Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Contract awarded to remove Canadian Miner from Nova Scotia coast

5/31 - Main- ŕ -Dieu – The province has awarded the contract to remove the former lake vessel Canadian Miner from the coast of Scatarie Island to an Antigonish, Nova Scotia company for $11.9 million.

Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, met with the Main-ŕ-Dieu Community Development Association to announce that RJ MacIsaac Construction was awarded the contract to remove the ship by November.

Boyd MacIsaac of RJ MacIsaac Construction said the company found out it won the contract two days again and has already begun its work. He said the timeline set out by the province is achievable.

RJ MacIsaac Construction was one of seven companies that responded to the request for proposals in March. The bidding process closed April 29.

The proposals were reviewed by a panel of experts to help ensure a fair and transparent process. The panel included representation from the provincial and federal governments, including health and safety officers, officials from the Department of Environment, the provincial procurement office, and Transport Canada.

A point system was used to evaluate the bids considering many factors, including price, method of removal, occupational health and safety considerations, environmental consideration, and worker accommodation. Prospective bidders were made aware of the process, the criteria, and the point system during a mandatory meeting held in advance of the RFP launch.


Port Reports -  May 31

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin made its way into Milwaukee on a foggy Friday afternoon with a load of salt. The Prentiss Brown with barge St. Marys Conquest departed in the afternoon after arriving Thursday night with a load for the St. Marys Terminal. The G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived overnight for the LaFarge terminal.

Kingston Area - Ron Walsh
Friday morning the Algoma Progress was still unloading at Bath. The English River was anchored waiting to load. The Federal Kivalina anchored off Bath at 2:30 a.m. She has a small vessel at the starboard bow which looks like a dive vessel. The CCGS Caribou Isle spent the night in Kingston.


Public listening session June 12 to discuss future of navigation

5/31 - The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are co-sponsoring Future of Navigation – 21st Century Waterways public listening sessions. The listening sessions, which will be held in several locations across the country, are designed to provide a venue for open communications between various Federal agencies and U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) stakeholders to discuss the joint Federal agency initiative to use modern technology to support a safer, more efficient, more secure, and environmentally sound MTS. These listening sessions will provide MTS users and stakeholders an opportunity, beyond traditional venues, to express their emerging needs for navigational information and service delivery systems necessary to improve safety and efficiency of transits on the nation’s waterways.

The listening session for the Great Lakes region will be held at the Double Tree Hotel in Port Huron, Michigan. It will begin at 5 pm and conclude at 7 pm on Thursday June 12. The Port Huron Double Tree Hotel is located at 800 Harker St.

Questions may be directed to the following email address:


Lookback #195: Nisbet Grammer sank following Lake Ontario collision on May 31, 1926

5/31 - The three-year career of the Nisbet Grammer came to an end due to a collision with the Dalwarnic. The accident occurred off Thirty Mile Point, Lake Ontario, 88 years ago today.

Nisbet Grammer, part of the Eastern Steamship Co. fleet, had been launched at Birkenhead, England, on April 14, 1923. It crossed the Atlantic to trade through the old St. Lawrence and Third Welland Canals.

The 1,725 gross ton bulk carrier had loaded grain at Port Colborne for delivery to Montreal when it was lost. Dalwarnic struck the vessel at #6 hatch, opened a large hole and the ship went down in 15 minutes in an estimated 500 feet of water. All on board were rescued.

Dalwarnic had been built at Port Arthur as Canadian Harvester in 1921 and had only recently joined the Canada-Atlantic Transit Co. It left the lakes for saltwater service in 1940, After the war, it was sold in 1946 and re-registered in Panama and then resold to Turkish interests as Selcuk in 1948. The vessel is reported to have arrived at Halcic, Istanbul, Turkey for scrapping on March 23, 1967.

Had Nisbet Grammer survived the collision, it would most likely have been sold, along with company running mates, to the Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1936 and lasted until the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 31

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New for June with a new gallery featuring the Valley Camp (1).


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 31

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 - 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: 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.


Federal Kivalina refloated; vessels on the move on Seaway

5/30 - Federal Kivalina, which ran aground Tuesday afternoon on a stretch of the Seaway near the Thousand Islands Bridge, was released Thursday. At 7:30 p.m. she was underway westbound for Bath, Ont. At 7:40, Seaway Clayton announced that navigation in the American Narrows had resumed.

Coast Guard personnel approved a salvage plan early Thursday afternoon and the salvage team immediately went to work to remove the vessel, with the tugs Ocean Ross Gaudrault and Ocean Georgie Bain assisting. Upon the safe removal of the Federal Kivalina, the SLSDC reopened the Seaway to all vessel traffic, which had been shut down for more than two days. More than 18 vessels were delayed.

Earlier reports said a portion of the 650-foot vessel’s cargo would be lightered, however it is unknown whether that actually took place.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday that a dive team conducted an underwater hull inspection on the Federal Kivalina and determined it had run aground after losing steering. The captain had the crew drop three anchors to stop the drifting ship. No one was injured and no pollution was reported from the vessel.

Ron Walsh


Port Reports -  May 30

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A busy Thursday evening at the Upper Harbor found Michipicoten and Kaye E. Barker loading ore and USCGC Alder working aids to navigation.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
For a short time on Thursday afternoon, the tug Bradshaw McKee was showing an AIS signal, possibly meaning that the crew is reporting back to the ship and that she may be leaving soon. There has been no movement with any of the other lakers in Sturgeon Bay since the Edgar B. Speer's departure on Wednesday.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Chris Gaziano
Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder made their way in overnight on Wednesday with a load of stone. They were finished and heading out by mid-afternoon Thursday.


Ice took heavy toll on lakes coal trade in April

5/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - Ice formation the likes of which have not been seen since 1994 dramatically slowed coal shipments on the Great Lakes in April. Loadings totaled only 995,000 tons, a decrease of nearly 55 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the month’s 5-year average, April shipments were down nearly 57 percent.

The biggest drop came from Lake Superior ports. The only way vessels could safely cross Lake Superior in April was to be convoyed by U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers, and as a result, shipments plummeted 80 percent. It was not until May 2 that vessels were allowed to transit Lake Superior unescorted.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 1,470,000 tons, a decrease of 47.6 percent compared to a year ago, and 56 percent below the long-term average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and carry the raw materials that drive the nations economy: iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain. Collectively, these vessels can transport more than 115 million tons of cargo per year. Those cargos support more than 103,000 jobs with an average wage of $47,000. More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers Association.


Lookback: Brig Maria Asumpta foundered on May 30 1995

5/31 - On this day May 30 1995 the brig Maria Asumpta foundered at Padstow on the rocky Cornwall coast of England. The wooden tall ship spent four years, from 1984 to 1988, marooned on Lake Ontario.

The sea saga begins in June 1984 when, as the Ciudad de Inca , the brig was competing in the Bermuda to Halifax leg of the Cutty Sark Tall Ship race. Also taking part in the race was fleetmate the barque Bark Marques. On June 3rd a devastating night line squall knocked the Marques over on her starboard beam ends. The barque flooded through a broached cargo hatch and sank within minutes. In complete darkness, only 9 of the 28 crew escaped and were rescued. A number of the lost sailors were Americans.

After participating in tall ship festivities in Halifax and Quebec City, the Ciudad de Inca sailed on to Toronto. Here owner Mark Lichtfield discovered that he was being sued by the relatives of the lost American crew members of the Marques. Lichtfield realized that his ship would be arrested and seized while sailing through the Eisenhower and Snell locks and decided to keep the brig safe on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario.

The brig was based in Kingston and in the winter of 1986 the Inca sank at her dock but was raised and refurbished. The brig thus became a part of Kingston's legend of midwinter mysterious midnight moored ship sinkings.

In 1988 the Ciudad de Inca was allegedly sold to new owners, reverted to its original name of Maria Asumpta and was registered as a private yacht. The ruse got the brig through the American Seaway Locks and once the brig reached the other side of the Atlantic she reverted back to her sail training status.

On May 30 1995, while on passage to Padstow and with captain Lichtfield at the helm, the brig came to grief. The Padstow harbor master had warned Lichtfiel to keep well off shore but Lichtfield ignored the warning and was using a scenic but dangerous inshore channel. He had also ignored shipyard warnings about badly contaminated fuel. The inevitable happened, the engines starved of fuel and shut down. Onshore wind and currents set the old wooden ship down Rump Point rocks where it pounded itself to pieces. In the ensuing melee of breaking timbers, masts, spars and the tangle of rigging three crew members perished.

Lichtfield survived but could not dodge the long arm of British Admiralty law. He was convicted of negligence for not heeding the warnings about contaminated fuel and unsafe navigation, especially for not keeping enough sea room while sailing a square rigged vessel along a lee shore. The ghost of the Marques came back to haunt him when it was revealed he had made changes to the barque's sail plan and superstructure without doing the compliant followup stability tests. The court passed a sentence of 18 months jail time.

At the time of her foundering, the 147 year old Maria Asumpta was the oldest wooden operating sailing vessel that had taken part in the slave trade. She had also traded in textiles and salt. It was her trade in salt that gave the brig such a long lease on life, as prolonged exposure to salt tended to "pickle" the wooden planks and timbers and thus prevent internal rot.

Jens Juhl


Lookback #194 – Fred W. Green torpedoed and sunk on May 30, 1942

5/30 - The Fred W. Green combined freshwater with saltwater trading from the time it was built in 1918 until it was lost 72 years ago today.

The vessel was a product of the Great Lakes Engineering Works and launched as Craycroft at Ecorse, Mich., on Sept. 26, 1918. It departed the lakes for Atlantic coastal service but was idle at Norfolk, Virginia, when it was sold for a return to the lakes in 1927.

Renamed Fred W. Green, the ship loaded sugar at Baltimore for Green Bay and Milwaukee. It operated for the Roen Steamship Co. with several modifications. Two derricks were installed in 1927. Then, a self-unloading conveyor and boom were added over the winter of 1928-1929 due to the need to deposit cargoes further ashore.

These cargoes usually consisted of sand, crushed stone or gravel and were used in highway and breakwater work around the shore of Lake Michigan. It was a busy ship but usually confined to short hauls and small docks.

With World War Two underway, Fred W. Green was purchased by the United States Maritime Commission and left the lakes in Nov. 1941. The conveyor equipment was removed at New York and the ship joined the British Ministry of War Transport in 1942. It was en route to Freetown, Sierra Leone, when it was torpedoed by U-506 and sunk on May 30, 1942. Five members of the crew, including the captain, were lost.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 30

News Photo Gallery


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.


At least 15 vessels delayed as work begins to free Federal Kivalina

5/29 - Collins Landing, N.Y. –  Noon update - Shipping traffic remains suspended along a stretch of the St. Lawrence Seaway in northern New York as salvage efforts get underway this morning for a grounded freighter. Two Groupe Ocean tugs were enroute to the grounding site at first light.

Shipping along that stretch of the Seaway is suspended until the freighter is removed. At least 15 ships have been impacted as of noon Thursday, with more vessels expected to be delayed, according to Nancy T. Alcalde, spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

The U.S. Coast Guard says a dive team conducted an underwater hull inspection on the 650-foot Federal Kivalina and determined it had run aground after losing its steering Tuesday afternoon in U.S. waters near the Thousand Islands Bridge in Orleans in Jefferson County.

The captain had the crew drop three anchors to stop the drifting ship. No one was injured and no pollution was reported from the vessel.

The Coast Guard says a contracted salvage team will develop a plan for freeing the freighter, which is hauling 23,000 metric tons of canola seeds.

Shipping along that stretch of the Seaway is suspended until the freighter is removed., Ron Beaupre

Original report - The job of making a freighter aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway lighter will get underway Thursday, with the offloading of some of its cargo.

A spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard in Buffalo said a salvage company is due to arrive at the ship, the Federal Kivalina, Wednesday night. Offloading of the ship's cargo of canola seeds will start Thursday.

Divers completed an inspection of the vessel Wednesday, and found a two-foot long hole in the hull near the bow. The ship's grounding has halted shipping on a stretch of the Seaway near the Thousand Islands Bridge. There is no immediate word on when it might resume or how many vessels are delayed.

Divers went into the water Wednesday morning to inspect the hull of the Federal Kivalina, which was headed to Montreal when it had a steering problem near the Thousand Island Bridge about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there were no injuries and no pollution was reported, but a boom has been placed in the water near the ship as a precaution.

The Coast Guard said the captain of the 656-foot, Hong Kong-flagged freighter reported losing steering. The crew of the freighter dropped three anchors to slow its drift. The TI Bridge was shut down as a precaution for about 10 minutes Tuesday.

There are 22 crew members aboard, where they will remain "as long as the situation does not worsen," the Coast Guard says. The ship is about a third of a mile upriver of the bridge.

Wednesday the Virginiaborg and the tug Victorious with John J. Carrick are anchored at Prescott waiting upbound passage. The Baie Comeau is westbound below Snell Lock. The Flevoborg, Elbeborg, Labrador and BBC Celina are anchored in the Carelton and Lynda Island area. The Vancouverborg and Federal Margaree are eastbound above midlake.

WWNY and Ron Walsh


Port Reports -  May 29

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
Edgar B. Speer finally departed Bayship at Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday. At 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening, AIS showed the Speer upbound in the St. Marys River with a listed destination of Two Harbors, Minn. She had been in Sturgeon Bay since mid-April for work, including propeller shaft replacement. Fleetmates American Spirit and American Integrity remain in port, with no upcoming departure dates. Philip R. Clarke, St. Marys Challenger and tug Bradshaw McKee and Sikuliaq also remain docked.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Early Sunday morning the Mississagi unloaded salt at the Alpena Oil Dock. The Alpena was in port on Tuesday loading cement at Lafarge.

On Wednesday the Calumet unloaded coal at Lafarge and departed around 4:30 p.m. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation is expected in port Thursday morning. Fleetmate G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity will load after the Champlain on Thursday.

Toronto , Ont. - Jens Juhl
The Polish bulker Resko departed Redpath Sugar at 9:30 Wednesday morning. The former charter yacht Jaguar II has been moved to the ship channel. The Jaguar II had been moored kitty corner around from the Jadran at he foot of Yonge Street Like the Jadran, the Jaguar was in a sad and shabby state with peeling paint ,broken decklights and hand rails, with moldering mooring lines littering the fore deck. Back in the early 1980s, the Breaux Brothers-built oilrig crew/supply boat was purchased by Toronto businessman R. Corbett. During the delivery trip up the Mississippi River from Louisiana to Toronto the Jaguar tangled with a submerged ferry cable which damaged the starboard propeller. Upon arrival in Toronto, the Jaguar was completely refurbished with the passenger cabin converted into a cozy bar lounge area. At the end of the summer charter season, the Jaguar went to Hike Metals in Wheatly, Ont. where the vessel was hauled out and the damaged propeller repaired. In addition, the forward deckhouse was extended over the aft cargo deck all the way to the stern. The roof of this new addition became a small promenade deck. This in turn required six-foot extensions to the twin funnels. The Jaguar returned to Toronto and operated until about the mid 1990s, when it suddenly made a mysterious midnight departure for ports unknown. Several years later it turned up in the backwaters of Rameys Bend. Here thieves plundered and pillaged the vessel's electronic equipment and formidable chromed triple-chime Kahlenberg air horn. The Jaguar is currently listed for sale through shipbrokers Scruton Marine and Apollo Duck Canada.

Oswego, NY - Ned Goebricher
Wednesday English River was unloading cement.


Arnold Transit back to work at Straits

5/29 - Arnold Transit is back in business shuttling passengers from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. The company, which recently restructured its leadership, is one of three ferry services that provide a lifeline between Mackinac Island and the mainland. The ferries are considered an integral part of the Straits area economy. The catamarans are gone and only the classic ferries are being used. The trip from Mackinaw City takes 35 minutes, and the St. Ignace route is 30 minutes. While this schedule is with the slower boats, Arnold is offering rates that are less than Shepler's or the Star Line.


U.S. Arctic research ship Sikuliaq ready to cast off

5/29 - Marinette, Wis. – A brand-new research vessel is buoying the hopes of US oceanographers. In the first week of June, the University of Alaska Fairbanks plans to take possession of the RV Sikuliaq, a US$200-million, 80-metre ship that is currently floating in the Great Lakes. It is the first research vessel built for the National Science Foundation (NSF) since 1981; polar scientists have been calling for a versatile ice-strengthened ship for four decades.

“People ask, ‘Why should the Arctic have a special ship’? It’s a special place,” says Vera Alexander, a biological oceanographer at the University of Alaska who has been involved in the campaign to build an Arctic research vessel. Plans call for the Sikuliaq to spend much of its time examining the effects of shrinking sea ice and other climate-change impacts on northern ecosystems.

The Sikuliaq’s launch is particularly striking because most of the US oceanographic-research fleet faces a grim future. Many of the other 23 vessels are ageing, and there is little money available to replace them. Construction of the Sikuliaq was made possible only because, in 2009, then-NSF director Arden Bement chose to give the project $148 million from a government economic-stimulus package.

With its ability to navigate coastlines, ice-bound waters and the open sea, the Sikuliaq can explore a wide range of science questions, says Alexander. Biologists will be better able to track animal populations in places such as the Bering Sea, one of the world’s most biologically productive marine ecosystems. Geologists will be able to map the sea floor between Alaska and Siberia to reveal details about when the land bridge between the two was exposed, letting humans cross from Asia to North America. And chemical oceanographers will be able to track the spread of pollutants through once-pristine environments.

The Sikuliaq carries the latest oceanographic bells and whistles, including a high-tech boom that can be lowered over the side to deploy instruments such as sonar and oceanographic sensors. Unlike its predecessor, the now-retired Alpha Helix, the Sikuliaq has the ability to yank sediment cores up from the sea floor. A huge expanse of open deck space towards the bow will allow researchers to bring on board custom equipment, including autonomous underwater vehicles. “It’s pretty amazing,” says Michael Castellini, dean of the school of fisheries and ocean sciences at the University of Alaska.

The ship also has advanced navigation technology to improve manoeuvres through sea ice. That is important, because although its reinforced double hull allows it to plough through floating ice up to a metre thick and a year old, it cannot handle thicker, multi-year ice. (In line with the vessel’s capabilities, sikuliaq is an Inupiaq word that means ‘first-year sea ice that is safe enough to walk on’.)

Although construction delays have put it roughly a year behind schedule, “they didn’t significantly alter when we wanted the first science to start”, says Castellini. Plans call for the Sikuliaq to be at sea for some 270 days a year. One advantage to having a dedicated science vessel is that it will not be diverted for other purposes; research ships such as the US Coast Guard icebreaker Healy are occasionally called away to attend to emergencies such as delivering fuel to the icebound city of Nome, Alaska.

Before it can do any science, the ship must pass final tests and be transferred from its builder, Marinette Marine of Wisconsin. After the University of Alaska team takes charge, the Sikuliaq will head out of the Great Lakes through the Saint Lawrence Seaway and then proceed southward along the US east coast. The ship will be based in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, for about a month while it undergoes shakedown tests at sea, and will then continue on, through the Panama Canal. It will do its first research in the deep waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean before heading north to reach its home port of Seward, Alaska, by February 2015.



Ships with Great Lakes connections sold for scrap

5/29 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the June 2014 issue.

Demolitions: An Qing Jiang was built in 1986 and first came through the Seaway on July 23, 1989, in ballast for Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The Chinese flag freighter arrived at Xinhui, Guangdong, China, for scrapping on Aug. 23, 2013.

Dream-H. arrived at Alang, India, on Aug. 24, 2013, and scrapping got underway on Sept. 5 of last year. The ship was newly built when it first came through the Seaway in as Ingeborg Rinde in 1967.

The vessel was registered in Syria as f) Dream H. in 2009 and carried that name to the scrapyard.

Faith was a Great Lakes trader as c) Tagama in 1988. This bulk carrier had been built at Wahehe in 1982 and renamed c) Tagama in 1985. It was sold for scrap as i) Faith and arrived at Alang, India, for dismantling on Feb. 22, 2014, and work began breaking up the hull on March 5.

The tanker Grace had been a Seaway caller in 1994 as a) Rasmine Maersk. The ship had been built as such at Lindo, Denmark in 1986 and, following a sale for scrap, arrived at Alang, India, on Jan. 31, 2014, as e) Grace. Work on breaking up the hull commenced on Feb. 5, by Subharya Steel Pvt. Ltd.

The Turkish freighter Mimar San arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Feb 21, 2014, and scrapping got underway on March 1. Beginning in 1985, this vessel made many trips through the Seaway as Olympic Melody. The Greek flag bulk carrier handled a variety of cargoes over the years and had been in a minor collision in the Welland Canal with the Lucien Paquin on Nov. 21, 1993. Olympic Melody made its final up bound transit of the Seaway on Sept. 25, 2010, bound for Duluth. The ship had been sailing as b) Mimar San since 2012.

Om Pratham went for scrap in August 2013 after only twenty years of trading. The vessel dated from 1993 and visited the Seaway for the first time as a) Lok Pratap in 1994 for The Shipping Corporation of India. It arrived at Alang, India, on Aug. 3, 2013, after less than a year under its second and final name. Scrapping got underway by Honey Ship Breaking Pvt. Ltd. on August 7.

Safina V made its first trip through the Seaway on Aug. 6, 1998, as a) Looiersgracht with a cargo of steel for Hamilton and made a total of three voyages into the Great Lakes that year. It has been sailing as d) Safina V since 2013 and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on Feb. 14, 2014, after 27 years of service.

The Polish freighter Pomorze Zachodnie had only been renamed b) Sea Way in 2013 and was sailing under the flag of Belize for Victoria Shipping Ltd. when sold for scrap. Pomorze Zachodnie had been a Great Lakes caller for the Polish Steamship Co. from 1985 until 2006. It arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on August 22, 2013, and dismantling got underway the next day.

Sky Bird was carrying machinery when it entered the Seaway bound for Sault Ste. Marie on July 27, 1999. The ship was already 22-years old and under its fifth name at the time. The final name of f) Sergey Danilov was acquired in 2004 and, following a sale to South Korean shipbreakers, it arrived at Busan for dismantling on Dec. 4, 2013.

Silver Sand was built in 1983 as a depot ship named Darss. It was converted to the cargo ship d) Stalvang in 1995 and came to the Great Lakes late in July for Erie, PA. It returned, again for Erie, in 1996 and arrived at the scrapyard in Aliaga, Turkey, as h) Silver Sand on Aug. 28, 2013.

Lakes-related: The tanker Cypress Point was built at Collingwood as W. Harold Rea in 1962. It was renamed b) Eastern Shell in 1970, c) Le Cedre in 1991 and cleared Sorel, Quebec, for Panama Canal service on Dec. 3, 1992. It operated in the south as d) Colon Trader and became e) Cypress Point in 2003. The ship has been idle and forlorn at Colon, Panama, but, in April 24, was reported as sold to Panamanian shipbreakers.

The bulk carrier Richelieu (iii) of Canada Steamship Lines, left Montreal under her own power on Aug. 10, 2013 and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on Aug. 28. The ship had also been a Seaway trader as a) Federal Ottawa and b) Lake Erie. The ship had last operated in 2012.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Lookback #193 – Tadoussac launched prematurely on May 29, 1969

5/29 - Forty-five years ago today, as workers at Collingwood Shipyard were preparing the Tadoussac for launching, the vessel began slipping and started the journey into the water 15 minutes early, killing two workers and injuring others. This was Hull 192 of the famous Georgian Bay shipyard and the ship was designed as a self-unloader for the Canada Steamship Lines fleet.

The 730-foot-long by 75-foot-wide vessel entered service on Oct. 2, 1969, and is still sailing in company colors. It was rebuilt at Port Weller in 2001 and widened to 77 feet, 11 inches before returning to service as CSL Tadoussac.

The ship has maintained a busy schedule over the years and opened the Welland Canal navigation season upbound in 1971 and 1972 and closed the waterway as the final transit in 1972 and 1975. It was also the initial down bound trader in 2007 participating in the official opening ceremony at Lock 3.

Over the years C.S.L., has operated some of its vessels with black hulls while others have been painted red or gray. Tadoussac/CSL Tadoussac is one of only two company carriers to sail with each of the color schemes. The other was Glenelg.

Skip Gillham


Empress of Ireland lost 100 years ago today

5/29 - The worst maritime disaster to occur in Canadian waters happened 100 years ago today as the passenger liner Empress of Ireland sank in the St. Lawrence following a collision with the Norwegian freighter Storstad.

The accident occurred at about 0230 hours near Sainte-Luce-sur-mere on the St. Lawrence east of Quebec City on May 29, 1914. Empress of Ireland, a big, 550 foot long passenger liner belonging to the Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. fleet, was outbound from Quebec City to England with 1054 passengers and a crew of 413.

The weather had been clear and the inbound Norwegian coal carrier Storstad and the Empress of Ireland were visible to each other before a sudden fog descended on the river. The two ships lost sight of each other and they ended up on a collision course some miles from shore.

Storstad's bow punched a fatal hole in the side Empress of Ireland and the latter sank to a depth of about 130 feet in less than 15 minutes. Most on board were sleeping in their rooms and over 1000 people lost their lives. The exact figure has been difficult to determine but a reliable source states that there was a total of 1012, (840 passengers and 172 members of the crew), who perished.

A salvage crew was able to recover some bodies, mail, assorted valuables and at least part of a consignment of silver bullion that was on board. One diver was lost in the diving operations and the work was eventually curtailed as refloating the ship was not considered possible.

Empress of Ireland had been built at Govan, Scotland, and delivered to Canadian Pacific on Jan. 27, 1906. Up until the time of its loss, the ship provided regular transatlantic service between Liverpool, England, and Quebec City.

Storstad, which dated from 1910, had been inbound with 10,000 tons of coal loaded at Sydney, NS for Montreal and both ships changed course in the fog. This maneuver was blamed for the collision. There were no casualties on the Norwegian ship and the mangled bow was repaired. Storstad would not survive World War One as it was torpedoed by U-62 and sunk while off the southwest coast of Ireland on March 8, 1917. The 440 foot long bulk carrier was en route from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Rotterdam, Holland, with a cargo of corn when it was lost.

In July 1964, divers rediscovered the Empress of Ireland, on the bottom of the St. Lawrence. They removed some equipment from the ship for preservation at the “Site Historique Maritime de la Pointe au Pere, a museum at Rimouski, Quebec, to remind us of what many refer to as Canada's “Forgotten Tragedy” of May 29, 1914. In 2009, the Canadian Government designated the location of the wreck as a “National Historic Site” and is thus protected from treasure hunters and looting.

While a number of monuments were erected to the tragedy, most were soon forgotten. Today's 100th anniversary of the sinking will be marked in several ways. These will include special events at the museum in Rimouski while Canada Post is issuing a commemorative $2.50 stamp as well as a permanent, domestic rate, stamp to recognize the occasion. At least for today, Canada's “Forgotten Tragedy” will be remembered.

Skip Gillham for Newsnow


Reserve now for upcoming Boatnerd Gatherings

5/29 - Soo - June 27
Arrangements have been made for our annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River, on June 27 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, finding 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

We could also use a grill for the cook out on June 26. If you have one to bring, please E-mail Lee Rowe 

Detroit River - August 2
On Saturday, August 2, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Advance Reservation Cost is $36 per person. The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for Advance Reservation form.


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.

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.


Cargo to be lightered Thursday from grounded Federal Kivalina

5/28 - Collins Landing, N.Y. – 4 p.m. update - The job of making a freighter aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway lighter will get underway Thursday, with the offloading of some of its cargo.

A spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard in Buffalo said a salvage company is due to arrive at the ship, the Federal Kivalina, Wednesday night. Offloading of the ship's cargo of canola seeds will start Thursday.

Divers completed an inspection of the vessel Wednesday, and found a two-foot long hole in the hull near the bow. The ship's grounding has halted shipping on a stretch of the Seaway near the Thousand Islands Bridge. There is no immediate word on when it might resume or how many vessels are delayed.

Divers went into the water Wednesday morning to inspect the hull of the Federal Kivalina, which was headed to Montreal when it had a steering problem near the Thousand Island Bridge about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there were no injuries and no pollution was reported, but a boom has been placed in the water near the ship as a precaution.

The Coast Guard said the captain of the 656-foot, Hong Kong-flagged freighter reported losing steering. The crew of the freighter dropped three anchors to slow its drift. The TI Bridge was shut down as a precaution for about 10 minutes Tuesday.

There are 22 crew members aboard, where they will remain "as long as the situation does not worsen," the Coast Guard says. The ship is about a third of a mile upriver of the bridge.

The Virginiaborg and the tug Victorious with John J. Carrick are anchored at Prescott waiting upbound passage. The Baie Comeau is westbound below Snell Lock. The Flevoborg, Elbeborg, Labrador and BBC Celina are anchored in the Carelton and Lynda Island area. The Vancouverborg and Federal Margaree are eastbound above midlake.

WWNY and Ron Walsh

Original report - Shipping on the St. Lawrence Seaway in the area of the American Narrows was halted Tuesday after a ship lost its steering and had to anchor near the Thousand Islands Bridge.

Nancy T. Alcalde, spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., said the downbound Federal Kivalina reported losing its steering at 1:47 p.m. Tuesday, causing it to drop anchor about a third of a mile from the bridge. The ship was not grounded, she said, and the bridge remained open.

Witnesses at the scene said the ship dropped a bow anchor while approaching the bridge, allowing the ship to perform a 360-degree turn, thus preventing the ship from traveling downriver and risking collision with the bridge.

Alcalde said no pollution was released into the river and no one was injured. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards were en route to the scene Tuesday afternoon, with the U.S. Coast Guard leading the investigation into the incident.

A tugboat operated by Abaco Marina, Clayton, went to the scene soon after the incident, but returned to Clayton pending a plan for the ship’s removal. The 656-foot ship, bearing a Hong Kong flag, is carrying canola meal, Alcalde said.

Watertown Daily Times


Rand signs contract for new Canadian-flagged river class conversion

5/28 - Rand Logistics announced Tuesday that it has entered into a contract for the construction and assembly of a new forebody which will be affixed to the aft section of the company's recently-acquired Danish-flagged chemical tanker Lalandia Swan. When introduced into service in the second half of calendar 2015, this vessel will increase the size of Rand's fleet to 17, including 10 Canadian flagged and 7 U.S. flagged vessels, and will be the first new Canadian flagged river-class self-unloader introduced into service on the Great Lakes in over 40 years.

The conversion project will take place in Jiangyin, China at the Chengxi Shipyard. Chengxi Shipyard Co., Ltd. is one of the leading shipyards in China and is highly regarded globally for its specialized ship repair and large-scale conversion projects.

"We are very pleased to be working with the Chengxi shipyard on this important project for our company," said Scott Bravener, president of Lower Lakes Towing.

"As previously disclosed, much of the tonnage that will be dedicated to our 17th vessel is a result of market share gains that we have been awarded beginning in the 2015 sailing season. Subsequent to introducing the vessel into service, we will operate five of the seven Canadian-flagged river-class vessels in the market. The new vessel will not only have the largest carrying capacity of any existing Canadian river-class self-unloader, but it will also be the most efficient river-class vessel on the Great Lakes."

Rand Logistics


Port Reports -  May 28

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Mesabi Miner unloaded western coal Tuesday evening at the Upper Harbor.

St. Marys River
Traffic Tuesday included three vessels of the Polish Steamship Co. The vessels Ina, Regalica and Pilica were all upbound during daylight hours. Another saltie, the Alert, also headed upbound Tuesday.

Lorain, Ohio
Algoma Progress cleared the Charles Berry Bridge Tuesday at 8:20 a.m. outbound.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Tuesday afternoon the Stephen B. Roman was back at the Essroc Cherry Street terminal unloading cement. At Redpath Sugar, Polsteam's Resko was in the final stage of discharging sugar out of holds five and six. Tuesday afternoon welders were aloft in the Ship Channel Bridge doing some maintenance on the old structure.


Lookback #192 – Thomas Lynch in Lake Superior collision on May 28, 1935

5/28 - Thomas Lynch was one of the big ore carriers that sailed in the United States Steel fleet for over half a century. The 601-foot-long bulk carrier had been built at Chicago in 1907.

Fog was blamed for the collision in Lake Superior with the Norwegian freighter Ba on May 28, 1935. The laker, more than twice the size of the ocean going visitor, received a hole in the bow above the water line. The big laker was in no danger but had to go for repairs.

Thomas Lynch was laid up at Lorain, Ohio, in 1960 and remained idle until sold to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1965. It resumed trading as Wiarton in October of that year and was an asset to the Canadian company in the ore and grain trades until the end of the 1970 season.

Wiarton was tied up at Toronto late in 1970 and resold to United Metals the next year. The ship departed for Hamilton under tow of the tugs Argue Martin and Judge McCombs on Oct. 8, 1971, but managed to avoid scrapping. The hull was resold to the Steel Company of Canada and sunk as a dock facing, in the most easterly position of a trio of hulls, off the company property in Hamilton. All three ships had been stripped to their decks.

An anchor removed from the Wiarton and a commemorative plaque were later put on display in a ceremony outside the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3. The event in 1972 marked the 40th Anniversary of the opening of the Welland Canal and the anchor and plaque are still there.

The 236-foot, eight-inch long BA dated from 1921 and had originally sailed as Marvel. It became BA in 1924 and first came to the Great Lakes in 1932. It was also damaged in the accident of 79 years ago today but survived. It became Inga I in 1936 and lasted until being torpedoed and sunk in the Atlantic on July 27, 1941.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 28

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Federal Welland, Solina, and Virginiaborg.


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.


Navigation suspended as Federal Kivalina loses steering

5/27 - 4:30 update - All shipping has been suspended in the American Narrows after a freighter lost steering about 500 yards away from the Thousand Islands Bridge, the vessel is anchored in the channel going towards Clayton.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the Federal Kivalina was downbound to Montreal when it lost steering shortly before 2 p.m.

U.S. and Canadian ship inspectors are on their way to the scene to investigate.

The ship is transporting canola meal.



Senators push for new Great Lakes shipping lock at Sault Ste. Marie

5/27 - A group of U.S. senators is pressing federal officials to reconsider building another navigational lock at Sault Ste. Marie to provide a link for Great Lakes freighters.

The Poe Lock is the only one of the Soo Locks that can accommodate large vessels hauling most of the freight between Lake Superior and the other lakes. If the Poe were disabled for long, it would disrupt shipments of iron ore, coal and other crucial commodities.

In a letter to the Corps this week, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and 10 colleagues said an agency cost-benefit analysis wrongly concluded that all cargo shipped through the locks could be transported by rail if necessary.

The senators asked the Corps to redo the analysis and make construction of a second Poe-sized lock a priority.

