percent compared to a year ago, and 33 percent below the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  May 20

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway was inside the Lorain harbor at 14:30 Sunday and at 15:30 was unloading at the West 9th Street dock

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Saginaw loaded Sunday at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead.


Memorial ceremony is Friday on Bramble

5/20 - Port Huron, Mich. – It will soon be “all hands on deck” again for the former USCGS Bramble. At dock since 2003, the ship awaits a Coast Guard hull inspection before being rated seaworthy.

But for now, visitors can view the historic vessel at the Seaway Terminal Bean Dock in a special ceremony on 1 p.m. Friday. It will be the first public viewing of the vessel since it was purchased by Robert Klingler of Marine City in January.

The Memorial Day weekend ceremony will consist of a short, military style ceremony with an American Legion color guard, rifle detail, and a trumpeter to play Taps.

According to volunteer Michael Murray, the 180-foot long ship will be reopened to allow public access until the Bramble’s hull is inspected. Admission fees have not been determined. If it passes hull inspection, new owner Robert Klingler of Marine City plans to finish restoration work to return the ship to operation. He has tentative plans to sail it to a War of 1812 reenactment.

After the Bramble was decommissioned in 2003, it was donated to the Port Huron Museum and was open for guided tours and sleepovers “It was like a campout, except it floated,” Murray said.

Constructed in Duluth, Minn., the Bramble was one of 39 similar vessels built between 1942-44. First commissioned during WWII, the Bramble saw combat in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. It holds the record for the largest single drug seizure, capturing 55 tons of marijuana in the Caribbean in the spring of 1987.

In addition to its military service, the Bramble holds the distinction as one of the first ships to circumnavigate the North American continent and was integral to clearing the long sought Northwest Passage in 1957.

The Bramble also took part in Operation Crossroads in 1948, sitting at anchor 20 miles from ground zero in the Bikini atoll underwater hydrogen bomb tests.

From 1998-2003 it operated in the Great Lakes tending buoys and conducting search and rescue, icebreaking and occasional ferry missions. It was decommissioned in 2003.

Port Huron Times Herald


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

5/20 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and all proceeds from the raffle go to benefit BoatNerd.Com. The proceeds will go to maintaining this free website.

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


Updates -  May 20

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Champlain vs Fassett St. Bridge.
Saltie Gallery updated - Federal Danube, Federal Kushiro, and HHL Nile


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.

1923 – The steel bulk carrier EDWARD U. DEMMER sank in the deep waters of Lake Huron after a collision with the SATURN at 0740 hours, in heavy fog, while about 40 miles southeast of Thunder Bay Island. All on board were saved.

1924 – STATE OF OHIO, an iron sidewheel passenger steamer, burned at Cleveland on this date in 1924. It was rebuilt as a barge but stranded on the main breakwall at Lorain on December 17, 1929, and became a total loss.

1928 – The CLEARWATER stranded near Trinity Bay, in the St. Lawrence while inbound with a cargo of pulpwood and was blown on the beach. The brand-new vessel was abandoned to the insurers but the hull was salvaged in July, repaired and returned to service later in the year as TRENORA. It last sailed as KEYSHEY in 1963.

1942 – TORONDOC of the Paterson fleet went south for the bauxite trade during World War Two. German broadcasts reported that it was torpedoed and sunk by U-69 on this date. All of the 23-member crew were lost when the ship went down in the vicinity of the French island of Martinique.

1945 – The CALGARY had operated on the Great Lakes from 1912 to 1916 but left for the sea and was converted to a tanker in 1921. The ship was renamed b) BACOI and served on coastal runs for Standard Oil and even returned to the Great Lakes in 1938. It suffered an explosion and fire while in the Cape Cod Canal on this date in 1945 and had to be beached. It was scrapped at Jersey City in 1948.

1946 – The Georgian Bay area passenger ship MANITOULIN stranded at Clapperton Island but was released the next day by the tug NORTHERN.

1960 – The STANDARD PORTLAND CEMENT settled on the bottom of Lake Huron, with her decks above water, after a collision in fog with the upbound AUGUST ZIESING. The former was refloated, sold to Redwood Enterprises and came into Canadian service as ELMDALE. The latter resumed trading for U.S. Steel after bow repairs.

1960 – PAUL H. TOWNSEND was hit from behind by the British freighter TYNEMOUTH on foggy Lake Huron while trying to avoid the wrecked STANDARD PORTLAND CEMENT and the anchored AUGUST ZIESING. The PAUL H. TOWNSEND had stern plates damaged while the salty sustained bow damage. TYNEMOUTH had become a regular Seaway trader in 1959 and made 18 trips inland through 1967. It ran aground off Fuga Island, the Philippines as b) EASTERN RIVER on April 24, 1971, and became a total loss.

1981 – The West German freighter VIRGILIA made 30 trips to the Great Lakes between 1959 and 1967. It was renamed b) MARIA in 1974 and suffered an engineroom fire in the Red Sea and had to be abandoned while enroute from Mersin, Turkey, to Bombay, India, on this date in 1981. The hull was towed to shallow water and beached about 5 miles south of Suez. It was later sold, via auction, and apparently scrapped as c) FARIDA II at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, in 1989.

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


Kathryn Spirit continues to deteriorate at Beauharnois

5/19 - Beauharnois, QC - The former St. Lawrence Seaway/Great Lakes cargo carrier Kathryn Spirit is in increasingly deteriorating condition, according to Canadian Minister of Parliament Anne Minh-Thu Quach, who visited the vessel at its location in Lake St. Louis at Beauharnois last Thursday.

The ship last sailed January 10, 2010 and was owned at that time by Hamilton, Ont.,-based McKeil Marine. She was built at Goteborg, Sweden, in 1967, carried the name Holmsund for 30 years, then sailed as Menominee. After layup at Sorel-Tracy, the vessel was towed to Beauharnois to be scrapped in August 2011, but those plans evidently fell through.

The MP's guide was Joel Baillargeon of CAI Logistic, based in Moncton and charge of the ship on behalf of the unnamed Mexican company that now owns it. Its role is to return the boat to state standards so that can leave Canadian waters safely.

"Sure it smelled damp, an abandoned boat ... There is furniture in there yet, there are broken windows, vermin, dead cats," he told the legislator.

On boarding the freighter for the first time, Baillargeon found 500 tons of water in the engine room. The person who took care of the boat had not previously closed valves before leaving for the last time, so that water seeped, and froze in winter, breaking pipes.

"That's what tipped the boat and it did touch the bottom, she said. The water has been pumped out and there was no oil spill.

"If there had been a leak, it would have been seen that the water around was black around the boat," Mr. Baillargeon explained.

The problem at the moment is to get rid of more water. The boat floats, but is too low in the water. Divers need to inspect the hull. This inspection is essential for a report to be submitted to Transport Canada.

Meanwhile, Kathryn Spirit suffers from night raiders. "People go, loot the metal to resell later, said Ms. Quach. "There is stainless steel which is no longer there, the wheel of the boat is totally gone."

Ms. Quach said she hopes that the Mexican company will not be discouraged and permanently abandon the expensive vessel.

Le Journal de Montreal, Rene Beauchamp


Why low Lake Ontario levels mean high St. Lawrence levels

5/19 - It’s been reported for months - years even - that the Great Lakes, from Superior to Ontario, are at historically low water levels. So it was surprising to get the news last week that regulators are lowering the gates at the Iroquois Dam near Ogdensburg because the St. Lawrence River is too high. It's quite a puzzle.

Last weekend, shoreline homeowners and boaters between Ogdensburg and Massena were alarmed to look out the window and watch the St. Lawrence rise.

Dalton Foster is president of the Wilson Hill Association and an expert on water levels in this part of the St. Lawrence. He said the shore was "eroding away. A lot of people had their boats damaged. Docks were under water."

Here's why this happened: Regulators are trying to do something about those low water levels on Lake Ontario. So they're letting less water through the hydropower dam near Massena. In other words, they're trying to hold back water and store it on Lake Ontario.

The problem was, says Foster, west and southwest winds whipped up at the same time, basically pushing water across Lake Ontario and into the St. Lawrence.

That pushes more water down the river, Foster says, and because regulators were still letting less water go through the dam in Massena, the river had nowhere to go but up; hence the flooding.

So Wednesday, regulators decided to try something else. They lowered the gates of the Iroquois Dam, a much smaller structure upriver from the big Massena power dam.

John Kangas, U.S secretary of the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control, says the gates of the Iroquois Dam are normally raised and kept above the water level, "to allow recreational boats to go back and forth."

How does this work? Picture a bunch of garage doors above the river. Wednesday, Kangas ordered those garage doors to be dipped down into the water. And that restricts the water flow and lowers the river several inches.

"This doesn't hold back the water. The same amount of water is going through the river. What it does is just change the river profile a little bit."

The Wilson Hill Association's Dalton Foster says lowering the gates at Iroquois Dam has helped lower the River's level…a little. "Yesterday it was down, but now it's coming back up again, because the wind has shifted again."

So we have two takeaways. Regulator John Kangas fears more dry weather this summer, so he's trying to store two inches of extra water on Lake Ontario to release this fall, to help with drinking water intakes and boating.

"Fall tends to be a kind of critical time. St. Lawrence is falling. Lake Ontario is falling. Ottawa River is normally falling. There might be a need to put a little bit more water down the St. Lawrence River to help out the downstream with their intakes and navigation."

The second takeaway, says Dalton Foster, is that one man-made change to this vast natural system has many consequences. "It will have many effects and it will have different effects all the way down the river."

That means if you live along the river from Ogdensburg to Massena, look out for your docks and boats.

North Country Public Radio


Port Reports -  May 19

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano The Hon. James L. Oberstar departed early Saturday morning, after spending the overnight hours Friday unloading stone. Shortly after the Oberstar had departed the John B. Aird came in with a load of salt. They were outbound for the lake by late afternoon. The G.L. Ostrander with barge Integrity also came in during the evening hours with a load for LaFarge.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saginaw departed at 7:30 a.m. and headed to the canal. CCG Ship Corporal Teather CV departed Burlington at 10 a.m. from the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. She returned at 5:30 p.m. Catherine Desganges departed Hamilton at 10 a.m. from Pier 25. HHL Nile departed at 4 p.m.


Dossin Great Lakes Museum reopens with new local focus

5/19 - Detroit, Mich. – The Dossin Great Lakes Museum reopens this weekend after undergoing a five-month, $2 million renovation. The Belle Isle attraction has added new exhibits, updated existing ones and modernized the maritime museum with new technology.

The museum, which opened in 1960, has been refreshed to focus on the waterways of the Detroit area, rather than all of the Great Lakes.

"It's a wonderful museum on a wonderful island, and it had gotten old," says curator Joel Stone. "Some of the stuff that went up on the wall in 1960 was still on the wall, and new things had come in every five or 10 years. The story had been lost."

Stone says with the updates, the flow of the information becomes more cogent.

"Most of our groups just came in and wandered, so we wanted to make it so people could come in and wander and find a story on their own."

Besides a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting, one of the major changes is the new permanent exhibit "Built by the River," which examines the impact the Detroit River has had on this community, from our fur trading history to today's recreational use.

This new display is where visitors will find a long-time favorite of the museum, a Detroit River webcam, which has been updated with higher definition images.

In the "Built by the River" presentation, history enthusiasts will enjoy reading about how the river gave the city an advantage when it came to wartime, industrial development and marine transportation, and younger visitors can keep entertained by taking the wheel in an interactive area that simulates a speedboat racing down the Detroit River.

More speedboat info is found around the corner at "A River's Roar," a retrospect of hydroplane racing in Detroit. This new, but temporary, exhibit revisits the last century of power boat racing on the Detroit River where the Gold Cup, the oldest trophy in motorsports, has taken place more than any other venue. The display includes boat models, memorabilia and info on drivers and their boats.

Longstanding favorite aspects of the Dossin museum will remain, but with some updates.

Walking into the museum, visitors are still greeted in the Gothic Room, featuring a stunning, colorful stained glass mural of LaSalle discovering Detroit. This room once was part of the ship City of Detroit III.

Another part of the museum that previously was a boat is the William Clay Ford Pilot House. Built in 1952, the freighter moved iron ore and coal from the northern Great Lakes to the River Rouge Steel Plant. It was retired in the '80s, and the pilothouse was installed into the wall of the Dossin that faces the Detroit River. This area was updated with a touch-screen kiosk that gives detailed information on the instruments inside the pilothouse.

As a thank you for visiting the museum during its grand reopening weekend, the Detroit Historical Museum is offering guests a chance to win a Comerica Park suite package for the June 23 Detroit Tigers game, courtesy of PNC Bank. The prize includes 14 tickets, two parking passes and food and beverages.


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, 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 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 was 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 McDougall, 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

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Friday the Manistee was unloading at Fox River Dock, the tug/barge Prentiss Brown/St. Marys Conquest were inbound for St. Marys Cement and the Cason J. Callaway was holding off the mouth of the river for the Manistee to clear.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Alpena made her first visit of the season to the Saginaw River on Friday, calling on the Lafarge Cement Dock in Essexville to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn - A-397 headed up the Black Rock Canal at the Ferry Street draw around 1:45 p.m. Friday with her barge.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sichem Melborne arrived at 7 a.m. Hamilton Energy arrived at 8:30 a.m. from bunkering in Port Weller. Peter R Cresswell departed at 9 a.m. in ballast for Goderich. Algoma Progress departed at 12:30 p.m. in ballast for Silver Bay. Tug John Spence and barge Niagara Spirit arrived in ballast at 1 p.m. from Oswego. They went to Pier 14 to await further orders. Algowood arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco.


CSL’s new Thunder Bay registered

5/18 - The CSL Group Inc. registered the new Trillium-Class vessel Thunder Bay in Montreal on May 16. The official number is 836913, and gross tonnage is listed as 24,430.

Mac Mackay


May Marine News Casualties and Demolitions

5/18 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports there was one casualty and five Seaway salties going for scrap in the May 2013 issue.

Casualties: NINA P. had first been a Seaway trader as ERIKOUSA WAVE. It was barely a year old when it came inland for the first time in 1987 and was a pretty steady trader to inland ports to the end of 2000 when it took on a load of potash at Thunder Bay. The 183.09 metre long bulk carrier returned as b) ERIKOUSA for one last trip in 2004. A fire broke out in the engineroom about 200 miles southeast of Mauritius on February 13, 2012, as e) NINA P. and the vessel arrived at port Louis, Mauritius on February 22. After being unloaded, the ship was declared a total loss and sold to Bangladesh shipbreakers. It arrived at Chittagong on June 8, 2012, but, due to pending legal action, was not beached for dismantling until Feb. 25, 2013.

Demolitions: ASPHODEL arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on February 13, 2013, and was beached on March 13. The 176.99 metre long bulk carrier traveled through the Seaway from 1985 through 2004 as a) VAMAND WAVE and returned as b) YAMASKA for two trips in 2007 and one final one for Sault Ste. Marie and Cleveland in 2008. The ship became c) ASPHODEL in 2010.

CATHRINA arrived at Mumbai, India, on January 4, 2013, and was beached on January 24. The vessel was sailing under its sixth name and had been through the Seaway as a) SLAPY in 1994 under the flag of the Czech Republic and had been back as late as 1998.

ELMA had been a Great Lakes caller as a) ROLLNES beginning in 1977 and survived a serious engineroom fire, off Bergen, Norway, on February 19, 2002. As d) ELMA, the vessel was sold to Turkish shipbreakers and arrived at Aliaga to be dismantled on March 13, 2013.

LADY SERA was built as OCEAN PRITI in Spain in 1982. The vessel came through the Seaway for the first time bound for Oshawa on June 4, 1992, and returned several times during the 1990s. It was sold to Pakistani shipbreakers as d) LADY SERA in 2012 and beached at Gadani Beach on December 30 for dismantling in 2013.

PREM dated from 1990 and construction as a) LOK PREM. The vessel received its second name in 2013 after being sold to Indian shipbreakers for dismantling at Alang. The 184.7-metre long bulk carrier arrived there on January 18 for scrapping by Hatimi Steel.

Submitted by: Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 18

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain 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 shipwrecks 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."

1919 – CITY OF MEAFORD, a wooden-hulled passenger freighter was destroyed by fire at the dock in Collingwood.

1922 – GLENFINNAN, downbound with grain, and MIDLAND KING collided in fog southeast of Passage Isle, Lake Superior, and both masters received two-month suspensions.

1928 – The whaleback steamer JOHN ERICSSON was heavily damaged in a collision with the A.F. HARVEY of the Pittsburgh SS Co. in fog on Lake Huron. The latter was lost as b) CEDARVILLE in another collision on May 7, 1965.

1971 – TRANSPACIFIC was entering the harbor at the island of St. Pierre in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to get technical help for a malfunctioning radar when the ship stranded on the rocks. The West German freighter, a regular Seaway trader since 1959, was abandoned. The hull has gradually broken apart by the elements over the years.

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


Great Lakes ore trade down 9 percent in April

5/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Cleveland shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 5.6 million tons in April, a decrease of 9 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were 11 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 4.9 million tons, a decrease of 9.5 percent compared to a year ago. The April total included 257,000 tons shipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing vessels and delivery overseas.

Shipments from Canadian ports totaled 700,000 tons. The decrease from a year ago 36,000 tons is the equivalent of approximately 1.3 cargos in a Seaway-sized laker. Year-to-date, the Lakes ore trade stands at 10.8 million tons, a decrease of 10 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are, however, up more than 13 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-April timeframe.


