Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports - June 30

Green Bay - Scott Best
Tuesday afternoon under sunny skies, Kaye E. Barker arrived with a load of coal for the Fox River Dock. Following the Barker down the Bay Tuesday was John G. Munson with a load of stone for the Great Lakes Calcium Dock, however since Great Lakes Calcium and Fox River Dock share a slip, the Munson went to anchor off Dyckesville until the Barker cleared. Munson was also in port over the weekend to drop of a load of coal at the C Reiss Dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The USNCS Greyfox called on the Saginaw River on Monday, docking in downtown Bay City at the Wenonah Park dock. The Greyfox was brought to Bay City through the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum and will be open to visitors and for tours through July 4th. For more information on the Greyfox’s availability or to schedule a tour, call the Saginaw Naval Ship Museum at (989) 684-3946.

Lorain, Ohio - Dave Beach
On Tuesday, Cedarglen made a visit to Lorain to load ore at the Jonick dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The tugs Commodore Straits and M. R. Kane towed Algontario out to Humber Bay Tuesday afternoon and anchored it off Ontario Place to be the fireworks barge for the "Festival of Fire.”

Straits of Malacca - William Boyd
While traveling through the Straits of Malacca, I spotted a ship named the Mackinac Bridge. She is a 790' x 106' Japanese containership of Panamanian registry, bound for Port Klang, Malaysia.


Petoskey attorney purchases Arnold Transit Co.

6/30 - Mackinac Island, Mich. - Petoskey attorney James F. Wynn recently acquired the Arnold Transit Co. ferry line from the Prentiss M. Brown family, which has owned it since 1921.

Arnold is among the ferry lines linking Mackinac Island with Mackinaw City and St. Ignace. A Thursday news release noted that the ownership transition was effective Tuesday, and that the company’s name, schedule and experienced staff will be retained.

Wynn, 57, expects he’ll play an active part in the company, but added that Arnold general manager Robert Brown, grandson of Prentiss M. Brown and son of the late James J. Brown, will continue overseeing operations on a day-to-day basis.

In the acquisition, Wynn is working with two financial backers whom he did not name. The acquisition price was not disclosed. Wynn said the Arnold acquisition was a possibility he first began eyeing around 2001, and that he began exploring it in earnest a couple of years ago.

“I see this as long-term ownership, generational ownership,” he added.

With the 2010 operating season already in progress, Wynn said Arnold will follow a business-as-usual approach this year.

“We’re going to study the operation this season,” he said. “If there are going to be changes, well announce them after the season’s over.”

Along with Arnold’s 11-boat fleet and St. Ignace, Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island properties, Wynn’s acquisition also included the Cannonsburg Ski Area near Grand Rapids, which he said will continue operating in its current form.

Wynn was born and raised in Petoskey and is a fourth-generation Petoskey native. He is the great grandson of Frederick J. Schmitt, the founder of Michigan Maple Block Co. located in Petoskey and Bally, Pa. Michigan Maple Block Co. continues to be owned by members of Mr. Wynn’s family.

The Arnold lines history dates back to 1878, when George T. Arnold and L.B. Coats saw a need for reliable marine transportation to Mackinac Island in 1878 and founded the Arnold and Coats Ferry Line. One of the first Arnold boats was a coal-fired side-wheeler. Steamers at that time were 200 feet long, compared to today’s 80- to 90-foot ferries.

Ryan Bentley - From the Petoskey News Review


USS Cobia sub may be headed for drydock in 2011

6/30 - Manitowoc, Wis. - The USS Cobia at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum may be shipping out next summer — at least temporarily.

Museum officials are working to raise money to dry dock the nearly 312-foot-long World War II fleet submarine for restorations, something that hasn't been done since 1996.

Norma Bishop, executive director of the museum, said the Cobia is more than five years overdue for another dry-docking.

"Originally, we had planned on hauling it out every 10 years," she said. "We have held up pretty well, but by the same token, it's got to be done. We can't put this off."

Bishop said the submarine is a main attraction at the museum. Visitors can explore torpedo rooms, a wardroom, crew's quarters and engine rooms, and participate in an overnight program where groups stay aboard the vessel and experience the submarine lifestyle.

She said summer, however, is the best time for repairs.

"Contrary to what most people think, most of our overnight groups come during the school year," she said. "And that is a big part of the programming we run associated with the sub, and we certainly don't want to disappoint them. It's also best for the shipyard, and we probably get a better rate for the work done because they are not busy that time of year."

The estimated cost is $350,000. The museum applied for a $150,000 Save America's Treasures federal grant through the National Park District in May to help pay for the restoration, which will take four to six weeks.

Bishop said the museum might not know until January if it will receive the grant.

If the museum is awarded the grant, it must match the amount from its own funds. About $140,000 was raised by the museum through fundraising and donations.

Plans for restoration in 2011 include replacing deteriorating weather deck and wasted steel, removing zebra mussel infestations and repainting the hull with a treatment meant to last 15 to 20 years. The Cobia also will undergo a thorough inspection, including ultrasound testing, to check the integrity of its metal.

"We are looking forward to getting the submarine all polished up and back here in tip-top shape," Bishop said.

"It should be a pretty thorough job if we can raise the money and get the grant. Of course, if we don't get the grant we may have to scale back that work substantially."

She said if the museum doesn't receive the grant, the board of trustees would discuss the next best option, including whether or not to dry dock the Cobia next summer.

"If we don't get that grant, we will be scrambling," Bishop said. "The only thing that happens if you put it off for another year is that the work becomes more extensive and the prices get higher."

Jim Keim of Eden Prairie, Minn., visited the museum for the first time Monday. He was a radioman on a nuclear submarine for six years stationed around the Atlantic.

Keim said preservation of historic vessels like the Cobia for the public to see is invaluable to America's history.

"It's very important to show what the volunteers did," he said. "I've been to another submarine in Charleston, S.C., and (the Cobia) is in really good shape and surpasses what I saw down there."

The submarine would be towed to a shipyard in the area for the repair work. The Cobia was last dry docked at Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay. Which shipyard will do the work in 2011 hasn't been decided. During the Cobia's absence, Bishop said the museum is arranging a temporary tall ship exhibit and also may offer bus trips to see the Cobia in dry dock. She said she doesn't think the museum will be impacted.

"We're going to put the word out, and if we can get the tall ships scheduled in I think we'll be just fine," she said. "In fact, it may even give us a little bit of a boost. Most of our market is return visitors." In August, the museum will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Cobia coming to Manitowoc.

Sub Culture Saturday is scheduled for Aug. 14 and will include WWII re-enactors, trivia contests, live music and a 312-foot Subway sandwich to commemorate the event.

Herald Times


Updates - June 30

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 Lines’ 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.


Port Reports - June 29

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner departed at 10 a.m. Monday. English River departed at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Canadian Navigator departed at 10 a.m. in ballast for the canal. The tug Karen Andrie and barge arrived at 2 p.m. with a cargo of asphalt from Indiana Harbor. Saginaw departed at 4 p.m. for Toledo in ballast.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River arrived in port at 10 a.m. and the tall ship Bounty arrived in port at 3:30 p.m. Monday.


Lake Ontario water released as St. Lawrence River sinks to new lows

6/29 - Montreal, QC - As part of a bi-national strategy to manage this summer's historically low water levels in the St. Lawrence, Canadian and United States officials have agreed to release more water from Lake Ontario through the dam in Cornwall.

Hundreds of thousands of cubic feet per second is already being drawn from Lake Ontario and the flow through the Cornwall dam could be more than doubled by the end of summer, Peter Yeomans said Sunday.

"The past month we've been managing this precious resource on a day-to-day basis," said Yeomans, a Canadian member of the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control, the Canada-U.S. agency that manages water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence.

But given that Lake Ontario's shoreline recedes up to nine metres with each additional centimetre the lake's water level is reduced, Yeomans quickly added, the decision is not without risks and environmental costs.

Lake Ontario "could be drawn down by up to four centimetres" and the lake's level already has been reduced by 1.4 centimetres to deal with the lower water levels that have resulted from this winter's lighter-than-usual snowfall, he said.

Yeomans made the comments as Canadian government officials stepped up their campaign to warn recreational boaters and mariners of the increased risk of running aground in the St. Lawrence and to update navigational charts before leaving the harbour.

This weekend, the water level in Lac St. Louis as measured at a federal government gauging station at the foot of Cartier Ave. in Pointe Claire stood at 20.6 metres above sea level, a dangerously low level and the point at which a one-centimetre change in the water level signals an alert for the seaway.

No matter how familiar a recreational boater may be with the St. Lawrence, this summer it is necessary to check the latest data available on water levels and to update the marine charts that are used for navigation, said Nathalie Letendre, a spokesperson for the Canadian Coast Guard's operations in Quebec.

Letendre said the federal government website is updated daily with data collected by the Canadian Hydrographic Service at gauging stations along the St. Lawrence.

But there's nothing like hearing a first-hand account from a fellow boater who has damaged his keel or hit rocks and taken out a motor to get even the most seasoned recreational boater to double-check his marine charts.

Vaclav Soucek, the harbour manager at the Pointe Claire Yacht Club, said some members with deeper keels have been unable to get out and other members have hit rocks and sandy shoals while on the water.

"We're telling people to not cut corners and to stay dead centre in the channels," Soucek said.

But Jin Frati, the sailing master at the Beaconsfield Yacht Club, said while water levels are also the talk at his club, they haven't stopped people from sailing. "You just need to be careful," he said.

Meanwhile, Yeomans said, Canadian and U.S. officials are evaluating the impact of this summer's low water levels and the impact of any change on a wide range of commercial and environmental interests.

Increased summer demands on hydroelectric power generated at station, such as that of Hydro-Québec's substation on the St. Lawrence at Beauharnois, have to be taken into consideration.

Municipalities may also face increased costs for water filtration as the lower water levels have led to more turbidity and sediment in the St. Lawrence waters. Water levels in wells may be affected. Lake Ontario's commercial fishery could potentially suffer, as could wetland habitats, shorelines and endangered species.

Then, there's the dry, hot weather forecast for the summer that will not help water levels.

"We're talking headaches," said Yeomans, a Montrealer whom many would remember as the former mayor of Dorval. "The premise is no one interest should bear the brunt of the impact."

The Montreal Gazette


Funds OK’d to build two lake research vessels

6/29 - Sandusky, Ohio – Congress has agreed to fund construction of two large Great Lakes research vessels for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center at a combined cost of $8.2 million, one of which is to be permanently stationed at the Lake Erie Biological Station the USGS operates here.

The other will be docked at a similar USGS facility in Oswego, N.Y., dedicated to Lake Ontario research.

The vessels are to assist with research for the Great Lakes regions $7 billion fishery. The money is coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.


Updates - June 29

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Photo Galleries Gallery 1 and Gallery 2
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated - Photo Contest and Classified sections updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 29

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

On 29 June 1910, ALABAMA (steel propeller passenger/package freight steamer, 272 foot, 2,626 gross tons, built in 1909, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) made her first trip in regular service for the Goodrich Line from Chicago to Grand Haven and Muskegon. She ran opposite the VIRGINIA. Cut down to a barge in 1961, she was scrapped in La Salle, Ontario, in 2006.

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

The CHARLES M. SCHWAB (Hull#496) was launched in 1923, at Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Ship Building Co., for the Interlake Steamship Co. Lengthened with a new 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.


Port Reports - June 28

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Three vessels visited Marquette's harbors on Sunday. Michipicoten loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor in the morning. Mesabi Miner took her spot at the Upper Harbor and unloaded coal into the hopper. At the Lower Harbor, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader arrived at the Shiras Dock in the afternoon and unloaded stone into the evening and departed before sunset.

St. Marys River
Traffic on a rainy Sunday was sparse. Stewart J. Cort and Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann were upbound, while Presque Isle and Canadian Progress were downbound. As midnight approached, fog was settling in some areas of the river.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Over the weekend there was vessel activity at Lafarge. Manitowoc brought a load of coal on Saturday. The Alpena tied up at the coal dock once the Manitowoc departed. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were also in port loading cement for Detroit. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected to arrive Monday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Mississagi was inbound Sunday afternoon, headed all the way up to Sixth Street in Saginaw with a cargo for the Lafarge Stone dock. She had to stop briefly at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to wait for the Saginaw River to open to vessel traffic between Liberty and Veteran's Memorial bridges. This was due to the Bay City River Roar powerboat races that have been going on all weekend. Mississagi made the dock late Sunday afternoon and was expected outbound late evening. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville during the afternoon. She completed her unload and was backing out into the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake Sunday evening.


Tall ship fest sails into Toronto

6/28 - Toronto, Ont. – The HMS Bounty sails into Toronto harbour with 10 other tall ships next week. Built for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” and renewed for 2006's “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest,” the ship is a star attraction at the Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival.

Running from Wednesday through July 4, the festival presents the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge along the Lake Ontario waterfront from Yonge St. to Lower Spadina Ave. For just a small handful of doubloons (called loonies these days), crews of the majestic sailing vessels welcome visitors aboard.

"The HMS Bounty is the most-recognized name to North Americans because of her being featured in Hollywood films and, of course, her story," said Krista Slack, festival producer. "However, our European ships have international reputations as spectacular sail-training vessels that travel throughout the world."

Photo ops will be plenty as the tall ships take part in a Parade of Sail as they leave the harbour on July 4 at 2:15 p.m. As well, this is prime viewing grounds for the Ontario Place Festival of Fire fireworks extravaganza on July 1 and July 3 at 10:30 p.m.

"Toronto is the first and only Canadian port of call for the tall ships race that will attract millions of tourists throughout the Great Lakes region," said publicist Daniel Paquette.

The ships then set sail for Cleveland, Bay City, Green Bay, Duluth and Chicago.

Here are the vessels that will be on hand:

• HMS Bounty was created for MGM Studios in Lunenburg, N.S. in 1962 for a movie about the 1789 maritime mutiny in the South Pacific and extensively renovated for the 2006 movie. The global voyager, homeported at Greenport (Long Island) N.Y., is dedicated to preserving the fine art of square-rigged sailing.
• Brig Roald Amudsen was designed as a deep sea fish lugger in 1952 and equipped to service the military fleet of former East Germany. Now she's a traditional brig tall ship intended for sail training.
• Bark Europa of the Netherlands entered service in Hamburg in 1911 and now travels the world, often in the Antarctic, where the crew involves the passengers in running and sailing her.
• Pride of Baltimore II is a topsail schooner built as a replica of a classic 1812 Baltimore Clipper owned by the State of Maryland. With an international sailing schedule, she accommodates six passengers as "working guest crew."
• Denis Sullivan, from Milwaukee, is the re-creation of a three-masted, 19th-century Great Lakes' schooner launched in 2000 as a tall ship for scientific research and education.
• Schooner Appledore V of Bay City, Mich. provides youth sail training and the fresh-water science program Windward Bound.
• U.S. Brig Niagara was built in 1988 as a reconstruction of the war ship that's the symbol of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a reminder of the battle of 1812.
• Pathfinder and Playfair are two Toronto Brigantine square-rigged ships that provide sail training for young people.
• Unicorn, a topsail schooner from the U.S. Virgin Islands, was refitted in 2003. She took back her "maiden name" after a few years in Toronto called True North. With an all-woman crew, she provides the Sisters under Sail leadership program.

The festival, expected to attract 800,000 visitors, offers numerous activities, entertainment, food, drink and the environmental Green Village.

There is no charge to attend the Redpath Toronto Waterfront Festival, June 30 to July 4 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Details: Dockside deck tours require ship boarding passes for July 1 to 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and July 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.

London Free Press


About 200 gather to celebrate life of Lighthouse Bob

6/28 - Port Huron, Mich. – After an overcast morning, the clouds broke Saturday and the sun came out -- just in time for a tribute to Bob Hanford. Maybe it was a way for the man many people called "Lighthouse Bob" to shine the light just one more time.

More than 200 people gathered Saturday on the grounds of the Fort Gratiot Light Station to honor Hanford, who died June 5 at age 84. Hanford served as keeper of the lighthouse for 20 years.

"You couldn't think of the lighthouse without thinking of Bob, and you couldn't think of Bob without thinking of the lighthouse," said Hanford's friend Alan Cutcher of Port Huron. "When I talked to Bob, I felt like I was talking to living history," Cutcher said.

Many friends shared memories, poems and prayers in Hanford's honor.

"He was my diamond in the rough," said another friend, Frank Frisk of Marysville.

Some said they thought Hanford's spirit would remain on the grounds of the lighthouse. And they backed up the notion a little.

Another friend, David Bennis of Port Huron, used to give tours of the lighthouse with Hanford. Bennis said one day, a little girl asked Hanford whether anyone haunted the structure. Bennis said Hanford replied, "Not yet, but there will be."

Sharon Wilton, chairwoman of the Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light, said she has no doubt Hanford's presence will be on hand when restoration work begins on the structure.

"When the light starts flashing again, it should represent the twinkle in Bob's eye, because that is what it will be," Cutcher said.

Hanford served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II from 1943 to 1946 and participated in four major invasions, including those at Normandy and Iwo Jima. He also served 25 years as a Detroit police officer before retiring in 1972. Hanford moved to Port Huron in 1975 and became the keeper of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in 1988. He volunteered his time for guided tours and gave the lighthouse a thorough cleaning about once a month before the structure was closed to visitors in 2008 because of its condition.

If Hanford really had been able to attend his own tribute, "He'd say, 'All this fuss about me?,' being a real humble sailor," Bennis said.

"But it's great the community could come together and do this."

Port Huron Times Herald


Classified Boards announced

6/28 - A long requested feature, we have launched a new section allowing individuals to buy and sell Great Lakes related goods.

Click here for more information


Updates - June 28

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery - Coming Monday
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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. She was later raised and taken to Bay Ship Building Co, and became a barge for the Roen Steamship Co. fleet. In the early 1970s, most of the hull was scrapped, except for two sections of the bottom, which were used for scows around Sturgeon Bay until the 1980s.

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.


Port Reports - June 27

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn / A-397 tug barge arrived at 8 p.m. Saturday for the Marathon Asphalt dock in Tonawanda; they will be departing around 9 p.m. Sunday. American Mariner arrived at 6 p.m. for the General Mills Frontier Elevator. English River was seen unloading cement at the LaFarge dock Saturday; she was expected to depart late Saturday night.


BoatNerd Gathering at the Soo a big success

6/27 - BoatNerds from across the U.S. and Canada gathered at Sault Ste. Marie Thursday-Saturday for the annual BoatNerd gathering held in conjunction with the Soo Locks' Engineers’ Day.

Thursday's BoatNerd picnic spilled over to Friday and Saturday, with Bill Rowe and Herm Klein manning the grills at Mission Point. Plenty of burgers, brats and hot dogs were consumed, and Becky Wirt's famous carrot cake disappeared quickly.

The open house at the locks Friday drew a large crowd, with plenty of traffic. including Philip R. Clarke, Charles M. Beeghly, Sam Laud and Joseph H. Thompson. Nearly 100 people, the most ever, cruised the Soo Locks and St. Marys River Friday night aboard the Soo Locks Boat Tours' Le Voyageur. Rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits as we passed the Capt. Henry Jackman, Algomarine, Quebecois and Maritime Trader. Thank you to Capt. Jack Cork and his crew for getting up close so everyone could get good photos as well as providing an excellent buffet.

Finally, a special thanks to those aboard passing vessels who honored us with friendly waves and salutes (did the house flags we flew from our makeshift mast help?) You made our weekend with your whistles.

The next BoatNerd event is August 7, the Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year's cruise will be 4 hours long and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - June 27

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - June 26

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Early Friday morning, St. Marys Challenger could be seen discharging her cargo at the St. Marys Cement terminal in Lake Calumet. About 7:30 a.m. the John G. Munson was backing up the Calumet River to her destination at KCBX. She docked there about 8:45 a.m.

Holland, Mich. - Holly Bracy
Friday the Undaunted and Pere Marquette were at the Verplank dock in Holland.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
With the upper Saginaw River dredging project coming to a close, crews from Ryba Marine have been busy the past few days breaking down their equipment and pulling dredge pipe. Both the tug Kathy Lynn and tug Tenacious made two trips from the upper river on Friday, moving barges from the Confined Disposal Facility and the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, down to the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville in preparation for departing the area.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday, Federal Shimanto arrived at 5:30 p.m. with steel from Bremen, Germany, for Pier 14. Her next port after discharging a partial cargo will be Cleveland. Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 7:30 p.m. with stone from Meldrum Bay Ontario. After discharging her cargo they will load slag at Dofasco for Bath Ont. J.W. Shelley arrived at 9:30 p.m. for a short layup at Pier 22.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
The tall ships Lynx, Pride of Baltimore II and the Unicorn (with an all female crew) docked in Oswego, N.Y., this weekend for the 2010 Festival of Sail at the H. Lee White Museum/Port Authority dock. The ships were open for tours to the public.


Sen. McCain introduces bill to repeal the Jones Act

6/26 - U.S. Sen. John McCain has introduced legislation to repeal a 90-year-old maritime law that requires vessels transporting goods between states to have been built in the United States, be crewed and owned by U.S. citizens and fly the U.S. flag.

The law, known as the Jones Act, has been criticized recently for allegedly hampering foreign ships offering assistance in the cleanup of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The White House has asserted that foreign ships are helping and there's no need to waive the law.

McCain, an Arizona Republican, said today the statute hinders free trade and favors labor unions over consumers.

Hawaii Republican Rep. Charles Djou opposes the law. Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye, and Rep. Mazie Hirono back it.

Associated Press


Nordmeer, wrecked in 1966 on Lake Huron, disappears from sight

6/26 - Alpena, Mich. – The shipwrecked freighter Nordmeer, long known to locals for being visible above water, has succumbed to the elements and is now completely underwater.

According to Wayne Lusardi, state maritime archaeologist for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, he first heard rumors from fishermen the ship was down. He discussed the topic with the U.S. Coast Guard, which substantiated the claims. The sanctuary staff also made the observation when they went to the site to check on it during the deployment of the mooring buoys in April.

"Deterioration of shipwrecks is a natural process. It was sort of expected that Nordmeer would (go under)," he said.