Detroit Free Press


Cargo barges traffic increases on New York canal system

5/27 - Cargo barges are becoming a more common sight on the state's 524-mile canal system as shippers begin to appreciate their ability to move oversize shipments or heavy items that might tax a truck or rail car.

The nearly 100,000 tons of cargo shipped last year were the most in two decades, more than double the 43,000 tons shipped in 2012.

Canal officials say they expect another busy season this year.

One of the largest shippers is Troy-based NYS Marine Highway Transportation Co., which last year moved grain from Canada to New York state across Lake Ontario and through the Oswego and Erie canals, and delivered concrete vaults used to contain spent nuclear fuel to a site in Wisconsin, after picking them up in Virginia. The company also exported soybeans, and brought back a small shipment of cheese from Kewaunee, Wis., on Lake Michigan.

The cheese, said Rob Goldman, one of the owners, was "just for fun." Transformers, condensers and other so-called project cargo also moved by barge, Goldman said.

Shane Mahar, a spokesman for New York State Canal Corp., said some shipments on the canal were delivered to the GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant in Malta or to General Electric Co. in Schenectady. And much of the grain was delivered to an ethanol plant in Fulton, Oswego County.

Two years ago, Goldman's company moved fighter aircraft to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum at Schenectady County Airport.

Western New York producers of components for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement are considering using the canal to move the parts to the construction site on the Hudson River.

The state canal system began operating on extended summer hours Thursday, with most locks and lift bridges operating on request from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sept. 10, and several high-volume locks and lift bridges operating from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Boaters this year will be able to buy two-day, 10-day and season-long canal passes online, Mahar said.

"Most people have smartphones and travel with iPads" or other tablet devices, he said, and can display their electronic passes on the devices' screens.

Forty-five miles of the canal system in western New York — Lock CS-1 on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and the Erie Canal between Three Rivers and Lock E-25 in Mays Point — remain closed because of heavy rainfall last weekend.

The canal system also suffered heavy damage from tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011, causing delays for boaters. "If Mother Nature played nice," Mahar said Thursday, "we'd be open every day."

Times Union


Competition springs up between Canadian, U.S. tour boats at Niagara Falls

5/27 - Niagara Falls, Ont. – For more than 150 years, the Maid of the Mist tour boats have been all alone below Niagara Falls as they’ve ferried tourists close enough to be drenched by the spray.

But this tourist season, a second set of boats is navigating the Niagara Gorge.

The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. continues to launch from the American shore but lost its Canadian contract to rival Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which set sail from across the river last week.

The Maid of the Mist, with its two 600-passenger steamship-style vessels, and Hornblower’s pair of 700-passenger catamarans offer virtually the same daytime experience: sailing poncho-clad passengers up to the 16-story walls of whitewater for views unrivaled on land.

Hornblower’s $25 million entry into the market includes plans for evening cocktail and fireworks cruises, as well as a redesigned plaza, self-serve ticket kiosks, double-deck loading docks and a pavilion that sells souvenirs by day and becomes party space at night.

“I’m big on tradition,” Hornblower Chairman and Chief Executive Terry MacRae said from a conference room overlooking the gorge Thursday as passengers pulled on red hooded ponchos and lined up to be part of first-day excursions. “But putting modern amenities in place is good business practice.”

About 200 feet across the Niagara River, groups of passengers in blue lined up for rides on the Maid of the Mist.

The captains agreed to alternate departure times for the 15- to 20-minute rides, one loading and unloading passengers while the other makes his figure eight through the gorge.

“The Maid of the Mist experience itself remains what it’s always been, an incredible voyage to the base of Niagara Falls,” said Kevin Keenan, a spokesman for the company that has carried celebrities and heads of state among its 85 million passengers since 1846.

For its part, the Maid of the Mist has added free Wi-Fi on board this season, renovated the ships’ restrooms and redesigned its website.

Both companies offer online ticketing. Hornblower charges adults about $18 (U.S.) for daytime cruises and the Maid of the Mist charges $17.

“We do appreciate the path that was paved by our competitor, the Maid of the Mist, in years past. It’s great we can build on that and expand it and provide some new amenities,” said MacRae, whose company operates cruises to the Statue of Liberty in New York City and Alcatraz Island in California.

San Francisco-based Hornblower was awarded a 30-year contract to operate the Niagara Falls tours in 2012 after the Niagara Parks Commission, for the first time, put the Ontario rights up for bid. The company was chosen over five other bidders, including Maid of the Mist.

The Maid of the Mist operates its trips from New York under a separate 40-year contract, good through 2042, with the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Daily Freeman


Lookback #191 Roland Desgagnes sank on May 27, 1982, off Pointe au Pic, Quebec

5/27 - The Roland Desgagnes, built at Montreal as the first Frankcliffe Hall in 1952, ran aground in the St. Lawrence on May 26, 1982. The ship floated free with the high tide but sank within hours the next day around 0400 hours. The crew was rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard ship Ville-Marie.

Built as the first diesel powered canaller in the Hall Corporation of Canada fleet, Frankcliffe Hall mainly served in the ore, grain, coal and pulpwood trades. Due to the smaller engine room required for a diesel-powered ship, this vessel had a greater capacity than most of the other canal traders of that era.

Halco changed the name to Northcliffe Hall in 1962 and operated the ship through the 1970 season before it was laid up at Prescott. The vessel was towed to Kingston in 1971 and remained there until sold to offshore interests. It departed, under her own power, on Dec. 15, 1974, for Sorel. Following stops at Sorel, Halifax and Saint John, NB, the ship headed south with a cargo of newsprint later in the spring as Northcliffe.

The vessel was idle again, this time at Houston, Texas, when it was resold to Groupe Desgagnes. It returned north as Roland Desgagnes in 1976 and combined Great Lakes and St. Lawrence trading until it was lost 32 years ago today.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 27

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27 May 1898 - The tug WINSLOW arrived in Bay City, Michigan, from Georgian Bay with a raft of logs for Eddy Bros. & Co. The tug NIAGARA arrived from the same bay with a raft for Pitts & Co. The 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.


Port Reports -  May 26

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
Port City’s tug Bradshaw McKee arrived in Sturgeon Bay Friday and notched into the newly-barged St. Marys Challenger. The barge is tied up in one of the slips. American Integrity remains in the large graving dock, and it is unknown why she is in port. American Spirit is rafted to Edgar B. Speer next to the graving dock. Both vessels have their bows ballasted down and their sterns high out of the water. American Spirit's port rudder was removed to allow for her propeller shaft to be replaced. Also, the blades on her port propeller are being replaced. Similar work is being done on the Edgar B. Speer. Philip R. Clarke remains in winter layup, with no upcoming departure date. The Marinette-built research vessel Sikuliaq is in port, and should be departing for Seward, Alaska, sometime soon. St. Marys Challenger appears complete, and should begin her 2014 season soon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Indiana Harbor was inbound on the Saginaw River early Sunday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. After unloading her coal cargo, Indiana Harbor back from the dock and out into the Saginaw Bay, turning at Light 12 and heading for the lake. The tug Gregory J. Busch was outbound from the Busch Marine dock, Sunday morning, pushing a deck barge and headed for the lake.

Lorain, Ohio -
Algoma Progress was inbound Sunday, clearing the Charles Berry Bridge at 3:50 p.m.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Sunday the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Sprite unloaded aluminum at the Port of Oswego.


Cargo barges traffic increases on New York canal system

5/26 - Cargo barges are becoming a more common sight on the state's 524-mile canal system as shippers begin to appreciate their ability to move oversize shipments or heavy items that might tax a truck or rail car.

The nearly 100,000 tons of cargo shipped last year were the most in two decades, more than double the 43,000 tons shipped in 2012.

Canal officials say they expect another busy season this year.

One of the largest shippers is Troy-based NYS Marine Highway Transportation Co., which last year moved grain from Canada to New York state across Lake Ontario and through the Oswego and Erie canals, and delivered concrete vaults used to contain spent nuclear fuel to a site in Wisconsin, after picking them up in Virginia. The company also exported soybeans, and brought back a small shipment of cheese from Kewaunee, Wis., on Lake Michigan.

The cheese, said Rob Goldman, one of the owners, was "just for fun." Transformers, condensers and other so-called project cargo also moved by barge, Goldman said.

Shane Mahar, a spokesman for New York State Canal Corp., said some shipments on the canal were delivered to the GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant in Malta or to General Electric Co. in Schenectady. And much of the grain was delivered to an ethanol plant in Fulton, Oswego County.

Two years ago, Goldman's company moved fighter aircraft to the Empire State Aerosciences Museum at Schenectady County Airport.

Western New York producers of components for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement are considering using the canal to move the parts to the construction site on the Hudson River.

The state canal system began operating on extended summer hours Thursday, with most locks and lift bridges operating on request from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Sept. 10, and several high-volume locks and lift bridges operating from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Boaters this year will be able to buy two-day, 10-day and season-long canal passes online, Mahar said.

"Most people have smartphones and travel with iPads" or other tablet devices, he said, and can display their electronic passes on the devices' screens.

Forty-five miles of the canal system in western New York — Lock CS-1 on the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and the Erie Canal between Three Rivers and Lock E-25 in Mays Point — remain closed because of heavy rainfall last weekend.

The canal system also suffered heavy damage from tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011, causing delays for boaters. "If Mother Nature played nice," Mahar said Thursday, "we'd be open every day."

Times Union


Great Lakes states examine alternatives to coal-fired power plants

5/26 - Even as environmental groups push for alternative energy sources across the Great Lakes Basin and as some lawmakers encourage efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions, most energy powering homes still comes from coal-fired generators.

While electricity generated from coal has fallen in the past decade, from 5,453 to 4,345 megawatt hours per day nationally, the next three years are unlikely to see any such further decrease, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

A megawatt-hour represents 1 million watts of electricity produced in an hour. That’s enough to power 1,000 homes for 60 minutes based on the standard 10,000-kilowatt energy use per home per year.

In its April 2014 Short-Term Energy Outlook Report, the EIA projects coal will remain the main source of electricity generation this year, outpacing the second-closest method, natural gas, 4,559 megawatt-hours to 3,002 megawatt-hours per day. Rounding out the top five fuel sources are nuclear with just above 2,000 megawatt hours, hydropower with 751 and renewable sources with 734.

The report’s findings are demonstrated in the Great Lakes region, where most states are net coal importers. In fact, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio were all in the top five coal destinations in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2013.

In Michigan, a state that imported more than 7 million short tons of coal in the final quarter of 2013, energy suppliers and environmental groups are working to change the energy paradigm. The term short ton refers to a weight of 2,000 pounds, compared to the British long ton of 2,204 pounds.

Last year, 54 percent of electricity flowing into Michigan homes and businesses came from coal-fired generators. And all of it arrived by train from other states, including Wyoming and Montana. This reliance on out-of-state fuel, coupled with increased natural gas production, has led several utilities in the state to explore – and sometimes to adopt – natural gas as a replacement.

Bob Ellerhorst, director of utility services at Michigan State University’s T.B. Simon Power Plant, said his plant has switched to using primarily natural gas for steam and power to the more than 500 buildings on campus.

The switch to natural gas also helps the plant reach the university’s emissions targets for 2015, which aims to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent next year and ultimately by 65 percent by 2030, according to MSU Energy Transition. Ellerhorst noted that while there haven’t been any physical alternations to his plant’s generators, the change-over to natural gas has significantly decreased its greenhouse emissions.

When it comes to biofuel, the plant has experimented with various forms including burning tree trimmings and foliage from campus, as well as importing energy-dense wood.

However, Ellerhorst said the plant can’t now make a significant swing toward these energy sources. “We are able to maintain capacity using coal and natural gas, but we would be unable to maintain these levels using biofuels.”

He added that switching to natural gas has had more impact on greenhouse emissions than biofuels thus far. For now, the plant will continue experimenting with emerging biofuels and ensure stability in production through traditional methods.

A few miles away in Lansing, a battle is brewing between local municipal utility Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) and the Michigan Sierra Club over what to do with the coal-fired Eckhart Power Plant.

Brad Van Guilder, an organizer with the Sierra Club, said serious consideration of closing the Eckert plant began in 2008, when a number of new coal facilities were being planned for Michigan, including an additional plant in Lansing. Numerous discussions with BWL resulted in the Reo Town Cogeneration plant, the first natural gas cogeneration plant operated by the utility.

With this new facility, Van Guilder said Lansing and the nearby community’s that also obtain power from BWL no longer needs the 60-year-old Eckert plant to provide the capital region’s energy needs. BWL would need to replace between 70-140 megawatts of energy to maintain capacity, which the Sierra Club maintains should be done through increased efficiency and buying energy from the existing electrical grid.

Other obstacles for the aging Eckert plant include impending environmental regulations and energy economics. The plant can’t currently meet new federal Mercury and Air Toxic Regulations set to take effect in 2015 without major, expensive pollution controls. While BWL received a one-year extension to evaluate future options, the utility would be able to ask for only one more year of exemption before having to either close the plant or install effective pollution reduction tools.

The economics of running a coal-fired plant are also increasingly more expensive, according to Van Guilder. That’s because new alternative energy solutions, including solar power, are becoming cheaper as the technology becomes more widely available.

Apart from regulations and shifting economics, the Sierra Club maintains the plant has an adverse impact on the public health of nearby residents. The plant is the largest polluter in the tri-county area, according to Van Guilder, and data shows the highest concentration of asthma-related hospitalizations among people living near the plant.

In the next five years, Van Guilder said utility companies and citizens will have to adopt a new understanding of regional energy providers.

“It’s really important for people to understand utilities will be changing, from power generators to an energy service provider,” he said. Instead of producing all of an area’s power, utilities are expected to buy electricity from larger plants, while maintaining smaller and greener facilities.

Great Lakes Echo


A deal to reopen St. Clair Inn collapses

5/26 - A plan to reopen the St. Clair Inn as early as mid-July has fallen apart. That’s the word from Dave Klinesteker, the ex-general manager and longtime sales manager of the former Thomas Edison Inn in Port Huron, who had been hired by Providence Hospitality Partners of Denver, Colo. to lead the effort to resurrect the historic hotel.

TransCapital Bank, which foreclosed on the St. Clair Inn in January, hired Providence Hospitality to rescue its investment and make the hotel marketable again. Providence hired Klinesteker on April 10. The ultimate goal was to bring the St. Clair Inn back to profitability and sell it.

“It’s almost impossible to sell a property like the inn when it’s closed and not operating,” said Klinesteker. Ideally, the new owners of the inn would have retained Providence and Klinesteker to operate the hotel.

The deal blew up on May 16.

“Providence has been putting money up front and the owner of the bank hasn’t been paying,” said Klinesteker. “The bank was always coming up with excuses. For their own protection, Providence killed the contract.”

Klinesteker worked at the St. Clair Inn from 1981 to 1984, and again in 1986 as the resident manager of the inn under former General Manager Mike LaPorte, who now owns the Voyageur in St. Clair. Both men worked for Don Reynolds, who built the Thomas Edison Inn, and who lost the St. Clair Inn in a mid-1990s securities fraud case. Klinesteker returned as the GM of the inn from 1997 to 2000 under two different ownership groups, before moving to the Thomas Edison Inn, where he was the sales manager and, for its last six months, the GM. He and his wife owned the old Dorsey House from 1984 to 1991.

The goal was “to bring the St. Clair Inn back like it was, a little step at a time,” said Klinesteker, who was unemployed for 14 months after Double Tree by Hilton purchased and closed the Thomas Edison Inn in September 2012. The renovated hotel reopened in August 2013.

“Everything was going good until this afternoon when I got the call,” said Klinesteker late on May 16. “That leaves me unemployed again.”

Bill Himes, the chief operating officer of TransCapital Bank, headquartered in Sunrise, Fla., and Leonard Zedeck, an attorney and director of the bank, did not return phone messages. Larry Welch, the vice president of operations at Providence Hospitality Partners did not return a phone message.

“We’re in the process of transferring the ownership from the bank (to another party), said Mike Witoszynski, the general manager of the Met Hotel in Troy, who is apparently knowledgeable about the situation. “That’s all I can tell you now.”

Before the deal collapsed, Klinesteker had assessed the state of the inn and made plans for repairs and updating.

“The property is not in too bad of shape,” said Klinesteker. “The guest rooms are generally in good shape. There are a couple of small leaks in a couple of places. The pool needs a new roof, but we don’t need that before we reopen. Other than that, no major construction will be needed. Most of the carpeting in the guest rooms and dining room need a good deep cleaning, but are in good condition.”

The lobby, lounge, veranda and hallways were slated for new carpeting. All of the rooms were to get new beds. The plan for the 40 guest rooms in the newer north wing called for new double queen beds, bringing them up to industry standards. In the historic section of the inn, nine of 38 rooms were big enough for king beds.

“The kitchen is fine in terms of the structure and material in the ceilings and floors,” said Klinesteker, who had the St. Clair County Health Department look at the facility. “The stoves and deep fryers are in real bad shape and will have to have to be replaced.”

Klinesteker figured that the inn would not open with a full service kitchen, and would gradually ramp up its capacity. He said Providence Hospitality had been open to the possibility of finding a third party to run the food and beverage operations at the inn, much in the way that Double Tree brought in Meritage Hospitality out of Grand Rapids to operate Freighters at the old Thomas Edison Inn.

Klinesteker estimated that it would take a couple years to reestablish the business.

Meanwhile, St. Clair residents continue to worry about the fate of the inn.

“What’s going to happen to the inn?” wondered Steve Holden, whose grandfather, father and uncle owned and operated the inn for decades – and who himself worked at the inn three times for Don Reynolds. Holden spent his career working as an hotelier, including many years for Sheraton in Hawaii and the Far East. “It’s getting scary. The inn was built to encourage tourism in St. Clair. It did that for years.”

Known for its English Tudor architecture and its cozy perch on the banks of the St. Clair River, the Inn had long been the centerpiece of downtown St. Clair. In 1926, the St. Clair Rotary Club raised $180,000 from St. Clair residents to buy the land and construct the hotel on the site of the old Myron Mill.

Meanwhile, Klinesteker was optimistic about his personal fate. “I’ll find something,” he said – perhaps with Providence and the turn-around of a Flint hotel.

The Voice


Updates -  May 26

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  Leon Falk Jr gallery


Lookback #190 – Former Jane Stove foundered on May 26, 1972

5/26 - The Norwegian vessel Jane Stove was built at Bergen, Norway, and launched on Aug. 28, 1957. It was completed on Oct. 25, 1957, and joined Lorentzens Skibs A/S for deep sea service.

The 475-foot, 6-inch-long cargo carrier made only one trip to the Great Lakes. It arrived inland in 1959 and took on a load of grain at the Canadian Lakehead for overseas delivery. The vessel was sold to Marilina Cia Nav. de Vapores, for Greek flag service as Dolly Maria, in 1968 and operated on their behalf until sinking in the Indian Ocean 42-years ago today.

The ship had loaded chrome ore at Lourenco Marques and was bound for Singapore when it went down south of the island of Sri Lanka, on May 26, 1972. Four days earlier, on May 22, 1972, that country had gained independence and changed its name from Ceylon.

The loading port of Lourenco Marques was in the African nation of Mozambique. When they became independent that city, the largest in the country, was renamed Maputo in February 1976.

Skip Gillham


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.


Algoma Transfer scrap tow reaches end of the line

5/25 - The scrap tow of the retired laker Algoma Transfer, which began Friday morning at Goderich, Ont., ended Saturday afternoon at Wharf 17 in Port Colborne, Ont., the Marine Recycling Corp. dock. Lead tug was Leonard M, with Vac and Seahound on the stern. Presumably cutting will begin on the Transfer once work is finished on her fleetmate Algoma Quebecois. A visit Saturday showed the aft superstructure of the Quebecois has been demolished and her stack is sitting on the dock.

Bill Bird


Algoma Progress returns to service

5/25 - The self-unloader Algoma Progress, widely believed to have been finished as an operating vessel at the end of the 2013 season, has fit out. She was eastbound in Lake Erie for Lorain Saturday evening.


Port Reports -  May 25

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic during the day Saturday included Algoma Courage and Federal Katsura. Among the downbounders were Elbeborg, Saginaw, Paul R. Tregurtha, tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 9000, Joyce L. VanEnkevort, BBC Celina, Flevoborg and Kaye E. Barker. At dusk, Stewart J. Cort was upbound east of Neebish Island. The G tug Missouri has been on the MCM drydock all week.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker and James L. Kuber loaded ore on Saturday at LS&I, Upper Harbor.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
Canadian Empress arrived in Kingston at 2 p.m. and was expected to depart around 7 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., Kawartha Voyager was shown on AIS as moored in the Ottawa area. CSL Laurentien was at False Duck Islands at 1:15 and gave an eta of 4 p.m. for Picton. BBC Europe turned around east of Clayton and proceeded westbound. She anchored off Quebec Head, north of the main channel at 8:45 p.m. The inspector was due aboard at 11:30 p.m. About 7 p.m. Seaway Clayton informed several vessels that the BBC Europe had lost steering.


Lookback #189 – Ingwi launched on May 25, 1956

5/25 - The Norwegian freighter Ingwi was a frequent visitor to the Great Lakes in the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The 486-foot-long by 61-foot-wide vessel was built by Kockums M/V A/B and launched at Malmo, Sweden, 58 years ago today.

It went to work for Rolf Wigands Rederi and began Seaway trading with two trips inland in 1960. The vessel returned from time to time and, by the end of the 1967 season, had made 10 voyages to the inland seas.

Before 1967 was over, the vessel was sold to South Korean interests and renamed Oh Dae.

It was to be resold in 1979, with a proposed rename of Eastern Merchant, but the vessel foundered in the Bay of Bengal before the transaction was completed. It was reported that the hull fractured on a voyage from Singapore to Calcutta on Sept. 9, 1979, but there was unproven speculation that the ship was scuttled in an insurance fraud.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 25

News Photo Gallery


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, 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: 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

Thunder Bay - John Kuzma
On May 23 three ships were loading in Thunder Bay. Federal Saguenay was at Western Grain, Saginaw was at the Current River terminal and the Flevoborg was at Richardson Terminal.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jim Conlon
Thursday morning about 9:30 the ASC ship American Integrity arrived and went right into the big drydock. This makes three of the Great Lakes’ largest ships in for repairs at the busiest time of the shipping season. The Edger B. Speer and American Spirit have been at Bayship for more than three weeks. Both have their bows ballasted down to allow access to propellers and rudders.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Great Republic came in Friday morning with a load of coal. They were finished and heading out for the lake by late afternoon. The G.L Ostrander and cement barge Integrity departed in the morning and made their way east across the lake.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River saw plenty of action on Friday, as there were a number of vessel movements to start the holiday weekend. After unloading overnight, the tug Samuel de Champlain, and her cement barge, Innovation, departed the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville and met the waiting tug Manitou in the Essexville Turning Basin. Manitou assisted getting the pair turned around and headed back out to the lake. Next, after spending the past nine plus days tied up at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City due to strong river currents, the tug Olive L. Moore and her barge, Lewis J. Kuber, departed the dock and made their way up to the Airport Turning Basin. The Manitou assisted in getting the Moore and Kuber spun around and on their way towards open water. One finished turning the vessels, Manitou departed the Saginaw River and headed for her Port Huron home. Inbound on Friday was the Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder, who called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. The pair was expected to be outbound later in the day.


Jammed rudder prompts evacuation of Toronto tour boat

5/24 - Toronto, Ont. – A Toronto Fire boat is being honored for 50 years of service the day after its crew assisted in the rescue of 26 people from a sinking tour boat.

The William Lyon Mackenzie, a tugboat built in 1964, was being celebrated by the Toronto Fire chief, a Toronto historian and a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in a ceremony on Friday afternoon.

The day before, at about 4:30 p.m., the William Lyon Mackenzie responded to a call that a tour boat named St. Marie was stuck in the harbor and taking on water. Police weren't in a position to take all the passengers off the boat at the same time, so Toronto Fire stepped in to help with a larger rescue boat, a representative told CP24 on Friday morning.

The passengers of the sinking tour boat boarded the large Toronto Fire vessel before being transported to police boats in smaller groups and brought to shore. Toronto Fire officials towed the St. Marie to a dock at the bottom of Yonge Street.

Toronto Fire officials said that the William Lyon Mackenzie and its crew helped to contain an oil slick seeping from the sinking boat. On Friday, oil booms were still in the harbor, keeping the spilled fuel from leaking further into the lake.

Toronto Fire told CP24 that it appears a part of the St. Marie's propeller failed, causing the shaft to slide out and jam the rudder. Water rushed onto the boat from the area and into the engine room.

Passengers were not in immediate danger, as pumps were functioning and the engine area could be sealed off, but the boat had to be evacuated.



Lookback #187 – Cardinal severely damaged in collision on May 23, 1974

5/24 - The port bow of the Canadian tanker Cardinal was crushed due to a collision with the American steamer Henry Steinbrenner 40 years ago yesterday. The accident occurred in thick fog off Point Pelee, Lake Erie, but both ships remained afloat. Fortunately, the bulkhead held on the tanker, but the sailing career of the heavily-damaged Cardinal was over.

The tanker had been up bound, and in ballast, for Sarnia but instead turned back to Toronto where the tanks were cleaned prior to the vessel being laid up on May 27. Following a sale to United Metals, the Cardinal arrived at Hamilton under tow on August 19, 1974, and scrapping got underway in the fall.

Cardinal was built at Haverton Hill-on-Tees, England, and launched as Windsolite on April 5, 1927. It crossed the Atlantic to join the Imperial Oil fleet and saw service around the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence. The name was changed to Imperial Windsor in 1947.

On April 15, 1952, the tanker hit bottom above Bridge 11 of the Welland Canal and punched two holes in the starboard bow. The damage was repaired at Port Dalhousie.

During the 1965 season Imperial Windsor went east and served company depots around Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Labrador. It was back on the lakes by the end of the year and, in 1966, is credited with opening the navigation season at Windsor, Sarnia, Goderich, Owen Sound and Collingwood.

Imperial Windsor tied up at Sarnia at the end of the 1971 season and was sold to Algonquin Shipping Corp, a Hall Corp. subsidiary, and resumed trading as Cardinal in 1973. Unfortunately the accident of May 23, 1974, ended that service.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 24

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Europe, Federal Kumano, Federal Yukon, Fivelborg, Harbour Pioneer, Jumbo Spirit, MCT Breithorn, Nordic Helsinki, Nordic Oslo, Resko, Sichem New York, and Songa Peace


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.

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.).

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.


Algoma Transfer scrap tow heads for Port Colborne

5/23 - The scrap tow of the Algoma Central Corp. vessel Algoma Transfer, which began Friday morning at Goderich, Ont., was proceeding down the St. Clair River Friday night.

The McKeil Marine tug Leonard M was in the lead position, with the Great Lakes Towing tug Superior on the stern. They are bound for the Marine Recycling Corp. scrapyard at Port Colborne, Ont., where the Algoma Transfer will be cut up.

The vessel has been in layup at Goderich for past couple of seasons.

Algoma Transfer is a composite ship in that the bow and stern sections are from different vessels. The forward section dates to 1943 with the delivery to Great Lakes Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, of the J. H. Hillman Jr., the 14th of 16 “maritimers” built for the U.S. Maritime Commission for the World War II effort. Converted to a self-unloader in 1965 for Columbia Transportation Co., she sailed for that fleet as Crispin Oglebay (ii).

Crispin Oglebay remained in service until Aug. 22, 1981, when the vessel was laid up at Toledo due to an economic slowdown that forced many hulls toward a premature demise.

Oglebay was reflagged Canadian after a sale to Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd., Toronto, Ont., in 1995. The hull was towed to Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ont., for conversion to a self unloading transfer barge including the installation of a moving deck crane with a clam shell bucket for unloading iron ore from straight-deck lakers. The vessel was appropriately renamed Hamilton Transfer to reflect her new role as cargo transfer barge at Dofasco’s dock in Hamilton, Ont. Hamilton Transfer assumed her new duties in 1996.

On March 3, 1998, Upper Lakes Group announced that Hamilton Transfer would be towed in April to Port Weller Dry Docks, which had been contracted to mate the forward section of the Hamilton Transfer with the stern of another Upper Lakes vessel, Canadian Explorer, to create a “new” diesel powered self unloader. This would be the third vessel the stern section would propel, the previous ones being Cabot (i) and Canadian Explorer.

The new vessel was renamed Canadian Transfer.

The beginning of the 2000 navigation season saw the Canadian Transfer sailing under the management of Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines, Ont., (a partnership of Upper Lakes and Algoma Central).

In early 2011, the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet and an associated interest in Seaway Marine Transport was sold to the Algoma Central Corp. On April 15, 2011, Algoma announced that the Canadian Transfer would be renamed Algoma Transfer. Although her stack and bow logos reflected the Algoma ownership, she only sailed for them one season, laying up at Goderich in December 2011.

Her demise marks the end of a truly unique laker.

Pictures from the tow

Boatnerd staff


Report: American Fortitude to go for scrap this year

5/23 - The 2013 annual report of GATX Corporation, which owns the American Steamship Co., confirms rumors that had been circulating around the Great Lakes for weeks. ASC’s 1953-built steamer American Fortitude will be sent for scrap this year.

The 690-foot-long self-unloader has been in layup at Toledo since Nov. 11, 2008, when the start of an economic downturn sent many vessels to the wall.

The report reads: “Net loss on asset dispositions in the current year of $1.3 million was attributable to an asset impairment charge related to the American Fortitude, a vessel we expect to scrap in early 2014.”

The report did not say when, where or by what company the vessel would be cut up. Nor did it mention any plans ACS may have for its other two idle steamers, American Victory and American Valor, also in layup since 2008.

ACS returned the diesel-powered laker John J. Boland to service this spring, but another diesel vessel, the Adam E. Cornelius, remains inactive at Toledo.

Boatnerd staff


Port Reports -  May 23

Thunder Bay – John Kuzma
Federal Margaree was at the Thunder Bay terminal loading potash for Europe, Federal Shimanto was at the Vittera A for grain overseas and the Labrador was at Richardson Terminal loading grain for Puerto Rico.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and barge Robert F. Deegan were outbound from the Dow Chemical dock on Thursday, after unloading there overnight. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were inbound Thursday morning, calling on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville, unloading the first cargo of the season at that dock. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber remained tied up at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. The tug Manitou remained at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville.

Lorain, Ohio
Algoway was inbound Thursday afternoon. They departed about 10:30 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
It took just over two days to unload the handy half-size bulker Regalica, and it departed at 11 a.m. During that time the bulker Resko weighed anchor in Humber Bay and steamed around the Toronto Islands, arriving at Redpath at 1 p.m. Tug assist for both salties was provided by Omni Richelieu and Laprairie. Out of the six salties that have delivered sugar at Redpath five have been Polsteamers, namely Lubie, Mamry, Miedwie, Regalica and Resko. The sixth was the Whistler, a Canfornav-chartered vessel.


U.S. Senate approves bill that could boost Great Lakes navigation funding

5/23 - Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate gave final passage to a water resources development bill Thursday that could substantially increase funding for Great Lakes navigation projects, including those in Michigan.

Both Michigan senators -- Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats -- supported the legislation, which now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law quickly. The bill passed with only 4 votes against in the U.S. House earlier this week.

“Protecting our lakes and maintaining our ports, harbors and waterways is essential to keeping the economy growing and preserving Michigan’s natural beauty for generations to come,” said Stabenow. She noted it also gives the federal authorities greater tools to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

As the Free Press wrote last week when the House-Senate compromise was unveiled, the legislation doesn’t spell out how much more could be available for Great Lakes projects but should result in an increase in funding. Congressional appropriators are still left to determine how much is spent on water projects overall each year.

The bill calls for expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, built on fees collected from shippers, to increase each year so that by 2025 all of that collected is used for operation and maintenance activities. The Free Press has written how much of the fund has gone unspent despite a backlog in projects; the new legislation calls for 10% of funding increases to be dedicated to the Great Lakes.

Levin, in particular, had been agitating for years to increase funding for projects from the trust fund.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, was the only Michigan member of Congress to serve on the House-Senate conference committee that developed the compromise. It also included a proposal she authored along with U.S. Reps. Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, and Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, to designate the Great Lakes as a comprehensive navigation system when the Army Corps of Engineers prioritizes projects.

Huizenga said that new classification “means harbors throughout the region will be able to handle more cargo, which will lead to increased economic activity and most importantly, more jobs” and put the Great Lakes on “equal footing” with other water systems in the U.S. when it comes to prioritizing infrastructure projects.

The legislation passed the Senate overwhelmingly, 91-7.

Detroit Free Press


Coast Guard air crews to open seasonal air facilities in Michigan, Illinois

5/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coast Guardsmen assigned to Coast Guard Air Station Detroit, located at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt. Clemens, Mich., and Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., are scheduled to begin operations Friday at their seasonal air facilities in Muskegon, Mich. and Waukegan, Ill.

Every year, crews staff the facilities in order to provide increased search-and-rescue capabilities and faster response times to Lake Michigan during the busy boating season. Both AirFacs traditionally operate from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day.

Crews from Air Station Detroit operate AirFac Muskegon, which is located at Muskegon County Airport, while crews from Air Station Traverse City operate AirFac Waukegan, which is located at the Waukegan Regional Airport north of Chicago. Each AirFac is manned by a pair of four-person air crews and one Dolphin helicopter.

The opening of the AirFacs on Friday coincides with the conclusion of National Safe Boating Week. The theme of NSBW this year is Wear it! The Coast Guard urges all boaters and weak swimmers to always wearing their life jackets in and around water.

Both air stations operate under the direction of the Coast Guard 9th District, headquartered in Cleveland, to provide multi-mission capabilities in the Great Lakes region.



Reserve now for upcoming Boatnerd Gatherings

5/23 -  Soo - June 27
Arrangements have been made for our annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River, on June 27 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, finding 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.

Detroit River - August 2
On Saturday, August 2, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Advance Reservation Cost is $36 per person. The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for Advance Reservation form.


Lookback #188 – Lake Winnipeg hit Duluth breakwall on May 24, 1980

5/23 - It was a trip to forget for the Canadian bulk carrier Lake Winnipeg. The big laker was outbound from Duluth with a cargo of grain when it struck the breakwall 34 years ago today. The next day, the vessel suffered a steering problem and went aground in the DeTour Passage and ultimately required repairs at the Port Arthur shipyard.

Originally the T-2 tanker Table Rock, it had served the United States Maritime Commission as a fleet oiler from 1943 until sold to French interests and renamed Nivose in 1948. Soon too small for the deep-sea petroleum trade, it was sold and rebuilt with a new forebody at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1961-1962 and crossed the Atlantic as Lake Winnipeg for Nipigon Transports in the Seaway ore and grain trades.