Boatnerd Gathering in Port Huron June 1 offers plenty to do

5/17 - Port Huron, Mich. – The Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point is the central location for the first annual Port Huron Boatnerd Gathering on June 1.

Home to World Headquarters, this is a prime location for boat watching. The 10th Annual Great Lakes Nautical Society Model Boat Show will be held inside the Maritime Center (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), with a flower and crafts market outside; the passenger vessel Huron Lady II will be offering river cruises for $5 at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5 p.m.; the Blue Water Bridge and the Thomas Edison Parkway welcome visitors and are unmatched spots for photographing boats; the Fort Gratiot Light Station will be offering tours and a climb up the tower (lighthouse tour and climb is $7); Pine Grove Park will be hosting a music venue and there will be a dinner cruise aboard the USNSCS Greyfox, Port Huron’s Navel Cadet Ship, featuring live music by Brothers in Arms, Fifth Avenue and more. Price for the Greyfox trip is $30 and boarding is on the Black River behind the Zebra Bar beginning at 3:30 p.m. Departure is at 4 p.m. The cruise will be about 2 1/2 hours.

For a weekend of fun, ships, and camaraderie plan on attending the gathering at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point. Check the Facebook event page for ticket information, the Acheson Ventures website for directions or call Wendy LaFond for further information at: (810)941-0526.


Updates -  May 17

Saltie Gallery updated - Claude A Desgagnes, Federal Yukon, Lady Doris, and Sichem Melborne


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. Sank on December 16, 1973, in position 43.3N x 30.15W, in Atlantic Ocean, while in tandem tow with ROBERT S. MCNAMARA and German tug SEETRANS I, bound for scrapping at Santander, Spain.

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.

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

On 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 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.

1916 – ROCK FERRY, a wooden steamer, ran aground due to fog off Main Duck Island, Lake Ontario but was salvaged and repaired.

1924 – ORINOCO sank about 6 miles off Agawa Bay, Lake Superior, while upbound with coal. The wooden steamer had sought shelter behind Michipicoten Island while towing the barge CHIEFTAIN, but then tried to return to Whitefish Bay. ORINOCO began to leak under the stress and was lost.

1957 – The composite hulled steamer YANKCANUCK ran aground in mud at Whitby but was released in what proved to be her final season. She was laid up at Sault Ste. Marie at 1014 hours on June 27.

1969 – The tug COLINETTE sank in Toronto Bay after the hull was punctured while docking the freighter ATLANTIC HOPE at Pier 35. All on board were saved and the vessel was raised and repaired. It apparently survives as a private yacht named NOMADA.

Data from: Skip Gillham, John Dunlap, 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday evening at the Upper Harbor, CSL Tadoussac loaded ore on her second visit of the season and Pathfinder arrived to unload stone into the hopper.

St. Joseph, Mich. - Stan Sienicki
Alpena came calling at Benton Harbor/St. Joe about 10:50 Wednesday morning at the Lafarge Cement facility under brilliant, clear blue skies

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The hardest working boat on the Saginaw River was back at it again on Wednesday. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound during the late morning with a split load. The pair partially unloaded at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Moore-Kuber were expected to be outbound early Thursday morning. This is their fourth trip of the season to the Saginaw River.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Herbert C. Jackson loaded Wednesday at the NS coal dock. It was her second visit of the week.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
Robert S. Pierson was at anchor off Rochester Wednesday afternoon for weather.


U.S. Senate passes bill that could help pay for Great Lakes dredging projects

5/16 - Washington, D.C. – A sweeping water resources development bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday could increase dredging in Great Lakes harbors and channels, though it could take some time to see the exact effects.

The legislation includes a provision that would require $1 billion in proceeds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent in the next fiscal year, and the minimum funding level increase by at least $100 million in the years after that.

The provision could help address a backlog of about $200 million in dredging projects spread across 60 federally-maintained harbors and channels in the Great Lakes, almost half of which are in Michigan.

The bill, which now goes to the House for consideration, also includes a provision that requires at least 20% of any additional funding above last years levels go to Great Lakes projects.

An earlier version of the legislation would have required that all the proceeds from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent annually, but congressional appropriators and the White House balked at the suggestion that special rules would be needed to reduce funding for harbor dredging and other projects.

Both of Michigan’s senators voted in favor of the legislation, which passed on an 83-14 vote. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, had been battling to free up more of the money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund for projects, especially at a time of record low lake levels.

Great Lakes harbors and channels are in great need of dredging, Levin said in a floor statement. A backlog of dredging projects forces vessels to carry less than their capacity, threatens to close harbors and increases the risk of vessel groundings. These funds need to be used for harbor maintenance instead of for other purposes.

Dredging funding had been cut back in recent years even as the trust fund ran at a surplus. It is funded by taxes paid on the value of cargo imported into the U.S.

Detroit Free Press


St. Lawrence River board will lower gates at Iroquois Dam to reduce water level

5/16 - Massena, N.Y. - In response to an order by the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control, the gates at the Iroquois Dam near Waddington will be lowered on Wednesday due to increased water levels on Lake St. Lawrence.

The order to lower the gates was issued Tuesday to the New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation, which jointly operate the Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam.

Iroquois Dam is upstream of the power dam and regulates the outflow from Lake Ontario and the water level of Lake St. Lawrence. The gates of the Iroquois Dam are being lowered to help prevent Lake St. Lawrence, the section of the river between Waddington and Massena, from rising too high.

The lowered gates at the Iroquois Dam will require recreational boats to use Iroquois Lock to pass through the dam. The gates will remain in place until further notice, the announcement from NYPA said.

North Country Now


Cuyahoga River closes for bridge construction

5/16 - Cleveland, Ohio - With the finish now in sight, crews building the first new Inner Belt Bridge are preparing for one of the biggest challenges yet -- placing steel girders over water.

The Cuyahoga River is scheduled to close to boat traffic Wednesday and at least two more times in the coming weeks as workers link piers on either side of the river, below the Tremont bluffs.

The two massive piers are among 14 that will bear the Interstate 90 bridge over the river valley. The $293 million project is scheduled for completion on Oct. 28, nearly three years after crews began moving earth, pouring concrete and erecting steel.

The new bridge will carry I-90 traffic for three years. Meanwhile, the old, corroding bridge will be demolished and a second bridge will be built in its place, at an estimated cost of $330 million.

The second bridge is scheduled to open in late 2016 and will carry traffic headed east. The first bridge will convert to its designed use for westbound cars.

About 80 percent of the first bridge is built. All the concrete piers are poured. Crews have linked most of the piers with steel girders, which will bear the concrete decks that will be poured on top.

The job of erecting the steel girders -- each weighing as much as three cement trucks -- is easier to do on land than it is over water.

Bridge contractor Walsh Construction, of Chicago, oversees the work. Crews will use two barges on the river for the job, said Amanda Lee, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

One will carry steel pieces. The other will hold a 20-story crane weighing 275 tons. The giant hoist will work with cranes on land to lift and link the steel pieces.

The river is about 200 feet wide at the work site. The span between the piers is 380 feet, a bit longer than a football field.

The key is to break the work down to "manageable steps," said Tom Flask, spokesman for the bridge-building team. "The experience gained on the earlier parts of the bridge has contributed to planning the best way to accomplish this difficult segment of our work."

The Inner Belt Bridge project is "not too extreme in terms of the over-water span length and height," Arthur Huckelbridge, a civil engineering professor at Case Western Reserve University, said in an email. "So, aside from employing the barge-mounted crane, I suspect that the erection of this span is not radically different from the previously constructed spans."

It's not just an engineering challenge. Orchestrating river traffic is daunting too.

ODOT and the bridge team are coordinating with a dozen entities, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the Lake Carriers Association and ArcelorMittal, the East Side steelworks that receives ore by water.

The river will close for 48 hours starting Wednesday. At least two more outages will occur in the next few weeks.

For those who'd like to watch, the best view will be from the Abbey Avenue sidewalk in Tremont, just west of the Inner Belt Bridge. There is no public access to work sites on either side of the river, ODOT said.

The Plain Dealer


Audio between Herbert C. Jackson, Coast Guard after bridge accident

5/16 -  Audio clip on YouTube


Obituary: Harvey Floyd Hadland

5/16 - Ashland, Wis. – Harvey Floyd Hadland, age 82, of Ashland, passed away on Sunday, May 12, 2013, at Memorial Medical Center in Ashland. He was born Jan. 29, 1931, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Haakon and Olga (Olsen) Barrebek.

He served in the U.S. Army from 1952-1954 and was stationed in Korea for a year and a half. He was discharged from the Army at the rank of corporal. For his military service, he received the Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars, the National Defense Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal.

After his military service, Hadland sailed for one year for the Inland Steel Company as a deck watchman on the ore boat L.E. Block in 1969. He returned to commercial fishing and fished most of his adult life with his brother Clifford until they retired in 1988. They sold their business to Martin Peterson and moved to Ashland in September 2003.

Hadland enjoyed making fish tug models and was a commercial fishing historian. He and Robert Mackreth created their own website,, which was about the history of commercial fishing on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and included many photos of fish tugs.

The Roberts Funeral Home in Ashland handled the arrangements. To view this obituary online, sign the guestbook or express online condolences, visit


Badger Cruise June 1 Reservations Closing

5/16 - Only four (4) more days to book reservations for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger.

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

Optional on Friday night, May 31, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. Only a few staterooms are still available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Reservations must be received by Saturday, May 18. Click here to reserve your spot


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 upbound 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 10-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.

1905 – The second THOMAS W. PALMER, a composite bulk carrier, collided with HARVARD of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company off Stannard Rock, Lake Superior in dense fog and was nearly cut in two. The crew was able to walk to safety aboard HARVARD before their ship sank.

1919 – D.R. HANNA sank in Lake Huron 6 miles off Thunder Bay Light after a collision with the QUINCY A. SHAW. All hands were saved but the sinking of the grain laden 552-foot freighter was the largest insurance loss on the lakes to that time. The hull has been located upside down in 90 feet of water.

1941 – The Norwegian freighter REINUNGA began Great Lakes visits in 1926 and was forced to spend the winter of 1932-1933 at Dain City along the Welland Canal. The vessel, which dated from 1902, was bombed and sunk by German aircraft as d) KYTHERA at Suda Bay, Crete, on this date in 1941.

1962 – ARGENTEUIL, a former Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender, was rebuilt as a coastal freighter in 1961. It sank in the St. Lawrence near Lauzon, QC, with the loss of 3 lives on this date in 1962.

1975 – MANCHESTER RAPIDO provided a container shuttle service in the Seaway beginning in 1971, went aground off Pasajes, Spain, on March 15, 1975, and then sank. The hull was refloated May 16, 1975, for repairs and a return to service.

1987 – MARIA ANNA SCHULTE first came inland in 1958. It ran aground as e) LUCKY VIRGIN off San Andras Island, Colombia, while en route from Colon, Panama, to Aruba in 1974 and had to be abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Port Inland, the Joseph L. Block arrived early in the morning on Monday and departed later in the day. The H. Lee White is due next on Wednesday in the late morning to load, followed by the Wilfred Sykes, arriving in the late evening. The Michipicoten is expected to arrive on Thursday in the early evening and the Sykes is due back again on May 19 in the early morning.

In Cedarville, the Joseph L. Block arrived in the early evening on Monday. Following the Block, the next vessel scheduled to arrive will be the James L. Kuber in the early afternoon on Tuesday. The Calumet is also expected to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon and rounding out the schedule is the Wilfred Sykes on Wednesday in the early morning.

Calcite & Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Calcite, the Lakes Contender loaded at the North Dock and was expected to depart at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. The Pere Marquette 41 was at anchor and waiting for the Lakes Contender to clear before loading from the North Dock. The tug Defiance with the barge Ashtabula were expected to arrive at Calcite Tuesday at 8 a.m. For Wednesday, there are no vessels on the schedule at this time.

In Stoneport, Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. to load. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday. On Thursday, both Great Lakes Trader and Hon. James L. Oberstar are expected to arrive. Kaye E. Barker rounds out the schedule, arriving on Friday in the late afternoon.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Calumet arrived at Lafarge overnight and unloaded coal. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation also came in to port Tuesday morning, docking under the silos. Lower Lakes fleetmate Manitowoc was at anchor out in the bay waiting for the Calumet and Innovation to depart. Once it had a clear dock, the Manitowoc tied up and unloaded coal.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The revised schedule for the Toledo docks has the following vessels loading at the CSX Coal Dock: Algolake is due on Friday in the afternoon, Algoma Enterprise is due on Sunday during the morning followed by Lewis J. Kuber in the afternoon and arriving in the evening will be the American Mariner all on Sunday. John D. Leitch is due at the CSX Coal Dock on Sunday, May 26 in the early evening to load. Two vessels are due for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, the Algomarine arriving on Friday in the early morning followed by the Frontenac on Tuesday, May 28 in the late morning. At the Torco Dock, Mesabi Miner completed her unload however, they are waiting on repairs expected to be finished sometime on Tuesday. The CSL Assiniboine is due to arrive on Wednesday in the early morning to be followed by American Mariner during the late afternoon on Wednesday. Algoma Olympic is due on Friday in the early afternoon and rounding out the schedule are two arrivals on Sunday ¬– Atlantic Erie in the early evening and H. Lee White due in late evening.

Toronto. Ont. - Jens Juhl
Polsteam's new (2012) handy-size bulker Solina was unloading a cargo of sugar at Redpath. The Turkish Eylul K is unloading South Korean steel at Terminal 52.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
The tugs Molly M. 1 and Ecosse with the barge Metis arrived early Tuesday afternoon with another load of bulk cement for Essroc.


St. Lawrence River water levels rise dramatically

5/15 - C - The St. Lawrence River is known for having its ups and downs involving water levels - just ask riverfront resident Dalton Foster, who says he hasn't seen the water on the St. Lawrence at Wilson Hill this high in some time.

"Many people's docks are under water," said Foster, Wilson Hill Association president.

The current situation is a far cry from the near historic low water levels that have been plaguing the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

A strong southwest wind is being blamed for significantly raising water levels on the St. Lawrence River between two and three feet over the weekend, creating shoreline erosion problems and making some docks unreachable.

The International River Board of Control says the phenomena is caused by water being blown from Lake Ontario back into the St. Lawrence.

"The lake on the opposite side is decreased, but the level right at the beginning of the St. Lawrence River is increased and that increases the whole water level down the entire river," said John Kangas of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The high water conditions along the St. Lawrence started on Friday and progressively got worse over the weekend.

"We're getting a lot of erosion down there right now," said Richard Guimond, who is concerned about the water levels.

The high water levels also forced seaway ships to temporarily reduce their speeds in the area between Eisenhower and Iroquois locks until further notice.

The International Joint Commission tries to strike an appropriate balance in water levels by adjusting the amount of water released through the Moses-Saunders Hydroelectric Dam.

Officials say once the winds die down, it will take a day or two for water levels on the St. Lawrence to once again begin to drop.



Divers discover 1876 schooner wreck

5/15 - Port Huron, Mich. – Paul Schmitt, Dave Losiniski and Drew Losinksi are filling in Lake Huron’s blanks. The Lakeport men look for shipwrecks ­ and they’re going public with one of their latest discoveries.

The Charles H. Walker, a 136-foot, two-masted schooner, lies in about 35 feet of water about four miles east of Lakeport State Park. The men, said Schmitt, found the vessel in August 2010.

His meticulous research revealed the ship sank in rough seas on Sept. 26, 1876 ­ the year of the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia and about three months after the Battle of the Little Bighorn in Montana.

The Charles H. Walker was carrying a load of iron ore from L’Anse in the Upper Peninsula to the smelters of Pennsylvania, according to a story in the Port Huron Times.

“It’s still heaped on the cargo deck,” Schmitt said.

The crew members safely evacuated the ship. Its location was marked by its masts sticking above the surface, so in August 1877, a wrecking tug was reported to have salvaged some of its fittings and cargo.

A retired dean of instruction at St. Clair County Community College, Schmitt said he and Losinski have been looking for shipwrecks for about 20 years and have found several, including the Eliza H. Strong, which was built in 1874 in Marine City. They pulled Losinksi’s son, Drew, into their obsession.

They’ve used soundings and a magnetometer towed behind a boat to look for masses in the lake worth diving on. As the water clarity has increased over the years ­ because of the invasive zebra and quagga mussels ­ they’ve taken to the air in a helicopter.

Losiniski actually trained to fly a helicopter and received his license to look for shipwrecks. He now flies helicopters professionally for the Oakland County Sheriff Department.

Schmitt said the searchers were using a helicopter in 2008 to look for the Charles H. Walker, which they knew from his research was somewhere at the bottom of southern Lake Huron near Lakeport.

“We saw a number of targets ­ probably 25 to 30 dark spots,” he said.

In 2009 and 2010, the team dived on the dark spots, finding in some cases, timber, weed beds and boulders.

“In this particular case, it was a shipwreck,” Schmitt said.

Losinski said part of the allure of his hobby is finding “something nobody knows anything about and putting the pieces of the puzzle back together.”

“We both love diving,” Losinski said, “and my son is into it very big also.Schmitt said his purpose in publicizing the wreck is so other people can dive on it. At 36 feet, and in clear water, it’s within the limits of sport diving.

One of the biggest surviving parts of the ship is a windlass used by the crew to lift heavy objects such as anchors and cargo.

“There isn’t too much to loot,” Schmitt said. “The windlass is nice, but it’s wood.

