Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports - June30

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday afternoon, tug Undaunted and its barge Pere Marquette 41 unloaded riprap stone for dock construction just east of the cross-lake ferry and Coast Guard station in Milwaukee.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday evening, American Courage loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor.
Fleet mate H. Lee White unloaded limestone at the Lower Harbor.


Updates - June 30

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : July 30

July 30, 1996 - CSL's self-unloader H M GRIFFITH, which was off Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior, and bound for Nanticoke, Ontario with a load of 22,775 tons of western coal, has a spontaneous combustion fire in her number 2 cargo hold. Water was used to cool the fire and the GRIFFITH used her unloading boom to dump 3,000 tons of coal into Lake Superior. After an inspection by the USCG at the Soo the following day, revealed only minor damage, the vessel was cleared to proceed on her journey. Reconstructed and renamed b.) RT HON PAUL J MARTIN in 2000.

This "News Page" on this site was "launched" in 1996, reporting the coal fire aboard the GRIFFITH.

The GORDON C LEITCH (Hull#36) was launched July 30, 1952, at Midland, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd. for the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. Ltd., Toronto, Ontario.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ice Breaker C.C.G.S. ALEXANDER HENRY entered service July 30, 1959. Since 1985, the HENRY serves as a museum in Kingston, Ontario.

On 30 July 1871, the 162 foot bark HARVEY BISSELL was carrying lumber from Toledo to Tonawanda, New York. When she was on the Western end of Lake Erie, she sprang a leak. Although the crew worked the hand powered pumps constantly, the water kept gaining at a rate of about a foot an hour. The tug KATE WILLIAMS took her in tow, intending to get her to Detroit to be repaired, but this proved impossible. So the BISSELL was towed close to Point Pelee and allowed to sink in 14 feet of water. The WILLIAMS then left for Detroit to get steam pumps and other salvage equipment. On returning, they pumped out the BISSELL, refloated and repaired her. She lasted until 1905.

On 30 July 1872, the Port Huron Dry Dock launched SANDY, a lighter. Her dimensions were 75 feet x 20 feet x 5 feet.

On 30 July 1873, George Hardison of Detroit announced the beginning of a new shipyard in Port Huron, Michigan. It would be located above the 7th Street Bridge on the Black River on land owned by J. P. Haynes, accessible by River Street. Within 30 days of this announcement, the new yard had orders for two canalers three-and-aft rig for delivery in the Spring of 1874. Their dimensions were to be 146 feet overall, 139 feet keel, 26 foot beam and 11 foot 6 inches depth.

On 30 July 1866, CITY OF BUFFALO (wooden propeller, 340 foot, 2,026 tons, built in 1857, at Buffalo, New York as a side-wheeler) was unloading 72,000 bushels of wheat at the Sturgis Elevator at Buffalo, New York when arsonists set fire to the complex. The fire destroyed the wharf, the elevator, several businesses and the ship. The arsonists were caught. Incidentally, the CITY OF BUFFALO was converted from a passenger side-wheeler to a propeller freighter during the winter of 1863-64. After the conversion, she was dubbed "the slowest steam-craft on the Lakes".

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Sociery, 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 tailed history.


Port Reports - June 29

Gary Indiana - Brian Z.
Upper Lakes' Canadian Olympic was loading a cargo of coke breeze Thursday at U.S. Steel in Gary.
The Presque Isle was also discharging a cargo of pellets for the #14 blast furnace.

Port Haven - Dick Fox
The Manistee came in light Thursday afternoon to pick up a load of sand at Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg. This boat is scheduled to leave late tonight, go to St. Joseph, MI to unload and return for another load Friday afternoon.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Manistee arrived in Holland Thursday morning at about 8:30 and delivered stone to the Verplank dock. It departed shortly after noon.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Thursday morning ocean bulk carrier BBC Mississippi was at the heavy lift dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor, delivering a cargo of windmill components.
Algomarine remained at slip 1 in the outer harbor, where it had deposited a load of salt.
Also Thursday, saltie Olympic Merit (reg. Panama) was backed into a slip at the General Cargo piers on Milwaukee's outer harbor, in an area used often for steel deliveries.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug barge combo Michigan/Great Lakes arrived Thursday morning at 8 a.m. with a load of gasoline for the BP Tank Facility.

Kingsville - Eric Zuschlag
Thursday night the Saginaw paid a sunset visit to the small harbour town of Kingsville and unloaded stone.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tugs Radium Yellowknife and M. R. Kane towed Canadian Ranger from Pier 35, out the East Gap at 9 a.m. Thursday. They took the Ranger to anchor in Humber Bay, off Ontario Place, to act as a fireworks barge for the next week.
The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 departed the Turning Basin and headed out the East Gap at 2 p.m. Thursday.


Updates - June 29

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 29

On this day in 1946, the tug DALHOUSIE ROVER, Captain J. R. Mac Lean, capsized in the Welland Canal. There were no survivors among the crew of six.

On 29 June 1910, ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2,626 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. Cut down to a barge in 1961, she was scrapped in La Salle, Ontario in 2006.

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 re-powered 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, Russ Plumb, 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 - June 28

South Chicago - Steve B.
Wednesday morning, the Joseph L Block was in Lake Michigan just off Indiana Harbor, waiting for the Mesabi Miner to depart Mittal before heading there itself with a load of taconite. The Miner departed about 9:30 a.m.
At the same time, the Sam Laud was also arriving at Calumet Harbor with a destination of KCBX to load.
ATB Undaunted/PM 41 departed Emesco steel Wednesday morning after delivering a cargo of scrap steel. She proceeded to Indiana Harbor, loaded a cargo of slag in the ship canal and departed for Ludington later that evening.

Marquette - Rod Burdick

Lee A. Tregurtha departed the Upper Harbor late Tuesday afternoon after engine repairs. She completed her ore load Saturday evening.
Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker was unloading western coal, and John J. Boland loaded taconite and departed. Michipicoten arrived to load taconite after the Boland departed.

Milwaukee correction - Paul Erspamer
Tuesday night's report stated Samuel de Champlain and Innovation arrived at 11 p.m. It sure looked like them in the dark. Wednesday morning revealed it was Integrity and G. L. Ostrander.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Algorail called on the Saginaw River late Monday night headed upriver to Zilwaukee to unload. Her security call did not indicate which dock she called on. Algorail was outbound through Bay City Tuesday morning.
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Tuesday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before going upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore/Kuber were outbound late Tuesday.

Soo - Lee Rowe
Ships passing through the locks on Wednesday, to the delight of many Boatnerds, included the American Spirit, Stewart J Cort, American Fortitude, Algonorth, Atlantic Erie, and S Pacific. Of course, the day began for some Boatnerds with 4 a.m. shots of the E L Ryerson heading upbound!


Only 2 Days until Engineer's Day

Engineer's Day is Friday, June 29. The annual Open House at the Soo Locks will be followed by the annual 3-hour BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise aboard Lock Tours Canada's the Chief Shingwauk.

Have you made your reservations yet? Call today. It is not too late.

Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details.

June 28 - 31 - Engineer's Weekend at the Soo

Thursday, June 28 - Unofficial Boatnerd Picnic
A spontaneous, informal gathering started in 2006 at Rotary Park at Mission Point. The picnic will begin about 2:00pm and continue thru the afternoon/evening. Grills will be provided, but anyone with a portable grill or canopy please contact Lee Rowe at with the information. Plates, napkins, eating utensils will also be provided. Bring something to share. Soo delis will have food options to purchase and bring to the park. Come one, come all and enjoy a great time with other Boatnerds. Name tags will be provided in case you don't recognize faces. Plan now to attend.

Mariner’s Banquet on the Valley Camp. See details at

Friday, June 29 - 9:30 a.m. - Boatnerds gather on the steps below the MacArthur Lock for a group picture. Come early and get a name tag.

10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m..- The Corps of Engineers will open the area between the MacArthur and Poe Locks, the Administration Building and the Davis Building to visitors. This is a once-a-year chance to see inside the Corps operation, and see passing freighters from a different angle. The Edison Sault and LSSU Aquatics Lab will also be open.

6:00 p.m. - Annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise.
Note change of date back to Friday evening. This annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario. Cruise will return at 9:00 p.m. Cost is US$30.00 per person. Price includes dinner. Cash bar on board. Make reservations by calling (705) 253-9850, or 1-877-226-3665.

Saturday, June 30 - Daytime
9:00 am – International Bridge Walk starting from LSSU Norris Center.

10:00 – 4:00 – Maritime Vendors Mart at Pullar Center. Lee Murdock concerts at 11 and 2:30.

Noon – Tug boat races in Soo Harbor

Noon – 4:00 – USCG Station Sault open house

Informal gatherings at Mission Point, weather permitting. Bring your best pix to compare and show. Bring your radio-controlled boats for an informal regatta.


Updates - June 28

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 31st Annual International Tugboat Race on the Detroit River

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 28

On this day in 1955, the 456 foot WYCHEM 105, a.) SAMUEL F B MORSE, was loaded with sand at the B&O docks in Lorain and towed to Rocky River, Ohio where she was sunk as a temporary breakwall.

On this day in 1957, the JOSEPH S YOUNG departed Manitowoc, Wisconsin on her maiden voyage. She traveled in ballast to Port Inland, Michigan to load a cargo of stone. The YOUNG was the a.) ARCHERS HOPE, A T2-SE-A1 tanker, converted to Great Lakes service at Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock, Baltimore, Maryland. Renamed c.) H LEE WHITE in 1969, and d.) SHARON in 1974. Scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

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, Russ Plumb, 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 - June 27

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning, Lee A. Tregurtha was still on the north side of the Upper Harbor ore dock undergoing engine repairs.

Great Lakes Towing, Cleveland - Edward C. Hertz
The Tug Ohio towed three U.S. Navy LCMs from U.S. Naval Station, Great Lakes, Illinois to the new Great Lakes Shipyard in the Old River Bed of the Cuyahoga River for maintenance and repair. The harbor tug Rhode Island escorted the Tug Ohio and the three LCMs from Cleveland’s harbor entrance to the shipyard. Upon completion of the maintenance and repair work, the Tug Ohio will return the LCMs to the U.S. Naval Station, Great Lakes, Illinois.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Tuesdays upbound traffic included Algowood, Frontenac, Canadian Provider, Michipicoten, American Integrity, sailing ship Nina (locked upbound), Herbert C Jackson to Algoma Steel, tug Champion & barge and American Mariner.
Downbound were John J. Boland, Edwin H Gott & salty Yamanska.

Buffalo - Ken Goodman
Adam E. Cornelius departed at 9:55 a.m. Tuesday.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
The H. Lee White arrived at Bayship in Sturgeon Bay about 8 p.m. on Tuesday. She entered from Lake Michigan via the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Tuesday evening Algomarine was backed into the slip and delivering salt at terminal 1 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, side by side with Federal Mattawa, which continues unloading steel at terminal 2.
At about 11 p.m. the tug Samuel de Champlain and cement barge Innovation arrived in the inner harbor, then turned, docked and began to unload at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island.


Updates - June 27

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 31st Annual International Tugboat Race on the Detroit River

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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, 1,585 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 4:04 p.m. on 27 June 1890, the Beatty Line's MONARCH (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 240 foot, 2,017 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, 5,085 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, 2,790 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


A Great Lakes legend turns 100
Canada wants the Keewatin back,
but for now it rests, elegantly, on Lake Michigan

6/26 - Douglas, Mich– Hundredth birthdays are a big deal whether they're for people or Great Lakes passenger ships. Just ask Toronto entrepreneur Eric Conroy.

If all goes as planned, on July 6 he and some other prominent Canadians he's persuaded to join him will converge on this quiet Lake Michigan resort town to celebrate the centennial of the launch of the former Canadian Pacific Railway steamer Keewatin, which for generations transported travelers in Edwardian-era elegance between Port McNicoll on Georgian Bay and Fort William (now part of Thunder Bay) on Lake Superior.

"I just feel a part of it," says Conroy of the trim, white, much-beloved 106-metre ship, which he worked on as a waiter in the 1960s and has been visiting for the past 10 years, sometimes acting as a tour guide.

The vessel, the sole survivor of a once sizable number of classic Great Lakes cruise ships, has been a privately operated floating museum permanently moored here since 1968, three years after its withdrawal from passenger service. To raise consciousness among Canadians about the Keewatin, Conroy, who publishes The Magazine, a popular monthly for teens, says he's talked a select group of his compatriots into attending the rechristening of the steamer on the 100th anniversary of its launch in Glasgow, Scotland.

They include Ontario Minister of Tourism Jim Bradley, country singer Albert Hall, who'll perform a song he's written about the Keewatin, and Toronto developer Gil Blutrich, who wants to make the ship the centre piece of his ambitious project to redevelop Port McNicoll. What they will see is a centenarian that has aged gracefully. "When you go on board, it looks exactly like the day I left it," Conroy said in a phone interview. He wasn't kidding.

Take one of the Keewatin Maritime Museum's guided tours and you find a ship that seems ready to depart on yet another day-and-a-half voyage across two Great Lakes. Champagne bottles stand on bedside tables in the deluxe staterooms, period-piece desks await letter writers in the ladies' lounge, and in the 120-seat, walnut-paneled dining room, all the tables are set with Canadian Pacific silverware and china.

The ship's exterior looks just as it did to those who once arrived at Port McNicoll by the special boat train from Toronto. A smart-looking dark green band still encircles the hull, and the steamer's enormous, 78-metre stack still sports the distinctive red and white checkerboard CP insignia. A nearly identical sister ship, the Assiniboia, also carried passengers for 57 years under CP colours, but soon after retirement it was destroyed by fire. The Keewatin has escaped demise because of its owner, R.J. Peterson, who, Conroy says, "had a vision that no else did."

Although both Port McNicoll and Fort William are said to have spurned CP's offer to sell them the ship for a dollar in the 1960s, Peterson, the owner of two marinas here, paid about $42,000 for the vessel itself and another few thousand for the steamship's furnishings, and has used his own funds and revenues from the museum to maintain the ship.

Ironically, officials in Thunder Bay have recently expressed interest to Peterson in bringing the ship back there as a tourist attraction. Meanwhile, Blutrich says he wants to help establish a charitable foundation that would receive private and public donations to preserve this "fine, fine piece of Canadian history" at Port McNicoll.

For his part, in early June Peterson, now 80, took the first step toward creating his own foundation for the same purpose. "It's just possible," he says, the ship "might be better off where it's at."

Asked his preference for the Keewatin's final resting spot, Conroy answers carefully. "I have an allegiance to R.J. Peterson at this point," he says but then adds, "If it goes anywhere, I'd like to see it go to Port McNicoll."

From the Toronto Star


Port Reports - June 26

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in on Monday for the first time this season. It docked at the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg about 8 a.m. It is scheduled to leave late afternoon.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
The barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander unloaded cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor Friday, departing at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
On Monday the saltwater bulker Federal Mattawa was at General Cargo terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, delivering steel products.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Monday morning the American Republic backed into the south side of the Upper Harbor ore dock and loaded taconite. She departed mid-afternoon.
Lee A. Tregurtha remains in Marquette with engine problems and is docked on the north side of the ore dock.
The commercial dock next to the ore dock was receiving floating tanks which were offloaded by the crane barge then beached by the tug BeeJay. Three were delivered and a fourth was arriving. The use/ purpose of these tanks is not known.


Updates - June 26

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 31st Annual International Tugboat Race on the Detroit River

Public Photo Gallery updated.


News Photo Submission Guidelines

We will not longer accept photos for inclusion in the News Photo Galleries that do not meet the News Photo Submission Guidelines that are linked at the bottom of each News Photo Gallery page.

Photos that are received that do not meet the guidelines will be ignored.

The three most frequent mistakes are (1) not changing the file name of each photo to meet the guidelines, or making the file name more than 20 characters long: (2) not including a caption for each photo in the text part or your email, and (3) sending too many pictures of the same scene or same boat at the same time.

Please help us to provide complete coverage of the Great Lakes shipping scene. Sending reports in this format ensures that your pictures are processed as quickly as possible. It saves hours of editing time over a typical week and makes it possible to easily identify who took a picture allowing proper credit to be given.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 26

On this day in 1942, the LEON FRASER, Captain Neil Rolfson, completed her maiden voyage and delivered a record cargo of 16,414 tons of ore to Conneaut. The downbound trip only required 67.5 hours and broke the record of 15,218 tons set by the Canadian freighter LEMOYNE 15 days earlier. The FRASER was shortened and converted to a bulk cement carrier in 1991, and sails today as the b.) ALPENA.

On this day in 1969, the new Poe Lock was dedicated and opened to traffic. The first boat to transit the new lock was the PHILIP R CLARKE. Captain Thomas Small, a 95-year old retired Pittsburgh Captain was at the wheel of the CLARKE. Thomas Small was also at the wheel of the COLGATE HOYT Ð the first boat to transit the original Poe Lock on August 4, 1896.

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, Russ Plumb, 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 - June 25

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's Birchglen was loaded on a rainy Saturday at KCBX in Chicago. A cargo of 24,000 M/T of petroleum coke was put onboard, destined for Nova Scotia. Lower Lakes' Calumet followed the Birchglen after discharging a cargo of salt at 103rd and the Calumet River. The Calumet loaded a cargo of blended coal for Holland, Michigan.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
The tug/barge pair Samuel de Champlain/Innovation, which is not a regular caller in Green Bay, were in bound in the Fox River going to LaFarge at 10 a.m. Sunday. She should again be out bound by early Monday afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Early Saturday morning the Canadian Provider arrived at 5:30a.m with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.
The Petrolia Desgagnes anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte and then docked after the Sichem Manila departed at 11 a.m.
Sunday morning had the tug Ecosse and barge OC181 arriving at 8 a.m. and going to Pier 15 for lay up.
The Petrolia Desgagnes then departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 8 a.m. and headed down the lake.
Then technical problems made the Burlington lift Bridge inoperable from approximately 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The tug Salvor and barge Lambert's Spirit, the Hamilton Energy, the Ocean Group tug Jerry G and the Algonorth all waited outside while the Lake Superior was at anchor in the harbour.
The Algonorth had a load of iron ore pellets for Dofasco while the lake Superior had loaded soy beans at pier 25 for Sorel.
The Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 6:30 p.m.


Boatnerd logos for sale

The boat watching season is in full swing. Are you able to be identified as a BoatNerd?

For your vehicle we have 4" x 4" bumper stickers and interior window clingers.

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Let people know you are a Boatnerd. Look for other Boatnerds. All proceeds go to support this site.

To order these items, click here for order form and pricing.


Updates - June 24

News Photo Gallery updated.

Scenes from the 31st Annual International Tugboat Race on the Detroit River

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 25

The whaleback steamer WASHBURN (steel propeller freighter, 320 foot, 2,234 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, 2,234 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 feet x 42.25 feet x 24.16 feet; 2,394 gross tons- 1,465 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 SuperiorÕs 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.

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.


Port Reports - June 24

Rochester - Tom Brewer
The Evans McKeil and the Metis are out running again and are back in Rochester with another load of bulk cement for Essroc.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday afternoon, fleet mates Kaye E. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The H. Lee White was out bound the Saginaw River early Saturday morning after unloading coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville overnight.
In bound Saturday morning was the Manistee, carrying a split load. She stopped at the Wirt Stone dock in Essexville to lighter before moving up river to finish at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. Manistee then turned off the dock and was out bound for the lake during the late afternoon.
Passing the out bound Manistee was her fleetmate Mississagi. The Mississagi was in bound for the upper river and the Buena Vista dock to unload. She is expected to be out bound around 4 a.m. Sunday.


U.S. Coast Guard Seeks Mariner Feedback

6/24 - Washington - The U.S. Coast Guard announced today that its Merchant Marine Personnel Advisory Committee has established a mechanism to provide ongoing feedback on the mariner licensing and documentation program and the relocation of the National Maritime Center.

“The committee is reaching out to organizations such as trade associations, labor unions, and educational institutions to obtain their feedback, as well as mariner feedback, on how implementation of the plan is affecting their constituents,” said Andrew McGovern, committee chairman. “This process includes an early warning email contact system so problems warranting immediate action can be brought to the Coast Guard’s attention.”

Those wishing to provide feedback should email the committee at

The Coast Guard began restructuring its mariner licensing and documentation Martinsburg, W. Va., change mission focus for the 17 regional examination centers and implement technological improvements such as electronic imaging of mariner records, electronic administration and grading of exams, and on-line payment of user fees.

When the plan is complete the processing of all applications for credentials will be centralized and managed by the reorganized National Maritime Center staff, and the responsibilities of the regional examination centers will be limited to fingerprinting mariners, establishing mariner identities, providing application assistance, administering testing, and providing course oversight.

From Maritime Executive Magazine online


Updates - June 24

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 24

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

The WILLIAM E COREY (Hull#67), was launched at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co., the first flagship for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Sold to Canadian registry and renamed b.) RIDGETOWN in1963. Sold for use as a breakwall at Nanticoke in 1970, and since 1974, she has been used as a breakwater in Port Credit, Ontario.

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.


Fire on Duluth Waterfront

6/23 - Duluth - About 8 a.m. Friday a fire started on the east end of the Duluth Timber facility at the former B.N. # 2 dock. The fire quickly turned into a massive blaze with smoke visible as far away as 25 miles.

The entire eastern portion of the old Northern Pacific freight sheds was quickly engulfed in flames while the Duluth fire departments and two commercial vessels shot water into the fire with water cannons. The massive fire was finally under control by 11:30 a.m.

Destroyed in the fire were several trucks, cranes, heavy equipment, two historic grocery boats, the Dona and the Fred Beatty, the wooden fish tug Last Chance, numerous antique wooden cruisers, and the cedar wood mill, whose home was in the facility. All of the commercial vessels that were dockside were unharmed.

