Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Today in Great Lakes History - June 30

On 30 June 1917, while being towed out of the Milwaukee River by the tugs WELCOME and KNIGHT TEMPLAR, the Goodrich Lines’ CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (steel propeller whaleback passenger steamer, 362 foot, 1511 gross tons, built in 1893, at West Superior, Wisconsin), with 413 passengers onboard, was caught by the current and swung close to shore. The overhang of her snout-bow sheered off two legs of the water tower of the Yahr-Lang Drug Company and the tower fell onto the vessel, destroying the pilothouse and forward decks. The water from the tower rushed down the length of the upper decks. 16 were killed and over 20 were seriously injured. The surviving passengers were taken to Chicago by train. The vessel was repaired and put back into service the following year.

On 30 June 1900, MARIAN TELLER (wooden propeller tug, 52 foot, 33 gross tons, built in 1879, at West Bay City, Michigan) was towing the barge CANTON on Lake St. Clair. The TELLER sprang a leak about one mile from the Lake St. Clair Lightship. The rising water put out her fires. In the scramble to escape, the yawl was swamped and three lives were lost. Only Captain Cornwall and his son were saved when the passing steamer NORWALK picked them up.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history

CSL Niagara Aground

8 a.m. update
The CSL Niagara was freed early Wednesday morning and got underway about 4:30 a.m. Shortly after 6 a.m. she was westbound at Cape Vincent with an ETA of 9:40 for Sodus Point. She has a cargo of coke from Quebec City, her destination is unknown.

Original Report
About 1 p.m. Tuesday the CSL Niagara grounded in the St Lawrence Seaway near St. Helena island about 1/4 mile east of the 1000 Island Bridge. The vessel reportedly lost steering and grounded on a shoal. The vessel was reported to be taking on water in her forepeak but her pumps were keeping up with the flooding and no injuries were reported. Damage was reported to be minor.

Navigation in the area was temporarily suspended but resumed later that afternoon. The Niagara was able to refloat itself while waiting for inspectors to arrive.

Divers inspected the vessel late Tuesday night and notices were issued for all vessels to stay clear of the CSL Niagara. A 100 foot safety zone has been established around the vessel. The ships is aground at St. Helena Island, her bow is about 15 feet off shore and the ship angles out into the channel.

Pictures from the Kingston Whig-Standard
Aerial view Ian McAlpine
Another view
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Reported by: Brian Johnson and Ron Walsh

Today in Great Lakes History - June 29

On 29 June 1910, ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2626 gross tons, built in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) made her first trip in regular service for the Goodrich Line from Chicago to Grand Haven and Muskegon. She ran opposite the VIRGINIA.

On 29 June 1902, GEORGE DUNBAR (wooden propeller freighter, 134 foot, 238 gross tons, built in 1867, at Allegan, Michigan) was loaded with coal when she was damaged by a sudden squall on Lake Erie near Kelley’s Island and sank. Seven of the crew elected to stay aboard while the skipper, his wife and daughter made for shore in the lifeboat. Those three were saved but the seven perished on a makeshift raft.

The CHARLES M SCHWAB (Hull#496) was launched in 1923, at Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co., for the Interlake Steamship Co. Lengthened with a new midbody and repowered with the stern section of the tanker GULFPORT in 1961. Sold Canadian in 1975, renamed b.) PIERSON DAUGHTERS and c.) BEECHGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1995.

On June 29, 1962, the HAMILTONIAN began her maiden voyage for Eastern Lake Carriers (Papachristidis Co. Ltd.). Renamed b.) PETITE HERMINE in 1967. Purchased by Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972, renamed c.) CANADIAN HUNTER. Scrapped at Alang, India in 1996.

The JOSEPH L BLOCK was christened on June 29, 1976, for Inland Steel Co..

The Canadian schooner DUNSTOWN arrived at Malden, Ontario on 29 June 1875, to be put in place as a lightship. Her sides were painted in large white letters: BAR POINT LIGHTSHIP.

On 29 June 1864, ALVIN CLARK (2-mast wooden schooner, 113 foot, 220 tons, built in 1846, at Truago (Trenton), Michigan) foundered in a terrific squall off Chambers Island on Green Bay. Two of the crew were rescued by the brig DEWITT, but three lost their lives. In 1969, a schooner identified as the CLARK was raised at great expense and put on display for some time at Marinette, Wisconsin, then at Menominee, Michigan, but it only lasted until 1995 when it was destroyed.

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

99 year old St. Mary's Challenger Sails

On the evening of June 24 the venerable steamer St. Mary's Challenger started her 99th year of operation on the Great Lakes, sailing light from Milwaukee to Charlevoix to load cement. The St. Mary's Challenger is the former Southdown Challenger, and former Medusa Challenger.

She is the oldest operating vessel on the Great Lakes. With the Challenger in active service again, her fleetmate St. Mary's Conquest has entered indefinite layup in South Chicago.

Reported by: Paul Erspamer and Dustin Sadowski

Tug Norfolk heads for Sturgeon Bay

Late Monday afternoon then the tug Gulf Service was upbound in the Welland Canal towing the tug Norfolk, the pair tied up at Wharf 2 for Canal Inspection. The Norfolk is on her way to Sturgeon Bay to be converted into an for use with the the new Lafarge cement barge under construction.

The tug Gulf Service is a large raised pilothouse tug from New Orleans and may push the new barge for a time if the Norfolk is not ready when the barge is placed in service. The Norfolk is also a very large tug that at one time was owned by McKeil Marine and named Vortice before sustaining a fire years ago.

Reported by: Brian Wroblewski

Re-construction of HMAS Welcome launched in Traverse City

On Saturday the reconstruction of His Majesty’s Armed Sloop Welcome tasted lake water again for the first time since 1992. The reproduction tall ship was originally launched in 1980 for Mackinac State Historic Parks. By 1992 the vessel had been allowed to deteriorate and was handed over to the Maritime Heritage Alliance of Traverse City to be restored. Due to excessive rotting much of the hull had to be rebuilt. Saturday’s launch was the culmination of over 50,000 man-hours of work spent restoring the vessel. Over the course of the summer the ship will have her masts and rigging added, by next year the ship will be operational and be sailing the Great Lakes once more. Many spectators attended the launch at the Maritime Heritage Alliance’s “Heritage Harbor” dock site. In addition to the launch of the ship they were treated to 18th century period music, a brief speech about the ship’s history and a demonstration by the re-enactors of The King’s or 8th Regiment of Foot.

The original HMAS Welcome was built in 1775 at Fort Michilimackinac by local trader John Askin. Late in 1775, due to the start of America’s War for Independence, Gov. Guy Carleton declared martial law on the Great Lakes. Askin’s sloop was now assigned cargos by British Military officers of the various Lakes posts. She was to transport trade goods, supplies and the men of the King’s or 8th Regiment of Foot who garrisoned the region. In 1778 she was purchased by the British Government and was brought into the Royal Navy’s Great Lakes Squadron and placed under the command of Leftenant Alexander Harrow. The Welcome was most noted for her participation in moving the community at Fort Michilimackinac to a more defendable location on Mackinac Island in 1780. Over the winter of 1780-81 the vessel was badly damaged by ice at her dock on Mackinac Island, she was deemed a total loss and scuttled. The final resting place of the original Welcome is not known.

Reported by: The King’s or 8th Regt of Foot

Port Reports

Reported By: Paul Erspamer
On Friday the Maumee was unloading salt in the inner harbor in close company with the Lee A. Tregurtha, which was unloading coal at the Greenfield Ave. We Energies site. Saturday the saltie Ziemia Gornoslaska finished unloading at the northernmost outer harbor pier and exited directly onto Lake Michigan.

Welland Canal
Reported By: Brian Wroblewski
Monday afternoon the tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 were locking downbound at Lock 3 around 5 p.m. She passed the upbound Edward M Cotter and the fireboat took the lock from her after they signaled on the one whistle.

At 6 p.m. the English River came in and passed the tugs Gulf Service and Norfolk while inbound to Lock 1. It made for an interesting scene since the Norfolk may end up replacing the English River in the future.

The Cotter's Captain called the English River's skipper on the radio and asked him when he was due in Buffalo. The captain of the Cotter is also a Buffalo tug captain and wanted to make sure they got back in time to switch to the "G" tugs before the English River arrived for her tow up to the LaFarge Dock. They made arrangements for 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Back in Buffalo, the Adam E Cornelius was docked at the North West end of the Gateway Pier in Lackawanna at about 8 p.m. It looked like she had just unloaded a large pile of stone and was ready to leave.

Today in Great Lakes History - June 28

On June 28, 1938, at 8:50 a.m., the WILLIAM A IRVIN departed Duluth with her first cargo of iron ore for Lorain, Ohio. 48 years later, in 1986, almost to the minute, the WILLIAM A IRVIN opened as a museum to the public.

The ATLANTIC SUPERIOR arrived at the Algoma Steel Plant, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on her maiden voyage in 1982, with a load of taconite but before she was unloaded christening ceremonies were conducted there.

The SAM LAUD ran aground June 28, 1975, on a shoal south of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, with a cargo of coal from Chicago, Illinois for Green Bay, Wisconsin. Six-thousand tons of coal were off-loaded the next day into the NICOLET, a.) WILLIAM G MATHER, before she could proceed to Green Bay along with the NICOLET to discharge cargoes. SAM LAUD entered the dry dock at Sturgeon Bay on July 3rd for repairs. She had suffered extensive bottom damage with leakage into seven double bottom tanks and the forepeak. She returned to service on August 21, 1975.

On 28 June 1893, JAMES AMADEUS (wooden propeller tug, 65 foot, 44 gross tons, built in 1872, at Cleveland, Ohio) sprang a leak and foundered near Cleveland, Ohio. Her crew abandoned her just before she went down.

On 28 June 1909, TEMPEST (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 138 foot, 370 gross tons, built in 1876, at Grand Haven, Michigan) burned to a total loss while unloading coal at the Galnais Dock at Perry Sound, Ontario. She was consumed very quickly and six of her crew were killed.

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

CSL Assiniboine Moved from Dry Dock

The CSL Assiniboine was moved Sunday afternoon at Port Weller Dry Docks from the dry dock to the fit out wall. Assisting were the tugs Vac, Seahound and Glenevis.

Christening of the vessel will take place in a private ceremony mid week. The Assiniboine is the former Jean Parisien, the vessel entered Port Weller Dry Docks last fall to begin conversion to a SeawayMax type vessel.

This conversion involved a $30 million forebody replacement and steel renewal work that increased her length to 740-feet, she is the fourth vessel in the CSL fleet to receive a completely new Canadian built hull, extending the life of the vessel by 25 years. The other three self-unloaders of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet having already received the life extending new forebody include the CSL Niagara, the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, and the CSL Laurentien.

Reported by: Jimmy Sprunt

Lake Ontario Ferry Returns

The Rochester to Toronto ferry "The Cat" formerly known as the Spirit of Ontario 1, returned to Toronto Wednesday around 10 a.m. for docking trials and publicity. The Cat then returned to Rochester that evening. Regular passenger service is expected to resume on June 30 when the Cat departs Rochester at 8 a.m. for Toronto. Service was originally planned to resume on June 17 but engine repairs, which took longer than expected, delayed the startup.

The ship will still be flying under a Bahamian flag until the crew is fully trained and the ship can be flagged with a U.S. flag. Until that happens, the Rochester Ferry Co. spend thousands of dollars a day on piloting fees.

In related news, the city of Toronto will officially cut the ribbon on a new $10.5 million terminal for the high-speed ferry Monday. The ceremony was scheduled for noon at the Toronto port. The Cat will be on hand for the event, scheduled to leave the Port of Rochester that morning.

Construction on the 38,000 square foot facility began last year at the foot of Cherry Street on the city's industrial waterfront. The new terminal replaces a temporary facility that often left passengers standing in line outside waiting for a ticket or for clearance by customs.

Reported by: Charlie Gibbons

Detroit Princess Sets Sail

Adding to Detroit's tour boat fleet, the Detroit Princess received its U.S. Coast Guard certification papers Friday afternoon allowing it to start tours on the Detroit River.

The Princess is a 222-foot, five-deck replica of a Mississippi riverboat that was built in 1993 in Louisiana. The ship underwent an extensive refit in Toledo to be converted from a river boat casino to a tour boat.

The Detroit Princess is hosting regular public river cruises featuring meals and entertainment, private charters and special event cruises.
For more information visit

Boblo Boat Returns to the Detroit River

Thursday evening the former Boblo Boat Ste Claire was towed up the Detroit River by the tug Superior to dock in Windsor in front of the casino and directly across the river from Detroit's Renaissance Center.

The Ste Claire will remain docked there at least through the end of the International Freedom Festival. The biggest event is expected to be a party aboard the boat Wednesday for paying customers to enjoy music, dinner and the Detroit fireworks.

Daytime tours of all three decks will be offered while the boat remains in Windsor. On weekend nights visitors can experience the "Nautical Nightmare" aboard the boat, a fright attraction that the Ste. Claire Foundation has used in Ohio as a fund-raiser. The owners said money raised through the tours and haunted attraction helps to pay for its continuing restoration.

After Windsor the boat is expected to make its way back Downriver, to River Rouge's Belanger Park. It could remain there for the rest of the summer and possibly through fall. Plans aren't finalized in River Rouge, but it's expected that volunteers will be able to sign up and assist in the restoration.

"It's 99 percent locked in," said City Commissioner Tony Laginess. "It could be here through Halloween. The turnout could be phenomenal. People are dying to see that boat."

When the Ste. Claire was docked in Toledo for a brief period it drew thousands of people. Although it was built there 95 years ago, Laginess believes that the Ste. Claire doesn't evoke the same nostalgic memories in Toledo residents as it does with Detroiters, in particular those from Downriver.

For most of the past three years, under the ownership of John Belko and Diane Evon, the Ste. Claire has been in Lorain, Ohio, undergoing a slow but steady restoration effort. Former fleetmate, the Columbia remains docked in Ecorse, in a state of decay, awaiting a possible purchase and restoration by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

Last year, the couple had made plans to bring the Ste. Claire to Wyandotte, but plans fell through at the last minute. For logistical reasons, Wyandotte officials didn't warm up to the idea of having the boat docked at Bishop Park last summer.

Belko and Evon, who together compose the Ste. Claire Foundation, were disappointed but didn't lose their desire to bring the boat home to where they believe it has a special connection to so many of the area's residents.

Earlier this spring they met with a group of Boblo boat enthusiasts at the Lincoln Park Public Library to discuss possible locations for the boat this summer. "We wanted to do some brainstorming and get people's opinions about how to utilize the ship this summer in the Detroit area," Belko said. Although they concentrated on docking the boat somewhere in the Downriver area, they were met with enthusiastic support on the other side of the border.

As of Thursday night. the boat is docked in a prominent location in Windsor, just in front of the casino and directly across the river from Detroit's Renaissance Center.
Photos of the tow can be found in the News Gallery

Reported by: Port Huron News-Herald

International Tug Boat Race a Success

The Detroit River came alive Saturday with roaring diesels and blaring air horns when tug boats of all sizes raced for glory and trophies in the International Tug Boat Race.

22 tugs of all sizes raced in the 29th annual event with the Detroit based Shannon taking First Place overall.

Visit for more information and pictures.

Port Reports

Reported By: Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly arrived in Marquette Wednesday with a load of coal. She was expected to take on ore once she finished unloading. the Michipicoten was also expected at the ore dock. The Herbert C. Jackson, Mesabi Miner, Kaye E. Barker, and American Mariner are also on the schedule for the next few days.

Reported By: Ben & Chanda McClain
On June 20 the Saginaw made its way into Lafarge, tied up at the coal dock around 1 p.m. and had to carefully position the self unloader into the opening of the storage hopper on the the opposite side of the coal piles. The Saginaw then proceeded to unload its cargo, possibly slag.

The Paul H. Townsend departed lay-up in Muskegon last week and arrived in Alpena about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday to load cement for Whitefish, ON. The Townsend returned to port on Friday evening to load cement and was in Detroit on Sunday.

Also on Wednesday night an American Steamship vessel was seen leaving the bay, which likely delivered coal to Lafarge. Early Thursday morning the Alpena took on cargo bound for Superior and Duluth and is expected to return to its namesake port June 27.

The four masted schooner Windy II made a stop in Alpena on Thursday and tied up in the Thunder Bay River. The Windy II was taking people out on excursions in the bay at various times during the day, drawing much attention and sold out rides.

The J.A.W Iglehart arrived in Alpena Sunday morning after making two trips on the lower lakes to Bath, ON. The Iglehart departed by early afternoon for Green Bay. The Sam Laud backed into Lafarge on Sunday morning to unload coal.

The Wolverine brought two loads of coal to Lafarge on June 8 and June 17.

The G.L Ostrander has been making stops at various Lake Michigan ports over the last few days and is due back on Monday night.

Saginaw River
Reported By: Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River Sunday afternoon with a split load. She stopped to lighter at the Sargent Dock in Essexville and then continued upriver to finish at the Buena Vista Dock in Saginaw. Manistee was expected to be outbound early Monday morning.

On Wednesday, the Saginaw River saw the Canadian Transfer call at an unknown Saginaw dock during the morning hours. She was back outbound for the lake later in the day.

Also on Wednesday, the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were inbound for the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair was outbound early Thursday morning. On Friday, the Mississagi called on the Bay City Wirt dock to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Saturday morning.

Monday on the Saginaw River saw a trio of vessels outbound. The Algoway was outbound in the morning after unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The tug Donald C. Hannah and her barge were next after unloading at Dow Chemical in Bay City and finally the tug G.L. Ostrander & barge Integrity were outbound after unloading at the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton.

Tuesday saw the Algorail inbound during the early morning calling on the Buena Vista Dock to unload. She was finished by the afternoon and departed for the Sixth Street Turning Basin and was then headed for the lake. Also inbound Tuesday was the tug Karen Andrie and barge A397 bound for the Triple Clean Liquifuels dock in Essexville. They were expected to be outbound on Wednesday.

Reported By: Charlie Gibbons
The cement storage barge Metis has returned to service in a new role as a fireworks barge. Wednesday afternoon it was hauled out of the south slip at Essroc by the tug Salvage Monarch. After loading explosives at Marine Terminal 28, the barge was hauled out the East Gap and was taken to Humber Bay, where it is anchored off Ontario Place for the Festival of Fire, which begins Saturday night with a fireworks display from Greece.

The brigantine Playfair was refloated at Toronto Drydock Wednesday afternoon. It returned to its harbor berth.

The schooner Empire Sandy departs Toronto Friday afternoon for Bronte harbour, where it will participate in the Waterfront Festival Friday and Saturday night. Also bound for the Bronte Waterfront Festival are C & C Marine's tug Patricia D. 1 and the barge Rock Prince. The latter will serve as a fireworks platform anchored off Oakvill'e Centennial Park.

