Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


Ship's bell being returned to Port Dalhousie

6/30 - It used to ring out every summer for decades, heralding the arrival of thousands of tourists to Port Dalhousie from across the lake in Toronto. But it was silenced nearly 60 years ago by a fire that destroyed the ship, whose name is emblazoned across the large brass bell.

Port Dalhousie senior David Roseman bought the historic artifact — which used to sit aboard the cross-lake ferry Northumberland — 11 years ago after his son discovered it in an antique store. The 88-year-old retired General Motors worker has now agreed in principle to sell it to the Port Dalhousie Business Association so it can be displayed permanently in the lakeside village. “It’s a nice thing to have,” Roseman said. “It’s the only one in the world and it’s in mint condition.”

But before the bell can change hands, the association must first raise the money to buy it. The association aims to raise $5,000 over the summer to pay for the bell and construction of a display case to house it. “The hope is once we get the money raised we can have a permanent home for it in Port Dalhousie,” association administrator Kim Barclay said.

Built in England in 1891, the Northumberland initially ferried passengers across the Northumberland Strait between Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Pictou, N.S. It later left the salt waters of the Atlantic and ferried tourists back and forth between Toronto and Port Dalhousie for nearly 30 years. But fire that burned through the night of June 2, 1949 while the Northumberland was docked in Port ended its career.

Reported by Bill Bird


Port Reports - June 30

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday the CSL Tadoussac departed from US Steel for Picton at 12 noon. Canadian Olympic arrived at 3:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco. The Halifax arrived at 4:30 p.m. with a cargo of coal for US Steel.
Cuyahoga arrived at 7 p.m. with a part cargo of canola for Pier 11W.

Grand Haven- Dick Fox
Three boats called at our port in the last 24 hours. The Algoway delivered a load of salt to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg, and the tug Undaunted and barge PM41 also delivered a load at Verplank's Saturday. The Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest brought a load of cement for the St. Mary's Terminal in Ferrysburg early on Sunday.

South Chicago -
It has been reported that the John Sherwin has completed her unload and has been returned to her previous location.


BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise planned for August 16

A 4-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. We'll go where the boats are. Hopefully, up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit 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. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239.

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. Check in before boarding.


Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market announced

Sunday, August 3, is the date for the Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market and Ship Model Display.

Co-sponsored by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Boyer/Riverfront Inc., Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( and Diamond Jack's River Tours, the event will take place in shoreside tents next to the museum ship Willis B. Boyer in Toledo. The show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is only $6.00 and includes a tour of the Boyer.

In addition to many vendors with marine items for sale, there will be a pond with a model boat display. BBQ and refreshments will be available on the grounds.

To make the day even more complete, and Diamond Jack's are sponsoring a trip to Toledo on the Diamond Belle. Departing from Wyandotte at 8:00 a.m., the Belle is expected to arrive at the Boyer around 1:15. The trip cross open water on the western end of Lake Erie and travel up the Maumee River passing through several draw bridges.

Passengers will be allowed two hours of free time to shop the marine mart, tour the Boyer and enjoy the model ships display before boarding for the return trip to Wyandotte. The ticket price of $90.00 per person, includes three meals on board the Belle and admission to the mart and Boyer tour. Reservations are required.

Click here for Diamond Jack's Reservation form.

Vendors click here for details and registration form.


Updates - June 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Historical Perspective Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : June 30

On this day in 1962, the CLIFFS VICTORY passed down through the Welland Canal to become the first boat in the Cleveland Cliffs Fleet to enter Lake Ontario in 20 years.

The CSL ASSINIBOINE was rechristened at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., on June 30, 2005. She was the a.) LOUIS R DESMARAIS and the fourth CSL vessel to receive a forebody replacement.

On 30 June 1917, while being towed out of the Milwaukee River by the tugs WELCOME and KNIGHT TEMPLAR, the Goodrich LinesÕ CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS (steel propeller whaleback passenger steamer, 362 foot, 1,511 gross tons, built in 1893, at West Superior, Wisconsin), with 413 passengers onboard, was caught by the current and swung close to shore. The overhang of her snout-bow sheered off two legs of the water tower of the Yahr-Lang Drug Company and the tower fell onto the vessel, destroying the pilothouse and forward decks. The water from the tower rushed down the length of the upper decks. 16 were killed and over 20 were seriously injured. The surviving passengers were taken to Chicago by train. The vessel was repaired and put back into service the following year.

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

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


Port Reports - June 29

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Courage arrived early Saturday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She completed her unload and was outbound late Saturday, traveling slow to set up a pass with the inbound Manistee at the Consumers Energy dock.
The Manistee continued upriver to the GM dock to unload. She completed her unload and was outbound Saturday night.
Also arriving on Saturday was the navel cadet training vessel, Grey Fox. The Grey Fox tied up at the Wenona Park dock in Downtown Bay City and will be in port through the 4th of July weekend for tours and special excursions to help raise funds to bring the navel museum vessel, USS Edson, to Bay City.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The St. Mary's Challenger was spotted outbound this morning in ballast.
At KCBX Terminals, the John B. Aird was loading a cargo of petroleum coke.

Port Of Indiana- Sheldon Rody
Three ships were visiting the Port of Indiana on a sunny afternoon. The Burns Harbor was finished unloading at the steel mill.
Large covered heavy machinery was lifted out of the freighter Victoria.
The hatches were open on the Federal Mattawa but no activity was noted.

Rochester - Tom Brewer
The Grande Mariner arrived at the Port of Rochester Saturday evening and is tied up at the fast ferry terminal. Tug Evans McKeil and the barge Metis are in short term lay up at the Essroc Dock. Kathy Lynn and Ryba's crane barge are dredging the river at Rattle Snake Point in the turning basin.


Car Ferry Program In Cleveland July 11th

6/29 - Cleveland - The Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts (RRE) will present Mark Cowles and a program entitled 'A Brief History of Great Lakes Carferries'.

"This clinic is a look at the development of the railroad car ferries that allowed the CN/GTW, CP, Wabash/N&W, NYC, PRR, and Pere Marquette/C&O to transport freight cars and passengers across the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers between the U.S. and Canada. Ferry services between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, provided by NYC, PRR and DSS&A/SOO, as well as the Lake Michigan Services provided by the Ann Arbor, Pere Marquette/C&O and GTW will also be addressed. An extensive hand out will be provided summarizing dates of service and vessels used, and will help attendees following up with their own research."

The meeting which will be on Friday, July 11 at the Parma Memorial Hall, 6617 Ridge Road, Parma, OH. (corner of Ridge & Ridgewood) at 8:15 p.m. The public is welcome.

Click here for more information

Reported by Jim Bobel


Updates - June 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Soo Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective 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 KelleyÕs 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 mid-body and repowered with the stern section of the tanker GULFPORT in 1961. Sold Canadian in 1975, renamed b.) PIERSON DAUGHTERS and c.) BEECHGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1995.

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, 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


Great Lakes Coal Trade Up 4 Percent in May
But Still No Relief from Impacts of Ongoing Dredging Crisis

6/28 - CLEVELAND—Even though coal shipments on the Great Lakes increased 4 percent in May compared to a year ago, the trade continued to struggle with the impacts of the dredging crisis.

The top loads again represented only about 90 percent of the largest vessels’ designed carrying capacity, so shipments were limited to 4.4 million net tons. The rise in the water level on Lake Superior did little to offset the impacts of inadequate dredging. Even a cargo that moved from Superior, Wisconsin, to Silver Bay, Minnesota, a route that does not transit any connecting channels, barely topped 65,000 tons. During periods of high water, vessels in that trade route have carried as much as 71,369 tons in one trip.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 11.1 million tons, an increase of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. Compared to the 5-year average for the January-May time frame, the trade is up by only 2.6 percent.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - June 28

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Manitowoc delivered a load of coal to the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island late Thursday evening and was gone before morning.

Buffalo Brian Wroblewski
Grande Mariner came into port at 7:15am Friday.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon, Paul R. Tregurtha made one of her sporadic visits to the Upper Harbor hopper and unloaded western coal.

Toronto Charlie Gibbons
The tug M. R. Kane departed in the wee hours Friday for Cobourg to pick up two barges and a workboat for transport to Morrisburg, ON.
The megayacht Blue Moon, which was in Thursday yesterday, departed at 3 p.m.
The megayacht Destination Harbor Too arrived at 11:30 a.m. and berthed west of the fire tug station.
Also into port Friday at 15 minute intervals, beginning at 9:45 a.m. were HMCS Glace Bay [701], HMCS Summerstown [711] and HMCS Shawinigan [704]. They rafted at the concrete beach. The fire tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie came out and gave them a watery welcome after they berthed.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Mississagi was inbound for the Bay Aggregates dock Friday morning. She had completed her unload and was outbound early in the afternoon.


Annual BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise aboard the Chief Shingwauk Today

The annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 28.

We will go where the boats are! Lock up and down through the American and Canadian Locks. The cruise will return at 9:00 p.m.

Cost is $30.00 per adults and $20.00 for children 12 and under. Price includes dinner. Cash bar on board.

Make reservations by calling (705) 253-9850, or 1-877-226-3665. Space is limited. Call now!


Updates - June 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Soo Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective 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

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Fireworks were being loaded aboard the D.C. Everest Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the Canada Dry "Festival of Fire" which begins Saturday night in Humber Bay, off Ontario Place. South Asian fireworks are to be featured on June 28, Canada on July 1, Latin America on July 3, with a Grand Finale slated for July 5. The Everest will be anchored in Humber Bay Thursday.
Stephen B. Roman departed quite early Thursday morning for Picton.
Canadian Olympic arrived during the wee hours and departed at 9 a.m. The tugs M. R. Kane, Radium Yellowknife and Charlie E. anchored D. C. Everest in Humber Bay.
Galcon Marine's tug Kenteau is on Toronto Drydock for minor upgrades.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Thursday, Saginaw was at the Kuhlman Dock unloading a cargo of oats from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes was at the B-P Dock loading cargo. Manistee was at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock unloading stone. Halifax was at the Torco Dock unloading ore.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Dock has the Manistee, Catherine Desgagnes, Saginaw and John J. Boland due in Friday. Herbert C. Jackson and Arthur M. Anderson on Sunday, followed by the Algosoo and Arthur M. Anderson on Monday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the CSL Assiniboine due in Monday. The tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder due in Wednesday, followed by the Canadian Navigator on Thursday.

Buffalo Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius departed at 5:15 pm Wednesday.
There was more talk in the local news media during late June regarding the possible reuse of the upper floor train shed of the DL&W Terminal along the Buffalo River. Reports indicate an interest between the NFTA and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Agency to locate several museums and art galleries there. The building was built in 1917 as the city’s one and only true “Multi-mode” transportation center with marine, rail, streetcar, bus, and walk in service. The NFTA maintains their fleet of subway trains on the lower floor but the upper level train shed is empty and sealed up. The original passenger platforms remain in place with a long open area separated only by the columns that hold up the roof. This building was the only one of Buffalo’s three large rail terminals that had trains arrive and depart from the upper level. Passenger ships once docked alongside this section of the structure for lake service. The original passenger station was torn down in 1980 to make room for the electrical lines and interlocking plant of the new Buffalo Metrorail system coming into the building from Main St.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes delivered coal to the James DeYoung power plant in Holland on Thursday, arriving at 8 a.m. and departing at 2 p.m.


Updates - June 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Historical Perspective 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


Lake Michigan up 5 inches for June

6/26 - Ludington - In case the piles of ruined carpet and drywall in front of area houses weren’t evidence enough, there’s more proof that June has been a profoundly wet month: Lake Michigan, which normally comes up 2 inches in June, is up 5 inches through 22 days.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can’t point to one series of storms or another that get credit for the rise, but the rains have had a definite impact. Lakes Michigan and Huron have received 147 percent of their usual monthly precipitation so far this month. “This is the time of year that we’re usually rising on Lake Michigan,” said USACE Meteorologist Keith Kompoltowicz. “All the rains we received in June this year have just increased the rate of rise.”

Each month, Kompoltowicz generates several forecasts for water levels. His three-month forecast generally outlines where water levels may fall and it’s generally accurate. “We project a range of expected water levels given a very dry or a very wet scenario,” Kompoltowicz said. “What we’ve seen so far has fallen into our really wet scenario.” But one more week is left in June and that could push water levels beyond Kompoltowicz’s generous predicted water level range. Kompoltowicz said the lake is currently just a centimeter below the upper range of his predicted levels.

Lake Michigan is by no means at or even near its long-term average, but it’s getting closer every month. Right now, the lake is about 14 inches below the average June level from 1918-2007. The lake’s current elevation — 578.1 feet above sea level — is 4 inches above last year’s water height.

Kompoltowicz said the lake is likely to rise even more, noting that the USACE maintains the water level on Lake Winnebago and all of the dams in that area are running wide open. “It seems that most of the rivers and streams are running higher also, so there’s still a ton of water in the system that’s yet to make it to the lake,” Kompoltowicz said.

The five-day forecast from the NOAA Hydrological Prediction Center had Lakes Michigan and Huron due for anywhere from an inch to 1.25 inches of rain in its Tuesday forecast. “If we get another very active last few days for June here, that mean could be pushed up even higher,” Kompoltowicz said.

Higher lake levels mean Great Lakes shippers can carry more freight and might mean easier recreational boating for many. Last year sailboats with drafts deeper than 7 feet had trouble at Ludington Municipal Marina, but so far this year, the channel has been deeper. Ludington Municipal Marina Manager Jim Gallie said the marina actually shows the water level as being 7 inches higher than a year ago. “But that’s dependent upon barometric pressure and wind,” Gallie noted.

If the lake somehow rises 14 inches and gets back to normal, there’s plenty of room in the marina for more water. “We can do another two feet before it starts lapping at the docks — and in 1986 it did,” Gallie said.

Barbara Boss of Newaygo, staying aboard “docks • ology,” a large Four Winns boat in the marina, said there were some ports she couldn’t launch in last year. “There are just some where we didn’t put in,” Boss said. “Elk Rapids was good but Grand Haven was a real problem. We tried to put in there and noticed it was especially shallow.”

Mike Finnesy of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., said he had to switch marinas at home this year because his newly purchased 30-foot Rampage soon to be renamed “Sales Pitch” couldn’t make it in and out of his old marina. “We’re used to about four feet more water,” he said. Finnesy said he hadn’t noticed any problems with depth in marinas in Michigan, though. “This is really a very nice one,” he said of Ludington Municipal. “It’s the first time I’ve been here.”

From the Ludington Daily News


Port Reports - June 26

Ludington -
The Hannah chartered tug Ivory Coast departed the Dow Chemical dock in Ludington Tuesday evening towing the barge William Deegan on the hip. She strung out the tow and was last observed northbound out on the lake. Earlier in the afternoon the Ivory Coast was observed outbound light tug, presumably to test her problematic steering gear and check the lake conditions.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday morning, traveling upriver to unload at the Buena Vista dock. She was followed by the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber who were carrying a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt docks. Manistee was outbound Tuesday afternoon while the Moore & Kuber were outbound for the lake late Tuesday night.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Calumet delivered a cargo of stone to the Verplank dock in Holland on Wednesday, arriving at about 8:00 a.m. and departing at 2:00 pm.

South Chicago - Matt Monahan and Steve Bauer
Around 11:30 Wednesday, one of the G tugs was assisting the Wilfred Sykes stern first down the Calumet river to the KCBX south dock. The pair waited momentarily just shy of the 95th St. bridge waiting for train traffic to clear.
Also, downriver at the DTE terminal Interlake's Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder appeared to be taking on a load of coal.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
After an impressive show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds along the Goderich waterfront Wednesday night, Algoway arrived early Thursday morning and is loading at the Sifto Salt dock.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was at Lafarge on Tuesday morning.
Fleetmate tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived overnight but remained tied up at the coal dock on Wednesday with mechanical problems.
The Alpena arrived Wednesday afternoon and took on cement bound for Superior, WI.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Fireworks were being loaded aboard the D.C. Everest Wednesday afternoon in preparation for the Canada Dry "Festival of Fire" which begins Saturday night in Humber Bay, off Ontario Place. South Asian fireworks are to be featured on June 28, July 1, July 3 and a Grand Finale slated for July 5. The Everest will be anchored in Humber Bay Thursday.


Milwaukee Clipper Looking to Move

6/26 - Muskegon - The S.S. Milwaukee Clipper needs a new home fast and its board says it would like to move to Heritage Landing.

Muskegon County commissioners seem to like the Heritage Landing option, although they were careful not to make a commitment at this point. They say they need a more detailed plan before making a decision.

At their Tuesday meeting, county commissioners listened while board members of the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc. described their current predicament. They noted that the Clipper has been moored at the foot of McCracken Street on Muskegon Lake since it was towed back to Muskegon in 1997. Now owners of the dock, Andries Inc., want the property vacated as soon as possible.

Finding a new spot for the Clipper took on a new urgency when the Clipper board this spring abandoned plans to berth the ship at the Mart Dock after owners West Michigan Dock and Market and the city failed to come up with a mutually acceptable agreement regarding zoning for the property. Dr. Ray Hilt, president of the S.S. Milwaukee Clipper Preservation Inc., said his group has looked around the Muskegon area for temporary and permant spots for the historic ship and has found one good spot -- the peninsula at the northern point of Heritage Landing on Muskegon Lake, where the famous "tall ships" docked when they last came to town in 2003. He said the Clipper would be a perfect addition to Heritage Landing, which attracts thousands of visitors every year for the Muskegon Summer Celebration and other popular festivals.

Heritage Landing is owned and operated by the county.

With its restored bar and dance floor, dining room, soda bowl, main lounge, pilot house, children's play area and exhibition hall, the Clipper would be a natural draw for tourists or weddings, class reunions and other gatherings, board members said. Clipper board members also noted that the deck of the ship would be a great place for people observe concerts and other events at Heritage Landing. But a great deal of work and expense would be needed before fire and inspections officials would allow the public on board. Restoration of the Clipper, which traveled a daily route between Muskegon and Milwaukee between 1941 and 1970, was completed by a loyal group of local volunteers. While the entire ship has not been restored, there are more than enough renovated areas to intrigue the public, according to Hilt.

Board members said their plan is to have the Clipper completely support itself, though grants and revenues from tours and special events, and require no money from the county. They noted that the ship is recognized as a national historic site, and said the National Park Service has indicated a willingness to help them secure future grant funding. "This ship is ready to go to work, if someone gives it a chance," Hilt said.

This marks the second time the Clipper board has eyed Heritage Landing. In 2003, proponents of the site wanted to see the 361-foot-long ship backed into a former boat slip on the eastern side of Heritage Landing, adjacent to the LaFarge Corp. Great Lakes Region concrete towers and used as a seasonal attraction. But even back then, the cost of modifying the site was high.

While they were careful to be noncommittal, county commissioners expressed interest in the idea of having the Clipper at Heritage Landing, and asked the ship's board members to meet with Paul Roy, the county's director of public facilities, to develop a full proposal. No timetable was set for the proposal to come back to commissioners. "I'm sure this board will help you any way it can, as long as it remains revenue neutral (for the county)," said Commissioner James Derezinski, chairman of the county board.

Several Clipper board members said their preference would be to permanently dock the ship on the western side of the peninsula, which has a permanent seawall that served the tall ships when they were last in town. They also said they would happily settle for the tip of the peninsula or its eastern side. Neither the tip of the peninsula or its eastern side have the necessary seawalls for the ship to dock. Officials say it could dock off the tip of the peninsula by tying on to special wooden installations a little bit offshore. Board members also said they would settle for any of the three sides of the peninsula as a temporary home for the ship, while a permanent site is being chosen.

"The Andrie family (that owns the Grand Truck dock) have been wonderful to us, but now they would like to have their property back," said Hilt. "They would like to see us out of there yesterday." Hilt said the board has heard from other communities in other states about possibly taking the Clipper, but declined to name the towns.