Over the years, Lake Winnipeg had a variety of moments in the news including opening the Seaway season, downbound, on March 24, 1975; an occasional minor grounding; banging the wall of the Eisenhower Lock on July 24, 1971; and hitting the tie-up wall above the St. Lambert Lock on June 4, 1973. Most required some repair work.

Despite the difficulties, Lake Winnipeg was a good carrier. It last sailed in 1983 before being sold for scrapping in Portugal during 1985. This was the first Seaway-sized laker to be dismantled, but in later years, it had become expensive to operate.

Skip Gillham


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: 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.


Port Reports -  May 22

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
Duluth was busy with saltie and laker traffic on Wednesday. Overnight, Vancouverborg and BBC Celina arrived the anchorage, joining Elbeborg, Apollon and Federal Mattawa. Elbeborg arrived from anchor at 6:42 a.m. after waiting for fog to clear up, and went to Gavillon to load grain. BBC Celina arrived from the anchorage at 8:30 a.m. and went to CHS 2 to load grain. A few minutes later, Vancouverborg arrived from anchor, only to drop anchor again in the inner harbor. She is waiting for Elbeborg to finish at Gavillon. Also Wednesday, Indiana Harbor arrived at 5:56 a.m. and went to Midwest Energy to load coal, and John G. Munson departed from CN at 9:09 a.m. Finally, Indiana Harbor departed from Midwest Energy at 6:30 p.m. For Thursday, Roger Blough is due to arrive in the early morning for CN. Polsteam's Iryda is next, due in the morning for CHS 1 to load grain. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is expected in the morning for Midwest Energy. Fellow 1,000 footer James R. Barker is also expected to arrive in the morning for CN. Fleetmate Paul R. Tregurtha is next, due to arrive in the early afternoon for Midwest Energy to load coal after Walter J. McCarthy Jr. BBC Celina, Walter J. McCarthy Jr, and Elbeborg are all expected to depart Thursday evening.

Thunder Bay - John Kuzma
Federal Margaree was at Thunder Bay Terminal. Federal Shimanto was loading at Vittera A. Algosoo was at the Current River Terminal and Labrador Richardson Terminal.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Federal Oshima departed mid-morning for Burns Harbor. H. Lee White departed in the afternoon and made her way north on the lake.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Manitou arrived on the Saginaw River on Tuesday, tying up at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville. She is here to assist the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber in getting turned so the pair can finally depart after being tied up at Bay City Wirt for over a week due to strong currents in the river. The tug Zeus and tank barge Robert F. Deegan were back again, arriving at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City during the afternoon on Wednesday. The pair was at the same dock on the 16th.

Oswego N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Wednesday the Stephen B. Roman was unloading cement.


When will Lake Superior ice melt?

5/22 - Duluth, Minn. – It's starting to feel like summer, but it doesn't look like it on Lake Superior. Ice is still stacked up on the Duluth shoreline. "It's definitely something else," Jerry Enget said.

It's not a pleasant sight for some after our brutally cold winter. "It's definitely a lingering trace of the unpleasant cold," said Darren Houser. Lake Superior is still about three percent covered with ice.

"The ice right now is still extensive in some areas," Ron Williams, with the National Weather Service, said. "We've had just tons of ice and it just hasn't been able to melt.”

The areas packed with ice include the head of the lake and the Apostle Islands.

"Starting this weekend, we are going to have a south wind," Williams said. "It will push that ice to the north."

That along with warmer weather will start melting the ice fast. Williams predicts an ice out will take place the first week of June.

Williams said the water is still hovering around 34 degrees. The ice will melt faster once the lake reaches 40 degrees.



Port Sanilac floats resort hotel dream

5/22 - Port Sanilac, Mich. – Dave Marschall watches over 68 boat slips tucked inside the Port Sanilac Harbor.

While Marschall knows proposed plans for a hotel at the harbor are very preliminary, he said if those plans come to reality, it could change the village.

“I think it will definitely take off, definitely enhance and bring a lot of tourists and visitors,” the harbor master said.

A Chicago firm has launched a feasibility study to test whether the harbor and the village could sustain a resort hotel. The developer and village will share the cost of the study.

Mike Pattullo, an architect in Petoskey, said his brother Scott started accumulating property on the northern edge of the harbor about eight years ago. After the village approached them about incorporating publicly owned property with their parcels, the brothers drafted a concept.

Mike Pattullo said the preliminary plans include a hotel with 24 suites, cottages and carriage houses, a banquet facility, restaurant and bar, pool and retail space. Because the proposed footprint would include land the current harbor master’s office is on, it would also include room for Marschall and other harbor facilities.

The Pattullo brothers grew up in the Port Sanilac area.

“The goal is to create — both by water and by land — Port Sanilac as a destination,” said Mike Pattullo, president of Shoreline Architecture and Design. “The idea is really to make it for the boaters as well as someone visiting by vehicle. This hotel and its amenities are intended to service both.”

Results from the feasibility study are expected in June. Pattullo said the project would not move forward without winning a recommendation from the study.

“We’re trying to find out what is this product, what are the demands in this area, and of that demand, what are they looking for?” Pattullo said. “We love the area, and we see the opportunity to really create this resort that would be in close proximity to these major markets. But we don’t really know what the real demand is — we have a concept, and the village has brought in a terrific hospitality consultant to look at it.

“Until it comes back, we don’t know yet.”

Tim Cheek, chairman of the Port Sanilac Downtown Development Authority, said a study done a few years ago found the village in need of a hotel.

“I think Port Sanilac is prime for some lodging. We have become a tourist destination,” Cheek said.

Cheek said that how the $25,000 bill for the feasibility study will be split between the DDA and Patullo has not yet been determined.

Cheek said having the project owned and led by people experienced in development is a benefit for the village.

“They are capable of doing something like this. It’s about as win-win as you can get,” he said.

Port Huron Times Herald


River Walk undergoes finishing touches

5/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – Four years ago, with no money in the bank for the project, officials at the Community Foundation of St. Clair County thought it would take eight to 10 years to complete the Blue Water River Walk.

But $6 million worth of work has changed that, and crews are back at the site of the river walk, gearing up for its June 7 grand opening.

“It’s really celebrating and finally recognizing all of the partners that made it possible,” said Randy Maiers, president and chief executive officer at the community foundation.

The foundation and St. Clair County are partners in the development along the St. Clair River shoreline south of the Black River. The river walk is restoring about 4,300 feet of the shoreline while also opening it to the public.

The biggest part of the celebration is acknowledging the about $6 million of investment that has gone into the project through state and federal grants, as well as donations.

“It’s very humbling to see it from ground zero and the very beginning to now,” Maiers said. “When we started this project, we didn’t have a single dollar for it.”

Workers will be installing signs, benches and public art as well as underwater plantings up and down the shoreline.

“All of these pieces really help put the finishing touches on it,” Maiers said.

Workers raised a dock for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets ship Grayfox, and DTE Energy finished removing the last of 12 utility poles in the area so new underground power could be put in.

A fishing pier is still on the wish list for the project, Maiers said. With no money available for that piece, it could come late this fall or next summer. He said it is expected to cost about $125,000.

“That’s our final big component,” he said.

Another big component is the wetlands at the end of the walk. A Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant was used to buy 2.75 acres of property near the Seaway Terminal from Acheson Ventures. The acquisition of the land was used as the match for the federal grant, which totals $1,039,500, said Mark Brochu, county parks and recreation director.

In addition to being a new habitat for fish and wildlife, the area also will have interpretive features so visitors can get a close look at the native species of the area.

County officials have met with representatives from the Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Natural Resources for a pre-permit application meeting, Brochu said.

He said the final permit is expected to be submitted soon. Pending its approval, work could start in late summer or early fall. If that’s the case, the wetland restoration could be done by summer 2015, Brochu said.

Other items included in the plan such as walkways, signage and a fishing pier will be done as funding becomes available.

The county should know by December if it was approved for a grant from the DNR’s Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund to buy an additional 2.1 acres from Acheson Ventures. The land is just west of the location for a planned fishing pier and public access site on the Blue Water River Walk.

Port Huron Times Herald


Door County seeks bids for Cana Island Lighthouse restoration

5/22 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Over the last five years, the Door County Maritime Museum and Door County Parks Department have successfully raised over $2.5 million through grants and donations for improvements and restoration work at the historic Cana Island Light Station in Baileys Harbor. Additional funding is still needed to complete all restoration projects this summer.

Door County Parks, in close partnership with the Door County Maritime Museum, maintains Cana Island as part of the Door County Parks System. Door County acquired Cana Island from the Federal Government in May of 2007. A condition of the transfer was that Door County would pursue restoration and improvements to the park. Over 40,000 visitors annually now access the island, all seeking historical lighthouse experiences set in the landscape of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

A comprehensive Historic Structure Report was completed in 2009 outlining the stabilization and restoration work needed on the islands historic buildings.

The Door County Parks Department is currently seeking bids for this restoration work along with hazardous material abatement for the Cana Island Light Station. Bids must be submitted to and received by the Door County Parks Department by the first week of June.

The restoration project planned consists of renovating the five historic buildings, including the lighthouse tower, the Keepers Residence, the oil house, barn, and privy. Project work also includes the abatement of hazardous materials including asbestos containing materials and lead based paint.

Specifications, for full particulars and description of the work, product and/or service and instructions may be obtained from the Door County website tab Invitation to Bid/RFP at

To make a donation for the islands preservation effort, Illuminating Our Heritage, please call the Door County Maritime Museum at (920) 743-5958 or visit


Port of Duluth-Superior to celebrate National Maritime Day Thursday, May 22

5/22 - Duluth, Minn. - U.S. Merchant Marine veterans, current seafarers and maritime industry stakeholders will gather today (May 22) to celebrate National Maritime Day in the Port of Duluth-Superior. The event is set for noon at the Holiday Inn Great Lakes Ballroom (lower level).

The commemorative event, sponsored locally by the Propeller Club of Duluth-Superior, commences with a memorial service to honor seafarers past and present, followed by a luncheon, special presentations, and a keynote address by noted author, historian and maritime expert C. Patrick Pat Labadie, whose program is entitled, Keeping Maritime History Alive.

National Maritime Day is a tradition that recognizes Americas Merchant Marine for their legacy of service and sacrifice, safeguarding our nation and its trade corridors during times of war and peace. The date, May 22, commemorates the sailing of the first steam vessel across the Atlantic Ocean in 1819, the SS Savannahs voyage from Georgia to Liverpool, England.

Today, National Maritime Day is observed across the country as a combined salute to merchant mariners, veterans and the entire maritime industry, focusing attention on the importance of maritime and its value to Americas economy, national security, balance of trade and quality of life.


Help Wanted: Relief steward

5/22 - The Interlake Steamship Company has an immediate need for relief stewards. Qualified applicants should possess a current USCG MMC and DHS TWIC card along with a background in food service. Information concerning working for us can be found at Please send your resume in strictest confidence to


Lookback #186 – Joseph Block surrendered to underwriters after grounding on May 22, 1968

5/22 - It was 46 years ago today that the bulk carrier Joseph Block, en route to Escanaba, Mich., went aground in the Porte des Mortes Passage of Green Bay. While the vessel was released the same day, it was heavily damaged and surrendered to the underwriters as a total loss.

Later in the year, the 61-year-old, 569-foot-long vessel was sold to Lake Shipping. Following repairs at South Chicago, it returned to service in 1969 as the George M. Steinbrenner after being transferred to the Kinsman Marine Transit Co.

The aging vessel was idle at Toledo in 1975 and 1976 but resumed trading on May 4, 1977, using needed parts salvaged from the retired Chicago Trader. But it was only a temporary reprieve and the George M. Steinbrenner was tied up again at Toledo on June 15, 1977.

Following a sale to Marine Salvage for scrap, the ship arrived at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, on August 25, 1978, and was gradually dismantled in 1979-80.

Skip Gillham


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.

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.

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

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 engine room. 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.


Port Reports -  May 21

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
Duluth had another busy day on Tuesday. CSL's Thunder Bay departed from Midwest Energy at 5:14 a.m. John G. Munson arrived with limestone for Hallett #5 at 10:40, and was expected to shift to CN, Duluth, after unloading. Arthur M. Anderson departed from CN at 12:55. The Polish saltie Mamry finally departed Duluth at 4:55 p.m. from CHS 1 with grain after multiple days of rain delays. The Mesabi Miner left CN at 7:30 p.m. On Tuesday night, three salties were anchored off Duluth. Elbeborg had just arrived at the anchorage, and was waiting for the thick fog to lift before arriving to load grain at Gavillon. Apollon remained at anchor waiting to load grain at CHS 1, and is expected to arrive on Wednesday. Federal Mattawa is at anchor as well, and will be loading grain at CHS 1 after the Apollon. Wednesday's schedule starts out with Indiana Harbor, due in the early morning for Midwest Energy. Roger Blough is next, due also in the early morning for CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. The Greek saltie Apollon is expected from anchorage sometime in the morning for CHS 1 to load grain. Vancouverborg and BBC Celina are both due sometime Wednesday, the former for Gavillon to load grain after Elbeborg and the latter for CHS 1 to load grain after Federal Mattawa. Also, Elbeborg was due to arrive sometime Tuesday evening or Wednesday for Gavillon to load grain. She was anchored waiting for the foggy conditions to improve.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore Tuesday evening at LS&I on her first visit of the season.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Chris Gaziano
Frontenac departed in the morning Tuesday after arriving Monday night with a load of salt. The Federal Oshima came in shortly after the Frontenac had departed. H. Lee White made its way in during the evening with a load of coal from Chicago.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The Polsteam bulker Regalica arrived at Redpath during the wee hours Tuesday morning. At only 16,900 DWT this bulker has only five holds and should be able to unload its cargo of sugar without the usual end for end turn around. Regalica and its four near sister ships are named after rivers in Poland. The ferry Ongiara was put back into service just before the Victoria Day long weekend.

Oswego N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Algoway was unloading Tuesday.


Heavy lift cargoes hint at busy 2014 for the Port of Erie

5/21 - Erie, Pa. – Erie Sand and Gravel began loading 10 massive GE-built locomotives onto a BBC Chartering vessel yesterday morning at the Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority. Later this week, the port will receive three transformers bound for Massena, New York.

The locomotives, part of a 50-engine contract with GE Transportation, are headed for the Republic of Mozambique. The first 10 locomotives will leave the port this week, arriving at their destination in six to eight weeks depending on weather conditions. Four additional vessels will be necessary to carry the balance of the shipment and other equipment at a later date.

In addition to the GE shipment, the port is set to receive three of six transformers from South America later this week. Weighing in at 200 tons each, the transformers are headed to Massena, New York, to the New York Power Authority. The last three transformers will arrive at a later date.

The American Great Lakes Ports Association


Lake Michigan water levels up more than a foot

5/21 - Grand Haven, Mich. – It’s been a long time coming, but Michiganders can finally look forward to increased lake levels this year. It’s all thanks to Mother Nature and above normal precipitation that we received this winter and spring.

Lake Michigan alone is up 12 to 14 inches according to the Army Corps of Engineers. A conversation with their Detroit office revealed the average long-term lake level is 578.81 feet above sea level. The current level is 578.32 feet. We’re close to where we should be, but the six-month forecast is expected to remain below average. Keep this in mind … each inch Lake Michigan rises in level equates to 390 billion gallons of water.

We hit all time record low water levels in January 2013 (576.02 feet), so we have really come a long way since then. 40 to 50 inches of additional snowfall above normal (and don’t forget the liquid in that snow), consistent spring rains, and extensive lake ice late in to the season prevented extra evaporation from taking place. While all of this occurred, it really wasn’t until April when melting finally began and we realized the uptick in moisture out of the basin. In fact, we are 43 percent above normal in precipitation in the first 18 days of May alone. We were also 27 percent above normal in precipitation in April.

The all-time high water level on Lake Michigan occurred in 1986 with flooding rains and a height of 582.35. 11 West Michigan dams failed that year. So we’re nowhere near our record high or record low, but we are much closer to the long-term average. Compared to last year all lake levels are up across the board. Lake Superior rose six inches in May, breaking a 15-year consecutive run of being below average.

There are several advantages to higher water levels. Commercial vessels can now carry more cargo and make fewer trips. Perhaps the savings will get passed on to consumers. Boaters are finding conditions much easier to get in to and out of the water launching their watercraft. And fishermen may also have some new opportunities.

“It gives us the opportunity to reach in to some of the places that maybe have been too shallow in the past. It’s also good for the environment and the heart of the fishery because there are more areas for the bait fish to spawn and more exposure to some of the areas up in the bayous that are feeding in to the river in general,” says Big Weenie Charter fisherman Jeremy Barber.

Changing water levels also create different priorities for the Army Corps of Engineers. “When we have the higher water levels we have a lot of shoreline protection projects that we would have,” Chris Schropp from the Army Corps in Grand Haven says. “With the lower water levels we have issues with the harbor shoaling in faster. In short, lower water levels can potentially create more work as additional sand and silt get transported in to channels easier. That means more dredging may be needed.”

Fox 17


Meaford Museum celebrates marine history

5/21 - Meaford, Ont. – Meaford Museum sits beside the harbor, where swallows skim the surface, the sound of water gently laps against the floating wooden docks and recreational boats wait for fair-weather journeys.

The harbor was formerly the focus of the town's commercial and industrial strength. Today, it's mostly a recreational port, though former boat builder Richardson Boats, a marine service facility now, still sits there as it has since 1933.

Inside the museum, a new display showcases 13 models ships, including lake freighters made by Bruce Shepperd, an 87-year-old former Algoma ship captain who lives in Meaford. The room, which used to feature quilts, is now dedicated to celebrating marine history. It has a few old pictures of the marina and nautical equipment too.

The nautical room's official opening will take place next Saturday during an open house from 1-3 p.m.

Shepperd is a well-known former museum board president and marine history preservation advocate. He has loaned eight of his models to anchor the display. At least one of his ships used to be displayed in the Owen Sound Marine-Rail Museum, which is being re-imagined by a new group.

Fifteen years ago, when Shepperd helped make significant renovations for the museum's 125th anniversary, he put out a call for people to share their old harbor pictures and stories.

But the detailed, illustrated story of the role Meaford's harbor played in the town's development must still be in residents' attics and boxes of forgotten photos, Shepperd said, because not a lot of that important material is on display in the exhibit.

Two or three of the ships depicted in the models were made in the Collingwood shipyards – Shepperd captained the last six lakers out of the Collingwood shipyards on their maiden voyages. But most of the ships displayed aren't local.

There's a model of the ill-fated Edmund Fitzgerald, the tragic Lake Superior sinking of which Gordon Lightfoot sang. He rewrote the song's lyrics for live performances, to no longer suggest unfastened hatches caused the disaster. Lightfoot explained this change at a recent Owen Sound performance, in light of convincing evidence he'd seen which suggested human error wasn't to blame.

One model of a local ship is of the long-serving wooden-hulled Coast Guard cutter Spume. Though it wasn't built here, one of two sister vessels, Spindrift was, at Richardson Boats. Shepperd and other volunteers restored the Spume for public display. But decay caused by displaying the vessel out of water led to its demolition in 2005. Shepherd had warned the vessel needed a building to house it.

He has loaned to the museum some nautical gear, including a propeller which was dragged behind a ship to measure miles travelled. That information, combined with two bearings taken using a pelorus, was how ships navigated without radar until after the war, when the new devices were placed on freighters.

There's a handsome old magnetic compass on display, and a Chadburn, that familiar brass ship's engine lever with settings including Full, Half, Slow and Dead Stop. Until variable-pitch propellers came about, in the 1960s Shepperd said, engines were reversed with a Chadburn.

Shepperd's first ship experience was as a 16-year-old deckhand aboard the Caribou, which provided a ferry service to Manitoulin Island and points between. He retired in 1994, having captained eight Great Lakes Freighters Algoma Central Marine.

He built his first model ship, the Algosoo, while aboard ship anchored in the St. Lawrence River, at Sept-Iles, Que. With lengthy waits while his ships were loaded and unloaded with freight such as iron ore, coal, potash, salt and grain – and nothing to watch on TV but French-language stations – it passed the time, he said.

More Meaford Museum information is available at

Owen Sound Sun Times


Lookback #185 – Clearwater stranded near Trinity Bay on May 21, 1928

5/21 - The newly-built steamer Clearwater was carrying a load of pulpwood when it went aground east of Pont-des-Monts, Quebec, on May 21, 1928. The cargo had been taken aboard at Port Menier, Anticosti Island, and the vessel was abandoned to the insurers. A faulty lookout was blamed for the accident that occurred 86 years ago today.

Clearwater was refloated in July and repaired at Lauzon, Quebec. It resumed sailing as Trenora and endured a few more problems that included a grounding in fog below Cardinal, Ontario, on Sept. 4, 1931, and an explosion and fire at sea on Oct. 16, 1937. The latter was blamed on coal gas and the damaged ship was repaired at the Muir Bros. shipyard in Port Dalhousie. This work included new forward cabins and repairs to the bent deck and bulkhead. Seven sailors were hospitalized.

In July 1942, Trenora was part of a convoy that lost two ships, via torpedo, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off the Gaspe Peninsula. It was loaded with paper and en route from Cornerbrook, NF to Sydney, NS when the group was attacked.

This ship became Keyshey in 1949 and last operated, under the Halco banner, in the fall of 1963. Its final job was as a barge and proved to be the lightering of the Greek Liberty ship Protostatis aground off Wolfe Island in January 1966. Following a sale to Spanish shipbreakers, Keyshey was towed to Bilbao, Spain, and arrived for scrapping, in tandem with Algosoo (i), on May 24, 1967.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 21

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 21

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

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

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.

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 - 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 engine room 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.


Port Reports -  May 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleet mates Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore at LS&I on Monday.

St. Marys River
Several salties were upbound in the river Monday. They included BBC Celina, Federal Ems, Federal Mattewa, Vancouverborg and Labrador. John J. Boland was downbound with her first cargo of the season.

Holland, Mich. - William VanAppledorn
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 departed Monday with load of scrap iron from the Padnos Terminal.

Lorain, Ohio
Joseph H. Thompson cleared the Charles Berry Bridge on her way out of Lorain at 5:50 p.m. Monday. They arrived at 8:30 a.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed at 8:30 a.m. Monday morning. American Mariner departed around 5:30 p.m.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Monday the tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod delivered fuel oil at the Oswego steam station. Alouette Spirit unloaded aluminum bars at Oswego Port Authority.


Algoma Harvester departs China for voyage to Canada

5/20 - Algoma Harvester, the second of eight new Eqinox-class ships built in China at Nantong Heavy Industries, departed from the shipyard Sunday evening for the journey home to Canada. They are due to arrive in Davao, Philippines, around May 24 to take on fuel and other supplies. From there, the ship will resume its voyage across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal and the Atlantic Ocean, eventually winding up in Canada. The trip from China to Canada is expected to take about 50-60 days in total.

Denny Dushane


Seaway announces of opening of visitors center

5/20 - Massena, N.Y. - The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. announced Thursday that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors Center at the Eisenhower Lock is now open for the season. But at least for now, the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce won’t have a presence with its gift shop.

The Visitors Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, including weekends, through Labor Day. It normally opens on Memorial Day but was delayed this year for facility maintenance to repair damage caused by winter weather. In the interim, visitors were asked to view ships from the Eisenhower Lock North Side Observation Area, which remains open through the year.

The repairs included replacement of the main building’s roof and repairs to the ground floor of the center that suffered water damage.

“They had major ice and snow damage and had to wait for repair. It’s been rectified. The Seaway did a good job. They did what they had to do,” chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said.

The opening delay, however, meant calls to the chamber office from visitors.

“We’ve had a lot of calls from people wondering what was going on. People are coming down for day trips and wondering why the lock store was not open. People are coming from all over the place,” he said.

Up-to-date information on estimated vessel transit times is available by calling 769-2422 for a voice recording of that day’s projected lockage schedule. Additional information is on the website at That map updates every 15 minutes with details on the ships in transit within the Seaway system.

Under security measures that were implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, visitors will be asked to leave all packages, bags and backpacks in their vehicles. Any items that have to be carried into the viewing area must be presented for inspection or for checking by a metal detecting wand.

While visitors will be able to view the ships, they may not find the chamber’s gift shop open for business.

Mr. Gleason said it boils down to funding for the employees to run the shop. He said the chamber sent a letter to Seaway officials explaining that it would not be able to run the store “because we’re short of funds to run it.”

Watertown Daily Times


Seaway saltie news

5/20 - As of May 1 the Eisenhower Lock at Massena, New York saw 55 saltwater vessels transits into the St. Lawrence Seaway. The 55 transits are an increase of eight transits during the same period in 2013 and also an increase of 13 transits when compared to the five-year average from 2009-2013.

As of May 1 there has been a total of six newcomers making their first visits to the system. The list includes:BBC Xingang, Diana, Duzgit Endeavour, Fortunagracht, Olza and Prosna. Since May 1 there has also been four new vessels added to the list: Adfines Sea, Beatrix, MCT Breithorn and Songa Peace. Reggeborg, a new Wagenborg vessel built in Germany and delivered in 2014, is expected to arrive in June for Cleveland.

Denny Dushane


Cheboygan River dredging to start in August

5/20 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Cheboygan Clerk/Treasurer Kenneth Kwiatkowski reported the dredging of the Cheboygan River will begin in late August and continue through September.

The dredging was made possible when Congress appropriated additional funding for ongoing work in the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations act as contained in the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

The U.S. Army Corps of engineers developed an allocation plan, which included $46.5 million in additional funds for the entire Great Lakes, for high priority work packages based on criteria established by Congress. The Cheboygan River dredging project is slated to receive $610,000 of those funds.

Kwiatkowski said the contract for the dredging will be let in early August, and 30,000 cubic yards of river bottom will be moved from the river beginning in late August.

“The main focus will be on facilitating the (U.S. Coast Guard Cutter) Mackinaw and the oil tanker that comes in to U.S. Oil,” explained Kwiatkowski. “The other thing they had us do was give them a wish list. … Once they are done with their initial work and they still have additional capacities they might hit some of these areas,” he added.

Cheboygan Mayor Richard Sangster said the wish list includes some of the high spots in the turning basin and some areas near the State Street Bridge.

“There were some (areas) up by the bridge that Curt Plaunt (Plaunt Transportation) had questions with, some pilings that have come exposed and a few navigational hazards if they have time. Mr. Plaunt is going to get ahold of them with those waypoints to tell them exactly where they are at,” said Sangster.

Councilwoman Winifred Riddle asked Sangster what plans there were for the material removed from the river. “Sometimes that is rich in nutritional value for the ground,” said Riddle.

Sangster said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering would be getting back with the city with the plan to dispose of the material.

“Since it's their project, they have the choice, but we have the access to put it on our property to dry it off if need be,” said Sangster.

Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Lookback #184 – Torondoc torpedoed and sunk in Caribbean on May 20, 1942

5/20 - The first Torondoc was operated on the Caribbean during World War Two helping to transport bauxite when it was torpedoed and sunk 72 year ago today.

Torondoc had a full cargo when it sailed from Trinidad on May 18, 1942, for St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. The ship never arrived and was ultimately listed as “lost with all hands”. German broadcasts claimed that the ship was sunk by U-69 on May 20 in a position of 14.45 N / 62.15 W. All 23 on board died.

Subsequent information suggests that Torondoc actually went down west of Martinique on May 21 but for the purposes of this report we will use the date provided by the German broadcast.

Torondoc had been built at Newcastle, England, and launched on April 14, 1927. It crossed the Atlantic for Great Lakes service in the Paterson Steamships fleet and carried grain, coal, ore and pulpwood. The 260 foot long bulk carrier was registered at 1927 gross tons.

A second Torondoc, the former Saracen, was added to the Paterson fleet in 1954 and survived until scrapping at Toronto in 1962.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 20

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  Leon Falk gallery.


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 20

On 20 May 1872, the ironclad 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 – 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 – 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.


Port Reports -  May 19

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
CSL Laurentien departed from CN at 6:40 a.m. on Sunday morning. She was the only ship of the day, but Monday is expected to be busier. Federal Mattawa is due to arrive for anchor off Duluth in the early morning to wait for an opening at CHS 1. Spruceglen is expected to arrive Duluth on her first visit of the season, arriving in the morning for Midwest Energy. CSL's Thunder Bay is also due in the morning for Midwest Energy to load coal after Spruceglen. Next is Capt. Henry Jackman, expected in the late afternoon with salt for Hallett #8. She will then shift to Burlington Northern in Superior to load taconite. Arthur M. Anderson is expected to arrive Duluth in the evening with limestone for Hallett #5. She will shift to CN, Duluth to load after discharging. Mamry is then expected to depart from CHS 1 in the evening. The Greek saltie Apollon, currently anchored, will then arrive to load grain at CHS 1.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge, Robert F. Deegan, were outbound from the Dow Chemical dock on Saturday. The pair had arrived to unload on Friday. The tug Gregory J. Busch was outbound from the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber remained tied up at the Writ Stone Dock in Bay City as of late Sunday night. Strong currents in the Saginaw River are preventing the pair from turning safely and heading outbound for the lake.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Sunday the American Mariner was unloading at General Mill's Frontier Elevator, the Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 remained at Noco in Tonawanda. The Bristol Bay was notched up in her buoy barge and headed out the North Entrance that morning.


Lookback #183 Manzzutti arrived at United Metals scrapyard on May 19, 1970

5/19 - The final voyage of the retired freighter MANZZUTTI came to an end 34 years ago today when the tugs James Whalen and Herbert A. ushered the 67-year old vessel into the scrapyard of United Metals in Hamilton. The dismantling of the hull was completed at that location in 1971.

During its long and interesting career, this ship had six different names, operated under the flags of three countries and had at least seven owners.

Built as J.S. Keefe and launched at Buffalo on Jan. 31, 1903, this bulk carrier worked for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. until going overseas for coastal work in 1916. Renamed Parame under French registry, the vessel provided useful service in the war years before being resold in 1921. It returned to the lakes as the Canadian canal ship Glenfarn in 1922.

In later years, it operated for Canada Steamship Lines as Canmore and then under Marine Industries as Ashleaf. The latter mixed coastal and inland service before joining the Yankcanuck Steamship Co. as Manzzutti in 1951. The ship was mainly engaged in the steel trade before tying up at Sault Ste. Marie at the end of the 1965 season.

The vessel remained idle until the sale for scrap and subsequent tow to Hamilton in 1970.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 19

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 19

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

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

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

B.F. JONES and EDWARD S. KENDRICK, towed by the Polish tug KORAL, 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.


John J. Boland back in service as Duluth remains busy

5/18 - American Steamship Co.'s John J. Boland is now back in service. She was called back to the iron ore and coal trades because of the backlog of cargoes waiting to be delivered after the late start to the 2014 shipping season. The 680-foot laker had arrived Duluth for the 2012-2013 winter layup on January 12, 2013, but didn't sail at all during the 2013 season.

Around 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, the Boland left her layup dock at Fraser Shipyards and shifted to Calumet Fuel Dock for fuel. She finally departed under the Aerial Lift Bridge at 4:05 on Saturday afternoon. The ship was headed for Silver Bay, Minn., where she will load a cargo of taconite. Now that John J. Boland is gone, only two ships remain in long-term layup in Duluth. American Victory and Edward L. Ryerson continue in layup with no sign of impending service for either vessel.

Meanwhile, Duluth has remained busy. The first ship on Saturday was James R. Barker, which departed from CN at 2:33 a.m. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 5:30 a.m. and went to CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. Next, Paul R. Tregurtha departed Duluth with coal from Midwest Energy at 10:06 a.m. CSL Laurentien arrived at 13:40 for CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. Then, Duluth saw its first "triple ship" of the season. Cason J. Callaway departed from CN, Duluth at 3:45; the chemical barge Spartan II, pushed by the tug Spartan, departed at 3:55 after unloading calcium chloride at Hallett #8; and finally, John J. Boland departed from Calumet Fuel Dock at 4:05. The final ship of the day was CSL Tadoussac, which departed from CN at 7:25 p.m.

Sunday appears to slower, with only CSL Laurentien due to depart from CN in the morning. For Monday, Capt. Henry Jackman is due to arrive in the early morning with salt for Hallett #8. After unloading, the Jackman will shift to Burlington Northern in Superior to load taconite. CSL's new Thunder Bay is also due in the early morning for Midwest Energy to load coal. Next is Arthur M. Anderson, due in the morning to load iron ore pellets at CN. Spruceglen is expected to arrive for her first visit of the season in the morning for Midwest Energy. Polsteam's Mamry is expected to depart Duluth from CHS 1 sometime in the afternoon with her cargo of grain. Apollon, which is currently sitting at anchor outside of port, will then arrive for CHS 1. Rounding out Monday's schedule is Federal Mattawa, due sometime Monday for CHS 1 to load grain after Apollon.

Daniel Lindner


Algoma Harvester prepares for voyage to Canada

5/18 - Algoma Harvester, the second of eight new Equinox-class ships built in China at Nantong Heavy Industries, is expected to depart from the shipyard soon. Her AIS shows a destination of Davao, Philippines, arriving on May 24 at approximately noon where they are expected to take on fuel and eventually continue on the long journey home to Canada.

Algoma Harvester follows the delivery of Algoma Equinox in 2013. Two more bulk carriers are expected to join Algoma Equinox and Algoma Harvester: CWB Marquis and CWB Strongfield. The two CWB ships will be owned by CWB Inc. formerly the Canadian Wheat Board and managed and operated by Algoma. Once the bulk carrier construction is completed, four self-unloaders will also join the fleet with the names Algoma Sault, Algoma Niagara and Algoma Conveyor and a fourth yet to be named vessel.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  May 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug and Barge Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived Saturday morning at a still ice-filled Lower Harbor with a stone cargo for Shiras.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Prentiss Brown with barge St. Mary's conquest came in during the morning Satuday for the St. Mary's terminal. Wicko departed for Toledo during the early evening hours. The Samuel de Champlain with cement barge Innovation came in during the evening also for the LaFarge terminal. Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
A last-minute change at Port Inland saw the Wilfred Sykes arrive on Friday in the late afternoon. Joseph L. Block was also expected to arrive on Saturday during the late morning. Due in on Monday at noon are the barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance.

Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Joseph L. Block arrived on Friday. There are three vessels due in on Monday –the Manitowoc first in the early morning, followed by the Wilfred Sykes at noon and the Lewis J. Kuber during the late afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Great Republic loaded and was expected to depart at around 6 a.m. on Saturday. Also expected Saturday during the late evening was the Lewis J. Kuber. Great Republic is due back again on Sunday in the early afternoon to load. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday. Rounding out the schedule will be the Pathfinder due in on Tuesday in the late afternoon.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Arthur M. Anderson was expected to arrive at Calcite on Saturday in the morning for the South Dock. Fleetmate John G. Munson is expected to arrive on Sunday in the early morning also for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The revised schedule for the Toledo Docks now lists the Amelia Desgagnes, arriving on Monday in the late afternoon to load at the CSX Coal Dock. However, she will be pumping water four hours prior to loading. Next will be the Great Republic, due on Tuesday in the late morning, and the American Mariner on Wednesday at noon. Saginaw rounds out the coal dock schedule arriving on Friday, May 23 in the early evening to load coal. Two vessels are due for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, with Cuyahoga due in on Friday, May 30 in the early morning, followed by the Frontenac on Saturday, June 7 in the morning. At the Torco Dock, the James L. Kuber is due on Monday in the late afternoon followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Wednesday in the early evening. Following them is the Hon. James L. Oberstar on Thursday in the mid-afternoon. Rounding out the schedule will be the James L. Kuber, returning to unload on Memorial Day, May 26. Two other vessels were in port at the time of this report: Saginaw and the tug Karen Andrie. Three ASC vessels remain in long-term lay-up with the Adam E. Cornelius at the Old Interlake Iron Company Dock, and her two ASC fleetmates the American Fortitude and American Valor remain at the Lakefront Docks.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saturday night the English River was unloading at Lafarge Cement. The Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 remained at the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda. Both arrived in port that morning.


Ice on Lake Superior still higher than anytime in past 40 years

5/18 - Lake Superior still has some ice on it. In fact, Lake Superior has more ice on it as of yesterday than it has had at any other time this late in the season in the past 40 years.

A high-resolution satellite image from May 14 shows a patch of ice floating out the in the eastern part of Lake Superior. Some of the shoreline areas on southern Lake Superior are still covered in ice.

Anne Clites, physical scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA-GLERL) looked at the years when ice cover was high. Comparing those years to now, we have more ice on Lake Superior now. In fact, we have double the previous high amount.

As of May 15, 2014 Lake Superior is reportedly 14.48 percent covered in ice. Compare this to the two highest late season ice years, 1979 and 1996. On May 14, 1979, Lake Superior had 7.5 percent ice cover. So we are almost double that amount of ice. On May 15, 1996, Lake Superior had 5.9 percent ice cover. Lake Superior still has a lot more ice this year. On May 31, 1996, Lake Superior's ice cover was still reported at 0.1 percent coverage.

At this pace, we will still have a small amount of ice on Lake Superior in June.



Great Lakes deal in Congress may boost dredging efforts

5/18 - Washington, D.C. — A compromise measure on water resources development unveiled in Congress Thursday could result in more spending for dredging Great Lakes harbors and shipping channels, though it wasn’t immediately known how much more might be available.

The conference committee report — congressional shorthand for a compromise reached on competing versions of legislation between the U.S. House and Senate — emerged Thursday on the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, a measure which has been stalled for months.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, was the only Michigan member of Congress to serve on the House-Senate conference committee. She said the agreement, which will be voted on next week in both chambers, includes a proposal she and others in the state delegation pushed to designate the Great Lakes as one comprehensive navigation system.

By doing so, Great Lakes projects could be prioritized nationally and become eligible for more funding by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, rather than competing against one another.

“This new designation will finally allow the Great Lakes to present a unified front when competing against coastal regions for federal funding and resources.” Miller said.

The legislation also includes increased expenditures through the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is funded through taxes on shippers but only part of which has been made available for projects in recent years. Last year, the Free Press wrote how billions in surplus funds was instead being used to reduce the deficit, even as Great Lakes harbors were in dire need of dredging.

The measure calls for expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to increase each year so that by fiscal year 2025, 100% of the collections go to operation and maintenance activities across the U.S. — but only if congressional appropriators agree to increase the Army Corps of Engineers’ civil works budget.

Under the agreement, 10% of funds would be allocated to address the maintenance and dredging needs of smaller harbors, with the rest going to high- and moderate-use harbors; and a total of 10% of any increase in funding in any year compared to fiscal 2012 would be dedicated to Great Lakes projects.

Another section of the legislation also requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey, to help slow the spread of so-called Asian carp by providing technical assistance, coordination and support to state and local governments. The Corps would be authorized to modify existing projects to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.

Detroit Free Press


Great Lakes Towing begins work on 10th tug as part of fleet overhaul

5/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Towing Co. has begun work on its tug ug Wyoming as part of its ongoing fleet overhaul program. Drydocking and routine maintenance for Wyoming includes US Coast Guard Inspections, drydocking and routine maintenance and repairs, blasting and painting and other cleanings, inspections and repairs

The 55,000 bollard pull tug is the 10th tug to be overhauled and inspected as part of the company’s initiative thus far. Other tugs included in the major fleet overhaul program to date include California, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Superior and Vermont.

Great Lakes Towing


Shipping industry urges swift passage of Water Resources Reform and Development Act

5/18 - Toledo, Ohio – The Great Lakes shipping industry is calling on Congress to quickly pass the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) approved by the House/Senate conference committee. The bill contains provisions that will significantly reduce the dredging backlog on the Great Lakes by increasing the amount of tax dollars the government spends on maintaining deep-draft ports and waterways and designating the Great Lakes a navigation system for the purposes of maintenance dredging.

“It is critical that Congress move this bill now,” said James H.I Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF), the largest labor/management coalition ever to represent shipping on the Lakes. “More than 18 million cubic yards of sediment clog the Great Lakes Navigation System. Vessels have not been able to carry full loads since 1997, and that was only because water levels were at near record highs that year,” he said.

“The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) has a surplus of more than $8 billion. This WRRDA will require the government to steadily increase national harbor maintenance funding, reaching 100 percent of HMTF revenues by 2025. The bill also directs the Corps to recognize the interdependence of Great Lakes ports, large and small, and to manage them as a single, comprehensive system, with the focus more on regional economic impacts and less on annual tonnage measurements. The WRRDA also formally defines the Great Lakes Navigation System so that Federal funding can be appropriated only for use within that system.”

Weakley, who is also President of Lake Carriers Association, stressed that the need for dredging has taken on a new urgency following the brutal winter of 2013/2014. “Only a fraction of the cargo that needed to move in March and April was shipped because the ice was so thick. We need to cram every ton we can into the cargo holds if we are to stand any chance of rebuilding stockpiles at steel mills and power plants to necessary levels. The Corps must do everything in its power to restore the Great Lakes Navigation System as quickly as possible.”

GLMTs other goals include construction of a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, upholding the Jones Act and other U.S. maritime cabotage laws; maximizing the Lakes overseas trade via the St. Lawrence Seaway; opposing exports and/or increased diversions of Great Lakes water; and expanding short sea shipping on the Lakes.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Door County Maritime Museum honors veterans with Memorial Day exhibit

5/18 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum’s “Crossed Oars and Empty Lifejacket” tribute will again honor those who, in the words of President Abraham Lincoln, gave the last full measure of devotion. The dramatic display continues a tradition started by the museum last Memorial Day. The Crossed Oars are prominent at the museum’s front entrance. The community is invited to add flowers or other tributes at the base of the display on Memorial Day to honor the Nations fallen veterans.

In the days of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard) surfmen would sometimes erect a makeshift memorial on the beach to honor a comrade lost in the line of duty. Two of the massive lifeboat pulling oars would be crossed and planted on the beach near the lifesaving station. The crew would hang an empty lifejacket at the center where the oars crossed to honor the ultimate sacrifice of their missing station mate.

The museum’s “Crossed Oars and Empty Lifejacket” memorial honors all veterans, especially those lost at sea. The memorial pays special tribute to four Door County Coast Guardsmen who perished with the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba when the ship was sunk by enemy fire during WWII.


Royal Wagenborg Shipping expands fleet with new ships

5/18 - Royal Wagenborg Shipping, headquartered in Delfzijl, Netherlands, and a familiar sight around the Great Lakes/Seaway system has been busy expanding its fleet in the last few years. The company’s website lists the company as having 180 vessels. In 2013 Wagenborg started a new R-series of vessels.

First in the series of three ships to be built was Reestborg, launched on January 25, 2013 and delivered on March 14, 2013. Next in the series was Reggeborg, launched on December 18, 2013 and delivered on February 14, 2014. These new vessels are the largest ships to sail in the Wagenborg Shipping fleet, at 169.75 meters in length and a beam of 20.40 meters. The last of the R-series, Roerborg, is expected to be launched in September 2014. These new ships are being built for Wagenborg at the Ferus Smit GmbH Shipyard in Leer, Germany.

Wagenborg has also ended seven years of shipbuilding at the Chinese Shipyard Hudong Zhonghua, Shangai, China. Started in 2006 with six ships and an option for two more, all vessels built were of 1A Ice-classed vessels and were geared multipurpose vessels. The order for the vessels built later turned into 21 total and was started on September 27, 2006 with the first in the series, the Amstelborg, and finished on November 13, 2013 with the Alaskaborg.

However a new contract was signed for construction of a new series of ships for Wagenborg, the T-series, which would be 30 meters longer than the previous group and equipped with a fourth deck crane. Both the A and T type vessels are currently deployed worldwide for shipping forest products, steel, break bulk and containers. The first of the T-series, the Thamesborg, was launched on November 15, 2012 and delivered on January 31, 2013. The next three vessels to follow were Taagborg, launched January 30, 2013 and delivered on May 7, 2013; Tiberborg, launched May 10, 2013 and delivered on July 30, 2013; and the Trintyborg, launched on August 6, 2013 and delivered on November 14, 2013.

These new vessels all have dimensions of 172.28 meters in length and a beam or width of 21.49 meters according to Wagenborg’s website.


Help Wanted: Deck Officer

5/18 - Lake Michigan Carferry is now accepting applications for an upcoming mate’s position aboard the S.S. Badger. This position offers a fun and challenging work environment and highly competitive wages and benefits. Candidates must possess at minimum a valid USCG license as Mate Great Lakes and Inland Any Gross Tons. A valid TWIC is also necessary. 1st Class Pilot is preferred. Applications and Resumes may be directed to:

Lake Michigan Carferry
P.O. Box 708
Ludington, MI 49431
Attn: Human Resources Or fax to 231-843-4558 or email to


Obituary: Captain Dudley J. Paquette

5/18 - Captain Dudley J. Paquette died recently at the Franciscan Home in Crown Point, Indiana. He was born in Marquette, Michigan 88 years ago and went sailing on the Great Lakes when he was 17 years old. Upon receiving his third mate’s license, he joined the Inland Steel fleet and sailed for them until his retirement in April of 1980. He rose through the ranks and became captain of every vessel in the Inland fleet. He brought out the new Joseph L. Block in the mid 1970s and then returned to the Edward L. Ryerson from which he retired. He went on to piloting the saltwater ships the next day. He was captain of the Wilfred Sykes the night that the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost and collaborated on the book, “The Night The Fitz Went Down.”


Updates -  May 18

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Adfines Sea, Emilie, Federal Margaree, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Rhine, Federal Satsuki, Fortunagracht, Harbour Pioneer, Ina, MCT Stockhorn, Orsula, Olza, Pilica, Prosna, Regalica, Sichem Defiance, Songa Peace, Three Rivers, Torrent, and Zealand Delilah.


Lookback #182 – Transpacific stuck on rocks off St. Pierre in Gulf of St. Lawrence on May 18, 1971

5/18 - The West German freighter Transpacific began coming to the Great Lakes in 1959 when the St. Lawrence Seaway was opened. The 398 foot, 4 inch long vessel was launched at Lubeck, West Germany, on May 15, 1954, and was a member of the Poseidon Line.

The ship was a frequent caller on the inland seas and had made 28 inland voyages to the end of 1967 and more in subsequent years.

This ended in May 1971 when Transpacific, outbound from the lakes from Chicago to Europe with a wide variety of cargo, was wrecked. The radar was not working properly so it was decided to put into port at the island of St. Pierre to get a technician to fix the problem. Fog prevailed at the time and the combination of a malfunctioning radar and poor visibility was made for difficult navigation.

Transpacific stranded on the rocks off the island of St. Pierre on May 17, 1971. It became evident 43 years ago today that the vessel could not be salvaged and was a total loss. All on board got off safely and much of the cargo was removed by night.

Since then, the hull has been pounded to pieces and little visible remains of the once familiar former Seaway trader.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  May 17

Thunder Bay, Ont. - John Kuzma
Algoma Equinox finally made her way to Thunder Bay, where she is taking on a load of wheat.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came in late Friday morning with the second load of coal for the season for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
BBC Xingang departed Friday in the morning and made her way north on Lake Michigan for Erie. Wicko arrived during the morning and dropped anchor outside the breakwall to wait for Federal Weser to finish unloading at Terminal 1. Federal Weser was finished unloading and heading out during the early evening hours. Shortly after the Federal Weser departed the Wicko made her way in to Terminal 1 with the help of the G-tug Oklahoma.

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Port Inland, Pere Marquette 41 was expected to arrive during the mid-afternoon on Thursday to load. There were no vessels on the schedule for Friday to load. Both Joseph L. Block and Buffalo are due in on Saturday in the early morning. At Cedarville, the Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive during the late morning on Friday. Wilfred Sykes was also expected to arrive on Friday in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule will be Manitowoc, due in during the late afternoon on Sunday.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Calcite, H. Lee White was loading at the South Dock during the morning on Friday. The next boat due in will be the Arthur M. Anderson on Saturday in the morning for the South Dock. There are no vessels scheduled to load Sunday. For Monday, the John G. Munson is due in the late afternoon/early evening for the South Dock. Joseph H. Thompson rounds out the schedule, arriving on Tuesday in the mid-afternoon for the North Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Stoneport, Great Republic was expected to arrive on Friday in the late morning to load. Following them is the Herbert C. Jackson due in the late afternoon/early evening. Lewis J. Kuber is also on the schedule with no confirmed ETA. There are no vessels scheduled to load on Saturday. Great Republic is due back on Sunday in the early afternoon to load. Rounding out the schedule is the Pathfinder, expected to arrive on Monday during the late afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance were expected to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock in the early afternoon Friday. Amelia Desgagnes is due at the CSX Coal Dock on Monday mid-afternoon and will be pumping water four hours prior to loading. Great Republic is due on Tuesday in the late afternoon and the American Mariner is due on Wednesday in the early afternoon at the CSX #4 dock. Three vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with cargoes of limestone: Michipicoten is due on Memorial Day during the early afternoon; Cuyahoga is due on Monday, June 2 in the early evening; and the Whitefish Bay is due on Thursday, June 12 in the mid-afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn and the A-397 tug-barge were on their way east across Lake Erie and headed for Tonawanda. They should be arriving around noon Saturday


Lookback #181 – Rock Ferry aground in fog off Main Duck Island on May 17, 1916

5/17 - The wooden-hulled Canadian freighter Rock Ferry got lost in the fog on Lake Ontario 98 years ago today and stranded off Main Duck Island. The ship was owned by the Fairhaven Transportation and Coal Co.

Originally a schooner barge, the ship was built at Wyandotte, MI. and completed in 1882 as Merrimac. It was converted to a 251-foot-long, powered bulk freighter in 1884.

Merrimac was part of the Gilchrist fleet from 1898 to 1911 and later served the George Hall Coal Co. of Canada Ltd. and then transferred to the George Hall Coal & Shipping Co. in 1922.

The ship had become Rock Ferry in 1911 and was salvaged and repaired after the May 17, 1916, accident. The vessel put in a few more years of service before being abandoned at Ogdensburg, NY in 1924.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 17

On 17 May 1887, 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.


Coast Guard ends ice breaking operations on the western Great Lakes

5/16 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Coast Guard Sector Sault Sainte Marie concluded domestic ice breaking operations Thursday morning.

Operation Taconite, the nation’s largest ice breaking operation, began December 6, 2013. During the 160 days of the operation, nine U.S. Coast Guard and three Canadian Coast Guard ice breakers spent 5,001 hours assisting 946 commercial vessel transits; 517 of these movements required direct assistance from one or more ice breakers. An additional 5,597 hours of ice breaking established and then maintained tracks through the ice-choked waterways of Georgian Bay, Straits of Mackinac, Green Bay, southern Lake Michigan, St Marys River and across Lake Superior in its entirety. U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard aviators flew 43 sorties in direct support of the ice breaking operation.

An estimated 33 million tons of dry bulk and liquid cargoes, valued at $1.2 billion U.S., were shipped during the 160-day operation. These commodities were crucial to sustaining industrial production and power generation for the Great Lakes region during the winter months.

Statistically, this ice season will be one for the record books. Although official statistics have not been released, it is reported the 2013-14 season produced the thickest and most expansive ice cover the Great Lakes has experienced in 35 years.

In February 2014, the tanker Algocanada’s u bound transit of the St Marys River, escorted by USCGC Katmai Bay, took eight days to complete. Under normal ice conditions, an up bound movement is executed in 12 hours. USCGC Katmai Bay stopped the escort twice to refuel.

In March 2014, the first westbound crossing of the Straits of Mackinac took four days. The crossing featured the Joyce L. Van Enkevort and her barge Great Lakes Trader. The tug is the most powerful tug on the Great Lakes. It was escorted by USCGC Mackinaw, the U.S. Coast Guard’s most powerful ice breaker on the Great Lakes. Under normal conditions the voyage would be completed in 12 hours.

The first eastbound crossing of Lake Superior (Duluth, Minn. to the Soo Locks), facilitated by USCGC Mackinaw, took nine days (26 March-04 April) to complete. Under normal ice conditions, the typical crossing would take 24 hours to complete.

The first load of iron ore (Two Harbors, Minn., to Gary Harbor, Ind.) took 13 days to deliver. This is normally a three-day voyage.



Port Reports -  May 16

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
There was quite a parade of traffic on Wednesday night. The Three Rivers finally finished loading grain at CHS 1 and departed late Wednesday night. Mamry arrived from anchor and went to CHS 1 and began loading her cargo. Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort also arrived and headed to Graymont to discharge limestone. American Mariner and Whitefish Bay both departed late Wednesday night after loading their cargoes. On Thursday, Lakes Contender and her tug Ken Boothe Sr. departed from CN at 8 a.m. The Greek saltie Apollon arrived about a half an hour later and anchored in the inner harbor. After undergoing inspections, she departed for the main harbor anchorage outside of port at 11:30. Finally, Great Lakes Trader departed from CN around 8:30 on Thursday night. For Friday, James R. Barker is expected to arrive in the early morning for CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. Next, Cason J. Callaway is due mid-morning with limestone for Hallett #5. She'll be shifting to CN after unloading. Algoma's newly painted Capt. Henry Jackman is due in the evening with salt for Hallett #8. She will then be loading iron ore at Burlington Northern in Superior. Finally, Paul R. Tregurtha is due to arrive late on Friday evening to load coal at Midwest Energy.

Clayton, NY - Ned Goebricher
Thursday the landing craft Maple Grove of Clayton was in Oswego Harbor to transport New York State DEC fish trucks onto Lake Ontario to stock trout and salmon hatchlings.


Lake Michigan finally thaws after months of record-breaking ice

5/16 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Lake Michigan was ice-free as of Wednesday, May 14, after months of history-breaking coverage, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The lake set a 41-year record with 93.29 percent coverage on March 8, beating the previous record of 93.1 percent in 1977.

"I was quite surprised how much we had this winter and how long it stuck around," said Wayne Hoepner, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

An overabundance of ice significantly delayed the start of Great Lakes' shipping season. If Coast Guard ice-breaking ships were able to forge a path for commercial ships, crews retraced their steps as stiff winds would blow ice back into place soon after. Some officials said cutters had to break down chunks of ice upwards of 8 feet or greater in size.

It's highly unlikely additional ice will form in the weeks ahead, even with an occasional cool snap, Hoepner said. He explained air temperatures need to be about 20 degrees cooler than freezing to have extensive ice formation, and that's not in the forecast.

NOAA reports summertime swimming conditions will be slow to come as the water temperature is averaging in the mid-30s to low-40s across much of the lower basin.

While Lake Michigan is ice-free, Lake Superior continues to lag behind at about 21 percent coverage. A tiny portion of Lake Huron should melt off in the next few days, joining lakes Erie and Ontario as being ice-free as well.

The weather service says about 8.2 percent of the Great Lakes' surface remains frozen.

The Grand Rapids Press


Marine Heritage Days: Sephie sailed from Kincardine Harbor in early 1900s

5/16 - Kincardine, Ont. – The launch of a vessel is an ancient maritime tradition attended with great ceremony. The Dominion Day christening of the schooner Sephie in 1889 was no exception. In fact, it attracted a more-than-usual amount of interest as a special train with 15 “heavily-laden” passenger coaches was routed to Goderich for the occasion.

An estimated 5,000 people crowded Harbour Hill and lined the docks to cheer the launch of the newest addition to the inland sailing fleet.

Sitting proud in her cradle, the Sephie’s three masts were bedecked with colorful flags and pennants awaiting her launch. After a seven-hour delay, due to a false launch and a thunderstorm, Miss Bessie Chilton officially christened the schooner, Sephie, as she “glided over the ways and gracefully took her place on the bosom of the water” as described by “The Huron Signal.”

Named after either Sephie MacLean, the four-year-old daughter of Captain John C. McLean, or Sephie Williams, daughter of Joseph Williams, the schooner was one of 70 vessels built in Goderich Harbour at the Marlton Shipyard between 1848 and 1912.

At 140-feet long, with a 27-foot, six-inch beam, and a draught of 10 feet, six inches, the wooden-hulled Sephie was the longest vessel Marlton had built.

Joseph Williams, a Goderich lumber merchant, and William Marlton, her builder, co-owned the vessel. The superintendent of construction, Peter McPhail, designed her to carry a load of 320,000 feet of lumber or 20,000 bushels.

It was the lumber trade that Sephie was engaged in as she plied Lake Huron between Sarnia and Georgian Bay. Her maiden voyage was to run to Blind River in the North Channel of Lake Huron for a load of lumber. “The Buffalo Evening News” called her a “staunch little ship” that deserved her reputation as “the best schooner along the east cost of Lake Huron.”

Yet it was during the Great Storm of November 1913 that she became a Great Lakes legend. Captain Hugh McKinnon, nicknamed “Hollering Hughie” on account of his booming voice, commanded the Sephie.

“The Port Huron Times-Herald” described him as “one of the old type of mariners,” that is to say, a skilled and experienced seaman.

Although the Toronto Meteorological Office issued a marine bulletin warning that a “storm of unusual severity was sweeping its way across the continent,” without a wireless radio, Captain McKinnon would not have received it.

The Heavy Gale Signals posted along the Great Lakes harbors of refuge on Saturday, Nov. 6, were beyond the sight of the Sephie’s crew.

However, for Captain McKinnon, an experienced seaman, the rapidly-falling barometer, rising lake swells, and stiffening winds provided the warning he needed. Hollering Hughie’s great lungs roared the appropriate commands for the crew to prepare to weather the storm.

As the storm approached, it can be assumed that Captain McKinnon ordered the crew aloft to reef in the topsails and lower the mainsails. He headed the Sephie to the lee of Cape Smith on the far eastern tip of Manitoulin Island to avoid the worst of the strong nor’ west gale.

Finding his wooden-hulled craft rocking violently, Captain McKinnon dragged his anchor and let out the anchor chains to steady the ship. It is not known how many hours the crew struggled to keep the Sephie afloat, but before it could be dashed to pieces against Manitoulin’s rocky shore, Captain McKinnon deliberately sank her near shore.

The crew abandoned ship and headed to the beach in a lifeboat. They were found by a band of Ojibwa Indians who gave them food and shelter until the storm was over.

In the storm’s aftermath, “The Port Huron Times-Herald” reported that Captain Tom Reid of the Reid Wrecking Company, found the Sephie undamaged on the bottom of Cape Smith and confidently reported that she could be pumped out and refloated.

It was a testament to the skill of her captain and crew that she resumed work as a lumber ship that fall. The survival of the Sephie was truly a miracle when one considers the number of larger steam-powered, iron-hulled vessels wrecked in the Great Storm.

Despite the Sephie’s miraculous escape, it was obvious that the age of sail was fast drawing to a close. Even in 1889, “The Signal” recorded the arrival and departures of far more steamers than sailing vessels. In November, 1916, “The Buffalo Evening News” observed that she was “the first schooner to arrive in Buffalo Harbour in a long time under her own canvas.” The Sephie’s trip to Buffalo was her last run as a Great Lakes schooner.

Her last trip must have been bittersweet for Peter McPhail, her construction superintendent, who looked on her with pride at the Sephie’s 1889 launch. He accompanied her for her last voyage on the lakes.

Captain Peter McKinnon, Hollering Hughie’s brother, was her captain (Hollering Hughie had died in 1916). He had been aboard for eight years and weathered the Great Storm with her.

It was a leisurely and nostalgic journey as it took the Sephie over two weeks to make her final lumber run from Blind River to Buffalo.

It may have been at this time that the Sephie’s anchor chains and capstan were brought to Goderich by McPhail. Fittingly, the anchor chains are overlooking the harbor by the lighthouse and Great Storm plaque.

In 1917, the Sephie was either sailed or more likely towed across the Atlantic Ocean where she was re-rigged as a barkentine and spent her last years navigating the Channel Islands. She was scrapped in 1923.

Marine Heritage Days are planned in Kincardine for Aug. 22-24, featuring Walker House Museum exhibits, children’s events and more. The Kincardine News will be featuring articles on past ships and captains who called Kincardine home over the years, as a lead up to the event.

David Yates, The Shoreline Beacon


Badger Boatnerd Gathering reservations due Saturday

5/16 - The 2014 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry’s 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 30, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

On Friday evening, we are working to arrange tours of the Badger’s pilothouse and engine room. This is a rare opportunity to see the original and modern navigation equipment in the pilothouse and take a look out the front window. Below decks you see the coal-fired boilers and pair of Skinner Uniflow steam engines that stand over two-stories tall.

Click here to reserve your spot


Lookback #180 – Robert Hobson hit the seawall at Port Huron on May 16, 1972

5/16 - The current caused by Lake Huron funneling into the St. Clair River at Port Huron has occasionally played havoc with ships. It is sure to be a hazard if a vessel should lose power navigating that stretch of water.

The bulk carrier Robert Hobson, of the Interlake Steamship Co. fleet, received bow damage when it hit lost power and hit the barrier 42-years ago today. The 600 foot long vessel both caused and received damage in the accident.

Robert Hobson had been built at Lorain, Ohio in 1927 and was the last of four sisterships to join the Interlake fleet. It operated into the 1975 season before tying up at Ashtabula, OH. Following a sale to Marine Salvage for scrap, the ship was towed to Port Colborne on August 9, 1975, and laid up at Ramey's Bend.

The ship gained a reprieve with a resale to the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. and returned to service later in the year as their third Outarde. It continued trading through the end of the 1983 season and was laid up at Toronto on Dec. 21. While part of the sale of Q. & O. to Desgagnes Navigation in 1984, the ship never operated on their behalf.

Another sale, once again for scrap, led to Outarde being towed up the Welland Canal on Aug. 16, 1985, en route to a berth in the outer harbor of Port Colborne.

Skip Gillam


Updates -  May 16

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Leon Falk Jr gallery


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.

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.


Lakes stone trade stonewalled by ice in April

5/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – Heavy ice cover on the Lakes significantly slowed the resumption of the limestone trade in April. Stone normally starts moving in earnest in early April, but only one cargo had been loaded by mid-month. The total for the full month - 983,000 tons - represents a decrease of nearly 47 percent compared to a year ago.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 968,000 tons, a decrease of 39 percent compared to a year ago. With only two stone cargos being loaded at Canadian quarries, shipments from Canada plummeted 94 percent.

No stone moved in the first quarter, hence the April float also represents the year-to-date total for the trade and amounts to a decrease of 54 percent compared to the same point in 2013.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  May 15

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
Wednesday John G. Munson departed from CN with iron ore pellets at 2:47 a.m. American Mariner arrived on her first trip of the season at 4:23 a.m. and went to Riverland Ag to load grain. About 45 minutes later, fleetmate American Century arrived and went to Midwest Energy to load coal. Next up was Lakes Contender and her tug Ken Boothe Sr, which arrived at 5:37 a.m. with limestone that was discharged at Graymont. Whitefish Bay came under the lift bridge at 9 a.m. and went to Calumet Fuel Dock to fuel and wait for American Century to finish at Midwest Energy. Lee A. Tregurtha was next, arriving at 11:30 a.m. to load iron ore pellets. Polsteam's Olza finally departed from CHS 2 at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday afternoon, after spending a few days at the dock waiting for weather conditions to improve. American Century departed from Midwest Energy with her coal at 4:15 p.m. Finally, Lee A. Tregurtha departed from CN at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday evening. As of Wednesday night, Mamry was anchored off Duluth waiting for Three Rivers to finish up at CHS 1. American Mariner continued loading at Riverland Ag, and Whitefish Bay was at Midwest Energy. Lakes Contender was at CN, after shifting from Graymont in the evening. Three Rivers was expected to depart from CHS 1 in the evening or later, weather permitting. Mamry, which is due to load grain at CHS 1 after Three Rivers, will arrive depending on the Three Rivers' departure. American Mariner is then expected to depart from Riverland Ag in the late evening or on Thursday, depending on loading. For Thursday, Great Lakes Trader and her tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort are expected to arrive in the early morning with limestone for Graymont. After unloading, the pair will be shifting to CN to load taconite. Lakes Contender is then due to depart from CN in the morning. Finally, the Greek saltie Apollon is expected to arrive sometime for CHS 1 to load grain after Mamry.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 8 a.m. on Wednesday to unload salt from Goderich, Ont. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at Lafarge Wednesday night taking on cement.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River on Tuesday, stopping at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City. The pair remained there Wednesday night with the boom in the cradle and no unloading going on. American Integrity called on the Consumers Energy Dock in Essexville on Wednesday, unloading coal. She backed from the dock during the evening and turned around at Light 12 before heading outbound for the lake.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
The tug Everlast and tank barge Norman McLeod unload fuel oil at the Oswego steam station on Wednesday.


Miller Boat Line ferry Islander in for unscheduled repairs, drydocking and Inspection

5/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – Miller Boat Line, a regular customer of Great Lakes Shipyard, contracted with the shipyard to provide unscheduled work on their ferry Islander. The shipyard hoisted the ferry on Tuesday, May 13, with its Marine Travelift. While out of the water, Miller Boat Line seized the opportunity to complete its five-year US Coast Guard inspections. The shipyard expects to complete all repairs in a two-day turnaround.


Welland Canal passenger ferry sails again

5/15 - Port Robinson, Ont. – As the rainstorm Tuesday subsided, the small passenger ferry Bridge-it was launched into the water of the canal to start another season of ferrying passengers across the Welland Canal.

Two weeks behind schedule, the Port Robinson ferry service is back in operation for the summer.

The ferry was originally scheduled to be launched on May 1, but Thorold’s public works manager, Randy Riva, said it was delayed due to work being done to the pontoon boat’s two 40-horsepower Mercury outboard motors. He said mechanics working on the engines were awaiting the delivery of motor parts from Wisconsin.

Riva said the work was done to ensure the motors run reliably throughout the season, pushing the 20-year-old, custom-made boat across the canal.

The short jaunts to the opposite side of the canal and back are hard on the engines, said Norm Jenkins, one of three ferrymen who operate the service.

“I usually run it up and down the canal a little ways in the mornings, just to get the carbon out of the engines,” he said. “Because of all the short runs, it doesn’t run just right.”

Jenkins said the Bridge-it is one of very few motorized boats still permitted to operate on Welland’s recreational waterway.

It’s launched at the Lincoln St. dock, and sailed up the waterway to the shipping canal, to the ferry dock at the end of Port Robinson Rd.

“We just have to make sure we don’t make any wake or waves,” Jenkins said.

The ferry service has been in place since 1977, implemented as a replacement for the Port Robinson Bridge destroyed nearly 40 years ago when a U.S. ore carrier collided with it on Aug. 25, 1974.

Although it was originally intended for Port Robinson residents allowing to get to the post office and businesses on the east side of the canal, Jenkins said it has become popular with cyclists in recent years. He said about 90% of his passengers are riding bicycles.

The service is paid for with funding from the city, Niagara Region, and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

St. Catharines Standard


Annual global steel oversupply doubles since 2001; profitability threatened

5/15 - Annual global steel oversupply--the amount of steel produced minus how much is bought every year--is now running at over a half-billion dollars a year, twice as much as in 2001, according to a U.S. steel industry-backed reported released Tuesday.

The 62-page report concludes that the industry is facing its "biggest import crisis since 2001" and that high levels of imports are continuing and are a threat to the profitability of U.S. companies like U.S. Steel Corp. and AK Steel Corp. In the first quarter, imports by U.S. companies are up 36% to 10.6 million tons, a trend driven by excess capacity overseas and by a buoyant U.S. market spurred by a resurgent auto industry, and oil and gas drilling.

In response, domestic producers are filing more trade complaints and seeking new import tariffs. Since the beginning of 2013, steelmakers have filed 40 complaints with U.S. trade officials requesting tariffs increases on imports of foreign steel, the biggest spike in such complaints since 2001, when 55 were filed. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of annual complaints filed was below 20. In response to the 2001 filings, the Bush administration applied a range of tariffs. The U.S. industry is seeking a second big round of trade protection.

The report, wrote by the Economic Policy Institute and Stewart and Stewart, a Washington, D.C., law firm, and released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, blames the oversupply problem on China. Since 1980, Chinese steel production has grown to 799 million tons from 37 million tons, and its share of global production has risen to 49% from 5%, while U.S. production has shrunk to 87 million tons from 101 million tons. U.S. steel companies say many of the Chinese exports are transshipped via third countries, such as South Korea.

Robert Scott, one of the report's authors, says the steel industry is facing its "biggest import crisis since 2001, and now the companies are pushing back; they've lost billions of dollars."

A handful of preliminary decisions have already been issued, with some tariffs already being applied. A second wave of rulings is expected this summer, the most closely watched being a decision involving South Korean steel pipes and tubes used in oil and natural gas drilling. South Korea shipped $818 million worth of pipe and tube products to the U.S. in 2013. In an initial ruling, U.S. trade officials refused to impose new tariffs. The South Korean government has said it was pleased with the first decision and "hopes for the same conclusion in the final determination."

Economists say that with so much oversupply in the global market, the only long-term solution is for a number of steel mills to be decommissioned.

Wall Street Journal


Lookback #179 – Niagara II scuttled as diving attraction on May 15, 1999

5/15 - The sandsucker Niagara II had a varied career. It was built at Haverton Hill, England, and came to Canada as the tanker Rideaulite in 1930. The 181 foot long vessel connected Montreal and Ottawa, via the Ottawa River, servicing Imperial Oil depots. The ship also provided some service to other areas and was even used as a bunkering ship.