Trip Auctions

On our trips page, a Trip Auction for your Choice of a cruise on the classic steamer Lee A. Tregurtha or the Queen of the Lakes Paul R. Tregurtha.

Boat trips are rare, auctions are even rarer. Most trips are made available to the public only through raffles. This is a rare chance to book a cruise on a working freighter. Click here for more information

Help Wanted

Long time News Page Editor George Wharton is stepping down as editor due to an aggravated back condition. He will continue to work in the background in the maintenance and upgrading of the website pages and providing backup as needed.

We are grateful to George for his tireless efforts in keeping the site updated and spending countless hours editing pictures, news stories and web pages.

If you are interested in helping to edit the news page please e-mail

Photo Gallery Updates

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering
If you have pictures from the Soo Gathering Please add them to the Public Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery
New albums in the Shipping, Lighthouses, Transportation/Trains and Post Cards/Collectables/Artwork Galleries Public Photo Gallery

Tug Race Gallery

Today in Great Lakes History - June 27

On 27 June 1892, in rain and fog, the FRED A MORSE (wooden schooner, 182 foot, 592 gross tons, built in 1871, at Vermilion, Ohio) was being towed downbound by the HORACE A TUTTLE (wooden propeller freighter, 250 foot, 1585 gross tons, built in 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio) about 12 miles southeast of Thunder Bay on Lake Huron, both carrying loads of iron ore. At the same time, JOHN C PRINGLE (wooden propeller freighter, 173 foot, 474 gross tons, built in 1880, at Detroit, Michigan) was sailing upbound in that vicinity with a load of coal and Italian marble with the schooners HARRISON, SWEETHEART and SUNSHINE in tow. At 1:30 a.m., the PRINGLE collided with the schooner MORSE which sank in less than 15 minutes. The crew made it to the TUTTLE in the lifeboat, although one woman was badly injured. The PRINGLE's bow was stove in, her deck planks forward were split and spread, her bulwarks torn away, and her anchors and foremast were lost. She cast off her tow and made for Alpena, Michigan, where she arrived later in the day.

At 1:30 a.m., 27 June 1892, the JOHN C PRINGLE (wooden propeller freighter, 173 foot, 474 gross tons, built in 1880, at Detroit, Michigan) collided with the schooner FRED A MORSE (wooden schooner, 182 foot, 592 gross tons, built in 1871, at Vermilion, Ohio) off Thunder Bay Island on Lake Huron. The MORSE sank in less than 15 minutes. The MORSE was being towed by the HORACE A TUTTLE at the time and the TUTTLE picked up the crew of the MORSE. The PRINGLE had been sailing upbound with a load of coal and Italian marble. She made it into Alpena although severely damaged.

At 4:04 p.m. on 27 June 1890, the Beatty Line’s MONARCH (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 240 foot, 2017 tons) was launched at Sarnia, Ontario. The launching was watched by numerous people on the decks of various steamers and on both sides of the St. Clair River. The MONARCH was built of white oak and braced with iron. She had 62 staterooms

Package freighter CHIMO (Hull#662) was launched in 1967, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. In 1983, CHIMO’s stern was attached to the bow and cargo section of the HILDA MARJANNE to create the CANADIAN RANGER.

WILLIAM EDENBORN (Hull#40) (steel propeller freighter, 478 foot, 5085 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co. for the American Steamship Co., Duluth (A.B. Wolvin, mgr.) on 27 June 1900.

PRETORIA (3-mast schooner-barge, 338 foot, 2790 gross tons) was launched at J. Davidson's yard (Hull #94) in West Bay City, Michigan on 27 June 1900. Mr. Davidson built her for his own fleet. She was one of the largest wooden vessel ever built and lasted until September 1905 when she sank in Lake Superior.

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

Downswing possible for Twin Ports coal

Ontario plans to pull the plug on the last of its coal-fired power plants by 2009, and if it does, a lot less coal likely will flow through the Twin Ports.

Midwest Energy Resources Co. would lose a major customer if Ontario Power Generation shuts down a 4,000-megawatt power station it operates in Nanticoke on the shores of Lake Erie.

Midwest president Fred Shusterich referred all questions about Nanticoke's coal orders to Ontario Power. John Earl, Ontario Power's manager of media relations, declined to say how much of Nanticoke's coal comes from Midwest, explaining that "Much of our fueling strategy is considered commercially sensitive."

A source well-acquainted with Nanticoke's operations said a high proportion of the coal used at the plant arrives via lakers loaded at Midwest's Superior terminal. Between June 23-29, six lakers are scheduled to load more than 200,000 tons of coal at Midwest with fuel for Nanticoke. That's roughly one-third of the coal Midwest will load this week.

"Coal has become a big deal for the Twin Ports," said Ron Johnson of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. He said the steady growth of coal cargo helped lake carriers survive when taconite shipments slumped.

In 2000, 2001 and 2003, coal surpassed taconite as the No. 1 cargo moving through the Twin Ports. Johnson said the growth of coal shipments through the Twin Ports has been impressive. "In 1973, our coal shipments were next to nothing," he said.

But the Clean Air Act created new markets for low-sulfur coal being mined from Wyoming's Powder River Basin, Johnson said. Growing demand for Western coal led to the construction of the Superior terminal now run by Midwest. Today, the facility employs 81.

The potential impact of Nanticoke's closure on the Superior terminal remains unclear.

Ontario has postponed Nanticoke's shutdown once. Dwight Duncan, the province's energy minister, had pledged to close the plant by 2007 but pushed the date to 2009. "We think it's a positive development because the province needs more time to figure out how to keep our power supply dependable and affordable," said Scott McCammon, vice president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, calling the delay "a brave step."

Even strong proponents of quickly decommissioning coal plants have accepted the slower timeline.

"We needed extra time to do the job right," said Jack Gibbons, chairman of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. He said meeting the original goal would have required converting Nanticoke's power units to run on natural gas instead of coal, but would have resulted in a plant that ran at only 34 percent efficiency. Newer units designed to run on natural gas, Gibbons said, operate at 80 percent efficiency.

Reported by: Duluth News Tribune

Today in Great Lakes History - June 26

On 26 June 1890, the SKATER (wooden propeller excursion steamer, 85 foot, 65 gross tons, built in 1890, at Detroit, Michigan) burned to the water’s edge about 20 miles north of Manistee, Michigan. The crew did not even have time to save their clothes, but they all escaped unharmed. The SKATER had just been fitted out for the season and had started her summer route on Traverse Bay. She was rebuilt in Cleveland and lasted until 1942, when she was abandoned at Michigan City, Indiana.

On 26 June 1895, the GEORGE FARWELL (wooden propeller steam barge, 182 foot, 977 gross tons) was launched by Alexander Anderson at Marine City, Michigan. After leaving the ways, she looked like she would capsize, but she righted herself. About 500 people watched the launch. She was taken to the Atlantic Coast in 1900. She only lasted until 1906, when she stranded on Cape Henry, Virginia and was a total loss.

On 26 June 1867, WATERS W BRAMAN (wooden propeller tug, 89 tons, built in 1858, at Boston, Massachusetts for the U.S.Q.M.C. and named RESCUE) was near Pelee Island in Lake Erie when fire started in her coal bunker and quickly spread. Her crew abandoned her in the yawl and were later picked up by the propeller TRADER. She had been sold by the Quartermaster Corps just the previous year and she had come to the Lakes from the East Coast just five weeks before this accident.

On 26 June 1900, Boynton & Thompson purchased the wreck of the NELLIE TORRENT (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 141 foot, 303 gross tons, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) to raised her. She had been destroyed by fire at Lime Island near Detour, Michigan on 22 June 1899.

On 26 June 1882, the Port Huron Times reported that the ARAXES (wooden propeller, 182 foot, 569 gross tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) sank in the Straits of Mackinac. She was raised on 6 July 1882, and repaired. She was built in 1856, and lasted until the summer of 1894, when she sank 4 miles off Bay City in Saginaw.

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

Former Detroit Marine Terminal Set to Reopen

The Detroit Marine Terminal, a once bustling port that handled hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo annually before a financial crisis shut it down a year ago, will reopen this month under new management and a new name.

Grosse Pointe millionaire Manuel J. "Matty" Moroun is part of the new leadership team at the terminal, which will be known as the Port of Detroit. The Ambassador Port Co. in Detroit, an affiliate of Moroun's Warren-based company, CenTra Inc., agreed to pay off $3 million in bonds the previous owner defaulted on in exchange for becoming a managing partner. CenTra and its related companies own and operate hundreds of trucks as well as local rail lines.

"We plan to make the Port of Detroit a true intermodal facility where materials flow in and out and where we easily transfer cargo containers and products between ships, trucks and rail cars," said Dan Stamper, a director of Ambassador Port Co.

Stamper, also president of Moroun's Detroit International Bridge Co., which owns and operates the Ambassador Bridge, said shipping by vessel is about 20 percent cheaper than rail, truck or air service.

"We see a lot of potential for the port," he said. "We feel it could help reduce truck traffic on public roads and the bridge."

The port's previous owner, Detroit Marine Terminals Inc., defaulted on the bonds as U.S. tariffs and booming demand in China drove up the price of steel, the terminal's main import, and companies cut back on shipping.

With the tariffs lifted earlier this year and China's economy cooling, Port of Detroit managers expect the 1800s-era facility to move shipments of coiled steel for the automotive and manufacturing industries, as well as auto parts, lumber, agricultural goods and consumer products.

Michigan is home to more than 40 commercial ports, and the Detroit River is responsible for moving about 80 million tons of cargo annually, according to Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority statistics. The shipping of foreign goods through Michigan waters pumps $2 billion into the state's economy.

Plans to reopen the terminal took firm shape in May, when the city of Detroit, which owns the land, approved a deal with the nonprofit Port Authority, Ecorse-based Nicholson Terminal & Dock Co. and Moroun's Ambassador Port Co. The authority took ownership of the terminal, Nicholson agreed to provide cargo services, and Moroun would pay off the bonds.

The 35-acre Port of Detroit complex runs 2,150 feet along the Detroit River and can simultaneously handle three large vessels up to 1,000 feet in length. In 1998, the cargo terminal handled about 800,000 tons of steel annually, but various factors squeezed those shipments to 80,000 tons by 2003, said John Stoker, chief financial officer of the Port Authority.

Stoker hopes the port can handle up to 500,000 tons of material for the current shipping season, which runs through December.

"That could double next year," Stoker said. "We have brought in some private companies to operate things and, because the port is now publicly owned, we can go after federal and state grants to help improve the facility."

It will be staffed with 50 full-time workers to start, with about 200 expected to be operating the terminal by summer's end. Operators declined to provide a revenue forecast, but they expect the facility to be profitable next year.

The federal government also sees potential in the Port of Detroit and other shipping destinations. John Jamian, acting director of the U.S. Maritime Administration in Washington, D.C., said he recently hired a senior economist to study the flow of freight between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"We want to see where we can reduce traffic on our crowded highways and rail lines and transfer that to more environmentally sensitive water-borne shipments," said Jamian, past executive director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority and a former state lawmaker.

Jamian's department will look at shipments now flowing between Detroit, Port Huron, Toronto, Montreal and several Midwest cities that border major waterways. "The Port of Detroit," he said, "should really help to drive down transportation costs for the entire Metro Detroit region."

Reported by: The Detroit News

Today in Great Lakes History - June 25

The whaleback steamer WASHBURN (steel propeller freighter, 320 foot, 2234 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co. (Hull #124) at W. Superior, Wisconsin on 25 June 1892. She lasted until 1936, when she was scrapped at Cleveland, Ohio.

On 25 June 1892, the PILLSBURY (steel propeller whaleback bulk freighter, 320 foot, 2234 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co., at West Superior, Wisconsin. She was rebuilt at Conneaut, Ohio in the winter of 1918-1919 (315.75 x 42.25 x 24.16; 2394 gross tons- 1465 net tons) when she received straight sides and a flattened deck. In 1927, she was converted to crane vessel, with two cranes on deck. In November 1934, she stranded on the north pier at Muskegon, Michigan in a storm and then broke in half. She was scrapped the following year.

In 1927, the B F AFFLECK (Hull#178) was launched at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On June 25, 1938, the WILLIMA A IRVIN began her maiden voyage for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., leaving Lorain, Ohio for Duluth to load iron ore.

INDIANA HARBOR set a record cargo on June 25, 1993, loading 71,369 tons of western low sulfur coal at Superior’s Midwest Energy Terminal and transporting it 50 miles to Silver Bay, Minnesota.

The ALGOBAY collided head-on with the steamer MONTREALAIS in foggy conditions on the St. Clair River June 25, 1980, causing extensive bow damage to both vessels. Repairs to the ALGOBAY were made by Herb Fraser & Associates, Port Colborne, Ont. at an estimated cost of $500,000. She returned to service by mid August, 1980.

At 1:00 a.m. on 25 June 1878, the 161 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner PESHTIGO and the 143 foot, 3-mast wooden schooner ST ANDREW collided and sank near Cheboygan, Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. Newspapers of the time claimed that forest fire smoke hampered visibility. Both vessels sank quickly. Two of the crew of PESHTIGO were lost, but the rest were rescued by the schooner S V R WATSON. The entire crew of ST ANDREW was rescued by the Canadian propeller OCEAN.

On the afternoon of 25 June 1885, the tug NIAGARA had the schooner MOUNT BLANC in tow while coming rounding to pick up the schooner REINDEER near Stag Island on the St. Clair River. The MOUNT BLANC struck the wreck of the tug B B JONES. The JONES had exploded in Port Huron on 25 May 1871, and the wreck was towed to the head of Stag Island where it was abandoned. After striking the wreck of the JONES, the ore laden MOUNT BLANC sank. She was later recovered and repaired and lasted until 1901.

On this day in June 25,1892, the American Steel Barge Company, West Superior Wisconsin, Captain Alexander Mc Dougall manager, held the first triple launching on the Great Lakes which included the whalebacks PILLSBURY, WASHBURN and the small tug ISLAY. A crowd in excess of 10,000 people witnessed the event. Only the tug ISLAY remains afloat on the North Menominee Canal at the Port of Milwaukee.

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

Coal power plant project is firing up controversy

Environmentalists and the state of Illinois are lining up against a proposal to construct a mammoth coal-burning power plant on the shores of Lake Michigan, warning it will pollute the air and water across the Midwest and set off a "coal rush" to build more such projects around the country.

The project is actually a $2.15 billion expansion of a 1950s-era plant in this Milwaukee suburb, 80 miles north of Chicago. The resulting complex would produce enough electricity for 615,000 homes, burn 1.5 million tons of coal a year and draw 2.2 billion gallons of water from the lake each day, or almost as much as Chicago and 100 of its suburbs use.

The plant's operator, We Energies, and the state Public Service Commission, which approved the project, say that it is the cheapest and best way to meet growing power needs in the busy Milwaukee-Chicago corridor and that the project complies with all environmental regulations.

Environmentalists would rather see a cleaner-burning natural gas plant, or at least a project that uses more advanced coal technology. Bruce Nilles, the Sierra Club's senior Midwest representative, said there are about 115 coal-fired power plants on the drawing board around the country because of the nation's burgeoning demand for electricity, the fast-rising price of natural gas and a coal-friendly administration in Washington. He said the go-ahead for the Wisconsin project could be the signal the rest of the industry is waiting for.

"It is the largest of the first wave of this coal rush. It is a giant, giant coal plant. There are only one or two others bigger" in the country, Nilles said. "Other states are weighing in because of the regional and national significance of this coal plant. Every other utility's going to say, 'I want my coal plant, too.' " The Wisconsin Supreme Court is weighing the future of the plant, which has come under legal challenge from environmentalists and others. The plant would use pulverized coal to produce electricity, a relatively old-fashioned technology. But the state Department of Natural Resources and We Energies say modern emission controls will drastically cut the pollution.

Others argue in favor of gasification, a next-generation compromise between pulverized coal and natural gas. Gasification uses steam to turn coal into a gas before it is burned, producing lower greenhouse gas emissions and using about 40 percent less water. Only two U.S. plants, in Indiana and Florida, use the technology.

"The times have changed. You wouldn't buy a 15-year-old computer today. It wouldn't work very well. Likewise, you shouldn't build yesterday's coal plants today. That's what We Energies is doing," said John Thompson of the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based environmental group.

A plan to use gasification for one boiler at Oak Creek was rejected by regulators as unproven and too expensive. Gasification typically costs about one-fifth more than traditional coal burning.

"We have no choice but to build new plants. The question becomes what is the best choice for customers in terms of keeping the rates as low as possible," We Energies spokesman Thad Nation said.

Gov. Jim Doyle has backed the plant. And Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said the agency is confident federal and state laws will ensure the plant does not threaten air quality in Wisconsin or neighboring states.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service raised serious concerns about possible harm to fish and other animal and plant life. Similarly, S.C. Johnson & Son, the floor-wax company in neighboring Racine, hired University of Michigan water scientist David Jude to look into the project, and he concluded that the intake valve system, the hot water and construction would hurt the lake's food chain.

"It's probably going to kill all the aquatic life in some places," Jude said. "This is bigger than any other power plant on the Great Lakes." Oak Creek already has four coal-fired boilers. Under the expansion project, two will be retired and two more efficient new ones will be added, doubling the complex's output.

Opponents argue that the utility is skirting tougher emissions standards for new plants by calling the new boilers an addition to an existing facility. They say it is essentially a new plant.

Reported by: Jason Frank

Today in Great Lakes History - June 24

On June 24, 1971, a fire broke out in the engine room of the ROGER BLOUGH killing four yard workers and extensively damaging her Pielstick diesel engines. Extensive repairs, which included replacement of both engines, delayed the launch for nearly a year.

The b.) RIDGETOWN was launched June 24, 1905, as a.) WILLIAM E COREY (Hull#67), at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co., the first flagship for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio.

CANOPUS (2-mast wooden brig, 386 tons, built in 1855, at Huron, Ohio) was carrying 16,500 bushels of wheat when she collided with the bark REPUBLIC between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. on 24 June 1865. The CANOPUS sank in about 20 minutes off Clay banks on Lake Erie. No lives were lost.

The wooden scow MYRA of Ashtabula, Ohio was lost in a terrible squall on Lake Erie off Elk Creek on 24 June 1875. Three lives were lost.

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

Marquette Lighthouse Restoration

One of the oldest surviving structures in Marquette is going to be receiving some brand new parts. The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse, the first floor of which was built in 1866, will be receiving an exterior restoration this summer, thanks in part to a $40,000 Waterfront Redevelopment Grant from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

According to Fred Stonehouse, a member of the Marquette Maritime Museum board of directors, the work will consist of repairs to the roof, exterior brick, window sills, sidewalks and cement walls, among other areas. Stonehouse said Marquette received the grant several years ago, but it had to work its way through the system before the city was in a position to bid out construction. The Marquette City Commission recently awarded a contract for the work to A and F Construction of Marquette for $42,328.