The facility was once home to the Zenith Dredge Company and several of their old steam dredges are still moored there, unused. The pier is also home to the forward cabins off the 1917 steamer Irvin L. Clymer, which were unharmed in the fire.


Port Reports - June 23

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Thursday evening saw the CSL Laurentian arrive at 6 p.m. and went to Stelco to discharge coal from Buffalo. Her next port is to be Conneaut.
The Spruceglen departed at 6:15 p.m. from Pier 12. Lake Superior arrived at 10 p.m.
Friday morning, the Canadian Leader departed Dofasco at 6 a.m. heading to Thunder Bay in ballast.
John B. Aird departed at 12:30 p.m. heading to Fairport. The Vega Desgagnes departed at 4:30 p.m. and was heading to Quebec City.
The Ocean tug Jerry G departed at 5:30 p.m. for Bronte to help the Sichem Manila ( Eitzen Chemicals )who arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 6:30 p.m. to dock.

South Chicago/Indiana Harbor -
On Friday, the Birchglen remains near mouth of the Calumet River loading an unidentifiable cargo.
The Burns Harbor arrived at Indiana Harbor around 1 p.m. Friday.
After discharging a load of taconite at Indiana Harbor on the Thursday, Interlake's Charles M. Beeghly called on South Chicago's KCBX dock for a load of coal.

Duluth - Al Miller
Duluth’s port terminal is handling numerous shipments of giant wind turbines this season. On Friday morning, S. Pacific was under the gantry cranes as workers continued unloading windmill towers and turbines. The parts will join other disassembled turbines brought in by a vessel several days earlier. Beluga Expectation was expected to arrive late Friday with more wind turbines.
Elsewhere, at 7:30 a.m. the John G. Munson was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal for delivery to the Pinney Dock in Ashtabula.
Canadian Enterprise was outbound in the harbor with coal destined for Nanticoke.

Detroit - Ken Borg
On Friday the former Bob-Lo boat Ste. Claire was towed from Toledo to Detroit. The tow was by the G tugs Superior and Wyoming. She was taken to Centennial Park, which is to be her new temporary home.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Mark Hannah and her tank barge were in bound the Saginaw River on early Thursday, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. The pair were out bound later in the day.
Sam Laud was also in bound on Thursday, stopping at the Sargent dock in Essexville before entering the Bay Aggregates slip in Bay City. She was out bound Thursday night.
Tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge, who had arrived on Wednesday, were also out bound from the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City.
The next arrival was the Mississagi. She stopped at the Bay City Wirt dock to lighter then continued upriver to finish at the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw. Mississagi was out bound early Friday morning.
On Friday the CSL Tadoussac was in bound during the morning, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. She delayed her departure Friday evening slightly to allow the in bound H. Lee White to get tied up at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville where she was to unload coal. Once the White was secure, the Tadoussac began the process of backing from the dock, out of the river and out to Light 12 of the Entrance Channel, where she turned and headed out to the lake. The H. Lee White was expected to be out bound very early Saturday morning.


Lawsuit Planned to Force Action on Ballast, Invasive Species
Suit aims to curb ballast dumping

6/23 - Milwaukee - A group of conservation organizations led by the National Wildlife Federation announced its intent Thursday to sue the oceangoing shipping industry to get the ships to stop polluting the Great Lakes with contaminated ballast water discharges.

The conservationists want the federal government to require the ships to install ballast water treatment systems. Specifically, they want the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ballast discharges into the Great Lakes like any other pollutant under the Clean Water Act.

The idea is not new.

A federal district judge in northern California ruled in September that the EPA has until 2008 to begin regulating ballast discharges under the act, something the agency has refused to do. That case was brought by a coalition of West Coast environmental groups worried about the damage invasive species were doing to coastal waterways. They later were joined by six Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin.

Conservationists said Thursday that the EPA is not likely to meet the 2008 deadline, and they hope this new lawsuit will lead to faster action.

"This is a very practical approach to rapidly doing something to slow and ultimately stop the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes office.
Legislation stalled

Buchsbaum and other conservationists maintain the best solution to the problem is comprehensive federal legislation requiring ballast treatment systems, but that has been stalled for several years.

Michigan, meanwhile, has passed its own law requiring ballast treatment systems on boats. The shipping industry has sued to block the requirement. The industry argues that more work needs to be done to develop effective ballast treatment systems. Conservationists contend otherwise.

The Great Lakes are home to more than 180 invasive species, and a new one is discovered, on average, about every six months. Research shows that the majority of new species arrivals during the past few decades have come from ballast discharges from oceangoing vessels.

Ballast water is used to balance less-than-full cargo ships on the open seas.

Thursday's announcement triggered the required 60-day notice period before a lawsuit can be filed.

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - June 23

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 23

J.P. MORGAN, JR. was involved in a collision with steamer CRETE, June 23, 1948, off Devils Island, Lake Superior. 1 life was lost.

Thirty years ago this morning, the NEPCO 140, carrying six million gallons of No. 6 bunker oil and being pushed toward Oswego by the tug EILEEN C, grounded on the shore of Wellesley Island in the American Narrows section of the St. Lawrence River, just upstream from Alexandria Bay, N.Y. The grounding occurred about 1:35 a.m. in heavy fog and was followed by a second apparent grounding further up river, just before the barge reached the Seaway anchorage site off Mason's Point, some four miles above the initial grounding site. In all, over 300,000 of the thick crude was spilled into the River, creating the largest slick ever to pollute an inland U.S. waterway to that day. Seaway traffic was halted immediately, sending at least 20 ships to anchor. Within hours, over 20,000 feet of boom were deployed, but the spill moved steadily down river, coating granite shoreline, trapping waterfowl, forcing boat owners to pull their boats, and oozing into sensitive marshland, particularly Chippewa Bay in New York waters. Some oil eventually reached as far down the river as Lake St. Lawrence and coated shoreline along the Long Sault Parkway on the Canadian side of the lake. Clean-up lasted into the fall and cost in excess U.S. $8 million.

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 overturned 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) transited 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. She was renamed b.) GORDON C LEITCH in 1994.

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 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: Terry Denholm, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Matthew Daley, Dave Swayze, Fritz Hager, 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


'Ghost ship' discovered off Vermilion
General Anthony Wayne sank in 1850

6/22 - Vermilion - One of Lake Erie's ghost ships, the most sought wrecks of the last century, has been found about eight miles off the Vermilion shore.

The side-wheel steamship General Anthony Wayne sank in 1850. The other ghosts are the Consuella, which sank in 1875, and the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2, which sank in 1909.

The man who found the General Anthony Wayne, Tom Kowalczk, of Lakeside, dispensed with one rumor at a Wednesday news conference at the Great Lakes Historical Society: No gold was on board. For more than a century, rumors persisted that the ship, named in honor of Revolutionary War hero Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne, carried a fortune in gold. But the historical society and Kowalczk said research showed that the ship held nothing more than locally made wine, cattle and 93 passengers and crew.

The ship left Toledo on April 27, 1850, bound for Buffalo, N.Y. It stopped to pick up passengers and cargo in Sandusky, then headed toward its next stop at Cleveland, when the boilers of its steam engines exploded. Thirty-eight people were killed, 15 were injured and 40 people were rescued.

About 2,000 ships have sunk in Lake Erie and the locations of 275 to 300 are known.

The story of the General Anthony Wayne tantalized Kowalczk, director of corporate quality assurance for Shiloh Industries of Valley City, which engineers metal products for the automobile industry. In September 2006, Kowalczk started looking for the ship. "I researched everything I could about it and knew the general area where the ship went down," he said. "I laid out a grid search pattern and starting hunting."

Kowalczk pulled a side-scanning sonar device through the water, which sent back pictures of the lake bottom to a display screen on his boat. About 12 hours into the search, he saw a bright spot on the screen in about 50 feet of water. He sent the device in for closer pictures and saw the sidewheels. He knew he had found it. It was not until May 20 that Kowalczk dived down to the wreck, which is in two sections, and photographed it. He saw the sidewheels, 26 feet in diameter, the foot-wide engine shaft and other parts that fit the description of the General Anthony Wayne.

Great Lakes Historical Society Executive Director Christopher Gillcrist said the exact location will not be revealed until undersea archaeologists explore and document the wreck. "We will eventually make the location known," he said. "We support eco-tourism, so drivers can go look at the site. We just don't want people to go out and remove part of the wheel and make it into a coffee table, or put it on eBay."

Gillcrist said two treasure hunters claimed to have found the ship earlier, but he discounts their report. "They never revealed the location," he said. "They were looking for gold that was not there. The state of Ohio and its residents own sunken ships, not individuals." The two men, Kellogg Vance and Matthew Roalofs, both of Seven Hills, have said they pinpointed the wreck in 1988. At the time, they said they believed the ship carried two strongboxes containing $101,600 in pre-1850 gold coins, which could be worth more than $40 million.

But before they could explore the site and find the coins, the state ruled that such wrecks belong to the people of Ohio.
Reached by telephone on Wednesday, Roalofs still insists that the wreck contains treasure, based on articles he said he found in old newspapers. He declined to elaborate on the source of his information. Asked what he thought of Kowalczk's discovery, he said: "Good luck to them, but now word will get out and divers will pick it clean."

Kowalczk insists the wreck has no treasure and that its value is historical. "There's no historical record, no newspaper articles, or anything else to indicate that there was that kind of money on board the ship," Kowalczk said. "If there was, you can be sure that the owners of the ship would have gone out and salvaged it immediately."

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Port Reports - June 22

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Thursday the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 made a rare Milwaukee visit to deliver riprap stone to the dock face just outboard of the Lake Express ferry. This space is normally used by yachts, cruise ships and some Coast Guard vessels.
Also Thursday, St. Mary's Challenger arrived in the inner harbor at about 10:45 a.m. and moved upriver to its Kinnickinnic Avenue slip to unload cement. Saltie Federal Power continued unloading at General Cargo terminal 3 in the outer harbor.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning the American Courage arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite. Great Lakes Trader was unloading limestone at the Lower Harbor.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC 2004 departed at 8 a.m. on Friday.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Thursdays upbound traffic included Atlantic Huron, Algolake, John D. Leitch, Joseph L. Block, American Spirit, and Grand Mariner.
Downbound were Burns Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha, Herbert C Jackson, Voyageur Pioneer, Indiana Harbor, American Courage, American Fortitude, Cedarglen, and Alpena.
Evening water levels-upper pool minus 4 inches, lower pool minus 8 inches, Rock Cut minus 4 inches.


Dock Outage Contributes To Coal Slump in May

6/22 - Cleveland—Repairs at a Lake Erie coal loading dock proved a factor in the nearly 11 percent drop in coal shipments on the Lakes in May. Shipments totaled 4.1 million net tons, a decrease of 10.7 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

The Pittsburgh & Conneaut dock in Conneaut, Ohio, experienced mechanical problems in May and so was able to load only three coal cargos during the month. As result, its shipments fell below 100,000 net tons, only one-fifth its 5-year average. However, repairs are complete and the dock is shipping as demand dictates in June.

The inability to carry full loads was another factor in the May slump. The largest coal cargo in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade (Lake Superior to Lower Lakes destinations) totaled 64,392 net tons, yet 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Lakers have carried as much as 70,903 net tons in a single trip in this trade. Nearly 10 percent of these vessels’ carrying capacity has been negated by low water levels and the dredging crisis.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 10.4 million net tons, a decrease of 15.5 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are down by 5 percent, or 550,000 net tons.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Great Lakes' past may offer clues on climate

6/22 - Chicago - From one view of history, the Great Lakes are near record lows, approaching the bottom-scraping frustration of the mid-1960s.

From another, longer view, though, the lakes are nearly as high as they've ever been, just a few feet below the high-water mark reached at the end of the Little Ice Age in the 1850s.

Both pictures are scientifically accurate and are getting more attention from climatologists, lake scientists and environmentalists curious about history's large climate cycles and how they tip the lakes' eons-old balancing act of rainfall and runoff, heating and evaporation.

The fluctuations are raising new questions about whether climate change has begun to alter the depth of the lakes, though the picture is still too complex to yield definitive answers.

"If you look at the record even from 1850 on, at lake levels and precipitation levels, this is not abnormal," said Thomas E. Croley II, research hydrologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. "But it's always hard to say whether this is the start of something else, and that's where you get so much subjective opinion, so many questions of climate change."

Over the weekend, owners retired the Lake Superior ferry between Minnesota and Isle Royale because the boat was too big to dock in the shallow marina. Deep-lake cargo carriers have left tons of freight at loading docks to cross shallow channels between lakes. Marinas have been dredging more than ever. And still other indicators of lake health seem out of whack.

In the last decade, researchers learned the lakes not only were dropping compared with modern records, but they were also getting warmer -- even faster than temperature increases on land. Lake Superior is 5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it was a century ago, "and most of that warming happened recently," within 25 years or so, said Jay Austin, a climatologist at the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

Ice on the lake forms later and melts earlier, he said, and the tipping point when the winter lake begins warming rapidly for the summer has come earlier each year. That in turn has spelled faster evaporation for Lake Superior -- the feeder lake for the lakes system -- which has been steaming away 4.6 millimeters faster every year since 1977.

At that pace, more water is now evaporating than is falling into the lake as rainfall. "Lake Superior is sort of this canary in the coal mine," Austin said. "It responds very quickly to climate change." And that realization has prompted a wider look at the lakes' past.

For years, depth markings of falling water levels and satellite views of shrinking ice sheets have told a bleak tale of drought and dwindling waters in the Great Lakes, particularly Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. But in the last decade, climate researchers, pollen experts and specialists in prehistoric forests have also added their expertise, uncovering more evidence below the lakes' diminishing waters, whispered by ancient peat bogs, drowned beachfronts and submerged tree trunks.

The researchers have teased chemical indicators from sediment records, carbon dated soggy stumps under Lake Superior and put microscopes to core samples from Lake Huron to find pollen from warmer and drier climates. Together, the evidence suggests water levels have risen and fallen by several meters over the centuries, often tied to cycles of warming and cooling in the region.

"The evidence is pretty strong it was once much drier around here than at the present time," said Thomas Johnson, a geologist at the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, citing evidence from long-ago beach ridges and drowned swamps not quite at the shores of the modern Great Lakes.

During periods of low water that lasted until 2,000 years ago, a forest stood at the bottom of Duluth harbor and in parts of Lake Huron. Peat bogs stretched between what are now the Apostles Islands near Wisconsin. At a bay above Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., successive underwater ridges were a thriving forest when Leif Ericson landed in North America, and an active beach later in dry spells as recent as the 1700s. In Lake Michigan, salvage divers in the 1980s found a grove of sunken tree trunks 15 miles off Navy Pier that date back thousands of years.

Piecing together those clues, climate detectives suspect Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron may have been lower than 20th Century historical averages in the 13th and 17th Centuries and much higher in the 16th Century as well as over the last 50 years.

Researchers hope the renewed look at the lakes' far past will yield insight for the future, said Cynthia Sellinger, who tracks lake levels for the Great Lakes research lab, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. From year to year, rainfall and snowpack replenish lake levels, while ice cover and high humidity preserve them from evaporation. But sometimes, bizarre factors get thrown in as well.

In 2005, Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron, locked in drought, languished below long-term annual averages. Meanwhile, the downstream lakes they fed were brimming with water, a surprise on its face until Sellinger compared lake levels with weather tracks. She realized Lakes Erie and Ontario were filled by the last gasps of Tropical Storm Arlene and Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina, a freak of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Modern climate measurements only go so far, she said. They offer good snapshots of recent years, but account for few surprises and reach back barely further than the memories of people now living on the Great Lakes.

"If you take a certain slice in someone's lifetime, they could say 'Oh, this is a catastrophe,' " Sellinger said of modern low levels. "But in their grandfather's lifetime, they would say, 'Oh, well, we've been here before.' In most people's lifetime, they don't see that range."

That said, just about all development on the Great Lakes was built over the last 60 years, a period of undeniably high water. Since then, with only a brief flirtation with the shoreline in the 1980s -- and especially after -- that water has slowly but steadily slipped away from piers and breakwaters, abandoning boats, broadening beaches and alarming people.

"Superior hasn't had a 'normal' ice cover since 1997," said George Leshkevich, manager of NOAA's Great Lakes CoastWatch. "You're never sure if it's some hiccup on the geological timeline. But something is happening, it seems."

The drop has been depressing to boaters, but an unexpected boon to others. Agate hunters on the rocky shores of Lake Superior seem grateful for wider gravel beds that might yield a few more finds, said Erin Zoellick, assistant director of education at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth.

And near Sleeping Bear Dunes on the upper reaches of Lake Michigan, birder Tom Ford of the Grand Traverse Audubon Society has been especially pleased by the broader beaches the low water leaves for nesting shore birds. "I thought immediately of the piping plover," he said. The lower water means an expansive stretch of beach where the meandering Platte River empties into Lake Michigan, and this year it has also meant more than the usual number of rare plover nests.

He's worried about the drought, he added. But the birds don't seem to mind.

From the Chicago Tribune


Updates - June 22

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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 a.) FAIRPORT) had the steamer MOHAWK DEER 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. Later renamed c.) TWIN PORT, and d.) ROD MC LEAN in 1974. She is currently owned by Purvis Marine and is at the Purvis West Yard at Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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, 6,634 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 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 - June 21

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Cedarglen made a rare appearance in Duluth on Tuesday when it loaded taconite pellets at the CN/DMIR ore dock. Early Wednesday, Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for St. Clair, Quebecois was finishing unloading at St. Lawrence Cement, and Alpena was unloading cement at the LaFarge terminal in Superior.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday night the Buffalo backed into the Lafarge slip to unload a cargo of coal.
Tuesday afternoon the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port taking on cement.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Wednesday afternoon to load under the silos.

At Stoneport early on Wednesday morning the Great Lakes Trader departed the dock and the Algorail was next to tie up. The Algorail loaded stone and finished around 2pm.
Also passing by Stoneport were two unidentified tugs and barges.

Marquette - Lee Rowe & Rod Burdick
On Wednesday at sunrise the Saginaw was loading taconite on the north side of the Upper Harbor ore dock.
The Herbert C. Jackson arrived in Marquette Wednesday just before a strong storm blew through the city bringing strong winds and large hail. Most of the hail and winds were south of the dock area. Hail piled up like snow in areas of the city, and did much damage to cars and some buildings.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John N. Vogel
Ocean bulker Federal Power was at the General Cargo terminal in Milwaukee's outer harbor Wednesday, unloading components to be used for the Oak Creek power plant being built on the Lake Michigan shore by WE Energies.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
On Tuesday, Holland hosted the first of three visits by the Grande Mariner. It arrived at the Boatwerks dock at about 9 a.m. and remained there all day as the passengers toured the city. In the evening it departed and made its way through the channel into Lake Michigan just after a spectacular sunset.
Wednesday morning the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived at the Brewer dock at about 8:30 a.m. with a cargo of agricultural lime from Cedarville. It unloaded and departed just before 5 p.m. in the evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were in bound the Saginaw River Tuesday morning with a split load. The pair stopped at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to lighter before heading up river to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish. The pair were out bound later on Tuesday.
Wednesday night saw the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge call on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair were expected to be out bound on Thursday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Irish naval vessel L. E. Eithne arrived during the early morning hours Wednesday.
Also arriving in port Wednesday were Beluga Efficiency with windmill parts at 9 a.m. berthing at Pier 51 west. Stephen B. Roman arrived for Essroc at 2 p.m.
Evans McKeil and barge Metis remain in temporary lay-up at the Essroc slip.
Algosteel is expected up from Montreal today with sugar for Redpath.


Cliffs, Kobe Steel strike deal on nugget plant

06/20 - Duluth - Cleveland-Cliffs and Kobe Steel have reached an agreement under which Kobe’s patented iron nugget-making process would be used in a Cleveland-Cliffs iron nugget plant.

Officials of Cleveland-Cliffs said Tuesday that the 10-year deal would cover use of the proprietary process in the United States, Canada, Australia or Brazil. The agreement allows the technology to be expanded to other regions of the world.

The two companies also agreed to become equity partners in a 500,000-ton per year iron nugget plant to be built at one of Cleveland-Cliffs’ U.S. mining properties. A schedule for construction and a site location would depend on permitting issues, according to a Cleveland-Cliffs news release.The nuggets would contain 96 percent iron and be used as a feed for electric arc furnaces.

Joe Carrabba, Cleveland-Cliffs president and CEO, said the facility would allow Cleveland-Cliffs to supply a product to non-integrated steel mills, opening a new market to the company. Cleveland-Cliffs currently supplies iron ore pellets to integrated steelmakers.

The agreement with Kobe moves Cleveland-Cliffs closer to commercializing a nugget plant, Carrabba said. A Steel Dynamics iron nugget plant proposed to be built near Aurora would use the same Kobe Steel technology.

Cleveland-Cliffs had been a partner in the proposed plant near Aurora, but withdrew from the project when partners couldn’t reach agreement on business terms. Cleveland-Cliffs manages and holds ownership in six North American iron ore mines as well as facilities in Australia and Brazil.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Algoma Steel announces closing of its acquisition by Essar

6/21 - Sault Ste Marie, ON - Algoma Steel Inc. today announced the completion of the arrangement involving the acquisition by a subsidiary of Essar Steel Holdings Limited of all of Algoma’s outstanding common shares for all cash consideration of $56 per share.

Algoma Steel Inc. is an integrated steel producer based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Revenues are derived primarily from the manufacture and sale of rolled steel products including hot and cold rolled sheet and plate.

Algoma Steel news release


Algoma Steel dredges its slip

6/21 - Sault Ste Marie, ON - Algoma Steel Inc. will be dredging the river bottom by its deep-water slip, members of the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority were advised last night.

The dredging will be done as part of a multi-agency international effort to clean up the St. Mary's River, said Rod Stewart, area supervisor of the Sault office of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Studies by environmental agencies on both sides of the border have indicated that contaminated sediment problems exist on the Ontario side of the St. Mary's River, from the Algoma Steel slip to sites downstream including Bellevue Marine Park, Little Lake George and Lake George. Although these problems were alleviated by the dredging, removal and confinement from the slip of 11,500 cubic metres of sediment contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons by 1998, contaminants are still present in remaining sediment.