The Nordmeer was an ocean freighter constructed in 1954 in Flensburg, Germany, by Flensburger Schiffs. The vessel had done several trans-Atlantic voyages prior to its sinking in Lake Huron.

On Nov. 19, 1966, Nordmeer ran aground north of Thunder Bay Island while bound for Chicago. Part of the German crew stayed on board to attempt to remove ship from the reef or remove its cargo - 990 coils of rolled steel.

There were boats that went back and forth between the ship and shore, while the crew stayed, to bring them groceries, mail and arrange for travel. The late Keith Krueger was instrumental in that process. He ran a local marina at the time and befriended the captain. The captain ended up leaving many of his possessions here that he didn't want to ship back to Germany. Those items were part of the Krueger collection that is housed at the sanctuary, Lusardi said.

The Nordmeer broke its keel in a storm on Nov. 30, 1966. The Coast Guard vessel Mackinaw received the eight crew members via helicopter and transported them to shore. The ship was deemed unrecoverable, so Bob Massey, a local diver and salvage contractor, was given a salvage contract to remove the steel from the ship. He removed all of the steel over the course of 1967, Lusardi said.

Lusardi said the Nordmeer remained above the water for quite some time. The superstructure where the cabins and the bridge were located stayed above water until it collapsed around the early 1980s.

"It became quite an attraction for sightseers and fishermen and I know of people that camped out on it," he said.

Portions of the forward bow remained above water until this past winter, Lusardi said.

"The problem with it now is that it is very near the surface of the water. Because it's invisible above water it has the potential of being a serious navigation hazard, because portions of the jagged hull are only a few feet below the water," he said.

Lusardi said in the past there was a mooring buoy placed near the Nordmeer's starboard bow and the bow of a wrecked barge located nearby. The sanctuary is now working with the Coast Guard to place an additional mooring buoy on it. The plan is to have buoys at the stern and the bow so boaters have a better orientation of the wreck. The Coast Guard also intends to change the location on the navigation charts to reflect the submerged status.

Lusardi said even with the wreck now being submerged, the site continues to be a fantastic site for divers and snorkelers because much of it can be viewed from the surface.

The Alpena News


Legal battle brews over War of 1812 shipwreck

6/26 - A stunningly well-preserved Lake Erie shipwreck — purported to be the Canadian-built brig Caledonia from the War of 1812 — has prompted visions of a world-class tourist attraction on the Buffalo shore and sparked a legal battle between New York's state government and a U.S. salvage company that wants to raise the vessel.

But could a 76-year-old issue of The Beaver — the venerable Canadian history magazine — scuttle the controversial dream?

A Buffalo-based maritime heritage centre is pointing to an article published in the magazine's December 1934 edition to question the identity of the sunken ship.

The article, written by the renowned Great Lakes historian George Cuthbertson, traces the careers of several fur trade vessels — including the 26-metre, two-masted Caledonia — that were put to military use in the War of 1812 and later sold off to private owners.

Cuthbertson details the Caledonia's remarkable role in the war, beginning with its secondment from the Northwest Company in 1812 to ferry British, Canadian and First Nations troops to Michilimackinac Island at the western end of Lake Huron, a strategic prize close to the eastern entrance of Lake Michigan.

Without a shot being fired, an American force surrendered the island's fort — an important event that dashed U.S. expectations of an easy triumph in the war and largely solidified aboriginal support behind the British.

The Caledonia later fell into American hands, then saw action in September 1813 — as the renamed USS Caledonia — in the Battle of Lake Erie, a famous U.S. victory in which much of the Royal Navy fleet on the Great Lakes was destroyed.

By 1815, Cuthbertson wrote in his 1934 article, the conflict had ended and the Caledonia entered a new phase in its storied life.

"After the war, she was sold to a firm of American shipowners, who renamed her the General Wayne," he stated in The Beaver (which was itself renamed to Canada's History earlier this year.) "Her career ended at Erie, Pennsylvania, where she was dismantled and sold for firewood and old iron."

Such a fate for the famed vessel could only mean one thing: that the wreck now lying at the bottom of Lake Erie — and at the centre of both the Buffalo tourism proposal and the court battle between New York state and the salvage firm Northeast Research Ltd. — is not the Caledonia.

In a recent edition of its newsletter The Chart, the Buffalo Maritime Center contends that Cuthbertson's article in The Beaver raises serious doubts about the identity of the controversial shipwreck.

BMC researcher Chris Andrle, who wrote about the issue for the centre, concluded that the Caledonia/General Wayne's demise was probably hastened by the 1818 arrival on the lake of a wood-burning steamer called Walk-In-The-Water, which had a "voracious" appetite for fuel and sparked a spike in the value of firewood in Erie and other lakeshore towns.

The former Caledonia, Andrle concludes, was a likely victim of market forces that suddenly "made her more valuable as fuel than as a ship."

Pat Clyne, co-owner of the company hoping to raise the Lake Erie wreck, told Canwest News Service that Northeast Research has long been aware of Cuthbertson's reference to the Caledonia's supposed dismantling in Pennsylvania.

"Naturally, that caused a little bit of concern" at first, said Clyne, who is preparing to file legal arguments this week challenging New York's bid to block the raising of the wreck.

But he told Canwest News Service that a thorough search of ship records from the early 19th century turned up no evidence to support Cuthbertson's assertion in the 1934 article that Caledonia/General Wayne was broken up for firewood.

"We never found anything to substantiate it," he said, adding that Northeast's archival searches suggest the General Wayne was used long after 1818 as a cargo carrier and possible ferry for American slaves escaping across Lake Erie to freedom in Canada.

The identity of the shipwreck is key to the question of ownership and — naturally — the proposal to lift it from the lake to become a tourist attraction.

Northeast Research has secured permission from descendants of the last known owner of the General Wayne to carry out the multimillion-dollar project, which has also won serious interest from top officials in Erie County — the Buffalo-area municipality where the raised wreck would be displayed.

But in their court filings, New York heritage officials have expressed doubts about Northeast's identification of the sunken ship as the Caledonia/General Wayne. And the state has a much stronger case for maintaining control over a wreck site when the ship in question has an unknown provenance.

In May, a New York magistrate accepted claims by state archeologists that Northeast divers had disturbed the wreck site — including human remains found in the submerged vessel — and should be barred from raising the ship.

That ruling is subject to another round of hearings this summer.

But Clyne called the state's claims "absurd" and blamed recreational divers with no links to Northeast for recent vandalism at the wreck site.

And he insisted that raising the "truly historical ship" from Erie's depths would be the perfect way for both Canada and the U.S. — each nation with a share of Caledonia's rich history — to mark the War of 1812's upcoming bicentennial.

Montreal Gazette


Bob “Lighthouse Bob” Hanford tribute June 26

6/26 - Port Huron, Mich. – The Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light, in partnership with the Port Huron Museum , have finalized the plans for the Bob” Lighthouse Bob” Hanford tribute. Bob passed away on June 4, 2010.

The tribute will be held at the Fort Gratiot Light Station, 2800 Omar St., in Port Huron, on Saturday, June 26. The program will begin at 11 a.m., and gates will open at 10 a.m.

Family and friends will join the US Coast Guard Station-Port Huron, USCG Auxiliary, Allied American Veterans of St. Clair County, and a representative from USCG District 9 office in Cleveland , Ohio, to honor Bob’s legacy to the people and associations in our community.

The public is invited to attend. With limited parking on the site, attendees are asked use the Lighthouse Beach lot, and walk to the grounds. Entry gate will be marked. Please note, there will be no access to lighthouse buildings or the USCG Station – Port Huron facility.


Updates - June 26

News Photo Gallery
New photos from the Detroit River Tug Race Page 1 and Page 2
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 the first boat to transit the original Poe Lock on August 4, 1896.

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Toledo national maritime marine museum details announced

6/25 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the Great Lakes Historical Society entered into an agreement Thursday to work collaboratively to create the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum, to be located at the Toledo Maritime Center on the east side of the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio.

The venture relocates the Inland Seas Maritime Museum from its current location in Vermillion, Ohio, to the Toledo Maritime Center. The agreement also includes partnering with the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship to create the largest maritime attraction on the Great Lakes, the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum. The Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship will be restored to her original name - the Col. James M. Schoonmaker - and relocated to the riverfront adjacent to the museum structure.

"As the first port authority in the state of Ohio, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has always been a maritime leader. This agreement allows us to further our goal of establishing the Port of Toledo as the capital of the Great Lakes - past, present and future," said Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "We have found an excellent partner in the Great Lakes Historical Society and we look forward to fostering the perseveration of our local maritime history together."

The Great Lakes Historical Society plans to begin development of the Toledo facility next spring and open for the inaugural season in the spring of 2012. The Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship is scheduled to travel to the Toledo Shipyard for restoration in October 2010. Upon restoration, the Boyer will be returned to her original location adjacent to International Park for the 2011 season in preparation for her centennial celebration, which will be July 1, 2011. Upon completion of the 2011 season, the Boyer will be moved to the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum.

The Great Lakes Historical Society's goal over the next decade is to expand the facility to accommodate research activities, to attract traveling exhibits and to broaden educational programming. The museum will also serve as an anchor point for future riverfront development as it is adjacent to Edison Park and the newly developed City of Toledo Marina Drive area. The Great Lakes Historical Society has also begun talks with the City of Toledo regarding the management of the Toledo Skyway Marina, located adjacent to the Toledo Maritime Center. "Toledo's waterfront is a vital component of our quality of life and should play a greater role in economic development. Welcoming the Great Lakes Historical Society is one of many steps toward this goal and will help renew the energy on the riverfront," said Toledo Mayor Michael P. Bell. "The partnership is a great match for the facility and reflects our maritime history."

"This agreement is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by all of the involved parties. The final product, a National Great Lakes Maritime Museum for Toledo, Ohio, will be worth our collective blood, sweat and tears," said Jim Karpinksi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Great Lakes Historical Society. "I am confident that in ten years we will look back on this moment with tremendous satisfaction."

The Toledo Maritime Center, completed in November 2007, was funded by a Federal Ferry Boat Discretionary Grant, and was created to foster the development of cross-lake ferry service in this region. The museum will allow ferry boat passengers to witness Great Lakes history while waiting to board a vessel.

"Our focus has always been on the continued development of ferry service via this facility and adding this historic maritime attraction allows us to fully utilize the space while establishing it as a major destination via waterborne transportation," says Paul LaMarre, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Manager of Maritime Affairs.

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority


Great Lakes coal trade down 11.5 percent in May

6/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3,187,868 net tons in May, an increase of 27.2 percent over April, but a decrease of 11.5 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings were down even more 24.6 percent when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports decreased by roughly 24 percent from both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. Loadings in Chicago increased by about 2 boatloads compared to a year ago, but were 36,000 tons off the month’s 5-year average. The coal trade out of Lake Erie increased 15.8 percent compared to a year ago, but was 31 percent off the 5-year average.

Year-to-date coal shipments stand at 6.8 million tons, a decrease of 3 percent compared to a year ago. However, the total a year ago was depressed by the recession. A better measure is the 5-year average for the January-May time, and in that regard, 2010 loadings are 35 percent off the pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - June 25

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten made an uncommon visit to the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock on Thursday and unloaded aggregate. She was expected at the Upper Harbor for ore after unloading.

Green Bay - Scott Best
Thursday the Maumee arrived with its second cargo of salt in the last couple weeks for the Fox River Dock. The Maumee departed just before 8 p.m. The port of Green Bay has been busy all week, with earlier visits by the Alpena, Calumet, and LJ Kuber. Friday evening the Amelia Desgagnes is due in with pig iron for Fox River Dock, while Saturday the John G Munson is expected with a load of coal.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday, two vessels loaded cement at Lafarge. The Alpena arrived about 8 a.m. and tied up under the silos. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity came in during the afternoon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River early Thursday morning, traveling up the river to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload.  Once finished, she turned in the Sixth Street basin and was outbound for the lake late in the afternoon.  Ryba Marine's Tugs Kathy Lynn and Tenacious were both tied up with derrick barges at the confined disposal area near Cheboyganing Creek on Thursday.


The first of five arrives Saturday; luxury cruise ship returns to Duluth

6/25 - Duluth, Minn. - The luxury expedition vessel Clelia II returns to Duluth in the first of five scheduled stops this year – she’s expected to arrive just after daybreak on Saturday beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge and dock behind the DECC to disembark passengers. Approximately 10 hours later, a new group of adventure-seekers will board the vessel for a return trip across the Great Lakes. Clelia II is set to return to Duluth on July 10 and 24, plus Sept. 4 and 18.

Eighty-eight passengers are booked on this first passage. For the past week they have enjoyed nightly lectures by leading experts, plus excursions to several points of interest along the way, including: Niagara Falls, Manitoulin Island, Mackinac Island, the Soo Locks, the Keweenaw Peninsula, and Old Fort William in Thunder Bay. In Duluth, they can explore the Great Lakes Aquarium, Glensheen, and other sites along optional city tours. For trip itineraries:

Measuring 290 feet in length, the Clelia II boasts 50 luxury suites – all with great views of the water. Served by a crew of 60, passengers are treated to first-class passage on a yacht-like ship with a wide array of educational and cultural opportunities. Her inaugural voyage in 2009 ushered in a new era of international cruise service for the Port of Duluth and the Great Lakes. In 2011, the German 400-passenger C. Columbus is scheduled to visit Duluth twice en route between Toronto and Chicago. For cruise itineraries/tickets:

“Before the Clelia’s visit last year, it had been almost 20 years since Duluth had enjoyed regular Great Lakes cruise service, or served as a destination and origination hub,” said Ron Johnson, Port Authority trade development director and treasurer of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition. “Last year’s passengers gave the Great Lakes trip rave reviews, many saying it was the best cruise they’d ever taken. This resurgence in passenger cruising has been a definite boon for the ports and the local economies along our inland waterway.”

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Concert in Bay City touts Great Lakes history

6/25 - Bay City, Mich. – A one-of-a-kind concert performance is coming to Bay City during the Tall Ship Celebration downtown.

Musician Dan Hall and PBS documentary producer Ric Mixter are teaming up to share insight into the maritime past of the Great Lakes and Bay City's contributions to that history. The audience will not only hear Dan Hall’s ballads that chronicle the era of steamship and sail, but also see rare footage and interviews from Ric Mixter’s many documentaries.


Tug captain Robert J. Racette passes away

6/25 - Robert J. Racette died Thursday at age 71. He worked for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for 30 years and retired in 1992. He was captain of many of tugboats. After retiring, he enjoyed working for Diamond Jack River Tours as lead captain. Visitation will be at Harry J. Will Funeral Home in Livonia on Saturday 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. and on Sunday from 1-5 p.m. There will be a funeral mass at 10 a.m. on Monday at Colette's.


Updates - June 25

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Toledo Port Authority, Great Lakes Historical Society to sign museum deal

6/24 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority and the Great Lakes Historical Society will hold a signing ceremony Thursday to celebrate a collaborative effort on the part of the signatories and other interested parties to create the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum at the Toledo Maritime Center.

Representatives from the Port Authority, the Great Lakes Historical Society, the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship and the City of Toledo will be in attendance.

Conceptual drawings and plans for the site will be released with the memorandum of understanding and lease, which will serve as the basis for developing the site as the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum.

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority


Port Reports - June 24

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On a foggy Wednesday, Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock and moved to the Upper Harbor in the afternoon to load ore.

Manitowoc , Wis. - Scott Best
Wednesday afternoon the Joseph H. Thompson paid a rare visit to Manitowoc with a load of coal from Toledo, Ohio, for the C. Reiss Dock in downtown Manitowoc. The Thompson unloaded all afternoon and by 8 p.m. was departing the dock.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Manitowoc limped into Holland Wednesday evening on one engine to deliver a cargo of stone from Port Inland to the Verplank dock. It took two hours to transit Lake Macatawa and tied up just before 11 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
CSL Laurentien was loading at Gateway Wednesday. At 6 p.m. the loading equipment was over her front hatches, and her unloading arm was lowered and over her centerline. At 8 p.m. she was departing for the Lake via the South Entrance Channel.


Downward trend for water levels continues

6/24 - Midland, Ont. – The Georgian Baykeeper has warned that water levels of lakes Michigan, Huron and Georgian Bay are on a critical downward trend.  Mary Muter says the latest forecasts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicates water levels could drop below chart datum by October. "At the end of May, Michigan-Huron levels were about five inches above chart datum, which is the reference point used on navigational charts to measure the depth of water throughout the lakes," Muter says. "We could be setting record low levels by this fall.

"What's unusual about the latest graphs for Michigan-Huron-Georgian Bay is that the normal down-up-down line has been replaced by almost a flat line. "Anyone who has looked at the water level graphs over the years notices a familiar pattern. Water levels start off low in the winter, go up steadily in the spring and then start dropping off gradually from July until the end of the year. "But this typical rise hasn't happened and the Corps is predicting only a very slight rise in June and July, followed by the usual late-season decline."

She says Michigan-Huron water levels in May were 10 inches below those of last year and the Corps report indicates they were 14 inches below the long-term average.  "All the other Great Lakes were also below the long-term average, but none as much as Michigan-Huron. "I've have never seen water levels flat line like they have been doing since January," she added.

"Lakes Michigan and Huron are suffering a double whammy. There is no control of the outflow from Michigan, Huron and Georgian Bay, while the outflow from Lake Superior (into Michigan- Huron) has been reduced because Superior's levels are down. "Without any control of the outflow and the reduced supply from Lake Superior -plus the dry winter with little runoff - we are getting hit from all sides.

Muter says water levels have been hovering around chart datum for about 10 years.  "The International Upper Great Lakes Study Board likes to compare this past decade to the 1930s and says it has happened before; it's no big deal. "The reality is," Muter says, "that in the 1930s they dredged, deepening the St. Clair River channel -Detroit River channel by five feet. They knew that they were lowering lake levels. During that decade there was a severe drought in the Great Lakes area.  "Those were two compounding factors that caused the 1930s low water levels.  "But, we have not had anything like that!

"We've had some dry years in late 1990s and 2001. But we recently had two years of above average precipitation and cooler temperatures. But we've not had droughts, or the channels officially dredged five feet deeper. "Yet, we have been hovering around chart datum for 10 years. And now it looks like we are in very serious trouble." 

"The reality is we could be facing the perfect storm by the end of the summer.  "Researchers from McMaster University recorded a temperature of 22 to 24 degrees in Georgian Bay a month ago. "Normally, around the long weekend in May the temperature is 10 to 12 degrees." Muter says the combination of low water levels and high temperatures will have an impact on enclosed bays.  "We are going to have much more algae than in previous years and that will affect water quality, fish life and recreational activities.

Boaters will also be affected if water levels drop below chart datum," she said.  "In the past decade we have had several years where channel depth has been below chart datum. When that happens the Coast Guard puts white markers in the channels indicating low water.

Midland Free Press


Seaway Trail refreshes its message

6/24 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The Seaway Trail is updating its look after more than three decades and doing a little rebranding at the same time.

The scenic byway — which stretches from the St. Lawrence Seaway in northern New York along the shores of Lake Ontario to the Lake Erie shoreline in Pennsylvania—is now going by Great Lakes Seaway Trail.

Officials also have designed a new logo in hope of replacing the signs that have marked the 518-mile route since 1978.

To spread the word about the new look, representatives have embarked on a three-day, six-stop tour of the state this week, including a stop in Niagara Falls scheduled for Thursday.

Trail officials want to upgrade the look in order to better represent the trail as a regional driving tour opportunity, said Teresa H. Mitchell, president of Seaway Trail Inc., a not-for-profit based in Sackets Harbor, Jefferson County.

Marketing research showed that people connected the old “Seaway Trail” name more to the St. Lawrence River than to the Great Lakes, Mitchell said.

“We’ve had the same look since 32 years ago when the Seaway Trail started,” she said.

The organization has sent its new logo to the state Department of Transportation, though there is no firm schedule for installation of new signs. Mitchell said she hopes for state and federal funding to create and install the new signs.

The current signs are green and white, with familiar footprints; the new signs are green, white and blue, with a more trail-like design.

DOT workers are in the process of designing new signage for several scenic byways, including the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, spokeswoman Jennifer Post said. The state has received federal funding for the project and would need to provide a 20 percent match. The agency hopes to have the project ready for bid next summer, Post said.

The public is invited to the Orin Lehman Visitors Center in Niagara Falls State Park at 9 a. m. Thursday for a 90-minute information session, which will include a presentation on the trail’s economic impact and giveaways of new merchandise.

The tour kicked off Tuesday in Ogdensburg and Sackets Harbor, and also will include stops in Oswego, Webster and Erie, Pa. For more information, visit

The Buffalo News


State conservancy group takes ownership of Muskegon lighthouses

6/24 - Muskegon, Mich. — The ownership of four lighthouses, including Muskegon's South Pierhead Light and South Breakwater Light, were transferred to local stewards this week.

Michigan State Housing Development Authority Executive Director Keith Molin and State Historic Preservation Officer Brian Conway announced Thursday that the U.S. General Services Administration transferred the ownership of the four lighthouses from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The other two lighthouses are the DeTour Reef Light near Lake Huron's Drummond Island and the Harbor Beach Light. All four of the lighthouses are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

"The transfer of these lighthouses out of federal ownership to local stewards will assist in long-term preservation of these lights," Molin said. "The nonprofits and municipalities associated with these important structures have demonstrated the commitment and the wherewithal necessary to preserve these vital pieces of Michigan's maritime history."

Changing technologies, shifting priorities and fiscal constraints in the 1990s caused the Coast Guard to intensify its efforts to dispose of lighthouses throughout the country. In 1998, faced with the impending disposal of numerous Michigan lights, the State Historic Preservation Office formed the Michigan Lighthouse Project. The project is a consortium of government stakeholders that aim to help facilitate the transfer of lighthouses out of federal ownership and into the hands of local governments or nonprofit groups that would preserve and maintain the structures.

Muskegon's South Breakwater Light was built in 1899. The South Pierhead Light dates from 1903. Both mark the entrance into Muskegon Lake from Lake Michigan.