Not every county official expressed complete enthusiasm for the Heritage Landing plan. Roy, the public facilities director, wondered if there would be unavoidable costs that the county could not take on. For instance, he said seawalls would have to be installed on the eastern side of the peninsula to put the boat there, and dredging would be necessary. And if it were put on the western side, there may not be room for future visits by other vessels, like the extremely popular tall sailing ships, Roy said. "There are a lot of questions that have to be answered," Roy said.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Event filled with history, adventure

6/26 - Port Huron - Batten down the hatches, mate. The pirates are retuning to Port Huron. Only this time they are coming by sea, aboard the "Royaliste."

The pirate-themed tall ship, which is a living history interpretation/reenactment vessel, is one of five such vessels that will join the "Highlander Sea" for the 2008 Sail Port Huron event this weekend. The three-day festival is Friday through Sunday at Desmond Landing, Desmond Marine and the Seaway Terminal. It includes tall ships, artists, entertainment, food, and, oh yeah, a fireworks display that will dazzle the nighttime sky. Acheson Ventures sponsors Sail Port Huron.

"It's really a family oriented event," Acheson spokesman Paul Maxwell said. "It's a chance to see some of the largest tall ships that sail. People who love the boats have a chance to get onboard and talk with the crews as well as enjoy some good entertainment and food." In addition to the "Highlander Sea" and the "Royaliste," which was a favorite of the 2006 Sail Port Huron event, the other tall ships include:

The "Madeline," which is a reconstruction of a mid-19th century Great Lakes schooner and one of the State of Michigan's official tall ships. Operated by volunteer members of the nonprofit group, Maritime Heritage Alliance in Traverse City, its mission is to serve as a floating center for the interpretation of Great Lakes maritime history.

The U.S. Brig "Niagara" was built in 1988 as a reconstruction of a warship aboard which Com. Oliver Hazard Perry won the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813 during the War of 1812.

The "Pride of Baltimore II" is the world's only existing replica of an 1812-era Baltimore Clipper topsail schooner.

The "Appledore V" of Bay City is a steel hulled, Gaff rigged schooner typical of those sailed on coastal waters and in the Great Lakes right up to the end of the age of sail. The workhorses of their era, they provided the primary means of transportation for goods and passengers over long distances. "Appledore V" is used primarily for overnight voyaging throughout the Great Lakes.

"The 'Appledore V' is a last minute addition, filling in for the 'La Revenante,' which had to cancel," Maxwell said. "We're very a happy to have the 'Appledore V' joining us and we think the crowds are going to love her."

Maxwell said the three bigger tall ships will join the "Highlander Sea" at the bean docks while the two small will dock in the Black River at Desmond Marine.

Other highlights of the weekend will include artists at both Desmond Landing and the Seaway Terminal. Entertainment on the county stage is scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and throughout the day Saturday prior to the fireworks. The Strathroy Legion Pipe Band plays from noon to 1 p.m. Sunday. "There will also be plenty of food vendors at both sites," Maxwell said.

Saturday's fireworks display is sure to dazzle everyone. Scheduled to go off about 10 p.m., the show is being simulcast by computer on radio stations 96.9 and 107.1 FM. "People can sit in their cars anywhere from a mile from Desmond Landing and see and listen to the fireworks," Maxwell said.

Sail Port Huron hours are noon to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Gates open one hour prior to start. Ships close promptly at 5 p.m. Trolleys will carry folks from one site to the other, free of charge. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and younger.

"People really enjoyed this event two years ago, so we just want folks to come down again, have fun and enjoy the waterfront," Maxwell said. "Who knows when the next time is that we'll see all these tall ships together in the area. You can't predict that."

From the Voice


Updates - June 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective Gallery updated


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 waterÕs 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


Wallaceburg barge service update

6/25 - At the June 25th meeting, the Wallaceburg (Ont.) Economic Task Force requested Chatham-Kent Council to endorse a request to the Canada Dept. of Fisheries and Ocean (Ottawa) to dredge a small portion of the Sydenham River.

The area is about 2000 ft. long between the Bruinsma Dock and the turning wharf. The section has silted in preventing continuation of the corn barge service started in 2006.

Corn from southwestern Ontario was shipped by water to Toledo and used in the production of ethanol. Norlake Transportation's tug Radium Yellowknife towed the barges when the service began two years ago.

The route from the St. Clair River via the Chenal Ecarte and Sydenham rivers, once a busy commercial passageway, has not been dredged in more than 20 years.

Reported by Al Mann


Port Reports - June 25

Toronto - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
Algolake had departed Toronto by Monday afternoon.
Stephen B Roman arrived in Toronto Harbour Monday evening.
Tugs Radium Yellowknife, M. R. Kane and Charlie E. arrived in port at 6 a.m. with the idle freighter D. C. Everest (unofficially renamed K. R. Elliot) and moored it at the Essroc cement plant.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
The Algomarine was seen at the North American Salt dock at 92nd St unloading a partial load of salt into the storage domes there. She was finished about 12:40pm and departed for the lake at about 12:55, with the help of the "G" tug Colorado on the stern.
Over at KCBX, the American Mariner looked to be almost finished taking on a load of coal at the the south dock.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Adam E. Cornelius was in bound to General Mills Monday evening around 10 pm, and was still there Tuesday morning.


Updates - June 25

News Photo Gallery updated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ore Demand Strong, But U.S.-Flag Trade Still Off 2 Percent in May

6/24 - Cleveland — Despite an 8-percent increase in the iron ore tonnage, total cargo movement on the Great Lakes in U.S.-Flag Lakers fell 2 percent in May compared to a year ago. However, the May float – 11.9 million net tons, was, almost to the ton, on par with the month’s 5-year average.

The iron ore float approached 5.9 million tons, a reflection of the high operating rates at North American steel mills. However, both the coal and stone floats were more than 200,000 tons off last May’s pace.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - June 24

St. Joseph -
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at the LaFarge docks in St Joseph, MI about 8:30 am on Sunday. The pair were expected to be underway by Tuesday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug M. R. Kane is towing the idle freighter D. C. Everest from Port Colborne to Toronto today. The Everest will be loaded with fireworks in Toronto and later anchored in Humber Bay off Ontario Place for the Canada Day celebrations.


Shipwreck exhibit opens in Alpena

6/24 - Alpena - A new exhibit is allowing visitors to experience first hand some of the history of some 200 shipwrecks found in Lake Huron.

“Shipwreck Century” was unveiled over the week at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena. “It explores the 200 shipwrecks of Thunder Bay,” said Jeff Gray, Superintendant of TBNMS. “It’s an amazing exhibit giving you an experience of stepping onto a Great Lakes schooner during one of Lake Huron’s fierce storms.”

The re-creation of the 1860’s schooner is the focal point of the entire exhibit; called “Western Hope” because of the Great Lake’s impact on the nation’s western expansion.

Gray also says not only are the displays meant to be informative, but very interactive as well. “We really wanted people to come here and to explore the rich history of the Great Lakes and we figured the best way to do that was to get on it and crawl and really feel what it was like to live and work on a ship,” Gray said.

“I’m hoping when people get on board they’ll see what life was really like,” said Rob Stevens, the lead boat builder for the Western Hope. “It seems like sometimes people forget that shipping was a major part of the Great Lakes. That’s how their ancestors got here, they likely got here by boat, and it’s sort of fascinating that the Great Lakes maritime history is a lot different than the oceans.”

The exhibit received more than 4,000 visitors its first weekend open. For additional information on “Shipwreck Century” visit: Click here

From WPBN TV 7&4 Traverse City


Updates - June 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Historical Perspective 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.


Port Reports - June 23

South Chicago - Tom Kort
The John Sherwin remains in the Chicago area. The boat has been moved to an operating grain elevator and appears to have recently been unloaded. Photos taken Saturday in the News Photo Gallery.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
English River came in Sunday afternoon.
Algolake arrived in Toronto Sunday night. Passing under the Cherry Street lift bridge about for the salt docks at about 8:20 p.m.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Sunday, Herbert C. Jackson brought coal to the Shiras Dock in Marquette's lower harbor, then moved to the ore dock to take on a load of taconite. New fencing has been installed at the Shiras Dock site.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Karen Andrie and barge A-397 arrived through the North Entrance around 7 pm Sunday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Algoway delivered a cargo of salt to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg, crossing the pier heads with a salute for onlookers at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
Calumet deliverd a load of stone to Verplank's early Sunday morning, pulling away from the dock about 11:30.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Kaye E. Barker finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed early Sunday Morning. Kaministiqua finished loading ore and departed from the Midwest Terminal Dock mid Sunday afternoon. The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 remained tied up at the Midwest Terminal Dock.
The barge Exiderdome No.1 is in drydock at the Ironhead Marine Shipyard for survey/repairs.
Maumee was at the A.R.M.S. Dock unloading salt and was expected to depart early Sunday evening. This was her third trip to Toledo during the past week bringing in salt cargoes.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Manistee due in late Tuesday evening, Herbert C. Jackson early Wednesday morning, Catherine Desgagnes Thursday evening, followed by the Halifax, Saginaw and John J. Boland on Friday morning.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Docks has the CSL Niagara due in early Tuesday morning, followed by the Halifax late Thursday afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Sichem Eva arrived in Burlington Bay at 10:30 a.m. for bunkering by the Hamilton Energy who arrived at 2:30 p.m.
The tug Vigilant 1 and barge departed at 1 p.m. for Kingston. John D Leitch departed at 2 p.m. from Dofasco for Superior.
Sunday, the Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 12:45 p.m. with coal for US Steel.
Vega Desgagnes arrived off Bronte at 1 p.m. for bunkering by the Hamilton Energy who arrived at 1:30 p.m. Bunkering was finished at 4 p.m. and Energy departed for Hamilton and the Vega Desgagnes docked at the Petro Canada Pier.
The tug Petite Forte and barge St. Mary's Cement arrived at 3 pm. and headed to Pier 10.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
Sunday morning saw the departure of the CSL Tadoussac from the Essroc dock, the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber from Valley Asphalt in Carrollton and the Algorail from the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. All three vessels were out bound before noon.
The tug Donald C. Hannah departed the Dow Chemical dock Sunday morning, light tug, out bound for the lake. Taking the Hannah's tank barge in tow was the tug Ivory Coast, who had arrived overnight.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland at about noon Sunday to deliver stone to the Verplank dock.

St. Lawrence River - Michael Folsom
The John B. Aird passed through the heart of the 1000 islands before noon on Sunday moving slowly before finally picking up speed as it headed upbound past Alexandria Bay, NY.


Updates - June 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Gatherings page updated

Historical Perspective Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : June 23

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: 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


Port Reports - June 22

Toronto -
Stephen B. Roman departed port early Saturday morning after laying in for three days.
Algosoo was in on Friday with a load of salt. She departed before noon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Saturday was an active day on the Saginaw River with a number of boats calling on docks along her banks. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were in with a split load, lightering at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing up river to Carrollton to finish unloading.
John J. Boland called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City followed by the CSL Tadoussac who unloaded at the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville.
Finally, Algorail was in bound, heading up river to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. All of these vessels were expected to be outbound late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
The Tug Donald C. Hannah, who had arrived on Thursday, was still at the Dow Chemical dock Saturday evening.
The 21st annual Dow Bay City River Roar tunnel boat races are also underway this weekend. This could cause some delays for commercial traffic during the day Sunday due to river closures when the races are ongoing. Commercial traffic dues have preference, but the do not stop races in progress for freighter traffic.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
The CSL Nanticoke was loading at the KCBX south dock at noon on Saturday.


Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market announced

Sunday, August 3, is the date for the Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market and Ship Model Display.

Co-sponsored by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Boyer/Riverfront Inc., Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (www,BoatNerd,com) and Diamond Jack's River Tours, the event will take place in shoreside tents next to the museum ship Willis B. Boyer in Toledo. The show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is only $6.00 and includes a tour of the Boyer.

In addition to many vendors with marine items for sale, there will be a pond with a model boat display. BBQ and refreshments will be available on the grounds.

To make the day even more complete, and Diamond Jack's are sponsoring a trip to Toledo on the Diamond Belle. Departing from Wyandot at 8:00 a.m., the Belle is expected to arrive at the Boyer around 1:15. The trip cross open water on the western end of Lake Erie and travel up the Maumee River passing through several draw bridges.

Passengers will be allowed two hours of free time to shop the marine mart, tour the Boyer and enjoy the model ships display before boarding for the return trip to Wyandot. The ticket price of $90.00 per person, includes three meals on board the Belle and admission to the mart and Boyer tour. Reservations are required.

Click here for Diamond Jack's Reservation form.

Vendors click here for details and registration form.


Updates - June 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Gatherings page updated

Historical Perspective 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.


Shell Fuel Dock damaged by freighter

6/21 - Corunna - The Spruceglen hit the Shell Fuel Dock on the St. Clair River Friday morning about 9 a.m. closing the dock.  rIt marks the second time in two years that a ship has crashed into the Shell refueling station north of Corunna.

Shell officials say the vessel hit the north end of the dock while coming in to refuel. Nothing leaked as a result of the collision, and no injuries were reported.

Damage was visible at the north end of the dock, with a large 6-inch crack encircling one of the large concrete supports and portions of the steel dock appeared to be twisted.

A 200-foot section of the north dock sustained significant damage in November 2006 when the John G. Munson struck the dock’s north end, nearly shearing off a large section.

Stretching 3,000 feet and comprised of three parts, the dock is considered the largest on the Great Lakes. Two portions of the dock are for loading and the third is used to refuel Great Lakes ships.

There is no timetable for when the dock will reopen.

From the Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports - June 21

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock, American Valor loaded taconite. The visit was her second of the season.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Olympic Melody departed late Thursday, assisted by Groupe Ocean's tugs, and English River departed early Friday morning.
Stephen B. Roman has been in at Essroc for the past two days and should depart shortly. The tall ships Bluenose II, Pride of Baltimore II, and USS Niagara remain in port on their goodwill tour.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Algomarine was at the A.R.M.S. Dock unloading grain from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Tug Ivory Coast with the barge Exiderdome No. 1 was at the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 was at the Midwest Terminals Dock they will eventually proceed to the B-P Dock to load cargo.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Kaye E. Barker due in Saturday evening. Herbert C. Jackson is due in the late afternoon Tuesday, followed by the Manistee late Tuesday evening. Halifax is due in Wednesday afternoon and Catherine Desgagnes early Thursday evening. For Friday, Saginaw and John J. Boland are due in the morning.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the Canadian Navigator due in Saturday evening, followed by CSL Niagara and Halifax due in Tuesday morning.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah arrived around midnight night with a load for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It departed late Friday afternoon.
At 7:45 pm Friday night, the Agawa Canyon crossed the pier heads enroute to the Verplank Dock in Ferrysburg with the first load of salt for the season.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Calumet arrived in Holland Friday morning, tying up at Brewer's City Dock just before noon to unload a cargo of limestone product. It was the first delivery of the 2008 season to the Brewer dock.


Fix for Great Lakes levels looks distant

6/21 - Sturgeon Bay - Any possible large-scale engineering project that might help raise water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is decades away, a representative of an international study group says.

Members of the study group, which is looking at lake levels and other issues on the Upper Great Lakes, said that construction of a dam to raise lake levels would face court fights and require the approval of the U.S. and Canadian governments. The short answer, experts told a group of 150 people, is that there are no easy solutions to low water levels that have plagued the lakes in recent years.

Members of the International Upper Great Lakes Study held the first of two public meetings in Wisconsin on Thursday night. The second was Friday at Concordia University in Mequon. The study group hopes to have some recommendations to the International Joint Commission by 2010 and then provide another round of public comment.

The International Joint Commission, composed of members from the United States and Canada, is midway through a five-year study on how to better manage Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron. Members of the group listened to polite but often frustrated pleas from Door County residents that something must be done to raise Lake Michigan water levels.

Charlie Imig, who lives on Washington Island in the summer, would like to see dams constructed or other steps to counteract the effects of dredging on the St. Clair River near Detroit that some have blamed as the source of the problem. “We are being studied to death,” he said. “We’re losing water. Many of these people depend on these waters for their livelihood.”

Despite a wet spring, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are below their long-term averages. Lake Superior, however, has rebounded to near-normal levels this year. More water in Lake Superior should help to raise water levels of Lake Michigan and Huron this year, but levels are expected to remain below long-term averages.

Richard Purinton, president of Washington Island Ferry Line, which moves between the northern tip of the mainland and Washington Island, said water levels forced him to dredge in December and January. If lake levels fall much farther, it will affect his ability to move people on his ferry line. “Something’s got to be done,” he said.

But another lakeshore resident cautioned the study panel not to move too fast. Bill Skadden, who lives on Green Bay west of Sturgeon Bay, reminded people that the late 1980s were marked by high water levels that caused flooding and damage to shorelines. “We’ve got to be careful in making decisions when water levels are low, because what is going to happen when they rise again?”

Two key aspects of the study are to understand the role of the St. Clair River and how the outflow of water from Lake Superior could be increased to send more water to Lakes Michigan and Huron. One leading explanation for the current drop in water levels is a dredging project in 1962 by the U.S. Army Corps on the St. Clair River above Detroit. The corps agrees that the dredging, as well as earlier dredging and riverbed mining, permanently lowered both lakes by 16 inches.

But Gene Stakhiv, an engineer and co-chairman of the study panel, said it was simplistic to blame it all on the dredging project. Stakhiv said that evaporation alone in the winter removes far more water from the lakes than dredging on St. Clair has. “The big issue hanging over all of this is climate change,” said John Nevin, an adviser to the international commission.

Though some have suggested a dam in the St. Clair River, a more practical recommendation, he said — and one more like the lakes’ natural processes — would be to adjust the flows of water from Lake Superior into Lakes Michigan and Huron at Sault Sainte Marie, Mich.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates - June 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Gatherings page updated

Historical Perspective Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : June 21

On 21 June 1868, the D&C Line's 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 - only 44 of them. In September, MORNING STAR was raised, towed to Lorain and resunk in 55 feet of water, for possible future rebuilding. Attempts were made to raise her again several times, but in the summer of 1872, she was abandoned because it was determined that the previous attempts had reduced her to rubble.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Tug and Barge Under Construction

6/20 - Erie, PA - Erie Shipbuilding Co. has started to build a tug-barge, a $55 million to $60 million project that's nearly the length of three football fields. The project is by far the firm's largest since it started operations at the shipyard at the foot of Holland Street in late 2005.

Ned Smith, Erie Shipbuilding's chief executive, said work on the project has already begun, although final details of the contract are still being negotiated. "We feel very confident it's going to get done," he said. "We're so confident, we've already started."

He said the tug-barge will consume most of the shipyard's time, although there could be some side projects. "This will be our full-time project for the next 15 months," he said. Employment, now at just over 100, will increase to 150 to 175 as the project intensifies this fall, he said.

Work started six weeks ago on the 135-foot tug. Construction of the 740-foot barge is expected to begin in mid-July to early August. The tug-barge, which will be done in late 2009, will haul limestone or iron ore pellets, or both, on the Great Lakes.

Smith said Erie Shipbuilding Co. is working to land at least one similar contract, and possibly two or three more, which would be a major boost to future business. "The shipyard has a great future, and there is a lot to be done," he said.

When Erie Shipbuilding Co. took over the former Litton Industries' shipyard, no ships or boats had been built since 1973. That dry spell ended in September when the company launched two barges -- a 244-foot-long steel dump scow and a 165-foot steel-deck barge.

The company is now building its 10th and 11th deck barges. Once they are finished, the shipyard will go "full bore" on the tug-barge, he said.

The tug-barge will have an articulated design. The tug fits into a notch in the stern of the barge, where hydraulic connections allow them to dip and rise independently, increasing maneuverability, especially in bad weather.