In 1942, the captain of the Rideaulite spotted the first German U-boat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the submarine was soon causing havoc among commercial carriers.

Imperial Oil changed the name to Imperial Lachine in 1947 and operated the tanker on short hauls. It was laid up at Halifax as pipelines were taking over the ship's duties.

A second career began in 1954 when the vessel was rebuilt at Toronto as the sandsucker Niagara. It usually operated on Lake Ontario and had several owners over the years. The name was changed to W.M. Edington in 1969 and to Niagara II in 1984.

After an accident off Niagara-on-the-Lake in April 1990, the Niagara II was re-classed as a barge and towed by a tug. It was first laid up at Hamilton and then Port Maitland prior to being sold to the Tobermory Maritime Association in April 1998. After a careful clean up, the vessel was sunk as a diving attraction off the northern part of the Bruce Peninsula 15 years ago today.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 15

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the  Leon Falk Jr. Gallery.


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, Mich., 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.


Algoma Central Corporation accepts new Algoma Harvester

5/14 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Algoma Central Corporation announce Tuesday that it has taken delivery of the second of eight new Equinox-class lake bulk carriers from Nantong Mingde shipyard in China. The ship, named Algoma Harvester, is being prepared for the long voyage to Canada and is expected to leave China shortly.

When it arrives in Canada this summer, Algoma Harvester will join its sister ship, the Algoma Equinox, as part of Algoma's 32-vessel Canadian-flagged Great Lakes fleet. The 2014 shipping season is off to a late start following the very harsh winter weather and record ice conditions on the Great Lakes. The addition of Algoma Harvester will provide much needed capacity to help meet the needs of Canadian grain farmers to get last year's record crop to market.

"We are looking forward to the Algoma Harvester's arrival in Canada this summer," said Greg Wight, Algoma President and CEO. "We continue to be pleased with our decision to develop an innovative and advanced vessel and our commitment to sustainability is evident in the performance we are achieving from the Equinox Class vessels."

Andy Torrence


Port Reports -  May 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore Tuesday evening at LS&I.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Federal Weser arrived Tuesday morning and was assisted into Terminal #1 by G-tug Oklahoma. The G.L. Ostrander and Integrity departed during the day Tuesday and made their way south for Chicago. The USCGC Alder also came in and made its way over to the Coast Guard station.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Algoma Olympic completed discharging its cargo of salt midnight Monday and sailed at 1 a.m. Tuesday. Two hours later the Algowood arrived with another load of salt.


Ice didn’t loosen stranglehold on U.S.-Flag lakers in April

5/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved only 3.8 million tons of cargo in April, a decrease of nearly 50 percent compared to a year ago. Heavy ice, especially on Lake Superior, slowed transits to not much more than crawl at times. In fact, the ice on Lake Superior was so challenging that it was not until May 2 that the U.S. Coast Guard stopping convoying vessels and allowed lakers to operate on those waters without escort.

Iron ore cargos totaled less than 2 million tons in April, a decrease of 52 percent compared to a year ago. With all but one of the U.S. iron ore loading ports located on Lake Superior, ice was again the reason for the plunge in shipments.

Coal shipments in U.S.-flag lakers totaled just 630,000 tons in April, a decrease of nearly 60 percent compared to a year ago. Again, the biggest drop came in loadings at a Lake Superior port.

Limestone cargos totaled 875,000 tons, a decrease of 36 percent compared to a year ago. While no stone originates on Lake Superior, the trade was still impacted by the ice as some of the lower horsepower vessels that serve stone quarries delayed their sailings rather than become beset in ice on the lower Lakes.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag carriage stands at 6.9 million tons, a decrease of 45 percent compared to the same point in 2013. Iron ore cargos are down 46 percent. Coal shipments are off by 41 percent, and loadings of limestone are 47 percent behind last years pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Inland Seas needs Facebook votes to set sail with $25,000 grant

5/14 - Suttons Bay, Mich. – A group that teaches people about the Great Lakes from aboard a schooner is vying for $25,000 to provide scholarships and scientific equipment to further its work. The deciding factor? Facebook votes.

Based out of Suttons Bay, Mich., the Inland Seas Education Association develops stewards and next generation scientists of the Great Lakes by setting sail with students on a traditionally rigged schooner to engage the community’s interest in the Great Lakes.

To further that mission, it is going after a grant program started in 2012 by the State Farm insurance company. The State Farm Neighborhood Assist is an annual competition that gives away $1 million in $25,000 increments.

“The grant funds would be put into our scholarship fund so that schools who cannot pay for a trip would have a portion of their Schoolship trip paid for,” said Sally Somsel, a longtime Inland Seas Education association volunteer who wrote the proposal.

The money would also help replace broken thermometers, damaged plankton nets, testing chemicals and for other technology upgrades.

“If we want to inspire next generation Great Lakes scientists, they need to see the next generation of scientific instruments and tools,” said Fred Sitkins, Inland Seas executive director. “We want to make sure that’s where we’re investing our money this year, as equipping ourselves to be ready for those next 25 years, to demonstrate to students what they’re going to experience when they enter the science field.”

On Friday the Facebook voting round closes. The top 40 organizations with the most votes will receive a $25,000 grant. To vote for the Inland Seas Education Association, follow the link here. Each person is allowed to vote up to ten times a day. The group has yet to break into the top 40.

Organizations from across the United States and Canada submit applications to compete for the money. During the first round of the competition, the top 200 are picked by the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.

The applicants in competition for the grant have a wide variety of causes. However, they all fall into one of three main categories: community development, education and safety. At the competition’s close, the 40 organizations with the most votes will each receive a $25,000 grant.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the grant would help Inland Seas look toward the next 25 years.

“We’ve now taught 100,000 students on board which is an incredible milestone,” Sitkins said. “And we’ve been doing it a long time and we’ve built up an incredible support base.”

And it’s that support base of employees and volunteers Inland Seas wants to honor this year.

“They’ve helped to create an incredible organization that’s made a huge difference already,” said Sitkins. “And then hoping to instill the fact that we’re looking forward to the next 25 years and surpassing the 200,000 student mark is kind of our next goal.”

But the hopes of Inland Seas go beyond just boosting numbers.

“If we’re able to inspire kids to be scientists, hopefully they will also be so inspired with the Great Lakes that they’ll be scientists with the mission of protecting the Great Lakes themselves. So we would hopefully be caring that mission on for generations to come,” said Sitkins.

Great Lakes Echo


Lake Superior could have ice linger into June

5/14 - Many lakes across northeastern Minnesota still have plenty of ice on them, and that includes the largest of the Great Lakes. At the end of the weekend, Superior was still more than 23% ice covered.

By this time in most years, the ice is long gone. But in 1979, the ice was still around just like this year. Current forecasts show a pretty rapid melt in ice over the next few days with remaining ice cover getting sliced in half by the weekend, but these ice forecasts are still in their infancy with a lot yet to learn about how weather, currents, and water temps play into ice formation. Regardless of current forecasts, it would not shock me if there are at least small pieces of ice still left here and there by the time we get to June.

Fox 9


Marine museum celebrates seasonal opening of vessels May 17-18

5/14 - Oswego, N.Y. – The H. Lee White Marine Museum is gearing up for a season full of events, new exhibits and even the first Lake Ontario CNY Lighthouse Challenge. The museum will open its vessels on May 17 in celebration of the new season.

There will be free admission to explore the museum as well as tour the historic vessels, the LT-5 and Derrick Boat 8. The H. Lee White Marine Museum is located at Oswego’s West First Street Pier.

“This year the maritime museum is celebrating two special events, the 80th anniversary of the Oswego Lighthouse and the 70th anniversary of D-Day with several programs featuring these topics,” said Mercedes Niess, executive director. “These reflect important aspect of our area’s history and we hope visitors will enjoy the experience.”

In conjunction with the opening of the vessels on May 17, the museum will also feature a new exhibit by Don Gillespie, a local maritime artist.

The exhibit called “Kindred Spirits, and other relative mysteries” celebrates Oswego’s rich art heritage and will feature original paintings by James G. Tyler, born in Oswego in 1855 who became one of the most notable marine artists of his time, and Charles H. Grant, born in 1886 who studied under the great M.F.H. De Haas at the National Academy in New York.

Gillespie will also display his version of “At the Mercy of Neptune” as well as other marine paintings. He said his hope with this exhibit is to help educate Oswegonians about this rich art heritage and possibly help shed light upon a couple mysteries including what may have happened to W. R. Shayes, who is his great-grandfather.

Museum events later in the summer include a D-Day remembrance celebration on June 7. The D-Day remembrance will honor the 70th anniversary by having programs throughout the day including history lectures, WWII re-enactments as well as a new exhibit illustrating the crucial role that supply ships, like the LT-5, played in the Normandy Invasion.

June 21 and 22 mark the first ever Lake Ontario CNY Lighthouse Challenge. This event lets participants explore the lighthouses of Central New York while celebrating the 80th anniversary of Oswego’s lighthouse.

Participants start their journey at the museum on June 21 and begin touring participating lighthouses along the Coast and Seaway Trail collecting souvenirs along the way.

For more information on the opening of the vessels as well as a complete list of summer events including Kids Pirate Day and Tales of the Haunted Harbor, visit or call (315) 342-0480.

Oswego County Today


First in maritime: Sturgeon Bay proclaimed Coast Guard City

5/14 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Trumpets tooted, cannons saluted and the air was filled with applause in Sawyer Park Saturday as Sturgeon Bay celebrated its designation as a Coast Guard City — the first and only one in Wisconsin. An official act of Congress named Sturgeon Bay the country’s 15th of 16 Coast Guard City on Jan. 23.

The celebration at Sawyer Park included a host of dignitaries, including Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, and Coast Guard Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, who presented Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham with the proclamation.

Kleefisch said the Coast Guard’s ties with Sturgeon Bay are strong.

“It goes back 140 years,” she said. “When you think about buoys going out in 1881 to make sure people are protected, it was not only for recreation but for economic development.”

That long heritage has three Coast Guard stations now serving in Sturgeon Bay — the lifesaving station at the canal called Station Sturgeon Bay, the ice breaking cutter the Mobile Bay at Sawyer Park on the city’s west side, and the Marine Safety Detachment station on 15th Street across from the high school. The Safety Detachment does safety inspections for vessels and port facilities and responds to environmental hazards.

Those three stations in one city accomplish almost every mission of the Coast Guard, Midgette said as he addressed a crowd that included personnel from all three stations. He called Sturgeon Bay a “priceless gift for those away from home” and a “real gem” for Coast Guard families whose service requires them to move roughly every three years.

“For those of us who live this nomadic lifestyle, you are respected and loved,” he told the gathering.

Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham thanked several people who started the grass-roots effort to form a steering committee to improve the city’s relationship with the Coast Guard, which ultimately led to the award. And he made two new declarations for the city of Sturgeon Bay — marking July 9 “John Stone Day” and Sept. 1 “Wayne Spritka Day.”

Stone, the commander of the Mobile Bay, will leave his command July 9 as he is being transferred to Washington, D.C. Spritka, the commander of the canal station, is retiring from his lifelong Coast Guard career but plans to continue to live in Sturgeon Bay. Both commanders were presented with plaques in honor of their service.

U.S. Rep Reid Ribble said he talks with many veterans and knows many plan to call Sturgeon Bay home when they retire after serving in the Coast Guard on the Great Lakes. He also highlighted how important the city is to the state of Wisconsin and to national security, not only for commerce and tourism but as a guardian to the largest inland freshwater body of water.

He downplayed his part in helping to pass the designation through Congress but complimented the people of Sturgeon Bay for welcoming those stationed here in protecting the country’s vital water resource.

“This is not about government, but about how the people of this Coast Guard City have embraced them here in Sturgeon Bay, educated their children, supported them in retirement and made them part of Sturgeon Bay,” he said.

Door County Advocate


Lookback #178 – Malinska aground in Lake Ontario on May 14, 1991

5/14 - The Yugoslavian bulk carrier Malinska stranded off Main Duck Island, while outbound with a cargo of steel coils, 23 years ago today. The 730-foot-long vessel was only four years old at the time of the accident. After being lightered and refloated, Malinska was sent to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

This vessel was built by R.O. Brodogradiliste at Rijeka, Yugoslavia. It was delivered in May 1987 and spent different amounts of time on charter to Fednav and to Misener.

With changes overseas, Malinska was re-registered in Malta as part of the Croatia Line in 1992 and traded regularly through the Seaway and into the Great Lakes. The ship joined Viken Shipping A.S. of Norway in 1997 as Daviken and continued Great Lakes service. It again had a cargo of steel on board when it grounded in Lake St. Clair after losing power on Oct. 21, 2000. Four tugs were needed to pull the ship free.

Daviken made a total of 33 voyages into the Great Lakes before it was sold to the Algoma Central Corp. in March 2008. Renamed Algoma Discovery, the vessel remains capable of deep sea trading but spends most of its time now in the grain and iron ore trades between Lake Superior and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 14

News Photo Gallery


Reserve now for the Boatnerd Gatherings

5/14 - The 2014 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry’s 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 30, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot

Arrangements have been made for the annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River, on June 27 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.


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 – 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.


Port Reports -  May 13

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
Duluth just might have set another saltie record, but this time, it's not for the first saltie. It's for the number of salties arriving in a row. So far, since last Wednesday, when Duluth saw its first foreign-flagged ship, at least one oceangoing vessel has transited the Duluth Ship Canal per day. So far, that's five days in a row, and possibly six. Polsteam's new bulker Olza, on her first trip to Duluth, was expected to depart Duluth from CHS 2 late Monday evening. However, she may have loading delays due to weather conditions that prevent her from departing until Tuesday. Three Rivers continues loading at CHS 1, and should be finishing up to depart on Tuesday or later, weather permitting. Also due on Tuesday is the James R. Barker, due in the early morning for coal. John G. Munson is also due in the early morning with limestone for Hallett #8. After unloading, she will shift to CN, Duluth to load taconite. Lakes Contender and her tug Ken Boothe Sr. are expected to arrive Duluth in the evening with limestone for Graymont. She will also be loading taconite at CN after discharging.

Thunder Bay, Ont. - John Kuzma
Ships loading in Thunder Bay on Monday, the Federal Shimanto at Viterra A, the Fedreal Yukina at Current River and the Ojibway at Richardson.

St. Marys River
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was working Monday to remove the winter ice boom at Mission Point.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
BBC Xingang arrived on a dreary Monday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Defiance-Ashtabula were unloading a cargo of stone at the Gateway Metroport Main Dock in Lackawanna Monday.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Monday morning Stephen B. Roman did a test docking at the new Essroc cement unloading/storage facility located at the east end of the ship channel. The Roman cleared the east gap outbound a noon. At 1 pm, Algoma Olympic arrived with a cargo of salt for Cargill. Severe wear and tear caused by operating in heavy ice this winter has put the ferry Ongiara back into Toronto Drydock for repairs. One of its propellers was dinged by ice.


USCG cutter Biscayne Bay hauled out at Great Lakes Shipyard

5/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has hauled out the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Biscayne Bay using its 770-ton capacity Travelift. The repair contract that started on May 7 includes drydocking and routine maintenance.

This is the second of the USCG’s six Great Lakes 140-foot Bay-class icebreaking tugs to be drydocked using Great Lakes Shipyard’s new Marine Travelift. The shipyard’s Travelift has also been used to lift one of the 150-foot buoy barges pushed by the Bay-class tugs, and the USCGC Buckthorn, stationed in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. 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 Biscayne Bay is to be completed by late July.


Severstal puts North American steel operations up for sale

5/13 - Russian steelmaker Severstal has put its North American operations on the auction block, according to people familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal reported on its website.

Officials at Severstal were not immediately available for comment Sunday afternoon.

Severstal's North American operations, comprised of two steel plants in Michigan and Mississippi, could fetch $1.5 billion or more, some of the people said, the paper reported in an article dated on Friday. The Michigan plant is served by Great Lakes vessels.

Severstal, Russia's second largest steelmaker, has fielded interest from at least two potential buyers, some of the people said, citing United States Steel Corp and Brazil's Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA, according to the article.

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel is said to be most interested in Severstal's mill in Dearborn, Michigan. The plant services U.S. automakers in Detroit with long coils of sheet steel, the essential building blocks of cars and trucks, and is near a U.S. Steel facility, the paper said.



Lookback #177 – Calgarian aground on May 13, 1933

5/13 - The Canada Steamship Lines package freight carrier Calgarian ran aground in Lake Ontario 81 years ago today. The canal-sized steamship was bound for Montreal with a variety of general cargo and some automobiles on deck when it stranded off Salmon Point.

The 257-foot-long ship was refloated on May 15, put in another 26-years of trading before being laid up and then sold for scrap.

The vessel was built at Dundee, Scotland, in 1905 and came to Canada in ballast that fall as Glenellah. The ship had several owners before becoming one of the original members of the C.S.L. fleet in 1913.

During World War One, Glenellah saw some saltwater service. Other company running mates were not successful and became casualties of weather or enemy action. Glenellah survived the conflict and returned safely to the Great Lakes. The name was changed to Calgarian in 1926.

This was the last upbound traveler of the final year of the St. Lawrence Canals in 1958. It served as the company “spare boat” in 1959 before being laid up for good at Kingston.

Following a sale to the Steel Company of Canada, Calgarian arrived at Hamilton, under tow of the Helen M. McAllister on Sept. 12, 1960, and was broken up in the months ahead.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 13

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 13

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

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

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

Delivered May 13, 1943, 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.


Lakes’ Ice Halves Ore Trade in April

5/12 ­ Heavy ice formations on the Great Lakes continued to slash iron ore shipments in April. Shipments totaled only 2.7 million tons, a decrease of 52 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings slumped even more – 53.3 percent – when compared to the month’s long-term average.

Lake Superior’s ice was so challenging that the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards had to convoy freighters the entire month. In fact, it was not until May 2 that the U.S. Coast Guard allowed vessels to proceed across Lake Superior unescorted.

The ice field off Marquette, Michigan, barred lakers from loading at the port until April 13.

Another ice-related factor in the decrease was the inability of downbound freighters to transit the Rock Cut, a stretch of the St. Marys River just below the Soo Locks. The Rock Cut was clogged with ice, so vessels had to use the upbound track and this reduced their loaded draft. As a result, even the largest iron ore cargo loaded on Lake Superior in April was less than 60,000 tons. If the largest vessels had been able to transit the Rock Cut, loads would have been 65,000 tons or more.

Through April, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 6.2 million tons, a decrease of nearly 43 percent compared to both a year ago and the long-term average for the January-April timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association


First saltie at Duluth needed help through the ice

5/12 - Duluth, Minn. – A ship built for the ocean, coming from Brazil, was no match for icy Lake Superior this week. And so it was for the Diana, the celebrated first saltie in Duluth for the season that was rudely welcomed late Wednesday by ice just outside of the shipping canal that rendered it stuck twice.

Things were warmer at the CHS grain elevator Thursday afternoon, where the Diana was being loaded with 11,550 metric tons of wheat. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority conducted its official welcoming party for an overwhelmed Capt. Gheorghe Panait.

“This is not for me,” the Romania native said of all the fanfare for being the first saltie in port. He said he didn’t expect to speak and hadn’t brushed up on his English.

“You’ve now entered the history books,” said port authority spokeswoman Adele Yorde.

The Diana is the latest of the first ocean-going ships since they began plying the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959. Last year was another record year when the earliest saltie came in on March 30.

The captain was laden with gifts of books, coffee, mugs and other items reflecting the Twin Ports.

“I’m honored,” Panait said.

While this was the captain’s first trip in the Great Lakes, he’s no stranger to ice.

“The ice is soft, but we aren’t an ice class ship,” he said. He’s seen much more difficult ice in running ships in Finland and Sweden for five years. But the soupy ice just outside of the Duluth harbor squeezed in on the ship Wednesday night. Icebreakers, tugs and a 1,000-foot laker were required for moving ice around and getting the ship into port.

The delays for the 16-crew Diana began with the iced-over seaway, as the ship had to sit and wait on Lake Huron for things to open up. Then there was a backlog of ships through the Soo Locks and more waiting in Superior’s Whitefish Bay for an icebreaker escort across the lake. The final delay occurred Tuesday at Isle Royale. It was mostly clear sailing until seven miles out of Duluth, Panait said. At 7 p.m., the ice started. Five miles into it and two miles from the canal, the Diana got socked in.

Despite all those headaches, Panait was delighted to be in port and looking forward to a voyage of just more than two weeks to Algeria.

“It’s a very nice route,” he said of the seaway. “It’s interesting.”

Gene Shaw from Visit Duluth said the winner of the “First Ship Contest” guessed that the first saltie would come in during the afternoon on May 7. Shaw said a woman from Erie, Pa., made her guess on Feb. 27 and chose the date because it is her daughter’s birthday. Shaw said he suspects she took a look at Lake Erie and knew there wouldn’t be a saltie coming by any time soon.

The Rev. Tom Anderson of the Twin Ports Ministry to Seafarers also presented gifts to the captain. Some of them included Easter cards made by area schoolchildren. Easter was on April 20. A chagrinned Anderson said that was indicative of how late the first ship came in.

“We’ve been waiting for you quite a while,” he said.

Duluth News-Tribune


Duluth's saltie parade continues

5/12 - Saltie traffic in Duluth hasn't stopped since Duluth's first saltie, Diana, arrived on Wednesday night. Here is a short recap of Duluth's saltie traffic so far.

First off was the Antigua/Barbuda-flagged Diana. The ship arrived Duluth at 23:45 on Wednesday, May 7. Zealand Delilah was next, arriving at 03:20 a.m. on Friday. Diana departed with her grain cargo a few minutes later. Three Rivers became the third saltie of the season when she arrived at 20:55 on Friday night. Zealand Delilah departed later that night at 23:30. All the salties that have visited Duluth so far this season have come to load grain.

On Saturday, the 488 foot Polish flagged Orla entered port at 13:05, also for grain. And, finally, her new fleetmate Olza arrived at 08:25 on Mother's Day. Olza went into the inner harbor anchorage to wait for the Orla to finish up at CHS 2. Three Rivers remains at CHS 1 loading. But the saltie parade isn't over yet. Mamry, Apollon, Iryda, and Alert are all due to arrive throughout the coming week.

For regular ship traffic, Saturday was a busy day. American Integrity arrived at 10 a.m. to load coal at Midwest Energy. She was followed in by fleetmate American Courage, which discharged limestone at Graymont. Orla was next, arriving at 13:05 for CHS 1. Interlake's Paul R. Tregurtha arrived next, entering port at 14:55. Tregurtha went to Calumet Fuel Dock to fuel and wait for the American Integrity to finish up at Midwest Energy. American Courage departed at 17:55 after unloading, destined for Silver Bay and a cargo of taconite. Fleetmate American Integrity departed at 20:50 Saturday night. On Sunday, the Olza was the first arrival of the day, arriving at 08:25 a.m. Paul R. Tregurtha departed next, leaving port at 12:03 with her coal. Finally, CSL's new Baie Comeau arrived port at 18:15 and went to CN, Duluth, for a load of iron ore.

Orla was due to depart from CHS 2 on Sunday evening. For Monday, Baie Comeau is due to depart from CN in the early morning. CSL's Atlantic Erie is expected to arrive late morning for Midwest Energy. Lakes Contender/Ken Boothe, Sr. is next, due to arrive in the early afternoon for CN, Duluth. Three Rivers is due to depart from CHS 1 in the evening, or later.

Daniel Lindner


Port Reports -  May 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, H. Lee White unloaded coal. The Lower Harbor remains filled with ice.

Ludington, Mich. - Shawn P. Keith
S.S. Badger has steam up for the 2014 sailing season.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday morning the U.S. Coast Guard vessel Alder was in the bay, possibly checking navigation buoys. Friday afternoon the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Limnos was out in the bay for a period of time. Early Sunday morning the Buffalo tied up in the river to unload coal for the Decorative Panels International plant. The Buffalo departed around 6:30 a.m., on a pleasant morning. Also in port Sunday was the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity which loaded cement at Lafarge, followed by fleetmate Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation which arrived later in the evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber returned to the Saginaw River early Sunday morning carrying a split cargo. The pair dropped a partial unload at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber were outbound for the lake later in the morning. The last commercial delivery to the Saginaw River was nine days ago. So far this season, of the four commercial deliveries, the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber have delivered three.

Lorain, Ohio
Mississagi departed Lorain around 7:30 Sunday morning heading east. They had arrived at 1:40 a.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River departed Buffalo for Bath, Ont., at noon Sunday. She was by Point Abino at 1 p.m., headed for the Welland Canal.

St. Lawrence River
The first of two new Desgagnes tankers, Laurentia Desgagnes, was upbound in the St. Lawrence River Saturday night toward Montreal.


Forecasting the future of Michigan's great lakes

5/12 - For more than 14 years, lakeshore owners, boat owners, commercial shipping and local businesses have struggled with exceptionally low water levels on the Great Lakes. Following relatively high lake levels into the late ‘90s, the decline was abrupt and significant.

It began with the weather phenomenon known as El Nino during the winter of 1997-98. The upwelling of very warm water in the eastern Pacific resulted in a mild, snowless winter across the Great Lakes. That was immediately followed by a hot, dry summer in 1998.

Evaporation is the most important meteorological factor when it comes to the decline of water levels on a seasonal basis.

After several years of low water, we had another extremely warm year in 2012, and lake levels finally bottomed-out at record low levels in January of 2013.

Since then, the Great Lakes have rebounded very quickly. First, it was heavy rains across the region last spring that resulted in flooding over many parts of our area. All of that water eventually made its way into the lakes. Following that, we experienced a bitterly cold winter with record snowfall, which we are still trying to shake.

In fact, heading into May, Lake Superior had nearly 50 percent ice coverage, while Lake Huron had 10 to 20 percent coverage. Both are records. Of course, in order to have ice, water temperatures have to be cold, and right now, the water temperatures of the Great Lakes are colder than they have ever been this late in the season.

Data just released Monday by the Army Corp of Engineers shows that the level on Lake Huron has risen more than 20 inches in the last 15 months, and for the first time in 15 years, Lake Superior is above its long-term average.

With the rains we have already experienced this spring, and with the current cold water temperatures on the Lakes, the six month forecast for lake levels is good, too. The Corp expects Lake Huron to reach its long-term average level.

When it comes to a long-term forecast, you can expect more ups and downs.

While the forecast for rising lakes levels does look pretty good right now, it does appear that a new El Nino event may be brewing for next winter.

ABC 12


"Know Your Ships" author to speak Monday in Mackinaw City

5/12 - Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of the Great Lakes and Seaway shipping field guide "Know Your Ships," will speak about the history of the book and describe the process of putting the annual book together Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mackinaw City Library, 528 W Central Ave. There is no admission. Books will be available for purchase and signing.


Lookback #176 Photinia stranded as a total loss off Milwaukee on May 12, 1978

5/12 - Rough seas off Milwaukee battered the British freighter Photinia 36 years ago today and the 17-year-old freighter was blown aground. All on board were rescued but, on May 15, 1978, Photinia was declared a total loss due to the estimated $2.8 million in damage to the hull.

It took six tugs to pull the 480-footer from her perch on July 7 and Photinia was towed to Sturgeon Bay where machinery was removed and eventually auctioned off. In December 1978, the vessel was towed to Chicago and suffered fire damage to the superstructure in September 1979. Next stop was Kewaunee, Wis., and Photinia arrived there in mid-November 1979. Scrapping began at that location in January 1981.

The British built freighter had served the Stag Line and operated briefly in 1961 before being fitted as a cable-laying ship for work between the North and South Islands of New Zealand. This equipment was briefly removed in 1962 and then restored for to more cable work in the South Pacific as well as the Caribbean.

Photinia began Seaway trading in 1966 and was back on occasion in the intervening years, save for another cable trip to New Zealand to correct a fault in the original cable in 1976. Its subsequent return to the Great Lakes had an unfortunate ending.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 12

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Adfines Sea, Federal St. Laurent, Flintersky, Iryda, Jo Spirit, Pilica, and Victoriaborg.


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.


Sunken tug raised

5/11 - Chicago — Coast Guard personnel and salvage and cleanup crews completed the salvage of the towing vessel Kimberly Selvick from near Burnham Park on the shores of Lake Michigan, Saturday, and it has been towed to Calumet River Slip.

The Kimberly Selvick became partially submerged Monday afternoon after it took on water trying to retrieve two barges that broke free during a tow.

The salvage company removed petroleum products from the vessel in a process known as lightering, Friday afternoon. Crews lightered the Kimberly Selvick’s forward fuel tank of 9,700 gallons of fuel.

Salvage crews also pumped the aft fuel tank dry Saturday morning, removing 3,900 gallons of fuel for a total of 13,700 gallons of fuel removed from the submerged vessel.

At about 12:30 p.m., the vessel was floating and was secured to the crane barge on scene. The barge was shifted out to deeper water and divers entered the water to complete the hull assessment. The assessment revealed that the keel was split in two locations in the engine room area.

Salvage crews shingled the keel of the vessel and pumped the engine room free of water. They moved the barge and vessel through the Calumet River and moored at the Calumet River Slip, where it will remain until it can enter the drydock, Wednesday, for repairs.

The vessel will be monitored at all times until it is removed from the water.


Port Reports -  May 11

Straits of Mackinac - Robert Bemben
Friday morning, the Stewart J Cort, upbound on Lake Michigan for Superior, was the first large ship to venture up Grays Reef Passage. Other vessels have been avoiding the ice that has persisted on this shorter route between Manitou Passage and Grays Reef Passage. The field of very thick lake ice between Beaver Island, the Manitou Islands and Good Hart refused to budge this past week.

By Saturday, the ice was breaking up significantly with around 50 percent ice concentration between Beaver Island and the Manitou Islands. Strong South and South West winds Friday night and Saturday will continue to work on this last ice field on northern Lake Michigan.

Late Saturday afternoon, the upbound Wilfred Sykes passed through this ice on its way to Grays Reef Passage. But on Saturday night, several ships coming from Lake Superior (Walter J. McCarthy Jr., John G. Munson, Hon. James L. Oberstar) headed for Lansing Shoal on their way to Indiana, bypassing Grays Reef.

The USCG buoy tender Buckthorn has been stationed in the Straits for several days, and on Saturday morning it was moored on Mackinac Island. Saturday afternoon it was working near Hessel in the Les Cheneaux Islands, presumably setting buoys. The CG cutter Alder is also in the Straits area and is also likely setting aids to navigation, since the ice here is now history.

Muskegon, Mich. - Mark Taylor
Muskegon's first thousand-foot vessel, the James R. Barker, arrived at the BC Cobb power plant with a load of coal. The Algoway arrived in the evening with a load of salt at Verplank.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Chris Gaziano
The Algoway came in mid-morning with a partial load of salt for the inner harbor. They were finished up and heading east across the lake for Muskegon by early afternoon. The Prentiss Brown with St. Marys Conquest also departed in the morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River arrived about 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening for Lafarge Cement.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Ryba Marine's tug Kathy Lynn arrived in Rochester Friday night with three barges to dredge the river and harbor for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Evans McKeil with Essroc's barge Metis departed Rochester Saturday afternoon after unloading a cargo of bulk cement. They were bound for Toronto.


Lookback #175 Keybar grounded above Soo Locks May 11, 1934

5/11 - While designed for trading through the old St. Lawrence and Third Welland Canals, Keybar also traveled throughout the Great Lakes region in the grain, coal and pulpwood trades.

The 261 foot long bulk carrier was built at South Bank-on-Tees, England, and launched on March 19, 1923, for Keystone Transports Ltd. It sailed to Canada and put in 11 seasons of service before going aground 80 years ago today.

Keybar had a cargo of grain, in all likelihood loaded at the Canadian Lakehead, when it stranded above the Canadian Lock at Sault Ste. Marie. The ship had to be lightered before it could be pulled free and was stuck for 12 hours. After proceeding to Montreal to unload, the vessel went for repairs that cost a reported $9,893.00.

Keybar had an unusual cargo in the fall of 1948. The ship took on 500 head of livestock that included cattle, horses and pigs, in crates, and delivered them from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to St. John's, Newfoundland. During the three day voyage the crew had to feed and water the animals that were stored in the holds. These sailors were likely thankful that this did not become a regular run.

The end of service came after the 1961 season when Keybar was tied up at Kingston. Ownership moved to the Hall Corporation in 1962 but the vessel never operated on their behalf. The only trip was a tow to Port Dalhousie and the ship arrived for scrapping by A. Newman & Co. on June 1, 1963.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 11

News Photo Gallery delayed until tomorrow


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.


Tug grounded off Wolfe Island

5/10 - Wolfe Island, Ontario — A tugboat towing two empty barges ran aground near the east end of Wolfe Island about 6:40 a.m. Thursday.

St. Lawrence Seaway officials said no fuel leaks have been reported but approximately three gallons of hydraulic fluid from tugboat Echo II’s rudder area leaked into the river.

The tug is owned by the Quebec-based marine services company Ocean Group.

Andrew Bogora, a spokesman for the Canadian Seaway Management Corp., said nobody was injured and that the grounding off “Quebec Head” of the island does not pose a threat to the environment.

The grounded boat will not interrupt navigation along the shipping channel, he said.

U.S. and Canadian authorities are investigating the cause of the grounding and a salvage tug is heading to the scene of the accident.

Watertown Daily Times


Salvage operations begin on grounded tug off Chicago

5/10 - Chicago, Ill. — The Coast Guard continued to oversee salvage efforts of the towing vessel Kimberly Selvick in Lake Michigan off of Burnham Park Friday afternoon.

The Kimberly Selvick began taking on water and became partially submerged while trying to retrieve two barges that broke free during a tow, Monday afternoon.

The tug remains partially submerged. A dive survey of the hull has been completed. While the hull appeares intact, divers were unable to see underneath the vessel due to the position in which it is aground.

The Coast Guard approved the salvage plan and will continue oversight until completion. A crane barge and other equipment are on scene to remove diesel fuel from the vessel, a process known as lightering, to minimize the potential for environmental impact. Once the fuel has been removed from the tanks, the vessel will be dewatered and refloated. The crane barge will be used to stabilize the vessel during lightering and dewatering.

The timeline for refloating and towing the vessel to a repair facility depends upon weather conditions.


Port Reports -  May 10

Duluth, Minn.- Daniel Lindner
The Zealand Delilah, Duluth's second saltie of the season, slipped under the lift bridge at 03:20 on Friday morning and headed for CHS 1 to load grain. Minutes later, the Diana, carrying a full load of grain, departed under the lift bridge bound for Montreal. Three Rivers came into port at 20:55 on Friday night, destined for CHS 1 to load grain after Zealand Delilah. Also, the Orla was in Lake Superior headed for Duluth and a cargo of grain, due to arrive on Saturday. There are also quite a few other salties currently in the Great Lakes with destinations of Duluth, including Olza, Apollon, Mamry, Iryda and Alert.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the harbors in Marquette, Lee A. Tregurtha unloaded stone at the Upper Harbor while fleet mate Kaye E. Barker unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor.