Algoma Steel plans to dredge another 20,000 cubic metres from its slip in cooperation with Canadian and American environmental protection agencies this summer. "[They are dredging] for two reasons: one environmental and, of course, shipping access because of low water levels," Stewart said. Stewart was at the conservation authority to propose a partnership to hire a coordinator to oversee progress on the remedial action plan to clean up the St. Mary's River.

While discharges of toxic substances into the St. Mary's River have been reduced in the last 20 years, many studies show that persistent, high concentrations of contaminants remain in the bottom sediments of the river. "Three of the things planned to happen are actually going to happen this summer," Stewart said. "The first is the old Tannery on the Cannelton site." Clean-up of the the Cannelton Industries, Inc. Superfund Site, which covers 75 acres along the St. Mary's River in the Michigan Soo, will be completed late this summer.

From 1900 to 1958, tannery and animal hide processing operations were conducted there, contaminating shoreline areas with trace elements (chromium, mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic), cyanide, calcium carbonate, sulfide, brine, organic solvents, formic acid, carbolic acid, formaldehyde, ammonia, and alcohols.
The $8 million project to dredge contaminated sediment from Tannery Bay, conducted under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, will be concluded in August but will continue to be monitored to evaluate restoration of fish habitat.

Stewart also said that clean-up of tars related to a coal gasification plant near the Michigan Soo will get underway this summer.

The International Joint Commission (IJC), a bi-national regulatory commission charged with monitoring the health of the Great Lakes, says that the St. Mary's River is in pretty bad shape in a few spots. In 1992, the St. Mary's River was identified as one of the 43 areas of concern because of the amount and noxious nature of the river's pollutants.

"The binational St. Mary's River Area of Concern extends from Whitefish Bay at a line drawn between Point Iroquois (Michigan) and Gros Cap (Ontario) to lines from Quebec Bay (Ontario) and Humbug Point (Ontario) on the St. Joseph Channel and respectively, Point Aux Frenes (Michigan) and Hay Point (Ontario) on the West Nebbish Channel (OMOE and MDNR 1992)," says a 1998 study commissioned by the IJC. "There are about 15,000 people living in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and its vicinity and approximately 81,000 people living in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and its vicinity."

Upcoming points of concern on the St. Mary's River:

- Sugar Island: Stewart told tonight's meeting that river sediments at Sugar Island are contaminated with oil and grease, metals and E. Coli.

- The North Channel: The dynamics of this part of the river are being carefully studied by many organizations, Steward said.

- Bellevue Marina - Stewart says preliminary reports confirm the presence of E. Coli and biological contaminates, PCBs, oil and grease in the thick sediment coating the bottom of the marina.

Last night, the Sault Ste. Marie Regional Conservation Authority approved in principle the idea of working with Stewart and the MOE to hire a coordinator of clean-up efforts for the next three years.

Canadian and American federal officials are involved with the project, as are the governments of Ontario and Michigan.

From Sootoday


Studio 1219 to exhibit new works by Robert McGreevy

6/21 - Port Huron - Studio 1219 in Port Huron will host an exhibition by maritime artist Bob McGreevy throughout the month of July. The exhibition of some 30 works will be highlighted by the arrival of nine new works by the artist. A wine and cheese reception will be open to the public on Friday June 29th from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. There is no cost and it is a great opportunity to meet the artist and discuss his work.

McGreevy’s nine latest works are taken from his three new series: “Lost Legends of the Lakes,” “Great Lakes Classics,” and “Aircraft of the Great Lakes.” Reproductions of these works will be available for purchase, throughout July, as “gicle’e”prints, an advanced method of printing that uses archival inks for greater-color fastness and clarity.

McGreevy has been painting and modeling lake vessels for over 30 years. According to Bob, when he is researching a vessel he is painting, looking at a picture or reading about it “isn’t enough.” Creating a model allows him to look at the vessel from different angles, to see how it casts shadows. He doesn’t build a model with every maritime painting, only for those boats where there are “a lot of unanswered questions.”

More information Click here


Updates - June 20

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 21

On 21 June 1868, the D&C Lines' MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 243 foot, 1,075 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 but only 44 of them. In September, MORNING STAR was raised, towed to Lorain and re-sunk 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.


QE2 Retires To Her Own Private Island
Aquarama may be scrapped

6/20 - Cunard Line has announced the sale of Queen Elizabeth 2 to Dubai World for US$100m. Opening 2009, the famous liner will be berthed at a specially-constructed pier as a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment destination at The Palm Jumeirah, the world's largest man-made island. QE2 will be delivered to Dubai in November 2008.

QE2 has been purchased by Istithmar, the investment arm of Dubai World, a wholly owned company of the Government of Dubai. Nakheel, developer of The Palm Jumeirah, is also a Dubai World company. Istithmar said its refurbishment programme will aim to recreate QE2's original interior decor and fittings and will also include a museum celebrating the rich history of the ship.

The Aquarama/Marine Star which has been languishing near Buffalo, NY at Lackawana, is scheduled to depart for Alang under tow in the very near future, according to Indian sources.

Reported by


Port Reports - June 20

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Gregory J Busch and barge STC 2004 appeared to be close to finishing the unloading at Republic Steel on Tuesday, it is unknown when the tug and barge will depart. It was very windy Tuesday so the pair may be waiting for it to calm down before making the 5 mile trek down to the lake.

Milwaukee - Peter Groh
St. Mary's Challenger arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor and inched up the Kinnickinnic River by searchlight during the wee hours Tuesday Morning. After unloading cement at its terminal, Challenger backed down river and departed onto Lake Michigan about 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Marquette - Rod Burdic
Tuesday afternoon, Michipicoten loaded ore. Tuesday evening, American Republic backed into the south side of the ore dock to load ore.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Tuesday's afternoon up bound traffic included Adam E. Cornelius, Saginaw, and Canadian Transfer. Down bound were Montrealais, Algoisle, John B Aird, H Lee White, Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin, and Presque Isle.


Irish Navy vessel visits Canada

6/20 - The Irish Patrol vessel L. E. Eithne P 31 entered the St Lawrence Seaway for the first time Monday.

The patrol vessel was bound for Toronto on a official visit, due to arrive on Wednesday. After Toronto, L. E. Eithne P 31 will visit Montreal, Quebec, arriving June 26,

Reported by Kent Malo


More BoatNerd Gathering Cruises Scheduled
Make Your Reservations Now

Friday, June 29 - Annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise at the Soo - The annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario.

Saturday, July 14 - Annual St. Clair River Gathering aboard the Hammond Bay - The Hammond Bay will depart their dock 2 miles south of Sombra, Ontario at 11:00am for a 3-hour narrated cruise passing Fawn Island, Sombra, Courtright, St. Clair, and Marine City.

Saturday, August 11 - Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise - A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Updates - June 20

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 20

On this day in 1943, the IRVING S OLDS departed Two Harbors with 20,543 tons of ore and the BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS departed Two Harbors with 20,386 tons of ore. It was the first time that two lakers departed the same harbor on the same day with cargos in excess of 20,000 tons.

The SENATOR (steel propeller freighter, 410 foot, 4,048 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, 1,841 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 operating 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, Russ plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - June 19

Marinette - Dick Lund
A frequent visitor to Marinette returned Monday morning with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. sporting a new name. The Halandriani has been in here many times in the past few years under the name Chios Pride.

Grand Haven- Dick Fox

The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came in Sunday night with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island. While the barge was unloading the Manistee came in about 6 a.m. with a load of stone for Meekhof's Dock by the railroad swing bridge. The Invincible and McKee Sons departed about 7 a.m. and the Manistee was on her way backing down the river about 9:30 a.m.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore. She finished her load in a heavy rain storm Friday evening. H. Lee White arrived to load ore as Lee A. Tregurtha was preparing to depart.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Tradewind Service and barge Energy 5501 arrived in Cheboygan Monday to deliver a cargo of gasoline. As of Tuesday morning they were still docked after unloading presumably waiting for better wind conditions. This is her second trip into this port in as many weeks.


S.S. City of Milwaukee silent auction planned

6/19 - Manistee, MI— The S.S. City of Milwaukee is holding a silent auction on Saturday, June 30, from 6 to 8pm. Entertainment, refreshments and special items of every variety will be on hand, with proceeds going towards restoration of this 76-year-old railcar ferry.

Just a few of the items to be auctioned include an antique tractor, fishing charters, a porcelain doll collection, motorcycle gear, a trip on the S.S. Badger, local food, and much more!

The S.S. City of Milwaukee carried railcars and passengers across Lake Michigan for over 50 years and is the last surviving traditional Great Lakes carferry.

For more information, call (231) 723-3587 or click here


Great Lakes/ Owen Sound Russel Brothers Tugboat Festival planned

6/19 - Owen Sound - Registration has begun for the Great Lakes/Owen Sound Russel Brothers Tug Festival scheduled for July 28-29. The fest is open to any steel-hulled boats, but of course, the planners want to have as many Owen Sound built Russels as possible. 

On the Sunday, there will be a breakfast for registered vessels owners. Throughout the tugfest there will be Russel boat models displays at the museum, and at noon and 5pm both days there will be a Whistle Blow.

Click here for a registration form


Updates - June 19

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 19

On 19 June 1889, NORTH STAR (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2,476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) collided with CHARLES J SHEFFIELD (steel propeller freighter, 260 foot, 1,699 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 SHEFFIELDÕs side after the impact, giving the crew time to board. The SHEFFIELD then sank in 8 minutes. Her loss was valued at $160,000. The courts found both vessels to be equally at fault after years of litigation.

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. Renamed b.) ATLANTIC TRADER in 1994, and renamed c.) ALGOBAY in 1996. She has been idle at Toronto since December 25, 2002.

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, 1,535 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.


Agawa Canyon reported aground, freed

6/17 - 11:55 p.m. Update - The G tugs Superior and Vermont arrived on scene Sunday night and were working to free the Agawa Canyon. At 10:30 p.m. the vessel reported they were working with the tugs and maneuvering to raise the anchors. Shortly before midnight the vessel was turning in the river and continued downbound.

10 p.m. - The American Courage passed down bound in the last few minutes. At 9:40 p.m. two Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs were on the scene.

Reported by S. R. MacDonald

Original article - 6/17 - 8 p.m. - Shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday the Agawa Canyon was reported to have lost steering while transiting downbound on the St. Clair River off  Algonac, Michigan.

Eye witnesses report the Canyon dropped its stern anchor in the middle of the river then turned side ways in the  river. The vessel came to a stop with the bow facing up bound about 5 feet from shore on the U.S. side of the river.

The vessel reported that they had lost steering and were dropping anchor to stop her. The Agawa Canyon was downbound with stone for Detroit and Windsor.

No damage was reported as the vessel is stuck in the muddy bottom in an estimated 10 - 15 feet of water.


Port Reports - June 18

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway was backing into the Sifto Salt dock on a cloudy, cooler Sunday morning. She was on the dock at 9 a.m.
Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday afternoon had the saltie Xenia depart Pier 12 at 2:15 p.m. She was headed to Detroit with a partial load of steel.
Federal Patroller departed Pier 14 at 5:30 p.m. for Cleveland with a partial load of steel. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 6:30 p.m. for Pier 23.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Manistee arrived at the Stoneport dock on Saturday around 7:40 p.m. It loaded cargo on a pleasant evening.
On Sunday the Alpena returned to Lafarge to take on cement for Superior, WI. Later in the evening the Cuyahoga was inbound for Lafarge with slag for the storage hopper. A cool breeze and rolling fog followed it into port.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Gregory J Busch backed her barge STC 2004 away from the Republic Steel Ore Dock at 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon. She then pulled away and spun around on the Port wheel inside Turning Basin #2 that is adjacent to the dock. The tug then touched up the Port bow of her barge easy on the wall and then slowly brought the stern in. They then tied up again to allow the shore side cranes to reach the rest of the wind turbine bases on deck and keep the unloading operation of the barge on an even keel. All was secure by 2 p.m. and it looked like they had another day or two worth of work before being able to depart.
The Adam E. Cornelius departed Buffalo at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning. She gave her destination to Seaway Long Point as Superior, Wisconsin.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes is becoming a very familiar sight in Holland. Sunday evening it made its fifth appearance of the month, delivering slag to the Verplank dock.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
American Mariner arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor during the noon hour on Sunday. Mariner delivered a load of coal to the WE Energies yard at Greenfield Avenue, before departing at about 11 p.m.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Saginaw River was busy on Sunday with 4 vessels transiting the river system.
The Algoway departed from the North Star dock late Saturday night, turned around off the dock and was outbound for the lake in the early hours of Sunday morning. The outbound Algoway meet the Lee A. Tregurtha who had just arrived at the Consumers Power plant in Essexville to unload.
The Tregurtha completed her unload of coal at 8am Sunday morning, backed away from the dock, out onto the bay, turned around at Lights 11 & 12 of the Entrance Channel and was outbound for the lake by 9am. This was the Tregurtha's second visit to the Saginaw River this season, both visits were with coal for the Consumers Power plant.
The H. Lee White made her second visit of the season to the Saginaw River Sunday morning arriving just hours after the Lee A. Tregurtha. The White was also loaded with coal for the Consumers Power plant. The H. Lee White completed unloading coal at 12:45 p.m. and was ready to depart but waited for the outbound tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder to clear before continuing.
The tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder were in bound not long after the H. Lee White had arrived. The pair were headed for the Bay Aggregates dock in Essexville to unload stone. The pair backed into the Bay Aggregates slip just before 6am Sunday morning and began unloading. They departed from the slip at 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.


Freighter drought sinks some Bay City spirits, raises others

6/18 - Bay City, MI - Forgive Jack Panzer for gushing now that freighter traffic on the Saginaw River in Bay City has slowed to a trickle.

''I'm no freighter lover - I've seen enough of the freighters,'' said Panzer, whose business, Jack's Deli, sends a delivery driver across the river - and over one of four drawbridges in Bay City - about 30 times every work day. Freighters typically flow frequently through Bay City in May and June. But boat watchers say freighters have become downright rare due to a sputtering economy, low river levels and a strike idling three boats that regularly floated through town.

Todd Shorkey, a Bay City firefighter who reports and shoots photos for the Web site  said freighters made 40 trips in or out of Bay City from May 29 to June 14 of 2005. During the same time period this year, freighters made only eight trips in or out of Bay City - down from 16 trips in the same time period of 2006, Shorkey said.

''There was a point in late May and early June where I didn't have any freighters pass through for about two weeks, and that's a real long time without one,'' said Larry McShane, a bridge tender on the Independence Bridge, the Bay City bridge on the Saginaw River closest to Saginaw Bay.

One reason for the slowdown is the absence of three regular guests - the Wolverine, the David Z and the Earl W. Those three 630-foot bulk carriers have been idled since early May when officers and stewards on each boat went on strike. The strike, involving a total of about 30 employees, is still in effect, said Don Cree, a Toledo-based vice president with the American Maritime Officers union.

The Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Co., based in Lakewood, Ohio, owns the three boats. The freighters are now stuck in Sarnia, Ontario, where workers walked off the lakers on May 8 and 9. The Times could not reach company officials for comment.

According to the American Maritime Officers union's Web site, the dispute centers on the company's refusal to agree to a labor contract that was approved by other Great Lakes operators.

Another reason for the lack of ship traffic hits closer to home - the economy. Docks along the river count on freighters to bring in supplies for construction and road projects. But data from various townships in Bay County, for example, shows construction of new homes has lagged so far this year in many areas of the county.

Great Lakes shipments of limestone - related to home or road construction - fell by 15 percent in May compared to one year ago, according to the Lake Carriers' Association, representing operators of U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes. A strike and decreased demand for product only add to the frustration for area docks. The biggest headache has long been low water levels and the need for dredging.

The Lake Carriers Association has said dredging has been a long-term issue but that in the 1990s, high water masked the problem. Not so anymore. Dock owners say the river has become so shallow that some ships no longer will travel upriver. Dredging of the Saginaw River could come later this summer after construction of the Dredged Material Disposal Facility is completed along the Bay-Saginaw county line.

In the meantime, the fewer the freighters, the smoother automotive traffic travels across the four drawbridges. McShane, the bridge tender, says there are still delays on the bridges. ''But it's just for the two Appledore (schooners), the Princess Wenonah tour boat and for sailboats,'' McShane said. ''The delay for one of the Appledores is about two minutes, though the wait for a freighter can be 10 or 15 minutes.''

Shorkey, who has tracked freighters on the Saginaw River for about 10 years, said he can't remember a lull in Bay City freighter traffic as severe as the one lasting for the past three weeks. Several dozen commercial docks exist along the river, employing several hundred workers, in Bay and Saginaw counties. ''We get kind of disappointed when the boat traffic is so slow,'' Shorkey said.

''I'd say the general public and the motorists don't mind, but for the economy of this area, it's important the freighters keep coming, because they provide lots of jobs for workers on the docks, for the companies that own the docks and for the truck drivers.''

Freighters floating through the middle of Bay City can cause frustration, but they're part of the town's identity, according to Shorkey. ''Bay City is a very unique town due to the fact we have these freighters coming through so close you can almost touch 'em.''

From the Bay City Times


Low water sinks run to Isle Royale

6/18 - Duluth - Isle Royale will welcome fewer visitors from Minnesota in 2007 because of low water levels.

This weekend, the Wenonah was to have resumed its summer duty — shuttling people between Grand Portage, Minn., and Isle Royale — but lower Lake Superior water levels forced the 71-foot ship to abandon its run for the first time in more than 30 years. “We’d need at least two more feet of water to operate safely,” said Don Szczech, chief operations officer for Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Lines, the company that owns and operates the Wenonah.

“We were running dangerously close to the bottom last year, and this year the water is even lower,” Szczech said. “Operating in these conditions was out of the question.”

Lake Superior has dropped 14 inches from last year’s level and is 21 inches below its average June depth, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. As the result of several years of unusually dry weather, the lake is only 3 inches above its all-time June low, recorded in 1926. The Wenonah draws about 6 feet of water and can no longer navigate its way into the Hat Point Marina in Grand Portage, from which it normally operates.

Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Lines continues to provide service to Isle Royale via the Voyageur II, a 63-foot vessel with a 4-foot draft. But the Voyageur II has a much lower capacity. It is authorized to carry 48 people, less than one-third of the 149-passenger load the Wenonah can handle. Szczech said the Voyageur II will step up service this summer, but even so, the line probably will be able to carry only about half of the 4,700 visitors it transported to Isle Royale last year using both vessels. He already has been forced to turn away business because of his reduced capacity.

The entrance to the Hat Point Marina, which is used by Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Lines, has about 4 to 6 feet of draft at its entrance. The Grand Portage Marina, across the bay from Hat Point, has only about 3 feet of draft in places, said Gene Stone, who manages both facilities for the Grand Portage band of Ojibwe. Stone said water levels in Grand Marais can vary by as much as a foot, depending on wind direction.

Besides the Wenonah, several other large vessels that usually tie up in Grand Portage also have had to relocate to deeper marinas, such as Knife River’s. Stone said the loss of clients with bigger vessels hits his bottom line especially hard because longer boats pay higher dockage fees. Having larger boats out of the mix also will cut into marina fuel sales, he said.

Szczech plans to reposition the Wenonah in Grand Marais and offer sightseeing cruises of the North Shore from there. He sees an opportunity to fill a void left when the Grandpa Woo discontinued its regular service. The Wenonah was tied up at a dock in Superior on Friday, where it underwent a U.S. Coast Guard inspection.

Although Szczech is eager for the Wenonah to resume service between Grand Portage and Isle Royale, he’s not encouraged by Lake Superior’s languishing water levels. “I hope we’ve found the bottom, but I don’t know that we have,” he said. “It’s grim,” Szczech said, adding: “From what I’m seeing right now, I don’t anticipate the Wenonah will be able to get in here next year, either.” Szczech said Grand Portage-Isle Royale Transportation Lines is looking into the possibility of purchasing a new boat with less draft and possibly a water jet propulsion system.

Even marinas situated in deeper water have had problems because of low lake levels this year. Joe Radtke, manager of Barker’s Island Marina in Superior, said he has about 8 feet of draft at his facility. But even that has not been enough for some of his customers.

Radtke said the marina recently enlisted the help of Jeff Foster Trucking to move a 44-foot sailboat with an 8½-foot draft about one-half mile down shore so it could launch safely. A crane from Kraemer Construction lowered the vessel into the water from a commercial dock that formerly served a Georgia-Pacific plant. For Barker’s Island, low water levels have boosted business, because some boat owners displaced from private docks or more shallow marinas have sought alternative moorings this summer.

Commercial traffic on the Great Lakes has been affected by low water levels as well. The Lake Carriers Association, a group representing the operators of the U.S. Great Lakes fleet, reports that through May, lakers have moved 28.1 million tons of cargo, 7 percent less cargo than they did during the same period last year. Nevertheless, carriers managed to beat their five-year average tonnage movement for January through May by 3 percent.

The Lake Carriers Association pointed out that tonnage figures would have been even stronger if lakers weren’t being forced to lighten their loads because of low water.

Fred Shusterich, president of Midwest Energy Resources, said 1,000-footers loading coal at the facility he oversees in Superior are leaving with 62,000 tons instead of the 64,000 tons they would normally receive. Despite the reduced loads, Shusterich said his facility is running ahead of last year’s pace with about 1.9 million tons of coal shipped through May.

“It should be another good year for us,” he said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - June 18

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 18

The steamer ILLINOIS was the first vessel to pass through the newly opened Soo locks in 1855. To help commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event, an open house was held aboard the J L MAUTHE. While tied up at the Cleveland Lakefront dock, an estimated 1,700 persons toured the MAUTHE.