“There is an antiquities law,” he said. “Even if you’re not in a (underwater) preserve, it limits what you can salvage and under what circumstances.”

He said he and the Losinskis have known for years the Charles H. Walker was somewhere out there under the waves of Lake Huron. It was gratifying, he said, to not only find it, but to dive on a ship that once was part of the bustling Great Lakes trade.

“We’ve been looking all these years ­ and we found the darn thing,” he said.

Port Huron Times Herald


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 and was scrapped at Santander, Spain.

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.

May 15, 1992 -- The 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.

1907 – SAXON ran aground near Caribou Island, Lake Superior, and dumped about 1,000 tons of ore overboard before being released. The ship went to the Atlantic in 1918 and was scrapped at Copenhagen, Denmark, as c) ANNE JENSEN in 1927.

1923 – PERE MARQUETTE 4 and PERE MARQUETTE 17 collided in fog off Milwaukee and the former sustained severe damage above the waterline and was laid up.

1929 – RALPH BUDD stranded at Saltese Point, near Eagle Harbor, MI and was abandoned to the underwriters. The grain-laden vessel was released by Reid and sold to Canadian interests. It was scrapped at Hamilton as b) L.A. McCORQUODALE of the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet in 1966.

1963 – LOBIVIA, WESTMOUNT and ROGERS CITY were in a three-way collision in the St. Clair River at Port Huron but there was only minor damage.

1967 – GOLDEN HIND was loaded with grain when it stranded off Cassidy Point, Lake Erie, and was holed in the forward compartment.

1968 – The stern cabins of HOMER D. WILLIAMS were damaged from a collision with WHEAT KING in the St. Marys River and this ship was repaired at Lorain. The latter vessel received bow damage that was repaired at Port Weller.

1972 – The Dutch freighter COLYTTO first came through the Seaway in 1963 and made 8 trips to the end of 1966. It was swept ashore by a typhoon near the mouth of the Limpopo River off the coast of Mozambique as b) CAPE NERITA on this date in 1972. All on board were rescued but the ship was abandoned on the beach as it was not feasible to dig the ship out by a canal. The nearest road was 25 miles away so the hull was not scrapped either.

1999 – The former sandsucker NIAGARA II was scuttled as an attraction to divers off Tobermory, ON.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Detroit bridge operator was drunk during freighter crash

5/14 - Detroit, Mich. – Police have determined that the operator of the drawbridge that crashed down onto a 670-foot long ore carrier early Sunday morning was drunk at the time of the incident.

No one was injured in the incident, which occurred about 2:15 a.m. when the Jefferson Avenue Bridge crashed down onto the Herbert C. Jackson, which was headed to unload 23,000 tons of ore pellets at the Rouge Plant.

The ship received moderate damage while the bridge over the Rouge River received substantial damages.

"She was tested at the scene and it was determined she was intoxicated and over the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle," said Lt. Justin Westmiller of the Detroit Station of the U.S. Coast Guard. "The navigation team of the vessel were also tested but there was nothing to substantiate that the ship or the crew had anything to do with the incident."

Westmiller said he didn't know what the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the operator was, but in Michigan the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol is .08.

According to Westmiller, the vessel was repaired and has resumed its journey.

The incident caused major damage to the bridge, a heavily used motor vehicle crossing over Rouge River Avenue that connects Detroit and River Rouge.

With the span closed, motorists have to use Fort Street as Wayne County officials work to repair the damage.

"This is a real rarity," Westmiller said. "In my 17 years in the Coast Guard, this is a new one. It could have been a lot worse. Wayne County spokeswoman Cindy Dingell agreed: "In 91 years, nothing like this has happened. We've not seen anything like this before."

According to Dingell, the bridge will remain open to marine traffic but be closed indefinitely to vehicle and foot traffic until the extent of the damages to the bridge can be determined.

The Detroit News


Port Reports -  May 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner loaded ore Monday evening at the Upper Harbor on her first visit of the season.

South Chicago
Canada Steamship's Spruceglen arrived early morning Monday to load petroleum coke for Belledune. Over at KCBX Terminal, the H. Lee White was loading coal for Muskegon, Michigan.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded at Cedarville and departed during midday on Sunday. Vessels scheduled for the rest of the week at Cedarville include Joseph L. Block followed by the James L. Kuber on Tuesday in the early morning. At Port Inland, Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive in the early morning on Monday. Following the Block, the next vessel due is the Pere Marquette 41 on Tuesday in the evening. H. Lee White rounds out the schedule on Wednesday during the late morning to load.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Great Republic and Pere Marquette 41 were expected to arrive Monday to load. On Tuesday, the barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance are due in early in the morning to load. The James L. Kuber is due in Wednesday during the early afternoon for the North Dock. Both Cason J. Callaway and American Mariner round out the schedule on Thursday. The Callaway is due in the early morning for the North Dock, while American Mariner is due at noon for both the North and South Docks.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Both Arthur M. Anderson and the Lakes Contender were scheduled to load limestone on Monday morning. Due on Tuesday is the Lewis J. Kuber for a morning arrival. Kaye E. Barker is due in on Wednesday afternoon to load limestone.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge, Robert F. Deegan, were inbound on the Saginaw River on Saturday, calling on the Dow Chemical dock. The pair were outbound early Monday morning. Inbound on Monday was the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber. The pair unloaded at the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City. Once finished, they departed the slip and headed back for the lake, early Monday evening.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Herbert C. Jackson was loading at the NS coal dock Monday night. Her encounter with a Detroit bridge Sunday meant the vessel put her lines on the Sandusky dock about 30 hours later than initially scheduled. Damage to the Jackson was said to involve one or more plates at the bow above the waterline on the starboard side. At Marblehead, the Manistee continued loading at the Lafarge stone dock Monday night.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Mesabi Miner made a rare appearance in Toledo arriving during the early morning on Monday to unload taconite pellets at the Torco Dock. Other vessels expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload include the CSL Assiniboine on Wednesday in the early morning along with the American Mariner in the early afternoon also on Wednesday. Algoma Olympic is scheduled to arrive on Friday in the late afternoon. Vessels scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock include Algomarine on Thursday in the evening followed by the Frontenac on Tuesday, May 28 in the late morning.


USCG Cutter Neah Bay hauled out at Great Lakes Shipyard

5/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has hauled out the United States Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay (WTGB-105) using its 770-ton capacity Travelift. The repair contract, awarded to the shipyard in early March, includes routine drydocking and underwater hull maintenance such as inspection and testing of propulsion systems, overhaul of sea valves and shaft seal assemblies, and other various cleaning, inspections, and repairs.

This is the first of the USCG’s nine 140-foot Bay Class ice-breaking tugs to be drydocked using Great Lakes Shipyard’s new Marine Travelift. The Travelift is the largest on the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada, second largest in the Western Hemisphere, and third largest in the world. It was specifically designed and sized for Great Lakes Shipyard to accommodate the Bay Class Coast Guard Cutters and other vessels. Work on the Neah Bay is to be completed by late June.


Lakes cruise ship now calls Marquette home

5/14 - Marquette, Mich. – The Isle Royal Queen III, the cruise ship running summer trips from Marquette's Lower Harbor, will now call the city home. This spring, in preparation for the cruise season ahead, the boat's port of call was changed to Marquette.

"We didn't want to ask Marquette and her visitors to patronize our business without us showing, if you will, our commitment to Marquette," said Molly Carmody, the owner and manager of Marquette Harbor Cruises. "So we changed our port of call to reflect where we hope to do business for a long time."

Carmody started operating the 81-foot cruise ship last year, overseeing daily cruises to Partridge Island and back. A narrated journey leads passengers past Picnic Rocks, the Upper Harbor ore dock and breakwater, Presque Isle, Black Rocks and Middle Island Point.

The cruise then circles Partridge Island before making a return trip along the Marquette shoreline.

"Last year went very well. We really felt embraced by the community," Carmody said. "The townspeople were so awesome and some of them cruised two or three times."

This year, the process has been refined. 2013 cruises are set to begin May 24, with a single daily trip to Partridge Island. In June the boat will begin 90-minute evening cruises to Black Rocks and back. Wine and beer - some local - will be served on the boat this year, as well.

The Isle Royal Queen III is known regionally. It was originally named the Isle Royale Queen II and was used during the 1970s and 1980s to shuttle people, backpacks and canoes between Copper Harbor and Isle Royale.

Carmody, who brought the ship to the Lower Harbor last year, hopes to continue building the boat's legacy.

"We felt very endorsed by the community, which is why we wanted to show the town our commitment for doing business here," she said. "We want to call our boat's home Marquette."

A full summer cruise schedule, in addition to rates, can be found online at Tickets can also be purchased online, as well as at the MHC office in the Lower Harbor.

The Mining Journal


Renovated Dossin Great Lakes Museum to reopen Saturday

5/14 - Detroit, Mich. – After a five-month remodeling project, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum will reopen Saturday with new exhibits and interactive features that pay homage to Detroit and the waterways that helped it become one of the most important cities in America.

The 16,000-square-foot museum has been revamped and updated with technology, including further restoration of the Gothic men’s lounge of the overnight ship, SS City of Detroit III. The face-lift includes new exhibit halls and a detailed touch screen in the Detroit River-facing pilot house of the SS William Clay Ford. The Detroit River-cam has also been updated to give viewers better, high-definition imagery.

The $2-million renovation is part of the Detroit Historical Society’s five-year, $20-million push to revamp its two museums — the Detroit Historical Museum reopened in November 2012 after a six-month closure and $12-million remodel; the Dossin Museum has been closed since December.

“Anybody who’s been here before is going to walk in and go ‘wow,’ because it was pretty long in the tooth and it was getting pretty dusty. The interpretation was not good, and they’re going to walk in and see a real museum,” said Joel Stone, senior curator of the Detroit Historical Society.

The museum, which opened in 1960, starts and ends with actual pieces of historic vessels. The SS City of Detroit III clubroom, removed from the 1912 ship, is filled with oak-carved ornate fixtures and a stained-glass window depicting explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier de LaSalle. The lighting is low, and the descriptive panels tell the tale of cruising Detroit’s waterways.

The pilot house, built in the 1950s, is replete with all the instrumentation of the period and overlooks the Detroit River. A new touch screen allows visitors to learn more about instrumentation and the effort needed to move the big ship through area waterways.

Between these two vessels are several new and remodeled exhibits celebrating everything from Detroit’s days as a fur-trapping capital to the rise of cruise vessels to places like Boblo Island and the growth of the speedboat, a favorite of the Dossin family for which the museum is named. The main exhibit is called “Built by the River,” a permanent display of the city’s intricate, if sometimes dramatic, relationship with the Detroit River.

Sections describe the importance of the river to military operations in the 1700s and 1800s, how it served as passage on the Underground Railroad, the later use of the river as the city capitalized during the Industrial Revolution and, finally, how the river became a main source of recreation for generations of metro Detroiters.

In one section, visitors can listen to the distress calls of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, whose 12,000-pound bow anchor sits outside the museum. The storied ship sank during storms on Lake Superior in 1975, killing 29. The anchor was recovered by divers in 1992.

“This is a great place with a great history,” said Detroit Historical Museum Executive Director Bob Bury about Detroit. “The more you give the community a sense of place and an appreciation for where they are and where they live, the better it is.”

Walter, Roy and Russell Dossin, the three brothers who seeded the museum, were boating enthusiasts who owned a Pepsi bottling distribution company in Michigan. The brothers were avid hydroplane boaters, and one of their boats built in 1950, the Miss Pepsi, has long been on display. The remodeling effort improved the viewing area and added several panels that tell the story of the Dossins and the growth of speed-boating. A new exhibition hall pays homage to the Gold Cup and speedboats inside the museum.

The museum has closed in the past for repairs and installations, including brief periods in 1984 and 2007, but Bury said this is the first serious overhaul the museum has had in its lifetime. After taking bids from several exhibit designers and contractors, Bury said, the work was done locally by a handful of metro Detroit companies.

The reopening of the museum comes as other projects have revived Detroit’s large island park. The Belle Isle Aquarium recently reopened, and the roof is being replaced on the park’s horse stables. The Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix will be held at the end of the month, and the Orion Music + More Festival will take over the park in early June.

Bury said he hopes the newly remodeled museum will draw more people to the island known as the jewel of Detroit.

“They’re going to have a new appreciation for all that Detroit is and how important its location really is. We’re hoping that with the renovation, we’re really going to be the jewel on a jewel,” said Bury.

 Video of the new exhibits

Detroit Free Press


Shipwreck Showcase June 13 in Munising

5/14 - Dennis Hale will tell his story of his survival of the Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck. "Whispers of the North," a Gordon Lightfoot tribute band, will perform Gordon Lightfoot’s music and Carl Behrend will perform his shipwreck songs June 13 in Munising. The show will to start at 6 p.m. with the doors opening at 5 p.m. for viewing of raffle items and silent auction items. A model of the Fitz will be the Grand Prize of the raffle drawing.


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 last 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.

1917 – SAXONA and PENTECOST MITCHELL collided head-on in the St. Marys River near Detour and both ships sank with their bows locked together. The former was refloated and repaired as LAKETON while the latter was also salvaged and remained in the U.S. Steel fleet.

1921 – The barge MIZTEC broke loose of the steamer ZILLAH in a storm and sank with all hands in Lake Superior northeast of Vermilion Point.

1952 – The JAMES NORRIS began her sailing career, loading a cargo of grain at Fort William.

1991 – The Yugoslavian bulk carrier MALINSKA ran aground off Main Duck Island, Lake Ontario, while outbound from the Great Lakes with a cargo of steel coils. It was lightered and released. The ship had been a Seaway trader since 1987 and now sails in the Algoma fleet as c) ALGOMA DISCOVERY.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Detroit bridge closes on Herbert C. Jackson

5/13 - Detroit, Mich. - The Herbert C. Jackson suffered minor damage Sunday morning when the Jefferson Avenue Bridge closed while the ship was approaching it. It appeared that the east span of the draw was lowered and the Jackson struck it a low speed causing a 1-inch by 6-inch puncture in the hull above the waterline on the starboard bow.

The Jackson was inbound with taconite for Severstal Steel about 2 a.m. when the incident happened. The Jackson was assisted back out of the Rouge River and docked at DMT on the Detroit River to wait for the span to be lifted.

By early afternoon the west side of the draw was fully opened and crews were working on the heavily damaged eastern span. Officials report this is the first accident in the bridge's 91-year history.

Late Sunday the eastern span was partially opened but the river was reported to remain closed.


Port Reports -  May 13

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten loaded ore early Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor but remained docked during the day and evening due to gale warnings on Lake Superior.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
H. Lee White came in with a load of coal for the coal dock. Algoway came in during the early morning with a load of salt. They were out and heading east across the lake by late afternoon. The Defiance and Ashtabula spent a good part of the day anchored outside the breakwall. By late afternoon they had departed and were heading straight east across the lake also. They followed the Algoway and eventually passed them up.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi unloaded salt overnight at the Alpena Oil Dock. It remained tied up at the dock until Sunday morning, when it departed after 7 a.m. to head out into the lake. The tug Wilfred M. Cohen and a barge were out in the bay on Sunday, likely taking shelter from the winds. Later in the afternoon the Alpena dropped anchor offshore to wait for better weather before entering port. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity is expected to arrive at Lafarge sometime on Monday.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The Juniper-class buoy tender USCGC Hollyhock (WLB 214) paid a courtesy visit to Toronto this weekend. On Sunday morning the Turkish flagged Ealul K tied up at pier 52 with tug assist by Ocean Golf and Omni Richelieu.


Bridge 21 at Port Colborne closed for repairs; Bridge 19A to handle traffic

5/13 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Bridge 21, the Clarence Street bridge, is closed until further notice, the general manager of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.’s Niagara Region said late Sunday afternoon.

Luc Boisclair said there was a malfunction on the bridge which caused the span to go up farther than it was supposed to and counterweights ended up on the pavement.

“We’re still investigating what happened and repairs are underway. It needs more inspection before it can be opened. We have to find out why (it happened) and if there is more damage that we can’t see,” said Boislcair.

He said the bridge will continue to be assessed and specialized personnel are coming in on Monday to look at it.

In the meantime, Seaway staff will have Bridge 19A open at 7 a.m. on Monday. It is open to emergency vehicles right now, said Boisclair, adding scheduled work was underway on that bridge, which carries Mellanby Ave. over the Welland Canal.

When the malfunction occurred on Saturday afternoon, it left Bridge 19, the Main St. bridge, as the only operating crossing over the canal in Port Colborne over the weekend.

That prompted Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services Chief Tom Cartwright to meet with Niagara Regional Police and Niagara EMS on Saturday night to put a plan in place to deal with only one operational bridge.

“We have two trucks with manpower in the old fire hall on the east side,” Cartwright said Sunday morning from the main fire hall on Mellanby Ave.

He said there were no issues on Saturday in relation to the bridge and after 1 a.m. the fire service had no calls. Emergency services dispatch centres were working with the Seaway’s traffic control centre while the bridge is out as well to keep co-ordinated on when Bridge 19 might go up because of a ship passing.

The fire chief added that police told him two cruisers would be left on the east side and Niagara EMS was bringing an ambulance to the fire hall on standby so there would be one ambulance on each side of the canal.

Niagara EMS dispatch supervisor Andre Marcotte said when feasible, paramedics would be stationed on either side of the canal while the bridge was out of commission. Traffic along Main St. is what really concerned EMS.