The United States Coast Guard used the lighthouse as a residence for its personnel until 1998. In 2002, the maritime museum signed a 30-year lease with the Coast Guard to use the first floor to display Great Lakes artifacts and other items associated with the museum.

The museum plans to renovate the second floor into an interpretive keeper's residence, much like it was used when the floor was added to the building in 1906, Stonehouse said.

The museum has submitted a grant to the National Endowment for the Arts, funding from which would be used to hire an architect for the planning of the second-floor renovation, Stonehouse said.

"If we get that, we'll go after the big money to do the actual work," he said. "It's all part of the process, all part of the plan."

Reported by: Marquette Mining Journal

Today in Great Lakes History - June 23

On 23 June 1903, the tug O W CHENEY steamed out of Buffalo harbor in heavy fog to tow the steamer CHEMUNG into the harbor. The tug ran too close to the on-coming steamer, was struck by the bow, and the CHENEY oveturned and sank. Three crewmen were killed; two survivors were picked up by the tug FRANK S BUTLER.

On 23 June 1969, RALPH MISENER (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 19,160 gross tons, built in 1968, at Montreal, Quebec) transitted the Soo Locks upbound for the first time. She had an innovative self-unloading system with twin booms. The movable crane was equipped with a chain of buckets so it could discharge cargo from either side. This unloading system only lasted until 1976, when it was severely damaged in a squall on Lake Michigan. The vessel was then converted from a combination self-unloader/bulk carrier to a bulk carrier.

In 1926, the GLENMHOR (Hull#16), the name was soon corrected to GLENMOHR, was launched at Midland Ontario by Midland Shipbuilding Co., for Great Lakes Transportation Co., (James Playfair). She was 6 feet wider and 4 feet shallower than the largest ship at that time. Purchased by Canada Steamship Lines in 1926, renamed b.) LEMOYNE. Scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1969.

In 1929, the a.) WILLIAM G CLYDE (Hull#804) was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Shipbuilding Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Converted to a self-unloader and renamed b.) CALCITE II in 1961. Renamed c.) MAUMEE in 2001.

Launched in 1972, was the ALGOWAY (Hull#200) at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Algoma Central Railway.

The first whaleback, BARGE 101, was launched along the shore of St. Louis Bay near Duluth, Minnesota on 23 June 1888. Captain Alexander Mc Dougall, the inventor and designer, was there along with his wife, her sister-in-law and several hundred spectators. As the vessel splashed in to the bay, Mrs. Mc Dougall is supposed to have muttered, "There goes our last dollar!"

On 23 June 1900, the 450 foot steel steamer SIMON J MURPHY (Hull#135) was launched at Wyandotte, Michigan by the Detroit Ship Building Co., for the Eddy - Shaw Transportation Co. of Bay City, Michigan.

On 23 June 1873, B F BRUCE was launched at Crosthwaite's yard in East Saginaw, Michigan. She is not properly a schooner, but what is known as a "three-and-after" in nautical terms. Her capacity was 50,000 bushels of grain (800 tons) and the building cost was $50,000.

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

Severstal wins tax incentive to upgrade mill

State and local governments are providing nearly $50 million in tax breaks to keep Russian steel producer Severstal Group operating at the former Rouge Steel site in Dearborn indefinitely. The steel mill receives raw materials by Great Lakes vessels, mainly those sailing in the Interlake Fleet.

Michigan Governor's office said Tuesday that a deal had been reached with Severstal to invest up to $250 million to upgrade its Dearborn steel mill.

The Severstal Group is the 18th-largest steel company in the world and employs approximately 150,000 people worldwide. To establish its first presence in the North American market, the company completed its acquisition of Rouge Steel in April 2004 for $285.5 million.

The MEDC approved a single business tax credit valued at more than $28.7 million over 20 years to retain Severstal in Dearborn. The City of Dearborn approved a 50% abatement of the company's new real and personal property taxes for 12 years, valued at approximately $19 million.

Vadim Makhov, chairman of Severstal North America, said Severstal's investments in its Dearborn steelmaking facilities will focus on maintaining and modernizing the company's primary steelmaking operations, installing new pollution control equipment and modernizing the company's cold rolling and finishing equipment.

Reported by: The Detroit News

A milestone for the Soo Locks

A century and a half ago, Great Britain was the world's superpower, leading the world in steel production. But within a few years, the United States passed Great Britain in steel production, paving the way for America's debut as the new superpower.

That happened partly because the Soo Locks, which opened in 1855, provided a passageway for the vast iron ore deposits in the Upper Peninsula to U.S. steel mills.

This summer is the 150th birthday of the Soo Locks, and celebrations are planned in Sault St. Marie throughout the season, starting Friday. Ships powered first by sail and later by steam and diesel have traveled through the locks. Now, the queens of the Great Lakes are the gargantuan 1,000-footers that tower six to eight stories above the locks, ships so long that if their bows touched the bottom of the lake in most spots, their sterns would stick up hundreds of feet into the air.

The ships are so large, their sides often get scraped as they squeeze out of the locks. "They only have 2 1/2 feet on each side when they go in and out," said Steve Welch, who volunteered with the City of Sault St. Marie to cochair the 150th anniversary celebration. "It's like a hand-and-glove sort of thing. They'll rub against the sides somewhat when they go out."

Each year, ships make 7,000 passages through the locks; 4,000 passages are by freighters hauling cargo up and down the lakes, said John Wellington, harbormaster in Sault Ste. Marie and a resident of the area for more than 45 years.

The St. Marys River is the only water connection between Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes. There is a section of the river -- the St. Marys Rapids -- where the water falls about 21 feet from the level of Lake Superior to the level of the lower lakes.

Cargo coming down from Lake Superior had to be off-loaded at the rapids, loaded onto trains, transported to boats on the lower lakes, and then loaded again. It wasn't efficient or economical, but it was the only way to do it.

Enter the Soo Locks.
The first locks were built in the late 1700s. Those were burned during the War of 1812. Meanwhile, the Lake Superior region was surveyed in the 1830s and 1840s, unveiling the vast timberlands where iron and copper were discovered.

"It was the rich resources they found up in that Lake Superior region that necessitated transport of those materials down to factories," Welch said. After an attempt to build them in the early 1850s failed, one politician compared building locks in such a remote area to building a "path to the moon." In 1853, the American Co., a private firm, set about building a single lock. When the lock -- called the State Lock -- was completed in two years, the company was awarded substantial mining land in the UP.

The first cargo ship to enter the new lock was the Columbia, carrying 132 tons of iron ore out of Lake Superior. It led off a flood of cargo traffic that hasn't abated. Today, more than 100 million tons of freight passes through annually, including ships carrying iron ore, grain, lumber and the low sulfur coal that drives electric power plants, including those lighting the Detroit area.

The economy dipped in the 1970s when Kincheloe Air Force Base closed, taking with it about half the population of Sault Ste. Marie. Today, business largely is based on Lake Superior State University, Indian casinos -- and the tourists attracted to the locks. "When I was a kid, we could walk right up to the locks," said Walter Kinney Jr., owner of Antlers Restaurant, a popular Sault Ste. Marie hangout. "There were no fences. ...You could walk across the gates to the other lock."

Today, the public can see the locks from certain places, but people can't walk up to them.

Bud Mansfield is a third-generation Sault Ste. Marie resident who worked on the construction of the locks during World War II. He remembers when they were considered a primary enemy target in those days, and the military members stationed there roughly equaled the civilian population.

Mansfield and his wife have lived in their riverfront house, 1 1/2 miles from the locks, for more than 50 years. Every morning, they go to their big picture window to see the ships.

"We watch every single boat going by" on their way to the locks, Mansfield said. "There is something about the huge freighters that's like a magnet."

Reported by: Detroit Free Press

Today in Great Lakes History - June 22

On 22 June 1959, BAYPORT (steel propeller tug, 72 foot, 65 gross tons, built in 1914, at Cleveland, Ohio, formerly named FAIRPORT) had the steamer CAPT C D SECORD in tow when she was hooked by her own tow cable, capsized and sank at Collingwood, Ontario. Three lives were lost. The tug was later raised and converted from steam to diesel.

On 22 June 1909, W P THEW (wooden propeller freighter, 133 foot, 207 gross tons, built in 1884, at Lorain, Ohio) was in ballast, creeping through the fog off Alpena, Michigan on Lake Huron when she was rammed by the WILLIAM LIVINGSTONE (steel propeller freighter, 532 foot, 6634 gross tons, built in 1908, at Ecorse, Michigan). After the collision, the LIVINGSTONE drifted away and lost track of the THEW. The THEW sank in 80 feet of water. Fortunately the steamer MARY C ELPHICKE answered the distress whistle and picked up the THEW’s crew from the lifeboat. No lives were lost.

The a.) WILLIAM R ROESCH (Hull#901) was launched and christened at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., on June 22, 1973, for the Union Commerce Bank, Ohio (Trustee) and managed by the Kinsman Marine Transit Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) DAVID Z NORTON in 1995.

June 22, 1957 - W.L. Mercereau, known as the "Father of the Fleet", died. Mercereau developed the Pere Marquette fleet of car ferries into the "largest in the world".

On 22 June 1853, CHALLENGE (wooden propeller freighter, 198 foot, 665 tons, built in 1853, at Newport, Michigan) was bound from Chicago for Buffalo with barreled pork and oats on one of her first trips. However, her boiler exploded off Cheboygan, Michigan. She burned and sank. Five died. The schooner NORTH STAR heard the blast ten miles away and came to the rescue of the rest of the passengers and crew.

On 22 June 1875, the Port Huron Times reported that "the Northern Transportation Company's fleet of 20 propellers, which have been idle all the season owing to difficulties between the Central Vermont and the Ogdensburg & Champlain Railroad Companies, have passed from the control of the Central Vermont Railroad Company and will commence regular trips as soon as they can be fitted out."

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

Port Reports

Reported By: Lee Rowe
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived in Marquette on Monday for a load of ore. The John J. Boland is due with stone, and will then take on ore. the Michipicoten is making her regular runs and will be in Monday and also on Wednesday. Wednesday's line-up may include the Herbert C. Jackson. The James R. Barker is also due Wednesday with coal.

Green Bay
Reported By: Wendell Wilke
The Fred R. White, Jr. unloaded coal at Georgia Pacific on Sunday and departed by mid afternoon. On Monday morning the yard at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin saw the Mesabi Miner, Michigan/Great Lakes, Hornbeck barge Energy 11103, Moran barge Georgia and the Edward L. Ryerson.

The Miner arrived on Saturday reportedly for repairs to the unloading boom.

Saginaw River
Reported By: Todd Shorkey
After two days with no activity on the Saginaw River, Sunday saw visits from four vessels. The Algorail was inbound Sunday morning unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was outbound during the evening hours. The tug G.L. Ostrander & barge Integrity were in next, upbound for the Lafarge Terminal in Carrollton during the afternoon. They were expected to be outbound Monday afternoon. The Algoway was inbound, also with a cargo for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee where her fleetmate had just departed. She was expected to be outbound Monday morning. Finally, the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge were back again for the second time in four days to unload at Dow Chemical in Bay City. The pair was also expected to be outbound Monday.

Reported By: Charlie Gibbons
Trillium's 94th birthday (she has 95th anniversary painted on her) went unheralded at the ferry docks. She won't be 95 years old until next June 18th. The Sun Newspaper featured a picture but else wise there was no fanfare. Trillium went out this Monday with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OCAP) and lots of harbor police patrol boats flashing their lights and waving the flag. Wm. Lyon Mackenzie gave them a water cannon salute and Coast Guard sent a serch & rescue EH-101 chopper to kick up some more water.

Metis will see service soon. In lieu of Canadian provider not being available now, Metis will be this year's Festival of Fire fireworks barge. The tug Salvage Monarch will be used to move it. First fireworks is Saturday night.

Seven Sisters is apparently now on the Port Colborne drydock being fitted out for Three Rivers Elevators and the grain barge shuttling begun last season, as a companion for Commodore Straits.

Groupe Ocean's Omni-Richelieu and Jerry G. are stationed at Oshawa, which means Escorte must have gone on to Hamilton.

Canadian Ranger arrived at Redpath Sugar dock overnight and began unloading Monday.

Tug Race This Weekend

The normally sedate Detroit River comes alive with roaring diesels and blaring air horns June 25 when tug boats of all sizes race for glory and trophies in the 29th annual International Tug Boat Race.

It is the most unusual tug race anywhere. As many as 30 tugs of all sizes race in a mad dash for the finish line. Tugs ranging in length from 45 to 140 feet compete at the same time, all muscling for the best position. Some of the larger tugs are actual working tugs with more than 2,000 horsepower, the Detroit River boils as the tugs create a huge wake.

The race begins 1 p.m. at the Ambassador Bridge and runs to the finish line off Windsor's Dieppe Park. Trophies are awarded to the first tug to finish the race as well as to each tug that finishes first in its horsepower class.

Many local tour boats are offering special site seeing cruises on the River that day, visit for more information.

Trip Auctions

On our trips page, two boat trip auctions are listed. One ending June 27 for a trip on the St. Marys Challenger and another beginning June 27 for a trip on the Lee A. Tregurtha or Paul R. Tregurtha, your choice.

Boat trips are rare, auctions are even rarer. Most trips are made available to the public only through raffles. This is a rare chance to book a cruise on a working freighter. Click here for more information

News Photo Gallery Updated

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery Updated

New albums in the Shipping, Lighthouses, Transportation/Trains and Post Cards/Collectables/Artwork Galleries
Public Photo Gallery

Today in Great Lakes History: June 21

On 21 June 1868, the D&C Lines’ MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 243 foot, 1075 tons, built in 1862, at Trenton, Michigan) was late in leaving her dock in Cleveland, Ohio because she was loading some last-minute freight (iron bars and glass).  As she sailed on Lake Erie to Detroit during the dark and rainy night, she collided with the heavy-laden bark COURTLAND and sank quickly, 10 miles off Lorain, Ohio.  Twenty feet of the steamer’s bow had been torn off while the bark was swept into one of the paddle wheels and destroyed. The side-wheel steamer R N RICE arrived on the scene at 3:00 a.m. and picked up the survivors – only 44 of them. In September, MORNING STAR was raised, towed to Lorain and resunk in 55 feet of water, for possible future rebuilding. Attempts were made to raise her again several times, but in the summer of 1872, she was abandoned because it was determined that the previous attempts had reduced her to rubble.

On 21 June 1878, the small passenger steamer J HOLT which ran between Chatham and Wallaceburg, Ontario, burned on Lake St. Clair.  The passengers and crew escaped in the lifeboats.

On June 21, 1942, the LEON FRASER entered service as the largest vessel on the Great Lakes. The Pittsburgh Steamship Co. bulk freighter, originally 639 foot 6 inches long, retained at least a tie for that honor until the WILFRED SYKES entered service in 1949.  She was shortened, converted to a self-unloading cement carrier and renamed b.) ALPENA in 1991.

June 21, 1942, the U.S. Steel bulk freighter EUGENE J BUFFINGTON ran hard aground on Boulder Reef in Lake Michigan and broke in two. The vessel was subsequently recovered and, after a long career with U.S. Steel, was finally sold for scrap in 1980.

The m/v RANGER III (Hull#385) was side launched at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Christy Corporation, on Saturday, June 21, 1958. The vessel was custom designed by R.A. Stearns (Bay Engineering) also of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for the National Park Service, Isle Royale National Park.

On June 21, 1986, during a severe thunderstorm (and unofficial observations of a funnel cloud) in the Duluth area, the JOSHUA A HATFIELD broke loose from Azcon Scrap Dock in Duluth and was blown across the harbor and ended up hard aground on Park Point (Minnesota Point). She remained stuck for nearly 3 weeks when a storm with east winds pushed the HATFIELD free and she blew most of the way back across the harbor back to the scrap dock. Tugs were dispatched in time to safely guide the HATFIELD back to the scrap dock. (June seems to be a bad month for U.S. Steel in accidents, with the June 7, 1977, accident involving the WILLIAM A IRVIN, the June 15, 1943, collision between the D M CLEMSON and the GEORGE M HUMPHREY, and the June 21, 1942, grounding of the EUGENE J BUFFINGTON on Boulder Reef.)

June 21, 1916 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5, after departing the shipyards in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 21, 1916, where 3 buckets (blades) were replaced on her starboard propeller, arrived Manistique, Michigan. While maneuvering around in the harbor she struck the rocky bottom and broke off the same three blades off her starboard propeller.  

June 21, 1994 - The Ludington Daily News reported a planned sale of the CITY OF MIDLAND 41, to Contessa Cruise Lines of Minnesota. The deal included an option to sell the SPARTAN and Contessa was prohibited from competing against Lake Michigan Carferry Co., but it fell through.  

The 3-mast wooden schooner GEORGE MURRAY was launched in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on 21 June 1873. At the time, she was billed as the largest vessel ever built on Lake Michigan. Her dimensions were 299 foot long x 34 foot beam x 14 foot depth, with the capacity to carry 50,000 bushels of grain. She was built by G. S. Rand for J. R. Slauson of Racine, Wisconsin.  

On 21 June 1900, the wooden bulk freighter R C BRITTAIN was raised at Toledo, Ohio. She was then brought to Sarnia where repairs were made and the engine of the tug F A FOLGER was installed in her. She had previously sunk at Toledo and remained there for several years before being raised. She lasted until 1912, when she burned at Sarnia.

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


Port Reports

Reported By: Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
The Montrealais made a very rare trip to Marquette for ore on Saturday. She loaded taconite for Hamilton, this was her first Marquette visit since 1988. She followed visits by other Canadian bulkers Cedarglen, Canadian Miner, and Algoisle so far in 2005.

The Kaye E. Barker was due in Marquette on Sunday with coal, and she will then take on ore.

Saginaw River
Reported By: Gordy Garris
The Saginaw River was busy on Sunday with Fleetmates Algorail and Algoway transiting the area along with the G.L. Ostrander and the barge Integrity. On September 24, 2004 the same vessels had visited the Saginaw River.

The Algorail arrived early Sunday morning with a load of salt for the Sargent Dock in Zilwaukee. The Algorail was outbound the Saginaw River around 7 p.m. Sunday after briefly stopping at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to let her inbound fleetmate Algoway pass before continuing outbound to the lake

The Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River at 4 p.m. Sunday passing the Front Range Lights also brining in a load of salt for the Sargent Dock in Zilwaukee. The Algoway was expected to be outbound the Saginaw River late Sunday evening.

The G.L. Ostrander and the barge Integrity were inbound the Saginaw River late Sunday morning with a load of cement for the Carrollton Lafarge Terminal. The pair were expected to be outbound the Saginaw River early Monday morning.

Reported By: Charlie Gibbons
The cement ship English River arrived at noon Sunday. The salty Malyovotza departed Redpath Sugar dock with Mckeil tug assistance early Saturday. The sail training vessel Pathfinder was out for its first sail of the season Saturday afternoon. Her sister ship Playfair was drydocked Saturday morning for minor repairs at Toronto Drydock. The schooner Marie Clarisse and the cement ship Stephen B. Roman departed Friday.