Coast Guard, Royal Canadian Mounted Police conduct first shiprider patrol of 2014

5/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – A Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Mounted Police law enforcement boat crew conducted the first Shiprider patrol of the 2014 Great Lakes boating season, Thursday, in Lake Erie. The Shiprider Program allows U.S. and Canadian maritime law enforcement officers to embark together on joint patrols to integrate operations on and near shared maritime borders.

Law enforcement officers from Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, Michigan and a RCMP officer from Windsor, Ontario, embarked on a Coast Guard 45-foot response boat for the patrol in Lake Erie.

"With years of diplomatic activity on both sides of the northern border leading up to this moment, the Coast Guard and RCMP of the Detroit/Windsor area are advancing operations this year with groundbreaking operational intelligence culled from new radar systems," said Lt. jg Athena Fried, assistant enforcement division officer at Coast Guard Sector Detroit. "This heightened level of bi-national information sharing will permit law enforcement authorities on both sides of the border to better position Shiprider patrols to make cross border interdictions."

During the first full Shiprider season in 2013, the Coast Guard and RCMP conducted 37 patrols for 193 hours underway, conducted 56 boardings and found zero infractions.


Lookback #174 – Alexander Holley passed Detroit en route to the scrapyard on May 10, 1965

5/10 - The whaleback barge Alexander Holley passed Detroit for the final time 49 years ago today. The vessel had been working as a grain storage barge at the Lake Huron community of Goderich when it was sold for scrap. The tug Susan Hindman picked up the ship at the latter location and set out for Port Colborne to join long-time running mate Barge 137 which had made the trip four days earlier. From there, the pair were taken, one at a time, to Hamilton for dismantling by United Metals at their Stratherne Avenue dock.

Alexander Holley was launched at West Superior, WI on Aug. 12, 1896, and joined the Bessemer Steamship Co. It became part of United States Steel, and their Pittsburgh Steamship Co., on their formation in 1901 and remained with the “Steel Trust” until 1926.

The 376 foot long consort barge was almost lost on Sawtooth Shoal after breaking loose in a storm on Sept. 17, 1909. Fortunately the anchors held just before Alexander Holley was about to strand.

The vessel had several owners from 1926 until joining the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1938. It was used in the grain trade, often towed by the John Ericsson, until becoming a storage barge in 1961.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 10

1923 –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, 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.


Finally, Duluth's first saltie arrives

5/9 - At 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, the Antigua/Barbuda-flagged Diana quietly passed under the lift bridge and went to the CHS terminal to load grain. The ship became the first saltie of the season to arrive at Duluth for this season. She also became the latest arrival for the first saltie of the year. The previous latest saltwater ship was Ramon de Larrinaga, which arrived Duluth on May 3, 1959. Zealand Delilah remained anchored off Duluth waiting for a dock. She will load grain at CHS after the Diana. Diana, operated by Ocean Gate Chartering Inc., Montreal, was assisted by The Great Lakes Towing Company’s tug North Dakota. Daniel Lindner


Port Reports -  May 9

Green Bay, Wis. - Jeff Rueckert
Ashtabula will arrive during the early morning Friday with coal for the Fox River Dock. Integrity will arrive in the early morning with cement for Lafarge Terminal. Manitowoc will arrive in the morning with limestone for Graymount Western Lime Dock. Great Republic will arrive later in the day with pet coke for the C.Reiss Coal Terminal.

Lorain, Ohio -
Joseph H. Thompson was inbound to Lorain and headed to dock #3 about 7 p.m. Thursday.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The Polsteam bulker Miedwie is completing unloading out of hold five. At the Sugar Beach dock the icebreaker CCGS Pierre Radisson is making an overnight stop to top up its fresh water tanks. The icebreaker has a severe ding in the aft helicopter flight deck. Last March the Radisson was rear-ended by an overzealous freighter during ice escort duties in the Gulf of St.Lawrence. After a lengthy drydocking the tug Radium Yellowknife is back at work. At 3 pm this afternoon the tug delivered a covered bulk goods barge to Turtle Island Recycling at Marine Terminal 35.


Canadian author Farley Mowat dies; wrote of ships and the sea

5/9 - Ottawa, Ont. – Farley Mowat, one of Canada’s most popular and prolific writers, who became a champion of wildlife and native Canadian rights and a sharp critic of environmental abuse, died on Tuesday in Port Hope, Ont., where he had lived for several years. He was 92.

Two of his books, “The Grey Seas Under” and “The Serpent’s Coil,” detailed the lives and exploits of the tugs of Canada’s Foundation Maritime in the 1940s and 1950s. Other books included "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" and "Never Cry Wolf."

Mowat wrote both novels and nonfiction for half a century, turning out 45 books and selling 17 million copies translated into 52 languages. He wrote with great range, from light, humorous fiction to historical accounts and dark tales of injustice, from children’s stories to tales of exploration, whale hunting and deep-sea salvaging.


Lookback #173 – John P. Reiss backed into docked ship on May 9, 1926

5/9 - The 524 foot long bulk carrier John P. Reiss was backing from the National Harbors Board grain elevator at Port Colborne when it struck the docked A.D. MacBeth 88-years ago today. The latter's stem was damaged and the cost of repairs was reported at $6,815.

John P. Reiss was Hull 377 of the American Shipbuilding Co. yard at Lorain, Ohio, and was completed in 1910. The ship had other scrapes over the years including groundings and ice damage as it traveled from the head of Lake Superior east to the storage elevator at Oswego, New York.

The ship moved from the Reiss fleet to the American Steamship Co in 1969 and operated through 1970 before tying up at Buffalo. Following a sale for scrap, the John P. Reiss was towed overseas and arrived at Castellon, Spain, in tandem with the City of Saginaw 31, on July 19, 1973.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 9

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Beatrix, MCT Breithorn, and Sichem Defiance.


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.


Duluth's first saltie yet to arrive; harbor traffic continues

5/8 - The first saltie of the season expected in Duluth, the Diana of Antigua/Barbuda flag, has not yet arrived. As of 9 pm on Wednesday she, along with Zealand Delilah, were anchored off Duluth. The tug Nels J. was with the vessels, leading to the theory that the ships were experiencing some type of difficulty, possibly ice-related. It is unknown at this time when the vessels will be arriving. At 9 p.m., the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was coming up behind the salties and was expected to arrive around 10 p.m. for the CN dock. For Thursday, the Arthur M. Anderson is expected in the early morning for Hallett #5 to discharge limestone, and John D. Leitch is due in the morning for the CN dock. Hon. James L. Oberstar is also due in the morning to load iron ore pellets. The ship will be blowing a special salute to the lift bridge as she arrives in honor of the late Congressman James L. Oberstar. For the rest of the day, Sam Laud is due in the late morning with limestone, and the Alpena is due to arrive in the early afternoon with cement. Tim S. Dool, which has been unloading cement at Holcim for the past few days, is due to depart sometime, as well. She has been waiting for weather conditions to improve.

Daniel Lindner


Port Reports -  May 8

Houghton, Mich. - Arlyn Arosnon
Late Tuesday afternoon the coast guard cutter Katmai Bay tied up at a Houghton pier to stay overnight.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sam Laud arrived Wednesday afternoon at an ice-filled Upper Harbor to load ore on her first visit of the season.

Manistee, Mich.
Great Republic arrived about 8 a.m. Tuesday and left that evening.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
Two new salties entered the Seaway on Wednesday, MCT Breithorn, seen in Montreal the previous day, and the Beatrix at Beauharnois. Beatrix is the second ship of that name to transit the Seaway. The first one came in 2010 and came back with the name Zealand Beatrix last year.


Coast Guard continues response to grounded tug

5/8 - Chicago, Ill. – The Coast Guard continued its response to the grounded towing vessel Kimberly Selvick in Lake Michigan off of Burnahm Park Wednesday afternoon.

Efforts to salvage the vessel are ongoing and weather conditions are delaying a pre-salvage damage assessment of the vessel and the staging of salvage assets. Until the weather improves, the Coast Guard will continue to work with the responsible party to ensure a salvage plan is prepared and ready for execution.

“Recovering the vessel safely and mitigating potential impacts to the environment are the primary concerns for the planned salvage operation,” said Capt. Jason Neubauer, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Chicago.

The Kimberly Selvick remains partially submerged in shallow water near Burnham Park. Two barges that broke free from the Kimberly Selvick were recovered and towed to Calumet Harbor on Monday night.

During salvage planning discussions with vessel representatives, it was determined that the Kimberly Selvick has up to 14,000 gallons of diesel fuel on board. During the initial response to the incident, the Coast Guard reported that the total diesel fuel quantity was 1,400 gallons. Initial inspections show that all fuel tanks remain intact.

SET Environmental has been contracted by the responsible party to monitor and cleanup any pollution from the Kimberly Selvick. On Tuesday morning, an oil sheen, likely originating from the vessel’s bilge, was visible in the vicinity of the vessel and along a short section of the Burnham Park shoreline. SET Environmental deployed 800 feet of hard boom around the vessel to contain the sheen and is using alternate oil remediation methods. Company personnel will remain on scene around-the-clock until the Kimberly Selvick is successfully salvaged.


Getting ready for the tourist season, Maid of the Mist launches two boats

5/8 - Niagara Falls – Niagara Falls’ most iconic tourist attraction is gearing up for a new season that will be unlike any it’s seen in the past. For the first time in the Maid of the Mist’s history, it will share the falls with another operator.

The Maid of the Mist Corp. launched two 600-passenger boats Tuesday morning from its new $32 million winter dry-dock and maintenance facility in the Niagara Gorge.

The company will provide boat rides under the falls only from the American side of the border, at Niagara Falls State Park, having lost the rights to provide the rides from the Canadian side to Hornblower Niagara Cruises as of this year. The Maid of the Mist has not announced an opening date for the attraction, but an announcement is expected later this week.

This season marks 43 years since the Glynn family bought the company, which was founded in 1892.

It will be the first year the company’s had to face competition from another operator on the Ontario side.

Watching as the second of two 250,000-pound boats was picked up by an 85-foot-high crane and placed in the lower Niagara River, Christopher M. Glynn, the company’s president, said he believes the Maid of the Mist has the reputation and experience to succeed.

“People value the Maid. We see now how much people value the Maid. Not everybody did, but over here it mattered and they did, and we appreciate that we’re here. We’ve done a lot of work … and so we’re glad to be here,” Glynn said. “We think that the opportunity for Niagara Falls, N.Y., is good. We think that it’s turned the corner. It has quite a distance to go yet, but it certainly has turned the corner, and I think there’s tremendous upside in the years ahead.”

The Maid of the Mist has no plans to alter what has been its typical daily schedule, even though its competition across the border has promised to start trips earlier in the morning and run cruises later in the evening than the Mist traditionally has. In addition to its two newly built 700-passenger catamarans, Hornblower will also have a third vessel for private charters and special events that can accommodate up to 149 passengers.

During the peak of the tourist season in the past, the Maid of the Mist offered roughly 22 trips per vessel every day. It expects volume to stay in that neighborhood, Glynn said.

This will also be the first year Maid of the Mist will offer customers the chance to buy tickets online.

Seven of the Maid of the Mist’s eight boat captains stayed with the company as it moved to the American side, bringing a combined experience of 111 years of service and roughly 400,000 combined trips, company representatives said.

The two boats launched Tuesday by the company – the Maid of the Mist VI and the Maid of the Mist VII – were built in 1990 and 1997, respectively.

When it operated on both sides of the border, the company saw about 2.5 million passengers per year, with about 60 percent of trips starting on the Canadian side and 40 percent on the American side.

After losing rights to boat trips on the Canadian side, the Maid of the Mist had to find a new place to store its boats in the winter. After a deal was struck with New York State, the company had to jam a lot of work into a short period of time.

Construction on the winter dry-dock facility – which is where the boats will also be docked nightly and refueled during the tourist season – began last year. Work on the site is largely complete, though renovation of the original power plant elevator and other work will continue at least until mid- to late summer, and possibly into early fall, Glynn said.

Having faced legal battles over historic preservation concerns at the site, where part of the former Schoellkopf Power Station once stood, Glynn said it is “very satisfying” to have reached this point.

“Although we own the company and the stock of the company and the brand name and all of that stuff, we have always run the business as if it was stewardship as much as ownership,” he said. “And I think it’s that outlook that is the reason why we’re still here.”

Buffalo News


Excitement of search for 17th century shipwreck in Lake Michigan yields trove of uncertainty

5/8 - Traverse City, Mich. – Excited shipwreck hunters and scientists assembled in a Lake Michigan fishing village last June, hoping to solve a mystery dating back more than three centuries: the fate of a ship sailed by the 17th century French explorer Rene Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, during a voyage of discovery extending from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.

Team members recovered a nearly 20-foot-long wooden slab with signs of human workmanship jammed into the lakebed, but were disappointed to find no buried wreckage. The timber has been examined by U.S. and French experts and underwent a CT scan and carbon dating to determine its age and whether it once was part of a vessel.

Nearly a year later, reports obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with key players reveal sharp divisions over whether the elusive ship has been found.

Mission leader Steve Libert and others with his organization, Great Lakes Exploration Group LLC, contend the timber is a bowsprit from a ship — likely the Griffin, last seen in 1679 with a six-member crew and a cargo of furs near Green Bay in present-day Wisconsin. A report by three French underwater archaeologists says the beam has characteristics consistent with a bowsprit, or pole that extends from a vessel's stem, and apparently was submerged for a century or more. But it stops short of confirming a link to La Salle's ship.

Meanwhile, two U.S. scientists who joined the expedition, project manager Ken Vrana and archaeologist Misty Jackson, say the timber is probably a "pound net stake," an underwater fishing apparatus used in the Great Lakes in the 19th and early 20th centuries. That is also the opinion of Dean Anderson, Michigan's state archaeologist, and Carol Griggs, a Cornell University specialist in using tree rings to determine the age of wooden objects.

"We're not killjoys," said Jackson, a Michigan-based cultural resources consultant. "We'd have all loved for this to be the Griffin. We're just presenting the evidence and that data that we have, and it points away from that."

Libert, a retired military intelligence analyst who has spent three decades and about $1 million hunting for the Griffin, scoffs at the net stake idea. He plans to continue searching this summer for shipwreck debris near uninhabited Poverty Island, where he found the timber while diving in 2001 nearly 50 feet below the lake's surface.

"I'm 99 percent sure the Griffin is in that area and we'll find it," he said.

An excavation permit Libert obtained last year required his team report its findings to the state archaeologist's office. The AP obtained the document through a Freedom of Information Act filing.

A vexing question is why the timber was found almost upright on the lake bottom, with the lower 9 feet buried in thick sediment. The report, written by Vrana and Jackson, says that supports the pound net hypothesis. Libert contends the force of the vessel's sinking during a vicious storm could have wedged the timber into the sediment.

The report includes photographs of another reputed pound net stake found by a fisherman that has features in common with the timber Libert's team recovered, such as peg-like tree nails protruding near one end. But there are differences: The fisherman's slab was probably almost twice as long, and the tree nails were square while those on the Libert slab were tapered or cone-shaped.

Jackson argues that those and other differences between the beams are minor, especially given the history of net stake fishing in the area. Libert says members of Native American fishing families reaching back generations insist such stakes weren't used where his beam was found.

Another point of contention is the timber's age. It had too few tree rings for a definitive answer.

Griggs and Vrana contend an analysis from radiocarbon dating suggest there's a 78 percent chance the beam came from a tree felled between 1820 and 1950. The likelihood it dated to the late 1600s is less than 5 percent, they say.

Darden Hood, president of the company that performed the carbon-14 tests, said the wood could have originated from several periods between 1670 and 1950 and attempting to narrow the time range could produce misleading results.

Both sides agree Poverty Island is a good place to search, based on writings of La Salle and his companions. But the skeptics say Great Lakes Exploration is a long way from proving it has discovered the Griffin's resting place.

Richard Gross, staff historian with Great Lakes Exploration, says the next step is to thoroughly survey the lake bed using sonar, metal detectors and other tools for signs of buried artifacts.

"We've been fooled by this technology in the past, but every step in the process you learn," he said. "We're really encouraged by what we've found."

The Republic


Michigan Congressman Bill Huizenga named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year

5/8 - Toledo, Ohio – Michigan Congressman Bill Huizenga (R) has been named 2014 Great Lakes Legislator of the Year by the largest labor/management coalition representing workers and industries dependent on shipping on Americas Fourth Sea Coast. The award is presented annually by the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force (GLMTF) to a legislator who has helped advance shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Congressman Huizenga has shown incredible resolve in addressing the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes,” said James H. I. Weakley, President of GLMTF. “His laser-like focus on the issue is one of the big reasons the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) passed by the House in 2013 contains provisions key to ending the dredging crisis. The bill not only calls for more funding for dredging, but designates the Great Lakes a system in terms of dredging, and that in itself should put the Lakes on an even footing with other waterways.”

Weakley, who is also President of Lake Carriers Association, said Huizenga’s district includes ports that are suffering from the dredging crisis. Coal deliveries to Muskegon and limestone cargos to Grand Haven have been affected by the dredging crisis. The House and Senate are currently conferencing on their respective WRRDAs, and we are confident the Lakes provisions will be retained.

“Huizenga’s efforts to end the dredging crisis also have state-wide benefits. Michigan is the state most impacted by the dredging crisis,” said John D. Baker, 1st Vice President of GLMTF. “Michigan boasts more deep-draft ports than the other seven Great Lakes states combined. The largest limestone quarries in the Great Lakes basin and cement plants in Alpena and Charlevoix are dependent on efficient shipping on the Lakes, but the dredging crisis has dramatically reduced the amount of cargo that can be loaded each trip.”

Baker, who is also President Emeritus of the ILAs Great Lakes District Council, stressed Michigan’s steel industry is also disadvantaged by the dredging crisis. Ships loading iron ore in Marquette for delivery to the steel mill in River Rouge cannot carry full loads because the St. Marys River has not been dredged since 2008.

Huizenga’s strong support for adequate U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking resources on the Lakes has taken on a special significance this year. “The winter of 2013/2014 was the harshest since 1993/1994, said Thomas Curelli, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF. The ice was so thick the Coast Guard had to lead convoys to get the ships across Lake Superior and Marquette wasn’t able to load its first cargo until April 14, weeks later than normal. We are indeed fortunate the U.S. Coast Guard now has nine icebreakers stationed on the Great Lakes, otherwise vital cargos would have been delayed to the point that more employers might have had to curtail production.”

Curelli, who is also Director of Operations for Fraser Shipyards, Inc. and a retired Coast Guard Commander, noted Rep. Huizenga’s regard for the Coast Guard also reflects that Grand Haven, Michigan, is considered Coast Guard City U.S.A and hosts the annual Coast Guard Festival to honor the men and woman who guard Americas waters.

With his selection as Great Lakes Legislator of the Year, Rep. Huizenga becomes the ninth Michigan legislator to receive the award. Previous recipients are Senators Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow and Spencer Abraham, and Representatives Candice Miller, Dave Camp, Vernon Ehlers, Bart Stupak, and Dave Bonior.


Students to set sail with Algoma

5/8 - St. Catharines, Ont. – As of next September, local Catholic high school students will have the opportunity to learn what it's like to be sailors.

Through a new partnership agreement between Algoma Central Corporation and Niagara Catholic District School Board, students will be invited to spend up to five days sailing aboard Algoma's vessels sailing through the Great Lakes.

The board's student success coordinator Marco Magazzeni said students could be aboard the ships from two to five days at a time, as long as the work placements do not interfere with earning the credits needed for graduation.

"Just to walk on to one of those ships is phenomenal," he said, after signing the agreement during a ceremony at Lock 8 Park in Port Colborne Wednesday morning.

"It's mind blowing for me as well. It's such an unconventional industry. Now we're allowing our kids into that best kept secret. It's pretty exciting."

Magazzeni said the students don't necessarily need to be pursuing a career as a sailor to participate in the work placement opportunities aboard the ships. "There's electricians, steam fitters, students from the hospitality program" that could participate, he said.

"There's a wide variety of trades people on the ships, but we also want to include engineering, design, and technology. It all falls within that industry," Magazzeni added. "We're offering our students the opportunity to cater to your career, to the careers that are becoming available and that are available."

Algoma's president Greg Wight said the company's workers aboard the ships should have no problem working with the up-and-coming sailors. "They're used to having people looking over their shoulders. They'll do fine," Wight said.

For a corporation facing the retirement of more than half its workforce within the next decade, Wight said "attracting and retaining young workers is a very big challenge and priority for Algoma."

"Any chance we can get to partner with schools that will provide future employees, we jump at it," he said. "It's our future."

Wight said the agreement with the school board was coordinated with the assistance of the City of Port Colborne.

"Apprenticeships are alive and thriving in Port Colborne within the manufacturing sector and you're hearing it from the CEO of a multi-million corporation that there are positions on the horizon," Magazzeni told a group of Lakeshore Catholic High School students during the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Magazzeni said the NCDSB continues to expand the opportunities for its students.

Thursday, the board will sign an agreement with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and Magazzeni said he's currently working with a large railway company to develop a similar partnership.

St. Catharines Standard


Groundbreaking of Coast Guard Museum celebrated

5/8 - New London, Conn. – Supporters of a National Coast Guard Museum cheered Friday as political and military dignitaries reveled in a ceremonial deed signing and groundbreaking for the planned 54,000-square-foot tribute to the maritime service along the Thames River in Connecticut.

The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., signed a deed with the mayor of New London, transferring the site of the future museum from the city to the Coast Guard, The Day of New London reported. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy also was on hand.

"This museum will not only be a home for all the veterans of our Coast Guard, it will not only be an economic driver for our city and our region, but it will truly be a national treasure for all Americans," Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio said.

Dozens of museum supporters gathered at City Pier for the festivities amid a backdrop of the Thames River, the 300-foot-long Coast Guard barque Eagle and the 44-foot Coast Guard lifeboat CG36500, which became famous in 1952 when its crew rescued 32 people from the wrecked tanker Pendleton off Cape Cod.

After officials signed the land transfer document, the crowd cheered and Papp said, "I have the deed. Can you believe it? I think I'm going to sleep with this tonight."

Much work remains to be done, however, before construction on the $80 million museum can begin. While the state has committed $20 million to the project, millions more dollars need to be raised before construction. Officials are hopeful the waterfront museum can open in 2017.

Malloy said the museum is a potential major driver of tourism for the region, bringing in an estimated half a million visitors each year.

Although the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, also in New London, already has a museum, backers of the new project say it will be the first national museum to honor the 224-year-old maritime service.

Associated Press


Lookback #172 – E.C. Collins in St. Clair River collision on May 8, 1949

5/8 - The 45-year-old bulk carrier E.C. Collins of the Kinsman fleet collided with the Henry Ford II in the St. Clair River on May 8, 1949. The latter had been serving in the Ford fleet for 25 years at the time of the accident. Fortunately, the damage was not serious and both ships were repaired and returned to service after their meeting of 65 years ago today.

At 440 feet in overall length, E.C. Collins should have been nearing the end of its useful service on the Great Lakes. But it is still around 110 years after being completed at Lorain, Ohio. Originally the Edwin F. Holmes of the Acme Transit Co., it joined U.S. Steel as E.C. Collins in 1916 and retained the name when it was sold to the Kinsman Transit Co. in 1944.

Instead of going for scrap, like most ships of this vintage, E.C. Collins was rebuilt as a self-unloading cement carrier at Sturgeon Bay in 1959. It returned to service as J.B. Ford in the Huron Cement fleet and served company terminals on all five Great Lakes.

J.B. Ford operated through 1981 and was laid up at Green Bay. It resumed service again in 1984 but tied at Milwaukee on Nov. 15, 1985. Since then it has been used as a storage barge and has been at Superior, WI since June 2001 after previous duty at Chicago.

Henry Ford II last sailed in 1988 and arrived at Port Maitland, Ont., under tow for scrapping, on Dec. 21, 1994, as the seventh Samuel Mather.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 8

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Alert, BBC Celina, Beatrix, Eider, Federal Kivalina, Federal Margaree, Federal Oshima, Hellespont Crusader, MCT Breithorn, Pacific Huron, and Sichem Defiance
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the   Leon Falk Jr. gallery


Reserve now for May 31 Boatnerd Gathering

5/8 - The 2014 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry’s 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 30, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


Today in Great Lakes History -  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.

FRED R. WHITE JR was christened May 8, 1979, 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.

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 $1 million 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: 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.


Coast Guard continues response to grounded tug

5/7 - Chicago, Ill. – The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its response to the grounded tug Kimberly Selvick in Lake Michigan off of Burnahm Park.

The vessel remains partially submerged, while the two barges that broke free from the tug Monday afternoon have been removed and towed to port by Calumet Harbor Fleeting.

The tug began taking on water and became partially submerged while trying to retrieve the two barges. Four people aboard the tug were evacuated by a rescue crew from the Chicago Fire Department Marine Unit. No injuries were reported.

Earlier Tuesday morning, a Coast Guard Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., conducted an overflight of the area and reported a 10-foot by 100-foot sheen near the vessel. Initial inspections indicated that the sheen was caused by small quantities of residual oil waste from the tug's bilge and not from fuel onboard. The Kimberly Selvick has a maximum capacity of approximately 1,400 gallons of fuel.

The environmental response organization, SET Environmental, has deployed approximately 800 feet of hard boom around the vessel to contain the sheen and will start recovery of the petroleum products. Pollution responders from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago will remain on scene to monitor the situation and to ensure safety of the waterway surrounding the vessel.

Salvage efforts are ongoing as assets and resources are mobilized. The Coast Guard continues to work with the owner of the vessel to ensure a safe and efficient salvage plan.



First saltie expected today at Duluth

5/7 - Duluth, Minn. – The oceangoing vessel Diana, which flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, is expected to be the first saltie into the Port of Duluth-Superior for the 2014 shipping season – anticipated to arrive beneath the Aerial Bridge Wednesday between 7-8 a.m. (or later, as arrival times are estimates and often change without notice).

The Diana will head directly to CHS in Superior to load grain. A second saltie, Zealand Delilah, is traveling in the same group of ships across Lake Superior and plans to enter the Duluth-Superior harbor later Wednesday morning.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Soo Locks upgrades announced by Corps

5/7 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – In announcing expenditures $17.8 million for the 2014 work plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District has earmarked $7.5 million for work associated with the Soo Locks in 2014.

Chief of Public Affairs Lynn Rose said the bulk of the upcoming expenditure — $4.5 million — will go toward new controls, equipment upgrades and modernization of the MacArthur Lock. An additional $1 million will be spent on the Poe Lock for construction upgrades and electrical improvements.

An additional $2 million has been budgeted for the upcoming fiscal year, according to Rose, for work and upgrades associated with the federal powerhouse. Most of those funds, she explained, will go toward the replacement of the 50-plus-year-old foot bridge that connects the Soo Locks to the plant. Additional money will be spent for electrical upgrades within the hydropower plant.

"The contracts will be awarded this year," said the agency spokesperson after double-checking with those who are overseeing the various projects, "although some of the work may not begin until 2015."

The Detroit District's $17.8 million work plan includes multiple dredging projects and six repair, replacement or construction projects throughout the region. In addition, according to a press release announcing the expenditures, two navigation studies will also be funded.

"We recognize that in this time of economic recovery we are responsible for ensuring the maximum efficient use of the dollars provided for our projects and programs," said Lt. Col. Robert Ells, district engineer, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District. "We will continue to deliver great dividends to the region and to the nation. This 2014 work plan will allow us to fund our highest-priority projects and will assist the Corps in improving the nation's infrastructure and revitalizing the economy."

The work plan came about, according to the press release, when Congress appropriated additional funding for ongoing work in the fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act as contained in the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Soo Evening News


Port Reports -  May 7

Toledo, Ohio
The inactive barge Sarah Spencer has joined the tug Jane Ann IV at the ADM grain elevator.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Defiance-Ashtabula came in through the North Entrance at 10:20 p.m. Monday night and departed around 5 a.m. Tuesday for Ashtabula. This may have been a partial cargo (sand) based on the short unload time.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The tug M.R. Kane and the TPA spud Derrick 50 completed setting out the inner harbor navigation buoys Tuesday morning. The tug Radium Yellowknife has been floated out of the Toronto Drydock. The Galcon Marine push tug David G. and its spud barge are back at work moving construction equipment and material across the harbor from Terminal 52 to Hanlan's Point. This is in support of a major water main upgrade job on the island. Stephen B. Roman spent the early part of the day alongside at Terminal 52 doing maintenance work. At 3 p.m. the cement carrier shifted over to its dock at Essroc.


Badger receives new combustion control system

5/7 - Ludington, Mich. – When the S.S. Badger sets sail on May 16, the venerable and historic car ferry will sport new combustion controls that will enable it to burn coal more efficiently. That should result in less coal being burned and less ash being produced by the Badger.

The more than $1 million upgrade represents the most difficult portion of a two-year process for the last coal-burning, steam-fired vessel in the United States as LMC works to stop the Badger’s coal ash discharge into Lake Michigan.

The 410-foot Badger, operated between Ludington and Manitowoc by Lake Michigan Carferry, will run this season under the terms of a consent decree between LMC and the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice that requires the Badger to reduce its coal ash discharge this season and end it before starting the 2015 season.

According to Bob Manglitz, LMC president and CEO, LMC will learn this season if the work done while docked for the winter in Ludington will result in what LMC estimates to be a 10 to 15 percent improvement in efficiency, and thus a similar reduction in coal burned and coal ash produced.

That kind of reduction would meet the consent decree requirements for this year, Manglitz said. There could be a payback in fuel savings for LMC, too, he said.

Over the winter, contractors and Badger crew have been installing the digital combustion controls on a vessel that began service in 1953 that to date had been controlled by mechanical technology. Soon LMC will know how well the new controls perform, and how much the system improves efficiency and reduces coal ash. Manglitz said the company should have a good idea of the reductions in coal burned and coal ash early in the season, scheduled for May 16 through Oct. 26. Once those amounts are determined, then the coal retention system can be designed to handle expected coal ash. The retention system would be installed next winter.

The Badger’s combustion control work “was a much bigger project than we thought,” Manglitz said.

Chuck Cart, senior chief engineer of the Badger, has spent much time keeping the Badger operating and designed the system being installed.

The Badger, Cart said, originally did have a coal combustion control system when built, but it was no longer usable. Mechanical controls and a lot of operator experience have been the primary ways the crew has tried to burn coal as efficiently and cleanly as possible.

In one sense the process is simple. Air is mixed with the coal and burned to provide fire to heat the boilers to power the Skinner Unaflow engines, which turn the props to move the Badger.

The monitoring process will become a digital one with sensors and relay switches sending signals to operators who still will control the system. It’s not automated, Cart said, noting that’s almost impossible to imagine. The new digital system will provide quicker, more accurate data that in turn will result in quicker and more accurate adjustments.

Some 12,000 feet of wire — about 2 miles worth Manglitz marveled — have been installed on board over winter. The wire connects the sensors, controls, switches, stokers, fans and other assorted pieces of equipment so they can interact with each other. The Badger’s four boilers — each with two stokers of their own — provide the heat to make the steam to power its two engines.

The stokers, made by Detroit Stokers for LMC, are fitted into the boilers on new front plates made by the LMC crew from raw steel plate three-quarters of an inch thick. Coal and air mix as they enter the boiler oven for combustion. That air is called distribution air, one of three types of air used in the combustion process. The second air, “combustion air,” comes in from below the grated area the coal burns on. The third air, “overfire air,” is introduced through nozzles in each boiler to enrich the flame and help combustion. In addition to being part of the combustion process, the distribution air cools the stokers.

The new system, Cart said, changes the mix of air to reflect newer thinking on how coal burns best. More air will be mixed in from the overfire supply, and less from beneath.

Signals from the sensors will provide information to panels so operators can more quickly and accurately adjust the process. New, more powerful fans have been installed to deliver the needed air. Those fans will be controlled by a variable frequency drive — kind of a Star Trekky name for a device that replaces old mechanical controls of switches and valves that have been removed from the Badger.

“This will get more efficient coal burning, less smoke and less ash,” Cart said of the changes.

“To control the process, you have to know what the process is doing,” he said of the purpose of all the technology. “This just makes sure it burns cleaner.”

Also being monitored will be steam demand, steam flow and steam pressure.

Cart said the changes help the Badger be proactive and less reactive on the amount of fuel that needs to be burned at any given time, depending on steam demands. But it wasn’t as simple as downloading an app to a smart phone. Or as comfortable.

Cart and some crew worked in the Badger all winter. Even with furnaces running, he said it was cold, some days never warmer than 34 degrees below deck.

In addition to the control work, the refractory bricks in the Badger’s boilers were removed and reinstalled to accommodate more air nozzles in the boilers. This past week, electricians were busy at work beneath decks on the project.

“A lot of this has gone on concurrently,” Cart said. “It was pretty crowded.”

In addition, the crew had to do normal winter maintenance. Cart said that wasn’t too bad this year since the previous winter the engines had a lot of maintenance done on them.

In all, Chuck Leonard, LMC vice president of navigation, said the entire process took “a considerable amount of work. That was a significant undertaking.”

Like Manglitz, Leonard believes this is the bigger portion of the two-step process to retain coal ash.

“We’ve bitten off the bigger piece this year,” he said, adding he’s very optimistic the work will deliver the efficiencies being sought.

Cart said the Badger and its combustion control changes will go through its preseason U.S. Coast Guard and American Bureau of Shipping dock and sea trial inspections before sailing.

He’s confident the combustion control system will do what it needs to do.

“I’m not concerned,” Cart said. “There will be problems. We will address those as they arise. We will fix them as they arise.”

In 1992, Lake Michigan Carferry began operating the Badger, purchased by the late Charles Conrad out of bankruptcy court and repositioned as a Great Lakes family cruise experience.

The former rail-car ferry service that had an emphasis on freight and a secondary business for passengers, ended rail-car service and put passengers and passenger service at the center of its business model.

Twenty-two years later, Conrad’s son-in-law, Manglitz, said the company is refocusing its sights on that customer service business plan.

This season LMC has added staff on shore and on the Badger to try to make sure customers have an enjoyable time. There will be more entertainers on board and more staff on board and on shore to answer questions and provide information passengers might want.

“We’re going to make waves for the customer this year,” Manglitz said. “This is a year to refocus for us. We have a lot of fun with the passengers. When they’re having a good time, we’re having a good time and we’re out there to have a good time.”