“That’s why we have people on both sides if we can,” he said.

Port Colborne fire prevention officer Mike Bendia said a car accident near King and Main streets on Sunday afternoon saw traffic snarled in both directions on Main St.

Mayor Vance Badawey, who spoke with emergency officials and Seaway representatives on the weekend, said when he drove through town at midnight on Saturday, traffic “was just crazy.”

“Normally, you don’t expect too much traffic at that hour … one bridge in this city just doesn’t cut it.”

While Bridge 21 is out of commission, the mayor said those who use the transit system to get from the east side to west side won’t have to pay. The service will be free. It’s something the city does when the bridge is closed for repairs at any time of year.

St. Catharines Standard


Updates -  May 13

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Black River, George M Carl, and J B Ford galleries
Saltie Gallery updated - Eylul K, Harbour Fasion, Solina, and Vaasaborg


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, bound for Duluth, Minnesota, to load iron ore.

The green-hulled schooner EMMA C. HUTCHINSON was launched at 4 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.

1914 – The package freight carrier CITY OF OTTAWA was upbound in the Cornwall Canal when it sheered over and struck the downbound S.N. PARENT on the port side at #2 hatch. The former was part of Canada Steamship Lines but was best known as the INDIA of the Anchor Line.

1915 – VALCARTIER and A.W. OSBORNE collided in Lake Huron above Corsica Shoal.

1933 – CALGARIAN, en route from Toronto to Montreal with automobiles and general cargo, stranded at Salmon Point in Lake Ontario, and was refloated two days later. 1943 – The caustic soda tanker DOLOMITE 4 was in and out of the Great Lakes via the New York State Barge Canal system. The vessel was torpedoed and sunk by U-176 off the north coast of Cuba on the date in 1943 as b) NICKELINER. Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Bridge closes on Jackson

5/12 - Detroit, Mich. - The Herbert C. Jackson suffered minor damage Sunday morning when the Jefferson Avenue bridge closed while the ship was approaching it. It appeared that the east span of the draw was lowered and the Jackson struck it a low speed causing a 1-inch by 6-inch puncture in the hull above the waterline on the starboard bow.

The Jackson was inbound with taconite for Severstal Steel about 2 a.m. when the incident happened. The Jackson was assisted back out of the Rouge River and docked at DMT on the Detroit River to wait for the span to be lifted.

By early afternoon the west side of the draw was fully opened and crews were working on the heavily damaged eastern span. Officials report this is the first accident in the bridge's 91-year history.

Late Sunday the eastern span was partially opened but the river was reported to remain closed.


Port Reports -  May 12

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Algosteel arrived during the early morning and was outbound for the lake by mid-morning after unloading salt. The Calumet was inbound during the morning with salt, and departed late in the afternoon, heading south for Chicago.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday, the Manitowoc was at Lafarge unloading coal. Sam Laud arrived in the Thunder Bay River Saturday morning to unload coal for the Decorative Panels International Plant. By 2 p.m. the unload was finished, and the Laud backed out into the bay.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee loaded overnight Friday at the Lafarge stone dock and sailed, reportedly for Fairport Harbor. She was replaced at the Marblehead dock by the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder, which continued to load Saturday night.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann Pathfinder came into Lorain about 12:30 Saturday morning. They departed about 7 hours later.


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 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.

1975 – The tug TARA HILL was damaged by a fire set by vandals at New Orleans. This vessel had operated on the Great Lakes as NORTHERN, CHARLES R. RANDLE SR., HELEN HINDMAN, SUSAN HINDMAN and HERBERT A. Lloyds notes “continued existence in doubt” in 1997, but the hull was likely dismantled much earlier.

1978 – PHOTINIA ran aground off Milwaukee in rough seas and the crew was rescued. The ship was refloated but declared a total loss. It was towed to various Lake Michigan ports in the next two years and was eventually dismantled at Kewaunee, Wis., in 1981.

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


Port Reports -  May 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten loaded ore and Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded a stone cargo from Port Inland into the hopper. Tregurtha’s visit was her first of the season.

Milwaukee, Wis. - John Monefeldt
The St. Marys Challenger came in on Thursday with her first load of the season. She was still tied up Friday morning, most likely waiting for wind to die down.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber, became the first repeat visitor to the Saginaw River this season, calling this time on the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City on Thursday afternoon. Once unloaded, the pair turned and were outbound for the lake early Friday morning. Mississagi was inbound on Friday, calling on the Essexville Wirt Sand & Stone dock. She had finished unloading by early afternoon, turned off the dock in the Essexville Turning Basin, and was outbound from the Saginaw River into strong northeast winds and rain on the Saginaw Bay.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Pelee Islander began the 2013 season Friday, shuttling between Leamington, Ont., and Sandusky with a stop southbound and northbound at Pelee Island. Earlier, the Saginaw sailed from the NS coal dock, having loaded overnight. At Marblehead, the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded at the Lafarge stone dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner backed out Friday evening from General Mills.


Updates -  May 11

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain, Cliffs Victory, Red Wing, and Thomas Wilson galleries
Saltie Gallery updated - Federal Seto, and Volgaborg


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.

1934 – KEYBAR ran aground above the Canadian Lock at Sault Ste. Marie and was stuck for 12 hours. Part of the cargo of grain was lightered before the ship floated free. The vessel was scrapped at Port Dalhousie in 1963.

1945 – MOYRA began Great Lakes trading in 1931. It was owned by the Government of Newfoundland when fire broke out in the St. Lawrence east of Quebec City on this date in 1945. The ship was beached off Ile d'Orleans and was heavily damaged. The vessel was rebuilt at Montreal and sold to Norwegian interests as b) HEIKA returning to the Great Lakes in 1953. It also visited as c) MARISCO in 1957 and foundered in the Gulf of Laconia, Greece, while en route from Varna, Bulgaria, to Genoa, Italy, with iron ore on October 20, 1959.

1974 – While outbound in the Cuyahoga River, a fire broke out aboard the GEORGE D. GOBLE. The Kinsman Lines bulk carrier was docked and the blaze was extinguished with about $2,500 in damage.

1987 – LONDON FUSILIER, an SD-14, was a year old when it first came through the Seaway in 1973. Fire broke out in #5 hold while unloading at Hamburg, West Germany, as c) HER LOONG on this date in 1987 resulting in extensive damage. The ship was towed to Valencia, Spain, in July 1987 and scrapped.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 returned to the Verplank dock in Holland Wednesday evening with a load of stone. The pair had departed by Thursday morning.

Toledo, Ohio - Matt Zaleski
Saginaw departed the Toledo grain elevator on Thursday at 2 p.m. She was spotted heading down the Maumee river towards Lake Erie without a tug escort, something not often seen due to the narrow channel and tight bridges.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Early Thursday the Algoway departed Lorain, passing through the Charles Berry Bridge about 2:30 a.m.

Marblehead and Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algomarine backed away from the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead during the dinner hour Thursday, slipped north along the eastern shore of Kelley’s Island and picked up her course for Windsor. An hour of so later, Saginaw loomed up over the horizon and moved slowly into Sandusky Bay, marking the 60th anniversary of her launching at Manitowoc, Wis.

Saginaw was launched May 9, 1953 as the John. J. Boland. Her namesake and Adam E. Cornelius were shipping managers who formed American Steamship Co., in 1956, three years after the launching of the Saginaw.

While the Saginaw carried the Boland and Cornelius house flag for her first 46 years, she spent 1999 in lay-up. Late that year she was acquired by Lower Lakes Towing, of Port Dover, Ont. The 639-foot long Saginaw, because of her Canadian registration, can load at a U.S. port and deliver to ports north of the border. She is posted for Hamilton after her Sandusky loading.

The Saginaw was among three sister ships launched at Manitowoc during the 1950s for different owners. The oldest - John G. Munson, of the Great Lakes Fleet - sails today, although she was lengthened in the mid-1970s. The third sister - Detroit Edison - was scrapped following a December 1980 grounding in northern Lake Michigan. The latter was also the last of the trio constructed.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
The barge Metis, pushed by the tug Molly M. 1, arrived in Rochester Thursday morning with the first load of the season of bulk cement for Essroc.


New CSL, McKeil vessels registered

5/10 - The CSL Group registered the new Whitefish Bay in Montreal on May 9. Its gross tonnage is shown as 24,430. Also newly registered are two barges for McKeil. On May 3 McKeil Work Boats Ltd. registered Arctic Spirit. Built in 1981 by FMC in Portland Oregon, it measures 7,132 gross tons and is 383 feet long by 99.5 feet wide. On May 9. the barge Tobias was registered by McKeil-Malaspina Ltd. Built in 2012 by Damen, Gorinchem, Netherlands, it measures 8,870 gross tons and is 378 feet long by 105.6 feet wide. Both barges are too large for the Seaway and will likely be used in Newfoundland.

Mac Mackay


Updates -  May 10

Saltie Gallery updated - Nordic Helsinki, Volgaborg, and YM Jupiter


Badger Cruise June 1

5/10 -  Book now for the annual Badger BoatNerd Gathering The 2013 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, June 1, 2013, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry SS Badger.

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

Optional on Friday night, May 31, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. Only 42 staterooms are available and over one-half have been reserved. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 10

1923 – The H.A. ROCK of the Forest City Steamship Co., went aground in Georgian Bay. The vessel was taken to drydock where the plates were removed, re-rolled and put back. The ship was idle May 18 to June 1 and the cost was $13,707.60.

Steamer COLUMBIA (Hull#148) was launched in 1902 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: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Spruceglen grounds in Lake St. Clair

5/9 - Wednesday afternoon the tugs Wyoming and Idaho pull the grounded Spruceglen free, she had run aground in lower Lake St. Clair just after 6 p.m. Tuesday. The vessel appeared to lose power as they were entering Lake St. Clair upbound. Spruceglen was not blocking traffic, as it was grounded at the southerly edge of the channel.  Damage is unlikely as the bottom is soft clay where the vessel ran out of the channel.


Port Reports -  May 9

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber arrived early Wednesday evening going down river to C. Reiss Coal. This is the first trip the James L. Kuber has made into port this year after being repainted in full Lower Lakes dress, and looking sharp.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Mississagi came in early Wednesday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It backed out and was seen turning north off the pier heads about noon. The Tug/Barge Defiance/Ashtabula came in about 3 p.m. with the season's first load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Indiana Harbor called on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, unloading coal at the Consumers Energy power plant in Essexville. She had completed her unload and was outbound for the lake by the afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio 
Saginaw was unloading at Andersons grain elevator Wednesday evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway radioed the bridge at 19:30 that she was on her way in.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin loaded Wednesday at the NS coal dock. At Marblehead, tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded at the Lafarge stone dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The American Mariner was inbound for the Buffalo North Entrance on her way to General Mills Wednesday night.

Hamilton, Ont. - Ted J. Wilush
Captain Henry Jackman laid up at Hamilton pier 26 undergoing repairs to bow damage suffered in Bowmanville, Ont.


Badger’s 60th anniversary roll-back special all season long

5/9 - Ludington, Mich. – The S.S. Badger is celebrating her 60th anniversary in 2013 and to show the company’s appreciation it is celebrating with discounted fares on passengers and autos by offering a 60th anniversary roll back special for the entire season.

This special roll-back pricing of $69 per adult and $69 per auto one way and seniors (65+) just $62 one way - will be available for the entire season. This roll-back pricing will be effective starting May 7th.

There are no travel date or departure time limitations with the roll-back special. Call 1-800-841-4243 today for your reservations.

In addition, the Badger is offering a limited edition oil print. Recognizing the significance of the S.S.Badger's 60th anniversary, LMC has commissioned the services of artist Michael Stewart to recreate a beautiful Todd and Brad Reed photograph into a one-of-a-kind limited edition oil print. Stewart sailed as a mate aboard the S.S.Badger from 1998 to 2009 which makes this painting even more unique.

There will only be 60 reproductions of this oil print available. Each print will be signed and numbered by Michael Stewart. The oil print has been created as a 24x16 to allow for standard framing. To further reiterate the anniversary of the S.S.Badger these reproductions will be offered for only $60 each.


Senate could free up money for Great Lakes dredging

5/9 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Senate may be closing in on legislation that could increase funding for dredging at harbors across the Great Lakes and the nation by freeing up more money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

As the Free Press reported in March, the fund, which is paid for by taxes on the value of imported cargo, has built up a surplus of about $6 billion, even though the Army Corps of Engineers has a growing backlog of dredging projects.

That’s especially true along the Great Lakes, where there’s a backlog of about $200 million in dredging projects spread across 60 federally maintained harbors and channels, almost half of which are in Michigan.

An initial proposal to require that all of the annual proceeds of the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be spent on dredging and other projects ran afoul of congressional appropriators who raised concerns that it could pre-empt their deliberations on spending levels.

It appeared today that a compromise might be reached that would require $1 billion in fund proceeds be spent in the next fiscal year, and the minimum funding level increase by at least $100million each year after that until 2019, when the entire proceeds would be spent. In recent years, the fund has collected as much as $1.6 billion a year in taxes.

The draft proposal also includes a provision that in any year that all federally maintained harbors fail to be maintained at their designated depths and widths, any funding levels over those in last year’s budget be split with at least 20% going to Great Lakes projects.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has been pushing for more funding from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to go to projects on the Great Lakes, which have been hit hard by a reduction in dredging even as lake levels have dropped to record lows.

The Lake Carriers Association — an Ohio-based trade group representing companies that ship cargo on the Great Lakes — has said it would take $60 million a year to clear the backlog in a decade.

If the legislation passes, however, it could face hurdles in the House, as well as with the Obama administration.

In a statement of policy on Monday, the Office of Management and Budget raised concerns about the bill, saying it could result in “expanding federal obligations without ensuring taxpayer dollars are targeted to achieve the highest overall return.”

The administration stopped short of issuing a veto threat over the legislation, however.

Detroit Free Press


U.S. Naval Sea Cadet fundraiser

5/9 - Port Huron, Mich. – A fundraiser concert to benefit the F.C. Sherman Division and T.C. Admiral Lee Landes is from 3-6 p.m. May 12 at the Port Huron Yacht Club, 212 Quay St. The fundraiser will include a performance by Dan Hall, a color guard demonstration, bake sale, raffles and auction.

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


Updates -  May 9

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain, H C Heimbecker, Imperial Windsor, Leecliffe Hall (1), and W E Fitzgerald galleries


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.

1906 – The schooner ARMENIA was wrecked in Lake Erie near Colchester Reef when it began leaking in a storm while under tow of the FRED PABST on the first trip of the season. The ore-laden barge was cut loose but all on board were saved. The wreck was later struck by the CHARLES B. PACKARD on September 16, 1906, leading to the latter's demise.

1926 – While backing from the NHB Elevator in Port Colborne, the JOHN P. REISS struck the A.D. MacBETH at the dock, damaging the latter's stem.

1964 – The small ferries JOHN A. McPHAIL and JAMES CURRAN broke loose while under tow of the G.W. ROGERS and sank in a storm off the mouth of Saginaw Bay. They were en-route to Kingston from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., for a new service to Wolfe Island.

1974 – The coastal freighter ST. PIERRE ran aground in the old Lachine Canal at Montreal, was holed, capsized and sank. The vessel was broken up on location later in the year.

2011 – The Erie, Pa.-based passenger excursion ship VICTORIAN PRINCESS sustained major fire damage when a welding torch ignited materials in the engine room. The ship was out of the water and on blocks for maintenance work when the blaze broke out. The vessel missed the 2011 season.

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


Spruceglen refloated in Lake St. Clair

5/8 - 2 p.m. update - Shortly after 1 p.m. the tugs appeared to pull the Spruceglen free but continued working through 2 p.m. when she was fully free of the lake bottom and underway upbound. Damage is unlikely as the bottom is soft clay where the vessel ran out of the channel.

Original report - The Spruceglen ran aground in lower Lake St. Clair just after 6 p.m. Tuesday. The vessel appeared to lose power as they were entering Lake St. Clair upbound.

Spruceglen is not blocking traffic, it is grounded at the southerly edge of the channel. At noon the tugs Wyoming and Idaho were along side trying to free the vessel.

 Its last port was Ashtabula, Ohio and was headed for Chicago.



Interlake Steamship plans to move toward upgrading fleet to energy-efficient LNG

5/8 - Middleburg Heights, Ohio – The Interlake Steamship Company, a leader in the Great Lakes shipping industry delivering raw materials to ports throughout the region, has announced that it has reached an agreement in principle with Shell to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to support Interlake’s conversion of its vessels to LNG as the main propulsion fuel.

When converted, these ships are expected to be the first LNG-powered ships on the Great Lakes and among the first in the U.S. With a goal of converting the first vessel by the spring of 2015, Interlake is already working through engineering and design, seeking regulatory approval and securing financing. Shell would be Interlake’s exclusive supplier of LNG for each converted vessel.

The conversion of Interlake’s vessels from heavy fuel oil burning engines to engines that operate on LNG will require Interlake to make significant capital investments in its fleet. However, those investments are expected to result in significant environmental benefits. Interlake anticipates that the conversion to LNG will result in significant reductions of carbon dioxide, sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.

“This move takes our dedication to environmental stewardship to the next level,” explains Mark Barker, President of Interlake. “While the marine mode of transportation is already by far the most environmentally friendly way to move goods throughout the Great Lakes region, operating on LNG would further reduce our vessels’ environmental impacts. We not only respect the needs of our customers, but work to minimize the impact on the waterways which we operate.”