Groupe Ocean's tugs Omni-Richelieu and Jerry G. are presently stationed at Oshawa. Groupe Ocean is going to compete with McKeil for ship berthing on Lake Ontario this season.

Today in Great Lakes History: June 20

The SENATOR (steel propeller freighter, 410 foot, 4048 gross tons) was launched by the Detroit Dry Dock Company (Hull #122) at Wyandotte, Michigan on 20 June 1896, for the Wolverine Steamship Company.  She lasted until 31 October 1929, when she collided with the steamer MARQUETTE in fog off Port Washington, Wisconsin and sank with her cargo of 241 automobiles.  

On 20 June 1893, GEORGE STONE (wooden propeller freighter, 270 foot, 1841 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull #98) at West Bay CIty, Michigan.  She lasted until 1909, when she stranded and burned on Lake Erie.  

The WILLIAM P COWAN (Hull#724) cleared Lorain, Ohio on her maiden voyage in 1918.  Renamed b.) AMOCO ILLINOIS in 1962.  Scrapped at Windsor, Ontario by M & M Steel Co. in 1987.  

In 1903, the twin screw rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN (Hull#92) was launched at Toledo, Ohio by the Craig Ship Building Co., for the Grand Trunk Carferry Line, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On June 20, 1953, the Canada Steamship Lines bulk freighter BURLINGTON collided with and sank the Paterson steamer SCOTIADOC in Lake Superior.  

On June 20, 1959, the SEAWAY QUEEN began her maiden voyage. The vessel was appropriately named, as at the time she was the largest Canadian vessel on the Great Lakes, the 2nd largest on the Great Lakes overall (behind the EDMUND FITZGERALD), and she entered service the same week that Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally dedicated the St. Lawrence Seaway. She was one of the more popular and classic looking vessels on the Great Lakes.  

June 20, 1936 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 was blocked in Manitowoc following an accident which disabled the Manitowoc Tenth Street Bridge, making it impossible to raise the structure.  

June 20, 1993 - The BADGER struck the Ludington breakwall while arriving Ludington. She was sent to Sturgeon Bay for repairs. Ten operatating days and twenty-one sailings were lost.

The 230 foot wooden freighter JAMES DAVIDSON (Hull#4) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan for James Davidson at his shipyard on 20 June 1874.  JAMES DAVIDSON was wrecked in Lake Huron in 1883.  

The MINNEHAHA, a wooden "clipper" schooner, was launched at James A. Baker's shipyard in Oswego, New York on 20 June 1857. Her dimensions were 110 foot keel, 125 foot overall, x 25 foot 6 inches x 10 foot 6 inches. She could carry 13,000 bushels of grain. Mr. James Navagh, her master builder, received a gold watch and chain worth $200 in appreciation of his fine work on this vessel. 

On Wednesday night, 20 June 1877, the schooner EVELINE (wooden schooner, 118 foot, 236 gross tons, built in 1861, at Litchfield, Michigan) was struck by lightning about sixty miles out from Alpena, Michigan. The bolt shattered the mainmast, throwing three large pieces over the vessel's sides. The large spar was split perpendicularly in two and the lightning bolt followed the grain of the wood in a circular manner until it reached the main boom jaw, which is enclosed in a band of iron fastened by a large bolt. This bolt was literally cut in two. The mate, George Mayom, had the left side of his body blistered and the skin burned off from the shoulder to the foot. His right leg, hands and arm were also severely burned, and he suffered internal injuries and bled freely. The vessel made it to port and she was repaired. She lasted until September 1895 when she sank off Kewaunee, Wisconsin.  

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David 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


Today in Great Lakes History: June 19

On 19 June 1889, NORTH STAR (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2476 gross tons, built in 1889 at Cleveland, Ohio) collided with CHARLES J SHEFFIELD (steel propeller freighter, 260 foot, 1699 gross tons, built in 1887 at Cleveland, Ohio) about sixty miles west of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior in heavy fog.  The NORTH STAR kept her bow in the SHEFFIELD’s side after the impact, giving the crew time to board.  The SHEFFIELD then sank in 8 minutes.  The courts found both vessels to be equally at fault after years of litigation.  

On 19 June 1889, CHARLES J SHEFFIELD (steel propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 259 foot, 1700 gross tons, built in 1886, at Cleveland, Ohio) was rammed broadside in heavy fog by the NORTH STAR (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior.  The NORTH STAR kept her bow in the hole until the SHEFFIELD’s crew clambered aboard.  When she backed away, the SHEFFIELD sank in 8 minutes.  Her loss was valued at $160,000.  

In 1954, the GEORGE M HUMPHREY (Hull#871) (named for President Eisenhower's Secretary of Treasury) was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Shipbuilding Co, for National Steel Co., M.A. Hanna, mgr.  

In 1978, the ALGOBAY (Hull#215) was launched at Collingwood by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway.  

On 19 June 1836, DELAWARE (wooden passenger/package freight side wheeler, 105 foot, 178 tons, built in 1833, at Huron, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise and passengers in a storm on Lake Michigan when she was thrown ashore off Niles, Illinois. She broke in two and was wrecked. No lives were lost.  

On 19 June 1900, the wooden schooner THOMAS L HOWLAND was raised and towed to Buffalo, New York for repairs. She had been sunk by the ice off Windmill Point in the Detroit River early in the season.  

At 5:30 p.m., on 19 June 1872, the wooden package freight/passenger propeller MONTANA (236 foot, 1535 gross tons) was finally afloat at Port Huron, Michigan. She was successfully launched at the Port Huron Dry Dock Company on Saturday, 15 June, but she got stuck in the mud. The tugs VULCAN, PRINDEVILLE, BROCKWAY and BURNSIDE were all employed to free her and the MONTANA's engines were also going. It took four days of pulling, hoisting and dredging to free her. The effort to get her free and afloat cost Alexander Muir, her builder, over $3,000 (in 1872 dollars). She lasted until 1914, when she burned near Alpena, Michigan.  

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, David 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


Today in Great Lakes History: June 18

During a moonlight charter on 18 June 1936, the TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) struck a boulder in the Sugar Island channel in the Detroit River. The vessel docked at Amherstburg, Ontario where her passengers disembarked as the vessel settled to the bottom in 14 feet of water.  Although the damage was not fatal, the salvage crew botched the job.  The TASHMOO had one end raised too quickly and her keel broke.  This ended this well-loved vessel’s too short career.  

The Soo Locks opened for their first season on 18 June 1855.  The first vessel through the locks was the steamer ILLINOIS of 1853.  

In 1949, the WILFRED SYKES (Hull#866) was launched at American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio, for Inland Steel Co. At the time she was the largest and most powerful vessel on the lakes. The SYKES was also the first boat to have a poop deck.  

In 1964, the bulk freighter SAGUENAY (Hull#647) was launched at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Ship Building Ltd, for Canada Steamship Lines.

In 1968, the ALGOCEN (Hull#191) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd, for Algoma Central Railway.

On 18 June 1869, a little less than a week after being launched, Capt. Luce sailed the schooner DAVID A WELLS on her maiden voyage from Port Huron for Menominee, Michigan.

On 18 June 1858, the steamship CANADA left the Lakes via the St. Lawrence rapids since she was too large for the existing locks. She had been built by Louis Shickluna at the Niagara Drydock Company in 1853, at a cost of $63,000. She was sold for ocean service after the Depression of 1857. Her hull was rebuilt and she was renamed MISSISSIPPI. She foundered in a gale in the South Atlantic on 12 August 1862.

The venerable side-wheel passenger ferry TRILLIUM (Hull#94) was launched June 18, 1910, at Toronto, Ontario by Polson Iron Works., for the Toronto Ferry Co.

Data from: Gerry O., Joe Barr, 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


Captain Mike Nicholls Master of the Diamond Jack

Captain Mike Nicholls, longtime employee of Gaelic Tugboat Company and photographer for has been assigned as regular Captain on the Diamond Jack.  The Diamond Jack sails regular two hour tours from Bishop Park in Wyandotte at 1:00 and 3:30 pm Friday through Sunday each week.  Mike is also a retired Service Parts Operations salaried employee from General Motors and main summer ship traffic observer at Grassy Island on the Detroit River.

Captain Nicholls replaces Captain Roger Break who served as the Master of the Diamond Jack for five years who elected to retire this year.  Captain Break was a lifelong boater and retired 747 pilot at Northwest Airlines.

Diamond Jack's River Tours is pleased to have Captain Nicholls with his vast knowledge of the Detroit River as Master of the Diamond Jack.  His background will continue the perfect safety record of the Diamond Jack fleet.

For more information on Diamond Jack's River Tours, visit

Reported by Bill Hoey


Port Reports

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
Thursday on the Saginaw River saw the tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2105 outbound from the Triple Clean dock in Essexville during the morning hours.  Inbound Thursday morning was the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge.  The pair called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload and were expected outbound early Friday.

Duluth / Superior:
Reported by Al Miller
Friday dawned clear, warm and busy in the Twin Ports. Five vessels were at work around the waterfront at 7 a.m. Canadian Transport was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, Quebecois was unloading cement at St. Lawrence Cement, Oglebay Norton was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding to the DMIR ore dock, Prinsenborg was loading at the General Mills elevator in Superior, and Cedarglen was loading at CHS elevator in Superior. CHS is, by far, the busiest elevator in port this season. Waiting for Cedarglen to clear was the saltie Amanda, anchored out on the lake.

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
The schooner Marie Clarisse departed early Thursday. Stephen B. Roman was back in port, unloaded and departed Thursday evening.


Today in Great Lakes History: June 17

On 17 June 1878, the Canadian schooner JAME SCOTT of Port Burwell capsized and sank in Lake Erie.  The captain’s wife, their child and two seamen were drowned.

The wooden schooner MONTEREY which stranded on Sleeping Bear Point on Lake Michigan in early December 1890, was released on 17 June 1891.

The SCOTT MISENER (Hull#11) was christened on June 17, 1951, for Colonial Steamships Ltd. She was the first vessel built at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd..  Renamed b.) JOHN E F MISENER in 1954.  She was scrapped at Cartagena, Columbia in 1986.

The PATERSON of 1954, collided with the steamer EDMUND W MUDGE in 1957, in fog on the St. Clair River opposite Marine City, Michigan.

The WILLIAM A IRVIN was towed to the Duluth Convention Center on June 17, 1986, by the tugs SIOUX and DAKOTA to be on station as a museum ship at the new $3 million convention facility.

June 17, 1998 - The tug/barge PERE MARQUETTE 41/UNDAUNTED arrived Ludington, Michigan from Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin after the remainder of the conversion there.

The propeller OWEN SOUND was launched at Collingwood, Ontario on 17 June 1875. She measured 900 tons and could carry 30,000 bushels of grain.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, 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.


Press Release: Mittal Steel Company conveys lake vessels

Mittal Steel has disposed of its bareboat charter interests in two lake vessels that provide raw materials to its steel works in Burns Harbor, Ind. The vessels were chartered by International Steel Group, which was acquired by the global steelmaker, Mittal Steel Co., on April 15.

Mittal Steel has made these arrangements:

M/V Burns Harbor -- Ownership has been transferred to American Steamship Co. from a vessel trust. The 1,000-foot-long vessel can hold more than 72,000 tons of bulk cargo, water levels permitting. A trust had operated the vessel through an agreement with a financial institution.

M/V Stewart J. Cort -- ISG operated the ship under a "bareboat charter" agreement, which now has been assigned to a subsidiary of The Interlake Steamship Co. The 1,000-foot-long Cort has capacity for more than 58,000 tons of bulk cargo in its hold. A consortium of financial institutions owns the vessel.

Mittal Steel also has entered into long-term agreements with American Steamship Co. and a subsidiary of Interlake Steamship Co. to time-charter the Burns Harbor and the Cort for the transport of iron ore on the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Maritime Administration has confirmed that such arrangements are in accordance with the statutes and regulations administered by the agency

Press release source: Mittal Steel Company


Port Reports

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
On Tuesday, the Algoway continued the Algoma Central Marine salt convoy to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee.  She unloaded salt there during the day and was outbound for the lake Tuesday evening after a short delay in which she waited out a storm by sitting in the Sixth Street Turning Basin.

Also inbound late Tuesday was the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.  She called on the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal.  The McCarthy did not depart until Wednesday afternoon when she backed out of the river to turn out in the Saginaw Bay at Light 12.

Outbound just ahead of the Walter J. McCarthy was the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge.  The pair had unloaded overnight at the Dow Chemical dock in Bangor Township.

Inbound late Wednesday afternoon was the tug Anglian Lady and her barge PML 2105 .  The pair called on the Triple Clean Liquifuels dock in Essexville to unload.  They are expecting to be outbound Thursday morning.

Reported by Rod Burdick
Marquette's two harbors were busy Wednesday evening, June 15.  After Michipicoten departed the Upper Harbor early in the afternoon, three vessels arrived between 5 and 6 p.m..  First, Great Lakes Trader arrived at the Lower Harbor to discharge stone at the Shiras Dock.  Tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort was detached from the barge during the unloading process.  At the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly and fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha arrived together with Beeghly taking the south side of the ore dock to unload coal and Tregurtha taking the north side to load taconite.

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
Tuesday's cement boat arrivals were Wednesday's departures. Also departing Wednesday was the Canadian Ranger which had been in port for a while. She departed Redpath Sugar dock around 2 p.m., and a couple of hours later Malyovitza hauled anchor and was escorted into the Redpath slip by McKeil's harbor tugs.



Today in Great Lakes History: June 16

The steamer UNIQUE (wooden propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 163 foot, 381 gross tons) was built by Alexander Anderson at Marine City, Michigan.  She was launched stern first at 3:00 p.m. on 16 June 1894.  There was quite a crowd assembled to watch the launch.  While waiting for the launch, Engineer Merrill of the steamer MARY composed the following verse:
“The new steamer Unique
Made a beautiful suique
On a direction oblique
Into a big crique,
So to spique.”
The vessel was painted a bright yellow up to the promenade deck with white cabins and upper works.  In 1901, she left the upper Lakes and was chartered for the Thousand Islands cruise trade.  Later that year, she was sold to Philadelphia buyers for Delaware River service. Her upper cabins were removed in 1904, when she was rebuilt as a yacht.  She lasted until 20 November 1915, when she burned to a total loss in New York harbor.

On 16 June 1891, Alexander Mc Dougall himself took his brand-new whaleback steamer JOSEPH L COLBY (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1245 gross tons, built in 1890, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) down the St. Lawrence River to the sea.  The double hulled COLBY left Prescott, Ontario at 3:00 p.m., drawing six feet nine inches aft and five feet six inches forward and started on her wild ride through the rapids.  The whaleback freighter plowed through the Galops , Iroquois , Long Sault, Coteau, Cedar, Split Rock and Cascade Rapids. She grated the bottom a number of times and had a number of close calls.  Captain Mc Dougall stood immobile throughout the trip but great beads of perspiration broke out on his forehead. When the vessel finally made it through the Cascades and was safe on Lake St. Louis, the French Canadian pilot left and the crew let out shouts of joy with the whistle blowing. The COLBY was the first screw steamer to attempt running the rapids.

On 16 June 1892, GENERAL BURNSIDE (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 308 gross tons, built in 1862, at Wolfe Island, Ontario) foundered in a powerful northwest gale on Lake Erie near Southeast Shoal Light.  Her crew was rescued by the tug GREGORY.

On 16 June 1905, at 2:00 a.m., a fire was discovered around the smoke stack of the North Shore Navigation Company’s CITY OF COLLINGWOOD (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 213 foot, 1387 gross tons, built in 1893, at Owen Sound, Ontario) burned at the Grand Trunk Railway docks at Collingwood, Ontario and was destroyed along with the dock and nearby sheds.  Four died, but most of crew jumped overboard.  Captain Wright had gone to his home on Pine St. about an hour before and was preparing for bed when he heard four whistles sounded by the steamer BRITTANIC which was laying alongside. He ran to the dock, went aboard and woke the 1st mate J. D. Montgomery and a wheelsman. They had to jump to the dock to escape the flames. James Meade, Lyman Finch, A. McClellan, and another unidentified crewmember who had just joined the vessel at the Soo were all sleeping in the forecastle and lost their lives.

In 1967, the FEUX FOLLETS (Hull#188) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Papachristidis Co. Ltd. She was the last steam powered lake ship. Renamed in 1972, she sails today as the b.) CANADIAN LEADER

Upbound in the Welland Canal on June 16, 1963, loaded with iron ore for Chicago, U.S. Steel's BENJAMIN FAIRLESS suffered bow damage in collision with Canadian steamer RALPH S MISENER.

In 1918, the WILLIAM P SNYDER JR was in collision with the steamer GEORGE W PERKINS in Duluth Harbor resulting in damage of $5,000 to both vessels.

On 16 June 1861, ANDOVER (2-mast wooden schooner, 98 foot, 190 tons, built in 1844 at Black River, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm and ground on Pointe aux Barques reef on Lake Huron. Though not thought to be seriously damaged, she resisted all efforts by the tug ZOUAVE to release her. She was finally stripped and abandoned.

On 16 June 1887, CHAMPLAIN (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 135 foot, 438 gross tons, built in 1870, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying passengers, merchandise and horses on Lake Michigan when an engine room lamp exploded. The fire spread so quickly that the pumps could not be started. She headed for Fisherman's Island, Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, but struck a bar and sank a mile short of the beach. 22 of the 57 persons aboard died, most from drowning. Although initially declared a total loss, the hull was towed into Harbor Springs, Michigan, then taken to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and rebuilt as CITY OF CHARLEVOIX. She was also lengthened to 165 foot. She lasted until 1924, when she burned at her lay-up dock in Manistee, Michigan. At that time, she was named KANSAS.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, the Fr. Dowling Collection 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.



Postal Service celebrates Soo Locks 150th with stamp

To commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Soo Locks in 2005, the U.S. Postal Service will be offering a special Soo Locks Pictorial Cancellation Stamp to any outgoing letters and post cards on Engineers Day, June 24, at the Soo Locks.

The Pictorial Cancellation Stamp service will take place at the Marine Post Office inside the Davis Building at the Soo Locks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 24. Individuals can bring any stamped envelope and have it cancelled with this special pictorial stamp. They may then leave the envelope to be mailed or take it home as a souvenir or collectors item.

In addition, the U.S. Post Office will have a special commemorative cachet available for purchase from designer Blair McNamara. This cachet consists of specialized envelopes featuring an aerial view of the Locks, as well as special text acknowledging the anniversary.

Rex T. Marsh, designer of the Pictorial Cancellation Stamp, will also have commemorative post cards and cachets available for purchase just outside the entrance gate to the Soo Locks Park. Marsh highlighted a historic theme on his commemorative postcard, which features an oil painting of the 1905 Soo Locks celebration.