The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy now owns the structures, and plans to stabilize and preserve them.

"Many of Michigan's lighthouses would have been lost if not for the hard work and dedication of the many friend organizations like the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy that has taken over stewardship of these unique structures," Conway said. "These organizations have done a phenomenal job of preserving lighthouses for all of us. Lighthouses are an integral part of Michigan's landscape and attract numerous visitors each year."

The transfer ceremony took place as part of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Conference in Traverse City on Thursday. The conference was hosted by the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance.

Grand Haven Tribune


112 Year Old Shipwreck Mystery Solved

6/24 - A group of Wisconsin marine historians and divers have announced the discovery of the missing steamship L.R. Doty, which vanished in a violent Lake Michigan storm 112 years ago, on October 25, 1898.

The Doty was the largest wooden ship still missing on Lake Michigan, with an overall length of 300 ft. She was bound from South Chicago to Midland, Ontario with a cargo of corn and the four-masted schooner Olive Jeanette in tow when she was struck by a tremendous storm several miles north of Milwaukee. Waves reportedly reached 30 ft, with 70 mph winds. The Olive Jeanette was severely damaged, but survived the storm. The Doty however, was never seen again.

On June 16, 2010 a group of explorers led by marine historian Brendon Baillod and charter captain Jitka Hanakova relocated the site, which had been snagged by a commercial fish tug in 1991, nearly 20 miles off Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Technical divers descended to the site in over 300 ft of water and filmed the wreck extensively.

Video reveals that the ship is upright and intact with the remains of her corn cargo still present in her hold. She is in an amazing state of preservation due to the cold, fresh water and extreme depth.

For detailed information about the discovery, the dive team and photos of the ship and the wrecksite, please visit

Brendon Baillod


Osprey chick born in new home at Iroquois Lock

6/24 - Cornwall, Ont. – A family of ospreys has welcomed the arrival of a new member to their family, while comfortably settled in their new home high atop a perch provided by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC). The osprey nest, originally built on top of a Seaway crane adjoining the lock, was moved by experts on Friday May 21st to a new location just a few metres away.

Having established a nest for the last two years on top of the Seaway crane, the birds had been able to hatch their eggs, raise their young, and depart for the winter without any fanfare during the previous season. Upon their return this spring, scheduled maintenance requiring use of the crane necessitated the careful relocation of the ospreys and their eggs.

Specialists from Falcon Environmental Services, a firm located in Montreal specializing in the management of wildlife, moved the 50+ kilogram nest to a specially built platform erected at the top of a pole. Within 30 minutes, the osprey family had adopted their new home, some 11 metres (35 feet) above the ground.

Alain Godard, the Seaway manager overseeing the Iroquois Lock, noted that the ospreys are now in a home of a more permanent nature. “We are pleased to see the birds safely perched in their nest on the new platform that Seaway staff erected. We take great pleasure in going about our business without endangering the welfare of our neighbors.”

In general, osprey eggs take five weeks to incubate. Thereafter, the parents will take eight to ten weeks to rear their young, before the new birds can sustain their own wellbeing.

Rick Watchorn, Area Supervisor for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, in reviewing the move of the nest noted that “it is extremely gratifying to work with professionals who take the required time and effort to ensure projects have minimal impact on wildlife. The efforts and documentation shown through this project will certainly be valuable as a best practice for future situations.”


Asian carp found near shore of Lake Michigan

6/24 - Chicago, Ill. – A 19-pound Asian carp has been found near the shore of Lake Michigan, above a navigation lock that regional political leaders had been demanding the Army Corps slam shut to try to keep the invaders out of the world's largest freshwater system.

The fish confirms what DNA evidence had been telling fishery managers for months - that Asian carp had indeed breached an electric fish barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, considered the last line of defense for Lake Michigan.

The bighead - nearly 3 feet long - is the first actual Asian carp found above the barrier, despite weeks of netting on the canal system and a $1.5 million fish-poisoning program last month.

It was plucked from Lake Calumet, about six miles downstream from Lake Michigan, by a commercial fisherman hired by the state of Illinois to do routine fish sampling in the area.

"We set out earlier this year on a fact finding mission and we have found what we were looking for," John Rogner, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said in a news release Wednesday. "This is important evidence and the more information we have about where Asian carp are, the better chance we have of keeping them out of the Great Lakes."

The federal government said it has no intention at this time to order shut two navigation locks in the area, something regional politicians outside Illinois have been demanding for months.

The plan now is to continue "sampling actions" in Lake Calumet, which is north of the O'Brien lock, as well as other areas on the Chicago canal system. This will involve netting and electrofishing.

Biologists say a handful of fish making their way into Lake Michigan does not mean a self-sustaining population is going to get established. They say most initial invasions fail because the fish must find a suitable place to reproduce, then they must find each other, and then their offspring survive long enough to reproduce on their own. Then, of course, the cycle has to repeat itself. Over and over. "We remain firmly committed to achieving our collective goal of preventing Asian carp from becoming established in Great Lakes waters," said Mike Weimer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assistant regional director of the fisheries and aquatic resources program.

Meanwhile, federal officials say they will do their best to keep it business-as-usual for the barges, tour boats and recreational boat owners who use the navigation locks to move between the waterways and Lake Michigan.

"The Army Corps of Engineers will continue to operate the locks and dams in the Chicago Area Waterway System for congressionally authorized purposes of navigation, water diversion and flood control," said Col. Vincent Quarles of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Michigan Attorney General and gubernatorial hopeful Mike Cox said the find means that the region's "worst fears" have been realized, and he is considering further legal action.

The Republican led a coalition of Great Lakes states earlier this year, including Wisconsin, in a push to re-open a decades-old U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit over of the operation of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

He wanted the court to order the locks shut, something the court declined to do.

"President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers have simply refused to take the threat seriously," Cox's office said in a statement.

But the news came as a relief to an industry group that depends on the navigation locks, which Army Corps officials say were never designed to be used as fish barriers.

"As the government's own studies have shown, lock closure undermines the resources and regional support necessary to solve this problem, while doing nothing to protect the Great Lakes," said Mark Biel, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois.

Biel also said the fish find doesn't necessarily prove there has been a breach at the electric fish barrier downstream on the Sanitary and Ship Canal, a sentiment echoed by Rogner of the Illinois DNR.

Rogner said in a Wednesday conference call with reporters that he is not convinced the fish made it to Lake Calumet on its own. He noted that in the past decade there were two occasions where Asian carp were found in Chicago lagoons, bodies of water not connected to Lake Michigan. Those fish likely were planted by individuals - live bighead were once commonly sold in Asian fish markets in the Chicago area.

Of course, Rogner said it is also possible the fish somehow swam through the barrier; the Army Corps did not turn up the fish-shocking device to a level strong enough to repel all sizes of Asian carp until the middle of last year, when the first DNA tests indicated the fish were mustering in an area just below it.

Conservationists Wednesday said they weren't surprised by the news.

"The (environmental) DNA has told us for months that the threat is real. It's time to stop fighting about whether there's a problem, and move on to developing real solutions," said Thom Cmar of the Natural Resources Defense Council. "Asian carp are like cockroaches," he added. "If you find one, you likely have a much larger problem on your hands."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates - June 24

News Photo Gallery
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - June 23

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On the first day of summer, Saginaw arrived back at the Upper Harbor Monday afternoon to load ore after a quick turn around trip from Essar Algoma at the Soo.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes backed in last night at 10 p.m. with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. Apparently delayed in unloading by the severe storm that went through at 1 a.m., she left about 6 a.m. St. Marys Challenger, which had been waiting out in the lake for the Sykes to clear, came in with a load for the St. Marys Cement terminal in Ferrysburg at 7 a.m. It was still unloading Tuesday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Monday on the Saginaw River the tug Gregory J. Busch, pushing a deck barge, was outbound for the lake on her first trip of the season. Tuesday saw Algorail inbound for the Buena Vista Dock in Saginaw to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL's Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was loading Tuesday at the NorfolkSouthern coal dock. Lower Lakes Towing Co.'s Robert S. Pierson was waiting for the Martin to depart. Currently posted for arrival late Wednesday afternoon is the Herbert C. Jackson.

Hamilton and Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Vega Desganges departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 1:15 pm. and headed down the lake. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit arrived at 5 pm. for Pier 11. The saltie Jette Theresa arrived at 6 p.m. with coal tar for Pier 23 from Belgium. BBC Maine departed at 6:30 p.m. for Detroit with steel products and project cargo. On Tuesday, Algowood departed at 2 p.m. in ballast for Thunder Bay. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at 2:30 ballast for Quebec City. Quebecois arrived at 3:30 pm. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. The CCGC Griffon departed the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 4 p.m. for Toronto.


Coast Guard evacuates man from Beaver Island

6/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – A rescue helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., medically evacuated a 74-year-old man reportedly exhibiting signs of a stroke from Beaver Island at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services requested assistance from the Coast Guard at about 9 a.m. Air Station Traverse City immediately dispatched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew. An emergency medical technician from Beaver Island EMS accompanied the patient onboard the helicopter for the duration of the transport.

"It’s good for us when local EMS accompanies a patient," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Theodore Mace, the flight mechanic aboard the helicopter. "He had been with him all morning and knew his vitals and where his high and low points were."

The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to shore at Air Station Traverse City, and awaiting EMS transported him to Munson Hospital.


Updates - June 23

News Photo Gallery
New Photos from the Tugboat Race
Historic Gallery updated Manzzutti feature updated
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Seaway reports cargo volumes well ahead of last year

6/22 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) reported that activity related to the steel industry remains buoyant, with shipments of iron ore and steel slabs showing continued strength. Cargo volumes on the Seaway remain almost 20 percent ahead of the pace set last year.

Total cargo shipments on the Seaway for the period of March 25 to May 31 amounted to 6,888,000 tonnes as compared to 5,840,000 tonnes for the same period last year. Marine carriers have transported 33,000 tonnes of steel slabs as of May 31. This figure stands in stark contrast to steel slab activity last year, in which no slabs were observed in transit.

“The steel industry continues to show positive signs of recovery, bringing about a direct impact on Seaway traffic volumes,” said Bruce Hodgson, Director of Market Development for the SLSMC. “Iron ore volume is 105 percent above the same period last year, and our steel slab imports into Hamilton have rebounded.”

With trade as a share of GDP growing in prominence to account for nearly 30 percent of overall economic activity today, the Great Lakes states and provinces together account for nearly 39 percent of U.S.-Canadian trade with the world.

Michael Kennedy, Manager for Transportation and Outside Processing at ArcelorMittal Dofasco, also voiced a positive outlook. “In 2009, the global economic crisis had a severe impact on the steel industry. We are cautiously optimistic for continuing recovery in 2010. The increase in vessel traffic, most notably in the iron ore trade, is a reflection of the improved capacity utilization from all of the steel mills. While we see improved business conditions and know that that the economy is trending in the right direction, the industry has not yet returned to pre-recession production levels and we continue to experience pockets of volatility in the market."

The Seaway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes, according to the latest Seaway research.


War of 1812 tall ship Lynx open for tours in Toledo

6/22 - Toledo, Ohio - The 122-foot, square top sail schooner Lynx will be sailing into the Port of Toledo for the first time July 23, docking beside the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship. The vessel will be firing a salute from her main battery of six-pounder carronades upon her grand entrance into the Port of Toledo. The Lynx was hired to train the cast and crew of the hit movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

The Lynx will be offering public dockside tours in conjunction with the Boyer as well as sailing adventures on July 24 and 25. The boarding location is next to the Boyer in International Park in downtown Toledo. Donations will be requested for tours.
Lynx Schedule:
Friday, July 23
• 3 p.m. - Grand Arrival
• 4 - 5 p.m. - Public Dockside Tours

Saturday and Sunday July 24 and 25, 2010
• 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. - Public Dockside Tours
• 2 - 5 p.m. - Public Adventure Sail (Adults $65, Children 12 & under - $35)BR> Port-to-port passages are also available for the voyage between Toledo, Ohio and Port Colborne, Ontario. Visit for more information

The schooner recently arrived on the East Coast from Hawaii and California and is scheduled for a five-year mission along the East Coast of the United States and Canada. The vessel will participate in the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge Series during the summer of 2010 and then will remain on the East Coast to participate in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and the Star-Spangled Banner.

The 114-ton Lynx is an interpretation of a privateer or naval schooner from the War of 1812. She is fitted with period ordnance and flies pennants and flags from the 1812 era making her one of the first ships to defend our freedom. The Lynx crew wears period dress and operates the ship in keeping with the maritime traditions of early 19th Century America. Lynx represents a "letter of marque" Baltimore Clipper, considered to be among the finest privateer schooners ever built. Because of their swiftness and maneuverability, these ships were most effective as blockade runners and offensive weapons of war.

Students and adults will recognize the War of 1812 as a significant element of American heritage and as a turning point in the development of our national identity. The educational early American history and science programs that are aboard Lynx meet specific state standards.


Cheers rise as ship – now a dive attraction – sinks

6/22 - Chicago, Ill. – The goal was to create Chicago's next shipwreck for divers to explore, and the process required approval from a number of agencies.

After three hours and 30,000 gallons of water, the M/V Buccaneer met her fate at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

And the crowd of onlookers cheered.

The loss of the Buccaneer was a gain for Chicago-area divers, who have a new destination on the lake bed, said Capt. Jim Gentile, a scuba diving instructor who led the operation Friday to sink the 98-foot ship.

Planning for a new shipwreck began about two years ago, Gentile said, and required approval from a number of agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, the state Department of Natural Resources, the Coast Guard and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The entire process, including the cost of the ship, ran about $20,000 and was paid for largely by donations from local divers and dive shops, said Gentile, who also runs Windy City Diving. His company is among a handful in Chicago that can take divers out to the boat for a fee.

Before crews on Friday pumped the thousands of gallons of water that caused the boat to go under bow first, Chicago had only 11 known shipwrecks — and only a few of those ships are actually intact, Gentile said.

An upside to the downing of the boats is the creation of reefs in an area void of the underwater ridges, he added.

"Fish like structure for habitat," he said. "What we are creating is an artificial reef."

The last time a ship was intentionally sunk in the area was in 2003, Gentile said.

The Buccaneer, which served as a World War II vessel and was later converted into a cruise ship before being sold at an auction three years ago, is now sitting upright in 70 feet of water about 10 miles off Burnham Harbor, Gentile said.

Divers will be able to swim through the doorway, the engine room and even up a stairwell, he said.

"Every diver would like to find a ship at the bottom looking like a ship in a bottle, but it's a long time getting there," Gentile said. "Now I can't wait to dive it."

Chicago Tribune


Engineer’s Day, BoatNerd weekend events ahead Thursday-Saturday at the Soo

6/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The annual Engineer’s Day and BoatNerd weekend festivities are upon us. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, June 24 Unofficial BoatNerd Picnic This is a spontaneous, informal gathering at Rotary Park at Mission Point, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Snacks will be offered at noon, grilling begins at 2 pm, with carrot cake and other delicacies at 4. This is a potluck, however burgers, hot dogs and buns will be provided by BoatNerd.Com. Grills, plates, and utensils will also be provided. Come one, come all and enjoy a great time with other Boatnerds. Name tags will be provided in case you don't recognize faces.

Friday, June 25
• 8:30 a.m. - BoatNerds gather on the steps below the MacArthur Lock for a group picture. Come early and get a name tag.
• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - The Corps of Engineers will open the area between the MacArthur and Poe Locks, the Administration Building and the Davis Building to visitors. This is a once-a-year chance to see inside the Corps operation, and see passing freighters from a different angle.
• 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. - Edison Sault Electric plant Open House. The hydro plant dates back to 1902 and is a quarter-mile in length and 80-feet wide. Its 74 turbines use water from the St. Marys River to provide power to a portion of the region. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies will take place at 8:30 a.m., followed by self-guided tours, prize drawings, equipment displays, safety demonstrations, and free refreshments through 6 p.m. Tours are also available of the Lake Superior State University Aquatic Lab, located on the plant’s east end
• 11 a.m. - A special treat is in store for visitors who stop by the Soo Locks Visitors Center at 11 a.m. Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the 1966 sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell, will tell his story of survival and take audience questions. At noon, Hale will relocate across the street to Great Lakes Gifts, where he will conduct a book signing through 3 p.m.
• 6 p.m. - Annual BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise
This year's St. Marys River cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats, departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three hours, will travel through the locks, and offer great photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board. Reservations are a must as the group is limited to 100 persons. If any space is available, reservations will be taken by Dave Wobser Wednesday evening in the Soo, or at the Soo Boatnerd Picnic before noon on Thursday, June 24. Call 419-722-5507 to locate Dave.

All day - Informal gatherings at Mission Point, weather permitting. Bring your best pix to compare and show. Bring your radio-controlled boats for an informal regatta.
• On Saturday, starting at 9 a.m., walkers may traverse the International Bridge, the structure that connects Michigan to Ontario. As they walk this 2.8-mile span, they will enjoy a birds-eye view of some impressive scenery, including two cities, the Soo Locks, and the St. Marys River. Bus transportation is available to bring walkers from Ontario to the starting point or, afterward, return those with vehicles waiting to the Norris Center for a small fee of $2.

• In addition, the annual Great Tugboat Parade will take place on Friday, July 2 at 6 p.m., and can be seen from both sides of the St. Marys River. The Great Tugboat Race will take place on Saturday, July 3 at noon in Soo Harbor. Alford Park next to the hydro plant on the Michigan side provides a great vantage point.

• On July 1-3, enjoy the annual pancake and sausage breakfast aboard the pancake barge moored at Roberta Bondar Marina on the Canadian Soo side. The barge moves to the Michigan side July 4-5, where it will be tied at the George Kemp Marina.

We’ll see you there.


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 was scrapped in 2008 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.


Great Lakes cargo continues steady increase in May

6/21 - The surge of cargo demand for Great Lakes shipping continued last month, with U.S.-flagged lakers carrying one-third more goods than in April.

The 29 percent increase in cargo in May over April is even higher when compared to a year ago. Things are 39 percent better than last year.

"Now we've got to temper that with the realization a year ago was very, very bad. So just about anything would have been an increase."

That's Lake Carrier's Association Vice-President Glen Nekvasil. He says the downside is that May's totals are off 11 percent from the five-year average. But he says more ships are sailing. That includes the 1,000-footer Stewart J. Cort, which hadn't sailed since 2008.

"And we have had other vessels that didn't sail last year come out. Now we still do have some ships that haven't sailed this year which is again proof positive that although numbers are trending up, we're not out of the woods yet."

Still, 49 lakers are sailing this season, up 18 from a year ago. Coal shipping is down slightly in May, but limestone was up 20 percent and iron ore increased 113 percent. Superior Planning and Port Director and Wisconsin Ports Association President Jason Serck says those two materials signify construction and manufacturing.

"Particularly iron ore. We're making steel again. It's encouraging. It's a good gauge of how our economy is getting back on track again."

So far this year, overall Great Lakes U.S.-flagged ship cargo is up 65 percent.



Port Reports - June 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Three vessels were at the Upper Harbor Sunday morning. Herbert C. Jackson and Saginaw loaded ore while Michipicoten waited at anchor. Charles M. Beeghly was due later in the day.

South Chicago Ill. - Lou Gerard
Sunday morning was busy on the Calumet River. CSL Niagara was loading at KCBX as Alpena was making her way to Lake Michigan. After unloading at the Lafarge terminal in Lake Calumet, she was headed for Green Bay. Algorail was waiting in Calumet Harbor for Alpena to clear, then backed up the river to the 92nd St. salt dock to unload the rest of her cargo. She had unloaded most of her salt cargo in Milwaukee the day before.

Toronto, Ont. Charlie Gibbons
The passenger ship Clelia II arrived in Toronto at the International Ferry Terminal Saturday morning. A short time later, Hamilton Energy arrived in from Hamilton to bunker her. The latter departed a few hours later. The RCMP vessels Simmonds and Isle Rouge are in Toronto for the G20 conference. Both were patrolling on Saturday. Clelia II departed early Sunday morning for the Welland Canal. English River came in late Saturday night and departed around 7 p.m. Sunday.


Sault Ste. Marie landmarks to host special events this week

6/21 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Sault Ste. Marie will celebrate the wonders of engineering during a weekend packed with rare glimpses of three Michigan landmarks on June 25 & 26.

The wonder of Engineer’s Weekend is demonstrated at three sites– the Soo Locks, the historic hydroelectric plant, and the International Bridge – where people will gain uncommon access to experience each in an up-close-and-personal fashion. Best of all, each event is free of charge.

On Friday, the Soo Locks hosts its annual open house, known as Engineer’s Day. On the last Friday in June each year, the public is invited to tour the building and grounds of the Locks, which are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Visitors are invited to walk across the famous lock walls that make it possible for freighters to traverse the 21-foot drop between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. To obtain a real understanding of how this engineering marvel works, only a visit will do.

“The Soo Locks complex offers such a unique glimpse at both our history and our way of life,” said Linda Hoath, Executive Director of the Sault Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Architecture, engineering, and the lore of the Great Lakes all come together in this beautiful park setting.”

A special treat is in store for visitors who stop by the Soo Locks Visitors Center at 11 a.m. Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the 1966 sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell, will tell his spine-tingling story of survival and take audience questions. At noon, Hale will relocate across the street to Great Lakes Gifts, where he will conduct a book signing through 3 p.m.

Engineer’s Day festivities are free of charge and run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visitors are welcome to stroll the park, tour the buildings, and climb into observation platforms as mammoth freighters ply the waters of the St. Marys River system.

That same day, the historic hydroelectric plant is also open for tours, beginning with a ribbon-cutting event hosted by Cloverland Electric Cooperative, the new owner of the structure. The hydro plant dates back to 1902 and is a quarter-mile in length and 80-feet wide. Its 74 turbines use water from the St. Marys River to provide power to a portion of the region.

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies will take place at 8:30 a.m., followed by self-guided tours, prize drawings, equipment displays, safety demonstrations, and free refreshments through 6 p.m. Tours are also available of the Lake Superior State University Aquatic Lab, located on the plant’s east end.