During a moonlight charter on 18 June 1936, the TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 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. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1975.

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

In 1968, the ALGOCEN (Hull#191) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd, for Algoma Central Railway. Renamed b.) VALGOCEN in 2005, she is in use as a spoils barge in Keasby, New Jersey.
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, RUSS PLUMB, 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 - June 17

Detroit River - Ken Borg
On Saturday afternoon the Sam Laud went down the Wyandotte channel of the Detroit River with the aid of the G tugs Superior and Wyoming. They passed buoy 29 at 2:33 p.m. The Laud turned off the old McLouth Steel dock and went through the County Grosse Isle bridge draw at 4 p.m. The boat has a load of coal from Sandusky, Ohio for the Detroit Edison Co. Trenton Channel Power Plant.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Early Saturday morning saw the Hamilton Energy depart for Clarkson at 4 a.m. and return at 10 a.m. going to Provmar terminal at Pier 24.
Federal Patroller arrived at 6:30 a.m. going to Pier 14E.
Frontenac arrived at 11:30 a.m. and went to Stelco to discharge iron ore pellets and departed at 6:30 p.m. for Thunder Bay.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius arrived at 10 p.m. on the Friday night. She was unloading at General Mills on Saturday afternoon and will probably go out early on Sunday morning.
The barge STC 2004 remained at the Republic Steel dock & unloading windmill turbine bases at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge Lewis Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore came in mid afternoon with a load of stone for the D&M dock on Harbor Island. While it was still in port the Mississagi came in, passed the tug and barge in the river and unloaded upriver at Meekhof's dock by the railroad swing bridge. Both vessels were making their third visit of this season.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday morning the American Courage loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The tug W. N. Twolan and barge McAllister 132 made its first-ever trip to Menominee when they arrived on Friday afternoon with a load of wood pulp from Thunder Bay. Unloading began Saturday morning using forklifts on the barge and others on the dock to make the transfer.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were back again, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. The pair were outbound on Friday.
Manistee was inbound on Friday, calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was back outbound for the lake Saturday morning.
The Algoway was also inbound on Saturday, calling on the North Star Dock in Essexville. She turned off the dock and was outbound for the lake Saturday night.


Ogdensburg hoping DEC rule will spare Lighthouse Point from wrecking ball

6/17 - Ogdensburg, NY - City officials hope a State DEC rule may help them stop the destruction of a local landmark.

According to the Ogdensburg Journal, the City this week contacted the DEC to see if the State Environmental Quality Review process could be applied to the planned demolishing of Lighthouse Point by its owner, Blair Roethel.

The SEQR assess environmental impact of any development. DEC officials are also being asked to consider historical impact. Roethel plans to tear down the 172-year-old Lighthouse that he resides in. He has declined all comment to the media about his plans.

Roethel was denied a demolition permit two weeks ago because it did not include asbestos removal plans or structural reviews. The news he planned to tear the landmark down sent lawmakers scrambling, looking for ways to head off its demolition. Mayor Bill Nelson told NewsWatch50 when the plan was first discovered opponents were already mobilizing against it. “It's one of those points that when folks come to Ogdensburg you relate the lighthouse to Ogdensburg. It's a very significant part of our history and part of who we are. So we want to do whatever we can to ensure that demolition does not take place.”

The lighthouse is one of only four left on the St. Lawrence River.

From WWTI - NewsWatch 50


"Know Your Ships" Book Signing Today
Bring you Dad with you.

6/17 - "Know Your Ships" Editor and Publisher Roger LeLievre will attend another book signing that will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, June 17 in Toledo, aboard the museum ship Willis B. Boyer.

Anyone getting a book signed will be able to tour the Boyer for free; a portion of the book sales will go to benefit the Boyer museum.

For more information and directions to this historic laker:

Books will be available for purchase and signing at both locations. A portion of the sales will go to support the Boyer.


Updates - June 17

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 17

On June 17, 1895, the J. W. Westcott Co., inaugurated its unique mail delivery service.

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 barge PERE MARQUETTE 41 and tug 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, Detroit Marine Historian, Marine Historical Society's 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.


Algoma Tankers purchases new tanker

6/16 - Toronto - Algoma Central Corp., through its wholly-owned subsidiary Algoma Tankers Limited, has entered into an agreement with MedMarine Group for the purchase of a double-hulled petroleum product tanker under construction in the Eregli Shipyard, Turkey.

The vessel replaces the single-hulled Algonova which was sold in January 2007 and will operate in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway and Atlantic Canada regions. Delivery of the ship is scheduled for February 2008 and is expected to cost approximately $42 million.

Algoma Tankers Limited owns and manages four Canadian-flagged tanker vessels. The corporation also owns a foreign-flag tanker through a wholly owned foreign subsidiary.

Since 2002, approximately $150 million has been invested in modernizing the tanker fleet and positioning Algoma Tankers to be our customers' first choice in marine transportation.

Algoma Central News Release


Port Reports - June 16

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Gregory J Busch and barge STC 2004 continued to be unloaded Friday morning. She will likely be there for another day or two.
Karen Andrie was departing the North Entrance at 6 p.m. on the Thursday evening.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Upbound traffic on Friday included Michipicoten, Roger Blough, Philip R Clarke, Saginaw, Canadian Enterprise, American Courage, and CSL Laurentian.
Downbound were Herbert C Jackson, Canadian Progress, Captain Henry Jackman, Sabrina, and Paul R Tregurtha.

Alpena/Stoneport Report - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was under the silos at Lafarge on Friday. Around 6 p.m. the Alpena arrived to load for Whitefish, ON.
The Manistee loaded at Stoneport earlier in the day on Friday followed by the Buffalo. The Buffalo took on only a partial load since it already had other cargo on board.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday afternoon American Mariner delivered coal (carried from the Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior) to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor. Earlier Friday, cement carrier Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain arrived in the inner harbor at about 5:30 a.m., turned and unloaded at LaFarge. Innovation departed onto Lake Michigan at 5:00 p.m.

Menominee - Scott Best
Friday afternoon the Tug W. N. Twolan and her barge McAllister 132 arrived in Menominee shortly after noon with a cargo of pulp or forest products from Thunder Bay. This is her first ever trip to Menominee. The combo headed up river and docked at K&K West ahead of the Viking 1.


Museum Icebreaker Alexander Henry on the move

6/16 - Kingston, Ont. - The retired Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Alexander Henry was on the move again Friday.

At 5 a.m., she was expected to begin her first voyage since she arrived in Kingston. She will be pulled by ropes etc. approximately 70 yards into her new berth. She will be permanently secured in the dry-dock at the old Kingston Shipyards, now the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.

The dry-dock was opened in 1891 by Kingston's own, Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada's first Prime Minister. This was his last public act as he died shortly thereafter.

The dock where she was moored has been deteriorating and the move had to be made today. Lake Ontario's water level is traditionally highest on June 15th. If the museum had waited, the water level might have been too low to move the ship over the sill of the dry-dock.

Reported by Ron Walsh, Kingston, Ontario


Historic ship returns to Monroe

6/16 - Monroe, MI - A voyage into the past awaits visitors to the Port of Monroe this weekend when the U.S. Brig Niagara, a replica of an 1812 warship, berths for two days of public tours.

It might be the only chance area residents will have to see the Niagara at Monroe in the years leading up to the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812, according to organizers. "Obviously, we'll have a series of other events but, as far as having the Niagara goes, this is most likely the only visit she'll make to Monroe as part of our bicentennial series," said William H. Braunlich, president of the Monroe County Historical Society, which arranged and is sponsoring the ship's visit.

The tall ship is meant to call attention to the upcoming War of 1812 bicentennial and Monroe's role in that struggle. Monroe is home to the River Raisin battlefield and River Raisin Massacre, among the bloodiest episodes of the conflict. Efforts are being made to have an area in Monroe related to the conflicts designated as a national historic park.

Visiting with the Niagara this weekend will be the 140-foot Coast Guard cutter Neah Bay, an ice-breaking and rescue tug based in Cleveland. Its modern lines will present a sharp contrast to the classic cut of the Niagara, born of the swashbuckling era.

Walter Rybka, the vessel's senior captain, says "touring aboard the Niagara is an unusual opportunity to experience the long-vanished world of the wooden, square-rigged sailing ship. The tall ship Niagara is a wind- and muscle-powered machine full of sights, sounds and maritime history." Built in 1988, it's a replica of the ship Commodore Oliver Hazard Parry commanded when he won the battle of Lake Erie in 1813 near Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

After Perry forced the British to surrender, he transmitted his famous message to General William Henry Harrison: " We have met the enemy and they are ours: two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one sloop."

1820, the Niagara was in disrepair and was scuttled in Misery Bay near Erie, Pa. But it was raised and rebuilt in 1913 when Erie residents decided to celebrate the Battle of Lake Erie centennial. They used many of the old timbers from the original Niagara and the ship visited various Great Lakes ports in 1913, including the old Monroe Piers in July, 1913. Hundreds of Monroe residents packed streetcars to visit the ship during its stay.

It eventually took part in centennial ceremonies at Put-in-Bay on Sept. 10, 1913. After that, it returned to Erie, Pa., and subsequently underwent a major restoration that spanned years, ending in 1963. But by 1963, it was decayed again and a new ship was commissioned that would incorporate original design features and use original timber installed in non-structural locations.

Mr. Braunlich said inquiries about the ship's visit are coming in from far and wide. "It should be an exciting weekend," he said.

From the Monroe News


Detroit RiverWalk ready to open
Festival celebrates city's $300 million, five-mile project

6/16 - Detroit's hardworking riverfront is finally going to have some fun.

For more than 300 years, the land along the Detroit River has been home to forts, farms and factories, with little room for recreation. But through the efforts of a public/private coalition and $300 million, the first phase of RiverWalk, a series of promenades and parks carved out of former industrial properties, is ready to welcome visitors. It officially opens with the inaugural Detroit International River Days celebration, June 22-27

RiverWalk will eventually cover a distance of about five miles, connecting new and existing features between the Ambassador Bridge in the west to Gabriel Richard Park near Belle Isle, an island park at the eastern end of the downtown area.

The 3.5-mile section of RiverWalk between Joe Louis Arena, the home of the Detroit Red Wings, to the Belle Isle area, including Hart Plaza and the GM Renaissance Center (RenCen), is 75 percent complete.

The East RiverWalk has been greatly anticipated by Detroit boosters like Josh and Megan Christie. "We are so lucky to have that riverfront," says Megan, who grew up in the city. "It's a natural resource that's been underutilized," adds Josh, who hails from Iowa via Washington, D.C. The Christies, ages 32 and 27, supported the development of RiverWalk by purchasing a commemorative brick for the new walkway.

They have a special affection for Hart Plaza, a 14-acre space adjacent to RenCen that had been the most accessible downtown spot for lovers and others to enjoy views of the Detroit River and Windsor, Canada, across the water. It's where Josh first told Megan that he loved her and, he says, "That's why we chose to get married there," on a cold, clear day in December 2005.
The couple exchanged vows near the site where, in 1701, French army officer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac built Fort Pontchartrain at a narrow point on the strait - d'étroit - that connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair. Cadillac's two-fold goal was to prevent the British from moving in on the lucrative fur trade in the Upper Great Lakes, and establish a resident population on ribbon farms that lined the river's edge.

Fur traders and farmers worked the Detroit riverfront, as did the French, British and American military, the captains of Great Lakes steamships and freighters, and Prohibition era rum-runners who smuggled hootch from Canada over the waters, under the river through the international tunnel, or across the graceful Ambassador Bridge.

Before Detroit became the Motor City, it was an important port, a shipbuilding center, and leading manufacturer of pig iron, stoves and railcars. The waterfront grew into a jumbled, unsightly web of railroad tracks, plants, cement silos, warehouses and workshops.

In the 1960s the city built a waterfront convention hall, and in 1977 Henry Ford II opened Renaissance Center, a pet project he hoped would spark a rebirth of Detroit. The massive hotel-office-retail-dining complex was built to take advantage of river views, but was roundly criticized for its fortress-like design. RenCen is credited with stimulating some development and sparking excitement in the city, which hosted the 1980 Republican National Convention and 1982 Super Bowl XVI.

In 1996, General Motors made Renaissance Center its world headquarters and launched a $500 million renovation of the landmark, including construction of a five-story, glass-walled Wintergarden overlooking the Detroit River. GM invested in the RiverWalk by building a plaza just outside the Wintergarden, and the company is an active partner in the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy, which is guiding the development of RiverWalk.

Visitors can enjoy the East RiverWalk on foot, bicycle or in-line skates, and relax at two pavilions (two more are planned) with food concessions, WiFi-ready outdoor seating and restrooms.

The River Carousel at Rivard Plaza features creatures native to the Detroit River, including sturgeon, bass, catfish, egret, heron, wood duck and frog, plus a mythical River Monster and River Mermaid; a spin is $2. Those in a more contemplative mood will want to walk the 35-foot labyrinth at Gabriel Richard Park at the east end of RiverWalk.

New on this stretch of the riverfront is Michigan's first urban recreation area, the Tri-Centennial State Park and Harbor. A striking, 63-foot replica of the Tawas Point Lighthouse (the original is on Lake Huron near East Tawas) guards the marina entrance. RiverWalk also links the established Mount Elliott Park, St. Aubin Park and marina, and the seasonal concerts at Chene Park's 6,500-seat waterfront amphitheater.

"RiverWalk will bring a sense of community to Detroit that's long overdue," says Megan. "We have big hopes for what it will be."

From the Cincinnati Inquirer


Boatnerd logos for sale

The boat watching season is in full swing. Are you able to be identified as a BoatNerd?

For your vehicle we have 4" x 4" bumper stickers and interior window clingers.

For your jacket, cap or shirt we have 3.25" x 3' sew-on cloth patches.

Let people know you are a Boatnerd. Look for other Boatnerds. All proceeds go to support this site.

To order these items, click here for order form and pricing.


Updates - June 16

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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, 1,245 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, 1,387 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.

Up bound 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.


May U.S.-Flag Float on the Great Lakes Static
Light Loading Costs Hundreds of Thousands of Tons

6/15 - Cleveland—U.S.-Flag vessels moved 12.1 million tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in May, a virtual tie with a year ago. However, lack of adequate dredging and falling water levels and the resulting light loads were the primary factor behind the static total.

A 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker that carried four iron ore cargos in May could have delivered 285,000 tons if able to take full loads, but instead, the vessel only hauled 195,000 tons. Just this one vessel forfeited 90,000 tons of cargo in May because the Great Lakes navigation system has not been maintained to project dimensions.

Vessels in the coal trade experienced similar results. A 1,000-footer that loaded six cargos during the month left 30,000 tons at the loading dock because the vessel could not carry full loads.

Limestone cargos fell 19 percent in May compared to a year ago, and also slipped below the month’s 5-year average by 180,000 tons. Although light loading impacted the stone trade, demand is down, markedly in Michigan. Also affecting shipments was the labor dispute that has idled three mid-sized vessels since early May.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 28.1 million tons, a decrease of 7 percent from the same point in 2006, but 3 percent better than the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone, and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Port Reports - Jun 15

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday morning, three Interlake fleet mates were around the Upper Harbor. James R. Barker was unloading western coal, and Kaye E. Barker was loading ore. Herbert C. Jackson, inbound to load ore, met Kaye E. Barker just outside the Upper Harbor breakwall when Kaye E. Barker departed.
After a long coal unload, James R. Barker departed the Upper Harbor late Thursday evening. Herbert C. Jackson, which waited on the north side of the ore dock, took the Barker's place on the south side and loaded ore.

St. Joseph - Michael Barlow
The Alpena depart St. Joseph from the LaFarge terminal at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday.

Port Weller - Alex Howard
Late Thursday afternoon, Upper Lakes vessel James Norris was pulled out of drydock by tugs Jarrett M and Vac. The tow waited for the Algonorth to pass down bound, then proceeded to be placed at the approach wall above lock 1 to ballast up before proceeding to Lake Ontario. Tugs departed soon after being placed on the wall.

Indiana Harbor - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's Cedarglen was being unloaded at Mittal Steel East on Thursday. Mittal's two bridge cranes were working to unload her cargo of ore for the #5 & #6 blast furnaces.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Cuyahoga was back in port with another load of salt Thursday afternoon.
The salty Malyovitza finished unloading at Redpath Sugar and departed down the lake Thursday evening.


The Case of the Disappearing Great Lake

6/15 - Baraga, Mich. — "Where did the water go?" asks Ted Shalifor, manager of a marina and campground on Lake Superior's Chippewa Indian Reservation.

The water on Lake Superior is so low that he couldn't put his docks in the water this year. Where he used to see water, he now sees sandbars. Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, has dropped to its lowest level in 81 years. The water is 20 inches below average and a foot lower than just a year ago.

The dropping levels have had serious environmental and economic consequences. Wetlands have dried up. Power plants run at half capacity. Cargo ships carry partial loads. Boaters struggle to find a place to dock. The changes can be seen all along the 2,800-mile shore of Lake Superior, the coldest and deepest of the Great Lakes. The water has receded, sometimes 50 feet or more, from its normal shoreline.

Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are at low levels, as well, although not quite as extreme.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere study whether Lake Superior's low water levels are a result of global warming. The average water temperature of Lake Superior has risen 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1979. A drought and warm weather are the immediate cause of the drop in water levels.

In the past year, precipitation was 6 inches less than the average of 31 inches. The lake's southern shore had a green Christmas in 2006. The ice and snow pack that usually cover the lake arrived late, allowing water to evaporate.

"It's been a long time since we've been this low, but it has happened," says Tim Calappi, a hydraulic engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers, which tracks water levels. "We still think this is within the range of what's normal, but we have to wait and see."

Many people living near Lake Superior don't buy drought or warm weather as the reasons for dropping water levels — a conspiracy theory is more popular. They say Lake Superior was drained through the St. Mary's River to raise the levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. "It's like the tide went out and didn't come back," says Dan Alexander, a commercial fisherman in Baraga. "We know what it is. They drained the lake." The water is so low he had to find a new place to dock his 38-foot boat.

Calappi says it's a myth that the Army Corps drains Lake Superior to help other lakes with presumably more powerful benefactors. He says the amount of water that flows out of Lake Superior is established by an international agreement with Canada. The water flow is regulated by how much water is permitted to pass through hydroelectric plants on the St. Mary's River, which connects Lake Superior and Lake Huron and, indirectly, Lake Michigan.

The Edison Sault Electric power plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., will operate at less than 50% capacity this year because its water flows have been slashed as a result of the low lake levels, the company said. That pushed the company to buy high-cost power elsewhere and increase rates.

Other problems are cargo ships run partly empty, especially those that carry heavy materials such as coal and iron ore. On a recent trip, the 1,004-foot freighter James R. Barker had to leave 7,000 tons of coal behind, so the boat would draft 26 feet under water, instead of 29 feet. "We need more rain, and we need more dredging," says Robert Dorn, senior vice president of Interlake Steamship Co., which owns the ship.

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth (Minn.) Seaway Port Authority, says cargo ships have lightened loads about 5%. For ships averaging $6 a cargo ton and making 40 trips a year, that amounts to about $1 million in lost revenue per ship, he says.

Large beds of wild rice that grow in wetlands have gone dry. Wild rice beds in the Kakagon Slough of Bad River in Wisconsin have been hit particularly hard. Recreational boaters find fewer berths everywhere along Lake Superior. Smaller boats compete for fewer spaces. Owners of big boats not suitable for shallow water are sometimes forced to move on or spend the night in deeper waters.

In Marquette, Mich., the water is so low, the city had to build two-step stairs for people to walk down to their boats. The landings are supposed to be level with the boats. "It's a mess. There's not much to tell people with deep-keeled sailboats other than, 'There's no place for you anywhere,' " says Hugh Leslie, parks and recreation director in Marquette (pop. 20,714), the largest Michigan town on the lake.

In Marquette, boulders line the shore to prevent waves from washing out Lakeshore Boulevard. Today, the lake is more than 50 feet from the road. The receding water has created wide swaths of scenic beach, but even this has created problems. Changing currents at South Beach in Marquette carved a 4-foot crevice in the popular family beach. "It cut the beach in half and exposed drainage pipes," Leslie says.

Elsewhere along Lake Superior, the beaches are wider than usual but they aren't expected to attract larger crowds. Because of the cold, "here in Duluth, we're not really beach people," says Ann Norris of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Scott Brossart, engineer for the Army Corps in Duluth, says some dredging will be done to make the commercial channels in Lake Superior ports a little deeper. In Washington, Congress is considering more money for dredging. But the corps doesn't work in recreational harbors. "We're getting requests to dredge from everywhere this year, but I have to tell them we don't do that," Brossart says.

Away from shore, Lake Superior is doing fine. A 19-inch drop doesn't make a big difference in a lake that is 1,330 feet at its deepest. The fishing has never been better. Alexander says he's catching huge amounts of trout and whitefish. For now, he's waiting, like everyone else, for the water to rise. "It seemed normal last October," Shalifor says. "Then it dropped and never came back."

From USA Today


Water levels will be fluctuating

6/15 - Cornwall, Ontario - The below-average water levels in the Great Lakes are having a severe effect on St. Lawrence River levels. All five Great Lakes are currently below average, and Lake Superior, in particular, is expected to reach all-time record low levels by this fall. The level in Lake Superior has not been this low at this time of the year since 1925.

However, when the Great Lakes are low, locally Lake St. Lawrence, which starts at the Morrisburg area, sees an opposite effect, said Rob Caldwell, water resources engineer for Environment Canada. When the levels in the Great Lakes are low, a commission that controls the water flow in the St. Lawrence River will use the dams to stop water from flowing out of Lake St. Lawrence, Caldwell explained. That means that when levels elsewhere are low, water levels locally are higher. "It's like a cork," Caldwell said. "Since the dam holds back water, that means more water will be in Lake St. Lawrence."