The move to LNG allows Interlake to use a fuel that is sourced, produced and distributed entirely in North America, reducing the use of and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

“The marine transportation industry already supports thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wages throughout the Great Lakes,” adds Barker. “We are now evolving in a way that would allow Interlake to participate in the long-term growth and economic prosperity of the region that it has served for 100 years. This move allows us to back the growing natural gas industry, which is also creating valuable jobs here in the U.S.”

Shell announced plans last month to invest in a liquefaction unit at its Sarnia Manufacturing Centre in Ontario, Canada. Once operational, this project will supply LNG fuel throughout the Great Lakes, their bordering U.S. States, Canadian provinces and the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Interlake Steamship Company


Port Reports -  May 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived Tuesday afternoon at the Lower Harbor after a short trip from Drummond Island with stone for the Shiras Dock.

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Defiance and Ashtabula were outbound in the early morning Tuesday after spending Monday unloading salt. The saltie Miedwie came in during the morning to unload steel.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came in early Tuesday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge, Endeavour, were outbound from the Saginaw River early Monday morning, after unloading at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. Tuesday afternoon saw the final move of the USS Edson, DD-946, from her temporary moorings at the North Star dock in Essexville to her new permanent home just below the Independence Bridge in Bay City. Moving the Edson were the Busch Marine tugs Gregory J. Busch, pushing on the stern, and Edwin Busch, helping to keep things moving in the right direction up front.


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.

1916: S.R. KIRBY was downbound in a Lake Superior storm when it was struck by two huge waves, broke its back and foundered. The composite hulled freighter sank quickly and only two of the 22 on board survived.

1918: The Norwegian freighter POLLUX came to the Great Lakes in 1907. It was torpedoed as b) DUX by U-54 about 7 miles northwest of Godrevy Lighthouse while carrying coal from Swansea, UK to LaRochelle, France.

1934: The hull of the first CANADOC was punctured when the ship went hard aground at St. Joseph's Island. The vessel was later freed, drydocked and repaired.

1938: JAMES B. FOOTE hit a dock at Chicago, under tow of the tug KANSAS, while loaded with corn for Sorel. The rudder, stock and a propeller blade were lost.

1942: The Hall Corp. canaller MONT LOUIS was torpedoed and sunk in the Caribbean by U-162 with the loss of 13 lives. Only 8 survived by clinging to the wreckage. The ship was carrying bauxite from Dutch Guiana to Trinidad when it was attacked and it sank so quickly that the lifeboats could not be launched.

1949: The E.C. COLLINS and HENRY FORD II were in a collision in the St.Clair River.

1967 ELIN HOPE had been chartered to the Ontario Paper Company to carry newsprint from Baie Comeau to New York from 1950 to 1953. The ship came to the Great Lakes as b) PROCYON in 1961 and arrived at Madras, India, as c) KR ASHOK with the cargo of coal on fire on this date in 1967. The vessel settled on the bottom during firefighting operations. It was refloated May 19 and eventually scrapped at Madras in 1968.

1978: The third OUTARDE went aground in the St. Lawrence near Buoy 41-M and was not released until May 16. There was only minor damage to the ship.

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


Carferry Badger begins 2013 season

5/7 - Ludington, Mich. – There was no brass band playing, but many people gathered at the Lake Michigan Carferry dock this morning to board the carferry SS Badger or see it off on its first trip of 2013 a sailing season that at the end of last season was in doubt due to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rulings on coal ash.

“I’m just happy we have such a beautiful day to start our season,” Bob Manglitz, president and CEO of Lake Michigan Carferry, said while looking at the blue sky shortly before today’s 9 a.m. departure of the Badger for Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

“I’m feeling good and happy we’re getting out of here,” Manglitz said.

The company began its season about two to three weeks early this year to haul wind turbine parts from Manitowoc to a wind farm being constructed in eastern Michigan.

While these early voyages across Lake Michigan were scheduled for the truckers hauling the wind turbine parts, today’s trip still attracted about 100 passengers who were seeking a quick and entertaining trip across the lake.

“It’s an economical way to travel and save wear and tear on my vehicle and for the experience — I enjoy the lake,” Ryan Koenigs of Marinette, Wisconsin, said. “I took the trip from Marinette Friday to see my girlfriend graduate at Central Michigan University,” Koenigs said. “I plan to take the ferry back to save on gas.”

Manglitz was pleased with the turnout for today’s first sailing of 2013.

“It’s good, especially with the late notice that we gave and at this time of year we’re pleased,” Manglitz said.

One of the travelers was Jim Watson of Grand Rapids.

“We’ve got business over in Wisconsin and I’ve been waiting (for the Badger) all winter,” Watson said. “It will save about four hours of driving.” Watson has ridden on the Badger before, back when he was working for Carrom Company and used to ride back and forth across the lake.

“I’m just glad to see the government extended their operating,” Watson said about LMC’s negotiations with the EPA over the Badger’s release of coal ash into Lake Michigan.

The EPA had previously given LMC until December 2012 to halt the Badger’s release of coal ash into the lake, but in March announced a proposed consent decree agreement that would allow the SS Badger two more years before it must stop discharging coal ash from its power system into Lake Michigan.

The public comment period for that draft of the agreement ended April 26 and it attracted more than 7,000 comments, which now have to be reviewed. Once that review is complete, the Department of Justice could suggest changes to the proposed agreement or it could recommend it be accepted as submitted.

“We’ve written the letters and we’ve done what we can. We’re sick about what the EPA is doing,” Kathy Stewart of Lowell said about that comment period while waiting this morning to watch the Badger leave. “We truly feel a lot of this is coming from Sen. (Dick) Durbin and a lot of this is due to competition with Lake Express in Muskegon and it can’t haul wind turbines.”

Captain Jeff Curtis, who shares duties on the Badger with Captain Dean Hobbs, was ready to go today.

“It’s a beautiful day and we had a wonderful shakedown cruise last week, almost seven hours, and it should be smooth sailing today,” Curtis said.

He said new cylinder sleeves were installed on the Badger’s engine during the off season and he said the engine is now running cooler and should experience more fuel efficiency.

Customer Appreciation Day is May 17, when full passenger service is in place for the season. A Rock the Dock party is planned for 8:30 p.m. that night aboard the carferry while it's at dock.

Ludington Daily News


Port Reports -  May 7

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Frontenac arrived Monday evening at the Upper Harbor to load ore on her first visit since 2005.

Marblehead and Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder continued to load aggregate at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead throughout the day Monday. Nine miles to the east, Cason J. Callaway was slowly entering the pierhead at Huron to discharge a Stoneport load at the Huron Lime Co. dock. The firm turns limestone into agricultural lime.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Joseph H. Thompson was unloading at the Gateway Metroport Main Dock in Lackawanna Monday morning.


Lake Superior climbs 3 inches in April

5/7 - Duluth, Minn. – The level of Lake Superior rose about 3 inches in April, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

Three inches is the amount the lake usually rises for the month, and the big lake now sits just an inch lower than the level at this time in 2012, but still 13 inches below its long-term level for May 1.

Water supply to the lake was a bit lower than normal for April, in part because snow and ice still locked up moisture across the watershed. That should change dramatically in May as rivers let loose and the last snow melts.

Meanwhile Lakes Huron and Michigan saw higher-than-normal rainfall and shot up a whopping 9 inches in April, the second-most for any month since 1918. That’s good news for shipping interests and recreational boaters who have been dealing with near record-low water levels.

Even with that big April jump, however, the two lakes sit 22 inches below their long-term May 1 average and 6 inches below the level at this time last year.

Duluth News Tribune


Wind buoy launched for third year of research

5/7 - Muskegon, Mich. – With its wind research buoy securely anchored in Lake Michigan off the coast of Muskegon, Grand Valley State University officials will be in Chicago next week promoting its efforts to the national wind energy industry.

Andrie Inc.’s Specialized Division anchored the wind research platform six miles off the Muskegon County shoreline between Muskegon and White Lakes. The GVSU Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center’s third year of a three-year Lake Michigan wind study began Saturday, April 27.

The buoy is transmitting to shore real-time wind data from a sophisticated “floating laser pulse technology” device on the 10-foot-by-19-foot bright yellow platform that sits in 210 feet of water. It is located about 10 miles northwest of the Muskegon Channel, according to MAREC Director Arn Boezaart.

The buoy will continue collecting wind speed and direction information at various heights above the lake surface through early December depending on weather conditions. The AXYS Technology buoy built in British Columbia, Canada, can withstand the winter storms and ice on Lake Michigan, but the sensitive measuring equipment could be destroyed if left on Lake Michigan through the winter, Boezaart said.

Besides wind quality data, the platform also collects atmospheric and wave conditions on the lake, basic water quality information and bird and bat data. All of the information is being collected for research scientists and potential developers of wind turbines on Lake Michigan.

The initial U.S. Energy Department funding for the construction of the platform and the deployment of its research equipment runs out after this season, Boezaart said. GVSU will own the wind research buoy and its equipment but will seek partners to have the platform deployed in 2014 and beyond, he said.

To that end, GVSU and the Muskegon-based MAREC will participate in the American Wind Energy Association convention and conference next week in Chicago’s McCormick Place. MAREC and its wind research project will be featured at AWEA booths of both AXYS Technology and the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

“We are still looking for partners to continue the research in future years,” Boezaart said. “We have had several parties express interest in working with us in the future.”

GVSU is looking for other research institutions, state governments or private sector companies interested in capturing wind data at specific points around the Great Lakes. Interest has come from the Chicago area and from those wishing to study winds in Lakes Huron and Superior, he said.

The first year of operations in 2011, the GVSU wind buoy and its new technology was tested and calibrated on Muskegon Lake and four miles off the Muskegon shoreline in Lake Michigan southwest of the Muskegon Lighthouse. The buoy was removed for the winter and redeployed last spring at a mid-lake ridge of relatively shallow Lake Michigan water on the Wisconsin-Michigan border 35 miles west of the White Lake Channel.

“It was a beautiful day on Lake Michigan,” Boezaart said of last Saturday’s launch by the Andrie crew, which used the 75-foot tugboat Meredith Ashton and the company’s “jack-up” barge to set the buoy.

GVSU officials were pleased to find a strong cellular telephone signal at the deployment site to allow the buoy to transmit its information back to shore without using much more expensive satellite telephone connections, Boezaart said.



Updates -  May 7

News Photo Gallery


Marine Historical Society of Detroit opens annual dinner to the public

5/7 - Mark your calendars for the Marine Historical Society of Detroit’s annual dinner meeting, Saturday, May 11 at the St. Clair Inn in St. Clair, Mich., overlooking the St. Clair Rive. Paul Carroll of Goderich, Ont., will offer a program on the Great Storm of 1913. In addition to talking about the ships and men lost in the tumult, he will outline Goderich's season-long plan to commemorate the storm that will culminate with a three-day event in November. Tickets may be reserved at


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

5/7 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

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

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


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 7

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

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.

1891: ¬The new Canadian Pacific steamer MANITOBA, although built in 1889, had been laid up due to a recession and finally sailed on her maiden voyage on this date in 1891.

1935: ¬A fire aboard ALEXANDER LESLIE at the port of Erieau, Ont., killed one member of the crew and injured two others.

1965: CEDARVILLE and TOPDALSFJORD collided in fog in the Straits of Mackinac. Ten lives were lost when the former, a self-unloader in the Bradley fleet, sank. The latter, a Norwegian freighter, had been a Seaway trader since 1960. Later, on May 11, 1984, as d) JIN XIAN QUAN, it sank the SEA CARRIER, another former Seaway trader as SVANEFJELL, in the Strait of Formosa off Taishan Island. TOPDALSFJORD was last noted as e) CHANGHI and was deleted from Lloyd's Register in 2005.

1998: CANADIAN ENTERPRISE loaded a record 32,366 tons of road salt at Goderich for delivery to Milwaukee.

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


Port Reports -  May 6

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Algowood and Buffalo loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Sunday. Algowood's visit was her first since 2011.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Sunday was busy in the Port of Green Bay, as the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were unloading the Lafarge Terminal. Before 11 a.m. the Calumet and Manitowoc were inbound, first the Calumet going into Fox River Dock to unload and a half hour behind her the Manitowoc, which went down river to Georgia Pacific with coal. Shortly after noon the tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest arrived, going to St. Marys Cement.

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
USCGC Mackinaw was proceeding north out of Grand Traverse Bay early Sunday evening.

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Port Inland, the Manitowoc was due to arrive in the early morning on Monday to load. Following the Manitowoc, the Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive on Tuesday in the early afternoon. Rounding out the schedule, the Sykes returns on Thursday in the late evening.

At Cedarville, the Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive during the early evening on Monday. The Philip R. Clarke is due in on Tuesday during the late afternoon, and rounding out the schedule will be the Joseph H. Thompson, due on Saturday, May 11 in the early morning to load.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Michipicoten was due to arrive at Calcite on Sunday morning and load at the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday. Two vessels are due on Tuesday, with the American Courage arriving first in the early morning to load at the North Dock. The H. Lee White is also due to arrive in the early afternoon also for the North Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday. Two vessels are due to load at Calcite on Thursday, with the Lakes Contender arriving in the early morning for the South Dock and the Great Lakes Trader also arriving for the South Dock in the early morning on Thursday.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway loaded at Stoneport on Sunday and was expected to depart around 7 p.m. Following the Callaway, two vessels are scheduled for Monday, with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving in the morning followed by the Calumet in the early afternoon. On Tuesday, the Great Republic is due to load in the early morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber backed down the Saginaw River to the Airport Turning Basin, Sunday afternoon, turned and headed outbound for the lake. The pair had unloaded overnight at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Inbound on Sunday was the tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge, Endeavour. The pair called on the Bit- Mat dock in Bay City to unload.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The James L. Kuber was expected to arrive in Toledo and load coal at the CSX Coal Dock in the late evening Sunday. Other vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include the Lee A. Tregurtha on Thursday in the early morning and the Algoma Enterprise also on Thursday in the morning. The Lakes Contender and the Lewis J. Kuber are both du to load on Tuesday, May 14 – Lakes Contender in the early morning followed by Lewis J. Kuber in the late evening hours. There is an unknown vessel scheduled for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock due to arrive on Tuesday, May 28 during the early morning to unload limestone. At the Torco Dock, vessels scheduled to arrive with iron ore cargoes include the Buffalo on Tuesday during the early evening, Radcliffe R. Latimer on Saturday, May 11, during the early morning along with the Atlantic Superior arriving during the late morning. Rounding out the schedule is the Lakes Contender, due on Monday, May 13 in the late afternoon to unload at the Torco Dock. Vessels still in layup at Toledo include the Phoenix Star at the Ironhead Shipyard's large drydock, Adam E. Cornelius at the Old Interlake Iron Dock in long-term lay-up along with her ASC fleetmates American Fortitude and American Valor also in long-term layup at the Lakefront Docks.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn came around 3 p.m. on Saturday, on Sunday she was unloading at the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda at 7:30 a.m.


SS Badger boilers fired up, engine crew gets carferry ready for Monday start of season

5/6 - Ludington, Mich. - They’re below deck and out of sight for the most part, but the SS Badger’s 21-person engine department keeps the carferry operating.

On Sunday the engine crew was wrapping up its start-of-season preparations and to getting ready to see how that off-season work will perform.

The season begins at 9 a.m. Monday when the Badger makes its first trip of the year to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and back, returning to Ludington about 7 p.m. The carferry is starting the season earlier than usual this year as it has a job hauling wind turbine parts for a Manitowoc manufacturer.

In preparation for that start, the crew, with a little help from the only two women on board Sunday morning, Patti Klevorn of the Ludington Daily News and Terri Brown, Lake Michigan Carferry’s marketing/media relations director, lit two of the four boilers, with a plan to light the third a little later in the day.

That was a full day before Monday morning’s start of the season.

“We like to get everything up and running and get it settled,” said Senior Chief Engineer Chuck Cart, who’s been running the engine department for 17 years.

Three of the carferry’s four boilers run at a time with the fourth as a backup during the sailing season.

Sunday afternoon the crew switched mode to the routine they’ll have for the sailing season.

They work four-hour watches, then take an eight-hour break before going back on. It helps keep the crew sharp, especially in the heat of the season. And it gets hot in the belly of a coal-fired ship.

The crew tested the boilers last week and had the ship running, then went on its “shakedown” cruise to check that all was working well before making the first cross-lake trip of the year Monday.

It’s no small task to prepare and operate the 60-year-old vessel.

It took 15 to 20 people about 700 man-hours and $300,000 in the off-season, replacing cylinder liners, where the piston rings ride in each cylinder. The original liners have been polished up and even bored out but never replaced until now.

The goal is to increase reliability, efficiency and increase the life of the piston rings, Cart said, which should keep replacement costs down. A set of rings, he said, costs $7,000.

“That allows the flexibility to spend the money somewhere else,” he said.

Cart is eager to find out just how well the newly renovated system works.

“Everything ran well on the (shakedown cruise),” he said. Still, he’ll wonder until the liners have some time under way.

“it’ll be a while before we know if it accomplishes all of our goals,” he said. “We spent an awful lot of the company’s money so we’d like to know (how it’s going to pay off).”

“That was significant,” Cart said of the project.

“This company has been really good about putting money into the ship” he said. “We’ve made a lot of major repairs over the years just due to the age and use of the ship.”