On Saturday, walkers by the thousands will traverse the International Bridge, the structure that connects Michigan to Ontario. As they walk this 2.8-mile span, they will enjoy a birds-eye view of some impressive scenery, including two cities, the Soo Locks, and the St. Marys River.

Hoath says the annual event is like no other.

“There are so many reasons that this is a unique walk, but the highlight is definitely seeing the Soo Locks complex from a distinctly aerial vantage point. Visitors who have walked other bridges tell us ours is one-of-a-kind,” she said.

It is a festive atmosphere that accompanies the event’s start and completion. Walkers gather at the Lake Superior State University Norris Center to await the official start of the walk. As they gather, they are treated to a free musical performance and when they enter Ontario, they are presented with a certificate of completion. Walkers are reminded that adults will need a passport or enhanced driver’s license and children require a birth certificate.

Bus transportation is available to bring walkers from Ontario to the starting point or, afterward, return those with vehicles waiting to the Norris Center for a fee of $2.

In addition to these three featured events, a host of other activities await visitors. For more information about these or other area happenings, visit

The Soo Evening News


Updates - June 21

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Engineer's Day St. Marys River Cruise reservations limited

6/16 - Reservations for the Annual Soo St. Marys River Cruise are arriving daily. Reservations are a must as we are limited to 100 passengers. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 21. Click here for reservation form

The cruise will be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 25. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru the U.S. Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any freighter traffic in the river.

A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board.


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.


Port Reports - June 20

Marquette, Mich. - Lee Rowe and Rod Burdick
Saturday, Mesabi Miner arrived with coal for the WE hopper in the upper harbor. Saginaw arrived later and tied up on the north side of the dock to await the Miner's departure. Michipicoten arrived still later and anchored out in the harbor to wait for Saginaw's move to the south side.

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson
On Friday, the training vessel State of Michigan was working the upbound and downbound channels of the St. Marys River. Included in Friday afternoon's upbound river traffic were Presque Isle and H. Lee White. Downbound were Edwin H. Gott, Roger Blough, Tim S. Dool and McKee Sons.

Stoneport and Calcite - Daniel McNeil
Pathfinder was loading at Stoneport on Saturday. Due Sunday was the American Republic, Arthur M. Anderson and Phillip R. Clarke. Due Monday is American Republic and Great Lakes Trader. Due Tuesday is John J. Boland. Manitowoc is due Wednesday.
James J. Kuber was loading at Calcite on Saturday. Due Sunday were Cason J. Callaway and McKee Sons. Due Monday are John G. Munson and Sam Laud. Mississagi is due Tuesday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday, Hamilton Energy departed at 6 a.m. for bunkering in Toronto. She returned to port at 2 p.m. Canadian Transport departed at 6:15 a.m. for the canal. The McKeil tug Wyatt M and barge OCE181 departed at 6:30 a.m. for Montreal. Canadian Provider arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Canadian Olympic departed at 11:15 a.m. for the canal. CSL Laurentien arrived at 3 p.m. with coal for U.S. Steel. Vega Desgagnes arrived at 7:30 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Evans McKeil and Metis and Stephen B. Roman were in at Essroc on Friday. Olympic Miracle cleared port Friday morning with the assistance of a Groupe Ocean tug, the latter of which departed for Hamilton.
The venerable steam-side-paddlewheeler Trilium turned 100 Friday at 12:15 a.m. Toronto Mayor David Miller presented the ship with a framed proclamation making June 18th Trillium Day. A 100th anniversary plaque was unveiled. The fire tug Wm. Lyon Mackenzie gave the vessel a water cannon salute, followed by a sail past of the RYCY tenders Kwasind and Hiawatha, the Queen City yacht Club's tender Algonquin Queen II; the marine unit's wooden launch MTP No. 5, and a cannon salute from the schooner Kajama.


Cargo cranes Muddy, Spike make port debut at Toledo

6/20 - Toledo, Ohio – There's a new Muddy in Toledo, and a new Spike, too.

Named after the mascots of the city's two most-prominent sports teams, they're the high-speed, high-efficiency cargo cranes at the Port of Toledo, which were officially introduced to the public during tours Thursday that followed a riverfront dedication ceremony.

The centerpieces of a federally funded, $35 million makeover of the port's cargo-handling equipment, the twin Austrian-made Liebherr Mobile Harbor Cranes are intended to make Toledo's docks more attractive to shippers of all sorts of bulk and break-bulk cargoes, special-project shipments, and even containerized freight - the latter an ever-growing sector of waterborne transportation that is dominated by deepwater, ocean ports.

"It's really going to play a big role in transforming our region moving forward," Paul Toth, the port authority's executive director, said of the Ohio Department of Transportation's decision to allocate federal stimulus funds to Toledo's port rather than spend the money exclusively on highway projects, as it might have done in the past.

The 140-foot-tall, 240-ton cranes can lift up to 84 tons at a time and move 1,000 tons of cargo in an hour. They're faster than the 1950s-era cranes they will bump into reserve status while using only one-quarter the fuel, and they're more maneuverable, running on rubber tires instead of rails.

Naming them after the mascots of the Toledo Mud Hens baseball team and the Toledo Walleye hockey team was suggested by Madison Phillips, an eighth grader at Fassett Middle School. She was one of more than 250 area schoolchildren to enter a "Name the Cranes" contest the port authority sponsored.

The "real" Muddy and Spike presented her with a certificate for four plane tickets on Allegiant Air from Toledo to Sanford, Fla., near Orlando, during the dedication ceremony Thursday. Madison also won a $500 savings bond from Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the Port of Toledo stevedore.

"My language arts teacher told us about the contest and suggested we should use names unique to Toledo," Madison said afterward. "I had just been to a Mud Hens game, and I thought of that on my way home [from school]. I'm very excited to be part of Toledo's history."

About a dozen other contest entries suggested naming the cranes after the local sports mascots, but all the others incorrectly identified the Walleye character as Wally, which made choosing a winner easy, port authority spokesman Carla Firestone said.

The port's two primary cranes for five decades, Big Lucas and Little Lucas, also were named through a local contest.

Its secondary cranes, two World War II-era relics, will be retired and dismantled after the new cranes are placed in service, which Jason Lowery, Midwest Terminals' director of business development, said should happen by the end of the month.

The two new cranes' components arrived in Toledo by ship May 17 and were assembled under the supervision of two Liebherr engineers, who yesterday demonstrated their capabilities for spectators while Little Lucas unloaded yet another crane cargo - this one for CSX Corp. - from a ship docked at the port.

The saltie Beluga Fanfare arrived in Toledo on Tuesday to unload 215 subassemblies and 65 container loads of parts for the five wide-span cranes that Evansville Western Railway, a CSX affiliate, plans to erect at a container terminal near North Baltimore, Ohio, that is under construction. The subassemblies, which include 30 hundred-foot gantry sections, are being trucked down to North Baltimore, while most of the containers were sent out aboard a special train Thursday.

The CSX facility, scheduled to open next year, will employ about 200 people and is expected to create 2,600 direct or indirect jobs within 10 years, said Peter Craig, the terminal superintendent for the railroad. Its "ultraefficient" cranes, also fabricated in Austria, will be 100 yards long and state-of-the-art, he said.

The terminal "will be an outlet to global markets for this community" along with allowing CSX to improve its handling of inbound and overhead freight that passes through northwest Ohio, Mr. Craig said

The Toledo Blade


Coast Guard medevacs woman from cruise ship at Port of Rochester

6/20 - Members of the Coast Guard rescued an 88-year-old woman from a cruise ship that was anchored off the Port of Rochester after the woman reportedly suffered a heart attack.

The rescue occurred about 7 a.m. Friday. The woman was aboard the ship Clelia II, and the Coast Guard sent a 25-foot response boat to get her.

The woman’s name and condition were not released. She was taken to shore, then transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Democrat and Chronicle


Deciding legal tug of war over Lake Erie shipwreck

6/20 - Buffalo, N.Y. – A federal judge has sided with attorneys for the state in a dispute over the ownership of a 19th century sailing ship sunk in Lake Erie near Dunkirk.

In a recent decision, U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio said he agreed with the state’s position that it owns the ship under the U.S. Abandoned Shipwreck Act.

The two-masted wooden sailing ship may have been used by the British during the War of 1812 and later may have had a role in the Underground Railroad, transporting escaped slaves from the United States to Canada, Foschio said in court papers.

Since 2004, officials of Northeast Research, a private company that specializes in searching for shipwrecks, have been seeking ownership of the vessel, which they want to raise from the lake’s depths and put on display on Buffalo’s waterfront.

But historic preservation officials in state government contend that the ship is better off where it is, in a deep pocket of the lake about 20 miles from Dunkirk.

State officials also contend that divers working for Northeast Research damaged the ship and mishandled human remains on the ship during a dive to examine the vessel in 2004.

Efforts to reach the owners and the attorneys for Northeast Research were unsuccessful late Wednesday.

Foschio’s 30-page decision is considered a “report and recommendation” in federal court and is subject to review by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

The Buffalo News


Updates - June 20

News Photo Gallery
Tug Race Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 - 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 - 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. s


Lakes iron ore trade up 106 percent in May

6/19 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 6.3 million net tons in May, an increase of 16.4 percent over April, and an increase of 106 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments were also up 4.6 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

May loadings at U.S. ports increased 118 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports rose 38 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 15.8 million net tons, an increase of 140 percent compared to the same point last year. The end-of-May total is also within striking distance of the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 162 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports are 32 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - June 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker and Sam Laud arrived Friday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Kaye E. Barker has been a regular visitor since her return to service, but Sam Laud's visit was only her second of the season.

Green Bay ,Wis. - Jeff Goodlet
John G. Munson arrived with a load of coal from Ashtabula, Ohio, for the Fox River Dock. Manitowoc was expected late night Friday with a load of coal from Chicago, Ill., for Georgia Pacific Corp. On Saturday, Arthur M. Anderson is expected with a load of limestone from Gulliver, Mich. for the Great Lakes Calcium Co.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie and tank barge A-390 called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Thursday. The pair unloaded through the day, and were outbound for the lake late Thursday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner was ready to depart General Mill's Frontier Elevator about 7:20 p.m. Friday. Fleetmate John J Boland was eastbound on Lake Erie with coal out of Chicago and headed for the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna. The Boland was somewhere off Long Point at 7 p.m.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday the tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 7 a.m. from Clarkson. Canadian Enterprise departed at 7 a.m. for the canal. Friday, Hamilton Energy arrived at 7 a.m. Catherine Desgagnes departed pier 25 at 3:30 p.m. with a cargo of soya beans that were loaded in Windsor and a cargo of corn from Hamilton. They were headed to Long Pond, Newfoundland. The tug Omni Richelieu and the saltie Olympic Miracle both arrived at 5 p.m. from Toronto. Canadian Transport arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. They will head back to Duluth after unloading.


CSL to fit CSNOx exhaust gas scrubber in Great Lakes vessel

6/19 - Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) has signed a Letter of Intent with Singapore-headquartered Ecospec Marine Technology covering installation of Ecospec's CSNOx gas scrubbing technology on one of CSL's Great Lakes' vessel later this year.

In the CSNOx system, the pH value and alkalinity of scrub water is corrected prior to scrubbing using an ultra-low frequency electrolysis system (ULFELS). Seawater goes through an additional antifouling pretreatment to control microbial growth in the system. The alkaline water is then pumped through the exhaust stack to scrub the flue gas. Ecospec says that CSNOx treated water is highly reactive and effective in removing CO2, SO2 and NOx through absorption and that the removed pollutants are converted into the harmless substances found naturally in water. After scrubbing, the scrubbed water may pass through a solid-liquid separator to remove solid particles. The recovered water will then undergo an integrated treatment to meet the discharge water standard. If the water supply is limited, the scrubbed water can be further treated and recycled back to the scrubbing process, reducing the amount used.

The CSL CSNOx installation will be the world's first on a vessel operating in a fresh water environment. The vessel was not named.

Ecospec claims that CSNOx is the world's first commercially viable solution that can effectively reduce SO2, NOX and CO2 emissions from large ocean trading vessels with all three gases being removed in one process and in a single system, without using harmful chemicals.

More importantly, CSNOx is claimed to be the only marine exhaust gas abatement process capable of offsetting and net reduction in CO2 emission trails. This is contrast to conventional scrubbers that increase CO2 emissions as a result of chemical reactions in the scrubbing process, or because they may not have the capability to offset CO2 emissions by the additional energy used.


Essar Steel Algoma injunction application successful

6/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Essar Steel Algoma has been successful in its application for an injunction against its iron ore pellet supplier, Cleveland Cliffs.

Essar had moved for an injunction to cause Cliffs to Continue to deliver pellets to Essar, pending the resolution of a pricing dispute between the parties, which is the subject of an arbitration proceeding. The injunction is in effect until September 3O, 2010 or until the completion of the arbitration unless either party moves to extend it.

Essar Steel Algoma is pleased with the decision and looks forward to the immediate resumption of its pellet supply.

Soo Today


Lighthouse restorations could bring public tours

6/19 - Muskegon, Mich. – Public tower climbs are one eventual goal of a volunteer group that's taking possession of the two red-painted lighthouses next to Muskegon's Pere Marquette Park.

The U.S. General Services Administration on Thursday ceremonially transferred ownership of the more than century-old lighthouses from the federal government to a Fenton-based historic preservation group called the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. The legal deed transfer is pending.

Being transferred are the 55-foot-tall South Pierhead Light, rebuilt and relocated there in 1903, and, farther out into Lake Michigan, the South Breakwater Light, which was built in 1899 and is about 70 feet tall.

Both are on the National Register of Historic Places. Both are deteriorated and need a lot of work to preserve them.

Local effort needed

Conservancy members, none of them from the Muskegon area, hope to garner help from local volunteers and raise money from local donors for a preservation and restoration drive.

"It's a new beginning for the lights, and hopefully their future will be bright," said Jeff Shook, Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy president. "We're very excited to start working on preserving the lights and getting the community involvement."

It won't be cheap, and it will take time. Rough cost estimates range up to $250,000 apiece for full restoration of the towers, Shook said.

"The whole process is just at the very, very beginning," Shook said. "This will be a several-year process, and it all depends on how willing people are in the community to support the project. We'll be looking at local partners."

He said the small group has had some preliminary contacts with potential Muskegon partners whom he declined to name.

He said preservation is the top priority for the lighthouses, but at some point the conservancy hopes to open up at least one of them to the public.

Attention likely will focus first on the South Pierhead Light, the likelier candidate for tower climbs, Shook said. Getting to the top of the South Breakwater Light is more difficult, and it has less of a safety railing.

Even the South Pierhead Light needs major restoration before it can be opened to visitors. For example, the watchroom just below the lantern room has a hole in the floor, Shook said.

Still in service

Both lighthouses have automated equipment, and the new owners must allow the Coast Guard access to maintain that equipment and keep the lights burning.

The two cast-iron structures two years ago were declared excess government property, no longer needed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The GSA, which handles excess government property, put the picturesque lighthouses on the market in June 2008. The agency wasn't seeking buyers, just qualified nonprofit stewards to whom the government could convey ownership free of charge under the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. New owners must agree to maintain the lighthouses for park or recreational use or as an educational facility for preserving history or cultural heritage.

The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy submitted its application in late 2008. A long process of consideration followed, in which several federal and state agencies considered the application and ultimately approved it.

All that remains of the lighthouses today are the towers. The keeper's residence was torn down in the early 1970s to make way for a new Coast Guard station.

Mission to preserve

The conservancy is a nonprofit corporation created to promote the preservation of Michigan's lighthouses and life-saving stations and the artifacts associated with them, through education, interpretive displays and artifact preservation.

Shook said the group became interested in the Muskegon lights after the GSA solicited applications in 2008.

He said the conservancy participated in the same process earlier for the Gull Rock Lighthouse off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, receiving the deed from the GSA in partnership with another organization. The other group, the Gull Rock Lightkeepers, now owns that structure. Any improvements to Muskegon's lighthouses will require prior approval by the State Historic Preservation Office, part of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The office supports the conservancy's plans so far.

"Many of Michigan's lighthouses would have been lost if not for the hard work and dedication of the many friend organizations like the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy," said Brian Conway, state historic preservation officer.

The ceremonial transfer Thursday was part of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Conference in Traverse City, hosted by the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance, a coalition of lighthouse preservation organizations. Also transferred were the DeTour Reef Light near Lake Huron's Drummond Island and the Harbor Beach Light.

Muskegon Chronicle


Boaters can operate U.S. Coast Guard's new foghorn system

6/19 - West Michigan – Boaters along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan now have the freedom to activate foghorns whenever they wish as the result of a new system implemented by the Coast Guard.

Lighthouses in Muskegon, Pentwater and Grand Haven recently joined other Michigan ports in allowing boaters to trip the fog signal via marine radio.

"It was a decision that was made by our district command," said Lt. Kristi Salzmann of the Coast Guard's Lake Michigan sector headquarters in Milwaukee. "If boaters need to find the lighthouse, this will make it easier."

Sensors in the lighthouse used to detect the presence of fog and would activate the signal automatically to guide ships into port. However, the sensors began malfunctioning as they grew older and continually became covered in spider webs, Salzmann said.

To activate the fog signal, boaters must tune their marine radio to channel 79A and depress the microphone five times.

Local ports began installing the new signaling systems this spring and recently maneuvered it through the testing stages, said Petty Officer David Hild of the Coast Guard's Muskegon station. "We had a lot of problems with (the old system)," he said. "It would come on when it wasn't supposed to or not come on when it was supposed to."

Lighthouses featuring the new radio control system will no longer activate automatically. Salzmann said she is unsure if many boaters are aware of the new method.

The system also is being utilized at Lake Michigan ports north of Muskegon County and as far south as Michigan City, Ind., Hild said.

Not all lighthouses in the Coast Guard's Lake Michigan sector use the new system, but there are plans for each one to change, Salzmann said.

"It's just a matter of switching them over time," she said.

Muskegon Chronicle


Captain Charles William Tully passes away

6/19 - Thorold, Ont. – Captain Charles William Tully died Wednesday at age 72. He was a pilot on the Welland Canal with the Great Lakes Pilotage Authority from 1976-2002. He was a lifelong member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (Thorold). Funeral service will be held at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church (24 Clairmont St., Thorold) on Saturday at 10 a.m


Updates - June 19

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 19

On 19 June 1889, NORTH STAR (steel propeller freighter, 299 foot, 2,476 gross tons, built in 1889, at Cleveland, Ohio) collided with CHARLES J. SHEFFIELD (steel propeller freighter, 260 foot, 1,699 gross tons, built in 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio) about sixty miles west of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior in heavy fog. The NORTH STAR kept her bow in the 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, 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, 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.

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.


Lakes limestone trade up 27 percent in May

6/18 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,639,048 net tons in May, an increase of 47.6 percent compared to April, and an increase of 27.3 percent compared to a year ago. The trade was, however, down more than 16 percent when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports were up 23 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks increased even more, 43.2 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 6,121,260 net tons, an increase of 38.3 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 21.1 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe. Loadings at U.S. ports are up 37.8 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks are 40.3 percent ahead of last years pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port of Green Bay bouncing back after dismal 2009

6/18 - Green Bay, Wis. – Following the abysmal 2009 shipping season, the amount of cargo passing through the port of Green Bay so far this year is on par with the more normal 2007 and 2008 seasons.

Through May, the port moved 379,308 metric tons of cargo — up 69 percent from the same time in 2009.

"The increase looks great over 2009, but if you put it in relationship to more recent history, it's right in line with 2007 and 2008," said Port Manager Dean Haen. "It looks like a great increase, but if you look at it in the big picture we're back on pace with '07 and '08, which were good years."

Across the board, the amount of cargo moving on the Great Lakes was down last year as the nation limped through a recession that saw decreases in many of the staple goods carried by lake freighters ranging from coal and limestone to iron ore.

So far this year the goods have been delivered by 30 ship arrivals. Last season that total through May was 19.

Haen said the port has continued to see an uptick in vessel traffic so far this month.

"There was a week in June where we had five vessels come in and that's a busy week," he said. "June, so far, is shaping up to be good as well."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Search for two missing boaters in Georgian Bay

6/18 - On Wednesday night the Canadian Coast Guard and Ontario Provincial Police were looking for two missing boaters in Georgian Bay. They went into the water at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

The men, who are in their 20s, are believed to be Matt Elson and Gavin Jamieson. A third man -- Tyler Jackson -- was also on board the small metal fishing boat and he managed to swim to shore.

The boat they were in overturned in rough water northeast of Ceder Point, near Christian Island. Cottagers saw the boat capsize and called 911.

Search and rescue units from the Canadian Forces Base Trenton have also been called to help with the search.

Bill Blair


Replicas of two of Christopher Columbus’ ships arrived in Lorain Thursday

6/18 - Lorain, Ohio – The Pinta and the Nina will be docked at Riverside Park through early morning on Monday, June 21.

According to a news release from A.J. Sanger, spokesman for the Columbus Foundation in the British Virgin Islands, the Nina was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools, and was called by Archaeology magazine “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.”

The Nina appeared in the film “1492″ starring Gerard Depardieu and directed by Ridley Scott.

The Pinta built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels. She offers larger deck space for walk-aboard tours and has a 900-square-foot main salon below deck to view slide shows of the ships’ construction.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for walk-aboard self-guided tours. The prices are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for children. Children 4 and under are Free. The ships are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. No reservations are necessary.

Teachers or groups wishing to schedule a 30-minute guided tour with a crew member should call the ship directly at (787) 672-2152 (there is a minimum of 15 people at a cost of $4 per person). Visit for additional information. The Pinta is available for private parties while in port.

Phil Leon and The Chronicle Telegram


Boatnerd passes 18 million-visitor mark

6/18 – On Wednesday, 18,000,000 visits had been recorded to the main page of the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping home page. The counter was started as the page was launched in 1995.