Reported by the Soo Evening News


McGuinty to break coal plant promise

The Ontario government will admit today it will not meet its promise to close all four remaining coal-burning electricity-generating plants by the end of 2007, allowing the mammoth Nanticoke plant to continue to operate past that date.

Energy Minister Dwight Duncan has scheduled a news conference in Toronto today to announce "a major clean-air initiative" and sources in the energy industry say he will provide a timetable for closing coal plants in Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Lambton, near Sarnia. He will also detail the future of these sites and whether they can contribute electricity to Ontario's grid with another fuel.

However, these same sources say Mr. Duncan will simply outline the options for Nanticoke and that he will admit the plant will not be completely shut down by Dec. 31, 2007. Premier Dalton McGuinty's government, which has already been criticized over falling short of commitments over taxes and the deficit, promised during the 2003 election to close all coal-fired plants by the end of 2007. The Nanticoke plant is the largest single source of air pollution in the province.

The Liberals promised in the 2003 election campaign to close all five of Ontario's coal plants by the end of 2007 because their pollution was a public-health problem.

The first plant, Lakeview, near Toronto, was shut down at the end of April. But closing the remaining four plants presents problems for the government if it wants to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity to industry and homeowners.

Jack Gibbons, chairman of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, is participating in today's news conference at the Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre along with Dr. Anna Day, a respirologist at the hospital, and Dr. Greg Flynn, president of the Ontario Medical Association.

The OMA yesterday released a report that says air pollution is expected to kill 5,800 people prematurely in Ontario this year and that this toll could spike to 10,000 a year in the next two decades if the province does not take drastic measures to curb it.

Dr. Gibbons, who has campaigned for the shutdown of the coal plants, would not confirm the details of Mr. Duncan's announcement. "But I think you can assume that if I've agreed to participate in the press conference then I'm happy," he said.

The five coal plants provided 7,557 megawatts of electricity or about 25 per cent of the province's electrical capacity. The 1,138-MW Lakeview plant, old and rundown, was rarely used in the later years and so its shutdown was not a great loss.

However, replacing the power generated at the remaining four plants is more difficult.

The Thunder Bay and Atikokan plants contribute just 525 MW of electricity but they are essential to the economic health of northwestern Ontario, especially in the beleaguered forest industry. In addition, the two plants do not contribute to pollution in heavily populated Southern Ontario because of prevailing wind patterns.

Mr. Duncan earlier announced plans to offset some of the power lost by closing the 1,974-MW Lambton plant. Two new Sarnia-area gas plants would create 1,575 MW.

The shutdown of the Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie is proving the toughest nut to crack. The eight units at the plant pump out 3,920 MW of electricity.

It would be difficult to convert the station to natural gas because it is far from gas transmission lines. But simply shutting it down and opening plants elsewhere would also pose problems. First, the plant employs about 600 people and pays $2.75-million a year in taxes. Second, it would take time and money to duplicate the lines out of Nanticoke at another location.

Reported by Murray Campbell, Globe and Mail


Vermilion Nautical Mart

The 3rd Annual Nautical Mart at the Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermilion, OH will be held on Saturday, June 25 at 10 a.m.  Six dealers will be selling artifacts, photos, books, postcards and other material relating to Great Lakes shipping.  In addition, the museum will be selling a number of duplicate Great Lakes reference  books and magazines, as well as a large number of Great Lakes ship photos, duplicates of those in the museum's collection.  If you have questions please email

Reported by Al Hart


Obituary: David F. Buchanan

David F. Buchanan, former Manager of Industrial Relations for Pittsburg Steamship Division, U.S. Steel Corporation at both Cleveland and Duluth offices passed away on June 4, 2005 at Mentor, Ohio where he resided with his daughter Mary Ellen. After retiring from Pittsburg Steamship Dave returned to Cleveland and served as a consultant for Lake Carrier Association from which he retired in 1985.

Surviving are three daughters and a son, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Dave was a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio thereafter earned his law degree from Case Western Reserve University.

A Memorial Services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 18, 2005 at Beachland Presbyterian Church, 18100 Canterbury Road, Cleveland, Ohio. Memorial contributions may be made to the church.

Reported by William D. Carle


Today in Great Lakes History: June 15

GRECIAN (steel propeller freighter, 296 foot, 2348 gross tons, built in 1891 at Cleveland, Ohio) was being towed by the steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER from Detour to Detroit.  The GRECIAN had sunk on 07 June 1906 when she struck a rock and she was being towed with a temporary patch over the hole.  The patch did not hold and on 15 June 1906, the GRECIAN sank off Alpena, Michigan.  The crew abandoned ship and they were picked up by the BESSEMER.

At midnight, on Saturday, 15 June 1901, OMAR D CONGER (wooden propeller ferry, 92 foot, 199 gross tons, built in 1882, at Port Huron, Michigan) burned at her dock on the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan.  Her upper works were destroyed, but she was repaired and put back in service.  She lasted until 1922, when her boiler exploded, killing four people and destroying the vessel.

On June 15, 1943, the D M CLEMSON collided with and sank the GEORGE M HUMPHREY in the Straits of Mackinac. Both of these 600-footers recovered for long careers. The D M CLEMSON was sold for scrap in 1980. The GEORGE M HUMPHREY was recovered over a year later, renamed the CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN, later converted to a self-unloader, and finished her career as the CONSUMERS POWER at the end of the 1985, season before being scrapped in 1988.

In 1989, the ROGER M KYES was rechristened b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS by American Steamship Co..

The wooden 180 foot schooner JOHN A FRANCOMB was launched at West Bay City, Michigan on 15 June 1889. She was built by F. W. Wheeler & Co. (Hull #61). She lasted until she was abandoned at Bay City in 1934.

GRECIAN (steel propeller freighter, 296 foot, 2348 gross tons, built in 1891, at Cleveland, Ohio by Globe Iron Works (Hull#40) had struck a rock near Detour, Michigan on 7 June 1906, but made dock at Detour before settling on bottom.. After her cargo was removed, she was raised, and while in towed by her fleet mate SIR HENRY BESSEMER, bound for Detroit Shipbuilding Co. in Wyandotte, Michigan for repairs, relying on air pressure in her sealed holds kept her afloat. However, on 15 June 1906, her holds began to fill with water and she sank in Lake Huron off Thunder Bay. Her crew was rescued by SIR HENRY BESSEMER.

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


Kinsman Independent renamed Voyageur Independent

The Kinsman Independent is being given new life in Hamilton. It is currently receiving a new GE Marine diesel engine, 2 new Cat generators, a new gearbox, propeller and propeller shaft. Reports indicate she will be ready to sail in mid-August under her new name Voyageur Independent. Of note, there has been no stated intention of converting the vessel to a self-unloader.

Reported by Justin Olsen



Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum schedules annual Induction of Honorees

The Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City, Michigan has announced the annual induction of honorees which will be held on August 19 and 20, 2005.

On Friday, the events will begin with a free tour of the Calcite Quarry at 1:30 PM. The Michigan Limestone Operation is one of the world's largest limestone quarries.

Friday evening at 7:00 PM, there will be panel discussion on "Lake Storms and Lake Tragedies", at the Rogers City Senior Citizen Center. Cost is $5.00. The panel will be composed of Frank Mays, only remaining survivor of the Carl D. Bradley; Dave Erickson, a survivor of the Cedarville  sinking; Warren Toussaint who was the medical officer on the USCG Sundew at the time of the Bradley sinking; Dennis Hale the sole survivor of the Daniel J. Morrell. The panel will be moderated by Cory Adkins from Channel 9/10.

On Saturday, the induction of candidates luncheon will be held at St. Ignatius School, 545 S. Third Street in Rogers City at 11:00 AM. Doors will open at 10:00 AM and the guest speaker will be Warren Toussaint, USCG retired. Cost for the luncheon is $12.00.

The public is invited to attend all events and reservations should be made in advance by calling museum director Ed Brklacich at 989-734-0706 or via e-mail at

Reported by Dave Wobser



Port Reports

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
After a quiet day Saturday, the traffic on the Saginaw River increased on Sunday with a number of passages.  First in was the American Republic carrying a split load.  She lightered at Bay Aggregates in Bay City before finishing up at Saginaw Asphalt in Carrollton.  The Republic waited on her outbound trip at the Burroughs dock for the upbound Agawa Canyon to clear before continuing for the lake.  Agawa Canyon called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload yet another load of salt. 

The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader were inbound early Monday morning with a split load.  The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw.  Also inbound Monday morning was the CSL Tadoussac who called on the Essroc dock in Essexville to unload Clinker.

The American Republic was outbound early Monday morning.  The Agawa Canyon, Joyce L./Great Lakes Trader, and CSL Tadoussac were expected to be outbound later on Monday.

Reported by Lee Rowe
Monday was a busy day at Marquette's ore dock.  The Mesabi Miner brought coal, the Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore and left, and was replaced at the dock by the Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann.  The Michipicoten also came in for a load of ore.

Sturgeon Bay:
Reported by Wendell Wilke
The Cuyahoga departed Bay Ship Building at 3:30pm Tuesday, 6/14. She was towed stern first from the yard out past Sherwood Point by Selvick's Jimmy L., where she headed for Green Bay, WI and unloading.

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
It was a busy day in the "Big Smoke" harbor on Monday. The schooner Empire Sandy returned to port from her Welland Canal and Niagara River cruises, in the wee hours of the morning. Algoma's Capt. Henry Jackman came in quite early with a load of salt and after discharging it, departed in ballast around 9 p.m. for Meldrum Bay.

In midafternoon the salty Malyovitza arrived and went to anchor in the inner harbor to await a berth at the Redpath sugar dock. McKeil's tug Glenevis took the pilot off. Canadian Ranger is still unloading at Redpath. She stopped last week and cleared the dock so that the salty Cinnamon could unload her cargo. Then the Ranger returned to finish unloading her cargo.

The two local cement ships Stephen B. Roman and English River both returned to port last night, the Roman coming in around 8 p.m. and the River around 10 p.m.

Sunday saw the arrival of two new vessels in port. The schooner Marie-Clarisse, built in 1924 in Shelburne, N.S. has not been in Toronto since 1984's tall Ship Rendezvous. She is berthed at Pier 4. The new CCG Cape Storm came in briefly and after dropping off passengers at Bay Street, she departed again. Cape Storm is based at Port Weller and replaces CGR 100.

James Norris was in port Saturday with a load of salt. She cleared for Colborne, Ontario on Sunday morning to load cement. Monday she was back up the lake unloading her cement cargo at Clarkson



Today in Great Lakes History: June 14

The ROGER BLOUGH departed the shipyard in ballast on her maiden voyage for U.S. Steel Corp. the night of June 14, 1972, for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load 41,608 gross tons of taconite ore pellets. She was nearly a year late because of a fire in her engine room.

On June 14, 1988, the CONSUMERS POWER, with her former fleet mate JOHN T HUTCHINSON, departed Lauzon, Quebec in tow of the Panamanian tug/supply ship OMEGA 809, bound for a scrap yard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The steamer PRINCESS was sold to Little and Fitzgerald on 14 June 1873. She was built in 1858, at Algonac, Michigan by Z. Pangborn.

The wooden scow TINKER was launched at Leighton & Dunford's yard in Port Huron, Michigan on 14 June 1876.

June 13

On 13 June 2003, after completing her conversion from American to Canadian registry, Lower Lakes Towing’s newly acquired MICHIPICOTEN departed the Government dock at Sarnia, Ontario.  First she went to the Shell Oil dock in Corunna, Ontario to fuel, then she departed for Marquette, Michigan to load ore for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

On 13 June 1902, METROPOLIS (wooden side-wheel steamer, 168 foot, 425 tons, built in 1868, at Detroit, Michigan) caught fire and burned to a total loss at her dock in Toledo, Ohio.  She was only used occasionally for excursions and spent most of her time tied up to the dock.

On June 13, 1983, the JOHN B AIRD began its maiden voyage for Algoma Central Railway, a load of coal from Thunder Bay to Nanticoke, Ontario.

The IRVING S OLDS carried a record 17,817 gross tons of iron ore on June 13, 1943, from Lake Superior and transported a total of 736,800 short tons of various bulk cargoes the next year.

On the morning of June 13, 1905, running downbound on Lake Superior, the heavily laden SYLVANIA encountered heavy fog as she approached the Soo. Confused whistle signals resulted in the SYLVANIA glancing off the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER which sustained a 175 foot port side gash from the SYLVANIA's anchor. The BESSEMER required $40,000 in repairs and the SYLVANIA's damage totaled $10,000 which included a new anchor and shell plating which was completed at the Craig Shipbuilding Co., Toledo, Ohio.

June 13, 1930 - Shortly after leaving Menominee, Mchigan, fireman Walter O'Leary of the ANN ARBOR NO 7 became ill. The carferry proceeded at full speed to the nearest doctor at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, where surgery was performed to remove gall stones.

June 13, 1974 - The b.) CITY OF GREEN BAY, formerly a.) WABASH was sold to Marine Salvage Company to be scrapped.  She was scrapped at Castellon, Spain in 1974.

On 13 June 1903, CHARLES H DAVIS (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 145 foot, 391 gross tons, built in 1881, at Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying limestone on Lake Erie off Cleveland when she developed a leak which quickly got worse and admitted water faster than her pumps capacity. She sank near the Cleveland breakwater. She was an unusual vessel, reportedly built of pine and pointed at both ends with her planking set diagonally.

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


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


Public Photo Gallery Updated


New albums in the Shipping, Lighthouses, Model Building and Post Cards/Collectables/Artwork Galleries
Public Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History: June 12

On 12 June 1898, SAKIE SHEPHERD (wooden propeller freighter, 100 foot, 189 gross tons, built in 1883 at Huron, Ohio) burned while at the dock in Courtright, Ontario.  The fire was discovered at 1:00 a.m. and the crew just had time to escape.  The schooner YOUNG AMERICA also caught fire and had damage done to her stern.  The SHEPHERD was towed to Detroit where she was rebuilt and lasted until 1903, when she sank in Lake Huron.

On 12 June 1900, the UNIQUE (wooden propeller, 163 foot, 381 gross tons, built in 1894 at Marine City, Michigan) was sold at public auction at St. Clair, Michigan to satisfy a mortgage.  W. J. Laidlaw of Ogdensburg, New York purchased her for $20,000 for the Rapid Transit Co. to run between Ogdensburg and Kingston, Ontario.  In 1904, her upper cabins were removed and she was rebuilt as a yacht.  She lasted until 1915 when she burned in New York City harbor.

"STUBBY", The bow and stern sections of the STEWART J CORT welded together, passed Port Colborne, Ontario on June 12, 1970, bound for Erie, Pennsylvania under her own power. STUBBY's bow and stern sections were later separated at Erie Marine, Inc., a Div. of Litton, and joined to the 816 foot hull mid-body.

The NANTICOKE (Hull#218) departed Collingwood, Ontario in 1980, beginning her maiden voyage for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd..

In 1959, the BENSON FORD of 1924, ran aground in the Amherstburg Channel on her upbound trip with coal for the Rouge Plant. After five days of lightering and with tug assistance, she was freed. Damage amounted to 41 bottom plates which took 30 days to repair.

On 12 June 1832, the wooden schooner GUERRIER was sailing from Oswego, New York for Detroit when she capsized in a squall off Bar Point on Lake Erie. Captain Pember and the crew and most of the passengers made it to the Canadian shore, but one family was trapped in the cabin. The husband was able to keep his head above water in the upside down cabin, but through the night, one by one, his four children and then his wife slipped from his grasp and perished. The following day, Capt. Stanard took his steamer NIAGARA to the wreck and rescued the man.

On 12 June 1900, the steel tow barge BRYN MAWR (Hull#41) was launched at South Chicago, Illinois by the Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.

The wooden propeller freighter MILWAUKEE (264 foot, 1770 gross tons) was launched at Quayle & Sons yard in Cleveland, Ohio on 12 June 1879, for the Western Transportation Company of Buffalo, New York. She had supporting arches above decks. In 1902, she was renamed YONKERS and rebuilt as a barge in 1911. She lasted until 1917-1918 when she stranded, then burned.

June 11
TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) entered regular service for the White Star Line at Detroit, Michigan on 11 June 1900.

On 11 June 1903, HORACE H BADGER (wooden 3-mast schooner, 129 foot, 263 gross tons, built in 1867, at Conneaut, Ohio as a 2-mast schooner, formerly KATE GILLETT) was carrying coal in a storm on Lake Erie.  She was driven onto the breakwater at Cleveland, Ohio and broke up in the storm waves.  The crew of seven was rescued by the Life Saving Service.  This vessel had been wrecked twice before; once at Cross Village, Michigan in 1895, and again near Alpena, Michigan in 1896. 

The ATLANTIC SUPERIOR (Hull#222) was float launched at Thunder Bay, Ontario by Port Arthur Ship Building Co. Ltd.. in 1982, for Federal Commerce & Navigation Ltd., Montreal, Quebec (Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., mgr.), built for the Caribbean trade.

The MESABI MINER was christened at Duluth, Minnesota in 1977, she became the fourth thousand-foot bulk carrier on the Great Lakes and Interlake Steamship Co.’s second.

CARL D BRADLEY (Hull#718) cleared Lorain, Ohio in her gray and white livery in 1917, on her maiden voyage light bound for Calcite, Michigan to load limestone. She was the first Great Lakes commercial ship equipped with both Morse code telegraphy as well as ship-to-shore radio in 1922, which was standard on only 20 vessels by 1924.   Renamed b.) JOHN G MUNSON in 1927, c.) IRVIN L CLYMER in 1951. She was scrapped at Duluth, Minnesota in 1994-5.

On June 11, 1936, the EDWARD J BERWIND collided with the AYCLIFFE HALL 16 miles West of Long Point on Lake Erie. The Hall Corp. steamer went to the bottom and was not salvaged.

June 11, 1981 - The BADGER steamed out of Ludington en route to Milwaukee under an MDOT subsidy that was approved earlier in March.

The propeller E B HALE was launched at Cleveland, Ohio at the yard of Quayle & Sons on 11 June 1874. Her length was 217 foot keel, 227 foot overall. She was owned by Capt. Bradley, Mr. Thomas Quayle and Mr. Loomis and she cost $100,000.

The wooden rabbit J S RUBY was launched at Fair Haven, Michigan on 11 June 1881. Her dimensions were 106 feet 6 inches x 21 feet x 7 feet. She was towed to Port Huron for the installation of her boiler and engine that were built by the Phoenix Iron Works. She lasted until burned to a total loss off Stag Island in the St. Clair River on November 9, 1891.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, 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.



State considers ballast-water measures

Gov. Jim Doyle says Wisconsin will review measures in other states that aim to crack down on ships that discharge potentially harmful ballast water in the Great Lakes. Doyle told about 50 people at the city's marina (Port Washington, WI) Wednesday the federal government has done little to protect the lakes from the plants and fish that hitch rides across the ocean before being dumped.