For the past two years, the Badger has also done a nice business transporting wind turbine components from Wisconsin to Michigan. Manglitz said that is expected to happen again this summer, but the start of the transport of the components might be delayed because of the cold and wet spring.

“We’re really looking forward to a good season,” he said, “and we’re really looking forward to giving good customer service.”

He said the goal is for passengers to have an experience that makes the time on the Badger “the best part of their vacation.”

Ludington Daily News


Clayton man's phony boat captain story leaves businessman with an unwanted tug

5/7 - Syracuse, N.Y. – Gus Ognenovski bought into Mark Anselm's story two years ago. Anselm claimed he had big contracts to dredge the Genesee River near Rochester and the Hudson River beneath the Tappan Zee Bridge in downstate New York.

Ognenovski, a Rochester-area businessman, saw the merchant marine pilot's license Anselm presented and assumed the Clayton man was a legitimate, capable boat captain.

Based on those assumptions, Ognenovski invested more than $500,000 in a tug boat and excavating equipment that Anselm told him he was going to lease for those big marine construction jobs. But the U.S. Coast Guard called Ognenovski in the middle of the night June 19, 2012, and Anslem's story unraveled.

He had taken the boat, named the Ronald J. Dahlke, from the Oswego harbor, into the Thousand Islands. He grounded it. The boat got stranded on a sand bar and Anselm needed help getting it unstuck. Anselm had taken the boat without permission and was likely planning to do little side jobs, such as towing boats, said Ognenovski, who owns Dewey Leasing.

Months before that, Anselm had presented Ognenovski with fake documentation, including a phony merchant marine license, when he made his pitch for a business partnership, Ognenovski said.

"He said he had all these contracts," Ognenovski said. "He had all these false documents, and equipment that wasn't his. He was posing. He made a real nice scene."

It became obvious that night that Anselm was a complete phony, Ognenovski said. Anselm's claims of being fully trained as a ship captain could not have been valid. "It's pretty hard to ground a tug," Ognenovski said.

Anselm, 37, was scheduled to be sentenced in federal court Monday. He pleaded guilty in November to six felonies, including making false statements to the Coast Guard, using an altered merchant marine license, and aggravated identity theft.

He admitted holding himself out as a licensed commercial ship pilot to marina owners and other potential employers in 2011 and 2012, when he had no such license. Anselm had altered the licenses by substituting his name on them.

Federal agents discovered multiple instances of Anselm holding himself out as a licensed merchant marine captain based on the forged licenses.

Anselm faces between 4 and 5 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, according to court papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Benedict.

Benedict asked U.S. District Judge Glenn Suddaby to consider increasing Anselm's prison sentence because he has a history of defrauding people. Ognenovski has a $170,000 judgment against Anselm over the losses he suffered as a result of their business partnership.

Anselm's lawyer, Assistant Federal Public Defender James Greenwald, contends that amount is too high and has asked Suddaby not to factor it into the sentence.

Anselm has mental health problems, including diagnoses of bipolar and antisocial personality disorders, Greenwald wrote in a sentencing memorandum. Anselm once went to Alaska for a non-existent position on a professional hockey team as a result of his mental illness, Greenwald wrote.

"Inflating his experience and qualifications to operate a vessel is another example," the memorandum said.

Benedict, in his sentencing memo, wrote that Anselm has a long history of lying and defrauding.

"His efforts to deceive seem to permeate every corner of his life," Benedict wrote. "There simply seems to be little time in his adult life when he was not committing offenses of one sort or another, and misleading nearly everyone he came in contact with."

Anselm has served two prison sentences for forgery and theft. He has a pending grand larceny charge in Jefferson County Court, where he's accused of writing a bad check for $1,200 to a business in Alexandria Bay.

Ognenovski wants to sell the tugboat and excavating equipment, or at least lease it to someone to try to pay off his investment.

"I'm stuck with a tug boat and excavator that I really don't have any use for," he said. "I have all kinds of expenses for this stuff and it's just sitting around. He paid me nothing at all."


Coast Guard investigations lead to sentencing of man for piloting ships with fraudulent license

5/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – A Coast Guard investigation has led to the sentencing of a man by the Department of Justice for piloting commercial ships on the Great Lakes with a fraudulent Coast Guard license.

Mark Anselm, 37, of Clayton, New York, was sentenced to seven years in prison by a U.S. District Judge on Monday after having pled guilty to six felony offenses.

Inspectors with Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, New York, initiated an investigation after Anselm grounded his vessel on June 19, 2012. Interviews revealed that Anselm presented himself as a licensed ship captain and was operating on a fraudulent merchant marine license that had been altered to include his name. Additionally, Anselm used the fraudulent license to gain employment at various marinas.

The case was referred to a criminal investigation resulting in Coast Guard Investigative Services conducting multiple interviews with industry members in upstate New York. These interviews, along with information released by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York, led CGIS to discover multiple victims of Anselm's scheme to defraud.

According to agents at CGIS Buffalo, Anselm used his fraudulent license to solicit maritime construction contracts, collecting nearly $300,000 in down payments, but never fulfilled contractual obligations to complete the work.

"The Coast Guard enforces mariner credentialing laws to ensure the safety of the public and the marine transportation system," said Cmdr. David Webb of the Coast Guard 9th District's Inspections and Investigations Branch. "Those standards are in place to ensure vessel operators are trained and competent in navigation safety. We are pleased with this ruling, which takes a fraudulent mariner off of the water."


Shipping industry mourns passing of Congressman James L. Oberstar

5/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag vessels working the Great Lakes will lower their flags to half-mast on Thursday in honor of Congressman James L. Oberstar (D) who represented Minnesota’s iron ore mining and shipping industries in the House of Representatives from 1974 to 2011. Oberstar died on May 3 at age 79 and his funeral will be on Thursday, May 7.

“Great Lakes shipping has lost its greatest friend and staunchest supporter,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers Association. “He was at the forefront of every effort to make waterborne commerce on the Lakes and Seaway safer and more efficient. When the U.S. Coast Guard proposed to retire its most powerful icebreaker on the Lakes, the Mackinaw, without replacement, Oberstar demanded the cutter remain in service until a replacement was built. The new Mackinaw was launched in 2006.”

Oberstar was also the driving force behind a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“The project was first authorized in 1986, but was initially stalled by a flawed funding scheme. Congressman Oberstar worked tirelessly to develop a funding plan that recognized the lock’s key role in our nations economic well-being and national security,” said Weakley. Those efforts culminated in 2007 when the Water Resources Development Act authorized the project at full Federal expense. Sadly, the lock remains unbuilt because of an understated benefit/cost ratio. I can think of no greater tribute to Rep. Oberstar than to break the logjam and begin construction of the lock as soon as possible. As this past ice season has illustrated, our inability to move much cargo out of Lake Superior in March and April has threatened steel production and power generation throughout the Great Lakes basin.”

The son of an iron miner, Congressman Oberstar never forgot his blue-collar roots and always fought to protect American workers from unfair competition. When interests tried to destroy the Jones Act back in the mid-1990s and hand over domestic waterborne commerce to foreign companies and foreign mariners, Congressman Oberstar was one of the law’s greatest champions. Thanks in large part to his leadership, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a Continuing Resolution supporting the requirement that cargo moving between U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are U.S.-crewed, U.S.-built, and U.S.-owned, and the Jones Act has remained the foundational law of domestic shipping to this day.

Congressman Oberstar was honored many times during his career. Great Lakes Maritime Task Force named him Great Lakes Legislator of the Year in 1999. Perhaps his greatest tribute came in May 2011 when The Interlake Steamship Company renamed one of its ships in his honor.

“Interlake and all U.S.-flag operators on the Lakes owed Congressman Oberstar a tremendous debt of gratitude and it was our pleasure to place his name on the bow and stern of a Great Lakes freighter,” said James R. Barker, Chairman of Interlake. “It is so fitting that his name graces the hull, for just as he fought for American workers for decades, this ship will for decades to come deliver Minnesota iron ore to steel mills throughout the Great Lakes basin and keep America strong.”

Lake Carriers' Association


Remembering Capt. Robert B. Hull

5/7 - On Friday, May 2, Capt. Robert Hull entered the perfect harbor of rest. The Great Lakes community has lost a champion for doing the right thing and someone who was always concerned for the safety and welfare of others. Bob was a member of the first graduating class of the Marine Navigation Technology program at Georgian College. When he graduated in 1976, he was awarded the Board of Governors gold medal for academic excellence. He sailed with Misener Transportation as an officer and master and also was shore superintendent during his time with this company before Misener amalgamated into Great Lakes Bulk Carriers. In 1991 Bob assumed the role of being a full time professor of Navigation at Georgian College. An opportunity arose and for the last 20 years served as a pilot with the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority in District 3 and the Welland Canal. Bob assisted many students as a teacher, and as a tutor and loved guiding these aspiring officers into reaching their goal. He was a founding member of the Georgian Bay-Huronia Lodge 15 of the International Shipmasters Association and was currently serving as the chaplain for the lodge. He was known throughout the Great Lakes marine community and had many friends and was called the friendly giant. Bob and his wife Julianne hosted a summer get-together at their home for the retired pilots and their spouses for the last few years, an event greatly appreciated by those who attended. Bob will be greatly missed by his wife Julianne and sons James and Caleb.

Philip Visser


Lookback #171 – Topdalsfjord survived collision that sank Cedarville on May 7, 1965

5/7 - Many are familiar with the collision in the Straits of Mackinac that occurred 49-years ago today. The accident between the Cedarville and Topdalsfjord in the foggy channel, two miles east of the Mackinac Bridge, sent the Cedarville to the bottom with the loss of 10 lives. Efforts to beach the ship failed and most consider its loss, and those of so many of the crew, to have been a needless tragedy.

But what became of the Topdalsfjord, a Norwegian salty that had been trading through the Seaway since 1960? The 423 foot, 7 inch long cargo carrier usually made four inland voyages a year and was a familiar trader on all of the Great Lakes.

Following bow repairs, Topdalsfjord resumed Seaway service for a number of subsequent years. It was sold and renamed Boon Krong in 1978, Boonkrong in 1979 and, following a sale to China Ocean Shipping, was renamed Jin Xian Quan in 1981.

It did not return to the lakes under any of these names but was to have one last connection to the inland seas. On May 11, 1984, almost 30 years ago, the vessel collided with and sank the Sea Carrier in the Formosa Strait off Taishan Island. The latter had once been a familiar Great Lakes traveler as the third Svanefjell and came through the Seaway from 1962 until at least 1967 and returned as Concordia Lara in 1971.

Topdalsfjord recovered from this accident as well and became Changhi, while registered in Belize, in 1997. There the trail runs cold and the vessel was deleted from Lloyd's Register in 2005.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 7

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Leon Falk Jr. gallery


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.


Tug Kimberly Selvick, barges stuck along Chicago lakefront

5/6 - Chicago, Ill. – A tug and two barges in Lake Michigan were stuck along the Chicago lakefront Monday night.

The four-person crew made it safely off the tugboat, which lost power. The problems were possibly related to high winds and waves. Those conditions made it impossible Monday night to raise the boat.

Monday night, the tugboat Kimberly Selvick was providing a spectacle for lakefront joggers.

"It's crazy, actually," said jogger Jerrard Walker. "I hope it doesn't flip over. I don't know what to say. We don't normally see stuff like this."

The trouble began shortly before 5 Monday evening near 39th and the lakefront. The commercial tugboat was experiencing mechanical problems while tugging two barges in windy conditions from Montrose Harbor to the Calumet River shipyard.

"We know they lost power," said Dep. Dist. Chief Ron Dorneker. "There's severe waves out there today. The waves coming over the front of the boat may have caused the problem."

As the boat took on water, the four-man crew abandoned ship, boarding one of the barges it was tugging, the fire department responding to the boat's distress signal.

"The wind and waves are bad," Dorneker said. "It's pushing that boat into shore right now, so it was a good thing that we got out there as quickly as we did and removed the people."

The crew members were not hurt, the fire department bringing them to dry land as the tugboat continued to drift, eventually grounding itself in shallow water.

An aerial search by the fire department turned up no evidence of any fuel leak.

"It's probably the most exciting thing on the South Side right now," Walker said.

The two barges remain stranded in open water. The tugboat is owned by Calumet River Fleeting, a company based in Chicago. A representative was here at the scene Monday night but declined to comment. The Coast Guard says it's working with the company to salvage the boat. That could happen Tuesday if the winds and waves are a bit calmer.



Canadian Coast Guard’s Pierre Radisson working way off lakes

5/6 - The Pierre Radisson is finished ice breaking on Lake Superior. She was in the lower St. Marys River Monday and will be working her way out from the lakes bound for the Seaway. The Martha L. Black still remains at Thunder Bay.


Port Reports -  May 6

South Chicago - Matt M.
Great Republic, sporting her new colors, loaded coal in South Chicago on Monday bound for Manistee. The barge Innovation and her tug were inbound for Lafarge dock upriver

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Mississagi arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 6 p.m. on Monday. Once the lines were secured, she unloaded a cargo of salt from Goderich, Ont.

Straits of Mackinac - Robert Bemben
Although Grays Reef Passage is open to shipping, the only traffic east of Beaver Island has been by the Emerald Isle, a few tugs and most recently the USGS research vessel Sturgeon, which transited southbound via Grays Reef Passage to Charlevoix Monday. Recent westerly wind shifts have created areas of up to 90 percent ice coverage between the Leelanau Peninsula, Beaver Island and Good Hart. So freighters are still favoring the open water west of Beaver Island.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
New York State Power Authority crews were delayed in their removal of the Niagara River ice boom during early May by, ironically, the ice itself. Gale-force wind and heavy rainstorms moving through the area were blowing three-foot thick chunks of heavy lake ice all over the place, making for very dangerous working conditions. Operations were suspended multiple times over the first week of the month due to bad weather. In addition to their tugs Joncaire and Breaker, they called in their 77-ton heavy hitter William H. Latham to clear ice from around the derrick boat Hyvasu II. With the extra help on hand the work was finally getting done and all the ice that had been packed into the east end of the lake off Buffalo had flushed itself out by May 4. All the remaining heavy lake ice flushed itself out Monday after the removal of boom and it should be smooth sailing for the ships now, as opposed to last week's issue with the English River getting stuck.


Lake Superior hits highest April level in 16 years

5/6 - Duluth, Minn. – The level of Lake Superior keeps rising, and it started this month 2 inches above the long-term normal and 14 inches above the level at this time last year.

The big lake rose 4 inches in April, a month it usually rises by 3 inches. The lake’s monthly average for April was the highest since 1998, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The increase is expected to continue through at least May, officials said Friday, with water supplies to the lake well above normal. That means more rain and snow, more water flowing in from rivers and less water evaporating, probably in part because of an unusually broad cover of ice.

The extra water is helping lakes Huron and Michigan, too. Those lakes rose 8 inches in April, double the usual rise for the month.

The level of the Great Lakes is considered important for shipping and recreational boating, which have been plagued in recent years by unusually low water levels. Some iron ore producers have said they hope to load larger shipments of taconite this summer in Great Lakes freighters because of the higher water levels.

Unusually high levels can be a problem as well, especially for increased erosion.



Dick Wicklund named Marine Historian of the Year by Detroit group

5/6 - Detroit, Mich. – Author, marine historian and photographer Dick Wicklund was named Historian of the Year by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit Saturday at the group's annual dinner in St. Clair, Mich.

He is co-author of "The Kinsman Lines" and an authority on the history of the Kinsman fleet. A frequent contributor to publications like Lake Huron Lore's "The Lightship," he is also a member of their board of directors. Wicklund has been taking photographs for many years and graciously shares them with others for stories or books they are working on, or for their own collections. He is also active in the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society and contributes to their journal, "The Modoc Whistle."

For more information on the Marine Historical Society of Detroit:


Toledo’s newest museum is as great as the Lakes

5/6 - Toledo, Ohio – You don't have to be a sailor or a fisherman to appreciate what the Great Lakes mean to the middle of America — economically, recreationally, historically, even emotionally.

But as someone who once worked on the lakes, I’ve never for a moment doubted their importance. Somebody else who gets it is Paul C. LaMarre III, the man whose sketch on a restaurant napkin seven years ago started a journey that has delivered Toledo’s coolest new attraction: the National Museum of the Great Lakes on the east bank of the Maumee River.

That’s how great ideas are often hatched. J.K. Rowling jotted down her early ideas for Harry Potter on a napkin on a British train. Seattle’s iconic Space Needle was allegedly conceived on a napkin in a coffee house in 1959.

Mr. LaMarre, now director of the Port of Monroe, was out for dinner with his wife in 2007 when he began sketching on a napkin his vision of how best to use the-then S.S. Willis B. Boyer museum ship and the new ferry terminal in the Marina District. He tinkered with the drawing the next day, and that version now hangs in the museum.

Toledo’s newest jewel, which opened nine days ago, has operated for decades in Vermilion, 80 miles to the east, but in far smaller quarters and with far less fanfare. Traveling by car from Vermilion to Toledo takes less than two hours, but there were surely times over the past seven years when it seemed as if this project were on a slow boat to China.

Slow doesn’t come easily for Mr. LaMarre, who once flew jets in the Navy.

“There were frustrations,” he says. In the early days, he was pretty much flying solo. Eventually the City of Toledo, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and the community rallied to the cause. And a magical moment arrived.

“The only time I wept on this project,” he said, was when the ship floated away from its old dock near the Anthony Wayne Bridge and headed toward its new home at the museum.

The Boyer has been rechristened with its original name, the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. Christopher Gillcrist, the executive director of the museum, calls the ship “perhaps the best restored museum ship in the nation.” He’ll get no argument from me.

So vast is the museum’s collection, barely half of it is displayed. Part of that is a consequence of the building’s size. It was built as a passenger ferry terminal, not a museum. The hope is that passenger ships will one day come calling.

If wishing and unlimited funds were all it took, the place would be bigger. But it is a perfect size for its mission, which includes a major educational component.

Schoolkids are going to love it. They’ll learn the history of the Great Lakes the fun way — hands on — with more than 40 exhibits that involve some form of audience participation.

This is not your grandfather’s museum. It’s not a collection of old stuff sitting in display cases or behind windows.

It’s also plenty big enough to permit the display of items that could not be shown in Vermilion, including the propeller from the freighter John Sherwin. The propeller, which is 22 feet from blade tip to blade tip and weighs 20 tons, was cast in Toledo in the 1950s.

One of the museum’s sections deals with Great Lakes shipwrecks. The centerpiece of the exhibit is an inflatable life raft that broke loose from the Edmund Fitzgerald when it sank in Lake Superior in 1975.

It’s a raft I remember well — it sat just above my quarters when I served as a Fitzgerald crew member in 1963. Museum visitors can even steer a simulated submersible through and around a computer-generated version of the wreckage of the Fitz.

Elsewhere they learn about the Wyandotte, the first lake freighter that could unload itself. They can operate a hand-powered bilge pump and discover what it took to keep a ship afloat.

The museum is by definition Toledo’s newest tourist attraction. Let’s hope the tourists show up by the thousands, including from distant points. Americans, no matter where they live, need to understand what we Midwesterners already know about this marvelous natural resource.

Yes, the Great Lakes have issues. The algae blooms that discolor Lake Erie’s western end are scary and embarrassing. So is the potential for ecological disaster at Facility Three, the man-made landfill in Maumee Bay.

However, and I hope you’ll excuse the bad metaphor, I see the Great Lakes not half empty, but half full. The lakes hold 84 percent of the continent’s fresh water. And all of it, as the promotional items in the museum’s gift shop point out, is “unsalted and shark free.”

Toledo Blade


Obituary: Captain Robert Hull

5/6 - Captain Robert Hull of Wiarton, Ont., passed away in Thunder Bay on May 2 at the age of 59 after piloting his last ship through the ice of Lake Superior. He was a member of the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority and had worked throughout the Great Lakes.

Capt. Hull had been a Captain with Misener and Pioneer Shipping before becoming a pilot. He was an active member of the International Ship Master's Association and Secretary-Treasurer of the Georgian Bay Huronia Lodge 15 as well as Grand Lodge Chaplain.

Capt. Hull had also taught at the Marine College that is part of Georgian College in Owen Sound. He will be remembered as a kind and wonderful gentleman, a person of faith, a skilled mariner, a trusted colleague and a friend. He will be missed.

He leaves his wife Julianne and sons James and Caleb as well as many other family and friends to mourn his passing. The funeral for Capt. Hull will be Saturday May 10 at 11 a.m. at Hepworth Baptist Church in Hepworth, Ontario.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #170 – City of Rome caught fire and was destroyed on May 6, 1914.

5/6 - It was 100 years ago today that the wooden steamer City of Rome was destroyed. The ship caught fire on Lake Erie while traveling from Buffalo to Toledo to take on a cargo of coal for Milwaukee.

The blaze broke out in the dunnage room and spread quickly. The captain ran the ship aground off Ripley, New York, and the crew of 15 sailors took to the lifeboat. They rowed ashore but had trouble finding a place to land due to the terrain. They all survived, however, but the ship became a total loss.

City of Rome was built at Cleveland in 1881 and cost a reported $125,000 to complete. In addition to a pair of compound engines, the ship had four masts with sails to help with travels around the Great Lakes. The 288-foot-long steamer had an interesting career with numerous groundings and a previous fire but all were repairable until the final blaze of a century ago.

Today the remains of City of Rome rest in shallow water. The two anchors have been salvaged and are displayed at the Eaton Reservoir. The propeller was also removed and dragged about 250 yards before being abandoned as the challenge of bringing it up the steep cliff was too great.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 6

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 6

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

In 1944 the HILDA (2) and the barge MAITLAND NO.1 started the rescue operation of freighter GEORGE M. HUMPHREY (1) which sank in a collision with the D.M. CLEMSON (2) in the Straits of Mackinac.

This day in 1923 the EDWIN E. SLICK was struck by the steamer J. LEONARD REPLOGLE in the ice on Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior.

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

On May 6, 1934, 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 bark 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

Green Bay, Wis. - Jeff Ruckert
Tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes are expected early Monday morning. They are carrying petroleum products from Montreal. Cuyahoga is due late Monday with salt for Windsor.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Chris Gaziano
Algoway departed before sunrise Sunday morning, after spending the overnight hours Saturday unloading salt. Shortly after the Algoway departed, Algorail came in with salt. Right behind the Algorail was the Federal Rhine, assisted into port by the G-Tug Oklahoma. Algorail was finished and heading out for the lake by mid afternoon. The Alpena also came in with a load for the Lafarge terminal.


Lookback #169 – Victoria was captured by pirates on May 5, 2009

5/5 - Five years ago today, pirates captured the general cargo carrier Victoria as it was sailing about 75 miles south of Yemen. The crew radioed for help but it was too late to stop the bandits from boarding the ship and taking it over.

Victoria was built at Yichang, China, in 2004 and came through the Seaway, registered in Antigua on Sept. 7 with a cargo of steel. It returned inland on three occasions in each of 2005, 2007 and 2008 before being captured on the high seas.

The crew of 11 Romanian sailors were held as prisoners along with the cargo of 10,000 metric tonnes of rice bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, until a ransom, reported to be $1.8 million, was paid on July 19 for the release of the ship.

Victoria resumed her normal duties and was back through the Seaway again in 2011. Skip Gillham


Reserve now for May 31 Boatnerd Gathering

5/5 - The 2014 Boatnerd Badger Gathering will include a round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan from Ludington, Mich., to Manitowoc, Wis., on Saturday, May 31, 2014, aboard the Lake Michigan Carferry’s 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 30, is an opportunity to stay overnight in a Badger stateroom. Staterooms sleep two at the same price. Includes breakfast buffet on Saturday morning. We need a minimum of 10 room reservations for Friday night, in order for this option to be available. Only 28 staterooms are available. BoatNerds will be the only passengers sleeping on the boat. You will keep your stateroom until we return to Ludington.

Click here to reserve your spot


Updates -  May 5

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 5

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

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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On Saturday at the upper harbor, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore and Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone. Jackson's stone cargo was the first of the season.

Algonac, Mich. - Ray Brothers
The USCG Cutter Alder was moored along the seawall in Algonac Saturday night.

Lorain, Ohio -
Joseph H. Thompson arrived at 9:26 am Saturday and departed late in the evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
At the Redpath Sugar dock, technicians are working on the conveyor transfer system directly behind the damaged Colby crane. When the bulker Whistler hit the crane recently it pushed it into the conveyor structure and probably caused some alignment issues in the belt roller supports. Upon closer inspection it appears that the electric motor powered driver bogeys took the brunt of the collision. The lower leg bogey is partially derailed and the upper rail back driver bogey is almost right off the rail and badly buckled over. This renders the mobile crane immobile. The end of this shipping season will probably mean the beginning of the dismantling of the old Colby crane structure.


Hornblower launches Niagara cruises May 15

5/4 - Years of planning and marketing for Hornblower Cruises will take hold in less than two weeks when its three Niagara Falls tour boats officially hit the lower Niagara River and begin carrying poncho-wearing tourists to the base of the waterfalls.

Terry MacRae, Hornblower Cruises & Events Inc. CEO, confirmed the maiden Hornblower Niagara Cruises will begin on May 15 from the Canadian shore. That date was finalized once the ice boom was removed from Lake Erie and the thick chunks of ice started breaking up.

Hornblower’s startup date is about one month behind what MacRae had hoped, but he acknowledged for all the planning and prep work that went into Hornblower’s debut in Southern Ontario, Mother Nature had the final say. This winter was one of the harshest in recent memory.

“I wish we could have launched on April 15, but the weather just didn’t cooperate,” MacRae said. San Francisco-based Hornblower won the tour boat operations pact from the Niagara Parks Commission, ending a run by the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. that went back to the 1800s. The Maid of the Mist continues to run its tour boats from the American side of the falls and is just finishing a $30 million project that will see new docks and storage facilities built at its home base. The Maid of the Mist boats are expected to begin their seasonal run by mid-month.

MacRae said his company invested more than $20 million setting up its Niagara Falls operations that includes a trio of specially-designed catarmarans. The work includes new ticketing pavilions along Hornblower’s River Road visitor entrance and a set of two-tiered docks and visitor experience pavilion just as patrons get on the boats. Hornblower will operate a pair of 700-passenger catarmarans and a 150-person catamaran.

Bookings are strong. The first on-line booking came from an Italian visitor bound for Niagara Falls this summer.

Hornblower has added several twists to its tour offerings. It has an early morning voyage that leaves the docks just after 8 a.m. Conversely, the company has crafted a “Sunset Cocktail Cruise” that leaves just after 8 p.m. and another that leaves at 9:30 p.m. and showcases the nightly illumination of the falls and the thrice-weekly fireworks display. Fireworks are being held on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights with 80 fireworks dates set, up from the 36 that were held in 2013.

MacRae said he is looking forward to getting the boats in the water and seeing them filled with red-ponchoed customers.

“We are on a learning curve,” MacRae said. “There are things we will learn along the way that will help us.”

Buffalo Business First


James L. Oberstar, longtime Iron Range congressman, dies

5/4 - Rep. James Oberstar, Minnesota's longest-serving Congressman and friend of the Great Lakes shipping industry, has died. He was 79. A statement from his family said he died in his sleep.

During his time in Congress, Oberstar was known for his attention to transportation and infrastructure. Oberstar was chairman of the House Infrastructure and Transportation Committee from 2007 to 2011. In recognition of his attention and commitment to transportation issues, the Interlake Steamship Co. in 2011 renamed an 806-foot iron ore carrier the Hon. James L. Oberstar.

Oberstar is survived by his wife, Jean, six children and eight grandchildren.


Lookback #168 – Orefax grounded off Manistique, MI on May 4, 1963

5/4 - Orefax got caught in a voyage to forget at the beginning of May 1963. The ship was up bound with a cargo of clay when the forward cabin, in particular, received a pounding from Lake Huron on May 1. Then, 61 years ago today, Orefax got pummeled by another storm on Lake Michigan and stranded off Manistique, Michigan, on May 4, 1963.

Help was needed on this occasion and part of the cargo was lightered before the ship could be refloated on May 7. It limped back to Toronto, transferred the cargo to Hallfax and went for repairs.

This ship had been built as Southcliffe Hall, the fourth of five steam-powered sister-ships ordered by the Hall Corporation of Canada after World War Two. This vessel was Hull 231 of the Canadian Vickers Ltd. shipyard and it was launched at Montreal on October 30, 1947.

While most service was on the Great Lakes, the ship went to the Caribbean to carry bauxite over the winter of 1951 – 1952. However, for the bulk of its time, the ship was engaged to carry coal, grain or pulpwood on the inland lakes.

The 259 foot long vessel was lengthened to 341 feet, converted to a self-unloader and repowered with a Fairbanks Morse diesel engine between 1958 and 1960. It was renamed Orefax at Toronto on April 14, 1961.

The vessel was a steady carrier in the Hall fleet until sold to become the sludge carrier Isle Royale for the North Traverse Dredging Project along the St. Lawrence in the early 1970s. It was later sold for scrap to Marine Salvage and arrived at Ramey's Bend, under tow of the tugs Vac and Elmore M. Misner, on April 30, 1988. The hull was dismantled in the months ahead.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 4

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Elbeborg, Miedwie, Sloman Heracles, Ziemia Lodzka.


Today in Great Lakes History -  May 4

On May 4, 1958, 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, 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.

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

Thunder Bay - Justin Eloranta & John Kuzma
CCGS Martha L. Black was busy cutting around the harbor Wednesday. She spent the better part of the afternoon past the Welcome Islands, and berthed at Keefer Terminal for the night. Thursday she was back in the harbor cutting inside the Welcome Islands clearing space for the convoy that arrived Thursday evening. The lineup was as follows: Mapleglen out Viterra A at 3 p.m.; Federal Rideau in Mission Terminal's at 6:30 p.m.; Algoma Transport in Thunder Bay Terminal's at 7 p.m.; Algowood in Richardson's Elevator at 7 p.m.; Federal Elbe out Current River Elevator at 10 p.m.; Federal Satsuki in current River Elevator at 10 p.m.

Port Inland & Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Port Inland, Mississagi was expected to arrive in the late evening on Friday to load. Two vessels are due on Monday, with Wilfred Sykes arriving in the mid-afternoon and Pere Marquette 41 in the late evening. At Cedarville, Calumet is expected to arrive on Saturday during the late evening. Joseph H. Thompson is due on Sunday during the early evening, and Algoway rounds out the schedule on Monday in the early afternoon.

Stoneport & Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
Friday saw three vessels arrive at Stoneport. Great Republic loaded first and was expected to depart at 9 p.m. Next in line was the Pathfinder, with Manitowoc following. For Saturday, the Lewis J. Kuber is due to arrive in the early afternoon. Manitowoc is due back on Sunday in the late afternoon. At Calcite, Sam Laud loaded on Friday from the South Dock and was due to depart at about 8 p.m. There are no more vessels scheduled until Thursday, May 8.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber made a return visit to the Saginaw River on Friday, this time with a split cargo for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and for the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. After unloading, the pair were outbound for the lake late Friday night.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Lakes Contender is expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload on Saturday during the early morning. Following them is the Lee A. Tregurtha due on Monday in the early morning. At the CSX Coal Dock, the Saginaw is due to arrive on Saturday in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule is the H. Lee White which is due to load at¦nbsp; CSX on Monday in the late morning.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
A Polsteam bulker finished discharging and sailed early Friday morning. Earlier this week the tug M.R. Kane and the TPA spud Derrick 50 completed setting out the keep-out buoys in the harbor on the east side of Billy Bishop Airport.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Friday the English River offloaded cement.


Chi Cheemaun’s season begins

5/3 - The Coast Guard has surveyed an ice-free route for the ferry Chi Cheemaun to begin its runs between the Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Island starting Saturday morning. The ferry departed Owen Sound harbor Friday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Paul Martin


Lake Huron remains a wet parking lot: Freighters are waiting for ice to clear

5/3 - Port Huron, Mich. – Jeannette Zells, of Avoca, counted the 14 freighters anchored in lower Lake Huron on Thursday while she ate her lunch at Lakeside Beach. The spectacle, which started last week, likely will continue for another week or two.

“I was eating my lunch when I saw them,” Zells said. “First I just counted four, then seven, and then I realized there were 14. I had to take pictures, I love freighter watching, and I have never seen them this backed up before.”

Ice in Lake Superior and the St. Marys River like a traffic accident on a terrestrial highway caused the freighter jam.

“This is very unusual,” said Frank Frisk, Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron consultant. “It has only happened a few times, and it is worse than before.”

Freighter watchers might be getting a treat, but the backup is a problem for industries that rely on freighters for commodities such as iron ore and coal.

“Steel mills are hurting from a lack of iron ore and power plants have reported that their coal inventory is very low,” Frisk said. “And there is currently a big demand for steel right now since the economy is moving in a positive direction – automobiles, bridges, and buildings all need steel to be produced.”

One ship that set sail on March 23 did not deliver its first cargo until April 23, said Glenn Nekvasil, Lake Carriers’ Association vice president.

“Normally a ship would deliver four cargoes in one month,” Nekvasil said. “But this reminds me of the winter of 1994 when we were breaking ice in the St. Marys River until May 18.”

He said some manufacturers have had to curtail production because they lack raw materials.

“Ice is part of sailing the Great Lakes, but this is extreme,” Nekvasil said.

Lake Superior’s ice coverage is 40 percent, a 20 percent decrease from last week, said Mark Gill, U.S. Coast Guard director of vessel traffic services at Sault Ste. Marie. “Each wind event is drawing the ice down more and more,” Gill said. “But some of the floes still have a solid 18 to 24 inches of ice and are several hundred feet in diameter, so it’s still pretty substantial.”

In 2013, ice breaking was done by April 20. Currently, the U.S. Coast Guard has eight vessels working along with two Canadian Coast Guard vessels.

“So far we have had a 60 percent increase from last year in the amount of ice cutting hours logged,” Gill said. “We are probably looking at four more weeks of ice still.”

Gill said the ice could clear sufficiently to allow for normal traffic movement in 10 to 14 days. Until then shipments will continue to take two to three times longer than usual, Gill said.

Nekvasil said Thursday was the last day of convoys led by Coast Guard icebreakers.

“I’m not saying we won’t still have problems,” Nekvasil said. “But it is safe for the freighters to move on their own. We might still need to call the Coast Guard if a freighter gets stuck, but after today they are on their own.”

Freighters have had to wait for a convoy before they could head north, said Donna Wiliamson, Western Great Lakes Pilot District 3 chief dispatcher.

“There have also been delays because we have needed two pilots to accompany each captain through District Three, when normally just one pilot is necessary,” Williamson said. “The pilots from each district help the captains navigate the waters since they are experts of the Great Lakes and its ports.”