From the Erie Times


Port Reports - June 20

Toronto - Frank Hood
Both Stephen B Roman and English River were docked in Toronto at 5:30am Thursday morning. English River departed at 8:30 a.m. down the lake for Bath.
A sail parade came in around noon, with police and fire tug escort. Bluenose II, T/S Playfair, Pride of Baltimore II and USS Niagara were followed in by the 98 year old steam paddle wheeler Trillium. The fire tug put on a watery welcome display. STV Pathfinder was scheduled to be in the parade, but she was unable to attend.

Rouge River - Nathan Nietering
Thursday was an especially busy day in Detroit's Rouge River.
The morning found the tug Everlast and their oil barge the Norman McLeod unloading at the Rouge Marathon dock just below Fort St.
Directly across the river, Grand River Navigation's Maritimer Manistee was loading a cargo of salt at the Harridon Dock.
The St. Mary's cement combo Sea Eagle II and St. Mary's Cement II spent the day unloading at the Rouge St. Mary's Cement terminal between I-75 and the Conrail Bridge.
Noon found the Algorail being towed backward out of the Shortcut from the Brennan St. dock by the "G" tug Wyoming. They unloaded a cargo of stone.
Late afternoon found the Lee A. Tregurtha and Canadian Transport both bound for the Rouge and down bound in the Detroit River. Both vessels checked down in the main river to allow the Manistee to depart with her salt load for Milwaukee and clear the Rouge Shortcut. The Tregurtha was bound for Severstal steel with taconite, while the Canadian Transport was bound for the Shortcut Canal coal dock on Zug Island, and received help from the G tug Wyoming.
Finally, the steamer Cason J. Calloway was down bound late in the day and docked on the face of Zug Island to unload taconite.


Do water levels matter?

6/20 - Thunder Bay - The International Upper Great Lakes Study, created by the International Joint Commission, has spent the past year examining the situation, and assessing the impact of the Lakes‘ changing water levels. As well as scientific data, the organization collects information from the public through its Public Interest Advisory Group.

“We‘re the link from the general public to the study,” said group member William Hryb, Lakehead Shipping Company Ltd. general manager. “We have to plot a course here that everyone is happy with.”

The study group held a public meeting in Thunder Bay on Tuesday to gather information about the Lake Superior area. “(Water levels are) on everybody‘s mind today – especially water levels that have increased over the past couple of weeks in Thunder Bay,” said Hryb.

After dropping to more than half a metre below its usual levels, Lake Superior has risen significantly in the past several months. But it is still well below normal.

“We are . . . to report by 2012 on . . . ways in which Lake Superior can be regulated at the outflow on the St. Mary‘s River at Sault Ste. Marie,” said meteorologist and study organization co-chairman James Bruce. Bruce said that in the meantime, the first phase of the study consists primarily of examining the water levels of lakes Michigan and Huron, and the causes. “Is it just part of natural climate variability, or is it due partly to increased outflow at the outlet of Lake Huron into the St. Clair River?” said Bruce.

In addition, Bruce said opinions differ on whether or not to deal with the issue at all. “Some of the people who are concerned . . . say you‘ve got to let the levels fluctuate naturally,” said Bruce. “Others say we want to keep it high for navigation . . . power production . . . and so on.”

A report on the St. Clair is due in June next year, and the entire project is to be finished in 2012.

From the Thunder Bay Chroncile Journal


Water plan for St. Lawrence unpredictable

6/20 - Montreal - The environmental and economic impact of a proposed plan to change how water flows into the St. Lawrence River is potentially disastrous and in many ways unpredictable, critics said Wednesday night.

The International Joint Commission - which manages how much water passes into the river from Lake Ontario - held public hearings in Montreal Wednesday night to discuss concerns about their proposal to allow water levels to rise and fall more sharply than they now do.

The IJC is an independent, bi-governmental organization that manages the Great Lakes. It controls water flow to Quebec via the Moses-Saunders dam, which runs across Lake Ontario from Cornwall, Ont., to Massena, N.Y. Their commissioners have argued that more drastic changes in water levels would allow for the establishment of more diverse flora and fauna along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence.

But at the hearings last night, critics seemed far from convinced that the proposal would result in a net environmental gain. "We haven't put enough effort into forecasting the different climate change scenarios," said Marc Hudon, a director at Nature Québec, an environmental coalition that represents 100 smaller groups.

Hudon worried that the IJC plan would allow water levels on the St. Lawrence to drop so low that Quebecers would be forced to artificially elevate the water, which could cause major environmental problems. "If you have less water, you concentrate the contaminants in it," said Hudon, adding that even if the issue were addressed, the St. Lawrence would still suffer. "We would have to keep the levels up artificially by slowing the water down. That makes the water hot. When the water's hot, fish flip upside down - they can't survive."

That's why Hudon is dead-set against the IJC's proposal, which is known as Plan 2007. A slightly modified proposal that takes wetland restoration into account shows promise, he said, but is too short on details to be adopted now. "We like the idea, but we don't want to go into it blind."

Montreal executive committee member Alan DeSousa echoed Hudon's concerns about a lack of specifics. "We want to make sure we know what we're getting into and at this point we're not entirely sure we can say that," he told members of the IJC. "There remain many questions as to the potential impact of the various plans, especially downstream."

DeSousa wondered whether the IJC had environmental contingency plans in place to deal with any serious environmental impact. "We don't have any information at this time as to the scope of the (IJC's) mitigation measures," he said.

Marine transportation officials also expressed concerns, worrying about the potential impact on the economy. "Just a 10-per-cent loss of the (volume of) the seaway would result in 28 more days a year the seaway would have to be closed," said Kirk Jones, director of transportation services at Canada Steamship Lines. "Ten percent or 28 days could add up to $250 million in losses."

From the The Montreal Gazette


Niagara plan powers up,
U.S. firms want to use river turbines to generate electricity

6/20 - Hamilton - Three private U.S. companies, one with a small Canadian presence, want to tap the power potential of the fast-flowing Niagara River -- without diverting water out as the big electricity generating stations do.

Two firms would install small water-powered turbines on the riverbed. One would suspend its turbines from floating rafts.

Verdant Power Canada, whose president has a home in Toronto and a mailing address in Burlington, has $2.2 million from the Ontario government to develop a 15-megawatt project using underwater turbines on the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall.

It is eyeing a similar project on the Niagara. Fifteen megawatts would supply 11,000 average-sized homes. Its parent, Verdant Power LLC, has a system that delivered power from New York City's East River in a pilot project in 2006. And it proposes to use an improved version of that system in Canada.

Two other American companies, are applying to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for preliminary permits to put turbines on the New York State side of the Niagara River. Meanwhile, a third seeks a permit for the U.S. side of the St. Clair River. All are driven by growing demand for green, clean, renewable energy and see untapped potential for hydrokinetic power generated by tidal flows and river currents.

Verdant Power president Trey Taylor estimates there is enough potential in the currents of Canada's tides, rivers and man-made channels to power more than 11 million average-sized homes. The sudden interest has so far attracted little attention from Canadian environmental groups.

But the U.S.-based Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organization has filed a motion to intervene on the FERC applications, saying it has concerns about the impact on the river's flow and on fish and wildlife habitat. Verdant's three-bladed water turbines resemble windmill-style wind turbines. They can be installed on weighted platforms or pilings. It says it's ahead of competitors because its system is the only one tested and proven.

Free Flow Power Corp. of Gloucester, Massachusetts, wants to study a 17.5-MW project along 28 kilometres on the U.S. side of the Niagara from Lake Erie to the lower end of Grand Island, above Niagara Falls.

Hydro Green Energy LLC of Houston, Texas, has filed for permits to study two 70-MW installations -- one downstream of the falls near the Whirlpool Bridge, the other just upstream of the Queenston-Lewiston bridge. Its units would hang from rafts tethered in the current, so they could be raised easily for maintenance.

From the Hamilton Spectator


Updates - June 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Gatherings page updated

Historical Perspective 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.


St. Mary's Challenger involved in Milwaukee River incident

6/19 - Milwaukee - The St. Mary's Challenger collided Monday with a boat owned by Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker, docked at Skipper Bud’s marina on the Kinnickinnic River.

The Challenger was docking at the St. Marys terminal just upriver from Skipper Bud’s when the accident occurred, said Mike Petrasky, co-owner of Skipper Bud’s.

For several years, ships docking at the St. Marys terminal have used a portion of the riverfront along the Skipper Bud’s facility. Because the ships are so large, they use roughly 30 feet of the marina’s riverfront.

The St. Marys terminal receives deliveries of cement from Canada about 50 times a year.

Skipper Bud’s and a company that later sold the terminal to St. Marys signed a contract in 1987 that governed their use of the river, according to the city attorney’s office. But that agreement “has apparently lapsed,” and no successor agreement has been reached between the Skipper Bud’s and St. Marys, according to a May 8 letter from City Attorney Grant Langley to Eric Reinelt, city port director.

City Harbor Master Joe DiGiorgio, who directs harbor boat traffic, said both St. Marys and Skipper Bud’s have legitimate rights to use the river. The marina and its customers need access to the river so boats can reach the Port of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan, he said.

Meanwhile, St. Marys is shipping cement to the Milwaukee terminal that’s used in the Marquette Interchange reconstruction and other highway projects, DiGiorgio said. Those shipments are important to the city and the state of Wisconsin, he said. “We’re hoping they can resolve it as good neighbors and not have to go to court,” DiGiorgio said.

St. Marys spokesman Steve Gallagher characterized it as a “minor collision,” and said it occurred because of a machine failure on the St. Marys Challenger.

Uecker couldn’t be reached for comment. The longtime Brewers radio announcer is an avid boater and fishing enthusiast. The 13th annual Bob Uecker Great Lakes Invitational fishing tournament is running Thursday through Saturday from Reefpoint Marina in Racine.

Link to a picture of the boat

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


S.S. Badger Offers Relief to Commercial Trucks Stranded by Road Closures

6/19 - Manitowoc, WI - Flooding in southern Wisconsin has lead to many road closures in the aftermath of last week’s storms, making travel extremely difficult. In addition, WisDOT has issued temporary suspension of oversize and overweight permits effective as of 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, June 17, 2008. The 410’ S.S. Badger cross-lake ferry offers an alternative, with two daily trips from Manitowoc, WI to Ludington, MI.

Scott Bauer, Transportation Manager for PDM Bridge in Eau Claire, Wisconsin is using the Historic Lake Michigan Carferry to move his oversize loads to Columbus, Ohio. “The Badger is the only way out of the state while the roads are shut down for any permit moves. It’s saving around 300 miles from driving up around the U.P. and with diesel fuel at $5/gallon, that’s not a feasible solution.”

Bauer adds that he may be using the S.S. Badger next week as well if roads don’t open for trucks carrying substantial weight. PDM Bridge is a company with expertise in fabricating complex bridge structures. Bauer indicated that during his tenure with PDM, he has moved oversize loads on the Badger many times including approximately 160 loads during construction of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron and also the completion of the S Curve in Grand Rapids.

According to Magee Johnson, director of media relations for Lake Michigan Carferry, “We are sold out for trucks on the afternoon trip from Manitowoc, tonight’s trip from Ludington, and we expect heavy commercial truck traffic for the balance of the week and possibly even next week.”

Image of a commercial load at the S.S. Badger


Port Reports - June 19

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J Kuber came in early Wednesday morning with a load of stone for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. They had departed before noon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Algoway was upbound on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning, calling on the Buena Vista dock to unload. She was back outbound during the early evening. The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder made their first trip of the season up the Saginaw River on Wednesday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair were expected to be outbound early Thursday morning.

Toronto - Dave Robinson
Olympic Melody was still at Redpath's actively engaged in unloading on Wednesday.
Around 7 p.m. Sunday evening English River sailed through the eastern gap and executed a lovely turn and backing maneuver into the cement plant in the northeast of the harbour all without interfering with Queen City Yacht Club's regular Wednesday evening race fleet.
Harbour watchers are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a fleet of Tall ships on Thursday including Bluenose II, The Spirit of Baltimore and the brig USS Niagara among others. The ships will participate in a sail-past at 11:30 Thursday and be open for tours at Harbour front over the weekend.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Manitowoc seems to be making regular trips between Marquette and Algoma Steel at the Soo. She loaded ore in Marquette again on Tuesday.


USCG Sector Detroit changing command

6/19 - Detroit - Captain Fred M. Midgette will relieve Captain Patrick W. Brennan of command of Sector Detroit in a change-of-command ceremony on Thursday, June 19th, 2008 at 10 a.m. The ceremony will be held at Coast Guard Air Station Detroit located on Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mt. Clemons, Michigan.

Captain Brennan assumed command of Sector Detroit in March of 2005. As Sector Commander, Captain Brennan was in charge of more than 520 total active duty, reserve and civilian personnel, and over 1,000 Coast Guard Auxiliary members. He oversaw all Coast Guard missions on Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie from Alpena, Michigan, to Vermillion, Ohio, including search and rescue, maritime security, maritime law enforcement, environmental response, domestic icebreaking and waterways management. Captain Brennan fostered strong homeland security and operational partnerships. Under his leadership, Sector Detroit excelled while executing over 3,500 search and rescue cases, over 2000 hours of icebreaking, and over 1,200 vessel and 700 facility inspections. Captain Brennan is transferring to the Eighth Coast Guard District in New Orleans, Louisiana, to serve as the Chief of Response.

Captain Midgette is coming from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he served as the Coast Guard’s liaison officer to U.S. Northern Command. Captain Midgette is a native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and was commissioned in 1982 at the Coast Guard Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He also holds a Master of Science in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Rear Admiral Peter V. Neffenger, Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, Cleveland, Ohio, is scheduled to preside over the ceremony.

The change of command is a time-honored tradition and deeply rooted in Coast Guard and Naval history. The event signifies a total transfer of responsibility, authority and accountability for the command. The ceremony is witnessed by all members so that they all know exactly when the transfer of leadership takes place.

USCG News Release


Updates - June 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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 SHEFFIELD's 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.


Desgagnes to use charters for Arctic supply trips

6/18 - Montreal - Due to late delivery of their new ship, Desgagnes Transartik will be chartering two foreign flag ships for northern supply this summer. The new Zelada Desgagnes (sister of Rosaire Desgagnes) will not be ready for the 2008 northern supply season.

Meanwhile, Umialarik Transportation will be chartering the Dutch Edisongracht from Spliethoff's, bringing her under the Canadian flag and renaming her for northern supply work this summer. She is 8448 gross tons, and built in 1994.

Also the tug Point Halifax will be making several trips from Sorel to Hudson's Bay this summer towing the barge Pugwash. Tug and barge are expected to leave Halifax this week and head for Sorel for the first load. They are working under charter to Northern Transportation.

Reported by Mac Macay


Port Reports - June 18

Twin Ports - Al Miller
On Tuesday the Joseph L. Block was unloading limestone at the CN/DMIR ore dock while, across St. Louis Bay, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was at Midwest Energy Terminal loading coal and BBC Ontario was loading at General Mills Elevator S.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
On Monday, Wilfred Sykes unloaded at Verplank's in Ferrysburg, the Calumet brought a load of coal to the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island, and finally the McKee Sons/Invincible brought a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The Arthur M. Anderson was loading coal at the south dock at KCBX during the morning Tuesday. She departed around 1:30p.m.


EPA Proposes Vessel Discharge Permits

6/18 - Washington, DC – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing two general permits under the Clean Water Act that will cover discharges incidental to normal operation of commercial and recreational vessels. Based on agency estimates, as many as 91,000 commercial vessels and about 13 million recreational boats could be affected.

“EPA is proposing a practical approach as we work with Congress on a longer-term, comprehensive solution,” said Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles. “We believe it is good environmental policy and common sense to promote clean boating without imposing new permits on millions of boaters.”

As a result of a court ruling currently under appeal, vessel owners or operators whose discharges have previously been exempt from Clean Water Act requirements for the last 35 years will require a permit as of September 30, 2008. EPA is proposing control technologies and management practices that enhance environmental protection and are practical to implement.

The commercial and large recreational vessel general permit (VGP) would cover all commercial vessels and recreational vessels 79 feet or longer. For vessels that carry ballast water, it would incorporate the Coast Guard mandatory ballast water management and exchange standards, and have supplemental ballast water requirements. The VGP would provide technology-based and water-quality-based effluent limits for other types of discharges including deck runoff, bilge water, gray water and other types of pollutants.

The permit also establishes specific corrective actions, inspections and monitoring requirements as well as recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Only a subset of the vessels potentially affected by this permit will have to submit a Notice of Intent for coverage; for all the other vessels their coverage would be automatic.

The permit for smaller recreational vessels measuring less than 79 feet in length contains simpler provisions. These smaller vessels, which are substantially different in both size and operation from larger vessels, would need to comply with new and established best management practices. In addition, these smaller vessels would not be required to submit a Notice of Intent for coverage under the permit; their coverage would be automatic.

EPA is inviting comments on both proposed permits for a period of 45 days. EPA will be holding public meetings and a hearing starting June 19. June 19 - Washington, DC meeting; June 24 - Portland, Oregon meeting; June 26 - Chicago, Illinois meeting; July 2 - public Webcast meeting; and July 21 - Washington, DC hearing

Information on the permits and meetings:

Ohio DNR News Release


Great Lakes cruising future looking brighter

6/18 - Toronto - Today sees eight representatives of the travel industry leaving Toronto to explore what the Great Lakes have to offer potential cruisers - among them cruise operators, general sales agents, travel agents and tour operators. The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, backed by the Ontario Government, is running this tour, which will include commercial flights, float planes, hotel visits and a railway journey, in an attempt to bring more cruise business to the Great Lakes.

So far, the lakes will see two new operators in 2009, with Pearl Seas Cruises bringing in its first new building and Travel Dynamics returning after an absence of five years, while American Canadian Caribbean Cruises will increase its 2009 capacity by 40%. In 2011, a third new operator, Ponant Cruises, will return with another new building. Despite some setbacks, the iron is in the fire.

In 1997, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises finally built the 420-berth Columbus, to a design that would allow her to cruise the lakes. The Columbus spent ten seasons cruising the lakes but recent changes in US security regulations have made it easier for her owners to charter her out in the Mediterranean during what was normally her Great Lakes season. The Columbus, the largest ship to have cruised the Great Lakes, usually offered some 1,260 berths on three 10 or 11-day Great Lakes cruises each autumn.

The maximum beam for any ship to navigate the St Lawrence Seaway's 80-foot-wide locks remains 78 feet, or about 23 metres, which today, for all intents and purposes puts the Great Lakes firmly into the "small ship" market.

This summer will see the lowest passenger numbers on the Great Lakes for over a decade - about 3.800 on three small vessels of American Canadian Caribbean Line and St Lawrence Cruise Lines. By comparison, more than 40,000 people visit the Antarctic each year. Hapag-Lloyd's 420-berth Columbus and Cruise West's 102-berth Spirit of Nantucket, having left the Great Lakes at the end of 2007 have reduced Great Lakes cruising possibilities, but only temporarily.

This will change when the Clelia II, Pearl Seas 1 and a new Ponant ship enter service over the next couple of years, bringing passenger berth offerings up to 7,060 in 2009 and about 10,000 in 2010. In an area with a population of 180 million in its immediate vicinity this is still quite small, but the competition is the economies of scale offered by today's huge cruise ships that can still charge the same fares as twenty-five years ago. On top of that, pilotage costs and tolls on the Great Lakes have to be spread over a much smaller number of passengers. Nevertheless, progress is being made. In essence, as well as being a small ship market, the Great Lakes is now turning into a luxury market.

The longest-running operator of Great Lakes cruises, Rhode Island-based American Canadian Caribbean Line operates two 183-foot vessels, the Grande Caribe and Grande Mariner, each carrying 100 passengers under US flag. ACCL will be able to book up to 1,700 guests this year but additional cruises in 2009 will boost this to 2,400.