The crew will have a massive project during the next two years, converting the ship to hold onto its waste ash until docking, when it can be hauled away, rather than releasing it into Lake Michigan.

Part of the changeover will include automating the fuel feed system. For now, everything is done manually, but the automation will help reduce the amount of coal used. That’s critical as the U.S. EPA and Lake Michigan Carferry have agreed to a drop in the coal use as part of a consent decree now before the U.S. Department of Justice. The plan calls for coal ash will be fully contained and brought to shore at the end of cross-lake trips within two years.

How does automation help drop the use of coal? Cart gave a truck analogy.

That old 1968 Chevy was easy to work on but was not very fuel efficient. A 2013 is more automated and tougher to tinker with, but it is more efficient, he said.

“It should not actually cost us any positions,” Cart said.

He anticipates he’ll still need his full crew, but their jobs will be a lot different than they are today.

“What we make better on the automation system, we’re going to trade off with extra work on the containment system,” Cart said.

The crew is also using a very high grade of coal, he said.

“We’ll have to be careful with our management,” he said. “It’s very much like driving your car. If you’re concerned with your gas mileage maybe you should not go as fast. There are ways to manage the coal but unlike your car we also have to respond to the conditions on the lake and we also have to maintain a schedule for passengers. If we have a day where the situation asks us to use more fuel then we have to find a day where we can (use less).”

While the lake’s conditions and ship-to-shore schedules play an important role, fuel consumption will be a factor in the speed as well.

The boiler room is a tight fit as it is. Where will the stored coal ash go? Some room will become available as the old coal ash waste system is removed.

But there is much more room needed than that for the new containment system, which will also take space on the car deck. The room is there, but it will take away from what’s available for passenger cars.

During the height of the season and demand for that space is strong, it will mean a loss of that revenue from vehicles that otherwise would have made the voyage.

“It’s going to cost us revenue space,” Cart said.

“The containment system will be partially on the car deck,” he said. “There’s no room in the boiler room and we need to be able to move the containment, so it’ll have to be on the car deck. It’s going to impact our ability in the summertime when we have full loads. It’s going to be less of a load than it was.”

There’s been a lot more attention on the Badger’s fuel system of late since the EPA began permitting (and not permitting) discharges from vessels. Some of the attention has been critical.

That’s OK, Cart said.

Most of the criticism comes from a lack of understanding, he said.

He wants the public to understand the carferry was built to regulation 60 years ago and has been modified to meet every standard since then.

LMC has spent a lot of money and time and recruited a lot of talent looking at every possibility to meet the latest EPA regulations. “I think we’ve done a good job,” Cart said of the plan.

Two of his crew are new to the engine department but not to the Badger. Nick Genter and Josh Bonnett now work below deck. Cart said the department tends to hire from within.

Once employees get jobs with LMC, they tend to stick with them.

“I think that says a lot about the operation,” Terri Brown said.

Ludington Daily News


Keewatin will open for her first working season in Port McNicoll since 1965 next Saturday

5/6 - Port McNicoll, Ont. – It has been a long cold winter, but the volunteers have prevailed in being able to welcome paying visitors onto the last surviving Edwardian Steamship in the world, the SS Keewatin. Built in 1907 in Govan, Scotland, this fantastic example of British ship building and the Industrial revolution sits with pride at the docks of Port McNicoll, Ont., 140 kms from downtown Toronto. The winter was not kind. The volunteers that worked in the unheated ship have accomplished miracles.

The quadruple expansion engine has been stripped and cleaned, re-oiled and polished. The boiler area has been cleaned and labeled with lots of signage explaining how the Scotch boilers work.

The rooms have been disassembled, painted and restored with new mattresses. The ladies lounge has been repainted, the old sprinkler system removed and ready it would seem for high tea. Each of the staterooms has been staged with period clothing and travelling articles. We even have an RCMP room complete with scarlet tunic and all the rest of the kit.

The dining saloon has had a real work over. Everything that could come apart was taken apart. Every piece of brass was polished and all of the dishes are presented as if she were expecting a first sitting. The kitchens are like new, cleaned and scrubbed. The utensils are all waiting and even the food and produce is in the larder and on the shelves.

The Township of Tay has cooperated in expediting a building permit that allowed us to convert a building on the site to substantial washroom facilities. This building will even have heat so we can look at winter programming on the park.

We now have an onboard store. This shop will specialize in local crafts and premade food like coffee, jams and jellies. We have stained glass, antique dolls, fantastic retro posters, Canadian Pacific hats as well as incredible t-shirts called “art shirts” with cruising posters melded into the fabric.

Volunteers have constructed furniture for the sales counter, shelving for the merchandise and two more double exit/entrances for access to the ship. Even the Tay Volunteer Fire Department have scraped and painted the hull so Keewatin is launch-fresh.

The evening after the opening day, Keewatin is sponsoring a dance at the Midland Recreation Centre with the local musical group The Martels.

At the end of this month and in June the Keewatin movie will be shown in special viewings in the Midland Cultural Centre and the Orillia Opera House. There is even a screening being planned for downtown Toronto at the Fox on Queen Street East.

So lots is going on with lots more to come. Once we are operational we can start to work on the showing of the collection of ship’s china, silver and Canadian underwater recovered artifacts from Philippe Beaudry, the famous French Canadian diver who recovered the bell of Keewatin’s ill-fated sister ship the Empress of Ireland.


Traffic at St. Clair Power Plant

5/6 - For the March/April 2013 period, a total of 16 shipments of coal by vessel arrived at the St. Clair Power Plant. The 16 shipments by vessel was a decrease by two shipments during the same period in 2012. During the March/April 2013 period though, two shipments of coal were delivered by vessel in March, a decrease of two shipments from the same period in 2012. There were also 14 shipments of coal delivered by vessel in April 2013 to the St. Clair Power Plant. The first ship to arrive with coal for the 2013 season was the Paul R. Tregurtha on March 29. This is at least the fourth consecutive year that an Interlake vessel has unloaded the first cargo of coal in St. Clair, with the James R. Barker in 2010 along with the Paul R. Tregurtha in 2011 and the Mesabi Miner in 2012.

Leading the way with the most visits by vessel during the March/April 2013 period was the Paul R. Tregurtha with 5 and two split loads possibly a third one for both the St. Clair and Monroe power Pplants. Following the Tregurtha is the American Century with 4 visits and 1 split for both St. Clair and Monroe. Next in line was the James R. Barker with three visits and 1 lone split cargo for St. Clair & Monroe. The Indiana Harbor was next up with 2 visits and 1 lone split cargo for St. Clair & Monroe. The last two that made up the list were the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. with one visit and also a split cargo for St. Clair & Monroe, while American Integrity also had one visit and a split load to St. Clair and also to Essexville, Michigan and the Consumers Energy/Karn-Weadock plant at that location. Two ships noticeably absent from the list with no visits yet this season to the St. Clair Power Plant include the St. Clair and Mesabi Miner. These two vessels have been engaged mainly in the iron ore trade during the 2013 season.

During the March/April 2013 period the Monroe Power Plant got 6 loads of coal by vessel all split loads. This total is up 2 from the same period in 2012 however, it also down two shipments from the same period during the 2010 season as well.

In Essexville, the American Integrity had the only coal delivery there when she arrived on April 17 to unload the first cargo of coal for the season at the Consumers Energy/Karn-Weadock plant. The one lone coal delivery is also the same total during the exact same period in 2012 as well. There were no coal deliveries to Essexville in April 2010 & 2011.

Denny Dushane


March/April 2013 Saltwater Vessel Report

5/6 - During March/April 2013, a total of 47 saltwater vessels made a total of 47 transits through the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, New York. The 47 transits is up three transits from the same period in 2012. For the 5 year period and average from 2008-2012 though, the 47 transits by vessel is also up five transits from the average of 42 during this same period. However, of note the 47 transits by vessel though is also down from the high point of 53 during the 2011 shipping season in the same period.

During the same period a total of 11 new saltwater vessels visited the Great Lakes/Seaway system for the first time. They include the BBC Kwiatkowski, Clipper Karina, CT Dublin, Everhard Schulte, Harbour Pioneer, Hellespont Crusader, Lalandia Swan, Peter Schulte, Regalica Sloman Herakles and the Zhuang Yuan Ao.

Denny Dushane


Updates -  May 6

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Champlain gallery
Saltie Gallery updated - BBC Florida, BBC Maine, Brant, Federal Asahi, HHL Mississippi, Industrial Eagle, Peter Schulte, Pochard, and Wicko
Weekly Website Updates and News Photo Gallery will be posted Tuesday


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.

1914 CITY OF ROME caught fire in Lake Erie and the blaze spread quickly. The vessel was run aground near Ripley, NY and the 15-member crew took to the lifeboats and rowed ashore. The 33-year old wooden freighter was a total loss.

1977 The West German freighter SUSANNE FRITZEN made 19 trips through the Seaway from 1963 through 1967. The vessel arrived at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with engine trouble as c) MARGRIT B. on this date in 1977. It remained idle and had to be towed to Piraeus, Greece, and laid up in 1978. The ship left there February 15, 1979, for the scrapyard in Barcelona, Spain.

1988 The Cypriot flag freighter PONTOKRATIS was under tow and downbound in the Little Calumet River at Chicago when the CSX railroad bascule bridge ended up across the stern cabin and pilothouse. There were no injuries and both sides launched a lawsuit. The vessel was released May 16 and continued to visit the Seaway as late as 2006. It renamed NAVIGATOR M. in 2010.

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


Port Reports -  May 5

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A busy Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor found James R. Barker unloading coal into the hopper and fleet mate Herbert C. Jackson loading ore. CSL Tadoussac made a slow approach waiting for Barker's departure. CSL Tadoussac docked later in the morning to load ore. She last visited Marquette in 2005.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Saturday morning saw the first aggregate cargo of the season arrive on the Saginaw River, brought in by the Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber. Carrying a split cargo for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw, the Moore/Kuber stopped first at Bay Aggregate and attempted to back into the slip there. After numerous attempts with no success, a request for assistance went out to the tug Kurt Luedtke, who was waiting with a mud scow at Consumers Energy for the river to clear. After having no luck in backing into the slip with the assistance from the Luedtke, the Kuber's cargo was finally dropped upriver from Bay Aggregates, on the cement pad just east of the Dow Chemical dock. Once finished there, the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber continued upriver, Saturday evening, to finish unloading at the Buena Vista dock.

Sandusky, Ohio -  Jim Spencer
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, CSL, loaded Saturday at the NS coal dock. She arrived before noon, having sailed from a St. Lawrence River port at mid-week. The next port of call for the Martin was not known, although it was expected to be a Canadian port.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 9:30 a.m. for repairs at Pier 26. Wicko arrived at 9 p.m. Federal Kumano finally departed the Hamilton anchorage after having been there since March 25. She is loading grain at Pier 25 (Richardson's Elevators).


Lightkeepers quarters receiving repairs

5/5 - Newer isnt always better. That's especially true when doing historic restoration and preservation. The lightkeepers quarters at the Big Sable Point Lighthouse are a case in point.

When you try to repair a brick wall built more than 100 years ago with modern bricks, you can create more problems than you solve. That's why the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association brought in Blair Bates.

Bates is something of a historic brick expert. The mason gives classes around the state in how to preserve historic structures, most importantly teaching volunteer groups how to preserve things for themselves.

Thats how SPLKA Executive Director Cindy Beth Davis-Dykema met Bates, actually. When it was pointed out that the new brick purchased for a repair to the south wall at the keepers quarters might not be the best choice, Davis-Dykema contacted the State Historic Preservation Office.

The SHPO office put her in touch with Bates, who was teaching a seminar in Marquette. Davis-Dykema went to the seminar and explained SPLKA's plight.

The lighthouse opened to visitors on Wednesday. The light tower and gift shop are open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily until the end of October. The kickoff weekend for the lights is Memorial Day weekend, Davis-Dykema said.

Michigan's 2nd Annual West Coast Lighthouse Festival 2013- June 1-2, 2013 hosted at SPLKAs Four lights and communities.

Ludington Daily News


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

5/5 - A raffle is now underway to benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site. If you are the winner, you and a guest will cruise on a voyage aboard the Roger Blough or Edwin H. Gott depending on vessel schedules. While onboard you will rest comfortably in private staterooms and view the scenery from the guest lounge.

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

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


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.

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.

1960: The coastal freighter FEDERAL EXPRESS had been built at Midland in 1944 as H.M.C.S. WEST YORK. It was hit at the dock in Montreal on this date in 1960 by the Swedish freighter POLARIS, drifted downstream and sank. The stern was raised August 12, 1960, and the remainder of the hull came up in pieces.

1964: The downbound bulk carrier ERNEST T. WEIR sustained damage to the port bow when it collided with tanker MERCURY in Lake St. Clair. The latter had sheered to the left, went aground after the accident and developed a list. Both ships were repaired and ERNEST T. WEIR survives today as the idle self-unloader AMERICAN FORTITUDE.

1978: JALAVIHAR first visited the Great Lakes in 1966 under the flag of India. It ran aground in the Red Sea as d) KATERINA on this date in 1978. After being released it continued to Palermo, Italy, where it was declared beyond economical repair and was eventually scrapped at Split, Yugoslavia.

2009: VICTORIA first came through the Seaway in September 2004. On May 5, 2009, the ship, loaded with 10,000 metric tonnes of rice and its crew of 11 Romanian sailors, were captured by pirates, about 75 miles south of Yemen and held hostage. After the payment of a reported $1.8 million ransom, the vessel was released on July 18, 2009. It was back on the Great Lakes in 2011.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 made an unannounced visit to Holland Thursday morning, opening commercial navigation for 2013. The pair delivered a cargo of aggregate from Drummond Island to the Verplank dock.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes delivered a cargo to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg Friday morning. Pere Marquette 41 was expected later and the Mississagi and Manitowoc are expected early next week.

Saginaw River- Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch, assisted by a few front-end loaders, moved the USS Edson on Friday about 200 yards further upriver. Edson now rests in front of the North Star dock, up from the Essexville Wirt Sand & Stone Dock, where she has been since she arrived on the Saginaw River last summer. The USS Edson's permanent home, just below the Independence Bridge in Bay City is still not 100 percent complete. It is not known why the short move upriver today, but the water is somewhat deeper there, and it is assumed the move was in preparation for the move to her permanent dock when complete.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Friday morning the saltie Whistler departed after discharging a cargo of sugar at Redpath. Early this week, Technicore workers hoisted the tunnel boring machines Chip and Dale out of the airportside tunnel shaft. Working in tandem, the two machines had completed boring service tunnels #6 and #7. This completes the seven service tunnel arch which will form the roof of the pedestrian tunnel.

Montreal – Rene Beauchamp
The new Canadian Coast Guard ship Corporal Teather C.V. arrived in Montreal on Friday.


Saginaw River – April Report

5/4 - Saginaw, Mich. – With a total of three commercial vessel deliveries for the month of April, traffic on the Saginaw River was down 79 percent as compared to the same period last year (14 vessel passages) and 75 percent compared to the five year average of 12 commercial passages. Additionally, there have been no cargos of aggregates delivered to Saginaw River ports so far in 2013. Delays due to weather and river currents certainly played a role in the decrease, as well as a decreased demand for the products handled by the docks along the Saginaw River.

Dredging is underway in the lower river, with crews from Luedtke Engineering presently working off the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville. A number of tugs have been active so far this season, with the Superior, Wyoming, Kurt R. Luedtke, Karl E. Luedtke, and Gregory J. Busch all moving in the river at some point. The USCG Cutter Hollyhock has also made a number of visits, working aids to navigation out in the Saginaw Bay. The research vessel Mudpuppy II has also visited the Saginaw River.

Todd Shorkey


UP students building a whaleboat

5/4 - Cedarville, Mich. – We don’t hear much about whaling in the Great Lakes, but that’s the talk in this quaint northern Lake Huron town. Whaling and whaleboats have become a popular topic. The Great Lakes Boat Building School here is building one.

Whaleboats were once the workhorses of great wooden whaling ships. Six crew-members would climb down into them and row or sail off to harpoon a whale and kill it so it could be processed. Whales, in that era, were a source of oil for lubrication and illumination.

The near 30-foot whaleboats were roughly constructed vessels, but seaworthy and tough. They had to be given the conditions they operated in, needing at times to withstand being towed by a determined whale. They were double-ended designs, meaning pointed at each end, so they could be rowed forwards or backwards in a hurry as the situation required.

“The project is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students”, said Pat Mahon, GLBBS lead instructor. “There won’t be many whaleboats built in the future.”

Mahon’s students are building one of seven traditional whaleboats commissioned by Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport Museum,, one of the nations premier maritime museums. That museum is home to 133-foot Charles W. Morgan, the last of the wooden whaling ships.

The Morgan was launched in 1841 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Mystic Seaport Museum staff are restoring the 163-year old ship. They plan to launch her again this summer complete with a fleet of whaleboats.

GLBBS is one of the museums, schools and wooden boat builders across the country selected to build one, a great honor to say the least. The school was founded in 2006 to provide training in wood boat building, an almost lost art today. The schools caliber is being recognized with this project.

“The Morgan will be seaworthy and will sail to New Bedford or Boston. Its not going to be a static display,” said Bud McIntire, GLBBS director of development and student services. “Mystic Seaport acquired the ship in the 1941. Its been sitting on soft mud in protected water. What they are doing is replacing the frames and the planking, rebuilding the ship.”

The Morgan was an active whale ship until 1921. She made 37 voyages over 80 years, according to Mystic Seaport’s website. Her longest voyage was almost five years and her shortest was eight and half months.