It is interesting to note that the first month the page was live in 1995, 590 visits were recorded. This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visits in October 2000, two million in November 2001, three million in September, 2002, four million in June, 2003, five million in February, 2004, six million in October, 2004, seven million in June, 2005, eight million in December, 2005, 9 million in June, 2006, 10 million in November 2006, 11 million in May 2007, 12 million in November, 2007, 13 million in April 2008, 14 million in October, 2008, 15 million in March, 2009, 16 million in August, 2009, 17 Million in January, 2010.

The counter only records visits to the main page, all web pages on the site (not including the discussion boards) average over 1.75 million page views per month.

The site represents a huge time commitment by the staff of volunteers and we would like to thank to all the viewers and contributors for making the web site what it is today.

In 2006, Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. was organized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit to support the BoatNerd site.


Updates - June 18

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 18

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

During a moonlight charter on 18 June 1936, the TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) struck a boulder in the Sugar Island channel in the Detroit River. The vessel docked at Amherstburg, Ontario, where her passengers disembarked as the vessel settled to the bottom in 14 feet of water. Although the damage was not fatal, the salvage crew botched the job. The TASHMOO had one end raised too quickly and her keel broke. This ended this well-loved vessel’s too short career.

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

In 1949, the WILFRED SYKES (Hull#866) was launched at American Shipbuilding Co., Lorain, Ohio, for Inland Steel Co. At the time she was the largest and most powerful vessel on the lakes. The SYKES was also the first boat to have a poop deck. She was converted to a self-unloader in 1975.

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

In 1968, the ALGOCEN (Hull#191) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd, for Algoma Central Railway. Renamed b.) VALGOCEN in 2005, she was used as a spoils barge in Keasby, New Jersey, until her return to the lakes last year. She now sails as J.W. SHELLY.

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.


Port Reports - June 17

Hamilton / Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, John B Aird departed at 5:30 a.m. for Duluth. Vega Desgagnes departed the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 6 a.m. Hamilton Energy departed at 10 a.m. for Port Weller. Wednesday, Canadian Enterprise arrived at 6 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Salarium departed at 6:15 p.m. to clean holds in the lake then will return to load slag at Pier 26. Algocape departed at 6:30 p.m. for the canal.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived Wednesday morning at Essroc's Rochester Terminal.


Rand Logistics reports fiscal year 2010 financial results

6/17 - New York, N.Y. - Rand Logistics, Inc., parent company of Lower Lakes Towing, announced Wednesday financial and operational results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 versus fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.

• Marine freight revenue (excluding fuel and other surcharges, and outside charter revenue) was $85.1 million, a decrease of $0.7 million or 0.8 percent from $85.8 million. This decrease primarily reflects a weaker average Canadian dollar during the revenue-earning period. Total sailing days equaled 3,143 versus 3,148 last year.

• Marine freight revenue per sailing day decreased by $179 or 0.7 percent, to $27,087 from $27,266.

• Vessel operating expenses per sailing day decreased by $5,183 or 20.1 percent, to $20,658 from $25,841. The decrease was primarily attributable to reduced fuel costs, and to a lesser extent, cost reductions achieved during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010.

• Operating income plus depreciation, amortization and a one-time loan amendment fee increased by $1.2 million or 6.2 percent, to $21.1 million versus $19.9 million.

• Income before taxes increased by $4.0 million, from $141,000 to $4.1 million.

"We are very pleased with our operating performance, particularly considering that volumes of certain commodities transported on the Great Lakes were down by 20 percent to almost 50 percent in the 2009 sailing season, versus the prior year, said Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes.

“The overall reduction in demand from our customers in the first half of the fiscal year, due to the weakened economy and the resultant delayed openings of our customers' facilities for the 2009 sailing season, reduced our vessel scheduling flexibility and decreased the overall operating efficiency of our fleet. In combination with increased customer demand in the second half of the fiscal year, favorable weather conditions on the Great Lakes during the October to December period, and unusually strong customer demand in January 2010, when our vessels sailed for an unbudgeted 111 days, marine freight revenue recovered and exceeded the second half performance of the prior fiscal year.

“For the full year, marine freight revenue almost achieved prior year levels, despite the adverse market conditions and a weaker Canadian dollar.

"We continue to pursue additional long term contractual business which will allow us to further increase vessel utilization and allow for further growth as the economy continues to rebound. We believe that the successful renewal of our customer contracts that were due to expire at the end of fiscal year 2010, combined with additional business we have already secured, will allow us to increase our number of sailing days in fiscal 2011 closer to our 3,300 day theoretical maximum, and will enable us to improve the efficiency of our vessels. These factors provide the potential for substantial operating leverage and profit improvement," Mr. Bravener concluded.

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand, said the outlook for the future is positive.

"Thus far in the 2010 sailing season, vessel sailing days have improved meaningfully, as compared to last year,” he observed. “This improvement is a result of increased demand for certain commodities that we carry and new business secured this past winter. Based on business in hand, we believe that total vessel sailing days for fiscal year 2011 will be markedly improved over fiscal year 2010. We are pleased that our business visibility has returned to more traditional levels. We remain cautiously optimistic about our prospects for fiscal year 2011 although we continue to believe that the markets we serve are fragile, and that the recovery will be gradual, muted and uneven. Barring a further downturn in the economy or a significant adverse change in exchange rates, we believe that our fiscal year 2010 results reflect the floor of the Company's earnings.

"We continue to evaluate a number of investment opportunities that we believe will yield mid-teens unlevered returns on invested capital. We intend to continue to use the excess free cash flow that the business is generating to repay debt and to invest in high return on invested capital projects that maximize the operating efficiency of our vessels."

Rand Logistics


International Tugboat Race this Saturday on the Detroit River

6/17 - The annual International Tugboat Race takes place this Saturday on the Detroit River at 1 p.m. The race can be viewed from Windsor or from the river aboard the tour boat Friendship. Friendship will be hosting a special cruise departing Wyandotte, Mich. at 10:30 a.m., following a 10 a.m. breakfast. click here for details


Updates - June 17

News Photo Gallery
Historic Gallery updated Manzzutti feature updated
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 17

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

On 17 June 1878, the Canadian schooner JAMES 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.


Fuel Spill on Welland Canal

6/16 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Fuel spill on Welland Canal 6/16 - - Crews are working to clean up a small fuel spill on the Welland Canal. Just before 3 p.m. Tuesday about 260 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled on the east side of the canal. It happened when a tug was being refueled at Wharf 16, south of the Clarence Street Bridge.

Crews quickly set up a containment boom and clean up efforts continued Tuesday night.

The spill happened south of an intake valve to the Port Colborne Water Treatment Plant, which is on the west side of the canal. Port Colborne residents were warned to use caution in their water use until testing was complete.

Cleanup was under way but was not completed as of 9 p.m.

News Talk 610


Port Reports - June 16

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Polsteam’s Isa arrived in the Port of Milwaukee Tuesday. H Lee White was also in port, discharging coal at the WE Energies pier.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Stephen B. Roman was unloading cement at the port of Oswego.


Updates - June 16

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 16

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 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.

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 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 is now the b.) CANADIAN LEADER

Upbound in the Welland Canal on June 16, 1963, loaded with iron ore for Chicago, U.S. Steel's BENJAMIN F. 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.


Port Reports - June 15

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On a foggy Monday at the Upper Harbor, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore while Army Corps of Engineers' tug Billmaier and barge H.J. Schwartz worked off and inside the breakwall near the harbor light.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Peter Groh
The steamer St. Marys Challenger made a rainy arrive to Milwaukee Monday. It made the trip up the Kinnickinnic River to the St. Marys Cement Terminal to unload a load of cement.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sunday evening saw the arrival of Calumet, carrying a split cargo. She lightered at the Bay City Wirt stone dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Saginaw Wirt stone dock. Calumet was expected to be outbound Monday morning. Her arrival marked third Lower Lakes Towing vessel and fourth vessel overall of the day on Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday, CSL Niagara arrived at 11 a.m. with coal for US Steel. Monday, Federal Yukon departed at 5 a.m. and John B. Aird arrived at 9:30 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. Her next port is going to be Duluth.


Practice turns into real-life rescue at shipwreck site

6/15 - Alpena, Mich. – A routine training drill turned into reality when the U.S. Coast Guard in Alpena was called to respond to a missing diver 14 miles off the coast at the site of the Pewabic shipwreck in Thunder Bay.

Diving at 165 feet, three experienced divers went into the water first followed by two more. With zero visability, a diver from the first group was separated. Frank Rosinski, captain of the Great Lakes Charter boat Dill Emma, called the Coast Guard immediately to report the incident.

Coast Guard Chief Mark Szoboszlay, Officer Matt Lorch and Petty Officers Shamir Ballard and Christopher Pierce were already on the water doing routine drills when they received the call.

"See how quickly a training drill can turn into a real life situation," Szoboszlay said. "We always have to be prepared."

Before the Coast Guard reached the charter boat, the missing diver was recovered. Mick Reilly, assistant attorney general who works in Lansing, said he has been on over 800 dives.

"I've been separated before," Reilly said.

He said the visibility was very poor when he was separated from his group."We didn't even find the wreck," he said.

When Reilly realized he could not see the others in his group, he surfaced and signaled for those on the boat. They recovered him right away.

They called the Coast Guard "airing on the side of caution," Reilly said.

Reilly is an experienced diver and he and the other divers aboard the charter boat planned to dive a second time at the site to look again for the wreck.

"On Sunday, I'm going skydiving," Reilly said.

Szoboszlay said the captain of the Dill Emma acted in a very timely manner and "made the appropriate calls." Even though Reilly's recovery was reported before the Coast Guard arrived on scene, Szoboszlay and his team still went to the site to check.

The Alpena News


Legal win could clear way to forced sale of former Stelco

6/15 - Hamilton, Ont. – Canada has won a legal victory that could clear the way to a forced sale of the former Stelco. In a decision released Monday, the Federal Court swept aside a U.S. Steel motion challenging the law under which the government sued. Barring an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, the verdict clears the way for a hearing on the basic issue: whether U.S. Steel broke promises to maintain production and employment in Hamilton it made in 2007 when it was allowed to buy Stelco.

The suit, launched by the government almost a year ago, marks the first time an action has been taken under the Investment Canada Act to enforce such promises.

“This is a tremendous victory for Canada,” said Ken Neumann, Canadian director of the United Steelworkers union. “It says the government has the tools to ensure foreign investment carries a net benefit to Canada.”

When Stelco emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2006 it was owned by a group of hedge funds which, in 2007, sold the company for $1.9 billion to Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel. That sale required approval by Industry Canada, and in asking for that, U.S. Steel promised to produce 4.35 million tons of steel each year and employ an average 3,100 workers.

By March 2009, however, the company had idled the entire Hamilton operation and in August it locked out the remaining workers at its Lake Erie plant in Nanticoke. In total the American company put 2,100 Canadians on the street in order to consolidate production at its plants in Pennsylvania, Indiana and Alabama.

Canada responded first with a demand that U.S. Steel explain itself, followed by a suit seeking fines of up to $10,000 per broken promise per day, dating from Nov. 1, 2008.

U.S. Steel challenged that suit on the grounds it breached protections under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by exposing executives to possible prison time for what was essentially a contractual dispute.

In her decision, Justice Dolores Hansen of the Federal Court rejected that argument, saying prison was only a threat if the company and its executives were found in contempt of court for not paying fines, and that penalty would not be imposed under the act the company was challenging.

In a brief interview, U.S. Steel spokesperson Courtney Boone said the company is reviewing the decision and refused further comment.

U.S. Steel has said in the past its shutdown of Canadian plants was motivated solely by the collapse of demand for steel during the worldwide recession of 2008-9. In addition, the Lake Erie lockout was settled in April of this year and many workers have been recalled to the Hamilton plant.

Welland-based Lakeside Steel, an intervenor in the hearing, has asked the government to seek a court-ordered sale of the former Stelco. It has argued in court documents the fines sought by the government will mean little to an industrial giant like U.S. Steel while an order to comply with the jobs and production commitments won’t resolve “the long-term threat to the Canadian public interest that is posed by U.S. Steel's self-interested management” of its Canadian assets.

In an interview, Lakeside president Ron Bedard said he was “pleased with the decision” but deferred all future comment until the document has been thoroughly reviewed.

The United Steelworkers union, which has also been named an intervenor in the suit, is seeking nearly $44 million in damages for lost wages and dues following the shutdowns.

Hamilton Spectator


Retired Canadian sub may be headed for Port Stanley

6/15 - Port Stanley, Ont. – Can a rematch of the Battle of Lake Erie be far off?

The 1813 clash in which American commander Oliver Hazard Perry defeated the British navy to take control of Lake Erie was a decisive battle in the War of 1812. Now a St. Thomas group is hoping to bring a Canadian submarine to Port Stanley, noting U.S. submarines are docked at Buffalo and Cleveland.

Ian Raven, curator of the Elgin Military Museum, jokes the HMCS Ojibwa, built in the 1960s, would probably be more than a match for the USS Croaker at Buffalo and the USS Cod at Cleveland, both Second World War fighting craft. "That should balance things off," he said.

But the only fighting will be for tourists. Besides, an agreement between Canada and the U.S. vetoes re-arming the Lakes.

The Ojibwa would be mounted onshore, whereas the American subs remain in the water.

Raven's group will appear at Central Elgin council Monday making a pitch to house the Oberon-class diesel-electric Ojibwa in Port Stanley and build a museum alongside it. The boat and planned building are just a bit shorter than a football field.

"We want to begin working with them to see if it might fit in with their plans for Port Stanley," Raven said.

Other potential homes in Elgin could be Port Bruce, Port Burwell or Port Glasgow, he said. "I expect the phones will be ringing from around Southwestern Ontario if Central Elgin says no."

A sister of the Ojibwa, HMCS Onondaga, became an attraction in Rimouski, Que., and in its first year of operation last year drew 91,000 visitors, Raven said.

The St. Lawrence River city acquired the Onondaga for $4 in 2005. Mounted on a cradle, it marked the first Canadian submarine to become a museum.

Raven said plans are to raise another $1 million on top of the $1.9 million being provided by the federal government to tow the sub from Halifax this summer, clean it up and make it visitor-ready.

"Naval artifacts are few and far between," Raven said, noting the museum, established back in the 1970s, was actually looking for a couple of military vehicles for its St. Thomas museum when the sub idea struck.

"It was jokingly suggested, 'Do you want a submarine?' " he said federal officials asked the group. "We said, 'Sure, we'll see what we can do with it.' "

A business plan has already been developed and all that's needed is a new home for the Ojibwa.

Joe Preston, the Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London who secured the $1.9 million under the community adjustment plan of FedDev Ontario, said he's excited about the plan and thinks the logical location is Port Stanley.

"It should be a large tourism boost," he said, predicting more than 100,000 visitors annually.

"How many people want to tour a submarine?" he asked.

Port Stanley, once a vibrant commercial port, has opted for a tourism-oriented future for when the municipality acquires the port from the federal government.

Preston said he expects the submarine to become a tourism fixture. He noted its sister in Rimouski has been modified to accommodate overnight visitors.

"It would have been scrap in a very short time if we hadn't rescued it," Preston said of the Ojibwa.

The purchase from the Department of National Defense is for $1, he said. "It is very dirty and a bit rusty so it will need cleaning up. It's almost 100% complete and it's in good shape."

London Free Press


Great Lakes Science Center raffle offers trip on Paul R. Tregurtha

6/15 - The Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio, is hosting a benefit to support education programs and the Museum Ship William G. Mather. Here’s your chance to win the trip of a lifetime on the Great Lakes.

One winner will be selected from no more than 150 entries, and up to six adults can be accommodated in three state rooms each with a private bath (which means the winner of the raffle can bring five guests. Click here for more information


Updates - June 15

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 15

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

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 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.


Port Reports - June 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson arrived early Sunday afternoon at the Lower Harbor and backed in to the Shiras Dock to unload limestone. She was due at the Upper Harbor ore dock later in the evening, along with fleetmate Kaye E. Barker.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
USCGC Mackinaw was maneuvering in the channel off Bayship early Sunday afternoon. The saltie Alexia was anchored off Sherwood Point unloading cargo to a barge alongside using her own cranes. Finally, the barge Great Lakes was off the drydock and moored alongside the Buffalo.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Late Saturday afternoon, Durocher Marine’s tug Valerie B towed in two barges full of equipment for the Consumers Power Port Sheldon Plant. The tug and barges were stopped to have a secure port for the weekend. The barges were secured at the seawall at Verplanks Dock. just up from the old oil tanker terminal. About 9 a.m. Sunday, Wilfred Sykes backed in with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Indiana - Sheldon Rody
On Sunday two ships were at the Port of Indiana, Isa and the Iryda.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
A number of vessels called on the Saginaw River this past weekend. Saturday saw Indiana Harbor arrive with coal for the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She completed her unload and backed out into the Saginaw Bay to turn early Sunday morning. Later in the morning, the tug Olive L. Moore with the Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. As they were finishing their unload, Manitowoc was inbound at the Front Range, waiting for the same dock. Manitowoc pulled just past the Bay Aggregates slip and waited for the Moore/Kuber to depart for the lake. Once clear, Manitowoc backed into the Bay Aggregate slip to unload. Also on Sunday, Maumee was inbound, traveling upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. This was the second time in three days she called on Burroughs to unload. Maumee departed the dock to head for the Sixth Street basin and turn for the lake late Sunday afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn arrived off a foggy lake in the notch of her barge A-397 at noon today. They headed down the Black Rock Canal for the Marathon Asphalt dock in Tonanwanda. Departure time will around 3 a.m. on the 14th.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Evans McKeil arrived in port Saturday and mated with the Lafarge cement barge Metis. They departed for Picton at 5 p.m.


Updates - June 14

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery and another News Photo Gallery update
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 14

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

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

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

On June 14, 1988, the CONSUMERS POWER of 1927, with her former fleet mate JOHN T. HUTCHINSON, departed Lauzon, Quebec in tow of the Panamanian tug/supply ship OMEGA 809, bound for a scrap yard in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

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

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

Data from: Jody Aho, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II, The Marine Historical Society of Detroit and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Port Reports - June 13

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Mississagi was inbound to unload Friday. Stephan B. Roman was unloading at Essroc, and American Republic was loading for the Mittal shuttle.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday, the tug Evans McKeil departed at 5:30 a.m. for Toronto. Federal Yukon arrived at 6:30 a.m. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin departed at 8 a.m. to clean holds and then returned at 2:30 p.m. to load slag at US Steel. Hamilton Energy departed at 10 a.m. and returned to port at 3:30 p.m. Capt. Henry Jackman departed in ballast at 1:30 p.m. for Windsor.


USCG cutter Hollyhock changes skippers

6/13 - Port Huron, Mich. – Lt. Cmdr. James Bellaire commanded the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock for nearly two years. Now he is moving on -- and he believes he is leaving the ship in good hands.

Those hands belong to Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Brown, who took on that leadership role Friday during a change-of-command ceremony at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal.

"Today I hand over a crew to a leader I know they should follow," Bellaire said.

Bellaire became the commanding officer of the Hollyhock in August 2008. His next tour of duty will be in Virginia.

Rear Adm. Michael Parks, Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, and a longtime friend of Bellaire since their days at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, said Bellaire did an outstanding job during his tour of service on the Hollyhock.

"You have answered all bells all the time," Parks told Bellaire. "You and your crew have exceeded high standards and you should be proud of your efforts," he said.

Under his command, the Hollyhock traveled across all five Great Lakes, performed work on more than 450 navigational aids and completed more than 400 hours of domestic ice breaking.

"The Hollyhock has been a major part of my life and my career," Bellaire said.

Brown, the Hollyhock's new commander, had been serving in Portsmouth, Va., as the U.S. Coast Guard's 5th District Deputy Chief of Enforcement and Fisheries Law Enforcement Officer.

"This is one of the best-looking and best-running ships in the Coast Guard," Brown said. "I can't wait to sail.”

Brown was born and raised in Massachusetts and graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1996. He and his wife, Jennifer, have five children.

Parks said Brown is the right man for the job.

"We wouldn't have chosen you if we didn't think you had what it takes," Parks said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - June 13

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 13

On 13 June 2003, after completing her conversion from American to Canadian registry, Lower Lakes Towing's newly acquired MICHIPICOTEN, a.) ELTON HOYT 2ND, departed the Government dock at Sarnia, Ontario. First she went to the Shell Oil dock in Corunna, Ontario to fuel, then she departed for Marquette, Michigan to load ore for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

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

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

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.


Soo Lock project will take years to complete

6/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – A project now underway at the Soo Locks will get rid of the old and bring in the new.

When the project is finished there will be there will be three locks instead of four. The new lock will help create another shipping channel between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

"The third lock, the Davis Lock, will be filled in with demolition debris, the fourth lock will basically be replaced with a full-size lock, 1,200 feet long, 110 feet wide, and we'll be able to handle thousand-foot freighters and basically any freighter over 730 feet," said Soo Locks Area Engineer Kevin Sprague.

The last time the Sabin was in service was 1989. The last year the Davis locked up was this past year. Age and the limitation of what vessels could go through these locks have a new plan in store. Work is being done to demolish these two locks, and build a new one to cater to economic traffic.

"The new lock has been authorized by Congress. It requires funds to begin construction work," said Sprague.

$2.5 million has been allotted for work to set cofferdams on the Lake Huron side of the two locks. $7 million will go toward deepening the Northern Canal from 23 feet to 28.5 feet for the larger cargo boats. In the future, Congress will allot funds to begin the actual construction.

"We need this project to continue our redundancy and our ability to maintain traffic, it's a big impact to the economy to support movement of iron ore, coal, and grain from Western Lake Superior to the lower lakes," said Sprague.

The Sabin Lock is only 23.5 feet deep, the new Lock will be 32 feet, and that's to accommodate the modern, deep draft freighters.

Sprague says this project could take many years to complete.

$9.5 million is being spent to prepare for the construction, and he says that number will be much more when the lock work begins.

Up North Live


Port Reports - June 12

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Mesabi Miner arrived in Duluth on a rainy Friday morning to wait for the berth at Midwest Energy Terminal, where Paul R. Tregurtha was loading. Both vessels were scheduled to split their coal cargoes between St. Clair and Monroe. H. Lee White was due later in the day. On Saturday, Charles M. Beeghly is scheduled to make an unusual trip of loading coal in Superior destined for the power plant at Taconite Harbor. The BNSF ore dock saw few vessels last year but it’s busier this season. The latest vessel to load there was Edgar B. Speer, which departed Thursday with pellets for Conneaut.