The governor wants the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to examine the work of Michigan and New York and see if Wisconsin regulators should take action against oceangoing ships that dump ballast water containing invasive species such as zebra mussels. That tiny mollusk, first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1988, clogs intake pipes and filters water so well that it has spawned massive weed growth in some areas.

"I am frustrated by the lack of leadership and the lack of action by the federal government," Doyle said. Doyle said Wisconsin could require a ship to meet specific standards and perhaps post a bond to cover damage the ship might cause.

However, Helen A. Brohl, executive director of the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association, said considerable research has shown that practices now used by ships are removing or treating all water that could contain invasive organisms. She said Congress will pass a ballast-water protection bill this year, and such regulation should come from Washington rather than the states.

 Reported by the Duluth News Tribune / Associated Press


Senate bill addresses cutter

The U.S. Senate is now considering legislation to turn the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw over to city and county officials for eventual use as a museum ship. U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, the Michigan contingent in that chamber, introduced the measure in the Senate on Thursday.

A similar bill is under consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives. If the bills are passed by the House and Senate, the ship will be turned over to officials of the city of Cheboygan and Cheboygan County, and then will be transferred to Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, Inc., a group that has formed to preserve the cutter after its decommissioning in 2006.

"For decades the Mackinaw has been a familiar sign of spring as she opened the shipping season, and she has been a goodwill ambassador to many communities throughout the Great Lakes," said Stabenow, a Democrat out of Lansing. "I am pleased to assist in all the efforts to make Cheboygan the permanent port of call for the Big Mac. This ship will serve as a great symbol of our dynamic Great Lakes heritage. It should be a great local attraction, encourage tourism, build jobs and aid the local economy."

Levin, a Detroit Democrat, said the ship should remain in Cheboygan, which has been its home since 1944. "The Mackinaw icebreaker is an historic ship that has served the Great Lakes well for many years, and it will continue to play an important role as a Great Lakes museum," Levin said. "Although the operational costs of the Mackinaw icebreaker have rendered it inefficient for its original purpose, it has many years of use in its future as a reminder of the rich history of our lakes."

The bill outlines conditions under which the conveyance would occur, listing several points for the recipient who would agree, identical to the House version of the bill:

1. To use the vessel for purposes of a museum.

2. Not to use the vessel for commercial transportation purposes.

3. To make the vessel available to the U.S. government if needed for use by the commandant in time of war or a national emergency.

4. To hold the U.S. government harmless for any claims arising from exposure to hazardous materials, including asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, after conveyance of the vessel.

5. The recipient has funds available that will be committed to operate and maintain the vessel conveyed in good working condition in the form of cash, liquid assets, or a written loan commitment in an amount of at least $700,000.

6. The recipient agrees to any other conditions the commandant considers appropriate.

Both the city and county have signed off on an agreement to accept the ship should the government offer it to them, and to subsequently turn it over to the museum group. The House measure, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, whose district includes Cheboygan County, has proceeded through mark-up.

"Ours has gone through committee and is in the Coast Guard reauthorization bill," said Stupak on Thursday. "It helps to have the language in the Senate. It will help push the bill through. It shows we are all working on the same page. They can take my language, get their bill passed and get it done." Stupak said he hopes to have work completed on the reauthorization bill by July 4. "The Coast Guard reauthorization bill is not very controversial. Last year it passed no problem," said Stupak. "This year there is extra money in the Coast Guard budget for the great needs of Homeland Security," he continued. "I hope this will sail through once everyone gets to take a look at it. I am very hopeful. Everyone is working hard to get the budget done."

If approved by the two chambers, the bills will go into conference committee where differences will be hammered out and a compromise bill will come out and be sent to President Bush for signature.

 Reported by Rich Adams, Cheboygan Tribune


Convention center is emerging from ferry

A team of volunteers is working to convert a 101-year-old former cross-lake car ferry into a seasonal attraction featuring a museum and convention center. Bill Petersen and Steve Bowyer spent the winter standing on the ice alongside the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper, chipping layers of lead-based paint off the ship before applying a special gray epoxy paint.

About 65 percent of the ship's starboard side has been painted so far, and volunteers are preparing to move a barge so the bow and stern can be repainted. "I've been doing this for seven years, so I must enjoy it," Petersen, a retired boiler inspector for Consumers Energy, told the Muskegon Chronicle for a recent story. "Actually, working on the ice made our jobs easier catching the old paint. But we're glad it's spring."  Volunteers hope to have most of the ship's starboard side done by the end of the summer.

Restoring the 361-foot-long ship has been a huge task. The clipper still has its original 3,000-horsepower quadruple expansion steam-driven engine, one of only seven built for the Great Lakes passenger trade. And its all-steel superstructure and fireproof construction was a marvel in the 1940s.

The ship sailed as the Juniata for 31 years before it was mothballed in 1937 because of its fire-prone wooden superstructure. The ship was converted to the Milwaukee Clipper in 1940 and linked Muskegon and Milwaukee until it was retired in 1970.

 Reported by The Detroit News / Associated Press


Oceangoing ships will need Michigan permit by 2007

Oceangoing ships will need a state permit to enter Michigan ports starting in 2007 under a law aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from exotic aquatic species. Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced Monday that she had signed legislation to require that oceangoing ships prove they will not discharge ballast water or are equipped to treat it. A vessel takes in thousands of gallons of ballast water to stabilize the ship when traveling without cargo.

"Requiring ships to prove they pose no threat to our health and safety will help protect our people, our environment and our economy," Granholm said in a news release. The Democratic governor signed the law Thursday.

The law also authorizes Michigan to form a coalition with the Great Lakes region's other states to deal with aquatic invaders such as the zebra mussel, sea lamprey and round goby. A new invasive species, typically imported from Europe or Asia, is discovered in the Great Lakes at the rate of one every eight months.

The species often have no natural predators in their new environment and can crowd out native species, cause environmental damage or bring new diseases and parasites. Ship ballast is widely believed to be a leading contributor to the problem. Species are scooped up when a freighter takes on water, then discharged in the Great Lakes when a ship must get heavier or lighter for porting operations.

Under the law, ships will have to apply for a permit from the state Department of Environmental Quality. Failure to comply could result in fines of up to $25,000 per day.

The bills were sponsored by Rep. David Palsrok, R-Manistee, and Sen. Patricia Birkholz, R-Saugatuck Township.

Reported by the South Bend Tribune / Associated Press


Extended dry spell reflected in lake level forecast

A rainfall deficit of roughly six inches across northern Michigan and the Eastern Upper Peninsula so far in 2005 is slowly finding a reflection in Upper Great Lakes water levels. A run of late-spring thunderstorms may bring rainfall closer to the historic average but a Corps of Engineers official last week said hydrologists have already dialed back their forecasts for a recovery in lake levels.

Carl Woodruff, hydrologist with the Corps' Detroit District, said late last week that forecasters have shaved two to three inches from summer lake level peaks because of continuing dry conditions. He said even heavy rains through the spring and summer may have little effect on Upper Great Lakes water levels, mainly because the ground is so dry. He said dry soils tend to soak up even copious amounts of rainfall, sending relatively little downstream to the Lakes.

At the start of June, monthly comparisons of Great Lakes water levels were beginning to reflect several months of lighter than normal rainfall. As of June 1, Lake Superior stood at three inches below its long-term average and just an inch higher than the same time last June. The early-June level on Lake Superior showed a slowing in the Big Lake's gradual rise from near-record lows in 2001. The slowing rise came despite a relatively wet May around the Lake Superior watershed, during which rainfall was 120 percent of the average, Woodruff said. He accounted for the apparent disparity between higher rainfall and lower overall water supply to the Big Lake with the dry soil observation.

To the south, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan had no disparity last month. The watershed feeding the two lakes received less than half its average May rainfall as near-drought conditions continue throughout the two lakes' watershed. At the start of June, the Corps reported Lakes Michigan and Huron were running about 13 inches below their long-term average after gaining on the norm through several months late in 2004 and early 2005. The two lakes rose just one inch in May compared to an average May rise of three inches.

While lake levels are beginning to reflect rainfall or lack of it, Woodruff said experts do not expect the lakes to bottom out if rainfall does not improve. He said hydrologists recently adjusted the normal summer peak in Michigan-Huron water levels about two inches lower than forecast in April. The two lakes usually reach their highest levels of the year in early July.

"We don't expect a severe drought, but you never know," Woodruff said of the forecaster's conundrum. Though Lake Huron and Michigan have fallen roughly half-way to their recent low point - 23-24 inches below their long-term average - Woodruff said officials do not expect a repeat even if the light rainfall pattern persists through early summer. A similar prospect appears for Lake Superior, which usually peaks in August or September.

Woodruff said if dry conditions continue to prevail across the Upper Lakes region, runoff water supply will be negligible and the only replenishment the lakes can expect from rain is from precipitation on the lakes themselves. With thunderstorm potential in the weather forecast for several days this week, the rains have some considerable ground to make up throughout the region. Year-to-date deficits prevail across the north, even though respective Great Lakes watersheds are much larger.

A report early last week showed Sault Ste. Marie and Traverse City running very nearly six inches below average for the year and several other locations across northern lower Michigan in excess of five inches beneath their averages for the time of year.

Whatever may be in the precipitation cards for the balance of the summer, Woodruff said a collapse of water levels to those seen in 2001 and 2002 is not likely in 2005. Compared to datum, or the low-water minimum for shipping channels across the Great Lakes, Lake Superior was still five inches above the chart minimum in May and Lakes Michigan-Huron were eight inches above datum.

At the height of the early-century water level drop, lake levels on all three of the Upper Lakes fell below datum for months at a time. As recently as February and March 2004, the Upper Lakes slipped below datum again, only to recover by some 12 inches later.

Summarizing the Corps' expectations for the balance of summer on the Upper Lakes, Woodruff said, "Water levels are a little lower than last year but a lot higher than 2003.

Reported by Jack Storey, The Evening News


Interest In Metro Machine Building, Erie, PA

It looks like the Metro Machine building on Erie’s bay front may not be empty for long. Action News 24 has learned that three companies are looking at leasing the property. Two of the companies interested in the property are from the upper great lakes area. The third is a local concern.

Metro’s Erie facility is a 44 acre shipyard located on the sheltered waters of the Presque Isle Bay in Erie, PA. It has the longest U.S. dry dock on the Great Lakes and can accommodate ships up to 1250 feet in length with a maximum beam of 114 feet. The facility has over 200,000 square feet of production space, enabling raw material coming into the facility to be totally processed in an environmentally controlled production setting. There are 4,000 feet of pier space at the shipyard with full dockside services. The shipyard has excellent access to rail and U.S. interstate highway transportation.

Reported by Hugh W. Gillett


Port Reports

Reported by Dale Baechler
The Algomarine was waiting in line for her turn on Sunday behind the two Upper Lakes ships. The Algorail came into port on Tuesday morning. Both were loading at the Sifto Salt dock. The tug Mark Hanna/ Barge E63 entered the new harbour on Tuesday to discharge a load of liquid calcium. The Agawa Canyon came in for a load of salt on Wednesday afternoon. The Algosteel arrived early Thursday morning to load at Sifto Salt.

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
Saturday morning saw the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader outbound the Saginaw River after finishing her unload at the Saginaw Wirt dock.  She stopped briefly at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to allow the upbound tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity to pass before continuing outbound for the lake.  The Ostrander-Integrity called on the LaFarge dock in Carrollton to unload.

Sunday saw the Canadian Transfer inbound with a split load.  She lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the GM dock in Saginaw.  The Transfer was outbound Monday morning.

On Tuesday, the tug Joyce L and Great Lakes Trader were back, this time carrying a split load for three different docks.  She lightered first at the Essexville Sand & Stone dock and then continued up to the Burroughs dock in Zilwuakee to unload more.  Once finished there, she went farther upriver and completed her unload at the GM dock in Saginaw.  The pair was outbound Tuesday afternoon.  The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr.  was also inbound Tuesday, calling on the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal.  She backed from the dock out into the Saginaw Bay before turning and heading for the lake Tuesday evening.

Reported by Lee Rowe
The Herbert C. Jackson and Reserve loaded ore at Marquette on Thursday.  The Lee A. Tregurtha is expected Friday morning, along with the Michipicoten.  Other ships in the line-up include the Armco, Saginaw, Pathfinder, and a return of the Michipicoten.

Sturgeon Bay:
Reported by Wendell Wilke
Burns Harbor arrived Bay Ship Building Wednesday morning; Cuyahoga remains d/s in a loaded condition while repairs are underway. She arrived at the yard June 2; on the floating dry dock are the USCGC Biscayne Bay and barge Great Lakes, while in the small graving dock remains the tug Michigan; in the large graving dock are the barges Georgia (Moran) u.c. and the Energy 11103. The Georgia now supports the name on her bow while the Energy 11103 is fully painted with the name evident on both bow and stern. Her ownership has been changed from Hornbeck Offshore to the Manitowoc Marine Group during the later stages of her building.

Reported by Ben & Chanda McClain
The J.A.W Iglehart arrived at Lafarge on a windy, but beautiful Monday afternoon. It took on cement for Detroit, and departed by 7pm. Fleemate Alpena was waiting out in the bay for the Iglehart to pass by so it could head into port. The Alpena was at the loading dock by 9pm.  The G.L Ostrander was at Lafarge on Sunday taking on cargo, and is expected to deliver it to Chicago. The Kaye E. Barker was loading at Stoneport on Monday. The Joseph H. Thompson is on schedule for Tuesday.

Reported by Charlie Gibbons
The salty Cinnamon arrived at Redpath Sugar dock Tuesday morning, assisted into place by McKeil's harbor tugs. Canadian Ranger departed the Redpath Sugar dock just after noon.

Empire Sandy does a Welland Canal visit Saturday to pick up passengers for a Niagara River day cruise and an evening lake sail, and on Sunday she transits the Welland Canal to above Lock 3 and returns to Port Weller. Information is available at

Canadian Ranger returned to Toronto early Wednesday morning (after leaving around noon Tuesday) and she went to Pier 35 west - the lay-up wall. Stephen B. Roman came into port in mid-afternoon. Cinnamon continued unloading at Redpath.

Reported by David Fasules
The Manistee arrived Milwaukee with a load of salt around 5:30pm Thursday. While she visited Milwaukee several times last season still carrying the Richard Reiss name and colors, this is thought to be her first visit sporting Grand River Navigation colors and her new name.



Information Search Page etc.

Please note that there has been a change in the address of the Information Search Page.  Click "Information Search" on the Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping home page for access to the new location.

In addition to the server problem, I've had computer problems with my laptop the past 2 days being unable to do any internet updates amongst other issues.  With thanks for the valuable and able assistance of our Chief Boatnerd, I'm back on course.  Sorry folks!


Obituary: Jeff Martin

Bay City, Michigan, Mr. Jeffrey Bryan Martin, born November 24, 1943, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday evening, June 7, 2005, at his home at the age of 61. Jeff retired from GM Powertrain, Bay City in November 2004 after 41 years. Jeff was happiest when he was on his boat fishing or watching the freighters come and go; he was quite the boatnerd. Jeff was 2nd VP of the International Ship Master's Association, Lodge 5 Bay City, and a member of the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society. He also loved to spend time in the Upper Peninsula camping. Survivors include his loving wife of 27 years, Maureen Rogner Martin; his son Nicholas L. Martin and his wife Kimberly; his sisters Jean (Jim) Anderson, and Ginger (Mike) Hurley; his sister-in-law Sheila Casey; his brother-in-law E.J. (Linda) Rogner; and a special sister-in-law Roselyn Steffey; plus many special nieces and nephews, and wonderful friends. Jeff will be sadly missed by his best friend in the world, Brandy, and his granddoggy Maggie. Jeff was preceded in death by his mother and father, Ed and Lois Martin; and his sister, Carla Roth. In accordance with Jeff's wishes, cremation has taken place. A Memorial Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 10, 2005 at the Stapish Cederberg Funeral Home West with Mrs. Rita Narlock officiating. Friends may call at the funeral home on Friday from 6:30 p.m. until the time of service. Those planning an expression of sympathy may wish to consider memorials to the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, or the Humane Society. Stapish-Cederberg Funeral Home, West 805 E. South Union, Bay City.

Reported by the Bay City Times


Today in Great Lakes History: June 10

On 10 June 1891, the tug AMERICAN EAGLE (wooden propeller tug, 46 gross tons, built in 1865 at Buffalo, New York) collided with the tug ALVA B (wooden propeller tug, 73 foot, 83 gross tons, built in 1890 at Buffalo, New York) which was not in motion, about 2.5 miles west of the Cleveland breakwater.  The ALVA B hooked up a line and started towing the AMERICAN EAGLE in, but she sank a half mile from the harbor entrance.

On 10 June 1891, the CHARLES W WETMORE (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1399 gross tons) left the shipyard at West Superior, Wisconsin on her maiden voyage, bound for Liverpool, England with a cargo of grain. During her trip to the Atlantic Ocean, she shot the St. Lawrence River rapids. In Liverpool, she loaded machinery for Puget Sound.  She only lasted until September 1892, when she stranded one mile north of Coos Bay, Oregon in fog.  Bad weather stopped salvage attempts and the vessel was abandoned.

Bethlehem's LEWIS WILSON FOY, loaded her first cargo June 10, 1978, at Burlington Northern #5, Superior, Wisconsin with 57,952 tons of Hibbing taconite pellets for Burns Harbor, Indiana. Renamed b.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991.

In 1892, the keel for the ANN ARBOR NO 1 (Hull#55) was laid at Toledo, Ohio by Craig Shipbuilding Co..

The ANN ARBOR NO 4 was sold to the Michigan State Ferries in 1937 and renamed CITY OF CHEBOYGAN.

On 10 June 1877, while lying at her dock at Detroit, the wooden side-wheeler R N RICE burned. The damage was estimated at $30,000. After this fire, she was rebuilt as a barge.

The propeller MONTGOMERY burned in the early morning hours of 10 June 1878. The fire started while she was laying at the dock in Point Edward, Ontario. The carferry INTERNATIONAL towed her out into the St. Clair River and cast her off to drift. Fortunately there were no injuries. She finally was beached opposite Batchelor's Mill on the Canadian side by the tugs CRUSADER and J H MARTIN. At 10:00 a.m., she was still burning. The MONTGOMERY was a steam barge of 1,104 tons, built in 1856, and owned by Capt. John Pridgeon. She was fully loaded with 29,000 bushels of corn, 320 barrels of flour, 540 barrels of corn meal, 200 bags of timothy seed and 111 bales of broom corn, besides other freight. The local papers claimed that the spectacle presented by the burning vessel as she drifted down the river was "grand and beautiful". The light was so brilliant that the entire city of Port Huron was illuminated and many people came out to watch. The following day, the wreck was towed to the American side of the river just below Avery's Mill. Whatever was left of her cargo was taken off and sold. Her engines and boiler were so badly warped and twisted from the intense heat that they were worthless except as scrap.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineer dredge MARKHAM (Hull#904) was launched in 1959, at Avondale, Louisiana by Avondale Marine Ways Inc.