Building a whaleboat has not been all fun and games, Mahon said. Finding the appropriate white oak timber took time. Trees had to be located and milled to specification. The construction techniques used back when are different than those used today. It took time for both students and staff to come up to speed on how to build one authentically.

“Whaleboats were production boats back then. They were built quickly and didn’t have a fancy finish. They were work boats and that is something I have to remind myself and students,” Mahon said. “We are not building a yachty type boat.”

Seventeen students are working on the project. All are enrolled at GLBBS, which offers a two-year associate degree in Wood Boat Building through North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. The school, which you can find at, is one of a growing list of programs being offered around the country.

The students fall largely into two categories, according to McIntire. There is the 20-something to 30-something crowd, a group of independent spirits who know an office job is not their calling, and the 45- to 60-year old crowd who are folks looking to start a second career.

“We took this project on because it fits our training goals for traditional boat building,” McIntire said. GLBBS also has other Michigan partners in the project.

The non-profit Maritime Heritage Alliance in Traverse City is building the whaleboat spars. The ash oars, and there are six, ranging in length from 15-feet to the 21-foot steering oar, are being built by the Traditional Small Craft Association which is affiliated with the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.

We might not hear much about great whaling ships here in the Great Lakes, where the talk more frequently turns the bane of ballast-water into ocean-going ships, but it is clear from this project that their history is alive and well.

The Grand Rapids Press


Renovated Dossin Great Lakes Museum re-opens on Belle Isle May 18-19

5/4 - Detroit, Mich. – After a successful six-month renovation and grand re-opening last November at its flagship Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Historical Society turned its attention to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum in December.

The Society’s Belle Isle attraction, dedicated to the maritime history of southeastern Michigan, the Detroit River and the Great Lakes, has been closed to the public since December 2nd for a major renovation. The $2 million makeover culminates with a free to the public Grand Re-Opening weekend starting Saturday, May 18, at noon.

Grand Re-Opening weekend hours are:
Saturday, May 18 Noon 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 11 a.m. 6 p.m.
Visitors during the weekend can also register to win a suite at Comerica Park for the Sunday, June 23 game featuring the Tigers vs. the Boston Red Sox, courtesy of PNC Bank. The suite includes 14 tickets for the game, a pair of parking passes and a food and beverage package.

A major highlight of the changes at the Dossin Museum is “Built by the River” in the John A. and Marlene L. Boll Foundation Gallery, the museum’s new permanent core exhibition, which chronicles Detroit’s growth and development into one of the nation’s leading metropolitan regions and the undeniable link to the river that shares its name. The exhibit highlights the ways in which Detroiters have long used the river and lakes to build industries, engage neighbors and pursue recreational passions. Early history will examine Detroit’s place at the center of the fur trade, and how its geographic placement made it a strategic spot for the French, British and American armed forces. Later, its location on the river made Detroit a center of industrial development, manufacturing capital and marine transportation. Younger visitors will enjoy hands-on interactive elements, including a large display simulating a speedboat racing down the Detroit River and a re-creation of an 18th century canoe to climb in and experience what early settlers to the region might have felt upon arrival. Finally, a long-time favorite, the Detroit River Watch webcam, has been reinstalled in a new interactive kiosk and enhanced to now include higher definition images, thanks to the support of Strategic Staffing Solutions.

A River’s Roar is a new temporary exhibit in the Museum’s Great Lakes Gallery that provides an exciting overview of the history of hydroplane racing in Detroit. For over 100 years, the Detroit River and Belle Isle have featured some of the finest racing in the country. The course has hosted the superbowl of power boat racing, the Gold Cup, more times than any other venue. The Gold Cup is the oldest trophy in motorsports. It was also a long-running home track for the British Harmsworth Trophy. Visitors will see some of their favorite boats, and revisit the legendary days of Gar Wood, Guy Lombardo, Wild Bill Cantrell, Fred Alter, Bill Muncey and Chip Hanauer. Everyone can learn about these sleek and fun speed boats with names like Tempo, Skipalong, Such Crust, and Miss Vernors. Also, the Museum’s other well-known attractions have been refreshed, including:

The Gothic Room from the City of Detroit III in Polk Family Hall; The Miss Pepsi championship hydroplane, ensconced in its own pavilion; The Oliver Dewey Marcks Theater; the William Clay Ford Pilot House; and an array of treasures outside the walls of the museum that include the bow anchor from the Edmund Fitzgerald, two War of 1812-era cannons, a U.S. Coast Guard utility boat, and more.

“This renovation project at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum is the latest manifestation of the Society’s five-year Past Forward Campaign, which funded our very successful makeover at our flagship Detroit Historical Museum in the Cultural Center,” said Detroit Historical Society Executive Director Bob Bury. “Were looking forward to reintroducing metro Detroiters to our gem on Belle Isle. The Past Forward Campaign, launched in 2009, has raised more than 85 percent of its $20.1 million goal and will conclude at the end of June, 2014.”

In 1949, the Detroit Historical Commission opened the Maritime Museum of Detroit on Belle Isle. The last commercial sailing vessel on the Great Lakes, the wood schooner J.T. Wing, housed the museum for several years. When the old ship became too fragile for public visitation in 1956, the City of Detroit closed the museum and burned it to the ground. At that time, Walter, Roy, and Russell Dossin pledged part of their fortune -- earned as owners of the exclusive Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise in Michigan and northern Ohio and their fame -- as sponsors of several legendary hydroplane racing boats -- to build a new museum. On July 24, 1960, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum opened to the public on the same site where the J.T. Wing had been moored.


Northern Michigan in HD: Soo Locks and St. Mary's River

5/4 - Video by 9 & 10 News


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 was 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).

1889: The new Canadian Pacific steamer MANITOBA was launched at Owen Sound.

1911: The STEPHEN M. CLEMENT sank the ERWIN L. FISHER in a collision on the Detroit River. The former last sailed as PEAVEY PIONEER and was scrapped in 1968-1969.

1968: The Swedish freighter BRORIVER made 9 trips to the Great Lakes in 1965-1966. It was sold and renamed d) THALIA later in 1966 and caught fire on the Atlantic on this date in 1968. The blaze originated in the engine room but gutted the ship. It was abandoned the next day and was eventually towed to Dakar, Senegal, where it was forced to anchor 8 miles out, as officials did not want it in the port. The vessel later sank at the anchorage.

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


Port Reports -  May 3

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Thursday the Cuyahoga arrived at Fox River Dock, Green Bay, at 11 a.m. with salt.

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity departed Thursday morning and made their way south for Chicago.

South Chicago, Ill. - Matt M
Algocanada arrived Monday morning and made its way to Kinder Morgan. It left Wednesday mid-morning, passing the Lee A. Tregurtha loading at KCBX. On Thursday morning, two G-Tugs assisted the Algowood down the Calumet stern first with a load of salt for a dock below 106th St.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Sam Laud loaded Thursday at Sandusky's NS coal dock. At the LaFarge Marblehead stone dock, Calumet loaded overnight Wednesday and sailed to Cleveland.

Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Philip R. Clarke Great Lakes fleet, was discharging a Stoneport load at the Huron Lime Co. dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The 635-foot Great Republic made her first trip to Lackawanna with her new name Thursday and was also the first commercial vessel to call at the Gateway Metroport for the 2013 shipping season.


Badger shake down cruise Thursday

5/3 - Ludington, Mich. - Lake Michigan carferry Badger slipped through the blue waters of Lake Michigan Thursday on its shake-down cruise in preparation to start its 2013 sailing season Monday.

Everyone in the office and on the ship has been working very hard in preparation of the season, a Facebook post from the SS Badger stated.

The Badger is sailing earlier this year mostly due to a contract to transport wind turbine components from a Manitowoc, Wisconsin manufacturer across Lake Michigan (for) points east. It will carry passengers, too, but services will be limited until May 17, the Badgers customer appreciation day and start of full passenger service.

This is the 60th season for the SS Badger.

Ludington Daily News


Workers wind through tunnels under Lake Erie

5/3 - Cleveland, Ohio - It's a massive $198 million undertaking that's happening underground and under a sliver of Lake Erie.

It must be one of the most unique commutes in all of Ohio. Instead of driving up I-77 to get to the office, workers make their way into "the shaft" by taking a ride down a knee-knocking man-made canyon just off I-90 in Bratenahl.

It goes 200 feet down under Lake Erie. It's deep, dark, loud and always about 55 degrees.

Like clockwork, a train -- Cleveland's only real subway -- awaits the descendants of "the shaft" for a 15 minute, 15 mph train ride from the site in Bratenahl to the location of Cleveland's big dig.

What they're doing is building an 18,000-foot long tunnel from Bratenahl under the highway, and yes, under the lake, to near the Euclid line. The underground area is big enough to hold New York City trains.

In the end, this project will prevent about a billion gallons in sewer oveflow from entering Lake Erie every year.

According to one worker, there are more tunnels in Cleveland per capita than most other cities. The TBM -- the tunnel boring machine -- is the size of three train cars and requires 12 people to run it.

And when it starts up, it chews up. Millions of pounds of shale have been drilled, rolled and raised up top.

Employing trains and elevators and dozens of workers deep underground is the biggest project ever taken on by the NEO Regional Sewer district. Nearly $200 million spent on waste. A worksite no human will set foot in for generations after the valves open next year.



Lakes sailor from Drummond Island recovering from blast

5/3 - Eastern Upper Peninsula - A Drummond Island man remains hospitalized at the University of Michigan Burn Unit following a Saturday morning explosion.

Mike Grzesiek of Drummond Island - a mate on the steamer Wilfred Sykes - sustained burns to 70 percent of his body when his pole building blew up off of Maxton Road shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday. A spokesman for the Drummond Island Fire Department described the structure and contents as a total loss.

In the wake of the fire, believed to be fueled by gun powder associated with legal firework production, the injured man was initially conveyed to the hospital in St. Ignace and subsequently air-lifted to Ann Arbor for further treatment. The cause of Saturday’s explosion remains under investigation.

In a Carepages update, posted by Chris Corday through the U of M Hospital Website on Monday, Grzesiek was fortunate to survive the initial blast.

“All the physicians have already stated that with the extent of his injuries it was a miracle he made it to U of M in the condition he was in,” wrote Cordray, “and praise all the people involved in his initial care. Everything was done perfectly.”

The Monday update also reveals that Grzesiek sustained a broken back in the blast, but is able to respond to his family and move everything.

The latest update, from early today, reveals that Grzesiek underwent surgery and skin grafts on his back. Despite being heavily-sedated, he continues to respond to the family’s voices with movements of his arms legs and feet. Additional surgeries for skin grafts to his arms and legs are scheduled for Thursday.

Family and friends can access updates on Grzesiek’s condition and offer their prayers and encouragement at

A fund has also been set up for expenses. If you would like to mail a check, the address is 34857 S. Townline Rd. Drummond Island MI 49726. Please put the following information on your check: Acct # 600241 or Mike Grzesiek Accident Fund. There will be a lot of travel expenses, lost wages, and medical charges including $75 per night for family to stay by his side.

Soo Evening News


Commercial traffic picking up on Erie Canal

5/3 - The first superhighway tying the Great Lakes to the East Coast, the Erie Canal made New York into the Empire State and turned such canalside communities as Rochester and Buffalo into 19th century boom towns.

But commercial traffic fell off considerably after the 1959 opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway meant cargo ships had a direct route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. And the state’s canal system, which had carried millions of tons of cargo a year at its peak in the 1950s, has been averaging closer to 11,000 tons over the past decade, according to state Canal Corp. figures.

But today, as the canal officially opens for another season, the state’s 524-mile canal system — which is a sizable recreational and tourist attraction with the Erie Canal at the heart — is again seeing a mini-boom as a commercial superhighway.

The canals in 2012 carried slightly more than 43,000 tons of cargo, the biggest year since 1998, according to the Canal Corp. And the state agency overseeing the canal system expects that number to jump to 100,000 tons this year. Most of that will be in the form of Canadian grain entering the Oswego canal spur and heading to the Port of Albany and then down the Hudson River, said Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corp. director. “This year is going to be a tremendous step up,” Stratton said.

Due to issues such as rising fuel costs and regulations on trucking, “There’s a lot of renewed interest in inland waterway transportation,” said Deputy Director John Callaghan.

Unlike more semi traffic on the Thruway, though, more cargo traffic on the Erie Canal won’t necessarily mean more state revenues, as shippers pay a flat, $750 annual permit fee.

The Erie Canal has enjoyed more than one second act.

Before the 363-mile span stretching from Buffalo and Lake Erie to Albany and the Hudson River even was fully open in 1825, it already was overcrowded with boat traffic carrying primarily people, said Daniel F. Ward, curator of Syracuse’s Erie Canal Museum.

And when railroads became more popular, the state’s canal system became primarily a commercial superhighway, carrying finished products and commodities. Today, most of the boating traffic on the state canal system is for pleasure. According to Canal Corp. figures, of the 106,620 vessels recorded in 2012 at the various locks and lift bridges, 88,000 of them were recreational or tour boats.

“You see a constant reinvention” of the canal system, said Ward.

Rensselaer County-based New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., one of the largest commercial shippers on the canal system, moved about 30,000 tons of cargo in 2012, and expects to more than double that this year, said co-owner Rob Goldman. While the company’s “project cargo” volumes have remained relatively stable in recent years — project cargo being big manufactured goods like industrial turbines or boilers too big to ship by rail or semi — the growth last year and expected this year has been in Canadian corn to the Sunoco ethanol plant in Oswego County, and then U.S. soybeans back to Canada, Goldman said.

In May, New York State Marine plans to do a trial run of Canadian wheat to Albany. “If it works out, I hope to get commitments to continue that,” Goldman said.

With such growing traffic, New York State Marine this year is launching the fourth boat in its fleet. “We’re really getting stretched,” Goldman said.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates -  May 3

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New gallery for May featuring the Champlain
Saltie Gallery updated - Arneborg, BBC Florida, Industrial Eagle, Harbour Pioneer, and Peter Schulte


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.

1905: HESPER was blown aground in 60 mph winds near Silver Bay, MN. The vessel was carried over a reef by a giant wave and broken to pieces. All on board were rescued.

1909: The EDWIN F. HOLMES hit a dredge in the Detroit River. The 108-year-old vessel still survives as the J.B. FORD.

1941: TRAJAN had been built at Ecorse, MI as a) YAQUE in 1915. It returned to the Great Lakes as b) DORIS in 1928 taking out the head gates at Lock 13 of the Welland Canal on September 23 and was back for several trips after becoming c) TRAJAN in 1932. The vessel was bombed and sunk by German aircraft in the North Sea on this date while enroute from Blyth to London with a cargo of coal.

1961: The tug BERT VERGE was towing the retired laker FORESTDALE across Hamilton Bay to the scrapyard at Stelco when it got caught by the wind, pulled over on its beam ends and sank with the loss of 2 lives. The tug was later salvaged and survives today as a pleasure craft out of Port Dover.

1982: A fire in the officer's quarters aboard the rail car barge SCOTIA II broke out at Sarnia. The damage was repaired and the ship resumed cross-river service until making its last run in April 1995.

1987: The Polish freighter ZIEMIA BIALOSTOCKA began Great Lakes service in 1980 after 8 years of deep sea trading. The ship hit the Sidney Lanier Bridge at Brunswick, GA, on this date in 1987 with major damage to the vessel and structure. The ship last visited the Great Lakes in 1996 and arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping on September 20, 1998.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the Alpena was at Lafarge loading cement, and has since delivered the product to Cleveland, Ohio. The Andrie tug Meredith Ashton and a spud barge arrived in the river Monday evening and tied up at the Alpena Oil Dock. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Thursday.

Burns Harbor, Ind. - Brian Z.
Lower Lakes' Ashtabula was unloading the first stone cargo at Carmeuse on Wednesday. Later in the morning, the Stewart J. Cort arrived to discharge iron ore pellets.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Saginaw departed Lorain Tuesday at about 7:30 p.m.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Mississagi sailed for Windsor, Ont., Wednesday afternoon, having loaded at the Lafarge stone dock She was followed at the dock during the evening by fleetmate Calumet.


Manitowoc hits, damages train bridge

5/2 - Green Bay, Wis. – A freighter hit a train bridge over the Fox River in Green Bay, causing significant damage, and putting the railroad line out of service. That had some businesses along the train route concerned.

Workers repaired a section of a Canadian National bridge after a freighter hit it Tuesday. According to the Port of Green Bay, the Motor Vessel Manitowoc was in the area at the time.

It made the trip from Sandusky, Ohio and was delivering coal to Georgia Pacific. A picture of the damage shows the tracks knocked out of alignment. Railroad officials say no one was injured.

"Canadian National engineering is onsite making repairs to the bridge so operations will be resumed as quickly as possible," said Emily Hamer, a spokesperson for the Canadian National Railroad.

Canadian National officials told FOX 11 repairs to the rail line, which provides daily service to the area, were completed by Wednesday afternoon.

Canadian National officials said a damage estimate remains under review. The Coast Guard says it is conducting a federal investigation into the matter, but could not provide details.

The company which owns the Manitowoc, Grand River Navigation in Ohio, did not return calls for comment.

FOX 11 News


Dredging crisis affects Great Lakes

5/2 - Duluth, Minn. – When the 1,000-foot freighter Edgar B. Speer departed Two Harbors earlier this week for a steel mill in Gary, Ind., it left with a load of 60,000 tons of taconite.