Escanaba, Mich. - Lee Rowe
Birchglen arrived in Escanaba on a stormy Friday. She was there for a load of fines, probably for Quebec.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Alpena was at Lafarge on Thursday and departed by early afternoon to head back to Muskegon for lay-up. Sam Laud was also at Lafarge on Thursday, unloading cargo. Friday evening Manitowoc tied up at Lafarge and unloaded coal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Maumee made her first appearance of the season Friday afternoon, traveling up the Saginaw River to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. She is expected to be outbound late Friday evening or early Saturday morning. CSL Tadoussac called on the Saginaw River Thursday, stopping at the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville to unload. She had finished by late evening and back out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake. This was the first cargo delivered to the Essroc dock since August 26 last year when Frontenac called there, and the first visit by CSL Tadoussac since December 23,2008. Calumet was inbound Friday evening headed for the GM Dock in Saginaw. She passed her fleetmate, Maumee, who was outbound after finishing her unload at the Burroughs dock.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Olympic Miracle arrived in port Thursday evening, assisted into Redpath Sugar by Groupe Ocean's tugs LaPrairie and Omni Richelieu, which arrived in port from Hamilton and returned there when the berthing was completed. The schooner Empire Sandy left port for the Welland Canal. It will be doing Niagara River and lock tours this weekend.

North Traverse, QC - Mac Mackay
Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors BV of the Netherlands made application to the Canadian Transportation Authority (CTA) for a coasting trade license to use their trailing suction hopper dredge Ostsee to dredge the North Traverse. The CTA has found that no suitable Canadian vessel is available. This stretch of water northeast of the Ile d'Orleans needs annual dredging, and this is the second year that a foreign ship will be doing the work. Last year it was the Danish Freja. The contract for the work this year was awarded to Fraser River Pile and Dredge Inc of British Columbia, but they have subcontracted the work to Van Oord. For many years this work was done by Dragage Verreault's Port Mechins, but that ship is no longer working in Canada.


Updates - June 12

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The wooden propeller freighter MILWAUKEE (264 foot, 1,770 gross tons) was launched at Quayle & Sons yard in Cleveland, Ohio on 12 June 1879, for the Western Transportation Company of Buffalo, New York. She had supporting arches above decks. In 1902, she was renamed YONKERS and rebuilt as a barge in 1911. She lasted until 1917-1918 when she stranded, then burned.

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


Port Reports - June 11

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy training ship State of Michigan is scheduled to arrive in the Twin Ports at approximately noon on Sunday, docking at the Duluth Arena Dock, located behind the DECC.

Sault Ste. Marie - Herm Klein
Thursday morning brought a new visitor to the St. Marys River, the upbound BBC Sweden. The training ship State of Michigan, which has spent the better part of a week sailing up and down the river, locking through several times, left her overnight mooring at the Carbide Dock en route to Houghton, sharing the Mac Lock with the BBC Sweden.

Charlevoix, Mich. -
Salarium delivered a cargo of gypsum to the St. Marys Cement plant in Charlevoix, Mich., Wednesday morning. The cargo proved difficult to unload and workers were reportedly using jackhammers to remove the material. The Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 had been waiting to unload its cargo for over 24 hours, and St. Marys own vessels will soon be waiting to load. Emergency medical services were dispatched to the ship that morning to remove an injured worker from the cargo hold. Salarium was east bound through the Straits of Mackinac Thursday night.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Thursday morning, Canadian Transfer was discharging salt.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
At 9:15 on Thursday morning, Manitowoc was in Calumet Harbor outbound for Lake Michigan. St. Marys Challenger was at her terminal in Lake Calumet unloading the rest of her load. She had been there for a couple of days. Around 11 a.m., Philip R. Clarke made her way into Cal Harbor after unloading stone at Buffington, Ind. She turned around and backed her way into the Calumet River arriving at KCBX around 12:30 p.m. St. Marys Challenger departed her Lake Calumet terminal just after 3 and made her way to Lake Michigan making the open lake about 5:45 p.m.


Saginaw River dredging set to begin in Saginaw County

6/11 - Zilwaukee Twp., Mich. — Crews are getting ready to dredge the Saginaw River to make the channel deeper and safer for passing ships.

The federally funded $4.3 million project will remove about 110,000 cubic yards of spoils from the Upper Saginaw River this year between the city of Saginaw and the mouth of the river, said Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the Detroit District Army Corps of Engineers.

Cheboygan-based Ryba Marine Construction Co. will earn about $1.3 million for dredging the spoils and transporting them to the Dredged Material Disposal Facility on the Saginaw-Bay County line.

Officials say the Saginaw River plays a vital role in the region’s economy — ships carry salt for roads, fertilizer for crops, coal for power and aggregate stone materials for road and other construction — and the dredging will improve deteriorating shipping conditions caused by the buildup of silt.

“It’s forced ships to lighten their loads,” said James A. Koski, Saginaw County public works commissioner. “Now, they won’t have to do that.”

Because of shallow waters and shoal areas, ships traveling the Saginaw River have had to lighten their loads by 15 percent or more, limiting profits and requiring more trips.

Koski said the Saginaw River is the second busiest port in Michigan and maintaining it is important for local dock owners and the local economy in general.

Schloop of the Corps said biannual dredging typically removes between 100,000 and 200,000 cubic yards of spoils.

Maintenance dredging on the river began last year and Schloop said it’s possible more dredging is needed, but ships should be able to load very efficiently after this round of work is complete.

“I certainly think the Saginaw River is a very important navigational project for the region and the economy of the region,” Schloop said. “We want to keep doing everything we can to improve the economic climate as much as possible.”

The Saginaw News


Seaway tests ability to respond to hazardous spill

6/11 - Massena, N.Y. — As the Gulf region deals with the aftermath of the BP oil spill, Seaway officials are working to ensure they are equipped to manage an oil or hazardous material spill on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Out on the water on a tranquil, sunny afternoon, it’s easy to forget the St. Lawrence River serves as a major highway for shipping traffic passing between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes.

Passing ships from all over the world slip quietly by carrying a variety of cargo — from coal to grain to hazardous chemicals — and a large stock of fuel oil.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., the federal agency charged with overseeing the Seaway infrastructure on the U.S. side of the river, has not experienced a major spill or problem with the transport of these materials through the area for decades.

A chemical spill in 1989 and a smaller incident in the early 1990s prompted the agency to ramp up its focus on spill response efforts, equipment, annual drills and training while also helping to boost regulations on vessels entering the shipping route.

Today, ships must meet strict safety regulations before being permitted to enter the Seaway system — including double hulls mandated for many vessels after the Exxon Valdez incident — and those that carry hazardous materials must have an on-board disaster management plan in the event of a crash, spill, containment failure or other emergency.

But shipping here is still not without its risks.

So while they always prefer when things are running smoothly on the 120 miles of waterway they’re responsible for, the Seaway Corp. and the U.S. Coast Guard are working to ensure they are prepared for disaster.

The groups sponsored roundtable discussions with local agencies and a boom deployment drill Wednesday to discuss and then practice responding to a spill emergency.

“The Seaway has had an emergency response plan and worked very closely with the Coast Guard for a number of years,” Seaway Deputy Associate Administrator Carol A. Fenton said. “We exercise our plan at least once a year, and this year we decided to do something locally.”

Federal, state, St. Lawrence County, Jefferson County and local agencies ran through two disaster scenarios — a hazardous cargo spill at the Eisenhower Locks and an oil spill near the Massena Intake, which feeds drinking water to the Massena community.

Seaway and Coast Guard officials explained the strategies they would take in dealing with the scenarios and the resources they could deploy to address the spills.

Participating agencies, from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the American Red Cross and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to the St. Lawrence County Local Emergency Planning Committee, Jefferson County Fire and Emergency Management, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Massena Memorial Hospital, the Massena Department of Public Works and local police and fire departments, then discussed what roles they could play in an emergency situation and what kinds of assistance they could offer in helping to protect Seaway workers, the public and the environment.

The group then joined Pat J. Broderick and his Marine Services team at the Massena Intake to watch crews deploy a floating boom at the mouth of the Intake area to serve as a barrier preventing oil or chemicals from spreading nearer the community’s water supply.

Using a team of three boats, the Seaway workers tied one end of the boom to an old bridge abutment, then practiced unloading and connecting sections of boom and returning to the shore at intervals to collect additional sections from emergency response trailers filled with thousands of feet of barrier pieces.

Crews used a new 23-foot emergency response vessel to unload the boom and a smaller 17-foot assist boat to hold the loose ends while more boom sections were collected from the shore. Officials said the new equipment will go a long way in enhancing the Seaway’s emergency response capabilities.

In an emergency situation, Mr. Broderick said, Seaway and Coast Guard officials at a command center would direct the placement and use of those booms to block the spill from spreading to certain areas, contain oil or contaminated water to the greatest extent possible and collect and remove the material from the river.

Back at the Seaway offices, Ms. Fenton said, other employees would have their own spill response roles. Workers in the contracting and procurement departments would need to coordinate with local contractors or groups to bring supplies in a hurry; line crews and maintenance staff would be tasked with putting booms in the water or controlling marine traffic around the spill area; administrative and clerical staff would be used to notify local agencies and coordinate response efforts from outside groups.

“Each office here would be involved,” Ms. Fenton said. “We hold evacuation drills in the event of a fire, but it’s also important that our employees know how they would need to respond in other types of emergencies.”

Detailed reporting from ships required by the Seaway also helps enhance the agency’s preparedness, said Lori K. Curran, director of lock operations and marine services.

Vessels are required to report what they are carrying and where potential hazards such as fuel tanks or chemical containers are on the ship. Seaway officials have that information at their fingertips once a ship enters the system, enabling them to better respond in the event of a disaster.

“We don’t just focus on response, we also look at preventative measures so a spill doesn’t happen in the first place,” Ms. Fenton said. “We have a rigorous ship inspection program and a four-agency effort with Canada that helps us ensure any problem a ship has is corrected before it comes through the Seaway.”

Watertown Daily Times


Memorial to shine light on Port Huron lighthouse keeper

6/11 - Port Huron, Mich. – A man many consider a hero will be honored later this month during a memorial service on the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse grounds. Officials will honor Bob Hanford, who died June 5 at age 84.

Known in the community as "Lighthouse Bob," Hanford served as keeper of the lighthouse for 20 years.

He also served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II.

Frank Frisk of Marysville has been busy organizing a memorial service for his longtime friend since he found out about Hanford's death.

Frisk didn't think the idea would come together so quickly, but the date has been set for 11 a.m. June 26.

"He (Hanford) was well known all over the Great Lakes. He didn't take a back seat to anybody," Frisk said. "He was a hero in the war and a hero for us."

Jesse Guarneri, executive petty officer of the Coast Guard Station in Port Huron, said approval was received Wednesday through the Coast Guard district office in Cleveland for the service to be on the lighthouse grounds.

Guarneri said the approval was necessary because of the lighthouse's deteriorating condition and the transition of the property from the federal government to St. Clair County.

"Bob is one of us. He wore the same uniform we wear," Guarneri said. "We want to make sure we honor him the way he honored us by fighting in World War II and representing the Coast Guard. We want to do whatever we can to make it as memorable as it can be."

Frisk said he received only positive support from the Coast Guard and the Port Huron Museum. "The response has been immense and fantastic," Frisk said. "Everyone has been very helpful."

Hanford served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1943 to 1946 and participated in four major invasions, including those at Normandy and Iwo Jima.

He also served 25 years as a Detroit police officer before retiring in 1972.

Hanford moved to Port Huron in 1975 and became the keeper of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in 1988.

Hanford volunteered his time for guided tours and gave the lighthouse a thorough cleaning about once a month before the structure was closed to visitors in 2008 because of its condition.

"This was his baby, and he deserves this," Frisk said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - June 11

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 11

TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) entered regular service for the White Star Line at Detroit, Michigan, on 11 June 1900.

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

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.

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, 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.


Port Reports - June 10

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday evening at the Upper Harbor, Mesabi Miner unloaded Western coal into the hopper.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
Wednesday afternoon Maumee arrived at the Fox River Dock with the first cargo of salt for the season in Green Bay. After unloading into the hopper for most of the unload, they shifted forward to unload the remaining cargo on the blacktop pad. After two years of running short of salt and harsh winters, the past winter was mild and has left a fair amount of salt still on the dock. Also in Green Bay, the G tug Indiana is sporting a fresh coat of paint and looking sharp.

St. Marys River - Jerry Masson
Included in Wednesday's traffic were Kiyi, Walter J McCarthy Jr., Algosoo, Stewart J. Cort, Kaye E. Barker, Frontenac, Paul R. Tregurtha, Roger Blough. Downbound were Presque Isle, State of Michigan, Captain Henry Jackman, Arthur M. Anderson, Montrealais and Drechtborg. Mississagi was at Thessalon Wednesday. Federal Matane was at Essar Steel and Iryda was at anchor in the lower river.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On a windy and rainy Wednesday morning, the Coast Guard vessel Buckthorn was tied up in the river. It may have been in port waiting for weather conditions to improve. Around noon the lines were brought in and the Buckthorn turned around to head out into the bay. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were at Lafarge on Wednesday morning loading cement. Alpena is expected to return on Thursday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Daniel McNeil
The steamer Alpena made her way up the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning, calling on the Lafarge Cement dock in Carrollton. She was outbound for the lake later in the afternoon. This was Alpena's second trip to Lafarge Carrollton this season, and there has now been one more delivery than all of last season to the Lafarge dock.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday, Algomarine departed at 7 a.m. for Bruce Mines Ont. Michipicoten departed at 10 a.m. for Marblehead Ohio. Robert S. Pierson arrived at 1:30 pm. with iron ore pellets for US Steel and departed at 7 p.m. for Toledo. Canadian Olympic arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. The Olympic will head back to Duluth after unloading.

Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Tuesday the tanker Futura arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 7:30 p.m.


“Lighthouse” Bob Hanford memorial June 26 in Port Huron

6/10 - A memorial service in memory of “Lighthouse” Bob Hanford, 84, who died last Saturday, will be held at the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse June 26 at 11 a.m. A member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Hanford assumed the duties of lighthouse keeper in 1988, leading tours of the Fort Gratiot Light Station for delighted school children and other visitors.


Plug could be pulled on 1,000 Canadian lighthouses

6/10 - Toronto, Ont. – Close to 1,000 Canadian lighthouses have been declared surplus and could be up on the auction block under a new law.

The list, including 480 active lighthouses, was released in the middle of a Senate review launched last fall in response to a fierce battle over plans to automate some of the last 50 lighthouses in Canada that are still staffed.

Under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, which came into force May 29, individuals and communities can apply to take over surplus lighthouses for tourism or other uses.

None of the stations on the list are presently staffed.

But Alice Woods, vice-president of the BC Lightkeepers Local 20232, said the government is acting with undue haste. “They promised a wide-ranging review and it would be appropriate to wait until that review process was complete,” she said.

Nelson Kalil, a spokesman for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, said the change won’t remove any active aids to navigation.

“While half of these aids to navigation are active, that is, they are part of Canada’s Aids to Navigation system, the structures that support them do not necessarily need to be owned and maintained by the department,” he stated. “While still active lighthouse structures can be transferred to the public, the actual navigational light will not be transferred and will remain the property of the Department with the Canadian Coast Guard ensuring its continued operation.”

Just 18 active lighthouses on B.C.’s coast are on the surplus list. The majority of the stations are in the Maritime provinces.

Ms. Woods said the issue of surplus lighthouses was to be part of the review. She said many of the stations have already fallen into disrepair after staffing was discontinued in the last 15 years.

While a community may choose to renew a local lighthouse, she said she would be alarmed if private interests take over stations.

“I’d be concerned if this is turning public assets into for-profit, private property, excluding Canadians from their own heritage and the gems of their coast,” she said. “These are public assets and should remain public assets.”

Ms. Woods has been a lighthouse keeper for 27 years at Chatham Point, on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

The move to divest ownership of the stations could make it more difficult to press the federal government to restore staff at some stations, she warned.

Last October, Fisheries Minister Gail Shea ordered a review of Canadian Coast Guard plans to automate lighthouses in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

It’s the second time in two decades a strong backlash stalled the coast guard’s effort to end staffing at light stations. The minister said last fall that safety concerns have been raised by a number of parties over the gradual discontinuation of staffing of light stations in the two provinces, so no more automation will take place until the review is complete.

Mr. Kalil said that commitment stands: “The lighthouses that are staffed have not been declared surplus and are not candidates for transfer under the Act at this time.”

The Globe and Mail


Shipwreck survivor Dennis Hale holds book signing Saturday in Port Huron

6/10 - Port Huron, Mich. – Dennis Hale, the only survivor of SS Daniel J. Morrell shipwreck on Lake Huron in 1966, will be on hand to sell and sign copies of his new book, "Shipwrecked, Reflections of the Sole Survivor," Saturday at the Great Lakes Maritime Center in Port Huron. The event will start at 10 a.m. with a short presentation, and will run until 3 p.m. The Great Lakes Maritime Center is at 41 Water St.


Updates - June 10

News Photo Gallery
Historic Gallery updated Manzzutti feature updated
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 10

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

On 10 June 1891, the CHARLES W. WETMORE (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1,399 gross tons) left the shipyard at West Superior, Wisconsin, on her maiden voyage, bound for Liverpool, England with a cargo of grain. During her trip to the Atlantic Ocean, she shot the St. Lawrence River rapids. In Liverpool, she loaded machinery for Puget Sound. She only lasted until September 1892, when she stranded one mile north of Coos Bay, Oregon in fog. Bad weather stopped salvage attempts and the vessel was abandoned.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - June 9

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Mississagi came in early Tuesday morning with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock on Harbor Island just upriver from the Power Plant. She unloaded and was heard blowing a salute as she departed at 8 a.m.


Michigan lighthouses guiding the way

6/9 - Northern Michigan - Michigan is home to the largest number of lighthouses of any state in the nation. And with the vast amounts of shoreline across four of the Great Lakes, that should not be a surprise.

“There are over 120 lighthouses in Michigan,” said Terry Pepper, a director of the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance and executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. “There is not an exact number because there is question among people as to what constitutes a lighthouse. We define it as a significant structure that at one time was maintained and operated by a designated keeper, and there are still 128 of those (in Michigan).” Throughout history, “lighthouses have served two purposes,” Pepper said. “They guide boats to safe places such as harbors, and they steer them away from dangerous areas like islands and shallow areas. “The invention of lighthouses is widely credited to the Egyptians,” Pepper said.

“And as people emigrated (to the United States) it became obvious that ships needed them here, too. One of the first acts of the (new) Congress was to make the establishment of lighthouses a federal responsibility.” Still, there were not many in the Great Lakes until the Erie Canal opened up, moving huge amounts of commerce into the region.

“The United States expanded in a westbound direction and the entire Midwest became settled due to the Erie Canal and the transportation (provided by) the Great Lakes. The lighthouses on the Great Lakes were integral to the commerce and population of the Midwest, including cities such as Chicago,” said Pepper. Many lighthouses in the country and region are still maintained by the United States Coast Guard, he said, but a growing number are now owned by local units of government, nonprofits and private individuals, including lighthouses in Michigan. “Virtually all shore-based lighthouses in Michigan are open to the public (to visit).”

A wide range of individuals have a casual interest in lighthouses, their uses, preservation and aesthetic beauty, Pepper said. But for some, it goes further than that. And for just such people, Traverse City will host the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance’s Great Lakes Lighthouse Preservation Conference from June 14-17.

“Anybody who has an above-average interest in lighthouses and their preservation would find this an interesting conference to attend,” Pepper said. “But it’s really geared to people who already own lighthouses or are interested in doing so in the future. People who are interested in lighthouses tend to get addicted to it.” The conference will cover such subjects as the processes and challenges of transferring ownership of a lighthouse, insurance for lighthouse stewards, researching lighthouse keepers, and more. Sessions will be devoted to the physical preservation of the lighthouse such as masonry or special coatings and painting to withstand the weather of this region, Pepper said. “People will talk about how to get more media and Internet coverage and support for your lighthouse, too. We touch on any issue that involves lighthouse restoration and preservation.”

And as this year marks the 10th anniversary of the National Lighthouse Historic Preservation Act, federal agencies plan to use this conference to discuss new lighthouses that will become available for preservation. But perhaps one of the most important aspects of the conference is the sense of community.

“You find people that have common interests and are able to solve problems together,” he said. This year’s conference, the third of its kind, will be hosted by the Michigan Lighthouse Alliance at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City.

The Michigan Lighthouse Alliance (MLA), a nonprofit organization formed in 2003, was created to be a “spokesperson” for lighthouse owners, potential lighthouse owners, stewards and stakeholders, Pepper said. The MLA represents all lighthouses in Michigan currently owned by a steward or organization. Its board, which consists of representatives of some of those lighthouses, meet to discuss the issues critical to lighthouses and find solutions to those problems. “With a ‘supraorganization’ such as this one, it speaks for all stewards out there, which perhaps means more than one asking for itself,” Pepper added.

For details or to register for the conference, visit

Grand Traverse Insider


Updates - June 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 9

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 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


Port Reports - June 8

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel traffic in the Twin Ports at midday Monday included American Integrity loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, Drechtborg loading at Peavey elevator and Tuscarora loading at CHS. Arthur M. Anderson was outbound light about 12:30 p.m. after unloading stone at the CN ore dock. It was bound for Two Harbors to load ore. Captain Henry Jackman arrived in Duluth shortly before noon to load at the CN ore dock.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Calumet was out in the bay Monday evening leaving Lafarge. Right behind it was G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity heading for South Chicago. The research vessel Sturgeon was tied up in the river.