When the water levels are higher, it can cause frustration to dock owners who set their docks at specific levels and find their dock underwater, Caldwell explained. The high water levels can also have an ecological impact, affecting wetlands and wildlife, as well as flooding out some campground areas that are close to shore, he said.

Caldwell believes the lower water levels in the Great Lakes are most likely caused by climate change, but also suggests there isn't one simple answer for why we are seeing record low levels in specific lakes. Jeff Ridal, executive director of the St. Lawrence River Institute, explained that the dams are used to block the water flowing out from the Lake St. Lawrence area because, otherwise, there would be a draining effect.

While there are positive environmental and ecological benefits from higher water levels, such as more shore areas for fish to live, but it also has potential negative impacts, Ridal said. These include an increased potential for shoreline erosion and the possibility some animal habitats could be flooded.

One such study he also looked at was how algae increases as the water levels rise and found increased algae growth in the river causes a change in the taste and odour of water coming out of our taps. Algae leaks a substance which is then mixed in with the water that is taken in by local water treatment plants, he said. "This is not an industrial product, but a natural occurrence and is prevalent from Cornwall to Kingston," Ridal said. "One thing we do know is that the city has done such a good job at controlling it."

Brian Hickey, a biologist at the St. Lawrence River Institute, also talked about the impact high water levels could have on animals. Birds like the kingfisher and bank swallow nest in river banks and if the water level rises, it could flood out their nests, Hickey said.

From the Cornwall Standard Freeholder


Harbor project worries workers
Waukegan plant employees demand answers on dredging

6/15 - Waukegan - Worried employees of a plant on Waukegan Harbor turned out by the dozens Wednesday night to vent their frustrations and try to get answers about a dredging project that could mean the elimination of their jobs.

Waukegan's project, though vague on specifics, aims to get rid of an industrial pollutant. But if city officials have their way, it also would limit dredging depths so that large industrial ships couldn't use the harbor. That has upset the harbor's industrial tenants, which depend on shipping and would find survival tough without it.

"That's the legacy that you want to leave us," said John Ritter, an employee of National Gypsum Co., at a sometimes contentious public meeting at Waukegan City Hall. "What they're doing is destroying our legacy as an industrial harbor." Ritter and about 200 other people turned out in response to a resolution approved May 7 by the City Council that endorses a $35 million federal dredging project that would mean the end of industrial shipping in Waukegan and leave only one other Great Lakes industrial harbor in Illinois.

The resolution calls for building a "physical barrier to prevent the entry of deep draft vessels" into the harbor and calls on U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) to introduce federal legislation to limit the maximum draft -- the depth of a vessel's keel below water -- to 10 feet, too shallow for commercial ships. It also calls for Kirk to push for the de-federalization of the harbor, for which the Army Corps of Engineers is responsible. The congressman has said he instead will push for changes in dredging depths, which are set by Congress.

Waukegan has long been a city whose fortunes rose and fell with the factories that dominated its waterfront, but city officials have designs on reinventing the harbor area as a place to live, work and shop. In 2003 the council endorsed a 20-year master plan for the waterfront that includes condominium developments, stores and playgrounds, but not factories.

Last year, Kirk introduced a plan to combine $12 million from local sources with $23 million from the federal Great Lakes Legacy Act to dredge from the harbor about 280,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The ultimate goal is to get the area delisted from the "areas of concern," a roster of Great Lakes sites identified by the United States and Canada as places where industrial pollution has caused the most severe environmental impact.

Waukegan pledged $3 million, and Lake County committed $2.5 million. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources pledged about $4 million, but that amount was omitted by Gov. Rod Blagojevich's March budget proposal. State Sen. Terry Link, who represents Waukegan, said in an interview Wednesday that he is still pushing for the money to be included in the final version of the budget.

National Gypsum and LaFarge North America, the harbor's two main industrial users, which employ about 120 workers between them, initially pledged $2 million and $1 million, respectively. Both companies pledged support with the expectation that the harbor's outer navigation channel would be widened to 100 feet and deepened to 22.5 feet. But since the city's resolution passed, the two companies have threatened to withdraw support for the project if it goes forth without consideration for their needs.

Several employees of both companies spoke out at the meeting and asked city officials pointed questions. After sitting through a 40-minute discussion of the technical details of the dredging, one worker called out, "Does the city want us out?" "Answer that!" another yelled. "That's why we're all here!" a third shouted.

Gerard Carroll, National Gypsum's senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering, said company officials were shocked when Waukegan put forth its plan and that they would fight to keep the plant running. "It seems to me that the city has a lot of room to work around us and make this a win-win situation," Carroll said.

Ray Vukovich, the city's director of governmental services, said the city receives only about $17,000 in annual taxes from the National Gypsum property, and the council "changed its mind" because it saw enormous economic opportunity in redeveloping the waterfront. "They're looking at the overall investment that can be made down there," he said.

PCBs were first discovered in the harbor in 1976. The chemical, which was used as a machine lubricant by a now-defunct outboard motor manufacturer, have been shown to cause illnesses in lab animals and are thought to be carcinogenic for humans. City officials are designing the dredging plan, which must be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval by July 27 to tap federal money. If the project is approved, it will be implemented next spring, and the depth restrictions limiting industrial traffic would go into effect in 2012.

From the Chicago Tribune


Updates - June 15

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 15

On this day in 1967, the new $6 million Allouez taconite pellet handling facility in Superior, Wisconsin was dedicated. The first cargo of 18,145 tons of pellets was loaded into the holds of the Hanna Mining Company freighter JOSEPH H THOMPSON.

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 b.) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN, later converted to a self-unloader, and finished her career as the d.) 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, 2,348 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 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 to keep 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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Dredging of St Marys River - Tannery Bay to resume

6/14 - Sault Ste. Marie - The US Environmental Protection Agency with Phelps Dodge and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality was due to resume dredging contaminated sediment in the St Marys River at Tannery Bay, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, in early June.

The bay, located just above the Soo Locks, is being cleaned up under the Great Lakes Legacy Act.

The $8 million clean-up began last July. Dredging was halted during winter months. The goal is to remove about 40,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the bay and a nearby wetland including 500,000 pounds of chromium and 25 pounds of mercury.

The pollution is mainly by-products from the former Northwestern Leather Co. tannery that operated during the first half of the 20th century.

From Dredging News Online


Port Reports - July 14

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning at sunrise the H. Lee White departed the Upper Harbor with a load of taconite. The Lee A. Tregurtha was loading taconite.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Wednesday afternoon traffic included the upbound American Century, Kaye E. Barker, Edward L. Ryerson, Herbert C. Jackson, and Stewart J. Cort. Downbound were Lee A. Tregurtha, John D. Leitch and tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 from Algoma.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Karen Andrie was on her way through the Black Rock Canal at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.
The tug Gregory J Busch and barge STC 2004 arrived Wednesday morning around 6:30 a.m. The pair was docked at the Concrete Central Elevator on the Buffalo River at 6 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, still loaded with windmill parts.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Ron Beaupre
A lock gate at Beauharnois Lock could not be operated for several hours Wednesday. Ships delayed by this were CSL Niagara, Doggersbank, Pineglen, and Yamaska. The lock was returned to service early Wednesday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Sargent dock in Essexville early Tuesday morning to lighter. The pair then continued upriver, briefly stopping at the old Bay Aggregates dock to allow the outbound Manistee to pass and then finished unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. After turning at the Sixth Street basin, the Moore & Kuber were outbound for the lake.
Wednesday morning saw the Calumet inbound, bound for the GM Dock in Saginaw. She finished unload late in the afternoon and was outbound through Bay City Wednesday evening.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland Wednesday evening, coming through the pier heads shortly after 6 p.m. It delivered stone to the Brewer dock and departed around 11 p.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Agawa Canyon stopped at the bulk cargo dock in Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 7:30 Wednesday evening, depositing a load of salt into a shelter there.


New "Handysize" under construction in Cleveland

6/14 - Cleveland - TUGZ International, LLC, the well-known and successful owner-charterer of the “Z Class”, 4,000 hp multipurpose U.S. flag reverse tractor tugs designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants, Seattle, is introducing a new Jensen designed tug to fill the niche between the 2,000 - 3,000 hp tug market for harbor work, fireboats, and construction operations as well as for coastal towing.

The newly designed “HANDYSIZE” Class describes the new tug design as just the right size, just the right power, environmentally sound, fuel efficient and versatile enough to accomplish most tug jobs at the lowest operating cost, “when bigger is just too big, and smaller is more than enough.”

This series of tugs will be built at TUGZ’s affiliate Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, Ohio. The shipyard recently opened new state-of-the-art facilities for tug and barge construction. Not new to shipbuilding or to tug operations, some of the The Great Lakes Group of transportation companies have been around since the turn of the 19th century and its tugs operate on all the Great Lakes, all the coasts, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. For many years it also owned and operated a Gulf shipyard too.

“There is a real market need and we have had serious inquiries”, said Ronald C. Rasmus, President of the Group. “Studies have shown that there are more than 1,500 U.S. flag tugs over 30 years old in the less than 3,000 HP range that will need to be replaced over the next few years. Owners of this Handysize range are looking for a low cost, fuel efficient, versatile workhorse, and our new “HANDYSIZE” Class tug design just fits the need.”

The Great Lakes Shipyard will build the “HANDYSIZE” Class tugs for sale, or for lease-purchase or charter through its affiliate TUGZ. Two tugs are now under construction with deliveries November 2007 and April 2008. The tugs are available as ASD’s or as nozzled Twin-Screw Conventional models for those operators whose work application makes the Z-drive unnecessary and too expensive. Some operators believe that the conventional tugs will work better in ice and in debris-filled, low, and muddy waters.

The new tug has some very interesting features in its design to minimize operating costs. Among them are using an ABS “ice-class” hull standard for sturdiness and icebreaking, if applicable, the increased 5/8ths inch steel thickness and tighter framing in the bow and stern ensures an increase in the useful life of the tug beyond the normal or statutory life.

Because the tug is less than 79’ and less than 100 gross tons there are several advantages that translate to operational flexibility and savings including only one (1) Licensed Operator is required – other crewing at Owner’s discretion; Crew not required to hold AB or OS ratings; Designed for two (2) man operation with bridge control of engine room and deck winches; and high fuel efficiency.

Measuring 74.0’ (22.6m) in length with molded beam of 30.0’ (9.1m) and a maximum draft of 11.0’(3.3m) the tug attains a bollard pull of 36 short tons (72,000 pounds est.) and a free running speed of 12.0 knots from a pair of Cummins QSK 38 diesels each developing 1,400 hp at 1,800 revolutions/ minute. These turn 72.0” diameter Kaplan type propellers inside Type 37 stainless steel lined nozzles and Twin Disk MG 540 with 5.17:1 ratios.

A pair of 65kW generator sets provides the electrical needs while the standard 2,000 gpm fire pumps, which feeds a single forward deckhouse-mounted monitor, is driven off one of the generators. Additional fire monitors and foam capability for a fireboat version of the tug are available as an option. Keel coolers provide a saltwater-free engine room.

Ahead of a well insulated forward bulkhead are two twin-bunk crew cabins and a laundry. On the main deck, a single cabin for the captain is located on the starboard side of the deckhouse opposite the mess room, and a toilet/shower room is located portside aft. All the accommodations are air conditioned.

There is a full walk-around bridge deck with steps up from main deck, fore and aft. One central door aft and internal staircase gives access to the traditionally laid out wheelhouse. Eleven windows and three lower windows forward provide 360° view. The exhaust casings are cut off a waist height to ensure good visibility.

Amongst an impressive array of wheelhouse electronics is a pair of radar units, a GPS, autopilot, compass, and an optional Techsol engine room monitoring and alarm system. The tug is designed for seven-day endurance for coastal service and the tank capacities include 21,600 gallons of fuel and 1,800 gallons of potable water.

More details about the availability of this 74-foot Handysize tug and The Great Lakes Group of companies can be found on


Updates - June 14

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 14

On this day in 1985, Captain Edward Rogowski passed away. Captain Rogowski started sailing as a deckhand on the 514 foot JOHN SHERWIN in 1936. He retired in 1982 as the first Captain of the largest freighter on the Great Lakes, the 1,013 foot PAUL R TREGURTHA.

On this day in 1957, the Interlake Steamship Company freighter HARVEY H BROWN, Captain Percy E. Mc Ginness, delivered the first cargo of coal to the new taconite loading port of Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.

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 of 1927, 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.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.


Port Reports - July 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
After unloading stone Monday at the Reiss dock on the St. Louis River, the Adam E. Cornelius motored about a mile to the General Mills S elevator, where it was loading Tuesday morning.
The saltie Gadwell was anchored out on the lake waiting to load at the elevator after the Cornelius.
Also Tuesday morning, St. Clair was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal for Nanticoke.
John D. Leitch arrived in Duluth about 7:30 a.m., bound for Midwest Energy Terminal, where it was to load for Nanticoke.
Also scheduled for the terminal on Tuesday were James R. Barker, loading for Presque, and American Mariner, loading for Milwaukee.

Milwaukee - John Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Alpena arrived in Milwaukee at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, backing into the inner harbor before docking and unloading cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island.
Late Tuesday morning, Polsteam's Irma was at the Municipal Piers in the outer harbor.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tuesday afternoon, H. Lee White unloaded limestone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.

Hamilton – Eric Holmes
Monday saw the Cuyahoga depart at 2p.m. for the Welland Canal. The Group Ocean tug Gerry G arrived at 5:30p.m. followed by the Dean Construction tug Annie M Dean at 5:45 p.m. from Bronte and going to Pier 15.
Voyageur Pioneer departed Pier 14 at 8:45 p.m. heading to Sault. Ste. Marie.  Quebecois then arrived at 9:45 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.
Tuesday afternoon had the Hamilton Energy departing at 4 p.m. for Toronto.
The Quebecois departed at 4p.m. for Clarkson followed by the the Peter R. Cresswell at 7p.m. from Pier 23 in ballast for Superior. The Canadian Enterprise arrived at 9 p.m. followed by the Algoisle at 10 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.


Updates - June 13

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today In Great Lakes History : June 13

On 13 June 2003, after completing her conversion from American to Canadian registry, Lower Lakes Towing's newly acquired MICHIPICOTEN, a.) ELTON HOYT 2ND, 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, Michigan, 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 CITY OF GREEN BAY, formerly 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.


Port exports Indiana steel to Spain

6/12 - Portage, Ind. – About 11,000 tons of Indiana-made steel headed for Spain aboard the Julietta on Monday. The ship was loaded at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor with hot-rolled steel coils from Mittal Steel in East Chicago, Ind. The shipment is destined for Pasajes, Spain. Federal Marine Terminals, which serves as the port's general cargo stevedore, will load the vessel Monday and Tuesday.

This is the first export shipment of steel through the Port of Indiana since 2005. There were a few export steel shipments between 2003 and 2005 – just over 55,000 tons total. In 1995, the port handled an all-time high 243,000 tons of exported steel.

"Historically, the majority of steel moving through the port is imported from European countries," said Ian Hirt, general manger of Federal Marine Terminals, "but changing market conditions and a weak U.S. dollar can trigger export opportunities. There is a possibility for more export shipments this year."

Since the Port of Indiana also has year-round access to the inland river system, it does ship out some steel by barge which can eventually be exported to world markets after it is trans-loaded to ocean-going vessels in or around New Orleans.

The Port of Indiana generally handles more ocean-going cargo than any other U.S. Great Lakes port and about 15 percent of all U.S. steel trade with Europe. In 2006, the port set a new record with $584 million in steel shipments, up 57 percent from 2005. Sharing boundaries with two of the largest steel mills in the country, this port handles a wide range of steel-related cargoes.

All three of Indiana's ports on Lake Michigan and the Ohio River set individual records for total shipments in 2006 – Mount Vernon: $482 million (+20%), Jeffersonville: $588 million (+30%) and Burns Harbor/Portage: $820 million (+21%). Overall, the Ports of Indiana set a new record of $1.89 billion of cargo handled in 2006. This was a 23-percent increase from 2005, which had been the previous 36-year high.

Port of Indiana news release


Port Reports - June 12

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Presque Isle departed the Duluth port terminal overnight Sunday-Monday bound for Two Harbors to load taconite pellets. It had been docked in Duluth since Friday for repairs.
Elsewhere early Monday, American Integrity cleared the Midwest Energy Terminal about 7 a.m. with coal for St. Clair. It wasn’t even past the Duluth port terminal before Algowood was sliding into place at the terminal dock to load coal for Nanticoke. Canadian Progress was due at the dock later in the day to load for the same destination.
On Sunday, the saltie Sandiviken was reportedly due at BNSF to load taconite pellets for Algeria.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Mary's Challenger arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor and inched up the Kinnickinnic River by searchlight during the wee hours Sunday night. After unloading cement at its terminal, Challenger backed downriver and departed onto Lake Michigan about 2 p.m. Monday.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Monday evening, American Republic arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Mackinaw Bridge - Rod Burdick
Monday morning, Mesabi Miner sailed out of Lake Michigan east bound under the Mackinac Bridge.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Saturday, the tug Duluth was outbound from the Saginaw River, towing two barges. Radio traffic indicated they were headed for Escanaba.
Sunday morning saw the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge in bound for the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. After unloading, the pair were out bound for the lake later in the evening.
Traffic picked up on Monday with four vessel passages. The Indiana Harbor called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville early in the morning hours to unload coal.
The CSL Tadoussac was in bound next, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville to unload clinker.
Later in the afternoon, the Indiana Harbor backed from the dock and out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake, meeting the in bound Manistee in the Entrance Channel.
Manistee traveled to the upper river, calling on the Wirt Stone Dock in Saginaw to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning. Once the Manistee cleared past Essroc, the CSL Tadoussac began her backwards journey outbound to Light 12 to turn around and head for the lake.
Waiting out in the Saginaw Bay for her was the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber who were in bound for the river.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes returned to Holland early Monday afternoon with a load of slag sand from Indiana Harbor.


Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Revs Up a Bit in May
Dredging Crisis Limits Upturn

6/12 - Cleveland---Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes in May increased 5 percent compared to a year ago.

However, low water levels and lack of dredging continued to trim vessel loads significantly. Although many U.S.-Flag Lakers are designed to load to 28 feet or more, vessels transiting the St. Marys River (which connects Lake Superior to the rest of the system) had to load to less than 26 feet.

For a 1,000-foot-long vessel in the iron ore trade, 2 feet of lost draft translates into 3,000 or more tons of cargo left at the loading dock. Lack of adequate dredging in ports further amplified the problem. A vessel delivering iron ore to Huron, Ohio, had to limit its draft to 25’ 06” and still had difficulty entering the harbor.

Had a properly-maintained navigation system allowed for a full load, the vessel could have delivered more than 40,000 tons. Instead, less than 35,000 tons were in its holds.

For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 16.7 million tons, a decrease of 5 percent compared to the same point in 2006, and nearly 2 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe.

More information click here

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Low water levels in harbor expose pitted pilings

6/12 - Duluth - As Lake Superior sinks toward an all-time low, many Twin Ports commercial dock owners are being treated to an alarming view of steel that has been submerged in the harbor for decades. And it’s not pretty.

An aggressive form of corrosion has deeply pitted the steel that girds the port’s working shoreline, and some pilings are so riddled with holes that they’re on the verge of failure. Efforts to diagnose the cause of the accelerated freshwater corrosion that’s attacking the Twin Ports continue. But as researchers scramble for answers, dock owners are confronting questions about what to do.

Most sheet piling with an original thickness of 3/8 of an inch or less that has been in the harbor for more than 30 years has been badly perforated, said Chad Scott, owner of AMI Consulting Engineers of Duluth.  Some steel piles have emerged from the water with gaping holes this year as Lake Superior has fallen 18 inches from its average historical level. Some of the most dramatic damage can be found on U.S. Coast Guard range towers near the Bong Bridge and at the foot of the Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway ore docks now operated by Canadian National

Wooden structures have been affected, too, said Scott, who is leading an underwater survey of port structures. He explained that the metal drift pins and bolts that hold together wooden cribbing in older parts of the port also are failing because of corrosion. Timbers are beginning to drift out of place, and Scott predicts many will go astray, particularly under the pressure of shifting ice.

Scott advises dock owners to have their facilities inspected, particularly if they are constructed of 3/8-inch material. He said awareness of the corrosion issue has increased greatly in the past couple of years, largely as a result of widely-publicized research efforts and declining water levels. “These low-water conditions are optimum for people to see the damage for themselves,” Scott said.

He noted that the most severe corrosion in the harbor seems to be occurring within six feet of the water’s surface. And the recent drop in water levels is giving many people their first clear view of how much damage has occurred. The corrosion issue tapers off below about 10 feet. Most 3/8-inch docks probably will face collapse in the next five to 10 years unless their steel pilings are replaced, Scott said. But he believes most of the ½-inch thick docks can still be saved.

That’s good news to Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority.

Buying Time
Sharrow estimates the cost of replacing the ½-inch thick steel pilings for which he is responsible would run about $2,500 per foot of dock. As the Port Authority has about 5,800 feet of pilings at the Clure Marine Terminal and another 2,200 feet of pilings at the Garfield Dock, it could face a bill of $20 million, should replacement become necessary.

Sharrow hopes to apply protective coatings to existing steel structures to arrest corrosion as researchers work to understand the forces at work on steel in the harbor. The Port Authority is planning to test several promising coatings side-by-side and pick the best to protect its docks. The testing will be shared with other dock owners.

Applying coatings won’t be cheap, however. Sharrow estimated steel pilings can be coated for about 10 percent to 20 percent of the cost of replacing them. Coating the docks would be a labor-intensive process. A coffer dam would be clamped to the side of a dock. Water would be pumped out of the chamber. Then the pilings would be sandblasted to remove corrosion and any organic buildup. The coating would be applied to clean, bare metal and allowed to dry before the coffer dam was removed.