That might sound like a lot of iron ore, but it’s 10,000 tons less than a full load. And that’s the problem that shipping industry and port officials are calling the Great Lakes “dredging crisis.”

That much taconite left behind amounts to one entire shift at a large Minnesota taconite plant — enough ore to make 6,700 tons of steel and thousands of automobiles — all because one segment in the Great Lakes shipping system was clogged, said Gregg Ruhl, director of the Duluth-based Great Lakes Fleet that owns and operates the Speer.

While the harbor at Two Harbors is plenty deep, more than the 28 feet needed for Great Lakes freighters at full capacity, there’s a portion of the St. Marys River near Sault Ste. Marie that has filled in with sediment to less than 26 feet deep. To get through that section, ships passing through must be light enough to clear the bottom.

“As a result, we had to leave 10,000 tons of taconite on the dock in Two Harbors,” Ruhl said.

That’s 15 percent of the ship’s capacity, he said, and over a season it amounts to millions of dollars of lost revenue for the shipping companies operating on the lakes. That cost is passed on to the mining companies, to steelmakers and eventually on to consumers, he said.

And there are dozens more clogged sites like that across the lakes — filled in with sediment that isn’t being dredged out because of a lack of action in Washington. That stalemate, an annoyance in high-water years, has become a crisis in recent years during the longest period of low water since 1918. Lakes Huron and Michigan, for example, are more than 2 feet below their normal level.

The problem, Ruhl and others said Tuesday at a Duluth portside press conference, is a $200 million backlog of dredging across the Great Lakes because Congress won’t release money from the federal Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. That fund, stocked with port user fees paid by shippers, now sits at more than $7 billion and growing.

It’s not being spent, Ruhr suggested, because the fund balance helps offset the federal budget deficit. But the backlog of dredging is strangling the Great Lakes system of moving freight more cheaply and with less energy and environmental impact than land options.

“That’s what’s created the dredging crisis,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “The money is there; it’s not being spent for what it was intended.”

While the Twin Ports are managing to keep channel depth adequate, “the real issue is our trading partners” on the other Great Lakes, Ojard said.

When those ports are forced to close because of low water, there’s less traffic across the Great Lakes system, and that could lead to a “death spiral” of declining tonnage and clout for the Seaway, Ojard said.

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was in Duluth Tuesday to highlight the importance of the issue to the Minnesota economy. She has co-sponsored legislation that would force the government to spend its harbor money for the intended purpose each year. That language also has been included in the larger Water Resources Development Act, which could see action in the Senate in coming weeks, Klobuchar said.

The port “connects our businesses to the rest of the world,” Klobuchar said, adding that the port served as the “cornerstone of this region’s economy.”

“When ships on the Great Lakes have to light load … because channels are not deep enough, our economy suffers,” Klobuchar added.

Duluth News Tribune


New Canadian Coast Guard vessels named after Stellarton war hero

5/2 - Sarnia, Ont. – The Honourable Keith Ashfield, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Pat Davidson, Member of Parliament for Sarnia-Lambton, officially welcomed the new Canadian Coast Guard Ship Private Robertson V.C. into service at a ceremony in Sarnia, Ontario on April 30.

CCGS Private Robertson V.C. is the first of nine Hero Class vessels - built at a Canadian shipyard for the Canadian Coast Guard – to be officially welcomed to the Coast Guard fleet. It will enhance maritime security throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway and will be used in the joint Marine Securities Enforcement Team Program, a partnership between the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“Our Government is proud to welcome this new Hero Class vessel to our fleet,” said Minister Ashfield. “We have made more investments in the Coast Guard than any Government in Canadian history. I am excited to see new and more capable Coast Guard vessels joining our fleet.”

"Our government is committed to keeping Canadians safe," added Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. "This new Coast Guard vessel will further enhance the law enforcement partnership between the RCMP and the Canadian Coast Guard - a partnership that is vital to Canada's marine and maritime security."

“The Great Lakes are an important part of our region’s economy, livelihood and recreation. Canadians around the Great Lakes are proud to see the iconic red and white hulls of our Canadian Coast Guard keeping our waterways safe and open,” said Pat Davidson. “I am proud to be part of a government that is providing the Coast Guard with the tools and training it needs.”

Built at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Private Robertson V.C. is 43 metres in length, has a top speed of 25 knots and a range of 2000 nautical miles, and will be able to stay at sea for up to two weeks without re-provisioning. The Coast Guard Hero class vessels are named after Canadian heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice for Canada. The first vessel of the class is named for Victoria Cross recipient Private James Peter Robertson.

Private James Robertson, V.C., was born in Albion Mines (now Stellarton), Pictou County Nova Scotia and enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force in Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1915. He was killed in action on November 6, 1917 while rescuing two badly wounded fellow soldiers under severe fire. He is buried at Passchendaele in Belgium. Private Robertson was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery and outstanding devotion to duty. The grand-niece of Private Robertson, Lynn Tebay, traveled to Sarnia for the ceremony and served as the ship’s sponsor, breaking a bottle of Ontario sparkling wine over the bow of the ship.

“The Canadian Coast Guard is a symbol of true and dutiful service," said Minister Ashfield. "The new Hero Class patrol vessels represent a modest tribute to the heroes they honour and our government's support for the brave Coast Guard personnel that risk their lives along Canada's treacherous coastline - the longest in the world."

Since 2009, the Government of Canada has delivered several new and more capable vessels to the Coast Guard, including: 3 Hero-class Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels (CCGS Private Robertson V.C., CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. and CCGS Corporal Teather C.V.); the hovercraft CCGS Mamilossa; five Search and Rescue Lifeboats; two Specialty Vessels; three Near-Shore Fishery Research Vessels; 30 environmental barges; and 60 small craft. This is a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to ensuring safe streets and communities and showing pride in our country.

The News


Petition to build Welland Canal workers memorial

5/2 - St. Catharines, Ont. – During the construction of the Welland Canal, from 1914 to 1932, 124 men died on the job. When the canal opened in 1932, the federal government promised a memorial that was never built. That promise can’t be fulfilled without local support. Go online to sign the St. Catharines Standard’s petition, which will be presented to local politicians and decision makers, urging them to get involved.

If a long-promised memorial to the men who died building the Welland Canal is to ever become a reality, Niagara will have to get behind the idea.

In 1932, the federal government promised a monument for the 124 men who died during the construction of the canal. That memorial was never built, and to this day those who died have been largely forgotten.

“At the time there was a really sincere feeling that a memorial should be built. But we are not sure why it didn’t happen,” said local historian and former curator of the St. Catharines Museum Arden Phair. “It was the Great Depression. Perhaps money ran out. All we know is that at some point it just stopped being a priority and was forgotten about.”

In Welland, there is a monument to the Welland Canal. There are statues of four men and one woman, and plaques recognizing donors. But no mention of the men who died. No names. No indication that 124 people — 124 souls! — lost their lives building the canal.

Phair, along with other researchers, has pulled together what existing information there is on the men who died from 1914 to 1932 in the hopes the promised memorial will be built.

According to the office of St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, the most promising avenue to get federal support for a memorial is through the Legacy Fund of Canadian Heritage. The fund provides money for up to 50% of a community capital project — to a maximum of $500,000 — to “commemorate a significant local historical event or pay tribute to a significant local historical personality.”

However, individuals cannot apply for funding. A community committee needs to be formed and half the cost of the product needs to be found at the community level, either through fundraising or from local governments.

For more information about the Legacy Fund go online to  To sign the petition visit

St. Catharines Standard


Updates -  May 2

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 2

A total of 60 ore boats departed Cleveland between March 31 and April 2 to start the 1948 shipping season.

On 02 April 1900, the JOHN MINER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 134 foot, 273 gross tons, built in 1866, at Detroit, Michigan as a bark) was purchased by S. R. Chamberlain from Frank Higgie for $800. She only lasted until 19 October 1902, when she was lost in a storm on Lake Huron.

On April 2, 1951, CLIFFS VICTORY was towed, bound for New Orleans, Louisiana, with her deck houses, stack, propeller, rudder and above deck fittings stored on or below her spar deck for bridge clearance. She was outfitted with two 120-foot pontoons, which were built at the Baltimore yard, that were attached to her hull at the stern to reduce her draft to eight feet for passage in the shallow sections of the river/canal system.

LEON FALK JR. was launched April 2, 1945, as a.) WINTER HILL, a T2-SE-Al, World War II, a single-screw fuel tanker for U.S. Maritime Commission.

CLIFFORD F. HOOD was launched April 2, 1902, as the straight deck bulk freighter a.) BRANSFORD for the Bransford Transit Co., (W. A. Hawgood, mgr.).

SENATOR OF CANADA sailed under her own power on April 2, 1985, to Toronto, Ontario, where she was put into ordinary next to her fleet mate the QUEDOC. She was scrapped in Venezuela in 1986.

WHEAT KING was lengthened by an addition of a 172 foot 6 inch mid-section (Hull #61) and received a 1,000 h.p. bowthruster. This work reportedly cost $3.8 million Canadian and was completed on April 2, 1976.

On April 2, 1953, the straight deck bulk freighter J. L. MAUTHE (Hull#298) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works entered service for Interlake Steamship Co. She operates currently for Interlake as the self-unloading barge PATHFINDER.

April 2, 1975 - The State of Michigan filed a Federal Court suit to stop the Grand Trunk Railway from selling the GRAND RAPIDS. It was felt that selling the ferry would build a stronger case for abandonment of the entire ferry service.

On 2 April 1874, A. H. HUNTER (wooden propeller tug, 58 foot, 28 gross tons) was launched at Saginaw, Michigan. She was built for Donnelly & Clark of Saginaw by Wheeler. The engine was built by Bartlett & Co. of Saginaw. Her boiler and some other equipment were from the almost new tug KATY REID that burned at Salzburg, Michigan in October 1873.

1976: WHEAT KING was refloated at Port Weller Dry Docks. It had arrived on December 12, 1975, and was lengthened to 730 feet over the winter. The ship would only sail six years with the new dimensions and was retired at the end of the 1981 season.

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


Seaway recognizes uptick in international cargo

5/1 - The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation announced eight Great Lakes Seaway System ports are receiving the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award for registering increases in international cargo tonnage shipped during the 2012 navigation season when compared to the previous year.

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

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

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

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

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

Superior Telegram


Port Reports -  May 1

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Saginaw came into Lorain about 11 a.m. Tuesday morning and was unloading near the cement plant on the east side of the river, close to Joanick's docks.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann completed loading at the LaFarge stone dock Tuesday and sailed for Cleveland.


Chi-Cheemaun ferry season delayed by low water levels on Lake Huron

5/1 - Tobermory, Ont. - Since the Chi-Cheemaun ferry started traversing Lake Huron between Tobermory and South Baymouth on Manitoulin Island in 1974, its schedule has been like clockwork: It started the first Friday every May and ferried thousands of people, and their cars, every day until October.

But the ferry isn’t starting this Friday; no one knows when it will.

“I felt sick when I heard that,” said Nathalie Gara-Boivin, who owns the Auberge Inn on Manitoulin Island. “The ferry brings thousands of tourists to the island. Businesses will die without it.”

Low water levels in Lake Huron have caused problems at the docks in Tobermory and South Baymouth. The ferry is now too low for the fenders that keep the boat from hitting the dock, and the company that runs the ferry says it’s not safe unless the fenders are modified.

The docks are owned and maintained by Transport Canada.

Susan Schremf, president and CEO of the Owen Sound Transportation Company, which owns the ferry, said she first raised the issue with Transport Canada two years ago. It led to a report that said the fenders need to be modified. But nothing happened, said Schremf.

“Unless the fenders are modified, we are at the mercy of rain or spring melt,” she said. “I can’t predict that; it could be weeks.”

The water must rise about 25 centimetres before the ferry can run.

In an emailed response, Transport Canada said it is talking to the province and the Owen Sound Transportation Company to “explore options to address the impacts of low water levels on the docking of the Chi-Cheemaun ferry.”

But Ontario’s minister of tourism, Michael Chan, said the docks are Ottawa’s jurisdiction and that it is trying to “unload the responsibility” onto the province.

“People’s lives should not be dependant on the water level,” he said. “Transport Canada should come in and fix the problem.”

The ferry is considered the economic driver for tourism on Manitoulin Island. Restaurants, hotels and campsites depend on the ferry to bring tourists from other parts of Ontario and as far as Europe.

Local MP Carol Hughes, a New Democrat, said repairs to the docks would cost less than $300,000. “The cost to tourism without a ferry is unimaginable,” she said.

Lake Huron and the other Great Lakes have been struggling with low water levels for years. The problem is a long-term cycle of more evaporation as temperatures rise, and not enough water from melting snow and rain to make up for it.

“To make matters worse, the average level of ice cover has fallen dramatically since the 1970s, leading to increased evaporation,” said John Nevin of the International Joint Commission for the Great Lakes. The water level in Lake Huron is at 175.74 metres now. Its long-term average is 176.39 metres.

Until the recent rains, conditions have been dry in the Superior, Michigan and Huron basins while Erie and Ontario have received average levels of rain and snow, Nevin said.

He also pointed out that last summer’s drought was worse on Lake Huron compared to the others.

Even if Ottawa steps in to modify the fenders now, it could still take at least six weeks for them to be ready, Schremf said.

“We know this is painful . . . but we will have to endure it.”

Toronto Star


U.S. Steel locks out workers at Nanticoke, Ont., plant

5/1 - Nanticoke Ont. - U.S. Steel locked out almost 1,000 unionized workers at its facility in Nanticoke, Ont., Sunday, raising questions from employees about promises the company made to the federal government about continuing production in Canada.

The company shut the gates of its Lake Erie Works plant, located about 130 kilometres southwest of Toronto, at 9 a.m. just as it had warned it would, leaving hundreds of angry workers gathered outside.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. U.S. Steel makes steel for a number of operations from cars to building construction.

It bought one of Canada's largest steel manufacturers — the Hamilton-based company formerly known as Stelco — in 2007.

The purchase triggered a long dispute between the federal government and the company over broken promises U.S. Steel made to secure approval to buy Stelco.

The two sides settled the case in late 2011 with an agreement that saw the company promise to keep producing steel in Canada for at least another four years and make major capital investments at its Canadian mills.

Union voted Tuesday to reject latest offer Notice of Sunday's lockout was sent to the United Steelworkers Union on Thursday under a mutual agreement to give 72-hours notice of a strike or lockout.

On Tuesday, the union membership had voted 70 per cent to reject a final contract offer from the company that would eliminate cost-of-living wage increases, reduce holidays and amount to a virtual standstill in wages.

Ferguson said workers would have received an extra $1 an hour under the company's latest offer, but that had already been mandated under the cost-of-living clause in the previous agreement. According to the union, there are 978 members of the bargaining unit at Nanticoke.

The union offered earlier this week to keep its members on the jobs and negotiate further, but that was rejected by the company.

"This was an operation that was probably a top plate operation in Canada. When it was sold to the Americans it almost became a second tier operation," Ferguson said, calling the company's current approach to talks with the union "radically different" from its predecessor.

According to the company website, the Lake Erie Works facility makes 2.25 million tonnes of slabs and 3 million tonnes of high-quality hot rolled coils.

This is the third time U.S. Steel has locked out Ontario workers since purchasing plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke in 2007.



Fund set up for lakes sailor Mike Grzesiek, seriously burned in fire

5/1 - Drummond Island, Mich. - An account has been set up at the DeTour Drummond Community Credit Union for the family of Mike Grzesiek, who was severely burned in a pole barn fire on his property Saturday morning April 27. The account number is #600241. Grzesiek is a mate on the steamer Wilfred Sykes. He was airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor with burns over 70 percent of his body. If you would like to mail a check, the address is 34857 S. Townline Rd. Drummond Island MI 49726. Please put the following information on your check: Acct # 600241 or Mike Grzesiek Accident Fund. There will be a lot of travel expenses, lost wages, and medical charges including $75 per night for family to stay by his side.


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 1

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.

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.

1892: CELTIC, enroute from Fort William to Kingston with wheat and general cargo, sank in Lake Erie east of Rondeau after a collision with the steamer RUSSIA. The accident occurred in fog and one life was lost.

1909: ADELLA SHORES foundered with the loss of 14 lives in a Lake Superior storm while enroute from Ludington to Duluth with barreled salt.

1917: CASE began leaking on Lake Erie and was beached at East Sister Island, near Point Pelee and the ship caught fire when a lantern was knocked over. Some cargo was salvaged in August but the hull was left to break up in place and today the remains are scattered on the bottom.

1933: WILLIAM SCHUPP stranded on a shoal off Cockburn Island, Lake Huron, while enroute to Fort William in ballast. Once released, the vessel was repaired at Collingwood. It became MONDOC (ii) in 1945 and was scrapped at Deseronto, ON in 1961.

1940: ARLINGTON foundered in a Lake Superior storm on the second trip of the 1940 season. The wheat laden steamer was bound for Owen Sound went down stern first, taking Capt. Burke to his death. The rest of the crew survived and were picked up by the COLLINGWOOD.

1963: CAPE TRANSPORT was mauled overnight in a wild storm on Lake Huron off Harbor Beach. The steering gear was damaged, the radio knocked out and pilothouse windows were smashed. The HOLMSIDE, and later the RALPH S. MISENER, stood by. The ship reached a safe anchorage on May 2. Fleetmate OREFAX sustained damage to the forward cabins while upbound on Lake Huron in the same storm.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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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