District 3, which comprises Lakes Superior, Huron and Michigan, has 13 available U.S. pilots and three Canadian pilots.

“The one good thing is that this summer season the water levels will be raised a considerable amount for commercial traffic,” Frisk said.

Karen Hadden, of Richmond, recalled only seeing so many freighters lined up when they were stuck in ice, and never at this time of year.

“Normally there is not so much ice to the north of us,” Hadden said. “I just wonder what they do out there on the ships all day since they can’t move.”

Port Huron Times Herald


In-bound lakers are fighting for normalcy

5/3 - Duluth, Minn. – The restlessness felt by those in the ports across the Great Lakes shipping system is at its peak on the heels of the Twin Ports' first major in-bound delivery Wednesday.

According to Duluth Seaway Port Authority Manager Adele Yorde, it's a reminder of the workload ahead of them.

"We pretty much lost April," said Yorde, at the Port Authority offices Thursday, "so, we're heading into May, and everybody will be working expediently to get those ships to their docks to load them, to turn them, to get them back out on open water."

The open water is there, but so is the ice, and the wind keeps it moving.

As of Wednesday afternoon, ice floes were still relatively thick in the eastern part of Lake Superior, from Whitefish Bay to Keweenaw.

The main objective is still getting coal and iron ore down to the steel mills and power plants along the lower Great Lakes, which have suffered or even closed temporarily due to the lack of raw materials.

But Yorde says the Arrowhead Region has had needs of its own, like the need for limestone in mining operations along the Iron Range. "There have been just as many folks waiting for those first vessels to arrive, and (Wednesday they) did," said Yorde, "so, we've got limestone on the dock again."

The demand for raw materials is fueling another industry. As the shipping season works around the clock to return to normal, boatwatchers are popping up along the Duluth Harbor piers.

"This is the only place within 2,342 miles that you can watch ships come in of that size," said Gene Shaw of Visit Duluth. Shaw says following vessels through the Great Lakes on on–line tracking maps has only heightened the boat watching buzz.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority says the Twin Ports could see its first saltie of the season as early as the middle of next week.

Northland News


Coast Guard sets icebreaking dates for Keweenaw, Gray’s Reef

5/3 - At the request of the Isle Royal National Park Service, the United States Coast Guard Cutter Katmai Bay will conduct icebreaking operations in the Keweenaw Waterway Tuesday, May 6, from the east in the lower entry at Keweenaw Bay, through the waterway and Portage lake ending at the open waters in Lake Superior at the upper entry. On May 4 the Coast Guard will open Gray’s Reef Passage at 8 a.m.


Salties with Great Lakes connections go for scrap

5/3 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships, with Great Lakes connections, going for scrap in the May 2014 issue.

An Kang Jiang came up the Seaway in October 1998 with a cargo of steel for Detroit. The ship returned to Valleyfield and Hamilton in 1999 but spent most of its life trading on saltwater. The Chinese flag general cargo carrier was built at Shimonoseki, Japan, in 1985 and sailed for China Ocean Shipping. It arrived at Ningde, China, on Jan. 8, 2014, for dismantling by Fujian Mindong Saiqu Economic.

Guang Ma 1 was built in 1984 as Silver Happiness and visited the Great Lakes the following year under the original name. In 30-years of trading, the ship carried a total of 11 names, including sailing on three different occasions as Silver Happiness. The vessel, last known as Guang Ma 1, arrived at Ningde, Fujian, China, back on Sept. 10, 2012, for scrapping.

Kaliope had been a Seaway caller as Fjordnes beginning in 1995. It headed was up bound in the Welland Canal for Duluth on Oct. 16, 1995, and returned down bound with magnesite and grain. The vessel was converted to the chemical tanker Kaliope, in 1997 and operated with registry in Bahamas and then the Marshall Islands. Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, the ship arrived at Aliaga for dismantling on January 27, 2014.

Kapitan Glazachyev came through the Seaway on Nov. 16, 1996, with a cargo of steel for Detroit. It was the first trip inland for the then, 20-year old Russian freighter. It was still registered in Russia and sailing for the Northern Shipping Co. when sold to Turkish shipbreakers in 2013. The vessel arrived at Aliaga for scrapping by Ege Gemi Sokum ve Tic. AS on Aug. 2, 2013.

Karonga was renamed on seven occasions and three of the renamings were to re-register the ship as Karonga. It came to the Great Lakes in 1997, during its first time under this name. The East German built freighter was scrapped under the eighth name of Lion following arrival at Alang, India, on Jan. 24, 2014.

The general cargo carrier Med Mermaid was built at Gijon, Spain, in 1979 and first sailed as Inma. As such, it came through the Seaway in 1980 and was sailing under a sixth name of Med Mermaid when sold to Turkish shipbreakers in 2014. The vessel arrived at Aliaga on Feb. 8 and scrapping got underway four days later.

Melissa was a small ocean going bulk carrier dating from 1976. The Dutch-built freighter was sailing under her fourth name of Kartho Vision when it entered the Seaway on July 25, 1993. The ship was bound for Erie, with a cargo of manganese ore, at the time. The vessel gained a sixth name of Melissa in 1999 and carried that to the scrapyard at Jingjiang, Jingsu, China, when it arrived on Jan. 26, 2014.

Trader came through the Seaway under three names. It traveled inland as Astorga in 1985, returned as Mar Caterina in October. 1990 and as Asphalt Trader in September 2002. The Spanish built tanker had trouble at the Snell Lock in 1989 and 1991 as Mar Caterina, grounded off Tampico, Mexico, as Asphalt Navigator on Jan. 5, 1999, and caught fire, while under repairs at Perama, Greece, as Asphalt Trader on Dec. 12, 1999. The ship arrived at the scrapping area of Gadani Beach, Pakistan, under a sixth name of Trader, on January 11, 2014.

Lakes related: One member of the Canada Steamship Lines deep-sea fleet has also been scrapped. CSL Atlantic, a self-unloading bulk carrier based on the Pacific and operated by CSL Australia Pty Ltd., arrived at Xinhui, Guandong, China, for scrapping on Dec. 31, 2013.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Seaway salties renamed

5/3 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed. Each made at least one visit into the Great Lakes/Seaway during their careers. Bulk Sunset, which came inland in 2012 for the first and only time with that name, is now the Moondy Bay of Bahamas. Maxima, which came inland for the first time in 2009, is now the HCEva Marie of Antigua/Barbuda. CEC Fantasy, which first came inland in 2004, is now Fatima III of Indonesia. Ruth Theresa, which made its only visit in 2011, is now the Slnc Pax of the U.S. flag. Clipper Katja, which first visited in 2008 and made its last visit in 2011, has been renamed Bonaire Trader of Malta. Clipper Tobago, which first visited in 2006 and last visited in 2007, is now the Arin 8 of Indonesia. Miramis, which made its only visit in 2012, is now the GSW Forward of Liberia. Fairchem Stallion, which also made its only visit in 2012, is now the MTM Antwerp of Singapore.

Denny Dushane


Sturgeon Bay marks Coast Guard City designation with weekend-long celebration

5/3 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A host of dignitaries will gather on Saturday morning, May 10 in Sawyer Park to formally honor the City of Sturgeon Bay on its recent designation as a Coast Guard City. The community is invited and encouraged to join in the celebration.

Rear Admiral Fred Midgette, senior commander for all Coast Guard operations throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, will be the presiding official at the proclamation ceremony. The festivities kick off at 10:30 a.m. with patriotic music, followed by the official proclamation ceremony at 11 a.m. A community family picnic hosted by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department and volunteers from Bay View Lutheran Church will follow immediately after the ceremony.

In addition to displays of Coast Guard boats and equipment, demonstrations, children's games and jump house, a fly-over and search and rescue demonstration by an MH-65C helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Travers City is planned. The H-65 will later land adjacent to Sawyer Park for display, viewing and an opportunity to meet the crew.

All events will take place in or near the Sawyer Park Pavilion at 36 S. Neenah Ave. on Sturgeon Bay's west side adjacent to the Maple-Oregon Bridge. In the event of inclement weather, the celebration and picnic will be moved to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Station/City Hall at 421 Michigan St.

The family picnic will feature brats, burgers, hotdogs, chips and soft drinks. All items will be available for sale individually or in meal specials. The burger or brat special includes a burger or brat, chips, cookie and beverage for only $4. A hotdog meal will be available for $3. Local Coast Guard personnel and their families will be treated to a complimentary picnic meal.

The festivities continue the next morning with a Mother's Day Community Breakfast at the Fire Station at 421 Michigan St. from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 11. Enjoy a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, fresh Door County cherries, fresh fruit, sausage and beverages at a cost of $5. All mothers, Coast Guard families, and children 3-years of age and under are free of charge. All mothers will also receive a complimentary flower.

The Coast Guard City program recognizes those communities that have made special efforts to acknowledge and support the military service and professional work of the Coast Guard men and women assigned to their area. The designation celebrates Sturgeon Bay's longstanding efforts to make Coast Guard men and women and their families feel at home during their tour of duty in the city. Sturgeon Bay is one of only 16 communities nationwide to be named a Coast Guard City and is the first, and only, in Wisconsin.


Lookback #167 – Bert Verge swamped on May 3, 1961

5/3 - The tug Bert Verge was built on speculation in 1956. While it was classed as Hull 17 of Port Weller Dry Docks of St. Catharines, the ship was actually built at the nearby Port Dalhousie shipyard above Lock 1 of the first three Welland Canals.

With no immediate buyer, the 54-foot-long tug worked in and around the shipyard until is was sold in 1959. The buyer took the tug to Hamilton and it saw limited service there.

On May 3, 1961, 53 years ago today, the Bert Verge was engaged in towing the retired steamer Forestdale on its last trip to the scrap berth at the Steel Company of Canada. Something went terribly wrong and the tug was pulled over on its beam ends and sank with the loss of two lives.

One of the casualties was the owner and, after being salvaged, the Bert Verge was laid up, eventually repossessed and resold. It saw very little additional service and was eventually resold to Nadro Marine. The tug Lois T. towed Bert Verge to Port Dover in July 1998 where it was rebuilt as a pleasure craft. It still serves in that capacity.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 3

News Photo Gallery


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.


Barge Sarah Spencer moved at Detroit

5/2 - Detroit, Mich. – The barge Sarah Spencer arrived at the Rouge River complex under tow Thursday afternoon. She has been in lay-up since November 2010 at the Nicholson Terminal dock. The barge – the former laker Adam E. Cornelius – was for sale during this time but no buyers were found. On Wednesday her articulated tug Jane Ann IV was towed to Toledo. It is unknown what the future holds for these two vessels, however both are still registered with Transport Canada.

Paul Huxley


Great Lakes ice blocks flow of grain, iron

5/2 - The biggest ice cover on the Great Lakes in decades is backing up shipments of everything from Canadian grain to U.S. iron and steel in one of North America's most important economic regions. The frigid winter and cool spring have hurt companies like Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and United States Steel Corp, and also hampered efforts to clear an unprecedented buildup of grain and oilseeds in Western Canada.

The Great Lakes region accounts for nearly one third of combined Canadian and U.S. output, jobs and exports, according to a report by Bank of Montreal on April 25.

Pittsburgh-based US Steel expects reduced second-quarter income from operations due to limited production and slower shipments of raw materials and finished goods, said Chief Executive Mario Longhi on a conference call on Wednesday about first quarter results.

"Ice conditions in the Great Lakes, and particularly Lake Superior, are the worst we have seen in over 30 years," Longhi said.

Vessels traveling across Lake Superior require an escort by ice-cutting equipment, limiting the number of ships and extending travel times, he said.

Cliffs Natural Resources, based in Cleveland, Ohio, said that the Great Lakes experienced more than 70 days of -30 degrees F (-34.4 Celsius) temperatures during the winter, making it hard for Cliffs to ship iron ore pellets to North American steel makers. Some steel makers have had to reduce or idle production, Cliffs’ Chief Executive Gary Halverson said on Friday.

The late ice cover compounds a backlog of Western Canadian grain, which piled up due to the frigid winter and record harvest overwhelming Canadian National Railway Co and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd, which move crops to port.

At Port of Thunder Bay, Ontario, 20 vessels are waiting to load grain, with about two-thirds of Lake Superior covered in ice, said the port authority's chief executive Tim Heney.

Heney expects a surge of activity for the next three weeks to clear terminals that are nearly full of grain after the port opened to navigation on its latest date on record. By then, the remaining shipping restrictions on Lake Superior should be lifted, Heney said.

Grain handlers including Cargill Ltd, Richardson International Ltd, Viterra and Parrish & Heimbecker own storage terminals at the port. Some coal shipments are also delayed, Heney said.

Vessels using the St. Lawrence Seaway, which connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean, restricted vessels in early April to one-way traffic in certain areas and navigation during daylight only, said Andrew Bogora, spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

The Seaway is now free of ice, but shipping volumes in April are likely to be light, he said.



Great Lakes ice cover from brutal winter could lead to a chilly summer

5/2 - Detroit, Mich. – The winter of 2013-14 demands that it be remembered.

A relatively cool spring will give way to a colder-than-usual summer locally, all because of the continuing impacts of the intensely frigid, snowy winter, scientists said. And at least one Great Lakes ice researcher thinks that the domino effect could continue into a chilly fall and an early start to next winter — and beyond.

The reason is the unusually late ice cover that remains on the Great Lakes. Heading into May, the Great Lakes combined remain 26 percent ice covered, with Lake Superior still more than half-blanketed in ice. By comparison, at this time last spring the lakes were less than 2 percent covered with ice.

The remaining levels of ice cover are amazing, said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

“This prolonged winter will affect summer temperatures. This summer will be cold, and then a cooler fall,” he said.

In addition to wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes shipping industry and impacting fish and other aquatic species, the miles of ice cover serve as a vast, white reflector.

“All that sunlight that would normally heat up the water is just bouncing back up into space,” said Jay Austin, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory, who agrees with Wang about the ice cover’s impacts on this summer, but disagrees about its potential impacts on weather beyond that.

And though the impact of Great Lakes water temperatures on local weather is complex, “the two are connected to some degree,” said Steve Colman, director of the Large Lakes Observatory.

“It’s going to tend to be cooler,” he said. “We’ll likely get more fog because of colder water temperatures and warmer air masses.”

The persistent ice led to “an absolutely crippling start to the shipping season,” said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, a trade group representing Great Lakes cargo haulers.

Icebreakers are still escorting convoys of barges hauling iron ore, cement and other products through the ice-jammed lakes, making for very slow going, he said.

One iron ore cargo ship that left port in western Lake Superior on March 23 did not deliver its first cargo on southern Lake Michigan until April 23, Nekvasil said.

“In 30 days they normally would have delivered four cargoes,” he said.

Iron ore shipments in March were down 43 percent over last year. The large U.S. Steel plant in Gary, Ind., scaled back production early last month due to its depleted supplies of iron ore.

A normal year has Coast Guard icebreakers logging 3,000 hours breaking channels through the lakes. With at least two more weeks of icebreaking to go, crews have logged 7,000 hours this winter and spring, said Mark Gill, director of vessel traffic services for the Coast Guard at Sault Ste. Marie.

Spring winds are compounding problems. Winds have stacked ice at the vital Duluth, Minn., ports 8-10 feet tall, Gill said.

Some good news came this week when the Coast Guard was able to break through its downbound channel, a preferred, deeper shipping route that allows carriers to haul heavier loads, Gill said.

Because the ice season started so early — the first week in December — and is continuing so late, “we’re going to face a real challenge here to rebuild stockpiles,” Nekvasil said.

Winter’s impact on the Great Lakes will lead to winners and losers in Great Lakes fish species, said Randy Claramunt, Great Lakes research biologist at the state Department of Natural Resources’ Charlevoix Fisheries Research Station.

“Some of the native species — such as lake whitefish — we’ve found cold winters and a long duration of ice cover can actually have a positive impact,” he said. The fish spawn on near-shore, shallow, rocky reefs in the fall, and their eggs incubate all winter long, Claramunt said. Ice cover tends to keep the eggs safe from predators.

Losers can include nonnative, invasive species that aren’t used to such cold, harsh climates, such as the round goby and quagga mussels, he said. But “it would take decades of long winters like this to eradicate them,” he said.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports -  May 2

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
The traffic parade continued Thursday, but in reverse order. Most of the ships that had arrived on Wednesday were departing on Thursday. American Courage departed at dawn after unloading stone, and was destined for Silver Bay, MN, for ore. Baie Comeau also departed in the early morning after loading ore. Cason J. Callaway, Thunder Bay, and CSL Tadoussac also departed throughout the day. On Friday, Algomarine is due in the early morning, and Tim S. Dool is due in the late morning with cement. Algoma Olympic, American Integrity, and Stewart J. Cort are also due in the evening, all for iron ore pellets.

Cedarville & Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
At Cedarville, Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Wednesday and was due to depart in the late evening. Wilfred Sykes also arrived on Wednesday to take the dock following the Kuber's departure. The barge Huron Spirit and tug Leonard M. were due on Thursday in the early afternoon. At Port Inland, Pere Marquette 41 arrived and loaded on Wednesday and departed in the late afternoon. Buffalo was next to arrive on Wednesday in the late afternoon and was to take the dock following the Pere Marquette 41. Wilfred Sykes was expected on Thursday in the early evening. Mississagi is due Friday in the early morning.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port Thursday morning loading cement for Whitefish, Ontario. The tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula arrived at Lafarge on Thursday to unload coal. The Alpena was expected to enter port sometime overnight after the Defiance departs.

Stoneport & Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded at Stoneport on Thursday and was due to depart around 9 a.m., with Herbert C. Jackson due early afternoon and the Great Republic in the late afternoon. Three vessels are scheduled for Friday, with the Manitowoc arriving in the early morning followed by the Lewis J. Kuber in the early evening and Pathfinder during the late evening. Manitowoc is due to load on Saturday during the late evening and rounding out the schedule will be the Lewis J. Kuber, due in on Sunday in the late evening. At Calcite, Great Lakes Trader loaded on Thursday and was due to depart the dock at about 7 a.m. Due on Friday in the early morning is Sam Laud for the South Dock. Calumet is due on Saturday in the early afternoon for the North Dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
With the start to the 2014 commercial shipping season on the Saginaw River one of the latest on record, the first passage not coming until April 29, there were only two passages recorded for the month. This is below the five year average of nine passages at this point of the season. The extreme ice conditions on the Great Lakes have played a huge part in the late start of the season and in the decrease in the number of passages. Ice conditions in fact are still affecting commercial shipping in general and will for weeks to come.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Manitowoc loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock Thursday. Due next at CSX is John D. Leitch on Sunday in the early morning. Two vessels are due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday, with the H. Lee White arriving in the morning followed by the James L. Kuber in the early evening. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin is due to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Saturday, May 31, during the early evening. At the Torco Dock, CSL Laurentien unloaded iron ore Thursday. Lakes Contender is expected to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Lee A. Tregurtha is due on Monday in the late morning, with two vessels due on Tuesday, May 6. James L. Kuber is due to arrive in the early morning, followed by the Atlantic Erie in the late evening. Manistee, the last of Toledo's 2013-14 winter lay-up fleet, departed on Tuesday. Three ASC vessels still remain in long-term lay-up, with the Adam E. Cornelius at Old Interlake Iron Dock and fleetmates American Fortitude and American Valor at the Lakefront Docks.


Great Lakes shipping will benefit from higher water levels

5/2 - Great Lakes water levels are up compared to a year ago, meaning ships will be able to carry more cargo — a silver lining for the ships slowly traversing the ice fields of Lake Superior.

Thanks to all the snow this winter, spring thaw has lifted water levels on all five of the Great Lakes. For the first time in several years, Superior is above its long-term average and lakes Michigan and Huron are up almost a foot from a year ago, albeit still 9 inches below normal.

Duluth Seaway Port facilities manager Jim Sharrow said that will translate into bigger cargoes because the ship’s drafts will be deeper.

“If that difference continues through the year, that will allow them to make up two lost cargoes per ship,” said Sharrow. “That will go a long ways for making up what was lost here with all this ice.”

Lake Carriers’ Association's Glen Nekvasil said ships have been bogged down in ice at a time when ice is usually not a problem, meaning significantly deeper water is great news.

“That would be a blessing right now because the way this season has gotten off to such a horrible start because of the ice,” said Nekvasil. “We are really behind the eight ball. We are going to be facing quite a challenge this year, so if we do get a couple of inches more draft because of higher water levels, that’ll be great.”

Sharrow said the economic recovery is driving higher demand for iron ore and coal. Iron ore orders are projected to be up 4 percent this year. “And coal demand (are projected) to be similar,” said Sharrow. “It might be a little bit higher because supplies are so low after such a cold winter around the Great Lakes. So, it’s going to be a very busy year and we don’t know if we’ll be able to make up all the tonnage that was lost.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects water levels will climb even higher in May, up another 2 to 4 inches on all the Great Lakes.

Wisconsin Public Radio


Bay Shipbuilding announces new contracts

5/2 - There’s good news coming out of Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay. The local division of Fincantieri Marine Group has announced that it has entered into several contracts with Moran Towing Corporation to build three oil/chemical barges and two tugs to be operated together as articulated tug barges or ATBs. Two of the barges will have a cargo capacity of 150,000 barrels, the other 110,000. The new vessels, intended for saltwater service, will be built entirely at the Bayship yard in Sturgeon Bay and are scheduled to be delivered separately over the next 24 months. Construction has already begun on the first units. Moran Towing, a New York corporation with offices in Connecticut, specializes in maritime transportation, harbor tug & towing assistance & currently operates in excess of 120 tugs & barges. Fincantieri is the fourth largest shipbuilder in the world. It’s marine group employs 2,000 people at three Wisconsin sites, Bay Shipbuilding, Marinette Marine & Ace Marine in Green Bay.



Gate installation will prompt St Lambert Lock closures

5/2 - Following maintenance work, lock gates N° 7 and 8 of St Lambert lock (lock 1) must be placed back in position at the lock. This operation will necessitate suspensions to navigation at the lock and which are planned for May 8 and 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Chicago stops short of petroleum coke ban

5/2 - Chicago, Ill. – Neighborhood groups on Tuesday failed to persuade Chicago aldermen to ban dusty piles of petroleum coke on the Southeast Side, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration scuttled a proposal that would have allowed factories to store and burn the refinery byproduct anywhere in the city.

A revised zoning ordinance from the mayor's office, sent to the City Council for an expected vote Wednesday, outlaws new storage terminals while requiring three existing operations along the Calumet River to file quarterly reports on the amount of petroleum coke and coal shipped through Chicago.

Emanuel aides said the zoning restrictions, combined with regulations that require the three terminals to enclose their piles within two years, will give Chicago the nation's toughest limits on black mounds of petroleum coke rising near refineries that are shifting to thicker, dirtier oil from the tar sands region of Alberta.

"While nothing in this world is perfect, this ordinance gets us closer to what we want," said Ald. John Pope, 10th, who dropped a proposal to ban petroleum coke citywide after Emanuel aides decided it likely wouldn't survive a court challenge.

Several residents bused to City Hall for a Zoning Committee hearing said the Emanuel administration had failed to back up the mayor's tough talk on the issue. They told aldermen that black dust blowing off uncovered piles of petroleum coke, also known as petcoke, pose health threats and create a nuisance that spoils family picnics and Little League games.

"We would like to have the same privileges that you do, to be able to have our windows open during the summer," Maria Diaz, a representative of a Marsh Elementary School parents group, said through an interpreter. "We need clean air to breathe."

Guillermo Rodriguez, another neighborhood resident, said the storage terminals offer a few dozen jobs but bring "stench, scandal and pollution."

Emanuel told local television and radio stations in February that his regulations and zoning changes would drive petcoke operators out of town. But an ordinance his administration presented to the zoning panel last month would have allowed companies to store and burn petcoke in Chicago if "consumed onsite as part of a manufacturing process."

Faced with a public outcry, the administration eliminated that provision in the revised ordinance. It still grants a special exemption tailored for Universal Cement, an arm of Mokena-based Ozinga Bros. that is permitted to use petcoke and coal to fuel a planned cement kiln at 117th Street and Torrence Avenue.

"Under this ordinance, Chicago will not become a dumping ground for petcoke and we are preventing this material from negatively impacting our communities," Bill McCaffrey, an Emanuel spokesman, said in a statement.

The mayor's office also has joined Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Gov. Pat Quinn in fighting two companies that store petcoke and coal on the Southeast Side.

KCBX Terminals, a company controlled by industrialists Charles and David Koch, faces a lawsuit filed by Madigan and Emanuel that accuses the company of violating air pollution laws at its facility off Burley Avenue between 108th and 111th streets. Another state and city lawsuit urges a Cook County judge to cite KCBX for violating water-quality and open-dumping laws by failing to prevent petcoke and coal from washing into the Calumet River at its 100th Street storage terminal.

A separate state order required Beemsterboer Slag Co. to remove petcoke and coal from its 106th Street storage terminal until the company resolves several permit issues.

In a statement, KCBX said it "will continue to ensure that our operations remain compliant with all local, state and federal regulations." Beemsterboer has not responded to requests for comment.

KCBX has a contract to store petcoke generated by the BP refinery just over the Indiana border in Whiting. BP recently completed an overhaul of the refinery that will more than triple its output of petcoke to 2.2 million tons a year.

Chicago Tribune Company


Duluth's Great Lakes Aquarium to launch new exhibit

5/2 - Duluth, Minn. – This summer there will be a brand new attraction at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. This popular destination on the north shore of Lake Superior always has a themed exhibit to attract visitors, and this year is a big one.

It’s called “Shipwrecks Alive,” and features a number of displays and video presentations that look into the depths to discover some of the hundreds of ships that lie on the bottom of the lake.

The staff of the aquarium literally immersed themselves in their subject. They took video cameras down to a well-known wreck near Silver Bay to capture shots of how the cold, dark waters of Superior preserve boats for 100 years or more.

Visitors this summer will also be able to see presentations on three of the lake’s most famous shipwrecks, a brand new tank with new colorful fish, even a zebra shark.

The new exhibit, which opens in July at the Aquarium on the lakeshore in downtown Duluth, is expected to cost more than $400,000, the most expensive in the history of this landmark attraction.


Brent "Chief" Michaels

5/2 - Brent "Chief" Michaels was taken to his final resting place in the upper St. Mary's river Saturday. He was escorted by his wife Pam son Chad And Grandson Brenton. Brent took his last trip through the ice of Lake Superior aboard the USCGC Mackinaw. We would like to extend our gratitude and thanks to the Capt. and crew for their participation and assistance in making Chiefs last trip possible. As a 28 year veteran of the USCG Brent spent a lot of time in the river ice breaking and it was very fitting that is where he wanted his final resting place to be.

Chad Michaels


Lookback #166 – Shelter Bay went aground on May 2, 1967

5/2 - The second Shelter Bay to sail as part of the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. ran aground in the Brockville Narrows of the St. Lawrence on May 2, 1967. The accident was caused when a bolt in the steering gear sheared, sending the vessel off course and on to a rock ledge.

The vessel was en route to Chicago with iron ore when it hit bottom, opening holes in the hull. Two days later, on May 4, the ship was refloated and soon headed to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

Shelter Bay had only joined Q. & O. in 1965 after previous service for the Interlake Steamship Co. as Jay C. Morse. The 552-foot-long bulk carrier had been built at Cleveland and was the largest vessel in company operations when it was launched on July 20, 1907.

Jay C. Morse had been idle at South Chicago from 1960 until sold and renamed Shelter Bay in 1965. The ship resumed service after repairs from the accident of 47-years ago today and traded for Q. & O. through the end of the 1978 season.

Sold to the Goderich Elevator Co., it was known as Shelter B. in 1979 and became D.B. Weldon (ii) later that year. The pilothouse was removed and placed on a cement pad at Goderich as a marine museum in 1981 and the ship continued to serve as a grain storage barge until 1983. It arrived at Thunder Bay on June 11, 1983, under tow of the tug W.J. Ivan Purvis, and was broken up for scrap by the Western Metals Co. in 1983 – 1984.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 2

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New for May, Leon Falk Jr. 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


Port Reports -  May 1

Duluth, Minn. - Daniel Lindner
The Twin Ports saw a lot of action Wednesday, after a few days with no vessel arrivals. Mackinaw led CSL Assiniboine out of port at 8:30 Wednesday morning, and then arrived again leading a convoy. Hon. James L. Oberstar, Cason J. Callaway, Thunder Bay, Whitefish Bay, Baie Comeau, CSL Tadoussac, and Baie St. Paul all arrived between noon and 1:30 on Wednesday afternoon. For the rest of Wednesday, American Courage was due in the evening with stone, and Baie Comeau was expected to depart from CN also in the evening. For Thursday, Algomarine is due in the morning, and Algoma Olympic is due to arrive in the late evening, both for iron ore cargoes.

Thunder Bay - Justin Eloranta and John Kuzma
Federal Elbe was the first saltie to load in Thunder Bay this year, tying up at Current River Elevator Wednesday morning. Federal Nakagawa made it into the bay late Tuesday evening. Also in port are the Frontenac at Mission Terminal, Kaministiqua at Richardson’s elevator and Mapleglen at Viterra.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
Karen Andrie and her barge A-397 departed Sturgeon Bay around 7 p.m. on Wednesday. They had arrived in port on Tuesday night for unknown reasons.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Interlake's tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder came in Wednesday evening with a load of stone. Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Mississagi was outbound from the Saginaw River, early Wednesday morning, after unloading on Tuesday at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw.

Toledo, Ohio
The long-idle tug Jane Ann IV arrived in Toledo under Wednesday from Detroit under tow of the tugs Kimberly Anne and Andrew J. She is tied up at the old ADM dock. It is not known why she came to Toledo, or what the fate of her barge, Sarah Spencer, will be.

Erie, Pa.
After anchoring in Lake Erie off of Presque Isle State Park for several days in high winds, the CSL Niagara moved into the harbor at 2 p.m. Wednesday to go to Donjon shipyard dry dock for repair. A tug assisted her into the graving dock during wind and rain.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Algorail departed the Gateway Metroport Terminal in Lackawanna around 5 Wednesday evening and was passing C.I.P. 16 Westbound at 7 p.m. The English River came in for LaFarge in the morning and departed in the afternoon.


Proposals for removal of Canadian Miner off Scaterie Island closed Tuesday

5/1 - Glace Bay, N.S. – Requests for proposals to remove the former Canadian Miner, which has been stranded off Cape Breton Island for more than two years, closed Tuesday.

"We're hoping within the next couple days, in the next week, to have some kind of idea who the successful (operator) is going to be to remove the vessel," said Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan.

The bulk carrier was being towed from Montreal to a scrapyard in Turkey in September 2011 when a line snapped and it became stranded off Scaterie Island. MacLellan, who is also the MLA for Glace Bay, said the time needed to remove the ship will be part of the proposal.

"They will tell us how long and then we’ll go back to the community to find out what they want to do because obviously it will impact the fishing season," he said.

"If the community wants us to wait until after the fishing season that's fine too. We're not going to impact the lobster season, the fishing season, for the boat this year. We’ll let the fishing take place and we'll do it after if that's what's needed."

MacLellan said decisions will be made once the successful bidder has been determined.

"If the successful bidder is ready to go right away they might be able to get a start on it and not interfere with the fishing season. I won't know that until I'm able to have a conversation with them."

The original request for proposals was issued in March and the deadline was April 23. MacLellan said 20 different organizations viewed the vessel earlier this month and some of those groups requested specific information and extra time to produce a proposal which led to the deadline extension.

"That's a good sign, the fact a number of the 20 were coming back for additional information," he said. "It's obviously going to be a very delicate project with the human safety and occupational health and safety realities and the environment. There's lots to it so the fact these companies are being very diligent and working on every last detail is a good sign.”

MacLellan said the government is hoping the price (of removal) is going to be a reasonable value for Nova Scotians.

Cape Breton Post


Marinette ships spared cuts, for now

5/1 - Washington, D.C. – Funding for naval combat ships built by Marinette Marine Corp. has remained largely intact in initial budget legislation released Tuesday by the House Armed Services Committee.

The legislation, which still must pass the committee and House, would authorize funding for two littoral combat ships to be built, one by Marinette, a subcontractor of Lockheed Martin, and another by Alabama contractor Austal USA. It also authorizes funding for each to begin work on a second ship.

The Obama administration had proposed cutting this year’s order of ships from four to three and said production would be paused at 32 ships overall, short of the 52 envisioned. There had been talk on Capitol Hill in recent days that no ships would be funded in the coming year.

Green Bay-area Rep. Reid Ribble, whose district includes Marinette Marine, said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the future of the shipbuilding program.

“This is a step in the right direction,” he said. “This could have been anywhere from zero ships to four full ships. To (AT)get two ships and an advance procurement for two more, that’s a pretty good result. But this is one step in the journey.”

A naval seapower subcommittee is scheduled today to consider the draft legislation, which is part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It must then pass the Armed Services Committee and the full House. The Senate also must pass its version of the defense spending bill.

When multi-ship contracts under the program were awarded in 2010, the Navy’s plan had been to buy four littoral combat ships in fiscal 2015. So, the committee’s authorizing only two complete ships still falls short of what lead contractor Lockheed Martin had expected.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Lookback #165 – Arlington sank on May 1, 1940

5/1 - It was 74-years ago today that the steamer Arlington foundered in Lake Superior. The vessel, loaded with 97,778 bushels of wheat and bound for Owen Sound, had cleared Port Arthur the previous day and was on its second trip of the 1940 season.

The ship began leaking in bad weather en route to the Soo Locks. It is surmised that water caused the grain to swell and a bulkhead gave way flooding the engine room. Arlington sank stern first at 0515 hours on May 1, 1940, and Capt. Burke went down with his ship. The other 16 sailors on board were picked up by the Collingwood.

Arlington was built at Wyandotte, MI in 1913 as F.P. Jones of the George Hall Coal & Trading Co. The 257 foot steamer went to saltwater during World War Two but returned inland late in 1919 after a sale to the Great Lakes Transportation Co. Renamed Glencadam in 1920, the ship was modified at Midland for service carrying sugar on the Caribbean but came back to the Great Lakes without having much success in this trade.

The vessel joined the Mathews fleet as Arlington in 1924. This service ended when the owner went into receivership in 1931. The ship was acquired by the Colonial Steamship Co. on Nov. 28, 1933, but saw only limited service on their behalf. It was chartered to George Hindman for the pulpwood trade in 1935 and sold to the Burke Towing & Salvage Co. in 1936. Arlington continued in the grain and pulpwood trades until being lost on May 1, 1940.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  May 1

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Apollon, Clipper Mari, Federal Weser, Lubie, Orla, and Vancouverborg


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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