June 9
TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) hosted Admiral George Dewey on her inaugural trip from Cleveland, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan on 09 June 1900.  Admiral Dewey had just returned from his conquest of the Philippines during the Spanish American War and was a national hero.  TASHMOO entered regular service for the White Star Line two days later.

The Lubeck, Germany built, 305 foot Greek freighter CASTALIA of 1953, struck the north tower pier of the Mackinac Bridge at 7:00 p.m. on 09 June 1968, in dense fog.  The bridge was not damaged and the ship took on water, but was able to proceed to Chicago without assistance.

LIGHTSHIP 103 was delivered to the 12th District Headquarters at Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 9, 1921, to begin her Great Lakes career.

June 9, 1983, ALGOWEST loaded a record 1,047,758 bushels of wheat at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

ROGER BLOUGH began sea trials in 1972.

June 9, 1911, The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was raised by Smith Wrecking Company of Muskegon after being considered a menace to navigation by the Coast Guard (she had been sunk by the south breakwater at Frankfort, Michigan after burning on March 8th). She was taken to Muskegon, and repaired sufficiently to become a sand scow for the Love Construction Company. The cost of raising her was $8,000.

On 9 June 1884, ANNAPEE (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 71 foot, 118 gross tons, built in 1867, at Ahnapee (Wolf River), Wisconsin) was bound from Torch Lake, Michigan for Milwaukee with a load of railroad ties and cordwood when she stranded in fog on North Point in Lake Michigan, 2 1/2 miles from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Later a strong wind blew her into the rocks and she broke up. No lives were lost and part of her cargo was saved.

On 9 June 1882, the LIZZIE A LAW (wooden schooner, 196 foot, 747 gross tons, built in 1875, at Port Huron, Michigan) collided with the R B HAYES (wooden schooner, 147 foot, 668 gross tons, built in 1877, at Gibraltar, Michigan) near the foot of Lake Huron. Although the LAW suffered severe damage, she completed her trip to Buffalo and was repaired there. The LAW lasted until 1908, when she was lost in a storm.

June 8
On 08 June 1854, J YOUNG SCAMMON (2-mast wooden brig, built in 1845, at Chicago, Illinois) was sheltering from a storm at S. Manitou Island on Lake Michigan when she dragged her anchors, stranded and broke in three pieces.  She was driven in so close to the shore that the crew was able to use a broken spar to climb to the beach.  No lives lost.

On 08 June 1897, RITA MC DONALD (wooden propeller tug, 72 foot, 69 gross tons) was launched by J. Davidson (Hull #84) at West Bay City, Michigan.  She lasted until 1920, when she was abandoned in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1978, the a.) LEWIS WILSON FOY was christened for the Bethlehem Steel Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) OGLEBAY NORTON in 1991.

In 1938, the GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull#810) a sister ship to the WILLIAM A IRVIN, began her maiden voyage, leaving Lorain, Ohio. The GOVERNOR MILLER was only the 2nd Great Lakes vessel to be powered by a steam turbine with a direct drive to the propeller shaft via reduction gear.

In 1976 - The Superior Midwest Energy Terminal loaded its first cargo of low-sulfur coal. The JOHN J BOLAND of 1953, took the honors as the first vessel to load at this dock.  She was sold Canadian and renamed b.) SAGINAW in 1999.

On this date in 1977, the HARRY L ALLEN was the first freighter to load at Burlington Northern's Dock #5 in Superior, Wisconsin.

On 8 June 1847, CHESAPEAKE (wooden side-wheeler, 172 foot, 412 tons, built in 1838 at Maumee, Ohio) was fully laden and had 97 aboard when she rammed the schooner JOHN F PORTER on a dark night off Conneaut, Ohio. As she started to sink, she was run to shore in an effort to save her, but she sank a mile short of the beach. Lake Erie was fairly calm and the crew and passengers tried to get to shore in boats and makeshift rafts. Most made it and many were also picked up by the steamer HARRISON. Estimates of the number of dead vary from 7 to 13.

The wooden side-wheel tug and upriver packet TRAFFIC (75 foot, 50 tons, built in 1853, at St. Clair, Michigan) sank near Sebewaing, Michigan on 8 June 1868. She was recovered and repaired, but only lasted a little longer than a year since she burned in Saginaw in October 1869.

Data from: Jody L. 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.


Server Outage

We experienced a major problem with the ageing Boatnerd server Monday night affecting Vessel Passage and Discussion Boards. The site has been restored with the exception of the Search page, we hope to have that online Wednesday night. The Public Gallery and Live Scanner should be restored Wednesday night or Thursday.



Harbour Queen christened at Hamilton

Hamiltonians watched as a princess was transformed into a Queen along the waterfront last week. The excursion vessel Hamilton Harbour Queen was christened at Pier 8 as about 100 people looked on. Then the nearly 50-year-old ship took her maiden voyage around the harbour.

The Hamilton Waterfront Trust purchased the vessel, constructed in 1956, last year. The ship, formerly the Harbour Princess, had been running tours in Port Dover. The trust spent about $600,000 to purchase the 96-foot-long, 22-foot-wide,two-level ship and renovate it.

The ship had worked as a tug in the Northwest Territories soon after being constructed. In 1988 it was converted to a passenger tour boat for use on the Great Lakes. The ship, which can accommodate 200 passengers, and 140 people during a meal, is available for tours, cruises, weddings and other events.

The ship offers a number of cruises that range in price from a $20 plus tax sightseeing cruise for an adult, to lunch cruises at $35 plus tax, to $55 plus tax for an adult for a dinner cruise.

The Hamilton Harbour Queen will be berthed at Pier 8 near the Canadian Marine Discovery Centre which was officially opened nearly a year ago. Hamiltonians also celebrated the unveiling of the HMCS Haida, which is berthed near the discovery centre.

Reported by the Hamilton Spectator


Andy LaBorde Memorial Bench, Sault Ste. Marie

A bench at Sault Ste. Marie's Mission Point is going to honor the late boat watcher Andy LaBorde.  The ceremony will take place a 2:00 PM at Mission Point on June 24, 2005, Engineer's Day. Everyone is invited.  Please bring pictures, memorabilia and stories honoring Andy.  However, due to the updating of the park, the actual bench will not be present.  That will not become a reality until 2006.  What will happen at 2:00 PM is a remembrance of Andy and a time to reflect on what he meant to us.  Anyone wishing to contribute to the cost of the bench and the plaque may send contributions to Andy Severson, 22712 DeTour Street, St. Clair Shores, MI 48082 before June 20.  Funds in excess of the cost of the bench and plaque will be given to the family of Andy LaBorde.  We hope that you will join us in this event and also participate in the bench funding as you feel appropriate.

Reported by Judy Abbott


Port Reports

Marquette & Munising:
Reported by Rod Burdick
Algoma Central Marine's Algoisle made her first ever visit to Marquette on June 4 loading taconite for Hamilton.  She had a slow 12 hour load.  As Algoisle was preparing to depart the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson rounded the Upper Harbor Light en route to the ore dock. Algoisle was the third Canadian bulker to load ore in Marquette this season.  She followed visits by Cedarglen and Canadian Miner.  Algoisle's visit was also the first by an Algoma vessel to Marquette since Lower Lakes Towing took over ore shipments to Algoma Steel at the Soo.

Oglebay Norton's Armco delivered Munising's second coal cargo of 2005 on June 4.  Munising normally receives only four coal cargoes a year.  American Mariner unloaded the first coal cargo of 2005 in late April

Reported by Dale Baechler
On a very warm weekend in Goderich, it was Upper Lakes Shipping taking centre stage at the Sifto Salt dock. On Saturday it was the John D. Leitch loading and on Sunday the Canadian Navigator took her spot under the loading spout.

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
Five vessels transited the Saginaw River over the course of Thursday & Friday.  Inbound Thursday morning was the CSL Tadoussac calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville.  She completed her unload and then waited for the inbound tug Rebecca Lynn to make the Bit-Mat dock before backing out of the river and turning at Light 12 to head for the lake. The Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. She unloaded overnight and was outbound early Friday morning for the lake. The Algoway was also inbound on Thursday.  She traveled upriver to the Sargent dock to unload.  Algoway was outbound early Friday morning after making her fourth trip to the Saginaw River in the last nine days.

Friday morning saw the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons lightering at the Bay City Wirt dock.  The pair then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt dock in Saginaw.  They were outbound Friday evening. Also in on Friday was the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader.  They passed the outbound McKee Sons at the Consumers Energy dock before going up to the Wirt Dock in Bay City to lighter.  The pair then continued upriver to the Saginaw Wirt dock to finish unloading.  They were expected to be outbound Saturday morning.


Today in Great Lakes History: June 7

On 07 June 1890, EMILY P. WEED (steel propeller freighter, 300 foot, 2362 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #69) at W. Bay City, Michigan for the Hollister Transportation Co.  She lasted until 02 September 1905, when she stranded on Sand Island Reef, Apostle Islands on Lake Superior and broke in two.

On 07 June 1862, MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 248 foot, 1265 gross tons) was launched by A. A. Turner at Trenton, Michigan.  She only lasted until 1868 when she sank in Lake Erie in a collision with the bark COURTLAND.

In 1958, the EDMUND FITZGERALD (Hull#301) was launched at River Rouge, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., Columbia Transportation Div., mgr.

In 1977, the WILLIAM A IRVIN ran into the side of the Rock Cut after a power failure on board. The vessel received only slight damage. (For a more detailed account, read Jody Aho's book "The Steamer William A. Irvin: Queen of the Silver Stackers").

Also on June 7, 1977, the MESABI MINER (Hull#906) departed LOrain, Ohio on her maiden voyage to load ore at Duluth, Minnesota.

On June 7, 1991, the b.) ALPENA, the former a.) LEON FRASER) began her maiden voyage as a cement carrier, departing Superior, Wisconsin, for her namesake port. Fraser Shipyards, who performed the conversion, took out a full-page ad in the Superior Evening Telegram proclaiming "INLAND LAKES MANAGEMENT, YOUR SHIP IS READY" and a picture of the vessel.

On 7 June 1859, COLUMBIA (2-mast wooden brig, 92 foot, 177 gross tons, built in 1842 at Sandusky, Ohio) broke up in a storm near Sherwood Point, Green Bay (Death's Door). She was famous for bringing the first load of copper ore from the Keweenaw Peninsula to through the Soo. She also brought the first locomotive to Marquette.

The METEOR (wooden steam barge, 201 foot, 729 gross tons, built in 1863, at Cleveland, Ohio) burned at Buckley's dock at the foot of 2nd Street in Detroit, Michigan on 7 June 1873. The fire supposedly started in her hold at 1:30 AM and was not discovered until it was too late. The ship burned to the waterline and sank. Some docks and warehouses also burned in this catastrophe. The wreck was raised in early September 1875, and towed to the foot of Belle Isle where the machinery and hull were sold at the U.S. Marshall's sale on 24 April 1876. Although originally thought to be the end of this vessel, the hull was purchased by Stephen B. Grummond of Detroit for $480. It was rebuilt as the schooner-barge NELSON BLOOM in 1882 and lasted until abandoned in 1925.

June 6

On 06 June 1891, BAY CITY (wooden propeller freighter, 152 foot, 372 gross tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan) burned to a total loss while being repaired at the foot of Rivard Street in River Rouge, Michigan.  She was loaded with 300,000 feet of white pine lumber at the time.  Her watchman reported the fire during the night and firemen thought they had it out, but it re-awakened and the vessel burned to a total loss.  This ship had previously burned 20 years before on 10 April 1871, when she was on her first trip of the season after being rebuilt over the winter.  Then she caught fire and burned nearly to the waterline but was rebuilt again and lasted until this last fire in 1891.

On 06 June 1979, while carrying corn on Lake Superior, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 18531 gross tons, built in 1960, in Germany as a.) RUHR ORE) caught fire 10 miles north of Copper Harbor, Michigan.  Her crew abandoned ship in two life rafts and one lifeboat.  Six died in this tragedy while five were injured; four (including Captain Raymond Boudreault) were injured seriously enough to be flown to the University of Michigan Burn Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  U. S. Steel’s THOMAS W LAMONT rescued 17 at 4:52 a.m. while CSL’s LOUIS R DESMARAIS rescued two more.  The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was towed to Thunder Bay by the tug PENNSYLVANIA the following day.

On 06 June 1917, ISABELLA J BOYCE (wooden propeller sandsucker, 138 foot, 368 gross tons, built in 1889, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin as a freighter) grounded on Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie and then was destroyed by fire.  No lives were lost.

In 1944, the C-4 bulk carrier a.) MARINE ROBIN  participated in the D-Day invasion at Normandy.  In 1952, after conversion into a bulk freighter she began service in the lakes for M.A. Hanna Co., as b.) JOSEPH H THOMPSON.  She serves today as a tug barge combination created from the sections of the original vessel.

The E B BARBER (Hull#111) of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co., entered service on June 6, 1953, for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

In 1953, the ARMCO (Hull#870) began her maiden voyage from Lorain, Ohio for the Columbia Transportation Div., bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load iron ore.

On June 6, 1959, the ADAM E CORNELIUS (Hull#) 424) began her maiden voyage for the American Steamship Co., from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This was the last Great Lakes vessel constructed with telescoping hatch covers.   Sold Canadian and converted to a barge she was  renamed b.) CAPT EDMUND V SMITH in 1988, and c.) SEA BARGE ONE in 1991 and d.) SARAH SPENCER in 1996.  Currently in service being pushed by the tug JANE ANN IV.

POINTE NOIRE was in collision with Cleveland Tanker's SATURN on June 6, 1977, near Fighting Island in the Detroit River.

On 6 June 1869, ASA COVELL (wooden propeller tug, 20 gross tons, built in 1852 at Buffalo, New York) was towing the brig IROQUOIS up the Cuyahoga River at Cleveland when her boiler exploded and she sank. Her captain was killed when the pilothouse was blown into the river.

On 6 June 1883, HERCULES (wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 195 tons, built in 1867, at Algonac, Michigan) was upbound in the south bend of the St. Clair River near Algonac, Michigan when the CLARION (iron propeller package freighter, 240 foot, 1711 gross tons, built in 1881, at Wyandotte, Michigan) overtook her and collided with her in broad daylight. HERCULES drifted to the bank, capsized and sank. No lives were lost.

June 5

On 05 June 1884, the wooden 3-mast 139 foot schooner GUIDING STAR, which went ashore 12 miles north of Milwaukee on 06 November 1883, was finally abandoned when all efforts to release her had failed.  About two-thirds of her cargo of coal was salvaged.

On 05 June 1888, the wreck of the tug FRANK MOFFAT was removed from the St. Clair River at Sombra, Ontario  by the Canadian Government.  The tug was wrecked when her boiler exploded in November 1885.

In 1972, the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) was christened at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for U.S. Steel Corp.

Also in 1972, the PARKER EVANS was in collision with the upbound Erie Sand steamer SIDNEY E SMITH JR. just below the Blue Water Bridge, at Port Huron, Michigan. The SMITH sank in twenty minutes with no loss of life. The EVANS, with bow damage, proceeded to Port Weller Dry Docks for extensive repairs. As a result of this accident, on October 4, 1972, alternate one-way traffic between the Black River Buoy and Buoys One and Two in Lake Huron was agreed upon by the shipping companies. Also a call-in system was initiated to monitor traffic between the Detroit River Light and Buoys Seven and Eight in Lake Huron by the newly established Sarnia Traffic.

On June 5, 1979, the b.) CARTIERCLIFFE HALL  caught fire on Lake Superior off the Keweenaw Peninsula just before 4:00 a.m. Six crewmembers died in the fire, and the U.S. Steel bulk freighter THOMAS W LAMONT was able to rescue the others from the CARTIERCLIFFE HALL. The THOMAS W LAMONT was cited for “exemplary service” by the U.S. Coast Guard for her role in the rescue of seventeen crew members from the burning CARTIERCLIFFE HALL on Lake Superior. She was later renamed c.) WINNIPEG in 1988 and d.) ALGONTARIO in 1994.  She is currently in service for Algoma Central.

June 5, 1947, the Pere Marquette Railway was acquired by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

LIGHTSHIP 103, (HURON) had her keel laid June 5, 1918, at Morris Heights, New York by Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp. In 1971, the lightship was acquired by the City of Port Huron for use as a museum.

On 5 June 1864, COL A B WILLIAMS (2 mast wooden schooner, 110 foot, 150 tons, built in 1856, at Big Sodus, New York) was carrying coal on Lake Huron when she collided with the big ore-laden bark TWILIGHT. The WILLIAMS sank in 85 feet of water, 3 miles below Port Sanilac. Her crew was rescued by the TWILIGHT.

Shortly before midnight, Sunday, 5 June 1870, the WABASH and EMPIRE STATE collided in Lake Huron about 10 miles above Fort Gratiot Light. The WABASH sank and the EMPIRE STATE was damaged. The steamer JAY GOULD took the passengers off both vessels.

June 4

On 04 June 1872, while carrying wooden barrel staves from Bay City, Michigan to Buffalo, New York, the bark AMERICAN GIANT encountered rough weather off Port Stanley, Ontario on Lake Erie.  Heavy seas carried off her deck cargo of 25,000 staves and the vessel became water-logged.  As the crew considered abandoning, the steamer MENDOTA saw their plight and took the GIANT in tow for Buffalo where they arrived the following day.  For days afterward, other vessels reported the litter of barrel staves floating in the middle of Lake Erie.

At 2:00 AM, 04 June 1891, in heavy fog, the NORTHERN QUEEN (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) struck the schooner FAYETTE BROWN (wooden schooner, 178 foot, 553 gross tons, built in 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio) about ten miles off Dummy Light on Lake Erie.  The BROWN which was loaded with stone blocks quickly sank in over sixty feet of water. One of the schooner’s crewmen climbed aboard the QUEEN while the others barely had time to scramble up the schooner’s masts. Accounts of the accident differ.  The schooner’s skipper claimed that the NORTHERN QUEEN continued on her journey while the schooner’s crew clung to the masts while the skipper of the NORTHERN QUEEN claimed that he tried to find survivors, but lost the wreck in the fog and reluctantly continued on his journey, figuring that there were no survivors.  Nevertheless, about an hour after the disaster, the steamer ROBERT MILLS (wooden propeller freighter, 256 foot, 1790 gross tons, built in 1888, at Buffalo, New York) came along, heard the cries of the unfortunate seamen clinging to the masts and rescued them.  No lives were lost.