Goderich, Ont. - Jonathan Stuparyk
John Spence and barge Niagara Spirit were behind the salt mine with an unknown cargo.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner wrapped up unloading operations at the General Mills Frontier Elevator around 7:45 p.m. Monday evening. She backed out of the City Ship Canal by herself and was clear of the Outer Harbor Piers by 8:30 p.m.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Canadian Enterprise departed at 10 a.m. for the canal. The Group Ocean tug LaPrairie departed at 10:30 a.m. Hamilton Energy departed at 3 pm. for bunkering in Toronto. Cuyahoga arrived at 8 p.m. with sand from Fairport.

Antwerp, Begum - Mac Mackay
Federal St. Laurent made contact with a berth in Antwerp on June 2, and was holed forward. She was taking water, but the hole was patched by local fire crews and she was pumped out.


Updates - June 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 8

June 8 1951, 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. She now sails as AMERICAN INTEGRITY.

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.


Port Reports - June 7

South Chicago Ill. - Lou Gerard
Alpena arrived in Calumet Harbor shortly after noon on Sunday and proceeded to transit the Calumet River among many pleasure craft and under sunny skies. She was due at the Lafarge terminal at 130th Street at 2:30 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon with a split cargo. The pair stopped at the Lafarge dock in Essexville to unload a partial cargo, then proceeded upriver to finish unloading at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Moore and Kuber were outbound for the lake Sunday morning.

Fairport, Ohio - Bob Hunter
Sunday morning, Cuyahoga arrived in Fairport Harbor under threatening skies to take on sand stored riverside. Shoreline loaders and front-end loaders were used to load the sand into the holds. Saturday, Joseph H. Thompson unloaded stone in Fairport Harbor.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
American Mariner, the largest ship to ever transit the Buffalo River/City Ship Canal, was unloading wheat at the General Mills Frontier Elevator Sunday morning.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday , Maria Desganges arrived at 7:30 a.m. from Clarkson for the Hamilton Harbour anchorage to escape bad weather. She departed at 1:30 p.m. and anchored off Clarkson when the lake calmed down. CSL Tadoussac departed at 9:30 a.m. for Picton Ont. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 8:30 p.m. with coal from Buffalo for US Steel. Algosoo departed at 8:30 p.m. for the canal.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River was a late arrival in port Saturday night.


'Lighthouse' Bob Hanford, 84, cared for Fort Gratiot structure

6/7 - Port Huron, Mich. – The beams streaming from the top of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse radiated for many years, but for many people "Lighthouse" Bob Hanford was the real beacon of the structure. The long-time lighthouse keeper died early Saturday morning at Port Huron Hospital. He was 84 years old.

"He was one of the finest people I had ever met in my life," said friend Frank Frisk of Marysville. "He had such a rapport with the community, it was unbelievable. He will be very much missed."

Frisk said Hanford's health had been declining. He broke a hip in a fall April 15 and had surgery the following week. Early Saturday morning, Hanford was taken to the hospital. Frisk said Hanford's heart was weak and the was bleeding internally.

Frisk said no funeral has been planned for Hanford. Fisk is trying to organize a memorial service on the grounds of the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, where Hanford had served as lighthouse keeper since 1988.

He was one of the longest-tenured keepers of the historic lighthouse. Just 23 keepers have cared for it, and only one held the job longer than did Hanford.

"He was an icon for the community," said Holly Modock, who is volunteer, grants and programs manager at the Port Huron Museum. "He was a wonderful guy."

She said school groups came back annually to visit Hanford at the lighthouse. "He did a fabulous job with the kids," Modock said. "He really had a passion for it. Kids really looked forward to it."

Hanford served in the US Coast Guard during World War II on the then-new USCGC Bramble in the Pacific. He left the ship in Hawaii as the war ended and she was preparing for a deployment to the Western Pacific, which would have complicated his journey home as he was about to be discharged.

He returned to Michigan and joined the Detroit Police Department, where he rose to the rank of detective. His work included the investigation and prosecution of narcotics cases and organized crime figures. He retired from the DPD in 1972, but continued in the security business for a number of years. He also raised horses and worked as a property manager and animal control officer.

A member of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary, Hanford assumed the duties of lighthouse keeper in 1988, leading tours of the Fort Gratiot Light Station for delighted school children and other visitors. He also performed light maintenance at the tower, sweeping the tower down, washing windows and removing spider webs.

Hanford had a great sense of humor, and was a very talented and knowledgeable speaker. He looked the part of a lightkeeper and it was very obvious he loved the light station and what he was doing. Dressed in a period-correct US Lighthouse Service uniform, he would proudly share the history of the station's construction and service life as a major aid to navigation, as well as stories and artifacts from the site and the keepers who preceded him. His dedication was admirable, considering the oppressive Michigan summer heat and humidity in which he often worked in that full uniform.

He was rightfully proud of his visitor logs, which contained thousands of names and hometowns of the guests who had come to visit him and his beloved lighthouse from all over the United States and the world.

Only one other man served as lightkeeper of the station longer than Hanford. Frank Kimball kept the light from 1894 to 1924, a span of 30 years.

Though his health slowed him in recent years, Hanford still continued to lead tours with the assistance of volunteers. He also gave many presentations and slide shows at area schools and at the Port Huron Museum.

The Lighthouse was closed to public tours in 2008 due to the potential danger of visitors being struck by pieces of brick that are being shed by the 86-foot tall light tower.

Negotiations are currently underway for the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse facility and the retired US Coast Guard Station on the Lighthouse property to be transferred from the federal government to St. Clair County.

Hanford was right in the middle of things, the project's biggest supporter, as he understood the significance of that historic site. He had great hopes that the site would be preserved respectfully for posterity.

Port Huron Times Herald, Jon Ottman


Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City assists in search for missing kayaker

6/7 - Traverse City, Mich. – U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, while assisting the Manistee County Sheriff’s Department, located a missing kayaker approximately 25 miles east of Manistee, Mich., along the Pine River, at 7:05 a.m. June 6.

The Manistee County Sheriff’s requested assistance when a 38-year-old male kayaker was separated from his friends on the Pine River on the evening of June 5.

Air Station Traverse City launched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and the aircrew was able to see the man along the river bank approximately one mile from the ground search party’s staging area.

“He seemed well prepared,” said Lt. Paul Smith, the pilot of the rescue helicopter. “He had his gear spread out in a way that made him easy to see.”

The aircrew airlifted the man and transported him to the ground crew where local Emergency Medical Services were waiting.

"It was an unusually high hoist, because of the trees, but we were able to get him on board," added Smith.


Updates - June 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 7

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

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

On 07 June 1890, EMILY P WEED (steel propeller freighter, 300 foot, 2,362 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #69) at W. Bay City, Michigan for the Hollister Transportation Co. She lasted until 02 September 1905, when she stranded on Sand Island Reef, Apostle Islands on Lake Superior and broke in two.

On 07 June 1862, MORNING STAR (wooden side-wheel steamer, 248 foot, 1,265 gross tons) was launched by A. A. Turner at Trenton, Michigan. She only lasted until 1868, when she sank in Lake Erie in a collision with the bark COURTLAND.

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - June 6

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 delivered a small load of stone to the Verplank dock in Holland Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The EPA research vessel Lake Guardian was seen departing the Buffalo River Entrance Channel at 10:30 a.m. June 4. Eyewitnesses reported that it had been tied up in the slip at the Buffalo Coast Guard Base earlier in the morning. That is a somewhat rare occurrence since there are not too many ships using the dock located there anymore. Even the Coast Guard vessels and tenders usually use the Visiting Ship’s Dock at the Erie Basin.
Over at the Union Ship Canal, the tug Jacklyn was tied down at the extreme east end with her spud barge at the old Hanna Furnace property. These will probably be the last commercial vessels to use the docks located there once the parkland is finished. There has not been any sort of vessel activity inside the reach of the canal above the Father Baker Bridge since similar work boats helped with the Rt. 5 - Furman Blvd. reconstruction work back in the early 1990s. Freighters have been absent from that section going back as far as the closing of Hanna Furnace in the early 1980s, so anything other than the occasional pleasure craft is a rare occurrence. Until the park project got underway, wildlife seemed to be taking the property over with coyotes, beavers and deer wandering in from the nearby Tift Farm Nature Reserve, also the site of a former industrial canal system.
American Mariner arrived in the entrance channel at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, headed up the Buffalo River to the General Mills Frontier Elevator. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin backed into the Lackawanna Slip on Saturday evening. Her boom rig was high above the deck as shore side conveyors were loading coal into the hatches at 8:45 p.m.

Hamilton/Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday, Michipicoten arrived at 8 a.m. with a cargo of canola from Thunder Bay. The CCG ship Shark departed Burlington's Canada Centre for Inland Waters at 9 a.m. Saturday, CSL Tadoussac arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for U.S. Steel. Maria Desganges departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 5 pm. for Clarkson. Peter R. Cresswell arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco.


BoatNerd fundraising raffle winners announced

6/6 - Port Huron, Mich. - The winning raffle tickets were drawn Saturday afternoon at the Vantage Point Maritime Center before a large crowd. The Grand Prize, a trip on the St. Mary's Challenger, was won by Michael Mather of Eagle, Mich. with ticket 971.

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the raffle to benefit Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping on Line Inc., the non-profit support group for the website. Over 3,000 tickets were sold, with the Grand Prize a trip generously provided by Port City Marine Services.

Other prize donors included Lake Michigan Carferry, Diamond Jack River Cruises, Beaver Island Boat Co., Huron Lady II Cruises, Keweenaw Excursions, Owen Sound Transportation Company, Washington Island Island Clipper & Viking Train, the Inn At Lock 7, Marine Publishing and the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.

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

Click here to view all the winners

The BoatNerd.Com Crew


BoatNerd cruises coming soon

June 25 - Annual Soo BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise
This year's St. Marys River cruise will again be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 25. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 21.

August 7 - Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan
This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - June 6

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 6

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

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

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

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

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

On June 6, 1959, the ADAM E. CORNELIUS (Hull#) 424) began her maiden voyage for the American Steamship Co., from Manitowoc, Wisconsin. This was the last Great Lakes vessel constructed with telescoping hatch covers. Sold Canadian and converted to a barge she was renamed b.) CAPT. 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.


Port Reports - June 5

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Thursday saw the arrival of the Manistee with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. She came in about 7:30 a.m. and was outbound at 12:15 p.m. At 8:30 a.m., St. Marys Challenger made her first visit of the season, with a short load of cement for the St. Marys Terminal in Ferrysburg. She departed in the early evening.


BoatNerd picnic planned June 24 at the Soo

6/5 - The annual Unofficial BoatNerd Picnic will be held Thursday, June 24, at Mission Point. Appetizers start at noon, followed by hamburgers, hot dogs and a potluck about 2 p.m. Official carrot cake will be served at 4. Plates, utensils, napkins and condiments will be provided, as well as coffee. Bring something to share, your own beverage, lawn chair, camera, scanner (okay, there will be several scanners there). If you have a portable grill, table and/or a shelter tent, please bring that, too. We will have one or two of those, more are welcome. We can't promise good weather or many ships, but we can promise a great time of fun and friendship. Everyone is welcome to join us.


Marine mart and cruise today

Join us June 5 for the annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II following the Port Huron Marine Mart. The boat leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron for a special one-hour cruise. Reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the $5.00 fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. The Lake Huron Lore Marine Mart is will be held Saturday at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.


Updates - June 5

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 5

Over the Winter of 1960 - 1961, the CHARLES M. SCHWAB was rebuilt 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 CSL’s LOUIS R. DESMARAIS rescued two more. The CARTIERCLIFFE HALL was towed to Thunder Bay by the tug PENNSYLVANIA the following day.

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

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

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

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

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


Duluth moves first wind components by rail

6/4  - Duluth, Minn. – When the first unit train carrying wind turbine components leaves Duluth this week, it will signal the start of a new, green chapter in transportation logistics at the westernmost tip of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system.

The shipment of 24 Siemens wind turbine nacelles and spinners/cones (plus 33 containers) currently being loaded onto specialty rail cars at the Clure Public Marine Terminal, actually arrived in Duluth from Denmark aboard the Metsaborg two weeks ago and has been securely stored in satellite laydown yards at the terminal. Components will be railed to Casper, Wyo., and delivered from there by truck to their final destination Duke Energy’s Top of the World 101.2-megawatt project in Converse County, Wyo. This will be a joint move by Union Pacific and BNSF Railway.

While transporting components via rail is not new to the global wind energy industry, it is new for the Port of Duluth, which has been handling intermodal transshipments of towers, blades, nacelles and hubs between ships and trucks since 2004.

“Adding a rail alternative to trucking allows us to expand our transportation capacity and provides significant efficiency and environmental benefits for long-distance transports,” said Sally Chope, Transportation & Logistics Manager for Siemens Energy’s wind power business. “We utilize rail transport whenever possible for long hauls (over 1,000 miles). It’s a much greener option, resulting in as much as an 80 percent carbon footprint reduction.”

Siemens Energy has been using the Port of Duluth for several years to handle their wind turbines. “We choose Duluth for its convenience and for the experience of its work force,” added Chope. “The location of the Port of Duluth offers easy clearance for our shipments, plus Lake Superior Warehousing has a great deal of experience with our cargo.”

Wind turbine components are manufactured all over the world and, as such, suppliers rely on a combination of at least two, if not all three, primary modes of transportation water, road and rail to coordinate delivery of those components to wind farm installations.

Duluth remains a key link in the wind energy supply chain worldwide, noted Jonathan Lamb, vice president and general manager at Lake Superior Warehousing Co., terminal operator for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We have an exceptional intermodal facility in Duluth one that sits at the intersection of three major highway corridors and is served by four Class I railroads (BNSF, CN, CP and Union Pacific) providing multiple options for direct transfer of project cargo from ship to truck or ship to rail as well as loading out from our satellite laydown yards.”

A second ship, the BBC Sweden, is expected to arrive next week with additional nacelles plus hubs for this same project, which means a second unit train will be leaving Duluth for Wyoming soon; more rail transport projects are anticipated as the year unfolds.

Chope added that while these nacelles were manufactured at a Siemens plant in Denmark, the company is midway through construction of a new wind turbine nacelle assembly facility in Hutchinson, Kansas, to better meet the increasing demand for clean energy in the Americas. That facility is scheduled to ship its first nacelle in December.

“The Port of Duluth has handled nearly a million freight tons of wind turbine components in the past five years. Most were inbound from manufacturers in Germany, Denmark and Spain for delivery to major projects in the Upper Midwest, but we’ve also served projects as far away as Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and, now Wyoming. Additionally, we’ve handled outbound shipments of blades manufactured in North Dakota to Spain, Canada, Brazil and Chile,” Chope added.

“Wind energy is a tremendous growth industry, both domestically and globally,” said Adolph Ojard, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, “and rail offers a great logistics alternative for long-distance moves of this type of dimensional cargo. While trucking will always play an essential role in the wind energy supply chain, combining the efficiencies of water and rail transport further expands the service area of the Port of Duluth. Working collaboratively, we can all contribute to a cleaner, greener world.”

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Port Reports - June 4

Menominee, Mich. – Dick Lund
Maumee arrived at Menominee Paper Company with a load of coal around 3 a.m. Thursday. This was the dock's first load of coal this year. By 7:20 a.m., the ship was completely unloaded, and by 7:45 a.m. was turned around out in the bay of Green Bay beyond Menominee North Pier Lighthouse and heading for her next destination.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Thursday afternoon, Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were loading cement under the silos at Lafarge. Manitowoc arrived by early evening and waited out in the bay until Innovation cleared the channel. Manitowoc then proceeded into Lafarge to unload coal. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected in port Friday morning.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway arrived about six miles off the port at 4:58 p.m. and took about two hours to get just north of the railroad trestle. She was at the Jonick Dock, boom out and unloading at 8 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner loaded grain Thursday in Duluth and departed around 4 p.m. for Buffalo, where it is expected to arrive Saturday night. The Mariner will be the largest ship to ever go up the river.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Thursday, Montrealais arrived at 10 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Algosoo departed at 11:30 a.m. The tug LaPrairie arrived at 2:30 pm. The tanker Maria Desganges arrived at 5:30 p.m. from Quebec City. Canadian Enterprise arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The ULS tug Victorious and barge John J. Carrick arrived in port late Wednesday, and tied up at Pier 52, where they remained today for their official christening ceremony. The tour boat The Senator recently arrived back in port from Windsor, where its operations have ceased. The vessel is now for sale, berthed at Toronto Drydock.

Montreal - Mac Mackay
The CSL Group Inc. registered the bulker Richelieu in Montreal on June 2.


Lake levels are about a foot below normal

6/4  - Rochester, N.Y. – Water levels in Lake Ontario are about a foot below normal, and 1½ feet lower than they were a year ago, portending a potentially troublesome summer for boaters.

Some problems already are cropping up, but the concern is more for what lies ahead.

Lake levels typically decline a foot between June and September, due to normal seasonal fluctuations, and could be even lower if the summer is a dry one.

"It's looking like fall water now. So what's the water going to be like in the fall?" said Bruce Butcher, manager of Sandy Creek Marina in Hamlin.

Very low levels in the late summer or fall could make it difficult for boat owners to pass through channels linking marinas and the lake, or force them to remove their craft from the water earlier than normal.

At present, local marina operators and others are reporting that channels are open to traffic. "We can get boats in and out, but there's not a lot to spare," said Frank Ardino, manager of Braddock Bay Marina, which has a notoriously shallow channel linking the bay to Lake Ontario.

Butcher offered a similar report from Sandy Creek, and Al Jaehn, dockmaster at Mayer's Marina on Irondequoit Bay, said "I've seen shallower water. The channel works."

Butcher noted some problems launching boats, and he and others noted the sizable gap between docks and boats floating next to them, making it harder to get in and out of vessels.

"Some of our older boaters have moved out and come down to the (Genesee) river because they and their spouses find it difficult to navigate from the boats to the dock," said Ardino, who also manages two facilities on the Genesee. One of them has floating docks, which make for easier boat access.

Dan Barletta, a Greece shoreline resident who served on an international panel that studied lake-level regulation, said residents who hoist boats down to the water from shore may be having trouble, too.

But he also noted the upside — shallower water means wider beaches and makes it easier for shoreline residents to do maintenance work on their breakwaters.

Barletta said the reason for the low water is clear — "We had (comparatively) no snow and no rain. And the upper lakes are down, too."

Indeed, snow cover in the Lake Ontario basin was relatively light last winter, and it melted early. Rainfall this spring has been below average; Rochester, for instance, measured almost 25 percent less rain than normal in March, April and May.

About 85 percent of Lake Ontario's water, though, comes not from local rain or snow but from the other Great Lakes. And all four of them are suffering with below-average water levels themselves.

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control, which oversees lake-level regulation, can sometimes hold back on water released to the St. Lawrence in order to prop up levels in Lake Ontario. That doesn't seem likely now, as the river at Montreal is 6 feet below average already.

This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were also well below normal. Lake Superior is currently 5 inches below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to rise in June. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 13 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-June level, and is 8 inches lower than the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 1 inch, while on average it rises 4 inches in May.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose 2 inches this May, while on average it rises 3 inches during May. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 15 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-June level, and is 9 inches lower than it was a year ago. Currently Lakes Michigan-Huron is 6 inches above its chart datum level. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to rise in June.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City to assist with Gulf oil spill

6/4  - Traverse City, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City deployed one HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter and aircrew Tuesday to the Gulf Coast region to assist with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill clean-up efforts. The air station’s crew will provide aerial reconnaissance to assist incident management teams with tracking the spread of oil and help guide employment of surface assets.

"Our crew is on task and engaged in the important work of responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico," explained Cmdr. Jonathan Spaner, commanding officer of Air Station Traverse City. "They are based in New Orleans and are working alongside scores of federal, state, local and private partners. Our unit is prepared to do everything possible to assist with the spill response while remaining fully capable on the Great Lakes," he said.

Air Station Traverse City is assigned to the Ninth Coast Guard District and has five HH-65C helicopters, which mainly support search and rescue operations on Lakes Michigan and Superior and the northern portion of Lake Huron. Deploying aircraft and crews to other districts around the country is normal and can be expected when a large-scale operation, like the Deepwater Horizon spill, occurs.

Traverse City’s aircrew joins thousands currently of Coast Guardsmen devoted to the response efforts. Deployment of this aircraft and crew will not degrade the Coast Guard’s search and rescue or maritime safety capabilities on the Great Lakes.


Canada offers new shipbuilding plan for navy, coast guard vessels

6/4  - Ottawa, Ont. – Canada’s federal government has outlined a new shipbuilding strategy that will cost at least $35 billion and take 30 years to complete.

Defense Minister Peter MacKay says he expects to sign agreements with two shipyards within two years to build 28 large vessels and 100 smaller ships for the navy and coast guard.

"This is, indeed, an historic moment for Canada," MacKay told a defense industry trade show on Thursday. "The national shipbuilding procurement strategy is a major step forward."

The program will produce equipment that is essential to the Canadian Forces, he said.

Two shipyards will be chosen "through a fair, transparent, competitive process to build the large vessels required by the coast guard and navy."

"We expect to have signed agreements with these shipyards within two years, which should clear the way toward contracts for large-vessel projects that the navy desperately needs," he said. "However, what's even more important is that the strategy will be making available equipment that is essential to the Canadian Armed Forces. Canada's navy will continue to do the remarkable work that it is doing for Canada and has done in the past 100 years."

Several high-profile ship-replacement programs for both the navy and coast guard have been sidelined because cost estimates have come in far above what the Conservative government was willing to pay. Federal officials have tried over the last year to get the country's notoriously competitive shipyards to agree on sharing the construction.

MacKay has often been quoted as saying there was more than enough work to go around.

The country's top military commander told the defense industry on Wednesday that new ships for the navy is his No. 1 procurement need and noted that it has been 14 years since the last major warship was launched in Canada.

"We need to cut steel on new ships," said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defense staff.

Buying aircraft and tanks, sometimes off-the-shelf, is much easier than building warships which, because of their size, complex designs and high-tech machinery, often take a decade of planning before actual construction begins.

To emphasize the need to modernize the Canadian navy, the defense chief pointed to the 5,100-tonne destroyer HMCS Iroquois, which is 38 years old.