The line will offer 17 cruises in 2008 that include the Great Lakes at some point and this will increase to 24 in 2009. New for 2009 will be four 11-night "Canals of America" voyages between Warren RI and Buffalo via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and Welland Canal, at between $2,915 and $3,555 plus $150 in port charges.

The shortest cruise, at 6 nights, is from Chicago's Navy Pier around Lake Michigan to Mackinac Island and back, from $1,645 to $1,920 plus $75 port fees. ACCL will offer five such departures this year and six in 2009. The longest is 14 nights from Warren RI to Chicago via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and the Great Lakes from Oswego to Chicago, with calls at Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Mackinac Island and other ports, for between $3,705 and $4,555 plus $150 port charges.
Other departures include a 12-night cruise from Warren to Montreal, Quebec and the Saguenay Fjord via Lake Ontario, an itinerary that ACCL has been performing since 1967, and a similar cruise that turns at Quebec City, all priced accordingly.

Operating its 66-passenger Canadian Empress since 1981, St Lawrence Cruise Lines is the smallest operator but will carry more Great Lakes passengers this year than ACCL by virtue of its more frequent departures, although this will change in 2009.

The 108-foot Empress continues to offer a choice of three itineraries - 6 nights between Kingston and Quebec ($1,955 to $2,779) or 5 nights between Kingston and Ottawa ($1,629 to $2,316), both of which touch at Montreal, and a 3-night Thousand Islands Encounter ($995 to $1,411), round trip from Kingston. This seasons thirty-two cruises can accommodate about 2,100 cruisers, which is more than ACCL will offer for 2008.

Meanwhile, the first of the new operators, Travel Dynamics, will be returning to the Great Lakes, where it operated the 100-berth Orion in 2004. This company's most recent acquisition, the 100-guest Clelia II, will be managed by International Shipping Partners (ISP) of Miami, as is its fleetmate, the 114-berth Corinthian II.

June to September 2009 will see the 324-foot Clelia II perform eleven 7-night cruises between Toronto and Duluth. Visiting all five Great Lakes, ports will include Toronto, Port Weller (for Niagara Falls), Little Current (Georgian Bay), Mackinac Island (Lake Michigan), and Houghton, Thunder Bay and Duluth on Lake Superior. Rates will run from $5,595 to $10,695 per person. As well, she will cruise from St John's NF to Rochester NY in June and from Toronto to Halifax NS in September, for a total of thirteen Great Lakes cruises offering space for up to 1,300 passengers.

The second new operator, Pearl Seas Cruises, is the foreign-flag subsidiary of US-flag Connecticut-based American Cruise Lines, and will introduce its first as yet unnamed 210-berth all-balcony newbuilding into the Great Lakes in 2009. This ship will be delivered by Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax this year and although further orders are likely to follow, no shipyard has yet been named. At 335 feet in length, she will have six lounges and 108 balcony staterooms ranged over six decks.

She will perform four cruises in June/July, reaching as far as Chicago, and two in September/October from Quebec to Toronto and back, as well as a number of St Lawrence cruises. These half dozen Great Lakes cruises will be able to accommodate up to 1,260 cruisers, or as many as the Columbus used to. Fares will run from $3,955 to $7,140 for a 7-day Quebec to Toronto cruise via the St Lawrence Seaway and Thousand Islands, $5,605 to $8,105 for a 10-day Toronto to Chicago cruise and $6,165 to $8,915 for an 11-night Chicago to Toronto cruise, both the latter including Georgian Bay and Mackinac Island.

Meanwhile Ponant Cruises, the new marketing name for Compagnie des Iles du Ponant, announced in March orders for two new 264-berth ships from Fincantieri for delivery in late 2010, at a total cost of $300 million. One of these will sail the Great Lakes in 2011. Like Travel Dynamics, Ponant Cruises is returning to the Great Lakes, where it previously operated several seasons of lakes cruises with its 90-berth Le Levant.

Although she will carry only 264 passengers, at 466 feet the new Ponant ship will be the second largest to cruise the Great Lakes after the 473-foot Columbus. With 75% of her 130 suites including balconies, if the new ship offers a dozen cruises in a season this would add 3,000 berths to the Great Lakes inventory, which in turn could boost the total above 10,000 for the first time in decades.

In addition to Travel Dynamics, Pearl Seas and Ponant Cruises, two ships that Great Lakes interests have been paying close attention to are the 224-berth Cape May Light, which cruised the Great Lakes in 2001 and her 286-foot sister ship Cape Cod Light, which lies uncompleted in the St John's River in Florida. They have been laid up ever since their original owner, American Classic Voyages, went under in September 2001, and the US Maritime Administration, which had financed them, repossessed them. Since then, two groups with headquarters on the Great Lakes, Hornblower Marine Services and Hannah Marine, had attempted to revive the ships for Great Lakes cruising.

Earlier this month however the Clipper Group of Denmark succeeded in obtaining the pair at a reported price of $9 million each, compared to an original construction price of $42 million each. To be managed by ISP of Miami, they will reportedly remain under US flag for a minimum of three years. Although their foreign ownership will make them ineligible for trading under the Passenger Vessel Services Act between US ports this would not stop them from cruising Chicago/Chicago or Detroit/Detroit as long as they made a call in Canada, say in Georgian Bay.

ISP reportedly intends to spend about $10 million on the pair and report that "we expect that to take 6-8 months, and we will begin looking for charters, most likely for delivery for the 2009 summer season."The intended area of operation thus far remains a mystery although it is known that one Florida-based operator was also interested in them.

As more ships come into the Great Lakes, the future is beginning to look brighter, and as ships get larger and the overall market grows, demand should continue to grow for more expensive cruises like those planned for the lakes. For years the Columbus treated the lakes as an autumn destination only but the new operators are thinking in terms of a full season from May or June through to September or October. Although the ships may be smaller, a rising number of departures means that berth inventory on offer in the Great Lakes will finally begin to rise. Whether one or two "Cape" ships ends up in the Great Lakes remains an open question but when this week's travellers gather in Toronto for their trip-end review on June 23, it will be interesting to see if more interest develops in the Great Lakes as a destination.



Updates - June 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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 vessels 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.


Northshore Mining's old furnace "running well"

6/17 - Duluth - Silver Bay will celebrate the rebirth of a taconite plant’s furnace Thursday night with a picnic and tour of Northshore Mining Co.

In mid-March, Northshore restarted Furnace No. 5 — a piece of equipment that last produced pellets more than a quarter century ago. “We’ve shaken out a lot of the start-up bugs now, and it’s running well,” said Scott Gischia, Northshore’s manager of environmental services. “We’re seeing good production rates and good quality.”

The rejuvenated line brought 30 additional jobs to Northshore, which now employs 549 people. The furnace also will boost Northshore’s annual production capacity by about 800,000 tons. That’s an increase equivalent to 13.6 percent of the plant’s total production in 2007. “This shows us the commitment that Cleveland Cliffs is making to Northshore Mining and the community,” said Silver Bay Mayor Scott Johnson. “It means more jobs and more stability for our local economy.”

Bringing the line back into service required about a $40 million investment, according to Maureen Talarico, a spokeswoman for Cleveland Cliffs Mining Co., which owns Northshore. Furnace No. 5 was refurbished, equipped with modern controls and now bakes pellets at a temperature of 2,350 degrees. “There’s been a lot of excitement to see this old equipment come back to life again, especially for some of the people who were around back when it originally shut down.” Gischia said.

The furnace was idled in 1982, a period of slumping domestic steel production and hard times on the Iron Range. “The market really was crashing at the time, and Reserve was throttling back,” Gischia said. Furnace No. 5, built in 1955, was one of the original pieces of equipment from Reserve Mining Co., the first commercial-scale taconite plant to begin production on the Range. Reserve declared bankruptcy in 1986.

Johnson still recalls those dark days. “I was on the City Council when the plant closed, and about one in every three houses in town was either for sale or was in foreclosure,” he said.

But Silver Bay has rebounded with the mine, Johnson said. Cyprus Minerals Co. acquired, restructured and reopened the operation in 1989. Then, in 1994, Cleveland Cliffs took control.

At one time, Reserve had eight furnaces, but only four remain. All four of those surviving furnaces are now running full out. “It’s a reflection of a strong market and a reflection of all the employees who work at Northshore,” Talarico said of Cleveland Cliffs’ recent reinvestments in the Silver Bay plant.

Cleveland Cliffs isn’t the only mine working to boost production. Earlier this year U.S. Steel Corp. announced plans to invest more than $300 million in Keetac, adding 3.6 million tons to the Keewatin plant’s capacity.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - June 17

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
On Sunday the Beluga Enterprise arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of pig iron. On Monday, the Marlene Green returned to KK Integrated Logistics with more wind turbine parts.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River Monday afternoon. She traveled upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. The tug James A. Hanna and her tank barge was outbound from the Bit-Mat dock Monday afternoon after arriving on Saturday to unload.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Every corner of the harbor was busy Monday morning in Duluth-Superior, with John J. Boland unloading at Reiss Inland dock up the St. Louis River, James R. Barker departing Midwest Energy Terminal, BBC Ontario unloading wind turbines at Duluth port terminal, Alpena unloading at the Superior LaFarge Cement terminal. Great Lakes Trader was waiting off Superior Entry waiting to load at the BNSF ore dock after Edward L. Ryerson departed.

Brockville - Keith Giles
The three tall ships, Fair Jeanne, Mist of Avalon and the Pride of Baltimore II participated in the first annual Tall Ships Weekend held in Brockville, Ontario. The boats were berthed at the Centeen Park Quay in Brockville and were open to the public during the three days, 13 June to 15 June. The Fair Jeanne is a briganteen and is used for training teenagers and adults the art of sailing. The Mist of Avalon is a sloop, privately owned, with Ivy Lea, Ontario as its home port. The Pride of Baltimore II is a Square Top Sail Schooner and represents the type of ship used by the Americans in the War of 1812. The three ships joined up at the Three Sister Islands to sail into the Brockville harbour. The Fair Jeanne was firing her cannons as she arrived. The City of Brockville plans to hold the Tall Ships Weekend on an annual basis and hopes that more tall ships will join as the years progress.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algosteel arrived through the night and is loading at Sifto Salt on a cool, cloudy Tuesday morning.

Toronto - Clive Reddin
The saltie Olympic Melody was off loading at the Redpath plant on Monday. Monday evening she was refueled by Hamilton Energy.


Updates - June 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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.


One of Detroit River's premier summer events saved

6/16 - Windsor - An agreement between the City of Windsor and Windsor Port Authority appears to have saved one of the summer's most anticipated attractions, the annual Detroit River tugboat race. The Port Authority had threatened to scuttle the 32nd annual race on June 21 over the issue of liability insurance.

The race annually draws thousands of spectators to both sides of the river. Other than the fireworks, it is one of the summer's premier events.

It is also one of the highlights of Summer Fest, the 12-day festival which takes place on the Windsor's riverfront, June 19-July 1. As late as Friday morning, organizers of Summer Fest weren't sure the event would take place. David Grimaldi, spokesman for Windsor Parade Corp., which organizes Summer Fest as well as the annual Santa Claus Parade, said 32 years of summer tradition might come to an end. "It would be a shame to lose an event of this stature," he said.

But Windsor Harbourmaster Bill Marshall is "reasonably confident" the city has addressed the Port Authority's concerns over liability. "Up until a week or so ago," said Marshall, "organizers had not satisfied us that there was proper insurance for the actual on-water portion of the event."

While insurance was the main issue under discussion, Marshall said it wasn't the only one. There are still some policy matters to clear up with the organizer. Grimaldi accused Marshall and the Port Authority of creating a crisis where none existed in previous years. "It's not like this is the first time this event has taken place," Grimaldi said. "Unfortunately, they seem to be changing the rules on a continuous basis."

The tugboat race is scheduled to take place Saturday, June 21, at 1 p.m. on the Detroit River between the Ambassador Bridge and Dieppe Gardens. So far, 18 vessels are registered to participate.

This is the third year for Summer Fest, which was organized by the Windsor Parade Corp. in 2006 to replace the International Freedom Festival.

From the Windsor Star


Coast Guard Rescues Medivacs Woman

6/16 - Alpena - The U.S. Coast Guard \evacuated a sick 53-year-old woman from an unnamed freighter, possibly the Peter R. Cresswell, in northwestern Lake Huron Thursday night.

Health officials said the woman was suffering from a rare stomach problem and was loosing blood at a rapid rate. The woman was in need of immediate medical attention, but she was stuck on a cargo ship about 22 miles off Oscoda, Michigan, said health officials. Around 9:15 p.m., a HH-65 Helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit picked up the woman from the ship and transported her to Alpena Hospital in Alpena Michigan.

The woman is listed in stable condition.

Click here to see the U.S. Coast Guard's Medevac video of the rescue.



Port Reports - June 16

Marquette and Munising - Rod Burdick
Sunday morning, Manitowoc opened Munising for the 2008-2009 shipping season. She unloaded a cargo of eastern coal for the local paper mill. After unloading, Manitowoc was scheduled to load ore in Marquette.

Sunday afternoon, Saginaw made her first appearance at Marquette's Upper Harbor ore dock since her repowering. Judging from her quick departure from the Upper Harbor after loading taconite, her engines are providing more than ample power. Sunday evening, Philip R. Clarke made a rare visit to the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload coal.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Late Sunday afternoon was busy in the Twin Ports, with BBC Ontario unloading wind turbines at the Duluth port terminal and Algolake loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. At the same time, Alpena was slowly approaching the Duluth entry from the lake. American Fortitude remained docked in Fraser Shipyard and USCGC Alder remained in drydock at Fraser.


Discovery of Body in Welland Canal

6/16 - Allanburg - On Sunday, at approximately 10:00 a.m. the Laker Vessel “English River” was upbound on the Welland Canal, having just passed the Allanburg Bridge when the crew observed what appeared to be a body floating in the canal.

As a result of this discovery, the Thorold Fire Department, Niagara Regional Police and supervisory members of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority were summoned. Upon the arrival of emergency personnel, the lifeless body of a clothed female was located approximately one kilometer south of the Allanburg Bridge, and about eight feet from the west shore. When Police recovered the female from the water, the body was found to be in an advanced state of decomposition, suggesting that she had been in the water for a period of time.

Members of the St. Catharines District Detective Office, and the coroner were in attendance, and an investigation was commenced. The body was subsequently removed from the scene, and transported to the Hamilton General Hospital, where a post mortem examination was ordered for Monday June 16, 2008. Identification of the female is not known at this time.

Members of the St. Catharines Detective Office are continuing the investigation and are actively searching missing persons reports in the hopes of identifying the female.

Niagara Regional Police News Release


Updates - June 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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

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

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

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

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

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


Algocen renamed

6/15 - Algocen, Official Number 325748, has been renamed J. W. Shelley. She has been registered in the Port Of Quebec, but the owners name was not given.

Reported by Gerry Oderkirk


Port Reports - June 15

Kingsville -Erich Zuschlag
The Robert S. Pierson came into Kingsville Harbour about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night and was unloading #2 Limestone from Cedarville, Mi. The Mississagi is expected later on in the evening, early Sunday morning with stone from Marblehead Ohio.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite after unloading coal earlier in the day.

Quebec City - Ron Beaupre
After several days of repairs to the tug Commodore Straits, the tow of the Barge Laviolette has left Quebec City bound for Progresso Mexico. The barge is formerly the bow section of the ULS Canadian Explorer.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The St. Mary's Challenger was spotted in bound at 127th Street heading for Lake Calumet to deliver a cargo of cement.

Mission Point - Herm Klein
On Saturday, those of us at the Soo who were listening to our scanners, were fortunate to hear the "Motor Vessel Saginaw" call in to Soo Traffic "up at Nine Mile." This is the first trip up with the new diesel power. She was gleaming new paint, which must have been done as at the time of repowering.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail backed into the Sifto Salt dock on a damp, cloudy Saturday morning. She started loading at 7 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manistee was out bound the Saginaw River Friday morning after unloading overnight at the GM dock in Saginaw. In bound Friday morning with a split load was the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair dropped part of their cargo at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing up river to finish at the GM dock in Saginaw. The Moore and Kuber were out bound early Saturday morning.
In bound Saturday morning was the tug James A. Hannah and her tank barge. They called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City.

Toronto - Dave Robinson
Olympic Melody sailed in the eastern gap bound for Redpath Sugar assisted by two tugs Saturday evening around 8 p.m.


Rochester rejects two ferry proposals

6/15 - Rochester, NY - Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy today announced that the City of Rochester and Toronto Port Authority will not pursue a privately-funded and operated ferry service between Rochester and Toronto. The city and the TBA together in March issued a request soliciting service for commercial and/or passenger service between the two cities to start in 2009.

Two submissions were received. Hover Transit Services proposed using a 400-passenger Hovercraft. The second, offered by Sevstars, proposed using a new “Wing in Ground Effect” vessel, also known as a sea-skimmer, which would carry 80 passengers.

The city and the TPA both evaluated proposals, keeping in mind that the selection criteria included the ability to successfully market and sustain a profitable ferry service. Neither proposal exhibited the organizational capacity or fiscal wherewithal necessary to proceed, Duffy said.

Rochester’s recent high-speed ferry had two abbreviated seasons in 2004 and 2005. Duffy pulled the plug on the Rochester-to-Toronto service in early 2006 and later sold the five-story vessel in 2007. While neither the City of Rochester nor the TPA are actively pursuing a ferry service at present, should a proposal with adequate organizational and financial capability emerge, it would be considered.

“We did what we set out to do,” Duffy said in a printed statement. “We needed to determine whether there was sufficient interest on the part of potential investors to pursue the idea any further. We continue to explore the many possibilities that exist in order to fully showcase and capitalize on our port. It’s a tremendous asset.”

Toronto Port Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Lisa Raitt said the passenger terminal in Toronto will continue to be used as a base for cruise ships. “It remains an important piece of passenger marine infrastructure on the Great Lakes,” she said.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - June 15

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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.

GRECIAN (steel propeller freighter, 296 foot, 2,348 gross tons, built in 1891, at Cleveland, Ohio) was being towed by the steamer SIR HENRY BESSEMER from Detour to Detroit. The GRECIAN had sunk on 07 June 1906, when she struck a rock and she was being towed with a temporary patch over the hole. The patch did not hold and on 15 June 1906, the GRECIAN sank off Alpena, Michigan. The crew abandoned ship and they were picked up by the BESSEMER.

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

On June 15, 1943, the D M CLEMSON collided with and sank the GEORGE M HUMPHREY in the Straits of Mackinac. Both of these 600-footers recovered for long careers. The D M CLEMSON was sold for scrap in 1980. The GEORGE M HUMPHREY was recovered over a year later, renamed the 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.


Explorers find 1780 British warship in Lake Ontario

6/14 - Syracuse, N.Y. - A 22-gun British warship that sank during the American Revolution and has long been regarded as one of the "Holy Grail" shipwrecks in the Great Lakes has been discovered at the bottom of Lake Ontario, astonishingly well-preserved in the cold, deep water, explorers announced Friday.

Shipwreck enthusiasts Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville used side-scanning sonar and an unmanned submersible to locate the HMS Ontario, which was lost with barely a trace and as many as 130 people aboard during a gale in 1780.

The 80-foot sloop of war is the oldest shipwreck and the only fully intact British warship ever found in the Great Lakes, Scoville and Kennard said.

"To have a Revolutionary War vessel that's practically intact is unbelievable. It's an archaeological miracle," said Canadian author Arthur Britton Smith, who chronicled the history of the HMS Ontario in a 1997 book, "The Legend of the Lake."

The finders of the wreck said they regard it as a war grave and have no plans to raise it or remove any of its artifacts. They said the ship is still considered the property of the British Admiralty.

Although the vessel sits in an area where the water is up to 500 feet deep and cannot be reached by anyone but the most experienced divers, Kennard and Scoville declined to give its exact location, saying only that it was found off the southern shore.

The sloop was discovered resting partially on its side, with two masts extending more than 70 feet above the lake bottom.