Some initial coating tests have been done at the Midwest Energy Resources coal terminal in Superior. Scott said that 5-year test produced some promising results that should help the Port Authority focus on the most promising family of products.

“A thousand companies will say they have the solution, but their products have never been tested in our heavy ice conditions,” said Scott, speaking to the need for field testing. “Our ice abrasion here on Lake Superior is a killer. Most standard coatings will last maybe five to eight years, and we’re looking for something that will last 15 to 20 years.”

Sharrow said many private dock owners are confronting corrosion so severe that replacement is their only alternative, and they will need to determine whether it makes sense to invest the money needed to maintain their Twin Ports facilities.

Grain facilities could be especially vulnerable to closure. “Certainly we’re concerned about their future because of recent declines in grain shipments from our port and the ongoing changes in grain markets,” Sharrow said. “But so far, we’ve had no indication of any grain elevator planning to pull out of the port.”
“The controlling factor will be cost — whether people feel they can afford to rehabilitate their docks,” Scott said.

Research Continues
Randall Hicks, a biology professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said his research into the role that microbes may play in causing steel to corrode in the harbor is just beginning. But already his work is attracting attention.

Hicks has been studying a sampling of organisms found living on the port’s steel pilings. Scott collected the samples during dives last fall and delivered them to Hicks’ lab. There, Hicks has successfully isolated two types of bacteria that could be of interest. One appears to be an iron oxidizer and the other an iron reducer. “We have some interesting preliminary results, but it’s way too early to tell if these bacteria are culprits,” Hicks said.

Hicks has lined up funding that should be sufficient to support two years of research, and it may well take that long to get to understand how microbes may contribute to the corrosion. The backers of Hicks’ work include the Port Authority, the University of Minnesota Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, the Minnesota Seagrant Program and the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute.

Hicks will study DNA samples and will collaborate with Brenda Little, a scientist at the Naval Research Center in Biloxi, Miss. She specializes in scanning electron microscopy and will use her skills to examine life forms on samples of corroding steel. Those samples will be sent to her overnight in specially designed cylindrical packages filled with harbor water.

Scott, too, will continue his work as he wades through the findings of his dive surveys. “We already have mounds of data, and this year we need to go through and look for trends and anomalies,” he said. “We have to plot out the data and look for patterns.”

Scott has found that the corrosion issue isn’t confined to the Twin Ports’ harbor. While there seems to be little issue with steel structures in the lake, he has found evidence of accelerated corrosion upstream in the St. Louis River. Scott discovered evidence of pitting at the Oliver Bridge and also at the Thomson dam. It’s unclear whether there’s a similar problem still further upstream.

Sharrow said he understands that it will take time to get to the bottom of this issue. He probably also will need to seek additional state and federal money to support ongoing research. “The whole process has been frustratingly slow — slower than I thought it would be,” Sharrow said. “But we’re moving ahead toward some concrete findings. We’re still probably one to two years away from having answers.”

Meanwhile, Sharrow will look for ways to stave off any more irreparable damage to the port. “It feels like we’re in a boat drifting toward the edge of a waterfall, and we’re getting closer and closer to the edge,” he said. “Sometimes it’s difficult to have patience, but we need to go through this process.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Updates - June 12

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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, 1,770 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.

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.


Port Reports - June 11

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River departed during the wee hours of Sunday morning for Bath. Cuyahoga arrived in port around noon Sunday, unloaded salt in the Turning Basin, and departed at 5:30 p.m.

Goderich - Wayne Brown
On Sunday, Canadian Progress was loading at Sifto salt dock, and Federal Hudson was waiting to load at Goderich elevators.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday had very light traffic at Hamilton. The saltie Sabrina departed at 3:30p.m. for the Welland Canal and then on to Duluth.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was under the silos at Lafarge taking on cement Sunday.
Backed in at the coal dock was the American Republic unloading coal.
The Steamer Alpena arrived in port later in the evening.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The American Courage brought coal to Marquette's WE Power Plant on
Sunday. The research vessel Kiyi was tied up at Mattson Park in the
lower harbor.


More BoatNerd Gathering Cruises Scheduled
 Make Your Reservations Now

Friday, June 29 - Annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise at the Soo - The annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario.

Saturday, July 14 - Annual St. Clair River Gathering aboard the Hammond Bay - The Hammond Bay will depart their dock 2 miles south of Sombra, Ontario at 11:00am for a 3-hour narrated cruise passing Fawn Island, Sombra, Courtright, St. Clair, and Marine City.

Saturday, August 11 - Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise - A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Updates - June 11

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today In Great Lakes History : June 11

TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 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.


Port Reports - June 10

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Malyovitza arrived in port Saturday afternoon, preceded by two Group Ocean tugs, the Omni St. Laurent and a first time visitor to Toronto, the tug La Prairie. After berthing the salty in the Redpath Sugar slip, the tugs departed.
English River arrived in port around 7:30 p.m. for the LaFarge dock.
The Toronto-based schooner Empire Sandy went to Port Weller Friday and stayed overnight. Saturday she did her annual Niagara River tour for Niagara College's "Sail Into History" program.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday afternoon saw the John B. Aird arrive at 3:30 p.m.  Saltie Gadwall departed at 4 p.m. for the Welland Canal. The Voyageur Pioneer was anchored in Burlington Bay and entered the harbor at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday the tug Barbara Andrie and barge departed at 9 a.m. for the Welland Canal.
The tug Ecosse and barge departed at 11:30 a.m. for Valleyfield Quebec.  Captain Henry Jackman departed from Dofasco at 2 p.m. for Two Harbors. Tugs Omni St. Laurent and La Prairie departed at 2 p.m. for Toronto.


Toppled crane kills miner near Virginia

6/10 - Virginia, MN - A 49-year-old rural Gilbert man was killed Friday at Mittal Steel USA’s Minorca Mine near Virginia when the crane he was operating tipped over. Details of the accident are under investigation by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and St. Louis County Mine Inspector’s Office.

David Allen, a company spokesman, said the employee died when the crane he was using tipped over while he was setting a de-watering pipe into place following a routine blasting operation. The crane operator was injured as he tried to leave the crane cab when the crane began tipping, Allen said.

A 911 call at 12:03 p.m. reported that a miner was pinned under a mining equipment vehicle, according to a Gilbert Police Department news release.

The accident occurred in the active Laurentian pit at the mine. The victim’s name has not been released, pending notification of relatives. He was a longtime employee of the plant, Allen said.

The accident occurred about one bench, or level, above the floor of the mine pit, said Barry Lesar, St. Louis County Inspector of Mines. A bench is typically about 40 feet high.

The last fatality at the taconite plant, just north of Virginia, was in 1987, Allen said.

A United Steelworkers Emergency Response Team is en route from Pittsburgh to take part in the investigation, said Bob Bratulich, United Steelworkers District 11 director. It’s the third fatality at an Iron Range taconite plant since October, when an electrical coordinator was killed in an electrical explosion at United Taconite in Forbes. In April, a United Taconite drill operator died when the drill he was operating tipped over in the facility’s mine at Eveleth.

While there appear to be different circumstances in the accidents, Bratulich said three deaths within nine months is troubling. “We obviously have less people [working] in the plants,” Bratulich said of the roughly 4,400 miners currently employed, compared to more than 16,000 in 1978, the industry’s peak modern-day employment high. “Three deaths in the mines in nine months is a reason for concern.”

It’s been many years since three deaths have occurred within the span of year at Iron Range taconite plants, Lesar said.

Since 1973, when four miners died, the highest yearly toll has been two — in 1977, 1983 and 1989. Single fatalities since 1973 occurred in 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1987, 1988, 1994, 1998, 2000 and 2006.

Iron Range taconite plants use large trucks, shovels, drills, cranes and bulldozers to mine low-grade taconite. Within massive processing plants that contain miles of conveyor belts, crushers, mills, millions of gallons of water and extreme heat, the taconite is turned into iron ore pellets. The pellets are the primary product in steelmaking
Mittal Steel USA Minorca Mine is a 2.9 million-ton-per-year taconite plant.

Six taconite plants operate in Northeastern Minnesota, producing about 40 million tons of iron ore pellets per year.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - June 10

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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, 1,399 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 b.) 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.

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.


Big Drop in Lakes Limestone Trade in May

6/9 - Cleveland - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes fell sharply in May. Loadings totaled 4.4 million net tons, a decrease of 15 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of nearly 8 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

A number of factors influenced the May total. Lack of adequate dredging affected the amount of limestone vessels could deliver. Huron, Ohio, is a prime example. A vessel operator that averaged more than 25,000 tons each delivery a few years ago saw some loads fall well below 24,000 tons in May, even though the water level on Lake Erie
is higher than when a typical cargo topped 25,000 tons. There are no Federal funds to dredge Huron in 2007.

Three mid-sized U.S.-Flag Lakers that carry limestone have been idled since early May by a labor dispute. Further contributing to the decrease is the slow economy in Michigan. It is reported that weak demand has prompted some quarries that ship only by land to reduce prices and expand their range of service.

Through May, limestone shipments stand at 7.9 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to a year ago, and 8 percent off the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe.

Source - Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - June 9

Twin Ports - Al Miller
American Victory, which spent Thursday in Fraser Shipyards, had left the yard by Friday morning.
Across the harbor, however, Presque Isle was docked at the Duluth port terminal, apparently for repairs.
Elsewhere in port Friday morning, Algolake was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Nanticoke.
Paul R. Tregurtha was at the Murphy Oil fuel dock waiting for the dock at Midwest Energy Terminal, where it will load coal bound for St. Clair.
Canadian Provider was loading grain at CHS in Superior.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The steamer Halifax came in, Friday, ahead of a massive line of thunderstorms at 7 p.m. to load coal at the Gateway Trade Center in Lackawanna for delivery to Nanticoke, Ontario.
Canadian-American-Caribbean Line's cruise ship Grande Mariner was at the Erie Basin fuel dock Friday. She is due to depart Friday night.
A heavy thunderstorm with gale force wind and driving rain took out the power to part of the Welland Canal at about 5:30 p.m. Friday evening. Some of the locks and lift bridges are inoperative and ships are backed up at this time.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Friday's up bound traffic included Herbert C Jackson to Algoma, Joyce L Van Enkevort/Great Lakes Trader, Michipicoten from Algoma. Down bound were Charles M. Beeghly, James R Barker, Mesabi Miner, Cason J Callaway, American Mariner, Federal Rideau.
Water levels were upper pool minus 8, lower pool minus 12 in.

Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Kaye E. Barker was loading at Stoneport Friday evening. Fleetmate Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder was at anchor nearby, waiting to load next. The Canadian Transfer is expected to be the next vessel at the dock on Saturday.

Holland - Kevin Hirdes
The Manistee was at anchor in Holland Michigan, at Kollen’s Park, Friday morning. There may be more to this story than the captain waiting out the wind as reported by the local news media. The bow anchor was set and the boat appears to be crossways in the ship channel with about 10 to 12 feet of water on either side of the channel. Two hours later the boat had not moved. With the wind conditions and the narrow channel the captain had his hands full while making the turn to depart. Fortunately, the bottom in Lake Macatawa is sand.


Great Lakes cruises offer majestic views, relaxing pace

6/9 - A massive freighter towers over the Grande Mariner as the 183-foot-long cruise boat slips past the Motor City skyline en route to Mackinac Island.

By the time the Grande Mariner and its 65 passengers reach Chicago four days after seeing Detroit, they will have traveled through the Erie Canal and four of the five Great Lakes. It's a journey of contrasts, with stops in reviving Rust Belt cities and quaint tourist towns, passing heavily industrialized stretches of the Detroit River and miles of unspoiled coastline.

The route is rich in history and natural beauty. And the trip is one of dozens of multi-day vacation cruises planned this year for the Great Lakes, from weeklong Lake Michigan coast excursions to fall leaf-peeping tours of New York and Quebec and 15-day voyages from Chicago to Warren, R.I. ''It's just beautiful travel and beautiful scenery,'' says Roy Keith, the Grande Mariner's captain, who for the last decade has taken cruise ships onto the Great Lakes.

Largely dormant since the 1960s as international air travel and tropical cruises increased in popularity and affordability, the Great Lakes cruise tradition began a revival in the mid-1990s. For travelers accustomed to the massive cruise ships of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, the Great Lakes boats are modest. The pace is easygoing, passengers get to know the crew on a first-name basis and the scenery along the way -- best seen from the top deck -- is much of the attraction.

''When you travel by car, you've got to find those hot spots,'' says Ryan McMullen, cruise director on the Grande Mariner. ``When you travel by water, you just have to sit back and watch those hot spots come by.''

The trip on the Grande Mariner, which is owned by American Canadian Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. and can hold up to 100 passengers, began in the company's Warren, R.I., home port. The boat passed by New York City and traveled up the Hudson River, heading through the Erie Canal and stopping in cities along the way.

After visiting Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., it headed to Cleveland before stopping in the Detroit suburb of Wyandotte. Many of the passengers got off the boat for an optional tour in Dearborn of The Henry Ford, which includes the Henry Ford Museum, a collection of auto-related and other technological and cultural artifacts.

Others, like Jan Musson, 69, of Goshen, Ky., stayed on board to read a book while her husband, Wick, 71, went on the tour. They took the cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and enjoy the chance to relax.
''You don't have to think. It's just very comfortable,'' she said.

Since the Grande Mariner is so small, it can squeeze through the Erie Canal and dock in smaller communities like Wyandotte, as well as bigger cities, letting passengers off right in downtown. Cost varies by cabin size, with prices for the 16-day trip ranging from $2,785 to $3,840. The Grande Mariner spends the summer in Lake Michigan before returning to its home port for fall color tours on the Erie Canal.

Tour options on different lines vary widely. Smaller boats carry up to 18 passengers on cruises that skirt Lake Ontario.

And the MV Columbus -- a 423-passenger ship designed especially for the Great Lakes -- offers 11-day cruises between Toronto and Chicago that spend time in all five Great Lakes during prime fall color season. On the Columbus, prices range from $2,139 to $6,190 per person, depending on cabin size and trip.

The Great Lakes and their connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on the planet. Travel promoters say the Great Lakes region, well-known for its recreational boating, stunning beaches and summer vacation towns, has the potential to attract more cruise ships.

More than a half-dozen ships have cruises scheduled for this year. The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, which since 1997 has worked to promote the industry, said it would like to see about 60 of the about 130 cruise boats that can get to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway offering tours.

Stephen Burnett, executive director of the coalition, whose members include port towns and others with interests in attracting more tourists to the region, says Great Lakes cruises have a broad appeal. ''You return home with a great sense of where you've been traveling,'' Burnett says. ``You didn't just get off the ship and go shopping.''

From the Miami Herald


Windmill power spins into reality
Where steel smokestacks once billowed, giant blades harness electricity, signal a future full of potential

6/9 - Buffalo - The eight towering windmills that make up the Steel Winds wind farm at the old Bethlehem Steel plant site in Lackawanna are up and running. Nine months after developers broke ground on the unprecedented wind energy project, the giant blades can now be seen spinning in the strong, steady gusts off Lake Erie — and they are not only generating electricity. They’re creating a buzz.

At a wind energy conference in Los Angeles this month that has drawn about 7,000 participants, the windmill manufacturer — Clipper Windpower — fielded questions about the progress of the Lackawanna project. A delegation of officials from Cleveland came here to tour the wind farm as the fellow Rust Belt city mulls a similar project on former industrial land there.

Lackawanna Mayor Norman L. Polanski Jr. has been deluged with calls about the 20-megawatt wind farm that has become a symbol of both the future of renewable energy and the possibilities of urban renewal in the national — and even international — media. “Al-Jazeera called, and I thought, Oh, my God,” Polanski said.

A producer from the Arab news network who had grown up in Rochester was interested in coming to Lackawanna to do a feature on the windmills. Polanski also has taken calls from NBC News and Fox News. “Something interesting is going on here,” Polanski said. “And it’s all good. Finally, Western New York has got the limelight.”

The $40 million wind project marks several firsts in the burgeoning wind industry in the United States, helping to bring attention to the region as well as the wind power business. It is the first “urban” wind farm in the country. It’s the world’s first commercial project to use Clipper Windpower’s massive Liberty series turbines. The wind farm is the first of its kind in the United States to be built on a former industrial site and the first to go up along the shores of the American side of the Great Lakes.

The developers of Steel Winds are apparently so happy with the way the project has gone that “we are looking at the idea of expanding the project,” said Mark B. Mitskovski, project manager of Steel Winds. They are considering building as many as 19 additional windmills on the old Bethlehem Steel property, Mitskovski said. So far, just two have been permitted for the Lackawanna side of the property. Eleven more are being proposed for the Lackawanna side and an additional six on the Hamburg side.

Hamburg officials have raised some concerns about the turbines and initially even considered a moratorium on wind energy projects. Instead, the town is working on a comprehensive wind ordinance that would set rules for any future development. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled Monday.

Steel Winds is hardly the only wind power project in the area. Later this month, Noble Environmental Power is breaking ground on a $210 million, 67-turbine farm, dubbed the Noble Bliss Wind Park, in the Town of Eagle in Wyoming County. It is a different, much larger-scale wind power project than Steel Winds — one that is far more typical of those found on rural areas nationwide. Noble Bliss is being built on private farms, with farmers receiving monetary compensation. The town also was able to forgo levying any taxes on its residents this year because of payments from Noble.

Many wind farms in rural areas of Western New York — including another Noble project in Allegany County — have met with some opposition from the community over concerns regarding aesthetics, impact on birds and other wildlife, sound pollution and property values.

Sherry Grugel, who handles community outreach in Western New York for Noble, said she believes that Steel Winds is starting to make people less wary of wind farms. “I have talked to more people who have gone out to go see them,” she said. “. . . Everybody looks at them, and they look good.” Steel Winds also is standing as an example of the potential for economic development of the region’s industrial land along Lake Erie.

The windmills that now spin atop a mountain of steel byproduct on the long-shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant site are suddenly piquing the interest of all kinds of developers. “People are talking about the site,” said Christopher S. Pawenski, coordinator of Erie County’s industrial-assistance program. Steel Winds “grabs someone’s interest who would never think of looking at Lackawanna or Buffalo,” Pawenski said. “They think, ‘Wow! Look at that!’ ”

Developers are realizing that “the soil can’t be that bad if they’re willing to invest $40 million,” he added. To make the land even more attractive, the county is getting ready to move the rail lines on the property to make it more accessible for trucks from Route 5, he said. Also, Tecumseh, the current owner of the land, is working on investigating and cleaning up 400 acres of its property to meet state requirements that would designate the land as a brownfield, with special tax incentives.

The Wind Action Group, a local organization that has been a strong proponent of Steel Winds, is hoping to host a conference soon that would explore the potential for spin off projects, including the creation of technical jobs related to wind energy production. Pawenski is quick to point out that while millions of private dollars are being poured into the Steel Winds project, very little tax revenue and just a handful of jobs are being generated. “By state law, [renewable energy projects] are tax-exempt,” he explained. The federal government also offers numerous tax incentives for such projects.

Steel Winds developers worked out an agreement with the City of Lackawanna, agreeing to pay $100,000 a year for the next 15 years for the eight turbines that are in place. Pawenski said the lack of revenue is made up for by all the interest the project is creating. “To me,” he said, “it is free PR every time the windmills are talked about.”

From the Buffalo News


Updates - June 9

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 9

The TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 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.

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.


Containers may be moving between Halifax and Hamilton

6/8 - Ottawa - The Canadian Transportation Agency has issued a coasting license to Great Lakes Feeder Lines Inc., to operate the container ship CFL PROSPECT between Halifax, NS and Hamilton, ON, starting on or about Aug 1, 2007 for a period of one year.

More details are posted on CTA's Website. According to the site, the ship is a new purpose built, ice class vessel, able to operate between Halifax and Montreal in winter, and with a capacity of 200 to 300 TEUs with containers of all sizes, including refrigerated.

Reported by Mac Mackay


Port Reports - June 8

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Early Thursday morning the Charles M. Beeghly arrived at the Upper Harbor and unloaded coal at the hopper.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
American Victory was docked in Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Thursday morning.
Elsewhere in port Thursday, after spending Wednesday afternoon docked bow-to-stern at the Duluth port terminal waiting to load, the Mesabi Miner was loading at the CNR/DMIR ore dock while James R. Barker was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Indiana Harbor was anchored inside the Duluth harbor waiting for Midwest Energy Terminal while Federal Rideau was docked at CHS in Superior waiting to load grain.
Later in the day, Cason J. Callaway was expected to arrive with limestone, Alpena was expected to unload cement and Edward L. Ryerson was expected at BNSF ore dock.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algomarine arrived Thursday afternoon with another load of salt from Goderich.
Stephen B. Roman continues unloading at Essroc.
The venerable steam side-wheeler Trillium went out for its first charter of the season Thursday night.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Wednesday's upbound traffic included Edward L Ryerson, American Valor, American Century, Canadian Leader, American Fortitude, and Stewart J Cort.
Downbound was American Spirit, Ziemia Ciesynska, Walter J McCarthy Jr., H. Lee White.
Water levels at the Soo today were upper pool minus 16 in, and the lower pool +4. The Rock Cut was +4 inches above datum.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Manistee arrived at Holland shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday and proceeded to the Verplank dock with a load of asphalt sand from Cedarville. Prior to Holland, it had discharged part of the load at the Mart Dock in Muskegon. When the unload in Holland was complete, around 10:30, it turned in the turning basin, then went to anchor in Lake Macatawa to wait out the impending storm.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were inbound the Saginaw River Thursday evening, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. They should be outbound early Friday morning. The Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder were also here on Tuesday delivering coal at the Consumers energy dock in Essexville.
Vessel Traffic in the Saginaw River is down for the year as compared to the past few years. While there is only a difference of 6 less vessels from 2006, 2007 is down by 40 passages compared to 2005. There has not been a vessel travel past the Bay City bridges to the upper river since the Mississagi on May 29th. What is to blame for the decrease? Last year it was due to dredging in the upper river and sixth street turning basin. This year you could blame the economy, shortage of product, or shortage of boats to deliver the product. Whatever the reason, traffic on the Saginaw River has been slow.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
The Charles M. Beeghly brought coal to Marquette's WE Power Plant on Thursday and then took on ore.
At sunset Thursday, with heavy winds still on Lake Superior, Tug Gregory J. Busch and Barge STC 2004 remained at the Merchandise Dock, north of the ore dock at the Upper Harbor. Charles M. Beeghly was loading ore in brilliant sun.