On 04 June 1881, the OGEMAW (wooden propeller freighter, 167 foot, 624 gross tons) was launched at Simon Langell’s yard in St. Clair, Michigan for Mr. Wood & Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1947, the 525-foot Canada Steamship Lines bulk freighter EMPEROR stranded on Canoe Rocks on Lake Superior and sank with a loss of 12 lives.

CLIFFS VICTORY sailed on her maiden voyage in ballast from South Chicago, Illinois in 1951

On June 4, 1968 the keel for the a.) OTTERCLIFFE HALL (Hull#667) was laid at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., for the Hall Corporation of Canada. Renamed b.) ROYALTON in 1983, c.) OTTERCLIFFE HALL in 1985, d.) PETER MISENER in 1988 and e.) CANADIAN TRADER in 1994. She arrived at Alang, India for scrapping on January 7, 2005.

The EDGAR B SPEER (Hull#908) was christened on June 4th 1980, at Lorain, Ohio for the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., Hartford, Connecticut, managed by the Great Lakes Fleet of the United States Steel Corp., Duluth, Minnesota.

In 1988, the IRVING S OLDS departed Duluth under tow of tug SALVAGE MONARCH, headed for overseas scrapping. She was scrapped by Sing Cheng Yung Iron & Steel Co., in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, scrapping began on November 24, 1988.

June 4, 1940 - Oiler George Riemersma (age 50) died of a heart attack while at work on the PERE MARQUETTE 21.

June 4, 1942 - John A. Clancey, 58, general manager of the Grand Trunk Western Railway and president of the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Carferry Co. died suddenly of a heart attack while at his desk in Detroit.

The Port Huron Times reported that "The new trim and tidy tug, the P L JOHNSON, built for Capt. Sol Rummage, passed up last night with her first tow. She is of medium size and wears the national colors on her smokestack for which some of the boys call her a floating barber shop."

On 4 June 1859, GENERAL HOUSTON (2-mast wooden schooner, 83 foot, 123 tons, built in 1844, at French Creek, New York) was bound from Port Huron for Buffalo with a load of lumber. During a terrific gale, she missed the mouth of the Grand River near Fairport, Ohio and went on the pier where she broke up. Fortunately no lives were lost. The lighthouse keeper on the pier where she broke up later refused to light the lantern while the wreck was in place for fear of drawing other vessels into it. The U. S. Government quickly contracted to remove the hulk from the channel, but a month later, a storm did the job for free, obliterating the wreck so completely that it was reported to have just "disappeared."

June 4th, 2001, marks the 100th anniversary of the famous race between the TASHMOO and the CITY OF ERIE, an exciting race that included many thousands of dollars in wagers, great advance publicity, and the use of many other boats to watch the action along the way. The drama was such that carrier pigeons were released at various times to take the latest updates to waiting newspaper reporters. The CITY OF ERIE won the race in a very close match, and the story has been retold in several books about the Great Lakes.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit 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.


Fast ferry relaunch delayed again

The long-awaited relaunch of a 90 km/h car ferry that zipped across Lake Ontario for just 11 weeks last year has been postponed for at least a few more days. The new Canadian operator had set a relaunch date of June 17 - exactly one year after the giant catamaran's maiden voyage to Toronto. But a software problem in a jet-propulsion system will mean yet another delay ranging from several days to as much as two weeks, officials said Thursday.

The vessel has been undergoing inspections and repairs in Canada for two weeks. It was scheduled to return to Rochester this week but now looks likely to return this weekend instead.

Operator Bay Ferries Ltd. expects to offer daily roundtrip crossings to Toronto for at least 10 months each year, with a possible winter break in January and February. The city of Rochester bought the ferry for $32 million US at an auction in February. It is contributing $1.3 million toward a $2.8 million engine overhaul that scrubbed the ship's original relaunch date of May 30.

The Australian-built ferry has had its share of setbacks. The inaugural run in spring 2004 was postponed for two months. The ship sideswiped a pier while docking in New York City near the end of its round-the-world voyage, then had to undergo $1 million in engine repairs.

The five-storey-tall ferry, which can load 774 passengers and 220 cars, sailed for 80 days before its private owner, Canadian American Transportation Systems, abruptly suspended twice-a-day crossings last Sept. 7 with $1.7 million in debt.

The ferry will cross the lake in about 2 1/2 hours. The 275-kilometre road trip to Toronto usually takes three to four hours.

Reported by the National Post / Canadian Press


Great Lakes limestone trade steady in May

Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes topped 5.1 million net tons in May, a solid increase of 4.3 percent compared to a year ago, but a significant gain – 13.4 percent – over the month’s 5-year average. On a year-todate basis, the trade is slightly ahead of its 2004 pace, but up more than 18 percent in relation to the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe. The notable upturn compared to the 5-year averages reflects 1) the depressed condition of the steel industry that impacted demand for fluxstone during the years 2000-2003; and 2) pared back orders for aggregate from a sluggish construction industry during that period.

Reported by Glen G. Nekvasil, Lake Carriers' Association


News Photo Gallery Updated


News Photo Gallery updated. 


News Photo Gallery Notice

Please be advised that due to the large volume of photos being submitted for inclusion in this gallery and the time constraints involved in handling each submission, only selected photos will be used.  This page will continue to generally be used only for photos related to recent news or port/area reports and will only be released once or twice each week as time permits.  We appreciate your continued support as well as the time and effort involved with each submission and trust everybody will understand.  For guidelines on submitting photos to the news gallery, click here.

Timely postings of photos of your visits to the various ship watching locations, trips etc. can now be posted in your own albums created in the Public Gallery.  Just click on the Public Photo Gallery link and follow the instructions.

The Boatnerd Team


Public Photo Gallery Updated


New albums in the Shipping, Lighthouses, Model Building and Post Cards/Collectables/Artwork Galleries
Public Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History: June 3

On 03 June 1882, the schooner C BELL was launched at the yard of Mason, Corning & Company in East Saginaw, Michigan.  Her dimensions were 185 foot x 30 foot x 11 foot and she cost $20,000.

The JOHN B AIRD was christened in 1983, at Thunder Bay for Algoma Central Marine, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

After successfully completing her sea trials on June 3, 1951, the CLIFFS VICTORY entered service for Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co., a little under six months from the time she was purchased from the U.S.M.C.

The PATERSON (Hull#113) of the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., entered service for N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd., on June 3, 1954, by carrying 440,000 bushels of wheat from Port Arthur, Ontario. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1985.

On 3 June 1870, T F PARK (wooden side-wheeler, 170 foot, 450 tons, built in 1851 at Chatham, Ontario) caught fire and burned to the waterline at the dock near the Detroit & Milwaukee Grain Elevator at Detroit, Michigan. The hull was later removed after being struck by several vessels.

On 3 June 1875, the iron carferry HURON (238 foot, 1052 gross tons) was launched at Point Edward, Ontario for the Grand Trunk Railway. Miss Jessie S. Hughes of Toronto christened the vessel with a bottle of wine. The hull's iron plates were manufactured in Scotland and shipped to Point Edward where they were assembled. Work began on 12 August 1874. Her engine and boiler were built by Mr. Wilson at Dundas, Ontario. This vessel ran between Windsor and Detroit for over a century.  Her hull is still in existence, submerged in the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip in River Rouge, Michigan.

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


Southdown Challenger name change

On May 28 the Southdown Challenger received part of her new name. The new St. Marys Challenger appears on both sides of the bow. The Challenger part was reused with the St. Marys section being new. The stern has letters too narrow for the stencils from the bow and a new set is being made to complete the job before she sails the middle of June.

Reported by Bill Bedell


Judge rules for states on ships' ballast water

A federal judge has granted motions for Great Lakes states to intervene in a lawsuit over whether ships without a permit can dump ballast water containing nonnative species.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco last week granted motions by Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania to intervene in a case against the Environmental Protection Agency. In March, Illston ordered the EPA to repeal regulations exempting ship operators from having to obtain such permits. The states sought to intervene so they can become more involved in determining a proper remedy, which will affect how the federal government adopts ballast-water discharge regulations.

"The judge clearly realized that a real-world remedy is needed urgently to protect our greatest natural resource," Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said in a statement.

In 1999, the Ocean Conservancy and four other environmental groups petitioned the EPA to repeal the ballast-water exemption. They claimed the Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of pollutants, including biological materials -- such as invasive species -- into U.S. waters without a permit. The EPA denied the petition and the conservation groups filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco in 2003.

Invasive species are known to cause significant economic and environmental damage. Marine species such as mollusks often are inadvertently transported in the ballast water of ships and discharged at ports far from their origins.

The zebra mussel was found in the Great Lakes in 1988 after apparently being carried in a trans-Atlantic ship's ballast water, which was emptied in the lakes. It caused millions of dollars in damage and since then has clogged water pipes, ships and docks.

A bill on Gov. Jennifer Granholm's desk would require that oceangoing ships get a permit to enter Michigan ports starting in 2007. Ships couldn't discharge aquatic nuisance species. They would have to treat any ballast water before releasing it.

Reported by the Duluth News Tribune / Associated Press


Tug Boats - Start Your Engines
International Tug Boat Race set for June 25

The normally sedate Detroit River comes alive with roaring diesels and blaring air horns June 25 when tug boats of all sizes race for glory and trophies in the 29th annual International Tug Boat Race.

The race begins at 1 p.m. at the Ambassador Bridge and runs to the finish line off Windsor's Dieppe Park. Trophies are awarded to the first tug to finish the race as well as to each tug that finishes first in its horsepower class.

It is the most unusual tug race anywhere. As many as 30 tugs of all sizes race in a mad dash for the finish line. Tugs ranging in length from 45 to 140 feet compete at the same time, all muscling for the best position. Some of the larger tugs are actual working tugs with more than 2,000 horsepower. The Detroit River boils as the tugs create a huge wake.

The race features tugs from all over the region -- from tugs based in Detroit to others that arrive from Lake Huron ports just to participate in this great tradition.

Tug boat racing on the Detroit River dates back to the 1950's and was originally a loosely organized event. For many years the event was discontinued until 1976 when the International Freedom Festival started the tradition once again. In 2003 the International Freedom Festival declared bankruptcy and the future of the race was in limbo. Local Detroit tug man Brian Williams, with the help of numerous companies, individuals and the Detroit and Windsor Port Authorities was able to organize the event, keeping the long standing tradition alive.

Spectators can watch the race from anywhere along its route. Among the top viewing spots is at the finish line at Windsor's Dieppe Park. Tugs dock in Windsor for the awards ceremony.

The race has the support of W. Steven Olinek, Deputy Director, Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, and William Marshall, Windsor Harbour Master / Windsor Port Authority.

“The fact is, we’re in favor and support anything that heightens the profile of the river, our maritime heritage and the historic importance of maritime industry in the Port of Detroit,” said Olinek. “The tug boat race does that very eloquently. Our goal is to keep it going and make it bigger and better every year if we can.”

Marshall said he sees the event as “an opportunity to draw the public to the waterfront and an opportunity to foster an international bond."

"For working tugs, the race provides an opportunity to involve family and friends in what they do for a living," he added.

Brian Williams, who owns the Detroit-based tug Acushnet, said there are few things more exciting than watching powerful tug boats racing at full throttle.

“I love tug boat racing,” said Williams. “I’ve been doing it myself for five years. My father has been doing it since the ‘70s.”

He said it’s just as exciting to watch from shore as it is to participate aboard a tug.
“How many tug boats do you ever see in one spot?,” he asked. “There’s no kid out there – and people in general – who doesn’t think a tug is cool. Twenty or so tugs running at full speed is something you don’t see very often.
“When you are on the tug, you’ve got a 3,000-horsepower engine screaming under you. There’s the thrill of actually being on a tug boat, and the waves. It’s a good time,” he said.

A family friendly event, this year’s race coincides with World’s Finest Shows Carnival held on Windsor’s waterfront near the finish line.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, to learn more about the race please visit


News Photo Gallery Notice

Please be advised that due to the large volume of photos being submitted for inclusion in this gallery and the time constraints involved in handling each submission, only selected photos will be used.  This page will continue to generally be used only for photos related to recent news or port/area reports and will only be released once or twice each week as time permits.  We appreciate your continued support as well as the time and effort involved with each submission and trust everybody will understand.  For guidelines on submitting photos to the news gallery, click here.

Timely postings of photos of your visits to the various ship watching locations, trips etc. can now be posted in your own albums created in the Public Gallery.  Just click on the Public Photo Gallery link and follow the instructions.

The Boatnerd Team


Port Reports

Saginaw River:
Reported by Todd Shorkey
Wednesday saw two outbound vessels on the Saginaw River.  First, the Algoway was outbound from the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw after unloading overnight. She passed through Bay City around 7am.  Following the Algoway was the Manistee.  She had taken the Saginaw Rock dock after the Algoway departed and unloaded there Wednesday morning.  Manistee was outbound through Bay City around 12:30pm.

Reported by Dale Baechler
The Saginaw arrived Wednesday morning to unload at the elevators and the Algoway came in the evening to take on a load of salt.

Sturgeon Bay:
Reported by Wendell Wilke
At Bay Ship Building were the following: the tug Michigan in the small graving dock, the barge Great Lakes on the floating dry dock and the Cuyahoga arrived mid-morn and was dockside to the channel. Also in the yard remain the car ferry Eyrrabbi (Washington Island Ferry Lines) and the former car ferry Voyageur of Washington Island Ferry Lines, now owned by Shoreline Marine, Chicago.

Reported by Lee Rowe
The Middletown took a dusty load of ore on Thursday.  An unusual visit from the Algoisle is expected Saturday morning.


Today in Great Lakes History: June 2

On 02 June 1958, the Liberian-flagged freighter MOUNT DELPHI sank enroute to Karachi, Pakistan.  She was built by the British American Shipbuilding Company at Welland, Ontario during the final years of World War I.  She had 12 different owners during her career and had been seized by Vichy interests at Casablanca, Morocco in 1940 and then by the Italian government in 1942.

 On 02 June 1893, CORSICAN (wooden schooner, 112 foot, 210 gross tons, built in 1862, at Olcott, New York) was carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to St. Ignace, Michigan on a foggy night on Lake Huron.  She collided with the iron steamer CORSICA and sank quickly off Thunder Bay Island.  All six onboard went down with her.  The wounded CORSICA was beached near Ossineke, Michigan and was later patched and proceeded to Ashtabula, Ohio.

In 1973, the SYLVANIA, downbound light in fog, collided with the FRANK PURNELL just north of the Detroit River Light at 0523 hours. The SYLVANIA suffered minor bow damage and went to Toledo for repairs.

On 2 June 1855, J W BLAKE (wooden scow-schooner, 68 foot, 33 tons, built in 1853 at Dover, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm four miles off Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin when she capsized. Her crew escaped in her yawl, but it was a very close call for one who was asleep below decks when she capsized. The vessel was later recovered and put back in service.

June 2, 1988 - The CITY OF MIDLAND 41 took on 17 truck loads of lake trout, which were planted off Beaver Island.

On 2 June 1882, INDUSTRY (wooden schooner, 63 foot, 30 tons, built in 1847, at Michigan City, Indiana) capsized and sank just a half mile from South Haven, Michigan. The three crewmen clung to the wreck for a while as rescue attempts were made from shore, but they all perished. The wreck later drifted to the beach about five miles south of town and went to pieces.

June 1

On 01 June 1903, ISAAC L ELLWOOD (steel propeller Freighter, 478 foot, 5085 gross tons, built in 1900, at W. Bay City, Michigan) broke the record for ore when she carried a cargo of 8579 tons of ore out of Duluth harbor.  This broke the record held by JOHN SMEATON (steel barge, 458 foot, 5049 gross tons, built in 1899, at Superior, Wisconsin) which was 8571 tons of ore.

The ASA CHILDS (wooden scow schooner, 125 foot, 204 gross tons, built in 1866, at Mentor, Ohio) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan when she was driven ashore at Highland Park just north of Chicago, Illinois on 01 June 1879, and was a total loss.  The crew escaped in the lifeboat.

On 01 June 1914, the St. Joseph-Chicago Steamship Company bought the EASTLAND (steel propeller passenger steamer, 265 foot, 1961 gross tons, built in 1903 at Port Huron, Michigan) from the Eastland Navigation Company for $150,000.

In 1943, the IRVING S OLDS collided with the 524 foot steamer CHARLES O JENKINS in heavy fog 28 miles northeast of Cleveland on Lake Erie and was holed eight feet above the water line. The OLDS was able to help the badly damaged JENKINS back to Cleveland by lashing the two vessels together. After a grueling seven hours the JENKINS was beached in the outer harbor to prevent her from sinking. The OLDS was repaired in time to carry a new record of 17,817 gross tons of iron ore on June 13, 1943.

In 1952, the steamer J L MAUTHE (Hull#298) was launched at Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan for the Interlake Steamship Co..

The WHITEFISH BAY, loaded with 950,000 bushels of spring wheat, was honored as she carried the billionth metric ton of cargo through the Eisenhower Lock in 1983.

On June 1, 1907 Great Lakes Engineering Works launched the bulk steamer a.) WILPEN (Hull#28) at Ecorse, Michigan for the Shenango Steamship Co., a subsidiary of Shenango Furnace Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) DAVID P THOMPSON in 1926 and converted to a self-unloader in 1957, at Superior, Wisconsin.  She was renamed c.) JOSEPH S YOUNG in 1969,  and scrapped at La Spezia, Italy in 1979.

The H LEE WHITE departed Sturgeon Bay in ballast on her maiden voyage for the American Steamship Co., on June 1, 1974, to load iron ore at Escanaba, Michigan for Indiana Harbor.

June 1, 1902 - While northbound for Manistque, Michigan, the ANN ARBOR NO 1 went aground in a heavy fog about noon on South Manitou Island, but was able to free herself and to proceed undamaged.

June 1, 1938 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21, under the command of Captain Arthur Altschwager, was released from a sand bar in the outer harbor (Manitowoc) at 1:06 p.m today after being aground for six hours. Her sister ship, the PERE MARQUETTE 22, commanded by J.F. Johnson, freed the ferry after taking a line and pulling the big ship back off the bar.

June, 1958, The ANN ARBOR NO 6 was taken out of service for extensive refitting. she was renamed b.) ARTHUR K ATKINSON.

On 1 June 1887, LUCINDA VAN VALKENBURG (wooden schooner, 129 foot , 302 gross tons, built in 1862 at Tonawanda, New York) collided with the iron steamer LEHIGH in fog and sank near Thunder Bay Island on Lake Huron. The crew was safely taken aboard the LEHIGH and brought to Port Huron.

On 1 June 1892, the steel bulk freighter CHOCTAW was launched at the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company (Hull #17) in Cleveland, Ohio for the Lake Superior Iron Company. Her dimensions were 207 feet x 38 feet x 18 feet and she had a triple expansion steam engine 17 feet, 29 inches, 47 inches x 36 inch stroke. She was built as "monitor" type vessel based on whaleback design with all her cabins aft. She lasted until sunk in a collision in 1915.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit 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.

News Archive - August 1996 to present

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