"Usually when ships go down in big storms, they get beat up quite a bit. They don't sink nice and square. This went down in a huge storm, and it still managed to stay intact," Scoville said. "There are even two windows that aren't broken. Just going down, the pressure difference, can break the windows. It's a beautiful ship."

Smith, who was shown underwater video of the find, said: "If it wasn't for the zebra mussels, she looks like she only sunk last week."

The dark, cold freshwater acts as a perfect preservative, Smith said. At that depth, there is no light and no oxygen to hasten decomposition, and little marine life to feed on the wood.

The Ontario went down on Oct. 31, 1780, with a garrison of 60 British soldiers, a crew of about 40, mostly Canadians, and possibly about 30 American war prisoners.

The warship had been launched only five months earlier and was used to ferry troops and supplies along upstate New York's frontier. Although it was the biggest British ship on the Great Lakes at the time, it never saw battle, Smith said.

After the ship disappeared, the British conducted a sweeping search but tried to keep the sinking secret from Gen. George Washington's troops because of the blow to the British defenses.

Hatchway gratings, the binnacle, compasses and several hats and blankets drifted ashore the next day. A few days later the ship's sails were found adrift in the lake. In 1781, six bodies from the Ontario were found near Wilson, N.Y. For the next two centuries, there were no other traces of the ship.

Explorers have been searching for the Ontario for decades, and there have been numerous false finds over the years, said Eric Bloomquist, interpretative programs manager at Old Fort Niagara.

Kennard, an electrical engineer who has been diving for nearly 40 years and has found more than 200 wrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, began searching for the Ontario 35 years ago but quit after several frustrating and fruitless years.

Six years ago, he teamed up with Scoville, a diver who developed the remote-controlled submersible with students from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Since then, the pair have found seven ships in the lake.

Over the years, Kennard obtained documents from British and Canadian archives on the Ontario, including the ship's design plans. Even then, it took the pair three years of searching more than 200 square miles before they found the vessel earlier this month.

After locating the wreck with the sonar, the explorers used the submersible to confirm their find, documenting their discovery with more than 80 minutes of underwater video.

"Certainly it is one of the earliest discovered shipwrecks, if not the earliest," said Carrie Sowden, archaeological director of the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermillion, Ohio. "And if it's in the condition they say, it's quite significant."

A rare feature that helped identify the ship: the two crow's nests on each mast. Another was the decoratively carved scroll bow stem. The explorers also found two cannons, two anchors and the ship's bell.

The clincher was the quarter galleries on either side of the stern — a kind of balcony with windows typically placed on the sides of the stern-castle, a high, tower-like structure at the back of a ship that housed the officers' quarters.

Kennard said he and his partner have gathered enough video that it will not be necessary to return to the site. He added that they hope to make a documentary about the discovery.

There are an estimated 4,700 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, including about 500 on Lake Ontario.

Images of the wreck

From the Associated Press


Buffalo grain elevator purchased by Minnesota firm

6/14 - Buffalo - A 75-year-old grain elevator along the Buffalo River has a new owner and a revised future. Minneapolis, Minn.-based Whitebox Commodities Holdings Corp., a grain handling, storage and trading business, has purchased the “Lake & Rail” elevator in Buffalo.

Whitebox, a subsidiary of Whitebox Advisors, a hedge fund management firm that owns three other elevator complexes in the Midwest, is expected to use the massive Buffalo elevator as a foothold to Eastern markets. The Minneapolis company did not return phone calls regarding its Buffalo deal.

The huge 4.4 million bushel elevator is located just north of Ohio Street, on the grounds of RiverWright LLC, an ethanol company that will begin production in late 2009. It was previously owned by ConAgra Foods, which closed it down in 2001. RiverWright acquired a total of four elevators along the Buffalo River in 2006 where it would store grains for conversion to fuel. The ethanol group, which paid $160,000 to amass the entire plant site, did not disclose the sale price of the Lake & Rail elevator.

RiverWright Chief Executive Officer Greg Stevens said the sale reflects his company’s “evolved strategy” for revitalizing the once-bustling grain milling and storage site. “Our mission has expanded from tapping elevator capacity to feed our ethanol plant, to looking at sister opportunities,” Stevens said. “This site and these elevators are among the most logistically-advantaged in the U. S. for storing and shipping grain. That’s why they were built here in the first place.”

RiverWright refurbished the Lake & Rail elevator as a first step in its $180 million plan to utilize the idle Buffalo River facilities for ethanol production. Last fall, it tested the updated elevator by loading it up with one million bushels of corn and soy beans. The grains were stored over the winter and shipped out this spring to a biofuels plant and animal feed customers.

“That successful demonstration of the facility made a fair amount of noise in the grain industry. We talked to about a half-dozen major grain players who were interested in what we have here,” Stevens said.

Record-high grain prices and strong demand for corn and other grain products by the food, agriculture and alternative fuels industry have sparked companies like Whitebox to seek out non-traditional commodity opportunities. Whitebox turned heads in the hedge fund world in early 2007 when it bought a pair of grain elevators, both in the Minneapolis area, from ConAgra. This January, it acquired a Cargill elevator in Duluth, Minn.

Whitebox and other investment groups are going beyond the buying and selling of financial derivatives linked to commodities, like corn, soy beans and wheat, and putting serious dollars directly into agricultural crops and infrastructure. Grain elevators are of particular interest because they can store inventory for future sales at higher yields.

With the Buffalo acquisition, Whitebox now has the capacity to store more than 40 million bushels of grains. The RiverWright site has turned heads because of its 10 million bushel storage capacity, and the ability to move grains in and out by rail or ship. “We have a significant amount of excess storage that can be used to reawaken Buffalo as a grain storage hub,” Stevens said.

Whitebox is expected to immediately begin using the Buffalo elevator as a trans-shipment point. RiverWright, which recently received key approvals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its ethanol production plans, will begin updating another elevator on the site, the “American,” for that use.

“We’re moving forward nicely and are on target for a 2009 start-up,” Stevens said.

The company continues to face a threat of legal action by a group of local residents fighting ethanol production. While a State Supreme Court justice found no grounds to halt the project, the residents are seeking review by the Appellate Division.

From the Buffalo News


Port Reports - June 14

Marquette - Dick Fox
The Herbert C. Jackson came in about 3 pm Friday. She was still loading at the Ore Dock at Presque Isle late in the day.

Owen Sound - Jim Hoffman
Lower Lakes Towing's Ojibway departed the grain elevator at 11:45 p.m., Thursday. Destination port was unknown.


Updates - June 14

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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.


Lakes Limestone Trade Down 3.4 Percent in May
Lakes Ore Trade Up 15 Percent in May

6/13 - Cleveland - Shipments of limestone totaled 4.2 million net tons in May, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to a year ago. Sluggish demand in some markets is a factor, but the dredging crisis was plainly evident.

One vessel (75 U.S.-Flag Lakers are in service) lost 15,000 tons of stone in just three trips because of having to light load. A large quarry can load 40-50 stone cargos a month, so a lot of product is being left at the dock because of inadequate dredging.

Shipments of iron ore on the Lakes totaled 7.3 million net tons in May, an increase of 15 percent compared to a year ago. Strong demand and a rising Lake Superior produced the surge. However, the dredging crisis continued to limit shipments.

From the Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - June 13

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber loaded cargo at Stoneport.
The next vessel to call at the dock was the Algosteel, a rare visitor. Winds were strong in the area and one of the bow anchors was used while approaching the dock. Loading began not long after tie up was completed.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Thursday, the John J. Boland was at the Torco dock unloading ore. Philip R. Clarke was at the Midwest Terminal Dock unloading ore. The tug G. L. Ostrander with the barge Integrity was at the Lafarge Dock unloading Cement.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Dock has the Manitowoc due in Friday morning, Kaye E. Barker on Saturday evening, Mississagi Sunday morning, followed by the Herbert C. Jackson on Tuesday afternoon.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the Halifax early Friday morning, followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin early Saturday morning and the Atlantic Huron Saturday evening.
The revised schedule for boats due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock has Algorail due Friday morning, the tug Jane Ann IV with the barge Sarah Spencer on Saturday morning, followed by Algosteel on Sunday afternoon.

Port Huron/Sarnia - Frank Frisk
The re-powered Saginaw proceeded from the North Slip down to the Imperial Fuel Dock Thursday, then was up bound into Lake Huron at 2:25 p.m.

Owen Sound - Jim Hoffman
Lower Lakes Towing's Ojibway was at the grain elevator loading cargo on Thursday. She arrived early in the morning on Tuesday. Her departure date and time are not known.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The Charles M. Beeghly was finishing up loading at KCBX Thursday morning. She backed away from the south dock at straight up noon, and backed out toward Lake Michigan, while managing to slide in between a barrage of train traffic at the NS bridge.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Robert S. Pierson was out bound Thursday morning after finishing her unload overnight at the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock. Thursday evening saw the Manistee in bound, headed upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Grande Mariner arrived in Holland Thursday morning for its second visit in as many weeks. In the early evening the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived to begin loading recycled metal at the Padnos dock.


Coast Guard policy would allow lake freighters to keep washing cargo overboard

6/13 - Federal law and an international treaty prohibit ships from dumping waste into the Great Lakes. But since 1993, an interim policy approved by the Coast Guard and Congress has allowed freighters to wash non-toxic cargo residues off ship decks and into the Great Lakes after leaving port; the practice must be conducted at least five miles offshore. If the Coast Guard doesn't adopt a new policy by Sept. 8, the current rule expires and the practice known as dry cargo sweeping would be banned.

Freighters wash leftover cargo -- iron ore, limestone, salt and coal -- into the lakes as part of routine ship cleaning operations that have been used for the past century, according to federal data. Environmental advocates want the practice stopped.

Banning dry cargo sweeping would cost shippers $35 million annually without providing significant environmental benefits, according to the Coast Guard. Critics said the practice violates U.S. and Canadian environmental laws and international treaties, including the Great Lakes Water Quality Act.

Under the Coast Guard's interim policy, which the agency wants to extend indefinitely, ships could dump an unlimited amount of cargo residue overboard provided it was non-toxic.

Shipping officials want to protect their the right to sweep cargo residues into the lakes because it's an inexpensive, quick way to clean ships. They claim the materials pose little threat to the environment. The Coast Guard plans to study the issue for another three years to determine if the cargo sweepings contaminate the water quality or harm aquatic life.

"We remain concerned that the potential for risk from any practice, no matter how benign it appears to be, may increase over time," according to the Coast Guard's notice of the proposed rule in the Federal Register. "No matter how minor that risk may be, proper environmental stewardship may require us to take additional steps to reduce the environmental impact of continued dry cargo residue discharges."

Shippers have said banning dry cargo sweeping would be "catastrophic" to the industry. They claim dumping between 500 tons and 1,000 tons of cargo residue into the lakes annually is a minor side effect of ships hauling 165 million tons of freight on each year.

The Coast Guard's proposed policy would encourage shipping companies to reduce the amount of dry cargo residues washed into the lakes and ban the practice in environmentally sensitive areas, such as fish and wildlife refuges and the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Shippers would be required to keep records of where dry cargo residues were discarded, but the policy would not require them to reduce the amount of cargo residue washed into the lakes.

Coast Guard documents noted that shippers could deal with dry cargo residues, with little added cost, by sweeping and shoveling the material off ship decks instead of washing it into the lakes. "Our data suggests it would be the most effective and least expensive method for immediate implementation," the agency said in its public notice.

The Coast Guard is taking comment on the proposed rule until July 22. The proposed rule can be viewed by going to and typing USCG-2004-19621 in the search box.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Project will study temperatures, currents and weather of Lake Superior

6/13 - Duluth - Perhaps as early as Thursday, a new buoy will appear on Lake Superior off of Duluth.

The 10-foot-tall buoy — painted yellow, sporting solar panels and crowned with amber light — doesn’t mark a navigational lane or an underwater hazard. It is part of a scientific project to gather information on the lake’s weather, temperature and currents in greater detail than ever before. The buoy is one of three sets of instruments the research vessel Blue Heron is placing across the lake in the coming days. The new equipment joins one set of instruments that has been in place for three years.

“There have been some small-scale data collection projects on Lake Superior,” said Jay Austin, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory. “This is likely the largest deployment of its kind in Superior.” Austin is overseeing the three sets of instruments the observatory is putting in the lake now. UMD, the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and the Great Lakes Observing System are providing money for the project.

“We’re trying to better understand how the lake is responding to changes in the environment, partially with respect to global warming,” Large Lakes Observatory Director Steven M. Colman said. “We’ve seen it respond in some unexpected ways.”

For example, researchers examining weather records expected to find that Lake Superior’s surface waters warmed at about the same rate as the air. But that isn’t the case. In a paper published last year by the American Geophysical Union, Austin and Colman presented data showing that the lake’s summer surface water temperature has increased about 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1979 — about twice as much as regional air temperature has increased. The counterintuitive finding highlighted the need for better basic scientific understanding of the lake and what is influencing it.

The data the new instruments will collect “will be helpful in better trying to understand and forecast — if not predict — what this huge resource on our shores is going to do,” Colman said. The surface buoy will be anchored in about 160 feet of water a mile off of Lakewood pumping station. It will record weather data and water temperatures throughout the top 100 feet of the lake. It will transmit the data to the observatory, where it will be processed and put on the Web for the public.

“Fishermen should like that,” Austin said, because temperature often helps indicate where fish are.

In addition to the floating buoy, the Blue Heron will place two sets of instruments whose top float will sit 50 feet below the lake’s surface — too deep for any ship to hit them. One of the instrument packages will be anchored in about 800 feet of water near the eastern end of the lake; the other will be anchored in about 660 feet of water in the central lake. Each will measure water temperatures at more than 12 depths. In addition, each will have a device 260 feet underwater that, by using sound waves, can measure the direction and speed of water currents about every 6.5 feet all the way to the surface.

Retrieving the data the underwater instruments collects will require researchers to return to the area and transmit an acoustic command that will release the float and its line from the anchor. Workers can then download the data and redeploy the instruments.

“What we will do is start to draw up an inventory of data on how the lake behaves over a couple years,” Austin said. “The data will be used to help us develop more reliable models of Lake Superior circulation. It will be one of the most extensive physical data sets ever collected in Lake Superior.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Erie Canal handles 450-ton load

6/13 - Syracuse, NY - Rising fuel prices are pushing shippers to take a new look at an old way to deliver their goods - the Erie Canal.

"Our inquiries are definitely up," said Capt. Rob Goldman, of New York State Marine Highway Transportation Co., the largest shipper on the state's 524-mile canal system. Over the next two days Goldman will be guiding a barge laden with two massive turbines and a generator, weighing 450 tons, through the canal. It is one of the largest single shipments to use the canal in recent years, according to canal officials.

"Water is still the only way to move big, heavy items," Goldman said. "By taking the canal you cut a thousand miles off the (St Lawrence) Seaway route."

According to the federal transportation department, shipping by water is far more energy-efficient. In a tractor-trailer, one gallon of fuel is needed to transport one ton of freight 59 miles. On a barge, the same load will go 514 miles on a gallon of fuel.

The barge Lockwood 1000 and Goldman's tugboat Margot left Newport News, Va., several days ago. The vessels sailed up the Atlantic coast and Hudson River before entering the Erie Canal at Waterford, north of Albany, Wednesday morning.

Over the two days Goldman will pilot the vessels through the Mohawk Valley, traverse Oneida Lake, and take the 24-mile Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. The vessels also will travel through 30 locks, which will raise them from sea level, at Waterford, to nearly 300 feet above sea level at Oswego. The Lockwood and Margot then will sail through the Great Lakes to Duluth, Minn. where the turbines and generator will be shipped to western Canada.

Goldman said he has two more freight runs scheduled this season on the canal. Next, he'll bring a large crane to Ashtabula, Ohio.

The canal is one of the oldest and most historic shipping routes in the U.S. Its construction in 1817 is often credited with opening vast inland markets that sparked the nation's westward expansion. In the last half of the 20th century, however, the canal lost much of its freight traffic to trucks and trains. In 1951, 5.2 million tons of cargo were transported on the canal. By 2007 freight traffic had dropped to 13,195 tons.

Today the canal is used mainly as a recreational waterway. But the tide may be turning for the canal's commercial use, said Carmella Mantello, director of the state's Canal Corp. "The canal is slower, but it's fuel-efficient and it's greener," Mantello said. "One barge can carry the equivalent of 60 tractor-trailers. "Hopefully, we're beginning to see a trend," Mantello said.

Last year several large tanks, bound for the Northeast Biofuels plant in Volney, were shipped from Virginia to Fulton along the canal. "All forms of transportation are essential for the success of the biofuel plant, but the canal is definitely energy-efficient and has a small carbon footprint," said Stewart Hancock, speaking for the ethanol plant.

A 2005 Canal Corp. report on the canal's future recommended several improvements to accommodate commercial use of the waterway, especially the stretch between Waterford and Oswego. Recommendations included increased promotion, improving maintenance and looking at establishing commercial shipping fees.

Currently, commercial shippers can buy a season canal pass for $750 per vessel. "Maybe someday, if cargo increases significantly, we would consider doing something like that," Mantello said.

From the Syracuse Post-Standard.


Updates - June 13

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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 Reports - June 12

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Michipicoten was secured on the south side waiting to load. On the north side, John G. Munson was loading taconite. Munson's visit was her second to Marquette for the season.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
With dense fog blanketing most of the Twin Ports harbor on Wednesday morning, boat watchers couldn’t see much action except Joseph H. Thompson unloading salt at the Cutler Magner dock in Duluth.
Elsewhere, Coast Guard Cutter Alder remained in drydock at Fraser Shipyards.
Mesabi Miner was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with Indiana Harbor scheduled to follow later in the day.

Montreal - Kent Malo
Camilla Desgagnes secured at Sec. 25 Port of Montreal on Tuesday.
Rosaire A Desgagnes secured at Sec. 56 South Port of Montreal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Stephen Hause
The Saginaw River saw a busy day Wednesday with four vessels arriving at local docks. In bound early in the morning was the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber on the third visit for the tug-barge within the past week. This trip, the pair called at the Bay Aggregates dock.
The CSL Tadoussac, who had unloaded overnight at the Essroc dock, backed from the Saginaw River Wednesday morning after the inbound tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived across the river at the Bay Aggregates dock
Also in bound was the Algoway, which traveled up the river to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee with a load of salt from Goderich. Arriving later in the day was the American Century, with coal for the Consumers Energy dock at the mouth of the river. The Moore-Kuber was out bound in the afternoon and American Century and Algoway were both out bound in the evening.
Meanwhile, the Robert S. Pierson arrived early in the evening and tied up at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City. This was the Pierson's first visit to the river under its new name. She is expected to be out bound late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Wednesday morning the Algosteel was at the Torco Dock unloading ore.
Manistee was at the A.R.M.S. Dock unloading salt. When she finished unloading she proceeded over to the CSX Docks Wednesday afternoon to load coal.
The revised schedule for coal boats expected in to the CSX Docks has the Manitowoc due in early Friday morning, Kaye E. Barker late Saturday evening, Mississagi Sunday afternoon, followed by the Herbert C. Jackson on Tuesday afternoon.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Docks has the John J. Boland due in Thursday afternoon and the Halifax very late Thursday evening, followed by the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin early Sunday morning.
The revised schedule for boats due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock has the Algorail due in Friday, the tug Jane Ann IV with the barge Sarah Spencer on Saturday, followed by the Algosteel on Sunday.


Updates - June 12

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History : June 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The wooden propeller freighter MILWAUKEE (264 foot, 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.


Dredging of the Saginaw River expected to begin in August

6/11 - Saginaw - With construction of a spoils site due for completion in one to three weeks, dredging of the Saginaw River is just around the bend.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun building 14 monitoring wells around the 500-acre disposal facility in Zilwaukee Township and Bay County's Frankenlust Township. The 15- to 20-foot wells, costing a total of $50,000, will detect whether contaminants migrate beyond the clay containment perimeter.