Ashtabula-Canada lake freight ferry service speeds ahead

6/8 - Ashtabula - U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Concord, has thrown his support behind the start-up of a freight ferry service from Pinney Dock & Transport to Port Maitland, Ontario, with MarineLink Inc. services on the Canadian side.

LaTourette and Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County Executive Director Joseph Mayernick met Tuesday with MarineLink Inc. project director Robert J. Armstrong and the Pinney Dock officials to discuss the proposed venture. MarineLink officials are proposing the intermodal connections for shippers transporting freight by road between the U.S. and Canada by using the lakes.

"Ashtabula would be a truck trailer ferry location on Lake Erie linking to Canadian ports. It will cost the Canadians $7 million and Ashtabula Harbor $2 million for improvements needed at the docks," LaTourette said.

Public and private moneys would be needed here to construct special docks for trucks to pull up to and unload trailers. Mayernick said 100 trailers at one time could be loaded on a barge, and then transported across Lake Erie to Port Maitland, which is roughly opposite Dunkirk, N.Y. Return trips would bring Canadian goods on the ferries back to the Ashtabula Harbor.

Once in Ontario, Canadian drivers would pick up the trailer loads. Trucks using the marine ports would minimize customs red tape, including long lines now facing them at the border, plus save rising fuel and insurance costs, LaTourette said.

"From a business point, trucks now use Route 11 and Interstate 90 hauling freight. I'm 100 percent for this project, and hopefully we can find the (federal) money," he said. The congressman also is looking at the 2009 federal budget to leverage money for the proposed ferry freight service. "It would get an average of 400 trucks a day off the highways with three ferries and a tug (boat). There would be fuel savings for trucking companies, also," LaTourette said.

Federal security checkpoints would be required even though the facilities would serve trucks, rather than passengers, LaTourette and Mayernick said. Helping cut costs and exempting the ferries from the federal Harbor Maintenance Tax are goals of a bill introduced in Congress by U.S. representatives Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Cleveland, and Phil English, R-Erie, Pa.

Other Lake Erie ports competing for various ferry services to Canada, include Cleveland, and Grand River and Fairport Harbor in Lake County, he said.

Lee Demers, Pinney Dock's manager, is optimistic about the project getting LaTourette's support. "It's all still in the talking stage," he said. "We are a marine terminal, but special dockage and dock apparatus would be needed here for this type of ferry service. We have large boats bringing in coal and limestone, now," Demers said.

From the Ashtabula Star Beacon


Cleveland-Cliffs sells mine interest

6/8 - Duluth - Iron ore supplier Cleveland-Cliffs is selling its interest in a Canadian mine.

Officials announced Wednesday that the Cleveland-based company has accepted an offer to sell its 26.8 percent interest in the Wabush Mines joint venture. The mine, operating since 1965, is at Newfoundland, Labrador.

Under a definitive purchase agreement, Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. would acquire 71.4 percent of Wabush Mines owned by Cleveland-Cliffs (26.8 percent) and Stelco Inc. (44.6 percent) for $64.3 million in cash and 3 million shares of Consolidated Thompson Iron Ore Mines.

Cleveland-Cliffs’ share of the deal would be $24.1 million. Cleveland-Cliffs would also hold the option to purchase about 1.1 million shares.

Wabush has long-term issues with its mine pit, said Donald Gallagher, Cleveland-Cliffs president of North American iron ore. The sale would allow Cleveland-Cliffs to allocate resources to longer-lived assets in North America, Gallagher said.

In Minnesota, Cleveland-Cliffs owns and manages Northshore Mining Co. and holds ownership and manages United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Two "Know Your Ships" Book Signings Scheduled

6/8 - "Know Your Ships" Editor and Publisher Roger LeLievre will help The Book Blues, 102 Broadway St., Marine City, Mich., mark its one-year anniversary with a book-signing session from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday, June 9. The Book Blues is located right on Marine City¹s waterfront, on the corner of Broadway and Water Street.

Another book signing will take place from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, June 17 in Toledo aboard the museum ship Willis B. Boyer.

Anyone getting a book signed will be able to tour the Boyer for free; a portion of the book sales will go to benefit the Boyer museum.

For more information and directions to this historic laker:

Books will be available for purchase and signing at both locations.


Lake Huron Lore Society to present program

6/8 - Port Huron - The Lake Huron Lore Society will present a program Friday, June 8, 2007, at 7 p.m. at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point, 51 Water St. in Port Huron, Michigan.

Gareth McNabb will present "The Life & Times of Russell Sawyer," - The story of a free lance photographer who photographed scenes along the St. Clair River, & Port Huron, with a focus on the marine traffic of the 1940's and the 1950's!

The program is free and open to the public.


Marine Artists Hold Show in St. Joseph

6/8 - The American Society of Marine Artists will hold its Great Lakes Regional exhibition June 15-Aug. 5 at the Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph, Mich.

This exhibition encompasses regional artists and their representations of the beauty of the Great Lakes. An opening reception will be Friday, June 15, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public; music and light refreshments will be provided. For more information click here


Updates - June 8

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 8

1951, the CLIFFS VICTORY entered Cleveland with a load of iron ore from Marquette. The VICTORY completed the one-way trip in 37 hours - 20 hours faster than the best previous time.

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 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 Midwest Energy Terminal at Superior, Wisconsin, loaded its first cargo of low-sulfur coal. The steamer 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, Russ Plumb, 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.


St. Lawrence Seaway reports decreased traffic

6/7 - The St. Lawrence Seaway reported decreases in both vessels passages and cargo tonnage for the year-to-date through May 31, 2007.

In the first five months of the year, combined traffic from Montreal through the Welland Canal totaled 923 vessels carrying 9,223,000 tons of cargo.

The figures represent a reduction of 205 vessels (18.2%) and 2,554,000 tons (21.7%) compared to the same period in 2006.

Seaway News Release


Port Reports - June 7

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning the H. Lee White backed into the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload limestone. She was scheduled to load ore at the Upper Harbor in the evening.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Mary's Challenger steamed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 1:45 p.m. Sunday and proceeded upriver to its Kinnickinnic Avenue berth. Challenger departed outbound onto Lake Michigan just after midnight.
On Monday morning federal E.P.A. vessel Lake Guardian backed from its slip near the U.W. Sea Grant facility at Greenfield Avenue and proceeded downriver to the lake.
Tuesday evening Algoway was moored at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor, delivering salt.

Lorain - C. Mackin
The American Fortitude made a stop in Lorain Tuesday evening going upriver to the R.E.P. docks. Later that evening the Canadian Transfer made a quick trip up to Terminal Ready Mix.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The self unloading cement barge St. Mary's Conquest with tug Susan W. Hannah in the notch came into port mid morning, Wednesday, with a load for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading in the early evening.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Karen Andrie and barge came through the North entrance heading North at 5:25 p.m. Wednesday, .

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Calumet was tied up at the Lafarge coal dock Wednesday morning. It was unloading taconite tailings into the storage hopper.
Also in port was the tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity. It loaded throughout the day and was out bound in the bay at 7 p.m. Winds were strong and waves were crashing into the breakwall as it departed. The Calumet remained at the dock during the evening, possibly waiting for the winds to die down.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Progress arrived Wednesday afternoon with stone for the aggregates dock, followed about an hour later by Stephen B. Roman returning to port with yet another load of cement for Essroc.


Magazine Issue features the Mackinac Bridge

6/7 - Mackinaw City - The Mackinac Bridge will turn 50 years old, available in July 2007, the expanded 96-page issue is filled with stories about life before the bridge, the businessmen who bankrolled it, the fearless workers who built it and one daring pilot who flew under it. Subscribe by July 2007 to receive the issue as part of a subscription. Visit

The Mackinac Bridge 50th Anniversary Celebration will take place on July 27-28, 2007. Many exciting events will take place in the Straits area, including parades in St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, oral history presentations, music and fireworks over the Straits. Visit the Mackinac Bridge Authority’s website at

You can register to win a trip to the top of the Mackinac Bridge. One lucky person and a guest will win a certificate that allows them special access to one of the Mackinac Bridge towers, offering a unique experience and spectacular view from 552 feet above the Straits of Mackinac. The trip is being offered by the St. Ignace Area Visitors Bureau, the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce, and the St. Ignace Welcome Center.

The last day to register is October 31, 2007. The drawing will be held November 1, 2007, with the tower tour to be taken in 2008. For more information on the tower tour drawing Click here

From Michigan History magazine


Only 22 Days Until Engineer's Day

Friday, June 29 is Engineer's Day at the Soo Locks. This is the annual opportunity to walk between the Poe and MacArthur Locks to get an up close look at the passing freighters. To start the activities on Friday, Boatnerds will gather on the steps below the MacArthur Lock for a group picture.

The fun will begin on Thursday, with the 2nd Annual Unofficial BoatNerd Picnic at Mission Point. The picnic will begin about 2:00pm and continue thru the afternoon/evening. Grills will be provided, but anyone with a portable grill or canopy please contact Lee Rowe at with the information. Plates, napkins, eating utensils will also be provided. Bring something to share. Soo delis will have food options to purchase and bring to the park. Come one, come all and enjoy a great time with other Boatnerds. Name tags will be provided in case you don't recognize faces. Plan now to attend

To cap off a busy Friday, the annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario. Cruise will return at 9:00 p.m. Cost is US$30.00 per person. Price includes dinner. Cash bar on board. Make reservations today by calling (705) 253-9850, or 1-877-226-3665.


Updates - June 7

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 7

1958, the largest freighter ever built on the Great Lakes slid down the ways at River Rouge, Michigan. The new freighter was christened by Mrs. Edmund Fitzgerald and named EDMUND FITZGERALD. The 729 foot FITZGERALD was owned by Northwestern Mutual Insurance Company and operated by Columbia Transportation under a 25 year bare boat charter.

1977, tugs refused to tow the new MESABI MINER out of the harbor due to high winds. Captain William Mc Sweeney brought the MESABI MINER out under her own power to begin her maiden trip.

On 07 June 1890, EMILY P WEED (steel propeller freighter, 300 foot, 2,362 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, 1,265 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 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").

On June 7, 1991, the ALPENA, the former 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 a.m. 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.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.


Boblo Boat Returning to Detroit

6/5 - Detroit - The 97-year-old Ste. Claire, one of the Boblo boats ingrained in local history, will be tugged up the Detroit River later this month to kick off the weeklong celebration of the renovated Detroit riverfront.

The Boblo boat will dock at Tri-centennial State Park at the start of the International River Days on June 22 and remain there through Nov. 9. Visitors can walk through it, buy souvenirs and become part of renovation efforts that will start this fall.

"A lot of people's first memories of the Detroit River have to do with time they spent on the Boblo boat," said Caroline Marks, spokeswoman for the Detroit River Front Conservancy. "It's a perfect fit" for the city's River Days, she said.

The journey of the 197-foot steamboat, which holds memories for generations of local families and couples, is one that twists and turns.

The Ste. Claire is one of two boats that used to take metro Detroiters to an amusement park on Boblo Island, now a luxury condo development. The boats have been passed around to various owners since the park closed in 1993. A New York investor owns the Columbia, the other Boblo boat. Several efforts to get them back in operation have failed.

And the Ste. Claire might have wasted away if it weren't for an intensive care doctor who is determined to restore the vessel. Dr. Ron Kattoo, 39, of Bloomfield Hills bought the boat in March 2006 from Diane Evon of Cleveland, who bought it years earlier with her then-husband John Belko. The couple bought it on Sept. 11, 2001, and had moved it around to different shipyards, renovating it and using it for a haunted house on Halloween.

Kattoo and two friends formed Maximus Corp. and bought the Ste. Claire. The team had a dream of slowly breathing life into the boat and hauling it back to Detroit for the public to enjoy. In December, the Free Press told Kattoo's story, prompting an unexpected outpouring of support that Kattoo wasn't quite ready for.

Kattoo, associate director of Henry Ford Hospital's intensive care unit, received a barrage of letters from readers wanting to help revive the boat. "I had about 400 letters and hundreds of e-mails," Kattoo said, adding that people have continued to write.

His three-person team has grown to hundreds of volunteers as event planners, engineers, designers and fund-raising experts have contacted Kattoo. Since December, Kattoo has been going to the Toledo shipyard -- where the Ste. Claire is now -- to clean up the boat. His plan for the vessel initially involved turning the Ste. Claire into a sparkly fantasyland of restaurants, clubs, movie theaters and bars. That plan remains in place. However, some things have changed.

The boat will become a nonprofit, run by a board of directors, which will make it easier to raise money and apply for grants. He has an immediate goal of raising $5 million to get restorations going as soon as possible. "Going nonprofit will enable us to get grants and corporate sponsorships and will allow the public to become fully involved," he said. In the fall, the Ste. Claire will be placed in dry storage for renovations. Kattoo hopes to have the boat in operation by 2010.

While searching for a permanent dock for the Ste. Claire, Kattoo wanted to bring the boat back to the area as soon as possible. It was Kattoo's idea to make the Boblo boat a part of the River Days. "I was trying to find a place for the summer," he said. "I called the River Front conservancy and when I heard of the River Days, I thought it would be perfect for the ship."

Mike Evans, 44, of Waterford is one of hundreds of volunteers who have helped bring the boat back. A graphic artist, he helped make logos and promotional materials. He also has gotten involved in cleanup efforts. "It's easy to be awestruck by the size of the thing and the history involved," he said, adding that he will be part of the towing crew that brings the Ste. Claire to Detroit.

Andy Whitman, a former sailor from Woodhaven, said he is thrilled to see the vessel return. "This boat is a very small key to a very rich history of passenger ships that traveled the waters of Detroit," said Whitman, 40. "People used to catch the boat to get to Cleveland and Mackinac Island.

For the moment, Kattoo is spending much of his time and money on the project. He is paying to have the boat hauled to Detroit on June 22. The Gaelic Tug Boat Co. of Lincoln Park will tug the boat to Detroit. The trip will take 6 hours, leaving at 9 a.m. and arriving in Detroit about 3 p.m.

He said he hopes spectators gather along the river to watch the Ste. Claire come home. "The way I see it, and this might sound corny, but this is the people's boat. It's no different than the 'Spirit of Detroit,' " he said. "The more people have a part in this, the better."

From the Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - July 6

Detroit River - Mark Swarthout
The Avenger IV was pushing the barge PML 2501 up the Detroit River Monday afternoon when the tow slowly worked over to dock in Windsor where they tied off the barge before heading back downriver. Tuesday morning the Avenger IV returned up river as the stern tug behind the barge Sarah Spencer and tug Jane Ann IV towed by the tug Anglian Lady. Reported engine problems had the tug and barge heading to the Southwestern Sales East Dock behind Peche Island. After dropping off the Sarah Spencer the two Purvis Marine tugs returned to collect the barge dropped off the previous day.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Algomarine was in on Sunday afternoon with a load of salt. She departed for the Welland Canal on Monday, bound for Goderich and another load of salt.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland early Tuesday afternoon with stone for Verplank's. She departed in the early evening.

Marquette - Lee Rowe & Rod Burdick
Tuesday morning, Michipicoten and American Republic arrived at the Upper Harbor to load taconite. Low water levels are visible with the size of pilings near the shore.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge around noon on Tuesday.  Coming in behind the pair was the Alpena, which tied up at the coal dock to wait its turn under the silos. By 5 p.m. the Innovation was heading out into the bay and the Alpena was moving to the loading slip. Also at Lafarge was a Hannah Marine tug and barge that departed later in the evening.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity are due in Wednesday morning. The research vessel Sturgeon was tied up in the river.
At Stoneport on Tuesday the H. Lee White took on cargo followed by the tug/barge Joseph H. Thompson.


Boatnerd Detroit Up River Cruise Canceled
Other trips still scheduled

6/5 - The 3-hour freighter chasing cruise, scheduled for Saturday, June 16 . on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan, has been canceled due to lack of reservations.
We needed a minimum of 50 passengers to make the cruise financially possible. Only 26 were received. Checks will be returned to persons who mailed reservations.

It is not too late to make reservations for other BoatNerd Gatherings planned for the balance of the season.

Friday, June 29 - Annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise at the Soo - The annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario.

Saturday, July 14 - Annual St. Clair River Gathering aboard the Hammond Bay - The Hammond Bay will depart their dock 2 miles south of Sombra, Ontario at 11:00am for a 3-hour narrated cruise passing Fawn Island, Sombra, Courtright, St. Clair, and Marine City.

Saturday, August 11 - Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise - A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Updates - June 6

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : 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 Detroit, 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-ignited 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 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 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.

Upper Lakes Shipping's 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, 1,711 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.

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.


Port Reports - June 5

Lorain - C. Mackin
Stopping in Lorain at Terminal Ready Mix over the weekend were the Algoway on Saturday, and the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder on Sunday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and tank barge A-410 were inbound the Saginaw River Monday evening. The pair called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. This was their second trip in three days to the Bit-Mat dock.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E Cornelius came in at 9 p.m. Monday evening for the General Mills Frontier Elevator.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity unit came in at 9 a.m. for LaFarge. She departed stern first at 5 p.m.


Medical Transport Plane Crashes In Lake Michigan

6/5 - Milwaukee, Wisc. A medical transport plane carrying six members of the University of Michigan Survival Flight team back to Michigan went down Monday afternoon in Lake Michigan shortly after the pilot signaled an emergency, authorities said. There was no word on survivors.

As many as a dozen divers were searching water that was 60 feet deep, and five to 10 more divers were standing by, Milwaukee Fire Chief Doug Holton said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the Cessna Citation took off from General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee at 4 p.m. and was headed for Willow Run Airport near Detroit, a 42-minute flight.

"Within five minutes of its departure from the airport the pilot declared an emergency and requested a return to Mitchell but at that time the plane was no longer on our radar screens, so we've contacted the Coast Guard to begin a search and rescue mission," Molinaro said. The six people aboard included two crew members, he said.

Molinaro said they found aircraft debris about six miles northeast of Milwaukee, but have not found any of the passengers.

The plane was leased by the University of Michigan Survival Flight air ambulance program, the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor, Mich. said in a statement. It was owned by Southfield, Mich.-based Toy Air Inc. and based at Willow Run. The University of Michigan Survival Flight team included two members of the staff of Marlin Air, which flies all Survival Flight airplane missions, and four University of Michigan employees.

The university said the team, returning from Milwaukee with unspecified organs for transplant to a patient in Michigan, included Dr. David Ashburn, a fellow in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; Dr. Martinus "Martin" Spoor, a cardiac surgeon who had been on the faculty since 2003; Richard Chenault II and Richard Lapensee, transplant donation specialists with the university transplant program. The Marlin Air pilots were identified as Dennis Hoyes and Bill Serra.

"The thoughts of the entire university community are with the families of those involved this evening, and we take consolation in the fact that the team was on a mission to help another," said Dr. Darrell A. Campbell, chief of staff of the University of Michigan Hospitals & Health Centers.

When system officials found out about the crash, they notified the transplant team in Michigan to stop preparing the transplant candidate. The patient was in critical condition, the university said. The university wouldn't release any information on the patient, citing confidentiality.

Lapensee's mother-in-law, Sharon Manier, said Monday evening that the family was asking for privacy. "We've gotten no word," Manier said from Lapensee's home in Belleville.

Jay Campbell, executive director of the Wisconsin Donor Network, declined to say which area hospital they were working with, citing privacy regulations.

At around 4 p.m. light rain was falling at the airport with winds at 12 mph, gusting to 22 mph, according to J.J. Wood, meteorologist the National Weather Service.

Jerry Guyer, a salvage and diving guide, used his high-definition sonar unit to help in the search. He said the unit is towed in back of his boat by a 50-foot cable and can detect objects within 100 feet of it. "I used to look for shipwrecks and it works very well for anything on the bottom, from a car tire up as far as being able to pinpoint an item and location," he said.

Milwaukee airport spokeswoman Pat Rowe said the airport was closed for about 20 minutes after they didn't hear back from the plane in case it returned. Bob Bruner of Mequon was a passenger on a Northwest Airlines flight landing in Milwaukee around the time of the crash. "They diverted us and they told us there was an emergency (at the airport)," Bruner of Mequon told WISN-TV in Milwaukee.

Bruner said that the pilots onboard their flight told passengers that the runways needed to be clear, and they circled the airport several times before landing.

From CBS2 Chicago


Coast Guard Conducts Medical Evacuation

6/5 - Charlevoix, MI - Coast Guard Station Charlevoix medically evacuated a tug vessel crewman on May 31 who experienced severe bleeding, 16 nautical miles from the Charlevoix River.

Station Charlevoix's 41-foot utility boat crew transferred the man safely from the Oliver L. Moore and delivered him to awaiting Emergency Medical Services on the Beaver Island docks.

The man was in stable condition upon delivery to Charlevoix shore-side.



Coast Guard Terminates Vessel's Voyage

6/5 - Milwaukee - The U.S. Coast Guard terminated the voyage of a 55-foot Chris Craft vessel after it was determined it was transiting unsafely approximately 25 miles west of Holland, Mich., at about 6:30 a.m on May 28.

It was determined that the vessel was taking on water this morning at a rate that would have made it unsafe for it to transit from Muskegon to Chicago and determined the closest port of safe haven at Saugatuck, Mi.