The navy's two supply ships, HMCS Preserver and Protecteur, turned 40 last year.


Army Corps rejects regular lock closures to foil Asian carp

6/4  - Chicago, Ill. – The Army Corps of Engineers has scrapped a proposal to close navigational shipping locks in the Chicago waterway system as many as four days a week to prevent migration of Asian carp into Lake Michigan.

The Corps, however, is recommending temporary lock closures at times when biologists use fish poisons or other methods to search for carp in the well-traveled shipping corridors.

These recommendations were released today as part of a three-year study into the state's and federal government's handling of the Asian carp crisis. The study looked at six scenarios for lock operation, including restricting boat and ship travel to three days a week or three weeks out of a month. In the end, Army Corps officials determined neither partial lock closure plan would prove much of a deterrent to Asian carp.

"...(O)ut of the six alternatives considered by the Risk Assessment Panel, there was no alternative or combination of alternatives that the panel members determined would lower the risk of Asian carp establishing a self-sustaining population in Lake Michigan to an acceptable level," the report states. "In other words, there was not a high probability that recommending regularly scheduled closures would reduce the risk ..."

The results were something of a mixed blessing for shipping and boating industry experts who had warned of the devastating financial impact to the Chicago region if the Army Corps restricted boat and ship traffic to only a few days a week.

Business will likely continue as scheduled through the busy spring and summer cargo season on the Calumet-Sag Channel and the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal, the primary waterway linking the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.

However, the Army Corps' analysis indicates the likelihood of more lock closures in the coming months as biologists continue to track down and eradicate Asian carp in local waterways. Last month, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources closed the O'Brien Lock and Dam in the Cal-Sag Channel for a week while crews cleaned up the remains of another massive fish kill aimed at locating Asian carp. Approximately 100,000 pounds of dead fish were recovered, but no Asian carp.

Closing the lock resulted in shipping delays and increased costs for many cargo haulers moving between the lake and the Illinois River, industry officials said.

Asian carp is a voracious invasive species that has steadily moved up the Illinois River toward Lake Michigan for the last decade. Fears about Asian carp infiltrating Lake Michigan prompted six Great Lakes states last year to sue Illinois to try and force closure of shipping locks in the Cal-Sag Channel and at the mouth of the Chicago River. However, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to get involved in the dispute, saying it was a matter for lower courts to decide.

DNA samples collected from the Cal-Sag Channel and inside the outer rim of Lake Michigan indicate the presence of Asian carp within striking distance of the Great Lakes. But after weeks of intense searching, an Asian carp has yet to be seen or caught there, raising questions about the validity of the DNA research.

Chicago News Center


Beautiful Challenger: Exhibit tells story of 104-year-old lake boat

6/4  - Muskegon, Mich. - .For more than a century, the S.S. St. Marys Challenger has sailed the Great Lakes, a workhorse of a boat. Along the way, the Challenger has set a record for longevity no boat currently on the Great Lakes can ever hope to top: 104 years old, and still working every day.

“She’s a true-blooded lake boat ... utilitarian and strong,” said Chris Winters, a photographer from Wauwatosa, Wis., who spent five years chronicling the Challenger on the job. “She’s so darn sturdy. She just goes on and on and on.”

And yet, she’s one of a kind — the only century-old boat still in service.

“It’s extremely rare that she’s even survived,” Winters said.

To showcase her place in history, Winters has put together an exhibit of photographs and text about the Challenger, inspired by a book he published called “Centennial: Steaming Through the American Century.”

The exhibit is currently on display at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum, located on the south side of the Muskegon Channel near the USS Silversides and the USCGC McLane.

Mark Gleason, the museum’s chief marine scientist and director of education, said the exhibit is “the first of many” he hopes to bring into the museum.

“We’re more than just a World War II submarine,” Gleason said. “One of our missions is to educate people on our own maritime heritage ... that’s what the Challenger is all about. It’s all a part of the story of the Great Lakes. It’s a unique boat, a unique story we think people will want to see.”

But first, a little history.

The steamboat was launched Feb. 17, 1906, in Ecorse, Mich., and christened under the name the William P. Snyder. Designed to haul iron ore, the Challenger was one of hundreds of “workaday ships” on the lakes, Winters said. “It’s representative of a vanished era,” he explained.

Through the years, it emerged as something extraordinary. To put its place in history into perspective, it first sailed six years before the HMS Titantic made its ill-fated trip.

The Challenger kept going, even as other ships from its era fell by the wayside, escaping close encounters and new owners. In 1923, the ship and crew were lost for several days in a snowstorm north of Sault Ste. Marie. In 2005, the Challenger was sold and, for awhile, the new owners — Port City Marine Services of Muskegon — considered turning it into a barge.

That idea was scrapped, Winters said. Once again, the Challenger kept going.

Winters first came across the Challenger in 2003 when it pulled into Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for its five-year Coast Guard evaluation. At the time, the boat was 97 years old. By his own admission, Winters fell in love at first sight, no introduction needed.

“It was the most extraordinary of ordinary ships,” he said in a telephone interview. “It seemed like a pretty good story.”

He checked everywhere, even Lloyds of London, and he could find no other shipping vessel anywhere near the age of the Challenger. He knew he needed to get to know the boat better.

The St. Marys Challenger has weathered many a storm in its 104 years on the Big Lake.“It became a personal quest of sorts,” he said.

Eventually, Winters convinced the owners that he needed to go aboard the Challenger and chronicle its journey as it headed toward the century mark. It took him four years, on and off — and a half-million photographs — to do the job.

On April 28, 2006, Winters helped celebrate its centennial anniversary by publishing a coffee table book featuring 230 photographs, and the Challenger’s story set on the Great Lakes. He’s described the boat as a “floating dump truck” hauling cement against a backdrop of some of the most “extraordinary vistas” in the United States.

“Without the lake, it wouldn’t be very poetic,” he said.

The Challenger is loaded with cement in Charlevoix, and travels in and out of the ports on Lake Michigan, including occasionally to Muskegon, according to Gleason.

The Challenger is 551-feet long and can carry up to 66,240 barrels of cement. It is still powered by a Skinner Marine Unaflow steam engine, which is a big deal in “the boat nerd world.” The SS Badger, the car ferry docked in Ludington, is the only other boat on Lake Michigan that relies on the Skinner Marine engine for power.

“This boat is highly overlooked for it’s contributions,” Winters said. “It’s carried a century of Midwest commerce on its broad back.”

Information: visit To learn more about photographer Chris Winters, visit

The Muskegon Chronicle


Series of movies on deck of LST-393 resumes Friday in Muskegon

6/4  - Muskegon, Mich. – Starting Friday, the “Movies on Deck” series resumes aboard the warship USS LST-393 in downtown Muskegon.

Showing classic films alfresco and for no admission charge, “Movies on Deck” has become an institution of West Michigan summers. It runs on a series of Friday nights, with screenings coming on the tail of the “Parties in the Park” community picnics in nearby Hackley Park.

The two locations are within a few blocks of each other. The LST-393, which was in action during World War II, is moored at the Mart Dock, just off Muskegon Lake. Hackley Park is bounded by Third and Fourth streets and Clay and Webster avenues.

Films are projected onto a large screen on deck. Screenings begin at dusk, often giving moviegoers a sunset panorama over Muskegon Lake. Attendance sometimes swells to 200 people.

This year’s “Movies on Deck” carries a seagoing theme: Most of its nine titles have something to do with navigable water. For more information, visit the Web site, or call (231) 730-1477.

The Muskegon Chronicle


Volunteers needed to lead tours on Tug John Purves

6/4  - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum is seeking volunteer docents to lead daily tours aboard the tug John Purves. The immaculately restored 149-foot vessel has proven to be a huge hit with museum visitors since tours began in August of 2008. However, due to the tugs appeal, the museum is in need of additional tour guides to meet the seven-day-a-week schedule.

No previous maritime experience is required. The docent script provides for easy training and the opportunity to share a stunning piece of Sturgeon Bay maritime history makes for a gratifying experience. Volunteers are asked to sign up for a daily shift from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and can work as often as they wish.

If interested, please contact the museum at 920-743-7826.


Last day to buy a raffle ticket and invest in BoatNerd’s future

6/4 - Every few years, through the generosity of the shipping industry, BoatNerd offers a boat trip raffle as our primary means of fund raising. Money raised allows this site to continue to operate and expand. As the site continues to grow in popularity, bandwidth and connection charges increase as well, and hardware needs to be continually upgraded.

All of our staff are volunteers and are not paid for the thousands of hours of work that go into processing and organizing the information we provide for free. Now, we need your help.

We ask that if you enjoy this site and find it useful, please make a contribution and an investment in its future by participating in our current fund-raising raffle for a once-in-a-lifetime trip on the historic Great Lakes steamboat St. Marys Challenger.

BoatNerd volunteers are keenly aware of the economic challenges many of our users face. But even the purchase of a single ticket at $10 goes a long way toward allowing us to keep providing this site and its features.

Drawing will take place at 2 p.m. on June 5, 2010 at the BoatNerd.Com World Headquarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, at Vantage Point, in Port Huron, MI.

Click here for more information or to purchase a ticket


Updates - June 4

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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 "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 is the 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.


Port Reports - June 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday evening at the Upper Harbor, Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader unloaded limestone into the hopper.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 were in late Wednesday afternoon making a delivery to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Wednesday morning was busy on the Calumet River. St. Marys Challenger tied up at her Lake Calumet terminal before 10 a.m. CSL Assiniboine was in Calumet Harbor heading out into the lake around 8:30 after unloading at Morton Salt at 100th Street, passing the Manistee, which was waiting for traffic to clear. Lee A. Tregurtha came from Indiana Harbor and joined the waiting Manistee. Manitowoc left KCBX around 8:45 and headed for Lake Michigan. After Manitowoc cleared, the Manistee leading the Tregurtha entered the river and followed one behind the other, which kept the bridges up for a considerable period. The procession kept up until Tregurtha dropped back and docked at KCBX. Manistee continued on. She was to go to the turning basin around 127th Street and then dock at CFT to load coal.

Saginaw, Mich. –Todd Shorkey
After a slow May, traffic on the Saginaw River picked up a little to start June. Monday evening saw the arrival of the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber with a split load. The pair lightered at the Lafarge dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the GM dock in Saginaw. They were outbound for the lake Tuesday morning. Arriving on Tuesday were Herbert C. Jackson, which unloaded at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, and Mississagi, which traveled up to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. Both vessels were outbound Tuesday night.

With the May now in the books, there were only 13 commercial vessel deliveries to the docks along the Saginaw River. This is 12 fewer than the same time period last year and well below the average of 30 over the past six years. Looking at the year to date, there have been 31 vessel passages in 2010. This is only one less than last year, but still well below the six-year average of 52. April started the season strong, but this has been the worst May in the six years I have been keeping records.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River arrived at 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes Tuesday, Atlantic Huron arrived at 10:30 a.m. with coal for US Steel. Canadian Provider arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Wednesday, Hamilton Energy arrived at 5:15 a.m. Captain Henry Jackman arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. After unloading, Jackman was to shift to Pier 26 to make repairs before proceeding back to Duluth. Algosoo arrived at 11 a.m. with coal for Dofasco.


Passenger ship C. Columbus scheduled back on the Great Lakes

6/3 - Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, of Hamburg, is publishing in its 2011 program a 12-day cruise from Toronto to Chicago and return during the period September 5 - October 2 aboard the liner C. Columbus. On both trips, stops will made at Windsor, Detroit , Little Current, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Duluth and Mackinac Island.


Kelleys Island's old limestone quarry might be answer for Cuyahoga River dredging

6/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – An idled limestone quarry on Kelleys Island might solve the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's most pressing problem -- finding a place to dump thousands of tons of sediment dredged from the city's harbor.

The privately owned Kellstone Quarry has emerged as the favorite alternative to building a sludge-containment dike along the Lake Erie shorelines off East 55th Street, a project the port can't afford.

Port officials estimate that the 200-acre, water-filled quarry could be used for the next 28 years at a fraction of the cost of building the dike. And the site could begin taking sediment before the port would be forced to stop dredging, limiting commercial shipping in the harbor.

But before any of that could happen, port officials would need to obtain permits and sell the idea to skeptical environmentalists and island homeowners. One concern is that the sediment contains contaminates that could threaten the island's groundwater and wells.

"Anything that's going to hurt the tourism on our island, I'm against it," said Pat Hayes, president of the Kelleys Island Audubon Society and owner of a bed-and-breakfast there.

"Bringing in 100 years of the worst stuff that Cleveland has to offer and putting it smack dab in the middle of this pristine habitat is enough to make you sick."

A port-led task force of government and environmental officials has spent months searching for a permanent or temporary place to store sludge because the port's existing disposal sites will be filled by 2015.

Port officials had planned to build a lakefront storage dike, but concluded late last year that they could not afford their $133 million share of the $300 million project. The federal government would pay for the remainder of the project.

The quarry proposal was suggested by Lafarge North America, a huge supplier of construction materials. Until three years ago, the Virginia-based company was mining a million tons of limestone a year from Kellstone.

But in 2007, Lafarge closed the mine due to a crash in the construction business. So, Nathan Creech, a vice president of Lafarge's Great Lakes Division, offered the mine to the port as a potential sediment-dumping site.

The Palladino family -- the largest private landowner on the island -- owns the mine and leases to Lafarge. The Palladinos could not be reached for comment, but Creech spoke of the plan in a telephone interview.

He envisions reversing the mining operation, picking up Cleveland sediment on barges and dumping it into the quarry.

Supporters of the proposal argue that the dumping would be less disturbing to the island's serenity than the 24-hour, loud-and-dusty mining operation at the quarry. Once the quarry is filled, Lafarge proposes to turn the site into a park.

"Clearly, tourism is our future," said Kelleys Island Mayor Robert Quinn. "If we could somehow use it to our benefit, that would be a good thing and I'd be in favor of it."

Peter Raskind, the interim chief executive of the port authority, called the quarry proposal "potentially very exciting," but warned of environmental hurdles.

"There are still lots of questions to be answered, but on the surface, it certainly warrants research and investigation," Raskind said. "It's particularly interesting in the sense that it exists already, it has a large capacity, and it also creates a beneficial reuse where we would be reclaiming a quarry that could be turned into a park."

Site preparation and transportation costs have yet to be determined, but would be millions of dollars less than the cost required to build a new containment dike, Raskind said.

Ohio's Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the proposal, and will test sediment samples to see what they contain.

If toxins from the dredge seep into the groundwater, Lafarge would pay the costs of installing waterlines to hook up residents with wells to the village's municipal water source, Creech said.

John Watkins, chief of ODNR's office of coastal management, told the dredge task force earlier this month that, after dumping is complete, Lafarge could cap the site for a meadow or maintain the lake.

Hayes remains suspicious.

"I can't envision having those trucks running around and ruining the atmosphere of this island," Hayes said. "It really has to be looked at closely for the water quality issues and the impact on the lifestyle of the island.

"What about the wildlife and the groundwater? It gives us something to think about."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


Ninth Coast Guard District units respond to Deepwater Horizon oil spill

6/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Ninth Coast Guard District has deployed additional assets and personnel in support of the Deepwater Horizon response oil spill mission in the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of a unified multi-agency effort, 148 people, four air boats, an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and a Vessel of Opportunity Skimming System (VOSS) have now been deployed from the Ninth District to the Gulf of Mexico. This mission is an ongoing effort to protect the fragile ecosystem in the gulf and mitigate the effects of the oil spill.

As part of this effort, the Ninth Coast Guard District deployed the four airboats, with a complement of 22 crewmembers, hailing from small boat stations at Belle Isle, Mich., Saginaw River, Mich., Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Alexandria Bay, New York, and Marblehead, Ohio. Ninth District airboat crews were previously deployed for search and rescue, and pollution recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Updates - June 3

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Port Reports - June 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Fleetmates Charles M. Beeghly and Kaye E. Barker loaded ore at the Upper Harbor Tuesday evening. Barker's visit was her first since reactivation. Her arrival featured a double rainbow after a passing heavy shower.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 brought a load of asphalt sand to the Verplank dock in Holland early Tuesday morning. It was only the second load of the year for the Tulip City, which opened in late April. The only other activity this year has been dredging. Luedtke Engineering completed the work on the Lake Michigan channel last Wednesday with their tug Ann Marie and barges. King Company's dredge Buxton II is continuing to work in the far east end of Lake Macatawa, in front of the Brewer and power plant docks.

South Chicago, Ill. Steve B.
Tuesday saw the arrival of the CSL Assiniboine around 3:30 p.m. on the Calumet River. She ran straight in with the help of the G tugs Massachusetts and Colorado. Her destination was the Morton Salt Dock at 100th Street.

Goderich, Ont. - Jon Stuparyk
Tuesday Algomarine was at the mine, docked and not loading. Niagara Spirit and John Spence were behind the mine with an unknown cargo, likely parts for the new mine dome.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was unloading coal on Tuesday evening. The tug Jacklyn was working with a barge in the old ship canal beneath the Father Baker Bridge, lifting the bridge on the bike path out of place to allow Jacklyn and the crane that was on her barge into the canal. A larger land-based crane was on also hand, which may have been there for that lift.


Updates - June 2

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 2

On 02 June 1958, the Liberian-flagged freighter MOUNT DELPHI sank enroute to Karachi, Pakistan. She was built by the British American Shipbuilding Company at Welland, Ontario, during the final years of World War I. She had 12 different owners during her career and had been seized by Vichy interests at Casablanca, Morocco, in 1940, and then by the Italian government in 1942. On 02 June 1893, CORSICAN (wooden schooner, 112 foot, 210 gross tons, built in 1862, at Olcott, New York) was carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to St. Ignace, Michigan, on a foggy night on Lake Huron. She collided with the iron steamer CORSICA and sank quickly off Thunder Bay Island. All six onboard went down with her. The wounded CORSICA was beached near Ossineke, Michigan, 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.


Port Reports - June 1

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
Memorial Day morning found the Algoway unloading more of her cargo of salt at 92nd Street. She had already discharged some of load at two locations in Milwaukee on Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Sunday, Hamilton Energy arrived in port at 10 a.m. and departed for bunkering in Port Weller at 1 p.m. The saltie Drechtborg arrived at 4 p.m. with ferro manganese for Pier 12N. Monday, Algocape arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. CCGS Limnos departed Burlington at noon and returned at 1:30 p.m. after conducting sea trials. Canadian Navigator arrived at 4 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco from Duluth. Drechtborg departed at 4:30 p.m. Hamilton Energy departed at 8:30 p.m. to bunker the BBC Greenland in the Port Weller anchorage. Federal Pendant arrived at 9:30 p.m.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
Thalassa Desgagnes was unloading oil at Oswego, N.Y. harbor on Monday.


Essar Steel Algoma commences proceedings against Cliffs

6/1 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Essar Steel announced Monday that it has filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in respect of a dispute with the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company and certain of its affiliates. The dispute relates to the pricing and supply of iron ore pellets, which has been interrupted as a result of the pricing dispute, under the Pellet Sale and Purchase Agreement between the company and Cliffs from 2002. The company has also commenced arbitration proceedings, in accordance with the Agreement, to resolve the pricing dispute.

The proceedings are being brought by the company to resolve the pricing dispute between the parties and to ensure the company's supply of iron ore pellets pending the resolution of the pricing dispute.


Great Lakes water levels alarmingly low, officials say

6/1 - After a winter of next-to-no snow, water levels all across the Great Lakes are down this spring, something government and business experts say could have an impact on the environment and the economy.

The Canadian Hydrographic Service issued a warning earlier this month that water levels were at potentially dangerous levels on the lakes system, which stretches from Lake Superior in northwestern Ontario to Montreal.

The water is running so low that boaters risk running aground on rocks that would usually be well under water, the service said.

"Mariners should exercise extreme caution throughout the entire system, especially during periods of strong winds when water levels can rise or fall significantly in a short period of time."

Water levels in Lake Superior, the largest of the lakes, are at their lowest in more than a century, according to officials on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported this month that in April, the biggest of the Great Lakes lost about three centimeters during a time when spring runoff usually swells the lake by as much as eight centimeters.

The Corps said that was only the fourth time Lake Superior declined in April in the past 110 years and was the lowest level since 1907. The levels are also low in lakes Huron, Michigan, Erie and Ontario -- as much as 25 centimeters lower in some places.

But levels are at their lowest along the St. Lawrence River, falling to more than 50 centimeters below the average for this time of year.

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control said this week that it will take several days of soaking rain to restore water levels to normal and warned that the low water could cause problems for boaters, fishermen and the tourism industry.

Managers of the St. Lawrence Seaway have said they are monitoring the water levels closely because vessels have to lighten their loads along the busy shipping corridor to make it through shallower channels.

Those who manage the water levels can usually open a dam upstream to raise water levels, but this year the levels upstream are too low to allow that.

And there is no prospect for improvement this summer. The long-term forecast for the region calls for drier than normal conditions.



BoatNerd cruises coming soon

June 5 - Annual BoatNerd Cruise aboard the Huron Lady II
The annual BoatNerd trip on the St. Clair River aboard the Huron Lady II following the Port Huron Marine Mart. The boat leaves at 5 p.m. from her dock next to the bridge in Port Huron for a special one-hour cruise. Reservations are required. Tell them you are a Boatnerd to get the $5.00 fare. Call 810-984-1500 for reservations. Parking and other information is available at

June 25 - Annual Soo BoatNerd Freighter Chasing Cruise
This year's St. Marys River cruise will again be aboard one of the American Soo Locks Tours boats departing from Dock #2 (next to the Valley Camp) at 6 p.m. on Friday, June 25. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. The cruise will be three (3) hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and will do our best to find photo opportunities for any traffic in the river. A buffet dinner is included in the $35.00 per person cost. Dinner will consist of pasta with meatballs, baked chicken, cheesy potatoes, mixed veggies, tossed salad and desert. There will be a cash bar on board. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. This will afford everyone enough space to take photos and enjoy themselves. Mail-in reservations must be received no later than Monday, June 21.

August 7 - Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan
This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich.

Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - June 1

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - June 1

On 01 June 1903, ISAAC 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.


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