The project preserves more than 100 jobs at 18 upper Saginaw River businesses that depend on river traffic. Ships could divert elsewhere if silt continues to pile up in the riverbed, officials say. "We're clearing the navigation channel so freighters and cargo ships can get through," said Lynn M. Duerod, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit.

The progress follows a lengthy dispute between the state Department of Environmental Quality and the Army Corps on how to properly deal with the dredging spoils. The DEQ maintained the the disposal facility would need slurry walls -- underground concrete walls designed to contain contaminated water -- to prevent leakage, while the Corps insisted the site doesn't need additional protection and is one of the safest the federal agency has designed.

The DEQ relented in May after Corps officials said they would take their $2 million in funding for the project elsewhere if stalemate continued. The resolution has allowed the Corps to proceed with construction of the monitoring wells. "We're moving forward," said Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner James A. Koski. "We're moving right along, and (crews) have been working all week. We're right on schedule."

The DEQ recently received the final draft of the management plan, outlining how the dredging will operate during the next 20 years, Koski said. "That was the last key thing to go into it."

With the wells completed, the Army Corps plans to dredge 200,000 cubic yards of the upper Saginaw River this summer, said Mike O'Bryan, chief of engineering and technical services for the Corps in Detroit. Crews will deposit the silt in the disposal facility, which will hold 3 million cubic yards worth of refuse. Koski expects the dredging to begin in August.

The DEQ is planning to host a public hearing to keep citizens informed of project developments in June. Officials have not yet set a date or location.

From the Saginaw News


Port Reports - June 11

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a foggy Tuesday morning at the Upper Harbor, Philip R. Clarke, a rare visitor, and John J. Boland, an infrequent visitor, arrived at the ore dock to load taconite.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Lafarge had several visitors on Tuesday. The Manitowoc unloaded during the early morning hours. Fleetmate McKee Sons/tug Invincible brought a load of coal during the afternoon.
The Alpena arrived under a rainbow and tied up under the silos during the evening.
The G. L Ostrander/barge Integrity came in once the Alpena departed.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The CSL Tadoussac was in bound the Saginaw River Tuesday afternoon, calling on the Essroc Cement Terminal in Essexville. She was expected to be finished with her unload and outbound for the lake early Wednesday morning.


New company plans to mine old Iron Range tailings dumps

6/11 - Duluth - Where others see mine waste, a group of Iron Range entrepreneurs see opportunity.

Six investors, all with ties to mining, have combined resources to launch Magnetation Inc., a Nashwauk-based company that aims to reclaim iron from the tailing basins of long-retired natural ore mines. Tailings are the processed rock byproduct of mine operations, and natural ore mines are the operations that fed the nation’s steel industry through the 1950s until they were replaced by taconite plants capable of handling lower-grade ore.

It’s common for the tailings from natural ore mines on the Range to have an iron content of 30 percent to 45 percent, said Larry Lehtinen, Magnetation’s chairman. He said natural ore mines relied on density separation to sort iron from pulverized waste rock. But because these original mining operations weren’t very sophisticated, he said, a fair amount of iron slipped through and wound up in the tailings. Most of this missed ore is hematite, a form of iron oxide that’s only slightly attracted to magnets.

Yet Magnetation claims to have developed a patent-pending process that effectively separates hematite from the mix using magnets. At the heart of the process is a contraption developed by Al Fritz, former superintendent of the J&L Hill Annex Mine near Hibbing and Magnetation’s founder. Fritz dubbed his invention the ferrous wheel. Not to be confused with the carnival ride, Fritz’s machine uses permanent magnets and an amplifying matrix to generate an intense magnetic field that can attract materials that are only faintly magnetic.

Taconite pellet operations use weaker magnetic fields to remove iron oxide — in the form of magnetite — from the ore they process. However, conventional taconite plants do nothing to capture hematite, because hematite is not readily drawn to conventional magnets. Consequently, the tailings from taconite operations usually still have an iron oxide content of 12 to 18 percent.

Lehtinen said some day Magnetation’s system, including the ferrous wheel, could be retrofitted into taconite plants to boost their efficiency, but for now, the company has focused its initial efforts on recovering iron from the tailings of natural ore mines.

Magnetation has applied for a state disposal system permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a mining permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Lehtinen hopes to have the permits in hand by July and aims to begin processing tailings south of Keewatin in August. The proposed initial processing operation would have an annual production capacity of about 200,000 metric tons and probably would create about 20 seasonal jobs, probably April through October.

Lehtinen described the process as a wet operation that would start with the excavation of a starter pond in the tailings basin. This pit would be pumped full of water, and a dredge would be used to feed the tailings to a processing unit in a slurry form. Because Magnetation will be handling preground materials, Lehtinen said it will require far less energy than conventional mine operations and should leave a relatively small carbon footprint. Waste from the plant — primarily silica removed from the tailings — will be returned to the basin in a terraced fashion. “We plan to leave behind wetlands that will be valuable in their own right,” Lehtinen said.

Magnetation plans to sell wetland mitigation credits as it completes work on the site.

“What intrigued me as an investor was not only what could be done with this waste rock but what could be done with wetlands.” said Tom Hammerlund Sr., one of Magnetation’s six investors. Hammerlund owns and operates a Grand Rapids construction firm that also works with wetland mitigation. “One of the nice things about this process is that it would allow you to go back and reclaim material that’s already been mined, and at the end of the day, you’d have wetlands,” said Brian Hiti, deputy commissioner of Iron Range Resources, an agency considering financial support for the project.

“It’s definitely preferable to disturbing virgin land,” Hiti said.

Magnetation expects to produce a fine-grained concentrate with an iron content of about 65 percent — roughly the same as a taconite pellet. This concentrate could be turned into pellets, used to produce iron nuggets or sold as sinter feed for steelmakers’ blast furnaces. Lehtinen pointed out that several mills on the Great Lakes use sinter to produce steel, and they could be supplied by freighters. But he noted there also could be opportunities to ship sinter to Mexico via barge and rail. Lehtinen said it may even be feasible to ship sinter to China by way of rail and container ship. Many shipping containers return to China empty, creating attractive backhaul opportunities, he said.

After well over a year of bench and pilot testing, Magnetation believes it is ready to launch its first commercial operation on the site of the Mesabi Chief No. 3 tailings basin, just south of Keewatin. The original mine ceased production in 1968. The property, now owned by Magnetation, was owned by Ed Shaughnessy, who once operated a dragstrip on the site and now is a partner in the company. The tailings on the property are about 25 to 30 feet deep, Lehtinen said.

The company projects it will be able to extract 500,000 metric tons of iron ore concentrate from the 110-acre site.

Lehtinen said the company is negotiating with owners of 10 other tailing basins. He estimates that within 25 miles of Magnetation’s Nashwauk headquarters, there are enough tailings to produce about 50 million metric tons of concentrate. That’s equivalent to 12 years production of all the Iron Range’s taconite operations running at their current capacity, as determined by the state in 2007.

Magnetation expects its processing operations to be portable. Lehtinen referred to the setup as “a bumper-hitch plant.”

Setting up the initial unit at the Mesabi Chief mine is anticipated to cost about $6 million. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has agreed to provide a $1 million loan and a $1 million grant to the project through the 21st Century Mineral Fund. Hiti said Iron Range Resources is contemplating a comparable aid package but details have yet to be determined. The IRR Board could take up the issue of funding for Magnetation when it meets June 19.

If Iron Range Resources makes a similar contribution to the project as DEED did, Lehtinen said Magnetation has the additional private investment committed to move forward. He said the company plans to reinvest profits from its operations back into additional processing capacity, and within three years, he expects Magnetation will be producing 1 million tons of iron concentrate per year.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Shipping industry sounds alarm over plan
that would alter Lake Ontario levels

6/11 - St. Catharines - Part of a proposal to control Lake Ontario water levels could create havoc for a shipping industry that requires stable and sufficient water levels for its shipping fleet, a hearing was told Monday.

A public hearing of the International Joint Commission was held at the Best Western in Jordan to get reaction to the preferred Plan 2007, in which water levels are controlled by a dam in Cornwall. If implemented, it would be the first change to the management plan for water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River in 40 years. A commission report has said the plan will help wetland plant diversity, increase hydropower production and reduce erosion to properties along Lake Ontario.

The report acknowledges that boaters using facilities where water is shallow will have more draft problems.

Wayne Hennessy, director of vessel traffic and customer service at Seaway Marine Transport in St. Catharines, said of particular concern is the proposal to reduce the lake level in two- year periods every 20 years to help boost biodiversity. The new plan, he said, also doesn’t allow sufficient flexibility to aid navigation through water-level extremes.

If, after a decision is made to draw down the lake and conditions then turn dry, there may not be enough water left in the system to support (uninterrupted cargo) navigation for the balance of the year,” Hennessy said. The problem, he added, could cause millions of dollars in losses for his company in one season.

“If, on the other hand, conditions turn wet, river velocities may be so high that it would be unsafe for navigation,” Hennessy said. “We do not believe that these scenarios have been taken into account in the economic impact calculation.” There were an estimated 50 people at the hearing, several from the Hamilton area.

The commission was told sensitive shoreline environment in the Hamilton and Burlington wetlands and watershed could be at risk with the plan. In particular, it could change the timing of the spring and late-summer water levels, to the detriment of the ecosystem there, commission members were told.

The hearing will continue at various venues until June 26 and commissioners will accept public comment until July 11.

From the St. Catharines Standard


Updates - June 11

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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.


The launch of the Edmund Fitzgerald

6/10 - Vermillion — Fifty years ago, droves of people flocked to the shores of River Rouge, Mich., to witness the beginning of what would become the greatest tragedy on the Great Lakes.

On June 7, 1958, the 729-foot Great Lakes ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald was side-launched into the harbor —signifying the birth of the ship.

Although remembered for tragically sinking 17 years later, Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermilion, said the launch of the Edmund Fitzgerald was considered a spectacular event. “Launchings of vessels on the Great Lakes was a huge affair,” Gillcrist said. “Thousands came out to watch and christening parties followed. It was a major social and economic celebration.”

The Inland Seas Maritime Museum is running an exhibit —“Sideways to the Sea: A Ship is Born”— through Aug. 1 highlighting the ceremonies of side-launches and its grand 200-year history.

The process was an impressive one, Gillcrist said, and was unique to the Great Lakes region because of the sheer size of the ships and the narrow waterways into which they were dumped. Ships would be built along a river from the ground up atop a series of carefully placed timber supports. When it was time to slide the ship in the water, wedges would be driven under the land side of the ship, forcing the weight of the ship to transfer and carry it into the water — sometimes at a tilt of 90 degrees.

“You don’t really get a sense of it anymore, because it hasn’t been done for a number of years,” Gillcrist said. “It really is fascinating to see these boats go in the water.”

The museum’s exhibit features items that range from an invitation to the side-launch of the Edmund Fitzgerald to a commemorative champagne bottle top left behind from the christening of the David Z. Norton ship in 1906. There’s even video footage of the Edmund Fitzgerald sliding into the harbor, which is followed by the most recent launching of the U.S. Coast Guard Mackinaw in Marinette, Wis., in April 2005. The 28-foot-long christening flag of the Irving S. Olds, which was launched in 1942 in Lorain, is the largest piece in the collection and fittingly spans the ceiling of the exhibit.

Gillcrist said that back then, shipbuilders kept the ship’s name secret until its launching, and only then was the flag unfurled to the applause of those in attendance. Both the flag and the video depicting some of the launches are a favorite of Carrie Sowden, the museum’s archaeological director. Whether looking at the flag or the pictures of the numerous launches throughout the exhibit, Sowden said you can’t help but get a little wrapped up in bits of Great Lakes history that isn’t well-known.

“There’s a lot of history here, but there’s also a science to shipbuilding and the launches,” she said. “The ceremony was probably like a ribbon cutting, just a lot more interesting, and with a lot more people.”

From the Lorain Chronicle-Telegram


Port Reports - June 10

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Calumet arrived in foggy conditions at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River around 11 a.m. on Monday. It tied up and unloaded coal for the DPI Plant. By 4 p.m. it was powering up to leave.
Coming into the river after the Calumet was the research vessel Sturgeon, heading in to dock.
The Naval Sea Cadets training vessel Pride of Michigan has also been tied up in the river the past few days.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The Tim S. Dool arrived at KCBX Terminals very early Monday morning. The Dool began loading a cargo of petroleum coke at 3:45 am, destined for Port Alfred. The Dool waited at anchor for a few days until the balance of the cargo arrived to complete the load.


New Photo Gallery launched

6/10 - A new "Historical Perspective" gallery up and running on the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping website.

The new gallery will feature the pictorial history of a selected lake boats from the past. Normal access to the page is set up through "Photo Galleries" on the BoatNerd home page.

Help build the page! Search your collections and submit your images to , with Subject: "Historical Perspectives". Each month, a different vessel will be featured where we've gathered photos from our archives and ask our viewers for submissions to help fill the page.


Updates - June 10

News Photo Gallery updated

New Historical Perspective Gallery


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.


Scientists measure lake evaporation at lighthouse

6/9 - Traverse City, Mich. — For more than a century, the Stannard Rock lighthouse existed for one purpose: warning mariners away from a deadly reef lurking just below the surface of Lake Superior.

Now it has a new mission. Scientists have placed equipment atop the 110-foot-high structure, hoping to determine how much of the giant lake’s water is being sucked into the atmosphere.

Hydrologists say stepped-up evaporation, possibly linked to global warming, is a leading reason that Great Lakes levels have receded over the past decade — at times hitting record lows. Milder temperatures have shrunk the ice cover that historically covered much of the lakes during winter, when evaporation rates are highest.

Low water has caused heavy losses for shippers, marinas and other sectors of the regional economy while stoking conspiracy theories about secret pipelines to Arizona.

It’s widely believed that evaporation causes about half the water loss each year from Lake Superior, said Jay Austin, assistant professor with the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Large Lake Observatory. Superior is the biggest of the Great Lakes and a feeder for the others.

But the numbers are based on computer models. The Stannard Rock experiment is intended to provide the first direct evaporation measurements.

“It’s one of the areas where our information is rather weak,” said Ted Yuzyk, co-chairman of a U.S.-Canadian panel studying water levels on the upper Great Lakes. It’s not simply an academic question. The study was requested by regulators caught up in a debate over what, if anything, can be done about low water.

The International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian advisory agency, is considering whether to change the rules that determine how much water is released from Lake Superior to the other lakes through gates, hydroelectric plants and locks on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie.

Also, the commission is investigating a Canadian group’s contention that navigational dredging has opened a “drain hole” in the St. Clair River that is sending billions of extra gallons daily from Lake Huron to Lake Erie — and, eventually, through the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic. The group wants obstacles placed in the St. Clair River to stem the flow.

To resolve such politically touchy issues, the commission needs the best data available about what factors influence water levels, spokesman John Nevin said. “Evaporation is an important piece of the puzzle,” he said. “We may be looking at an entirely different water supply scenario because of climate change.”

A team led by Christopher Spence, a research scientist with Environment Canada’s Water and Science Technology Branch, installed the equipment this month on the isolated Stannard Rock lighthouse, nearly 50 miles north of Marquette. The lighthouse sits on a concrete base anchored to the reef.

The scientists are using a technique called eddy covariance, which combines humidity and air velocity data to calculate how fast water vapor rises from the lake surface. It’s similar to observing the way smoke wafts upward and outward after candles on a birthday cake are blown out, Spence said.

The gear includes a sonic anemometer, which produces three-dimensional wind measurements, and an analyzer that gauges water vapor in the air at intervals lasting only tenths of a second. Sensors keep track of air and water temperature, solar radiation, relative humidity and wind speed and direction.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - June 9

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with another load for the St. Mary's Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. It was still tied up as of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was in at Essroc on Saturday. Capt. Henry Jackman in at 11:00 a.m. and out again at 11 p.m. after unloading salt in the Turning Basin.
The Oakville-based hobby tug Pascol was in port for a visit.
The schooner Empire Sandy departed early Friday morning for Niagara River and Welland Canal excursions for Niagara College.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River early Thursday morning with a split load. The pair dropped part of their load at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing up river to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore and Kuber were out bound Thursday evening.


Ashtabula County’s shipwrecks featured on new Web site

6/9 - Ashtabula - A wealth of Ashtabula County history, submerged in Lake Erie for decades, has resurfaced on a new Internet Web site.

The site pays homage to 28 famous lake shipwrecks, nearly stretching the length of Ohio’s coast. Three of the wrecks chronicled on the Web site sit off the county’s shoreline. The Web site, , was created primarily by the Ohio Sea Grant Extension and designed to complement the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail, which passes through the county.

Hundreds and hundreds of ships sit on the bottom of the shallowest Great Lake, but the 28 on the “Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales” were culled from a panel of divers, historians and nautical experts, according to reports. The local representatives are:

James H. Reed, carrying iron ore, sank about 20 miles off Conneaut in April 1944 after colliding with another vessel in fog. A dozen crew members died.

John B. Lyon, also hauling iron ore, sank in a storm a short distance off the Conneaut shoreline. Nine of the crew were killed.

Marquette and Bessemer No. 2 car ferry, which sank while en route from Conneaut to Port Stanley, Ontario in Dec. 1909. Perhaps the most mysterious of local shipwrecks, the ferry was hauling 30 railroad cars filled with coal across the lake when it went down during a ferocious storm. The boat left Conneaut on Dec. 7, according to newspaper accounts. Two days later, nine of the ferry’s crew members were found frozen inside a small boat. Depending on accounts, 32 or 34 people died in the wreck, many of them local residents. The wreckage has never been discovered and is highly coveted by divers and historians.

In the future, exhibits detailing the wrecks may be installed at spots along the Coastal Ohio Trail, according to reports. There’s plenty of curiosity about Lake Erie shipwrecks, said Bob Frisbie, director of the Ashtabula Marine Museum.“People who come in have different interests,” he said. “Some want information on lighthouses, others are interested about shipwrecks.”

The museum contains photos and exhibits of those with a local connection, including the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Ashtabula car ferry tragedy of 1958, Frisbie said. A mill stone salvaged from a ship that sank off Ashtabula more than a century ago is on display outside the museum, he said.

Museum visitors often have insights to the local nautical history, and shipwrecks are no exception, Frisbie said. “There are so many stories to get to hear at the museum.

Visit the museum’s Web site,  for more information

From the Ashtabula Star Beacon


BoatNerd Freighter Raffle Winners Announced

6/8– Port Huron – Captain Eric Treece, from the Edward L. Ryerson, drew the winning tickets in the second annual BoatNerd Freighter Trip Raffle, from the barrel on Saturday, at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron.

Grand Prize – A trip for two aboard the Edward L. Ryerson - # 742 Gary Withun - Oxford, Mi

Prize - Inn at Lock 7 weekend Stay - # 3512 Herb Moor - St Catharines, Ont.

Prize – Two tickets for Diamond Jack’s River Tours on the Detroit River - # 485 David J. Bardsley - Drummond Island, MI

Prize – A round trip for two, including auto, aboard the S. S. Badger - # 2458 Judy Pieron - Pinkney, MI

Prize - Two tickets for Diamond Jack’s River Tours on the Detroit River - # 654 William D. Carle III - Lakewood, Oh

Prize – Two passes for a sunset dinner cruise on the Soo Locks Boat Tours -# 1240 Douglas Smith - West Milton, Oh.