The Coast Guard received the initial distress call over the radio at 10:48 p.m. Sunday. The sailor onboard the Chris Craft stated that he was concerned about the amount of water entering his vessel, but did not want Coast Guard assistance. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan set up a communication schedule to monitor the situation. The vessel's pumps had failed but were working again and were able to keep up with the water intrusion.

Several hours after setting up the communication schedule, the sailor did not respond to a radio check with the Coast Guard. The Coast Guard launched a Station Grand Haven 47-foot motor life boat and a Coast Guard Air Facility Muskegon HH65 helicopter to assist.

The Coast Guard helicopter arrived on scene and vectored in the crew of the 47-foot rescue boat. The Coast Guard noted that there was three feet of water in the vessel, entering through a split seam. After rewiring the dewatering pumps on board to keep them working, the operator had approximately six inches of water onboard with the pumps working continuously. The Coast Guard determined that the vessel could not safely transit to Chicago.

Coast Guard Stations Grand Haven and Holland combined efforts to escort the vessel safely to Saugatuck, Mich.



Today in Great Lakes History : June 5

Over the Winter of 1960 - 1961, the CHARLES M SCHWAB was "jumboized" by joining the forward end of the original SCHWAB with the after end of the former oil tanker GULFPORT.

On this date in 1961, Captain Raphael "Dewey" Marsden conducted sea trials with the "new vessel" on Lake Erie between Lorain and Cleveland.

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 7 and 8 in Lake Huron by the newly established Canadian Coast Guard Sarnia Traffic.

On 05 June 1979, while carrying corn on Lake Superior, CARTIERCLIFFE HALL (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 18,531 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.

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. Upon her retirement 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.

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.


Three Long, Two Short to Boatnerd Raffle Supporters

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the recent raffle to benefit Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping on Line Inc., the non-profit support group for the website. Nearly 4,000 tickets were sold, with the Grand Prize a trip for four adults on either the Paul R. Tregurtha or Lee A. Tregurtha, generously provided by the Interlake Steamship Co. (all winners listed below).

Other prize donors included Lake Michigan Carferry, Hammond Bay River Cruises, Diamond Jack River Cruises, Lock Tours Canada, Beaver Island Boat Co., Huron Lady II Cruises, Keweenaw Excursions, Vista Fleet, the Inn At Lock 7, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society and the Detour Reef Light Preservation Society.

Thanks to the generosity of the donors and our users who purchased tickets to support the site, the future of Boatnerd is secure for at least the next year. Funds raised will be used to upgrade and replace our servers, pay monthly Internet connection charges and continue the expansion of this site in general. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online Inc. was designated a 501c3 non-profit organization in 2006.

The BoatNerd.Com Crew


Boatnerd Freighter Trip Raffle Winners Announced

6/4 - Results for the Raffle to Benefit Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online the non-profit support organization for the BoatNerd.Com web site.

Drawing was held on June 2, 2007 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters in Port Huron, MI. State of Michigan Raffle License # R89067

Grand Prize
Your choice of a trip on the Paul R. Tregurtha OR the Lee A. Tregurtha, donate by the Interlake Steamship Co.
Winner: Keith Grant-Davie, River Heights, UT #2001

Prize - A round trip for two including auto aboard the S.S. Badger between Michigan and Wisconsin donated by Lake Michigan Carferry
Winner: Harold Provost, Whittemore, MI  #2916

Prize - A private two hour St. Clair River cruise for up to 20 people onboard the Hammond Bay donated by Hammond Bay River Cruises
Winner: - J. Copping, Port Huron, MI #2892

Prize - Two tickets for a river tour with Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River. (5 prizes)
Tickets good for a Detroit or Wyandotte tour donated by Diamond Jack River Tours
Winner: Ryan Wubben, Middleton, WI  #2234
Winner: Dr. David Noonan, Ooltewah, TN  #1347
Winner: Shawn Harrison, Ferndale, MI  #905
Winner: Paul Kleinheksal, Holland, MI  #1572

Prize - Cruise for five people on a two hour tour aboard the Huron Lady II (2 prizes), donated by Huron Lady II
Winner: Allen Stevens, New Canaan, CT  #1376
Winner: John Green, Topeka, KS #2439

Prize - Sightseeing Soo Lock Cruise aboard the Chief Shingwauk (2 prizes) donated by Lock Tours Canada
Winner: Gerry Kramer, Port Huron #3136
Winner: Allen Bernier, Hemphill, TX  #1858

Prize - Sightseeing cruise for two aboard the Vista Fleet in Duluth (3 prizes of 1 pass for two people), donated by Vista Fleet
Winner: Shirley Paesani, Farmington Hills, MI #4156
Winner: Gerry Kramer, Port Huron, MI #3232
Winner: Craig Rush, Oak Creek, WI  #484

Prize - Two round trip tickets to Beaver Island donated by Beaver Island Boat Company
Winner: Mark Wolford, Genoa City, WI #4101

Prize - Passes for 2 aboard the Keweenaw Star for a cruise on the on the Keweenaw Waterway. (2 prizes) donated by Keweenaw Excursions
Winner: Dorothy Lewis, Rocky River, OH #1198
Winner: Sanford Jacobs, South Euclid, OH #3261

Prize - A weekend stay for two at the Inn at Lock 7 on the Welland Canal donated by The Inn at Lock 7
Winner: Ronald Yanega, Perry, OH #2276

Prize - Overnight accommodations for two at Whitefish Point in the restored 1923 US Coast Guard Lifeboat Crews Quarters, donated by Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society
Winner: Rick Mohr, Lansing, MI #1087

Prize - DeTour Reef Lighthouse Tour donated by the DeTour Reef Light Preservation Society
Winner: Dave Milaeger, Minneapolis, MN #2454

Prize - Two tickets for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association “Lunch at the Lighthouse” cruise to St. Helena Island donated by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association
Winner: David Morrison, Kentwood, MI #1330

All winners will be notified by mail.


Port Reports - June 4

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman arrived in port Saturday afternoon. Algosteel departed the Redpath Sugar dock about an hour later.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Sunday was a busy day at the Soo for boat watchers. Up bound traffic included Vancouverborg, Spruceglen, Canadian Transport, Capt Henry Jackman, Jade Star, Buffalo, Roger Blough, and American Integrity. Down bound traffic was Montrealais and Lee A Tregurtha.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Saginaw came in with wheat for the ADM Standard Elevator at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night. She had loaded in Sarnia. Sunday evening, Saginaw is getting ready to depart with one tug at 7 p.m. They were planning for a tight squeeze while making the turn at Ohio St. due to the presence of the English River at the LaFarge Dock below the bridge.
The tug Karen Andrie and barge were at the Noco Terminal in Tonawanda on Saturday afternoon. She shifted to the Marathon Asphalt Dock at 5 p.m. The pair came out early Sunday morning.


New walkway kicks off Rotary Park project at Mission Point

6/4 - Sault Ste. Marie - Using donated equipment, materials and volunteer labor, the Rotary Club's ambitious, seven-step project to improve the city's Rotary Island Park started late last week with foundation work for a new pedestrian walkway to the small island park.

Volunteer landscape architect John Rowe, on site to coordinate placement of large rip-rap blocks along the existing causeway to the park, said the companion walkway will substantially improve public access to the small park. A project spearheaded by the local Rotary Club, the improvement project will eventually extend to a variety of improvements at the leased city park.

Rotary Club members working on the ambitious project scheduled two “work days” for Saturday and next Saturday to tap volunteer labor on walkway construction. By Thursday, volunteers were placing large donated limestone blocks on the south side of the Rotary Island causeway to support the 100-foot long walkway, measuring three feet wide. When completed, three courses of the large blocks will furnish shore erosion protection and support for a built-up walkway to be finished off in paver bricks.

The walkway will also feature a timber guardrail to separate vehicles from the walking path connecting the island to the adjacent Sugar Island ferry dock at Mission Point.

Rowe said this summer's walkway construction is just the first of a chain of pathways Rotary officials plan for the park as future phases unfold. He said later stages of the project include a vehicle turnaround, fishing pier for the youth fishing hole attached to the park, new playground equipment, new benches, public restrooms and signage scattered around the island park.

New asphalt for the existing roadway and parking areas are also in the plan, as is lighting for pedestrian walkways in the park and landscaping work around the park. Rowe said the aim is to make the new walkway to the park a year-around path to the island, currently effectively closed to vehicles and walkers during the winter months.
While not part of the Rotary Club's phased improvement plan, the project will provide a jumping-off point for the periodically discussed pedestrian bridge to nearby Steere Island.

Rowe said a number of local contractors chipped in with in-kind assistance for the Rotary project. The Bourque quarry near Rexton contributed the large limestone blocks that will act as a foundation for the public walkway. Other contractors, including Northern Sand and Gravel, Burton Excavating, Soo Welding, McGahey Construction and a number of others volunteered their services and equipment for the project.

The civic club is also soliciting public contributions of labor and cash to assist in defraying the walkway costs. Anyone in fit physical condition can volunteer to help out on walkway construction. The club is offering to inscribe individual and entity donor names on paver bricks sold to the general public during the construction process.
The City of Sault Ste. Marie will also be helping with the walkway, which also includes in-ground utility conduit for electric service, water and sewer connections to the island park. For its part, the city is seeking a grant from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for funding of portions of the overall Rotary Park project. The Sault Sportsmen's Club also volunteered to help with the planned youth fishing platform.

“It will upgrade the entire park ... make it into an all-season park,” he said. Special emphasis will be placed on wheelchair and handicapped access to the park and the nearby shore of the St. Marys River steamer channel.
Volunteers wishing to help with the walkway work by contacting Rowe at 635-051. More information on brick-naming contributions can be obtained on weekdays by calling Shannon at 632-3095.

Owned by the Corps of Engineers, Rotary Park is leased to the city for use as a park. The Rotary Club placed its name on the park by assisting with initial development of the island park. The city recently requested a renewed lease agreement from the Corps to qualify the park for the desired DNR grant.

From the Soo Evening News


Former Great Lakes Passenger Boats Re-sold

6/4 - Washington, DC - The saga of the Great Lakes visiting cruise ship Cape May Light continues with more twists and turns as time goes on. An unnamed company has placed a non refundable deposit on her and her sister ship Cape Cod Light.

The two 300 foot, 224 passenger vessels are currently being held in the possession of MARAD and tied to a pier near Jacksonville, Florida until a sale of some sort can be completed.

Both ships were built for American Classic Voyages, about seven years ago, before the company went bankrupt in 2001. ACL had sent the Cape May Light to the Great Lakes for the summer port cruise business at that time.

The future looked bright last year when Hornblower Marine Service announced plans to buy the two ships and enter the coastal cruise market, including trips to the Great Lakes. Events took another turn for the worse when HMS allowed their option to expire on the pair after they were unable to secure the needed loan requirements to buy them outright.

The Cape Cod Light was not fully fitted out and has never been in revenue service. Both were built with a "Classic" design, recalling passenger steamboats from the olden days. The ships have a large smokestack, a wide, rounded bow, and straight horizontal deck lines such as seen on coastal and lake streamers from the early 1900's.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski


Rochester considers private ferry
Officials to approach Toronto to reassess potential for use of port

6/4 - Rochester, NY — City officials hope to work with the Toronto Port Authority over the next six months to determine the viability of a privately run ferry service between their respective ports.

"It will have to be a much more modest thing than it was before," said city Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards. "We've got to decide here whether there is any probability to this ... before we start disassembling things." Richards plans to approach the Canadians in the coming weeks. The response to a possible request for proposals will be critical to how the city proceeds with redeveloping the Port of Rochester.

Most directly, the findings could preserve the arrival, departure, ticketing and customs space for a ferry operation, or open up the terminal to other uses. And there are other matters: The city remains locked into a contract guaranteeing the Toronto Port Authority $250,000 in annual rent.

Mayor Robert Duffy shut down a city-backed Rochester-to-Toronto ferry service last year and sold the Spirit of Ontario to a German company in April. The turnabout raised concerns among some in the area that the investment in Charlotte — totaling $157 million in public money over the past decade — was coming to an end.

On the surface, it might appear they were right. An upscale restaurant expected to open this summer in the old train depot is on hold, tied up in a dispute between the city and CSX over access. And the city has postponed for a year or more any funding of a proposed 100-slip marina and a parking garage, the latter to be built beneath a village green.

"I wouldn't say that all the components of the port (redevelopment) have been pushed out simply because we don't have a ferry service," said Mark Gregor, manager of port redevelopment for the city. "It does complicate things. ... (But) there's a lot of homework we have to do before we initiate these large projects, like the marina. "It might take two, three, four years before we understand the complete buildout of the port."

Much work is proceeding behind the scenes, however — including efforts to break a $1-a-year lease on about half the terminal building held by principals of the initial, private ferry operator, Canadian American Transportation Systems. And the larger port site, an area roughly defined by the Genesee River, the CSX rail line, Lake Avenue and Ontario Beach Park, will not be sitting dormant this summer.

A large drill rig should arrive in the next month or so to take borings at various locations on the site, officials said.
The work is part of a geothermal pilot study. Gregor said the city is doing the upfront work to determine the feasibility of using geothermal energy production as an alternative to gas and electricity.

Additionally, a small, 100-passenger cruise ship, the Grande Mariner, is due in Wednesday. The 182-foot-long vessel is making the first of two summer stops in Rochester; the other is scheduled for Aug. 30. The visit is the city's first as part of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, but the ship has been here before — most recently last year.

The homework Gregor speaks of includes studying market demand for the marina and for the larger housing and retail plan mapped out for the port. Officials also will be acquiring land to assemble the initial development site, focused initially on relocating a county maintenance building.

City staffers on a Port Operations Team have been meeting and developing forms and other policies for alternative uses of the terminal, such as receptions and other events. The city is not actively promoting the terminal yet, but is accepting reservations for receptions and other gatherings, officials said.

Meanwhile, the city and CSX are awaiting a decision from the New York State Department of Transportation on whether it can have a gated pedestrian crossing near Latta Road. CSX is refusing the access, preferring that the city focus on developing a crossing at River Street, 1,200 to 1,600 feet north, or build a pedestrian bridge. The two parties made their case before an administrative law judge last month. The judge is expected to make a recommendation to the DOT in the next 60 to 90 days.

Without the pedestrian access, "it makes it almost impossible to have a restaurant there," said Don Riley, vice president of marketing and development for Mark IV Construction. The firm plans to invest more than $1 million in the depot, with an estimated 90-day construction schedule.

"I think the momentum will always be there (to develop the port)," Riley said. "You don't want to rush it. You want to do it right. But the ingredients are there."

Reported by Tom Brewer from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - June 4

News Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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 05:23 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.

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.


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, 1,052 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.


Today in Great Lakes History : June 4

1955, the J L MAUTHE established a new Great Lakes cargo record for a coal cargo delivered to an upper lakes port. She loaded 18392 tons of coal at the Toledo C&O dock.

1943, the BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS, Captain Harry Ashby, delivered a record cargo of 19,343.5 net tons of iron ore at Cleveland. The ore was loaded at Two Harbors, Minnesota.

In 1947, the Canada Steamship line steamer EMPEROR, loaded with ore and bound for Ashtabula, hit the rocks off Isle Royale at 4:10 a.m. The vessel sank within minutes but the crew was able to launch 2 lifeboats. Captain Eldon Walkinshaw, First Mate D. Moray,and 10 other crew members drowned when one of the lifeboats overturned. Twenty-one other survivors were rescued by the U.S.C.G. cutter KIMBALL.

In 1980, the second 1000-foot boat to join the United States Steel Great Lakes Fleet, the EDGAR B SPEER, was christened at the Lorain yard of American Shipbuilding Company.

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 a.m., 04 June 1891, in heavy fog, the NORTHERN QUEEN (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2,476 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, 1,790 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.

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

On June 4, 1968, the keel for the 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, Russ Plumb, 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.


Port Reports - June 3

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There were a number of tugs working the Saginaw River the past few days. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her barge A-410 were inbound the Saginaw River Friday, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City to unload. She was back outbound early Saturday morning. Also inbound was the tug Duluth pushing a crane barge. They tied up at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City.

The Selvick Marine Towing tug, Mary Page Hannah, was inbound bound for the Busch Marine Terminal. She picked up Busch Marine's barge, Primary 1, and was then outbound for the lake early Saturday morning. The Causley Contracting tug Jill Marie was also working in the Saginaw River on Saturday morning.


Updates - June 3

News Photo Gallery updated.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Port Reports - June 2

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Dense fog over Lake Superior prompted vessels leaving and entering the Twin Ports to sound fog signals much of Thursday evening.
Herbert C. Jackson loaded Thursday at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Marquette.
The tug Gregory Busch and barge were at the port terminal, where the gantry cranes were loading windmill bases onto the barge.
On Friday morning, dense fog over the harbor meant only the saltie Ypermachoes was visible, waiting to resume loading grain at CHS terminal in Superior.
John D. Leitch was due at Midwest Energy Terminal and Adam E. Cornelius was scheduled to take another load of grain from General Mills S in Superior.
BNSF in Superior was expecting a string of vessels: CSL Assiniboine, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, CSL Tadoussac, Stewart J. Cort and CSL Niagara.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland around 7 a.m. on Friday, bringing a load of coal for the James DeYoung power plant.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a foggy Friday evening the American Courage loaded ore at the Upper Harbor.
At the Lower Harbor Herbert C. Jackson was at anchor waiting for the fog to lift. At sunset, the fog had cleared enough for her to back into the Shiras Dock and unload western coal.


Update on Lake Superior Outflow

6/2 - Cleveland - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,530 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (54.0 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of June.

This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of June and is an increase from the May outflow, which was 1,500 m3/s (53.0 tcfs). The June outflow will be released by discharging about 1,418 m3/s (50.0 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids.

The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were well below their long-term averages for May. The level of Lake Superior remains below its chart datum level. The levels of Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron are expected to rise in June.

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 53 cm (21 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-June level, and is 40 cm (16 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 3 cm (1 inch), while on average it rises by 10 cm (4 inches) in May. The last time Lake Superior was lower at this time of year was in 1926.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose 2 cm (1 inch) this May, while on average the level of these lakes rise by about 8 cm (3 inches) in May. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 47 cm (18 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-June level but is 8 cm (3 inches) lower than it was a year ago.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions. Brigadier General Bruce A. Berwick, Commander, Great Lakes and Ohio River Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is the United States Board Member. Mr. David Fay is the Board Member for Canada.

Additional information can be found: at this link or there


Updates - June 2

News Photo Gallery updated.

A special Badger Boatnerd Gathering Photo Gallery updated.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Great Lakes Coal Trade Sluggish in April
Full Loads Could Have Reduced Deficit

6/1 - Cleveland - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes in April totaled 3.8 million net tons, a decrease of 5 percent compared both to a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

A dock that ships low-sulfur coal registered a 7.4-percent increase over a year ago, but loadings of eastern coal at Lake Erie ports fell more than 18 percent. One factor in the decline is a major customer has switched to western coal. Also, one of the Lake Erie coal docks did experience some outages during April.

The dredging crisis again played a role in the total. Only two coal cargos in April topped 62,000 net tons. When high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging in 1997, a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker was able to deliver nearly 71,000 net tons in one trip.

The 1,000-footers were not the only vessels to see their payloads reduced. An 806-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker that hauled coal from a Lake Erie port to a Canadian customer in April carried 18,946 net tons. The vessel made the same voyage almost to the day one year ago, but on that
occasion, its cargo totaled 19,730 net tons. In other words, the dredging crisis and falling water levels have trimmed the vessel’s carrying capacity by 4 percent in one year.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 6.3 million net tons, a decrease of 18.5 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are down by 175,000 tons.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - June 1

Lorain - C. Mackin
The H Lee White made her way up river Wednesday evening bound for R.E.P.
On Thursday morning, the Joe Thompson also made a stop at R.E.P.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Cuyahoga arrived on the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning to unload at the Sargent dock in Essexville. She completed her unload, turned in the Essexville turning basin and was out bound for the lake later in the day.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The Wilfred Sykes arrived at KCBX Terminals on Thursday to load a coal cargo destined for Holland, Michigan. Loading began at 12:40 p.m. and was expected to be completed before midnight.

Menominee - Scott Best
Thursday afternoon the Vancouverborg arrived off Menominee and went to anchor, waiting to be lightered before entering port to unload. Two Selvick tugs will take the barge Manitowoc out to the Vancouverborg Friday morning, this is the first time the Manitowoc has been put to use since she was brought to Menominee several years ago.


June 2 is deadline to make reservations
for BoatNerd Detroit Up River Cruise

5/31 - A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am on June 16. We'll go where the boats are, maybe up the Rouge River. Bring your camera.

To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations, or the cruise will be canceled and checks returned. Checks and reservations must be received no later than June 2, 2007.

Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List. Details on the Gatherings Page.

Mail your reservation and check today to:
Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc.
Detroit Up River Cruise
1110 South Main Street
Findlay, OH 45840-2239.


Algonac to Celebrate Flag Day

6/1 - Algonac - Flag Day will be celebrated with a family party and picnic, Sunday, June 10, at 2:00 P.M. in the Algonac City park.

There will be special music performances as well as various groups participating: scouts, firemen, law enforcement, veterans and others. If you know of a group that would like to participate please contact Linda at (586) 725-8672.

The party features free popcorn, cookies & balloons. Everyone is welcome.


Updates - June 1

News Photo Gallery updated.

A special Badger Boatnerd Gathering Photo Gallery updated.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History - June 1

On 01 June 1903, ISAAC L ELLWOOD (steel propeller freighter, 478 foot, 5,085 gross tons, built in 1900, at W. Bay City, Michigan) broke the record for ore when she carried a cargo of 8,579 tons of ore out of Duluth harbor. This broke the record held by JOHN SMEATON (steel barge, 458 foot, 5,049 gross tons, built in 1899, at Superior, Wisconsin) which was 8,571 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, 1,961 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, the Great Lakes Engineering Works launched the bulk steamer 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 Manistique, 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 at 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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