Prize – A complete porthole assembly from the Calumet - # 4279 Gordon Rohweder - Owensboro, Kentucky

Prize – A two-hour cruise for two aboard the Huron Lady II - # 3309 - Ken Stommel - Port Huron MI

Prize - Two tickets for Diamond Jack’s River Tours on the Detroit River - # 3710 - Rosemary Czubinski  -St. Clair Shores, MI

Prize – A tour for two of the DeTour Reef Lighthouse - #1020 Richard Mohr - Lansing, Mi

Prize – A round trip for two to Beaver Island - # 1055 Cathy Kohring - Detour, MI

Prize - Two tickets for Diamond Jack’s River Tours on the Detroit River - # 4349 James Jacka - Bristol, Indiana

Prize – A sunset cruise for two aboard the Keweenaw Star - # 2534 – Garry McKeen - Frankfort, IL

Prize – A 1-1/2 hour sightseeing cruise for four aboard the Vista Fleet - # 2008 – Elk Creek Carving - Grand Maris, Mn

Prize – Winners choice a print from the Digital Shipyard - # 1682 Donald Lode – Rolling Prairie, Indiana

The Board of Directors and staff of Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. want to thank all the organizations that offered this fine list of prizes that made the raffle very successful and thank all of our users for supporting the site through ticket purchases.


Annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise aboard the Chief Shingwauk

The annual trip aboard the Chief Shingwauk for a full three (3) hours leaving from Roberta Bondar Pavilion in Soo, Ontario at 6 p.m., Saturday, June 28.

We will go where the boats are! Lock up and down through the American and Canadian Locks. The cruise will return at 9:00 p.m.

Cost is $30.00 per adults and $20.00 for children 12 and under. Price includes dinner. Cash bar on board.

Make reservations by calling (705) 253-9850, or 1-877-226-3665. Space is limited.


Updates - June 9

News 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.


Port Reports - June 8

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, and Herbert C. Jackson loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

South Chicago
Local reports indicate that the John Sherwin has been moved from her storage position. She was moored between the two grain elevators, in Lake Calumet, on the far south side of Chicago since towed from Duluth in 2006. Her new location has not been reported.


Updates - June 8

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : June 8

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.


Remembering the Fitzgerald on a different day

6/7 - At 12:38 p.m. Saturday, 50 years to the minute later, the same shipbuilding company foreman will blow the same whistle used when the SS Edmund Fitzgerald was launched, though he'll be several miles south of the original River Rouge slip.

This weekend, the focus is on the Edmund Fitzgerald's history, with a commemoration ceremony. The program on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lake Erie Metropark, co-hosted by the Gibraltar Historical Society, will include workshops on shipbuilding and vessels built Downriver.

"The Edmund Fitzgerald is Michigan's Titanic," said event organizer and Great Lakes Shipbuilders founder Roscoe Clark.

For most residents of Great Lake states, Nov. 10 is the date forever associated with the famous freighter. However, unlike the many memorial services and bell ringings that mark the stormy day nearly 33 years ago when 29 sailors lost their lives, Saturday's remembrance will highlight another side of the Fitzgerald's legacy.

"Fifty-thousand people in River Rouge were watching the most famous ship launch into the Detroit River," Clark said. "This ship went into 11 years of records. It was the pride of the American fleet. It was envied by everyone."

After failing to secure the old Great Lakes Engineering Works slip north of Nicholson Terminal, he decided to host the anniversary event at the metropark because it has nice views of passing ships.

Clark said he tried unsuccessfully to hold the 50th anniversary celebration in River Rouge, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and Wyandotte. Two other events were already planned for Saturday, Wyandotte officials explained Wednesday, and the following day, Bob Sandler, a spokesman for the Dossin, said that a scheduled meeting with the organizers never materialized. According to River Rouge City Commissioner and Mariners Memorial Lighthouse keeper Tony Laginess, Clark never contacted him or the city about a commemoration ceremony.

"Last night, we passed a proclamation making June 7 Edmund Fitzgerald Day," Laginess said Thursday of the City of River Rouge. "Throughout those years, we pumped out almost 300 ships out of there."

Great Lakes Engineering Works' two slips are now used by the Great Lakes Steel Boat Club and Great Lakes Towing, according to Laginess.

From The Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - June 7

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The saltie Spar Jade departed at 5:30 a.m. for Port Weller and then Duluth. Canadian provider departed at 9 a.m. for the canal. Robert S Pierson arrived at 4:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. After discharging she will head to Marblehead.
The tugs LaPrairie and Omni Richelieu departed at 4:45 p.m. for Toronto. CSL Tadoussac departed at 5 p.m. from US Steel. The Peter R Cresswell arrived at 5:30 p.m. with stone from Meldrum Bay. John D Leitch arrived at 10 p.m.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The USCG Bristol Bay was in Marquette on Thursday. She had picked up a rogue buoy on Lake Superior and delivered her to Marquette. The buoy came from the Canadian side of the lake.


New Refinery Proposed on St. Clair River

6/7 - Detroit - Environmental groups and U.S. officials are sounding alarms about two major new Canadian projects -- a heavy oil mega-refinery along the St. Clair River and an underground radioactive waste repository near Lake Huron -- they say could put Michigan air and water at risk for decades.

Shell Canada plans a giant refinery along five miles of St. Clair River shoreline now dotted with farms and marinas, across from St. Clair and Marine City. The refinery would process up to 250,000 barrels a day of heavy crude oil from rich tar sands in Alberta, making fuel for the Canadian market. The new refinery would be more than twice the size of the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit, which is seeking state permits to expand by 15% to 115,000 barrels per day.

Ontario nuclear officials are making plans to dig 2,150 feet underground to bury low- and medium-level radioactive waste from 20 nuclear plants for hundreds of years. The site is half a mile from Lake Huron, across the lake from Michigan's Thumb.

The new Shell refinery is 12 miles downstream from Chemical Valley and its older refineries, chemical and power plants. It's across from two Michigan coal-fired power plants. The refinery is to include its own new power plant, tank farms, a temporary worker village, hazardous waste treatment, storage for piles of coke and new docks to accommodate 870 oil tankers each year.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency submitted letters to the Canadian government May 23, raising concerns about possible chemical discharges, including mercury and toxic chemicals, into the river. Building a new dock could disrupt contaminated sediment in the river and disperse it into the St. Clair delta, the headwaters of Lake St. Clair. A preliminary environmental study by Shell used outdated or incomplete data to conclude there would be no harm to the river, the EPA noted.

Amrik Ahluwalia, general manager of the Shell project, said the refinery plans to use new technology to reduce air and water emissions, including a new recycling water system that won't discharge into the river. It will produce 70% less sulfur dioxide than the existing refinery. "I'm convinced this will be a winner for the environment," he said.

Martz said he is just as concerned about the nuclear waste storage dump. His board and several governments, including the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, have passed resolutions calling for more study and U.S. input.

Last year, U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, an Upper Peninsula Democrat, wrote Canadian officials to ask for an in-depth review of the project. "I believe that siting a permanent underground storage facility less than a mile away from Lake Huron raises significant concerns," he wrote.

Marie Wilson, spokeswoman for Ontario Power Generation, said if it can't be done safely, the repository won't be built. Locals support the underground project, and preliminary studies show the nuclear waste could be safely contained, she said.

Millions of people, including many in Michigan, get drinking water from Lake Huron or waters downstream from it and could be at risk if something happens, even thousands of years from now, said Kay Cumbow, an environmental activist. And the Detroit water system draws water for northern suburbs from Lake Huron.

"It's critical that all people in the Great Lakes watershed, especially downstream, have a true voice in this proposed dump," she said.

From the Detroit Free Press


Updates - June 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery temporarily offline due to technical difficulties.


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.


Port Reports - June 6

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes backed in Thursday and tied up at to unload Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg at 1 p.m. It was heard blowing the traditional salute outbound at 5:30p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River early Thursday morning with a split load. The pair dropped part of their load at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore and Kuber were outbound Thursday evening.


Port Huron Marine Mart Saturday

The Port Huron Museum is hosting a Marine Memorabilia Flea Market. The mart will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal, 2633 Military Street, and there is no admission charge.

The mart is co-sponsored by the Lake Huron Lore Society. Acheson Ventures and Great Lakes Nautical Society. The Great Lakes Nautical Society will have their 4th annual Port Huron Great Lakes Regatta displaying over 50 model boats.

The winners of the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. freighter trip raffle will be drawn at 2 p.m., the same day, at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, a short distance from the Seaway Terminal. Edward L. Ryerson Capt. Eric Treece will be drawing the winning ticket.


Annual BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II Saturday

The annual trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II is scheduled for Saturday, June 7.

The boat leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron. BoatNerd price is just $12.00, but reservations are required.

Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at


Updates - June 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery temporarily offline due to technical difficulties.


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. EDWARD 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.


USCG Duluth rescues injured dredge worker

6/5 - Duluth - Personnel from Coast Guard Station Duluth evacuated a 42-year-old crewman from a dredge barge after his foot became wedged between a wire rope and a bit near the Blatnik Bridge about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The crew arrived on scene just minutes after receiving the call for assistance, and crewmembers prevented a near-amputation by applying direct pressure to the man's leg. The crew transferred the man — who was in shock — to their boat and transported him to a boat landing, where a waiting ambulance transported him to St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Marine Safety Duluth is conducting an investigation of the injury. The Superior Fire Department also responded to the accident.

Reported by Al Miller


Port Reports - June 5

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
Grande Mariner arrived in Holland Wednesday morning, tied up at the Boatwerks Restaurant dock and discharged its passengers for shore excursions. It headed back for Lake Michigan in the evening and turned toward Manistee.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
The Adam E. Cornelius was inbound on the Calumet River at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, backing down river for KCBX, arriving about 11:45 a.m. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible was seen down the river loading at Beemsterboer.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Wednesday Kaministiqua was loading ore at the Midwest Terminal Dock.
The tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 was also secured at this dock site, they will eventually proceed over to the B-P Dock to load cargo. Tug Petite Forte with the barge St. Marys Cement was at the St. Marys Cement Dock unloading cement.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Dock has the Philip R. Clarke and American Mariner due in on Thursday, Herbert C. Jackson on Friday, Lee A. Tregurtha on Sunday, followed by the Manistee on Monday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Docks has the tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder due in on Friday, Canadian Navigator on Sunday, Algosteel on Tuesday, followed by the Halifax on Wednesday.
Mississagi is due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Friday.  Some of the ore that has been offloaded at the Midwest Terminal Dock is now also being loaded aboard railroad cars and shipped out to an unknown destination.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Saltie Stellanova is loading at Pier 51.  The saltie Orna is unloading at Redpath. Wednesday saw the cement boats Stephen B. Roman and Englsh River in port. The Roman departed at 4 p.m. for Picton, and the River departing later in the evening for Bath. Capt. Henry Jackman was also in port Wednesday, arriving at 8:30 a.m. with a cargo of salt. It departed late Wednesday night, bound for the Welland Canal.


BoatNerd Freighter Trip Raffle - Last Day to Order Tickets

A trip for four aboard the legendary Great Lakes steamboat Edward L. Ryerson is the top prize in this year's BoatNerd Raffle.

Other prizes include: a port hole from the Calumet courtesy International Marine Salvage, a cruise aboard the Huron Lady II, sightseeing cruises of Duluth-Superior aboard the Vista Fleet, tickets for Diamond Jack's River Tours on the Detroit River, passes aboard the Keweenaw Star for a sunset cruise, and round trip tickets to Beaver Island, four prizes of passes for two on a Diamond Jack cruise on the Detroit River, a round trip for two including auto aboard the carferry Badger donated by the Lake Michigan Carferry and two Tours of the DeTour Reef Lighthouse courtesy the Detour Reef Light Preservation Society.

All proceeds from the raffle will benefit the BoatNerd.Com Web site. Funds raised will be used to pay the charges associated with running such a busy site. Fund-raising raffles are our only method of support; without the raffle BoatNerd.Com would be forced to discontinue this free web site.

The drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 7, 2008 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters at Vantage Point, in Port Huron, Mich. Donation: $10 per ticket, 3 for $25, 6 for $50 or 14 for $100.

Click here to order, or for more information. Tickets are also available by mail, or in person at BoatNerd World Headquarters in Port Huron.

Deadlines - Ticket orders by mail must be received no later than June 4. Ticket orders online via PayPal must be received no later than 7 p.m. June 5. Tickets may be purchased until 1 p.m. at Port Huron on the day of the drawing, June 7.

State of Michigan Raffle License # R95375


Updates - June 5

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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 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 CSLÕs 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.


Algoma Welcomes Tim S. Dool to the Fleet

6/4 - Toronto - Algoma Central Corporation renamed the Algoville to Tim S. Dool as reported Monday. The ship was rededicated honoring the former President and Chief Executive Officer on the occasion of his retirement from that position. Tim Dool continues as a Director on the Board of the Algoma Central Corporation.

The rededication ceremony was held near Lock 1 on the Welland Canal on the morning of June 3, 2008. During the ceremony, which was attended by Tim Dool's family and friends, and employees from Algoma Central, Greg Wight, President and Chief Executive Officer of Algoma Central Corporation congratulated Tim Dool on his 31 years of service to the Corporation, saying: "In the process of leading Algoma Central Corporation to the proud position it holds today, Tim Dool has provided leadership, support and encouragement to all of Algoma's valued employees. Thanks to Tim Dool, Algoma Central Corporation is a dynamic Canadian company with a truly global presence."

Sponsor, Ellen Dool, wife of Tim Dool, rededicated with the words: "I rededicate this ship, the Motor Vessel Tim S. Dool. May God guard her, and guide her, and keep all those who sail in her." After the new name of the ship was revealed, the traditional bottle of champagne was then smashed against the ship's bow.

The 31,182 deadweight tonne, 730-foot gearless bulk vessel was recently re-engined with a modern fuel efficient and environmentally friendlier main engine. Sailing under the Algoma Central house flag, she is operated by Seaway Marine Transport of St. Catharines, Ontario.

Algoma news release


Seaway traffic down slightly

6/4 - St. Catharines - The St. Lawrence Seaway is reporting slightly reduced traffic for the first five months of 2008. Overall vessel transits are reduced from 962 in 2007, to 943 thus far this season. Total tonnage is also down some 573,000 tons in the same period.

The Welland Canal section has shown increases however. Transits are up from 805 to 849, and total tonnage through the canal has increased by 50,000.

The Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the Seaway has seen decrease traffic from 561 down to 540 passages, and tonnage has dropped by 301,000 tons.

St. Lawrence Seaway news release


Port Reports - June 4

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore & Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Monday night with a split load for the Essexville Wirt and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair completed their unload and were outbound Tuesday morning. On their outbound trip, they passed two inbound vessels in the Saginaw River Entrance Channel near Light 12, the Agawa Canyon and the Buffalo. The Agawa Canyon traveled upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, while the Buffalo stopped in Bay City at the Bay Aggregates dock. Both vessels were expected to be outbound later on Tuesday.

Welland Canal - Paul Beesley
On Monday the Algoville arrived below Lock 1 and secured for the night. During the afternoon the name on the ship was painted out and the new name, Tim S. Dool, was painted on. The ship was dressed overall for the occasion. Tuesday morning saw the Dool leave her berth below Lock 1 and proceed upbound.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
After several days of inactivity at Marquette's harbors the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder arrived mid-morning Tuesday at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload stone. Later in the afternoon, the pair moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock. As the Pathfinder was loading ore Tuesday evening, fleetmate Herbert C. Jackson arrived and unloaded stone into the Upper Harbor hopper.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible brought a load of stone to Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island at midday Tuesday. Also the dredging began off the outer harbor at long last.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Manitowoc arrived in Holland mid-afternoon on Tuesday flying a Lower Lakes house flag, as well as flags for the Red Wings, the Michigan Wolverines, and one proclaiming "Don't Give Up the Ship". It delivered stone from Port Inland to the Verplank dock and departed in the evening.

Rochester, NY - Tom Brewer
The tug Kathy Lynn, pushing a derrick barge, arrived at Rochester at about 9:00 PM Tuesday night. They will be dredging the Genesee River. Ryba Marine Construction of Cheboygan, MI have the contract from the Corps of Engineers.


Parched areas beginning to eye Great Lakes water supply

6/4 - Buffalo - In the Southwest, everything from towing icebergs to seeding clouds is under consideration as the massive area served by the Colorado River basin struggles with a historic drought.

In the Southeast, persistent water shortages have led to the banning of most outdoor uses of water in northern Georgia. And California is considering mandatory water rationing as soon as this summer.

A growing population and a warmer world are pressuring the country’s water supply. And that pressure raises a question: In the eyes of arid Las Vegas, Atlanta and Los Angeles, are the Great Lakes less a distant mirage on the map and more a miracle salvation?

It’s a question the 40 million people who live around the lakes have reason to ask as their representatives work to ratify a landmark agreement — called the Great Lakes Compact — aimed largely at insuring the water isn’t siphoned off by an increasingly parched world.

The Great Lakes, which hold about 20 percent of the surface fresh water in the world, continue to quench thirsts, produce food, influence weather, provide power, enhance recreation and inspire artists in two countries. Their bounty has nurtured generations. But sources of fresh water are drying up across the country — and the world — while demand rises. Analysts believe demand will get more urgent as higher temperatures forecast by climate-change models make it more coveted.

While Western officials insist they aren’t eyeing Great Lakes water, some say that inevitably there will be pressure to transport the water elsewhere. “There is a long-term threat to the Great Lakes with respect to large-scale diversion,” said Kevin Martin, assistant deputy minister for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. “We are fearful that at some point in the future, someone is going to look at the lakes and think that they are an opportunity to foster irrigation projects . . . or urban growth in the Southwestern U. S.,” he said.

That fear is echoed on this side of the border by observers such as Noah Hall, a law professor at Detroit’s Wayne State University who has monitored the progress of the Great Lakes Compact, an international agreement to manage the estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of lake water. The compact bans new water diversions from in and around the lakes’ basin, except for limited exceptions, which must meet stringent criteria. “I look at both the science and the politics,” Hall said. “Both point us in a direction that makes the prospect of some of the drier parts of the states seeking Great Lakes water inevitable.”

The science Hall refers to revolves around global warming — which experts believe will exacerbate existing shortages — and engineering, which has already created elaborate water movement systems to make the desert bloom and bring water to millions of people. The water supplies in many parts of the West are fed through the melting and runoff of mountain snow into the Colorado River basin in the spring. Climate models indicate global warming will bring less snow and more rain.

“It’s estimated we’ll lose 20 percent of our snowpack,” said Rita Schmidt Sudman, executive director of the California-based Water Education Foundation. “It’s not going to be beneficial to the river.” The Colorado River — which supplies water to six Southwestern states and Mexico — is already under stress because of the worst drought conditions in its recorded history.

The politics Hall refers to reflect the country’s population shift from the North and East to the South and West. “When you look at these [water diversion] projects rationally, none of them make sense,” Hall said. “But that doesn’t mean that politicians won’t try to do them.”

The near-unanimous view of experts today is that the creation of any massive system to move water from the Great Lakes would run up against formidable economic, environmental and legal obstacles. The cost of two massive projects to move water from Alaska and James Bay of Canada to the American West were estimated at anywhere from $100 billion to $300 billion each in the 1960s, when they were under discussion.

Building and operating such a system today would cost much more, given the increased costs of labor, materials and energy. And it would have to go through a regulatory process that largely didn’t exist then, one that would doubtless generate impassioned opposition. “The environmental constraints would be significant,” said Peter Culp, a Phoenix lawyer specializing in water issues. “The political constraints would be significant.”

Water officials throughout drier parts of the country stressed the only talk of moving Great Lakes water comes in the form of, as Culp put it, “jokes about wishing all these people moving here from Michigan would bring the Great Lakes with them.” “We are not . . . looking in any way toward the Great Lakes as an entity in which we would have any interest, plans or discussions,” said Scott Huntley, spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which supplies water to about 2 million people in the Las Vegas Valley.

The authority has a vigorous agenda to ensure there is enough water to sustain the area’s spectacular growth. It is spending about $1 billion to run a tunnel under Lake Mead, its primary water source, and add a deep-water intake. Its two existing intakes are threatened by the low level of the lake, which is at 50 percent capacity.

A bigger proposal, still in the planning stage, involves building a 250-mile pipeline to move water from aquifers in the northern part of the state. Huntley estimated the cost at $3.5 billion. That’s in addition to a study completed last year by the Colorado River basin states that outlined 12 potential alternative water sources, including towing icebergs.

While none involves Great Lakes water, one of the alternatives is tapping the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, a suggestion that hasn’t been well received along that river. Huntley said such large-scale approaches “are the ones that won’t be examined first. There’s a lot more emphasis on conservation, reuse and vegetation management.”

The authority has spent more than $100 million on a unique buy-back program that pays homeowners to replace water-intensive lawns with more desert-friendly landscaping. There are also restrictions on when people can use water outdoors, and the “water police” patrol to ensure compliance.

Those kinds of programs would make a huge dent in the West’s water needs if they were adopted region wide, according to water policy expert Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif. “In many regions where there’s growing controversy over water shortages, the old solution has been to take more water, to tap into the next river or lake,” he said. “That worked in the 20th century, but I don’t think it’s going to work in the 21st century, because most of those sources are overtapped.”

Gleick and others say conservation is a much less expensive option, one that could yield dramatic savings. Retrofitting old, 6-gallon toilets with ones that use 1.6 gallons would produce a 75 percent reduction in water used by toilets, he said.

Sending water from Lake Erie to Las Vegas may be unrealistic, but governments around the Great Lakes aren’t taking any chances. A proposal 10 years ago to ship Lake Superior water to Asia in the hulls of ships prompted years of negotiations among the governors of the eight states and two Canadian provinces along the lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

The result is the compact, which is “meant to be the bulletproof water fence to fend off long-range, large-scale diversions and manage smaller diversions,” said former Newsweek writer Peter Annin, author of the book “The Great Lakes Water Wars.”

New York ratified the compact earlier this year, joining four other Great Lakes states. Ontario and Quebec also have approved the compact. Three other states are in various stages of ratification, and Annin and Hall both believe the odds of those states signing on are good.

The compact also is subject to approval by Congress. Annin and Hall agree the odds of that happening are good in the short term but drop as time goes on. They point to the 2010 census, which will doubtless add congressional seats in the South and West while taking away seats in the Great Lakes states. “The signals that the governors have been getting from the Great Lakes congressional delegation has been, ‘If you’re going to get it to us, get it to us before 2010,’ ” Annin said.

From the Buffalo News


Updates - June 4

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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 19343.5 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.


Algoville Renamed

6/3 - The Algoma Central bulker Algoville has been reported to have received a new name  - Tim S. Dool.

The new name honors Tim Dool who retired at the end of April as president and CEO of Algoma Central Corporation. The new name was added to the vessel on Monday at the sand dock in Port Weller harbor.

Reported by Bill Bird


Lake Superior level increasing

6/3 - Duluth - Lake Superior rose faster than usual in May, increasing by 5 inches, an inch more than normal.

It’s the second straight month of above-normal increase for the big lake’s water level.

The International Lake Superior Board of Control on Monday reported that the lake’s level on June 1 was just 7 inches below its long-term average and is 14 inches above the level at this time last year. The increase continues a general trend that has been under way since September.

Rainfall for the Lake Superior watershed was about normal in May after being much higher than normal in April. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says Lake Superior will continue to rise in June as usual.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Report June 3

Hamilton Eric Holmes
Monday afternoon, Algontario arrived at 5 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. The tug Annie M Dean arrived at 5:30 p.m.
Canadian Transport departed Dofasco at 7 p.m. for Ashtabula.
The bunker ship Hamilton Energy departed at 8 p.m. for Toronto.
Algocape arrived at 9 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Sunday was a busy along the Calumet River in South Chicago. The Wilfred Sykes arrived at KCBX Terminals to load a coal cargo for Holland, MI. The Sykes departed for Holland at 11:15 am.
St. Mary's Challenger was inbound with cement.  Great Lakes Trader was inbound with a load of stone for Carmeuse Lime.  The John G. Munson was also inbound with stone for the Carmeuse dock.


Canadian shipping industry calls for end of Duty

6/3 - Ottawa Canadian ship operators are urging the government to end a 25 per cent duty on new ships purchased abroad.

Fleets are aging and "it has become clear that Canadian shipyards cannot build the new vessels required in a cost-competitive and timely manner," Don Morrison, president of the Canadian Shipowners Association, stated Monday.

The tax is holding back environmental improvements and the competitiveness of Canadian shippers, says the association, representing Algoma, Canada Steamship Lines, Groupe Desgagnes, Rigel Shipping, Seaway Marine Transport and Upper Lakes Group.

"The 25 per cent import duty is a failed policy," Morrison argues.

"If it was meant to offset offshore subsidies, those have long been removed. If it was meant to promote building new ships in Canada, we are now 23 years and counting without a new Great lakes cargo ship built in this country."

The association proposes immediate elimination of the duty on new ships, with the levy remaining for 10 years on used vessels before being scrapped.

The group says the duty should remain indefinitely on ship repairs "to protect Canadian industry's ability to service vessels."

The shipowners say the Canadian shipbuilding industry is now focused on work for governments, which "leaves no Canadian shipyard in a position to build the renewed fleet CSA member organizations require," estimated at $10 billion worth over the next decade.

As the shipping operators are forced to buy new ships offshore, "the 25 per cent duty is merely adding costs to Canadian consumers and delaying the renewal of the Canadian fleet."


Canada-U.S. waterways make for easy smuggling: report

6/3 - Ottawa — A lack of information about private vessels that ply the waters between Canada and the United States is hampering efforts to thwart cross-border smugglers, warns a newly declassified intelligence report.

The latest threat assessment prepared for special border enforcement teams says pleasure boats are among the increasingly inventive means used by crafty couriers to slip illicit cargo — including drugs, guns and people — from one country to the other. The marine environment “is viewed as particularly vulnerable and porous to smuggling activity” due to the many challenges in keeping tabs on lakes, waterways and tiny coves, says the August 2007 report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

One American criminal group has children carrying bags of tobacco swim across the St. Croix River between Maine and New Brunswick, the assessment says. Two Israeli citizens travelling in a rental truck were apprehended in the U.S. after illegally entering from Canada by boat in the Central St. Lawrence Valley region.

A group linked to the Hells Angels Quebec chapter is suspected of smuggling cocaine and weapons by diving into the St. Lawrence and “transporting the commodities under water.” Outlaw motorcycle gangs in the Pacific region are active in the use and traffic of stolen boats and equipment, the report adds.

The boundary between Canada and the U.S. runs on water for 3,830 kilometres. “Anyone seeking to avoid inspection at a port of entry may choose surreptitious entry through accessible shorelines (which could be considered the marine equivalent to an unguarded road), or one of the many marinas/boat launches in close proximity to the border,” the report says. Fifteen Integrated Border Enforcement Teams with staff from various agencies monitor land, air and marine locations between official entry points along the Canada-U.S. border.

The threat assessment was jointly prepared by members of the RCMP, Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Joint Task Force-North. Recreational vessels pose the “principal threat” in the marine stretches policed by enforcement teams, the report says. Numerous commercial and recreational vessels operate on the Great Lakes, in the St. Lawrence Seaway and along the East and West Coasts.

Threats include the smuggling of alcohol, currency, drugs, firearms, people and tobacco, the report says. Stowaways aboard ships and wayward crew members are also a concern. “Along the St. Lawrence River there are areas where a smuggler can travel between Canada and the U.S. in just a few seconds.” In winter, snow and ice can make it easier to traverse border waters, opening passage to airboats, snowmobiles, other vehicles and people on foot.

The report says about 4.6 million registered, private American watercraft and a million such Canadian vessels operate in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway region. Another 100,000 recreational boats have access to the Pacific marine border. However, for many years such registrations were not recorded in computer databases, meaning the total number is unknown. “The lack of accurate pleasure-craft registration data in electronic format in Canada is an obstacle to the identification of owners and/or the number of vessels operating in the waterways to determine potential cross-border criminal activity,” the report says.

RCMP Supt. Warren Coons, director of the border enforcement program, said more information could help officers zero in on vessel operators of concern. “I think the biggest issue, to be frank with you, is the sheer volume,” he said in an interview. “You have to have the intelligence in advance to determine which one you should be looking at.”

Among the other challenges underscored in the report:

• Unguarded and unstaffed border crossings are “vulnerabilities” in several regions.

• Rail containers leaving Canada for the United States are checked at the border but are not typically examined upon entry into Canada.

• Smugglers are using “progressively more sophisticated” methods — including high-tech tools, camouflage clothing, decoy vehicles and counter-surveillance tactics.

Some criminals employ geo-positioning devices to monitor the progress of a courier or hidden contraband package. If the smuggler or item is not where it's supposed to be at a given time, it alerts the schemers that something may have gone awry.

“That's the kind of thing that we see now that, obviously, just a few years ago didn't exist and therefore wasn't something that we had to contend with,” Coons said. “It's just the changing times right now in terms of technology.”

From the Toronto Globe and Mail


St. Clair River could be a clean energy source

6/3 - Port Huron - As water pours from Lake Huron's southern tip, the St. Clair River flows with an average volume of 182,000 cubic feet per second. That's a lot of water. It exceeds the average flow of the mile-wide Mississippi River at St. Louis.

The St. Clair River isn't a mile wide beneath the bridge, but it is deep (roughly 80 feet), with a muscular current that moves about as fast as the typical jogger. In short, the river is pure, natural, unadulterated energy.

Jim Payne, the former Worth Township supervisor, became familiar with turbines a half century ago while in the Navy's submarine service. He and I were chatting one day when he suggested carpeting the riverbed with turbines. "You could power Port Huron with them," he said.

As chance would have it, I happened to be talking with Jim Buckley, the Fort Gratiot supervisor, only a few days later. He made precisely the same point. "All that energy is down there just waiting to be tapped," he said. The fact both men made similar observations was a coincidence. I don't believe Payne and Buckley even know each other.

I was reminded of their remarks the other day when I spotted a news article from Ogdensburg, N.Y., where a company hopes to install 110 underwater turbines in the St. Lawrence River. Alliance Energy has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a preliminary permit to develop a pilot project. The turbines would produce about 100 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power a city the size of Port Huron.

A single turbine is about 17 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The Watertown Daily Times said the turbines would be anchored to the riverbed in clusters of 10, with each cluster covering an area of 400 feet by 25 feet. Fred Springer, a lawyer for Alliance Energy, said commercial shipping would be unaffected. He also said screens would prevent fish or diving birds from being pulled through the turbines.

Water obviously is much denser than air. George Hagerman, a hydropower expert at Virginia Tech, estimates a current of 3 mph generates about as much force on a turbine blade as a 25 mph breeze. Think of the St. Clair River's current as a steady wind of perhaps 40 mph.

Three projects similar to the St. Lawrence River experiment are being proposed on the Niagara River, according to Buffalo Rising, an online magazine. This focus on Great Lakes' waterways is no coincidence. If underwater turbines are going to turn a profit anywhere, this is the place.

It's not just that there's a lot of water -- the Great Lakes contain about a fifth of the world's surface freshwater -- it's the dependability of the flow. For example, the Mississippi River sees wild swings in its flow. The swift currents of a spring flood often give way to the "lazy river" of a late-summer drought.

By comparison, the St. Clair River is Old Reliable. Its flow changes little from season to season and year to year. It is, after all, a strait. Think of it as a spout carrying the overflow from the three upper lakes, a vast expanse of water half again larger than the state of Michigan.

For much of their history, the upper lakes drained through three outlets -- Port Huron, Chicago and North Bay/Ottawa River.

The latter outlet was eliminated as the Earth's surface, freed from the crushing weight of ice, literally rose (and continues to rise). The north shore, where the ice had been thicker, rebounded more dramatically than the south shore.

Perhaps five centuries before the birth of Christ, the Chicago outlet hit bedrock. The Port Huron outlet continued to deepen and so became the sole "spout" of the upper lakes. The distance from Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair is not quite 40 miles, and in that span the river falls 5 feet.

About 150 years ago, a shipping channel 11 feet deep was dug across the river's delta. In the 1890s, engineers deepened it to 20 feet. Today, the channel across St. Clair Flats is 27 feet deep. With dredging, water flows down the "spout" more rapidly. There is a school of thought that this is lowering Lake Superior. It sits at the far end of the pool, so to speak, making it the place where declining water levels would be seen first.

Payne believes seeding the riverbed with turbines would tend to counter the effects of dredging. Cheap, clean electricity is merely a bonus. "It's a no-brainer," he said.

From the Port Huron Times Herald


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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.



Freighter on Cuyahoga River hits, sinks boat, damages a second

6/2 - Cleveland - One boat sank and another was damaged Sunday evening behind a Flats nightclub when a freighter moving up the Cuyahoga River hit the two docked boats.

The freighter Cuyahoga hit the boats, which were docked behind Shooters on the Water, about 5:15 p.m. The boat that sank had two large gas tanks and was leaking oil, said Petty Officer Matthew Schofield.

The Coast Guard's Unified command, including the state's Department of Natural Resources, was deciding how to clean up the spill Sunday night.

The area around the submerged boat was cordoned off to keep any oil from spreading. A dive team was checking to see if they could stop the leak, Schofield said.

The Coast Guard is continuing to investigate why the Cuyahoga, a 605-foot freighter carrying a full load of gravel, hit the boats and what amount of damage it caused, said Lt. Col. Linda Sturgis.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Toledo to Put-in-Bay ferry gets 1st run

6/2 - Toledo - With 57 passengers on board, the Jet Express II backed away from the Toledo Maritime Center Friday morning, eased its way under the Craig Memorial Bridge, then revved its jet engines for its journey out the Maumee River and across western Lake Erie to South Bass Island's Put-in-Bay. Thus departed the first ferry to serve the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority's $3.2 million ferry terminal on the Maumee River.

William Carroll, chairman of the port authority's board of directors, lauded the first ferry trip during a pre-departure news conference as an important element in Toledo's future as a transportation center with a convergence of road, rail, air, and water modes. "Passengers are the most important intermodal transportation there is," Mr. Carroll said, adding that the rising prices of gasoline and especially marine fuel should provide ample incentive for Put-in-Bay visitors to use a Toledo-based ferry if one were available on a regular basis.

"Hopefully, this will be the first step to many trips running out of Toledo," said Lance Woodworth, the director of operations for Put-in-Bay Boat Line Co., the Jet Express ferry operator. But how many more such trips there will be, and whether ferry service with any sort of regular schedule ever will land in Toledo, remained an open question.

Tom Brady, the boat line's advertising director, expressed disappointment that only 15 passengers bought $55 tickets for yesterday's excursion. The other 42, who won their trips in a contest sponsored by Pepsi and local radio stations WIOT-FM and WVKS-FM, accounted for less than half of the actual contest winners. Pepsi and the radio stations chartered the Jet Express II for the excursion, and Mr. Brady said he expects to run the same charter next year.

The radio stations might try to induce more contest winners to use their tickets, he said, by calling the winners' bosses on live radio and requesting time off from work. "We hoped to get more paying people than we did," the spokesman said, while acknowledging that the boat line's only advertisements were the 15-second spots associated with the radio contest.

Plans for a casino charter to Detroit on an as-yet undetermined date are under development, Mr. Brady continued, but if advance ticket sales faltered, it could be canceled. Mr. Woodworth said the Jet Express generally needs more than 100 passengers to break even.

But Todd Blumensaadt, Put-in-Bay Boat Line's vice president and co-owner, said the Toledo Maritime Center's mere presence is an important step toward developing any ferry operations in Toledo. "This would be a good deal if they get it going. I would go just for the boat ride," said Jack Streicher, a Toledo resident who came out yesterday just to watch the ferry's departure.

One potential obstacle to scheduled ferry service from the terminal is the CSX Transportation railroad bridge downstream, near the port authority's general cargo dock. While the Jet Express II fit underneath the Craig bridge without needing a drawbridge opening, the CSX bridge is too low for it.

Yesterday's inbound trip to pick up passengers was delayed by about 30 minutes until the railroad bridge opened, and the outbound trip toward Put-in-Bay with passengers aboard waited at the bridge for about 10 minutes even though no trains passed during that time.

From the Toledo Blade


Port Reports - June 2

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Maumee made an early morning delivery to Menominee Paper Co. on Sunday. They were carrying a load of coal from Sandusky, Ohio. The ship arrived around 7:30 a.m., was docked and began unloading at 8:15, finished unloading shortly after 11 a.m. (a very fast unload), and was outbound at 11:45 a.m.

DeTour Village - Cathy Kohring
Thursday, the Algomarine came into the DeTour Passage via "the Turkey Trail" and was instructed to drop her anchor near the DeTour Harbor of Refuge until the Coast Guard could come down and board her for an inspection below decks. It is the actual reason for the inspection. The Pilot Boat, Linda Jean, ferried the Coast Guard personal out to the Algomarine and they boarded her for their inspection. She was at anchor for approximately 3 hours, and then weighed anchor and departed. While she was at anchor, the Charles M Beeghly approached upbound heading to the Soo and made for an interesting and close passage by her. The viewing platform at the Village Marina was filled with camera buffs and gawkers were out watching her anchored so close to the Marina.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons and Clive Reddin
The saltie Milo was off loading raw sugar at the Redpath plant on Sunday.
The tug Everlast and barge were in port Sunday, departing at 6 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Mariner arrived at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City Friday night to unload. She departed Saturday morning, passing her fleetmate, American Century, who was unloading coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. The American Century completed her unload and was outbound Saturday afternoon. Saturday evening saw the tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge inbound for the SEM Materials dock in Essexville. There pair were expected to be outbound on Sunday.
The tug James A. Hannah and tank barge Hannah 5101 were in bound the Saginaw River Sunday morning calling on the Bit-Mat dock to unload. The pair's arrival delayed the start of the Saginaw Bay Yacht Club's "Blessing of the Boats" parade up down the Saginaw River for a short time. Also delayed was the tug Karen Andrie and tank barge A-397 who had completed unloading overnight at SEM Materials, but had to wait to depart until USCG Station Saginaw River lifted the safety zone closure on the river at 1 p.m.

Totals on the Saginaw River for the month of May were up by 6 over 2007 with 31 commercial vessel passages as opposed to 25 in 2007. For the year to date however, the numbers are down by 13 passages, with 45 recorded in 2008 as opposed to 58 in 2007. Looking at the numbers using a four year average, May 2008 was below the average by 5 passages and for the year to date down by 18 passages.

Cleveland - Martin McGuan
The Mississagi was loading salt Sunday at Cargill in the Old River.
Cuyahoga was gliding under the Main Avenue Bridge at approximately 5:30 PM. There was a scanner report that Cuyahoga had struck a pleasure boat tied to the dock at Shooters restaurant. It was apparent the Cuyahoga struck the dock also.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin arrived at KCBX at 1:20 am on Saturday. The Martin was loading 30,000 of petroleum coke destined for New Brunswick Power. Loading was expected to be completed early Sunday morning.
Sunday was a busy along the Calumet River in South Chicago. The Wilfred Sykes arrived at KCBX Terminals to load a coal cargo for Holland, MI. St.
Mary's Challenger was in bound with cement. Great Lakes Trader was in bound with a load of stone for Carmeuse Lime. John G. Munson was also in bound with stone for the Carmeuse dock. The Wilfred Sykes departed for Holland at 11:15 am.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Midwest Energy Terminal was busy again Thursday, with Canadian Enterprise departing about 6 a.m. Its place at the dock was immediately taken by Paul R. Tregurtha. The PRT had just started loading when John J. Boland arrived in port, also bound for the terminal. Atlantic Huron also was scheduled to arrive Thursday to load coal destined for Nova Scotia Power in Sydney.


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.


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

June 1, 1938 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21, under the command of Captain Arthur Altschwager, was released from a sand bar in the outer harbor 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: 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.


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